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sparks of life that still lingered in the iron bosom of the gamester. As he slowly and painfully listed his eyelids, and stretched out his bony fingers to collect the scattered cards on the table, he exclaimed impatiently, “ Partner, it's your deal; wake up, you pale-livered imp! and cut 'em! l'll deal for you if you are too drunk.” Receiving no answer, the gamester stretched out his legs and justled those of the skeleton. Perceiving no signs of life in the carcass, he became enraged, and exclaimed vociferously as he lifted his crutch, “You're playing possum, are ye? after fobbing my money all night! I'll tickle your catastrophe !" and, suiting the action to the threat, he struck the hollow brainless scull from the shoulders of the skeleton, and it rolled across the floor, with well imaged judgment-day rumbling.

That day the spectre gambler departed for the steamboatlanding.


The following particulars in relation to an ancient cuscom, still existing to some extent in the Pawnee nation, and a sketch of transactions witnessed there, may contain matter of interest to some of the readers of the Gazetteer.

Information had been communicated to Mr. Dougherty, acting agent of Indian affairs at Council Bluffs, by Major Pilcher, that the Pawnee Loups were making preparation to sacrifice to the “Great Star” a Paducah woman, who had been captured by a war-party about two months previous. Mr. Fontenelle, engaged in the Indian trade, had remonstrated with the chiefs against their barbarous purpose, without having changed it; and Mr. Papin, the resident trader, had made an effort to apprize the agent of their intentions. All that had been hitherto effected only amounted to delay of the execution for a few days, until the agent could signify his wishes ; and in the meantime the victim was kept in the medicine-lodge, in charge of the high-priest, to fatten, for the sacrifice. It had been the intention of Mr. Dougherty, as soon as advised of the above facts, to send his protest against this cruelty, and solicit of the Pawnee chiefs the release of the captive; but to a proposition from Captain G. H. Kennerly, agent for the Sioux, that they should both visit the Pawnees in person and attempt a rescue, he assented. The commanding officer at the post having mounted a small escort, the agents, accompanied by several officers attached to the garrison, set forward. On the fifth day after their departure they reached the old Grand Pawnee village, where they were told that the captive would be executed the next day, and that many of the Grand Pawnees had gone up to the Loup village to witness it. Having despatched a runner to advise them of the approach of the party, they proceeded and reached the Loups that evening. On entering the


town they were met by the principal chief, who provided for their accommodation the most spacious lodge in his village, which was found “swept and garnished.” The party supped at an early hour with “mine host," and by special invitation five times asterward with as many red gentlemen, who gave them excellent fare. Their civilities did not end here.

About one o'clock at night the strangers were awakened by the wild minstrelsey of a serenading-party, who had quietly entered the lodge for this purpose. By the glimmering of the lodge fire the outlines of their persons were dimly delineated as they formed a circle near the door ; and they retired after performing one or two pieces, composed, it is presumed, by old Thunder the drum

The agent had been told that fuel and all the materials were prepared for the sacrifice ; and when the chiefs and braves of the nation met him next day in council, faint hopes were entertained of success. No argument or persuasion, however, was omitted to obtain the release of the captive. At the opening of the council, Captain Kennerly informed the chiefs that they were now to consider Mr. Dougherty as their father, or agent, and desired them to listen to him. Mr. Dougherty's talk was long and animated. He reminded them of several promises which the Pawnees had made the whites, to discontinue the practice of burning their captives; he recalled their attention to the solemn assurances given by the Knife chief and his son to Manuel Lisa, all now dead, that this horrid practice should never be resumed by their nation. This was an address to their superstitious fears, for the Pawnees believe that the spirits of departed chiefs and warriors hover over them, and observe their actions. It was likewise urged in council, in general terms, that by acceding to the propositions of the agent, the tribe would make the most effectual advances in the good opinion and friendship of the whites, whom it was believed they would not willingly offend. It was observed, soon after opening the council, that the principal men of the tribe were disposed to release the caplive; and the first and second chiefs had, the evening before, signified their anxiety to effect this object. Those in opposition to this humane measure were such as had enjoyed least inter

course with the whites. The women and children were clam. orous for the sacrifice; the former, that they might enjoy a savage mental repast—the latter were only anxious to see the show. In this they evince the same bad taste observable among their white brethren, on occasions of similar spectacles. As the authority of the chief depends on his personal popularity, the agent had reason to fear his red friends could not effect their object; particularly when it was recollected that red women have greater influence in state affairs, than we are disposed to allow those who have fairer pretensions.

There was a warrior conspicuous in council, as well on account of his standing in the nation, as his tawdry costume. His name was Bad Moccasin. This red gentleman wore a goldlaced scarlet coat, a necklace of white-bear talons ; and he stood an upright man, in a green leggin and a crimson one, the advocate for mercy, the friend of Christians. He was not a bad representative of the cavaliers of the reign of Charles I. He had visited the metropolis of the union; and, in language as bold as it was eloquent, he urged the release of the captive. By his intercourse with white men, he said, he was convinced of the impropriety of the sacrifice. He had taken his great father at Washington by the hand, and pledged himself to oppose these barbarous rites. A young brave, likewise, told his countrymen that he knew it was the opinion of Pawnees that these sacrifices would ensure them prosperity at the hands of the Master of Life. But, said he, let us distrust our own opinion, for the whites have more intercourse, and are better acquainted with God Almighty than naked red men ; therefore, let us listen to them-let us please them, for we cannot please better men. The second chief, the son of Big Axe, made a long and very animated harangne against the sanguinary creed of his nation. His manner was so full of interest, that the structure of his “talk” has been lost. He continued to press the subject in debate until his voice failed him, and he sat down evidently chagrined that he could no longer give utterance to sentiments worthy a Christian. The only dissenting voice that was raised in council emanated from a dark-visaged warrior, who, in ironical phrase, said, that

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