A deep, stern murmur ran round the room, and it was evident, from the countenances of the company and from the expressions that could now and then be caught, that by far the greater part of them entertained the sentiments of the audacious sectary. Such, it is highly probable, were the sentiments of a majority of the government of the colony, notwithstanding their disavowal, afterwards, of all sympathy, with the act, and public censure of the bold Puritan. Not that a democratical feeling lurked therein, as some may fancy, but for the very reasons manfully proclaimed by Endicott—reasons, not of a political, but entirely of a religious character.
Endicott, a sagacious and daring politician, as well as zealous religionist, heard the sounds and beheld the faces of those around him with satisfaction. It pleased him publicly to vindicate his conduct, and to test the feelings of his countrymen.
“Thou hearest,” he resumed, “those sounds and seest these faces, and dost thou believe that all these men are also disloyal? Review thy judgment, I pray thee, and believe that attachment to the Crown may not be inconsistent with hatred of Papistical baubles.”
“Capt. Endicott will find it difficult, in my judgment, to satisfy the Privy Council of the propriety of the outrage, as easily as he has satisfied himself and these people,” replied Col. McMahon.
“Be assured,” replied Endicott, “that whether here or in England—before the Court of Assistants or the Privy Council, I will avouch the deed, even though it should build the steps to a scaffold.”
So saying, and looking deliberately around, and with an inclination of the body, which hardly amounted to a bow, he placed upon his head the slouched hat he had taken off on his entrance, and left the apartment. Upon his departure, the company became broken up again into various groups, and began once more to busy themselves with the mugs and cans; and Arundel, tired of the confusion, left, with Waqua, for his own chamber.
Alas! for them, their day is o’er,
Their fires are out from shore to shore,
No more for them the wild deer bounds—
The plough is on their hunting grounds.
When Arundel awoke the next morning, he found that the Indian, who had coiled himself upon the floor and there passed the night, was nowhere to be seen. It was, indeed, no wonder, since the rays of the sun had, for more than an hour, been striving to penetrate the oiled paper, which served instead of window glass; and no sooner did the young man realize the lateness of the hour than he sprang from his couch, thinking all the while what Waqua would say to his dilatoriness. After making a hasty toilette, he descended the stairs, and, crossing the public room to the door, looked out upon the street. There was quite a number of persons passing backward and forward, many of whom were dressed in the accoutrements of soldiers, and at these he stood gazing awhile and looking round, if perchance he might discover anything of the Indian. But, as he did not appear, the young man turned back to await his coming.