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with a strong grape vine, led him towards their yillage.
The warrior finding all attempt to escape useless, resigned himself with seeming indifference to his fate. At first he scarcely thought that he should be put to death, for he knew the mild character of the people into whose hands he had fallen, and he relied still more on their known dread of his own warlike and formidable tribe. However, he prepared himself for the worst, and began to steel his heart against the fear of death. He did well, for, soon after they began their march his captors commanded him to sing his death-song. The youth obeyed, and in a strong deep chant began the customary boast of endurance and defiance of pain. He took up the strain at intervals, and in the pauses his conductors preserved a deep and stern silence.
At length the party came upon a kind of path in the woods, which they followed for a considerable distance, and then suddenly stopped short. All at once a long shrill startling cry burst from
It was the death-cry for their drowned companion.
It rang through the old woods, and was returned in melancholy echoes from the ouring mountains.
When the last of these had died away, the party put their hands to their mouths and uttered a second cry,
the four savages.
modulated into wild notes by the motion of their fingers. An interval of silence ensued, which was at length broken by a confused sound of shrill voices at a distance, faintly heard at first, but growing every moment more audible. few minutes two young warriors, who seemed to have come by a shorter way than the usual path, broke through the shrubs, and took their station without speaking a word, by the party who were conducting the prisoner. Presently a crowd of women and children from the village, appeared in the path, shouting and singing songs of victory; and these were followed by a group of old men, who walked in a grave silence. As soon as they came up, the party resumed their march, and led their prisoner in triumph to the village.
The village consisted of a cluster of cabins, irregularly scattered in a natural opening of the great forest, on the banks of a stream which brawled over a shallow stony bottom, between rocky banks, on its way to mingle with the Hud
The Indian appellation of this wild stream was Mawenawasigh, and it now bears the name of Wappinger's Creek.
In one respect the captive was fortunate. The chiefs and principal warriors of the tribe were absent on a hunting expedition, and it was
necessary, in so grave a matter, to delay the decision of the prisoner's fate until their return, which was expected in a few days. He was, therefore, taken to an unoccupied dwelling, placed on a mat, bound hand and foot, and fastened with a strong cord made of the sinews of the deer, to a tall post in the centre, supporting the roof. It was the office of one of his captors to keep watch over him during the day time, and at night two of them slept in the cabin. For the two first days his prison was thronged with visitors. The relatives of the drowned man, and of him who was slain below the Highlands, came to taunt him on his helplessness, to assure him of the certainty of a death by torture, and to exult in the prospect of vengeance. Others came and gazed at him with an unfeeling curiosity. I should have mentioned that he was of Mohawk extraction, the son of a warrior adopted into a Mohegan tribe, and that he possessed all the physical peculiarities of his noble race. They spoke to each other, commending his fine warlike air, his lofty stature and well turned limbs, and said that doubtless he would die bravely. One only seemed to regard him with sympathy. A sweet female face looked in several times at the door, and turned sorrowfully away.
On the third day as the captive sat alone in the
cabin, the same lovely face again showed itself at the door, and a graceful figure, just ripened to the perfection of womanly symmetry, entered. A look of surprise and pleasure shone in the features of the young warrior, but it passed away like a sunbeam in winter, and was succeeded by the usual expression of indifference belonging
Young man,” said the maiden, “ art thou willing to die?"
• The warriors of my tribe,” he answered, " fear not death."
“But thou art yet young, and the light is still pleasant to thine eyes. It is but yesterday that thou wert received into the number of warriors, and thou hast never sat at the council fire. Thou wilt be unhonoured in the land of souls. Thou wilt go from among the warriors and hunters of thy tribe as the stranger goeth to his own country, and thy name will be no more heard. It is a pity that thou shouldst die.”
The warrior cast his eyes around, and was silent for a moment. “ At least,” said he,“ I shall die like a warrior from the country whose brooks run into the great salt water lake.”
Vhen he ised his eyes the maiden had departed, but her words had engraved themselves deeply on his mind. His heart acknowledged
the truth of her saying that the light was yet pleasant to his eyes. It was hard to take the long journey of death thus early, to leave his tribe, his friends, his brother warriors, the broad hunting grounds and waters of his tribe, and the plans of ambition and glory he had formed. It was hard too, to leave a world in which dwelt such lovely beings as she who had given him her sympathy. It was worth while to live were it only that he might have the opportunity of convincing her that he was not ungrateful. The artificial fortitude to which he had wrought himself, in obedience to the ethics of his countrymen, began to waver, and the glory of a death of torture and endurance to lose its value in his
eyes. “ Would it not be better,” said he to himself, “to share a long life with the beautiful maiden who has just left me, to drive the deer and the wolf for her sake, and to come home loaded with game in the evening to the hearth that she should keep brightly burning for my return?"
The night came, but brought no sleep to the young warrior, until its watches had nearly expired. On awakening, he saw through the opening that served as a door to the cabin, that the sun was risen, and the surly savage who guarded him was standing before it. The moments passed heavily away; no one caine to the cabin save an