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the grave that had been previously prepared, on the highest point of land, near to the Missouri river. The horse, alive, was forced into the grave with the dead rider, and thus covered over. A small parcel of corn was placed before the animal ; and Blackbird was supplied with dried meat, a kettle, his pipe and kinakanick, gun with ammunition, bow and full quiver of arrows, and paints suitable for ornamenting his person, both in peace and
When the funeral was at an end, the trader arrived. His knowledge of the smallpox enabled him to save from its ravages the remainder of the tribe. All eyes were naturally turned on the son of Blackbird, as successor to the deceased chief. Young Split Cloud deemed himself so fortunate in the altered position he now occupied, having shifted the character of fugitive and culprit for the appointment of hereditary and popular chieftain, that he relaxed much of the despotism of his predecessor. Having settled the affairs of the nation and reduced the tariff, he found leisure to depart in search of his Pawnee wife. Autumn was far advanced when he left the Omaha towns, and, as he approached the mountains, winter, with its utmost rigour, set in. The emotions with which his savage and sensitive mind was agitated had not the refinement of poetry, chastened with rhetorical arrangement, cadence, and measure, to soften his suffer. ing. He was not able to murmur, as he approached the place where he had deposited his treasure
“ 'Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark
Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home,
Our coming, and grow brighter when we come." But he had the elements of poetry rudely commingled with the romance of his reckless life, and his singular domestic arrangements. He found the partner of his life's vicissitudes in the cave where he had left her. She was sitting near the expiring coals of her last fagot of fuel, bending over a pair of babes, who were unconscious of the manifold evils of the world they had just entered, but sensibly aware of the pain of extreme hunger, which their mother was sharing with them. The holy fountain
whence they had drawn supplies had been drained ; and the famished mother sat the picture of patience and despair. Hope had hitherto pictured in her imagination a sunny spot, such as that which was about to break upon her in the arrival of her preserver. But gnawing necessity had carried her to that maddened point which fixed the cannibal purpose of eating one of her infants, to preserve herself and the other one, until the longwished for relief should be realized. At the precise point of time when the person of her husband darkened the entrance of the cave, she held the knife in her hand, and was fondly lingering, in the debate of her own mind, which should be made the victim—which dear object should be preserved at such countless cost. The keen perceptions, the fine-drawn threads of affection, the result of protracted privation, lent unearthly vigour to her mind, when her final resolve was fixed, to perish with her offspring, and by the same innocent cause. She hurled the instrument of her bloody purpose far away into the dark recesses of the cavern, and placed the hungry babes upon her bosom as she sunk back in despair, unmitigated with a single ray of hope. At this critical instant the young warrior, in the full vigour of manhood, animated with virtuous purposes, sprang forward and gave utterance to a scream of joy, imparting a like sensation to the suffering object of his solicitude. The interchange of sentiment was full of sadly pleasing emotions, as the long fast of the wife and mother was broken over a kettle, amply provided by the skill of the hunter.
Sixty suns had risen and set after the thrilling events just described, when the Omaha nation was made joyous with the appearance of Split Cloud. He was followed by his foreign wife, whom he had twice snatched from destruction, and who now repaid him with the smiles of two young braves, peering over each of her shoulders from beneath the ample folds of--a new scarlet blanket.
SKETCH OF MOUNTAIN LIFE.
BY A TRAPPER.
In order to elicit suitable interest in the following record of all I have seen, and in something I have imagined, it is just, if not politic, to apprize the reader that I was born in the county of Culpepper, in the commonwealth of Virginia. I was raised in North Carolina, got religion in Tennessee, married in Madison county, Kentucky, and emigrated and settled in Missouri in
early times.” There was good range and sufficient "scope of country” where I settled at that time ; but after a while the emigrants began to crowd in, and the stock of the new-comers began to mix with mine, and to eat out the range, the pea-vine in particular; and before the winter set in there were four families within six miles of me. I was then located between Charette, an old French village on the Missouri, and Loutre Island. I could not hesitate long as to the course I felt bound in honour to pursue. My face had been always westward, and I had hoped thereby to lead a quiet life. I had been as far up as the lick, at which Boone afterward located. The mast was then good in that region, and the prospect excellent for bee-trees in the timber, as soon as their industry should carry
them so far
the river. The prairie flowers were particularly inviting. When I had obtained Patsy's consent to move, I sold my improvement for a good rifle gun (small bore, suitable for squirrels), and departed early in the spring. I took the divide through Grand Prairie, and made the first track where the old St. Charles road ran, to the crossing of Bonne Femme, where New Franklin now is. Ten or twelve miles farther on, I halted in a prairie-bottom, opposite Arrow Rock, and made a crop. When my corn was laid by, I joined Sarshel Cooper, who had married my kinswoman, in a
trapping excursion as far up as the Kanzas river. We had set out our traps, and were snugly stowed away in our half-faced camp, near the head of a hollow, when we heard footsteps near
Our triggers were set in an instant; but, instead of an Indian, a Frenchman paid us an evening visit. It occurred to me then, and I have since confirmed my opinion by much observation and reflection, that there is no spot on the globe where, if a traveller escape from all the world else, he can avoid encountering a Frenchman, a Yankee, or a Scotchman. Our visiter contributed a beaver-tail, and we supped together. We remained long enough there to make up a small pack of beaver, and hastened down the river in the same pirogue we came up in. It was only two days previous to our return, that my wife Patsy and
eldest son (then seven years old) encountered and vanquished an old she barr. My youngest child, now a colonel of Missouri militia, and candidate for the assembly, was playing near the cabin door, when he encountered a cub, only a few days old. The little stranger was equally pleased with the accidental meeting; and no cause of apprehension existed on the part of the child—for, as he informed his mother, he mistook it for a negro boy. The danger to the parties concerned arose from the interference of my first-born young woodsman. He had an eye for game, and interrupted the playful intercourse by seizing the native, as he was about to close in a fraternal embrace with his playmate. The dam from the forest, and the mother from the cabin, now rushed to the scene of action. The small-bore was the balance of power, and settled the question, and Patsy drew the triggers like the wife and mother of a backwoodsman!! she had an eye like an eagle ; and her look was sometimes killing. I had forgotten to mention an occurrence in this trapping excursion, which deserves a place in the annals of the far West. It was on the morning of our departure from the hunting-ground, and when I had taken up my last trap, that I was surprised by the nasal sounds of psalmody in that wild region. The songster was a Downeaster, or, as he told me, a freeholder of Barkhampstead, Connecticut. He said " he felt lonesome, and had tried whistling a while ; but,” added he," there is nothing like