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232

VALLEY OF THE IMMAHAH.

tomed range of that pacific and hospitable

tribe.

The prospect of a supply of food stimulated them to new exertion, and they continued on as fast as the enfeebled state of themselves and their steeds would permit. At length, one of the men, more exhausted than the rest, threw himself upon the grass, and declared he could go no further. It was in vain to attempt to rouse him; his spirit had given out, and his replies only showed the dogged apathy of despair. His companions, therefore, encamped on the spot, kindled a blazing fire, and searched about for roots with which to strengthen and revive him.

They all then made a starveling repast; but gathering round the fire, talked over past dangers and troubles, soothed themselves with the persuasion that all were now at an end, and

VALLEY OF THE IMMAHAH.

233

went to sleep with the comforting hope that

the morrow would bring them into plentiful

quarters.

234

VALLEY OF THE IMMAHAH.

CHAPTER XIV.

PROGRESS IN THE VALLEY-AN INDIAN CAVALIER-THE CAPTAIN FALLS INTO A LETHARGY-A NEZ PERCE PATRIARCH-HOSPITABLE TREATMENT-THE BALD HEAD-BARGAINING-VALUE OF AN OLD PLAID CLOAK-THE FAMILY HORSE-THE COST OF AN INDIAN PRESENT.

A TRANQUIL night's rest had sufficiently restored the broken-down traveller, to enable him to resume his wayfaring; and all hands set forward on the Indian trail. With all their eagerness to arrive within reach of succour, such was their feeble and emaciated condition, that they advanced but slowly. Nor is it a

A. CAUTIOUS CAVALIER.

235

matter of surprise that they should almost have lost heart, as well as strength.

It was now, the 16th of February, fifty-three days that they had been travelling in the midst of winter; exposed to all kinds of privations and hardships: and for the last twenty days, they had been entangled in the wild and desolate labyrinths of the snowy mountains; climbing and descending icy precipices; and nearly starved with cold and hunger.

All the morning they continued following the Indian trail, without seeing a human being; and were beginning to be discouraged, when, about noon, they discovered a horseman at a distance. He was coming directly towards them; but on discovering them, suddenly reined up his steed, came to a halt, and, after reconnoitring them for a time with great earnestness, seemed about to make a cautious retreat.

236

A CAUTIOUS CAVALIER.

They eagerly made signs of peace, and endeavoured, with the utmost anxiety, to induce him to approach. He remained for some time in doubt; but at length, having satisfied himself that they were not enemies, came galloping up to them.

He was a fine, haughty-looking savage, fancifully decorated, and mounted on a high-mettled steed with gaudy trappings and equipments. It was evident that he was a warrior of some consequence among his tribe. His whole deportment had something in it of barbaric dignity: he felt, perhaps, his temporary superiority in personal array, and in the spirit of his steed, to the poor, ragged, travel-worn trappers, and their half-starved horses.

Approaching them with an air of protection, he gave them his hand, and, in the Nez Percé language, invited them to his camp, which was only a few miles distant; where he had plenty

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