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they had come suddenly upon a man by but to come and live nearer to me; but the name of Black, who lived some twen- he wouldn't do it! He's a strange, wild ty miles off, when he was ploughing in sort of a man. They say his wife, that the field. He was holding the plough- he loved very much, was killed by the handles, while his son, about thirteen Mexicans, and that Agatone had someyears of age, drove the oxen. The In- thing to do with it,-and the poor fellow dians were nearly on him before he saw has been a little cracked ever since ! but I them. He seized his little son by the don't pity a man much who would let the hand and ran for life towards the house, death of a woman crack his brain !" where his rifle was. The Indians were so Paugh! I felt as if I could ram the butt close upon him, that in the hurry the little of my gun into his mouth for the utterboy fell and broke the hold of his father's ance of so coarse a thought; but I rehand; he looked back, and saw that if he membered the scene at breakfast with the stopped an instant to regain him, their lan- Texan, and held my peace. ces would be into him—they were already comment was sacrilegious, upon a story standing in their stirrups to launch them which, unconsciously to him, was a most --so he kept on, hoping to get his rifle in touching one. I felt a deep and sadder time to rescue him. He sprang into his interest for the man at once.
Such a house, and one of them was in such eager grief was that of a strong nature--haunting pursuit that, before he could check his him out from all social ties, to live in the headway, his horse run its head into the constant presence of dangers which apdoor, and had nearly pitched its rider palled other men, that he might dedicate head-foremost into it. Before he could his solitary life to past memories and recover himself, Black had dashed his vengeance. Truly was it a piteous fate brains out with his rifle. He then sprang to see thus cut off
, one after another, the into the saddle of the Indian, maddened only living bonds between that love and with a father's agony as he saw the rest the deep oblivion of death! This man of the party making off at full speed with is an instance, among many others, of the his child—for only the single one had strange, passionate eccentrics to be met followed him after he dropped his boy. with on this frontier. One of them, lifting the boy on the point But, Colonel,” said I, “if this be of his lance by the clothes, had set him the son of Black, why should the Indians behind another, and then they had wheeled have brought him all this distance to and cleared out, seeing, probably, what kill him, if they intended to do it!" would be the result of the affair with “ Oh! they didn't intend to do it when Black. The poor man saw they had they brought him off: they don't often greatly the start of him, but he gave chase kill white children when they can get alone with the desperation of frantic hope; them away. They adopt the boys, and and frantic it proved to be, for they out- make warriors of them, and value them stripped him far enough, and he soon lost very highly, for a number of their mostsight of them. He then turned, and made distinguished war chiefs were stolen in for Bexar, to get Hay's Rangers, in the this way; but for the girls they care hope that he should be able to intercept little: they take them if it is convenient, them before they reached the hills. and if it isn't, they seldom kill them.
“ Ah !" said the Colonel, “this is the They don't make wives of them, but son of poor Black we have just buried ! merely slaves. They have so great conA most unfortunate man he has been! tempt for the Mexicans though, that they This is the second son he has had killed always kill them---man, woman and within the year, and is the last of his child. They never permit a white boy family. He's a brave man, but has been to be rescued; and if there is any probafoolish in always living where nobody bility of this, they invariably kill him. else would dare to live; he was living in I suppose the way this thing happened just such a place when his other boy was was, that the Indian with the boy be. killed. Black had a very fine horse, and hind him, was in the rear, and the boy the boy was riding it after cattle, when hearing the guns, and thinking that one of Agatone's men, who had been lurk- friends were near, jnmped off and ating about to steal it for several days, tempted to run for it, and the Indian waylaid the boy, shot him, and took the struck his lance into him and left him. horse. When he was going to live in It is a settled point with them always to this place, I tried to persuade him not, do this; for they consider that if the boy
escapes them, he will become a white anything else would avail, for out warrior; but if they kill him, it is one of a walk he could not nor would not future enemy out of the way!"
go, The Colonel and all parties, who I had afterwards an opportunity of had been rather laughing at my riseeing this savage trait more clearly diculous position before, now seriously illustrated! The whole party were now advised that I should go back, as it was assembled at the blocks of the picketing, plain the horse could not hold out. But I armed and mounting, “in hot haste,” for was excited, and determined to go on and the Indian fight; and when everybody see this affair out at any rate; so I turned else was under way, I found myself by my poor steed loose when I found he the side of the most disconsolate, wo- could not answer to the heaviest strokes begone looking beast that ever it was 1 gave him, and determined to keep up my fortune to put eyes upon. Rosinante on foot. Several of them, seeing that was an over-fed, high-conditioned steed go I would, proposed that I should " ride compared with him. A starved buzzard and tie” with them in turn. I was now would have scorned to pick his lean ribs, comparatively comfortable, and had time and a hungry wolf's tooth could have to survey the party more critically. hardly scraped anything but hair, hide Antone, bearing aloft a Comanche lance, and tendon from his hams; and there rode valorously at the head of the party, was a great disgusting sore on his back. and, much to my astonishment, next to But what was I to do? My feet were him came Davis our “ Euphuist;" who still too tender and full of thorns to had rejuvenated his glories, and looked think of walking. My pride would not as splendid and gay as ever : and, like permit me to stay behind, and the only his peer Antone, carried simply a lance resource left was to make the best of for his weapon-scorning, no doubt, in this wretched creature. I felt my con- his chivalry, to take advantage of supescience twinge me hard as the poor ani- rior knowledge in fighting the poor barmal groaned when I mounted the saddle. barians with his own weapons. He and The Lieutenant came back and gave me Antone seemed to be engaged in a braga“quirt;" assuring me that there was a ging match, from the loud ring of their wonderful outcome in all these horses, voices. Next to them followed the Mexiand that I had only to ply it well to make cans, eager for the fray. Thinking it my steed do all I wished—that I could about time we should be approaching the easily keep up until we got to the Co- Medina, I took advantage of this gallant manche camp, and then I could win a confidence, to secure my turn on horsehorse for myself. This all chimed so well back, of one of the heroes, who had prowith my own wishes, that I commenced mised me that I should ride his horse plying the heavy whip upon the sounding in turn. But as we approached a porribs of my steed; and as his unex- tion of the road, skirted on each side by pectedly brisk movement brought me up thick and scrubby undergrowth, which with the company very soon, I began to prevented our seeing far, and the timber conceive that his miserable looks were before us began to thicken and look tall all a deception, and to feel entirely merci- like that bordering upon a stream, I began less, as I conceived he had been play- to notice that the nimble horses of the ing 'possum” with me in assuming them. Mexicans grew suddenly amazingly slugThe whole of this I was very anxious to gish, and I perceived myself to be passbelieve, and that the saddle, though it ing them one after another, although my rested upon that huge sore on his back, horse was walking slowly; and when did not hurt him in reality, but that some- at_last there was a cry ahead of us, how or other he had got used to it. “ There they are !" I came near to being Pardon me, gentle reader, for this cruel run over and trampled by the sagacious sophistry! But you must consider that, and politic Antone hurrying back to in this frontier life, all depends upon bring up the lagging rear.
He was your being positively in it, when a fight pouring out eloquent and voluble exhoroccurs, for nobody takes the trouble to tations to them to remember the glories consider the impossibility of your get- of their ancestry, and deport themselves ting there! If you are not there, your worthily of their high descent; while reputation suffers. I felt all this, though Davis, on the other side, was gesticulaI felt, too, every lash I gave the poor ting furiously, and talking louder than horse cut into my conscience! But after Antone, though a little ahead of even going a few miles, neither lashing nor him, in his anxiety to bring up the very
last of the dastardly loiterers; and when keeping. For thirty or forty paces on they got clear to the rear, they took up all sides, the ground was strewed with their positions there--lances in rest heaps of buffalo-robes, coils of raw-hide seemingly determined that no coward lassoes, bridles, bows, quivers with their should fly, but back upon their points. arrows half emptied out, shields, skins My Mexican became now very clamo- filled with parched wheat, moccasins, rous for his horse : this I took'occasion bead pouches, fringed leggins, quirts, to quietly disregard.
horse-tails, and every other conceivable Seeing things so well secured in the sort of quaint, barbarous fixture. The rear, and finding myself, by this sudden warriors themselves were not the least change of the order of march, pushed on curious part of the scene—their persons to the front with my three friends, I looked naked to the clout and leggings, with out with some curiosity, not to say bright ornaments of tin and silver, in anxiety, upon our perspective. We bands, around the wrists and neckwere about two hundred yards from the crescents, stars and curious devices, narrow skirt of timber on the creek, and pendant from their ears and from their between the trunks of the trees I could platted hair, making the “darkness visi. see all the indications of a large encamp. ble” of their sooty skins, more emphament, in dark, half-naked men hurrying tic by the contrast. Most of them their horses together from the prairie, rode what are called “ paint horses ;'' while others were hastily monnting. The that is, the mustang, spotted with all the Colonel gave the command to halt, and deeper colors on a milk-white ground. ordered us to see our guns for an instant, And as I looked around upon this hideand then raising himself in his stirrup, ous, yelling mass, swaying to and fro shouted, “Come, boys, let's into 'em !" about us--their gay feathers, long lances,
We were about fifty paces from the white shields, dark bodies, and gleaming timber, which was about the same dis- eyes——tossed and mingled in the strangest tance in width, and we had to charge confusion by the plunging of their motthrough it, before we were upon the tled steeds, it realized perfectly to me enemy, who were gathered in a confused one of those vague dreams of wild and mass a little distance beyond it. On we savage romance, which ‘had been haunt. went, helter-skelter; and when we came ing my brain since childhood : through, all glowing with the ardor of “ And thousand fantasies battle, what was our astonishment to see Begin to throng my memory the Colonel, who led us, draw up his steed of calling shapes and beckoning shadows suddenly, and shout to a warrior, who dire.” came galloping to meet him, with a grin It was soon demonstrated that we had of delight on his sooty face, “ Why, how something more than “ beckoning shaare you, Castro? We had like to have dows” to deal with in this case; for been into you, old fellow !—we thought they almost trampled us under foot-man you were all Comanches !"
and horse—in the first place, and then And who was Castro ? And what nation they nearly dragged us from our seats were they of--this swarthy troop—with in their unreckoning eagerness to have whom the Colonel had so unexpectedly us get down and partake of their hospiclaimed acquaintance? It was, indeed, a talities. I had by this time become so wild-looking crew. The dark, gaunt, much hardened to miracles, that I quietly fierce-eyed fellows, came crowding eager- submitted to everything which turned up'; ly around us; some of them not fully though I was in the most perfect ignomounted, clinging on by one leg and rance all the while what it meant. Not hand, as they spurred their horses into so with the Texan.
He had his gun the rush ; others, not mounted at all, almost to his face when the sudden recog. dragged their unwilling steeds by the nition took place; and though he did not lariat, bending forward low, in the hurry; quite pull the trigger, he held it still in the while those fairly up, shook their bows position for firing-turning his head and lances, tossing their arms in strange quickly froin side to side, with a chafed, gyrations, and galloped to us from every bewildered look, as the Indians dashed up direction, clamoring their salutations to on every quarter. He could not stand the Colonel with all their lungs. It was the puzzle any longer, and, with a furia savage welcome, with a vengeance ! ous oath, shouted to the Colonel : noisy, extravagant, grotesque! The
Tell me who these black devils are, pearance of their camp was quite in or I'll let into 'em !"
“ Lipans, man! They are the Lipans cast Comanches were, to the tornadoes
our friends! Castro, and all of 'em, of Mexican ire! This rather capped the are old cronies of mine! Keep your climax of any display I had yet witthunder for another time! Look at them nessed of the surprising powers of MasMexicans, will you ?"
ter Antone. Just picture to yourself the We turned our heads. There they tall, erect and martial figure of the Indian were--the blood-stained veterans ! about warrior; and then, a few paces in front a hundred yards off—just rallied from of him, the shriveled figure of Antone, the flight they had commenced-Antone standing in his stirrups, leaning forward, and Davis now at the head again! Here in his eagerness, over the horse's neck; they come! They see there is to be no his hat off, his lean, yellow face upturned, fight, and their valorous captains are lead- his chin and long sharp nose pointing to ing them down with fierce shouts, clatter- the zenith, his little black eyes glowing, ing their weapons as though they intended his wide mouth clattering like a millchopping us to mince meat. Nobody stirred clapper, every sentence to stop their headlong career, as they ex
“ A bombast circumstance, pected; so they were under the disagree. Horribly stuffed with epithets of war," able necessity of halting very suddenly themselves, some ten paces off, to ask enforced by as rapid gesticulation ; changthe meaning of it all. This was done in ing the lance from one hand to the other; a very savage, threatening manner, by now making it sing again, as he whirled their two ferocious leaders; both bluster- it in the air ; now striking it fiercely ing and growling at once, determined to against the saddle. He even forgot his make us all feel, by their surly obtuseness old enemy, the Texan, so intensely was in understanding any explanation of the he absorbed in bearing down poor Castro thing, how much we had escaped in being to the very earth by the torrent of his able to ward off their terrible extirminat- eloquence; when, suddenly, a lance from ing charge. Castro and his warriors that same merciless hand, was so sharply looked at them for a moment in con- thrust into his posteriors, that-biting a temptuous silence. The ehief then turned word in two_the pain caused him to to us with a grin.
make a convulsive spring which carried “ Booh! booh !” said he; “who them him over his horse's head, and landed scare? The rats in the sand ?”
him most ignominiously on his nose, in We all burst into a hearty laugh at the burrow of a sand rat, amidst a simul. this; while the Mexicans, seeing their taneous roar of laughter, in which even sputter was “no go,” came crowding in the stoical warriors joined. Davis reamong us with obstreperous expressions treated very suddenly; and as the chopof delight. Even the Achillean anger of fallen knave gathered himself, sputterAntone and Davis was appeased at last; ing the blood and sand from his mouth, changing by slow and dignified degrees, and slunk off to the water to repair from a scowl to a grin. They were soon damages, he was followed by reiterated launched-each for himself-into a for- peals. I thought Texas would go into mal oration : in which they congratulated actual convulsions: he slid froin his Castro upon the lucky escape he had horse and rolled upon the grass in a permade in giving the explanation just in fect spasm of merriment; and the Colonel, time to save himself and party from I think, approached nearer to the verge being overwhelmed by the hot-headed of a genuine laugh than I ever saw him impetuosity of their veterans. They before or afterward. The Indians enshook before his eyes the lances which had joyed it highly, though laughing is not a been taken from the rash and unlucky national amusement with them ; but they Comanches, and showed how they had entered into the whole spirit of the been bent like reeds before the tempest- thing; for they were brave, shrewd men, track of the wrath they had provoked. and felt, perhaps, a more unmitigated They were then winding up by impressing contempt for the Mexicans than even we upon him, in reiterations, the high sense did. of gratitude he ought to entertain and The hubbub of merriment subsided, express towards the “ Blessed Virgin,” we yielded to the solicitations of Castro for her mercy in permitting him to come and dismounted. Buffalo-rugs were spread under the shadow of their formidable on the ground, and we were very promptpower as allies; not leaving him and his ly seated, in comfort and feasting with nation exposed, as the wretched and out these men we had been so near a fatal collision with a few moments before. Tufts of red-stained horse-hair, and scarThey had built no fires, for fear the smoke let feathers, set off his lance, and bow, might betray them to the Comanches, of and belts,-one of which last crossed his whose presence in the country they were swelling chest and sustained the full and aware. Our repast was light, simple, gaily decorated quiver behind : another and nutritious; such as the southern around his waist, bore the long huntingIndians always carry with them on their knife, and held in its place the most unexpeditions. It consisted merely of dried poetical, and ineuphoneous, « breechbeef and venison pounded up fine, that clout;" and to this was attached, by it might occupy as little space as possi- thongs, the leggins, which came up to ble in their packs, and Mexican wheat, the knees, the white buckskin of which parched and then coarsely ground be. they were made, marked with angular tween two stones. This last we mixed figures in red and black paint, and cut with water from the river and drank. into a wide fringe behind ; again, to This food is highly nutritious, and easily those were attached the moccasins, made carried; and the Indians will endure im- of the same material, neatly fringed, and mense hardships, for a long time, on it worked with beads, by the fingers of alone. The necessities of their wild some dusky maiden. At his feet lay his helter-skelter lives have taught them to bow, and the oval shield made of skin settle down upon the two articles, of all from the necks of buffalo bulls, tanned others, used by man for food—which to a shining, white surface, bearing, like analytical chemistry has taught us to the shields of all other knights, his coat contain the greatest amount of alimentary of arms, painted in strange hieroglyphics, matter compressible into the smallest that told the story of his feats. His space. It is a curious fact that men will warriors, to the number of sixty, acendure a greater amount of fatigue, and coutred in something like the same style, for a greater length of time, on ihis than though much less handsomely, were any other known diet. The hunters, grouped around us in grave silence, looktrappers and Indians all agree in assert- ing up to his face with respeciful attening this, and my experience goes to con- tion, when, with a graceful though firm it. The meal, which had been dis stately nod to the Colonel, he commenced: patched in rather formal silence, being “ Brodder! the big war-chief,” nodding finished, Castro arose, as the politicians to us," and white brodders! Lipans are say, to define his position. He was a strong braves! they no forget! So fine-looking fellow, straight as the stem much times,” holding up the fingers of of a palm; his limbs exquisitely de- both hands, “the grass has been pale, veloped. There was a light and elegant Castro and his braves know the big warfinish about his whole frame, that [ chief. He very much brave; his heart scarcely ever saw approached-an ex- much full of blood-his hand very red. pression of bounding elasticity that can- He strikes like the Great-Spirit fire ! the not be conveyed. His face was after Comanch fall, the Mexican fall-many “ the high old Roman fashion,” his fore. papooses weep. He learn Castro much head broader and better developed than I to fight. Castro he now big war-chief, ever noticed an Indian’s before; and the too. The Comanch take your horse! circlet of eagle's feathers set back upon Castro will take his scalp! The big war. it, the flash of his large black eye, and chief must have his horse ; Castro will the play of his wide, thin nostril, gave bring it! The trail is on the grass. to his whole air a fierce alertness, and Lipans see sharp. They are ravens. Many wild magnanimity, which would have hours they are gone. Lipans are swift. consummated the poet's ideal of nature's They are long-eared rabbits* -
* --run longer tameless chivalry--a nursling of the sun than wolves! Comanch has much good and storms-a knight of the sea-like horse. Lipans' horse run like wild goose fly. waving plains-quick in the chase and Go sleep! Castro will bring you scalpsbattle as the gray-hawk's arrowy stoop all you horse! So much,” holding up -merciless, strong, and terrible in beauty four fingers," times the sun go, the big as the glossy panther. He was much war-chief and white brodders shall see distinguished too, above his tribe, by the Castro! Comanch big cowards ! Lipans richness of his ornaments, which were hate cowards! Damn! Castro will whip of pure silver, banded, and hung upon Comanch! Lipans can whip squaws!" his dusky skin in great profuseness. The warriors sprang to their feet at the
† A large species of rabbit, with very long ears, that far outstrips any other animal on the plains for speed.