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Captivity of the Oatman Girls
THE Journey of three hundred and fifty Miles to the Mohave Valley The Means of Subsistence during the Time The Conduct of the Mohaves compared with the Apaches Arrive at the Valley The Village The Chief's Residence Their Joy at the Return of Topeka, their Daughter The Greeting of the new Captives One Year of Labor and Suffering The Overflowing of the Colorado Their Dependence upon it Their Habits Cultivation of the Soil Scarcity of Provisions Starvation Mary Ann Her Decline Olive's Care, Grief, and Efforts to save her life Dies of Famine Many of the Indian Children die Burial of Mary Ann The Sympathy and Sorrow of the Chief's Wife.
We were informed at the outset that we had three hundred and fifty miles before us, and all to be made on foot. Our route we soon found to be in no way preferable to the one by which the Apache village had been reached. It was now about the first day of March, 1852. One year had been spent by us in a condition the most abject, the most desolate, with treatment the most cruel that barbarity and hate could invent, and this all endured without the privilege of a word from ourselves to turn the scale in this direction or that, in a rugged, rocky country, filled with bare mountains or lesser hills with slight vegetation, and that tame and tasteless, or irregular piles of boulders and gravel beds ; we were now being hurried on under Indian guardianship alone, we knew not where nor for what purpose. "We had not proceeded far ere it was painfully impressed upon our feet, if not our aching hearts, that this trail to a second captivity was no improvement on the first, whatever might be the fate awaiting us at its termination. We had v been under tutorage for one whole year in burden bearing, and labor even beyond our strength, but a long walk or run, as this proved, we had not been driven to during that time.
" Mary Ann, poor girl, entered upon this trip with less strength or fortitude to encounter its hardships than the one before. She had not proceeded far be fore I saw plainly that she would not be able to stand it long. With the many appearances of kindness that our present overseers put on, yet they seemed to be utterly destitute of any heart or will to enter into the feelings of those who had been brought up more delicately than themselves, or to understand their inability to perform the task dictated by their rough and hardy habits. Our feet soon became sore, and we were unable, on the second day after about noon, to keep up with their rapid pace. A small piece of meat was put into our hands on starting, and this with the roots we were allowed to dig, and these but few, was our sole subsistence for ten days.
"With much complaining, and some threatening from our recent captors, we were allowed to rest on the second day a short time. After this we were not compelled to go more than thirty-five miles any one day, and pieces of skins were furnished for our feet, but not until they had been needlessly bruised and mangled without them. The nights were cool, and, contrary to our expectations, the daughter of the chief showed us kindness throughout the journey by sharing her blankets with us at each camp.
"Of all rough, uncouth, irregular, and unattractive countries through which human beings trail, the one through which that ten days' march led us, must remain unsurpassed.
"On the eleventh day, about two hours before sunset, we made a bold steep ascent (and of such we had been permitted to climb many) from which we had an extensive view on either side.
"Before us, commencing a little from the foot of our declivity, lay a narrow valley covered with a carpet of green, stretching a distance, seemingly, of twenty miles. On either side were the high, irregularly sloped mountains, with their foot hills robed in the same bright green as the valley, and with their bald humpbacks and sharp peaks, treeless, verdureless, and desolate, as if the tempests of ages had poured their rage upon their sides and summits.
"Our guides soon halted. We immediately ob served by their movements and manifestations that some object beyond the loveliness that nature had strewn upon that valley, was enrapturing their gaze. We had stood gazing a few moments only, when the smoke at the distance of a few miles, winding in gentle columns up the ridges, spoke to us of the abodes or tarrying of human beings. Very soon there came into the field of our steady view a large number of huts, clothing the valley in every direction. We could plainly see a large cluster of these huts huddled into a nook in the hills on our right and on the bank of a river, whose glassy waters threw the sunlight in our face ; its winding, zigzag course pointed out to us by the row of beautiful cottonwood trees that thickly studded its vicinity.
" Here, Olive,' said Mary Ann, 'is the place where they live. O isn't it a beautiful valley ? It seems to me I should like to live here.'
" ' May be,' said I, ' that you will not want to go back to the whites any more.'
" ' O yes, there is green grass and fine meadows there, besides good people to care for us; these savages are enough to make any place look ugly, after a little time.'
" "We were soon ushered into the ' Mohave Valley,' and had not proceeded far before we began to pass the low, rude huts of the Mohave settlers. They greeted us with shouts, and dance, and song as we passed. Our guides kept up, however, a steady un heeding march for the village, occasionally joined by fierce, filthy-looking Mohaves, and their more filthy-looking children, who would come up, look rudely in our faces, fasten their deep-set, small, flashing eyes upon us, and trip along, with merry making, hallooing, and dancing at our side.
"We were conducted immediately to the home of the chief, and welcomed with the staring eyes of collecting groups, and an occasional smile from the members of the chief's family, who gave the warmest expressions of joy over the return of their daughter and sister so long absent. Seldom does our civilization furnish a more hearty exhibition of affection for kindred, than welcomed the coming in of this member of the chief's family, though she had been absent but a few days. The chief's house was on a beautiful but small elevation crowning the river bank, from which the eye could sweep a large section of the valley, and survey the entire village, a portion of which lined each bank of the stream.
" As a model, and one that will give a correct idea of the form observed, especially in their village structures, we may speak of the chief's residence. When we reached the outskirts of the town we ob served upon the bank of the river a row of beautiful cottonwood trees, just putting out their new leaves and foliage, their branches interlocking, standing in a row, about a perfect square of about one hundred feet, and arranged in taste. They were thrifty, and seemed fed from a rich soil, and with other plots covered with the same growths, and abounding throughout the village, presented truly an oasis in the general desert of country upon which we had been trailing our painful walk for the last ten days, climbing and descending, with unshapen rocks, and sharp gravel, and burning sands for our pavement Immediately behind the row of trees first spoken of, wag a row of poles or logs, each about six inches in diameter and standing close to each other, one end firmly set in the ground and reaching up about twenty feet, forming an enclosure of about fifty feet square.
"We entered this enclosure through a door, (never shut,) and found a tidy yard, grass-plotted. Inside of this was still another enclosure of about twenty feet, walled by the same kind of fence, only about one third as high. Running from front to rear, and dividing this dwelling-place of the Mohave magnate into equal parts, stood a row of these logs stuck in the ground, and running up about three feet above the level top of the outside row, and forming a ridge for the resting of the roof. The roof was a thick mat of limbs and mud. A few blankets, a small smoking fire near the door, with naked walls over which the finishing hand of the upholsterer had never passed, a floor made when all terra firma was created, welcomed us to the interior.
"The daughter of the chief had been kind to us, if kindness could be shown under their barbarous habits and those rates of travel while on our way. She was more intelligent and seemed capable of more true sympathy and affection, than any we had yet met in our one year's exile. She was of about seventeen years, sprightly, jovial, and good-natured, and at times manifested a deep sympathy for us, and a commiseration of our desolate condition. But though she was daughter of the chief, their habits of barbarousness could not bend to courtesy even toward those of rank. She had walked the whole distance to the Apaches, carrying a roll of blankets, while two horses were rode by two stalwart, healthy Mohaves by her side.
"On entering the house Topeka, who had accompanied us, gave an immediate and practical evidence that her stinted stomach had not become utterly deaf to all the demands of hunger. Seeing a cake roasting in the ashes, she seized it, and dividing it into three parts, she gave me the Benjamin portion and bade us eat, which was done with greediness and pleasant surprise.
"Night came on and with it the gathering of a large concourse of Indians, their brown, stout wives and daughters, and swarms of little ones whose faces and bare limbs would have suggested anything else sooner than the near vicinity of clear water, or their knowledge of its use for purifying purposes.
"The Indians were mostly tall, stout, with large heads, broad faces, and of a much more intelligent appearance than the Apaches. Bark-clad, where clad at all, the scarcity of their covering indicating either a warm climate or a great destitution of the clothing material, or something else.
"Their conduct during that night of wild excitement was very different from that by which our coming among the Apaches was celebrated. That was one of selfish iron-hearted fiends, glutting over a murderous, barbarous deed of death and plunder; this was that of a company of indolent, superstitious, and lazy heathen, adopting the only method which their darkness and ignorance would allow to signify their joy over the return of kindred and the delighted purchase of two foreign captives. They placed us out upon the green, and in the light of a large, brisk fire, and kept up their dancing, singing, jumping, and shouting, until near the break of day.
" After they had dispersed, and that night of tears, and the bitterest emotions, and most torturing remembrances of the past, and reflections of our present had nearly worn away, with bleeding feet, worn in places almost to the bone, with aching limbs, beneath a thin covering, side by side, little Mary Ann and myself lay us down upon a sand bed to meditate upon sleep. A few hours were spent in conversation, conducted in a low whisper, with occasional moments of partial drowsiness, haunted with wild, frantic dreams."
Though five years separate that time and the present, where is the heart but throbs sensitive to the dark, prison-like condition of these two girls. Look at their situation, the scenes around ; having reached a strange tribe by a toilsome, painful ten days' journey, the sufferings of which were almost insupportable and life consuming, having been for nearly the whole night of their introduction to a new captivity made the subjects of shouting and confusion, heathenish, indelicate, and indecent, and toward morning hiding themselves under a scanty covering, surrounded by unknown savages ; whispering into each other's ears the hopes, fears, and impressions of their new condition. Coveting sleep, but every touch of its soft hand upon their moistened eyelids turned to torture and hideousness by scary visions and dreams ; harassed in mind over the uncertainty and doubt haunting their imaginations, as to the probable purposes of their new possessors in all their painstaking to secure a transfer of the captives to them. It is true that less of barbarity had marked the few days of their dependence upon their new owners, than their Apache hardships ; but they had sadly learned already that under friendly guises their possible treachery might be wrapping and nursing some foul and murderous design.
Plunged now into the depths of a wild country, where the traces of a white foot would be sought in vain for hundreds of miles, and at such a distance from the nearest route of the hurrying emigrant, as to preclude almost the traveling of hope to their exile and gloom; it is no marvel that these few hours allotted to sleep at the latter part of the night, were disturbed by such questions as these : Why have they purchased us ? What labor or service do they intend subjecting us to? Have they connived with our former masters to remove us still further from the habitations of our countrymen, and sought to plunge us so deep in these mountain defiles, that they may solace themselves with that insatiate revenge upon our race which will encounter any hardship rather than allow us the happiness of a return to our native land ? No marvel that they could not drive away such thoughts, though a lacerated body was praying for balmy sleep, " nature's sweet restorer."
Mary Ann, the youngest, a little girl of eight years, had been declining in health and strength for some time. She had almost starved on that long road, kept up principally by a small piece of meat. For over three hundred miles had she come, climbing rocks, traversing sun-burned gravel and sand, marking the way by bleeding feet, sighs, and piteous moanings; well-nigh breaking the heart of her older sister, whose deepest anguish was the witnessing of these sufferings that she could not relieve. She was not inclined to complain ; nay, she was given to a patient reserve that would bear her grief alone, sooner than trouble her loved sister with it. She had from infancy been the favorite child of the family ; the only one of a frail constitution, quickest to warn, and best to remember ; and often, when at home, and the subject of disease and pain, exhibiting a meekness, judgment, and fortitude beyond her years. She was tenderly loved by the whole family ; nursed by her fond mother with a delicacy and concern bestowed on none of the rest ; and now bound to the heart of her only sister by a tie strengthened by mutual sufferings, and that made her every woe and sigh a dagger to the heart of Olive. No marvel that the latter should say : " Poor girl, I love her tenderly, ardently ; and now to see her driven forth whole days, with declining health, at pace kept up by these able-bodied Indians ; to see her climb rugged cliffs, at times upon her hands and knees, struggling up where others could walk, the sweat coursing down freely from her pearly-white forehead; to hear her heave those half-suppressed'- sighs ; to see the steps of those little bleeding feet totter and falter ; to see the big tears standing out of her eyes, glistening as if in the borrowed light of a purer home ; to see her turn at times and bury her head in some of the tattered furs wrapped about a part of her person, and weeping alone, and then come to me, saying : ' How far, dear Olive, must we yet go ?' To hear her ask, and ask in vain, for bread, for * meat, for water, for something to eat, when nothing but their laziness denied her request; these were sights and scenes I pray God to deliver me from in future! O that I could blot out the impression they have indelibly written on my mind !
" But we are now here, and must make the best of it,' was the interruption made the next morning to memories and thoughts like the above. We were narrowly watched, and with an eye and jealousy that seemed to indicate some design beyond and unlike the one that was avowed to move them to purchase us, and to shut out all knowledge of the way back to our race. We found the location and scenery of our new home much pleasanter than the one last occupied. The valley extended about thirty or forty miles, northeast by southwest, and varying from two to five miles in width. Through its whole length flowed the beautiful Colorado, in places a rapid, leaping stream, in others making its way quietly, noiselessly over a deeper bed. It varied, like all streams whose sources are in immediate mountains, in depth, at different seasons of the year. During the melting of the snows that clothed the mountain-tops to the north, when we came among the Mohaves, it came roaring and thundering along its rock-bound banks, threatening the whole valley, and doing some damage.
" We found the Mohaves accustomed to the tillage soil to a limited extent, and in a peculiar way. And it was a season of great rejoicing when the Colorado overflowed, as it was only after overflows that they could rely upon their soil for a crop. In the autumn they planted the wheat carefully in hills with their fingers, and in the spring they planted corn, melons, and a few garden vegetables. They had, however, but a few notions, and these were crude, about agriculture. They were utterly without skill or art in any useful calling. When we first arrived among them the wheat sown the previous fall had not come up, and looked green and thrifty, though it did not appear, nor was it, sufficient to maintain one-fifth of their population. They spent more time in raising twenty spears of wheat from one hill, than was necessary to have cultivated one acre, with the improvements they might and should have learned in the method of doing it. It was to us, however, an enlivening sight to see even these scattered parcels of grain growing, clothing sections of their valley. It was a remembrancer, and reminded us of home, (now no more ours,) and placed us in a nearness to the customs of a civilized mode of life that we had not realized before.
" For a time after coming among them but little was said to us; none seemed desirous to enter into any intercourse, or inquire even, if it had been possible for us to understand them, as to our welfare, past or present. Topeka gave us to know that we were to remain in their house. Indeed we were merely regarded as strange intruders, with whom they had no sympathy, and their bearing for a while toward us seemed to say: ' You may live here if you can eke out an existence, by bowing yourselves unmurmuringly to our barbarism and privations.'
" In a few days they began to direct us to work in various ways, such as bringing wood and water, and to perform various errands of convenience to them. Why they took the course they did I- have never been able to imagine ; but it was only by degrees that their exactions were enforced. "We soon learned, however, that our condition was that of unmitigated slavery, not to the adults merely, but to the children. In this respect it was very much as among the Apaches. Their whimpering, idiotic children, of not half a dozen years, very soon learned to drive us about with all the authority of an Eastern lord. And these filthy creatures would go in quest of occasions, seemingly to gratify their love of command ; and any want of hurried attention to them was visited upon us by punishment, either by whipping or the withholding of our food. Besides, the adults of the tribe enjoyed the sport of seeing us thus forced into submission to their children.
" The Colorado had overflown during the winter, and there had been considerable rain. The Mohaves were in high hopes for a bountiful crop during this season. "What was to them a rich harvest would be considered in Yankee land, or in the Western states, a poor compensation for so much time and plodding labor. For two years before they had raised but little. Had the industry and skill of the least in formed of our agriculturists been applied to this Mohave valley, it might have been made as productive and fruitful a spot as any I ever saw. But they were indolent and lazy, so that it would seem impossible for ingenuity to invent modes by which they might work to a greater disadvantage, or waste the little of strength they did use. While their lot had cast them into the midst of superior natural advantages, which ought to have awakened their pride and ambition to do something for themselves, yet they were indisposed to every fatiguing toil, unless in the chase or war."
Nothing during the summer of 1852 occurred to throw any light upon that one question, to these captive girls the all-absorbing one, one which, like an everywhere present spirit, haunted them day and night, as to the probabilities of their ever escaping from Indian captivity. It was not long before their language, of few words, was so far understood as to make it easy to understand the Mohaves in conversation. Every day brought to their ears expressions, casually dropped, showing their spite and hate to the white race. They would question their captives closely, seeking to draw from them any discontent they might feel in their present condition. They taunted them, in a less ferocious manner than the Apaches, but with every evidence of an equal hate, about the good-for-nothing whites.
" At times, when some of their friends were visiting in the neighborhood of our valley, they would call for the captives that they might see them. One day, while one of the sub-chiefs and his family were visiting at Espaniola's house, Mary and I were out a little from the house singing, and were overheard. This aroused their curiosity, and we were called, and many questions were put to us as to what _we were singing, where we learned to sing, and if the whites were good singers. Mary and I, at their request, sang them some of our Sabbath-school hymns, and some of the short children's songs we had learned. After this we were teased very much to sing to them. Several times a small string of beads was made up among them and presented to us for singing to them for two or three hours ; also pieces of red flannel, (an article that to them was the most valuable of any they could possess,) of which after some time we had several pieces. These we managed to attach together with ravelings, and wore them upon our persons. The beads we wore about our necks, squaw fashion."
Many of them were anxious to learn the language of the whites; among these one Ccearekae, a young man of some self-conceit and pride. He asked the elder of the girls, " How do you like living with the Mohaves ?" To which she replied, "I do not like it so well as among the whites, for we do not have enough to eat."
Cceareke. " We have enough to satisfy us ; you Americanos (a term also by them learned of the Mexicans) work hard, and it does you no good ; we enjoy ourselves."
Olive. "Well, we enjoy ourselves well at home, and all our white people seem happier than any Indian I have seen since."
Ccearekae. "Our great fathers worked just as you whites do, and they had many nice things to wear ; but the flood came and swept the old folks away, and a white son of the family stole all the arts, with the clothing, etc., and the Mohaves have had none since."
Olive. "But if our people had this beautiful valley they would till it, and raise much grain. You Mohaves don't like to work, and you say you do not have enough to eat ; then it is because you are lazy."
" At this his wrath was aroused, and with angry words and countenance he left. I frequently told them how grain, and cattle, and fowls would abound, if such good land was under the control of the whites. This would sometimes kindle their wrath, and flirts, and taunts, and again at other times their curiosity. One day several of them were gathered, and questioning about our former homes, and the white nation, and the way by which a living was made, etc. I told them of plowing the soil. They then wanted to see the figure of a plow. I accordingly, with sticks and marks in the sand, made as good a plow as a girl of fifteen would be expected, perhaps, to make out of such material ; drew the oxen and hitched them to my plow, and told them how it would break the soil. This feasted their curiosity a while, but ended in a volley of scorn and mockery to me and the race of whites, and a general outburst of indignant taunts about their meanness.
" They were very anxious to know how breaking up of the soil would make grain grow ; of what use it was ; whether women labored in raising grain. We told them of milking the cows, and how our white people mowed the grass and fattened cattle, and many other things, to which they gave the ear of a curiosity plainly beyond what they wanted us to understand they cared about it.
" I told them of the abundance that rewards white labor, while they had so little. They said: 'Your ancestors were dishonest, and their children are weak, and that by and by the pride and good living of the present whites would ruin them. You whites,' continued they, 'have forsaken nature and want to possess the earth, but you will not be able.' In thus conversing with them I learned of a superstition they hold as to the origin of the distinction existing among the red and white races.
" It was as follows : They said, pointing to a high mountain at the northern end of the valley, (the highest in the vicinity,) there was once a flood in ancient time that covered all the world but that mountain, and all the present races then were merged in one family, and this family was saved from the general deluge by getting upon that mountain. They said that this antediluvian family was very large, and had great riches, clothing, cattle, horses, and much to eat. They said that after the water subsided one of the family took all the cattle and our kind of clothing, and went north, was turned from red to white, and so there settled. That another part of this family took deer skins and bark, and from these the Indians came. They held that this ancient family were all of red complexion until the progenitor of the whites stole, then he was turned white. They said the Hiccos (dishonest whites) would lose their cattle yet; that this thieving would turn upon themselves. They said remains of the old l big house,' in which this ancient family lived, were up there yet; also pieces of bottles, broken dishes, and remnants of all the various kinds of articles used by them.
" "We were told by them that this venerated spot had, ever since the flood, been the abode of spirits ; (Hippoweka, the name for spirit ;) and that these spirits were perfectly acquainted with all the doings, and even the secret motives and character, of each individual of the tribe. And also that it was a place consecrated to these spirits, and if the feet of mortals should presume to tread this enchanted spirit-land, a fire would burst from the, mountain and instantly consume them, except it be those who are selected and appointed by these spirits to communicate some special message to the tribe. This favored class were generally the physicians of the tribe. And when a war project was designed by these master spirits, they signified the bloody intention by causing the mountains to shoot forth lurid tongues of fire, visible only to the revelators. All their war plans and the time of their execution, their superstition taught them, were communicated by the flame-lit pinnacle to those depositories of the will of the spirits, and by them, under professed superhuman dictation, the time, place, object, and method of the war were communicated to the chief. Yet the power of the chief was absolute, and when his practical wisdom suggested, these wizards always found a license by a second consultation to modify the conflict, or change the time and method of its operation.
"It was their belief that in the region of the mountain there was held in perpetual chains the spirit of every 'flicco' that they had been successful in slaying; and that the souls of all such were there eternally doomed to torment of the fiercest quench less fires, and the Mohave by whose hand the slaughter was perpetrated, would be exalted to eternal honors and superior privileges therefore.
" It was with strange emotions, after listening to this superstitious tale, that our eyes rested upon that old bald peak, and saw within the embrace of its internal fires, the spirits of many of our own race, and thought of their being bound by this Mohave legend to miseries so extreme, and woes so unmitigated, and a revenge so insatiate.
"But according to their belief we could only expect a like fate by attempting their rescue, and we did not care enough for the professed validness of their faith to risk companionship with them, even for the purpose of attempting to unbind the chains of their tormenting bondage ; and we turned away, most heartily pitying them for their subjection to so gross a superstition, without any particular concern for those who had been appointed by its authority to its vengeance. We felt that if the Hiccos could manage to escape all other hells, they could manage this one without our sympathy or help.
"There was little game in the Mohave Valley, and of necessity little meat was used by this tribe. At some seasons of the year, winter and spring, they procure fish from a small lake in the vicinity. This was a beautiful little body of water at freshet seasons, but in the dry seasons became a loathsome mud hole. In their producing season, the Mohaves scarcely raised a four months' supply, yet they might have raised for the whole year as well. Often I thought, as I saw garden vegetables and grain plucked ere they were grown, to be devoured by these lazy ' live to-day ' savages, I should delight to see the hand of the skillful agriculturist upon that beautiful valley, with the Mohaves standing by to witness its capabilities for producing.
" We spent most of this summer in hard work. We were, for a long time, roused at the break of day, baskets were swung upon our shoulders, and we were obliged to go from six to eight miles for the ' Musquite,' a seed or "berry growing upon a bush about the size of our Manzanita. In the first part of the season, this tree bloomed a -beautiful flower, and after a few weeks a large seed-bud could be gathered from it, and this furnished what is truly to be called their staple article of subsistence. We spent from twilight to twilight again for a long time, in gathering this. And often we found it impossible, from its scarcity that year, to fill our basket in a day, as we were required ; and for failing to do this we seldom escaped a chastisement. This seed, when gathered, was hung up in their huts to be thoroughly dried, and to be used when their vegetables and grain should be exhausted. I could endure myself, the task daily assigned me, but to see the demands and exactions made upon little Mary Ann, day after day, by these unfeeling wretches, as many of them were, when her constitution was already broken down, and she daily suffering the most excruciating pains from the effects of barbarity she had already received ; this was a more severe trial than all I had to perform of physical labor. And I often felt as though it would be a sad relief to see her sink into the grave, beyond the touch and oppression of the ills and cruel treatment she was subjected to. But there were times when she would enliven after rest, which from her utter inability they were obliged to grant.
"We were accused by our captors several times during this season, of designing and having plotted already to make our escape. Some of them would frequently question and annoy us much to discover, if possible, our feelings and our intentions in reference to our captivity. Though we persisted in denying any purpose to attempt our escape, many of them seemed to disbelieve us, and would warn us against any such undertaking, by assuring us they would follow us, if it were necessary, quite to the white settlements, and would torment us in the most painful manner, if we were ever to be recaptured.
" One day, while we were sitting in the hut of the chief, having just returned from a root-digging excursion, there came two of their physicians attended by the chief and several others, to the door of the hut. The chief's wife then bade us go out upon the yard, and told us that the physicians were going to put marks on our faces. It was with much difficulty that we could understand, however, at first, what was their design. We soon, however, by the motions accompanying the commands of the wife of the chief, came to understand that they were going to tattoo our faces.
"We had seen them do this to some of their female children, and we had often conversed with each other about expressing the hope that we should be spared from receiving their marks upon us. I ventured to plead with them for a few moments that they would not put those ugly marks upon our faces. But it was in vain. To all our expostulations they only replied in substance that they knew why we objected to it ; that we expected to return to the -whites, and we would be ashamed of it then ; but that it was their resolution we should never return, and that as we be longed to them we should wear their l Ki-e-chook.' They said further, that if we should get away, and they should find us among other tribes, or if some other tribes should steal us, they would by this means know us.
"They then pricked the skin in small regular rows on our chins with a very sharp stick, until they bled freely. They then dipped these same sticks in the juice of a certain weed that grew on the banks of the river, and then in the powder of a blue stone that was to be found in low water, in some places along the bed of the stream, (the stone they first burned until it would pulverize easy, and in burning it turned nearly black,) and pricked this fine powder into these lacerated parts of the face.
"The process was somewhat painful, though it pained us more for two or three days after than at the time of its being done. They told us this could never be taken from the face, and that they had given us a different mark from the one worn by their own females, as we saw, but the same with which they marked all their own captives, and that they could claim us in whatever tribe they might find us.
"The autumn was by far the easiest portion of the year for us. To multiply words would not give any clearer idea to the reader of our condition. It was one continual routine of drudgery. Toward spring their grains were exhausted. There was but little rain, not enough to raise the Colorado near the top of its banks. The Mohaves became very uneasy about their wheat in the ground. It came up much later than usual, and looked sickly and grew tardily after it was out of the ground. It gave a poor, wretched promise at the best for the next year. Ere it was fairly up there were not provisions or articles of any kind to eat in the village any one night to keep its population two days. We found that the people numbered really over fifteen hundred. We were now driven forth every morning by the first break of day, cold and sometimes damp, with rough, bleak winds, to glean the old, dry musquite seed that chanced to have escaped the fatiguing search of the summer and autumn months. From this on to the time of gathering the scanty harvest of that year, we were barely able to keep soul and body together. And the return for all our vigorous labor was a little dry seed in small quantities. And all this was put forth under the most sickening apprehensions of a worse privation awaiting us the next year. This harvest was next to nothing. No rain had fallen during the spring to do much good.
"Above what was necessary for seeding again, there was not one month's supply when harvest was over. We had gathered less during the summer of 'musquite,' and nothing but starvation could be expected. This seemed to throw the sadness of despair upon our condition, and to blot all our faint but fond hopes of reaching our native land. We knew, or thought we knew, that in case of an extremity our portion must be meted out after these voracious, unfeeling idlers had supplied themselves. We had already seen that a calamity or adversity had the effect to make these savages more savage and implacable. I felt more keenly for Mary Ann than myself. She often said (for we were already denied the larger half necessary to satisfy our appetites) that she ' could not live long without something more to eat.' She would speak of the plenty that she had at home, and that might now be there, and sometimes would rather chide me for making no attempts to escape. ' O, if I could only get one dish of bread and milk,' she would frequently say, ' I could enjoy it so well !' They ground their seed between stones, and with water made a mush, and we spent many mournful hours of conversation over our gloomy state as we saw the supply of this tasteless, nauseating ' musquite mush' failing, and that the season of our almost solo dependence upon it was yet but begun.
"It were as not infrequent that a death occurred among them by the neglect and laziness so characteristic of the Indian, One day I was out gathering. Chottatoe, when I was suddenly surprised and frightened by running upon one of the victims of this stupid, barbarous inhumanity. He was a tall, bony Indian of about thirty years. His eye was rather sunken, his visage marred, as if he had passed through extreme hardships. He was lying upon the ground, moaning and rolling from side to side in agony the most acute and intense. I looked upon him, and my heart was moved with pity. Little Mary said, 'I will go up and find out what ails him.' On inquiry we soon found that he had been for some time ill, but not so as to become utterly helpless. And not until one of their number is entirely disabled, do they seem to manifest any feeling or concern for him. The physician was called, and soon decided that he was not in the least diseased. He told Mary that nothing ailed him save the want of food ; said that he had been unable for some time to procure his food ; that his friends devoured any that was brought into camp without dividing it with him ; that he had been gradually running down, and now he wanted to die. O there was such dejection, such a forlorn, despairing look written upon his countenance as made an impression upon my mind which is yet vivid and mournful.
"He soon died, and then his father and all his relatives commenced a hideous, barbarous howling and jumping, indicative of the most poignant grief. Whether their sorrowing was a matter of conscience or bereavement, none could tell, but it would improve my opinion of them to believe it originated with the former.
"Such scenes were not far between, and yet these results of their laziness and want of enterprise and humanity, when thickening upon them, had no effect to beget a different policy or elevate them to that life of happiness, thrift, and love which would have prolonged their years, and removed the dismal, gloomy aspect of every-day life among them.
" We were now put upon a stinted allowance, and the restrictions upon us were next to the taking the life of Mary Ann. During the second autumn, and at the time spoken of above, the chief's wife gave us some seed-grain, corn and wheat, showed us about thirty feet square of ground marked off upon which we might plant it and raise something for ourselves. We planted our wheat, and carefully concealed the handful of corn and melon-seeds to plant in the spring. This we enjoyed very much. It brought to our minds the extended grain-fields that waved about our cottage in Illinois, of the beautiful spring when winter's ice and chill had departed before the breath of a warmer season, of the May-mornings, when we had gone forth to the plow-fields and followed barefooted in the new-turned furrow, and of the many long days of grain-growing and ripening in which we had watched the daily change in the fields of wheat and oats.
"These hours of plying our fingers (not sewing) in the ground flew quickly by, but not without their tears and forebodings that ere we could gather the results, famine might lay our bodies in the dust. Indeed we could see no means by which we could possibly maintain ourselves to harvest again. Winter, a. season of sterility and frozen nights, was fast approaching, and to add to my desolateness. I plainly saw that grief, or want of food or both, were slowly and inch by inch, enfeebling and wasting away Mary Ann.
"The Indians said that about sixty miles away there was a 'Taneta' (tree) that bore a berry called Oth-to-toa,' upon which they had subsisted for some time several years before, but it could be reached only by a mountainous and wretched way of sixty miles. Soon a large party made preparations and set out in quest of this 'life-preserver.' Many of those accustomed to bear burdens were not able to go. Mary Ann started, but soon gave out and returned. A few Indians accompanied us, but it was a disgrace for them to bear burdens; this was befitting only to squaws and captives. I was commanded to pick up my basket and go with them, and it was only with much pleading I could get them to spare my sister the undertaking when she gave out. I had borne that 'Chiechuck' empty and full over many hundred miles, but never over so rugged a way, nor when it seemed so heavy as now.
"We reached the place on the third day, and found the taneta to be a bush, and very much resembling the musquite, only with a much larger leaf. It grew to a height of from five to thirty feet. The berry was much more pleasant to the taste than the musquite; the juice of it, when extracted and mixed with water, was very much like the orange. The tediousness and perils of this trip were very much enlivened with the hope of getting some thing with which to nourish and prolong the life of Mary. She was very much depressed, and appeared quite ill when I left her. "
"After wandering about for two days with but little gathered, six of us started in quest of some place where the oth-to-toa might be more abundant."We traveled over twenty miles away from our ^temporary camp. We found tanetas in abundance, and loaded with the berry. "We had reached a field of them we judged never found before.
" Our baskets being filled, we hastened to join the camp party before they should start for the village. We soon lost our way, the night being dark, and wandered without water the whole night, and were nearly all sick from eating our oth-to-toa berry. Toward day, nearly exhausted, and three of our number very sick, we were compelled to halt. We watched over and nursed the sick, sweating them with the medical leaf always kept with us, and about the only medicine used by the Mohaves. But our efforts were vain, for before noon the three had breathed their last. A fire was kindled and their bodies were burned; and for several hours I expected to be laid upon one of those funeral pyres in that deep, dark, and almost trackless wilderness.
"I think I suffered more during those two or three hours in mind and body than at any other period of my captivity in the same time. We feared to, stay only as long as was necessary, for our energies were well-nigh exhausted. "We started back, and I then saw an Indian carry a basket. One of them took the baskets of the dead, and kept up with us. The rest of our party went howling through the woods in the most dismal manner. The next day we found the camp, and found we had been nearly around it. We were soon on our way, and .by traveling all one night we were at the village.
"It would be impossible to put upon paper any true idea of my feelings and sufferings during this trip, on account of Mary. Had it not been for her I could have consented to have laid down and died with the three we buried. I did not then expect to get back. I feared she would not live, and I found on reaching the village that she had materially failed, and had been furnished with scarcely food enough to keep her alive. I sought by every possible care to recruit her, and for a short time she revived. The berry we had gathered, while it would add to one's flesh, and give an appearance of healthiness, (if the stomach could bear it,) had but little strengthening properties in it.
"I traveled whole- days together in search of the eggs of blackbirds for Mary Ann. These eggs at seasons were plenty, but not then. These she relished very much. I cherished for a short time the hope that she might, by care and nursing, be kept up until spring, when we could get fish. The little store we had brought in was soon greedily devoured, and with the utmost difficulty could we get a more 7 " The ground was searched for miles, and every root that could nourish human life was gathered. The Indians became reckless and quarrelsome, and with unpardonable selfishness each would struggle for his own life in utter disregard of his fellows. Mary Ann failed fast. She and I were whole days at a time without anything to eat; when by some chance, or the kindness of the chief's daughter, we would get a morsel to satisfy our cravings. Often would Mary say to me, 'I am well enough, but I want something to eat; then I should be well.' I could not leave her over night. Roots there were none I could reach by day and return; and when brought in, our lazy lords would take them for their own children. Several children had died, and more were in a dying state. Each death that occurred was the occasion of a night or day of frantic howling and crocodile mourning. Mary was weak and growing weaker, and I gave up in despair. I sat by her side for a few days, most of the time only begging of the passers-by to give me something to keep Mary alive. Sometimes I succeeded. Had it not been for the wife and daughter of the chief, we could have obtained nothing. They seemed really to feel for us, and I have no doubt would have done more if in their power. My sister would not complain, but beg for something to eat.
"She would often think and speak in the most affectionate manner of 'dear pa and ma,' and with confidence she would say, 'they suffered an awful death, but they are now safe and happy in a better and brighter land, though I am left to starve among savages.' She seemed now to regard life no longer as worth preserving, and she kept constantly repeating expressions of longing to die and be removed from a gloomy captivity to a world where no tear of sorrow dims the eye of innocence and beauty. She called me to her side one day and said: ' Olive, I shall die soon; you will live and get away. Father and mother have got through with sufferings, and are now at rest; I shall soon be with them and those dear brothers and sisters.' She then asked me to sing, and she joined her sweet, clear voice, without faltering, with me, and we tried to sing the evening hymn we had been taught at the family altar:
The evening shades appear,' etc.
"My grief was too great. The struggling emotions of my mind I tried to keep from her, but could not. She said: 'Don't grieve for me; I have been a care to you all the while. I don't like to leave you here all alone, but God is with you, and our heavenly Father will keep and comfort those who trust in him. O, I am so glad that we were taught to love and serve the Saviour.' She then asked me to sing the hymn commencing:
' How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see.'
"She lingered thus for several days. She suffered much, mostly from hunger. Often did I hear, as I &at near her weeping, some Indian coming near break out in a rage, because I was permitted to spend my time thus with her; that they had better kill Mary, then I could go, as I ought to be made to go, and dig roots and procure food for the rest of them.
"O what moments, what hours were these! Every object in all the fields of sight seemed to wear a horrid loom.
"One day, during her singing, quite a crowd gathered about her and seemed much surprised. Some of them would stand for whole hours and gaze upon her countenance as if enchained by a strange sight, and this while some of their own kindred were dying in other parts of the village. Among these was the wife of the chief, ' Aespaneo.' I ought here to say that neither that woman nor her daughter ever gave us any unkind treatment. She came up one day, hearing Mary sing, and bent for some time silently over her. She looked in her face, felt of her, and suddenly broke out in a most piteous lamentation. She wept, and wept from the heart and aloud. I never saw a parent seem to feel more keenly over a dying child. She sobbed, she moaned, she howled. And thus bending over and weeping she stood the whole night. The next morning, as I sat near my sister, shedding my tears in my hands, she called me to her side and said: 'I am willing to die. O, I shall be so much better off there!' and her strength failed. She tried to sing, but was too weak.
DEATH OF MARY ANN AT THE INDIAN CAMP
"A number of the tribe, men, women, and children, were about her, the chief's wife watching her every moment. She died in a few moments after her dying words quoted above.
"She sank to the sleep of death as quietly as sinks the innocent infant to sleep in its mother's arms.
"When I saw that she was dead, I could but give myself up to loneliness, to wailing and despair. The last of our family dead, and all of them by tortures inflicted by Indian savages,' I exclaimed to myself. I went to her and tried to find remaining life, but no pulse, no breath was there. I could but adore the mercy that had so wisely thrown a vail of concealment over these three years of affliction. Had their scenes been mapped out to be read before hand, and to be received step by step, as they were really meted out to us, no heart could have sustained them.
"I wished and most earnestly desired that I might at once lie down in the same cold, icy embrace that I saw fast stiffening the delicate limbs of that dear sister.
" I reasoned at times, that die I must and soon, and that I had the right to end my sufferings at once, and prevent these savages by cold, cruel neglect, murdering me by the slow tortures of a starvation that had already its score of victims in our village. The only heart that shared my woes was now still, the only heart (as I then supposed) that survived the massacre of seven of our family group was now cold in death, and why should I remain to feel the gnawings of hunger and pain a few days, and then, with out any to care for me, unattended and uncared for, lay down and die. At times I resolved to take a morsel of food by stealth', (if it could be found,) and make a desperate attempt to escape.
"There were two, however, who seemed not wholly insensible to my condition, these were the wife and daughter of the chief. They manifested a sympathy that had not gathered about me since the first closing in of the night of my captivity upon me. The Indians, at the direction of the chief, began to make preparations to burn the body of my sister. This, it seemed, I could not endure. I sought a place to weep and pray, and I then tasted the blessed ness of realizing that there is One upon whom the heart's heaviest load can be placed, and He never disappointed me. My dark, suicidal thoughts fled, and I became resigned to my lot. Standing by the corpse, with my eyes fastened on that angel-countenance of Mary Ann, the wife of the chief came to me and gave me to understand that she had by much entreaty, obtained the permission of her lord to give me the privilege of disposing of the dead body as I should choose. This was a great consolation, and I thanked her most earnestly. It lifted a burden from my mind that caused me to weep tears of gratitude, and also to note the finger of that Providence to whom I had fully committed myself, and whom I plainly saw strewing my way with tokens of his kind regards toward me. The chief gave me two blankets, and in these they wrapped the corpse. Orders were then given to two Indians to follow my directions in disposing of the body. I selected a spot in that little garden ground, where I had planted and wept with my dear sister. In this they dug a grave about five feet deep, and into it they gently lowered the remains of my last, my only sister, and closed her last resting-place with the sand. The reader may imagine my feelings, as I stood by that grave. The whole painful past seemed to rush across my mind, as I lingered there. It was the first and only grave in all that valley, and that inclosing my own sister. Around me was a large company of half-dressed, fierce-looking savages, some serious, some mourning, some laughing over this novel method of disposing of the dead ; others in breathless silence watched the movements of that dark hour, with a look that seemed to say, ' This is the way white folks do,' and exhibiting no feeling or care beyond that. I longed to plant a rose upon her grave, but the Mohaves knew no beauty, and read no lesson in flowers, and so this mournful pleasure was denied me.
" When the excitement of that hour passed, with it seemed to pass my energy and ambition. I was faint and weak, drowsy and languid. I found but little strength from the scant rations dealt out to me. I was rapidly drooping, and becoming more and more anxious to shut my eyes to all about me, and sink to a sweet, untroubled sleep beneath that green carpeted valley. This was the only time in which, without any reserve, I really longed to die, and cease at once to breathe and suffer. That same woman, the wife of the chief, came again to the solace and relief of my destitution and woe. I was now able to walk but little, and had resigned all care and anxiety, and concluded to wait until those burning sensations caused by want of nourishment should consume the last thread of my life, and shut my eyes and senses in the darkness that now hid them from my sister.
" Just at this time this kind woman came to me with some corn gruel in a hollow stone. I marveled to know how she had obtained it. The handful of seed corn that my sister and I had hid in the ground, between two stones, did not come to my mind. But this woman, this Indian woman, had uncovered a part of what she had deposited against spring planting, had ground it to a coarse meal, and of it pre pared this gruel for me. I took it, and soon she brought me more. I began to revive. I felt a new life and strength given me by this morsel, and was cheered by the unlooked-for exhibition of sympathy that attended it. She had the discretion to deny the unnatural cravings that had been kindled by the small quantity she brought first, and dealt a little at a time, until within three days I gained a vigor and cheerfulness I had not felt for weeks. She bestowed this kindness in a sly and unobserved manner, and enjoined secrecy upon me, for a reason which the reader can judge. She had done it when some of her own kin were in a starving condition. It waked up a hope within my bosom that reached beyond the immediate kindness. I could not account for it but by looking to that Power in whose hands are the hearts of the savage as well as the civilized man. I gathered a prospect from these unexpected and kindly interpositions, of an ultimate escape from my bondage. It was the hand of God, and I would do violence to the emotions I then felt and still feel, violence to the strong determination I then made to acknowledge all his benefits, if I should neglect this opportunity to give a public, grateful record of my sense of his goodness.
" The woman had buried that corn to keep it from the lazy crowd about her, who would have devoured it in a moment, and in utter recklessness of next year's reliance. She did it when deaths by starvation and sickness were occurring every day through out the settlement. Had it not been for her, I must have perished. From this circumstance I learned to chide my hasty judgment against ALL the Indian race, and also, that kindness is not always a stranger to the untutored and untamed bosom. I saw in this that their savageness is as much a fruit of their ignorance as of any want of a susceptibility to feel the throbbings of true humanity, if they could be properly appealed to.
" By my own exertions I was able now to procure a little upon which to nourish my half-starved stomach. By using, about half of my seed corn, and getting an occasional small dose of bitter, fermented oth-to-toa soup, I managed to drag my life along to March, 1854. During this month and April I procured a few small roots, at a long distance from the village; also some fish from the lake. I took particular pains to guard the little wheat garden that we had planted the autumn before, and I also planted a few kernels of corn and some melon seeds. Day after day I watched this little mutautea,' lest the birds might bring upon me another winter like that now passed. In my absence Aespaneo would watch it for me. As the fruit of my care and vigilant watching, I gathered about one half bushel of corn, and about the same quantity of wheat. My melons were destroyed.
" During the growing of this crop, I subsisted principally upon a small root,* about the size of a hazel-nut, which I procured by traveling long distances, with fish. Sometimes, after a long and fatiguing search, I would procure a handful of these roots, and, on bringing them to camp, was compelled to divide them with some lazy monsters, who had been sunning themselves all day by the river.
"I also came near losing my corn to the black birds. Driven by the same hunger, seemingly, that was preying upon the human tribe, they would fairly darken the air, and it was difficult to keep them off, .especially as I was compelled to be absent to get food for immediate use. But they were not the only robbers I had to contend against. There were some who, like our white loafers, had a great horror of honest labor, and they would shun even a little toil, with a conscientious abhorrence, at any hazard. They watched my little corn-patch with hungry and thieving eyes, and, but for the chief, would have eaten the corn green and in the ear. As harvest drew near I watched, from before daylight until dark again, to keep off these red vultures and the blackbirds from a spot of ground as large as an ordinary dwelling-house. I had to do my accustomed share of musquite gathering, also, in June and July. This we gathered in abundance. The Colorado overflowed this winter and spring, and the wheat and corn produced well, so that in autumn the tribe was better provided with food than it had been for several years.
"The social habits of these Indians, and the traits of character on which they are founded, and to which they give expression, may be illustrated by a single instance as well as a thousand. The portion of the valley over which the population extends, is about forty miles long. Their convivial seasons were occasions of large gatherings, tumultuous rejoicings, and (so far as their limited productions would allow) of excess in feasting. The year 1854 was one of unusual bounty and thrift. They planted more than usual ; and by labor and the overflow of the river, the seed deposited brought forth an unparalleled increase. During the autumn of that year, the residents of the north part of the valley set apart a day for feasting and merry-making. Notice was given about four weeks beforehand ; great preparations were made, and a large number invited. Their supply for the appetite on that day consisted of wheat, corn, pumpkins, beans, etc. These were boiled, and portions of them mixed with ground seed, such as serececa, (seed of a weed,) nioeroco, (of pumpkins.) On the day of the feast the Indians masked themselves, some with bark, some with paint, some with skins. On the day previous to the feast, the Indians of our part of the valley, who had been favored with an invitation, were gathered at the house of the chief, preparatory to taking the trip in company to the place of the feast. Some daubed their faces arid hair with mud, others with paint, so as to give to each an appearance totally different from his or her natural state. I was told that I could go along with the rest. This to me was no privilege, as I knew too well what cruelty and violence they were capable of when excited, as on their days of public gathering they were liable to be. How ever, I was safer there than with those whom they left behind.
"The Indians went slowly, sometimes in regular, and sometimes in irregular march, yelling, howling, singing, and gesticulating, until toward night they were wrought up to a perfect frenzy. They halted about one mile from the " north settlement," and after building a fire, commenced their war-dance, which they kept up until about midnight. On this occasion I witnessed some of the most shameful indecencies, on the part of both male and female, that came to my eye for the five years of my stay among Indians.
" The next morning the Indians who had prepared the feast (some of whom had joined in the dance of the previous evening) came with their squaws, each bearing upon their heads a Coopoesech, containing a cake, or a stone dish filled with soup, or boiled vegetables. These cakes were made of wheat, ground, and mixed with boiled pumpkins. This dough was rolled out sometimes to two feet in diameter; then placed in hot sand, a leaf and a layer of sand laid over the loaf, and a fire built over the whole, until it was baked through. After depositing these dishes, filled with their prepared dainties, upon a slight mound near by, the whole tribe then joined in a war dance, which lasted nearly twelve hours. After this the dishes and their contents were taken by our party and- borne back to our homes, when and where feasting and dancing again commenced, and continued until their supplies were exhausted, and they from sheer weariness were glad to fly to the embrace of sleep. It would be a c shame even to speak ' of all the violence and indecency into which they plunged on these occasions. Suffice it to say that no modesty, no sense of shame, no delicacy, that throw so man]' wholesome hedges and limitations about the respective sexes on occasions of conviviality where civilization elevates and refines, were there to interfere with scenes the remembrance of which creates a doubt whether these degraded bipeds belong to the human or brute race.
"Thus ended one of the many days of such performances that I witnessed ; and I found it difficult to decide whether most of barbarity appeared in these, or at those seasons of wild excitement occasioned by the rousing of their revengeful and brutal passions.
" Of all seasons during my captivity, these of concourse and excitement most disgusted me with the untamed Indian. When I remember what my eyes have witnessed, I am led to wonder and adore at my preservation for a single year, or that my life was not brutalized, a victim to their inhumanity.
"I felt cheerful again, only when that loneliness and desolateness which had haunted me since Mary's death, would sadden and depress my spirits. The same woman that had saved my life, and furnished me with ground and seed to raise corn and wheat, and watched it for me for many days, now procured from the chief a place where I might store it, with the promise from him that every kernel should go for my own maintenance."
It is not to go again over the melancholy events that have been rehearsed in the last chapter, that we ask the reader to tarry for a moment ere his eye begins to trace the remaining scenes of Olive's captivity, which furnish the next chapter, and in which we see her under the light of a flickering, unsteady hope of a termination of her captivity either by rescue or death.
But when in haste this chapter was penned for the first edition, it was then, and has since been felt by the writer, that there was an interest hanging about the events of the same, especially upon the closing days and hours .of little Mary's brief life, that properly called, according to the intent of this narrative, for a longer stay. A penning of mere facts does not set forth, or glance at all that clusters about that pale, dying child as she lies in the door of the tent, the object of the enchained curious attention of the savages, by whose cold neglect the flower of her sweet life was thus nipped in the bud. And we feel confident of sharing, to some extent, the feelings of the sensitive and intelligent reader, when we state that the two years' suffering, by the pressure of which her life was arrested, and the circumstances surrounding those dying moments, make up a record, than which seldom has there been one that appeals to the tender sensibilities of our being more directly, or to our serious consideration more profitably.
Look at these two girls in the light of the first camp-fire that glowed upon the faces of themselves and their captors, the first dreary evening of their captivity. By one hour's cruel deeds and murder they had suddenly been bereft of parents, brothers, and sisters, and consigned to the complete control of a fiendish set of men, of the cruelty of whose tender mercies they had already received the first and unerring chapter. Look at them toiling day and night, from this on for several periods of twenty-four hours, up rugged ascents, bruised and whipped by the ruggedness of their way and the mercilessness of their lords. Their strength failing; the distance between them and the home and way of the white man increasing; the dreariness and solitude of the region embosoming them thickening ; and" each step brooded over by the horrors left behind, and the worse horrors that sat upon the brightest future that at the happiest rovings of fancy could be possibly anticipated.
In imagination we lean out our souls to listen to the sobs and sighs that went up from those hearts, hearts bleeding from wounds and pains tenfold more poignant than those that lacerated and wrung their quivering flesh. We look upon them, as with their captors they encircle the wild light of the successive camp-fires, kindled for long distant halts, upon their way to the yet unseen and dreaded home of the " inhabitants of rocks and tents." We look upon them as they are ushered into their new home, greeted with the most inhuman and terror-kindling reception given them by this unfeeling horde of land- sharks ; thus to look, imagine, and ponder, we find enough, especially when the age and circumstances of these captive girls are considered, to lash our thoughts with indignation toward their oppressors, and kindle our minds with more than we can express with the word sympathy for these their innocent victims.
In little less than one year, and into that year is crowded all of toil and suffering that we can credit as possible for them to survive, and then they are sold and again en route, for another new and strange home, in a wild as distant from their Apache home as that from the hill where, but a year before, in their warm flowing blood, their moaning, mangled kindred had been left.
Scarcely had they reached the Mohave Valley ere the elder sister saw with pain, the sad and already apparently irremovable effects of past hardships upon the constitution of the younger. What tenderness, what caution, what vigilant watching, what anxious, unrelieved solicitude mark the conduct of that noble heart toward her declining and only sister? Indeed, what interest prompted her to do all in her power to preserve her life ? Not only her only sister, but the only one (to her then) that remained of the family from whom they had been ruthlessly torn. And should her lamp of life cease, thereby would be extinguished the last earthly solace and cordial for the dark prison life that enclosed her, and that threw its walls of gloom and adamant between her and the abodes and sunshine of civilized life. Yet death had marked that little cherub girl for an early victim. Slowly, and yet uncomplainingly, does her feeble frame and strength yield to the heavy hand of woe and want that met her, in all the ghastliness and horror of unchangeable doom, at every turn and hour of her weary days. "What mystery hangs upon events and persons ! How impenetrable the per missions of Providence ! How impalpable and evasive of all our wisdom that secret power , by which cherished plans and purposes are often shaped to conclusions and terminations so wide of the bright design that lighted them on to happy accomplishment in the mind of the mortal proposer!
Mary Ann had been the fondly cherished, and tenderly nursed idol of that domestic group. Early had she exhibited a precocity in intellect, and in moral sensitiveness and attainment, that had made her the subject of a peculiar parental affection, and the ever cheerful radiating center of light, and love, and happiness to the remainder of the juvenile family. But she ever possessed a strength of body and vigor of health far inferior, and disproportioned to her mental and moral progress. She was a correct reader at four years. She was kept almost constantly at school, both from her choice, and the promise she gave to delighted parents of a future appreciation and good improvement of these advantages. With the early exhibition of an earnest thirst for knowledge that she gave, there was also a strict regard for truth, and a hearty, happy obedience to the law of God and the authority of her parents. At five years and a half she had read her Bible through. She was a constant attendant upon Sabbath school, into all the exercises of which she entered with delight ; and to her rapid improvement and profit in the subjects with which she there became intimate and identified, may be attributed the moral superiority she displayed during her captivity.
She had a clear, sweet voice, and the children now live in this state who have witnessed the earnestness and rapture with which she joined in singing the hymns allotted to Sabbath-school hours. O how little of the sad after-part of Mary's life entered into the minds of those parents as thus they directed the childish, tempted steps of their little daughter into the paths of religious pursuits and obedience.
"Who shall say that the facts in her childish experience and years herein glanced at, had not essentially to do with the spirit and preparedness that she brought to the encountering and enduring of the terrible fate that closed her eyes among savages at eight years of age.
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As we look at her fading, withering, and wasting at the touch of cold cruelty, the object of anxious watchings and frequent and severe painstaking on the part of her elder sister, who spared no labor or fatigue to glean the saving morsel to prolong her sinking life, we can but adore that never-sleeping Goodness that had strewn her way to this dark scene with so many preparing influences and counsels.
Young as she was, she with her sister were first to voice those hymns of praise to the one God, in which the grateful offerings of Christian hearts go up to him, in the ear of an untutored and demoralized tribe of savages. Hers was the first Christian death they ever witnessed, perhaps the last ; and upon her, as with composure and cheerfulness (not the sullen submission of which they boast) she came down to the vale of death, they gazed with every indication of an interest and curiosity that showed the workings of something more than the ordinary solemnities that had gathered them about the paling cheek and quivering lip of members of their own tribe.
Precious girl ! sweet flower ! nipped in the bud by untimely and rude blasts. Yet the fragrance of the ripe virtues that budded and blossomed upon so tender and frail a stalk shall not die. If ever the bright throng that flame near the throne would delight to cease their song, descend and poise on steady wing to wait the last heaving of a suffering mortal's bosom, that at the parting breath they might encircle the fluttering spirit and bear it to the bosom of God, it was when thou didst, upon the breath of sacred song, joined in by thy living sister, yield thy spirit to Him who kindly cut short thy sufferings that he might begin thy bliss.
A Sabbath-school scholar, dying in an Indian camp, three hundred miles from even the nearest trail of the white man, buoyed and gladdened by bright visions of beatitudes that make her oblivious of present pain, and long to enter upon the future estate to which a correct and earnest instruction had been pointing !
Who can say but that there lives the little Mohave boy .or girl, or the youth who will yet live to rehearse in the ear of a listening American auditory, and in a rough, uncouth jargon, the wondrous impression of that hour upon his mind.
Already we see the arms of civilization embracing a small remnant of that waning tribe, and among its revived records, though unwritten, we find the death of the American captive in the door of the chief's "Pasiado" When they gathered about her at that dying moment, many were the curious questions with which some of them sought to ascertain the secret of her (to them) strange appearance. The sacred hymns learned in Sabbath school and at a domestic shrine, and upon which that little spirit now breathed its devout emotions in the ear of God, were required after. They asked her where she expected to go. She told them that she was going to a better place than the mound to which they sent the spirits of their dead. And many questions did they ask her and her older sister as to the extent of the knowledge they had of such a bright world, if one there was. And though replies to many of their queries before had been met by mockings and ridicule, yet now not one gazed, or listened, or questioned, to manifest any disposition to taunt or accuse at the hour of that strange dying.
The wife of the chief plied her questions with earnestness, and with an air of sincerity, and the exhibition of the most intense mental agitation, showing that she was not wholly incredulous of the new and strange replies she received.
One night a large company were assembled at the hut of one of the sub-chiefs. It was said that this Indian, Adpadarama, was the illegitimate son of the present chief, and there was considerable dispute between him and two of the chief's legitimate sons as to their respective rights to the chiefship on the death of the father.
At the gathering referred to the following anecdote was related, which is here given to show the strength of their superstitions, and the unmitigated cruelties which are sometimes perpetrated by them under the sanction of these barbaric beliefs. This sub-chief said that one day, when he, in company with several of his relatives and two Cochopa captives, was away in the mountains on a hunting-tour, his (reputed) father fell violently sick. He grew worse for several days. One day he was thought to be dying. "When I was convinced that he could not live," said Adpadarama, or to that effect, " I re solved to kill one of the captives, and then wait until my father should die, when I would kill the other. So I took a stone tomahawk and went out to the little fire near the camping-tent, where they were eating some berries they had just picked, and I told one of them to step out, for I was a going to kill her to see if it would not save my father. Then she cried," (and at this he showed by signs, and frowns, and all manner of gestures how delighted he was at her misery^) " and begged for her life. But I went up to her and struck her twice with this tomahawk, when she fell dead upon the ground. I then told the other that I should kill her so soon as my father died; 'that I should burn them both with his body, and then they would go to be his slaves up in yonder eliercha," (pointing to their heavenly lull.) "Well, about two days after my father died, and I was mad to think that the killing of the captive had not saved him. So I went straight and killed the other, but I killed her by burning, so as to be sure that the flames should take her to my father to serve him forever."
Such are facts that dimly hint at the vague and atrocious theories that crowd their brain and hold iron sway over their minds. And in all the abominations and indecencies authorized by their superstitions, they are not only prompt and faithful, but the more degrading and barbarous the rite, the more does their zeal and enthusiasm kindle at its performance.
Adpadarama said he burned, as soon as he returned, his father's house, and all his dishes, and utensils, and bark-garments, so that his father might have them to contribute to his happiness where he had gone.
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