« AnteriorContinuar »
deterred. Vain were the warn He paints the red braves in ings of friendly Indians; they their white buffalo robes, with laughed at the danger and went their gaily bedizened squaws, on with their preparations. as they stalked about the preParkman paints them to the cincts of the forts; he blends life :
sentiment with romance, as he : “Seraphin was a tall, powerful recalls his impressions of blizfellow, with a sullen and sinister zards and thunderstorms, and countenance. His rifle had very of lonely night quarters, when probably drawn other blood than bivouacking on the plains, serthat of buffalo or Indians. Rouleau enaded by owls and coyotes. had a broad, ruddy face, marked with He passed the mountains in as few traces of thought or care as a child's.
His figure was square and company of a band of Sioux strong, but the first joints of both his warriors, and “ one morning's feet were frozen off, and his horse had march was not to be forgotten. lately thrown and trampled on him, It led us through a sublime by which he was severely injured in the chest. But nothing could subdue waste, a wilderness of mounhis gaiety, and he had an unlucky tains and pine - forests, over partiality for squaws.. Like which the spirit of loneliness other trappers, his life was one of con and silence seemed brooding. trast and variety ; but when once in Above and below, little could be pursuit of the beaver, he was involved in extreme privations and perils.
seen but the same dark green Hand and foot, eye and ear, must be foliage. It overspread the valalways alert. Frequently he must leys and enveloped the mouncontent himself with devouring his tains, from the black rocks that evening meal uncooked, lest the light crowned their summits to the of his fire should attract some wan: dering Indian; and sometimes, having streams that circled round their made the rude repast, he must leave bases." Such vivid sketches his fire still blazing, and withdraw to
present us with the surrounda distance, under cover of the dark
the trapper ness, that his disappointed enemy, ings in which drawn thither by the light, may find passed his existence. And we his victim gone, and be unable to see him at home-if he had a trace his footsteps in the gloom. home-in his hours of idleness This is the life led by scores of trap- at St Louis, when getting rid pers in the Rocky Mountains. I once met a man whose breast was marked of his dollars or looking out for with the scars of six bullets and a new engagement. There he arrows, one of his arms broken by a was cock of the walk in the shot, and one of his knees shattered; motley multitude, walking aryet still
, with the mettle of New Eng senals of rifle, pistol, and bowieland, he continued to follow his perilous calling."
knife, the floating population
of that base of operations for Rouleau and Seraphin would prairie traders and pioneers of go out, and "that,” says Park- agriculture. He had his favman,
the last I saw of ourite houses of call among the them.” His volume has a great drinking and gambling saloons, charm, as he eloquently de- where night and day, over the scribes from personal observa- decks of cards, he fraternised or tion all that Irving had gath- quarrelled in chronic intoxicaered from Bonneville's report. tion. There have been more VOL. CLXV.-NO. DCCCCXCIX.
refined societies, but none more
650 miles west of Leavenworth exclusive, for the outsider would in Kansas. There he ruled as be a bold man who dared in a sort of warden of the marches,
the unhallowed and those outworks of civilisarevels.
tion, resorted to by mountain If St Louis was the prairie men and Indians, were restingcapital, Independence sprang places where the caravans broke up, some sixty miles to the their journeys. Parkman went westward, as St Louis's prairie as far south in the course of his port. Thence trains of the wanderings. He gives a graphic heavy waggons, called prairie dea of the rude manner of livschooners, carried on the lucra- ing, and of the utter absence tive trade opened up with the of discipline and precautions in Mexican settlements. They ran what was regarded as an irextraordinary risks, and required regular military post. In fact, strong convoys. The country the occupants trusted to their was perpetually raided by In rifles, their scouts, and their dians, who had safe retreats in luck. “The Pueblo the western mountains. As the wretched species of fort of most valuable cargoes were passing primitive construction.” The in transit, the Indians had no slender stockades were breached inducement to let them go by. or broken down, and the gate They missed no opportunity of dangled loosely on its wooden making captures, and massacres hinges. “We saw the large were of frequent occurrence. Santa Fé waggons standing toMoreover, capable guides were gether. . . . Richard conducted indispensable, for there were no us to the state apartment, a regular tracks across the stony small mud room. . There deserts, and in the dry season were no chairs, but instead of water was scarce. The
them a number of chests and gons were in charge of Missouri boxes ranged round the walls.” teamsters, stout men of their Other writers have described hands, but unskilled as children the scenes there. When the in prairie navigation and fron- trappers were away on their tier fighting. So, just when the hunts it was often dull enough. trapping business had gone to When they rallied for the authe bad, the trappers came into tumn rendezvous there was inrequest as hunters and guards cessant gambling, brawling, and to the caravans. The services fighting. In the palmy days, of such a man as Kit Carson when“ beaver was up,” they were invaluable; he made money would sometimes bring in a fast, and had the wisdom to in- thousand dollars' worth of pelvest it. Another famous band tries. They never carried away of brothers took to speculating a cent—all had passed into the as traders and employers of hands of the traders. Not a trappers with great success. few of those trapping worthies William, familiarly known as were illustrious in their generaBill Bent, gave his name to two tion, and have left their meforts he built on the Arkansas, morials on the Western maps,
standing sponsors to streams, ing-knife, his friends, who were bluffs
, and cañons. Perhaps looking on helplessly from their the most celebrated of those lurking-place, could not detect who had little more than the a quiver in his muscles. Of instinct of the sagacious brute similar stuff were Uncle John was old Bill Williams. As the Smith, Uncle Dick Wooton, veteran mountaineer, he was Kit Carson, and many another. painted to the life in Ruxton's They played their lives as they
Far West. Familiar with staked their dollars, and it was every rood of ground, he could their pride not to flinch when have threaded any of the passes the game went against them. blindfold. A misanthrope, he The chief characteristic of the preferred to hunt alone ; yet trapper was the iron nerve that when the fancy took him to never failed, the presence of mind head a party, his followers con- that never deserted him. Such fided themselves blindly to his as he was, he was always equal guidance. Bill in his younger to himself, and was at his best days had been a Methodist in moments of imminent peril. preacher in Missouri; latterly What gave him his superiority he believed firmly in the trans over the Indian was his swift migration of souls. After in determination in extreme diffinumerable, almost miraculous culties, which seemed indeed to escapes, the pitcher was broken sharpen his faculties to the utthat had gone so often to the
Absolutely indifferent well, and the old man went to paralysing superstitions, he under. An even more remark- doubled the Indian sagacity and able career was that of Rube craft, with infinitely greater dash Stevens. Rube's family had and daring. He was prompt to been massacred by Indians. seizeopportunities which the Red They spared the boy, but cut braves let slip. Embodying the out his tongue. He escaped to hardihood and dauntless perswear undying vengeance, and severance of the American charwell he kept his vow. On one acter, these trappers constituted occasion, in a fight, three against themselves into a faculty of State thirty, after killing the chief of surveyors, and were the veritthe savages in a desperate rough- able makers of the empire of and-tumble grapple, Rube fell the West. The last of them into their hands. Tied to a had gone some thirty years ago, pine - stem and confronted by having pioneered the way for the a gigantic Indian with a scalp- gold-seekers and the ranchers.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A
CHAPTER XV.-AN EXILE IN REVOLT.
WHAT surprises me most statues if it came in the day's when I recall those days is my work, and so far from concealown rapid development. The ing my misdeeds, I was safe to tiny inarticulate pensive crea- glory in any iniquity I could ture of Ireland is, as if by magic, accomplish. So when charged turned into a turbulent advent- with the broken angel, I said, urer,' quick with initiation, with saucily enough I have no doubt a ready and violent word for my —oh! I have no wish to make enemies, whom I regarded as light of the provocations of my many, with a force of character enemies—that “I hadn't done that compelled children older it." than myself to follow me; im The Grand Inquisitor was a perious, passionate, and reck- lovely slim young nun, with a less. How did it come about? dainty gipsy face, all brown It needed long months of un- and golden, full-cheeked, pinkhappiness at home to make me lipped, black-browed. I see her revolt against the most drastic still, the exquisite monster, with rule, and here it sufficed that a her long slim fingers, as delinun should doubt my word to cate as ivory, and the perfidious turn me into a glorified outlaw. witchery of her radiant dark
I confess that whatever the smile. deficiencies of my home train “You mustn't tell lies, Aning, I had not been brought up gela. You were seen to break to think that anybody lied. My the statue.” mother never seemed to think I stood up in vehement proit possible that any of her chil- test, words poured from me in dren could lie. In fact, lying a flood; they gushed from me was the last vice of childhood like life-blood flowing from my I was acquainted with. You heart, and in my passion I flung told the truth as you breathed, my books on the floor, and without thinking of it, for the vowed I would never eat again, simple reason that it could not but that I'd die first, to make possibly occur to you not to tell them all feel miserable because the truth. This was, I know, they had murdered me. And how I took it, though I did not then the pretty Inquisitor car
I believe it was that ried me off, dragging me after villain Frank who broke her with that veiled brutality statue of an angel, and behind of gesture that marks your remy back asserted that he had fined tyrant. I was locked up seen me do it. I had no objec- in the old community-room, then tion in the world to break forty reserved for guests, a big white
1 Copyright, 1898, by Dodd, Mead & Co. in the United States of America.
chamber, with a good deal of most manageable little creature heavy furniture in it.
when not under the influence “ You'll stay here, Angela, of the terrible exasperation inuntil I come to let you out,” justice always provoked in me. she hissed at me.
But there she stood, after the I heard the key turn in the repeated efforts of the gardener lock, and my heart was full of called
open my prison savage hate. I sat and brooded door, haughty, contemptuous, long on the vengeance I desired and triumphant, with me, poor to wreak. Sister Esmeralda miserable little me, surrounded had said she would come at her by the shreddings of my holland good will to let me out. “Very pinafore, in her ruthless power. well,” thought I, wickedly ; A blur of light, the anger of " when she comes she'll not madness, the dreadful tense senfind it so easy to get in.” sation of my helplessness, and
My desire was to thwart her before I knew what I had done in her design to free me when I had caught up the stool and she had a mind to. My object wildly hurled it at her triumwas to die of hunger alone and phant visage. Oh, how I hated forsaken in that big white Sister Esmeralda ! how I hated chamber, and so bring remorse her! and shame upon my tyrants.
The moment was one of exSo, with laboured breath and ceptional solemnity. I was not slow impassioned movements, I scolded, or slapped, or roughly dragged over to the door all the treated. My crime was too furniture I could move. In my appalling for such habitual ardour I accomplished feats I treatment. One would think I could never have aspired to in already wore the black shroud saner moments. A frail child of death, that the gallows stood of eight, I nevertheless wheeled in front of me, and beside it the armchairs, a sofa, a heavy writ- coffin and the yawning grave, ing-table, every seat except a as my enemy, holding my feeble mall stool, and even a cup- child's hand in a vice, marched board, and these I massed care me down the corridor into the fully at the door as an obstruc- dormitory, where a lay sister tion against the entrance of my was commanded to fetch my enemy.
strong boots, my hat and cloak. And then I sat down on the The children were going joystool in the middle of the cham- ously off to supper, with here ber, and tore into shreds with and there, I can imagine, an hands and teeth a new holland awed whisper in my concern, overall. Evening began to fall, as the lay sister took my hand and the light was dim. My in hers; and in silence by her passion had exhausted itself, side, in the grey twilight, I and I was hungry and tired walked from the Ivies beyond and miserable. Had any one
the common down to the town else except Sister Esmeralda convent, where only the mothers come to the door, I should have dwelt. I knew something dreadbehaved differently, for I was a ful was going to happen to me,