of a Pale-face, they slowly receded from the spot, until they reached a distance that might defeat the aim of fire-arms.
In the mean time the old man continued to advance, until he had got nigh enough to make himself heard without difficulty. Here he stopped, and dropping his rifle to the earth, he raised his hand with the palm outward, in token of peace. After uttering a few words of reproach to his hound, who watched the savage group with eyes that seemed to recognise them, he spoke in the Sioux tongue
My brothers are welcome, he said, cunningly constituting himself the master of the region in which they had met, and assuming the offices of hospitality. They are far from their villages, and are hungry. Will they follow to my lodge, to eat and sleep?
No sooner was his voice heard, than the yell of pleasure, which burst from a dozen mouths, convinced the sagacious trapper, that he also was recognised. Feeling that it was too late to retreat, he profited by the confusion which prevailed among them, while Weucha was explaining his character, to advance, until he was again face to face with the redoubtable Mahtoree. The second interview between these two men, each of whom was extraordinary in his way, was marked by the usual caution of the frontiers. They stood, for nearly a minute, examining each other without speaking.
Where are your young men? sternly demanded the Teton chieftain, after he found that the immovable features of the trapper refused to betray any of their masters secrets, under his intimidating look.
The Long-knives do not come in bands to trap the beaver? I am alone.
Your head is white, but you have a forked tongue. Mahtoree has been in your camp. He knows that you are not alone. Where is your young wife, and the warrior that I found upon the prairie?
I have no wife. I have told my brother that the woman and her friend were strangers. The words of a grey head should be heard, and not forgotten. The Dahcotahs found travellers asleep, and they thought they had no need of horses. The women and children of a Pale-face are not used to go far on foot. Let them be sought where you left them.
The eyes of the Teton flashed fire as he answered
They are gone: but Mahtoree is a wise chief, and his eyes can see a great distance!
Does the partisan of the Tetons see men on these naked fields? retorted the trapper, with great steadiness of mien. I am very old, and my eyes grow dim. Where do they stand?
The chief remained silent a moment, as if he disdained to contest any further the truth of a fact, concerning which he was already satisfied. Then pointing to the traces on the earth, he said, with a sudden transition to mildness, in his eye and manner
My father has learnt wisdom, in many winters; can he tell me whose moccasin has left this trail?
There have been wolves and buffaloes on the prairies; and there may have been cougars too.
Mahtoree glanced his eye at the thicket, as if he thought the latter suggestion not impossible. Pointing to the place, he ordered his young men to reconnoitre it more closely, cautioning them, at the same time, with a stern look at the trapper, to beware of treachery from the Big-knives. Three or four half- naked, eager-looking youths lashed their horses at the word, and darted away to obey the mandate. The old man trembled a little for the discretion of Paul, when he saw this demonstration. The Tetons encircled the place two or three times, approaching nigher and nigher at each circuit, and then galloped back to their leader to report that the copse seemed empty. Notwithstanding the trapper watched the eye of Mahtoree, to detect the inward movements of his mind, and if possible to anticipate, in order to direct his suspicions, the utmost sagacity of one so long accustomed to study the cold habits of the
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