For a short time broken and shrill cries were heard from the other teepees, but they were soon over. The two wives of Red Face had laid down without a fear, though their protector was absent. The elder of the two clasped her children to her heart, consoled, in a measure, while listening to their calm breathing, for the loss of the love of her husband. She knew that the affections of a husband might vary, but the tie between mother and child is indissoluble.
The young wife wondered that Red Face was not by her side. But he would return to-morrow, and her welcome would be all the greeting that he would wish for. While her thoughts are assuming the form of dreams, she sees the fatal weapon pointed at the mother and child. The bullet that kills the sleeping infant on its mother’s breast, wounds the mother also; but she flies in horror, though not soon enough to escape the sight of her other pleading child, her warrior-son, vainly clasping his hands in entreaty to the savage, who, with another blow from his tomahawk, puts an end to his sufferings. The wretched mother escapes, for Hole-in-the-Day enters the teepee, and takes prisoner the younger wife. She escapes a present death—what will be her future fate?
The elder of the two wives escaped from the murderous Chippeways. Again and again, in the darkness of the night, she turns back to flee from her deadly foe, but far more from the picture of her children, murdered before her eyes. She knew the direction in which the Dahcotahs who had left the party had encamped, and she directed her steps to find them. One would think she would have asked death from her enemies—her husband loved her no more, her children were dead—but she clung to life.
She reached the teepees at last, and hastened to tell of her sorrows, and of the treachery of Hole-in-the-Day. For a moment the utmost consternation prevailed among the Indians, but revenge was the second thought, and rapidly were their preparations made to seek the scene of the murder. The distance was accomplished in a short time, and the desolation lay before their eyes.
The fires in the teepees were not gone out; the smoke was ascending to the heavens; while the voices of the murdered Dahcotahs seemed to call upon their relatives for revenge.. There lay the warriors, who, brave as Hole-in-the-Day, had laid aside their weapons, and reposed on the faith of their enemies, their strong limbs powerless, their faces turned towards the light, which fell upon their glassy eyes. See the mother, as she bends over the bodies of her innocent children!—her boy, who walked so proudly, and said he would kill deer for his mother; her infant, whose life had been taken, as it were, from her very heart. She strains them to her bosom, but the head leans not towards her, and the arms are stiff in death.
Red Face has asked for his young wife. She is alive, but, far worse than death, she is a prisoner to the Chippeways. His children are dead before his eyes, and their mother, always obedient and attentive, does not hear him when he speaks to her. The remains of the feast are scattered on the ground; the pipe of peace lies broken among them.