He was soon beyond his depth, and we were at once alarmed and diverted at seeing his rider, with surprising adroitness, draw her feet from the stirrups and perch herself upon the top of the saddle, where she held her position, and navigated her little refractory steed safely to land.
This was the last of our adventures. A pleasant ride of four miles brought us to the Fort, just as the sun was throwing his last beams over the glowing landscape; and on reaching the ferry we were at once conducted, by the friends who were awaiting us, to the hospitable roof of Major Twiggs.
FOUR-LEGS, THE DANDY.
The companies of the First Infantry, which had hitherto been stationed at Fort Winnebago, had before our arrival received orders to move on to the Mississippi as soon as relieved by a portion of the Fifth, now at Fort Howard.
As many of the officers of the latter regiment were married, we had reason to expect that all the quarters at the post would be put in requisition. For this reason, although strongly pressed by Major Twiggs to take up our residence again in the Fort until he should go on furlough, we thought it best to establish ourselves at once at “the Agency.”
It seemed laughable to give so grand a name to so very insignificant a concern. We had been promised, by the heads of department at Washington, a comfortable dwelling so soon as there should be an appropriation by Congress sufficient to cover any extra expense in the Indian Department. It was evident that Congress had a great spite at us, for it had delayed for two sessions attending to our accommodation. There was nothing to be done, therefore, but to make ourselves comfortable with the best means in our power.
The old log barracks, which had been built for the officers and soldiers on the first establishment of the post, two years previous, had been removed by our French engages and put up again upon the little hill opposite the Fort. To these some additions were now made in the shape of dairy, stables, smoke-house, etc., constructed of tamarack logs brought from the neighboring swamp. The whole presented a very rough and primitive appearance.
The main building consisted of a range of four rooms, no two of which communicated with each other, but each opened by a door into the outward air. A small window cut through the logs in front and rear, gave light to the apartment. An immense clay chimney for every two rooms, occupied one side of each, and the ceiling overhead was composed of a few rough boards laid upon the transverse logs that supported the roof.