Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

“No.”

“How far is it to St. Cloud?”

“Six miles.”

“Are there fresh horses and men there?”

“Oh, plenty.”

“If you dig us out here, how long will it be before we go in again?” This they did not know.

“Then had not the driver better go to St. Cloud with both horses?  The horse left here would be ruined standing in that slush.”

“But, madam,” said the agent, “if we do that we will have to leave you here all night.”

“Well,” I said, “I do not see how you are going to get rid of me.”

So the driver started with the two horses on that dreadful journey; had I known how dreadful, I should have tried to keep him till morning.  As he left, I made the Germans draw off their boots and pour out the water, rub their chilled feet and roll them up in a buffalo robe.  The agent lay on his box, I cuddled in a corner, and we all went to sleep to the music of the patter of the soft rain on our canvas cover.  At sunrise we were waked by a little army of men and horses and another schooner, into which we passed by bridge.  We reached St. Cloud in time for breakfast, and were greeted by the news that General Lowrie had been sent home insane.  He was confined in his own house, and his much envied young wife, with her two babies, had become an object of pity.

CHAPTER XLVIII.

THE ARISTOCRACY OF THE WEST.

Before going to Minnesota, I had the common Cooper idea of the dignity and glory of the noble red man of the forest; and was especially impressed by his unexampled faithfulness to those pale-faces who had ever been so fortunate as to eat salt with him.  In planning my hermitage, I had pictured the most amicable relations with those unsophisticated children of nature, who should never want for salt while there was a spoonful in my barrel.  I should win them to friendships as I had done railroad laborers, by caring for their sick children, and aiding their wives.  Indeed, I think the Indians formed a large part of the attractions of my cabin by the lakes; and it required considerable time and experience to bring me to any true knowledge of the situation, which was, and is, this: 

Between the Indian and white settler, rages the world-old, world-wide war of hereditary land-ownership against those who beg their brother man for leave to live and toil.  William Penn disclaimed the right of conquest as a land title, while he himself held an English estate based on that title, and while every acre of land on the globe was held by it.  He could not recognize that title in English hands, but did in the hands of Indians, and while pretending to purchase of them a conquest title, perpetrated one of the greatest swindles on record since that by which Jacob won the birthright of his starving brother.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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