The left-handed chieftain in reply promised his friendship and aid to the new comers, and welcomed them to his village. He added that they had not the number of horses to spare that Mr. Hunt required, and expressed a doubt whether they should be able to part with any. Upon this, another chieftain, called Gray Eyes, made a speech, and declared that they could readily supply Mr. Hunt with all the horses he might want, since, if they had not enough in the village, they could easily steal more. This honest expedient immediately removed the main difficulty; but the chief deferred all trading for a day or two; until he should have time to consult with his subordinate chiefs as to market rates; for the principal chief of a village, in conjunction with his council, usually fixes the prices at which articles shall be bought and sold, and to them the village must conform.
The council now broke up. Mr. Hunt transferred his camp across the river at a little distance below the village, and the left-handed chief placed some of his warriors as a guard to prevent the intrusion of any of his people. The camp was pitched on the river bank just above the boats. The tents, and the men wrapped in their blankets and bivouacking on skins in the open air, surrounded the baggage at night. Four sentinels also kept watch within sight of each other outside of the camp until midnight, when they were relieved by four others who mounted guard until daylight. Mr. Lisa encamped near to Mr. Hunt, between him and the village.
The speech of Mr. Lisa in the council had produced a pacific effect in the encampment. Though the sincerity of his friendship and good-will towards the new company still remained matter of doubt, he was no longer suspected of an intention to play false. The intercourse between the two leaders was therefore resumed, and the affairs of both parties went on harmoniously.
An Indian Horse Fair.—Love of the Indians for Horses— Scenes in the Arickara Village.—Indian Hospitality.—Duties of Indian Women. Game Habits of the Men.—Their Indolence. —Love of Gossiping.—Rumors of Lurking Enemies.—Scouts.— An Alarm.—A Sallying Forth.—Indian Dogs.—Return of a Horse —Stealing Party.—An Indian Deputation.—Fresh Alarms.—Return of a Successful War Party.—Dress of the Arickaras.—Indian Toilet.—Triumphal Entry of the War Party.—Meetings of Relations and Friends.—Indian Sensibility.—Meeting of a Wounded Warrior and His Mother.—Festivities and Lamentations.
A trade now commenced with the Arickaras under the regulation and supervision of their two chieftains. Lisa sent a part of his goods to the lodge of the left-handed dignitary, and Mr. Hunt established his mart in the lodge of the Big Man. The village soon presented the appearance of a busy fair; and as horses were in demand, the purlieus and the adjacent plain were like the vicinity of a Tartar encampment;