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´╗┐Title: Crooked Trails
Author: Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Crooked Trails" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



By Frederic Remington

Illustrated By Frederic Remington

Author Of "Pony Tracks"

First published in 1898














"You have heard about the Texas Rangers?" said the Deacon to me one
night in the San Antonio Club. "Yes? Well, come up to my rooms, and I
will introduce you to one of the old originals--dates 'way back in the
'thirties'--there aren't many of them left now--and if we can get him to
talk, he will tell you stories that will make your eyes hang out on your
shirt front."

We entered the Deacon's cosey bachelor apartments, where I was
introduced to Colonel "Rip" Ford, of the old-time Texas Rangers. I found
him a very old man, with a wealth of snow-white hair and beard--bent,
but not withered. As he sunk on his stiffened limbs into the arm-chair,
we disposed ourselves quietly and almost reverentially, while we lighted
cigars. We began the approaches by which we hoped to loosen the history
of a wild past from one of the very few tongues which can still wag on
the days when the Texans, the Co-manches, and the Mexicans chased one
another over the plains of Texas, and shot and stabbed to find who
should inherit the land.

Through the veil of tobacco smoke the ancient warrior spoke his
sentences slowly, at intervals, as his mind gradually separated and
arranged the details of countless fights. His head bowed in thought;
anon it rose sharply at recollections, and as he breathed, the shouts
and lamentations of crushed men--the yells and shots--the thunder of
horses' hoofs--the full fury of the desert combats came to the pricking
ears of the Deacon and me.

We saw through the smoke the brave young faces of the hosts which poured
into Texas to war with the enemies of their race. They were clad in
loose hunting-frocks, leather leggings, and broad black hats; had
powder-horns and shot-pouches hung about them; were armed with
bowie-knives, Mississippi rifles, and horse-pistols; rode Spanish
ponies, and were impelled by Destiny to conquer, like their remote
ancestors, "the godless hosts of Pagan" who "came swimming o'er the
Northern Sea."

"Rip" Ford had not yet acquired his front name in 1836, when he enlisted
in the famous Captain Jack Hayes's company of Rangers, which was
fighting the Mexicans in those days, and also trying incidentally to
keep from being eaten up by the Comanches.

Said the old Colonel: "A merchant from our country journeyed to New
York, and Colonel Colt, who was a friend of his, gave him two
five-shooters--pistols they were, and little things. The merchant in
turn presented them to Captain Jack Hayes. The captain liked them so
well that he did not rest till every man jack of us had two apiece.

"Directly," mused the ancient one, with a smile of pleasant
recollection, "we had a fight with the Comanches--up here above San
Antonio. Hayes had fifteen men with him--he was doubling about the
country for Indians. He found 'sign,' and after cutting their trail
several times he could see that they were following him. Directly the
Indians overtook the Rangers--there were seventy-five Indians. Captain
Hayes--bless his memory!--said,' They are fixin' to charge us, boys, and
we must charge them.' There were never better men in this world than
Hayes had with him," went on the Colonel with pardonable pride; "and
mind you, he never made a fight without winning.

"We charged, and in the fracas killed thirty-five Indians--only two of
our men were wounded--so you see the five-shooters were pretty good
weapons. Of course they wa'n't any account compared with these modern
ones, because they were too small, but they did those things. Just after
that Colonel Colt was induced to make bigger ones for us, some of which
were half as long as your arm.

"Hayes? Oh, he was a surveyor, and used to go out beyond the frontiers
about his work. The Indians used to jump him pretty regular; but he
always whipped them, and so he was available for a Ranger captain. About
then--let's see," and here the old head bobbed up from his chest, where
it had sunk in thought--"there was a commerce with Mexico just sprung
up, but this was later--it only shows what that man Hayes used to do.
The bandits used to waylay the traders, and they got very bad in the
country. Captain Hayes went after them--he struck them near Lavade, and
found the Mexicans had more than twice as many men as he did; but he
caught them napping, charged them afoot--killed twenty-five of them, and
got all their horses."

"I suppose, Colonel, you have been charged by a Mexican lancer?" I

"Oh yes, many times," he answered.

"What did you generally do?"

"Well, you see, in those days I reckoned to be able to hit a man every
time with a six-shooter at one hundred and twenty-five yards," explained
the old gentleman--which no doubt meant many dead lancers.


"Then you do not think much of a lance as a weapon?" I pursued.

"No; there is but one weapon. The six-shooter when properly handled is
the only weapon--mind you, sir, I say _properly"_ and here the old eyes
blinked rapidly over the great art as he knew its practice.

"Then, of course, the rifle has its use. Under Captain Jack Hayes sixty
of us made a raid once after the celebrated priest-leader of the
Mexicans--Padre Jarante--which same was a devil of a fellow. We were
very sleepy--had been two nights without sleep. At San Juan every man
stripped his horse, fed, and went to sleep. We had passed Padre Jarante
in the night without knowing it. At about twelve o'clock next day there
was a terrible outcry--I was awakened by shooting. The Padre was upon
us. Five men outlying stood the charge, and went under. We gathered, and
the Padre charged three times. The third time he was knocked from his
horse and killed. Then Captain Jack Hayes awoke, and we got in a big
_casa._ The men took to the roof. As the Mexicans passed we emptied a
great many saddles. As I got to the top of the _casa_ I found two men
quarrelling." (Here the Colonel chuckled.) "I asked what the matter was,
and they were both claiming to have killed a certain Mexican who was
lying dead some way off. One said he had hit him in the head, and the
other said he had hit him in the breast. I advised peace until after the
fight. Well--after the shooting was over and the Padre's men had had
enough, we went out to the particular Mexican who was dead, and, sure
enough, he was shot in the head and in the breast; so they laughed and
made peace. About this time one of the spies came in and reported six
hundred Mexicans coming. We made an examination of our ammunition, and
found that we couldn't afford to fight six hundred Mexicans with sixty
men, so we pulled out. This was in the Mexican war, and only goes to
show that Captain Hayes's men could shoot all the Mexicans that could
get to them if the ammunition would hold out."

"What was the most desperate fight you can remember, Colonel?"

The old man hesitated; this required a particular point of view--it was
quality, not quantity, wanted now; and, to be sure, he was a
connoisseur. After much study by the Colonel, during which the world
lost many thrilling tales, the one which survived occurred in 1851.

"My lieutenant, Ed Burleson, was ordered to carry to San Antonio an
Indian prisoner we had taken and turned over to the commanding officer
at Fort McIntosh. On his return, while nearing the Nueces River, he
spied a couple of Indians. Taking seven men, he ordered the balance to
continue along the road. The two Indians proved to be fourteen, and they
charged Burleson up to the teeth. Dismounting his men, he poured it into
them from his Colt's six-shooting rifles.  They killed or wounded all
the Indians except two, some of them dying so near the Rangers that they
could put their hands on their boots. All but one of Burleson's men were
wounded--himself shot in the head with an arrow. One man had four
'dogwood switches' [Arrows.] in his body, one of which was in his
bowels. This man told me that every time he raised his gun to fire, the
Indians would stick an arrow in him, but he said he didn't care a cent.
One Indian was lying right up close, and while dying tried to shoot an
arrow, but his strength failed so fast that the arrow only barely left
the bowstring. One of the Rangers in that fight was a curious
fellow--when young he had been captured by Indians, and had lived with
them so long that he had Indian habits. In that fight he kept jumping
around when loading, so as to be a bad target, the same as an Indian
would under the circumstances, and he told Burleson he wished he had his
boots off, so he could get around good"--and here the Colonel paused
quizzically. "Would you call that a good fight?"


The Deacon and I put the seal of our approval on the affair, and the
Colonel rambled ahead.

"In 1858 I was commanding the frontier battalion of State troops on the
whole frontier, and had my camp on the Deer Fork of the Brazos. The
Comanches kept raiding the settlements. They would come down quietly,
working well into the white lines, and then go back a-running--driving
stolen stock and killing and burning. I thought I would give them some
of their own medicine. I concluded to give them a fight. I took two
wagons, one hundred Rangers, and one hundred and thirteen Tahuahuacan
Indians, who were friend-lies. We struck a good Indian trail on a stream
which led up to the Canadian. We followed it till it got hot. I camped
my outfit in such a manner as to conceal my force, and sent out my
scouts, who saw the Indians hunt buffalo through spyglasses. That night
we moved. I sent Indians to locate the camp. They returned before day,
and reported that the Indians were just a few miles ahead, whereat we
moved forward. At daybreak, I remember, I was standing in the bull-wagon
road leading to Santa Fe and could see the Canadian River in our
front--with eighty lodges just beyond. Counting four men of fighting age
to a lodge, that made a possible three hundred and twenty Indians. Just
at sunup an Indian came across the river on a pony. Our Indians down
below raised a yell--they always get excited. The Indian heard them--it
was very still then. The Indian retreated slowly, and began to ride in a
circle. From where I was I could hear him puff like a deer--he was
blowing the bullets away from himself--he was a medicine-man. I heard
five shots from the Jagers with which my Indians were armed. The painted
pony of the medicine-man jumped ten feet in the air, it seemed to me,
and fell over on his rider--then five more Jagers went off, and he was
dead. I ordered the Tahuahuacans out in front, and kept the Rangers out
of sight, because I wanted to charge home and kind of surprise them.
Pretty soon I got ready, and gave the word. We charged. At the river we
struck some boggy ground and floundered around considerable, but we got
through. We raised the Texas yell, and away we went. I never expect
again to hear such a noise--I never want to hear it--what with the
whoops of the warriors--the screaming of the women and children--our
boys yelling--the shooting, and the horses just a-mixin' up and
a-stampedin' around," and the Colonel bobbed his head slowly as he


"One of my men didn't know a buck from a squaw. There was an Indian
woman on a pony with five children. He shot the pony--it seemed like you
couldn't see that pony for little Indians. We went through the camp, and
the Indians pulled out--spreading fanlike, and we a-running them. After
a long chase I concluded to come back. I saw lots of Indians around in
the hills. When I got back, I found Captain Ross had formed my men in
line. 'What time in the morning is it?' I asked. 'Morning, hell!' says
he--'it's one o'clock!' And so it was. Directly I saw an Indian coming
down a hill near by, and then more Indians and more Indians--till it
seemed like they wa'n't ever going to get through coming. We had struck
a bigger outfit than the first one. That first Indian he bantered my men
to come out single-handed and fight him. One after another, he wounded
five of my Indians. I ordered my Indians to engage them, and kind of get
them down in the flat, where I could charge. After some running and
shooting they did this, and I turned the Rangers loose. We drove them.
The last stand they made they killed one of my Indians, wounded a
Ranger, but left seven of their dead in a pile. It was now nearly
nightfall, and I discovered that my horses were broken down after
fighting all day. I found it hard to restrain my men, they had got so
heated up; but I gradually withdrew to where the fight commenced. The
Indian camp was plundered. In it we found painted buffalo-robes with
beads a hand deep around the edges--the finest robes I have ever
seen--and heaps of goods plundered from the Santa Fe traders. On the way
back I noticed a dead chief, and was for a moment astonished to find
pieces of flesh cut out of him; upon looking at a Tahuahuacan warrior I
saw a pair of dead hands tied behind his saddle. That night they had a
cannibal feast. You see, the Tahuahuacans say that the first one of
their race was brought into the world by a wolf. 'How am I to live?'
said the Tahuahuacan. 'The same as we do,' said the wolf; and when they
were with me, that is just about how they lived. I reckon it's necessary
to tell you about the old woman who was found in our lines. She was
looking at the sun and making incantations, a-cussing us out generally
and elevating her voice. She said the Comanches would get even for this
day's work. I directed my Indians to let her alone, but I was informed
afterwards that that is just what they didn't do."

At this point the Colonel's cigar went out, and directly he followed;
but this is the manner in which he told of deeds which I know would fare
better at the hands of one used to phrasing and capable also of more
points of view than the Colonel was used to taking. The outlines of the
thing are strong, however, because the Deacon and I understood that
fights were what the old Colonel had dealt in during his active life,
much as other men do in stocks and bonds or wheat and corn. He had been
a successful operator, and only recalled pleasantly the bull quotations.
This type of Ranger is all but gone. A few may yet be found in outlying
ranches. One of the most celebrated resides near San Antonio--"Big-foot
Wallace" by name. He says he doesn't mind being called "Big-foot,"
because he is six feet two in height, and is entitled to big feet. His
face is done off in a nest of white hair and beard, and is patriarchal
in character. In 1836 he came out from Virginia to "take toll" of the
Mexicans for killing some relatives of his in the Fannin Massacre, and
he considers that he has squared his accounts; but they had him on the
debit side for a while.  Being captured in the Meir expedition, he
walked as a prisoner to the city of Mexico, and did public work for that
country with a ball-and-chain attachment for two years. The prisoners
overpowered the guards and escaped on one occasion, but were overtaken
by Mexican cavalry while dying of thirst in a desert. Santa Anna ordered
their "decimation," which meant that every tenth man was shot, their lot
being determined by the drawing of a black bean from an earthen pot
containing a certain proportion of white ones. "Big-foot" drew a white
one. He was also a member of Captain Hayes's company, afterwards a
captain of Rangers, and a noted Indian-fighter. Later he carried the
mails from San Antonio to El Paso through a howling wilderness, but
always brought it safely through--if safely can be called lying thirteen
days by a water-hole in the desert, waiting for a broken leg to mend,
and living meanwhile on one prairie-wolf, which he managed to shoot.
Wallace was a professional hunter, who fought Indians and hated
"greasers"; he belongs to the past, and has been "outspanned" under a
civilization in which he has no place, and is to-day living in poverty.


The civil war left Texas under changed conditions. That and the Mexican
wars had determined its boundaries, however, and it rapidly filled up
with new elements of population. Broken soldiers, outlaws, poor
immigrants living in bull-wagons, poured in. "Gone to Texas" had a
sinister significance in the late sixties. When the railroad got to
Abilene, Kansas, the cow-men of Texas found a market for their stock,
and began trailing their herds up through the Indian country.

Bands of outlaws organized under the leadership of desperadoes like Wes
Hardin and King Fisher. They rounded up cattle regardless of their
owners' rights, and resisted interference with force. The poor man
pointed to his brand in the stolen herd and protested. He was shot. The
big owners were unable to protect themselves from loss. The property
right was established by the six-shooter, and honest men were forced to
the wall. In 1876 the property-holding classes went to the Legislature,
got it to appropriate a hundred thousand dollars a year for two years,
and the Ranger force was reorganized to carry the law into the
chaparral. At this time many judges were in league with bandits;
sheriffs were elected by the outlaws, and the electors were

The Rangers were sworn to uphold the laws of Texas and the United
States. They were deputy sheriffs, United States marshals--in fact, were
often vested with any and every power, even to the extent of ignoring
disreputable sheriffs. At times they were judge, jury, and executioner
when the difficulties demanded extremes. When a band of outlaws was
located, detectives or spies were sent among them, who openly joined the
desperadoes, and gathered evidence to put the Rangers on their trail.
Then, in the wilderness, with only the soaring buzzard or prowling
coyote to look on, the Ranger and the outlaw met to fight with tigerish
ferocity to the death.  Shot, and lying prone, they fired until the
palsied arm could no longer raise the six-shooter, and justice was
satisfied as their bullets sped.  The captains had the selection of
their men, and the right to dishonorably discharge at will. Only men of
irreproachable character, who were fine riders and dead-shots, were
taken. The spirit of adventure filled the ranks with the most prominent
young men in the State, and to have been a Ranger is a badge of
distinction in Texas to this day. The display of anything but a perfect
willingness to die under any and all circumstances was fatal to a
Ranger, and in course of time they got the _moral_ on the bad man. Each
one furnished his own horse and arms, while the State gave him
ammunition, "grub," one dollar a day, and extra expenses. The enlistment
was for twelve months. A list of fugitive Texas criminals was placed in
his hands, with which he was expected to familiarize himself. Then, in
small parties, they packed the bedding on their mule, they hung the
handcuffs and leather thongs about its neck, saddled their
riding-ponies, and threaded their way into the chaparral.


On an evening I had the pleasure of meeting two more distinguished
Ranger officers--more modern types--Captains Lea Hall and Joseph Shely;
both of them big, forceful men, and loath to talk about themselves. It
was difficult to associate the quiet gentlemen who sat smoking in the
Deacon's rooms with what men say; for the tales of their prowess in
Texas always ends, "and that don't count Mexicans, either." The bandit
never laid down his gun but with his life; so the "la ley de huga"
[Mexican law of shooting escaped or resisting prisoners.] was in force
in the chaparral, and the good people of Texas were satisfied with a
very short account of a Ranger's fight.

The most distinguished predecessor of these two men was a Captain
McNally, who was so bent on, carrying his raids to an issue that he paid
no heed to national boundary-lines. He followed a band of Mexican
bandits to the town of La Cueva, below Ringgold, once, and, surrounding
it, demanded the surrender of the cattle which they had stolen. He had
but ten men, and yet this redoubtable warrior surrounded a town full of
bandits and Mexican soldiers. The Mexican soldiers attacked the Rangers,
and forced them back under the river-banks, but during the fight the
_jefe politico_ was killed. The Rangers were in a fair way to be
overcome by the Mexicans, when Lieutenant Clendenin turned a Gatling
loose from the American side and covered their position. A parley
ensued, but McNally refused to go back without the cattle, which the
Mexicans had finally to surrender.

At another time McNally received word through spies of an intended raid
of Mexican cattle-thieves under the leadership of Cammelo Lerma. At
Resaca de la Palma, McNally struck the depredators with but sixteen men.
They had seventeen men and five hundred head of stolen cattle. In a
running fight for miles McNally's men killed sixteen bandits, while only
one escaped. A young Ranger by the name of Smith was shot dead by
Cammelo Lerma as he dismounted to look at the dying bandit. The dead
bodies were piled in ox-carts and dumped in the public square at
Brownsville. McNally also captured King Fisher's band in an old log
house in Dimmit County, but they were not convicted.

Showing the nature of Ranger work, an incident which occurred to my
acquaintance, Captain Lea Hall, will illustrate. In De Witt County there
was a feud. One dark night sixteen masked men took a sick man, one Dr.
Brazel, and two of his boys, from their beds, and, despite the imploring
mother and daughter, hanged the doctor and one son to a tree. The other
boy escaped in the green corn. Nothing was done to punish the crime, as
the lynchers were men of property and influence in the country. No man
dared speak above his breath about the affair.

Captain Hall, by secret-service men, discovered the perpetrators, and
also that they were to be gathered at a wedding on a certain night. He
surrounded the house and demanded their surrender, at the same time
saying that he did not want to kill the women and children. Word
returned that they would kill him and all his Rangers. Hall told them to
allow their women and children to depart, which was done; then,
springing on the gallery of the house, he shouted, "Now, gentlemen, you
can go to killing Rangers; but if you don't surrender, the Rangers will
go to killing you." This was too frank a willingness for midnight
assassins, and they gave up.

Spies had informed him that robbers intended sacking Campbell's store in
Wolfe City. Hall and his men lay behind the counters to receive them on
the designated night. They were allowed to enter, when Hall's men,
rising, opened fire--the robbers replying. Smoke filled the room, which
was fairly illuminated by the flashes of the guns--but the robbers were
all killed, much to the disgust of the lawyers, no doubt, though I could
never hear that honest people mourned.

The man Hall was himself a gentleman of the romantic Southern soldier
type, and he entertained the highest ideals, with which it would be
extremely unsafe to trifle, if I may judge. Captain Shely, our other
visitor, was a herculean, black-eyed man, fairly fizzing with nervous
energy. He is also exceedingly shrewd, as befits the greater
concreteness of the modern Texas law, albeit he too has trailed bandits
in the chaparral, and rushed in on their camp-fires at night, as two big
bullet-holes in his skin will attest. He it was who arrested Polk, the
defaulting treasurer of Tennessee. He rode a Spanish pony sixty-two
miles in six hours, and arrested Polk, his guide, and two private
detectives, whom Polk had bribed to set him over the Rio Grande. When
the land of Texas was bought up and fenced with wire, the old settlers
who had used the land did not readily recognize the new regime. They
raised the rallying-cry of "free grass and free water"--said they had
fought the Indians off, and the land belonged to them. Taking nippers,
they rode by night and cut down miles of fencing. Shely took the keys of
a county jail from the frightened sheriff, made arrests by the score,
and lodged them in the big new jail. The country-side rose in arms,
surrounded the building, and threatened to tear it down. The big Ranger
was not deterred by this outburst, but quietly went out into the mob,
and with mock politeness delivered himself as follows:

"Do not tear down the jail, gentlemen--you have been taxed for years to
build this fine structure--it is yours--do not tear it down. I will open
the doors wide--you can all come in--do not tear down the jail; but
there are twelve Rangers in there, with orders to kill as long as they
can see. Come right in, gentlemen--but come fixed."

The mob was overcome by his civility.

Texas is to-day the only State in the Union where pistol-carry ing is
attended with great chances of arrest and fine. The law is supreme even
in the lonely _jacails_ out in the rolling waste of chaparral, and it
was made so by the tireless riding, the deadly shooting, and the
indomitable courage of the Texas Rangers.


THE Quartermaster and I both had trouble which the doctors could not
cure--it was January, and it would not do for us to sit in a "blind ";
besides, I do not fancy that. There are ever so many men who are
comfortable all over when they are sitting in a blind waiting on the
vagrant flying of the ducks; but it is solemn, gloomy business, and, I
must say, sufficient reason why they take a drink every fifteen minutes
to keep up their enthusiasm. We both knew that the finest winter resort
for shot-gun folks was in the Southwest--down on the Rio Grande in
Texas--so we journeyed to Eagle Pass. As we got down from the train we
saw Captain Febiger in his long military cloak by a lantern-light.

"Got any quail staked out for us, Feb?" asked the Quartermaster.

"Oodles," said Febiger; "get into my trap," and we were rattled through
the unlighted street out to the camp, and brought up by the Captain's

In the morning we unpacked our trunks, and had everything on the floor
where we could see it, after the fashion with men. Captain Febiger's
baby boy came in to help us rummage in the heaps of canvas clothes,
ammunition, and what not besides, finally selecting for his amusement a
loaded Colt's revolver and a freshly honed razor. We were terrorized by
the possibilities of the combination. Our trying to take them away from
the youngster only made him yell like a cavern of demons. We howled for
his mother to come to our aid, which she finally did, and she separated
the kid from his toys.

I put on my bloomers, when the Captain came in and viewed me, saying:
"Texas bikes; but it doesn't bloom yet. I don't know just what Texas
will do if you parade in those togs--but you can try."

As we sauntered down the dusty main street, Texas lounged in the
doorways or stood up in its buggy and stared at me. Texas grinned
cheerfully, too, but I did not care, so long as Texas kept its hand out
of its hip pocket. I was content to help educate Texas as to personal
comfort, at no matter what cost to myself. We passed into Mexico over
the Long Bridge to call on Senor Munos, who is the local czar, in hopes
of getting permits to be let alone by his chaparral-rangers while we
shot quail on their soil. In Mexico when the people observe an Americano
they simply shrug their shoulders; so our bloomers attracted no more
contempt than would an X-ray or a trolley-car. Senor Munos gave the
permits, after much stately compliment and many subtle ways, which made
us feel under a cloud of obligation.

[Illustration: 07 LUNCHEON IN THE DESERT]

The next morning an ambulance and escort-wagon drove up to the Captain's
quarters, and we loaded ourselves in--shot-guns, ammunition, blankets,
and the precious paper of Senor Munos; for, only the week before, the
custom-house rangers had carefully escorted an American hunting-party a
long distance back to the line for lack of the little paper and red
seals. We rattled over the bridge, past the Mexican barrack, while its
dark-skinned soldiery--who do not shoot quails--lounged in the sunshine
against the whitewashed wall.

At the first outpost of the customs a little man, whose considerable
equatorial proportions were girted with a gun, examined our paper, and
waved us on our way. Under the railroad bridge of the International an
engineer blew his whistle, and our mules climbed on top of each other in
their terror.

We wound along the little river, through irrigating ditches, past dozens
of those deliciously quaint adobe houses, past the inevitable church,
past a dead pony, ran over a chicken, made the little seven-year-old
girls take their five-year-old brothers up in their arms for protection,
and finally we climbed a long hill. At the top stretched an endless
plain. The road forked; presently it branched; anon it grew into twigs
of white dust on the gray levels of the background. The local physician
of Eagle Pass was of our party, and he was said to know where a certain
tank was to be found, some thirty miles out in the desert, but no man
yet created could know which twig of the road to take. He decided on
one--changed his mind--got out of the ambulance, scratched his head,
pondered, and finally resolution settled on his face. He motioned the
driver to a certain twig, got in, and shut his mouth firmly, thus
closing debate. We smoked silently, waiting for the doctor's mind to
fog. He turned uneasily in his seat, like the agitated needle of a
compass, and even in time hazarded the remark that something did not
look natural; but there was nothing to look at but flat land and flat
sky, unless a hawk sailing here and there. At noon we lunched at the
tail of the ambulance, and gently "jollied" the doctor's topography. We
pushed on. Later in the afternoon the thirsty mules went slowly. The
doctor had by this time admitted his doubts--some long blue hills on the
sky-line ought to be farther to the west, according to his remembrance.
As no one else had any ideas on the subject, the doctor's position was
not enviable. We changed our course, and travelled many weary miles
through the chaparral, which was high enough to stop our vision, and
stiff enough to bar our way, keeping us to narrow roads. At last the
bisecting cattle trails began to converge, and we knew that they led to
water--which they did; for shortly we saw a little broken adobe, a
tumbled brush corral, the plastered gate of an _acequia,_ and the blue
water of the tank.

[Illustration: 08 SUPPER IN THE CORRAL]

To give everything its due proportion at this point, we gathered to
congratulate the doctor as we passed the flask. The camp was pitched
within the corral, and while the cook got supper we stood in the
after-glow on the bank of the tank and saw the ducks come home, heard
the mud-hens squddle, while high in the air flew the long line of
sand-hill cranes with a hoarse clangor. It was quite dark when we sat on
the "grub" chests and ate by the firelight, while out in the desert the
coyotes shrilled to the monotonous accompaniment of the mules crunching
their feed and stamping wearily. To-morrow it was proposed to hunt ducks
in their morning flight, which means getting up before daylight, so bed
found us early. It seemed but a minute after I had sought my blankets
when I was being abused by the Captain, being pushed with his
foot--fairly rolled over by him--he even standing on my body as he
shouted, "Get up, if you are going hunting. It will be light
directly--get up!" And this, constantly recurring, is one reason why I
do not care for duck-shooting.

But, in order to hunt, I had to get up, and file off in the line of
ghosts, stumbling, catching, on the chaparral, and splashing in the mud.
I led a setter-dog, and was presently directed to sit down in some damp
grass, because it was a good place--certainly not to sit down in, but
for other reasons. I sat there in the dark, petting the good dog, and
watching the sky grow pale in the east. This is not to mention the
desire for breakfast, or the damp, or the sleepiness, but this is really
the larger part of duck-hunting. Of course if I later had a dozen good
shots it might compensate--but I did not have a dozen shots.

The day came slowly out of the east, the mud-hens out in the marsh
splashed about in the rushes, a sailing hawk was visible against the
gray sky overhead, and I felt rather insignificant, not to say
contemptible, as I sat there in the loneliness of this big nature which
worked around me. The dog dignified the situation--he was a part of
nature's belongings--while I somehow did not seem to grace the solitude.
The grays slowly grew into browns on the sedge-grass, and the water to
silver. A bright flash of fire shot out of the dusk far up in the gloom,
and the dull report of a shot-gun came over the tank. Black objects fled
across the sky--the ducks were flying. I missed one or two, and grew
weary--none came near enough to my lair. Presently it was light, and I
got a fair shot. My bird tumbled into the rushes out in front of me, and
the setter bounded in to retrieve. He searched vehemently, but the
wounded duck dived in front of him. He came ashore shortly, and lying
down, he bit at himself and pawed and rolled. He was a mass of
cockle-burs. I took him on my lap and laboriously picked cockle-burs out
of his hair for a half-hour; then, shouldering my gun, I turned
tragically to the water and anathematized its ducks--all ducks, my
fellow-duckers, all thoughts and motives concerning ducks--and then
strode into the chaparral. "Hie on! hie on!" I tossed my arm, and the
setter began to hunt beautifully--glad, no doubt, to leave all thoughts
of the cockle-burs and evasive ducks behind. I worked up the shore of
the tank, keeping back in the brush, and got some fun. After chasing
about for some time I came out near the water. My dog pointed. I glided
forward, and came near shooting the Quartermaster, who sat in a bunch of
sedge-grass, with a dead duck by his side. He was smoking, and was
disgusted with ducks. He joined me, and shortly, as we crossed the road,
the long Texas doctor, who owned the dog, came striding down the way. He
was ready for quail now, and we started.


The quail-hunting is active work. The dog points, but one nearly always
finds the birds running from one prickly-pear bush to another. They do
not stand, rarely flush, and when they do get up it is only to swoop
ahead to the nearest cover, where they settle quickly. One must be sharp
in his shooting--he cannot select his distance, for the cactus lies
thick about, and the little running bird is only on view for the
shortest of moments. You must overrun a dog after his first point, since
he works too close behind them. The covey will keep together if not
pursued with too much haste, and one gets shot after shot; still, at
last you must run lively, as the frightened covey scurry along at a
remarkable pace. Heavy shot are necessary, since the blue quail carry
lead like Marshal Massena, and are much harder to kill than the
bob-white. Three men working together can get shooting enough out of a
bunch--the chase often continuing for a mile, when the covey gradually
separate, the sportsmen following individual birds.

[Illustration: 10 RUNNING BLUE QUAIL]

Where the prickly-pear cactus is thickest, there are the blue quail,
since that is their feed and water supply. This same cactus makes a
difficulty of pursuit, for it bristles with spines, which come off on
your clothing, and when they enter the skin make most uncomfortable and
persistent sores. The Quartermaster had an Indian tobacco-bag dangling
at his belt, and as it flopped in his progress it gathered prickers,
which it shortly transferred to his luckless legs, until he at last
detected the reason why he bristled so fiercely. And the poor dog--at
every covey we had to stop and pick needles out of him. The haunts of
the blue quail are really no place for a dog, as he soon becomes
useless. One does not need him, either, since the blue quail will not
flush until actually kicked into the air.

Jack and cotton-tail rabbits fled by hundreds before us. They are
everywhere, and afford good shooting between coveys, it being quick work
to get a cotton-tail as he flashes between the net-work of protecting
cactus. Coyotes lope away in our front, but they are too wild for a
shot-gun. It must ever be in a man's mind to keep his direction, because
it is such a vastly simple thing to get lost in the chaparral, where you
cannot see a hundred yards. Mexico has such a considerable territory
that a man on foot may find it inconvenient to beat up a town in the
desolation of thorn-bush.

There is an action about blue-quail shooting which is next to buffalo
shooting--it's run, shoot, pick up your bird, scramble on in your
endeavor to keep the skirmish-line of your two comrades; and at last,
when you have concluded to stop, you can mop your forehead--the Mexican
sun shines hot even in midwinter.

Later in the afternoon we get among bob-white in a grassy tract, and
while they are clean work--good dog-play, and altogether more
satisfactory shooting than any other I know of--I am yet much inclined
to the excitement of chasing after game which you can see at intervals.
Let it not be supposed that it is less difficult to hit a running blue
quail as he shoots through the brush than a flying bob-white, for the
experience of our party has settled that, and one gets ten shots at the
blue to one at the bob-white, because of their number. As to eating, we
could not tell the difference; but I will not insist that this is final.
A man who comes in from an all day's run in the brush does not care
whether the cook gives him boiled beans, watermelon, or crackers and
jam; so how is he to know what a bird's taste is when served to a tame

[Illustration: 11 TOO BIG GAME FOR NUMBER SIX]

At intervals we ran into the wild cattle which threaded their way to
water, and it makes one nervous. It is of no use to say "Soo-bossy," or
to give him a charge of No. 6; neither is it well to run. If the
_matadores_ had any of the sensations which I have experienced, the gate
receipts at the bull-rings would have to go up.  When a big long-horn
fastens a quail-shooter with his great open brown eye in a chaparral
thicket, you are not inclined to "call his hand." If he will call it a
misdeal, you are with him.

We were banging away, the Quartermaster and I, when a human voice began
yelling like mad from the brush ahead. We advanced, to find a
Mexican--rather well gotten up--who proceeded to wave his arms like a
parson who had reached "sixthly" in his sermon, and who proceeded
thereat to overwhelm us with his eloquence. The Quartermaster and I
"_buenos dias-ed_" and "_si, senor-ed_" him in our helpless Spanish, and
asked each other, nervously, "What de'll." After a long time he seemed
to be getting through with his subject, his sentences became separated,
he finally emitted monosyllables only along with his scowls, and we
tramped off into the brush. It was a pity he spent so much energy, since
it could only arouse our curiosity without satisfying it.

In camp that night we told the Captain of our excited Mexican friend out
in the brush, and our cook had seen sinister men on ponies passing near
our camp. The Captain became solicitous, and stationed a night-guard
over his precious government mules. It would never do to have a bandit
get away with a U.  S. brand. It never does matter about private
property, but anything with U. S. on it has got to be looked after, like
a croupy child.

We had some good days' sport, and no more formidable enterprise against
the night-guard was attempted than the noisy approach of a white
jackass. The tents were struck and loaded when it began to rain. We
stood in the shelter of the escort-wagon, and the storm rose to a
hurricane. Our corral became a tank; but shortly the black clouds passed
north, and we pulled out. The twig ran into a branch, and the branch
struck the trunk near the bluffs over the Rio Grande, and in town there
stood the Mexican soldiers leaning against the wall as we had left them.
We wondered if they had moved meanwhile.


WHILE it is undisputed that Captain Dodd's troop of the Third Cavalry is
not an orphan, and is, moreover, quite as far from it as any troop of
cavalry in the world, all this occurred many years ago, when it was, at
any rate, so called. There was nothing so very unfortunate about it,
from what I can gather, since it seems to have fought well on its own
hook, quite up to all expectations, if not beyond. No officer at that
time seemed to care to connect his name with such a rioting,
nose-breaking band of desperado cavalrymen, unless it was temporarily,
and that was always in the field, and never in garrison. However, in
this case it did not have even an officer in the field. But let me go on
to my sergeant.

This one was a Southern gentleman, or rather a boy, when he refugeed out
of Fredericksburg with his family, before the Federal advance, in a
wagon belonging to a Mississippi rifle regiment; but nevertheless some
years later he got to be a gentleman, and passed through the Virginia
Military Institute with honor. The desire to be a soldier consumed him,
but the vicissitudes of the times compelled him, if he wanted to be a
soldier, to be a private one, which he became by duly enlisting in the
Third Cavalry. He struck the Orphan Troop.

Physically, Nature had slobbered all over Carter Johnson; she had
lavished on him her very last charm. His skin was pink, albeit the years
of Arizona sun had heightened it to a dangerous red; his mustache was
yellow and ideally military; while his pure Virginia accent, fired in
terse and jerky form at friend and enemy alike, relieved his natural
force of character by a shade of humor. He was thumped and bucked and
pounded into what was in the seventies considered a proper frontier
soldier, for in those days the nursery idea had not been lugged into the
army. If a sergeant bade a soldier "go" or "do," he instantly "went" or
"did"--otherwise the sergeant belted him over the head with his
six-shooter, and had him taken off in a cart. On pay-days, too, when men
who did not care to get drunk went to bed in barracks, they slept under
their bunks and not in them, which was conducive to longevity and a good
night's rest. When buffalo were scarce they ate the army rations in
those wild days; they had a fight often enough to earn thirteen dollars,
and at times a good deal more. This was the way with all men at that
time, but it was rough on recruits.

So my friend Carter Johnson wore through some years, rose to be a
corporal, finally a sergeant, and did many daring deeds. An atavism from
"the old border riders" of Scotland shone through the boy, and he took
on quickly. He could act the others off the stage and sing them out of
the theatre in his chosen profession.

There was fighting all day long around Fort Robinson, Nebraska--a
bushwhacking with Dull-Knife's band of the Northern Cheyennes, the
Spartans of the plains. It was January; the snow lay deep on the ground,
and the cold was knife-like as it thrust at the fingers and toes of the
Orphan Troop. Sergeant Johnson with a squad of twenty men, after having
been in the saddle all night, was in at the post drawing rations for the
troop. As they were packing them up for transport, a detachment of F
Troop came galloping by, led by the sergeant's friend, Corporal
Thornton. They pulled up.

"Come on, Carter--go with us. I have just heard that some troops have
got a bunch of Injuns corralled out in the hills. They can't get 'em
down. Let's go help 'em. It's a chance for the fight of your life. Come

Carter hesitated for a moment. He had drawn the rations for his troop,
which was in sore need of them. It might mean a court-martial and the
loss of his chevrons--but a fight! Carter struck his spurred heels,
saying, "Come on, boys; get your horses; we will go."

The line of cavalry was half lost in the flying snow as it cantered away
over the white flats. The dry powder crunched under the thudding hoofs,
the carbines banged about, the overcoat capes blew and twisted in the
rushing air, the horses grunted and threw up their heads as the spurs
went into their bellies, while the men's faces were serious with the
interest in store. Mile after mile rushed the little column, until it
came to some bluffs, where it drew reign and stood gazing across the
valley to the other hills.

Down in the bottoms they espied an officer and two men sitting quietly
on their horses, and on riding up found a lieutenant gazing at the
opposite bluffs through a glass. Far away behind the bluffs a sharp ear
could detect the reports of guns.

"We have been fighting the Indians all day here," said the officer,
putting down his glass and turning to the two "non-coms." "The command
has gone around the bluffs. I have just seen Indians up there on the
rim-rocks. I have sent for troops, in the hope that we might get up
there. Sergeant, deploy as skirmishers, and we will try."


At a gallop the men fanned out, then forward at a sharp trot across the
flats, over the little hills, and into the scrub pine. The valley
gradually narrowed until it forced the skirmishers into a solid body,
when the lieutenant took the lead, with the command tailing out in
single file. The signs of the Indians grew thicker and thicker--a
skirmisher's nest here behind a scrub-pine bush, and there by the side
of a rock. Kettles and robes lay about in the snow, with three "bucks"
and some women and children sprawling about, frozen as they had died;
but all was silent except the crunch of the snow and the low whispers of
the men as they pointed to the telltales of the morning's battle.

As the column approached the precipitous rim-rock the officer halted,
had the horses assembled in a side canon, putting Corporal Thornton in
charge. He ordered Sergeant Johnson to again advance his skirmish-line,
in which formation the men moved forward, taking cover behind the pine
scrub and rocks, until they came to an open space of about sixty paces,
while above it towered the cliff for twenty feet in the sheer. There the
Indians had been last seen. The soldiers lay tight in the snow, and no
man's valor impelled him on. To the casual glance the rim-rock was
impassable. The men were discouraged and the officer nonplussed. A
hundred rifles might be covering the rock fort for all they knew. On
closer examination a cutting was found in the face of the rock which was
a rude attempt at steps, doubtless made long ago by the Indians. Caught
on a bush above, hanging down the steps, was a lariat, which, at the
bottom, was twisted around the shoulders of a dead warrior. They had
evidently tried to take him up while wounded, but he had died and had
been abandoned.

After cogitating, the officer concluded not to order his men forward,
but he himself stepped boldly out into the open and climbed up. Sergeant
Johnson immediately followed, while an old Swedish soldier by the name
of Otto Bordeson fell in behind them. They walked briskly up the hill,
and placing their backs against the wall of rock, stood gazing at the

With a grin the officer directed the men to advance. The sergeant,
seeing that he realized their serious predicament, said:

"I think, lieutenant, you had better leave them where they are; we are
holding this rock up pretty hard."


They stood there and looked at each other. "We's in a fix," said Otto.

"I want volunteers to climb this rock," finally demanded the officer.

The sergeant looked up the steps, pulled at the lariat, and commented:
"Only one man can go at a time; if there are Indians up there, an old
squaw can kill this command with a hatchet; and if there are no Indians,
we can all go up."

The impatient officer started up, but the sergeant grabbed him by the
belt. He turned, saying, "If I haven't got men to go, I will climb

"Stop, lieutenant. It wouldn't look right for the officer to go. I have
noticed a pine-tree, the branches of which spread over the top of the
rock," and the sergeant pointed to it. "If you will make the men cover
the top of the rim-rock with their rifles, Bordeson and I will go up;"
and turning to the Swede, "Will you go, Otto?"

"I will go anywhere the sergeant does," came his gallant reply.

"Take your choice, then, of the steps or the pine-tree," continued the
Virginian; and after a rather short but sharp calculation the Swede
declared for the tree, although both were death if the Indians were on
the rim-rock. He immediately began sidling along the rock to the tree,
and slowly commenced the ascent. The sergeant took a few steps up the
cutting, holding on by the rope. The officer stood out and smiled
quizzically. Jeers came from behind the soldiers' bushes--"Go it, Otto!
Go it, Johnson! Your feet are loaded! If a snow-bird flies, you will
drop dead! Do you need any help? You'd make a hell of a sailor!" and
other gibes.

The gray clouds stretched away monotonously over the waste of snow, and
it was cold. The two men climbed slowly, anon stopping to look at each
other and smile. They were monkeying with death.

At last the sergeant drew himself up, slowly raised his head, and saw
snow and broken rock. Otto lifted himself likewise, and he too saw
nothing Rifle-shots came clearly to their ears from far in front--many
at one time, and scattering at others. Now the soldiers came briskly
forward, dragging up the cliff in single file. The dull noises of the
fight came through the wilderness. The skirmish-line drew quickly
forward and passed into the pine woods, but the Indian trails scattered.
Dividing into sets of four, they followed on the tracks of small
parties, wandering on until night threatened. At length the main trail
of the fugitive band ran across their front, bringing the command
together. It was too late for the officer to get his horses before dark,
nor could he follow with his exhausted men, so he turned to the sergeant
and asked him to pick some men and follow on the trail. The sergeant
picked Otto Borde-son, who still affirmed that he would go anywhere that
Johnson went, and they started. They were old hunting companions, having
confidence in each other's sense and shooting. They ploughed through the
snow, deeper and deeper into the pines, then on down a canon where the
light was failing. The sergeant was sweating freely; he raised his hand
to press his fur cap backward from his forehead. He drew it quickly
away; he stopped and started, caught Otto by the sleeve, and drew a long
breath. Still holding his companion, he put his glove again to his nose,
sniffed at it again, and with a mighty tug brought the startled Swede to
his knees, whispering, "I smell Indians; I can sure smell 'em,
Otto--can you?" Otto sniffed, and whispered back, "Yes, plain!" "We are
ambushed! Drop!" and the two soldiers sunk in the snow. A few feet in
front of them lay a dark thing; crawling to it, they found a large
calico rag, covered with blood.


"Let's do something, Carter; we's in a fix." "If we go down, Otto, we
are gone; if we go back, we are gone; let's go forward," hissed the

Slowly they crawled from tree to tree.

"Don't you see the Injuns?" said the Swede, as he pointed to the rocks
in front, where lay their dark forms. The still air gave no sound. The
cathedral of nature, with its dark pine trunks starting from gray snow
to support gray sky, was dead. Only human hearts raged, for the forms
which held them lay like black bowlders.

"Egah--lelah washatah," yelled the sergeant.

Two rifle-shots rang and reverberated down the canon; two more replied
instantly from the soldiers. One Indian sunk, and his carbine went
clanging down the rocks, burying itself in the snow. Another warrior
rose slightly, took aim, but Johnson's six-shooter cracked again, and
the Indian settled slowly down without firing. A squaw moved slowly in
the half-light to where the buck lay. Bordeson drew a bead with his

"Don't shoot the woman, Otto. Keep that hole covered; the place is alive
with Indians;" and both lay still.

A buck rose quickly, looked at the sergeant, and dropped back. The
latter could see that he had him located, for he slowly poked his rifle
up without showing his head. Johnson rolled swiftly to one side, aiming
with his deadly revolver. Up popped the Indian's head, crack went the
six-shooter; the head turned slowly, leaving the top exposed. Crack
again went the alert gun of the soldier, the ball striking the head just
below the scalp-lock and instantly jerking the body into a kneeling

Then all was quiet in the gloomy woods.

After a time the sergeant addressed his voice to the lonely place in
Sioux, telling the women to come out and surrender--to leave the bucks,

An old squaw rose sharply to her feet, slapped her breast, shouted
"Lelah washatah," and gathering up a little girl and a bundle, she
strode forward to the soldiers. Three other women followed, two of them
in the same blanket.

"Are there any more bucks?" roared the sergeant, in Sioux.

"No more alive," said the old squaw, in the same tongue.

"Keep your rifle on the hole between the rocks; watch these people; I
will go up," directed the sergeant, as he slowly mounted to the ledge,
and with levelled six-shooter peered slowly over. He stepped in and
stood looking down on the dead warriors.

A yelling in broken English smote the startled sergeant. "Tro up your
hands, you d---- Injun! I'll blow the top off you!" came through the
quiet. The sergeant sprang down to see the Swede standing with carbine
levelled at a young buck confronting him with a drawn knife in his
hands, while his blanket lay back on the snow.

"He's a buck--he ain't no squaw; he tried to creep on me with a knife.
I'm going to kill him," shouted the excited Bordeson.

"No, no, don't kill him. Otto, don't you kill him," expostulated
Johnson, as the Swede's finger clutched nervously at the trigger, and
turning, he roared, "Throw away that knife, you d------Indian!"

The detachment now came charging in through the snow, and gathered
around excitedly. A late arrival came up, breathing heavily, dropped his
gun, and springing up and down, yelled, "Be jabbers, I have got among om
at last!" A general laugh went up, and the circle of men broke into a
straggling line for the return. The sergeant took the little girl up in
his arms. She grabbed him fiercely by the throat like a wild-cat,
screaming. While nearly choking, he yet tried to mollify her, while her
mother, seeing no harm was intended, pacified her in the soft gutturals
of the race. She relaxed her grip, and the brave Virginian packed her
down the mountain, wrapped in his soldier cloak. The horses were reached
in time, and the prisoners put on double behind the soldiers, who fed
them crackers as they marched. At two o'clock in the morning the little
command rode into Fort Robinson and dismounted at the guardhouse. The
little girl, who was asleep and half frozen in Johnson's overcoat, would
not go to her mother: poor little cat, she had found a nest. The
sergeant took her into the guard-house, where it was warm. She soon fell
asleep, and slowly he undid her, delivering her to her mother. On the
following morning he came early to the guard-house, loaded with trifles
for his little Indian girl. He had expended all his credit at the
post-trader's, but he could carry sentiment no further, for "To horse!"
was sounding, and he joined the Orphan Troop to again ride on the
Dull-Knife trail. The brave Cheyennes were running through the frosty
hills, and the cavalry horses pressed hotly after. For ten days the
troops surrounded the Indians by day, and stood guard in the snow by
night, but coming day found the ghostly warriors gone and their
rifle-pits empty. They were cut off and slaughtered daily, but the
gallant warriors were fighting to their last nerve. Towards the end they
were cooped in a gully on War-Bon-natt Creek, where they fortified; but
two six-pounders had been hauled out, and were turned on their works.
The four troops of cavalry stood to horse on the plains all day, waiting
for the poor wretches to come out, while the guns roared, ploughing the
frozen dirt and snow over their little stronghold; but they did not come
out. It was known that all the provisions they had was the dead horse of
a corporal of E Troop, which had been shot within twenty paces of their


So, too, the soldiers were starving, and the poor Orphans had only
crackers to eat. They were freezing also, and murmuring to be led to
"the charge," that they might end it there, but they were an orphan
troop, and must wait for others to say. The sergeant even asked an
officer to let them go, but was peremptorily told to get back in the

The guns ceased at night, while the troops drew off to build fires, warm
their rigid fingers, thaw out their buffalo moccasins, and munch
crackers, leaving a strong guard around the Cheyennes. In the night
there was a shooting--the Indians had charged through and had gone.

The day following they were again surrounded on some bluffs, and the
battle waged until night. Next day there was a weak fire from the Indian
position on the impregnable bluffs, and presently it ceased entirely.
The place was approached with care and trepidation, but was empty. Two
Indian boys, with their feet frozen, had been left as decoys, and after
standing off four troops of cavalry for hours, they too had in some
mysterious way departed.


But the pursuit was relentless; on, on over the rolling hills swept the
famishing troopers, and again the Spartan band turned at bay, firmly
intrenched on a bluff as before. This was the last stand--nature was
exhausted. The soldiers surrounded them, and Major Wessells turned the
handle of the human vise. The command gathered closer about the doomed
pits--they crawled on their bellies from one stack of sage-brush to the
next. They were freezing. The order to charge came to the Orphan Troop,
and yelling his command, Sergeant Johnson ran forward. Up from the
sage-brush floundered the stiffened troopers, following on. They ran
over three Indians, who lay sheltered in a little cut, and these killed
three soldiers together with an old frontier sergeant who wore long
hair, but they were destroyed in turn. While the Orphans swarmed under
the hill, a rattling discharge poured from the rifle-pits; but the troop
had gotten under the fire, and it all passed over their heads. On they
pressed, their blood now quickened by excitement, crawling up the steep,
while volley on volley poured over them. Within nine feet of the pits
was a rim-rock ledge over which the Indian bullets swept, and here the
charge was stopped. It now became a duel.

Every time a head showed on either side, it drew fire like a flue-hole.
Suddenly our Virginian sprang on the ledge, and like a trill on a piano
poured a six-shooter into the intrenchment, and dropped back.

Major Wessells, who was commanding the whole force, crawled to the
position of the Orphan Troop, saying, "Doing fine work, boys. Sergeant,
I would advise you to take off that red scarf "--when a bullet cut the
major across the breast, whirling him around and throwing him. A
soldier, one Lannon, sprang to him and pulled him down the bluff, the
major protesting that he was not wounded, which proved to be true, the
bullet having passed through his heavy clothes.

The troops had drawn up on the other sides, and a perfect storm of
bullets whirled over the in-trenchments. The powder blackened the faces
of the men, and they took off their caps or had them shot off. To raise
the head for more than a fraction of a second meant death.

Johnson had exchanged five shots with a fine-looking Cheyenne, and every
time he raised his eye to a level with the rock White Antelope's gun
winked at him.

"You will get killed directly," yelled Lannon to Johnson; "they have you

The smoke blew and eddied over them; again Johnson rose, and again White
Antelope's pistol cracked an accompaniment to his own; but with movement
like lightning the sergeant sprang through the smoke, and fairly shoving
his carbine to White Antelope's breast, he pulled the trigger. A
50-calibre gun boomed in Johnson's face, and a volley roared from the
pits, but he fell backward into cover. His comrades set him up to see if
any red stains came through the grime, but he was unhurt.


The firing grew; a blue haze hung over the hill. Johnson again looked
across the glacis, but again his eye met the savage glare of White

"I haven't got him yet, Lannon, but I will;" and Sergeant Johnson again
slowly reloaded his pistol and carbine.

"Now, men, give them a volley!" ordered the enraged man, and as volley
answered volley, through the smoke sprang the daring soldier, and
standing over White Antelope as the smoke swirled and almost hid him, he
poured his six balls into his enemy, and thus died one brave man at the
hands of another in fair battle. The sergeant leaped back and lay down
among the men, stunned by the concussions. He said he would do no more.
His mercurial temperament had undergone a change, or, to put it better,
he conceived it to be outrageous to fight these poor people, five
against one. He characterized it as "a d---- infantry fight," and
rising, talked in Sioux to the enemy--asked them to surrender, or they
must otherwise die. A young girl answered him, and said they would like
to. An old woman sprang on her and cut her throat with a dull knife,
yelling meanwhile to the soldiers that "they would never surrender
alive," and saying what she had done.

Many soldiers were being killed, and the fire from the pits grew weaker.
The men were beside themselves with rage. "Charge!" rang through the now
still air from some strong voice, and, with a volley, over the works
poured the troops, with six-shooters going, and clubbed carbines. Yells,
explosions, and amid a whirlwind of smoke the soldiers and Indians
swayed about, now more slowly and quieter, until the smoke eddied away.
Men stood still, peering about with wild open eyes through blackened
faces. They held desperately to their weapons. An old bunch of buckskin
rags rose slowly and fired a carbine aimlessly. Twenty bullets rolled
and tumbled it along the ground, and again the smoke drifted off the
mount. This time the air grew clear. Buffalo-robes lay all about, blood
spotted everywhere. The dead bodies of thirty-two Cheyennes lay, writhed
and twisted, on the packed snow, and among them many women and children,
cut and furrowed with lead. In a corner was a pile of wounded squaws,
half covered with dirt swept over them by the storm of bullets. One
broken creature half raised herself from the bunch. A maddened trumpeter
threw up his gun to shoot, but Sergeant Johnson leaped and kicked his
gun out of his hands high into the air, saying, "This fight is over."


IT is so I have called this old document, which is an extract from the
memoirs of le Chevalier Bailloquet, a Frenchman living in Canada, where
he was engaged in the Indian fur trade, about the middle of the
seventeenth century, and as yet they are unpublished.

It is written in English, since the author lived his latter life in
England, having left Canada as the result of troubles with the

He was captured by the Iroquois, and after living with them some time,
made his escape to the Dutch.

My Chevalier rambles somewhat, although I have been at pains to cut out
extraneous matter. It is also true that many will not believe him in
these days, for out of their puny volition they will analyze, and out of
their discontent they will scoff. But to those I say, Go to your
microbes, your statistics, your volts, and your bicycles, and leave me
the truth of other days.


The Chevalier was on a voyage from Quebec to Montreal; let him begin:

The next day we embarqued, though not without confusion, because many
weare not content, nor satisfied. What a pleasure ye two fathers to see
them trott up and downe ye rocks to gett their manage into ye boat. The
boats weare so loaded that many could not proceed if foul weather should
happen. I could not persuade myself to stay with this concourse as ye
weather was faire for my journie. Without adoe, I gott my six wild men
to paddle on ye way.

This was a fatal embarquation, butt I did not mistrust that ye Iriquoits
weare abroad in ye forest, for I had been at ye Peace. Nevertheless I
find that these wild men doe naught butt what they resolve out of their
bloodie mindedness. We passed the Point going out of ye Lake St. Peter,
when ye Barbars appeared on ye watter-side discharging their muskets at
us, and embarquing for our pursuit.

"Kohe--kohe!"--came nearer ye fearsome warre cry of ye Iriquoit, making
ye hearts of ye poore Hurron & ffrench alike to turn to water in their
breasts. 2 of my savages weare strook downe at ye first discharge &
another had his paddle cutt in twain, besides shott holes through with
the watter poured apace. Thus weare we diminished and could not draw

The Barbars weare daubed with paint, which is ye signe of warre. They
coming against our boat struck downe our Hurrons with hattchetts, such
as did not jump into the watter, where also they weare in no wise saved.

But in my boat was a Hurron Captayne, who all his life-time had killed
many Iriquoits & by his name for vallor had come to be a great Captayne
att home and abroad. We weare resolved some execution & with our gunns
dealt a discharge & drew our cutlasses to strike ye foe. They environed
us as we weare sinking, and one spake saying--"Brothers, cheere up and
assure yourselfe you shall not be killed; thou art both men and
Cap-taynes, as I myself am, and I will die in thy defense." And ye
afforesaid crew shewed such a horrid noise, of a sudden ye Iriquoit
Captayne took hold about me--"Thou shalt not die by another hand than

Ye savages layd bye our armes & tyed us fast in a boat, one in one boat
and one in another. We proceeded up ye river, rather sleeping than
awake, for I thought never to escape.

Att near sunsett we weare taken on ye shore, where ye wild men encamped
bye making cottages of rind from off ye trees. They tyed ye Hurron
Captayne to a trunk, he resolving most bravely but dessparred to me, and
I too dessparred. Nevertheless he sang his fatal song though ye fire
made him as one with the ague. They tooke out his heart and cut off some
of ye flesh of ye miserable, boyled it and eat it. This they wished not
to doe att this time, but that ye Hurron had been shott with a ball
under his girdle where it was not seen, though he would have died of his
desperate wound. That was the miserable end of that wretch.

Whilst they weare busy with ye Hurron, they having stripped me naked,
tyed me above ye elbows, and wrought a rope about my middle. They afked
me several questions, I not being able to answer, they gave me great
blows with their fists, then pulled out one of my nails. Having lost all
hopes, I resolved altogether to die, itt being folly to think otherwise.

I could not flee, butt was flung into a boat att daylight. Ye boats went
all abreaft, ye wild men singing some of their fatal songs, others their
howls of victory, ye wild "Kohes," beating giens & parchments, blowing
whistles, and all manner of tumult.

Thus did we proceed with these ravening wolves, God having delivered a
Chriftian into ye power of Satan.

I was nott ye only one in ye claws of these wolves, for we fell in with
150 more of these cruels, who had Hurron captyves to ye number of 33
victimes, with heads alsoe stuck on poles, of those who in God's mercie
weare gone from their miseries. As for me, I was put in a boat with one
who had his fingers cutt & bourned. I asked him why ye Iriquoits had
broak ye Peace, and he said they had told him ye ffrench had broak ye
Peace; that ye ffrench had set their pack of doggs on an olde Iriquoit
woman who was eat up alive & that ye Iriquoits had told ye Hurron wild
men that they had killed ye doggs, alsoe Hurrons and ffrench, saying
that as to ye captyves, they would boyl doggs, Hurrons, and ffrench in
ye same kettle.

A great rain arose, ye Iriquoits going to ye watter-side did cover
themselvs with their boats, holding ye captyves ye meanwhile bye ropes
bound about our ancles, while we stood out in ye storm, which was near
to causing me death from my nakedness. When ye rain had abated, we
pursued our way killing staggs, & I was given some entrails, which
before I had only a little parched corne to ye extent of my handfull.

At a point we mett a gang of ye head hunters all on ye shore, dancing
about a tree to which was tyed a fine ffrench mastiff dogg, which was
standing on its hinder leggs, being lashed up against a tree by its
middle. Ye dogg was in a great terror, and frantic in its bonds. I knew
him for a dogg from ye fort att Mont-royal, kept for to give warnings of
ye Enemy's approach. It was a strange sight for to see ye Heathen rage
about ye noble dogg, but he itt was nevertheless which brought ye
Barbars against us. He was only gott with great difficulty, having
killed one Barbar, and near to serving others like-wise.

They untyed ye dogg, I holding him one side, and ye other, with cords
they brought and tyed him in ye bow of a boat with 6 warriors to paddle
him. Ye dogg boat was ye Head, while ye rest came on up ye river singing
fatal songs, triumph songs, piping, howling, & ye dogg above all with
his great noise. Ye Barbars weare more delighted att ye captyve dogg
than att all of us poore Christians, for that they did say he was no
dogg. Ye doggs which ye wild men have are nott so great as wolves, they
being little else & small att that. Ye mastiff was considered as a
consequence to be a great interest. This one had near defeated their
troupe & now was to be horridly killed after ye bloody way of ye wild

Att camp they weare sleep most of ye night, they being aweary with ye
torture of ye Hurron Captayne previously. Ye dogg was tyed & layd nott
far off from where I was alsoe tyed, butt over him weare 2 olde men, who
guarded him of a fear he would eat away his ropes. These men weare
Elders or Priests, such as are esteemed for their power over spirits, &
they did keep up their devil's song ye night thro.

I made a vertue of necessity & did sleep, butt was early cast into a
boat to go on towards ye Enemy's countrie, tho we had raw meat given us,
with blows on ye mouth to make us ye more quickly devour itt. An
Iriquoit who was the Captayne in our boat, bade me to be of a good
courage, as they would not hurt me. Ye fmall knowledge I had of their
speech made a better hope, butt one who could have understood them would
have been certainly in a great terror.

Thus we journied 8 days on ye Lake Champlaine, where ye wind and waves
did sore beset our endeavors att times. As for meate we wanted none, as
we had a store of staggs along ye watter-side. We killed some every day,
more for sport than for need. We finding them on Isles, made them go
into ye watter, & after we killed above a score, we clipped ye ears of
ye rest & hung bells on them, and then lett them loose. What a sport to
see ye rest flye from them that had ye bells!

There came out of ye vast forest a multitude of bears, 300 at least
together, making a horrid noise, breaking ye small trees. We shott att
them, butt they stirred not a step. We weare much frightened that they
stirred nott att our shooting. Ye great ffrench dogg would fain
encounter them notwithftanding he was tyed. He made ye watter-side to
ring with his heavy voise & from his eyes came flames of fyre & clouds
from out his mouth. The bears did straightway fly which much cheered ye
Iri-quoits. One said to me they weare resolved nott to murder ye dogg,
which was a stone-God in ye dogg shape, or a witch, butt I could nott
fully understand. Ye wild men said they had never heard their fathers
speak of so many bears.

When we putt ye kettle on, ye wild man who had captured me, gave me of
meate to eat, & told me a story. "Brother," says he, "itt is a thing to
be admired to goe afar to travell. You must know that tho I am olde, I
have always loved ye ffrench for their goodness, but they should have
given us to kill ye Algonkins. We should not warre against ye ffrench,
butt trade with them for Castors, who are better for traffic than ye
Dutch. I was once a Captayne of 13 men against ye Altignaonan-ton & ye
ffrench. We stayed 3 whole winters among ye Ennemy, butt in ye daytime
durst not marche nor stay out of ye deep forest. We killed many, butt
there weare devils who took my son up in ye air so I could never again
get him back. These devils weare as bigg as horriniacs, [moose] & ye
little blue birds which attend upon them, said itt was time for us to go
back to our people, which being resolved to do, we came back, butt nott
of a fear of ye Ennemy. Our warre song grew still on our lipps, as ye
snow falling in ye forest. I have nott any more warred to the North,
until I was told by ye spirits to go to ye ffrench & recover my son. My
friend, I have dreamed you weare my son;" and henceforth I was not
hurted nor starved for food.

We proceeded thro rivers & lakes & thro forests where I was made to
support burdens. When we weare come to ye village of ye Iriquoits we lay
in ye woods because that they would nott go into ye village in ye night

The following day we weare marched into ye brough [borough] of ye
Iriquoits. When we came in fight we heard nothing butt outcryes from one
side, as from ye other. Then came a mighty host of people & payd great
heed to ye ffrench dogg, which was ledd bye 2 men while roundabout his
neck was a girdle of porcelaine. They tormented ye poore Hurrons with
violence, butt about me was hung a long piece of porcelaine--ye girdle
of my captor, & he stood against me.  In ye meanwhile, many of ye
village came about us, among which a goode olde woman & a boy with a
hattchett came neere me. Ye olde woman covered me, & ye boy took me by
my hand and led mee out of ye companie. What comforted me was that I had
escaped ye blowes. They brought me into ye village where ye olde woman
fhowed me kindness. She took me into her cottage, & gave me to eat, butt
my great terror took my stum-ack away from me. I had stayed an hour when
a great companie came to see me, of olde men with pipes in their mouths.
For a time they sat about, when they did lead me to another cabbin,
where they smoked & made me apprehend they should throw me into ye fyre.
Butt itt proved otherwise, for ye olde woman followed me, speaking
aloud, whome they answered with a loud _ho,_ then shee tooke her girdle,
and about me she tyed itt, so brought me to her cottage & made me to
sitt downe. Then she gott me Indian corne toasted, & took away ye paint
ye fellows had stuck to my face. A maide greased & combed my haire, & ye
olde woman danced and sung, while my father bourned tobacco on a stone.
They gave me a blew coverlitt, stockings, and shoes. I layed with her
son & did what I could to get familiarity with them, and I suffered no
wrong, yet I was in a terror, for ye fatal songs came from ye poore
Hurrons. Ye olde man inquired whether I was Afferony, a ffrench. I
affured him no, faying I was Panugaga, that is of their nation, for
which he was pleased.


My father feasted 200 men. My sisters made me clean for that purpose,
and greased my haire. They tyed me with 2 necklaces of porcelaine &
garters of ye same. My father gave me a hattchett in my hand.

My father made a speech, showing many demonstrations of vallor, broak a
kettle of cagamite with a hattchett. So they sung, as is their usual
custom. Ye banquette being over, all cryed to me "Shagon, Orimha"--that
is "be hearty!" Every one withdrew to his quarters.

Here follows a long account of his daily life among the Indians, his
hunting and observations, which our space forbids. He had become
meanwhile more familiar with the language. He goes on:

My father came into ye cabbin from ye grand castle & he sat him downe to
smoke. He said ye Elders had approved after much debate, & that ye
ffrench dogg was not a witch, but ye great warrior Mahongui, gone
before, whose spirit had rose up into ye ffrench dogg & had spyed ye
ffrench. Att ye council even soe ye dogg had walked into ye centre of ye
great cabbin, there saying loudly to ye Elders what he was & that he
must be heard. His voice must be obeyed. His was not ye mocking cryes of
a witch from under an olde snake-skin, butt a chief come from Paradise
to comfort his own people. My father asked me if I was agreed. I said
that witches did not battile as openly as ye dogg, butt doe their evil
in ye dark.


These wild men are sore beset with witches and devils--more than
Christians, as they deserve to be, for they are of Satan's own

My father dreamed att night, & sang about itt, making ye fire to bourne
in our cabbin. We satt to listen. He had mett ye ffrench dogg in ye
forest path bye night--he standing accross his way, & ye forest was
light from ye dogg's eyes, who spake to my father saying, "I belong to
ye dead folks--my hattchett is rust--my bow is mould--I can no longer
battile with our Ennemy, butt I hover over you in warre--I direct your
arrows to their breasts--I smoothe ye little dry sticks & wett ye leaves
under ye shoes--I draw ye morning mist accross to shield you--I carry ye
'Kohes' back and fore to bring your terror--I fling aside ye foeman's
bulletts--go back and be strong in council."

My father even in ye night drew ye Elders in ye grand cabbin. He said
what he had seen and heard. Even then the great ffrench dogg gott from
ye darkness of ye cabbin, & strode into ye fyre. He roared enough to
blow downe caftles in his might & they knew he was saying what he had
told unto my father.

A great Captayne sent another night, & had ye Elders for to gather at ye
grande cabbin. He had been paddling his boat upon ye river when ye dogg
of Mahongui had walked out on ye watter thro ye mist. He was taller than
ye forest. So he spake, saying "Mahongui says--go tell ye people of ye
Panugaga, itt is time for warre--ye corne is gathered--ye deer has
changed his coat--there are no more Hurrons for me to eat. What is a
Panugaga village with no captyves? Ye young men will talk as women doe,
& ye Elders will grow content to watch a snow-bird hopp. Mahongui says
itt is time."

Again att ye council fyre ye spirit dogg strode from ye darkness & said
itt was time. Ye tobacco was bourned by ye Priests. In ye smoke ye
Elders beheld ye Spirit of Mahongui. "Panugaga--Warre."

Soe my father saw ye ghost of ye departed one. He smoked long bye our
cabbin fyre. He sang his battile song. I asked him to goe myself, even
with a hattchett, as I too was Panugaga. Butt he would in no wise
listen. "You are nott meet," he says, "you sayest that your God is
above. How will you make me believe that he is as goode as your black
coats say? They doe lie & you see ye contrary; ffor first of all, ye Sun
bournes us often, ye rain wetts us, ye winde makes us have shipwrake, ye
thunder, ye lightening bournes & kills us, & all comes from above, & you
say that itt is goode to be there. For my part, I will nott go there.
Contrary they say that ye reprobates & guilty goeth downe & bourne.
They are mistaken; all is goode heare. Do nott you see that itt is ye
Earthe that nourishes all living creatures--ye waiter, ye fishes, & ye
yus, and that corne & all other fruits come up, & that all things are
nott soe contrary to us as that from above? Ye devils live in ye air &
they took my son. When you see that ye Earthe is our Mother, then you
will see that all things on itt are goode. Ye Earthe was made for ye
Panugaga, & ye souls of our warriors help us against our Ennemy. Ye
ffrench dogg is Mahongui's spirit. He tells us to goe to warre against
ye ffrench. Would a ffrench dogg doe that? You are nott yett Panugaga to
follow your father in warre."


THE Indian suns himself before the door of his tepee, dreaming of the
past. For a long time now he has eaten of the white man's lotos--the
bimonthly beef-issue. I looked on him and wondered at the new things.
The buffalo, the warpath, all are gone. What of the cavalrymen over at
Adobe--his Nemesis in the stirring days--are they, too, lounging in
barracks, since his lordship no longer leads them trooping over the
burning flats by day and through the ragged hills by night? I will go
and see.

The blistered faces of men, the gaunt horses dragging stiffly along to
the cruel spurring, the dirty lack-lustre of campaigning--that, of
course, is no more. Will it be parades, and those soul-deadening "fours
right" and "column left" affairs? Oh, my dear, let us hope not.

Nothing is so necessary in the manufacture of soldiers, sure enough, but
it is not hard to learn, and once a soldier knows it I can never
understand why it should be drilled into him until it hurts. Besides,
from another point of view, soldiers in rows and in lines do not compose
well in pictures. I always feel, after seeing infantry drill in an
armory, like Kipling's light-house keeper, who went insane looking at
the cracks between the boards--they were all so horribly alike.

Then Adobe is away out West in the blistering dust, with no towns of any
importance near it. I can understand why men might become listless when
they are at field-work, with the full knowledge that nothing but their
brothers are looking at them save the hawks and coyotes. It is different
from Meyer, with its traps full of Congressmen and girls, both of whom
are much on the minds of cavalrymen.

In due course I was bedded down at Adobe by my old friend the Captain,
and then lay thinking of this cavalry business. It is a subject which
thought does not simplify, but, like other great things, makes it
complicate and recede from its votaries. To know essential details from
unessential details is the study in all arts. Details there must be;
they are the small things that make the big things. To apply this
general order of things to this arm of the service kept me awake. There
is first the riding--simple enough if they catch you young. There are
bits, saddles, and cavalry packs. I know men who have not spoken to each
other in years because they disagree about these. There are the sore
backs and colics--that is a profession in itself. There are judgment of
pace, the battle tactics, the use of three very different weapons; there
is a world of history in this, in forty languages. Then an ever-varying
_terrain_ tops all. There are other things not confined to cavalry, but
regarded by all soldiers. The crowning peculiarity of cavalry is the
rapidity of its movement, whereby a commander can lose the carefully
built up reputation of years in about the time it takes a school-boy to
eat a marsh-mallow. After all, it is surely a hard profession--a very
blind trail to fame. I am glad I am not a cavalryman; still, it is the
happiest kind of fun to look on when you are not responsible; but it
needs some cultivation to understand and appreciate.

I remember a dear friend who had a taste for out-of-doors. He penetrated
deeply into the interior not long since to see these same troopers do a
line of heroics, with a band of Bannocks to support the role. The
Indians could not finally be got on the centre of the stage, but made
hot-foot for the agency. My friend could not see any good in all this,
nor was he satisfied with the first act even. He must needs have a
climax, and that not forthcoming, he loaded his disgust into a trunk
line and brought it back to his club corner here in New York. He there
narrated the failure of his first night; said the soldiers were not even
dusty as advertised; damned the Indians keenly, and swore at the West by
all his gods.

There was a time when I, too, regarded not the sketches in this art, but
yearned for the finished product. That, however, is not exhibited
generally over once in a generation.

At Adobe there are only eight troops--not enough to make a German
nurse-girl turn her head in the street, and my friend from New York,
with his Napoleonic largeness, would scoff out loud. But he and the
nurse do not understand the significance; they have not the eyes to see.
A starboard or a port horseshoe would be all one to them, and a crease
in the saddle-blanket the smallest thing in the world, yet it might
spoil a horse.

When the trumpets went in the morning I was sorry I had thought at all.
It was not light yet, and I clung to my pillow. Already this cavalry has
too much energy for my taste.

"If you want to see anything, you want to lead out," said the Captain,
as he pounded me with a boot.

[Illustration: 21 THE ADVANCE]

"Say, Captain, I suppose Colonel Hamilton issues this order to get up at
this hour, doesn't he?"

"He does."

"Well, he has to obey his own order, then, doesn't he?"

"He does."

I took a good long stretch and yawn, and what I said about Colonel
Hamilton I will not commit to print, out of respect to the Colonel. Then
I got up.

This bitterness of bed-parting passes. The Captain said he would put a
"cook's police" under arrest for appearing in my make-up; but all these
details will be forgotten, and whatever happens at this hour should be
forgiven. I had just come from the North, where I had been sauntering
over the territory of Montana with some Indians and a wild man from
Virginia, getting up before light--tightening up on coffee and bacon for
twelve hours in the saddle to prepare for more bacon and coffee; but at
Adobe I had hoped for, even if I did not expect, some repose.

In the east there was a fine green coming over the sky. No one out of
the painter guild would have admitted it was green, even on the rack,
but what I mean is that you could not approach it in any other way. A
nice little adjutant went jangling by on a hard-trotting thoroughbred,
his shoulders high and his seat low. My old disease began to take
possession of me; I could fairly feel the microbes generate. Another
officer comes clattering, with his orderly following after. The fever
has me. We mount, and we are off, all going to stables.

Out from the corrals swarm the troopers, leading their unwilling mounts.
The horses are saying, "Damn the Colonel!" One of them comes in arching
bounds; he is saying worse of the Colonel, or maybe only cussing out his
own recruit for pulling his _cincha_ too tight. They form troop lines in
column, while the Captains throw open eyes over the things which would
not interest my friend from New York or the German nurse-girl.

The two forward troops are the enemy, and are distinguished by wearing
brown canvas stable-frocks. These shortly move out through the post, and
are seen no more.

Now comes the sun. By the shades of Knickerbocker's _History of New
York_ I seem now to have gotten at the beginning; but patience, the sun
is no detail out in the arid country. It does more things than blister
your nose. It is the despair of the painter as it colors the minarets of
the Bad Lands which abound around Adobe, and it dries up the company
gardens if they don't watch the _acequias_ mighty sharp. To one just out
of bed it excuses existence. I find I begin to soften towards the
Colonel. In fact, it is possible that he is entirely right about having
his old trumpets blown around garrison at this hour, though it took the
Captain's boot to prove it shortly since.

[Illustration: 22 HORSE GYMNASTICS]

The command moves out, trotting quickly through the blinding clouds of
dust. The landscape seems to get right up and mingle with the
excitement. The supple, well-trained horses lose the scintillation on
their coats, while Uncle Sam's blue is growing mauve very rapidly. But
there is a useful look about the men, and the horses show condition
after their long practice march just finished. Horses much used to go
under saddle have well-developed quarters and strong stifle action. Fact
is, nothing looks like a horse with a harness on. That is a job for
mules, and these should have a labor organization and monopolize it.

The problem of the morning was that we as an advance were to drive the
two troops which had gone on ahead. These in turn were to represent a
rapidly retiring rear-guard. This training is more that troops may be
handled with expedition, and that the men may gather the thing, rather
than that officers should do brilliant things, which they might
undertake on their own responsibility in time of war, such as pushing
rapidly by on one flank and cutting out a rear-guard.

Grevious and very much to be commiserated is the task of the feeling
historian who writes of these paper wars. He may see possibilities or
calamities which do not signify. The morning orders provide against
genius, and who will be able to estimate the surgical possibilities of
blank cartridges? The sergeant-major cautioned me not to indicate by my
actions what I saw as we rode to the top of a commanding hill. The enemy
had abandoned the stream because their retreat would have been exposed
to fire. They made a stand back in the hills. The advance felt the
stream quickly, and passed, fanning out to develop. The left flank
caught their fire, whereat the centre and right came around at top
speed. But this is getting so serious.

The scene was crowded with little pictures, all happening
quickly--little dots of horsemen gliding quickly along the yellow
landscape, leaving long trails of steely dust in their wake. A scout
comes trotting along, his face set in an expectant way, carbine
advanced. A man on a horse is a vigorous, forceful thing to look at. It
embodies the liveliness of nature in its most attractive form,
especially when a gun and sabre are attached.

[Illustration: 23 JUMPING ON A HORSE]

When both living equations are young, full of oats and bacon, imbued
with military ideas, and trained to the hour, it always seems to me that
the ghost of a tragedy stalks at their side. This is why the polo-player
does not qualify sentimentally. But what is one man beside two troops
which come shortly in two solid chunks, with horses snorting and sending
the dry landscape in a dusty pall for a quarter of a mile in the rear?
It is good--ah! it is worth any one's while; but stop and think, what if
we could magnify that? Tut, tut! as I said before, that only happens
once in a generation. Adobe doesn't dream; it simply does its morning's

The rear-guard have popped at our advance, which exchanges with them.
Their fire grows slack, and from our vantage we can see them mount
quickly and flee.

After two hours of this we shake hands with the hostiles and trot home
to breakfast.

These active, hard-riding, straight-shooting, open-order men are doing
real work, and are not being stupefied by drill-ground routine, or
rendered listless by file-closer prompting or sleepy reiteration.

By the time the command dismounts in front of stables we turn longingly
to the thoughts of breakfast. Every one has completely forgiven the
Colonel, though I have no doubt he will be equally unpopular to-morrow

But what do I see--am I faint? No; it has happened again. It looks as
though I saw a soldier jump over a horse. I moved on him.

"Did I see you--" I began.

"Oh yes, sir--you see," returned a little soldier, who ran with the
mincing steps of an athlete towards his horse, and landed standing uip
on his hind quarters, whereupon he settled down quietly into his saddle.

Others began to gyrate over and under their horses in a dizzy way. Some
had taken their saddles off and now sat on their horses' bellies, while
the big dog-like animals lay on their backs, with their feet in the air.
It was circus business, or what they call "short and long horse"
work--some not understandable phrase. Every one does it. While I am not
unaccustomed to looking at cavalry, I am being perpetually surprised by
the lengths to which our cavalry is carrying thus Cossack drill. It is
beginning to be nothing short of marvellous.

In the old days this thing was not known. Between building mud or log
forts, working on the bull-train, marching or fighting, a man and a gun
made a soldier; but it takes an education along with this now before he
can qualify.

[Illustration: 24 A TAME HORSE]

The regular work at Adobe went on during the day--guard mount, orders,
inspection, and routine.

At the club I was asked, "Going out this afternoon with us?"

"Yes, he is going; his horse will be up at 4.30; he wants to see this
cavalry," answered my friend the Captain for me.

"Yes; it's fine moonlight. The Colonel is going to do an attack on
Cossack posts out in the hills," said the adjutant.

So at five o'clock we again sallied out in the dust, the men in the
ranks next me silhouetting one after the other more dimly until they
disappeared in the enveloping cloud. They were cheerful, laughing and
wondering one to another if Captain Garrard, the enemy, would get in on
their pickets. He was regarded in the ranks as a sharp fellow, one to be
well looked after.

At the line of hills where the Colonel stopped, the various troops were
told off in their positions, while the long cool shadows of evening
stole over the land, and the pale moon began to grow bolder over on the
left flank.

I sat on a hill with a sergeant who knew history and horses. He
remembered "Pansy," which had served sixteen years in the troop--and a
first-rate old horse then; but a damned inspector with no soul came
browsing around one day and condemned that old horse. Government got a
measly ten dollars--or something like that. This ran along for a time;
when one day they were trooping up some lonely valley, and, behold,
there stood "Pansy," as thin as a snake, tied by a wickieup. He greeted
the troop with joyful neighs.  The soldiers asked the Captain to be
allowed to shoot him, but of course he said no. I could not learn if he
winked when he said it. The column wound over the hill, a carbine rang
from its rear, and "Pansy" lay down in the dust without a kick. Death is
better than an Indian for a horse.  The thing was not noticed at the
time, but made a world of fuss afterwards, though how it all came out
the sergeant did not develop, nor was it necessary.

Night settled down on the quiet hills, and the dark spots of pickets
showed dimly on the gray surface of the land. The Colonel inspected his
line, and found everybody alert and possessed of a good working
knowledge of picket duties at night--one of the most difficult duties
enlisted men have to perform. It is astonishing how short is the
distance at which we can see a picket even in this bright night on the
open hills.

I sat on my horse by a sergeant at a point in the line where I suspected
the attack would come. The sergeant thought he saw figures moving in a
dry bottom before us. I could not see. A column of dust off to the left
indicated troops, but we thought it a ruse of Garrard's. My sergeant,
though, had really seen the enemy, and said, softly, "They are coming."

[Illustration: 25 THE PURSUIT]

The bottom twinkled and popped with savage little yellow winks; bang!
went a rifle in my ear; "whew!" snorted my big horse; and our picket
went to the supports clattering.

The shots and yells followed fast. The Colonel had withdrawn the
supports towards the post rapidly, leaving his picket-line in the air--a
thing which happens in war; but he did not lose much of that line, I
should say.

It was an interesting drill. Pestiferous little man disturbed nature,
and it all seemed so absurd out there on those quiet gray hills. It made
me feel, as I slowed down and gazed at the vastness of things, like a
superior sort of bug. In the middle distance several hundred troops are
of no more proportion than an old cow bawling through the hills after
her wolf-eaten calf. If my mental vision were not distorted I should
never have seen the manoeuvre at all--only the moon and the land doing
what they have done before for so long a time.

We reached Adobe rather late, when I found that the day's work had done
wonders for my appetite. I reminded the Captain that I had broken his
bread but once that day.

"It is enough for a Ninth Cavalry man," he observed. However, I
out-flanked this brutal disregard for established customs, but it was

In the morning I resisted the Captain's boot, and protested that I must
be let alone; which being so, I appeared groomed and breakfasted at a
Christian hour, fully persuaded that as between an Indian and a Ninth
Cavalry man I should elect to be an Indian.

Some one must have disciplined the Colonel. I don't know who it was.
There is only one woman in a post who can, generally; but no dinners
were spoiled at Adobe by night-cat affairs.

Instead, during the afternoon we were to see Captain Garrard, the
hostile, try to save two troops which were pressed into the bend of a
river by throwing over a bridge, while holding the enemy in check. This
was as complicated as putting a baby to sleep while reading law; so
clearly my point of view was with the hostiles. With them I entered the
neck. The horses were grouped in the brush, leaving some men who were
going underground like gophers out near the entrance. The
brown-canvas-covered soldiers grabbed their axes, rolled their eyes
towards the open plain, and listened expectantly.

[Illustration: 26 THE ATTACK ON THE COSSACK]

The clear notes of a bugle rang; whackety, bang--clack--clack, went the
axes. Trees fell all around. The forest seemed to drop on me. I got my
horse and fled across the creek.

"That isn't fair; this stream is supposed to be impassable," sang out a
lieutenant, who was doing a Blondin act on the first tree over, while
beneath him yawned the chasm of four or five feet.

In less than a minute the whole forest got up again and moved towards
the bridge. There were men behind it, but the leaves concealed them.
Logs dropped over, brush piled on top. The rifles rang in scattered
volleys, and the enemy's fire rolled out beyond the brush. No bullets
whistled--that was a redeeming feature.

Aside from that it seemed as though every man was doing his ultimate
act. They flew about; the shovels dug with despair; the sand covered the
logs in a shower. While I am telling this the bridge was made.

The first horse came forward, led by his rider. He raised his eyes like
St. Anthony; he did not approve of the bridge. He put his ears forward,
felt with his toes, squatted behind, and made nervous side steps. The
men moved on him in a solid crowd from behind. Stepping high and short
he then bounded over, and after him in a stream came the willing
brothers. Out along the bluffs strung the troopers to cover the heroes
who had held the neck, while they destroyed the bridge.

Then they rode home with the enemy, chaffing each other.

It is only a workaday matter, all this; but workaday stuff does the
business nowadays.


IT is a bold person who will dare to say that a wilder savage ever lived
than an Apache Indian, and in this respect no Apache can rival Massai.

He was a _bronco_ Chiricahua whose _tequa_ tracks were so long and
devious that all of them can never be accounted for. Three regiments of
cavalry, all the scouts--both white and black--and Mexicans galore had
their hack, but the ghostly presence appeared and disappeared from the
Colorado to the Yaqui. No one can tell how Massai's face looks, or
looked, though hundreds know the shape of his footprint.

The Seventh made some little killings, but they fear that Massai was not
among the game. There surely is or was such a person as Massai. He
developed himself slowly, as I will show by the Sherlock Holmes methods
of the chief of scouts, though even he only got so far, after all.
Massai manifested himself like the dust-storm or the morning mist--a
shiver in the air, and gone.

The chief walked his horse slowly back on the lost trail in disgust,
while the scouts bobbed along behind perplexed. It was always so. Time
has passed, and Massai, indeed, seems gone, since he appears no more.
The hope in the breasts of countless men is nearly blighted; they no
longer expect to see Massai's head brought into camp done up in an old
shirt and dropped triumphantly on the ground in front of the chief of
scouts' tent, so it is time to preserve what trail we can.

Three troops of the Tenth had gone into camp for the night, and the
ghostly Montana landscape hummed with the murmur of many men. Supper was
over, and I got the old Apache chief of scouts behind his own ducking,
and demanded what he knew of an Apache Indian down in Arizona named
Massai. He knew all or nearly all that any white man will ever know.

"All right," said the chief, as he lit a cigar and tipped his sombrero
over his left eye, "but let me get it straight. Massai's trail was so
crooked, I had to study nights to keep it arranged in my head. He didn't
leave much more trail than a buzzard, anyhow, and it took years to
unravel it. But I am anticipating.

"I was chief of scouts at Apache in the fall of '90, when word was
brought in that an Indian girl named Natastale had disappeared, and that
her mother was found under a walnut-tree with a bullet through her body.
I immediately sent Indian scouts to take the trail. They found the
tracks of a mare and colt going by the spot, and thinking it would bring
them to the girl, they followed it. Shortly they found a moccasin track
where a man had dismounted from the mare, and without paying more
attention to the horse track, they followed it. They ran down one of my
own scouts in a _tiswin_ [An intoxicating beverage made of corn] camp,
where he was carousing with other drinkers. They sprang on him, got him
by the hair, disarmed and bound him. Then they asked him what he had
done with the girl, and why he had killed the mother, to which he
replied that 'he did not know.' When he was brought to me, about dark,
there was intense excitement among the Indians, who crowded around
demanding Indian justice on the head of the murderer and ravisher of the
women. In order to save his life I took him from the Indians and lodged
him in the post guard-house. On the following morning, in order to
satisfy myself positively that this man had committed the murder, I sent
my first sergeant, the famous Mickey Free, with a picked party of
trailers, back to the walnut-tree, with orders to go carefully over the
trail and run down the mare and colt, or find the girl, dead or alive,
wherever they might.

[Illustration: 27 NATASTALE]

"In two hours word was sent to me that the trail was running to the
north. They had found the body of the colt with its throat cut, and were
following the mare. The trail showed that a man afoot was driving the
mare, and the scouts thought the girl was on the mare. This proved that
we had the wrong man in custody. I therefore turned him loose, telling
him he was all right. In return he told me that he owned the mare and
colt, and that when he passed the tree the girl was up in its branches,
shaking down nuts which her old mother was gathering. He had ridden
along, and about an hour afterwards had heard a shot. He turned his mare
loose, and proceeded on foot to the _tiswin_ camp, where he heard later
that the old woman had been shot and the girl 'lifted.' When arrested,
he knew that the other scouts had trailed him from the walnut-tree; he
saw the circumstances against him, and was afraid.

"On the night of the second day Mickey Free's party returned, having run
the trail to within a few hundred yards of the camp of Alcashay in the
Forestdale country, between whose band and the band to which the girl
belonged there was a blood-feud. They concluded that the murderer
belonged to Alcashay's camp, and were afraid to engage him.

[Illustration: 28 THE ARREST OF THE SCOUT]

"I sent for Alcashay to come in immediately, which he did, and I
demanded that he trail the man and deliver him up to me, or I would take
my scout corps, go to his camp, and arrest all suspicious characters. He
stoutly denied that the man was in his camp, promised to do as I
directed, and, to further allay any suspicions, he asked for my picked
trailers to help run the trail. With this body of men he proceeded on
the track, and they found that it ran right around his camp, then turned
sharply to the east, ran within two hundred yards of a stage-ranch,
thence into some rough mountain country, where it twisted and turned for
forty miles. At this point they found the first camp the man had made.
He had tied the girl to a tree by the feet, which permitted her to sleep
on her back; the mare had been killed, some steaks taken out, and some
meat 'jerked.' From thence on they could find no trail which they could
follow. At long intervals they found his moccasin mark between rocks,
but after circling for miles they gave it up. In this camp they found
and brought to me a fire-stick--the first and only one I had ever
seen--and they told me that the fire-stick had not been used by Apaches
for many years. There were only a few old men in my camp who were
familiar with its use, though one managed to light his cigarette with
it. They reasoned from this that the man was a bronco Indian who had
been so long 'out' that he could not procure matches, and also that he
was a much wilder one than any of the Indians then known to be outlawed.

"In about a week there was another Indian girl stolen from one of my
hay-camps, and many scouts thought it was the same Indian, who they
decided was one of the well-known outlaws; but older and better men did
not agree with them; so there the matter rested for some months.

"In the spring the first missing girl rode into Fort Apache on a fine
horse, which was loaded down with buckskins and other Indian finery. Two
cowboys followed her shortly and claimed the pony, which bore a C C C
brand, and I gave it up to them. I took the girl into my office, for she
was so tired that she could hardly stand up, while she was haggard and
worn to the last degree. When she had sufficiently recovered she told me
her story. She said she was up in the walnut-tree when an Indian shot
her mother, and coming up, forced her to go with him. He trailed and
picked up the mare, bound her on its back, and drove it along. The colt
whinnied, whereupon he cut its throat. He made straight for Alcashay's
camp, which he circled, and then turned sharply to the east, where he
made the big twisting through the mountains which my scouts found. After
going all night and the next day, he made the first camp. After killing
and cooking the mare, he gave her something to eat, tied her up by the
feet, and standing over her, told her that he was getting to be an old
man, was tired of making his own fires, and wanted a woman. If she was a
good girl he would not kill her, but would treat her well and always
have venison hanging up. He continued that he was going away for a few
hours, and would come back and kill her if she tried to undo the cords;
but she fell asleep while he was talking. After daylight he returned,
untied her, made her climb on his back, and thus carried her for a long
distance. Occasionally he made her alight where the ground was hard,
telling her if she made any 'sign' he would kill her, which made her
careful of her steps.

"After some miles of this blinding of the trail they came upon a white
horse that was tied to a tree. They mounted double, and rode all day as
fast as he could lash the pony, until, near nightfall, it fell from
exhaustion, whereupon he killed it and cooked some of the carcass. The
bronco Indian took himself off for a couple of hours, and when he
returned, brought another horse, which they mounted, and sped onward
through the moonlight all night long. On that morning they were in the
high mountains, the poor pony suffering the same fate as the others.

"They stayed here two days, he tying her up whenever he went hunting,
she being so exhausted after the long flight that she lay comatose in
her bonds. From thence they journeyed south slowly, keeping to the high
mountains, and only once did he speak, when he told her that a certain
mountain pass was the home of the Chiricahuas. From the girl's account
she must have gone far south into the Sierra Madre of Old Mexico, though
of course she was long since lost.

"He killed game easily, she tanned the hides, and they lived as man and
wife. Day by day they threaded their way through the deep canons and
over the Blue Mountain ranges. By this time he had become fond of the
White Mountain girl, and told her that he was Massai, a Chiricahua
warrior; that he had been arrested after the Geronimo war and sent East
on the railroad over two years since, but had escaped one night from the
train, and had made his way alone back to his native deserts. Since then
it is known that an Indian did turn up missing, but it was a big band of
prisoners, and some births had occurred, which made the checking off
come straight. He was not missed at the time. From what the girl said,
he must have got off east of Kansas City and travelled south and then
west, till at last he came to the lands of the Mescalero Apaches, where
he stayed for some time. He was over a year making this journey, and
told the girl that no human eye ever saw him once in that time. This is
all he ever told the girl Natastale, and she was afraid to ask him more.
Beyond these mere facts, it is still a midnight prowl of a human coyote
through a settled country for twelve hundred miles, the hardihood of the
undertaking being equalled only by the instinct which took him home.

[Illustration: 29 SCOUTS]

"Once only while the girl was with him did they see sign of other
Indians, and straightway Massai turned away--his wild nature shunning
even the society of his kind.

"At times 'his heart was bad,' and once he sat brooding for a whole day,
finally telling her that he was going into a bad country to kill
Mexicans, that women were a burden on a warrior, and that he had made up
his mind to kill her. All through her narrative he seemed at times to be
overcome with this blood-thirst, which took the form of a homicidal
melancholia. She begged so hard for her life that he relented; so he
left her in the wild tangle of mountains while he raided on the Mexican
settlements. He came back with horses and powder and lead. This last was
in Winchester bullets, which he melted up and recast into .50-calibre
balls made in moulds of cactus sticks. He did not tell how many murders
he had committed during these raids, but doubtless many.

"They lived that winter through in the Sierras, and in the spring
started north, crossing the railroad twice, which meant the Guaymas and
the Southern Pacific. They sat all one day on a high mountain and
watched the trains of cars go by; but 'his heart got bad' at the sight
of them, and again he concluded to kill the girl. Again she begged off,
and they continued up the range of the Mogollons. He was unhappy in his
mind during all this journey, saying men were scarce up here, that he
must go back to Mexico and kill some one.

"He was tired of the woman, and did not want her to go back with him,
so, after sitting all day on a rock while she besought him, the old wolf
told her to go home in peace. But the girl was lost, and told him that
either the Mexicans or Americans would kill her if she departed from
him; so his mood softened, and telling her to come on, he began the
homeward journey. They passed through a small American town in the
middle of the night--he having previously taken off the Indian rawhide
shoes from the ponies. They crossed the Gila near the Nau Taw Mountains.
Here he stole two fresh horses, and loading one with all the buckskins,
he put her on and headed her down the Eagle Trail to Black River. She
now knew where she was, but was nearly dying from the exhaustion of his
fly-by-night expeditions. He halted her, told her to 'tell the white
officer that she was a pretty good girl, better than the San Carlos
woman, and that he would come again and get another.' He struck her
horse and was gone.

[Illustration: 30 THE CHIEF OF SCOUTS]

"Massai then became a problem to successive chiefs of scouts, a bugbear
to the reservation Indians, and a terror to Arizona. If a man was killed
or a woman missed, the Indians came galloping and the scouts lay on his
trail. If he met a woman in the defiles, he stretched her dead if she
did not please his errant fancy. He took pot-shots at the men ploughing
in their little fields, and knocked the Mexican bull-drivers on the head
as they plodded through the blinding dust of the Globe Road. He even sat
like a vulture on the rim-rock and signalled the Indians to come out and
talk. When two Indians thus accosted did go out, they found themselves
looking down Mas-sai's.50-calibre, and were tempted to do his bidding.
He sent one in for sugar and coffee, holding the brother, for such he
happened to be, as a hostage till the sugar and coffee came. Then he
told them that he was going behind a rock to lie down, cautioning them
not to move for an hour. That was an unnecessary bluff, for they did not
wink an eye till sundown. Later than this he stole a girl in broad
daylight in the face of a San Carlos camp and dragged her up the rocks.
Here he was attacked by fifteen or twenty bucks, whom he stood off until
darkness. When they reached his lair in the morning, there lay the dead
girl, but Massai was gone.

"I never saw Massai but once, and then it was only a piece of his G
string flickering in the brush. We had followed his trail half the
night, and just at daylight, as we ascended a steep part of the
mountains, I caught sight of a pony's head looking over a bush. We
advanced rapidly, only to find the horse grunting from a stab wound in
the belly, and the little camp scattered around about him. The shirt
tail flickering in the brush was all of Massai. We followed on, but he
had gone down a steep bluff. We went down too, thus exposing ourselves
to draw his fire so that we could locate him, but he was not tempted.

"The late Lieutenant Clark had much the same view of this mountain
outlaw, and since those days two young men of the Seventh Cavalry, Rice
and Averill, have on separate occasions crawled on his camp at the break
of day, only to see Massai go out of sight in the brush like a blue

"Lieutenant Averill, after a forced march of eighty-six miles, reached a
hostile camp near morning, after climbing his detachment, since
midnight, up the almost inaccessible rocks, in hopes of surprising the
camp. He divided his force into three parts, and tried, as well as
possible, to close every avenue of escape; but as the camp was on a high
rocky hill at the junction of four deep canons, this was found
impracticable. At daylight the savages came out together, running like
deer, and making for the canons. The soldiers fired, killing a buck and
accidentally wounding a squaw, but Massai simply disappeared.

"That's the story of Massai. It is not as long as his trail," said the
chief of scouts.


THE following letter has come into my possession, which I publish
because it is history, and descends to the list of those humble beings
who builded so well for us the institutions which we now enjoy in this
country. It is yellow with age, and much frayed out at the foldings,
being in those spots no longer discernible. It runs:

ALBANY _June_ 1798.

TO MY DEAR SON JOSEPH.--It is true that there are points in the history
of the country in which your father had a concern in his early life, and
as you ask me to put it down I will do so briefly. Not, however, my dear
Joseph, as I was used to tell it to you when you were a lad, but with
more exact truth, for I am getting on in my years and this will soon be
all that my posterity will have of their ancestor. I conceive that now
the descendents of the noble band of heroes who fought off the indians,
the Frenche and the British will prevail in this country, and my
children's children may want to add what is found here in written to
their own achievements.

To begin with, my father was the master of a fishing-schooner, of
Marblehead. In the year 1745 he was taken at sea by a French man-of-war
off Louisbourg, after making a desperate resistence. His ship was in a
sinking condition and the blood was mid-leg deep on her deck. Your
grandfather was an upstanding man and did not prostrate easily, but the
Frencher was too big, so he was captured and later found his way as a
prisoner to Quebec. He was exchanged by a mistake in his identity for
Huron indians captivated in York, and he subsequently settled near
Albany, afterwards bringing my mother, two sisters, and myself from

He engaged in the indian trade, and as I was a rugged lad of my years I
did often accompany him on his expeditions westward into the Mohawk
townes, thus living in bark camps among Indians and got thereby a
knowledge of their ways. I made shift also to learn their language, and
what with living in the bush for so many years I was a hand at a pack or
paddle and no mean hunter besides. I was put to school for two seasons
in Albany which was not to my liking, so I straightway ran off to a
hunters camp up the Hudson, and only came back when my father would say
that I should not be again put with the pedegogue. For this adventure I
had a good strapping from my father, and was set to work in his trade
again.  My mother was a pious woman and did not like me to grow up in
the wilderness--for it was the silly fashion of those times to ape the
manners and dress of the Indians.

My father was a shifty trader and very ventur-some. He often had trouble
with the people in these parts, who were Dutch and were jealous of him.
He had a violent temper and was not easily bent from his purpose by
opporsition. His men had a deal of fear of him and good cause enough in
the bargain, for I once saw him discipline a half-negro man who was one
of his boat-men for stealing his private jug of liquor from his private
pack. He clinched with the negro and soon had him on the ground, where
the man struggled manfully but to no purpose, for your grandfather soon
had him at his mercy. "Now," said he, "give me the jug or take the
consequences." The other boat paddlers wanted to rescue him, but I
menaced them with my fusil and the matter ended by the return of the

In 1753 he met his end at the hands of western Indians in the French
interest, who shot him as he was helping to carry a battoe, and he was
burried in the wilderness. My mother then returned to her home in
Massassachusetts, journeying with a party of traders but I staid with
the Dutch on these frontiers because I had learned the indian trade and
liked the country. Not having any chances, I had little book learning in
my youth, having to this day a regret concerning it. I read a few books,
but fear I had a narrow knowledge of things outside the Dutch
settlements. On the frontiers, for that matter, few people had much
skill with the pen, nor was much needed. The axe and rifle, the paddle
and pack being more to our hands in those rough days. To prosper though,
men weare shrewd-headed enough. I have never seen that books helped
people to trade sharper. Shortly afterwards our trade fell away, for the
French had embroiled the Indians against us. Crown Point was the Place
from which the Indians in their interest had been fitted out to go
against our settlements, so a design was formed by His Majesty the
British King to dispossess them of that place. Troops were levid in the
Province and the war began. The Frenchers had the best of the fighting.

Our frontiers were beset with the Canada indians so that it was not safe
to go about in the country at all. I was working for Peter Vrooman, a
trader, and was living at his house on the Mohawk. One Sunday morning I
found a negro boy who was shot through the body with two balls as he was
hunting for stray sheep, and all this within half a mile of Vrooman's
house. Then an express came up the valley who left word that the
Province was levying troops at Albany to fight the French, and I took my
pay from Vrooman saying that I would go to Albany for a soldier. Another
young man and myself paddled down to Albany, and we both enlisted in the
York levies. We drawed our ammunition, tents, kettles, bowls and knives
at the Albany flats, and were drilled by an officer who had been in her
Majesty's Service. One man was given five hundred lashes for enlisting
in some Connecticut troops, and the orders said that any man who should
leave His Majesty's service without a Regular discharge should suffer
Death. The restraint which was put upon me by this military life was not
to my liking, and I was in a mortal dread of the whippings which men
were constantly receiving for breaches of the discipline. I felt that I
could not survive the shame of being trussed up and lashed before men's
eyes, but I did also have a great mind to fight the French which kept me
along.  One day came an order to prepare a list of officers and men who
were willing to go scouting and be freed from other duty, and after some
time I got my name put down, for I was thought too young, but I said I
knew the woods, had often been to Andiatirocte (or Lake George as it had
then become the fashion to call it) and they let me go. It was dangerous
work, for reports came every day of how our Rangers suffered up country
at the hands of the cruel savages from Canada, but it is impossible to
play at bowls without meeting some rubs. A party of us proceeded up
river to join Captain Rogers at Fort Edward, and we were put to camp on
an Island. This was in October of the year 1757. We found the Rangers
were rough borderers like ourselvs, mostly Hampshire men well used to
the woods and much accustomed to the Enemy. They dressed in the fashion
of those times in skin and grey duffle hunting frocks, and were well
armed.  Rogers himself was a doughty man and had a reputation as a bold
Ranger leader. The men declaired that following him was sore service,
but that he most always met with great success. The Fort was garrissoned
by His Majesty's soldiers, and I did not conceive that they were much
fitted for bush-ranging, which I afterwards found to be the case, but
they would always fight well enough, though often to no good purpose,
which was not their fault so much as the headstrong leadership which
persisted in making them come to close quarters while at a disadvantage.
There were great numbers of pack horses coming and going with stores,
and many officers in gold lace and red coats were riding about directing
here and there. I can remember that I had a great interest in this
concourse of men, for up to that time I had not seen much of the world
outside of the wilderness. There was terror of the Canada indians who
had come down to our borders hunting for scalps--for these were
continually lurking near the cantanements to waylay the unwary. I had
got acquainted with a Hampshire borderer who had passed his life on the
Canada frontier, where he had fought indians and been captured by them.
I had seen much of indians and knew their silent forest habits when
hunting, so that I felt that when they were after human beings they
would be no mean adversaries, but I had never hunted them or they me.


I talked at great length with this Shankland, or Shanks as he was called
on account of his name and his long legs, in course of which he
explained many useful points to me concerning Ranger ways. He said they
always marched until it was quite dark before encamping--that they
always returned by a different route from that on which they went out,
and that they circled on their trail at intervals so that they might
intercept any one coming on their rear. He told me not to gather up
close to other Rangers in a fight but to keep spread out, which gave the
Enemy less mark to fire upon and also deceived them as to your own
numbers. Then also he cautioned me not to fire on the Enemy when we were
in ambush till they have approached quite near, which will put them in
greater surprise and give your own people time to rush in on them with
hatchets or cutlasses.  Shanks and I had finally a great fancy for each
other and passed most of our time in company. He was a slow man in his
movements albeit he could move fast enough on occassion, and was a great
hand to take note of things happening around him. No indian was better
able to discern a trail in the bush than he, nor could one be found his
equal at making snow shoes, carving a powder horn or fashioning any
knick-nack he was a mind to set his hand to.

The Rangers were accustomed to scout in small parties to keep the Canada
indians from coming close to Fort Edward. I had been out with Shanks on
minor occasions, but I must relate my first adventure.

A party... (here the writing is lost)... was desirous of taking a
captive or scalp. I misdoubted our going alone by ourselvs, but he said
we were as safe as with more. We went northwest slowly for two days, and
though we saw many old trails we found none which were fresh. We had
gone on until night when we lay bye near a small brook. I was awakened
by Shanks in the night and heard a great howling of wolves at some
distance off togther with a gun shot. We lay awake until daybreak and at
intervals heard a gun fired all though the night. We decided that the
firing could not come from a large party and so began to approach the
sound slowly and with the greatest caution. We could not understand why
the wolves should be so bold with the gun firing, but as we came neare
we smelled smoke and knew it was a camp-fire. There were a number of
wolves running about in the underbrush from whose actions we located the
camp. From a rise we could presently see it, and were surprised to find
it contained five Indians all lying asleep in their blankets. The wolves
would go right up to the camp and yet the indians did not deign to give
them any notice whatsoever, or even to move in the least when one wolf
pulled at the blanket of a sleeper. We each selected a man when we had
come near enough, and preparing to deliver our fire, when of a sudden
one figure rose up slightly. We nevertheless fired and then rushed
forward, reloading. To our astonishment none of the figures moved in the
least but the wolves scurried off. We were advancing cautiously when
Shanks caught me by the arm saying "we must run, that they had all died
of the small-pox," and run we did lustilly for a good long distance.
After this manner did many Indians die in the wilderness from that
dreadful disease, and I have since supposed that the last living indian
had kept firing his gun at the wolves until he had no longer strength to
reload his piece.


After this Shanks and I had become great friends for he had liked the
way I had conducted myself on this expedition. He was always ar-guying
with me to cut off my eel-skin que which I wore after the fashion of the
Dutch folks, saying that the Canada indians would parade me for a
Dutchman after that token was gone with my scalp. He had.... (writing

Early that winter I was one of 150 Rangers who marched with Captain
Rogers against the Enemy at Carrillion. The snow was not deep at
starting but it continued to snow until it was heavy footing and many of
the men gave out and returned to Fort Edward, but notwithstanding my
exhaustion I continued on for six days until we were come to within six
hundred yards of Carrillion Fort. The captain had made us a speech in
which he told us the points where we were to rendevoux if we were broke
in the fight, for further resistence until night came on, when we could
take ourselvs off as best we might. I was with the advance guard. We lay
in ambush in some fallen timber quite close to a road, from which we
could see the smoke from the chimneys of the Fort and the Gentries
walking their beats. A French soldier was seen to come from the Fort and
the word was passed to let him go bye us, as he came down the road. We
lay perfectly still not daring to breathe, and though he saw nothing he
stopped once and seemed undecided as to going on, but suspecting nothing
he continued and was captured by our people below, for prisoners were
wanted at Headquarters to give information of the French forces and
intentions. A man taken in this way was threatened with Death if he did
not tell the whole truth, which under the circumstancs he mostly did to
save his life.

The French did not come out of the Fort after us, though Rogers tried to
entice them by firing guns and showing small parties of men which
feigned to retreat. We were ordered to destroy what we could of the
supplies, so Shanks and I killed a small cow which we found in the edge
of the clearing and took off some fresh beef of which food we were sadly
in need, for on these scouts the Rangers were not permitted to fire guns
at game though it was found in thir path, as it often was in fact. I can
remember on one occassion that I stood by a tree in a snow storm, with
my gun depressed under my frock the better to keep it dry, when I was
minded to glance quickly around and there saw a large wolf just ready to
spring upon me. I cautiously presented my fusee but did not dare to fire
against the orders. An other Ranger came shortly into view and the wolf
took himself off. We burned some large wood piles, which no doubt made
winter work for to keep some Frenchers at home. They only fired some
cannon at us, which beyond a great deal of noise did no harm. We then
marched back to Fort Edward and were glad enough to get there, since it
was time for snow-shoes, which we had not with us.

The Canada indians were coming down to our Forts and even behind them to
intercept our convoys or any parties out on the road, so that the
Rangers were kept out, to head them when they could, or get knowledge of
their whereabouts. Shanks and I went out with two Mohegon indians on a
scout. It was exceedingly stormy weather and very heavy travelling
except on the River. I had got a bearskin blanket from the indians which
is necessary to keep out the cold at this season. We had ten days of
bread, pork and rum with a little salt with us, and followed the indians
in a direction North-and-bye-East towards the lower end of Lake
Champlain, always keeping to the high-ground with the falling snow to
fill our tracks behind us. For four days we travelled when we were well
up the west side. We had crossed numbers of trails but they were all
full of old snow and not worth regarding--still we were so far from our
post that in event of encountering any numbers of the Enemy we had but
small hope of a safe return and had therefore to observe the greatest

As we were making our way an immense painter so menaced us that we were
forced to fire our guns to dispatch him. He was found to be very old,
his teeth almost gone, and was in the last stages of starvation. We were
much alarmed at this misadventure, fearing the Enemy might hear us or
see the ravens gathering above, so we crossed the Lake that night on
some new ice to blind our trail, where I broke through in one place and
was only saved by Shanks, who got hold of my eel-skin que, thereby
having something to pull me out with. We got into a deep gully, and
striking flint made a fire to dry me and I did not suffer much

The day following we took a long circle and came out on the lower end of
the Lake, there laying two days in ambush, watching the Lake for any
parties coming or going. Before dark a Mohigon came in from watch
saying that men were coming down the Lake. We gathered at the point and
saw seven of the Enemy come slowly on. There were three indians two
Canadians and a French officer. Seeing they would shortly pass under our
point of land we made ready to fire, and did deliver one fire as they
came nigh, but the guns of our Mohigons failed to explode, they being
old and well nigh useless, so that all the damage we did was to kill one
indian and wound a Canadian, who was taken in hand by his companions who
made off down the shore and went into the bush. We tried to head them
unsuccessfully, and after examining the guns of our indians we feared
they were so disabled that we gave up and retreated down the Lake,
travelling all night. Near morning we saw a small fire which we spied
out only to find a large party of the Enemy, whereat we were much
disturbed, for our travelling had exhausted us and we feared the pursuit
of a fresh enemy as soon as morning should come to show them our trail.
We then made our way as fast as possible until late that night, when we
laid down for refreshment. We built no fire but could not sleep for fear
of the Enemy for it was a bright moonlight, and sure enough we had been
there but a couple of hours when we saw the Enemy coming on our track.
We here abandoned our bear-skins with what provissions we had left and
ran back on our trail toward the advancing party. It was dark in the
forest and we hoped they might not discover our back track for some
time, thus giving us a longer start. This ruse was successful. After
some hours travel I became so exhausted that I stopped to rest, whereat
the Mohigans left us, but Shanks bided with me, though urging me to move
forward. After a time I got strength to move on. Shanks said the
Canadians would come up with us if we did not make fast going of it, and
that they would disembowel us or tie us to a tree and burn us as was
their usual way, for we could in no wise hope to make head against so
large a party. Thus we walked steadily till high noon, when my wretched
strength gave out so that I fell down saying I had as leave die there as
elsewhere. Shanks followed back on our trail, while I fell into a drouse
but was so sore I could not sleep. After a time I heard a shot, and
shortly two more, when Shanks came running back to me. He had killed an
advancing indian and stopped them for a moment. He kicked me vigorously,
telling me to come on, as the Indians would soon come on again. I got
up, and though I could scarcely move I was minded diligently to
persevere after Shanks. Thus we staggered on until near night time, when
we again stopped and I fell into a deep sleep, but the enemy did not
again come up. On the following day we got into Fort Edward, where I was
taken with a distemper, was seized with very grevious pains in the head
and back and a fever. They let blood and gave me a physic, but I did not
get well around for some time. For this sickness I have always been
thankful, otherwise I should have been with Major Rogers in his
unfortunate battle, which has become notable enough, where he was
defeated by the Canadians and Indians and lost nigh all his private men,
only escaping himself by a miracle. We mourned the loss of many friends
who were our comrades, though it was not the fault of any one, since the
Enemy had three times the number of the Rangers and hemmed them in. Some
of the Rangers had surrendered under promise of Quarter, but we
afterwards heard that they were tied to trees and hacked to death
because the indians had found a scalp in the breast of a man's hunting
frock, thus showing that we could never expect such bloody minded
villiains to keep their promises of Quarter.

I was on several scouts against them that winter but encountered nothing
worthy to relate excepting the hardships which fell to a Ranger's lot.
In June the Army having been gathered we proceeded under Abercromby up
the Lake to attack Ticonderoga. I thought at the time that so many men
must be invincible, but since the last war I have been taught to know
different. There were more Highlanders, Grenadiers, Provincial troops,
Artillery and Rangers than the eye could compass, for the Lake was black
with their battoes. This concourse proceeded to Ticondaroga where we had
a great battle and lost many men, but to no avail since we were forced
to return.

The British soldiers were by this time made servicible for forest
warfare, since the officers and men had been forced to rid themselvs of
their useless incumbrances and had cut off the tails of their long coats
till they scarcely reached below thir middles--they had also left the
women at the Fort, browned thir gun barrells and carried thir provisions
on their backs, each man enough for himself, as was our Ranger custom.
The army was landed at the foot of the Lake, where the Rangers quickly
drove off such small bodies of Frenchers and Indians as opposed us, and
we began our march by the rapids. Rogers men cleared the way and had a
most desperate fight with some French who were minded to stop us, but we
shortly killed and captured most of them. We again fell in with them
that afternoon and were challenged Qui vive but answered that we were
French, but they were not deceived and fired upon us, after which a hot
skirmish insued during which Lord Howe was shot through the breast, for
which we were all much depressed, because he was our real leader and had
raised great hopes of success for us. The Rangers had liked him because
he was wont to spend much time talking with them in thir camps and used
also to go on scouts.  The Rangers were not over fond of British
officers in general.


When the time had come for battle we Rangers moved forward, accompanied
by the armed boatmen and the Provincial troops. We drove in the French
pickets and came into the open where the trees were felled tops toward
us in a mighty abbatis, as though blown down by the wind. It was all we
could undertake to make our way through the mass, and all the while the
great breast-works of the French belched cannon and musket balls while
the limbs and splinters flew around us. Then out of the woods behind us
issued the heavy red masses of the British troops advancing in battle
array with purpose to storm with the bayonet. The maze of fallen trees
with their withered leaves hanging broke their ranks, and the French
Retrenchment blazed fire and death. They advanced bravely up but all to
no good purpose, and hundreds there met their death. My dear Joseph I
have the will but not the way to tell you all I saw that awful
afternoon. I have since been in many battles and skirmishes, but I never
have witnessed such slaughter and such wild fighting as the British
storm of Ticondaroga. We became mixed up--Highlanders, Grenadiers, Light
Troops, Rangers and all, and we beat against that mass of logs and maze
of fallen timber and we beat in vain. I was once carried right up to
the breastwork, but we were stopped by the bristling mass of sharpened
branches, while the French fire swept us front and flank. The ground was
covered deep with dying men, and as I think it over now I can remember
nothing but the fruit bourne by the tree of war, for I looked upon so
many wonderous things that July day that I could not set them downe at
all. We drew off after seeing that human valor could not take that work.
We Rangers then skirmished with the French colony troops and the Canada
indians until dark while our people rescued the wounded, and then we
fell back. The Army was utterly demoralized and made a headlong retreat,
during which many wounded men were left to die in the woods. Shanks and
I paddled a light bark canoe down the Lake next day, in the bottom of
which lay a wounded British officer attended by his servant.


I took my discharge, and lived until the following Spring with Vrooman
at German Flats, when I had a desire to go again to the more active
service of the Rangers, for living in camps and scouting,
notwithstanding its dangers, was agreeable to my taste in those days. So
back to Albany I started, and there met Major Rogers, whom I acquainted
with my desire to again join his service, whereat he seemed right glad
to put me downe. I accordingly journeyed to Crown Point, where I went
into camp. I had bought me a new fire-lock at Albany which was provided
with a bayonet. It was short, as is best fitted for the bush, and about
45 balls to the pound. I had shot it ten times on trial and it had not
failed to discharge at each pull. There was a great change in the
private men of the Rangers, so many old ones had been frost bitten and
gone home. I found my friend Shanks, who had staid though he had been
badly frosted during the winter. He had such a hate of the Frenchers and
particularly of the Canada Indians that he would never cease to fight
them, they having killed all his relatives in New Hampshire which made
him bitter against them, he always saying that they might as well kill
him and thus make an end of the family.

In June I went north down Champlain with 250 Rangers and Light Infantry
in sloop-vessels.

The Rangers were.... (writing lost).... but it made no difference. The
party was landed on the west side of the Lake near Isle au Noix and lay
five days in the bush, it raining hard all the time. I was out with a
recoinnoitering party to watch the Isle, and very early in the morning
we saw the French coming to our side in boats, whereat we acquainted
Major Rogers that the French were about to attack us. We were drawn up
in line to await their coming. The forest always concealed a Ranger
line, so that there might not have been a man within a hundred miles for
all that could be seen, and so it was that an advance party of the Enemy
walked into our line and were captured, which first appraised the French
of our position. They shortly attacked us on our left, but I was sent
with a party to make our way through a swamp in order to attack their
rear. This we accomplished so quietly that we surprized some Canada
indians who were lying back of the French line listening to a prophet
who was incanting. These we slew, and after our firing many French
grenadiers came running past, when they broke before our line. I took a
Frenchman prisoner, but he kept his bayonet pointed at me, all the time
yelling in French which I did not understand, though I had my loaded gun
pointed at him. He seemed to be disturbed at the sight of a scalp which
I had hanging in my belt. I had lately took it from the head of an
Indian, it being my first, but I was not minded to kill the poor
Frenchman and was saying so in English. He put down his fire-lock
finally and offered me his flask to drink liquor with him, but I did not
use it. I had known that Shanks carried poisoned liquor in his pack,
with the hope that it would destroy any indians who might come into
possession of it, if he was taken, whether alive or dead. As I was
escorting the Frenchman back to our boats he quickly ran away from me,
though I snapped my fire-lock at him, which failed to explode, it having
become wet from the rain. Afterwards I heard that a Ranger had shot him,
seeing him running in the bush.


We went back to our boats after this victory and took all our wounded
and dead with us, which last we buried on an island. Being joined by a
party of Stockbridge Indians we were again landed, and after marching
for some days came to a road where we recoinnoitered St. John's Fort but
did not attack it, Rogers judging it not to be takeable with our force.
From here we began to march so fast that only the strongest men could
keep up, and at day-break came to another Fort. We ran into the gate
while a hay-waggon was passing through, and surprised and captured all
the garrison, men women and children. After we had burned and destroyed
everything we turned the women and children adrift, but drove the men
along as prisoners, making them carry our packs. We marched so fast that
the French grenadiers could not keep up, for their breeches were too
tight for them to march with ease, whereat we cut off the legs of them
with our knives, when they did better.

After this expedition we scouted from Crown Point in canoes, Shanks and
myself going as far north as we dared toward Isle au Noix, and one day
while lying on the bank we saw the army coming. It was an awesome sight
to see so many boats filled with brave uniforms, as they danced over the
waves. The Rangers and Indians came a half a mile ahead of the Army in
whale-boats all in line abreast, while behind them came the light
Infantry and Grenadiers with Provincial troops on the flanks and
Artillery and Store boats bringing up the Rear.

Shanks and I fell in with the Ranger boats, being yet in our small bark
and much hurled about by the waves, which rolled prodigious.

The Army continued up the Lake and drove the Frenchers out of their
Forts, they not stopping to resist us till we got to Chamblee, where we
staid. But the French in Canada had all surrendered to the British and
the war was over. This ended my service as a Ranger in those parts. I
went back to Vroomans intending to go again into the indian trade, for
now we hoped that the French would no longer be able to stop our

Now my dear son--I will send you this long letter, and will go on
writing of my later life in the Western country and in the War of
Independence, and will send you those letters as soon as I have them
written. I did not do much or occupy a commanding position, but I served
faithfully in what I had to do. For the present God bless you my dear



ONE can thresh the straw of history until he is well worn out, and also
is running some risk of wearing others out who may have to listen, so I
will waive the telling of who the first cowboy was, even if I knew; but
the last one who has come under my observation lives down in Florida,
and the way it happened was this: I was sitting in a "sto' do'," as the
"Crackers" say, waiting for the clerk to load some "number eights," when
my friend said, "Look at the cowboys!" This immediately caught my
interest. With me cowboys are what gems and porcelains are to some
others. Two very emaciated Texas ponies pattered down the street,
bearing wild-looking individuals, whose hanging hair and drooping hats
and generally bedraggled appearance would remind you at once of the
Spanish-moss which hangs so quietly and helplessly to the limbs of the
oaks out in the swamps. There was none of the bilious fierceness and
rearing plunge which I had associated with my friends out West, but as a
fox-terrier is to a yellow cur, so were these last. They had on about
four dollars' worth of clothes between them, and rode McClellan saddles,
with saddle-bags, and guns tied on before. The only things they did
which were conventional were to tie their ponies up by the head in
brutal disregard, and then get drunk in about fifteen minutes. I could
see that in this case, while some of the tail feathers were the same,
they would easily classify as new birds.


"And so you have cowboys down here?" I said to the man who ran the

He picked a tiny piece of raw liver out of the meshes of his long black
beard, tilted his big black hat, shoved his arms into his white apron
front, and said:

"Gawd! yes, stranger; I was one myself."

The plot thickened so fast that I was losing much, so I became more
deliberate. "Do the boys come into town often?" I inquired further.

"Oh yes, 'mos' every little spell," replied the butcher, as he reached
behind his weighing-scales and picked up a double-barrelled shot-gun,
sawed off. "We-uns are expectin' of they-uns to-day."

And he broke the barrels and took out the shells to examine them.

"Do they come shooting?" I interposed.

He shut the gun with a snap. "We split even, stranger."

Seeing that the butcher was a fragile piece of bric-a-brac, and that I
might need him for future study, I bethought me of the banker down the
street. Bankers are bound to be broad-gauged, intelligent, and
conservative, so I would go to him and get at the ancient history of
this neck of woods. I introduced myself, and was invited behind the
counter. The look of things reminded me of one of those great green
terraces which conceal fortifications and ugly cannon. It was boards and
wire screen in front, but behind it were shot-guns and six-shooters hung
in the handiest way, on a sort of disappearing gun-carriage arrangement.
Shortly one of the cowboys of the street scene floundered in. He was
two-thirds drunk, with brutal, shifty eyes and a flabby lower lip.

"I want twenty dollars on the old man. Ken I have it?"

I rather expected that the bank would go into "action front," but the
clerk said, "Certainly," and completed this rather odd financial
transaction, whereat the bull-hunter stumbled out.

[Illustration: 37 A CRACKER COWBOY]

"Who is the old man in this case?" I ventured.

"Oh, it's his boss, old Colonel Zuigg, of Crow City. I gave some money
to some of his boys some weeks ago, and when the colonel was down here I
asked him if he wanted the boys to draw against him in that way, and he
said, 'Yes--for a small amount; they will steal a cow or two, and pay me
that way.'"

Here was something tangible.

"What happens when a man steals another man's brand in this country?"

"He mustn't get caught; that's all. They all do it, but they never bring
their troubles into court. They just shoot it out there in the bresh.
The last time old Colonel Zuigg brought Zorn Zuidden in here and had him
indicted for stealing cattle, said Zorn: 'Now see here, old man Zuigg,
what do you want for to go and git me arrested fer? I have stole
thousands of cattle and put your mark and brand on 'em, and jes because
I have stole a couple of hundred from you, you go and have me indicted.
You jes better go and get that whole deal nol pressed;' and it was

The argument was perfect.

"From that I should imagine that the cow-people have no more idea of law
than the 'gray apes,'" I commented.

"Yes, that's about it. Old Colonel Zuigg was a judge fer a spell, till
some feller filled him with buckshot, and he had to resign; and I
remember he decided a case aginst me once. I was hot about it, and the
old colonel he saw I was. Says he, 'Now yer mad, ain't you?' And I
allowed I was. 'Well,' says he, 'you hain't got no call to get mad. I
have decided the last eight cases in yer favor, and you kain't have it
go yer way all the time; it wouldn't look right;' and I had to be

The courts in that locality were but the faint and sickly flame of a
taper offered at the shrine of a justice which was traditional only, it
seemed. Moral forces having ceased to operate, the large owners began to
brand everything in sight, never realizing that they were sowing the
wind. This action naturally demoralized the cowboys, who shortly began
to brand a little on their own account--and then the deluge. The rights
of property having been destroyed, the large owners put strong outfits
in the field, composed of desperate men armed to the teeth, and what
happens in the lonely pine woods no one knows but the desperadoes
themselves, albeit some of them never come back to the little fringe of
settlements. The winter visitor from the North kicks up the jack-snipe
along the beach or tarponizes in the estuaries of the Gulf, and when he
comes to the hotel for dinner he eats Chicago dressed beef, but out in
the wilderness low-browed cow-folks shoot and stab each other for the
possession of scrawny creatures not fit for a pointer-dog to mess on.
One cannot but feel the force of Buckle's law of "the physical aspects
of nature" in this sad country. Flat and sandy, with miles on miles of
straight pine timber, each tree an exact duplicate of its neighbor tree,
and underneath the scrub palmettoes, the twisted brakes and
hammocks, and the gnarled water-oaks festooned with the sad gray
Spanish-moss--truly not a country for a high-spirited race or moral


The land gives only a tough wiregrass, and the poor little cattle, no
bigger than a donkey, wander half starved and horribly emaciated in
search of it. There used to be a trade with Cuba, but now that has gone;
and beyond the supplying of Key West and the small fringe of settlements
they have no market. How well the cowboys serve their masters I can only
guess, since the big owners do not dare go into the woods, or even to
their own doors at night, and they do not keep a light burning in the
houses. One, indeed, attempted to assert his rights, but some one pumped
sixteen buckshot into him as he bent over a spring to drink, and he left
the country. They do tell of a late encounter between two rival foremen,
who rode on to each other in the woods, and drawing, fired, and both
were found stretched dying under the palmettoes, one calling deliriously
the name of his boss. The unknown reaches of the Everglades lie just
below, and with a half-hour's start a man who knew the country would be
safe from pursuit, even if it were attempted; and, as one man cheerfully
confided to me, "A boat don't leave no trail, stranger."

That might makes right, and that they steal by wholesale, any
cattle-hunter will admit; and why they brand at all I cannot see, since
one boy tried to make it plain to me, as he shifted his body in drunken
abandon and grabbed my pencil and a sheet of wrapping paper: "See yer;
ye see that?" And he drew a circle O, and then another ring around it,
thus: (O). "That brand ain't no good. Well, then--" And again his
knotted and dirty fingers essayed the brand I O. He laboriously drew
upon it and made E-O which of course destroyed the former brand.

"Then here," he continued, as he drew 13, "all ye've got ter do is
this--313." I gasped in amazement, not at his cleverness as a
brand-destroyer, but at his honest abandon. With a horrible operatic
laugh, such as is painted in "The Cossack's Answer," he again
laboriously drew (+) (the circle cross), and then added some marks which
made it look like this: S(+)S. And again breaking into his devil's "ha,
ha!" said, "Make the damned thing whirl."

[Illustration: 39 IN WAIT FOR AN ENEMY]

I did not protest. He would have shot me for that. But I did wish he was
living in the northwest quarter of New Mexico, where Mr. Cooper and Dan
could throw their eyes over the trail of his pony. Of course each man
has adjusted himself to this lawless rustling, and only calculates that
he can steal as much as his opponent. It is rarely that their affairs
are brought to court, but when they are, the men come _en masse_ to the
room, armed with knives and rifles, so that any decision is bound to be
a compromise, or it will bring on a general engagement.

There is also a noticeable absence of negroes among them, as they still
retain some _ante bellum_ theories, and it is only very lately that they
have "reconstructed." Their general ignorance is "miraculous," and quite
mystifying to an outside man. Some whom I met did not even know where
the Texas was which furnishes them their ponies. The railroads of
Florida have had their ups and downs with them in a petty way on account
of the running over of their cattle by the trains; and then some
long-haired old Cracker drops into the nearest station with his gun and
pistol, and wants the telegraph operator to settle immediately on the
basis of the Cracker's claim for damages, which is always absurdly high.
At first the railroads demurred, but the cowboys lined up in the "bresh"
on some dark night and pumped Winchesters into the train in a highly
picturesque way. The trainmen at once recognized the force of the
Cracker's views on cattle-killing, but it took some considerable
"potting" at the more conservative superintendents before the latter
could bestir themselves and invent a "cow-attorney," as the company
adjuster is called, who now settles with the bushmen as best he can.
Certainly no worse people ever lived since the big killing up
Muscleshell way, and the romance is taken out of it by the cowardly
assassination which is the practice. They are well paid for their
desperate work, and always eat fresh beef or "razor-backs," and deer
which they kill in the woods. The heat, the poor grass, their brutality,
and the pest of the flies kill their ponies, and, as a rule, they lack
dash and are indifferent riders, but they are picturesque in their
unkempt, almost unearthly wildness. A strange effect is added by their
use of large, fierce cur-dogs, one of which accompanies each
cattle-hunter, and is taught to pursue cattle, and to even take them by
the nose, which is another instance of their brutality. Still, as they
only have a couple of horses apiece, it saves them much extra running.
These men do not use the rope, unless to noose a pony in a corral, but
work their cattle in strong log corrals, which are made at about a day's
march apart all through the woods. Indeed, ropes are hardly necessary,
since the cattle are so small and thin that two men can successfully
"wrestle" a three-year-old. A man goes into the corral, grabs a cow by
one horn, and throwing his other arm over her back, waits until some
other man takes her hind leg, whereat ensues some very entertaining
Graeco-Roman style.

[Illustration: 40 A BIT OF COW COUNTRY]

When the cow is successful, she finds her audience of Cracker cowboys
sitting on the fence awaiting another opening, and gasping for breath.
The best bull will not go over three hundred pounds, while I have seen a
yearling at a hundred and fifty--if you, O knights of the riata, can
imagine it! Still, it is desperate work. Some of the men are so reckless
and active that they do not hesitate to encounter a wild bull in the
open. The cattle are as wild as deer, they race off at scent; and when
"rounded up" many will not drive, whereupon these are promptly shot. It
frequently happens that when the herd is being driven quietly along a
bull will turn on the drivers, charging at once. Then there is a scamper
and great shooting.  The bulls often become so maddened in these forays
that they drop and die in their tracks, for which strange fact no one
can account, but as a rule they are too scrawny and mean to make their
handling difficult.

So this is the Cracker cowboy, whose chief interest would be found in
the tales of some bushwhacking enterprise, which I very much fear would
be a one-sided story, and not worth the telling. At best they must be
revolting, having no note of the savage encounters which used to
characterize the easy days in West Texas and New Mexico, when every man
tossed his life away to the crackle of his own revolver. The moon shows
pale through the leafy canopy on their evening fires, and the mists, the
miasma, and the mosquitoes settle over their dreary camp talk. In place
of the wild stampede, there is only the bellowing in the pens, and
instead of the plains shaking under the dusty air as the bedizened
vaqueros plough their fiery broncos through the milling herds, the
cattle-hunter wends his lonely way through the ooze and rank grass,
while the dreary pine trunks line up and shut the view.



THE "Abwee-chemun" [Algonquin for "paddle and canoe."] Club was
organized with six charter members at a heavy lunch in the Savarin
restaurant--one of those lunches which make through connections to
dinner without change. One member basely deserted, while two more lost
all their enthusiasm on the following morning, but three of us stuck. We
vaguely knew that somewhere north of the Canadian Pacific and south of
Hudson Bay were big lakes and rapid rivers--lakes whose names we did not
know; lakes bigger than Champlain, with unnamed rivers between them. We
did not propose to be boated around in a big birch-bark by two voyagers
among blankets and crackers and ham, but each provided himself a little
thirteen-foot cedar canoe, twenty-nine inches in the beam, and weighing
less than forty pounds. I cannot tell you precisely how our party was
sorted, but one was a lawyer with eyeglasses and settled habits, loving
nature, though detesting canoes; the other was nominally a merchant, but
in reality an atavie Norseman of the wolf and raven kind; while I am not
new. Together we started.

Presently the Abwees sat about the board of a lumbermen's hotel, filled
with house-flies and slatternly waiter-girls, who talked familiarly
while they served greasy food. The Abwees were yet sore in their minds
at the thoughts of the smelly beds up-stairs, and discouragement sat
deeply on their souls. But their time was not yet.

After breakfast they marched to the Hudson Bay Company's store, knowing
as they did that in Canada there are only two places for a traveller to
go who wants anything--the great company or the parish priest; and then,
having explained to the factor their dream, they were told "that beyond,
beyond some days' journey"--oh! that awful beyond, which for centuries
has stood across the path of the pioneer, and in these latter days
confronts the sportsman and wilderness-lover--"that beyond some days'
journey to the north was a country such as they had dreamed--up
Temis-camingue and beyond."

The subject of a guide was considered.

Jimmie Friday always brought a big toboggan-load of furs into Fort
Tiemogamie every spring, and was accounted good in his business. He and
his big brother trapped together, and in turn followed the ten days'
swing through the snow-laden forest which they had covered with their
dead-falls and steel-jawed traps; but when the ice went out in the
rivers, and the great pines dripped with the melting snows, they had
nothing more to do but cut a few cords of wood for their widowed
mother's cabin near the post. Then the brother and he paddled down to
Bais des Pierres, where the brother engaged as a deck hand on a
steamboat, and Jimmie hired himself as a guide for some bush-rangers, as
the men are called who explore for pine lands for the great lumber
firms. Having worked all summer and got through with that business,
Jimmie bethought him to dissipate for a few days in the bustling lumber
town down on the Ottawa River. He had been there before to feel the
exhilaration of civilization, but beyond that clearing he had never
known anything more inspiring than a Hudson Bay post, which is generally
a log store, a house where the agent lives, and a few tiny Indian cabins
set higgledy-piggledy in a sunburnt gash of stumps and bowlders, lost in
the middle of the solemn, unresponsive forest. On this morning in
question he had stepped from his friend's cabin up in the Indian
village, and after lighting a perfectly round and rather yellow cigar,
he had instinctively wandered down to the Hudson Bay store, there to
find himself amused by a strange sight.

The Abwees had hired two French-Indian voyagers of sinister mien, and a
Scotch-Canadian boy bred to the bush. They were out on the grass,
engaged in taking burlaps off three highly polished canoes, while the
clerk from the store ran out and asked questions about "how much bacon,"
and, "will fifty pounds of pork be enough, sir?"

The round yellow cigar was getting stubby, while Jimmie's modest eyes
sought out the points of interest in the new-comers, when he was
suddenly and sharply addressed:

"Can you cook?"

Jimmie couldn't do anything in a hurry, except chop a log in two, paddle
very fast, and shoot quickly, so he said, as was his wont:

"I think--I dun'no'--"

"Well, how much?" came the query.

"Two daul--ars--" said Jimmie.

The transaction was complete. The yellow butt went over the fence, and
Jimmie shed his coat. He was directed to lend a hand by the bustling
sportsmen, and requested to run and find things of which he had never
before in his life heard the name.


After two days' travel the Abwees were put ashore--boxes, bags, rolls of
blankets, canoes, Indians, and plunder of many sorts--on a pebbly beach,
and the steamer backed off and steamed away. They had reached the
"beyond" at last, and the odoriferous little bedrooms, the bustle of the
preparation, the cares of their lives, were behind. Then there was a
girding up of the loins, a getting out of tump-lines and canvas packs,
and the long portage was begun.

The voyagers carried each two hundred pounds as they stalked away into
the wilderness, while the attorney-at-law "hefted" his pack, wiped his
eyeglasses with his pocket-handkerchief, and tried cheerfully to assume
the responsibilities of "a dead game sport."

"I cannot lift the thing, and how I am going to carry it is more than I
know; but I'm a dead game sport, and I am going to try. I do not want to
be dead game, but it looks as though I couldn't help it. Will some
gentleman help me to adjust this cargo?"

The night overtook the outfit in an old beaver meadow half-way through
the trail. Like all first camps, it was tough. The lean-to tents went up
awkwardly. No one could find anything. Late at night the Abwees lay on
their backs under the blankets, while the fog settled over the meadow
and blotted out the stars.

On the following day the stuff was all gotten through, and by this time
the lawyer had become a voyager, willing to carry anything he could
stagger under. It is strange how one can accustom himself to "pack." He
may never use the tump-line, since it goes across the head, and will
unseat his intellect if he does, but with shoulder-straps and a
tump-line a man who thinks he is not strong will simply amaze himself
inside of a week by what he can do. As for our little canoes, we could
trot with them. Each Abwee carried his own belongings and his boat,
which entitled him to the distinction of "a dead game sport," whatever
that may mean, while the Indians portaged their larger canoes and our
mass of supplies, making many trips backward and forward in the process.

At the river everything was parcelled out and arranged. The birch-barks
were repitched, and every man found out what he was expected to portage
and do about camp. After breaking and making camp three times, the
outfit could pack up, load the canoes, and move inside of fifteen
minutes. At the first camp the lawyer essayed his canoe, and was
cautioned that the delicate thing might flirt with him. He stepped in
and sat gracefully down in about two feet of water, while the "delicate
thing" shook herself saucily at his side. After he had crawled dripping
ashore and wiped his eye-glasses, he engaged to sell the "delicate
thing" to an Indian for one dollar and a half on a promissory note. The
trade was suppressed, and he was urged to try again. A man who has held
down a cane-bottom chair conscientiously for fifteen years looks askance
at so fickle a thing as a canoe twenty-nine inches in the beam. They are
nearly as hard to sit on in the water as a cork; but once one is in the
bottom they are stable enough, though they do not submit to liberties or
palsied movements. The staid lawyer was filled with horror at the
prospect of another go at his polished beauty; but remembering his
resolve to be dead game, he abandoned his life to the chances, and got
in this time safely.


So the Abwees went down the river on a golden morning, their
double-blade paddles flashing the sun and sending the drip in a shower
on the glassy water. The smoke from the lawyer's pipe hung behind him in
the quiet air, while the note of the reveille clangored from the little
buglette of the Norseman. Jimmie and the big Scotch backwoodsman swayed
their bodies in one boat, while the two sinister voyagers dipped their
paddles in the big canoe.

The Norseman's gorge came up, and he yelled back: "Say! this suits me. I
am never going back to New York."

Jimmie grinned at the noise; it made him happy. Such a morning, such a
water, such a lack of anything to disturb one's peace! Let man's better
nature revel in the beauties of existence; they inflate his soul. The
colors play upon the senses--the reddish-yellow of the birch-barks, the
blue of the water, and the silver sheen as it parts at the bows of the
canoes; the dark evergreens, the steely rocks with their lichens, the
white trunks of the birches, their fluffy tops so greeny green, and over
all the gold of a sunny day. It is my religion, this thing, and I do not
know how to tell all I feel concerning it.

The rods were taken out, a gang of flies put on and trolled behind--but
we have all seen a man fight a five-pound bass for twenty minutes. The
waters fairly swarmed with them, and we could always get enough for the
"pot" in a half-hour's fishing at any time during the trip. The Abwees
were canoeing, not hunting or fishing; though, in truth, they did not
need to hunt spruce-partridge or fish for bass in any sporting sense;
they simply went out after them, and never stayed over half an hour. On
a point we stopped for lunch: the Scotchman always struck the beach
a-cooking. He had a "kit," which was a big camp-pail, and inside of it
were more dishes than are to be found in some hotels. He broiled the
bacon, instead of frying it, and thus we were saved the terrors of
indigestion. He had many luxuries in his commissary, among them dried
apples, with which he filled a camp-pail one day and put them on to
boil. They subsequently got to be about a foot deep all over the camp,
while Furguson stood around and regarded the black-magic of the thing
with overpowering emotions and Homeric tongue. Furguson was a good
genius, big and gentle, and a woodsman root and branch. The Abwees had
intended their days in the wilderness to be happy singing flights of
time, but with grease and paste in one's stomach what may not befall the
mind when it is bent on nature's doings?


And thus it was that the gloomy Indian Jimmie Friday, despite his
tuberculosis begotten of insufficient nourishment, was happy in these
strange days--even to the extent of looking with wondrous eyes on the
nooks which we loved--nooks which previously for him had only sheltered
possible "dead-falls" or not, as the discerning eye of the trapper
decided the prospects for pelf.

Going ashore on a sandy beach, Jimmie wandered down its length, his
hunter mind seeking out the footprints of his prey. He stooped down, and
then beckoned me to come, which I did.

Pointing at the sand, he said, "You know him?"

"Wolves," I answered.

"Yes--first time I see 'em up here--they be follerin' the
deers--bad--bad. No can trap 'em--verrie smart."

A half-dozen wolves had chased a deer into the water; but wolves do not
take to the water, so they had stopped and drank, and then gone
rollicking-together up the beach. There were cubs, and one great track
as big as a mastiff might make.

"See that--moose track--he go by yesterday;" and Jimmie pointed to
enormous footprints in the muck of a marshy place. "Verrie big moose--we
make call at next camp--think it is early for call."

At the next camp Jimmie made the usual birch-bark moose-call, and at
evening blew it, as he also did on the following morning. This camp was
a divine spot on a rise back of a long sandy beach, and we concluded to
stop for a day. The Norseman and I each took a man in our canoes and
started out to explore. I wanted to observe some musk-rat hotels down in
a big marsh, and the Norseman was fishing. The attorney was content to
sit on a log by the shores of the lake, smoke lazily, and watch the sun
shimmer through the lifting fog. He saw a canoe approaching from across
the lake. He gazed vacantly at it, when it grew strange and more unlike
a canoe. The paddles did not move, but the phantom craft drew quickly

[Illustration: 45 A REAL CAMP]

"Say, Furguson--come here--look at that canoe."

The Scotchman came down, with a pail in one hand, and looked.
"Canoe--hell--it's a moose--and there ain't a pocket-pistol in this
camp," and he fairly jumped up and down.

"You don't say--you really don't say!" gasped the lawyer, who now began
to exhibit signs of insanity.

"Yes--he's going to be d----d sociable with us--he's coming right bang
into this camp."

The Indian too came down, but he was long past talking English, and the
gutturals came up in lumps, as though he was trying to keep them down.

The moose finally struck a long point of sand and rushes about two
hundred yards away, and drew majestically out of the water, his hide
dripping, and the sun glistening on his antlers and back.

The three men gazed in spellbound admiration at the picture until the
moose was gone. When they had recovered their senses they slowly went up
to the camp on the ridge--disgusted and dum-founded.

"I could almost put a cartridge in that old gun-case and kill him,"
sighed the backwoodsman.

"I have never hunted in my life," mused the attorney, "but few men have
seen such a sight," and he filled his pipe.

"Hark--listen!" said the Indian. There was a faint cracking, which
presently became louder. "He's coming into camp;" and the Indian nearly
died from excitement as he grabbed a hatchet. The three unfortunate men
stepped to the back of the tents, and as big a bull moose as walks the
lonely woods came up to within one hundred and fifty feet of the camp,
and stopped, returning their gaze.

Thus they stood for what they say was a minute, but which seemed like
hours. The attorney composedly admired the unusual sight. The Indian and
Furguson swore softly but most viciously until the moose moved away. The
Indian hurled the hatchet at the retreating figure, with a final curse,
and the thing was over.

"Those fellows who are out in their canoes will be sick abed when we
tell them what's been going on in the camp this morning," sighed Mr.
Furguson, as he scoured a cooking-pot.

I fear we would have had that moose on our consciences if we had been
there: the game law was not up at the time, but I should have asked for
strength from a higher source than my respect for law.

The golden days passed and the lake grew great.

[Illustration: 46 ROUGH WATER]

The wind blew at our backs. The waves rolled in restless surges, piling
the little canoes on their crests and swallowing them in the troughs.
The canoes thrashed the water as they flew along, half in, half out, but
they rode like ducks. The Abwees took off their hats, gripped their
double blades, made the water swirl behind them, howled in glee to each
other through the rushing storm. To be five miles from shore in a seaway
in kayaks like ours was a sensation. We found they stood it well, and
grew contented. It was the complement to the golden lazy days when the
water was glass, and the canoes rode upsidedown over its mirror surface.
The Norseman grinned and shook his head in token of his pleasure, much
as an epicure might after a sip of superior Burgundy.

"How do you fancy this?" we asked the attorney-at-law.

"I am not going to deliver an opinion until I get ashore. I would never
have believed that I would be here at my time of life, but one never
knows what a ---- fool one can make of one's self. My glasses are covered
with water, and I can hardly see, but I can't let go of this paddle to
wipe them," shrieked the man of the office chair, in the howl of the

But we made a long journey by the aid of the wind, and grew a contempt
for it. How could one imagine the stability of those little boats until
one had tried it?

That night we put into a natural harbor and camped on a gravel beach.
The tents were up and the supper cooking, when the wind hauled and blew
furiously into our haven. The fires were scattered and the rain came in
blinding sheets. The tent-pegs pulled from the sand. We sprang to our
feet and held on to the poles, wet to the skin. It was useless; the rain
blew right under the canvas. We laid the tents on the "grub" and stepped
out into the dark. We could not be any wetter, and we did not care. To
stand in the dark in the wilderness, with nothing to eat, and a
fire-engine playing a hose on you for a couple of hours--if you have
imagination enough, you can fill in the situation. But the gods were
propitious. The wind died down. The stars came out by myriads. The fires
were relighted, and the ordinary life begun. It was late in the night
before our clothes, blankets, and tents were dry, but, like boys, we
forgot it all.

Then came a river--blue and flat like the sky above--running through
rushy banks, backed by the masses of the forest; anon the waters rushed
upon us over the rocks, and we fought, plunk-plunk-plunk, with the
paddles, until our strength gave out. We stepped out into the water, and
getting our lines, and using our long double blades as fenders,
"tracked" the canoes up through the boil. The Indians in their heavier
boats used "setting-poles" with marvellous dexterity, and by furious
exertion were able to draw steadily up the grade--though at times they
too "tracked," and even portaged. Our largest canoe weighed two hundred
pounds, but a little voyager managed to lug it, though how I couldn't
comprehend, since his pipe-stem legs fairly bent and wobbled under the
enormous ark. None of us by this time were able to lift the loads which
we carried, but, like a Western pack-mule, we stood about and had things
piled on to us, until nothing more would stick. Some of the backwoodsmen
carry incredible masses of stuff, and their lore is full of tales which
no one could be expected to believe. Our men did not hesitate to take
two hundred and fifty pounds over short portages, which were very rough
and stony, though they all said if they slipped they expected to break a
leg. This is largely due to the tump-line, which is laid over the head,
while persons unused to it must have shoulder-straps in addition, which
are not as good, because the "breastbone," so called, is not strong


We were getting day by day farther into "the beyond." There were no
traces here of the hand of man. Only Jimmie knew the way--it was his
trapping-ground. Only once did we encounter people. We were blown into a
little board dock, on a gray day, with the waves piling up behind us,
and made a difficult landing. Here were a few tiny log houses--an
outpost of the Hudson Bay Company. We renewed our stock of provisions,
after laborious trading with the stagnated people who live in the lonely
place. There was nothing to sell us but a few of the most common
necessities; however, we needed only potatoes and sugar. This was
Jimmie's home. Here we saw his poor old mother, who was being tossed
about in the smallest of canoes as she drew her nets. Jimmie's father
had gone on a hunting expedition and had never come back. Some day
Jimmie's old mother will go out on the wild lake to tend her nets, and
she will not come back. Some time Jimmie too will not return--for this
Indian struggle with nature is appalling in its fierceness.

There was a dance at the post, which the boys attended, going by canoe
at night, and they came back early in the morning, with much giggling at
their gallantries.

The loneliness of this forest life is positively discouraging to think
about. What the long winters must be in the little cabins I cannot
imagine, and I fear the traders must be all avarice, or have none at
all; for there can certainly be absolutely no intellectual life. There
is undoubtedly work, but not one single problem concerning it. The
Indian hunters do fairly well in a financial way, though their lives are
beset with weakening hardships and constant danger. Their meagre diet
wears out their constitutions, and they are subject to disease. The
simplicity of their minds makes it very difficult to see into their life
as they try to narrate it to one who may be interested.

[Illustration: 48 TRYING MOMENTS]

From here on was through beautiful little lakes, and the voyagers rigged
blanket sails on the big canoes, while we towed behind. Then came the
river and the rapids, which we ran, darting between rocks, bumping on
sunken stones--shooting fairly out into the air, all but turning over
hundreds of times. One day the Abwees glided out in the big lake
Tesmiaquemang, and saw the steamer going to Bais des Pierres. We hailed
her, and she stopped, while the little canoes danced about in the swell
as we were loaded one by one. On the deck above us the passengers
admired a kind of boat the like of which had not before appeared in
these parts.

At Bais des Pierres we handed over the residue of the commissaries of
the Abwee-Chemun to Jimmie Friday, including personally many pairs of
well-worn golf-breeches, sweaters, rubber coats, knives which would be
proscribed by law in New York. If Jimmie ever parades his solemn
wilderness in these garbs, the owls will laugh from the trees. Our
simple forest friend laid in his winter stock--traps, flour, salt,
tobacco, and pork, a new axe--and accompanied us back down the lake
again on the steamer. She stopped in mid-stream, while Jimmie got his
bundles into his "bark" and shoved off, amid a hail of "good-byes."

The engine palpitated, the big wheel churned the water astern, and we
drew away. Jimmie bent on his paddle with the quick body-swing habitual
to the Indian, and after a time grew a speck on the reflection of the
red sunset in Temiscamingue.

The Abwees sat sadly leaning on the after-rail, and agreed that Jimmie
was "a lovely Injun." Jimmie had gone into the shade of the overhang of
the cliffs, when the Norseman started violently up, put his hands in his
pockets, stamped his foot, said, "By George, fellows, any D. F. would
call this a sporting trip!"


"TO-NIGHT I am going down to my ranch--the Soledad--in my private car,"
said the manager of the Mexican International Railroad, "and I would
like the Captain and you to accompany me."

The Captain and I were only too glad; so in process of time we awoke to
find our car sidetracked on the Soledad, which is in the state of
Coahuila, Mexico. The chaparral spread around, rising and falling in the
swell of the land, until it beat against the blue ridge of the Sierra
Santa Rosa, miles to the north. Here and there the bright sun spotted on
a cow as she threaded the gray stretches; a little coyote-wolf sat on
his haunches on a near-by hill-side, and howled protests at his
new-found companions; while dimly through the gray meshes of the
leaf-denuded chaparral we could see the main ranch-house of the Soledad.
We were informed at breakfast by the railroad manager that there was to
be that day a "round-up," which is to say, a regular Buffalo Bill Show,
with real cowboys, ponies, and cattle, all three of them wild, full of
thorns, and just out of the brush.

The negro porters got out the saddles of the young women, thus
disclosing their intention to ride ponies instead of in traps. We
already knew that they were fearless horseback-riders, but when the
string of ponies which were to be our mounts was led up by a few
Mexicans, the Captain and I had our well-concealed doubts about their
being proper sort of ponies for young girls to ride. We confided in an
imperturbable cowboy--one of those dry Texans. He said: "Them are what
we would call broke ponies, and you fellers needn't get to worryin'
'bout them little girls--you're jest a-foolin' away good time."
Nevertheless, the broncos had the lurking devil in the tails of their
eyes as they stood there tied to the wire fencing; they were humble and
dejected as only a bronco or a mule can simulate. When that ilk look
most cast down, be not deceived, gay brother; they are not like this.
Their humility is only humorous, and intended to lure you on to their
backs, where, unless you have a perfect understanding of the game, the
joke will be on you. Instantly one is mounted, the humility departs; he
plunges and starts about, or sets off like the wind, regardless of
thorny bushes, tricky ground underfoot, or the seat of the rider.

The manager's wife came out of the car with her little brood of three,
and then two visiting friends. These Soledad girls, as I call them, each
had a sunburst of yellow hair, were well bronzed by the Mexican sun, and
were sturdy little bodies. They were dressed in short skirts, with
leggings, topped with Tam o' Shanters, while about their waists were
cartridge-belts, with delicate knives and revolvers attached, and with
spurs and _quirts_ as accessories. They took up their men's saddles, for
they rode astride, except the two visitors, who were older and more
lately from Chicago. They swung their saddles on to the ponies, showing
familiarity with the _ladigo_ straps of the Texas saddles, and proudly
escaping the humiliation which alights on the head of one who in the
cow-camps cannot saddle his own "bronc." Being ready, we mounted, and
followed a cowboy off down the road to the _rodeo-ground._ The manager
and Madam Mamma rode in a buckboard, proudly following with their gaze
the galloping ponies which bore their jewels. I thought they should be
fearful for their safety, but after more intimate inspection, I could
see how groundless was such solicitude.

I must have it understood that these little vaquero girls were not the
ordinary Texas product, fed on corn-meal and bred in the chaparral, but
the much looked after darlings of a fond mother. They are taken South
every winter, that their bodies may be made lithe and healthy, but at
the same time two or more governesses crowd their minds with French,
German, and other things with which proper young girls should be
acquainted. But their infant minds did not carry back to the days when
they had not felt a horse under them. To be sure, in the beginning it
was only a humble donkey, but even before they knew they had graduated
to ponies, and while yet ten years old, it was only by a constant watch
that they were kept off unbroken broncos--horses that made the toughest
vaqueros throw down their hats, tighten their belts, and grin with fear.

From over the hills came the half-wild cattle, stringing along at a
trot, all bearing for the open space in the waste of the chaparral where
the _rodeo_ occurred, while behind them followed the cowboys--gay desert
figures with brown, pinched faces, long hair, and shouting wild cries.
The exhilaration of the fine morning, the tramp of the thousands, got
into the curls of the three little Misses Golden-hairs, and they
scurried away, while I followed to feast on this fresh vision, where
absolutely ideal little maids shouted Spanish at murderous-looking
Mexican cow-punchers done up in bright scrapes and costumed out of all
reason. As the vaqueros dashed about hither and thither to keep their
herds moving in the appointed direction, the infants screamed in their
childish treble and spurred madly too. A bull stands at bay, but a child
dashes at him, while he turns and flees. It is not their first _rodeo,_
one can see, but I should wish they were with mamma and the buckboard,
instead of out here in the brush, charging wild bulls, though in truth
this never were written. These bulls frequently charge men, and a
cow-pony turns like a ball off a bat, and a slippery seat in the saddle
may put you under the feet of the outraged monarch of the range.


Driving down to the _rodeo-ground,_ we all stood about on our ponies and
held the herd, as it is called, the young girls doing vaquero duty, as
imperturbable of mien as Mr. Flannagan, the foreman. So many women in
the world are afraid of a dairy cow, even gathering up their skirts and
preparing to shriek at the sight of one eating daisies. But these young
women will grow up and they will be afraid of no cow. So much for a
Soledad education.

The top-ropers rode slowly into the dust of the milling herd, scampered
madly, cast their ropes, and came jumping to us with a blatting calf
trailing at their ropes' end. Two men seized the little victim, threw
him on his back, cut a piece out of his ear with a knife, and still held
him in relentless grip while another pressed a red-hot branding-iron on
his side, which sizzled and sent up blue smoke, together with an odor of
burned flesh. The calves bawled piteously. There was no more emotion on
the faces of the Soledad girls than was shown by the brown cowboys. They
had often, very often, seen this before, and their nerves were strong.
Some day I can picture in my mind's eye these young girl vaqueros grown
to womanhood, and being such good-looking creatures, very naturally some
young man will want very badly to marry one of them--for it cannot be
otherwise. I only hope he will not be a thin-chested, cigarette-smoking
dude, because it will be a sacrilege of nature. He must undoubtedly have
played forward at Princeton or Yale, or be unworthy.

As we stood, a massive bull emerged from the body of the herd, his head
thrown high, tail stiff with anger, eye rolling, and breath coming
quick. He trotted quickly forward, and, lowering his head, charged
through the "punchers." Instantly a small Soledad girl was after him,
the vaqueros reining back to enjoy the strange ride with their eyes. Her
hat flew off, and the long curls flapped in the rushing air as her pony
fairly sailed over the difficult ground. The bull tore furiously, but
behind him swept the pony and the child. As we watched, the chase had
gone a mile away, but little Miss Yellowcurls drew gradually to the far
side of the bull, quartering him on the far side, and whirling on,
headed her quarry back to her audience and the herd. The rough-and-ready
American range boss sat sidewise in his saddle and thought--for he never
talked unnecessarily, though appreciation was chalked all over his pose.
The manager and madam felt as though they were responsible for this
wonderful thing. The Mexican cowboys snapped their fingers and eyes at
one another, shouting quick Spanish, while the American part of the
beholders agreed that it was the "limit"; "that as a picture," etc.;
"that the American girl, properly environed "; "that this girl in
particular," etc., was a dream. Then the bull and the girl came home;
the bull to his fellows, and the girl to us. But she didn't have an idea
of our admiration, because we didn't tell her; that would have been
wrong, as you can imagine. Ten years will complicate little Miss
Yellowcurls. Then she could be vain about such a thing; but, alas! she
will not be--she will have forgotten.


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