Oak Openings by James Fenimore Cooper
And stretching out, on either hand, O'er all that wide and unshorn land, Till weary of its gorgeousness, The aching and the dazzled eye Rests, gladdened, on the calm, blue sky. --WHITTIER.
No other disturbance occurred in the course of the night. With the dawn, le Bourdon was again stirring; and as he left the palisades to repair to the run, in order to make his ablutions, he saw Peter returning to Castle Meal. The two met; but no allusion was made to the manner in which the night had passed. The chief paid his salutations courteously; and, instead of repairing to his skins, he joined le Bourdon, seemingly as little inclined to seek for rest, as if just arisen from his lair. When the bee-hunter left the spring, this mysterious Indian, for the first time, spoke of business.
"My brother wanted to-day to show Injin how to find honey," said Peter, as he and Bourdon walked toward the palisades, within which the whole family was now moving. "I nebber see honey find, myself, ole as I be."
"I shall be very willing to teach your chiefs my craft," answered the bee-hunter, "and this so much the more readily, because I do not expect to practyse it much longer, myself; not in this part of the country, at least."
"How dat happen?--expec' go away soon?" demanded Peter, whose keen, restless eye would, at one instant, seem to read his companion's soul, and then would glance off to some distant object, as if conscious of its own startling and fiery expression. "Now Br'ish got Detroit, where my broder go? Bess stay here, I t'ink."
"I shall not be in a hurry, Peter; but my season will soon be up, and I must get ahead of the bad weather, you know, or a bark canoe will have but a poor time of it on Lake Huron. When am I to meet the chiefs, to give them a lesson in finding bees?"
"Tell by-'em-by. No hurry for dat. Want to sleep fuss. See so much better, when I open eye. So you t'ink of makin' journey on long path. If can't go to Detroit, where can go to?"
"My proper home is in Pennsylvania, on the other side of Lake Erie. It is a long path, and I'm not certain of getting safely over it in these troubled times. Perhaps it would be best for me, however, to shape at once for Ohio; if in that state I might find my way round the end of Erie, and so go the whole distance by land."
The bee-hunter said this, by way of throwing dust into the Indian's eyes, for he had not the least intention of travelling in the direction named. It is true, it was his most direct course, and the one that prudence would point out to him, under all the circumstances, had he been alone. But le Bourdon was no longer alone--in heart and feelings, at least. Margery now mingled with all his views for the future; and he could no more think of abandoning her in her present situation, than he could of offering his own person to the savages for a sacrifice. It was idle to think of attempting such a journey in company with the females, and most of all to attempt it in defiance of the ingenuity, perseverance, and hostility of the Indians. The trail could not be concealed; and, as for speed, a party of the young men of the wilderness would certainly travel two miles to Margery's one.
Le Bourdon, notwithstanding Pigeonswing's remonstrances, still had his eye on the Kalamazoo. He remembered the saying, "that water leaves no trail," and was not without hopes of reaching the lake again, where he felt he should be in comparative security; his own canoe, as well as that of Gershom, being large, well fitted, and not altogether unsuited to those waters in the summer months. As it would be of the last importance, however, to get several hours' start of the Indians, in the event of his having recourse to such a mode of flight, it was of the utmost importance also to conceal his intentions, and, if possible, to induce Peter to imagine his eyes were turned in another direction.
"Well, s'pose go dat way," answered the chief, quietly, as if suspecting no artifice. "Set 'bout him by-'em-by. Today muss teach Injin how to find honey. Dat make him good friend; and maybe he help my pale-face broders back to deir country. Been better for ebbery body, if none come here, at all."
Thus ended the discourse for that moment. Peter was not fond of much talking, when he had not his great object in view, but rather kept his mind occupied in observation. For the next hour, every one in and about Castle Meal was engaged in the usual morning avocations, that of breaking their fasts included; and then it was understood that all were to go forth to meet the chiefs, that le Bourdon might give a specimen of his craft.
One, ignorant of the state of political affairs on the American continent, and who was not aware of the vicinity of savages, would have seen nothing that morning, as the party proceeded on its little excursion, in and around that remote spot, but a picture of rural tranquillity and peace. A brighter day never poured its glories on the face of the earth; and the Openings, and the glades, and even the dark and denser forests, were all bathed in the sunlight, as that orb is known to illuminate objects in the softer season of the year, and in the forty-third degree of latitude. Even the birds appeared to rejoice in the beauties of the time, and sang and fluttered among the oaks, in numbers greater than common. Nature usually observes a stern fitness in her adaptation of means to ends. Birds are to be found in the forests, on the prairies, and in the still untenanted openings of the west--and often in countless numbers; more especially those birds which fly in flocks, and love the security of unoccupied regions--unoccupied by man is meant-- wherein to build their nests, obey the laws of their instincts, and fulfil their destinies. Thus, myriads of pigeons, and ducks, and geese, etc., are to be found in the virgin woods, while the companionable and friendly robin, the little melodious wren, the thrush, the lark, the swallow, the marten, and all those pleasant little winged creatures, that flit about our dwellings and grounds, and seem to be sent by Providence, expressly to chant their morning and evening hymns to God in our ears, most frequent the peopled districts. It has been said by Europeans that the American birds are mute, in comparison with those of the Old World. This is true, to a certain extent, as respects those which are properly called forest birds, which do, in general, appear to partake of the sombre character that marks the solemn stillness of their native haunts. It is not true, however, with the birds which live in our fields, and grounds, and orchards, each of which sings its song of praise, and repeats its calls and its notes, as richly and as pleasantly to the ear, as the birds of other lands. One large class, indeed, possesses a faculty that enables it to repeat every note it has ever heard, even to some of the sounds of quadrupeds. Nor is this done in the discordant tones of the parrot; but in octaves, and trills, and in rich contra-altos, and all the other pleasing intonations known to the most gifted of the feathered race. Thus it is, that one American mocking-bird can outsing all the birds of Europe united.
It seemed that morning as if every bird that was accustomed to glean its food from the neighborhood of Castle Meal was on the wing, and ready to accompany the party that now sallied forth to catch the bee. This party consisted of le Bourdon, himself, as its chief and leader; of Peter, the missionary, and the corporal. Margery, too, went along; for, as yet, she had never seen an exhibition of Boden's peculiar skill. As for Gershom and his wife, they remained behind, to make ready the noontide meal; while the Chippewa took his accoutrements, and again sallied out on a hunt. The whole time of this Indian appeared to be thus taken up; though, in truth, venison and bear's meat both abounded, and there was much less necessity for those constant efforts than he wished to make it appear. In good sooth, more than half his time was spent in making those observations, which had led to the advice he had been urging on his friend, the bee-hunter, in order to induce him to fly. Had Pigeonswing better understood Peter, and had he possessed a clearer insight into the extent and magnitude of his plans of retributive vengeance, it is not probable his uneasiness, at the moment, would have been so great, or the urgency for an immediate decision on the part of le Bourdon would have appeared as urgently pressing as it now seemed to be.
The bee-hunter took his way to a spot that was at some distance from his habitation, a small prairie of circular form, that is now generally known in that region of the country by the name of Prairie Round. Three hours were necessary to reach it, and this so much the more, because Margery's shorter steps were to be considered. Margery, however, was no laggard on a path. Young, active, light of foot, and trained in exertions of this nature, her presence did not probably retard the arrival many minutes.
The extraordinary part of the proceedings was the circumstance, that the bee-hunter did not tell any one whither he was going, and that Peter did not appear to care about putting the question to him. Notwithstanding this reserve on one side, and seeming indifference on the other, when the party reached Prairie Round, every one of the chiefs who had been present at the council of the previous night, was there before it. The Indians were straggling about, but remained sufficiently near the point where the bee-hunter and his followers reached the prairie, to assemble around the group in a very few minutes after it made its appearance.
All this struck le Bourdon as fearfully singular, since it proved how many secret means of communication existed between the savages. That the inmates of the habitations were closely observed, and all their proceedings noted, he could not but suspect, even before receiving this proof of Peter's power; but he was not aware until now, how completely he and all with him were at the mercy of these formidable foes. What hope could there be for escape, when hundreds of eyes were thus watching their movements, and every thicket had its vigilant and sagacious sentinel? Yet must flight be attempted, in some way or other, or Margery and her sister would be hopelessly lost--to say nothing of himself and the three other men.
But the appearance of the remarkable little prairie that he had just reached, and the collection of chiefs, now occupied all the present thoughts of le Bourdon. As for the first, it is held in repute, even at the present hour, as a place that the traveller should see, though covered with farms, and the buildings that belong to husbandry. It is still visited as a picture of ancient civilization, placed in the setting of a new country. It is true that very little of this part of Michigan wears much, if any, of that aspect of a rough beginning, including stubs, stumps, and circled trees, that it has so often fallen to our share to describe. There are dense forests, and those of considerable extent; and wherever the axe is put into them, the progress of improvement is marked by the same steps as elsewhere; but the lovely openings form so many exceptions, as almost to compose the rule.
On Prairie Round there was even a higher stamp of seeming civilization--seeming, since it was nature, after all, that had mainly drawn the picture. In the first place, the spot had been burnt so recently, as to leave the entire expanse covered with young grasses and flowers, the same as if it were a well-kept park. This feature, at that advanced period of the summer, was in some degree accidental, the burning of the prairies depending more or less on contingencies of that sort. We have now less to do with the cause, than with its consequences. These were most agreeable to the eye, as well as comfortable to the foot, the grass nowhere being of a height to impede movement, or, what was of still more importance to le Bourdon's present pursuit, to overshadow the flowers. Aware of this fact, he had led his companions all that distance, to reach this scene of remarkable rural beauty, in order that he might make a grand display of his art, in presence of the assembled chiefs of that region. The bee-hunter had pride in his craft, the same as any other skilful workman who had gained a reputation by his cunning, and he now trod the prairie with a firmer step, and a more kindling eye, than was his wont in the commoner haunts of his calling. Men were there whom it might be an honor to surprise, and pretty Margery was there also, she who had so long desired to see this very exhibition.
But to revert once more to the prairie, ere we commence the narrative of what occurred on it. This well-known area is of no great extent, possessing a surface about equal to that of one of the larger parks of Europe. Its name was derived from its form, which, without being absolutely regular, had so near an approach to a circle as to justify the use of the appellation. The face of this charming field was neither waving, or what is called "rolling," nor a dead flat, as often occurs with river bottoms. It had just enough of undulation to prevent too much moisture, and to impart an agreeable variety to its plain. As a whole, it was clear of the forest; quite as much so as if the axe had done its work there a thousand years before, though wood was not wanting. On the contrary, enough of the last was to be seen, in addition to that which formed the frame of this charming landscape, to relieve the view from all appearance of monotony, and to break it up into copses, thickets, trees in small clusters, and in most of the varieties that embellish native scenery. One who had been unexpectedly transferred to the spot, might well have imagined that he was looking on the site of some old and long-established settlement, from which every appliance of human industry had been suddenly and simultaneously abstracted. Of houses, out-buildings, fences, stacks, and husbandry, there were no signs; unless the even and verdant sward, that was spread like a vast carpet, sprinkled with flowers, could have been deemed a sign of the last. There were the glades, vistas, irregular lawns, and woods, shaped with the pleasing outlines of the free hand of nature, as if consummate art had been endeavoring to imitate our great mistress in one of her most graceful moods.
The Indians present served largely to embellish this scene. Of late years, horses have become so common among the western tribes, the vast natural meadows of those regions furnishing the means necessary to keep them, that one can now hardly form a picture of those savages, with-out representing them mounted, and wielding the spear; but such was not the fact with the time of which we are writing, nor was it ever the general practice to go mounted, among the Indians in the immediate vicinity of the great lakes. Not a hoof of any sort was now visible, with the exception of those which belonged to a herd of deer, that were grazing on a favorite spot, less than a league distant from the place where le Bourdon and his companions reached the prairie. All the chiefs were on foot, and very few were equipped with more than the knife and tomahawk, the side-arms of a chief; the rifles having been secreted, as it might be, in deference to the festivities and peaceful character of the occasion. As le Bourdon's party was duly provided with rifles, the missionary and Margery excepted, this was a sign that no violence was contemplated on that occasion at least. "Contemplated," however, is a word very expressive, when used in connection with the out-breakings of human passions, as they are wont to exhibit themselves among the ignorant and excited. It matters not whether the scene be the capital of some ancient European monarchy, or the wilds of America, the workings of such impulses are much the same. Now, a throne is overturned, perhaps, before they who do it are yet fully aware of what they ought to set up in its place; and now the deadly rifle, or the murderous tomahawk is used, more in obedience to the incentives of demons, than in furtherance of justly recognized rules of conduct. Le Bourdon was aware of all this, and did not so far confide in appearances, as to overlook the watchfulness that he deemed indispensable.
The bee-hunter was not long in selecting a place to set up his apparatus. In this particular, he was mainly governed by a lovely expanse of sweet-scented flowers, among which bees in thousands were humming, sipping of their precious gifts at will. Le Bourdon had a care, also, not to go far from the forests which encircled the prairies, for among its trees he knew he had to seek the habitations of the insects. Instead of a stump, or a fallen tree, he had prepared a light framework of lath, which the corporal bore to the field for him, and on which he placed his different implements, as soon as he had selected the scene of operations.
It will not be necessary for us to repeat the process, which has already been described in our opening chapters; but we shall only touch such parts of it as have a direct connection with the events of the legend. As le Bourdon commenced his preparations, however, the circle of chiefs closed around him, in mute but close attention to every-thing that passed. Although every one of them had heard of the bee-hunters of the pale-faces, and most of them had heard of this particular individual of their number, not an Indian present had ever seen one of these men practise his craft. This may seem strange, as respects those who so much roamed the woods; but we have already remarked that it exceeded the knowledge of the red man to make the calculations that are necessary to take the bee by the process described. Usually, when he obtains honey, it is the result of some chance meeting in the forest, and not the fruits of that far-sighted and persevering industry, which enables the white man to lay in a store large enough to supply a neighborhood, in the course of a few weeks' hunting.
Never was a juggler watched with closer attention, than was le Bourdon, while setting up his stand, and spreading his implements. Every grave, dark countenance was turned toward him, and each keen, glistening eye was riveted on his movements. As the vessel with the comb was set down, the chiefs nearest recognizing the substance murmured their admiration; for to them it seemed as if the operator were about to make honey with honey. Then the glass was a subject of surprise: for half of those present had never seen such an utensil before. Though many of the chiefs present had visited the "garrisons" of the northwest, both American and English, many had not; and, of those who had, not one in ten got any clear idea of the commonest appliances of civilized life. Thus it was, then, that almost every article used by the bee-hunter, though so simple and homely, was the subject of a secret, but well-suppressed admiration.
It was not long ere le Bourdon was ready to look for his bee. The insects were numerous on the flowers, particularly on the white clover, which is indigenous in America, springing up spontaneously wherever grasses are permitted to grow. The great abundance of the bees, however, had its usual effect, and our hero was a little difficult to please. At length, a fine and already half-loaded little animal was covered by the glass and captured. This was done so near the group of Indians, that each and all noted the process. It was curious, and it was inexplicable! Could the pale-faces compel bees to reveal the secret of their hives, and was that encroaching race about to drive all the insects from the woods and seize their honey, as they drove the Indians before them and seized their lands? Such was the character of the thoughts that passed through the minds of more than one chief, that morning, though all looked on in profound stillness.
When the imprisoned bee was put over the comb, and le Bourdon's cap was placed above all, these simple-minded children of the woods and the prairies gazed, as if expecting a hive to appear beneath the covering, whenever the latter should be removed. It was not long before the bee "settled," and not only the cap, but the tumbler was taken away. For the first time since the exhibition commenced, le Bourdon spoke, addressing himself to Peter.
"If the tribeless chief will look sharply," he said, "he will soon see the bee take flight. It is filling itself with honey, and the moment it is loaded--look--look--it is about to rise--there, it is up--see it circling around the stand, as if to take a look that it may know it again--there it goes!"
There it did go, of a truth, and in a regular bee-line, or as straight as an arrow. Of all that crowd, the bee-hunter and Margery alone saw the insect in its flight. Most of those present lost sight of it, while circling around the stand; but the instant it darted away, to the remainder it seemed to vanish into air. Not so with le Bourdon and Margery, however. The former saw it from habit; the latter from a quick eye, intense attention, and the wish not to miss anything that le Bourdon saw fit to do, for her information or amusement. The animal flew in an air-line toward a point of wood distant fully half a mile, and on the margin of the prairie.
Many low exclamations arose among the savages. The bee was gone, but whither they knew not, or on what errand. Could it have been sent on a message by the pale-face, or had it flown off to give the alarm to its companions, in order to adopt the means of disappointing the bee-hunter? As for the last, he went coolly to work to choose another insect; and he soon had three at work on the comb--all in company, and all uncovered. Had the number anything to do with the charm, or were these three to be sent to bring back the one that had already gone away? Such was the sort of reasoning, and such the queries put to themselves, by several of the stern children of nature who were drawn up around the stand.
In the mean time le Bourdon proceeded with his operations in the utmost simplicity. He now called Peter and Bear's Meat and Crowsfeather nearer to his person, where they might share with Margery the advantage of more closely seeing all that passed. As soon as these three chiefs were near enough, Ben pointed to one bee in particular, saying in the Indian dialect:
"My brothers see that bee in the centre--he is about to go away. If he go after the one that went before him, I shall soon know where to look for honey."
"How can my brother tell which bee will first fly away?" demanded Bear's Meat.
The bee-hunter was able to foresee this, by knowing which insect had been longest on the comb; but so practised had his eye become, that he knew with tolerable accuracy, by the movements of the creatures, those that had filled themselves with honey from those that had not. As it did not suit his purpose, however, to let all the minutiae of his craft be known, his answer was evasive. Just at that moment a thought occurred to him, which it might be well to carry out in full. He had once saved his life by necromancy, or what seemed to the simple children of the woods to be necromancy, and why might he not turn the cunning of his regular art to account, and render it the means of rescuing the females, as well as himself, from the hands of their captors? This sudden impulse from that moment controlled his conduct; and his mind was constantly casting about for the means of effecting what was now his one great purpose- escape. Instead of uttering in reply to Bear's Meat's question the simple truth, therefore, he rather sought for such an answer as might make the process in which he was engaged appear imposing and mystical.
"How do the Injins know the path of the deer?" he asked, by way of reply. "They look at the deer, get to know him, and understand his ways. This middle bee will soon fly."
"Which way will he go?" asked Peter. "Can my brother tell us that?"
"To his hive," returned le Bourdon, carelessly, as if he did not fully understand the question. "All of them go to their hives, unless I tell them to go in another direction. See, the bee is up!"
The chiefs now looked with all their eyes. They saw, indeed, that the bee was making its circles above the stand. Presently they lost sight of the insect, which to them seemed to vanish; though le Bourdon distinctly traced its flight for a hundred yards. It took a direction at right angles to that of the first bee, flying off into the prairie, and shaping its course toward an island of wood, which might have been of three or four acres in extent, and distant rather less than a mile.
While le Bourdon was noting this flight, another bee arose. This creature flew toward the point of forest, already mentioned as the destination of the insect that had first risen. No sooner was this third little animal out of sight, than the fourth was up, humming around the stand. Ben pointed it out to the chiefs; and this time they succeeded in tracing the flight for, perhaps, a hundred feet from the spot where they stood. Instead of following either of its companions, this fourth bee took a course which led it off the prairie altogether, and toward the habitations.
The suddenly conceived purpose of le Bourdon, to attempt to mystify the savages, and thus get a hold upon their minds which he might turn to advantage, was much aided by the different directions taken by these several bees. Had they all gone the same way, the conclusion that all went home would be so very natural and obvious, as to deprive the discovery of a hive of any supernatural merit, at least; and to establish this was just now the great object the bee- hunter had in view. As it was, the Indians were no wiser, now all the bees were gone, than they had been before one of them had flown. On the contrary, they could not understand how the flights of so many insects, in so many different directions, should tell the bee- hunter where honey was to be found. Le Bourdon saw that the prairie was covered with bees, and well knew that, such being the fact, the inmates of perhaps a hundred different hives must be present. All this, however, was too novel and too complicated for the calculations of savages; and not one of those who crowded near, as observers, could account for so many of the bees going different ways.
Le Bourdon now intimated a wish to change his ground. He had noted two of the bees, and the only question that remained to be decided, as it respected them, was whether they belonged to the precise points toward which they had flown, or to points beyond them. The reader will easily understand that this is the nature of the fact determined by taking an angle, the point of intersection between any two of the lines of flight being necessarily the spot where the hive is to be found. So far from explaining this to those around him, however, Boden kept it a secret in his own breast. Margery knew the whole process, for to her he had often gone over it in description, finding a pleasure in instructing one so apt, and whose tender, liquid blue eyes seemed to reflect every movement of his own soul and feelings. Margery he could have taught forever, or fancied for the moment he could; which is as near the truth as men under the influence of love often get. But, as for the Indians, so far from letting them into any of his secrets, his strong desire was now to throw dust into their eyes, in all possible ways, and to make their well-established character for superstition subservient to his own projects.
Boden was far from being a scholar, even for one in his class in life. Down to this hour, the neglect of the means of public instruction is somewhat of a just ground of reproach against the venerable and respectable commonwealth of which he was properly a member, though her people have escaped a knowledge of a great deal of small philosophy and low intriguing, which it is fair to presume that evil spirits thrust in among the leaves of a more legitimate information, when the book of knowledge is opened for the instruction of those who, by circumstances, are prevented from doing more than bestowing a few hurried glances at its contents. Still, Ben had read everything about bees on which he could lay his hands. He had studied their habits personally, and he had pondered over the various accounts of their communities--a sort of limited monarchy in which the prince is deposed occasionally, or when matters go very wrong--some written by really very observant and intelligent persons, and others again not a little fanciful. Among other books that had thus fallen in le Bourdon's way, was one which somewhat minutely described the uses that were made of bees by the ancient soothsayers in their divinations. Our hero had no notion of reviving those rites, or of attempting to imitate the particular practices of which he had read and heard; but the recollection of them occurred most opportunely to strengthen and encourage the design, so suddenly entertained, of making his present operation aid in opening the way to the one great thing of the hour--an escape into Lake Michigan.
"A bee knows a great deal," said le Bourdon, to his nearest companions, while the whole party was moving some distance to take up new ground. "A bee often knows more than a man."
"More than pale-face?" demanded Bear's Meat, a chief who had attained his authority more by means of physical than of intellectual qualities.
"Sometimes. Pale-faces have gone to bees to ask what will happen. Let me ask our medicine-man this question. Parson Amen, have you any knowledge of the soothsayers of old using bees when they wished to know what was about to happen?"
Now, the missionary was not a learned man, any more than the bee- hunter; but many an unlearned man has heard of this, and he happened to be one of the number. Of Virgil, for instance, Parson Amen knew but little; though in the progress of a very loose, but industrious course of reading, he had learned that the soothsayers put great faith in bees. His answer was given in conformity with this fact, and in the most perfect good faith, for he had not the smallest suspicion of what Boden wished to establish.
"Certainly--most certainly," answered the well-meaning missionary-- "the fortune-tellers of old times often went to their bees when they wished to look into the future. It has been a subject much talked of among Christians, to account for the soothsaying, and witchcraft, and other supernatural dealings of those who lived in the times of the prophets; and most of them have held the opinion that evil spirits have been--nay, still are permitted to work their will on certain men in the flesh. But bees were in much favor with the soothsayers of old."
This answer was given in English, and little of it was comprehended by Peter, and the others who had more or less knowledge of that language, beyond the part which asserted the agency of bees in witchcraft. Luckily, this was all le Bourdon desired, and he was well satisfied at seeing that the idea passed from one chief to another; those who did not know the English at all, being told by those who had some knowledge of the tongue, that "bees were thought to be 'medicine' among the pale-faces."
Le Bourdon gained a great deal of ground by this fortunate corroboration of his own still more fortunate thought Matters were pretty nearly desperate with him, and with all his friends, should Peter really meditate evil; and as desperate diseases notoriously require remedies of the same character, he was ready to attempt anything that promised even the smallest chance of success.
"Yes, yes--" the bee-hunter pursued the discourse by saying--"bees know a great deal. I have sometimes thought that bees know more than bears, and my brother must be able to tell something of them?"
"Yes; my name is Bear's Meat," answered that chief, complacently. "Injin always give name that mean somet'ing. Kill so many bear one winter, got dat name."
"A good name it is! To kill a bear is the most honorable thing a hunter can do, as we all know. If my brother wishes to hear it, I will ask my bees when he is to kill another."
The savage to whom this was addressed fairly started with delight. He was eagerly signifying his cheerful assent to the proposal, when Peter quietly interposed, and changed the discourse to himself, in a way that he had, and which would not easily admit of denial. It was apparent to le Bourdon that this mysterious Indian was not content that one so direct and impetuous in his feelings as Bear's Meat, and who was at the same time so little qualified to manage his portion of an intellectual conversation, should be foremost any longer. For that reason he brought himself more into the foreground, leaving to his friend the capacity of listener and observer, rather than that of a speaker and actor. What took place under this new arrangement, will appear as the narrative proceeds.