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After talking that matter over, we went to our minister Mr.
Bell and found him more than sympathetic, perhaps he too had been troubled over our inaction. A meeting was called and an invi tation given to all who could, to attend. Ten women' responded. We decided to petition the Brandon Presbytery (to which Portage belonged) to establish a mission among our Indians, pledging our support. No reply came and in March we sent another petition to the same effect. A reply came saying that in view of the large Home Mission fields for which they were responsible, they could not see their way clear to do so, and suggested that we open the mission ourselves and they would back us up with their sympathy and blessing, or words to that effect. We were rather staggered, but having "put our hands to the plough," determined to go on. We decided that we would open a day school and invite Indians old and young, whoever would come, provide a lunch daily and clothes to wear, as we knew the children had few if any. Miss Sebastian of Gladstone was engaged as teacher at the magnificient salary of $25.00 per month, out of which she had to pay her own board. A small building was secured in the east ward of the town. It has long since been demolished and cannot now be located. We scrubbed it thoroughly and put panes of glass in the windows and a lock on the door with our own hands, as we had to keep down expenditures, for so far, none had joined the venturesome ten. We decided to call our organization the "Indian Missionary Society" and pledged ourselves to provide the daily lunch week about and carry it to school. We canvassed the town for clothing and though many laughed at us and said we were undertaking a hopeless proposition, they nevertheless gave us all the clothes they could spare and we needed it in the months that followed, and we also needed both faith and patience. The lunch which was mainly soup and bread or stew and potatoes proved a drawing card and our school numbered all the way from ten to forty, ages much the same, though some came under ten and some over forty. Many who did not believe it would ever amount to anything, when they saw how persistent we were, helped us with food as well as clothing. The latter was the greatest problem, a child would be all rigged out, then disappear for two or three weeks and reappear in tatters, having used the interval tearing through the bush and wearing out our good clothes. But he always came back, and we gave him another trial, not until "Seventy times seven," but while our supplies lasted. This went on until the middle of September.
We raised the money for the teacher's salary by giving what we could ourselves, collecting some from our men friends and we staged