AT the time of which we are speaking, the chief civil officer of the tribe at the Rito,--its tapop, or as he is now called, governor,--was an Indian whose name was Hoshkanyi Tihua.
Hoshkanyi Tihua was a man of small stature; his head was nearly round, or rather pear-shaped, for the lower jaw appeared to be broader than the forehead. The lips were thin and the mouth firmly set, the nose small and aquiline. The eyes had usually a pleasant expression, but when the little man got excited they sparkled in a manner that denoted not merely an irascible temper, but a disposition to become extremely venomous in speech and utterance. Hoshkanyi Tihua was nimble, and a good hunter. He seldom returned from a hunt without a supply of game. On such occasions he was always suitably welcomed by his wife, who suffered him to skin the animal and cut up the body. When that was performed she allowed her husband to go to rest, but not before; for Koay, Hoshkanyi's wife, was not so much his companion in life as his home-tyrant; and however valiant the little fellow might try to appear outside of his home, once under the immediate influence of that home's particular mistress he became as meek as a lamb. Koay was an unusually tall woman for an Indian,--she overtopped her husband by nearly a head; and the result of this anomalous difference in size was that Hoshkanyi felt very much afraid of her. Koay had a temper of her own, besides, which temper she occasionally displayed at
the expense of the little tapop's bodily comfort. Among the Pueblo Indians the wife is by no means the slave only of the lord of creation.
Hoshkanyi had somehow or other acquired the reputation of being an experienced warrior. Whether he really deserved that reputation or not was never accurately ascertained. At all events, he was the lucky possessor of one scalp, and that gave him prestige. There is no doubt that he acquired the trophy in a legitimate way; that is, he had not stolen it. Once upon a time a war-party of Navajos infested the avenues to the Rito. They succeeded in killing a defenceless Indian, who had wandered from the bottom of the gorge, and whom they found on the mesas somewhere wending his way back to the homes of his tribe. After the fact became known, a party went out to take revenge, and it so happened that there was deep snow, and the murderers could easily be trailed. On the top of what to-day is called the Potrero Viejo the avengers surprised the Navajos fast asleep. It was bitterly cold, and evil tongues affirmed that the Navajo whose scalp Hoshkanyi Tihua brought home had been frozen to death previous to the arrival of the hero from the Tyuonyi. However that may be, our governor returned with one scalp; and he was declared to be manslayer, and henceforth counted among the influential braves of his community.
Hoshkanyi Tihua was by no means silly. He possessed the valuable faculty of keeping his mouth closed and of holding his tongue under circumstances when it would be disadvantageous to him to speak. This faculty had been inculcated after long and earnest training by his great wife. Whenever there was no danger, Hoshkanyi proved very outspoken; but as soon as there was the slightest sign of active opposition he became extremely wise, and shrouded his views in a cloud of dignified gravity.
In addition to these qualities Hoshkanyi was the happy owner of an unlimited amount of personal vanity. His ambition had no definite object, provided some external authority was associated with his person. After having for a long time fulfilled the rather insignificant office of assistant to the governor of the tribe, his ambition at last became gratified with the announcement that after the governor's demise the Hotshanyi, or chief penitent, and his associates had designated him as the incumbent of the office. So Hoshkanyi Tihua rose suddenly to the rank of one of the chief dignitaries of his commonwealth.
The choice thus made by the religious heads of the Queres did not satisfy everybody, but everybody was convinced that Those Above had spoken through the mediums to whose care the relations between mankind and the higher powers were specially committed. Everybody therefore accepted the nomination., and the council confirmed it at once. The majority of the clans opposed Hoshkanyi because he belonged to the Turquoise people, who were rendering themselves obnoxious to many by pretensions which they upheld by means of their number, and by their connection with the leader of the Koshare. The Turquoise clan was beginning to assert in tribal affairs an unusual influence,--one that really amounted to a pressure. Tyame and Tanyi particularly felt this growing power of Shyuamo at the expense of their influence. Of all the less numerous groups, Tzitz hanutsh was almost the only one who took the side of Tanyi under all circumstances, and this was due exclusively to the fact that the marriage of Zashue with Say Koitza bound the two clans together. Topanashka himself was a member of the Eagle clan, and through him the Water clan, feeble in numbers, enjoyed the support not only of Tanyi but also of Tyame hanutsh.
In proposing for the vacant position of tapop a member
of the Turquoise people, the chief penitents had in a measure acted discreetly. They certainly acted very impartially, or they considered that already one important office,--the office of maseua, or war- captain,--was held by a member of one of the most numerous hanutsh, Tyame. It appeared unwise to them to refuse to as large a cluster as Shyuamo an adequate representation in the executive powers of the community. So they chose Hoshkanyi, as a member of the Turquoise clan, and proposed him for the office of tapop, or civil chief. That more opposition was not made to this selection was due to two facts,--first, to the tacit acknowledgment on the part of all that it seemed fair to give Shyuamo a share in the tribal government, and second, to the equally tacit conviction that Hoshkanyi, while in appearance a man of determination and perspicacity, was in fact but a pompous and weak individual, ambitious and vain, and without the faculty of doing harm. In both these points public opinion at the Rito was right.
It will be seen from what has been said that there prevailed a strong desire on the part of the chief religious authorities to preserve a certain equilibrium between the components of the tribe. That anxiety to maintain an even balance of power was in itself evidence of danger that this equilibrium might be disturbed. The great penitents,--or as they are erroneously called to-day, caciques,--had not and could not have any clear conception of the condition of affairs in the government of their people. Men old, even prematurely old from the effects of the life of constant abnegation and self-sacrifice to which they had to resign themselves, excluded from listening to anything that was or might indicate strife and contention, they knew not what was going on under cover of apparent harmony. Theoretically and from the stand-point of their duty, which consisted in praying and suffering for the peace and happiness of the
community, and thus securing these boons by means of more direct intercourse with Those Above, their choice was excellent. Practically, it was the most dangerous step that could have been suggested and carried out.
They did not consider that instead of giving to Shyuamo a legitimate share in the government of the tribe, they virtually gave the Turquoise people a majority. For the latter had already two representatives of great influence. Tyope was delegate to the council, where he represented his clan; and the Koshare Naua, who also was a member of Shyuamo, not only belonged to the leading councilmen but was one of the religious heads! By adding Hoshkanyi as tapop it gave the Turquoise clan an unfair preponderance. For while Hoshkanyi was a weak man,--while he was mortally afraid of his inflexibly honest colleague, the maseua Topanashka, he was dependent upon Tyope and upon the chief of the Delight Makers, because both belonged to his clan. He very soon began to display an utter flexibility to the desires of the two last-mentioned individuals, to the disadvantage of those who did not coincide with their views.
This marked preponderance of Shyuamo in tribal affairs aroused apprehensions on the part of the other strong clans; it also caused the greater number of the weaker clusters to gravitate toward the growing element of power held by the Turquoise people. A schism was slowly and imperceptibly preparing itself among the people of the Rito. That schism was not the work of circumstances, it was being systematically prepared by two crafty men,--Tyope and the Koshare Naua.
In working at such a division these two men had in view well-defined objects. Their aim in itself was not absolutely illegitimate, since it foreshadowed what would be an inevitable necessity in the course of time. What rendered their
doings reprehensible and positively odious were the means employed to hasten events. Their object was nothing less than to expel a part of the people, for the exclusive benefit of the remainder.
The extent of land that can be cultivated in the gorge of the Rito is small, and the tribe was growing in numbers. The time was sure to come when the crops would no longer be adequate for all. Furthermore, a positive danger threatened the people in their dwellings. The rock, being extremely friable, crumbled constantly; and now and then inhabited caves were falling a prey to the wear and tear of the material in which they had been excavated. As this slow decay was sure to continue, it was logical to expect that room must be found for the houseless outside. Already the Corn clan had been compelled to build a house in the bottom of the valley. All this further tended to curtail the space for agriculture, and rendered a diminution of numbers prospectively imperative.
These facts had been recognized by Tyope, and he had talked with the Koshare Naua about them for some time past. They were the only persons who had thought of them, not so much deploring the necessity arising therefrom in the future as hailing them as welcome pretexts for their immediate personal aims. Neither Tyope nor the Naua had such high ambition as to aspire to a change of the basis of social organization. Neither of them had any conception of government but what was purely tribal, but they both aspired to offices and dignities such as tribal organization alone knows. These seemed unattainable for them as long as there were other powerful clans at the Rito besides their own, whereas in case some of the former were expelled, it would leave vacant and at their disposal the positions which they coveted.
Tyope, for instance, looked forward to the dignity of head
war-chief, or maseua; but as long as Topanashka lived he saw no chance for himself. He therefore concocted with the young Navajo the sinister plan of murdering the old man. It was even uncertain, in presence of the two powerful clans of Tanyi and Tyame, whether after the death of Topanashka it would be possible for him to secure the succession. For the chief penitents, who selected officially the new incumbent, while they were in no manner accessible to outside influence, might consider the general tendency of affairs, and for the same reasons that they chose Hoshkanyi Tihua for tapop might determine upon appointing some member of Tanyi or Tyame as maseua. Tyope had fore. seen such a contingency, and had therefore suggested to Nacaytzusle the propriety of converting the isolated murder into a butchery of the adult men as far as possible. His suggestion to surprise the Rito while the Koshare were at work in their estufa had a double aim,--in the first place it made it less dangerous for the Navajos, in the second it appointed a time when most of the men of the Turquoise clan were out of reach of an enemy. The blow must then fall upon the males of other clans, for the majority of the Koshare were from the people of Shyuamo. This plan was out of the question since the night when his negotiations with Nacaytzusle had come to such a disastrous termination. But Tyope had laid his wires in other directions also. Seeing that he could not reduce the numbers of the tribe by one fell blow, or that at least his endeavours might not succeed, he was devising in his peculiar underhand way means to create a disunion, and trying to secure for the time of the crisis a commanding position for his own clan.
As he could never have attempted all this alone, he needed an associate, an accomplice. That accomplice he readily found in the old Koshare Naua. In the same manner
that Tyope aspired to the position of war-chief, the chief of the Delight Makers was coveting the rank of leading shaman, or medicine-man. Not the dignity of cacique,--for that position entailed too many personal sacrifices, and carried with it a life of seclusion and retirement that presented no redeeming features,--but the office of hishtanyi chayan, or principal medicine-man, was what the Naua desired to obtain. That position did not entail greater privations than the one which the old schemer occupied, but it secured for its incumbent much greater sway over the people, and placed him in the position to exert a degree of influence which was beyond the pale of Koshare magic. The Naua was working toward his end by ways and with means different from those employed by Tyope. His machinations were directed against the religious heads of the tribe, and he persisted in securing for the society of Delight Makers a prominence that lay outside of their real attributes. Therefore Hayoue did not speak amiss when, in his interview with Okoya, he accused the Koshare, and principally their leader, of attempting to usurp functions and rights belonging properly to the main official shamans, and thus secure for themselves undue advantages.
Tyope and the old Naua had found each other, in accordance with the proverb about birds of a feather. Their understanding was perfect, although it had been brought about gradually and without the formality of a conspiracy. Each worked in his own line and with his own means, and neither had any thought of going beyond what the tribal organization could give them. There was no idea of revolutionizing or even reforming the organization. Had one of them entertained such a thought the other would have become his bitterest enemy, for both were deeply imbued with the principles on which rested the existence of the society in which they had been born. All they aspired to
was to eliminate a certain number of men or people, in order to secure with greater ease certain advantages. It was the survival of the fittest, as primitive society understands it and as refined society attempts to enact, though with more refined means.
The stumbling-blocks in the path of these intriguers were the chief penitents,--the cacique, or as their titles run, the Hotshanyi, or principal cacique, and his two assistants, the uishtyaka and the shaykatze. These men, selected for the purpose of doing penance for all and thus obtaining readier access to the ear of the immortal ones, were the official keepers of peace among the tribe. For the Indian feels that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and that the maintenance of harmony through a constant appeal to the higher powers is the most important feature in the life of his tribe. To discredit in an underhand way the caciques was the special aim of the Koshare Naua, and to direct the eyes of the people to his own achievements in religious magic,--in one word to place the power of the Koshare and their specific medicine on a higher plane than all that the official penitents might achieve. To do this was a very slow piece of work, and it had to be brought about in such a manner that nobody could suspect his object. But both Tyope and the aged scoundrel were working their plans with the utmost caution, and the religious heads of the tribe had not the slightest suspicion of what was going on against them.
The Tyuonyi, therefore, was quiet on the surface, but there were occasional ripples of that placid brook which earnest and thoughtful observers could not fail to notice. Hayoue, although very young, was one of these observers; but none saw more and penetrated deeper into the real state of affairs than Topanashka. He and the Hishtanyi Chayan, who to some extent was his trusty friend, felt that
a tempest was coming. Both saw that the disturbing powers were rooted in the society of the Koshare, that Tyope and the Naua must be the leading spirits. But how and to what ultimate end the machinations were intended escaped their penetration. For the same reason they could not come actively to the relief of the situation, as no overt action had as yet been committed which would justify an official movement against the conspirators.
Topanashka had for several days been keeping the informal fast upon which he had determined for the benefit of his grandson's wooing. It was a warm, pleasant afternoon. Since the rain which followed upon the ayash tyucotz the sky had been blue again as before; the season for daily showers had not yet commenced, and the people were in the corn-patches as busy as possible, improving the bright days in weeding and putting the ground in order. The bottom of the gorge therefore presented an active appearance. Men and women moved about the houses, in and out of the cave-dwellings, and in the fields. From the tasselled corn that grew in these plots a tall figure emerged; it was Topanashka himself, and he directed his steps toward the cliffs at the lower end, where the Turquoise people dwelt. The old man moved as usual with a silent, measured step which would have appeared stately had not his head leaned forward. He was clad in a wrap of unbleached cotton, and a leather belt girded his loins. Around his neck a string of crystals of feldspar was negligently thrown; and a fetich of white alabaster, representing rudely the form of a panther, depended from the necklace hanging upon his breast.
The people of the Turquoise or Shyuamo resided on the lower range of cliffs, and formed the most easterly group of cave-dwellings on the Rito. Here the rocks are no longer absolutely perpendicular; they form steps; and the slope
leading to them is overgrown with shrubbery, except where erosive action of wind, as well as of water or frost, has scooped out strange formations in advance of the main wall. These erosions are mostly regular cones, tent-shaped, between and behind which open chasms and deep rents like the one above which, as we recollect, lies the estufa of the Koshare. Topanashka. walked toward the upper part of the cluster of dwellings of Shyuamo, where the ascending slope was sparsely covered with brush. In front of one of the caves sat a woman. She was unusually tall for an Indian, and neither young nor old. She appeared to be busy extracting the filaments from shrivelled leaves of the yucca, which had been dried by roasting, and afterward had been buried to allow the texture to decay. So engrossed was the woman by her task that only when the old man stood by her side, and asked, "Where is the tapop?" did she notice his presence.
Koay, for it was she, the towering consort of the governor of the Tyuonyi, did not condescend to reply in words to the inquiry of the war-captain. She resorted to a lazy pantomime by gathering her two lips to a snout-like projection and thrusting this protuberance forward in the direction of the doorway before which she was squatting. Then she resumed her occupation.
The visitor paid no further attention to the uncivil woman. He passed in front of her unceremoniously, and entered the cave. The apartment was like those we have previously described, with the single difference that it was better lighted, somewhat larger, and that the household effects scattered and hung around were of a different character. Implements of warfare,--a bow and a quiver with arrows, a shield--convex and painted red, with a yellow disk, and several green lines in the centre,--were suspended from the wall. The niches contained small vessels of burnt clay
and a few plume-sticks. A low doorway led from this room into another, and beyond that there was even a third cell, so that Hoshkanyi Tihua, the civil chief of the Queres, enjoyed the luxury of occupying three apartments.
Still this was not the dwelling which he commonly inhabited. His wife descended from the Bear clan; and her home, and consequently his also, was higher up the gorge, among the caves belonging to the people of the Bear. But as his father had recently departed this life, and his mother was left alone, she had begged her only son to remain with her until one or the other of her brothers or sisters might be ready to take her in charge, either by moving into her abode or by her going to them. Hoshkanyi, therefore, had temporarily gone to live with his mother, but his portly consort was careful not to let him go alone. They had no children, and she felt constrained to keep an eye upon the little man.
In the room which Topanashka had entered, his executive colleague was sitting on a round piece of wood, a low upright cylinder, whose upper surface was slightly hollowed out. Such were the chairs of the Pueblos in olden times. With the exception of that well-known garment peculiar to Indians and babies, and called breech-clout, the governor's manly form was not concealed by any vestment whatever. But while he evidently thought that at home the necessities of costume might be dispensed with, he had not abandoned the luxuries of ornamentation. He wore on his naked body a necklace of wolves' teeth, ear pendants of black and green stones, and wristbands of red leather. The latter he carried in order to relieve his heart, still heavy under the severe blow that he had experienced through the death of his father.
The tapop was also at work. By means of the well-known fire-drill he was attempting to perforate a diminutive
shell disk and thus transform it into the shell bead so essential to the Indian. So intent was he upon this arduous task that he failed to notice the coming of Topanashka; and the latter stood beside him for a little while, an impassive observer. At last Hoshkanyi Tihua looked up, and the visitor said to him,--
"Umo, you have sent for me and I have come. But if you are engaged, or have no time now, I do not mind returning again."
There was a decided irony in the manner in which the old man uttered these words, and Hoshkanyi felt it. He rose quickly, gathered a few robes, and spread them on the ground. In short he was as pleasant and accommodating, all at once, as he and his wife had been careless in the beginning. Topanashka settled down on the hides, and in the meantime the woman also entered the room and quite unceremoniously squatted beside the men. Hoshkanyi said to her,--
"We have to talk together, the maseua and I." He fastened on his spouse a look timid and imploring; it was plain that he did not venture to send her out directly, that he was afraid of her. Koay looked at him carelessly, and said in a very cool manner,--
"I want to hear that talk."
"But I will not allow it," interposed Topanashka; and his cold, piercing eye rested on the woman's face. She cast hers to the ground, and he proceeded,--
"As long as you are here, the tapop and I cannot speak."
She lifted her head angrily, with the manifest intention of rebelling, but as soon as her eyes met the cold, determined glance of the war-chief, she felt a chill, rose, and left the room. Hoshkanyi Tihua drew a sigh of relief; he was grateful to his visitor for having so summarily despatched his formidable spouse. Then he said,--
"Umo, I have sent for you because a speech has been spoken here in this house, which belongs to my mother. That speech may be good and it may not be good, and I cared not to tell my thoughts until I bad spoken to you, nashtio. The matters of which it treated belong before the council, but I do not know whether to say to you, the nashtio of the Zaashtesh, Call them together, or not." He was manifestly troubled, and fastened an uncertain glance upon the face of the other.
Topanashka very composedly answered,--
"You are as wise as I, umo; you know what your duties are. Whenever you say to me, Go and call together the council, I shall do it. If you do not tell me to do so, I shall not."
Hoshkanyi moved in his seat; the reply did not suit him. After some hesitation he continued,--
"I know, father, that you do as the customs of the Zaashtesh require,"--he held himself erect with an attempt at pride, for he felt that in the present. instance his personality and word represented customs which were law,--"but I do not know that I shall tell you so or not. Do you understand me, umo?"
"I understand your words, Tapop, but you know that I have only to act, whereas it is your office to speak."
The cool reply exasperated the little man. He retorted sharply,--
"And yet you have often spoken in the council, when your hanutsh wanted something!"
Topanashka lifted his eyes and gazed fully, calmly, at the other; he even suppressed a smile.
"Then it is your hanutsh, Shyuamo, that wants something this time?"
Hoshkanyi felt, as the saying is, very cheap. His secret was out; and his plan to obtain an expression of opinion
from the maseua ere he came to a conclusion himself, a total failure. The latter added in a deprecating way,--
"If you do not know what to do, ask the Hotshanyi. He will give you good advice." This was just what the governor wished to avoid, but he knew that when Topanashka had once expressed his opinion it was useless to attempt to dissuade him.
After an interval of silence the civil chief looked up and said,--
"Come, let us go to the Hotshanyi."
Topanashka thought over this proposal for a moment.
"It is well," he at last assented; "I will go." With this he rose. The governor rose also, but was so embarrassed and excited that he would have run out as he was, in almost complete undress, had not the maseua reminded him by saying,--
"Remember that we are going to the Shiuana," adding, "take some meal along."
"Have you any with you?" inquired Hoshkanyi, with a venomous look. The other responded quietly,--
"I do not need any. You are seeking their advice, not I." That settled the matter.
As both went out, Koay, who had been sitting as close by the doorway as possible, snappishly asked her husband,--
"Where are you going, hachshtze?"
Topanashka took the trouble of satisfying her curiosity by dryly answering,--
"About our own business." The icy look with which he accompanied his retort subdued the woman.
The Hotshanyi, or chief penitent, lived with the people of the Prairie-wolf clan. His abode consisted of two caves on the lower and one on the upper tier. The two officers of the tribe wandered slowly along the cliffs, past the abodes of the Sun clan, Topanashka, walking as usual,--erect, with
his head bent slightly forward,--Hoshkanyi with a pompous air, glad to display himself in company with his much more respected colleague, to whom all the pleasant greetings which the two received on their peregrination were really directed. When they reached the cave wherein the cacique resided, Hoshkanyi entered first.
Close to the fireplace, which was one of those primitive chimneys like the one we have seen in the home of Shotaye, an old man was seated on the floor. His age was certainly greater than Topanashka's; he was of middle height, lean and even emaciated. His eyes were dim, and he received the greetings of his visitors with an air of indifference or timidity; it was difficult to determine which. Pointing to the floor he said,--
"What brings you to my house, children!" and he coughed a hollow, hectic cough.
The tapop began,
"Do not say we," the maseua corrected him, "you wish, not I."
Hoshkanyi bit his lips and began anew,--
"I and my brother here have come because I want to ask you something. But if you are at work, grandfather, then we will go."
"I am not working, sa uishe," said the cacique. "Speak; I listen. What is it you wish?"
"Can I see the kopishtai?" Hoshkanyi whispered anxiously.
The eyes of the Hotshanyi brightened. His look suddenly became clear and firm. With surprising alacrity he rose, as if he had become younger at once. His whole figure, although bent, attained vigour and elasticity. Before leaving the cave he looked inquiringly at Topanashka, who only shook his head and said in a low tone,--
"I have nothing to ask."
The two left the room. The place where Those Above were thought to be accessible to the intercession of man was the cave adjoining, but there was no communication between the two chambers.
Presently the cacique crept back to where they had left Topanashka alone, and Hoshkanyi followed. The former resumed his seat by the hearth, whereas the tapop cowered in front of him. He looked anxiously in the old man's face, and at the same time shot an occasional quick glance over toward the maseua. In a hollow voice the Hotshanyi said,--
"You may speak now, sa uishe; the kopishtai know that you are here."
"Sa umo Hotshanyi," the tapop commenced, "I have listened to a speech. Things have been said to me that concern the tribe." He stopped short and fastened his eyes on the floor.
"This is well," the cacique said encouragingly; "you must hear what the children of Pāyatyama and Sanatyaya are doing; you are their father."
Hoshkanyi sighed, and appeared to be much embarrassed.
"Speak, motātza," urged the old man.
"I don't know what to do," the little man stuttered.
"Have you been asked to do anything?"
"Yes, they have--" He stopped, sighed again, and then proceeded hastily and with an expression of anguish in his face, "Shyuamo hanutsh asks that Tzitz hanutsh--"
The Hotshanyi commanded him to desist.
"Stay, stay, Hoshkanyi Tihua!" he hoarsely exclaimed.
"You know that we, the mothers of the tribe, will not listen to anything that divides our children among themselves or that might cause division among them. You ask for advice from me. This advice you shall receive, but
only on things that I can know of and which I dare to hear. If you speak to me of strife and dispute, I shall not listen to it. Speak of yourself, not of others."
Topanashka was an attentive listener, but not a muscle in his face moved; whereas the little tapop was manifestly in great trouble. He coughed, hemmed and hawed, twisted his body, moved uneasily in his seat, and at last continued in a faltering manner,--
"I do not know whether or not I ought to call the council together."
"Were you asked to do it?
"Then you must do it; it is your duty," replied the Hotshanyi. He spoke imperatively, and with remarkable dignity of manner. Thus the first point was settled. And the tapop with growing uneasiness proceeded to his next.
"It has been said to me that I should send my brother here," pointing at Topanashka, "to call together the fathers. Now is it well to do so, or shall I send the assistant civil chieftain to the men?" Hoshkanyi spoke like a schoolboy who was delivering a disagreeable message.
The matter in itself seemed of no consequence at all, but the manner in which the governor spoke and acted looked extremely suspicious. Both of his listeners became attentive; the cacique displayed no signs of surprise, but he looked at the speaker fixedly, and inquired of him, speaking very slowly,--
"Is my brother the maseua willing to go?
"I have not asked him as yet."
"Then ask him," sternly commanded the old man.
Almost trembling, the tapop turned to Topanashka, who was sitting immovable, with lips firmly set and sparkling eyes.
"Will you call the council together, nashtio?"
"No!" exclaimed the maseua.
"You have heard what your brother says," coldly proceeded the cacique; "you know now what you are to do. My brother will not go, and you can only command him if the council orders you to do so. Therefore send the assistant; he is your messenger. Do your duty and nothing else, for it is not good to attempt anything new unless Pāyatyama has so directed." The words were spoken in a tone of solemn warning, and even Topanashka was startled, for never before had he heard the Hotshanyi speak thus. The old man had always been very meek and mild in his utterances, but now his voice sounded almost prophetic. Was he inspired by Those Above? Did the Shiuana speak through him? Was there danger for the tribe?
At all events the conference had come to a close, for the cacique had bent his head, and spoke no more.
"Trouashatze, sa umo," said Topanashka, and left the room. Hoshkanyi followed hurriedly. The cacique took no notice of their departure.
When both men stood outside, Topanashka turned to the tapop coldly, asking,--
"Are you going to call the council?"
"I will," whined the little man.
"For what day?"
"I don't know yet."
"But I want to know," sternly, almost menacingly, insisted the other. "I want to know, for I shall be present!"
"Four days from now," cried Hoshkanyi, trembling.
"I don't know yet. When the moon rises," he added in despair, as the cold, determined gaze of Topanashka met his eye. Without a further word the war-chieftain turned and went off.
Hoshkanyi was utterly annihilated. He had made a total failure, and as he stood there like a child that has just been thoroughly whipped he began to curse the weakness that had caused him to yield to the advice and the demands of Tyope. For it was Tyope who had brought him to act the part in which the unfortunate governor had so disgracefully failed. Tyope, when as representative of the clan Shyuamo he asked the tapop to call together the council for a matter wherein the Turquoise people were interested, had artfully told him that as one of their number it would be better if the maseua would issue the call. He knew very well that this was an innovation; but the deceiver made it apparent that if Topanashka should yield, and commit the desired misstep, the blame would of course fall upon the war-chief, and the civil chief would profit by the other's mistake, and would gain in the opinion of the people at the expense of the maseua.
But Tyope, cunning as he was, had underrated the firmness and perspicacity of Topanashka as much as he had overrated the abilities of Hoshkanyi. As soon as the latter saw the rigidity of his colleague in a matter of duty, he felt completely at sea; he lost sight of everything that Tyope had recommended, tumbled from one mistake to another, and finally exposed himself to grave suspicions. As the popular saying is, he let the cat out of the bag, and made an absolute, miserable fiasco. All this he saw clearly, and he cursed Tyope, and cursed himself for having become his tool. More than that, he trembled when he thought of what Tyope would say, and also what his own energetic wife would call him, and even perhaps do to him, if he went home. For Koay was sure to exact a full report of what had occurred; and to save himself. nothing remained but to tell her lies. This he finally determined upon. But to Tyope he could not lie; to Tyope he must tell the truth;
and then? Hoshkanyi Tihua wended his way home wrapped in thoughts of a very unsatisfactory nature.
While the governor of the Queres was thus agitated by unpleasant forebodings, the mind of the war-chief was not less occupied by gloomy thoughts. Of all the leading men of the tribe, Topanashka, saw perhaps most clearly the sinister machinations of some of the Turquoise people. Still he had not discovered, and could not even surmise, the real object of their intrigues. Of an intention to divide the tribe he had no idea. Personal ambition, greed, and thirst for influence was all he could think of; and he felt sure that they would not prevail, for to personal ambition the tribal system afforded little, if any, opportunity. It was manifest however from what Hoshkanyi had involuntarily divulged, that the clan Shyuamo intended to press some claim against the small Water clan, which besides was so distantly located from the abodes and the lands of the Turquoise that he could see no just reason for a claim. It was equally impossible for him to imagine the nature of the claim. Quarrels between clans are always most dangerous for the existence of a tribe, for disruption and consequent weakening is likely to result from them. The old man felt the gravest apprehensions; he saw imminent danger for his people; and still he could not arrive at any conclusion before the threatening storm had broken. There was no possibility of averting the peril, for he could not even mention its approach to any one.
Topanashka was calm and absolutely brave. His life was nothing to him except as indispensable for the performance of his duty. He knew long ago that the leaders of the movement for which the Turquoise people were used as battering-rams hated him, that he was a thorn in their flesh, a stone in their crooked paths. If the revelations of Hoshkanyi created deep apprehensions in him, it was out of no
personal fear; in the present instance it was clear that a trap had been set for the purpose of decoying him into a false move. It was the first time that anything of the kind had been attempted; and Topanashka looked upon it as very serious, not for his individual sake, but because it showed that it was undertaken jointly with a move that was sure to bring about internal disturbances, and was probably a part of that move itself, and because it exhibited a degree of boldness on the part of the schemers which proved that their plans were nearly, if not absolutely, mature. A crisis was near at hand; he saw it, but it could not be prevented. A deep gloom settled on the heart of the old maseua, and something like despondency crept over him at times. It caused him to forget the matter of his grandson's wooing and his proposed appeal to the Shiuana in behalf of Okoya, and to look forward to the momentous time, four days hence, when his mind would become enlightened on the impending danger. All his thoughts were henceforth with the council and the object for which it was to be held. He looked forward to it with sadness and even with fear. It was clear to him that the hour of that council must become an evil hour in the annals of his people.