The Yemassee

By William Gilmore Simms; Alexander Cowie | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXIV

" They bind him, will they slay him? That old man,
His father, will he look upon and see
The danger of his child, nor lift his voice,
Nor lend his arm to save him? "

WITH a mind deeply taken up with the concerns of state, Sanutee threw himself upon the bearskin which formed a sort of carpet in the middle of the lodge, and failed utterly to remark the discomposure of Matiwan, which, otherwise, to the keen glance of the Indian, would not have remained very long concealed. She took her seat at his head, and croned low and musingly some familiar chant of forest song, unobtrusively, yet meant to soothe his ear. He heard for this had long been a practice with her and a domestic indulgence with him he heard, but did not seem to listen. His mind was away busied in the events of the wild storm it had invoked, and the period of which was rapidly approaching. But there were other matters less important, that called for present attention; and, turning at length to his wife, and pointing at the same time to the pile of skins that lay confusedly huddled up over the crouching form of Occonestoga, he quietly remarked upon their loose and disordered appearance. The well-bred housewife of a city might have discovered something of rebuke to her domestic management in what he said on this subject; but the mind of Matiwan lost all sight of the reproach, in the apprehensions which such a reference had excited. He saw not her disorder, however, but proceeded to enumerate to himself their numbers, sorts, and qualities, with a simple air of business; until, suddenly labouring, as it appeared, under some deficiency of memory, he instructed her to go and ascertain the number of bearskins in the collection.

" The Spanish trader will buy from Sanutee with the next sun. Go, Matiwan."

To hear was to obey; and half dead with fear, yet rejoiced that he had not gone himself, she proceeded to tumble about the skins, with ready compliance, and an air of industry, the most praiseworthy in an Indian woman. Her labour was lengthened, so

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