At the distance of a mile and a half from the foot of this narrow channel is a rapid, formed by two rocky islands; and two miles beyond is a second great fall, over a ledge of rocks twenty feet high, extending nearly from shore to shore.
Disquieting Rumors From the Interior.- Reconnoitring Party- Preparations for a Trading Post.- An Unexpected Arrival - A Spy in the Camp.- Expedition Into the Interior- Shores of the Columbia - Mount Coffin.- Indian Sepulchre.- The Land of Spirits- Columbian Valley- Vancouver's Point.-Falls and Rapids.- A Great Fishing Mart.- The Village of Wishram.
WHILE the Astorians were busily occupied in completing their factory and fort, a report was brought to them by an Indian from the upper part of the river, that a party of thirty white men had appeared on the banks of the Columbia, and were actually building houses at the second rapids. This information caused much disquiet.
"You understand," added Aramis, with the rapid
precision of command; "there are six dogs that will be forced to stop at the great stone under which the fox has glided - but at the too narrow opening of which they must be themselves stopped and killed."
The chances of success diminished in rapid
proportion; and it was from chance alone that the meeting with the projectile might be expected.
He got a new effect of airships altogether, as vast things coming down upon him, growing swiftly larger and larger and more overwhelming, until the houses over the way seemed small, the American rapids narrow, the bridge flimsy, the combatants infinitesimal.
They spread and closed and spread and grappled and drove round over the rapids, and two miles away or more into Canada, and back over the Falls again.
The whole struggling mass approached very swiftly, growing rapidly larger, and coming out black and featureless against the afternoon sun and above the blinding welter of the Upper Rapids. It grew like a storm cloud until once more it darkened the sky.
Beyond, the rapid rivers would continue to run for days, but unless they got beyond, and immediately, they were doomed to be frozen in for six months to come.
"Climb out, dad," Liverpool commanded as he prepared to swing from the bank and enter the rapids.
Peer as I would I could not penetrate the darkness, and then I listened intently for the sound of breathing near me; but except for the noise of the rapids, the soft scraping of the boats, and the lapping of the water at their sides I could distinguish no sound.
Through Cimmerian darkness he moved along the narrow ledge beside the boiling rapids.