Taken by the Sioux
The Ordeal Continues, a Vision of Little Mary’s Fate
BY FANNY KELLY
First published in 1872
Abducted by the Sioux and taken to their village of thousands, Fanny Kelly becomes the object of the Indian’s revenge after General Sully pursued and killed many Sioux warriors in battle.
The next morning I could see that something unusual was about to happen. Notwithstanding the early hour, the sun scarcely appearing above the horizon, the principal chiefs and warriors were assembled in council, where, judging from the grave and reflective expression of their countenances, they were about to discuss some serious question.
I had reason for apprehension, from their unfriendly manner toward me, and feared for the penalty I might soon have to pay [having become the object of the Indian’s revenge after being abducted, and after General Sully and his soldiers pursued and killed many Indians in battle].
Soon they sent an Indian to me, who asked me if I was ready to die—to be burned at the stake. I told him whenever Wakon-Tonka (the Great Spirit) was ready, he would call for me, and then I would be ready and willing to go. He said that he had been sent from the council to warn me, that it had become necessary to put me to death, on account of my white brothers killing so many of their young men recently.
He repeated that they were not cruel for the pleasure of being so; necessity is their first law, and he and the wise chiefs, faithful to their hatred for the white race, were in haste to satisfy their thirst for vengeance; and, further, that the interest of their nation required it.
As soon as the chiefs were assembled around the council fire, the pipe-carrier entered the circle, holding in his hand the pipe ready lighted. Bowing to the four cardinal points, he uttered a short prayer, or invocation, and then presented the pipe to the old chief, Ottawa, but retained the bowl in his hand.
When all the chiefs and men had smoked, one after the other, the pipe-bearer emptied the ashes into the fire, saying, "Chiefs of the great Dakota nation, Wakon-Tonka give you wisdom, so that whatever be your determination, it may be conformable to justice."
Then, after bowing respectfully, he retired. A moment of silence followed, in which every one seemed to be meditating seriously upon the words that had just been spoken.
At length one of the most aged of the chiefs, whose body was furrowed with the scars of innumerable wounds, and who enjoyed among his people a reputation for great wisdom, arose. Said he, "The pale faces, our eternal persecutors, pursue and harass us without intermission, forcing us to abandon to them, one by one, our best hunting grounds, and we are compelled to seek a refuge in the depths of these Bad Lands, like timid deer. Many of them even dare to come into prairies which belong to us, to trap beaver, and hunt elk and buffalo, which are our property. These faithless creatures, the outcasts of their own people, rob and kill us when they can. Is it just that we should suffer these wrongs without complaining? Shall we allow ourselves to be slaughtered like timid Assinne-boines, without seeking to avenge ourselves? Does not the law of the Dakotas say, Justice to our own nation, and death to all pale faces? Let my brothers say if that is just," pointing to the stake that was being prepared for me.
"Vengeance is allowable," sententiously remarked Mahpeah (The Sky).
Another old chief, Ottawa, arose and said, "It is the undoubted right of the weak and oppressed; and yet it ought to be proportioned to the injury received. Then why should we put this young, innocent woman to death? Has she not always been kind to us, smiled upon us, and sang for us? Do not all our children love her as a tender sister? Why, then, should we put her to so cruel a death for the crimes of others, if they are of her nation? Why should we punish the innocent for the guilty?"
I looked to Heaven for mercy and protection, offering up those earnest prayers that are never offered in vain; and oh! how thankful I was when I knew their decision was to spare my life. Though terrible were my surroundings, life always became sweet to me, when I felt that I was about to part with it.
A terrible time ensued, and many dogs, and horses, even, died of starvation. Their bodies were eaten immediately; and the slow but constant march was daily kept up, in hope of game and better facilities for fish and fruit.
Many days in succession I tasted no food, save what I could gather on my way; a few rose leaves and blossoms was all I could find, except the grass I would gather and chew, for nourishment. Fear, fatigue, and long-continued abstinence were wearing heavily on my already shattered frame. Women and children were crying for food; it was a painful sight to witness their sufferings, with no means of alleviating them, and no hope of relief save by traveling and hunting.
We had no shelter save the canopy of heaven, and no alternative but to travel on, and at night lie down on the cold, damp ground, for a resting place.
If I could but present to my readers a truthful picture of that Indian home at that time, with all its sorrowful accompaniments! They are certainly engraved upon faithful memory, to last forever; but no touch of pen could give any semblance of the realities to another. What exhibitions of their pride and passion I have seen; what ideas of their intelligence and humanity I have been compelled to form; what manifestations of their power and ability to govern had been thrust upon me.
The treatment received was not such as to enhance in any wise a woman's admiration for the so-called noble red man, but rather to make one pray to be delivered from their power. Compelled to travel many days in succession, and to experience the gnawings of hunger without mitigation, every day had its share of toil and fear. Yet while my temporal wants were thus poorly supplied, I was not wholly denied spiritual food. It was a blessed consolation that no earthly foe could interrupt my communion with the heavenly world. In my midnight, wakeful hours, I was visited with many bright visions.
He walks with thee, that angel kind, And gently whispers, be resigned; Bear up, bear on, the end shall tell, The dear Lord ordereth all things well.
A White Female Speaks of Atrocities and Her Own Mistreatment
It was about this time that I had the sorrowful satisfaction of meeting with a victim of Indian cruelty, whose fate was even sadder than mine. It was a part of my labor to carry water from the stream at which we camped, and, awakened for that purpose, I arose and hurried out one morning before the day had yet dawned clearly, leaving the Indians still in their blankets, and the village very quiet. In the woods beyond I heard the retiring howl of the wolf, the shrill shriek of the bird of prey, as it was sweeping down on the unburied carcass of some poor, murdered traveler, and the desolation of my life and its surroundings filled my heart with dread and gloom.
I was so reduced in strength and spirit, that nothing but the dread of the scalping-knife urged my feet from task to task; and now, returning toward the tipi, with my heavy bucket, I was startled to behold a fair faced, beautiful young girl sitting there, dejected and worn, like myself, but bearing the marks of loveliness and refinement, despite her neglected covering.
Almost doubting my reason, for I had become unsettled in my self-reliance, and even sanity, I feared to address her, but stood spell-bound, gazing in her sad brown eyes and drooping, pallid face. The chief stood near the entrance of the tipi, enjoying the cool morning air, and watching the interview with amusement. He offered me a book, which chanced to be one of the Willson's readers, stolen from our wagons, and bade me show it to the stranger. I approached the girl, who instantly held out her hand, and said: "What book is that?"
The sound of my own language, spoken by one of my own people, was too much for me, and I sank to the ground by the side of the stranger, and, endeavoring to clasp her in my arms, became insensible. A kindly squaw, who was in sight, must have been touched by our helpless sorrow; for, when recovering, she was sprinkling my face with water from the bucket, and regarding me with looks of interest. Of course, we realized that this chance interview would be short, and, perhaps, the last that we would be able to enjoy, and, while my companion covered her face and wept, I told my name and the main incidents of my capture; and I dreaded to recall the possible fate of my Mary, lest I should rouse the terrible feelings I was trying to keep in subjection as my only hope of preserving reason.
The young girl responded to my confidence by giving her own story, which she related to me as follows:
"My name is Mary Boyeau; these people call me Madee. I have been among them since the massacre in Minnesota, and am now in my sixteenth year. My parents were of French descent, but we lived in the State of New York, until my father, in pursuance of his peculiar passion for the life of a naturalist and a man of science, sold our eastern home, and came to live on the shores of Spirit Lake, Minnesota.
"The Indians had watched about our place, and regarded what they had seen of my father's chemical apparatus with awe and fear. Perhaps they suspected him of working evil charms in his laboratory, or held his magnets, microscopes, and curiously-shaped tubes in superstitious aversion.
"I can not tell; I only know that we were among the first victims of the massacre, and that all my family were murdered except myself, and, I fear, one younger sister."
"You fear!" said I. "Do you not hope that she escaped?" The poor girl shook her head. "From a life like mine death is an escape," she said, bitterly. "Oh! it is fearful! and a sin to rush unbidden into God's presence, but I can not live through another frightful winter. "No, I must and will die if no relief comes to me. For a year these people regarded me as a child, and then a young man of their tribe gave a horse for me, and carried me to his tipi as his wife."
"Do you love your husband?" I asked.
A look, bitter and revengeful, gleamed from her eyes.
"Love a savage, who bought me to be a drudge and slave!" she repeated. "No! I hate him as I hate all that belong to this fearful bondage. He has another wife and a child. Thank God!" she added, with a shudder, " that I am not a mother!"
Misery and the consciousness of her own degraded life seemed to have made this poor young creature desperate; and, looking at her toil-worn hands and scarred arms, I saw the signs of abuse and cruelty; her feet, too, were bare, and fearfully bruised and travel-marked.
"Does he ill treat you?" I inquired.
"His wife does," she answered. "I am forced to do all manner of slavish work, and when my strength fails, I am urged on by blows. Oh! I do so fearfully dread the chilling winters, without proper food or clothing; and I long to lie down and die, if God's mercy will only permit me to escape from this hopeless imprisonment. I have nothing to expect now. I did once look forward to release, but that is all gone. I strove to go with the others, who were ransomed at Fort Pierre, and Mrs. Wright plead for me with all her heart; but the man who bought me would not give me up, and my prayers were useless.
"Mr. Dupuy, a Frenchman, who brought a wagon for the redeemed women and children, did not offer enough for me; and when another man offered a horse my captor would not receive it.
"There were many prisoners that I did not see in the village, but I am left alone. The Yanktons, who hold me, are friendly by pretense, and go to the agencies for supplies and annuities, but at heart they are bitterly hostile. They assert that, if they did not murder and steal, the Father at Washington would forget them; and now they receive presents and supplies to keep them in check, which they delight in taking, and deceiving the officers as to their share in the outbreaks."
Her dread of soldiers was such that she had never attempted to escape, nor did she seem to think it possible to get away from her present life, so deep was the despair into which long-continued suffering had plunged her.
Sad as my condition was, I could not but pity poor Mary's worse fate. The unwilling wife of a brutal savage, and subject to all the petty malice of a scarcely less brutal squaw, there could be no gleam of sunshine in her future prospects. True, I was, like her, a captive, torn from home and friends, and subject to harsh treatment, but no such personal indignity had fallen to my lot.
When Mary was first taken, she saw many terrible things, which she related to me, among which was the following:
One day, the Indians went into a house where they found a woman making bread. Her infant child lay in the cradle [note: in Kelly’s narrative, an atrocity is here reported after the Indian’s enter the house, the specific graphic description of which the editor has omitted].
One day, on their journey, they came to a narrow but deep stream of water. Some of the prisoners, and nearly all of the Indians, crossed on horseback, while a few crossed on logs, which had been cut down by the beaver. A lady (by name Mrs. Fletcher, I believe), who was in delicate health, fell into the water with her heavy burden, unable, on account of her condition, to cross, and was shot by the Indians, her lifeless body soon disappearing from sight. She also told me of a white man having been killed a few days previous, and a large sum of money taken from him, which would be exchanged for articles used among the Indians when they next visited the Red River or British Possessions. They went, she told me, two or three times a year, taking American horses, valuables, etc., which they had stolen from the whites, and exchanging them for ammunition, powder, arrow points, and provisions.
Before they reached the Missouri River they killed five of Mrs. Dooley's children, one of which was left on the ground in a place where the distracted mother had to pass daily in carrying water from the river; and when they left the camp the body remained unburied. So terrible were the sufferings of this heartbroken mother, that, when she arrived in safety among the whites, her reason was dethroned, and I was told that she was sent to the lunatic asylum, where her distracted husband soon followed.
Mary wished that we might be together, but knew that it would be useless to ask, as it would not be granted. I gave her my little book and half of my pencil, which she was glad to receive. I wrote her name in the book, together with mine, encouraging her with every kind word and hope of the future. She could read and write, and understood the Indian language thoroughly.
The book had been taken from our wagon, and I had endeavored to teach the Indians from it, for it contained several stories; so it made the Indians very angry to have me part with it.
For hours I had sat with the book in my hands, showing them the pictures and explaining their meaning, which interested them greatly, and which helped pass away and relieve the monotony of the days of captivity which I was enduring. Moreover, it inspired them with a degree of respect and veneration for me when engaged in the task, which was not only pleasant, but a great comfort. It was by this means they discovered my usefulness in writing letters and reading for them.
I found them apt pupils, willing to learn, and they learned easily and rapidly. Their memory is very retentive—unusually good.
Clues to Little Mary’s Fate, a Feast and a Fight, an Enraged Squaw, the Chief Wounded
One day, as I was pursuing what seemed to me an endless journey, an Indian rode up beside me, whom I did not remember to have seen before. At his saddle hung a bright and well-known little shawl, and from the other side was suspended a child's scalp of long, fair hair. As my eyes rested on the frightful sight, I trembled in my saddle and grasped the air for support. A blood-red cloud seemed to come between me and the outer world, and I realized that innocent victim's dying agonies.
The torture was too great to be endured—a merciful insensibility interposed between me and madness. I dropped from the saddle as if dead, and rolled upon the ground at the horse's feet.
When I recovered, I was clinging to a squaw, who, with looks of astonishment and alarm, was vainly endeavoring to extricate herself from my clutches. With returning consciousness, I raised my eyes to the fearful sight that had almost deprived me of reason; it was gone.
The Indian had suspected the cause of my emotion, and removed it out of sight.
They placed me in the saddle once more, and not being able to control the horrible misery I felt, I protested wildly against their touch, imploring them to kill me, and frantically inviting the death I had before feared and avoided.
When they camped, I had not the power or reason to seek my own tent, but fell down in the sun, where the chief found me lying. He had been out at the head of a scouting party, and knew nothing of my sufferings.
Instantly approaching me, he inquired who had misused me. I replied, "No one. I want to see my dear mother, my poor mother, who loves me, and pines for her unhappy child."
I had found, by experience, that the only grief with which this red nation had any sympathy was the sorrow one might feel for a separation from a mother, and even the chief seemed to recognize the propriety of such emotion.
On this account I feigned to be grieving solely for my dear widowed mother, and was treated with more consideration than I had dared to expect.
Leaving me for a few moments, he returned, bringing me some ripe wild plums, which were deliriously cooling to my fever-parched lips.
Hunger and thirst, sorrow and fear, with unusual fatigue and labor, had weakened me in mind and body, so that, after trying to realize the frightful vision that had almost deprived me of my senses, I began to waver in my knowledge of it, and half determined that it was a hideous phantom, like many another that had tortured my lonely hours.
I tried to dismiss the awful dream from remembrance, particularly as the days that followed found me ill and delirious, and it was some time before I was able to recall events clearly.
About this time there was another battle; and many having already sank under the united misery of hunger and fatigue, the camp was gloomy and hopeless in the extreme.
The Indians discovered my skill in dressing wounds, and I was called immediately to the relief of the wounded brought into camp. The fight had lasted three days, and, from the immoderate lamentations, I supposed many had fallen, but could form no idea of the loss.
Except when encamped for rest, the tribe pursued their wanderings constantly; sometimes flying before the enemy, at others endeavoring to elude them.
I kept the record of time, as it passed with the savages, as well as I was able, and, with the exception of a few days lost, during temporary delirium and fever at two separate times, and which I endeavored to supply by careful inquiry, I missed no count of the rising or setting sun, and knew dates almost as well as if I had been in the heart of civilization.
One very hot day, a dark cloud seemed suddenly to pass before the sun and threaten a great storm. The wind rose, and the cloud became still darker, until the light of day was almost obscured. A few drops sprinkled the earth, and, then, in a heavy, blinding, and apparently inexhaustible shower, fell a countless swarm of grasshoppers, covering every thing and rendering the air almost black by their descent. It is impossible to convey an idea of their extent; they seemed to rival Pharaoh's locusts in number, and no doubt would have done damage to the food of the savages had they not fallen victims themselves to their keen appetites. To catch them, large holes are dug in the ground, which are heated by fires. Into these apertures the insects are then driven, and, the fires having been removed, the heated earth bakes them. They are considered good food, and were greedily devoured by the famishing Sioux. Although the grasshoppers only remained two days, and went as suddenly as they had come, the Indians seemed refreshed by feasting on such small game, and continued to move forward.
Halting one day to rest beside good water, I busily engaged myself in the chief 's tipi, or lodge. I had grown so weak that motion of any kind was exhausting to me, and I could scarcely walk. I felt that I must soon die of starvation and sorrow, and life had ceased to be dear to me.
Mechanically I tried to fulfill my tasks, so as to secure the continued protection of the old squaw, who, when not incensed by passion, was not devoid of kindness.
My strength failed me, and I could not carry out my wishes, and almost fell as I tried to move around. This met with disappro-bation, and, better fed than myself, she could not sympathize with my want of strength. She became cross, and left the lodge, threatening me with her vengeance.
Presently an Indian woman, who pitied me, ran into the tipi in great haste, saying that her husband had got some deer meat, and she had cooked it for a feast, and begged me to share it. As she spoke, she drew me toward her tent, and, hungry and fainting, I readily followed.
The chief saw us go, and, not disdaining a good dinner, he followed. The old squaw came flying into the lodge like an enraged fury, flourishing her knife, and vowing she would kill me.
I arose immediately and fled, the squaw pursuing me. The chief attempted to interfere, but her rage was too great, and he struck her, at which she sprang like an infuriated tiger upon him, stabbing him in several places.
Her brother, who at a short distance beheld the fray, and deeming me the cause, fired six shots, determining to kill me. One of these shots lodged in the arm of the chief, breaking it near the shoulder. I then ran until I reached the outskirts of the village, where I was captured by a party who saw me running, but who knew not the cause.
Thinking that I was endeavoring to escape, they dragged me in the tent, brandishing their tomahawks and threatening vengeance.
After the lapse of half an hour some squaws came and took me back to the lodge of the chief, who was waiting for me, before his wounds could be dressed. He was very weak from loss of blood.
I never saw the wife of the chief afterward.
Indian surgery is coarse and rude in its details. A doctor of the tribe had pierced the arm of the chief with a long knife, probing in search of the ball it had received, and the wound thus enlarged had to be healed.
As soon as I was able to stand, I was required to go and wait on the disabled chief. I found his three sisters with him, and with these I continued to live in companionship.
One of them had been married, at the fort, to a white man, whom she had left at Laramie when his prior wife arrived.
She told me that they were esteemed friendly, and had often received supplies from the fort, although at heart they were always the enemy of the white man. "But will they not suspect you?" asked I. "They may discover your deceit and punish you some day." She laughed derisively. "Our prisoners don't escape to tell tales," she replied. "Dead people don't talk. We claim friendship, and they can not prove that we don't feel it. Besides, all white soldiers are cowards."
Shudderingly I turned away from this enemy of my race, and prepared to wait on my captor, whose superstitious belief in the healing power of a white woman's touch led him to desire her services.
The wounds of the chief were severe, and the suppuration profuse. It was my task to bathe and dress them, and prepare his food.
Hunting and fishing being now out of the question for him, he had sent his wives to work for themselves, keeping the sisters and myself to attend him.
War with our soldiers seemed to have decreased the power of the chief to a great extent. As he lay ill, he evidently meditated on some plan of strengthening his forces, and finally concluded to send an offer of marriage to the daughter of a warchief of another band.
As General Sully's destructive attack had deprived him all ready offerings, he availed himself of my shoes, which happened to be apparent particularly good, and, reducing me to moccasins, sent them as a gift to the expected bride. She evidently received them graciously, for she came to his lodge almost every day to visit him, and sat chatting at his side, to his apparent satisfaction.
The pleasure of this new matri-monial acquisition on the part of the chief was very trying to me, on account of my limited wardrobe, for as the betrothed continued in favor, the chief evinced it by giving her articles of my clothing.
An Indian woman had given me a red silk sash, such as officers wear. The chief unceremoniously cut it in half, leaving me one half, while the coquettish squaw received the rest.
An Indian husband's power is absolute, even to death. No woman can have more than one husband, but an Indian can have as many wives as he chooses. The marriage of the chief was to be celebrated with all due ceremony when his arm got well.
But his arm never recovered. Mr. Clemens, the interpreter, tells me (in my late interview with him), that he still remains crippled, and unable to carry out his murderous intentions, or any of his anticipated wicked designs.
He is now living in the forts along the Missouri River, gladly claiming support from the Government.
Hope of Rescue, a White Man Bound and Left to Starve
Before the Indians left this camping-ground, there arrived among us an Indian called Porcupine. He was well dressed, and mounted on a fine horse, and brought with him presents and valuables that insured him a cordial reception.
After he had been a few days in the village, he gave me a letter from Captain Marshall, of the Eleventh Ohio Cavalry, detailing the unsuccessful attempts that had been made to rescue me, and stating that this friendly Indian had undertaken to bring me back, for which he would be rewarded.
The letter further said that he had already received a horse and necessary provisions for the journey, and had left his three wives, with thirteen others, at the fort, as hostages.
My feelings, on reading this letter, were indescribable. My heart leaped with unaccustomed hope, at this evidence of the efforts of my white friends in my behalf; but the next instant despair succeeded this gleam of happy anticipation, for I knew this faithless messenger would not be true to his promise, since he had joined the Sioux immediately after his arrival among them, in a battle against the whites.
My fears were not unfounded. Porcupine prepared to go back to the fort without me, disregarding my earnest prayers and entreaties.
The chief found me useful, and determined to keep me. He believed that a woman who had seen so much of their deceitfulness and cruelty could do them injury at the fort, and might prevent their receiving annuities.
Porcupine said he should report me as dead, or impossible to find; nor could I prevail on him to do any thing to the contrary.
When reminded of the possible vengeance of the soldiers on his wives, whom they had threatened to kill if he did not bring me back, he laughed. "The white soldiers are cowards," he replied; "they never kill women; and I will deceive them as I have done before."
Saying this, he took his departure; nor could my most urgent entreaties induce the chief to yield his consent, and allow me to send a written message to my friends, or in any wise assure them of my existence. All hope of rescue departed, and sadly I turned again to the wearisome drudgery of my captive life.
The young betrothed bride of the old chief was very gracious to me. On one occasion she invited me to join her in a walk. The day was cool, and the air temptingly balmy.
"Down there," she said, pointing to a deep ravine; "come and walk there; it is cool and shady."
I looked in the direction indicated, and then at the Indian girl, who became very mysterious in her manner, as she whispered:
"There are white people down there."
"How far? "I asked, eagerly. "About fifty miles," she replied. "They have great guns, and men dressed in much buttons; their wagons are drawn by horses with long ears."
A fort, thought I, but remembering the treacherous nature of the people I was among, I repressed every sign of emotion, and tried to look indifferent.
"Should you like to see them?" questioned Egosegalonicha, as she was called.
"They are strangers to me," I said, quietly; "I do not know them."
"Are you sorry to live with us?"
"You do not have such bread as I would like to eat," replied I, cautiously.
"And are you dissatisfied with our home?"
"You have some meat now; it is better than that at the other camping-ground. There we had no food, and I suffered."
"But your eyes are swollen and red," hinted she; "you do not weep for bread."
These questions made me suspicious, and I tried to evade the young squaw, but in vain.
"Just see how green that wood is," I said, affecting not to hear her.
"But you do not say you are content," repeated she. "Will you stay here always, willingly?"
"Come and listen to the birds," said I, drawing my companion toward the grove. I did not trust her, and feared to utter a single word, lest it might be used against me with the chief.
Neither was I mistaken in the design of Egosegalonicha, for when we returned to the lodge, I overheard her relating to the chief the amusement she had enjoyed, in lying to the white woman, repeating what she had said about the fort, and inventing entreaties which I had used, urging her to allow me to fly to my white friends, and leave the Indians forever.
Instantly I resolved to take advantage of the affair as a joke, and, approaching the chief with respectful pleasantry, begged to reverse the story.
It was the squaw who had implored me to go with her to the white man's fort, I said, and find her a white warrior for a husband; but, true to my faith with the Indians, I refused.
The wily Egosegalonicha, thus finding her weapons turned against herself, appeared confused, and suddenly left the tent, at which the old chief smiled grimly.
Slander, like a vile serpent, coils itself among these Indian women; and, as with our fair sisters in civilized society, when reality fails, invention is called in to supply the defect. They delight in scandal, and prove by it their claim to some of the refined conventionalities of civilized life.
Porcupine had spread the news abroad in the village that a large reward had been offered for the white woman, consequently I was sought for, the motive being to gain the reward.
One day an Indian, whom I had seen in different places, and whose wife I had known, made signs intimating a desire for my escape, and assuring me of his help to return to my people.
I listened to his plans, and although I knew my position in such a case to be one of great peril, yet I felt continually that my life was of so little value that any opportunity, however slight, was as a star in the distance, and escape should be attempted, even at a risk.
We conversed as well as we could several times, and finally arrangements were made. At night he was to make a slight scratching noise at the tipi where I was, as a sign. The night came, but I was singing to the people, and could not get away. Another time we had visitors in the lodge, and I would be missed. The next night I arose from my robe, and went out into the darkness. Seeing my intended rescuer at a short distance, I approached and followed him. We ran hastily out of the village about a mile, where we were to be joined by the squaw who had helped make the arrangements and was favorable to the plan for my escape, but she was not there. White Tipi (that was the Indian's name) looked hastily around, and, seeing no one, darted suddenly away, without a word of explanation. Why the Indian acted thus I never knew. It was a strange proceeding.
Fear lent me wings, and I flew, rather than ran, back to my tipi, or lodge, where, exhausted and discouraged, I dropped on the ground and feigned slumber, for the inmates were already aroused, having just discovered my absence. Finding me apparently asleep, they lifted me up, and taking me into the tent, laid me upon my own robe.
The next evening White Tipi sent for me to come to his lodge, to a feast, where I was well and hospitably entertained, but not a sign given of the adventure of the previous night. But when the pipe was passed, he requested it to be touched to my lips, then offered it to the Great Spirit, thus signifying his friendship for me.
In this month the Indians captured a white man, who was hunting on the prairie, and carried him far away from the haunts of white men, where they tied him hand and foot, after divesting him of all clothing, and left him to starve. He was never heard of afterward.
There were twin children in one of the lodges, one of which sickened and died, and in the evening was buried. The surviving child was placed upon the scaffold by the corpse, and there remained all night, its crying and moaning almost breaking my heart. I inquired why they did this. The reply was, to cause the mate to mourn. The mother was on one of the neighboring hills, wailing and weeping, as is the custom among them. Every night, nearly, there were women among the hills, wailing for their dead.
To be continued...