Margery had got to the very verge of prudence, so far as the cover was concerned, when her steps were suddenly arrested by a most unexpected and disagreeable sight. An Indian was seated on a rock within twenty feet of the place where she stood. His back was toward her, but she was certain it could not be Pigeonswing, who had gone in a contrary direction, while the frame of this savage was much larger and heavier than that of the Chippewa. His rifle leaned against the rock, near his arm, and the tomahawk and knife were in his belt; still Margery thought, so far as she could ascertain, that he was not in his war-paint, as she knew was the fact with those whom she had seen at Prairie Round. The attitude and whole deportment of this stranger, too, struck her as remarkable. Although our heroine stood watching him for several minutes, almost breathless with terror and anxiety to learn his object, he never stirred even a limb in all that time. There he sat, motionless as the rock on which he had placed himself; a picture of solitude and reflection.
It was evident, moreover, that this stranger also sought a species of concealment, as well as the fugitives. It is true he had not buried himself in a cover of bushes; but his seat was in a hollow of the ground where no one could have seen him, from the rear or on either side, at a distance a very little greater than that at which Margery stood, while his front was guarded from view by a line of bushes that fringed the margin of the stream. Marius, pondering on the mutations of fortune, amid the ruins of Carthage, could scarcely have presented a more striking object than the immovable form of this stranger. At length the Indian slightly turned his head, when his observer, to her great surprise, saw the hard, red, but noble and expressive profile of the well-known features of Peter.
In an instant all Margery’s apprehensions vanished, and her hand was soon lightly laid on the shoulder of her friend. Notwithstanding the suddenness of this touch, the great chief manifested no alarm. He turned his head slowly, and when he saw the bright countenance of the charming bride, his smile met hers in pleased recognition. There was no start, no exclamation, no appearance of surprise; on the contrary, Peter seemed to meet his pretty young friend much as a matter of course, and obviously with great satisfaction.
“How lucky this is, Peter!” exclaimed the breathless Margery. “Bourdon’s mind will now be at rest, for he was afraid you had gone to join our enemies, Bear’s Meat and his party.”
“Yes; go and stay wid ’em. So bess. Now dey t’ink Peter all on deir side. But never forget you, young Blossom.”
“I believe you, Peter; for I feel as if you are a true friend. How lucky that we should meet here!”
“No luck at all. Come a purpose. Pigeonswing tell me where you be, so come here. Juss so.”
“Then you expected to find us in this cover! and what have you to tell us of our enemies?”