“It would do no good. They know that the land of Judea is reserved by God for his chosen people, and they are not Jews. None but the children of Israel can restore that land to its ancient fertility. It would be useless for any other to attempt it. Armies have been there, and it was once thought that a Christian kingdom was set up on the spot; but neither the time nor the people had come. Jews alone can make Judea what it was, and what it will be again. If my people owned that land, they could not use it. There are also too many of us now, to go away in canoes.”
“Did not the fathers of the pale-faces come in canoes?” demanded Peter, a little sternly.
“They did; but since that time their increase has been so great, that canoes enough to hold them could not be found. No; the Great Spirit, for his own wise ends, has brought my people hither; and here must they remain to the end of time. It is not easy to make the pigeons fly south in the spring.”
This declaration, quietly but distinctly made, as it was the habit of the missionary to speak, had its effect. It told Peter, and those with him, as plainly as language could tell them, that there was no reason to expect the pale-faces would ever willingly abandon the country, and seemed the more distinctly, in all their uninstructed minds, to place the issue on the armed hand. It is not improbable that some manifestation of feeling would have escaped the circle, had not an interruption to the proceedings occurred, which put a stop to all other emotions but those peculiar to the lives of savages.
Nearer the mount stood Moses; in his hand
The rod which blasted with strange plagues the realm
Of Misraim, and from its time-worn channels
Upturned the Arabian sea. Fair was his broad
High front, and forth from his soul-piercing eye
Did legislation look; which full he fixed
Upon the blazing panoply undazzled.
It often happens in the recesses of the wilderness, that, in the absence of men, the animals hunt each other. The wolves, in particular, following their instincts, are often seen in packs, pressing upon the heels of the antelope, deer, and other creatures of that family, which depend for safety more on their speed than on their horns. On the present occasion, a fine buck, with a pack of fifty wolves close after it, came bounding through the narrow gorge that contained the rill, and entered the amphitheatre of the bottom-land. Its headlong career was first checked by the sight of the fire; then arose a dark circle of men, each armed and accustomed to the chase. In much less time than it has taken to record the fact, that little piece of bottom-land was crowded with wolves, deer, and men. The headlong impetuosity of the chase and flight had prevented the scent from acting, and all were huddled together, for a single instant, in a sort of inextricable confusion. Brief as was this melee, it sufficed to allow of a young hunter’s driving his arrow through the heart of the buck, and enabled others among the Indians to kill several of the wolves; some with arrows, others with knives, etc. No rifle was used, probably from a wish not to give an alarm.