"Come with me; thou shalt hear of my resolve."
WITHOUT giving more than a single glance to the maiden, Occonestoga approached the snake, and, drawing his knife, prepared to cut away the rattles, always a favourite Indian ornament, which terminated his elongated folds. He approached his victim with a deportment the most respectful, and, after the manner of his people, gravely, and in the utmost good faith, apologized in well set terms, in his own language, for the liberty he had already taken, and that which he was then about to take. He protested the necessity he had been under in destroying it; and, urging his desire to possess the excellent and only evidence of his own prowess in conquering so great a warrior, which the latter carried at his tail, he proceeded to cut away the rattles with as much tenderness as could have been shown by the most considerate operator, divesting a fellow-creature, still living, of his limbs. A proceeding like this, so amusing as it would seem to us, is readily accounted for, when we consider the prevailing sentiment among the Indians in reference to the rattlesnake. With them he is held the gentleman, the nobleman — the very prince of snakes. His attributes are devoutly esteemed among them, and many of their own habits derive their existence from models furnished by his peculiarities. He is brave, will never fly from an enemy, and for this they honour him. If approached, he holds his ground and is never unwilling for the combat. He does not begin the affray, and is content to defend himself against invasion. He will not strike without due warning of his intention, and when he strikes, the blow of his weapon is fatal. It is highly probable, indeed, that, even the war‐ whoop with which the Indians preface their own onset, has been borrowed from the warning rattle of this fatal, but honourable enemy. *____________________