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The Young Alaskans on the Missouri
by Emerson Hough
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THE YOUNG ALASKANS ON THE MISSOURI

By

EMERSON HOUGH

Author of "YOUNG ALASKANS IN THE ROCKIES" "YOUNG ALASKANS IN THE FAR NORTH" ETC.

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON



YOUNG ALASKANS ON THE MISSOURI

Copyright, 1922 By Harper & Brothers Printed in the U. S. A.

First Edition



BOOKS BY EMERSON HOUGH

THE YOUNG ALASKANS YOUNG ALASKANS ON THE TRAIL YOUNG ALASKANS IN THE ROCKIES YOUNG ALASKANS IN THE FAR NORTH YOUNG ALASKANS ON THE MISSOURI

Harper & Brothers Publishers



CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. FOLLOWING LEWIS AND CLARK 1

II. READY FOR THE RIVER 9

III. "ADVENTURER, OF AMERICA" 17

IV. THE EARLY ADVENTURERS 23

V. OFF UP THE RIVER 36

VI. THE LOG OF THE "ADVENTURER" 41

VII. THE GATE OF THE WEST 49

VIII. HO! FOR THE PLATTE! 59

IX. SHIPWRECK 67

X. AT THE PLATTE 73

XI. AMONG THE SIOUX 83

XII. THE LOST HUNTER 89

XIII. GETTING NORTH 100

XIV. IN DAYS OF OLD 115

XV. AMONG THE MANDANS 128

XVI. OLD DAYS ON THE RIVER 144

XVII. AT THE YELLOWSTONE 155

XVIII. WHERE THE ROAD FORKED 168

XIX. AT THE GREAT FALLS 187

XX. READY FOR THE RIVER HEAD 201

XXI. THE PACK TRAIN 210

XXII. AT THE THREE FORKS 226

XXIII. SUNSET ON THE OLD RANGE 235

XXIV. NEARING THE SOURCE 246

XXV. BEAVERHEAD CAMP 262

XXVI. THE JUMP-OFF CAMP 276

XXVII. THE UTMOST SOURCE 294

XXVIII. SPORT WITH ROD AND REEL 302

XXIX. THE HEAD OF THE GREAT RIVER 310

XXX. SPORTING PLANS 327

XXXI. AMONG THE GRAYLING 340

XXXII. AT BILLY'S RANCH 349

XXXIII. HOMEWARD BOUND 371



ILLUSTRATIONS

THEY TURNED AWAY FROM THE GREAT FALLS OF THE ANCIENT RIVER WITH A FEELING OF SADNESS Frontispiece

THEY SAW HIM SCRAMBLE UP THE BANK, LIE FOR AN INSTANT HALF EXHAUSTED, AND THEN COME RUNNING DOWN THE SHORE TO THEM Facing p. 70

BEFORE ANYONE COULD HELP HIM HE WAS FLUNG FULL LENGTH, AND LAY MOTIONLESS " 216

JESSE SUDDENLY STOOPED, THEN ROSE WITH AN EXCLAMATION " 264



THE YOUNG ALASKANS ON THE MISSOURI



CHAPTER I

FOLLOWING LEWIS AND CLARK

"Well, sister," said Uncle Dick, addressing that lady as she sat busy with her needlework at the window of a comfortable hotel in the city of St. Louis, "I'm getting restless, now that the war is over. Time to be starting out. Looks like I'd have to borrow those boys again and hit the trail. Time to be on our way!"

"Richard!" The lady tapped her foot impatiently, a little frown gathering on her forehead.

"Well, then?"

"Well, you're always just starting out! You've been hitting the trail all your life. Wasn't the war enough?"

"Oh, well!" Uncle Dick smiled humorously as he glanced at his leg, which extended before him rather stiffly as he sat.

"I should think it was enough!" said his sister, laying down her work.

"But it didn't last!" said Uncle Dick.

"How can you speak so!"

"Well, it didn't. Of course, Rob got in, even if he had to run away and smouch a little about how old he was. But he wasn't through his training. And as for the other boys, Frank was solemn as an owl because the desk sergeant laughed at him and told him to go back to the Boy Scouts; and Jesse was almost in tears over it."

"All our boys!"

"Yes! All our boys. The whole country'd have been in it if it had gone on. America doesn't play any game to lose it."

"Yes, and look at you!"

Uncle Dick moved his leg. "Cheap!" said he. "Cheap! But we don't talk of that. What I was talking about, or was going to talk about, was something by way of teaching these boys what a country this America is and always has been; how it never has played any game to lose it, and never is going to."

"Well, Richard, what is it this time?" His sister began to fold up her work, sighing, and to smooth it out over her knee. "We've just got settled down here in our own country, and I was looking for a little rest and peace."

"You need it, after your Red Cross work, and you shall have it. You shall rest. While you do, I'll take the boys on the trail, the Peace Trail—the greatest trail of progress and peace all the world ever knew."

"Whatever can you mean?"

"And made by two young chaps, officers of our Army, not much more than boys they were, neither over thirty. They found America for us, or a big part of it. I call them the two absolutely splendidest and perfectly bulliest boys in history."

"Oh, I know! You mean Lewis and Clark! You're always talking of them to the boys. Ever since we came to St. Louis——"

"Yes, ever since we came to this old city, where those two boys started out West, before anybody knew what the West was or even where it was. I've been talking to our boys about those boys! Rather I should say, those two young gentlemen of our Army, over a hundred years ago—Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark."

His sister nodded gravely, "I know."

"What water has run by here, since 1804, in these two rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri! How the country has grown! How the world has changed! And how we have forgotten!

"That's why I want to take them, even now, my dear sister, these young Americans, over that very same old trail—not so long and hard and full of danger now. Why? Lest we forget! Lest our young Americans forget! And we all are forgetting. Not right.

"You see? Because this old town of St. Louis was then only a village, and we just had bought our unknown country of France, and this town was on the eastern edge of it, the gate of it—the gate to the West, it used to be, before steam came, while everything went by keel boat; oar or paddle and pole and sail and cordelle. Ah, Sis, those were the days!"

"Think of the time it must have taken!"

"Think of the times they must have been!"

"But now one never hears of Lewis and Clark. We go by rail, so much faster. As for going up-river by steamboat, I never heard of such a thing!"

"But the boys have. I caught Jesse, even, pondering over my Catlin, looking at the buffalo and Indian pictures."

"I never heard of Catlin."

"Of course not. Well, he came much later than my captains, and was an artist. But my captains had found the way. Rob and Frank know. They've read the worked-over Journals of Lewis and Clark. Me, I've even seen the originals. I swear those curious pages make my heart jump to this very day, even after our travels on the soil of France just now—France, the country that practically gave us our country, or almost all of it west of the Missouri, more than a hundred years ago. She didn't know, and we didn't know. Well, we helped pay the rest of the price, if there was anything left back, at Chateau Thierry and in the Argonne."

His sister was looking at the stiffened leg, and Uncle Dick frowned at that. "It's nothing," said he. "Think of the others."

"And all for what?" he mused, later. "All for what, if it wasn't for America, and for what America was meant to be, and for what America was and is? So, about my boys—what d'ye think, my dear, if they wandered with me, hobbling back from the soil of old France, over the soil of the New France that once lay up the Big Muddy, yon—that New France which Napoleon gave to make New America? Any harm about that, what?... Lest we forget! Lest all this America of ours to-day forget! Eh, what?"

By this time his sister had quite finished smoothing out the work on her knee. "Of course, I knew all along you'd go somewhere," she said. "You'd find a war, or anything like that, too tame! Will you never settle down, Richard!"

"I hope not."

"But you'll take the boys out of school."

"Not at all. To the contrary, I'll put them in school, and a good one. Besides, we'll not start till after school is anyhow almost out for the spring term. We'll just be about as early as Lewis and Clark up the Missouri in the spring."

"You'll be going by rail?"

"Certainly not! We'll be going by boat, small boat, little boat, maybe not all boat."

"A year! Two years!"

Uncle Dick smiled. "Well, no. We've only got this summer to go up the Missouri and back, so, maybe as Rob did when he enlisted for eighteen, we'll have to smouch a little!"

"I'll warrant you've talked it all over with those boys already."

Uncle Dick smiled guiltily. "I shouldn't wonder!" he admitted.

"And, naturally, they're keen to go!"

"Naturally. What boy wouldn't be, if he were a real boy and a real American? Our own old, strange, splendid America! What boy wouldn't?"

"Besides," he added, "I'd like to trace that old trail myself, some day. I've always been crazy to."

"Yes, crazy! Always poring over old maps. Why do we need study the old passes over the Rockies, Richard? There's not an earthly bit of use in it. All we need know is when the train starts, and you can look on the time card for all the rest. We don't need geography of that sort now. What we need now is a geography of Europe, so we can see where the battles were fought, and that sort of thing."

"Yes? Well, that's what I'm getting at. I've just a notion that we're studying the map of Europe—and Asia—to-day and to-morrow, when we study the old mountain passes of the Rockies, my dear.

"And," he added, firmly, "my boys shall know them! Because I know that in that way they'll be studying not only the geography, but the history of all the world! When they come back, maybe they—maybe you—will know why so many boys now are asleep in the Argonne hills and woods in France. Maybe they'll see the old Lewis and Clark trail extending on out across the Pacific, even."

"You're so funny, Richard!"

"Oh, I reckon so, I reckon so! The old Crusaders were funny people, too—marching all the way from England and France, just to take Jerusalem. But look what a walk they had!"



CHAPTER II

READY FOR THE RIVER

Uncle Dick made his way to the library room, where he found his three young companions on so many other trips of adventure.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Vol. I, The Young Alaskans; Vol. II, The Young Alaskans on the Trail; Vol. III, The Young Alaskans in the Rockies; Vol. IV, The Young Alaskans in the Far North.]

"So there you are, eh?" he began. "Rob, I see you're poring over some old book, as usual. What is it—same Journal of Lewis and Clark?"

"Yes, sir," said Rob McIntyre looking up, his eyes shining. "It's great!"

"And here's John Hardy with his maps!" exclaimed Jesse Wilcox. "Look it! He's got a notion he can do a map as well as Captain William Clark."

"He's something of a born map maker, then!" responded Uncle Dick. "There was one of the born geniuses of the world in map making. What a man he'd have been in our work—running preliminary surveys! He just naturally knew the way across country, and he just naturally knew how to set it down. On hides, with a burnt stick—on the sand with a willow twig—in the ashes with a pipe stem—that's how his maps grew. The Indians showed him; and he showed us."

"I've often tried to tell," said Rob, "which was the greater of those two men, Clark or Lewis."

"You never will," said his uncle. "They were the two greatest bunkies and buddies of all the world. Clark was the redhead; Lewis the dark and sober man. Clark was the engineer; Lewis the leader of men. Clark had the business man in him; Lewis something more—the vision, the faith of the soul as much as the self-reliance of the body. A great pair."

"I'll say they were!" assented John. "My! what times!"

"And what a country!" added Jesse, looking up from his map.

"Yes, son; and what a country!" His uncle spoke seriously.

"But now, fellows," he added, "about that little pasear of ours—that slide of a couple of thousand miles this summer, up the little old Missouri to the Rockies and down the river again—thing we were talking of—what do you say?"

"Oh, but we can't!" said Jesse.

"Oh, but I'll bet we can!" said John, who caught a twinkle in Uncle Dick's eye.

"Yes, and we will!" said Rob, also noting his smile.

"Yes," said Uncle Dick. "I've just come from talking with the acting commanding officer. She says that on the whole she gives consent, provided I don't keep you out of school."

"It took Lewis and Clark two years," demurred John. "But they were out of school—even though poor Will Clark hadn't learned much about spelling. They didn't have to get back by the first week in September."

"And we don't want to scamp it," said thoroughgoing, sober Rob.

"But we don't want to motor it," countered John.

"I'll tell you," said Jesse Wilcox, the youngest and smallest of the three. "We can go by power boat, most way, anyhow. That's not scamping it, all things considered, is it?"

"By Jove!" said Uncle Dick, and again: "By Jove! An idea!"

"But about how big a boat do you think this particular family, just after the war, can afford?"

"We could easy buy a riverman's fishing skiff," said Jesse, sagely; "twenty feet long and narrow bottomed, but she floats light and runs easy and can carry a load."

"But that's not a motor boat, son," said Uncle Dick. "Do you think we can row to the head of the Missouri and get back by September?"

"Outboard motor," said Jesse, calmly.

"Hah! As though that could stem the June rise on the Muddy!"

"Two outboard motors, one on each side the stern, rigged on a cross plank," said Jesse, never smiling. "Besides, a head sail when the wind is right behind. And a rope if we got a head wind. And the oars and paddles, too. We've paddled hours. Every little."

"We could get gas easy," said John. "Lots of towns all along, now."

"Easy as shooting fish," drawled Jesse. "I'm making a model of a new flying ship now, though it isn't all done. I can run one of those motors."

"What say, Rob?" Uncle Dick turned to the oldest of the three, and the one of soberest judgment, usually.

"I shouldn't wonder if it's the answer, sir," said Rob. "How many miles a day must we average?"

"As many as we can. Lewis and Clark and their big boat did eight or ten, sometimes fifteen or twenty—the average was about nine miles a day. It took them all summer and fall to get to the Mandans. That's above Mandan, South Dakota—a thousand miles or so, eh?"

"Just sixteen hundred and ten miles, sir," said Rob, "according to their figures. Just about nine miles a day, start to finish of that part of the run, here to the Mandans—though the modern estimates only call it fourteen hundred and fifty-two miles."

"If we can't beat that average I'll eat the boat," said Jesse, gravely.

"Well," said Uncle Dick, beginning to bite his fingers, as he often did when studying some problem, "let's see. A good kicker might do two or three miles an hour, by picking out the water. Two good kickers might put her up to five, good conditions. Some days we might do forty miles."

"And some days, on long reaches and the wind O.K., we'd do forty-five or fifty," said Rob. "Of course, we can't figure on top notch all the way. We've got to include bad days, break-downs, accidents, delays we can't figure on at home, but that always get in their work somehow. Look at all our own other trips."

"Depends on how many hours you work," said Frank. "We don't belong to the longshoremen's union, you know. Some days we might travel twelve hours, if we'd nothing else to do. And I don't think there's much fishing, and it would be off season for shooting, most of the time."

"I'll tell you," said Uncle Dick, after a time. "I doubt if we could do it all the way by boat by September. But I'll see your teacher, here in St. Louis, where we're all going to winter this year, and arrange with him to let you study outside for the first few weeks of the fall term in case we don't get back. You'll have to work while you travel, understand that."

The boys all agreed to this and gave their promise to do their best, if only they could be allowed to make this wonderful trip over the first and greatest exploring trail of the West.

"It can perhaps be arranged," said Uncle Dick.

"You mean, it has been arranged!" said Rob. "You've spoken to our school principal!"

"Well, yes, then! And you can cut off a little from the spring term, too. But it's all on condition that you come back also with a knowledge of that much history, additional to your regular studies."

"Oh, agreed to that!" said Rob; while John and Jesse began to drop their books and eagerly come closer to their older guide and companion.

"What'll we need to take?" asked John. "We can't live on the country as we did up North."

"Cut it light, young men. One week's grub at a time, say. The little tent, with a wall, and the poles along—we can spread it on the boat if we like."

"Not the mosquito tent?" asked Jesse.

"No, not after the seasoning you chaps have had in the North. Some mosquitoes, but not so many for us old-timers. Take bars, no head nets. We're not tenderfeet, you see."

"A blanket, a quilt, and an eiderdown quilt each?" suggested John.

"You'll not! Did Lewis and Clark have eiderdown?"

"No, but they had buffalo robes!"

"And so have we!" Uncle Dick laughed aloud in triumph. "I found three in an old fur trader's loft here, and—well, I bought them. He'd forgotten he had them—forty years and more. A blanket and a quilt and a robe each, or Jesse and John to divide the biggest robe—and there we are!"

"A tarp to go over all," said Rob.

"Yes. And our regular mess kit. And the usual wool scout clothes and good shoes and soft hat. That's about all. Two trout rods, for the mountains. One shotgun for luck, and one .22 rifle—no more. It'll make a load, but Jesse's river ship will carry it. Nasty and noisy, but nice, eh?"

"It'll be fine!" said Jesse. "Of course, we take our maps and books and papers, in a valise?"

"Yes. I'll have a copy of the original Journal."

"And we'll always know where we are?" said John. "That is," he added, "where they were?"

"Yes," said Uncle Dick, reverently enough. "As near as we can figure on the face of a country so changed. And we'll try to put in all the things they saw, try to understand what the country must have been at that time? Is that agreed?"

Each boy came up and stood at attention. Each gave the Boy Scout's salute. Uncle Dick noted with a grim smile the full, snappy, military salute of the American Army which Rob now gave him. He returned it gravely and courteously, as an officer does.



CHAPTER III

"ADVENTURER, OF AMERICA"

It was on a morning in early spring that our four adventurers found themselves at the side of their boat, which rested on the bank of the great Missouri River, not far above its mouth. Their little tent stood, ready for striking, and all their preparations for the start now were made. Rob stood with a paint pot and brush in hand, at the bow of the boat.

"She's dry, all right, by now, I think," said he. "If we put a name on the stern board the paint could dry without being touched. What shall we christen her?"

"Call her 'Liberty,'" suggested Jesse, "or, say, 'America.'"

"Fine, but too usual. Give us a name, John."

"Well, I say, 'Columbia,' because we are headed for the Columbia, the same as Lewis and Clark."

"Too matter-of-fact! Give us a jollier name."

"Well, give us one yourself, Rob," said Uncle Dick, "since you're so particular."

"All right! How'd 'Adventurer, of St. Louis,' do?"

"Not so bad—not so bad. But to Lewis and Clark, St. Louis was only one point of their journey, important as it was."

"I'll tell you," broke in Jesse, the youngest. "Call her 'Adventurer, of America.' You can paint it all on, if you use small letters for part, like the steamboats."

"That's the name!" said Rob. "Because that was a great adventure that Lewis and Clark were taking on; and it was all for America—then and now. Hard to live up to. But, you see, we're only following."

"What do you say, Uncle Dick?" asked John.

"I like it," replied the latter. "It will do, so paint it on, Rob; and all of you be careful not to smudge it. It'll be dry by to-morrow morning, for this fantail rides high above the motors.

"Finish drying and packing the dishes now, and let's be off when Rob gets done. We're exactly one hundred and eighteen years to a day and an hour after the boats of Lewis and Clark at this very place—only, Lewis went across by land to St. Charles, and saved a little of his time by meeting the boats there."

"And that was the real start, wasn't it, Uncle Dick?" demanded Frank.

"In a way, yes. But over yonder, across the Mississippi, on the river Du Bois, in the American Bottoms, Will Clark had built the cabins for the men's winter quarters. And long before that, Meriwether Lewis had left Washington after saying good-by to Mr. Jefferson. And then he stopped awhile near where Pittsburgh is, to get his boats ready to go down the Ohio, and get men. And then he picked up Clark where Louisville now is. And then he left the Ohio River and crossed by horseback to the Army post across from here, to get still more men for the expedition—soldiers, you see, good hardy men they were, who knew the backwoods life and feared nothing. So after they got all of the expedition together, they made winter quarters over yonder, and in the spring they came over here, and the great fleet of three boats and forty-five men started off on their adventure.

"Of course, Rob, you know the incident of the Three Flags?"

Rob nodded.

"That was a great day, when the American army of the West, twenty-nine men in buckskin, under this young captain of thirty years, marched into St. Louis to take possession of the Great West for America. And St. Louis in twenty-four hours was under the flags of three great countries, Spain, France, and the United States.

"You see—and I want you to study these things hard some day—Napoleon, the Emperor of France, was at war. This Western region belonged to Spain, or she said it did, but she ceded it to Napoleon; and then when he didn't think he could hold it against Great Britain, he sold it to us.

"Now this had all been country largely settled by French people who had come down long ago from the Great Lakes. They didn't think Spain had exercised real sovereignty. Now we had bought up both claims, the Spanish and the French; so we owned St. Louis all right, going or coming.

"So, first the Spanish flag over the old fort was struck. Next came the French. And the French loved the place so much, they begged they might have their flag fly over it for at least one night. Captain Lewis said they might, for he was a courteous gentleman, of course. But orders were orders. So in the morning the flag of France came down and the Flag of the United States of America was raised, where it has been ever since, and I think will always remain. Those events happened on March 9 and 10, 1804.

"So there they were, with the Flag up over a country that nobody knew anything at all about. Then they started out, on May 14 of that year, 1804. And since that time that unknown America has grown to be one of the richest, if not the very richest, land in the world. And since that time, so much has the world changed, I have seen three flags flying at the same time over a city in France—those of France, of Great Britain, and of America, and all at peace with one another, though all at war together as allies in a cause they felt was just. May they float together now! Aye, and may Spain have no fear of any of the three."

"Are you about done with the painting, Rob?" concluded Uncle Dick.

"Yes, sir, finished."

"Look it!" said John.

Jesse was coming down from the tent, unrolling something wrapped around a stick. "Well now, well now," he drawled, "where shall I put this?"

"Company, 'tenshun!" barked Uncle Dick. "Colors pass!" And all snapped again into the salute while Jesse fastened the Flag into the bow of the Adventurer, of America.

"Now we're about all ready," said Jesse, gravely. And he also stood at the salute which good Scouts give the Flag, as a little band of strong men in buckskin had done, not far away, more than a hundred years ago.



CHAPTER IV

THE EARLY ADVENTURERS

"Well, are you all set, fellows?" demanded Uncle Dick, at last, turning to his young companions and taking a look over the dismantled camp.

"Just about, sir," answered Rob, who always was accepted as the next officer to Uncle Dick in command.

"Load her down by the head all you can," said the latter, as the boys began storing the remaining duffle aboard.

"Why?" asked Jesse, who always wanted to know reasons.

"I'll tell you. This water is so roily you can't see into it very deep. It has a lot of snags and sweepers and buried stuff. Now, if she rides with bows high, she slips farther up, say, on a sunken log. If her bow is down a little, she either doesn't slide on, or else she slips on over."

"Oh! I hadn't thought of that."

Uncle Dick grinned. "Well, maybe I wouldn't, either, if I hadn't been reading my Lewis and Clark Journal all over again. They speak of that very thing. Oh, this is a bad old river, all right. Those men had a hard time."

"But, sir," answered Rob, "if we load too far down by the bow, our stern motors won't take hold so well. We've got to bury them."

"That's true, their weight throws the bow very high. I doubt if we can do much better than have an even keel, but if she'll kick all right, keep her down all you can in front, for if we ever do ride a log, we'll strip off the propellers, and maybe the end of the boat, too. Better be safe than sorry, always."

"They didn't have as good a boat as ours, did they?" John spoke with a good deal of pride as he cast an eye over the long, racy hull of the Adventurer, whose model was one evolved for easy travel upstream under oars.

"Well, no, but still they got along, in those days, after their own fashion. You see, they started out with three boats. First was a big keel boat, fifty-five feet long, with twenty-two oars and a big square sail. She drew three feet of water, loaded, and had a ten-foot deck forward, with lockers midship, which they could stack up for a breastworks against Indian attacks, if they had to. Oh, she was quite a ship, all right.

"Then they had a large red perogue—must have been something like ours, a rangy river skiff, built of boards; certainly not like the little cypress dugouts they call 'peewoogs' in Louisiana.

"Now they had a third boat, the 'white peroque,' they spell it. It was smaller, carrying six oars. The red skiff carried the eight French voyageurs——"

"We ought to have all their names, those fellows," said Frank.

"Well, write them down—I've got the Journal handy. Here Captain Clark gives them, as they were set into squads, May 26th, far up the river. You see, they were a military party—there were twenty-nine on the official rolls as volunteers, not mentioning Captains Lewis and Clark, or York, Captain Clark's negro body servant, who all traveled on the big boat:

"'Orderly Book: Lewis.

Detachment Orders May 26th, 1804.

The Commanding Officers Direct, that the three Squads under the command of Sergt{s.} Floyd, Ordway and Pryor, heretofore forming two messes each, shall untill further orders constitute three messes only, the same being altered and organized as follows (viz:)

Serg{t.} Charles Floyd Serg{t.} Nathaniel Pryor Privates Privates Hugh McNeal George Gibson Patric Gass George Shannon Reuben Fields John Shields John B. Thompson John Collins John Newman Joseph Whitehouse Francis Rivet and Peter Wiser (French) Peter Crusat and Joseph Fields Francis Labuche

Serg{t.} John Ordway Patroon, Baptist Privates Deschamps William Bratton Engages John Collen Etienne Mabbauf Moses B. Reed (Soldier) Paul Primant Alexander Willard Charles Hebert William Warner Baptist La Jeunesse Silas Goodrich Peter Pinant John Potts and Peter Roi and Hugh Hall Joseph Collin

Corp{l.} Richard Warvington Privates Robert Frazier John Boleye John Dame Ebinezer Tuttle and Isaac White

"'The Commanding Officers further direct that the messes of Serg{ts.} Floyd, Ordway, and Pryor shall untill further orders form the crew of the Batteaux; the Mess of the Patroon La Jeunesse will form the permanent crew of the red Peroque; Corp{l.} Warvington's men forming that of the white Peroque.'

"There it all is, just as Captain Lewis wrote it, capitals and all. How many would it be, Rob—not forgetting the two captains and the negro York, Clark's body servant, who is not mentioned in the list?"

"I make it forty-one names here in the messes," answered Rob, after counting, "or forty-four with the others added. That does not include Chaboneau or the Indian girl, Sacagawea, whom they took on at Mandan."

"No, that's another list. It usually is said there were forty-five in the party at St. Louis. You see the name 'Francis Rivet and (French).' That would make forty-five if French were a man French and not a Frenchman. But they always spoke of the voyagers as 'the French.' Anyhow, there's the list of May 26, 1804."

"Maybe they lost a man overboard somewhere," suggested John.

"Not yet. They had a deserter or two, but that was farther up the river, and they caught one of these and gave him a good military trimming and expulsion, as we'll see later. But this I suppose we may call the actual party that found our Great West for us. They are the Company of Volunteers for Northwestern Discovery."

The three boys looked half in awe as they read over the names of these forgotten men.

"Yes. So there they were," resumed Uncle Dick, gravely. "And here in the Journal the very first sentence says the party was 'composed of robust, healthy, hardy young men.' Well, that's the sort I've got along with me, what?"

"But Uncle Dick—Uncle Dick—" broke in Jesse, excitedly, "your book is all wrong! Just look at the way the spelling is! It's awful. It wasn't that way in the copies we had."

"That's because this is a real and exact copy of what they really did write down," said Uncle Dick. "Yours must have been one of the rewritten and much-edited volumes. To my mind, that's a crime. Here's the real thing.

"Listen!" he added, suddenly, holding the volume close to him. "Would you like to know something about those two young chaps, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and what became of their Journals after they got home? You'd hardly believe it."

"Tell us," said Rob.

Uncle Dick opened his book on his knee, as they all sat on the rail of the Adventurer.

"They were soldiers, both of them, fighting men. Lewis had some education, and his mind was very keen. He was the private secretary of President Thomas Jefferson, but Jefferson says he was not 'regularly educated.' He studied some months in astronomy and other scientific lines, under Mr. Andrew Ellicott, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with the special purpose of fitting himself to lead this expedition. Mr. Ellicott had experience in astronomical observation, and practice of it in the woods, the record says.

"Lewis was better educated than Clark, who was four years the older—thirty-three—while Lewis was twenty-nine. He spells better than Clark, who is about as funny as Josh Billings, though he certainly spelled his best. Of one thing you can be sure, whenever you see anything of the Journal spelled correctly, it is false and spurious—that's not the original, for spelling was the one thing those two fellows couldn't do.

"They used to make field notes, rough, just as you boys do. Clark had an elk-skin cover to his book—and that little book disappeared for over one hundred years. It was found in the possession of some distant relatives, descendants, by name of Voorhis, only just about ten years ago.

"At night, by the camp fire, the two officers would write out their field notes, for they had to report very fully to President Jefferson. Sometimes one wrote, sometimes the other, and often one would copy the other's notes. Only the originals could make all that plain. And, alas! not all the original work is known to exist.

"No one seems to have valued the written record of that wonderful trip. When the young men got to St. Louis on their return, they did try to make a connected book of it all, but no one valued that book, and they couldn't get a publisher—think of that! But at last they did get an editor, Mr. Nicholas Biddle, he was, of Philadelphia.

"That poor man waded through over one million words of copy in the 'notes' he got hold of at last! But by then President Jefferson was getting anxious about it. By then, too, poor Lewis was dead, and Clark was busy at St. Louis as Indian agent. And Will Clark never was a writer. So, slip by slip, the material faded and scattered.

"Biddle saved the most of it, boiling it down quite a lot. Then he gave it over to Paul Allen, a newspaper man, also of Philadelphia, who did more things to it, getting it ready for the press. This book did not get published until February, 1814, five years after Lewis died and eight years after they got back. By that time a lot of people had had a hack at it. A lot more have had a hack since then; but Biddle is the man who really saved the day, and Allen helped him very much.

"Of late, inside of the last twenty or thirty years, many editions of that great Journal have been issued. The best is the one that holds closest to Clark's spelling. That's the best. And I'll tell you it took genius, sometimes, to tell what he meant, for that redhead spelled by ear.

"Look here—and here. 'Catholic' he spells 'Carthlick'; 'Loups'—the Indians—he calls 'Loos.' He spells 'gnat' 'knat,' or spells 'mosquito' 'musquitr,' and calls the 'tow rope' the 'toe rope'—as indeed Lewis did also. He spells 'squaw' as 'squar' always; and 'Sioux' he wrote down as 'Cuouex'—which makes one guess a bit—and the 'Osages' are 'Osarges,' the Iowas, 'Ayauways.' His men got 'deesantary' and 'tumers,' which were 'dificcelt to cure.' He gives a dog 'som meet,' and speaks of a storm which 'seased Instancetaniously.' He does a lot of odd things with big words and little ones, as spelling 'cedar' 'seeder'—at least the simplest way! As to jerked meat, I suppose it was as good if spelled 'jurked,' or even 'jirked,' and a 'tirkey' is as good as turkey, perhaps.

"Plain and matter-of-fact, he was, that Redhead Chief, as the Indians called him; yet very little escaped him or his friend, and both could note the beauty of nature. See here, where Clark writes on June 20th (his capitals are odd as his spelling): 'at Sunset the atmesphier presented every appearance of wind, Blue and White Streeks centiring at the Sun as she disappeared and the Clouds Situated to the S. W. Guilded in the most butiful manner.'

"Can't you see the sunset? And can't you see Will Clark, his tongue on one side, frowning as he wrote by the firelight?

"And Lewis wasn't so much better. For instance, he spelled squirrel as 'squirril,' where Clark spells it 'squarl,' and he spells hawk 'halk,' and hangs a 'Meadle' on a chief's neck. Oh, this old Journal certainly is a curious thing!"

Jesse threw himself down on the sand in a fit of laughter. "I could do better'n that my own self," said he, at last. "Why, what sort of people were they, couldn't spell any better than that?"

"Maybe you could," said Uncle Dick, "but you are not to laugh at William Clark, who was a great man. He did all that writing after a hard day's work, in a wild and strange country. I suppose it was hard for him to write, but he did it, and here it is.

"Oddly enough, Clark wrote a very fine, clear hand—a gentleman's handwriting. The Journals are always done in pen and ink. Clark did most of the work in the Journal, but Lewis at times took a hand. Between them they kept what might be called the log of the voyage.

"They worked, all of that party. The oarsmen had to work under a taskmaster all day. Some one had to hunt, for they only had about a ton of cargo, all told, and they only had $2,500 to spend for the whole trip out and back, and to feed forty people two years. And at night the commanders made Gass and Ordway and Floyd and Whitehouse keep journals, too; and Pryor and Frazier did a bit of the same, like enough. They had to cover everything they saw.

"So that is how we got this wonderful Journal, boys—one of the simplest and most manly books ever written. As I said, it was long forgotten and came near being ruined.

"The book of Patrick Gass got out first, and it had many publishers on both sides the ocean—though, of course, it had to be rewritten a great deal. Up to 1851 there had been fifteen real and fake Lewis and Clark books printed, in English, French, and German; and there are about a dozen books with Sergeant Patrick Gass as the 'author.'

"They had no cameras in those days, but those men brought out exact word pictures of that land and its creature inhabitants. The spelling we must forget—that day was different and schools were rare. But good minds and bodies they surely had. They were not traders or trappers—they were explorers and adventurers in every sense of the word, and gentlemen as well.

"But now," concluded Uncle Dick, "that'll do for the story of the Journal. We've got it with us, and will use it right along. We're all ready, now? Well, let's be off, for now I see the wind is with us, and it's even more than William Clark started with when his three boats left the Wood River and started up the Missouri. He said they had a 'jentle brease.'

"Off we go—on the greatest waterway in all the world, and on the trail of the greatest explorers the world has ever known."

"Now then," commanded Rob, laying hold of the rail. "Heave—o!" The others also pushed. The good ship Adventurer swung free of the sand and lay afloat. They sprang in. Uncle Dick steadied her with the oars. Jesse and John went ahead to trim ship. Rob gave a couple of turns to the flywheels of the two outboard motors and adjusted his feet to the special steering gear. The doubled motors began their busy sput-sput-sput! Like a thing of life the long craft, Adventurer, of America, turned into the current of the great Missouri, the echoes of the energetic little engines echoing far and wide.



CHAPTER V

OFF UP THE RIVER

"She's riding fine, sir," called Rob to Uncle Dick, over the noise of the two little propellers that kept the gunwales trembling. "I can head her square into the mid current and buck her through!"

Uncle Dick smiled and nodded. "It's going to be all right! She rides like a duck. Spread that foresail, Frank, you and Jesse. We'll do our six miles an hour, sure as shooting! Haul that foresail squarer, Jesse, so she won't spill the wind. Now, Rob, keep her dead ahead."

"How far did they go each day?" demanded Jesse, "and how often did they eat?"

They all broke out in a roar of laughter over Jesse's appetite.

"They ate when they could," answered Uncle Dick, "for they had their hands full, working that big scow upstream. She was loaded heavy, and they often had to drag her on the line. When the line broke, as it did several times, she'd swing into the current and there'd be trouble to pay.

"How far did they go? Well, that's really hard to say. They usually set down the courses and distances on the bends. For instance, here is the first record of that sort, May 15th. 'S{t}' means starboard, right-hand side going up, and 'L{bd}' means larboard, to the left.

"'Course and Distance assending the Missourie Tuesday May 15.

Course M{ls} West 1-0—To p{t} on S{t} Side N 80 deg.W 2-0—" " " " " N 11 deg.W 2-1/2—" " " " " N 20 deg.W 1-1/2—" " " L{bd} " S 10 deg.W 1-1/2—" " " S{t} " S 22 deg.W 1-0—" " " " " ——- 9-1/2'

"We'll not try to keep our own courses, and we'll have to guess at our distances except as we can estimate it from average speed, which is what they also did. I suppose it seemed a long way. Patrick Gass says it was three thousand and ninety-six miles to the head of the river. Anyhow, they didn't make it as soon as we shall."

They ran on steadily, both motors firing perfectly and the sun bright overhead, while the fresh breeze back of them still held fair for most of the bends. They made St. Charles by noon, as had been predicted, but did not pause, eating their lunch aboard as they traveled.

"Our captains didn't do this," said Rob. "As near as I can learn, they camped and cooked on shore. And they certainly got plenty of game."

"I know!" said Jesse, his mouth full of bread and marmalade. "Deer and turkey all along in here, then."

"Sure!" added John. "Thirty deer, four bear, and two wolves in the first six weeks."

Uncle Dick sighed. "Well, we'll have to live on rolls and marmalade, and if Jesse's appetite holds we'll have to make a good many towns for supplies. More's the pity, there's a good town now about every ten miles or so—two dozen towns in the first two hundred and fifty miles."

"Aw now!" said Jesse. "Aw now! I guess a fellow can't help getting hungry. Maybe we can catch some fish, anyhow."

"Gass said they did," nodded John. "They got a lot of fine catfish, and I think Patrick Gass must have liked them, way he talks. He says, 'We are generally well supplied with catfish, the best I have ever seen.'"

"What kind of a grub list did they have?" inquired Jesse; and John was able to answer, for he found the page in the Journal, which was close at hand on a box top, so it could be consulted at any time.

"They didn't have any marmalade or preserves, or fruit or acid of any kind, and they must have relied on the hunt. They had four bags of 'parchmeal,' which I suppose was parched corn ground—the old frontier ration, you know. That was about twenty-eight bushels in all, with some eighteen bushels of 'common' and twenty-two bushels of hominy. Then they had thirty half barrels of flour, and a dozen barrels of biscuit, a barrel of meal, fifty bushels of meal, twenty-four bushels of Natchez hulled corn, four barrels of other hulled corn, and one of meal. That was their cereal list.

"They only had one bag of coffee, and one each of 'Beens & pees,' as Clark spells them, and only two bags of sugar, though eight hundred and seventy pounds of salt."

"Not much sweets," grumbled Jesse. "How about the grease list?" Jesse was rather wise about making up a good, well-balanced grub list for a camping trip.

"Well," answered John, "they had forty-five hundred pounds of pork, a keg of lard, and six hundred pounds of 'grees,' as he calls it. Not so much; and they ran out of salt in a year, and out of flour, too, so they didn't have any bread for months. They had some stuff spoiled by getting wet.

"They had some trade stuff for the Indians, and tools of all sorts, and other weapons and ammunition. They had sun glasses and an air gun and instruments for latitude and longitude. They were travelers, all right."

"Lay her a half north, fifty-seven degrees west, and full steam ahead!" sang out Uncle Dick. "Cut this big bend and take the wind on the larboard quarter, Jesse. I'll promise you, if our gas holds out, we'll get somewhere before dark. The Adventurer, of America is a mile eater, believe me!"



CHAPTER VI

THE LOG OF THE "ADVENTURER"

"One thing sure," said Rob, after a long silence, toward the close of the afternoon, "this isn't any wilderness now. Look at the fields and settlements we've passed. There's a town every ten miles."

"Well, I don't think it was all wild, even when Lewis and Clark went through," John replied to him. "People had been all through here. The Journal keeps on mentioning this creek and that—all the names were already on the country."

"Shall we get as far as Charette to-day, Uncle Dick?" asked Jesse.

"Hardly, this country has changed a lot in a hundred years and I don't know just where we are. I'm only guessing, doing dead reckoning on our motor speed. But we ought to see the place I've got in mind, before plumb dark."

"See what, Uncle Dick? What is it?"

"Never mind. I'll tell you if we make it."

However, Uncle Dick was shrewd in his map work and his guessing. Toward dark the boys began to get anxious as the shadows fell along the deep, powerful river, but they had no sign to land until it was well after sunset. Then Uncle Dick began to whistle cheerfully.

"All right, Rob," he called. "Hard a-lee! Get across. That creek on the right is the Femme Osage. There were forty families settled there, six miles up the river, and one of those farmers was—who do you think?"

"I know!" exclaimed John. "It was Daniel Boone! I've read about his moving in here from Kentucky."

"Right you are, son! He had a Spanish land grant in here and lived here till 1804. He died in 1820, at the town called Femme Osage, as you know.

"Well now, here we are! In under the rocks, Rob—so! Now quick, Jesse, make fast at the bow!"

"Well, what do you know!" exclaimed Jesse. "Regular cave, and everything!"

"Yes," smiled his uncle, "a regular cave and all. Lucky to hit it so well and to find it still doing business—at least part way—after a hundred years!"

They scrambled up the bank to the opening of the cavern which made back into the bold rocky shore, finding the interior about twelve feet wide and running back for forty feet, with a height of some twenty feet. It was blackened with smoke in places, and many names were cut in the rock.

"Hard run up the swift chutes to get here," said Uncle Dick, "but I'm glad we made it. This old cave was called the 'Tavern,' even before Lewis and Clark, and all the river men used to stop here. Quite homey, eh?

"We are lucky to have done in a day what it took Lewis and Clark nine hard days to do. They made only nine miles the last day, and found the water 'excessively swift.' Well, so did we; but here we are."

With the swiftness born of many nights in camp together, the four now unpacked the needful articles, not putting up any tent, but spreading it down on the floor of the cave. Their fire lit up the rocks in a wild and picturesque manner as they sat near, cooking and eating their first meal of the actual voyage up the great Missouri.

"They got a deer that day," said Rob, poring over the Journal, "I expect about their first deer."

Rob was turning over the pages on ahead. "Hah!" said he. "The men didn't always take care of the grub; here it says, 'Lyed corn and Grece will be issued, the next day Poark and flour, and the following, Indian meal and Poark, according to this Rotiene till further orders. No Poark will be issued when we have fresh meat on hand!'"

"You listen, now, Jesse. With breakfast bacon at sixty cents a pound, and your appetite, we'll have to go after meat. Get out that throw line of yours and see if we can't hang a catfish by morning. Here's a piece of beef for bait."

Jesse scrambled down the shore and threw out his line, with a rock for sinker, while the others finished making ready the beds.

"Jolly old place," ventured John, "though a little hard for a bed. What you looking at, Rob?"

"I was trying to find if the old Indian images were left, that used to be scratched or painted on the walls. Clark says the voyageurs and Indians were superstitious about this place. I think caves are always spooky places."

Soon they all felt tired and began to unroll the beds. A screech owl made a tremulous, eerie note, but even Jesse only laughed at that.

They had breakfast before the mist was off the water, and before the cooking was begun Jesse called out from below:

"Hey, there! Wait for me! I've got the breakfast right here! Call in the lyed corn and pork. Here's a catfish, four pounds, anyhow!"

"Clean him, Jess," called Rob, "and cut him up small enough to fry."

Jesse did so, and soon the slices were sizzling in the pan.

"Well, anyhow," commented their leader, "though not as good as venison, it's wild game, eh? And our way has always been to live off the country all we could without breaking laws."

"What changes, from then till now!" said Rob. "It was spring and summer when they went up this river, but they killed deer, turkeys, elk, buffalo, antelope, and wild fowl—hundreds—all the time. Now, all that's unlawful."

"And impossible. Yes, they lived as the Indians lived, and they killed game the year round. Now, about all we can do for a while will be to eat the trusty catfish.

"One thing has not changed," their leader added, a little later, "and that is the current along the rock faces. Just above is what Clark called 'The Deavels race ground'—a half mile that will try your motors, Rob. The big keel boat got in all sorts of trouble that day, whirling around, getting on bars, breaking her line and all that. The expedition came near getting into grief—men had to go overboard and steady her, and they were swimming, poling, rowing, and tracking all that day."

Indeed, the great river seemed disposed to show the young travelers that her prowess had not diminished. They had a hard fight that day in more than one fast chute, and twice dragged the propellers on bars which they did not see at all. Uncle Dick used the oars three or four hours that day, and Jesse, the boatman, spread his foresail to gain such added power as was possible. In this way they made very good time, so that by late evening they reached the mouth of the Gasconade, which comes in from the left from the hill country. They got a good camp near the mouth, with abundance of wood. Jesse was so lucky as to take two fine wall-eyed pike, here called jack salmon, on his set line, as well as two catfish. They let the latter go, as they had enough for the day, the wall-eyes proving excellent.

"Now we're beginning to get into deer!" said Rob. "Here George Shannon killed a deer, and Reuben Fields got one the next day. And all the time, as you no doubt remember, we've been meeting canoes coming down from the Omahas and Osages and Pawnees and Kansas, loaded down with furs!"

"I remember perfectly," asserted John, solemnly. "I can see them going by right now! Pretty soon we pick up old man Dorion, coming down from the Sioux, and hire him to go back as an interpreter for us."

"Could catch a lot of catfish and 'jurk' the meat, the way Captain Clark did venison," said Jesse, at length.

According to their usual custom when on the trail, they were off by sunup, the exhaust of the double motors making the wooded shore echo again. They made their third encampment at the mouth of a stream which they took to be that called Good Woman River in the Journal—a name no longer known on their map.

"Whew!" complained Uncle Dick, as he got out and stretched his legs. "This is cramping me as bad as the trenches in the Argonne. You fellows'll 'do me in,' as the British used to say, if I don't look out! How far do you think we've come in the three days, Rob?"

"Let's see. I figure about one hundred and ninety to two hundred miles, that's all! What Lewis and Clark needed was our boat and a few outboard kickers. It took them till June 7th, twenty-three days, to get to this point. We've gained, you might say, three weeks on their time."

"Yes, but they got three bears at this camp, and we've got nothing! We don't dare kill even a squirrel, though I'm sure we could get some sort of game in this rough country not far back." John spoke ruefully.

"Don't kick, John," advised Jesse, sagely. "I'll take care of you. Besides, look at the big help the wind was to-day. Clark says he had only a 'jentle breese' in here."

"Or words to that effect," smiled Rob. "The main thing is, we travel many times faster than they possibly could. Even so, she's a long trail ahead."

"All we know is that we'll get through!" said John. "We always have."

"We're discovering romance," said Uncle Dick. "We're discovering America, too. Jesse, take down your Flag from the bow staff—don't you know the Flag must never be allowed to fly after sunset?"

They were now lying in their blankets in their tent, on a wind-swept point. "I wonder if Captain Clark took down the flag. Now, I wonder——"

But what Jesse wondered was lost, for soon he was asleep.



CHAPTER VII

THE GATE OF THE WEST

Nearly a week had passed since the last recorded camp of the crew of the Adventurer—spent in steady progress across the great and beautiful state of Missouri and its rich bottom lands, its many towns, its farms and timber lands and prairies. Many an exclamation at the wild beauty of some passing scene had been theirs in the constant succession of changing river landscapes.

Their own adventures they had had, too, with snags and sweepers and the dreaded "rolling sands" over which the current boiled and hissed ominously; but the handlers of the boat were well used to bad water on their earlier trips together, in the upper wildernesses of the continent, so they made light of these matters.

"I don't believe that Patrick Gass put down all the bears they got," said Jesse. "Clark says they got a lot, sometimes two a day, and they 'jurked' the meat, the same as vension. Gee! I wish I'd been along!"

Rob smiled. "I expect the hunters had a hard time enough. They had to work through heavy weeds and vines in these bottoms, and if they got back in very far they had to guess where the boat would be. And even Lewis complains of ticks and mosquitoes and heavy going ashore."

"I believe things poisoned Clark worse than they did Lewis, he was so fair skinned," said John. "One of his regular entries all along was, 'Mosquitrs (or musketos or muskeeters) very troublesome.'"

"Poor Clark!" smiled Rob. "What with rubbing 'musquitr' bites and spelling in his daily report, he must have had a hard time. He had another regular entry, too, as you said, Jesse, that about the 'jentle brease.' I don't know how many ways he spelled it, but he seems to have had no confidence at all in his own spelling. Look here: on June 1st he has a 'jentle brease,' and on June 20th a 'jentle breese'; but not content when he got it right, he calls it a 'gentle Breeze' the next time, then drops back to 'gentle breeze' on July 21st. He repeats that on August 12th, the next raising it to 'gentle Breeze'; and then it's a 'gentle breeze,' a 'jentle Breeze,' 'gentle breeze,' and 'gentle Brease'—till he gets perfectly irresponsible, up the river!"

"What a funny man!" snickered Jesse, once more.

"He didn't do it to be funny," said Rob. "Once I asked a kid cow puncher to make a horse pitch some more for me, so I could make a photo of it; and he said, 'Why, I didn't make him pitch—he just done that hisself.' Well, I guess that's how to account for Clark's spelling—he 'just done that hisself.'"

Uncle Dick had not been paying much attention to the boys just then, but was watching the smoke clouds ahead. Passing trains whistled loudly and frequently. The shores became more populated.

"Two miles more and we'll round to full view of Kansas City, young men," said he. "We've crossed the whole and entire state of Missouri, three hundred and ninety miles—from one great city to another great one.

"St. Louis—Kansas City! Each in her day has been the Gate to the West. In 1847, Independence, over to the left, was going back, and even the new boat landing of Westport was within the year to be called Kansas City. Then she was the Gate indeed, and so she has remained through various later sorts of transportation.

"When St. Louis laid down the oar and paddle, Kansas City took up the ox whip. When the railroads came, she was sitting on the job.

"You've seen one old town site of New Franklin, opposite Boonville, halfway across the state; and now I want you to study this great city here, hardly more than threescore years and ten of age—just a man's lifetime. Picture this place as it then was—full of the ox teams going west——"

"Oh, can't we go over the Oregon Trail, too—next year, Uncle Dick?" broke in John.

"Maybe. Don't ask me too many questions too far ahead. Now, think back to the time of Lewis and Clark—not a settlement or a house of a white man above La Charette, and not one here. To them this was just the mouth of the Kansas, or 'Kansau,' River, and little enough could they learn about that river. Look at the big bluffs and the trees. And yonder were the Prairies; and back of them the Plains. No one knew them then.

"As you know, they had been getting more and more game as they approached this place. Now the deer and bears and turkeys fairly thronged. Patrick Gass says, 'I never saw so much sign of game in my life,' and the Journals tell of the abundance of game killed—Clark speaks of the deer killed the day they got here, June 26th, and says, 'I observed a great number of Parrot quetts this evening.' That Carolina parrakeet is mentioned almost all the way across Kansas by the Oregon Trail men, and it used to be thick in middle Illinois. All gone now—gone with many another species of American wild life—gone with the bears and turkeys and deer we didn't see. You couldn't find a parrakeet at the mouth of the 'Kanzas' River to-day, unless you bought it in a bird store, that's sure.

"But think of the giant trees in here, those days—sycamores, cottonwoods, as well as oaks and ash and hickories and elms and mulberries and maples. And the grass tall as a man's waist, and 'leavel,' as they called it. Is it any wonder that Will Clark got worked up over some of the views he saw from high points on the river bends? Those, my boys, were the happy days—oh, I confess, Jesse, many a time I've wished I'd been there my own self!"

"How do you check up on the distances with Clark? How long did it take them to get this far?"

"Just forty-three days, sir," replied Jesse, the youngest of them all, who also had been keeping count.

"Yes—around seven miles a day! We've done seven miles an hour, many a time. Where they took a week we'll take a day, let us say. From here to Mandan, North Dakota, where they wintered, is more than fourteen hundred miles by river, and they took about one hundred and twenty days to it—averaging only nine and a half or ten miles a day of actual travel in that part of the river. Clark fails once or twice to log the day's distance. Gass calls it sixteen hundred and ten miles from the start to Mandan—I make it about fifteen hundred and fifty, with such figures as I find set down. The River Commission call it fourteen hundred and fifty-two. Give us fifty miles a day for thirty days, and that would be fifteen hundred miles—why, we're a couple of hundred miles beyond Mandan right now—on paper!

"But I never saw anything that ran by gas that didn't get its back up sometimes. Suppose we allow a month to get up to Mandan—bringing us there by June 22d—call it June 30th. How'd that do? Do you think we can make it—say forty-odd miles a day—or even thirty?"

"Sure we can!" said Jesse, stoutly.

"Yes—on paper!" repeated Uncle Dick. "Well, there's many a sand bar between here and Mandan, and many a long mile. Lewis and Clark did not get there until October 26th—four months from here. If we allow ourselves one month, we'll only have to go four or five times as fast as they did. I've known a flat bottom 'John boat' do forty miles a day on the Current River of Missouri with only one outboard motor; and that's a six-mile current, good and stiff. Let us not count our chickens just yet, but keep on plugging. I must say Rob is a wizard with the engines, this far, at least.

"And now, if we're done with the arithmetic——"

"We're not," interrupted Jesse. "I've set down the fish I've caught this far, and it's three wall-eyes and twelve catfish. That's fifteen head of game against their thirty, about!"

"Oh! And you want to know, if a boy of your size could catch fifteen head of fish in eight days, how many could we all catch in thirty days? That's getting out of my depth, Jesse! I don't know, but I hope that the gasoline and the catfish both hold out, for they are our main staffs of life just now."

They ran up the left bluff of the river, mile after mile, under the edge of the great town whose chimneys belched black smoke, noting railway train after train, their own impudent little motors making as much noise as the next along the water front. Many a head was turned to catch sight of their curious twin-screw craft, with the flag at its bow, and on the stern the name Adventurer, of America, but Rob paid no attention to this, holding her stiff into the current and heading in answer to Uncle Dick's signals.

At last they lay alongside a little landing to which a houseboat was moored, occupied by a riverman whom Uncle Dick seemed to know.

"How do you do, Johnson," said he, as the man poked his head out of the companionway. "You see we're here."

"And more'n I'd of bet on, at that!" rejoined the other. "I never expected ye could make it up at all. How long ye been—a month or so?"

"A week or so," replied Uncle Dick, carelessly, and not showing his pride in the performance of the party. "You see, we've got double engines and we travel under forced draught, with the stokers stripped to the waist and doing eight shifts a day."

"Like enough, like enough!" laughed Johnson, not crediting their run. "Well, what kin I do fer ye here?"

"Get our tanks filled. Unpack our boat and store the stuff on your boat so it can't be stolen. Overrun our engines and oil her up. Clean out the bilge and make her a sweet ship."

"When?"

"To-day. But we'll not start until to-morrow morning. I've got a few friends to see here, and my Company of Volunteers for Northwestern Discovery will like to look around a little. We'll stop at a hotel to-night. I'm trusting you to have everything ready for us by nine to-morrow morning."

"That's all right," replied Johnson. "I'll not fail ye, and I'll not let anything git losted, neither."

"I know that," said Uncle Dick. "By the way, Johnson, which is the best outfitting store in Westport?"

"As which, sir?"

"In Westport, or say Independence. We could walk down there if we had to. Not so far."

Old Johnson scratched his head. "Go on, Colonel, you're always havin' yer joke. I'm sure I don't know what ye mean by Indypendence, or Westport. But if you want to get uptown, the street cars is four blocks yan. Er maybe ye'd like a taxi?"

"No, nothing that goes by gas, for one day, anyhow, Johnson. Well, see to the things—the crew have got the batteau about unloaded, and it's about time for our mess to go ashore to the cook fire. Sergeant McIntyre, issue the lyed corn with the bear and venison stew to-night, and see that my ink horn and traveling desk are at hand!"

"Yes, sir, very good sir!" returned Rob, gravely. And without a smile the four stalked off up the stair, leaving Johnson to wonder what in the world they meant.



CHAPTER VIII

HO! FOR THE PLATTE!

Uncle Dick excused himself from the party for a time in the evening, having some business to attend to. He left the three boys in their room at a hotel, declaring they all would rather sleep on the houseboat with Johnson.

"It's mighty quiet on this trip," said Jesse.

"Nothing happens?" said Rob, looking up from his maps and the Journal which he had spread on the table. "That's what the explorers thought when they got here! They wanted to start in killing buffalo, but there were no buffalo so close to the river even then. All our hunters got was deer; they lay here a couple of days and got plenty of deer, and did some tanning and 'jurking.' Clark says they took this chance to compare their 'instrimunts,' and also they 'suned their powder and wollen articles.'

"Clark killed a deer below here. Drewyer, one of the best hunters, had a fat bear and a deer, too. And Lewis killed a deer next day, so the party was in 'fine Sperrits.'"

"Oh, so would I be in fine 'sperrits' if I could kill a deer or so," grumbled Jesse. "Now look at us!"

"Well," went on Rob, "look at us, then. See here, what Clark says about it:

"'The Countrey on each Side the river is fine, interspursed with Praries, on which immence herds of Deer is seen. On the banks of the river we observe number of Deer watering and feeding on the young willow, Several killed to-day.... The Praries come within a Short distance of the river on each Side, which contains in addition to Plumbs Raspberries &c, and quantities of wild apples, great numb{rs} of Deer are seen feeding in the young willows and Earbarge on the Banks and on the Sand bars in the river.'"

"I didn't know that deer liked willow leaves," said John.

"I didn't, either, but here it is. And that was June 26th, when the grass was up. I've even known some naturalists to say that deer don't eat grass. We know they do.

"But what we want to get here is the idea that now the expedition was just coming out of the hills and woods into the edge of the Prairies. Across these Prairies and the Plains came big river valleys that led out West toward the Rockies. If all that had been hills and timber, no road ever would have got through. It was the big waterways that made the roads into all the wilderness; we certainly learned that up in the Far North, didn't we?

"So here was their crossroads of the waters, at old Independence, which now is Kansas City. Not much here, but a natural place for the Gate to the West.

"Clark had a good real-estate eye. He says:

"'The Countrey about the mouth of this river is verry fine on each Side as well as north of the Missourie. A high Clift on the upper Side of the Kanses 1/2 a mile up, below the Kanses the hills is about 1-1/2 Miles from the point on the North Side of the Missourie the Hills or high lands is Several Miles back.... The high lands come to the river Kansas on the upper Side at about 1/2 a mile, in full view, & a butifull place for a fort, good landing place.'

"He couldn't spell much, or put in his punctuation marks, but he certainly had a practical eye. And I reckon the first beginnings of the city were right then, for the Journal says, 'Completed a strong redoubt or brestwork from one side to the other, of logs and Bushes Six feet high.' Yes, I suppose that was the first white building here at the Gate.

"It's pretty hard to find any new part of the world to-day. Yonder runs the Kaw, leading to the Santa Fe Trail—and I'll bet there's a thousand motor cars going west right now, a hundred times as many cars each day as there used to be wagons in a year!"

He closed his book for the time. "Maybe that's what Uncle Dick wanted us to get in our heads!" said he.

"Some country!" said Jesse; and both John and Rob agreed.

When their leader returned a little later in the evening, the boys told him what they had been doing.

"Fine!" he said. "Fine! Well, I've just telegraphed home that we're all right and that we're off for the Platte to-morrow, early."

"That's another old road to the Rockies," said Rob.

"One of the greatest—the very greatest, when you leave out boat travel. The Platte Valley led out the men with plows on their wagons, the home makers who stayed West. You see, our young leaders were only pathfinders, not home makers."

"And a jolly good job they had!" said Jesse.

"Yes, and jolly well they did the job, son, as you'll see more and more."

John was running a finger over the crude map which he and Jesse had been making from day to day. "Hah!" said he. "Here's the big Platte Valley coming in, but no big city at the mouth."

"Oh yes, there is," corrected Uncle Dick. "Omaha and Council Bluffs you can call the same as at the mouth of the Platte, for they serve that valley with a new kind of transportation, that of steam, which did not have to stick to the watercourse, but took shorter cuts.

"It's odd, but our explorers seem even then to have heard of a road to Santa Fe. They also say the Kansas River is described as heading 'with the river Del Noird in the black Mountain or ridge which Divides the Waters of the Kansas, Del Nord, & Collarado.' No doubt the early French or the Indians confused the Kaw with the Arkansas.

"Enough! Taps, Sergeant! To bed, all of you," he concluded; and they were willing to turn in.

In the morning early they were at the dock, and were greeted by Johnson, who, sure enough, had the gasoline cans filled and most of the heavy supplies aboard. By eight-thirty they were chugging away again up the water front of the city, their Flag flying, so that many thought it was a government boat of some sort.

Jesse tried to write in his notebook, but did not make much of a success, owing to the trembling of the boat under the double power.

"He always says 'we set out and proceeded on,'" Jesse explained. "I was trying to write how the expedition left the mouth of the Kansas River."

"Look out for 'emence numbers of Deer on the banks,' now," sung out John, who had the Journal on a box top near by. "'They are Skipping in every derection. The party killed 9 Bucks to-day!'"

"But no buffalo yet," said Rob.

"No, not till we get up around Council Bluffs—then we'll begin to get among them."

"And by to-morrow afternoon we'll be where they celebrated their first Fourth of July. It was along in here. They celebrated the day by doing fifteen miles—closing the day by another 'Descharge from our Bow piece' and an extra 'Gill of Whiskey.' I don't call that much of a Fourth!" John seemed disgusted.

"Well, maybe the soldiers didn't, for they had 'Tumers & Felons & the Musquiters were verry bad,'" he went on. "I don't think their grub list was right—too much meat and salt stuff. But from now on they certainly did get plenty of game—all kinds of it, bears, deer, elk, beaver, venison, buffalo, turkeys, geese, grouse, and fish. You see, Jesse, they got some of those 'white catfish' like the last one you caught—a 'channel cat,' I suppose we'd call it. And they ate wild fruit along shore. I think the hunters had better chance than the oarsmen.

"They saw elk sign not far above the Kansas River, but I don't think they got any elk till August 1st. Above there they got into the antelope, which they called 'goat,' and described very carefully. They sent President Jefferson the first antelope ever seen east of the Alleghanies. Then they got into the bighorn sheep, which also were altogether new, and the grizzly bear, which they called the 'white bear.' Oh, they had fun enough from here on north!"

"Yes, and did their work besides, and a lot of it," affirmed Uncle Dick. "But while we are comparing notes we might just as well remember they had some bad storms. I don't like the look of that bank of clouds."

They all noted the heavy ridges of black clouds to the west. The wind changed, coming down the river in squalls which tore up the surface of the water and threw the bow of the boat off its course.

"Steady, Rob! Slow down!" called out Uncle Dick, who had begun to pull the tarpaulin over the cargo. "I can't judge the water in this wind. Look out, all!"

Suddenly there came a jolt and a jar which drove them from their seats. The propellers had struck a sand bar and plowed into it. Caught by the wind, the bow of the boat swung around into the current. Careening, the lower rail went under and the water came pouring in.



CHAPTER IX

SHIPWRECK

"Hold her, boys!" called out Uncle Dick. "Overboard! Hold her up!"

Even as he spoke he had plunged overboard on the upstream side, throwing his weight on the rail. The water caught him nearly waist deep, for the treacherous bar shelved rapidly.

It was not so deep where Rob went in, but Jesse and John, thoughtlessly plunging in on the lower side, were swept under the boat, which all the strength of the other two could not hold back against the combined power of the current and the wind.

Without warning they were cast into an accident which in nine cases out of ten would have meant death to some or all of them.

The boat was filling fast, and the great weight of the outboard motors buried her stern, so she was about to swamp in midstream. Uncle Dick in horror saw the set faces of two of his young friends at the rail beyond him, their legs under the boat, which was swinging on them, their terror showing in their eyes. He made one grasp across the boat, and luckily caught Jesse's hand. Their combined weight held the boat down by the bow, and she swung downstream, half full but not sinking.

"Swim for it, John, as soon as we reach the island!"

The voice of Uncle Dick rose high and clear. A willow-clad island lay below, toward which the boat now was setting. He knew the boys all could swim, and they were all lightly dressed, with canvas sneakers and no coat.

"All right!" replied John, confidently, now getting his legs free. "I can make it." Indeed, it did not seem the boat could carry another pound. Rob was swimming on the upstream side, one hand on the stern. Keeping low in the water, they floated on down in the black squall of wind and rain which now came on them. Their course downstream was very rapid.

"Now, John!" Uncle Dick gave the word, and John, without one instant's hesitation, struck out for the island, now not over forty yards away over the choppy, rain-whipped water. His head was seen bobbing over the waves, but gaining distance. Uncle Dick hardly breathed as he watched.

The boat was lightened a little. Rob took a chance, climbed in over the stern, and, catching up a setting pole, began to reach for bottom on the upstream side. He caught it and, putting in all his strength, swung the bow across stream, repeating again and again, until the boat was not far back of John's bobbing head. Then all at once Uncle Dick gave a shout. His feet had struck bottom on the shelving sand once more. Between them they now could guide and drag the boat till they made a landing, with Jesse on top the cargo, only about fifty yards below where John was headed. They saw him scramble up the bank, lie for an instant half exhausted, and then come running down the shore to them. They all dragged at the water-logged boat until they had her ashore so she would hold.

"And that's that!" panted John, coolly and slangily enough.

Till then no one had spoken. Uncle Dick couldn't speak at first. He only drew Jesse and John to him, one to each arm, wet as they all were, and in the rain now pouring down. "Fine, boys!" said he.

"The closest squeak we've ever had," said Rob, at last. "Right here in the settlements! There's the city of Leavenworth just around the bend."

"Close enough!" said Uncle Dick. "And my compliments to you all, every one. If it had been a lot of chaps less cool and ready, we'd none of us have been saved. Rob, who taught you to paddle on the up side when crossing a current?"

"I learned it of Moise Richard, on the Peace River, sir," replied Rob.

"Right! Most people try to hold her nose against the current by working on the lower side. Upstream is right—and I must say the setting pole saved the day. But, John, you'll never know how I dreaded to tell you to cast free and swim for it. I thought it was safest for you."

"Oh, that's nothing," said John. But at the same time he was very proud of his feat.

They were wet to the skin and the rain was cold, their boat was full of water and their stores wet. At last, surely, they had an adventure on their hands. But they were not downhearted over it at all.

"All hands lay to for camp!" called Uncle Dick.



They began to unload the heavier stuff, so they could cant the boat and spill the bilge water out of her. The tarpaulin was thrown over some willow bushes for a shelter, and under this they piled their grub boxes and dunnage rolls. The beds were all in watertight canvas bags, and so were their spare clothes, so matters might have been worse. The guns could be dried, and the tarpaulin had kept the lighter articles from washing away. In a little while they got the tent up, and then they folded the wet tarpaulin for a floor and hurried their outfit inside, damp but yet not ruined.

"Get some boughs to put inside," suggested their leader. "Get out that little forced-draught oil stove and let's see if we can dry out. It's going to be hard to get a fire on this island in this rain, for there's nothing but willows. They're wet. Get the little stove going and pull shut the flaps. When it gets a little warmer we'll open the bags and change our clothes. And as John would say, that'll be that! But it's only by mercy that we're here. You are right, Rob, this is the most serious accident we have ever had together."

"Let's open a can of soup, and issue an extra gill of tea," said Rob.

They broke into a roar of laughter. Inside of half an hour the little hut was steaming and they all were sitting on boxes eating their evening meal. The storm, which had culminated in a fierce thunder gust, now was muttering itself away.

Jesse went out and brought in the Flag from its staff on the boat. "We'll have to dry her," he said. "She's silk, and fast colors."

"And I think my expeditionary force is all true blue!" added Uncle Dick, quietly.

In the night Jesse waked them all by suddenly crying out in a nightmare. Rob shook him awake.

"What's wrong, old top?" he asked.

"I guess I was scared," admitted Jesse, frankly, and pulled the covers over his head.



CHAPTER X

AT THE PLATTE

On the morning following the storm the sun broke through the clouds with promise of a clear, warm day. Our voyageurs were astir early.

"Take it easy, fellows," counseled the leader. "We've got to 'sun our powder,' as our Journal would say. John, when you set down the day's doings in your own journal, make it simple as William Clark would. It's more manly. Well, here we are."

Rob looked ruefully at the wet willow thicket in which their camp was pitched. "We can get a few dead limbs," he said, "but, wet as things are now, we'd only smoke the stuff and not dry it much."

"Wait for the sun," advised John. And this they found it wise to do, not leaving the island until nearly noon.

"Morale pretty good!" said Uncle Dick. "John, set down, 'Men in verry high sperrits.' And off we go!"

They chugged up directly to the point, as nearly as they could determine, where they had met the disaster of the previous day. "Keep leading a horse up to a newspaper and he'll quit shying at it," said Uncle Dick. "Find the very spot where we struck."

"There she is!" exclaimed Rob, presently. The boat stuck again and began to swing. But this time the setting pole held her bow firm, and, since there was no wind, a strong shove pushed her free without anyone getting overboard. They went on after that with greater confidence than ever, and Jesse began to sing the old canoe song of the voyagers, "En roulant ma boule, roulant!"

They paused at none of the cities and towns now, and only set down the rivers and main features, as they continued their steady journey day after day for all of a week. At the end of that time the increasing shallowness of the river, the many sand bars and the nature of the discolored, rolling waters, made them sure they were approaching the mouth of the great Platte River, which, as they knew, rose far to the west in the Rocky Mountains.

Here they went into a camp and rested for almost a day, bringing up their field notes and maps and getting a good idea of the country by comparing their records with the old journals of the great expedition.

"Bear in mind that, after all, they were not the first," said Uncle Dick. "They had picked up old Dorion, their interpreter, from a canoe away down in Missouri, and brought him back up to help them with the Sioux, where he had lived. Their bowman Cruzatte and several other Frenchmen had spent two years up in here, at the mouth of the Loup. There were a lot of cabins, Indian trading camps, one of them fifty years old, along this part of the river.

"But when they got up this far, they were coming into the Plains. New animals now, before so very long. They really were explorers, for there were no records to help them."

"You say they found new animals now," Rob began. "You mean elk, buffalo?"

"Yes. No antelope yet."

"They made the Loup by July 9th, above the Nodaway," said John, his finger in the Journal. "Two days later they got into game all right, for Drewyer killed six deer that day himself, and another killed one, so they had meat in camp.

"They made the Nemaha by July 14th, and I think that was almost the first time they got sight of elk. Clark fired at one that day, but didn't get him. That was where he first wrote his name and date on a rock—he says the rock 'jucted out over the water.' I think that was near the mouth, on the banks of the Nishnabotna River, but I don't suppose a fellow could find it now, do you?"

"No. It never has been reported, like the two Boone signatures in Kentucky," replied Uncle Dick. "He only wrote his name twice—once up in Montana. But now, think how this new sort of country struck them. Patrick Gass says, 'This is the most open country I ever saw, almost one continued prairie.' What are you writing down, Jesse?"

"'Musquitors verry troublesome,'" grinned Jesse, watching a big one on his wrist. "I'll bet they were awful."

"And the men all had 'tumers and boils,' in spite of their 'verry high sperrits,'" broke in John, from the Journal. "And they gave Alexander Willard a hundred lashes and expelled him from the enlisted roll, for sleeping on sentinel post—which he had coming to him. But all the same, the Journal says that this party was healthier than any party of like size 'in any other Situation.' His main worry was these pesky 'musquitors.' He killed a deer, but they were so bad he found it 'Painfull to continue a Moment Still'!

"Here's something for you, Jesse!" he added, laughing. "One day in a 'fiew minits Cought 3 verry large Cat fish, one nearly white, a quort of Oile came out of the Surpolous fat of one of those fish.' And all the time they are mentioning turkeys and geese and beaver—isn't it funny that all those creatures then lived in the same place? On August 2d, Drewyer and Colter, two of the hunters, brought in the horses loaded with elk meat. But that was just above the Platte, nearer Council Bluffs."

"One thing don't forget," said Uncle Dick at this time. "All that hunting was incidental to those men. About the biggest part of their business was to get in touch with the Indian tribes and make friends with them. You'll see, they stuck around the mouth of the Platte quite a while, sending out word, to get the Indians in. The same day Drewyer and Colter got the elk the men brought in a 'Mr. Fairfong,' an interpreter, who had some Otoes and Missouri Indians. Then there were presents and speeches, and they hung some D.S.O. medals on a half dozen of the chiefs and told them to be good, or the Great Father at Washington would get them.

"Well, that's all right. But what I want you to notice is the camp at Council Bluffs. That wasn't where the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is, but on the opposite side of the river, about twenty-five miles above Omaha—not far from Fort Calhoun. There was no Omaha then. I can remember my own self when Omaha was young. I used to shoot quail on the Elkhorn and the Papilion Creek, just above Omaha, and grand sport there was for quail and grouse and ducks all through that country then.

"But Lewis and Clark had a wide eye. They knew natural points of advantage, and they must have foreseen what the Platte Valley was going to mean before long. They say that Council Bluffs was 'a verry proper place for a Tradeing Establishment and fortification.' Trust them to know the 'verry proper places'! Only, what I can't understand is the note that it is 'twenty-five days from this to Santafee.' That's a puzzler. The natural place of departure for Santa Fe was where Kansas City is, not Omaha. But, surely, they had heard of it, somehow."

"Well," said Rob, "we're doing pretty well, pretty well. In spite of delays, we're at the mouth of the Platte, sixteen days out, and they didn't get there till July 21st. I figure three hundred and sixty-six miles to Kansas City, and two hundred and sixty-six miles to here, say six hundred and thirty-two miles for sixteen days—the river chart says six hundred and thirty-five miles. That keeps us pretty close to our average we set—over forty miles a day. We've got to boost that, though.

"Are we going to stop at Omaha, sir?" he added, rather anxiously.

"Not on anybody's life!" rejoined Uncle Dick. "Nice place, but we're a day late. No, sir, we'll skip through without even a salute to the tribes from our bow piece. We've got to get up among the Sioux. Dorion has been talking all the time about the Sioux. So good-by for the present to the Platte tribes, the Pawnees, Missouris, and Otoes."

"Gee! I'd like to shoot something," said Jesse, wistfully. "Just reading about things, now!"

"Forget it for a while, Jess," smiled his uncle. "Just remember that we're under the eaves of two great cities, here at Plattsmouth. Take comfort in the elk and beaver sign you can imagine in the sand, here at the mouth of this river. It still is six hundred yards wide, with its current 'verry rapid roleing over Sands.'

"Two voyagers of the Lewis and Clark expedition had wintered here before that time, trapping—the beaver were so thick. Imagine yourself not far up the river and shooting at an elk four times, as Will Clark did—then not getting him. Imagine yourself along with that summer fishing party along this little old river, and getting upward of eight hundred fish, seventy-nine pike, and four hundred and ninety cats; and again three hundred and eighteen 'silver fish'—I wonder, now, if that really could have been the croppy? Lord! boy—what a time they had, strolling, hunting, fishing, exploring new lands, visiting Indians, having the time of their lives!"

"Let's be off," suggested Rob. And soon they were plugging along up the great river, threading their way among the countless bars and shoals.

"I can see the full boats coming down the Platte!" said Jesse, shading his eyes, "hide canoes, full of beaver bales, that float light! And there are the voyageurs, all with whiskers and long rifles and knives."

"Yes," said Uncle Dick, gravely. "And here are our men, tall, in uniform coats and buckskin leggings. See now"—and he reached for John's volume—"they let off the deserter, Moses Reed, very light. He only had to run the gantlet of the entire party four times—each man with nine switches—and get dropped from the rolls of the Volunteers!

"And here is where Captain Lewis, experimenting with some strange water he had found—with some cobalt and 'isonglass' in it—got very ill from it. His friend Clark says 'Copperas and Alum is verry pisen.'"

"But when did they first find the buffalo?" demanded Jesse, fingering once more the little rifle which always lay near him in the boat. "Gee! now, I'd like to kill a buffalo!"

"All in due time, all in due time, Jess!" his leader replied. "My, but you are bloodthirsty! Wait now till August 23d, above Sioux City. You are Captain William Clark, with your elk-hide notebook inside your shirt front, and you have gone ashore and have killed a fat buck. And when you get back to the boat J. Fields comes in and says he has killed a buffalo, in the plain ahead; and Lewis takes twelve men and has the buffalo brought to the boat at the next bend; so you just make no fuss over that first buffalo, and set it down in your elk-hide book. And that same day two elk swam across the river ahead of the boat. And that same evening R. Field brought in two deer on a horse, and another deer was shot from the boat; and they all saw elk standing on a sand bar, and several prairie wolves. And the very next day, don't you remember, you saw great herds of buffalo? Oh, now you're in the Plains! Everybody now is 'jurking meat.' What more do you want, son?"

"Aw, now!" said Jesse. "Well, anyway, we're about in town."



CHAPTER XI

AMONG THE SIOUX

"Now we are leaving the Pawnees and passing into the Sioux country!" said Rob.

They were passing under the great railroad bridge which connected Council Bluffs, Iowa, with Omaha, Nebraska. The older member of the party nodded gravely. "And can't you see the long lines of the white-topped covered wagons going west—a lifetime later than Lewis and Clark, when still there was no bridge here at all? Can't you see the Mormons going west, with their little hand carts, and their cows hitched up to wagons with the oxen? Look at the ghosts, Rob! Hit her up. Let's get out of here!"

"She's running fine," Rob went on. "Somehow I think this must be better water, above the Platte. You know, Lewis and Clark only averaged nine miles a day, but along in here for over two hundred miles they were beating that, doing seventeen and one-quarter, twenty and one-quarter, seventeen, twenty-two and one-half, seventeen and one-half, sixteen, seventeen, twenty and one-half, twenty and one-half, fifteen, ten and three-quarters, fifteen, ten—not counting two or three broken days. They seem to have got the hang of the river, somehow."

"So have we," nodded the other. "I'll give you five days to make Sioux City."

As a matter of fact, the stout little ship Adventurer now began to pick up on her own when they had passed that Iowa city, going into camp on the evening of June 4th well above the town. They purchased bread, poultry, eggs, and butter of a near-by farmer, and opened a jar of marmalade for Jesse, to console him for the lack of buffalo.

"It's my birthday, too, to-day," said Jesse. "I was born on the fourth day of June, fourteen years ago. My! it seems an awful long time."

"Well, Captain Meriwether Lewis was not born on this day," said his uncle, "but his birthday was celebrated on this spot by his party, on August 18, 1805, and they celebrated it with a dance, and an 'extra gill of whiskey.'"

"We'll issue an extra gill of marmalade to the men to-night, and conclude our day of hard travel with a 'Descharge of the Bow piece,' just because it's the Fourth of June. We're hitting things off in great style now, and I'm beginning to have more confidence in gasoline."

"What made you want to get to this place, Uncle Dick?" asked John, his own mouth rather full of fried chicken.

"Because of the location—the mouth of the Sioux River, and at the lower edge of the great Sioux nation.

"Lewis and Clark tried to get peace among all these river tribes. They held a big council here, decorating a few more Otoes and Missouris, and telling them to make peace with the Omahas and the Pawnee Loups. The Sioux had not yet been found, though their hunting fires were seen all through here, and Lewis was very anxious to have his interpreter, Dorion, find some Sioux and bring them into council.

"It was at Captain Lewis's birthday party that the first and only casualty of the trip ensued. You remember Sergeant Floyd—he spelled worse than Clark, and Ordway worse than either—and his journal of some twenty thousand words, which he had kept till now? Well, he danced hard at the birthday party or at the Indian council, and got overheated, after which he lay down on the damp sand and got chilled. It gave him what the Journal calls a 'Biliose Chorlick,' and on the second day he died. He was buried on the bluffs below the town, at what still is called Floyd's Bluff, on the river they named after him, with military honors, and his grave long was known. His river still is known by his name, and it runs right into the town of Sioux City. The river washed the bank away under his grave, and in 1857 the remains were reburied, back from the river. That spot was marked by a slab in 1895, and a monument was put over it in May, 1901. I was a guest at the dedication of that obelisk. It was erected under the supervision of General Hiram Chittenden, the great engineer and great historian. It has a city park all of its own, and a marvelous landscape it commands.

"Well, poor Floyd had no memorial in those rude days, beyond a 'seeder post.' They did what they could and then they 'set out under a gentle Breeze and proceeded on.'"

"Well, but Dorion knew this country, then?" John began again, after a time.

"Yes," Rob was first to answer, "and that's what puzzles me—how they got such exact knowledge of a wild region. I suppose it was because they had no railroads and so had to know geography. The Journal says that the Sioux River heads with the St. Peter's (Minnesota) River, passing the head of the Des Moines; all of which is true. And it tells of the Red Pipestone quarry, on a creek coming into the Sioux. Clark puts down all those things and does not forget the local stuff. He says the 'Countrey above the Platte has a great Similarity'—which means the Plains as they saw them. And look, in John's book—here he says 'I found a verry excellent froot resembling the read Current,' What was it—the Sarvice berry? He says it is 'about the Common hight of a wild Plumb.' Nothing escaped these chaps—geography, natural history, game, Indians, or anything else! They must have worked every minute of the day."

"I think his new berry was what we used to call the buffalo berry, in our railway surveys out West," said Uncle Dick. "It was bigger than a currant and made very fair pies.

"But now we've just begun to catch up with our story, for we were talking some time back where they first got a buffalo. That was about thirty or forty miles above here. By to-morrow night we'll camp in our fifth state since we left home—Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota."

"On our way!" sung out Rob. "We haven't got any antelope yet, nor found a prairie dog, nor seen a single Sioux."

"Softly, softly!" smiled the older companion. "At least we're in the Sioux and antelope range."

Their little tent was pitched within a short distance of the river, and their fire made shadows along the wall of willows. At times they all fell silent, bringing to mind the wild scenes of this same country in a time which now began to seem not so long ago.

"My!" said Jesse, after a time, as he sat on his bed roll, his hands clasped before his knees. "Think of it! The Plains, the buffalo, the Indians! Weren't they the lucky guys!"

"Well, yes," replied his uncle, "though I'd rather call them fortunate gentlemen than lucky guys. One thing sure, they were accurate when they said the 'musquitors were verry troublesom' in all this Missouri Valley. They had to issue nets and bars to the men, so it says, and the misquitr, or mosquiter, or musquitor, was about the only 'anamal' they feared. If we don't turn in, they'll carry us off to-night."



CHAPTER XII

THE LOST HUNTER

"It's a long, long way up to the Mandans!" sang John at the second camp above the Council Bluffs. "Wonder if we ever will get there before winter! Here we are, just below the Vermilion, over nine hundred and fifty miles up the river, and over three weeks out, but we're only halfway to the Yellowstone, and still a good deal more than six hundred miles below the Mandan Villages, though I've counted fifty-three towns and cities we've passed in the river, coming this far. It certainly does look as though we'll have to winter up there, sure enough."

"Oh, I don't know," demurred Rob, consulting the pages of his own notebook. "No fellow can ask an outboard motor to do better than ours have. I'll admit we're just inside our forty-mile-a-day stunt, but that's five miles an hour and only eight hours a day. I'll bet they would have been mighty glad to do half that."

"I've been wondering how they were able to spurt so much, north of the Platte," said John.

"I'll bet I know!" broke in Jesse. "It's because the shores were more open, so they could use the cordelle! They'd been doing it, too, for on August 26th they made a new 'Toe line' out of braided elk-hide. Clark killed an elk on August 25th, and Reuben Fields killed five deer that day, and George Shannon killed an elk that day, too. So they 'jurked the meet,' and made the hides into a tracking line. That beats rowing or paddling to get up a river. We saw that on the Peace River and the Mackenzie, didn't we?"

"I believe you're right, son!" said Rob. "These long sandy reaches, where the men could trot on the line—that was where they got their mileage, I'll warrant."

"George Shannon?" said Uncle Dick, who was listening as he sat on his bed roll near the fire. "George Shannon, eh? Well, he didn't bring in any more elk meat after that for many a day, that's sure."

"I know!" Rob nodded. "That's the man that got lost!"

"Yes, and trouble enough it gave the party and the leaders. They sent out two men, Shields and J. Fields, to find him and the horses. That was the second day. But they didn't find him. He didn't show up for sixteen days. Luckily, he kept on ahead of the boat all the time, but, as we all know, the most confusing way on earth to get lost from a party is while you are on foot and the party is in a boat. Even Sir Alexander Mackenzie got lost that way, on the Findlay River; and so have we all of us."

"Well, poor Shannon nearly starved to death. I don't think he was a first-class hunter, either, or he'd not have gone out without his ammunition. In a country swarming with game he went for twelve days with only grapes to eat, except one rabbit that he shot with a piece of stick instead of a bullet. He held on to one horse, and lucky he did. Here's what the Journal says about Shannon—whom Lewis himself found:

"'He became weak and feable deturmined to lay by and wait for a tradeing boat, which is expected. Keeping one horse as a last resorse, yet a man had like to have starved to death in a land of Plenty for the want of Bullits or something to kill his meat.'"

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