January 5, 1810
We learn the value of fat flesh again when Native Americans court a beautiful white woman, the first they had ever seen, in the Columbia River area during the fur trade 200 years ago by offering "she would always have an abundance of fat salmon, anchovies, and elk"
The Savage Country
Donald McTavish -taking no chances! - brought her with him every time he came ashore; and her flamboyant arrival at the fort was always an event. The voyageurs stopped work, the Indians swarmed in, and Henry himself made a holiday of her visits. "In the jolly-boat came Mr. McT. the doctor, and Jane," he wrote on one occasion. "I opened a cask of bottled porter, and also a cask of rather mouldy biscuits. Many Chinooks and Clatsops came in, some to trade, and others to visit." And, of course, to gawk at Jane.
The Chinook and Clatsop bucks became madly infatuated with her. King Comcomly's son, according to Ross, offered a hundred rare sea otters for her hand. Not only that. "He would never ask her to carry wood, draw water, dig for roots, or hunt for provisions . . .he would make her mistress over his other wives, and permit her to sit her ease from morning to night . . . she would always have an abundance of fat salmon, anchovies, and elk, and be allowed to smoke as many pipes of tobacco during the day as she thought proper." But, although Jane's morals may have been strictly of the Chinook variety, her tastes were her own. She looked down her nose at these and many other tempting offers. Then Com- comly's son changed his tack: he formed a plan with his friends to carry her off while she was taking her customary evening stroll along the beach. He also declared that he would never again come near the fort while she was there - which, we may assume, was quite all right with Jane. Her effect on the voyageurs and young gentlemen of Fort George was, of course, no less devastating; and Henry be- gan to discuss measures for her "protection" with McTavish.