BLTC Press Titles

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Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

A journal of travels into the Arkansas territory

by Thomas Nuttall


Departure from Pittsburghiutumnal SceneryGeorgetownThe unfortunate emigrantSteubenvillePicturesque SceneryWheelingLittle Grave creek, and the Great MoundOther'Aboriginal remainsMariettaBelpre settlementOther ancient remainsCoal—GalliopohsAncient level of the alluvial forestMisletoeAboriginal remainsBig Sandy creek and commencement of Cane-landCorn-huskingSalt creekMaysvilleOrganic remainsCincinnati LawrenceburghThe Ftench emigrant—-VevayMadisonLouisvillePrevalence of particular winds on the OhioFalls of the Ohio.

21st.] To-day I left Pittsburgh in a skiff, which I purchased for six dollars, in order to proceed down the Ohio. I was fortunate enough to meet with a young man who had been accustomed to the management of a boat, and who, for the consideration of a passage and provision, undertook to be my pilot and assistant. We set out after 11 o'clock, and made 19 miles. Here we were overtaken by a thunder-storm, accompanied by very heavy rain, which continued during most part of the ensuing night. We had no choice, and therefore took up our abode for the night in the first cabin which we came to, built of logs, containing a large family of both sexes, all housed in one room, and that not proof against the pouring rain. Provided, however, with provision and beds of our own, we succeeded in rendering ourselves comfortable, and were pleased with the hospitable disposition of our landlord, who would scarcely permit any of his family to receive from us the moderate compensation which we offered.

22d.] At day-break we again betook ourselves to the voyage; but after proceeding about nine miles, the strong south-west wind forced us to a delay of several hours.

In this distance from Pittsburgh the Ohio meanders through a contracted alluvial flat, thickly settled, and backed with hills, which are often peaked and lofty, fringed, at this season, by a forest of the diversified, but dying hues of autumn. The water was extremely low, and we passed through several rapids, in which bare rocks presented themselves in such quantity, as to deny the passage of any thing but boats drawing 9 or 10 inches of water.

After proceeding about two miles below Beavertown we landed in the dark, and went to the tavern to which accident had directed us, but finding it crowded with people met together for merriment, we retired to a neighbouring hovel, in order to obtain rest and shelter from the weather, which was disagreeably cold. Our prospect of repose was soon, however, banished, as our cabin, being larger than the tavern, was selected for a dancing room, and here we wer,e obliged to sit waking spectators of this riot till after one o'clock in the morning. The whiskey bottle was brought out to keep up the excitement, and, without the inconvenience and delay of using glasses, was passed pretty briskly from mouth to mouth, exempting neither age nor sex. Some of the young ladies also indulged in smoking as well as drinking of drams. Symptoms of riot and drunkenness at length stopped the dancing, and we now anticipated the prospect of a little rest, but in this we were disappointed by the remaining of one of the company vanquished by liquor, who, after committing the most degrading nuisance, at intervals disturbed us with horrid gestures and imprecations for the remainder of the morning. On relating in the neighbourhood our adventure at this house, we were informed that this tavern was notorious for the assemblage of licentious persons.

23d.] After an hour or two of interrupted repose we again embarked, and found that there had been a slight fall of snow. The wind w*as still adverse, and so strong as perfectly to counteract the current; with some labour we got down to Georgetown, and warmed ourselves by a comfortable fire of coal. The tavern was very poorly accommodated, a mere cabin without furniture, of which its owner was from habit scarcely sensible. About two o'clock in the afternoon we again landed at a poor log-cabin to warm ourselves, and were very kindly welcomed by the matron of the house, who, without the benefit of education, seemed possessed of uncommon talents. I had read, in the first settlement of Kentucky, of remarkable instances of female intrepidity, brought forward by the exigencies of a residence oh a dangerous frontier, and our hostess appeared to be equally an Amazon, modest, cool, and intrepid. I listened to her adventures with much interest. She and her husband, with a small family, had some years ago followed the tide of western emigration to the banks of the little Miami, near Cincinnati. Here, after a tedious and expensive journey, they had settled on a piece of alluvial land, and might probably have prospered, but for the dreadful effects of continued sickness (ague and bilious fever), which urged them to sacrifice every other interest for that of their emaciated offspring, and to ascend the Ohio in search of a situation which might afford them health. She pointed to some remains of decent furniture which the cabin scarcely sheltered, saying, with an affectionate look at her poor children, "we once had a decent property, but now we have nothing left; emigration has ruined us!" With six children around her, and accompanied by another family, ascending the Ohio in a flat»boat, they were struck by a hurricane. She herself and one of her children had taken their regular turn at the oar, the master of the boat, who had also his family around him, became so far alarmed and confused as to quit his post in the midst of the danger which threatened instantly to overwhelm them, tremendous waves broke into the boat, which the affrighted steersman knew not how to avoid. This woman seized the helm which was abandoned, and by her skill and courage saved the boat and the families from imminent destruction.

24th.] The wind still south-west, but abating a little. We proceeded at 11, and about 18 miles from Steubenville, landed and took up our lodging on an island, with no other shelter than the canopy of heaven; but we slept comfortably, with our feet to a warm fire, according to Indian custom.

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