November 29, 1833
29 November: In the morning, foggy and hazy.M26At seven thirty, 23°F ⟨[−5°C]⟩, wind ⟨[——]⟩. Everywhere the trees of the forest are encrusted in hoarfrost. The view at the river was especially beautiful, all the distant forests covered with white hoarfrost. The brown boys and girls in their buffalo skins were on the ice early. It was calm. Most of the hunters were not back. At nine o’clock, bright sunshine, nice, friendly weather and not cold. A straight trail, a high walkway, leads from the house to the river; it must be very pleasant in summer, but nobody lives here then. Today I wished to return to Fort Clark but could not get any horses. All night long there was much noise: whooping and singing in the village and the surrounding forest, ⟨[while]⟩ others bemoaned their dead. The females were visited in the night by young men everywhere to set ⟨[them]⟩ in motion. Almost all of them are loose, and this kind of pastime is the principal entertainment of the Indians. Mr. Bodmer painted ⟨[figures on]⟩ the buffalo robes of a few Indians—for one of them a cock, for the other a horse. They hope to become bulletproof this way. In the afternoon Durand arrived from the lower Mandan village. He had been at Fort Clark, where there was nothing new. At eleven thirty, 44°F ⟨[6.7°C]⟩.
In the evening Mr. Dougherty went with Bodmer and Durand to the medicine festival, which was repeated today to attract buffalo. They stayed there a long time, but today the women did not come to invite them ⟨[during the ceremony]⟩. They came home and we talked about the cause of this sudden change, whether the Indians were insulted or what could be the cause. Nobody ⟨[had]⟩ well-founded sup-[Page 3:43] positions. Even Charbonneau, who knows these Indians well, did not know what to think of it.
In the dark our front door was pushed open twice. The coarseness of the Hidatsas is greater than that of the Mandans. Mr. Dougherty, who does not have a fort and lives in the village, has to suffer much from their impertinence and rudeness. He concedes everything to them, ⟨[so as]⟩ not to experience greater unpleasantness. If he were to refuse them something or send them away, they would take revenge and he could come into a dangerous situation. The Indians are never to be trusted, and associating with them is always risky and dangerous.