“Whatever the abhorrence in which scalping may be held by the people of the northern and eastern states,” observed Colonel D’Egville, “it is notorious that the example of the Indians is followed by those of the western. The backwoodsman of the new States, and the Kentuckians particularly, almost invariably scalp the Indians they have slain in battle. Am I not right, Major Montgomerie?”
“Perfectly, Colonel—but then the Kentuckians,” he added smiling, “are you know in some degree a separate race. They are scarcely looked upon as appertaining to the great American family. Half horse, half alligator, as they are pleased to term themselves, their roving mode of life and wild pursuits, are little removed from those of the native Indian, who scarcely inspires more curiosity among the civilized portion of the Union, than a genuine Kentuckian.”
“Yet, if we may credit the accounts of our Indian spies,” remarked the General, “the army to which I have alluded, as having marched forward to Detroit, is composed chiefly of those backwoodsmen.”
“In which case,” observed the Commodore, “it will only be savage pitted against savage after all, therefore, the exchange of a few scalps can prove but an indifferent source of national umbrage. Not, however, be it understood, that I advocate the practice.”
Here a tall, fine looking black, wearing the livery of Colonel D’Egville, entering to announce that coffee was waiting for them in an adjoining room—the party rose and retired to the ladies.