Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to the sternness of spirit which bears down opposition and subjects the will of others to its own. Henry's character was of an opposite stamp. His easy goodnature almost amounted to weakness; yet while it unfitted him for any position of command, it secured the esteem and good will of all those who were not jealous of his skill and reputation. The polished fops of literature or fashion would laugh with disdain at the idea of comparing his merits with theirs. I deem them worthless by the side of that illiterate hunter.

NOTES

21. Trail. This word signifies the track followed by the hunter, but here it is applied to the whole route taken by Parkman from Westport to the Black Hills. This is a proper use of the word, since one of the objects of the trip was hunting game.

1. 1846. It was in this year, during the presidency of James K. Polk, that the Mexican War began; it lasted a year and a half. Notice the abrupt beginning, thoroughly in the manner of Cæsar, Xenophon, and other commentators. St. Louis was the center of the trade along the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers, although in 1846 no railroad had yet reached it. It was the starting point for expeditions along the Oregon Trail.

2. California. This country was first visited by the Spaniards and it belonged to them until 1822, when Mexico gained her independence. In 1847 the United States bought it of Mexico for $15,000,000. When gold was found so many people settled there that in 1850 California was made a state of the Union. Santa Fe was not on the Oregon Trail but was reached by another well-worn route running southwest from Independence, Missouri. In 1846, there were nearly 480 men engaged in trade with Santa Fé.

22, 1. Wagons. These wagons were not the same kind as those used by the emigrants. They were closed in by black tops and the traders traveled and slept in them.

2. Mountain-men. Men who supported themselves by use of the rifle and who were skilled in Indian warfare.

3. Kansas Indians. The tribe was a member of the family of the Dacotahs (Dakotas), to whom Parkman refers frequently. The state of Kansas gets its name from this tribe. Like all the Dacotahs, the Kansas was a wandering tribe.

23, 1. Abatis. A row of the large branches of trees, sharpened and laid with the points outward, in front of a fortification or any other position to obstruct the approach cf assailants,

2. Great western movement. Where is Parkman's party represented to be at this time? Notice the effect of the bill passed by the Senate extending the laws of the United States to cover the disputed Oregon territory.

3. Independence. We have now reached one of the limits of civilization in 1846.

24, 1. Dark slavish-looking Spaniards. This uncomplimentary reference to the descendents of the early explorers of the Southwest doubtless reflects the national feeling toward Mexico just prior to the outbreak of the Mexican War.

2. More congenial. Because it offered more opportunities for his axe and his rifle.

3. Westport. This town was an important starting-place for expeditions along the Oregon Trail during the early half of the nineteenth century.

25, 1. A round pace. A pace in which the horse throws out his feet roundly; a full, brisk, quick trot. This use of the word is characteristic of Addison and other eighteenth century essayists.

2. Sacs, Foxes, Shawanoes, Delawares and Wyandots. The first four Indian tribes belonged to the Algonkin family, the last to the Iroquois.

3. Garnished. Adorned. Notice the satire.

4. A round cap, etc. This head-covering, known as a Tam o' Shanter, is the characteristic touch that would identify the wearer as the inhabitant of another land. The entire description of the Captain is an example of Parkman's appreciation of the ludicrous.

26, 1. A reinforcement. Parties rarely set out across the prairies in numbers less than a dozen, as the danger of attacks by prowling bands of Indians was great, and even a large body of men found it necessary to maintain constant vigilance.

2. Kentucky fellows. The general term applied to all emigrant parties.

3. Trail-rope. A rope fastened to a horse's bridle and trailing behind him, by means of which he could be tethered.

4. Complacency. A feeling of quiet satisfaction. In touches like these, the Captain's character is brought out. Notice the egotism in his following speech and, at the same time, Parkman's willingness to bestow praise where it is due.

28, 1. The doctrine of regeneration. The entering into a new spiritual life; that change by which man's enmity to God and his law is subdued.

2. The land of promise. A reference to the land of Canaan

promised by Jehovah to the children of Israel. Here the epithet is transferred to Oregon and California in the forties. It refers to the land of promise.

3. Buffalo horse. A horse trained to hunt buffalo.

29, 1. Camp meetings. Religious meetings, held chiefly by Methodists, in some retired spot, where they encamp for continuous devotion for some days.-WRIGHT.

30, 1. Dram. As much spirituous liquor as is drunk at once, originally a minute quantity. Note that in Westport, in 1846, the derived meaning had become the popular one.

2. Course of the traders. This would be in a northwesterly direction from Westport toward the South Fork of the Platte, or, in other words, the Oregon Trail. Fort Leavenworth is a village and military post in Leavenworth Co., Kansas.

3. Marked out by the dragoons. General Kearney with his dragoons had marched westward in the summer of 1845 directly to New Mexico, meeting the Oregon Trail where it crossed the Big Blue River. Dragoons are soldiers trained and armed to serve either on horseback or on foot, as occasion may require.

31, 1. Daniel Boone. An American hunter and pioneer (1735–1820). He explored a great part of what is now Kentucky and lived there until it became a state of the Union in 1792, when he went to live in Missouri. (See p. 191, 1. 14.)

32, 1. Harold the Dauntless. A poem of four cantos by Sir Walter Scott, an evident favorite with Parkman, who quotes from him and refers to him several times in the course of the narrative. There is much in common between Scott and Parkman in their mutual love of outdoor life and their admiration of deeds of chivalry. A study of the quotations at the beginning of each chapter will show Parkman's skill in choosing appropriate verses to stimulate the reader's interest in what is to follow.

2. Unperverted son of Adam. Any man not turned from the right. According to Parkman, the love of nature in her wild and untamed moods is an inheritance from our first ancestor.

33, 1. Indian apple. The wild apple, a hardy variety which requires no cultivation. The tree blossoms in late April or early May, and it is then beautiful and fragrant.

2. Chatillon. Notice the peculiar appropriateness of introducing Henry Chatillon as the foremost of the party. Compare him with the other men.

34, 1. Holster. A leathern case for a pistol, carried by a horseman at the fore part of his saddle.

[ocr errors]

was

2. Patois. A dialect peculiar to the lower classes.

3. Sacré enfant de grace! A French curse, which, when translated, loses its force; it is typical of a Canadian like Delorier.

35, 1. Presents for the Indians. These were taken along to gain the favor of the natives. Remember that it Parkman's intention to remain for some time as a resident in an Indian village.

2. Jean Baptiste. The French Canadians were called by this nickname just as an Englishman is designated as John Bull.

3. Obsequious politeness to his bourgeois. Politeness which is servilely or meanly condescending. Delorier never forgets himself or his station throughout the entire journey-he is always “a fawning and knee-crooking knave.” Bourgeois (pronounced bõõr zhwä') is the French Canadian equivalent of boss. The word is also used in other places in the narrative to designate a man in authority at a fort or anyone supervising the work of hirelings.

4. The Fur Company. The American Fur Company, established in 1826 by, Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to carry on a regular trade with the countries of the Columbia and the Colorado. See Introduction, p. 16.

36, 1. Anglo-American. A descendant from English ancestors born in America. Is Parkman's estimate of his companions affected by their nationality?

2. The rifle is the chief arbiter. In all uncivilized countries quarrels are commonly settled by force, and he who can wield a weapon most quickly and skilfully has the best chance of survival. A rifle is usually somewhat shorter than a musket; its barrel is grooved on the inside or formed with spiral channels, thus securing a rotary motion of the ball and great precision in the direction of the aim.

37, 1. Lope. A gait consisting of long leaps. This word is peculiar to the United States. The Indians trained their horses to adopt this gait, as much ground could thus be covered without tiring either steed or rider.

38, 1. Pawnees. A tribe of the Dacotah Indians, distinguished for its cruelty and treachery. Parkman brings out a characteristic of the Indian in the boastfulness of the old Kansas.

2. Motley concourse. An assemblage made up of various parts, or perhaps variegated in color. Jaques, in describing Touchstone in As You Like It, cries out to the banished Duke: “Motley's the only wear.”

39, 1. Village. The meaning of village throughout this

« AnteriorContinuar »