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grounds, they came to a river, undoubtedly a branch of the Colorado, which they called the Robec.
Here they fell in with a prodigious number of buffaloes, and killed as many as they wanted with the greatest ease, stopping five or six days to dry the meat, and providing as large a quantity as they could conveniently carry, so that they might march for several days without being hindered on the way to hunt for game. Five or six miles beyond, they came to another river, which Father Anastase says was broader and deeper than the Seine at Paris, bordered on one side by the most beautiful trees, and on the other by extensive plains. They crossed it on a raft. This was the Colorado. It was afterwards called the Maligne by La Salle, in consequence of one of his party having been devoured in it by a crocodile. *
The crossing of rivers was the most serious impediment in their way. Many of the smaller streams could be forded, but many others were too deep for such a passage. The larger rivers could only be passed with rafts, and these it took much time to construct. Sometimes they would fell trees across the stream, and thus form a
* In some of the old maps, the name Maligne is applied to the Brazos, and the Colorado is called the River of Canes ; but, from the narratives both of Joutel and Anastase, it is more probable that the Colorado was the Maligne.
bridge. At other times they would cut down trees on each side, in such a manner that the tops would meet in the middle.
On marshy banks, where trees did not grow, the rafts were made of canes.
Frequently there was danger from the rapidity of the current, and from the water being so deep that the bottom could not be reached with their poles. Some of the men were good swimmers, and could cross with an axe whenever the occasion required.
At no great distance from the Colorado, their course turned more to the east, and they soon found themselves in the midst of a numerous tribe of Indians, called the Biskatronge, who received them with all the kindness imaginable, invited them to their cabins, detained them as long as they could by persuasion, and then furnished them with guides, and conveyed them across a river in their canoes. The next tribe was that of the Kirononas, who were not less friendly and hospitable.
Parting from these nations, they were alarmed one day by Nika, who cried out that he was dead. He had been bitten by a snake. This accident caused great anxiety to them all, for Nika's fidelity and skill in hunting rendered his services extremely important. Remedies were applied, and in a few days the wound was healed.
The next adventure was at a large and rapid river, where the Sieur de la Salle, attempting to cross on a raft of canes, with half of his party, was hurried violently down by the current, till he was out of sight of those left behind, who supposed they were all drowned; but at sunset they appeared on the opposite bank, the raft having been caught by the branches of a floating tree, which enabled them to reach the land. The others crossed the next day. But it was a dismal, marshy place, where they were midleg in water while framing the raft; and Father Anastase was obliged to put his Breviary in his cowl to prevent its being wet. This was probably the River Brazos.
They were entangled for two days among canes, through which it was necessary to cut a path. Soon afterwards, a beautiful country opened to their view, and the travelling was easy and agreeable. They had not gone far, when they entered the territory of a nation of Indians, whom they found less barbarous, better provided with the conveniences of life, and more comfortable in their dwellings, than any they had, seen. They first met a single Indian, who, with his wife and family, was engaged in hunting. He gave one of his horses to the Sieur de la Salle, and such provisions as he could spare, and invited the whole party to the village. He went forward to give notice of their approach, and a
large company of warriors and others came out, fancifully dressed in skins and adorned with feathers, carrying the calumet with much ceremony, and exhibiting in all their movements an unusual display. The Sieur de la Salle was received in a sort of triumph, and lodged in the cabin of the great chief. Smiling faces, friendly salutations, and good cheer, were proffered from every quarter.
This village was one of a large number, scattered up and down on both sides of a river for many miles in extent, each having a different name. They were inhabited by the Cenis Indians. Some of the habitations were forty feet high, in the shape of a beehive, having a framework of trees, with their tops bent and intertwined. Such a dwelling would accommodate two families. The fire was in the centre, and beds of mats were arranged around the walls, elevated three or four feet from the ground. Some articles were seen, which evidently came from the Spaniards in Mexico, such as silver spoons, pieces of money, and clothes. Horses likewise were common, which must originally have been obtained from the same quarter. Yet these people, as they said, had never seen any Spaniards in their villages, but procured the articles they possessed from the Choumans, their allies, who resided at the westward, between them and Mexico. They were ready to barter their horses. One was sold for a hatchet, and another was offered to Father Anastase in exchange for his cowl by a savage, who was struck with admiration of that part of his dress. The offer was not accepted.
The same remarkable power which La Salle could always exercise over the savage mind, was shown on this occasion. He won the respect and confidence of all ranks. They entertained him bountifully for five days, when he departed, and, crossing a large river, which ran through the midst of the Cenis villages, undoubtedly the River Trinity, marched forward to the nation of the Nassonis. This nation was in alliance with the Cenis, and seemed to possess the same habits, manners, and character.
At about twenty miles farther onward, it was discovered that four men had deserted and gone back to the Nassonis; and in a short time the Sieur de la Salle and his nephew Moragnet were attacked by a violent fever, which compelled them to stop. They were reduced so low, that it was more than two months before they were able to resume their journey; and, in their present condition, it was hazardous, and indeed impracticable, to pursue their route towards the Illinois. They depended entirely on the chase for their food, and by this long detention