But Under All These Disadvantages, Their Canoes,
Which One Would Suppose To Be The Work Of Years, Are Made In
A few weeks.
A canoe, however, is very highly prized, being in traffic an article
of the greatest value except
A wife, and of equal value with her;
so that a lover generally gives a canoe to the father in exchange
for his daughter. . . .
"The harmony of their private life is secured by their ignorance
of spirituous liquors, the earliest and most dreadful present
which civilization has given to the other natives of the continent.
Although they have had so much intercourse with whites, they do
not appear to possess any knowledge of those dangerous luxuries;
at least they have never inquired after them, which they probably
would have done if once liquors bad been introduced among them.
Indeed, we have not observed any liquor of intoxicating quality among
these or any Indians west of the Rocky Mountains, the universal
beverage being pure water. They, however, sometimes almost intoxicate
themselves by smoking tobacco, of which they are excessively fond,
and the pleasures of which they prolong as much as possible, by retaining
vast quantities at a time, till after circulating through the lungs
and stomach it issues in volumes from the mouth and nostrils."
A long period of quiet prevailed in camp after the first of February,
before the final preparations for departure were made.
Parties were sent out every day to hunt, and the campers were
able to command a few days' supply of provision in advance.
The flesh of the deer was now very lean and poor,
but that of the elk was growing better and better.
It was estimated by one of the party that they killed,
between December 1, 1805, and March 20, 1806, elk to
the number of one hundred and thirty-one, and twenty deer.
Some of this meat they smoked for its better preservation,
but most of it was eaten fresh.
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