Let any one who thinks it an easy task attempt to cover the French discovery and occupation of the middle west, from Marquette and Jolliet to the pulling down of the French flag on Fort Chartres, vivifying men, and while condensing events, putting a moving picture before the eye. Let him prepare this picture for young minds accustomed only to the modern aspect of things and demanding a light, sure touch. Let him gather his material—as I have done—from Parkman, Shea, Joutel, Hennepin, St. Cosme, Monette, Winsor, Roosevelt—from state records, and local traditions richer and oftener more reliable than history; and let him hang over his theme with brooding affection, moulding and remoulding its forms. He will find the task he so lightly set himself a terribly hard and exhausting one, and will appreciate as he never before appreciated the labors of those who work in historic fields.
h mat for Marquette and Jolliet to rest on during their journey, and sent two young Miamis with them. If these kindly Indians disliked to set the expedition further on its way, they said nothing but very polite things about the hardihood of Frenchmen, who could venture with only two canoes, and seven in their party, on unknown worlds.
The young Miamis, in a boat of their own, led out the procession the tenth morning of June. Taking up paddles, the voyageurs looked back at an assembled multitude--perhaps the last kindly natives on their perilous way--and at the knoll in the midst of prairies where hospitable rush houses stood and would stand until the inmates took them down and rolled them up to carry to hunting grounds, and at groves dotting those pleasant prairies where guests were abundantly fed.
Three leagues up the marshy and oats-choked Fox River, constantly widening to little lakes and receding to a throat of a channel, brought the explorers to the portage, or carrying place. The canoes th
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