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went out, and I such a goose as not to remark
"Because, you know I had had the precaution to throw a blanket over it, in the most approved Pottawatomie style, while my features were covered with gamboge and Indian ink."
"We'll say no more about that—I am ashamed to have been so taken in by a Johnny Raw. We will now suppose you kicked out of the Fort. Did I not kick you out," he added humorously, "and say, 1 Begone, you drunken dog —let me never see your face here again V"
"On the contrary," returned the Ensign, in the same mocking voice, "you were but too glad to be civil, when I threatened you with 'the Gubberner.'
"Once out of the Fort," he gravely continued, "my course was plain. I immediately hastened to the tent of Winnebeg, whom I found seated with his toes almost in the embers of an expiring fire, and smoking-his last pipe, previous to wrapping himself up in his blanket for the night. You may imagine his surprise, when, after some little difficulty, he recognised me in that garb, and at that hour, particularly after the events of the day, with which he had been made acquainted by Mr. Frazer, before the latter took refuge with his family in the Fort, one of its officers. Still, true to the dignified reserve of his race, he concealed, as much as possible, what was passing in his mind, and made me sit by his side, near which I have omitted to state, was an extremely handsome young Indian, whom he presented to me as his ion, and thus bade me tell him the object of my visit.
"Of course I knew enough of Indian etiquette to be satisfied that I should gain more by not attempting to hurry matters, and I accordingly suppressed my own impatience, while taking a dozen whiffs from the pipe he courteously offered to me. Winnebeg then received it back, while he sat with his eyes fixed intently on the fire, as he puffed away in an attitude of profound attention, that encouraged me to proceed.
"When he had heard all I had to say in regard to the fears I entertained for the absent party—for I did not confine my profession of interest to one—my own application to the commandant—and my strong reliance on him, to send a party of his young men with me to the farm, his eye suddenly kindled—his countenance assumed a more animated expression, and removing the pipe from bis lips, and puffing forth a more than usual volume of smoke, he cordially shook my hand—saying something in Indian to his son, who immediately sprang up with a light bound, and disappeared from the tent.
"After a lapse of time, which seemed to me
an age, he reappeared with a dozen young warriors, all armed and decked out in their war-paint. They remained grouped round the entrance for a few minutes, while Wau-nan-gee changed his own dress, and Winnebeg provided me with a rifle, tomahawk, and scalping-knife. Thus accoutred, I took the lead with the former, and after cautiously creeping through the encampment, passed along the skirt of the wood that almost overhung the river. We moved off at a quick walk, but soon our pace increased to a half run, so anxious were we all to get to the farm.
"We had not proceeded more than half way, when we saw a small boat, which I immediately distinguished as that belonging to the fishing party, slowly descending the river. The Indians, simultaneously, and as if by one common instinct, dropped flat on the ground, as I supposed to remain unseen, until the boat should come opposite to them, while I, uncertain by whom it was occupied, and anxious to ascertain, after whispering a few words to Wau-nan-gee, moved cautiously in advance, along the shore. When 1 had crept up about fifty yards, I could distinctly see that it was one of our men, and I immediately hailed, to know who he was, and where the rest of his party were.
"Scarcely had he answered, 'Collins,' and commenced a few words in explanation of the cause of his being there and alone, when the forms of two Indians, whom I fancied I had before detected creeping along the shore, regulating their stealthy progress by that of the boat, started into full height, and suddenly bounded towards me—one a little in advance of his oomrade. The moment was critical. They were not twenty yards from me, and I have often wondered at the presence of mind I preserved. It occurred to me in an instant, that they would not commit the imprudence of using fire-arms so near the Fort, and that steel only would be resorted to by them. This suggested my own course. Throwing my rifle upon the beach, in order that Collins, who was now pulling for the shore, might seize and use it, as occasion should require, I grasped the scalping-knife in my left hand, and with my tomahawk in my right, did not wait for the attack, but rushed upon the foremost Indian, for I knew that my only chance lay in the killing or disabling of one, before the other could come up. At the same time, in order both to apprise Wau-nan-gee, of my position, and to daunt my adversaries, I uttered one of those tremendous yells you know I so well can imitate, and receiving the blow of his tomahawk upon my own, thrown up in true dragoon style, at the same moment plunged my knife into his body with such force, that on examining it afterwards, I found that at least half an inch of the tapering handle had followed the blade. The savage fell dead without even a groan, a sight, which instead of checking his companion, rather urged him to revenge his fall. He had now come up with me, brandishing his tomahawk, when ! put myself on my guard to receive his blow, intending to use my knife as 1 had before, but at the very moment when I expected the descent of his weapon, he was suddenly seized from behind, raised from his feet, and thrown upon the ground. This was the act of Collins, who had gained the shore just after the lirst Indian fell, and had flown to assist me.
"At the same moment, Wau-nan-gee, with his warriors, who had started to their feet on hearing my loud yell of defiance, came quickly to the spot, and were not a little astounded to see an Indian, whom they instantly pronounced to be a Winnebago, lying motionless at my feet; nor was their respect for me at all lessened, when, on passing my scalping-knife from one to the other, they perceived what a proficient ! was in the use of their own favourite weapon. Of course I was not silly enough to detract from 'ny own glory, by admitting that it was as much the result of accident as design. They made signs for me to scalp him, but showing no particular desire to possess this trophy of my successful hand-to-hand encounter, one of the young men asked me to waive my right in his favour. This I did, and the scalp of the Winnebago was soon dangling from his waist. The other spoils I certainly did not object to, and his rifle, tomahawk, and knife, are now in Winnebeg's tent, until there offers a favourable opportunity of bringing them to my quarters. Hut to proceed.
"So much time had passed in the examination of the body of the dead Winnebago, that the living one had time to escape. The Pottawatomies had not seen him, and Collins, after having temporarily disabled him, ran up to afford me further assistance, on seeing advancing in the rear those whom he took to be of the same hostile party. Thus left unwatched, the savage had managed to creep away into the wood, and when attention was at length directed to him, he was not to be seen.
"When Collins had explained the position of the party at the farm, whose danger, on finding himself of no service there, he was then on his way to report, I proposed to Wau-nan-gee that half of his warriors should ascend by land, while the remainder, with himself, should accompany me in the boat. We accordingly separated, and made what haste we could to our destination—the party on shore regulating their progress by that in the boat. During the aseent, my anxiety was very great; for my whole
soul was bent upon the attainment of one object—that of restoring Mr. Heywood, unharmed, to his family. But the absence of all sound indicating conflict, was by no means favourable, and I had already began to fear that the silence which prevailed was but the result of victory on the part of the hostile band who had departed; when, suddenly, the loud, fierce yell of disappointment which burst from them, as I have since understood, when a ladder, by which they attempted to enter, was thrown from the roof, by Nixon, rang encouragingly upon my ear, and urged me to increased exertion. Our hope, however, was by no means proportioned to my anxiety; for, somehow or other, only two oars were in the boat, and as the Indians did not much care or know how to pull them in time, the task devolved wholly on Collins and myself. At length, just as the day was beginning to dawn, we reached the farm-house, about a hundred yards beyond which we put in and landed, making a detour by the barn, so as to meet the other part of our little force in the rear, and thus to place the enemy, if actually surrounding the house, between two fires.
"After waiting, however, some little time, and finding everything quiet, my apprehensions increased; for, although not the sign of a Winnebago could be seen, so profound was the stillness without, that I began to think the whole party had been captured or murdered. Suddenly, however, while hesitating as to the course to be pursued—for I feared that if the party were all right, they might fire upon us as we approached—I saw a man, whom I easily distinguished to be Corporal Nixon, issue from the back door, with a bucket in his hand, and turning the corner, make hastily for the river. Directing Wau-nan-gee, whose two parties had now joined, and were lying closely concealed in the barn, to enter the house as cautiously and noiselessly as possible, I hastened after Nixon, from whom, after recovering from his first fright at finding himself unarmed, and in the power of one whom he naturally took to be one of his recent assailants, I received a brief account of all that had occurred. On entering the house with him shortly afterwards, what a contrast was presented to my view !—on the one hand the ludicrous—the horrible on the other.
"Close within the doorway lay the dead body of Mr. Heywood—his face much disfigured— and almost rigid in a pool of clotted blood. Imagine what a sight this was to me, whose chief object and hope it had been to restore him safely to his daughter, although, at intervals during the route, I had more than once dreaded something like this catastrophe. Stupified at the spectacle, I felt my heart sicken as the idea of the grief by which Maria would be overwhelmed, when this sad tale should be revealed to her, rose to my imagination. But even then my presence of mind did not desert me, and I already determined on what was to be done. In some degree consoled by this, I raised my glance from the body, to observe what further atrocity had been committed. Three or four Indians were grouped around, evidently regarding the corpse with deep interest; for Mr. Heywood had often hunted with them, and given^them refreshment when stopping to rest at his place, while on their way to the Fort laden with their game. Further on, the great body of Wau-nan-gee's people were standing, leaning on their rifles, and enjoying the mistake of three of our fellows, who, naturally, taking them, from the great resemblance of dress, to be their enemies who had obtained an entrance, were holding aloft, in an attitude of defiance—one a huge poker thrust through the carcass of an enormous bird, and two others, a blackened leg and a wing, evidently belonging to the same animal, which they ever and anon brandished over their heads, while their eyes were riveted on the dusky forms before them. The wooden partition opposite sustained their muskets, from which the interposing Indians had cut them off; and against the front door of the house, which was closed and barred, leaned the only armed man of the party, deprived, however, of all power of action."
"What a scene for some American Hogarth," interrupted the Lieutenant, "and how graphically you describe it. I can see the picture before me now."
"I confess," resumed Renayne, "I could not, even amid all my painful feelings, suppress a smile at its extreme absurdity; for the appearance of three men seeking to defend themselves from what they believed to be fierce and bloodthirsting enemies, with the burnt carcass and limbs of an old turkey-cock, was such a burlesque on the chivalrous, that knowing as I did, how little their supposed enemy was to be dreaded, I could not suppress thoughts which, even as they forced themselves upon me, I was angry at allowing myself to entertain. To understand the thing fully, you must have seen it yourself. Had I recounted this to you yesterday, or even this morning, I could have filled up the picture more grotesquely, and yet not less truly; but now I have too great a weight on my spirits to give you more than a simple sketch.
"At the announcement of my name and purpose, the statue at the door became suddenly disenchanted—the legs and wings fell—a man dropped lightly from the loft, musket in hand; and Cass only, with his gaze intently fixed on the mocking savages before him, of whom he Vol. vi. 28
took me to be one, continued his defensive attitude with the poker; nor was it until I had advanced and taken his weapon from him, amid the loud laughter of the young Indians, that he finally came to his senses. After all, poor devil! his distrust was but natural.
"No time was to be lost. While some of the men were, according to my instructions, wrapping in a blanket the body of Mr. Heywood, after removing from it what blood they could; and others bore to the boat the unfortunate Le Noir, whom I had not at first distinguished, so completely had he been covered by his dog, . I took the Corporal aside, and explained to him how necessary it was that nothing should be known at the Fort, of the fate of Mr. Heywood. On his asking what he should say, if questioned, I desired him (with some hesitation, I confess, for I knew I was setting to the men a bad example, which only the peculiar circumstances of the case could justify,) to give an evasive answer, and simply state that he had been carried off by the Indians; which, indeed, would be the fact, as I intended him to be borne off by the party I had brought. I told him, moreover, that at a fitting opportunity I would explain everything to Captain Headly, and take all the responsibility upon myself.
"On his promptly saying he would, I added that it would be necessary the men of his party should be made acquainted with my views, and asked if I might depend upon them. He replied that there was not a man among them who did not so love Miss Heywood as to run the risk of any punishment, rather than say one word that could give her pain—and that while on their way down he would take care to warn them. Elmsley, I was touched at this, almost to tears: for it was a deeper satisfaction to me than I can well express, to know that Maria was so great a favourite with these rude, honest fellows. Assured that everything was right, I told the Corporal to embark the men immediately; while 1, with Wau-nan-gee and his Indians, proceeded by land with the body of Mr. Heywood.
"'Don't you think, sir,' said the Corporal hesitatingly, as he prepared to execute my instructions, 'don't you think it would be well for the ladies' sake, that they should not be reminded of the name of this place more than can be helped?'
"' Undoubtedly, Nixon. But what do you mean?'
"'Why, sir, I mean that as poor Mr. Heywood never will be here again, it would be better nothing should be left to remind them of the bloody doings of yesterday.'
"' And what other name would you give to it?' I asked.
"' If it was left to me, Mr. Renayne,' replied the Corporal, diffidently, 'I would call it Hakdscrabble, on account of the hard struggle the fellows must have had with Mr. Heywood, judging from his wounds and broken rifle, before they mastered him.'
"' Then Hardscrabble be it,' I said, 'not that I can really see it will make much difference in calling the thing to mind; yet it would be scarcely fair to deny to you, who have so bravely defended the place, the privilege of giving it a new name, if the old one is to be abandoned.'
"' Thank you, sir,' returned Nixon; 'but if you hadn't come to our assistance, I don't know what the upshot might have been. I suspect that fellow, whose comrade you killed, sent them off sooner than they intended.'
"' No more of that, Nixon; and now do you remember what you are to say when you get back to the Fort?'
"' I do, sir, and every man shall be told to say as I do; but about the new name, Mr. Renayne,' he pursued, returning, after having gone a few paces on his way, 'do you think, sir, Mrs. Hey wood will consent to it?'
"'My good fellow,' I answered, 'recollect Mrs. Heywood is to know nothing about it—at least for the present—I will settle all that. In the mean time, as you have called it Hardscrabble, so let it remain.'"
And Hardscrabble that tcene of blood is called to this hour .'*
"I at first apprehended that the Indians would evince disinclination to carry the body so great a distance, or even at all; but on Wau-nan-gee explaining my desire to them, they all, to my surprise, expressed even eagerness to meet my wishes; for, as he assured me, the young men looked upon me as a great warrior, who had done a deed of heroism that night, meriting the distinction of being one of their chiefs, and entitling me to command their services in all things.
"I certainly thought my honours cheaply enough purchased; however, I was but too glad to appropriate to myself the respect and good-will which the killing of the Winnebago had entailed, and matters were soon arranged.
"The body having been removed outside, and the doors secured, as well as, under the circumstances, could be done, one of the warriors cut from a tree in the adjacent wood, a semicircular piece of tough and flexible bark, about six feet in length, and in the hollow of this the murdered father of Maria, already swathed tightly in a blanket, was placed. A long pole was then passed through three equidistant loops of cord that encircled the whole,
and two of the Indians having, with the assistance of their companions, raised it upon their shoulders, it was thus borne, the parties being relieved at intervals, over the two long miles of road that led to the edge of the wood skirting their encampment. Here the party stopped, while Wau-nan-gee and myself repaired to the tent of his father, who no sooner heard detailed by his son, the account of my Winnebago killing practice on the preceding evening, than he overwhelmed me with congratulations, and looked proudly on the knife, still stained with a spot or two of blood, which I returned to him, and which he restored to its usual restingplace on his hip.
"Perceiving that Winnebeg was, like his young men, ready to do anything for me, I explained to him my desire to take the body of Mr. Heywood across the river, and bury him secretly in his own grounds; but that it was necessary, in order to do this effectually, that he and his son only should go with me, and by some circuitous route. At once entering into my views, he said he would show me a place where we could cross without being seen either from the Fort or his own encampment, and then led the way back to the wood where the party were still waiting.
"The rest is soon told. Dismissing the young men into the encampment, Winnebeg, with his son, bore the body within the skirt of the wood, until we reached a bend of the river hidden from observation, where a canoe, with paddles, was drawn up on the beach. There we crossed, and going round to the rear of the cottage, entered the garden, and proceeded to the upper end, near the little summer-house. Near a favourite rose-tree of Maria, I dug with my own hands a hasty grave, in which Winnebeg and Wau-nan-gee placed the body— its only coffin being the bark that was swathed around it. Of course I always intended to disinter it at some future but not distant period, and bestow upon it the usual rites of sepulture.
"This painful task accomplished, and the soil having been carefully replaced, so as to leave no inequality of surface, I accompanied my friends back by the same route, and about nine o'clock left the Pottawatomie encampment with them and a few other warriors of the tribe for the Fort, which, in the crowd, I entered without difficulty, or creating suspicion. Watching my opportunity, I stole to the rear of my bedroom, opened, and entered by the window, changed my dress, and made my appearance on parade as you saw."
TnE fourth of July, 1812, was a more than usual gala day in the little Fort of Chicago; for, in addition to the national jubilee, there 395
was to be celebrated one of a private, yet not less interesting nature. On that evening, Ensign Renayne was to espouse, in the very room in which he had first been introduced to her, the woman he had so long and so ardently loved, and who yielded a not reluctant consent to his proposal that this day of general joy should be that of the commencement of their own happiness.
It was a lovely day, and everything seemed to smile upon the denizens of that region, from early dawn until the setting of the sun. Officers and men were in their brightest uniforms, —the women and children in their holiday dresses. A splendid, new star-bespangled banner, the work of Maria Heywood's hands, floated in the dazzling rays of the sun, upon the southern bastion of the Fort. Joy and pride sat on every brow; for they exulted at the recollection of that hardly-won nationality which was that day to be celebrated for the thirty-sixth time.
At noon the cannon thundered forth their bursts of rejoicing. This was the signal for the numerous Pottawatomies outside, all of whom had decked themselves for the occasion, to approach nearer to the Fort. On the glacis they discharged their guns and rifles, and seemed to have but one spirit with the allies to whom they appeared to have devoted themselves. Winnebeg, however, though long expected, had not yet returned.
It was night; no accident had occurred beyond the laceration of two of Ephraim Giles's fingers, who having been presented by the Doctor that day with a new suit, the fac simile in fashion of the old, had been whittling almost in front of one of the guns when discharged, and lost, with the ends of his fingers, both his stick and his knife. The sultriness of the day had been succeeded by a cool and refreshing air— gaiety and content everywhere prevailed, and many were the voices, male and female, that exclaimed, as allusion was made to the ceremony all knew to bo in progress, in Captain Headly's rooms, "God bless them!" "May they be happy as they deserve!" A large tub of whiskey punch, the gift of the commanding officer, had been brewed by Von Vottenberg for their mid-day meal, which all had been unanimous in pronouncing the best medicine the Doctor had ever administered to them; and now, in small social messes, seated round their rude tables, covered with tin goblets and pitchers of the same metal, the mothers with their children at their side, and upon their knees, and the fathers and younger men puffing clouds of smoke from their short pipes, they filled from two others, placed on an elevated table in each blockhouse, which the young Ensign had given them for the occasion.
Even the guard was moderately supplied, and the sentries alone, pacing to and fro on their limited walk, felt the bitterness of privation as they counted the minutes which must elapse before they could join in the festivities, which the loud voice and ringing laugh, occasionally wafted to their ears, told them was in progress.
In the rooms of the commanding officer there was more than the usual manifestation of the anniversary. All had dined at an early hour; but a large sideboard, that stood in one corner of the council-room, always fitted up on these occasions, was covered with wines, liqueurs, mint juleps, and punches of various kinds—the latter the work of the indefatigable son of -Esculapius; and of these, the host and his guests, chiefly consisting of the settlers around, partook freely in commemoration of the day. At the opposite end of the room had been raised a sort of tribune for the orator of the day; but as it was intended that the address should be improvised, no name had been mentioned, nor even could any one know, until the moment when the majority of voices should select him, on whom the office was to devolve. In the fear of each that he should be the party called upon, the glass, to impart the necessary courage, was not spared. But he who was not in the room, or of the number of those devoted to the punch-bowl, was the person chosen, as if by one impulsive consent. Renayne, who was seated in the inner room, and discoursing of anything but politics to his betrothed, heard himself loudly called for, knew it was in vain to object, and reluctantly rose in obedience to the summons.
"Come, young gentleman," said Captain Headly, entering with an air of gaiety by no means usual to him, "you are, it appears, in all things," and he bowed to Maria Heywood significantly, "the chosen of the evening. But recollect," he added, as he drew her arm through his own, and proceeded towards the larger apartment where Renayne was awaited, "as you acquit yourself of your duty, so Bhall I of mine."
"I shall do my best," replied the youth in the same light tone; "but of the two orations, I know which will be the best suited to my own taste."
The other ladies had also risen, and now stood grouped near Captain Headly, who, with Maria Heywood on his arm, leaned against the doorway, separating the two rooms; while Renayne, amid cheers and congratulations, made his way to the tribune at the farther end of the apartment.
His address was necessarily not.long; for, independently of the impatience he could not but feel, at that moment, of all subjects but