Multnomah lifted his right hand. There was breathless suspense. What would it be? Fixing his eyes on the armed malcontents who were waiting to spring, he clinched his hand and made a downward gesture, as if striking a blow. It was the death-signal, the death-sentence.
In an instant a deafening shout rang through the grove, and the bloodthirsty mob surged forward to the massacre.
Then, so suddenly that it blended with and seemed a part of the same shout, the dreaded Willamette war-cry shook the earth. Quick as thought, the Willamettes who had been lounging so idly around the grove were on their feet, their blankets thrown aside, the weapons that had been concealed under them ready in their hands. A wall of indomitable warriors had leaped up around the grove. At the same moment, the Cayuses in the rear bared their weapons and shouted back the Willamette war-cry.
The rebels were staggered. The trap was sprung on them before they knew that there was a trap. Those in front shrank back from the iron warriors of Multnomah, those in the rear wavered before the fierce Cayuses. They paused, a swaying flood of humanity, caught between two lines of rock.
SENTENCED TO THE WOLF-DEATH.
The other, great of soul, changed not Countenance stern.
In that momentary pause Multnomah did something that showed the cold disdainfulness of his character as nothing else could have done. He had given the death-sign; he had not yet told how or when death was to be inflicted. He gave the sentence now, as if in utter scorn of the battle-cloud that hung quivering, ready to burst.
"He would have torn the confederacy to pieces; let him be left bound in the wood of the wolves, and torn limb from limb by them as he would have rent the tribes asunder."
The two warriors who had brought the criminal into the council came forward, flung a covering over his head and face, and led him away. Perhaps no custom of the northwestern Indians was more sombre than this,—the covering of the culprit's eyes from the time of his sentence till his death. Never again were those eyes to behold the sun.
Then, and not till then, did Multnomah turn his gaze on the malcontents, who stood, desperate but hesitating, hemmed in by the Willamettes and the Cayuses.
"You have chosen the tomahawk instead of the peace-pipe. Shall Multnomah choose the tomahawk also? Know you not that Multnomah holds your lives in his hand, and that he can crush you like an eggshell if he chooses?"
The war-chief lifted his arm as he spoke, and slowly closed his fingers till his hand was clinched. The eyes of Willamette and tributary alike hung on those slowly closing fingers, with their own strained on their tomahawks. That was half the death-signal! Would he give the other half,—the downward gesture? The baffled rebels tasted all the bitterness of death in that agonizing suspense. They felt that their lives were literally in his grasp; and so the stern autocrat wished them to feel, for he knew it was a lesson they would never forget.
At length he spoke.
"Drop your weapons and Multnomah will forget what he has seen, and all will be well. Strike but a blow, and not one of you will ever go back over the trail to his home."
Then he turned to the chiefs, and there was that in his tones which told them to expect no mercy.
"How comes it that your braves lift their tomahawks against Multnomah in his own council and on his own land? Speak! chiefs must answer for their people."
There was sullen silence for a little time; then one of them muttered that it was the young men; their blood was hot, they were rash, and the chiefs could not control them.
"Can you not control your young men? Then you are not fit to be chiefs, and are chiefs no longer." He gave a signal to certain of the Willamettes who had come up behind the rebellious leaders, as they stood confused and hesitating in the council. They were seized and their hands bound ere they could defend themselves; indeed, they made no effort to do so, but submitted doggedly.
"Take them down the Wauna in the sea-canoes and sell them as slaves to the Nootkas who hunt seal along the coast. Their people shall see their faces no more. Slaves in the ice-land of the North shall they live and die."
The swarthy cheeks of the captives grew ashen, and a shudder went through that trapped and surrounded mob of malcontents. Indian slavery was always terrible; but to be slaves to the brutal Indians of the north, starved, beaten, mutilated, chilled, and benumbed in a land of perpetual frost; to perish at last in the bleak snow and winter of almost arctic coasts,—that was a fate worse than the torture-stake.
Dreadful as it was, not a chief asked for mercy. Silently they went with their captors out of the grove and down the bank to the river's edge. A large sea-canoe, manned by Chinook paddlers, was floating at the beach. They quickly embarked, the paddles dipped, the canoe glided out into the current and down the stream. In a few moments the cottonwood along the river's edge hid it from sight, and the rebels were forever beyond the hope of rescue.
Swift and merciless had the vengeance of Multnomah fallen, and the insurrection had been crushed at a blow. It had taken but a moment, and it had all passed under the eyes of the malcontents, who were still surrounded by the loyal warriors.
When the canoe had disappeared and the gaze of that startled and awed multitude came back to Multnomah, he made a gesture of dismissal. The lines drew aside and the rebels were free.
While they were still bewildered and uncertain what to do, Multnomah instantly and with consummate address called the attention of the council to other things, thereby apparently assuming that the trouble was ended and giving the malcontents to understand that no further punishment was intended. Sullenly, reluctantly, they seemed to accept the situation, and no further indications of revolt were seen that day.
Popular young men, the bravest of their several tribes, were appointed by Multnomah to fill the vacant chieftainships; and that did much toward allaying the discontent. Moreover, some troubles between different tribes of the confederacy, which had been referred to him for arbitration, were decided with rare sagacity. At length the council ended for the day, the star of the Willamettes still in the ascendant, the revolt seemingly subdued.
So the first great crisis passed.
* * * * *
That evening a little band of Willamette warriors led the rebel sachem, still bound and blindfolded, down to the river's bank, where a canoe lay waiting them. His wife followed and tried to enter it with him, as if determined to share his fortunes to the very last; but the guard thrust her rudely away, and started the canoe. As it moved away she caught the prow wildly, despairingly, as if she could not let her warrior go. One of the guards struck her hands brutally with his paddle, and she released her hold. The boat glided out into the river. Not a word of farewell had passed between the condemned man and his wife, for each disdained to show emotion in the presence of the enemy. She remained on the bank looking after him, mute and despondent,—a forlorn creature clothed in rags and emaciated with hunger, an outcast from all the tribes. She might have been regarded as a symbolic figure representing woman among the Indians, as she stood there with her bruised hands, throbbing with pain where the cruel blow had fallen, hanging, in sullen scorn of pain, uncared for by her side. So she stood watching the canoe glide down the river, till it was swallowed up in the gathering shadows of evening.
The canoe dropped down the river to a lonely point on the northern shore, a place much frequented by wolves. There, many miles below the encampment on the island, they disembarked and took the captive into the wood. He walked among them with a firm and even tread; there was no sign of flinching, though he must have known that his hour was close at hand. They bound him prostrate at the foot of an oak, tying him to the hard, tough roots that ran over the ground like a network, and from which the earth had been washed away, so that thongs could be passed around them.
Head and foot they bound him, drawing the rawhide thongs so tight that they sank into the flesh, and knotting them, till no effort possible to him could have disentangled him. It was on his lips to ask them to leave one arm free, so that he might at least die fighting, though it were with but one naked hand. But he hated them too much to ask even that small favor, and so submitted in disdainful silence.
The warriors all went back to the canoe, except one, an old hunter, famed for his skill in imitating every cry of bird or beast. Standing beside the bound and prostrate man, he sent forth into the forest the cry of a wolf. It rang in a thousand echoes and died away, evoking no response. He listened a moment with bated breath, but could hear nothing but the deep heart-beat of the man at his feet. Another cry, with its myriad echoes, was followed by the oppressive sense of stillness that succeeds an outcry in a lonely wood. Then came a faint, a far-off sound, the answer of a wolf to a supposed mate. The Indian replied, and the answer sounded nearer; then another blended with it, as the pack began to gather. Again the Indian gave the cry, wild and wolfish, as only a barbarian, half-beast by virtue of his own nature, could have uttered it. An awful chorus of barking and howling burst through the forest as the wolves came on, eager for blood.
The Indian turned and rejoined his comrades at the canoe. They pushed out into the river, but held the boat in the current by an occasional paddle-stroke, and waited listening. Back at the foot of the tree the captive strained every nerve and muscle in one mighty effort to break the cords that bound him; but it was useless, and he lay back with set teeth and rigid muscles, while his eyes sought in vain through their thick covering to see the approach of his foes. Presently a fierce outburst of howls and snarls told the listeners that the wolves had found their prey. They lingered and listened a little longer, but no sound or cry was heard to tell of the last agony under those rending fangs; the chief died in silence. Then the paddles were dipped again in the water, and the canoe glided up the river to the camp.
When they reached the shore they found the rebel's wife awaiting them in the place where they had left her. She asked no questions; she only came close and looked at their faces in the dusk, and read there the thing she sought to know. Then she went silently away. In a little while the Indian wail for the dead was sounding through the forest.
"What is that?" asked the groups around the camp fires.
"The rebel chief's wife wailing the death-wail for her husband," was the low reply; and in that way the tribes knew that the sentence had been carried out. Many bands were there, of many languages, but all knew what that death-wail meant the instant it fell upon their ears. Multnomah heard it as he sat in council with his chiefs, and there was something in it that shook even his iron heart; for all the wilder, more superstitious elements of the Indians thrilled to two things,—the war-cry and the death-wail. He dismissed his chiefs and went to his lodge. On the way he encountered Tohomish, lurking, as was his wont, under the shadow of the trees.
"What think you now, Tohomish, you who love darkness and shadow, what think you? Is not the arm of the Willamette strong? Has it not put down revolt to-day, and held the tribes together?"
The Pine Voice looked at him sorrowfully.
"The vision I told in the council has come back to me again. The cry of woe I heard far off then is nearer now, and the throng on the death-trail passes thicker and swifter. That which covered their faces is lifted, and their faces are the faces of Willamettes, and Multnomah is among them. The time is close at hand."
"Say this before our enemies, and, strong tomanowos though you are, you die!" said the chief, laying his hand on his tomahawk. But the seer was gone, and Multnomah stood alone among the trees.
* * * * *
Every evening at dusk, the widow of the rebel sachem went out into the woods near the camp and wailed her dead. Every night that wild, desolate lament was lifted and rang through the great encampment,—a cry that was accusation, defiance, and lament; and even Multnomah dared not silence her, for among the Indians a woman lamenting her dead was sacred. So, while Multnomah labored and plotted for union by day, that mournful cry raised the spirit of wrath and rebellion by night. And thus the dead liberator was half avenged.
THE LOVE TALE.
THE INDIAN TOWN.
The bare ground with hoarie mosse bestrowed Must be their bed, their pillow was unsowed And the frutes of the forrest was their feast.
The Faerie Queene.
Never before had there come to Cecil so grand an opportunity for disseminating gospel truth. The work of half a lifetime might be done in a few days.
"The tribes are all gathered together in one encampment, and I can talk with them all, tell them of God, of the beauty of heaven and of the only Way. Then, when they disperse, they will carry my teaching in every direction, and so it will be scattered throughout all this wild land."
This was the thought that came to Cecil when he awoke on the morning after the trial. Now was the time to work! Now was the time for every element of argument, persuasion, and enthusiasm to be exerted to the utmost.
Earnestly did he pray that morning, kneeling in his lodge beside his couch of furs, that God would be with and help him. And as he prayed, warm and glowing was the love and tenderness that filled his heart. When the day was a little more advanced, he entered upon his work. The camp was astir with life; nearly all had finished their morning meal, and the various employments and diversions of the day were begun. Each tribe or band had pitched its lodges apart, though not far from the others. It was not so much an encampment as a group of many encampments, and the whole made up a scattered town of huts and wigwams.
A precarious and uncertain quiet had succeeded the agitation of the day before. Multnomah's energy had awed the malcontents into temporary submission, and the different bands were mingling freely with one another; though here and there a chief or warrior looked on contemptuously, standing moodily apart, wrapped in his blanket. Now and then when a Willamette passed a group who were talking and gesticulating animatedly they would become silent all at once till the representative of the dreaded race was out of hearing, when a storm of indignant gutterals would burst forth; but there were no other indications of hostility.
Groups were strolling from place to place observing curiously the habits and customs of other tribes; the common Willamette tongue, precursor of the more modern Chinook jargon, furnishing a means of intercourse. Everywhere Cecil found talk, barter, diversion. It was a rude caricature of civilization, the picture of society in its infancy, the rough dramatization of that phase through which every race passes in its evolution from barbarism.
At one place, a hunter from the interior was bartering furs for hiagua shells to a native of the sea-coast. At another, a brave skilled in wood-work had his stock of bows and arrows spread out before him, and an admiring crowd were standing around looking on. But the taciturn brave sat coolly polishing and staining his arrows as if he were totally unconscious of spectators, until the magical word "buy" was mentioned, when he at once awoke to life and drove a bargain in bow and quiver versus dried berries and "ickters" that would have done credit to a Yankee.
At one place sat an old warrior from the upper Columbia, making arrow-heads, chipping off the little scales of flint with infinite patience, literally wearing the stone into the requisite shape. Beside him lay a small pack of flints brought from beyond the mountains, for such stone was rarely found along the lower Columbia. Squaws sat in front of their wigwams sewing mats,—carefully sorting the rushes, putting big ends with little ends, piercing each with a bodkin, and sewing them all together with a long bone needle threaded with buckskin or sinew. Others were weaving that water-tight wickerwork which was, perhaps, the highest art to which the Oregon Indians ever attained. Here a band of Indians were cooking, feasting, laughing, shouting around a huge sturgeon captured the night before. There a circle of gamblers were playing "hand,"—passing a small stick secretly from hand to hand and guessing whose hand contained it,—singing as they played that monotonous "ho-ha, ho-ha, ho-ha," which was the inseparable accompaniment of dancing, gambling, and horseback riding.
Among them all Cecil moved with the calm dignity he had acquired from long intercourse with the Indians. Wherever he went there was silence and respect, for was he not the great white medicine-man? Gambling circles paused in the swift passage of the stick and the monotone of the chant to look and to comment; buyers and sellers stopped to gaze and to question; children who had been building miniature wigwams of sticks or floating bark canoes in the puddles, ran away at his approach and took shelter in the thickets, watching him with twinkling black eyes.
Wherever there was opportunity, he stopped and talked, scattering seed-thoughts in the dark minds of the Indians. Wherever he paused a crowd would gather; whenever he entered a wigwam a throng collected at the door.
Let us glance for a moment into the domestic life of the Indians as Cecil saw it that morning.
He enters one of the large bark huts of the Willamette Indians, a long, low building, capable of sheltering sixty or seventy persons. The part around the door is painted to represent a man's face, and the entrance is through the mouth. Within, he finds a spacious room perhaps eighty or a hundred feet long by twenty wide, with rows of rude bunks rising tier above tier on either side. In the centre are the stones and ashes of the hearth; above is an aperture in the roof for the escape of smoke; around the hearth mats are spread to sit upon; the bare ground, hard and trodden, forms the only floor, and the roof is made of boards that have been split out with mallet and wedges.
Cecil enters and stands a moment in silence; then the head of the house advances and welcomes him. The best mat is spread for him to sit upon; food is brought,—pounded fish, nuts, and berries, and a kind of bread made of roots cooked, crushed together, and cut in slices when cold. All this is served on a wooden platter, and he must eat whether hungry or not; for to refuse would be the grossest affront that could be offered a Willamette host, especially if it were presented by his own hands. The highest honor that a western Oregon Indian could do his guest was to wait on him instead of letting his squaw do it. The Indian host stands beside Cecil and says, in good-humored hospitality, "Eat, eat much," nor is he quite pleased if he thinks that his visitor slights the offered food. When the guest can be no longer persuaded to eat more, the food is removed, the platter is washed in water, and dried with a wisp of twisted grass; a small treasure of tobacco is produced from a little buckskin pocket and a part of it carefully mixed with dried leaves; the pipe is filled and smoked. Then, and not till then, may the Indian host listen to the talk of the white man.
So it was in lodge after lodge; he must first eat, be it ever so little. Two centuries later, the Methodist and Congregational missionaries found themselves confronted with the same oppressive hospitality among the Rocky Mountain Indians. Nay, they need not visit a wigwam; let them but stroll abroad through the village, and if they were popular and the camp was well supplied with buffalo-meat, messengers would come with appalling frequency, bearing the laconic invitation, "Come and eat;" and the missionary must go, or give offence, even though he had already gone to half a dozen wigwams on the same errand. There is a grim humor in a missionary's eating fresh buffalo-meat in the cause of religion until he is like to burst, and yet heroically going forth to choke down a few mouthfuls more, lest he offend some dusky convert.
At one house Cecil witnessed a painful yet comical scene. The Willamettes were polygamists, each brave having as many wives as he was able to buy; and Cecil was in a lodge where the brother of the head man of that lodge brought home his second wife. At the entrance of the second wife, all gay in Indian finery, the first did not manifest the sisterly spirit proper for the occasion. After sitting awhile in sullen silence, she arose and began to kick the fire about, accompanying that performance with gutteral exclamations addressed to no one in particular; she struck the dog, which chanced to be in the way, sending it yelping from the wigwam; and then, having worked herself into a rage, began to scold her husband, who listened grimly but said nothing. At last she turned on her new-found sister, struck her, and began to lay rending hands on the finery that their mutual husband had given her. That was instantly resented; and in a few moments the squaws were rolling on the floor, biting, scratching, and pulling each other's hair with the fury of devils incarnate. The dogs, attracted by the tumult, ran in and began to bark at them; the Indians outside the hut gathered at the door, looking in and laughing; the husband contemplated them as they rolled fighting at his feet, and then looked at Cecil. It was undoubtedly trying to Indian dignity but the warrior sustained his admirably. "Bad, very bad," was the only comment he allowed himself to make. Cecil took his leave, and the brave kept up his air of indifference until the white man had gone. Then he quietly selected a cudgel from the heap of fire-wood by the doorway, and in a short time peace reigned in the wigwam.
In a lodge not far away, Cecil witnessed another scene yet more barbarous than this. He found a little blind boy sitting on the ground near the fire, surrounded by a quantity of fish-bones which he had been picking. He was made a subject for the taunting jibes and laughter of a number of men and women squatting around him. His mother sat by in the most cruel apathy and unconcern, and only smiled when Cecil expressed commiseration for her unfortunate and peculiarly unhappy child. It had been neglected and seemed almost starved. Those around apparently took pleasure in tormenting it and rendering it miserable, and vied with each other in applying to it insulting and degrading epithets. The little articles that Cecil gave to it, in the hope that the Indians seeing him manifest an interest in it would treat it more tenderly, it put to its mouth eagerly; but not finding them eatable, it threw them aside in disgust. Cecil turned away sick at heart. Worn, already weary, this last sight was intolerable; and he went out into the woods, away from the camp.
But as he walked along he seemed to see the child again, so vividly had it impressed his imagination. It rose before him in the wood, when the noise of the camp lay far behind; it seemed to turn its sightless eyes upon him and reach out its emaciated arms as if appealing for help.
Out in the wood he came across an Indian sitting on a log, his face buried in his hands, his attitude indicating sickness or despondency. He looked up as Cecil approached. It was the young Willamette runner who had been his companion on the journey down the Columbia. His face was haggard; he was evidently very sick. The missionary stopped and tried to talk with him, but could evoke little response, except that he did not want to talk, and that he wanted to be left alone. He seemed so moody and irritable that Cecil thought it best to leave him. His experience was that talking with a sick Indian was very much like stirring up a wounded rattlesnake. So he left the runner and went on into the forest, seeking the solitude without which he could scarcely have lived amid the degrading barbarism around him. His spirit required frequent communion with God and Nature, else he would have died of weariness and sickness of heart.
Wandering listlessly, he went on further and further from the camp, never dreaming of what lay before him, or of the wild sweet destiny to which that dim Indian trail was leading him through the shadowy wood.
 Lewis and Clark.
 See Parkman's "Oregon Trail," also, Parker's work on Oregon.
 See Townsend's Narrative, pages 182-183.
THE WHITE WOMAN IN THE WOOD.
I seek a sail that never looms from out the purple haze At rosy dawn, or fading eve, or in the noontide's blaze.
Cecil walked listlessly on through the wood. He was worn out by the day's efforts, though it was as yet but the middle of the afternoon. There was a feeling of exhaustion in his lungs, a fluttering pain about his heart, the result of years of over-work upon a delicate frame. With this feeling of physical weakness came always the fear that his strength might give way ere his work was done. Nor was this all. In these times of depression, the longing to see again the faces of his friends, to have again the sweet graceful things of the life that was forever closed to him, rushed over him in a bitter flood.
The trail led him to the bank of the Columbia, some distance below the encampment. He looked out over the blue river sweeping majestically on, the white snow-peaks, the canyons deep in the shadows of afternoon, the dense forest beyond the river extending away to the unknown and silent North as far as his eyes could reach.
"It is wonderful, wonderful!" he thought. "But I would give it all to look upon one white face."
So musing, he passed on down the bank of the river. He was now perhaps two miles from the camp and seemingly in complete solitude. After a little the path turned away from the beach and led toward the interior. As he entered the woodland he came upon several Indian sentinels who lay, bow in hand, beside the path. They sprang up, as if to intercept his passage; but seeing that it was the white shaman whom Multnomah had honored, and who had sat at the council with the great sachems, they let him go on. Cecil indistinctly remembered having heard from some of the Indians that this part of the island was strictly guarded; he had forgotten why. So absorbed was he in his gloomy reflections that he did not stop to question the sentinels, but went on, not thinking that he might be treading on forbidden ground. By and by the path emerged from the wood upon a little prairie; the cottonwoods shut out the Indians from him, and he was again alone. The sunshine lay warm and golden on the little meadow, and he strolled forward mechanically, thinking how like it was to some of the sylvan lawns of his own New England forests. Again the shade of trees fell over the path. He looked up, his mind full of New England memories, and saw something that made his heart stand still. For there, not far from him, stood a girl clad in soft flowing drapery, the dress of a white woman. In Massachusetts a woman's dress would have been the last thing Cecil would have noticed. Now, so long accustomed to the Indian squaws' rough garments of skin or plaited bark, the sight of that graceful woven cloth sent through him an indescribable thrill.
He went on, his eager eyes drinking in the welcome sight, yet scarcely believing what he saw.
She had not yet observed him. The profile of her half-averted face was very sweet and feminine; her form was rounded, and her hair fell in long black ringlets to the shoulders. He was in the presence of a young and beautiful woman,—a white woman! All this he noted at a glance; noted, too, the drooping lashes, the wistful lines about the lips, the mournful expression that shadowed the beauty of her face.
Who was she? Where could she have come from?
She heard the approaching footsteps and turned toward him. Absolute bewilderment was on her face for a moment, and then it glowed with light and joy. Her dark, sad eyes sparkled. She was radiant, as if some great, long-looked for happiness had come to her. She came eagerly toward him, holding out her hands in impetuous welcome; saying something in a language he did not understand, but which he felt could not be Indian, so refined and pleasing were the tones.
He answered he knew not what, in his own tongue, and she paused perplexed. Then he spoke again, this time in Willamette.
She shrank back involuntarily.
"That language?" she replied in the same tongue, but with a tremor of disappointment in her voice. "I thought you were of my mother's race and spoke her language. But you are white, like her people?"
She had given him both her hands, and he stood holding them; looking down into her eager, lifted face, where a great hope and a great doubt in mingled light and shadow strove together.
"I am a white man. I came from a land far to the East. But who are you, and how came you here?"
She did not seem to hear the last words, only the first.
"No, no," she protested eagerly, "you came not from the East but from the West, the land across the sea that my mother came from in the ship that was wrecked." And she withdrew one hand and pointed toward the wooded range beyond which lay the Pacific.
He shook his head. "No, there are white people in those lands too, but I never saw them. I came from the East," he said, beginning to surmise that she must be an Asiatic. She drew away the hand that he still held in his, and her eyes filled with tears.
"I thought you were one of my mother's people," she murmured; and he felt that the pang of an exceeding disappointment was rilling her heart.
"Who are you?" he asked gently.
"The daughter of Multnomah."
Cecil remembered now what he had heard of the dead white wife of Multnomah, and of her daughter, who, it was understood among the tribes, was to be given to Snoqualmie. He noticed, too, for the first time the trace of the Indian in her expression, as the light faded from it and it settled back into the despondent look habitual to it. All that was chivalrous in his nature went out to the fair young creature; all his being responded to the sting of her disappointment.
"I am not what you hoped I was, but your face is like the face of the women of my own land. Shall we not be friends?"
She looked up wistfully at the handsome and noble countenance above her, so different from the stolid visages she had known so long.
"Yes; you are not Indian."
In that one expression she unconsciously told Cecil how her sensitive nature shrank from the barbarism around her; how the tastes and aspirations she had inherited from her mother reached out for better and higher things.
In a little while they were seated on a grassy bank in the shade of the trees, talking together. She bade him tell her of his people. She listened intently; the bright, beautiful look came back as she heard the tale.
"They are kind to women, instead of making them mere burden-bearers; they have pleasant homes; they dwell in cities? Then they are like my mother's people."
"They are gentle, kind, humane. They have all the arts that light up life and make it beautiful,—not like the tribes of this grim, bloodstained land."
"This land!" Her face darkened and she lifted her hand in a quick, repelling gesture. "This land is a grave. The clouds lie black and heavy on the spirit that longs for the sunlight and cannot reach it." She turned to him again. "Go on, your words are music."
He continued, and she listened till the story of his country and his wanderings was done. When he ended, she drew a glad, deep breath; her eyes were sparkling with joy.
"I am content," she said, in a voice in which there was a deep heart-thrill of happiness. "Since my mother died I have been alone, all alone; and I longed, oh so often, for some one who talked and felt as she did to come to me, and now you have come. I sat cold and shivering in the night a long time, but the light and warmth have come at last. Truly, Allah is good!"
"Yes; he was my mother's God, as the Great Spirit is my father's."
"They are both names for the same All Father," replied Cecil. "They mean the same thing, even as the sun is called by many names by many tribes, yet there is but the one sun."
"Then I am glad. It is good to learn that both prayed to the one God, though they did not know it. But my mother taught me to use the name of Allah, and not the other. And while my father and the tribes call me by my Indian name, 'Wallulah,' she gave me another, a secret name, that I was never to forget."
"What is it?"
"I have never told it, but I will tell you, for you can understand."
And she gave him a singularly melodious name, of a character entirely different from any he had ever heard, but which he guessed to be Arabic or Hindu.
"It means, 'She who watches for the morning.' My mother told me never to forget it, and to remember that I was not to let myself grow to be like the Indians, but to pray to Allah, and to watch and hope, and that sometime the morning would come and I would be saved from the things around me. And now you have come and the dawn comes with you."
Her glad, thankful glance met his; the latent grace and mobility of her nature, all roused and vivid under his influence, transfigured her face, making it delicately lovely. A great pang of longing surged through him.
"Oh," he thought, "had I not become a missionary, I might have met and loved some one like her! I might have filled my life with much that is now gone from it forever!"
For eight years he had seen only the faces of savage women and still more savage men; for eight years his life had been steeped in bitterness, and all that was tender or romantic in his nature had been cramped, as in iron fetters, by the coarseness and stolidity around him. Now, after all that dreary time, he met one who had the beauty and the refinement of his own race. Was it any wonder that her glance, the touch of her dress or hair, the soft tones of her voice, had for him an indescribable charm? Was it any wonder that his heart went out to her in a yearning tenderness that although not love was dangerously akin to it?
He was startled at the sweet and burning tumult of emotion she was kindling within him. What was he thinking of? He must shake these feelings off, or leave her. Leave her! The gloom of the savagery that awaited him at the camp grew tenfold blacker than ever. All the light earth held for him seemed gathered into the presence of this dark-eyed girl who sat talking so musically, so happily, by his side.
"I must go," he forced himself to say at length, "The sun is almost down."
"Must you go so soon?"
"I will come again if you wish."
"But you must not go yet; wait till the sun reaches the mountain-tops yonder. I want you to tell me more about your own land."
So he lingered and talked while the sun sank lower and lower in the west. It seemed to him that it had never gone down so fast before.
"I must go now," he said, rising as the sun's red disk sank behind the mountains.
"It is not late; see, the sun is shining yet on the brow of the snow mountains."
Both looked at the peaks that towered grandly in the light of the sunken sun while all the world below lay in shadow. Together they watched the mighty miracle of the afterglow on Mount Tacoma, the soft rose-flush that transfigured the mountain till it grew transparent, delicate, wonderful.
"That is what my life is now,—since you have brought the light to the 'watcher for the morning;'" and she looked up at him with a bright, trustful smile.
"Alas?" thought Cecil, "it is not the light of morning but of sunset."
Slowly the radiance faded, the rose tint passed; the mountain grew white and cold under their gaze, like the face of death. Wallulah shuddered as if it were a prophecy.
"You will come back to-morrow?" she said, looking at him with her large, appealing eyes.
"I will come," he said.
"It will seem long till your return, yet I have lived so many years waiting for that which has come at last that I have learned to be patient."
"Ask God to help you in your hours of loneliness and they will not seem so long and dark," said Cecil, whose soul was one tumultuous self-reproach that he had let the time go by without telling her more of God.
"Ah!" she said in a strange, wistful way, "I have prayed to him so much, but he could not fill all my heart. I wanted so to touch a hand and look on a face like my mother's. But God has sent you, and so I know he must be good."
They parted, and he went back to the camp.
"Is my mission a failure?" he thought, as he walked along, clinching his hands in furious anger with himself. "Why do I let a girl's beauty move me thus, and she the promised wife of another? How dare I think of aught beside the work God has sent me here to do? Oh, the shame and guilt of such weakness! I will be faithful. I will never look upon her face again!"
He emerged from the wood into the camp; its multitudinous sounds were all around him, and never had the coarseness and savagery of Indian life seemed so repellent as now, when he came back to it with his mind full of Wallulah's grace and loveliness. It was harsh discord after music.
Stripped and painted barbarians were hallooing, feasting, dancing; the whole camp was alive with boisterous hilarity, the result of a day of good fellowship. Mothers were calling their children in the dusk and young men were sportively answering, "Here I am, mother." Here and there, Indians who had been feasting all day lay like gorged anacondas beside the remnant of their meal; others, who had been gambling, were talking loudly of the results of the game.
Through it all the white man walked with swift footsteps, looking neither to the right nor the left, till he gained his lodge. He flung himself on his bed and lay there, his fingers strained together convulsively, his nerves throbbing with pain; vainly struggling with regret, vainly repeating to himself that he cared nothing for love and home, that he had put all those things from him, that he was engrossed now only in his work.
"Never, never! It can never be."
* * * * *
And the English exploring-ship in Yaquina Bay was to weigh anchor on the morrow, and sail up nearer along the unknown coast. The Indians had all deserted the sea-board for the council. Would Cecil hear? Would any one see the sail and bring the news?
CECIL AND THE WAR-CHIEF.
Children of the sun, with whom revenge is virtue.
On the next day came the races, the great diversion of the Indians. Each tribe ran only one horse,—the best it had. There were thirty tribes or bands, each with its choicest racer on the track. The Puget Sound and lower Columbia Indians, being destitute of horses, were not represented. There had been races every day on a small scale, but they were only private trials of speed, while to-day was the great day of racing for all the tribes, the day when the head chiefs ran their horses.
The competition was close, but Snoqualmie the Cayuse won the day. He rode the fine black horse he had taken from the Bannock he had tortured to death. Multnomah and the chiefs were present, and the victory was won under the eyes of all the tribes. The haughty, insolent Cayuse felt that he had gained a splendid success. Only, as in the elation of victory his glance swept over the crowd, he met the sad, unapplauding gaze of Cecil, and it made his ever burning resentment grow hotter still.
"I hate that man," he thought. "I tried to thrust him down into slavery, and Multnomah made him a chief. My heart tells me that he is an enemy. I hate him. I will kill him."
"Poor Wallulah!" Cecil was thinking. "What a terrible future is before her as the wife of that inhuman torturer of men!"
And his sympathies went out to the lonely girl, the golden thread of whose life was to be interwoven with the bloodstained warp and woof of Snoqualmie's. But he tried hard not to think of her; he strove resolutely that day to absorb himself in his work, and the effort was not unsuccessful.
After the races were over, a solemn council was held in the grove and some important questions discussed and decided. Cecil took part, endeavoring in a quiet way to set before the chiefs a higher ideal of justice and mercy than their own. He was heard with grave attention, and saw that more than one chief seemed impressed by his words. Only Snoqualmie was sullen and inattentive, and Mishlah the Cougar was watchful and suspicious.
After the council was over Cecil went to his lodge. On the way he found the young Willamette runner sitting on a log by the path, looking even more woebegone than he had the day before. Cecil stopped to inquire how he was.
"Cultus [bad]," was grunted in response.
"Did you see the races?"
"Races bad. What do I care?"
"I hope you will be better soon."
"Yes, better or worse by and by. What do I care?"
"Can I do anything for you?"
"What is it?"
And he dropped his hand upon his knees, doubled himself together, and refused to say another word. As Cecil turned to go he found Multnomah standing close by, watching him.
"Come," said the stern despot, briefly. "I want to talk with you."
He led the way back through the noisy encampment to the now deserted grove of council. Everything there was quiet and solitary; the thick circle of trees hid them from the camp, though its various sounds floated faintly to them. They were quite alone. Multnomah seated himself on the stone covered with furs, that was his place in the council. Cecil remained standing before him, wondering what was on his mind. Was the war-chief aware of his interview with Wallulah? If so, what then? Multnomah fixed on him the gaze which few men met without shrinking.
"Tell me," he said, while it seemed to Cecil as if that eagle glance read every secret of his innermost heart, "tell me where your land is, and why you left it, and the reason for your coming among us. Keep no thought covered, for Multnomah will see it if you do."
Cecil's eye kindled, his cheek flushed. Wallulah was forgotten; his mission, and his mission only, was remembered. He stood before one who held over the many tribes of the Wauna the authority of a prince: if he could but be won for Christ, what vast results might follow!
He told it all,—the story of his home and his work, his call of God to go to the Indians, his long wanderings, the message he had to deliver, how it had been received by some and rejected by many; now he was here, a messenger sent by the Great Spirit to tell the tribes of the Wauna the true way of life. He told it all, and never had he been so eloquent. It was a striking contrast, the grim Indian sitting there leaning on his bow, his sharp, treacherous gaze bent like a bird of prey on the delicately moulded man pleading before him.
He listened till Cecil began to talk of love and forgiveness as duties enjoined by the Great Spirit. Then he spoke abruptly.
"When you stood up in the council the day the bad chief was tried, and told of the weakness and the wars that would come if the confederacy was broken up, you talked wisely and like a great chief and warrior; now you talk like a woman. Love! forgiveness!" He repeated the words, looking at Cecil with a kind of wondering scorn, as if he could not comprehend such weakness in one who looked like a brave man. "War and hate are the life of the Indian. They are the strength of his heart. Take them away, and you drain the blood from his veins; you break his spirit; he becomes a squaw."
"But my people love and forgive, yet they are not squaws. They are brave and hardy in battle; their towns are great; their country is like a garden."
And he told Multnomah of the laws, the towns, the schools, the settled habits and industry of New England. The chief listened with growing impatience. At length he threw his arm up with an indescribable gesture of freedom, like a man rejecting a fetter.
"How can they breathe, shut in, bound down like that? How can they live, so tied and burdened?"
"Is not that better than tribe forever warring against tribe? Is it not better to live like men than to lurk in dens and feed on roots like beasts? Yet we will fight, too; the white man does not love war, but he will go to battle when his cause is just and war must be."
"So will the deer and the cayote fight when they can flee no longer. The Indian loves battle. He loves to seek out his enemy, to grapple with him, and to tread him down. That is a man's life!"
There was a wild grandeur in the chief's tone. All the tameless spirit of his race seemed to speak through him, the spirit that has met defeat and extermination rather than bow its neck to the yoke of civilization. Cecil realized that on the iron fibre of the war-chief's nature his pleading made no impression whatever, and his heart sank within him.
Again he tried to speak of the ways of peace, but the chief checked him impatiently.
"That is talk for squaws and old men. Multnomah does not understand it. Talk like a man, if you wish him to listen. Multnomah does not forgive; Multnomah wants no peace with his enemies. If they are weak he tramples on them and makes them slaves; if they are strong he fights them. When the Shoshones take from Multnomah, he takes from them; if they give him war he gives them war; if they torture one Willamette at the stake, Multnomah stretches two Shoshones upon red-hot stones. Multnomah gives hate for hate and war for war. This is the law the Great Spirit has given the Indian. What law he has given the white man, Multnomah knows not nor cares!"
Baffled in his attempt, Cecil resorted to another line of persuasion. He set before Multnomah the arts, the intelligence, the splendor of the white race.
"The Indian has his laws and customs, and that is well; but why not council with the white people, even as chiefs council together? Send an embassy to ask that wise white men be sent you, so that you may learn of their arts and laws; and what seems wise and good you can accept, what seems not so can be set aside. I know the ways that lead back to the land of the white man; I myself would lead the embassy."
It was a noble conception,—that of making a treaty between this magnificent Indian confederacy and New England for the purpose of introducing civilization and religion; and for a moment he lost sight of the insurmountable obstacles in the way.
"No," replied the chief, "neither alone nor as leader of a peace party will your feet ever tread again the path that leads back to the land of the white man. We want not upon our shoulders the burden of his arts and laws. We want not his teachers to tell us how to be women. If the white man wants us, let him find his way over the desert and through the mountains, and we will grapple with him and see which is the strongest."
So saying, the war-chief rose and left him.
"He says that I shall never be allowed to go back," thought Cecil, with a bitter consciousness of defeat. "Then my mission ends here in the land of the Bridge, even as I have so often dreamed that it would. So be it; I shall work the harder now that I see the end approaching. I shall gather the chiefs in my own lodge this evening and preach to them."
While he was forming his resolution, there came the recollection that Wallulah would look for him, would be expecting him to come to her.
"I cannot," he thought, though he yearned to go to her. "I cannot go; I must be faithful to my mission."
Many chiefs came that night to his lodge; among them, to his surprise, Tohomish the seer. Long and animated was Cecil's talk; beautiful and full of spiritual fervor were the words in which he pointed them to a better life. Tohomish was impassive, listening in his usual brooding way. The others seemed interested; but when he was done they all rose up and went away without a word,—all except the Shoshone renegade who had helped him bury the dead Bannock. He came to Cecil before leaving the lodge.
"Sometime," he said, "when it will be easier for me to be good than it is now, I will try to live the life you talked about to-night."
Then he turned and went out before Cecil could reply.
"There is one at least seeking to get nearer God," thought Cecil, joyfully. After awhile his enthusiasm faded away, and he remembered how anxiously Wallulah must have waited for him, and how bitterly she must have been disappointed. Her face, pale and stained with tears, rose plainly before him. A deep remorse filled his heart.
"Poor child! I am the first white person she has seen since her mother died; no wonder she longs for my presence! I must go to her to-morrow. After all, there is no danger of my caring for her. To me my work is all in all."
ARCHERY AND GAMBLING.
To gambling they are no less passionately addicted in the interior than on the coast.—BANCROFT: Native Races.
The next morning came the archery games. The best marksmen of each tribe contended together under the eyes of Multnomah, and Snoqualmie the Cayuse won the day.
These diversions were beginning to produce the result that the politic chief had intended they should. Better feeling was springing up. The spirit of discontent that had been rife was disappearing. Every day good-fellowship grew more and more between the Willamettes and their allies. Every day Snoqualmie the Cayuse became more popular among the tribes, and already he was second in influence to none but Multnomah himself.
The great war-chief had triumphed over every obstacle; and he waited now only for the last day of the council, when his daughter should be given to Snoqualmie and the chiefs should recognize him as the future head of the confederacy.
Knowing this, the sight of Snoqualmie's successful archery was almost intolerable to Cecil, and he turned away from the place where the games were held.
"I will seek the young Willamette who is sick," he said to himself. "Then this evening I will go and visit Wallulah."
The thought sent the blood coursing warmly through his veins, but he chided himself for it. "It is but duty, I go to her only as a missionary," he repeated to himself over and over again.
He went to the lodge of the young Willamette and asked for him.
"He is not here," the father of the youth told him. "He is in the sweat-house. He is sick this morning, hieu sick."
And the old man emphasized the hieu [much], with a prolonged intonation and a comprehensive gesture as if the young man were very sick indeed. To the sweat-house went Cecil forthwith. He found it to be a little arched hut, made by sticking the ends of bent willow-wands into the ground and covering them over with skins, leaving only a small opening for entrance. When a sick person wished to take one of those "sweat baths" so common among the Indians, stones were heated red hot and put within the hut, and water was poured on them. The invalid, stripped to the skin, entered, the opening was closed behind him, and he was left to steam in the vapors.
When Cecil came up, the steam was pouring between the overlapping edges of the skins, and he could hear the young Willamette inside, chanting a low monotonous song, an endlessly repeated invocation to his totem to make him well. How he could sing or even breathe in that stifling atmosphere was a mystery to Cecil.
By and by the Willamette raised the flap that hung over the entrance and crawled out, hot, steaming, perspiring at every pore. He rushed with unsteady footsteps down to the river, only a few yards away, and plunged into the cold water. After repeatedly immersing himself, he waded back to the shore and lay down to dry in the sun. The shock to his nervous system of plunging from a hot steam-bath into ice-cold water fresh from the snow peaks of the north had roused all his latent vitality. He had recovered enough to be sullen and resentful to Cecil when he came up; and after vainly trying to talk with or help him, the missionary left him.
It is characteristic of the Indian, perhaps of most half-animal races, that their moral conduct depends on physical feeling. Like the animal, they are good-humored, even sportive, when all is well; like the animal, they are sluggish and unreasoning in time of sickness.
Cecil went back to the camp. He found that the archery games were over, and that a great day of gambling had begun. He was astonished at the eagerness with which all the Indians flung themselves into it. Multnomah alone took no part, and Tohomish, visible only at the council, was not there. But with those two exceptions, chiefs, warriors, all flung themselves headlong into the game.
First, some of the leading chiefs played at "hand," and each tribe backed its chief. Furs, skins, weapons, all manner of Indian wealth was heaped in piles behind the gamblers, constituting the stakes; and they were divided among the tribes of the winners,—each player representing a tribe, and his winnings going, not to himself, but to his people. This rule applied, of course, only to the great public games; in private games of "hand" each successful player kept his own spoils.
Amid the monotonous chant that always accompanied gambling, the two polished bits of bone (the winning one marked, the other not) were passed secretly from hand to hand. The bets were made as to who held the marked stick and in which hand, then a show of hands was made and the game was lost and won.
From "hand" they passed to ahikia, a game like that of dice, played with figured beaver teeth or disks of ivory, which were tossed up, everything depending on the combination of figures presented in their fall. It was played recklessly. The Indians were carried away by excitement. They bet anything and everything they had. Wealthy chiefs staked their all on the turn of the ivory disks, and some were beggared, some enriched. Cecil noticed in particular Mishlah the Cougar, chief of the Molallies. He was like a man intoxicated. His huge bestial face was all ablaze with excitement, his eyes were glowing like coals. He had scarcely enough intellect to understand the game, but enough combativeness to fling himself into it body and soul. He bet his horses and lost them; he bet his slaves and lost again; he bet his lodges, with their rude furnishings of mat and fur, and lost once more. Maddened, furious, like a lion in the toils, the desperate savage staked his wives and children on the throw of the ahikia, and they were swept from him into perpetual slavery.
Then he rose up and glared upon his opponents, with his tomahawk clinched in his hand,—as if feeling dimly that he had been wronged, thirsting for vengeance, ready to strike, yet not knowing upon whom the blow should fall. There was death in his look, and the chiefs shrunk from him, when his eyes met Multnomah's, who was looking on; and the war-chief checked and awed him with his cold glance, as a tamer of beasts might subdue a rebellious tiger. Then the Molallie turned and went away, raging, desperate, a chief still, but a chief without lodge or wife or slave.
The sight was painful to Cecil, and he too went away while the game was at its height. Drawn by an influence that he could not resist, he took the trail that led down the bank of the river to the retreat of Wallulah.
A DEAD QUEEN'S JEWELS.
For round about the walls yclothed were With goodly arras of great maiesty, Woven with golde and silke so close and nere That the rich metall lurked privily.
The Faerie Queene.
He found the sentinels by the pathway half reluctant to let him pass, but they did not forbid him. Evidently it was only their awe of him as the "Great White Prophet," to whom Multnomah had added the dignity of an Indian sachem, that overcame their scruples. It was with a sense of doing wrong that he went on. "If Multnomah knew," he thought, "what would he do?" And brave as Cecil was, he shuddered, thinking how deadly the wrath of the war-chief would be, if he knew of these secret visits to his daughter.
"It is an abuse of hospitality; it is clandestine, wrong," he thought bitterly. "And yet she is lonely, she needs me, and I must go to her; but I will never go again."
Where he had met her before, he found her waiting for him now, a small, graceful figure, standing in the shadow of the wood. She heard his footsteps before he saw her, and the melancholy features were transfigured with joy. She stood hesitating a moment like some shy creature of the forest, then sprang eagerly forward to meet him.
"I knew you were coming!" she cried rapturously. "I felt your approach long before I heard your footsteps."
"How is that?" said Cecil, holding her hands and looking down into her radiant eyes. Something of the wild Indian mysticism flashed in them as she replied:
"I cannot tell; I knew it! my spirit heard your steps long before my ears could catch the sound. But oh!" she cried in sudden transition, her face darkening, her eyes growing large and pathetic, "why did you not come yesterday? I so longed for you and you did not come. It seemed as if the day would never end. I thought that perhaps the Indians had killed you; I thought it might be that I should never see you again; and all the world grew dark as night, I felt so terribly alone. Promise me you will never stay away so long again!"
"Never!" exclaimed Cecil, on the impulse of the moment. An instant later he would have given the world to have recalled the word.
"I am so glad!" she cried, clapping her hands in girlish delight; and he could not pain her by an explanation.
"After a while I will tell her how impossible it is for me to come again," he thought. "I cannot tell her now." And he seized upon every word and look of the lovely unconscious girl, with a hunger of heart born of eight years' starvation.
"Now you must come with me to my lodge; you are my guest, and I shall entertain you. I want you to look at my treasures."
Cecil went with her, wondering if they would meet Multnomah at her lodge, and if so, what he would say. He felt that he was doing wrong, yet so sweet was it to be in her presence, so much did her beauty fill the mighty craving of his nature, that it was not possible for him to tear himself away.
Some fifteen minutes' walk brought them to Wallulah's lodge. It was a large building, made of bark set upright against a frame-work of poles, and roofed with cedar boards,—in its external appearance like all Willamette lodges. Several Indian girls, neatly dressed and of more than ordinary intelligence, were busied in various employments about the yard. They looked in surprise at the white man and their mistress, but said nothing. The two entered the lodge. Cecil muttered an exclamation of amazement as he crossed the threshold.
The interior was a glow of color, a bower of richness. Silken tapestries draped and concealed the bark walls; the floor of trodden earth was covered with a superbly figured carpet. It was like the hall of some Asiatic palace. Cecil looked at Wallulah, and her eyes sparkled with merriment at his bewildered expression. "I knew you would be astonished," she cried. "Is not this as fair as anything in your own land? No, wait till I show you another room!"
She led the way to an inner apartment, drew back the tapestry that hung over the doorway, and bade him enter.
Never, not even at St. James or at Versailles, had he seen such magnificence. The rich many-hued products of Oriental looms covered the rough walls; the carpet was like a cushion; mirrors sparkling with gems reflected his figure; luxurious divans invited to repose. Everywhere his eye met graceful draperies and artistically blended colors. Silk and gold combined to make up a scene that was like a dream of fable. Cecil's dazzled eyes wandered over all this splendor, then came back to Wallulah's face again.
"I have seen nothing like this in my own land, not even in the King's palace. How came such beautiful things here among the Indians?"
"They were saved from the vessel that was wrecked. They were my mother's, and she had them arranged thus. This was her lodge. It is mine now. I have never entered any other. I have never been inside an Indian wigwam. My mother forbade it, for fear that I might grow like the savage occupants."
Cecil knew now how she had preserved her grace and refinement amid her fierce and squalid surroundings. Again her face changed and the wistful look came back. Her wild delicate nature seemed to change every moment, to break out in a hundred varying impulses.
"I love beautiful things," she said, drawing a fold of tapestry against her cheek. "They seem half human. I love to be among them and feel their influence. These were my mother's, and it seems as if part of her life was in them. Sometimes, after she died, I used to shut my eyes and put my cheek against the soft hangings and try to think it was the touch of her hand; or I would read from her favorite poets and try to think that I heard her repeating them to me again!"
"Read!" exclaimed Cecil; "then you have books?"
"Oh, yes, I will show you all my treasures."
She went into another apartment and returned with a velvet case and a richly enchased casket. She opened the case and took out several rolls of parchment.
"Here they are, my dear old friends, that have told me so many beautiful things."
Cecil unrolled them with a scholar's tenderness. Their touch thrilled him; it was touching again some familiar hand parted from years ago. The parchments were covered with strange characters, in a language entirely unknown to him. The initial letters were splendidly illuminated, the margins ornamented with elaborate designs. Cecil gazed on the scrolls, as one who loves music but who is ignorant of its technicalities might look at a sonata of Beethoven or an opera of Wagner, and be moved by its suggested melodies.
"I cannot read it," he said a little sadly.
"Sometime I will teach you," she replied; "and you shall teach me your own language, and we will talk in it instead of this wretched Indian tongue."
"Tell me something about it now," asked Cecil, still gazing at the unknown lines.
"Not now, there is so much else to talk about; but I will to-morrow."
To-morrow! The word pierced him like a knife. For him, a missionary among barbarians, for her, the betrothed of a savage chief, the morrow could bring only parting and woe; the sweet, fleeting present was all they could hope for. For them there could be no to-morrow. Wallulah, however, did not observe his dejection. She had opened the casket, and now placed it between them as they sat together on the divan. One by one, she took out the contents and displayed them. A magnificent necklace of diamonds, another of pearls; rings, brooches, jewelled bracelets, flashed their splendor on him. Totally ignorant of their great value, she showed them only with a true woman's love of beautiful things, showed them as artlessly as if they were but pretty shells or flowers.
"Are they not bright?" she would say, holding them up to catch the light. "How they sparkle!"
One she took up a little reluctantly. It was an opal, a very fine one. She held it out, turning it in the light, so that he might see the splendid jewel glow and pale.
"Is it not lovely?" she said; "like sun-tints on the snow. But my mother said that in her land it is called the stone of misfortune. It is beautiful, but it brings trouble with it."
He saw her fingers tremble nervously as they held it, and she dropped it from them hurriedly into the casket, as if it were some bright poisonous thing she dreaded to touch.
After a while, when Cecil had sufficiently admired the stones, she put them back into the casket and took it and the parchments away. She came back with her flute, and seating herself, looked at him closely.
"You are sad; there are heavy thoughts on your mind. How is that? He who brings me sunshine must not carry a shadow on his own brow. Why are you troubled?"
The trouble was that he realized now, and was compelled to acknowledge to himself, that he loved this gentle, clinging girl, with a passionate love; that he yearned to take her in his arms and shelter her from the terrible savagery before her; and that he felt it could not, must not be.
"It is but little," he replied. "Every heart has its burden, and perhaps I have mine. It is the lot of man."
She looked at him with a vague uneasiness; her susceptible nature responded dimly to the tumultuous emotions that he was trying by force of will to shut up in his own heart.
"Trouble? Oh, do I not know how bitter it is! Tell me, what do your people do when they have trouble? Do they cut off their hair and blacken their faces, as the Indians do, when they lose one they love?"
"No, they would scorn to do anything so degrading. He is counted bravest who makes the least display of grief and yet always cherishes a tender remembrance of the dead."
"So would I. My mother forbade me to cut off my hair or blacken my face when she died, and so I did not, though some of the Indians thought me bad for not doing so. And your people are not afraid to talk of the dead?"
"Most certainly not. Why should we be? We know that they are in a better world, and their memories are dear to us. It is very sweet sometimes to talk of them."
"But the Willamettes never talk of their dead, for fear they may hear their names spoken and come back. Why should they dread their coming back? Ah, if my mother only would come back! How I used to long and pray for it!"
Cecil began to talk to her about the love and goodness of God. If he could only see her sheltered in the Divine compassion, he could trust her to slip from him into the unknown darkness of her future. She listened earnestly.
"Your words are good," she said in her quaint phraseology; "and if trouble comes to me again I shall remember them. But I am very happy now."
The warmth and thankfulness of her glance sent through him a great thrill of blended joy and pain.
"You forget," he said, forcing himself to be calm, "that you are soon to leave your home and become the wife of Snoqualmie."
Wallulah raised her hand as if to ward off a blow, her features quivering with pain. She tried to reply, but for an instant the words faltered on her lips. He saw it, and a fierce delight leaped up in his heart. "She does not love him, it is I whom she cares for," he thought; and then he thrust the thought down in indignant self-reproach.
"I do not care for Snoqualmie; I once thought I did, but—"
She hesitated, the quick color flushed her face; for the first time she seemed in part, though not altogether, aware of why she had changed.
For an instant Cecil felt as if he must speak; but the consequences rose before him while the words were almost on his lips. If he spoke and won her love, Multnomah would force her into a marriage with Snoqualmie just the same; and if the iron despot were to consent and give her to Cecil, the result would be a bloody war with Snoqualmie.
"I cannot, I must not," thought Cecil. He rose to his feet; his one impulse was to get away, to fight out the battle with himself. Wallulah grew pale.
"You are going?" she said, rising also. "Something in your face tells me you are not coming back," and she looked at him with strained, sad, wistful eyes.
He stood hesitating, torn by conflicting emotions, not knowing what to do.
"If you do not come back, I shall die," she said simply.
As they stood thus, her flute slipped from her relaxed fingers and fell upon the floor. He picked it up and gave it to her, partly through the born instinct of the gentleman, which no familiarity with barbarism can entirely crush out, partly through the tendency in time of intense mental strain to relieve the mind by doing any little thing.
She took it, lifted it to her lips, and, still looking at him, began to play. The melody, strange, untaught, artless as the song of a wood-bird, was infinitely sorrowful and full of longing. Her very life seemed to breathe through the music in fathomless yearning. Cecil understood the plea, and the tears rushed unbidden into his eyes. All his heart went out to her in pitying tenderness and love; and yet he dared not trust himself to speak.
"Promise to come back," said the music, while her dark eyes met his; "promise to come back. You are my one friend, my light, my all; do not leave me to perish in the dark. I shall die without you, I shall die, I shall die!"
Could any man resist the appeal? Could Cecil, of all men, thrilling through all his sensitive and ardent nature to the music, thrilling still more to a mighty and resistless love?
"I will come back," he said, and parted from her; he dared not trust himself to say another word. But the parting was not so abrupt as to prevent his seeing the swift breaking-forth of light upon the melancholy face that was becoming so beautiful to him and so dear.
THE TWILIGHT TALE.
That eve I spoke those words again, And then she hearkened what I said.
The next day the Indians had a great hunt. A circle of men on foot and on horseback was drawn around a large tract of forest on the western side of the Willamette River. Gradually, with much shouting, hallooing, and beating of bushes, the circle closed upon the game within it, like the folds of a mighty serpent.
There was a prodigious slaughter, a mad scene of butchery, in which the Indians exulted like fiends. Late in the afternoon they returned to camp, stained with blood and loaded with the spoils of the chase. Snoqualmie distinguished himself by killing a large bear, and its claws, newly severed and bleeding, were added to his already ample necklace of similar trophies.
Cecil remained in the almost deserted camp. He tried in vain to talk with the few chiefs who had not gone out to join in the hunt. Missionary work was utterly impossible that day. Wallulah and the problem of his love filled his thoughts. His mind, aroused and burning, searched and analyzed the question upon every side.
Should he tell Multnomah of Snoqualmie's cruelty, representing his unfitness to be the husband of the gentle Wallulah?
To the stern war-chief that very cruelty would be an argument in Snoqualmie's favor. Should he himself become a suitor for her hand? He knew full well that Multnomah would reject him with disdain; or, were he to consent, it would involve the Willamettes in a war with the haughty and vindictive Cayuse. Finally, should he attempt to fly with her to some other land? Impossible. All the tribes of the northwest were held in the iron grip of Multnomah. They could never escape; and even if they could, the good he had done among the Indians, the good he hoped would grow from generation to generation, would be all destroyed if it were told among them that he who claimed to come to them with a message from God had ended by stealing the chief's daughter. And had he a right to love any one?—had he a right to love at all? God had sent him to do a work among the Indians; was it not wicked for him to so much as look either to the right or to the left till that work was done?
Amid this maze of perplexities, his tense, agonized soul sought in vain for some solution, some conclusion. At times he sat in his lodge and brooded over these things till he seemed wrought up almost to madness, till his form trembled with excitement, and the old pain at his heart grew sharp and deadly.
Then again, trying to shake it off, he went out among the few Indians who were left in the camp and attempted to do missionary work; but enthusiasm was lacking, the glow and tenderness was gone from his words, the grand devotion that had inspired him so long failed him at last. He was no longer a saintly apostle to the Indians; he was only a human lover, torn by stormy human doubts and fears.
Even the Indians felt that some intangible change had come over him, and as they listened their hearts no longer responded to his eloquence; they felt somehow that the life was gone from his words. He saw it too, and it gave him a keen pang.
He realized that the energy and concentration of his character was gone, that a girl's beauty had drawn him aside from the mission on which God had sent him.
"I will go and see her. I will, without letting her know that I love her, give her to understand my position and her own. She shall see how impossible it is for us ever to be aught to each other. And I shall urge her to cling to God and walk in the path he has appointed for her, while I go on in mine."
So thinking, he left his lodge that evening and took the path to Wallulah's home.
Some distance from the encampment he met an Indian funeral procession. The young Willamette runner had died that morning, and now they were bearing him to the river, down which a canoe was to waft the body and the mourners to the nearest mimaluse island. The corpse was swathed in skins and tied around with thongs; the father bore it on his shoulder, for the dead had been but a slender lad. Behind them came the mother and a few Indian women. As they passed, the father chanted a rude lament.
"Oh, Mox-mox, my son, why did you go away and leave our wigwam empty? You were not weak nor sickly, and your life was young. Why did you go? Oh, Mox-mox, dead, dead, dead!"
Then the women took up the doleful refrain,—
"Oh, Mox-mox, dead, dead, dead!"
Then the old man again,—
"Oh, Mox-mox, the sun was warm and food was plenty, yet you went away; and when we reach out for you, you are not there. Oh Mox-mox, dead, dead, dead!"
Then the women again,—
"Oh, Mox-mox, dead, dead, dead!"
And so it went on, till they were embarked and the canoe bore them from sight and hearing. Down on some mimaluse island or rocky point, they would stretch the corpse out in a canoe, with the bow and arrows and fishing spear used in life beside it; then turn over it another canoe like a cover, and so leave the dead to his long sleep.
The sight gave an added bitterness to Cecil's meditations.
"After all," he thought, "life is so short,—a shadow fleeting onward to the night,—and love is so sweet! Why not open my heart to the bliss it brings? The black ending comes so soon! Why not fling all thought of consequences to the winds, and gather into my arms the love that is offered me? why not know its warmth and thrill for one golden moment, even though that moment ends in death?"
The blood rushed wildly through his veins, but he resolutely put down the temptation. No, he would be faithful, he would not allow himself even to think of such a thing.
Reluctantly, as before, the sentinels made way for him and he went on through the wood to the trysting-place, for such it had come to be. She was waiting. But there was no longer the glad illumination of face, the glad springing forward to meet him. She advanced shyly, a delicate color in her cheek, a tremulous grace in her manner, that he had not observed before; the consciousness of love had come to her and made her a woman. Never had she seemed so fair to Cecil; yet his resolution did not falter.
"I have come, you see,—come to tell you that I can come no more, and to talk with you about your future."
Her face grew very pale.
"Are you going away?" she asked sorrowfully, "and shall I never see you again?"
"I cannot come back," he replied gently. The sight of her suffering cut him to the heart.
"It has been much to see you," he continued, while she stood before him, looking downward, without reply. "It has been like meeting one of my own people. I shall never forget you."
She raised her head and strove to answer, but the words died on her lips. How he loathed himself, talking so smoothly to her while he hungered to take her in his arms and tell her how he loved her!
Again he spoke.
"I hope you will be happy with Snoqualmie, and—"
She lifted her eyes with a sudden light flashing in their black depths.
"Do you want me to hate him? Never speak his name to me again!"
"He is to be your husband; nay, it is the wish of your father, and the great sachems approve it."
"Can the sachems put love in my heart? Can the sachems make my heart receive him as its lord? Ah, this bitter custom of the father giving his daughter to whomsoever he will, as if she were a dog! And your lips sanction it!"
Her eyes were full of tears. Scarcely realizing what he did, he tried to take her hand. The slender fingers shrank from his and were drawn away.
"I do not sanction it, it is a bitter custom; but it is to be, and I only wished to smooth your pathway. I want to say or do something that will help you when I am gone."
"Do you know what it would be for me to be an Indian's wife? To cut the wood, and carry the water, and prepare the food,—that would be sweet to do for one I loved. But to toil amid dirt and filth for a savage whom I could only abhor, to feel myself growing coarse and squalid with my surroundings,—I could not live!"
She shuddered as she spoke, as if the very thought was horrible.
"You hate this degraded Indian life as much as I do, and yet it is the life you would push me into," she continued, in a tone of mournful heart-broken reproach. It stung him keenly.
"It is not the life I would push you into. God knows I would give my life to take one thorn from yours," The mad longing within him rushed into his voice in spite of himself, making it thrill with a passionate tenderness that brought the color back into her pallid cheek. "But I cannot remain," he went on, "I dare not; all that I can do is to say something that may help you in the future."
She looked at him with dilated eyes full of pain and bewilderment.
"I have no future if you go away. Why must you go? What will be left me after you are gone? Think how long I was here alone after my mother died, with no one to understand me, no one to talk to. Then you came, and I was happy. It was like light shining in the darkness; now it goes out and I can never hope again. Why must you go away and leave Wallulah in the dark?"
There was a childlike plaintiveness and simplicity in her tone; and she came close to him, looking up in his face with wistful, pleading eyes, the beautiful face wan and drawn with bewilderment and pain, yet never so beautiful as now.
Cecil felt the unspeakable cruelty of his attitude toward her, and his face grew white as death in an awful struggle between love and duty. But he felt that he must leave her or be disloyal to his God.
"I do not wish to go away. But God has called me to a great work, and I must do it. I dare not turn aside. You cannot know how dear your presence is to me, or how bitter it is for me to part from you. But our parting must be, else the work I have done among the tribes will be scattered to the winds and the curse of God will be on me as a false and fallen prophet."
He spoke with a kind of fierceness, striving blindly to battle down the mad longing within, and his tones had a harshness that he was too agitated to notice. She drew back involuntarily. There came into her face a dignity he had never seen before. She was but a recluse and a girl, but she was of royal lineage by right of both her parents, and his words had roused a spirit worthy the daughter of Multnomah.
"Am I a weight on you? Are you afraid I will bring a curse upon you? Do not fear, I shall no longer ask you to stay. Wallulah shall take herself out of your life."
She gave him a look full of despair, as if seeing all hope go from her forever; then she said simply, "Farewell," and turned away.
But in spite of her dignity there was an anguish written on her sweet pale face that he could not resist. All his strength of resolve, all his conviction of duty, crumbled into dust as she turned away; and he was conscious only that he loved her, that he could not let her go.
How it happened he never knew, but she was clasped in his arms, his kisses were falling on brow and cheek in a passionate outburst that could be kept back no longer. At first, she trembled in his arms and shrank away from him; then she nestled close, as if sheltering herself in the love that was hers at last. After awhile she lifted a face over which a shadow of pain yet lingered.
"But you said I would bring you a curse; you feared—"
He stopped her with a caress.
"Even curses would be sweet if they came through you. Forget what I said, remember only that I love you!"
And she was content.
Around them the twilight darkened into night; the hours came and went unheeded by these two, wrapped in that golden love-dream which for a moment brings Eden back again to this gray old earth, all desolate as it is with centuries of woe and tears.
But while they talked there was on him a vague dread, an indefinable misgiving, a feeling that he was disloyal to his mission, disloyal to her; that their love could have but one ending, and that a dark one.
Still he strove hard to forget everything, to shut out all the world,—drinking to the full the bliss of the present, blinding his eyes to the pain of the future.
But after they parted, when her presence was withdrawn and he was alone, he felt like a man faithless and dishonored; like a prophet who had bartered the salvation of the people to whom he had been sent, in exchange for a woman's kisses, which could bring him only disgrace and death.
As he went back to the camp in the stillness of midnight, he was startled by a distant roar, and saw through the tree-tops flames bursting from the far-off crater of Mount Hood. The volcano was beginning one of its periodical outbursts. But to Cecil's mind, imbued with the gloomy supernaturalism of early New England, and unconsciously to himself, tinged in later years with the superstition of the Indians among whom he had lived so long, that ominous roar, those flames leaping up into the black skies of night, seemed a sign of the wrath of God.
ORATOR AGAINST ORATOR.
The gravity, fixed attention, and decorum of these sons of the forest was calculated to make for them a most favorable impression.—GRAY: History of Oregon.
The next day all the Indians were gathered around the council grove. Multnomah presided, and every sachem was in his place.
There was to be a trial of eloquence,—a tourney of orators, to see which tribe had the best. Only one, the most eloquent of each tribe, was to speak; and Multnomah was to decide who was victor. The mother of Wallulah had introduced the custom, and it had become popular among the Indians.
Cecil was in his place among the chiefs, with worn face and abstracted air; Snoqualmie was present, with hawk-like glance and imperious mien; there was Mishlah, with his sullen and brutal features; there, too, wrapped closely in his robe of fur, sat Tohomish, brooding, gloomy,—the wild empire's mightiest master of eloquence, and yet the most repulsive figure of them all.
The Indians were strangely quiet that morning; the hush of a superstitious awe was upon them. The smoking mountains, Hood and Adams as the white man calls them, Au-poo-tah and Au-ka-ken in the Indian tongue, were becoming active of late. The previous night flame had been seen bursting from the top of Mount Hood and thick black smoke still puffed upward from it, and on Mount Adams rested a heavy cloud of volcanic vapors. Were the mountains angry? Aged men told how in the old time there had been a terrible outburst of flame and ashes from Mount Hood; a rain of fire and stones had fallen over all the Willamette valley; the very earth had trembled at the great mountain's wrath.
As the lower animals feel in the air the signs of a coming storm, so these savages felt, by some kindred intuition, that a mysterious convulsion of Nature was at hand. They talked in low tones, they were subdued in manner; any one coming suddenly upon them would have been impressed by the air of uneasiness and apprehension that everywhere prevailed. But the chiefs were stoical, and Multnomah impassive as ever.
Could it have been that the stormy influences at work in Nature lent energy to the orators that day? They were unusually animated, at least for Indians, though a white man would have found them intolerably bombastic. Each speech was a boastful eulogy of the speaker's tribe, and an exaggerated account of the wonderful exploits of its warriors.
This was rather dangerous ground; for all the tribes had been at enmity in days gone by, and some of their most renowned victories had been won over each other. Every one took it in good part, however, except Mishlah. When We-math, chief of the Klamaths, recounting the exploits of his race, told how in ancient times they had lorded it over the Mollalies, Mishlah glared at him as if tempted to leap upon him and strike him down. Fortunately the orator passed on to other things, and the wrath of the Mollalie chief gradually cooled.
Then came Cecil. It was a grand opening. He could speak of his own people, of their ancient savagery and present splendor, and show how the gospel of love and justice had been the cause of their elevation. Then would come the appeal to the Indians to accept this faith as their own and share in its uplifting power. It was a magnificent opportunity, the opportunity of a life-time.
But the mental conflict he had just passed through had rent his mind like a volcanic upheaval. It possessed no longer the intense concentration which had been the source of its strength. Tenderness, benevolence, missionary zeal, were still there, but no longer sovereign. Other passions divided his heart; a hopeless and burning love consumed his being.
He spoke, but the fire was gone from his delivery and the vividness from his imagination. His eloquence was not what it had been; his heart was no longer in his work, and his oration was a failure.
Even the Indians noticed that something was lacking in his oratory, and it no longer moved them as it had done. Cecil realized it, and strove to speak with more energy, but in vain; he could not arouse himself; and it was with a consciousness of failure that he brought his speech to a close and resumed his seat.
To a man of his morbid conscientiousness only one conclusion was possible.
"God sent me to proclaim salvation to these children of darkness," he thought, "and I have turned aside to fill my heart with a woman's love. His wrath is on me. He has taken his spirit from me. I am a thing rejected and accursed, and this people will go down to death because I have failed in my mission."
While he sat absorbed in these bitter, self-accusing thoughts, the speaking went on. Wau-ca-cus the Klickitat made a strong "talk," picturesque in Indian metaphor, full of energy. But the chief that followed surpassed him. Orator caught fire from orator; thoughts not unworthy a civilized audience were struck out by the intensity of the emulation; speakers rose to heights which they had never reached before, which they were destined never to reach again. In listening to and admiring their champions, the tribes forgot the smoking mountains and the feeling of apprehension that had oppressed them. At length Snoqualmie made a speech breathing his own daring spirit in every word. It went immeasurably beyond the others; it was the climax of all the darkly splendid eloquence of the day.
No, not of all. From his place among the chiefs rose a small and emaciated figure; the blanket that had muffled his face was thrown aside, and the tribes looked on the mis-shapen and degraded features of Tohomish the Pine Voice. He stood silent at first, his eyes bent on the ground, like a man in a trance. For a moment the spectators forgot the wonderful eloquence of the man in his ignoble appearance. What could he do against Wau-ca-cus the Klickitat and Snoqualmie the Cayuse, whose sonorous utterances still rang in their ears, whose majestic presence still filled their minds!
"The Willamettes are beaten at last,—the Willamette speakers can no more be called the best," was the one exultant thought of the allies, and the Willamettes trembled for the fame of their orators. Back in the shadow of the cottonwoods, an old Willamette warrior put an arrow on the string and bent his bow unseen on Tohomish.
"He cannot beat them, and it shall never be said that Tohomish failed," he muttered. At that moment, even as death hung over him, the orator's voice was heard beginning his "talk;" and the warrior's hand fell, the bent bow was relaxed, the arrow dropped from the string. For with the first accents of that soft and lingering voice the tribes were thrilled as with the beginning of music.
The orator's head was still bent down, his manner abstracted; he spoke of the legends and the glories of the Willamette tribe, but spoke of them as if that tribe belonged to the past, as if it had perished from the earth, and he was telling the tale of a great dead race. His tones were melodious but indescribably mournful. When at length he lifted his face, his eyes shone with a misty light, and his brutal features were illuminated with a weird enthusiasm. A shudder went through the vast and motley assembly. No boastful rant was this, but a majestic story of the past, the story of a nation gone forever. It was the death-song of the Willamettes, solemnly rendered by the last and greatest orator of the race.
At length he spoke of Multnomah and of the power of the confederacy in his time, but spoke of it as of old time, seen dimly through the lapse of years. Then, when as it seemed he was about to go on and tell how this power came to fall, he hesitated; the words faltered on his lips; he suddenly broke off, took his seat, and drew his robe again over his face.
The effect was indescribable. The portentous nature of the whole speech needed only that last touch of mystery. It sent through every heart a wild and awesome thrill, as at the shadow of approaching destiny.
The multitude were silent; the spell of the prophet's lofty and mournful eloquence still lingered over them. Multnomah rose. With him rested the decision as to who was the greatest orator. But the proud old war-chief knew that all felt that Tohomish had far surpassed his competitors, and he was resolved that not his lips but the voice of the tribes should proclaim their choice.
"Multnomah was to decide who has spoken best, but he leaves the decision with you. You have heard them all. Declare who is the greatest, and your word shall be Multnomah's word."
There was an instant's silence; then in a murmur like the rush of the sea came back the voice of the multitude.
"Tohomish! Tohomish! he is greatest!"
"He is greatest," said Multnomah. But Tohomish, sitting there dejectedly, seemed neither to see nor hear.
"To-morrow," said the war-chief, "while the sun is new, the chiefs will meet in council and the great talk shall be ended. And after it ends, Multnomah's daughter will be given to Snoqualmie, and Multnomah will bestow a rich potlatch [a giving of gifts] on the people. And then all will be done."
The gathering broke up. Gradually, as the Indians gazed on the smoking mountains, the excitement produced by the oratory they had just heard wore off. Only Tohomish's sombre eloquence, so darkly in unison with the menacing aspect of Nature, yet lingered in every mind. They were frightened and startled, apprehensive of something to come. Legends, superstitious lore of by-gone time connected with the "smoking mountains," were repeated that afternoon wherever little groups of Indians had met together. Through all these gathered tribes ran a dread yet indefinable whisper of apprehension, like the first low rustle of the leaves that foreruns the coming storm.
Over the valley Mount Adams towered, wrapped in dusky cloud; and from Mount Hood streamed intermittent bursts of smoke and gleams of fire that grew plainer as the twilight fell. Louder, as the hush of evening deepened, came the sullen roar from the crater of Mount Hood. Below the crater, the ice-fields that had glistened in unbroken whiteness the previous day were now furrowed with wide black streaks, from which the vapor of melting snow and burning lava ascended in dense wreaths. Men wiser than these ignorant savages would have said that some terrible convulsion was at hand.
Multnomah's announcement in the council was a dreadful blow to Cecil, though he had expected it. His first thought was of a personal appeal to the chief, but one glance at the iron features of the autocrat told him that it would be a hopeless undertaking. No appeal could turn Multnomah from his purpose. For Cecil, such an undertaking might be death; it certainly would be contemptuous refusal, and would call down on Wallulah the terrible wrath before which the bravest sachem quailed.
Cecil left the grove with the other chiefs and found his way to his lodge. There he flung himself down on his face upon his couch of furs. The Indian woman, his old nurse, who still clung to him, was absent, and for some time he was alone. After a while the flap that hung over the entrance was lifted, and some one came in with the noiseless tread of the Indian. Cecil, lying in a maze of bitter thought, became aware of the presence of another, and raised his head. The Shoshone renegade stood beside him. His gaze rested compassionately on Cecil's sad, worn face.
"What is it?" he asked. "Your words were slow and heavy to-day. There was a weight on your spirit; what is it? You said that we were friends, so I came to ask if I could help."
"You are good, and like a brother," replied Cecil, gently, "but I cannot tell you my trouble. Yet this much I can tell,"—and he sat upon the couch, his whole frame trembling with excitement. "I have sinned a grievous sin, therefore the Great Spirit took away the words from my lips to-day. My heart has become evil, and God has punished me."
It was a relief to his over-burdened conscience to say those harsh things of himself, yet the relief was bitter. Over the bronzed face of the Indian came an expression of deep pity.