7 MARCH 1835, Page 17

vity, and a cheerful disposition to look at the bright

side Of

tred in a hunting-frock made of skins; which, if it formerly

44 Let Tycho Brahe and Doctor Dee be called," he cried to the Master of the some fair savage, will look all the smarter. " Then may sir


" He died, then ?" inquired Rudolph ;" and you are left alone in the world ? had it not become somewhat stale; bread i exhausted, game is " To that of medicine, most gracious Majesty." leading his horse, or perhaps losing him, will heartily wish him-

self on the frontier many times before he gets there.

" I have made that part of the medical art my particular study, and I will Such is the sort of life the details and daily adventures of which " Not by the taste or smell, but to a certainty by other tests with which lam gusto, o r have given us more practical information touching the acquainted." available uses of the land passed over ; but no one could have cont- ., We are pleased with you, then," said the Emperor ; " and if your mission bined such continuous interest with such minutely elaborate ele- proves to be correct, and that you have good testimonials from Padua, you may gance of detail. The Osage Indians, the wild horses, and the depend upon our favour." buffaloes, are not general sketches, but actual portraits. The Archibald's blood ran cold, when he thought of his false missiun, and of the boastful and mercurial cook Toansn, half Indian and half French. counterfeit testimonials which the doctor had prepared, with extraordinary art, on the preceding night ; it is true that the latter had been summoned, and, as —the reserved and taciturn huntsman BEATTE, also a half-breed,. the originator of the whole plan, might be depended upon ; but Tycho but with a greater preponderance of Indian blood—and several Brahe—that was a dreadful name to Archibald'. ears, for he had beard, of the officers and people of the camp, are not merely sketched from the doctor's own mouth, the unimpeachable character and the love of off, but made to show themselves in action ; so that the book corn- truth of that most learned man. bines with a tale of travel and adventure a good deal of dramatic


stables at the same moment. They approached the Emperor with almost an We have spoken of the huntsman BE ATTE, who subsequently air cif equality : Dee did not appear to have any previous acquaintance with the became the guide of the expedition. Here he is at hiring and " Argoli has sent us this front Padua," said the Emperor to them, as he For our own parts, the Commissioner and rut self were desirous, before set- gave Tycho Mahe the tablet. ting out, to procure another attendant well veried in wond-craft, who might While the latter examined the astrological calculation with the eye of a hawk, serve as a hunter ; for our little Frenchman would have his hands full, when in Rudolph took Dee by the clasp which confined his robe, and drew him nearer camp, in cooking, awl on the march, in taking care of the pack-horses. Such to him, in a confidential manner. " Now, disbeliever!" he said, laughing, a one presented 1:iniself, or rather Ulli recommended to us, in Pierre Branca a and yet with an air of concern, " do you still doubt ? Argoli has sent us a half-breed of French and Osage parentage. We were assured that he was ac- horoscope, which he has drawn of his own accord, from those mysterious con- !painted with all parts of the country, having traversed it in all directions both stellations that attend our career ; and it is precisely the same that Brake an- in hunting and war parties; that he would be of use both as guide and inter- mooned to us a few flays ago, and which you were bold enough to deride; what preter, and that he was a first-rate hunter.

do you say to that ?" I confess I did not like his looks when he was first pointed out to me. Ho

his composition ; and, as I had been taught to look upon all hali-breeds with " They wish to destroy us," said Rudolph, in a soft pathetic tone; "though distrust, as an uncertain and faithless race, I would gladly have dispensed with

wavering disbelief. I' now own my surprise at your wisdom." We had not been long encamped, when our recently-engaged attendant, Beatte, Bralie, with evident pleasure, took the hand that was extended, and then, the Osage half-breed, made his appearance. Ile came mounted on one horse turning to Archibald and the Emperor, said, "This young man deserves the and leading another, which seemed to be well packed with supplies for the expe- d dis- dition. beaux was evidently an "old soldier" as to the art of taking care of greatest praise, for executing his commission with so much cleverness an cretion. I should write to his renowned master, in praise of his skilful disciple, himself, and looking out for emergencies. Finding that he was in Government did not prudence dictate silence upon an affair which so closely concerns our employ, being engaged by the Commissioner, he had drawn rations of flour and illustrious Emperor ; but I dare commend him to our prince's favour, without bacon, and put them up so as to he weatherproof. In addition to the horse for further inquiry—' the tree is known by its fruit.'" the road, and for ordinary service, which was a rough hardy animal, he had " " another for hunting. This was of a mixed breed, like himself, being a cross of Our justice has already decided upon what shall be done for the messenger, ti-y the domestic stock with the wild horse of the prairies; and a noble steed it was, replied the Emperor, apparently rather annoyed at being thus reminded ; " of generous spirit, fine action, and ad his acquirements, Doctor Dee, and then bring hint to us in the afternoon, admirable bottom. Ile had taken care to

about the hour at which we are accustomed to walk :,fur the present you are have his horses well shod at the agency. He came prepared at all points for dismissed." war or hunting; his rifle on his shoulder, his powder-horn and bullet-pouch at

his side, his hunting-knife stuck in his belt, and coils of cordage at his saddle-

bow, which, we were told, were lariats, or noosed cords, used in catching the and expressive, and the reader is never reminded that he is pe- Thus equipped and provided, an Indian hunter on a prairie is like a cruiser rusing a translation, on the ocean, perfectly independent of the world, and competent to self-protec-

tion and self-maintenance. Ile can cast himself loose from every one, shape his WASHINGTON IRVING'S TO ON THE PRAIRIES own course, and take care of his own fortunes. I thought Beatte scented to feel his independence, and to consider himself superior to us all, now that

s vagrant life in the " far West:" and very pleasant life it seems we were launching into the wilderness. He maintained a half-proud, half- -for a time ; so pleasant, that it might stimulate a man fond of sullen look, and great taciturnity; and his first care was to unpack his horses, adventure to cross the Atlantic and the United States, and, and pot them in safe quarters for the night. His whole demeanour was in per- fect contrast to our vapouring, chattering, bustling little Frenchman. Tbe

bidding farewell to human habitations, start on an expedition into

latter, too, seemed jealous of this new-corner. He whispered to ure that these

half-breeds were a touchy, capricious people, little to be depended upon; that Beatte had evidently come prepared to take care of himself ; and that, at any moment in the course of our tour, he would be liable to take sonic sudden dis- gust or affront, and abandon us at a moment'a warning, having the means of shifting fur himself, and being perfectly at home on the prairies.

It has been hinted that our author and his party accompanied a Government expedition. The main body, however, had started when they arrived; and the tourists had to follow them. Amongst the friends of WASHINGTON 'uvula was a young Swiss count, brimful of romance aud enthusiasm ; he is the person alluded to in the following


Hoping to reoch the encampment of the rangers before nightfall, we Fished on until twilight, when we were obliged to halt on the borders of a ravine. The rangers bivouacked under trees, at the bottom of the dell, while we pitched our tent on a rocky knoll near a running stream. The night came on dark and

• °veg./outs with flying clouds and much, appearance of rain. The fires oF the rangers burnt brightly in the dell, and threw strong masses of light upon the robber-looking groups that were cooking, eating, and drinking around them. To add to the wildness of the scene, several Osage Indians, visiters from the village we had passed, were mingled among the men. Three of them came and -seated themselves by our fire. They watched every thing that was going on round them in silence, and looked like figiage of monumental bronze. We gave them food, and what they most relished, coffee; for the Indians partake in the universal fondness for this beverage which pervades the West. When they had made their supper, they stretched themselves side by side before the flue, and began a low nasal chant, thrumming with their hands upon their breasts, by way -of accompaniment. Their chant scented to consist of regular staves, every one terminating, not in a melodious cadence, but in the abrupt interjection, hah ! uttered almost like a hiccup. This chant, we were told by our interpreter Beatte, related to ourselves, our appearance, our treatment of them, and all that they knew of our plans. In one part they spoke of the young count, whose animated character and eagerness for Indian enterprise had struck their fancy ; and they indulged in some waggery about him and the young Indian beauties that produced great merriment among our halt-beetle.


The Indians that I have had an opportunity of seeing in real life are quite different from those described in poetry. They are by no means the stoics that they are represented—taciturn, unbending, without a tear or a smile. Taciturn, they are, it is true, when in company with White inert, whose good will they distrust, and whose language they do not understand ; but the White man i equally taciturn under like circumstances. When the Indians are among them- e Ives, however, there cannot he greater gossips. Half their time is taken up in talking over their adventures in war and bunting, and in telling whimsical stories. They are great mimics and buffoons also; and entertain themselves ex - cessivety at the expense of the Whites with whom they have associated, at d who have supposed them impressed with profound respect for their grandeur itnd dignity. They are curious observers, noting every thing in silence, but with a keen and watchful eye, occasionally exchanging a glance or a grunt with each other, when any thing particularly strikes them, but reserving all comments until they are alone. Then it is that they give full scope to criticism, satire, mimicry, and mirth. In the course of my journey along the frontier, I have had repeated oppor- tunities of noticing their excitability and boisterous merriment at their games ; and have occasionally noticed it group of °sages sitting round a fire, until a late hour of the night, engaged in the most animated and lively conversation, and at times leaking the woods resound with peals of laughter.

As far as I can judge, the Indian of poetical fiction is like the shepherd of pastoral romance—a mere personification of imaginary attributes.


It was now that our worthies, Beatte and Tonish, had an opportunity of dis- playing their Indian adroitness and resource. At the Osage village which we had passed a day or two before, they had procured a dried buffalo skin. This was now produced ; cords were passed through a number of small eyelet-holes with which it was bordered, and it was drawn up until it foimed a kind of deep trough. Sticks were then placed athwart it on the inside, to keep it in shape ; our camp equipage and a past of our baggage were placed within, and the sin- gular bark was carried down the bank and set afloat. A cord was attached to the prow, which Beatte took between hie teeth, and, throwing himself into the water, went ahead, towing the bark after him, while Tonish followed be- hind, to keep it steady and to propel it. Part of the way they had foot-hold, and were enabled to wade, but in the main current they were obliged to swim. The whole way they whooped and yelled in the Indian style, uutil they landed -safely on the opposite shore. The Commissioner and myself were so well leased with this Indian mode of ferriage, that we determined to trust ourselves in the litifFalo hide. Our men having reel tosed with their cockleshell bark, it was drawn on shore, half filled with saddles, saddle-hags, and other luggage, amounting to at least , a hundred weight, and being again placed in the water, I was invited to take my seat. It appeared to me pretty much like the embarkation of the wise men of Jotharn, who went to sea in a bowl : I stepped in, however, without hesita- tion, though as cautiously as possible, and sat down on top of the luggage, the margin of the hide sinking to within a hand's breadth of the water's edge. Rifles, fowling-pieces, and other articles of small bulk were then handed in, until I protested against receiving any more freight. We then launched forth upon the stream, the bark being towed and propelled as before. It was with a sensation, half serious, half comic, that I found myself thus afloat, on the skin of a buffalo, in the midst of a wild river, surrounded by wil. derness, and towed along by a half savage, whooping and yelling like a devil incarnate. To please the vanity of little Tonish, I discharged the double- barrelled gun to the right and left, when in the centre of the stream. The re- port echoed along the woody shores, and was answered by shouts from some of the rangers, to the great exultation of the little Frenchman, who took to himself the whole glory of this Indian mode of navigation.

Our voyage was accomplished happily : the Commissioner was ferried across with equal success, and all our effects were brought over in the same mariner. Nothing could equal the vainglorious vapouring of little Tonish, as he strutted about the shore, and exulted in his superior skill and knowledge to the rangers. Beatte, however, kept his proud, saturnine look, without a smile. He had a vast contempt for the ignorance of the rangers, and felt that he had been under- valued by them. Ilis only observation was, " Dey now see de Indian good for someting, any how !"

On first plunging into the wilderness, deer, and then elks, were considered crack objects of sport: further on, the buffalo and the wild horse supersede them in interest and excitement. We give a specimen of each kind, and take that buffalo hunt wherein the author figures somewhat Cockney-like.


We now formed our plan to circumvent the herd, and, by getting on the other side of them, to hunt them in the direction where we knew our camp to be si- taated ; otherwise the pursuit might take us to such a distance as to render it impossible to find our way back before nightfall. Taking a wide circuit, there- fore, we moved slowly anti cautiously, pausing occasionally, when we saw any of the herd desist from grazing. The wind fortunately set from them, otherwise they ntight have Scented us and have taken the alarm. In this way we suc- ceeded in getting round the herd without disturbing it. It consisted of about forty head—bulls, cows, and calves. Separating to some distance from each other, we now approached slowly in a parallel line, hoping, by degrees, to steal near without exciting attention. They began, however, to move off quietly, stopping at every step or two to graze ; when suddenly a bull that, unobserved by us, had been taking his siesta tinder a clump of trees to our left, roused him- self from his lair, and hastened to join his companions. We were still at a con- siderable distance, butt the game had taken the alarm. We quickened our pace, they broke into a gallop, and now commenced a full chase.

As the ground was level, they shouldered along with great speed, following each other in a line, two or three bulls bringing up the rear ; the last of whom, from his enormous size and venerable frontlet and beard of sun-burnt hair, looked like the patriarch of the herd, and as if he might lung have reigned the monarch of the prairie.

There is a mixture of the awful and the comic in the look of these huge ani- mals, as they heave their great bulk forwards, with an up and down motion of the unwieldy head and shoulders ; their tails cocked up like the queue of Pan- taloon in a pantomime, the end whisking about in a fierce yet whimsical style; and their eyes glaring venomously with an expression of fright anti fury. For some time I kept parallel with the line, without being able to force my horse within pistol shot, so touch had he been alarmed by the assault of the buffalo in the preceding chase. At length I succeeded, but was again balked by my pistols missing tire. My companions, whose horses were less fleet and more wayworn, could not overtake the herd ; at length Mr. L., who was in the rear of the line and losing ground, levelled his double-barrelled gun, and fired a long raking shot. It struck a buffalo just above the lulus, broke its backbone, and brought it to the ground. Ile stopped, and alighted to despatch his prey, when, borrowing his gun, which had yet a charge remaining in it, I put may horse to his speed, again overtook the herd, which was thundering along pur- sued by the Count. With may present weapon there was no need of inging my horse to such close quarters; galloping along parallel, therefore, I singled out a buffalo, and by a fortunate shot brought it down on the spot. The ball had struck a vital part ; it could not move from the place where it fell, but lay there struggling in mortal agony, while the rest of the herd kept on their head- long career across the prairie.


I was lying by the Captain's fire late in the evening, listening to stories about these coursers of the prairies, and weaving speculations of my own, when there was a clamour of voices and a loud cheering at the other end of the camp, and word was passed that Beatte, the half-breed, had brought in a wild horse.

In an instant every lire was deserted ; the whole camp crowded to see the Indian and his prize. It was a colt about two years old, well grown, finely limbed, with blight prominent eyes, and a spirited yet gentle demeanour. He gazed about him with an air of mingled stupefaction and surprise at the men, the horses, and the camp-tires; while the Indian stood before him with folded arms, having hold of the other end of the cord which noosed his captive, and gazing on him with a most Unperturbable aspect. Beatte, as I have before observed, has n greenish olive complexion, with a strongly. marked countenance, not unlike the bronze casts of Napoleon ; and as he stood before his captive horse, with folded arms and fixed aspect, he looked more like a statueghm a man. If the horse, however, manifested the least restiveness, Beatte would imme- diately worry him with the lariat, jerking him first on one side then on the other, so as almost to throw him on the groutul ; when he had thus rendered him passive, lie would resume his siatuelike attitude, and gaze at him in silence.

The whole scene was singularly wild ; the tall grove partially illumined by the flashing fires of the camp; the horses tethered here anti there among the trees ; the carcasses of deer hanging around ; and in the midst of all the wild huutsman and his wild horse, with an admiring throng of rangers, almost as wild.

In the eagerness of their excitement, several of the young rangers sought to get the horse by purchase or batter, and even offered extravagant terms ; but Beatte declined all their offers. " You give great price now," said he; " to- morrow you take back, and say, ' d—d Indian!' "

The young nien importuned him with questions about the mode in which he took the horse; but his answers were dry and laconic ; he evidently retained some pique at having been undervalued and sneered at by the young rangers, and at the same time looked down upon them with contempt as greenhorns, little versed in the noble science of wood-craft.

Afterwards, however, when he was seated by our fire, I readily drew from him an account of his exploit ; for though taciturn among strangers, and little prone to boast of his actions, yet his taciturnity, like that of all Indians, had its times of relaxation.

He informed me that, on leaving the camp, he had returned to the place where we had lost sight of the wild horse. Soon getting upon its track, he followed it to the banks of the river. Here, the prints being more distinct in the sand, he perceived that one of the hoofs was broken and defective, so he gave up the pursuit.

As he was returning to the camp, he came upon a gang of six horses, which immediately made for the river. He Inn:Died them across the stream, left his rifle on the river bank, and, putting his horse to full speed, soon came up with the fugitives. He attempted to noose one of them ; but the lariat hitched on one of his ears, and he shook it off. The horses dashed up a hill; he followed hard at their heels ; when, of a sudden, he saw their tails whisking in the air, indicating that they were plunging down a precipice. It was too late to stop. He shut his eyes, held in his breath, and went over with them—neck or nothing. The descent was between twenty and thirty feet, but they ail came down safe upon a sandy bottom. He now succeeded in throwing his noose round a fine young horse. As he galloped alongside of him, the two horses passed each side of a sapling, and the end of the lariat was jerked out of his hand. He regained it, but an inter- vening tree obliged hina again to let it go. Having once more caught it, end coining to a more open country, he Was enabled to play the young horse with the line until he gradually checked and subdued him, so as to lead him to the place where he had left his rifle. He had another formidable difficulty in getting him across the river, where both horses stuck for a time in the mire, and Beatte was nearly unseated front his saddle by the force of the current and the struggles of Lis captive. After much toil and trouble, however, he got across the stream, and brought his prize safe into the camp. Here we must stop, though we had marked several other pas- sages. Not that there was much occasion for selection ; as, except the two first chapters, every page is equally pleasing. If continued through several volumes, the slightness of the matter and the ornate and elaborate style might perhaps have induced weariness ; but the Writer was too old a soldier not to be aware of this : he has accordingly stopped exactly when be ought—his book, is neither too lung uor too short, but just the thing.