“Where is Waqua?” he inquired, in a low tone. “He was standing near thee when he spoke.”
“I know no better than thyself,” answered the young man, “and would gladly be informed. He vanished suddenly, and without warning.”
“I know thee to be his friend, and how thou becamest so. Thou hast now an opportunity to requite him in kind.”
“Show me the way.”
“Hie thee, then, to his wigwam, for there likeliest mayest thou find him, and warn him against peril from these Taranteens, and, it may be, from the Governor himself.”
“Be pleased to explain more clearly, Sir Christopher.”
“Waqua is Sassacus, the great head-sachem of the Pequots, between whom and the Eastern Indians is perpetual hostility. He has given them deadly cause of offence, and I fear that they mean to revenge themselves, or that he may commit another imprudent act. It were better that Sassacus should remove himself away for the present. But I may not stay longer talking with thee. Adieu.”
Arundel, satisfied of the friendship of the Knight to the Indian, determined at once to follow his counsel. As, however, Sassacus had undoubtedly sought the forest, he considered it most prudent to retrace his steps to his lodging, to procure his gun before venturing into its recesses, where, the prospect was, that he would have to pass the night. This occasioned some delay, and it was not until the twilight of the summer evening had faded, and stars were beginning to twinkle in the sky, that he found himself on the verge of the woods.
For thou wert monarch born. Tradition’s
Tell not the planting of thy parent tree,
But that the forest tribes have bent for ages
To thee and to thy sires the subject knee.
The young man knew not whither to turn his steps, except to the hut of Sassacus, which, however, he felt doubtful of his ability to find at night. No better plan occurred to him than to make the attempt; he, therefore, pressed forward, guiding himself as well as he could by the stars, glimpses of which he caught from time to time through the branches. He had, however, proceeded but a short distance, when, without a warning sound, silent as a shadow, the Indian stood at his side.
“I sought the great chief,” said Arundel, contemplating the renowned warrior, whose name was a synonym with whatever was generous and daring, with more curiosity than he had regarded the obscure Waqua—“to warn him of danger.”
“Sassacus fears no danger,” replied the Indian; “it is for the Taranteens to tremble when they are in his neighborhood.”
“What will the chief do?”
“He will return to his wigwam, but his brother must not go with him; for the Taranteens desire to carry back with them to-night the scalp of Sassacus.”
“Nay, I will go with thee to partake the danger, if there be any, but I see no probability thereof. The Taranteens will not seek the scalp of Sassacus, if he hunts not for theirs.”