“Peggy, dear, I ’spect you’ve heard the whole on’t. Father, mother, Ella and Reynolds—all gone, and our house in ashes, I’m going to follow, Peggy. Good bye—God bless you! Ef I don’t never come back, Peggy”—and the tears started into his eyes—“you may jest put it down I’ve been clean sarcumvented, skinned, and eat up by them thar ripscallious Injens;” and turning upon his heel, as his tender-hearted spouse burst into tears, he seized upon same provisions that had graced the last night’s entertainment, gave Black Betty a long and cordial salute with his lips, shook hands with his wife’s father and mother, kissed Peggy once again, pulled his cap over his eyes, and, without another word, set forth with rapid strides on the eastern path leading to the rendezvous of Daniel Boone.
On the faces of those now assembled, who had lost their best and dearest friends, could be seen the intense workings of the strong passions of grief and revenge, while their fingers clutched their faithful rifles with a nervous power. The greatest change was apparent in the features of Henry Millbanks. He was a fine-favored, good-looking youth of eighteen, with light hair and a florid complexion. The natural expression of his handsome countenance was an easy, dignified smile, which was rendered extremely fascinating by a broad, noble forehead, and a clear, expressive, gray eye; but now the floridity had given place to a pale, almost sallow hue, the forehead was wrinkled with grief, the lips were compressed, and the smile had been succeeded by a look of great fierceness, aided by the eye; which was more than usually sunken and bloodshot.
But little was said by any of the party; for all felt the chilling gloom of the present, so strongly contrasted with the bright hours and merry jests which had so lately been apportioned to each. Boone called to Caesar and bade him seek the Indian trail; a task which the noble brute flew to execute; and in a few minutes the whole company were on their way; with the exception of Billings; who, by the unanimous request of all, returned to Wilson’s; to cheer, console and protect the females; and, if thought advisable, to conduct them to Bryan’s Station—a strong fort a few miles distant—where they might remain in comparative security.
The Indians and their prisoners.