If things go on like this
If things go on like this

we fabricated the excuse, and invented the necessity of

time:2023-12-07 02:42:12Classification:musicedit:news

"We rose early, embarked all our baggage on board the canoes, which, though eight in number, are heavily loaded, and at ten o'clock set out on our journey. . . . At the distance of seven and a half miles we came to the lower point of a woodland, at the entrance of a beautiful river, which, in honor of the Secretary of the Navy, we called Smith's River. This stream falls into a bend on the south side of the Missouri, and is eighty yards wide. As far as we could discern its course, it wound through a charming valley towards the southeast, in which many herds of buffalo were feeding, till, at the distance of twenty-five miles, it entered the Rocky Mountains and was lost from our view. . . .

we fabricated the excuse, and invented the necessity of

"We find the prickly pear, one of the greatest beauties as well as greatest inconveniences of the plains, now in full bloom. The sunflower, too, a plant common on every part of the Missouri from its entrance to this place, is here very abundant, and in bloom. The lamb's-quarter, wild cucumber, sand-rush, and narrow dock, are also common."

we fabricated the excuse, and invented the necessity of

The journal here records the fact that the great river had now become so crooked that it was expedient to note only its general course, leaving out all description of its turns and windings. The Missouri was now flowing due north, leaving its bends out of account, and the explorers, ascending the river, were therefore travelling south; and although the journal sets forth "the north bank" and "the south bank," it should be understood that west is meant by the one, and east by the other. Buffalo were observed in great numbers. Many obstacles to navigating the river were encountered. Under date of July 17, the journal says:

we fabricated the excuse, and invented the necessity of

"The navigation is now very laborious. The river is deep, but with little current, and from seventy to one hundred yards wide; the low grounds are very narrow, with but little timber, and that chiefly the aspen tree. The cliffs are steep, and hang over the river so much that often we could not cross them, but were obliged to pass and repass from one side of the river to the other, in order to make our way. In some places the banks are formed of dark or black granite rising perpendicularly to a great height, through which the river seems, in the progress of time, to have worn its channel. On these mountains we see more pine than usual, but it is still in small quantities. Along the bottoms, which have a covering of high grass, we observed the sunflower blooming in great abundance. The Indians of the Missouri, more especially those who do not cultivate maize, make great use of the seed of this plant for bread, or in thickening their soup. They first parch and then pound it between two stones, until it is reduced to a fine meal. Sometimes they add a portion of water, and drink it thus diluted; at other times they add a sufficient proportion of marrow-grease to reduce it to the consistency of common dough, and eat it in that manner. This last composition we preferred to all the rest, and thought it at that time a very palatable dish."

They also feasted on a great variety of wild berries, purple, yellow, and black currants, which were delicious and more pleasant to the palate than those grown in their Virginia home-gardens; also service-berries, popularly known to later emigrants as "sarvice-berries." These grow on small bushes, two or three feet high; and the fruit is purple-skinned, with a white pulp, resembling a ripe gooseberry.

The journal, next day, has the following entry:--

"This morning early, before our departure, we saw a large herd of the big-horned animals, which were bounding among the rocks on the opposite cliff with great agility. These inaccessible spots secure them from all their enemies, and their only danger is in wandering among these precipices, where we would suppose it scarcely possible for any animal to stand; a single false step would precipitate them at least five hundred feet into the water.

"At one and one fourth miles we passed another single cliff on the left; at the same distance beyond which is the mouth of a large river emptying from the north. It is a handsome, bold, and clear stream, eighty yards wide--that is, nearly as broad as the Missouri--with a rapid current, over a bed of small smooth stones of various figures. The water is extremely transparent; the low grounds are narrow, but possess as much wood as those of the Missouri. The river has every appearance of being navigable, though to what distance we cannot ascertain, as the country which it waters is broken and mountainous. In honor of the Secretary of War we called it Dearborn's River."

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