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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For January 5:
Captain Clark (current)
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A cold day. Some snow. Several Indians visit us with their axes, to get them mended. I employ myself drawing a connection of the country from what information I have received. A buffalo dance (or medicine) for three nights past, in the first village. A curious custom: The old men arrange themselves in a circle, and after smoking a pipe which is handed them by a young man dressed up for the purpose, the young men who have their wives back of the circle go each to one of the old men and, with a whining tone, request the old man to take his wife, who presents herself naked, except a robe, and sleep with her. The girl then takes the old man (who very often can scarcely walk) and leads him to a convenient place for the business, after which they return to the lodge. If the old man (or a white man) returns to the lodge without gratifying the man and his wife, he offers her again and again. It is often the case that, after the second time without kissing, the husband throws a new robe over the old man, &c., and begs him not to despise him and his wife. We sent a man to this medicine dance last night, and they gave him four girls. All this is to cause the buffalo to come near, so that they may kill them.
("connecting the country," Clark means posting new information on his map. His originals are now in the Yale University Library.)
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.