Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/474

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

weekly. Some of these journals, which in typographical detail stand fully equal to many of the foremost journals of the United States, are devoted largely to a vilification of the Yukon government, and secondarily to the nonpartisan interests of the community. But little space is given over to murders and daring deeds of robbery, since occurrences of this kind, thanks to the continued vigilance and efficiency of the Northwest Mounted Police, are all but unknown, and the safety of possessions is as well established as that of the person. The shooting of an actress by her lover, followed by the suicide of the murderer, furnished the sensation for the year; but previous suicides, also in the ranks of the theatrical profession, had already paved a way to this form of excitement.

Two or more lines of telephone unite Dawson with the nearer mining region, and a partial city service has also been established. The city remains as yet without an electric-light plant, but it is by no means unlikely that before the present season has passed the darkness of the winter night will be lifted by the arc light, and much of the oppressiveness of the closed season thereby removed. After two winters of experience, the Dawsonites continue to think lightly of the "terrors" of the cold, and to but few apparently is the extreme of temperature a deterrent to exercise. Sleighing continues to be a pastime, with the temperature marking 40° to 50° below zero, but only with this season does it enter into the category of a fashionable recreation. Hitherto dog-sled teams performed the full service of winter travel, and divided with skating and "ski"-ing the winter exercise; but this year the snow causeways will be lively with the jingling of cutter bells and the rapid pacing of the horse.

One can not help remarking the vast improvement in the general tone of Dawson society, if by that term we may include all that constitutes the population of the city. More particularly is this marked in the case of women, among whom it is no longer a rarity to meet with strict refinement and culture. Musical soirées register among the events of the week, and literary recitals are not exceptional. The male portion of the population has also undergone a refining process through the departure of hundreds or even thousands of "bums," who only too late for their comfort discovered that their presence was neither a necessity to Dawson nor a mainspring to the extraction of gold from the soil. By their departure the city has probably suffered a decrease in its population of some three thousand to four thousand, but has more than received compensation in that stability of purpose which such elimination always insures. As a city of about thirteen thousand inhabitants, it enters upon its history in the year 1900 with principles