Astoria; Or, Anecdotes Of An Enterprise Beyond The Rocky Mountains By Washington Irving




































































































































 -  Every now and then a large body of Ottawas,
Hurons, and other tribes who hunted the countries bordering on
the - Page 6
Astoria; Or, Anecdotes Of An Enterprise Beyond The Rocky Mountains By Washington Irving - Page 6 of 615 - First - Home

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Every Now And Then A Large Body Of Ottawas, Hurons, And Other Tribes Who Hunted The Countries Bordering On The Great Lakes, Would Come Down In A Squadron Of Light Canoes, Laden With Beaver Skins, And Other Spoils Of Their Year's Hunting.

The canoes would be unladen, taken on shore, and their contents disposed in order.

A camp of birch bark would be pitched outside of the town, and a kind of primitive fair opened with that grave ceremonial so dear to the Indians. An audience would be demanded of the governor-general, who would hold the conference with becoming state, seated in an elbow-chair, with the Indians ranged in semicircles before him, seated on the ground, and silently smoking their pipes. Speeches would be made, presents exchanged, and the audience would break up in universal good humor.

Now would ensue a brisk traffic with the merchants, and all Montreal would be alive with naked Indians running from shop to shop, bargaining for arms, kettles, knives, axes, blankets, bright-colored cloths, and other articles of use or fancy; upon all which, says an old French writer, the merchants were sure to clear at least two hundred per cent. There was no money used in this traffic, and, after a time, all payment in spirituous liquors was prohibited, in consequence of the frantic and frightful excesses and bloody brawls which they were apt to occasion.

Their wants and caprices being supplied, they would take leave of the governor, strike their tents, launch their canoes, and ply their way up the Ottawa to the lakes.

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