Sunday, October 11, is the 200th anniversary of the mysterious death of Meriwether Lewis on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee. Was it suicide or murder? Lewis’s death and the mystery surrounding it are the subject of our historical novel To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis & Clark. We are remembering Lewis all week here on “American Heroes,” including posting excerpts from the book.
Curry’s Stand, Tennessee
Curry dipped his quill in ink, scribbled a few words on a corner of the paper, tore it off and handed it to Clark. The paper read: I’m a liar.
Clark shook his head and smiled a little. “The fella says he’s a liar, York. Somebody must’ve cut out his tongue for it.”
“Doesn’t exactly make you real confident in his word, does it, Cap’n?”
Sighing, Clark turned back to Curry. “Mr. Curry, I came here after my friend Lewis. I’m trying to find out what happened to him these last few days.”
Curry scribbled away on the paper: He was here. Fascinating man. He has a rare appreciation for beautiful things.
Clark nodded, though he didn’t see anything around here that could remotely be called beautiful. “Did he come alone?”
Yes, though he told me about his companions. He said they were dismal.
Clark laughed in spite of himself. He didn’t doubt it. “What else did he say?”
We talked of botany and politics. And birds.
“I’ll be damned.” Leave it to Lewis to sniff out the only other educated man within a hundred miles and harangue him on his favorite subjects. “I suppose he told you all about the Expedition.”
Yes, all about the needle grass and prickly pear. Sharp!
Curry put down his quill for a moment and looked at Clark with burning eyes.
He spoke of you. He’s most anxious to see you. Please remember me to him when you see him.
“I will,” Clark said. “How long was he here?”
A few hours. I wish he’d stayed longer. He was desperate, and quite drunk. But then, so was I.