“Come, pretty widows, come and catch me.”
Thus he decoyed them on, occasionally using honeyed words and flattering speeches, until he had gained their consent to return with him to his lodge, and take up their abode with him.
The friends of the murdered chief were scandalized at such inconstancy, and resolved to punish all three, as soon as they could catch them.
They surrounded his lodge with cries and threatenings, but Shee-shee-banze and his two brides had contrived to elude their vigilance and gain his canoe, which lay in the river, close at hand.
Hardly were they on board when their escape was discovered. The whole troop flew after them. Some plunged into the stream, and seized the canoe. In the struggle it was upset, but immediately on touching the water, whether from the magical properties of the canoe, or the necromantic skill of the grandmother, they were transformed into ducks, and flew quacking away.
Since that time the water-fowl of this species are always found in companies of three—two females and a male.
* * * * *
The Canard de France, or Mallard, and the Brancheuse, or Wood Duck, are of different habits from the foregoing, flying in pairs. Indeed, the constancy of the latter is said to be so great that if he loses his mate he never takes another partner, but goes mourning to the end of his days.
A VISIT TO GREEN BAY—MA-ZHEE-GAW-GAW SWAMP.
The payment over, and the Indians dispersed, we prepared ourselves to settle down quietly in our little home. But now a new source of disturbance arose.
My husband’s accounts of disbursements as Agent of the Winnebagoes, which he had forwarded to the Department at Washington, had failed to reach there, of which he received due notice—that is to say, such a notice as could reach us by the circuitous and uncertain mode of conveyance by which intercourse with the Eastern world was then kept up. If the vouchers for the former expenditures, together with the recent payment of $15,000 annuity money, should not be forthcoming, it might place him in a very awkward position; he therefore decided to go at once to Washington, and be the bearer himself of his duplicate accounts.
“Should you like to go and see your father and mother,” said he to me, one morning, “and show them how the West agrees with you?”
It was a most joyful suggestion after a year’s separation, and in a few days all things were in readiness for our departure.
There was visiting us, at that time, Miss Brush, of Detroit, who had come from Green Bay with Mr. and Mrs. Whitney and Miss Frances Henshaw, on an excursion to the Mississippi. Our little India-rubber house had contrived to expand itself for the accommodation of the whole party during the very pleasant visit they made us.