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Why does the medicine wolf' follow when, handing them over to their fathe buffalo and deer! For blood-and milies, the trappers rode on, driving for blood the Indian follows the trea- fifty of the best of the rescued animals cherous white from camp to camp, to before them, which they retained as strike blow for blow, until the deaths payment for their services. Messenof those so basely killed are fullygers were sent on to Albuquerque avenged."
with intelligence of the proceeding; “My brother speaks with a big and as there were some troops staheart, and his words are true; and tioned there, the commandant was though the Taos and Pimo (Apache) applied to to chastise the insolent black their faces towards each other, whites. (are at war,) here, on the graves of That warrior, on learning that the their common fathers, there is peace trappers numbered less than fifteen, between them. Let my brother go." became alarmingly brave, and order
The Apache moved quickly away, ing out the whole of his disposable and the Taos once more sought the force, some two hundred dragoons, camp-fires of his white companions. sallied out to intercept the audacious
Following the course of the Gila to mountaineers. About noon one day, the eastward, they crossed a range of just as the latter had emerged from the Sierra Madre, which is a continua- a little town between Socorro and tion of the Rocky Mountains, and Albuquerque, they descried the imposstruck the waters of the Rio del Norte, ing force of the dragoons winding along below the settlements of New Mexico. a plain ahead. As the trappers adOn this stream they fared well ; be- vanced, the officer in command halted sides trapping a great quantity of his men, and sent out a trumpeter to beaver, game of all kinds abounded order the former to await his coming. and the bluffs near the well-timbered Treating the herald to a roar of laughbanks of the river were covered with ter, on they went, and, as they aprich gramma grass, on which their proached the soldiers, broke into a trot, half-starved animals speedily improved ten of the number forming line in front in condition.
of the packed and loose animals, and, They remained for some weeks en rifle in hand, charging with loud camped on the right bank of the stream, whoops. This was enough for the during which period they lost one of New Mexicans. Before the enemy their number, who was shot with an were within shooting distance, the arrow whilst lying asleep within a few gallant fellows turned tail, and splashfeet of the camp-fire.
ed into the river, dragging themselves The Navajos continually prowl up the opposite bank like half-drowned along that portion of the river which rats, and saluted with loud peels of runs through the settlements of New laughter by the victorious mountainMexico, preying upon the cowardly eers, who, firing a volley into the air, inhabitants, and running off with their in token of supreme contempt, quietly cattle whenever they are exposed in continued their route up the stream. sufficient numbers to tempt them. Before reaching the capital of the Whilst ascending the river, they met province, they struck again to the a party of these Indians returning to westward, and following a small creek their mountain homes with a large to its junction with the Green River, band of mules and horses which they ascended that stream, trapping en had taken from one of the Mexican route to the Uintah or Snake Fork, towns, besides several women and and arrived at Roubideau's rendezvous children, whom they had captured, as early in the fall, where they quickly slaves. The main body of the trap. disposed of their peltries, and were pers halting, ten of the band followed once more on “ the loose." and charged upon the Indians, who Here La Bonté married a Snake numbered at least sixty, killed seven of squaw, with whom he crossed the them, and retook the prisoners and the mountains and proceeded to the Platte whole cavallada of horses and mules. through the Bayou Salado, where he Great were the rejoicings when they purchased of the Yutes a commodious entered Socorro, the town from whence lodge, with the necessary poles, &c.; the women and children had been and being now “rich" in mules and taken, and as loud the remonstrances, horses, and all things necessary for otium cum dignitate, he took unto think of his misfortune. Certes, as himself another wife, as by mountain he turned his apolla of tender loin, he law allowed ; and thus equipped, with sighed as he thought of the delicate both his better halves attired in all the manipulations with which his Shosglory of fofarraw, he went his way shone squaw, Sah-qua-manish, was rejoicing.
wont to beat to tenderness the toughIn a snug little valley lying under est bull meat-and missed the tending the shadow of the mountains, watered care of Yute Chil-co-thē, or the “reed by Vermilion Creek, and in which that bends," in patching the holes abundance of buffalo, elk, deer, and worn in his neatly fitting mocassin, antelope fed and fattened on the rich the work of her nimble fingers. Howgrass, La Bonté raised his lodge, em- ever, he ate and smoked, and smoked ploying himself in hunting, and fully and ate, and slept none the worse for occupying his wives' time in dress- his mishap; thought, before he closed ing the skins of the many animals he his eyes, a little of his lost wives, and killed. Here he enjoyed himself amaz- more perhaps of the “Bending Reed" ingly until the commencement of win- than Sah-qua-manish, or "she who ter, when he determined to cross to runs with the stream," drew his blanthe North Fork and trade his skins, ket tightly round him, felt his rifle of which he had now as many packs handy to his grasp, and was speedily as his animals could carry. It hap- asleep. pened that he had left his camp one As the tired mountaineer breathes day, to spend a couple of days hunting heavily in his dream, careless and buffalo in the mountains, whither the unconscious that a living soul is near, bulls were now resorting, intending to his mule on a sudden pricks her ears " put out" for Platte on his return and stares into the gloom, from whence His hunt, however, had led him farther a figure soon emerges, and with noise. into the mountains than he anticipated, less steps draws near the sleeping and it was only on the third day that hunter. Taking one look at the slumsundown saw him enter the little val- bering form, the same figure approaches ley where his camp was situated the fire and adds a log to the pile;
Crossing the creek, he was not a which done, it quietly seats itself at little disturbed at seeing fresh Indian the feet of the sleeper, and remains sign on the opposite side, which led in motionless as a statue. Towards the direction of his lodge; and his morning the hunter awoke, and, rubworst fears were realised when, on bing his eyes, was astonished to feel coming within sight of the little pla- the glowing warmth of the fire strikteau. where the conical top of his white ing on his naked feet, which, in Inlodge had always before met his view, dian fashion, were stretched towards he saw nothing but a blackened mass it; as by this time, he knew, the fire strewing the ground, and the burnt he left burning must long since have ends of the poles which had once expired. Lazily raising himself on supported it.
his elbow, he saw a figure sitting near Squaws, animals, and peltry, all it with the back turned to him, which, were gone-an Arapaho mocassin although his exclamatory wagh was lying on the ground told him where. loud enough in all conscience, remained He neither fumed nor fretted, but perfectly motionless, until the trapper throwing the meat off his pack ani- rising, placed his hand upon the shoulmal, and the saddle from his horse, der: then, turning up its face, the he collected the blackened ends of the features displayed to his wondering lodge poles and made a fire-led his eye were those of Chilcothē, his Yuta beasts to water and hobbled them, wife. Yes, indeed, the “reed that threw a piece of buffalo meat apon the bends" had escaped from her Arapaho eoals, squatted down before the fire, captors, and made her way back to her and lit his pipe. La Bonté was a true white husband, fasting and alone. philosopher. Notwithstanding that his The Indian women who follow the house, his squaws, his peltries, were fortunes of the white hunters are gone " at one fell swoop," the loss remarkable for their affection and scarcely disturbed his equanimity; fidelity to their husbands, the which and before the tobacco in his pipe was virtues, it must be remarked, are all half smoked out, he had ceased to on their own side ; for, with very few
exceptions, the mountaineers seldom still there's hickory left to supply its scruple to abandon their Indian wives, place." Although, with animals and whenever the fancy takes them to peltry, he had lost several hundred change their harems; and on such dollars' worth of possibles," he never occasions the squaws, thus cast aside, groaned or grumbled. “There's redwild with jealousy and despair, have skin will pay for this," he once mutbeen not unfrequently known to take tered, and was done. signal vengeance both on their faith- Packing all that was left on the less husbands and the successful beau- mule, and mounting Chil-co-thē on his ties who have supplanted them in buffalo horse, he shouldered his rifle their affections. There are some hon- and struck the Indian trail for Platte. ourable exceptions, however, to such On Horse Creek they came upon a cruelty, and many of the mountaineers party of French * trappers and hunters, stick to their red-skinned wives for who were encamped with their lodges better and for worse, often suffering and Indian squaws, and formed quite them to gain the upper hand in the a village. Several old companions domestic economy of the lodges, and were amongst them; and, to celebrate being ruled by their better halves in the arrival of a “ camarade," a splenall things pertaining to family affairs; did dog-feast was prepared in honour and it may be remarked, when once of the event. To effect this, the the lady dons the unmentionables, she squawa sallied out of their lodges to becomes the veriesttermagant that ever seize upon sundry of the younger and hen pecked an unfortunate husband. plumper of the pack, to fill the kettles
Your refined trappers, however, for the approaching feast. With a who, after many years of bachelor life, presentiment of the fate in store for incline to take to themselves a better them, the curs slunk away with tails half, often undertake an expedition between their legs, and declined the into the settlements of New Mexico, pressing invitations of the anxious where not unfrequently they adopt a squaws. These shouldered their tomavery “Young Lochinvar" system in hawks and gave chase ; but the cunprocuring the required rib; and have ning pups outstripped them, and would been known to carry off, vi et armis, have fairly beaten the kettles, if some from the midst of a fandango in Fer- of the mountaineers had not stepped nandez, or El Rancho of Taos, some out with their rifies and quickly laid dark-skinned beauty-with or without half-a-dozen ready to the knife. A her own consent is a matter of uncon- cayente, attracted by the scent of blood, cernand bear the ravished fair one drew near, unwitting of the canine across the mountains, where she soon feast in progress, and was likewise becomes inured to the free and roving soon made dog of, and thrust into the life which fate has assigned her. boiling kettle with the rest.
American women are valued at a The feast that night was long prolow figure in the mountains. They tracted; and so savoury was the stew, are too fine and "fofarraw." Neither and so agreeable to the palates of the can they make mocassins, or dress hungry hunters, that at the moment skins; nor are they so schooled to per- when the last morsel was being drawn fect obedience to their lords and mas- from the pot, and all were regretting ters as to stand a “lodge poleing," that a few more dogs had not been which the western lords of the creation slaughtered, a wolfish-looking cur inDot unfrequently deem it their bounden cautiously poked his long nose and head duty to inflict upon their squaws for under the lodge skin, and was instantly some dereliction of domestic duty. pounced upon by the nearest hunter,
To return, however, to La Bonté. who in a moment drew his knife across That worthy thought himself a lucky the animals throat, and threw it to a man to have lost but one of his wives, squaw to skin and prepare it for the and the worst at that. “Here's the pot. The wolf had long since been beauty,” he philosophised, “ of having vigorously discussed, and voted by all two "wiping sticks' to your rifle; if the hands to be a good as dog." one break whilst ramming down a ball, "Meat's meat," is a common saying in the mountains, and from the buffalo by signs in rubbing the palm of one down to the rattlesnake, including hand quickly across the other, holding every quadruped that runs, every fowl both flat. Having once tasted the What flies, and every reptile that creeps, pernicious liquid, there is no fear but nothing comes amiss to the moun they will quickly come to terms; and taineer. Throwing aside all the qualms not unfrequently the spirit is drugged, and conscientious scruples of a fastidi- to render the unfortunate Indians still ous stomach, it must be confessed that more helpless. Sometimes, maddened dog-meat takes a high rank in the won- and infuriated by drink, they commit derful variety of cuisine afforded to the most horrid atrocities on each the gourmand and the gourmet by the other, murdering and mutilating in a prolific “mountains." Now, when the barbarous manner, and often attemptbill of fare offers such tempting viands ing the lives of the traders themselves, as buffalo beef, venison, mountain On one occasion a band of Sioux, mutton, turkey, grouse, wildfowl, whilst under the influence of liquor, hares, rabbits, beaver and their tails, attacked and took possession of a &c. &c., the station assigned to “dog" trading fort of the American Fur Comas No. 2 in the list can be well appre- pany, stripping it of every thing it ciated-No. 1, in delicacy of flavour, contained, and roasting the trader richness of meat, and other good himself over his own fire during the qualities, being the flesh of panthers, process. which surpasses every other, and The principle on which the nefarious all put together.
* Creoles of St Louis, and French Canadians.
trade is conducted is this, that the In" Painter meat can't shine' with dians, possessing a certain quantity of this," says a hunter, to express the buffalo robes, have to be cheated out delicious flavour of an extraordinary of them, and the sooner the better. cut of “tender loin," or delicate fleece. Although it is explicitly prohibited
La Bonté started with his squaw by the laws of the United States to for the North Fork early in Novem- convey spirits across the Indian fronber, and arrived at the Laramie at the tier, and its introduction amongst the moment that the big village of the Indian tribes subjects the offender to Sioux came up for their winter trade. a heavy penalty; yet the infraction of Two other villages were encamped this law is of daily occurrence, and lower down the Platte, including the perpetrated almost in the very preBrulés and the Yanka-taus, who were sence of the government officers, who now on more friendly terms with the are stationed along the frontier for the whites. The first band numbered seve- very purpose of enforcing the laws for ral hundred lodges, and presented quite the protection of the Indians. . an imposing appearance, the village T he misery entailed upon these unbeing laid out in parallel lines, the happy people by the illicit traffic must lodge of each chief being marked with be seen to be fully appreciated. Behis particular totem. The traders had fore the effects of the poisonous "fire-: a particular portion of the village water," they disappear from the earth allotted to them, and a line was like “ snow before the sun ;" and marked out which was strictly kept knowing the destruction it entails by the soldiers appointed for the pro- upon them, the poor wretches have tection of the whites. As there were not moral courage to shun the fatal many rival traders, and numerous allurement it holds out to them, of coureurs des bois, or peddling ones, the wild excitement and a temporary oblimarket promised to be brisk, the more yion of their many sufferings and 80 as a large quantity of ardent spirits privations. With such palpable effects, was in their possession, which would it appears only likely that the illegal be dealt with no unsparing hand to trade is connived at by those whose put down the opposition of so many policy it has ever been gradually but competing traders.
surely to exterminate the Indians, In opening a trade a quantity of and by any means extinguish their liquor is first given on the prairie, "* title to the few lands they now own on as the Indians express it in words, or the outskirts of civilisation. Certain
it is that large quantities of liquor find goods towards him, and often returntheir way annually into the Indian ing a small portion on the prairie," country, and as certain are the fatal with which the loser may again comresults of the pernicious system, and mence operations with another player. that the American government takes The game of “hand" is played by no steps to prevent it. There are two persons. One, who commences, some tribes who have as yet with places a plum or cherry-stone in the stood the great temptation, and have hollow formed by joining the concaved resolutely refused to permit liquor to palms of the hands together, then be brought into their villages. The shaking the stone for a few moments, marked difference between the im- the hands are suddenly separated, and proved condition of these, and the the other player must guess which moral and physical abasement of those hand now contains the stone. tribes which give way. to the fatal Large bets are often wagered on passion for drinking, sufficiently proves the result of this favourite game, which the pernicious effects of the liquor is also often played by the squaws, trade on the unfortunate and abused the men standing round encouraging aborigines; and it is matter of regret them to bet, and laughing loudly at that no philanthropist has sprung up their grotesque excitement. in the United States to do battle for A Burnt-wood Sioux, Tah-tungathe rights of the Red man, and call nisha, and one of the bravest chiefs of attention to the wrongs they endure his tribe, when a young man, was out at the hands of their supplanters in on a solitary war expedition against the lands of their fathers.
the Crows. One evening he drew near Robbed of their homes and hunting, a certain “medicine" spring, where, grounds, and driven by the encroach to his astonishment, he encountered a ments of the whites to distant regions, Crow warrior in the act of quenching which hardly support their bare exis- his thirst. He was on the point of tence, the Indians, day by day, are drawing his bow upon him, when he gradually decreasing before the ac- remembered the sacred nature of the cumulating evils, of body and soul, spot, and making the sign of peace, he wbich their civilised persecutors en- fearlessly drew near his foe, and protail upon them. With every man's ceeded likewise to slake his thirst. A hand against them, they drag on to pipe of kinnik-kinnik being produced, their final destiny; and the day is not it was proposed to pass away the early far distant when the American Indian part of the night in a game of "hand." will exist only in the traditions of his They accordingly sat down beside the pale-faced conquerors.
spring, and commenced the game. The Indians who were trading at Fortune favoured the Crow. He this time on the Platte were mostly won arrow after arrow from the Burntof the Sioux nation, including the wood brave; then his bow, his club, tribes of Burnt-woods, Yanka-taus, his knife, his robe, all followed, and Pian-Kashas, Assinaboins, Oglallahs, the Sioux sat naked on the plain. Still Broken Arrows, all of which belong to he proposed another stake against the the great Sioux nation, or La-cotahs, other's winnings — his scalp. He as they call themselves, and which played, and lost; and bending forward means cut-throats. There were also his head, the Crow warrior drew his some Cheyennes allied to the Sioux, knife and quickly removed the bleedas well as a small band of Republican ing prize. Without a murmur the Pawnees.
luckless warrior rose to depart, but Horse-racing, gambling, and ball first exacted a promise from his anplay, served to pass away the time tagonist, that he would meet him once until the trade commenced, and many more at the same spot, and engage in packs of dressed robes changed hands another trial of skill. amongst themselves. When playing On the day appointed, the Burntat the usual game of " hand," the wood sought the spot, with a new stakes, comprising all the valuables equipment, and again the Crow made the players possess, are piled in two his appearance, and they sat down to heaps close at hand, the winner at the play. This time fortune changed conclusion of the game sweeping the sides, and the Sioux won back his