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[319]

The invitation was cordially accepted, and in August the party of guests, twelve in all, left the train at Desbarats on the north shore of Lake Huron; there they were met by the Indians in full costume, and in sailboat and canoes they set forth for the little rocky island, which had been prepared for them. There was a square stone lodge on the highest part of the island, most picturesquely finished inside and out, with the flag of England floating above it. Surrounding this were several tepees of tanned hide and stained canvas, and nearer the shore two little groups of tents, where two Indian families lived, who cooked and served, sailed the boats, entertained their guests with songs, dancing, and story-telling, doing all with a quiet dignity, ease of manner, and genuine kindliness that removed every difficulty.

The play of ‘Hiawatha’ was performed on a rocky, thickly wooded point about two miles away. Near the shore a platform was built around a tall pine-tree, and grouped around this were tepees and wigwams forming the Indian village. Behind this the ground sloped gradually upward, forming a natural amphitheatre.

As a prelude to the play a large pile of brushwood was lighted.

And the smoke rose slowly, slowly,
As a signal to the Nations.

Down the hillsides rushed the braves in war-paint and feathers,—

Wildly glaring at each other,
In their hearts the feuds of ages.

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Lake Huron (Wisconsin, United States) (1)

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