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a vast inland sea, whose salitrose southern shores of the Salt Lake to the waters cover an extent of upwards of borders of Upper California. La one hundred and forty miles in length, Bonté, with three others, determined by eighty in breadth. Fed by several to follow the thieves, recover their anistreams, of which the Big Bear River mals, and then rejoin the other two is the most considerable, this lake (Luke and Rube) on a creek two presents the curious phenomenon of a days' journey from their present camp. vast body of water without any Starting at sunrise, they rode on at a known outlet. According to the rapid pace all day, closely following trappers, an island, from which rises the trail, which led directly to the a chain of lofty mountains, nearly di- north-west, through a wretched sandy vides the north-western portion of the country, without game or water. lake, whilst a smaller one, within From the appearance of the track, the twelve miles of the northern shore, Indians must still have been several rises six hundred feet from the level hours ahead of them, when the fatigue of the water. Rube declared to his of their horses, suffering from want of companions that the larger island was grass and water, compelled them to known by the Indians to be inhabited camp near the head of a small waterby a race of giants, with whom no course, where they luckily found a communication had ever been held by hole containing a little water, and mortal man; and but for the casual whence a broad Indian trail passed, wafting to the shores of the lake of apparently frequently used. Long logs of gigantic trees, cut by axes of before daylight they were again in extraordinary size, the world would the saddle, and, after proceeding a few never have known that such a people miles, saw the lights of several fires a existed. They were, moreover, white short distance ahead of them. Haltas themselves, and lived upon corn ing here, one of the party advanced on and fruits, and rode on elephants, &c. foot to reconnoitre, and presently re
Whilst following a small creek at turned with the intelligence that the the south-west extremity of the lake, party they were in pursuit of had joined they came upon a band of miserable a village numbering thirty or forty huts. Indians, who, from the fact of their L oosening their girths, they persubsisting chiefly on roots, are called mitted their tired animals to feed on the Diggers. At first sight of the the scanty herbage which presented whites, they immediately fled from itself, whilst they refreshed themselves their wretched huts, and made towards with a pipe of tobacco—for they had the mountain; but one of the trappers, no meat of any description with them, galloping up on his horse, cut off their and the country afforded no game. retreat, and drove them like sheep As the first streak of dawn appeared before him back to their village. A in the east, they mounted their horses, few of these wretched creatures came after first examining their rifles, and into camp at sundown, and were re- moved cautiously towards the Indian galed with such meat as the larder af- village. As it was scarcely light forded. They appeared to have no other enough for their operations, , they food in their village but bags of dried waited behind a sandhillin the vicinity, ants and their larvæ, and a few roots until objects became more distinct, of the yampah. Their huts were con- and then, emerging from their cover structed of a few bushes of grease-wood, with loud war-whoops, they charged piled up as a sort of breakwind, in abreast into the midst of the village. which they huddled in their filthy As the frightened Indians were skins. During the night, they crawled scarcely risen from their beds, no up to the camp and stole two of the opposition was given to the daring horses, and the next morning not a mountaineers, who, rushing upon the sign of them was visible. Now La flying crowd, discharged their rifles at Bonté witnessed a case of mountain close quarters, and then, springing law, and the practical effects of the from their horses, attacked them knife “ lex talionis" of the Far West. in hand, and only ceased the work of
The trail of the runaway Diggers butchery when nine Indians lay dead bore to the north-west, or along the upon the ground. All this time the skirt of a barren waterless desert, women, half dead with fright, were which stretches far away from the huddled together on the ground, howl. ing piteously; and the mountaineers Lake a vast desert extends for advancing to them, whirled their lassos hundreds of miles, unbroken by the round their heads, and throwing the slightest vegetation, destitute of game open nooses into the midst, hauled and water, and presenting a cheerless out three of them, and securing their expanse of sandy plain, or rugged arms in the rope, bound them to a mountain, thinly covered with dwarf tree, and then proceeded to scalp the pine or cedar, the only evidence of dead bodies. Whilst they were en- vegetable life. Into this desert, ignogaged in this work, an old Indian, rant of the country, the trappers struck, withered and grisly, and hardly bigger intending to make their short cut; than an ape, suddenly emerged from and, travelling on all day, were coma rock, holding in his left hand a bow pelled to camp at night, without water and a handful of arrows, whilst one or pasture for their exhausted animals, was already drawn to the head. Run- and themselves ravenous with hunger ning towards them, and almost before and parched with thirst. The next the hunters were aware of his pre- day three of their animals “ gave out," sence, he discharged an arrow at a few and they were fain to leave them beyards' distance, which buried itself in hind; but imagining that they must the ground not a foot from La Bonté's soon strike a creek, they pushed on head as he bent over the body of the until noon, but still no water presented Indian he was scalping; and hardly itself, nor a sign of game of any dehad the wbiz ceased, when whirr flew scription. The animals were nearly another, striking him in his right exhausted, and a horse which could shoulder. Before the Indian could scarcely keep up with the slow pace fit a third arrow to his bow, La Bonté of the others was killed, and its blood sprang upon him, seized him by the greedily drunk ; a portion of the flesh middle, and spinning the pigmy form being eaten raw, and a supply carried of the Indian round his head, as easily with them for future emergencies. as he would have twirled a tomahawk, The next morning two of the horses he threw him with tremendous force lay dead at their pickets, and one only on the ground at the feet of one of remained, and this in such a miserable his companions, who, stooping down, state that it could not possibly have coolly thrust his knife into the Indian's travelled six miles further. It was, breast, and quickly tore off his scalp. therefore, killed, and its blood drunk,
The slaughter over, without casting of which, however, the captive squaws an eye to the captive squaws, the refused to partake. The men began trappers proceeded to search the vil to feel the effects of their consuming lage for food, of which they stood much thirst, which the hot horse's blood in need. Nothing, however, was found only served to increase ; their lips bebut a few bags of dried ants, which, came parched and swollen, their eyes after eating voraciously of, but with bloodshot, and a giddy sickness seized wry mouths, they threw aside, saying them at intervals. About mid-day the food was worse than “poor bull.” they came in sight of a mountain on They found, however, the animals their right hand, which appeared to be they had been robbed of, and two more thickly clothed with vegetation ; more besides,-wretched half-starved and arguing from this that water creatures ; and on these mounting would be found there, they left their their captives, they hurried away on course and made towards it, although their journey back to their companions, some eight or ten miles distant. On the distance being computed at three arriving at the base, the most minute days' travel from their present posi- search failed to discover the slightest tion. However, they thought, by tak traces of water, and the vegetation ing a more direct course, they might merely consisted of dwarf piñion and find better pasture for their animals, cedar. With their sufferings increased and water, besides saving at least half by the exertions they had used in a day by the short cut. To their cost, reaching the mountain, they once they proved the truth of the old say- more sought the trail, but every step ing, that “a' short cut is always a told on their exhausted frames. The long road,” as will be presently shown. sun was very powerful, the sand over
It has been said that from the south- which they were floundering deep and western extremity of the Great Salt heavy, and, to complete their sufferines a high wind was blowing it in It was nearly sunset when La their faces, filling their mouths and Bonté returned to the camp, where he noges with its searching particles already espied one of his companions
Still they struggled onwards man- engaged in cooking something over it. fully, and not a murmur was heard Hurrying to the spot, overjoyed with until theiv hunger had entered the the anticipations of a feast, he obsecond stage attendant upon starva- served that the squaws were gone; tion. They had now been three days but, at the same time, thought it was without food, and three without water; not improbable they had escaped under which privation nature can during theiv absence. Approaching hardly sustain herself for a much the fire, he observed Forey broiling longer period. On the fourth morning, some meat on the embers, whilst at a the men looked wolfish, their captives little distance lay what he fancied was following behind in sullen and perfect the carcass of a deer. indifference, occasionally stooping “Hurrah, boy!” he exclaimed, as down to catch a beetle if one presented he drew near the fire. “You've made itself, and greedily devouring it. A a 'raise,' I see." man named Forey, a Canadian half- “Well, I have," rejoined the other, breed, was the first to complain. "If turning his meat with the point of his this lasted another sundown," he said, butcher knife. - There's the meaty ut some of them would be 'rubbed out;" hos-help yourself." that meat had to be raised' anyhow; La Bonté drew the knife from his and for his part, he knew where to scabbard, and approached the spot his look for a feed, if no game was seen companion was pointing to; but what before they put out of camp on the was his horror to see the yet quivering morrow; and meat was meat, anyhow body of one of the Indian squaws, with they fixed it.”
a large portion of the flesh butchered No answer was made to this, though from it, and part of which Forey was his companions well understood him : already greedily devouring. The knife their natures as yet revolted against the dropped from his hand, and his heart last expedient. Asfor the three squaws, rose to his throat. all of them young girls, they followed The next day be and his companion behind their captors without a word of struck the creek where Rabe and the complaint, and with the stoical indiffer- other trapper had agreed to await ence to pain and suffering, which alike them, and whom they found in camp characterises the haughty Delaware of with plenty of meat, and about the north and the miserable stunted to start again on their hunt, having Digger of the deserts of the Far West. given up the others for lost. From On the morning of the fifth day, the the day they parted, nothing was ever party were sitting round a small fire heard of La Bonte's two companions, of piñon, hardly able to rise and com- who doubtless fell a prey to utter exmence their journey, the squaws haustion, and were unable to return squatting over another at a little dis- to the camp. And thus ended the tance, when Forey commenced again Digger expedition. to suggest that, if nothing offered, they It may appear almost incredible must either take the alternative of that men having civilised blood in starving to death, for they could not their veins could perpetrate such wanhope to last another day, or have ton and cold blooded acts of aggression recourse to the revolting extremity of on the wretched Indians, as that desacrificing one of the party to save the tailed above'; but it is fact that the lives of all. To this, however, there mountaineers never lose an opportuwas a murmur of dissent, and it was nity of slaughtering these miserable finally resolved that all shonld sally Diggers, and attacking their villages, out and hunt; for a deer-track had often for the purpose of capturing been discovered near the camp, which, women, whom they carry of, and not although it was not a fresh one, proved unfrequently sell to other tribes, or to that there must be game in the vi- each other. In these attacks neither cinity. Weak and exhausted as they sex nor age is spared; and your were, they took their rifles and started mountaineer has as little compunction for the neighbouring wplands, each in taking the life of an Indian woman, taking a different direction
as he would have in sending his rifleball through the brain of a Crow or against. The naked form of the Indian Blackfoot warrior.
twisted and writhed in his grasp, as La Bonté now found himself with- he sought to avoid the trapper's upout animals, and fairly "afoot ;" con- lifted knife. Many of the latter's sequently nothing remained for him companions advanced to administer but to seek some of the trapping bands, the coup-de-grâce to the savage, but and hire himself for the hunt. Luckily the trapper cried to them to keep off: for him, he soon fell in with Roubi- " If he couldn't whip the Injun," he dean, on his way to Uintah, and was said, “ he'd go under." supplied by him with a couple of At length he succeeded in throwing animals; and thus equipped, started him, and, plunging his knife no less again with a large band of trappers, than seven times into his body, tore who were going to hunt on the waters off his scalp, and went in pursuit of of Grand River and the Gila. Here the flying savages. In the course of they fell in with another nation of an hour or two, all the party returned, Indians, from which branch out the and sitting by the fires, resumed their innumerable tribes inbabiting North- suppers, which had been interrupted ern Mexico and part of California. in the manner just described. Walker, They were in general friendly, but lost the captain of the band, sat down by no opportunity of stealing horses or the fire where he had been engaged in any articles left lying about the camp. the struggle with the Indian chief, On one occasion, being camped on a whose body was lying within a few porthern attluent of the Gila, as they paces of it. He was in the act of sat round the camp-fires, a volley of fighting the battle over again to one arrows was discharged amongst them, of his companions, and was saying severely wounding one or two of the that the Indian had as much life in party. The attack, however, was not him as a buffalo bull, when, to the renewed, and the next day the camp borror of all present, the savage, who was moved further down the stream, bad received wounds sufficient for where beaver was tolerably abundant. twenty deaths, suddenly rose to a Before sundown a number of Indians sitting posture, the fire shedding a made their appearance, and making glowing light upon the horrid spectacle. signs of peace, were admitted into the The face was a mass of elotted blood, camp.
which flowed from the lacerated and The trappers were all sitting at their naked scalp, whilst gouts of blood suppers over the fires, the Indians streamed from eight gaping wounds in looking gravely on, when it was re- the naked breast. marked that now would be a good op Slowly this frightful figure rose to a portunity to retaliate upon them for sitting posture, and, bending slowly the trouble their incessant attacks had forward to the fire, the mouth was entailed upon the camp. The sugges- seen to open wide, and a hollow gurtion was highly approved of, and in- gling-owg-h-h-broke from it. stantly acted upon. Springing to their "11-'"exclaimed the trapper-and feet, the trappers seized their rifles, jumping up, he placed a pistol to the and commenced the slaughter. The ghastly head, the eyes of which sternly Indians, panic-struck, fled without fixed themselves on bis, and pulling resistance, and numbers fell before the the trigger, blew the poor wretch's death-dealing rifles of the mom- head to atoms. taineers. A chief, who had been sit- The Gila passes through a barren, ting on a rock near the fire where the sandy country, with but little game, leader of the trappers sat, had been and sparsely inhabited by several difsingled out by the latter as the first ferent tribes of the great nation of the mark for his rifle.
Apache. Unlike the rivers of this Placing the muzzle to his heart, he western region, this stream is, in most pulled the trigger, but the Indian, parts of its course, particularly towith extraordinary tenacity of life, wards its upper waters, entirely bare rose and grappled with his assailant of timber, and the bottom, through The white was a tall powerful man, which it runs, affords but little of the but notwithstanding the deadly coarsest grass. Whilst on this stream, wound the Indian had received, he the trapping party lost several animals had his equal in strength to contend from the want of pasture, and many
more from the predatory attacks of the conjured to his mind's eye the former cunning Indians. These losses, how- power and grandeur of his race,—that ever, they invariably made good warlike people who, forsaking their whenever they encountered a native own country for causes of which not village-taking care, moreover, to re- the most dim tradition affords a trace, pay themselves with interest when- sought in the fruitful and teeming ever occasion offered.
valleys of the south for a soil and cliNotwithstanding the sterile nature mate which their own lands did not of the country, the trappers, during afford ; and displacing the wild and their passage up the Gila, saw with barbarous hordes which inhabited the astonishment that the arid and barren land, raised there a mighty empire, valley had once been peopled by a great in riches and civilisation, of which race of men far superior to the present but the vague tradition now remains. nomade tribes who roam over it. The Indian bowed his head and With no little awe they gazed upon mourned the fallen greatness of his the ruined walls of large cities, and tribe. Rising, he slowly drew his tatthe remains of houses, with their pon- tered blanket round his body, and was derous beams and joists, still testifying preparing to leave the spot, when the to the skill and industry with which shadow of a moving figure, creeping they were constructed : huge ditches past a gap in the ruined wall, through and irrigating canals, now filled with which the moonbeams were playing, rank vegetation, furrowed the plains suddenly arrested his attention. Rigid in the vicinity, marking the spot as a statue, he stood transfixed to the where once the green waving maize spot, thinking a former inhabitant of and smiling gardens covered what now the city was visiting, in a ghostly form, was a bare and sandy desert. Pieces the scenes his body once knew so well. of broken pottery, of domestic utensils, The bow in his right hand shook with stained with bright colours, every fear as he saw the shadow approach, where strewed the ground; and spear but was as tightly and steadily grasped and arrow-heads of stone, and quaintly when, on the figure emerging from the carved idols, and women's ornaments shade of the wall, he distinguished the of agate and obsidian, were picked up form of a naked Apache, armed with often by the wondering trappers, exa- bow and arrow, crawling stealthily mined with child-like curiosity, and through the gloomy ruins. thrown carelessly aside.*
Standing undiscovered within the A Taos Indian, who was amongst shadow of the wall, the Taos raised the band, was evidently impressed his bow, and drew an arrow to the with a melancholy awe, as he regarded head, until the other, who was bendthese ancient monuments of his fallen ing low to keep under cover of the people. At midnight he rose from his wall, and thus approach the sentinel blanket and left the camp, which was standing at a short distance, seeing in the vicinity of the ruined city, suddenly the well-defined shadow on stealthily picking his way through the the ground, rose upright on his legs, line of slumbering forms which lay and, knowing escape was impossible, around; and the watchful sentinel ob. threw his arms down his sides, and, served him approach the ruins with a drawing himself erect, exclaimed, in a slow and reverential gait. Entering suppressed tone, " Wa-g-h!" the mouldering walls, he gazed silently "Wagh !" exclaimed the Taos likearound, where in ages past his ances wise, but quickly dropped his arrow tors trod proudly, a civilised race, the point, and eased the bow. tradition of which, well known to his “ What does my brother want," he people, served but to make their pre- asked, “ that he lopes like a wolf sent degraded position more galling round the fires of the white hunters ?" and apparent. Cowering under the “Is my brother's skin not red ?" shadow of a crumbling wall, the Indian returned the Apache, “and yet he drew his blanket over his head, and asks a question that needs no answer.
* The Aztecs are supposed to have built this city during their migration to the south; there is little doubt, however, but that the region extending from the Gila to the Great Salt Lake, and embracing the province of New Mexico, was the locality from which they emigrated.