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.
hesitation, the alternate dread of famine and of white men operating upon his mind.  He made the most abject signs, imploring Mr. Hunt not to carry off his food.  The latter tried in every way to reassure him, and offered him knives in exchange for his provisions; great as was the temptation, the poor Snake could only prevail upon himself to spare a part; keeping a feverish watch over the rest, lest it should be taken away.  It was in vain Mr. Hunt made inquiries of him concerning his route, and the course of the river.  The Indian was too much frightened and bewildered to comprehend him or to reply; he did nothing but alternately commend himself to the protection of the Good Spirit, and supplicate Mr. Hunt not to take away his fish and buffalo meat; and in this state they left him, trembling about his treasures.

In the course of that and the next day they made nearly eight miles; the river inclined to the south of west, and being clear and beautiful, nearly half a mile in width, with many populous communities of the beaver along its banks.  The 28th of October, however, was a day of disaster.  The river again became rough and impetuous, and was chafed and broken by numerous rapids.  These grew more and more dangerous, and the utmost skill was required to steer among them.  Mr. Crooks was seated in the second canoe of the squadron, and had an old experienced Canadian for steersman, named Antoine Clappine, one of the most valuable of the voyageurs.  The leading canoe had glided safely among the turbulent and roaring surges, but in following it, Mr. Crooks perceived that his canoe was bearing towards a rock.  He called out to the steersman, but his warning voice was either unheard or unheeded.  In the next moment they struck upon the rock.  The canoe was split and overturned.  There were five persons on board.  Mr. Crooks and one of his companions were thrown amidst roaring breakers and a whirling current, but succeeded, by strong swimming, to reach the shore.  Clappine and two others clung to the shattered bark, and drifted with it to a rock.  The wreck struck the rock with one end, and swinging round, flung poor Clappine off into the raging stream, which swept him away, and he perished.  His comrades succeeded in getting upon the rock, from whence they were afterwards taken off.

This disastrous event brought the whole squadron to a halt, and struck a chill into every bosom.  Indeed they had arrived at a terrific strait, that forbade all further progress in the canoes, and dismayed the most experienced voyageur.  The whole body of the river was compressed into a space of less than thirty feet in width, between two ledges of rocks, upwards of two hundred feet high, and formed a whirling and tumultuous vortex, so frightfully agitated as to receive the name of “The Caldron Linn.”  Beyond this fearful abyss, the river kept raging and roaring on, until lost to sight among impending precipices.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

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