« PreviousContinue »
youngest of the party, and was very advise.Listen for once to the counreserved and unprepossessing in his asa sels of Thakakawerenté." The first pect, ånd seemed to know me, but I speaker then waved his hand, as a sigcould not recollect of ever having seen nal that I should follow them, and the him before.
whole party proceeded in the same orIn the afternoon the rain ceased, and der as before. the Indians began to prepare for tra- Our leader pushed forward, appavelling. When they had accoutred rently, without the least hesitation, themselves, they all rose from the though, accustomed as I was to the ground without speaking a word, and woods, I could not discover the slightwalked away, one man taking the lead. est trace of a footpath. He sometimes I perceived that they did not intend slackened his pace for a few moments, that I should be of the party, but I and looked thoughtfully at the trees, followed them immediately, and, ad- and then advanced as fast as before. dressing myself to the person who pre- None of the party spoke a word;
and ceded the others, told him, that I must the rustling of the dry leaves under accompany them, as I neither could their feet was the only sound that dislive in the woods alone, nor knew in turbed the silence of the forest. what part of the country I was. He Though freed from the fear of perishstopped and surveyed me from head ing for want, I could not reflect upon to foot, saying, “Where is your gun? my situation without uneasiness and Where is your knife? Where is your alarm; and my chance of being able tomahawk?” I replied, that I had lost to return to the post seemed to dimithem among the ice. “ My friend,” nish every step I took. I felt excesreturned he, “ don't make the Great sively fatigued, not having enjoyed Spirit angry, by saying what is notó any natural or composed sleep the preThat man knows who you are," point- ceding night, and the roughness of the ing to the Indian who had observed ground over which we passed, added me so closely. “ We all know who to my weariness in an intolerable de you are.
You have come to trade gree; but I could not venture to rest with us, and I suppose your compani- by the way, lest I should lose sight of ons have concealed themselves at à the Indians for ever. distance, lest the appearance of a num
Soon after sunset, we stopped for ber of white men should intimidate the night, and the men set about erectus. They are right. Experience has ing a wigwam, while the women kintaught us to fear white men ; but their dled a fire. One of our party had killed art, not their strength, makes us trem- a small deer, in the course of our jourble. Go away, we do not wish to have ney, and he immediately proceeded to any transactions with you. We are skin the animal, that a portion of it not to be betrayed or overpowered by might be dressed for supper. When liquid fire,* or any thing else you can the venison was ready, they all sat offer us. None of us shall harm you. down and partook of it
, and a liberal I have spoken the truth, for I have allowance was handed to me; but the * not two mouths."
same silence prevailed that had hitherto When he had finished this oration, been observed among them, and the he remained silent, and I felt at a loss comforts of a plentiful repast after a what to reply. At last I repeated my long journey, did not appear in the story, and endeavoured to convince least degree to promote social commu.. him that I neither had any compa- nication. The meal being finished, nions, nor was at all in a situaticn to the men filled their pipes with odoritrade with his people, or do them the ferous herbs, and began to smoke in slightest injury. He listened calmly the most sedate manner, and the woto my arguments, and seemed to think men prepared beds by spreading skins there was some weight in them; and upon the ground. The composed de the young man already mentioned meanour of the party harmonized well stepped forward, and said, "Let the with the silence and gloominess of the stranger go with us '--the bones of my night; and it seemed that the awful father cry out against our leaving him solitude of the forests in which they behind. 'I am young, but I dare to lived, and the sublime and enduring
forms under which nature continually course in the manner he directed. The
presented herself to their eyes, had moon was rising, and I could see to a u impressed them with a sense of their considerable distance around. The
own insignificance, and of the tran- rustling of the dry leaves among my sitoriness of their daily occupations feet often made me think that some
and enjoyments, and rendered them one walked close behind me, and I 4 thoughtful, taciturn, and unsuscepti- scarcely dared to look back, lest I * ble. I seated myself at the root of a should see an uplifted tomahawk de
large tree near the wigwam, and con- scending upon my head. I sometimes $tinued observing its inmates, till, over- fancied I observed Thakakawerente come by fatigue, I sunk into a deep lurking among the brushwood, and
stopped short till imagination conju. About midnight I was awakened by red up his form in a different part of soine one pulling my hand, and, on the forest, and rendered me irresolute 7.
looking up, I perceived the Indian who which phantom I should endeavour to 7 had opposed my accompanying them, avoid.
and whose name was Qutalisso, stand- I reached the tree sooner than I ex
ing beside me. He put his finger on pected : It lay along the ground, and This lips, by way of enjoining silence, its immense roots projected from the i and motioned that I should rise and trunk, at right angles, to the height of
follow him. I obeyed, and he led me twelve or fourteen feet, their interstices
behind a large tree which grew at a being so filled with earth, that it was #: little distance from the wigwam, and impossible to see through them. 1 said, in a low voice,“ Listen to me, my I sat down, and found the agitation
friend. I told you that you would of my spirits gradually subside, under receive no harm from us; and shall I the tranquillizinginfluence of thescene, belie my words? Thakakawerenté,who Not a breath of wind shook the trees,
requested that you might be allowed the leafless and delicately-fibred boughs # to follow our steps, says that his father of which, when viewed against the
was murdered by a party of people cloudless sky, seemed like a sable net under your command, about" nine workspread overhead. The nests which moons ago. This may be true, and the birds had made the preceding sumyou at the same time may be guileless; mer, still remained among the branchfor we cannot always controul those who es, silent, deserted, and unsheltered, are placed under our authority. He making the loneliness of the forest, as tells me that the spirit of the old man it were, visible to the mind; while a hastwice appeared to him in his dreams withered leaf sometimes dropped slowto-night, desiring him to put you to ly down--a sad memorial of the dedeath. He has gone to repose himself parted glories of the vegetable world. again, and if his father visits him a A small rivulet ran within a little dis, third time during sleep, he will cer- tance of me, but its course was so containly kill you whenever he awakes. çealed by long grass, that I would have You must, therefore, hasten away, if been aware of its existence by the mur. you wish to live any longer." “What muring of its waters only, had it not can I do?” cried I; " death awaits me glittered dazzlingly in the moonshine whether I remain here, or fly from at one spot, while flowing over a large Thakakawerenté. It is impossible for smooth stone. When I looked into the me to reach home alone.” “ Be pa- recesses of the forest, I saw the trees tient,” returned Outalisso, " and I will ranged before each other like colossal try to save you. Not far from hence, pillars, and gradually blending their the roots of a large oak, which has been stems together, until they formed a. blown down by the wind, stretch high dark and undefined mass. In some into the air, and may be seen at a great places, a scathed trunk, whitened with distance. You must go there, and the moss of successive centuries, stood wait till I come to you. Keep the erect in spectral grandeur, like a being mossy side of the trees on your left whom immense age and associations, hand, and you will find the place rivetted to long-past times,
had isolawithout any difficulty."
ted from the sympathies of his fellow Outalissó motioned me to hurry mortals. As the moon gradually rose 2way, and I departed with a palpita- on the arch of heaven, her light fell at ting heart, and plunged into the re- different angles, and the aspect of the cesses of the forest, and regulated my woods was continually changing. New
and grander groupes of trees came into turb the slumbers of a feeble human view, and mighty caks and chesnuts being. seemed to stalk forward, with majestic I waited impatiently for the appearslowness, from the surrounding obscu- ance of Outalisso, who had not informrity, and, after a time, to give place to ed me at what hour I might expect to à succession of others, by retiring a- see him. The stars now twinkled feemidst the darkness from which they bly amidst the faint glow of dawn that had at first emerged. Tremours of awe began to light the eastern horizon, and began to pervade my frame, and I al- the setting moon appeared behind some most expected that the tones of some pines, and threw a rich yellow radiance superhuman voice would break the upon their dark-green boughs. Gentle appalling silence that prevailed in the rustlings among the trees, and low wilderness around me.
chirpings, announced that the birds My mind, by degrees, became so began to feel the influence of approachcalm, that I dropped into a half slum- ing day; and I sometimes observed a ber, during which I had a distinct per- solitary wolf stealing cautiously along ception where I was, but totally forgot in the distance. While engaged in the circumstances connected with my contemplating the scene, I suddenly situation. A slight noise at length thought I saw an Indian a little way startled me, and I awaked full of ter- off. I could not ascertain whether or ror, but could not conceive why I should not it was Ou talisso, but fearing it feel such alarm, until recollection made might be Thakakawerenté, whom I the form of Thakakawerenté flash upon dreaded to encounter in my unarmed my mind. I saw a number of indis- state, I retired from the roots of the tinct forms moving backwards and for- tree, and concealed myself among some wards, a little way from me, and heard brushwood. something beating gently upon the I remained there for some time, but ground. A small cloud floated before did not perceive any one near me, and the moon, and I waited with breath- thinking that I had been deceived by less impatience till it passed away, and fancy, I resolved to return to my forallowed her full radiance to reach the mer station, and accordingly set out earth. I then discovered that five deer towards the great tree, but shortly behad come to drink at the rivulet, and came alarmed at neither reaching it that the noise of them striking their nor seeing it so soon as I expected] fore-feet against its banks had aroused turned back in mach agitation, and me. They stood gazing at me with an endeavoured to retrace my steps to the aspect so meek and beautiful, that they brushwood, but all in vain. I exaalmost seemed to incorporate with the mined the most remarkable trees-amoonlight, but, after a little time, round me, without being able to restarted away, and disappeared among collect of having seen one of them bethe mazes of the forest.
fore. I perceived that I had lost myWhen I surveyed the heavens, I self. The moment I became aware of perceived by the alteration which had this, my faculties and perceptions taken place in their appearance, that I seemed to desert me one after another, had slept a considerable time. The and at last I was conscious of being in moon had begun to descend towards existence only by the feeling of chathe horizon; a new succession of stars otic and insupportable hopelessness glittered upon the sky; the respective which remained; but after a little positions of the different constellations time, all my intellectual powers rewere changed; and one of the planets turned with increased vigour and an which had been conspicuous from its cuteness, and appeared to vie with each dazzling lustre, a few hours before, other in giving me a vivid sense of the had set, and was no longer distinguish- horrors of my situation. My soul seemable. It was overpowering to think ed incapable of affording play to the that all these changes had been effect- tumultuous crowd of feelings that ed without noise, tumult, or confusion, struggled to manifest themselves. I and that worlds performed their revo- hurried wildly from one place to anlutions, and travelled through the other, calling on Outalisso and Thakaboundlessness of space, with a silence kawerenté by turns. The horrible si. too profound to awaken an echo in the lence that prevailed was more distracte noiseless depths of the forest, or dis- ing than a thousand deafening noises
the me d natin
#ould have been. I staggered about confusion still more distracting. I in a state of dizzy perturbation. My stood still in one spot, looking fearfully ears began to ring with unearthly from side to side, in the prospect of
sounds, and every object became dis being crushed to death by some imghteps torted and terrific. The trees seemed mense mass of falling timber, for the twinkle
to start from their places, and rush trees around me, when viewed through of daran past each other, intermingling their the distorting medium of the fog, i horizes branches with furious violence and often appeared to have lost their per. dbehiple horrible crashings, while the moon ca. pendicularity, and to be bending toHow To reered along the sky, and the stars wards the earth, although they only
hurried backwards and forwards with waved in the wind. At last I crept
eddying and impetuous motions. under the trunk of an oak that lay hat the I tried in vain for a long time to along the ground, resolving to remain
compose myself, and to bring my feel- there until the tempest should abate.
ings under due subordination. The A short time before sunset the wind ationshte remembrance of the past was obliter. had ceased, the mists were dissipated,
ated and renewed by fits and starts; and a portion of the blue sky appeared
but at best, my recollection of any directly above me. Encouraged by in a line thing that had occurred to me previous these favourable appearances, I ven,
to the breaking up of the ice upon the tured from my place of refuge, and out fece lake, was shadowy, dim, and unsatis- began to think of making another anté, oh factory, and I felt as if the former part attempt to regain the great tree, when
of my life had been spent in another I heard the report of a rifle. I was so world. I lay down among the withere petrified with joy and surprise that I ed leaves, and covered my face with had no power to call out till the firing my hands, that I might avoid the men- was repeated. I then shouted “ Outtal distraction occasioned by the sight alisso” several times, and soon saw
of external objects. I began to reflect him advancing towards me. in detail that I could not possibly have as yet
“ Why are you not at the place I wandered far from the great tree, and appointed,” cried he; “ I feared you that if I called upon Outalisso at in. had lost yourself, and discharged 'my tervals, he might perhaps hear me and gun as a signal,—but all danger is come to my relief. Consoled by the past-Thakakawerenté is dead, I killidea, I gradually became quiet and ed him.". There was soine blood on resigned.
Qutalisso's dress, but he looked so 1 soon began to make the woods re- calm and careless that I hesitated to sound with the name of Outalisso; believe what he told me. but, in the course of the day, a tempest “ I do not deceive you,” said he, of wind arose, and raged with so much and I will tell you how Thakaka
He of the noise that I could hardly hear my own werenté came by his death.
voice. A dense mist filled the air, and awaked soon after midnight, and not involved every thing in such obscurity finding you in the camp, suspected that the sphere of my vision did not that I had told you that he intended extend beyond five or six yards. The to kill you. He taxed me with hafog was in continual agitation, rolling ving done so, and I scorned to deny it. along in volumes, ascending and de- His anger made hiın forget the truth, scending, bursting open and closing and he said I had betrayed my trust, again, and assuming strange and tran- and at the same time struck me on sitory forms. Every time the blast the face. Now you know an Indian received an accession of force, I heard never forgives a blow, or an accusation a confused roaring and crashing at a such, as he uttered. I buried my distance, which gradually increased in tomahawk in his head. His friends strength and distinctness, till it reach- lay asleep in the wigwam, and I draged that part of the forest that stretched ged away his body to some distance,
Then the trees began to and covered it with leaves, and then creak and groan incessantly, their concealed myself till I saw them set boughs were shattered against each out on their journey, which they other, fibres of wood whirled through soon did, doubtless supposing that the air in every direction, and showers Thakakawerenté and I had gone on of withered leaves caught up, and before. I have been at the great tree swept along by the wind, met and since morning, but the mist and the mingled with them, and rendered the tempest prevented me from seeking
Hinghe but shet
agitatie 7y step vain. 1
ters of her
you till now. Be satisfied, you shall for the purpose of collecting some bark see the corpse of Thakakawerenté.- to put in the bottom of the grave, end Follow me!"
I was left alone. Outalisso now began to proceed ra- The night was dark, dim, aid pidly though the forest, and I walked dreary, and the fire blazed feebly and behind him without uttering a word. irregularly. A superstitious awe stole We soon reached the spot where the over me, and I dared hardly look Indians had slept the preceding night, around, though I sometimes cast an als and found the wigwam remaining, and most involuntary glance at the corpse, likewise several embers of fire. My which had a wild and fearful appears companion immediately fanned them' ance. Thakakawerenté lay upon his into a state of brightness, and then back, and his long, lank, black hair collected some pieces of dry wood that was spread confusedly upon !is breast lay around, and piled them upon the and neck. His half-open eyes still res charcoal. The whole soon burst into tained a glassy lustre, and his teeth a blaze, and we both sat down within were firmly set against each other. its influence, Outalisso at the same Large dashes of blood stained his vest, time presenting me with a quantity of and his clenched hands, and contractpemican, which proved very acceptable, ed limbs, shewed what struggles had as I had eat nothing for more than preceded death. When the flickering twenty hours.
light of the fire happened to fall uponi After we had reposed ourselves a him, I almost fancied that he began to little, Outalisso rose up, and motioned move, and would have started away, that I should accompany him. He had not a depressing dread chained me conducted me to a small pile of brush- to the spot; but the sound of Outáwood and dry leaves, part of which he lisso's axe, in some degree, dissipated i immediately removed, and I saw the the fears that chilled my heart, and I corpse of Thakakawerenté stretched spent the time in listening to the rebeneath. I shrunk back, shuddering gular recurrence of its strokes, until with horror, but he pulled meforwards, he came back with an armful of bark. and said, I must assist him in convey- I assisted him in burying Thakakaing the body to the fire. Seeing me werenté under the shade of a tall wala still unwilling, he took it up in his nut tree ; and when we had aceomarms, and hurrying away, deposited plished this, we returned to the fire, it in the wigwam. I followed him; and waited till moonlight would enable and asked what he meant by doing so. us to pursue our journey. Outalisso “ Are you ignorant of our customs?” had willingly agreed to conduct me said he: “ When an Indian dies, all home, for he wished to change his his property must be buried with him. abode for a season, lest ThakakawerenHe who takes any thing that belong- té's relations should discover his guilt, ed to a dead person, will receive a and execute vengeance upon him. curse from the Great Spirit in addi- We set out about an hour after tion. After I had killed Thakakawe- midnight, and travelled through the renté, I took up his tomahawk by woods till dawn, when we came in mistake, and carried it away with me. sight of the river, on the banks of I must now restore it, and also cover which I had first fallen in with the him with earth lest his bones should Indians. In the course of the day, whiten in the sun."
Outalisso procured a canoe, and we Outalisso now proceeded to arrange paddled up the stream, and next mornthe dress of the dead man, and likewise ing reached the trading post on the stuck the tomahawk in his girdle. He side of the lake. next went a little way into the forest