Frederic Remington characters using Jargon

Dave Robertson ddr11 at UVIC.CA
Sat Jun 16 06:19:54 UTC 2007

John Ermine of the Yellowstone 
Frederic Remington 
Part 1: Chapters I - X 
Continued in Part 2


Frederic Remington (1861-1909): Born in Canton, N.Y. in 1861, he studied 
at the Yale School of Fine Arts from 1878-80. After the death of his 
father he went west and worked as a sheep-herder, cow-puncher, 
storekeeper, cook and stockman, and sketched in his free time. Returning 
to New York he began an illustrious career as artist and illustrator that 
took him to Russia, Germany and North Africa, and to Cuba, as a war 
correspondent during the Spanish-American War. He died suddenly in 
Ridgefield, Conn. in 1909, of complications arising from appendicitis. 
More about Remington here 
Link to Tarzan of the Apes
This story tells of a white male infant raised by Native Americans, who 
returns to civilization but ultimately is neither at home among 'whites' 
or Indians. As an archetype of the wild-man in civilised society, John 
Ermine is mentioned as a thematic precursor of Tarzan by 
John Seelye. 1990. "Introduction" p. vii-xxviii, In Tarzan of the Apes New 
York: Penguin Books. 
Edition(s) used
Frederic Remington. 1902. John Ermine of the Yellowstone. New York: 
Text converted to HTML from Internet Archive 
illustrations by the author from 1967 Gregg Press (Ridgewood, NJ) rpt.

"Klat-a-way! Klat-a-way!" shouted the men as they whipped and spurred up 
the steeps. The road narrowed near the top, and here the surging horsemen 
were stopped by a few men who stood in the middle waving and 
howling "Halt!" The crowd had no definite scheme of procedure at any time, 
it was simply impelled forward by the ancient war-shout of A rescue! A 
rescue! The blood of the mob had mounted high, but it drew restive rein 
before a big man who had forced his pony up on the steep hillside and was 
speaking in a loud, measured, and authoritative voice. 

The riders felt the desire for council; the ancient spirit of the 
witenagemote came over them. The American town meeting, bred in their 
bones and burned into their brains, made them listen to the big temporary 
chairman with the yellow lion's mane blowing about his head in the breeze. 
His horse did not want to stand still on the perilous hillside, but he 
held him there and opened. 

"Gentlemen, if this yar outfit goes a-chargin' into that bunch of Injuns, 
them Injuns aforesaid is sure goin' to shoot at us, and we are naturally 
goin' to shoot back at them. Then, gentlemen, there will be a fight, they 
will get a bunch of us, and we will wipe them out. Now, our esteemed 
friend yer, Mr. Chick-chick, savvies Injuns, as you know, he bein' 
somewhat their way hisself -- allows that they will chill that poor little 
boy with a knife the first rattle out of the box. So, gentlemen, what good 
does it all do? Now, gentlemen, I allows if you all will keep down yer 
under the hill and back our play, Chick-chick and me will go into that 
camp and get the boy alive. If these Injuns rub us out, it's your move. 
All what agrees' to this motion will signify it by gettin' down off'en 
their horses." 

Slowly man after man swung to the ground. Some did not so readily agree, 
but they were finally argued off their horses. Whereat the big chairman 
sang out: "The ayes have it. Come on, Mr. Chick-chick." 

These two rode up the hill and over the mesa, trotting along as they 
talked. "Now, Chick-chick, I don't know a heap about Injuns. The most that 
I have seen of them was over the sights of a rifle. How are we goin' at 
this? Do you habla Crow lingo, SeƱor?" 

"No," replied that much mixed-blooded man, "I no cumtux Crow, but I make 
the hand talk, and I can clean up a ten-ass Chinook; all you do is to do 
nothing, you no shake hands, you say nothing, until we smoke the pipe, 
then you say 'How?' and shake hands all same white man. You hang on to 
your gun -- suppose they try take it away -- well, den, icta-nica-ticki, 
you shoot! Then we are dead." Having laid his plan of campaign before his 
brother in arms, no more was said. History does not relate what was 
thought about it. 

They arrived in due course among the tepees of a small band of Crows. 
There were not probably a hundred warriors present, but they were all 
armed, horsed, and under considerable excitement. These Crows were at war 
with all the other tribes of the northern plains, but maintained a truce 
with the white man. They had very naturally been warned of the unusual 
storm of horsemen bearing in their direction, and were apprehensive 
concerning it. They scowled at the chairman and Mr. Chick-chick, who was 
an Oregon product, as they drew up. The latter began his hand-language, 
which was answered at great length. He did not at once calm the situation, 
but was finally invited to smoke in the council lodge. The squaws were 
pulling down the tepees; roping, bundling, screaming, hustling ponies, 
children, and dogs about, unsettling the statesmen's nerves mightily as 
they passed the pipe. The big chairman began to fancy the Indians he had 
seen through the sights more than these he was regarding over the pipe of 
peace. Chick-chick gesticulated the proposition that the white papoose be 
brought into the tent, where he could be seen. 

The Indians demurred, saying there was no white boy -- that all in the 
camp were Crows. A young warrior from outside broke into their presence, 
talking in a loud tone. An old chief looked out through the entrance-flap, 
across the yellow plains. Turning, he inquired what the white horsemen 
were doing outside. 

He was told that they wanted the white boy; that the two white chiefs 
among them would take the boy and go in peace, or that the others would 
come and take him in war. Also, Chick-chick intimated that he must klat-a-
way. The Indians made it plain that he was not going to klat-a-way; but 
looking abroad, they became more alarmed and excited by the cordon of 
whites about them. 

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