Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 479 pages of information about Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains.
his faith.  While he was yet talking Lisa entered the tent, under the pretext of coming to borrow a towing line.  High words instantly ensued between him and Dorion, which ended by the half-breed’s dealing him a blow.  A quarrel in the “Indian country”, however, is not to be settled with fisticuffs.  Lisa immediately rushed to his boat for a weapon.  Dorion snatched up a pair of pistols belonging to Mr. Hunt, and placed himself in battle array.  The noise had roused the camp, and every one pressed to know the cause.  Lisa now reappeared upon the field with a knife stuck in his girdle.  Mr. Breckenridge, who had tried in vain to mollify his ire, accompanied him to the scene of action.  Pierre Dorion’s pistols gave him the advantage, and he maintained a most warlike attitude.  In the meantime, Crooks and M’Lellan had learnt the cause of the affray, and were each eager to take the quarrel into their own hands.  A scene of uproar and hubbub ensued that defies description.  M’Lellan would have brought his rifle into play and settled all old and new grudges by a pull of the trigger, had he not been restrained by Mr. Hunt.  That gentleman acted as moderator, endeavoring to prevent a general melee; in the midst of the brawl, however, an expression was made use of by Lisa derogatory to his own honor.  In an instant the tranquil spirit of Mr. Hunt was in a flame.  He now became as eager for the fight as any one on the ground, and challenged Lisa to settle the dispute on the spot with pistols.  Lisa repaired to his boat to arm himself for the deadly feud.  He was followed by Messrs. Bradbury and Breckenridge, who, novices in Indian life and the “chivalry” of the frontier, had no relish for scenes of blood and brawl.  By their earnest mediation the quarrel was brought to a close without bloodshed; but the two leaders of the rival camps separated in anger, and all personal intercourse ceased between them.

CHAPTER XX.

Features of the Wilderness—­Herds of Buffalo.—­Antelopes—­ Their Varieties and Habits.—­John Day.—­His Hunting Strategy—­Interview with Three Arickaras—­Negotiations Between the Rival Parties—­The Left-Handed and the Big Man, two Arickara Chiefs.—­Arickara Village—­Its Inhabitants—­ Ceremonials on Landing—­A Council Lodge.—­Grand Conference—­ Speech of Lisa.—­Negotiation for Horses.—­Shrewd Suggestion of Gray Eyes, an Arickara Chief—­Encampment of the Trading Parties.

The rival parties now coasted along the opposite sides of the river, within sight of each other; the barges of Mr. Hunt always keeping some distance in the advance, lest Lisa should push on and get first to the Arickara village.  The scenery and objects, as they proceeded, gave evidence that they were advancing deeper and deeper into the domains of savage nature.  Boundless wastes kept extending to the eye, more and more animated by herds of buffalo.  Sometimes these unwieldy animals were seen moving in long procession across the silent landscape; at other times they were scattered about, singly or in groups, on the broad, enameled prairies and green acclivities, some cropping the rich pasturage, others reclining amidst the flowery herbage; the whole scene realizing in a manner the old Scriptural descriptions of the vast pastoral countries of the Orient, with “cattle upon a thousand hills.”

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Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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