« PreviousContinue »
"Am I in a land of fairies ?' I exclaimed, or have I lost my senses ?'
I returned to my dwelling, pondering on the events of the last hour; events shrouded in mystery, which even I, with my knowledge of the future, could not solve. I brooded over the vision till I thought the scene was in some way connected with my own fate; nay, indeed I was certain; for in all matters wherein I was not concerned, the future and the past were known to me. Since my interview with the holy man, I had felt an unwillingness to seek any knowledge of my own dark fate. The words of the stranger, too, came to my mind, · That which God has wisely hid from us, 't were best not seek to know ;' and each word that he had uttered was dwelt on by me with a feeling almost approaching adoration. But how else could I obtain the knowledge I wished ?
I sat at the casement, watching the last rays of the setting sun, as they tinged with gold the western sky. I took from my bosom the miniature of the stranger. Sadly my thoughts dwelt on the past; and I almost wished again to live over the time when I watched him, sick and helpless, in my ruined home. All was calm and still around me. I called my guardian spirits. Soon the same sweet distant sound of music fell on my ear that used to greet me in my native land; and a voice said:
At thy summons we come;
At thy bidding we bow;
What wouldst thou know?'
'I would know,' I exclaimed, 'of the stranger. I would know the meaning of the vision I saw but now, and of the pigmy being that stood by my side.'
The same voice replied :
Yox castle's gray turrets
That rise in the west,
By the stranger 's possess'd.
• The vision portends,
That in beauty and pride,
This night leads a bride.
Is the woodland and fell, of him, e'en to thee,
We no tidings may tell.'
*The green hazel grove,
Where thou heard'st the bird's song,
To the stranger belong.
I stood entranced. The knowledge that I was near the stranger filled my heart with joy. I thought of the past, and forgot the immeasurable gulf that was between us, till a recollection of the vision came : he was that night to lead a bride to the altar. Distraction was in the thought; and I fled into the open air to cool my burning brow.
There, peering in the west, I saw the gray turrets of his home, the home he had spoken to me of, and though he had given it no other name, I had pictured it as earth's brightest spot. I was near him, and the knowledge soothed me. There was one being, I thought, who, if he did not love, at least felt an interest in my fate.
Night was fast drawing her ebon curtain, as with a beating heart, I bent my steps toward the castle, and reached the chapel, first of the bridal throng. I placed myself behind a column, nigh to the altar, where I was almost hid from view. I saw the priest in his robes ; I heard foot.
the aisle ; and I closed my eyes to shut out the har. rowing scene. Oh, the misery of that moment !
When I again looked, the stranger stood almost at my side; so near was I to him, that I might have touched his hand, though the column hid me from his view. With de erate resolution I gazed upon the proud beauty that was to be his wife. She was faultlessly fair ; but there was that in her look which told me her heart was cold, cruel, and unrelenting : the jewels sparkled on her brow, but love and charity dwelt not in her heart. I remembered his words, ‘One whom, alas! I cannot love, but who is soon to be my wife,' and already saw the wreck of his peace. He was pale: no joy sparkled in his eyes. I pressed his miniature to my heart, and stood, an almost breathless spectator, till the vows had passed that made them one. I whispered in his ear, • When thou think’st not of Ellspeth, she will be by thy side ! and fled, I know not whither. I could no longer abide where chance might bring him to my sight.
The bright moon threw her silver light over glen and glade. The star of evening had brought rest to every living thing. The God of Nature had kindly cared for all. All were at peace save me, the doomed one: I had not where to rest my head. Alone, without earthly companionship, I envied even the humble peasant, as I passed his window, and saw by the light of his cheerful fire the confiding look of love in his partner's eyes, as their prattling children clung delighted to his knee. I felt that for me no flower of affection could bloom; no heart beat with rapture at my approach! I stood a doomed wanderer, the sky my cov ering, and the world my home! I covered my face, and wept.
Something at this moment touched me, and looking down, I beheld the pigmy being who had brought the vision to my view, standing by
• What wouldst thou with one so lone and wretched ?' I exclaimed. He looked kindly on me, and replied:
"A BALM there is for every wo;
For every grief a joy:
Creates not to destroy.
Be't thine to dry the widow's tear,
To still the orphan's cry,
And timely and supply.
Forth to the world! I warn thee forth!
The gray man of the hill;
Some mission to fulfil.'
"So wilt thou find the doom thou mourn'st
A blessing kindly given,
And light thine own to Heaven.'
He ceased, and I saw him no longer; he went like a passing thought ; but the memory of his words remained.
QuotH DERMOT, a lodger at Mrs. O'Flynn's,
• How queerly my shower-bath feels !
Or a shoal of electrical eels.'
It's all your own fault, my good fellow;
I'm wiser – I take an umbrella!'
The removal of the Choctaws from Mississippi to their new homes west of the Territory of Arkansas, gave rise to numerous domestic disquietudes. The following is one among the many instances known to • HOLABEE,' as the writer was called by the Indians.
The organization of the Choctaw Nation partakes of a military as well as civil character. The principal chiefs are called colonels; the next grade majors, and the sub-chiefs captains. The captains have districts, and the men, women and children are all registered by their respective captains. Thus the strength of the nation is at all times ascer. tained by calling a council. White men and women are adopted into the nation by marriage. Occasionally the compliment has been paid to a white man, who has entitled himself to their confidence; children of enemies killed in battle, and children of persons residing among them, who have no parental protection. Many families were separated ; a portion emigrating, while others remained behind.
Instances of strong attachment are to be found among them, which would seldom find a precedent in civilized life. These however are not characteristic of Indians in general. The bane of polygamy tends to weaken human affection, except in cases where the mind shows itself superior to the laws and usages of society. The names of Indians depend more on circumstances than on parentage; and the time of giving a name to a warrior, a hunter, or a girl, is alike indefinite.
Black Wolf was the son of a chief. When quite a child, he was sent to a missionary school. He remained until his manhood was nearly developed ; having given evidence, such as is rarely seen in Indian youths, of a fondness for study. The female children seldom acquire much learning, their time being generally employed in learning the use of the needle, and such other arts as may be useful in after life; for the females form the working class. Some exceptions are to be found, in which females show a fondness for books. of this description was a quarter-blood, of great beauty, who from her delicate complexion was called WATER Lily. She remained at the school as an assistantteacher, quite neglected by her parents, who could discover nothing in her delicate form, or her fondness for books, that could add to their comfort; and they were very willing she should remain as long as the missionaries would take care of her. A similarity of thought is not unfrequently attended by a kindred interest in feeling. Black Wolf and Water Lily were often seen reading from the same book, looking over the same map, or tracing the trail to the new home of their nation, which was at this time a matter of all-absorbing interest, the majority having already made their arrangements to remove. Black Wolf re. ceived his name from an act of high daring. When but a youth, he was one day in pursuit of some small game, with a party of Indian boys. Their dogs had scented an animal, and followed it to a swamp. The others were for calling them off, but Black Wolf still urged them on, himself following close, without noticing that his companions were more cautious. He was soon lost in the thicket, yet still continued the pursuit. The dogs soon had the creature at bay; and no sooner had they grappled, than the Indian's knife was in the animal's heart. It proved a black wolf, of the largest size, the skin of which he brought off as a trophy. His youth made this act the more daring; and he was soon known by the name which his early disregard for danger had fairly earned for him; and was allowed a caste in the nation seldom accorded to one so young:
The course of Black Wolf's studies was destined to a sudden interruption. His family was among the first to emigrate, and he was summoned home to prepare for departure. Until this moment he had not known that to leave Water Lily was a matter at all to be regretted. He now found, however, that his feelings were deeply interested ; but he had too much of the Indian to make it known. The hour of departure had been watched by Water Lily. She felt that much of the inte. rest of the school would be lost when Black Wolf had gone. Love has its resources as well among the children of the forest as among more civilized man. Black Wolf was at length ready to leave. He looked in vain for Water Lily, and was compelled to depart without seeing her. He found himself frequently looking back, in hopes to catch a glimpse of her, but nothing could he see. He was very thoughtful ; his pace slackened, and his eyes were on the ground. He would not go back, yet to proceed was painful, even to poignancy. A deep sigh escaped him; the school was no longer visible. He was at last reluctantly hurrying on, when his attention was attracted by a small twig, placed in the centre of the road. He approached it rapidly, and found
suspended from it a well-known string of wampum. He seized it eagerly, pressed it to his lips, and placed it in his bosom ; at the same time a tear swelled in his eye, and he audibly pronounced the name of • Water Lily.
In an instant she was at his side. Had he been less eloquent, she would have remained hidden. Black Wolf was fairly surprised: he could say nothing; but loosing his belt, he placed it on the neck of the blushing girl : then taking her hand, they left the road. He led her to a small wood, where, seated on a fallen tree, they looked at each other a moment in silence. Water Lily could no longer restrain her tears. Dropping her head on his shoulder, she said : • Must you leave me?'
'I must go, Water Lily. I will never forget you. When I am in our new home, I will build a cabin, and I will never be happy until you are in it.'
* I will come,' she said: “if I find no one before me, I will stay. If I find any before me, you will never see me again.'
* Fear not, Water Lily, fear pot; you are first and only. Black Wolf can never split his heart nor his tongue.'
· Enough,' said Water Lily; • I will come ; be sure what I say. Water Lily has no joy when Black Wolf is gone. When the next blossoms come, Water Lily goes to the setting sun. She will now go back; she will learn to make clothing ; she will learn to plant corn, and to make bread; she will leave her books; and when she comes, she will be ready to keep his cabin, if she finds it empty, and to make him happy. If she finds any one before her, she will sing her death-song where none will hear her.'
She picked up a small stick, broke it in two, gave Black Wolf one piece, and put the other in her bosom. Then resting her head on his shoulder, she gave one long sigh. In a moment she was on her feet, and Black Wolf heard her sobs, as she fled back to the school. He gazed after her until she was out of sight, and then resumed his journey, with a heart more at ease, and determined to fulfil his promise. He was now much more cheerful, for he was sure of the love of Water Lily.
Let us leave Black Wolf and his friends to make arrangements for their departure, while we take a view of the country to which they are going, and the preparations made for their reception.
Fort Smith had been abandoned a few years before. It is situated on the right bank of the Arkansas, at the mouth of the Porto River, and three hundred yards west of the line of Crawford county, the western boundary of the then Territory, now State of Arkansas, and the eastern boundary of the Choctaw nation. This was the point of landing in ascending the river, and the general point of entering the nation ; being but eighteen miles from the agency. At this point a number of traders were stationed, and a sub-agent. Issues of provisions, blankets, rifles, powder, and other articles stipulated in the treaty, were made here to the parties arriving. “Holabee' was the name given to an adopted son of the Indians, who was a licensed trader in the nation, and had charge of the articles belonging to them; at times going into the nation to attend to issues, and assist in the emigration. No man had ever enjoyed