The chief was standing near the body of a huge Indian, who was lying prostrate on the earth. He was in the last agonies of death, and while Arundel was looking on, the sinewy limbs quivered into immobility. Nor had Sassacus escaped without a wound. The blood was streaming from a gash in his side, indistinctly seen by light from the fire, but he paid no heed to it, and the result proved it not to be dangerous.
When the dusky warrior had breathed his last, the chief uttered a peculiar cry, and immediately half a dozen stalwart men, several of whom had each a fresh scalp hanging at his girdle, surrounded him. He addressed them in their own language, and from his gestures, and the looks of his companions, Arundel supposed that he was speaking of him. He next pointed to the dead body, and seemed to be giving orders concerning it. One of the Indians stooped down, and with his knife made a motion as if to take off the scalp, but being rebuked by the chief, he desisted, and then lent his assistance to two others in bearing away the corpse. Arundel had the curiosity to follow. The three bore the body to the bank of the river, where, binding it with withes to several large limbs of trees, they thrust it into the stream, and left it to find its way to the ocean. A few earnest words, unintelligible to the young man, were on their return spoken by Sassacus, who had meanwhile had a styptic applied to his wound. When he had finished speaking, the Indians dispersed in various directions in the depths of the dark wood, and the chief beckoning to his friend, they entered the wigwam, and disposed themselves to sleep, which delayed not long to close their eye-lids.
They spake not
But like dumb statues, or breathless stones,
Star’d on each other.
The time fixed for the audience of the ambassadors on the next day, was in the afternoon instead of the morning, that all things might be done with dignity, and an opportunity afforded to show them the fort erected near the water, and the shipping, and whatever else might impress them with the power of the whites. With this view, the Indians had been committed to the charge of the deputy Gov. Dudley, and of Sir Christopher Gardiner, the latter of whom acted as interpreter. The two gentlemen accordingly employed themselves in the course of the forenoon, in exhibiting to their red friends whatever might, in their judgment, best subserve the object, and at the moment we meet them, were standing on the deck of the ship commanded by Capt. Sparhawk, which lay alongside of the wharf. Of the dozen Indians who had been at the audience on the yesterday only seven were present, and they were all the oldest. The whole group appeared, to a careless observer, stolid and unmoved by what they saw; but one who watched them might notice that they cast inquisitive, though stolen glances, on every thing around. Moreover, upon closer examination, he might fancy an air of uneasiness among them, as ever and anon they turned their eyes toward the houses of the settlement, and the forest that lay beyond.