November 27, 1833
27 November: Beautiful, clear day like yesterday; soon bright sun. At seven thirty, 24°F [−4.4°C]. The wind east hora 8 south. In the bushes close to Dougherty’s house there were numerous small titmice (Parus atricapillus). A number of Indians had come earlier [to sit] around our fireplace. One slept at our place. La Chevelure Levée came early. Yellow Bear came to get coffee. He looked appalling; [he] had tied a piece of old, black silken cloth around his head. Very handsome men arrived— tall, with strong, muscular figures and expressive faces, often beautifully painted and dressed up. The Hidatsas are generally taller than the Mandans. All of them have scars, thick welts on their chests and arms originating from a penance festival held in spring, when they cut loose circles of skin and flesh and drag heavy items like buffalo heads and the like behind themselves on cords. Before noon the young people in the village played a game on a level path or hollow; the French and whites call [this game] billiards. Both players had long poles and, running beside each other, threw them at a small leather ring.
On the solidly frozen river, we saw many children playing. Women came across [Page 3:41] the ice with wood; others made holes and fetched water. At noon 47°F [ 8.3°C]. Boys played a game wherein they threw darts. About twenty Indians had ridden out to hunt buffalo this morning. Women played a game with a large leather balloon [ball], tossing it onto their feet [and] kicking it up in the air; it may not drop to the ground. We spent the afternoon at home. Indians of all shapes, mostly tall, handsome men, besieged us all day; the night was not as nice as yesterday, because a strong wind came up.