Oak Openings

by James Fenimore Cooper

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Chapter XIII.

     Hearest thou voices on the shore
      That our ears perceive no more,
      Deafened by the cataract's roar?

     Bear, through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
      In thy heart the dew of youth,
      On thy lips the smile of truth.

From all that has been stated, the reader will, probably, be prepared to learn that Boden did not succeed in his effort to persuade Gershom, and the other Christians, to accompany him on his voyage round by Lake Huron. Corporal Flint was obdurate, and Parson Amen confiding. As for Gershom, he did not like the thought of retracing his steps so soon, and the females were obliged to remain with the husband and brother.

"You had better get out of the river while all the canoes are on this side," said Margery, as she and le Bourdon walked toward the boats in company, the council having ended, and everything beginning to assume the appearance of action. "Remember you will be quite alone, and have a long, long road to travel!"

"I do remember all this, Margery, and see the necessity for all of us getting back to the settlements as fast as we can. I don't half like this Peter; his name is a bad one in the garrisons, and it makes me miserable to think that you may be in his power."

"The missionary and the corporal, as well as my brother, seem willing to trust him--what can two females do, when their male protector has made up his mind in such a matter?"

"One who would very gladly be your protector, pretty Margery, has not made up his mind to the prudence of trusting Peter at all. Put yourself under my care, and my life shall be lost, or I will carry you safe to your friends in Detroit."

This might be deemed tolerably explicit; yet was it not sufficiently so to satisfy female scruples, or female rights. Margery blushed, and she looked down, while she did not look absolutely displeased. But her answer was given firmly, and with a promptitude that showed she was quite in earnest.

"I cannot quit Dorothy, placed as she is--and it is my duty to die with brother," she said.

"Have you thought enough of this, Margery? may not reflection change your mind?"

"This is a duty on which a girl is not called to reflect; she must feel, in a matter of conscience."

The bee-hunter fairly sighed, and from a very resolute he became a very irresolute sort of person. As was natural to one in his situation, he let out the secret current his thoughts had taken, in the remarks which followed.

"I do not like the manner in which Peter and Pigeonswing are now talking together," he said. "When an Injin is so earnest, there is generally mischief brewing. Do you see Peter's manner?"

"He seems to be telling the young warrior something that makes both forget themselves. I never saw two men who seem so completely to forget all the rest of the world as them two savages! What can be the meaning, Bourdon, of so much fierce earnestness?"

"I would give the world to know-possibly the Chippewa may tell me. We understand each other tolerably well, and, just as you spoke, he gave me a secret sign that I have a right to think means confidence and friendship. That savage is either a fast friend, or a thorough villain."

"Is it safe to trust any of them, Bourdon? No--no--your best way will be to go down the lakes, and get back to Detroit as soon as you can. Not only your property, but your life, is at risk."

"Go, and leave you here, Margery--here, with a brother whose failing you know as well as I do, and who may, at any moment, fall back into his old ways! I should not be a man to do it!"

"But brother can get no liquor, now, for it is all emptied. When himself for a few days, Gershom is a good protector, as well as a good provider. You must not judge brother too harshly, from what you have seen of him, Bourdon."

"I do not wish to judge him at all, Margery. We all have our failin's, and whiskey is his. I dare say mine are quite as bad, in some other way. It's enough for me, Margery, that Gershom is your brother, to cause me to try to think well of him. We must not trust to there being no more liquor among us; for, if that so'ger is altogether without his rations, he's the first so'ger I ever met with who was!"

"But this corporal is a friend of the minister, and ministers ought not to drink!"

"Ministers are like other men, as them that live much among 'em will soon find out. Hows'ever, if you will stay, Margery, there is no more to be said. I must cache [Footnote: A Western term, obviously derived from cacher, to conceal. Cache is much used by the Western adventurers.] my honey, and get the canoe ready to go up stream again. Where you go, Margery, I go too, unless you tell me that you do not wish my company."

This was said quietly, but in the manner of one whose mind was made up. Margery scarce knew how to take it. That she was secretly delighted, cannot be denied; while, at the same time, that she felt a generous and lively concern for the fortunes of le Bourdon, is quite as certain. As Gershom just then called to her to lend her assistance in preparing to embark, she had no leisure for expostulation, nor do we know that she now seriously wished to divert the bee-hunter from his purpose.

It was soon understood by every one that the river was to be crossed, in order that Gershom might get his household effects, previously to ascending the Kalamazoo. This set all at--work but the Chippewa, who appeared to le Bourdon to be watchful and full of distrust. As the latter had a job before him, that would be likely to consume a couple of hours, the others were ready for a start long before he had his hole dug. It was therefore arranged that the bee- hunter should complete his task, while the others crossed the stream, and went in quest of Gershom's scanty stock of household goods. Pigeonswing, however, was not to be found, when the canoes were ready, and Peter proceeded without him. Nor did le Bourdon see anything of his friend until the adventurers were fairly on the north shore, when he rejoined le Bourdon, sitting on a log, a curious spectator of the latter's devices to conceal his property, but not offering to aid him in a single movement. The bee-hunter too well understood an Indian warrior's aversion to labor of all sorts, unless it be connected with his military achievements, to be surprised at his companion's indifference to his own toil. As the work went on, a friendly dialogue was kept up between the parties.

"I didn't know, Pigeonswing, but you had started for the openings, before us," observed le Bourdon. "That tribeless old Injin made something of a fuss about your being out of the way; I dare say he wanted you to help back the furniture down to the canoes."

"Got squaw--what he want--better to do dat?"

"So you would put that pretty piece of work on such persons as Margery and Dolly!"

"Why not, no? Bot' squaw-bot know how. Dere business to work for warrior."

"Did you keep out of the way, then, lest old Peter should get you at a job that is onsuitable to your manhood?"

"Keep out of way of Pottawattamie," returned the Chippewa; "no want to lose scalp-radder take his'n."

"But Peter says the Pottawattamies are all gone, and that we have no longer any reason to fear them; and this medicine-priest tells us, that what Peter says we can depend on for truth."

"Dat good medicine-man, eh? T'ink he know a great deal, eh?"

"That is more than I can tell you, Pigeonswing; for though I've been a medicine-man myself, so lately, it is in a different line altogether from that of Parson Amen's."

As the bee-hunter uttered this answer, he was putting the last of his honey-kegs into the cache, and as he rose from completing the operation, he laughed heartily, like one who saw images in the occurrences of the past night, that tended to divert himself, if they had not the same effect on the other spectators.

"If you medicine-man, can tell who Peter be? Winnebagoe, Sioux, Fox, Ojebway, Six Nations all say don't know him. Medicine-man ought to know--who he be, eh?"

"I am not enough of a medicine-man to answer your question, Pigeonswing. Set me at finding a whiskey-spring, or any little job of that sort, and I'll turn my back to no other whiskey-spring finder on the whole frontier; but, as for Peter, he goes beyond my calculations, quite. Why is he called Scalping Peter in the garrisons, if he be so good an Injin, Chippewa?"

"You ask question--you answer. Don't know, 'less he take a good many scalps. Hear he do take all he can find--den hear he don't."

"But you take all you can find, Pigeonswing; and that which is good in you, cannot be so bad in Peter."

"Don't take scalp from friend. When you hear Pigeonswing scalp friend, eh?"

"I never did hear it; and hope I never shall. But when did you hear that Peter is so wicked?"

"S'pose he don't, 'cause he got no friend among pale-face. Bes' take care of dat man?"

"I'm of your way of thinking, myself, Chippewa; though the corporal and the priest think him all in all. When I asked Parson Amen how he came to be the associate of one who went by a scalping name, even he told me it was all name; that Peter hadn't touched a hair of a human head, in the way of scalping, since his youth, and that most of his notions and ways were quite Jewish, The parson has almost as much faith in Peter, as he has in his religion; I'm not quite sure he has not even more."

"No matter. Bes' always for pale-face to trust pale-face, and Injin to trust Injin. Dat most likely to be right."

"Nevertheless, I trust you Pigeonswing; and, hitherto, you have not deceived me!"

The Chippewa cast a glance of so much meaning on the bee-hunter, that the last was troubled by it. For many a day did le Bourdon remember that look; and painful were the apprehensions to which it gave birth. Until that morning, the intercourse between the two had been of the most confidential character; but something like a fierce hatred was blended in that look. Could it be that the feelings of the Chippewa were changed? and was it possible that Peter was in any way connected with this alteration in looks and sentiments? All these suspicions passed through le Bourdon's mind, as he finished his cache; and sufficiently disagreeable did he find it to entertain them. The circumstances, however, did not admit of any change of plan; and, in a few minutes, the two were in the canoe, and on their way to join their companions.

Peter had dealt fairly enough with those who accompanied him. The Pottawattamies were nowhere to be seen, and Gershom led the corporal to the place where his household goods had been secreted, in so much confidence, that both the men left their arms behind them. Such was the state of things when le Bourdon reached the north shore. The young man was startled, when his eyes fell on the rifles; but, on looking around, there did not really appear to be any sufficient reason why they might not be laid aside for a few minutes.

The bee-hunter, having disposed of all his honey, had now a nearly empty canoe; accordingly, he received a portion of Gershom's effects; all of which were safely transported from their place of concealment to the water side. Their owner was slowly recovering the use of his body and mind, though still a little dull, from his recent debauch. The females supplied his place, however, in many respects; and two hours after the party had landed, it was ready again to proceed on its journey into the interior. The last article was stowed in one of the canoes, and Gershom announced his willingness to depart.

At this moment, Peter led the bee-hunter aside, telling his friends that he would speedily rejoin them. Our hero followed his savage leader along the foot of the declivity, in the rear of the hut, until the former stopped at the place where the first, and principal fire of the past night, had been lighted. Here Peter made a sweeping gesture of his hand, as if to invite his companion to survey the different objects around. As this characteristic gesture was made, the Indian spoke.

"My brother is a medicine-man," he said. "He knows where whiskey grows--let him tell Peter where to find the spring."

The recollection of the scene of the previous night came so fresh and vividly over the imagination of the bee-hunter, that, instead of answering the question of the chief, he burst into a hearty fit of laughter. Then, fearful of giving offence, he was about to apologize for a mirth so ill-timed, when the Indian smiled, with a gleam of intelligence on his swarthy face, that seemed to say, "I understand it all," and continued--

"Good--the chief with three eyes"--in allusion to the spy--glass that le Bourdon always carried suspended from his neck--"is a very great medicine-man; he knows when to laugh, and when to look sad. The Pottawattamies were dry, and he wanted to find them some whiskey to drink, but could not--our brother, in the canoe, had drunk it all. Good."

Again the bee-hunter laughed; and though Peter did not join in his mirth, it was quite plain that he understood its cause. With this good-natured sort of intelligence between them, the two returned to the canoes; the bee-hunter always supposing that the Indian had obtained his object, in receiving his indirect admission, that the scene of the previous night had been merely a piece of ingenious jugglery. So much of a courtier, however, was Peter, and so entire his self-command, that on no occasion, afterward, did he ever make any further allusion to the subject.

The ascent of the river was now commenced. It was not a difficult matter for le Bourdon to persuade Margery, that her brother's canoe would be too heavily loaded for such a passage, unless she consented to quit it for his own. Pigeonswing took the girl's place, and was of material assistance in forcing the light, but steady craft, up stream. The three others continued in the canoe in which they had entered the river. With this arrangement, therefore, our adventurers commenced this new journey.

Every reader will easily understand, that ascending such a stream as the Kalamazoo was a very difficult thing from descending it. The progress was slow, and at many points laborious. At several of the "rifts," it became necessary to "track" the canoes up; and places occurred at which the only safe way of proceeding was to unload them altogether, and transport boats, cargoes, and all, on the shoulders of the men, across what are called, in the language of the country, "portages," or "carrying-places." In such toil as this, the corporal was found to be very serviceable; but neither of the Indians declined to lend their assistance, in work of this manly character. By this time, moreover, Gershom had come round, and was an able- bodied, vigorous assistant, once more. If the corporal was the master of any alcohol, he judiciously kept it a secret; for not a drop passed any one's lips during the whole of that toilsome journey.

Although the difficult places in the river were sufficiently numerous, most of the reaches were places having steady, but not swift currents toward the lake. In these reaches the paddles, and those not very vigorously applied, enabled the travellers to advance as fast as was desirable; and such tranquil waters were a sort of resting-places to those who managed the canoes. It was while ascending these easy channels, that conversation most occurred; each speaker yielding, as was natural, to the impulses of the thoughts uppermost in his mind. The missionary talked much of the Jews; and, as the canoes came near each other, he entered at large, with their different occupants, into the reasons he had for believing that the red men of America were the lost tribes of Israel. "The very use of the word 'tribes,'" would this simple-minded, and not very profound expounder of the word of God, say, "is one proof of the truth of what I tell you. Now, no one thinks of dividing the white men of America into 'tribes.' Who ever heard of the 'tribe' of New England, or of the 'tribe' of Virginia, or of the 'tribe' of the Middle States? [Footnote: The reader is not to infer any exaggeration in this picture. There is no end to the ignorance and folly of sects and parties, when religious or political zeal runs high. The writer well remembers to have heard a Universalist, of more zeal than learning, adduce, as an argument in favor of his doctrine, the twenty-fifth chapter and forty-sixth verse of St. Matthew, where we are told that the wicked "shall go away into ever-lasting punishment; but the righteous into Vis eternal"; by drawing a distinction between the adjectives, and this so much the more, because the Old Testament speaks of "everlasting hills," and "everlasting valleys "; thus proving, from the Bible, a substantial difference between "everlasting" and "eternal." Now, every Sophomore knows that the word used in Matthew is the same in both cases, being "aionion," or "existing forever."] Even among the blacks, there are no tribes. There is a very remarkable passage in the sixty-eighth Psalm, that has greatly struck me, since my mind has turned to this subject; 'God shall wound the head his enemies.' saith the Psalmist, 'and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his wickedness.' Here is a very obvious allusion to a well-known, and what we think, a barbarous practice of the red men; but, rely on it, friends, nothing that is permitted on earth is permitted in vain. The attentive reader of the inspired book, by gleaning here and there, can collect much authority for this new opinion about the lost tribes; and the day will come, I do not doubt, when men will marvel that the truth hath been so long hidden from them. I can scarcely open a chapter, in the Old Testament, that some passage does not strike me as going to prove this identity, between the red men and the Hebrews; and, were they all collected together, and published in a book, mankind would be astonished at their lucidity and weight. As for scalping, it is a horrid thing in our eyes, but it is honorable with the red men; and I have quoted to you the words of the Psalmist, in order to show the manner in which divine wisdom inflicts penalties on sin. Here is plain justification of the practice, provided always that the sufferer be in the bondage of transgression, and obnoxious to divine censure. Let no man, therefore, in the pride of his learning, and, perhaps, of his prosperity, disdain to believe things that are so manifestly taught and foretold; but let us all bow in humble submission to the will of a Being who, to our finite understanding, is so perfectly incomprehensible."

We trust that no one of our readers will be disposed to deride Parson Amen's speculations on this interesting subject, although this may happen to be the first occasion on which he has ever heard the practice of taking scalps justified by Scripture. Viewed in a proper spirit, they ought merely to convey a lesson of humility, by rendering apparent the wisdom, nay the necessity, of men's keeping them-selves within the limits of the sphere of knowledge they were designed to fill, and convey, when rightly considered, as much of a lesson to the Puseyite, with abstractions that are quite as unintelligible to himself as they are to others; to the high-wrought and dogmatical Calvinist, who in the midst of his fiery zeal, forgets that love is the very essence of the relation between God and man; to the Quaker, who seems to think the cut of a coat essential to salvation; to the descendant of the Puritan, who whether he be Socinian, Calvinist, Universalist, or any other "1st," appears to believe that the "rock" on which Christ declared he would found his church was the "Rock of Plymouth"; and to the unbeliever, who, in deriding all creeds, does not know where to turn to find one to substitute in their stead. Humility, in matters of this sort, is the great lesson that all should teach and learn; for it opens the way to charity, and eventually to faith, and through both of these to hope; finally, through all of these, to heaven.

The journey up the Kalamazoo lasted many days, the ascent being often so painful, and no one seeming in a hurry. Peter waited for the time set for his council to approach, and was as well content to remain in his canoe, as to "camp out" in the openings. Gershom never was in haste, while the bee-hunter would have been satisfied to pass the summer in so pleasant a manner, Margery being seated most of the time in his canoe. In his ordinary excursions, le Bourdon carried the mastiff as a companion; but, now that his place was so much better filled, Hive was suffered to roam the woods that lined most of the river-banks, joining his master from time to time at the portages or landings. As for the missionary and the corporal, impatience formed no part of their present disposition. The first had been led, by the artful Peter, to expect great results to his theory from the assembly of chiefs which was to meet in the "openings"; and the credulous parson was, in one sense, going as blindly on the path of destruction, as any sinner it had ever been his duty to warn of his fate, was proceeding in the same direction in another. The corporal, too, was the dupe of Peter's artifices. This man had heard so many stories to the Indian's prejudice, at the different posts where he had been stationed, as at first to render him exceedingly averse to making the present journey in his company. The necessity of the case, as connected with the preservation of his own life after the massacre of Fort Dearborn, and the influence of the missionary, had induced him to overlook his ancient prejudices, and to forget opinions that, it now occurred to him, had been founded in error. Once fairly within the influence of Peter's wiles, a simple-minded soldier like the corporal, was soon completely made the Indian's dupe. By the time the canoe reached the mouth of the Kalamazoo, as has been related, each of these men placed the most implicit reliance on the good faith and friendly feelings of the very being whose entire life, both sleeping and waking thoughts, were devoted, not only to his destruction, but to that of the whole white race on the American continent. So bland was the manner of this terrible savage, when it comported with his views to conceal his ruthless designs, that persons more practised and observant than either of his two companions might have been its dupes, not to say its victims. While the missionary was completely mystified by his own headlong desire to establish a theory, and to announce to the religious world where the lost tribes were to be found, the corporal had aided in deceiving himself, also, by another process. With him, Peter had privately conversed of war, and had insinuated that he was secretly laboring in behalf of his great father at Washington, and against the other great father down at Montreal. As between the two, Peter professed to lean to the interests of the first; though, had he laid bare his in-most soul, a fiery hatred of each would have been found to be its predominant feeling. But Corporal Flint fondly fancied he was making a concealed march with an ally, while he thus accompanied one of the fiercest enemies of his race.

Peter is not to be judged too harshly. It is always respectable to defend the fireside, and the land of one's nativity, although the cause connected with it may be sometimes wrong. This Indian knew nothing of the principles of colonization, and had no conception that any other than its original owners--original so far as his traditions reached--could have a right to his own hunting-grounds. Of the slow but certain steps by which an overruling Providence is extending a knowledge of the true God, and of the great atonement through the death of his blessed Son, Peter had no conception; nor would it probably have seemed right to his contracted mind, had he even seen and understood this general tendency of things. To him, the pale-face appeared only as a rapacious invader, and not a creature obeying the great law of his destiny, the end of which is doubtless to help knowledge to abound, until it shall "cover the whole earth as the waters cover the sea." Hatred, inextinguishable and active hatred, appeared to be the law of this man's being; and he devoted all the means, aided by all the intelligence he possessed, to the furtherance of his narrow and short-sighted means of vengeance and redress. In all this, he acted in common with Tecumseh and his brother, though his consummate art kept him behind a veil, while the others were known and recognized as open and active foes. No publication speaks of this Peter, nor does any orator enumerate his qualities, while the other two chiefs have been the subjects of every species of descriptive talent, from that of the poet to that of the painter.

As day passed after day, the feeling of distrust in the bosom of the bee-hunter grew weaker and weaker, and Peter succeeded in gradually worming himself into his confidence also. This was done, moreover, without any apparent effort. The Indian made no professions of friendship, laid himself out for no particular attention, nor ever seemed to care how his companions regarded his deportment. His secret purposes he kept carefully smothered in his own breast, it is true; but, beyond that, no other sign of duplicity could have been discovered even by one who knew his objects and schemes. So profound was his art, that it had the aspect of nature. Pigeonswing alone was alive to the danger of this man's company; and he knew it only by means of certain semi-confidential communications received in his character of a red man. It was no part of Peter's true policy to become an ally to either of the great belligerents of the day. On the contrary, his ardent wish was to see them destroy each other, and it was the sudden occurrence of the present war that had given a new impulse to his hopes, and a new stimulus to his efforts, as a time most propitious to his purposes. He was perfectly aware of the state of the Chippewa's feelings, and he knew that this man was hostile to the Pottawattamies, as well as to most of the tribes of Michigan; but this made no difference with him. If Pigeonswing took the scalp of a white man, he cared not whether it grew on an English or an American head; in either case it was the destruction of his enemy. With such a policy constantly in view, it cannot be matter of surprise that Peter continued on just as good terms with Pigeonswing as with Crowsfeather. But one precaution was observed in his intercourse with the first. To Crowsfeather, then on the war-path in quest of Yankee scalps, he had freely communicated his designs on his own white companions, while he did not dare to confide to the Chippewa this particular secret, since that Indian's relations with the bee-hunter were so amicable as to be visible to every observer. Peter felt the necessity of especial caution in his communication with this savage, therefore; and this was the reason why the Chippewa was in so much painful uncertainty as to the other's intentions. He had learned enough to be distrustful, but not enough to act with decision.

Once, and once only, during their slow passage up the Kalamazoo, did the bee-hunter observe something about Peter to awaken his original apprehensions. The fourth day after leaving the mouth of the river, and when the whole party were resting after the toil of passing a "carrying-place," our hero had observed the eyes of that tribeless savage roaming from one white face to another, with an expression in them so very fiendish, as actually to cause his heart to beat quicker than common. The look was such a one as le Bourdon could not remember to have ever before beheld in a human countenance. In point of fact, he had seen Peter in one of those moments when the pent fires of the volcano, that ceaselessly raged within his bosom, were becoming difficult to suppress; and when memory was busiest in recalling to his imagination scenes of oppression and wrong, that the white man is only too apt to forget amid the ease of his civilization, and the security of his power. But the look, and the impression produced by it on le Bourdon, soon passed away, and were forgotten by him to whom it might otherwise have proved to be a most useful warning.

It was a little remarkable that Margery actually grew to be attached to Peter, often manifesting toward the chief attentions and feelings such as a daughter is apt to exhibit toward a father. This arose from the high and courteous bearing of this extraordinary savage. At all times, an Indian warrior is apt to maintain the dignified and courteous bearing that has so often been remarked in the race, but it is very seldom that he goes out of his way to manifest attention to the squaws. Doubtless these men have the feelings of humanity, and love their wives and offspring like others; but it is so essential a part of their training to suppress the exhibition of such emotions, that it is seldom the mere looker-on has occasion to note them. Peter, however, had neither wife nor child; or if they existed, no one knew where either was to be found. The same mystery shrouded this part of his history as veiled all the rest. In his hunts, various opportunities occurred for exhibiting to the females manly attentions, by offering to them the choicest pieces of his game, and pointing out the most approved Indian modes of cooking the meats, so as to preserve their savory properties. This he did sparingly at first, and as a part of a system of profound deception; but day by day, and hour after hour, most especially with Margery, did his manner become sensibly less distant, and more natural. The artlessness, the gentle qualities, blended with feminine spirit as they were, and the innocent gayety of the girl, appeared to win on this nearly remorseless savage, in spite of his efforts to resist her influence. Perhaps the beauty of Margery contributed its share in exciting these novel emotions in the breast of one so stern. We do not mean that Peter yielded to feelings akin-to love; of this, he was in a manner incapable; but a man can submit to a gentle regard for woman that shall be totally free from passion. This sort of regard Peter certainly began to entertain for Margery; and like begetting like, as money produces money, it is not surprising that the confidence of the girl herself, as well as her sympathies, should continue to increase in the favor of this terrible Indian.

But the changes of feeling, and the various little incidents to which we have alluded, did not occur in a single moment of time. Day passed after day, and still the canoes were working their way up the winding channels of the Kalamazoo, placing at each setting sun longer and longer reaches of its sinuous stream between the travellers and the broad sheet of Michigan. As le Bourdon had been up and down the river often, in his various excursions, he acted as the pilot of the navigation; though all worked, even to the missionary and the Chippewa. On such an expedition, toil was not deemed to be discreditable to a warrior, and Pigeonswing used the paddle and the pole as willingly, and with as much dexterity, as any of the party.

It was only on the eleventh day after quitting the mouth of the river, that the canoes came to in the little bay where le Bourdon was in the habit of securing his light bark, when in the openings. Castle Meal was in full view, standing peacefully in its sweet solitude; and Hive, who, as he came within the range of his old hunts, had started off, and got to the spot the previous evening, now stood on the bank of the river to welcome his master and his friends to the chiente. It wanted a few minutes of sunset as the travellers landed, and the parting rays of the great luminary of our system were glancing through the various glades of the openings, imparting a mellow softness to the herbage and flowers. So far as the bee-hunter could perceive, not even a bear had visited the place in his absence. On ascending to his abode and examining the fastenings, and on entering the hut, storehouse, etc., le Bourdon became satisfied that all the property he had left behind was safe, and that the foot of man--he almost thought of beast too--had not visited the spot at all during the last fortnight.

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