"And fools who came to scoff, remained to pray."-Goldsmith.
Notwithstanding the united labors of Richard and Benjamin, the "long room" was but an extremely inartificial temple. Benches; made in the coarsest manner, and entirely with a view to usefulness, were arranged in rows for the reception of the Congregation; while a rough, unpainted box was placed against the wall, in the centre of the length of the apartment, as an apology for a pulpit. Something like a reading-desk was in front of this rostrum; and a small mahogany table from the mansion-house, covered with a spotless damask cloth, stood a little on one side, by the way of an altar. Branches of pines and hemlocks were stuck in each of the fissures that offered in the unseasoned and hastily completed woodwork of both the building and its furniture; while festoons and hieroglyphics met the eye in vast profusion along the brown sides of the scratch-coated walls. As the room was only lighted by some ten or fifteen miserable candles, and the windows were without shutters, it would have been but a dreary, cheerless place for the solemnities of a Christmas eve, had not the large fire that was crackling at each end of the apartment given an air of cheerfulness to the scene, by throwing an occasional glare of light through the vistas of bushes and faces.
The two sexes were separated by an area in the centre of the room immediately before the pulpit; amid a few benches lined this space, that were occupied by the principal personages of the village and its vicinity. This distinction was rather a gratuitous concession made by the poorer and less polished part of the population than a right claimed by the favored few. One bench was occupied by the party of Judge Temple, including his daughter, and, with the exception of Dr. Todd, no one else appeared willing to incur the imputation of pride, by taking a seat in what was, literally, the high place of the tabernacle.
Richard filled the chair that was placed behind another table, in the capacity of clerk; while Benjamin, after heaping sundry logs on the fire, posted himself nigh by, in reserve for any movement that might require co-operation.
It would greatly exceed our limits to attempt a description of the congregation, for the dresses were as various as the individuals. Some one article of more than usual finery, and perhaps the relic of other days, was to be seen about most of the females, in connection with the coarse attire of the woods. This wore a faded silk, that had gone through at least three generations, over coarse, woollen black stockings; that, a shawl, whose dyes were as numerous as those of the rainbow, over an awkwardly fitting gown of rough brown "woman's wear." In short, each one exhibited some favorite article, and all appeared in their best, both men and women; while the ground-works in dress, in either sex, were the coarse fabrics manufactured within their own dwellings. One man appeared in the dress of a volunteer company of artillery, of which he had been a member in the "down countries," precisely for no other reason than because it was the best suit he had. Several, particularly of the younger men, displayed pantaloons of blue, edged with red cloth down the seams part of the equipments of the "Templeton Light Infantry," from a little vanity to be seen in "boughten clothes." There was also one man in a "rifle frock," with its fringes and folds of spotless white, striking a chill to the heart with the idea of its coolness, although the thick coat of brown" home- made" that was concealed beneath preserved a proper degree of warmth.
There was a marked uniformity of expression in Countenance, especially in that half of the congregation who did not enjoy the advantages of the polish of the village. A sallow skin, that indicated nothing but exposure, was common to all, as was an air of great decency and attention, mingled, generally, with an expression of shrewdness, and in the present instance of active curiosity. Now and then a face and dress were to be seen among the congregation, that differed entirely from this description. If pock-marked and florid, with gartered legs, and a coat that snugly fitted the person of the wearer, it was surely an English emigrant, who had bent his steps to this retired quarter of the globe. If hard-featured and without color, with high cheek-bones, it was a native of Scotland, in similar circumstances.
The short, black-eyed man, with a cast of the swarthy Spaniard in his face, who rose repeatedly to make room for the belles of the village as they entered, was a son of Erin, who had lately left off his pack, and become a stationary trader in Templeton. In short, half the nations in the north of Europe had their representatives in this assembly, though all had closely assimilated themselves to the Americans in dress and appearance, except the English man. He, indeed, not only adhered to his native customs in attire and living, but usually drove his plough among the stumps in the same manner as he had before done on the plains of Norfolk, until dear-bought experience taught him the useful lesson that a sagacious people knew what was suited to their circumstances better than a casual observer, or a sojourner who was, perhaps, too much prejudiced to compare and, peradventure, too conceited to learn.
Elizabeth soon discovered that she divided the attention of the congregation with Mr. Grant. Timidity, therefore, confined her observation of the appearances which we have described to stoles glances; but, as the stamping of feet was now becoming less frequent, and even the coughing, and other little preliminaries of a congregation settling themselves down into reverential attention, were ceasing, she felt emboldened to look around her. Gradually all noises diminished, until the suppressed cough denoted that it was necessary to avoid singularity, and the most pro found stillness pervaded the apartment. The snapping of the fires, as they threw a powerful heat into the room, was alone heard, and each face and every eye were turned on the divine.
At this moment, a heavy stamping of feet was heard in the passage below, as if a new-corner was releasing his limbs from the snow that was necessarily clinging to the legs of a pedestrian. It was succeeded by no audible tread; but directly Mohegan, followed by the Leather-Stocking and the young hunter, made his appearance.
Their footsteps would not have been heard, as they trod the apartment in their moccasins, but for the silence which prevailed.
The Indian moved with great gravity across the floor, and, observing a vacant seat next to the Judge, he took it, in a manner that manifested his sense of his own dignity. Here, drawing his blanket closely around him so as partly to conceal his countenance, he remained during the service immovable, but deeply attentive. Natty passed the place that was so freely taken by his red companion, and seated himself on one end of a log that was lying near the fire, where he continued, with his rifle standing between his legs, absorbed in reflections seemingly of no very pleasing nature. The youth found a seat among the congregation, and another silence prevailed.
Mr. Grant now arose and commenced his service with the sublime declaration of the Hebrew prophet: "The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him." The example of Mr. Jones was unnecessary to teach the congregation to rise; the solemnity of the divine effected this as by magic. After a short pause, Mr. Grant proceeded with the solemn and winning exhortation of his service. Nothing was heard but the deep though affectionate tones of the reader, as he went slowly through this exordium; until, something unfortunately striking the mind of Richard as incomplete, he left his place and walked on tiptoe from the room.
When the clergyman bent his knees in prayer and confession, the congregation so far imitated his example as to resume their seats; whence no succeeding effort of the divine, during the evening, was able to remove them in a body. Some rose at times; but by far the larger part continued unbending; observant, it is true, but it was the kind of observation that regarded the ceremony as a spectacle rather than a worship in which they were to participate. Thus deserted by his clerk Mr. Grant continued to read; but no response was audible. The short and solemn pause that succeeded each petition was made; still no voice repeated the eloquent language of the prayer.
The lips of Elizabeth moved, but they moved in vain and accustomed as she was to the service of the churches of the metropolis, she was beginning to feel the awkwardness of the circumstance most painfully when a soft, low female voice repeated after the priest," We have left undone those things which we ought to have done." Startled at finding one of her own sex in that place who could rise superior to natural timidity, Miss Temple turned her eyes in the direction of the penitent. She observed a young female on her knees, but a short distance from her, with her meek face humbly bent over her book.
The appearance of this stranger, for such she was, entirely, to Elizabeth, was light and fragile. Her dress was neat and becoming; and her countenance, though pale and slightly agitated, excited deep interest by its sweet and melancholy expression. A second and third response was made by this juvenile assistant, when the manly sounds of a male voice proceeded from the opposite part of the room, Miss Temple knew the tones of the young hunter instantly, and struggling to overcome her own diffidence she added her low voice to the number.
All this time Benjamin stood thumbing the leaves of a prayer-book with great industry; but some unexpected difficulties prevented his finding the place. Before the divine reached the close of the confession, however, Richard reappeared at the door, and, as he moved lightly across the room, he took up the response, in a voice that betrayed no other concern than that of not being heard. In his hand he carried a small open box, with the figures "8 by 10" written in black paint on one of its sides; which, having placed in the pulpit, apparently as a footstool for the divine, he returned to his station in time to say, sonorously, "Amen." The eyes of the congregation, very naturally, were turned to the windows, as Mr. Jones entered with his singular load; and then, as if accustomed to his "general agency," were again bent on the priest, in close and curious attention.
The long experience of Mr. Grant admirably qualified him to perform his present duty. He well understood the character of his listeners, who were mostly a primitive people in their habits; and who, being a good deal addicted to subtleties and nice distinctions in their religious opinions, viewed the introduction of any such temporal assistance as form into their spiritual worship not only with jealousy, but frequently with disgust. He had acquired much of his knowledge from studying the great book of human nature as it lay open in the world; and, knowing how dangerous it was to contend with ignorance, uniformly endeavored to avoid dictating where his better reason taught him it was the most prudent to attempt to lead, His orthodoxy had no dependence on his cassock; he could pray with fervor and with faith, if circumstances required it, without the assistance of his clerk; and he had even been known to preach a most evangelical sermon, in the winning manner of native eloquence, without the aid of a cambric handkerchief.
In the present instance he yielded, in many places, to the prejudices of his congregation; and when he had ended, there was not one of his new hearers who did not think the ceremonies less papal and offensive, and more conformant to his or her own notions of devout worship, than they had been led to expect from a service of forms, Richard found in the divine, during the evening, a most powerful co-operator in his religious schemes. In preaching, Mr. Grant endeavored to steer a middle course between the mystical doctrines of those sublimated creeds which daily involve their professors in the most absurd contradictions, and those fluent roles of moral government which would reduce the Saviour to a level with the teacher of a school of ethics. Doctrine it was necessary to preach, for nothing less would have satisfied the disputatious people who were his listeners, and who would have interpreted silence on his part into a tacit acknowledgment of the superficial nature of his creed. We have already said that, among the endless variety of religious instructors, the settlers were accustomed to hear every denomination urge its own distinctive precepts, and to have found one indifferent to this Interesting subject would have been destructive to his influence. But Mr. Grant so happily blended the universally received opinions of the Christian faith with the dogmas of his own church that, although none were entirely exempt from the influence of his reasons, very few took any alarm at the innovation.
"When we consider the great diversity of the human character, influenced as it is by education, by opportunity, and by the physical and moral conditions of the creature, my dear hearers," he earnestly concluded "it can excite no surprise that creeds so very different in their tendencies should grow out of a religion revealed, it is true, but whose revelations are obscured by the lapse of ages, and whose doctrines were, after the fashion of the countries in which they were first promulgated, frequently delivered in parables, and in a language abounding in metaphors and loaded with figures. On points where the learned have, in purity of heart, been compelled to differ, the unlettered will necessarily be at variance. But, happily for us, my brethren, the fountain of divine love flows from a source too pure to admit of pollution in its course; it extends, to those who drink of its vivifying waters, the peace of the righteous, and life everlasting; it endures through all time, and it pervades creation. If there be mystery in its workings, it is the mystery of a Divinity. With a clear knowledge of the nature, the might, and the majesty of God, there might be conviction, but there could be no faith. If we are required to believe in doctrines that seem not in conformity with the deductions of human wisdom, let us never forget that such is the mandate of a wisdom that is infinite. It is sufficient for us that enough is developed to point our path aright, and to direct our wandering steps to that portal which shall open on the light of an eternal day. Then, indeed, it may be humbly hoped that the film which has been spread by the subtleties of earthly arguments will be dissipated by the spiritual light of Heaven; and that our hour of probation, by the aid of divine grace, being once passed in triumph, will be followed by an eternity of intelligence and endless ages of fruition. All that is now obscure shall become plain to our expanded faculties; and what to our present senses may seem irreconcilable to our limited notions of mercy, of justice, and of love, shall stand irradiated by the light of truth, confessedly the suggestions of Omniscience, and the acts of an All-powerful Benevolence."
"What a lesson of humility, my brethren, might not each of us obtain from a review of his infant hours, and the recollection of his juvenile passions! How differently do the same acts of parental rigor appear in the eyes of the suffering child and of the chastened man! When the sophist would supplant, with the wild theories of his worldly wisdom, the positive mandates of inspiration, let him remember the expansion of his own feeble intellects, and pause-let him feel the wisdom of God in what is partially concealed. as well as that which is revealed; in short, let him substitute humility for pride of reason-let him have faith, and live!"
"The consideration of this subject is full of consolation, my hearers, and does not fail to bring with it lessons of humility and of profit, that, duly improved, would both chasten the heart and strengthen the feeble-minded man in his course. It is a blessed consolation to be able to lay the misdoubtings of our arrogant nature at the thresh old of the dwelling-place of the Deity, from whence they shall be swept away, at the great opening of the portal, like the mists of the morning before the rising sun. It teaches us a lesson of humility, by impressing us with the imperfection of human powers, and by warning us of the many weak points where we are open to the attack of the great enemy of our race; it proves to us that we are in danger of being weak, when our vanity would fain soothe us into the belief that we arc most strong; it forcibly points out to us the vainglory of intellect, and shows us the vast difference between a saving faith and the corollaries of a philosophical theology; and it teaches us to reduce our self-examination to the test of good works. By good works must be understood the fruits of repentance, the chiefest of which is charity. Not that charity only which causes us to help the needy and comfort the suffering, but that feeling of universal philanthropy which, by teaching us to love, causes us to judge with lenity all men; striking at the root of self-righteousness, and warning us to be sparing of our condemnation of others, while our own salvation is not yet secure."
"The lesson of expediency, my brethren, which I would gather from the consideration of this subject, is most strongly inculcated by humility. On the heading and essential points of our faith, there is but little difference among those classes of Christians who acknowledge the attributes of the Saviour, and depend on his mediation. But heresies have polluted every church, and schisms are the fruit of disputation. In order to arrest these dangers, and to insure the union of his followers, it would seem that Christ had established his visible church. and delegated the ministry. Wise and holy men, the fathers of our religion, have expended their labors in clearing what was revealed from the obscurities of language, and the results of their experience and researches have been em bodied in the form of evangelical discipline That this discipline must be salutary, is evident from the view of the weakness of human nature that we have already taken; and that it may be profitable to us, and all who listen to its precepts and its liturgy, may God, in his infinite wisdom, grant!-And now to," etc.
With this ingenious reference to his own forms and ministry, Mr. Grant concluded his discourse. The most profound attention had been paid to the sermon during the whole of its delivery, although the prayers had not been received with so perfect demonstration of respect. This was by no means an intended slight of that liturgy to which the divine alluded, but was the habit of a people who owed their very existence, as a distinct nation, to the doctrinal character of their ancestors. Sundry looks of private dissatisfaction were exchanged between Hiram and one or two of the leading members of the conference, but the feeling went no further at that time; and the congregation, after receiving the blessing of Mr. Grant., dispersed in Silence, and with great decorum.
"Your creeds and dogmas of a learned church May build a fabric, fair with moral beauty; But it would seem that the strong hand of God Can, only, 'rase the devil from the heart."-Duo.
While the congregation was separating, Mr. Grant approached the place where Elizabeth and her father were seated, leading the youthful female whom we have mentioned in the preceding chapter, and presented her as his daughter. Her reception was as cordial and frank as the manners of the country and the value of good society could render it; the two young women feeling, instantly, that they were necessary to the comfort of each other, The Judge, to whom the clergyman's daughter was also a stranger, was pleased to find one who, from habits, sex, and years, could probably contribute largely to the pleasures of his own child, during her first privations on her removal from the associations of a city to the solitude of Templeton; while Elizabeth, who had been forcibly struck with the sweetness and devotion of the youthful suppliant, removed the slight embarrassment of the timid stranger by the ease of her own manners. They were at once acquainted; and, during the ten minutes that the "academy" was clearing, engagements were made between the young people, not only for the succeeding day, but they would probably have embraced in their arrangements half of the winter, had not the divine interrupted them by saying:
"Gently, gently, my dear Miss Temple, or you will make my girl too dissipated. You forget that she is my housekeeper, and that my domestic affairs must remain unattended to, should Louisa accept of half the kind offers you are so good as to make her."
"And why should they not be neglected entirely, sir?" interrupted Elizabeth. "There are but two of you; and certain I am that my father's house will not only contain you both, but will open its doors spontaneously to receive such guests. Society is a good not to he rejected on account of cold forms, in this wilderness, sir; and I have often heard my father say, that hospitality is not a virtue in a new country, the favor being conferred by the guest."
"The manner in which Judge Temple exercises its rites would confirm this opinion; but we must not trespass too freely. Doubt not that you will see us often, my child, particularly during the frequent visits that I shall be compelled to make to the distant parts of the country. But to obtain an influence with such a people," he continued, glancing his eyes toward the few who were still lingering, curious observers of the interview, "a clergyman most not awaken envy or distrust by dwelling under so splendid a roof as that of Judge Temple."
"You like the roof, then, Mr. Grant," cried Richard, who had been directing the extinguishment of the fires and other little necessary duties, and who approached in time to hear the close of the divine's speech. "I am glad to find one man of taste at last. Here's 'Duke. now, pretends to call it by every abusive name he can invent; but though 'Duke is a tolerable judge, he is a very poor carpenter, let me tell him. Well, sir, well, I think we may say, without boasting, that the service was as well per formed this evening as you often see; I think, quite as well as I ever knew it to be done in old Trinity-that is, if we except the organ. But there is the school-master leads the psalm with a very good air. I used to lead myself, but latterly I have sung nothing but bass. There is a good deal of science to be shown in the bass, and it affords a fine opportunity to show off a full, deep voice. Benjamin, too, sings a good bass, though he is often out in the words. Did you ever hear Benjamin sing the 'Bay of Biscay, 0?"
"I believe he gave us part of it this evening," said Marmaduke, laughing. "There was, now and then, a fearful quaver in his voice, and it seems that Mr. Penguillian is like most others who do one thing particularly well; he knows nothing else. He has, certainly, a wonderful partiality to one tune, and he has a prodigious self- confidence in that one, for he delivers himself like a northwester sweeping across the lake. But come, gentlemen, our way is clear, and the sleigh waits. Good-evening, Mr. Grant. Good-night, young lady- remember you dine beneath the Corinthian roof, to-morrow, with Elizabeth."
The parties separated, Richard holding a close dissertation with Mr. Le Quoi, as they descended the stairs, on the subject of psalmody, which he closed by a violent eulogium on the air of the "Bay of Biscay, 0," as particularly connected with his friend Benjamin's execution.
During the preceding dialogue, Mohegan retained his seat, with his head shrouded in his blanket, as seemingly inattentive to surrounding objects as the departing congregation was itself to the presence of the aged chief, Natty, also, continued on the log where he had first placed himself, with his head resting on one of his hands, while the other held the rifle, which was thrown carelessly across his lap. His countenance expressed uneasiness, and the occasional unquiet glances that he had thrown around him during the service plainly indicated some unusual causes for unhappiness. His continuing seated was, how ever, out of respect to the Indian chief. to whom he paid the utmost deference on all occasions, although it was mingled with the rough manner of a hunter.
The young companion of these two ancient inhabitants of the forest remained also standing before the extinguished brands, probably from an unwillingness to depart without his comrades. The room was now deserted by all but this group, the divine, and his daughter. As the party from the mansion-house disappeared, John arose, and, dropping the blanket from his head, he shook back the mass of black hair from his face, and, approaching Mr. Grant, he extended his hand, and said solemnly:
"Father, I thank you. The words that have been said, since the rising moon, have gone upward, and the Great Spirit is glad. What you have told your children, they will remember, and be good." He paused a moment, and then, elevating himself with the grandeur of an Indian chief, he added: "If Chingachgook lives to travel toward the setting sun, after his tribe, and the Great Spirit carries him over the lakes and mountains with the breath of his body, he will tell his people the good talk he has heard; and they will believe him; for who can say that Mohegan has ever lied?"
"Let him place his dependence on the goodness of Divine mercy," said Mr. Grant, to whom the proud consciousness of the Indian sounded a little heterodox, "and it never will desert him. When the heart is filled with love to God, there is no room for sin. But, young man, to you I owe not only an obligation, in common with those you saved this evening on the mountain, but my thanks for your respectable and pious manner in assisting in the service at a most embarrassing moment. I should be happy to see you sometimes at my dwelling, when, perhaps, my conversation may strengthen you in the path which you appear to have chosen. It is so unusual to find one of your age and appearance, in these woods, at all acquainted with our holy liturgy, that it lessens at once the distance between us, and I feel that we are no longer strangers. You seem quite at home in the service; I did not perceive that you had even a book, although good Mr. Jones. had laid several in different parts of the room."
"It would be strange if I were ignorant of the service of our church, sir," returned the youth modestly; "for I was baptized in its communion and I have never yet attended public worship elsewhere. For me to use the forms of any other denomination would be as singular as our own have proved to the people here this evening."
"You give me great pleasure, my dear sir," cried the divine, seizing the other by the hand, and shaking it cordially. "You will go home with me now-indeed you must-my child has yet to thank you for saving my life. I will-listen to no apologies. This worthy Indian, and your friend, there, will accompany us. Bless me! to think that' he has arrived at manhood in this country, without entering a dissenting * meeting-house!"
* The divines of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States
commonly call other denominations Dissenters, though there never was
an established church in their own country!
"No, no," interrupted the Leather-Stocking, "I must away to the wigwam; there's work there that mustn't be forgotten for all your churchings and merry-makings. Let the lad go with you in welcome; he is used to keeping company with ministers, and talking of such matters; so is old John, who was christianized by the Moravians abouts the time of the old war. But I am a plain unlarned man, that has sarved both the king and his country, in his day, agin' the French and savages, but never so much as looked into a book, or larnt a letter of scholarship, in my born days. I've never seen the use of much in-door work, though I have lived to be partly bald, and in my time have killed two hundred beaver in a season, and that without counting thc other game. If you mistrust what I am telling you, you can ask Chingachgook there, for I did it in the heart of the Delaware country, and the old man is knowing to the truth of every word I say."
"I doubt not, my friend, that you have been both a valiant soldier and skilful hunter in your day," said the divine; "but more is wanting to prepare you for that end which approaches. You may have heard the maxim, that 'young men may die, but that old men must'"
"I'm sure I never was so great a fool as to expect to live forever," said Natty, giving one of his silent laughs; "no man need do that who trails the savages through the woods, as I have done, and lives, for the hot months, on the lake streams. I've a strong constitution, I must say that for myself, as is plain to be seen; for I've drunk the Onondaga water a hundred times, while I've been watching the deer- licks, when the fever-an'-agy seeds was to be seen in it as plain and as plenty as you can see the rattle snakes on old Crumhorn. But then I never expected to hold out forever; though there's them living who have seen the German flats a wilderness; ay! and them that's larned, and acquainted with religion, too; though you might look a week, now, and not find even the stump of a pine on them; and that's a wood that lasts in the ground the better part of a hundred years after the tree is dead."
"This is but time, my good friend," returned Mr. Grant, who began to take an interest in the welfare of his new acquaintance, "but I would have you prepare for eternity. It is incumbent on you to attend places of public worship, as I am pleased to see that you have done this evening. Would it not he heedless in you to start on a day's toil of hard hunting, and leave your ramrod and flint behind?"
"It must be a young hand in the woods," interrupted Natty, with another laugh, "that didn't know how to dress a rod out of an ash sapling or find a fire-stone in the mountains. No, no, I never expected to live forever; but I see, times be altering in these mountains from what they was thirty years ago, or, for that matter, ten years. But might makes right, and the law is stronger than an old man, whether he is one that has much laming, or only like me, that is better now at standing at the passes than in following the hounds, as I once used to could. Heigh-ho! I never know'd preaching come into a settlement but it made game scarce, and raised the price of gunpowder; and that's a thing that's not as easily made as a ramrod or an Indian flint."
The divine, perceiving that he had given his opponent an argument by his own unfortunate selection of a comparison, very prudently relinquished the controversy; although he was fully determined to resume it at a more happy moment, Repeating his request to the young hunter with great earnestness, the youth and Indian consented to ac company him and his daughter to the dwelling that the care of Mr. Jones had provided for their temporary residence. Leather-Stocking persevered in his intention of returning to the hut, and at the door of the building they separated.
After following the course of one of the streets of the village a short distance. Mr. Grant, who led the way, turned into a field, through a pair of open bars, and entered a footpath, of but sufficient width to admit one person to walk in at a time. The moon had gained a height that enabled her to throw her rays perpendicularly on the valley; and the distinct shadows of the party flitted along on the banks of the silver snow, like the presence of aerial figures, gliding to their appointed place of meeting. The night still continued intensely cold, although not a breath of wind was felt. The path was beaten so hard that the gentle female, who made one of the party, moved with ease along its windings; though the frost emitted a low creaking at the impression of even her light footsteps.
The clergyman in his dark dress of broadcloth, with his mild, benevolent countenance occasionally turned toward his companions, expressing that look of subdued care which was its characteristic, presented the first object in this singular group. Next to him moved the Indian, his hair falling about his face, his head uncovered, and the rest of his form concealed beneath his blanket. As his swarthy visage, with its muscles fixed in rigid composure, was seen under the light of the moon, which struck his face obliquely, he seemed a picture of resigned old age, on whom the storms of winter had beaten in vain for the greater part of a century; but when, in turning his head, the rays fell directly on his dark, fiery eyes, they told a tale of passions unrestrained, and of thoughts free as air. The slight person of Miss Grant, which followed next, and which was but too thinly clad for the severity of the season, formed a marked contrast to thc wild attire and uneasy glances of the Delaware chief; and more than once during their walk, the young hunter, himself no insignificant figure in the group, was led to consider the difference in the human form, as the face of Mohegan and the gentle countenance of Miss Grant, with eyes that rivalled the soft hue of the sky, met his view at the instant that each turned to throw a glance at the splendid orb which lighted their path. Their way, which led through fields that lay at some distance in the rear of the houses, was cheered by a conversation that flagged or became animated with the
subject. The first to speak was the divine.
"Really," he said, "it is so singular a circumstance to meet with one of your age, that has not been induced by idle curiosity to visit any other church than the one in which he has been educated, that I feel a strong curiosity to know the history of a life so fortunately regulated. Your education must have been excellent; as indeed is evident from your manners and language. Of which of the States are you a native, Mr. Edwards? for such, I believe, was the name that you gave Judge Temple."
"Of this! I was at a loss to conjecture, from your dialect, which does not partake, particularly, of the peculiarities of any country with which I am acquainted. You have, then, resided much in the cities, for no other part of this country is so fortunate as to possess the constant enjoyment of our excellent liturgy."
The young hunter smiled, as he listened to the divine while he so clearly betrayed from what part of the country he had come himself; but, for reasons probably connected with his present situation, he made no answer.
"I am delighted to meet with you, my young friend, for I think an ingenuous mind, such as I doubt not yours must be, will exhibit all the advantages of a settled doctrine and devout liturgy. You perceive how I was compelled to bend to the humors of my hearers this evening. Good Mr. Jones wished me to read the communion, and, in fact, all the morning service; but, happily, the canons do not require this of an evening. It would have wearied a new congregation; but to-morrow I purpose administering the sacrament, Do you commune, my young friend?"
"I believe not, sir," returned the youth, with a little embarrassment, that was not at all diminished by Miss Grant's pausing involuntarily, and turning her eyes on him in surprise; "I fear that I am not qualified; I have never yet approached the altar; neither would I wish to do it while I find so much of the world clinging to my heart."
"Each must judge for himself," said Mr. Grant; "though I should think that a youth who had never been blown about by the wind of false doctrines, and who has enjoyed the advantages of our liturgy for so many years in its purity, might safely come. Yet, sir, it is a solemn festival, which none should celebrate until there is reason to hope it is not mockery. I observed this evening, in your manner to Judge Temple, a resentment that bordered on one of the worst of human passions, We will cross this brook on the ice; it must bear us all, I think, in safety. Be careful not to slip, my child." While speaking, he descended a little bank by the path, and crossed one of the small streams that poured their waters into the lake; and, turning to see his daughter pass, observed that the youth had advanced, and was kindly directing her footsteps. When all were safely over, he moved up the opposite bank, and continued his discourse. "It was wrong, my dear sir, very wrong, to suffer such feelings to rise, under any circumstances, and especially in the present, where the evil was not intended."
"There is good in the talk of my father," said Mohegan, stopping short, and causing those who Were behind him to pause also; "it is the talk of Miquon. The white man may do as his fathers have told him; but the 'Young Eagle' has the blood of a Delaware chief in his veins; it is red, and the stain it makes can only be washed out with the blood of a Mingo."
Mr. Grant was surprised by the interruption of the Indian, and, stopping, faced the speaker. His mild features were confronted to the fierce and determined looks of the chief, and expressed the horror he felt at hearing such sentiments from one who professed the religion of his Saviour. Raising his hands to a level with his head, he exclaimed:
"John, John! is this the religion that you have learned from the Moravians? But no-I will not be so uncharitable as to suppose it. They are a pious, a gentle, and a mild people, and could never tolerate these passions. Listen to the language of the Redeemer: 'But I say unto you, love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.' This is the command of God, John, and, without striving to cultivate such feelings, no man can see Him."
The Indian heard the divine with attention; the unusual fire of his eye gradually softened, and his muscles relaxed into their ordinary composure; but, slightly shaking his head, he motioned with dignity for Mr. Grant to resume his walk, and followed himself in silence, The agitation of the divine caused him to move with unusual rapidity along the deep path, and the Indian, without any apparent exertion, kept an equal pace; but the young hunter observed the female to linger in her steps, until a trifling distance intervened between the two former and the latter. Struck by the circumstance, and not perceiving any new impediment to retard her footstep, the youth made a tender of his assistance.
"You are fatigued, Miss Grant," he said; "the snow yields to the foot, and you are unequal to the strides of us men. Step on the crust, I entreat you, and take the help of my arm, Yonder light is, I believe, the house of your father; but it seems yet at some distance."
"I am quite equal to the walk," returned a low, tremulous voice; "but I am startled by the manner of that Indian, Oh! his eye was horrid, as he turned to the moon, in speaking to my father. But I forgot, sir; he is your friend, and by his language may be your relative; and yet of you I do not feel afraid."
The young man stepped on the bank of snow, which firmly sustained his weight, and by a gentle effort induced his companion to follow. Drawing her arm through his own, he lifted his cap from his head, allowing the dark locks to flow in rich curls over his open brow, and walked by her side with an air of conscious pride, as if inviting an examination of his utmost thoughts. Louisa took but a furtive glance at his person, and moved quietly along, at a rate that was greatly quickened by the aid of his arm.
"You are but little acquainted with this peculiar people, Miss Grant," he said, "or you would know that revenge is a virtue with an Indian. They are taught, from infancy upward, to believe it a duty never to allow an injury to pass unrevenged; and nothing but the stronger claims of hospitality can guard one against their resentments where they have power."
"Surely, sir," said Miss Grant, involuntarily withdrawing her arm from his, "you have not been educated with such unholy sentiments?"
"It might be a sufficient answer to your excellent father to say that I was educated in the church," he returned; "but to you I will add that I have been taught deep and practical lessons of forgiveness. I believe that, on this subject, I have but little cause to reproach myself; it shall he my endeavor that there yet be less."
While speaking, he stopped, and stood with his arm again proffered to her assistance. As he ended, she quietly accepted his offer, and they resumed their walk.
Mr. Grant and Mohegan had reached the door of the former's residence, and stood waiting near its threshold for the arrival of their young companions. The former was earnestly occupied in endeavoring to correct, by his precepts, the evil propensities that he had discovered in the Indian during their conversation; to which the latter listened in Profound but respectful attention. On the arrival of the young hunter and the lady, they entered the building. The house stood at some distance from the village, in the centre of a field, surrounded by stumps that were peering above the snow, bearing caps of pure white, nearly two feet in thickness. Not a tree nor a shrub was nigh it; but the house, externally, exhibited that cheer less, unfurnished aspect which is so common to the hastily erected dwellings of a new country. The uninviting character of its outside was, however, happily relieved by the exquisite neatness and comfortable warmth within.
They entered an apartment that was fitted as a parlor, though the large fireplace, with its culinary arrangements, betrayed the domestic uses to which it was occasionally applied. The bright blaze from the hearth rendered the light that proceeded from the candle Louisa produced unnecessary; for the scanty furniture of the room was easily seen and examined by the former. The floor was covered in the centre by a carpet made of rags, a species of manufacture that was then, and yet continues to be, much in use in the interior; while its edges, that were exposed to view, were of unspotted cleanliness. There was a trifling air of better life in a tea-table and work-stand, as well as in an old-fashioned mahogany bookcase; but the chairs, the dining- table, and the rest of the furniture were of the plainest and cheapest construction, Against the walls were hung a few specimens of needle- work and drawing, the former executed with great neatness, though of somewhat equivocal merit in their designs, while the latter were strikingly deficient in both,
One of the former represented a tomb, with a youthful female weeping over it, exhibiting a church with arched windows in the background. On the tomb were the names, with the dates of the births and deaths, of several individuals, all of whom bore the name of Grant. An extremely cursory glance at this record was sufficient to discover to the young hunter the domestic state of the divine. He there read that he was a widower; and that the innocent and timid maiden, who had been his companion, was the only survivor of six children. The knowledge of the dependence which each of these meek Christians had on the other for happiness threw an additional charm around the gentle but kind attentions which the daughter paid to the father.
These observations occurred while the party were seating themselves before the cheerful fire, during which time there was a suspension of discourse. But, when each was comfortably arranged, and Louisa, after laying aside a thin coat of faded silk, and a gypsy hat, that was more becoming to her modest, ingenuous countenance than appropriate to the season, had taken a chair between her father and the youth, the former resumed the conversation.
"I trust, my young friend," he said, "that the education you have received has eradicated most of those revengeful principles which you may have inherited by descent, for I understand from the expressions of John that you have some of the blood of the Delaware tribe. Do not mistake me, I beg, for it is not color nor lineage that constitutes merit; and I know not that he who claims affinity to the proper owners of this soil has not the best right to tread these hills with the lightest conscience."
Mohegan turned solemnly to the speaker, and, with the peculiarly significant gestures of an Indian, he spoke:
"Father, you are not yet past the summer of life; your limbs are young. Go to the highest hill, and look around you. All that you see, from the rising to the setting sun, from the head-waters of the great spring, to where the 'crooked river'* is hid by the hills, is his. He has Delaware blood, and his right is strong.
* The Susquehannah means crooked river; "hannah," or "hannock," meant
river in many of the native dialects. Thus we find Rappahannock as
far south as Virginia.
But the brother of Miquon is just; he will cut the country in two parts, as the river cuts the lowlands, and will say to the 'Young Eagle,' 'Child of the Delawares! take it-keep it; and be a chief in the land of your fathers.'"
"Never!" exclaimed the young hunter, with a vehemence that destroyed the rapt attention with which the divine and his daughter were listening to the Indian. "The wolf of the forest is not more rapacious for his prey than that man is greedy of gold; and yet his glidings into wealth are subtle as the movements of a serpent."
"Forbear, forbear, my son, forbear," interrupted Mr. Grant. "These angry passions most be subdued. The accidental injury you have received from Judge Temple has heightened the sense of your hereditary wrongs. But remember that the one was unintentional, and that the other is the effect of political changes, which have, in their course, greatly lowered the pride of kings, and swept mighty nations from the face of the earth. Where now are the Philistines, who so often held the children of Israel in bondage? or that city of Babylon, which rioted in luxury and vice, and who styled herself the Queen of Nations in the drunkenness of her pride? Remember the prayer of our holy litany, where we implore the Divine Power-'that it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts. The sin of the wrongs which have been done to the natives is shared by Judge Temple only in common with a whole people, and your arm will speedily be restored to its strength."
"This arm!" repeated the youth, pacing the floor in violent agitation. "Think you, sir, that I believe the man a murderer? Oh, no! he is too wily, too cowardly, for such a crime. But let him and his daughter riot in their wealth-a day of retribution will come. No, no, no," he continued, as he trod the floor more calmly-" it is for Mohegan to suspect him of an intent to injure me; but the trifle is not worth a second thought." He seated himself, and hid his face between his hands, as they rested on his knees.
"It is the hereditary violence of a native's passion, my child," said Mr. Grant in a low tone to his affrighted daughter, who was clinging in terror to his arm. "He is mixed with the blood of the Indians, you have heard; and neither the refinements of education nor the advantages of our excellent liturgy have been able entirely to eradicate the evil. But care and time will do much for him yet."
Although the divine spoke in a low tone, yet what he uttered was heard by the youth, who raised his head, with a smile of indefinite expression, and spoke more calmly:
"Be not alarmed, Miss Grant, at either the wildness of my manner or that of my dress. I have been carried away by passions that I should struggle to repress. I must attribute it, with your father, to the blood in my veins, although I would not impeach my lineage willingly; for it is all that is left me to boast of. Yes! I am proud of my descent from a Delaware chief, who was a warrior that ennobled human nature. Old Mohegan was his friend, and will vouch for his virtues."
Mr. Grant here took up the discourse, and, finding the young man more calm, and the aged chief attentive, he entered into a full and theological discussion of the duty of forgiveness. The conversation lasted for more than an hour, when the visitors arose, and, after exchanging good wishes with their entertainers, they departed. At the door they separated, Mohegan taking the direct route to the village, while the youth moved toward the lake. The divine stood at the entrance of his dwelling, regarding the figure of the aged chief as it glided, at an astonishing gait for his years, along the deep path; his black, straight hair just visible over the bundle formed by his blanket, which was sometimes blended with the snow, under the silvery light of the moon. From the rear of the house was a window that overlooked the lake; and here Louisa was found by her father, when he entered, gazing intently on some object in the direction of the eastern mountain. He approached the spot, and saw the figure of the young hunter, at the distance of half a mile, walking with prodigious steps across the wide fields of frozen snow that covered the ice, toward the point where he knew the hut inhabited by the Leather-
Stocking was situated on the margin of the lake, under a rock that was crowned by pines and hemlocks. At the next instant, the wild looking form entered the shadow cast from the over-hanging trees, and was lost to view.
"It is marvellous how long the propensities of the savage continue in that remarkable race," said the good divine; "but if he perseveres as he has commenced, his triumph shall yet be complete. Put me in mind, Louisa, to lend him the homily 'against peril of idolatry,' at his next visit."
"Surety, father, you do not think him in danger of relapsing into the worship of his ancestors?"
"No, my child," returned the clergyman, laying his hand affectionately on her flaxen locks, and smiling; "his white blood would prevent it; but there is such a thing as the idolatry of our passions."
"And I'll drink out of the quart pot- Here's a health to the barley mow. "-Drinking Song.
On one of the corners, where the two principal streets of Templeton intersected each other, stood, as we have already mentioned, the inn called the "Bold Dragoon". In the original plan it was ordained that the village should stretch along the little stream that rushed down the valley; and the street which led from the lake to the academy was intended to be its western boundary. But convenience frequently frustrates the best-regulated plans. The house of Mr., or as, in consequence of commanding the militia of that vicinity, he was called, Captain Hollister, had, at an early day, been erected directly facing the main street, and ostensibly interposed a barrier to its further progress. Horsemen, and subsequently teamsters, however, availed themselves of an opening, at the end of the building, to shorten their passage westward, until in time the regular highway was laid out along this course, and houses were gradually built on either side, so as effectually to prevent any subsequent correction of the evil.
Two material consequences followed this change in the regular plans of Marmaduke. The main street, after running about half its length, was suddenly reduced for precisely that difference in its width; and "Bold Dragoon" became, next to the mansion-house, by far the most conspicuous edifice in the place.
This conspicuousness, aided by the characters of the host and hostess, gave the tavern an advantage over all its future competitors that no circumstances could conquer. An effort was, however, made to do so; and at the corner diagonally opposite, stood a new building that was in tended, by its occupants, to look down all opposition. It was a house of wood, ornamented in the prevailing style of architecture, and about the roof and balustrades was one of the three imitators of the mansion-house. The upper windows were filled with rough boards secured by nails, to keep out the cold air-for the edifice was far from finished, although glass was to be seen in the lower apartments, and the light of the powerful fires within de noted that it was already inhabited. The exterior was painted white on the front and on the end which was exposed to the street; but in the rear, and on the side which was intended to join the neighboring house, it was coarsely smeared with Spanish brown. Before the door stood two lofty posts, connected at the top by a beam, from which was suspended an enormous sign, ornamented around its edges with certain curious carvings in pine boards, and on its faces loaded with Masonic emblems. Over these mysterious figures was written, in large letters, "The Templeton Coffee-house, and Traveller's Hotel," and beneath them, "By Habakkuk Foote and Joshua Knapp." This was a fearful rival to the" Bold Dragoon," as our readers will the more readily perceive when we add that the same sonorous names were to be seen over a newly erected store in the village, a hatter's shop, and the gates of a tan-yard. But, either because too much was attempted to be executed well, or that the "Bold Dragoon" had established a reputation which could not be easily shaken, not only Judge Temple and his friends, but most of the villagers also, who were not in debt to the powerful firm we have named, frequented the inn of Captain Hollister on all occasions where such a house was necessary
On the present evening the limping veteran and his consort were hardly housed after their return from the academy, when the sounds of stamping feet at their threshold announced the approach of visitors, who were probably assembling with a view to compare opinions on the subject of the ceremonies they had witnessed.
The public, or as it was called, the "bar-room," of the Bold Dragoon," was a spacious apartment, lined on three sides with benches and on the fourth by fireplaces. Of the latter there were two of such size as to occupy, with their enormous jambs, the whole of that side of the apartment where they were placed, excepting room enough for a door or two, and a little apartment in one corner, which was protected by miniature palisades, and profusely garnished with bottles and glasses. In the entrance to this sanctuary Mrs. Hollister was seated, with great gravity in her air, while her husband occupied himself with stirring the fires, moving the logs with a large stake burnt to a point at one end.
"There, sargeant, dear," said the landlady, after she thought the veteran had got the logs arranged in the most judicious manner, "give over poking, for it's no good ye'll be doing, now that they burn so convaniently. There's the glasses on the table there, and the mug that the doctor was taking his cider and ginger in, before the fire here- just put them in the bar, will ye? for we'll be having the jooge, and the Major, and Mr. Jones down the night, without reckoning Benjamin Poomp, and the lawyers; so yell be fixing the room tidy; and put both flip irons in the coals; and tell Jude, the lazy black baste, that if she's no be cleaning up the kitchen I'll turn her out of the house, and she may live wid the jontlemen that kape the 'Coffee house,' good luck to 'em. Och! sargeant, sure it's a great privilege to go to a mateing where a body can sit asy, without joomping up and down so often, as this Mr. Grant is doing that same."
"It's a privilege at all times, Mrs. Hollister, whether we stand or be seated; or, as good Mr. Whitefleld used to do after he had made a wearisome day's march, get on our knees and pray, like Moses of old, with a flanker to the right and left to lift his hands to heaven," returned her husband, who composedly performed what she had directed to be done. "It was a very pretty fight, Betty, that the Israelites had on that day with the Amalekites, It seams that they fout on a plain, for Moses is mentioned as having gone on the heights to overlook the battle, and wrestle in prayer; and if I should judge, with my little larning, the Israelites depended mainly on their horse, for it was written 'that Joshua cut up the enemy with the edge of the sword; from which I infer, not only that they were horse, but well diseiplyned troops. Indeed, it says as much as that they were chosen men; quite likely volunteers; for raw dragoons seldom strike with the edge of their swords, particularly if the weapon be any way crooked." "Pshaw! why do ye bother yourself wid texts, man, about so small a matter?" interrupted the landlady; "sure, it was the Lord who was with 'em; for he always sided with the Jews, before they fell away; and it's but little matter what kind of men Joshua commanded, so that he was doing the right bidding. Aven them cursed millaishy, the Lord forgive me for swearing, that was the death of him, wid their cowardice, would have carried the day in old times. There's no rason to be thinking that the soldiers were used to the drill."
"I must say, Mrs. Hollister, that I have not often seen raw troops fight better than the left flank of the militia, at the time you mention. They rallied handsomely, and that without beat of drum, which is no easy thing to do under fire, and were very steady till he fell. But the Scriptures contain no unnecessary words; and I will maintain that horse, who know how to strike with the edge of the sword, must be well disoiplyned. Many a good sarmon has been preached about smaller matters than that one word! If the text was not meant to be particular, why wasn't it written with the sword, and not with the edge? Now, a back-handed stroke, on the edge, takes long practice. Goodness! what an argument would Mr. Whitefield make of that word edge! As to the captain, if he had only called up the guard of dragoons when he rallied the foot, they would have shown the inimy what the edge of a sword was; for, although there was no commissioned officer with them, yet I think I must say," the veteran continued, stiffening his cravat about his throat, and raising himself up with tile air of a drill-sergeant, "they were led by a man who knowed how to bring them on. in spite of the ravine."
"Is it lade on ye would," cried the landlady, "when ye know yourself, Mr. Hollister, that the baste he rode was but little able to joomp from one rock to another, and the animal was as spry as a squirrel? Och! but it's useless to talk, for he's gone this many a year. I would that he had lived to see the true light; but there's mercy for a brave sowl, that died in the saddle, fighting for the liberty. It is a poor tombstone they have given him, anyway, and many a good one that died like himself; but the sign is very like, and I will be kapeing it up, while the blacksmith can make a hook for it to swing on, for all the 'coffee-houses' betwane this and Albany."
There is no saying where this desultory conversation would have led the worthy couple, had not the men, who were stamping the snow off their feet on the little plat form before the door, suddenly ceased their occupation, and entered the bar-room.
For ten or fifteen minutes the different individuals, who intended either to bestow or receive edification before the fires of the "Bold Dragoon" on that evening, were collecting, until the benches were nearly filled with men of different occupations. Dr. Todd and a slovenly-looking, shabby-genteel young man, who took tobacco profusely, wore a coat of imported cloth cut with something like a fashionable air, frequently exhibited a large French silver watch, with a chain of woven hair and a silver key, and who, altogether, seemed as much above the artisans around him as he was himself inferior to the real gentle man, occupied a high-back wooden settee, in the most comfortable corner in the apartment.
Sundry brown mugs, containing cider or beer, were placed between the heavy andirons, and little groups were found among the guests as subjects arose or the liquor was passed from one to the other. No man was seen to drink by himself, nor in any instance was more than one vessel considered necessary for the same beverage; but the glass or the mug was passed from hand to hand until a chasm in the line or a regard to the rights of ownership would regularly restore the dregs of the potation to him who de frayed the cost.
Toasts were uniformly drunk; and occasionally some one who conceived himself peculiarly endowed by Nature to shine in the way of wit would attempt some such sentiment as " hoping that he" who treated "might make a better man than his father;" or "live till all his friends wished him dead;" while the more humble pot-companion contented himself by saying, with a most composing gravity in his air, "Come, here's luck," or by expressing some other equally comprehensive desire. In every instance the veteran landlord was requested to imitate the custom of the cupbearers to kings, and taste the liquor he presented, by the invitation of "After you is manners," with which request he ordinarily complied by wetting his lips, first expressing the wish of "Here's hoping," leaving it to the imagination of the hearers to fill the vacuum by whatever good each thought most desirable. During these movements the landlady was busily occupied with mixing the various compounds required by her customers, with her own hands, and occasionally exchanging greetings and inquiries concerning the conditions of their respective families, with such of the villagers as approached the bar.
At length the common thirst being in some measure assuaged, conversation of a more general nature became the order of the hour. The physician and his companion, who was one of the two lawyers of the village, being considered the best qualified to maintain a public discourse with credit, were the principal speakers, though a remark was hazarded, now and then, by Mr. Doolittle, who was thought to be their inferior only in the enviable point of education. A general silence was produced on all but the two speakers, by the following observation from the practitioner of the law:
"So, Dr. Todd, I understand that you have been per forming an important operation this evening by cutting a charge of buckshot from the shoulder of the son of Leather-Stocking?"
"Yes, sir," returned other, elevating his little head with an air of importance. "I had a small job up at the Judge's in that way; it was, however, but a trifle to what it might have been, had it gone through the body. The shoulder is not a very vital part; and I think the young man will soon be well. But I did not know that the patient was a son of Leather-Stocking; it is news to me to hear that Natty had a wife."
"It is by no means a necessary consequence, returned the other, winking, with a shrewd look around the bar room; "there is such a thing, I suppose you know, in law as a filius nullius."
"Spake it out, man," exclaimed the landlady; "spake it out in king's English; what for should ye be talking Indian in a room full of Christian folks, though it is about a poor hunter, who is but little better in his ways than the wild savages themselves? Och! it's to be hoped that the missionaries will, in his own time, make a conversion of the poor devils; and then it will matter little of what color is the skin, or wedder there be wool or hair on the head."
"Oh! it is Latin, not Indian, Miss Hollister!" returned the lawyer, repeating his winks and shrewd looks; "and Dr. Todd understands Latin, or how would he read the labels on his gailipots and drawers? No, no, Miss Hollis ter, the doctor understands me; don't you, doctor?"
"Hem-why, I guess I am not far out of the way," returned Elnathan, endeavoring to imitate the expression of the other's countenance, by looking jocular. "Latin is a queer language, gentlemen; now I rather guess there is no one in the room, except Squire Lippet, who can believe that 'Far. Av.' means oatmeal, in English."
The lawyer in his turn was a good deal embarrassed by this display of learning; for, although he actually had taken his first degree at one of the eastern universities, he was somewhat puzzled with the terms used by his companion. It was dangerous, however, to appear to he out done in learning in a public bar-room, and before so many of his clients; he therefore put the best face on the matter, and laughed knowingly as if there were a good joke concealed under it, that was understood only by the physician and himself. All this was attentively observed by the listeners, who exchanged looks of approbation; and the expressions of " tonguey mati," and "I guess Squire Lippet knows if anybody does," were heard in different parts of the room, as vouchers for the admiration of his auditors. Thus encouraged, the lawyer rose from his chair, and turning his back to the fire, and facing the company, he continued:
"The son of Natty, or the son of nobody, I hope the young man is not going to let the matter drop. This is a country of law; and I should like to see it fairly tried, whether a man who owns, or says he owns, a hundred thousand acres of land, has any more right to shoot a body than another. What do you think of it, Dr. Todd?"
Oh, sir, I am of opinion that the gentleman will soon be well, as I said before; the wound isn't in a vital part; and as the ball was extracted so soon, and the shoulder was what I call well attended to, I do not think there is as much danger as there might have been." "I say, Squire Doolittle," continued the attorney, raising his voice, "you are a magistrate, and know what is law and what is not law. I ask you, sir, if shooting a man is a thing that is to be settled so very easily? Suppose, sir, that the young man had a wife and family; and suppose that he was a mechanic like yourself, sir; and sup pose that his family depended on him for bread; and suppose that the ball, instead of merely going through the flesh, had broken the shoulder- blade, and crippled him forever; I ask you all, gentlemen, supposing this to be the case, whether a jury wouldn't give what I call handsome damages?"
As the close of this supposititious case was addressed to the company generally, Hiram did not at first consider himself called on for a reply; but finding the eyes of the listeners bent on him in expectation, he remembered his character for judicial discrimination, and spoke, observing a due degree of deliberation and dignity.
"Why, if a man should shoot another," he said, " and if he should do it on purpose and if the law took notice on't, and if a jury should find him guilty, it would be likely to turn out a state-prison matter."
"It would so, sir," returned the attorney. "The law, gentlemen, is no respecter of persons in a free country. It is one of the great blessings that has been handed down to us from our ancestors, that all men are equal in the eye of the laws, as they are by nater. Though some may get property, no one knows how, yet they are not privileged to transgress the laws any more than the poorest citizen in the State. This is my notion, gentlemen: and I think that it a man had a mind to bring this matter up, something might be made out of it that would help pay for the salve-ha! doctor!"
"Why, sir," returned the physician, who appeared a little uneasy at the turn the conversation was taking, "I have the promise of Judge Temple before men-not but what I would take his word as soon as his note of hand- but it was before men. Let me see-there was Mounshier Ler Quow, and Squire Jones, and Major Hartmann, and Miss Pettibone, and one or two of the blacks by, when he said that his pocket would amply reward me for what I did."
"Was the promise made before or after the service was performed?" asked the attorney.
"It might have been both," returned the discreet physician; "though I'm certain he said so before I undertook the dressing."
"But it seems that he said his pocket should reward you, doctor," observed Hiram. "Now I don't know that the law will hold a man to such a promise; he might give you his pocket with sixpence in't, and tell you to take your pay out on't,"
"That would not be a reward in the eye of the law, interrupted the attorney-" not what is called a 'quid pro quo;' nor is the pocket to be considered as an agent, but as part of a man's own person, that is, in this particular. I am of opinion that an action would lie on that promise, and I will undertake to bear him out, free of costs, if he don't recover."
To this proposition the physician made no reply; but he was observed to cast his eyes around him, as if to enumerate the witnesses, in order to substantiate this promise also, at a future day, should it prove necessary. A subject so momentous as that of suing Judge Temple was not very palatable to the present company in so public a place; and a short silence ensued, that was only interrupted by the opening of the door, and the entrance of Natty himself.
The old hunter carried in his hand his never-failing companion, the rifle; and although all of the company were uncovered excepting the lawyer, who wore his hat on one side, with a certain dam'me air, Natty moved to the front of one of the fires without in the least altering any part of his dress or appearance. Several questions were addressed to him, on the subject of the game he had killed, which he answered readily, and with some little interest; and the landlord, between whom and Natty there existed much cordiality, on account of their both having been soldiers in youth, offered him a glass of a liquid which, if we might judge from its reception, was no unwelcome guest. When the forester had got his potation also, he quietly took his seat on the end of one of the logs that lay nigh the fires, and the slight interruption produced by his entrance seemed to he forgotten.
"The testimony of the blacks could not be taken, sir," continued the lawyer, "for they are all the property of Mr. Jones, who owns their time. But there is a way by which Judge Temple, or any other man, might be made to pay for shooting another, and for the cure in the bargain. There is a way, I say, and that without going into the 'court of errors,' too,"
"And a mighty big error ye would make of it, Mister Todd," cried the landlady, "should ye be putting the mat ter into the law at all, with Joodge Temple, who has a purse as long as one of them pines on the hill, and who is an asy man to dale wid, if yees but mind the humor of him. He's a good man is Joodge Temple, and a kind one, and one who will be no the likelier to do the pratty thing, becase ye would wish to tarrify him wid the law. I know of but one objaction to the same, which is an over-careless ness about his sowl. It's neither a Methodie, nor a Papish, nor Parsbetyrian, that he is, but just nothing at all; and it's hard to think that he, 'who will not fight the good fight, under the banners of a rig'lar church, in this world, will be mustered among the chosen in heaven,' as my husband, the captain there, as ye call him, says-though there is but one captain that I know, who desarves the name. I hopes, Lather-Stocking, ye'll no be foolish, and putting the boy up to try the law in the matter; for 'twill be an evil day to ye both, when ye first turn the skin of so paceable an animal as a sheep into a bone of contention, The lad is wilcome to his drink for nothing, until his shoulther will bear the rifle agin."
"Well, that's gin'rous," was heard from several mouths at once, for this was a company in which a liberal offer was not thrown away; while the hunter, instead 'of expressing any of that indignation which he might be sup posed to feel, at hearing the hurt of his young companion alluded to, opened his mouth, with the silent laugh for which he was so remarkable; and after he had indulged his humor, made this reply:
"I knowed the Judge would do nothing with his smooth bore when he got out of his sleigh. I never saw but one smooth-bore that would carry at all, and that was a French ducking-piece, upon the big lakes; it had a barrel half as long agin as my rifle, and would throw fine shot into a goose at one hundred yards; but it made dreadful work with the game, and you wanted a boat to carry it about in. When I went with Sir William agin' the French, at Fort Niagara, all the rangers used the rifle; and a dreadful weapon it is, in the hands of one who knows how to charge it, and keep a steady aim. The captain knows, for he says he was a soldier in Shirley's; and, though they were nothing but baggonet-men, he must know how we cut up the French and Iroquois in the skrimmages in that war. Chingachgook, which means 'Big Sarpent' in English, old John Mohegan, who lives up at the hut with me, was a great warrior then, and was out with us; he can tell all about it, too; though he was overhand for the tomahawk, never firing more than once or twice, before he was running in for the scalps. Ah! times is dreadfully altered since then. Why, doctor, there was nothing but a foot path, or at the most a track for pack-horses, along the Mohawk, from the Jarman Flats up to the forts. Now, they say, they talk of running one of them wide roads with gates on it along the river; first making a road, and then fencing it up! I hunted one season back of the Kaatskills, nigh-hand to the settlements, and the dogs often lost the scent, when they came to them highways, there was so much travel on them; though I can't say that the brutes was of a very good breed. Old Hector will wind a deer, in the fall of the year, across the broadest place in the Otsego, and that is a mile and a half, for I paced it my self on the ice, when the tract was first surveyed, under the Indian grant."
"It sames to me, Natty, but a sorry compliment to call your comrad after the evil one," said the landlady; "and it's no much like a snake that old John is looking now, Nimrod would be a more becomeing name for the lad, and a more Christian, too, seeing that it conies from the Bible. The sargeant read me the chapter about him, the night before my christening, and a mighty asement it was to listen to anything from the book."
"Old John and Chingachgook were very different men to look on," returned the hunter, shaking his head at his melancholy recollections. "In the 'fifty-eighth war' he was in the middle of manhood, and taller than now by three inches. If you had seen him, as I did, the morning we beat Dieskau, from behind our log walls, you would have called him as comely a redskin as ye ever set eyes on. He was naked all to his breech-cloth and leggins; and you never seed a creatur' so handsomely painted. One side of his face was red and the other black. His head was shaved clean, all to a few hairs on the crown, where he wore a tuft of eagle's feathers, as bright as if they had come from a peacock's tail. He had colored his sides so that they looked like anatomy, ribs and all, for Chingachgook had a great taste in such things, so that, what with his bold, fiery countenance, his knife, and his tomahawk, I have never seen a fiercer warrior on the ground. He played his part, too, like a man, for I saw him next day with thirteen scalps on his pole. And I will say this for the 'Big Snake,' that he always dealt fair, and never scalped any that he didn't kill with his own hands."
"Well, well!" cried the landlady, "fighting is fighting anyway, and there is different fashions in the thing; though I can't say that I relish mangling a body after the breath is out of it; neither do I think it can be uphild by doctrine. I hope, sargeant, ye niver was helping in sich evil worrek." "It was my duty to keep my ranks, and to stand or fall by the baggonet or lead," returned the veteran. "I was then in the fort, and seldom leaving my place, saw but little of the savages, who kept on the flanks or in front, skrimmaging. I remember, howsomever, to have heard mention made of the 'Great Snake,' as he was called, for he was a chief of renown; but little did I ever expect to see him enlisted in the cause of Christianity, and civilized like old John."
"Oh! he was Christianized by the Moravians, who were always over- intimate with the Delawares," said Leather-Stocking. "It's my opinion that, had they been left to themselves, there would he no such doings now about the head-waters of the two rivers, and that these hills mought have been kept as good hunting-ground by their right owner, who is not too old to carry a rifle, and whose sight is as true as a fish- hawk hovering-"
He was interrupted by more stamping at the door, and presently the party from the mansion-house entered, followed by the Indian himself.
"There's quart-pot, pint-pot. Mit-pint, Gill-pot, half-gill. nipperkin. And the brown bowl- Here's a health to the barley mow, My brave boys, Here's a health to the barley mow."-Drinking Song.
Some little commotion was produced by the appearance of the new guests, during which the lawyer slunk from the room. Most of the men approached Marmaduke, and shook his offered hand, hoping "that the Judge was well;" while Major Hartmann having laid aside his hat and wig, and substituted for the latter a warm, peaked woollen nightcap, took his seat very quietly on one end of the settee, which was relinquished by its former occupant. His tobacco-box was next produced, and a clean pipe was handed him by the landlord. When he had succeeded in raising a smoke, the Major gave a long whiff, and, turning his head toward the bar, he said:
"Petty, pring in ter toddy."
In the mean time the Judge had exchanged his salutations with most of the company, and taken a place by the side of the Major, and Richard had bustled himself into the most comfortable seat in the room. Mr. Le Quoi was the last seated, nor did he venture to place his chair finally, until by frequent removals he had ascertained that he could not possibly intercept a ray of heat front any individual present. Mohegan found a place on an end of one of the benches, and somewhat approximated to the bar.
When these movements had subsided, the Judge remarked pleasantly: Well, Betty, I find you retain your popularity through all weathers, against all rivals, and among all religions. How liked you the sermon?"
"Is it the sarmon?" exclaimed the landlady. "I can't say but it was rasonable; but the prayers is mighty unasy. It's no small a matter for a body in their fifty-nint' year to be moving so much in church. Mr. Grant sames a godly man, any way, and his garrel a hommble on; and a devout. Here, John, is a mug of cider, laced with whiskey. An Indian will drink cider, though he niver be athirst. "I must say," observed Hiram, with due deliberation, "that it was a tongney thing; and I rather guess that it gave considerable satisfaction, There was one part, though, which might have been left out, or something else put in; but then I s'pose that, as it was a written discourse, it is not so easily altered as where a minister preaches without notes."
"Ãy! there's the rub, Joodge," cried the landlady. "How can a man stand up and be preaching his word, when all that he is saying is written down, and he is as much tied to it as iver a thaving dragoon was to the pickets?"
"Well, well," cried Marmaduke, waving his hand for silence, "there is enough said; as Mr. Grant told us, there are different sentiments on such subjects, and in my opinion he spoke most sensibly. So, Jotham, I am told you have sold your betterments to a new settler, and have moved into the village and opened a school. Was it cash or dicker?"
The man who was thus addressed occupied a seat immediately behind Marmaduke, and one who was ignorant of the extent of the Judge's observation might have thought he would have escaped notice. He was of a thin, shapeless figure, with a discontented expression of countenance, and with something extremely shiftless in his whole air, Thus spoken to, after turning and twisting a little, by way of preparation, he made a reply:
"Why part cash and part dicker. I sold out to a Pumfietman who was so'thin' forehanded. He was to give me ten dollar an acre for the clearin', and one dollar an acre over the first cost on the woodland, and we agreed to leave the buildin's to men. So I tuck Asa Montagu, and he tuck Absalom Bement, and they two tuck old Squire Napthali Green. And so they had a meetin', and made out a vardict of eighty dollars for the buildin's. There was twelve acres of clearin' at ten dollars, and eighty-eight at one, and the whole came to two hundred and eighty-six dollars and a half, after paying the men."
"Hum," said Marmaduke, "what did you give for the place?"
"Why, besides what's comin' to the Judge, I gi'n my brother Tim a hundred dollars for his bargain; but then there's a new house on't, that cost me sixty more, and I paid Moses a hundred dollars for choppin', and loggin', and sowin', so that the whole stood to me in about two hundred and sixty dollars. But then I had a great crop oft on't, and as I got twenty-six dollars and a half more than it cost, I conclude I made a pretty good trade on't."
"Yes, but you forgot that the crop was yours without the trade, and you have turned yourself out of doors for twenty-six dollars."
"Oh! the Judge is clean out," said the man with a look of sagacious calculation; "he turned out a span of horses, that is wuth a hundred and fifty dollars of any man's money, with a bran-new wagon; fifty dollars in cash, and a good note for eighty more; and a side-saddle that was valued at seven and a half-so there was jist twelve shillings betwixt us. I wanted him to turn out a set of harness, and take the cow and the sap troughs. He wouldn't-but I saw through it; he thought I should have to buy the tacklin' afore I could use the wagon and horses; but I knowed a thing or two myself; I should like to know of what use is the tacklin' to him! I offered him to trade back agin for one hundred and fifty-five. But my woman said she wanted to churn, so I tuck a churn for the change."
"And what do you mean to do with your time this winter? You must remember that time is money."
"Why, as master has gone down country to see his mother, who, they say, is going to make a die on't, I agreed to take the school in hand till he comes back, It times doesn't get worse in the spring, I've some notion of going into trade, or maybe I may move off to the Genesee; they say they are carryin' on a great stroke of business that-a-way. If the wust comes to the wust, I can but work at my trade, for I was brought up in a shoe manufactory."
It would seem that Marmaduke did not think his society of sufficient value to attempt inducing him to remain where he was, for he addressed no further discourse to the man, but turned his attention to other subjects. After a short pause, Hiram ventured a question:
"What news does the Judge bring us from the Legislature? It's not likely that Congress has done much this session; or maybe the French haven't fit any more battles lately?"
"The French, since they have beheaded their king, have done nothing but fight," returned the Judge. "The character of the nation seems changed. I knew many French gentlemen during our war, and they all appeared to me to be men of great humanity and goodness of heart; but these Jacobins are as blood thirsty as bull-dogs."
"There was one Roshambow wid us down at Yorrektown," cried the landlady "a mighty pratty man he was too; and their horse was the very same. It was there that the sargeant got the hurt in the leg from the English batteries, bad luck to 'em."
"Oh! mon pauvre roil" muttered Monsieur Le Quoi.
"The Legislature have been passing laws," continued Marmaduke, "that the country much required. Among others, there is an act prohibiting the drawing of seines, at any other than proper seasons, in certain of our streams and small lakes; and another, to prohibit the killing of deer in the teeming months. These are laws that were loudly called for by judicious men; nor do I despair of getting an act to make the unlawful felling of timber a criminal offence."
The hunter listened to this detail with breathless attention, and, when the Judge had ended, he laughed in open derision.
"You may make your laws, Judge," be cried, "but who will you find to watch the mountains through the long summer days, or the lakes at night? Game is game, and be who finds may kill; that has been the law in these mountains for forty years to my sartain knowledge; and I think one old law is worth two new ones. None but a green one would wish to kill a doe with a fa'n by its side, unless his moccasins were getting old, or his leggins ragged, for the flesh is lean and coarse. But a rifle rings among the rocks along the lake shore, sometimes, as if fifty pieces were fired at once-it would be hard to tell where the man stood who pulled the trigger."
"Armed with the dignity of the law, Mr. Bumppo," returned the Judge, gravely, "a vigilant magistrate can prevent much of the evil that has hitherto prevailed, and which is already rendering the game scarce. I hope to live to see the day when a man's rights in his game shall be as much respected as his title to his farm,"
"Your titles and your farms are all new together," cried Natty; "but laws should be equal, and not more for one than another. I shot a deer, last Wednesday was a fort night, and it floundered through the snow-banks till it got over a brush fence; I catched the lock of my rifle in the twigs in following, and was kept back, until finally the creature got off. Now I want to know who is to pay me for that deer; and a fine buck it was. If there hadn't been a fence I should have gotten another shot into it; and I never drawed upon anything that hadn't wings three times running, in my born days. No, no, Judge, it's the farmers that makes the game scarce, and not the hunters."
"Ter teer is not so plenty as in tee old war, Pumppo," said the Major, who had been an attentive listener, amid clouds of smoke; "put ter lant is not mate as for ter teer to live on, put for Christians."
"Why, Major, I believe you're a friend to justice and the right, though you go so often to the grand house; but it's a hard case to a man to have his honest calling for a livelihood stopped by laws, and that, too, when, if right was done, he mought hunt or fish on any day in the week, or on the best flat in the Patent, if he was so minded."
"I unterstant you, Letter-Stockint," returned the Major, fixing his black eyes, with a look of peculiar meaning, on the hunter: "put you didn't use to be so prutent as to look ahet mit so much care."
"Maybe there wasn't so much occasion," said the hunter, a little sulkily; when he sank into a silence from which be was not roused for some time.
"The Judge was saying so'thin' about the French," Hiram observed when the pause in the conversation had continued a decent time.
"Yes, sir," returned Marmaduke, "the Jacobins of France seem rushing from one act of licentiousness to an other, They continue those murders which are dignified by the name of executions. You have heard that they have added the death of their queen to the long list of their crimes."
"Les monstres!" again murmured Monsieur Le Quoi, turning himself suddenly in his chair, with a convulsive start.
"The province of La VendÃ©e is laid waste by the troops of the republic, and hundreds of its inhabitants, who are royalists in their sentiments, are shot at a time. La VendÃ©e is a district in the southwest of France, that continues yet much attached to the family of the Bourbons; doubtless Monsieur Le Quoi is acquainted with it, and can describe it more faithfully."
"Non, non, non, mon cher ami," returned the Frenchman in a suppressed voice, but speaking rapidly, and gesticulating with his right hand, as if for mercy, while with his left he concealed his eyes.
"There have been many battles fought lately," continued Marmaduke, "and the infuriated republicans are too often victorious. I cannot say, however, that I am sorry that they have captured Toulon from the English, for it is a place to which they have a just right."
"Ah-ha!" exclaimed Monsieur Le Quoi, springing on his feet and flourishing both arms with great animation; "ces Anglais!"
The Frenchman continued to move about the room with great alacrity for a few minutes, repeating his exclamations to himself; when overcome by the contrary nature of his emotions, he suddenly burst out of the house, and was seen wading through the snow toward his little shop, waving his arms on high, as if to pluck down honor from the moon. His departure excited but little surprise, for the villagers were used to his manner; but Major Hartmann laughed outright, for the first during his visit, as he lifted the mug, and observed:
"Ter Frenchman is mat-put he is goot as for noting to trink: he is trunk mit joy."
"The French are good soldiers," said Captain Hollis ter; "they stood us in hand a good turn at Yorktown; nor do I think, although I am an ignorant man about the great movements of the army, that his excellency would have been able to march against Cornwallis without their reinforcements."
"Ye spake the trot', sargeant," interrupted his wife, "and I would iver have ye be doing the same. It's varry pratty men is the French; and jist when I stopt the cart, the time when ye was pushing on in front it was, to kape the riglers in, a rigiment of the jontlemen marched by, and so I dealt them out to their liking. Was it pay I got? Sure did I, and in good solid crowns; the divil a bit of continental could they muster among them all, for love nor money. Och! the Lord forgive me for swearing and spakeing of such vanities; but this I will say for the French, that they paid in good silver; and one glass would go a great way wid 'em, for they gin'rally handed it back wid a drop in the cup; and that's a brisk trade, Joodge, where the pay is good, and the men not over-partic'lar."
"A thriving trade, Mrs. Hollister," said Marmaduke. "But what has become of Richard? he jumped up as soon as seated, and has been absent so long that I am really fearful he has frozen."
"No fear of that, Cousin 'Duke," cried the gentleman himself; "business will sometimes keep a man warm the coldest night that ever snapt in the mountains. Betty, your husband told me, as we came out of church, that your hogs were getting mangy, and so I have been out to take a look at them, and found it true. I stepped across, doctor, and got your boy to weigh me out a pound of salts, and have been mixing it with their swill. I'll bet a saddle of venison against a gray squirrel that they are better in a week. And now, Mrs. Hollister, I'm ready for a hissing mug of flip."
"Sure I know'd ye'd be wanting that same," said the landlady; "it's fixt and ready to the boiling. Sargeant, dear, be handing up the iron, will ye?-no, the one on the far fire, it's black, ye will see. Ah! you've the thing now; look if it's not as red as a cherry." The beverage was heated, and Richard took that kind of draught which men are apt to indulge in who think that they have just executed a clever thing, especially when they like the liquor.
"Oh! you have a hand. Betty, that was formed to mix flip," cried Richard, when he paused for breath. "The very iron has a flavor in it. Here, John, drink, man, drink! I and you and Dr. Todd have done a good thing with the shoulder of that lad this very night. 'Duke, I made a song while you were gone-one day when I had nothing to do; so I'll sing you a verse or two, though I haven't really determined on the tune yet.
"What is life but a scene of care, Where each one must toil in his way? Then let us be jolly, and prove that we are A set of good fellows, who seem very rare, And can laugh and sing all the day. Then let us be jolly And cast away folly, For grief turns a black head to gray."
"There, 'Duke, what do you think of that? There is another verse of it, all but the last line. I haven't got a rhyme for the last line yet. Well, old John, what do you think of the music? as good as one of your war-songs, ha?"
"Good!" said Mohegan, who had been sharing deeply in the potations of the landlady, besides paying a proper respect to the passing mugs of the Major and Marmaduke.
"Bravo! pravo! Richart," cried the Major, whose black eyes were beginning to swim in moisture; "pravisimo his a goot song; put Natty Pumppo has a petter. Letter-Stockint, vilt sing? say, olt poy, vilt sing ter song as apout ter wools?"
"No, no, Major," returned the hunter, with a melancholy shake of the head, "I have lived to see what I thought eyes could never behold in these hills, and I have no heart left for singing. If he that has a right to be master and ruler here is forced to squinch his thirst, when a-dry, with snow-Water, it ill becomes them that have lived by his bounty to be making merry, as if there was nothing in the world but sunshine and summer."
When he had spoken, Leather-Stocking again dropped his head on his knees, and concealed his hard and wrinkled features with his hands. The change from the excessive cold without to the heat of the bar- room, coupled with the depth and frequency of Richard's draughts, had already levelled whatever inequality there might have existed between him and the other guests, on the score of spirits; and he now held out a pair of swimming mugs of foaming flip toward the hunter, as he cried:
"Merry! ay! merry Christmas to you, old boy! Sun shine and summer! no! you are blind, Leather-Stocking, 'tis moonshine and winter-take these spectacles. and open your eyes- So let us be jolly,
And cast away folly,
For grief turns a black head to gray.'
-Hear how old John turns his quavers. What damned dull music an Indian song is, after all, Major! I wonder if they ever sing by note."
While Richard was singing and talking, Mohegan was uttering dull, monotonous tones, keeping time by a gentle motion of his head and body. He made use of but few words, and such as he did utter were in his native language, and consequently only understood by himself and Natty. Without heeding Richard, he continued to sing a kind of wild, melancholy air, that rose, at times, in sudden and quite elevated notes, and then fell again into the low, quavering sounds that seemed to compose the character of his music.
The attention of the company was now much divided, the men in the rear having formed themselves into little groups, where they were discussing various matters; among the principal of which were the treatment of mangy hogs and Parson Grant's preaching; while Dr. Todd was endeavoring to explain to Marmaduke the nature of the hurt received by the young hunter. Mohegan continued to sing, while his countenance was becoming vacant, though, coupled with his thick, bushy hair, it was assuming an expression very much like brutal ferocity. His notes were gradually growing louder, and soon rose to a height that caused a general cessation in the discourse. The hunter now raised his head again, and addressed the old warrior warmly in the Delaware language, which, for the benefit of our readers, we shall render freely into English.
"Why do you sing of your battles, Chingachgook, and of the warriors you have slain, when the worst enemy of all is near you, and keeps the Young Eagle from his rights? I have fought in as many battles as any warrior in your tribe, but cannot boast of my deeds at such a time as this."
"Hawk-eye," said the Indian, tottering with a doubtful step from his place, "I am the Great Snake of the Delawares; I can track the Mingoes like an adder that is stealing on the whip-poor-will's eggs, and strike them like the rattlesnake dead at a blow. The white man made the tomahawk of Chingachgook bright as the waters of Otsego, when the last sun is shining; but it is red with the blood of the Maquas."
"And why have you slain the Mingo warriors? Was it not to keep these hunting-grounds and lakes to your father's children? and were they not given in solemn council to the Fire-eater? and does not the blood of a warrior run in the veins of a young chief, who should speak aloud where his voice is now too low to be heard?"
The appeal of the hunter seemed in some measure to recall the confused faculties of the Indian, who turned his face toward the listeners and gazed intently on the Judge. He shook his head, throwing his hair back from his countenance, and exposed eyes that were glaring with an expression of wild resentment. But the man was not himself. His hand seemed to make a fruitless effort to release his tomahawk, which was confined by its handle to his belt, while his eyes gradually became vacant. Richard at that instant thrusting a mug before him, his features changed to the grin of idiocy, and seizing the vessel with both hands, he sank backward on the bench and drank until satiated, when he made an effort to lay aside the mug with the helplessness of total inebriety.
"Shed not blood!" exclaimed the hunter, as he watched the countenance of the Indian in its moment of ferocity; "but he is drunk and can do no harm. This is the way with all the savages; give them liquor, and they make dogs of themselves. Well, well-the- day will come when right will be done; and we must have patience."
Natty still spoke in the Delaware language, and of course was not understood. He had hardly concluded before Richard cried:
"Well, old John is soon sewed up. Give him a berth, captain, in the barn, and I will pay for it. I am rich to night, ten times richer than 'Duke, with all his lands, amid military lots, and funded debts, and bonds, and mortgages
' Come, let us be jolly, And cast awsy folly, For grief--'
Drink, King Hiram-drink, Mr. Doo-nothing--drink, sir, I say. This is a Christmas eve, which comes, you know, but once a year."
"He! he! he! the squire is quite moosical to-night," said Hiram, whose visage began to give marvellous signs of relaxation. "I rather guess we shall make a church on't yet, squire?"
"A church, Mr. Doolittle! we will make a cathedral of it! bishops, priests, deacons, wardens, vestry, and choir; organ, organist, amid bellows! By the Lord Harry, as Benjamin says, we will clap a steeple on the other end of it, and make two churches of it. What say you, 'Duke, will you pay? ha! my cousin Judge, wilt pay?"
"Thou makest such a noise, Dickon," returned Marmaduke, "it is impossible that I can hear what Dr. Todd is saying. I think thou observedst, it is probable the wound will fester, so as to occasion danger to the limb in this cold weather?"
"Out of nater, sir, quite out of nater," said Elnathan, attempting to expectorate, but succeeding only in throwing a light, frothy substance, like a flake of snow, into the fire-" quite out of nater that a wound so well dressed, and with the ball in my pocket, should fester. I s'pose, as the Judge talks of taking the young man into his house, it will be most convenient if I make but one charge on't."
"I should think one would do," returned Marmaduke, with that arch smile that so often beamed on his face; leaving the beholder in doubt whether he most enjoyed the character of his companion or his own covert humor. The landlord had succeeded in placing the. Indian on some straw in one of his outbuildings, where, covered with his own blanket, John continued for the remainder of the night.
In the mean time, Major Hartmann began to grow noisy and jocular; glass succeeded glass, and mug after mug was introduced, until the carousal had run deep into the night, or rather morning; when the veteran German ex- I pressed an inclination to return to the mansion- house. Most of the party had already retired, but Marmaduke knew the habits of his friend too well to suggest an earlier adjournment. So soon, however, as the proposal was made, the Judge eagerly availed himself of it, and the trio prepared to depart. Mrs. Hollister attended them to the door in person, cautioning her guests as to the safest manner of leaving her premises
"Lane on Mister Jones, Major," said she "he's young and will be a support to ye. Well, it's a charming sight to see ye, anyway, at the Bould Dragoon; and sure it's no harm to be kaping a Christmas eve wid a light heart, for it's no telling when we may have sorrow come upon us. So good-night, Joodge, and a merry Christmas to ye all tomorrow morning."
The gentlemen made their adieus as well as they could, and taking the middle of the road, which was a fine, wide, and well-beaten path, they did tolerably well until they reached the gate of the mansion-house: but on entering the Judge's domains they encountered some slight difficulties. We shall not stop to relate them, but will just mention that in the morning sundry diverging paths were to be seen in the snow; and that once during their progress to the door, Marmaduke, missing his companions, was enabled to trace them by one of these paths to a spot where he discovered them with nothing visible but their heads, Richard singing in a most vivacious strain:
"Come, let us be jolly, And cast away folly, For grief turns a black head to gray."
"As she lay, on that day, in the Bay of Biscay, 0!"
Previously to the occurrence of the scene at the "Bold Dragoon," Elizabeth had been safely reconducted to the mansion-house, where she was left as its mistress, either to amuse or employ herself during the evening as best suited her own inclinations. Most of the lights were extinguished; but as Benjamin adjusted with great care and regularity four large candles, in as many massive candlesticks of brass, in a row on the sideboard, the hall possessed a peculiar air of comfort and warmth, contrasted with the cheerless aspect of the room she had left in the academy.
Remarkable had been one of the listeners to Mr. Grant, and returned with her resentment, which had been not a little excited by the language of the Judge, somewhat softened by reflection and the worship. She recollected the youth of Elizabeth, and thought it no difficult task, under present appearances, to exercise that power indirectly which hitherto she had enjoyed undisputed. The idea of being governed, or of being compelled to pay the deference of servitude, was absolutely intolerable; and she had already determined within herself, some half dozen times, to make an effort that should at once bring to an issue the delicate point of her domestic condition. But as often as she met the dark, proud eye of Elizabeth, who was walking up and down the apartment, musing on the scenes of her youth and the change in her condition, and perhaps the events of the day, the housekeeper experienced an awe that she would not own to herself could be excited by anything mortal. It, however, checked her advances, and for some time held her tongue-tied. At length she determined to commence the discourse by entering on a subject that was apt to level all human distinctions, and in which she might display her own abilities.
"It was quite a wordy sarmon that Parson Grant gave us to-night," said Remarkable. "The church ministers be commonly smart sarmonizers, but they write down their idees, which is a great privilege. I don't think that, by nater, they are as tonguey speakers, for an off-hand discourse, as the standing-order ministers."
"And what denomination do you distinguish as the standing-order?" inquired Miss Temple, with some surprise.
"Why, the Presbyter'ans and Congregationals, and Baptists, too, for- til' now; and all sitch as don't go on their knees to prayer,"
"By that rule, then, you would call those who belong' to the persuasion of my father, the sitting-order," observed Elizabeth. "I'm sure I've never heard 'em spoken of by any other' name than Quakers, so called," returned Remarkable, betraying a slight uneasiness; "I should be the last to call them otherwise, for I never in my life used a disparaging' tarm of the Judge, or any of his family. I've always set store by the Quakers, they are so pretty- spoken, clever people, and it's a wonderment to me how your father come to marry into a church family; for they are as contrary in religion as can be. One sits still, and, for the most part; says nothing, while the church folks practyse all kinds of ways, so that I sometimes think it quite moosical to see them; for I went to a church- meeting once before, down country."
"You have found an excellence in the church liturgy that has hitherto escaped me. I will thank you to inquire whether the fire in my room burns; I feel fatigued with my journey, and will retire."
Remarkable felt a wonderful inclination to tell the young mistress of the mansion that by opening a door she might see for herself; but prudence got the better of resentment, and after pausing some little time, as a salve to her dignity, she did as desired. The report was favorable, and the young lady, wishing Benjamin, who was filling the stove with wood, and the housekeeper, each a good-night, withdrew.
The instant the door closed on Miss Temple, Remark able commenced a sort of mysterious, ambiguous discourse, that was neither abusive nor commendatory of the qualities of the absent personage, but which seemed to be drawing nigh, by regular degrees, to a most dissatisfied description. The major-domo made no reply. but continued his occupation with great industry, which being happily completed, he took a look at the thermometer, and then opening a drawer of the sideboard, he produced a supply of stimulants that would have served to keep the warmth in his system without the aid of the enormous fire he had been building. A small stand was drawn up near the stove, and the bottles and the glasses necessary for convenience were quietly arranged. Two chairs were placed by the side of this comfortable situation, when Benjamin, for the first time, appeared to observe his companion.
"Come," he cried, "come, Mistress Remarkable, bring yourself to an anchor on this chair. It's a peeler without, I can tell you, good woman; but what cares I? blow high or blow low, d'ye see, it's all the same thing to Ben. The niggers are snug stowed below before a fire that would roast an ox whole. The thermometer stands now at fifty- five, but if there's any vartue in good maple wood, I'll weather upon it, before one glass, as much as ten points more, so that the squire, when he comes home from Betty Hollister's warm room, will feel as hot as a hand that has given the rigging a lick with bad tar. Come, mistress, bring up in this here chair, and tell me how you like our new heiress."
"Why, to my notion, Mr. Penguillum--"
"Pump, Pump," interrupted Benjamin; "it's Christmas eve, Mistress Remarkable, and so, dye see, you had better call me Pump. It's a shorter name, and as I mean to pump this here decanter till it sucks, why, you may as well call me Pump."
"Did you ever!" cried Remarkable, with a laugh that seemed to unhinge every joint in her body. "You're a moosical creature, Benjamin, when the notion takes you. But, as I was saying, I rather guess that times will be altered now in this house."
"Altered!" exclaimed the major-domo, eyeing the bottle, that was assuming the clear aspect of cut glass with astonishing rapidity; "it don't matter much, Mistress Remarkable, so long as I keep the keys of the lockers in my pocket."
"I can't say," continued the housekeeper, "but there's good eatables and drinkables enough in the house for a body's content-a little more sugar, Benjamin, in the glass -for Squire Jones is an excellent provider. But new lords, new laws; and I shouldn't wonder if you and I had an unsartain time on't in footer."
"Life is as unsartain as the wind that blows," said Benjamin, with a moralizing air; "and nothing is more varible than the wind, Mistress Remarkable, unless you hap pen to fall in with the trades, d'ye see, and then you may run for the matter of a month at a time, with studding-sails on both sides, alow and aloft, and with the cabin-boy at the wheel."
"I know that life is disp'ut unsartain," said Remark able, compressing her features to the humor of her companion; "but I expect there will be great changes made in the house to rights; and that you will find a young man put over your head, as there is one that wants to be over mine; and after having been settled as long as you have, Benjamin, I should judge that to be hard."
"Promotion should go according to length of sarvice," said the major- domo; "and if-so-be that they ship a hand for my berth, or place a new steward aft, I shall throw up my commission in less time than you can put a pilot-boat in stays. Thof Squire Dickon "-this was a common misnomer with Benjamin-" is a nice gentleman, and as good a man to sail with as heart could wish, yet I shall tel the squire, d'ye see, in plain English, and that's my native tongue, that if-so-be he is thinking of putting any Johnny Raw over my head, why, I shall resign. I began forrard, Mistress Prettybones, and worked my way aft, like a man. I was six months aboard a Garnsey lugger, hauling in the slack of the lee-sheet and coiling up rigging. From that I went a few trips in a fore-and-after, in the same trade, which, after all, was but a blind kind of sailing in the dark, where a man larns but little, excepting how to steer by the stars. Well, then, d'ye see, I larnt how a topmast should be slushed, and how a topgallant-sail was to be becketted; and then I did small jobs in the cabin, such as mixing the skipper's grog. 'Twas there I got my taste, which, you must have often seen, is excel lent. Well, here's better acquaintance to us." Remarkable nodded a return to the compliment, and took a sip of the beverage before her; for, provided it was well sweetened, she had no objection to a small potation now and then, After this observance of courtesy between the worthy couple, the dialogue proceeded.
"You have had great experiences in life, Benjamin; for, as the Scripter says, 'They that go down to the sea in ships see the works of the Lord.'"
"Ay! for that matter, they in brigs and schooners, too; and it mought say, the works of the devil. The sea, Mistress Remarkable, is a great advantage to a man, in the way of knowledge, for he sees the fashions of nations and the shape of a country. Now, I suppose, for myself here, who is but an unlarned man to some that follows the seas, I suppose that, taking the coast from Cape Ler Hogue as low down as Cape Finish-there, there isn't so much as a headland, or an island, that I don't know either the name of it or something more or less about it. Take enough, woman, to color the water. Here's sugar. It's a sweet tooth, that fellow that you hold on upon yet, Mistress Prettybones. But, as I was saying, take the whole coast along, I know it as well as the way from here to the Bold Dragoon; and a devil of acquaintance is that Bay of Biscay. Whew! I wish you could but hear the wind blow there. It sometimes takes two to hold one man's hair on his head. Scudding through the bay is pretty much the same thing as travelling the roads in this country, up one side of a mountain and down the other,"
"Do tell!" exclaimed Remarkable; "and does the sea run as high as mountains, Benjamin?"
"Well, I will tell; but first let's taste the grog. Hem! it's the right kind of stuff, I must say, that you keep in this country; but then you're so close aboard the West Indies, you make but a small run of it. By the Lord Harry, woman, if Garnsey only lay somewhere between Cape Hatteras and the bite of Logann, but you'd see rum cheap! As to the seas, they runs more in uppers in the Bay of Biscay, unless it may be in a sow-wester, when they tumble about quite handsomely; thof it's not in the narrow sea that you are to look for a swell; just go off the Western Islands, in a westerly blow, keeping the land on your larboard hand, with the ship's head to the south'ard, and bring to, under a close-reefed topsail; or, mayhap, a reefed foresail, with a fore-topmast-staysail and mizzen staysail to keep her up to the sea, if she will bear it; and ay there for the matter of two watches, if you want to see mountains. Why, good woman, I've been off there in the Boadishey frigate, when you could see nothing but some such matter as a piece of sky, mayhap, as big as the main sail; and then again, there was a hole under your lee-quarter big enough to hold the whole British navy."
"Oh! for massy's sake! and wa'n't you afeard, Benjamin? and how did you get off?"
"Afeard! who the devil do you think was to be frightened at a little salt water tumbling about his head? As for getting off, when we had enough of it, and had washed our decks down pretty well, we called all hands, for, d'ye see, the watch below was in their hammocks, all the same as if they were in one of your best bedrooms; and so we watched for a smooth time, clapt her helm hard a weather, let fall the foresail, and got the tack aboard; and so, when we got her afore it, I ask you, Mistress Prettybones, if she didn't walk? didn't she? I'm no liar, good woman, when I say that I saw that ship jump from the top of one sea to another, just like one of these squirrels that can fly jumps from tree to tree."
"What! clean out of the water?" exclaimed Remark able, lifting her two lank arms, with their bony hands spread in astonishment.
"It was no such easy matte: to get out of the water, good woman; for the spray flew so that you couldn't tell which was sea or which was cloud. So there we kept her afore it for the matter of two glasses. The first lieutenant he cun'd the ship himself, and there was four quarter masters at the wheel, besides the master with six forecastle men in the gun-room at the relieving tackles. But then she behaved herself so well! Oh! she was a sweet ship, mistress! That one frigate was well worth more, to live in, than the best house in the island. If I was king of England I'd have her hauled up above Lon'on bridge, and fit her up for a palace; because why? if anybody can afford to live comfortably, his majesty can."
"Well! but, Benjamin," cried the listener, who was in an ecstasy of astonishment at this relation of the steward's dangers, "what did you do?"
"Do! why, we did our duty like hearty fellows. Now if the countrymen of Monnsheer Ler Quaw had been aboard of her, they would have just struck her ashore on some of them small islands; but we run along the land until we found her dead to leeward off the mountains of Pico, and dam'me if I know to this day how we got there-whether we jumped over the island or hauled round it; but there we was, and there we lay, under easy sail, fore-reaching first upon one tack and then upon t'other, so as to poke her nose out now and then and take a look to wind'ard till the gale blowed its pipe out."
"I wonder, now!" exclaimed Remarkable, to whom most of the terms used by Benjamin were perfectly unintelligible, but who had got a confused idea of a raging tempest. "It must be an awful life, that going to sea! and I don't feel astonishment that you are so affronted with the thoughts, of being forced to quit a comfortable home like this. Not that a body cares much for't, as there's more houses than one to live in. Why, when the Judge agreed with me to come and live with him, I'd no more notion of stopping any time than anything. I happened in just to see how the family did, about a week after Mrs. Temple died, thinking to be back home agin' night; but the family was in such a distressed way that I couldn't but stop awhile and help em on. I thought the situation a good one, seeing that I was an unmarried body, and they were so much in want of help; so I tarried."
"And a long time you've left your anchors down in the same place, mistress. I think yo' must find that the ship rides easy."
"How you talk, Benjamin! there's no believing a word you say. I must say that the Judge and Squire Jones have both acted quite clever, so long; but I see that now we shall have a specimen to the contrary. I heern say thats the Judge was gone a great 'broad, and that he meant to bring his darter hum, but I didn't calculate on sich carrins on. To my notion, Benjamin, she's likely to turn out a desp'ut ugly gal."
"Ugly!" echoed the major-domo, opening eyes that were beginning to close in a very suspicious sleepiness, in wide amazement. "By the Lord Harry, woman, I should as soon think of calling the Boadishey a clumsy frigate. What the devil would you have? Arn't her eyes as bright as the morning and evening stars? and isn't her hair as black and glistening as rigging that has just had a lick of tar? doesn't she move as stately as a first-rate in smooth water, on a bowline? Why, woman, the figure-head of the Boadishey was a fool to her, and that, as I've often heard the captain say, was an image of a great queen; and arn't queens always comely, woman? for who do you think would be a king, and not choose a handsome bedfellow?"
"Talk decent, Benjamin," said the housekeeper, "Or I won't keep your company. I don't gainsay her being comely to look on, but I will maintain that she's likely to show poor conduct. She seems to think herself too good to talk to a body. From what Squire Jones had telled me, I some expected to be quite captivated by her company. Now, to my reckoning, Lowizy Grant is much more pritty behaved than Betsey Temple. She wouldn't so much as hold discourse with me when I wanted to ask her how she felt on coming home and missing her mammy."
"Perhaps she didn't understand you, woman; you are none of the best linguister; and then Miss Lizzy has been exercising the king's English under a great Lon'on lady, and, for that matter, can talk the language almost as well as myself, or any native-born British subject. You've forgot your schooling, and the young mistress is a great scollard."
"Mistress!" cried Remarkable; "don't make one out to be a nigger, Benjamin. She's no mistress of mine, and never will be. And as to speech, I hold myself as second to nobody out of New England. I was born and raised in Essex County; and I've always heern say that the Bay State was provarbal for pronounsation!"
"I've often heard of that Bay of State," said Benjamin, "but can't say that I've ever been in it, nor do I know exactly whereaway it is that it lays; but I suppose there is good anchorage in it, and that it's no bad place for the taking of ling; but for size it can't be so much as a yawl to a sloop of war compared with the Bay of Biscay, or, mayhap, Torbay. And as for language, if you want to hear the dictionary overhauled like a log-line in a blow, you must go to Wapping and listen to the Lon'oners as they deal out their lingo. Howsomever, I see no such mighty matter that Miss Lizzy has been doing to you, good woman; so take another drop of your brews and forgive and forget, like an honest soul,"
"No, indeed! and I shan't do sitch a thing, Benjamin. This treatment is a newity to me, and what I won't put up with. I have a hundred and fifty dollars at use, besides a bed and twenty sheep, to good; and I don't crave to live in a house where a body mustn't call a young woman by her given name to her face. I will call her Betsey as much as I please; it's a free country, and no one can stop me. I did intend to stop while summer, but I shall quit to-morrow morning; and I will talk just as I please."
"For that matter, Mistress Remarkable," said Benjamin, "there's none here who will contradict you; for I'm of opinion that it would be as easy to stop a hurricane with a Barcelony handkerchy as to bring up your tongue when the stopper is off. I say, good woman, do they grow many monkeys along the shores of that Bay of State?"
"You're a monkey yourself, Mr. Penguillum," cried the enraged housekeeper, "or a bear-a black, beastly bear! and ain't fit for a decent woman to stay with. I'll never, keep your company agin, sir, if I should live thirty years with the Judge. Sitch talk is more befitting the kitchen than the keeping-room of a house of one who is well-to-do in the world."
"Look you, Mistress Pitty-Patty------Prettybones, mayhap I'm some such matter as a bear, as they will find who come to grapple with me; but dam'me if I'm a monkey- a thing that chatters without knowing a word of what it says-a parrot; that will hold a dialogue, for what an honest man knows, in a dozen languages; mayhap in the Bay of State lingo; mayhap in Greek or High Dutch. But dost it know what it means itself? canst answer me that, good woman? Your midshipman can sing out, and pass the word, when the captain gives the order, but just send him adrift by himself, and let him work the ship of his own head, and stop my grog if you don't find all the Johnny Raws laughing at him."
"Stop your grog, indeed!" said Remarkable, rising with great indignation, and seizing a candle; "you're groggy now, Benjamin and I'll quit the room before I hear any misbecoming words from you." The housekeeper retired, with a manner but little less dignified, as she thought, than the air of the heiress, muttering as she drew the door after her, with a noise like the report of a musket, the opprobrious terms of "drunkard," "sot," and " beast."
"Who's that you say is drunk?" cried Benjamin fiercely, rising and making a movement toward Remarkable. "You talk of mustering yourself with a lady you're just fit to grumble and find fault. Where the devil should you larn behavior and dictionary? in your damned Bay of State, ha?"
Benjamin here fell back in his chair, and soon gave vent to certain ominous sounds, which resembled not a little the growling of his favorite animal the bear itself. Be fore, however, he was quite locked-to use the language that would suit the Della-cruscan humor of certain refined minds of the present day-" in the arms of Morpheus," he spoke aloud, observing due pauses between his epithets, the impressive terms of "monkey," "parrot," "picnic," "tar pot," and "linguisters"
We shall not attempt to explain his meaning nor connect his sentences; and our readers must be satisfied with our informing them that they were expressed with all that coolness of contempt that a man might well be supposed to feel for a monkey.
Nearly two hours passed in this sleep before the major domo was awakened by the noisy entrance of Richard, Major Hartmann, and the master of the mansion. Benjamin so far rallied his confused faculties as to shape the course of the two former to their respective apartments, when he disappeared himself, leaving the task of securing the house to him who was most interested in its safety. Locks and bars were but little attended to in the early days of that settlement, and so soon as Marmaduke had given an eye to the enormous fires of his dwelling he retired. With this act of prudence closes the first night of our tale.