I thought of the young mother and her baby boy on the frozen earth between the drifts of snow about Satanta's tepee on the banks of the Washita, as Bud and I found her on the December day when we searched over Custer's battle field.
Sheridan smiled when I told him of Satanta's presence and the excellent chance to get rid of him. But he said: "That would never do; the sentimentalists in the Eastern States would raise such a howl that the whole country would be horrified!"
Here on the winter afternoons we sat in the warm sunshine sheltered from the winds by the rocky shelf, and talked of home and the past; and sometimes, but not often, of the future. On the day after I saw Jean at the door of Satanta's tent, Bud stole my cap and made off to our sanctuary. I had adorned it with turkey quills, and made a fantastic head-gear out of it.
Scouting Captured by Indians A Strategic Escape A Hot Pursuit The Indians led into an Ambush Old Satanta's Tricks and Threats Excitement at Fort Larned Herders and Wood-Choppers Killed by the Indians A Perilous Ride I get into the wrong Pew Safe, arrival at Fort Hays Interview with General Sheridan My ride to Fort Dodge I return to Fort Larned My Mule gets away from me A long Walk The Mule Passes In his Chips.
We had six travellers with us on this journey, and it was a great sight for the tenderfeet. It was about ten o'clock at night when we arrived at Satanta's lodge, and we saw thousands of squaws and bucks dancing and mourning for their dead warriors. At midnight the old chief said we must eat something at once.
Satanta came out, looking very erect and soldierly, commanded the young men to haul our coach to the front of his lodge so we could see all that was going on. Satanta's next order was for the squaws to get supper. He said to the passengers, "We must eat together, lots of buffalo meat and deer." After kindling their fire of buffalo chips they soon had supper "a-going."
Eastern religious papers and church mission secretaries lauded Satanta as a hero, and Black Kettle, whom Custer had slain, as a martyr; while they urged that the extreme penalty of the civil law be meted out to Custer and Sheridan in particular, and to the rest of us at wholesale. One evening I was sent by an officer on some small errand to Satanta's tent.
When the tribe left Fort Sill in March, Satanta had had him brought bound to the Kiowa village then on the lower Washita. His crime, committed on the day of Custer's fight with Black Kettle, was the heinous one of stealing his Uncle Satanta's youngest and favorite wife, and leaving her to perish miserably in the cold of that December month in which we also had suffered.
As a specimen of Satanta's oratory, I offer the following, to show the hypocrisy of the subtle old villain, and his power over the minds of too sensitive auditors.
Under the circumstances it was not surprising that the report of our guns should have persuaded the garrison that Satanta's men were coming back to make their threatened assault. There was much excitement at the Post. The guards had been doubled. Captain Parker had all the scouts at his headquarters. He was seeking to get one of them to take dispatches to General Sheridan at Fort Hays.