The sympathy felt by the Kentuckian in the story was experienced in a still stronger degree by Telie Doe, the girl of the loom, who, little noticed, if at all, by the two, sat apparently occupied with her work, yet drinking in every word uttered by the young soldier with a deep and eager interest, until Roland by chance looking round, beheld her large eyes fastened upon him, with a wild, sorrowful look, of which, however, she herself seemed quite unconscious, that greatly surprised him. The Kentuckian observing her at the same time, called to her,—“What, Telie, my girl, are you working upon a holiday? You should be dressed like the others, and making friends with the stranger lady. And so git away with you now, and make yourself handsome, and don’t stand thar looking as if the gentleman would eat you.”
“A qu’ar crittur she, poor thing!” said Bruce, looking after her commiseratingly; “and a stranger might think her no more nor half-witted. But she has sense enough, poor crittur! and, I reckon, is just as smart, if she war not so humble and skittish, as any of my own daughters.”
“What,” said Roland, “is she not then your child?”
“No, no,” replied Bruce, shaking his head; “a poor crittur, of no manner of kin whatever. Her father war an old friend, or acquaintance-like; for, rat it, I won’t own friendship for any such apostatised villians, no how:—but the man war taken by the Shawnees; and so as thar war none to befriend her, and she war but a little chit no bigger nor my hand, I took to her myself and raised her. But the worst of it is, and that’s what makes her so wild and skeary, her father, Abel Doe, turned Injun himself, like Girty, Elliot, and the rest of them refugee scoundrels you’ve h’ard of. Now that’s enough, you see, to make the poor thing sad and frightful; for Abel Doe is a rogue, thar’s no denying, and everybody hates and cusses him, as is but his due; and it’s natteral, now she’s growing old enough to be ashamed of him, she should be ashamed of herself too,—though thar’s nothing but her father to charge against her, poor creatur’. A bad thing for her to have an Injunised father; for if it war’nt for him, I reckon, my son Tom, the brute, would take to her, and marry her.”
“Poor creature, indeed!” muttered Roland to himself, contrasting in thought the condition of this helpless and deserted girl with that of his own unfortunate kinswoman, and sighing to acknowledge that it was still more forlorn and pitiable.
His sympathy was, however, but short-lived, being interrupted on the instant by a loud uproar of voices from the gate of the stockade, sounding half in mirth, half in triumph; while the junior Bruce was seen approaching the porch, looking the very messenger of good news.
“What’s the matter, Tom Bruce?” said the father, eyeing him with surprise.
“Matter enough,” responded the young giant, with a grin of mingled awe and delight; “the Jibbenainosay is up again!”