图书图片
PDF
ePub

that nearest his heart, he was by no means have announced that the ceremony is about to ambitious of making a display of his powers take place, I shall hasten to give you this dear of elocution. Yet, notwithstanding this, he girl for life.” And imprinting a kiss upon her treated his theme in so masterly a manner, brow, he passed on to those who were paying and in such extremely good taste-reflecting their homage to the punch-bowl, and discussing honour on the land of his birth-alluding, the merits of the oration just delivered. moreover, to the high position even then occu- It was with a flushed cheek, and a beating pied by the nation, and the future greatness heart, that Maria Heywood was led by Rewhich he predicted, from its laws, its institu- nayne, radiant with hope and joy, to the little tions, and its form of government, to await it, table covered with plain white linen, and illuthat Maria Heywood could not fail to expe-minated by half-a-dozen tall candles, behind rience a secret pride in the warm and evidently which the commander of the garrison had sincere acclamations of the little party present, placed himself, on a slightly elevated estrade. attesting as they did, their estimate of the All of the guests were grouped around, a worth of him, who in another hour would be little in the rear; while Lieutenant Elmsley her own for life.

stood on the right hand of his friend, and his " And now,” said Captain Headly to the wife on the left of the betrothed. Next to her, young officer, as he returned from the tribune, in an arm-chair, which, provided with casters, " what reward do you expect for your maiden was easily moved from one place to another, oration ?-What shall it be, Miss Heywood ?" reclined Mrs. Heywood; and with her beau

“I will spare her the trouble of an answer ; tiful arms reposing on the high back of this, this,” said Renayne, as he took the hand that stood Mrs. Headly, in graceful attitude, watchhad just disengaged itself from the arm of the ing the ceremony with almost maternal incommandant, and placed it within his own, terest. 6 until you have set your seal to the precious The ceremony was proceeded with, and that gift," and his eyes looked the value he attached night, to the great joy of all within the Fort of to it; " I part not with this again.”

Chicago, was Maria Heywood the wife of their “ Everything is ready in the next room,” | young favourite, and universally loved officer, answered Captain Headly; “go in; when I Harry Renayne!

THE PRAIRIE FIGHT.

BY MRS. E. S. SWIFT.

It was that most delicious season of the They were Sioux, whose tribe at that time year, the “Indian summer,” when, seated with were in deadly feud with the Chippeways. some travelling companions on the deck of the The Indians on board the “Otto” were chiefs steamer “Otto," bound for the Upper Missis- of that nation, returning to their homes. As sippi, we perceived three Indians in earnest soon as the Chippeways saw the Sioux, they parley with the captain of the boat. They knew from their mode of travelling that they were fine specimens of their nation : tall and had been on a war expedition to some of their straight, with proportions of exact symmetry. villages; hence their impassioned gestures, Their keen, dark eyes were glittering with ex- and pleadings to the captain to be set on shore. citement; and, with their rifles in their hands, They said they would take their scalps from and each with one foot advanced, they appeared their foes, and rejoin the boat some distance as if preparing to spring overboard into the ahead. deep and turbid waters of the river.

| After urging their request for some time, With furious gestures, they pointed to the the captain of the “Otto" complied with it, prairie, that lay stretched out before the view and they were landed, and soon in quick puruntil it seemed to meet the glowing sky. suit of their enemies. At the solicitations of Covered with rich grass and wild flowers, many of the passengers, backed by the potent lonely and wild,-it looked a vast expanse of influence of sundry odd dollars that found silence and solitude. But as we gazed through their way into the rough hands of the captain, the shimmering mist that, like a transparent he consented to the boat's slackening her speed, veil over the face of beauty, enveloped its that we might view the result. green luxuriance, we observed far in the dis- The Chippeways crept stealthily but swiftly tance a party of Indians, moving in single file along the shore, concealing themselves in the at a rapid rate.

| brushwood that lined the banks of the river, until they came near enough to the Sioux, and thought he might yet save the fugitives, by then, with a spring like a panther's, and a getting them aboard the “Otto.” whoop that filled the air with its murderous And steam was put on. The raging and echo, in an instant each rifle brought down a crackening of the fire as it roared amidst its foe. Three of the Sioux fell dead upon the frail barriers, the surging and mad speed of prairie. In return, the Sioux, though taken the boat, as she churned the waters into foam, by surprise and thrown off their guard, turned the groans and dissonant noises of the vast in pursuit of the Chippeways, who fled for machinery, sounding like the cries of a soul in their lives, determined to avenge the death of torments-all were unheard, or forgotten, in their fallen companions.

our breathless intensity of vision. The chase was. The intense excitement on board the steamer | for human life--for life, that a few moments was beyond description. Ladies were borne before had lived and breathed amongst us. half fainting with terror to the cabin-mothers! In a short space we came to the bend of the were screaming for their children--children river; here the shore was thickly covered with crying and nurses scolding-all dreading in- scrub pine and wild creepers, and our view stant massacre, from their near proximity to intercepted. As we rounded the point, howthe Indians. Men gathered in groups on the ever, we could see far across the prairie; and deck,—some betting high on the result of the like a dark speck in the distance could trace fight, some blaming the captain "for per- one Chippeway, like a deer flying from the mitting murder," —others watching with breath-huntsman, still pursued by the maddened less eagerness the flying foes, expressing earnest Sioux. A crash was heard among the branches, desire for their victory or defeat. It was a / and his companion came leaping from the high perfect Babel of languages:-the steerage pas- bluff that overhung the river. The poor felsengers crowded the lower deck, men, women, I low had outrun his implacable foes, and seeing and children, all talking at once in their dif- the boat made an attempt to reach it as his ferent dialects, all intent upon seeing the novel only chance for life. But instead of falling fight.

into the water, he came heavily upon the The three Chippeways ran swiftly—their feet ground and broke his leg. Before his enemies scarce seemed to touch the sward, so rapid was found his trail, he was safely landed on board their motion. But see! One stops—something the steamer. A physician being on board, his impedes his steps; 'tis for a second's space- limb was set, and he eventually reached his he throws away his moccasin, and as he does village in safety. so, casts a quick glance behind him. A Sioux, It was afterwards discovered, that according but a few feet from him, is in the act of level to the assertion made by the Chippeways, ling his rifle-a flash and report. The excited their village had been attacked by this Sioux spectators on board the “Otto” give a simul- party. A boy stationed upon one of the bluffs taneous shriek; and the words “ He is shot!” that surrounded their dwellings, seeing their “ He is gone!" are heard on every side. But approach, had given instant alarm, so that by no—he bounds forward with increased velocity. | the time the Sioux reached the village it was A moment more, and he staggers-reels, and deserted and bare. They set fire to it, and falls prostrate, shot through the heart.

were returning, when seen by the three InThen commenced a scene in Indian warfare, dians on board the steamer. The Chippeway so fiendish and bloodthirsty, that my pen can that fled across the prairie, was sorely beset by scarce record it. While the body was still his foes; for days and nights he had neither heaving with the last struggles of life, with a rest nor sleep. Once only he had stopped to scream, wild and unearthly, the Sioux bent breathe among some bushes, but they had over it with his glittering knife. I involuntary tracked his course, and he found himself surclosed my eyes; and when I looked again, I rounded by a burning circle of fire. But his saw the gory scalp of the Chippeway, dripping courage and perseverance did not forsake him with the still warm blood, fastened to the girdle even amidst such deadly peril. With a bound of the Sioux. Raising the war whoop, that he cleared the flaming brushwood, and though echoed from shore to shore like the yell of thrice wounded by chance shots, he had eluded some demon, he hurried on after the others. their direful vengeance, and while his body was

The two remaining Chippeways were fast was weakened and emaciated by such severe distancing their pursuers; and we could see hardships and fatigue, his resolute spirit susthem for miles along the prairie, running in a tained his exertions until retreat was pracline from the shore, the Sioux still in hot pur- ticable; and he also returned to his people in suit, like wolves after their prey. The captain safety. commanded that added steam should be put to This sketch is no vision of fancy-there are the boat; there was a bluff where the river persons still living who witnessed The Prairie made a bend, a short distance ahead; and he Fight.”

[blocks in formation]

OWASONOOK.

BY MISS o. M. SEDGWICK.

“He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it.”

THERE are incidents and combinations of stands, and where generations are now laid in circumstances in domestic life which, if faith-holy rest, Brainard expounded his doctrines, fully recorded when they occur, would give to and there the excellent Sergeant ministered to a succeeding age a more definite idea, a more his Indian congregation in their goodly show lively impression of the spirit of bygone days of broadcloth mantles, the gift of Queen Anne. than can be got from volumes of subsequent At the date of our humble story, Brainard history. History, of necessity, deals mainly had passed on to wilder tribes, Sergeant was with public events and marked characters, gathered to his fathers, and a young man by exceptional from the mass of their contempo- the name of Stephen West, sound and zealous raries. We may compare its records to a map in doctrine, of good parts, and most gracious of Switzerland which gives you its stupendous heart, was ordained over the small congregamountains, its lakes, and rivers in dots and tion of all the white people who then dwelt in lines; while the domestic story is like a picture the valley. There were then no dissenters of Lauterbrunnen, with its characteristic narrow from the established doctrine and independent valley, its wonderful fall of the Staubach, its government of the Puritan Church. The overhanging and converging cliffs, its Jung- Baptists were unknown in New England. frau in the background, and a single cottage, Methodism had not begun. Catholicism was with its appurtenances of domestic utensils and held to be that faith over which the woman commodities, telling the story of family life. who sat on the seven hills reigned, and Episco

It is the conviction of the worth of such pacy was in little better odour. The fathers records that induces me to write the following of those days had no prophetic vision of the story, some hints of which are taken from the infinite diversity of shades of colour into which archives of a Congregational church, which their religion was to be distributed among archives consist of a faithful record kept by its their descendants, from the deep dye of excellent minister for the space of fifty years. Papistry, to the faint outside shade, the evaSome particulars are gathered from the gene- nescent and almost imperceptible hue of tranration that preceded me, persons not related scendentalism. by ties of blood to the parties, but connected “Belief, not practice, was then prized at with them by the vivid sympathies of village highest rate.” Among the sturdiest in belief, life. Other aid has been received from more the least scrupulous in practice, was Deacon apocryphal sources.

Nathan Bay. I remember him well in his old The names, alas! are now only on the rudely- age; that tall brawny figure, with broad and sculptured monuments of the burying-ground. stooping shoulders, and short neck; that high We shall not take the liberty of using them. intellectual brow, all written over with lines of

We shall for once designate the lower valley calculation and craft; the cold gray eye, with of the Housatonic by its euphonious Indian bushy black brows that overhung them like name Owasonook, instead of that given to it by thatch. His eyebrows were then still unthe first Puritan settlers, who, in their designa- touched by time. His hair was sabled and tion, branded the virgin valley with a memorial combed on each side of his face with a phariof the “bank-note world,” the old world of saical sleekness, that did not harmonize with stocks and brokers.

his general air of cherished and allowed potenThis village of Owasonook has been favoured tiality. His skin was as dark as a Spaniard's, from the beginning. Missionaries were sent his cheeks ploughed in deep furrows, his nose from Scotland to its aboriginal people. There, aquiline and rather handsome, his mouth sharkon the ample green where a village church now like. I believe he thus vividly lives in my imagination because, in my timid childhood, I manifold charms and graces in Jessie, so that have many a time felt my eyes spellbound to when she reached the age of fifteen, when the him, while he appeared to me the impersonation | half-open flower discloses its possible beauty, of the Schedoni of Mrs. Radcliffe's most terri- every eye turned admiringly and kindly on her. ble novel. I recoiled from him then-I have There occurred about this time in the church, since had a sterner horror of him.

a revival of religion. Jessie, naturally enough, There was a little ewe-lamb dwelt under the recoiled from religion as exhibited in the Dearooftree of Deacon Bay, a far-off orphan rela-con's family. Its cold formulas froze her spirit, tive of his wife, who having a sufficient inheri- but it as naturally melted in an atmosphere tance to indemnify the Deacon for all expenses where she felt the influence of sympathy. Her on her account, he complied with his wife's gentle pastor received her confessions of her wishes, and became her guardian and nominal past opposition to the divine character with a protector. Jessie Blair was the child of godly joyful recognition of her perceptions of truth, parents; and the Deacon said he should have and received her profession of submission and done the same by Jessie if she had been poor, faith with tears of joy. Alas for poor Jessie! for · professors' should see to it, and fulfil the this faith and submission, so surely rewarded prophecy, that the seed of the righteous should by their divine object, were destined to be never be seen begging their bread. The Deacon cruelly tested by human tyranny. was scriptural in another point; no one har-| Isaac was a subject of the same awakening boured under his roof ever ate the bread of that brought Jessie into the fold, though there idleness. Jessie who came there a petted (not was never a term that seemed less applicable spoiled) child, had her playful spirit soon than this to Isaac. There was no vitality in sobered by the uniform routine of domestic toil. the man-nothing to kindle, nothing to rouse, There is nothing duller, more soulless, than the nothing to óawake.' He passed through the daily recurrence and satisfaction of the lowest examination to which young converts are subwants of our being. The pleasant lights of jected, he answered as others did, and was rural life were excluded from the Deacon's received to the communion of the church. household, or rather converted to a dreary Not long after this there was a sort of shadow, by the medium through which they curtain conversation between the Deacon and passed. If he did not, like one of his contem- his wife to the following effect. poraries, marshal his children on Monday | “Beauty is a temptation," observed the Deamorning, and do up the week's whipping by an con. This was a self-evident truth, and seemed exactly equal and thorough application of the a very inconsequential remark, but the good birch, * he kept down the spirit of his household dame apparently did not think so. She looked more effectually by its mournful monotony. | up from her knitting with more expression than The Deacon's helpmate was a wife after the usual; there was meaning in her face; perhaps feudal pattern, of unquestioning conformity, she anticipated something in the nature of a and serflike obedience. The only indication confession, for a hypocrite is not nearly so that she was not merged in her husband-a much a saint to his wife as a man is a hero to drop of water lost in his ocean,-was a phraseo- his valet-de-chambre. “It is best to clip the logy indicative of his distinct existence; as chicken's wings,” continued the Deacon, “if “ the Deacon judges," and "the Deacon con- you mean to keep the hen within bounds." cludes.” If her opinion were asked in divinity “Ah, ah, indeed !” said his wife with a tone or ethics, her common reply was, “I don't of pleased comprehension, “ the speckled hen's know the Deacon's opinion, but I think as he last brood got into the garden, and picked the thinks.” This exemplary subject had one son seeds out of Jessie's flower-bed.” of a former marriage, Isaac Remington. Isaac There was the dimmest smile at the corners was a harmless young man of two or three and of the Deacon's mouth. He proceeded: “It was twenty. As far as quiet subserviency to the a remarkable Providence that bound Jessie up Deacon was concerned, he never escaped from in the same bundle with Isaac.". his minority. He lives in tradition only as a still, “ There's many others in the same bundle," steady, sleek youth, with a nose like the tower replied his literal wife; “there is scarce a lad of Lebanon. Thus associated, the only fitting in town that has not come in.” sustenance of poor Jessie's childhood was com- " True, it was a goodly harvest. But some panionship with the chickens she fed, and the stout shocks were not gathered in. There's kittens that played in spite of the Deacon; and Archy Henry among the reprobate—just such an occasional romp in the playtime at the a spark as is like to catch a young girl's eyevillage school.

a handsome build, and well-favoured, ruddyTime went on, and in its progress unfolded plenty of brown hair-curling. I marked

him at Colonel Davis's funeral singing out of * Fact.

I the same psalm-book with Jessie. They both

« 上一页继续 »