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The Valley Flower

The Valley Flower image
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The Pavvneor! were encaniped io a vallcr at the base of' tho Rjcky Moun tains. The 'Iteep huls on either sido were covored with (rees of luxuriant growth. A Bm.ill streain murmured 'hroiigh tlie valloy. The wild deer and bison drank of i:s cool waters. The supple reed, rank fl:ig, and a hundred n:une!ess plants grew upon ts banks. There vas a pleasant charm in the monotony of its murmura, as it nppled on hour after hoor. The Pawnees toree) the secluded spot because it abounded with game and hid thom from their enQmies. lts beauty also possesi-da charm for those fihildren oí nature. Their wigwams peeped through the trees at intervals, along the green margin of tho sfream, whose waters supplied them with drink. A littlö apr.rt rom Ihe rost welt and aged Pawnee brave and his squaw. - Several yeara before they had lost n danghter by death. To supply this loss in some measture, the cbi.d of a white trapper had been stolen and adopted. The cbild was an interesting girl, eight years of age. Although she was inconsolable at tirsi, being torn from her parents and friends, she at length became more reconciled to hur new station and leftrned to. regard the Pawnee and tho squaw as parents. But time cou'.d never subdue the fond yearnings of her heart to be again with her own race and kindred. As years rolled on a form of uncommon loveliness doveloped itself in the wilderness. The dark hair grew more glossy. The soft and expressive eyes grew more expressive. The rich, beatiíul tints.oí the cheeks grew richer and more beautiful. The step that was at first laltering and slow. grew firra and bounding. Her Indian parents were proud of tleir daughter, and her red brethren called her th ''Valley Flower." She was in truth the fairest flower that e7er blossomed on the margin of the 8treamlet. She had learned the pimple arta of savageüfe with readiness, She had even improved upon tbem, as the manner oi making her toilet would testify. Her dress was more graceful and becoming than that of the Pawneo mnidens. The " Valley Flower" was belovod b}' all, and hur young footateps vvatched with delight. She bad a lover. He was a Pawneo brave. His name was Waonda. A mor& noble lcoking warrior could not be tound among his tribe. He had a powerful figure, a commanding air, and a facie that could sufely be caüed handsome. His heart aüd disposition were ÍD keeping vith the prepossessing exterior wbioh naturo had "given hira." Waonda's love for the '' Valley Flower" was fixed deeply in hisinward naturo, yet delicnte and unobtrusive. It seemed like a silent worship from a distance. He had not in'.ruded himself tipon her society - he did not annoy her with his pretsenee - he did not vex her with use!e8s importunitios. The "Valley Flotver" was not insensible to his rnorits, but nnfortunately lor hiin sho did not love bim. Sho had fixed hor thoughts upon another. A war party in an engagement with a party ot Siuux had taken a white prisoner araong others. He was ■ young raan from St. Louis, who, led by love of adventure and hunting, had eought thoso wild, savago rcgions. His nurne was Henry Wyman. His fate for a long time remained undocided. Meanwhilo he was permitted to rainglu with his c'aptors freely, though all chance oí escape was guarded agftinai Ho saw the "Valley Flower," and after that feit but little inclination to leave tho Pawnee Village. He noglected no opportunity to be with her. It would have baen singular íora raaiden liko her to haveseen ono of her own race, young, aocomplishod, i'rank aud reckless oí danger, wiihout emotion. Wytnan'a lovo was reuipcooated with warmth. Weeks pas-sod on and he had almost forgotten, in the society of the 'Valley Flower," that ho was a prisoner. Time had passed bo agreeably that hebeg&n to dreiun ofwourity, and that no danger menaced liitn. He sat by the streamlet with tho rustic maiden and laicl plans for the future. They would leave the Indiana, and in some delightful scclusion pass their daya in pence. Not a neighbor shonld bo near tbern. Being all the eaeh other, they woola Dot fetl the aet d of olher c panionship. Tho cot age in which ttioy would live, hould bo rearad by their owii hands. It should be built in n vulley moro ploasant than any Ihey liad soen. It should bo ?n seolnded and obscure that nosavage foot shcuikl over find it. lts Kessed sditude sbould be saered to themselves. They would teach the sweat and sctsrited woodbine to climb over it, and encirole evory portion in its grateful embrace. Thelr home should be more delightfu! than that of the sylvan dcities. Flowers and esculent planta should spring tip about thern. Tho wild gamo that would serve thern ior food would brovvse at thoir door, His truaty rifle shonld bring it down, and her hand shou'd prepare it for the table. Thflir wants beirig few they would be easily supplied. Happiness boing an emotion of the mind only, they need look no furthcr than themselves to find it. Content with each other, wishing no other society, their daya would glide away swiitly like tho waters of a dcep river. Thua tbey amusod tliemselves witb dclightfül pxtures of the future. The murmuring oí' the streamlet, and th& soft sigliing of the wind thiough the trees lent a dreainy charm to their fancies. But A storm was brooding over (hem. Theekiosoi thair bright horizon gfew darle The storrn burst ovo!" t hei!' heada. Tho principal ohief of tho tribo had been long absent on the warpath. He was to decido the fute of Wyman. Hit return was looked for with uo little degreo of interost by the Pawnees. He c:me. Unfortiioately ior the prisoner, bia expeditioo had been disastrious. He had skin but a favv of his enomies, and had lost severul of his warriors. He was in a poor mood to show mercy. - Wvtnan was doomed torieath. Wh t n doath blow to the sunny hopes of the "Valley Flower." She had loved Wyman with the whole strength jf hor soul. She conld not renouneo him without a strugglo ihat wouM break her heart. She knew of no phi'osophy on Rarth to teaoto tho heart rosignation after all its dearest hopos of the futuro have been torn awfty. Tho "Valley Flowor" was strioken to tho ground. It would bloom no more ior the forest. lts roots could no longer take root and draw nourisbment from their soil. In the desp woods alone she poured oui the burden of hor grief in tears. Her eheoks grew pale, and her step was feeble whon she walked hor favorita haunts. She resolved to save her lover or sacrifica Lerself. Tho death in resorvo for him was to be the refinementof cruolty. All the arts of savage torture were to be apent upon hiin. Great prepar tions wero made for the tragedy. That eventwas to be celebrated by general festivity and and rejoicing. The " Valley Flower" begged his lifo in vain. The day that was to termínate the earthly career of Wynan approacbed--camc and brought with it aguny oi torture ior the maide". If the saorifice took placo she resolved to return no more to the tribe who had adopted her. Tbo hours rolled on with terrible rapidity. She sought tho doepest recesses of the forest and wished to die there. She beard from a distaiioe the ehouts and songs of her savage brothren. She shut out the honid din by placing her hands upon her oars. As sho sat there in despair she heard the mstling of leavos. 8be looked up. Waonda stood batore her. - Mis arm8 were folded upon his breast His noble features were melancholy in their expression. The "bravest of the brave" was reading her thoughts - fhero was no fierce triumph in his gaze - no savago joy in his eyos. "To-day tho whito man dies," ho said in a low voice. "0! save him ! savo him !" cried the poor girl, "I cannol save him, and wh_y sbould I, if I could ? Is not the white man the natural enomy of the red ?" "He is not your enemy, Waonda. He would do ycu good ind not evil. Yoa are good and noblo, Waonda. - How can you take pleasure in such ídhuman craelty ? Your influouco rnay save him." '' And how would the 'Valley Flower' reward me ?" replied Waonda, witb a mournful smile. "With her blossinga, with her thanks, with her nightly prayors." "And cuq ebe do no more tban that ?" " What more is in my power ? Teil me what more you wouli havo." "Waonda loves tho 'Valley Flower.' Hia heart is desolate without her Be his wife and tbi whjfco man shall live." said the warrior, bendiog his eager eye searchingly upon the maiden. " öood Waonda, is thore not sorna other condition that will content you ? Oh, say that thare is," oried tho "Valley Flower," falling on her knees and holding up her hands. The brave shook his haad. "Think, Waonda, think again." Waonda shook his heid as boforí, poiating to tho sun to signify that the hour of thé white inan's doath drew near. Tho fair ploader shuddereci. RaÏ3ing her strearning face to Wuonda, sho said : "I cannot. I will dweil in tho lodgo of Waonda. Save the white man." "It is well. If tho ivhite man dies Waonda wiïl dia with him. Let the 'Valley Flower' romember hor promise," and the bravest of tha bravo turncd and walkocl towards tho village. " Far botter to sacriñee myself than to 6urvivo his doath. Ye, he shall ivo to return to make glad tho hoarts of his people. And I will givo my llfe to his preservar. I will make happy tho lodge of Waonda, and fill the desolate plaoe 'u his heart," exchiimed the drooping "Valloy Flower," and sank sonseloss t.i the earth. Wyman was led to the con'er of tho circla by the Pawo#e warriors. He was bound to the fatal stake find the dry fagots were heaped about him. He lookod around him in vain to see for the lust time tha face of tho "Valley Flower." In vmn he looked. He saw only tho stern faces of the bravos. He boheld the horrible instrumimts ot torturo strown around bini. A cold Beosttj tion cropt over him. He thouglit of his ! frienils at home, and of tho naiden he loved, ot tha earth, and bade thern all a long farewoll. Ho prayed L r strength tosuSer with Cnnaess, aad re stgned bimeelf to hie Wtè. A bhizing toruh was applied to tho pilo. Tlie fíame began to mount up, when the warriors were suddenly dashed tside by a strong arm, and the burning i'aggots soatterod to tho winds. ín ■ iiiomi nt his bands were sevored and he wus hurried ihrougli the oircle of panic-strioken braves. and he and his doliverer tnounted upon war horres prepared for the oocasiun. Ono glanco at his proserver was enough to assure him that he was indebted to Waonda for his life. They shot like an arrow into the ibrest.- Wlien they had ridden a short distanco they haltecl, and Wyman put on au Iudiari dress, whicli Waonda had prupared, for ho liad boen stripped oí' his own garnients. A ride of a few minutes took thern to the spot where Waonda had laft the "Valley Flower." She l,ad jnst recovored trom her death-like swoon. - Wyman sprang f rom his horse, liftod hor froin tho grounrf. lio spoke to hsr; ho opilad lier mistress of his soul - his love - his brido. She beard the voioe so dear tú her, aod opeaed bor'eyea. "Ho livos ! he uves I" she orred, and rolapsod into a staté'ol unconsoiousDeas. The Wordal of her lover soon reoa'led her from the land of stiutíovrs. " Fly vvith me,'1 he e.xclaimod. - 'Steeds are waiting to boar us away.' Let un basten to the blessed roireat we have piutured in other hours." "Do not speak thus, I baseech of yon That has passod," said the inaiden franticly. "Wo part here iorever." "Whíit can you mean ? Tho oouurrencesof the few days have proved too great for your strengtb. They havo ovurturnod your reason," roplied Wyman hurriedly. '■No I no ! I have spoken tha trnth. I have saved your life - [ huve sacrifioed myself for you. 1 am to be the wife of Waonda, Tbat is the priee of your life," sobbed the loving girl. Wyman stood aghast. Ho loolcod at Waonda. Ho stood at a little distance inimo rublo as a stone, with his arms foldcd on his breast, as was his habif. " And yon win abido by this docision !" said VVyman whan ho wan able to spoak. " I must- I will," replied the Valley Flowor, in a voice chokod with emotion. "Then I wish no longcr to escapo. - Let them come and tako me " And Wyman bowed his head on hiy hands with a determinalion to go no iurther. "ís not tho life worth keoping that I havo bartered my happinwss fol," ex olaimed the girl, findin; utterarwa in her brokon necenta. l'fs the sacri fit;o snoh a triflo in your sight ? Do you estoom my wishes so lightly ? - Have f notgiven you proof oí my love? And still you refuse to oboy rny wish." "No, girl! I vill withstand you no longer. I will go and preserve the ex istenco you have lengthened out. I will live to pray tor yon, and think of the depth of gratitude Iowoyou." Efe turned to Waonda and took his hand. "Brave Waonda, be kind to the 'Vnlley Flower.' She has been to me tholight of my evos and tho warm sunshine of my heart." When Wyman ceasod spoaking he placed a heavy purse in the hands of the bravo, and ivas leaping inlo his sadule "Stay," said tho warrior, ''and hear tho words of Waonda. He loves the flowor that blossomo in the valley of his peoplo. He has known her longor than the pale face, and loves her as well ; but her heart is toward tho white stranger. Waonda wO give up tho 'Vallay Floiver.' It shull bloum in other laods far away. Tho air that a breathed by tho red man can no longer give it life. Let it put iorth its blossom in the lodgo of the pale face. Lonoly shail bo the wigwam of Waonda. His days shall puss in loneliness. Tho daughter of his race shítll bring him no oy, for his heart wil! be l'ar awiíy. Ho will go upon the long an.l dangerous war-patb. He will bo the first to slay his onemies, aud the last to rejoice. Xo matter if he dios on tho war-path. The 'Valley Flower' will not bo at his lodge to welcomo him back. Waonda is done. And now let the white brothef go with the pale flower - the light of Waonda's eyes. Take baok your money it is naught to the rert warrior." Waonda coasod and turned away to hide his emotion. Wyman vrept like a ohild. The pale "Flower" caught the hand of the brava warrior and kissed it over and over ngain, and wet it with tears. Sbe essayed to speak, but could not. The 'bravest of the brave" oovered his eyo3 with the hand tha: was still at lib orty. Kis broad cliest rose and feil like a eea in a storm. JU wa3 the last coovulsive struggle with his doeply rooted love. Wyman threw his arms abo 11 1 his more than preservar, and Btrained him in an instant to his heart. He spoke no words of gratitude. Há could not. Ho lifted the "Valloy Flower" into the saddle, prang upon the othor horse, waved bis hand, aod gazod for the last time on Waonda, and dashed áway with hia bride. The cottage thoy had piüturcd aroso in a deep valley. The vine orept over it and encircled it on every side, like the lovo of Wymaa for the " Valley Flower." Sweetscented plauts bloomed at the d"or. A thousand affdotions olustered within Tha bird sang their songs, and the wiuds waftod the choioost perfumes o{ the forest. Thoro was no home so happy as that of Wyman sndthe "Valley Flower." Ifthey were ever Bad, it was when the memory of Waonda stole over them.