He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain. — Mark Twain

Antoine of Oregon - James Otis




My Mother's Advice

"It pains me to see these people heedless of that which they must meet with before we can arrive at the Oregon country. They who complain bitterly because the sun falls upon them too warmly, or that the ford is very deep, hope to make their way to that far-off land with no more labor and no more suffering than they have already experienced since we left Independence."

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

"They will soon learn, mother," I said laughingly, and yet in my heart was sorrow for the people whom I had so lately come to know, because of the lesson that was before them. "The one fear is that when we come to the mountains, when we must fight with all our strength to gain a half mile in this direction or a mile in that, camping without food and without fuel, whether they will keep on or grow disheartened and turn back."

"I cannot understand, my son, that you need feel anxious. Do your duty by them as you have agreed, and even though we are forced to come straight away back over the trail, it will be through no fault of yours."

I have allowed myself to set down details concerning this journey of ours into the Oregon country as if there was ample time at my disposal; yet if I am to tell all the story of that long tramp, and then attend to the work which I have taken upon myself, it is necessary I hasten in the recital, instead of striving to give the particulars of each day's march.

After leaving the camp where we had killed the buffaloes, we found the traveling good, grass plenty, and game so abundant that one might go out and shoot whatever he needed of buffaloes, antelopes, or elks, without spending very much time at the work, providing he was reasonably expert with his rifle.