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Oak Openings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 515 pages of information about Oak Openings.

A yell now arose throughout the Openings.  Far and near the Indians exulted at their success.  The wood was dry, and it was of a very inflammable nature.  The wind blew, and in half an hour Castle Meal was in a bright blaze.  Hive now began to howl, a sign that he knew his peril.  Still, no human being appeared.  Presently the flaming roof fell in and the savages listened intently to hear the screeches of their victims.  The howls of the dog increased, and he was soon seen, with his hair burned from his skin, leaping on the unroofed wall, and thence into the area within the palisades.  A bullet terminated his sufferings as he alighted.

Bear’s Meat now gave the signal, and a general rush was made.  No rifle opposed them, and a hundred Indians were soon at the palisades.  To the surprise of all, the gate was found unfastened.  Rushing within, the door of the hut was forced, and a view obtained of the blazing furnace within.  The party had arrived in sufficient season to perceive fragments of le Bourdon’s rude furniture and stores yet blazing, but nowhere was a human corpse visible.  Poles were got, and the brands were removed, in the expectation of finding bones beneath them; but without success.  It was now certain that no pale-face had perished in that hut.  Then the truth flashed on the minds of all the savages:  le Bourdon and his friends had taken the alarm in time, and had escaped!

CHAPTER XXVI.

Behold, O Lord! the heathen tread
The branches of thy fruitful vine,
That its luxurious tendrils spread
O’er all the hills of Palestine. 
And now the wild boar comes to waste
Even us, the greenest boughs and last. 
That, drinking of its choicest dew,
On Zion’s hill in beauty grew. 
—­Milman.

The change in Peter had been gradually making itself apparent, ever since he joined the party of the bee-hunter.  When he entered the Kalamazoo, in the company of the two men who had now fallen the victims of his own designs, his heart was full of the fell intention of cutting off the whole white race.  Margery had first induced him to think of exceptions.  He had early half-decided that she should be spared, to be carried to his own lodge, as an adopted daughter.  When he became aware of the state of things between his favorite and her lover, there was a severe struggle in his breast on the subject of sparing the last.  He saw how strongly the girl was attached to him, and something like human sentiments forced their way among his savage plans.  The mysterious communication of le Bourdon with the bees, however, had far more influence in determining him to spare so great a medicine-man, than Margery’s claims; and he had endeavored to avail himself of a marriage as a means of saving the bride, instead of saving the bridegroom.  All the Indians entertained a species of awe for le Bourdon, and all hesitated about laying hands on one who appeared so gifted.  It was, therefore, the

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