A couple weeks ago I was sorting through boxes of papers and old clothes up in the loft of the old barn in the back of my property when I found a leather pouch which was kind of moldy on the outside but when I opened it everything was in pretty good condition, considering how long it had been out in the barn. I don’t know anything about Lucia Pemberly or how her and Stormiweather met, and I haven’t found any letters from her, but I thought you would enjoy reading some of the letters from Stormiweather I found inside the pouch. I have no idea how they came to be in this barn, I will have to do some more research on that.
P.S. This isn’t the first letter, I just picked one out of the bunch that was in the middle of the pouch where the papers weren’t as wet. I have them drying in front of the stove now.
From what I can ascertain of them, Stormiweather Lewis was on an expedition of some kind with his friend Mackerel Lark and several others, including an Eskimo lady named Georgia. It appears that they started their journey in March of 1836, from Florence, Illinois and were headed to Goldenrod, which was a small Russian settlement on the coast of the Oregon Territory.
November 17, 1837
Dear Miss Lucia,
Guess what, last night me and Mackerel were coming back to camp after climbing Saddle Peak when we heard a loud noise. It sounded like a bear except that Mackerel thought it sounded like a mad sturgeon.
We were near the river so I suppose he could have been right. Mackerel turned his flashlight on but the batteries were dead so I took mine out and boy we sure could see well! I had put some LEDs in my flashlight and we could see right through all the underbrush to where Jed Armstrong was poking about, except he had accidentally stepped on a opussume and it started snarling at him. Jed started holloring that he was going to get bit so Mackerel got his gun and shot it at the opussume, except he missed and shot off Jed’s bootlace. Good thing Jed was wearing bootlaces otherwise it might’ve shot into his ankle. Anyway, it scared off the opussume and that was the main thing, I guess.
Miss Lucia you should’ve been on top of Saddle Peak with us today. It was great. It was so foggy we couldn’t see a thing. We thought we might see our camp down by the river but we couldn’t. We couldn’t see the rocks or whatever we were walking on down by our feet, either. Most of the time we couldn’t even seee our feet, it was that foggy.
Actually Mackerel thinks we didn’t get up to the top of Saddle Peak. He thinks that because halfway up the peak he took a step in the wrong place and disappeared. His hat floated on the fog right where he had disappeared but he was too heavy I guess and broke through it.
I called to him and told him he had forgot his hat but I couldn’t hear anything. So I got down on my hands and knees and felt around where he had stepped and sure enough there wasn’t anything there. Must have been a drop-off, I figured. So I took my rope and lowered it down through the fog and I’d lowered about 60 feet of it whenn suddenly there was a jerk and a tug and it stopped going down. I pulled on it but it wouldn’t come up. I hollored down into the fog, “Mackerel is that you?” but I didn’t hear anything so I yanked again, real hard this time, and up came my rope, except there was about ten feet of it missing. Mackerel and me looked it over later and boy it sure appeared to us that something had bitten it right off. Jehoshaphat thinks it was mebbe a eagle that needed some lining for her nest but I think I don’t know what it was, so he might be right.
I was pulling up the other 50 feet of my rope and I was thinking about the cliff and wondering how far Mackerel had fallen. I wondered if it was a steep cliff where you fell straight down and fell in the river, or if it was the kind where you just kind of roll over and over until you land in the river. Well Miss Lucia I still don’t know because after I had rolled up my rope and waited for awhile, there came Mackerel up through the fog. He had climbed up the cliff in the fog and he was still alright except he was missing his hat. He said he had landed in a fir tree about 70 feet down and I asked him how did he know it was 70 feet becusse it was so foggy and he said he had just figured that since he was about six feet tall he just added six feet everytime he pulled his body up past his eyeballs and he figures that was pretty close.
I asked him how was the weather down there and he said it was foggy but a little warmer. Then he asked where was his hat so I showed him and he reached out and grabbed it but he reached out a little too far and sure enough down he went through the fog again. At least this time he had his hat.
Well I was pretty sure he had fallen farther this time so I looked up at the sun to see what time it was. I couldn’t see the sun because it was so foggy but I figured it was pretty close to lunch time anyway so I sat down on a rock to eat lunch. It might have been a stump, though. I tell you Lucia it was so foggy I don’t know what it was.
I was halfway through my peanut butter and honey sandwhich when I heard Mackerel calling me. “Stormiweather!! Stormiweather!!” that’s what he was saying. I hurried over to where I heard the noise and I saw Mackerel’s hand waving around up from the fog. I grabbed his hand and pulled real hard and up came Mackerel.
“Thanks Stormiweather, that was a close call,” that’s what he said. I asked him why was it such a close call and he said it was bucusse the cliff he had been climbing up suddenly ended and it was just flat rocky ground, he couldn’t climb up anymore. I wonder what he would have done if he had been by himself, so it was a good thing I was with him, I guess.
Mackerel settled down and said he guessed it was lunch time, too, so he got out his lunch and started eating. But when he opened his backpack, he only had baby carrots and a energy drink left. Apparently his sandwhich had fallen out when he was climbing back up the cliff the second time.
He wondered how that could have happened and I pointed to a hole in the bottom of the backpack and said that maybe it had fallen out through the hole. Mackerel said he guessed I was right and that he would have to get Georgia to fix it for him when he got back to camp.
Anyway Miss Lucia the fire is just about out and everyone else has gone to bed for the night so I had better finish telling you about Saddle Peak another time. I had beans for supper and I found some dnadelons in the grass next to the river bank and I put those in with my beans so you see I am eating my greens just like you told me to in your last letter. They weren’t very good but they were better then the beans. Allonsoo McPherson cooked the beans tonight and he let them burn beecusse he forgot about them for awhile. Him and Mackerel and Jed and Jehoshaphat were playing Trapper on their iHorns and he was winning for awhile until Georgia came back from doing the laundery down by the river and told him supper was burning.
Well Lucia I hope you are having a good fall, I think about you every day even if I do not write. I will pack this letter away with the other ones and when we get to Fort McWilliams in a couple days I will send them all.
(written down by the river, six days from where the Missouri River flows into the Ohio River, and about two or three days from Fort McWilliams depending on how quickly we can get Fred Allister to walk. He is getting to old to be a trapper but he insisted on coming on this expedeteishun.)