Many parts of the borders of this lake appear to be a favourite place of encampment for the Indians, whose number in this country is estimated at 140,000. They retain, still unaltered, most of the features of the savage character. They procure food almost solely by hunting; and to surprise a hostile tribe, to massacre them with every exercise of savage cruelty, and to carry off their scalps as trophies, is their highest ambition. Their domestic behaviour, however, is orderly and peaceable; and they seldom kill or rob a white man. Considerable attempts have been made to civilize them, and with some success; but the moment that any impulse has been given to war and hunting, they have instantly reverted to their original habits.
[Illustration: PYRAMID LAKE, OREGON TERRITORY.]
* * * * *
Now came still evening on,
and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad.
Silence accompanied: for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk—all but the wakeful nightingale:
She, all night long, her am’rous descant sung.
Silence was pleased. Now glow’d the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil’d her peerless light,
And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw—
When Adam thus to Eve: “Fair consort, the hour
Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
’Mind us of like repose: since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumberous weight,
Inclines our eyelids.”—
To whom thus Eve, with perfect
“My author and disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey. So God ordains.
With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change: all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn—her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,