For thou wert born of
woman! Thou didst come,
O Holiest! to this world of sin and gloom,
Not in thy dread omnipotent array;
And not by thunders strewed
Was thy tempestuous road,
Nor indignation burnt before thee on thy way.
But thee, a soft and naked child,
Thy mother undefiled,
In the rude manger laid to rest
From off her virgin breast.
The blood of the bee-hunter curdled in his veins as he listened to Peter’s business-like and direct manner of treating this terrible subject. Putting the most favorable view on his situation, it was frightful to look on. Admitting that this fanatical savage were sincere in all his professions of a wish to save him and Margery, and le Bourdon did not, nay, could not doubt this, after his calm but ferocious revelations; but, admitting all this to be true, how was he to escape with his charming bride, environed as they were by so large a band of hostile Indians? Then the thought of abandoning his other companions, and attempting, in cold selfishness, to escape with Margery alone, was more than he could bear. Never before, in his adventurous and bold life, had le Bourdon been so profoundly impressed with a sense of his danger, or so much overcome.
Still, our hero was not unmanned. He saw all the hazards, as it were, at a glance, and felt how terrible might be the result should they really fall into the hands of the warriors, excited to exercise their ingenuity in devising the means of torture; and he gazed into the frightful perspective with a manly steadiness that did him credit, even while he sickened at the prospect.
Peter had told his story in a way to add to its horrible character. There was a manner of truth, of directness, of work, if one may use such an expression on such a subject, that gave a graphic reality to all he said. As if his task was done, the mysterious chief now coolly arose, and moved away to a little grove, in which the missionary and the corporal had thrown themselves on the grass, where they lay speculating on the probable course that the bands in their neighborhood would next pursue. So thoroughly possessed was the clergyman with his one idea, however, that he was expressing regret at his failure in the attempt to convince the savages that they were Jews, when Peter joined them.