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and the spectators are little more calm. They all make a thousand contortions, talk to the bones, and load the genius of the adverse party with imprecations; and if all this prove ineffectual to recover their luck, they break up the assembly and appoint a new trial.
It sometimes happens, that these parties of play are made by order of the physician, or at the request of a sick person in hopes of a cure. There needs no more for this purpose than a dream of one or the other, which is always regarded as the order of some spirit. They then prepare themselves for play with a great deal of care; assemble for several nights, to try who has the luckiest hand, consult their genii, and fast, in order to obtain favourable dreams; and he whose dream is supposed most favourable is appointed to stand next him who holds the dish. At this game, the Indians will frequently hazard all they possess, and many will not quit it till they are completely stripped even of 'the furniture of their little cabins.
The game of straws is played thus: Two hundred and one small reeds, about the size of a wheat straw and six inches long, are shuffled together; and the players after
contortions and invokings of their genii, separate them into nine parcels of ten each, and one of eleven. Every one then draws a parcel, and he who gets that containing eleven straws, wins the point agreed on; the whole game is sixty or eighty.
The game of the bat is played with a ball, and bent sticks, ending in a kind of racket. Two posts are set up at a certain distance, according to the number of players, as bounds. The players are then divided into two bands, each having a certain station, and their business is to strike the ball to the post of the adverse party without either letting it fall to the ground or touching it with the hand, for in either of these cases the game is lost; and they are so extremely dexterous in catching the ball with their bals, that sometimes one game will last for several days together.
of their dances the first is merely for diversion. As soon as night approaches, they assemble in a large cabin, and set up several posts in a ring, in the middle of which sit the musicians, whilst a packet of down of various colours is fastened to every post. The young women wear a tuft of coloured down in their bosoms, and whilst the company' are dancing, a young man steps out of the ring from time to time, takes from the posts a little of the down of which the girl he admires has some in her hosom, and, putting it on his head, appoints her a place of rendez
Another dance, called the fire dance is per. formed by five or six women to the sound of a drum and a chichikoué, which is a sort of calabash containing some pebbles, in the manner of a rattle. The dancers assemble in a cabin by fire light, and having ranged themselves in a line with their arnis hanging down, they sing and make some steps in cadence backwards and forwards. After they have danced some time, the fire is put out, and an Indian begins to dance with a lighted coal in his mouth, which makes him look like a spectre. The mixlure of dancing, singing, and music, and the fire of the coal, which continues nearly half an hour, has some thing extremely odd and savage in it; though at a certain distance, the voices. of the male and female singers have a very pretty effect. -
The art of keeping the burning coal in their mouths is a profound secret; but it appears, that on these occasions they rub the inside of their mouths with a particular plant.
Their other dances are military, and one of them in particular may be called a military fête.---The warriors are the performers, and it seems instituted merely to give them an opportunity of publishing their warlike atchievments.
The calumet being decorated with feathers, and set up in a conspicuous place, the musicians are placed around it; and at a little distance a post is erected, on which, at the end of every dance, a warrior gives a stroke with his hatchet, and repeats some of his most noble exploits : then, having received the applause of his auditors, he resumes his place and the dance is sénewed.
The dance of discovery is performed by one man, and is a natural representațion of all that passes in a military expedition. At first he adyances slowly into the midst of the place, where he remains for some time motionless ; after which he represents the setting out of the warriors, the march, the order of encamping, &c. He goes on to the discovery, makes his approach, and stops to take breath; then all on a sudden he takes one of the conipany as prisoner, makes a show of knocking another man's brains out, levels his gun at a third, and afterwards begins running with all his might, to represent a retreat.
Then he expresses, by different cries, the various affections of his mind during his last campaign ; and finishes by reciting all the brave actions he has performed in war.
There are other dances of a more simple nature,
which seem merely designed to give the warriors an opportunity of relating their military exploits. He who gives the feast invites all the village to assemble round his cabin, where the warriors dance, one after another; and at the end of each dance they proclaim their most gallant atchieve ments, which are generally crowned with shouts of applause; but if any individual happen to boast of feats he never performed, it is customary for some of the company to blacķen his face with dirt, saying, “We do this to hide your shame, for the first time you meet an enemy you will turn pale." -This dance is invariably performed at night.
Among some of the Indian tribes is performed the dance of the bull; in which the dancers form several circles, and the musicians are placed in the middle. The dancers do not join hands, but every one carries in his hand his arms and buckler. All the circles turn different ways, and caper extremely high; yet they always keep good time and measure.- From time to time, the chief of a family presents his shield, which is covered with a bull's hide; and whilst the dancers strike upon it, he recounts some of his exploits. Then he cuts a piece of tobacco from a post where some is hung, and gives it to one of his friends, but if any person can prove that he has performed greater feats than those the other boasts of, he has a right to take the piece of tobacco that was presented, and give it to another.
As we have already observed that the Canadian Indians subsist principally by hunting, we shall here give a description of their bear hunt, which holds the first place in this part of their employ, and which, among those who are not converted they may
to Christianity, is performed with great superstition,
It is always a war-chief who fixes the time of the chace and has the care of inviting the hunters. This invitation is made with great ceremony, and is always followed by a rigid fast, in order to induce their genii to discover the places where
many bears; some of them indeed will even cut their flesh in several parts of their bodies, and practise many other austerities, to render their genii more propitious: they do not, however, ask assistance to conquer the animals, but wish only to be told where to find them.
The fast having been duly kept, and the place of hunting appointed, they assemble at a feast, where the chief relates his prowess at former huntings; and when the repast is finished they make a solemn invocation to the manes of the animals previously killed. Then they begin their march, amid the acclamations of a whole village ; for the chace among these people is accounted so honourable an employment that the alliance of a good hunter is generally preferred to that of a famous warrior.
When the hunters think they have arrived at a place where a great number of bears are concealed, they form a circle of a quarter of a league in circumference, and gradually draw nearer and nearer, till at length they close quite in upon the animals and take them. When a bear is killed, the hunter puts the end of his lighted pipe into his teeth, blows into the bowl, and thus filling the mouth of the animal with smoke, conjures its spirit to bear him no malice, and not to oppose him in his future huntings. But as no answer is