The valour of the man of peace was fortunately seconded on this occasion by Dodge and the negro, the former from his hiding place in the ravine, the latter from among the ruins; and the enemy, thus seriously warned of the danger of approaching too nigh a fortress manned by what very naturally appeared to them eight different persons,—for such, including the pistols, was the number of fire-arms,—retired precipitately to the woods, where they expressed their hostility only by occasional whoops, and now and then by a shot fired impotently against the ruins.
The success of this second defence, the spirited behaviour of Dodge and Emperor, but more than all the happy change in the principles and practice of Nathan, who seemed as if about to prove that he could deserve the nickname of Tiger so long bestowed upon him in derision, greatly relieved the spirits of the soldier, who was not without hopes of being able to maintain the contest until the enemy should be discouraged and driven off, or some providential accident bring him succour. He took advantage of the cessation of hostilities to creep into the hovel and whisper words of assurance to his feebler dependents, of whom indeed Telie Doe now betrayed the greatest distress and agitation, while Edith, on the contrary, maintained, as he judged—for the fire was extinguished, and he saw not her countenance—a degree of tranquillity he had not dared to hope. It was a tranquillity, however, resulting from despair and stupor,—a lethargy of spirit, resulting from overwrought feelings, in which she happily remained, more than half unconscious of what was passing around her.
The enemy, twice repulsed, and on both occasions with severe loss, had been taught the folly of exposing themselves too freely to the fire of the travellers; but although driven back, they manifested little inclination to fly further than was necessary to obtain shelter, and as little to give over their fierce purposes. Concealing themselves severally behind logs, rocks, and bushes, and so disposing their force as to form a line around the ruin, open only towards the river, where escape was obviously impracticable, they employed themselves keeping a strict watch upon the hovel, firing repeated volleys, and as often uttering yells, with which they sought to strike terror into the hearts of the besieged. Occasionally some single warrior, bolder than the rest, would creep near the ruins, and obtaining such shelter as he could, discharge his piece at any mouldering beam, or other object, which his fancy converted into the exposed body of a defender. But the travellers had taken good care to establish themselves in such positions among the ruins as offered the best protection; and although the bullets whistled sharp and nigh, not a single one had yet received a wound; nor was there much reason to apprehend injury so long as the darkness of night befriended them.