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earth, such as veins of gold, springs of water, and precious stones.
376, 1. Nom de guerre. A war name: a fictitious name assumed for a time.
379, 1. St. Peter's. The cathedral of St. Peter at Rome, completed in 1626, is the finest and largest church in the world. The vast space in front of the building is thronged with people at great religious ceremonies, especially that of the Easter Benediction.
2. Mount Etna. A volcano on the island of Sicily, more than two miles high, which has a crater seven hundred feet deep.
3. Passionist convent. The order of Passionists inhabits the convent which adjoins the picturesque church of Saints John and Paul, in Rome.
380, 1. Coliseum. An immense oval building of ancient Rome, much of which is still standing. It was used for games and gladiatorial shows and many Christian martyrs were put to death in it. It would hold 80,000 spectators.
2. Eternal City. A popular and very ancient designation of Rome.
To them no bound of empire I assign,
Dryden's translation of the Æneid.
3. Glaciers of the Splügen. The Splügen Pass in the Alps, between Switzerland and Italy, is 6,930 feet high. The glaciers sometimes moved down into the pass, making travel dangerous, until Austria in 1812–1834 built a road safeguarded by arches of strong masonry:
4. Birthplace of the Rhine. The Rhine rises in the Alps of Switzerland. The river above Basel, called the Upper Rhine, has its course much broken by rapids and falls.
5. Valley of Andeer. A small settlement in Switzerland in an opening between the Alps through which the Upper Rhine flows. The wild scenery of the Black Hills recalled similar scenes across the Atlantic, which Parkman had seen during the summer of 1843.
394, 1. Dishabille. A loose, negligent dress. 2. Lord Byron (1788–1824). A famous English poet. Note that the majority of quotations which introduce chapters of The Oregon Trail are from Byron's poems.
He led a wild life; hence he is called “the worst of the three.”
397, 1. Mr. Mackenzie. Owing to his connection with the
American Fur Company and his long stay in the Northwest Kenneth Mackenzie had become an authority on the dangers attending certain routes of travel.
2. Captain Wyeth. Nathaniel J. Wyeth, of Boston, had made journeys by land to the Columbia River in order to send furs to the United States and to China. See Introduction,
400, 1. Apocryphal. Of uncertain authority or credit; the adjective comes from the "Apocrypha,” books whose authenticity as inspired writings is not admitted.
401, 1. Goché's Hole. A hollow place among hills, named for Goché, a Chief of the Assinoboine Indians. 404, 1. Pueblo. Now a city of Colorado,
on the Arkansas River, 105 miles south of Denver. It is an important railway and mining center.
406, 1. General Kearney's march. An American army occupied Santa Fé August 18, 1846, after a march of sixteen days from Bent's Fort. General Kearney then established a provisional government at Santa Fé. General Taylor's victories at Matamoras refer to engagements in the Mexican War. Taylor gained the victory of Palo Alto, May 8, 1846; of Resaca de la Palma,
May 9; and occupied Matamoras. 407, 1. Ponchos. A kind of cloak worn by the Spanish Americans, having the form of a blanket, with a slit in the middle for the head to pass through. SIMMONDS.
408, 1. Nicolo Paganini (1784-1840). A famous Italian violin player, born in Genoa, Italy. He traveled over Europe, giving concerts in the large cities. Among his selections was one called “Napoleon," played on only one string:
409, 1. Strong Hearts. The name of this Indian tribe and the qualities attributed to it doubtless suggested to Mr. William C. De Mille the character Strongheart in the play of that name.
2. Tutelary. Guardian. 414, 1. Long's Peak. 14,270 feet high, in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. The highest mountain in North America is usually said to be Mount St. Elias, on the borders of Alaska and Canada, which is 18,000 feet high.
2. Scylla and Charybdis. A dangerous rock and formidable whirlpool in the Straits of Messina between Italy and the Island of Sicily. In ancient times sailors feared to pass between these two dangers, thinking that if they escaped one they would be wrecked by the other. Hence, to pass
"between Scylla and Charybdis" came to mean to avoid one peril only to fall into another. Compare the expressions "out of the
frying-pan into the fire” and “between the devil and the deep
415, 1: St. Patrick. The patron saint of Ireland. Tradition ascribes to him the banishment of snakes from Ireland.
2. M. St. Vrain. The partner of Bent in trading company which was well known in the forties (see note to p. 335, 1). In order to protect their posts, these companies erected large forts, such as that referred to here.
419, 1. Des sauvages! Savages!
421, 1. Their hand is against every man, etc. A reference to the prophecy uttered by Jehovah against Ishmael and the Ishmaelites. See Genesis xvi.
2. Naples. The largest city in Italy, on the Bay of Naples, one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Near it is the small island of Capri, in which is the Blue Grotto, a large cavern as high as a four-story house with deep water inside; the walls, roof, and water are of a beautiful blue.
424, 1. Turkish fashion. With their feet gathered under them.
2. March against Santa Fé. See note to p. 406.
428, 1. Nauvoo. Formerly the Mormons were settled at Nauvoo, Illinois, but in 1845 they were driven from there and went to Utah, where at the present time they constitute a majority of the inhabitants.
430, 1. The proprietors. Messrs. Bent and St. Vrain.
431, 1. Rowel. The little wheel of a spur, having sharp points.
2. Yager. A rifle carried by light infantry. It might have been formidable once, but as the sequel shows, it was as useless as Wamba's wooden sword.
433, 1. Mint juleps. A beverage composed of spirituous liquor mixed with sugar, pounded ice, and sprigs of mint.
434, 1. Tête Rouge. Red head.
2. Vera Cruz. A city of Mexico, on the Gulf of Mexico. It is built on low ground and is enclosed by a wall.
435, 1. Calomel. A mild chloride of mercury, containing one more equivalent of mercury than corrosive sublimate.
442, 1. Flint and steel. They produced fire when struck together. See p. 264, 1. 28.
448, 1. Maxwell the trader. A companion of General John C. Frémont in his survey of the route to the Pacific Coast. (See Introduction, p. 17.) He was perhaps the best authority living at that time on the manners and customs of the Indian tribes of the plains.
455, 1. Asseverations. Positive affirmations or assertions.
456, 1. Expletives. Words or syllables not necessary to the sense, but inserted to fill a vacancy or for ornament.
465, 1. Kit Carson. The famous trapper who was General Frémont's guide in the Rocky Mountains. Carson City, the capital of Nevada, is named after him. For “running buffalo” see note to p. 116.
467, 1. Canteen. A vessel used by soldiers for carrying liquor for drink.
469, 1. Oui fusil. Yes, well loaded; you'll kill, my boss; yes, you'll kill-it is a good gun.
475, 1. Runnel. A rivulet or small brook.
479, 1. Lord Nelson (1758–1805). A famous English naval commander. Near Cape Trafalgar, Spain, while sailing toward the French and Spanish fleets, he hoisted the signal “England expects every man to do his duty.” During the battle he was struck by a musket-ball. He lived only long enough to learn that he had gained a great victory.
2. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). As Consul of France he wielded extraordinary power over all Europe through his victories in war.
481, 1. Eton. A public school in England, founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, and now the greatest school in England.
2. Richard Porson (1759–1808). An English Greek scholar and critic.
3. Beau Brummel. George Bryan Brummel (1778–1840) was distinguished for the exquisiteness of his dress and manners, and was long the leader of fashion in England. He is the leading character in a play of the same name by Clyde Fitch, which was enacted for years with great success by Richard Mansfield.
4. Prescriptive right. A right acquired and sanctioned by long custom.
5. Sherry cobblers and brandy toddy. Beverages of which the chief ingredients are indicated in the names.
490, 1. Cimarron. A river 650 miles long, which rises in the Raton Mountains and empties into the Arkansas River. General Kearney chose the little known route along the upper Arkansas, because he could thus reach Santa Fé more quickly.
2. Price's Missouri regiment. Sterling Price (1809–1867) was speaker of the Missouri Lower House, and Congressman from that state in 1845–1846. In the Mexican War he commanded a regiment under Kearney.
3. Subordination, The state of being subordinate inferior to another,
491, 1. Doniphan's regiment. Alexander W. Doniphan (1808-1887), colonel in the Mexican War, accomplished amid many hardships a difficult march from New Mexico to Chihuahua in northern Mexico, and at the narrow pass at Sacramento (Feb. 23, 1847) defeated a Mexican force more than four times as numerous as his own.
493, 1. Springfield carbines. Firearms intermediate between the pistol and the musket in length and weight, used by mounted troops and made in Springfield, Massachusetts.
500, 1. Puerile. Childish.
510, 1. Carriages. These are the same kind of vehicles as those mentioned on p. 22, 1. 3, as “large wagons of a peculiar form, for the Santa Fé trade.”
520, 1. Fusillade. A simultaneous discharge of firearms. 525, 1. Kansas Landing. Now Kansas City, the largest city of Kansas.
527, 1. Planters' House. An old hotel in St. Louis, at the height of its fame in the period before and during the Civil War; it is still standing and is a favorite resort for commercial travelers.
529, 1. Railroads and steamboats. In 1846 no railroad ran into St. Louis. The journey from that city to Boston, which can now be made in less than two days, then required two weeks. Nothing better than this illustrates the advance of improvements since young Parkman came out of the West."