Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/539

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479
THE MISSOURI RIVER JOURNALS

tain[1] was glad of it, and so were we all; for, finding that it would take several hours, we at once ate our breakfast, and made ready to go ashore. I showed my credentials and orders from the Government, Major Mitchell of St. Louis, etc., and I was therefore immediately settled comfortably. I desired to go to see the commanding officer, and the lieutenant very politely sent us there on horseback, guided by an old dragoon of considerable respectability. I was mounted on a young white horse, Spanish saddle with holsters, and we proceeded across the prairie towards the Bluffs and the camp. My guide was anxious to take a short cut, and took me across several bayous, one of which was really up to the saddle; but we crossed that, and coming to another we found it so miry, that his horse wheeled after two or three steps, whilst I was looking at him before starting myself; for you all well know that an old traveller is, and must be, prudent. We now had to retrace our steps till we reached the very tracks that the squad sent after us in the morning had taken, and at last we reached the foot of the Bluffs, when my guide asked me if I "could ride at a gallop," to which not answering him, but starting at once at a round run,

  1. The journals of Captain Joseph A. Sire, from 1841 to 1848, are extant, and at present in the possession of Captain Joseph La Barge, who has permitted them to be examined by Captain Chittenden. The latter informs us of an interesting entry at date of May 10, 1843, regarding the incident of the military inspection of the "Omega" for contraband liquor, of which Audubon speaks. But the inside history of how cleverly Captain Sire outwitted the military does not appear from the following innocent passage: "Mercredi, 10 May. Nous venons trés bien jusqu'aux cotes à Hart, où, à sept heures, nous sommes sommés par un officier de dragons de mettre à terre. Je reçois une note polie du Capt. Burgwin m'informant que son devoir 1'oblige de faire visiter le bateau. Aussitôt nous nous mettons à l'ouvrage, et pendant ce temps M. Audubon va faire une visite au Capitaine. Us reviennent ensemble deux heures après. Je force en quelque sorte l'officier à faire une recherche aussi stricte que possible, mais à la condition qu'il en fera de même avec les autres traiteurs." The two precious hours of Audubon's visit were utilized by the clever captain in so arranging the cargo that no liquor should be found on board by Captain Burgwin.—E. C.