Trilliam photo: US Dept of Agriculture


Widower John doesn't tell his new bride, Felice, that she is a successor to a Country Wife.  He is proud that he runs his fur trading fort with such efficiency that here is no deadwood in its palisades.  Felice and her traveling companion, Rebecca, arrive after a long trip around the Horn and cross the bar of the Columbia River.  Felice's expectations were that John lived in the 'New York of the Pacific' but the women have no option of turning back when they actually see their new home.

Matooskie and her confidant Tatooche are also called 'Jane' and 'Duke'  as plenty of people in these parts have both birth and also 'Boston' names.  They are cousins who are both grandchildren of the local chief.   Jane is schooled in etiquette and Latin and elocution and is competent in botany and doesn't lack for European fashions that are slightly out of date.   But the Matooskie side of her is more comfortable in a longhouse than a parlour, and she demonstrates superior wilderness skills.

Robert's perfected approach to women has been refined by his years in the ballrooms of London, yet he has trouble approaching the difficult Matooskie.   Robert is obsessed about the limited romantic options in the remote woods and he makes it clear what he wants from Jane.  His suggestive remarks fail, but he woos her with a gift of a trillium flower. The girl is inexperienced.   She wonders if English women signal their romantic intentions with fans.
Pacific Northwest Totem Pole
Many stories are not complete without a stepmother. Stepmother Felice is a powerhouse for the Enforcement of Virtue.She stands in the way of SKookum who has trouble keeping nature from killing him. It is the buxom Rebecca who inspires the heroine to perform extreme native rituals.