Page:Lacrosse- The National Game of Canada (New Edition).djvu/27
THE ORIGINAL GAME.
papoose, it is in a better place for a symmetrical body and a straight spine, than the pale-face hopeful, rocked and knocked about in the modern cradle, or the Spartan child cradled on a shield. It was the perfection of the Indian's physical nature which made his conquest so difficult. With every instinct keen as an eagle's eye, with every muscle, nerve and fibre strung to its perfect capacity; with his wonderful vitality, energy and unity, he was more than a match for the white man and superior weapons, until "firewater" undermined his manliness, and treachery stole away his advantages. Whiskey was a cunning ambassador, more effectual than "villainous saltpetre." What was the stoicism of the Indian but his physical training; what was his pride and individuality but the blood of his race and the education of his boyhood? The great brain of a young man was only fit for scalping if it had not a body able to wield the tomahawk; the chieftains and leaders were honoured in proportion to the number of scalps within their wigwams. Such were the characteristics of the men who played the old game of Lacrosse.
The descriptions given of the game by different travellers vary in some respects, as they happened