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remarkable extent this family had kept the good of frontier life, and shed aside the evil. I regarded them as in all respects trustworthy and unbiased historians of the events of the last few years; yet they revealed to me a condition of affairs which wa's appalling. Nobody could suspect them of a bias toward the accursed system which had originally caused all the border troubles; so I was obliged to believe them when they said that bushwhacking, robbery, murder, jayhawking in general, had been committed under the sacred name of Liberty and the detested name of Slavery alike. Border Ruffianism had spread far beyond its original clique. In every small settlement 01 settled region, the party in power for the time had called to its aid all the means of violence which coerced the first Free State men. If a settler did not lend himself to the tyranny in vogue, he was marked for plunder or destruction. Armed parties surrounded his house in the night, brought him out and shot or hanged him, confiscated his goods, drove off his cattle, and sent his family into the bush. This was done in the name of the cause most popular at the time, and for much of it no cause was responsible. It was mere organized pillage under a convenient party name, and got so lucrative that jayhawking absorbed into its profession all the bold, unscrupulous spirits who spurned the slow rewards of industry; and it became as dangerous for a hard-working bond fide settler to become a "suspect," as honest people found it in the French Reign of Terror. The Comstocks had seen men in whose loyalty to the Union and freedom they had as much confidence as in their own, utterly broken up and ruined by jayhawkers, pretending to represent those holy interests; they had sheltered from the halter and the pistol hunted acquaintances, whose only crime was the possession of property which the jayhawkers found valuable.
For the last three days of our stay at Comstock's, a very interesting man was visiting there. Jean Baptiste Moncrevie", the Indian interpreter, is sixtyeight years of age, yet looks scarcely over fifty; full of French grace, fire, and vivacity, grafted with American humor. He was educated in Paris, married, came over to this country to make his way in one of the professions, lost his wife in her first childbed, and became insane. He recovered his sanity after a protracted period, but the energy of his life was gone. He had no further ambition; the thought of succeeding in the world was a mockery to a man who had lost the world's highest success. To get away from old associations, he went West with Audubon, and became so well acquainted with frontier life that at the close of the ornithological tour he determined to stay among the Indians. He is now perfectly conversant with six different Indian languages, —the Sioux, Pawnee, Arapahoe, Blackfeet, Crow, and Flathead. He furnished me with some vocabularies, valuable not only in the practical, but the philological point of view. All the material which we procured in this specialty, during our entire tour, we forwarded to Mr. George Gibbs, of the Smithsonian, whose book on the Indian languages must only be worthy of the opportunities he has enjoyed, and the erudition he possesses, to be the most complete dictionary, grammar, and comparative philology of savage speech ever issued in any country. Moncre"vie"'a stories amused us much. I never heard a man describe an Indian " soldier-feast" as comically as he did. For the benefit of the uninitiated, let me say that this happy banquet consists of a series of the most frightful messes which ever entered a witch cauldron. For instance, there will be a ragout of dog, flavored with mud and sole-leather; a soup of lizards, pig-gristle, and wild onions; an enormous salmis of old mule and sunflower leaves. Your host is most generous with his provender. He heaps your plate with the nauseous delicacies until you sit aghast. If you cannot eat your portion, you are technically said to be " killed," and have to buy some other convive to eat it for you with a valuable present. One elastic Indian of long practice will sometimes eat two other men's portions beside his own, and feel no more inconvenience from them than an anaconda from a goat au nature!. Moncre"vie " had once to pay the most valuable horse he had, to get his mess eaten by a Sioux brave. As these are debts of honor, the most capacious glutton goes to a soldier-feast with all the avidity felt by a gray Wall Street bull for a "corner" in Harlem.
Nowhere on our travels did we find better opportunities for studying Western tree-formations than along the banks of the Little Blue. The varied structure of the cotton-woods was a perpetual surprise to us. They seem by their heart-shaped leaf to be near relations of the poplar family; but they have none of that tribe's stiff, unyielding individuality. The poplar, especially the Lombardy, is the Mr. Dombey of our sylva, but there is nothing of the starched-shirt-collar school in the attitudes or expressions of the cotton-woods. They are protean in their simulations. One whose butt we used for our