Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/127

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101
THE PRAIRIE FIRE

suaded by friends to marry him on account of his position. She told him more than that. She told him that long before the marriage occurred she had loved another man.

"That night the husband left his home and his high official position and disappeared. Shaving the hair from his head and tearing the broadcloth garments into shreds, he donned the scanty apparel of the savage and became a member of the Cherokee nation. The members of the tribe treated him with the greatest consideration and respect, and he became a sort of oracle among them. In time he married an Indian maiden, thereby widening the breach between himself and the past. After a number of years had passed, however, he grew weary of savagery and his mind often reverted to the life which had been his before his great trouble came upon him. Finally he bade his wife and her untutored friends a temporary farewell and drifted into Texas. Here he soon rose to recognition, and in a comparatively brief space of time once more held an important official position. But he had not deserted his Indian wife. On several occasions he returned to the tribe to see her and tried to induce her to return with him to civilization. But the poor, untutored Indian squaw was a