In such incoherent expressions, poor Pownal gave vent to the emotions that agitated him. It would have been some consolation, could he have known what was said at the Bernards’, when the family gathered around the table in the evening. Mrs. Bernard alluded more than once to the gap his absence made in their little circle; and the Judge, in his jesting way, wished that somebody would shoot him again, if it might be the means to bring him back. Even Anne expressed regret at his loss, since his company had been such a pleasure to her parents.
“Groves freshened, as he looked,
Showed bright on rocky bank,
And fountains welled beneath the bowers,
Where deer and pheasant drank;
He saw the glittering streams, he heard
The rustling bough and twittering bird.”
The mind of Ohquamehud dwelt upon his meeting with Holden. Sleeping or waking, the image of the latter pursued him. But it was not always in the shape of the Recluse that the vision appeared. More often it assumed the form of a young man, in the garb of a western hunter, with a rifle in his hand. Then rose up, in connection with him, boundless forests, through which the deer stole noiselessly, and the screech of the catamount was heard. And then again he hunted, and as he approached the game he had shot, Holden approached and claimed it as his; or he was on a war-path, and stumbled against a log, and fell; and as he strove to rise, the log was changed into Holden, who grappled him in a death-struggle—wherever he was, and whithersoever he turned his eyes, there was the young man, seeming to be, and yet not to be Holden, and haunting him like a shadow. As these imaginations possessed themselves more and more of the Indian’s mind, he began to fancy himself the victim of some incantation, with which he naturally connected the Recluse as the cause; and, finally, by continual brooding on the subject, both his appetite and sleep deserted him. His moodiness at length attracted the attention of Peena. Ohquamehud was lying on the floor of her hut, his head resting on his hand, and he had been for some time gazing in the fire. The simple noon-day meal had barely been tasted, and that in silence.
“Have the hands of Peena,” she said, “forgot how to prepare his food, that the eyes of my brother turn away from it with displeasure?”
“The hands of my sister have not lost their skill, but Ohquamehud is not hungry.”
“Ohquamehud is a warrior, and Peena is but a weak woman, and he will not be angry,” she added, hesitatingly.
The Indian waved his hand, with dignity, as if inviting her to proceed.
“Ohquamehud sees the heart of his sister, and he knows that it loves him, for he is the brother of Huttamoiden. Why does he cover up his face from her, and hide his grief? Is she unworthy,” she added, laying her hand on his shoulder, and looking affectionately in his face, “to listen to his voice?”