Another of those deep interjectional “ughs” escaped the chest of the proud Indian.
“What my father says is good,” he returned; “but the pale face is a great warrior, and the Ottawa chief is his friend. The Ottawa will go.”
He then addressed a few sentences, in a tongue unknown to the officers, to the swarthy and anxious crowd in front. These were answered by a low, sullen, yet assentient grunt, from the united band, who now turned, though with justifiable caution and distrust, and recrossed the drawbridge without hinderance from the troops. Ponteac waited until the last Indian had departed, and then making a movement to the governor, which, with all its haughtiness, was meant to mark his sense of the forbearance and good faith that had been manifested, once more stalked proudly and calmly across the area, followed by the remainder of the chiefs. The officers who were with the governor ascended to the ramparts, to follow their movements; and it was not before their report had been made, that the Indians were immerging once more into the heart of the forest, the troops were withdrawn from their formidable defences, and the gate of the fort again firmly secured.
While the reader is left to pause over the rapid succession of incidents resulting from the mysterious entrance of the warrior of the Fleur de lis into the English fort, be it our task to explain the circumstances connected with the singular disappearance of Captain de Haldimar, and the melancholy murder of his unfortunate servant.
It will be recollected that the ill-fated Halloway, in the course of his defence before the court-martial, distinctly stated the voice of the individual who had approached his post, calling on the name of Captain de Haldimar, on the night of the alarm, to have been that of a female, and that the language in which they subsequently conversed was that of the Ottawa Indians. This was strictly the fact; and the only error into which the unfortunate soldier had fallen, had reference merely to the character and motives of the party. He had naturally imagined, as he had stated, it was some young female of the village, whom attachment for his officer had driven to the desperate determination of seeking an interview; nor was this impression at all weakened by the subsequent discourse of the parties in the Indian tongue, with which it was well known most of the Canadians, both male and female, were more or less conversant. The subject of that short, low, and hurried conference was, indeed, one that well warranted the singular intrusion; and, in the declaration of Halloway, we have already seen the importance and anxiety attached by the young officer to the communication. Without waiting to repeat the motives assigned for his departure, and the prayers and expostulations to which he had recourse to overcome the determination and sense of duty of the unfortunate sentinel, let us pass at once to the moment when, after having cleared the ditch, conjointly with his faithful follower, in the manner already shown, Captain de Haldimar first stood side by side with his midnight visitant.