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June 07 , 2008

Dick Onslow: Among the Redskins


In few countries can more exciting adventures be met with than in Mexico and the southern and western portions of North America; in consequence of the constantly disturbed state of the country, the savage disposition of the Red Indians, and the numbers of wild animals, buffaloes, bears, wolves, panthers, jaguars, not to speak of alligators, rattlesnakes, and a few other creatures of like gentle nature. My old school-fellow, Dick Onslow, has just come back from those regions; and among numerous incidents by flood and field sufficient to make a timid man’s hair stand on end for the rest of his days, he recounted to me the following:— After spending some time among those ill-conditioned cut-throat fellows, the Mexicans, I returned to the States. Having run over all the settled parts, of which I got a tolerable bird’s-eye view, I took it into my head that I should like to see something of real backwoodsman’s life. Soon getting beyond railways, I pushed right through the State of Missouri till I took up my abode on the very outskirts of civilisation, in a log-house, with a rough honest settler, Laban Ragget by name. He had a wife and several daughters and small children, and five tall sons, Simri, Joab, Othni, Elihu, and Obed, besides two sisters of his wife’s and a brother of his own, Edom Ragget by name. I never met a finer set of people, both men and women. It was a pleasure to see the lads walk up to a forest, and a wonder to watch how the tall trees went down like corn stalks before the blows of their gleaming axes. They had no idea I was a gentleman by birth. They thought I was the son of a blacksmith, and they liked me the better for it.
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