expectation of this extraordinary being that the wife
might be permitted to escape with the husband.
The effect of The Weasel’s cunning has been
described. Such was the state of Peter’s
mind when he met the band in the scenes last described.
There he had been all attention to the demeanor of
the missionary. A hundred times had he seen warriors
die uttering maledictions on their enemies; but this
was the first occasion on which he had ever known
a man to use his latest breath in asking for blessings
on those “who persecuted him.” At
first, Peter was astounded. Then the sublime
principles had their effect, and his heart was deeply
touched with what he heard. How far the Holy
Spirit aided these better feelings, it might be presumptuous,
on the one hand, to say; while, on the other, it will
be equally presuming to think of denying the possibility—nay,
the probability--that the great change which so suddenly
came over the heart of Peter was produced by more
than mere human agencies. We know that this blessed
Spirit is often poured out, in especial cases, with
affluent benevolence, and there can be no sufficient
reason for supposing this savage might not have been
thus signally favored, as soon as the avenues of his
heart opened to the impulses of a generous humanity.
The very qualities that would induce such a being
to attempt the wild and visionary scheme of vengeance
and retribution, that had now occupied his sleeping
and waking thoughts for years, might, under a better
direction, render him eminently fit to be the subject
of divine grace. A latent sense of right lay
behind all his seeming barbarity, and that which to
us appears as a fell ferocity, was, in his own eyes,
no less than a severe justice.
The words, the principles, the prayers, and, more
than all, the example of the missionary, wrought
this great change, so far as human agencies were employed;
but the power of God was necessary to carry out and
complete this renewal of the inner man. We do
not mean that a miracle was used in the sudden conversion
of this Indian to better feelings, for that which
is of hourly occurrence, and which may happen to all,
comes within the ordinary workings of a Divine Providence,
and cannot thus be designated with propriety; but we
do wish to be understood as saying, that no purely
human power could have cleared the moral vision, changed
all the views, and softened the heart of such a man,
as was so promptly done in the case of Peter.
The way had been gradually preparing, perhaps, by the
means already described, but the great transformation
came so suddenly and so powerfully as to render him
a different being, as it might almost be, in the twinkling
of an eye! Such changes often occur, and though
it may suit the self-sufficiency of the worldling to
deride them, he is the wisest who submits in the meekest
spirit to powers that exceed his comprehension.
In this state of mind, then, Peter left the band as
soon as the fate of the missionary was decided.
His immediate object was to save the whites who remained,
Gershom and Dorothy now having a place in his good
intentions, as well as le Bourdon and Margery.
Although he moved swiftly, and nearly by an air-line,
his thoughts scarce kept company with his feet.
During that rapid walk, he was haunted with the image
of a man, dying while he pronounced benedictions on