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admirable, for they were arranged with no little skill and taste. His quiver was made of the spotted skin of a small panther, such as are common among the Black Hills, from which the tail and distended claws were still allowed to hang. The White Shield concluded his entertainment in a manner characteristic of an Indian. He begged of me a little powder and ball, for he had a gun as well as bow and arrows; but this I was obliged to refuse, because I had scarcely enough for my own use. Making him, however, a parting present of a paper of vermilion, I left him apparently quite contented.
Unhappily on the next morning The White Shield took cold and was attacked with a violent inflammation of the throat. Immediately he seemed to lose all spirit, and though before no warrior in the village had borne himself more proudly, he now moped about from lodge to lodge with a forlorn and dejected air. At length he came and sat down, close wrapped in his robe, before the lodge of Reynal, but when he found that neither he nor I knew how to relieve him, he arose and stalked over to one of the medicine-men of the village. This old imposter thumped him for some time with both fists, howled and yelped over him, and beat a drum close to his ear to expel the evil spirit that had taken possession of him. This vigorous treatment failing of the desired effect, The White Shield withdrew to his own lodge, where he lay disconsolate for some hours. Making his appearance once more in the afternoon, he again took his seat on
the ground before Reynal's lodge, holding his throat with his hand. For some time he sat perfectly silent with his eyes fixed mournfully on the ground. At last he began to speak in a low tone:
“I am a brave man,” he said; "all the young men think me a great warrior, and ten of them are ready to go with me to the war. I will go and show them the enemy. Last summer the Snakes killed my brother. I cannot live unless I revenge his death. To-morrow we will set out and I will take their scalps.”
The White Shield, as he expressed this resolution, seemed to have lost all the accustomed fire and spirit of his look, and hung his head as if in a fit of despondency.
As I was sitting that evening at one of the fires, I saw him arrayed in his splendid war dress, his cheeks painted with vermilion, leading his favorite war horse to the front of his lodge. He mounted and rode round the village, singing his war-song in a loud hoarse voice amid the shrill acclamations of the women. Then dismounting, he remained for some minutes prostrate upon the ground, as if in an act of supplication. On the following morning I looked in vain for the departure of the warriors. All was quiet in the village until late in the forenoon, when The White Shield, issuing from his lodge, came and seated himself in his old place before us. Reynal asked him why he had not gone out to find the enemy.
"I cannot go," answered The White Shield in a
dejected voice. “I have given my war-arrows to the Meneaska."
You have only given him two of your arrows,” said Reynal. "If you ask him, he will give them back again.
For some time The White Shield said nothing. At last he spoke in a gloomy tone:
“One of my young men has had bad dreams. The spirits of the dead came and threw stones at him in his sleep.”
If such a dream had actually taken place it would instantly have broken up this or any other war party, but both Reynal and I were convinced at the time that it was a mere fabrication to excuse his remaining at home.
The White Shield was a warrior of noted prowess. Very probably, he would have received a mortal wound without the show of pain, and endured without flinching the worst tortures that an enemy could inflict upon him. The whole power of an Indian's nature would be summoned to encounter such a trial; every influence of his education from childhood would have prepared him for it; the cause of his suffering would have been visibly and palpably before him, and his spirit would rise to set his enemy at defiance, and gain the highest glory of a warrior by meeting death with fortitude. But when he feels himself attacked by a mysterious evil, before whose insidious assaults his manhood is wasted, and his strength drained away, when he can see no enemy to resist and
defy, the boldest warrior falls prostrate at once. He believes that a bad spirit has taken possession of him, or that he is the victim of some charm. When suffering from a protracted disorder, an Indian will often abandon himself to his supposed destiny, pine away and die, the victim of his own imagination. The same effect will often follow from a series of calamities, or a long run of ill success, and the sufferer has been known to ride into the midst of an enemy's camp, or attack a grizzly bear single-handed, to get rid of a life which he supposed to lie under the doom of misfortune.
Thus after all his fasting, dreaming, and calling upon the Great Spirit, The White Shield's war party was pitifully broken up. A day or two after this, however, as if by way of compensation, a quarrel arose in the village itself, and a general battle among its fierce inhabitants had well-nigh been the result.
Ours the wild life, in freedom still to range,
In speaking of the Indians, I have almost forgotten two bold adventurers of another race, the trappers Rouleau and Saraphin. These men were bent on a most hazardous enterprise. A day's journey to the westward was the country over which the Arapahoes are accustomed to range, and for which the two trappers were on the point of setting out. These Arapahoes, of whom Shaw and I afterward fell in with a large village, are ferocious barbarians, of a most brutal and wolfish aspect, and of late they had declared themselves enemies to the whites, and threatened death to the first who should venture within their territory. The occasion of the declaration was as follows:
In the previous spring, 1845, Colonel Kearney left Fort Leavenworth with several companies of dragoons,