The Agent, who had entered a short time before, and who, overhearing the dialogue, sat laughing behind his newspaper, waiting to see how it would all end, now came forward and interfered, and the guests were permitted to go forth without a further contribution.
The good woman was moreover admonished that it was far from the custom of white people to tax their friends and visitors in this manner, and that the practice must be laid aside in future.
Another instance of the disposition of the Indians to avail themselves of all the goods that fortune throws in their way, was the following:
Upon the same trip, while passing through Ohio, one of the party inquired of the Agent,—
“Do you pay for all those provisions that are set before us at the hotels?”
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“Nothing: I thought you perhaps paid for just what we ate of them.”
At the next stopping-place a fine breakfast was set upon the table, of which, as usual, they partook plentifully. Just as they had finished, the horn sounded for all to take their places in the stage-coaches. Each sprang to his feet. One seized the plates of biscuits and poured them into the corner of his blanket; another the remains of a pair of chickens; a third emptied the sugar-bowls; each laid hold of what was nearest him, and in a trice nothing was left upon the table but the empty plates and dishes. The landlord and waiters, meanwhile, stood laughing and enjoying the trick as much as any of the spectators.
Upon another occasion, their Father had endeavored to impress upon them the unseemliness of throwing their refuse pieces, bones, and fragments of food about on the table-cloth, pointing out to them the orderly manner of the whites at table, and the propriety of keeping everything neat and nice around them.
At their next meal, they were served first with a chicken-pie, of which they ate very heartily, and the accumulation of bones on their plates was very abundant. Presently another and more favorite dish appeared,—a fine, large, roasted turkey. A gentleman sat near, and was evidently preparing to carve it. No time was to be lost. What was to be done with the bones? They looked around in some perplexity. A large apple-pie was standing near. The most eager drew it towards him, and quick as thought all the bones were deposited upon it, while, with a triumphant laugh at the happy idea, he coolly transferred the bird to his own dish, and proceeded to distribute it among his companions. The amazed stranger soon joined in the laugh at the unceremonious manner in which his share of the dinner had vanished.
LOUISA—DAY-KAU-RAY ON EDUCATION.
The payment was now over, and the Indians had dispersed and gone to their wintering grounds. The traders, too, had departed, laden with a good share of the silver, in exchange for which each family had provided itself, as far as possible, with clothing, guns, traps, ammunition, and the other necessaries for their winter use. The Indians are good at a bargain. They are not easily overreached. On the contrary, they understand at once when a charge is exorbitant; and a trader who tries his shrewdness upon them is sure to receive an expressive sobriquet, which ever after clings to him.