The Sioux were avenged; and the scalps that they brought home (nearly one hundred when the party joined them from the massacre at Saint Croix) bore witness to their triumph.
The other party of Sioux followed the Chippeways who had gone by way of the St. Croix. While the Chippeways slept, the war-cry of the Sioux aroused them. And though they fought bravely, they suffered as did their friends, and the darkness of night added terror to the scene.
The Dahcotahs returned with the scalps to their villages, and as they entered triumphantly, they were greeted with shouts of applause. The scalps were divided among the villages, and joyful preparations were made to celebrate the scalp-dance.
The scalps were stretched upon hoops, and covered with vermilion, ornamented with feathers, ribbons and trinkets.
On the women’s scalps were hung a comb, or a pair of scissors, and for months did the Dahcotah women dance around them. The men wore mourning for their enemies, as is the custom among the Dahcotahs.
When the dancing was done, the scalps were buried with the deceased relatives of the Sioux who took them.
And this is Indian, but what is Christian warfare? The wife of the hero lives to realize her wretchedness; the honors paid by his countrymen are a poor recompense for the loss of his love and protection. The life of the child too, is safe, but who will lead him in the paths of virtue, when his mother has gone down to the grave.
Let us not hear of civilized warfare! It is all the work of the spirits of evil. God did not make man to slay his brother, and the savage alone can present an excuse. The Dahcotah dreams not that it is wrong to resent an injury to the death; but the Christian knows that God has said, Vengeance is mine!
The Track-maker had added to his fame. He had taken many scalps, and the Dahcotah maidens welcomed him as a hero—as one who would no longer refuse to acknowledge the power of their charms. They asked him eagerly of the fight—whom he had killed first—but they derived but little satisfaction from his replies. They found he resisted their advances, and they left him to his gloomy thoughts.
Every scene he looked upon added to his grief. Memory clung to him, recalling every word and look of Flying Shadow. But, that last look, could he ever forget it?
He tried to console himself with the thoughts of his triumph. Alas! her smile was sweeter than the recollection of revenge. He had waded in the blood of his enemies; he had trampled upon the hearts of the men he hated; but he had broken the heart of the only woman he had ever loved.
In the silence of the night her death-cry sounded in his ear; and he would start as if to flee from the sound. In his dreams he saw again that trustful face, that look of appeal—and then the face of stone, when she saw that she had appealed in vain.