True hearted, guileless girl! instinctively she felt that the path of duty leads to peace and happiness.
Oh, how this tyrant, doubt, torments my
My thoughts, like birds, who’re frighten’d from their nest,
Around the place where all was hush’d before,
Flutter, and hardly nestle any more.
Our story now reverts to the Indians, of whom we have for so long made little or no mention. It is in vain for us to attempt to control the course of our tale, and to compel it, as it were, to be content with the artificial banks of a canal, stealing insensibly on, with uniform smoothness, to its terminus. Whatever we may do, it will assert its liberty, and wander in its own way, foaming down rocks and rugged precipices, like a mountain stream, at one moment, at the next, stagnating into a pool, and afterwards gliding off in erratic windings, roaming like Ceres, searching through the world for her lost Proserpine. Not ours to subject the succession of events to our will, but to narrate them with such poor skill as nature and a defective education concede, trusting that a homely sincerity, if it cannot wholly supply the place of art, may palliate its want.
Peena, the partridge, or Esther, as she was more commonly called by the whites, heard, with an exquisite delight, that the little boy; whom she had left on the steps of the house, in New York, and now discovered to be Pownal, was the son of Holden. Nothing could have happened more calculated to deepen the reverence she had long felt for the Solitary, and to convince her—though no such argument was necessary—that he was a “great medicine,” or one peculiarly the favorite, and under the guardianship, of Superior Powers. She herself seemed controlled by the Manito that watched over Holden, and compelled, even unknown to herself, to guard his interests. For was it not she who had preserved the child? Was it not she who had placed him in a situation to become a great and rich man?—for such, to her simplicity, Pownal seemed to be—was it not she who had brought father and son together, and revealed each to the other? As these reflections and the like passed through her mind, a shudder of superstition thrilled her frame, and she turned her attention to the consideration of how she might best fulfill the designs of the Manito. For it will be remembered, that, although nominally a Christian, she had not wholly cast off the wild notions of her tribe, if it be, indeed, possible for an adult Indian to do so. The maxim of Horace:
“Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit
is of universal application, nor has it ever greater force than when reference is had to ideas, connected with the terrors of an unseen world, and where the mind that entertains them is destitute of the advantages of education.