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WATCHING THE CROWS.
"CAW, caw!”– You don't say so ! “ Caw, caw !”-What, once more?
Seems to me I've heard that observation before,
That's right! Now be brave, and I 'll show you some fun!
Now I 've thought how I 'll serve 'em to-morrow: I 'll play
Then he built him an ambush right out in the field,
And, seeing him enter, they reasoned, no doubt,
Then, one morning, says he to young Jack, “ Now I bet
Now that's just the way I 'll astonish the rascals !
J. T. Trowbridge. ABOUT THE MOUNTAINS.
this month take a trip. “ The Mountains” does not mean the White Mountains, nor the Green Mountains, nor the Catskills, nor the Alleghanies, nor the giants who raise their hoary heads above the clouds in the west of North Carolina. It means the Rocky Mountains, the backbone of the vast continent on which we live. This is just as "the Coast,” among sailors at Liverpool, means the west coast of Africa, where the trade for palm oil, golddust, and ivory is carried on, and where that in slaves used to flourish.
I have recently had an opportunity to hear something about the Rocky Mountains, about the Indian tribes who roam among the hills and valleys of their southern slopes, and about the hunters and fur-traders who used to stay for years in those rugged and far-off regions, at the trading-posts and forts, and I think it will be of interest to the Young Folks to have it in their magazine.
When writing of the Indians of the Northwest as bow-men, I had occasion to mention the exploits of Charles Primeaux, the oldest and most influential mountain man now living, and of his nephew, Antoine Le Faivre, among the grizzly bears. I have lately had a visit from Antoine. Having recently · married, he came with his young bride from the west bank of the Mississippi to stay for a short time with us who dwell on “Old Long Island's seagirt shore.” We talked much concerning Indians, bears, buffaloes, elks, antelopes, wolves, and the modes and implements of the chase in the regions where he spent four years.
He was not quite fourteen years old when his uncle Charles took him from St. Louis to the mountains, and he was eighteen when he returned. His health was poor when he went there, but the mountain air, the hardships and pleasures of the hunter's and trapper's life, and the diet, - consisting almost wholly of wild meat, — made him very strong, hardy, and robust. The state of that part of the country, twelve years ago, was very
different from what it is now. A few explorers had reached the head-waters of the Missouri River, and penetrated the passes of the highest ridge of the mountains. Lewis and Clarke, who discovered Oregon, were the first of them. The American Fur Company had its posts from Fort Pierre on the Missouri River, in what is now called Dakota Territory, up to Fort Benton, which is at the very head of navigation, about fifteen hundred miles above, Hell Gate Pass in the Rocky Mountains, also near Lewis and Clarke's Pass, and within about sixty or seventy miles of the British line.
Charles Primeaux was one of the leading men in the Company, and the manager of the traffic with the Indians from Fort Pierre to the upper posts. He had been in the Indian country for more than thirty years, and was a great man with all the wild tribes who roved about the banks of the great river from Council Bluffs to its head-waters in the mountains. Antoine was
sometimes at Fort Pierre and sometimes at Fort Benton, the upper post. Fort Benton is far away to the northwest of Pike's Peak, and far to the north of Fremont's Peak. The Territory in which it is situated is now called Montana; it is very mountainous, very rocky and sterile, but it is said that gold abounds in it. The mountains extend far to the eastward of Fort Benton, – the Bear's Paw Mountains, the Little Rocky Mountains, the Judith Mountains, &c. all lying on this side of it. The Rocky Mountains there do not consist of one great ridge running north and south, as we are often led to imagine, but extend to the eastward from the top of the watershed for hundreds of miles. Right up among them, upon the head-waters of the Missouri and a little below the Great Falls, is Fort Benton. Washington Territory lies to the westward, but part of Montana is on the west side of the mountains. It was formerly the northeast part of Oregon; and the Pacific Ocean, about Puget's Sound, is not very
away. Few white men, except those under the control of the Fur Company, then went farther up than Fort Pierre. Once a year the Company sent a steamboat up to Fort Benton with stores and articles of traffic, provided there was water enough above the mouth of the Yellowstone; and Primeaux sent her back, laden with furs and buffalo robes, obtained by traffic with the Indians, or taken from animals trapped .or killed by the Company's men. When there was not water sufficient for the steamboat, the goods were taken up, and the furs and robes brought down, in Mackinaw boats. No passenger steamboats ever went up to Fort Benton then, and the agents and officers of the government had recourse to the Company whenever they wanted to go above the mouth of the Yellowstone. From this it will appear that in these regions the Indians must have retained all the primitive manners and customs of their ancestors. They were unlike those border tribes who have frequent talks with the government agents and officers. They sent no embassies' to Washington ; they received no annuities ; they had sold no land, - they had none that the white man coveted, or could make use of, until it was found that the rugged rocks of the awful mountains, among whose spurs and streams they dwelt, bore gold. None of them had been to Washington themselves; very few of them had ever even seen an Indian who had been to Washington. Here was the Indian to realize the poet's dream of that heroic and happy age which existed
“Ere the base reign of servitude began,
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.” I have learned from Antoine, that, with all his hardihood and ingenuity, the noble savage had commonly a desperately hard time of it every winter. The cold was intense. The snow was deep, and lay on the ground for six months at a time. The buffalo had gone to other haunts. Then it was that the Indians camped round the Fort, and lived as best they could until the snow melted. They, with the grizzly bears, the buffalo, the elk, wolf, and antelope, possessed the land.
The greatest man on earth of all the whites, in Indian estimation, was Charles Priineaux. They had known him for more than thirty years. He