Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / Legend of Missouri: Or, The Captive of the Pawnee >> Page 431

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Page 431

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription WOODCRAFT. 431
better knowledge of the country possessed by Enemoya, enabled him, by striking an oblique course for the head of a creek, which the Pawnees would be compelled to cross, to gain considerably upon them, ignorant as they were of this shorter route. The suggestion was fortunate ; and, never once dreaming of the events which had delayed the fugitives the last night, the Omaha chief with his allies came unexpectedly upon thee. about midday, where, squat beside a brooklet, they were taking a brief rest and a little refreshment. This pause had become especially necessary for Missouri, who, with incessant travel, and the terror of the scene of the previous night, had succumbed, and actually fainted that morning along the route. Kionk was compelled to carry her, at various stages, in his arms�which he did with the greatest tenderness till the moment when the party stopped for nooning beside the little brooklet, where Enemoya and his white allies came upon them.
The Pawnees were overtaken, but not taken by surprise. They did not certainly expect to be overtaken, but they had relaxed in none of their vigilance, and their scout reported the enemy before the latter had discovered the quarry. The Pawnees were sitting upon the ground, scattered around a small circuit, Missouri in the centre of the group, resting against a tree. Her long hair was dishevelled, and lay heavily upon the leaves; her face was sad and anxious, weary and without hope ;�so woful was the sight that the impulses of Enemoya, as he beheld her, got for a moment the better of his prudence, and be rushed out of the covert, shouting his war cry, and bounding forward with uplifted tomahawk. It was with no scrupulous or gentle hand that the elder of the white men caught him in his sinewy grasp, and drew him back into the thickets.
With the signal whistle of their scout, the Pawnee warriors were at once upon their legs, each covering himself with a tree ; and a dozen arrows were rapidly shot into the wood where our squatters had taken harbor. But they were as quick and as practised in woodcraft as the Pawnees, and laughed at this demonstration. In numbers they exceeded the small party of their enemies, and could have overwhelmed them probably by a sudden rush from opposite quarters ; but they were warned against such audacity by beholding the danger of the dusky