Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / Legend of Missouri: Or, The Captive of the Pawnee >> Page 419

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Page 419

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE PAWNEE SPY. 419
fetching such a compass as brought him entirely without the
alignment of spies and scouts, wliic'A the Omahas had stretched
across the country, and, without impediment or interruption, had
made his way successfully to the borders of the little lake in
which the blessed island seemed to be brooding upon its own
bosom in a dream of peace. Nothing could look more calm,
more inoffensive, more winning. One would think that, to be-
hold it only, would disarm the hostile passions of the enemy.
There lay the quiet groves beyond. There rose the soft white
curling smokes from the little cabin ; and see beneath the trees
where the young damsels and the children are skipping gayly
about, as little conscious of care as danger.
The prospect did not disarm the Pawnee chief. On the con-
trary, it rather strengthened his resolve, and stimulated his
enterprise. If we obtain this captive," he thought to himself,
we conquer these rascally Omahas ; and then we take possession
of this beautiful island, this fine lake always full of the sweetest
fish, and these broad green meadows, where I can keep a score
of horses without sending them out to grass." And the eye of
Kionk already selected a particular site for his own future set-
tlement, and by no means stinted himself in the number of his
self-allotted acres. But he did not, while thus thinking of his
own projects of plunder, become neglectful of the duties which
he had undertaken. He looked about him, the better to prose-
cute his objects. We need not to be told that this inquiry was
prosecuted with as much caution as energy. Everybody under-
stands that the red men kept themselves well covered in the
woods, so that none of the innocent children and the thoughtless
girls, sporting along the banks of the islet, on the opposite shore,
could get the slightest glimpse of their persons or their projects.
The marauders stole up the stream, for the lake was simply
formed by the expansion of a river, which the islet divided in
the middle. The Pawnees kept under cover till they almost
lost sight of the islet. At length they emerged upon the banks
of the river. Here they found a cL-aoe, with which they put out
from shore, leaving it to the current to take them down to the
islet, and using their paddles simply to shape their course, so as
to touch the point aimed at only where its shrubs and willows
would afford concealment. The whole affair was well managed,