Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

Signs of the Indians

To the girl it was a cause only for surprise that smoke should be seen ascending in such a place; but on the instant T was alarmed, knowing beyond doubt that signal fires had been kindled by the Indians, warning others of their tribe that a small company of white people were where they might be attacked with small chance of defending themselves.

No one except my mother knew of the anxiety which filled my heart that night. Knowing that we were at the mercy of the savages, if they should fall upon us while we were in the valley and they on the rising ground around us, I could not sleep, although needing rest sadly. I spent the time until sunrise walking from one sentinel to another in order to make certain each man was keeping sharp watch.

John Mitchell must have guessed that danger threatened, for he came out from beneath the cover of his wagon shortly after midnight and remained on the alert until sunrise.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

Then we could see many columns of smoke from the sides of the mountains, and I knew we were surrounded by savages who would not hesitate to make an attack in order to gain possession of our

goods, if it could be done without great danger to themselves.