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Hayne Hudjihini, Wife of Shaumonekusse
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We regret that we have but little to say of the original of this pretty picture. Like many handsome women, her face was probably her principal treasure. The countenance does not indicate much character; without the intelligence of the civilized female, it has a softness rarely exhibited by the Indian squaw. There is a Chinese air of childishness and simplicity about it, which is rather striking, and which is as foreign to the features of the laborious, weather-beaten female of the prairies as it would be to the countenance of a practiced belle in one of our cities.
She was the favorite wife of Shaumonekusse; whether the only one, we are unable to say, for the red men are in the habit of multiplying the chances of connubial felicity by marrying as many red ladies as they can support. A great hunter has usually several, while the sluggard, who has gained no reputation by his successes in the chase, is considered as very amply provided with a single help-meet. We infer from the character of Ietan, as well as from the paraphernalia which decorates his person, that he was entitled by the etiquette and the economy of Indian life, to a plurality of wives, and that he was a personage who would probably live up to his privileges.
When he visited the city of Washington, in 1821, Hayne Hudjihini, the Eagle of Delight, was the companion of his journey.
Young, and remarkably handsome, with an interesting appearance of innocence and artlessness, she attracted the attention of the citizens of our metropolis, who loaded her with presents and kindnesses. Among other things, she received many trinkets; and it is said that her lord and master, who probably paid her the flattering compliment of thinking her, when unadorned, adorned the most, very deliberately appropriated them to his own use, and suspended them from his own nose, ears, and neck. If she was as good natured as her portrait bespeaks her, she was no doubt better pleased in administering to her husband’s vanity, than she would have been in gratifying her own.
Shortly after her return home she died, and the bereaved husband was so sensibly affected by her decease, that he resolved to end his own life by starvation. With this view he threw himself on her grave, and for several days remained there in an agony of grief, refusing food, and repelling consolation. His friends, respecting his feelings, suffered him for a time to indulge his sorrow, but at last forced him away, and his immoderate grief became gradually assuaged.
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