characteristic ornament, was slung at his back, and a shield of hides, quaintly emblazoned with another of his warlike deeds, was suspended from his neck by a thong of sinews.

As the trapper approached, this warrior maintained his calm upright attitude, discovering neither an eagerness to ascertain the character of those who advanced upon him, nor the smallest wish to avoid a scrutiny in his own person. An eye, that was darker and more shining than that of the stag, was incessantly glancing, however, from one to another of the stranger party, seemingly never knowing rest for an instant.

“Is my brother far from his village?” demanded the old man, in the Pawnee language, after examining the paint, and those other little signs by which a practised eye knows the tribe of the warrior he encounters in the American deserts, with the same readiness, and by the same sort of mysterious observation, as that by which the seaman knows the distant sail.

“It is farther to the towns of the Big-knives,” was the laconic reply.

“Why is a Pawnee-Loup so far from the fork of his own river, without a horse to journey on, and in a spot empty as this?”

“Can the women and children of a Pale-face live without the meat of the bison? There was hunger in my lodge.”

“My brother is very young to be already the master of a lodge,” returned the trapper, looking steadily into the unmoved countenance of the youthful warrior; “but I dare say he is brave, and that many a chief has offered him his daughters for wives. But he has been mistaken,” pointing to the arrow, which was dangling from the hand that held the bow, in bringing a loose and barbed arrow-head to kill the buffaloe. Do the Pawnees wish the wounds they give their game to rankle?”

“It is good to be ready for the Sioux. Though not in sight, a bush may hide him.”

The man is a living proof of the truth of his words,” muttered the trapper in English, “and a close-jointed and gallant looking lad he is; but far too young for a chief of any importance. It is wise, however, to speak him fair, for a single arm thrown into either party, if we come to blows with the squatter and his brood, may turn the day. You see my children are weary,” he continued in the dialect of the prairies, pointing, as he spoke, to the rest of the party, who, by this time, were also approaching. “We wish to camp and eat. Does my brother claim this spot?”

“The runners from the people on the Big-river, tell us that your nation have traded with the Tawney-faces who live beyond the salt-lake, and that the prairies are now the hunting grounds of the Big-knives!”

“It is true, as I hear, also, from the hunters and trappers on La Platte. Though it is with the Frenchers, and not with the men who claim to own the Mexicos, that my people have bargained.”

“And warriors are going up the Long-river, to see that they have not been cheated, in what they have bought?”

“Ay, that is partly true, too, I fear; and it will not be long before an accursed band of choppers and loggers will be following on their heels, to humble the wilderness which lies so broad and rich on the western banks of the Mississippi, and then the land will be a peopled desert, from the shores of the main sea to the foot of the Rocky Mountains; fill’d with all the abominations and craft of man, and stript of the comforts and loveliness it received from the hands of the Lord!”

“And where were the chiefs of the Pawnee-Loups, when this bargain was made?” suddenly demanded the youthful warrior, a look of startling fierceness gleaming, at the same instant, athwart his dark visage. “Is a nation to be sold like the skin of a beaver?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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