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killed by Lewis, they set their traps at night, and took them up early in the morning, remaining concealed during the day.
They were examining their traps early one morning, in a creek about six miles from that branch of the Missouri called Jefferson's Fork, and were ascending in a canoe, when they suddenly heard a great noise, resembling the trampling of animals ; but they could not ascertain the fact, as the high perpendicular banks on each side of the river impeded their view. Colter immediately pronounced it to be occasioned by Indians, and advised an instant retreat, but was accused of cowardice by Potts, who insisted that the noise was caused by buffaloes, and they proceeded on.
In a few minutes afterwards their doubts were removed, by a party of Indians making their appearance on both sides of the creek, to the amount of five or six hundred, who beckoned them to come ashore. As retreat was now im. possible, Colter turned the head of the canoe; and, at the moment of its touching, an Indian seized the rifle belonging to Potts; but Colter, who is a remarkably strong man, immediately retook it, and handed it to Potts, who remained in the canoe, and, on receiving it, pushed off, into the river. He had scarcely quitted the shore, when an arrow was shot at him, and he cried out, “Colter, I am wounded !" Colter remonstrated with him on the folly of attempting to escape, and urged him to come ashore. Instead of complying, he instantly levelled his rifle at the Indian, and shot him dead on the spot.
This conduct, situated as he was, may appear to have been an act of madness, but it was doubtless the effect of sudden but sound reasoning ; for, if taken alive, he must have expected to be tortured to death, according to their cus
He was instantly pierced with arrows so numerous, that, to use Colter's words," he was made a riddle of.” They now seized Colter, stripped him entirely naked, and began to consult on the manner in which he should be put to death. They were at first inclined to set him up as a mark to shoot at, but the chief interfered, and seizing him by the shoulder, asked him if he could run fast.
Colter, who had been some time amongst the Kee-katso or Crow Indians, had in a considerable degree acquired the Blackfoot language, and was also well acquainted with Indian customs; he knew that he had now to run for his life, with the dreadful odds of five or six hundred against him,
and those, armed Indians; he therefore cunningly replied, that he was a very bad runner, although he was considered by the hunters as remarkably swift. The chief now commanded the party to remain stationary, and led Colter out on the prairie three or four hundred yards, and released him, bidding him save himself if he could. At this instant the horrid war-whoop sounded in the ears of poor Colter, who, urged with the hope of preserving life, ran with a speed at which himself was surprised.
He proceeded towards the Jefferson Fork, having to traverse a plain six miles in breadth, abounding with the prickly pear, on which he was every instant treading with his naked feet. He ran nearly half way across the plain before he ventured to look over his shoulder, when he perceived that the Indians were very much scattered, and that he had gained ground to a considerable distance from the main body; but one Indian, who carried a spear, was much before all the rest, and not more than one hundred yards from him.
A faint gleam of hope now cheered the heart of Colter; he derived confidence from the belief that escape was within the bounds of possibility; but that confidence was nearly fatal to him ; for he exerted himself to such a degree, that the blood gushed from his nostrils, and soon almost covered the fore part of his body. He had now arrived within a mile of the river, when he distinctly heard the appalling sound of footsteps behind him, and every instant expected to feel the spear of his pursuer. Again he turned his head, and saw the savage not twenty yards from him.
Determined, if possible, to avoid the expected blow, he suddenly stopped, turned round, and spread out his arms. The Indian, surprised by the suddenness of the action, and perhaps by the bloody appearance of Colter, also attempted to stop,—but, exhausted with running, he fell whilst endeavoring to throw his spear, which stuck in the ground, and broke. Colter instantly snatched up the pointed part, with which he pinned him to the earth, and then continued his flight. The foremost of the Indians, on arriving at the place, stopped till others came up to join them, when they set up a hideous yell. Every moment of this time was improved by Colter ; who, although fainting and exhausted, succeeded in gaining the skirting of the Cotton-tree wood, on the borders of the Fork, through which he ran and plunged into the river.
Fortunately for him, a little below this place was an island, against the upper part of which a raft of drift timber had lodged. He dived under the raft, and, after several efforts, got his head above water amongst the trunks of trees, covered over with smaller wood to the depth of several feet. Scarcely had he secured himself, when the Indians arrived on the river, screeching and yelling, as Colter expressed it, “ like so many devils.” They were frequently on the raft during the day, and were seen through the chinks by Colter, who was congratulating himself on his escape, until the idea arose that they might set the raft on fire. In horrible suspense he remained until night, when, hearing no more of the Indians, he dived under the raft, and swam silently down the river to a considerable distance, where he landed, and travelled all night.
Although happy in having escaped from the Indians, his situation was still dreadful; he was completely naked, under a burning sun—the soles of his feet were entirely filled with the thorns of the prickly pear-he was hungry, and had no means of killing game, although he saw abundance around him—and was at least seven days' journey from Lisa's Fort, on the Big-horn branch of the Yellow-Stone river. These were circumstances under which almost any man but an American hunter would have despaired. In seven days, however, during which he subsisted upon a root much esteemed by the Indians of the Missouri, he arrived at the Fort.
The discontented pendulum.-JANE Taylor.
An old clock that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen, without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped. Upon this, the dial-plate, (if we may credit the fable,) changed countenance with alarm ; the hands made a vain effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise; the weights hung speechless ; each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others. At length the dial instituted a formal inquiry as to the cause of the stagnation, when hands, wheels, weights, with one voice protested their innocence.
But now a faint tick was heard below from the pendulum, who thus spoke :- -“ I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage; and I am willing, for the generai satisfaction, to assign my reasons.
The truth is, that I am tired of ticking." Upon hearing this, the old clock became so enraged, that it was on the very point of striking.
" Lazy wire !” exclaimed the dial-plate, holding up its hands. Very good !” replied the pendulum, “it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as every body knows, set yourself up above me,—it is vastly easy for you,
say, to accuse other people of laziness ! You, who have had nothing to do all the days of your life, but to stare people in the face, and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen ! Think, I beseech you, how you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet, and to wag backwards and forwards, year after year,
as I do."
“ As to that,” said the dial, “ is there not a window in your house, on purpose
for you to look through ?”—".For all that,” resumed the pendulum, " it is very dark here; and although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out at it. Besides, I am really tired of my way of life; and if you wish, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. I happened this morning to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course of only the next twenty-four hours; perhaps some of you, above there, can give me the exact sum.”
The minute-hand, being quick at figures, presently replied, Eighty-six thousand four hundred times.' “ Exactly so,” replied the pendulum ; " well, I appeal to you all, if the very thought of this was not enough to fatigue one ; and when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it is no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect; so, after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thinks I to myself, I'll stop.”
The dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue ; but resuming its gravity, thus replied: “Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really astonished that such a useful industrious person as yourself, should have been overcome by this sudden action. It is true, you have done a great deal of work in your time; so have we all, and are likely to do; which, although it may fatigue us to think of, the question is, whether it will fatigue us to do. Would you now do me the favor to give about half a dozen strokes to illustrate my argument ?"
The pendulum complied, and ticked six times in its usual pace. Now," resumed the dial, “may I be allowed to inquire, if that exertion was at all fatiguing or disagreeable to
“Not in the least,” replied the pendulum, “it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions." “Very good," replied the dial; “but recollect, that though you may think of a million strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one ; and that, however often
you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing in.”
That consideration staggers me, I confess," said the pendulum. “Then I hope,” resumed the dialplate, “we shall all immediately return to our duty; for the maids will lie in bed if we stand idling thus."
Upon this, the weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed; when, as with one consent, the wheels began to turn, the hands began to move, the pendulum began to swing, and, to its credit, ticked as loud as ever ; while a red beam of the rising sun that streamed through a hole in the kitchen, shining full upon the dial-plate, it brightened up, as if nothing had been the matter.
When the farmer came down to breakfast that morning, upon looking at the clock, he declared that his watch had gained half an hour in the night.
A celebrated modern writer says,
“ Take care of the min. utes, and the hours will take care of themselves.” This is an admirable remark, and might be very seasonably recollected when we begin to be “weary in well-doing;" from the thought of having much to do. The present moment is all we have to do with, in any sense ; the past is irrecoverable ; the future is uncertain ; nor is it'fair to burden one moment with the weight of the next. Sufficient unto the moment is the trouble thereof. If we had to walk a hundred miles, we should still have to set but one step at a time, and this process continued, would infallibly bring us to our journey's end. Fatigue generaliy begins, and is always increased, by calculating in a minute the exertion of hours.
Thus, in looking forward to future life, let us recollect that we have not to sustain all its toil, to endure all its sufferings, or encounter all its crosses, at once.
One moment comes laden with its own little burdens, then flies, and is succeeded by another no heavier than the last :-if one could be borne, so can another and another.