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  A Visit with Cap'n Hance
  BQR ~ fall 1998

n the summer of 1898, travel writer and lecturer Burton Holmes visited Grand Canyon. Not one to do things half way, he descended to the river three times—with W.W. Bass, with the Fred Harvey Company, and with Captain John T. Hance. His illustrations appear throughout this issue.

  His record of Hance's story-telling antics, in all its arm-waving glory, is presented here for the edification of the modern boatman. Study well, grasshopper, for Hance was the master.

   As a rough rider Captain Hance has made a record, but he admits that his attempt to leap a horse across the caņon was a failure. "He giv a fine big jump—but when we was 'bout ha'f-way over, I seed we couldn't make it, so I turned him back."

   We made a motion picture of the Captain telling of his famous experience with a big silver salmon in the river.

   The Captain loves to fish; he also loves to doze, and so one day he tied his line to his left leg and settled down upon the river brink to snooze; a big fish took the bait, jerked slumbering Hance into the flood, and towed him rapidly down stream. "I didn't mind the rapids or the rocks," the Captain tells us; "but I was afeard that when that darn old fish came to a deep whirlpool, he'd sink down to rest in quiet waters at the bottom, and I knew the line wa'n't long enough to let me stay on top. And that's just what he done, pulling me down after him. Of course I didn't want to lose my line, so, seeing there was no other way, I clim down that line handover-hand till I reached Mr. Salmon. I whips out my knife, cuts off the line right by his mouth, and giving him a big kick square in the face, I swum ashore, and I never see.

big horn sheep