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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For April 28:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning early, Yellept brought a very elegant white horse to our camp and presented him to Captain Clark, signifying his wish to get a kettle, but, on being informed that we had already disposed of every kettle we could possibly spare, he said he was content with whatever he thought proper to give him. Captain Clark gave him his sword, for which he had expressed a great desire, a hundred balls and powder, and some small articles, with which he appeared perfectly satisfied.
It was necessary before we entered on our route through the plains, where we were to meet with no lodges or resident Indians, that we should lay in a stock of provision and not depend altogether on the gun.
We directed Frazer, to whom we have entrusted the duty of making those purchases, to lay in as many fat dogs as he could procure. He soon obtained ten.
Being anxious to depart, we requested the chief to furnish us with canoes to pass the river, but he insisted on our remaining with him this day at least, that he would be much pleased if we would consent to remain two or three, but he would not let us have canoes to leave him today. That he had sent for the Chymnappos, his neighbors, to come down and join his people this evening and dance for us.
We urged the necessity of our going on immediately in order that we might the sooner return to them with the articles which they wished, but this had no effect. He said that the time he asked could not make any considerable difference. I at length urged that there was no wind blowing and that the river was consequently in good order to pass our horses; and, if he would furnish us with canoes for that purpose, we would remain all night at our present encampment. To this proposition he assented, and soon produced us a couple of canoes by means of which we passed our horses over the river safely, and hobbled them as usual.
We found a Shoshone woman, prisoner among these people, by means of whom and Sacagawea we found the means of conversing with the Wallawallas. We conversed with them for several hours and fully satisfied all their inquiries with respect to ourselves and the objects of our pursuit. They were much pleased.
They brought several diseased persons to us for whom they requested some medical aid. One had his knee contracted by the rheumatism, another with a broken arm, &c., to all of which we administered, much to the gratification of those poor wretches.
We gave them some eye-water, which I believe will render them more essential service than any other article in the medical way which we had it in our power to bestow on them. Captain Clark splinted the arm of the man which was broke. Sore eyes seem to be a universal complaint among these people. I have no doubt but the fine sand of these plains and river fishing on the waters, too contribute much to this disorder. Ulcers and eruptions of the skin on various parts of the body are also common diseases among them.
A little before sunset, the Chymnappos arrived. They were about 100 men and a few women. They joined the Wallawallas, who were about the same number, and formed a half circle around our camp, where they waited very patiently to see our party dance. The fiddle was played and the men amused themselves with dancing about an hour. We then requested the Indians to dance, which they very cheer fully complied with. They continued their dance until ten at night.
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.