At this point Ole Thorwald saw fit to interfere. Seeing that the natives were beginning to argue the case, and knowing that no good could come from such a course, he quietly observed:
“There will be neither wife nor child in this place if I do but hold up my hand.”
The missionary and his party did not, of course, understand this allusion, but they understood the result; for the savages at once dropped their tones, and the chief sued earnestly for peace.
“Chiefs and warriors,” said Mr. Mason, raising his hand impressively, “I am a man of peace, and I serve the Prince of peace. To stop this war is what I desire most earnestly; and I desire above all things that you and I might henceforth live in friendship, serving the same God and Saviour, whose name is Jesus Christ. But your ways are not like our ways. If I leave you now, I fear you will soon find another occasion to renew the war, as you have often done before. I have you in my power now. If you were to fight with us we could easily beat you, because we are stronger in numbers and well armed. Yes, I have you in my power, and, with the blessing of my God, I will keep you in my power forever.”
There was a visible fall in the countenances of the savages who regarded this strange announcement as their death-warrant. Some of them even grasped their clubs, and looked fiercely at their enemies: but a glance from Ole Thorwald quieted these restive spirits.
“Now, chiefs and warrior, I have two intentions in regard to you,” continued Mr. Mason. “The one is that you shall take your clubs, spears, and other weapons, and lay them in a pile on this mound, after which I will make you march unarmed before us halfway to our settlement. From that point you shall return to your homes. Thus you shall be deprived of the power of treacherously breaking that peace which you know in your hearts you would break if you could.
“My second intention is that the whole of your tribe—men, women, and children—shall now assemble at the foot of this mound and hear what I have got to say to you. The first part of this plan I shall carry out by force, if need be. But for the second part, I must have your own consent. I may not force you to listen if you are not willing to hear.”
At the mention of the women and children being required to assemble along with them, the natives pricked up their ears, and, as a matter of course, they willingly agreed to listen to all that the missionary had to say to them.
This being settled, and the natives knowing, from former experience, that the Christians never broke faith with them, they advanced to the mound pointed out and threw down their arms. A strong guard was placed over these; the troops of the settlement were disposed in such a manner as to prevent the possibility of their being recovered, and then the women and children were set free.
It was a noisy and remarkable meeting that which took place between the men and women of the tribe on this occasion; but soon surprise and expectation began to take the place of all other feelings as the strange intentions of the missionary were spoken of, and in a very short time Mr. Mason had a large and most attentive congregation.