(Kindly contributed by William C. Bell)
The Chikachas give up the custom of burying alive the wife of a warrior, when he dies.
With regard to the Chikachas, of whom I have already spoken, and who live on the banks of the Yazau River, they are weakened so much that they could scarcely raise an army of six hundred men. About forty years ago this nation still had the horrible custom, when a warrior died, of burying his wife with him while she was still alive. They would place both of them in a kind of deep, narrow pit, into which they threw the warrior's arms and all the utensils of his household. They added some provisions, and then they refilled the hole in which the woman was suffocated, in order they said, that she might never leave her husband, and that she might tread the same path as he.
As this tribe is a part of the Creek Nation, and since it sends chiefs to the general assemblies, they have succeeded in proving to these chiefs all the barbarity of such a custom, and in inducing them to make the Chikachas give it up. The grand council, on this occasion, even used all the authority with which it is invested, by threatening these chiefs to no longer admit them to the assemblies, and to break off entirely with the Chikachas, by driving them from their lands, if they kept this horrible custom. The latter, fearing the effects of such a threat, gave up this frightful custom and became good fathers and good husbands, and have nonetheless preserved a fearlessness which belongs to them alone.
Such are the nations or rather the remains of the nations which have contributed to the growth and great reputation that the Creeks enjoy today.
I have just said that the Tchactas Nation was the only one which was a stranger to the customs and interests of the Creeks, I am going to give an idea of its manners and of its character.
The Tchactas Nation is still rather large; it is divided into two sections or provinces, one of which is in the south and the other in the north; and there is so great a difference in the customs and the character of the inhabitants of these two sections that one could take them for two different peoples, although it is absolutely the same tribe speaking the same language.
The Tchactas in the north are very brave and warlike; they are dressed, and wear their hair cut in the manner of the Creeks.
The Tchactas in the south, who live west of Mobile and northwest of Paskagoula are not very warlike; they are cowards, lazy and slovenly: although they inhabit fairly good land, they neglect cultivation farming and prefer the life of beggars. They come down to Mobile and to New Orleans several times a year, in order to beg. When they arrive, the governor has victuals delivered gratis to them for three days, and does not permit them to remain there for a longer time. This gratuity of provisions, although voluntary on the part of the Spanish governor, has degenerated into a habit that they now regard as obligatory; and if the governor refused to do it, they would give themselves to pillage and to all kinds of excesses. At the end of these three days, they prepare to set out again, and receive in addition provisions for a week, which is sufficient time to return to their country, although they take much more time to do so. They usually leave at once and go back by the Lake Pont-Chartrain; but they often stop in the Bay St-Louis and at Paskagoula, where they beg among the inhabitants who give them corn, with which they make porridge, sagamite, and bread, which they eat with the fish they catch in Mobile Bay, or in the rivers in the vicinity which are full of fish. They are very fond of horse flesh; and when they find any of them dead even from natural causes, they prefer them to beef and to any other meat. These savages are so lazy and so dirty that they never clean any part of their bodies, which, being almost naked, are covered by a filth to which time gives the color of soot. For clothing they wear only a strip of woolen cloth or of deerskin which they pass between their thighs, and the two ends of which, fastened with cords, they use as a belt. The women wear a kind of petticoat of the same cloth, which covers them from the waist to the knees; the rest of the body is bare; a few of them, richer than the others, because they are wives of good hunters, wear coverings of white, red, or blue wool on their shoulders.
They are very fond of wearing small bells similar to those attached to dog collars in Europe. When they can get them by some barter, or for money, they attach them to a kind of garter made of buckskin, and tie them below the knees. The young men who have this ornament are proud of it, and believe they are more pleasing to the young women, who, for their part, in order to appear pretty, pierce the lower part of the dividing membrane of their noses, and slip through them a ring to which is attached a pendant in the shape of a pear, and similar to our ear pendants.
It is necessary to point out here that all the savages in North America are very fond of this ornament, and are in the habit of wearing it. I myself was obliged to have my nose pierced in order to wear pendants such as those of the savages, when I was marching at their head.
While visiting this nation, I witnessed the manner in which they treat their dead; it appeared to me so unusual that the reader will not be displeased if at this point I give him an idea of it.
When a Tchactas dies, his relatives erect, at a distance of about twenty to twenty-five feet directly opposite the front door of his house, a scaffold on which they place the dead person wrapped in the hide of a bear or buffalo, or in a woollen blanket, and leave it in this manner for seven or eight months. Each morning the closest women relatives go there to weep, while walking round the scaffold. When they believe that the corpse is in a state of putrifaction sufficient for the flesh to leave the bones easily, they go to inform the priest or doctor of the district in which the dead person lived, who is charged with the most sickening dissection that it is possible to imagine. As all the relatives and friends of the dead person must be present at this ceremony, which ends with a family meal, the priest appoints a day so that there will be time to inform everyone; and on the appointed day, each one goes to the scaffold; and there, after making horrible faces as a sign of grief, they begin to sing mournful songs in which they express the sorrow they feel at the loss they have experienced. When they have finished this horrible din, the priest climbs up on the scaffold, he takes off the hide or blanket which covers the corpse, and, with his finger nails (he is not even permitted to use anything else), he pulls off whatever flesh may still be clinging to the bones, so as to separate one from the other completely. When he has completed this disgusting operation, he makes a bundle of the flesh which he leaves on the scaffold to be burned, and another bundle of the bones which he carries down on his head to deliver them to the relatives of the deceased, while making them a speech befitting the occasion. As soon as the latter have received the bones they take good care to examine them and to assure themselves that the priest has not forgotten any of them; then they place them in a kind of chest, whose opening they close with a board; and then the women light torches of fat wood, and the closest relatives go in procession to carry this chest into a cabin which serves as a tomb for this family alone.
While the priest is on the scaffold busy with the dissection, all those present are busy, on their part, lighting fires, on which they place large earthen pots full of meat for the guests. When the meat is done, they take it from the fire to let it cool, and without touching it; for only the priest is allowed to lift the covers, and he can do it only after completing his operation.
When the ceremony of the burial for the bones is concluded, they bring up a great quantity of dry wood which is placed round the scaffold on which the bundle of flesh was left; the relatives set fire to it; and while this scaffold is burning, they dance in a circle around it, while uttering great cries of joy; then the priest chooses a suitable place where everyone sits in a ring, and he remains in the center with the vessels containing the meat which must be served up at the feast, and which they had given time to cool. When everyone had taken his place, the doctor or priest uncovers the vessels; and, without even having washed his hands, which he simply wiped off with grass, he places them in the cooking pots to take out the meat and divide it among the relatives and friends of the deceased according to their rank; he serves them the broth in the same proportion, likewise the sagamite, which is their drink.
I have said elsewhere that the Tchactas have a special liking for horse meat which they prefer to any other; consequently if the person for whom they are conducting funeral ceremonies is rich enough to have horses, they sometimes kill as many as three which they cook, and it is with their meat that they do honor to the feast. It even happens, when the deceased has no horses, that those of his relatives who have some sacrifice them for this ceremony. This gathering of relatives and friends can break up only when there is no longer anything to eat; so that when they have had the first meal, and have not been able to consume everything, they begin to dance or engage in violent exercises in order to work up an appetite, and to be in a fit state to conclude the feast. When there is no longer anything to eat, each of them goes back to his home.
This peculiarity is not the only one I have noticed; there is another one that I am going to give an account of, and which appears no less amazing than the first.
The Tchactas greatly venerate their priests or doctors of whom I have just spoken and in whom they have blind confidence, of which the latter often take advantage. These doctors have themselves paid dearly for the trouble they take with a sick person, and nearly always in advance. Their greed is such that, when an illness lasts a long time, and when the patient has no longer anything with which to pay the doctor, the latter calls a meeting of the patient's family, and states that he has given their kinsman every possible care, that he has used all the resources of his skill, but that the disease is incurable, and that only death can put an end to it. The family, informed in this manner, decides that since the patient has already suffered a long time and has no possible hope for a recovery, it would be inhuman to prolong his suffering further, and that it is right to put an end to it. Then, one or two of the strongest among them go to visit the sick person and ask him, in the presence of the entire family, how he is feeling; while the latter is answering this question they throw themselves upon him and strangle him.
In 1782, one of these savages who had been sick for a long time, and had nothing more to give to his doctor, was in danger of being strangled in the manner I have just described. As he suspected it, and was on his guard, he watched for the moment when his family was called together to hear the report of the doctor and to decide to put an end to his suffering by killing him. He availed himself of this moment to escape and avoid the ceremony which awaited him. He dragged himself along, as best he could, to a forest which fortunately was near his habitation. He had not been able to carry away with him any kind of supplies; and was compelled to live on the flesh of wood rats known by the name of opossum, which is very palatable and very healthful. His flight caused great astonishment among the whole family, which the doctor convinced that he had disappeared only to conceal his death, which was inevitable.
While this unfortunate savage was thus wandering in the forest, he recalled that he had been among the Creeks several times to carry, on behalf of the chiefs of his nation, the banderoles or strings of beads, which serve as records. He made up his mind to take refuge there, and to reveal the reasons which forced him to flee from his native land, not doubting that he would find help and protection among a people whose generosity he knew. He went therefore to see McGillivray, who was at that time head chief, and explained to him the reasons for his trip. He recalled to him that he had come to him several times on behalf of his chiefs. McGillivray received him with kindness, although he could not recognize him, for he looked like a skeleton. He had him given the nourishment he needed; and after a few days, as he was still sick, he had him take a diluted emetic of sassafras water. This medicine was sufficient to cure his illness; but since this savage had suffered a great deal, and since he had been sick for a long time, he remained with McGillivray for four or five months to recover his health completely. I often had the opportunity to see him, and he related to me his adventure himself. When he left completely well again, he returned to his tribe. Almost eight months had passed since his escape, and his family had erected a scaffold, and performed all the customary ceremonies which precede and accompany the funeral, as I have described them above. He arrived on the very day of the feast of his funeral, and found his kindred gathered, and his funeral pyre burning as if his body had been on it. The doctor had so strongly persuaded the relatives of this savage that he could not recover from his illness that when he appeared in their midst, they looked upon him as a ghost, and all ran away. Finding himself alone, he went to the home of one of his neighbors, who, struck with the same terror, threw himself to the ground; and, convinced that he was only a ghost, spoke to him in these words:
"Why have you left the dwelling place of the soul, if you were happy there? Why do you come back among us? Is it in order to be present at the last feast that your family and friends are giving for you? Go! return to the abode of the dead, lest you revive the grief they felt over losing you!"
The latter, seeing that his presence was causing the same fright everywhere, made up his mind to return among the Creeks, where he later saw a number of his relatives who were in the habit of coming there every year. It was only then that he succeeded in opening their eyes and convincing them that the doctor had deceived them. The latter, angered at this imposture, went to the doctor and reproached him most fiercely and finally killed him so that he might no longer deceive anyone. Then they entreated this savage as earnestly as possible to induce him to return among them; he steadily refused to do so, and married a woman of the Taskiguy Nation by whom he had three children, and he is still living today on the spot where Fort Toulouse stood. There, in front of his house, are the four cannon left without trunnions by the French at the time of their retreat, of which I have spoken above.
Before ending the history of this people, I shall give an account of an incident which I witnessed, and which appeared so extraordinary that I do not hesitate to place it before the reader.
When a Tchactas woman is found out to be an adulteress, her husband has the right to repudiate her; but this repudiation is preceded by an astonishing ceremony. Before he is able to repudiate his wife, the husband assembles, without letting her know beforehand, his friends, a few relatives of the woman, and as many young men as he can find. When they are all gathered together, they detail one among them to ascertain if the woman is at home; when they have this assurance, they surround the house; the husband enters with two of the relatives of the woman; there, they seize her and take her off to a meadow where the savages are in the habit of playing ball; they stop on the edge of this meadow, and immediately send two of the young men to cut down a small tree, remove the bark from it, and to set it in the ground about one quarter of a mile away from the place of the gathering. The white stake thus set up is visible from a distance. The two young men who set it up, having come back, give a signal; then each one of the witnesses sits down, his legs crossed. When they are all in this position, the husband takes his wife by the hand, and leads her about twenty-five feet in front of the assembly; there, he takes off her skirt, and strips her completely; then he shows her the spot where the stake is set up and says to her: "Go; if you can touch the stake before being overtaken, your divorce is settled without further ado; if, on the contrary, you are caught in your race, you know the law."
The woman starts immediately, and runs at the top of her speed to reach the goal before the runners have overtaken her herself; for, at the signal she receives to begin her race, the witnesses, who, as I have said, are seated on the ground with their legs crossed, get to their feet and set off after her to catch her; and since the Tchactas are very good runners, it is unusual that she arrives at the goal ahead of them.
If she is the first to reach the white stake, the husband no longer has any rights over her, and her divorce is decided by this single act; when she is overtaken by the witnesses who run after her, she is sentenced to comply with the erotic desires of those who demand it of her. It is usually the one who caught her in her race who is the first to exercise his rights in this respect; he is then followed by all in succession, if they so desire: they are entirely free to do so. As there is perhaps no nation on earth whose customs are more revolting than those of the Tchactas, the result is that the adulterous woman is nearly always obliged to suffer the penalty to the end, and to gratify the savage lust of those whom her husband has chosen to dishonor her. When each one has exercised his rights, the husband comes forward to the woman, and tells her: "You are free now, you can take the man with whom you offended me." The woman is then free to go back to her relatives, or to marry again without the consent of her family. If she has children, the daughters stay with her, and the boys belong to the father's family.*
* Among the Tchactas, as among the Creeks, the children belong to the mother; it is only in case of divorce that they are shared in this manner.
I one day chanced to witness this extraordinary and shocking ceremony; here is how it happened. Upon returning from the caves of the Red River with my two hundred young warriors, I had passed through a Tchactas village, and I had encamped my warriors in some open country a short distance from this village, where I had stopped to take fresh supplies. I was invited to attend this ceremony, which I had never heard of. I went to the spot where it was to take place, where I found about thirty men gathered together and a woman in their midst. As soon as I had arrived, the man who had invited me took this woman by her hand and led her about twenty-five feet away, as I have already said, and there, he took off her skirt, the only garment she had; at a signal he gave, she was off with a swiftness which amazed me, but which she could not maintain; for she was caught in the race, and the victor came and did me the honor of offering me his rights, which had been made known to me, but I was not anxious to exercise them; then he exercised his rights before the entire company which followed his example. Having little desire to witness a spectacle which disgusted me so much, I returned to the village where, a few moments later, I saw this same woman, who did not appear to me to be very affected by the humiliation to which she had just been subjected.
I left this nation of Tchactas to go to Mobile, from whence I departed some time later for Paskagoula, and Bay St. Louis, and from there to New Orleans. I have reported, in the first part of my book, on the things which appeared most noteworthy to me in this town, and on my trip as far as the Red River, as well as my return trip from this river to the Creek Nation.
I have given an idea of the character and manners of this nation; I am now going to relate two anecdotes, the first of which will show in detail its strict integrity, and the bad reputation, even in this nation, of the Simonolay Nation, to which the famous General Bowls betook himself; and the second anecdote will demonstrate the presence of mind of these savage men, and the dishonesty of the Anglo-Americans.
I witnessed the two acts to which I am going to call attention.
In 1787, the Spaniards retook possession of the Fort des Apalaches, which they had rebuilt, with the consent of the Creek Nation, that McGillivray, their head chief, and I, their tastanegy, had obtained for them. It was a Frenchman named Verducas, an engineer captain in the service of Spain, who had it restored, as I have already indicated.
McGillivray and I had gone to St.-Marc d'Apalaches to recommend the Spaniards to the chiefs of the Apalaches and Floridiens. When they were in possession of the fort, we set out again for the nation, accompanied only by two Negroes to take care of our horses. We arrived on the banks of the Okylocnay River whose water is at all times as cold as ice, and which, at this time, had risen considerably because of rains which had fallen a few days before. We had no other way to cross this river than to swim across it on our horses; and we were getting ready to do so, when we saw a savage who came and offered to carry us over to the other side of the river, telling us that it was too wide and too cold for us to be able to reach the other bank without danger; but that he, being used to crossing it every day, was also used to the cold of its water.
It was not without some apprehension that we finally accepted the offer that this man was making us, not knowing how he would carry it out, when we saw him take an ox hide, fit it to several hoops, and fashion a small boat strong enough to take us across the river without danger. He then took a rope which he attached to the boat and which he placed around his body as a shoulder strap; and leaping thus equipped into the water, he took us one after the other, to the opposite bank. He made eleven trips to transport us and our equipment; and although we would make him take a little tafia each time, he was so exhausted that he could not take over our Negroes, who were obliged to swim across this river; which chilled them so much that one of them died the next day.
This worthy savage's only garment was a wretched woollen blanket, in which he wrapped himself, and lay down at the foot of a tree a short distance from us, when we had all crossed over. As night was falling, we decided to sleep on the bank of this river; and to that end, we pitched a tent that McGillivray was in the habit of having brought along with him. The savage, seeing our intention, remained also under his tree to spend the night. The sky was overcast, and the rain having begun to fall, we sent word to the savage to come and lie down in our tent; he never consented to do it, no matter how earnestly we urged him.
McGillivray asked him why, after having done us a service, he refused in this manner the one that we were offering him; he spoke then to us in a way which enlightened as much as it amazed us, and said:
"You do not know me; I am dishonored, and not worthy to come near virtuous men such as you; I am from the town of Cacistas;* I had the weakness to steal from one of my neighbors and to keep the stolen object for twelve days, at the end of which, the spirit that I had no doubt lost, having come back to me, I returned the thing I had taken. I immediately went away with my wife and three children; and I would have taken my life, if the affection I had for my family had not been stronger than my despair. I went and settled down among the Simonolays; it was the only nation to which I could turn, because it is no better than I; but fearing I might meet there a few virtuous men among the number, I preferred to settle down alone along the pond that you saw before arriving at the river; I have a rather comfortable habitation, and I am happy there with my family; when I have furs, I barter them for whatever blankets, or other goods, we need; and I am resolved to spend the rest of my days in this manner."
* Cacistas is near the town which I entered upon arriving in the Creek Nation; it is one of the most important in the country.
Such were the remarks of this truly upright man, whose resistance we could not overcome. His remorse moved us deeply; and the following day, we gave him a few small gifts, as an acknowledgment of the services he had rendered us, and we left him well convinced that he did not deserve to be relegated to the Simonolay Nation, which was much better suited for Mr. Bowls, who no doubt will not venture to appear in another part of the nation, where he would be sure to find the punishment due to the various thefts he committed.
I have said that the Creeks are quick-witted; the following anecdote will prove it, as well as the dishonesty of the Americans.
In 1789, on the Oconis River, where the Americans have since built a fort they call Roclandin, McGillivray and I had a conference with the Anglo-Americans for the purpose of coming to an understanding on the means of making peace. There were fifteen hundred Americans commanded by General Towigue, and General Clark the Georgian, as well as a commissioner from Congress and three commissioners from Georgia; and, on our side, only three hundred men whom I commanded. In spite of the restraint McGillivray exercised in his proposals, he was unable to have any treaty concluded. During the discussions, he one day gave me some dispatches to carry to the American commissioners; I took ten savages with me to go to the place where the commissioners were. Upon arriving at the place, one of my men stopped an American and demanded the return of a beautiful horse he was riding, claiming it had been stolen from him. The latter not wanting to give it back, the matter was placed before the American commissioners. The thief asserted that the horse was his, and that it had been raised on his plantation, and that he still had its mother. He requested at the same time that he be permitted to bring in fifty witnesses of the truth of the fact that he stated. As I knew my savage was an upright man and incapable of lying, I requested the commissioners to comply with this request. The American left immediately and soon brought back with him twenty-five men of his nation, who gave evidence that this horse had been raised by their comrade. I requested then that these witnesses swear on the Bible to the truth of what they were asserting; it was done immediately. I informed my savage then of what had just happened, and declared to him that he would have to give up the horse.
He pondered for a moment, and suddenly took a blanket that he had around his shoulders, and threw it over the head of the horse, asking that the American state to the judges in which eye it was blind. The American, taken by surprise by this question, declared that his horse was blind in the left eye. My Savage declared, on the contrary, that it was not blind in either one; which was immediately recognized, as well as the dishonesty of the American and of his witnesses. The commissioners no longer being able to doubt the truth ordered, so that the thief might be punished, that the horse be handed over completely harnessed to the savage. I informed him of this sentence while having the horse returned to him; but he immediately took off the saddle and the bridle and threw them at the feet of the American, telling him that he would never wish to use goods which had belonged to a thief; that it was no doubt the Natchoka* which made them so knavish and so wicked.
* The savages give the name Natchoka to books and all that is written.
I have said in the article on war medicine that each band chief was supposed to have his special medicine, which consisted of a small bag, in which there were stones and pieces of cloth; here is where this cloth came from:
When a war campaign is over, and the army returns, all the band chiefs accompany the tastanegy or head war chief, to the door of his house; and there the two oldest war chiefs take him off his horse, and then begin to undress him completely; during this time two other chiefs present him a piece of bark and tree leaves which he uses to make a waistband. As soon as he is stripped, the two old men who took off his clothes tear them into small pieces, and distribute them among all the band chiefs who have been engaged in the expedition, and each one of them places his portion in the little medicine bag of which I have spoken.
The army attributes such great value to this little bag that any chief who had forgotten it would not be able to command. When this distribution is completed, they sing a war song, each discharges his gun, and they separate to go back to their respective habitations.
I am going to give a brief sketch of the birth and family of McGillivray, and of how he attained the position of estechacko and that of supreme chief of the savages who make up the Creek Nation.
Alexander McGillivray was the son of a Creek woman of the Wind family, an illegitimate daughter of a French officer who formerly commanded Fort Toulouse near the Alibamons Nation. His father was a Scotchman who was engaged in the fur trade in the Creek Nation, where he came to know the mother of McGillivray whom he married, and by whom he had five children, two boys and three girls. As his business gave him very frequent contacts with these savages, he had learned their language perfectly. Of the two sons, only Alexander lived; he lost the second son and two of his daughters. In this country, all the children belong to the mother, and the father of McGillivray was obliged to obtain his wife's permission to take his son away to Charlestown where he had him given a very fine education. Alexander did not return to the family until the beginning of the American Revolution. Since his father had been able to win the friendship of the savages, and since his mother was of the Wind family, the first family of the nation, all these qualifications caused him to be received in a distinguished and friendly manner by all the chiefs of the nation. Moreover, he had just invited the chiefs, on behalf of the English, to go to the borderline in order to make a treaty with them against the Anglo-Americans. At that time, they liked the English, because they gave them big gifts, and many Negroes. Since he arrived in the nation under such favorable auspices, the chiefs decided to name him their estechacko, that is to say, well-beloved. He still had only this title when I myself arrived among the Creeks; but he was highly respected. It was when I was made tastanegy or great war chief, that he was appointed supreme chief. It was only on this condition that I accepted the position which was offered to me by the old men and the chiefs of the nation. I eagerly seized this opportunity to give proof of all my gratitude to McGillivray for the marks of friendship that he had given me. It was in the town of Tuket-Batchet that we were both invested with our titles; and from that time, we always were on the most friendly terms until his death which occurred at Pantsakola, February 17, 1793, at eleven o'clock in the evening, in the home of Panton, our mutual friend.
I had remained about two years in the Creek Nation without showing any desire to marry a woman of this country or even to become acquainted with any of them. The long and frequent trips I made, the color of this nation, kept from my mind all ideas of this kind. It was through a rather singular adventure that my celibacy was broken. The reader will not be displeased if I make it known to him.
McGillivray and I went to the town of Coetas where he was to hold a grand council. Since the opening day was not fixed, it happened that all the band chiefs had not arrived. The inhabitants gave us a feast to occupy the time until the council should open. It is necessary to note that these festivities last three days, and that the women and girls enjoy unlimited freedom at them, especially when the snake dance is performed, during which they can flirt with men and make as many advances to them as they like. It was the first time I had attended such a feast, and I was not forewarned of everything which might happen there. The women of the nation had easily noticed that I paid them little attention; and I had every reason to believe that they had planned to ascertain the causes of such indifference. They had me tempted by one of the prettiest young women in the town, a maiden, with an attractive face. The other women had clubbed together to get her a beautiful printed calico skirt, a nice chemise, silver pins, two pairs of bracelets also of silver, an enormous quantity of ribbons of all colors fastened to her hair, and five pairs of earrings which hung in graduated sizes like chains. It was in this full dress that she approached me and chose me as her partner. Compared with the others, she seemed beautiful to me, and I was easily responsive to the particular attention she was giving me. After spending some time at the festivities we agreed to meet in a most secret spot as soon as the dances were over. It was not long before she left, and I followed her to the home of her mother; when we had arrived there, she told me that she was going into her room, which was a garret; I got ready to follow her; but the stairs which led up to it were such a wretched ladder, that I was somewhat fearful that it would break under my weight. I climbed up however, and I had no sooner arrived, when I felt myself seized by four persons, which astonished me a great deal in this place where I thought I was alone. I saw four women who chided me very gayly for my moderation, and told me that they had not yet seen a capon-warrior, and that I would not get away from them without their being convinced of the contrary. Although I had just gotten up from the table and my senses were somewhat excited by the good food, and the enticement of the young girl, however the assault appeared to me hard to sustain. Nevertheless, I had to prove to these women that a French warrior is well worth a Creek warrior. I came out of the combat with honor, and my adventure was soon generally known.
After the holding of the council, I came back with McGillivray. He said to me on the way: "I thought you had an insurmountable dislike for the women of this nation, to whom I myself had a great deal of difficulty getting accustomed; but your adventure at Coetas gives me proof of the contrary. The friendship which binds us together makes it possible for me to propose to you to marry my sister; she knows the English language and that of the savages, and thus will be able, to be sometimes of assistance to you, and serve as an interpreter for you."
I had too much affection for McGillivray, and gratitude for what he had done in my behalf, to refuse an offer which was an additional proof of the interest he took in me. I answered him that I felt very flattered by the preference that he was good enough to give me, and that if I were as agreeable to his sister as I was to him, there would be no objection on my part. Just a few days after our return, I did in fact become his brother-in-law. This marriage was the final step to my winning the general esteem and confidence of the nation, in the midst of which I lived very happily for twenty years.
At present I am only awaiting, as I have said in the first part of this book, orders from the French government to return among those savages whose honesty and sincerity suit my character perfectly.