“Indeed!” exclaimed Reynolds, in no feigned surprise—“the very man I have so longed to behold; for his fame has already extended far beyond the Alleghanies. But come, friend Isaac, my wound grows painful; my exertions thus far have weakened me exceedingly; and with your permission, I will proceed to the cottage. Ah! I feel myself growing faint—fainter—fa-i-n-t;” and he sunk senseless into the other’s arms; who, raising him, apparently without an effort, bore him into the house.
[Footnote 1: However barbarous such a proceeding may appear to thousands in the present day of civilization and refinement, we can assure them, on the authority of numerous historians of that period, that it was a general custom with the early settlers of the west, to take the scalp of an Indian slain by their hand, whenever opportunity presented.]
[Footnote 2: Backwoods name for a panther.]
When young Reynolds again regained his senses, it was some minutes before he could sufficiently recover from the confusion of ideas consequent upon his mishap, to follow up the train of events that had occurred to place him in his present situation. His first recollection was of the attack made upon him by the Indians; and it required considerable argument with himself, to prove conclusively, to his own mind, that he was not even now a captive to the savage foe. Gradually, one by one, each event recurred to his mind, until he had traced himself to the moment of his swooning in the arms of a tall, ungainly young man, called Isaac; but of what, had taken place since—where he now was—or what length of time had intervened—he had not the remotest idea. He was lying on his back, upon a rude, though by no means uncomfortable, bed; and, to the best of his judgment, within the four walls of some cabin—though to him but two of the walls were visible—owing to the quantity of skins of the buffalo, bear, and deer, which were suspended around the foot and front of his pallet. He was undressed; and, as he judged, upon applying his hand to the wounded part, had been treated with care; for it came in contact with a nicely arranged bandage of cloth, which was even now moist with some spirituous liquid. But what perplexed him most, was the peculiar light, with the aid of which, though dim, he could discern every object so distinctly. It could not proceed from a candle—it was too generally diffused; nor from the fire—it was too gray, and did not flicker; nor from the moon—it was not silvery enough: from what then did it proceed? It appeared the most like daylight; but this it could not be, he reasoned, from the fact that he was wounded just before night-fall—unless—and the idea seemed to startle him—unless he had lain in a senseless state for many hours, and it was indeed again morning. Determined, however, to satisfy himself on this point, he attempted to rise for the purpose; but found, to his no small surprise and regret, that he had not even strength sufficient to lift his body from the bed; and, therefore, that nothing was left him, but to surmise whatever he chose, until some one should appear to solve the riddle; which, he doubted not, would be ere long.