Page images




tain Lewis and the hunter fired

and each wounded a bear: one of (Prom Lewis and Clarke's Travels.) them made his escape; the other

turned upon Captain Lewis and the strength and ferocity pursued him seventy or eighty

of this animal, the Indians yards, but being badly wounded had given us dreadful accounts : he could not run so fast as to prethey never attack him but in par- vent him from reloading his piece, ties of six or eight persons, and which he again aimed at him, and even then are often defeated with a third shot from the hunter the loss of one or more of their brought him to the ground: he number. Having no weapons was a male not quite full grown, but bows and arrows, and the and weighed about three hundred bad guns with which the traders pounds : the legs are somewhat supply them, they are obliged ap- longer than those of the black proach very near to the bear; bear, and the talons and tusks and as no wound except through much larger and longer. The the head or heart is mortal, they testicles are also placed much farrequently fall a sacrifice if they ther forward, and suspended in miss their aim. He rather at- separate pouches from two to four tacks than avoids a man, and such inches asunder, while those of is the terror which he has inspir- the black bear are situated back ed, that the Indians who go in between the thighs, and in a quest of him paint themselves and single pouch like those of the perform all the superstitious rites dog : its colour is

its colour is a yellowish customary when they make war brown, the eyes small, black, and on a neighbouring nation. Hi- piercing ; the front of the fore therto those we had seen did not legs near the feet is usually black, appear desirous of encountering and the fur is finer, thicker, and us, but although to a skilful rifle- deeper than that of the black bear: man the danger is very much di- add to which, it is a more furious minished, yet the white bear is animal, and very remarkable for still a terrible animal. On ap- the wounds which it will bear proaching these two, both Cap- without dying.


that eight balls had passed through him in different directions.

(From the same.)

Towards evening the men in BUFFALOS HUNTING. the hindmost canoes discovered a large brown bear lying in the

(From the same.) open grounds, about three hundred paces

from the river: six of On the north we passed a prethem, all good hunters, imme- cipice about one hundred and diately went to attack him, and twenty feet high, under which concealing themselves by a small lay scattered the fragments of at eminence came unperceived with- least one hundred carcasses of in forty paces of him : four of buffaloes, although the water the hunters now fired, and each which had washed away the lower lodged a ball in his body, two of part of the hill must have carried them directly through the lungs : off many of the dead. These bufthe furious animal sprang up and faloes had been chased down the ran openmouthed upon them; as precipice in a way very common he came near, the two hunters on the Missouri, and by which who had reserved their fire gave vast herds are destroyed in a mohim two wounds, one of which ment. The mode of hunting is breaking his shoulder, retarded to select one of the most active his motion for a moment; but and fleet young men, who is disbefore they could reload he was guised by a buffaloe skin round so near that they were obliged his body : the skin of the head to run to the river, and before with the ears and horns fastened they reached it he had almost on his own head in such a way as overtaken them: two jumped into to deceive the buffaloe: thus the canoe; the other four sepa- dressed, he fixes himself at a conrated, and concealing themselves venient distance between a herd in the willows, fired as fast as of buffaloes and any of the river each could reload : they struck precipices, which sometimes exhim several times, but instead of tend for several miles. His comweakening the monster each shot panions in the meantime get in seemed only to direct him towards the rear and side of the herd, and the hunter, till at last he pursued at a given signal show themselves, two of them so closely, that they and advance towards the buffaloes : threw aside their gunsand pouches, they instantly take the alarm, and and jumped down a perpendicular finding the hunters beside them, bank of twenty feet into the river; they run towards the disguised the bear sprang after them, and Indian or decoy, who leads them was within a few feet of the hind- on at full speed towards the river, most, when one of the hunters when suddenly securing himself on shore shot him in the head in some crevice of the cliff which and finally killed him : they drag- he had previously fixed on, the ged him to the shore, and found herd is left on the brink of the

precipice :



precipice: it is then in vain for difficult of navigation nor is there the foremost to retreat or even to much variation in its appearance stop; they are pressed on by the till the mouth of the Platte. That hindmost rank, who seeing no powerful river throws out vast danger but from the hunters, quantities of coarse sand which goad on those before them till the contribute to give a new face to whole are precipitated and the the Missouri, which is now much shore is strewed with their dead

more impeded by islands. The bodies. Sometimes in this peri- sand, as it is drifted down, adlous seduction the Indian is him- heres in time to some of the proself either trodden under foot by jecting points from the shore, the rapid movements of the buffa- and forms a barrier to the mud, loe, or missing his footing in the which at length fills to the same cliff is urged down the precipice height with the sandbar itself: by the falling herd.

as soon as it has acquired a consistency, the willow grows there the first year, and by its roots assists the solidity of the whole :

as the mud and sand accumulate (From the same.)

the cottonwood tree next appears ;

till the gradual excretion of soils We have now reached the ex- raises the surface of the point treme navigable point of the Mis- above the highest freshets. Thus souri, which observation stopped in its course the water places in latitude 43° 30'43" seeks a passage elsewhere, and north. It is difficult to comprise as the soil on each side is light in any general description the and yielding, what was only a characteristics of a river so ex- peninsula, becomes gradually an tensive, and fed by so many island, and the river indemnifies streams which have their sources itself for the usurpation by enin a great variety of soils and croaching on the adjacent shore. climates. But the Missouri is In this way the Missouri like the still sufficiently powerful to give Mississippi is constantly cutting to all its waters something of a off the projections of the shore, common character, which is of and leaving its ancient channel, course decided by the nature of which is then marked by the mud the country through which it it has deposited and a few stagpasses. The bed of the river is nant ponds. chiefly composed of a blue mud, from which the water itself derives a deep tinge. From its Description of the objects of Najunction here to the place near tural History observed in Lewis which it leaves the mountains, its

and Clarke's Erpedition. course is embarrassed by rapids and rocks which the hills on each side have thrown into its channel. From that place, its current, with The vegetable productions of the exception of the Falls, is not the country, which furnish a



large proportion of the food of the either eaten simply or with train Indians, are the roots of a species oil : sometimes pounded fine and of thistle, the fern, the rush, the mixed with cold water, until it is liquorice, and a small cylindric reduced to the consistence of sal'oot, resembling in flavour and gamity, or Indian mush, which consistency the sweet potatoe. last method is the most agreeable

Ist. The thistle, called by the to our palates. natives shanatanque, is a plant 2. Three species of fern grow which grows in a deep, rich, dry in this neighbourhood, but the loam, with a considerable mixture root of only one is eaten. It is of sand. The stem is simple, very abundant in those parts of ascending, cylindric, and hispid, the open lands and prairies which and rising to the height of three have a deep, loose, rich, black or four feet. The cauline life, . loam, without any sand. There, which, as well as the stem of the it attains the height of four or last season, is dead, is simple, five feet, and is a beautiful plant crenate, and oblong; rather more with a fine green colour in sumobtuse at its apex than at its in- mer. The stem, which is smooth, sertion, which is decurrent, and cylindric, and slightly grooved on its position declining; whilst the one side, rises erectly about half margin is armed with prickles, its height, when it divides into and its disk is hairy. The flower two branches, or rather long too is dry and mutilated; but the footstalks, which put forth in pericarp seems much like that of pairs from one side only, and near the common thistle. The root- the edges of the groove, declining leaves, which still possess their backwards from the grooved side. verdure, and are about half These footstalks are themselves grown, are of

a pale green grooved and cylindric, and as they colour. The root, however, is the gradually taper towards the extreonly part used. It is from nine mities, put forth others of a smaller to fifteen inches long, about the size, which are alternate, and have size of a man's thumb, perpen- forty or fifty alternate, pinnate, dicular, fusiform, and with from horizontal, and sessile leaves: the two to four radicles. The rind is leaves are multipartite for half of a brown colour, and somewhat the length of their footstalk, when rough. When first taken from they assume the tongue-like form the earth, it is white, and nearly altogether; being, moreover, reas crisp as a carrot, and in this volute, with the upper disk smooth, state is sometimes eaten without and the lower resembling cotton : any preparation. But after it is the top is annual, and therefore prepared by the same process used dead at present, but it produces for the pascheco quamash, which no flour or fruit: the root itself is the most usual and the best is perennial and grows horizonmethod, it becomes black, and tally: sometimes a little divergmuch improved in Aavour. Itsing, or obliquely descending, and taste is exactly that of sugar, and frequently dividing itself as it it is indeed the sweetest vegetable proceeds, and shooting up a numemployed by the Indians. After ber of stems. It lies about four being baked in the kiln, it is inches under the surface of the earth, in a cylindrical form, with is a perennial solid bulb, about few or no radicles, and varies an inch long, and of the thickfrom the size of a goose quill to ness of a man's thumb, of an that of a man's finrer. The bark ovate form, depressed on one or is black, thin, brittle, and rather two of its sides, and covered with rough, and easily separates in a thin, smooth, black rind : the Hakes from the part which is pulp is white, brittle, and easily eaten : the centre is divided into masticated. It is commonly roasttwo parts by a strong, flat, and ed, though sometimes eaten raw ; white ligament, like a piece of but in both states is rather an inthin tape; on each side of which sipid root. is a white substance, resembling, 4. The liquorice of this counafter the root is roasted, both in try does not differ from that comappearance and flavour, the dough mon to the United States. It of wheat. It has, however, a here delights in a deep, loose, pungency which is disagreeable, sandy soil, and grows very large, but the natives eat it voraciously, and abundantly. It is prepared and it seems to be very nutritious. by roasting in the embers, and


3. The rush is most commonly pounding it slightly with a small used by the Killamucks, and other stick, in order to separate the Indians on the seacoast, along strong ligament in the centre of the sands of which it grows in the the root, which is then thrown greatest abundance. From each away, and the rest chewed and root a single stem rises erectly to swallowed. In this way it has the height of three or four feet, an agreeable flavour, not unlike somewhat thicker than a large that of the sweet potatoe. The quill, hollow and jointed ; about root of the cattail, or cooper's twenty or thirty long, lineal, stel- flag, is eaten by the Indians. late, or radiate and horizontal There is also, a species of small, leaves surround the stem at each dry, tuberous root, two inches joint, about half an inch above in length, and about the thickness which, its stein is sheathed like of the singer. They are eaten the sand rush.


raw, are crisp, milky, and of an resembles that plant also in ap- agreeable flavour. pearance, as well as in having a 5. Beside the small cylindric rough stem. It is not branching; root mentioned above, is another nor does it bear, as far as we can of the same form and appearance, discover, either flower or seed. which is usually boiled and eaten At the bottom of this stem, which with train oil. Its taste, howis annual, is a small, strong ra- ever, is disagreeably bitter. But dicle, about an inch long, de- the most valuable of all the In. scending perpendicularly to the dian roots, is root, while just above the junction 6. The wappatoo, or bulb of of the radicle with the stem, the the common sagittafolia, or comlatter is surrounded in the form mon arrowhead. It does not of a wheel with six or nine small

grow in this neighbourhood, but radicles, descending obliquely: is in great abundance in the the root attached to this radicle marshy grounds of that beautiful


When green,

« PreviousContinue »