Some notes about today's post: I found this account of a automobile trip in Canada written in last few pages of Charles Dickens' "Pickwick Papers," the same book that contained the material for this post and this post. It took me quite a while to figure out how to present this, hopefully this will do. If you spot any transcription errors, please let me know in the comments. Here's the writing as it appears in the book:

Here's my best go at the text:

On hearing the car, whose RS was opened for the season owing to the extraordinary fine weather that has been running for several ???, I decided on the last day of school preceding the Easter holidays that we would start that very day ?? in our car and drive to W.L. A journey of over 400 miles. So when the children came in I told him to gather up whatever they needed and no more, as we were leaving at once, and we must travel as light as possible. And for him to put in some blankets and robes for purposes of extra warmth, as we would need to travel at night to save time. In less than an hour we got our car oiled and filled with gas ??? were sent engine on its way to A.?? telling of our departure for the north and a hasty lunch tucked away in case we became hungry by the ???

We then left Vancouver, in a drizzle of rain that had been threatening all day to break our spell of sunshiny days, and before we got as far as N.W. the rain was coming down real hard, and as it was then 4:30 p.m., a rather late hour for starting on such a long trip, it tended to dampen our ardour considerably, when passing over the Fraser R. Bridge at N.W. our car skidded badly turning almost around but finally righting itself without even touching anything. I may say right here the margin between our ??? and the frail looking railings of that old bridge was very narrow, and it took quite a while to shake off the fright we got. It looked to the three of us like a poor beginning to such a long journey.

After leaving N.W. the rain became our steady (as a maid ??? to have called her gentleman friend) ??? could we ??? in the driving clouds above our heads. All through the valley right ? Chilliwack, the rain and winds beat with thundering gusts about our car till we became enamoured with the idea of giving up and returning to the city. When we were about ready to turn about face, one of us would make the suggestion to go on a few more miles just to see how we got along. And so we would continue in this manner.

We passed through Chilliwack in drenching pourdowns, even the puddles became lakes. We made rather an unpressive?? pause before turning onto the Caribou Highway. Behind us, we knew the road was safe. Ahead we knew it was anything but safe and yet the urge was strongest to continue north. We finally decided to go as far as Hope and if we made it to there safely we might be better able to find out something more definite as to the conditions of the roads farther on. So on we went, with cloud bursts to the right of us and cloud bursts to the left of us, and the mountains closing in and down their sides (where in summer, only the slenderest white ??? (erased) marked the place of the falls tumbling and hurrying down from their snowy heights to the lower levels. The unhurried running streams of summer, by the side of ?? trail, were now like the ??? torrential streams, dashing with maddening haste to get somewhere else. Their noisy doings at times almost bursting our ?? drums.

Thus the miles flew by and we were glad when we spied a bright light peeping out from among some trees, when we drew up, we found that the comforting looking light redirected from a small garage, run by a ??? who knew very little about the Caribou Trail, but he was sure of one thing and that was that it had rained exactly like it was down there for four solid days. Encouraging words none. However, we had permitted ourselves to go as far as Hope - and we did. Part of this ?? was devoted ?? the road ?? to the game of taking out sharp turns from the original route. We took many a honorary nose dive and tail spin before we safely navigated these new ???? so slippery they were.

At last after many a weary mile, we drew up pulled in to the town of Hope, nestling at the foot of towering mountains ??? mighty Fraser for its waterfront. At a garage there, we learned, the rains had been very heavy, bringing down mudslides, and mudslides between there and Lytton but gangs of men were keeping roads cleared as quickly as with all possible dispatch, and also that the roads were being done over where the snows of winter had taken their toll. We were particularly urged not to go farther that night but to wait over till morning. Before we finished our conversation got through hearing?? the gas tank replenished and the vital requirements attended to, the rain as though tired of its pounding and battering, came to a stand still, and with high hopes we took courage, and ventured out again into the night.

Peace was with us until we passed ??? Lodge where the moon came out and spread trails of glory about the snowy mountain tops. We were so delighted over this that we all got out and encouraged it all we could by expressing in no uncertain manner our delight over the beautiful sight the rift in the clouds had given us. We encountered other drivers. Fog bands rolled up from the river, meeting us just around a curve and after which while they ??? ???? careful Friday.

As we drove along in ??? hours of the night through particularly empty and ?? directions my mind’s eye in visions of the unholy looking places we would have to pass before the end of the trail was reached. There was ???? the ugly old house of windows, where a great many murders could have been committed, but hadn’t been as far as you could find out. Then there was the spot on the road where a rope with a bell attached to one end of it was placed to give warning like sleepy ??? who was on his lookout for two men who were ?? for hunting after waylaying and killing a prospector. They say the scheme worked, the guard through weariness fell asleep, and was suddenly roused by the jangling of the bell close to his sleeping quarters. He jumped up, grabbed his loaded gun and though he called “Halt” several times the men paid no attention but ran faster than ever ???? the guard fired in the darkness, in the general direction of the escaping pair, and when daylight came at last, a trail of blood was found on the road which told that one of the men at least was wounded. Later the wounded man was drowned ???? as the Thompson River the other was caught in the ??? of the police.

Then there was the haunted house. I don’t know what haunted it but I heard it was one of those places where even the angels feared to tread. So I made up my mind to give it a wide berth. Next in turn came the pile of rock that marked the place where the prospector was ??? Tis said that for years, every prospector, coming out or going to turn ??? laid there on a stone and to this day the crude cairn remains. Then there was the Dead Waltz place where we were sure to get a thrill up the spine if we let our minds dwell long enough on the doings of other days. There was no other route to take to escape it, it stands right close to the Caribou Trail.


  1. Here's a little something about Rev. AD MacKinnon and another account of a trip he made in western Canada:

  2. My two children go to school in Lytton. We live closer to Lillooet but the school bus comes from Lytton. Interesting story. :)

  3. How delightful a find! I think I can fill in some gaps for you on the first page... will restrain myself from reading it all before bedtime...

    "On hearing the Cariboo RS"



    "whatever clothes they required"

    "gas a wire sent singing on its way to At" (not sure about At)

    "hungry by the wayside"

    "car and the frail"

    "maid used to have called"

    "no break could we discern"

    "right to"