Life On The Mississippi Book Report
"At length the buffalo began to appear, grazing in herds on the great prairies which then bordered the river; and Marquette describes the fierce and stupid look of the old bulls as they stared at the intruders through the tangled mane which nearly blinded them." The voyagers moved cautiously: "Landed at night and made a fire to cook their evening meal; then extinguished ANCHORED IN THE STREAM. But at the close of the fortnight they one day came upon the footprints of men in the mud of the western bank--a Robinson Crusoe experience which carries an electric shiver with it yet, when one stumbles on it in print. Marquette had solemnly contracted, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, that if the Virgin would permit him to discover the great river, he would name it Conception, in her honor. In that day, all explorers travelled with an outfit of priests. A big cat-fish collided with Marquette's canoe, and startled him; and reasonably enough, for he had been warned by the Indians that he was on a foolhardy journey, and even a fatal one, for the river contained a demon "whose roar could be heard at a great distance, and who would engulf them in the abyss where he dwelt." I have seen a Mississippi cat-fish that was more than six feet long, and weighed two hundred and fifty pounds; and if Marquette's fish was the fellow to Page 33 that one, he had a fair right to think the river's roaring demon had come.In extent it is the second great valley of the world, being exceeded only by that of the Amazon. A little History.--Early Commerce.--Coal Fleets and Timber Rafts.-- We start on a Voyage.--I seek Information.--Some Music.--The Trouble begins.--Tall Talk.--The Child of Calamity.--Ground and lofty Tumbling.--The Wash-up.--Business and Statistics.-- Mysterious Band.--Thunder and Lightning.--The Captain speaks. France stole that vast country on that spot, the future Napoleon; and by and by Napoleon himself was to give the country back again!The valley of the frozen Obi approaches it in extent; that of the La Plata comes next in space, and probably in habitable capacity, having about 8/9 of its area; then comes that of the Yenisei, with about 7/9; the Lena, Amoor, Hoang-ho, Yan-tse-kiang, and Nile, 5/9; the Ganges, less than 1/2; the Indus, less than 1/3; the Euphrates, 1/5; the Rhine, 1/15. --Allbright weeps.--The Mystery settled.--Chaff.--I am Discovered.--Some Art-work proposed.--I give an Account of Myself.-- Released . --make restitution, not to the owners, but to their white American heirs.
I try the Alias Business.--Region of Goatees.--Boots begin to Appear.-- The River Man is Missing.--The Young Man is Discouraged.-- Specimen Water.--A Fine Quality of Smoke.--A Supreme Mistake. First, they were greeted by the natives of this locality as Marquette had before been greeted by them--with the booming of the war drum and the flourish of arms.
Charles Augustus Murray's Sentiment.--Captain Marryat's Sensations.--Alexander Mackay's Feelings.--Mr. Page 31 LA SALLE himself sued for certain high privileges, and they were graciously accorded him by Louis XIV. Chief among them was the privilege to explore, far and wide, and build forts, and stake out continents, and hand the same over to the king, and pay the expenses himself; receiving, in return, some little advantages of one sort or another; among them the monopoly of buffalo hides.
Previously the supposition had been that it emptied into the Atlantic, or Sea of Virginia.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South. The white man and the red man struck hands and entertained each other during three days.
Footnotes have been transcribed directly after the relevant paragraph. Then, to the Page 37 admiration of the savages, La Salle set up a cross with the arms of France on it, and took possession of the whole country for the king--the cool fashion of the time--while the priest piously consecrated the robbery with a hymn.