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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For February 11:
Captain Lewis (current)
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The party that were ordered last evening set out early this morning. The weather was fair and cold. Wind N.W. About five o'clock this evening, one of the wives of Charbonneau was delivered of a fine boy. It is worthy of remark that this was the first child which this woman had born, and as is common in such cases her labor was tedious and the pain violent. Mr. Jussome informed me that he had frequently administered a small portion of the rattle of the rattlesnake, which he assured me had never failed to produce the desired effect - that of hastening the birth of the child. Having the rattle of a snake by me, I gave it to him, and he administered two rings of it to the woman, broken in small pieces with the fingers, and added to a small quantity of water. Whether this medicine was truly the cause or not, I shall not undertake to determine. But I was informed that she had not taken it more than ten minutes, before she brought forth. Perhaps this remedy may be worthy of future experiments, but I must confess that I want faith as to its efficacy.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.