And then all will be done." The gathering broke up. Gradually, as the Indians gazed on the smoking mountains, the excitement produced by the oratory they had just heard wore off. Only Tohomish's sombre eloquence, so darkly in unison with the menacing aspect of Nature, yet lingered in every mind. They were frightened and startled, apprehensive of something to come.
"I said what my eyes saw and my ears heard, and it was true." "It cannot be true, for the Great Spirit has said that the Willamettes shall rule the tribes as long as the bridge shall stand; and how can it fall when it is a mountain of stone?" A strange expression crossed Tohomish's sullen face. "Multnomah, beware how you rest on the prophecy of the bridge.
Startled by the outburst of the great smoking mountains, which always presaged woe to the Willamettes, perplexed by Tohomish's mysterious hints of some impending calamity, weighed down by a dread presentiment, he came that night on a strange and superstitious errand.
But the name and nature of his tomanowos was the one secret that must go with him to the grave. If it was told, the charm was lost and the tomanowos deserted him. Tohomish's tomanowos was the Bridge and the foreknowledge of its fall: a black secret that had darkened his whole life, and imparted the strange and mournful mystery to his eloquence.
It is the black secret, the secret of the coming trouble, that makes Tohomish's voice like the voice of a pine; so that men say it has in it sweetness and mystery and haunting woe, moving the heart as no other can. And if he tells the secret, eloquence and life go with it. Shall Tohomish tell it?
"Tohomish will be at the council and speak for his chief and his tribe?" asked Multnomah, in a tone that was half inquiry, half command; for the seer whose mysterious power as an orator gave him so strong an influence over the Indians must be there. Tohomish's haggard and repulsive face had settled back into the look of mournful apathy habitual to him.
Now that the Bridge was fallen, the strength was gone from Tohomish's heart, the music from his words. "Tohomish has no voice now," he continued; "he is as one dead. He desires to say only this, then his words shall be heard no more among men. The fall of the Bridge is a sign that not only the Willamettes but all the tribes of the Wauna shall fall and pass away.