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bleeding. A laugh of joy and derision burst from the lips of the fugitive, who was still stretched upon the earth ; but his triumph was of short duration. Tangoras soon sprang upon his feet again, his rage augmented by the smarting of his wounds, and leaping up with the elasticity of the panther, he readily achieved the ascent which had nearly exhausted the remaining strength of his victim, who slowly arose, and again exerted himself to escape his determined pursuer.
“ They had now almost reached the summit of the mountain. Tangoras pressed closely upon the young Indian, who with difficulty dragged along his wounded and exhausted frame. At length he attained the highest point, and as he cast a look down the western declivity, he started back with horror, for it was too precipitous for mortal to descend and live. His deadly foe was within a few paces of him, and a savage smile of triumphi was on his countenance. The fugitive was unarmed, and hope forsook him, when he beheld Tangoras draw his hunting knife as he leisurely ascended, confident that his victim could not now escape. The young man stood erect, and facing his foe, tore off the slight covering from his broad bosom, which heaved as he drew his shortened breath. They were now face to face on the same rock; an awful pause ensued; their eyes glared upon each other-Tangoras raised his arm- Strike!' cried the fugitive, and the next moment was heard the sound of his colossal body, as it fell from rock to rock down the deep chasm,
startling the birds of prey from their eyries. Tangoras stood alone on the rock, and the rays of the setting sun shone full upon him. The affrighted birds were screaming and flying in a circle over the spot where the body had fallen. When the rest of the savages had ascended the mountain, the old chief was still standing on the spot, with the bloody knife in his hand, his mind absorbed by his feelings. They asked for the fugitive ; he made no reply, but held up the blood-stained weapon, smiled, and pointed to the abyss. The friends of the deceased silently withdrew to search for the body, while Tangoras and his people returned to their village.”
“And what cause had he for the perpetration of so merciless a deed ?”
“ The young Indian had a short time before assassinated his only son, and as his tribe refused to deliver up the murderer to punishment, the father, in conformity with their custom, took justice into his own hands; not dreaming that the Whites would pronounce that a capital offence, which both the laws of the red men and their religious creed, imperatively called upon him to perform. He was, however, apprehended, tried and convicted of murder. He did not speak during his trial, but looked in scorn upon our grave deliberations, and sat in the prisoner's bar with the dignity of a hero, rather than the compunctious bearing of a crimi• nal. He heard the sentence of death pronounced upon him without moving a muscle; and as he was led forth
from the court-house to the prison, he paced on with a firm step and haughty demeanour, which shewed, that though he had been condemned by others, he was himself unconscious of a crime. The miserable remnant of his tribe had assembled to await the issue of his trial. They fell back as he appeared, and he moved through them in silence, without bestowing upon them even a look, and they followed him to prison, gazing at him in stupid wonder.”
“ Did they witness his incarceration without an attempt at his liberation ?”
“ Certainly. What else could you expect from those who have taken no more than the first step towards civi. lization? There is no condition in life so abject as theirs. They view the laws of society as being at constant variance with natural privilege, and while they dread, and groan beneath the former, they have not the hardihood to assert the latter. They look upon the restrictions as intended for their abasement, and not to elevate them to an equality; and while you strive to teach them the superiority of their nature, you only convince them that they were born free, and that the social compact has made them slaves.”
“ And what was the fate of old Tangoras ?”
“ That will be decided to-morrow. Look out of the window towards the prison, and you may see the gallowstree prepared for his execution.”
I did so, and beheld that the limb of a stout oak tree,
near the prison, had been trimmed for the purpose; a ladder was reared against it, and three Indians were lounging beneath it. At this moment, two Indian women passed the window; their countenances denoted deep affliction, and their heads were bent downwards.
“ Those women,” continued my informant, “ are the wives of Tangoras. They have been remarkably attentive to him during his imprisonment, and are now going, doubtless, to take their final leave of him.”
We could distinctly see what was passing, from the tavern window. They approached the prison, knocked at the door, and the jailor permitted them to enter. I expressed a desire to see the unfortunate old chief, and my communicative friend, who, by the way, was the village schoolmaster, promised to gain me admittance to his cell on the following morning, as it was then near the hour of closing the doors for the night. In a few minutes the Indian women again appeared. They looked towards the gallows-tree, and spoke to each other. As they passed beneath the window of the inn, I perceived that their countenances were much more placid than they were before they entered the prison.
The stillness of the evening was now broken by the sound of a distant drum, which gradually became more distinct. In an instant, the whole of the villagers were in the street, gazing anxiously in the direction whence the sounds proceeded; and even the sluggish savage felt sufficient interest to arise from his recumbent posture.
While expectation was on tiptoe, a corps of military appeared winding around the base of the mountain that terminated the prospect on the eastern side of the village. A troop of ragged urchins ran delighted to meet them. The soldiers had been sent for from a neighbouring town, to intimidate the savages from interfering with the execution of the criminal.
I arose at daybreak the following morning, and on descending to the bar-room, found the schoolmaster already there, waiting to conduct me to the prison. It was a delightful morning in spring. As we walked forth, the birds were singing joyously, the green grass sparkled with dew, the morning air was refreshing, and laden with fragrance from the foliage of the surrounding forest. A number of Indians were standing beneath the gallows-tree, with their faces towards the east; their heads were bent in sorrow, and they preserved unbroken silence as we passed by them. The wives of Tangoras were among the number. The sun had not yet appeared above the eastern horizon as we entered the prison.
We were conducted by the jailor to the apartment in which the old chief was confined. We found him standing in the centre of the cell, with his eyes raised to a small grated window, through which the grey light of morning was gradually stealing. His mind was too deeply engaged with its own reflections to notice us as we entered. The jailor accosted him, but he made no reply, and still kept his eyes fixed upon the same object. The school