“S’pose don’t know—den, can’t tell? Only tell what he know.”
“Sometimes an Injin guesses, and comes as near the truth as a white man who has seen the thing with his own Pigeonswing made no answer; though le Bourdon fancied, from his manner, that he had really something on his mind, and that, too, of importance, which he wished to communicate.
“I think you might tell me some news that I should like to hear, Chippewa, if you was so minded.”
“Why you stay here, eh?” demanded the Indian, abruptly. “Got plenty honey—bess go home, now. Always bess go home, when hunt up. Home good place, when hunter well tired.”
“My home is here, in the Openings, Pigeonswing. When I go into the settlements, I do little but loaf about among the farm-houses on the Detroit River, having neither squaw nor wigwam of my own to go to. I like this place well enough, if your red brethren will let me keep it in peace.”
“Dis bad place for pale-face, juss now. Better go home, dan stay in Openin’. If don’t know short path to Detroit, I show you. Bess go, soon as can; and bess go alone. No good to be trouble wid squaw, when in hurry.”
The countenance of le Bourdon changed at this last intimation; though the Indian might not have observed it in the darkness. After a brief pause, the first answered in a very determined way.
“I believe I understand you, Chippewa,” he said. “I shall do nothing of the sort, however. If the squaws can’t go, too, I shall not quit them. Would you desert your squaws because you thought them in trouble?”
“An’t your squaw yet. Bess not have squaw at all, when Openin’ so full of Injin. Where you t’ink is two buck I shoot dis mornin’, eh? Skin ’em, cut ’em up, hang ’em on tree, where wolf can’t get ’em. Well, go on after anudder; kill him, too. Dere he is, inside of palisade, but no tudder two. He bot’ gone, when I get back to tree. Two good buck as ever see! How you like dat, eh?”
“I care very little about it, since we have food enough, and are not likely to want. So the wolves got your venison from the trees, after all your care; ha! Pigeonswing.”
“Wolf don’t touch him—wolf can’t touch him. Moccasin been under tree. See him mark. Bess do as I tell you; go home, soon as ever can. Short path to Detroit; an’t two hundred pale-face mile.”
“I see how it is, Pigeonswing; I see how it is, and thank you for this hint, while I honor your good faith to your own people. But I cannot go to Detroit, in the first place, for that town and fort have fallen into the hands of the British. It might be possible for a canoe to get past in the night, and to work its way through into Lake Erie, but I cannot quit my friends. If you can put us all in the way of getting away from this spot, I shall be ready to enter into the scheme. Why can’t we all get into the canoe, and go down stream, as soon as another night sets in? Before morning we could be twenty miles on our road.”