BREAKFAST AT BETTY MORE’S.
The earth, the trees, and the shrubbery were all too much filled with the heavy rain which had fallen to allow us to think of encamping, so we made arrangements to bestow ourselves in our little saloon for the night. It was rather a difficult matter to light a fire, but among the underbrush, in a wild, undisturbed spot, there will always be found some fragments of dried branches, and tufts of grass which the rain has not reached, and by the assistance of the spunk, or light-wood, with which travellers always go well provided, a comforting fire was at length blazing brightly.
After our chilling, tedious day, it was pleasant to gather round it, to sit on the end of the blazing logs, and watch the Frenchmen preparing our supper—the kettle nestling in a little nook of bright glowing coals—the slices of ham browning and crisping on the forked sticks, or “broches,” which the voyageurs dexterously cut, and set around the burning brands—– the savory messes of “pork and onions” hissing in the frying-pan, always a tempting regale to the hungry Frenchmen. Truly, it needs a wet, chilly journey, taken nearly fasting, as ours had been, to enable one to enjoy to its full extent that social meal—a supper.
The bright sun, setting amid brilliant masses of clouds, such as are seen only in our Western skies, gave promise of a fine day on the morrow, with which comforting assurance we were glad to take our leave of him, and soon after of each other.
We had hardly roused up the following morning, in obedience to the call of the bourgeois, when our eyes were greeted with the sight of an addition to our company—a tall, stalwart, fine-looking young mitiff, or half-breed, accompanied by two or three Indians. Vociferous and joyous were the salutations of the latter to their “father” and their new “mother.” They were the first Winnebagoes I had seen, and they were decidedly not the finest specimens of their tribe. The mitiff, a scion of the wide-spreading tree of the Grignons, was the bearer of an invitation to us from Judge Law, who, with one or two Green Bay friends, was encamped a few miles above, to come and breakfast with him in his tent. We had not dreamed of finding white neighbors here, but our vicinity could be no secret to them, as long as there was an Indian in the neighborhood. So, delaying only for the soldiers to finish their breakfast, we pushed on for the “Butte des Morts,” or, as Mrs. A always persisted in calling it, Betty More’s.