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part of her captors, she had been exempted from the severe and degrading labor to which Indian women are most generally subjected. Indeed, although she knew no other parents than the old chief and his venerable
squaw, with whom she was domiciled, she was yet an Indian but by association, and her white blood would doubtless have rebelled with a natural pride at the performance of any menial office. Wild, free and joyous, perfectly at home, whether scouring across the prairies on her white mustang or in paddling her bark canoe among the swift currents and dark eddies of the Mississippi
, Liastonoluh was at once the pride and the pet of the nation. She was not long in discovering that the young brave was her ardent admirer. How, it might be difficult to tell
, only that it was by the same sort of animal magnetism or spiritual telegraphing that such psychological facts are usually brought to light. Indeed, the discovery seems to have been mutual and simultaneous, and Miastonemoh, having made up his mind, (a grave matter that, master Fritz,) set himself seriously about winning the maiden's heart after the manner most approved among the beaux of the Winnebagoes.
After repeated efforts, with much labor and some rude skill, he fashioned this flute, (for you must know a lover there attacks his mistress' heart much as Joshua did Jericho,) and taking advantage of the evening of the first new moon, alike the most favorable time for corn planting and love making, he sallied forth. Stopping occasionally to blow a few notes at the doors of the young squaws, his neighbors, more to let them know they had nothing farther to expect than to exhibit any great proficiency on his instrument, he settled himself at last before the wigwam of Liastonoluh, and there he tootle, tootle, tootled away, now a joyous note and then a plaintive one, according as his hopes of a favorable reception rose or fell, for full an hour. Still there
Miastonemoh was a persevering man, as well as a brave one.
In so good a cause he was as little to be discouraged by delay as he was to be daunted by difficulties; so he kept on, tootle, tootle-too, the only response to his tones being the occasional whurr of the night-hawk, or a sharp, unmusical bark from the sentinel of an adjacent colony of prairie-dogs. The night advanced. The stars had lighted the young moon like a bride to her rest, still no answer, and still his patience grew, until at last, ‘in tremulous voice and low,' there broke upon
the calm night, like the first murmuring wave upon an untroubled pool, one of the hundred little love songs with which the Indian maidens solace their idle hours. Joy to the lover then! His hopes were crowned: the maiden recognized and accepted his suit. His code of gallantry forbade his pressing it farther on that occasion; so putting all his skill into one loud joyous blast, he tootled out his adieu, and with his red heart beating the rapid buffalo-dance against his swarthy chest, he marched proudly back to his wigwam.
Now you must know this scene was to be performed weekly at the quarterings of the moon, until she should again renew her horns, before he could consider the maiden fairly and finally his own. Until such lapse of time sh was of course at liberty to jilt or otherwise dispose of him; but the month once elapsed, and all things having gone
was no answer.
smoothly, she had no further choice. A very proper and sensible arrangement, which, were it only introduced into civilized life, would save many a young gallant a short eternity of heart-ache. During the intervals between these weekly serenades the young
brave must leave the flute, together with his medicine-bag, conspicuously suspended from the tree nearest the wigwam of his intended. If it remained unmolested, all was well. Liastonoluh was at liberty to take it away if she pleased, but by such an act she signified the absolute rejection of him and his suit. No other member of the tribe would dare molest it. The medicine-bag made it perfectly 'taboo.' An Indian would as soon have thought of defying the Great Spirit in the war-path as to have meddled with any thing placed under the protection of the mysterious medicine-bag. Beside in this case the bravery and prowess of the lover were a perpetual caution against any interference with his arrangements. Meanwhile all seemed prosperous. Here music, rude and semi-barbarous though it was, was still the food of love.' Miastonemoh 'played on' with diligence and success. The course of their love seemed flowing as smoothly as the silent waters by which they daily wandered. Together in their light canoe they floated away over the dark bosom of the Mississippi; together sought the cooling shade where the wild frost-grapes' tendrils, twining with the pendant branches of the elm, had formed an arbor o'er the water's brink; or mounted on his wildest horse, had galloped away across the wide plain, to meet the cool breeze which fanned the leaves of the distant prairie islands. The moon waxed old apace, and all was well. Thrice had Liastonoluh answered his ditty, when, wo to his hopes ! on the night before his last and final declaration was to have been made, flute, medicine-bag and all disappeared! Astonishment, grief, wounded pride, alternately reigned and raged within him. He would not believe the maiden could so coolly wrong him; and yet he had not an enemy in the tribe, even had an enemy dared to do it. It was barely possible jealousy might have prompted it. He instantly sought the play-ground of his fellows, but no eyes were cast down, no face was averted. He saw there no indication that any one had so insulted the Great Spirit, or so deeply injured himself; beside, the cord which bound them had been carefully untied, not severed as if in haste. It must have been Liastonoluh herself. It could scarcely have been another. Sadly enough did he go through the warlike exercises of the day. Liastonoluh met him with a smile, but he construed it into an expression of triumph. Pride prevented his seeking an explanation, even had the code-matrimonial of the tribe permitted. This was the test-act of the whole affair. Not that in it was any of the true mystery of love making; it was only in the notions of the venerable matrons and midwives of the tribe a ceremonial fit and proper to be observed, which could in no way be evaded or put aside. It was indeed the sign manual, which secured to the marriageable daughters of the nation the indefeisible right of doing as they pleased, without a reason; of jilting a lover without a moment's notice, and without a why or wherefore.' She was not to be questioned. The flute and medicine-bag, the insignia of his adoration, were gone. Doubtless she had taken them as a trophy. All was at an end.
The evening came, and Liastonoluh sat waiting for the coming of her lover. She had not taken the flute away; and, moreover, she heartily loved the young brave. The night wore on, and wore out. She heard naught save the shriek of the owl, as with ominous cries he stood sentry near her lodge. Why came he not? Was he on the war-path? They were at peace with all their enemies. Was he ill ? Was he dead? The early sunrise saw her abroad to learn. In the path which led by the water's side to the council-chamber she met him. She would have rushed to his arms, but he turned aside, that she might pass, while the red anger mounted to his cheeks. Then first it flashed upon her that his neglect was intentional. The blood rushed in a flood back upon her heart for an instant, and then, as she passed slowly by, with haughty steps and averted eyes, went boiling through her veins at the indignity she had received. Now all was indeed at an end : she would tear him from her heart, as false and unworthy her regard. Not so with Miastonemoh. His pride was touched, but so was his heart; and the lingering weeks, as they wore away, still found him idle, listless, and reserved. He deserted the play-ground, the chase, and the council-chamber, to loiter away his time in watching the ceaseless breaking of the waves upon the long beach, or in slowly wandering along the skirts of the prairie. In vain his young friends rallied him. His elasticity was gone, his eyes were sunken, his arm seemed nerveless, and his laugh forgotten.
Things were thus decidedly bad, when one morning as he stood moodily observing the young braves practising their games in the playground, one of their scouts rushed into camp with the cry
that their old enemies the Sacs were upon them. Instantly all was hurry and confusion, rushing in hot haste to horse, and clamoring for arms. Miastonemoh turned silently away, took his quiver of arrows and his shield of buffalo hide, mounted a wild horse he had caught and half broken long before, and rode straight to the wigwam of Liastonoluh. He found her standing like a frightened fawn at the door. He fixed his eyes upon her for a brief
space and said : · Does Liastonoluh fear to die? Let the words of Miastonemoh lay like a stone at the heart of the deceitful. He will pass from the war-path to the happy hunting-grounds beyond. Had she chosen to walk by his side they would together have wandered over the bright prairies of the spirit land. She gave sweet words to a brave of the Winnebagoes, but poured bitterness into his heart. And now when
of the Sac cometh the proud maiden trembles, for she must journey alone through the shadowy land that leads to the last home of the pale-faces !' He gave no time for reply, but suddenly lashing his horse to speed, dashed to the plain. The battle was neither long nor bloody. The enemy were driven off with loss. On retiring from the field the Winnebagoes found that but a single warrior was missing, but that one, alas ! was the gallant and beloved Miastonemoh! He had been seen in a hand-to-hand conflict with the most renowned chief of the enemy, had repelled and driven him, and when last seen was in hot pursuit
. Who could doubt but that, having pursued his adversary beyond the bounds of prudence, his life had been sacrificed
to his rashness. Such was indeed the fact. Hemmed in by numbers who closed
brave had no alternative but to sell his life as dearly as possible, and when at last his horse fell hamstrung, himself, pierced by an hundred arrows, yielded his strong breath only to the fierce spear-thrust of the most stalwart of his foes.
His dark scalp-lock still ornaments the war-club of the first warrior of the Sacs ! The maiden's pride failed with the death of her lover.
The rose left her cheek and her eyes lost their brightness. Some years have passed, and still in the summer evenings, pale and wan, she sits at her cabin door, and with plaintive voice chaunts the death-song of the lost Miastonemoh.
Here ends Mac's tale. How the flute came into his possession is more than I should be able to qualify. I only know that I have it. He's an honest boy and a clever, in the main, and yet I am constrained to allow that had he chosen to carry it off, neither the medicine-bag nor the prowess of the young brave would have proved any bar to the accomplishment of his design. A natural contempt for all kinds of superstition would have rendered him as careless of the one as a Colt's revolver, his constant companion, would have made him indifferent to the other. As for facts, I give you the tale as 't was told to me. Yours truly,
Now the wild lightning was let slip, and tore
The hollow clouds. The thunder like a dragon,
Then, burrowing down through its foundations four,
The winds then blew, and the swift rains descending,
Filled to the brim with foam the mountain lochs ;
From Zagon's pinnacles the topmost blocks.
Arose old Ocean's uproar by the rocks.
Each flash revealed that diabolic corps
Pounding their cartridges with iron rammers,
Louder and wilder rose th' infernal clamors :
And towers fell as struck by brazen hammers.
In truth it was a most rebellious night :
The awakened monsters in their dens lay growling,
Kindled the caves. The swamp-dugs cowered howling,
Demons alone around the land went prowling,
That night a cursed and malignant Moor,
Of morals loose and principles oblique,
And by a certain chemist of Darfour,
The morning came : the Storm's decamping forces
Stood out to sea : we saw their sun-streaked backs
White fogs and vapors rolled in mighty stacks :
Through the wet gorges on the Tartar's tracks;
"O! for a crack of old Olympic thunder !
O! for the batteries of Saturnian Zeus!
Ev'n to that gulf where through the Stygian sluice,
Harpooned, on Norway's coast, the scaly Kraken!'