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The Pioneers Or, The Sources of the Susquehanna by James Fenimore Cooper

Part 8 out of 10

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“Fetch here the stocks, ho!
You stubborn ancient knave,
you reverend bragget, We’ll teach you.”—Lear.

The long days and early sun of July allowed time for a gathering of
the interested, before the little bell of the academy announced that
the appointed hour had arrived for administering right to the wronged,
and punishment to the guilty. Ever since the dawn of day, the
highways and woodpaths that, issuing from the forests, and winding
among the sides of the mountains, centred in Templeton, had been
thronged with equestrians and footmen, bound to the haven of justice.
There was to be seen a well-clad yeoman, mounted on a sleek, switch-
tailed steed, rambling along the highway, with his red face elevated
in a manner that said, “I have paid for my land, and fear no man;”
while his bosom was swelling with the pride of being one of the grand
inquest for the county. At his side rode a companion, his equal in
independence of feeling, perhaps, but his inferior in thrift, as in
property and consideration. This was a professed dealer in lawsuits—a
man whose name appeared in every calendar—whose substance, gained in
the multifarious expedients of a settler’s change able habits, was
wasted in feeding the harpies of the courts. He was endeavoring to
impress the mind of the grand juror with the merits of a cause now at
issue, Along with these was a pedestrian, who, having thrown a rifle
frock over his shirt, and placed his best wool hat above his sunburnt
visage, had issued from his retreat in the woods by a footpath, and
was striving to keep company with the others, on his way to hear and
to decide the disputes of his neighbors, as a petit juror. Fifty
similar little knots of countrymen might have been seen, on that
morning, journeying toward the shire-town on the same errand.

By ten o’clock the streets of the village were filled with busy faces;
some talking of their private concerns, some listening to a popular
expounder of political creeds; and others gaping in at the open
stores, admiring the finery, or examining scythes, axes, and such
other manufactures as attracted their curiosity or excited their
admiration. A few women were in the crowd, most carrying infants, and
followed, at a lounging, listless gait, by their rustic lords and
masters. There was one young couple, in whom connubial love was yet
fresh, walking at a respectful distance from each other; while the
swain directed the timid steps of his bride, by a gallant offering of
a thumb.

At the first stroke of the bell, Richard issued from the door of the
“Bold Dragoon,” flourishing a sheathed sword, that he was fond of
saying his ancestors had carried in one of Cromwell’s victories, and
crying, in an authoritative tone, to “clear the way for the court.”
The order was obeyed promptly, though not servilely, the members of
the crowd nodding familiarly to the members of the procession as it
passed. A party of constables with their staves followed the sheriff,
preceding Marmaduke and four plain, grave-looking yeomen, who were his
associates on the bench. There was nothing to distinguish these
Subordinate judges from the better part of the spectators, except
gravity, which they affected a little more than common, and that one
of their number was attired in an old-fashioned military coat, with
skirts that reached no lower than the middle of his thighs, and
bearing two little silver epaulets, not half so big as a modern pair
of shoulder-knots. This gentleman was a colonel of the militia, in
attendance on a court-martial, who found leisure to steal a moment
from his military to attend to his civil jurisdiction; but this
incongruity excited neither notice nor comment. Three or four clean-
shaved lawyers followed, as meek as if they were lambs going to the
slaughter. One or two of their number had contrived to obtain an air
of scholastic gravity by wearing spectacles. The rear was brought up
by another posse of constables, and the mob followed the whole into
the room where the court held its sitting.

The edifice was composed of a basement of squared logs, perforated
here and there with small grated windows, through which a few wistful
faces were gazing at the crowd without. Among the captives were the
guilty, downcast countenances of the counterfeiters, and the simple
but honest features of the Leather-Stocking. The dungeons were to be
distinguished, externally, from the debtors’ apartments only by the
size of the apertures, the thickness of the grates, and by the heads
of the spikes that were driven into the logs as a protection against
the illegal use of edge-tools. The upper story was of frame work,
regularly covered with boards, and contained one room decently fitted
up for the purpose of justice. A bench, raised on a narrow platform
to the height of a man above the floor, and protected in front by a
light railing. ran along one of its sides. In the centre was a seat,
furnished with rude arms, that was always filled by the presiding
judge. In front, on a level with the floor of the room, was a large
table covered with green baize, and surrounded by benches; and at
either of its ends were rows of seats, rising one over the other, for
jury-boxes. Each of these divisions was surrounded by a railing. The
remainder of the room was an open square, appropriated to the

When the judges were seated, the lawyers had taken possession of the
table, and the noise of moving feet had ceased in the area, the
proclamations were made in the usual form, the jurors were sworn, the
charge was given, and the court proceeded to hear the business before

We shall not detain the reader with a description of the captious
discussions that occupied the court for the first two hours, Judge
Temple had impressed on the jury, in his charge, the necessity for
dispatch on their part, recommending to their notice, from motives of
humanity, the prisoners in the jail as the first objects of their
attention. Accordingly, after the period we have mentioned had
elapsed, the cry of the officer to “clear the way for the grand jury,”
announced the entrance of that body. The usual forms were observed,
when the foreman handed up to the bench two bills, on both of which
the Judge observed, at the first glance of his eye, the name of
Nathaniel Bumppo. It was a leisure moment with the court; some low
whispering passed between the bench and the sheriff, who gave a signal
to his officers, and in a very few minutes the silence that prevailed
was interrupted by a general movement in the outer crowd, when
presently the Leather-Stocking made his appearance, ushered into the
criminal’s bar under the custody of two constables, The hum ceased,
the people closed into the open space again, and the silence soon
became so deep that the hard breathing of the prisoner was audible.

Natty was dressed in his buckskin garments, without his coat, in place
of which he wore only a shirt of coarse linen-cheek, fastened at his
throat by the sinew of a deer, leaving his red neck and weather-beaten
face exposed and bare. It was the first time that he had ever crossed
the threshold of a court of justice, and curiosity seemed to be
strongly blended with his personal feelings. He raised his eyes to
the bench, thence to the jury-boxes, the bar, and the crowd without,
meeting everywhere looks fastened on himself. After surveying his own
person, as searching the cause of this unusual attraction, he once
more turned his face around the assemblage, and opened his mouth in
one of his silent and remarkable laughs.

“Prisoner, remove your cap,” said Judge Temple.

The order was either unheard or unheeded.

“Nathaniel Bumppo, be uncovered,” repeated the Judge.

Natty started at the sound of his name, and, raising his face
earnestly toward the bench, he said:


Mr. Lippet arose from his seat at the table, and whispered in the ear
of the prisoner; when Natty gave him a nod of assent, and took the
deer-skin covering from his head.

“Mr. District Attorney,” said the Judge, “the prisoner is ready; we
wait for the indictment.”

The duties of public prosecutor were discharged by Dirck Van der
School, who adjusted his spectacles, cast a cautious look around him
at his brethren of the bar, which he ended by throwing his head aside
so as to catch one glance over the glasses, when he proceeded to read
the bill aloud. It was the usual charge for an assault and battery on
the person of Hiram Doolittle, and was couched in the ancient language
of such instruments, especial care having been taken by the scribe not
to omit the name of a single offensive weapon known to the law. When
he had done, Mr. Van der School removed his spectacles, which he
closed and placed in his pocket, seemingly for the pleasure of again
opening and replacing them on his nose, After this evolution was
repeated once or twice, he handed the bill over to Mr. Lippet, with a
cavalier air, that said as much as “Pick a hole in that if you can.”

Natty listened to the charge with great attention, leaning forward
toward the reader with an earnestness that denoted his interest; and,
when it was ended, he raised his tall body to the utmost, and drew a
long sigh. All eyes were turned to the prisoner, whose voice was
vainly expected to break the stillness of the room.

“You have heard the presentment that the grand jury have made,
Nathaniel Bumppo,” said the Judge; “what do you plead to the charge?”

The old man drooped his head for a moment in a reflecting attitude,
and then, raising it, he laughed before he answered:

“That I handled the man a little rough or so, is not to be denied; but
that there was occasion to make use of all the things that the
gentleman has spoken of is downright untrue. I am not much of a
wrestler, seeing that I'm getting old; but I was out among the Scotch-
Irishers—let me see—it must have been as long ago as the first year of
the old war—”

“Mr. Lippet, if you are retained for the prisoner,” interrupted Judge
Temple, “instruct your client how to plead; if not, the court will
assign him counsel.”

Aroused from studying the indictment by this appeal, the attorney got
up, and after a short dialogue with the hunter in a low voice, he
informed the court that they were ready to proceed.

“Do you plead guilty or not guilty?” said the Judge.

“I may say not guilty, with a clean conscience,” returned Natty; “for
there’s no guilt in doing what’s right; and I’d rather died on the
spot, than had him put foot in the hut at that moment.”

Richard started at this declaration and bent his eyes significantly on
Hiram, who returned the look with a slight movement of his eyebrows.

“Proceed to open the cause, Mr. District Attorney,' continued the
Judge. “Mr. Clerk, enter the plea of not guilty.”

After a short opening address from Mr. Van der School, Hiram was
summoned to the bar to give his testimony. It was delivered to the
letter, perhaps, but with all that moral coloring which can be
conveyed under such expressions as, “thinking no harm,” “feeling it my
bounden duty as a magistrate,” and “seeing that the constable was
back’ard in the business.” When he had done, and the district attorney
declined putting any further interrogatories, Mr. Lippet arose, with
an air of keen investigation, and asked the following questions:

“Are you a constable of this county, sir?”

“No, sir,” said Hiram, “I’m only a justice-peace.”

“I ask you, Mr. Doolittle, in the face of this court, put ting it to
your conscience and your knowledge of the law, whether you had any
right to enter that man’s dwelling?”

“Hem!” said Hiram, undergoing a violent struggle between his desire
for vengeance, and his love of legal fame: “I do suppose—that in—that
is—strict law—that supposing—maybe I hadn’t a real—lawful right; but
as the case was—and Billy was so back’ard—I thought I might come
for’ard in the business.”

“I ask you again, sir,” continued the lawyer, following up his
success, “whether this old, this friendless old man, did or did not
repeatedly forbid your entrance?”

“Why, I must say,” said Hiram, “that he was considerable cross-
grained; not what I call clever, seeing that it was only one neighbor
wanting to go into the house of another.”

“Oh! then you own it was only meant for a neighborly visit on your
part, and without the sanction of law. Remember, gentlemen, the words
of the witness, ‘one neighbor wanting to enter the house of another.’
Now, sir, I ask you if Nathaniel Bumppo did not again and again order
you not to enter?”

“There was some words passed between us,” said Hiram, “but I read the
warrant to him aloud.”

“I repeat my question; did he tell you not to enter his habitation?”

“There was a good deal passed betwixt us—but I’ve the warrant in my
pocket; maybe the court would wish to see it?”

“Witness,” said Judge Temple, “answer the question directly; did or
did not the prisoner forbid your entering his hut?”

“Why, I some think—”

“Answer without equivocation,” continued the Judge sternly.

“He did.”

“And did you attempt to enter after his order?”

“I did; but the warrant was in my hand.”

“Proceed, Mr. Lippet, with your examination.”

But the attorney saw that the impression was in favor of his client,
and waving his hand with a supercilious manner, as if unwilling to
insult the understanding of the jury with any further defence, he

“No, sir; I leave it for your honor to charge; I rest my case here.”

“Mr. District Attorney,” said the Judge, “have you anything to say?”
Mr. Van der School removed his spectacles, folded them and, replacing
them once more on his nose, eyed the other bill which he held in his
hand, and then said, looking at the bar over the top of his glasses;
I shall rest the prosecution here, if the court please.”

Judge Temple arose and began the charge.

“Gentlemen of the jury,” he said, “you have heard the testimony, and I
shall detain you but a moment. If an officer meet with resistance in
the execution of a process, he has an undoubted right to call any
citizen to his assistance; and the acts of such assistant come within
the protection of the law. I shall leave you to judge, gentlemen,
from the testimony, how far the witness in this prosecution can be so
considered, feeling less reluctance to submit the case thus informally
to your decision, because there is yet another indictment to be tried,
which involves heavier charges against the unfortunate prisoner.”

The tone of Marmaduke was mild and insinuating, and, as his sentiments
were given with such apparent impartiality, they did not fail of
carrying due weight with the jury. The grave-looking yeomen who
composed this tribunal laid their heads together for a few minutes,
without leaving the box, when the foreman arose, and, after the forms
of the court were duly observed, he pronounced the prisoner to be “Not

“You are acquitted of this charge, Nathaniel Bumppo,” said the Judge.

“Anan!” said Natty.

“You are found not guilty of striking and assaulting Mr. Doolittle.”

“No, no, I’ll not deny but that I took him a little roughly by the
shoulders,” said Natty, looking about him with great simplicity, “and
that I—”

“You are acquitted,” interrupted the Judge, “and there is nothing
further to be said or done in the matter.”

A look of joy lighted up the features of the old man, who now
comprehended the case, and, placing his cap eagerly on his head again,
he threw up the bar of his little prison, and said, feelingly:

“I must say this for you, Judge Temple, that the law has not been so
hard on me as I dreaded. I hope God will bless you for the kind
things you’ve done to me this day.”

But the staff of the constable was opposed to his egress, and Mr.
Lippet whispered a few words in his ear, when the aged hunter sank
back into his place, and, removing his cap, stroked down the remnants
of his gray and sandy locks, with an air of mortification mingled with

“Mr. District Attorney,” said Judge Temple, affecting to busy himself
with his minutes, “proceed with the second indictment.”

Mr. Van der School took great care that no part of the presentment,
which he now read, should be lost on his auditors. It accused the
prisoner of resisting the execution of a search-warrant, by force of
arms, and particularized in the vague language of the law, among a
variety of other weapons, the use of the rifle. This was indeed a
more serious charge than an ordinary assault and battery, and a
corresponding degree of interest was manifested by the spectators in
its result. The prisoner was duly arraigned, and his plea again
demanded. Mr. Lippet had anticipated the answers of Natty, and in a
whisper advised him how to plead. But the feelings of the old hunter
were awakened by some of the expressions in the indictment, and,
forgetful of his caution, he exclaimed:

“‘Tis a wicked untruth; I crave no man’s blood. Them thieves, the
Iroquois, won’t say it to any face that I ever thirsted after man’s
blood, I have fou’t as soldier that feared his Maker and his officer,
but I never pulled trigger on any but a warrior that was up and awake.
No man can say that I ever struck even a Mingo in his blanket. I
believe there’s some who thinks there’s no God in a wilder ness!”

“Attend to your plea, Bumppo,” said the Judge; “you hear that you are
accused of using your rifle against an officer of justice? Are you
guilty or not guilty?”

By this time the irritated feelings of Natty had found vent: and he
rested on the bar for a moment, in a musing posture, when he lifted
his face, with his silent laugh, and, pointing to where the wood-
chopper stood, he said:

“Would Billy Kirby be standing there, d’ye think, if I had used the

“Then you deny it,” said Mr. Lippet; “you plead not guilty?”

“Sartain,” said Natty; “Billy knows that I never fired at all. Billy,
do you remember the turkey last winter? Ah me! that was better than
common firing; but I can’t shoot as I used to could.”

“Enter the plea of not guilty,” said Judge Temple, strongly affected
by the simplicity of the prisoner.

Hiram was again sworn, and his testimony given on the second charge.
He had discovered his former error, and proceeded more cautiously than
before. He related very distinctly and, for the man, with amazing
terseness, the suspicion against the hunter, the complaint, the
issuing of the warrant, and the swearing in of Kirby; all of which, he
affirmed, were done in due form of law. He then added the manner in
which the constable had been received; and stated, distinctly, that
Natty had pointed the rifle at Kirby, and threatened his life if he
attempted to execute his duty. All this was confirmed by Jotham, who
was observed to adhere closely to the story of the magistrate. Mr.
Lippet conducted an artful cross-examination of these two witnesses,
but, after consuming much time, was compelled to relinquish the
attempt to obtain any advantage, in despair.

At length the District Attorney called the wood-chopper to the bar,
Billy gave an extremely confused account of the whole affair, although
he evidently aimed at the truth, until Mr. Van der School aided him,
by asking some direct questions:

“It appears from examining the papers, that you demanded admission
into the hut legally; so you were put in bodily fear by his rifle and

“I didn’t mind them that, man,” said Billy, snapping his fingers; “I
should be a poor stick to mind old Leather-Stocking.”

“But I understood you to say (referring to your previous words [as
delivered here in court] in the commencement of your testimony) that
you thought he meant to shoot you?”

“To be sure I did; and so would you, too, squire, if you had seen a
chap dropping a muzzle that never misses, and cocking an eye that has
a natural squint by long practice I thought there would be a dust
on’t, and my back was up at once; but Leather-Stocking gi’n up the
skin, and so the matter ended.”

“Ah! Billy,” said Natty, shaking his head, “‘twas a lucky thought in
me to throw out the hide, or there might have been blood spilt; and
I’m sure, if it had been your’n, I should have mourned it sorely the
little while I have to stay.”

“Well, Leather-Stocking,” returned Billy, facing the prisoner with a
freedom and familiarity that utterly disregarded the presence of the
court, “as you are on the subject it may be that you’ve no—”

“Go on with your examination, Mr. District Attorney.”

That gentleman eyed the familiarity between his witness and the
prisoner with manifest disgust, and indicated to the court that he was

“Then you didn’t feel frightened, Mr. Kirby?” said the counsel for the

“Me! no,” said Billy, casting his eyes oven his own huge frame with
evident self-satisfaction; “I’m not to be skeared so easy.”

“You look like a hardy man; where were you born, sir?”

“Varmount State; ‘tis a mountaynious place, but there’s a stiff soil,
and it’s pretty much wooded with beech and maple.”

“I have always heard so,” said Mr. Lippet soothingly. “You have been
used to the rifle yourself in that country.”

“I pull the second best trigger in this county. I knock under to
Natty Bumppo, there, sin’ he shot the pigeon.”

Leather-Stocking raised his head, and laughed again, when he abruptly
thrust out a wrinkled hand, and said:

“You’re young yet, Billy, and haven’t seen the matches that I have;
but here’s my hand; I bear no malice to you, I don’t.”

Mr. Lippet allowed this conciliatory offering to be accepted, and
judiciously paused, while the spirit of peace was exercising its
influence over the two; but the Judge interposed his authority.

“This is an improper place for such dialogues,” he said; “proceed with
your examination of this witness, Mr. Lippet, or I shall order the

The attorney started, as if unconscious of any impropriety, and

“So you settled the matter with Natty amicably on the spot, did you?”

“He gi’n me the skin, and I didn’t want to quarrel with an old man;
for my part, I see no such mighty matter in shooting a buck!”

“And you parted friends? and you would never have thought of bringing
the business up before a court, hadn’t you been subpoenaed?”

“I don’t think I should; he gi’n the skin, and I didn’t feel a hard
thought, though Squire Doolittle got some affronted.”

“I have done, sir,” said Mr. Lippet, probably relying on the charge of
the Judge, as he again seated himself, with the air of a main who felt
that his success was certain.

When Mr. Van der School arose to address the jury, he commenced by

“Gentlemen of the jury, I should have interrupted the leading
questions put by the prisoner’s counsel (by leading questions I mean
telling him what to say), did I not feel confident that the law of the
land was superior to any ad vantages (I mean legal advantages) which
he might obtain by his art. The counsel for the prisoner, gentlemen,
has endeavored to persuade you, in opposition to your own good sense,
to believe that pointing a rifle at a constable (elected or deputed)
is a very innocent affair; and that society (I mean the commonwealth,
gentlemen) shall not be endangered thereby. But let me claim your
attention, while we look over the particulars of this heinous
offence.” Here Mr. Vain der School favored the jury with an abridgment
of the testimony, recounted in such a manner as utterly to confuse the
faculties of his worthy listeners. After this exhibition he closed as
follows: “And now, gentlemen, having thus made plain to your senses
the crime of which this unfortunate man has been guilty (unfortunate
both on account of his ignorance and his guilt), I shall leave you to
your own consciences; not in the least doubting that you will see the
importance (notwithstanding the prisoner’s counsel [doubtless relying
on your former verdict] wishes to appear so confident of success) of
punishing the offender, and asserting the dignity of the laws.”

It was now the duty of the Judge to deliver his charge. It consisted
of a short, comprehensive summary of the testimony, laying bare the
artifice of the prisoner’s counsel, and placing the facts in so
obvious a light that they could not well be misunderstood. “Living as
we do, gentlemen,” he concluded, “on the skirts of society, it becomes
doubly necessary to protect the ministers of the law. If you believe
the witnesses, in their construction of the acts of the prisoner, it
is your duty to convict him; but if you believe that the old man, who
this day appears before you, meant not to harm the constable, but was
acting more under the influence of habit than by the instigations of
malice, it will be your duty to judge him, but to do it with lenity”

As before, the jury did not leave their box; but, after a consultation
of some little time, their foreman arose, and pronounced the prisoner

There was but little surprise manifested in the courtroom at this
verdict, as the testimony, the greater part of which we have omitted,
was too clear and direct to be passed over. The judges seemed to have
anticipated this sentiment, for a consultation was passing among them
also, during the deliberation of the jury, and the preparatory
movements of the “bench” announced the coming sentence.

“Nathaniel Bumppo,” commenced the Judge, making the customary pause.

The old hunter, who had been musing again, with his head on the bar,
raised himself, and cried, with a prompt, military tone:


The Judge waved his hand for silence, and proceeded:

“In forming their sentence, the court have been governed as much by
the consideration of your ignorance of the laws as by a strict sense
of the importance of punishing such outrages as this of which you have
been found guilty. They have therefore passed over the obvious
punishment of whipping on the bare back, in mercy to your years; but,
as the dignity of the law requires an open exhibition of the
consequences of your crime, it is ordered that you be conveyed from
this room to the public stocks, where you are to be confined for one
hour; that you pay a fine to the State of one hundred dollars; and
that you be imprisoned in the jail of this county for one calendar
month, and, furthermore, that your imprisonment do not cease until the
said fine shall be paid. I feel it my duty, Nathaniel Bumppo—”

“And where should I get the money?” interrupted the Leather-Stocking
eagerly; “ where should I get the money? you’ll take away the bounty
on the painters, because I cut the throat of a deer; and how is an old
man to find so much gold or silver in the woods? No, no, Judge; think
better of it, and don’t talk of shutting me up in a jail for the
little time I have to stay.”

“If you have anything to urge against the passing of the sentence, the
court will yet hear you,” said the Judge, mildly.

“I have enough to say agin’ it,” cried Natty, grasping the bar on
which his fingers were working with a convulsed motion. “Where am I
to get the money? Let me out into the woods and hills, where I’ve been
used to breathe the clear air, and though I’m threescore and ten, if
you’ve left game enough in the country, I’ll travel night and day but
I’ll make you up the sum afore the season is over. Yes, yes—you see
the reason of the thing, and the wicked ness of shutting up an old man
that has spent his days, as one may say, where he could always look
into the windows of heaven.”

“I must be governed by the law—”

“Talk not to me of law, Marmaduke Temple,” interrupted the hunter.
“Did the beast of the forest mind your laws, when it was thirsty and
hungering for the blood of your own child? She was kneeling to her God
for a greater favor than I ask, and he heard her; and if you now say
no to my prayers, do you think he will be deaf?”

“My private feelings must not enter into—”

“Hear me, Marmaduke Temple,” interrupted the old man, with melancholy
earnestness, “and hear reason. I’ve travelled these mountains when
you was no judge, but an infant in your mother’s arms; and I feel as
if I had a right and a privilege to travel them agin afore I die.
Have you forgot the time that you come on to the lake shore, when
there wasn’t even a jail to lodge in: and didn’t I give you my own
bear-skin to sleep on, and the fat of a noble buck to satisfy the
cravings of your hunger? Yes, yes—you thought it no sin then to kill a
deer! And this I did, though I had no reason to love you, for you had
never done anything but harm to them that loved and sheltered me. And
now, will you shut me up in your dungeons to pay me for my kindness? A
hundred dollars! Where should I get the money? No, no—there’s them
that says hard things of you, Marmaduke Temple, but you ain’t so bad
as to wish to see an old man die in a prison, because he stood up for
the right. Come, friend, let me pass; it’s long sin’ I’ve been used
to such crowds, and I crave to be in the woods agin. Don’t fear me,
Judge— I bid you not to fear me; for if there’s beaver enough left on
the streams, or the buckskins will sell for a shilling apiece, you
shall have the last penny of the fine. Where are ye, pups? come away,
dogs, come away! we have a grievous toil to do for our years, but it
shall be done—yes, yes, I’ve promised it, and it shall be done!”

It is unnecessary to say that the movement of the Leather-Stocking was
again intercepted by the constable; but, before he had time to speak,
a bustling in the crowd, and a loud hem, drew all eyes to another part
of the room.

Benjamin had succeeded in edging his way through the people, and was
now seen balancing his short body, with one foot in a window and the
other on a railing of the jury-box. To the amazement of the whole
court, the steward was evidently preparing to speak. After a good
deal of difficulty, he succeeded in drawing from his pocket a small
bag, and then found utterance.

“If-so-be,” he said, “that your honor is agreeable to trust the poor
fellow out on another cruise among the beasts, here’s a small matter
that will help to bring down the risk, seeing that there’s just
thirty-five of your Spaniards in it; and I wish, from the bottom of my
heart, that they was raal British guineas, for the sake of the old
boy. But ‘tis as it is; and if Squire Dickens will just be so good as
to overhaul this small bit of an account, and take enough from the bag
to settle the same, he’s welcome to hold on upon the rest, till such
time as the Leather-Stocking can grapple with them said beaver, or,
for that matter, forever, and no thanks asked,”

As Benjamin concluded, he thrust out the wooden register of his
arrears to the “ Bold Dragoon” with one hand, while he offered his bag
of dollars with the other. Astonishment at this singular interruption
produced a profound stillness in the room, which was only interrupted
by the sheriff, who struck his sword on the table, and cried:

“There must be an end to this,” said the Judge, struggling to overcome
his feelings. “Constable, lead the prisoner to the stocks. Mr.
Clerk, what stands next on the calendar?”

Natty seemed to yield to his destiny, for he sank his head on his
chest, and followed the officer from the court room in silence. The
crowd moved back for the passage of the prisoner, and when his tall
form was seen descending from the outer door, a rush of the people to
the scene of his disgrace followed.


“Ha! ha! look! he wears cruel garters!”-Lear.

The punishments of the common law were still known, at the time of our
tale, to the people of New York; and the whipping-post, and its
companion, the stocks, were not yet supplanted by the more merciful
expedients of the public prison. Immediately in front of the jail
those relics of the older times were situated, as a lesson of
precautionary justice to the evil-doers of the settlement.

Natty followed the constables to this spot, bowing his head in
submission to a power that he was unable to op pose, and surrounded by
the crowd that formed a circle about his person, exhibiting in their
countenances strong curiosity. A constable raised the upper part of
the stocks, and pointed with his finger to the holes where the old man
was to place his feet. Without making the least objection to the
punishment, the Leather-Stocking quietly seated himself on the ground,
and suffered his limbs to be laid in the openings, without even a
murmur; though he cast one glance about him, in quest of that sympathy
that human nature always seems to require under suffering “ but he met
no direct manifestations of pity, neither did he see any unfeeling
exultation, or hear a single reproachful epithet. The character of
the mob, if it could be called by such a name, was that of attentive

The constable was in the act of lowering the upper plank, when
Benjamin, who had pressed close to the side of the prisoner, said, in
his hoarse tone, as if seeking for some cause to create a quarrel:

“Where away, master constable, is the use of clapping a man in them
here bilboes? It neither stops his grog nor hurts his back; what for
is it that you do the thing?”

“‘Tis the sentence of the court, Mr. Penguillium, and there’s law for
it, I s’pose.”

“Ay, ay, I know that there’s law for the thing; but where away do you
find the use, I say? it does no harm, and it only keeps a man by the
heels for the small matter of two glasses”

“Is it no harm, Benny Pump,” said Natty, raising his eyes with a
piteous look in the face of the steward—” is it no harm to show off a
man in his seventy-first year, like a tame bear, for the settlers to
look on? Is it no harm to put an old soldier, that has served through
the war of ‘fifty-six, and seen the enemy in the ‘seventy-six
business, into a place like this, where the boys can point at him and
say, I have known the time when he was a spectacle for the county? Is
it no harm to bring down the pride of an honest man to be the equal of
the beasts of the forest?”

Benjamin stared about him fiercely, and could he have found a single
face that expressed contumely, he would have been prompt to quarrel
with its owner; but meeting everywhere with looks of sobriety, and
occasionally of commiseration, he very deliberately seated himself by
the side of the hunter, and, placing his legs in the two vacant holes
of the stocks, he said:

“Now lower away, master constable, lower away, I tell ye! If-so-be
there’s such a thing hereabouts, as a man that wants to see a bear,
let him look and be d—d, and he shall find two of them, and mayhap one
of the same that can bite as well as growl.”

“But I have no orders to put you in the stocks, Mr. Pump,” cried the
constable; “you must get up and let me do my duty.”

“You’ve my orders, and what do you need better to meddle with my own
feet? so lower away, will ye, and let me see the man that chooses to
open his mouth with a grin on it.”

“There can’t be any harm in locking up a creatur’ that will enter the
pound,” said the constable, laughing, and closing the stocks on them

It was fortunate that this act was executed with decision, for the
whole of the spectators, when they saw Benjamin assume the position he
took, felt an inclination for merriment, which few thought it worth
while to suppress. The steward struggled violently for his liberty
again, with an evident intention of making battle on those who stood
nearest to him; but the key was already turned, and all his efforts
were vain.

“Hark ye, master constable,” he cried, “just clear away your bilboes
for the small matter of a log-glass, will ye, and let me show some of
them there chaps who it is they are so merry about”

“No, no, you would go in, and you can’t come out,” returned the
officer, “until the time has expired that the Judge directed for the
keeping of the prisoner.”

Benjamin, finding that his threats and his struggles were useless, had
good sense enough to learn patience from the resigned manner of his
companion, and soon settled himself down by the side of Natty, with a
contemptuousness expressed in his hard features, that showed he had
substituted disgust for rage. When the violence of the steward’s
feelings had in some measure subsided, he turned to his fellow-
sufferer, and, with a motive that might have vindicated a worse
effusion, he attempted the charitable office of consolation,

“Taking it by and large, Master Bump-ho, it’s but a small matter after
all,” he said. “Now, I’ve known very good sort of men, aboard of the
Boadishey, laid by the heels, for nothing, mayhap, but forgetting that
they’d drunk their allowance already, when a glass of grog has come in
their way. This is nothing more than riding with two anchors ahead,
waiting for a turn in the tide, or a shift of wind, d’ye see, with a
soft bottom and plenty of room for the sweep of your hawse. Now I’ve
seen many a man, for over-shooting his reckoning, as I told ye moored
head and starn, where he couldn’t so much as heave his broadside
round, and mayhap a stopper clapped on his tongue too, in the shape of
a pump-bolt lashed athwartship his jaws, all the same as an outrigger
along side of a taffrel-rail.”

The hunter appeared to appreciate the kind intentions of the other,
though he could not understand his eloquence, and, raising his humbled
countenance, he attempted a smile, as he said:


“‘Tis nothing, I say, but a small matter of a squall that will soon
blow over,” continued Benjamin. “ To you that has such a length of
keel, it must be all the same as nothing; thof, seeing that I am
little short in my lower timbers, they’ve triced my heels up in such a
way as to give me a bit of a cant. But what cares I, Master Bump-ho,
if the ship strains a little at her anchor? it’s only for a dog-watch,
and dam’me but she’ll sail with you then on that cruise after them
said beaver. I'm not much used to small arms, seeing that I was
stationed at the ammunition- boxes, being summat too low-rigged to see
over the ham- mock-cloths; but I can carry the game, dye see, and
mayhap make out to lend a hand with the traps; and if- so-be you’re
any way so handy with them as ye be with your boat-hook, ‘twill be but
a short cruise after all, I've squared the yards with Squire Dickens
this morning, and I shall send him word that he needn’t bear my name
on the books again till such time as the cruise is over.”

“You’re used to dwell with men, Benny,” said Leather-Stocking,
mournfully, “ and the ways of the woods would be hard on you, if——”

“Not a bit—not a bit,” cried the steward; “I’m none of your fair-
weather chaps, Master Bump-ho, as sails only in smooth water. When I
find a friend, I sticks by him, dye see. Now, there’s no better man
a-going than Squire Dickens, and I love him about the same as I loves
Mistress Hollister’s new keg of Jamaiky.” The steward paused, and
turning his uncouth visage on the hunter, he surveyed him with a
roguish leer of his eye, and gradually suffered the muscles of his
hard features to relax, until his face was illuminated by the display
of his white teeth, when he “ dropped his voice, and added; “I say,
Master Leather-

Stocking, ‘tis fresher and livelier than any Hollands you’ll get in
Garnsey. But we’ll send a hand over and ask the woman for a taste,
for I’m so jammed in these here bilboes that I begin to want summat to
lighten my upper works.”

Natty sighed, and gazed about him on the crowd, that already began to
disperse, and which had now diminished greatly, as its members
scattered in their various pursuits. He looked wistfully at Benjamin,
but did not reply; a deeply-seated anxiety seeming to absorb every
other sensation, and to throw a melancholy gloom over his wrinkled
features, which were working with the movements of his mind.

The steward was about to act on the old principle, that silence gives
consent, when Hiram Doolittle, attended by Jotham, stalked out of the
crowd, across the open space, and approached the stocks. The
magistrate passed by the end where Benjamin was seated, and posted
himself, at a safe distance from the steward, in front of the Leather-
Stocking. Hiram stood, for a moment, cowering before the keen looks
that Natty fastened on him, and suffering under an embarrassment that
was quite new; when having in some degree recovered himself, he looked
at the heavens, and then at the smoky atmosphere, as if it were only
an ordinary meeting with a friend, and said in his formal, hesitating

“Quite a scurcity of rain, lately; I some think we shall have a long
drought on’t.”

Benjamin was occupied in untying his bag of dollars, and did not
observe the approach of the magistrate, while Natty turned his face,
in which every muscle was working, away from him in disgust, without
answering. Rather encouraged than daunted by this exhibition of
dislike, Hiram, after a short pause, continued:

“The clouds look as if they’d no water in them, and the earth is
dreadfully parched. To my judgment, there’ll be short crops this
season, if the rain doesn’t fail quite speedily.”

The air with which Mr. Doolittle delivered this prophetical opinion
was peculiar to his species. It was a jesuitical, cold, unfeeling,
and selfish manner, that seemed to say, “I have kept within the law,”
to the man he had so cruelly injured. It quite overcame the restraint
that the old hunter had been laboring to impose on himself, and he
burst out in a warm glow of indignation.

“Why should the rain fall from the clouds,” he cried, “when you force
the tears from the eyes of the old, the sick, and the poor! Away with
ye—away with ye! you may be formed in the image of the Maker, but
Satan dwells in your heart. Away with ye, I say! I am mournful, and
the sight of ye brings bitter thoughts.”

Benjamin ceased thumbing his money, and raised his head at the instant
that Hiram, who was thrown off his guard by the invectives of the
hunter, unluckily trusted his person within reach of the steward, who
grasped one of his legs with a hand that had the grip of a vise, and
whirled the magistrate from his feet, before he had either time to
collect his senses or to exercise the strength he did really possess.
Benjamin wanted neither proportions nor manhood in his head,
shoulders, and arms, though all the rest of his frame appeared to be
originally intended for a very different sort of a man. He exerted
his physical powers on the present occasion, with much discretion;
and, as he had taken his antagonist at a great disadvantage, the
struggle resulted very soon in Benjamin getting the magistrate fixed
in a posture somewhat similar to his own, and manfully placed face to

“You’re a ship’s cousin, I tell ye, Master Doo-but-little,” roared the
steward; “some such matter as a ship’s cousin, sir. I know you, I do,
with your fair-weather speeches to Squire Dickens, to his face, and
then you go and sarve out your grumbling to all the old women in the
town, do ye? Ain’t it enough for any Christian, let him harbor never
so much malice, to get an honest old fellow laid by the heels in this
fashion, without carrying sail so hard on the poor dog, as if you
would run him down as he lay at his anchors? But I’ve logged many a
hard thing against your name, master, and now the time’s come to foot
up the day’s work, d’ye see; so square yourself, you lubber, square
yourself, and we’ll soon know who’s the better man.”

“Jotham!” cried the frightened magistrate—” Jotham! call in the
constables. Mr. Penguillium, I command the peace—I order you to keep
the peace.”

“There's been more peace than love atwixt us, master,” cried the
steward, making some very unequivocal demonstrations toward hostility;
“so mind yourself! square your self, I say! do you smell this here bit
of a sledge-hammer?”

“Lay hands on me if you dare!” exclaimed Hiram, as well as he could,
under the grasp which the steward held on his throttle—” lay hands on
me if you dare!”

“If you call this laying, master, you are welcome to the eggs,” roared
the steward.

It becomes our disagreeable duty to record here, that the acts of
Benjamin now became violent; for he darted his sledge-hammer violently
on the anvil of Mr. Doolittle’s countenance, and the place became in
an instant a scene of tumult and confusion. The crowd rushed in a
dense circle around the spot, while some ran to the court room to give
the alarm, and one or two of the more juvenile part of the multitude
had a desperate trial of speed to see who should be the happy man to
communicate the critical situation of the magistrate to his wife.

Benjamin worked away, with great industry and a good deal of skill, at
his occupation, using one hand to raise up his antagonist, while he
knocked him over with the other; for he would have been disgraced in
his own estimation, had he struck a blow on a fallen adversary. By
this considerate arrangement he had found means to hammer the visage
of Hiram out of all shape, by the time Richard succeeded in forcing
his way through the throng to the point of combat. The sheriff
afterward declared that, independently of his mortification as
preserver of the peace of the county, at this interruption to its
harmony, he was never so grieved in his life as when he saw this
breach of unity between his favorites. Hiram had in some degree
become necessary to his vanity, and Benjamin, strange as it may
appear, he really loved. This attachment was exhibited in the first
words that he uttered.

“Squire Doolittle! Squire Doolittle! I am ashamed to see a man of your
character and office forget himself so much as to disturb the peace,
insult the court, and beat poor Benjamin in this manner!”

At the sound of Mr. Jones’ voice, the steward ceased his employment,
and Hiram had an opportunity of raising his discomfited visage toward
the mediator. Emboldened by the sight of the sheriff, Mr. Doolittle
again had recourse to his lungs.

“I’ll have law on you for this,” he cried desperately; “I’ll have the
law on you for this. I call on you, Mr. Sheriff, to seize this man,
and I demand that you take his body into custody.”

By this time Richard was master of the true state of the case, and,
turning to the steward, he said reproach fully:

“Benjamin, how came you in the stocks? I always thought you were mild
and docile as a lamb. It was for your docility that I most esteemed
you. Benjamin! Benjamin! you have not only disgraced yourself, but
your friends, by this shameless conduct, Bless me! bless me! Mr.
Doolittle, he seems to have knocked your face all of one side.”

Hiram by this time had got on his feet again, and with out the reach
of the steward, when he broke forth in violent appeals for vengeance.
The offence was too apparent to be passed over, and the sheriff,
mindful of the impartiality exhibited by his cousin in the recent
trial of the Leather-Stocking, came to the painful conclusion that it
was necessary to commit his major-domo to prison. As the time of
Natty’s punishment was expired, and Benjamin found that they were to
be confined, for that night at least, in the same apartment, he made
no very strong objection to the measure, nor spoke of bail, though, as
the sheriff preceded the party of constables that conducted them to
the jail, he uttered the following remonstrance:

“As to being berthed with Master Bump-ho for a night or so, it’s but
little I think of it, Squire Dickens, seeing that I calls him an
honest man, and one as has a handy way with boat-hooks and rifles; but
as for owning that a man desarves anything worse than a double
allowance, for knocking that carpenters face a-one-side, as you call
it, I’ll maintain it’s agin’ reason and Christianity. If there’s a
bloodsucker in this 'ere county, it’s that very chap. Ay! I know him!
and if he hasn’t got all the same as dead wood in his headworks, he
knows summat of me. Where’s the mighty harm, squire, that you take it
so much to heart? It’s all the same as any other battle, d’ye see sir,
being broadside to broadside, only that it was foot at anchor,
which was what we did in Port Pray a roads, when Suff’ring came in
among us; and a suff’ring time he had of it before he got out again.”

Richard thought it unworthy of him to make any reply to this speech,
but when his prisoners were safely lodged in an outer dungeon,
ordering the bolts to be drawn and the key turned, he withdrew.

Benjamin held frequent and friendly dialogues with different people,
through the iron gratings, during the afternoon; but his companion
paced their narrow’ limits, in his moccasins, with quick, impatient
treads, his face hanging on his breast in dejection, or when lifted,
at moments, to the idlers at the window, lighted, perhaps, for an
instant, with the childish aspect of aged forgetfulness, which would
vanish directly in an expression of deep and obvious anxiety.

At the close of the day, Edwards was seen at the window, in earnest
dialogue with his friend; and after he de parted it was thought that
he had communicated words of comfort to the hunter, who threw himself
on his pallet and was soon in a deep sleep. The curious spectators
had exhausted the conversation of the steward, who had drunk good
fellowship with half of his acquaintance, and, as Natty was no longer
in motion, by eight o’clock, Billy Kirby, who was the last lounger at
the window, retired into the “Templeton Coffee-house,” when Natty rose
and hung a blanket before the opening, and the prisoners apparently
retired for the night.


“And to avoid the foe’s pursuit,
With spurring put their cattle to’t;
And till all four were out of wind,
And danger too, neer looked behind.”—Hudibras.

As the shades of evening approached, the jurors, wit nesses, and other
attendants on the court began to disperse, and before nine o’clock the
village was quiet, and its streets nearly deserted. At that hour
Judge Temple and his daughter, followed at a short distance by Louisa
Grant, walked slowly down the avenue, under the slight shadows of the
young poplars, holding the following discourse:

“You can best soothe his wounded spirit, my child,” said Marmaduke;
“but it will be dangerous to touch on the nature of his offence; the
sanctity of the laws must be respected.”

“Surely, sir,” cried the impatient Elizabeth, “those laws that condemn
a man like the Leather-Stocking to so severe a punishment, for an
offence that even I must think very venial, cannot be perfect in

“Thou talkest of what thou dost not understand, Elizabeth,” returned
her father. “Society cannot exist without wholesome restraints.
Those restraints cannot be inflicted without security and respect to
the persons of those who administer them; and it would sound ill
indeed to report that a judge had extended favor to a convicted
criminal, because he had saved the life of his child.”

“I see—I see the difficulty of your situation, dear sir,” cried the
daughter; “but, in appreciating the offence of poor Natty, I cannot
separate the minister of the law from the man.”

“There thou talkest as a woman, child; it is not for an assault on
Hiram Doolittle, but for threatening the life of a constable, who was
in the performance of—”

“It is immaterial whether it be one or the other,” interrupted Miss
Temple, with a logic that contained more feeling than reason; “I know
Natty to be innocent, and thinking so I must think all wrong who
oppress him.”

“His judge among the number! thy father, Elizabeth?”

“Nay, nay, nay; do not put such questions to me; give me my
commission, father, and let me proceed to execute it.”

The Judge paused a moment, smiling fondly on his child, and then
dropped his hand affectionately on her shoulder, as he answered:

“Thou hast reason, Bess, and much of it, too, but thy heart lies too
near thy head, But listen; in this pocketbook are two hundred dollars.
Go to the prison—there are none in this pace to harm thee—give this
note to the jailer, and, when thou seest Bumppo, say what thou wilt to
the poor old man; give scope to the feeling of thy warm heart; but try
to remember, Elizabeth, that the laws alone remove us from the
condition of the savages; that he has been criminal, and that his
judge was thy father.”

Miss Temple made no reply, but she pressed the hand that held the
pocket-book to her bosom, and, taking her friend by the arm, they
issued together from the inclosure into the principal street of the

As they pursued their walk in silence, under the row of houses, where
the deeper gloom of the evening effectually concealed their persons,
no sound reached them, excepting the slow tread of a yoke of oxen,
with the rattling of j a cart, that were moving along the street in
the same direction with themselves, The figure of the teamster was
just discernible by the dim light, lounging by the side of his cattle
with a listless air, as if fatigued by the toil of the day. At the
corner, where the jail stood, the progress of the ladies was impeded,
for a moment, by the oxen, who were turned up to the side of the
building, and given a lock of hay, which they had carried on their
necks, as a reward for their patient labor, The whole of this was so
natural, and so common, that Elizabeth saw nothing to induce a second
glance at the team, until she heard the teamster speaking to his
cattle in a low voice:

“Mind yourself, Brindle; will you, sir! will you!” The language itself
was so unusual to oxen, with which all who dwell in a new country are
familiar; but there was something in the voice, also, that startled
Miss Temple On turning the corner, she necessarily approached the man,
and her look was enabled to detect the person of Oliver Edwards,
concealed under the coarse garb of a teamster. Their eyes met at the
same instant, and, not- t withstanding the gloom, and the enveloping
cloak of Elizabeth, the recognition was mutual.

“Miss Temple!” “Mr. Edwards!” were exclaimed simultaneously, though a
feeling that seemed common to both rendered the words nearly

“Is it possible!” exclaimed Edwards, after the moment of doubt had
passed; “do I see you so nigh the jail! but you are going to the
rectory: I beg pardon, Miss Grant, I believe; I did not recognize you
at first.”

The sigh which Louisa tittered was so faint, that it was only heard by
Elizabeth, who replied quickly, “We are going not only to the jail,
Mr. Edwards' but into it. We wish to show the Leather-Stocking that
we do not forget his services, and that at the same time we must be
just, we are also grateful. I suppose you are on a similar errand;
but let me beg that you will give us leave to precede you ten minutes.
Good-night, sir; I— I—am quite sorry, Mr. Edwards, to see you reduced
to such labor; I am sure my father would—”

“I shall wait your pleasure, madam,” interrupted the youth coldly.
“May I beg that you will not mention my being here?”

“Certainly,” said Elizabeth, returning his bow by a slight inclination
of her head, and urging the tardy Louisa forward. As they entered the
jailer’s house, however, Miss Grant found leisure to whisper:

“Would it not be well to offer part of your money to Oliver? half of
it will pay the fine of Bumppo; and he is so unused to hardships! I am
sure my father will subscribe much of his little pittance, to place
him in a station that is more worthy of him.”

The involuntary smile that passed over the features of Elizabeth was
blended with an expression of deep and heartfelt pity. She did not
reply, however, and the appearance of the jailer soon recalled the
thoughts of both to the object of their visit.

The rescue of the ladies, and their consequent interest in his
prisoner, together with the informal manners that prevailed in the
country, all united to prevent any surprise on the part of the jailer,
at their request for admission to Bumppo. The note of Judge Temple,
however, would have silenced all objections, if he had felt them and
he led the way without hesitation to the apartment that held the
prisoners. The instant the key was put into the lock, the hoarse
voice of Benjamin was heard, demanding:

“Yo hoy! who comes there?”

“Some visitors that you’ll be glad to see,” returned the jailer.
“What have you done to the lock, that it won’t turn”

“Handsomely, handsomely, master,” cried the steward:
“I have just drove a nail into a berth alongside of this here bolt, as
a stopper, d’ye see, so that Master Doo-but little can’t be running in
and breezing up another fight atwixt us: for, to my account, there’ll
be but a han-yan with me soon, seeing that they’ll mulct me of my
Spaniards, all the same as if I’d over-flogged the lubber. Throw your
ship into the wind, and lay by for a small matter, will ye? and I’ll
soon clear a passage.”

The sounds of hammering gave an assurance that the steward was in
earnest, and in a short time the lock yielded, when the door was

Benjamin had evidently been anticipating the seizure of his money, for
he had made frequent demands on the favorite cask at the “Bold
Dragoon,” during the afternoon and evening, and was now in that state
which by marine imagery is called “half-seas-over.” It was no easy
thing to destroy the balance of the old tar by the effects of liquor,
for, as he expressed it himself, “he was too low-rigged not to carry
sail in all weathers;” but he was precisely in that condition which is
so expressively termed “muddy.” When he perceived who the visitors
were, he retreated to the side of the room where his pallet lay, and,
regardless of the presence of his young mistress, seated himself on it
with an air of great sobriety, placing his back firmly against the

“If you undertake to spoil my locks in this manner, Mr. Pump,” said
the jailer, “I shall put a stopper, as you call it, on your legs, and
tie you down to your bed.”

“What for should ye, master?” grumbled Benjamin; “I’ve rode out one
squall to-day anchored by the heels, and I wants no more of them.
Where’s the harm o’ doing all the same as yourself? Leave that there
door free out board, and you’ll find no locking inboard, I’ll promise

“I must shut up for the night at nine,” said the jailer, “and it’s now
forty-two minutes past eight.” He placed the little candle on a rough
pine table, and withdrew.

“Leather-Stocking!” said Elizabeth, when the key of the door was
turned on them again, “my good friend, Leather-Stocking! I have come
on a message of gratitude. Had you submitted to the search, worthy
old man, the death of the deer would have been a trifle, and all would
have been well———”

“Submit to the sarch!” interrupted Natty, raising his face from
resting on his knees, without rising from the corner where he had
seated himself; “d’ye think gal, I would let such a varmint into my
hut? No, no—I wouldn’t have opened the door to your own sweet
countenance then. But they are welcome to search among the coals and
ashes now; they’ll find only some such heap as is to be seen at every
pot-ashery in the mountains.”

The old man dropped his face again on one hand, and seemed to be lost
in melancholy.

“The hut can be rebuilt, and made better than before,” returned Miss
Temple;” and it shall be my office to see it done, when your
imprisonment is ended.”

Can ye raise the dead, child?” said Natty, in a sorrowful voice: “can
ye go into the place where you’ve laid your fathers, and mothers, and
children, and gather together their ashes, and make the same men and
women of them as afore? You do not know what ‘tis to lay your head for
more than forty years under the cover of the same logs, and to look at
the same things for the better part of I a man’s life. You are young
yet, child, but you are one of the most precious of God’s creatures.
I had hoped for ye that it might come to pass, but it’s all over now;
this, put to that, will drive the thing quite out of his mind for

Miss Temple must have understood the meaning of the old man better
than the other listeners; for while Louisa stood innocently by her
side, commiserating the griefs of the hunter, she bent her head aside,
so as to conceal her features. The action and the feeling that caused
it lasted but a moment.

“Other logs, and better, though, can be had, and shall be found for
you, my old defender,” she continued. “Your confinement will soon
be over, and, before that time arrives, I shall have a house prepared
for you, where I you may spend the close of your long and harmless
life in ease and plenty.”

“Ease and plenty! house!” repeated Natty, slowly. “You mean well, you
mean well, and I quite mourn that it cannot be; but he has seen me a
sight and a laughing-stock for—”

“Damn your stocks,” said Benjamin, flourishing his bottle with one
hand, from which he had been taking hasty and repeated draughts,
while he made gestures of disdain with the other: “who cares for his
bilboes? There’s a leg that been stuck up on end like a jibboom for an
hour. d’ye see, and what’s it the worse for’t, ha? canst tell me,
what’s it the worser, ha?”

“I believe you forget, Mr. Pump, in whose presence you are,” said

“Forget you, Miss Lizzy?” returned the steward; “if I do, dam’me; you
are not to be forgot, like Goody Pretty-bones, up at the big house
there. I say, old sharpshooter, she may have pretty bones, but I
can’t say so much for her flesh, d’ye see, for she looks somewhat like
anatomy with another man’s jacket on. Now for the skin of her face,
it’s all the same as a new topsail with a taut bolt-rope, being snug
at the leeches, but all in a bight about the inner cloths,”

“Peace—I command you to be silent, sir!” said Elizabeth.

“Ay, ay, ma’am,” returned the steward. “You didn’t say I shouldn’t
drink, though.”

“We will not speak of what is to become of others,” said Miss Temple,
turning again to the hunter—” but of your own fortunes, Natty. It
shall be my care to see that you pass the rest of your days in ease
and plenty.”

“Ease and plenty!” again repeated the Leather-Stocking; “what ease can
there be to an old man, who must walk a mile across the open fields,
before he can find a shade to hide him from a scorching sun! or what
plenty is there where you hunt a day, and not start a buck, or see
anything bigger than a mink, or maybe a stray fox! Ah! I shall have a
hard time after them very beavers, for this fine. I must go low
toward the Pennsylvania line in search of the creatures, maybe a
hundred mile; for they are not to be got here-away. No, no—your
betterments and clearings have druv the knowing things out of the
country, and instead of beaver-dams, which is the nater of the animal,
and according to Providence, you turn back the waters over the low
grounds with your mill-dams, as if ‘twas in man to stay the drops from
going where He wills them to go—Benny, unless you stop your hand from
going so often to your mouth, you won’t be ready to start when the
time comes.

“Hark’ee, Master Bump-ho,” said the steward; “don’t you fear for Ben,
When the watch is called, set me of my legs and give me the bearings
and the distance of where you want me to steer, and I’ll carry sail
with the best of you, I will.”

“The time has come now,” said the hunter, listening; “I hear the horns
of the oxen rubbing agin’ the side of the jail.”

“Well, say the word, and then heave ahead, shipmate,” said Benjamin.

“You won’t betray us, gal?” said Natty, looking simply into the face
of Elizabeth—” you won’t betray an old man, who craves to breathe the
clear air of heaven? I mean no harm; and if the law says that I must
pay the hundred dollars, I’ll take the season through, but it shall be
forthcoming; and this good man will help me.”

“You catch them,” said Benjamin, with a sweeping gesture of his arm,
“and if they get away again, call me a slink, that’s all.”

“But what mean you?” cried thc wondering Elizabeth. “ Here you must
stay for thirty days; but I have the money for your fine in this
purse. Take it; pay it in the morning, and summon patience for your
mouth. I will come often to see you, with my friend; we will make up
your clothes with our own hands; indeed, indeed, you shall be

“Would ye, children?” said Natty, advancing across the floor with an
air of kindness, and taking the hand of Elizabeth, “would ye be so
kearful of an old man, and just for shooting a beast which cost him
nothing? Such things doesn’t run in the blood, I believe, for you seem
not to forget a favor. Your little fingers couldn’t do much on a
buckskin, nor be you used to push such a thread as sinews. But if he
hasn’t got past hearing, he shalt hear it and know it, that he may
see, like me, there is some who know how to remember a kindness,”

“Tell him nothing,” cried Elizabeth, earnestly; “if you love me, if
you regard my feelings, tell him nothing. It is of yourself only I
would talk, and for yourself only I act. I grieve, Leather-Stocking,
that the law requires that you should be detained here so long; but,
after all, it will be only a short month, and——”

“A month?” exclaimed Natty, opening his mouth with his usual laugh,
“not a day, nor a night, nor an hour, gal. Judge Temple may sintence,
but he can’t keep without a better dungeon than this. I was taken
once by the French, and they put sixty-two of us in a block-house,
nigh hand to old Frontinac; but ‘twas easy to cut through a pine log
to them that was used to timber.” The hunter paused, and looked
cautiously around the room, when, laughing again, he shoved the
steward gently from his post, and removing the bedclothes, discovered
a hole recently cut in the logs with a mallet and chisel. “It’s only
a kick, and the outside piece is off, and then—”

“Off! ay, off!” cried Benjamin, rising from his stupor; “well, here’s
off. Ay! ay! you catch ‘em, and I'll hold on to them said beaver-

“I fear this lad will trouble me much,” said Natty; “‘twill be a hard
pull for the mountain, should they take the scent soon, and he is not
in a state of mind to run.”

“Run!” echoed the steward; “no, sheer alongside, and let’s have a
fight of it.”

“Peace!” ordered Elizabeth.

“Ay, ay, ma’am.”

“You will not leave us, surely, Leather-Stocking,” continued Miss
Temple; “I beseech you, reflect that you will be driven to the woods
entirely, and that you are fast getting old. Be patient for a little
time, when you can go abroad openly, and with honor.”

“Is there beaver to be catched here, gal?”

“If not, here is money to discharge the fine, and in a month you are
free. See, here it is in gold.”

“Gold!” said Natty, with a kind of childish curiosity; “it’s long sin’
I’ve seen a gold-piece. We used to get the broad joes, in the old
war, as plenty as the bears be now. I remember there was a man in
Dieskau’s army, that was killed, who had a dozen of the shining things
sewed up in his shirt. I didn’t handle them myself, but I seen them
cut out with my own eyes; they was bigger and brighter than them be.”

“These are English guineas, and are yours,” said Elizabeth; “an
earnest of what shall be done for you.”

“Me! why should you give me this treasure!” said Natty, looking
earnestly at the maiden.

“Why! have you not saved my life? Did you not rescue me from the jaws
of the beast?” exclaimed Elizabeth, veiling her eyes, as if to hide
some hideous object from her view.

The hunter took the money, and continued turning it in his hand for
some time, piece by piece, talking aloud during the operation.

“There’s a rifle, they say, out on the Cherry Valley, that will carry
a hundred rods and kill. I’ve seen good guns in my day, but none
quite equal to that. A hundred rods with any sartainty is great
shooting! Well, well— I’m old, and the gun I have will answer my time.
Here, child, take back your gold. But the hour has come; I hear him
talking to the cattle, and I must be going. You won’t tell of us,
gal—you won’t tell of us, will ye?”

“Tell of you!” echoed Elizabeth. “But take the money, old man; take
the money, even if you go into the mountains.”

“No, no,” said Natty, shaking his head kindly; “I would not rob you so
for twenty rifles. But there’s one thing you can do for me, if ye
will, that no other is at hand to do.

“Name it—name it.”

“Why, it’s only to buy a canister of powder—’twill cost two silver
dollars. Benny Pump has the money ready, but we daren’t come into the
town to get it. Nobody has it but the Frenchman. 'Tis of the best,
and just suits a rifle. Will you get it for me, gal?—say, will you
get it for me?”

“Will I? I will bring it to you, Leather-Stocking, though I toil a day
in quest of you through the woods. But where shall I find you, and

“Where?” said Natty, musing a moment—” to-morrow on the Vision; on the
very top of the Vision, I’ll meet you, child, just as the sun gets
over our heads. See that it’s the fine grain; you’ll know it by the
gloss and the price.”

“I will do it,” said Elizabeth, firmly.

Natty now seated himself, and placing his feet in the hole, with a
slight effort he opened a passage through into the street. The ladies
heard the rustling of hay, and well understood the reason why Edwards
was in the capacity of a teamster.

“Come, Benny,” said the hunter: “‘twill be no darker to-night, for the
moon will rise in an hour.”

“Stay!” exclaimed Elizabeth; “it should not be said that you escaped
in the presence of the daughter of Judge Temple. Return, Leather-
Stocking, and let us retire be fore you execute your plan.”

Natty was about to reply, when the approaching footsteps of the jailer
announced the necessity of his immediate return. He had barely time
to regain his feet, and to conceal the hole with the bedclothes,
across which Benjamin very opportunely fell, before the key was
turned, and the door of the apartment opened.

“Isn’t Miss Temple ready to go?” said the civil jailer; “ it’s the
usual hour for locking up.”

“I follow you, sir,” returned Elizabeth “good-night, Leather-

“It’s a fine grain, gal, and I think twill carry lead further than
common. I am getting old, and can’t follow up the game with the step
I used to could,”

Miss Temple waved her hand for silence, and preceded Louisa and the
keeper from the apartment. The man turned the key once, and observed
that he would return and secure his prisoners, when he had lighted the
ladies to the street. Accordingly they parted at the door of the
building, when the jailer retired to his dungeons, and the ladies
walked, with throbbing hearts, toward the corner.

“Now the Leather-Stocking refuses the money,” whispered Louisa, “it
can all be given to Mr. Edwards, and that added to—”

“Listen!” said Elizabeth; “ I hear the rustling of the hay; they are
escaping at this moment. Oh! they will be detected instantly!”

By this time they were at the corner, where Edwards and Natty were in
the act of drawing the almost helpless body of Benjamin through the
aperture. The oxen had started back from their hay, and were standing
with their heads down the street, leaving room for the party to act

“Throw the hay into the cart,” said Edwards, “or they will suspect how
it has been done. Quick, that they may not see it.”

Natty had just returned from executing this order, when the light of
the keeper’s candle shone through the hole, and instantly his voice
was heard in the jail exclaiming for his prisoners.

“What is to be done now?” said Edwards; “this drunken fellow will
cause our detection, and we have not a moment to spare.”

“Who’s drunk, ye lubber?” muttered the steward.

“A break-jail! a break-jail!” shouted five or six voices from within.

“We must leave him,” said Edwards.

“‘Twouldn’t be kind, lad,” returned Natty; “he took half the disgrace
of the stocks on himself to-day, and the creatur’ has feeling.”

At this moment two or three men were heard issuing from the door of
the “Bold Dragoon,” and among them the voice of Billy Kirby.

“There’s no moon yet,” cried the wood-chopper; “but it’s a clear
night. Come, who’s for home? Hark! what a rumpus they’re kicking up
in the jail—here’s go and see what it’s about.”

“We shall be lost,” said Edwards, “if we don’t drop this man.”

At that instant Elizabeth moved close to him, and said rapidly, in a
low voice:

“Lay him in the cart, and start the oxen; no one will look there.”

“There’s a woman’s quickness in the thought,” said the youth.

The proposition was no sooner made than executed. The steward was
seated on the hay, and enjoined to hold his peace and apply the goad
that was placed in his hand, while the oxen were urged on. So soon as
this arrangement was completed, Edwards and the hunter stole along the
houses for a short distance, when they disappeared through an opening
that led into the rear of the buildings.

The oxen were in brisk motion, and presently the cries of pursuit were
heard in the street. The ladies quickened their pace, with a wish to
escape the crowd of constables and idlers that were approaching, some
execrating, and some laughing at the exploit of the prisoners. In the
confusion, the voice of Kirby was plainly distinguishable above all
the others, shouting and swearing that he would have the fugitives,
threatening to bring back Natty in one pocket, and Benjamin in the

“Spread yourselves, men,” he cried, as he passed the ladies, his heavy
feet sounding along the street like the tread of a dozen; “spread
yourselves; to the mountains; they’ll be in the mountains in a quarter
of an hour, and then look out for a long rifle.”

His cries were echoed from twenty mouths, for not only the jail but
the taverns had sent forth their numbers, some earnest in the pursuit,
and others joining it as in sport.

As Elizabeth turned in at her father’s gate she saw the wood-chopper
stop at the cart, when she gave Benjamin up for lost. While they were
hurrying up the walk, two figures, stealing cautiously but quickly
under the shades of the trees, met the eyes of the ladies, and in a
moment Edwards and the hunter crossed their path.

“Miss Temple, I may never see you again,” exclaimed the youth; “let me
thank you for all your kindness; you do not, cannot know my motives.”

“Fly! fly!” cried Elizabeth; “the village is alarmed. Do not be found
conversing with me at such a moment, and in these grounds.”

“Nay, I must speak, though detection were certain,”

“Your retreat to the bridge is already cut off; before you can gain
the wood your pursuers will be there. If—”

“If what?” cried the youth. “Your advice has saved me once already; I
will follow it to death.”

“The street is now silent and vacant,” said Elizabeth, after a pause;
“cross it, and you will find my father’s boat in the lake. It would
be easy to land from it where you please in the hills.”

“But Judge Temple might complain of the trespass.”

“His daughter shall be accountable, sir.”

The youth uttered something in a low voice, that was heard only by
Elizabeth, and turned to execute what she had suggested. As they were
separating, Natty approached the females, and said:

“You’ll remember the canister of powder, children. Them beavers must
be had, and I and the pups be getting old; we want the best of

“Come, Natty,” said Edwards, impatiently.

“Coming, lad, coming. God bless you, young ones, both of ye, for ye
mean well and kindly to the old man.”

The ladies paused until they had lost sight of the retreating figures,
when they immediately entered the mansion-house.

While this scene was passing in the walk, Kirby had overtaken the
cart, which was his own, and had been driven by Edwards, without
asking the owner, from the place where the patient oxen usually stood
at evening, waiting the pleasure of their master.

“Woa—come hither, Golden,” he cried; “why, how come you off the end of
the bridge, where I left you, dummies?”

“Heave ahead,” muttered Benjamin, giving a random blow with his lash,
that alighted on the shoulder of the other.

“Who the devil be you?” cried Billy, turning round in surprise, but
unable to distinguish, in the dark, the hard visage that was just
peering over the cart-rails.

“Who be I? why, I’m helmsman aboard of this here craft d’ye see, and a
straight wake I’m making of it. Ay, ay! I’ve got the bridge right
ahead, and the bilboes dead aft: I calls that good steerage, boy.
Heave ahead.”

“Lay your lash in the right spot, Mr. Benny Pump,” said the wood-
chopper, “or I’ll put you in the palm of my hand and box your ears.
Where be you going with my team?”


“Ay. my cart and oxen,”

“Why, you must know, Master Kirby, that the Leather-Stocking and I—
that’s Benny Pump—you knows Ben?— well, Benny and I—no, me and Benny;
dam’me if I know how ‘tis; but some of us are bound after a cargo of
beaver-skins, d’ye see, so we’ve pressed the cart to ship them ‘ome
in. I say, Master Kirby, what a lubberly oar you pull—you handle an
oar, boy, pretty much as a cow would a musket, or a lady would a

Billy had discovered the state of the steward’s mind, and he walked
for some time alongside of the cart, musing with himself, when he took
the goad from Benjamin (who fell back on the hay and was soon asleep)
and drove his cattle down the street, over the bridge, and up the
mountain, toward a clearing in which he was to work the next day,
without any other interruption than a few hasty questions from parties
of the constables.

Elizabeth stood for an hour at the window of her room, and saw the
torches of the pursuers gliding along the side of the mountain, and
heard their shouts and alarms; but, at the end of that time, the last
party returned, wearied and disappointed, and the village became as
still as when she issued from the gate on her mission to the jail.


“And I could weep “—th’ Oneida chief
His descant wildly thus begun—”
But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father’s son.”—Gertrude OF Wyoming.

It was yet early on the following morning, when Elizabeth and Louisa
met by appointment, and proceeded to the store of Monsieur Le Quoi, in
order to redeem the pledge the former had given to the Leather-
Stocking. The people were again assembling for the business of the
day, but the hour was too soon for a crowd, and the ladies found the
place in possession of its polite owner, Billy Kirby, one female
customer, and the boy who did the duty of helper or clerk.

Monsieur Le Quoi was perusing a packet of letters with manifest
delight, while the wood-chopper, with one hand thrust in his bosom,
and the other in the folds of his jacket, holding an axe under his
right arm, stood sympathizing in the Frenchman’s pleasure with good-
natured interest. The freedom of manners that prevailed in the new
settlements commonly levelled all difference in rank, and with it,
frequently, all considerations of education and intelligence. At the
time the ladies entered the store, they were unseen by the owner, who
was saying to Kirby:

“Ah! ha! Monsieur Beel, dis lettair mak me de most happi of mans. Ah!
ma chére France! I vill see you again.”

“I rejoice, monsieur, at anything that contributes to your happiness,”
said Elizabeth, “ but hope we are not going to lose you entirely.”

The complaisant shopkeeper changed the language to French and
recounted rapidly to Elizabeth his hopes of being permitted to return
to his own country. Habit had, however, so far altered the manners of
this pliable person age, that he continued to serve the wood-chopper,
who was in quest of some tobacco, while he related to his more gentle
visitor the happy change that had taken place in the dispositions of
his own countrymen.

The amount of it all was, that Mr. Le Quoi, who had fled from his own
country more through terror than because he was offensive to the
ruling powers in France, had succeeded at length in getting an
assurance that his return to the West Indies would be unnoticed; and
the Frenchman, who had sunk into the character of a country shopkeeper
with so much grace, was about to emerge again from his obscurity into
his proper level in society.

We need not repeat the civil things that passed between the parties on
this occasion, nor recount the endless repetitions of sorrow that the
delighted Frenchman expressed at being compelled to quit the society
of Miss Temple. Elizabeth took an opportunity, during this
expenditure of polite expressions, to purchase the powder privately of
the boy, who bore the generic appellation of Jonathan. Be fore they
parted, however, Mr. Le Quoi, who seemed to think that he had not said
enough, solicited the honor of a private interview with the heiress,
with a gravity in his air that announced the importance of the
subject. After conceding the favor, and appointing a more favorable
time for the meeting, Elizabeth succeeded in getting out of the store,
into which the countrymen now began to enter, as usual, where they met
with the same attention and bien seance as formerly.

Elizabeth and Louisa pursued their walk as far as the bridge in
profound silence; but when they reached that place the latter stopped,
and appeared anxious to utter something that her diffidence

“Are you ill, Louisa?” exclaimed Miss Temple; “had we not better
return, and seek another opportunity to meet the old man?”

“Not ill, but terrified. Oh! I never, never can go on that hill again
with you only. I am not equal to it, in deed I am not.”

This was an unexpected declaration to Elizabeth, who, although she
experienced no idle apprehension of a danger that no longer existed,
felt most sensitively all the delicacy of maiden modesty. She stood
for some time, deeply reflecting within herself; but, sensible it was
a time for action instead of reflection, she struggled to shake off
her hesitation, and replied, firmly:

“Well, then it must be done by me alone. There is no other than
yourself to be trusted, or poor old Leather-Stocking will be
discovered. Wait for me in the edge of these woods, that at least I
may not be seen strolling in the hills by myself just now, One would
not wish to create remarks, Louisa—if—if— You will wait for me, dear

“A year, in sight of the village, Miss Temple,’ returned the agitated
Louisa, “but do not, do not ask me to go on that hill.”

Elizabeth found that her companion was really unable to proceed, and
they completed their arrangement by posting Louisa out of the
observation of the people who occasionally passed, but nigh the road,
and in plain view of the whole valley. Miss Temple then proceeded
alone. She ascended the road which has been so often mentioned in our
narrative, with an elastic and firm step, fearful that the delay in
the store of Mr. Le Quoi, and the time necessary for reaching the
summit, would prevent her being punctual to the appointment Whenever
she pressed an opening in the bushes, she would pause for breath, or,
per haps, drawn from her pursuit by the picture at her feet, would
linger a moment to gaze at the beauties of the valley. The long
drought had, however, changed its coat of verdure to a hue of brown,
and, though the same localities were there, the view wanted the lively
and cheering aspect of early summer. Even the heavens seemed to share
in the dried appearance of the earth, for the sun was concealed by a
haziness in the atmosphere, which looked like a thin smoke without a
particle of moisture, if such a thing were possible. The blue sky was
scarcely to be seen, though now, and then there was a faint lighting
up in spots through which masses of rolling vapor could be discerned
gathering around the horizon, as if nature were struggling to collect
her floods for the relief of man. The very atmosphere that Elizabeth
inhaled was hot and dry, and by the time she reached the point where
the course led her from the highway she experienced a sensation like
suffocation. But, disregarding her feelings, she hastened to execute
her mission, dwelling on nothing but the disappointment, and even the
helplessness, the hunter would experience without her aid.

On the summit of the mountain which Judge Temple had named the
“Vision,” a little spot had been cleared, in order that a better view
might he obtained of the village and the valley. At this point
Elizabeth understood the hunter she was to meet him; and thither she
urged her way, as expeditiously as the difficulty of the ascent, and
the impediment of a forest, in a state of nature, would admit.
Numberless were the fragments of rocks, trunks of fallen trees, and
branches, with which she had to contend; but every difficulty vanished
before her resolution, and, by her own watch, she stood on the desired
spot several minutes before the appointed hour.

After resting a moment on the end of a log, Miss Temple cast a glance
about her in quest of her old friend, but he was evidently not in the
clearing; she arose and walked around its skirts, examining every
place where she thought it probable Natty might deem it prudent to
conceal him self. Her search was fruitless; and, after exhausting not
only herself, but her conjectures, in efforts to discover or imagine
his situation, she ventured to trust her voice in that solitary place.

“Natty! Leather-Stocking! old man!” she called aloud, in every
direction; but no answer was given, excepting the reverberations of
her own clear tones, as they were echoed in the parched forest.

Elizabeth approached the brow of the mountain, where a faint cry, like
the noise produced by striking the hand against the mouth, at the same
time that the breath is strongly exhaled, was heard answering to her
own voice. Not doubting in the least that it was the Leather-Stocking
lying in wait for her, and who gave that signal to indicate the place
where he was to be found, Elizabeth descended for near a hundred feet,
until she gained a little natural terrace, thinly scattered with
trees, that grew in the fissures of the rocks, which were covered by a
scanty soil. She had advanced to the edge of this platform, and was
gazing over the perpendicular precipice that formed its face, when a
rustling among the dry leaves near her drew her eyes in another
direction. Our heroine certainly was startled by the object that she
then saw, but a moment restored her self-possession, and she advanced
firmly, and with some interest in her manner, to the spot.

Mohegan was seated on the trunk of a fallen oak, with his tawny visage
turned toward her, and his eyes fixed on her face with an expression
of wildness and fire, that would have terrified a less resolute
female. His blanket had fallen from his shoulders, and was lying in
folds around him, leaving his breast, arms, and most of his body bare.
‘The medallion of Washington reposed on his chest, a badge of
distinction that Elizabeth well knew he only produced on great and
solemn occasions. But the whole appearance of the aged chief was more
studied than common, and in some particulars it was terrific. The
long black hair was plaited on his head, failing away, so as to expose
his high forehead and piercing eyes. In the enormous incisions of his
ears were entwined ornaments of silver, beads, and porcupine’s quills,
mingled in a rude taste, and after the Indian fashions. A large drop,
composed of similar materials, was suspended from the cartilage of his
nose, and, falling below his lips, rested on his chin. Streaks of red
paint crossed his wrinkled brow, and were traced down his cheeks, with
such variations in the lines as caprice or custom suggested. His body
was also colored in the same manner; the whole exhibiting an Indian
warrior prepared for some event of more than usual moment.

“John! how fare you, worthy John?” said Elizabeth, as she approached
him; “you have long been a stranger in the village. You promised me a
willow basket, and I have long had a shirt of calico in readiness for

The Indian looked steadily at her for some time without answering, and
then, shaking his head, he replied, in his low, guttural tones:

“John’s hand can make baskets no more—he wants no shirt.”

But if he should, he will know where to come for it,” returned Miss
Temple. “Indeed old John. I feel as if you had a natural right to
order what you will from us.”

“Daughter,” said the Indian, “listen : Six times ten hot summers have
passed since John was young tall like a pine; straight like the bullet
of Hawk-eye, strong as all buffalo; spry as the cat of the mountain.
He was strong, and a warrior like the Young Eagle. If his tribe
wanted to track the Maquas for many suns, the eye of Chingachgook
found the print of their moccasins. If the people feasted and were
glad, as they counted the scalps of their enemies, it was on his pole
they hung. If the squaws cried because there was no meat for their
children, he was the first in the chase. His bullet was swifter than
the deer. Daughter, then Chingachgook struck his tomahawk into the
trees; it was to tell the lazy ones where to find him and the Mingoes—
but he made no baskets.”

“Those times have gone by, old warrior,” returned Elizabeth ; “ since
then your people have disappeared, and, in place of chasing your
enemies, you have learned to fear God and to live at peace.”

“Stand here, daughter, where you can see the great spring, the wigwams
of your father, and the land on the crooked river. John was young
when his tribe gave away the country, in council, from where the blue
mountain stands above the water, to where the Susquehanna is hid by
the trees. All this, and all that grew in it, and all that walked
over it, and all that fed there, they gave to the Fire-eater——for they
loved him. He was strong, and they were women, and he helped them.
No Delaware would kill a deer that ran in his woods, nor stop a bird
that flew over his land; for it was his. Has John lived in peace?
Daughter, since John was young, he has seen the white man from
Frontinac come down on his white brothers at Albany and fight. Did
they fear God? He has seen his English and his American fathers
burying their tomahawks in each other’s brains, for this very land.
Did they fear God, and live in peace? He has seen the land pass away
from the Fire-eater, and his children, and the child of his child, and
a new chief set over the country. Did they live in peace who did
this? did they fear God?”

“Such is the custom of the whites, John. Do not the Delawares fight,
and exchange their lands for powder, and blankets, and merchandise?”

The Indian turned his dark eyes on his companion, and kept them there
with a scrutiny that alarmed her a little.

“Where are the blankets and merchandise that bought the right of the
Fire-eater?” he replied in a more animated voice; “are they with him
in his wigwam? Did they say to him, Brother, sell us your land, and
take this gold, this silver, these blankets, these rifles, or even
this rum? No; they tore it front him, as a scalp is torn from an
enemy; and they that did it looked not behind them, to see whether he
lived or died. Do such men live in peace and fear the Great Spirit?”

“But you hardly understand the circumstances,” said Elizabeth, more
embarrassed than she would own, even to herself. “If you knew our
laws and customs better, you would Judge differently of our acts. Do
not believe evil of my father, old Mohegan, for he is just and good.”

“The brother of Miquon is good, and he will do right. I have said it
to Hawk-eye---I have said it to the Young Eagle that the brother of
Miquon would do justice.”

“Whom call you the Young Eagle?” said Elizabeth, averting her face
from the gaze of the Indian, as she asked the question; “whence comes
he, and what are his rights?”

“Has my daughter lived so long with him to ask this question?”
returned the Indian warily. “Old age freezes up the blood, as the
frosts cover the great spring in winter; but youth keeps the streams
of the blood open like a sun in the time of blossoms. The Young Eagle
has eyes; had he no tongue?”

The loveliness to which the old warrior alluded was in no degree
diminished by his allegorical speech; for the blushes of the maiden
who listened covered her burning cheeks till her dark eyes seemed to
glow with their reflection; but, after struggling a moment with shame,
she laughed, as if unwilling to understand him seriously, and replied
in pleasantry:

“Not to make me the mistress of his secret. He is too much of a
Delaware to tell his secret thoughts to a woman.”

“Daughter, the Great Spirit made your father with a white skin, and he
made mine with a red; but he colored both their hearts with blood.
When young, it is swift and warm; but when old, it is still and cold.
Is there difference below the skin? No. Once John had a woman. She
was the mother of so many sons”—he raised his hand with three fingers
elevated—” and she had daughters that would have made the young
Delawares happy. She was kind, daughter, and what I said she did.
You have different fashions; but do you think John did not love the
wife of his youth—the mother of his children?”

“And what has become of your family, John—your wife and your
children?” asked Elizabeth, touched by the Indian’s manner.

“Where is the ice that covered the great spring? It is melted, and
gone with the waters. John has lived till all his people have left
him for the land of spirits; his time has come, and he is ready.”

Mohegan dropped his head in his blanket, and sat in silence. Miss
Temple knew not what to say. She wished to draw the thoughts of the
old warrior from his gloomy recollections, but there was a dignity in
his sorrow, and in his fortitude, that repressed her efforts to speak.
After a long pause, however, she renewed the discourse by asking:

“Where is the Leather-Stocking, John? I have brought this canister of
powder at his request; but he is nowhere to he seen. Will you take
charge of it, and see it delivered?”

The Indian raised his head slowly and looked earnestly at the gift,
which she put into his hand.

“This is the great enemy of my nation. Without this, when could the
white man drive the Delawares? Daughter, the Great Spirit gave your
fathers to know how to make guns and powder, that they might sweep the
Indians from the land. There will soon be no red-skin in the country.
When John has gone, the last will leave these hills, and his family
will be dead.” The aged warrior stretched his body forward, leaning an
elbow on his knee, and appeared to be taking a parting look at the
objects of the vale, which were still visible through the misty
atmosphere, though the air seemed to thicken at each moment around
Miss Temple, who became conscious of an increased difficulty of
respiration. The eye of Mohegan changed gradually from its sorrowful
expression to a look of wildness that might be supposed to border on
the inspiration of a prophet, as he continued: “But he will go on to
the country where his fathers have met. The game shall be plenty as
the Ash in the lakes. No woman shall cry for meat: no Mingo can ever
come The chase shall be for children; and all just red men shall live
together as brothers.”

“John! this is not the heaven of a Christian,” cried Miss Temple; “you
deal now in the superstition of your forefathers.”

“Fathers! sons!” said Mohegan, with firmness.—” all gone—all gone!—!
have no son but the Young Eagle, and he has the blood of a white man.”

“Tell me, John,” said Elizabeth, willing to draw his thoughts to other
subjects, and at the same time yielding to her own powerful interest
in the youth; “who is this Mr. Edwards? why are you so fond of him,
and whence does he come ?”

The Indian started at the question, which evidently recalled his
recollection to earth. Taking her hand, he drew Miss Temple to a seat
beside him, and pointed to the country beneath them.

“See, daughter,” he said, directing her looks toward the north; “as
far as your young eyes can see, it was the land of his. But immense
volumes of smoke at that moment rolled over their heath, and, whirling
in the eddies formed by the mountains, interposed a barrier to their
sight, while he was speaking. Startled by this circumstance, Miss
Temple sprang to her feet, and, turning her eyes toward the summit of
the mountain, she beheld It covered by a similar canopy, while a
roaring sound was heard in the forest above her like the rushing of

“What means it, John?” she exclaimed: “we are enveloped in smoke, and
I feel a heat like the glow of a furnace.”

Before the Indian could reply, a voice was heard crying In the woods:
“John! where are you, old Mohegan! the woods are on fire, and you have
but a minute for escape.”

The chief put his hand before his mouth, and, making it lay on his
lips, produced the kind of noise that had attracted Elizabeth to the
place, when a quick and hurried step was heard dashing through the
dried underbrush and bushes, and presently Edwards rushed to his side,
with horror an every feature.


“Love rules the court, the camp, the grove.”—Lay of the Last Minstrel.

“IT would have been sad, indeed, to lose you in such manner, my old
friend,” said Oliver, catching his breath for utterance. “Up and
away! even now we may be too late; the flames are circling round the
point of the rock below, and, unless we can pass there, our only
chance must be over the precipice. Away! away! shake off your apathy,
John; now is the time of need.”

Mohegan pointed toward Elizabeth, who, forgetting her danger, had sunk
back to a projection of the rock as soon as she recognized the sounds
of Edwards’ voice, and said with something like awakened animation:

“Save her—leave John to die.”

“Her! whom mean you?” cried the youth, turning quickly to the place
the other indicated; but when he saw the figure of Elizabeth bending
toward him in an attitude that powerfully spoke terror, blended with
reluctance to meet him in such a place, the shock deprived him of

“Miss Temple!” he cried, when he found words; “ you here! is such a
death reserved for you!”

“No, no, no—no death, I hope, for any of us, Mr. Edwards,” she
replied, endeavoring to speak calmly; there is smoke, but no fire to
harm us. Let us endeavor to retire.”

“Take my arm,” said Edwards; “there must he an opening in some
direction for your retreat. Are you equal to the effort?”

“Certainly. You surely magnify the danger, Mr. Ed wards. Lead me out
the way you came.”

“I will—I will,” cried the youth, with a kind of hysterical utterance.
“No, no—there is no danger—I have alarmed you unnecessarily.”

“But shall we leave the Indian—can we leave him, as be says, to die?”

An expression of painful emotion crossed the face of the young man; he
stopped and cast a longing look at Mohegan but, dragging his companion
after him, even against her will, he pursued his way with enormous
strides toward the pass by which he had just entered the circle of

“Do not regard him, “ he said, in those tones that de note a desperate
calmness; “he is used to the woods, and such scenes; and he will
escape up the mountain—over the rock—or he can remain where he is in

“You thought not so this moment, Edwards! Do not leave him there to
meet with such a death,” cried Elizabeth, fixing a look on the
countenance of her conductor that seemed to distrust his sanity.

“An Indian born! who ever heard of an Indian dying by fire? An Indian
cannot burn; the idea is ridiculous. Hasten, hasten, Miss Temple, or
the smoke may incommodate you.”

“Edwards! your look, your eye, terrifies me! Tell me the danger; is it
greater than it seems? I am equal to any trial.”

“If we reach the point of yon rock before that sheet of fire, we are
safe, Miss Temple,” exclaimed the young man in a voice that burst
without the bounds of his forced composure. “ Fly! the struggle is

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