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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.

In a little while, it was found that Mr. Crooks and Le Clerc were so feeble as to walk with difficulty, so that Mr. Hunt was obliged to retard his pace, that they might keep up with him.  His men grew impatient at the delay.  They murmured that they had a long and desolate region to traverse, before they could arrive at the point where they might expect to find horses; that it was impossible for Crooks and Le Clerc, in their feeble condition, to get over it; that to remain with them would only be to starve in their company.  They importuned Mr. Hunt, therefore, to leave these unfortunate men to their fate, and think only of the safety of himself and his party.  Finding him not to be moved either by entreaties or their clamors, they began to proceed without him, singly and in parties.  Among those who thus went off was Pierre Dorion, the interpreter.  Pierre owned the only remaining horse; which was now a mere skeleton.  Mr. Hunt had suggested, in their present extremity, that it should be killed for food; to which the half-breed flatly refused his assent, and cudgeling the miserable animal forward, pushed on sullenly, with the air of a man doggedly determined to quarrel for his right.  In this way Mr. Hunt saw his men, one after another, break away, until but five remained to bear him company.

On the following morning another raft was made, on which Mr. Crooks and Le Clerc again attempted to ferry themselves across the river, but after repeated trials had to give up in despair.  This caused additional delay; after which they continued to crawl forward at a snail’s pace.  Some of the men who had remained with Mr. Hunt now became impatient of these incumbrances, and urged him clamorously to push forward, crying out that they should all starve.  The night which succeeded was intensely cold, so that one of the men was severely frost-bitten.  In the course of the night, Mr. Crooks was taken ill, and in the morning was still more incompetent to travel.  Their situation was now desperate, for their stock of provisions was reduced to three beaver skins.  Mr. Hunt, therefore, resolved to push on, overtake his people, and insist upon having the horse of Pierre Dorion sacrificed for the relief of all hands.  Accordingly, he left two of his men to help Crooks and Le Clerc on their way, giving them two of the beaver skins for their support; the remaining skin he retained, as provision for himself and the three other men who struck forward with him.

CHAPTER XXXVI.

Mr. Hunt Overtakes the Advance Party.—­Pierre Dorion, and His Skeleton Horse.—­A Shoshonie Camp.—­A Justifiable Outrage.—­Feasting on Horse Flesh.—­Mr. Crooks Brought to the Camp.—­Undertakes to Relieve His Men.—­The Skin Ferry- Boat.—­Frenzy of Prevost.—­His Melancholy Fate.-Enfeebled State of John Day.-Mr. Crooks Again Left Behind.-The Party Emerge From Among the Mountains.—­Interview With Shoshonies.—­ A Guide Procured to Conduct the Party Across a
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