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pected encampment on which they had
lighted. Before their journey was finished,
they were glad enough to stumble on cat-
tle-shed or abandoned camp which mi^ht
save them from the routine of imcordmg
and cording up their tents. '^But to be
anticipated on the very first night of camp
life was an annoyance. When, however,
Ransom found that these were Captain
Nolan's people, and that the preparation had
been dictated by his forethought, his brow
cleared, and the severe animadversions by
which he had at first condemned every
arrangement, changed, more suddenly than
the wind changes, into expressions of ap-
proval as absolute.

While the ladies were preparing for the
supper. Ransom amused himself with the
Spanish soldiers.

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One of them had asked what the flag was
which was displayed above the ladies* tent

"Ignorant nigger!" .said Ransom after-
ward, as he detailed the conversation to
Miss Eunice. (The man was no more a
negro than Ransom was; but it was his
habit to apply this phrase to all persons of
a Southern race.) "Ignorant nigger! I
axed him ef he didn't know the pnvate sig-
nal uv his own King. I told him the King
uv Spain, when he went out to ride with the
ladies uv the court, or when he sot at din-
ner in his own pallis, had that 'ere flag flyin'
over his throne. I told him that he gin
your brother a special permit to use it, wen
ne gin him the star of San lago for wot
he did in the war with the pirates."

" Ransom! how could you! " said Eimice,
trying to look forbidding, while Inez was
screaming with delight, and beckoning to
her new friend, Mr. Harrod, to listen.

" Only way with *em, marm. They all
lies; and ef you don't lie to 'em, they
dunno wot )rou mean. Answer a fool accor-
din' to his folly is the rule, mum. Heerd it
wen I was a boy. Wen I'm in Turkey, I
do as the turkeys do, marm ; they ain't no
other way."

Caesar appeared, grinning, and said that
supper was ready. One of Harrod's aids
stood at the door of the second of his tents,
saluted, as his oflicer and Nolan led the
ladies in, and Caesar and Ransom followed,
— Caesar to wait upon the hungry travelers,
and Ransom in his general , capacity of
major-domo, or critic-in-chief of all that was

" We give you hunters' fare," said Nolan,
who took the place and bearing of the host
at the entertainment. " But you have
earned your appetites."

" It would be hard if two poor girls could
not be satisfied with roasted turicey; with
venison, if that be venison ; with quails, if
those be quails ; and with rabbits, if those
be rabbits — ^let alone the grapes and melons.
You must have thought we had the appetite
of the giant Blunderoore."

"I judged your appetite by my own,"
said Nolan, laughing. " As for Harrod, he
is a lady's man; he has no appetite; but
perhaps he will pick a bone of the merry-
thought of this intimation of a partridge,"
and he laid the bone on the plate of his
laughing friend.

The truth was that the feast was a feast
for kings. It was served with Csesar's nicest
finish, and with the more useful science and
precision of the hunters. Ransom had made

siu^ that a little traveling table service, acta-
ally of silver, should be packed for the ladies ;
and in this forest near the Sabine, under
their canvas roof, they ate from a board as
elegantly appointed as any in Orleans or in
Mexico, partaking of fare more dainty than
either city could conunand. So much for
the hardships of the first day of the cam-



"The rule of courtesy is thus expressed, —
Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest '^
— Menelaus in the Odyssey.

" When hunger now and thirst were ftdly
satisfied," Nolan called Ransom to him, and
asked the old man in an undertone where
the Spanish soldiers were.

" They's off by they own fire. Made a
fire for theyselves. The men asked 'em to
supper, and gin 'em all the bacon and whisky
they'd take. Poor devils, don't often have
none. Now they's made they own fire, and
is gamblin' there."

By the word gambling. Ransom distin-
guished every game of cards, however sim-
ple. In this case, however, it is probable
that he spoke within the mark.

" Then we can talk aloud," said Nolan.
**A tent has but one fault — ^that you are
never by yourself in it You do not know
what Redskin or panther is listening to you.**

Then he went on :

" William, I have kept m)rself well out of
these rascals' sight all the afternoon. I have
not looked in their faces, and they have not
looked in mine. For this I had my reasons.
And I think, and I believe the ladies will
think, that if you put on my cap and this
hunting-shirt to-morrow, and permit me to
borrow that more elegant equipment of
yours, — ^if you will even take to yourself the
name and elegant bearing of ' Monsieur
Philippe,' supposed Charg6 d' Affaires of the
Consid Bonaparte, and certainly partner of
Mr. Silas Perry, — you may serve the ladies
as well at the Spanish guard-house yonder,
and I shall serve them better even than you,
in returning for a day or two to our firiends
in buckram."

The ladies asked with some eagerness the
reasons for such a change. But in a mo-
ment they were satisfied that Nolan was in
the right. Any stray officer at the Fort
might recognize him, well known as he was
all alon^ the firontier, and on both sides of
it. And, on the other hand, his own direc-
tion to his own party was, of course, the

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most valuable to all concerned. There was
some laugh at the expense of the forest gear
which was to be changed. The fringes to
the hunting-shirts were of different dyes.
One hat bore a rabbit's tail, and one the
feather of a cardinal But for the two men,
they were within a pound of the same weight
and a hair-breadth of the same size, as
Harrod said, and he said it proudly.

" My other self, I told you," said Nolan,
and then he assumed the mock protector,
and charged the ladies that they must go to
bed for an early start in the morning.

At sunrise, accordingly, the pretty little
camp was on the alert. All the tents except
those of the ladies were struck before they
were themselves awake. Their toilet was
not longy though it was elaborate, and when
Inez stepped out from her sleeping apart-
ment, and looked in to see the progress
breakfast had made, she was provoked with
herself that she was the first person deceived
by the new-made Dromio.

She slyly approached Mr. Harrod, who
stood at the table with his back to her, tap-
ped him smartly on the shoulder, and said :

" Philopcena ! Captain Nolan — ^my mem-
ory is better than you think," — ^to have the
handsome '' other self" turn round and con-
fuse her with his ^ood-natured welcome.

" Philopcena I mdeed, Miss Perry ; but it
was not I who ate the almond with you."

"To think it," said the girl, "that a bird's
feather and a strip of purple leather should
change one man into another I Well, I
thou^t I was a better scout ! Do you know
I enlisted among Captain Nolan's rifles yes-
terday ? If only my well-beloved Sovereign
would make war with you freemen, he woidd
not find me among his guards ! "

The girl's whole figure was alive, and
Harrod tmderstood at once that she did not
dislike the half equivocal circumstances in
which they stood,— of measuring strength
and wit against the officers of the Spanish

Breakfast was as elegant and dainty as
supper ; but the inlpetuous and almost im-
penous Inez could not bear that they should
sit so long. For herself^ she could and
would take but one cup of coffee. How
people could sit so over their coffee she
could not seel "Another slice from the
turkey?" No I Had she not eaten com-
cake and venison, and grapes, and fricasseed
rabbit, all because Ransom had cooked or
gathered them himself for her ! Would dear
Atmt Eunice never be done ?

Dear Aunt Eunice only laughed, and

waited for her second cup to cool, and sip-
ped it by tea-spoonfuls, ana folded her napkm
as leisurely as if she had been on the pkmta-
tion, and as if none of them had anyming to
do but to look at their watches till the hour
for lunch-time came.

"Miss Perry," said Harrod to her, "I
believe you are a soldier's daughter ? "

"Indeed I am," said Eunice heartily,
and then, with a laugh, "and a rifleman's
aunt, I understand, or a riflewoman's."

" Any way, you dear old plague, you have
at last drunk the last drop even you can
pretend you want, and I do believe you
have given the last fold to that napkin.
Gentlemen, shall we not find it pleasanter
in the air?"

And she dropped a mock courtesy to them,
sprang out of the tent singing :

" Hark, hark, tanrivy ; to horse, my brave boys,
and away!''

And away they went The same delicious
fiiagrance of the pines ; the exquisite firesh-
ness of morning ; the song of birds not used
to travelers ; the glimpses now and then of
beasts four-footed, who were scarcely afiraid I
Everything combmed to inspirit the young
people, and to make Inez rate at its very
lowest the danger and the fatigue of the

Until they should come to the neighbor-
hood of the Spanish post at San Augustine
the two united parties were to remain to-
gether. To the escort provided by the
eagerness or suspicion of Major Morales,
the rencontre of the night before was only
the ordinary incident of travel, in which two
parties of friends had met each other, and
encamped together. That they should make
one body as they went on the next day was
simply a matter of course. Nolan therefore
had the pleasure of one day's more travel
with his friends, and if the ladies had had
any sense of insecurity, they would have had
the relief of his presence and that of his
backwoodsmen. But at this period they had
no such anxiety except for him.

With laugh and talk and song of the four,
therefore, varied by more serious colloquy
as they feU into couples, two and two, the
morning passed by, and Inez and Eunice
were both surprised when the experienced
backwoodsmen ordered the halt for lunch.
They could not believe that they had taken
half the journey for the day: But the order
was given; the beasts were relieved of
their packs; a shaded and sheltered spot
was chosen for the ladies' picnic, and to

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Ransom was given this time all the respon-
sibility and all the glory of their meal.

It was hardly begun, when, from the turn
which screened the trail on the west, there
appeared an Indian on horseback, and, as
Nolan sprang to his feet to welcome him,
the rest of a considerable party of Indians,
men and women and children, with all the
paraphernalia of an encampment, appeared.

The leading man, whose equipment and
manner showed that, so far as any one ranked
as chief of the little tribe, he assumed that
honor, came readily forward, and, after a
minute's survey, at Nolan's invitation he
dismounted, and did due honor to a draught
of raw West Indian rum which Nolan offered
him in one of the silver cups which he took
from the table. But when Nolan addressed
him in some gibberish which he said the
Caddoes would understand, the chief inti-
mated that he did not know what he meant.
He did this by holding his hand before his
face with the palm outward, and shaking it
to and fro.

Nolan was a connoisseur in Indian dia-
lects, and tried successively three or four
different jargons ; but the chief made the
sign of dissent to each, and intimated that
he was a Lipan. Nolan had tried him in
the dialects of the Adeyes, the Natchez,
and the Caddoes, with which he himself
was sufficiently familiar.

"Lipan!" he said aloud to his friends.
" What devil has sent the Lipans so far out
of their way?"

With the other, he dropped the effort to
speak in articulate language, and fell into a
graceful and rapid pantomime, which the
chief immediately understood, which Harrod
followed with interest, and sometimes joined
in, and in which two or three other lesser
chiefs, still sitting on their horses, took their
part as well.

Nothing could be more curious than this
silent, rapid, and animated colloquy. Inez
and Eunice looked from face to face, wholly
imable to follow the play of the conversation,
but certain that to all the interlocutors it
was entirely intelligible. To all the tribes
west of the river, indeed, there was this
common language of pantomime, intelligible
to all, though Aeir aialects were of wholly
distinct families of language. It still subsists
among the southern Indians of the plains,
and is perhaps intelligible to all the tribes
on this side the Rocky Mountains.*

• The fullest account of this language of panto-
inime is from Philip Nolan's own pen. It is pre-

Hands, arms, and fingers were kept in
rapid movement as the colloquy went on.
The men bent forward and bade, from right
to left, now used the right arm, now the left,
seemed to describe figures in the air, or tap-
ped with one hand upon the other. An open
hand seemed to mean one thing, a closed
hand another. The forefinger was pointed
to one eye, or to the forehead, or to the ear,,
now to the sun, now to the earth. All the
fingers of one hand would be set in rapid
motion, while the other hand indicated, as
occasion might require, the earth, the sky, a
lake, or a river.

The whole group of whites and negroes
on the one hand, and of "RedSkins" on the
other, joined in a circle about the five prin-
cipal conversers. Harrod's party had some
slight understanding of the language, and
occasionally gave some slight interpretation
to their companions as to what was going
on. All the Indians understood it in fidl,
and, by grunts and sighs, expressed their
concurrence in the sentiments of their lead-

The interest reached its height, when
Nolan took the right hand of Sie savage
chief, passed it under his hunting-shirt and
the flannel beneath it, so that it rested on
the naked heart Both smiled, as if with
pleasure, and, after an instant, by a reversal
of the maneuver, Nolan placed his hand on
the heart of the Indian. Here was an indi-
cation, fh)m each to the other, that each
heart beat true.

After this ceremony, Nolan called one of
the scouts fix)m Hairod's party, and bade
him bring a jug from their own stores. Then,
turning to Eunice, he said :

"Pray let all the Redskin chiefe drink
firom your silver. I had a meaning in using
this cup when I * treated ' Long-Tlil here.
And now none of them must fed that we
hold ourselves above them. Perhaps they
do not know that silver rates higher than
horn in white men's calendar, but perhaps
they do."

Eunice had caught the idea already. She
had placed five silver cups on a silver salver,
and so soon as the liquor arrived gave them
to the scout to fill. The chiefe, if they were
chiefe, grunted their satisfaction. Nolan
then, with a very royal air, passed down
their whole line, and gave to each a bright
red ribbon. It was dear enough that most

senred in the Sixth Volume of the Transactions of
the American Philosophical Society, and is the most
considerable literary work known to me by this
accomplished young man.

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of them had never seen such finery. The
distribution of it was welcomed, much as it
would have been by children, and, after a
general grunt, expressive of their satisfaction,
the chief resumed his seat on horseback, and
the party took up its line of march again.

" I asked them where they were going,
and they lied; I asked them where they
came firom, and they Ued," said Nolan, a
litde anxiously, as he resumed his own
place by the outspread blanket which was
serving for a table-cloth on the ground.

" They are hunting Panis," said Harrod,
'' and they did not want to say so, because
they supposed we were Spaniards. But I
never knew Lipans so far down on this trail

" No," said Nolan, " I have never met
Lipans but once or twice — ^you know when."

'' I thought you were going to show them
what was in your heart."

Nolan laughed and turned to the ladies.

'* You would like to know what is in my
heart, Miss Inez, would you not? How
gladly would I know what is in yours. To
say truth, like most of us, I was not quite
ready for the exposure. And perhap diese
rascals knew a little more than is best for
them. 'A Utde knowledge is a dangerous

"What are you talking about?" said
Inez. '*• I hate riddles, imless I can guess

Nolan produced from a secret fold in his
pouch, a Uttle convex mirror, highly polish-
ed, with long cords attached to it

'' The memoty of man does not tell how
long ago it was that one of the French
chidfe tied such a mirror as this on his
heart Then, in a palaver with a Redjikin,
Monsieur said he would show him what
was in his heart, stripped his breast, bade
^Screaming Eagle' look, and, lol 'Scream-
ing Eagle' himself was there! The 'One
Homed Bu£&do' looked, and, lo! 'One
Homed Buffalo' was there."

" Lucky they knew themselves by sight,"
said Eunice.

"I have often thought of that They
would not have known their own eyes, and
nose, and mouth. But they did know their
feathers, their war-paint, and the rest, and
from that moment he enjoyed immense
renown with them."

" Nor do I count it a lie," said Nolan
after a pause. " What is all language but
signs, just such as we have all been using ?
Here was a sign carefully wrought out, like
the 'totem,' or star of the 'Golden Fleece,'

which, according to Ransom, the King will
give to your father, Miss Inez.

" I am sure I have them all in my heart
I am very fond of them, and I wi^ them
well so long as they are not scalping me,
and when I am far enough from trading-
houses, I do not scruple to use the glass on
my heart, as the best symbol by which I can
say so."

• As they resumed the saddle, Inez begged
her friends to tell her more of this beautiful
language of signs.

" It is twenty times as graceful as the
pantomime of the ballet troupe," said she.

" They all understand it," said Nolan, " at
least as far as I have ever gone. Harrod
will tell you how it served us once on the
Neches." .

" It is quickly learned," said Harrod, not
entering on the anecdote. "Indeed, it is
simple, as these people are. See here," said
he, eagerly, " this is WcUer''

And he dropped his rein, brought both
his hands into the shape of a bowl, and
lifted them to his mouth, without, however,
touching it

" Now, this is Rainy' he added, and he
repeated the same sign, lifting his hands a
litde higher, and then suddenly turned his
fingers outward and shook them rapidly to
represent the falling of water.

" Snow is the same thing," he said, " only
I must end with white. This is white," and
with the fingers of his right hand he rubbed
on that part of the palm of the left which
unites the thimib widi the fingers.

" Why is that white ?" said Inez, repeat-
ing the movement

" Look in old Caesar's hand, and you will
see," said Harrod.

"Oh, yes; I see; how bright it all is!
But, Mr. Harrod, how do you say gOy and
^£W<V - where do the verbs come in ?"

" This is gOy' said he, and he stretched
his rigHKhand out slowly, with the back
upwaM, '^Here is canuy' and he moved his
right finger from right to left, with a staccato
movement, in which the ladies instandy
recognized the steps of a man walking.

Harrod was, perhaps, hardly such a pro-
ficient in this pantomime as was Nolan, to
whom he often turned when Inez asked for
some phrase more abstract than was the
common habit /of the "bread and butter"
talk of the fix>ntier. But the two gentlemen
together were more than competent to inter-
pret to her whatever she asked for; and,
when at last she began a game of whispering
to Nolan what he should repeat to Harrod,

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the precision and fullness of the interpreta-
tion were as surprising as amusing.

" But you have not told us," said Eunice,
in the midst of this, " what you said to the
Learned Buffalo, if that was his name, and
what he said to you, in all yoiur genuflexions
and posterings."

"Oh, I told you what they said, or that it was
mostly lies. They said they had lost some
horses and had come all this way to look
for them. That b what an Indian always tells
you when he is on some enterprise he wants
to conceal. He said it was fourteen days since
he had seen any of his white brethren. That
was a lie. He stopped at Augustine last
night, and stole that cow-bell that was on
the black mule. He said his people had
been fighting with the Coman(;hes and took
thirty-two scalps. That was a lie. I heard all
about it from a Caddo chief last week. The
Comanches whipped them, and they were
glad to get away with the scalps they wore."

''The language of pantomime seems made
to conceal thought," said Inez.

*' Oh, he teUs some truth. He sdys the
Spaniards have a new company of artillery
at San Antonio. He says your aimt was out
riding on the first day of October; you can
ask her if that was true when you see her.
He says she had with her a calash with two
wheels, in which sat a black woman, who
held a baby with a blue ribbon. I ought
to have told you this first of all. But this
galimatias of his about the Comanches put
It out of my head."

Inez turned to him almost sadly :

"Captain Nolan, how can you tell me
this nonsense? Fun is well enough, but
you were so serious, that you really cheated
me. I do not like it. I do not diink you
are fair." And in an instant more the girl
would be shedding tears.

"Indeed, mdeed, Miss Inez," cried the
good fellow, "I know when to fool and
when not. I have told you nothing but
what the man said to me. Blackburn!"
and he bedconed to one of the mounted
men who had accompanied Harrod, " you
saw this Redskin, you know his signs. Miss
Perry thinks I mxist have mistaken his news
fi-om San Antonio."

The man was a rough fellow in his dress,
but his manner was courteous, with the
courtesy of the firontier. " He said, ma'am,
that they left San Antonio when the moon
had passed its third quarter three days. He
said that the day before he came away, a
new company came up from below, with big
guns, guns on carts he called 'em, mum;

he said that same afternoon the major in
command rode out horseback, mum, and a
lady with him, and that a cart with a kiver
over it went behind with a black hoss, mum.
He said there was a nigger woman in the
kivered cart, an* she had a white baby, 'n
the baby had a blue ribbon round her head.
I believe that was all."

The man fell back as he saw he was no
longer wanted, and Inez gave her hand very
prettily and frankly to Nolan, and said :

" I beg your pardon, Captain ; I was very
unjust to you. But this seemed impossible."

Harrod was greatly pleased with this pas-
sage, in its quiet testimony to his leader^
accomplishment, though it was an accom-
plishment so far out of the common course.
Nolan had not referred to him because he
had heard the interpretation which Inez had
challenged. The talk went on enthusiastic-
ally about the pantomime language, and
the young men vied with each other in
training the ladies to its manipulations, so
far as these were possible to people pinioned
in their saddles.

" You can say anything in it," cried Inez.

" I don't see that," said Eunice ; " you
can say anything a savage wants to say."

" You cannot say the Declaration of Inde-
pendence," said Harrod.

" Nor the Elegy in a Country Church-
yard," said Nolan.

And so the day wore pleasantly by, till,
as they came to the ferry where they were
to cross the Sabine, Nolan confessed he had
kept in company to the last moment possi-
ble, and bade them, "for a few days at
most," he said, farewell.

He left as an escort, Harrod and the three
scouts who had joined with him. Harrod
was willing to appear as Monsieur Philippe,
and the others were to meet the Spanish
challenge as best they could It might be,
Nolan said, that he should have joined
again before they had to pass inspection
once more.



"I called to the maid,
I whispered and said,

♦ My pretty giri, tell to me,
The man on the sly
Who kbsed you good-bye,

Is he Frenchman or Portugee?'"
Tom Tatnall's Courtship.

And so Philip Nolan bade his Mends
good-bye for a day or two, as they all sup-
posed, but, as it proved, for a longer partings

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Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 88 of 163)