Part 2 out of 6
quest of repose, so much needed after the exercises of the day. Nor
was it long before they were steeped in that deep and solemn slumber
which throws a mysterious veil over the senses, obscuring from the
vision all objects of an unpleasant nature, relieving the mind of the
cares that may have pressed heavily upon it during the day, and at the
same time by the gentlest process refreshing and reinvigorating the
weary faculties for renewed exertion.
Silence brooded over the fireside scene. The lamp threw a dim ray
around its small flame unruffled by the confined and motionless air.
The fawn was coiled in a sleeping posture under its master's bed,
while the kitten purred upon its velvet back. On one side of the
hearth lay Sneak, his head pillowed upon one of the hounds, while the
other slept against his back. Joe was the only one present who had not
fallen under the magic influence of slumber. Hitherto he had yielded
to a more powerful impulse--that of the appetite--and he now sat upon
a low stool on the corner of the hearth opposite to Sneak, his back
leaning against the side of the fireplace, holding in his left hand a
pewter platter, and in his right a rib of the deer he had killed, well
cooked, which he raised to his mouth occasionally, and sometimes at
very long intervals, between the approaches of the sleep which was
gradually overpowering him. Once, when his eyelids sank heavily and
closed, and the platter rested on his lap, and his right hand, still
clenching the savoury bone, fell powerless at his side--Ringwood, in
his hard breathing, chanced to snuff up some ashes that caused him to
sneeze. Joe started at the sound, and after rolling his eyes round
once or twice and finding all right, raised the bone once more to his
mouth and set his jaws again in motion.
"Dod, man! are you going to chaw all night?" asked Sneak, awakened by
the motion of Ringwood, and looking up at the face of Joe in
"I had nothing to eat all day," replied Joe, fishing for a cracker
floating in the greasy platter.
"But ain't you a-going to sleep some?" asked Sneak, half
unconsciously, the final utterance smothered in a guttural rumble as
he again sank back on his canine pillow.
"Yes, when I've got my supper," replied Joe lazily, and indistinctly,
with one end of the bone in his mouth. But it was not long before he
again nodded, and his hand with the bone in it was once more lowered
softly down at his side. He was soon palpably fast asleep. And now the
kitten, having finished its nap, came with a noiseless tread to the
comfortable fire, humming its low unvaried song; and, rubbing its soft
side against the head of Jowler, finally crouched down before the
embers, with its feet drawn under it, and its eyes apparently watching
the brilliant sparks that ever and anon flew up the chimney. But ere
long it scented the well-flavoured viand that dangled in the vicinity,
and after casting a glance at the face of Joe, and being satisfied
that he was insensible to all external objects, stealthily began to
gnaw the end of the bone that rested on the hearth. As long as it had
in mind the fear of interruption, it was permitted to feast
moderately; but when its ravenous propensity urged it to more active
and vigorous operations, Joe once more opened his eyes, and after
looking slowly around, but not down, again attempted to raise the rib
to a is mouth.
"Hello!--augh! scat!" he cried, leaping up violently.
His first impression was that the Indians, about whom he had been
dreaming, were upon him; his next that a rattlesnake clung to his
finger; and finally, finding it to be the kitten bestowing some
scratches on the hand that sought to bereave it of its prize, he
uttered the latter exclamation, first in rage; but pleased that his
condition was no worse, soon after called the poor frightened pet to
him, and with one or two caresses gave it the bone, and then resigned
himself to unrestrained slumber.
They were all aroused in the morning by the snorting of the horses
without, and the growling and sharp yelping of the hounds within.
"What's the matter with the horses and dogs, Joe?" inquired Glenn,
rising from his couch.
"I don't know what ails the foolish things. I know that I fed the
horses; and as for Ringwood and Jowler, I'll soon kick them out. Let
go my ankle!" exclaimed he, turning to Sneak, who caught hold of him
as he rose to approach the door.
"Don't open the door yet," said Boone, who had been listening to the
sounds outside, and then continued in an under tone, addressing Glenn:
"They are certainly here; but whether or not with an evil intent I am
unable to determine."
"Oh goodness! It's the Indians!" exclaimed Joe, yielding to sudden
alarm, having momentarily forgotten the anticipated danger when he
proposed opening the door.
"Keep your mouth shet!" said Sneak, listening with his ear placed near
the floor behind the door.
"How many do you make them out to be?" inquired Boone, when Sneak had
occupied his position a few minutes.
"It's all right!" replied Sneak, eagerly; "there is only two or three
of 'em, and old Roughgrove's out there talking to 'em! How do you open
the door? Let me out!"
The door was opened with reluctance and cautiously by Joe, and Sneak
going foremost all the party sallied out into the fresh air. A snow of
several inches in depth had fallen, and within the circle enclosed by
the palisade not a single track was to be seen. But when the gate was
drawn back, several Osage Indians were observed standing a few paces
distant with their tomahawks hung in their belts and instead of
exhibiting any symptoms of hostility, they approached smiling, and
extended the hand of friendship to the whites.
"How do!" exclaimed the leader, in imperfect English, grasping the
hands held out in salutation, while his actions were imitated by the
others in silence.
"I'm very well, I thank you," said Joe, bowing and retreating
backwards when they accosted him, unwilling to venture his hand within
their reach, as Glenn and the rest did.
"Shake hands with them, you silly fellow," said Boone, "or they will
think you are an enemy."
"Here, Mr. Osage!" said Joe, his teeth chattering as he extended his
hand; and the Indian, perceiving his alarm, squeezed it so tightly for
merriment that he was on the eve of crying out; and when liberated, he
sprang violently back, much inclined to run away, to their great
"That is Raven, the chief," remarked Roughgrove to Glenn, pointing to
the one that first addressed them, and who was now conversing with
Boone, whom he seemed to know, or to have been familiar with his
character, from his animated gestures and the excited expression of
his features. Sneak stood in silence, a convenient distance apart,
apparently gleaning intelligence from the conference. The chief (as
are the members of this tribe generally) was extremely dark, tall,
athletic, and wore a ferocious aspect, while the few followers with
him manifested a curiosity to examine the apparel and accoutrements of
the whites, but without betraying any signs of an evil disposition.
"Are there not more of them in the vicinity?" inquired Glenn.
"Yes--quite a large party," said Roughgrove; "but Raven said he did
not wish to intimidate the whites by showing them, without first
extending the hand of friendship himself. They profess to entertain
the kindest feeling towards us, and propose through their chiefs to
traffic their furs and moccasins for such goods as we may be disposed
to give them in return."
"I do not see your oarsman, Posin," remarked Glenn, the disclosure of
Mary occurring to him--and then accosted Mary herself, who now joined
them with her eyes cast down in apparent bashfulness.
"His absence is a mystery to me," replied the old ferryman, "though I
do not attach the same importance to it that Mary does."
"Father"--uttered his daughter, and pausing in mingled timidity and
dread, as if some undefinable forebodings of harm oppressed her.
"I'll be shot if I understand all this to my liking," said Sneak,
staring at the great number of moccasin tracks that had been made
round the enclosure, which truly indicated that more than the four
chiefs present had been prowling there before daylight.
"Hush, Mr. Sneak!" said Joe; "they hear every word you say."
"Jest let me alone a minute," replied Sneak, getting down on his knees
and examining the various foot-prints with great minuteness. When he
rose he made some signs to Boone, which the others did not comprehend.
At this juncture several other Indians were seen to approach from the
valley above, where the party had encamped. These painted visitors
likewise came forward with sundry nods and gesticulations of
friendship, at the same time exhibiting several furred articles of
curious workmanship, and a few precious stones, as samples of what
they wished to barter. A short conference then ensued between them and
the head chief, which terminated in a pressing invitation for the
whites to accompany them to their encampment.
"You may all do as you like--I shall stay here," said Joe, stepping
back towards the gate.
"You are a coward, Joe!" said Glenn; "you may remain, however, to
prevent them from pilfering any thing while we are away," and he
turned towards the Indians for the purpose of accompanying them.
"Stay!" said Mary, in a distinct and startling tone.
"Why should we not go? We are armed, and could as easily withstand an
attack in their encampment as elsewhere. If it be their determination
to do us harm, their numbers will enable them to accomplish their
purpose notwithstanding all the opposition we can offer," said Glenn.
"There is no danger," said Roughgrove, endeavouring to extricate his
arm from the grasp of Mary, who strenuously held him back.
"I have a secret for thee, child," said Boone, beckoning the trembling
girl to him.
"Oh, what is it? You will not let him--I mean my father, go among
them, will you? _You_ know that Posin is away--perhaps in some ambush
"Hush child!" said Boone, in a low tone, and employing gestures that
led the savages to believe he was quieting her fears, while he
whispered a message in her ear that had a singular effect. Though very
pale, the girl now smiled playfully, and returning to her father,
said, in tones so low that no one else could hear, "Father, he says
you must instantly cross the river for assistance--I will be safe,
under _his_ protection, till you return."
"I'll do it!" replied Roughgrove, setting off towards the ferry. But
when he departed, the chief evinced much anger, and was only appeased
by the assurance that the old ferryman was gone for some article
desired by his child, and would return ere long.
The footprint which had so much attracted Sneak was recognized by some
peculiar marks to be that of Posin, and when the discovery was
communicated to Boone, he at once surmised that danger lurked in the
vicinity; and the subsequent impatience on the part of the Indians to
urge the whites to visit their camp, convinced him that some foul
treachery had been concocted between the half-breed and the savages.
He had also caught a glimpse of several armed Indians behind some
bushes at no great distance from where he stood, notwithstanding Raven
had asserted that the rest of his party were in their encampment; and
when the chief grew angry, and almost menacing, on the withdrawal of
the old ferryman, he resolved to adopt the surest means of safety
without delay. No sooner was the ferry-boat seen to shoot out from the
land than Boone motioned the whites to enter the inclosure. As they
turned towards the gate, the chief made a movement to intercept them;
but Boone drew forth a brace of pistols that had been concealed under
his hunting-shirt, one of which he pointed at Raven, and with the
other intimidated the rest who had advanced likewise, until his
friends were all within the palisade.
[Illustration: Boone drew forth a brace of pistols that had been
concealed under his hunting-shirt, one of which he pointed at Raven,
and with the other intimidated the rest who had advanced on himself,
until his friends were all within the palisade.--P. 56]
Boone did not wish to be the first to shed blood, and in their own
language asserted as much to the savages; but at the same time he
warned them not to commit any violence in the settlement at their
peril. The chief had not thought there would be any necessity for
bloodshed so soon, and perhaps not at all, if Glenn could be enticed
from his house, while Posin and his comrades might obtain his money.
Nor did he expect to meet with Boone, (renowned among all the tribes
for his wisdom and prowess,) much less to be anticipated on the very
threshold of the enterprise. His rage grew intense on finding himself
outwitted and defied. He drew forth his tomahawk, and though not
venturing to throw it, (for he perceived Glenn and Sneak behind, with
their guns in readiness to fire,) he shook it threateningly at Boone
as he closed the gate, and then strode away sulkily in the direction
of the bushes, where some of his followers had been seen partially
When the gate was secured, the inmates of the little fort crowded
about Boone and overwhelmed him with questions.
"Do you think they can get over the posts?" inquired Joe.
"Will they come before father returns?" asked Mary.
"Do you think they will attack us at all?" interrogated Glenn.
"There can be no doubt of it," replied Boone; "but if we do our duty,
I think we shall be able to resist them. We must be ready to defend
ourselves, at all events--and in the mean time we must watch through
the loopholes on every side to prevent a surprise." This was hardly
spoken before an arrow whizzed over their heads, and, striking against
the stone wall of the house, fell at the feet of Joe.
"Ugh! look at that!" cried he, leaping some ten feet away.
"Go in, child--and the rest to their posts!" remarked Boone, first to
Mary, and then addressing the men.
"Yes--_do_ go in, Miss!" cried Joe, forcing Mary into the house, where
he also seemed determined to remain himself.
"Come out here!" cried Sneak, going to the door.
"Wait till I screw a flint in my musket," said Joe.
"You can see better out here," replied Sneak.
"But I haven't found the flint yet," answered Joe.
"He's a coward!" said Sneak, turning away and going to his post,
whence he could watch the valley below.
Boone's station was on the opposite side, in the direction of the
supposed encampment of the Indians. But not a savage could now be
seen, and the arrow that fell among them had evidently been discharged
from a great distance above.
"Shall we fire if any of them come within the range of our guns?"
inquired Glenn, from his position on the east, which overlooked the
"Certainly," replied Boone; "the arrow was their declaration of war,
and if they are again seen, it will be in a hostile attitude. Watch
close, Sneak!" he cried, as another shaft flew over the palisade from
the valley below, and penetrated the wood but a few feet above his
"Come out to your post, Joe!" cried Glenn, impatiently.
"I will presently--as soon as I get my gun fixed," replied Joe.
"If you do not come forth instantly, I'll thrust you out of the
inclosure!" continued Glenn, somewhat fiercely.
"Here I am," said Joe, coming out, and making an effort to assume a
bold bearing: "I'm ready now--I only wanted to fix my gun--who's
afraid?" saying which, he strode in a stooping posture to the loophole
on the west of the inclosure.
While the whole male force of the garrison was required to act as
sentinels, Mary, whose trepidation had been succeeded by deliberate
resolution, was busily employed moulding bullets.
An hour passed, and no Indians had yet been seen, although an
occasional arrow assured the besieged party that the enemy still
remained in the immediate vicinity. They cleared away the snow at
their posts, and placing dry straw to stand upon, prepared to continue
the watch throughout the day and night. Nor were they to suffer for
food; for Mary, though she had not been requested so to do, ere long,
to their joyful surprise, came forth with a dinner handsomely
provided, which she placed before them with a smile of satisfaction
playing on her lips, and entirely unmindful of the shafts that
continued to fly overhead, which either pierced the wood and remained
stationary, or fell expended and harmless at her feet.
Affairs thus remained till night, when the arrows ceased to fly. There
was not a cloud in the heavens, and the moon rose up in purest
brightness. A breathless stillness pervaded the air, and no sound for
a great length of time could be heard but the hooting of owls on the
opposite side of the river, and the howling of wolves in the flats
about a mile above.
"I'm not a bit cold--are you?" said Joe, addressing Sneak.
"Dad! keep an eye out!" replied Sneak, in a low tone.
"There's nothing out this way but a bush. But I declare it seems to be
bigger and nigher than it was in the daytime," said Joe.
"Don't speak so loud," remarked Boone, crossing to where Joe stood,
and looking through at the bush.
"It's nothing but a bush," said Joe.
"Do you wish to kill an Indian?" inquired Boone.
"I wish they were all worms, and I could get my heel on them!" said
"That would be cruel--but as any execution we may now do, is in our
own defence, you may fire at that bush if you like," continued Boone.
"Well," said Joe; and taking deliberate aim, discharged his musket as
directed, and was knocked down on his back in the snow by the rebound.
"Plague take the gun!" said he, recovering his feet; "but I remember
it had two loads in--I forgot it was charged, and loaded it again. Ha!
ha! ha! but what's become of the bush?" he continued jocularly, not
thinking he had fired at an Indian.
"Look for yourself," replied Boone.
"Hang me if it ain't gone!" exclaimed Joe.
"Ay, truly it is; but had you hit the mark, it would have fallen. It
was rather too far, however, even for your musket," said Boone,
returning to his former position.
"You are the poorest marksman that ever I saw, or you'd 'ave killed
that red rascal," said Sneak, coming up to Joe, and finding where the
bush had been.
"I didn't know it was any thing but a bush--if I'd only known it was
"You be hanged!" replied Sneak, vexed that such a capital opportunity
should be lost, and petulantly resuming his own station.
An intense silence succeeded the discharge of Joe's gun, after the
tremendous report died away, in successive reverberations up and down
the river, and over the low wood land opposite. The owls and wolves
were hushed; and as the watchful sentinels cast their eyes over the
snow, on which the calm rays of the moon rested in repose, there was
not the least indication of the presence of a dangerous foe.
Joe leant against the palisade, holding with one hand the breech of
his gun, while the barrel was thrust through the loophole, and seemed
to be indulging in a peculiar train of reflections.
"Now, I'd much rather be in Philadelphia," said he, in a voice but
little louder than a, whisper, and unconscious of giving utterance to
his thoughts--"a great deal rather be there--in some comfortable
oyster-cellar--than standing out here in the lone wilderness, up to my
knees in snow, and expecting every minute to have a poisoned arrow
shot through my head. Hang it all! I wonder what pleasure Mr. Glenn
can enjoy here? Suppose, now, while I'm standing here thinking, an
arrow should dart over the, other side, and stick five or six inches
into me? I hope they keep a careful look-out. And that reminds me that
I ought to keep an eye out myself, for fear some one may he pinked
from my side." He applied his eye to the hole, and continued in the
same strain: "I don't see a single living thing; maybe they've all
gone off. If they have, I'll deserve all the credit, for I'm the only
person that shot at them. And I don't think that long hatchet-face
Sneak will think that I'm a coward any more. But these savages are
strange beings; I had no more idea that the bush hid an Indian than
that there's one not ten feet off now, under the snow. And if we
hadn't found him out he might have crawled up and shot me in the eye
through this hole. I won't hold my eye here all the time!" said he,
rising, and to his astonishment Sneak stood at his elbow, whither he
had glided softly, his quick ear having caught the hum of Joe's
soliloquy, and his curiosity leading him to find out the meaning of
the mysterious jargon of his companion-in-arms.
"Of all the men I ever saw you are the dod-rottedest!" exclaimed
Sneak, after staring at him a few moments in silent wonderment, and
then striding back to his post.
"I should like to hear that sentence parsed," said Joe, looking after
The hours wore on in peace, until midnight, when a low chattering,
like that of a squirrel, was heard in the valley below; while a shrill
whistling, resembling that of quails was distinguished above.
"Come hither!" exclaimed Boone in a whisper to Glenn.
"Do you see any of them?" inquired Glenn, joining his friend.
"Not yet--but we will see enough of them presently. The sounds in the
valleys are signals, and they will attack us on these sides. You may
abandon your watch on the east, and assist me here."
"And you may come and spell me," said Sneak to Joe.
"I must not desert my post," said Joe.
"If you stay there, you'll be dead sure to be shot!" replied Sneak.
"You don't think they're coming back, do you?" inquired Joe, gliding
swiftly to Sneak's side.
"They'll be on us in no time. Is your gun loaded?
"I declare I have forgotten whether I loaded it again or not!" said
"You're, a purty feller, to watch with an empty gun, now ain't you?
Never mind blowing in her--run down a cartridge as quick as you kin;
it makes no odds how much you have in; a big noise will do as much
good as any thing else," said Sneak, hurriedly, evidently expecting to
see the savage enemy every moment, while Joe did his bidding,
asserting all the time that he believed his musket was already loaded,
and expressing a decided dislike to being kicked over every day from
As Boone predicted, but a very short time elapsed before a series of
startling and frightful yells were heard below, which were answered by
similar horrid sounds above. Joe first ran towards Boone and Glenn,
and then sprang back to his place at the side of Sneak, fully
convinced there were no means of retreat, and, being effectually
cornered, at length evinced an ardent desire to fire. When the yells
died away in the distance, a flight of arrows from the north south
poured upon the besieged party. Many of them pierced the outer side of
the palisade, while others, flying over, penetrated the opposite
timbers, and quivered above the heads of the men; and some rattled
against the top of the house, (the snow having melted from the roof,)
and fell harmless to the earth.
There having been no shot yet fired in the direction whence the arrows
came, (for such was the order of Boone,) the savages, emboldened by
the absence of any demonstrations of resistance, and thinking their
foes were shut up in the house, or killed by their numberless shafts,
charged upon the premises simultaneously from both sides, shooting
their arrows and yelling as they came. When they had approached within
a hundred paces of the inclosure, Boone and Sneak fired with deadly
aim at the foremost of the party, and the next moment Glenn followed
the example, while Boone reloaded his gun.
"Now fire!" exclaimed Sneak, shaking Joe by the shoulder, having seen
the savages pause when one of their party uttered the death-howl and
"Here goes!" said Joe, pulling the trigger and falling over on his
back in the snow from the rebound, for the musket had been truly twice
"Split me if you didn't accidentally throw a handful of bullets among
their legs that crack!" said Sneak, observing the now discomfited and
retreating Indians, as they endeavoured to bear off their wounded, and
then firing on them again himself as they vanished down the valley.
The like result was witnessed above, and again in a very short time
there was not a savage to be seen.
"What's the matter? Why don't you get up?" asked Sneak turning to Joe,
who still remained prostrate on the ground.
"My mouth's bleeding--I don't know but I'm wounded. Didn't an arrow
come through the hole when I was shooting?" asked Joe, rising
partially up and spitting out a quantity of blood on the snow.
"It was nothing but the gun kicking you like it did in the bear hunt.
If it was an arrow you must have swallered it, for I don't see the
shaft. But maybe you did--you're sech a gormandizer," said Sneak.
"Hang it all, I don't believe I'm much hurt!" exclaimed Joe, jumping
up suddenly. "Get from before the hole!" he continued, ramming down a
cartridge hastily, and thrusting out the muzzle of his gun.
"Why don't you blaze away?" asked Sneak, laughing, observing that he
"Why, they're, all gone!" cried Joe, joyfully, "and it was my old
cannon that swept them off, too."
Once more silence pervaded the scene. Boone, after the repeated
solicitations of Mary, partook of another bountiful repast, and the
others in turn likewise refreshed themselves, and then resumed the
Nor was it long before the Osages were once more heard to howl like
fiends, and the sound had hardly ceased to vibrate through the air
before a singular and unexpected assault terrified the besieged party
for a moment. This was a shower of _blazing arrows_ coming from below,
(where all the savages now seemed to be collected,) which ignited the
palisade in many places where the snow had fallen off. But the fire
was easily extinguished, and all, with the exception of Boone, were
disposed to attach but little importance to any further device of the
enemy. Boone, on the contrary, was unusually grave, and requested his
companions to be on the alert, or they would yet be the victims of the
"I like these kind of arrows the best," said Joe, "for I can see how
to dodge them."
"But the wooden slabs can't dodge--dod! they're afire on the outside
now!" cried Sneak, truly discovering a flame reaching above the
inclosure from without.
"Watch well from the loopholes!" cried Boone, throwing open the gate
and rushing out, and running round to where the fire was crackling.
"Come, Sneak!--I want your assistance--quick!" he exclaimed, finding
the flames making rapid progress.
"Keep your eye skinned now!" said Sneak, as he left Joe alone to watch
for the Indians, and ran out to aid in subduing the fire.
The savages could evidently see what was transacting, although unseen
themselves, for most of their arrows now seemed to be directed at
"Look sharp!" said Boone to Joe, through the loophole.
"Let me assist!" cried Glenn, imprudently leaving his post in his
eagerness to share the danger, and coming out with a spade.
"Go in, my friend--we are sufficient here," said Boone, addressing
"Come in! come in! come in!" cried Joe.
"I see no Indians," remarked Boone.
"The house is on fire! Fire! fire! fire!" screamed Joe, falling into
his old habit when in the city.
Glenn ran back in this emergency, but when he arrived within the
inclosure, he found that this service had been anticipated by Mary,
who had quietly thrust her hands into the snow, and with balls thus
made, easily extinguished the fire on the roof.
When Boone and Sneak had effected their purpose, they repaired to
their former positions, assured that the utmost caution must be
observed to prevent a surprise from some unexpected quarter, while
their attention was naturally directed to one particular point. But
they had hardly resumed their stations before their ears were saluted
by the joyful report of rifles in the valley. Relief was at hand.
Roughgrove had recrossed the river, with a party of recruits, and
fallen upon the rear of the savages, at a moment when success seemed
to smile on their sanguinary purpose. Their shouts of exultation at
the prospect of firing the premises were now changed to howls of
despair, and they fled in all directions. But Roughgrove, aware of the
impolicy of pursuit, led his men directly to the gallant little
garrison; and the victorious huzzas of his band were answered in like
manner by the besieged, who came forth and gave them a cordial
welcome. Never, perhaps, when they met, did hand grasp hand more
heartily. But Mary, who had hitherto cast aside all the weaker fears
of the woman, no sooner beheld her aged father in safety than she
rushed into arms and fainted on his breast.
A strange excursion--A fairy scene--Joe is puzzled and frightened--A
wonderful discovery--Navigation of the upper regions--A crash--No
Several weeks had elapsed since the incidents recorded in the last
chapter. The repulse of the Osages was succeeded by the arrival of a
war-party of Pawnees, and a deadly feud existing between these tribes,
the latter readily joined the whites, and speedily chased the enemy
far beyond the settlements. Boone had returned to his family on the
other side of the river; and Sneak, having made peace with Joe, had
likewise withdrawn to his own domicil, to pursue his avocations of
hunting and trapping in solitude.
Glenn sat before a blazing fire in his little castle, his left hand
clasping a closed book he had been reading, while his dextral elbow
was resting on the rude arm of a chair which he had constructed and
cushioned with furs, and his palm supported his chin. He thus sat
silently, looking steadfastly through one of the little square windows
at the snow-encrusted branches of the trees beyond the inclosure, and
apparently indulging a pleasing train of reflections.
Joe, on the contrary, was engaged in boisterous and mirthful exercise
on the deep and frozen snow without. He was playing with the kitten,
the fawn, and the hounds, and occasionally ran into the stable to
caress the horses.
At length, with no other object than a dreamy impulse to wander among
the wild scenes in the vicinity, Glenn started up, and donning a warm
overcoat and seizing his rifle, set out along the cliff up the river,
(a direction which he had never yet traversed,) accompanied by Joe,
who seemed to look upon his master's pale composed face, and
determined though gentle motions, with curiosity, if not mystery.
"Why do you stare at me so often?" inquired Glenn, pausing, after they
had walked some distance in silence.
"Because I don't know what you're after," replied Joe.
"You'll see what I'm after," said Glenn, setting forward, and
continuing his course along the cliff.
A snow of several feet in depth rested on the earth, and the sun that
shone forth at noon had melted the surface so frequently, that the
freezing nights which had as often succeeded had formed an icy
incrustation quite strong enough to bear the weight of a man. Though
it was a dreary waste, yet Glenn gleaned a satisfaction in casting his
eyes around where his glance beheld no one striving to oppress his
fellow being that he might acquire riches and power, to be again
snatched from his grasp by others, but a peaceful scene, fresh from
the hand of God, and unmarred by the workmanship of meaner creatures.
The broad river far below was covered with a massy plate of ice, and
the snow that rested upon it gave it the appearance of an immense
plain, rather than an incrusted surface of the most perturbed and
erratic stream in the world. The geese and other fowl that wandered
over the frozen surface in quest of their native element, from the
great distance down, seemed to be no larger than sparrows.
Ere long, Glenn and his man reached the valley above, and commenced a
descent through the timber in a diagonal direction, that would conduct
them, after numerous windings, to the edge of the frozen stream, along
which a narrow pathway ran northward about a mile. Glenn paused at an
abrupt angle in his descent, after having proceeded a few paces
through the undergrowth, and stood long in wonderment and admiration,
gazing at the scene that suddenly burst in view. His towering position
overlooked the whole valley. The ten thousand trees beneath, and their
ten million branches and twigs all completely clothed in
crystal--while not the slightest breeze was stirring--presented a view
of fairyland, such as flits across the vision in dreams, that the
memory fain would cling to, but which is lost in the real and
conflicting transactions of returning day. The noonday sun was
momentarily veiled by a listless cloud, which seemed to be stationary
in the heavens, as if designed to enhance the effect of the beauty
below, that outvied in brightness even the usual light above. Not a
squirrel was seen to leap from bough to bough, nor a bird to flit
across the opening between the lofty trees; but all was stillness,
silence, and beauty. As Glenn stood entranced, Joe seemed to be more
struck with the operation of the enchantment on his companion's
features and attitude, than with any effect from the same source
experienced on himself.
"Ain't you going down to the bottom of the valley?" asked Joe.
"It is a scene such as is beheld by infants in their slumbers, when
they dream of paradise!" said Glenn, paying no attention to Joe, his
eyes immovably riveted on the innumerable sprigs of alabaster which
pointed out in every direction in profuse clusters, while his pale
lips seemed to move mechanically, and his brow expressed a mournful
serenity, as if entertaining a regret that he should ever be separated
from the pearly labyrinths before him, amid which he would delight to
"I think you must be dreaming yourself," said Joe, staring at him.
"How composed is every object!" continued Glenn; "such must be the
abode of angels and departed spirits, who are not permitted longer to
behold the strifes of earth and its contaminations, but rove
continually with noiseless tread, or on self-poised wing, through
devious and delightful paths, surrounded by sedges of silver
embroidery, and shielded above by mazy fretwork spangled with
diamonds, or gliding without effort through the pure and buoyant air,
from bower to bower of crystal"
"Ugh--talking of the icy trees makes me chilly!" said Joe.
"With life everlasting and unchangeable!" continued Glenn, after a
momentary pause from the interruption of his man, which he only
noticed by a significant motion of the hand for him to be silent.
"But I wouldn't like the eternal _frost-work_," said Joe.
"Pshaw!" replied Glenn, pursuing his way downwards. When they reached
the bottom of the valley, they were yet a hundred paces distant from
its junction with the river, which was obscured by the many
intervening trees that grew along the frozen rivulet. Here Glenn again
paused to contemplate the scene. The hills that rose abruptly on
either hand, and the thick intertwining branches above, combined to
produce a dusky aspect scarce less dim than twilight. Glenn folded his
arms composedly, and looked thoughtfully round, as if indulging the
delightful fancies engendered when wandering forth on a summer's
pleasant evening. "There seems to be a supernatural influence
pervading the air to-day," he said, in a low-tone, "for I sometimes
imagine that flitting spirits become partially visible. On the pendent
icicles and jewelled twigs, me thinks I sometimes behold for an
instant the prismatic rays of elfins' eyes--"
"Don't believe it," said Joe; "or if it is so, they are weeping at the
cold, and will soon be frozen up."
"And at each sudden turn," continued Glenn, "they seem to linger an
instant in view, and then vanish sportively, as if amused at the
expense of impotent mortals."
"I can't hear 'em laugh," said Joe.
"And then," continued Glenn, "although beyond human consciousness,
there may be heavenly sounds in the air--the melody of aerial harps
and fairy voices--to which our ears may be sealed, when, perchance,
our vicinity to their presence may inspire the peculiar sensation I
"I heard a heap of curious sounds one warm sunshiny morning," said
Joe; "but when I asked an old fellow jogging along the same road what
they meant, he said the day before had been so cold when the
stage-driver went by that his wind froze as it came out of the bugle,
and was just then thawing."
"If such beings do exist," continued Glenn, paying no attention to
Joe, "it would delight me to commune with them face to face."
"I see a buck's head!" cried Joe, looking down the dell, where the
object he mentioned was distinctly observable amid a cluster of
spicewood bushes, whence a slight jingling sound proceeded as the
animal plucked the nutritious buds bent down by the innumerable
"Why should not the sylvan gods"--continued Glenn.
"Hush! I'm going to fire!" said Joe.
"Why should they not resort hither," said Glenn, unmindful of Joe,
"where no meaner beings abide?"
Joe fired, and Glenn started in astonishment, as if he had had no
intimation of his companion's intention.
"Hang it all! Isn't he going to die, I wonder?" said Joe, after the
buck had made one or two plunges in the snow, his sharp hoofs piercing
through the crust on the surface, and with much struggling extricated
himself and stood trembling, and looked imploringly at his foe.
"What in the world are you about?" exclaimed Glenn, casting a listless
glance at the deer, and then staring his companion in the face.
"Whip me if there was any lead in the gun!" said Joe. "I drew the
bullets out yesterday, and forgot to put them in again. But no
matter--he can't run through the snow--I'll kill him with the butt of
"Move not, at your peril!" said Glenn, authoritatively, when Joe was
about to rush on the defenceless buck.
"I do believe you are out of your head!" said Joe, staring Glenn in
the face, and glancing at the tempting prize, alternately.
"At such an hour--in such an elysian place as this--no blood shall be
spilled. It were profanity to discolor these pearly walks with clotted
"The deuce take the pearls, say I!" said Joe.
"Perhaps," continued Glenn, "a god may have put on the semblance of a
stag to tempt us."
"And hang me, if I wouldn't pretty soon spoil his physiognomy, if you
would only say the word!" said Joe, shaking his head sullenly at the
"Come," said Glenn, sternly; and, leading the way, he passed within a
few feet of the terrified animal without turning his head aside, and
directed his steps down the valley towards the river. Joe said nothing
when opposite the buck, awed by the impressive tone and mysterious
bearing of his master; but he grinned defiance at him, and resolved to
embrace the first opportunity to steal out alone, and fully gratify
his revenge; for such was the feeling he now harboured against the
When they reached the margin of the river, they wandered along the
narrow path that turned to the left, and continued up the stream, with
the ice but a few feet distant on one hand, and the precipitous
acclivity of rocks on the other. They maintained a brisk pace for
about thirty minutes, when the range of cliffs terminating abruptly,
they entered a low flat forest.
"_Now_, what do you say to my firing?" exclaimed Joe, staring at an
enormous wolf, a short distance on the left, that seemed to be tearing
the flesh from the carcass of a deer.
"You must not fire," replied Glenn, viewing the scene with no
"Why not? If the deer's a sylvan god, the wolfs sure to be a black
devil, and it's a duty to take the god's part," said Joe.
"No!" replied Glenn, still striding on.
"Where are you going to, I should like to know? I hope you haven't any
idea of going closer to the haunted island!" said Joe, following
"What haunted island?" asked Glenn.
"Why that one right ahead of us!" replied Joe, pointing to a small
island a few hundred paces distant.
"Who says it is haunted?" demanded Glenn.
"Why, everybody in the country _knows_ it's haunted. Didn't you hear
Miss Mary telling all about it?"
"What did she tell about it?"
"That several years ago a man flew up the river riding on a black
cloud of smoke, and after scaring all the Indians and everybody else
away, took up his abode in yonder island. Not a soul, from that day to
this, has ever been nearer to it than we are now. But strange sights
have been seen there. Once a great big swan, as large as our house,
was seen to come out of the willows and leap into the water. After
seeing it paddle about an hour or two in every direction, an old
beaver trapper and deer hunter took it into his head that it was
nothing more than a water-fowl of some large species; and resolving to
have a crack at it anyhow, he crept behind the rocks at the end of the
cliff, and blazed away when it swam past the next time. Mercy on us!
when he fired, they say the thing turned his head towards him, and
came at him in a straight line, and as fast as lightning, blowing
sparks of fire out of its nostrils, while the poor man stood stock
still, spell-bound, until it seized upon him, and he has never been
heard of since."
"Nothing more?" asked Glenn, lightly, and smiling.
"Good gracious! what more would you want? But there _was_ more; for
the very next day, when the people were looking at the island from a
distance, and wondering what had been the fate of old Odell, another
large bird came out. But this was like an eagle, and instead of going
into the water, it flew up into the air, and kept going higher and
higher, until it was no bigger than a sparrow, and soon vanished
altogether! I declare we are too near the island now, Mr. Glenn; let
us go back; we have gone far enough!" said Joe, beseechingly, his own
tale having roused all the terrors which his nature was capable of
Glenn seemed to pay no attention to what his companion was saying, but
strode onward directly towards the island.
"Mr. Glenn!" continued Joe, stepping ahead, and facing him by turning
round. "Oh, sir! you don't certainly intend to venture any closer to
that fatal spot?"
"Pshaw!" replied Glenn, pushing him aside, and continuing on. When
they were opposite the island, Joe, whose alarm had almost deprived
him of the power of motion, was now struck with horror as he beheld
his master pause, and then descend to the ice, and walk deliberately
to the haunted ground! When Glenn reached the bank, he turned to his
pale and shivering companion, and motioned him to follow.
"Oh, Heaven! we'll never be seen any more!" cried Joe, between his
"Come on, Joe! I'll take care of you," said Glenn, encouragingly, as
his man hesitated in doubt when midway on the ice.
"The holy saints preserve me!" said Joe, gliding over, quaking with
fear, and clinging to Glenn's hand.
They walked up a gentle ascent from the water's edge, whence Glenn
expected to see nothing more than a surface of snow, and the dense
growth of young timber incident to such a place. But what was his
surprise, on beholding, in the midst of the island, and obscured from
view to the surrounding country by an almost impenetrable grove of
young willows, a round chimney-top rising over a high circular granite
wall! Nothing daunted, he continued his steps directly towards the
mysterious dwelling, notwithstanding the protestations and prayers of
Joe. When they drew near, a thin slightly coloured vapor could be
distinguished ascending from the chimney, indicating that the tenement
was certainly inhabited. When they reached the wall, they pursued
their way round it until they found a small iron gate.
"Rap there, Joe," said Glenn. Joe only turned his head, and looked at
him in silence.
"Knock," continued Glenn.
"Oh!" exclaimed Joe, falling on his knees. "If ever you were prevailed
on not to do any thing you were doing, let me this one time persuade
you to leave this place."
"Knock!" repeated Glenn, emphatically. Joe struck the gate several
blows with his knuckles, but so gently that he could not hear them
himself. Glenn seemed to grow angry, and seizing his man's musket, was
in the act of applying the end of it violently, when the gate flew
open at one spring, and a hoary porter stood bowing and beckoning
"Do not enter!" cried Joe, throwing his arms around Glenn.
"It is too late, now--you have knocked, and it is opened unto
you--your mission must be accomplished before you turn back. Mine is
not yet effected--I am the one who dared to face the magic swan--and
like me, all who come hither must remain until it shall be the
pleasure of the fire-wizard to release them," said the old attendant.
"Lead me to this fire-wizard!" said Glenn, firmly, stepping into the
inclosure. When they entered, the gate closed after them without any
apparent agency of the old hunter, and with such force that Joe sprang
several feet forward.
"Oh, goodness! we are nothing but poor rats in the trap, now!"
"I pledged myself for your safety, and will keep my word," said Glenn.
"But what will the wizard care about your veracity?" asked Joe.
"Follow!" said the old porter, leading the way towards the house.
After passing several small buildings, Glenn found himself in a
spacious area, over which were scattered various and strange
implements, and divers nondescript machines. Some half dozen men were
also observed, their sleeves rolled up, and intently plying the
chisel, the file and other tools. These men cast a momentary and
sullen glance at the visitors, like convicts in the penitentiary, and
resumed their labours in silence. The party soon arrived at the door
of the main building, when the old porter entered alone, and after
remaining a few moments within, came forth and announced his readiness
to conduct our hero into the presence of the fire-wizard. Glenn
motioned him to lead on, and after following through a short hall, and
turning into a large chamber, the mysterious lord of the island was
confronted, reclining before them on a couch of furs. He appeared to
be an emaciated and decrepit old man, his long white beard extending
down to his breast; and when he motioned our hero to a seat, his hand
seemed to tremble with feebleness. Yet there was something in his eye
that indicated no ordinary spirit, and instantly impressed Glenn with
the respect that he conceived to be due to superior genius; for
notwithstanding all the miraculous things told of the fire-wizard, he
rightly conjectured the personage before him to be nothing more than a
human being, a recluse, perhaps, and, like himself, seeking in
solitude the enjoyments which (for peculiar reasons) could not be
found among mankind.
"What brings thee hither?" demanded the aged man, after a few minutes'
silence, during which his brilliant eyes were closely fixed upon the
composed features of Glenn.
"That which induced thee to seek such a solitary abode," replied our
"Have you no fears?" continued the old man.
"None!" replied Glenn, firmly.
"Give me your hand!" exclaimed the old man; "you are the only being
that ever confronted the fire-wizard without feeling terror--and for
those who know not fear there is no danger. Instead of a menial, or a
victim, I will make you my companion."
"Thank him, Mr. Glenn," whispered Joe, "and perhaps he won't hurt us."
"I am seeking amusement," said Glenn; "and as long as I am pleased, it
matters not with whom or where shall be my abode. But the moment I
desire it, I will go hence."
The fire-wizard motioned the attendant to withdraw, who instantly
obeyed, leading Joe out at the same time, the poor fellow evincing
great reluctance to be separated from Glenn.
"Before exhibiting to you the mysterious objects which have acquired
for me the name of magician," said the old man, "I will briefly give
you my history. I was, in youth, they termed an idle dreamer--ever on
the alert for new discoveries--and was more laughed at than encouraged
in my pursuit of rare inventions. More than fifty years ago I
ascertained that steam might be made to propel machinery. I attempted
to explain the principles of this discovery to my fellow-men, and to
convince them of the vast benefits that might result from it. I was
not heeded--nay, I was insulted by their indifference--and made a
solemn vow that its advantages should never be reaped through my
instrumentality. In secret I constructed a small steamboat, and having
placed on board such materials as might be required, and secured the
assistance of a requisite number of artisans, I came hither, resolved
to prosecute my experiments to my own satisfaction in solitude, where
the taunts of skeptics could not reach me. Follow, and you shall
behold what has been the result of my unrestrained researches." The
old man arose, and conducted our hero across the yard to a curtained
shelter on one side of the inclosure.
"La! if that ain't its foot!" exclaimed Joe, who joined our hero, and
observing a large foot, resembling in shape that of the swan, under
the folds of the curtain, while the old wizard paused a moment before
unveiling the curious object. It was as Joe surmised: when the canvas
was withdrawn, an artificial swan of monstrous dimensions, though
perfect in all its proportions, was revealed to their wondering gaze.
A little beyond, another curtain was drawn aside, and an eagle,
holding in its beak a bloody crown, and in its talons a silken banner
of stripes and stars, stood before them in the attitude of springing
up in the air.
"Which will you try first?" demanded the fire-wizard, while a proud
smile played on his lips.
"Can _either_ of them be set in motion by your art?" asked Glenn.
"Both!" exclaimed the wizard. "If you will tarry till the ice is gone,
the swan shall rush through the strongest current as swiftly as the
wild horse careers over the prairie; or the eagle shall even now dart
beyond the clouds, and transport you in a few brief hours to where you
will see the briny waves rolling against the distant Atlantic coast!"
Glenn was incredulous, and his unbelief was betrayed by a smile, in
spite of his efforts to the contrary.
"Bring hither a lamp!" said the wizard to the attendant and was
"Oh, don't make him mad! He's going to do something now!" whispered
Joe to Glenn. The wizard touched a spring; the breast of the eagle
flew open, and within could be seen polished wheels and other portions
of a complicated machinery. The old man next applied the blaze of the
lamp to some spirits within, and in a very few minutes particles of
steam could be seen to escape from the eagle's nostrils. The wizard
touched another spring, and the enormous bird strode out and paused in
the centre of the area.
"If you would behold the home of your youth, be it whithersoever it
may, so that you name it, follow me, and your eyes shall gaze upon
that spot within a few hours," said the sage, as the wings of the
stupendous eagle slowly unfolded, and rising to a horizontal position,
uncovered a transparency in the side of the chest, through which could
be seen a gorgeous couch within, sufficiently ample to contain two
men, and separate from the fire and machinery by a partition of
"Come!" exclaimed the sage, opening the tortoise-shell door under the
wing, and stepping into the couch.
"Don't do any such thing!" said Joe.
"Ha! ha! ha! Do you think it can fly, Joe?" remarked Glenn, laughing.
"It _will_ fly!" said the old man, emphatically; "and I charge you to
be prepared to ascend beyond the clouds, if you have the courage to
occupy a portion of my couch."
"Though I cannot believe it will rise at your bidding," replied Glenn,
"yet, should it do so, I must be permitted to regard you as being only
flesh and blood, and as such, I do not hesitate to venture as much as
another mortal will;" Baying which, our hero seated himself beside the
The old man closed the door, and drawing forth a small compass (his
companion intimating the course,) adjusted several screws within
convenient reach, accordingly; he then pressed a small lever with his
foot, and the wings, after quivering a moment, flapped quickly, and
the great eagle darted almost perpendicularly up in the air, and was
beyond the reach of vision in a very few seconds!
When a certain height was attained, the wizard turned the bird in the
course indicated by his companion.
"What think you now of the fire-wizard!" demanded the sage, with an
air of triumph.
"Still that he is a man--but a great one--and this, the perfection of
his art, the greatest extent the Supreme Being has permitted the mind
of a man to attain!" replied Glenn, gazing in admiration at the
countries far below, which he was passing with the velocity of a
"And still you fear not!" demanded the wizard.
"And shall not!" replied Glenn, "so long as your features are
composed." The old man pressed his hand and smiled.
"Yonder is St. Louis!" cried Glenn, running his eye along the valley
of the Missouri, down to its confluence with the Mississippi; and a
short distance beyond, descried the town in question, though it did
not seem to be larger than one ordinary mansion, with its garden and
"We are far above the reach of vision from the earth," said the
wizard, bounding forward to endeavour to regulate a part of the
machinery that had for some time attracted his attention, and which
Glenn believed to be not altogether right, from the abrupt movement of
"How far above the earth are we?' asked Glenn.
"About twenty-five miles--but should this screw give way, it may be
less very speedily!" exclaimed the old man, almost incoherently, and
applying all his strength to the loosened screw to keep it in its
"Let me assist!" exclaimed Glenn, springing forward.
"It's gone!" cried the old man; "you have knocked it out! we are
* * * * *
"That's just what I expected," said Joe, addressing the fawn, which
had been playing with the dogs, and at length ran against Glenn's
chair so violently as to push it over.
"Oh! oh! oh!" exclaimed Glenn.
"Goodness! Are you hurt?" asked Joe.
"Is it possible? Am I alive, and _here_?" exclaimed Glenn, staring
wildly round, and doubting his own identity.
"Well, I never heard a dead man talk, as I know of, before; and as to
our being _here_, if your own eyes don't convince you, I'll swear to
it," said Joe.
"Did I not go up to the island this morning?" inquired Glenn.
"No," said Joe.
"Did you not accompany me, and fire at the buck?" interrogated Glenn,
resuming his seat.
"No--I'll be hanged if I did!" said Joe somewhat warmly.
"What have I been doing all day?"
"You've been sitting there fast asleep, and I presume you were
"Thank Heaven, it was but a dream!" exclaimed Glenn, laughing.
"A dream?" responded Joe, sitting down on his stool, and soliciting
Glenn to relate it to him. Glenn complied, and the narration was
nothing more than what the incredulous reader has been staring at all
this time. But we will make amends.
A hunt--A deer taken--The hounds--Joe makes a horrid discovery
"It beats all the dreams I ever heard," said Joe, feeling his right
shoulder with his left hand..
"Why do you feel your shoulder, Joe?" asked Glenn, smiling, as he
recollected the many times his man had suffered by the rebound of his
musket, and diverted at the grave and thoughtful expression of his
"It _was_ a dream, wasn't it?" asked Joe, with simplicity, still
examining his shoulder.
"But you know there was no lead in the gun, and it could not rebound
with much violence," said Glenn.
"I'll soon see all about it," exclaimed Joe, springing up and running
to his gun. After a careful examination he returned to his stool
beside the fire, and sat some minutes, with the musket lying across
his knees, and his chin in his hand, plunged in profound meditation on
the imaginary incidents which had just been related to him. Had the
dream been an ordinary one, and he not an actor in it, it might have
passed swiftly from his memory; but inasmuch as the conduct imputed to
him was so natural, and the expressions he was made to utter so
characteristic, he could not but regard it as a vision far more
significant and important than a mere freak of the brain during a
moment of slumber.
"What are you studying about?" interrogated Glenn.
"I can't understand it," replied Joe, shaking his head.
"Neither can the most renowned philosopher," said Glenn; "but you can
tell whether your musket has been discharged."
"It hasn't been fired," said Joe. "But what distresses me is, that
there should be only a charge of powder in it, just as you stated, and
when I drew out the shot you were fast asleep. You must have heard me
say I intended to do it."
"Not that I remember," said Glenn.
"Then there must be a wizard about, sure enough," said Joe, and he
"Suppose we take our guns and walk out in the direction mentioned?"
said Glenn; "I feel the want of exercise after my sleep, and have some
curiosity to test the accuracy of my dream by comparing the things
described with the real objects on the island."
"Not for the world!" cried Joe, lifting both hands imploringly; "but I
will gladly go anywhere else, just to see if the bushes are as
beautiful as you thought they were, and if the deer can't run on the
snow-crust as well as the dogs."
"Come on, then--I care not which course we go," said Glenn, taking up
his gun, and leading the way out of the inclosure.
They pursued a westerly course until they reached nearly to the edge
of the prairie, when they paused in the midst of a cluster of hazel
bushes, to admire the beauty of the novel scene. The description had
been perfect. Even Glenn surveyed the emblazenry of magic "frost
work," around him with some misgivings as to the fallacy of his
vision. Joe stared at his master with a curious and ludicrous
"I am not dreaming now, Joe," said he, with a smile.
"How do you know?" asked Joe.
"That's well put," said Glenn; "indeed, I am very sure that many of my
lively and spirited friends in Philadelphia and New York, could they
but see me, would swear that I have been dreaming every day for the
last three months. However, I have not now the same reverence for the
sylvan gods I was so much inclined to worship in my last sleep; and,
moreover, I am the first to see the deer this time. Yonder it stands.
It is not a buck, though; capture it as soon as you please."
"Where is it?" exclaimed Joe, his superstition vanishing as he
anticipated some sport; and, gliding quickly to Glenn's side, he
beheld, under the branches of a low scrubby oak tree, the head and
ears of a large doe. It was intently watching our pedestrians, and
stood motionless in the ambush, on which it vainly relied to obscure
it from the eyes of an enemy.
"You must not fire," said Glenn, placing his hand on the shoulder of
Joe. Joe lowered his musket reluctantly, and turning his eyes to his
master, seemed inclined to relapse into the belief that all was not
right and natural in their proceedings.
"Now go to it," said Glenn, gently taking the gun from Joe.
"I'd rather not," said Joe.
"Why? A doe cannot hurt you--it has no horns."
"I don't fear it--I'm only afraid it will run away," said Joe, eager
to secure the prize.
"Try it, at all events; if it should run very fast, I think I shall be
able to arrest its career with the gun," said Glenn, who prepared to
fire, provided the deer was likely to escape the clutches of Joe.
"Here goes!" cried Joe, leaping through the small bushes towards the
covert. The deer moved not until Joe reached within a few feet of it,
when, making a mighty spring, it bounded over the head of its
assailant, and its sharp feet running through the icy surface of the
snow, penetrated so far down, from the force of its weight, that it
was unable to escape. It now lay quite still, with its large blue eyes
turned imploringly to its foe. Joe seized it by the hind feet, and
exultingly exclaimed that the prize was safely his own. The trembling
and unresisting animal appeared to be as perfectly submissive as a
sheep in the hands of the shearer.
"You have it, sure enough!" said Glenn, coming up and viewing the
scene with interest.
"Lash me if I haven't!" said Joe, much excited. "Have you got any sort
of a string about you?"
"Please cut down a hickory withe, and peel the bark off for me, while
I hold its legs."
Glenn drew out his hunting knife, but paused when in the act of
executing his man's request, and turning, with a smile playing upon
his lip, said--
"Perhaps, Joe, this is but another dream; and if so, it is folly to
give ourselves any unnecessary trouble."
"Lash me if it ain't reality!" replied Joe, as the deer at length
began to struggle violently.
Extricating its feet from his grasp, the doe bestowed a well directed
kick on its foe's head, which tumbled him over on his back. The animal
then sprang up, but aware there was no chance of escape by running,
faced about and plied its bony head so furiously against Joe's breast
and sides that he was forced to scamper away with all possible
"Has it bruised you, Joe? If so, this is certainly no dream," remarked
"Oh, goodness! I'm battered almost to a jelly. I'll take my oath
there's no dreaming about this. Let me go after Ringwood and Jowler."
"It would be too cruel to let the hounds tear the poor thing," said
Glenn; "but after you have bound its feet together, you may bring out
one of the horses and a sled, and convey it home unhurt."
"The horses can't go in this deep snow," said Joe.
"True, I forgot that. Take your musket and shoot it," said Glenn,
turning away, not wishing to witness the death of the deer.
"I'd rather take him prisoner," said Joe, lowering his musket after
taking a long aim. "I can drag it on the sled myself."
"Then go for it," said Glenn; "and you may bring the hounds along; I
will exercise them a little after that fox which keeps such a
chattering in the next grove. But first let us secure the deer."
Joe charged upon the doe once more, and when it aimed another blow at
him, he threw himself under its body, and the animal falling over on
its side, the combined efforts of the men sufficed to bind its feet.
Joe then went to the house for the hounds and the sled, and Glenn
leant against the oak, awaiting his return. It was not long before the
hounds arrived, which was soon succeeded by the approach of Joe with
the sled. Ringwood and Jowler evinced palpable signs of delight on
beholding the bound captive, but their training was so perfect that
they showed no disposition to molest it without the orders of their
master. One word from Glenn, and the deer would have been instantly
torn in pieces; but it was exempt from danger as long as that word was
Joe soon came up, and in a very few minutes the doe was laid upon the
sled. When he was in the act of starting homewards with his novel
burden, the hounds, contrary to their usual practice, refused to
accompany Glenn to the thicket north of their position, where the fox
was still heard, and strangely seemed inclined to run in a contrary
direction. And what was equally remarkable, while snuffing the air
towards the south, they gave utterance to repeated fierce growls. Joe
was utterly astonished, and Glenn was fast losing the equanimity of
"There's something more than common down there; see how Ringwood
bristles up on the back," said Joe.
"Run there with the hounds, and see what it is," said Glenn.
"And I'll take my musket, too," said Joe, striding in the direction
indicated, with the hounds at his heels and his musket on his
When he reached a narrow rivulet about one hundred paces distant, that
gradually widened and deepened until it formed the valley in which the
ferry-house was situated a half mile below, he paused and suffered the
hounds to lead the way. They ran a short distance up the ravine and
halted at the edge of a small thicket, and commenced barking very
fiercely as they scented the air under the bushes.
"I'll bet it's another bear," said Joe, putting a fresh priming in the
pan of his musket, and proceeding after the hounds. "If it is a bear,
ought I to fool with him by myself?" said he, pausing at the edge of
the thicket. "I might get my other ear boxed," he continued, "and it's
not such a pleasant thing to be knocked down by the heavy fist of a
big black bear. If I don't trouble him, he'll be sure to let me alone.
What if I call the dogs off, and go back? But what tale can I
manufacture to tell Mr. Glenn? Pshaw! What should I fear, with such a
musket as this in my hand? I can't help it. I really believe I _am_ a
little touched with cowardice! I'm sorry for it, but I can't help it.
It was born with me, and it's not my fault. Confound it! I _will_
screw up courage enough to see what it is, anyhow." Saying this, he
strode forward desperately, and urging the hounds onward, followed
closely in the rear in a stooping posture, under the hazel bushes.
In a very few moments Joe reached the head of the ravine, but to his
astonishment and no little satisfaction, he beheld nothing but a
shelving rock, from under which a spring of clear smoking water
flowed, and a large bank of snow which had drifted around it, but
through which the gurgling stream had forced its way. Yet the mystery
was not solved. Ringwood and Jowler continued to growl and yelp still
more furiously, running round the embankment of snow repeatedly, and
ever and anon snuffing its icy surface.
"Whip me if I can figure out this," said Joe; "what in the world do
the dogs keep sticking their noses in that snow for? There can't be a
bear in it, surely. I've a notion to shoot into it. No I won't. I'll
do this, though," and drawing out his long knife he thrust it up to
the handle in the place which seemed the most to attract the hounds.
"Freeze me if it hasn't gone into something besides the snow!"
exclaimed he, conscious that the steel had penetrated some firm
substance below the frozen snow-crust. "What the deuce is it?" he
continued, pulling out the knife and examining it. "Ha! blood, by
jingo!" he cried, springing up; "but it can't be a living bear, or it
would have moved; and if it had moved, the stab would have killed it.
I _won't_ be afraid!" said he, again plunging his knife into it, "It
don't move yet--it must be dead--why, it's frozen. Pshaw! any thing
would freeze here, in less than an hour. I'll soon see what it is."
Saying this, he knelt down on the embankment, and commenced digging
the snow away with all his might. The dogs crouched down beside him,
growling and whining alternately, and otherwise exhibiting symptoms of
restlessness and distress.
"Be still, poor Ringwood, I'm coming to him; I see something dark, but
there's no hair on it. Ugh! hallo! Oh goodness! St. Peter! Ugh! ugh!
ugh!" cried he, springing up, his face as pale as the snow, his hair
standing upright, his chin fallen, and his eyes almost straining out
of their sockets. Without taking his gun, or putting on his hat, he
ran through the bushes like a frightened antelope, leaping over
ditches like a fox-chaser, tearing through opposing grape vines, and
not pausing until his course was suddenly arrested by Glenn, who
seized him by the skirt of the coat, and hurled him on his back beside
the sled on which the deer was bound.
"What is the matter?" demanded Glenn.
Joe panted painfully, and was unable to answer.
"What ails you, I say?" repeated Glenn in a loud voice.
"Do you mean the pony?"
"St. Peter!" ejaculated Joe.
"Well, what of St. Peter?"
"Oh, let me be off!" cried he, endeavouring to scramble to his feet.
But he was most effectually prevented. For no sooner had he turned
over on his hands and knees, than Glenn leaped astride of him.
"Now, if you _will_ go, you shall carry me on your back, and I will
pelt the secret out of you with my heels, as we travel!"
"Just let me get in the house and fasten the door, and I will tell you
every word," said Joe imploringly.
"Tell me now, or you shall remain in the snow all day long!" said
Glenn, with a hand grasping each side of Joe's neck.
"Oh, what shall I do? I can't speak!" yelled Joe, trying outright, the
large tear-drops falling from his nose and chin.
"You have not lost your voice, I should say, at all events," implied
Glenn, somewhat touched with pity at his man's unequivocal distress,
though he could scarce restrain his laughter when he viewed his
grotesque posture. "What has become of your musket and hat?" he added.
"I left them both there," said Joe, gradually becoming composed under
the weight of his master.
"Where?" asked Glenn.
"At the cave-spring."
"Well, what made you leave them there?"
"Just get off my back and I'll tell you. I'm getting over it now; I'm
going to be mad instead of frightened," said Joe, with real composure.
"Get up, then; but I won't trust you yet. You must still suffer me to
hold your collar," said Glenn.
"If you go to the cave-spring you will see a sight!"
"What kind of a sight?"
"Such a sight as I never dreamed of before!"
"Then it has been nothing but a dream _this time_, after all your
"No, I'll be shot if there was any dreaming about it," replied Joe;
and he related every thing up to the horrid discovery which caused him
to retreat so precipitately, and then paused, as if dreading to revert
to the subject.
"What did you find there? Was it any thing that could injure you?"
"No," said Joe, shaking his head solemnly.
"Why did you run, then?" demanded Glenn, impatiently.
"The truth is, I don't know myself, now I reflect about it. But I'd
rather not tell what I saw just yet. I was pretty considerably
alarmed, wasn't I?"
"Ridiculous! I will not be trifled with in this manner Tell me
instantly what you saw!" said Glenn, his vexation and anger overcoming
his usual indulgent nature.
"I'll tell you now--it was a--Didn't you see them bushes move?" asked
Joe, staring wildly at a clump of sumach bushes a few paces distant.
"What was it you saw at the cave-spring!" shouted Glenn, his face
"I--I"--responded Joe, his eyes still fixed on the bushes. "It was
a--Ugh!"--cried he, starting, as he beheld the little thicket open,
and a tall man rise up, holding in his hand a bunch of dead muskrats.
"Dod speak on--I want to hear what it was--I've been laying here all
this time waiting to know what great thing it was that skeered you so
much. I never laughed so in all my life as I did when he got
a-straddle of you. I was coming up to the sled, when I saw you
streaking it through the vines and briers, and then I squatted down
awhile to see what would turn up next."
"Ha! ha! ha! is it you, Sneak? I thought you was an Indian! Come on,
I'll tell now. _It was a man's moccasin_!" said Joe, in a low,
"And you ran in that manner from an old moccasin!" said Glenn,
"But there was a _foot_ in it!" continued Joe.
"A _he_ man's foot?" inquired Sneak, quickly turning to Joe.
"How could I tell whether it was a he man's foot, or a female woman's,
as you call them?" replied Joe.
"Are you sure it was a human being's foot?" demanded Glenn.
"Well, I never saw any other animal but a man wear a buckskin
moccasin!" replied Joe.
"An Irishman can't tell any thing right, nohow you can fix it," said
"They can't tell how you make wooden nutmegs," retorted Joe.
"Come," said Glenn, "we will go and examine for ourselves."
The party set off in a brisk walk, and soon reached the scene of Joe's
alarm. Sure enough, there was the moccasin, and a man's foot in it!
"It's somebody, after all," said Sneak, giving the frozen foot a kick.
"Ain't you ashamed to do that?" said Joe, knitting his brows.
"He's nothing more than a stone, now. Why didn't he holler when you
stuck your knife into him?" replied Sneak.
"Dig him up, that we may see who he is," said Glenn.
"I'd rather not touch him," said Joe.
"You're a fool!" said Sneak. "Stand off, and let me at him--I'll soon
see who he is." Sneak threw down his maskrats, and with his spear and
knife soon extricated the body, which he handled as unceremoniously as
he would have done a log of wood. "Dod rot your skin!" he exclaimed,
when he brushed the snow from the man's face. He then threw down the
body with great violence.
"Oh don't!" cried Joe, while the cold chills ran up his back.
"Who is it?" asked Glenn.
"It's that copper-snake, traitor, skunk, water-dog, lizard-hawk,
"Who do you mean?" interrupted Glenn.
"_Posin_, the maliverous rascal who collogued with the Injins to
murder us all! I'm glad he got his dose--and if he was alive now, I'd
make him swaller at least two foot of my spear," said Sneak.
"'Twas me--I killed him--look at the buck-shot holes in his back!"
exclaimed Joe, now recovering from his excitement and affright.
"Yes, and you're a nice chap, ain't you, to run like flugins from a
dead man that you killed yourself!" said Sneak.
"How did I know that I killed him?" retorted Joe.
"Any fool might know he was dead," replied Sneak.
"I'll pay you for this, some of these times," said Joe.
"How shall we bury him?" asked Glenn.
"That can be done real easy," said Sneak, taking hold of the dead
man's leg and dragging him along on the snow like a sled.
"What are you going to do with him?" demanded Glenn.
"I'm a going to cut a hole in the ice on the river, and push him
under," said Sneak.
"You shall do no such thing!" said Glenn, firmly; "he must be buried
in the earth."
"Just as you say," said Sneak, submissively, throwing down the leg.
"Run home and bring the spades, Joe," said Glenn, "and call for the
ferrymen to assist us."
"And I'll take the sled along and leave it in the yard," said Joe,
starting in the direction of the deer and calling the hounds after
"Let the hounds remain," said Glenn. "I am resolved to have my
fox-hunt." Joe soon disappeared.
"If you want to hunt, you can go on; Roughgrove and me will bury this
robber," said Sneak.
"Be it so," said Glenn; "but remember that you are not to put him in
the river, nor must you commit any indecent outrage upon his person.
Let his body return to the earth--his soul is already in the hands of
Him who created it."
"That's as true as gospel," said Sneak; "and I would rather be froze
in this snow than to have his hot berth in the t'other world. I don't
feel a bit mad at him now--he's paying for his black dagiverous
conduct hard enough by this time, I'll be bound. I say, Mr. Glenn,
it'll be rather late when we get through with this job--will there be
any vacant room at your fireside to-night?"
"Certainly, and something to eat--you will be welcome, provided you
don't quarrel too much with Joe," replied Glenn.
"Oh, Joe and me understand each other--the more we quarrel the more we
love one another. We'll never fight--do you mind that--for he's a
coward for one thing, and I won't corner him too close, because he's
broad-shouldered enough to _lick me_, if he was to take it into his
head to fight."
Glenn called the hounds after him and set out in quest of the fox, and
Sneak turned to the dead body and mused in silence.
Boone--The interment--Startling intelligence--Indians about--A
skunk--Thrilling fears--Boone's device.
Ere long Joe was on his way back to the cave-spring, with several
spades on his shoulder, accompanied by Boone, (who had just crossed
the river on a visit to Glenn,) and Roughgrove, with his two oarsmen.
"Is Glenn at the spring with Sneak?" asked Boone, in a very thoughtful
and grave manner.
"Yes, sir, I left him there, and I now hear him with the hounds
chasing a fox," replied Joe, in true native style.
"If he is with the hounds, he is certainly not at the spring,"
"I meant that he was there, or _thereabouts_" replied Joe.
"Who found the dead man?" inquired Boone.
"I did--that is, when the dogs scented him--and it almost frightened
me when I dug out his foot," said Joe.
"No doubt!" observed Boone.
The party now moved along in silence, still permitting Joe to lead the
way, until they suddenly emerged from the thicket in the immediate
vicinity of the spring, when an unexpected scene attracted their
notice. Sneak was composedly seated on the body of the dead man, and
very deliberately searching his pockets!
"Well! that beats all the mean actions I ever beheld before!" said
Joe, pausing and staring indignantly at Sneak.
"You're a fool!" replied Sneak.
"What for? because I wouldn't rob the dead?" retorted Joe.
"Do you call this robbing the dead? Hain't this traitor stoled this
lump of gold from the Injins?" said Sneak, displaying a rough piece of
the precious metal about the size of a crow's egg.
"Is it gold?" asked Joe, with some anxiety.
"Sartainly it is," answered Sneak, handing it to him to be examined;
"and what good could come of burying it agin? I'll leave it to Mr.
Boone to say if I ain't right in taking it myself."
"Oh, any thing worth this much ought to be taken," said Joe,
depositing the lump of gold in his pocket.
"See here, my chap," said Sneak, rising up and casting a furious
glance at him, "if you don't mean to hand that out again, one or the
t'other of us must be put in the ground with the traitorious
Posin--and if it is to be you, it'll be a purty thing for it to be
said that you brought a spade to bury yourself with."
"Didn't I find the body?" said Joe.
"But burn me if you found the gold," said Sneak.
"Shall I decide the matter?" interposed Roughgrove.
"I'm willing," said Sneak.
"And so am I," replied Joe.
"Then give it to me, and I'll cut it in two, and give a half to each
of you," said Roughgrove.
The decision was final; and seizing the spades, Joe, Sneak, and the
oarsmen began to prepare a resting-place for the dead body. Boone
continued silent, with his eyes steadfastly gazing at the earth which
the workmen began to throw up.
"Posin's done ferrying now," said Dan Rudder, one of the defunct's old
companions in the service of Roughgrove.
"No he ain't," said Sneak, throwing up a spadeful of flint stones.
"I'll keep some of these for my musket," said Joe.
"Why ain't he?" demanded Dan.
"Because he's got to cross the river--the river--what do they call
it?--the river Poles," said Sneak.
"Styx, you dunce," said Joe.
"Well, 'twas only a slip of the tongue--what's the difference between
poles and sticks?"
"_You_ never read any thing about it; you only heard somebody say so,"
said Joe, pausing to listen to the hounds that ever and anon yelped in
"If I didn't, I don't believe the man that wrote that book ever
crossed, or even had a squint at the river himself," replied Sneak.
"Whereabouts is the river?" asked Dan.
"In the lower regions," said Joe, striking his spade against a hard
"What's that you're scraping the dirt off of?" asked Sneak.
"Oh, my goodness!" cried Joe, leaping out of the grave.
"Let it remain!" said Boone, in a commanding tone, looking in and
discovering a skull; "I once buried a friend here--he was shot down at
my side by the Indians."
"Fill up the hole agin! Posin shan't lay on top of any of your
friends!" exclaimed Sneak, likewise leaping out of the grave.
"It matters not--but do as you please," said Boone, turning away and
marking the distressed yelping of the hounds, which indicated, from
some unusual cause, that they did not enjoy the chase as much as was
"Split me if he shan't be buried somewhere else, if I have to dig the
hole myself," said Sneak, filling up the grave.
"I'll stick by you, Sneak," said Dan.
"Dan and me 'll finish the job; all the rest of you may go off," said
Sneak, releasing the rest of the party from any further participation
in the depositing of the remains of Posin in the earth.
"Glenn does not yet understand Ringwood and Jowler," said Boone, still
listening to the chase.
"I never heard the dogs bark that way before until to-day," said Joe;
"only that night when we killed the buffalo."
"Something besides the buffalo caused them to do it then," replied
"Yes, indeed--they must have known the fire was coming--but the fire
can't come now."
"Sneak," said Boone, "when you are done here, come to Mr. Glenn's
"I will, as soon as I go to my muskrat trap out at the lake and get my
"Be in a hurry," said Boone; and turning towards the chase, he uttered
a "Ya-ho!" and instantly the hounds were hushed.
"Dod!" exclaimed Sneak, staring a moment at Boone, while his large
eyes seemed to increase in size, and then rolling up his sleeves, he
delved away with extraordinary dispatch.
In a very short space of time, Ringwood and Jowler rushed from the
thicket, and leaping up against the breast of their old master,
evinced a positive happiness in once more beholding him. They were
soon followed by Glenn, who dashed briskly through the thicket to see
who it was that caused his hounds to abandon him so unceremoniously.
No sooner did he discover his aged friend than he ran forward and
grasped his hand.
"I thought not of you, and yet I could think of no one else who might
thus entice my noble hounds away. Return with me, and we will have the
fox in a few minutes--he is now nearly exhausted," said Glenn.
"Molest him not," said Boone. "Did you not observe how reluctantly the
hounds chased him?"
"I did; what was the cause of it?" asked Glenn.
"The breeze is tainted with the scent of Indians!" whispered Boone.
"Again thou art my preserver!" said Glenn, in a low tone.
"I came to give you intelligence that the Osages would probably be
upon you in a few days," said Boone; "but I did not think they were
really in the neighbourhood until I heard your unerring hounds. Col.
Cooper, of my settlement, made an excursion southward some ten days
ago to explore a region he had never visited; but observing a large
war-party at a distance, coming hitherward, he retreated
precipitately, and reached home this morning. Excessive fatigue and
illness prevented him from accompanying me over the river; and what is
worse, nearly every man in our settlement is at present more than a
hundred miles up the river, trapping beaver. If we are attacked
to-night, or even within a day or two, we have nothing to depend upon
but our own force to defend ourselves."
"Should it be so, I doubt not we will be able to withstand them as
successfully as we did before," said Glenn.
"Let us go with Roughgrove to his house, and take his daughter and his
effects to your little fortress," said Boone, joining the old
ferryman, whom a single word sufficed to apprize of the state of
"I must prepare for the worst, now," said Roughgrove; "they will never
forget or forgive the part I acted on the night of their defeat."
Boone, Glenn, and Roughgrove proceeded down the valley, while Joe
seemed disposed to loiter, undetermined what to engage in, having cast
an occasional curious glance at Boone and his master when engaged in
their low conversation, and rightly conjecturing that "something wrong
was in the wind," as he expressed it.
"Why don't you go home?" asked Sneak, rolling the dead body into the
grave, and dashing the mingled earth and snow remorselessly upon it.
"I'll go when I'm ready," replied Joe; "but I should like to know what
all that whispering and nodding was about."
"I can tell you," said Dan; but his speech was suddenly arrested by a
sign from Sneak.
"I wish you would tell me," continued Joe, manifesting no little
"Have you got a plenty to eat at your house?" asked Sneak.
"To be sure we have," said Joe; "now tell me what's in the wind."
"If I was to tell you, I bet you'd be frightened half to death,"
remarked Sneak, driving down a headstone, having filled up the grave.
"No! no--I--indeed but I wouldn't, though!" said Joe, trembling at
every joint, the true cause, for the first time, occurring to him.
"Ain't it Indians, Mr. Sneak?"
"Don't call me _Mister_ agin, if you please. There are more moccasins
than the one you found in these parts, that's all."
"I'll go home and tell Mr. Glenn!" said Joe, whirling round quickly.
"Dod rot your cowardly hide of you!" said Sneak, staring at him
contemptuously; "now don't you _know_ he knowed it before you did?"
"Yes--but I was going home to tell him that some bullets must be
run--that's what I meant."
"Don't you think he knows that as well as you do?" continued Sneak.
"But I--I _must_ go!" exclaimed Joe, starting in a half run, with the
hounds (which had been forgotten by their master) following at his
"Let me have the hounds, to go after my gun--the red skins might
waylay me, if I go alone, in spite of all my cunning woodcraft," said
"Go back!" cried Joe, to the hounds. They instantly obeyed, and the
next moment Joe was scampering homeward with all the speed of which
his legs were capable.
When he reached the house, his fears were by no means allayed on
beholding the most valuable articles of Roughgrove's dwelling already
removed thither, and the ferryman himself, his daughter, Boone and
Glenn, assembled in consultation within the inclosure. Joe closed the
gate hurriedly after him, and bolted it on the inside.
"Why did you shut the gate? Open it again," said Glenn.
"Ain't we besieged again? ain't the Indians all around us, ready to
rush in and take our scalps?" said Joe, obeying the command
"They will not trouble us before night," said Roughgrove.
"No, we need not fear them before night," remarked Boone, whose
continued thoughtful aspect impressed Glenn with the belief that he
apprehended more than the usual horrors of Indian warfare during the
"They will burn father's house, but that is nothing compared to what I
fear will be his own fate!" murmured Mary, dejectedly.
"We can soon build him another," said Glenn, moved by the evident
distress of the pale girl; "and I am very sure that my little stone
castle will suffice to preserve not only your father and yourself, but
all who take shelter in it, from personal injury. So, cheer up, Mary."
"Oh, I will not complain; it pained me most when I first heard they
were coming once more; I will soon be calm again, and just as composed
when they are shooting at us, as I was the other time. But _you_ will
be in a great deal more danger than you were that night. Yet Boone is
with us again--he _must_ save us," said Mary.
"Why do you think there will be more danger, Mary?" asked Glenn.
"Yes, why do you think so?" interposed Joe, much interested in the
"Because the snow is so deep and so firm, they will leap over the
palisade, if there be a great many of them," replied Mary. Glenn felt
a chill shoot through his breast, for this fact had not before
occurred to him.
"Oh, goodness!--let us all go to work and shovel it away on the
outside," cried Joe, running about in quest of the spades. "Oh, St.
Peter!" he continued, "the spades are out at the cave-spring!"
"Run and bring them," said Glenn.
"Never--not for the world! They'd take my scalp to a certainty before
I could get back again," replied Joe, trembling all over.
"There is no danger yet," said Roughgrove, the deep snow having
occurred to him at the first announcement of the threatened attack,
and produced many painful fears in his breast, which caused a sadness
to rest upon his time-worn features; "but," he continued, "it would
not be in our power to remove the snow in two whole days, and a few
hours only are left us to prepare for the worst."
"Let them come within the inclosure," said Glenn, "and even then they
cannot harm us. The walls of my house are made of stone, and so is the
ceiling; they can only burn the roof--I do not think they can harm our
persons. We have food enough to last for months, and there is no
likelihood of the siege lasting a single week."
"I'll make sure of the deer," muttered Joe; and before any one could
interpose, he struck off the head of the doe with an axe, as it still
lay bound upon the sled. And he was brandishing the reeking steel over
the neck of the fawn, that stood by, looking on innocently, when a cry
from Mary arrested the blow.
"If you injure a hair of Mary's gift," said Glenn, in anger, "you
shall suffer as severe a fate yourself."
"Pardon me," said Joe to Mary; "I was excited--I didn't hardly know
what I was doing. I thought as we were going to be pent up by the
Indians, for goodness only knows how long, that we'd better provide
enough food to keep from starving. I love the fawn as well as you do,
and Mr. Glenn loves it because you gave it to him; but its natural to
prefer our own lives to the lives of dumb animals."
"I forgive you," said Mary, playing with the silken ears of the pet.
"Say no more about it," said Glenn; "but as you are so anxious to be
well provided with comforts, if we are besieged, there is one thing I
had forgotten, that is absolutely necessary for our existence, which
you can procure."
"What is it? Be quick, for we havn't a moment to lose," said Joe.
"Water," replied Glenn.
"That's a fact--but--its way off at the spring, by the ferry," said