Part 5 out of 6
"Then your skins are gone," said Joe, "for the Indians have been in
"I know they was there well enough," said Sneak; "but didn't I say
they couldn't find the house, even if they was to scratch their backs
"What kind of a house is it?"
"'Spose you come along and see," said Sneak, groping about in the dim
twilight for his cap, and the gun Glenn bad given him.
"I should like to see it, just out of curiosity," replied Joe.
[Illustration: "I will pray for his recovery," said Mary, bowing down
at the foot of the bed.--P. 186]
"Then go along with Sneak," said Glenn, who approached the fire to
prepare some medicine; "it is necessary that every thing should be
quiet and still here."
"If you'll help me to feed and water the horses. Sneak, I'll go home
with you," said Joe. Sneak readily agreed to the proposition, and by
the time it was quite light, and yet before the sun rose, the labour
was accomplished, and they set out together for the designated valley.
Their course was somewhat different from that pursued when in quest of
the wolves, for Sneak's habitation was about midway between the river
and the prairie, and they diverged in a westerly direction. But their
progress was slow During the night there had been a change in the
atmosphere, and a constant breeze from the south had in a great
measure softened the snow-crust, so that our pedestrians frequently
"This is not the most agreeable walking I ever saw," said Joe,
breaking through and tumbling down on his face.
"That's jest as much like swimming as walking," said Sneak, smiling at
the blunder of his companion.
"Smash it, Sneak," continued Joe, rising up with some difficulty, "I
don't half like this breaking-through business."
"You must walk lighter, and then you won't break through," said Sneak;
"tread soft like I do, and put your feet down flat. I hain't broke in
once--" But before the sentence was uttered, Sneak had broken through
himself, and stood half-submerged in the snow.
"Ha! ha! ha! you musn't count your chickens before they're hatched,"
said Joe, laughing; "but you may score one, now you have broken the
"I got in that time," said Sneak, now winding through the bushes with
much caution, as if it were truly in his power to diminish the weight
of his body by a peculiar mode of walking.
"This thaw 'll be good for one thing, any how," said Joe, after they
had progressed some time in silence.
"What's that?" asked Sneak.
"Why, it 'll keep the Indians away; they can't travel through the
slush when the crust is melted off."
"That's as true as print," replied Sneak; and if none of 'em follered
us back to the settlement, we needn't look for 'em agin till spring."
"I wonder if any of them _did_ follow us?" asked Joe, pausing
"How can anybody tell till they see 'em?" replied Sneak. "What're you
"I'm going back," said Joe.
"Dod--you're a fool--that's jest what you are. Hain't We got our guns?
and if there _is_ any about, ain't they in the bushes close to Mr.
Glenn's house? and hain't we passed through 'em long ago? But I don't
keer any thing about your cowardly company--go back, if you want to,"
said Sneak, striding onward.
"Sneak, don't go so fast. I haven't any notion of going back," said
Joe, springing nimbly to his companion's side.
"I believe you're afeard to go back by yourself," said Sneak, laughing
"Pshaw, Sneak, I don't think any of 'em followed us, do you?"
continued Joe, peering at the bushes and trees in the valley, which
they were entering.
"No," said Sneak; "I only wanted to skeer you a bit."
"I've killed too many savages to be scared by them now," said Joe,
carelessly striding onward.
"What was you a going back for, if you wasn't skeered?"
"I wonder what always makes you think I'm frightened when I talk of
going into the house! Sneak, you're _always_ mistaken. I wasn't
thinking about myself--I only wanted to put Mr. Glenn on his guard."
"Then what made you tell that wapper for, the other night, about
cutting that Indian's throat?"
"How do you know it was a wapper?" asked Joe, somewhat what
embarrassed by Sneak's home-thrust.
"Bekaise, don't I know that I cut his juggler-vein myself? Didn't the
blood gush all over me? and didn't he fall down dead before he had
time to holler?" continued Sneak, with much warmth and earnestness.
"Sneak," said Joe, "I've no doubt you thought he was dead--but then
you must know it's nearly as hard to kill a man as a cat. You might
have been mistaken; every body is liable to be deceived--even a
person's eyes deceive him sometimes. I don't pretend to say that I
haven't been mistaken before now, myself. It _may_ be possible that I
was mistaken about the Indian as well as you--I might have just
_thought_ I saw him move. But I was there longer than you, and the
inference is that I didn't stand as good a chance to be deceived."
"Well, I can't answer all that," said Sneak; "but I'll swear I felt my
knife grit agin his neck-bone."
Joe did not desire to pursue the subject any further, and they
proceeded on their way in silence, ever and anon breaking through the
snow-crust. The atmosphere became still more temperate when the bright
sun beamed over the horizon. Drops of water trickled down from the
snow-covered branches of the trees, and a few birds flitted overhead,
and uttered imperfect lays.
"Here we are," said Sneak, halting in the midst of a clump of enormous
sycamore trees, over whose roots a sparkling rivulet glided with a
"I know we're here," said Joe; "but what are you stopping _here_ for?"
"Here's where I live," replied Sneak, with a comical smile playing on
"But where's your house?" asked Joe.
"Didn't I say you couldn't find it, even if you was to rub your back
"I know I'm not rubbing against your house now," replied Joe, turning
round and looking up in the huge tree he had been leaning against.
"But you have been leaning agin my house," continued Sneak, amused at
the incredulous face of his companion.
"I know better," persisted Joe; "this big sycamore is the only thing
I've leant against since we started."
"Jest foller me, and I'll show you something," said Sneak, stepping
round to the opposite side of the tree, where the ascent on the north
rose abruptly from the roots. Here he removed a thin flat stone of
about four feet in height, that stood in a vertical position against
"You don't live in there, Sneak, surely; why that looks like a wolf's
den," said Joe, perceiving a dark yawning aperture, and that the
immense tree was but a mere shell.
"Keep at my heels," said Sneak, stooping down and crawling into the
"I'd rather not," said Joe; "there may be a bear in it."
Soon a clicking sound was heard within, and the next moment Joe
perceived the flickering rays of a small lamp that Sneak held in his
hand, illuminating the sombre recesses of the novel habitation.
"Why don't you come in?" asked Sneak.
"Sneak, how do you know there ain't a bear up in the hollow?" asked
Joe, crawling in timidly and endeavouring to peer through the darkness
far above, where even the rays of the lamp could not penetrate.
"I wonder if you think I'd let a bear sleep in my house," continued
Sneak, searching among a number of boxes and rude shelves, to see if
any thing had been molested during his absence. Finding every thing
safe, he handed Joe a stool, and began to kindle a fire in a small
stone furnace. Joe sat down in silence, and looked about in
astonishment. And the scene was enough to excite the wonder of an
Irishman. The interior of the tree was full eight feet in diameter,
while the eye was lost above in undeveloped regions. Below, there was
a surface of smooth stones, which were comfortably carpeted over with
buffalo robes. At one side was a diminutive fireplace, or furnace,
constructed of three flat stones about three inches in thickness. The
largest was laid horizontally on the ground, and the others placed
upright on it, and attached to a clay chimney, that was by some means
confined to the interior side of the tree, and ran upward until it was
lost in the darkness. After gazing in amazement several minutes at
this strange contrivance, Joe exclaimed:
"Sneak, I don't understand this! Where does that smoke go to?"
"Go out doors and see if you can't see," replied Sneak, placing more
fuel on the blazing fire.
"Go out of the _hole_ you mean to say," said Joe, creeping out.
"You may call it jest what you like," said Sneak; "but I'll be
switched if many folks lives in _higher_ houses than I does."
"Well, I'll declare!" cried Joe.
"What ails you now?" asked Sneak, thrusting his head out of the
aperture, and regarding the surprise of Joe with much satisfaction.
"Why, I see the smoke pouring out of a hole in a _limb_ not much
bigger than my thigh!" cried Joe. This was true. Sneak had mounted up
in the tree before building his chimney, and finding a hollow bough
that communicated directly with the main trunk had cut through into
the cavity, and thus made a vent for the escape of the smoke.
"Come in now, and get something to eat," said Sneak. This was an
invitation that Joe was never known to decline. After casting another
admiring glance at the blue vapour that issued from the bough some
ninety feet from the ground, he passed through the cavity with
"Where are you?" cried Joe, upon entering and looking round in vain
for his host, who had vanished in a most inexplicable manner. Joe
stared in astonishment. The lighted lamp remained on a box, that was
designed for the breakfast-table, and on which there was in truth an
abundance of dried venison and smoking potatoes. But where was Sneak?
"Sneak, what's become of you?" continued Joe, eagerly listening for a
reply, and anxiously scanning the tempting repast set before him. "I
know you're at some of your tricks," he added, and sitting down at the
table, commenced in no indifferent manner to discuss the savoury
venison and potatoes.
"I'm only up stairs," cried Sneak, in the darkness above; and throwing
down a rope made of hides, the upper end of which was fastened to the
tree within, he soon followed, slipping briskly down, and without
delay sprang to Joe's assistance.
When the meal was finished, or rather, when every thing set before
them had vanished, Sneak rose up and thrust his long neck out of the
"What are you looking at?" asked Joe.
"I'm looking at the warm sun shining agin yonder side of the hill,"
said Sneak; "how'd you like to go a bee-hunting?"
"A bee-hunting!" iterated Joe. "I wonder if you think we could find a
bee at this season of the year? and I should like to know what it'd be
worth when we found it."
"Plague take the bee--I mean the _honey_--don't you like wild honey?"
"Yes," said Joe; "but how can you find any when there's such a snow as
this on the ground?"
"When there's a snow, that's the time to find 'em," said Sneak;
"peticuly when the sun shines warm. Jest come out here and look," he
continued, stepping along, and followed by Joe; "don't you see yander
big stooping limb?"
"Yes," replied Joe, gazing at the bough pointed out.
"Well," continued Sneak, "there's a bee's nest in that. Look here," he
added, picking from the snow several dead bees that had been thrown
from the hive; "now this is the way with all wild bees (but these are
tame, for they live in my house), for when there comes a warm day
they're sartin as fate to throw out the dead ones, and we can find
where they are as easy as any thing in the world."
"Sneak, my mouth's watering--suppose we take the axe and go and hunt
for some honey."
"Let's be off, then," said Sneak, getting his axe, and preparing to
place the stone against the tree.
"Stop, Sneak," said Joe; "let me get my gun before you shut the
"I guess we'd better leave our guns, and then we won't be so apt to
break through," replied Sneak, closing up the aperture.
"The bees won't sting us, will they?" asked Joe, turning to his
companion when they had attained the high-timbered ridge that ran
parallel with the valley.
"If you chaw 'em in your mouth they will," replied Sneak, striding
along under the trees with his head bent down, and minutely examining
every small dark object he found lying on the surface of the snow.
"I know that as well as you do," continued Joe, "because that would
"Well, if they're froze, how _kin_ they sting you?"
"You needn't be so snappish," replied Joe. "I just asked for
information. I know as well as anybody they're frozen or torpid."
"Or what?" asked Sneak.
"Torpid," said Joe.
"I'll try to 'member that word," continued Sneak, peeping under a
spreading oak that was surrounded by a dense hazel thicket.
"Do," continued Joe, contemptuously, "and if you'll only recollect all
you hear me say, you may get a tolerable education after a while."
"I'll be shivered if this ain't the edication I wan't," said Sneak,
turning round with one or two dead bees in his hand, that he had found
near the root of the tree.
"Huzza!" cried Joe, "we'll have a mess of honey now. I see the hole
where they are--its in a limb, and we won't have to cut down the
tree," and before Sneak could interpose, Joe mounted up among the
branches, and asked for the axe, saying he would have the bough off in
five minutes. Sneak gave it to him, and when he reached the place,
(which was not more than fifteen feet from the ground,) he commenced
cutting away with great eagerness. The cavity was large, and in a few
minutes the bough began to give way. In spite of Sneak's
gesticulations and grimaces below, Joe did not bethink him that one of
his feet still rested on the bough beyond the place where he was
cutting, but continued to ply the axe with increasing rapidity.
Presently the bough, axe, and Joe, all fell together. Sneak was
convulsed with laughter. Joe sprang to his feet, and after feeling his
limbs and ribs, announced that no bones were broken, and laughed very
heartily himself. They began to split open the severed bough without
loss of time. But just when they were in the act of lifting out the
honeycomb, four stalwart savages rose softly from the bushes behind,
and springing nimbly forward, seized them both before they could make
any resistance. The surprised couple yelled and struggled to no
purpose. Their hands were soon bound behind them, and they were driven
forward hastily in a southerly direction.
"Oh! for goodness sake, Mr. Chief, please let me go home, and I'll pay
you whatever you ask!" said Joe, to the tallest of the savages.
The Indian, if he did not understand his captive's words, seemed to
comprehend his terrors, and was much diverted at his ludicrous
expression of features.
"Oh pray! good Mr. Chief--"
"Keep your mouth shet! They'll never git through torturing us, if you
let 'em know you're afraid," said Sneak.
"That's just what I want," said Joe; "I don't want them to ever quit
torturing us--because they'll never quit till we're both dead. But as
long as they laugh at they'll be sure to let me live."
Ere long, the savages with their captives, entered the dense grove
where Mary had been taken, before they set out with her over the
prairie. But it was evidently not their intention to conduct their
present prisoners to their villages, and demand a ransom for them. Nor
were they prepared to convey them away in the same dignified and
comfortable manner, over the snow-clad plains. They anticipated a
gratification of a different nature. They had been disappointed in all
their attempts to obtain booty from the whites. The maid they had
taken had been recaptured, and their chief was in the possession of
the enemy. These, to say nothing of the loss of a score of their
brethren by the fire-weapons of the white men, stimulated them with
unerring precision to compass the destruction of their prisoners.
Blood only could satiate their vengeful feelings. And the greater and
longer the sufferings of their victims the more exquisite would be the
luxury of revenge. And this caused them to smile with positive delight
when they witnessed the painful terrors of poor Joe.
When they reached their place of encampment, which was in the midst of
a cluster of small slim trees that encircled an old spreading oak of
huge dimensions, the savages made their prisoners stand with their
backs against two saplings that grew some fifteen paces apart. They
were compelled to face each other, that they might witness every thing
that transpired. Their arms were bound round the trees behind them,
and a cord was likewise passed round their legs to confine them more
securely. The savages then seemed to consult about the manner of
despatching them. The oldest and most experienced, by his hasty
gestures and impatient replies, appeared to insist on their
instantaneous death. And from his frequent glances northward, through
the trees, he doubtless feared some interruption, or dreaded the
arrival of an enemy that might inflict an ample retaliation. During a
long pause, while the Indians seemed to hesitate, and the old crafty
savage drew his steel tomahawk from his belt, Sneak sighed deeply, and
said, in rather mournful tones--
"The jig's up with us, Joe. If I was only loose seven seconds, you
wouldn't ketch me dying like a coon here agin a tree." Joe made no
other response than a blubbering sound, while the tears ran down and
dropped briskly from his chin.
[Illustration: Joe and Sneak in difficulty.--P. 194]
The savages gave vent to a burst of laughter when they beheld the
agony of fear that possessed their captive. The three that were in
favour of the slow torture now turned a deaf ear to the old warrior,
and advanced to Joe. They held the palms of their hands under his
chin, and caught the tears as they fell. They then stroked his head
gently, and appeared to sympathize with the sufferer.
"Mr. Indian, if you'll let me go, I'll give you my gun and twenty
dollars," said Joe, appealing most piteously to the one that placed
his hand on his head. The Indian seemed to understand him, and held
his hand out for the money, while a demoniac smile played on his dark
"Just untie my hands," said Joe, endeavouring to look behind, "and
I'll go right straight home and get them."
"You rascal--you want to run away," replied the old Indian, who not
only understood Joe's language, but could himself speak English
"Upon my sacred word and honour, I won't!" replied Joe.
"You lie!" said the savage, bestowing a severe smack on Joe's face.
"Oh, Lord! Come now, Mr. Indian, that hurts!"
"No--don't hurt--only kill musketer," replied the savage, laughing
heartily, and striking his prisoner on the other side of the face.
"Oh! hang your skin!" cried Joe, endeavouring to break away, "if ever
I get you in my power, I'll smash--" Here his sudden courage
evaporated, and again the tears filled his eyes.
"Poor fellow!" said the savage, patting his victim on the head. "How
much you give for him?" he continued, pointing to Sneak.
"If you'll only let _me_ go, I'll give you every thing I've got in the
world. He don't want to live as bad as I do, and I'll give you as much
for me alone as I will for both."
"You're a purty white man, now, ain't you?" said Sneak. "But its all
the same. My chance is jest as good as your'n. They're only fooling
you, jest to laugh. I've made up my mind to die, and I ain't a going
to make any fun for 'em. And you might as well say your prayers fust
as last; they're only playing with you now like a cat with a mice."
The old Indian moved towards Sneak, followed by the others.
"How much you give?" asked the savage.
"Not a coon's tail," replied Sneak, with firmness.
"Now how much?" continued the Indian, slapping the thin lank cheek of
"Not a dod-rotted cent! Now jest take your tomahawk and split my skull
open as quick as you kin!" said Sneak; and he bowed down his head to
receive the fatal blow.
"You brave rascal," said the Indian, looking his captive in the eye,
and hesitating whether to practice his petty annoyances any further.
At length they turned again to Joe.
"That wasn't fair, Sneak," cried Joe, when the savages abandoned his
fellow-prisoner; "you ought to have kept them away from me as long as
I did from you."
"I'm gitting sick of this tanterlizing business," said Sneak. "I want
'em to git through the job, without any more fooling about it. If you
wasn't sich a coward, they'd let you alone, and kill us at once."
"I don't want them to kill us--I'd rather they'd do any thing in the
world than to kill us," replied Joe.
"Me won't hurt you," said the old savage, again placing his hand on
Joe's head; but instead of gently patting it, he wound a lock of hair
round one of his fingers, and with a sudden jerk tore it out by the
"Oh, my gracious! Oh, St. Peter! Oh, Lord! Mr. Indian, I beg and pray
of you not to do that any more. If you'll only untie me, I'll get down
on my knees to you," exclaimed poor Joe.
"Poor fellow, me won't hurt him any more--poor head!" said the Indian,
tearing off another lock.
"Oh! oh! goodness gracious. _Dear_ Mr. Indian, don't do that! You can
have no idea how bad it hurts--I can't stand it. I'll faint
presently!" said Joe, trembling at every joint.
"You're a fool," said Sneak, "to mind 'em that way. If you wasn't to
notice 'em, they wouldn't do it. See how they're laughing at you."
"Oh, Sneak, I can't help it, to save my life, indeed I can't. Oh, my
good Lord, what would I give to be away from here!" said Joe, his eyes
fit to burst from their sockets.
"I've killed many a deer in a minit--it don't hurt a man to die more
than a deer. I wish the snarvilorous copper-skinned rascals would git
through quick!" said Sneak.
"Me try you agin," said the savage, again going to Sneak.
"Well, now, what're you a going to do? I'm not afraid of you!" said
Sneak, grinding his teeth.
"Me rub your head," said the savage, seizing a tuft of hair and
tearing it out.
"Take some more," said Sneak, bowing down his head.
"A little more," iterated the savage, grasping a handful, which, with
much exertion, he severed from the head, and left the white skin
exposed to view.
"Won't you have some more?" continued Sneak, without evincing the
least pain. "Jest take as much as you please; if you tear it off till
my head's as bald as an egg, I won't beg you to let me alone."
"You brave fellow--won't pull your hair any more," said the chief.
"You be dod rot!" said Sneak, contemptuously.
"You mighty brave, shake hands!" continued the laughing savage,
holding his hand out in mockery.
"If you'll untie my foot a minit, I'll bet I kick some of the ribs out
of your body. Why don't you knock our brains out, and be done at once,
you black wolves you!" said Sneak.
"Oh, Sneak! for my sake--your poor friend's sake, don't put such an
idea as that into their heads!" said Joe, imploringly.
"You're a purty friend, ain't you? You'd give so _much_ to ransom me!
They aint a going to quit us without killin' us, and I want it all
over jest as soon as it kin be done."
"Oh, no, Sneak! Maybe they'll take pity on us and spare our lives,"
said Joe, assuming a most entreating look as the savage once more
"You make good big Osage; you come with us, if we let you live?"
demanded the old Indian.
"I pledge you my most sacred word and honour I will!"
"You run away, you rascal," said the savage, plucking another tuft of
hair from Joe's head.
"I'll be hanged if I stand this any longer!" said Joe, striving to
break the cord that confined him.
"Don't notice the black cowards," said Sneak.
"How can I help noticing them, when they're pulling out my hair by the
roots!" said Joe.
"Look where they pulled mine out," said Sneak, turning that part of
his head in view which had been made literally bald.
"Didn't it hurt you?" asked Joe.
"Sartinly it did," said Sneak, "but I grinned and bore it. And now I
wish they'd pull it all off, and then my scalp wouldn't do 'em any
"That's a fact," said Joe. "Here, Mr. Osage," he continued, "pull as
much hair off the top of my head as you want." The savages, instead of
paying any attention to him, seemed to be attracted by some distant
sound. They stooped down and placed their ears near the earth, and
listened intently for some time. At length they sprang up, and then
ensued another dispute among them about the manner in which the
prisoners should be disposed of. The old savage was yet in favour of
tomahawking the captives and retreating without delay. But the others
would not consent to it. They were not satisfied with the small amount
of suffering yet endured by the prisoners. They were resolved to glut
their savage vengeance. And the prisoners now observed that all traces
of mirth had vanished from their faces. Their eyes gleamed with
fiendish fury, and drawing forth their glittering tomahawks, they
vanished in the thicket, and were soon heard chopping off the small
boughs of the trees.
"What are they doing Sneak?" asked Joe.
"Don't you know what they're doing? ain't they cutting wood as fast as
they kin?" replied Sneak.
"Well, I'm not sorry for that." said Joe. "because its almost dark,
and I'm getting chilly. If they'd only give me something to eat, I'd
feel a heap more comfortable."
"You varasherous fool you, they're cutting wood to burn us up with.
Oh, I wish I was loose!"
"Oh, goodness gracious!" cried Joe, "I never thought of that! Oh, I'm
"Are you?" cried Sneak, eagerly; "I'd like to be off too, and we'd
give them a race for it yit."
"Oh! Sneak, I mean I'm ruined, lost for ever! Oh! St. Peter, pity my
"Don't think about pity now," said Sneak; "nothing of that sort is
going to do us any good. We must git loose from these trees and run
for it, or we'll be roasted like wild turkeys in less than an hour.
I've got one hand loose!".
"So have I almost!" cried Joe, struggling violently.
"One of 'em's coming!--shove your hand back, and pertend like you're
fast, till he goes away agin!" said Sneak, in a hurried undertone.
The savage emerged from the bushes the next moment, and after
depositing an armful of billets of wood at the feet of Joe, and
walking round behind the prisoners to see if they were still secure,
returned for more fuel.
"Now work for your life!" said Sneak, extricating his wrist from the
cord, and striving to get his feet loose.
"Hang it, Sneak, I can't get my hand out, though the string's quite
loose! Make haste, Sneak, and come and help me," said Joe, in a tone
that indicated his earnestness.
"Let every man look out for himself," replied Sneak, tugging away at
the cord that bound his feet to the tree.
"Oh, Sneak, don't leave me here, to be burnt by myself!" said Joe.
"You wouldn't promise to give any thing to ransom me, a while
ago--I'll cut stick as quick as I kin."
"Oh, Sneak, I can't untie my hands! If you won't help me, I'll call
the Indians." But Joe was saved the trouble. He had scarce uttered the
word when all four of the Indians suddenly appeared, and throwing down
their wood, proceeded with much haste to put their horrid purpose in
execution. They heaped up the fagots around their victims, until they
reached half way to their chins, and when all was ready, they paused,
before applying the fire, to enjoy the terrors of their captives.
"You cold--me make some fire to warm--huh," said the old Indian,
addressing Joe, while the others looked on with unmixed satisfaction.
"Oh! my dear Mr. Osage, if you only knew how much money you'd lose by
killing me, I know you'd let me go!" said Joe, in tremulous but
"You lie--you got no money," replied the savage; and, stooping down,
he began to split some dry wood into very small pieces to kindle with.
Joe looked on in despair, and seemed to anticipate a blister from
every splinter he saw. It was different with Sneak. Almost hid by the
wood heaped around him, he embraced every opportunity, when the eyes
of the savages were turned away, to endeavour to extricate himself
from the cords that bound him to the tree. Hope had not yet forsaken
him, and he resolved to struggle to the last. When the old savage had
split off a large quantity of splinters and chips, he gathered them up
and began to arrange them in various parts of the pile of green timber
preparatory for a simultaneous ignition. While he was thus engaged,
Sneak remained motionless, and assumed a stoical expression of
features. But when he turned to Joe, Sneak again began to tug at the
"Oh pray, Mr. Indian!" exclaimed Joe, when he saw the savage carefully
placing the combustible matter in all the crevices of the pile around
him--"just only let me off this time, and I'll be your best friend all
the rest of your life."
"Me warm you little--don't cry--poor fellow!" replied the Indian,
striking a light with flint and steel.
"Oh, Sneak, if you've got a knife, run here and cut me loose, before
I'm burnt to death!" said Joe, in the most heart-moving manner.
"Keep your mouth shet!" said Sneak; "jest wait till they go to put
some fire here, and I'll show you a thing or two," he continued,
pouring a handful of _powder_ among the dry splinters. The effect of
the explosion when the Indians attempted to surprise Glenn's premises
occurring to Sneak, and recollecting that he had a quantity of powder
in his pockets, he resolved in his extremity to try its virtue on this
"But they're going to burn me first! Oh, Lord!" exclaimed Joe, as he
beheld the savage applying the fire to the splinters near his feet.
"Don't say nor do nothing--jest wait till they come to me," said
Sneak, with great composure. "Do you jess keep your mouth shet--it'll
be a long while a kindling--it won't begin to burn your legs for an
"Oh, goodness gracious! My knees begin to feel warm now. Oh, pray have
mercy on me, good Mr. Osage!" cried Joe, before the flame was as large
as his hand, and yet full three feet distant from him. The greater
portion of the fagots being green, the fire made very slow progress,
and it was necessary for the savages to procure a constant supply of
dry splinters to prevent it from going out.
At length, after the combustible material had burned out, and been
replenished several times, the more substantial billets of Joe's pile
began to ignite slowly, and the old Indian then took up a flaming
brand and moved towards Sneak.
"Come on! you snarvilerous rattlesnake you, I'll show you sights
presently!" said Sneak.
"You brave fellow--me burn you _quick_," said the savage, applying the
torch, and, stooping down, placed his face within a few inches of the
crackling blaze, and began to blow it gently. Sneak twisted his head
round the tree as far as possible, and the next moment the powder
exploded, throwing down the pile of wood, and dashing the savage
several paces distant violently on the ground, and blackening and
scorching his face and hair in a terrible manner. The other Indians
instantly prostrated themselves on their faces, and uttered the most
doleful lamentations. Thus they remained a few minutes, evidently
impressed with the belief that the Great Spirit had interfered to
prevent the destruction of the prisoners. Hastily gathering up their
arms, they fled precipitately in the direction of their distant home,
and their yells of disappointment and defeat rang in the ears of their
captives until they died away in the distance.
"Sneak! make haste! they may come back again!" said Joe.
"They've tied my feet so tight I'm afraid I can't undo it in a hurry,"
replied Sneak, endeavouring to break the cord by thrusting a stick
(that he had slipped from the pile to knock out the brains of one of
the Indians should his gun-powder plot not succeed,) between it and
the tree, and forcing it out until the pain produced became
insufferable. By this means the cord was loosened gradually, and
moving it a little higher up where the muscles had not yet been
bruised, he repeated the process. In this manner he laboured with
certain but tardy success. But while he was thus engaged, Joe's
predicament became each moment more critical. The wood being by this
time pretty well seasoned, began to burn more freely. The blaze was
making formidable advances, and the heat was becoming intolerable.
"For heaven's sake, Sneak!" cried Joe, "make haste and come here, or
I'll be roasted alive!"
"Wait till I get away from my own tree," replied Sneak.
"Oh Lord! I can't wait a minute more! My shins are getting blistered!"
cried Joe, writhing under the heat of the blaze, which now reached
within a few inches of him, and increased in magnitude with awful
"Well, if you won't wait till I git there, just go ahead yourself,"
said Sneak, at last extricating his feet by a violent effort, and
hopping to Joe's assistance, with some difficulty, for his nether
limbs were considerably bruised.
"Hang it, Sneak, pull these burning sticks away from my knees!" said
Joe, his face flushed with pain.
"I'll be bursted with powder, if you didn't like to git into a purty
tight fix," said Sneak, dashing down the consuming billets of wood.
"Now, Sneak, cut me loose, and then let's run home as soon as
"I hain't got my knife with me, or I wouldn't 'ave been so long
gitting loose myself," said Sneak, slowly untying Joe's hands.
"My goodness, how my arms ache!" said Joe, when his hands were
released. "Now, Sneak, undo my feet, and then we'll be off in a
"I'll be slit if your feet ain't tied like mine was, in rich a hard
knot that no mortal being can git it undone. I'll take a chunk, and
burn the tarnation string in two," said Sneak, applying the fire.
"Take care you don't burn _me_," said Joe, looking at the operation
with much concern.
Sneak's plan of severing his companion's bonds was successful. Joe
sprang in delight from his place of confinement, and, without uttering
another word, or pausing a single moment, the liberated companions
retreated from grove with all possible expedition.
The young chief, or rather the restored youth, awoke in a few days
from the delirium into which the fever had plunged him, to a state of
convalescence and a consciousness of his altered condition. He now
uttered with earnest tenderness the endearing terms of "sister" and
"father," when he addressed Mary and Roughgrove. He spoke freely of
the many things he had witnessed while living with the Indians,
expressing his abhorrence of their habits and nature, and declared it
was his intention never to have any further intercourse with them. He
promised, when he should be able to leave his bed, to read and study
with Mary and Glenn, until he had made amends for the neglect of his
education. These symptoms, and the tractable disposition accompanying
them, caused Mary and Roughgrove to rejoice over the return of the
long-lost youth, and to bow in humble thankfulness to the Disposer of
events for the singular and providential circumstances attending his
Joe had arrived in due course of time, (which was brief,) after his
almost miraculous escape from the savages and the flames, and told his
story with various embellishments. The Indians were hunted the next
day by Sneak and a few of the neighbours, but they had doubtless
abandoned the settlement, for no traces of them remained after their
mysterious flight from the grove.
A few mild days, during which frequent showers had fallen, had in a
great measure removed the snow from the earth. And Joe having soon
forgotten his late perilous adventure, amused himself with the horses.
He resolved to make some amends for their long confinement in the
stable, and to effect it he galloped them several hours each day over
the grounds in the vicinity. The hounds, too, seemed delighted to
place their feet once more on the bare earth, and they were permitted
to accompany the horses in all their excursions.
One night, when William, Mary, and Joe were all quietly sleeping,
Roughgrove took occasion to express his gratitude to Glenn for the
many and important services rendered his family.
"Whatever good may have attended my efforts," said Glenn, "you may
rest assured that I have been amply repaid in the satisfaction enjoyed
"I am sure of it!" exclaimed Roughgrove; "and it was a conviction that
you harboured such sentiments that induced me to confide in you, and
to disclose things which I intended should remain for ever locked
within my own breast."
"Your confidence shall not be abused," said Glenn; and to prove that I
am not averse to an exchange of secrets, if you will listen to my
recital, I will endeavour briefly to give you a sketch of _my_
"I will listen attentively, my young friend, even were it as sad a
tale as mine, which can hardly be the case," said Roughgrove, drawing
his chair close to Glenn's side, and placing more fuel on the fire.
"Would to Heaven it had not been!" said Glenn, after reclining his
head on his hands a few minutes, and recalling transactions which he
could have wished to be blotted from his memory for ever. "I am a
native of New York," he continued, heaving a sigh and folding his
arms, "and was left an orphan at a very early age. My father was once
reputed one of the wealthiest merchants in Broadway; but repeated and
enormous losses, necessarily inexplicable to one of my age, suddenly
reduced him to comparative poverty. Neither he nor my mother survived
the blow many months, and before I was ten years old, I was left (with
the exception of an uncle in Philadelphia) alone in the world,
possessed of only a few hundred dollars. My uncle placed me with an
eminent physician, who had been my father's friend, after my education
was completed. He told me that he was rich, and would see that I
should not suffer for means until I had acquired a profession, which,
with energy and diligence, would enable me to procure an honourable
support. But he informed me that he had a family of his own, and that
I must not depend upon his assistance further than to accomplish a
"It was during my studies, and when about seventeen years old, that my
misfortunes began. My preceptor had another student, named Henry Wold,
several years my senior, whose parents were wealthy. Wold and I
entertained the highest esteem for each other. But our circumstances
being different, I could not indulge in all the excesses of
extravagance that he did, but made better progress in my studies. He
attended all the gay parties and fashionable places of amusement,
while I seldom spent an evening from home. He was tall, manly, and
possessed of regular and beautiful features--these, with his unlimited
wealth, made him a welcome guest in every circle, and extremely
popular with the ladies.
"One Sabbath morning, while sitting in church, (which I attended
regularly,) I was struck with the appearance of a stranger in an
opposite pew across the aisle that belonged to a family with whom I
was on the most intimate terms. The stranger was the most beautiful
young lady I ever beheld. Dark, languishing eyes, glossy ringlets,
pale, smooth forehead--oh! I will not describe her--let it suffice
that she was an angel in my eyes! It was impossible to remove my gaze
from her, and I fancied that she sometimes returned an approving
glance. Before the service was over, I was delighted to observe that
she whispered something to Mrs. Arras, (the name of the lady whose pew
she was in,) for this assured me that they were acquainted, and that I
might obtain some information about the fair being who had made such a
sudden and deep impression on my heart, and perhaps procure an
introduction to her. When I retired to my couch that night, it was not
to sleep. The image of the fair stranger haunted my restless and
imperfect slumbers. Nor could I study by day, for my thoughts wandered
continually from the page to the same bright vision. Such was my
condition throughout the week. The next Sunday I found her seated in
the same pew. Our eyes met, and a slight blush that mantled her fair
face encouraged me to hope that she might likewise have bestowed some
thoughts on me during the preceding week. It was in vain that I
uttered the responses during the service, or knelt down when the
clergyman offered up his prayers. I could think of nothing but the
angelic stranger. I resolved that another week should not pass without
my calling at Mrs. Arras's. But my object was obtained sooner than I
expected. When the congregation was dismissed, Mrs. Arras beckoned me
across the aisle to her.
"'Charles,' whispered she, 'don't you want an introduction to my
niece? I saw your eyes riveted on her several times.'
"'I--if you please,' I replied, with feelings of mingled delight and
"'Laura,' she continued, turning to the young lady who lingered
behind, but seemed to be conscious of what was passing, 'let me
introduce you to my young friend, Charles Glenn.' The bland and
accomplished Mrs. Arras then moved onward, while I attended at the
side of Laura, and continued with her until I assisted her up, the
marble steps of her aunt's stately mansion.
"I then bowed, and strode rapidly onward, I knew not whither,
(completely bewildered with the enchanting spell that the fair Laura
had thrown over me,) until I reached the extremity of Broadway, and
found myself in Castle Garden, gazing like a very maniac at the bright
water below me. I wandered about alone, enjoying the exhilarating
fancies of my teeming brain, until the sun sunk beneath the horizon,
and the bright stars twinkled in the blue vault above. Oh! the
thoughts, the hopes, the bliss of that hour! The dark curtain that
veils the rankling corruptions of mortality had not yet been lifted
before my staring eyes, and I felt as one gazing at a beautiful world,
and regarded the fair maid as the angel destined to unfold all its
brilliance to my vision, and to hold the chalice to my lips while I
sipped the nectar of perennial felicity. Alas, that such moments are
brief! They fly like the dreams of a startled slumberer, and when they
vanish once, they are gone forever!
"Without calling at my lodgings for the usual refreshments, I hovered
about the mansion of Mrs. Arras till lights were gleaming in the
parlour, and then entered. Laura received me with a smile, and the
complaisant matron gave me an encouraging welcome.
"'You are pale this evening, Mr. Glenn,' said Mrs. Arras, in a
good-humoured, though bantering manner. 'Are you subject to sudden
attacks of illness?'
"'I assure you I never enjoyed better health in my life, and feel no
symptoms of indisposition whatever,' I replied, but at that moment I
chanced to gaze at a mirror, and was startled at my haggard
appearance. But when Mrs. Arras withdrew, (which she did soon after my
arrival,) the affable and lovely Laura banished every thought of my
condition. My wan cheek was soon animated with the flush of unbounded
admiration, and my sunken eye sparkled with the effervescence of
enraptured delight. Deep and ineradicable passion was engendering in
my bosom. And from the pleasure indicated in the glitter of Laura's
lustrous eyes, the exquisite smile that dwelt upon her coral lips, and
the gentle though unconscious swellings of her breast, a conviction
thrilled through my soul that my sudden affection was reciprocated.
Hours flew like minutes, and I was surprised by the clock striking ONE
before it occurred to me that it was time to depart. Again I traversed
the streets at that solemn hour, insensible to every feeling, and
regardless of every object but the flaming torch lit up in my heart
and the seraphic image of Laura. At length I was warned by the
scrutinizing gaze of a watchman to repair to my lodgings. But my
pillow afforded no rest. All night long I pondered on the exhilarating
events of the day. Many were the endearing accents that escaped my
lips as I addressed in fancy my beloved Laura. I resolved to declare
my passion ere many weeks should pass. I began to settle in my mind
the plans of life, and then, for the first time, the future presented
a dark spot to my view. I was poor! Laura was rich and her family
proud and aristocratic. Her father was a distinguished judge. And the
most high-born and haughty of the land would doubtless (if they had
not already) sigh at her feet! I sprang upright on my couch when this
discordant thought passed across my mind. But the next moment I was
consoled with the belief that I already possessed her heart. And with
a determination to have her, in spite of every obstacle, should this
be the case, I sank back through weariness, and was soon steeped in
deep, though unquiet slumber.
"The two next succeeding Sundays I attended Laura to church. The
evenings of both days, and nearly all the intervening ones, I was with
her at the mansion of Mrs. Arras. But the evening of the last Sunday
was to me a memorable one. That evening I opened all my heart to
Laura, and found that every pulsation met a responding throb in
hers--such, at least, I believed to be the case--and so she asserted.
During the short time she remained in New York, I was her accredited
lover, and ever, when together, the attachment she manifested was as
ardent as mine. Indeed, at times, her passion seemed unbounded, and I
was more than once tempted to propose a clandestine and immediate
union. I was the more inclined to this, inasmuch as her father (who
had now returned from a trip to Washington) began to regard my visits
with displeasure. But he soon passed on to Boston to attend to the
duties of his office, and again I had unrestrained access to Laura.
But I am dwelling too long on this part of my story.
"One day Henry Wold, my fellow-student, inquired the cause of the
palpable change in my bearing and disposition. Would that my lips had
been sealed to him forever! I knew that he was honest and generous by
nature, but I knew not to what extent his dissolute habits (gradually
acquired by having ample means, and yielding by degrees to the
temptations of vice) had perverted his good qualities. I told him of
my love, and while describing the charms of Laura, I was pleased to
attribute the interest he evinced at the recital to his disinterested
friendship for me, without the thought that _he_ could be captivated
himself with the bare description. He begged me to introduce him.
This, too, gratified my pride, for I knew he would admire her. The
perfect form, rare beauty, intelligence, and wealth of Wold did not
startle an apprehension in my breast. But I knew not--alas! who can
know?--the impulses that govern woman. Wold accompanied me that night
to Mrs. Arras's. He seated himself at Laura's side, and poured forth a
flood of flattery. They smiled in unison and returned glance for
glance. Wold exhibited his fine person and exerted all his captivating
powers of intellect. Laura scanned the one and listened attentively to
the other. Still I sat by in satisfaction, and strove to repress every
rising fear that my supremacy in Laura's heart might be endangered.
That evening, as we returned homeward, in answer to my questions, Wold
stated that my 'intended' was _pretty enough_ for any young man, and
would, without doubt, make a _very good wife_. So far from exhibiting
the extravagant admiration I expected, he seemed to speak of the
object of my adoration with comparative indifference. But a few
evenings afterwards, I found him with Laura when I arrived! I started
back on beholding them seated on the same sofa as I entered the
parlour. Mrs. Arras was present, and wore a thoughtful expression of
features. Laura smiled on me, but I thought it was not a happy smile.
It did not render me happy. Wold bowed familiarly, and made some witty
remark about taking time by the forelock. I sat down in silence, with
a compressed lip, and an icy chillness in my breast. An embarrassing
pause ensued. At length Mrs. Arras rose, and opening a folding-door,
beckoned me into the adjoining room. After we had been seated a few
moments, during which her brow assumed a more grave and thoughtful
cast, she observed--
"'You seem to be excited to-night, Charles.'
"'I have cause to be so,' I replied.
"'I cannot deny it,' said she, 'when I consider every thing that has
transpired. You doubtless have an attachment for Laura--I have _seen_
it--and I confess it was and _would_ be with my goodwill had I control
of the matter. I was acquainted with your family, and acted with the
best of motives when I permitted, perhaps encouraged, the intimacy.
But I thought not of the austere and passionate nature of my
brother-in-law. Neither did I think that any man could object to your
addresses to his daughter. But I was mistaken. Judge ____ has written
that your interviews with Laura must terminate.'
"'Has he given any reason why?' I asked, in tremulous tones.
"'Yes,' she replied, 'but such as mortify me as much as they must pain
you. He says that your fortune and family connections are not
sufficient to permit the alliance. Oh, I implore you not to suppose
these to be my sentiments. I know your family is devoid of ignoble
stain, and that your fortune was once second to none. Had I the
disposal of Laura's hand it should be yours!'
"'I believe it, Mrs. Arras!' said I. 'But do you net think these
objections of Judge ____ may be overcome?'
"'Alas, never!' she replied; 'he is immovable when any thing of moment
is decided in his mind.'
"'But,' I continued, while the pulsations of my heart were distinctly
audible, 'what says Laura?'
"'Would I had been spared this question! You saw her a few minutes
since. HE who sees all things knows how my heart ached while I sat by.
I can only tell you she had just finished reading her father's letter
when Mr. Wold was announced. Spare me, now, I beseech you!' I folded
my arms and gazed, I know not how long, at the flame ascending from
the hearth. Oh! the agony described of the dying were bliss to that
moment. What could I think or do? I sat like one whose heart has been
rudely torn from his breast, and who was yet debarred the relief of
death. Existence to me at that moment was a hell, and my sufferings
were those of the damned! I thank God I have survived them.
"I was aroused from my lethargy by hearing the street door close after
Wold, and I desired Mrs. Arras to permit me to have an interview with
Laura alone. It was granted, and I was soon in the presence of the
lovely maid. She was aware of my perturbation and its cause. She sat
with her eyes cast down in silence. I looked upon her form and her
features of perfect beauty, and oh! what tongue can describe the
mingled and contending emotions that convulsed my breast! I repressed
every violent or boisterous inclination of my spirits, however, and
taking her unresisting hand, sat down in sorrow at her side.
"'Laura,' said I, with difficulty finding utterance, 'do we thus part,
and for ever?' She made no answer, but gazed steadfastly at the rich
carpet, while her face, though somewhat paler than usual, betrayed no
change of muscle.
"'Laura,' I repeated, in tones more distinct, 'are we _now_ to part,
and _for ever_?'
"'Father says so,' she replied. Her hand fell from my grasp. The
unmoved, _indifferent_ manner of her reply froze my blood in my veins!
I again stared at her composed features in astonishment allied to
"'But what do _you_ say?' I asked, with a bluntness that startled her.
"'Father knows best, perhaps!' she replied, turning her eyes to mine,
I thought, with calmness.
"'Laura,' said I, again taking her hand, for I was once more subdued
by her beauty, 'I love you with my whole soul, and must continue to
love you. Ay, were you even to spurn me with your foot, so
indissolubly have my affections grown to your image, that my bleeding
heart would turn in adoration to the smiter. And I fondly hoped and
believed that the passion was returned--indeed, I had your assurance
of the fact; nay, think not I design to reproach you. It were
bootless, had I the heart to do it. Be assured that were you not only
cruel to me, but steeped in crime and guilty of injustice to the whole
human race, I would still be your friend were all others to forsake
you. Deem me never your foe, or capable of ever becoming such. May
heaven bless you! We part--but, under _any_ circumstances, should
adverse fortune overtake you and I can be of service, I beg you not to
hesitate to apply to me. You will find me still your friend. I will
not attempt to reverse the decision which you have made. However
humiliating and poignant the thought may be that I was unconsciously
the means of introducing the _object_ that influenced your decision,
yet I will not murmur, neither will I become _his_ enemy, for your
sake. I hope you will be happy. I pray that heaven may incline your
heart to be true and _constant_ to Wold.'
"'I hope so,' said she in a low tone.
"'Laura,' said I, rising, 'you confess, then, that Wold possesses your
"'Yes,' said she; 'but I cannot help it!'
"'Farewell!' said I, kissing her yielding hand, and turning
deliberately away, though with the sensation of one stunned by a
thunderbolt. I returned home, and threw myself like a loathsome
carcass upon my couch. I could not even think. My mind seemed like
some untenanted recess in the unfathomable depths below. Instantaneous
death, and even eternal perdition afterwards, could have presented no
new horrors then. It was haply the design of Providence that the
thought of self-destruction should not occur to me. With the means in
my reach, I would in all probability have rushed, uncalled and
unprepared, into the presence of an offended Creator.
"A fever and delirium, such as possessed the poor youth lying there,
ensued. Under the kind care of my preceptor, my malady abated in a few
weeks; and, as I recovered, a change took place in my sentiments
regarding the events that produced my illness. My pride rose up to my
relief, and I resolved to overcome the effects of my disappointment.
Yet my heart melted in tenderness when I recalled the blissful moments
I had known with Laura. But I determined to prosecute my plans of life
as if no such occurrence had transpired.
"A few days after bidding Laura adieu, she returned to Boston,
accompanied by Wold. Wold obtained his diploma while I was writhing
with disease. Even the loss of my degree was now borne with patience
and resignation. I forgave Wold, and implored him to make Laura happy.
He promised faithfully to do so when on the eve of setting out with
her. I did not desire to see her myself, but sent my forgiveness and
"In a few months my diploma was obtained, and I commenced the practice
under the most favourable circumstances. My late preceptor was now my
partner. Nearly a year elapsed before Wold returned to New York. But a
rumor preceded him which again opened all the fountains of bitterness
in my heart. It was said (and only two or three were possessed of the
secret) that he had betrayed and ruined the lovely Laura! I sought
him, to ascertain from his own lips if he had truly committed the act
imputed to him. I resolved to avenge her! But Wold avoided me. I could
not obtain his ear, and all my notes to him remained unanswered.
Despairing of getting an immediate answer from him, I repaired to Mrs.
Arras. Her house was in gloom and sorrow. When she appeared, my heart
sank within me to behold her sad and mournful brow. She pressed my
extended hand, while a flood of tears gushed from her eyes.
"I knew by the disconsolate aspect of the aunt that the niece had been
dragged down from her high estate of virtue, fortune, and fame. I sat
down, and bowed my head in sorrow many minutes before the first word
was spoken. I still loved Laura. What could I say? how begin?
"'It is true!' I at length exclaimed, rising up, and pacing the floor
rapidly, while many a tear ran down my cheek.
"'Alas! it is too true,' iterated Mrs. Arras.
"'The black-hearted villain!' I continued.
"'Ah, Mr. Glenn, her fate would have been different, if your addresses
had not been so cruelly spurned! God knows I was not to blame!' said
"'No, Mrs. Arras,' said I; 'had your will been done, I had not been
made miserable by the bereavement, nor the beautiful, the
innocent--the--Laura, with all her errors, dishonoured, ruined,
crushed! But the betrayer, the viper that stung her, still breathes. I
loved her--I love her yet--and I will be her avenger!' Saying this, I
rushed away, heedless of the matron's half-uttered entreaties to
remain and to desist from my plan of vengeance.
"There was a young student of my acquaintance, a brave, chivalrous,
noble Virginian, to whom I imparted Laura's sad story. He frankly
agreed with me that the venomous reptile in the human shape that could
beguile an unsuspecting and lovely girl to minister to his unhallowed
desires, and then, without hesitation or remorse, abandon her to the
dark, despairing shades of a frowning world, while he crawled on to
insinuate his poison into the breasts of new victims, should be
pursued, hunted down, and exterminated. Yet there was but one way for
me to punish Wold. The ignominy of the act, and the indignation of a
virtuous community were to him matters of indifference. The circle in
which he moved would smile at the misfortune of his victim, and
applaud his address, were the affair published. I resolved that he
should answer it to me alone. I had sworn in my heart to be Laura's
"I penned a message which was delivered by my young Virginian friend
in person. Wold said he had no quarrel with me, and strove to evade
the subject. He sent me a note, demanding wherein he had ever wronged
me, and stating that he was ready and willing to _explain_ any thing
that might have offended me. I returned his note, with a line on the
same sheet, informing him that I was the friend of Laura; and that he
must either meet me in the manner indicated in my message, or I would
publicly brand him as a dastardly scoundrel. He bit his lip, and
referred my friend to one of his companions in iniquity, a Mr. Knabb,
who lived by the _profession_ of cards and dice. It was arranged that
we should meet on one of the islands near the city, and that it should
be the next morning. This was what I desired, and I had urged my
friend to effect as speedy a consummation of the affair as possible.
All the tumult and perturbation that raged in my bosom on parting with
Laura had returned, and the throbbing of my brain was almost
insufferable. It was with difficulty that my young friend prevailed
upon me to embrace the few intermediate hours before the meeting to
practice with the pistol. I heeded not his declaration that Wold was
an excellent shot, because I felt convinced that justice was on my
side. I thought that the criminal must inevitably fall. However, I
consented to practice a little to quiet his importunity. Truly, it
seemed that his urgent solicitation was reasonable enough, for the
first fire my ball was several feet wide of the mark. I had never
fired a pistol before in my life. But there was no quivering of nerve,
no misgiving as to my fate; for notwithstanding I was aware of being a
novice, yet I entertained a conviction, a presentiment, that the
destroyer of my Laura's innocence would fall beneath my hand. The next
fire I did better, and soon learned to strike the centre.
"We were all on the ground at the hour appointed. While the seconds
were arranging the necessary preliminaries, Wold, finding that my eyes
rested steadily upon him, endeavoured to intimidate me. There was a
bush some thirty paces distant, from which a slim, solitary sprout ran
up several feet above the rest of the branches. He gazed an instant at
it while I was marking him, and then raised his pistol, and fired in
the direction. The sprout fell. Turning, his eyes met mine, while a
slight smile was visible on his lip. The effect did not realize his
hopes. I looked upon the act with such cold indifference that he at
first betrayed surprise at my calmness, and then exhibited palpable
signs of trepidation himself. He beckoned Knabb to him, and, after a
brief conference in a low tone, his second returned to my friend, and
inquired if no amends, no reconciliation, could avert the exchange of
shots. My friend reported his words to me, and my reply was that
nothing but the restitution of the maiden's honour--instant
marriage--would be satisfaction. Wold protested--marriage was utterly
impossible under existing circumstances--but he would do any thing
else. But nothing else would answer; and I insisted on proceeding to
business without further delay. Wold heard me, and became pale. When
we were placed at our respective stations, and while the final
arrangements were being adjusted, I thought his replies to his
friend's observations betrayed much alarm. But there was no retreat. I
was never calmer in my life, I even smiled when my careful friend told
me that he had detected and prevented a concerted plan that would have
given Wold the advantage. The word was given. Wold's ball struck the
earth before me, and threw some sand in my face. Mine entered the
seducer's side! I saw him gasp, reel, and fall, while the blood gushed
out on the beach. My friend hurried me away, and paused not until he
had placed me in a stage just starting for Philadelphia. I clasped his
hand in silence, and the next moment the horses plunged away at the
crack of the driver's whip, and we were soon far on the road.
Reflection ere long convinced me that I had been guilty of an
unjustifiable act. If it was no crime in the estimation of men, it was
certainly a grievous transgression in the eyes of God! I then
trembled. The bleeding form and reproachful stare of Wold haunted my
vision when the darkness set in. Oh, the errors, in act and deed, of
an impetuous youth thrown upon the world with no considerate friend to
advise him! The pity I felt for Laura was soon forgotten in the
horrible thought that I was a MURDERER! Oh, the anguish of that night!
Why did I not leave Wold to the judgment of an offended God? Why did I
not permit him to suffer the gnawing of the canker that must ever
abide in his heart, instead of staining my hands with his blood?
Freely would I have abandoned every hope of pleasure in the world to
have washed his blood away!
"When I arrived in Philadelphia, with a heavy heart, I sought a quiet
hotel, not daring to confront my uncle with such a tale of woe and
crime. For several days I remained in my chamber without seeing any
one but the servant that brought my food. At length I asked for a New
York paper. For more than an hour after it was brought I could not
summon courage to peruse the hated tragedy. Finally I snatched up the
sheet convulsively and glanced along the columns. When my eyes rested
upon the paragraph I was in quest of, I sprang to my feet in ecstasy.
The wound had not been fatal! Wold still lived!
"In a twinkling I was dressed and on my way to my uncle's residence.
Notwithstanding there was a dreadful epidemic in the city, and hearses
and mourners were passing every few minutes, I felt within a buoyancy
that defied the terrors of disease and death.
"But it seemed that disaster and desolation were fated to attend me
whithersoever I turned. A gloom brooded upon my heart when I
approached my uncle's mansion, and found the badge of mourning at the
door. I paused and asked the servant who was dead. He informed me that
my uncle alone remained. His wife and children, all had been consigned
to the tomb the day before, and he himself now lay writhing with the
fell disease. I rushed in and entered the sick chamber. It was the
chamber of death. My uncle pressed my hand and died. I followed him to
the grave, the chief and almost only mourner.
"I returned and shut myself up in the mansion, bewildered and
stupefied. I was now the possessor of immense wealth. But I was
unhappy. I knew not what to do to enjoy life. Gradually the pestilence
abated and disappeared, and by degrees the gloom that oppressed me
subsided. At the end of a few months, I was informed by my young
Virginian friend that Wold had entirely recovered. I likewise received
a letter from Mrs. Arras, stating that Judge ____ had sought out
Laura, (who had been enticed to an obscure part of the city,) and, as
her misfortune had been kept a profound secret among the few, he
forgave the offence, and once more extended to her a father's love and
a father's protection. I need not say that a blissful thrill bounded
through my veins. Wold was living, and Laura not irrecoverably lost.
Yet I did not then deem it possible that I could, under such
circumstances, ever desire to possess the once adored, but since truly
fallen, Laura. But I experienced a sweet gratification to be thus
informed of the prospect of her being reinstated in society. My love
was not yet wholly extinguished!
"When it was generally known that I possessed great riches, a crowd of
flatterers and sycophants hovered around me. I was a distinguished
guest at the mansions of the fashionable and great, and had in turn
many brilliant parties at my residence. But among the tinsel and
glitter of the gay world I sought in vain for peace and happiness.
Many beautiful and bewitching belles lavished their sweetest smiles
upon me, but they could not re-ignite the smothered flame in my bosom.
Wine could only exhilarate for a moment, to be succeeded by a gnawing
nausea. Cards could only excite while I lost, to be succeeded by
irritability and disgust.
"Thus my time was spent for twelve months, when I suddenly conceived
the resolution to seek a union with the ill-fated Laura,
notwithstanding all the obloquy the world might attach to the act. I
still loved her in spite of myself. I could not live in peace without
her, and I determined without delay to offer her my hand, heart, and
fortune. I set out for Boston, and on my arrival instantly proceeded
to the residence of Judge ____. Again my evil star was in the
ascendant. Desolation and death presided in Judge ____'s family. The
ominous badge of mourning greeted me at the threshold; Laura's mother
had just been consigned, broken-hearted, to the cold grave. The
venerable Judge bowed his hoary head to the blows that Providence
inflicted. He could not speak to me. His reply to my offer in relation
to his child was only a flood of tears. He then retreated into his
library and locked the door. An aged domestic told me all. Laura had
abandoned her parental roof, and voluntarily entered one of those
sinks of pollution that so much degrade human nature! I stood upon an
awful abyss. The whirlpools of deceit, ingratitude, indifference, and
calumny, howled around me, and the dark floods of sensual corruption
roared below. Turn whithersoever I might (alas, I thought not of
heaven!) gloom, discord, and misery seemed to be my portion.
"I hurried back to Philadelphia, and strove to mitigate my grief in
the vortex of unrestrained dissipation. I lavished my gold on
undeserving and unthankful objects. I cared not for life, much less
for fortune. I was the victim of a frenzy that rendered me reckless,
and bereft me of calm meditation. My frantic laughter was heard at the
gaming-table, and my plaudits were boisterous at the theatre, but I
was a stranger to enjoyment. There was no pleasure for me. My brawling
companions swore I was the happiest and noblest being on earth. But I
knew too well there was not a more miserable fiend in hell.
"At length disease fortunately arrested my demoniac career before my
wealth was expended. It was my good fortune to secure the services of
a distinguished and skillful physician. He was a benevolent and
universally esteemed _Quaker_. His attention was not only constant,
but soothing and parental. His earnest and tender tones often made me
weep. When I recovered, I resolved to amend my life. This _friend_ had
applied a healing balm to my aching heart. I determined to prosecute
my profession, and before a year elapsed my exertions began to be
crowned with success.
"I was a frequent attendant at the lectures, and on terms of the
closest intimacy with the professors. Indeed, I had a prospect of a
professorship myself. I devoted my attention particularly to the
anatomical department of my studies, which I preferred; and it was in
this department of the institution that I would probably be installed
in a few months. The gentleman who occupied that chair was about to
resign, and, being my friend, used his influence to procure my
"My medical friend invited me one evening to be present at a
dissection, which promised to be one of extreme interest. He described
the subject as one that had elicited the admiration of the class. He
said it was a female of perfect proportions, but who had recently been
an inmate of a brothel of the lowest description. She had, in a state
of beastly inebriation, fallen into the fire. Yet, with the exception
of a small but fatal orifice in the side, her form and features
remained unaltered. I consented to meet him at the hour appointed, and
made my arrangements accordingly.
"That evening there were many more persons in the dissecting-room than
usual. I had now become much more cheerful, and enjoyed the frank
greetings of my many friends with a relish and an ardour that had
hitherto been unknown to me. Many flippant remarks and careless
observations were exchanged in relation to the business before us. We
had become accustomed to such scenes, and habit had rendered us
callous to the reflections and impressions generally produced when
gazing upon the cold lineaments of the dead. Dissection was an
indispensable act. It had been resorted to under the deliberate
conviction that it was necessary to the perfection of science, and in
a great degree redounded to the welfare and preservation of the
living. To us the pale inanimate limbs, and the attenuated, insensible
bodies of the dead brought no disagreeable sensations. We cut and
sawed them with the same composed indifference with which the sculptor
hews the marble.
"'This is a beautiful subject we have to-night, Glenn,' observed one
of my friends, as we approached the dead body. He then threw up the
white cloth, and exposed the corpse, the head being still obscured. A
breathless silence reigned, while all gazed at the lifeless form in
admiration. She was a perfect Venus! Not having been wasted and
shrivelled by disease, the symmetry of her lineaments was preserved in
all the exactness of life and health. Her bust was full, plump, and
the skin of the most exquisite whiteness, except where it had been
marred by the fire that caused her death. Her limbs surpassed any
model I had ever beheld, round and tapering, smooth and white as
ivory. Her ankles were most admirably turned, and her feet of the
smallest dimensions. Her handsome and gently swelling arms were
covered with a slight gauze of short, dark hair, through which the
snowy whiteness of her skin was displayed to greater advantage. Her
hands were extremely delicate, and indicated that she had been
accustomed to ease and luxury.
"I was requested to open her breast and exhibit to the students the
formation and functions of the heart. She was lying on her back, on a
long narrow table, around which the students stood gazing at her fair
proportions. Some reflected in sorrow that so beautiful and lovely a
being should die and be conveyed to the dissecting-room; while others
joked and laughed in a light unfeeling manner. When about to make an
incision with the sharp glittering steel in my hand, for the first
time since I had graduated, I confessed that my nerves were too much
affected by the sight of the subject to proceed, and I begged my
friends to be patient a few minutes, during which I would doubtless
regain my accustomed composure.
"'What was her name?' I inquired of the friend who had accosted me on
"'Haven't you heard?' said he, smiling--'I thought you all knew her.
Nearly every person in the city has heard of her, for she was the most
celebrated and notorious "fallen angel" in the city--celebrated for
her unrivalled beauty and many triumphs, and notorious for her
heartless deceit and reckless disregard of her own welfare. She has
led captive many an unguarded swain by a passing smile in the street,
and then unceremoniously deserted him to join some drunken and beastly
party in an obscure and degraded alley.'
"'Her name--what was her name?' I again asked, once more taking up the
knife, my nerves sufficiently braced by the above recital.
"'Anne R____,' he replied; 'I thought,' he continued, 'no one could be
ignorant of her name, after hearing a description of her habits.'
"'_All_ of us,' I continued, rallying, 'are not familiar with the
persons and names of the "fallen angels" about town. But let us look
at her face.' Saying this, I endeavoured to lift the white cloth from
her head, but finding that the resurrectionist had tied a cord tightly
round the muslin enclosing her neck and head, I desisted.
"'Her face is in keeping with her body and limbs,' said my merry
friend; 'she was a perfect beauty. I have seen her in Chestnut Street
every fair day for the last six months, until she got drunk and fell
in the fire.'
"I now proceeded to business, but my flesh quivered as my knife
penetrated the smooth fair breast of the subject. Soon the skin and
the flesh were removed, and the saw grated harshly as it severed the
ribs. When the heart was exposed, all bent forward instinctively,
scanning it minutely, and seemingly with a curiosity to ascertain if
it differed from those of others whose lives were different.
[Illustration: It was Laura, the loved, adored Laura!--P. 221]
"When the operation was over, my anxiety to see her face returned.
After an ineffectual effort to untie the cord, I became impatient, and
seizing the knife that lay on the table, ripped open the muslin that
hid her features! My God! The knife dropped from my hand, and
penetrating the floor, quivered upright at my feet, while every member
of my body trembled in unison with it! I raised my hands with my
fingers spread out to the utmost tension. My mouth fell open, and my
eyes felt as if they were straining to leap from my head. _It was
Laura_--the loved, adored Laura--_my_ Laura! My friends heard me
repeat the name, and marked with surprise and concern my inexplicably
miserable condition. They gathered round me, and endeavoured to divert
my attention from the dead and now gory body. It was in vain. I heeded
not their words, but gazed steadfastly at the sad features of Laura,
with my hands still uplifted. I was speechless, deaf, and immovable.
No tear moistened my eyes, but burning thoughts rushed through my
brain. My heart was cold, cold. Ah, I remembered how I had loved her
once! I thought of the time when I was happy to bow down at her feet,
and in good faith attribute to her many of the pure qualities
pertaining to _risen_ angels. And this was her end! The beautiful and
innocent--the loving and beloved--the high born and wealthy--the light
and joy of fond and indulgent parents--had been beguiled by the
infernal tempter to make one step aside from the straight and
narrow-path of duty--and this was the result! The sensitive and
guileless girl became an incarnate fiend, callous to every modest and
virtuous impulse--scorned by the honest and good, and hating and
undermining the redeeming principles of her species--rushing from the
high station which her ancestors had arduously laboured for
generations to attain, and voluntarily taking up her abode in the dens
of squalid misery and indelible pollution--closing her eyes to the
might and majesty of a merciful God, beckoning her to his eternal
throne in heaven, and giving heed to the fatal devices of the enemy of
mankind, till she was dragged down, down to the innermost depths of a
raging and roaring hell! Such was the fate of Laura. Such is the fate
of thousands who willingly err, though it be ever so slight, for the
sake of enjoying an impious gratification. Poor Laura! Oh, how I loved
her! But it is bootless to think of her now.
"I was gently forced from the dissecting-room by my friends, and
conducted to my home in silence--in silence, because I had no words
for any one. I pressed their hands at the door of my mansion, and
bowing, they departed for their homes to muse over the incidents of
the evening. I entered my silent chamber, but not to rest. I threw
open the casement and gazed out at the genial rays of the moon. The
dark green leaves of the linden trees were motionless, and the silvery
rays struggling through them cast a checkered and faint tint of
mingled light and shade on the pavement beneath. The cool fresh air
soothed my throbbing temples. I sank back in my seat and gazed up at
the innumerable stars in the boundless sky. I thought the stellar host
glittered with unusual brilliance, as if there were a joyous and holy
revelry going on in heaven. My heart grew calm. I felt a conviction
that true happiness, and purity of thought and purpose were
inseparable. I knew that the contaminations of the world had
overthrown many a righteous resolve, and linked the noblest minded
with infamy. I thought of Laura. The seductions of the world had
literally prostrated an angel before my eyes. I determined to _leave_
the world, if not for ever, at least as long as its temptations to
err, in the remotest degree, were liable to beset my path. I came
When Glenn finished his narrative, Roughgrove rose in silence, and
producing a small Bible that he always carried about his person, read
in a low, but distinct and impressive tone, several passages which
were peculiarly applicable to the state of their feelings. Glenn then
approached the couch where William slumbered peacefully. A healthful
perspiration rested on his forehead, and a sweet smile played upon his
lips, indicating that his dreams were not among the savage scenes in
which he had so lately mingled. Mary, who had fallen asleep while
seated at his side, overcome with silent watching, yet rested with her
head on the same pillow, precisely in the same attitude she reclined
when Glenn began his recital. Roughgrove took her in his arms, and
placing her softy at her brother's feet, bestowed a kiss upon her
brow, and retired with Glenn to rest.
Balmy spring--Joe's curious dream--He prepares to catch a fish--Glenn
--William and Mary--Joe's sudden and strange appearance--La-u-na--The
trembling fawn--The fishing sport--The ducking frolic--Sneak and the
It was now the first week in May. Every vestige of winter had long
since disappeared, and the verdure of a rich soil and mild temperature
was fast enrobing the earth with the freshest and most pleasing of
colours. Instead of the dreary expanse of ice that had covered the
river, its waters now murmured musically by in the early morn--its
curling eddies running along the sedgy shore, while the rising sun
slowly dissipated the floating mists; and the inspiring notes of all
the wild variety of birds, contributed to invest the scene with such
charms as the God of nature only can impart, and which may only be
fully enjoyed and justly appreciated by guileless and unsophisticated
Glenn rambled forth, and, partaking the harmony that pervaded the
earth, air, and waters, his breast swelled with a blissful exultation
that can never be known amid the grating voices of contending men, or
experienced in crowded cities, where many confused sounds vibrate
harshly and distracting on the ear. He stood in his little garden
among the flowers that Mary had planted, and watched the humming-birds
poised among the trembling leaves, their tiny wings still unruffled by
the dew, while their slender beaks inhaled the sweet moisture of the
variegated blossoms. Long he regarded the enchanting scene,
unconscious of the flight of time, and alike regardless of the past
and the future in his all-absorbing admiration of the present, wherein
he deemed he was not far remote from that Presence to which time and
eternity are obedient--when his phantasm was abruptly and
unceremoniously put to flight by his man Joe, who rushed out of the
house with a long rod in his hand; yawning and rubbing his eyes, as if
he had been startled from his morning slumber but a moment before.
"What's the matter?" demanded Glenn.
"It was a wapper!" said Joe.
"Where?" asked Glenn.
"I'll tell you. I dreamt I was sitting on a rock, down at the ferry,
with this rod in my hand, fishing for perch, when a thundering big
catfish, as long as I am, took hold. I dreamt he pulled and I
pulled--sometimes he had me in the water up to my knees, and sometimes
I got him out on dry land. But he always flounced and kicked back
again. Yet he couldn't escape, because the hook was still in his
mouth, and when he jumped into the river I jumped to the rod, and so
we had it over and over--"
"And now have done with it," said Glenn, interrupting him. "What are
you holding the rod now for?"
"I'm going to try to catch him," said Joe, with unaffected simplicity.
"Merely because you had this dream!" continued Glenn, his features
relaxing into a smile.
"Yes--I believe in dreams," said Joe. "Once, when we were living in
Philadelphia, I had one of these same dreams. It was just about the
"How do you know what hour it was you dreamt about the fish?" again
"Why--I--," stammered Joe, "I'm sure it was about daybreak, because
the sun rose a little while after I got out."
"That might be the case," said Glenn, "if you were to dream about the
same thing from sun-down till sun-up. And I believe the fish was
running in your head last night before I went to bed, for you were
then snoring and jerking your arms about."
"Well, I'll tell you my other dream, anyhow. I dreamt I was walking
along Spruce Street wharf with my head down, when all at once my toe
struck against a red morocco pocket-wallet; I stooped down and picked
it up and put it in my pocket, and went home before I looked to see
what was in it."
"Well, what was in it when you did look?" asked Glenn.
"There was a one thousand dollar note on the Bank of the United
States, with the president's and cashier's names on it, all genuine.
Oh, I was so happy! I put it in my vest-pocket and sewed it up."
"But what have you done with it since?" asked Glenn.
"I--Hang it! it was only a dream!" said Joe, unconsciously feeling
in his empty pocket.
 Thousands have had similar dreams about similar notes since Joe's
"But what has that dream to do with the fish?" pursued Glenn.
"I'll tell you," said Joe. "When I got up in the morning and
discovered it was a dream, I slipped on my clothes as quickly as
possible and set off for the wharf. When I got there, I walked along
slowly with my head down till at length my toe struck against an
oyster-shell. I picked it up, and while I was looking at it, the
captain of a schooner invited me on board of his vessel to look at his
cargo of oysters, just stolen from Deep Creek, Virginia. He gave me at
least six dozen to eat!"
"And this makes you have faith in such dreams?" asked Glenn, striving
in vain to repress his laughter.
"I got _something_ by the dream," said Joe. "I had a first rate
"But what has all this to do with the fish?" continued Glenn;
"perhaps, instead of the fish, you expect to catch a _frog_ this time.
You will still be an Irishman, Joe. Go and try your luck."
"St. Patrick forbid that I should be any thing else but an Irishman! I
should like to know if an Irishman ain't as good as anybody else,
particularly when he's born in America, as I was? But the dream in
Philadelphia _did_ have something to do with a fish. Didn't I catch a
fish? Isn't an oyster a fish? And it had something to do with _this_
fish, too. I've been bothering my head ever since I got up about what
kind of _bait_ to catch him with, and I'm sure I never would have
thought of the right kind if you hadn't mentioned that _frog_ just
now. I recollect they say that's the very best thing in the world to
bait with for a catfish. I'll go straight to the brook and hunt up a
frog!" Saying this, Joe set out to execute his purpose, while Glenn
proceeded to Roughgrove's house to see how William progressed in his
The intelligent youth, under the guidance of Roughgrove, Glenn, and
his unwearying and affectionate sister, was now rapidly making amends
for the long neglect of his education while abiding with the
unlettered Indians. He had already gone through the English grammar,
and was entering the higher branches of study. The great poets of his
own country, and the most approved novelists were his companions
during the hours of relaxation; for when the illimitable fields of
intellect were opened to his vision, he would scarce for a moment
consent to withdraw his admiring gaze. Thus, when it was necessary for
a season to cease his toil in the path of learning, he delighted to
recline in some cool shade with a pleasing book in his hand, and
regale his senses with the flowers and refreshing streams of
imaginative authors. And thus sweetly glided his days. Could such
halcyon moments last, it were worse than madness to seek the wealth
and honours of this world! In that secluded retreat, though far from
the land of his nativity, with no community but the companionship of
his three or four friends and the joyous myriads of birds--no palaces
but the eternal hills of nature, and no pageantry but the rays of the
rising and setting sun streaming in prismatic dies upon them, the
smiling youth was far happier than he would have been in the princely
halls of his fathers, where the sycophant only bent the knee to
receive a load of gold, and the friend that might protect him on the
throne would be the first to stab him on the highway.
A spreading elm stood near the door of Roughgrove's house, and beneath
its clustering boughs William and Mary were seated on a rude bench,
entirely screened from the glaring light of the sun. A few paces
distant the brook glided in low murmurs between the green flags and
water violets over its pebbly bed. The morning dew yet rested on the
grass in the shade. The soft sigh of the fresh breeze, as it passed
through the motionless branches of the towering elm, could scarce be
heard, but yet sufficed ever and anon to lift aside the glossy
ringlets that hung pendent to the maiden's shoulders. The paroquet and
the thrush, the bluebird and goldfinch, fluttered among the thick
foliage and trilled their melodies in sweetest cadence. Both the
brother and sister wore a happy smile. Happy, because the innocence of
angels dwelt in the bosom of the one, and the memory of his guileless
and blissful days of childhood possessed the other. Occasionally they
read some passages in a book that lay open on Mary's lap, describing
the last days of Charles I., and then the bright smile would be dimmed
for a moment by a shade of sadness.
"Oh! poor man!" exclaimed Mary, when William read of the axe of the
executioner descending on the neck of the prostrate monarch.
"It is far better to dwell in peace in such a quiet and lonely place
as this, than to be where so many cruel men abide," said William,
"Ah me! I did not think that Christian men could be so cruel," said
Mary, a bright tear dropping from her long eyelash.
"But the book says he was a tyrant and deserved to die," continued the
youth, his lips compressed with firmness.
"He's coming!" exclaimed Mary, suddenly, and the pitying thought of
the unfortunate Charles vanished from her mind. But as she steadily
gazed up the path a crimson flush suffused her smooth brow and cheek,
and she rose gracefully, and with a smile of delight, welcomed Glenn
to the cool and refreshing shade of the majestic elm.
"You have come too late. William has already said his lesson, and I'm
sure he knew it perfectly," said Mary, half-reproachfully and
"Mary don't know, Mr. Glenn; because I am now further advanced than
she is," said William.
"But what kept you away so long this beautiful morning?" continued the
innocent girl. "Don't you see the dew is almost dried away in the sun,
and the morning-glories are nearly all closed?"
"I was lingering in the garden among the delicate flowers you gave me
Mary; and the green and golden humming-birds charmed me so that I
could not tear myself away," replied our hero, as he sat down between
the brother and sister.
"I shall go with brother William on the cliff and get some wild roses
and hare-bells, and then all your humming-birds will leave you and
stay here with me," said Mary, smiling archly.
"But you will be the prettiest bird among them, and flower too, to my
eyes," said Glenn, gazing at the clear and brilliant though laughing
eyes of the pleased girl.
"If that were the case, why did you linger so long in the garden?"
asked the maid, with some seriousness.
"I should not have done so, Mary, but for Joe, who, you know, will
always be heard when he has any thing to say; and this morning he had
a ludicrous dream to tell me."
"I like Joe a great deal--he makes me laugh every time I see him. And
you must tell me what he said, and how he looked and acted, that I may
know whether you did right to stay away so long," said the thoughtless
and happy girl, eager to listen to the accents of the one whose
approach had illumined her features with the mystical fires of the
Glenn faithfully repeated every word and gesture of his dialogue with
Joe, and the unsophisticated girl's joyous laugh rang merrily up the
echoing vale in sweet accompaniment with the carols of the feathered
When the narration ended, they both turned with surprise to William,
who, instead of partaking their hilarity as usual, sat perfectly
motionless in deep thought, regarding with apparent intensity the
straggling spears of grass that grew at his feet. The book he had
taken up, which had dropped from Mary's lap when she hastily rose at
the approach of Glenn, now fell unobserved by him from his relaxed
hand. His face became unusually pale. His limbs seemed to be strangely
agitated, and the pulsations of his heart were audible.
"What's the matter, dear brother?" cried Mary, in alarm.
"La-u-na--LA-U-NA!" he exclaimed, and, sinking softly down on his
knees, applied his ear close to the ground in a listening attitude.
"Dear brother William! _do_ tell Mary what ails you! What is La-u-na!"
said the startled and distressed girl, with affectionate concern.
"_La-u-na_--THE TREMBLING FAWN!" cried William, pantingly.
"Listen" said Glenn, checking Mary when she was about to repeat her
inquiry. A plaintive flute-like sound was heard at intervals, floating
on the balmy and almost motionless air down the green-fringed vale. At
times it resembled the mournful plaint of the lonely dove, and then
died away like the last notes of the expiring swan.
Before many minutes elapsed another sound of quite a different
character saluted their ears. This was a rustling among the bushes,
heard indistinctly at first, while the object was far up the valley,
but as it approached with fearful rapidity, the rushing noise became
tremendous, and a few moments after, when the trembling sumachs parted
in view, they beheld Joe! He dashed through the briers interspersed
among the undergrowth, and plunged through the winding brook that
occasionally crossed his path, as if all surrounding obstacles and
obstructions were contemptible in comparison with the danger behind!
Leaping over intervening rocks, and flying through dense clusters of
young trees that ever and anon threatened to impede his progress, he
at length reached the spot where the little group still remained
seated. Without hat or coat, and panting so violently that he was
unable to explain distinctly the cause of his alarm, poor Joe threw
himself down on the earth in the most distressed and pitiable
"What have you seen? What is the cause of this affright?" asked Glenn.
"I--oh--they--coming!" cried Joe, incoherently.
"What is coming?" continued Glenn.
"I--Indians!" exclaimed he, springing up and rushing into the house.
"They are friendly Indians, then," said Mary; "because the hostile
ones never come upon us at this season of the year."
"So I have been told," said Glenn; "but even the sight of a friendly
Indian would scare Joe."
"It is La-u-na!" said William, still attentively listening.
"What is _La-u-na_?" interrogated Mary, again.
"The _Trembling Fawn_!" repeated William, with emphasis, in a
mysterious and abstracted manner. Presently he stood up and intently
regarded the dim path over-shadowed by the luxuriant foliage that Joe
had so recently traversed, and an animated smile played upon his lips,
and dark, clear eyes sparkled with a thrill of ecstasy.
A slight female form, emerged from the dark green thicket, and glided
more like a spirit of the air than a human being towards the wondering
group. Her light steps produced no sound. In each hand she held a rich
bouquet of fresh wild flowers, and leaves and blossoms were
fantastically, though tastefully, arranged in her hair and on her
breast. A broad, shining gold band decked her temples, but many of her
raven ringlets had escaped from their confinement, and floated out on
the wind as she sped towards her beloved.
"La-u-na! La-u-na!" cried William, darting forward frantically and
catching the girl in his arms. He pressed her closely and fondly to
his heart, and she hid her face on his breast. Thus they clung
together several minutes in silence, when they were interrupted by
Roughgrove, whose attention had been attracted by the sudden affright
"William, my dear boy," said the grieved old man, "you must not have
any thing to do with the Indians--you promised us that you would
"Leave us!" said the youth, sternly, and stamping impatiently.
"Do, father!" cried Mary, who looked on in tears, a few paces apart;
"brother won't leave us again--I'm sure he won't--will you, William?"
"No, I will not!" exclaimed the youth. The Indian girl comprehended
the meaning of his words, and, tearing, away from his embrace, stood
with folded arms at his side, with her penetrating and reproachful
eyes fixed full upon him, while her lips quivered and her breast
heaved in agitation. All now regarded her in silence and admiration.
Her form was a perfect model of beauty. Her complexion was but a shade
darker than that of the maidens of Spain. Her brows were most
admirably arched, and her long silken lashes would have been envied by
an Italian beauty. Her forehead and cheeks were smooth, and all her
features as regular as those of a Venus. The mould of her face was
strictly Grecian, and on her delicate lips rested a half-formed
expression of sad regret and firm resolution. Her vestments were rich,
and highly ornamented with pearls and diamonds. She wore a light snowy
mantle made of swan skins, on which a portion of the fleecy down
remained. Beneath, the dress was composed of skins of the finest
finish, descending midway between her knees and ankles, where it was
met by the tops of the buckskin moccasins, that confined her small and
delicately-formed feet. Her arms, which were mostly concealed under
her mantle, were bare from the elbows down, and adorned at the wrists
with silver bands.
"Why, hang it all! Was there nothing running after me but this squaw?"
asked Joe, who had ventured forth again unobserved, and now stood
beside Glenn and Mary.
"Silence!" said Glenn.
"Oh, don't call _her_ a squaw, Joe--she's more like an angel than a
squaw," said Mary, gazing tenderly at the lovers, while tears were yet
standing in her eyes.
"I won't do so again," said Joe, "because she's the prettiest wild
thing I ever saw; and if Mr. William don't marry her, I will."
"Keep silent, Joe, or else leave us," again interposed Glenn.
"I'll go catch my fish. I had just found a frog, and was in the act of
catching it, when I saw the sq--the--_her_--and I thought then that I
would just run home and let you know she was coming before I took it.
But I remember where it was, and I'll have it now in less than no
time." Saying this, Joe set off up the valley again, though not very
well pleased with himself for betraying so much alarm when there was
so little danger.
"La-u-na, I am no Indian," said William, at length, in the language of
her tribe, and much affected by her searching stare.
"But you were once the young chief that led our warriors to battle,
and caught La-u-na's heart. I heard you were a pale-face after you
were taken away from us; and I thought if you would not fly back to
La-u-na, like the pigeon that escapes from the talons of the eagle and
returns to its mate, then I would lose you--forget you--hate you. I
tried, but I could not do it. When the white moon ran up to the top of
the sky, and shone down through the tall trees in my face, I would
ever meet you in the land of dreams, with the bright smile you used to
have when you were wont to put your arm around me and draw me so
gently to your breast. I was happy in those dreams. But they would not
stay. The night-hawk flew low and touched my eyes with his wings as he
flapped by, and I awoke. Then my breast was cold and my cheeks were
wet. The katydids gathered in the sweet rose-bushes about me and sung
mournfully. La-u-na was unhappy. La-u-na must see her Young Eagle, or
go to the land of spirits. She called her wild steed to her side, and,
plucking these flowers to test his fleetness, sprang upon him and flew
hither. He is now grazing in the prairie at the head of the valley;
and here are the blossoms, still alive, fresh and sweet." The
trembling and tearful girl then gently and sadly strewed the flowers
over the grass at her feet.
"Sweet La-u-na!" cried William, snatching up the blossoms and pressing
them to his lips, "forgive the young chief; he will still love you and
never leave you again."
"No--no--no!" said the girl, shaking her head in despair; "the pale
face youth will not creep through the silent and shady forest with
La-u-na any more. He will gather no more ripe grapes for the Trembling
Fawn. He will not bathe again in the clear waters with La-u-na. He
will give her no more rings of roses to put on her breast. The
Trembling Fawn is wounded. She must find a cool shade and lie down.
The dove will perch over her and wail. She will sing a low song. She
will close her eyes and die."
[Illustration: "Oh, no!" cried William, placing his arms around her
tenderly; "La-u-na must not die; or, if she does, she shall not die
alone. Why will not La-u-na dwell with me, among my friends?" The girl
started, and exhibited signs of mingled delight and doubt.--P. 232]
"Oh, no!" cried William, placing his arms around her tenderly,
"La-u-na must not die, or if she does, she shall not die alone. Why
will not La-u-na dwell with me among my friends?" The girl started and
exhibited signs of mingled delight and doubt, and then replied--
"The pale maiden would hate La-u-na, and the gray-head would drive her
"No, La-u-na," said William; "they would all love you, and we would be
so happy! Say you will stay with me here, and you shall be my wife,
and I will have no other love. My sister is sweet and mild as La-u-na,
and my father will always be kind."
The dark eyes of the girl assumed an unwonted lustre, and she turned
imploringly to Mary, Glenn, and Roughgrove.
"Oh!" cried William, in his native tongue, addressing his white
friends; "let La-u-na dwell with us! She is as innocent as the lily by
the brook, and as noble as a queen. Father," he continued, stepping
forward and taking Roughgrove's hand, "you won't refuse my request!
And you, sister Mary, I know you will love her as dearly as you do me.
And you, my friend," said he, turning to Glenn, "will soon hear her
speak our own language, and she will cull many beautiful flowers for
you that the white man never yet beheld. Grant this," added the youth,
after pausing a few moments, while his friends hung their heads in
silence, "and I will remain with you always; but if you refuse, I must
fly to the forest again."
"Stay! Oh, brother, you shall not go!" cried Mary, and rushing
forward, she threw her arms round his neck. The Indian girl kissed her
pale brow, and smiled joyfully, when the youth told her that Mary was
his dear sister.
"He loves her, and her affection for him is imperishable!" said Glenn.
"And why may they not be happy together, if they dwell with us?" asked
"There is no reason why they should not be. Let us tell them to remain
and be happy," said Glenn.
When fully informed that she might abide with them and still love her