Part 4 out of 6
hasty directions, preparations were made for pursuit.
Mary--Her meditations--Her capture--Her sad condition--Her mental
sufferings--Her escape--Her recapture.
When the men departed for the island in quest of the wolves, Mary was
singing over her neglected flowers, at her father's house in the
valley, and her clear ringing notes were distinctly heard by the whole
party. After they were gone she continued her song, and lingered long
over every faded leaf and withered blossom, with no thought of danger
whatever, and none of pain, save the regret that her long cherished
plants had been forgotten in the consternation of the previous day,
and had fallen victims to the frost-king. But nothing had been touched
by the savages. The domestic fowls clustered about her, and received
their food from her hands as usual. The fawn was with her, and evinced
the delight afforded by the occasional caress bestowed upon it, by
frequently skipping sportively around her. Mary was happy. Her wants
were few, and she knew not that there was such a thing as a malicious
enemy in the world, save the wild savage. Her thoughts were as pure as
the morning dew, and all her delights were the results of innocence.
She had never harmed any one, and her guileless heart never conceived
the possibility of suffering ill at the hands of others. She smiled
when the beautiful fawn touched her hand with its velvet tongue, and a
tear dimmed her eye for an instant when she looked upon her stricken
While looking at one of the homely shelves in a corner of the deserted
house, Mary accidentally espied a small volume of poems, the gift of
Glenn, that had been neglected. She seized it eagerly, and after
turning over the pages the fiftieth time, and humming over many of the
songs, she paused suddenly, and lifting her eyes to the bright
sun-beams that streamed through the window, long remained in a
listless attitude. Something unusual had startled her simple
meditations. At first a shade of painful concern seemed to pass across
her brow, and then glancing quickly at the book she still held in her
hand, a sweet smile animated her lips. But again and again, ever and
anon, the abstracted gaze was repeated, and as often succeeded by the
smile when her eyes fell upon the volume. Did her thoughts dwell upon
the giver of that book? Undoubtedly. Did she love Glenn? This she knew
not herself, but she would have died for him! She was ignorant of the
terms courtship, love, and marriage. But nature had given her a heart
abounding with noble and generous impulses.
At length she drew her shawl closely round her shoulders, and, closing
the door of the hut, was in the act of returning up the hill, when she
was startled by the furious and sudden barking of the hounds, which
she had left confined in the inclosure on the cliff. She paused, and
looked steadily in every direction, and was not able to discover, or
even conjecture, what it was that had roused the hounds. Yet an
undefinable fear seized upon her. The fawn at her side likewise
partook of the agitation, for the hair stood upright on its back, and
it often snuffed the air with great violence, producing, at each time,
a shrill, unnatural sound.
Mary started briskly up the path, determined to shut herself up in
Glenn's house until her father returned from the island. When she had
proceeded about twenty paces, and was just passing a dense thicket of
hazel that bordered the narrow path, she heard a slight rustling on
the left, and the next moment she was clasped in the arms of a brawny
"Oh me! who are you?" demanded she, struggling to disengage herself,
and unable to see the swarthy features of her captor, who stood behind
her. No answer being made, she cast her eyes downwards, and beheld the
colour of the arms that encircled her. "Father! Mr. Glenn! Mr. Boone!"
she exclaimed, struggling violently. Her efforts were unavailing, and,
overcome with exhaustion and affright, she fainted on the Indian's
breast. The savage then lifted her on his shoulder, ran down to the
rivulet that flowed through the valley, and fled outwards to the
prairie. When he reached the cave-spring, a confederate, who had been
waiting for him, seized the burden and bore it onwards, in a westerly
direction, with increased rapidity. Thus they continued the retreat,
bearing the insensible maiden alternately, until they came to a small
grove some distance out in the prairie, when they slackened their
pace, and, after creeping a short time under the pendent boughs of the
trees, halted in the camp of the war-party.
The Indians gathered round the pale captive, some with rage and deadly
passions marked upon their faces, and others with expressions of
triumph and satisfaction. They now made preparations for departing.
Mary was wrapped in a large buffalo robe, enveloping her body and
face, and placed in the snow-canoe. The party then deposited their
tomahawks and other cumbersome articles at the feet of their captive,
and, grasping the leather rope attached to the canoe, set off rapidly
in a southerly direction.
Ere long, Mary partially awoke from her state of insensibility, when
all was dark and strange to her confused senses. She pulled aside the
long hair of the buffalo skin that obscured her face, and looked out
from her narrow place of confinement. The blue heavens alone met her
view above. The incident of the seizure was indistinct in her memory,
and she could not surmise the nature of her present condition. She
turned hastily on her side, and the occasional bush she espied in the
vicinity indicated that she was rushing along by some means with an
almost inconceivable rapidity. She could scarce believe it was
reality. How she came thither, and how she was propelled over the
snow, for several moments were matters of incomprehensible mystery to
the trembling girl. At first, she endeavoured to persuade herself that
it was a dream; but, having a consciousness that some terrible thing
had actually occurred, all the painful fears of which the mind is
capable were put in active operation. The suspense was soon dispelled.
Hearing human voices ahead, and not readily comprehending the
language, she hastily rose on her elbow. The party of Indians dragging
her fleetly over the smooth prairie met her chilled view. But she was
now comparatively collected and calm. Instantly her true condition was
apparent. She watched the swarthy forms some moments in silence,
meditating the means of escape. Presently one of the savages turned
partly round, and she sank back to escape his observation. Again she
rose up a few inches, and their faces were all turned away from her.
She gradually acquired resolution to encounter any hardship or peril
that might be the means of effecting her escape. But what plan was she
to adopt? The almost interminable plain of which she was in the midst
afforded no hiding-place. Then, the speed of the flying snow-canoe,
were she to leap out, would not only produce a hurtful collision with
the hard snow-crust, but certainly cause her detection. The poor
girl's heart sank within her, and, for a time, she reclined
submissively in the canoe, and gave way to a flood of tears. She
thought of her gray-haired father, and a piercing agony thrilled
through her breast. And she thought, too, of others--of Boone, of
_Glenn_, and her pangs were hopelessly poignant. Thus she lay for
several long hours, a prey to grief and despair. But some pitying
angel hovered over her, and kindly lessened her sufferings. By
degrees, her mind became possessed of the power of deliberate and
rational reflection; and she was inspired with the belief that the
savages only designed to exact a heavy contribution from the whites by
her capture, and would then surrender her up without outrage or
injury. Another hope, likewise, sprang up in her breast: it was, that
the Indian she had been instrumental in releasing from captivity might
protect her person, and, perhaps restore her to her father. She also
felt convinced that Boone and Glenn would join her father in the
pursuit, and she entertained a lively hope that they would overtake
her. But, again, when she looked out on the surface of the snow, and
beheld the rapidity of the savages' pace, this hope was entertained
but for a moment. She then resolved to make an effort herself to
escape. If she was not successful, it would, at all events, retard the
progress of her captors, and she might also ascertain, with some
degree of certainty, their purposes with regard to her fate. She rose
as softly as possible and sprang upon the snow. The Indians, as she
feared, instantly felt the diminution of weight, and halted so
abruptly that every one of them was prostrated on the slippery
snow-crust. Mary endeavoured to take advantage of this occurrence,
and, springing quickly to her feet, fled rapidly in the opposite
direction. But before she had run many minutes, she heard the savages
in close pursuit and gaining upon her at every step. It was useless to
fly. She turned her head, and beheld the whole party within a few
paces of her. The foremost was a tall athletic savage, bearing in his
hand a tomahawk he had snatched from the snow-canoe, and wearing a
demoniac scowl on his lip. Mary scanned his face and then turned her
eyes to heaven. She felt that her end was near, and she breathed a
prayer taught her by her buried mother. The savage rushed upon her,
entwining his left hand in her flowing hair, and waving his tomahawk
aloft with the other, was in the act of sinking the steel in the fair
forehead before him, when the blow was arrested by a mere stripling,
who came up at the head of the rest of the Indians. The Herculean
savage whirled round and scowled passionately at the youth. The young
Indian (the chief just elected in the place of Raven) regarded him a
moment with gleaming eyes, and a determined expression of feature, and
then with much dignity motioned him away. The huge savage was
strangely submissive in a moment, and obeyed without a murmur. Mary
was conducted back to the snow-canoe by the young chief, who led her
by the hand, while the rest walked behind. Once the young warrior
turned and looked searchingly in the face of his fair prize, and she
returned the gaze with an instantaneous conviction that no personal
harm was intended her. The chief was not half so dark as the rest of
his tribe, and his countenance was open, generous, and noble. (It may
seem improbable to the unthinking reader that a timid and alarmed
maiden should be able to read the character of a foe by his features
under such circumstances. But those very circumstances tended to
produce such acuteness. And this is not only the case with human
beings, but even with dumb brutes--for, at the moment they are about
to be assailed, they invariably and instinctively look the assailant
in the eye, mercy being the only remaining hope.) Again the young
warrior turned to behold his captive's face, and Mary was in tears. He
paused abruptly, and, after gazing some moments in silence and deep
thought, resumed his pace. When they reached the snow-canoe, and while
in the act of lifting his captive into her couch, the young chief
observed for the first time a massive ring of curious workmanship on
her finger (the glove she had hitherto worn being partially torn from
her hand in the recent struggle,) and seemed to regard it with much
interest. Mary saw that his eyes were riveted on the jewel, and
notwithstanding it possessed a hallowed value in having been worn by
her mother, yet she felt that she could resign it to the one who had
saved her life, and whose noble bearing, so different from that of the
rest, promised to shield her from future harm. But he neither asked it
as a gift nor tore it from her, but turned away in silence, and
ordered the party to proceed. The command was instantly obeyed.
There was another Indian that had attracted the notice of Mary--one
who studiously avoided her glance by constantly enveloping his face in
his hairy robe whenever she turned towards him. This he continued to
do until she was again seated in the snow-canoe, and the order was
given to proceed on the journey. He then lingered behind the rest, and
throwing aside his mask, she saw before her the savage that had been
thrown within the inclosure by the explosion. He pointed to the north,
the direction of her home, and, by sundry signs and grimaces, made
Mary understand that he had not been a party to her capture, and that
he would endeavour to effect her escape. He then joined the others,
and the poor girl was once more coursing over the prairie more rapidly
[Illustration: The savage rushed upon her, entwined his left hand in
her flowing hair, and, waving his tomahawk aloft with the other, was
in the act of sinking the steel in the fair forehead before him, when
the blow was arrested by a mere stripling, who came up at the head of
the rest of the Indians.--P. 142]
There was now mingled with the captive maiden's thoughts another
subject of contemplation. It was the young chief. His image seemed to
be familiar to her dreamy visions, and she often thought that they had
really met before. But when or where, her memory failed to designate.
She was glad to find herself so unexpectedly under the protection of
one so brave and generous, and she hoped when her father and his
friends should overtake them, he might not be hurt in the conflict
that must inevitably ensue.
The Indians long continued their flight in silence. Scarce a word was
uttered, until the sun was sinking low in the west. And then Mary
heard them speaking about the place of encampment; for her frequent
intercourse With the savages, before the arrival of Glenn in the
vicinity, had enabled her, as well as her father, to acquire an
imperfect knowledge of their language. But they still swept onward,
without any diminution of speed. The chief had probably objected to
their making, a halt by a shake of the head, for Mary did not hear him
reply to those who desired to stop.
When the shades of night fell around, and the broad red face of the
moon peeped over the eastern horizon, the party still careered over
the prairie. More than thirty miles had been traversed. The Indian is
more distinguished for bottom than speed, and has been known to pursue
a victim, or fly in the retreat, more than twenty-four hours without
resting. But this band had suffered much from fatigue before they set
out with their captive. The attempt to surprise the fort had cost them
both blood and labour, and when the moon had risen midway up in the
heavens, they again became clamorous for food and rest. The chief then
told them to turn from their course, and in a few minutes Mary saw
that they were approaching a grove of towering trees. Ere long they
halted under an enormous beech, whose spreading and clustering
branches not only greatly obscured the light from above, but had in a
great measure prevented the snow from covering the earth at its roots.
It was not long before a fire was struck, and the savages having
scattered in every direction in quest of dry wood and bark, in a very
short space of time a large bright blaze flashed up in their midst,
around which they spread their buffalo robes and commenced preparing
their venison. Each one cooked for himself, save the chief, who was
provided proportionably by all. He offered Mary a part of his food,
but she declined it. He then proffered to lift her from the
snow-canoe, and place her nearer the fire. This too she declined,
stating that she was warm enough. She was likewise influenced in this
determination by the gestures of the Indian whom she had befriended
the preceding night, who sat by in apparent unconcern, but at every
opportunity, by looks and signs, endeavoured to cheer and encourage
the captive maiden.
After a hearty repast the savages, with the exception of the chief,
rolled themselves in their warm, hairy robes before the glowing fire,
and were soon steeped in profound slumber. The chief long reclined in
a half-recumbent attitude on the couch that had been prepared for him,
and fixing his eyes on the glaring flame, and sometimes on the pale
sad features of Mary, seemed to be under the influence of deep and
painful meditations. At times his features assumed a ferocity that
caused Mary to start and tremble; but at others they wore a mournful
expression, and ever and anon a tear rose up and glistened in his eye.
Thus he sat for more than an hour after all the rest were sunk in
motionless slumber. Finally his bedecked head, adorned with a
profusion of rich and rare feathers, sunk by degrees on the rude
pillow, and he too was soon wandering in the land of dreams.
But sleep brooded not upon the watchful lids of Mary. She gazed in
silence at the wild savage scene before her. The uncouth beings who
had so recently hooted and yelled like sanguinary demons, with intent
to slay and pillage, around her father, her friends and herself, now
lay motionless, though free and still hostile, within a few feet of
her, and she was their captive! She thought of her humble but peaceful
home, and sighed bitterly. And she thought, too, of her distressed
friends, and she was the more distressed from the consciousness that
they sympathized with her sufferings. Poor girl! She looked at the
dark brows and compressed lips of her captors as the fitful flashes of
the flames threw a bright ray upon them, and, in despite of the many
hopes she had entertained, she was horror-stricken to contemplate the
reality of her sad predicament.
At a late and solemn hour, the Indian who had been the captive the
night before, suddenly ceased his snoring, which had been heard
without intermission for a great length of time; and when Mary
instinctively cast her eyes towards him, she was surprised to see him
gently and slowly raise his head. He enjoined silence by placing his
hand upon his mouth. After carefully disengaging himself from his
comrades, he crept quietly away, and soon vanished entirely from sight
on the northern side of the spreading beech. Mary expected he would
soon return and assist her to escape. Although she was aware of the
hardships and perils that would attend her flight, yet the thought of
again meeting her friends was enough to nerve her for the undertaking,
and she waited with anxious impatience the coming of her rescuer. But
he came not. She could attribute no other design in his conduct but
that of effecting her escape, and yet he neither came for her nor
beckoned her away. She had reposed confidence in his promise, for she
knew that the Indian, savage as he was, rarely forfeited his word; but
when gratitude inspired a pledge, she could not believe that he would
use deceit. The fire was now burning quite low, and its waning light
scarce cast a beam upon the branches over head. It was evidently not
far from morning, and every hope of present escape entirely fled from
her bosom. But just as she was yielding to despair, she saw the Indian
returning in a stealthy pace, bearing some dark object in his arms. He
glided to her side, and beckoned her to leave the snow-canoe, and also
to take with her all the robes with which she had been enveloped. She
did his bidding, and then he carefully deposited the burden he bore in
the place she had just occupied. A portion of the object becoming
unwrapped, Mary discovered it to be a huge mass of snow, resembling,
in some respects, a human form, and the Indian's stratagem was at once
apparent to her. Relinquishing herself to his guidance, she was led
noiselessly through the bushes about a hundred paces distant from the
fire, to a large fallen tree that had yielded to some furious storm,
when her conductor paused. He pointed to a spot where a curve caused
the huge trunk to rise about a foot from the present surface, under
which was a round hole cut through the drifted snow down to the earth,
and in which were deposited several buffalo robes, and so arranged
that a person could repose within without coming in contact with the
frozen element around. Mary looked down, and then at her companion, to
ascertain his intentions. He spoke to her in a low tone, enough of
which she comprehended to understand that he desired her to descend
into the pit without delay. She obeyed, and when he had carefully
folded the robes and divers furs about her body, he stepped a few
paces to one side, and gently lifting up a round lid of snow-crust,
placed it over the aperture. It had been so smoothly cut, and fitted
with such precision when replaced, that no one would have been able to
discover that an incision had been made. He then bade Mary a "Dud by"
in bad English, and set off in a run in a northern direction for the
purpose of joining the whites.
Long and interminable seemed Mary's confinement to her, but she was
entirely comfortable in her hiding-place, as respected her body. Yet
many dreadful apprehensions oppressed her still. She feared that the
Indians would soon ascertain that she had left the canoe, and return
and discover her place of concealment. At times she thought of the
wild beasts prowling around, and feared they would devour her before
assistance came. But the most harrowing fear was that the friendly
Indian would abandon her to her fate or perhaps be _killed_, without
making known her locality and helpless condition! Thus was she a prey
to painful apprehensions and worrying reflections, until from
exhaustion she sank into an unquiet and troubled slumber.
With the first light of morning, the war-party sprang to their feet,
and hastily dispatching a slight repast, they set out on their journey
with renewed animation and increased rapidity. Before starting, the
chief called to Mary, and again offered some food; but no reply being
returned, or motion discovered under the robe which he imagined
enveloped her, he supposed she was sleeping, and directed the party to
select the most even route when they emerged in the prairie, that she
might as much as possible enjoy her repose.
The Indian who had planned and executed the escape of Mary, with the
well-devised cunning for which the race is proverbial, had told his
companions that he would rise before day and pursue the same direction
they were going in advance of them, and endeavour to kill a deer for
their next night's meal. Thus his absence created no suspicion, and
the party continued their precipitate retreat.
But, about noon, after casting many glances back at the supposed form
of the captive reclining peacefully in the snow-canoe, the chief, with
much excitement, betrayed by his looks, which seemed to be mingled
with an apprehension that she was dead, abruptly ordered the party to
halt. He sprang to the canoe, and convulsively tearing away the skins
discovered only the roll of snow! He at first compressed his lips in
momentary rage, and then burst into a fit of irrepressible laughter.
But the rest raved and stamped, and uttered direful imprecations and
threats of vengeance. Immediately they were aware of the treachery of
the absent Indian, and resolved with one voice that his blood should
be an atonement for the act. Their thoughts had dwelt too fondly on
the shining gold they were to get in exchange for the maiden, for them
ever to forgive the recreant brother who had snatched the prize from
them. The chief soon recovered his usual grave expression, and partook
in some measure the general disappointment and chagrin. His motives
were not of the same mercenary cast which actuated his tribe, nor did
he condemn the conduct of the one who had rescued the maid, being
aware of the clemency extended him when in the power of the enemy; but
the thought of being outwitted and thwarted roused his anger, and he
determined to recover the lost captive, if possible.
The snow was quickly thrown out, and the war-party adjusted their
weapon's, with the expectation of encountering the whites; and then
whirling about they retraced their steps even more swiftly than they
had been advancing. Just as the night was setting in, they came in
sight of the grove where they had encamped. They slackened their pace,
and looking eagerly forward, seemed to think it not improbable that
the whites had arrived in the vicinity, and might be lying in ambush
awaiting their return in search of the maid. They then abandoned the
canoe, after having concealed it under some low bushes, and entered
the grove in a stooping and watchful posture. Ere long the chief
attained the immediate neighbourhood of the spreading tree, and with
an arrow drawn to its head, crept within a few paces of the spot where
he had lain the preceding night. His party were mostly a few feet in
the rear, while a few were approaching in the same manner from the
opposite direction. Hearing no sound whatever, he rose up slowly, and
with an "Ugh" of disappointment, strode carelessly across the silent
and untenanted place of encampment.
Vexation and anger were expressed by the savages in being thus
disappointed. They hoped to wreak their vengeance on the whites, and
had resolved to recapture the maiden. Where they expected to find
them, the scene was silent and desolate. And they now sauntered about
under the trees in the partial light of the moon that struggled
through the matted branches, threatening in the most horrid manner the
one who had thus baffled them. Some struck their tomahawks into the
trunks of trees, while others brandished their knives, and uttered
direful yells. The young chief stood in silence, with his arms folded
on his breast. A small ray of light that fell upon his face exhibited
a meditative brow, and features expressing both firmness and
determination. He had said that the captive should be regained, and
his followers ever and anon regarded his thoughtful attitude with the
confidence that his decision would accelerate the accomplishment of
their desires. Long he remained thus, motionless and dignified, and no
one dared to address him. [He had been elected chief by acclamation,
after the death of Raven. He was not an Osage by birth, but had been
captured from one of the neighbouring tribes (the Pawnee) when only
six years old. His bravery, as he grew up, had elicited the admiration
of the whole tribe, and it had long been settled that he should
succeed Raven. His complexion was many degrees lighter than that of
the Osages, or even that of the Pawnees, and had it not been for the
paint and stains with which the warriors decorate their faces, he
might have passed, if properly attired, for an American. When taken in
battle he was saved from the torture by a young Indian maiden. She
procured his release and he refused to return to his own nation. He
said that he was no Pawnee, and when asked to what nation he belonged,
he either could not or would not reply, but said he was satisfied to
hunt and fight with any tribe, and if the chief would give him his
daughter (the one that saved his life,) he would be an Osage. It was
done, and his brave exploits soon won for him the title of the "Young
The young chief called one of the oldest of the party, who was
standing a few paces distant absorbed in thought, to his side, and
after a short conference the old savage prostrated himself on the
snow, and endeavoured like a hound to scent the tracks of his recreant
brother. At first he met with no success, but when making a wide
circuit round the premises, still applying his nose to the ground
occasionally, and minutely examining the bushes, he paused abruptly,
and announced to the party that he had found the precise direction
taken by the maid and her deliverer. Instantly they all clustered
round him, evincing the most intense interest. Some smelt the surface
of the snow, and others examined the bushes. Small twigs, not larger
than pins, were picked up and closely scrutinized. They well knew that
any one passing through the frozen and clustered bushes must
inevitably sever some of the twigs and buds. Their progress was slow,
but unerring. The course they pursued was the direction taken by Mary
and her rescuer. It was not long before they arrived within a few feet
of the place of the maiden's concealment. But now they were at fault.
There were no bushes immediately around the fallen tree. They paused,
the chief in the van, with their bows and arrows and tomahawks in
readiness for instant use. They knew that the maiden could not return
to her friends on foot, or the treacherous savage be able to bear her
far on his shoulder. They thought that one or both must be concealed
somewhere in the neighbourhood, and the fallen tree, were it hollow,
was the place most likely to be selected for that purpose. After
scanning the fallen trunk a few minutes in silence, and discovering
nothing to realize their hopes, they uttered a terrific yell, and
commenced striking their tomahawks in the wood, and ripping up the
bark in quest of some hiding-place. But their search was in vain. The
fallen trunk was sound and solid throughout, and the young chief sat
down on it within three paces of Mary! Others, in passing about,
frequently trod on the very verge of the concealed pit.
Mary was awakened by the yell but knew not that the sound came from
her enemies. The Indian had told her that he would soon return, and
her heart now fluttered with the hope that her father and her friends
were at hand. Yet she prudently determined not to rush from her
concealment until she was better assured of the fact. She did not
think the savages would suspect that she was hid under the snow, but
yet she thought it very strange that her father did not come to her at
once. Several minutes had elapsed since she had been startled by the
sounds in the immediate vicinity. She heard the tramp of men almost
directly over her head, and the strokes against the fallen trunk. She
was several times on the eve of rising up, but was as often withheld
by some mysterious impulse. She endeavoured to reflect calmly, but
still she could not, by any mode of conjecture realize the probability
of her foes having returned and traced her thither. Yet an undefinable
fear still possessed her, and she endeavoured with patience to await
the pleasure of her friends. But when the chief seated himself in her
vicinity, and fell into one of his fits of abstraction, and the whole
party became comparatively still and hushed, the poor girl's suspense
was almost insufferable. She knew that human beings were all around
her, and yet her situation was truly pitiable and lonely. She felt
assured that if the war-party had returned in pursuit of her, the same
means which enabled them to trace their victim to the fallen trunk
would likewise have sufficed to indicate her hiding-place. Then why
should she hesitate? The yells that awakened her had not been heard
distinctly, and under the circumstances she could not believe that she
was surrounded by savages. On the other hand, if they were her
friends, why did they not relieve her? Now a sudden, but, alas!
erroneous thought occurred to her. She was persuaded that they were
her friends, but that the friendly Indian was not with them--he had
perhaps directed them where she could be found, and then returned to
his home. Might not her friends, at that moment, be anxiously
searching for her? Would not one word suffice to dispel their
solicitude, and restore the lost one to their arms? She resolved to
speak. Bowing down her head slightly, so that her precise location
might not instantly be ascertained, she uttered in a soft voice the
word "FATHER!" The chief sprang from his seat, and the party was
instantly in commotion. Some of the savages looked above, among the
twining branches, and some shot their arrows in the snow, but
fortunately not in the direction of Mary, while others ran about in
every direction, examining all the large trees in the vicinity. The
chief was amazed and utterly confounded. He drew not forth an arrow,
nor brandished a tomahawk. While he thus stood, and the rest of the
party were moving hurriedly about a few paces distant, Mary again
repeated the word "FATHER!" As suddenly as if by enchantment every
savage was paralyzed. Each stood as devoid of animation as a statue.
For many moments an intense silence reigned, as if naught existed
there but the cheerless forest trees. Slowly, at length, the tomahawk
was returned to the belt, and the arrow to the quiver. No longer was a
desire to spill blood manifested. The dusky children of the forest
attributed to the mysterious sound a supernatural agency. They
believed it was a voice from the perennial hunting-grounds. Humbly
they bowed their heads, and whispered devotions to the Great Spirit.
The young chief alone stood erect. He gazed at the round moon above
him, and sighs burst from his breast, and burning tears ran down his
stained cheek. Impatiently, by a motion of the hand, he directed the
savages to leave him, and when they withdrew he resumed his seat on
the fallen trunk, and reclined his brow upon his hand. One of the long
feathers that decked his head waved forward, after he had been seated
thus a few minutes, and when his eye rested upon it he started up
wildly, and tearing it away, trampled it under his feet. At that
instant the same "FATHER!" was again heard. The young chief fell upon
his knees, and, while he panted convulsively, said, in ENGLISH,
"_Father! Mother! I'm your poor William--you loved me much--where are
you? Oh tell me--I will come to you--I want to see you!_" He then fell
prostrate and groaned piteously. "Father! oh! where are you? Whose
voice was that?" said Mary, breaking through the slight incrustation
that obscured her, and leaping from her covert.
The young chief sprang from the earth--gazed a moment at the
maid--spoke rapidly and loudly in the language of his tribe to his
party, who were now at the place of encampment, seated by the fire
they had kindled--and then, seizing his tomahawk, was in the act of
hurling it at Mary, when the yells of the war-party and the ringing
discharges of firearms arrested his steel when brandished in the air.
The white men had arrived! The young, chief seized Mary by her long
flowing hair--again prepared to level the fatal blow--when she turned
her face upwards, and he again hesitated. Discharges in quick
succession, and nearer than before, still rang in his ears. Mary
strove not to escape. Nor did the Indian strike. The whites were heard
rushing through the bushes--the chief seized the trembling girl in his
arms--a bullet whizzed by his head--but, unmindful of danger, he
vanished among the dark bushes with his burden.
Joe's indisposition--His cure--Sneak's reformation--The pursuit--The
captive Indian--Approach to the encampment of the savages--Joe's
illness again--The surprise--The terrific encounter--Rescue of
Mary--Capture of the young chief--The return.
We return to the white men. The grief of Roughgrove, and of all the
party, when it was ascertained beyond a doubt that Mary had been
carried off by the savages, was deep and poignant. The aged ferryman
sat silent and alone, and would not be comforted, while the rest made
the necessary arrangements to pursue the foe. The sled was so altered
that blankets, buffalo robes, and a small quantity of food could be
taken in it. Bullets were moulded and the guns put in order. Joe was
ordered to give the horses water, and place a large quantity of
provender within their reach. The hounds were fed and then led back to
their kennel, and Glenn announced, after Roughgrove declared his
determination to go along, that Ringwood and Jowler alone would be
left to guard the premises.
"My goodness!" said Joe, when he understood that he was expected to
make one of the pursuing party, "I can't go! My head's so sore, and
aches so bad, I couldn't go ten miles before I'd have to give up. Let
me stay, Mr. Glenn, and take care of the house."
"Do you forget that _Mary_ is in the hands of the Indians? Would you
hesitate even to _die_, while striving to rescue a poor, innocent,
helpless maiden? For shame!" replied Glenn.
"I'd spill my heart's blood for her," said Joe, "if it would do any
good. But you know how I was crippled last night, and I didn't sleep a
bit afterwards, hardly."
"Joe," said Boone, "from the vigorous manner in which you fought the
wolves, I am induced to believe that your present scruples are not
well founded. We will need every man we can obtain."
"Oh, I wouldn't mind it at all," said Joe, "if it wasn't that you're a
going to start right off now. If I only had a little sleep--"
"You shall have it," said Boone. Both Glenn and Roughgrove looked
inquiringly at the speaker. "We will not start to-night," continued
he. "It would be useless. We could not overtake them, and if we did,
it would cause them to put Mary to death, that they might escape our
vengeance the more easily. I have duly considered the matter. We must
rest here to-night, and rise refreshed in the morning. We will then
set out on their trail, and I solemnly pledge my word never to return
without bringing the poor child back unharmed."
"I _hope_ my head'll be well by morning," said Joe.
"I _know_ it will be well enough," said Glenn; "so you need entertain
no hope of being left behind."
"Now, Sneak, a word with you," said Boone. "I think you would do almost
_any thing_ for my sake--"
"If I wouldn't, I wish I may be dod--"
"Stop!" continued Boone, interrupting him.
"Jest ax me to cut off my little finger," said Sneak, "and if I don't
do it, I wish I may be dod--"
"Stop!" again interposed Boone. "My first request is one that poor
_Mary_ asked me to make. I know it will be a severe trial."
"Name it," cried Sneak, "and if it's to job out one of my eyes, dod
rot me if I don't do it!"
"_Hear_ me," continued Boone; "she desired me to ask you not to use
that ugly word _dod-rot_ any more."
"Hay!" exclaimed Sneak, his eyes dilating, and his mouth falling wide
"I know it will be a hard matter," said Boone; "but Mary thinks you
have a good and brave heart, and she says you are the only one among
us that uses bad words."
"I'd go my death for that gal, or any other female woman in the
settlement, any day of my life. And as she wants me to swaller them
words, that was born with me, dod--I mean, I wish I may be--_indeed_,
I'll be starved to death if I don't do it! only when I'm raven mad at
something, and then I can't help it."
"Very well," said Boone. "Now I have a request of my own to make."
"Sing it out! dod--no--nothing! I didn't say it--but I'll _do_ what
you want me to," said Sneak.
"I think _you_ will not suffer for the want of sleep," continued
Boone; "and I wish you to go out and get as many of the neighbours to
join us as possible. You can go to three or four houses by midnight,
sleep a little, and meet us here, or in the prairie, in the morning."
"I shall cut stick--if I don't I wish I may be do--I--_indeed_ I
will!" and before he ceased speaking he was rushing through the gate.
The little party then took a hasty repast, and, throwing themselves on
the couches, endeavoured to sleep. Boone and Joe were soon wrapped in
slumber; but neither Roughgrove nor Glenn, for a great length of time,
could find repose.
"Strive to be composed, my friend; all will be well," said Glenn, when
the disconsolate old ferryman gave vent to numerous heart-rending
"If you only knew"--commenced Roughgrove, in reply, and the words he
was about to utter died upon his lips.
"I can well imagine the extent of your bereavement," said Glenn; "but
at the same time I am sure she will be returned to you unharmed."
"It was not Mary alone I alluded to," said Roughgrove; "but to lose
two children--all that we had--so cruelly--Oh! may we all meet in
"Then you had _two_ children, and lost them both? I never heard the
other mentioned," said Glenn, now evincing a most lively interest in
"No--it was my request that it should never be mentioned. Mary and he
were twins--only six years old, when he was lost. I wished Mary to
forget entirely that she ever had a brother--it could do no good for
her to know it, and would distress her. But now, Heavenly Father! both
are gone!" added the old man, in tears.
"Was he, too, taken by the Indians? the Osages?" inquired Glenn.
"No," said Roughgrove. "He had been playing on the margin of the
river, and we were compelled to believe that he fell in the stream and
was drowned--at a time when no eye was upon him. Mary was near at
hand, but she did not see him fall, nor could she tell how he
disappeared. His poor mother believed that an Indian stole him away.
But the only Indians then in the neighbourhood were the Pawnees, and
they were at that time friendly. He was surely drowned. If the Pawnees
had taken him, they would soon have proposed a ransom. Yet his mother
continually charged them with the deed. In her dreams she ever saw him
among the savages. In all her thoughts it was the same. She pined
away--she never knew a happy moment afterwards--and when she died, the
same belief was uttered in her last words. I am now alone!" The old
man covered his face with his hands, and sobbed audibly.
"Bear with patience and resignation," said Glenn, "the dispensations
of an all-wise Providence. All may yet be well. The son, whom you
thought lost forever, may be living, and possibly reclaimed, and Mary
shall be restored, if human efforts can accomplish it. Cheer up. Many
a happy day may still be reserved for you."
"Oh! my dear young friend! if you but knew _all_!" said Roughgrove.
"Do I not now know all?" asked Glenn.
"No," replied the old man; "but the rest must remain a secret--it
should, perhaps, be buried in my breast forever! I will now strive to
sleep." They ceased to speak, and silence reigned till morning.
Joe was roused from his couch in the morning by a tremendous "Ya-hoy!"
outside of the inclosure.
"Run and open the gate," said Glenn.
"I'd rather not," said Joe, rubbing his eyes.
"Why?" asked Glenn.
"Hang it, it's the Indians again!" replied Joe, seizing his musket.
"It is Sneak and his men," observed Boone, when another shout was
"Hang me, if I don't have a peep at 'em first, anyhow," said Joe,
approaching the gate cautiously, and peering through a small crevice.
"Ya-hoo!" repeated those without.
"Who are you? why don't you speak out?" said Joe, still unable to see
"Dod--I mean--plague take it! Joe, is Mr. Boone standing there with
you?" asked Sneak.
"No," replied Joe, opening the gate.
"Then dod _rot_ your hide! why didn't you let us in?" said Sneak,
rushing through the gate, and followed by five of the neighbours.
"Why, Sneak, how could I tell that you wern't Indians?" said Joe.
"You be dod--never mind!" continued Sneak, shaking his head, and
passing to where Boone stood, near the house.
"I am glad to see you all," said Boone, extending his hand to each of
the hardy pioneers. "But let us not waste a moment's time. I see you
are all armed. Seize hold of the sled-rope, and let us be off." The
command was instantly obeyed, and the party were soon passing out of
the inclosure. The gate was scarce fastened before another "Ya-hoo!"
came from the valley below, and a moment after they were joined by
Col. Cooper and Dan. The other oarsman had been sent up the river for
reinforcements, and Col. Cooper and Dan having heard the great
explosion, finally resolved to cross over the river, and not await the
arrival of the trappers.
The party now amounted to twelve, and no time was lost in commencing
the march, or rather the chase; for when they reached the prairie and
found the trail of the snow-canoe, their progress equalled that of the
savages. But they had not gone far before Joe was taken suddenly ill,
and begged to be permitted to return.
"I declare I can hardly hold my head up!" said he still holding on to
the rope, and keeping pace with the rest, though his head hung down.
"Possomin'--dod--I mean he's jest 'possomin'," said Sneak.
"No indeed I ain't--plague it, don't _you_ say any thing, Sneak," Joe,
added, in an undertone.
"I am something of a physician," said Boone, whose quick ear had
caught the words addressed to Sneak. "Let me feel your pulse," he
added, ordering the party to halt, and turning to Joe, whose wrist he
"I feel something better," said Joe, alarmed at the mysterious and
severe expression of Boone's face.
"I hope you will be entirely well in _two minutes_," said Boone; "and
then it will not be necessary to apply my remedy."
"I'm about well now," said Joe: "I think I can go ahead."
"I believe your pulse is good now; and I think you will hardly have
another attack to-day. If you do, just let me know it."
"Oh, now I feel perfectly well," responded Joe; and, seizing the rope,
they were all soon again flying along on the trail of the savages.
A little before noon, while casting his eyes along the dim horizon in
advance, Sneak abruptly paused, causing the rest to do likewise, and
exclaimed, "Dod rot it."
"What's the matter, Sneak? Remember the promise you made," said Boone.
"Oh," replied Sneak, "in sich an extronary case as this, I can't help
saying that word yet awhile. But look yander!" he continued, pointing
to a slight eminence a great distance in advance.
"True!" said Boone, "that is an Indian--but it is the only one
"He is coming to meet us," said Glenn.
"Yes! my goodness! he's looking at us now," cried Joe, retreating a
"If there are more of them watching us," said Col. Cooper, "they are
somewhere in our rear."
"Oh! we're surrounded!" cried Joe, leaping forward again.
"Come on," said Boone; "we'll soon learn what he wants with us."
When they were within a few hundred yards of the solitary Indian, they
again halted, and Joe ran to the sled and seized his musket, which he
cocked and threw up to his shoulder.
"Take down your gun!" said Boone; "that is the Indian whose life we
spared. I was not deceived in his integrity. He was not the one that
stole away Mary. I doubt not he brings intelligence of her."
"God grant she may still be unharmed!" said Roughgrove, advancing to
meet the Indian, who, being now within gunshot, raised his small white
flag. "Tell me! tell me all about her!" exclaimed Roughgrove, in the
Osage language, when he met the Indian. When the Indian informed him
of the condition of Mary, the old man could not repress his raptures,
his gratitude, or his tears. "She's safe! she's safe! Heaven be
praised!" he exclaimed, turning to his companions, who now came up,
and experienced almost as much joy at the announcement as himself.
"Hang me, if you ain't a right clever fellow," said Joe, shaking the
Indian's hand quite heartily. "Now," he continued, when all the
particulars of Mary's escape were made known, "there won't be any use
in fighting; we can just get Miss Mary out of the snow, and then go
"You don't know--keep your mouth shet--dod--," said Sneak, suppressing
the last word.
"We are not sure of that," said Boone; "on the contrary, I think it
is very probable we shall have fighting yet. When the war-party
discover the deception, (as they must have done ere this,) they will
retrace their steps. If it was early in the day when they ascertained
that the captive had escaped, we may expect to see them very soon. If
it was late, we will find them in the grove where they encamped. In
either event we must expect to fight--and fight hard too--for they
outnumber us considerably."
Joe sighed, but said nothing.
"Are you getting ill again?" inquired Boone.
"No--I was only blowing--I got a little tired," said Joe, in scarce
"And I feel weak--very weak--but it is with joy!" said Roughgrove.
"And I have observed it, too," said Boone. "Get in the sled; we will
pull you along till your strength returns."
"I will be able to use my gun when I meet the foe," said the old man,
getting into the sled.
The party set forward again, guided by the Indian, and in high
spirits. The consciousness that Mary was in safety removed a weight
from the breasts of all; and, as they ran along, many a light jest and
pleasant repartee lessened the weariness of the march. Even Joe smiled
once or twice when Boone, in a mock heroic manner alluded to his
exploits among the wolves.
"Blast me," said Joe, when Sneak mentioned a few cases of equivocal
courage as an offset to Boone's compliments, "blast me, if I haven't
killed more Indians than any of you, since I have been in this plagued
"True--that is, your musket has," said Boone.
"Joe can fight sometimes," said Glenn, smiling.
"I'll be hanged if I haven't always fought, when there was any
fighting going on," said Joe, reproachfully.
"Yes, and he'll fight again, as manfully as any of us," said Boone.
"Dod--why, what are you holding back for so hard?" said Sneak,
remarking that Joe at that instant seemed to be much excited, and,
instead of going forward, actually brought the whole party to a model
ate walk by his counter exertion.
"What do you mean?" asked Glenn.
"Are you going to be ill?" asked Boone.
"No, goodness, no! Only listen to me a minute. An idea struck me,
which I thought it was my duty to tell. I thought this Indian might be
deceiving us. Suppose he leads us right into an ambush when we're
talking and laughing, and thinking there's no danger.
"Dod--you're a cowardly fool!" said Sneak.
"I have likewise a remedy for interruptions--I advise rot to stop
again," said Boone, when Joe once more started forward.
Just as night was setting in, the party came in sight of the grove
where Mary was concealed. They slackened their pace and drew near the
dark woods quite cautiously. When they entered the edge of the grove,
they heard the war-party utter the yell which had awakened Mary. It
was fully understood by Boone, and the friendly Indian assured them
from the sound, that the Osages had just returned, and were at that
moment leaving the encampment on his trail. But he stated that they
could not find the pale-faced maiden. And he suggested to the whites a
plan of attack, which was to station themselves near the place where
he had emerged from the grove, after hiding Mary; so that when they
followed on his trail they could thus be surprised without difficulty.
This advice was adopted by Boone. The Indian then asked permission to
depart, saying he had paid the white men for sparing his life.
"Oh no!" cried Joe, when Roughgrove interpreted the Indian's request,
"keep him as a hostage--he may be cheating us."
"I do not see the impropriety of Joe's remark this time," said Glenn.
"Ask him where he will go, if we suffer him to depart," said Boone. To
Roughgrove's interrogation, the Indian made a passionate reply. He
said the white men were liars. They were now quits. Still the white
men were not satisfied. He had risked his life (and would probably be
tortured) to pay back the white men's kindness. But they would not
believe his words. He was willing to die now. The white men might
shoot him.. He would as willingly die as live. If suffered to depart,
it was his intention to steal his squaw away from the tribe, and join
the Pawnees. He would never be an Osage again.
"Go!" said Boone, perceiving by a ray of moonlight that reached the
Indian's face through the clustering branches of the trees above, that
he was in tears. The savage, without speaking another word, leaped out
into the prairie, and from the circuitous direction he pursued, it was
manifest that nothing could be further from his desire than to fall in
with the war-party.
Boone directed the sled to be abandoned, and, obedient to his will,
the party entered a small covert in the immediate vicinity of the spot
where their guide said he had emerged from the grove on his return to
meet the whites. Here the party long remained esconced, silent and
listening, and expecting every moment to see the foe. At length Boone
grew impatient, and concluding they would encamp that night under the
spreading tree, (the locality of which he was familiar with,) he
resolved to advance and surprise them. He was strengthened in this
determination by the repeated and painful surmises of Roughgrove
respecting Mary's piteous condition. Glenn, and the rest, with perhaps
one or two exceptions, likewise seemed disposed to make an
instantaneous termination of the torturing suspense respecting the
fate of the poor girl.
Boone and Sneak led the way. The party were compelled to proceed with
the utmost caution. Sometimes they were forced to crawl many paces on
their hands and knees under the pendent snow-covered bushes. They drew
near the spreading tree. A fire was burning under it, the flickering
rays of which could be occasionally seen glimmering through the
branches. A stick was heard to break a little distance on one side,
and Boone and Sneak sank down on the snow, and whispered to the rest
to follow their example. It was done without a repetition of the
order. Joe was the hindmost of all, but after lying a few minutes in
silence, he crept softly forward, trembling all the while. When he
reached the side of Boone, the aged woodman did not chide him, but
simply pointed his finger towards a small decayed log a few paces
distant. Joe looked but a moment, and then pulling his hat over his
eyes, laid down flat on his face, in silence and submission. An Indian
was seated on the log, and very composedly cutting off the dry bark
with his tomahawk. Once or twice he paused and remained a moment in a
listening attitude. But probably thinking the sounds he heard (if he
heard any) proceeded from some comrade like himself in quest of fuel,
he continued to cut away, until an armful was obtained, and then very
deliberately arose and walked with an almost noiseless step to the
fire, which was not more than fifty yards distant. Boone rose softly
and whispered the rest to follow. He was promptly obeyed by all except
"Come, sir! prepare your musket to fire," said Boone, stooping down to
Joe, who still remained apparently frozen to the snow-crust.
"Oh! I'm so sick!" replied Joe.
"If you do not keep with us, you will lose your scalp to a certainty,"
said Boone. Joe was well in a second. The party were now about midway
between the fallen trunk where Mary was concealed, and the great
encampment-tree. Boone rose erect for an instant, and beheld the
former, and the single Indian (the chief) who was there. One of the
Indians again started out from the fire, in the direction of the
whites for more fuel. Boone once more passed the word for his little
band to lie down. The tall savage came within a few feet of them. His
tomahawk accidentally fell from his hand, and in his endeavour to
catch it, he knocked it within a few feet of Sneak's head. He stepped
carelessly aside, and stooped down for it. A strangling and gushing
sound was heard, and falling prostrate, he died without a groan. Sneak
had nearly severed his head from his body at one blow with his
At this juncture Mary sprang from her hiding-place. Her voice reached
the ears of her father, but before he could run to her assistance, the
chiefs loud tones rang through the forest. Boone and the rest sprang
forward, and fired upon the savages under the spreading tree. At the
second discharge the Indians gave way, and while Col. Cooper, the
oarsmen, and the neighbours that had joined the party in the morning,
pursued the flying foe, Boone and the remainder ran towards the fallen
trunk where Mary had been concealed, but approaching in different
directions. Glenn was the first to rush upon the chief, and it was his
ball that whizzed so near the Indian's head when he bore away the
shrieking maiden. The rest only fired in the direction of the log, not
thinking that Mary had left her covert. They soon met at the fallen
tree, under which was the pit, all except Glenn, who sprang forward in
pursuit of the chief, and Sneak, who had made a wide circuit for the
purpose of reaching the scene of action from an opposite direction,
entirely regardless of the danger of being shot by his friends.
[Illustration: "It is your father, my poor child!" said Roughgrove,
pressing the girl to his heart.--P. 165]
"She's gone! she's gone!" exclaimed Roughgrove, looking aghast at the
vacated pit under the fallen trunk. "But we will have her yet," said
Boone, as he heard Glenn discharge a pistol a few paces apart in the
bushes. The report was followed by a yell, not from the chief, but
Sneak, and the next moment the rifle of the latter was likewise heard.
Still the Indian was not dispatched, for the instant afterwards his
tomahawk, which was hurled without effect, came sailing over the
bushes, and penetrated a tree hard by, some fifteen or twenty feet
above the earth, where it entered the wood with such force that it
remained firmly fixed. Now succeeded a struggle--a violent blow was
heard--the fall of the Indian, and all was comparatively still. A
minute afterwards, Sneak emerged from the thicket, bearing the
inanimate body of Mary in his arms, and followed by Glenn.
"Is she dead? Oh, she's dead!" cried Roughgrove, snatching her from
the arms of Sneak.
"She has only fainted!" exclaimed Glenn, examining the body of the
pale girl, and finding no wounds.
"She is recovering!" said Boone, feeling her pulse.
"God be praised!" exclaimed Roughgrove, when returning animation was
"Oh! I know you won't kill me! For pity's sake spare me!" said Mary.
"It is your father, my poor child!" said Roughgrove, pressing the girl
to his heart.
"It is! it is!" cried the happy girl, clinging rapturously to the old
man's neck, and then, seizing the hands of the rest, she seemed to be
half wild with delight.
"Dod--I--I mean that none of the black noctilerous savages shall ever
hurt you as long as Sneak lives," said Sneak, looking down at his gun,
which had been broken off at the breech.
"How did you break that?" asked Boone.
"I broke it over the yaller feller's head," said he, "and I'd do it
agin, before he should hurt Miss Mary, if it _is_ the only one I've
"I have an extra rifle at home," said Glenn, "which shall be yours, as
a reward for your gallant conduct."
"Where is the chief? Is he dead?" asked Mary.
"If he ain't dead, his head's harder than my gun, that's all," said
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" said Mary.
"Why, my child?" asked Roughgrove.
"Because," said Mary, "he's a good-hearted Indian, and never would
have harmed me. When he heard you coming, and raised his tomahawk to
kill me, I looked in his face, and he could not strike, for there were
tears in his eyes! I know he never would have thought of killing me,
when calm, for he treated me very kindly before I escaped."
"Maybe he ain't dead--I'll go and see," said Sneak, repairing to the
late scene of conflict. When he arrived he found the young chief
sitting upright, having been only stunned; a gold band that confined
his head-dress prevented the blow from fracturing his skull. He was
now unresisting and sullen. Sneak made him rise up, and after binding
his hands behind him with a strong cord, led him forth.
"You did not intend to kill me, did you?" asked Mary, in soothing
tones. The chief regarded her not, but looked steadfastly downwards.
"He don't understand you, Mary," said Boone.
"Oh, yes he does," continued Mary; "and he can speak our language,
too, for I heard him talking, and thought it was you, and that was the
reason why I came out of the pit." Roughgrove addressed him in his own
language, but with no better success. The captured chief resolved not
to plead for his life. He would make no reply whatever to their
questions, but still gazed downwards in reckless sullenness.
"What shall we do with him?" asked Glenn, when the rest of the party,
(with the exception of Joe,) who had chased the savages far away, came
up and stared at the prisoner.
"Let us set him free!" said Roughgrove.
"Kill him!" cried several.
"No!" exclaimed Mary, "what do _you_ say, Mr. Boone?"
"It would be useless to kill him," said Boone.
"Let him go, then," said Glenn.
"No!" said Boone.
"Why?" asked Glenn.
"Because," replied Boone, "he is a chief, and we may make him the
means of securing the settlement against future attacks. We will
confine him in your garrison as a hostage, and send some friendly
Indian to the Osages announcing his capture, and informing them that
his life will be spared provided they keep away from the settlement
for a certain length of time, at the expiration of which he shall be
restored to them."
"I am glad of that," said Mary, "for I don't believe he is a bad
Indian. We will treat him kindly, and then I think he will always be
"Take him along, and bind him fast in the sled, Sneak," said Boone;
"but see that you do not injure him in the least."
"I will. Oh, me and him are purty good friends now. Gee-whoa-haw,"
continued he, taking hold of the string behind, and endeavouring to
drive the silent captive like an ox. The young chief whirled round
indignantly, and with such force as to send Sneak sprawling several
paces to one side. He rose amid the laughter that ensued, and
remembering the words of Boone, conducted his prisoner away in a more
"Where's Joe?" at length inquired Glenn, seeing that he alone was
"Oh! I'm afraid he's dead," said Mary.
"If he is, I shall mourn his loss many a day," said Glenn; "for with
all his defects, I would not be without him for the world."
"Give yourself no uneasiness," said Boone; "for he is as well at this
moment as you or I."
"I hope so," said Glenn; "but I have not seen him since we first fired
at the Indians."
"Let us repair to that spot, and there we will find him, for I saw him
fall down when he discharged his musket. I venture to say he has not
moved an inch since."
The party repaired to the place mentioned, and there they found him,
sure enough, lying quite still on his face beside the Indian that
Sneak had killed.
"He _is_ dead!" said Glenn, after calling to him and receiving no
"We'll soon see," said Boone, turning him over on his back. "I will
open a vein in his arm."
"Bring a torch from the fire," said Col. Cooper to one of the men.
"Oh!" sighed Joe, lifting his hands to his head.
"I thought he would soon come to life again," said Boone, examining
his face with the torch that was brought, and then laughing outright.
The spectacle was ludicrous in the extreme. Joe was besmeared with
blood, and, when he opened his eyes and stared at the flaming light,
he resembled some sanguinary demon.
"Where in the world did all this blood come from?" exclaimed Glenn.
"I'm recovered now," said Joe, rising up and assuming an air of
"What have you been doing?" asked Glenn.
"I've been doing as much as any of you, I'll be bound," replied Joe,
"Well, what have you done?" repeated Glenn.
"I've been fighting the last half hour, as hard as anybody ever fought
in this world. Only look at the stabs in that Indian!" said he,
pointing to the savage.
"Why, you scoundrel! Sneak killed this Indian," said Glenn.
"Sneak thought he did," replied Joe, "but he only wounded him. After a
while he got up and clinched me by the throat, and we had it over and
over on the snow, till we both got so exhausted we couldn't do any
thing. When we rested, we went at it again, and it hasn't been five
minutes since I stuck my knife in his breast. When he fell, I stuck
him four or five times, and then fainted myself."
"Here is a wound in the savage's breast," said Glenn.
"But here's another in the throat," said Boone, showing where the
arteries had been severed by Sneak.
"Joe," said Glenn, "you must abandon this habit of lying, if indeed it
is not a portion of your nature."
"Hang it all, I ain't lying--I know Sneak did cut his throat, but he
didn't cut it deep--I cut it deeper, myself, after the Indian got up
again!" persisted he.
The party hastily glanced at the four or five dead savages under the
trees, that had fallen victims to their fire, and then returned to the
sled. Mary was placed beside the captive chief, and they set out on
their return, well satisfied with the result of the expedition.
The return--The young chief in confinement--Joe's fun--His reward--The
ring--A discovery--William's recognition--Memories of childhood--A
scene--Roughgrove's history--The children's parentage.
The party on their return did not travel so rapidly as they had
advanced. They moreover halted in a grove which they espied about
midnight, and finding a spreading tree that had entirely shielded a
small space of ground from the snow, they kindled a fire, arranged
their robes, and reposed a few hours. The captive chief was still
sullen and unresisting. He was suffered to recline in the sled
enveloped in skins, with his hands and feet yet bound, and an extra
cord passed round his body, the end of which Sneak held in his hand
while he slept. When daylight appeared, they set forward again in a
moderate pace, and arrived at Glenn's domicil at evening twilight. The
neighbours that Sneak had enlisted departed for their homes, and Boone
and Col. Cooper, after bidding our hero, Roughgrove, and Mary, a
hearty adieu, without entering the inclosure, recrossed the river to
their own settlement.
The remainder of the party, except the oarsmen, accepted Glenn's
invitation to remain with him till morning. When the gate was thrown
open, the faithful hounds manifested great delight to behold their
master again, and also Mary, for they pranced so much in the path
before them that it was almost impossible to walk. They barked in
ecstasy. The poor fawn had been forgotten, neglected, and had suffered
much for food. Mary placed her arm round its neck and wept. Glenn
ordered Joe, who was in the stable caressing the horses, to feed the
drooping pet instantly.
The party then entered the house, leading in the chief, and soon after
Sneak had a bright fire blazing on the hearth.
The food that remained from the last repast amply sufficed, the
captive refusing to partake with them, and Joe having dined during the
last twelve miles of the journey on the way.
"How we'll be able to keep this Indian here, when we go out, I should
like to know," said Joe, regarding the manly and symmetrical form of
the young chief, who was now unbound, and sat silent and thoughtful by
"I think he ought to be killed," said Sneak.
"Oh, no!" said Mary; "he is not bad like the other Indians." The
Indian, for the first time since his capture, raised his head while
she spoke, and looked searchingly in her face. "Oh!" continued Mary,
thinking of the horrors of savage warfare, and bursting into tears,
"you will never attempt to kill any of us again, will you?"
"No!" said the chief, in a low but distinct tone. Every one in the
house but Mary started.
"You understand our language, do you? Then why did you not answer my
questions?" asked Roughgrove, turning to the captive. The young chief
made no answer, but sat with his arms folded, and still regarding the
features of Mary.
"He's a perfect fool!" said Sneak.
"He's a snake in the grass, and'll bite some of us some of these
times, before we know any thing about it," said Joe.
"Be silent," said Glenn. "If the hope that fills my breast should be
realized, the young chief will cause more rejoicing than sorrowing
among us. The wisdom of Providence surpasses all human understanding.
Events that bear a frightful import to the limited comprehensions of
mortals, may nevertheless be fraught with inestimable blessings. Even
the circumstance of your capture, Mary, however distressing at the
time to yourself and to all your friends, may some day be looked upon
as a happy and fortunate occurrence."
"I hope so," said Mary.
"God is great--is present everywhere, and governs every thing--let us
always submit to his just decrees without murmuring," said the old
ferryman, his eyes brightening with fervent devotion.
"They've a notion to preach a little, I believe," whispered Sneak to
"Let 'em go ahead, then," replied Joe, who was busily engaged with a
long switch, that he occasionally thrust in the fire, and when the end
was burnt to a coal, slyly applied it to the heel of the young chiefs
"You'd better not let him ketch you at that," said Sneak.
"He'll think its a tick biting him--I want to see if the Indians
scratch like other people," said Joe.
Mary, being so requested by her father, began to relate every thing
that transpired up to her rescue, while she was in the possession of
the savages. The Indian riveted his eyes upon her during the recital,
and seemed to mark every word. Whether he understood all she said, or
was enchanted with her soft and musical tones, could not be
ascertained; but the listeners more than once observed with
astonishment his gleaming eyes, his attentive attitude, and the
intense interest exhibited in his face. It was during a moment when he
was thus absorbed that he suddenly sprang erect. Joe threw down his
switch, convulsed with internal laughter. Sneak leaned back against
the wall, and while he grinned at the amusing scene, seemed curious to
know what would be the result. Mary paused, and Glenn inquired the
cause of the interruption.
"Its nothing, hardly," said Sneak: "only a spark of fire got agin the
Indian's foot. He ain't as good pluck as the other one we had--he
could stand burning at the stake without flinching."
"Did either of you _place_ the fire against his foot?" demanded Glenn,
in something like anger. But before he could receive an answer, the
young chief, who had whirled round furiously, and cast a fierce look
at his tormentor, relaxing his knit brows into an expression of
contempt, very deliberately took hold of Joe's ear, and turning on his
heel like a pivot, forced him to make many circles round him on the
"Let go my ear!" roared Joe, pacing round in pain.
"Hold your holt, my snarvilerous yaller prairie dog!" cried Sneak,
"Let go my ear, I say!" cried Joe, still trotting round, with both
hands grasping the Indian's wrist. "Mr. Glenn! Mr. Glenn!" continued
Joe, "he's pinching a hole through my ear! Shoot him down, shoot him
down. There's my gun, standing against the wall--but its not loaded!
Take my knife--oh, he's tearing my ear off!" When the Indian thought
he was sufficiently punished, he led him back to his seat, and
relinquished his hold. He then resumed his own seat, and composedly
turning his eyes to Mary, seemed to desire her to proceed with the
narration. She did so, but when she spoke of her attempt to escape in
the prairie, of the young chief's noble conduct, and his admiration of
her ring (and she pulled off her glove and exhibited it as she spoke,)
he again rose from his seat, and walking, apparently unconsciously, to
where she reclined upon her father's knees, fixed his eyes upon the
jewel in a most mysterious manner. He no longer dwelt upon the
maiden's sweet tones. He did nothing but gaze at the ring.
"He's got a notion to steal that ring!" said Joe, with a sneer.
"Shot your mouth!" said Sneak, observing that Mary looked
reproachfully at Joe, and paused.
"Don't talk that way, Joe!" said the offended girl. "If he wanted it,
why did he not take it when I was his prisoner? I will freely let him
have it now," she continued, slipping it off from her finger.
"No! keep it, child--it is a family ring," said Roughgrove.
"I will lend it to him--I know he will give it me again," she
continued, placing it in the extended hand of the young chief, who
thanked her with his eyes, and resumed his seat. He now seemed to
disregard every thing that was said or done, and only gazed at the
ring, which he held first in one hand and then in the other, with the
sparkling diamond uppermost. Sometimes he would press his forehead
with his hand and cover his eyes, and then gaze at the ring again.
Then staring wildly around, and slightly starting, he would bite his
fingers to ascertain whether the scene was reality or a dream.
Finally, giving vent to a piteous sigh, while a tear ran down his
stained cheek, he placed his elbows upon his knees, and, bending
forward, seemed to muse over some event of the past, which the jewel
before him had called to remembrance.
Glenn narrowly watched every look and motion of the young chief, and
when Mary finished the account of her capture, he introduced the
subject of the lost child, Mary's brother, that Roughgrove had spoken
about before starting in pursuit of the war-party.
"I can remember him!" said Mary, "and mother, too--they are both in
heaven now--poor brother! poor mother!"
The young chief raised his head quickly, and staring at the maiden's
face, seemed to regard her tears and her features with an interest
similar to that of a child when it beholds a rare and curious toy.
"Has it not occurred to you," said Glenn, addressing Roughgrove, "that
this young chief might possibly be your own son?"
"No!" replied the old man, promptly, and partially rising, "_he_ my
son--_he_ Mary's brother--and once in the act of plunging the
"But, father," interrupted Mary, "he would never have harmed me--I
know he would not--for every time he looked me in the face he seemed
to pity me, and sometimes he almost wept to think I was away from my
friends, among savages, cold and distressed. But I don't think he can
be my brother--my little brother I used to love so much--yet I could
never think how he should have fallen in the river without my knowing
it. Sometimes I remember it all as if it were yesterday. He was
hunting wild violets--"
"Oh! oh!" screamed the young chief, springing from his seat towards
Mary. Fear, pain, apprehension, joy and affection, all seemed to be
mingled in his heaving breast.
"He's crazy, dod"--the word died upon Sneak's lip.
"I should like to know who burnt his foot then," said Joe.
"Silence! both of you," said Glenn.
"What does he mean?" at length asked Roughgrove, staring at the young
"Let us be patient, and see," said Glenn.
Ere long the Indian turned his eyes slowly downward, and resumed his
seat mournfully and in silence.
"Oh!" said Mary, "if he _is_ my poor brother, my heart will burst to
see him thus--a wild savage."
"How old are you, Mary?" asked Glenn.
"Nineteen," said she.
"Your brother, then, has been lost thirteen years. He may yet be
restored to you--re-taught our manners and speech--bless his aged
father's declining years, and merit sister's affection."
"Oh! Mr. Glenn! is he then alive? is this he?" cried Mary.
"No, child!" said Roughgrove, "do not think of such a thing, for you
will be most bitterly disappointed. Your brother was _white_--look at
this Indian's dark face!"
Glenn approached the chief, extending his hand in a friendly manner.
It was frankly grasped. He then gently drew the furs aside and exposed
the young man's shoulder. It was as white as his own! Roughgrove,
Mary, and all, looked on in wonder. The young chief regarded it with
singular emotions himself. He seemed to associate it in some manner
with the ring he held, for he glanced from one to the other
"Did Mary wear that ring before the child was lost?" asked Glenn.
"No," replied Roughgrove, "but her mother did."
"I believe he is your son!" said Glenn. "Mary," he continued, "have
you any trinkets or toys you used to play with?"
"Yes. Oh, let me get them!" she replied, and running to a corner of
the room where her father's chests and trunks had been placed, she
produced a small drum and a brass toy cannon. "He used to play with
these from morning till night," she continued, placing them on the
floor. She had not taken her hand away from them, before the young
chief sprang to her side and cried out--
"They're mine! they're mine! they're William's!"
"What was the child's name?" asked Glenn, quickly.
"William! William!" cried Mary. "It is my brother! it is my poor
brother William!" and without a moment's hesitation she threw her arms
round his neck, and sobbed upon his breast!
"The poor, poor child!" said Roughgrove, in tremulous tones, embracing
them both, his eyes filled with tears.
"Sister! sister!" said the youth, gazing in partial bewilderment at
"Brother, brother! I am your sister!" said Mary, in tones of thrilling
"But mother! where's mother?" asked the youth. The father and sister
bowed their heads in silence. The youth, after clinging fondly to Mary
a few minutes, started up abruptly and looked amazed, as if waking
from a sweet dream to the reality of his recent dreadful condition.
"Brother, why do you look so coldly at us? Why don't you press us to
your heart?" said Mary, still clinging to him. The youth's features
gradually assumed a grave and haughty cast, and, turning away, he
walked to the stool he had occupied, and sat down in silence.
"I will win him from the Indians," said Mary, running after him, and
sitting down at his side.
"Ugh!" exclaimed the youth in displeasure, and moved a short distance
"He's not true grit--I 'most wish I had killed him," said Sneak.
"Yes, and pinch me if I don't burn him again, if I get a chance," said
"Silence!" said Glenn, sternly. For many minutes not a word was
spoken. At length Mary, who had been sobbing, raised her head and
looked tenderly in the face of her brother. Still he regarded her with
indifference. She then seized the toy-drum, which with the other
articles had been thrust out of view, and placed them before him. When
his eyes rested upon them; the severe and wild expressions of his
features again relaxed. The young war-chief was a child again. He
abandoned his seat and sat down on the floor beside his sister.
Looking her guilelessly in the face, an innocent and boyish smile
played upon his lips.
"You won't go away again and leave your poor sister; will you,
William?" said Mary.
"No, indeed. And when the Indians come we'll run away and go to
mother, won't we, Mary?" said the youth, in a complete abandonment of
time and condition.
"He _is_ restored--restored at last!" exclaimed Roughgrove, walking
across the room to where the brother and sister sat. The youth sprang
to his feet, and darted a look of defiance at him. "Oh! wretched man
that I am! the murderous savages have converted the gentle lamb into a
wolf!" Roughgrove then repeated his words to the youth in the Osage
language. The youth replied in the same language, his eyes flashing
indignantly. He said it was not true; that the red man was great and
noble, and the pale face was a beast--and added that he had another
tomahawk and bows and arrows in his own country, and might see the day
when this insult would be terribly resented. The old man sank down on
his rude seat, and gave way to excruciating grief.
"Brother William!" cried Mary, tapping the drum. The youth cast down
his eyes to where she sat, and their fierceness vanished in a
twinkling. She placed the toy in his possession, and rose to bring
some other plaything she remembered.
"Sister, don't go--I'll tell mother!" cried the youth, in infantile
"I'll come back presently, brother," said Mary, tripping across the
room and searching a trunk.
"Make haste--but I'm not afraid--I'll frighten all the Indians away."
Saying this, he rattled the drum as rapidly as possible.
"See what I've got, brother," said Mary, returning with a juvenile
book, and sitting down close at his side. He thrust the drum away,
and, laughing heartily, placed his arm round his sister and said:
"Mother's got _my_ book; but you'll let me look at yours, won't you,
"Yes that I will, brother--see, this is the little old woman, and
there's her dog--"
"Yes, and there's the peddler," cried the youth, pointing at the
"Now can't you read it, brother?"
"To be sure I can--let me read:
"'There was a little woman
As I have heard tell,
She went to market
Her eggs for to sell.'
"See! there she goes, with a basket on her arm and a cane in her hand."
"Yes, and here she is again on this side, fast asleep, and her basket
of eggs sitting by her," said Mary; "now let me read the next:
"'She went to market,
All on a market day,
And she fell asleep
On the king's highway.'"
Now do you read about the peddler, brother. Mother used to say there
was a naughty word in it."
"I will," cried the youth, eagerly; but he paused and looked
steadfastly at the picture before him.
"Why don't you read?" asked Mary, endeavouring to confine his thoughts
to the childish employment.
"That's a pretty _skin_, ain't it?" said he, pointing to the red shawl
painted on the picture.
"_Skin_!" said Mary; "why, that's her shawl, brother."
"I'll steal one for my squaw," said he.
"_Steal_, brother!" said the trembling girl.
"No I won't, either, sister--don't you know mother says we must never
steal, nor tell stories, nor say bad words."
"That's right, brother. But you haven't got an ugly _squaw_, have
"No indeed, sister, that I haven't!"
"I thought you wouldn't have any thing to do with the ugly squaws."
"That I wouldn't--mine's a pretty one."
"Oh, heaven!" cried the weeping girl, throwing herself on her
brother's bosom. He kissed her, and strove to comfort her, and turned
to the book and continued to turn over the leaves, while Mary sat by
in sadness, but ever and anon replying to his childish questions, and
still striving to keep him thus diverted.
"Have you any of the clothes you wore when he was a child?" asked
Glenn, addressing Roughgrove.
"Yes," replied the old man; and seizing upon the thought, he unlocked
the trunk that contained them, and put them on.
"Where's mother?" suddenly asked the young chief.
"Oh, she's dead!" said Mary.
"Dead? I know better!" said he, emphatically.
"Indeed she is, brother," repeated Mary, in tears.
"When did she die?" he continued, in a musing attitude.
"A long time ago--when you were away," said she.
"I wasn't gone away long, was I?" he asked, with much simplicity.
"Oh, very long--we thought you were dead."
"He was a very bad Indian to steal me away without asking mother. But
where's father? Is he dead, too?" he continued, lifting his eyes and
beholding Roughgrove attired in a suit of velvet, and wearing broad
silver knee buckles. "Father! father!" he cried, eagerly clasping the
old man in his arms.
"My poor boy, I will be your father still!" said Roughgrove.
"I know you will," said the youth, "for you always loved me a great
deal, and now that my poor mother's dead, I'm sure you will love
sister and me more than ever."
"Indeed I will, poor child! But you must not go back to the naughty
savages any more."
The youth gazed round in silence, and made no reply. He was evidently
awakening to a consciousness of his condition. A frown of horror
darkened his brow as he contemplated the scenes of his wild abode
among the Indians; and, when he contrasted his recent mode of life
with the Elysian days of his childhood, now fresh in his memory,
mingled emotions of regret, fear, and bliss seemed to be contending in
his bosom. A cold dampness settled upon his forehead, his limbs
trembled violently, and distressful sighs issued from his heaving
breast. Gradually he sank down on a couch at his side, and closed his
When some minutes had elapsed, during which a death-like silence was
maintained, Mary approached lightly to where her father stood, and
inquired if her brother was ill.
"No," said Roughgrove, in a whisper; "he only sleeps; but it is a very
"Now let us take off his Indian dress," said Glenn, "and put on him
some of my clothes." This was speedily effected, and without awaking
the youth, whose senses were benumbed, as if by some powerful opiate.
"Now, Mary," said Roughgrove, "you must likewise have repose. You are
almost exhausted in body and mind. Sleep at your brother's side, if
you will, poor girl." Mary laid her head on William's pillow, and was
soon in a deep slumber.
For several moments Roughgrove stood lost in thought, gazing
alternately at the reposing brother and sister, and Glenn. He looked
also at Sneak and Joe reclining by the fire; both were fast asleep. He
then resumed his seat, and motioned Glenn to do likewise. He bowed his
head a brief length of time in silence, apparently recalling to mind
some occurrence of more than ordinary import.
"My young friend," said he, at length, while he placed his withered
hand upon Glenn's knee, "do you remember that I said there was
_another_ secret connected with my family?"
"Distinctly," replied Glenn; "and I have since felt so much anxiety to
be acquainted with it that I have several times been on the eve of
asking you to gratify my curiosity; but thinking it might be
impertinent, I have forborne. It has more than once occurred to me
that your condition in life must have been different from what it now
"It has been different--far different. I will tell you all. I am a
native of England--a younger brother, of an ancient and honourable
family, but much decayed in fortune. I was educated for the ministry.
Our residence was on the Thames, a few miles distant from London, and
I was early entered in one of the institutions of the great city.
While attending college, it was my practice twice a month to visit my
father's mansion on foot. I was fond of solitary musings, and the
exercise was beneficial to my weak frame. It was during one of those
excursions that I rescued a young lady from the rude assaults of two
ruffians. After a brief struggle, they fled. I turned to the one I had
so opportunely served, and was struck with her unparalleled beauty.
Young; a form of symmetrical loveliness; dark, languishing eyes, a
smooth forehead of lily purity, and auburn hair flowing in glossy
ringlets--it was not strange that an impression should be made on the
heart of a young student. She thanked me for my generous interposition
in such sweet and musical tones, that every word thrilled pleasantly
through my breast. She prevailed upon me to accompany her to her
mother's cottage, but a few hundred paces distant; and during our walk
thither, she hung confidingly on my arm. Her aged mother overwhelmed
me with expressions of gratitude. She mildly chid her daughter for
wandering so far away in quest of flowers, and then withdrawing, left
us alone. Again my eyes met those of the blushing maiden--but it is
useless to dwell upon the particulars of our mutual passion. Suffice
it to say that she was the only child of her widowed mother, in
moderate but independent circumstances, and being hitherto secluded
from the society of the other sex, soon conceived (for my visits were
frequent) an affection as ardent as my own. At length I apprized my
father of the attachment, and asked his consent to our union. He
refused to sanction the alliance in the most positive terms, and
commanded me never to mention the subject again. He said that I was
poor, and that he would not consent to my marriage with any other than
an heiress. I returned to London, resolved to disobey his injunction,
for I felt that my happiness entirely depended upon my union with the
lovely Juliet. But I had never yet definitely expressed my desire to
her. Yet there could be no doubt from her smiles that my wishes would
willingly be acceded to. I determined to arrange every thing at our
next interview, and a few weeks afterwards I repaired to the cottage
for that purpose. Instead of meeting me with her ever blissful face, I
found my Juliet in tears! She was alone; but in the adjoining chamber
I heard a man's voice, and feared that it was my father. I was
mistaken. Juliet soon brushed away her tears, and informed me that she
had been _again_ assailed by the same ruffians, and on the lawn within
sight of the cottage. She said that the gentleman in the next room was
her deliverer. I seized her hand, and when about to propose a plan to
secure her against such annoyances for ever, her mother entered and
introduced the stranger to me. His name was Nicholson, and he stated
that he was a partner in a large banking establishment in Lombard
Street. He was past the bloom of youth, but still his fine clothes and
his reputed wealth were displeasing to me. I was especially chagrined
at the marked attention shown him by Juliet's mother. And my annoyance
was increased by the frequent lascivious glances he cast at the
maiden. The more I marked him, the more was my uneasiness. It soon
occurred to me that I had seen him before! He resembled a person I had
seen driving rapidly along the highway in a chariot, on the morning
that I first beheld my Juliet. But my recollection of his features was
indistinct. There was a condescending suavity in his manners, and
sometimes a positive and commanding tone in his conversation, that
almost roused my enmity in spite of my peaceful calling and friendly
disposition. It was my intention to remain at the cottage, and propose
to Juliet after he had departed. But my purpose was defeated, for he
declared his intention to enjoy the country air till evening, and I
returned, disappointed and dispirited, to the city.
"A few days afterwards I visited the cottage again. What was my
surprise and vexation to behold Mr. Nicholson there! He was seated,
with his patronizing smile, between Juliet and her mother, and
presenting them various richly bound books, jewels, &c., which seemed
to me to be received with much gratification. I was welcomed with the
usual frankness and pleasure by Juliet, but I thought her mother's
reception was less cordial, and Mr. Nicholson regarded me with
manifest indifference. I made an ineffectual effort at vivacity, and
after an hour's stay, during which my remarks gradually narrowed down
to monosyllables, (while Mr. Nicholson became excessively loquacious,)
I rose to depart. Juliet made an endeavour to accompany me to the
door, where I hoped to be assured of her true affection for me by her
own lips, but some pointed inquiry (I do not now recollect what) from
Nicholson, which was seconded in a positive manner by her mother,
arrested her steps, and while she hesitated, I bad her adieu, and
departed for the city, resolved never to see her again.
"It was about a month after the above occurrence that my resolution
gave way, and I was again on the road to the cottage, with my mind
made up to forgive and forget every thing that had offended me, and to
offer my hand where my heart seemed to be already irrevocably fixed.
When I entered who should I see but the eternal thwarter of my
happiness, the ever-present Nicholson! But horror! he was now the
wedded lord of Juliet! The ceremony was just over. There were but two
or three strangers present besides the clergyman. Bride, groom,
guests, and all were hateful to my sight. The minister, particularly,
I thought had a demoniac face, similar to that of one of the ruffians
who had tested the quality of my cane. Juliet cast a look at me with
more of sadness than joy in it. She offered me her hand in silent
salutation, and it trembled in my grasp. The deed was done. Pity for
the maiden who had been thus sacrificed to secure a superabundance of
wealth which could never be enjoyed, and sorrow at my own forlorn
condition, weighed heavily, oh, how heavily! on my heart. I returned
to my lonely and desolate lodgings without a malicious feeling for the
one who had robbed me of every hope of earthly enjoyment. I prayed
that he might make Juliet happy.
"But, alas! her happiness was of short duration. Scarce six months had
passed before Mr. Nicholson began to neglect his youthful and
confiding bride. She had still remained at her mother's cottage,
while, as she stated, his establishment was being fitted up in town
for their reception. He at first drove out to the cottage every
evening; but soon afterwards fell into the habit of visiting his bride
only two or three times a week. He neither carried her into society
nor brought home any visitors. Yet he seemed to possess immense
wealth, and bestowed it upon Juliet with a liberal, nay, profuse hand.
My young friend, what kind of a character do you suppose this Mr.
Nicholson to have been?" said the old man, pausing, and turning to
Glenn, who had been listening to the narrative with marked attention.
"He was an impostor--a gambler," replied Glenn, promptly.
"He _was_ an impostor! but no adventurous gambler, as you suppose. I
will proceed. About seven months after his marriage, he abandoned
Juliet altogether! Yet he did not forget her entirely. He may have
felt remorse for the ruin he had wrought--or perhaps a slight degree
of affection for his unborn--; and costly presents, and many
considerable sums of money, were sent by him to the cottage. But
neither the aged mother nor the deserted wife found the consolation
they desired in his prodigal gifts. They sent me a note, informing me
of their distressful condition, and requesting me to ascertain the
locality of Mr. Nicholson's establishment, and, if possible, to find
out the cause of his unnatural conduct. I did all in my power to
accomplish what they desired. I repaired to the cottage, unable to
give the least intelligence of Mr. Nicholson. I had not been able to
find any one who had ever heard of him. Juliet became almost frantic.
She determined to seek him herself. At her urgent solicitation, I
accompanied her to the city in an open curricle. A pitying Providence
soon terminated her insupportable suspense. While we were driving
through Hyde Park, we were forcibly stopped to permit, among the
throng, the passage of a splendid equipage. The approaching carriage
was likewise an open one. Juliet glanced at the inmates, and uttering
a wild piercing shriek, fainted in my arms. I looked, and saw her
quondam husband! He was decked in the magnificent insignia of ROYALTY.
Nobles were bowing, high-born ladies smiling, and the multitude
shouted, 'There comes his royal highness, the Prince of--'
"Man cannot punish him," continued Roughgrove, "but God can. HE will
deal justly, both with the proud and the oppressed. But to return. He
saw Juliet. A few minutes after the gorgeous retinue swept past, one
of the prince's attendants came with a note. Juliet was insensible. I
took it from the messenger's hand, and started when I looked the
villain in the face. He had been the parson! He smiled at the
recognition! I hurled my cane at his head, and hastened back to the
cottage with a physician in attendance. Juliet soon recovered from her
swoon. But a frenzied desperation was manifest in her pale features. I
left her in her mother's charge, and returned in agony to my lodgings.
That night a raging fever seized upon my brain, and for months I was
the victim of excruciating disease. When convalescent, but still
confined to my room, I chanced to run my eye over one of the daily
papers, and was petrified to see the name of Mrs. Nicholson, in the
first article that attracted my attention, in connection with an
attempt upon the life of the king! She had been seized with a fit of
temporary insanity, and driving to town, sought her betrayer with the
intention of shedding his blood. She waited at the gate of St. James's
palace until a carriage drove up in which she expected to find the
prince. It was the king--yet she did not discover her error until the
blow was made. The steel did not perform its office, as you are aware
from the history of England, in which this event is recorded. The king
humanely pardoned her on the spot. A single word she uttered
acquainted him with her history, and her piteous looks made an
extraordinary impression on his mind. He too, had, perhaps, sported
with innocent beauty. And now the spectre of the weeping maniac
haunted his visions. Soon he became one himself. The name of Juliet
fortunately was not published in the journals. It was by some means
incorrectly stated that the woman who attacked the king was named
_Margaret_ Nicholson, and so it remains on the page of history.
"As soon as I was able to leave my chamber, I repaired to the cottage.
Juliet was a _mother_. Reason had returned, and she strove to submit
with Christian humility to her pitiable lot. She received me with the
same sweet smile that had formerly beamed on her guileless face. Her
mother, the promoter of the fancied advantageous alliance, now seemed
to suffer most. They both clung to me as their only remaining friend,
and in truth I learned that all other friends had forsaken them. I
looked upon the deceived, outraged, but still innocent Juliet, with
pity. Her little cherub twins--"
"Twins!" echoed Glenn.
"Ay, twins," replied Roughgrove, "and they lie behind you now, side by
side, on yonder bed."
Glenn turned and gazed a moment in silence on the sleeping forms of
William, and Mary.
"Her poor little ones excited my compassion. They were not blamable
for their father's crime, nor could they enjoy the advantages of his
exalted station. They were without a protector in the world. Juliet's
mother was fast sinking under the calamity she had herself in a great
measure wrought. My heart melted when I contemplated the sad condition
of the only female I had ever loved. It was not long before the fires
of affection again gleamed brightly in my breast. Juliet had committed
no crime, either in the eyes of man or God. She did not intend to err.
She had acted in good faith. She had never designed to transgress
either the laws of earth or heaven, and although the disguised prince
did not wholly possess her heart, yet she deemed it a duty to be
governed by the advice of her parent. These things I explained to her,
and when her conscience was appeased by the facts which I
demonstrated, her peace in some measure returned, but she was still
subject to occasional melancholy reflections. Perhaps she thought of
me--how my heart had suffered (for, young as I was, the occurrence
brought premature gray hairs; and even now, although my head is white,
I have seen but little more than forty years)--and how happy we might
have travelled life's journey together. I seized such a moment to
renew my proposals. She declined, but declined in tears. I returned to
the city with the intention to repeat the offer the next time we met.
Not many weeks elapsed before her aged mother was consigned to the
tomb. Poor Juliet's condition was now immeasurably lamentable. She had
neither friend nor protector. I again urged my suit, and was
successful. But she required of me a promise to retire from the world
for ever. I cheerfully agreed, for I was disgusted with the vanity and
wickedness of my species. We came hither. You know the rest."
When Roughgrove ceased speaking, the night was far advanced, and a
perfect silence reigned. Without uttering another word, he and Glenn
rose from their seats, and repairing to the remaining unoccupied
couch, ere long yielded to the influence of tranquil slumber.
William's illness--Sneak's strange house--Joe's courage--The bee
hunt--Joe and Sneak captured by the Indians--Their sad condition
--Preparations to burn them alive--Their miraculous escape.
Just before the dawn of day, Roughgrove and Glenn were awakened by
Mary. She was weeping at the bed-side of William.
"What's the matter, child?" asked Roughgrove, rising up and lighting
"Poor brother!" said she, and her utterance failed her.
"He has a raging fever!" said Glenn, who had approached the bed and
placed his hand upon the young man's temples.
"True--and I fear it will be fatal!" said Roughgrove, in alarm, as he
held the unresisting wrist of the panting youth.
"Fear not," said Glenn; "God directs all things. This violent illness,
too, may in the end be a blessing. Let us do all in our power to
restore him to health, and leave the rest to Him. I was once an ardent
student of medicine, and the knowledge I acquired may be of some
"I will pray for his recovery," said Mary, bowing down at the foot of
"Dod--I mean--Joe, it's most daylight," said Sneak, rising up and
rubbing his eyes.
"Well, what if it is? what are you waking me up for?" replied Joe,
turning over on his rude pallet.
"Why, I'm going home."
"Well, clear out them."
"But you'll have to get up and shut the gate after me"'
"Plague take it all, I believe you're just trying to spoil my nap!"
said Joe, much vexed.
"No I ain't, Joe; I'm in earnest, indeed I am," continued Sneak;
"bekaise I hain't been inside of my house, now, for three or four
days, and who knows but the dod--mean the--Indians have been there
and stole all my muskrat skins?"
"If they have, then there's no use in looking for them now."
"If they have, dod--I mean, _burn_ me if I don't foller em to the
other end of creation but I'll have 'em back agin. But I ain't much
afeard that they saw my house--they might rub agin it without knowing
it was a house."
"That's a pretty tale," said Joe, now thoroughly awakened, and staring
incredulously in his companion's face.
"It's a fact."
"Whereabouts is your house?"
"Why, it's in the second valley we crossed when we went after the
wolves on the island."