To my great grief! He is captive, and condemned to die at the rising of the sun.

I had misgivings that such would be his fate, resumed the scout, in a less confident and joyous tone. But soon regaining his naturally firm voice, he continued: His bad fortune is the true reason of my being here, for it would never do to abandon such a boy to the Hurons. A rare time the knaves would have of it, could they tie The Bounding Elk and The Long Carabine, as they call me, to the same stake! Though why they have given me such a name I never knew, there being as little likeness between the gifts of killdeer and the performance of one of your real Canada carabynes, as there is between the natur' of a pipe-stone and a flint.

Keep to your tale, said the impatient Heyward; we know not at what moment the Hurons may return.

No fear of them. A conjurer must have his time, like a straggling priest in the settlements. We are as safe from interruption as a missionary would be at the beginining of a two hours' discourse. Well, Uncas and I fell in with a return party of the varlets; the lad was much too forward for a scout; nay, for that matter, being of hot blood, he was not so much to blame; and, after all, one of the Hurons proved a coward, and in fleeing led him into an ambushment.

And dearly has he paid for the weakness.

The scout significantly passed his hand across his own throat, and nodded, as if he said, I comprehend your meaning. After which he continued, in a more audible though scarcely more intelligible language:

After the loss of the boy I turned upon the Hurons, as you may judge. There have been scrimmages atween one or two of their outlyers and myself; but that is neither here nor there. So, after I had shot the imps, I got in pretty nigh to the lodges without further commotion. Then what should luck do in my favor but lead me to the very spot where one of the most famous conjurers of the tribe was dressing himself, as I well knew, for some great battle with Satan - though why should I call that luck, which it now seems was an especial ordering of Providence. So a judgmatical rap over the head stiffened the lying imposter for a time, and leaving him a bit of walnut for his supper, to prevent an uproar, and stringing him up atween two saplings, I made free with his finery, and took the part of the bear on myself, in order that the operations might proceed.

And admirably did you enact the character; the animal itself might have been shamed by the representation.

Lord, major, returned the flattered woodsman, I should be but a poor scholar for one who has studied so long in the wilderness, did I not know how to set forth the movements of natur' of such a beast. Had it been now a catamount, or even a full-size panther, I would have embellished a performance for you worth regarding. But it is no such marvelous feat to exhibit the feats of so dull a beast; though, for that matter, too, a bear may be overacted. Yes, yes; it is not every imitator that knows natur' may be outdone easier than she is equalled. But all our work is yet before us. Where is the gentle one?

Heaven knows. I have examined every lodge in the village, without discovering the slightest trace of her presence in the tribe.

You heard what the singer said, as he left us: She is at hand, and expects you?

I have been compelled to believe he alluded to this unhappy woman.

The simpleton was frightened, and blundered through his message; but he had a deeper meaning. Here are walls enough to separate the hole settlement. A bear ought to climb; therefore will I take a look above them. There may be honey-pots hid in these rocks, and I am a beast, you know, that has a hankering for the sweets.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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