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The Bridge of the Gods - A Romance of Indian Oregon. 19th Edition.
by Frederic Homer Balch
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"Where will you go when the council is ended, that we shall see you no more?" asked Multnomah.

"On the death-trail to the spirit-land,—nor will I go alone," was the startling reply; and the seer glided noiselessly away and disappeared among the trees.



CHAPTER III.

WALLULAH.

Ne'er was seen In art or nature, aught so passing sweet As was the form that in its beauteous frame Inclosed her, and is scattered now in dust.

CAREY: Dante.

Multnomah passed on to seek the lodge of his daughter Wallulah, a half Asiatic, and the most beautiful woman in all the land of the Wauna.

Reader, would you know the tale of the fair oriental of whom was born the sweet beauty of Wallulah?

Eighteen years before the time of our story, an East Indian ship was wrecked on the Columbia bar, the crew and cargo falling into the hands of the Indians. Among the rescued was a young and exceedingly lovely woman, who was hospitably entertained by the chief of the tribe. He and his people were deeply impressed by the grace of the fair stranger, whose dainty beauty won for her the name of "Sea-Flower," because the sea, that is ever drifting weeds, had for once wafted a flower to the shore.

As she sat on the mat in the rude bark lodge, the stern chief softened his voice, trying to talk with her; the uncouth women gently stroked her long soft hair, and some of the bolder and more curious touched her white hands wonderingly, while the throng of dusky faces pressed close round the pale, sweet creature whose eyes looked at them with a deep, dumb woe they could not understand.

When she had become familiar with the Willamette tongue, she told them that she was the daughter of a chief far away across the great water, who ruled a country as broad as the land of the Wauna and far richer. He had sent her as a bride to the ruler of another land, with a fabulous dowry of jewels and a thousand gifts besides. But the ship that bore her and her splendid treasures had been turned from its course by a terrible storm. Day after day it was driven through a waste of blackness and foam,—the sails rent, the masts swept away, the shattered hulk hurled onward like a straw by the fury of the wind. When the tempest had spent itself, they found themselves in a strange sea under strange stars. Compass and chart were gone; they knew not where they were, and caught in some unknown current, they could only drift blindly on and on. Never sighting land, seeing naught but the everlasting sweep of wave and sky, it began to be whispered in terror that this ocean had no further shore, that they might sail on forever, seeing nothing but the boundless waters. At length, when the superstitious sailors began to talk of throwing their fair charge overboard as an offering to the gods, the blue peaks of the Coast Range rose out of the water, and the ever rain-freshened green of the Oregon forests dawned upon them. Then came the attempt to enter the Columbia, and the wreck on the bar.[1]

Multnomah made the lovely princess his wife, and Sea-Flower showed the spirit of a queen. She tried to introduce among the Indians something of the refinement of her oriental home. From her the degraded medicine-men and dreamers caught a gleam of the majestic lore of Buddha; to the chiefs-in-council she taught something of the grave, inexorable justice of the East, that seemed like a higher development of their own grim unwritten code. Her influence was very great, for she was naturally eloquent and of noble presence. More than one sachem felt the inspiration of better, purer thoughts than he had ever known before when the "war-chief's woman" spoke in council. Strange gatherings were those: blood-stained chiefs and savage warriors listening all intent to the sweetest of Indian tongues spoken in modulations that were music; the wild heart of the empire stirred by the perfumed breath of a woman!

She had died three years before the events we have been narrating, and had left to her daughter the heritage of her refinement and her beauty. Wallulah was the only child of the war-chief and his Asiatic wife, the sole heir of her father's sovereignty.

Two miles from the council grove, in the interior of the island, was Wallulah's lodge. The path that Multnomah took led through a pleasant sylvan lawn. The grass was green, and the air full of the scent of buds and flowers. Here and there a butterfly floated like a sunbeam through the woodland shadows, and a humming-bird darted in winged beauty from bloom to bloom. The lark's song came vibrating through the air, and in the more open spaces innumerable birds flew twittering in the sun. The dewy freshness, the exquisite softness of spring, was everywhere.

In the golden weather, through shadowed wood and sunny opening, the war-chief sought his daughter's lodge.

Suddenly a familiar sound attracted his attention, and he turned toward it. A few steps, and he came to the margin of a small lake. Several snow-white swans were floating on it; and near the edge of the water, but concealed from the swans by the tall reeds that grew along the shore, was his daughter, watching them.

She was attired in a simple dress of some oriental fabric. Her form was small and delicately moulded; her long black hair fell in rich masses about her shoulders; and her profile, turned toward him, was sweetly feminine. The Indian type showed plainly, but was softened with her mother's grace. Her face was sad, with large appealing eyes and mournful lips, and full of haunting loveliness; a face whose strange mournfulness was deepened by the splendor of its beauty; a face the like of which is rarely seen, but once seen can never be forgotten.

There was something despondent even in her pose, as she sat with her shoulders drooping slightly forward and her dark eyes fixed absently on the swans, watching them through the bending reeds. Now one uttered its note, and she listened, seeming to vibrate to the deep, plaintive cry; then she raised to her lips a flute that she held in her hands, and answered it with a perfect intonation,—an intonation that breathed the very spirit of the swan. So successful was the mimicry that the swans replied, thinking it the cry of a hidden mate; and again she softly, rhythmically responded.

"Wallulah!" said the chief.

She sprang to her feet and turned toward him. Her dark face lighted with an expressive flash, her black eyes shone, her features glowed with joy and surprise. It was like the breaking forth of an inner illumination. There was now nothing of the Indian in her face.

"My father!" she exclaimed, springing to him and kissing his hand, greeting him as her mother had taught her to do from childhood. "Welcome! Were you searching for me?"

"Yes, you were well hidden, but Multnomah is a good hunter and can always track the fawn to its covert," replied the chief, with the faint semblance of a smile. All that there was of gentleness in his nature came out when talking with his daughter.

"You have come from the council? Are you not weary and hungry? Come to the lodge, and let Wallulah give you food, and spread a mat for you to rest upon."

"No, I am hungry only to see Wallulah and hear her talk. Sit down on the log again." She seated herself, and her father stood beside her with an abstracted gaze, his hand stroking her long, soft tresses. He was thinking of the darker, richer tresses of another, whose proud, sad face and mournful eyes with their wistful meaning, so like Wallulah's own, he, a barbarian prince, could never understand.

Although, according to the superstitious custom of the Willamettes, he never spoke the name of Sea-Flower or alluded to her in any way, he loved his lost wife with a deep and unchanging affection. She had been a fair frail thing whose grace and refinement perplexed and fascinated him, moving him to unwonted tenderness and yearning. He had brought to her the spoils of the chase and of battle. The finest mat was braided for her lodge, the choicest skins and furs spread for her bed, and the chieftainess's string of hiagua shells and grizzly bear's claws had been put around her white neck by Multnomah's own hand. In spite of all this, she drooped and saddened year by year; the very hands that sought to cherish her seemed but to bruise; and she sickened and died, the delicate woman, in the arms of the iron war-chief, like a flower in the grasp of a mailed hand.

Why did she die? Why did she always seem so sad? Why did she so often steal away to weep over her child? Was not the best food hers, and the warm place by the lodge fire, and the softest bearskin to rest on; and was she not the wife of Multnomah,—the big chief's woman? Why then should she droop and die like a winged bird that one tries to tame by tying it to the wigwam stake and tossing it food?

Often the old chief brooded over these questions, but it was unknown to all, even to Wallulah. Only his raven tresses, cut close year by year in sign of perpetual mourning, told that he had not forgotten, could never forget.

The swans had taken flight, and their long lingering note sounded faint in the distance.

"You have frightened away my swans," said Wallulah, looking up at him smilingly.

A shadow crossed his brow.

"Wallulah," he said, and his voice had now the stern ring habitual to it, "you waste your life with the birds and trees and that thing of sweet sounds,"—pointing to the flute. "Better be learning to think on the things a war-chief's daughter should care for,—the feast and the council, the war-parties and the welcome to the braves when they come back to the camp with the spoil."

The bright look died out of her face.

"You say those words so often," she replied sorrowfully, "and I try to obey, but cannot. War is terrible to me."

His countenance grew harsher, his hand ceased to stroke her hair.

"And has Multnomah, chief of the Willamettes and war-chief of the Wauna, lived to hear his daughter say that war is terrible to her? Have you nothing of your father in you? Remember the tales of the brave women of Multnomah's race,—the women whose blood is in your veins. Remember that they spoke burning words in the council, and went forth with the men to battle, and came back with their own garments stained with blood. You shudder! Is it at the thought of blood?"

The old wistful look came back, the old sadness was on the beautiful face again. One could see now why it was there.

"My father," she said sorrowfully, "Wallulah has tried to love those things, but she cannot. She cannot change the heart the Great Spirit has given her. She cannot bring herself to be a woman of battle any more than she can sound a war-cry on her flute," and she lifted it as she spoke.

He took it into his own hands.

"It is this," he said, breaking down the sensitive girl in the same despotic way in which he bent the wills of warriors; "it is this that makes you weak. Is it a charm that draws the life from your heart? If so, it can be broken."

Another moment and the flute would have been broken in his ruthless hands and its fragments flung into the lake; but Wallulah, startled, caught it from him with a plaintive cry.

"It was my mother's. If you break it you will break my heart!"

The chief's angry features quivered at the mention of her mother, and he instantly released the flute. Wallulah clasped it to her bosom as if it represented in some way the mother she had lost, and her eyes filled with tears. Again her father's hand rested on her head, and she knew that he too was thinking of her mother. Her nature rose up in revolt against the Indian custom which forbade talking of the dead. Oh, if she might only talk with her father about her mother, though it were but a few brief words! Never since her mother's death had her name been mentioned between them. She lifted her eyes, pathetic with three years' hunger, to his. As their glances met, it seemed as if the veil that had been between their diverse natures was for a moment lifted, and they understood each other better than they ever had before. While his look imposed silence and sealed her lips as with a spoken command, there was a gleam of tenderness in it that said, "I understand, I too remember; but it must not be spoken."

There came to her a sense of getting closer to her father's heart, even while his eyes held her back and bade her be silent.

At length the chief spoke, this time very gently.

"Now I shall talk to you not as to a girl but as to a woman. You are Multnomah's only child. When he dies there will be no one but you to take his place. Are your shoulders strong enough to bear the weight of power, the weight that crushes men? Can you break down revolt and read the hearts of plotters,—yes, and detect conspiracy when it is but a whisper in the air? Can you sway council and battle to your will as the warrior bends his bow? No; it takes men, men strong of heart, to rule the races of the Wauna. Therefore there is but one way left me whereby the line of Multnomah may still be head of the confederacy when he is gone. I must wed you to a great warrior who can take my place when I am dead and shelter you with his strength. Then the name and the power of Multnomah will still live among the tribes, though Multnomah himself be crumbled into dust."

She made no reply, but sat looking confused and pained, by no means elated at the future he had described.

"Have you never thought of this,—that some time I must give you to a warrior?"

Her head drooped lower and her cheek faintly flushed.

"Sometimes."

"But you have chosen no one?"

"I do not know," she faltered.

Her father's hand still rested on her head, but there was an expression on his face that showed he would not hesitate to sacrifice her happiness to his ambition.

"You have chosen, then? Is he a chief? No, I will not ask that; the daughter of Multnomah could love no one but a chief. I have already selected a husband for you. Tear this other love from your heart and cast it aside."

The flush died out of her cheek, leaving it cold and ashen; and her fingers worked nervously with the flute in her lap.

He continued coldly,—

"The fame of your beauty has gone out through all the land. The chief of the Chopponish[2] has offered many horses for you, and the chief of the Spokanes, our ancient foes, has said there would be peace between us if I gave you to him. But I have promised you to another. Your marriage to him will knit the bravest tribe of the confederacy to us; he will take my place when I am dead, and our people will still be strong."

She made no reply. What could she do against her father's granite will? All the grace and mobility were gone from her face, and it was drooping and dull almost to impassiveness. She was only an Indian girl now, waiting to learn the name of him who was to be her master.

"What is the name of the one you love? Speak it once, then never speak it again."

"Snoqualmie, chief of the Cayuses," faltered her tremulous lips.

A quick change of expression came into the gaze that was bent on her.

"Now lift your head and meet your fate like the daughter of a chief. Do not let me see your face change while I tell you whom I have chosen."

She lifted her face in a tumult of fear and dread, and her eyes fastened pathetically on the chief.

"His name is—" she clasped her hands and her whole soul went out to her father in the mute supplication of her gaze—"the chief Snoqualmie, him of whom you have thought."

Her face was bewilderment itself for an instant; the next, the sudden light, the quick flash of expression which transfigured it in a moment of joy or surprise, came to her, and she raised his hand and kissed it. Was that all? Remember she had in her the deep, mute Indian nature that meets joy or anguish alike in silence. She had early learned to repress and control her emotions. Perhaps that was why she was so sad and brooding now.

"Where have you seen Snoqualmie?" asked Multnomah. "Not in your father's lodge, surely, for when strange chiefs came to him you always fled like a frightened bird."

"Once only have I seen him," she replied, flushing and confused. "He had come here alone to tell you that some of the tribes were plotting against you. I saw him as he went back through the wood to the place where his canoe was drawn up on the bank of the river. He was tall; his black hair fell below his shoulders; and his look was very proud and strong. His back was to the setting sun, and it shone around him robing him with fire, and I thought he looked like the Indian sun-god."

"I am glad it is pleasant for you to obey me. Now, listen while I tell you what you must do as the wife of Snoqualmie."

Stilling the sweet tumult in her breast, she tried hard to listen while he told her of the plans, the treaties, the friendships, and the enmities she must urge on her husband, when he became war-chief and was carrying on her father's work; and in part she understood, for her imagination was captivated by the splendid though barbarian dream of empire he set before her.

At length, as the sun was setting, one came to tell Multnomah that a runner from a tribe beyond the mountains had come to see him. Then her father left her; but Wallulah still sat on the mossy log, while all the woodland was golden in the glory of sunset.

Her beloved flute was pressed close to her cheek, and her face was bright and joyous; she was thinking of Snoqualmie, the handsome stately chief whom she had seen but once, but whose appearance, as she saw him then, had filled her girlish heart.

And all the time she knew not that this Snoqualmie, to whom she was to be given, was one of the most cruel and inhuman of men, terrible even to the grim warriors of the Wauna for his deeds of blood.

——-

[1] Shipwrecks of Asiatic vessels are not uncommon on the Pacific Coast, several having occurred during the present century,—notably that of a Japanese junk in 1833, from which three passengers were saved at the hands of the Indians; while the cases of beeswax that have been disinterred on the sea-coast, the oriental words that are found ingrafted in the native languages, and the Asiatic type of countenance shown by many of the natives, prove such wrecks to have been frequent in prehistoric times. One of the most romantic stories of the Oregon coast is that which the Indians tell of a buried treasure at Mount Nehalem, left there generations ago by shipwrecked men of strange garb and curious arms,—treasure which, like that of Captain Kidd, has been often sought but never found. There is also an Indian legend of a shipwrecked white man named Soto, and his comrades (See Mrs. Victor's "Oregon and Washington"), who lived long with the mid-Columbia Indians and then left them to seek some settlement of their own people in the south. All of these legends point to the not infrequent occurrence of such a wreck as our story describes.

[2] Indian name of the Nez Perces.



CHAPTER IV.

SENDING OUT THE RUNNERS.

Speed, Malise, speed; the dun deer's hide On fleeter foot was never tied; Herald of battle, fate and fear Stretch around thy fleet career.

SCOTT.

At early morning, the sachems had gathered in the council-grove, Multnomah on the seat of the war-chief, and twenty runners before him. They were the flower of the Willamette youth, every one of royal birth, handsome in shape and limb, fleet-footed as the deer. They were slender and sinewy in build, with aquiline features and sharp searching eyes.

Their garb was light. Leggins and moccasins had been laid aside; even the hiagua shells were stripped from their ears. All stood nerved and eager for the race, waiting for the word that was to scatter them throughout the Indian empire, living thunderbolts bearing the summons of Multnomah.

The message had been given them, and they waited only to pledge themselves to its faithful delivery.

"You promise," said the chief, while his flashing glance read every messenger to the heart, "you promise that neither cougar nor cataract nor ambuscade shall deter you from the delivery of this summons; that you will not turn back, though the spears of the enemy are thicker in your path than ferns along the Santiam? You promise that though you fall in death, the summons shall go on?"

The spokesman of the runners, the runner to the Chopponish, stepped forward. With gestures of perfect grace, and in a voice that rang like a silver trumpet, he repeated the ancient oath of the Willamettes,—the oath used by the Shoshones to-day.

"The earth hears us, the sun sees us. Shall we fail in fidelity to our chief?"

There was a pause. The distant cry of swans came from the river; the great trees of council rustled in the breeze. Multnomah rose from his seat, gripping the bow on which he leaned. Into that one moment he seemed gathering yet repressing all the fierceness of his passion, all the grandeur of his will. Far in the shade he saw Tohomish raise his hand imploringly, but the eyes of the orator sank once more under the glance of the war-chief.

"Go!"

An electric shock passed through all who heard; and except for the chiefs standing on its outskirts like sombre shadows, the grove was empty in a moment.

Beyond the waters that girdled the island, one runner took the trail to Puyallup, one the trail to Umatilla, one the path to Chelon, and one the path to Shasta; another departed toward the volcano-rent desert of Klamath, and still another toward the sea-washed shores of Puget Sound.

The irrevocable summons had gone forth; the council was inevitable,—the crisis must come.



Long did Multnomah and his chiefs sit in council that day. Resolute were the speeches that came from all, though many secretly regretted that they had allowed Multnomah's oratory to persuade them into declaring for the council: but there was no retreat.

Across hills and canyons sped the fleet runners, on to the huge bark lodges of Puget Sound, the fisheries of the Columbia, and the crowded race-courses of the Yakima. Into camps of wandering prairie tribes, where the lodges stood like a city to-day and were rolled up and strapped on the backs of horses to-morrow; into councils where sinister chiefs were talking low of war against the Willamettes; into wild midnight dances of plotting dreamers and medicine-men,—they came with the brief stern summons, and passed on to speak it to the tribes beyond.



BOOK III.

THE GATHERING OF THE TRIBES.

CHAPTER I.

THE BROKEN PEACE-PIPE.

My full defiance, hate, and scorn.

SCOTT.

It is the day after the departure of the runners to call the great council,—eight years since Cecil Grey went out into the wilderness. Smoke is curling slowly upward from an Indian camp on the prairie not far from the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Fifteen or twenty cone-shaped lodges, each made of mats stretched on a frame-work of poles, compose the village. It swarms with wolfish-looking dogs and dirty, unclad children. Heaps of refuse, heads and feet of game, lie decaying among the wigwams, tainting the air with their disgusting odor. Here and there an ancient withered specimen of humanity sits in the sun, absorbing its rays with a dull animal-like sense of enjoyment, and a group of warriors lie idly talking. Some of the squaws are preparing food, boiling it in water-tight willow baskets by filling them with water and putting in hot stones.[3] Horses are tethered near the lodges, and others are running loose on the prairie.

There are not many of them. The Indians have only scores now where a century later Lewis and Clark found thousands; and there are old men in the camp who can recall the time when the first horses ever seen among them were bought or stolen from the tribes to the south.

On every side the prairie sweeps away in long grassy swells and hollows, rolling off to the base of the Blue Mountains.

The camp has the sluggish aspect that an Indian camp always presents at noonday.

Suddenly a keen-sighted warrior points to a dim speck far over the prairie toward the land of the Bannocks. A white man would have scarcely noticed it; or if he had, would have thought it only some wandering deer or antelope. But the Indians, glancing at the moving object, have already recognized it as a horseman coming straight toward the camp.

Some messenger it is, doubtless, from the Bannocks. Once the whole camp would have rushed to arms at the approach of a rider from that direction, for the two tribes had been at bitter enmity; but of late the peace-pipe has been smoked between them, and the old feud is at an end. Still, the sight arouses considerable curiosity and much speculation as to the object of the visitor.

He is a good rider, his horse is fleet, and in less time than would have been thought possible reaches the camp. He gallops up, stops near the lodges that are farthest out, and springs lightly to the ground. He does not go on into the camp, but stands beside his horse till advances are made on the other side.

The dogs bark at him; his steed, a fiery black, tosses its head and paws the ground; he stands beside it immovably, and to all appearance is ready so to stand till sunset. Some of the warriors recognize him as one of the bravest of the Bannocks. He looks like a daring, resolute man, yet wary and self-contained.

After a while one of the Cayuse warriors (for this was a camp of the Cayuses) advanced toward him, and a grave salutation was exchanged. Then the Bannock said that he wanted to see the Cayuse chief, Snoqualmie, in the council-lodge, for the chief of the Bannocks had sent a "talk" to the Cayuses.

The warrior left him to speak with Snoqualmie. In a short time he returned, saying that the chief and the warriors had gone to the council-lodge and were ready to hear the "talk" that their brother, the chief of the Bannocks, had sent them. The messenger tied his horse by its lariat, or long hair-rope, to a bush, and followed the brave to the lodge.

It was a large wigwam in the centre of the village. A crowd of old men, women, and children had already gathered around the door. Within, on one side of the room, sat in three rows a semi-circle of braves, facing the chief, who sat on the opposite side. Near the door was a clear space where the messenger was to stand while speaking.

He entered, and the doorway behind him was immediately blocked up by the motley crowd excluded from the interior. Not a warrior in the council looked at him; even the chief, Snoqualmie, did not turn his head. The messenger advanced a few paces into the room, stopped, and stood as impassive as the rest. Then, when the demands of Indian stoicism had been satisfied, Snoqualmie turned his face, a handsome but treacherous and cruel face, upon the messenger.

"The warrior comes to speak the words of our brother, the chief of the Bannocks; he is welcome. Shall we smoke the pipe of peace before we hear our brother's words?"

The Bannock gazed steadily at Snoqualmie. In that fierce and proud regard was something the Cayuse could not fathom.

"Why should the peace-pipe be smoked?" he asked. "Was it not smoked in the great council a moon ago? Did not Snoqualmie say then that the two tribes should henceforth be as one tribe, and that the Bannocks should be the brethren of the Cayuses forever?"

"Those were the words," replied the chief with dignity. "Snoqualmie has not forgotten them."

All eyes were now turned on the messenger; they saw that something unexpected was coming. The Bannock drew his form up to its full height, and his resolute features expressed the bitterest scorn.

"Nor have the Bannocks forgotten. At the council you talked 'peace, peace.' Last night some of your young men surprised a little camp of Bannocks,—a few old men and boys who were watching horses,—and slew them and ran off the horses. Is that your peace? The Bannocks will have no such peace. This is the word the chief of the Bannocks sends you!"

Holding up the peace-pipe that had been smoked at the great council and afterward given to the medicine-men of the Bannocks as a pledge of Cayuse sincerity, he broke the long slender stem twice, thrice, crushed the bowl in his fingers, and dashed the pieces at Snoqualmie's feet. It was a defiance, a contemptuous rejection of peace, a declaration of war more disdainful than any words could have made it.

Then, before they could recover from their astonishment, the Bannock turned and leaped through the crowd at the door,—for an instant's stay was death. Even as he leaped, Snoqualmie's tomahawk whizzed after him, and a dozen warriors were on their feet, weapon in hand. But the swift, wild drama had been played like lightning, and he was gone. Only, a brave who had tried to intercept his passage lay on the ground outside the lodge, stabbed to the heart. They rushed to the door in time to see him throw himself on his horse and dash off, looking back to give a yell of triumph and defiance.

In less time than it takes to describe it, the horses tethered near the lodges were mounted and twenty riders were in pursuit. But the Bannock was considerably in advance now, and the fine black horse he rode held its own nobly. Out over the prairie flew the pursuing Cayuses, yelling like demons, the fugitive turning now and then to utter a shout of derision.

Back at the lodges, the crowd of spectators looked on with excited comments.

"His horse is tired, ours are fresh!" "They gain on him!" "No, he is getting farther from them!" "See, he throws away his blanket!" "They are closer, closer!" "No, no, his horse goes like a deer."

Out over the prairies, fleeting like the shadow of a hurrying cloud, passed the race, the black horse leading, the Cayuse riders close behind, their long hair outstreaming, their moccasins pressed against their horses' sides, their whips falling without mercy. Down a canyon they swept in pursuit and passed from the ken of the watchers at the camp, the black horse still in the van.

But it could not cope with the fresh horses of the Cayuses, and they gained steadily. At last the pursuers came within bowshot, but they did not shoot; the fugitive knew too well the reason why. Woe unto him if he fell alive into their hands! He leaned low along his horse's neck, chanting a weird refrain as if charming it to its utmost speed, and ever and anon looked back with that heart-shaking shout of defiance. But steadily his pursuers gained on him; and one, outstripping the rest, rode alongside and reached out to seize his rein. Even as he touched it, the Bannock's war-club swung in air and the Cayuse reeled dead from his saddle. A howl of rage burst from the others, a whoop of exultation from the fugitive.

But at length his horse's breath grew short and broken, he felt its body tremble as it ran, and his enemies closed in around him.

Thrice the war-club rose and fell, thrice was a saddle emptied; but all in vain. Quickly his horse was caught, he was dragged from the saddle and bound hand and foot.

He was thrown across a horse and brought back to the village. What a chorus of triumph went up from the camp, when it was seen that they were bringing him back! It was an ominous sound, with something of wolfish ferocity in it. But the Bannock only smiled grimly.

He is bound to a post,—a charred, bloodstained post to which others of his race have been bound before him. The women and children taunt him, jeer at him, strike him even. The warriors do not. They will presently do more than that. Some busy themselves building a fire near by; others bring pieces of flint, spear points, jagged fragments of rock, and heat them in it. The prisoner, dusty, torn, parched with thirst, and bleeding from many wounds, looks on with perfect indifference. Snoqualmie comes and gazes at him; the prisoner does not notice him, is seemingly unconscious of his presence.

By and by a band of hunters ride up from a long excursion. They have heard nothing of the trouble. With them is a young Bannock who is visiting the tribe. He rides up with his Cayuse comrades, laughing, gesticulating in a lively way. The jest dies on his lips when he recognizes the Bannock who is tied to the stake. Before he can even think of flight, he is dragged from his horse and bound,—his whilom comrades, as soon as they understand the situation, becoming his bitterest assailants.

For it is war again, war to the death between the tribes, until, two centuries later, both shall alike be crushed by the white man.

At length the preparations are complete, and the women and children, who have been swarming around and taunting the captives, are brushed aside like so many flies by the stern warriors. First, the young Bannock who has just come in is put where he must have a full view of the other. Neither speaks, but a glance passes between them that is like a mutual charge to die bravely. Snoqualmie comes and stands close by the prisoner and gives directions for the torture to begin.

The Bannock is stripped. The stone blades that have been in the fire are brought, all red and glowing with heat, and pressed against his bare flesh. It burns and hisses under the fiery torture, but the warrior only sneers.

"It doesn't hurt; you can't hurt me. You are fools. You don't know how to torture."[4]

No refinement of cruelty could wring a complaint from him. It was in vain that they burned him, cut the flesh from his fingers, branded his cheek with the heated bowl of the pipe he had broken.

"Try it again," he said mockingly, while his flesh smoked. "I feel no pain. We torture your people a great deal better, for we make them cry out like little children."

More and more murderous and terrible grew the wrath of his tormentors, as this stream of vituperation fell on their ears. Again and again weapons were lifted to slay him, but Snoqualmie put them back.

"He can suffer more yet," he said; and the words were like a glimpse into the cold, merciless heart of the man. Other and fiercer tortures were devised by the chief, who stood over him, pointing out where and how the keenest pain could be given, the bitterest pang inflicted on that burned and broken body. At last it seemed no longer a man, but a bleeding, scorched, mutilated mass of flesh that hung to the stake; only the lips still breathed defiance and the eyes gleamed deathless hate. Looking upon one and another, he boasted of how he had slain their friends and relatives. Many of his boasts were undoubtedly false, but they were very bitter.

"It was by my arrow that you lost your eye," he said to one; "I scalped your father," to another; and every taunt provoked counter-taunts accompanied with blows.

At length he looked at Snoqualmie,—a look so ghastly, so disfigured, that it was like something seen in a horrible dream.

"I took your sister prisoner last winter; you never knew,—you thought she had wandered from home and was lost in a storm. We put out her eyes, we tore out her tongue, and then we told her to go out in the snow and find food. Ah-h-h! you should have seen her tears as she went out into the storm, and——"

The sentence was never finished. While the last word lingered on his lips, his body sunk into a lifeless heap under a terrific blow, and Snoqualmie put back his blood-stained tomahawk into his belt.

"Shall we kill the other?" demanded the warriors, gathering around the surviving Bannock, who had been a stoical spectator of his companion's sufferings. A ferocious clamor from the women and children hailed the suggestion of new torture; they thronged around the captive, the children struck him, the women abused him, spat upon him even, but not a muscle of his face quivered; he merely looked at them with stolid indifference.

"Kill him, kill him!" "Stretch him on red hot stones!" "We will make him cry!"

Snoqualmie hesitated. He wished to save this man for another purpose, and yet the Indian blood-thirst was on him; chief and warrior alike were drunken with fury, mad with the lust of cruelty.

As he hesitated, a white man clad in the garb of an Indian hunter pushed his way through the crowd. Silence fell upon the throng; the clamor of the women, the fierce questioning of the warriors ceased. The personality of this man was so full of tenderness and sympathy, so strong and commanding, that it impressed the most savage nature. Amid the silence, he came and looked first at the dead body that yet hung motionless from the stake, then sorrowfully, reproachfully, at the circle of faces around. An expression half of sullen shame, half of defiance, crossed more than one countenance as his glance fell upon it.

"Friends," said he, sadly, pointing at the dead, "is this your peace with the Bannocks,—the peace you prayed the Great Spirit to bless, the peace that was to last forever?"

"The Bannocks sent back the peace-pipe by this man, and he broke it and cast the pieces in our teeth," answered one, stubbornly.

"And you slew him for it? Why not have sent runners to his tribe asking why it was returned, and demanding to know what wrong you had done, that you might right it? Now there will be war. When you lie down to sleep at night, the surprise may be on you and massacre come while your eyes are heavy with slumber; when you are gone on the buffalo trail the tomahawk may fall on the women and children at home. Death will lurk for you in every thicket and creep round every encampment. The Great Spirit is angry because you have stained your hands in blood without cause."

There was no reply. This white man, coming from far eastern lands lying they knew not where, who told them God had sent him to warn them to be better, had a singular influence over them. There was none of his hearers who did not dimly feel that he had done wrong in burning and scarring the poor mass of humanity before him, and that the Great Spirit was angry with him for it.

Back in the crowd, some of the children, young demons hungering for blood, began to clamor again for the death of the surviving Bannock. Cecil Grey looked at him pityingly.

"At least you can let him go."

There was no answer. Better impulses, better desires, were struggling in their degraded minds; but cruelty was deeply rooted within them, the vague shame and misgiving his words had roused was not so strong as the dark animalism of their natures.

Cecil turned to Snoqualmie.

"I saved your life once, will you not give me his?"

The chief regarded him coldly.

"Take it," he said after a pause. Cecil stooped over and untied the thongs that bound the captive, who rose to his feet amid a low angry murmur from those around. Snoqualmie silenced it with an imperious gesture. Then he turned to the young Bannock.

"Dog, one of a race of dogs! go back to your people and tell them what you have seen to-day. Tell them how we burned and tortured their messenger, and that we let you go only to tell the tale. Tell them, too, that Snoqualmie knows his sister died by their hand last winter, and that for every hair upon her head he will burn a Bannock warrior at the stake. Go, and be quick, lest my war-party overtake you on the trail."

The Bannock left without a word, taking the trail across the prairie toward the land of his tribe.

"The gift was given, but there was that given with it that made it bitter. And now may I bury this dead body?"

"It is only a Bannock; who cares what is done with it?" replied Snoqualmie. "But remember, my debt is paid. Ask of me no more gifts," and the chief turned abruptly away.

"Who will help me bury this man?" asked Cecil. No one replied; and he went alone and cut the thongs that bound the body to the stake. But as he stooped to raise it, a tall fine-looking man, a renegade from the Shoshones, who had taken no part in the torture, came forward to help him. Together they bore the corpse away from the camp to the hillside; together they hollowed out a shallow grave and stretched the body in it, covering it with earth and heaping stones on top, that the cayote might not disturb the last sleep of the dead.

When they returned to the camp, they found a war-party already in the saddle, with Snoqualmie at their head, ready to take the Bannock trail. But before they left the camp, a runner entered it with a summons from Multnomah calling them to the great council of the tribes on Wappatto Island, for which they must start on the morrow.

——-

[3] See Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. i., p. 270.

[4] See Ross Cox's "Adventures on the Columbia River" for a description of torture among the Columbia tribes.



CHAPTER II.

ON THE WAY TO THE COUNCIL.

They arrived at the village of Wishram.

IRVING: Astoria.

The camp was all astir at dawn, for sunset must see them far on the way. They must first cross the prairies to the northward till they struck the Columbia, then take the great trail leading down it to the Willamette valley. It was a two days' journey at the least.

Squaws were preparing a hurried meal; lodge-poles were being taken down and the mats that covered them rolled up and strapped on the backs of horses; Indians, yelling and vociferating, were driving up bands of horses from which pack and riding ponies were to be selected; unbroken animals were rearing and plunging beneath their first burdens, while mongrel curs ran barking at their heels. Here and there unskilful hands were throwing the lasso amid the jeers and laughter of the spectators. All was tumult and excitement.

At length they were under way. First rode the squaws, driving before them pack-horses and ponies, for the herds and entire movable property of the tribe accompanied it in all its marches. The squaws rode astride, like men, in the rude wooden saddles that one yet sees used by the wilder Indians of eastern Oregon and Idaho,—very high, both before and behind, looking like exaggerated pack-saddles. A hair rope, tied around the lower jaw of the horse, answered for a bridle. To this must be added the quirt, a short double-lashed whip fastened into a hollow and curiously carved handle. The application of this whip was so constant as to keep the right arm in continual motion; so that even to-day on the frontier an Indian rider can be distinguished from a white man, at a distance, by the constant rising and falling of the whip arm. With the squaws were the children, some of whom, not over four, five, and six years of age, rode alone on horseback, tied in the high saddles; managing their steeds with instinctive skill, and when the journey became fatiguing, going to sleep, secured by their fastenings from falling off.

Next came the men, on the best horses, unencumbered by weight of any kind and armed with bow and arrow. Here and there a lance pointed with flint, a stone knife or hatchet, or a heavy war-club, hung at the saddle; but the bow and arrow constituted their chief weapon.

The men formed a kind of rear-guard, protecting the migrating tribe from any sudden assault on the part of the Bannocks. There were perhaps two hundred fighting-men in all. Snoqualmie was at their head, and beside him rode the young Willamette runner who had brought the summons from Multnomah the day before. The Willamette was on horseback for the first time in his life. The inland or prairie tribes of eastern Oregon, coming as they did in contact with tribes whose neighbors bordered on Mexico, had owned horses for perhaps a generation; but the sea-board tribes owned very few, and there were tribes on Puget Sound and at the mouth of the Columbia who had never seen them. Even the Willamettes, sovereign tribe of the confederacy though they were, had but few horses.

This morning the young Willamette had bought a colt, giving for it a whole string of hiagua shells. It was a pretty, delicate thing, and he was proud of it, and had shown his pride by slitting its ears and cutting off its tail, as was the barbarous custom with many of the Indians. He sat on the little creature now; and loaded as it was with the double weight of himself and the heavy wooden saddle, it could hardly keep pace with the older and stronger horses.

In the rear of all rode Cecil Grey and the Shoshone renegade who had helped him bury the dead Bannock the evening before. Cecil's form was as slight and graceful in its Indian garb as in days gone by, and his face was still the handsome, sensitive face it had been eight years before. It was stronger now, more resolute and mature, and from long intercourse with the Indians there had come into it something grave and Indian-like; but it only gave more of dignity to his mien. His brown beard swept his breast, and his face was bronzed; but the lips quivered under the beard, and the cheek flushed and paled under the bronze.

What had he been doing in the eight years that had elapsed since he left his New England home? Let us listen to his story in his own words as he tells it to the Shoshone renegade by his side.

"I lived in a land far to the east, beside a great water. My people were white like myself. I was one of an order of men whom the Great Spirit had appointed to preach of goodness, mercy, and truth, and to explain to the people the sayings of a mighty book which he had given to the fathers,—a book that told how men should live in this world, and said that a beautiful place in the next would be given those who are good and true in this. But by and by the Great Spirit began to whisper to me of the Indians in the wilderness who knew nothing of the book or the hope within it, and a longing rose within me to go and tell them; but there were ties that held me to my own people, and I knew not what to do. Death cut those ties; and in my hour of grief there came to me a vision of a great bridge far in the west, and of Indians passing over it, and a voice spoke to me and bade me go and seek the land of the bridge, for the Great Spirit had a mission for me there; and I went forth into the wilderness. I met many tribes and tarried with them, telling them of God. Many were evil and treated me harshly, others were kind and listened. Some loved me and wished me to abide always in their lodges and be one of them. But even while they spoke the Great Spirit whispered to me to go on, and an unrest rose within me, and I could not stay.

"So the years went by, and I wandered farther and farther to the west, across rivers and deserts, till I reached this tribe; and they said that farther on, toward the land of the Willamettes, a great river flowed through the mountains, and across it was a bridge of stone built by the gods when the world was young. Then I knew that it was the bridge of my vision, and the unrest came back and I arose to go. But the tribe kept me, half as guest and half as prisoner, and would not let me depart; until last night the runner came summoning them to the council. Now they go, taking me with them. I shall see the land of the bridge and perform the work the Great Spirit has given me to do."

The old grand enthusiasm shone in his look as he closed. The Shoshone regarded him with grave attention.

"What became of the book that told of God?" he asked earnestly.

"A chief took it from me and burned it; but its words were written on my heart, and they could not be destroyed."

They rode on for a time in silence. The way was rugged, the country a succession of canyons and ridges covered with green and waving grass but bare of trees. Behind them, the Blue Mountains were receding in the distance. To the west, Mt. Hood, the great white "Witch Mountain" of the Indians, towered over the prairie, streaking the sky with a long floating wreath of volcanic smoke. Before them, as they journeyed northward toward the Columbia, stretched out the endless prairie. Now they descended into a deep ravine, now they toiled up a steep hillside. The country literally rolled, undulating in immense ridges around and over which the long file of squaws and warriors, herds and pack-horses, wound like a serpent. From the bands ahead came shouts and outcries,—the sounds of rude merriment; and above all the long-drawn intonation so familiar to those who have been much with Indian horsemen,—the endlessly repeated "ho-ha, ho-ha, ho-ha," a kind of crude riding-song.

After a while Cecil said, "I have told you the story of my life, will you not tell me the story of yours?"

"Yes," said the renegade, after a moment's thought; "you have shown me your heart as if you were my brother. Now I will show you mine.

"I was a Shoshone warrior.[5] There was a girl in our village whom I had loved from childhood. We played together; we talked of how, when I became a man and a warrior, she should become my wife; she should keep my wigwam; we would always love one another. She grew up, and the chief offered many horses for her. Her father took them. She became the chief's wife, and all my heart withered up. Everything grew dark. I sat in my wigwam or wandered in the forest, caring for nothing.

"When I met her, she turned her face aside, for was she not the wife of another? Yet I knew her heart hungered for me. The chief knew it too, and when he spoke to her a cloud was ever on his brow and sharp lightning on his tongue. But she was true. Whose lodge was as clean as his? The wood was always carried, the water at hand, the meat cooked. She searched the very thought that was in his heart to save him the trouble of speaking. He could never say, 'Why is it not done?' But her heart was mine, and he knew it; and he treated her like a dog and not like a wife.

"Me too he tried to tread under foot. One day we assembled to hunt the buffalo. Our horses were all collected. Mine stood before my tent, and he came and took them away, saying that they were his. What could I do? He was a chief.



"I came no more to the council, I shared no more in the hunt and the war-dance. I was unhorsed, degraded, dishonored. He told his wife what he had done, and when she wept he beat her.

"One evening I stood on a knoll overlooking the meadow where the horses were feeding; the chief's horses were there, and mine with them. I saw him walking among them. The sight maddened me; my blood burned; I leaped on him; with two blows I laid him dead at my feet. I covered him with earth and strewed leaves over the place. Then I went to her and told her what I had done, and urged her to fly with me. She answered only with tears. I reminded her of all she had suffered, and told her I had done only what was just. I urged her again to fly. She only wept the more, and bade me go. My heart was heavy but my eyes were dry.

"'It is well,' I said, 'I will go alone to the desert. None but the wild beasts of the wilderness will be with me. The seekers of blood will follow on my trail; they may come on me while I am asleep and slay me, but you will be safe. I will go alone.'

"I turned to go. She sprang after me. 'No,' she cried, 'you shall not go alone. Wherever you go I will go: you shall never part from me.'

"While we were talking, one who had seen me slay the chief and had roused the camp, came with others. We heard their steps approaching the door, and knew that death came with them. We escaped at the back of the lodge, but they saw us and their arrows flew. She fell, and I caught her in my arms and fled into the wood. When we were safe I looked at her I carried, and she was dead. An arrow had pierced her heart. I buried her that night beneath a heap of stones, and fled to the Cayuses. That is my story."

"What will you do now?" asked Cecil, deeply touched.

"I shall live a man's life. I shall hunt and go on the war-trail, and say strong words in the council. And when my life is ended, when the sunset and the night come to me and I go forth into the darkness, I know I shall find her I love waiting for me beside the death-trail that leads to the spirit-land."

The tears came into Cecil's eyes.

"I too have known sorrow," he said, "and like you I am a wanderer from my own people. We are going together into an unknown land, knowing not what may befall us. Let us be friends."

And he held out his hand. The Indian took it,—awkwardly, as an Indian always takes the hand of a white man, but warmly, heartily.

"We are brothers," he said simply. And as Cecil rode on with the wild troop into the unknown world before him, he felt that there was one beside him who would be faithful, no matter what befell.

The long day wore on; the sun rose to the zenith and sunk, and still the Indians pushed forward. It was a long, forced march, and Cecil was terribly fatigued when at last one of the Indians told him that they were near a big river where they would camp for the night.

"One sun more," said the Indian, pointing to the sun now sinking in the west, "and you will see the Bridge of the Gods."

The news re-animated Cecil, and he hurried on. A shout rose from the Indians in advance. He saw the head of the long train of horses and riders pause and look downward and the Indians at the rear gallop forward. Cecil and his friend followed and joined them.

"The river! the river!" cried the Indians, as they rode up. The scene below was one of gloomy but magnificent beauty. Beneath them opened an immense canyon, stupendous even in that land of canyons,—the great canyon of the Columbia. The walls were brown, destitute of verdure, sinking downward from their feet in yawning precipices or steep slopes. At the bottom, more than a thousand feet below, wound a wide blue river, the gathered waters of half a continent. Beneath them, the river plunged over a long low precipice with a roar that filled the canyon for miles. Farther on, the flat banks encroached upon the stream till it seemed narrowed to a silver thread among the jutting rocks. Still farther, it widened again, swept grandly around a bend in the distance, and passed from sight.

"Tuum, tuum," said the Indians to Cecil, in tones that imitated the roar of the cataract. It was the "Tum" of Lewis and Clark, the "Tumwater" of more recent times; and the place below, where the compressed river wound like a silver thread among the flat black rocks, was the far-famed Dalles of the Columbia. It was superb, and yet there was something profoundly lonely and desolate about it,—the majestic river flowing on forever among barren rocks and crags, shut in by mountain and desert, wrapped in an awful solitude where from age to age scarce a sound was heard save the cry of wild beasts or wilder men.

"It is the very river of death and of desolation," thought Cecil. "It looks lonely, forsaken, as if no eye had beheld it from the day of creation until now."

Looking again at the falls, he saw, what he had not before noticed, a large camp of Indians on the side nearest them. Glancing across the river, he descried on a knoll on the opposite bank—what? Houses! He could not believe his eyes; could it be possible? Yes, they certainly were long, low houses, roofed as the white man roofs his. A sudden wild hope thrilled him; his brain grew dizzy. He turned to one of the Indians.

"Who built those houses?" he exclaimed; "white men like me?"

The other shook his head.

"No, Indians."

Cecil's heart died within him. "After all," he murmured, "it was absurd to expect to find a settlement of white men here. How could I think that any but Indians had built those houses?"

Still, as they descended the steep zigzag pathway leading down to the river, he could not help gazing again and again at the buildings that so reminded him of home.

It was Wishram, the ancient village of the falls, whose brave and insolent inhabitants, more than a century later, were the dread of the early explorers and fur traders of the Columbia. It was built at the last and highest fishery on the Columbia, for the salmon could not at that time ascend the river above the falls. All the wandering tribes of the Upper Columbia came there to fish or to buy salmon of the Wishram fishers. There too the Indians of the Lower Columbia and the Willamette met them, and bartered the hiagua shells, the dried berries, and wappatto of their country for the bear claws and buffalo robes of the interior. It was a rendezvous where buying, selling, gambling, dancing, feasting took the place of war and the chase; though the ever burning enmities of the tribes sometimes flamed into deadly feuds and the fair-ground not infrequently became a field of battle.

The houses of Wishram were built of logs, the walls low, the lower half being below the surface of the ground, so that they were virtually half cellar. At a distance, the log walls and arched roofs gave them very much the appearance of a frontier town of the whites.

As they descended to the river-side, Cecil looked again and again at the village, so different from the skin or bark lodges of the Rocky Mountain tribes he had been with so long. But the broad and sweeping river flowed between, and his gaze told him little more than his first glance had done.

They were now approaching the camp. Some of the younger braves at the head of the Cayuse train dashed toward it, yelling and whooping in the wildest manner. Through the encampment rang an answering shout.

"The Cayuses! the Cayuses! and the white medicine-man!"

The news spread like wildfire, and men came running from all directions to greet the latest arrivals. It was a scene of abject squalor that met Cecil's eyes as he rode with the others into the camp. Never had he seen among the Indian races aught so degraded as those Columbia River tribes.

The air was putrid with decaying fish; the very skins and mats that covered the lodge-poles were black with rancid salmon and filth. Many of the men were nude; most of the women wore only a short garment of skin or woven cedar bark about the waist, falling scarcely to the knees. The heads of many had been artificially flattened; their faces were brutal; their teeth worn to the gums with eating sanded salmon; and here and there bleared and unsightly eyes showed the terrible prevalence of ophthalmia. Salmon were drying in the sun on platforms raised above the reach of dogs. Half-starved horses whose raw and bleeding mouths showed the effect of the hair-rope bridles, and whose projecting ribs showed their principal nutriment to be sage-brush and whip-lash, were picketed among the lodges. Cayote-like dogs and unclad children, shrill and impish, ran riot, fighting together for half-dried, half-decayed pieces of salmon. Prevailing over everything was the stench which is unique and unparalleled among the stenches of the earth,—the stench of an Indian camp at a Columbia fishery.[6]

Perhaps ten of the petty inland tribes had assembled there as their starting-point for the great council at Wappatto Island. All had heard rumors of the white man who had appeared among the tribes to the south saying that the Great Spirit had sent him to warn the Indians to become better, and all were anxious to see him. They pointed him out to one another as he rode up,—the man of graceful presence and delicate build; they thronged around him, naked men and half-clad women, squalid, fierce as wild beasts, and gazed wonderingly.

"It is he, the white man," they whispered among themselves. "See the long beard." "See the white hands." "Stand back, the Great Spirit sent him; he is strong tomanowos; beware his anger."

Now the horses were unpacked and the lodges pitched, under the eyes of the larger part of the encampment, who watched everything with insatiable curiosity, and stole all that they could lay their hands on. Especially did they hang on every motion of Cecil; and he sank very much in their estimation when they found that he helped his servant, the old Indian woman, put up his lodge.

"Ugh, he does squaw's work," was the ungracious comment. After awhile, when the lodge was up and Cecil lay weary and exhausted upon his mat within it, a messenger entered and told him that the Indians were all collected near the river bank and wished him to come and give them the "talk" he had brought from the Great Spirit.

Worn as he was, Cecil arose and went. It was in the interval between sunset and dark. The sun still shone on the cliffs above the great canyon, but in the spaces below the shadows were deepening. On the flat rocks near the bank of the river, and close by the falls of Tumwater, the Indians were gathered to the number of several hundred, awaiting him,—some squatting, Indian fashion, on the ground, others standing upright, looking taller than human in the dusky light. Mingled with the debased tribes that made up the larger part of the gathering, Cecil saw here and there warriors of a bolder and superior race,—Yakimas and Klickitats, clad in skins or wrapped in blankets woven of the wool of the mountain sheep.

Cecil stood before them and spoke, using the Willamette tongue, the language of common intercourse between the tribes, all of whom had different dialects. The audience listened in silence while he told them of the goodness and compassion of the Great Spirit; how it grieved him to see his children at war among themselves, and how he, Cecil, had been sent to warn them to forsake their sins and live better lives. Long familiarity with the Indians had imparted to him somewhat of their manner of thinking and speaking; his language had become picturesque with Indian imagery, and his style of oratory had acquired a tinge of Indian gravity. But the intense and vivid spirituality that had ever been the charm of his eloquence was in it still. There was something in his words that for the moment, and unconsciously to them, lifted his hearers to a higher plane. When he closed there was upon them that vague remorse, that dim desire to be better, that indefinable wistfulness, which his earnest, tender words never failed to arouse in his hearers.

When he lifted his hands at the close of his "talk," and prayed that the Great Spirit might pity them, that he might take away from them the black and wicked heart of war and hate and give them the new heart of peace and love, the silence was almost breathless, broken only by the unceasing roar of the falls and the solemn pleading of the missionary's voice.

He left them and returned through the deepening shadows to his lodge. There he flung himself on the couch of furs the old Indian woman had spread for him. Fatigued with the long ride of the day and the heavy draught his address had made on an overtaxed frame, he tried to sleep.

But he could not. The buildings of the town of Wishram across the river, so like the buildings of the white man, had awakened a thousand memories of home. Vivid pictures of his life in New England and in the cloisters of Magdalen came before his sleepless eyes. The longing for the refined and pleasant things that had filled his life rose strong and irrepressible within him. Such thoughts were never entirely absent from his mind, but at times they seemed to dominate him completely, driving him into a perfect fever of unrest and discontent. After tossing for hours on his couch, he arose and went out into the open air.

The stars were bright; the moon flooded the wide canyon with lustre; the towering walls rose dim and shadowy on either side of the river whose waters gleamed white in the moonlight; the solemn roar of the falls filled the silence of the night.

Around him was the barbarian encampment, with here and there a fire burning and a group of warriors talking beside it. He walked forth among the lodges. Some were silent, save for the heavy breathing of the sleepers; others were lighted up within, and he could hear the murmur of voices.

At one place he found around a large fire a crowd who were feasting, late as was the hour, and boasting of their exploits. He stood in the shadow a moment and listened. One of them concluded his tale by springing to his feet, advancing a few paces from the circle of firelight, and making a fierce speech to invisible foes. Looking toward the land of the Shoshones, he denounced them with the utmost fury, dared them to face him, scorned them because they did not appear, and ended by shaking his tomahawk in their direction, amid the applause of his comrades.

Cecil passed on and reached the outer limit of the camp. There, amid some large bowlders, he almost stumbled on a band of Indians engaged in some grisly ceremony. He saw them, however, in time to escape observation and screen himself behind one of the rocks.

One of the Indians held a rattlesnake pinned to the ground with a forked stick. Another held out a piece of liver to the snake and was provoking him to bite it. Again and again the snake, quivering with fury and rattling savagely, plunged his fangs into the liver. Several Indians stood looking on, with arrows in their hands. At length, when the meat was thoroughly impregnated with the virus, the snake was released and allowed to crawl away. Then they all dipped the points of their arrows in the poisoned liver,[7] carefully marking the shaft of each in order to distinguish it from those not poisoned. None of them saw Cecil, and he left without being discovered.

Why did they wish to go to the council with poisoned arrows?

Further on, among the rocks and remote from the camp, he saw a great light and heard a loud hallooing. He went cautiously toward it. He found a large fire in an open space, and perhaps thirty savages, stripped and painted, dancing around it, brandishing their weapons and chanting a kind of war-chant. On every face, as the firelight fell on it, was mad ferocity and lust of war. Near them lay the freshly killed body of a horse whose blood they had been drinking. Drunk with frenzy, drunk with blood, they danced and whirled in that wild saturnalia till Cecil grew dizzy with the sight.[8]

He made his way back to the camp and sought his lodge. He heard the wolves howling on the hills, and a dark presentiment of evil crept over him.

"It is not to council that these men are going, but to war," he murmured, as he threw himself on his couch. "God help me to be faithful, whatever comes! God help me to keep my life and my words filled with his spirit, so that these savage men may be drawn to him and made better, and my mission be fulfilled! I can never hope to see the face of white man again, but I can live and die faithful to the last."

So thinking, a sweet and restful peace came to him, and he fell asleep. And even while he thought how impossible it was for him ever to reach the land of the white man again, an English exploring-ship lay at anchor at Yaquina Bay, only two days' ride distant; and on it were some who had known and loved him in times gone by, but who had long since thought him lost in the wilderness forever.

——-

[5] See Bonneville's Adventures, chapters xiii, and xlviii.

[6] See Townsend's Narrative, pages 137, 138. Both Lewis and Clark and Ross Cox substantiate his description; indeed, very much the same thing can be seen at the Tumwater Fishery to-day.

[7] See Bancroft's Native Races, article "Columbians." A bunch of arrows so poisoned is in the Museum of the Oregon State University at Eugene.

[8] Irving's "Astoria," chap. xli.



CHAPTER III.

THE GREAT CAMP ON THE ISLAND.

Of different language, form and face, A various race of men.

SCOTT.

"You say that we shall see the Bridge of the Gods to-day?" asked Cecil of the young Willamette runner the next morning. "Tell me about it; is it high?"

The young Willamette rose to his full height, arched his right hand above his eyes, looked skyward with a strained expression as if gazing up at an immense height, and emitted a prolonged "ah-h-h!"

That was all, but it was enough to bring the light to Cecil's eyes and a sudden triumphant gladness to his heart. At last he approached the land of his vision, at last he should find the bridge whose wraith had faded before him into the west eight years before!

The Cayuse band had started early that morning. The chief Snoqualmie was impatient of delay, and wished to be one of the earliest at the council; he wanted to signalize himself in the approaching struggle by his loyalty to Multnomah, whose daughter he was to marry and whom he was to succeed as war-chief.

The women were in advance, driving the pack-horses; Cecil rode behind them with the Shoshone renegade and the young Willamette runner; while Snoqualmie brought up the rear, looking sharply after stragglers,—for some of his young men were very much inclined to linger at the rendezvous and indulge in a little gambling and horse-racing with the other bands, who were not to start till later in the day.

The young Willamette still rode the pretty little pony whose ears and tail he had so barbarously mutilated. It reeled under him from sheer weakness, so young was it and so worn by the journey of the day before. In vain did Cecil expostulate. With true Indian obtuseness and brutality, the Willamette refused to see why he should be merciful to a horse.

"Suppose he rode me, what would he care? Now I ride him, what do I care? Suppose he die, plenty more hiagua shells, plenty more horses."

After which logical answer he plied the whip harder than ever, making the pony keep up with the stronger and abler horses of the other riders. The long train of squaws and warriors wound on down the trail by the river-side. In a little while Wishram and Tumwater passed from sight. The wind began to blow; the ever drifting sand of the Columbia came sifting in their faces. They passed the Dalles of the Columbia; and the river that, as seen from the heights the evening before, wound like a silver thread among the rocks, was found to be a compressed torrent that rushed foaming along the narrow passage,—literally, as it has been described, "a river turned on edge."

There too they passed the camp of the Wascos, who were preparing to start, but suspended their preparations at the approach of the cavalcade and stood along the path eager to see the white man. Cecil noticed that as they descended the river the language of the local tribes became more gutteral, and the custom of flattening the head prevailed more and more.[9]

Below, the scenery was less barren; the river entered the Cascade Range, and the steep banks, along which wound the trail, grew dark with pines, relieved here and there with brighter verdure. They saw bands of Indians on the opposite shore, descending the trail along that side on the way to the council. Many were on foot, though some horses were among them. They were Indians of the nine tribes of the Klickitat, and as yet had but few horses. A century later they owned thousands. Indian women never accompanied war-parties; and Cecil noticed that some of the bands were composed entirely of men, which gave them the appearance of going to war. It had an ominous and doubtful look.

At the Wau-coma (place of cottonwoods), the modern Hood River, they found the tribe that inhabited that beautiful valley already on the march, and the two bands mingled and went on together. The Wau-comas seemed to be peaceably inclined, for their women were with them.

A short distance below the Wau-coma, the young Willamette's horse, urged till it could go no farther, fell beneath him. The blood gushed from its nostrils; in a few moments it was dead. The Willamette extricated himself from it. "A bad horse, cultus [no good]!" he said, beating it with his whip. After venting his anger on it in that way, he strode forward on foot.

And now Cecil was all expectation, on the alert for the first sight of the bridge.

"Shall we see it soon?" he asked the young Willamette.

"When the sun is there, we shall see it," replied the Indian, pointing to the zenith. The sun still lacked several hours of noon, and Cecil had to restrain his impatience as best he could.

Just then an incident occurred that for the time effectually obliterated all thought of the bridge, and made him a powerful enemy where he least desired one.

At a narrow place in the trail, the loose horses that were being driven at the head of the column became frightened and ran back upon their drivers. In a moment, squaws, pack-horses, and ponies were all mingled together. The squaws tried in vain to restore order; it seemed as if there was going to be a general stampede. The men dashed up from the rear, Snoqualmie and Cecil among them. Cecil's old nurse happened to be in Snoqualmie's way. The horse she rode was slow and obstinate; and when she attempted to turn aside to let Snoqualmie pass he would not obey the rein, and the chief's way was blocked. To Snoqualmie an old Indian woman was little more than a dog, and he raised his whip and struck her across the face.

Like a flash, Cecil caught the chief's rein and lifted his own whip. An instant more, and the lash would have fallen across the Indian's face; but he remembered that he was a missionary, that he was violating his own precepts of forgiveness in the presence of those whom he hoped to convert.

The blow did not fall; he grappled with his anger and held it back; but Snoqualmie received from him a look of scorn so withering, that it seemed when Cecil's flashing eyes met his own as if he had been struck, and he grasped his tomahawk. Cecil released the rein and turned away without a word. Snoqualmie seemed for a moment to deliberate within himself; then he let go his weapon and passed on. Order was restored and the march resumed.

"You are strong," said the Shoshone renegade to Cecil. He had seen the whole of the little drama. "You are strong; you held your anger down, but your eyes struck him as if he were a dog."

Cecil made no reply, but rode on thinking that he had made an enemy. He regretted what had happened; and yet, when he recalled the insult, his blood burned and he half regretted that the blow had not been given. So, absorbed in painful thought, he rode on, till a murmur passing down the line roused him.

"The bridge! The bridge!"

He looked up hastily, his whole frame responding to the cry. There it was before him, and only a short distance away,—a great natural bridge, a rugged ridge of stone, pierced with a wide arched tunnel through which the waters flowed, extending across the river. It was covered with stunted pine and underbrush growing in every nook and crevice; and on it were Indian horsemen with plumed hair and rude lances. It was the bridge of the Wauna, the Bridge of the Gods, the bridge he had seen in his vision eight years before.

For a moment his brain reeled, everything seemed shadowy and unreal, and he half expected to see the bridge melt, like the vision, into mist before his eyes.

Like one in a dream, he rode with the others to the place where the path turned abruptly and led over the bridge to the northern bank of the Columbia. Like one in a dream he listened, while the young Willamette told him in a low tone that this bridge had been built by the gods when the world was young, that it was the tomanowos of the Willamettes, that while it stood they would be strongest of all the tribes, and that if it fell they would fall with it. As they crossed it, he noted how the great arch rung to his horse's hoofs; he noted the bushes growing low down to the tunnel's edge; he noted how majestic was the current as it swept into the vast dark opening below, how stately the trees on either bank. Then the trail turned down the river-bank again toward the Willamette, and the dense fir forest shut out the mysterious bridge from Cecil's backward gaze.

Solemnity and awe came to him. He had seen the bridge of his vision; he had in truth been divinely called to his work. He felt that the sight of the bridge was both the visible seal of God upon his mission and a sign that its accomplishment was close at hand. He bowed his head involuntarily, as in the presence of the Most High. He felt that he rode to his destiny, that for him all things converged and culminated at the great council.

They had not advanced far into the wood ere the whole train came to a sudden halt. Riding forward, Cecil found a band of horsemen awaiting them. They were Klickitats, mounted on good ponies; neither women nor pack-horses were with them; they were armed and painted, and their stern and menacing aspect was more like that of men who were on the war-trail than of men who were riding to a "peace-talk."

The Cayuses halted a short distance away. Snoqualmie rode forward and met the Klickitat chief in the space between the two bands. A few words passed, fierce and questioning on the part of the Klickitat, guarded and reserved on the part of the Cayuse. Then the Klickitat seemed to suggest something at which the Cayuse shook his head indignantly. The other instantly wheeled his horse, rode back to his band, and apparently reported what Snoqualmie had said; for they all set up a taunting shout, and after flinging derisive words and gestures at the Cayuses, turned around and dashed at full gallop down the trail, leaving the Cayuses covered with a cloud of dust.

And then Cecil knew that the spectacle meant war.

The air grew softer and more moist as they descended the western slope of the Cascade Range. The pines gave way to forests of fir, the underwood became denser, and ferns grew thick along the trail. It had rained the night before, and the boughs and bushes hung heavy with pendant drops. Now and then an Indian rider, brushing against some vine or maple or low swaying bough, brought down upon himself a drenching shower. The disgusted "ugh!" of the victim and the laughter of the others would bring a smile to even Cecil's lips.

And so approaching the sea, they entered the great, wooded, rainy valley of the lower Columbia. It was like a different world from the desert sands and prairies of the upper Columbia. It seemed as if they were entering a land of perpetual spring. They passed through groves of spreading oaks; they skirted lowlands purple with blooming camas; they crossed prairies where the grass waved rank and high, and sunny banks where the strawberries were ripening in scarlet masses. And ever and anon they caught sight of a far snow peak lifted above the endless reach of forest, and through openings in the trees caught glimpses of the Columbia spreading wide and beautiful between densely wooded shores whose bending foliage was literally washed by the waters.

At length, as the sun was setting, they emerged from the wood upon a wide and level beach. Before them swept the Columbia, broader and grander than at any previous view, steadily widening as it neared the sea. Opposite them, another river, not as large as the Columbia, but still a great river, flowed into it.

"Willamette," said the young runner, pointing to this new river. "Wappatto Island," he added, indicating a magnificent prospect of wood and meadow that lay just below the mouth of the Willamette down along the Columbia. Cecil could not see the channel that separated it from the mainland on the other side, and to him it seemed, not an island, but a part of the opposite shore.

Around them on the beach were groups of Indians, representatives of various petty tribes who had not yet passed to the island of council. Horses were tethered to the driftwood strewed along the beach; packs and saddles were heaped on the banks awaiting the canoes that were to carry them over. Across the river, Cecil could see upon the island scattered bands of ponies feeding and many Indians passing to and fro. Innumerable lodges showed among the trees. The river was dotted with canoes. Never before had he beheld so large an encampment, not even among the Six Nations or the Sioux. It seemed as if all the tribes of Puget Sound and the Columbia were there.

As they halted on the bank, a little canoe came skimming over the water like a bird. It bore a messenger from Multnomah, who had seen the Cayuses as soon as they emerged on the beach.

"Send your packs over in canoes, swim your horses, camp on the island," was the laconic message. Evidently, in view of the coming struggle, Multnomah wanted the loyal Cayuses close at hand.

In a little while the horses were stripped of their packs, which were heaped in the canoes that had followed the messenger, and the crossing began. A hair rope was put around the neck of a horse, and the end given to a man in a canoe. The canoe was then paddled out into the stream, and the horse partly pulled, partly pushed into the river. The others after much beating followed their leader; and in a little while a long line of half submerged horses and riders was struggling across the river, while the loaded canoes brought up the rear. The rapid current swept them downward, and they landed on the opposite bank at a point far below that from which they started.

On the bank of the Columbia, near Morgan's Lake, an old gnarled cottonwood still marks the ancient landing-place; and traces remain of the historic trail which led up from the river-bank into the interior of the island,—a trail traversed perhaps for centuries,—the great Indian road from the upper Columbia to the Willamette valley.

The bank was black with people crowding out to see the latest arrivals. It was a thronging multitude of dusky faces and diverse costumes. The Nootka with his tattooed face was there, clad in his woollen blanket, his gigantic form pushing aside the short Chinook of the lower Columbia, with his crooked legs, his half-naked body glistening with grease, his slit nose and ears loaded with hiagua shells. Choppunish women, clad in garments of buckskin carefully whitened with clay, looked with scorn on the women of the Cowlitz and Clatsop tribes, whose only dress was a fringe of cedar bark hanging from the waist. The abject Siawash of Puget Sound, attired in a scanty patch-work of rabbit and woodrat skin, stood beside the lordly Yakima, who wore deerskin robe and leggins. And among them all, conscious of his supremacy, moved the keen and imperious Willamette.

They all gazed wonderingly at Cecil, "the white man," the "long beard," the "man that came from the Great Spirit," the "shaman of strong magic,"—for rumors of Cecil and his mission had spread from tribe to tribe.

Though accustomed to savage sights, this seemed to Cecil the most savage of all. Flat heads and round heads; faces scarred, tattooed, and painted; faces as wild as beasts'; faces proud and haughty, degraded and debased; hair cut close to the head, tangled, matted, clogged with filth, carefully smoothed and braided,—every phase of barbarism in its most bloodthirsty ferocity, its most abject squalor, met his glance as he looked around him. It seemed like some wild phantasmagoria, some weird and wondrous dream; and the discord of tongues, the confusion of dialects, completed the bewildering scene.

Through the surging crowd they found their way to the place where their lodges were to be pitched.

On the morrow the great council was to begin,—the council that to the passions of that mob of savages might be as the torch to dry brushwood. On the morrow Multnomah would try and would condemn to death a rebel chief in the presence of the very ones who were in secret league with him; and the setting sun would see the Willamette power supreme and undisputed, or the confederacy would be broken forever in the death-grapple of the tribes.

——-

[9] Lewis and Clark. See also Irving's "Astoria."



CHAPTER IV.

AN INDIAN TRIAL.

Like flame within the naked hand His body bore his burning heart.

DANTE ROSSETTI.

Wappatto Island had seen many gatherings of the tribes, but never before had it seen so large an assembly as on the opening day of the council. The great cottonwoods of the council-grove waved over an audience of sachems and warriors the like of which the oldest living Indian could not remember.

No weapons were to be seen, for Multnomah had commanded that all arms be left that day in the lodges. But the dissatisfied Indians had come with weapons hidden under their robes of deer or wolf skin, which no one should have known better than Multnomah. Had he taken any precautions against surprise? Evidently not. A large body of Willamette warriors, muffled in their blankets, lounged carelessly around the grove, with not a weapon visible among them; behind them thronged the vast and motley assemblage of doubtful allies; and back of them, on the outskirts of the crowd, were the faithful Cayuses, unarmed like the Willamettes. Had Multnomah's wonderful astuteness failed him now when it was never needed more?

He was on the council-seat, a stone covered with furs; the Willamette sachems sat in their places facing him; and mats were spread for the chiefs of the tributaries. On a bearskin before the stern war-chief lay a peace-pipe and a tomahawk; and to the Indians, accustomed to signs and symbols, the two had a grim significance.

One by one the chiefs entered the circle and took their seats on the mats provided for them. Those who were friendly to Multnomah first laid presents before him; those who were not, took their places without offering him either gift or salutation. Multnomah, however, seemed unconscious of any neglect.

The chief of a Klamath tribe offered him a brilliantly dyed blanket; another, a finely fringed quiver, full of arrows; another, a long and massive string of hiagua shells. Each laid his gift before Multnomah and took his seat in silence.

The chief of the Chopponish presented him with a fine horse, the best belonging to his tribe. Multnomah accepted it, and a slave led it away. Then came Snoqualmie, bringing with him Cecil Grey. The chief's hour of vengeance was at hand.

"Behold the white man from the land where the sun rises, the white shaman of whom all the tribes have heard. He is thine. Let him be the white slave of Multnomah. All the chiefs have slaves, but who will have a white slave like Multnomah?"

Cecil saw the abyss of slavery yawning before him, and grew pale to the lips. His heart sank within him; then the resolute purpose that never failed him in time of peril returned; he lifted his head and met Multnomah's gaze with dignity. The war-chief bent on him the glance which read men to the heart.

"The white stranger has been a chief among his own people," he said to Cecil, more in the manner of one asserting a fact than asking a question.

"I have often spoken to my people in the gatherings to hear the word of the Great Spirit."

Again the keen, inscrutable gaze of the great chief seemed to probe his being to its core; again the calm, grave stranger met it without shrinking. The instinct, so common among savage races, of in some way knowing what a man is, of intuitively grasping his true merit, was possessed by Multnomah in a large degree; and the royalty in his nature instinctively recognized the royalty in Cecil's.

"The white guest who comes into the land of Multnomah shall be to him as a guest; the chief should still be chief in any land. White stranger, Multnomah gives you welcome; sit down among the chiefs."

Cecil took his place among them with all the composure he could command, well knowing that he who would be influential among the Indians must seem to be unmoved by any change of fortune. He felt, however, not only the joy of personal deliverance, but mingled with it came the glad, triumphant thought that he had now a voice in the deliberations of the chiefs; it was a grand door opened for Indian evangelization. As for Snoqualmie, his face was as impassive as granite. One would have said that Cecil's victory was to him a matter of no moment at all. But under the guise of indifference his anger burned fierce and deadly,—not against Multnomah but against Cecil.

The last chief had taken his place in the council. There was a long, ceremonious pause. Then Multnomah arose. He looked over the council, upon the stern faces of the Willamettes and the loyal tributaries, upon the sullen faces of the malcontents, upon the fierce and lowering multitude beyond. Over the throng he looked, and felt as one feels who stands on the brink of a volcano; yet his strong voice never rang stronger, the grand old chief never looked more a chief than then.

"He is every inch a king," thought Cecil. The chief spoke in the common Willamette language, at that time the medium of intercourse between the tribes as the Chinook is now. The royal tongue was not used in a mixed council.

"Warriors and chiefs, Multnomah gives you welcome. He spreads the buffalo-robe." He made the Indian gesture of welcome, opening his hands to them with a backward and downward gesture, as of one spreading a robe. "To the warriors Multnomah says, 'The grass upon my prairies is green for your horses; behold the wood, the water, the game; they are yours.' To the chiefs he says, 'The mat is spread for you in my own lodge and the meat is cooked.' The hearts of the Willamettes change not as the winters go by, and your welcome is the same as of old. Word came to us that the tribes were angry and had spoken bitter things against the Willamettes; yes, that they longed for the confederacy to be broken and the old days to come again when tribe was divided against tribe and the Shoshones and Spokanes trampled upon you all. But Multnomah trusted his allies; for had they not smoked the peace-pipe with him and gone with him on the war-trail? So he stopped his ears and would not listen, but let those rumors go past him like thistle-down upon the wind.

"Warriors, Multnomah has shown his heart. What say you? Shall the peace-pipe be lighted and the talk begin?"

He resumed his seat. All eyes turned to where the peace-pipe and the tomahawk lay side by side before the council. Multnomah seemed waiting for them to choose between the two.

Then Snoqualmie, the bravest and most loyal of the tributaries, spoke.

"Let the peace-pipe be lighted; we come not for strife, but to be knit together."

The angry malcontents in the council only frowned and drew their blankets closer around them. Tohomish the seer, as the oldest chief and most renowned medicine-man present, came forward and lighted the pipe,—a long, thin piece of carving in black stone, the workmanship of the Nootkas or Hydahs, who made the more elaborate pipes used by the Indians of the Columbia River.

Muttering some mystical incantation, he waved it to the east and the west, to the north and the south; and when the charm was complete, gave it to Multnomah, who smoked it and passed it to Snoqualmie. From chief to chief it circled around the whole council, but among them were those who sat with eyes fixed moodily on the ground and would not so much as touch or look at it. As the pipe passed round there was a subdued murmur and movement in the multitude, a low threatening clamor, as yet held in check by awe of Multnomah and dread of the Willamette warriors. But the war-chief seemed unconscious that any had refused the pipe. He now arose and said,—

"The pipe is smoked. Are not our hearts as one? Is there not perfect trust between us? Now let us talk. First of all, Multnomah desires wise words from his brethren. Last winter one of the tribes rose up against Multnomah, saying that he should no longer be elder brother and war-chief of the tribes. But the rebels were beaten and all of them slain save the chief, who was reserved to be tried before you. You in your wisdom shall decide what shall be done with the warrior who has rebelled against his chief and stained his hands with the blood of his brethren."

Two Willamette braves then entered the circle, bringing with them one whose hands were tied behind him, whose form was emaciated with hunger and disease, but whose carriage was erect and haughty. Behind came a squaw, following him into the very presence of Multnomah, as if resolved to share his fortunes to the last. It was his wife. She was instantly thrust back and driven with brutal blows from the council. But she lingered on the outskirts of the crowd, watching and waiting with mute, sullen fidelity the outcome of the trial. No one looked at her, no one cared for her; even her husband's sympathizers jostled the poor shrinking form aside,—for she was only a squaw, while he was a great brave.

He looked a great brave, standing there before Multnomah and the chiefs with a dignity in his mien that no reverse could crush, no torture could destroy. Haggard, starved, bound, his eyes gleamed deathless and unconquerable hate on council and war-chief alike. There were dark and menacing looks among the malcontents; in the captive they saw personified their own loss of freedom and the hated domination of the Willamettes.

"Speak! You that were a chief, you whose people sleep in the dust,—what have you to say in your defence? The tribes are met together, and the chiefs sit here to listen and to judge."

The rebel sachem drew himself up proudly and fixed his flashing eyes on Multnomah.

"The tongue of Multnomah is a trap. I am brought not to be tried but to be condemned and slain, that the tribes may see it and be afraid. No one knows this better than Multnomah. Yet I will speak while I still live, and stand here in the sun; for I go out into the darkness, and the earth will cover my face, and my voice shall be heard no more among men.

"Why should the Willamettes rule the other tribes? Are they better than we? The Great Spirit gave us freedom, and who may make himself master and take it away?

"I was chief of a tribe; we dwelt in the land the Great Spirit gave our fathers; their bones were in it; it was ours. But the Willamettes said to us, 'We are your elder brethren, you must help us. Come, go with us to fight the Shoshones.' Our young men went, for the Willamettes were strong and we could not refuse them. Many were slain, and the women wailed despairingly. The Willamettes hunted on our hunting-grounds and dug the camas on our prairies, so that there was not enough for us; and when winter came, our children cried for food. Then the runners of the Willamettes came to us through the snow, saying, 'Come and join the war-party that goes to fight the Bannocks.'

"But our hearts burned within us and we replied, 'Our hunting-grounds and our food you have taken; will you have our lives also? Go back and tell your chief that if we must fight, we will fight him and not the Bannocks.' Then the Willamettes came upon us and we fought them, for their tyranny was so heavy that we could not breathe under it and death had become better than life. But they were the stronger, and when did the heart of a Willamette feel pity? To-day I only am left, to say these words for my race.

"Who made the Willamettes masters over us? The Great Spirit gave us freedom, and none may take it away. Was it not well to fight? Yes; free my hands and give me back my people from the cairns and the death-huts, and we will fight again! I go to my death, but the words I have spoken will live. The hearts of those listening here will treasure them up; they will be told around the lodge-fires and repeated in the war-dance. The words I speak will go out among the tribes, and no man can destroy them. Yes, they go out words, but they will come back arrows and war in the day of vengeance when the tribes shall rise against the oppressor.

"I have spoken, my words are done."

He stood erect and motionless. The wrath and disdain passed from his features, and stoicism settled over them like a mask of stone. Multnomah's cold regard had not faltered a moment under the chief's invective. No denunciation could shake that iron self-control.

The rebellious chiefs interchanged meaning glances; the throng of malcontents outside the grove pressed closer upon the ring of Willamette warriors, who were still standing or squatting idly around it. More than one weapon could be seen among them in defiance of the war-chief's prohibition; and the presage of a terrible storm darkened on those grim, wild faces. The more peaceably disposed bands began to draw themselves apart. An ominous silence crept through the crowd as they felt the crisis approaching.

But Multnomah saw nothing, and the circle of Willamette warriors were stolidly indifferent.

"Can they not see that the tribes are on the verge of revolt?" thought Cecil, anxiously, fearing a bloody massacre.

"You have heard the words of the rebel. What have you to say? Let the white man speak first, as he was the last to join us."

Cecil rose and pictured in the common Willamette tongue, with which he had familiarized himself during his long stay with the Cayuses, the terrible results of disunion, the desolating consequences of war,—tribe clashing against tribe and their common enemies trampling on them all. Even those who were on the verge of insurrection listened reverently to the "white wizard," who had drawn wisdom from the Great Spirit; but it did not shake their purpose. Their own dreamers had talked with the Great Spirit too, in trance and vision, and had promised them victory over the Willamettes.

Tohomish followed; and Cecil, who had known some of the finest orators in Europe, listened in amazement to a voice the most musical he had ever heard. He looked in wonder on the repulsive features that seemed so much at variance with those melodious intonations. Tohomish pleaded for union and for the death of the rebel. It seemed for a moment as if his soft, persuasive accents would win the day, but it was only for a moment; the spell was broken the instant he ceased. Then Snoqualmie spoke. One by one, the great sachems of the Willamettes gave their voices for death. Many of the friendly allies did not give their decision at all, but said to Multnomah,—

"You speak for us; your word shall be our word."

When the dissatisfied chiefs were asked for their counsel, the sullen reply was given,—

"I have no tongue to-day;" or "I do not know."

Multnomah seemed not to notice their answers. Only those who knew him best saw a gleam kindling in his eyes that told of a terrible vengeance drawing near. The captive waited passively, seeming neither to see nor hear.

At length all had spoken or had an opportunity to speak, and Multnomah rose to give the final decision. Beyond the circle of Willamettes, who were still indifferent and unconcerned, the discontented bands had thrown aside all concealment, and stood with bared weapons in their hands; all murmurs had ceased; there was a deathlike silence in the dense mob, which seemed gathering itself together for a forward rush,—the commencement of a fearful massacre.

Behind it were the friendly Cayuses, but not a weapon could be seen among them. The chief saw all; saw too that his enemies only waited for him to pronounce sentence upon the captive,—that that was the preconcerted signal for attack. Now among some of the tribes sentence was pronounced not by word but by gesture; there was the gesture for acquittal, the gesture for condemnation.

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