The following day was one of unusual animation and bustle in the Indian village, as the prisoners could distinguish even from their several places of confinement, without, however, being sensible of the cause. Prom sunrise until after mid-day, they heard, at intervals, volleys of fire-arms shot off at the skirts of the town, which, being followed by shrill halloos as from those who fired them, were immediately re-echoed by all the throats in the village—men, women, children, and dogs uniting in a clamour that was plainly the outpouring of savage exultation and delight. It seemed as if parties of warriors, returning victorious from the lands of the Long-knife, were, time after time, marching into and through the village, proclaiming the success of their arms, and exhibiting the trophies of their triumph. The hubbub increased, the shouts became more frequent and multitudinous, and the village for a second time seemed given up to the wildest and maddest revelry, to the sway of unchained demons, or of men abandoned to all the horrible impulses of lycanthropy.
During all this time, the young Virginian lay bound in a wigwam, guarded by a brace of old warriors, who occasionally varied the tedium of watching by stalking to the door, where, like yelping curs paying their respects to passers-by, they up-lifted their voices and vented a yell or two in testimony of their approbation of what was going on without. Now and then, also, they even left the wigwam, but never for more than a few moments at a time; when, having thus amused themselves, they would return, squat themselves down by the prisoner’s side, and proceed to entertain him with sundry long-winded speeches in their own dialect, of which, of course, he understood not a word. Wrapped in his own bitter thoughts, baffled in his last hope, and now grown indifferent what might befall him, he lay upon the earthen floor during the whole day, expecting almost every moment to behold some of the shouting crew of the village rush into the hovel and drag him away to the tortures which, at that period, were so often the doom of the prisoner.
But the solitude of his prison-house was invaded only by his two old jailers; and it was not until nightfall that he beheld a third human countenance. At that period, Telie Doe stole trembling into the hut, bringing him food, which she set before him, but with looks of deep grief and deeper abasement, which he might have attributed to shame and remorse for a part played in the scheme of captivity, had not all her actions shown that, although acquainted with the meditated outrage, she was sincerely desirous to avert it.
Her appearance awakened his dormant spirits, and recalled the memory of his kinswoman, of whom he besought her to speak, though well aware she could speak neither hope nor comfort. But scarce had Telie, more abashed and more sorrowful at the question, opened her lips to reply, when one of the old Indians interposed, with a frown of displeasure, and, taking her by the arm, led her angrily to the door, where he waved her away, with gestures that seemed to threaten a worse reception should she presume to return.