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shoot him, taking deliberate aim at various parts of his body. But Smith betrayed nothing like fear. If his time to die had really come, then he had nothing more to say. Resistance was not to be thought of; and, as for begging for his life, it was the last thing in the world that he would do. But that was just what they wished to make him do. They had no intention of shooting him; their object being simply to see how long his courage would hold out. And, having once ascertained all they sought to know on that point, at the nod of their chief they dropped their weapons at their side, and, speedily loosening his bands, conducted him to the fire which they had kindled for his comfort. At the fire he saw the dead body of one of the two men whom he left in the canoe, pierced with countless arrows. They took the best of care of him after this, driving off the chills, and supplying him with as much food as he desired to eat. They knew he was a person of mark among the white settlers, and that was the reason why he was spared from the fate that had befallen his more unfortunate followers. Yet he did not know, after all, what his fate was to be; perhaps an
immediate and sudden death would be far better than the doom for which he was reserved.
Opechancanough, his captor, was the king of Pamunkee; and at that period acted rather in a subordinate capacity to the great chieftain Powhatan. He was a person of noble and commanding stature, as really became a king, and inspired the highest respect among his followers. Possibly he was keeping the captive to grace some public triumph in his own honor. It might not have been an absurd idea, even among those tribes of roving and untutored savages. Smith noticed that, although the best food they could supply was set before him, they nevertheless refused from first to last to eat along with him. This excited the suspicion that these Indian tribes were cannibals, and that they were only fattening him in order, at some future day, to fall to and eat him with a greater relish. And, in consequence of the feelings such a suspicion excited in his heart, he was more and more wretched every succeeding day of his captivity.
Without longer delay, the savages took up their march with him through their several villages. As they walked onward through the depths of the gloomy forest, a sturdy Indian holding on by each wrist, and the chief following not far behind, it was a scene well calculated to arouse even the dullest imagination. Whenever they came in sight of one of their villages, they set up such hideous cries and yells as brought out all the women and children to meet them in a body. Traversing the region after this most unheard-of style, they at length reached the village called Orapakes. Here Smith was secured in a wigwam, and every avenue to escape carefully guarded against. All the while they persisted in giving him just as much as he could eat, and even a great deal more ; and all the while, too, his troublesome misgivings about being served up himself for food some day, increased in his mind continually.
Orapakes was a village where Powhatan used to dwell at some particular portions of the year. It was, therefore, expected to find the great ehieftain there at that time; but it happened that he was absent, and a longer delay followed there than was at first anticipated. And, during that delay, the Indians proposed to send spies to the settlement at Jamestown, to learn their present strength and condition. Smith heard of their plans, and determined to convert these mere spies into valuable messengers. No objection was made to his doing so, for little, indeed, did the savages understand the secrets that a scrap of paper might be made to convey. Accord ingly, he tore a blank leaf from an old book that, by good fortune, he had about him, and sat down and communicated to the people at the fort the tidings of his disaster. He likewise bade them impress the bearers of his letter as deeply as possible with the idea of their own strength, for they had been allowed to go to Jamestown rather as spies than messengers; and it was important that the report which they should bring back to their chief be as strongly in favor of the power of the settlement as it could be made.
The messengers departed as soon as the letter had been prepared, and in three days returned again. As Smith expected, they brought back to the chief such an account of the vast strength and enormous guns of the fort as dissuaded him from the thought of assaulting its inmates, and for a time secured their perfect safety. It would be laughable to recount the stories that were
told of the settlement and its various resources ; of the huge cannon, which the colonists took particular pains to discharge in their hearing and presence; of the thick and stout walls, that could neither be scaled nor battered down; and of the many warlike implements and preparations on which they relied for their defence against their enemies.
As it happened, one of the Indians whom Smith had wounded with his pistol-shots, now began to show signs of having come to the end of his savage days. The Indians certainly thought that, if the prisoner could, by his wonderful power, bring a man to such an extremity, he could, by the same power, restore him to vigor again. So they carried the wounded man to him, and bade him make him as sound as before. But he was already too far gone for that. Smith saw his condition, and told them he could do nothing for him; and, after a brief interval, the Indian died. Then the rage of the victim's father rose within his breast, and he sought, steadily day and night to avenge the death of his son. The others were obliged to watch very closely to prevent the angry parent from exe