Meanwhile, the numerous band, who followed their two first fierce comrades into the lake, bounded rapidly forward; and, so active were their movements, that, at almost the same moment when the second of the youths had gained his temporary place of refuge, they stood yelling and screaming on the sand bar he had just quitted. Two or three, excited to desperation by the blood they had seen spilt, plunged unhesitatingly into the opposite depths of the lake; and the foremost of these was the destroyer of the ill-fated Baynton. With his bloody scalping-knife closely clutched between his teeth, and his tomahawk in his right hand, this fierce warrior buffeted the waves lustily with one arm, and, noiselessly as in the early part of his pursuit, urged his way towards the boat. In the stern of this a few planks from the schooner had been firmly lashed, to serve as a shield against the weapons of the savages, and was so arranged as to conceal all within while retiring from the shore. A small aperture had, however, been bored for the purpose of observing the movements of the enemy without risk. Through this an eye was now directed, while only the blades of the oars were to be seen projecting from the boat’s sides as they reposed in their rowlocks. Encouraged by the seeming apathy and inertness of the crew, the swimming savages paused not to consider of consequences, but continued their daring course as if they had apprehended neither risk nor resistance. Presently a desperate splash was heard near the stern of the boat, and the sinuous form of the first savage was raised above the gunwale, his grim face looking devilish in its war-paint, and his fierce eyes gleaming and rolling like fire-balls in their sockets. Scarcely was he seen, however, when he had again disappeared. A blow from the cutlass that had destroyed his companion descended like lightning on his naked and hairless head; and, in the agony of death, he might be seen grinding his teeth against the knife which the instinctive ferocity of his nature forbade his relinquishing. A yell of fury burst from the savages on the bar, and presently a shower of bullets ran whistling through the air. Several were heard striking the rude rampart in the stem; but, although the boat was scarcely out of pistol-shot, the thickness of the wood prevented all injury to those within. Another fierce yell followed this volley; and then nearly a score of warriors, giving their guns in charge to their companions, plunged furiously into the water; and, with an air of the most infuriated determination, leaped rather than swam along its surface.
“Now, then, my lads, give way,” said he at the look-out; “there are more than a dozen of the devils in full cry; and our only chance is in flight! Ha! another here!” as, turning to issue these directions, he chanced to see the dark hand of a savage at that moment grasping the gunwale of the boat, as if with a view to retard her movements until the arrival of his companions.