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that nearest his heart, he was by no means ambitious of making a display of his powers of elocution. Yet, notwithstanding this, he treated his theme in so masterly a manner, and in such extremely good taste—reflecting honour on the land of his birth—alluding, moreover, to the high position even then occupied by the nation, and the future greatness which he predicted, from its laws, its institutions, and its form of government, to await it, that Maria Heywood could not fail to experience a secret pride in the warm and evidently sincere acclamations of the little party present, attesting as they did, their estimate of the worth of him, who in another hour would be her own for life.
"And now," said Captain Headly to the young officer, as he returned from the tribune, "what reward do you expect for your maiden oration ?—What shall it be, Miss Heywood?"
"I will spare her the trouble of an answer; this," said llcnayne, as he took the hand that had just disengaged itself from the arm of the commandant, and placed it within his own, "until you have set your seal to the precious gift," and his eyes looked the value he attached to it; "I part not with this again."
"Everything is ready in the next room," answered Captain Headly; "go in; when I
have announced that the ceremony is about to take place, I shall hasten to give you this dear girl for life." And imprinting a kiss upon her brow, he passed on to those who were paying their homage to the punch-bowl, and discussing the merits of the oration just delivered.
It was with a flushed cheek, and a beating heart, that Maria Heywood was led by Renayne, radiant with hope and joy, to the little table covered with plain white linen, and illuminated by half-a-dozen tall candles, behind which the commander of the garrison had placed himself, on a slightly elevated estrade.
All of the guests were grouped around, a little in the rear; while Lieutenant Elmsley stood on the right hand of his friend, and his wife on the left of the betrothed. Next to her, in an arm-chair, which, provided with casters, was easily moved from one place to another, reclined Mrs. Heywood; and with her beautiful arms reposing on the high back of this, stood Mrs. Headly, in graceful attitude, watching the ceremony with almost maternal interest.
The ceremony was proceeded with, and that night, to the great joy of all within the Fort of Chicago, was Maria Heywood the wife of their young favourite, and universally loved officer, Harry Renayne!
THE PRAIRIE FIGHT.
BY MBS. E
It was that most delicious season of the year, the "Indian summer," when, seated with some travelling companions on the deck of the steamer "Otto," bound for the Upper Mississippi, we perceived three Indians in earnest parley with the captain of the boat. They were fine specimens of their nation: tall and straight, with proportions of exact symmetry. Their keen, dark eyes were glittering with excitement; and, with their rifles in their hands, and each with one foot advanced, they appeared as if preparing to spring overboard into the deep and turbid waters of the river.
With furious gestures, they pointed to the prairie, that lay stretched out before the view until it seemed to meet the glowing sky. Covered with rich grass and wild flowers,— lonely and wild,—it looked a vast expanse of silence and solitude. But as we gazed through the shimmering mist that, like a transparent veil over the faco of beauty, enveloped its green luxuriance, we observed far in the distance a party of Indians, moving in single file at a rapid rate.
. 8. SWIFT.
They were Sioux, whose tribe at that time were in deadly feud with the Chippeways. The Indians on board the "Otto" were chiefs i of that nation, returning to their homes. As I soon as the Chippeways saw the Sioux, they knew from their mode of travelling that they had been on a war expedition to some of their villages; hence their impassioned gestures, and pleadings to the captain to be set on shore. They said they would take their scalps from their foes, and rejoin the boat some distance ahead.
After urging their request for some time, the captain of the "Otto" complied with it, and they were landed, and soon in quick pursuit of their enemies. At the solicitations of many of the passengers, backed by the potent influence of sundry odd dollars that found their way into the rough hands of the captain, he consented to the boat's slackening her speed, that we might view the result.
The Chippeways crept stealthily but swiftly along the shore, concealing themselves in the brushwood that lined the banks of the river, until they came near enough to the Sioux, and then, with a spring like a panther's, and a whoop that filled the air with its murderous echo, in an instant each rifle brought down a foe. Three of the Sioux fell dead upon the prairie. In return, the Sioux, though taken by surprise and thrown off their guard, turned in pursuit of the Chippeways, who fled for their lives, determined to avenge the death of their fallen companions.
The intense excitement on board the steamer was beyond description. Ladies were borne half fainting with terror to the cabin—mothers were screaming for their children—children crying and nurses scolding—all dreading instant massacre, from their near proximity to the Indians. Men gathered in groups on the deck,—some betting high on the result of the fight—some blaming the captain "for permitting murder,"—others watching with breathless eagerness the flying foes, expressing earnest desire for their victory or defeat. It was a perfect Babel of languages:—the steerage passengers crowded the lower deck, men, women, and children, all talking at once in their different dialects, all intent upon seeing the novel fight.
The three Chippeways ran swiftly—their feet scarce seemed to touch the sward, so rapid was their motion. But see! One stops—something impedes his steps; 'tis for a second's space— he throws away his moccasin, and as he does so, casts a quick glance behind him. A Sioux, but a few feet from him, is in the act of levelling his rifle—a flash and report. The excited spectators on board the "Otto" give a simultaneous shriek; and the words " He is shot!" "He is gone!" are heard on every side. But no—he bounds forward with increased velocity. A moment more, and he staggers—reels, and falls prostrate, shot through the heart.
Then commenced a scene in Indian warfare, so fiendish and bloodthirsty, that my pen can scarce record it. While the body was still heaving with the last struggles of life, with a scream, wild and unearthly, the Sioux bent over it with his glittering knife. I involuntary closed my eyes; and when I looked again, I saw the gory scalp of the Chippeway, dripping with the still warm blood, fastened to the girdle of the Sioux. liaising the war whoop, that echoed from shore to shore like the yell of some demon, he hurried on after the others.
The two remaining Chippeways were fast distancing their pursuers; and we could see them for miles along the prairie, running in a line from the shore, the Sioux still in hot pursuit, like wolves after their prey. The captain commanded that added steam should be put to the boat; there was a bluff where the river made a bend, a short distance ahead; and he
thought he might yet save the fugitives, by getting them aboard the "Otto."
And steam was put on. The raging and crackening of the fire as it roared amidst its frail barriers, the surging and mad speed of the boat, as she churned the waters into foam, the groans and dissonant noises of the vast machinery, sounding like the cries of a soul in torments—all were unheard, or forgotten, in our breathless intensity of vision. The chase was for human life—for life, that a few moments before had lived and breathed amongst us.
In a short space we came to the bend of the river; here the shore was thickly covered with scrub pine and wild creepers, and our view intercepted. As we rounded the point, however, we could see far across the prairie; and like a dark speck in the distance could trace one Chippeway, like a deer flying from the huntsman, still pursued by the maddened Sioux. A crash was heard among the branches, and his companion came leaping from the high bluff that overhung the river. The poor fellow had outrun his implacable foes, and seeing the boat made an attempt to reach it as his only chance for life. But instead of falling into the water, he came heavily upon the ground and broke his leg. Before his enemies found his trail, ho was safely landed on board the steamer. A physician being on board, his limb was set, and he eventually reached his village in safety.
It was afterwards discovered, that according to the assertion made by the Chippeways, their village had been attacked by this Sioux party. A boy stationed upon one of the bluffs that surrounded their dwellings, seeing their approach, had given instant alarm, so that by the time the Sioux reached the village it was deserted and bare. They set fire to it, and were returning, when seen by the three Indians on board the steamer. The Chippeway that fled across the prairie, was sorely beset by his foes; for days and nights he had neither rest nor sleep. Once only he had stopped to breathe among some bushes, but they had tracked his course, and he found himself surrounded by a burning circle of fire. But his courage and perseverance did not forsake him even amidst such deadly peril. With a bound he cleared the flaming brushwood, and though thrice wounded by chance shots, he had eluded their direful vengeance, and while his body was was weakened and emaciated by such severe hardships and fatigue, his resolute spirit sustained his exertions until retreat was practicable; and he also returned to his people in safety.
This sketch is no vision of fancy—there are persons still living who witnessed " The Prairie Fight."
I Waitoered where the sunshine and the shade
Were alternating by a sparkling river, As gentle zephyrs roved along, and made The forest branches quiver.
My inmost spirit felt and blest the power
Of universal love, from heaven descending;
The white mist trailing over vales and rills,
Its garments spotless as a bride's adorning,
The dewy leaves, dependent from the trees,
Turned up coquettlshly their shining faces,
The wavelets dancing o'er the golden sands,
The flowers unfolding in the morning beam,
To bloom and breathe, by human hearts neglected, Leant gently o'er the bosom of the stream, To see themselves reflected.
The birds sang matins to the cheering light,
And then soared up in pairs on tours of pleasure,
From every blooming shrub and towering tree
Arose the voice of some small Insect hummer,
And there, amidst the music, light, and bloom,
I felt the hot blood glowing on my cheek,
I almost heard my raptured heartstrings beating; But he was all unmoved, nor deigned to speak One kindly word of greeting.
I breathed with trembling lips his treasured name,
And whispered words of love In tones that faltered, I gazed upon his face, it was the same— The same, but ohl how altered.
Altered, because the soul was wanting there—
The soul that bathed it with a dreamy splendour; The soul that gave to brow and eye so fair, A light so warm and tender.
I yearned to hear the voice that thrilled of old,
But there, with pallid cheek, and lips apart,
He stood with folded hands in deathlike stillness, Until the life-tide circling In my heart Seemed freezing in its chillness.
I did not note the burning tears I shed,
Nor count the weary hours I stood beside him;
To my sad heart the mystic hook of life
Disclosed the darkest lesson on its pages, And moments fraught with agony and strife Seemed long-enduring ages.
I whispered burning words of love in vain,
I spoke of bygone scenes of joy and sadness, I know not what I said, my burning brain Was goaded on to madness.
I told him of his vow, in other hours,
To love me till his heart should cease its beating; It cheered me then, as dewdrops cheer the flowers, Alas I it was as fleeting.
I told him I had thought of him at night,
When every other weary one was sleeping, Until the eyes, that he had called so bright, Grew dull and dim with weeping.
And only Hope, the angel In my heart,
That sung to me, in sweet, bewitching numbers, That death alone would rend our souls apart. Could lull mo to my slumbers.
That blessed Hope would sing to me no more—
And still, no word replying moved his lips—
No feeling lit his cheek with life-like flashes;
There, like a statue, pale and cold and still,
Then came the hitter thought that he was dead—
That I beheld his image but In seeming— I shrieked, and shrieking started from my bed— Thank heaven, I had been dreaming.
BY Kiss C. M. l.ligWICI, "He that dlggeth a pit shall fall into it"
TnnRE are incidents and combinations of circumstances in domestic life which, if faithfully recorded when they occur, would give to a succeeding age a more definite idea, a more lively impression of the spirit of bygone days than can be got from volumes of subsequent history. History, of necessity, deals mainly with public events and marked characters, exceptional from the mass of their contemporaries. We may compare its records to a map of Switzerland which gives you its stupendous mountains, its lakes, and rivers in dots and lines; while the domestic story is like a picture of Lauterbrunnen, with its characteristic narrow valley, its wonderful fall of the Staubach, its overhanging and converging cliffs, its Jungfrau in the background, and a single cottage, with its appurtenances of domestic utensils and commodities, telling the story of family life.
It is the conviction of the worth of such records that induces me to write the following story, some hints of which are taken from the archives of a Congregational church, which archives consist of a faithful record kept by its excellent minister for the space of fifty years. Some particulars are gathered from the generation that preceded me, persons not related by ties of blood to the parties, but connected with them by the vivid sympathies of village life. Other aid has been received from more apocryphal sources.
The names, alas! are now only on the rudelysculptured monuments of the burying-ground. We shall not take the liberty of using them.
We shall for onoe designate the lower valley of the Housatonic by its euphonious Indian name Owasonook, instead of that given to it by the first Puritan settlers, who, in their designation, branded the virgin valley with a memorial of the "bank-note world," the old world of stocks and brokers.
This village of Owasonook has been favoured from the beginning. Missionaries were sent from Scotland to its aboriginal people. There, on the ample green where a village church now
stands, and where generations are now laid in holy rest, Brainard expounded his doctrines, and there the excellent Sergeant ministered to his Indian congregation in their goodly show of broadcloth mantles, the gift of Queen Anne.
At the date of our humble story, Brainard had passed on to wilder tribes, Sergeant was gathered to his fathers, and a young man by the name of Stephen West, sound and zealous in doctrine, of good parts, and most gracious heart, was ordained over the small congregation of all the white people who then dwelt in the valley. There were then no dissenters from the established doctrine and independent government of the Puritan Church. The Baptists were unknown in New England. Methodism had not begun. Catholicism was held to be that faith over which the woman who sat on the seven hills reigned, and Episcopacy was in little better odour. The fathers of those days had no prophetic vision of the infinite diversity of shades of colour into which their religion was to be distributed among their descendants, from the deep dye of Papistry, to the faint outside shade, the evanescent and almost imperceptible hue of transcendentalism.
"Belief, not practice, was then prized at highest rate." Among the sturdiest in belief, the least scrupulous in practice, was Deacon Nathan Bay. I remember him well in his old age; that tall brawny figure, with broad and stooping shoulders, and short neck; that high intellectual brow, all written over with lines of calculation and craft; the cold gray eye, with bushy black brows that overhung them like thatch. His eyebrows were then still untouched by time. His hair was sabled and combed on each side of his face with a Pharisaical sleekness, that did not harmonize with his general air of cherished and allowed potentiality. His skin was as dark as a Spaniard's, his cheeks ploughed in deep furrows, his nose aquiline and rather handsome, his mouth sharklike. I believe he thus vividly lives in my imagination because, in my timid childhood, I have many a time felt my eyes spellbound to him, while he appeared to me the impersonation of the Schedoni of Mrs. Radcliffe's most terrible novel. I recoiled from him then—I have since had a sterner horror of him.
There was a little ewe-lamb dwelt under the rooftree of Deacon Bay, a fur-off orphan relative of his wife, who having a sufficient inheritance to indemnify the Deacon for all expenses on her account, he complied with his wife's wishes, and became her guardian and nominal protector. Jessie Blair was the child of godly parents; and the Deacon said he should have dono the same by Jessie if she had been poor, for 'professora' should see to it, and fulfil the prophecy, that the seed of the righteous should never be seen begging their bread. The Deacon was scriptural in another point; no one harboured under his roof ever ate the bread of idleness. Jessie who came there a petted (not spoiled) child, had her playful spirit soon sobered by the uniform routine of domestic toil. There is nothing duller, more soulless, than the daily recurrence and satisfaction of the lowest wants of our being. The pleasant lights of rural life were excluded from the Deacon's household, or rather converted to a dreary shadow, by the medium through which they passed. If he did not, like one of his contemporaries, marshal his children on Monday morning, and do up the week's whipping by an exactly equal and thorough application of the birch,* he kept down the spirit of his household more effectually by its mournful monotony. The Deacon's helpmate was a wife after the feudal pattern, of unquestioning conformity, and serflike obedience. The only indication that she was not merged in her husband—a drop of water lost in his oceim,—was a phraseology indicative of his distinct existence; as "the Deacon judges," and "the Deacon concludes." If her opinion were asked in divinity or ethics, her common reply was, "I don't know the Deacon's opinion, but I think as he thinks." This exemplary subject had one son of a former marriage, Isaac Remington. Isaac was a harmless young man of two or three and twenty. As far as quiet subserviency to the Deacon was concerned, he never escaped from his minority. He lives in tradition only as a still, steady, sleek youth, with a nose like the tower of Lebanon. Thus associated, the only fitting sustenance of poor Jessie's childhood was companionship with the chickens she fed, and the kittens that played in spite of the Deacon; and an occasional romp in the playtime at the village school.
Time went on, and in its progress unfolded
manifold charms and graces in Jessie, so that when she reached the age of fifteen, when the half-open flower discloses its possible beauty, every eye turned admiringly and kindly on her.
There occurred about this time in the church, a revival of religion. Jessie, naturally enough, recoiled from religion as exhibited in the Deacon's family. Its cold formulas froze her spirit, but it as naturally melted in an atmosphere where she felt the influence of sympathy. Her gentle pastor received her confessions of her past opposition to the divine character with a joyful recognition of her perceptions of truth, and received her profession of submission and faith with tears of joy. Alas for poor Jessie! this faith and submission, so surely rewarded by their divine object, were destined to be cruelly tested by human tyranny.
Isaac was a subject of the same ' awakening" that brought Jessie into the fold, though there was never a term that seemed less applicable than this to Isaac. There was no vitality in the man—nothing to kindle, nothing to rouse, nothing to 'awake.' He passed through the examination to which young converts are subjected, he answered as others did, and was received to the communion of the church.
Not long after this there was a sort of curtain conversation between the Deacon and his wife to the following effect.
"Beauty is a temptation," observed the Deacon. This was a self-evident truth, and seemed a very inconsequential remark, but the good dame apparently did not think so. She looked up from her knitting with more expression than usual; there was meaning in her face; perhaps she anticipated something in the nature of a confession, for a hypocrite is not nearly so much a saint to his wife as a man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre. "It is best to clip the chicken's wings," continued the Deacon, "if you mean to keep the hen within bounds."
"Ah, ah, indeed !" said his wife with a tone of pleased comprehension, " the speckled hen's last brood got into the garden, and picked the seeds out of Jessie's flower-bed."
There was the dimmest smile at the corners of the Deacon's mouth. He proceeded: "It was a remarkable Providence that bound Jessie up in the same bundle with Isaac."
"There's many others in the same bundle," replied his literal wife; "there is scarce a lad in town that has not come in."
"True, it was a goodly harvest. But some stout shocks were not gathered in. There's Archy Henry among the reprobate—just such a spark as is like to catch a young girl's eye— a handsome build, and well-favoured, ruddy— plenty of brown hair — curling. I marked him at Colonel Davis's funeral singing out of the same psalm-book with Jessie. They both