Henry lay fully an hour in the bushes. He had forgotten about the dogs that he dreaded, but evidently he was right in his surmise that the camp contained none. Nothing disturbed him while he stared at what was passing by the firelight. There could be no doubt that the meeting of Timmendiquas and Thayendanegea portended great things, but he would not be stirred from his task of rescuing his comrades or discovering their fate.
They two, great chiefs, sat long in close converse. Others-older men, chiefs, also-came at times and talked with them. But these two, proud, dominating, both singularly handsome men of the Indian type, were always there. Henry was almost ready to steal away when he saw a new figure approaching the two chiefs. The walk and bearing of the stranger were familiar, and HENRY knew him even before his face was lighted tip by the fire. It was Braxton Wyatt, the renegade, who had escaped the great battles on both the Ohio and the Mississippi, and who was here with the Iroquois, ready to do to his own race all the evil that he could. Henry felt a shudder of repulsion, deeper than any Indian could inspire in him. They fought for their own land and their own people, but Braxton Wyatt had violated everything that an honest man should hold sacred.
Henry, on the whole, was not surprised to see him. Such a chance was sure to draw Braxton Wyatt. Moreover, the war, so far as it pertained to the border, seemed to be sweeping toward the northeast, and it bore many stormy petrels upon its crest.
He watched Wyatt as he walked toward one of the fires. There the renegade sat down and talked with the warriors, apparently on the best of terms. He was presently joined by two more renegades, whom Henry recognized as Blackstaffe and Quarles. Timmendiquas and Thayendanegea rose after a while, and walked toward the center of the camp, where several of the bark shelters had been enclosed entirely. Henry judged that one had been set apart for each, but they were lost from his view when they passed within the circling ring of warriors.
Henry believed that the Iroquois and Wyandots would form a fortified camp here, a place from which they would make sudden and terrible forays upon the settlements. He based his opinion upon the good location and the great number of saplings that had been cut down already. They would build strong lodges and then a palisade around them with the saplings. He was speedily confirmed in this opinion when he saw warriors come to the forest with hatchets and begin to cut down more saplings. He knew then that it was time to go, as a wood chopper might blunder upon him at any time.
He slipped from his covert and was quickly gone in the forest. His limbs were somewhat stiff from lying so long in one position, but that soon wore away, and he was comparatively fresh when he came once more to the islet in the swamp. A good moon was now shining, tipping the forest with a fine silvery gray, and Henry purveyed with the greatest satisfaction the simple little shelter that he had found so opportunely. It was a good house, too, good to such a son of the deepest forest as was Henry. It was made of nothing but bark and poles, but it had kept out all that long, penetrating rain of the last three or four days, and when he lifted the big stone aside and opened the door it seemed as snug a place as he could have wished.
He left the door open a little, lighted a small fire on the flat stones, having no fear that it would be seen through the dense curtain that shut him in, and broiled big bear steaks on the coals. When he had eaten and the fire had died he went out and sat beside the hut. He was well satisfied with the day's work, and he wished now to think with all the concentration that one must put upon a great task if he expects to achieve it. He intended to invade the Indian camp, and he knew full well that it was the most perilous enterprise that he had ever attempted. Yet scouts and hunters had done such things and had escaped with their lives. He must not shrink from the path that others had trodden.
He made up his mind firmly, and partly thought out his plan of operations. Then he rested, and so sanguine was his temperament that he began to regard the deed itself as almost achieved. Decision is always soothing after doubt, and he fell into a pleasant dreamy state. A gentle wind was blowing, the forest was dry and the leaves rustled with the low note that is like the softest chord of a violin. It became penetrating, thrillingly sweet, and hark! it spoke to him in a voice that he knew. It was the same voice that he had heard on the Ohio, mystic, but telling him to be of heart and courage. He would triumph over hardships and dangers, and he would see his friends again.
Henry started up from his vision. The song was gone, and he heard only the wind softly moving the leaves. It had been vague and shadowy as gossamer, light as the substance of a dream, but it was real to him, nevertheless, and the deep glow of certain triumph permeated his being, body and mind. It was not strange that he had in his nature something of the Indian mysticism that personified the winds and the trees and everything about him. The Manitou of the red man and the ancient Aieroski of the Iroquois were the same as his own God. He could not doubt that he had a message. Down on the Ohio he had had the same message more than once, and it had always come true.
He heard a slight rustling among the bushes, and, sitting perfectly still, he saw a black bear emerge into the open. It had gained the islet in some manner, probably floundering through the black mire, and the thought occurred to him that it was the mate of the one he had slain, drawn perhaps by instinct on the trail of a lost comrade. He could have shot the bear as he sat-and he would need fresh supplies of food soon-but he did not have the heart to do it.
The bear sniffed a little at the wind, which was blowing the human odor away from him, and sat back on his haunches. Henry did not believe that the animal had seen him or was yet aware of his presence, although he might suspect. There was something humorous and also pathetic in the visitor, who cocked his head on one side and looked about him. He made a distinct appeal to Henry, who sat absolutely still, so still that the little bear could not be sure at first that he was a human being. A minute passed, and the red eye of the bear rested upon the boy. Henry felt pleasant and sociable, but he knew that he could retain friendly relations only by remaining quiet.
If I have eaten your comrade, my friend," he said to himself, "it is only because of hard necessity." The bear, little, comic, and yet with that touch of pathos about him, cocked his head a little further over on one side, and as a silver shaft of moonlight fell upon him Henry could see one red eye gleaming. It was a singular fact, but the boy, alone in the wilderness, and the loser of his comrades, felt for the moment a sense of comradeship with the bear, which was also alone, and doubtless the loser of a comrade, also. He uttered a soft growling sound like the satisfied purr of a bear eating its food.
The comical bear rose a little higher on his hind paws, and looked in astonishment at the motionless figure that uttered sounds so familiar. Yet the figure was not familiar. He had never seen a human being before, and the shape and outline were very strange to him. It might be some new kind of animal, and he was disposed to be inquiring, because there was nothing in these forests which the black bear was afraid of until man came.
He advanced a step or two and growled gently. Then he reared up again on his hind paws, and cocked his held to one side in his amusing manner. Henry, still motionless, smiled at him. Here, for an instant at least, was a cheery visitor and companionship. He at least would not break the spell.
"You look almost as if you could talk, old fellow," he said to himself, "and if I knew your language I'd ask you a lot of questions."
The bear, too, was motionless now, torn by doubt and curiosity. It certainly was a singular figure that sat there, fifteen or twenty yards before him, and he had the most intense curiosity to solve the mystery of this creature. But caution held him back.
There was a sudden flaw in the light breeze. It shifted about and brought the dreadful man odor to the nostrils of the honest black bear. It was something entirely new to him, but it contained the quality of fear. That still strange figure was his deadliest foe. Dropping down upon his four paws, he fled among the trees, and then scrambled somehow through the swamp to the mainland.
Henry sighed. Despite his own friendly feeling, the bear, warned by instinct, was afraid of him, and, as he was bound to acknowledge to himself, the bear's instinct was doubtless right. He rose, went into the hut, and slept heavily through the night. In the morning he left the islet once more to scout in the direction of the Indian camp, but he found it a most dangerous task. The woods were full of warriors hunting. As he had judged, the game was abundant, and he heard rifles cracking in several directions. He loitered, therefore, in the thickest of the thickets, willing to wait until night came for his enterprise. It was advisable, moreover, to wait, because be did not see yet just how he was going to succeed. He spent nearly the whole day shifting here and there through the forest, but late in the afternoon, as the Indians yet seemed so numerous in the woods, he concluded to go back toward the islet.
He was about two miles from the swamp when he heard a cry, sharp but distant. It was that of the savages, and Henry instinctively divined the cause. A party of the warriors had come somehow upon his trail, and they would surely follow it. It was a mischance that he had not expected. He waited a minute or two, and then heard the cry again, but nearer. He knew that it would come no more, but it confirmed him in his first opinion.
Henry had little fear of being caught, as the islet was so securely hidden, but he did not wish to take even a remote chance of its discovery. Hence he ran to the eastward of it, intending as the darkness came, hiding his trail, to double back and regain the hut.
He proceeded at a long, easy gait, his mind not troubled by the pursuit. It was to him merely an incident that should be ended as soon as possible, annoying perhaps, but easily cured. So he swung lightly along, stopping at intervals among the bushes to see if any of the warriors had drawn near, but he detected nothing. Now and then he looked up to the sky, willing that night should end this matter quickly and peacefully.
His wish seemed near fulfillment. An uncommonly brilliant sun was setting. The whole west was a sea of red and yellow fire, but in the east the forest was already sinking into the dark. He turned now, and went back toward the west on a line parallel with the pursuit, but much closer to the swamp. The dusk thickened rapidly. The sun dropped over the curve of the world, and the vast complex maze of trunks and boughs melted into a solid black wall. The incident of the pursuit was over and with it its petty annoyances. He directed his course boldly now for the stepping stones, and traveled fast. Soon the first of them would be less than a hundred yards away.
But the incident was not over. Wary and skillful though the young forest runner might be, he had made one miscalculation, and it led to great consequences. As he skirted the edge of the swamp in the darkness, now fully come, a dusky figure suddenly appeared. It was a stray warrior from some small band, wandering about at will. The meeting was probably as little expected by him as it was by Henry, and they were so close together when they saw each other that neither had time to raise his rifle. The warrior, a tall, powerful man, dropping his gun and snatching out a knife, sprang at once upon his enemy.
Henry was borne back by the weight and impact, but, making an immense effort, he recovered himself and, seizing the wrist of the Indian's knife hand, exerted all his great strength. The warrior wished to change the weapon from his right band, but he dared not let go with the other lest he be thrown down at once, and with great violence. His first rush having failed, he was now at a disadvantage, as the Indian is not generally a wrestler. Henry pushed him back, and his hand closed tighter and tighter around the red wrist. He wished to tear the knife from it, but he, too, was afraid to let go with the other hand, and so the two remained locked fast. Neither uttered a cry after the first contact, and the only sounds in the dark were their hard breathing, which turned to a gasp now and then, and the shuffle of their feet over the earth.
Henry felt that it must end soon. One or the other must give way. Their sinews were already strained to the cracking point, and making a supreme effort he bore all his weight upon the warrior, who, unable to sustain himself, went down with the youth upon him. The Indian uttered a groan, and Henry, leaping instantly to his feet, looked down upon his fallen antagonist, who did not stir. He knew the cause. As they fell the point of the knife bad been turned upward, and it had entered the Indian's heart.
Although he had been in peril at his hands, Henry looked at the slain man in a sort of pity. He had not wished to take anyone's life, and, in reality, he had not been the direct cause of it. But it was a stern time and the feeling soon passed. The Wyandot, for such he was by his paint, would never have felt a particle of remorse had the victory been his.
The moon was now coming out, and Henry looked down thoughtfully at the still face. Then the idea came to him, in fact leaped up in his brain, with such an impulse that it carried conviction. He would take this warrior's place and go to the Indian camp. So eager was he, and so full of his plan, that he did not feel any repulsion as he opened the warrior's deerskin shirt and took his totem from a place near his heart. It was a little deerskin bag containing a bunch of red feathers. This was his charm, his magic spell, his bringer of good luck, which had failed him so woefully this time. Henry, not without a touch of the forest belief, put it inside his own hunting shirt, wishing, although he laughed at himself, that if the red man's medicine had any potency it should be on his own side.
Then he found also the little bag in which the Indian carried his war paint and the feather brush with which he put it on. The next hour witnessed a singular transformation. A white youth was turned into a red warrior. He cut his own hair closely, all except a tuft in the center, with his sharp hunting knife. The tuft and the close crop he stained black with the Indian's paint. It was a poor black, but he hoped that it would pass in the night. He drew the tuft into a scalplock, and intertwined it with a feather from the Indian's own tuft. Then he stained his face, neck, hands, and arms with the red paint, and stood forth a powerful young warrior of a western nation.
He hid the Indian's weapons and his own raccoon-skin cap in the brush. Then he took the body of the fallen warrior to the edge of the swamp and dropped it in. His object was not alone concealment, but burial as well. He still felt sorry for the unfortunate Wyandot, and he watched him until he sank completely from sight in the mire. Then he turned away and traveled a straight course toward the great Indian camp.
He stopped once on the way at a clear pool irradiated by the bright moonlight, and looked attentively at his reflection. By night, at least, it was certainly that of an Indian, and, summoning all his confidence, he continued upon his chosen and desperate task.
Henry knew that the chances were against him, even with his disguise, but he was bound to enter the Indian camp, and he was prepared to incur all risks and to endure all penalties. He even felt a certain lightness of heart as he hurried on his way, and at length saw through the forest the flare of light from the Indian camp.
He approached cautiously at first in order that he might take a good look into the camp, and he was surprised at what he saw. In a single day the village had been enlarged much more. It seemed to him that it contained at least twice as many warriors. Women and children, too, had come, and he heard a stray dog barking here and there. Many more fires than usual were burning, and there was a great murmur of voices.
Henry was much taken aback at first. It seemed that he was about to plunge into the midst of the whole Iroquois nation, and at a time, too, when something of extreme importance was going on, but a little reflection showed that he was fortunate. Amid so many people, and so much ferment it was not at all likely that he would be noticed closely. It was his intention, if the necessity came, to pass himself off as a warrior of the Shawnee tribe who had wandered far eastward, but he meant to avoid sedulously the eye of Timmendiquas, who might, through his size and stature, divine his identity.
As Henry lingered at the edge of the camp, in indecision whether to wait a little or plunge boldly into the light of the fires, he became aware that all sounds in the village-for such it was instead of a camp-had ceased suddenly, except the light tread of feet and the sound of many people talking low. He saw through the bushes that all the Iroquois, and with them the detachment of Wyandots under White Lightning, were going toward a large structure in the center, which he surmised to be the Council House. He knew from his experience with the Indians farther west that the Iroquois built such structures.
He could no longer doubt that some ceremony of the greatest importance was about to begin, and, dismissing indecision, he left the bushes and entered the village, going with the crowd toward the great pole building, which was, indeed, the Council House.
But little attention was paid to Henry. He would have drawn none at all, had it not been for his height, and when a warrior or two glanced at him he uttered some words in Shawnee, saying that he had wandered far, and was glad to come to the hospitable Iroquois. One who could speak a little Shawnee bade him welcome, and they went on, satisfied, their minds more intent upon the ceremony than upon a visitor.
The Council House, built of light poles and covered with poles and thatch, was at least sixty feet long and about thirty feet wide, with a large door on the eastern side, and one or two smaller ones on the other sides. As Henry arrived, the great chiefs and sub-chiefs of the Iroquois were entering the building, and about it were grouped many warriors and women, and even children. But all preserved a decorous solemnity, and, knowing the customs of the forest people so well, he was sure that the ceremony, whatever it might be, must be of a highly sacred nature. He himself drew to one side, keeping as much as possible in the shadow, but he was using to its utmost power every faculty of observation that Nature had given him.
Many of the fires were still burning, but the moon had come out with great brightness, throwing a silver light over the whole village, and investing with attributes that savored of the mystic and impressive this ceremony, held by a savage but great race here in the depths of the primeval forest. Henry was about to witness a Condoling Council, which was at once a mourning for chiefs who had fallen in battle farther east with his own people and the election and welcome of their successors.
The chiefs presently came forth from the Council House or, as it was more generally called, the Long House, and, despite the greatness of Thayendanegea, those of the Onondaga tribe, in virtue of their ancient and undisputed place as the political leaders and high priests of the Six Nations, led the way. Among the stately Onondaga chiefs were: Atotarho (The Entangled), Skanawati (Beyond the River), Tehatkahtons (Looking Both Ways), Tehayatkwarayen (Red Wings), and Hahiron (The Scattered). They were men of stature and fine countenance, proud of the titular primacy that belonged to them because it was the Onondaga, Hiawatha, who had formed the great confederacy more than four hundred years before our day, or just about the time Columbus was landing on the shores of the New World.
Next to the Onondagas came the fierce and warlike Mohawks, who lived nearest to Albany, who were called Keepers of the Eastern Gate, and who were fully worthy of their trust. They were content that the Onondagas should lead in council, so long as they were first in battle, and there was no jealousy between them. Among their chiefs were Koswensiroutha (Broad Shoulders) and Satekariwate (Two Things Equal).
Third in rank were the Senecas, and among their chiefs were Kanokarih (The Threatened) and Kanyadariyo (Beautiful Lake).
These three, the Onondagas, Mohawks, and Senecas, were esteemed the three senior nations. After them, in order of precedence, came the chiefs of the three junior nations, the Oneidas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras. All of the great chiefs had assistant chiefs, usually relatives, who, in case of death, often succeeded to their places. But these assistants now remained in the crowd with other minor chiefs and the mass of the warriors. A little apart stood Timmendiquas and his Wyandots. He, too, was absorbed in the ceremony so sacred to him, an Indian, and he did not notice the tall figure of the strange Shawnee lingering in the deepest of the shadows.
The head chiefs, walking solemnly and never speaking, marched across the clearing, and then through the woods to a glen, where two young warriors had kindled a little fire of sticks as a signal of welcome. The chiefs gathered around the fire and spoke together in low tones. This was Deyuhnyon Kwarakda, which means "The Reception at the Edge of the Wood."
Henry and some others followed, as it was not forbidden to see, and his interest increased. He shared the spiritual feeling which was impressed upon the red faces about him. The bright moonlight, too, added to the effect, giving it the tinge of an old Druidical ceremony.
The chiefs relapsed into silence and sat thus about ten minutes. Then rose the sound of a chant, distant and measured, and a procession of young and inferior chiefs, led by Oneidas, appeared, slowly approaching the fire. Behind them were warriors, and behind the warriors were many women and children. All the women were in their brightest attire, gay with feather headdresses and red, blue, or green blankets from the British posts.
The procession stopped at a distance of about a dozen yards from the chiefs about the council fire, and the Oneida, Kathlahon, formed the men in a line facing the head chiefs, with the women and children grouped in an irregular mass behind them. The singing meanwhile had stopped. The two groups stood facing each other, attentive and listening.
Then Hahiron, the oldest of the Onondagas, walked back and forth in the space between the two groups, chanting a welcome. Like all Indian songs it was monotonous. Every line he uttered with emphasis and a rising inflection, the phrase "Haih-haih" which may be translated "Hail to thee!" or better, "All hail!" Nevertheless, under the moonlight in the wilderness and with rapt faces about him, it was deeply impressive. Henry found it so.
Hahiron finished his round and went back to his place by the fire. Atotarho, head chief of the Onondagas, holding in his hands beautifully beaded strings of Iroquois wampum, came forward and made a speech of condolence, to which Kathlahon responded. Then the head chiefs and the minor chiefs smoked pipes together, after which the head chiefs, followed by the minor chiefs, and these in turn by the crowd, led the way back to the village.
Many hundreds of persons were in this procession, which was still very grave and solemn, every one in it impressed by tile sacred nature of this ancient rite. The chief entered the great door of the Long House, and all who could find places not reserved followed. Henry went in with the others, and sat in a corner, making himself as small as possible. Many women, the place of whom was high among the Iroquois, were also in the Long House.
The head chiefs sat on raised seats at the north end of the great room. In front of them, on lower seats, were the minor chiefs of the three older nations on the left, and of the three younger nations on the right. In front of these, but sitting on the bark floor, was a group of warriors. At the east end, on both high and low seats, were warriors, and facing them on the western side were women, also on both high and low seats. The southern side facing the chiefs was divided into sections, each with high and low seats. The one on the left was occupied by men, and the one on the right by women. Two small fires burned in the center of the Long House about fifteen feet apart.
It was the most singular and one of the most impressive scenes that Henry had ever beheld. When all had found their seats there was a deep silence. Henry could hear the slight crackling made by the two fires as they burned, and the light fell faintly across the multitude of dark, eager faces. Not less than five hundred people were in the Long House, and here was the red man at his best, the first of the wild, not the second or third of the civilized, a drop of whose blood in his veins brings to the white man now a sense of pride, and not of shame, as it does when that blood belongs to some other races.
The effect upon Henry was singular. He almost forgot that he was a foe among them on a mission. For the moment he shared in their feelings, and he waited with eagerness for whatever might come.
Thayendanegea, the Mohawk, stood up in his place among the great chiefs. The role he was about to assume belonged to Atotarho, the Onondaga, but the old Onondaga assigned it for the occasion to Thayendanegea, and there was no objection. Thayendanegea was an educated man, be had been in England, he was a member of a Christian church, and be had translated a part of the Bible from English into his own tongue, but now he was all a Mohawk, a son of the forest.
He spoke to the listening crowd of the glories of the Six Nations, how Hah-gweh-di-yu (The Spirit of Good) had inspired Hiawatha to form the Great Confederacy of the Five Nations, afterwards the Six; how they had held their hunting grounds for nearly two centuries against both English and French; and how they would hold them against the Americans. He stopped at moments, and deep murmurs of approval went through the Long House. The eyes of both men and women flashed as the orator spoke of their glory and greatness. Timmendiquas, in a place of honor, nodded approval. If he could he would form such another league in the west.
The air in the Long House, breathed by so many, became heated. It seemed to have in it a touch of fire. The orator's words burned. Swift and deep impressions were left upon the excited brain. The tall figure of the Mohawk towered, gigantic, in the half light, and the spell that he threw over all was complete.
He spoke about half an hour, but when he stopped he did not sit down. Henry knew by the deep breath that ran through the Long House that something more was coming from Thayendanegea. Suddenly the red chief began to sing in a deep, vibrant voice, and this was the song that he sung:
This was the roll of you, All hail! All hail! All hail! You that joined in the work, All hail! All hail! All hail! You that finished the task, All hail! All hail! All hail! The Great League, All hail! All hail! All hail!
There was the same incessant repetition of "Haih haih!" that Henry had noticed in the chant at the edge of the woods, but it seemed to give a cumulative effect, like the roll of thunder, and at every slight pause that deep breath of approval ran through the crowd in the Long House. The effect of the song was indescribable. Fire ran in the veins of all, men, women, and children. The great pulses in their throats leaped up. They were the mighty nation, the ever-victorious, the League of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee, that had held at bay both the French and the English since first a white man was seen in the land, and that would keep back the Americans now.
Henry glanced at Timmendiquas. The nostrils of the great White Lightning were twitching. The song reached to the very roots of his being, and aroused all his powers. Like Thayendanegea, he was a statesman, and he saw that the Americans were far more formidable to his race than English or French had ever been. The Americans were upon the ground, and incessantly pressed upon the red man, eye to eye. Only powerful leagues like those of the Iroquois could withstand them.
Thayendanegea sat down, and then there was another silence, a period lasting about two minutes. These silences seemed to be a necessary part of all Iroquois rites. When it closed two young warriors stretched an elm bark rope across the room from east to west and near the ceiling, but between the high chiefs and the minor chiefs. Then they hung dressed skins all along it, until the two grades of chiefs were hidden from the view of each other. This was the sign of mourning, and was followed by a silence. The fires in the Long House had died down somewhat, and little was to be seen but the eyes and general outline of the people. Then a slender man of middle years, the best singer in all the Iroquois nation, arose and sang:
To the great chiefs bring we greeting, All hail! All hail! All hail! To the dead chiefs, kindred greeting, All hail! All hail! All hail! To the strong men 'round him greeting, All hail! All hail! All hail! To the mourning women greeting, All hail! All hail! All hail! There our grandsires' words repeating, All hail! All hail! All hail! Graciously, Oh, grandsires, hear, All hail! All hail! All hail!
The singing voice was sweet, penetrating, and thrilling, and the song was sad. At the pauses deep murmurs of sorrow ran through the crowd in the Long House. Grief for the dead held them all. When he finished, Satekariwate, the Mohawk, holding in his hands three belts of wampum, uttered a long historical chant telling of their glorious deeds, to which they listened patiently. The chant over, he handed the belts to an attendant, who took them to Thayendanegea, who held them for a few moments and looked at them gravely.
One of the wampum belts was black, the sign of mourning; another was purple, the sign of war; and the third was white, the sign of peace. They were beautiful pieces of workmanship, very old.
When Hiawatha left the Onondagas and fled to the Mohawks he crossed a lake supposed to be the Oneida. While paddling along he noticed that man tiny black, purple, and white shells clung to his paddle. Reaching the shore he found such shells in long rows upon the beach, and it occurred to him to use them for the depiction of thought according to color. He strung them on threads of elm bark, and afterward, when the great league was formed, the shells were made to represent five clasped hands. For four hundred years the wampum belts have been sacred among the Iroquois.
Now Thayendanegea gave the wampum belts back to the attendant, who returned them to Satekariwate, the Mohawk. There was a silence once more, and then the chosen singer began the Consoling Song again, but now he did not sing it alone. Two hundred male voices joined him, and the time became faster. Its tone changed from mourning and sorrow to exultation and menace. Everyone thought of war, the tomahawk, and victory. The song sung as it was now became a genuine battle song, rousing and thrilling. The Long House trembled with the mighty chorus, and its volume poured forth into the encircling dark woods.
All the time the song was going on, Satekariwate, the Mohawk, stood holding the belts in his hand, but when it was over he gave them to an attendant, who carried them to another head chief. Thayendanegea now went to the center of the room and, standing between the two fires, asked who were the candidates for the places of the dead chiefs.
The dead chiefs were three, and three tall men, already chosen among their own tribes, came forward to succeed them. Then a fourth came, and Henry was startled. It was Timmendiquas, who, as the bravest chief of the brave Wyandots, was about to become, as a signal tribute, and as a great sign of friendship, an adopted son and honorary chief of the Mohawks, Keepers of the Western Gate, and most warlike of all the Iroquois tribes.
As Timmendiquas stood before Thayendanegea, a murmur of approval deeper than any that had gone before ran through all the crowd in the Long House, and it was deepest on the women's benches, where sat many matrons of the Iroquois, some of whom were chiefs-a woman could be a chief among the Iroquois.
The candidates were adjudged acceptable by the other chiefs, and Thayendanegea addressed them on their duties, while they listened in grave silence. With his address the sacred part of the rite was concluded. Nothing remained now but the great banquet outside - although that was much - and they poured forth to it joyously, Thayendanegea, the Mohawk, and Timmendiquas, the Wyandot, walking side by side, the finest two red chiefs on all the American continent.