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    Chapter XIX

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    On the morning of the sixteenth day out from St. Joseph we arrived at the
    entrance of Rocky Canyon, two hundred and fifty miles from Salt Lake.
    It was along in this wild country somewhere, and far from any habitation
    of white men, except the stage stations, that we came across the
    wretchedest type of mankind I have ever seen, up to this writing. I
    refer to the Goshoot Indians. From what we could see and all we could
    learn, they are very considerably inferior to even the despised Digger
    Indians of California; inferior to all races of savages on our continent;
    inferior to even the Terra del Fuegans; inferior to the Hottentots, and
    actually inferior in some respects to the Kytches of Africa. Indeed, I
    have been obliged to look the bulky volumes of Wood's "Uncivilized Races
    of Men" clear through in order to find a savage tribe degraded enough to
    take rank with the Goshoots. I find but one people fairly open to that
    shameful verdict. It is the Bosjesmans (Bushmen) of South Africa. Such
    of the Goshoots as we saw, along the road and hanging about the stations,
    were small, lean, "scrawny" creatures; in complexion a dull black like
    the ordinary American negro; their faces and hands bearing dirt which
    they had been hoarding and accumulating for months, years, and even
    generations, according to the age of the proprietor; a silent, sneaking,
    treacherous looking race; taking note of everything, covertly, like all
    the other "Noble Red Men" that we (do not) read about, and betraying no
    sign in their countenances; indolent, everlastingly patient and tireless,
    like all other Indians; prideless beggars--for if the beggar instinct
    were left out of an Indian he would not "go," any more than a clock
    without a pendulum; hungry, always hungry, and yet never refusing
    anything that a hog would eat, though often eating what a hog would
    decline; hunters, but having no higher ambition than to kill and eat
    jack-ass rabbits, crickets and grasshoppers, and embezzle carrion from
    the buzzards and cayotes; savages who, when asked if they have the common
    Indian belief in a Great Spirit show a something which almost amounts to
    emotion, thinking whiskey is referred to; a thin, scattering race of
    almost naked black children, these Goshoots are, who produce nothing at
    all, and have no villages, and no gatherings together into strictly
    defined tribal communities--a people whose only shelter is a rag cast on
    a bush to keep off a portion of the snow, and yet who inhabit one of the
    most rocky, wintry, repulsive wastes that our country or any other can
    exhibit.

    The Bushmen and our Goshoots are manifestly descended from the self-same
    gorilla, or kangaroo, or Norway rat, which-ever animal--Adam the
    Darwinians trace them to.

    One would as soon expect the rabbits to fight as the Goshoots, and yet
    they used to live off the offal and refuse of the stations a few months
    and then come some dark night when no mischief was expected, and burn
    down the buildings and kill the men from ambush as they rushed out.
    And once, in the night, they attacked the stage-coach when a District
    Judge, of Nevada Territory, was the only passenger, and with their first
    volley of arrows (and a bullet or two) they riddled the stage curtains,
    wounded a horse or two and mortally wounded the driver. The latter was
    full of pluck, and so was his passenger. At the driver's call Judge Mott
    swung himself out, clambered to the box and seized the reins of the team,
    and away they plunged, through the racing mob of skeletons and under a
    hurtling storm of missiles. The stricken driver had sunk down on the
    boot as soon as he was wounded, but had held on to the reins and said he
    would manage to keep hold of them until relieved.

    And after they were taken from his relaxing grasp, he lay with his head
    between Judge Mott's feet, and tranquilly gave directions about the road;
    he said he believed he could live till the miscreants were outrun and
    left behind, and that if he managed that, the main difficulty would be at
    an end, and then if the Judge drove so and so (giving directions about
    bad places in the road, and general course) he would reach the next
    station without trouble. The Judge distanced the enemy and at last
    rattled up to the station and knew that the night's perils were done; but
    there was no comrade-in-arms for him to rejoice with, for the soldierly
    driver was dead.

    Let us forget that we have been saying harsh things about the Overland
    drivers, now. The disgust which the Goshoots gave me, a disciple of
    Cooper and a worshipper of the Red Man--even of the scholarly savages in
    the "Last of the Mohicans" who are fittingly associated with backwoodsmen
    who divide each sentence into two equal parts: one part critically
    grammatical, refined and choice of language, and the other part just such
    an attempt to talk like a hunter or a mountaineer, as a Broadway clerk
    might make after eating an edition of Emerson Bennett's works and
    studying frontier life at the Bowery Theatre a couple of weeks--I say
    that the nausea which the Goshoots gave me, an Indian worshipper, set me
    to examining authorities, to see if perchance I had been over-estimating
    the Red Man while viewing him through the mellow moonshine of romance.
    The revelations that came were disenchanting. It was curious to see how
    quickly the paint and tinsel fell away from him and left him treacherous,
    filthy and repulsive--and how quickly the evidences accumulated that
    wherever one finds an Indian tribe he has only found Goshoots more or
    less modified by circumstances and surroundings--but Goshoots, after all.
    They deserve pity, poor creatures; and they can have mine--at this
    distance. Nearer by, they never get anybody's.

    There is an impression abroad that the Baltimore and Washington Railroad
    Company and many of its employees are Goshoots; but it is an error.
    There is only a plausible resemblance, which, while it is apt enough to
    mislead the ignorant, cannot deceive parties who have contemplated both
    tribes. But seriously, it was not only poor wit, but very wrong to start
    the report referred to above; for however innocent the motive may have
    been, the necessary effect was to injure the reputation of a class who
    have a hard enough time of it in the pitiless deserts of the Rocky
    Mountains, Heaven knows! If we cannot find it in our hearts to give
    those poor naked creatures our Christian sympathy and compassion, in
    God's name let us at least not throw mud at them.
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