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in other words, to reclaim them from savage life,-though with but indifferent success. This Captain Marryatt elsewhere represents as his aim, and with much more probability.
The education of Monsieur Violet, then little more than twelve years old, proceeds in the meantime most auspiciously, under the combined tuition of the priest and the savages, and he turns out a paragon both of civilized and barbarous accomplishments :
We had brought a very extensive and well selected library with us, and under their [his tutors) care I soon became acquainted with the arts and sciences of civilization; I studied history generally, and they also taught me Greek and Latin, and I was soon master of many of the modern languages. And as my studies were particularly devoted to the history of the ancient people of Asia, to enable me to understand their theories and follow up their favourite researches upon the origin of the great ruins in Western and Central America, the slight knowledge which I had gained at the Propaganda of Arabic and Sanscrit (!) was now daily increased.'
This is pretty well in a lad of sixteen.
By a series of opportune calamities--opportune for Monsieur Violet's romantic adventures'--the large company of pioneers of civilization or dilettanti savages, (we know not which to call them,) is reduced to the prince, the two Frenchmen, and the tutor. Their vessel is wrecked with the larger part of their number on board--and the rest are summarily cut off in a land expedition : Prince Seravalle dies; and some time after that, Monsieur Violet's father, and then the hero's ' adventures' properly commence. He becomes a chief, and is incessantly engaged in expeditions of hunting and war. One of his great projects is an attempt to combine the related tribes of Western America, the Shoshones, the Apaches, the Arrapahoes, the Comanches, (the three last represented to be off-shoots of the first,) in one grand confederacy. The Shoshones, he represents as by far the most intelligent, civilized, (if we may use the expression,) decent, and noble minded tribe of Indians on the great western continent. Unlike the eastern tribes they are, he says, open and magnanimous enemies-imitate not the cruel craft and cunning of their neighbours-do not torture their captives, and never take advantage of superiority of weapons ! He even invests them with the elements of chivalrous' usages, (which he thinks their founders might have brought with them from the Old World !) But of these matters, as well as of the disquisitions, historical and political, on the Texians, Mexicans, and Western States of the Union, we shall say nothing; since, though written in a very sober style, the more romantic adventures of the book leave us utterly in doubt how far any such
matter is to be relied upon. It is evident, that, however the Indians may have taught Monsieur Violet, two out of the three ancient Persian accomplishments, namely, 'to ride a horse,' and to shoot with the bow,' (more especially the 'long bow,') they have not taught him the third always to speak the truth.' Or, rather, to leave the romantic Monsieur Violet, and turn to the worthy Captain, it is so impossible to tell what substratum of truth there may be in the graver parts of the narrative, or from what sources he has obtained them, and how far he has drawn on imagination for them, that they must go for little or nothing. His accounts of the Western States, and of Yankee frauds, meannesses, and dishonesty, are of course much to the same purpose with the representations which are to be found in his tour of the States. But, though we are sufficiently impressed with a notion of the detestable selfishness, the ineffable vulgarity, the mean, tricky, heartless, cruel character of no small number in that three-parts barbarous, and one-part civilized portion of the world,-cursed with the refuse of more polished communities,-criminals who have fled from justice,-wretches, who have grafted all the vices of civilized man on those of the savage ;-we know not how far we can trust the rapid generalizations of so prejudiced an observer as Captain Marryatt, especially, when accompanied by so 'romantic an adventurer, as Monsieur Violet. We prefer, therefore, taking the reader into two or three of our modern Munchausen's romantic adventures, They will at all events amuse them, and are often told with a graphic skill which one would have wished to see employed on more consistent and probable incidents. Monsieur Violet has the good luck to realize all the more romantic' adventures described in Cooper's, novels, especially, that of the panther scene in the Pioneers, and that of the prairie fire in the 'Prairie,' as well as many more which a judicious novelist would not have ventured to depict, even in a professed fiction. We select two.
The first shall be Monsieur Violet's facile escape from a combination of slight accidents; to wit, several bites of a large rattlesnake, and a coup de soleil, all inflicted upon him on the same remarkable occasion. With Monsieur Violet, “it never rains, but it pours:'
· While I was with the Comanches, waiting the return of the expedition, I had an accident which nearly cost me my life. Having learnt that there were many fine basses to be fished in a stream some twenty miles off, I started on horseback, with a view of passing the night there. I took with me a buffalo hide, a blanket, and a tin cup, and two hours before sunset I arrived at the spot.
As the weather had been dry for some time, I could not find any worms, so I thought of killing some bird or other small animal, whose
flesh would answer for bait. Not falling in with any birds, I determined to seek for a rabbit or a frog. To save time, I lighted a fire, put my water to boil, spread my hide and blanket, arranged my saddle for a pillow, and then went in search of bait, and sassafras to make tea with.
• While looking for sassafras, I perceived a nest on a small oak near to the stream. I climbed to take the young ones, obtained two, which I put in my round jacket, and looked about me to see where I should jump on the ground. After much turning about, I suspended myself by the hands from a hanging branch, and allowed myself to drop down. My left foot fell flat, but under the soft sole of my right mocassin, I felt something alive, heaving or rolling.
At a glance I perceived that my foot was on the body of a large rattlesnake, with his head just forcing itself from under my heel.
• Thus taken by surprise, I stood motionless, and with my heart throbbing. The reptile worked itself free, and twisting round my leg, almost in a second, bit me two or three times. The sharp pain which I felt from the fangs recalled me to consciousness, and, though I felt convinced that I was lost, I resolved that my destroyer should die also. With my bowie knife I cut its body into a hundred pieces ; walked away very sad and gloomy, and sat on my blanket near the fire. • How rapid and tumultuous were my thoughts !
To die so young, and such a dog's death! My mind reverted to the happy scenes of my early youth, when I had a mother, and played so merrily among the golden grapes of sunny France, and, when later I wandered with my father in the Holy land, in Italy and Egypt. I also thought of the Shoshones, of Roche and Gabriel, and I sighed. It was a moral agony, for the physical pain had subsided, and my leg was almost benumbed by paralysis.
• The sun went down, and the last carmine tinges of his departed glory, reminded me how soon my sun would set; then the big burning tears smothered me, for I was young, very young, and I could not command the courage and resignation to die such a horrible death. Had I been wounded in the field, leading my brave Shoshones, and halloing the war-whoop, I would have cared very little about it; but thus, like a dog! it was horrible! and I dropped my head on my knees, thinking how few hours I had now to live.
• I was awakened from that absorbing torpor, by my poor horse, who was busy licking my ears. The faithful animal suspected something was wrong, for, usually at such a time I would sing Spanish ditties, or some Indian war songs. Sunset was also the time when I brushed and patted him. The intelligent brute knew that I suffered, and in its own way, shewed me that it participated in my affliction. My water too was boiling on the fire, and the bubbling of the water seemed to be a voice raised on purpose to divert my gloomy thoughts. *Aye, boil, bubble, evaporate,' exclaimed I, what do I care for water or tea now?'
'Scarcely had I finished these words, when turning suddenly my head round, my attention was attracted by an object before me, and a gleam of hope irradiated my gloomy mind; close to my feet I beheld fivé or six stems of the rattle snake master-weed. I well knew the plant, but I had been incredulous as to its properties. Often had I heard the Indians speaking of its virtues, but I had never believed them. • A drowning man will seize at a floating straw.' By a violent effort I got upon my legs, went to fetch my knife, which I had left near the dead snake, and I commenced digging for two or three of the roots with all the energy of despair.
• These roots I cut into small slices, and threw them into the boil. ing water. It soon produced a dark green decoction, which I swal. lowed, it was evidently a powerful alkali, strongly impregnated with the flavour of turpentine. I then cut my mocassin, for my foot was already swollen to twice its ordinary size, bathed the wounds with a few drops of the liquid, and chewing some of the slices I applied them as a poultice, and tied them on with my scarf and handkerchief. I then put some more water to boil, and, half an hour afterwards having drunk another pint of the bitter concoction, I drew my blanket over me. In a minute, or less, after the second draught, my brains whirled, and a strange dizziness overtook me, which was followed by a powerful perspiration, and soon afterwards all was blank.
* The next morning I was awakened by my horse again licking me, he wondered why I slept so late. I felt my head-ache dreadfully, and I perceived that the burning rays of the sun for the last two hours had been darting on my uncovered face.'
He sleeps again
* And when I awoke this time, I felt myself a little invigorated, though my lips and tongue were quite parched. I remembered every thing; down my hand slided, I could not reach my ancle, so I put up my knee. I removed the scarf, and the poultice of master-weed. My handkerchief was full of a dry, green, glutinous matter, and the wounds looked clean. Joy gave me strength, I went to the stream, drank plentifully, and washed. I still felt very feverish; and, though I was safe from the immediate effect of the poison, I knew that I had yet to suffer. Grateful to heaven for my preservation, I saddled my faithful companion, and wrapping myself closely in my buffalo hide, I set off to the Comanche camp. My senses had left me before I arrived there; they found me on the ground and my horse standing by me.
• Fifteen days afterwards I awoke to consciousness, a weak and emaciated being. During this whole time I had been raving under a cerebral sever, death hovering over me. . It appears that I had received a coup de soleil, in addition to my other mischances.'
But we must not omit, perhaps, the richest and most 'romantic' adventure of all—that of the prairie-fire, and the escape from the herds of flying buffaloes, and other animals, extending miles in length, and miles in breadth. The party escape being trodden to death by exploding a pint or two of whiskey, on which the herd opens, and leaves a narrow line. As the explosion lasted but a moment, and the herd was miles in depth, it is fortunate that the 'line' never closed again. After the estam. pede' has passed, the five horsemen gallop for their lives from the fire, and finally all take a leap down a precipice, one hundred feet in perpendicular height, on the backs of the flying buffaloes, in perfect safety! Let Baron Munchausen hide his diminished head !
• At that moment the breeze freshened, and I heard the distant and muffled noise, which in the west announces either an earthquake, or an 'estampede' of herds of wild cattle and other animals. Our horses too were aware of some danger, for now they were positively mad, struggling to break their lassos and escape.
Up' I cried, up Gabriel, Roche, up, up strangers ! quick! saddle your beasts! run for your lives, the prairie is on fire, and the buffaloes are on us.'
• They all started on their feet, but not a word was exchanged ; each felt the danger of his position ; speed was our only resource, if it was not already too late. In a minute our horses were saddled ; in another we were madly galloping across the prairie, the bridles upon the necks of our steeds, allowing them to follow their instinct. Such had been our hurry, that all our blankets were left behind, except that of Gabriel; the lawyers had never thought of their saddlebags, and the parson had forgotten his holsters and his rifle.
* For an hour we dashed on with undiminished speed, when we felt the earth trembling behind us; and soon afterwards, the distant bellowing, mixed up with the roaring and sharper cries of other animals, was borne down into our ears. The atmosphere grew op: pressive and heavy, while the flames, swifter than the wind, appeared raging upon the horizon. The fleeter game of all kinds now shot past us like arrows; deer were bounding over the ground, in company with wolves and panthers; droves of elks and antelopes passed swifter than a dream ; then a solitary horse, or a huge buffalo-bull. From our intense anxiety, though our horses strained every nerve, we almost appeared to stand.
• The atmosphere rapidly became more dense, the beat more oppressive, the roars sounded louder and louder in our ears; now and then they were mingled with terrific howls, and shrill sounds so unearthly, that even our horses would stop their mad career and tremble, as if they considered them supernatural ; but it was only for a second, and they dashed on.
• A noble stag passed close to us; his strength was exhausted; three minutes afterwards we passed him dead. But soon with the rushing voice of a whirlwind, the mass of heavier and less speedy animals closed upon us; buffalos and wild-horses all mixed together, an immense dark body, miles in front, miles in depth ; on they came, trampling and dashing through every obstacle. This phalanx was but two miles from us; our horses were nearly exhausted ; we go