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very hair and whiskers, and scarlet handkerchief light up the dark cañons of the river two or three times every season.
In floating down the stream there was a quiet exhilaration which grew upon the travelers as they became accustomed to the moods and ways of the strong green river, and were convinced that it meant no harm when it whirled them around a rocky promontory or swept them swiftly. through a seething rapid; convinced, too, that with stout arms and oars they were the masters in any case, and could keep off from half-hidden rocks and away from dangerous shores. The water was clear and cold, and as good to drink as any spring water. VOL. XXXV.-57.
Occasionally there was a little stretch of grassy bottom along one or the other bank, fringed with a thicket of wild-rose bushes, the branches all beaded with coral-red berries; but most of the way huge cliffs of reddish rock or steep mountains, thinly clad with pines, rose abruptly from the water's edge. The strata in the cliffs were bent and twisted in curious ways. Occasionally broad green bands ran through the gray or red rocks, indicating the presence of copper. A solitary ranch was passed the first day of the voyage, and for many miles there was a vestige of former human occupancy in the shape of a long-abandoned flume, that once furnished water for placer-mining. It had cost
a hundred thousand dollars, the commodore When enlisted for THE CENTURY expedition said, and had never paid back the money. Montana, and all the mining Territories, abound in such monuments of misplaced enterprise. The old adage about mining for the precious metals, that more money is put into the ground than is taken out, would probably not hold good for universal application, but it fits most mining districts. The solitude and silence on the river grew oppressive as twi
he was newly out of jail, a fact that did not in the least put him out of countenance. He regarded himself as a victim of Chinese cheap labor. When in Missoula, cooking in a hotel, he could not get on well with the Chinese assistant in the kitchen, and therefore knocked him down. The landlord took the Chinaman's part, which so enraged Nick against the Mongolian element in general, that he
light began to fall. There was no sound save the rippling and gurgling of the water. The boat slipped along as quietly as the funeral barge in Tennyson's "Lancelot and Elaine." Weird profiles and masks looked down from the rocky walls. The talk and laughter, and the shouting for echoes, that had made the voyage a merry one so long as the sun shone, had ceased, and there came upon the wanderers a sense of loneliness and mystery, as though they had set out to penetrate an unknown wilderness. It was a relief to all to tie up to the bank at dark, to light a camp-fire, pitch the tents, and unload the boats; and the efforts of the party to eat supper on the ground, in darkness made visible by the flickering fire, were amusing enough to restore good humor all around.
Nick, the cook, was a droll frontier character. For twelve years he had cooked for exploring parties, engineers, and railway builders all the way from Minnesota to Oregon.
rushed into the street and proceeded to run amuck against all the Celestials he met. Before the police could secure him, he had prostrated three or four by vigorous kicks and fisticuffs. He was an amiable fellow in the main, however. His coffee was good, but his views on the Chinese question were a little too aggressive.
The second day's run took the boats through the Gate of the Mountains, a narrow cleft in the Belt Range, through which the river runs at moderate velocity after the preliminary rush of a rapid. The precipices are of grayish rock, about fifteen hundred feet high, and the riven mountains are covered with pines. The sheer cliffs and the warped strata show that the passage has not been worn by the action of the water, but was opened by some great convulsion which tore the solid mountains apart. Very grand and impressive is this deep cañon, but with the bright blue sky above and the sunlight on the pea-green river below, it did not
seem gloomy, like the two smaller cañons we had passed the day before. All through Montana people talk of the Gate of the Mountains, but very few have visited it, from the fact that it is inaccessible by road or bridle-path and can be seen only from a boat. The name was bestowed by Lewis and Clarke, the explorers, who passed through it in canoes on the 19th of June, 1805, on their way to the Pacific coast. They also gave it the alternative designation of the Great White Rock Cañon. Two sons of the Chevalier Vendrye, the French explorer, passed through it as early as 1742, and were probably the first white men to gaze upon its frowning precipices.
Tying up the boats that day for the noon lunch of ham and bread, we found upon a
grassy plateau some relics of former occupancy that seemed to indicate that the spot had been the scene of a tragedy. There were two " foundations," a few rods apart. A "foundation " in Montana means four logs laid across each other so as to form a square, and is a legal notification of intent to build a cabin and take up a claim. The two "foundations" so near together were evidences of a dispute about the title to the little strip of meadow land, on which the occupants perhaps expected to find gold. Within one of the log quadrangles we found bloody clothing, sodden and mildewed, a rusty ax, a camp-kettle and a coffee-pot, some blankets, and many other articles. The imaginative members of our party speedily constructed from these materials a story of murder-the victim thrown into
the river, and the guilty man fleeing horrorstricken from the scene of his crime.
Below the mountain gateway a boiling rapid carried us swiftly past one of the great land marks of northern Montana - the Bear's Tooth Mountain. It rises in a series of cliffs some two thousand feet above the river channel, and on its forest-covered summit stands a huge irregular, turret-like rock with broken crest. This rock, possibly three hundred feet high, gives the mountain its name. It is plainly seen from Helena, which must be at least forty miles away as the crow flies.
Below the Bear's Tooth the character of the shores of the river changes. The great chasms of distorted strata cease, and though there are numerous cliffs and pinnacles, they are of soft brown rock, much worn by the action of wind and rain. Profiles and faces become so numerous that only the most striking are remarked. I remember the Egyptian mummies suspended high above the water; a strongly marked, majestic, and serene face with beard washed by the waves, which I called the River God; and two gigantic statues known as the Old Man and the Old Woman. Of ruined castles, broken towers and battlements, huge archways, and other familiar effects of fantastic rock-work, there were too many specimens to name or notice at length. The mountains gradually broke away into steep hills, between which were grassy valleys running down to the river's brink. This region of singular rock effects extends for about forty miles below the Gate of the Mountains and ends abruptly. Beyond, stretch out the great plains. A huge wall, beginning at the river and running up an acclivity for three or four hundred yards, marks the boundary between the two regions, and is the last outwork of the Rocky Mountain system in this direction.
In the afternoon of the third day of the voyage the crew of the small boat, having gotten some miles in advance of the commissariat in the big skiff, determined to forage on the country for supplies. A pair of horses grazing on the bank indicated that there must be a ranch near at hand. In Montana every human habitation outside of the towns is a ranch. There are hay ranches, grain ranches, milk ranches, horse ranches, cattle ranches, and chicken ranches. The word has traveled all the way from northern Mexico to the British possessions, amplifying its application as it advanced. The ranch which we found, after scrambling through the thicket of rose-bushes and willows that formed a stout natural hedge all along the shore, defied classification under any of the above terms. It displayed a little of everything that could be done in
the way of Montana agriculture. On a broad bench, surrounded by mountains, were small fields of hay and grain, and a big irrigated vegetable garden, where potatoes, corn, beets, turnips, tomatoes, and watermelons were growing. A log cabin with one door and one window, and log barn flanked by hay and straw stacks, stood far back from the river. A man clad in a brown canvas suit and a widebrimmed felt hat, which is the universal costume of all who do outdoor work in Montana, was digging potatoes. He leaned on his hoe and very closely scanned the four men approaching him, as if to satisfy himself whether their intentions were hostile or peaceable. When told that we were well-disposed travelers floating down the river, at that moment bent only on getting something to eat, he became quite friendly. "You 're welcome to the best I've got," he said. "Pick an armful of roasting-ears, and I'll rustle up a fire." He limped on to the house while we hunted for tender ears on the dry stalks. He proved to be the only occupant of the place, and his cabin of one room was kitchen, dairy, granary, and bedroom combined. Its only decorations were a huge rude painting of a four-horned goat, and a singular robe of some strange fur. He explained the possession of these treasures by saying that some years ago he went to South Africa to dig for gold. The robe he bought from a native chief, and the picture represented a goat he had brought back and exhibited in "the States," with small financial success. He came to Montana from Ohio as a young man in the early days of the gold migration, and after his African adventures he had returned to these wild mountains, concluding that this country. suited him as well as any he had seen. "Lonesome? Well, not particularly." He had always "bached it " (lived as a bachelor). Next winter his nephew was coming to live with him. A raft went down the river once a month. Once a year he went to Helena for his supplies. There was no wagon road to his place, and bacon was the only thing he could pack out to sell. He fed his milk and vegetables to his hogs.
The prospect for a square meal did not look favorable at first view of the cabin, but we underrated our host's resources. He roasted potatoes under the embers in his little boxstove and corn above them, and upon it he fried bacon and made coffee; with plenty of milk and cream, with tomatoes for salad and watermelons for dessert, we made a capital dinner. There was room at the rough board table for only two, so the others took their plates and cups to the wood-pile outdoors. Our host refused to take money, invited us to come again, and following us to our boat, as a last
tumultuous current at the head of the island- a little nervous at first, but quite jubilant when we found how lightly our craft danced over the waves and how easy it was, with steady rowing, to give her steerage-way and thus avert the only danger, that of drifting broadside to the current and being rolled over like a log. The first plunge of the rapids is about half a mile in length; then comes a little stretch of quiet water, and then a second descent, of a quarter of a mile. To sweep along with the swift rush of the seething waves, past the fast-receding shores, was wonderfully exhilarating.
By dint of some hard rowing, with the aid of a rather sluggish current, we that night reached the only place between our point of embark
ation and the Great Falls that is accorded a name and the round dot on the map which indicates a town. The name was Ulidia, and the town consisted of a store and post-office, a hotel, a saloon, and two dwellings. The hotel had but three rooms, and its single bedroom was occupied by the landlady. Guests were lodged in a lean-to attached to the store on the opposite side of the road. South of Ulidia the Chestnut Valley stretches out at the foot of the Belt Mountains in brown undulations to the horizon, the Little Belts bounding it on the east. It is sparsely inhabited by prosperous stock-raisers, mostly from Missouri. One has grown so rich that he spends most of his time in Paris; another passes his winters in New York. I need hardly say that there are no chestnut-trees in the valley, or indeed in all Montana. If there were, the inhabitants would have found another name for
them. A current ferry crosses the river at Ulidia, and a road leads north-west to Fort Shaw and the stage road from Helena to Fort Benton, which keeps far back from the river to avoid the cañons and broken mountain ranges. The country is open and grassy, consisting of rolling plains diversified by buttes and rock-crested ridges, and is a part of the great grazing ranges of eastern Montana.
To float down a rapid river through magnificent and varied scenery is a pleasant mode of travel, but when the river grows lazy, as does the Missouri after it gets out into the plains, and its banks are mud walls topped by screens of cottonwoods and willows, and you must pull hard at the oars under a hot sun to make any satisfactory progress, the business assumes quite a different aspect. After five or six hours of this sort of navigation, leaving Ulidia on the fourth day of the journey, we tied the boat up to the bank for the main body of the expedition to pick up, and engaged a ranchman to take us across country in his wagon to Sun River. This ranchman lived in a log house of two rooms, and had a homestead of 160 acres, on which he cut hay to feed the horses of the cavalry at Fort Shaw. He got six dollars a ton for the hay, and had cut about two hundred tons. His girlish wifeshe was only eighteen-put the baby in a hammock made from an old piece of bagging, and cooked for us an excellent dinner of prairie chickens shot that morning from the kitchen window. In the living-room of the cabin the log walls and the rafters which supported the