her parsimony, she believed with vehemence and asserted

 people involved | time:2023-12-06 06:40:56


her parsimony, she believed with vehemence and asserted

A few days later, Captain Lewis took with him a small party and set out to find a suitable spot on which to build their winter camp. He did not return as soon as he was expected, and considerable uneasiness was felt in camp on that account. But he came in safely. He brought good news; they had discovered a river on the south side of the Columbia, not far from their present encampment, where there were an abundance of elk and a favorable place for a winter camp. Bad weather detained them until the seventh of December, when a favorable change enabled them to proceed. They made their way slowly and very cautiously down-stream, the tide being against them. The narrative proceeds:--

her parsimony, she believed with vehemence and asserted

"We at length turned a point, and found ourselves in a deep bay: here we landed for breakfast, and were joined by the party sent out three days ago to look for the six elk, killed by the Lewis party. They had lost their way for a day and a half, and when they at last reached the place, found the elk so much spoiled that they brought away nothing but the skins of four of them. After breakfast we coasted round the bay, which is about four miles across, and receives, besides several small creeks, two rivers, called by the Indians, the one Kilhowanakel, the other Netul. We named it Meriwether's Bay, from the Christian name of Captain Lewis, who was, no doubt, the first white man who had surveyed it. The wind was high from the northeast, and in the middle of the day it rained for two hours, and then cleared off. On reaching the south side of the bay we ascended the Netul three miles, to the first point of high land on its western bank, and formed our camp in a thick grove of lofty pines, about two hundred yards from the water, and thirty feet above the level of the high tides."

her parsimony, she believed with vehemence and asserted

Next in importance to the building of a winter camp was the fixing of a place where salt could be made. Salt is absolutely necessary for the comfort of man, and the supply brought out from the United States by the explorers was now nearly all gone. They were provided with kettles in which sea-water could be boiled down and salt be made. It would be needful to go to work at once, for the process of salt-making by boiling in ordinary kettles is slow and tedious; not only must enough for present uses be found, but a supply to last the party home again was necessary. Accordingly, on the eighth of December the journal has this entry to show what was to be done:--

"In order, therefore, to find a place for making salt, and to examine the country further, Captain Clark set out with five men, and pursuing a course S. 60'0 W., over a dividing ridge through thick pine timber, much of which bad fallen, passed the beads of two small brooks. In the neighborhood of these the land was swampy and overflowed, and they waded knee-deep till they came to an open ridgy prairie, covered with the plant known on our frontier by the name of sacacommis [bearberry]. Here is a creek about sixty yards wide and running toward Point Adams; they passed it on a small raft. At this place they discovered a large herd of elk, and after pursuing them for three miles over bad swamps and small ponds, killed one of them. The agility with which the elk crossed the swamps and bogs seems almost incredible; as we followed their track the ground for a whole acre would shake at our tread and sometimes we sunk to our hips without finding any bottom. Over the surface of these bogs is a species of moss, among which are great numbers of cranberries; and occasionally there rise from the swamp small steep knobs of earth, thickly covered with pine and laurel. On one of these we halted at night, but it was scarcely large enough to suffer us to lie clear of the water, and had very little dry wood. We succeeded, however, in collecting enough to make a fire; and having stretched the elk-skin to keep off the rain, which still continued, slept till morning."

Next day the party were met by three Indians who had been fishing for salmon, of which they had a goodly supply, and were now on their way home to their village on the seacoast. They, invited Captain Clark and his men to accompany them; and the white men accepted the invitation. These were Clatsops. Their village consisted of twelve families living in houses of split pine boards, the lower half of the house being underground. By a small ladder in the middle of the house-front, the visitors reached the floor, which was about four feet below the surface. Two fires were burning in the middle of the room upon the earthen floor. The beds were ranged around the room next to the wall, with spaces beneath them for bags, baskets, and household articles.

Captain Clark was received with much attention, clean mats were spread for him, and a repast of fish, roots, and berries was set before him. He noticed that the Clatsops were well dressed and clean, and that they frequently washed their faces and hands, a ceremony, he remarked, that is by no means frequent among other Indians. A high wind now prevailed, and as the evening was stormy, Captain Clark resolved to stay all night with his hospitable Clatsops. The narrative proceeds:--

"The men of the village now collected and began to gamble. The most common game was one in which one of the company was banker, and played against all the rest. He had a piece of bone, about the size of a large bean, and having agreed with any individual as to the value of the stake, would pass the bone from one hand to the other with great dexterity, singing at the same time to divert the attention of his adversary; then holding it in his hands, his antagonist was challenged to guess in which of them the bone was, and lost or won as he pointed to the right or wrong hand. To this game of hazard they abandoned themselves with great ardor; sometimes everything they possess is sacrificed to it; and this evening several of the Indians lost all the beads which they had with them. This lasted for three hours; when, Captain Clark appearing disposed to sleep, the man who had been most attentive, and whose name was Cuskalah, spread two new mats near the fire, ordered his wife to retire to her own bed, and the rest of the company dispersed at the same time. Captain Clark then lay down, but the violence with which the fleas attacked him did not leave his rest unbroken."

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