It was as still as a grave in the dingy, ill-lighted chamber. No one dared even to look up, for the matter was in the hands of the yaya, and they were still thinking over it. The demands of Shyuamo hanutsh were completely forgotten. The owl’s feathers had monopolized the attention and the thoughts of every one in the room.
At last the Hishtanyi Chayan rose. He threw a glance at his colleagues, who understood it, and rose also. Then the great medicine-man spoke in a hollow tone,—
“We will go now. We shall speak to our father the Hotshanyi, that he may help us to consult Those Above. Four days hence we shall know what the Shiuana think, and on the night following”—he turned to the tapop—“we will tell you here what to do. In the meantime,”—he uttered these words like a solemn warning,—“hush! let none of you exchange one word on what we have heard or seen to-night. Let none of you say at home, ’I know of something evil,’ or to a friend, ‘bad things are going on in the tribe.’ Be silent, so that no one suspect the least thing, and that the sentence of the Shiuana be not interfered with. Nasha!” he concluded, and went toward the exit. Ere leaving the room, however, he turned once more, adding,—
“And you go also. Each one for himself and alone. Let no one of you utter words, but all of you pray and do penance, keep open your ears, wide awake your eye, and closed your lips.”
With this the shamans filed out, one after the other. Their muffled steps were heard for a moment as they grated on the bare rock. One by one the other members of the council left the chamber in silence, each wending his way homeward with gloomy thoughts. Dismal anticipations and dread apprehension filled the hearts of every one.
At the time when the tribal council of the Queres was holding the stormy session which we have described in the preceding chapter, quite a different scene was taking place at the home of the wife of Tyope. That home, we know, belonged to Hannay, the woman with whom Tyope had consorted after his separation from Shotaye; and it was also the dwelling in which he resided when other matters did not keep him away. The tie that bound Tyope to his second wife was of rather a sensual nature. Hannay was a very sensual woman, but in addition to this she possessed qualities that made her valuable to her husband. She was extremely inquisitive, listened well, knew how to inquire, and was an active reporter. On her side there was no real affection for Tyope; but her admiration for his intellectual qualities, so far as she was able to appreciate them, knew no bounds. It amounted almost to awe. Their connection was consequently a partnership rather than anything else,—a partnership based on physical affinities, on mutual interest, and on habit. Of the higher sort of sympathy there was no trace. Neither had room for it among the many occupations which their mode of life and manner of intercourse called forth.