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confusion ensued, and the climax of all noise seemed to be attained. Not caring to see more, and in truth slightly apprehensive that the same obsequies might, if I remained, be ere long performed over me, I seized a candle and departed to my cigar-walled room.
CONTAINING A GLANCE AT THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE.
BY A NEW CONTRIBUTOR,
TWELVE summer's flowers have bloomed and faded,
Since thou in all thy youthful beauty's pride
Before the altar stood — a blushing bride :
As thy sweet lips breathed out all tremblingly
Bind heart to heart with Love's most sacred tie !
No higher rapture could thy soul attain ;
For thou didst love — and thou wert loved again!
Twelve summer's flowers have bloomed and faded,
Yet each returning summer's sun hath brought
And life for thee with happiness is fraught:
And thou a matron art, in life's bright prime;
Sweet buds of love — sweet images of thine !
May sorrow's blasts ne'er blight, nor gloomy cares ;
A mother's heart can hope — a mother's prayers !
Be bright to thee as all the Past hath been ;
Yet be his steps by thee unheard, unseen!
And cull for thee their choicest, fairest, flowers;
May it but make more sweet thy happy hours:
And evening's gloom around thy path doth lie,
To seek a blissful home beyond the sky!
The world has recently been delighted with a new history of ancient Greece, but nothing is more surprising to literary novices than the enlargement of minute detail which history acquires as it advances from the period of the recorded occurrences. Such novices innocently suppose that a modern historian can accomplish no more than to collect diligently the narratives of the original actors and their contemporaries; but this is as great a mistake as it would be to suppose that Milton could narrate nothing of Paradise but what he found in the Bible. Any historian is permitted to dilate to the extent of his imagination, provided he says nothing that contradicts authenticated records or established characters; just as a man who purchases a mummy at Cairo may exhibit it at Boston as a priestess of ancient Thebes, or as the wife of Potiphar; but should the mummy prove to have been fabricated, or, even if genuine, prove to be the remains of a man, the exhibition will over-step the license of genius, and be condemned as an imposition. When Psalmanazar, some century ago, pretended to be the native of a hitherto unknown country, whose history and language he invented and published, he was, on detection, stigmatized as a cheat; though the same nonsense, had he published it without a false personation, might have descended admiringly to posterity, with the adventures of Robinson Crusoe or the travels of Gulliver. The man Ireland, who pretended to have found some unpublished plays of Shakspeare, lost by the fraud all the merit of having written dramas which were mistaken for Shakspeare's, and was known only as a detected liar. We commend the conjuror who admits that his tricks are sleightof-hand, while we imprison the fortune-teller who performs kindred tricks as veritable necromancy. Still, a man who employs a fiction as a sort of intellectual condiment, is not compelled to announce its imaginative origin, any more than ‘Snug the joiner' was bound to assure his audience that he was not a real lion. But the partition is not always obvious between the tweedle-dum that is allowable and the tweedle-dee that is disreputable; and a rule by which the boundaries between them can be clearly defined is yet a desideratum in literature.
Happily, our tale needs no such demarcation, for its verity will be sufficiently apparent to judicious readers, and such are all who read the KNICKERBOCKER. We shall therefore only premise farther, that the Oneida Indians were quite numerous at the commencement of the present century. Their play-ground was called the Oneida Castle, but why called a castle we know not, for no castle existed at the era of our narrative. The place was situated some twenty miles west from Utica, and to visit it constituted one of the prime recreations of the early inhabitants of the Central City, and one of the curiosities to which they always hospitably invited their visitors from Connecticut and other old settlements; not omitting to
r'est by the way at Lard's celebrated half-way tavern, and to dine at Wemple's, near the Castle. The Indian play-ground was an extensive unenclosed quadrangular lawn, which was kept closely mown, or it was so constantly trodden as to assume such an appearance. Through the grounds ran, within deep banks, the wild waters of Oneida creek; and, except the trees which lined both sides of these banks, no tree could be seen on the play-ground, not even to shade spectators and loiterers; which peculiarity from the surrounding country, and a total absence of all stumps and under-brush, constituted an abiding curiosity to all beholders. But the greatest attraction of the place consisted in seeing the young warriors play a species of racket, with ball and clubs, while the fathers of the tribe were lounging on the green-sward, and by an occasional guttural interjection, peculiar to Indians, indicating their interest in the agility of the players, as they chased a stricken ball in its aërial course, arrested it by their racket, and hurled it back to some concerted goal. Indian women constituted no portion of the spectators, but they might be seen in distant enclosures, hoeing the forthcoming corn, and often each with an infant hanging at her back, laced so as to be immovable, in a sort of fancifully-decorated perpendicular cradle, made of bark, and ornamented with beads and paint.
The chief of the tribe was named Schonandoah, and was exceedingly old; a relic of the pristine man of the forest, before Indians had become physically degenerated by the fire-water of the whites, or intellectually humbled by a knowledge of the superior skill of civilization, or morally depraved by its communicated vices. Ile was a tall man, still erect in stature, and apparently venerated by his subjects; but more assiduously attended, in true patriarchal style, by his grandchilden, and perhaps remoter descendants. To visit the old chief in his wigwam was a part of the programme of every pleasurable excursion to Oneida ; while he was pleased with the interest thus manifested toward him, mistaking probably for respect to his kingly power what was simply curiosity at his extreme senility. With a pride characteristic of pure Indians, he never condescended to speak English, or to admit he understood it; but aware of the tribute-money which was generally paid by his gay visitors, lie was always attended by an Indian to receive it, and who also interpreted the short colloquies that the visits occasioned. Like all old men, Schonandoah delighted to talk over the incidents of the past; and when strangers seemed inquisitive as to the history of the Indians, the old chief would recount various legends, which, had they been collected and preserved, would have embodied traditions that are probably lost now for ever. One narrative has escaped the common oblivion. It seems to evince a knowledge, not too extensively known by white men, of the three-fold nature of man, physical, moral, and intellectual, making him a kind of triune being; or in other words, a being who combines in one person the three distinct and inconvertible properties of intellect, physical motion, and passion. The story may have constituted a sort of moral allegory, though it was always related as a history of the tribe; for like other rude nations, Indians seem ambitious of a supernatural origin. In repeating the story, we shall take the liberty of anglicizing the mythological Indian machinery; just as, if we had occasion to speak of God, Physician, and President, we would use those words, rather than misrepresent the intelligence of red men by translating (as is usual) the Indian names for these ideas or persons into the childish equivalents of Great Spirit, Medicine Man, and Great Father:
The Story. During one of the predatory excursions of a party of the Agoneseah Indians, they fell into an ambuscade of the Satanas, with whom they were almost constantly at war, and the Agoneseah were all killed, excepting one woman, who by good fortune had been left some hours behind on the trail, to pack up and bring on a quantity of dried venison. She arrived, staggering under her load, in time to escape the massacre, and to discover that she alone remained of the busy party who had parted from her in the morning dawn. With true Indian fortitude, she resolved to make the best use she could of her situation; and judging accurately that the Satanas no longer occupied the vicinity around her, she determined to abide there till some chance might bring thither another party of her friends, or she might seek them more securely than she could at present. She soon sheltered herself by the construction of a wigwam, hung around it the venison in her possession, and leisurely made a bow and some arrows, to procure farther sustenance as the occasions therefor should offer. After living unmolestedly thus during several years, she gradually became fond of the exemption which she enjoyed, for the first time in her life, from the slavery which Indian habits impose on woman; and she resolved to end her days in the solitary independence which PROVIDENCE had created for her. Time, however, brought with it infirmities, and as she felt their increasing pressure, she lamented that she possessed no daughter to relieve the tedium of solitude, and to succeed her in the procurement of venison after she should become disabled by debility. As she indulged these reflections, she became unhappy at the want which her imagination had created. Her unhappiness increased, as usual, with its indulgence, till she wept often and much, that she possessed no daughter. But she at length became satisfied that crying was not the proper remedy in such a case, and she began to turn her efforts into the wiser direction of devising some means by which her great want could be relieved. The moment her thoughts took this practical direction, she recollected the traditions acquired during her childhood, and which peopled every secret and curious place with supernatural beings, who busied themselves in satisfying the desires of favorite devotees. Just such a place lay in her vicinity, screened from view by trees, whose branches seemed to know so well the mysteries they were formed to conceal, that no light ever penetrated the enclosure, except a gloomy baze, which exhibited a spring of water, swift, pellucid, and phosphorescent, that gushed from the carth toward a deep basin formed out of solid rock at the bottom of a deep declivity. She had suspected that this spring was inhabited by supernatural spirits, for while it was intensely cold in summer, it was never arrested by frost in winter, and was rarely resorted to by deer, who seemed alarmed at its roar. The water that she drank was always procured from another source, and she never passed the spring without a devotional feeling, which began to assume much intensity. To this
spring, therefore, she determined to resort. Having waited for a night when the moon was at its full, but so obscured by clouds as to be invisible, (that was the propitious period,) she issued from her cabin and glided slowly toward the indicated spot; though the solemnity of her mission filled her with trepidation. She persisted, however, and parting the thick boughs which screened the source of the gushing stream, she bent over the projecting bank, and throwing into the water a lock of her hair as a propitiatory sacrifice, and three good arrows as an offering, besought the spirits of the spring to be favorable to her wishes. A blast of wind shook the trees, the water sparkled in in its descent, while a soft whisper seemed to say, 'Go home, Catena; you shall have a daughter.' The poor woman was exceedingly delighted, but lest her senses might be suffering under a delusion, she again said, 'Oh! spirits of the rushing spring, give Catena a daughter!'«Go home, woman; you shall have a daughter,' was again the response, but in a loud voice, that indicated some displeasure. She became alarmed lest she had unwittingly omitted some ceremony, and created offence where she had intended nothing but devotion; she therefore said again, ‘Oh! spirits of the spring, Catena would cnly have a daughter!''Go home!' replied the voice, louder than before; 'you shall have a daughter with a vengeance!'
The woman was frightened; but being sure of a daughter, she retraced her steps toward home, as she had been commanded; but when she approached her wigwam, which on her egress she had carefully closed to keep out wolves, that occasionally prowled around at night to steal her venison, she found the entrance unclosed. She entered with true Indian stealth, not knowing what she might encounter; but instead of an enemy, she found on the floor three interesting little female pappooses. Each was swathed in an Indian upright cradle, ornamented with hieroglyphics, by which she knew that one of the girls was named Intellecta, another Appetita, and the third Limbina. A daughter with a vengeance!' said Catena, repeating the malediction with which she had been dismissed from the spring; but if the evil was to extend no farther than to give her three daughters, she felt rather benefited thereby than injured, and inferred, perhaps correctly, that as she had repeated her supplication three times, the three-fold response had occasioned three infants instead of one. Something wrong about the children was, however, soon suspected by the foster-mother, for Appetita was the only one of them that could eat ; Limbiva, the only one that could move its limbs; and Intellecta, the only one that possessed a tongue or could utter words.
When poor Catena fully ascertained the organization of her offspring, she regretted that she had ever prayed for a daughter. Why could not a human being receive a benefit once without an attendant evil? She accordingly cried over the calamity of mankind, and over her own particular calamity; and probably would have soon become so weary of the cares which the children imposed, that the consequences to them might have been tragical, had nature not come to their aid by creating in Catena maternal feelings, that gradually made the children's happiness identical with her own. Like all fairy productions, the children grew rapidly, and Limbina, after a few years, was able to assist her mother in the care of Intellecta aud Appetita, who could not move of themselves.