“Father,—I have nothing more to say. This is what we think. If we change our minds, we will let you know.”
It will be seen from these remarks of Day-kau-ray that the Indians entertain a conviction that the Great Spirit himself teaches the white man the arts and sciences, and since he has given the red man no instruction in these branches, it would be unbecoming in him to attempt to acquire them in an irregular manner.
With little incidents of this kind, and with an occasional dinner- or tea-party to the young officers, sometimes given at the Major’s quarters, sometimes at our own, our course of life passed pleasantly on. At times I would amuse myself by making something very nice, in the form of a fruit cake or pie, to send to the quarters of the young officers as a present, it being supposed that possibly, without a lady to preside over their mess, it might be sometimes deficient in these delicacies. Mrs. Twiggs was so fortunate as to have well-trained servants to do for her that which, thanks to my little dark handmaid, always fell to my share.
One day I had made some mince pies, which the Major and my husband greatly approved, and I thought I would send one to each of the young officers.
It happened that my husband, that day, in returning from superintending his men on the other side of the river, had occasion to call on some errand at Captain Harney’s quarters.
Dinner had just been placed upon the table, and the Captain insisted on his visitor’s sitting down and partaking with him and another gentleman who was present. The pork and beans were pronounced excellent, and being removed there followed a mince pie.
The Captain cut it, and helped his guests, then taking a piece himself, he commenced tasting it. Pushing back his plate with an exclamation and a sudden jerk, he called to his servant, a little thick-set mulatto who waited—“David, you yellow rascal, how dare you put such a pie on my table?” And, turning to the company apologetically, he said,—
“If there is anything on earth David does understand, it is how to make a mince pie, and here he has filled this with brandy, so we cannot eat a morsel of it!”
“Please, sir,” said David, modestly, “I did not make the pie—it is one Mrs. Kinzie sent as a present.”
The poor Captain was now in a predicament. He raved at himself, at the same time conjuring my husband most earnestly not to tell me what a mistake he had made—an injunction that was lost sight of as soon as the latter returned to his home. As for the unlucky Captain, he did not venture to call on me again until he felt sure I had forgotten the circumstance.
PREPARATIONS FOR A JOURNEY.
Early in January the snow fell in great abundance. We had an unusual quantity at the Portage, but in “the diggings,” as the lead-mining country was called, it was of an unheard-of depth—five or six feet upon a level.