It was nearly dark when Tarbox and the other men with him returned, stating that they had once caught sight of Pomaunkee in the distance, but before they could get up to him he had disappeared, and that after having searched in vain, they had judged it time to return.
While these arrangements were being made, Gilbert and Fenton, who had been, according to their intention, watching Pomaunkee, saw him descend the hill and go in the direction of the forest. In a short time they lost sight of him among the trees.
As he came near he was recognised as an Indian named Pomaunkee, who had frequently been at the settlement, and who appeared to have a friendly feeling for the whites, although many disputes had occurred between them and his people, in which several, of the latter had been killed. He brought, he said, disastrous intelligence.
Pomaunkee could scarcely conceal his annoyance; he, however, being unable to offer any further reason for proceeding, was compelled to follow the commander. Preparations for camping were soon made: some brushwood at the foot of the knoll was cut down to supply fuel.
As the two seamen, Tarbox and Flowers, were supposed to have some acquaintance with the natives, they were also selected to form part of the expedition which was placed under Master Rolfe's command. Pomaunkee offered to act as guide; and though the governor somewhat doubted his fidelity, his services were accepted.
Gilbert, whose suspicions of Pomaunkee were increased by the opposition he had offered to the selection of the place, suggested that some stout stakes should be cut, and fixed on the side of the hill where the slope, being less abrupt than in other places, might be more easily mounted.
Rolfe, on hearing this, thanking Canochet for the warning he had given, begged him to hasten on his tribe, though he doubted not that he could hold out against any number of savages Pomaunkee might collect to attack him.
As he got within the ruddy glare of the fire, instead of the forbidding countenance of Pomaunkee, the far more pleasant features of the Monacan chief, Canochet, were brought into view. Vaughan and Gilbert greeted him warmly. "I am thankful that I have arrived in time to warn you of intended treachery," said the chief. "He who undertook to be your guide, has formed a plot for your destruction.
Captain Smith and his followers had been attacked by a large body of Indians, who had murdered all but the captain, who having been overcome after a desperate struggle, had been carried captive to Powhattan, their chief. He also, probably, Pomaunkee declared, would be put to death, unless Powhattan would agree to receive a ransom for him.
"What think you of our guide, Pomaunkee?" asked Gilbert; "I watched him when we halted for dinner, and it struck me that I had seldom seen a less attractive countenance, or one more expressive of cunning. I expressed my opinion to my brother Vaughan, but he replied that Master Rolfe has perfect confidence in the man, having had frequent intercourse with him." "I agree with you," answered Fenton.