« PreviousContinue »
So exhausted was he, that he did not awake until the noise of breaking camp aroused him.
Another white man was in camp. His hands were fastened behind his back and he was tied to a tree. His sallow complexion and angular features were familiar to Charles Stevens.
The prisoner was Joel Martin.
“ Two of the Indians captured him last night,' explained George Waters. “He was prowling about in the woods, and they seized him.”
“What are you going to do with him ?" Charles asked.
“We will do him no hurt unless we are forced to,” said Mr. Waters.
“I trust you will not be forced,” said Charles Stevens.
“So I pray; yet we must protect ourselves and those whom we would rescue.”
many more Indians are in camp than were here yesterday.”
“They are the braves of Oracus, and will follow where he leads."
Charles Stevens passed an anxious day. of the time he was near enough to Joel Martin to hear him muttering:
“I have no fear of George Waters, galley
slave. You may turn me over to your heathen cut-throats; yet I will defy you. If I live, I will yet drag you to justice for the murder of my brother."
“Mr. Martin, you have forgotten that the word of God says, “Vengeance is mine and I will repay, saith the Lord,'” put in Charles.
"I will be the instrument of vengeance."
“Don't you think you should be careful how you threaten him, seeing he has you at his mercy."
Charles could not intimidate the bold Virginian. He was furious, and no threat of punishment could move him.
During the day, a dozen more Indians came in. The red men now numbered eighty, and by the afternoon the entire party was moving toward Salem.
At dusk they were but five miles from the village. Here a halt was called, and, after a short consultation, Oracus detailed five of his braves to guard Mr. Martin, and with the others moved on over the hills and through the woods toward Salem.
“What will they do with him?” Charles asked. “Release him when we leave the village.”
“Mr. Waters, would you not be justified in killing him?"
Why not? He will murder you if he can."
“No one is justified in slaying a prisoner, and I shall never do it. No more blood will be on my hands, unless it be in defence of her. For her, I slew the other, and only for her will my arm ever be raised against my fellow man.'
“Not even in self defence ?
“No, as God is my judge, my hand shall never be raised even to defend this miserable life. I live but for my child, and when she is gone, I care not how soon I am called. I have known only sorrow since
He did not finish the sentence, but turned away.
It was late in the night when the party entered Salem. The houses were dark and silent. No light was visible from any window, and it seemed a deserted hamlet. Earnestness without excitement was evinced. Everything was done in perfect order. The men moved first to the blacksmith shop, where several supplied themselves with axes, heavy crow-bars and sledges.
“Explain to your warriors that, under no circumstances, are they to shed blood,” said Mr. George Waters.
While Oracus was giving this order to his braves, Mr. Waters, by the aid of a lighted pine knot, found a pair of cold chisels, which he appropriated.
Then the party moved off toward the jail in perfect order. There was no undue haste, or nervous excitement. All seemed as cool as if they were going as invited guests to a banquet.
The Indians' moccasined feet made scarcely any noise upon the ground, as they moved forward. Mr. Henry Waters carried in his hand a stout iron bar, and twenty Indians bore on their shoulders a heavy log of wood.
At a word of command from Oracus the others deployed as flankers and guards. They had strict orders to harm no one; but, should they find any attempting to approach them, they were to seize and hold such persons.
The jail was reached. The long, low wall of stone, with gates of iron, loomed up like some sullen monster before the determined men. Mr. Henry Waters thrust the heavy iron bar he carried under the iron gate, and tore it off its hinges.
Then George Waters and Charles raised their sledges, while the savages with the heavy log of wood ran it like a monster battering-ram against the door. At the same instant they struck it with their sledges.
The crash was deafening, and the jail trembled to its very centre. Again, and again, and again did those crashing thunder-bolts fall upon the iron door. The unfortunate inmates, not knowing the
object of this terrible attack, set up a howl which was heard above the thunder crashes. The door, stout as it was, could not long withstand that assault. It gave way with a crash, and fell into the
The terrified jailer tumbled out of his bed, only
to find himself seized and held by a pair of
painted sons of the forest.
Others who attempted to interfere were seized and held in grasps of iron.
No sooner was the door of the jail burst off its hinges, than George Waters and Charles Stevens, each with a chisel and hammer, rushed in to cut the chains of the prisoners.
“Mother! mother! where are you?” cried Charles.