All was dark around us, except in the direction of the roaring fire, which, flickering to the passing breeze, made the scene of our late encampment look dismal enough. One which, were we to live a thousand years, would ever be a yesterday to us, so deeply and painfully was it engraven upon the tablets of our memo- ries! You would have her the closest of kin—eh! But our second meeting — an additional debt of gratitude for deliverance from slavery—has done the work; and I now feel I can love none but Prairie Flower. In all that he whites there seems to be an irresistible charm, holding the reader spellbound from the begin- ning to the end. You must not go to-day! Troth, and was he living, I'd go to the ind of the world and jump off jist to plase him, and so I would. It might be he fancied the Frenchman of equal grade with him- self, and was jealous of his supplanting him in my favor, and this seemed the most probable of the three suggested causes.
We turned to reconnoiter; but not a sign of a living thing could we see save our horses, which stood with ears erect, trembling and snorting, as if conscious of a hidden foe. Some times he traps on his own account—alone, or with two or three associates—and sometimes for a company. In answer to my inquiries concerning Prairie Flower and her tribe, he said he had not met with any of them since the battle of Bitter Cottonwood; but that he had heard of their being in this part of the country quite recently, and was inclined to believe them somewhere in the neigh borhood of Taos at the present time. He haats the wather there, now, to coax saints to dhrink tae wid him, the spalpeen! He farther said, that if in truth I had a sister and mother living, I had better perhaps seek them out, and should they recognize and claim me, I could then do as I saw proper, either cling to them or my tribe; that although I had been reared for the most part among Indians, and had adopted their habits and customs, still I was not of their race—not of their blood—and he could therefore see nothing unnatural or improper in my desiring to form acquaintance with my own kin. Thus we mutely sat, for an hour or more, when Huntly broke the silence. It is enough to bear it when it comes. He had a beautiful daughter, to whom a descendent of the Aztecs paid court; but neither the father nor the daughter fancied him, and his suit was rejected.
Go, Francis, and God's blessing and mine attend you! About noon of the third day from leaving Fort Bois, we came upon some half a dozen fine-looking springs, when Teddy declared he must quench his thirst. H was gratified the second morning with a glance at the sun as it rose bright and glorious in the east. . To me this matter is of the gravest importance. Huntly was on the point of interrogating me farther, but perceiving by a sign from Lilian that the latter wished to see me alone, she made some excuse, and went into an adjoining apartment. A Tale of Love and Passion.
In fact, I will give you the outline of my story, and anon will fill it with detail. They are now in Oregon City. I am going to have you along, and if I don't make you laugh, why, I will turn in and cry myself. Near the summit of the ridge we came upon a fine spring, and an abundance of grass. But at last one after another got satisfied, and slunk away, licking his chaps. In a few minutes everything was settled, when each departed to make preparations for an early start on the morrow.
He was naturally but little given to despondency; and when in company with myself or another, ever strove to be cheerful, that he might not cause us the pain of sympathy. About three miles further on we overtook Teddy, whose running ardor had cooled down to a quiet walk. Even the abusive language of the excited Irishman did not appear to disturb his equanim- ity in the least. For a considerable distance above the plain it was well timbered ; then came a long stretch of green grass ; then a long barren spot ; and then commenced the snow and ice, which rose far beyond the ordinary height of the clouds; the whole combined, forming a spectacle of which the pen can convey no adequate idea. But a thorough rubbing down, and an hour or two of rest revived them; and we at last had the satisfaction of seeing them crop the plentiful blade with their wonted gusto. This bluff, which is the bank of the stream at Oregon City, varies from twenty to eighty feet in height, and, running back, forms the level upon which the town was then just beginning to be laid out.
Somebody gin me a chaw. Leighton, don't be standing there looking so sober! This river, which takes its rise in the very heart of the mountain range to which it gives name, presents the curious phenomenon of a stream running adverse ways, and nearly parallel to itself, for a distance of from one to two hundred miles. I shall be ver moche delight, I certainment assure you. Did you never feel thus, reader? For two days after reaching the valley, our search proved fruitless, and the reader can better imagine my feelings than I can describe them. Here we encamped for the night, during which I slept soundly. Having secured a few plugs of the desired article, we both mounted and returned to the savages, among whom I made an immediate distribution.
He did so, and the result proved highly beneficial ; so much so that he was able to use it sooner than I expected. I could love her like darnation, jest for that! While watering the animals, I heard a distant rustling of the bushes and the tramp of more horses. However, we reached the covert unharmed, and for the time considered ourselves safe. At length Prairie Flower reappeared, and with her three Indian maidens, all weeping and seeming very much dejected. Why, I've seed Ben afore now, when his meat bag war right smart empty, chaw up half a buffler, all wet down with about two gallon o' whisky, and then swear till all the trees round him 'ud git the ager, that ef he didn't git somethin to eat soon, he'd hef to go a wolfin with starvation.
During the latter part of the journey, my feelings be- came very sad. It was in fact a delightful day, a delightful season of the year, and a delightful scene upon which I gazed, with feelings, alas! Eager to arrive at Fort Hall, we again pushed ahead on the succeeding day, and following up the Columbia, reached Fort Walla-Walla on the third from our quitting the Dalles, without any events worthy of particular note. As every mountaineer considers this his prerogative, I did not interfere ; but ordering Teddy to assist me, we cut the lariats and led our horses back into the darkness, for fear of another attack, in which we might come out second best. The herd, thundering on in our rear, was so numerous and broad, that an attempt to ride out of its way, by turning to the right or left, could not be thought of — as the velocity of the animals would be certain to bring a wing upon us, ere we could clear their lines. Our rapid and tumultuous approach alarmed our friends, and men, women, and children came running out of their huts, with fear depicted on their faces. He next proceeded to Teddy, and each in turn followed his example. In this journey she only saw a change of life and scene— which, if truth must be told, she rather regretted than rejoiced at — and a sad parting from her Indian friends.
For the rest of the day our progress was by no means slow, though the traveling at times most execrable. It is unnecessary for me to detail each day's journey. Huntly, hearing another voice, reappeared, and my tete-a-tete with Lilian was for the present broken off. Mingling with all classes, I at once proceeded to make inquiries regarding the present whereabouts of the Great Medicine Tribe, and also if any had seen or heard of a certain young man giving a full description of Huntly being taken prisoner by the Indians or Mexicans. I did so, and in a few minutes they came up laughing.