“And found nothing missing?”
“Nothing. I scouted everywhere, and found only yourself wanting—the bed unrumpled, and everything in perfect bachelor order.”
“And that leather dress, my dear fellow, in which I once paid a visit to the camp of Winnebeg, from whose squaw, indeed, I had bought it. You know it generally hangs against the wall at the foot of my bed.”
“Ah! now I recollect, that was not there certainly, although I did not notice its absence then—so then, that was the dress you went out in, and I such a goose as not to remark it.”
“Because you know that I had had the precaution to throw a blanket over it in the most approved Pottawattamie style, while my features were colored with gambouge and Indian ink.”
“Well, say no more about that—I am ashamed to have been so taken in by a Johnny Raw. We will now suppose you kicked out of the Fort. Did I not kick you out,” he added humorously, “and say, begone, you drunken dog, and never show your ugly face here again!”
“On the contrary,” returned his junior in the same mocking strain, “you were but too glad to be civil when I threatened you with the ‘gubbernor!’”
“Once out of the Fort,” he gravely continued, “my course was plain. I immediately went to the wigwam of Winnebeg, whom I found seated, with his toes almost in the embers of an expiring fire, and smoking his last pipe previous to wrapping himself up for the night in his blanket. You may imagine his surprise, when, after some little difficulty, he recognized in that garb, and at that hour, particularly after the events of the day, with which he had been made acquainted by Mr. Frazer, before the latter, with his family, took refuge in the Fort. Still, true to the dignified reserve of his race, he concealed as much as possible what was passing in his mind, and made me sit by his side, near which, I have omitted to say, was an extremely handsome young Indian, whom he presented to me as his son, and then bade me tell him the object of my visit.
“Of course I knew enough of Indian etiquette to be satisfied that I should gain by not attempting to hurry matters, and I accordingly suppressed my own impatience while taking a few whiffs from the pipe he courteously offered to me. Winnebeg then received it back, and while he sat with his eyes fixed intently on the fire, puffed away in an attitude of profound attention which encouraged me to proceed.
“When he had heard all I had to say in regard to the fears I entertained for the absent party—for I did not confine my profession of interest to one—my vain application to the commandant, and my strong reliance upon him to send a party of his young men with me to the farm, his eye suddenly kindled—his countenance assumed a more animated expression, and removing the pipe from his lips, and puffing forth a more than usual volume of smoke, he cordially shook my hands, saying something in Indian to his son, who immediately sprang to his feet, and disappeared from the tent.