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raged savages; foiling their skill by superior ingenuity, or outstripping them in the mere exertion of muscular power. Sometimes they disguised themselves in the skins of wild beasts, to decoy the foe; and in making signals to each other, they imitated the notes of birds and the various cries of the forest. In several instances, the crews of boats descending the Ohio, have been allured to the shore and slain, by Indians crawling on the beach, covered with the skins of bears; and the garrisons of our forts, have more than once been deceived by similar devices.
An anecdote is told of Boone, which is highly characteristic of the humor and the coolness of the pioneer. He was once resting in the woods, with a small number of followers, when a large party of Indians came suddenly upon them and halted-neither party having discovered the other until they came in contact. The whites were eating; and the Indians, with the ready tact for which they are famous, sat down with perfect composure and commenced eating also. It was obvious that they wished to lull the suspicions of the white men, and to seize a favorable opportunity for rushing upon them. Boone affected a careless inattention; but in an under tone, quietly admonished his men to keep their hands upon their rifles. He then strolled towards the Indians, unarmed, and leisurely picking the meat from a bone; the Indian leader, who was similarly employed, rose to meet him. Boone saluted him, and then requested to look at the knife with which the Indian was cutting his meat. The chief handed it to him without hesitation; and our pioneer, who, with his other accomplishments,
possessed considerable expertness at sleight of hand, deliberately opened his mouth and affected to swallow the long knife, which, at the same instant, he threw adroitly into his sleeve. The Indians were astonished; Boone gulped, rubbed his throat, stroked his body, and then, with apparent satisfaction, pronounced the horrid mouthful to be very good. Having enjoyed the surprise of the spectators for a few moments, he made another contortion, and drawing forth the knife, as they supposed, from his body, civilly returned it to the chief. The latter took the point cautiously between his thumb and finger, as if fearful of being contaminated by touc ing the weapon, and threw it from him into the bushes. The pioneer sauntered back to his party; and the Indians, instantly despatching their meal, marched off, desiring no farther intercourse with a man who could swallow a scalping-knife.
A singular maneuvre was practised by a party of Indians, who had stolen some horses on Elkhorn, in 1788. They were pursued by a superior number of Americans, for about twenty miles, and overtaken at a spot where they had halted to rest, in a brushy copse of wood.
The whites came upon them suddenly, and the parties discovered each other simultaneously. The pursuers made preparations to fire; the Indians sprang up from the ground, on which they were sitting, and gave a yell; but, instead of making any show of resistance, ran about as if distracted. One, who was probably the chief, threw himself between the two parties, and continued to scream and jump, dodging from side to side, spring
ing aloft, and throwing his body into violent contortions. This strange exhibition, attracted the attention of the Kentuckians, and prevented them from firing; while the other Indians, gathering up their guns and blankets, disappeared-dispersing in various directions, so as to leave no trace and baffle pursuit. Lastly, the dexterous savage, perceiving that his comrades were so scattered as to be safe from immediate danger, suddenly threw off his feigned character, and dashing into the bushes made his escape, leaving a foe superior in numbers, bewildered with amazement at this extemporaneous display of ingenuity.
The females too, had “their exits and their entrances,” in this bloody drama; and exercised their courage as well as their inventive powers, in the practice of strategy. A party of Indians approached a solitary log house, with the intention of murdering its inmates. With their usual caution, one of their number was sent forward to reconnoitre, who, discovering the only persons within to be a woman, two or three children, and a negro man, rushed in by himhimself and seized the negro. The woman caught up an axe, and with a single blow laid the savage warrior dead at her feet, while the children closed the door, and with ready sagacity employed themselves in fastening it. The rest of the Indians came up and attempted to force an entrance; but the negro and the children kept the door closed; and the intrepid mother, having no effective weapon, picked up a gun barrel, which had neither stock nor lock, and pointed it at the savages through the apertures
between the logs. The Indians, deceived by the appearance of a gun, and daunted by the death of their companion, retired.
Another incident which occurred at this early period, is worthy of recital, because it is not only deeply affecting in itself, but is highly illustrative of the sufferings of the first settlers. Among the adventurers, whom Boone describes as having reinforced his little colony, was a young gentleman named Smith, who had been a major in the militia of Virginia, and possessed a full share of the gallantry and noble spirit of his native state. In the absence of Boone, he was chosen, on account of his military rank and talents, to command the rude citadel, which contained all the wealth of this patriarchal band — their wives, their children, and their herds. It held also an object particularly dear to this young soldier -a lady, the daughter of one of the settlers, to whom he had pledged his affections. It came to pass, upon a certain day, when a siege was just over, tranquility restored, and the employments of husbandry resumed, that this young lady, with a female companion, strolled out, as young ladies in love are very apt to do, along the banks of the Kentucky river. Having rambled about for some time, they espied a canoe lying by the shore, and in a frolic, stepped into it, with the determination of visiting a neighbor on the opposite bank. It seems that they were not so well skilled in navigation as the Lady of the Lake, who 6 paddled her own canoe" very dexterously; for instead of gliding to the point of destination, they were whirled about by the stream, and at length thrown on a sand
bar, from which they were obliged to wade to the shore. Full of the mirth excited by their wild adventure, they hastily arranged their dresses, and were proceeding to climb the banks, when three Indians, rushing from a neighboring covert, seized the fair wanderers and forced them away. Their savage captors, evincing no sympathy for their distress, nor allowing them time for rest or reflection, hurried them along during the whole day, by rugged and thorny paths. Their shoes were worn off by the rocks, their clothes torn, and their feet and limbs lacerated and stained with blood. To heighten their misery, one of the savages began to make love to Miss — (the intended of Major S.) and while goading her along with a pointed stick, promised, in recompense for her sufferings, to make her his squaw. This at once roused all the energies of her mind, and called its powers into action. In the hope that her friends would soon pursue them, she broke the twigs as she passed along, and delayed the party as much as possible by tardy and blundering steps. But why dwell on the heartless and unmanly cruelty of these savages? The day and the night passed, and another day of agony had nearly rolled over the heads of these afflicted females, when their conductors halted to cook a wild repast of buffalo meat.
The ladies were soon missed from the garrison. The natural courage and sagacity of Smith, now heightened by love, gave him the wings of the wind and the fierceness of the tiger. The light traces of female feet led him to the place of embarkation—the canoe was traced to the opposite shore- the deep