The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
“Have you ever seen during your rambles the remains of a log cabin about two miles down the Miami Canal?” “I recollect it well, but there is a mystery attached to those ruins which no one living can solve.  The oldest settlers found that cabin there; and it then appeared in such a dilapidated state as to justify the belief that it had been built many years previous.”  “Do you know any thing about it?” I eagerly asked.  “I know all about it,” replied the old hunter; “for I assisted in building it, and occupied it for several years, during the trapping season.  That cabin,” he continued, as a shade passed over his features, “has been the scene of carnage and bloodshed.  But why wake up old feelings—­let them sleep, let them sleep;” and the veteran drew his brawny hand over his eyes.  All the curiosity of my nature was roused; and the old men seated by his side gazed upon him enquiringly, and put themselves in a listening attitude.  The speaker, observing this, sat silent for a few moments, as if collecting his thoughts, and then related the following tale: 

“There has come a mighty change over the face of this country since the time when I first emigrated here.  The spot where now stand your prettiest towns and villages was then a howling wilderness.  Instead of the tinkling of the cow-bells and the merry whistle of the farmer-boy as he calls his herd to the fold, might be heard the wild cry of the panther, the howl of the wolf, and the equally appalling yell of the aborigines.  These were ‘times to try men’s souls’; and it was then the heart of oak and the sinews of iron which commanded respect.  Let me describe to you some scenes in which such men were the actors; scenes which called forth all the energy of man’s nature; and in the depths of this western wilderness, many hundreds of Alexanders and Caesars, who have never been heard of.  At the time I emigrated to Ohio the deadly hatred of the red men toward the whites had reached its acme.  The rifle, the tomahawk and the scalping knife were daily at work; and men, women and children daily fell victims to this sanguinary spirit.  In this state I found things when I reached the small village opposite the mouth of Licking river, and now the great city of Cincinnati.  Here in this great temple of nature man has taken up his abode, and all that he could wish responds to his touch; the fields and meadows yield their produce, and, unmolested by the red man whom he has usurped, he enjoys the bounties of a beneficent Creator.  And where is the red man?  Where is he!  Like wax before the flame he has melted away from before the white man, leaving him no legacy save that courageous daring which will live in song long after their last remnant shall have passed away.  At the time when I first stepped upon these grounds the red man still grasped the sceptre which has since been wrenched from his hand.  They saw the throne of their father beginning to totter.  Their realm had attracted the cupidity of a race of

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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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