ページの画像
PDF
ePub

best shots and hunters. Our revolvers seem, however, to be a never failing source of astonishment to them, and they are never tired of examining them. Yesterday, I allowed them to fire two of ours at a mark, at thirty paces. They shot admirably well, putting all the shots within a space of the small mark (size of a half dollar), and hitting it several times. A rainy day.

July 13. To-day has been showery, and the evening still cloudy, and promising more rain during the night. Our eyes are now turned constantly to the opposite side of the valley, down which the road winds by which we expect our companions from Taos.

These days have been the most weary and anxious of my whole life. Sometimes I am almost crazy with thinking constantly on one subject, and the probable disastrous result which this delay may have on my business in California.

“Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage;
The heart that is content will take

These for a hermitage.”

God knows I have done all for the best, and with the best intentions. A great many Indians came into the valley this evening. Ten lodges in all, which, with the fifteen already here, and more on the road, make up a pretty large band. Dick killed an antelope. Last two nights have slept in wet blankets, and expect the same to-night. Last night it rained all night. The Spanish boy has been quite ill for two days past.

July 14. This morning I explored the mountain lying to the north of our camp, forming a picturesque portion of our front view. After ascending the mountain and reaching the summit, I found it a vast plateau of rolling prairie land, covered with the most beautiful grass, and heavily timbered. At some places the growth of timber would be so dense as to render riding through it impossible without great difficulty; while at others it would break into beautiful open glades, leaving spaces of a hundred acres or more of open prairie, with groups of trees, looking precisely as if some wealthy planter had amused himself by planting them expressly to beautify his grounds. Springs were abundant, and small streams intersected the whole plateau. In fact, it was an immense natural park, already stocked with deer and elk, and only requiring a fence to make it an estate for a king. Directly opposite, to the south, is another mountain, in every respect similar, and our valley, more beautiful to me than either, lies between them. In the evening took a long ride on the trail to meet our long-expected companions. I did not meet them, and returned disappointed, worried, and more anxious than ever.

July 15. This has been a great day for our Indian neighbors. Two different bands of the samne tribe have met, and a great contest is going on to prove which has the best horses. They have been at it since the morning, and many a buckskin has changed hands. The horses are all handsome, and run remarkably well. We have had more than fifty races; a surfeit of them, if such a thing as a surfeit of horseracing is possible.

July 16. Here at last. This morning I saddled my mule to go and hunt up our expected companions. I had not gone far before I met about fifty Indians, from whom I could learn nothing of them, and was beginning to despair, when I met a loose mule, and, as I knew it was not one of the Indians', I concluded it must belong to some of our companions. Going on a mile or two farther, I met Felipe, who told me that Heap and the others were just behind. I immediately returned to camp to get dinner ready for them, so that we might go on this evening to the Uncompagre. Here terminates the most unpleasant sixteen days of my life; but for this beautiful country, to look at and explore, I think I should have gone crazy. The time seemed endless to me, but my zealous comrades had not unnecessarily lengthened it, for they had averaged 45 miles a day during the double journey (going and coming), and that through the whole mass of mountains which lie between the Upper Del Norte and the Grand River Fork of the great Colorado (Red River) of the Gulf of California.

Here ends Mr. BEALE's separate journal.

CHAPTER V.

JOURNEY TO THE MORMON SETTLEMENTS NEAR LAS VEGAS DE

SANTA CLARA.

July 17. We were now again united, and freed from the anxiety for each other's safety which had been weighing on ús since the day of our separation. We resumed our journey at sunrise, with the hope of soon overcoming all difficulties. Although the sun rose in a cloudless sky, yet before noon the rain commenced falling in heavy showers. Mr. Beale and myself, having much to relate to each other, rode several miles ahead of the men.

We descended to the plain at the foot of the Sahwatch mountains by the same trail over which we had already twice travelled, and which was now familiar to us. On approaching the Uncompagre, we travelled parallel with its course towards Grand River, keeping on the trail of the two men sent ahead the day before with the hides to construct the boat. At noon, we noticed two recumbent figures on a distant butte, with horses standing near them; when we had approached within a mile they sprang to their saddles and galloped towards us at full speed. They were Utah Indians, on a scout, and evinced no fear of us, but, approaching, frankly offered us their hands. We conversed with them partly by signs and partly by means of the few Utah words which we had picked up, and their scanty knowledge of Spanish, which extended only to the names of a few objects and animals. They told us that large numbers of their tribe were encamped a few miles below, on the Uncompagre, and, bidding them farewell, we went on to meet our train.

Soon after parting with them, we saw on the hill-sides and river bottom, a vast number of gayly-colored lodges, and numerous bands of Indians arriving from the northward. Upon approaching, we were received by a number of the oldest men, who invited us to ascend a low, but steep hill, where most of the chiefs were seated. From this point we had a view of an animated and interesting scene. On every side fresh bands of Indians were pouring in, and the women were kept busy in erecting their lodges in the bottom near the Uncompagre, as well as on the higher land nearer to us. Horses harnessed to lodge poles, on which were packed their various property, and in many cases their children, were arriving, and large bands of loose horses and mules were being driven to the river side to drink or to pasture. Squaws were going to the stream for water, whilst others were returning with their osier jars filled, and poised on their heads. Some of the young men were galloping around on their high-mettled horses, and others, stretched lazily on the grass, were patiently waiting until their better halves had completed the construction of their lodges, and announced that the evening meal was prepared. All the males, from the old man to the stripling of four years, were armed with bows and arrows, and most of the men had serviceable rifles. We almost fancied that we had before us a predatory tribe of Scythians or Numidians, so similar are these Indians in their dress, accoutrements, and habits, to what we have learned of those people.

An old chief, who, we were told, was one of their great men, addressed us a discourse, which very soon went beyond the limits of our knowledge of the Utah tongue, but we listened to it with the appearance of not only understanding the subject, but also of being highly interested with it. Our men, with Felipe Archilete, the guide and interpreter, were many miles in the rear, and we waited until their arrival, for Mr. Beale wished to take advantage of this opportunity to have a conversation with these chiefs, two of whom were the highest in the nation.

When Felipe came up, Mr. Beale and the capitanos, as they styled themselves, engaged in a long “talk.” Mr. Beale told them that many Americans would be soon passing through their country on their way to the Mormon settlements and California, with wagons and herds, and that, if they treated the whites well, either by aiding them when in difficulty, guiding them through the mountains, and across the rivers, or by furnishing them with food when they needed it, they would always be amply rewarded. They appeared much gratified to hear this,

and by way, no doubt, of testing whether his practice coincided with his preaching, intimated that they would be well pleased to receive, then, some of the presents of which he spoke; remarking, that as we had passed through their country, used their pasturage, lived among their people, and had even been fed by them, it was but proper that some small return should be made for so many favors. This was an argument which Mr. Beale had not foreseen; but having no presents to give them, he explained how it was; that, having lost everything we possessed in Grand River, it was out of his power to gratify them. This explanation did not appear at all satisfactory, nor did they seem altogether to credit him. They were very covetous of our rifles, but we could not, of course, part with them. The old chief became taciturn and sulky, and glanced towards us occasionally with a malignant expression.

We took no notice of his ill-temper, but lit our pipes and passed them around. In the meanwhile, our men had, in accordance with Mr. Beale's directions, proceeded to Grand River, where they were to seek for Wagner and Galliego, and encamp with them. Felipe, whose quick and restless eye was always on the watch, dropped us a hint, in a few words, that it was becoming unsafe to remain longer in the midst of these savages, for he had noticed symptoms of very unfriendly feelings.

We were seated in a semicircle on the brow of a steep hill, and a large crowd had collected around us. Rising without exhibiting any haste, we adjusted our saddles, relit our pipes, and shaking hands with the chiefs who were nearest to us, mounted and rode slowly down the hill, followed by a large number of Utahs, who, upon our rising to leave them, had sprung to their saddles. The older men remained seated, and our escort consisted almost entirely of young warriors. They galloped around us in every direction; occasionally, a squad of four or five would charge upon us at full speed, reining up suddenly, barely avoiding riding over us and our mules. They did this to try our mettle, but as we took little notice of them, and affected perfect unconcern, they finally desisted from their dangerous sport. At one time, the conduct of a young chief, the son of El Capitan Grande, was near occasioning serious consequences. He charged upon Felipe with a savage yell, every feature apparently distorted with rage; his horse struck Felipe's

« 前へ次へ »