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THE CAPTAIN A MEDICINE MAN. 267

resided much among them, and had repeated opportunities of ascertaining their real character, invariably speaks of them as kind and hospitable, scrupulously honest, and remarkable, above all other Indians that he had met with, for a strong feeling of religion. In fact, so enthusiastic is he in their praise, that he pronounces them, all ignorant and barbarous as they are by their condition, one of the purest-hearted people on the face of the earth.

Some cures which Captain Bonneville had effected in simple cases among the Upper Nez Percés, had reached the ears of their cousins here, and gained for him the reputation of a great medicine man. He had not been long in the village, therefore, before his lodge began to be the resort of the sick and the infirm. The captain felt the value of the reputation thus accidentally and cheaply

268 THE CAPTAIN A MEDICINE MAN.

acquired, and endeavoured to sustain it. As he had arrived at that age when every man is, experimentally, something of a physician, he was enabled to turn to advantage the little knowledge in the healing art, which he had casually picked up; and was sufficiently successful in two or three cases, to convince the simple Indians that report had not exaggerated his medical talents.

The only patient that effectually baffled his skill, or rather discouraged any attempt at relief, was an antiquated squaw with a churchyard cough, and one leg in the grave; it being shrunk and rendered useless by a rheumatic affection. This was a case beyond his mark; however, he comforted the old woman with a promise that he would endeavour to procure something to relieve her, at the fort on the Wallah-Wallah, and would bring it on his return; with which assurance

INDIAN GENEROSITY.

269

her husband was so well satisfied, that he presented the captain with a colt, to be killed as provisions for the journey: a medical fee which was thankfully accepted.

While among these Indians, Captain Bonneville unexpectedly found an owner for the horse which he had purchased from a Root Digger at the Big Wyer. The Indian satisfactorily proved that the horse had been stolen from him some time previous, by some unknown thief.

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66 However," said the considerate savage, you got him in fair trade-you are more in want of horses than I am: keep him; he is yours-he is a good horse; use him well."

Thus, in the continual experience of acts of kindness and generosity, which his destitute condition did not allow him to reciprocate, Captain Bonneville passed some short

270

INDIAN GENEROSITY.

time among these good people, more and more

impressed with the general excellence of their character.

THE WAY-LEE-WAY.

271

CHAPTER XVI.

SCENERY OF THE WAY-LEE-WAY-A SUBSTITUTE FOR TOBACCO-SUBLIME SCENERY OF SNAKE RIVER-THE GARRULOUS OLD CHIEF AND HIS COUSIN A NEZ PERCE MEETING A STOLEN SKIN THE SCAPEGOAT DOG-MYSTERIOUS CONFERENCES-THE LITTLE CHIEF -HIS HOSPITALITY-THE CAPTAIN'S ACCOUNT OF THE UNITED STATES-HIS HEALING SKILL.

In resuming his journey, Captain Bonneville was conducted by the same Nez Percé guide, whose knowledge of the country was important in choosing the routes and resting-places. He also continued to be accompanied by the worthy old chief with the hard name, who seemed bent upon doing the honours of the country,

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