But the triumph was not completed until the village, with its fields of standing corn, had been entirely destroyed—a work of cruel vengeance, yet not so much of vengeance as of policy; since the destruction of their crops, by driving the savages to seek a winter’s subsistence for their families in the forest, necessarily prevented their making warlike inroads upon their white neighbours during that season. The maize-stalks, accordingly, soon fell before the knives and hatchets of the Kentuckians; while the wigwams were given to the flames. When the last of the rude habitations had fallen, crashing, to the earth, the victors began their retreat towards the frontier; so that within a very few hours after they first appeared, as if bursting from the earth, amid the amazed barbarians, nothing remained upon the place of conflict and site of a populous village, save scattered ruins and mangled corses.
Their own dead the invaders bore to a distance, and interred in the deepest dens of the forest; and then, with their prisoners, carried with them as the surest means of inducing the tribe to beg for peace, in order to effect their deliverance, they resumed the path, which, in good time, led them again to the Settlements.
With the battle at the Black-Vulture’s town, the interest of our history ceases; and there it may be said to have its end. The deliverance of the cousins, the one from captivity and death, the other from a fate to her more dreadful than death; the restoration of the will of their uncle; and the fall of the daring and unprincipled villain to whose machinations they owed all their calamities, had changed the current of their fortunes, which was now to flow in a channel where the eye could no longer trace obstructions. The last peal of thunder had dissipated the clouds of adversity, and the star of their destiny shone out with all its original lustre. The future was no longer one of mere hope; it presented all the certainty of happiness of which human existence is capable.
Such being the case, it would be a superfluous and unprofitable task to pursue our history further, were it not that other individuals, whose interests were so long intermingled with those of the cousins, have a claim upon our notice. And first, before speaking of the most important of all, the warlike man of peace, the man-slaying hater of blood, the redoubtable Nathan Slaughter, let us bestow a word upon honest Pardon Dodge, whose sudden re-appearance on the stage of life so greatly astonished the young Virginian.