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TRAPPERS.
 
 
 
 The initial opening of the trade with New Mexico from the Missouri
 River, as has been related, was not direct to Santa Fe.  The limited
 number of pack-trains at first passed to the north of the Raton Range,
 and travelled to the Spanish settlements in the valley of Taos.
 
 On this original Trail, where now is situated the beautiful city
 of Pueblo, the second place of importance in Colorado, there was a
 little Indian trading-post called "the Pueblo," from which the present
 thriving place derives its name.  The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe
 Railroad practically follows the same route that the traders did to
 reach Pueblo, as it also does that which the freight caravans later
 followed from the Missouri River direct to Santa Fe.
 
 The old Pueblo fort, as nearly as can be determined now, was built
 as early as 1840, or not later than 1842, and, as one authority
 asserts, by George Simpson and his associates, Barclay and Doyle.
 Beckwourth claims to have been the original projector of the fort,
 and to have given the general plan and its name, in which I am
 inclined to believe that he is correct; perhaps Barclay, Doyle, and
 Simpson were connected with him, as he states that there were other
 trappers, though he mentions no names.  It was a square fort of adobe,
 with circular bastions at the corners, no part of the walls being
 more than eight feet high.  Around the inside of the plaza, or corral,
 were half a dozen small rooms inhabited by as many Indian traders and
 mountain-men.
 
 One of the earlier Indian agents, Mr. Fitzpatrick, in writing from
 Bent's Fort in 1847, thus describes the old Pueblo:--
 
           About seventy-five miles above this place, and immediately
           on the Arkansas River, there is a small settlement, chiefly
           composed of old trappers and hunters; the male part of it
           are mostly Americans (Missourians), French Canadians, and
           Mexicans.  It numbers about one hundred and fifty, and of
           this number about sixty men have wives, and some have two.
           These wives are of various Indian tribes, as follows; viz.
           Blackfeet, Assiniboines, Sioux, Arapahoes, Cheyennes,
           Snakes, and Comanches.  The American women are Mormons,
           a party of Mormons having wintered there, and then departed
           for California.
 
 The old trappers and hunters of the Pueblo fort lived entirely upon
 game, and a greater part of the year without bread.  As soon as their
 supply of meat was exhausted, they started to the mountains with two
 or three pack-animals, and brought back in two or three days loads
 of venison and buffalo.
 
 The Arkansas at the Pueblo is a clear, rapid river about a hundred
 yards wide.  The bottom, which is enclosed on each side by high bluffs,
 is about a quarter of a mile across.  In the early days of which I
 write, the margin of the stream was heavily timbered with cottonwood,
 and the tourist to-day may see the remnant of the primitive great
 woods, in the huge isolated trees scattered around the bottom in the
 vicinity of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad station of
 the charming mountain city.
 
 On each side vast rolling prairies stretch away for hundreds of miles,
 gradually ascending on the side towards the mountains, where the
 highlands are sparsely covered with pinyon and cedar.  The lofty banks
 through which the Arkansas occasionally passes are of shale and
 sandstone, rising precipitously from the water.  Ascending the river
 the country is wild and broken, until it enters the mountain region,
 where the scenery is incomparably grand and imposing.  The surrounding
 prairies are naturally arid and sterile, producing but little
 vegetation, and the primitive grass, though of good quality, is thin
 and scarce.  Now, however, under a competent system of irrigation,
 the whole aspect of the landscape is changed from what it was thirty
 years ago, and it has all the luxuriance of a garden.
 
 The whole country, it is claimed, was once possessed by the Shos-shones,
 or Snake Indians, of whom the Comanches of the Southern plains are
 a branch; and, although many hundred miles divide their hunting-grounds,
 they were once, if not the same people, tribes or bands of that great
 and powerful nation.  They retain a language in common, and there is
 also a striking analogy in many of their religious rites and ceremonies,
 in their folk-lore, and in some of their everyday customs.  These
 facts prove, at least, that there was at one time a very close
 alliance which bound the two tribes together.  Half a century ago they
 were, in point of numbers, the two most powerful nations in all the
 numerous aggregations of Indians in the West; the Comanches ruling
 almost supreme on the Eastern plains, while the Shos-shones were the
 dominant tribe in the country beyond the Rocky Mountains, and in the
 mountains themselves.  Once, many years ago, before the problem of the
 relative strength of the various tribes was as well solved as now,
 the Shos-shones were supposed to be the most powerful, and numerically
 the most populous, tribe of Indians on the North American continent.
 
 In the immediate vicinity of the old Pueblo fort at the time of its
 greatest business prosperity, game was scarce; the buffalo had for
 some years deserted the neighbouring prairies, but they were always
 to be found in the mountain-valleys, particularly in one known as
 "Bayou Salado," which forty-five years ago abounded in elk, bear,
 deer, and antelope.
 
 The fort was situated a few hundred yards above the mouth of the
 "Fontaine qui Bouille" River,[47] so called from two springs of
 mineral water near its head, under Pike's Peak, about sixty miles
 above its mouth.
 
 As is the case with all the savage races of the world, the American
 Indians possess hereditary legends, accounting for all the phenomena
 of nature, or any occurrence which is beyond their comprehension.
 The Shos-shones had the following story to account for the presence of
 these wonderful springs in the midst of their favourite hunting-ground.
 The two fountains, one pouring forth the sweetest water imaginable,
 the other a stream as bitter as gall, are intimately connected with
 the cause of the separation of the two tribes.  Their legend thus runs:
 Many hundreds of winters ago, when the cottonwoods on the big river
 were no higher than arrows, and the prairies were crowded with game,
 the red men who hunted the deer in the forests and the buffalo on the
 plains all spoke the same language, and the pipe of peace breathed its
 soothing cloud whenever two parties of hunters met on the boundless
 prairie.
 
 It happened one day that two hunters of different nations met on the
 bank of a small rivulet, to which both had resorted to quench their
 thirst.  A small stream of water, rising from a spring on a rock
 within a few feet of the bank, trickled over it and fell splashing
 into the river.  One hunter sought the spring itself; the other,
 tired by his exertions in the chase, threw himself at once to the
 ground, and plunged his face into the running stream.
 
 The latter had been unsuccessful in the hunt, and perhaps his bad
 fortune, and the sight of the fat deer which the other threw from his
 back before he drank at the crystal spring, caused a feeling of
 jealousy and ill-humour to take possession of his mind.  The other,
 on the contrary, before he satisfied his thirst, raised in the hollow
 of his hand a portion of the water, and, lifting it toward the sun,
 reversed his hand, and allowed it to fall upon the ground, as a
 libation to the Great Spirit, who had vouch-safed him a successful
 hunt and the blessing of the refreshing water with which he was about
 to quench his thirst.
 
 This reminder that he had neglected the usual offering only increased
 the feeling of envy and annoyance which filled the unsuccessful
 hunter's heart.  The Evil Spirit at that moment entering his body,
 his temper fairly flew away, and he sought some pretence to provoke
 a quarrel with the other Indian.
 
 "Why does a stranger," he asked, rising from the stream, "drink at
 the spring-head, when one to whom the fountain belongs contents
 himself with the water that runs from it?"
 
 "The Great Spirit places the cool water at the spring," answered the
 other hunter, "that his children may drink it pure and undefiled.
 The running water is for the beasts which scour the plains.  Ausaqua
 is a chief of the Shos-shones; he drinks at the head water."
 
 "The Shos-shones is but a tribe of the Comanches," returned the other:
 "Wacomish leads the whole nation.  Why does a Shos-shone dare to
 drink above him?"
 
 "When the Manitou made his children, whether Shos-shone or Comanche,
 Arapaho, Cheyenne, or Pawnee, he gave them buffalo to eat, and the
 pure water of the fountain to quench their thirst.  He said not to
 one, 'Drink here,' and to another, 'Drink there'; but gave the crystal
 spring to all, that all might drink."
 
 Wacomish almost burst with rage as the other spoke; but his coward
 heart prevented him from provoking an encounter with the calm Shos-shone.
 The latter, made thirsty by the words he had spoken--for the Indian is
 ever sparing of his tongue--again stooped down to the spring to drink,
 when the subtle warrior of the Comanches suddenly threw himself upon
 the kneeling hunter and, forcing his head into the bubbling water,
 held him down with all his strength until his victim no longer
 struggled; his stiffened limbs relaxed, and he fell forward over
 the spring, drowned.
 
 Mechanically the Comanche dragged the body a few paces from the water,
 and, as soon as the head of the dead Indian was withdrawn, the spring
 was suddenly and strangely disturbed.  Bubbles sprang up from the
 bottom, and, rising to the surface, escaped in hissing gas.  A thin
 vapour arose, and, gradually dissolving, displayed to the eyes of the
 trembling murderer the figure of an aged Indian, whose long, snowy
 hair and venerable beard, blown aside from his breast, discovered the
 well-known totem of the great Wankanaga, the father of the Comanche
 and Shos-shone nation.
 
 Stretching out a war-club toward the Comanche, the figure thus
 addressed him:--
 
 "Accursed murderer!  While the blood of the brave Shos-shone cries to
 the Great Spirit for vengeance, may the water of thy tribe be rank
 and bitter in their throats!"  Thus saying, and swinging his ponderous
 war-club round his head, he dashed out the brains of the Comanche,
 who fell headlong into the spring, which from that day to this remains
 rank and nauseous, so that not even when half dead with thirst, can
 one drink from it.
 
 The good Wankanaga, however, to perpetuate the memory of the Shos-shone
 warrior, who was renowned in his tribe for valour and nobleness of
 heart, struck with the same avenging club a hard, flat rock which
 overhung the rivulet, and forthwith a round clear basin opened, which
 instantly filled with bubbling, sparkling water, sweet and cool.
 
 From that day the two mighty tribes of the Shos-shones and Comanches
 have remained severed and apart, although a long and bloody war
 followed the treacherous murder.
 
 The Indians regarded these wonderful springs with awe.  The Arapahoes,
 especially, attributed to the Spirit of the springs the power of
 ordaining the success or failure of their war expeditions.  As their
 warriors passed by the mysterious pools when hunting their hereditary
 enemies, the Utes, they never failed to bestow their votive offerings
 upon the spring, in order to propitiate the Manitou of the strange
 fountain, and insure a fortunate issue to their path of war.  As late
 as twenty-five years ago, the visitor to the place could always find
 the basin of the spring filled with beads and wampum, pieces of red
 cloth and knives, while the surrounding trees were hung with strips
 of deerskin, cloth, and moccasins.  Signs were frequently observed
 in the vicinity of the waters unmistakably indicating that a war-dance
 had been executed there by the Arapahoes on their way to the Valley
 of Salt, occupied by the powerful Utes.
 
 Never was there such a paradise for hunters as this lone and solitary
 spot in the days when the region was known only to them and the
 trappers of the great fur companies.  The shelving prairie, at the
 bottom of which the springs are situated, is entirely surrounded by
 rugged mountains and contained two or three acres of excellent grass,
 affording a safe pasture for their animals, which hardly cared to
 wander from such feeding and the salt they loved to lick.
 
 The trappers of the Rocky Mountains belonged to a genus that has
 disappeared.  Forty years ago there was not a hole or corner in the
 vast wilderness of the far West that had not been explored by these
 hardy men.  From the Mississippi to the mouth of the Colorado of the
 West, from the frozen regions of the north to the Gila in Mexico,
 the beaver hunter has set his traps in every creek and stream.
 The mountains and waters, in many instances, still retain the names
 assigned them by those rude hunters, who were veritable pioneers
 paving the way for the settlement of the stern country.
 
 A trapper's camp in the old days was quite a picture, as were all its
 surroundings.  He did not always take the trouble to build a shelter,
 unless in the winter.  A couple of deerskins stretched over a willow
 frame was considered sufficient to protect him from the storm.
 Sometimes he contented himself with a mere "breakwind," the rocky
 wall of a canyon, or large ravine.  Near at hand he set up two poles,
 in the crotch of which another was laid, where he kept, out of reach
 of the hungry wolf and coyote, his meat, consisting of every variety
 afforded by the region in which he had pitched his camp.  Under cover
 of the skins of the animals he had killed hung his old-fashioned
 powder-horn and bullet-pouch, while his trusty rifle, carefully
 defended from the damp, was always within reach of his hand.  Round
 his blazing fire at night his companions, if he had any, were other
 trappers on the same stream; and, while engaged in cleaning their
 arms, making and mending moccasins, or running bullets, they told
 long yarns, until the lateness of the hour warned them to crawl under
 their blankets.
 
 Not far from the camp, his animals, well hobbled, fed in sight;
 for nothing did a hunter dread more than a visit from horse-stealing
 Indians, and to be afoot was the acme of misery.
 
 Some hunters who had married squaws carried about with them regular
 buffalo-skin lodges, which their wives took care of, according to
 Indian etiquette.
 
 The old-time trappers more nearly approximated the primitive savage,
 perhaps, than any other class of civilized men.  Their lives being
 spent in the remote wilderness of the mountains, frequently with no
 other companion than Nature herself, their habits and character often
 assumed a most singular cast of simplicity, mingled with ferocity,
 that appeared to take its colouring from the scenes and objects which
 surrounded them.  Having no wants save those of nature, their sole
 concern was to provide sufficient food to support life, and the
 necessary clothing to protect them from the sometimes rigorous climate.
 
 The costume of the average trapper was a hunting-shirt of dressed
 buckskin, with long, fringed trousers of the same material, decorated
 with porcupine quills.  A flexible hat and moccasins covered his
 extremities, and over his left shoulder and under his right arm hung
 his powder-horn and bullet-pouch, in which he also carried flint,
 steel, and other odds and ends.  Round his waist he wore a belt,
 in which was stuck a large knife in a sheath of buffalo-hide, made
 fast to the belt by a chain or guard of steel.  It also supported
 a little buckskin case, which contained a whetstone, a very necessary
 article; for in taking off the hides of the beaver a sharp knife was
 required.  His pipe-holder hung around his neck, and was generally
 a gage d'amour, a triumph of squaw workmanship, wrought with beads
 and porcupine quills, often made in the shape of a heart.
 
 Necessarily keen observers of nature, they rivalled the beasts of
 prey in discovering the haunts and habits of game, and in their skill
 and cunning in capturing it outwitted the Indian himself.  Constantly
 exposed to perils of all kinds, they became callous to any feeling
 of danger, and were firm friends or bitter enemies.  It was a "word
 and a blow," the blow often coming first.  Strong, active, hardy as
 bears, expert in the use of their weapons, they were just what an
 uncivilized white man might be supposed to be under conditions where
 he must depend upon his instincts for the support of life.
 
 Having determined upon the locality of his trapping-ground, the hunter
 started off, sometimes alone, sometimes three or four of them in
 company, as soon as the breaking of the ice in the streams would
 permit, if he was to go very far north.  Arriving on the spot he has
 selected for his permanent camp, the first thing to be done, after
 he had settled himself, was to follow the windings of the creeks and
 rivers, keeping a sharp lookout for "signs."  If he saw a prostrate
 cottonwood tree, he carefully examined it to learn whether it was
 the work of beaver, and if so whether thrown for the purpose of food,
 or to dam the stream.  The track of the animal on the mud or sand
 under the banks was also examined; if the sign was fresh, he set his
 trap in the run of the animal, hiding it under water, and attaching
 it by a stout chain to a picket driven in the bank, or to a bush or
 tree.  A float-stick was made fast to the trap by a cord a few feet
 long, which, if the animal carried away the trap, would float on
 the water and point out its position.  The trap was baited with
 "medicine," an oily substance obtained from the beaver.  A stick was
 dipped in this and planted over the trap, and the beaver, attracted
 by the smell, put his leg into the trap and was caught.
 
 When a beaver lodge was discovered, the trap was set at the edge of
 the dam, at a point where the animal passed from deep to shoal water,
 and always under the surface.  Early in the morning, the hunter
 mounted his mule and examined all his traps.
 
 The beaver is exceedingly wily, and if by scent or sound or sight he
 had any intimation of the presence of a trapper, he put at defiance
 all efforts to capture him, consequently it was necessary to practise
 great caution when in the neighbourhood of one of their lodges.
 The trapper then avoided riding for fear the sound of his horse's
 feet might strike dismay among the furry inhabitants under the water,
 and, instead of walking on the ground, he waded in the stream, lest
 he should leave a scent behind by which he might be discovered.
 
 In the days of the great fur companies, trappers were of two kinds--
 the hired hand and the free trapper.  The former was hired by the
 company, which supplied him with everything necessary, and paid him
 a certain price for his furs and peltries.  The other hunted on his
 own hook, owned his animals and traps, went where he pleased, and
 sold to whom he chose.
 
 During the hunting season, regardless of the Indians, the fearless
 trapper wandered far and near in search of signs.  His nerves were
 in a state of tension, his mind always clear, and his head cool.
 His trained eye scrutinized every part of the country, and in an
 instant he could detect anything that was strange.  A turned leaf,
 a blade of grass pressed down, the uneasiness of wild animals,
 the actions of the birds, were all to him paragraphs written in
 Nature's legible hand.
 
 All the wits of the wily savage were called into play to gain an
 advantage over the plucky white man; but with the resources natural
 to a civilized mind, the hunter seldom failed, under equal chance,
 to circumvent the cunning of the red man.  Sometimes, following his
 trail for weeks, the Indian watched him set his traps on some timbered
 stream, and crawling up the bed of it, so that he left no tracks,
 he lay in the bushes until his victim came to examine his traps.
 Then, when he approached within a few feet of the ambush, whiz! flew
 the home-drawn arrow, which never failed at such close quarters to
 bring the unsuspecting hunter to the ground.  But for one white scalp
 that dangled in the smoke of an Indian's lodge, a dozen black ones,
 at the end of the season, ornamented the camp-fires of the rendezvous
 where the furs were sold.
 
 In the camp, if he was a very successful hunter, all the appliances
 for preparing the skins for market were at hand; if he had a squaw
 for a wife, she did all the hard work, as usual.  Close to the
 entrance of their skin lodge was the "graining-block," a log of wood
 with the bark stripped off and perfectly smooth, set obliquely in
 the ground, on which the hair was removed from the deerskins which
 furnished moccasins and dresses for both herself and her husband.
 Then there were stretching frames on which the skins were placed to
 undergo the process of "dubbing"; that is, the removal of all flesh
 and fatty particles adhering to the skin.  The "dubber" was made of
 the stock of an elk's horn, with a piece of iron or steel inserted
 in the end, forming a sharp knife.  The last process the deerskin
 underwent before it was soft and pliable enough for making into
 garments, was the "smoking."  This was effected by digging a round
 hole in the ground, and lighting in it an armful of rotten wood or
 punk; then sticks were planted around the hole, and their tops brought
 together and tied.  The skins were placed on this frame, and all
 openings by which the smoke might escape being carefully stopped,
 in ten or twelve hours they were thoroughly cured and ready for
 immediate use.
 
 The beaver was the main object of the hunter's quest; its skins were
 once worth from six to eight dollars a pound; then they fell to only
 one dollar, which hardly paid the expenses of traps, animals, and
 equipment for the hunt, and was certainly no adequate remuneration
 for the hardships, toil, and danger undergone by the trappers.
 
 The beaver was once found in every part of North America, from Canada
 to the Gulf of Mexico, but has so retired from the encroachments of
 civilized man, that it is only to be met with occasionally on some
 tributary to the remote mountain streams.
 
 The old trappers always aimed to set their traps so that the beaver
 would drown when taken.  This was accomplished by sinking the trap
 several inches under water, and driving a stake through a ring on the
 end of the chain into the bottom of the creek.  When the beaver finds
 himself caught, he pitches and plunges about until his strength is
 exhausted, when he sinks down and is drowned, but if he succeeds in
 getting to the shore, he always extricates himself by gnawing off
 the leg that is in the jaws of the trap.
 
 The captured animals were skinned, and the tails, which are a great
 dainty, carefully packed into camp.  The skin was then stretched over
 a hoop or framework of willow twigs and allowed to dry, the flesh and
 fatty substance adhering being first carefully scraped off.  When dry,
 it was folded into a square sheet, the fur turned inwards, and the
 bundle, containing twenty skins, tightly pressed and tied, was ready
 for transportation.  The beaver after the hide is taken off weighs
 about twelve pounds, and its flesh, although a little musky, is very
 fine.  Its tail which is flat and oval in shape, is covered with
 scales about the size of those of a salmon.  It was a great delicacy
 in the estimation of the old trapper; he separated it from the body,
 thrust a stick in one end of it, and held it before the fire with the
 scales on.  In a few moments large blisters rose on the surface,
 which were very easily removed.  The tail was then perfectly white,
 and delicious.  Next to the tail the liver was another favourite of
 the trapper, and when properly cooked it constituted a delightful repast.
 
 After the season was over, or the hunter had loaded all his pack-animals,
 he proceeded to the "rendezvous," where the buyers were to congregate
 for the purchase of the fur, the locality of which had been agreed
 upon when the hunters started out on their expedition.  One of these
 was at Bent's old fort and one at Pueblo; another at "Brown's Hole"
 on Green River, and there were many more on the great streams and in
 the mountains.  There the agents of the fur companies and traders
 waited for the arrival of the trappers, with such an assortment of
 goods as the hardy men required, including, of course, an immense
 supply of whiskey.  The trappers dropped in day after day, in small
 bands, packing their loads of beaver-skins, not infrequently to the
 value of a thousand dollars each, the result of one hunt.
 
 The rendezvous was frequently a continuous scene of gambling, brawling,
 and fighting, so long as the improvident trapper's money lasted.
 Seated around the large camp-fires, cross-legged in Indian fashion,
 with a blanket or buffalo-robe spread before them, groups were playing
 cards--euchre, seven-up, and poker, the regular mountain games.
 The usual stakes were beaver-skins, which were current as coin.
 When their fur was all gone, their horses, mules, rifles, shirts,
 hunting packs, and trousers were staked.  Daring professional gamblers
 made the rounds of the camps, challenging each other to play for the
 trapper's highest stakes--his horse, or his squaw, if he had one--and
 it is told of one great time that two old trappers played for one
 another's scalps!  "There goes hoss and beaver," was a common mountain
 expression when any severe loss was sustained, and shortly "hoss and
 beaver" found their way into the pockets of the unconscionable gamblers.
 
 Frequently a trapper would squander the entire product of his hunt,
 amounting to hundreds of dollars, in a couple of hours.  Then,
 supplied with another outfit, he left the rendezvous for another
 expedition, which had the same result time after time, although one
 good hunt would have enabled him to return to the settlements and
 live a life of comparative ease.
 
 It is told of one old Canadian trapper, who had received as much as
 fifteen thousand dollars for beaver during his life in the mountains,
 extending over twenty years, that each season he had resolved in his
 mind to go back to Canada, and with this object in view always
 converted his furs into cash; but a fortnight at the rendezvous
 always "cleaned him out," and at the end of the twenty years he had
 not even enough credit to get a plug of tobacco.
 
 Trading with the Indians in the primitive days of the border was just
 what the word signifies in its radical interpretation--a system of
 barter exclusively.  No money was used in the transaction, as it was
 long afterward before the savages began to learn something of the
 value of currency from their connection with the sutler's and agency
 stores established on reservations and at military posts on the plains
 and in the mountains.  In the early days, if an Indian by any chance
 happened to get possession of a piece of money (only gold or silver
 was recognized as a medium of exchange in the remote West), he would
 immediately fashion it into some kind of an ornament with which to
 adorn his person.  Some tribes, however, did indulge in a sort of
 currency, worthless except among themselves.  This consisted of rare
 shells, such as the Oligachuck, so called, of the Pacific coast
 nations, used by them within my own recollection, as late as 1858.
 
 The poor Indian, as might have been expected, was generally
 outrageously swindled; in fact, I am inclined to believe, always.
 I never was present on an occasion when he was not.
 
 The savage's idea of values was very crude until the government,
 in attempting to civilize and make a gentleman of him, has transformed
 him into a bewildered child.  Very soon after his connection with
 the white trader, he learned that a gun was more valuable than a knife;
 but of their relative cost to manufacture he had no idea.  For these
 reasons, obviously, he was always at the mercy of the unscrupulous
 trader who came to his village, or met him at the rendezvous to barter
 for his furs.  I know that the price of every article he desired was
 fixed by the trader, and never by the Indian, consequently he rarely
 got the best of the bargain.
 
 Uncle John Smith, Kit Carson, L. B. Maxwell, Uncle Dick Wooton, and
 a host of other well-known Indian traders, long since dead, have
 often told me that the first thing they did on entering a village
 with a pack-load of trinkets to barter, in the earlier days before
 the whites had encroached to any great extent, was to arrange a
 schedule of prices.  They would gather a large number of sticks,
 each one representing an article they had brought.  With these crude
 symbols the Indian made himself familiar in a little while, and when
 this preliminary arrangement had been completed, the trading began.
 The Indian, for instance, would place a buffalo-robe on the ground;
 then the trader commenced to lay down a number of the sticks,
 representing what he was willing to give for the robe.  The Indian
 revolved the transaction in his mind until he thought he was getting
 a fair equivalent according to his ideas, then the bargain was made.
 It was claimed by these old traders, when they related this to me,
 that the savage generally was not satisfied, always insisting upon
 having more sticks placed on the pile.  I suspect, however, that the
 trader was ever prepared for this, and never gave more than he
 originally intended.  The price of that initial robe having been
 determined on, it governed the price of all the rest for the whole
 trade, regardless of size or fineness, for that day.  What was traded
 for was then placed by the Indian on one side of the lodge, and the
 trader put what he was to give on the other.  After prices had been
 agreed upon, business went on very rapidly, and many thousand dollars'
 worth of valuable furs were soon collected by the successful trader,
 which he shipped to St. Louis and converted into gold.
 
 In a few years, relatively, the Indian began to appreciate the value
 of our medium of exchange and the power it gave him to secure at the
 stores in the widely scattered hamlets and at the military posts on
 the plains, those things he coveted, at a fairer equivalent than in
 the uncertain and complicated method of direct barter.  It was not
 very long after the advent of the overland coaches on the Santa Fe
 Trail, that our currency, even the greenbacks, had assumed a value
 to the savage, which he at least partially understood.  Whenever the
 Indians successfully raided the stages the mail sacks were no longer
 torn to pieces or thrown aside as worthless, but every letter was
 carefully scrutinized for possible bills.
 
 I well remember, when the small copper cent, with its spread eagle
 upon it, was first issued, about the year 1857, how the soldiers of
 a frontier garrison where I was stationed at the time palmed them off
 upon the simple savages as two dollar and a half gold pieces, which
 they resembled as long as they retained their brightness, and with
 which the Indians were familiar, as many were received by the troops
 from the paymaster every two months, the savages receiving them in
 turn for horses and other things purchased of them by the soldiers.
 
 I have known of Indians who gave nuggets of gold for common calico
 shirts costing two dollars in that region and seventy-five cents in
 the States, while the lump of precious metal was worth, perhaps,
 five or seven dollars.  As late as twenty-eight years ago, I have
 traded for beautifully smoke-tanned and porcupine-embroidered
 buffalo-robes for my own use, giving in exchange a mere loaf of bread
 or a cupful of brown sugar.
 
 Very early in the history of the United States, in 1786, the government,
 under the authority of Congress, established a plan of trade with
 the Indians.  It comprised supplying all their physical wants without
 profit; factories, or stations as they were called, were erected at
 points that were then on the remote frontier; where factors, clerks,
 and interpreters were stationed.  The factors furnished goods of all
 kinds to the Indians, and received from them in exchange furs and
 peltries.  There was an officer in charge of all these stations called
 the superintendent of Indian trade, appointed by the President.
 As far back as 1821, there were stations at Prairie du Chien,
 Fort Edward, Fort Osage, with branches at Chicago, Green Bay in
 Arkansas, on the Red River, and other places in the then far West.
 These stations were movable, and changed from time to time to suit the
 convenience of the Indians.  In 1822 the whole system was abolished
 by act of Congress, and its affairs wound up, the American Fur Company,
 the Missouri Fur Company, and a host of others having by that time
 become powerful.  Like the great corporations of to-day, they
 succeeded in supplanting the government establishments.  Of course,
 the Indians of the remote plains, which included all the vast region
 west of the Missouri River, never had the benefits of the government
 trading establishments, but were left to the tender mercies of the
 old plainsmen and trappers.
 
 Until the railroad reached the mountains, when the march of a wonderful
 immigration closely followed, usurping the lands claimed by the
 savages, and the latter were driven, perforce, upon reservations,
 the winter camps of the Kiowas, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes were strung
 along the Old Trail for miles, wherever a belt of timber on the margin
 of the Arkansas, or its tributaries, could be found large enough to
 furnish fuel for domestic purposes and cottonwood bark for the vast
 herds of ponies in the severe snow-storms.
 
 At these various points the Indians congregated to trade with the
 whites.  As stated, Bent's Fort, the Pueblo Fort, and Big Timbers
 were favourite resorts, and the trappers and old hunters passed a
 lively three or four months every year, indulging in the amusements
 I have referred to.  They were also wonderful story-tellers, and
 around their camp-fires many a tale of terrible adventure with Indians
 and vicious animals was nightly related.
 
 Baptiste Brown was one of the most famous trappers.  Few men had seen
 more of wild life in the great prairie wilderness.  He had hunted
 with nearly every tribe of Indians on the plains and in the mountains,
 was often at Bent's Fort, and his soul-stirring narratives made him
 a most welcome guest at the camp-fire.
 
 He lived most of his time in the Wind River Mountains, in a beautiful
 little valley named after him "Brown's Hole."  It has a place on the
 maps to-day, and is on what was then called Prairie River, or
 Sheetskadee, by the Indians; it is now known as Green River, and is
 the source of the great Colorado.
 
 The valley, which is several thousand feet above the sea-level,
 is about fifteen miles in circumference, surrounded by lofty hills,
 and is aptly, though not elegantly, characterized as a "hole."
 The mountain-grass is of the most nutritious quality; groves of
 cottonwood trees and willows are scattered through the sequestered
 spot, and the river, which enters it from the north, is a magnificent
 stream; in fact, it is the very ideal of a hunter's headquarters.
 
 The temperature is very equable, and at one time, years ago, hundreds
 of trappers made it their winter quarters.  Indians, too, of all the
 northern tribes, but more especially the Arapahoes, frequented it to
 trade with the white men.
 
 Baptiste Brown was a Canadian who spoke villanous French and worse
 English; his vocabulary being largely interspersed with "enfant de
 garce," "sacre," "sacre enfant," and "damn" until it was a difficult
 matter to tell what he was talking about.
 
 He was married to an Arapahoe squaw, and his strange wooing and
 winning of the dusky maiden is a thrilling love-story.
 
 Among the maidens who came with the Arapahoes, when that tribe made
 a visit to "Brown's Hole" one winter for the purpose of trading with
 the whites, was a young, merry, and very handsome girl, named "Unami,"
 who after a few interviews completely captured Baptiste's heart.
 Nothing was more common, as I have stated, than marriages between
 the trappers and a beautiful redskin.  Isolated absolutely from women
 of his own colour, the poor mountaineer forgets he is white, which,
 considering the embrowning influence of constant exposure and sunlight,
 is not so marvellous after all.  For a portion of the year there is
 no hunting, and then idleness is the order of the day.  At such times
 the mountaineer visits the lodges of his dark neighbours for amusement,
 and in the spirited dance many a heart is lost to the squaws.
 The young trapper, like other enamoured ones of his sex in civilization,
 lingers around the house of his fair sweetheart while she transforms
 the soft skin of the doe into moccasins, ornamenting them richly
 with glittering beads or the coloured quills of the porcupine, all
 the time lightening the long hours with the plain-songs of their tribe.
 It was upon an occasion of this character that Baptiste, then in the
 prime of his youthful manhood, first loved the dark-eyed Arapahoe.
 
 The course open to him was to woo and win her; but alas! savage papas
 are just like fathers in the best civilization--the only difference
 between them is that the former are more open and matter-of-fact,
 since in savage etiquette a consideration is required in exchange
 for the daughter, which belongs exclusively to the parent, and must
 be of equal marketable value to the girl.
 
 The usual method is to select your best horse, take him to the lodge
 of your inamorata's parents, tie him to a tree, and walk away.
 If the animal is considered a fair exchange, matters are soon settled
 satisfactorily; if not, other gifts must be added.
 
 At this juncture poor Baptiste was in a bad fix; he had disposed of
 all his season's earnings for his winter's subsistence, much of which
 consisted of an ample supply of whiskey and tobacco; so he had
 nothing left wherewith to purchase the indispensable horse.  Without
 the animal no wife was to be had, and he was in a terrible predicament;
 for the hunting season was long since over, and it wanted a whole
 month of the time for a new starting out.
 
 Baptiste was a very determined man, however, and he shouldered his
 rifle, intent on accomplishing by a laborious prosecution of the
 chase the means of winning his loved one from her parents,
 notwithstanding that the elements and the times were against him.
 He worked industriously, and after many days was rewarded by a goodly
 supply of beavers, otters, and mink which he had trapped, besides
 many a deerskin whose wearer he had shot.  Returning to his lodge,
 where he cached his peltry, he again started out for the forest with
 hope filling his heart.  Three weeks passed in indifferent success,
 when one morning, having entered a deep canyon, which evidently led
 out to an open prairie where he thought game might be found, while
 busy cutting his way through a thicket of briers with his knife,
 he suddenly came upon a little valley, where he saw what caused him
 to retrace his footsteps into the thicket.
 
 And here it is necessary to relate a custom peculiar to all Indian
 tribes.  No young man, though his father were the greatest chief in
 the nation, can range himself among the warriors, be entitled to
 enter the marriage state, or enjoy any other rights of savage
 citizenship until he shall have performed some act of personal
 bravery and daring, or be sprinkled with the blood of his enemies.
 In the early springtime, therefore, all the young men who are of the
 proper age band themselves together and take to the forest in search
 --like the knight-errant of old--of adventure and danger.  Having
 decided upon a secluded and secret spot, they collect a number of
 poles from twenty to thirty feet in length, and, lashing them together
 at the small ends, form a huge conical lodge, which they cover with
 grass and boughs.  Inside they deposit various articles, with which
 to "make medicine," or as a propitiatory offering to the Great Spirit;
 generally a green buffalo head, kettles, scalps, blankets, and other
 things of value, of which the most prominent and revered is the
 sacred pipe.  The party then enters the lodge and the first ceremony
 is smoking this pipe.  One of the young men fills it with tobacco and
 herbs, places a coal on it from the fire that has been already
 kindled in the lodge, and, taking the stem in his mouth, inhales the
 smoke and expels it through his nostrils.  The ground is touched with
 the bowl, the four points of the compass are in turn saluted, and
 with various ceremonies it makes the round of the lodge.  After many
 days of feasting and dancing the party is ready for a campaign, when
 they abandon the lodge, and it is death for any one else to enter,
 or by any means to desecrate it while its projectors are absent.
 
 It was upon one of these mystic lodges that Baptiste had accidentally
 stumbled, and strange thoughts flashed through his mind; for within
 the sacred place were articles, doubtless, of value more than
 sufficient to purchase the necessary horse with which he could win
 the fair Unami.  Baptiste was sorely tempted, but there was an
 instinctive respect for religion in the minds of the old trappers,
 and Brown had too much honour to think of robbing the Indian temple,
 although he distinctly remembered a time when a poor white trapper,
 having been robbed of his poncho at the beginning of winter, made
 free with a blanket he had found in one of these Arapahoe sacred
 lodges.  When he was brought before the medicine men of the tribe,
 charged with the sacrilege, his defence, that, having been robbed,
 the Great Spirit took pity on him and pointed out the blanket and
 ordered him to clothe himself, was considered good, on the theory
 that the Great Spirit had an undoubted right to give away his own
 property; consequently the trapper was set free.
 
 Brown, after considering the case, was about to move away, when a hand
 was laid on his shoulder, and turning round there stood before him
 an Indian in full war-paint.
 
 The greeting was friendly, for the young savage was the brother of
 Baptiste's love, to whom he had given many valuable presents during
 the past season.
 
 "My white brother is very wakeful; he rises early."
 
 Baptiste laughed, and replied: "Yes, because my lodge is empty.
 If I had Unami for a wife, I would not have to get out before the sun;
 and I would always have a soft seat for her brother; he will be a
 great warrior."
 
 The young brave shook his head gravely, as be pointed to his belt,
 where not a scalp was to be seen, and said: "Five moons have gone
 to sleep and the Arapahoe hatchet has not been raised.  The Blackfeet
 are dogs, and hide in their holes."
 
 Without adding anything to this hint that none of the young men had
 been able to fulfil their vows, the disconsolate savage led the way
 to the camp of the other Arapahoes, his companions in the quest for
 scalps.  Baptiste was very glad to see the face of a fellow-creature
 once more, and he cheerfully followed the footsteps of the young brave,
 which were directed away from the medicine lodge toward the rocky
 canyon which he had already travelled that morning, where in the very
 centre of the dark defile, and within twenty feet of where he had
 recently passed, was the camp of the disappointed band.  Baptiste was
 cordially received, and invited to share the meal of which the party
 were about to partake, after which the pipe was passed around.
 In a little while the Indians began to talk among themselves by signs,
 which made Baptiste feel somewhat uncomfortable, for it was apparent
 that he was the object of their interest.
 
 They had argued that Brown's skin indicated that he belonged to the
 great tribe of their natural enemies, and with the blood of a white
 on their garments, they would have fulfilled the terms of their vow
 to their friends and the Great Spirit.
 
 Noticing the trend of the debate, which would lead his friend into
 trouble, the brother of Unami arose, and waving his hand said:--
 
 "The Arapahoe is a warrior; his feet outstrip the fleetest horse;
 his arrow is as the lightning of the Great Spirit; he is very brave.
 But a cloud is between him and the sun; he cannot see his enemy;
 there is yet no scalp in his lodge.  The Great Spirit is good;
 he sends a victim, a man whose skin is white, but his heart is very
 red; the pale-face is a brother, and his long knife is turned from
 his friends, the Arapahoes; but the Great Spirit is all-powerful.
 My brother"--pointing to Baptiste--"is very full of blood; he can spare
 a little to stain the blankets of the young men, and his heart shall
 still be warm; I have spoken."
 
 As Baptiste expressed it: "Sacre enfant de garce; damn, de ting vas
 agin my grain, but de young Arapahoe he have saved my life."
 
 Loud acclamation followed the speech of Unami's brother, and many of
 those most clamorous against the white trapper, being actuated by
 the earnest desire of returning home with their vow accomplished,
 when they would be received into the list of warriors, and have wives
 and other honours, were unanimous in agreeing to the proposed plan.
 
 A flint lancet was produced, Baptiste's arm was bared, and the blood
 which flowed from the slight wound was carefully distributed, and
 scattered over the robes of the delighted Arapahoes.
 
 The scene which followed was quite unexpected to Baptiste, who was
 only glad to escape the death to which the majority had doomed him.
 The Indians, perfectly satisfied that their vow of shedding an enemy's
 blood had been fulfilled, were all gratitude; and to testify that
 gratitude in a substantial manner each man sought his pack, and laid
 at the feet of the surprised Baptiste a rich present.  One gave an
 otter skin, another that of a buffalo, and so on until his wealth in
 furs outstripped his most sanguine expectations from his hunt.
 The brother of Unami stood passively looking on until all the others
 had successively honoured his guest, when he advanced toward Baptiste,
 leading by its bridle a magnificent horse, fully caparisoned, and
 a large pack-mule.  To refuse would have been the most flagrant breach
 of Indian etiquette, and beside, Brown was too alive to the advantage
 that would accrue to him to be other than very thankful.
 
 The camp was then broken up, and the kind savages were soon lost to
 Baptiste's sight as they passed down the canyon; and he, as soon as he
 had gained a little strength, for he was weak from the blood he had
 shed in the good cause, mounted his horse, after loading the mule
 with his gifts, and made the best of his way to his lonely lodge,
 where he remained several days.  He then sold his furs at a good
 price, as it was so early in the season, bartered for a large quantity
 of knives, beads, powder, and balls, and returned to the Arapahoe
 village, where the horse was considered a fair exchange for the
 pretty Unami; and from that day, for over thirty years, they lived
 as happy as any couple in the highest civilization.
 
 The fate of the Pueblo, where the trappers and hunters had such good
 times in the halcyon days of the border, like that which befell
 nearly all the trading-posts and ranches on the Old Santa Fe Trail,
 was to be partially destroyed by the savages.  During the early
 months of the winter of 1854, the Utes swept down through the Arkansas
 valley, leaving a track of blood behind them, and frightening the
 settlers so thoroughly that many left the country never to return.
 The outbreak was as sudden as it was devastating.  The Pueblo was
 captured by the savages, and every man, woman, and child in it
 murdered, with the exception of one aged Mexican, and he was so badly
 wounded that he died in a few days.
 
 His story was that the Utes came to the gates of the fort on Christmas
 morning, professing the greatest friendship, and asking permission
 to be allowed to come inside and hold a peace conference.  All who
 were in the fort at the time were Mexicans, and as their cupidity
 led them to believe that they could do some advantageous trading
 with the Indians, they foolishly permitted the whole band to enter.
 The result was that a wholesale massacre followed.  There were
 seventeen persons in all quartered there, only one of whom escaped
 death--the old man referred to--and a woman and her two children,
 who were carried off as captives; but even she was killed before the
 savages had gone a mile from the place.  What became of the children
 was never known; they probably met the same fate.