“Don’t want him,” coolly returned the Indian, making his preparations to light his pipe—“got Winnebagoe squaw, already; good ’nough for me. Shoot her t’other husband and take his scalp—den she come into my wigwam.”
“The wretch!” exclaimed Margery.
But this was a word the savage did not understand, and he continued to puff at the newly lighted tobacco, with all of a smoker’s zeal. When the fire was secured, he found time to continue the subject.
“Yes, dat good war-path—got rifle; got wife; got two scalp! Don’t do so well, ebbery day.”
“And that woman hoes your corn, and cooks your venison?” demanded the bee-hunter.
“Sartain—capital good to hoe—no good to cook—make deer meat too dry. Want to be made to mind business. Bye’m by teach him. No l’arn all at once, like pale-face pappoose in school.”
“Pigeonswing, have you never observed the manner in which the white man treats his squaw?”
“Sartain—see him make much of her—put her in warm corner—wrap blanket round her—give her venison ’fore he eat himself—see all dat, often—what den? Dat don’t make it right.”
“I give you up, Chippewa, and agree with Margery in thinking you ought not to have a squaw, at all.”
“T’ink alike, den—why no get marry?” asked the Indian, without circumlocution.
Margery’s face became red as fire; then her cheeks settled into the color of roses, and she looked down, embarrassed. The bee-hunter’s admiration was very apparent to the Indian, though the girl did not dare to raise her eyes from the ground, and so did not take heed of it. But this gossiping was suddenly brought to an end by a most unexpected cause of interruption; the manner and form of which it shall be our office to relate, in the succeeding chapter.
So should it be—for no
Within his cold and silent breast;
To him no gentle voice repeats
The soothing words that make us blest.
The interruption came from Dorothy, who, on ascending the little height, had discovered a canoe coming into the mouth of the river, and who was running, breathless with haste, to announce the circumstance to the bee-hunter. The latter immediately repaired to the eminence, and saw for himself the object that so justly had alarmed the woman. The canoe was coming in from the lake, after running before the wind, which now began to abate a little in its strength, and it evidently had been endeavoring to proceed to the northward. The reason for its entering the river, was probably connected with the cookery or food of the party, since the lake was each minute getting to be safer, and more navigable for so light a craft. To le Bourdon’s great apprehension, he saw the savages on the north shore making signal to this strange canoe, by means of smoke, and he foresaw the probability of his enemies