Muir wanted not for personal courage, nor for a certain sense of personal honor. The violence which had been intended only for a gesture he mistook for a blow; for conscience was suddenly aroused within him, and he stepped back a pace, extending his hand towards a gun. His face was livid with rage, and his countenance expressed the fell intention of his heart. But Arrowhead was too quick for him; with a wild glance of the eye the Tuscarora looked about him; then thrust a hand beneath his own girdle, drew forth a concealed knife, and, in the twinkling of an eye, buried it in the body of the Quartermaster to the handle. As the latter fell at his feet, gazing into his face with the vacant stare of one surprised by death, Sanglier took a pinch of snuff, and said in a calm voice, —
“Voila l’affaire finie; mais,” shrugging his shoulders, “ce n’est qu’un scelerat de moins.”
The act was too sudden to be prevented; and when Arrowhead, uttering a yell, bounded into the bushes, the white men were too confounded to follow. Chingachgook, however, was more collected; and the bushes had scarcely closed on the passing body of the Tuscarora than they were again opened by that of the Delaware in full pursuit.
Jasper Western spoke French fluently, and the words and manner of Sanglier struck him.
“Speak, Monsieur,” said he in English; “am I the traitor?”
“Le voila,” answered the cool Frenchman, “dat is our espion — our agent — our friend — ma foi — c’etait un grand scelerat — voici.”
While speaking, Sanglier bent over the dead body, and thrust his hand into a pocket of the Quartermaster, out of which he drew a purse. Emptying the contents on the ground, several double-louis rolled towards the soldiers, who were not slow in picking them up. Casting the purse from him in contempt, the soldier of fortune turned towards the soup he had been preparing with so much care, and, finding it to his liking, he began to break his fast with an air of indifference that the most stoical Indian warrior might have envied.
The only amaranthian flower on earth
Is virtue; the only lasting treasure, truth.
The reader must imagine some of the occurrences that followed the sudden death of Muir. While his body was in the hands of his soldiers, who laid it decently aside, and covered it with a greatcoat, Chingachgook silently resumed his place at the fire, and both Sanglier and Pathfinder remarked that he carried a fresh and bleeding scalp at his girdle. No one asked any questions; and the former, although perfectly satisfied that Arrowhead had fallen, manifested neither curiosity nor feeling. He continued calmly eating his soup, as if the meal had been tranquil as usual. There was something of pride and of an assumed indifference