The bee-hunter said this, by way of throwing dust into the Indian’s eyes, for he had not the least intention of travelling in the direction named. It is true, it was his most direct course, and the one that prudence would point out to him, under all the circumstances, had he been alone. But le Bourdon was no longer alone—in heart and feelings, at least. Margery now mingled with all his views for the future; and he could no more think of abandoning her in her present situation, than he could of offering his own person to the savages for a sacrifice. It was idle to think of attempting such a journey in company with the females, and most of all to attempt it in defiance of the ingenuity, perseverance, and hostility of the Indians. The trail could not be concealed; and, as for speed, a party of the young men of the wilderness would certainly travel two miles to Margery’s one.
Le Bourdon, notwithstanding Pigeonswing’s remonstrances, still had his eye on the Kalamazoo. He remembered the saying, “that water leaves no trail,” and was not without hopes of reaching the lake again, where he felt he should be in comparative security; his own canoe, as well as that of Gershom, being large, well fitted, and not altogether unsuited to those waters in the summer months. As it would be of the last importance, however, to get several hours’ start of the Indians, in the event of his having recourse to such a mode of flight, it was of the utmost importance also to conceal his intentions, and, if possible, to induce Peter to imagine his eyes were turned in another direction.
“Well, s’pose go dat way,” answered the chief, quietly, as if suspecting no artifice. “Set ’bout him by-’em-by. Today muss teach Injin how to find honey. Dat make him good friend; and maybe he help my pale-face broders back to deir country. Been better for ebbery body, if none come here, at all.”
Thus ended the discourse for that moment. Peter was not fond of much talking, when he had not his great object in view, but rather kept his mind occupied in observation. For the next hour, every one in and about Castle Meal was engaged in the usual morning avocations, that of breaking their fasts included; and then it was understood that all were to go forth to meet the chiefs, that le Bourdon might give a specimen of his craft.
One, ignorant of the state of political affairs on the American continent, and who was not aware of the vicinity of savages, would have seen nothing that morning, as the party proceeded on its little excursion, in and around that remote spot, but a picture of rural tranquillity and peace. A brighter day never poured its glories on the face of the earth; and the Openings, and the glades, and even the dark and denser forests, were all bathed in the sunlight, as that orb is known to illuminate objects in the softer season of the year, and in the forty-third degree of latitude. Even the birds appeared to rejoice in the beauties