BUYING AN INDIAN WIFE IN KLONDIKE

This is from the Illustrated Police News, 1898. It was claimed to be the most scandalous paper of its age. This article has certainly not aged well.

A RICH TRADER PURCHASES THE BEAUTIFUL “SPARKLING EYES”

The American papers publish an account of his recent travels in the Klondike country, written by Mr. Robert Stead Dun, a Harvard graduate, and formerly editor of the Harvard Monthly.

He says that Indian girls are freely bought and sold in the great North-West, and that the clerks and employees of the Hudson Bay Comp[any at fort graham had made wives of the pretty Indian girls they had regularly purchased from their parents.

The great prize of the North-West was “Sparkling Eyes”, a noted Indian belle, and the daughter of a prominent chief. From far and near came offers for her hand. Ponies, guns, trinkets, brass watches, yards of tinfoil, and bales of copper wire were offered for a claim to the maiden’s heart, but in vain. Hr father was ambitious, and refused all offers until a man named Fox, the superintendent of a big factory, came along and won the maiden for his bride at a cost of fifty blankets. “Sparkling Eyes” is described as a frisky child of nature, a true chocolate daughter of the golden North-West, with pearly teeth and dancing eyes, as supple as a deer, as fleet as an antelope, and with enough blood in her veins to run a battery of dynamos.

She modestly appreciated her exalted position in the new life, and although she did not seek to ostentatiously queen it over the employees of the factory, yet she had an air of authority and self-possession that won her the respect of the boys of the settlement.

The American narrator adds that the Indian chief, finding his daughter so much appreciated, demanded an increase in the payment for her. But Fox was obdurate.

It should be explained that the father threatened to give a low whistle from the parapet of the fort that the girl would understand and she would run away. But the actor had treated her too well, and she knew a good thing when she had it. She refused to leave home.

The old chief was furious, and made wild threats of vengeance. But the girl was true to her last love. When she looked into the big warehouses and saw great boxes of brass watches and barrels of copper beads, crates of herd tack, and barrels of forty red whisky, she remarked to her oldest stepson, “White daddy, heap good.” The boy gave an Indian grunt acquired only after long practice, and said his father was the best man he had ever known.

The wife then sent a clerk to warn her father to keep away from the fort until he could behave himself.

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