Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Great American Desert
 The White Peak
 The Valley Oasis
 The Strange Settlement
 Rolfe's Early History
 The Virginia Plantation
 The Caravan and Its Fate
 The Miner's Story
 Lost in the Desert
 Adventure with an Armadillo
 A Very Lean Buffalo
 The Bighorns
 The Great Elk
 Adventure with the Carajou
 The Beavers and Wolverene
 How to Build a Log Cabin
 The Sagacious Squirrel
 A House Built without a Nail
 A Battue of Blacktails
 Catching a Tartar
 The Salt Spring
 The Battle of the Snakes
 The Sugar Tree
 The Stump Tree and the Bread...
 The Snow Line
 The Menagerie, Aviary, and Botanic...
 Trapping the Beasts and Birds
 The Biters Bit
 Battle of the Marten and Porcu...
 The Cunning Old "Coon"
 Little Mary and the Bee
 A Grand Bee Hunt
 A Rival Honey Robber
 The Battle of the Bucks
 The Pit Trap
 The Old "Possum" and Her Kitte...
 The Moccason Snake and the...
 The Battle of the Cougar and...
 Besieged in a Tree
 An Adventure with Dusky Wolves
 Taming the Great Elk
 Catching the Wild Horses
 Back Cover

Title: The desert home, or, The adventures of a lost family in the wilderness
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020330/00001
 Material Information
Title: The desert home, or, The adventures of a lost family in the wilderness
Alternate Title: English family Robinson
Adventures of a lost family in the wilderness
Physical Description: 411, <4> p., <12> leaves of plate : ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Reid, Mayne, 1818-1883
Harvey, William, 1796-1866 ( Illustrator )
Rand, George Curtis, 1818 or 19-1878 ( Printer )
Dalziel Brothers ( Engraver )
Ticknor, Reed, and Fields ( Publisher )
Boston Stereotype Foundry ( Stereotyper )
Publisher: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Geo. C. Rand
Publication Date: 1852, c1851
Copyright Date: 1851
Subject: Travelers -- Juvenile fiction -- West (U.S.)   ( lcsh )
Frontier and pioneer life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wilderness survival -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Deserts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- West (U.S.)   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Juvenile fiction -- Rocky Mountains   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1852   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Citation/Reference: Tryon and Charvat,
Statement of Responsibility: by Captain Mayne Reid ; with twelve illustrations by William Harvey.
General Note: Stereotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy lacks pages 145-160 and ill. opposite page 173.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Dalziel.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00020330
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002394925
oclc - 18910246
notis - ALZ9832

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover 1
        Front cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    List of Illustrations
        Page vi
    Great American Desert
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    The White Peak
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    The Valley Oasis
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    The Strange Settlement
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Rolfe's Early History
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    The Virginia Plantation
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    The Caravan and Its Fate
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 68a
    The Miner's Story
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Lost in the Desert
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Adventure with an Armadillo
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
    A Very Lean Buffalo
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    The Bighorns
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    The Great Elk
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 138a
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Adventure with the Carajou
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
    The Beavers and Wolverene
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
    How to Build a Log Cabin
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
    The Sagacious Squirrel
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
    A House Built without a Nail
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
    A Battue of Blacktails
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
    Catching a Tartar
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
    The Salt Spring
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
    The Battle of the Snakes
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
    The Sugar Tree
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 244a
        Page 245
    The Stump Tree and the Bread Pine
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
    The Snow Line
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
    The Menagerie, Aviary, and Botanic Garden
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
    Trapping the Beasts and Birds
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
    The Biters Bit
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
    Battle of the Marten and Porcupine
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 294
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
    The Cunning Old "Coon"
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
    Little Mary and the Bee
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
    A Grand Bee Hunt
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
    A Rival Honey Robber
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333a
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
    The Battle of the Bucks
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
    The Pit Trap
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
    The Old "Possum" and Her Kittens
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 365
    The Moccason Snake and the Orioles
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
    The Battle of the Cougar and Peccaries
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
        Page 375
        Page 376
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
        Page 382
        Page 383
    Besieged in a Tree
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
        Page 387
        Page 388
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 390a
        Page 391
    An Adventure with Dusky Wolves
        Page 392
        Page 393
        Page 394
        Page 395
        Page 396
        Page 397
    Taming the Great Elk
        Page 398
        Page 399
        Page 400
        Page 401
        Page 402
        Page 403
    Catching the Wild Horses
        Page 404
        Page 405
        Page 406
        Page 407
        Page 408
        Page 409
        Page 410
        Page 411
        Advertising 1
        Advertising 2
        Advertising 3
        Advertising 4
    Back Cover
        Advertising 6
Full Text



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I. LINCOLN WITH THE BIGHORN, (Fmonsrpiace,) 27



THEBE is a great desert in the interior of North
America. It is almost as large as the famous Saira
of Africa. It is fifteen hundred miles long, and a
thousand wide. Now, if it were a regular shape,-
that is to say, a parallelogram, -you could at once
compute its area, by multiplying the length upon
the breadth; and you would obtain one million and
a half for the result one million and a half of
square miles. But its outlines are as yet very im-
perfectly known; and although it is fully fifteen
hundred miles long, and in some places a thousand
in breadth, its surface extent is probably not over
one million of square miles, or twenty-five times the
size of England. Fancy a desert twenty-five times
as big as all England! Do you not think that it
has received a most appropriate name, when it is
called the Great American Desert '


Now, my young friend, what do you understand
by a desert? I think I can guess. When you
read or hear of a desert, you think of a vast level
plain, covered with sand, and without trees, or grass,
or any kind of vegetation. You think, also, of this
sand being blown about in thick, yellow clouds, and
no water to be seen in any direction. This is your
idea of a desert; is it not ? Well, it is not altogether
the correct one. It is true that in almost every
desert there are these sandy plains, yet are there
other parts of its surface of a far different character,
equally deserving the name of desert. Although
the interior of the great Saiira has not yet been fully
explored, enough is known of it to prove that it con-
tains large tracts of mountainous and hilly country,
with rocks and valleys, lakes, rivers, and springs.
There are, also, fertile spots, at wide distances from
each other, covered with trees, and shrubs, and beau-
tiful vegetation. Some of these spots are small,
while others are of large extent, and inhabited by
independent tribes, and even whole kingdoms of
people. A fertile tract of this kind is called an
oasis; and, by looking at your map, you will per-
ceive that there are many oases in the Saaira of
Of a similar character is the Great American
Desert; but its surface is still more varied with
what may be termed "geographical features." There


are plains some of them more than a hundred miles
wide -where you can see nothing but white sand,
often drifting about on the wind, and here and there
thrown into long ridges such as those made by a
snow storm. There are other plains, equally large,
where no sand appears, but brown barren earth, utterly
destitute of vegetation. There are others, again, on
which grows a stunted shrub, with leaves of a pale
silvery color. In some places it grows so thickly,
interlocking its twisted and knotty branches, that a
horseman can hardly ride through among them.
This shrub is the artemisia, -a species of wild sage
or wormwood, -and the plains upon which it grows
are called by the hunters who cross them the sage
prairies. Other plains are met with that present a
black aspect to the traveller. These are covered with
lava, that at some distant period of time has been
vomited forth from volcanic mountains, and now
lies frozen up, and broken into small fragments like
the stones upon a new-made road. Still other plains
present themselves in the American Desert. Some
are white, as if snow had fallen freshly upon them;
and yet it is not snow, but salt! Yes; pure white
salt -covering the ground six inches deep, and for
fifty miles, in every direction! Others, again, have
a similar appearance; but instead of salt, you find
the substance which covers them to be soda -a beau-
tiful efflorescence of soda!


There are mountains, too-indeed, one half of the
desert is very mountainous; and the great chain of
the Rocky Mountains -of which you have no doubt
heard-runs sheer through it from north to south,
and divides it into two nearly equal parts. But
there are other mountains besides these; mountains
of every height, and sometimes in their shape and
color presenting very striking and singular appear-
ances. Some of them run for miles in horizontal
ridges like the roofs of houses, and seemingly so
narrow at their tops that one might sit astride of
them. Others, again, of a conical form, stand out
in the plain apart from the rest, and look like tea-
cups turned upon their mouths in the middle of
a table. Then there are sharp peaks that shoot
upward like needles, and others shaped like the
dome of some great cathedral--like the dome of St.
Paul's. These mountains are of many colors. Some
are dark, or dark green, or blue when seen from
a distance. They are of this color when covered
by forests of pine or cedar, both of which trees are
found in great plenty among the mountains of the
There are many mountains where no trees are
seen, nor any signs of vegetation along their sides.
Huge naked rocks of granite appear piled upon each
other, or jutting out over dark and frowning chasms.
There are peaks perfectly white, because they are


covered with a thick mantle of snow. These can
always be seen from the greatest distance, as the
snow lying upon them all the year without melting
proves them to be of vast elevation above the level
of the sea. There are other peaks almost as white,
and yet it is not with snow. They are of a milky
hue, and stunted cedar trees may be seen clinging
in seams and crevices along their sides. These are
mountains of pure limestone, or the white quartz rock.
There are mountains, again, upon which neither
tree nor leaf is to be seen; but, in their stead, the
most vivid colors of red and green, and yellow and
white, running in stripes along their sides, as though
they had been freshly painted. These stripes mark
the strata of different colored rocks, of which the
mountains are composed. And there are still other
mountains in the Great American Desert, to startle
the traveller with their strange appearance. They
are those that glitter with the mica and selenite.
These, when seen from a distance flashing under
the sun, look as though they were mountains of silver
and gold.
The rivers, too; strange rivers are they. Some
run over broad shallow beds of bright sand. Large
rivers-hundreds of yards in width, with sparkling
waters. Follow them down their course. What do
you find ? Instead of growing larger, like the rivers
of your own land, they become less and less, until


at length their waters sink into the sands, and you
see nothing but the dry channel for miles upon miles.
Go still farther, and again the water appears, and
onward increases in volume, until, thousands of miles
from the sea, large ships can float upon their bosom.
Such are the Arkansas and the Platte.
There are other rivers that run between bleak,
rocky banks--banks a thousand feet high, whose
bald, naked "bluffs" frown at each other across the
deep chasm, in the bottom of which roars the troubled
water. Often these banks extend for hundreds of
miles, so steep at all points that one cannot go down
to the bed of their stream; and often, often the
traveller has perished with thirst, while the roar of
their water was sounding in his ears. Such are the
Colorado and the Snake.
Still others go sweeping through the broad plains,
tearing up the clay with their mighty floods, and year
after year changing their channels, until they are
sometimes a hundred miles from their ancient beds.
Here they are found gurgling for many leagues under
ground-under vast rafts formed by the trees which
they have borne downward in their current. There
you find them winding by a thousand loops, like the
sinuosities of a great serpent, rolling sluggishly along,
with waters red and turbid as though they were
rivers of blood. Such are the Brazos and the Red.
Strange rivers are they that struggle through the


mountains, and valleys, and plateau lands of the Great
American Desert.
Not less strange are its lakes. Some lie in the
deep recesses of hills that dip down so steeply you
cannot reach their shores; while the mountains around
them are so bleak and naked, that not even a bird
ever wings its flight across their silent waters. Other
lakes are seen in broad, barren plains; and yet, a
few years after, the traveller finds them not-they
have dried up and disappeared. Some are fresh, with
waters like crystal; others brackish and muddy;
while many of them are more salt than the ocean
In this desert there are springs-springs of soda
and sulphur, and salt waters; and others so hot that
they boil up as in a great caldron, and you could not
dip your finger into them without scalding it.
There are vast caves piercing the sides of the
mountains, and deep chasms opening into the plains
- some of them so deep that you might fancy moun-
tains had been scooped out to form them. They are
called barrancass." There are precipices rising
strait up from the plains, thousands of feet in height,
and steep as a wall; and through the mountains
themselves you may see great clefts cut by the rivers,
as though they had been tunnelled and their tops had
fallen in. They are called "caiions." All these


singular formations mark the wild region of the Great
American Desert.
It has its denizens. There are oases in it; some
of them large, and settled by civilized men. One of
these is the country of New Mexico, containing many
towns, and 30,000 inhabitants. These are of the
Spanish and mixed Indian races. Another oasis is
the country around the Great Salt and Utah Lakes.
Here is also a settlement, established in 1846. Its
people are Americans and Englishmen. They are
the Mormons; and, though they dwell hundreds of
miles from any sea, they will in time become a large
and powerful nation of themselves.
Besides these two great oases, there are thousands
of others of all sizes-from fifty miles in breadth, to
the little spot of a few acres, formed by the fertilizing
waters of some gurgling spring. Many of these are
without inhabitants. In others, again, dwell tribes of
Indians, some of them numerous and powerful, pos-
sessing horses and cattle; while others are found in
small groups of three or four families each, subsisting
miserably upon roots, seeds, grass, reptiles, and insects.
In addition to the two great settlements we have men-
tioned, and the Indians, there is another class of men
scattered over this region. These are white men-
hunters and trappers. They subsist by trapping the
beaver, and hunting the buffalo and other animals.


Their life is one continued scene of peril, both from
the wild animals which they encounter in their lonely
excursions, and the hostile Indians with whom they
come in contact. These men procure the furs of the
beaver, the otter, the muskrat, the marten, the ermine,
the lynx, the fox, and the skins of many other an-
imals. This is their business, and by this they live.
There are forts, or trading posts, established by ad-
venturous merchants, at long distances from each
other; and at these forts the trappers exchange their
furs for the necessary implements of their perilous
There is another class of men who traverse the
great desert. For many years there has been a com-
merce carried on between the oasis of New Mexico
and the United States. This commerce employs a
considerable amount of capital, and a great number of
men, principally Americans. The goods are trans-
ported in large wagons drawn by mules or oxen;
and a train of these wagons is called a caravan."
Other caravans--Spanish ones-cross the western
wing of the desert, from Sonora to California, and
thence to New Mexico. Thus, you see, the Amer-
ican Desert has its caravans as well as the Saiira.
These caravans travel for hundreds of miles
through countries in which there are no inhabitants,
except the scattered and roving bands of Indians; and


there are many parts so sterile, that not even these
can exist in them.
The caravans, however, usually follow a track
which is known, and where grass and water may be
found at certain seasons of the year. There are
several of these tracks, or, as they are called," trails,"
that cross from the frontier settlements of the United
States to those of New Mexico. Between one and
another of them, however, stretch vast regions of
desert country,- entirely unexplored and unknown,
-and many fertile spots exist, that have never been
trodden by the foot of man.
Such, then, my young friend, is a rough sketch of
some of the more prominent features of the Great
American Desert.
Let me conduct you into it, and show you, from a
nearer view, some of its wild but interesting aspects.
I shall not show you the wildest of them, lest they
might terrify you. Fear not, I shall not lead you into
danger. Follow me.




SOME years ago, I was one of a party of "prairie
merchants" who crossed with a caravan from St
Louis, on the Mississippi, to Santa F6, in New Mexico.
We followed the usual "Santa F6 trail." Not dis-
posing of all our goods in New Mexico, we kept on
to the great town of Chihuahua, which lies farther
to the south. There we settled our business, and
were about to return to the United States the way we
had come, when it was proposed (as we had now
nothing to encumber us but our bags of money) that
we should explore a new "trail" across the prairies.
We all wished to find a better route than the Santa
F6 road; and we expected that such a one lay be-
tween the town of El Paso, on the Del Nort6 River,
and some point on the frontiers of Arkansas.
On arriving at El Paso, we sold our wagons, and
purchased Mexican pack mules -engaging, at the
same time, a number of arrieros," or muleteers, to
manage them. We also purchased saddle horses--
the small tight horses of New Mexico, which are ex-

THE WHITE break.

cellent for journeying in the desert. We provided
ourselves, moreover, with such articles of clothing
and provisions as we might require upon our un-
known route. Having got every thing ready for the
journey, we bade adieu to El Paso, and turned our
faces eastward. There were in all twelve of us-
traders, and a number of hunters, who had agreed to
accompany us across the plains. There was a miner
too, who belonged to a copper mine near El Paso.
There were also four Mexicans the arrieros,"
who had charge of our little train of pack mules.
Of course, we were all well armed, and mounted
upon the best horses we could procure for money.
We had first to cross over the Rocky Mountains,
which run north and south through all the country.
That chain of them which lies eastward of El Paso is
called the Sierra de Organos, or "Organ Mountains."
They are so called from the fancied resemblance
which is seen in one of their cliffs to the tubes of an
organ. These cliffs are of trap rock, which, as you
are aware, often presents very fantastic and singular
formations, by means of its peculiar stratification. But
there is a still more curious feature about these Organ
Mountains. On the top of one of them is a lake, which
has its tides, that ebb and flow like the tides of the
ocean. No one has yet accounted for this remark-
able phenomenon, and it remains a puzzle to the
geological inquirer. This lake is a favorite resort for


the wild animals of the country, and deer and elk are
found in great numbers around its shores. They are
not even molested by the Mexican hunters of these
parts, who seem to have a superstitious fear of the
spirits of the Organ Mountains, and rarely climb up
their steep sides.
Our party found an easy pass through the range,
which brought us out into an open country on the
other side. After travelling several days through the
eastern spurs of the Rocky Mountains, we struck upon
a small stream, which we followed downward. It
brought us at length to a large river running north
and south, which we knew to be the celebrated Pecos,
or, as it is sometimes called, the Puerco. These,
you will perceive; are all Spanish names, for the
country through which we were travelling, although
uninhabited and even unexplored by the Mexican
Spaniards, was yet- part of their territory; and such
objects as were known to them, through hunters or
others, had received names in their language.
We crossed the Pecos, and travelled for some days
up its left bank, in hopes of reaching some other
stream that might run into it from the east, which we
could follow. No such stream appeared; and we
were forced at times to leave the Pecos itself, and
take out into the open country for a distance of miles,
before we could get back to' its waters. This was on
account of the deep channel which the river-work-


ing for long ages -had cut through hills that opposed
its course, leaving on both sides vast precipices for
its banks.
Having now got farther to the north than we
wished, our party at length determined to attempt the
passage of the arid plain which stretched away east-
ward as far as the eye could reach. It was a perilous
enterprise to leave the river, without some knowledge
that there was water ahead of us. Travellers, under
such circumstances, usually keep close to a stream,
wherever it runs in the direction in which they wish
to go; but we had grown impatient on not finding
any one flowing into the Pecos from the east; and
having filled our gourd canteens, and given our ani-
mals as much water as they could drink, we turned
their heads towards the open plain.
After riding for several hours, we found ourselves
in the midst of a wide desert, with neither hill, moun-
tain, nor any other landmark in view. Scarcely a
trace of vegetation appeared around us. Here and
there were patches of stunted sage bushes and clumps
of thorny cactus, but not a blade of grass to gladden
the eyes of our animals. Not a drop of water was
met with, nor any indication that rain had ever fallen
upon that parched plain. The soil was as dry as
powder, and the dust kicked up by the hoofs of our
mules and horses hung around us in a cloud as we
marched. In addition to this, the heat was excessive;


and this, with the dust and fatigue of travel, brought
on an unquenchable thirst, that soon caused us to
drink up the contents of our water gourds. Long
before night they were all empty, and every one of
our party was crying out from thirst. Our animals
suffered worse; for we, at least, had food, while they,
poor brutes, were without a bite to sustain them.
We could not well turn back. We thought we
should surely come to water, sooner than we could
get back to the river; and with this hope we struggled
on. Late in the afternoon, our eyes were greeted
by a glad sight, that caused us to start up in our
saddles with a feeling of joy. You may think that it
was water -but it was not. It was a white object
that appeared against the sky at a great distance.
It was of a triangular shape, and seemed to be sus-
pended in the air. like the upper half of a huge kite.
All of us knew at a glance what it was. We knew
that it was the white cap of a snowy mountain.
You will wonder why this sight should have given
us such feelings of pleasure, as, in your opinion,
there is nothing very hospitable in the appearance of
a snow-capped mountain. That is because you do
not understand the peculiarities of the desert. I
shall explain. We knew from the appearance of the
mountain that it was one of those where the snow
lies forever, and which throughout Mexico are termed
"Nevada," or snowy. We knew, moreover, that,


wherever these are met with, streams of water will
be found running down their sides, almost at all
seasons, but certainly in hot or summer weather, in
consequence of the melting of the snow. It was this
knowledge, then, that cheered us; and although the
mountain seemed at a great distance, we pushed for-
ward with renewed energy and hope. Our animals,
too, as if they also understood the matter, neighed
and brayed loudly, and stepped out with a more
springy and elastic tread.
The white triangle grew bigger as we advanced.
At sunset we could distinguish the brown seams in
the lower part of the mountain; and the yellow rays
dancing upon the snowy crystals of the cone caused
it to glitter like a coronet of gold. The sight cheered
us on.
The sun set, and the moon took his place in the
heavens. Under her pale light we travelled on the
peak of the mountain still glistening coldly before us.
We travelled all night-and why not? There was
nothing to halt for. We could not have halted, ex-
cept to die.
The morning broke upon us as we dragged wearily
along. We could not have ridden less than a hun-
dred miles since we left the Pecos River; and yet, to
our dismay, the mountain was still at a good distance
before us. As the day brightened, we could trace
the configuration of its base; and we observed that


upon its southern face a deep ravine indented the
mountain nearly to its top. On its western side-
the one nearest us--there was no such feature; and
we conjectured that the most likely place for water
would be in the ravine on the south, where a stream
might be formed by the aggregation of the melted
snow water.
We directed our course towards the point, where
the ravine appeared to have its debouchment on the
plain. We had calculated rightly: as we approached
it, winding round the foot of the mountain, we saw
a line of a bright green color, running out into the
brown desert. It looked like a low hedge, with here
and there tall trees growing up above the rest. We
knew well what it was -it was a grove of willows,
with trees of cottonwood interspersed. We knew
them to be the sure signs of water, and we hailed
their appearance with delight. The men huzzaed
hoarsely--the horses neighed--the mules hinnied
-and, in a few moments more, men, mules, and
horses were kneeling by a crystal runlet, and drink-
ing deeply of its waters.




AFTER so long and terrible a journey, of course, we
all stood in need of rest and refreshment. We made
up our minds to stay by the stream all night, and
perhaps for a day or two. The fringe of willows
extended on both sides of it, for a distance of fifty
yards into the plain; and among these, growing
under theii shade, there were patches of grass--that
species known in Mexico as the gramma grass. It
is a rich, nutritious herbage; and horses and cattle -
as well as the buffaloes and other wild animals-- are
very fond of it. Our mules and horses gave proof
of this; for, as soon as they had satisfied themselves
with the water, they attacked it with open mouths,
and eyes sparkling with delight. We relieved them
of their packs and saddles; and then, having picketed
them, left them to eat to their hearts' content.
We now set about looking after something for our
own suppers. We had not yet suffered much from
hunger, as we had occasionally chewed pieces of our
dried meat while crossing the plain. But we had


eaten it quite raw; and tasajo for that is its name
-is no great eating, either raw or roasted. We
had been living upon it for more than a week, and
we longed for something fresh. During all the route
from El Paso we had fallen in with no game, except
some half dozen lean antelopes, only one of which
we had succeeded in shooting.
While we were picketing our animals, and getting
ready to cook our suppers of coffee and tasajo, one
of the hunters a tireless fellow named Lincoln -
had stolen off up the ravine. Presently we heard
the sharp crack of his rifle ringing through the defile;
and, looking up, we saw a flock of "bighorns"-
so the wild sheep of the Rocky Mountains are called
-leaping from rock to rock, and almost flying like
birds up the face of the cliffs. It was not long be-
fore Lincoln made his appearance at the mouth of
the defile, carrying a large body upon his shoulders,
which we knew, by the huge crescent-shaped horns,
had been a member of the flock we had seen escap-
ing. It proved to be as fat as a buck; and the
knives of the skilful hunters were not long in skin-
ning and dissecting it. Meanwhile, a couple of axes
had been grappled by stout hands; a cottonwood
came crashing down after a few sharp blows; and,
having been cut into "logs," was soon crackling
under the red blaze. Over this, the ribs and steaks
of the bighorn soon sputtered, and the coffee kettle


steamed, simmered, and bubbled with its brown
and aromatic contents. Our supper over, one and
all of us rolled ourselves in our blankets, and were
soon forgetful of the perils through which we had
Next morning we arose refreshed, and after break-
fast a consultation was held as to what course we
should now take. We would have followed the
stream, but it appeared to run in a southerly direc-
tion, and that would not do for us. We wanted to
go eastward. While we were deliberating upon this,
an exclamation from the hunter Lincoln drew our
attention. He was standing in the open ground, at
some distance out from the willows, and pointing
southward. We all looked in that direction, and, to
our great surprise, beheld a pillar of blue smoke
curling up into the sky, and seeming to rise out of
the plain.
"It must be Indians!" cried one.
"I noticed an odd-looking hole in the prairie down
there," said Lincoln; I noticed it last night when I
was up after the bighorn. The smoke we see comes
out of it; but there must be a fire where there's
smoke, they say; and there's somebody about that
fire, be they Injuns or whites."
"Indians, of course," rejoined several; "who else
would be found within hundreds of miles of such a
place as this ? Indians they must be."


A brief consultation was held among us, as to what
was best to be done. Our fire was at once choked
out," and our mules and horses brought into the cover
of the willow thicket. Some proposed that a small
party of us should go down the stream and recon-
noitre; while others advised that we should climb the
mountain, from which we might get a view of the
strange place whence the smoke seemed to proceed.
This was plainly the best course to adopt, as, in
case it should fail to satisfy us, we could still follow
the other plan. Half a dozen of us, therefore, leav-
ing the others to guard the camp, immediately set
out to ascend the mountain.
We climbed up the ravine, occasionally stopping
to look out over the plain. We climbed until we
had reached a considerable elevation. At length we
caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a deep
barranca, into which ran the stream; but we could
distinguish nothing within it at so great a distance.
We could see the plain stretching away beyond,
, iaked and sterile. On one side only, and that to-
wards the east, there was a belt of verdure, with
here and there a solitary tree, or at most two or three
growing together, stunted-like and shrubby. Run-
ning in the centre of this belt, we could distinguish
a line or crack in the plain. This was, no doubt,
a channel, by which the stream escaped from the
barranca. As nothing further could be gained by


remaining upon the mountain, we descended, and
joined our companions at the camp.
It was now agreed that a select party should fol-
low the stream, until we had approached the edge of
this strange valley, and reconnoitred it with caution.
Six of us again started, leaving our horses as before.
We stole silently along, keeping among the willows,
and as near as possible to the banks of the rivulet.
In this way we travelled about a mile and a half.
We saw then that we were near to the end of the
barranca. We could hear a noise like the sound of
a waterfall. We guessed that it must be a cataract
formed by the stream, where it leaped into the strange
ravine that already began to expand before our faces.
We were right in our conjectures, for the next mo-
ment we crept out upon the edge of a fearful cliff,
where the water of the rivulet swept over, and fell
through a height of several hundred feet.
It was a beautiful sight to look upon, as the long
jet, curving like the tail of a horse, plunged into the
foaming pool below; and then, rising with its millions
of globules of snowy spray, glittered under the sun-
beam with all the colors of the rainbow. It was, in-
deed, a beautiful sight; but our eyes did not dwell
long upon it, for other objects were before them that
filled us with wonder. Away below far below
where we were -lay a lovely valley, smiling in all
the luxuriance of bright vegetation. It was of nearly


an oval shape, bounded upon all sides by a frowning
precipice, that rose around it like a wall. Its length
could not have been less than ten miles, and its great-
est breadth about half of its length. We were at its
upper end, and of course viewed it lengthwise. Along
the face of the precipice there were trees hanging out
horizontally, and some of them even growing with
their tops downward. These trees were cedars and
pines; and we could perceive also. the knotted limbs
of huge cacti protruding from the crevices of the
rocks. We could see the wild mezcal, or maguey
plant, growing against the cliff-its scarlet leaves
contrasting finely with the dark foliage of the cedars
and cacti. Some of these'plants stood out on the
very brow of the overhanging precipice, and their
long curving blades gave a singular character to the
landscape. Along the face of the dark cliffs all was
rough, and gloomy, and picturesque. How different
was the scene below! Here every thing looked
soft, and smiling, and beautiful. There were broad
stretches of woodland, where the thick foliage of the
trees met and clustered together, so that it looked like
the surface of the earth itself; but we knew it was
only the green leaves, for here and there were spots
of brighter green, that we saw were glades covered
with grassy turf. The leaves of the trees were of
different colors, for it was now late in the autumn.
Some were yellow, and some of a deep claret color.


Some were bright red, and some of a beautiful ma-
roon; and there were green, and brighter green, and
others of a silvery, whitish hue. All these colors
were mingled together, and blended into each other,
like the flowers upon a rich carpet.
Near the centre of the valley was a large shining
.object, which we knew to be water. It was evi-
dently a lake of crystal purity, and smooth as a mirror.
The sun was now up to meridian height, and his
yellow beams falling upon its surface, caused it to
gleam like a sheet of gold. We could not trace the
outlines of the water, -for the trees partially hid it
from our view,- but we saw that the smoke that had
at first attracted us rose up somewhere from the
western shore of the lake.
We returned to the camp, where we had left our
companions. It was now agreed that we should ad
ride down the side of the barranca together, until we
could find a place to descend into it. It was evident
some such place existed, else how could they have
got in who had kindled the fire there?
We left the Mexicans in camp with our mules, and
all the rest of us, having mounted our horses, rode off
together. We went by the eastern side, keeping well
back upon the plain, so that we might not be seen
until we discovered what sort of people were in the
valley. When we had got opposite to where the
smoke was still curling up, we stopped; and two of


us, dismounting, crawled forward to the very edge of
the precipice. We took care to keep some bushes,
that grew along the brink, between ourselves and the
lake. At length we were able to get a good view
of every thing below; and a very strange sight that
was -at least it was very strange in such a place,
where it was so little expected. There was a large,
lake, as I have already stated; and on its opposite
side, not over a hundred yards from its edge, was a
fine-looking log house, with other smaller ones stand-
ing in the rear. There were rail fences all around
them, apd a cleared space.divided into fields, some of
which appeared to be under cultivation, while others
were green and filled with flocks of animals. The
whole picture was exactly like a snug farm house,
with its stables and other outhouses, witl9 its garden
and fields, and horses and cattle. The distance was
too great for us to distiAguish what sort of cattle they
were; but there appeared to be many kinds, both
red, and black, and speckled. We could see several
figures of men and boys-four of them in all-
moving about the enclosures, and there was a woman
near the door of the house. It was impossible in the
distance to tell whether they were white people, but
we never imagined for a moment they could be
Indians. No Indian could have built such a house as
that. It seemed to us as though we were dreaming,
to find such a picture in so unexpected a place; and


it was a beautiful picture to our eyes, coming fresh
as we were from looking upon the barren desert.
The lake was smooth as a mirror; the sun was
shining upon it; and we could see upon its farther
shore several large animals standing up to their
knees in the water.
There were many other striking objects which met
our eyes, but we had no time to dwell upon them,
and we crawled back again to our companions.
It was at once agreed that we should go still far-
ther down, and endeavor to find a road leading into
this most singular oasis. We.thought we could dis.
tinguish a sort of depression in the plain near the
lower end of the valley, and for this point we directed
our course. After riding a few miles farther, we
reached the place where the stream issued out in
an easterly direction. There, sure enough, was the
very road we were in searclf of, winding down along
the bank of the stream, and as if carved out from
the face of the precipice. It was not much wider
than the track of a wagon, but was of very easy
descent. We did not hesitate a moment, but com-
menced riding downward.




WE were soon in the bottom of the valley, where
we followed a plain track that led along the banks of
the rivulet. We knew that that would direct us up to
the lake, where we should get a view of the house.
We were astonished at the great variety of trees
which we saw in the woods; but there appeared to
be almost as great a variety of beautiful birds, that
fluttered among the leaves as we rode forward.
We came at length within sight of the opening in
which the house and lake were situated. It was
prudent to make another reconnoisance before we
advanced farther; and two of us, again dismounting,
stole cautiously forward through a thicket of leafy
shrubs. The house and all its grounds lay before us.
It was a log house, such as are met with in the
Western States of America, -and well constructed.
There was a garden at one end, and fields on all
sides. These fields were, as we had supposed, some
of them under cultivation. We noticed one of them
with a crop of Indian corn, and another of wheat.


But what most astonished us was the kind of animals
we saw in the enclosures. One would have thought,
at first sight, that they were the animals usually seen
around an Ehglish or American farm house -that
is to say, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, and poul-
try. You may fancy, then, our surprise, when, on
looking narrowly at them, we could not make out
a single animal exactly resembling any one of the
above, with the exception of horses; and even these
were unlike the common kind, for they were smaller,
and spotted all over like hounds! We knew that they
were mustangs the wild horses of the desert.
We glanced at the animals we had taken for black
cattle. What were they but buffaloes!-buffaloes
penned up in fields, and not heeding the human be-
ings that passed shouting among them. More than
all, we now saw that two animals yoked to the plough
were of the same species -a pair of huge buffalo
bulls; and they were working with all the quietness
and regularity of oxen.
Another kind of large animals drew our attention,
still taller than the buffaloes. We saw several of
them standing quietly in the water of the lake, in
which their huge bodies and branching horns were
shadowed as in a mirror. These we knew to be elk
the great American elk. We saw several kinds of
deer, and antelopes with their short, pronged horns,
and animals that resembled these last in size, but


with immense curving horns like those of the ram,
and other animals like goats or sheep. We saw some
without tails, having the appearance of pigs, and oth-
ers resembling foxes and dogs. We could see fowls
of different kinds moving about the doors; and among
others we distinguished the tall, upright form of the
wild turkey. The whole picture looked like the col-
lection of some zoological garden or menagerie.
Two men were seen one a tall, white man, with
a somewhat florid complexion. The other was a
short and very thick-set negro. The latter was by
the plough. There were two younger men, or lads
nearly grown. A woman sat by the door, engaged in
some occupation; and near her were two little girls,
no doubt her daughters.
But the sight which was strangest of all, both to
my companion and myself, was what appeared in
front of the house, and around the little porch where
the woman was sitting. It was a fearful sight to look
upon. First there were two large, black bears, per-
fectly loose, and playing with each other I Then
there were several smaller animals, that we had at
first taken for dogs, but that we now recognized, by
their bushy tails, sharp snouts, and short, erect ears,
to have at least as much of the wolf as dog in them.
They were of that kind often met with among the In-
dians, and might more properly be called dog wolves
than wolf dogs. There were at least half a dozen of


them sauntering about. But the most fearful looking
of all were two animals of a tawny red color, that lay
in crouching attitudes within the porch, almost at the
feet of the woman. Their round, cat-like heads and
ears, their short, black muzzles, their white throats, and
pale, reddish breasts, told us what they were at a glance.
"Panthers! ejaculated my companion, drawing a
long breath, and looking at me with a puzzled air.
Yes, they were panthers, so called by the hunters,
but more properly cougars, -thefelis concolor of the
naturalists the lion of America.
In the midst of all these fierce creatures, the two
young girls were moving about, apparently uncon-
cerned at their presence, while the animals appeared
equally unconcerned about them. The whole scene
reminded us of the fanciful pictures we had seen of
that time promised in the sacred book, when "all
the earth shall be at peace, and the lion shall lie
down with the lamb."
We did not stop. to see more. We were satisfied,
and went back for our companions. In five minutes
after, the whole of us entered the clearing, and rode
up to the house. Our sudden appearance produced
consternation on all sides. The men shouted to each
other--the horses peighed -the dogs howled and
barked hoarsely and the fowls mingled their voices
in the clamor. We were taken, no doubt, for a
party of Indians; but we were not long in making


it understood who and what we were. As soon as
our explanations were given, the white man invited
us, in the politest manner, to alight, and partake of
his hospitality. At the same time, he gave orders for
our dinners to be prepared; and, desiring us to lead
our horses into one of the enclosures, he commenced
throwing corn into a large wooden trough. In this
he was assisted by the negro, who was his servant,
and the two young lads, who appeared to be his sons.
As yet we had not ceased to wonder. Every
thing around us was strange and inexplicable. The
animals, which none of us had ever seen, except
in their wild state, were as tame and gentle as
farm cattle; and we noticed some new species at
every turn. There were strange plants, too, growing
in the fields and garden, and vines trained upon
espaliers, and corn cribs filled with yellow corn, and
dove cots, and martin boxes, with swallows twitter-
ing around them. All formed a curious but pleasing
We had sauntered about for an hour, when we
were summoned to dinner.
"Follow me, gentlemen," said our host, as he led
the way to the house. We entered, and seated
ourselves around a good-sized table, upon which
smoked several savory and inviting dishes. Some
of these we recognized as old acquaintances, while
others were new to us. We found venison steaks,


with buffalo tongues and hump ribs the daintiest
portions of that animal. There were fresh-cooked
fowls, and eggs of the wild turkey boiled and dressed
in omelets. There were bread and butter, and
milk, and rich cheese, all set out to tempt our
appetites, that, to say the truth, just at that time did
not require much coaxing to do justice to the viands
before us. We were all quite hungry, for we had
eaten nothing since morning. A large kettle sim-
mered by the fire. What could it contain ?" thought
we; surely not tea or coffee." In a short time we
were satisfied on this head. Bowls were placed
before us; and into these the hot liquid was poured,
which we found to be a very palatable as well as
wholesome beverage the tea of the sassafras root.
It was sweetened by maple sugar; and each helped
himself to cream to his own liking. We had all
tasted such tea before, and many of our party liked
it as well as the tea of China.
While we continued to eat, we could not help
noticing the strangeness of every thing around us.
All the articles of furniture were of unique and rude
description; and it was plain that most of them had
been manufactured upon the spot. The vessels were
of several sorts and of different materials. There
were cups and dishes, and bowls cut out of shells of the
gourd or calabash; and there were spoons and ladles
of the same material. There were wooden platters


and trays carved and scooped out of the solid tree.
And more numerous were the vessels of red pottery,
of different shapes and for different uses.. Of these
there were large pots for cooking, and jars for holding
water, and jugs of various dimensions.
The chairs, too, were all of rude construction, but
admirably adapted to their purpose. Most of them
were covered with raw hide seats, which stretched up
the back in a slanting line, and thus rendered them
firm and commodious. A few lighter ones, evi-
dently intended as the furniture of the inner rooms, -
there were but two in the house,- had bottoms woven
out of the leaves of the palmetto.
There was very little attempt at ornament upon
the walls -if we except some curiosities that were
placed there, all of which were evidently the produc-
tions of the valley itself. There were stuffed birds, of
rare and bright plumage, and huge horns of animals,
with two or three shells of the land tortoise, carefully
polished. There were no mirrors nor pictures, and
not a book to be seen, except one; that was a
medium-sized volume, placed on a small table by
itself, and evidently preserved with great care, as it
had been neatly and elaborately bound in the skin of
a young antelope. I had the curiosity to open this
book, shortly after entering. I read upon the title
page the words, Holy Bible." This circumstance
increased the interest I already felt in our host and


his family; and I sat down with feelings of confi-
dence, for I knew that even in this remote place we
were enjoying the hospitality of a Christian.
During the meal, our host with his family were
present. We had seen them all on our arrival, for
they had run forward to greet and welcome us; but
we became puzzled as we listened to the conversation
of the children. We heard with -surprise that we
were the first white men they had seen for a period
of nearly ten years. They were all beautiful children
-robust, and full of life and animation. There
were two boys- Frank and Harry, so their mother
called them; and two girls. Of the girls, one was
of a very dark complexion -in fact, quite a brunette,
and with a Spanish expression of face. The other
was as fair as her sister was dark. The fair one was
a beautiful little creature, with flowing, yellow hair,
and deep blue eyes, with long, dark lashes. Her
name was Mary. That of the sister was Luisa.
They were both very pretty, but very unlike each
other; and, what was odd to me, they appeared to be
about the same age and size. The boys were also
of like size, though both much older than their sisters.
They appeared to be seventeen or more, but I could
not have guessed which was the elder. Harry, with
his fair, curling hair, and red, manli face, bore a
strong resemblance to his father; while the other
was darker, and altogether more like the mother.


She herself did not appear to be much over thirty-
five years of age, and was still a beautiful and
evidently a light-hearted woman.
Our host was a man of about forty-a tall, well-
formed man, with light, ruddy complexion, and hair
that had been fair and curling, but was now some.
what gray. He had neither beard nor whiskers;
but, on the contrary, his chin bore evidence that he
had freshly shaved himself that very day; and his
whole appearance was that of a man who regu-
larly attended to the duties of the toilet. There was
also about him a gentleman-like bearing; and his
address and conversation soon convinced all of us
that we were in the company of an educated man.
The dress of the whole family was peculiar. The
man himself wore a hunting shirt and leggings of
tanned deer skin, and not unlike that of our own
hunters. The boys were similarly attired, but we
could see that they had a sort of homespun linen
garment underneath. The female part of the family
were dressed in clothes, part of which were of the
same homespun, and part of a fine skin, that of the
fawn, dressed to the softness of a glove. Several
hats were lying about; and we noticed that they
were curiously fabricated from the leaves of the
While we were eating, the negro appeared at the
door, and, looking in, eyed us with glances of ex-


treme curiosity. He was a short, stout man, black
as jet, and apparently about forty years old. His
head was covered with a thick crop of small curls,
that appeared to form an even surface, making the
outline of the skull as round as a ball. His teeth
were very large and white, and any thing but fierce
-as he showedthem only when he smiled, and that
he did almost continually. There was something
very pleasing in the expression of his rich black
eyes, which were never at rest, but kept always
rolling on both sides of his flat and expanded nose.
Cudjo, drive out these animals," said the woman,
or rather lady, we should call her-for she was
evidently entitled to be so styled. Her command,
or more properly request, for she had made it in
that tone, -was obeyed with alacrity. Cudjo leaped
into the floor, and, after a short while, succeeded in
turning out the wolf dogs, and panthers, and other
strange animals, that up to this time had been snarl.
ing at each other, among our feet, to the no small
terror of several of our party.
All these things were so strange, that we watched
them with interest and curiosity. At length our meal
was ended; and as we were most anxious to have
every thing explained to us, we signified this desire
to our host.
Wait until night," said he. "Around the cheer-
ful log fire I will tell you my story. Meanwhile, you


all need other refreshment than eating. Come to the
lake, then, and take a bath. The sun is high and
warm. A bath will refresh you, after your dusty
So saying, he stepped out of the cottage, and pro-
ceeded towards the lake, followed by all of our party,
A few minutes after, we were refreshing.ourselves in
the crystal water.
* During the remainder of the day, we occupied our-
selves at different employment. Some went back to
the mountain foot for the mules and Mexicans; while
the rest of us strolled about the house and .grounds,
every now and then stumbling upon some new object
of wonder.
We were impatient for the coming of night, for we
were wound up to a pitch of extreme curiosity, and
longed for an explanation of what we saw around us.
Night came at length; and, after an excellent sup.
per, we all sat around the cheerful fire, to listen to
the strange history of Robert Rolfe for that was the
name of our host.




BROTHERS," began he, "I am of your own raoe,
although I am not an American. I am an English-
man. I was born in the south of that country, some-
thing more than forty years ago. My father was a
yoeman-an independent, or, as he was sometimes
styled, a gentleman farmer. Unfortunately, he was
a man of too much ambition for his class. He was
determined that I, his only son, should be a gentleman,
in the ordinary sense of the word; that is, that I
should be educated in all those expensive habits and
accomplishments which are sure to lead men of mod-
erate fortune along the direct road to ruin. This was
no wise of my father; but it would not be grateful
in me to reflect upon a fault that consisted in his too
great fondness for myself. I believe it was the only
fault which my good, kind father was ever charged
with. Beyond this somewhat foolish ambition, his
character was without reproach among men.
"I was sent to those schools where I should meet
the scions of the aristocracy. I was taught to dance,


to ride, and to play. I was allowed spending money
at will; and could call for champagne, and drink it,
with any of my companions. At the end of my col-
lege life, I was sent upon my travels. I made the
tour of the Rhine, of France, and Italy; aid after
some years spent in this way, I returned to England
- sent for, to be present at the dedth of my father.
"I was now sole heir to his property, which was by
no means inconsiderable for a man of his class. I
soon reduced it in bulk. I must needs live in Lon-
don, where I could enjoy the company of many of
my old school and college companions. I was wel.
come amongst them while my purse held out; for
many.of them were needy men-lawyers without
briefs, and officers with nothing to live upon but their
pay. Of course, such men are fond of play. They
have nothing to lose, and all to win; and it was but a
shori year or two, until they had won from me the
best part of my patrimonial property. I was on the
eve of becoming a bankrupt. But one thing saved
me she saved me !"
Herg our host pointed to his wife, who sat sur-
rounded by her family at one side of the great fire-
place. The lady held down her eyes and smiled;
while the children, who had been listening attentively,
all turned towards her with looks of interest.
"Yes," continued he, Mary saved me. We had
been playmates together in earlier life; and at this


time we again met. We felt an affection for each
other. It ended in our getting married.
Fortunately, my dissipated life had not destroyed,
as it often does with men, all my virtuous principles.
Many 'f these, that had been early instilled into my
mind by the teachings of a good mother, still re-
mained fixed and true.
"As soon as we were married, I resolved to change
altogether my mode of life. But this is not so easily
done as men imagine. Once you are surrounded
by associates, such as mine were -once you are
plunged into debts and obligations -it requires both
courage and virtuous determination to meet and dis-
charge them. It requires a terrible effort to free
one's self from evil companions, whose interest it is
that you should still remain as profligate as them-
selves. But I was resolved; and, thanks to the
counsels of my Mary, I succeeded in carrying out my
"To pay my debts, I was compelled to sell the
property left me by my father. This done, and every
bill discharged, I found myself worth only five hun-
dred pounds.
"My little wife, there, had brought me the sum of
twenty-five hundred; and this still left us three thou-
sand pounds with which to begin the world. Three
thousand pounds is not much to live upon in Eng-
land that is, among the class of people with whom


I had hitherto associated; and after spending several
years in trying to increase it, I found that it was
every day growing less. I found, after three years
engaged in farming, that my three thousand pounds
was only worth two. I was told that this sunr would
go much further in America; that it would pur-
chase me a fine home; and, with thoughts of pro-
viding well for my family, I embarked with my wife
and children for New York.
"There I found the very man whom I wanted -
that was, some one to advise me how to begin life
in the new world. My predilections were in favor
of agriculture; and these were encouraged by the
advice of him whom I had met. He told me that it
would be unwise for me to lay out my money upon
new or uncleared land; as, with my want of ex-
perience as a farmer, I would have to pay more for
clearing it of its timber than the land would be
worth. 'It would be better for you,' continued my
new acquaintance, 'to buy a tract already cleared
and fenced, with a good house upon it, where you
will be at home at once.'
"I admitted the truth of all this reasoning; but
would my money be sufficient for this? 0, yes,'
answered he; and then he told me that he 'knew
of a farm in the State of Virginia'- a plantation,
as he called it, that would suit me exactly. It could
be purchased for five hundred pounds. With the


remainder of my money, I should be able to stock
it handsomely.
After some further conversation, I found that the
plantation belonged to himself. So much the better,'
thought I; and in the end I bought it from him, and
set out immediately after for my new home."




I FOUND the farm every thing he had described
it -a large plantation, with a good wooden house,
and well-enclosed fields. I immediately set about
'stocking' it with my remaining cash. What was
my surprise to find that I must spend the greater
part of this in buying men! Yes; there was no
alternative. There were no laborers to be had in
the place, except such as were slaves; and these I
must either buy for myself, or hire from their mas-
ters, which, in point of morality, amounted to the
same thing.
"Thinking that I might treat them with at least
as much humanity as they appeared to receive from
others, I chose the former course; and purchasing a
number of blacks, both men and women, I began life
as a planter. After such a bargain as that, I did not
deserve to prosper; and I did not prosper, as you
shall see.
My first crop failed; in fact, it scarce returned
me the seed. The second was still worse; and to


my mortification, I now ascertained the cause of the
failure. I had come into possession of a worn-out'
farm. The land looked well, and, on sight, you
would have called it a fertile tract. When I first
saw it myself, I was delighted with my purchase,
which seemed, indeed, a great bargain for the small
sum of money I had paid. But appearances are
often deceptive; and never was there a greater de-
ception than my beautiful plantation in Virginia. It
was utterly worthless. It had been cropped for
many years with maize, and cotton, and tobacco.
These had been regularly carried off the land, and
not a stalk or blade suffered to return to the soil.
As a natural fact, known to almost every one, the
vegetable or organic matter will thus in time become
exhausted, and nothing will remain but inorganic or
purely mineral substances, which of themselves can-
not nourish vegetation, and of course can give no
crop. This is the reason why manure is spread upon
land, the manure consisting of substances that are
for the most part organic, and containing the principles
of life and vegetation. Of course, gentlemen, these
things are known to you; but you will pardon my
digression, as my children are listening to me, and I
never lose an opportunity of instructing them in facts
that may hereafter be useful to them.
"Well, as I have said, I had no crops, or rather
very bad ones, for the first and second years. On


the third it was, if possible, still worse; and on the
fourth and fifth no better than ever. I need hardly
add that by this time I was ruined, or very nearly so. *
The expense of feeding and clothing my poor negroes
had brought me in debt to a considerable amount. I
could not have lived longer on my worthless planta-
tion, even had I desired it. I was compelled, in
order to pay my debts, to sell out every thing-farm,
cattle, and negroes. No, I did not sell all. There
was one honest fellow, to whom both Mary and I had
become attached. I was resolved not to sell him
into slavery. He had served us faithfully. It was he
who first told me how I had been tricked; and, sym-
pathizing in my misfortune, he endeavored, both by
industry on his own part, and by encouraging his
fellow-laborers, to make the ungrateful soil yield me
a return. His efforts had been vain, but I determined
to repay him for his rude but honest friendship. I
gave him his liberty. He would not accept it. He
would not part from us. He is there!"
As the narrator said this, he pointed to Cudjo,
who stood hanging by the door post; and, delighted
at these compliments which were being paid him,
was showing his white teeth in a broad and affec-
tionate smile.
Rolfe continued: -
"When the sale was completed, and the account
settled, I found that I had just five hundred pounds


left. I had now some experience in farming; and I
resolved to move out to the west-into the great
Valley of the Mississippi. I knew that there my five
hundred pounds would still set me up again in a
farm as big as I wanted, where the timber was still
growing upon it.
"Just at this time my eye fell upon some flaming
advertisements in the newspapers, about a new city
which was then being built at the junction of the Ohio
and Mississippi Rivers. It was called 'Cairo,' and
as it was situated on the fork between two of the
largest and most navigable rivers in the world, it
could not fail in a few years to become one of the
largest cities in the world. So said the advertise-
ment. There were maps of the new city every where,
and on these were represented theatres, and banks,
and court houses, and churches of different religious
denominations. There were lots offered for sale,
and, along with these, small tracts of land adjoining
the town, so that the inhabitants might combine the
occupations of merchant and agriculturist. These
lots were offered very cheap,' thought I; and I did
not rest, night nor day, until I had purchased one of
them, and also a small farm in the adjacent country.
"Almost as soon as I had made the purchase, I
set out to take possession. Of course, I took with me
my wife and children. I had now three--the two
eldest being twins, and about nine years old. I did


not intend to return to Virginia any more. Our
faithful Cudjo accompanied us to our far western
It was a severe journey, but not so severe as the
trial that awaited us on our arrival at' Cairo.' As
soon as I came within sight of the place, I saw, to
use an expressive phrase, that I had been 'sold'
again. There was but one house, and that stood
upon the only ground that was not a swamp. Nearly
the whole site of the proposed city was under water,
and the part not wholly inundated consisted of a dark
morass, covered with trees and tall reeds! There
were no theatres, no churches, no court house, no
banks, nor any likelihood there ever would be any,
except such as might be built to keep back the water
from the only house in the place -a sort of rough
hotel, filled with swearing boatmen.
"I had landed, of course; and, after putting up at
the hotel, proceeded in search of my property.' I
found my town lot in a marsh, which took me over
the ankles in mud. As for my farm, I was com-
pelled to get a boat to visit it; and after sailing all
over it without being able to touch bottom, I returned
to the hotel, heartless and disgusted.
"By the next steamboat that came along, I em-
barked for St. Louis, where I sold both lot and farm
for a mere trifle.
"I need not say that I was mortified at all this.


I was almost heart-broken when I reflected on my
repeated failures, and thought of my young wife and
children. I could have bitterly cursed both America
and the Americans, had that been of any use; and
yet such a thing would have been as unjust as im-
moral. It is true, I had been twice outrageously swin-
dled; but the same thing had happened to me in my
own country, and I had suffered in the same way by
those who professed to be my friends. There are
bad men in every country-men willing to take
advantage of generosity and inexperience. It does
not follow that all are so, and we hope far less than
the half; for it must be remembered that the bad
points of one country are more certain to be heard of
in another than its good ones. When I look to the
schemes and speculations which have been got up in
England, and which have enriched a few accom-
plished rogues, by the ruin of thousands of honest
men, I cannot, as an Englishman, accuse our Amer-
ican cousins of being greater swindlers than ourselves.
It is true, I have been deceived by them; but it was
from the want of proper judgment in myself, arising
from a foolish and ill-directed education. I should
have been equally ill treated in the purchase of a
horse at Tattersall's, or a pound of tea in Piccadilly,
had I been equally unacquainted with the value of
the articles. We both, as nations, have erred. Nei-
ther of us can, with grace, cast a stone at the other;


and as for myself, why, look there said Rolfe,
smiling, and pointing to his family, "two of my
children only are Englishmen; the others are little
Yankees. Almost every Englishman can say some-
thing similar. Why, then, should we sow jealousy
between them ?"




OUR host continued: -
"Well, my friends, I was in St. Louis. I had now
left out of my three thousand pounds not quite a
hundred; and this would soon melt away, should I
remain idle. What was I to do?
"There happened to be a young Scotchman at
the hotel where I had put up. He was, like myself,
a stranger in St. Louis; and being from the old
country,' we soon became acquainted, and, very
naturally under the circumstances, shared each
other's confidence. I told him of my blunders in
Virginia and Cairo, and I believe that he really felt
sympathy for me. In return, he detailed to me
part of his past history, and also his plans for the
future. He had been for several years employed
in a copper mine, away near the centre of the Great
American Desert, in the mountains called Los Mim-
bres, that lie west of the Del Nort6 River.
"They are a wonderful people, these same Scotch.
They are but a small nation, yet their influence is


felt every where upon the globe. Go where you
will, you will find them in positions of trust and
importance; always prospering, yet, in the midst of
prosperity, still remembering, with strong feelings
of attachment, the land of their birth. They man-
age the marts of London the commerce of India
-the fur trade of America,-and the mines of
Mexico. Over all the American wilderness you will
meet them, side by side with the backwoods pioneer
himself, and even pushing him from his own ground.
From the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Sea, they
have impressed with their Gaelic names rock, rivcr,
and mountain; and many an Indian tribe owns a
Scotchman for its chief. I say, again, they are a
wonderful people.
"Well, my St. Louis Scotchman had come from
his mine upon a visit of business to the United
States, and was now on his return by St. Louis and
Santa F6. His wife was along with him -a fine-
looking young Mexican woman, with only one child.
He was waiting for a small caravan of Spanish peo-
ple, who were about to start for New Mexico. With
these he intended to travel, so as to be in safety
from the Indians along the route.
"As soon as he understood my situation, he
advised me to accompany him offering me a lu-
crative situation in the mine, of which he was the
sole manager.


Disgusted as I then was with the treatment
I had received in the United States, I embraced
his proposal with alacrity ; and, under his super-
intendence, I set about making preparations for the
long journey that lay before us. The money I had
left enabled me to equip myself in a tolerable
manner. I bought a wagon and two pair of stout
oxen. This was to carry my wife and children,
with such furniture and provisions as would be
necessary on the journey. I had no need to hire a
teamster, as our faithful Cudjo was to accompany
us; and I knew there was no better hand to manage
a team of oxen than Cudjo. For myself, I purchased
a horse, a rifle, with all the paraphernalia that are
required by those who cross the great prairies. My
boys, Harry and Frank, had also a small rifle each,
which we had brought with us from Virginia; and
Harry was very proud of the manner in which he
could handle his.
Every thing being prepared, we bade adieu to St.
Louis, and set forth upon the wild prairies.
Ours was but a small caravan, as the large one
which crosses annually to Santa F6 had taken its
departure some weeks before. There were about
twenty men of us, and less than half that number of
wagons. The men were nearly all Mexicans, who
had been to the United States to procure some pieces
of cannon, for which they had been sent by the


governor of Santa F6. They had the cannon along
with them- two brass howitzers, with their carriages
and caissons.
My friends, I need not tell you the various inci-
dents that befell us, in crossing the great plains and
rivers that lie between St. Louis and Santa Fe.
Upon the plains we fell in with the Pawnees; and
near the crossing of the Arkansas, we encountered a
small tribe of Cheyennes ; but neither of these bands
offered us any molestation. When we were nearly
two months on our journey, the party left the usual
trail taken by the traders, and struck across to one
of the head tributaries of the Canadian River. This
they did to avoid meeting the Arapahoes, who were
hostile to the Mexican people. We kept down
the banks of this stream as far as the Canadian
itself; and then, turning westward, travelled up the
latter. We travelled upon the right or southern
bank, for we had forded the Canadian on reaching it.
"It soon became apparent that we had got into
a very rough and difficult country. It was the morn-
ing of the second day, after we had turned westward
up the Canadian River. We were making but slow
progress, as the trail we had to follow was inter-
sected at frequent intervals with buffalo roads running
into the river from the south. Many of these were
deep ditches, although quite dry; and, every now
and then, we were compelled to stop the whole train,


until we levelled in the banks, and made a road for
the wagons to pass.
"In crossing one of these ruts, the tongue of my
wagon was broken; and Cudjo and I, having loosed
out the oxen, set about splicing it the best way we
could. The rest of the train was ahead of us, and
kept moving on. My friend, the young Scotchmnn,
seeing that we had stopped, came galloping back,
and offered to remain and assist us. I declined
his offer, telling him to move on with the rest,
as I would easily overtake them; at all events, I
would get up, whenever they halted for their night
camp. It was not unfrequent for a single wagon,
with its attendants, thus to stay behind the rest to
make some repairs. When it did not come up to the
night encampment, a party would go back early the
next morning to ascertain the cause of the delay.
For several years before the time I am telling you
about, there had been no trouble with the Indians in
crossing the prairies; and consequently the people of
the caravans had grown less cautious. Besides, we
were then in a part of the country where Indians had
been seldom seen, as it was an extremely desert
place, without grass or game of any description. On
this account, and knowing that Cudjo was an excel.
lent carpenter, I had no fears but that I could be up
with the others before night. So, by my persuasion,
the young Scotchman left me, and rode on to look
after his own wagons.


After about an hour's hammering and splicing,
Cudjo and I got the tongue all right again; and,
' hitching up' the oxen, we drove on after our com-
panions. We had not gone a mile, when the shoeing
of one of the wheels that had shrunk from the
extreme dryness of the atmosphere rolled off, and
the fellies came very near flying asunder. We
were luckily able to prevent this, by suddenly stop-
ping, and setting a prop under the body of the wagon.
This, as you may perceive, was a much more serious
accident than the breaking of the tongue; and at
first I thought of galloping forward, and asking some
of our companions to come back to my assistance.
But in consequence of my inexperience upon the
prairies, I knew that I had given them considerable
trouble along the route, at which some of them had
murmured,- being Mexicans,- and in one or two
instances had refused to assist me. I might bring
back the young Scotchman, it was true, but-' Come!'
cried I,' it is not yet as bad as Cairo. Come, Cudjo!
we shall do it ourselves, and be indebted to no one.'
"'Dat's right, Massa Roff!' replied Cudjo; 'ebery
man put him own shoulder to him own wheel, else
de wheel no run good.'
"And so the brave fellow and I stripped off our
coats, and set to work in earnest. My dear Mary
here, who had been brought up a delicate lady, but
could suit herself gracefully to every situation, helped


us all she could, cheering us every now and then
with an allusion to Cairo, and our farm under the
water. It has always a comforting effect to persons
in situations of difficulty, to reflect that they might
still be worse off; and such reflections will often prop
up the drooping spirits, and lead to success in con-
quering the difficulty. 'Never give up' is a good old
motto, and God will help them who show perseverance
and energy.
"So did it happen with us. By dint of wedging
and hammering, we succeeded in binding the wheel
as fast as ever; but it was near night before we had
finished the job. When we had got it upon the axle
again, and were ready for the road, we saw, with
some apprehension, that the sun was setting. We
knew we could not travel by night, not knowing what
road to take; and, as we were close to water, we
resolved to stay where we were until morning.
"We were up before day, and having cooked and
eaten our breakfasts, moved forward upon the track
made by the caravan. We wondered that none of
our companions had come back during the night, -
as this is usual in such cases, -but we expected
every moment to meet some of them returning to
look after us. We travelled on, however, until noon,
and still none of them appeared. We could see
before us a rough tract of country, with rocky hills,
and some trees growing in the valleys; and the trail
we were following evidently led among these.


"As we pushed forward, we heard among the hills
a loud, crashing report, like the bursting of a bomb-
shell. What could it mean ? We knew there were
some shells along with the howitzers. Were our
comrades attacked by Indians ? and was it one of the
cannon they had fired upon them ? No; that could
not be. There was but one report, and I knew that
the discharge of a shell from a howitzer must give
two -that which accompanies the discharge, and
then the bursting of the bomb itself. Could one of
the shells have burst by accident? That was more
likely; and we halted, and listened for further sounds.
We stopped for nearly half an hour, but could hear
nothing, and we theA moved on again. We were
filled with apprehension--less from the report we
had heard than from the fact that none of the men
had come back to see what delayed us. We still
follwAed the track of the wagons. We saw that they
must have made a long march on the preceding day,
for it was near sunset when we entered among the
hills, and as yet we had not reached their camp of
the night before. At length we came in sight of it;
and, 0 horror, what a sight! My blood runs cold
when I recall it to my memory. There were the
wagons-most of them with their tilts torn off, and
part of their contents scattered over the ground.
There were the cannons, too, with fires smouldering
near them, but not .a human being was in sight.


Yes, there were human beings-dead men, lying
over the ground; and living things,--wolves they
were,-growling, and quarrelling, and tearing the
flesh from their bodies. Some of the animals that
had belonged to the caravan were also prostrate--
dead horses, mules, and oxen. The others were net
to be seen.
"We were all horror struck at the sight. We saw
at once that our companions had been attacked and
slaughtered by some band of savage Indians. We
would have retreated, but it was now too late, for we
were close in to the camp before we had seen it.
Had the savages still been upon the ground, retreat
would be of no avail. But I knew that they must
have been gone some time, from the havoc the wolves
had made in their absence.
I left my wife by our wagon, where Harry and
Frank remained with their little rifles ready to g4ard
her, and along with Cudjo I went forward to view the
bloody scene. We chased the wolves from their
repast. There was a pack of more than fifty of
these hideous animals, and they only ran a short
distance from us. On reaching the ground, we saw
that the bodies were those of our late comrades, but
they were all so mutilated that we could not dis-
tinguish a single one of them. They had every one
been scalped by the Indians; and it was fearful to
look upon them as they lay. I saw the fragments


of one of the shells that had burst in the middle of
the camp, and had torn two or three of the wagons
to pieces. There had not been many articles of
merchandise in the wagons, as it was not a traders'
caravan; but such things as they carried, that could
be of any value to the Indians, had been taken away.
The other articles, most of them heavy and cumber-
some things, were lying over the ground, some of
them broken. It was evident the savages had gone
off in a hurry. Perhaps they had been frightened by
the bursting of the shell, not knowing what it was,
and from its terrible effects, -which they no doubt
witnessed and felt, -believing it to be the doing of
the Great Spirit.
"I looked on all sides for my friend, the young
Scotchman, but I could not distinguish his body from
the rest. I looked around, too, for his wife -who
wa, the only woman besides Mary that accompanied
the'caravan. Her body was not to be seen. 'No
doubt,' said I to Cudjo, the savages have carried
her off alive.' At this moment, we heard the howls
and hoarse worrying of dogs, with the fiercer snarl-
mg of wolves, as though the dogs were battling with
these animals. The noises came from a thicket near
the camp. We knew that the miner had brought
with him two large dogs from St. Louis. It must be
they. We ran in the direction of the thicket, and
dashed in among the bushes. Guided by the noises,


we kept on, and soon came in sight of the objects
that had attracted us. Two large dogs, foaming, and
torn, and covered with blood, were battling against
several wolves, and keeping them off from some dark
object that lay among the leaves. We saw that the
dark object was a woman, and, clinging around her
neck, and screaming with terror, was a beautiful
child! At a glance, we saw that the woman was
dead, and-"
Here the narrative of our host was suddenly inter-
rupted. M'Knight, the miner, who was one of our
party, and who had appeared laboring under some
excitement during the whole of the recital, suddenly
sprang to his feet, exclaiming,-
"0 God! my wife- my poor wife! 0, Rolfe!
Rolfe! do you not know me ?"
"M'Knight!" cried Rolfe, springing up with an
air of astonishment-" M'Knight! it is he indeed!"
My wife my poor wife !" continued the mirer,
in accents of sorrow. I knew they had killed her.
I saw her remains afterwards; but my child? 0,
Rolfe! what of my child?"
"She is there!'" said our host, pointing to the
darkest of the two girls, and the next moment the
miner had lifted the little Luisa in his arms, and
was covering her with his kisses. He was her

'V. K'

I -Arii




IT would be very difficult, my young readers, to
describe to you the scene which followed this unex-
pected recognition. The family had all risen to their
feet, and with cries and tears in their eyes clung
around the little Luisa, as though they were about to
lose her forever. And, indeed, it is likely that an
indistinct thought of this kind had flitted across their
minds, when they saw that she was no longer their
sister-for they had almost forgotten that she was
not so, and they loved her as well as if she was.
Up to this time, none of them had thought of her in
any other way than as a sister; and Harry, with
whom she was a great favorite, used to call her his
" dark sister;" while the younger, Mary, was kno"'n
as the "fair" one.
In the midst of the group stood the little brunette,
like the rest, overwhelmed with singular emotions,
hut calmer, and apparently more mistress of her
feelings than any of them.
The traders and hunters were all upon their feet


congratulating- M'Knight on the happy event; while
each of them shook hands with our host and his wife,
whom they now remembered having heard of, as
well as the story of the massacre. Old Cudjo leaped
over the floor, whipping the panthers and wolf dogs,
and cutting various capers, while the very animals
themselves howled with a sort of fierce joy. Our
host went into an inner apartment of the cabin, and
presently returned with a large jar of brown earthen
ware. Cups cut out of the calabash were set upon
the table; and into these a red liquid was poured
from the jar, and we were all invited to drink. What
was our surprise, on tasting the beverage, to find that
it was wine wine in the middle of the desert!
But it was so- excellent wine -home made, as our
host informed us -pressed from the wild muscadine
grapes that grew in plenty through the valley.
As soon as we had all passed the cups of wine,
and had got fairly seated again, M'Knight, at the
request of Rolfe, took up the thread of the story, in
order to detail how he had escaped from the Indians
on that fearful night. His story was a short one,
and ran as follows:-
"After I left you," said he, addressing Rolfe,
" where you had broken your wagon, I rode on, and
overtook the caravan. The road, as you may remem-
ber, became salooth and level; and as there appeared
to be no good camping ground nearer than the hills,


we kept on for them without stopping. It was near
sundown when we reached the little stream where
you saw the wagons. There, of course, we halted,
and formed our camp. I did not expect you to come
in for an hour or so later, as I calculated that it would
take you about that length of time to mend the tongue.
We kindled fires, and, having cooked our suppers and
eaten them, were sitting around the logs, chatting,
smoking, and some of the Mexicans, as is their cus-
tom, playing at monte. We had put out no guard, as
we had no expectation that there were Indians in that
quarter. Some of the men said they had travelled
the trail before, and had never met an Indian within
fifty miles of the place. At length it became dark,
and I began to grow uneasy about you, fearing you
might not be able to make out our trail in the night.
Leaving my wife and child by one of the fires, I
climbed a hill that looked in the direction you should
have come; but I could see nothing for the darkness.
I stood for some time listening, thinking I might hear
the rattle of your wheels, or some one of you talking.
All at once a yell broke upon my ears, that caused
me to turn towards the camp with a feeling of conster-
nation. I well knew the meaning of that yell. I
knew it was the war cry of the Arapahoes. I saw
savage figures dashing about in the red glare of the
fires. I heard shots and shouts, and screams and


groans; and, among the rest, I recognized the voice
of my wife calling me by name.
"I did not hesitate a moment, but ran down the
hill, and flung myself into the thick of the fight, which
was now raging fiercely. I had nothing in my hands
but a large knife, with which I struck on all sides,
prostrating several of the savages. Here I fought
for a moment, and there I ran, calling for my wife.
I passed through among the wagons, and on all sides
of the camp, crying, Luisa!' There was no an-
swer; she was nowhere to be seen. Again I was
face to face with painted savages, and battling with
desperation. Most of my comrades were soon killed,
and I was forced out among the bushes, and into the
darkness, by one of the Indians, who pressed upon
me with his spear. I felt the weapon pass through
my thigh, and I fell, empaled upon the shaft. The
Indian fell upon top of me; but, before he could
struggle up again, I had thrust him with my knife,
and he lay senseless.
I rose to my feet, and succeeded in drawing out
the spear. I saw that the struggle had ceased around
the fires; and believing that my comrades, as well
as my wife and child, were all dead, I turned my
back upon the fires, and stole off into the thicket,
determined to get as far as possible from the camp.
I had not gone more than three hundred yards when


I fell, exhausted with the loss of blood and the pain
of my wound. I had fallen near some rocks, at the
bottom of a precipice, where I saw there was a small
crevice or cave. I had still strength enough left to
enable me to reach this cave and crawl into it; but I
fainted as soon as the effort was over.
"I must have lain insensible for many hours.
When I came to consciousness again, I saw that day-
light was shining into the cave. I felt that I was very
weak, and could scarce move myself. My wound
stared me in the face, still undressed, but the blood
had ceased flowing of its own accord. I tore up my
shirt, and dressed it as well as I was able; and then,
getting nearer to the mouth of the cave, I lay and
listened. I could hear the voices of the Indians,
though very indistinctly, in the direction of the camp.
This continued for an hour or more; and then the
rocks rang with a terrible explosion, which I knew to
be the bursting of a shell. After that, I could hear
loud shouts, and, soon after, the hurried trampling of
many horses; and then all was silence. I thought,
at the time, that the Indians had taken their depart-
ure; but I knew not what had caused them to go off
in such a hurry. I found out afterwards. Your con-
jecture was right. They had thrown one of the
bombs into the fire, and the fuse catching, had caused
it to explode, killing several of their number. As
they believed it to be the hand of the Great Spirit,


they had hastily gathered up such plunder as was
most desirable to them, and ridden away from the
spot. I did not know this at the time, and I lay still
in my cave. For several hours all was silence; but,
as night drew near, I fancied I again heard noises
about the camp, and I thought the Indians might not
yet be gone.
When darkness came, I would have crawled
towards the camp, but I could not; and I lay all night
in the cave, chafing with the pain of my wound, and
listening to the howling of the wolves. That was a
terrible night.
"Morning dawned again, and I could hear no
sounds. I was now suffering dreadfully, both from
hunger and thirst. I saw a well-known tree growing
in front of the cave. I knew it, because the same
tree is found upon the mountains of the Mimbres,
near our mine. It was a species of pine, called by
the Mexicans pinionn,' whose cones afford food to
thousands of the miserable savages who roam over
the great western desert, from the Rocky Mountains
to California. If I could only reach this tree, I
might find some of its nuts upon the ground; and,
with this hope, I dragged myself painfully out of the
cave. It was not twenty paces from the rocks where
the tree grew; yet, with my weakness and the pain
of my wound, I was nearly half an hour in reaching
it. To my joy, I found the ground under it covered


with cones. I was not long in stripping off the rinds
of many of them, and getting the seeds, which I ate
greedily, until I had satisfied my hunger.
But another appetite far more terrible was crav-
ing me -I was tortured with thirst. Could I crawl
as far as the camp ? I knew that there I should find
water in the stream; and, from the position of the
cave, I knew I could not find it nearer. I must
either reach it or die; and, with this thought to spur
me on, I commenced the short journey of three hun-
dred yards, although I was not certain I might live to
see the end of it. I had not crawled six paces through
the underwood, when a bunch of small, white flowers
attracted my attention. They were the flowers of the
sorrel tree,-the beautiful lyonia,-the very sight of
which sent a thrill of gladness through my heart.
I was soon under the tree, and, clutching one of its
lowermost branches, I stripped it of its smooth, ser-
rated leaves, and eagerly chewed them. Another
and another branch were successively divested of
their foliage, until the little tree looked as if a flock
of goats had been breakfasting upon it. I lay for
nearly an hour masticating the soft leaves, and swal-
lowing their delicious and acid juice. At length my
thirst was alleviated, and I fell asleep under the cool
shadow of the lyonia.
"When I awoke again, I felt much stronger, and
with new appetite to eat. The fever which had begun


to threaten me was much allayed; and I knew this
was to be attributed to the virtue of the leaves I had
eaten- for, besides giving relief to thirst, the sap of
the sorrel tree is a most potent febrifuge. Gathering
a fresh quantity of the leaves, and tying them to-
gether, I again set out for the pinion tree. I took the
leaves with me, so that I should not have to make the
return trip to the sorrel that night again. In a few
minutes I had reached the end of my journey, and
was busy among the cones. You laugh at my call-
ing it a journey; but I assure you it was a most
painful one to me, although it was not ten paces
from one tree to the other. The slightest motion
agonized me.
That night I passed under the pifon, and in the
morning, having made my breakfast of the seeds, I
collected my pockets full, and set out again for the'
sorrel tree. Here I spent the day; and with a fresh
cargo of leaves, returned at night to the piion, where
I again slept.
"Thus, for four successive days and nights, I
passed between these two brave trees, living upon the
sustenance they afforded. The fever was luckily
warded off by the leaves of the friendly lyonia. My
wound began to heal, and the pain left it. The
wolves came at intervals; but, seeing my long knife,
and that I still lived, they kept-at a wary distance.
"Although the leaves of the sorrel assuaged my


thirst, they did not satisfy it. I longed for a good
draught of water; and, on the fourth day, I set out
for the stream. I was now able to creep upon my
hands and one knee, dragging the wounded limb after.
When I had got about half way through the under-
wood, I came upon an object that almost congealed
the blood in my veins. It was a human skeleton. I
knew it was not that of a man; I knew it was-"
Here the voice of the miner became choked with
sobs, and he was unable to finish the sentence.
Nearly all in the room even the rude hunters -
wept as they beheld his emotion. After an effort, he
continued: -
"I saw that she had been buried; and I wondered
at this, for I knew the Indians had not done it. I
was never certain until this hour who had performed
for her that sacred rite. I thought, however, it must
have been you; for, after I had recovered, I went
back upon the trail, and, not finding your wagon
any where, I knew you must have come on to the
camp, and gone away again. I looked in every
direction to find which way you had gone; but, as
you will remember, there was a heavy fall of rain
shortly after, and that had obliterated every track.
All this happened after I was able to get upon my
feet, which was not for a month after the night of
the massacre. But let me go back in my narrative
to where I had found the remains of my poor wife.


The wolves had torn the body from its grave. I
looked for some vestige of my child. With my hands
I dug down into the loose mould and leaves, which
you had thrown over her body; but no infant was
there. I crawled on to the camp. I found that just
as you have described it, except that the bodies were
now bleaching skeletons, and the wolves had taken
their departure. I searched around, on all sides,
thinking I might find some traces of my little Luisa,
but in vain. The Indians have either carried the
child away,' thought I, 'or the fierce wolves have
devoured it altogether.'
"In one of the wagons I found an old mess chest
lying hid under some rubbish. It had escaped the
hurried plunder of the savages. On opening it, I saw
that it contained, among other things, some coffee,
and several pounds of jerked meat. This was a
fortunate event, for the meat and coffee nourished
me, until I was able to gather a sufficient quantity of
the piiions.
"In this way I spent a whole month, sleeping in
one of the wagons at night, and crawling off to col-
lect piiions during the day. I had but little fear
that the Indians would return; for I knew that that
part of the country was not inhabited by any tribe;
and we must have fallen in with a party of the Ara-
pahoes, wandering out of their usual range. As
soon as I grew strong enough, I dug a grave, where


I interred the remains of my poor wife; and now 1
began to think of taking my leave of that melancholy
I knew that I was not much more than a hundred
miles distant from the eastern settlements of New
Mexico; but a hundred miles of uninhabited wilder-
ness, and on foot, was a barrier that seemed almost
as impassable as the ocean itself. I was determined,
however, to make the attempt; and I set about sew-
ing a bag in which I should carry my roasted piiions
-the only provision I could get to sustain me through
the journey.
While engaged in this operation, with my eyes
fixed upon the work, I heard footsteps near me. I
raised my head suddenly, and in alarm. What was
my joy when I saw that the object which had startled
me was neither more nor less than a mule, that was
slowly coming towards the camp I recognized it as
one of the mules that had belonged to our caravan.
"The animal had not yet observed me; and 1
thought it might shy away if I showed myself too
suddenly. I resolved, therefore, to capture it by
stratagem. I crept into the wagon, where I knew
there was a lasso; and having got hold of this, I placed
myself in ambush, where I saw the mule would most
likely pass. I had scarcely got the noose ready,
when, to my extreme satisfaction, the mule came
directly to where I lay expecting it. The next mo-


ment its neck was firmly grasped in the loop of the
lasso, and the animal itself stood tied to the tongue of
one of the wagons. It was one of our mules that
had escaped from the Indians, and after wandering
over the country for weeks had now found the track,
and would, no doubt, had I not caught it, have found
its way back to St. Louis; for this is by no means an
unfrequent occurrence with animals that stray off
from the caravans. It soon became tame with me,
and in a few days more I had manufactured a bridle
and saddle; and, mounting with my bag of roasted
pifions, I rode off on the trail for Santa F6. In about
a week I reached that place in safety, and continued
on southward to the mine.
My history since that time can have but little
interest for any of you. It is that of a man sor-
rowing for the loss of all he loved on earth. But
you, Rolfe you have given me new life in restoring
to me my child, my Luisa; and every chapter of
your history, woven as it is with hers, will be to me,
at least, of the deepest interest. Go on, then -
go on!"
With this the miner concluded; and our host, after
inviting each of us to refill our cups with wine, and
our pipes with tobacco, resumed his narrative where
he had left it off, in consequence of the happy but
unexpected episode to which it had led.




"WELL, my friends," proceeded our host, "it
was a terrible sight to look upon those fierce,
gaunt wolves-the mad and foaming mastiffs-the
dead mother, and the terrified and screaming child.
Of course, the wolves fled at the approach of my-
self and Cudjo, and the dogs whimpered with delight.
Well they might, poor brutes; for had we not come
to their aid, they could not have held out much
longer against such fearful odds. Although the
battle had not been a long one, and commenced
most likely after we had driven the wolves from the
camp, yet the poor mastiffs were torn and bleeding
in many places. As I stooped down to take up
the little Luisa, she still clung close around the
neck of her mother, crying for her 'mamma' to
awake. I saw that her mamma would never wake
again. She was lifeless and cold. There was an
arrow in her breast. It was plain, that, after re-
ceiving this wound, she had fled into the thicket,
--no doubt followed by the faithful dogs,- and,


favored by the darkness, had kept on, until she had
fallen and died. The position of her arms showed
that she had breathed her last clasping her child to
her bosom.
Leaving Cudjo to guard the body, I carried the
child back to my own wagon. Although so lately
terrified with the battle of the wolves and dogs,
the little creature cried at being separated from its
mother, and struggled in my arms to be taken back."
Here Rolfe's narrative was again interrupted by
the sobs of M'Knight, who- although a firm, lion.
hearted man could not restrain himself on listening
to these painfully-affecting details. The children
of Rolfe, too, repeatedly wept aloud. The dark
sister" herself seemed least affected of all. Per-
haps that terrible scene, occurring at such an early
period of her life, had impressed her character with
the firmness and composure which afterwards marked
it. Every now and then she bent towards the fair
one," throwing her arms around the neck of the
latter, and endeavoring to restrain her tears.
"I gave the child to my wife," continued Rolfe,
after a pause, "and in the company of little Mary,
then about her own age, she soon ceased crying,
and fell asleep in my wife's bosom. I took a spade
which I had in my wagon, and going back, I dug
a grave, and, with the help of Cudjo, hastily in-
terred the body. I say hastily, for we did not know


the moment we might stand in need of some one
to" do as much for ourselves. It seems that our
labor was in vain; yet even at the time, had we
known this was to be the case, we should not the less
have acted as we did. There was some satisfaction
in performing this last sacred and Christian ceremony
for our murdered friend; and both Cudjo and I felt
it to be nothing more than our duty.
"We did not remain any longer near the spot,
but, hastening back to our wagon, I led the oxen in
among some trees, where they might be hidden
from view. Commending my wife and little ones to
God, I shouldered my rifle, and set out, for the pur-
pose of discovering whether the savages had left the
place, and in what direction they had gone. It was
my intention, should I be able to satisfy myself
about the road they had taken, to go by some other
course, yet by one that would bring me back into
the trail, so that I could go on to the country of
New Mexico. I knew very well that at that late
season, and with oxen worn out, as ours were, I
could never get back to St. Louis which was
nearly eight hundred miles distant.
"After proceeding a mile or two, creeping
through bushes, and skulking behind rocks, I saw
the trail of the Indians striking out into an open
plain, in a due westerly direction. They must have
formed a large band, and all mounted, as the tracks


of their horses testified. Seeing that they had
moved off westward, I formed the resolution of
making two or three days' journey to the south, and
afterwards turning in a westerly direction. This
would most likely secure me from meeting them
again, and would bring me, as I guessed, to the
eastern ranges of the Rocky Mountains, through
which I might pass into the valley of New Mexico.
I had heard my companions speak of a more south-
ern pass through these mountains than that which
lies near Santa F6; and I hoped to be able to reach
it, although I believed it to be two hundred miles
distant. With these plans in my mind, I returned
to where I had left my little party.
"It was night when I got back to the wagon, and
I found Mary and the children in great distress
at my delay; but I had brought them good news
- that the Indians were gone away.
"I had thought of remaining all night where we
were; but, not being yet fully satisfied that the
Indians were gone, I changed my intention. Seeing
that we were to have a moon, and that a smooth
plain stretched away towards the south, I concluded
that it would be better to make a night journey of
it, and put twenty miles, if possible, between us and
the camp. All agreed with this proposal. In fact,
we were all equally anxious to get away from that
fearful spot; and had we staid by it, not one of us


could have slept a wink. The apprehension that the
savages might return, and the excited state of our
feelings, to say nothing of the terrible howling of
the wolves, -would have kept us awake; so, re.
solving to take our departure, we waited for the rising
of the moon.
"We did not waste time, my friends. You all
know that water is the great want in these deserts,
both for man and beast. We knew not where or
when we might next find it; so we took the precau-
tion to fill our vessels at the stream. We filled all
we had that would hold water. Alas! these were
not enough, as you shall hear.
The moon rose at length. She seemed to smile
upon the horrid picture that lay below at the de-
serted camp; but we staid no longer to contemplate
it. Leading our oxen out of their cache, we struck
out into the open plain, in a direction as nearly south
as I could guide myself. I looked northward for the
star in the tail of the Little Bear, -the polar star, -
which I soon found by the pointers of the Ursa Ma-
jor; and keeping this directly on our backs, we
proceeded on. Whenever the inequalities of the
ground forced us out of our track, I would again turn
to this little star, and consult its unfailing index.
There it twinkled in the blue heavens, like the eye
of a friend. It was the finger of God pointing us


"And onward we went -here creeping around
some gaping fissure, that opened across our track -
there wading over a sandy swell and anon rolling
briskly along the smooth, herbless plain; for the
country we were passing through was a parched and
treeless desert.
"We made a good night's journey of it, cheered
by the prospect of escaping from the savages. When
day broke, we were twenty miles from the camp.
The rough hills that surrounded it were completely
lost to our view, and we knew from this that we had
travelled a long way; for some of these hills were of
great height. We knew that we must have passed
over a considerable arc of the earth's surface before
their tops could have sunk below the horizon. Of
course, some intervening ridges, such as the sandy
swells I have mentioned, helped to hide them from
our vie* ; but, at all events, we had the satisfaction
of knowing that the savages, even had they returned
to the camp, could not now see us from that point.
We only feared the chances of their discovering our
tracks and following us. Urged by this apprehen-
sion, we did not halt when the day broke, but kept
on until near noontide. Then we drew up; for our
oxen, as well as the horse, were completely tired
down, and could go no farther without rest.
It was but a poor rest for them, with neither
grass nor water; not a blade of any thing green,


except the artemisia plant, the wild wormwood, which,
of course, neither horse nor oxen would touch. This
grew all around us in low thickets. Its gnarled and
twisted bushes, with their white, silvery leaves, so far
from gladdening the eye, only "served to render the
scene more dreary and desolate; for we knew that
this plant denoted the extreme barrenness of the
s9il. We knew that, wherever it, grew, the desert
was around it.
It was, indeed, but a poor rest for our animals;
for the hot sin glanced down upon them during the
noon hours, making them still more thirsty. We
could not afford them a drop of the precious water;
for we ourselves were oppressed with extreme thirst,
and our stock was hourly diminishing. It was as
much as we could do to spare a small quantity to the
dogs, Castor and Pollux.
"Long before night, we once more yoked to the
oxen, and continued our journey, in the hope of
reaching some stream or spring. By sunset, we
had made ten miles farther to the south, but no
landmark as yet appeared in sight--nothing to indi-
cate the presence of water. We could see nothing
around us but the sterile plain, stretching on all sides
to the horizon; not even a bush, or rock, or the
form of a wild animal, relieved the monotonous qx-
panse. We were as much alone as if we had been
in an open boat, in the middle of the ocean.


"We began to grow alarmed, and to hesitate.
Should we go back? No; that would never do.
Even had the prospect at the end of a backward
journey been more cheering, we felt uncertain
whether we might be able to reach the stream we
had just left. We should surely reach water as soon
by keeping forward; and with this thought we trav-
elled on through all the livelong night.
When morning came, I again surveyed the hori-
zon, but could see no object along its level line. I
was riding gloomily alongside the poor 'oxen, watch
ing their laborious efforts, when a voice sounded in
my ears. It was that of Frank, who was standing
in the fore part of the wagon, looking out from under
the tilt.
"'Papa! papa!' cried he, 'look at the pretty
white cloud!'
"I looked up at the boy, to see what he meant.
I saw that he was pointing to the south-east, and I
turned my eyes in that direction. I uttered an excla-
mation of joy, which startled my companions; for I
saw that what Frank had taken for a white cloud
was the snowy cap of a mountain. I might have
seen it before, had my eyes. been searching in that
quarter; but they were not, as I was examining the
sky towards the south and west.
"Guided by no very extraordinary experience, I
knew that where there was snow there must be


water; and, without another word, I directed Cudjo
to head his oxen for the mountain. It was out of
the way we wanted to go; but we thought not of
that, for the saving of our lives had now grown to
be the only question with us.
"The mountain was still twenty miles distant. We
could have seen it much farther off, but we had been
travelling through the night. The question was,
Would our oxen be able to reach it? They were
already tottering in their tracks. If they should break
down, could we reach it? Our water was all gone,
and we were suffering from thirst as the sun rose.
'A river,' thought I,' must run from the mountain, fed
by the melting of its snows. Perhaps we might come
to this river before arriving at the mountain foot.'
But no; the plain evidently sloped down from us to
the mountain. Whatever stream ran from it must
go the other way. We should find no water before
reaching the mountain- perhaps not then; and,
tortured with these doubts, we pushed gloomily for.
By noon, the oxen began to give out. One of
them fell dead, and we left him. The other three
could not go much farther. Every article that was
of no present use was thrown from the wagon to
lighten it, and left lying on the plain; but still the
poor brutes were scarce able to drag it along. We
went at a snail's pace.


A short rest might recruit the animals; but I
could not bring myself to halt again, as my heart
was agonized by the cries of my suffering children.
Mary bore up nobly; so, too, did the boys. For
myself, I could not offer a word of consolation, for
I knew that we were still ten miles from the foot of
the mountain. I thought of the possibility of riding
on ahead, and bringing back some water in the ves-
sels; but I saw that my horse could never stand it.
He was even now unable to carry me, and I was
afoot, leading him. Cudjo, also, walked by the side
of the oxen. Another of these now gave up, and
only two remained to drag the vehicle.
"At this terrible moment, several objects appeared
before us on the plain, that caused me to cry out
with delight. They were dark-green masses, of dif-
ferent sizes the largest of them about the size of a
beecap. They looked like a number of huge hedge-
hogs rolled up, and presenting on all sides their
thorny spikes. On seeing them, I dropped my horse;
and, drawing my knife, ran eagerly forward. My
companions thought I had gone mad, not under-
standing why I should have drawn my knife on such
harmless-looking objects, and not knowing what they
were. But I knew well what they were; I knew
they were the globe cacti.
"In a moment's time, I had peeled the spikelets
from several of them; and as the wondering party


came up, and saw the dark-green, succulent vegeta-
bles, with the crystal water oozing out of their pores,
they were satisfied that I had not gone. mad.
In a short while, we had cut the huge spheroids
into slices, which we chewed with avidity. We set
some of them also before the horse and oxen, both
of which devoured them greedily, sap, fibres, and
all; while the dogs lapped the cool liquid wherever
they were cut.
"It is true, that this did not quench thirst in the
same way that a drink of water would have done;
but it greatly relieved us, and would, perhaps, enable
us to reach the mountain. We resolved to halt for
a short while, in order to rest the oxen. Unfortu-
nately, the relief had come too late for one of them.
It had been his last stretch; and when we were about
to start again, we found that he had lain down, and
was unable to rise. We saw that we must leave
him; and, taking such harness as we could find, we
put the horse in his place, and moved onward. We
were in hopes of finding another little garden of
cactus plants; but none appeared, and we toiled on,
suffering as before.
When we had got within about five miles of the
mountain foot, the other ox broke down, and fell as
we supposed dead. We could take the wagon no
farther; but it was no time either to hesitate or halt:
we must try it afoot, or perish where we were.


I loosed out the horse, and left him to his will.
I saw he was no longer able to carry any of us. I
took an axe from the wagon, also a tin pot, and a
piece of dry beef that still remained to us. Cudjo
shouldered the axe and little Mary; I carried the
beef, the pot, Luisa, and my rifle; while my wife,
Frank, and Harry, each held something in their hands.
Thus burdened, we bade adieu to the wagon, and
struck off towards the mountain. The dogs followed;
and the poor horse, not willing to be left behind,
came tottering after.
"There is not much more of that journey to be
detailed. We toiled through those five miles the best
way we could. As we drew nearer to the mountain,
we could see deep, dark ravines running down its
sides, and in the bottom of one we distinguished a
silvery thread, which we knew was the foam of water
as it dashed over the rocks. The sight gave us new
energy, and in another hour we had reached the
banks of a crystal stream, and were offering thanks
for our deliverance."




WELL, my friends, we had arrived on the banks
of a rivulet, and were thanking God for bringing us
safely there. We soon satisfied our thirst, as you
may believe, and began to look around us. The
stream we had reached was not that which runs into
the valley here, but altogether on the other side of
the mountain. It was but a mere rill, and I saw that
several similar ones issued from the ravines, and,
after running a short distance into the plain, fell off
towards the south-east, and united with others running
from that side. I found afterwards that they all
joined into the same channel, forming a considerable
river, which runs from this elevated plain in an east-
erly direction; and which I take to be a head water
of the great Red River of Louisiana, or, perhaps, of
the Brazos, or Colorado, of Texas. I have called it
a considerable river. That is not quite correct; for,
although, where they all unite, they form a good-
sized body of water, yet twenty miles farther down,
for three fourths of the year, the channel is perfectly


dry; and that is the case I know not how far beyond.
The water, which passes from the mountain at all
times, is either evaporated by the hot sun, or sinks
into the sands of its own bed, during a run of twenty
miles. It is only in times of great rain,-a rare
occurrence here,-or when very hot weather melts
an unusual quantity of the snow, that there is water
enough to carry the stream over a flat, sandy tract,
which stretches away to the eastward. All these
things I found out afterwards, and as you, my friends,
know them to be common phenomena of the desert,
I shall not now dwell upon them.
"I saw that, where we were, there was but little
chance of getting any thing to eat. The sides of the
mountain were rugged and grim, with here and there
a stunted cedar hanging from the rocks. The small
patches of grass and willows that lined the banks of
the little rills, although cheering to the eye, when
compared with the brown barrenness of the desert,
offered but little prospect that we should get any thing
to eat there. If the desert stretched away to the
south of the mountain, as we saw that it did to the
north, east, and west, then we had only reached a tem-
porary resting-place, and we might still perish, if not
from thirst, from what was equally as bad hunger.
"This was uppermost in our thoughts at the time,
for we had not eaten a morsel during that day; so
we turned our attention to the piece of dried meat.


Let us cook it, and make a soup,' said Mary;
'that will be better for the children.' My poor wife!
I saw that the extreme fatigue she had undergone
had exhausted her strength, yet still she endeavored
to be cheerful.
"'Yes, papa, let us make soup; soup is very
nice,' added Frank, trying to cheer his mother by
showing that he was not dismayed.
"'Very well, then,' I replied. 'Come, Cudjo,
shoulder your axe, and let us to the mountain for
wood. Yonder are some pine trees near the foot;
they will make an excellent fire.'
So Cudjo and I started for the wood, which was
growing about three hundred yards distant, and close
in to the rocks where the stream came down.
As we drew nearer to the trees, I saw that they
were not pine trees, but very different indeed. Both
trunks and branches had long, thorny spikes upon
them, like porcupines' quills, and the leaves were
of a bright shining green, pinnate with small oval
leaflets. But what was most singular was the long
bean-shaped pods that hung down thickly from the
branches. These were about an inch and a half in
breadth, and some of them not less than twelve
inches in length. They were of a reddish-brown,
nearly a claret color. Except in the color, they
looked exactly like large bean pods filled with beans.
I was not ignorant of what species of tree was


before us. I had seen it before. I knew it was the
honey locust, or thorny acacia-the carob tree of
the East, and the famed algarobo' of the Spaniards.
I was not ignorant of its uses, neither, for I knew
this to be the tree upon which (as many suppose)
St. John the Baptist sustained himself in the desert,
where it is said, His meat was locusts and wild
honey? Hence it is sometimes called St. John's
bread.' Neither was Cudjo ignorant of its uses.
The moment his eyes rested upon the long, brown
legumes, he cried out, with gestures of delight,-
"'Massa Massa Roff, lookee yonder! Beans
and honey for supper!'
We were soon under the branches; and while I
proceeded to knock down and collect a quantity of
the ripe fruit, Cudjo went farther up among the
rocks, to procure his firewood from the pines that
grew there.
"I soon filled my handkerchief, and was waiting
for Cudjo, when I heard him shout,-
"' Massa Roff! come dis way, and see de var-
mint-what him be.'
"I immediately ran up among the rocks. On
reaching the spot where Cudjo was, I found him
bending over a crevice or hole in the ground, from
which protruded an object very much like the tail of
a pig.
"' What is it, Cudjo ?' I asked.


Don't know, Massa. Varmint I never seed in
Vaginny looks something like de ole 'possum.'
Catch hold of the tail, and pull him out,' said I.
"'Lor! Massa Roff, I've tried ma best, but can't
fotch 'im no how. Look yar!' And so saying, my
companion seized the tail, and pulled,- seemingly
with all his might, -but to no purpose.
Did you see the animal when it was outside ?'
I inquired.
"' Yes, Massa; see 'im and chase 'im till I tree
him yar in dis cave.'
What was it like ?'
"'Berry like a pig; maybe more belike ole 'pos-
sum, but cubberd all ober wi' shell, like a Vaginny
"'0, then, it is an armadillo."
"'An amadiller! Cudjo niver hear o' dat var-
mint afore.'
"I saw that the animal which had so astonished
my companion was one of those curious living things
which Nature, in giving variety to her creatures, has
thought proper to form; and which are known
throughout Mexico and South America by the name
of 'armadilloes.' They are so called from the Spanish
word armado,' which signifies armed; because
that all over their body there is a hard, shell-like
covering, divided into bands and regular figures, ex-
actly like the coats of mai worn by the warriors of


ancient times. There is even a helmet covering
their heads, connected with the other parts of the
armor by a joint, which renders this resemblance still
more complete and singular. There are many spe-
cies of these animals; some of them as large as a
full-sized sheep, but the generality of them are much
smaller. The curious figuring of the shell that covers
them differs in the different species. In some, the
segments are squares; in others, hexagons; and in
others, again, they are of a pentagonal shape. In
all of them, however, the figures have a mathe-
matical form and precision that is both strange and
beautiful. They look as though they were artificial;
that is, carved by the land of man. They are
harmless creatures, and most of the species feed
upon herbs and grass. They do not run very nim-
bly, though they can go much faster than one would
suppose, considering the heavy armor which they
carry. This, however, is not all in one shell, but in
many pieces, connected together by a tough, pliable
skin. Hence they can use their limbs with sufficient
ease, They are not such slow travellers as the
turtles and tortoises. When they are pursued and
overtaken, they sometimes gather themselves into a
round ball, as hedgehogs do; and if they should
happen to be near the edge of a precipice, they
will roll themselves over to escape from their enemy.
More often, when pursued, they betake themselves


to their holes, or to any crevice among rocks that
may be near; and this was evidently the case
with that which Cudjo had surprised. When they
can hide their heads, like the ostrich, they fancy
themselves safe; and so, no doubt, fancied this one,
until he felt the sinewy fingers of Cudjo grasping
him by the tail. It was evident the animal had run
into a shallow crack where he could go no farther,
else we would soon have lost sight of his tail; but it
was equally evident, that pulling upon that append-
age was not the method to get him out. I could see
that he had pushed the scaly armor outward and
upward, so that it held fast against the rocks on
every side. Moreover, his claws, which are re-
markable both for length and tenacity, were clutched
firmly against the bottom of the crevice. It would
have taken a team of oxen to have pulled him out,
as Cudjo remarked with a grin.
I had heard of a plan used by the Indians who
hunt the armadillo, and who are very fond of his flesh;
and as I was determined to try it, I told my companion
to let go the tail, and stand to one side.
I now knelt down in front of the cave, and, taking
a small branch of cedar, commenced tickling the
hind quarters of the animal with the sharp needles.
In a moment I saw that his muscles began to relax,
and the shell to separate from the rocks, and close
in towards his body. After continuing the operation

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