Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/75

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45
AUDUBON

Lucy and my boy made me care little what my journey might be. Unfortunately I had no shoes, and my moccasins constantly slipping made the wading extremely irksome; notwithstanding, I walked forty-five miles and swam the Muddy River. I only saw two cabins that day, but I had great pleasure in viewing herds of Deer crossing the prairie, like myself ankle deep in water. Their beautiful movements, their, tails spread to the breeze, were perceivable for many miles. A mound covered with trees through which a light shone, gave me an appetite, and I made for it. I was welcomed kindly by the woman of the house, and while the lads inspected my fine double-barrelled gun, the daughters bustled about, ground coffee, fried venison, boiled some eggs, and made me feel at once at home.

"Such hospitality is from the heart, and when the squatter came in, his welcome was not less genuine than that of his family. Night fell; I slept soundly on some bearskins, but long before day was ready to march. My hostess was on the alert; after some breakfast she gave me a small loaf and some venison in a clean rag, and as no money would be received, I gave the lads a flask of gunpowder, a valuable article in those days to a squatter.

"My way lay through woods, and many small crossroads now puzzled me, but I walked on, and must have travelled another forty-five miles. I met a party of Osage Indians encamped, and asked in French to stay with them. They understood me, and before long I had my supper of boiled bear's-fat and pecan-nuts, of which I ate heartily, then lay down with my feet to the fire, and slept so soundly that when I awoke my astonishment was great to find all the Indians had gone hunting, and only left two dogs to keep the camp free from wolves.

"I walked off gayly, my dog full of life, but met no one till four o'clock when I passed the first salt well, and thirty minutes more brought me to Shawanee Town. As I entered the inn I was welcomed by several whom I