Instead of seeking his rest as usual, on reaching this cover, Pigeonswing left the party on a scout. He walked up the brook some distance, in order to conceal his trail, and then struck across the Opening, taking the direction westward, or toward the river’s mouth. As for le Bourdon and his friends, they ate and slept as usual, undisturbed; but arose some hours before the close of day.
Thus far, a great work had been accomplished. The canoes had descended the stream with a success that was only equalled by the hardihood of the measure, conducted by an intelligence that really seemed to amount to an instinct Pigeonswing carried a map of the Kalamazoo in his head, and seemed never at a loss to know where to find the particular place he sought. It is true, he had roamed through those Openings ever since he was a child; and an Indian seldom passes a place susceptible of being made of use to his habits, that he does not take such heed of its peculiarities, as to render him the master of all its facilities.
Margery was now full of hope, while the bee-hunter was filled with apprehensions. She saw all things couleur de rose, for she was young, happy, and innocent; but he better understood that they were just approaching the most serious moment of their flight. He knew the vigilance of the American savage, and could not deceive himself on the subject of the danger they must run. The mouth of the river was just the place that, of all others, would be the closest watched, and to pass it would require not only all their skill and courage, but somewhat of the fostering care of Providence. It might be done with success, though the chances were much against
Yes! we have need to
bid our hopes repose
On some protecting influence; here confined
Life hath no healing balm for mental woes;
Earth is too narrow for the immortal mind.
Our spirits burn to mingle with the day,
As exiles panting for their native coast;
Yet lured by every wild-flower from their way,
And shrinking from the gulf that must be crossed.
Death hovers round us—in the zephyr’s sigh
As in the storm he comes—and lo! Eternity!
It was probably that inherent disposition to pry into unknown things, which is said to mark her sex, and which was the weakness assailed by the serpent when he deluded Eve into disobedience, that now tempted Margery to go beyond the limits which Pigeonswing had set for her, with a view to explore and ascertain what might be found without. In doing this, however, she did not neglect a certain degree of caution, and avoided exposing her person as much as possible.