June 23, 1847
When I looked at Leaping Fox, I realized that he did look like one of the boys from the wagon train. His clothing had been torn and bloodied from his beating. After his clothing was removed it was thrown away. His hair had been trimmed while he was still unconscious. Claire and Elizabeth had cut up some of their old clothing and made his new shirts and given him new leather pants to wear. The only thing that he was still wearing from his original clothes was his moccasins. With my obsessive compulsion to be clean he had probably washed himself more in the last two weeks than he had in his entire previous life.
I turned to the guide, "Translate for me."
I spoke to Leaping Fox's father, "This is Leaping Fox, your son. He is of the Oglalla Sioux and is not white. His hair has been cut to show sorrow for his inability to defend his sister from several men. His fight was worthy of any warrior. He was hardly alive from his battle when I found him, and you can see his major wounds are in the front as a warrior's should be. To be defeated by overwhelming odds is no disgrace as long as you have struggled to the end. Can you think of a warrior who could have lasted alone against such odds?"
The guide repeated my speech between my sentences. Again I almost understood the words. Leaping Fox's father remained standing and I was unable to read his face. I didn't know if he agreed or felt that I was full of shit. I was beginning to worry what was going to happen when suddenly Claire impatiently spoke up.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Come greet your son. Men!" She pulled Leaping Fox out from behind her and gave him a small push toward his father.
The guide said something after this and slowly, every male in the area began to laugh. Claire became indignant with the laughter and hit me on the shoulder causing me to lurch forward.
I asked the guide what he had said when we managed to stop laughing.
"I just repeated her sentence and used her Indian name, She Strikes Hard."
Leaping Fox's father then stepped forward and held out his arms. Leaping Fox joined his father and told him something too fast for me to understand. Leaping Fox's father replied, then turned to the guide and spoke. The guide translated:
"You are welcome in my camp and I offer to protect your wives and children if they come to my camp. Leaping Fox tells me that you had nothing to do with his injuries and the theft of his sister. He asks that you and She Strikes Hard keep looking for his sister and pledges to help you until she can be returned to our people. I have given him permission to stay with you until she is returned. He has shown his spirit in battle and must undertake his spirit journey when we return to our medicine man. Afterwards he will join you."
He stopped and waited until I could answer. I looked at my wives and got small nods in return. I turned to the guide and had him translate.
"We will look for his sister until she is found and returned. We will welcome the presence of such a brave warrior during our journey."
I turned to Elizabeth and took her rifle, powder horn and the bags containing the caps and bullets. I turned to Leaping Fox.
"I give you this rifle to help you on your journey to your camp and your return to us." I removed the knife from my belt and offered it to Leaping Fox's father.
"I hope this knife will help you on your journey and I promise to protect your wives and children if they come to my camp. If I break this promise you may use this knife to take your revenge for my falsehood."
Leaping Fox's father spoke to several of the other men and one left to return to the main party of Indians. Shortly afterwards, we saw a horse being led by him toward the wagon train with something on the back. He threw the bundle off the horse and pulled a rider from behind him. It was the black girl we had seen and the bundle was a collection of scalps of both white and black men. Leaping Fox's father spoke to the guide again.
"We have found my daughter and our enemies are dead. We will welcome you if you wish to join us in our camp. You have proved that you are not an enemy of the Oglalla Sioux and are welcome in our lands. I give this woman."
With that he picked up Leaping Fox and the bundle of scalps and placed them on the horse. The girl he left laying there. Without any other words he rode off. Soon afterwards the hillsides were empty.
My wives and I looked at each other and then in unison turned toward the girl on the ground. Claire was the first to move and picked the girl up and hugged her. The girl began crying and Elizabeth joined them and placed her arms around both. She looked at the men standing around and with a biting tone in her voice uttered one word.
June 24, 1847
Last night I was kicked out of my wagon by my wives and told to sleep under the wagon. When I protested, I was unceremoniously told that if I was good I 'might' be welcome to get back in the wagon tonight. I was told that the girl, whose name we found out was Louise, didn't need to see any men that night. This morning I asked for some clean clothes and was handed them with the injunction to keep out out of the wagon until I was told to enter. I saw Elizabeth and Claire get out but saw no sign of Louise. When I asked what was going on last night, both women looked at me as if I were stupid and refused to answer. Later that day Claire had pity on me and told me the reason Louise was crying was because she thought she had been returned to slavery. It took all night to convince her this wasn't true. She was sleeping and Claire expected her to remain asleep until tomorrow.
The wagon master decided that we needed to move yesterday and we made 16 miles towards South Pass and are no longer over the Ice Slough. We have left the lands of the Sioux and have entered the lands of the Cheyenne. So far we have not seen any of them and the guide seems satisfied about that. He told the men at the morning meeting that the Cheyenne are easily affronted and tend to demand more than most tribes to keep them from harassing the wagon train.
I was informed that my presence was no longer required on the night guard, but I was to act as the train physician if anyone became hurt. I again repeated that I was no doctor and I was told that they didn't care. I guess that I have to accept that I am going to be the doctor for this train. I just hope they don't expect me to do any surgery. I only have the vaguest idea where most organs are.
I was expecting to see this narrow pass through the mountains, but the South Pass is miles wide. For the first time we are beginning to see most streams flowing to the west instead of the east. We were told by the wagon master around the noon break that we are now in Oregon Territory. The people in the train gave a loud cheer upon hearing this but quickly sobered when the wagon master reminded everyone that we still had a thousand miles to go to reach Oregon City.
We found the remains of the slave wagon today. The bodies had been stripped and the wagon train was directed well away from the site. I was informed that I and several other men were detailed to bury the bodies and see if there was anything we wanted to take with us. We were told to look especially for papers in order to identify the bodies. When we arrived we found there were of course no animals left. The horses were gone and the oxen had been killed. The wagon had been set afire but it had only partially burned.
When we checked the wagon we quickly found bills of sale for the slaves and several leg and hand irons. There were some foodstuffs remaining but most of it had been ruined by vandalism or animals. I began to look for identity papers for the slavers but found only two letters that had first names only. I also found several blank bills of sale without any names on them, which made me question if the black men had really all been slaves in the first place. It wouldn't have been the first time that blacks were taken into slavery regardless of their real status.
During our search I had checked the bottom of the wagon to see if they had a secret compartment in their wagon similar to ours. I was unable to find it until I got to the front of the wagon. Under the front seat I found a small box in a hidden compartment, that when opened was found to be full of gold and silver coins. I slipped the box into a barrel of flour and told no one of the find. When I emerged from the wagon I showed the men the papers I had found and claimed the barrel of flour for myself. As I had the least food in the wagon train they agreed. Others took the harness, wheels and the wagon cover while one man took all the iron he could find, including the restraints. We teased him about that as his wife had a reputation as rather a shrew in the train. We rode back to the wagon train and returned with extra horses and transported the items back to the wagon train.
I met Louise upon my return and found that the men in the slave wagon had been taking freemen into slavery. Louise told me that she and her brother were freemen living in Missouri when the slavers ambushed them. They had been stripped and their manumission papers burnt. She stated that she and her brother had tried to escape several times. He had been killed the last time they tried by the man who had whipped her, Wyatt Dugay. She identified the other two men as Cole Dugay and Charley Benson. She was only able to tell me the first names of the black men as that was all they were called by except 'You'. Louise told me that she and her brother were the only family each had as their parents had been sold years ago to other people and she had no idea where they ended up.
I was happy that the slavers were dead but regretted that the black men also died. I promised myself that I would still keep slavery out of Oregon one way or another. I just wish that there had been some way to free them without death being involved.
When I asked my wives if I could sleep in the wagon tonight, Elizabeth told me of some of the conversation they had yesterday with Louise. I learned that the slavers and some of the black men had repeatedly raped Louise while she was a captive. She feared most men now and was in no shape to sleep in the same place as a man, let alone one who would be making love to his wives. Elizabeth offered to join me under the wagon but stated that there would be no loving until they thought Louise could handle it. When I asked how long that would be, they looked at each other and shrugged. As half a loaf is better than none, I accepted her offer. I hope this doesn't last too long.
June 25, 1847
I am dreading the next week. Elizabeth started her period yesterday and Claire should be starting either today or tomorrow. I remember last month when she became so unstable. I guess that I have to learn to live with it. She is too good a woman to give up because of one or two unpleasant days a month. I felt much better after waking up with Elizabeth in my arms. I am finding it hard to sleep by myself. I didn't realize how addicting it would be to sleep with a woman you love in your arm. When we woke up I saw Louise already at the fire making breakfast. We both told her she didn't have to do that.
"I know, but if I'm not doing something, I'm just brooding about my brother and the past. There's nothing for me in Missouri anymore and I don't know what I'm going to do by myself." She began crying softly.
I remained by the wagon, unsure of what to do. Elizabeth grabbed my arm and pushed me toward Louise.
"Get over there and hold her!" she directed.
"But" was my brilliant response.
"Move!" she ordered.
So I went to Louise and held her. She began crying in earnest and Claire stuck her head out of the wagon to see what was going on. Elizabeth went over to her and began whispering in her ear. I wondered what that was about, as I held Louise. Gradually the sobs became more broken and finally she lay limp in my arms. Picking her up, I carried her to the wagon and passed her up to Claire. Louise appeared asleep and I expected that she was exhausted from her reaction.
Elizabeth grabbed my arm and pulled me to the fire.
"What was that all about?" I asked.
"The whispering and the order to hold her."
"Oh, I thought she needed a good hug from some kind man."
"Why do I get the feeling that isn't all that's going on?"
"Have you noticed that Claire wasn't moody yesterday or the day before?"
"We always start our monthlies on the same day and she always gets moody the day before."
I was unable to understand what she was talking about and was beginning to get upset.
"If you want to say something, then say it. It's too early in the morning to stand here guessing."
"She didn't start her monthlies"
Suddenly I heard Claire call out of the wagon, "Elizabeth!"
It's funny, but until I heard Claire call out Elizabeth's name I really had no idea what she meant. Then suddenly it hit me. Claire might be pregnant! The next thing I knew I was sitting down on the ground with Elizabeth holding on to me and Claire chewing her out for saying anything. I stood up and grabbed Claire.
"Is it true?" I demanded.
"I don't know. It might be but I won't be sure for another month."
I kissed her tenderly and stood there in a daze. I might be a father soon. I didn't know whether to be thrilled or scared to death. I looked at the wagon and saw something I thought I wouldn't see for a long time, if ever. Louise had a smile on her face a mile wide.
June 26-July 3, 1847
I have gradually come to grips with the idea that I might be a father. I have been alternatively elated and depressed. The idea of a child of ours fills me with delight, while the thought of what could go wrong frightens me to death. There are no obstetricians in this period and I would trust myself to deliver a child better than any doctor we could find. The doctors now are still using bleeding to reduce fevers, and mercury as a medicine. There is no way I'm going to let some quack touch my wives or children.
Louise seems to be slowly coming out of her shell. She is becoming more animated and has began to talk to the other people in the wagon train. She is still running into prejudiced people but most seem willing to treat her as a human being. I have found my status as the train doctor to be useful there. She seems perfectly content to follow my directions and I have had her help me with the people who come around for treatment of their cuts and bruises. They have become accustomed to having her give them instructions on how to care for themselves. This seems to be helping her as well. She has become more confident in her speech and manner. She no longer seems to be afraid of being around men. I find myself feeling attracted to her, and there is no doubt in my mind of the love/lust between her and my wives. I have finally received permission to return to my wagon to sleep. I'm glad that Elizabeth is a small woman, otherwise there is no way four of us could fit in here. It's still tight but possible. Louise is usually either on the outside of Claire or Elizabeth in a separate blanket.
We have restrained our lovemaking to hugs and cuddling for the most part, with sex in our few moments of privacy. I don't think our arrangement is a secret any more to the others in the train, but as long as we don't shove it in anyone's face, they seem to be discretely ignoring it. I have had several of the men make comments about being greedy for having two wives but have played dumb, like I have no idea of what they are talking about. I know that Louise knows what is going on but she is the soul of discretion and hasn't even hinted about our arrangement to any of us, let alone anyone else.
We have been going through the South Pass and it has remained as wide as it was in the beginning. The travel is easy with us making 12 or more miles a day, though from what I understand the snow melt may soon make the rivers rise to more dangerous levels. When or if that occurs then our daily distance will drop dramatically. We will need to cross the Green River soon and the guide and the wagon master have been warning us that we need to be extra cautious not to miss the crossing as it will certainly mean a disaster for whoever gets off the crossing.
July 4, 1847
We have arrived at the Green River and the wagon master has decided to hold the wagon train on this side until the guide can remark the crossing. The yearly ice melt has begun and the wagon master has warned us that we can expect to move much more slowly in the coming days due to flooding. The water level is about shoulder high, meaning the wagons will float if there isn't enough weight. We have borrowed three more water barrels to use as ballast for the crossing. We have used much of the food we purchased at Fort Laramie and would have been almost completely out except for game and the plant food we have been taught to find by Leaping Fox. Many of the other families are in a similar condition, as they need to save the food they do have until they can get a crop in. We have the barrel of flour I got from the slavers' wagon but we decided to keep that untouched until we must open it.
We celebrated Independence Day with speeches from the wagon master and the wagon captain. We had races and some of the men played their instruments as we danced. Several of the boys made a bonfire out of the abandoned furniture we have begun to find by the trail. We have no fireworks but I did contribute the flare I have been carrying since I got here for the celebration. Some of the boys were making small packets of gunpowder in paper and throwing them into the fire to explode until the wagon captain assigned the worst offenders to pick up fuel for the main fire for the next week.
We have seen many abandoned items by the trail that we could have used but setting out in the open since the last winter has damaged most. The wagon master said that we should be able to find things in better shape that have been abandoned in the Great Northern Desert. As we haven't had a lot of weight for the oxen to pull they are in good shape. I worry about the wagon though. The wood is in good shape but I think the iron wheel rims are going to need replacing before we reach Oregon. We also need to find more food to buy. Fort Bridger is coming up so we should be able to pick up something there.
For tonight, we are going to relax and just enjoy a day without traveling. Louise is going to be visiting another family tonight. For the first time since she arrived it will be just us alone in the wagon. We have already made plans for the night and I have told everyone that I will see no one except for a life or death emergency. I received a lot of kidding about that from the men but for a night without visitors it's worth it.
July 5, 1847
Last night became rapidly strange soon after we went to bed. We began to make love with each other when I was called to handle a cut one of the boys received when his ax slipped while cutting wood. For a while I was afraid that he had cut an artery but I was able to stop the bleeding and sew the flap of skin back together. Luckily his mother had laudanum and I was able to make a solution that knocked him out. I directed his mother to make sure he didn't move for at least two days and to keep the leg clean and dry or he might lose it. I had already had experience with this boy before and knew he was a handful so I told her to be sure he was drugged with the laudanum for the next two days to be sure he followed my orders.
I had returned and we again began to become aroused when another visitor appeared. One of the women, Emma Kroener, thought she was having contractions and might be giving birth. I had already seen her three times in the last month because of false labor pains so I wasn't too concerned about this time. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and found her in the middle of birthing an eight pound baby boy. I had one of the other children get Louise to assist me and we proceeded to deliver the baby. By the time she had produced the afterbirth and I felt she was as comfortable as I could make her, it was nearly midnight.
I returned to my wagon and found both of my wives asleep. Turning around I found Louise behind me.
"Can I stay with you three tonight? I don't want to wake up the Parkers again."
By this time I had given up any thought of lovemaking and was ready to sleep. I told her it was OK but she'd have to sleep next to me since Claire and Elizabeth were asleep on one side and I didn't want to wake them up any more than she did the Parkers. Louise gave me a strange look and agreed.
I got undressed and crawled under the covers next to Elizabeth. Soon afterwards I felt a warm body pressed up behind me. I soon felt myself drifting off.
Early the next morning before daybreak I found myself with my morning hard on buried between the legs of a woman and my hand on her breast. Half asleep, I started kissing her belly and touching her body. Claire seemed different this morning but seemed eager to respond to my attention. I slowly kissed up to her breasts. Gently rubbing her breasts I felt the nipple become hard . I licked under her breasts and taking a nipple in my mouth, gradually started to suck gently on her breasts. Spitting on my fingers I began reaching down and touching her clit. I felt her pussy become wet then even wetter. Using two fingers I began moving them in and out until I felt her beginning to breath hard and her body stiffen. Rolling her on her back I raised myself on my arms and began pushing my dick into the wet tunnel. I was beginning to really become aroused when I realized that the pubic hair I was brushing against seemed different. The woman's body was beginning to push back when I raised my hand to touch her neck and felt curly hair. I recoiled and bumped up against someone in back of me. I heard her murmur something and realized I was in the middle between Elizabeth and Louise. I started to sit up when an arm grabbed my neck and pulled me back down.
Whispering into my ear, Louise said, "I knew what was going on all the time. Why do you think I was naked?"
"But what about my wives? They'll kill me if I hurt you."
"We've been talking about this for the last week when you're not around. They gave me permission to seduce you." She gave me another bump to make our pubic bones meet.
"Am I ever going to have a say about my own sex life around these women?" I wondered to myself.
I gave up and resumed my movements. Soon I began to hear her muttering to herself and as she began to become more aroused, it became louder until I kissed her to keep the noise down. Finally she screamed in my mouth as she climaxed tipping me over into my own. I shot load after load of cum into her until I felt I was about to push myself through my erection, and collapsed next to her. Louise gradually came down from her arousal as well and we lay silently next to each other, intimately touching each other's body.
From behind me I heard voices whisper, "Good job!"