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[109] wilderness, and as heroic as La Salle, entered with
chap. V.} 1753.
alacrity on the perilous winter's journey from Williamsburg to the streams of Lake Erie.

In the middle of November, with an interpreter and four attendants, and Christopher Gist, as a guide, he left Will's Creek, and following the Indian trace through forest solitudes, gloomy with the fallen leaves and solemn sadness of late autumn, across mountains, rocky ravines, and streams, through sleet and snows, he rode in nine days to the fork of the Ohio. How lonely was the spot, where, so long unheeded of men, the rapid Alleghany met nearly at right angles ‘the deep and still’ water of the Monongahela! At once Washington foresaw the destiny of the place. ‘I spent some time,’ said he, ‘in viewing the rivers;’ ‘the land in the Fork has the absolute command of both.’ ‘The flat, well timbered land all around the point lies very convenient for building.’ After creating in imagination a fortress and a city, he and his party swam their horses across the Alleghany, and wrapt their blankets around them for the night, on its northwest bank.

From the Fork the chief of the Delawares conducted Washington through rich alluvial fields to the pleasing valley at Logstown. There deserters from Louisiana discoursed of the route from New Orleans to Quebec, by way of the Wabash and the Maumee, and of a detachment from the lower province on its way to meet the French troops from Lake Erie, while Washington held close colloquy with the Half-King; the one anxious to gain the West as a part of the territory of the Ancient Dominion, the other to preserve it for the red men. ‘We are brothers,’ said the Half King in council; “we are one people; I will send back ”

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