« PreviousContinue »
was bestowed, and not infrequently blan- warriors whose spoil they were, and after kets and the most cherished bead-work a time, when they began to mortify or belts and hat-bands. Custom makes the “break down,” as the Indians say, the triacceptance of these favors compulsory. umphant squaws gathered them together, Even the pale-faced visitors were asked to threw them into the dust and stamped on take part, and the Indians laughed like them, heaping upon them every insult, pleased children to welcome them to the and in the weird ceremony of that ghouldance. One very old squaw, Mrs. “Nine ish dance, consigning them to eternal Pipes," took her blanket from her body darkness, for no brave without his scalp and her ’kerchief from her head to give could enter the Happy Hunting Ground. to her white partner, and a brave, having The chant changed in this figure. The chosen a pale-faced lady for the figure, voices of the women rose in a piercing faland being depleted in fortune by his gen- setto, broken by a rapid utterance of the erosity at a former festival, borrowed single syllable “la la," repeated an infifty cents from a richer companion to credible length of time. The effect was bestow upon her. It was all done in the singularly savage and strange, emphasizbest of faith and friendliness, with child- ing the barbarous joy of the vengeful wolike good will and pleasure in the doing.
As the war dance was the call to Then the next number was called; battle, this was the aftermath. In pleasthose who had been honored with invita- ing contrast to this cruel rite was the tions and gifts returned the compliment. marriage dance, celebrated by both belles After this was done, the Master of the and braves. The young squaws, in their Dance, Michel Kaiser, stepped into the gayest attire, ornamented with the best center of the circle, saying in the deep samples of their bead work and painted gutturais of the Selish tongue, with all bright vermillion about the lips and the pomp of one who makes a proclama- cheeks, formed a chain around the tomtion, something which may be broadly
broadly tom, singing shrilly. Then a brave with rendered into these English words: a party of his friends stepped within the
“This brave, Jerome, chose for his part- circle, bearing in his hand a stick, genner, Mary, and gave to her a belt of beads, erally a small branch of pine or other and Mary chose for her partner, Jerome, native tree. He approached the object of and gave to him a silken scarf.”
his love, and laid the branch on her Around the circumference of the great shoulder. If she rejected his suit she ring he moved, crying aloud the names of pushed it aside, and he, with his followers, the braves and maids who had joined to- retired in humiliation and chagrin. It gether in the dance, and holding up to often happened that more than one youth view the presents they had exchanged. desired the hand of the same maiden, and
The next in order was a dance of the the place of the rejected lover was taken chase by the four young men who had immediately by a rival who made his performed the war dance. In this, the
If the maid looked with favor hunter and the beast pursued, were imper- upon him she inclined her head, laying sonated, and the pantomime carried out her cheek upon the branch. This was at every detail of the fleeing prey and the once the betrothal and the marriage. At crafty huntsman who relentlessly drove the close of the festivities the lover bore him to earth.
her to his lodge, and they were considered The fourth measure
man and wife. dance, given by the squaws, a rite an- After these figures had been repeated ciently practiced by the female members many times and twilight stole down with of families whose lords had returned vic- purple shadows over valley and hill, the torious from battle, bearing as trophies the music and the dancing ceased and the Inscalps of enemies they had slain. It was dians held their feast. The fare was simconsidered an indignity and a matter of ple enough-canned salmon and crackers, just reproach to husband or brother, if a wild berries and a drink made by the squaw were unable to take part in this squaws, called "Indian ice-cream"_but dance. The scalps captured in war were they laugher over it and chatted as gaily first displayed outside the lodges of the as though the old times of bison banquets
were come again. Yet amid the merry- There was no bitterness in her expresmakers there were those who did not sion or her tone-only infinite regret. share in the mirth. They were some of The Indians began to stir. They rose the older men; those with gray locks, from the earth like ghosts from their wrinkled cheeks and hunted eyes.
graves, for the light was gone from the I went to one of the younger women, sunset skies and night was at hand. the daughter of Francois, whose convent Through the evening calm, the monotoeducation gave her a fair command of nous chant shrilled weirdly, and the tomEnglish, and asked her how the Indians tom vibrated with the regularity of a felt about the opening of the reservation. pulse-beat. And as that strange, She shook her head regretfully, and her earthly measure swelled, then died in the glance scught out her father, Francois, engulfing night, it seemed as though the toothless, white-haired, yet laughing with ancestral voices of these doomed children a group of the dancers.
of the wild joined with them in a lament
upland and foothill. As early as last tepee dotted the valley, its smoke-wreath summer the stage coach that crosses the curling lazily upward, its blanketed tenant reservation from Ravalli to the Flathead berding over the camp-fire or resting in Lake, bore strange passengers, each with the shade. And sometimes a half-breed keen, commercial eye measuring the wild cowboy, clad in bright-hued neckerchief grain, taking note of the quality of the and chaparejos, rode with level swiftness soil, of everything, indeed, but the maj- across the prairie and disappeared. esty of nature and the Indians shrinking The home-seekers noticed none of these back in their tepees. It was a motley things. That commercialism which sees company.
A Yale instructor with red only horse-power in Niagara Falls, square vandyke, checked cap and collegiate air, feet of lumber in the Sequoias, and potatosat beside the driver and exhibited his ig- producing possibilities in the fairest valnorance of things Western by naive ques- leys, was already up and abroad in the tions that stirred the aforesaid driver's land. sullen scorn. Moreover, the professor Yes! There will be great rejoicing in could not solve the problem of western the autumn. The movement of elbowing gates, no two of which ever seem to be crowds will be seen, the scrutiny of calalike, and he was secretly afraid of the In- culating eyes that reckon profits to dians, weaknesses which brought him con- nicety will be felt, the ploughshare and tinually into disgrace. There were be- the harvester will uproot the old and garsides, two Canadian women, a mother and ner the new, and all will be well! But daughter from the Saskatchewan, who far off, obscure, unheeded, securely calculated mentally, the largeness of pros- silenced by the poor bribe of a patch of pertive crops (always comparing the pos- ground already his own, will be the Insibilities here disparagingly with those dian, metamorphosed into a farmer, ready across the border), and by way of diver- to compete with the incoming world, to be sion looking for desperadoes who might "absorbed” into our great, tolerant and hold up the coach. They, too, were afraid free civilization. of the Indians, never seeing the humor of We call ourselves a humane nation; the the situation, and how it was the Indians Civil War was fought and won to free who had cause to fear them and their the slave from bondage; the war with predatory kind.
Spain was instigated by sympathy for the The one self-evident fact was this: the Cubans, but what about the Indians? If home-seekers were not oppressed sons of ever God-given charge was imposed upon toil striving for emancipation from pov- the stronger shoulders of a dominant race, erty through the bounty of a few tilled that charge is ours, and it is an obligation acres; they were of the dilettante, specu- neglected, unfulfilled. We have espoused lating sort like the professor, or the hard, the cause of down-trodden aliens while shrewd type of the two Canadians. They we, ourselves, have crushed those who, bewere each and all mastered by a single' fore us, were masters of the land. idea--that of getting in and gobbling up There is another side to the reservation the best. It was the Indians crowded out question worth pondering upon. And as by these adventurers who were poor. They the conquering hosts of peace march in to peddled trifles made of beads and at the take possession, may it not be well for store upon the lake shore the proprietor them to remember that they tread over told of how even the Nez Perce women broken hearts and despoiled homes, to a were exchanging their prized corn husk doubtful material reward, that timid bags for food.
shadow-shapes watch with the hollow gaze Yet, soaring above such earthly sordid- of soulless despair the desecration of halness, the range of Sin-val-min rose heaven- lowed ground beneath the leveling plow? ward, mingling its silver halo of snow And may it be that for the white man, with the floating clouds. The virgin val- whose steady hand guides the relentless ley flowed away in waves of green, and blade, there will be besides the crop of far away the lake shone bright as a pol- oats and corn, a harvest of unrest—the ished sabre in the sun. An occasional melancholy of haunting dreams?
BY AMOS GEORGE
E CAME to Verde story, but Lieutenant Jergensen
Grande with full- clipped by a sharp-shooter up at the reserH
dress, gold braid and vation, and reported at the division hosbrass and cosmetics pital for repairs.
pital for repairs. This left the camp enough to stock the without a commissioned officer, and the post.
The flavor of General took pity on Tombstone Johnny commencement
and sent him across the State line with inupon his person and structions in military form, which, being he carried about straw colored hair, a translated, meant that he was to hustle delicate complexion, and the West Point along and take command of the camp. The accent, all of which were acceptable on old man had a suspicion that there might "ladies' nights."
he stuff in the kid somewhere down unThen one day he got his name- -and der that complexion, and this would give some other things. With good intentions him another try. The fact that the garenough, the General sent this shave-tail rison consisted of one
company whose out with a squad of regulars to clean ụp captain was on detached service brought a handful of Indian scouts up in the old a grain of comfort to the tormented lieuburying ground where they had been rais- tenant. "Anywhere, out of sight," he ing dust around the out-pickets. The job groaned. was bigger than the old man thought, and At Santa Rosia, he climbed down with for a while it was every man for himself. three suit-cases and watched the train When the horizon was clear of obstructions fade away into the mirage. Then he the men came back to look for their officer, looked at his two trunks lying on the and they found him—flat on his face be- platform ard inquired about the stage. hind an old grave mound, white and shak- Nothing doing till to-morrow, but the ing, and that fixed it. It wasn't just a “Red-eyed Rodeo” was just
the square deal for the child, but they thought street-and why should the spirit of morhe needed a taste of work, and that the tal be sad with a month's pay in pocket? old vets would take care of him, and they When he was able to be out again, the did! When he was about, they laid low, stage was twenty-four hours away, and but everywhere else he was Tombstone Camp McBain was thirty-five miles over Johnny for life.
the range. The one liveryman of Santa Not that he accepted the title with good
Rosia looked him over critically and grace—who said he did ? He smarted and stated that he had no horses to hire tohe sweated and he swore, and he began day, but that a freighter had left that to fail to keep on hand a good stock of morning for Verdugo, which was half way, pain killer-it evaporated too fast! Where- and as for the other eighteen miles, the fore his step was not always as steady, nor walking was purty fair, and the baggage his breath as mild, as might have been, could come by stage next week. and he began to look frayed out and seedy, This is how it happened that Second and he forgot the accent. But then what Lieutenant John W. Bates, otherwise could a shave-tail do when he knew that known as Tombstone Johnny, might have he was afraid, and when the non-coms been seen equipped with his orders and grinned and the officers lost their tongues two black bottles, astride the nigh wheeler, every time he came about? The brand- reflecting on the vicissitudes of life and ing iron feels fine-on the other calf. breathing volumes of alkali dust. Since
This might have been the end of the the teamster was likewise parched of
throat, the black bottles did steady down. Five minutes later the woodpecker business till the driver got happy and stopped drumming on the old stump and Tombstone Johnny held onto the hames of looked curiously down at the underclad his mule with both hands.
figure, from which strange sounds came Miey made Verdugo late, and in as with the regularity of a monster asleep. much as the Palace Hotel had not yet ar- In three hours a dry throat stuck him rived, the military man slept on the straw with neerlles till he rolled over and felt pile at the feed yard. They got him out for the black bottle in the place where in the morning, and he blinked stupidly he had last carried it. There was no over the ham-and-eggs at the grub shack, bottle there! Worse still, there was no anti ere the sun was an hour high, it met pocket. He fumbled at the place a long a greary pilgrim, foot sore and red-eyed, time, and then sat up on the sand bank making his painful way along the short- and looked down at the water. “Nish cur trail over the mountain to the reser- coo! water," he muttered. “Good wet vation. The sight would have thrilled the wasser-awful bad for stomach, though," hearts of his tormentors. His cup of mis- he groaned. After awhile he looked down
was dripping over the brim, and a at his underclothes and then up on the bitter hatred of all the earth and the full- bank where hung his—but they didn't ness thereof had eaten into his soul. Two hang there. Instead there lay a pile of months away from graduation and com- old khaki on the ground and a trim-clad pliments and congratulations and senior Lieutenant sitting on the log, who functions and button-and-braid and brass garded him with amused curiosity. bands. It all looked like Heaven now, and This was interesting. He chuckled a here he was in Hell, and all because he while in silence, and then his hand came had stubbe his foot and stumbled in slowly to his head, and he stillly saluted. that old Verde Grande cemetery. How "Morning, Lieutenant,” he said. "Why
“ was a gentleman at West Point to know donsh you returns salute?” he demanded that was Hell, and that Indians with show of petty wrath. “I teash you,
“ could shoot straight at him? How was sir." he to know that the life of army The stranger arose, too, and spoke. officer was not made up of cotillions and "Don't move, sir, you're covered." Tombreceptions and reviews?
Over and over stone Johnny opened his mouth, and for these things turned themselves in his be- astonishment forgot to close it. The unifogged mind till he stopped and swore form was his, the cap was his, the revolver weakly and wearily, and then he stumbled was his; if that were himself, then he on again.
had changed a good deal since he lay down Over the first range the trail winds on the bank of Sand Creek. And if that down to Sand Creek. Sand Creek is not were Lieutenant Bates, how in thunder famed for its beauty, but at one p. m. its did he “Oh, I see,” he sputtered in muddy bed looked like Paradise to a man sudden excitement. “Thash Lieutenant with smarting eyes, blistered feet, and Bates, this ish Tombstone Johnny. But burning thirst. For a black bottle who the devil ish these old clothes?" has its peculiarity; it leaves its devotee "Put on those clothes and be mighty with a throat like a volcano's bed, and quick about it," commanded the stranger. no drop of water touches the trail be- Tombstone Johnny looked at the between Verdugo and the creek. But here draggled uniform of the man on the line, was water, and shade, and soft sand, and his blood pounded into his alleged and all nature was saying, “Here's a brain and he rose in wrath. “Give me my place to rest."
gun,” he sputtered. “And you go to the **Seemsh to me ish time to go swim- devil. You got my clothes yourself, you ming." he said. "Good swim, cool bath,
old-_" level head, ish great idea.
Now I lay The revolver came up. “Not so fast, my
little man,” the other said slowly and easIle hung his uniform carefully on the ily. “You're my game now, you know. Rewillows, and then he crept to the water. spect for your superiors is the first prinThe sand was comfortable, and he sat ciple of military regulations. If you're