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Title: The American Family Robinson - or, The Adventures of a Family lost in the Great Desert of the West
Author: Belisle, D. W. (David W.)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The American Family Robinson - or, The Adventures of a Family lost in the Great Desert of the West" ***

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[Illustration: THE PRAIRIE ON FIRE.]




The Adventures of a Family




D. W. Belisle

With Illustrations



The lofty mountains, mighty forests, rivers and valleys of the West,
many portions of which have never been explored, furnish abundant
resources for the gratification of the Naturalist, the Lapidary, and
the Antiquarian. It is with the view of directing attention to these
sources of information, that the author has grouped together in this
little work, many startling incidents in prairie life, and alluded to
relics of antiquity, bearing unmistakable indications of a high order
of civilization and science, in regard to which subsequent discoveries
have proved the hypothesis he assumes correct. That this country has
been peopled by a civilized race of sentient beings anterior to the
existence of the present tribes of Indians or their ancestors, is no
longer a matter of uncertainty; for everywhere throughout the West, and
in many places East of the Mississippi Valley, incontrovertible
evidences attest the high antiquity of monuments and relics of a
people, whose race, name and customs have been lost in the deep gloom
that hangs over the mighty past. In order more successfully to call
attention to these ancient reminiscences of our own country, and to
incite a spirit of inquiry in the minds of the young, he has
incidentally alluded to them while following the family of Mr. Duncan
in their toilsome journey and wanderings through the Great American
Desert. To those unacquainted with the antiquarian characteristics of
this continent, some of the allusions may appear improbable; yet
sufficiently competent authority has been consulted in the preparation
of this work to give the allusions reliable authenticity. If we shall
be successful in awakening such an inquiry, we shall be content, and
feel that our labors have not been unrewarded.

Philadelphia 1853.



Mr. Duncan's Discontentment. He starts for the West in search of a
place of Settlement.                                                9


The Journey. Encampment. Buffalo hunt. Anne and Edward lost. They
discover an old fort. Fight with a Wolf. Take refuge in a Tree.
Rescued by Howe and Lewis. Return to the Camp.                     16


Howe's Story of a singular piece of Metal, resembling a shield or
helmet, found on Lake Superior.                                    36


Their journey continued. Finding a Prairie. Encamping for the Night.
Singular incident. A Mirage on the Prairie. The Prairie on fire.
Flight to the Sand Hills. Their final escape. Finding a stream.
Encampment.                                                        49


Heavy Storm. Straggling Indians seen. Preparations for defence. A
friendly Indian approaches and warns them of their danger. The Camp
Attacked. Capture of Five in the Camp. Recovery of some of the
Captured.                                                          62


Strength of the Tabagauches. Attack of their camp. Flight of the
Whites. Pursuing the Indians. Desperate Engagement. Taken Prisoners.
Carried off captives. Singular Springs of Water. Kind treatment by
the Indians. Discovery of Gold.                                    81


Their continued Captivity. They are cautiously watched and guarded. A
singular Cave. Preparations to escape into it. Lassoing the Guard.
Enter the Cavern and close the Door. They are missed by the Indians.
They follow the Cavern. Mysterious discoveries. Discovery of an outlet.
They halt for repose.                                             100


Entering the unknown Wilds. Their encampment attacked by Panthers. They
save themselves. The Panthers kill one of their pack. They continue
their journey. Whirlwind becomes lost. Everything strange about them.
Encampment at the base of a mountain.                             122


Encounter with a Wolf. Sidney seriously wounded. Whirlwind procures
medicine. They Build a Cabin. Fears entertained of Sidney's death.
Talk of Pow-wowing the disease. Miscellaneous conversation on the
matter. Their final consent to the Pow-wow.                       137


The apparent solemnity of Whirlwind. The Pow-wow. Its effects upon
Sidney. Favourable turn in his fever. His health improves. They proceed
on their way. Encamp for the night. Singular trees discovered.
Preparations for spending the winter.                             151


Search for winter quarters. Strange Discoveries. Works of the lost
people. Their search among the Ruins. Walls, roads, and buildings
found. Their state of Preservation. They prepare to locate themselves.
A salt spring. Their joy at their discoveries.                    163


Astonishment of the Children. The Antiquity of the Ruins. The Chief's
contentment. Strange discoveries. Discovery of wild horses. The chief
captures a colt. The winter sets in. A series of storms prevail. They
discover an Indian woman and her papoose.                         174


Jane's reception of the Indian woman. Condition of the party. They
cannot calculate the day nor month. The chief imagines he has found
the Arapahoes' hunting grounds. Deer chased by a wild man. The
chief lassoes him. A desperate struggle. The wild man captured and
taken into camp.                                                  193


The return of spring. Their thoughts of home. Preparations to continue
their journey. Escape of the Wild Man. They suffer from want of water.
A party of Indians. A beautiful Landscape. A terrific storm. The chief
rendered insensible by a stroke of lightning. He recovers and returns
to the camp.                                                      214


They endeavour to conceal themselves from the Indians. They are
discovered. A frightful encounter. Escape of Mahnewe. They pursue
their journey in the night. Discovery of a river over which they
cross. Come to a prairie. Approach a sandy desert. They provide
themselves with ample provisions and set out over the cheerless
waste.                                                            231


Encampment in the sand. An island discovered. Singular appearance of
rocks. Human skeletons found. Dreary prospects. They arrive at an
oasis. They come to a lake. They discover a cavern in which they find
mysterious implements. The cavern supposed to have been an ancient
mine. Its remarkable features.                                    240


Recovery, and continuance of their journey. A joyous prospect. It
changes to gloom. Discovered and followed by Indians. They finally
escape. They wander on unconscious of their way. They meet with
friendly Indians who give them cheering intelligence. They rest
with them a few days.                                             263


They proceed on their journey. Jane bitten by a rattlesnake. Taken
back to the village. It causes a violent fever to set in. She becomes
delirious, but finally recovers. A war party returns having two white
prisoners. Minawanda assists them to escape by a sound imitating that
of a whippoorwill. They proceed on their flight unmolested.       281


They arrive at a stream of considerable magnitude over which they
cross. They ride in the water to elude their pursuers. Jones and Cole
give them information relative to their friends. The joyful reception
of the news. Arrival at the base of the Sierra Nevada. Fear of
crossing the mountains in the snow. They construct themselves winter
quarters.                                                         298


The cold increases. Abundant supplies of game. Jones and Cole tell
some of their adventures in the gold regions. Comfortable condition
of the children. Howe describes an adventure he experienced near Lake
Superior. Whirlwind relates a circumstance that occurred to himself
and Shognaw.                                                      309


Departure of winter. Joy at the fact of knowing which way they were
travelling. They reach the first ranges of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Discovery of gold. Discovery of singular ancient walls. An engraved
slab of granite. They reach the foot of the Sierra in safety. They
arrive at the residence of a Spanish Curate. They tarry awhile at his
house.                                                            319


Return to the family of Mr. Duncan. Lewis and his father succeed in
getting back to camp. Cole and the chief reach the camp of the
Arapahoes. They continue their course to Mr. Duncan's camp. Joy at the
news they bring. They start again for the west. Thirty Arapahoes
accompany them. They arrive at the Sierra Nevada.                 335


The Curate becomes much attached to the Wanderers. Arrival of Mr. and
Mrs. Duncan and family. Whirlwind demands Jane in marriage. Jane
refuses, and the Indians take their departure. The curate gives an
account of the discoveries he made of a singular road, city and
pyramid. Prosperous condition of Mr. Duncan's family. The lapse of
twelve years. Change of their condition. Conclusion.              342




Chapter First.

Mr. Duncan's Discontentment. He starts for the West.

Near the Cold Springs, in Lafayette county, Missouri, lived Mr. Duncan,
a sturdy woodsman, who emigrated thither with his father, while the
Mississippi valley was still a wilderness, inhabited by wild beasts, or
the still more savage Indians. His grandfather was an eastern man; but
had bared his brawny arm on many a battle field, and had earned the
right to as many broad acres as he chose to occupy. So, at least, he
said, on leaving his eastern home, after peace had been declared, for
the then verge of civilization--the Ohio. Here the soldier lived to see
the wilderness blossom like the rose, and here he died, grieving that
infirmity prevented his flying from the din of the sledge hammer, and
the busy hum of mechanical life. Mr. Duncan's father, in the vigor of
manhood, crossed the Mississippi, and settled at the Cold Springs, a
region then isolated from civilization, as the Ohio was many years
before the white man had planted his foot west of the Alleghanies. But
he lived to see the silent echoes resound to the shrill whistle of the
engine, and luxury with its still but mighty sway enervate the sons and
daughters of the pioneers, until the one quailed at the sight of danger
and the other dosed away the morning in kid slippers and curl-papers.
Time claimed its own, and he died; and then his son, the Mr. Duncan of
our narrative, began to turn his attention to the west, as his
grandfather and his father had done before him. He had married a
trapper's daughter, twenty years before, and his family consisted now
of four sons and two daughters, an adopted son, and his brother-in-law,
Andy Howe, who had spent his life in trapping, and trading with the

Lewis, his eldest son, nineteen years of age, was a man in strength,
proportion and judgment, cool and prompt in emergencies, but on
ordinary occasions caring for little else than his dogs, gun and uncle,
whose superior knowledge of all that pertained to the forest, made him
an oracle among the less experienced.

Edward, a boy of seventeen, passionate and headstrong, but generous and

Jane, a girl of fifteen, the mother's supporter and helper, high
spirited, energetic and courageous.

Martin, a pleasure-seeking, fun-loving, mischief-making lad of twelve

Anne, a timid child of ten years, who went by the soubriquet of the
baby, by all except Lewis, who understood her better and called her the

And last, but not least, the son of his adoption, Sidney Young, a noble
young fellow of eighteen, whose parents dying left him to the care of
Mr. Duncan, who had reared him with as tender care as that he bestowed
upon his own children.

"Little Benny," or Benjamin more properly, we must not forget to
introduce, a manly little fellow of eight, who could handle a bow and
arrow, or hook and line, and propel a canoe with as much dexterity as a
young Indian.

Such was the family of Mr. Duncan, when he resolved to penetrate the
almost unknown region of the west. No hypochondriac papa or aristocratic
mamma, can I introduce, but a hale, robust yeoman, who looks upon
himself as in the prime of manhood, though nearly fifty years of age,
and who boasts of never having consulted a physician or taken a drug.
Mrs. Duncan wore her own glossy hair at forty-five, without a thread of
silver among it, while her step was as elastic, and eye as bright, as
in her girlhood. Her cheek was less rounded than it was formerly; but
the matronly dignity and motherly kindness that characterized her,
amply compensated for its loss. True types of man and womanhood were
they, whom no dangers or vicissitude could daunt, no trials swerve
from the path of right or _inclination_. Mr. Duncan well knew the
undertaking he proposed was not one to be entered into thoughtlessly,
or without due preparation. His habits from earliest infancy, of daily
encountering the perils of border life, had taught him this, and with
it taught him to love the boundless forest, the dashing waterfalls, and
the deep stillness that retreated as refinement advanced.

"This is no place for me," he said, as he heard of some new innovation
on old customs, as having taken place in the vicinity. But when a
favorite haunt by a small stream was taken possession of, the trees
felled, the brooklet dammed, and a factory set in motion, he for a
moment seemed astounded, his eye wandered inquiringly from one member
of his family to another, and finally rested upon Howe, as though
expecting him to provide some remedy to stay the hand of innovation.

"It cannot be done, Duncan," said the trapper, comprehending the
unspoken inquiry. "We are completely ensnared. Don't you see we are

"Had they only chosen some other spot for this last shop, or factory,
or whatever else you call it, I would have tried to borne it. But
there--no, it is too much."

"I have news that will be as unpleasant as the mill. The surveyors will
pass near here in laying out a railroad to-morrow," said Lewis.

"I will never see it," said Mr. Duncan. "The world is wide enough for
all. It may be for the best, that there should be a general revolution
in the mode of manufactures and commerce, but I cannot appreciate it; I
am willing to fall back to the forest to give place to those who can."

It must not be inferred that Mr. Duncan was an illiterate man. On the
contrary, he was well posted on all the great events that transpired,
and was conversant with many ancient and modern authors. He had
carefully instilled into the minds of his children, a love of truth and
virtue, for the contentment and nobleness it gave, and to despise vice
as a thing too contaminating to indulge in by thought or practice. This
love of forest life had become a part of his being, and he could no
more content himself among the rapidly accumulating population that
sprang up around him, than a Broadway dandy could in the wilderness.
When driven from his accustomed fishing ground by the demolition of the
forest, whose trees shaded the brooklet with their gigantic arms
stretching from either side, interlacing and forming an arch above so
compact as to render it impenetrable to the noonday sun, he wearied of
his home, and sighed for the forest that was still in the west. Here he
had been accustomed to resort to indulge in piscatory amusement; with
his trusty rifle, full many a buck and even nobler game had fallen
beneath his aim, as lured by the stillness they had come to quench
their thirst at the brook, unconscious of the danger to which they were
drawing near. He had long looked upon this haunt as peculiarly his own,
not by the right of purchase, but by the possession, which he had
actually enjoyed many years, until he considered it as an essential to
his happiness.

For Mr. Duncan to resolve was to accomplish. Seconded by his family,
his farm was sold, his affairs closed, and May 10, 1836, saw him
properly fitted out for a plunge into the western wilds. Three emigrant
wagons contained their movables, each drawn by three yoke of stout
oxen. The first contained provisions and groceries, seeds and grain for
planting, with apparatus for cooking. The second contained the
household furniture that was indispensable, beneath which lay a
quantity of boards, tent canvass, an extra set of wagon covers ready
for use, twine, ropes &c., and was also to be the apartments of Mr. and
Mrs. Duncan, and the girls. The third was loaded with agricultural and
carpenter's tools, and contained the magazine, and was appropriated to
the use of Andy Howe and the boys. Two saddle horses, five mules and
three milch cows, with six as fierce hunting dogs as ever run down an
antelope, constituted their live stock.

Thus prepared the family bade a glad adieu to their old home to find a
more congenial one. I say a glad adieu, for certainly the older members
of the family went voluntarily, and the younger ones, carried away by
the hurry of preparation, had no time to think, and perhaps knew not of
the dangers they would have to encounter. Youth is ever sanguine, and
they had learned from the older ones to look upon the forest freed from
the Indians as the Elysium of this world.

Onward to the west the tide of emigration is still rolling. Three
centuries ago, the Massachusetts and Virginia colonies were the west to
the European, three thousand miles over the Atlantic ocean. Brave was
the soul, and stout the heart, that then dared it. A century later
Pennsylvania and New York was the west; the tide was rolling on; still
a century later its waves had swept over the Alleghanies, and went
dashing down the Mississippi valley, anon dividing in thousands of
rivulets, went winding and murmuring among the rugged hills and
undulating plains. But even the burden of its murmurings was _the_
west, still on to the west. And now where is the west? Not the
Mississippi valley but the fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains. That
part we find on charts as the "_unknown_." A valley situated among
mountains, sunny and luxuriant as those of a poet's dream; but guarded
by a people driven to desperation. This is now the west.

Chapter Second.

The Journey. Encampment. Buffalo hunt. Anne and Edward lost. They
discover an old fort. Fight with a Wolf. Take refuge in a Tree. Rescued
by Howe and Lewis. Return to the Camp.

Mr. Duncan chose the trader's route to Oregon as the one most likely to
lead him to his desired haven. He was familiar with this route, having
frequently made it some years before. To Andy Howe, every rock, tree,
and river, was like the face of a friend so often had he passed them.
Mrs. Duncan had no misgivings when they entered on the forest. She had
so often heard the different scenes and places described as to
recognize the locality through which they passed, and with perfect
confidence in the forest craft of her brother and husband, she gave
herself no trouble, save that of making her family as comfortable and
pleasant as circumstances would allow.

No incident disturbed their journey, worthy of note, day after day as
they easily moved along. It was not Mr. Duncan's policy to exhaust his
teams at the outset by long weary marches; but like a skilful general,
husband his strength, in case of emergencies. The road was smooth and
level, being generally over large extended prairies.

The fifth day out they crossed the Kansas, when the country became more
broken, and they saw the first buffalo on their route, which Lewis had
the good luck to kill. With the aid of Howe it was cut up and the
choicest parts brought to camp. Never was a supper enjoyed with more
zest than that night. Delicious steaming beef stakes, wheat cakes,
butter, cheese, new milk and tea, spread out on a snow white cloth, on
their temporary table, to which they had converted two boards by
nailing sheets across the back, and resting each end on a camp stool,
made a feast worth travelling a few days into the wilderness to enjoy.

Their camp was pitched for the night on the mossy bank of a small
stream, overshadowed by large cotton-woods through which the stars
peered, and the new moon with its silvery crescent gleamed faintly as
the shadows of evening closed around them.

After night fall the party was thrown into quite an excitement by the
approach of figures which they supposed to be Indians, but which turned
out to be a herd of deer feeding. Howe laughed heartily at the fright,
for the Indians were to him as brothers. His father had been known and
loved for many acts of kindness to them, and had been dignified as the
great _Medicine_.[1] Accompanying his father on his trapping excursions,
while still a boy, he had spent many a day and night in their wigwams,
partaking of their hospitality, contending with the young braves in
their games, and very often joining them in their hunts among the
mountains. Hostile and cruel they might be to others, but Howe was
confident that he and those with him would meet with nothing but
kindness at their hands.

      [1] A name applied by the Indians to their benefactors.

Antelopes were now seen often, and sometimes numerous buffalo; but
nothing of importance had been killed for two days. The morning of the
twenty-fifth dawned clear and beautiful. Howe and Lewis brought the
horses, and with Sidney mounted on a fleet mule, the three set out on a
hunt. They had been tempted to this by a moving mass of life over the
plain against the horizon, that resembled a grove of trees waving in
the wind, to all but a practised eye; but which the hunters declared to
be a herd of buffalo. Such a sight creates a strange emotion of
grandeur, and there was not one of the party but felt his heart beat
quicker at the sight. The herds were feeding, and were every where in
constant motion. Clouds of dust rose from various parts of the bands,
each the scene of some obstinate fight. Here and there a huge bull was
rolling in the grass. There were eight or nine hundred buffaloes in the
herd. Riding carelessly the hunters came within two hundred yards of
them before their approach was discovered, when a wavering motion among
them, as they started in a gallop for the hills, warned them to close
in the pursuit. They were now gaining rapidly on them, and the interest
of the chase became absorbingly intense.

A crowd of bulls brought up the rear, turning every few moments to face
their pursuers, as if they had a mind to turn and fight, then dashed on
again after the band. When at twenty yards distant the hunters broke
with a sudden rush into the herd, the living mass giving away on all
sides in their heedless career. They separated on entering, each one
selecting his own game. The sharp crack of the rifle was heard, and
when the smoke and dust, which for a moment blinded them, had cleared
away, three fine cows were rolling in the sand. At that moment four
fierce bulls charged on Sidney, goring his mustang in a frightful
manner, and would probably have terminated his hunting career, had not
the sudden shock of the onset thrown him some distance over his
mustang's head. He was not much hurt, and before the buffaloes could
attack him again, they were put to flight by Howe and Lewis. On
examining the animal they soon saw he could not live, and shot him to
end his suffering.

This they felt was an unlucky incident, and with saddened hearts turned
their faces campward, which on reaching they found in consternation at
the prolonged absence of Edward and Anne. They had gone out a few
moments after the hunters, Edward to fish in the brook by which they
had encamped, and Anne to gather curious plants and flowers, of which
she was passionately fond. Mr. Duncan had been in search of them and
came up as the hunters were dismounting.

"Have you found them?" was asked by every one in a moment, as he came

"No! but I found this, and this, about two miles down the stream," said
he, holding up a fading wreath of wild flowers, and the skeleton of a
fish that Edward had evidently cut away to bait his hook with.

"It is now nearly noon, and by the looks of that fish and those
flowers, they have laid in the sun three hours. Give us a lunch, Mary,
and now for the dogs, Lewis. No time is to be lost," said Howe.

"I fear the worst," said the father; "I saw signs of Indians."

"What were they?" quickly asked the Trapper.

"A raft on the opposite bank of the stream."

"They will bring them back, if they have taken them," said Howe, to
which the surmise was not new, for it had occurred to him the moment he
found the children were gone, but did not like to say so, lest he
should raise an unnecessary alarm, But there was no outcry, no
lamentation or dismay, though all was bustle and hurry. They knew it
was time to act, not to spend their time in useless sorrow.

"Bring up two mules," said Howe, filling his pockets with bread and
cheese, which he told Lewis to do also, "for," said he, "we may not
come in to supper, certainly not unless we find them."

"I will go with you," said the father.

"And I," said Sidney, decidedly.

"No: a sufficient force is necessary here; you will take care of the
camp, and if you hear the report of three guns in succession, bring the
horses, which must be fed immediately," said the Trapper. "But, if we
do not have to go a long distance, the mules will do."

"How will you know whether they are lost or have been carried off by
savages," asked the mother, and though no coward, she shuddered and
turned white as she asked the question.

"Easily enough known, when once on the ground. I know the red-skins as
thoroughly as I do my rifle. Here Buff, here Lion," cried the Trapper,
calling two noble bloodhounds to him--"Now, Mary," he continued, "give
me a pair of Edward's and Anne's shoes, that they have worn." They were
given him, and taking the hounds by the collar, he made them smell the
shoes until they got the scent, then leading them to the bank of the
stream pointed to them the tracks made in the morning.

"They have it! they have it!" shouted the family, as the hounds, with
their noses to the ground, led off in fine style.

"Take Prince and Carl in the leash, Lewis, and fasten it to your
saddle, then mount and away," cried the Trapper, throwing himself into
his saddle, and giving the mule the spur, he was rapidly following in
their wake.

Two hours passed, when the signals were given for the horses. Sidney
saddled them, took a basket of provisions which Mrs. Duncan had put up
with her usual thoughtfulness for others, and started in the direction
from which the firing proceeded.

Edward and Anne, in the morning, had followed the course of the stream
as far down as their father had traced them, Edward whiling away the
time in drawing the finny tribes from their element, Anne in weaving in
wreaths the gorgeous tinted wild flowers, sweet scented violets, and
glossy green of the running pine. The children heeded not time, nor the
distance they were placing between themselves and the camp, but
wandered on. The wild birds were trilling the most delicious music,
which burst on the ear enchantingly, and was the only sound that broke
the solemn stillness that reigned around, save the soft gurgling of the
water, as it glided over its pebbly bed. The forest was dense, the
foliage above them shielding them from the sun, while the bank was
smooth, mossy, and thickly studded with wild spring flowers, now in all
the luxuriance of their natural loveliness. When they came to the bank
of the stream where their father lost their track, they had their
curiosity excited by a grove of willows on the opposite side, in the
midst of which they could discern trunks of large trees piled up
systematically, with a quantity of rubbish laying around. Thoughtlessly
they resolved to cross over. The stream was about forty feet wide, but
very shallow, not over three feet deep at any point, and in many places
not more than two. But in order to get over, it was necessary to make a
raft. Edward was at no loss how to begin; he had too often seen his
father make temporary rafts to hesitate. Indeed, he looked upon it as a
thing too small to be of much importance. Collecting two as large
pieces of drift-wood as he could manage, he drew them to the bank,
collected fallen limbs and brush wood, laying them across the drift
wood, until he found, by walking upon it, that it would sustain their
weight; then seating Anne in the centre, and with a long pole in his
hand, placed himself beside her, and with the end of his pole pushing
against the bank, launched his strange looking craft into the stream,
their weight pressing against the water and its density resisting the
pressure, kept the raft together. Slowly but securely they moved along;
by pressing the pole against the bed of the river he propelled it until
they finally reached in safety the opposite bank, where, drawing their
raft a little out of water, that it might not float out of their reach
into the stream, they prepared to explore the grove of willows that had
drawn them thither. It was the sight of this raft across the stream
that caused Mr. Duncan's alarm about the Indians.

On entering they found a large space cleared of its primitive growth,
in the centre of about three acres, which was slightly overgrown with
stunted shrubs, but the willows that formed the grove were of gigantic
proportions, many of them three and a half, and some four feet in

In the centre of the clearing, was an immense fort, evidently built of
the willows that had been felled to clear the space. The logs had been
cut, straightened, and made to fit each other, with some sharp
instrument, the corners being smoothly jointed, making the whole
structure solid and impregnable to gun-shot or arrows. What had
evidently been the door was torn away, and lay mouldering on the
ground. The whole structure was apparently very old, and had been long
deserted. The grass was growing within the enclosure, with weeds and
briers, while the logs that formed it were covered with moss, and were
crumbling to decay.

The children's curiosity was now blended with an absorbing interest,
and Anne longed to follow Edward into the enclosure, but hesitated
until he called out, "Only look! Anne! what can this be?" Then
forgetting all her timidity, she hastened to see what he was dragging
out of the rubbish, and as he held it up triumphantly for her
inspection, she looked on with wonder and amazement.

"It is a huge plate cover; here is the handle," said Anne, turning it
round with eagerness.

"Hardly that," said her brother; "this is two feet across, and is
hardly the right thing for a plate cover; it is made of some metal."

"We will take it home," said Anne; "father and uncle Howe will know
what it is, don't you think so?"

But Edward was not listening, and did not answer. He was digging down
where he had found the thing, and came to a quantity of arrow heads,
evidently made of the same material as the other, but of what it was he
could not determine. Anne, with a strong stick in her hand, commenced
searching, and soon came upon what they knew to be a stone mortar, for
they had often seen them before.

Anne now began to complain of hunger, and Edward said he would give her
a treat, Indian-fashion, to celebrate their arrival into, as he
facetiously said, an Indian palace!

"But what can you give? We brought nothing with us; besides we have
been out quite as long as we ought to, and had better return

"Oh, no; we have not. You know the camp will not move to-day, and I
intend to make a day's work of it."

"We certainly must return; they will be alarmed about us. Come, let us
go back."

"Not until we have the feast. Now keep quiet, Anne, until that is over,
and then I will return with you."

"A funny feast it will be, composed of nothing."

"A finny feast it is to be, composed of fish. Now see how I will make a
fire." And taking a flint he had found, he struck his pocket knife
blade slant-wise against it, when it emitted sparks of fire in
profusion, which, falling on a sort of dry wood, known to woodmen as
"punk wood," set it on fire, which Edward soon blew into a blaze, and
by feeding it judiciously a fire was soon crackling and consuming the
fuel he had piled on it. In the mean time he had taken the fish he had
caught, dressed and washed them at the stream, and laying them on the
live coals until one side was done, turned them on the other by the aid
of a long stick he had sharpened for the purpose, and when done he took
them up on its point, and laid them steaming on a handful of leaves he
had collected, and presented them to his sister.

Anne was sure she had never ate fish that tasted so delicious, a
conclusion an excellent appetite helped her to arrive at. Edward was
highly elated at his success, and laughed and joked over a dinner they
enjoyed with a relish an epicure might covet. There is an old proverb
about stolen waters being sweet; certainly their stolen ramble and
impromptu dinner had a charm which completely blinded them to their
duty to their parents, and even their own safety; for Edward proposed
they should take a short ramble on the other side, where they were to
try if they could discover some other ruins like those at the fort, and
overruling the slight opposition Anne made, they gathered up the relics
they had found, and moved on from the stream towards the deep luring
shades, that were the same for many thousand miles, unbroken by the
bound of civilization, but bewildering by its still mystic loveliness.

On they went, regardless of taking any notes or landmarks until the
exhaustion of Anne warned Edward it was indeed time to return. Changing
their course for one they mistook for that they had come, they plunged
deeper and deeper at every step into the woods, without discovering
their error, until they knew by the distance they had traversed they
ought to have reached the old fort: but now it was no where to be seen,
neither were there any signs of a river. They wandered to and fro,
hoping every moment to make out the true direction to take, yet
becoming more confused and bewildered at every step. Finally, Edward
laid his ear to the ground, and listening, was sure he heard the faint
murmuring of water. They hastened on towards the direction whence it
proceeded, guided by the sound, until, oh joy! a stream burst upon
their sight. Reaching its banks, Edward took his sister in his arms,
plunged into the water, and was soon in safety on the opposite shore.
He was now in a great quandary, for though he had gained what he
supposed to be the bank he had left, without having lost time in
building a raft, yet he knew if he missed his way he would not be able
to gain the camp by sunset, for he saw by the long falling shadows that
the sun was rapidly descending.

Anne was greatly terrified, and wept bitterly. "Do not grieve," said
Edward, "they will of course miss, and come in search of us, if we do
not get home soon. I am very certain we are very near the camp

"I am afraid we are lost," Anne replied, sobbing, "and if we are, we
may never get back again!"

"Fie! Anne, don't be a coward, for I am very certain we shall, and that
within the hour."

"How can you be certain? you do not even know which direction to take."

"Oh! yes I do: we came south, and of course must go north to get back

"If we only knew which way was north. No stars are to be seen to
indicate it."

"Easily enough told,--come, we must not lose a moment, and as we go I
will tell you an unmistakable sign."

"Oh! I am so weary I can go no farther," and again the child sobbed

"Never mind, I am not tired, and can help you," and passing one arm
around her he rendered her great assistance, and again they were
hurrying on.

"You observe these trees," said he; "the bark on the side that faces
the way we are going is quite smooth and even, while the opposite side
is rough and the branches jagged. It is always so on forest trees, and
a person may rely on this as a natural sign, when he has none other to
go by, with perfect security. I have heard uncle Howe and father say
that they have repeatedly lost themselves in the woods, but by
following in one direction to a given point they could soon find
themselves again."

"It is getting so very dark. Oh! Edward, what shall we do?"

"The first of every thing we _must_ do is, to keep up our courage."

"Hist! what is that?--There it is again! Oh! Edward, let us run! There!
there it is!" screamed the terrified girl.

Edward turned to the direction indicated, and a wolf was crouching with
glaring eyes, ready to spring upon them. Edward's only weapon was a
pocket-knife, one of those long two-edged bladed weapons, so common in
the west; yet he did not despair, but placing Anne behind a large tree
stationed himself before it, and with his knife open and a huge club he
awaited the approach of the wolf.

It soon came. The wolf was lean and desperate, and with a terrific
growl he bounded forward, but was met by the brave boy, who sprang
aside as he came, and before the monster could recover his leap, Edward
had dealt him several deep and deadly blows. Following up his advantage
he sprang at the wolf with his knife, plunging it again and again in
his side. The brute feeling he was being conquered, with a mighty
effort turned on Edward with jaws extended, and would have done him
harm had not Anne sprung forward with the circular metallic relic they
had found at the fort, and placed it before her brother. This drew the
attention of the enraged wolf on her; but before he could spring,
Edward had felled him a second time to the ground, where he soon
dispatched him.

It was now too dark to make their way farther, and Edward was forced to
acknowledge the only hope of getting to camp that night, lay in their
being found by his friends and carried back. Many a boy would have been
discouraged, but Edward was not; though but seventeen he was athletic
and brave, and felt that he was answerable for his sister's safety,
whom he had led into this difficulty. "I _can_," said he to himself,
"and I will; and where there is a _will_, there is a _way_."

He immediately kindled a fire, as he had done in the morning, in order
to keep other wild beasts away, as well as to prepare some supper; then
taking his line he soon had some fine fish, (for he was on the river
bank he had last crossed,) which he broiled on the coals.

He could not shut his eyes to the terrible truth that they were in a
very dangerous place; for, although they piled on fuel to frighten the
beasts, yet they could hear the fierce growl of the wolf, the yell of
the panther, and their stealthy tread, and see their eyes flash and
glare in the surrounding gloom. The smell of the broiling fish seemed
to have collected them, and sharpening their voracious appetites, made
them desperate. To add to the difficulty of the children, the fuel was
getting scarce around the fire, and they dared not go away from it, for
it would be running into the very jaws of their terrible besiegers.

"We must get up into a tree, Anne," said Edward; "it is now our only

"Then, Edward, there is no hope for me; I cannot climb, but you can.
Save yourself while you can!"

"No, Anne, these monsters shall never have you while I live; never fear
that. I know you cannot climb of yourself, but I can get you there. We
must make a strong cord somehow. My fishing-line doubled twice will
help, and here is a tree of leather-wood;[2] this is fortunate, I can
now succeed."

      [2] _Dirca palustris_, a very tough shrub, of the _Thymalaeæ_
      species, growing in the deep forests.

Collecting together all the fuel he could, he piled it on the fire,
then taking his knife, stripped off the leather-wood bark, and tying it
around Anne's waist, with the other end in his hand, he climbed up to
the lowest limb, and then cautiously drew her up after him. Seating her
securely on that limb, he climbed higher up, drawing her after him,
until he reached a secure place, where he seated her, taking the
precaution to fasten the cord that was around her to the tree. It was a
large hemlock tree, and the limbs being very elastic, he proceeded to
weave her a bed, that she might take some repose, for the poor child
was wearied with fright and fatigue. Disengaging part of the cord from
her, he bent together some limbs, and fastened them securely with the
leather-wood string; he then broke some smaller branches, and
interlaced them with the larger ones, until he had made a strong and
quite comfortable bed. In this singular couch he placed Anne, where she
soon fell asleep.

Gradually the fire died away, and nearer and nearer their dreadful
enemies approached, until they came to the carcass of the dead wolf,
which they tore into pieces and devoured, amidst frightful growlings
and fightings. When nothing but the bare bones were left, they
surrounded the tree in whose friendly branches the children had taken
refuge, and kept up a continued howl through the night. Edward sat on a
limb by his sister through the night, his knife ready for use,
wondering if ever there was a night so long before. To him it seemed as
though day would never dawn; and when he espied the first faint glimmer
in the east, his heart bounded with gratitude that he had escaped the
perils of the night. But would the wolves go away with the darkness?
alas! they did not, but still prowled around, so that they did not dare
to descend from their place of security.

Howe and Lewis had discovered the place where the children had ate
their dinners at the fort, and had traced them until they came to the
place where they first found they had missed their way. Here the hounds
became perplexed in consequence of the children having doubled their
track, and were unable to make out the path. After some delay it was
again found, and followed to the river bank, which Howe hesitated to
cross, as it was now quite dark; accordingly they encamped for the
night. At dawn the next morning they crossed the river; the dogs were
turned loose, and after a few moments they set off at a rapid pace in
one direction; Howe and Lewis followed, and came in sight in time to
see the dogs give battle to the wolves that were watching the children
in the tree.

"Our rifles are needed there," said Howe, as his practised glance took
in the combat, and drawing his eye across his trusty gun, a sharp crack
was heard, and a wolf was felled to the ground. Again it was heard, and
another bit the dust. Lewis had not been idle; he too had brought down
two of them, and the remainder fled, with the hounds in pursuit.

The children's joy I will not attempt to describe, as they saw their
rescuers approach, nor yet the agony of the parents, as the night wore
away and the absent ones came not. Lewis took his sister in his arms,
holding her on the saddle before him, and bore her back to camp. She
would not relinquish the trophies found at the fort, which she had
purchased so dearly, but carried them with her.

"My children, how could you wander away so, when you well knew the
dangers of the woods?" said the father, when they were once more safely
in the camp.

"It was not Anne's fault, father: do not blame her. I persuaded her to
cross the river, and after leaving the old Indian fort, somehow we got
turned around, and instead of recrossing the river, we went on and
crossed over another stream," said Edward.

"Neither was it all Edward's fault," replied Anne; "I wanted to see
what was in the Willow Grove, and when once there the woods were so
shady and looked so cool and inviting----"

"Wolves and all, sister?" said Benny.

"The wolves were not there then; nothing but birds and squirrels, and
such bright flowers and----"

"Were you not very much frightened, when you found you had lost
yourselves?" asked Jane.

"Oh! yes; and when the wolf jumped at Edward, I thought we should never
see any of you again."

"Where is your 'plate cover' you used so effectually," said Edward,
"for I want you all to know that when the wolf was getting the better
of me, Anne, usually so timid, suddenly became very courageous, and
with this for a weapon turned the brute's attention on herself, and
thus perhaps saved my life."

"Give me Anne's 'plate cover;'" said the father, "I am curious to
examine what seems to have played so active a part in your adventure."

"A curious thing, very," said he, examining it closely. "Howe, did you
ever come across anything like it in your wanderings? It is heavy,
evidently of some kind of metal."

"Once, and once only. But its description would be a long story. Scrape
away the rust, Duncan, and see if it is made of copper."

Mr. Duncan cut away a thick scale of corroded metal, then scraping it
with a knife a pure copper plate was exposed to view.

"I thought so," said Howe. "It is a strange story, but I will tell you
all I know of it."

Chapter Third.

Howe's Story of a singular piece of Metal.

In compliance with Mr. Duncan's wish Howe related the story of the
singular piece of metal he had seen, similar to the one they had

"Some twenty years ago," said he, "my father and I carried on an
extensive traffic with the Indians around Lake Superior for furs, often
being gone a year on our expeditions, during which time we lived
entirely with the Indians, when not in some inhabited region, by
ourselves, which we often were, for a trapper penetrates and brings to
light hidden resources, of which the Indian never dreams. During one of
these excursions, we had been struck with the singular appearance of an
old man, tottering with age, who belonged to the wigwam of the Indian
chief with whose people we were trading. His thin hair, falling from
the lower part of his head, was long, curling and white, leaving the
top bald, and the scalp glossy. His beard was very heavy, parting on
the upper lip, and combed smoothly and in waving masses, fell on his
breast. His must have been a powerful, athletic frame in his manhood,
for when I saw him he was over seven feet high, and though feeble and
tottering, his frame was unbent, and his eye was blue and glittering,
with a soul his waning life could not subdue. His features, as well as
complexion, were totally unlike the rest of the tribe. His forehead was
broad and high, his chin wide and prominent, his lips full, with a
peculiar cast about them I had never seen on any other human being,
giving the impression of nobleness mingled with a hopeless agony and
sorrow. Such, at least, was the impression made on my mind, which time
has never effaced. He was a strange old man, with such a form and face,
and so unlike any other human being, that his very presence inspired
the heart with feelings of reverence. The Indians have no beard. This
fact impressed us with the idea that he was a white man; but when I
compared him to the white race, he was as unlike them as the Indians.
Singular in all his ways and manners, he seemed a being isolated from
every human feeling or sympathy.

"My father said he had known this man for thirty-five years, and when
he first saw him he was old, but then there was a woman with him, whom
he tenderly cherished, and who, but a few years before, died of extreme
old age. Otherwise he knew nothing more of them, as he never sought to
learn farther than what the chief had told him. When he asked who they
were, he was answered that they were all that was left of a nation
their ancestors had conquered so many moons ago, and the chief caught a
handful of sand, to designate the moons by the grains.

"I was more deeply impressed with the sight of this old man than I can
describe; and what I heard of him only deepened the impression, until
it haunted me continually. Who was he? How came he here? And where came
he from when he came here? Who were his kindred, and of what race and
nation was he? These were questions that I asked myself day after day,
but was unable to answer them. I resolved to find out, and attempted to
make friends with him as the most tangible way of succeeding. He was
reserved and haughty, and I doubted my success; but I was agreeably
surprised when he deigned to receive and converse with me, though at
the same time he treated me with a degree of contempt by no means
agreeable; yet it came from him with such a glance of pity in his eye
as if he earnestly commiserated my inferiority, that I half forgave him
at the moment. He conversed about everything save the one subject
nearest my heart--_himself_. But on this point he was silent, and when,
day after day, I entreated him to give me a history of himself, the
thought seemed to call up such agonizing recollections as to make every
renewal of the subject difficult for me and painful to him.

"Many months went by, but as yet I was no farther advanced than at
first, on the one great subject of which I so longed to be familiar. I
fancied of late the old man had become more taciturn and reserved than
formerly, showing a disinclination to converse on any subject, and I
could not avoid seeing his steps grow slower; he took less exercise
than had been his custom, and I saw plainly he was passing away. Then I
feared he would never relent; that death would come upon him and his
history remain unknown.

"One evening, after I had in vain endeavored to gain access to the old
man through the day, I wandered out and stood on a high cliff, against
whose base the waves of the lake beat with a sullen roar; and looking
far away over the turbulent surface of this prince of inland seas, was
wondering if ever its waters would become tributary to the will of my
race, or if, as now, the canoe of the Indian was all the vessel that
should breast its rugged waves. The place where I stood was a sort of
table, or level rock, the highest peak of the cliff, rising in a
cone-like shape, some thirty feet above. Below it was irregular, and
the path to the place where I stood tortuous, difficult, and dangerous;
but when once there, one of the grandest views on the whole lake was
presented. I had not been there long, when, hearing a footstep
approach, and thinking it a dangerous place to be caught in if it
should be an unfriendly Indian, I caught hold of some shrubs growing in
the crevices of the rock, and silently let myself down a few feet below
the table, whose overhanging rock I knew would protect me from
observation, and where I could have a full view of the rock by looking
through the shrubs, by whose friendly aid I had descended to my

"I had scarcely secreted myself when, to my astonishment, the old man
advanced slowly up the path, his labored breathing showing how painful
to him was the exertion. Fearing no harm I was soon by his side,
begging him to lean on me and to allow me to assist him. He looked down
on me with a peculiar expression, akin to that I should express should
Benny here insist on going out buffalo hunting, and which annoyed me
exceedingly, of which he, however, took no notice.

"After standing with folded arms, looking intently over the water
towards the far south, he turned to me and said:

"'It shall be even so. Come hither, son of a degenerate race, and learn
the secrets of the past. Long before your race knew this continent
existed, my people were in the vigor and glory of national prosperity.
From the extreme north, where the icebergs never yield to the sun,
through the variations of temperature to the barren rocks in the
farthest south, were ours, all, from ocean to ocean!'

"He paused for a moment, as if endeavoring to recall some
half-forgotten facts, then proceeded in a sorrowful tone.

"'But troubles came. Our kings had fostered two different races on
their soil, who were at first but a handful, and who had at two
different periods been driven by winds on our shore. The first that
were thus cast on our hospitality were partially civilized in their
ways, and though far removed above the brute, were not like us; so wide
was the difference that an intermarriage with them would have been
punished with death. They were human, and therefore protected, their
insignificance being their greatest friend; for my ancestors no more
thought of laying tribute on them, even when they came to number
themselves by thousands, than you would on an inferior race. The other
race were savages of the worst character; more savage than beasts of
prey, and so they multiplied and became strong, and even preyed upon
themselves. Thus our forests became filled with beasts in the shape of
man, and our districts with an imbecile race. Centuries rolled onward,
and the savages multiplied and grew audacious. They even penetrated our
cities and preyed upon us, while we, paralyzed by such acts of
ingratitude, were weakened by what should have made us strong. We
passively beheld a loathsome reptile, that might at first have been
crushed in an hour, thrive to become a monster to devour us.

"At length, but, alas! too late, we awoke to the danger of our
situation. We drove them from our cities to the mountains, but ere we
could take active measures to prevent a recurrence of these outrages,
the other race we had fostered started up like a swarm of locusts, and
declaring themselves our equals, demanded to be recognized as such. So
preposterous was this demand, that we were at first disposed to treat
it only as the suggestion of a disordered intellect, but, of course,
could never comply with so degrading a request, for nothing we could do
could invest them with strength, intellect, or form like ours. Soon
after our refusal they too grew audacious, and forming a league with
the savages, set up a king whom they said should make laws and govern
the land. Then commenced a terrible war of extermination. This whole
continent was drenched with blood. _We_ fought to save _our_ homes and
our country, _they_ to gain the supremacy. It was not a battle of a
year or of half a century. As many years as I have seen, the torrent
was never stayed, and when an advantage was gained, on either side,
life was never spared. By slow degrees, they possessed themselves of
fortress after fortress, and city after city: _we_, the while, growing
weaker, they stronger, until we were compelled to take refuge in the
cities of our king. These cities were built and walled with granite,
and we supposed them to be impregnable; and laying as they did in the
_centre_ of the continent, and in proximity to one another, we hoped
yet to withstand them. But, alas! we had another foe to encounter.
Gaunt hunger and famine came with their ghastly forms and bony arms,
blighting the strong and the brave. But it could not make traitors or
cowards of us, and dying we hurled defiance at our foes. The walls of
our cities unmanned, were scaled--the gates thrown open; and our
streets filled with the murderers whom we had reared to exterminate us.
A few were found alive, and these few were saved by the victors that
the arts and sciences might not die. From these I am descended; but
though we refused to transmit this knowledge to them, they treated us
with great care, hoping that after a lapse of time we would amalgamate
with them. But we were made of sterner stuff than that. We could see
our race and nation blotted from existence, but not degraded. After the
lapse of many centuries we were forgotten in the struggles of a half
civilized race and the savages for supremacy, and my people dying out
year by year, are all gone save _myself_, the last of the rightful
owners of this continent."

As the old man concluded, his head fell forward on his breast and he
remained silent and motionless so long, that I feared the recalling of
the past had been too great a task for him, and going up to him, I laid
my hand on his. Throwing it aside, he said: "Young man, I have told you
of the past, and now there is a page of the future I will unfold to
you. Your race shall possess the heritage of my ancestors. And as the
savages exterminated us, so shall you them. But, beware, you too are
fostering a serpent that at last will sting, and perhaps devour you."
"The arts and sciences of your race speak of them; were they like
ours," I said, anxious to learn more of this strange people: "Yours,"
he replied with more warmth than he had exhibited, "are not unlike
ours, though far inferior to them. Your race boasts of discoveries and
inventions! ah! boy, you are but bringing to light arts long lost, but
in perfection centuries of centuries before your people ever knew of
this land."

"Is there any proof of this? is there nothing remaining to give ocular
demonstration of these facts?" I asked.

"A few," said he. "Nothing very satisfactory, but what there is, you
shall see."

So saying, he let himself down to the same spot where I had, in hiding
from him, I following. On removing a few pieces of loose rock the door
leading to a cavern was visible, which we entered. It was a large cave
running back into a lofty arched room, as far as I could see in the
surrounding gloom. The old man took a couple of torches from a pile
that lay on a shelving rock close by the door, lighted them, and giving
one to me bade me follow. The farther we went the wider and loftier was
the cave, until I began to wonder where it would end. At this moment he
paused before a stone tablet of immense proportions, raised about three
feet from the floor, the ends resting on blocks of granite. All over
its surface was hieroglyphics engraved in characters I had never seen
before, though I have often found similar ones since.

"Here," said he, "are recorded the heroic deeds of our race while
fighting to save our firesides from a rapacious foe. Every character is
a history in itself. Yet your race know it not; but still boast of
sciences you do not possess."

"No," said I, "we cannot decypher these characters, we have never
claimed to have done so; but if you can give me a key to them, tell me
how we may make an alphabet to it, we may still be able to do so."

"It would be useless for me to do so," said he, with his old manner of
superiority, "your intellect could not grasp it; you would not
understand me."

"Try me," said I, eagerly, "try me and see."

But he only beckoned me away, then advancing a few paces took from a
recess in the rock, a heavy flagon not unlike our own in shape, and
placing it in my hand, informed me that their vessels for drinking were
like that, varied in shape and size according to taste. Holding it to
the light, I was astonished to find it was made of gold, fine and pure
as any I had ever seen. There were instruments of silver, also, which
he assured me, would carry sound many miles, and others of glass and
silver to shorten objects to the sight at an equal distance. And these,
said he, handing me some curious shaped vases are like the material of
which we made many of our ornaments to our dwelling. They appeared to
be made of glass, yet they were elastic. He said the material was
imperishable. There were helmets, shields, curiously shaped weapons,
chisels, and many things I knew not the use of, all made of copper,
among the rest a shield precisely like the one you have, Anne."

"Did you bring nothing away? uncle," asked the children.

"No: when he had shown me all he desired me to see, he led me back to
the mouth of the cave, and motioning me out, followed, closing the
opening he had made and ascending to the table where we stood before.

"Then I begged the old man to tell me more of his race, to unfold the
curtain that hung like a pall between them and us. He shook his head
sadly, and standing with his face towards the south, communing with
himself awhile, turned to me, and said: 'You believe in a God, good and
evil, rewards and punishments?'"

I answered in the affirmative.

"Would you hesitate to break an oath taken in the name of the God in
which you believe?" he asked.

"I would not dare to commit such a crime," I answered.

"Then, swear," said he, "that what I have told and shown you, you will
never reveal to human being by word or sign."

"Oh, no, you cannot mean that; leave us some clue to your lost race," I

"Yes, swear," repeated he imperiously.

"No: oh! no, I cannot. Though for your sake," I said, "I will be silent
any reasonable number of years you shall dictate to me."

He gazed sternly on me for a few moments, then said.

"Let it be so. When I have passed away you are absolved from your

"You will teach me to read the recorded past," I said inquiringly, "and
tell me of the arts now lost, at some future day!"

"It is too late, my days are spent, he said; then rousing himself, he
exclaimed, in a voice that still rings in my ears: 'Son of a
degenerate race, go over this whole continent and there trace the
history of my people. Our monuments are there, and on them are chiseled
our deeds, and though we moulder in the dust, they can never die; they
are imperishable. Go where the summer never ends, where the trees
blossom, still laden with fruit, and there we once were mighty as these
forests, and numerous as the drops in this lake; there read of our
glory--but not of our shame--that was never chiseled in our monumental
pillars; it is here, (placing his hand on his heart) and with _me_ must
die. Go, (said he, waving with his hand towards the path that ascended
the table) go, and leave the last of a mighty race, to die alone. It is
not fitting you should be here: Go? I am called.'"

I obeyed him reluctantly, but I never saw him again.

Chapter Fourth.

Their journey continued. Finding a Prairie. Encamping for the Night.
Singular incident. A Mirage on the Prairie. Alarm in the Camp. The
Prairie discovered to be on fire. Flight to the Sand Hills. Their final
escape. Search for water. Finding a stream. Encampment.

The next day the camp was struck and packed; the oxen, rested and
invigorated by roving over and cropping the rich grasses that grew in
luxuriance along the banks of the river by which they had encamped,
moved with a brisk step along their shady track, while the voices of
the drivers sounded musically, reverberating through the stillness of
the forest. Towards noon they came to one of those singularly
interesting geological features of the west, a _Prairie_. This was
something entirely new to the younger children, who had never been far
from the place where they were born, and it very naturally surprised
them to see such a boundless extent of territory, without a house,
barn, or fence of any kind--nothing but a waving mass of coarse rank

"Oh! father," cried little Benny, as the vast prairie burst on his
sight, "see what a great big farm somebody has got! But where does he
live? I don't see any house."

"And the fences, apple, peach, and pear trees?" said Anne.

"It is not a farm; it's a big pasture kept on purpose to feed buffaloes
and deer in," said Martin.

"You are all wrong," retorted Lewis, "for though buffaloes and deer do
feed on the prairie, it is not kept for them alone; it has always been
so--trees will not grow on it."

"You, too, are wrong, Lewis," said Mr. Duncan. "Though it is true trees
will not grow on the prairie now, yet it was not always so. Geologists
tell us that the vegetable growth, some thousand years ago was, in many
respects, different from what now covers the solid surface of our
earth. Changes of temperature and constituents of soil are going on
from age to age, and correspondent changes take place in the vegetable
kingdom. Over large tracks, once green with ferns, stately trees have
succeeded, followed in their turn, in the course of ages, by grosser
and other herbaceous plants."

"According to that theory, after a regular course of time has elapsed,
these rank grasses will be succeeded by some ether form of vegetable
growth," remarked Sidney.

"Certainly," replied Mr. Duncan. "When one class of trees has exhausted
the soil of appropriate pabulum, and filled it with an excrement which,
in time, it came to loathe, another of a different class sprang up in
its place, luxuriated on the excrement and decay of its predecessor,
and in time has given way to a successor destined to the same ultimate
fate. Thus, one after another, the stately tribes of the forest have
arisen, flourished, and fell, until the soil has become exhausted of
the proper food for trees, and become fitted for the growth of
herbaceous plants."

After pitching their camp that night, the children in rambling round
it, came to one of those landmarks with which the prairies are so
thickly studded along the different trails--_a grave_. Saddened at the
thought of any one dying in that lonely place, they gathered around it,
wondering if the hand of affection soothed his last, his darkest hour,
if tears bedewed his resting place, or whether he died unmourned,
unwept, hurried with unseemly haste beneath the sod, and only
remembered by a mother, wife or sister, who a thousand miles away was
wondering why the absent one, or tidings of him, came not.

The children assembled thus in a group, Howe drew thither also, to
ascertain what they had found.

"A grave," said he, "ah! poor fellow, he sleeps well in his prairie

"Here is a name cut in this bit of board at the head, uncle, but it is
done so badly I can't make it out," said Martin.

"Let me try," said Howe; "it is plain enough, sure."

          "JOSHUA CRANE
    "OCT. 20, 1834, AGED 27."

"Now, children, would you like to see Mr. Joshua?" said Howe.

"Why, uncle," said they, "how can you make light of such a thing?"

"I am in earnest; for, from various indications about it, I am of
opinion that he is a curious fellow."

Anne, with a tear in her eye, cast a reproachful look towards her
uncle, while the rest were too much surprised to do anything but stare
at him in wonder.

"Bring me a crowbar and shovel, Edward. I find I must convince these
little doubters that I am really in my senses."

"Oh, uncle!" said Jane, "you could not have the heart to disturb the

"Bless me, child, who thinks of disturbing the dead; I am only going to
show you what a funny fellow Joshua is. Now," said he, raising the
crowbar, "if Joshua is sleeping here, this iron cannot reach him; but,
if as I suspect, why, then, you see"--and down went the crowbar in the
loose earth. "Now give me the shovel," said he, and commenced removing
the dirt, the children looking on in astonishment. He soon brought to
the surface, and rolled on the grass a _barrel of brandy_. The broad
lonely prairie fairly resounded to the shouts and laughter of the
children, as they danced about the barrel; Howe standing by enjoying a
deep ha! ha! peculiarly his own.

"What a curiosity, Joshua is! Who would have thought of finding such a
thing there?"

"It is a rare thing, I own," said Howe, "yet occasionally resorted to
when oxen have given out, or died. Sometimes wagons have been
over-loaded, and then unable to make their way over the rough roads,
some heavy article is taken and buried with all the signs of a grave
about it, to prevent its being disturbed and stolen, as in the present
instance. Probably the owner will be along here for it, or sell it to
some one who will come for it in course of the summer."

"Will you leave it here, or bury it again?"

"The prize is mine; I shall carry it along with me," said Howe.

"That would not be right," rejoined Martin. "It is another man's

"Which he forfeited by false pretences. No, children, whatever found
without an owner in these wilds, falls to the finder by right," said
the Trapper.

"I think the children are right," said Mrs. Duncan, who had come hither
at the sound of their mirth.

"Suppose the owner is dead and never comes for it," said Howe.

"It in no wise alters the case. It is better that it never finds an
owner than possess ourselves of what has purposely been hid from us."

"Such notions are right and proper for a settlement, but for a place
like this, it is carrying it to too nice a point."

"The rights of others should be as sacred to us in one place as
another," replied Mrs. Duncan.

"Suppose somebody had trapped beaver and foxes in some particular
locality, would that make the animals that were uncaught in that
locality his own?"

"Certainly not. The case is different; as the beaver uncaught never
were his, he had no claim on them. But if he caught a hundred beaver
and cured the skins, and secreted them in some place until he chose to
sell them, it would be decidedly dishonest for any one to take them
away as their own, because they had found the place in which they were

"I believe you are right, Mary. Joshua shall be reinterred," said Howe,
rolling the barrel in its old bed, and proceeding to cover it.

"Mother is always right," cried the children, as they wended their way
back to camp.

Early the next morning, as they were moving over the prairie, a
beautiful vision burst on their sight. It was a mirage of the prairie.
As the sun rose in all the splendor of an unclouded sky in the east,
the objects in the west became suddenly elongated vertically, the long
rank grass stretching to an amazing altitude, while its various hues of
green were reflected with vivid accuracy. As the emigrants approached
the optical illusion, it gradually contracted laterally above and below
towards the centre, at the same time rapidly receded towards the
horizon, until it assumed its original aspect. As the sun approached
the meridian, the atmosphere become so intensely warm that Mr. Duncan
thought it prudent to rest until it began to descend, to which they all
joyfully assented, as their oxen appeared to be almost overcome with
the heat. They had been a day and a half on the prairie, and as the
water they brought with them would not last them longer than the next
morning, they were anxious to make the distance to the hills, which
were looming faintly before them in the west, where they were sure of
finding an abundant supply. Accordingly, the oxen were turned loose,
the horses and mules being picketed, and all resigned themselves to the
disagreeable necessity of an encampment in a burning noonday sun on the
prairie, with not even a shrub to shelter them from its rays. But there
was no help for it, the oxen could not proceed with the wagons, and
they were obliged to wait until the heat of the day was over.

Towards evening, a light breeze began to stir the heated air, and borne
on its wings, came also a disagreeable odor caught only at long
intervals, but which served to put Howe and Mr. Duncan on their guard.

"There is a fire on the prairie, away at the north," said Howe, "and
there is not a moment to be lost, if we would save our baggage, cattle,
or even our lives!"

"It is true, there is fire, and now I see the smoke away yonder,
looking like a thin mist against the sky; should it blow this way, our
only refuge is the Sand Hills, that I know lay yonder towards the
forest," said Mr. Duncan, looking intently towards the point whence the
odor came.

"Saddle the horses and mules, boys," said Mr. Duncan, "and place Mary
and the children on them. Benny, you must ride with your mother, I am
afraid to trust you alone on a mule chased by fire. You must sit still,
my boy, and keep up your courage; the Sand Hills are yonder, not more
than three miles over the plain; you see them, Mary," he continued,
"but do not mind the trail; keep your horses headed direct for them,
and ride for your lives. I do not think there will be any danger for
any of us; but it is better to make all ready for the worst."

"But, suppose you, with the oxen, wagons, and cows, are surrounded with
fire," said Mrs. Duncan.

"We will do our best in the emergency. But I hope to gain the hills in
safety. Perhaps the wind will shift and blow the fire in another
direction. We must hope for the best, doing everything in our power for
our safety. Now go; give the horses and mules a loose rein."

And away over the plain the cavalcade went, followed by the wagon as
fast as the oxen could travel, but the progress they made was slow in
comparison to that of the fire. On it came, and on went the cattle,
goaded by the drivers at first, but at last catching sight of the
heavy, rolling wave of fire that was sweeping towards them, they
started into a gallop, frightened and seeming to comprehend the danger
that menaced them. Mr. Duncan saw his wife and children gain the Sand
Hills in safety, and then the smoke and half consumed grass filled the
air, hiding the rescued from view as the burning wave swept toward
them, maddening the oxen and making the stout hearts of the pioneers
quail, as the burning fragments eddying through the air, fell thick and
fast among them. Prairie dogs, in droves went howling past, wolves and
panthers laying their bodies close to the ground in their rapid leaps,
heeded not each other, and even an antelope joined in the flight
unmolested, from their common foe. Innumerable prairie fowls filled the
air with their cries; but, above every other sound arose the roar and
crackling of the scorching billowy mass, as on, still on it came, now
rising until its seething flame seemed to touch the sky, then falling a
moment only to rise the next still higher.

A prairie on fire is a sublime spectacle, which those who have had the
good fortune to see, in a place of safety, will not soon forget. But a
horrible ordeal it is for those who are overtaken by the raging flame;
for, if the grass is dry, with a slight breeze to fan the flame, it
travels with the speed of a whirlwind.

Mr. Duncan could not abandon his noble beasts in the extremity, for he
knew if left to themselves, unaccustomed to the ground, they would lose
themselves, and ensure their destruction; but, in keeping by their
sides, encouraging them by his presence and urging them on, he still
hoped to save them, although half blinded with smoke and the hot air
that surrounded them. Howe had charge of one of the teams, and Sidney
the other, who, following the example of Mr. Duncan, stood their ground
bravely, resolving to share the fate of their cattle.

Mrs. Duncan and the children, from their hill of refuge, saw with
terror the fearful and unequal race on the plain below, until they were
entirely enveloped in smoke, and then their suspense was harrowing till
a puff of wind lifted the smoky cloud, which it occasionally would,
giving them for an instant a glimpse of their friends, as on they came
towards them in their headlong career. But, as nearer, still nearer
came the flames, the cloud became too dense to be lifted by the wind,
and all was one circling, eddying wave, hiding every object from view.
A few moments of suspense, during which no words were spoken, and then
bursting through the cloud came their noble oxen, their tongues dry and
blackened and hanging from their mouths, their hair scorched from their
sides, and the wagon covers on fire, while the drivers feeling they
were safe sank on the sand, half way up the hill from exhaustion.

Mrs. Duncan, and the children, were soon by the wagons, tearing off the
covers, and by so doing, saved the contents from burning. Then pouring
water over and down the throats of their exhausted oxen, they were soon
able to breathe freely. In the meantime, by Mrs. Duncan's direction,
Anne had taken a basin of water and bathed the faces and hands of the
drivers, so that they were, though quite exhausted, very comfortable.
The fire rolled past them without reaching them further, and finally,
after having spent itself died away, leaving the broad prairie that was
at noon so heavily covered with verdure, a blackened plain.

"This is a pretty fix for us to get in, Duncan," said Howe, as the fire
rolling away, left them clear of smoke, and gave them a full view of
their position. "Here we are," he continued, "every drop of water
spent, without a blade of grass around us, begrimed with soot and
smoke, looking worse than any Indians I ever saw."

"We ought to be thankful," said Mr. Duncan, "that no lives are lost. We
have escaped better than we had reason to hope, placed as we were."

"To be sure we have escaped ourselves, but see what a pitiable plight
our oxen are in. They will not be able to draw another load in a week,
at least; and what are we to do in the meantime?"

"I declare, uncle, I think you have the horrors; for whoever before saw
you at a loss for an expedient under any circumstances?" said Jane,
with a merry twinkle in her eye; for this was a peculiar phase in her
uncle's character, to hold up to others the worst side of any
circumstance, while at the same time he was taking active measures to
remedy it. So in this instance: for he had already made arrangements to
reconnoitre the forest, that lay west of the Sand Hills, not over two
and a half miles distant. Accordingly, mounting one horse, with Lewis
on the other, they galloped over the plain, and striking the forest at
the nearest point, they found it dry, destitute of grass, and totally
unfit for a camping ground. Taking a circuit in a southerly direction,
where the surface seemed more broken, they found they were on higher
ground, and as they rode on, the thick undergrowth all the while
growing more dense, encouraged them to proceed; for which they were
rewarded by striking a small brooklet of pure water, whose banks were
lined with rich grasses, sheltered by tall trees that grew on either
side. Here he resolved the camp should be pitched, and lighting a fire
to mark the place, they galloped back to the Sand Hills. To remove the
heavy wagons was no easy task, as the oxen were only able to walk
without a burthen.

There were two pairs of mules and one of horses, and these being
hitched to one of the wagons, were taken to the place designated by the
stream, and then brought back for another until all the wagons were on
the ground, which the last reached about ten at night. In the meantime,
Mrs. Duncan had walked thither with the children, Mr. Duncan, with the
other boys, driving the oxen a little way at a time, and at last
reached the camp ground as the last wagon came up.

Chapter Fifth.

Preparing a Supper. Heavy Storm. The Place of their Encampment.
Straggling Indians seen. Apprehensions of an Attack. Preparations of
defense. Approach of the Crows. A Fight. The Camp Attacked. Capture of
Five in the Camp. The Pursuit. Recovery of some of the Captured. The
pursuit Continued. Tabagauches meet the Crows, and defeat them. They
are discovered. Encampment.

Tired and sleepy, our travelers provided themselves with supper, having
pitched their tents, and laid down to court sleep the great restorer
for body and mind. The sky was cloudless betokening a clear night; and
presuming on this they had not re-covered their wagons, intending to
leave it until they had slept off their fatigue. But in this, even Howe
had something to learn. People under such circumstances should presume
on nothing, but make everything sure, for at one hour they are not
certain that the next will find them secure. It did not them, for they
had slumbered scarcely three hours, when the whistling winds and
creaking of their tent poles aroused them from their slumbers.
Springing from their beds they were almost blinded by the lightnings'
glare, as flash followed flash, in quick succession, each accompanied
by a deafening peal of thunder that reverberated portentously through
the forest. Mr. Duncan hastened into the open air. The sky was overcast
with fleecy clouds, while from the northwest came slowly up a dark
heavy cloud stretching over the whole of that part of the sky. As
higher and higher it rose, louder grew the thunder, and more vivid the
lightning, the wind sweeping round in angry blasts until it seemed as
if every element in nature was in commotion.

Immediately every hand was brought in requisition to fasten the tent
poles more securely, and by the time it was accomplished, the storm,
with all its fury burst upon them, while they were straining every
nerve to fasten the tarpaulin covers on the wagons to protect the
contents from the storm, should the rain penetrate the tent. The cover
on Mrs. Duncan's wagon they had succeeded in fastening, and were
proceeding to the next, when a terrible crash was heard near them, that
shook the ground.

"There is high wind to-night," said Howe. "It must have taken more than
ordinary force to have blown down that tree--there goes another--crash!
what a fearful night it is!"

"The smoke from the burning prairie has formed itself in clouds, which,
becoming overcharged with moisture, are discharging themselves,"
remarked Mr. Duncan.

"A glorious cooling we shall get, after being nearly baked," remarked

"Oh! what is that!" cried Mrs. Duncan, as a heavy body fell against the
tent, crushing it as if it had been a feather.

But no one could answer, for in a twinkling their light was out, and
the rain in torrents pouring in upon their water-proof wagons. The
whole family had taken refuge in Mrs. Duncan's wagon, after having
secured the covers in their proper places; and it is well they did, or
they would have been deluged in an instant; for it seemed as if the
heavens had opened their windows, and were pouring from thence a flood
of water. They could only catch a glimmering of the mischief done to
their tent by the flashes of lightning; but they saw enough to
ascertain that a tree had fallen across it, and had crushed one of the
wagons beneath its weight. They had escaped unhurt, being buried
beneath the falling canvass by its splitting in the centre. Gradually
the storm spent itself, and by morning, but a few flitting clouds were
seen above the horizon.

Less stouter hearts than those of our pioneers would have been dismayed
at the destruction which had been going on in the night, and which the
light revealed. Their tent, rent in a dozen pieces, one of the wagons
badly broken, and everything out of the wagons saturated with water.
Right manfully, however, they went to work. The tent was spread where
the sun would fall upon it, and everything that had been wet during the
night, together with the blackened suits that went through the fiery
ordeal the day before, were taken to the brook-side by Mrs. Duncan and
Jane, and very soon were waving in spotless purity from the bushes
where they had been hung to dry, giving the scenery around the
encampment a home-like appearance.

The place of their encampment was a lovely spot; but truly refreshing
after their tiresome journey over the prairie; and though their first
night was exceedingly uncomfortable, it was owing to the warring
elements, and not to any fault of the place. Before the night again set
in, busy hands had been at the tent, and once more it reared its
conical shaped head among the forest trees, but bearing marks in its
numerous patches, of the tempest that had raged so fiercely through the
past night.

Day after day wore away, and still the cattle exhibited a great deal of
lassitude, so much so, as to preclude the possibility of moving on.
This was no great annoyance to the travelers, as it was early in the
summer, and their only object was to find a place that would suit them
for a permanent settlement, before cold weather set in, which they were
sure of not effecting, should they be detained a month in their present
encampment. Besides, their camp being in a lovely valley, on the
borders of a clear stream, surrounded by everything that could make the
lordly groves enchanting, game of almost every kind abounded, to which
they paid particular attention, as their stock of dried meat and
roasted ribs, broiled steaks, and savory soups, could testify.

Howe's time was spent, when not following game, in giving the boys
lessons in distinguishing one kind of game from another by signs before
they were near enough to see it; and then the best mode of bringing it
down and disposing of it. They practised shooting at a target, with
both gun and bow, hurling a knife or tomahawk, and handling the
Indian's war club daily. Mrs. Duncan's tent bore more the semblance of
a large room in a thriving farmer's house, than a temporary camp in the
wilderness, so homelike was its appearance. A cupboard made by standing
two boards perpendicular, with cleats nailed across, in which were laid
the shelves, held her crockery and tinware; a temporary table, made in
equally as primitive a style, but now covered with a table cloth, stood
at one side, while at the left, was a barrel covered also by a white
cloth, on which was set a dressing glass, the top wreathed with
mountain laurel, and wild flowers, and placed in that post of honor by
little Anne, who was sure to renew it every day. Camp stools stood
around the tent, while the whole surface of the ground in the tent was
matted with dried buffalo skins, making it free from dampness, and not
altogether uncomely in appearance.

Mrs. Duncan, had ever been noted for a love of orderly household
arrangements, and now, as ever, they developed themselves in a thousand
little comforts that she had thoughtfully stowed away; and now that
they were needed, added essentially to their comfort and pleasure.
Hardly an article was desired that she did not produce from some
corner, its whereabouts unknown to the rest of the family, until
wanted; and when she one day brought out an old familiar boot-jack, one
being wished for, Mr. Duncan said he believed she was in possession of
Aladin's lamp.

They often saw around their camp a straggling Indian of the friendly
tribes, to whom some of them were known. But this was not always to
continue, for a few had been spies, that had carried to their tribes an
account of the emigrants, their heavily loaded wagons containing a
coveted prize, and the owners too few to protect it from any great
force against them. Some of these were "Crows," a tribe noted for
treachery, and others "Arapahoes," in whose professions of friendship
Howe and Mr. Duncan had great confidence. They were under no
apprehension of being molested, and retired every night as usual, with
the precaution of a single guard. Everything went on as usual for a
week, when they were aroused with caution, and armed by Howe, who was
sentinel that night, who said he saw things in the forest that, at the
least, looked very suspicious. Nothing transpired, however, to confirm
his suspicions until daylight, when Howe cautiously reconnoitered the
ground around. He discovered traces where they had been, but so
artfully had they covered their trail, that, without the tact of
detecting it, possessed by the trapper, it would have passed
unobserved, for the rest of the travelers declared they could see

"Their designs are against us; their approaching and then returning
without coming into camp, proves it a certainty," remarked Howe, after
satisfying himself that they had not only been there and gone away, but
were anxious to obliterate all traces of their presence.

"We must not be taken by surprise," replied Mr. Duncan. "Courage has
more effect in subduing an Indian than even a ball. However, I do not
apprehend that they really intend to make an assault on us."

"Perhaps not," said Howe, "but they act very suspiciously, prowling
about like beasts. Why don't they show themselves, if friendly? But,"
he continued, "if they want to skulk about, and pounce upon us, let
them take the consequences, our rifles do not miss fire."

"We had better use great precaution about wandering from camp, for a
few days, or they will carry all off while we are away. Perhaps it is
only a straggling war party returning home, and in a few days we will
be rid of them."

That night they retired, but Howe was too suspicious of treachery to
allow any one else to be sentinel but himself, and as he had slept a
while during the day, he was equal to the self-imposed task. As the
shades deepened, his practised ear detected sounds that others would
have thought little of, but which he considered, unmistakably to be
produced by the stealthy tread of Indians. As hour after hour went by,
shadows were flitting from tree to tree, and then Howe knew for a
certainty that the camp was surrounded by hostile foes.

Stealthily every one in the camp was awakened, and armed with rifles,
with the exception of Benny and Anne, who were placed in a secure
position. Mrs. Duncan and Jane could handle a rifle with as much
precision as was necessary to protect themselves in an emergency. Mr.
Duncan and Howe, disposed their little band so as to bring their arms
to bear on three different points from which they were certain, in case
of an attack, the foe would come, by the moving figures in the shadows
but dimly seen, but which could be traced by keeping the eye intently
fixed upon them.

"Make no movement or noise," was the order, "but at the first sound
from the savages, every one be ready to fire; probably when they find
their fire anticipated, they will retreat, if not, give them another
volley on the moment." They had stood in this position for half an
hour, when a single savage stept from behind a tree, advanced a yard or
two into the open glade that lay for a few rods around, and divesting
himself of his tomahawk, scalping knife, bow and arrows, laid them on
the ground, and after pointing at them, as if to draw attention to
them, advanced with finger on his lip towards the camp.

Howe had observed his movements, but when he saw him lay down his arms
and come towards them, he felt certain the Indian desired a conference.
Duncan thought it a ruse to draw some of them from the camp where the
ambushed Indians could make a sure target of them.

"I agree with you that it is not safe to go out of the camp, but there
can be no harm in letting the savage in. He is unarmed, and at the
first appearance of hostility, he must be dispatched," replied Howe.

"If he enters the camp to-night, he must not return until daylight,"
said Mr. Duncan.

"Certainly not! Hark! he is close to us; see, he pauses: what can he

"Arapahoe! white man's friend," distinctly they heard him pronounce.

"What are you doing here, then?" said Howe, "don't you see I could
shoot you like a dog, that comes stealing around, as if afraid of

"The son of the 'Great Medicine' would not hurt Whirlwind," replied the

"Ha! Whirlwind, what are you doing here, you are indeed, safe," said
Howe, lowering the barrel of his rifle.

"Whirlwind, returning to his village with his braves, found a snake
encircling his white brother's wigwam, and has crept within the circle
to save them," returned the Indian.

"What is that you say? are there other Indians beside your own, about?"

"The hills are dark with 'Crows,' who stand ready at the sound of the
war-whoop, to sweep down on my brothers, drink their blood, and steal
their goods."

"Perhaps it is not so easily accomplished," said Howe, "you know we are
no cowards, to give our lives and property without striking a blow to
save them."

"My brothers are a handful, the Crows cover the hills; but my warriors,
though but few, are brave and will fight for their white brothers."

"If things are as bad as you represent, this is very kind of you; but,
how are we to know that the 'Crows' are around in large numbers to
attack us?"

"The tongue of Whirlwind is not forked; he cannot lie;" returned the
Indian proudly.

"I know it, Whirlwind, I know you are true, as well as brave. The
danger forced the thought, though I really did not doubt your truth for
a moment. I will take your advice, Whirlwind. What is the most
effectual mode of protecting ourselves?"

"My white brothers will guard their camp, and should the Crows press us
too hard, help to repel them," said the Indian, and by his tone, he
evidently had not forgotten the suspicion cast upon his veracity.

"You do not intend to stand the brunt of the fight, do you?" said Howe.
"No, Whirlwind, I can't allow that."

"The braves of the Arapahoes have, for many moons longed to meet the
'Crows' in battle; now, surely, my white brother will not go between

"I certainly shall not consent to any blood being shed," interposed Mr.
Duncan, "without provocation. We wish to be on friendly terms with all
the tribes, and will not do anything that will have a tendency to
irritate them."

"Yonder, the Crows, in numbers, await the signal of their chief, to
drink the blood of my brothers, and carry their wives and children
prisoners to their wigwams; when this is done, it will be too late to
strike a blow. But it shall not be; see, yonder in the thicket, a
hundred Arapahoe warriors are panting for the onset. The children of
the 'Great Medicine' shall be saved. They are in Whirlwind's hunting
grounds, and he will protect them." So saying, the irritated Chieftain
turned on his heel, and strode away, pausing to collect his arms, when
he disappeared in the thicket.

A council was immediately held in camp; but before any decision was
determined upon, a deafening war-whoop was heard from the hills, at the
same moment the battle-cry of the Arapahoes broke from the thickets
around the camp. Then a charge was heard and the combatants' yells,
shrieks and groans were mingled with the fierce war-whoop, as the
Indians rushed on each other. The Crows astounded to find they were
confronted by their deadly foes, at first broke and retreated; but the
taunting jibes of the Arapahoes as they pressed on them aroused the
demon in their natures, and turning, they charged on their pursuers,
driving them back before them, towards the camp, at the same moment
making the forest re-echo their cry of victory. Howe heard the hoarse
note, as it swelled fiercely on the air, and springing from the camp,
cried, "Come! now is our time: follow me!" and dashing into the forest,
followed by Mr. Duncan, Sidney and Lewis, he met the retreating
Arapahoes who, encouraged by this timely assistance, faced about, and
the rifles of the pioneers telling with fearful effect, caused the
Crows to fly with terror; and as their pursuers loaded running, the
constant volleys prevented the Crows rallying, and in a few minutes the
whole band was either killed, wounded or dispersed through the forest.

"Back to your camp, there is trouble there," cried Whirlwind, "my
braves will pursue the Crows," and calling a dozen warriors to his
side, he bade them follow on with him after the pioneers.

When the Crows gave the cry of victory, about a dozen of them rushed
through to secure the whites prisoners, and having been unobserved by
the Arapahoes, or our pioneers, when they heard their own tribe a
second time driven back, they determined to carry them off as first
intended, hoping to secrete themselves before the victors returned.

With varying sensations of hope and dismay, Mrs. Duncan heard the
combatants advance, retreat, advance again, and at last retreat,
followed by their rescuers, and at the moment when she supposed they
were freed from danger, the swarthy robbers burst into her camp, and
were in the act of seizing her when the sharp crack of a rifle was
heard, and the foremost savage leaped in the air with a hoarse yell,
and fell dead at her feet. Martin had saved his mother, for stepping
back on the instant, she raised her rifle and another fell beneath her
aim; at the same moment Jane's rifle disabled another; but the savages
closed so fast around them that they were disarmed and overpowered,
their hands bound and they were hurried away over the stream towards
the South. Not ten minutes had elapsed before they were pursued by
their friends; but in that short time their captors had effected their
escape, and morning dawned on the agonized pioneers still scouring the
forest in search of the lost ones. They were ably seconded by the
Arapahoes, a few of them having been left in charge of Anne and Benny
who, having been concealed in one of the wagons, had been saved. Those
stolen were Mrs. Duncan, Jane, Edward and Martin.

At daylight the dogs were let loose, and mounting the horses and mules
they renewed the pursuit with hearts determined to perish or bring back
the fugitives. After two hours' hard riding they over-hauled two of the
savages who had Mrs. Duncan in charge, and she was borne back
triumphantly to camp. She could give no account of her children, not
having seen them since their capture, but thought they had gone in a
more westerly direction. Every art was used to persuade the Crows taken
to give some intelligence of them, but they were obstinate, and were
finally placed, bound, into the hands of the Arapahoes, who had charge
of the camp, for safe keeping.

About noon they came up with two more Indians having Martin in charge;
but he knew nothing further; the two that carried him off having
separated from the rest, the more easily to escape detection; and the
Crows, like those that had charge of his mother, refused to give any
intelligence, and were placed with the others in custody. The pursuers
were again bewildered and were obliged to find a new trail, before they
could proceed further, which they succeeded in doing as the evening
shades were setting in; but as it was impossible to follow it in the
dark they reluctantly returned to camp to spend the night. At the first
dawn of light they were again in the saddle, provisioned for a number
of days, as they anticipated a long chase, from the fact that the
fugitives had a long start of them, and they could scarcely hope to
overtake them the first day. But the other pursuers were more sanguine;
they knew not the stratagems of the Indians so well as the trapper.
After five hours' hard riding they came to a spring of water in a deep
glen where the Indians had evidently breakfasted the day before. And
from the quantity of bones around, and the trampled grass, it was
apparent that there was a number of them.

"Some six or eight persons, certainly. I think this time we shall
secure both the missing ones," said Howe.

"We will do as they did, take a lunch, and let our horses feed on this
grass by the spring. Perhaps we shall overtake them very soon if we
rest and then ride hard," replied Mr. Duncan.

"We shall not see them before to-morrow, depend upon it. They travel,
when pursued, like bloodhounds."

Refreshed, and again in the saddle, they went over hill and valley,
forded streams, and crept through narrow defiles, still keeping the
trail, by the aid of the dogs, without much difficulty. About three in
the afternoon, they came to the place where the Indians had encamped
for the night. The pursuers were evidently gaining on the pursued.
Again they rested themselves and horses for awhile and then continued
the pursuit. After two hours rapid riding, while going through a
defile, they came to a spot which gave indications of a struggle having
taken place. Dismounting and examining closely, they found places where
evidently some heavy body had laid and bled profusely. The blade of a
broken scalping knife lay among the leaves, with a broken bow and a
war-club. These the Arapahoes identified as belonging to the Crows.
Searching a thicket of laurel, a little farther on, they found three of
the Crows dead. They had probably been mortally wounded, and crawled
there to die. They had been scalped, perhaps, while still alive, as the
scalp on the crown of the head was gone.

"Tabagauches! Tabagauches!" yelled the Arapahoes, as they discovered a
fragment of a blanket, on which was embroidered, in gay colours, the
crest of that tribe. "There, away where the sun sets, over the Medicine
Bow Mountains, they are. They have conquered the Crows and taken them
alive, with the pale faces, prisoners, to their village."

"We must follow them. We may overtake them, for evidently, the fight
occurred this morning," said Mr. Duncan.

"Is my brother mad, that he thinks to compel a great nation to give up
its prisoners, with a handful of warriors?" interposed Whirlwind.

"Can you think I would desert my children?" said Mr. Duncan, in a
severe tone. "No! we white men are made of sterner stuff than that. I
will save them, or die with them."

"If my white brother is brave Whirlwind is braver," returned the
Chieftain. "What you would attempt and fail to accomplish by force, I
will accomplish by stratagem. Let my white brother return, and leave
the recovery of the children to me."

"Never!" replied Mr. Duncan, decidedly. "My children are prisoners, in
the power of merciless foes, and until I recover them, I will never
again turn my back on their path."

"My brother has spoken, but has not spoken well," said the chief.

"We will lose no time in delay--an hour may be of the utmost
importance," was all the answer of Mr. Duncan.

At nightfall, as they were casting their eyes around for a good and
secure position to encamp in, they discovered smoke arising from a deep
ravine that lay below them.

"The camp-fire of the Tabagauches," said Whirlwind.

"Ha! we have overtaken them, at last," exclaimed the trapper. "We must
fall back to a secure covert, and send out scouts to see if they have
the children, and ascertain their numbers."

Selecting a pine grove, they secured their horses, and sat down to take
a lunch of cold bread and meat they had brought with them, not daring
to light a fire, knowing it would be a beacon to guide their foes to
their retreat. After resting a moment, a guard was posted, and Howe and
Whirlwind set out to ascertain the desired information respecting their
foes, while the rest of the party threw themselves on the ground to
take an hour's repose.

Chapter Sixth.

Strength of the Tabagauches. Attack of their camp. Flight of the
Whites. A Council. Pursuing the Indians. Desperate Engagement. Taken
Prisoners. Carried off Captives. Submission to their fate. A Curious
Dream. Singular Springs of Water. Kind treatment by the Indians.
Discovery of Gold. Displeasure of Whirlwind. His story of the early
white men. A herd of deer, &c.

Cautiously Howe and Whirlwind crept onward, and coming within pistol
shot of the blazing camp fires of the Tabagauches, discovered that they
were full two hundred strong, probably, a war party, in search of
adventure, intending to fall unawares on some neighbouring tribes. By
the middle fire, in the centre of a group of some twenty savages, were
Jane and Edward, looking pale and wearied. A little behind them, on the
ground, with stoic-like indifference, sat five Crows, the remainder of
their captors; but now like themselves prisoners. Evidently, their fate
was being decided upon. As cautiously as they went the scouts returned
to the pine grove, and decided to make an immediate attack for the
recovery of the captives. There were eleven Arapahoe warriors with
their chief, and these, together with Mr. Duncan, Howe, Sidney, and
Lewis, made fifteen, all well armed and mounted.

Led by Howe and Whirlwind, they noiselessly gained a place where they
could obtain a fair view of the enemy, who were in high altercation on
some point on which they seemed to be divided.

"Now is our time," said Howe. "Let every gun be discharged when I give
the signal, and every one mark his man. Fall into a line, and bring
your rifles to bear on the right hand savage of the centre group, and
you the next, so on down the line that no two shots be aimed at one
Indian, for we have none to lose. Now, are you all ready?" said Howe,
running his eye from his little band to the foes, who stood revealed by
their blazing fires perfectly distinct, but entirely unconscious of the
danger that menaced them. Not a word was spoken, but Howe knew all was
right; then, in a low distinct tone, he gave the word "_fire_." There
was but one crack of rifles heard, so simultaneously every gun was
discharged, and as they were discharged, fifteen Tabagauches fell dead,
with scarcely a sound uttered. "Quick! fire again!" said Howe, "mark
your men, the savages are stupefied." Aiming their rifles on the
instant, fifteen more fell dead.

Their second fire revealed to the Tabagauches the direction whence the
attack proceeded, and with maddening yells of rage they sprang after

"Save yourselves;" cried Howe, but he had no need to give the order,
for every one had placed a tree between himself and his foes, according
to the custom of warfare with Indians, and as they came on, every
moment, one or more fell by their unerring aim. They had the advantage,
for the Tabagauches were between them and the light, and could be
picked off as fast as the guns could be loaded, while they rushed
headlong into the darkness, their only guide the flash from the rifles
that were thinning their ranks at every fire. But, as the savages
gathered closer and closer around them, they were obliged to fall back
towards the pine grove, and as time after time they retreated into the
darkness, they could distinguish their foes with less certainty, and
finally they were obliged to make a scattered flight to save themselves
from being surrounded. Strange to tell not one of them had been
wounded, which could be only accounted for by the gloom, in which they
were enveloped, hiding them from an accurate aim. They were sure fifty
of their foes had been slain.

The Tabagauches retreated to their camp, putting out the fires and
keeping silent, so as not to guide their foes a second time to them.

On gaining the pine grove, a council was held to devise what was the
most prudent step to take.

"I," said Whirlwind, "think it best to hover around them and find out
their next movement and guide ours by it."

"That is impossible," said Mr. Duncan. "They will be so on their guard
that no one can approach without detection, which would be instant

"Whirlwind has said and will do it. Here await his return." So saying,
with noiseless strides the chief vanished in the gloom.

"A strange compound of generosity, bravery, and recklessness!" said Mr.

"Depend upon it, he knows what is for the best," replied Howe.

"Then you think we had better not take any step until the chief

"That is my impression. He will return in two hours, or so."

Two, three, and nearly four hours elapsed before the chief returned,
and the suspense had become painful, when, without warning, or their
knowing he was near, he stept into their midst.

"Why, Whirlwind, had you dropt from the clouds you could not have come
more noiselessly. What success did you have?" said Howe.

"The Tabagauches are cowards, they will not fight, but will steal away
like dogs. The pale faced prisoners are even now moving toward the
west, guarded by fifty of their braves."

"We must head them," cried Sidney, springing to his feet. "They shall
never escape thus."

"The pale faced brave has spoken well. We must divide our warriors;
part attack the cowards in the rear, to prevent them joining those in
charge of the white prisoners, while the other part must ride ahead and
attack them in front, and secure the children."

"If we break up our force in this way, all will be lost," said Mr.
Duncan. "It is my opinion we had better all keep together, and try to
get ahead of the main body by a circuitous route, and thus be more
certain of overcoming the savages."

"Certainly, father, the party must not be divided, the half of fifteen
is almost too few to attack seventy or a hundred," remarked Lewis.

"Let us keep together, by all means," said Sidney.

"I do not think we had better divide our force," said Howe, after
hearing all their opinions, and finding they all coincided with his
own, excepting the chief. "We will be too few for them."

"The white chief forgets we cannot expect to overcome them by a fair
fight, but must depend on strategy for success."

"If we have as good success as we had last night, I think we may,"
returned Howe.

"They will build no more fires to give us another such a chance," said
the chief.

"We had better follow Mr. Duncan's suggestion," said Howe, "and try to
head them off by a circuitous route. Come boys! Lead on chief; we will
follow you."

Light began to break in the east, so that they could see to make their
way, and rapidly they pursued it, their animals refreshed by the
night's rest. On they went, and about sunrise, saw the detachment of
Indians not more than a mile ahead. Whirlwind threw the halter (the
only accoutrement, his half-tamed prairie horse boasted,) loosely on
the proud steed's neck, and with his body bent almost on a level to his
back, rode like a Centaur over the ground. The rest gave their horses
the spur, but they were out-stripped by the Arapahoes, who one by one
darted past them, in the wake of their chief. Before Mr. Duncan and his
party had accomplished two-thirds of the distance, the war-whoops of
the combatants burst on the air, and when he joined them many a brave
had gone to the "spirit land."

And now, fiercer than ever the battle raged, the Tabagauches retreating
as they fought, and being on foot were slain or dispersed at will,
until they saw the other detachment of their tribe advancing, when they
turned and fought with the fury of demons. This furious charge killed
one of the Arapahoes, badly wounded Mr. Duncan in the shoulder with a
tomahawk, and Lewis slightly in the thigh with an arrow.

During this time they saw nothing of Edward and Jane, but distinctly
heard their voices as they called out to encourage their friends, from
a little distance, where they were bound and closely guarded.

Encouraged by the thought they were so near the captives, and maddened
by the obstinacy with which the savages contended for the captives,
they made a desperate charge, breaking through the savages, and falling
upon the guard that surrounded the children, shot them, and unbinding
the thongs around their hands, and placing Edward on the dead
Arapahoe's horse, and Jane behind Edward; they then attempted to fly.
While doing this, the two detachments had joined, and now bore down
with terrible force on the little band. But they were met with volley
after volley, until desperate from the loss of their braves that fell
around them, the savages closed in and attempted to drag them from
their horses. Mr. Duncan, Lewis, and three of the Arapahoes, being
mounted on high mettled steeds, finding all would be lost if they fell
into the hands of the savages, spurred their steeds, and bounding over
the assailants, escaped into the forest. Not so fortunate were the
rest, for Howe, Sidney, Whirlwind, Edward, and Jane, were pulled from
their horses, overpowered, and bound prisoners. The rest of the
Arapahoes had fallen by the hand of their foes.

Mr. Duncan, faint with the loss of blood, and suffering severely from
his wound, would still have plunged into the midst of the savages, had
not Lewis and one of the Arapahoes ridden at his side, with his bridle
rein in their hand to prevent him from plunging into certain
destruction. They bent their course to the east whence they came, and
the second day reached camp half dead with fatigue and distress they
endured at the inevitable fate of the lost ones.

Terrible was the revulsion to Edward and Jane, for now they had no hope
from their friends, as Sidney and their uncle were captives with them,
and they supposed their father and Lewis had fallen by the savages who
went in pursuit. They knew all was lost unless they could elude the
vigilance of their pursuers, which they could not expect to do, bound
and guarded as they were.

Calmly they resigned themselves to a doom they could not avert, to be
offered as burnt-offerings to the spirits of those who had fallen in
battle. The savages having lost half of their number, were intoxicated
with rage, and with demoniac yells, goaded on their prisoners with the
points of their arrows, causing the blood to flow from numberless
punctures. Occasionally they would bring their tomahawks circling round
their heads as if to sink them in their skulls; and then with savage
gestures retreat and make the forest ring with their howls of rage. For
three days they were hurried on deeper and deeper into the wilderness,
now passing over broad level prairies, then plunging into swamps and
deep ravines; anon climbing precipices, rugged mountains, and then
passing over the deeply shaded valley, through which streamlets sung
year after year their sweet songs of peace and love.

The third day, towards night, as they were going through a thick
coppice that skirted a prairie they had just crossed, they were
surprised by a party of Pah-Utah Indians, and after a short but fierce
engagement, in which the Tabagauches were completely cut up, the
captives fell into the hands of the victors. They had eaten but very
little since they were captured, and faint and exhausted from their
sufferings, they hailed any change with joy. The Pah-Utahs treated them
with great kindness, washed and dressed their wounds, presented them
with parched corn and dried meat, and fitted them a bed of ferns and
dried leaves to sleep upon. They were congratulating themselves on
their happy change, when they saw with horror, the Indians roast and
devour with great avidity the dead Tabagauches: they were at the mercy
of cannibals! Late in the night the revolting feast was prolonged, and
then all was still, save the soft tread of their guard, as he hovered
around them. The next morning a deer was given them which had been just
killed, and they were shown a large fire, and given to understand they
were to cook and eat it. This they did with very good appetites, and,
together with the parched corn, made a savory repast. When this was
done, they were placed on horses and driven on, now taking a south-west
direction. Though treated very kindly, their wants anticipated, and
provided for, yet they were given to understand that an attempt to
escape would be punished with death by fire.

Whirlwind told his fellow captives that their safest way was to assume
an air of indifference, and even gaiety, in order to deceive their
captors, and impress them with the idea that they had no hope of
escaping. "There is a possibility that we may throw them off their
guard and slip away, if we are cunning, at stratagems; but, should we
fail, they will eat us without further delay."

Accordingly they rallied their drooping spirits, and appeared more like
a party roaming through the forest for pleasure than doomed captives,
for such their captors held them, and only delayed their death, that
they might enjoy the horrid feast in their village at leisure. They
journeyed on, and the second day when the savages halted they were
astonished to see them, instead of kindling a fire, touch a burning
torch to what they had taken for springs of water that bubbled up from
the base of a rugged range of hills, but which blazed with a clear,
strong flame on being touched with fire, and by which the savages
cooked their supper, by placing it on a forked stick and holding it in
the flame.[3]

      [3] This curious phenomena was at that time entirely unknown to
      the white man, but has since been discovered to exist four
      hundred miles east of the land of the Amachuba.

The captives gathered around the singular phenomena with astonishment,
which so amused the Indians that, taking a burning stick, they ran from
place to place lighting the curious liquid where it bubbled up in jets,
until fifty fires were blazing around them, lighting the forest with
brilliancy. On examining this liquid they found it clear, and having
the appearance of pure spring water. The Pah-Utahs gave them to
understand that it flowed unceasingly, and was much used by them for
light and heat. It was a great curiosity, and elicited a great deal of
speculation as to what uses it might be applied if it could be conveyed
to the haunts of civilization. That night they slept quite soundly,
considering the circumstances under which they were placed, and arose
much refreshed.

"I really feel well this morning," remarked Howe, "and do believe we
shall yet escape from these demons."

"The white chief has dreamed," said Whirlwind.

"I believe I did dream a curious dream last night," said Howe. "It
seemed as though I stood on a precipice looking calmly on the plain
below, when an eagle came down, and taking me in his talons, carried me
to his eyrie, which seemed to be perched on a mountain whose summit
passed the clouds; and there, oh! horror, a hundred eaglets with open
mouths stood ready to devour me. Then it seemed as if a heavy cloud
passed by, and with a fearful leap I sprang upon it and floated through
the sky until it began gradually to grow thinner and thinner and I lay
unsupported in mid-air. Then I began to sink, first slowly, but
gradually increasing in velocity until I seemed to go swifter than the
wind, and at every moment expected to be dashed to pieces. But as I
neared the earth I began to descend slower; when, lo! I softly alighted
at the door of our camp, and there I found Duncan and Lewis. Indeed it
seemed we all were there as if nothing had happened."

"A singular dream, uncle," said Jane, "but you know it could not come
true. Besides," she added sadly, "there is little hope that father and
Lewis escaped."

"I am impressed with the idea they did," said Sidney. "Had they been
murdered, the savage murderers would not fail to have scalped them and
exhibited the scalps in triumph."

"The young brave is right; they have escaped," said Whirlwind. "The
Tabagauches would have scalped the white chief had they taken him."

"You always said you did not believe in dreams," said Jane, upon whose
imagination it seemed to have considerable influence.

"Neither do I, generally. But now, even a dream of freedom and friends
is gratifying, and I cannot help feeling elated by it."

"The Great Spirit visited the white man in his slumber. Believe what he
showed to thy slumbering spirit, lest he be angry and destroy thee,"
said Whirlwind earnestly.

"Really, Whirlwind, it is as absurd as singular," remarked Edward, "and
is taxing credulity too much to ask an implicit confidence in it."

"The brave is young, and cannot interpret the signs of the presence of
the Great Spirit. His children know him better, and recognize his

"Oh! well, chief, I hope he is in earnest now, at least, and will
succeed in getting us out of the clutches of these promising children
of his," said Edward.

"Then the young brave must not anger him," returned the chief,

"I should like to know how far we are from camp, and how much farther
they intend taking us," said the trapper.

"Their village is half a day's march to the setting sun," replied
Whirlwind, "and we evidently are from six to seven days' journey from
our camp."

About noon they entered their village, displaying their captives in
triumph to the rest of the tribe, who surrounded them in great numbers,
grinning and twisting their naturally ugly visages into frightful
grimaces, at the same time filling the air with yells of delight and

That night there was another revolting feast. The victims being three
Indians of a peculiar form and features different from any they had
ever seen.

"They are from over the desert," said Whirlwind to Howe's inquiry of
what tribe they were, "and have been taken in battle. The tribes all
through this region are very warlike, and every year countless numbers
are taken and sacrificed at their feasts. The tribes are cannibals, and
eat their enemies as you see these do; therefore, they fight with more
desperation knowing they must conquer and feast on their foes or be
conquered and feasted upon."

"What is our chance, do you think, of being sacrificed?" asked Howe.

"We shall be, of course, unless the Great Spirit saves us. It is the
fate of war," replied the chief, with as much indifference as if he was
discussing a puppy stew.[4]

      [4] A great delicacy with Indians.

"I could bear it for myself, Whirlwind, but these children!--No; we
must out-wit them and escape," replied the trapper. "Prudence and
cunning may save us."

The village of their captors was situated on a low, level plain,
sloping gently towards the south and west, bordered by the Wahsatch
mountains on the east, a spur of which, branching from the regular
chain, ran a number of miles from east to west, and formed a high
barrier on the north, rising in perpendicular precipices to the height
of three hundred feet. The village was very populous, the corn fields
numerous, and now just in bloom, promising an abundant yield. The
lodges were large, convenient and well stored with furs and skins,
while large quantities of arms for defence hung around, intermixed with
curiously wrought baskets, elaborately embroidered tunics and
moccasins, gay colored blankets, scalps of fallen foes, eagle plumes,
bears' claws, antlers of deer, and innumerable tails of fox and beaver.

The captives were distributed among the different lodges, at first
closely guarded; but as they evinced perfect content, they were allowed
gradually more and more liberty, until at last they were permitted to
roam through the village at will, with a single guard, whose duty it
was to give the alarm in case they should attempt to escape. This
greatly elated them; and, as not one of the tribe understood English,
they were able, at all times, to converse and devise plans without fear
of detection by being overheard.

About two weeks after their captivity, they were wandering around the
outskirts of the village, and approaching the precipice at the north,
penetrated the thick underbrush that grew at its base, and seated
themselves in its cool shade, their sentinel taking up his position a
few rods from them in the path by which they had entered. Some of them
sat so as to recline against the rock that rose above them, whilst
others leaned in thoughtful mood against a cluster of bushes that were
entwined with the wild grape, forming a strong but easy support. Jane
was pulling up the ferns and wild flowers, and as they drooped in her
hand threw them aside and gathered fresh ones until there were no more
in her reach; then her eye becoming attracted by some rich, green
mosses, she gathered them, when among the black earth from which they
were taken something gleamed bright and distinct from everything around
it. Sidney, who was nearest her, regarding her with a sorrowful look,
was the first one attracted by its glitter, and being undecided what it
was, called the attention of Howe to it.

"It is gold!" cried the trapper, after closely examining the tiny flake
Sidney had placed in his hand.

"Gold! let me see it," they all cried. "Is gold always found in that
shape?" queried Edward.

"Not always," he replied. "Sometimes it is imbedded in the rocks, and
has to be dug out by blasting; while, at others, it comes in globules,
called nuggets, often of great value."

"Perhaps there is more around here; let us see," said the trapper, and
taking a stick he dug among the soft earth, when, lo! it was speckled
with the precious ore.

The sentinel seeing them gathering up the glittering scales with great
eagerness, came forward, and with his hatchet struck a few heavy blows
against a fragment that projected from a fissure in the rock, when it
split from the solid mass, and revealed the precious ore, intermixed
with quartz rock; then turning away with disdain, left them to amuse
themselves, and took up his former position in the pathway.

"We can gather as much as we please; and if we have the good luck to
escape the vigilance of these demons, we shall be rich," said Sidney.

"It is something, at least to have made the discovery. These mountains,
I judge from the fragment broken, must be full of ore?" said the

"The Indians," said Whirlwind, "say there are stones still farther
towards the setting sun that give light like stars, and glitter in
their bed with a hundred fires; but they are never seen in these
hunting grounds. All through the mountains these are to be found in
abundance," said he, pointing to the gold that lay glittering in the

"You never told me of this before, Whirlwind," said the trapper. "Why
were you so wary about what you must have known was of importance?"

The chief drew up his tall, athletic form, and pointing with his finger
to the sky, said:

"As many moons ago as there are stars yonder, when the sun is in the
west, there came to the hunting-grounds of the red man a band of white
men. They were few, and my fathers fostered them; and, when the white
men found the glittering earth accidentally, as you have, they showed
them where it could be scooped up by handfuls, and where the star
stones lighted up the caverns. Then grew hatred between the red and
white man; for the star stones are bad spirits who stirred up evil
passions in the heart, then laughed and mocked at their warring. The
white man grew many and strong, and more came from beyond the big
water. Then they made the earth red with each other's blood, and my
forefathers were obliged to give up their hunting grounds, and fly into
other possessions, where there was again war for a place to hunt in,
until the earth was again red with blood. And now all between the swift
water and the great sea towards sunrise is covered by the pale faces'
lodges, while, we, a remnant of former days, are forced to give way
until we shall have all perished, and the graves of my ancestors become
the play grounds of the white man's papoose. Then let the glistening
earth sleep where the Great Spirit buried it, that the evil spirits may
never again gloat over the earth dyed with the blood of its people.
Whirlwind has spoken, let his white brother hear, that their love be
not turned to anger, and that they slay not each other."

As he ceased speaking, he quietly walked from amid his fellow captives
and taking a position but a few feet from them, bent a decisive look of
commiseration on their every movement.

"Throw down the stuff," said the trapper, "the chief is angry, and we
can have no use for it here, so it is not worth while to provoke him by
even retaining what we have."

The children obeyed, for they were not willing to risk the friendship
of the chief for whom they entertained great respect, although they
could not always appreciate his curious logic. He seemed relieved when
he saw them do so, and proposed they should quit the dangerous spot,
which they acceded to.

Towards evening of the same day, they were wandering leisurely on the
southern border of the corn-fields, when they were startled by a drove
of deer bounding past them, and making for the forest beyond. A noble
buck was the leader, with head erect, making ten feet at every jump.
Away they went, casting the earth from their slender hoofs, caring for
neither brush or brake, for a relentless pursuer was on their track.

"See! there goes three small specks close to the ground; there they
are, three monstrous black wolves with glistening coats, their fiery
eyes sparkling, and jaws distended."

They were larger than the largest dog; long, gaunt limbs, small, and
all muscle, and so persevering that every thing tired before them. They
seldom, when they start in a chase, give up their prey.

"Without doubt, the weakest of that noble herd will make a supper for
their rapacious foes," said Howe.

Such is the black wolf of the western wilds, attacking every thing he
meets when hunger is on him; even the buffalo falls a prey to him.

Chapter Seventh.

Their continued Captivity. Attempt to Escape. They are cautiously
watched and guarded. Fears and apprehensions. They discover Gold in
various quantities. A singular Cave. Preparations to escape into it.
Lassoing the Chief. Enter the Cavern and close the Door. They are
missed by the Indians. Tumult in the Camp. They follow the Cavern.
Singular adventure. Jane rescued from Drowning. Strange appearance of
the Cave. Mysterious discoveries. They Continue on. Cross a stream.
Discovery of an Outlet. They halt for repose.

Six weeks elapsed and they were still prisoners, treated with great
kindness; although they were forced to be present at the revolting
feast on human flesh, as often as a war party returned, which was
almost every week. And, though they saw the Indian captives sacrificed
with relentless cruelty, yet the fear that they should be made victims
had partially subsided, as week after week went round, and, except the
single sentinel who was relieved from duty morn and night, they were
left entirely to themselves to do as they pleased. They had often
attempted to draw him into the forest with them, but when he had
accompanied them to a certain boundary, he gave them to understand they
must return immediately to the village; and, as they knew the penalty
of attempting an escape they did not dare to undertake it, knowing they
would be pursued with fleet horses, and perhaps be taken and sacrificed
the same day. They were wearied with their captivity, and became gloomy
and sad. The Pah-Utah saw this, and directed the sentinel to give them
a wider range. This they hoped might facilitate an escape. But in this,
they were mistaken; for the sentinel used renewed vigilance. The moment
they were beyond the prescribed boundaries, the guard, with his fiery
eye fixed on them with a lynx-like keenness, would follow them with his
horn trumpet to his mouth, ready at a second's warning, to sound the
note of alarm.

Things were in this state when they went together to the base of a
precipice, half a mile to the east from where they found the gold. Here
they whiled away an hour discussing the ever present theme of their
captivity, except Edward who, not having the fear of the chief before
him began to tear up mosses, and dig into crevices in search of
precious ore. While doing this, his foot slipped from under him, and he
fell heavily forward against a smooth, slab-like surface of the rock,
when, to his dismay, it gave back a hollow sound, and a large block
yielding an inch or two, showed an aperture within.

Calling his uncle, he pointed it out to him, who after examining it
closely, declared it to be a cavern within; but how the stone came
fitted into the door way, was a question they could not solve, for the
Pah-Utahs had no way of shaping stone with such precision, and
evidently were not aware that the cavern existed.

"Walk quietly away, and appear to be busy about anything you choose, in
order not to draw the attention of the sentinel this way, and I will
communicate it to Whirlwind," said the trapper. The chief after
examining the place, retreated with Howe a few rods distant, and then
said. "That cavern will prove our deliverance. Evidently it is one of
those of which tradition speaks, and that it communicates to some
distant point. That stone door is unknown to the Pah-Utah for the
trailing mosses have become imbedded in the fissures of the rock in a
way it would have taken a hundred years to have accomplished, showing
it could not have been entered in that time."

"Had we better enter it, and try to find another outlet?" asked the

"I hardly like to decide; the undertaking is very hazardous. We might
possibly find it, if there is an outlet, but if we should not, a
horrible death awaits us--buried alive; or if we should return, a worse
one at the hands of our captors."

"What reason have you to suspect there is an outlet at a distant
point?" asked the trapper.

"The similarity of this opening to one on the side of the Medicine Bow
Mountains, towards the rising sun. That has been known by the red men
since the Great Spirit gave them their hunting grounds; and at that
time he told my fathers they were built by a people whom he had
destroyed in anger. And to this day they are strewn with bones and
utensils of the lost people."

"Is this story of the opening a tradition, or have you seen it, and
what is the appearance of the interior of the cavern?"

"I have been through it often. In some places it is rough, and in
others as smooth as sleeping water. It is a long, toilsome journey; and
at its end opens at the base of a hill a day and a half's journey
towards the west," replied the chief.

"Then you think this cavern is similar to the one you have seen, and
that, if we enter it, we shall escape in safety?"

"Were I alone, I should not be afraid to venture in it. Whirlwind is
not a coward, and pines in captivity. If he escapes, it is good, he
will then be a free chief. If he dies, he will go to the hunting
grounds of the Great Spirit, where the deer, beaver, and buffalo are as
plenty as the leaves in the forest."

"For one, I am willing to make the trial, and am certain the children
will be also. We must provide some food and light before we try it. It
would never do to venture in unprovided with these."

"My brother would betray us if we should attempt to conceal either, for
the Pah-Utah are as vigilant as brave, and would be sure to know it and
determine our fate on the instant. Our only way of escape is to fast,
and be fleet of foot."

"Perhaps you are right. When would it be prudent for us to make the
trial, do you think? For my part, I am ready at any moment. It is five
days since these demons made one of their horrid feasts; and as we came
by the chief's lodge, I saw him in council with his warriors, and I
thought they looked very suspiciously towards us as we passed."

"Whirlwind also saw it; but his heart was then almost dead within him.
It is alive now, and we will enter the cavern. My white brother will
tell the children of our design, and lead them to the mouth of the
cavern, and keep his eye on the sentinel. The moment he sees this
around his enemy's neck, roll away the rock, and have it ready to put
in its place again as soon as I enter," said the chief, taking from
beneath his tunic a strong, long cord made of hide, formed into a

"He will blow his horn, and draw the whole tribe on us if you attempt
to strangle him. I think we had better try to slip in one by one, and
not disturb him," said the trapper.

"We should be missed before we could replace the stone, and they would
drag us from our hiding place as soon as we entered it. Whirlwind's
step is as noiseless as the wing of a bird, when after a foe. But
should the sentinel give the alarm, enter and close the door; for,
perchance, I may escape from them at last; if not, I shall have drawn
his attention from you so as to enable you to facilitate your escape."

"No, brave chief, we are captives together, and we will all be saved,
or perish together. You shall not be left alone for them to wreak their
vengeance upon. We will not enter the cave unless you are with us."

"My white brother speaks like a child. Whirlwind has said and will do
it," returned the chief, who possessed a truly royal soul, imperious in
decision, impatient of contradiction, and never turned from a course he
had determined to pursue, when assured it was for the good of others.

As he ceased speaking, he left the trapper, and disappeared in the
bushes. Howe thought it most prudent to obey the injunction of
Whirlwind, and making a sign to the children to follow, he carelessly
made his way to the spot, and with palpitating heart, awaited the
signal. The children shared with him the anxiety, till at last so
intense it became, that their hearts almost ceased to pulsate. Life or
death was in the throw, and death itself could not exceed the agony
they endured. The signal came at last--a circle in the air--which in an
instant tightened on the sentinel's throat; five minutes elapsed, when
the chief came bounding towards them with a tame deer, that belonged to
the tribe, in his arms, then rolling away the stone, and entering the
cavern, they replaced it with great precision, so as to prevent
detection. But great was their surprise and gratification to see the
cavern was quite light, by the rays penetrating innumerable small
fissures in the rocky precipice. Whirlwind immediately killed and
dressed the prize that so fortunately happened to be in his path; and
distributing it among them, they prepared to penetrate into the
darkness of the cave. Where they entered, it was about twenty feet
wide, and about fifty feet high, having the appearance of the rock
having been blasted, and hewn down smoothly at the sides. The floor was
of a solid rock, smooth and level, though strewn with some rubbish,
which they did not stop to examine. They were too anxious to place
distance between themselves and the cannibals, to think of anything but
how to ensure their safety. Accordingly they pressed boldly on, but had
not gone over twenty rods, when yells of disappointment and rage made
the air quiver as they echoed and re-echoed through the cavern. Their
escape had been discovered; and now, if the door to the cavern was
known, they knew they had but a few moments to live.

"Give me your hand, Jane," said Whirlwind; "take hold of Edward, Howe,
that we may not be divided. The young brave will keep in our tracks,
now, let us proceed, and, perhaps, if the cave is found we may hide in
some of its recesses." On they went, and louder and fiercer grew the
yells, as the village poured out its hordes, until it seemed to our
heroes as if every rock had a tongue, and was telling, in thundering
echoes, the place of their retreat. Still on they went, and now, the
voices began to soften in the distance; then they grew fainter, until
nothing but low, confused sounds were heard. The cavern was level on
the bottom, which facilitated their flight; being actuated by the most
sacred passion of our nature--the love of life, which gave them courage
and strength, and with the hope of freedom beckoning them on, they made
unprecedented speed. They had been blessed for about half a mile by the
rays of light that penetrated the cavern at the mouth; but for the last
hour they had been plunging on in total darkness, not knowing where
they went; but now, as no sounds were heard, and they were getting
fatigued, they halted and began to devise some means of guiding them on
their way.

Howe commenced moving around in the darkness to see where the
boundaries of the cave were, and the rest following his example, part
of them touched one side, and feeling its smooth surface, thought the
cavern must be uniform throughout; for, as near as they could tell, by
feeling, it had the same appearance as it had at the entrance.

At that moment Jane, who was groping round to find the other side,
uttered a piercing scream which was quickly followed by a heavy splash
in water.

"Jane! Jane!" they all cried; and the chief, at the moment springing
towards the place where she had stood, with a half-uttered exclamation,
fell heavily with a loud splash also.

"Keep back! keep back! there is danger here!" he cried; "I can save her
if any one can! Jane! Jane! where are you?" he called eagerly, as he
splashed round in the water, which was so deep he could not touch the
bottom. "Jane! Jane!" he cried, but no sound came from the still water,
till at last a faint bubbling sound was heard, and a hand grasped him.
Catching her round the waist, he raised her head above the water, when
the half-drowned girl began to revive; but too much exhausted to assist
herself in the least. The chief swam with her towards the place where
they had fallen, hoping to find a projecting rock to support her on,
but he was disappointed, although he was enabled to obtain footing in
three feet water, where he stood holding her in his brawny arms.

"All safe," he cried, the moment he had obtained footing. "But how we
are to get up there is a different affair."

"Keep up your courage," cried the trapper; "we must have a light. I
have a flint, knife, and punk-wood; so far all is well, but what are we
to burn?"

"There is wood in here I know," said Sidney, "for I have stumbled over
it a number of times?"

"Have a care how you hunt round for it, or you will go down after Jane
and the chief," said Edward.

"Here is wood, plenty of it," said Sidney, bringing forward a handful
of sticks. In the meanwhile the trapper had struck fire, and was
blowing the punk into a blaze, and taking some of the sticks in his
hand to communicate with the burning punk, found them in a crumbling
condition but perfectly dry, and they quickly ignited. A cheerful blaze
was in a few minutes lighting up the cavern; they then cautiously
approached the place where Whirlwind and Jane had fallen, who were
patiently awaiting light and assistance from above. Holding some
blazing sticks over the edge they discovered the chief and Jane ten
feet below them, with water smooth and placid, full thirty feet beyond,
and extending along the cavern as far as the eye could reach. Evidently
they had been making their way on its verge quite a distance, and the
least deviation on that side would have plunged them all into its
waters. The rock was rough and jagged with many small fissures in which
they could get a foothold, and by the assistance of Sidney, who
descended a few feet, Jane was soon lifted up to the floor of the
cavern, where, with the agility of a deer, the chief followed her.
Saturated with water, without a single extra garment, they were in a
very uncomfortable condition, yet they laughed heartily over their
mishaps; for, indeed, they thought anything preferable to being in the
power of cannibals. Piling together the half decayed wood and wringing
their clothes as dry as they could, they were in a fair way of
recovering from the ducking, and as they apprehended no further danger
from their enemies, they concluded to make a short halt and examine the
locality around them. The cave in this place was no more than twenty
five feet high, but was very wide, as well as they could determine over
a hundred feet, thirty of which was water, and beyond which they could
not distinguish the appearance of the cave. But the other side was as
singular as wonderful. Eight feet from the floor it was smooth and even
as hewn rock could be made; then there was a vast niche cut in,
extending to the top of the cave, thirty feet wide and sixteen deep.
This niche was ascended by a flight of six very steep steps cut in the
rock in the centre of the front of the rock below the niche and were as
perfect and uniform as if just made. Ascending these steps they
discovered a chair of graceful form cut out of a huge stone,
fantastically carved, which they found themselves unable to move by
reason of its great weight, but being of a different material than the
rock of which the cave was composed they supposed it to be separate
from it. On each side of this curious chair there arose a tripod three
feet high and two in diameter, the top being scooped out concavously,
like a basin, in the centre of which was a round orifice, half an inch
in diameter, out of which bubbled up a clear liquid, which, filling the
basin, ran down its sides into a drain cut in the rock, and was
conveyed into the lake in which the chief and Jane had fallen.

"Astonishing!" cried the trapper, examining the curiosities as well as
his light would permit.

"The place of refuge of the lost people!" said the chief. "Our
traditions say that they were mighty and strong, and, like the tall
trees for strength; they had skill in cutting stone, and digging copper
from its bed, and making it into armor and utensils."

"And these were their fountains: well, I think they were people of
taste. That chair is good enough for the president, and I suspect he
has not got one half as curious. We will take a drink at their
fountain, replenish our light, and see if there is anything else

Bending his head to take a drink in a primitive way, he drew a mouthful
of the clear and transparent liquid, but quickly discharged it, with a
grimace. "Whew! they must have been a strong people to drink such
strong drink," cried the trapper.

"Perhaps it is not water;" so saying, the chief touched the brand he
had in his hand to it, when, lo! it blazed with a strong white flame.
Touching the other also, two clearer, purer lights never illumined a
cavern. The light penetrated the recesses and laid open every object to
view, and as their eyes fell once more on the curious chair they
uttered an exclamation of wonder. It was sparkling and glowing with a
thousand rays. Approaching it they saw it was covered with dust, which
they brushed away; and if they were astonished before, now they gazed
with speechless wonder at the curiosity before them, that threw back
the light that fell full upon it, in flashing rays, dazzling the eyes
of the beholders.

"The fire stones! Touch them not!" cried the chief, waving the rest
back with his hand imperiously. "The evil spirit presides in this spot,
and we are in his power. Provoke him not, or we shall be all destroyed
like the lost people were, a thousand moons ago."

"Pshaw! Chief, you are ridiculous. This has evidently been a chair of
state, and has been made for one high in power to sit in. The material
appears to be quartz, studded with diamonds enough to enrich a kingdom.
The bad spirits are all in your imagination; they will keep a
respectful distance from us, I promise you."

"Glad to hear you speak up, uncle," said Sidney, "for unless we
overcome Whirlwind's prejudice against carrying any of these wonderful
things home with us, to give occular proof of what we saw, every one
will think our account exaggerated. For instance, now, I intend
breaking off one of the arms of the chair to give proof of what it is

"No, no; not for any consideration shall it be mutilated. It would be
desecration to do it. If we never get home, it could do no good; and if
we do, the day may come when we can return in safety, and remove it
whole, or at least we might give the information that would lead to its
removal," returned the trapper.

"Oh! well then, I must find something else that will answer my purpose
as well," and going to one of the corners of the niche, or rather an
elevated room, he came to a pile of rubbish which he commenced pulling
away, and, which, on examining, proved to be a human figure. Starting
back, with a cry of terror, the rest hurried to where he stood staring
with distended eyes toward the form that was stretched on the rocky
bed, in the corner; when they saw the figure, they too stepped
involuntarily backwards, and Howe, advancing, laid his hand on the form
before him, discovered it was stone--a petrified human body.

On examination, it proved to have been a man nearly nine feet high, of
extraordinary muscular proportions. He had evidently been slain here or
wounded elsewhere, and crawled in this cavern to die, for a javelin was
sticking in his side, which he had endeavoured to extricate, but died
in the act, as his hand was clenched around it. It proved to be made of
copper, a fact which they ascertained by scraping the corroded metal
away, leaving the pure copper beneath. They attempted to withdraw the
javelin, but could not move it. The body, in petrifying, had closed
around it like a vice--the hand holding it in a position slanting
downwards, as if in that direction he had attempted to draw it from the
wound. On examining the rubbish that Sidney had pulled off him, they
found a helmet, precisely similar to the one found by Edward and Anne
in the old fort, which was in a good state of preservation. Besides
these, there was a broken javelin--the two pieces looking as if, when
whole, it had been a formidable weapon. Scraping these relics away with
a quantity of other things, too much decayed to ascertain what they
originally were, they came to what they had supposed to be the floor,
but which they discovered to be a skin of some kind petrified also. It
did not have the appearance of a buffalo skin, for it had a soft,
silky, or furry appearance. In the other corner, there was a large pile
that looked as if something had been stowed away, but on its being
disturbed, a dry musty vapor filled the air, and the heap became a
shapeless mass--the original character of which they could not
ascertain. Time had claimed its own; and what once, perhaps, were
costly and beautiful fabrics, was now a pile of dust.

Descending the stone steps to the cavern, they found that the brilliant
light from the tripods dispelled the gloominess around them, and gave,
as far as the eye could reach, a lively appearance to the place.

The party were now quite hungry; after roasting and eating some of
their venison, they prepared to penetrate still further in search of an
outlet. At first they thought of leaving the lights burning, but on
prudent second thought, they concluded to extinguish them, that, in
case their enemies did discover the cave, they might not discover that
they had been there.

"If we had a vessel to carry some of it in to light us on our way, we
should be saved much trouble," remarked the trapper.

"Perhaps we shall find something," said Sidney; "let us not despair,
but look around."

"I think we had better spend no more time," said Jane; "I long to be
going on. We can make light enough to guide us with sticks."

"The pale-faced maiden speaks well," said the chief; "let us proceed,
and save ourselves while we can. The venison will not last long, and we
must find an outlet or die."

"I think so likewise," said Edward. "Come, uncle, let us be moving."

"Very well; but we must beware of the gulf by our dim light, or we
shall all be in it in a twinkling," said the trapper, as he prepared
his torch.

Again they were moving on. Sometimes the cavern presented a low, narrow
defile, with hardly ten feet of rock to pass on; then it again widened
and grew lofty, until they could not make out its size by the rays of
their lights, which illumined out a few feet around them. After
proceeding about a mile further, they came to an abrupt halt, for a
barrier was in their track. The gulf extended across the cave from side
to side, and so wide that they could not see the opposite shore. Here
was a barrier, indeed, which they knew not how to overcome. They could
all swim, for that is an accomplishment that our borderers, of either
sex, never fail of acquiring. But they had great objections to plunging
into water of an unknown extent or depth.

"I will explore it," said the chief, throwing off his moccasins and
tunic; and with a torch in one hand, he let himself down with the
other, and then moved cautiously out into the unknown lake.

The chief was an adept in swimming, and made good headway with the only
hand at liberty. After swimming about twenty rods, his feet touched a
pebbly bed, and in a moment more he was in shallow water enough to
obtain footing; and wading a little further on, he came to land.
Astonished beyond measure, he looked around, and at a little distance
saw what looked as though large masses of rock had been cut away--the
bottom of which was about two feet higher than the ground; and in the
centre of this slight elevation, stood a single tripod, like the one
they had seen in the niche that they had passed. This was also filled
with the singular liquid that burned; and on the chief's touching it
with his torch, the cavern around was illumined in an instant.[5] A
shout of exultation burst on the air from those on the other shore, as
the brilliant light showed them that the chief had gained his object.

      [5] By filling a tumbler nearly full of water, and pouring a
      small quantity of ether upon its surface, on application of a
      torch, it will burn with a very beautiful light.

After lighting the tripod, the chief saw, a little way up the shore,
three objects that, from their resemblance to a canoe, attracted his
attention. Going close to them, he found the largest ten feet long, and
four wide in the middle, oval at the bottom, and tapering to a point at
the ends. They seemed to be made of metal, for, though quite strong,
they were covered inside and out with corroding rust. A thought struck
the chief that, perhaps, they were canoes, and might still be used. To
settle the point was but a moment's work; and he dragged one to the
water, when, lo! it floated in a handsome style, and jumping in, and
using his hands for paddles, with wild delight beaming from his bronzed
features, he gained the other shore. As he approached, they laughed and
shouted with pleasure. One at a time was conveyed over, until all, in a
little while, were landed safely on the beach. Here the water evidently
terminated; but the sides were still precipitous, although the cavern
was of much less height than formerly, and they had some hope that they
were near the outlet. The shore was covered with smooth white pebbles,
that shone brightly in the light, and had much the appearance of quartz
worked by the constant action of water. The children, who were eager to
find something that they could convey away without the knowledge of the
chief, searched eagerly among these pebbles; nor was their labor lost,
for every few minutes one or the other found a "_star stone_," as the
chief called them, and adroitly placed them in their pockets. In this
way they had made quite a collection by the time they were called to
move on. They found, also, at this spot, piles of what had evidently
been of some importance, but so much decayed by time, as to defy the
possibility of telling their original compositions.

On they moved, but, still, they came to no outlet. The bottom had the
same pebbly appearance, the sides precipitous, the top low; and, for
more than a mile, there was not the slightest variation in the
appearance of the cavern.

"This is a long cave," said Howe, "and the strangest I ever saw. And
that is saying much, for a trapper gets in all sorts of places."

"Strange enough, that is true," said Sidney, "I wonder if there is an

"I guess so," said Edward, "everything that has a beginning has an end,
I believe; but, whether we shall find it, is another question."

"I propose we halt and rest," said Jane. "For one, I am exhausted, I
think it must be far into the night."

"I suspect it is," said the trapper. "Suppose we take a little sleep,
and then start afresh. But, then, if we do this, what shall we do for
light? No sticks are to be gathered on these pebbles, and ours will not
burn an hour longer. If it is possible for you to stand it, Jane, we
had better move on. I can help you, for I am too much used to
travelling to tire."

"Perhaps, we can find more of the burning water, if we keep a look
out," said the chief.

But on they went; yet no tripod met their eye, until they feared Jane
would be unable to proceed, and worst of all, two of their torches gave
out, and the rest would not last twenty minutes longer.

"The braves and maiden, will await us here," said the chief, "while my
brother and I bring relief. Come," said he, to Howe, "we are the
strongest, let them rest, and when we have found light we will return."

"Perhaps it is best," said the trapper. "Sit here, we will leave the
venison with you, that we need not be encumbered. Sit down on these
pebbles, they are dry and much easier than the fire of the cannibal.
Keep courage, and sleep if you can," so saying, he and the chief, took
the torches to light them on the way, and soon disappeared in the
distance. Sidney seated himself on the pebbles beside where Jane had
sank quite exhausted, and drawing her to him rested her head in his
arms, where she soon fell asleep. Edward was also soon in the land of
dreams, while Sidney watched over them with the care of a mother. Here
his whole life passed before him. His orphanage, the care of Mr. and
Mrs. Duncan, the tenderness they had bestowed upon him, his boyhood,
and dawning manhood, his capture by the Indians, and providential
escape, up to the present moment, and finally his present position.
Long did the children sleep, and long did he watch without a ray of
light, in a darkness more intense than anything he had ever imagined
surrounding him. No sound was heard, not even the faintest breath, save
the soft respiration of the sleepers. The time seemed to him endless;
and the oppressive silence had become more painful than can be
expressed, when, oh! joy, the distant sound of a human voice was heard,
which every second grew louder and louder, and then a bright glittering
light was seen in the distance approaching. His uncle and the chief had
returned, bearing new torches, the light of which awoke the sleepers,
who were much refreshed by their repose.

"Come," said Howe, "we must make our way some three miles farther,
where we can find not only daylight, but plenty of wood and water, and
as I am getting ravenous, we must hurry on."

"Then you have found an outlet!" cried the children. "Oh, uncle, we may
yet see home again."

"Certainly, you not only may, but probably will. We have undoubtedly
gone right through the mountain, and as the cannibals will never think
we have effected this, all we have to do is, to be wary, so as to
escape from roving parties, and we shall be safe enough."

They were soon at the outlet, which they found was concealed by a
stone, like the inlet, and the only way the trapper and chief had
discovered it, was by the daylight that came peeping through its
crevices; for night had already gone and the day again was nearly
spent. They thought it prudent to build their fire for cooking a little
way in the cavern to prevent being discovered, and after satisfying
their hunger with broiled venison, for which their long fast had
sharpened their appetites, they put out their fire, and as it began to
grow dark, fastened the outlet of the cavern, and laid down to rest.
Their only bed now was the earth, having left the pebbles, full a mile
behind them. Sweet and calm were their slumbers, for they felt secure
and free.

Chapter Eighth.

A Night of invigorating Repose. Entering the unknown Wild. They capture
a mountain sheep. The encampment attacked by Panthers. They save
themselves by climbing a tree, and building up fires. The Panthers kill
one of their pack. They continue their journey. Whirlwind becomes lost.
They find a wild Goat. They start for the mountains. Everything strange
about them. Their Deception. Talk of preparing for Winter. Encampment
at the base of the mountain.

Our wanderers awoke the next morning from a long and refreshing sleep,
and on rolling away the stone from the outlet of the cavern they found
the sun up, and the forest vocal with the feathered songsters. Never
sounded melody sweeter than that; and, as the birds jumped from branch
to branch, or soared away on free wing, trilling their sweet notes,
breaking into the wildest gushing songs, they involuntarily exclaimed,
"We too are free, and sing with great joy of our deliverance!"

After consuming the rest of their deer for a morning's repast, they
plunged into the unknown wild, for so various had been their trials
that they had lost all conception of distance or place; and, save the
knowledge that they had travelled sometimes south, then again west,
they had no idea where they were. Taking a north-easterly direction as
near as they could determine the points of compass, they boldly set out
and travelled until the sun was high in the heavens; then faint and
weary, they sought for a place to rest, and something to satisfy their
hunger. They soon found a cool shady spring, and after quenching their
thirst, saw with pleasure, a little way beyond, where there had been a
windfall, and as berries generally grow profusely in such places, they
hastened to it and found, as they had anticipated, an abundant supply,
as it was now the season for their ripening. After eating as many as
they desired, the chief took some stout twigs, and weaving them into a
basket, lined it with leaves, and recommended filling it with the
fruit; which they did, and then returned to the spring where they sat
down to rest.

"Well, chief," said Howe. "I don't think we shall make much headway,
living on berries. We must contrive some means of taking some of the
game with which these woods are filled."

"True," said Sidney. "I, too, do not think a dinner of berries is at
all necessary. The game here, evidently, has never been hunted, for it
is remarkably tame. I almost laid my hand on a pheasant once or twice
before it flew away, while picking berries."

"I must say, a roasted pheasant would be very welcome now," said
Edward, "I wish you had quite laid your hands on it."

"Hark!" said the chief, "I hear steps: something is coming to the
spring to drink. Stay in your positions without making a noise, and I
will see what can be done." So saying, he swiftly and noiselessly crept
among some bushes that grew on the side of the spring, which would
bring him a few feet behind any animal that approached by a small path
which had probably been beaten by the denizens of the forest as they
came here to slake their thirst. His only weapons were a tomahawk, a
long hunting knife, and bow and arrows, which he had taken from the
sentinel. Indeed, these were all the weapons of any kind in the
possession of the whole party, except a hunting knife that the trapper
had adroitly concealed from the cannibals. Whatever game was
approaching, it evidently intended to take its time, for they could
hear it, every few minutes stop to browse, which argued well for its
being a deer, and which they earnestly desired it should be. At last it
came in sight, and they beheld a small mountain sheep. Though it was
not what they anticipated, yet it was a welcome prize, and the chief's
unerring aim secured it.

They dressed and broiled a few steaks of it, but hesitated to build a
large fire, for fear that straggling Indians might see the smoke rising
above the tree tops, which would direct them on their trail. After
satisfying their hunger, taking the remainder and the basket of
berries, they again set out on their journey and travelled until
sunset, when they encamped in a valley for the night. They had put out
their fire, and with Whirlwind for sentinel, had a feeling of security,
which they acknowledged by the deep sleep which enshrouded them. At
midnight he was relieved by the trapper, and he too slept soundly.

About the second hour of Howe's watch, his ear was attracted by
stealthy advancing steps, and in a few moments within ten paces of the
sleepers, gleamed a pair of glaring eyes flashing in the darkness that
surrounded them, like coals of fire.

"A panther," muttered the trapper, and then he continued as if the
beast could understand him, "you had better stand back, old fellow, if
you have any respect for yourself. We shall not accommodate you with a
meal to-night, so keep back."

But the panther did not understand him, or, if he did, he did not heed
the advice; for the trapper could tell by his low growl that he was
preparing to spring; quickly drawing the bow, and taking aim between
the flashing eyes, he gave him an arrow. With a howl of rage, the beast
sprang back into the bushes, and retreating to the top of the hill, set
up a quick, fierce, and wailing cry, which sounded like that of an
angry child, only fiercer, until it seemed as if the whole forest had
taken up and echoed the sound. The beast's first howl had awakened the
sleepers; and when they heard him on the hill, all were frightened, for
they well knew it was the panther's call for help.

The panther being eminently a social animal, it is said, go in bands,
but usually search for food singly; and when found, if too formidable
to be secured by the finder, he retreats a little distance, and then
sets up his call for help.

"We must take to trees," said the chief; "nothing can save us if they
come down with the whole pack, which they will be likely to do by what
that coward is telling them."

"Why, chief, do you suppose the beast is telling his mates that we are
five strong, and he cannot kill us all, and if he should, there would
be too much for one to eat?"

"Yes," replied the chief, "and not only that, but there are two old
ones, and the rest are young, so they must fetch their mates and cubs,
that all may enjoy the great feast."

"Ha! ha! chief," laughed Howe; "but that is going it strong for the

"Don't laugh, uncle," said Jane. "It is really horrible to be torn to
pieces by these animals."

"Why, who intends to be torn to pieces by these howling vagabonds? Not
I; nor do I intend any of us will. Here, Sidney, you climb this tree
and fix a place for Jane. Edward, help yourself into this one
also--catch hold of that limb. Jane, place your foot on my hand, and
raise yourself so as to catch the next limb. Help her, Sidney. There,
all are safe now but us, chief, and I believe we know how to take care
of ourselves. Had we better kindle a fire? The panthers, you know,
would as soon run up these trees as not; but a fire would have a
tendency to keep them at a respectful distance."

"And, perhaps, draw the cannibals on us!"

"I think not, chief. I think that in going through the mountain we
escaped from their territory."

"Build the fire and run the risk. They can climb trees like cats; and
as we have no weapons but our clubs to defend ourselves with, they
would have us, if they come in numbers, in a twinkling."

"Oh! yes, do!" cried Jane and Edward, as they now heard the yells of
the beasts from distant parts of the forest, giving back the call from
the hill.

"Let us run the risk, chief, and light three or four fires around the
tree, keeping within the circle, and then, if they press us too hard,
we can climb the tree also. It is large and strong, and will hold us
with ease."

Accordingly the dry brush wood that always covers the grounds in our
primitive forests, was hastily scraped together and fired; and as the
blaze lighted up the forest, three other heaps were collected in a
circle around the tree, which were also fired, and larger sticks
brought and heaped upon them--the smoke and heat of which drove the
children to the topmost limbs of the tree. It is well they had decided
on the fires, for they had not been blazing ten minutes, when the whole
pack of beasts, numbering full fifty, with ferocious growls, came down
from the hills around them. They came within a few feet of the fires,
then retreated into the darkness; but in a few moments advanced again,
wrangling among themselves, and endeavored to penetrate the ring of
fire. But the heat drove them back a second time, when the fighting and
wrangling became frightful from the din they made. After a while they
again advanced, eyeing the tree and fire alternately, keeping up the
growls for half an hour, when they formed a circle around a solitary
panther which occupied the centre, with drooping head and tail, and
after eying him a moment, precipitated themselves upon him with a
bound, tearing him into fragments, and devouring him.[6] They then
quietly separated, and bounded away into the gloom, leaving our young
friends astonished at the singular termination of the fray.

      [6] A fact which was related to the author by a trader, who was
      one among some others that saw a similar circumstance.

"Why, uncle, do panthers prey upon each other when hungry?" asked

"Seldom; but when they do, it is to punish one of their number that
offends them. In this instance, the panther was destroyed because he
had deceived them by calling them when it could do no good."

"Do you think that was the panther that yelled so on the hill?"

"Quite certain of that," said Whirlwind. "He was calling his mates, but
did not tell them we were surrounded with fire, or in a tree, and that
they could not reach us; because, when the brute saw us, we were on the
ground, and without that element. Most beasts fear fire. It was for
this they destroyed him. They were led to expect a feast, and being
disappointed, devoured him to punish him for the deception."

"Really, Whirlwind, do you suppose beasts reason, and have a language
so as to converse?"

"The reasoning part I cannot answer for; but that they can convey
thought and feeling as well as the passions, from one to another, there
is no doubt. You and I understand what each other wishes to be
understood by language; but we cannot comprehend the first sound a
beast makes, yet, they not only understand their own language, but many
words of our own. Which then has the most intellect?"

"You are not in earnest when you would compare man and beast together?"

"The Great Spirit made them both, and gave to each the attributes best
suited to the station it was to occupy; and when those attributes are
exhibited as they were to-night, it would anger the Great Spirit to
believe they were not bestowed upon a creature, because that creature
was not a man."

"It is a truth well known to those who have spent the greater part of
their lives in the forest as I have, that the scene we have witnessed
to-night, is not of rare occurrence. This is the third time that I have
had to save myself by stratagem from panthers in my life," said the

The next morning they again bent their course towards the north-east;
and as the day began to wane, the lofty peaks of a range of mountains
loomed up before them directly in their path.

"What can that mean," said the trapper, calling the attention of the
others to them. "It cannot be the Wahsatch mountains, for we went
through them; besides, they ought to be nearly a hundred miles behind
us. And they are not the Medicine Bow Mountains, for I am familiar with
them, and these are quite unlike them."

"Oh! uncle, it cannot be we have been travelling the wrong direction,
and are quite lost," said Jane, anxiously.

"I hardly know myself," he replied, with some trepidation. "I was sure
we came south and west when carried away, and then of course the
opposite direction is north-east, and we have, as near as I could tell,
been travelling that direction. Yet," he added, musingly, "I ought to
know the ground, but I do not recall one feature of it as familiar.
What do you think about these mountains?" he asked of the chief, who
stood moodily apart gazing upon the distant range with a troubled look.

"It is time Whirlwind visited the hunting grounds of the Great Spirit,
for he is no longer a chief to lead his warriors to victory, but is a
child that cannot find his way to his village through the forest,"
returned the chief.

"Then we are lost! I feared it! Oh! we shall never see home again!"
said Jane, weeping.

"Why, child! there is none of your mother about you," said the trapper.
"When she was not more than half your age she and I wandered off into
the forest, got lost, and saw no human face for fourteen days, and
during that time, although we had to eat leaves, berries and roots, she
never shed a tear; but if she saw I was getting sad, she would begin
some funny story that was sure to get us laughing. But there are no
more girls like your mother was; they are all down in the mouth at the
sight of danger now; nervous they call it, I believe."

"No, no, uncle, Jane is none of that; but she is tired, and will have
courage enough when rested," spoke up Edward.

"I believe it is all your work, chief; you have frightened her, she
places such confidence in your wood craft that she supposes if you
cannot find your way out no one can."

"My shoes are worn to shreds," said Jane, holding up the remnant of
what once had been a pair of strong leather shoes, "and my feet are
lacerated and bleeding. I am sure I have been patient; for, though I
have been travelling with great pain, I have borne it uncomplainingly,
hoping every day we should arrive at some place where relief might be

"My poor sister you shall have mine," said Edward, taking them off;
"for, though much worn, and too large, yet they will be a better
protection than your own."

"Young brave, put on your shoes again. I can provide the antelope[7]
with moccasins that will be softer, and more effectually protect her
feet than your shoes."

      [7] A pet name bestowed on Jane by the chief for her agility in

So saying, the chief took off his tunic, which was made of fawn-skin,
laid it on the ground, and bade her place her foot upon it, and then
drawing his hunting-knife around, cut the exact shape of her foot in
the skin. Then taking some strips of leather wood he split it and
twisted it into a strong thread, after which he punctured small holes
with the point of his knife in the shoe he had cut, and drawing the
thread through, soon had completed a pair of strong soft moccasins.

"Well done, chief," said Jane, delighted with his handy work; "I did
not think of this resort to a covering, but own it is effectual and
very neatly done. You must kill another fawn and I will make you a new
tunic to replace the one you have spoiled."

As it was getting late they encamped on the spot, there being water but
a few rods distant, and visiting it, the chief pulled from the earth
some roots, at the same time crying, "Yampa! yampa!"[8]

      [8] A root much used by the Indians as food.

"Nothing so welcome in our situation," cried the trapper. "Collect
enough of them, while I try to kill some turkies that I have a glimpse
of yonder."

Sidney and Edward went to work and soon had a nice fire blazing, and
then began to clear away the rubbish from around it, so as to make it
more comfortable. This accomplished, the chief returned with his arms
full of vegetables, and directing Sidney and Edward where plenty of
berries could be had near the spring, he proceeded to cook them. In a
little while the trapper returned, but instead of a turkey he brought a
string of very large fish.

"Where did those come from?" they all exclaimed.

"From a river, of course," he replied laughing. "You don't suppose they
grew on bushes, do you?"

"Certainly not; but are we really near a large river?"

"Within half a mile of it," he replied.

"Then, can't we find our way out, if we follow it to where it empties?"
asked Jane.

"I should think not. Now, for supper; there come the boys laden with
fruit, and between them and our fish and vegetables, I intend to have a

"Hist!" said Jane, "I heard a noise--a bleat, I am sure; There it is
again; don't you hear it?"

"Now I do, and will soon know what it is," said the trapper, making his
way towards it, guided by the noise. About fifty rods distant he found
a goat with its leg wedged between two rocks, so as to hold it fast,
and preclude the possibility of its escaping. The goat was much
emaciated, and had probably been there two or three days. But a few
paces distant, was its kid, being about five months old, browsing with
perfect unconcern. Howe released the goat and attempted to drive her to
the camp, but she was too weak to walk, and he was compelled to take
her in his arms, and carry her, the kid following, as though it was
nothing new to have its dam carried away.

"He has found a goat," said Edward, "now we can drive it with us and
keep it for milk."

"Poor thing!" said Jane, "it is almost dead: see how parched its mouth
is? Take it to the spring and let it drink, and we will collect
something for it to eat. What a pretty thing the kid is, and so very
tame. You will not kill it, will you?"

"Not unless necessity compels us to. If we can get a little strength in
this goat, I think, myself, she will be of service to us. Now for
supper, for this mountain air gives me a voracious appetite."

"And after supper, uncle, we had better build a bough-house, for last
night the dew fell heavy and cold. I think the summer must be over and
September already here."

"The young brave is right; the harvest moon is yonder a crescent. When
it is full, comes the harvest feast; and, then, unless Whirlwind
returns, another will be chief in his place."

"If we are not there then, we have this consolation, others have been
in as bad situations as we are."

"But, uncle, supposing we are still wandering around the forest when
the snows begin to fall?" said Jane.

"Why, then we must make the best of it we can."

"That is, lay down and freeze."

"Does the red man lay down and die, when the snows fall?" asked the
chief. "If we cannot find our homes, we must make a new one. Then we
shall be content again. The antelope shall sit in her lodge happy as
the singing bird, while her brothers bring her venison, fish, and the
choicest fruits that grow."

The next morning they were again in motion, making direct for the lofty
peaks before them, expecting to find a pass, and hoping when on the
other side to find a country with which they were familiar. For turn it
as they could, they arrived at the same conclusion at last, that they
ought to travel towards the northeast, a course they believed they
constantly kept. But they were mistaken in supposing the cave went
through the Wahsatch mountain; for, instead, it went through a spur of
it, leaving the principal range on the east, instead of the west as
they supposed. And now another spur lay between them and the principal
range, rising in lofty peaks, beyond which was an extensive level plain
many miles in extent, before the principal range could be reached. The
reason they were so deceived in the locality was, that they had never
been on the western side of the Wahsatch mountains, until carried
prisoners there; and, supposing the outlet of the cavern was on the
eastern side, they boldly pushed ahead. Had they known of these two
spurs--(the one the cavern conducted them through, and the one that lay
before them,) they would have known precisely where they were. But, as
the savages had gone round them by crossing the mountains a hundred
miles below, when they took them prisoners to their village, they had
no means of knowing it.

That night they encamped at the base of the second spur, by which ran a
small brook, and after a hearty supper, laid down to rest, with Sidney
on the watch, who was to be relieved at twelve by the chief.

Chapter Ninth.

Encounter with a Wolf. Sidney seriously wounded. They construct a bed.
Whirlwind procures medicine. Dressing Sidney's wounds. They Build a
Cabin. A high fever sets in. Fears entertained of Sidney's death. Talk
of Pow-wowing the disease. Howe's story of encountering a Polar Bear.
His faith in the Indian's Medicine Man. Miscellaneous conversation on
the matter. Their final consent to the Pow-wow.

Hardly an hour of Sidney's watch had elapsed, when, feeling very
thirsty, he stepped down the embankment to the stream, (which was only
two rods from the camp fire,) to get a drink; when in the act of
raising it to his lips, a huge black wolf sprang at him from beneath a
coppice of laurel that skirted the bank, and planting its huge teeth in
his shoulder, crushed the bones in a terrible manner--at the same time
his great weight bearing him to the ground.

The attack came so suddenly, that he was totally unprepared; and the
mangled shoulder sending a sickening effect through him, caused him to
faint with a single cry for help. However, it had been heard; Howe and
Whirlwind bounding to their feet on the instant, with their clubs in
their hands, which they always slept with by their sides, sprang on the
beast that was now growling ferociously over the insensible boy.

"Let him have it!" cried the trapper, dealing him the first blow; but
scarcely were the words uttered, when, with a leap, the wolf sprang
past the trapper at Jane, who stood on the bank above gazing with
horror on the mangled form of Sidney below her, and catching her by the
side, bore her also to the ground. Scarcely had she fallen, when a
powerful hand grasped him by the throat, and the chief's hunting knife
was buried a dozen times in the monster's heart--its life-blood almost
suffocating the prostrate and terrified girl.

Raising her in his arms, the chief carried her to the brook, bathed her
face, hands, neck, and even her hair--which was saturated with
blood--in the water. Then cleansing her dress, carried her back to the
camp-fire, and calling Edward to watch her, hastened to the side of
Sidney to assist the trapper, who was dashing water in his face in his
endeavors to bring him to consciousness.

"Hold, there!" cried the chief; "would my brother drown the young

"Not exactly; only put a little life in him," said the trapper, dashing
over him some more water.

"Stop, or you will kill him! He must be brought up the embankment
nearer the light, so as to give us a better chance to care for him.
Raise his feet while I lift his shoulders. Oh! he is dreadfully
lacerated. Gently, gently; there, lay him softly down. He is
recovering! see, he breathes and turns his eyes."

"Sidney! Sidney! look up: are you much hurt?"

A heavy groan, and a relapse into unconsciousness, were all the answers
he could give. But it was very expressive to the wanderers, who were
without surgical aid, or even a bed to lay him on, or roof to shield
him from the dews of night.

"A terrible business, this," said the trapper. "I fear the poor boy has
received his death-wound. How is it with Jane? is she much injured?"

"I think not," said the chief; "the monster jumped too far to do much
harm, save that which she received by the fall, and I gave him no
chance to try a second time."

"We must take off his clothes, examine his wounds, and dress them,"
said the chief, "but first, we must make a bed to lay him on. My
brother will watch him while I make it--it is but a few minutes' work."
So saying, he took his tomahawk, cut and drove four stout posts into
the ground, notched at the top, across which he placed two stout poles,
which constituted a strong bedstead, though of a very primitive order;
yet it was better than lying on the damp ground.

The bed was next to be manufactured, which was done by placing short
poles across the structure. On this hemlock boughs were placed, and on
these again a thick covering of dried leaves. Nor was this bed as hard
as a person would imagine who had never reposed on one. The poles that
upheld the upper structure were springy; the boughs were soft and
yielding, while the leaves filled all the little crevices, and made it
smooth and easy.

Lifting their patient upon his couch, they took off his upper garments,
and then saw, to their dismay, the bones broken and protruding, the
flesh mangled and torn, presenting a terrible spectacle. Besides, there
were two other flesh wounds, but these alone would not have been

"Nothing can be done until I collect some medicine leaves," said the
chief, "which I am not sure of doing before daylight; but as the case
is so urgent, I will try."

Taking a torch of pitch pine knots, he began searching round in the
forest for the plant he desired, which he succeeded in finding very
soon. Pressing some of the leaves so as to start the juice, he put them
into a gourd, filled it with water, and after replacing the fractured
bones as well as he could, with Howe's assistance, who had some
practice that way during his roving life, proceeded to cleanse the
wounds with the decoction: after which he held some of them in his
hands until they were wilted, then laid them smoothly over the wound,
confining the whole with the small fibre of leather wood--that
never-failing substitute for thread or cord.

Jane was next attended to; but, on examination, hers proved to be a
mere flesh wound, neither deep nor large, but which they thought
prudent to dress so there need not be any danger of inflammation.

"We will take care of the monster's skin," said the trapper, "for we
may need it, if we can save Sidney's life, to protect him from the cold
before he recovers."

To take off and stretch the skin for drying, was but the work of a few
minutes for their practised hands; and the rest of the night was spent
in endeavoring to determine what was the safest plan to adopt; but the
morning broke, leaving them as undecided as at first. At one moment
they were for dividing their force, part remaining until the wounded
could be removed, or, as they feared, died, the rest hasten on, and
return with assistance as soon as possible. This was rejected, as it
would be weakening their numbers, already too small to provide for
their sick properly. Thus project after project was rejected, for their
condition was bad enough before, but now they felt it was doubly
appalling. Sad, indeed, they were; for they dreaded every hour the fate
of him who had been as a son and brother; and to have him die there,
and be buried in the vast wilds, the location of which they knew not
themselves, and, perhaps, could not point out should they be so
fortunate as to escape a similar fate, was enough to wring the stoutest
heart. But it was now the time that the untutored Indian showed his
superior tact and energy. Howe was cheerful, still hopeful, but not
resigned, like the chief, who, at first, had pined for the station of a
free leader of a free people; but, as the time advanced when the
authority would be given to another, unless he returned by the harvest
feast according to custom, and the injury Sidney had received, would
prevent their travelling, he nobly resolved that let the consequences
to himself be what they might, he would not desert the young man in his
hour of need.

Anxiously they watched by the couch hour after hour, until dawn of day,
when the poor fellow began to call for water; a fever had set in. When
this new evil became apparent, it destroyed what little hope remained,
and though they sought every way to baffle the disease, yet it was
through a desire to leave nothing undone, that might possibly in any
way relieve him. The trapper gathered some roots noted for their
cooling properties, and bruising them extracted their juice which was
given to the patient, while a tea made by soaking slippery elm bark,
was his constant drink. It all seemed to do no good; for his fever rose
higher and burned fiercer, until his brain wandered, his eyes grew
wild, and his skin became dry and husky. He raved alternately of home
and his wanderings. At one time, talking familiarly with his friends,
as though he was by the old fireside in Missouri, then in piteous
accents calling on some one to save him from the fire of the cannibals
who he said were roasting him, alternately with praying them to kill
him with their arrows to end his sufferings. Again, he imagined the
wolf was at his throat, and it then required all their tact to soothe,
and keep him from tossing about, and again displacing the fractured
bones of his shoulder.

They built a hut of boughs, making the corners of four saplings which
they cut off at the proper height, where they formed a crotch
supporting strong poles, across which other poles were laid, and which
they covered with hemlock boughs; this again was covered with bark they
had detached from fallen trees, and which made a good defence against
heat or rain. The sides were fitted up the same way, with the exception
of a door which they closed by a large piece of bark, when they

Day after day went by, and though they could not see that their patient
was better, yet he was, certainly, no worse. This encouraged them.

"If we can keep him quiet, so as to give the mangled bones time to set,
the fever will die off itself. For, no doubt, it is caused by the
irritation of the wounds," said the trapper.

"If the Medicine Man[9] of the Arapahoes was here, to pow-wow the
disease, the young brave would live," said the chief.

      [9] Physician.

"That would only frighten him," said Edward, who had often seen this
same mode of curing diseases exercised, and had no very high opinion of

"The more complete the fright, the sooner the recovery," retorted the

"Suppose you pow-wow him," said the trapper, "you know the virtue lies
in you by your right of chief, if you choose to exercise it, which you
should be willing to do, if it would heal him."

"Oh! no, no; don't think of such a thing, he could not bear it. The
least noise makes him worse, even the chirping of the birds and
squirrels in the trees overhead, irritates him; and only an hour ago, I
had to lead the goat and her kid farther away to tether them; for, at
every bleat they made, he started nervously, and moaned," said Jane,
who had great faith in quietness, and soothing applications in
restoring the sick.

"He has got no medicine bag," said Edward, "and could not, very
happily. Any one that is well and can stand a pow-wow, ought to live
forever, but I am sure if I was as sick as poor Sidney is, and they
undertook to raise such a rumpus about me, I would die to get out of
the noise."

"Hush! you don't know anything about it. I am sure I should have died
once if I had not been pow-wowed," said the trapper. "As for the
medicine bag, every chief is gifted with making one at will."

"Why, uncle, you would not consent to have such a din raised around
Sidney, would you? I am sure it would kill him."

"I rather think it would help him. A sick man among the wilds and one
in a populous district are to be treated on different plans, and the
one recovers as often as the other. Still there is this difference: the
one, if he recovers, carries a poison in him that finally does its
work; while the other, if he recovers, soon regains his former vigor,"
said the trapper.

"Really, uncle, I did not think you superstitious before; but this
seems like it," said Jane.

"Prejudiced, Jane; he has been among the natives until almost one of
them," said Edward.

"Call it what you like. I have reasons for it. When I was about thirty,
I, in company with my father, had been trading with the Hudson's Bay
Company, and were preparing for a homeward voyage when it occurred to
us that our collection would not be complete without a polar bear skin.
This we resolved to have, and supposing it could be had from the
natives, we started out one morning to visit the different lodges that
were located around the station in search of our object. We found
enough that had been divided into parts, but there was but a single
complete one to be found, and that was the skin from a young cub which
would give but a faint idea of the size and strength of the full grown
animal. It was our object to get a complete one, as a large price had
been offered for a perfect skin of full size.

"There were reports of polar bears having been seen at no great
distance, within a few days, and my father was too famous a hunter to
be baulked when bears could be had by hunting. Engaging six Esquimaux
to accompany us with their dogs and spears we set out. We knew it was
dangerous game that we were after, but we thought two rifles, six
Esquimaux spears and dogs were strong enough for them, and we went
carelessly on, guided by a native until we were in their haunts, as the
natives informed us.

"'You don't pretend to say that the beasts are in that ugly looking
hole, do you?' said father, as the guide pointed to a low hole that ran
beneath a high cliff, bordering the bay.

"'There,' said the native, still pointing to the hole; 'one, two, big,
one little.'

"'Three of them! Why, you rogue, what made you lead us into their den?
A pretty time there will be if they all charge us at once!'

"'White man shoot one big one, other white man shoot one big one, red
men and dogs, six men, six dogs kill little one,' said the Esquimaux,
smiling at the allotment he had made.

"'All very well if they have the goodness to die at the first, or even
second fire; but there have been animals of this kind that have
required twenty balls before it was safe to approach them. If wounded,
without being disabled, they are ferocious.'

"'Bear eat white man then; bear very fond of him,' said the native,
enjoying the scrape he had led us into.

"'Look here, you villain,' said father, 'if we are killed I will blow
your brains out, depend upon it, when we return to the station!'

"'White man may, when he gets back, if he is killed,' said the guide,
who stood grinning horribly with his keen, serpent-like eyes fixed on
the den of beasts.

"The ground was covered with snow, and the bay for half a mile out with
ice strong enough to have held a hundred tons in one solid body.
Beyond, the bay was filled with a sea of floating ice, that ebbed in
and out again as the wind or tide carried it. I said the cliff skirted
the bay; still there was a beach some twenty rods wide that lay between
it and the bay which was covered with snow as every thing else is in
that region in March.

"'We are in for it, Andy,' said father. 'Keep a good look out that the
beasts do not get at you; if they do, depend upon it, they will give
you cause to repent your hunt. See! the natives are pricking them up
with the points of their spears. Stand back so as to give him a wide
berth, and we will let the natives see that some things can be done as
well as others.'

"'Back! back!' yelled the natives; at the same moment a savage shaggy
head protruded from the den, and with angry growls, made for the
nearest native. Every one of us, in our haste to clear the way for his
bearship, tumbled over each other until he was in a fair way to have us
all in a heap to devour at leisure.

"'Pretty doings this, with our backs to the game!--face round every one
of you. Seek him! Seek him, there! Now, you red rogues, give him your
spears while he is engaged in boxing over the dogs as fast as they get
at him. Ho! that makes him sorry,' said father, who was all alive with
sport, for the old bear was a male of the largest kind; and he was just
congratulating himself on the easy victory he was obtaining, when his
mate came with flashing eyes and ferocious growls towards us.

"I was the first to note her exit from the den, and drawing my rifle to
my shoulder gave her a ball in the side. With a roar of rage she
bounded towards me and giving her another ball I attempted to save
myself in flight, but my foot slipping on the snow, threw me on the
ground, at the mercy of the terrible brute. Father saw the affray, and
after discharging every ball in his rifle at her, clubbed her with
blows that shivered the stock of his gun into splinters. So I
afterwards learned, for the first blow she dealt me with her huge paw,
took me on the temple, and I knew no more of the terrible whipping she
gave me until it was all over. That was soon enough, for I thought my
last hour had come for many a week. The physician at the station gave
me over, and as a last resort the medicine man of a neighboring tribe
took me in hand, pow-wow'd me, and from that hour I began to recover."

"You really think that the medicine man saved your life, do you?"
queried Jane.

"Certainly--nothing can be clearer. The Indians know more of the art of
healing, than half of your pop-in-jay doctors."

"How about the noise: it must have set you most wild," said Edward.

"It was a little too strong, I thought at the time, but afterwards was
convinced it was all for the best."

"And the bears: were they secured?"

"Oh! yes, and the cub, too. But they told me it was a terrible fight."

"My brother has seen the efficacy of our medicine men. The Great Spirit
would assist his son to cure the young brave, if the white chief
desires it should be done," said Whirlwind.

"I am inclined to think it would help him, and at least could do no

"Let him try, uncle. I am willing anything to save him should be
tried," said Edward.

Jane was silenced, but not convinced, by her uncle's story; and though
doubting the termination, offered no more opposition. Whirlwind
retreated into the forest, desiring that no one should follow him,
where he remained all night--during intervals of which, they heard his
voice alternately in entreaty, command, and supplication.

Chapter Tenth.

Preparations for a grand Pow-wow. The apparent solemnity of Whirlwind.
He dresses himself in the wolf-skin. The Pow-wow. Its effects upon
Sidney. He becomes delirious. Favourable turn in his fever. His health
improves. They proceed on their way. The Indian acknowledges himself
lost. Encamp for the night. Their journey continued. Singular trees
discovered. Preparations for spending the winter.

At noon the next day, the chief returned, carrying in his hand a small
bag made of bark, and filled with something they did not attempt to
ascertain, well knowing the chief would look on such an act as
unpardonable profanity. He had gone into the forest without supper, and
had taken no breakfast, yet he refused anything to eat. They did not
urge him, for they had never seen such an expression of humility and
meekness on the chief's features before as they wore then; and Jane and
Edward felt rebuked for the levity they had exhibited, for evidently he
was acting the farce in which he was engaged, with a sincerity and
purity of motive that commanded respect.

With eager curiosity, blended with fear for the result, they watched
every movement of the chief's preparations, which were as unique as
singular. After depositing his bag with great care on the limb of a
tree, he took the now dry wolf-skin, wrapped it around him, running his
arms through the skin of the fore legs. The skin of the head, which had
been stretched and dried whole, he drew over his own, confining the
body of the skin around him with a string, leaving the long bushy tail
dragging behind him. Then taking his medicine bag in his hands, he
assumed the appearance of the wolf; and thus accoutred, no one would
have taken him for a human being, so completely was he metamorphosed.
With stealthy tread, he crept slowly round the couch on which the
patient lay, snuffing the air like a hound on a scent; then placing his
hands on the side, raised his head, and, after taking a survey of the
sick man, again dropt down, and commenced moving around very slowly,
and snuffing the air for full half an hour. Suddenly, with a yell that
made the old forest ring, and a bound, he darted round the couch with a
velocity truly astonishing. He did not run, nor bound, but jumped, and
at every jump, sent out one of those hideous yells, that startled the
echoes from their retreats, and sent them forth with a hundred voices.

After whirling around the bed in this way a number of times, with
frantic howls he sprang upon the bed, and commenced snuffing round the
patient. Starting with terror, the poor boy half raised his head, and a
glance of intelligence lighted his sunken eye, as he cried, with
gestures of fear and horror, "The wolf! the wolf! Save me! oh, save
me!" and then sank back, fainting. They at first thought he was dead.

"You have killed him. Stop! for mercy's sake, stop!" cried Jane,
placing herself between the hideous looking object and Sidney.

"The young brave will live," said the chief, suddenly raising himself,
and speaking in his natural tones; and after divesting himself of the
skin, without another word, disappeared in the forest.

"Give me water," said Jane, "and chafe his hands while I bathe his

"Put some water in his mouth," said the trapper. "I fear we did wrong
in this affair. Poor boy! he thought the wolf had him again."

"We certainly ought not to have permitted it. The shock to the nervous
system must be terrible. Should he never have his reason again, I shall
never forgive myself. That Whirlwind would adhere to so ridiculous a
farce is not to be wondered at; but that we, born and bred among a
civilized nation, educated, and with claims to intelligence and
refinement, should consent to such mummery, is a libel on humanity."

"I believe you, Jane," said the trapper. "The poor boy was too ill to
bear it. As for myself, I think, when I was pow-wowed, I must have been
already on the mend. But these savages _do_ exert an influence over
one. I don't know how it is, but I never knew a person that had been
much with them, but what was forced to acknowledge it."

"See! he breathes. Edward, hide away that ugly skin that he need not
get another fright.--Sidney! Sidney! don't you know me!" said Jane, as
the invalid slowly opened his eyes, and then with a shudder, closed
them again.

"Come, Sidney, rouse up," said the trapper. "We are only waiting for
you to be able to travel in order to start for home. We cannot be far
from it now."

"The wolf! the wolf! take him away!" cried Sidney, in piteous accents,
and then once more fainted with terror and fright.

"Now, keep out of sight, every one of you, and be careful that not a
sound or noise is made. I think I can manage him best alone," said
Jane, as she commenced bathing his temples with water.

Slowly his eyes again opened, and as they rested on her, she smiled
softly, as she said in gentle tones; "You know me, surely, Sidney,
don't you?"--and then she added, after a moment's pause, "there is no
one else around, but me, and I do not frighten you, do I?"

Suddenly his eye lit up with an intelligent light, and a half smile
hovered round his lips, as he said: "Oh no, I am not afraid of you,
Jane, but what has happened? what am I lying here for?--Ah! ah! my arm,
I cannot move it," said he, as a sharp pain ran through his shoulder,
when he attempted to raise himself.

"Do not attempt it," said Jane, laying her hand on his to keep him
quiet, as he again stirred. "You are very ill, and your life depends on
your keeping quiet. You must neither move nor talk much."

"Then I have not been dreaming; a wolf has----"

"Yes, you have been dreaming; there is nothing here, except myself, and
I really think, I frighten you, and will have to go away."

"Oh, no, do not: but I am quite sure I did see a great black----"

"Hush! hush! if you talk so strange, you will frighten me. There is,
nor has been nothing here. Come, now, don't you feel better. I am sure
you do; you look like yourself again. Here are some delicious
blackberries, cool and juicy, try one," she said, putting one to his

"Delicious, give me more. But Jane, I am quite sure there was a
monstrous black----"

"Come, if you do not stop such nonsense, I will give you no more
berries," said Jane, gaily.

"Well, then, I will, yet I saw his great, shaggy----"

"I tell you, Sidney, you dreamed; and, as dreams all go by the rule of
contrary, I presume you never will see one. Come, you must sleep
now--not another word," and she playfully placed her hand over his
mouth to enforce her command.

It was the tenth day, since he was hurt, and the first that he had
showed consciousness--and tremblingly the young girl watched his
slumbers, fearing lest, when he awoke, the delirium would return. If it
did not, he was certainly improving, and he would live. If it did--she
shuddered to think of the probable consequences. Long and quietly he
slept, and when he opened his eyes, he turned them quietly to the
watcher, and observed:

"I think, Jane, I did dream of the wolf, for I have been dreaming of
him again, and this time I thought I killed him; and as I know I have
killed no wolf, I conclude the whole is a dream."

"Now, you talk rational, and are better, I am sure."

"I think I am, for I am hungry," said Sidney, pleasantly.

Sending Howe to watch by the couch, Jane began to consider what could
be procured among their limited resources that would be nourishing, and
yet harmless. Cooking utensils they had none. Their whole stock of
vessels consisted of the shells of wild gourds that grew abundantly in
the forest. Necessity often compels a resort to recipes in cooking not
laid down in all the editions of gastronomy. It did in this case, and
grateful was Jane that she had the shell of the gourd to prepare a meal
in for Sidney. Taking some smooth white stones from the bed of the
stream, she placed them in the fire, and then put the wings of a
partridge into a gourd half-full of water, and as soon as the stones in
the fire were at a red heat, one was taken up by running under it a
forked stick; the dust that adhered to it was blown away, when it was
dropped into the gourd, and in a short time the water was boiling. As
soon as it ceased, another stone was put in, and in a little while a
broth not unsavory, though so rudely cooked, was ready and eaten by him
with relish.

At sunset the chief returned from the forest, all traces of the recent
farce were gone from his face, on which rested the old expression of
pride and _hauteur_. He asked no questions, expressed no concern; after
eating a hearty supper, he threw himself on the ground by the
camp-fire, and was soon asleep.

From the first night that Sidney had been attacked by the wolf, up to
this time, not a night or a day had elapsed that some kind of wild
beast had not been seen prowling about them; though they kept up large
camp-fires, they were in fear of a whole pack making their descent upon
them, when they must all be devoured, in defending Sidney, or leave him
to fall a defenceless victim. They found, to their dismay, that they
were in a portion of the forest overrun by beasts, which no doubt,
looked upon them as trespassing on their rights; the dislike of which
proceedings they evinced, by threatening in plain enough language to be
understood by our wanderers, to eat them for their audacity. After
enduring these hints a week longer, during which time the beasts had
become so venturesome as to come in uncomfortable proximity to them,
they began to think the most prudent course would be to vacate the
neighbourhood as soon as Sidney could be removed with safety, which
they had hopes of being soon, as he was rapidly gaining strength. The
broken bones were in a fair way to join, and the wounds to heal.

The nights were becoming cool, and as the time flew by, they became
anxious to remove from their dangerous position, as well as to be on
their journey in order to find their way out of the forest before the
winter set in. Without tools to work with, or weapons to defend
themselves, or proper clothing, they quailed at the thought of being
caught by the frost and snow in the mountains. But Sidney did not
recover his strength very fast, and they put off their departure day
after day on his account, after they had first set the time to start,
until two weeks had now elapsed when they crossed the small stream and
began to ascend the mountain. It was slow work, and at night they
encamped on the summit, where no water could be had, instead of
descending it, as they in the morning had calculated. That night Sidney
was unable to sleep, and moaned until daylight. After breakfasting they
began to descend; he insisted he was quite able to go, but the rest saw
it was too great an exertion for him. To remain on the mountain they
could not; to return to the place they had left was impossible. There
was no other alternative but to go on. The chief on one side and the
trapper on the other, he was half carried most of the distance; a
little after the middle of the day they reached the foot of the
mountains, and found themselves in a beautiful valley, along which ran
a clear stream about a quarter of a mile from the base of the mountain.

Their first thought was to build a couch for Sidney, who had lain down
on the ground with his head on a pile of leaves for a pillow. They
could not shut their eyes to the reality that he was really quite ill
again. Selecting a spot favorable for building a couch, they had one
soon completed, on which he was laid, and a temporary cover of hemlock
boughs and bark was thrown over it. They then commenced preparations
for supper. That night they were unmolested by wild beasts, which
augured well for their selection of a good ground to encamp on.

The next morning Sidney was much worse, and a cold, drizzling rain
having set in during the night, drove them all under the shelter
through the day, and even sent the goat and her kid, who had become
very tame, bleating to their side. As the day advanced the storm became
more furious, so much so that the water penetrated the roof and began
to fall upon Sidney's couch.

"This will never answer," said the trapper. "We must have a more regular
layer of bark over the cabin. I saw plenty of it but a little distance
where some large trees have fallen." Starting out with the chief, they
were peeling off the bark with the tomahawk by the aid of a lever, when
they discovered further down the stream a herd of deer feeding. Seizing
his bow and arrows which the chief had taken with him, he stole
cautiously towards them, and before they had taken the alarm a noble
buck and a doe had each an arrow shot through the heart. They were
conveyed to the cabin, and the successful hunters returned to cutting
their bark. After having rendered the cabin impervious to water they
dressed their game, stretching the skins to dry; "for," said the chief,
"snow will come and much skin be wanted." The venison was then cut in
slices and hung up to dry, so that it would be on hand if the game
should become scarce around them.

Towards night the chief with his tomahawk in his belt and his bow in
his hand went out to explore the country around in order to determine
what course was best to pursue. Taking a south-east direction, the face
of the country was level and very fertile, producing wild fruits and
nuts in abundance, which were now ripe, and with which the trees were

"We shall not starve, at least," said the chief to himself, "if we
cannot go any farther, which I fear we shall not this fall. It is plain
the young brave cannot travel, and if he could, we are perhaps farther
from home now than ever. The Great Spirit only knows which way is the
right one to travel in order to find ourselves." He was surprised as he
went on to find the trees of the forest of less primitive growth,
especially those peculiar to the soil; and still greater surprised to
find them interspersed with trees now laden with ripe fruits of a
species he had never seen before; and more surprising still, these
trees were much larger than the wild ones, appearing of not more than a
hundred years growth. As he went further on the scenery became
perfectly enchanting. It had the appearance of having been a garden
deserted and run to waste after many years of high cultivation, rather
than a part of the wilds in a new world. Satisfied with discovering a
spot more congenial for building a hut that would withstand the winter
storms which were approaching, and around which he saw no signs of wild
beasts, he returned to the cabin and reported what he had seen.

"We are lost," said the chief, "past all doubt. The forest here is as
new to me as if I had never seen a tree before, and our safest way is
to prepare for winter."

"Prepare for winter!" said Edward, gloomily, "what have we to prepare?
No warm garments to make, for we have neither cloth, nor anything to
make them with if we had."

"There is much that can be done," said the trapper, "if we are obliged
to winter here, which I fear we shall be, as it will soon be here, and
Sidney is confined to his couch again. I will go in the morning and see
the place you speak so highly off and if we then agree upon it, we had
better endeavor to erect something that will defend us from our enemies
as well as cold and rain."

Chapter Eleventh.

The storm subsides. Search for winter quarters. Strange Discoveries.
Works of the Lost People. Their search among the Ruins. Walls, roads,
and buildings found. Their state of Preservation. The Wanderers decide
upon selecting a place to spend the winter in. They prepare to locate
themselves. Hunting deer and other Game. They find abundance of fruit.
A salt spring. Their joy at their discoveries.

The next morning the storm had passed over, and the sun arose bright
and clear upon our wanderers, who felt relieved as they found Sidney
much improved, though yet quite ill, but in a fair way to be able, in a
few days, to be on his feet again. Making everything as secure as
possible for those they left behind, the chief and Howe set out to
visit the spot where the chief earnestly desired their cabin should be
located. When arrived at the spot, Howe was not surprised at the
enthusiasm of the chief; and was astonished at the loveliness, as well
as the strangeness of the whole landscape that lay before him.
Penetrating the alluring wood before them half a mile further, the
scene still retaining its strange beauty, they came to a stream with an
artificial embankment, built of stone, cemented, five feet high from
the river's bed, and running up and down the stream as far as they
could see in the distance.

"The work of the lost people!" said the chief, endeavouring to displace
some stones from their artificial bed, but which resisted all his

"This does look as though civilized people had lived here," said the
trapper. "This wall has been built to confine the water to its channel,
in times of heavy rains, so that it shall not inundate the plain.
Probably, these strange fruit trees are the seed of some brought here
from other regions by those builders which have planted themselves,
flourished, grown, and outlived all the changes that time has wrought."

"My forefathers have a tradition that it was a strong people that built
these things, more cunning and powerful than the white man, until the
Great Spirit became angry with them, and then they dried up like the
grass on the prairie when there is no rain; for, who is there that dare
brave him without being consumed with his anger?"

"We will go down to that copse yonder," said the trapper. "If I am not
mistaken, there is more than trees there."

"An herd of deer, perhaps," said the chief, preparing his bow for

"I think not, unless deer are grey, and of inordinate proportions. From
here, it looks like piles of stone. Perhaps more of the work of those
who curbed these waters," said Howe.

As they drew near, large blocks of stone, squared and smoothly hewn,
lay in their path, and covered the ground around them. Crossing over
these, they came to a range of grey stone, that had the appearance of
once having been a high building, but which was now thrown down, and
tumbled into a shapeless mass. To the right of these stones they saw a
small square enclosure, strongly built of grey hewn stone, and the
joints fitted with a precision that would do credit to a stone-cutter
in our day. Every layer was strongly cemented with a composition that
seemed to have amalgamated with the stone, for on striking it with the
tomahawk, it did not even chip off, but gave back a ringing sound, like
the hardest granite. One thing they noticed was very singular, both in
the wall of this enclosure and in that by the river. The cement in
which it was laid was much darker than the stone, being almost black,
while the fallen building which they first came to was laid in a white
cement, quite like, in appearance, our own.

Going around this enclosure they were astonished to find that they were
in a city in ruins. Before them lay whole squares of shapeless masses,
overgrown with trees and shrubs, but the perfect regularity of the form
and finish of the blocks of stone, of which they had been composed,
with the mortar in which they had been laid still clinging to them,
were sufficient to convince them that they had once been buildings of
more than ordinary proportions and finish.

They attempted to force their way over this irregular pile of rubbish;
but found it a dangerous undertaking, as the blocks on which they
placed their feet yielded to their weight, and slipping from their
beds, threw them on the sharp edges of the stones--a proceeding they
did not at all relish. After receiving three or four such falls apiece,
and preferring the longer route as the safest, they started to go
around it, in order to investigate the forest beyond as they caught a
glimpse of some buildings still standing, through the leaves, that hid
the main structure from sight.

Taking their way around the western side of the obstruction, they came
to a long wide avenue, on which nothing but moss and small dwarf shrubs
grew, and which was perfectly smooth and level.

"This is singular," said the trapper. "I wonder why it is not overgrown
like the rest?"

"Perhaps it is a road," said the chief. "Sometimes they covered their
highways with stones, and laid them so close together, that a tree
could not take root in them."

"Did you ever meet with one?" asked the trapper.

"No: but tradition speaks of them, as once having been quite common. We
can soon see whether this is one by scraping away the leaves and dirt
that have accumulated over it." So saying, he commenced digging away
the accumulated earth, which was no easy task, as the rain the night
before had saturated the surface, making it adhere tenaciously to
whatever it came in contact with. Scraping away about four inches in
depth of forest mould, they came to a layer of stone blocks, the only
one which they laid bare being twelve feet long, and eight wide, the
thickness of which they could not ascertain, as it was so closely
fitted to the adjoining one, that the blade of a knife could not be
inserted between them.

Following this avenue, it led them around a graceful curve for half a
mile, and there terminated at a flight of stone steps, which ascending,
they found themselves on a high elevation of earth, that contained as
near as they could calculate, about five acres of ground, in the centre
of which, on another elevation of about half an acre, which was also
mounted by stone steps, stood a large imposing structure, still
magnificent in its ruins. This building they found likewise laid with
the dark cement, as indeed all the buildings were which they found
standing. The ingenuity of man had cheated time of its prey.

Entering this pile, they were struck with awe at the evident symmetry
and beauty that had once reigned within, for though time had
accumulated mould and moss over its walls, and covered its floors to a
depth of several inches with earth made up of dust and leaves that had
penetrated its open doors and windows; yet the walls themselves were
there, heavy blocks of granite in an iron-like cement that bound them
in place, perchance for a thousand years that have gone, and bid fair
to withstand the ravages of time for ages to come.

"Here," said the chief, "is a big house already built, which we can
winter in. It will save us the trouble of building, and be more secure
than anything we could make."

"Well," said the trapper, "I guess, by the trouble they took to put it
up here, that it was a palace or a temple. In either case, they had it
built a little tasty, and we will acknowledge the merit due them by
preferring it to any other."

"There is the forest full of fruits and nuts," said the chief, waving
his hand towards it, "and if we winter here, we must gather them in
before the rains come. The leaves are thickening on the ground, and
when another moon is spent, the rains will fall and the winds come down
from the north."

"You are right, chief. It is our place to make due preparation against
hunger and cold, for all the year roots, berries, and game cannot be
then as easily obtained as now. The sun is at the meridian, and they
will be alarmed at the cabin, if we do not return soon. But, we will be
here in the morning again, and clear out some of this rubbish, so that
we can take up our abode here as soon as Sidney can be moved, and then
we will devote our time in preparing for every contingency in our

Following the avenue out until it was obstructed by rubbish, they
turned in the direction they knew their cabin lay. After proceeding
twenty rods through the lovely grove, with fruit trees blending with
the growth of the forest, they came to a small stone structure not more
than twenty feet square, nor eight high, in perfect preservation. It
had no floor, but in the centre bubbled up a jet of transparent water,
while all around its edges, and even on the side of the wall, as well
as over head it was encrusted with a white substance as though spray
had congealed over it.

"What a new wonder!" cried the trapper, "really I don't think they will
ever cease, for this excels them all. I would like to know if that is
really water."

"Perhaps it is the burning water," said the chief, "dip your hand in
and taste it."

"Salt! a salt spring!" cried the delighted trapper, on placing a drop
of the water on his tongue. No wonder it caused a sudden excitement and
great joy; for it was months that they had been without it, and it was
a privation under which they had suffered greatly, as its loss made
many a dish unpalatable that otherwise would have had a fine relish.

"The Great Spirit has led us here, and will finally deliver us from our
wanderings," said the chief, who was equally as well pleased, but it
was not his nature to make any extravagant exhibition of passion.

"Well, chief, the Great Spirit has our thanks, for this last blessing.
It is a gift of great value in our isolated position," said the

On arriving at the cabin, they found them all safe, but suffering from
great anxiety at their prolonged absence, which fled on their return in
safety, their arms laden with the fruits they had gathered, the quality
of which they desired to test. The children listened with wonder at
what they heard in regard to the discoveries, it sounded so like a
fairy tale, and when assured that it was all really there as described,
and that they should see it themselves within a few days, they seemed
to forget their forlorn condition in the pleasure it afforded them.

The crusted salt they had gathered, gave them more real pleasure at
their dinner that day than is often experienced in many a life time--a
pleasure, satisfaction and joy that they could never have enjoyed, had
they not been deprived of it so entirely as they had been.

Here we might moralize if we had the room, but moralizing is out of the
question. We have a history, a complication of incidents to relate that
caused certain effects to develope themselves, and it is our only aim
to cause others to moralize--to lead inquiring minds into certain
directions by revealing something of the heretofore unwritten past.

The next morning Howe and the chief returned to the temple, as they
called the building on the elevation, and scraping the accumulated mass
of rubbish from the floor swept it with a broom made by tying the twigs
of hemlock on a long stick. A rude broom enough, but one often used as
far east as the new settlements in Pennsylvania to this day. When this
was done, they found the floor covered by a slippery black mould that
could not be swept off, and which they would have to remove by
scrubbing. Here was a new dilemma. They had no bucket in which to bring
water from the river, and their gourds would not hold over a quart
each, which would make the task of bringing it from such a distance
almost an endless job.

"We must do it," said the trapper. "This is a little too much filth for
civilized people. We can bring each four gourds full at a time which
will do something towards it. If we could turn the river into it we
could clear out the shell of its filth in a very short time."

"Perhaps," said the chief, "we can find something to bring water in if
we hunt over the big house."

"Not worth while now, chief: wait until the children are with us and
then we will go over it; at present our business is to make one room

So saying they set out towards the river for a supply of water; but on
descending the first elevation at the side on which the building stood,
the chief, when partly down, placed his foot into a trough-like duct,
running parallel with the elevation which was filled with leaves so as
to obscure the sight of the water until it penetrated his moccasin.

"Water plenty!" cried the chief, drawing his foot from the unexpected
bath, and then commenced clearing the place from the leaves and earth
with which it was partially filled. They soon found it was an
artificial duct about one foot deep and two feet wide, built of the
same kind of grey stone as the rest of the ruins around, and still
supplied with water. They went on clearing it of rubbish in order to
see how far it extended; but after removing it a few rods they became
weary, and filling their gourds, hastened to finish their renovating

That night they found Sidney up and cheerful, insisting he was quite
well enough to be removed. Howe would not venture it, but insisted on
waiting a few days more, during which he and the chief spent the time
making couches in the temple for their accommodation, and hunting, in
which sport he was very successful, having killed a number of deer,
turkeys, and mountain sheep. In searching for game they rarely
attempted to take any other than those whose skin would be valuable to
them as well as the meat, owing to their anxiety to secure as many
skins as possible while game was plenty, as skins and furs were all
they had to rely on as covering for their beds and for clothing.

Chapter Twelfth.

Astonishment of the Children. The Antiquity of the Ruins. Preparations
for making the temple their quarters. Building a chimney to their
house. The Chief's contentment. He asks to marry Jane. Sidney's anger.
Strange discoveries. Set out on a hunting expedition. Discovery of wild
horses. The chief captures a colt. He presents it to Jane. The winter
sets in. A series of storms prevails. A deer hunt. They discover an
Indian woman and her papoose. They take her into camp and provide for
her. Her inexpressible thanks for her deliverance.

The children were filled with wonder and astonishment at the
magnificence as well as the evident antiquity of the ruins, and spent
many days of actual pleasure wandering among them. They had read of
similar remains having been found in Europe; but these were rendered
vague in outline by distance, and meagre in description by their utter
impossibility to comprehend the actual appearance of things, the like
of which they had never seen. These were more tangible. They saw and
felt them; ascended and descended the symmetrical steps; ran their
fingers along the seams of wonderful cement that bound the pile in its
place like ribs of iron; drank water from a duct where a thousand years
ago others had drank, but of what nation, race or name they knew not.
Oblivion with her sombre mantle had closed over them, to remain, until
a mind capable of grasping the past shall arise, and with its giant
intellect give back the forgotten alphabet--the key that shall open to
us the rise, progress and fall of a nation, the relics of whose once
powerful but unknown people may be found over the whole continent.

They covered the floor of the room they had cleared with dried skins,
laying them with the hairy side up, thus making a comfortable carpet;
large blocks of stone were piled at intervals around the rooms for
seats, and these were also covered with soft skins, making very
passable but immovable seats. A table was built by setting four blocks
of stone up endwise in the centre of the room and laying one large,
smooth, thin slab on its top, around which were placed five movable
seats to be used while eating.

What annoyed them greatly was, there was no way of warming the room,
and as the weather now was becoming cold, they found it a great
discomfort, as the sun could not penetrate the thick stone walls to dry
the dampness that gathered on them. They were quite puzzled to know how
they were to be comfortable in that place without a fire, there being
no place in which to build one. There were two windows that extended
from the floor five feet, up which, probably, had been frames, that
were once filled with some perishable material, but of which not a
vestige now remained. These openings they always closed at night by
hanging skins before them, which were taken down in the morning to let
the light in. The door-way that led into the room, was entirely
destitute of any vestige of a door, although they found grooves cut in
the blocks of stone that ran along the side on which a door had been
hung. This door-way opened into a long hall, that ran through the house
from the front portal to the back--the doors that led into the four
rooms of which the temple was composed, opening on the inside. This
hall, which was truly a magnificent one, was thirty-five feet wide, and
fifty long, forty feet high, tapering towards the centre overhead, in a
lofty dome.

"We must have a fire," said the trapper, one morning, after an
unusually frosty night. "This is too cold. Can't we build one in the
hall, chief?"

"The smoke will suffocate us; we could not stay in doors with it," said

"Why don't you build it in one of the windows? the smoke could then go
out, while much of the heat would come in," said Edward.

"Better yet," said Sidney: "build a chimney by one of the windows, then
all the smoke will go out, and all the heat come in."

"You have it exactly," said the trapper. "I wonder we did not think of
it before. What say you, chief--shall we have the chimney?"

The chief, not only assenting, but entering with alacrity into the
project, the whole party went to work to collect the material, of which
there was plenty, but as the blocks were nearly all large ones that lay
round them, they had to bring them from the mass of ruins by the river,
which was of smaller material, and which they could handle to better
advantage. They worked hard all that day, Sidney standing by quite
uneasy, because they would not allow him to help. The next morning they
mixed some mud and clay for mortar, and commenced laying up the
chimney, and succeeded by night in finishing a very serviceable, though
not a very beautiful one. They found, on building a fire in it, that it
worked to a charm, filling the room with a genial warmth and cheerful
light, while it carried away all the smoke.

They had gathered some twenty bushels of fruit, that tasted like our
apples, but resembled a pear in shape and color, which was very hard
and tough, not fit to eat then, but which, the chief said, would be
good in midwinter. They had taken the precaution to gather them by his
advice--he having made some large baskets of the pliable twigs of
willow, in which they were conveyed from the trees to the temple, where
they were deposited in the room they occupied.

"The fire will injure them," said the chief. "We must put them in
another room in order to save them."

"There is one adjoining us, that opens like ours from the hall. We can
clear out that as we did this, and make it a store house. We shall need
some place to keep our fruit and nuts in, which it is time now to
gather, and also our dried venison," said the trapper. "It is best to
make ourselves as comfortable as we can while here, for as the winter
will soon be on us, nothing but an especial providence can get us out
of the scrape we are in, until the weather is warm enough for us to
travel again."

"I am the cause of your wintering here. If it had not been for me, you
would all have been home now, instead of being, we don't know where,"
said Sidney, who was often gloomy in his weakened state.

"Perhaps we should, and then, perhaps, we might have wandered into a
worse place. Indeed, we ought to be thankful for the shelter and fruits
we have found. I hardly think many that are carried away by savages,
escape as well as we have, and then find such winter quarters," said
Jane, glancing complacently round the room, for, to tell the truth, she
felt a sort of pride in the ample blazing fire, soft skin-carpeted
floor, numerous seats, with gay colored skins thrown over them, and
their couches, on which they slept, neatly spread over with skins,
while at one corner, in a little nook screened from view by skins
joined together and hung around, was a couch appropriated to her own
use, covered with the finest furs they had taken--for the trapper had
set his snares from the first day of their abode there, and their store
of furs and skins was fast accumulating.

"We are here, that is a fact that cannot be doubted," said the trapper,
"and if I knew the way out, and had my rifle, ammunition, a supply of
hounds and traps with me, I would not leave it until spring, if I
could, for the whole valley is filled with the right kind of game.
There is a beaver dam a mile down the stream, which contains some of
the finest coated fellows I ever saw. I have got some more there, and
will show fur that is fur, or else I will give you leave to call me no

"What matters it whether we are in one part of the forest or another?"
said the chief, addressing Howe. "We have lost our home, now we have
made one, even better in some respects than the red man ever has. The
hunting ground is good--then let us be contented to live here.
Whirlwind is a warrior; he has taken the scalp from his enemies in
battle--he is a chief; he has led his warriors to victory. Let the
white chief give him the antelope for his squaw, and he will no more go
out to battle; but remain here, where the Great Spirit has led him, and
spend his days in filling his wigwam with the softest furs, best fish
and venison in the forest, and the antelope's life shall be happy as
the singing bird, and bright as the sun.'

"Why, Jane, what does this mean?" asked Edward, bursting into a fit of
uncontrollable laughter, that awoke the echoes from the venerable pile
that had slept through a long list of ages. But Jane did not know
herself what it meant, as the expression of blank astonishment on her
face amply testified. But Sidney for one, knew precisely the meaning of
it, and with flashing eyes and clenched hand, he limped to the side of
the chief, with a threatening attitude. Howe saw the material he had to
deal with, and thought it best to interfere to prevent ill-feeling, as
well as to get such an idea out of the chief's head.

"When Jane has grown up she can speak for herself. The white men do not
give away their maidens: when they are old enough they select for

"Whirlwind can wait," said the chief complacently.

Jane turned her head, and placed her hand over her mouth to keep down
the smile that would come, as her eye caught her uncle's grave
countenance, for he saw at a glance it would now require all his tact
to undeceive him, in regard to the possibility of such a union, and yet
retain his friendship. Sidney would have had the matter settled on the
spot, but the trapper motioned him to keep silent, which he did, though
his lips were compressed, and his looks angry and threatening.

"Come," said the trapper, cheerfully, "we will clear out the adjoining
room, and take these apples from here, then we will be ready to gather
in our nuts to-morrow.

"A disagreeable place this," said he, as he commenced scraping up the
accumulated mass and throwing it out of the window.

"Probably, it is a long while since it was cleansed," said Jane. "A
very singular place, and if we could get home safe at last, it would be
worth a little trouble and privation to have seen it."

"Something new again: wonders will never cease," said the trapper,
holding up a vessel of some kind of heavy material, oval at the bottom,
and capable of containing some two gallons.

"It looks like a dinner kettle; but how could a dinner kettle get

"You don't think the people that used to live here lived without
eating, do you?" said Howe.

"Or, that they knew how to build houses like this, and did not know how
to make a dinner pot."

The rest thought they must have known how to do so natural a thing, as
the proof of it was before them, and then the question arose; could
they use it themselves? "For, if we can," said Jane, "we can have such
nice stews and soups."

"Which we can eat with a _split stick_, as we do our meat, especially
the _soup_," said Edward.

"We can have some nice wooden spoons made for that," replied the
trapper. "I really think the kettle can be put in a cookable order, by
taking off a coat or two of rust."

"Here is another just like it," said the chief, dragging out a similar

"You see," said Howe, "the people must not only have eaten like
civilized people, but had a good appetite, or we should not find so
many vessels in one place."

The room being cleansed, the fruit and dried venison were removed from
the warm room, and the next day they began to gather in their store of
nuts. Butternuts, walnuts, and hickory nuts, were gathered in large
quantities, as well as acorns which, when roasted, formed a delicious
as well as nutritious food. Chestnuts were also gathered, as well as
the pine knots; these last were mostly for the light they would give
when burning, the only thing excepting their fire, which they were
dependent on to illumine their house. The collection of these occupied
them a number of days. Then the chief and Edward took the baskets, and
went down the stream in search of yampa, a root much used for food by
the Indians. This they found in abundance, about two miles distant, and
collected a number of baskets full of it.

When these precautionary measures were completed, they felt a security
and satisfaction about them which they had not felt before. The fact of
their being lost was shorn of half its terrors. Their door was
barricaded against the cold and starvation. Sidney had made up his mind
it was his fate to have the worst of the trouble; for, weak in body,
his arm still in a sling, he was unable to join in the busy
preparations that the rest entered into with such a keen relish. This
worried him; but not half as much as did the assiduous, delicate
attention which the chief bestowed on Jane. Had the chief been hunting
and procured game, it was laid at her feet; did he secure a bird of
rare plumage, its plumes fantastically arranged, were modestly
presented to her; and furs of rare softness and beauty in profusion
adorned her apartment, at the request of the chief. Unwilling to
offend, and as he had never spoken on the subject to her, she could do
nothing but accept them with the best grace she could. She saw how it
irritated Sidney, though she thought little of it after the moment,
supposing his illness caused the irritation as much as the singular
mode of winning favor pursued by the chief.

No buffalo had yet been seen in the valley, and the chief had more than
once expressed his belief they could be found by following the open
country down the valley a few miles. Making himself a strong lasso, and
with hunting-knife, bow and arrows, and tomahawk, he set out one day,
more for the sport than anything else. After proceeding about seven
miles over a broad, heavily wooded valley without any signs of the
desired game he began to think he was too far in the mountains from a
prairie for them, and was about to retrace his steps when a rustling at
a little distance attracted his attention. Going thither, as he
approached, a wolf darted up from the spot, and with a few leaps was
out of sight. The chief soon saw he had been feeding on a wild horse
that had died of old age and looked as though it had lain there some
days. However the sight seemed to excite him, and after marking the
trees to designate his course, he closely scanned the tracks around and
then started farther down the valley at a rapid pace.

After travelling some ten miles farther, he had the satisfaction to
come up with the drove. They were not feeding, but some were laying
down, others standing leisurely around, evidently unaware of the
proximity of the chief, who divesting himself of all his weapons but
the lasso, with exceeding caution crawled along the ground without
rustling the leaves or branches until within throw of the nearest,
which was a young brown colt of great beauty and graceful proportions.

Winding one end of the lasso around his wrist, he gently raised
himself. The lasso whirled above the colt, and the next instant closed
around its throat. The rest of the horses with a snort darted away,
leaving the terrified colt plunging and rearing with the Indian who had
sprung on its back, where he now clung with perfect security. Seeing
its companions flying down the valley it too leaped away after them
making fearful jumps over brooks and logs for many miles, every few
minutes rearing and plunging in its mad endeavors to free itself from
its burthen, until covered with foam and trembling in every limb it
paused, and turning its head gazed wildly and terrified on the chief,
who smoothed it gently as he spoke to it mildly, and then holding the
lasso tight in his hand, slipped off its back. Feeling the burthen
removed it attempted to escape, but being still held it was soon
subdued and induced to follow the chief. The colt seemed to understand
that it was a captive, for its manner became subdued and quiet under
the hands of its captor who viewed its symmetrical proportions with the
eye of a connoisseur. The chief actually laughed aloud at his success.
He had now a horse, it was so like old times, and with this he could
pursue the herd until he caught others, when he had it perfectly
trained. Satisfied with his day's hunt, he followed the tracks of the
herd back, sometimes riding, then again walking, as the fancy struck
him, until he reached the temple about sunset, where he and his prize
were greeted with every demonstration of joy.

With a grave, dignified countenance he led the colt to where Jane
stood, and placing a halter, which he had tied around its neck in place
of the lasso, in Jane's hand, he said:

"Whirlwind's gift to the antelope," and walking away left the young
girl in possession of his noble love-token.

Puzzled and blushing at her awkward position. Jane turned to her uncle
an imploring look, who amused and laughing, came forward and catching
her by the arms, seated her on her prize.

"Ride her round a few minutes, the chief expects it," he whispered in
her ear. Obeying him, she walked it back and forth before them a few
times, then slipping off placed the halter in her uncle's hand.

"Here chief," said the trapper, "Jane is well pleased with your present
and desires you to take good care of it for her, and will never be
better pleased than when she sees you on its back."

The chief, with a gratified look, led away the colt, and fastening it
to a sapling, took a skin from which he cut a long stout halter so that
it could have the range of a few rods, and fastening it left it to feed
on the wild grass and herbage around.

"Look here, uncle," said Sidney, as the chief walked away, "I wish I
was dead or well, I don't particularly care which."

"Why, boy, what is in the wind now? Why the rest of us are trying to
make out something good of a bad business, while you are fretting and
fuming like a caged lion. Be easy, boy, and if you cannot be easy, do
as we do, and be as easy as you can."

"It is well enough to say be easy, crippled, helpless, and obliged to
eat of the things the rest of you bring in; to sit here all day long
and be pitied, while that black rascal----"

"Hold! hold!--not another word like that," said the trapper, sternly.
"We are too much indebted to as noble a heart as ever beat, for a
return like this. What matters it, then, that his ways and complexion
are not like ours? His father was my father's friend, as well as my
own; and him I have known from earliest boyhood, and to this hour have
never known him guilty of a mean or dishonest act."

"What greater, more dastardly act of meanness could he perpetrate, than
stealing away the heart of that young girl, or are you so blind you
cannot see through his manoeuvring?"

"Sidney, you are not yourself to-night," said the trapper, "I am
convinced of that, and I do wrong to chide you: sickness and suffering,
toil and privation have unnerved you. When you are well, you will see
things clearer than you do now. Come, I must take you in, the night dew
is falling fast and cold around us. I see and know all that is going
on, and understand the chief much better than you do. Trust in my
management of the affair, and you will have no cause to complain at
last, however appearances at times may be against you."

The chief was now as contented and happy as if he had never known other
scenes than those that lay around him. The lodge, as he called their
abode, was filled with fruit, venison, skins and furs; the antelope
accepted his offering, and a half-tamed, high mettled colt was at his
command, on which, sometimes for a whole day, he went dashing madly
through the forest, a piece of hide around the colt's neck his only
accoutrements. Then he was in his element and free, with the fresh
mountain air fanning his dusky brow, infusing into his stalwart frame
new life and vigor.

Snow now began to fall, and the fierce northern winds swept through the
forests, creaking the leafless limbs of the trees as they swayed them
to and fro, anon rending them in twain, and scattering the fragments
over the white mantled earth. The wanderers now spent most of their
time within the temple, by their glowing fire that blazed so
cheerfully, the window and door closed tightly by skins, shutting out
the cold air. Here they amused themselves in recounting past scenes,
and strange wild legends with which they had become familiar. Without a
written language, the Indian preserves his national and domestic
history solely by oral instruction, handed down from father to son.
Thus every tribe has its own legends, while many vague traditions of
national history are peculiar to the whole of the North American
Indians without regard to tribe.

They had been kept within the tent for many days by a series of storms,
and their stock of fresh meats had become quite exhausted, when Howe
and the chief announced their determination to go on a hunt for game.
They could not take the colt, as in the deep snow it would make more
trouble than it would be of service to them. Telling the children to be
of good cheer, and keep up a good fire, they launched forth, protected
from the cold by the thick, warm fur garments they had manufactured for
themselves, and armed with their bows and arrows they had made also,
they gaily took the way down the valley as the one where game was
generally most abundant. A pair of partridges, a wild turkey, and an
antelope, were soon brought down; but as it was early in the day, and
they were only warmed in the sport, they hung these on a sapling, and
proceeded on.

"I tell you what, chief," said the trapper, "I am in for a buck. They
are never so fat and tender as now, and I intend to have the plumpest,
nicest venison steak for supper there is in this forest, if I have to
work for it. There are signs of them about, and a little further down
we shall find where they have been browsing, if I am not mistaken."

"My brother is right," said the chief; "yonder they have passed, and
their trail is still fresh in the snow. There are many of them, and our
wigwam will again be full of fat venison. Hist, yonder they are; they
will see us if we do not move with great caution. You take the circuit
round that clump of spruce to the right, and I will keep farther down
to the left."

Warily they made their way until within shot of them, when they
discharged their arrows, and one fine doe selected by the chief, fell,
shot through the heart. Howe was not so fortunate, he having selected a
noble buck, who bounded away with the arrow sticking in his side, but
from the quantity of blood that flowed from his wound, staining the
snow, they knew he could not run far. Hanging up the doe after dressing
it, they set out to recover the buck, which they expected to find dead
not far off. In this they were mistaken: he led them many miles before
he gave out, and by the time he was dressed, and they were ready for
returning, the sun had passed the meridian.

They had not retraced their steps more than half a mile, when a wailing
sound was faintly heard from a thicket a few rods distant. They paused
in a listening attitude. Again came the sound like the wail of a young

"A panther," said Howe, "he wants some of our venison, perhaps a bite
of us. Let us on or we shall have to fight."

Again it was heard now louder, and then followed a heavy sob and groan.

"No panther," said the chief throwing down his load and making for the
thicket. Howe began to think so too, and was following, when the chief,
with a cry of surprise, disappeared beneath in the thicket. Howe
hastened forward, and there on the bare ground which she had cleared of
snow lay a young squaw with a papoose but a few years old huddled in
her arms which she was vainly endeavoring to shield from the cold. They
were terribly emaciated, with the seal of gaunt famine in their sunken
eyes and hollow cheeks. The mother's limbs were frost bitten and
entirely benumbed with cold.

"Lost," said the chief; "she has been lost like us in these
interminable wilds."

"We must save her," said the trapper. "Wrap her in that skin from the
venison while I build a fire to warm her by and cook her some meat.
Poor thing, she looks as though she was nearly dead with hunger and
cold. She is human, see the tears in her eyes as she hugs that little
thing closer in her arms. Bless me but it makes a child of me--poor
thing! poor thing!"

Gathering some wood, the trapper soon had a large place cleared from
snow, and a fire was quickly kindled, in the fierce heat of which some
of their slices of steaks were held a few minutes then given to the
famished woman. Eagerly seizing them she held one to the mouth of the
child, when it seized it and commenced sucking the juicy food with
great voracity, while the rest disappeared with a rapidity that
astonished even the chief, who was so rarely astonished at anything.

"I would like to know who she is and where she came from," said Howe.
"Ask her if you can make her understand."

But she could not understand them, nor could they her. She told them by
signs that she had been wandering a long while and could not find her
home, and begged them not to leave her there to die.

"That we will not, chief; you stay with the woman and I will take a
load of venison home and return with the colt for the woman to ride on,
for she is too weak to travel."

The squaw looked her thanks while she pressed her child to her bosom as
if she would "say we shall still live perhaps to see home and kindred
when the snows melt from the hills."

Chapter Thirteenth.

Jane's reception of the Indian woman. Whirlwind's indifference.
Condition of the party. Sidney begins to use his broken arm. Their
health. They cannot calculate the day nor month. The chief imagines he
has found the locality of the Arapahoes hunting grounds. He becomes
enamored of Jane. The party troubled about it. Howe explains his
experience in love matters. A reconnoitre suggested. Edward joins them.
Deer chased by a wild man. The chief lassoes him. A desperate struggle.
The wild man captured and taken into camp. Things in the camp, &c.

The young mother and her babe received a warm welcome from Jane, whose
tender heart ached as she scanned the half frozen, emaciated beings
before her; and even repining Sidney was forced to acknowledge that his
sufferings had been nothing in comparison to those the mother and babe
had endured. A few weeks spent under the hands of their gentle nurse
had a wonderful effect in their condition, and the babe, especially,
had regained its infantile merriment, and played at rough and tumble on
the soft skins before the fire like any other child of two years, as
the squaw reckoned its age. It was very lively and frolicsome, and
served to make merry many an hour that otherwise would have lagged
heavily on their hands. Not so its mother; she had regained her
strength, but no effort could bring back the smile to her lip or chase
the look of sadness from her brow. She had, from the first, exhibited
great signs of fear of the chief, and did she catch his eye resting on
her she would hurriedly gather her child in her arms, and with a wild
look of terror cower away into the corner of the room farthest from him
she could get, and there sit murmuring in wailing tones to the babe
nestling in her arms.

The chief, after the first day of her rescue, exhibited perfect
indifference to her presence, and rarely gave her a glance; but they
had noticed that when his eye did rest on her or the child it had a
peculiar exulting savage glitter seen at no other times, for his eye
usually had a mild expression, and they had known him to exhibit
disinterested humane acts that set at defiance the supposition that he
was devoid of sensibility.

This was a new phase in the character of the Indian, and one that
highly amazed the young people. As for Howe, though he did sometimes
open his eyes with wonder, it did not interest him, and he never spoke
to them of the "by play" that was every day growing more interesting to
the younger ones, and becoming a great torture to the young mother.
Jane, who was daily becoming more and more attached to her guests, used
every art in her power to inspire her with more confidence, and at the
same time assure her of the kindness and friendship of the chief, but
without success. She was equally silent as to what tribe she belonged;
for, though she had learned to use many words correctly in expressing
her wants, she never seemed to learn any to express the past with
regard to herself, except that she was lost, and could not find her way
home. Jane had made her and the babe clothing before she had recovered
her strength; but, though it was as neatly done as that she herself
wore, the squaw had, as soon as she was able to move around, taken some
skins, and had manufactured a suit for herself and child, that was
really pretty, so neatly was it done. This finished, she made one also
for Jane, presenting it to her with gestures of gratitude for the
kindness she and her babe had received at her benefactress' hands.

Jane looked really much better when adorned in the handiwork of the
young squaw, than she did in her own, for the suits they had on when
carried off by the Indians, had been worn and torn to shreds in their
wanderings, and they were all dressed in skins dried with the fur on,
having been made soft and pliable under the skilful hands of Howe and
the chief.

It was now midwinter, and the valley was covered with a mantle of snow,
but not as deep as they had anticipated it would be. They found they
were partly defended from the storms, by a spur curving round to the
principal range of mountains, giving the valley the form of a horse
shoe--three high, precipitous sides breaking the storms of wind and
snow, so as to make it really a very desirable situation. And a most
fortunate one it was to the wanderers, the trapper often declaring,
that if he ever reached home again, he would conduct the whole family
to the spot, as it would not only make a desirable farm, but afford
rare facilities for hunting and trapping, which desideratum was of the
utmost importance to both Howe and Mr. Duncan.

It is really surprising to one reared in the lap of luxury, how little
is actually necessary to support the human body healthfully. Take these
wanderers, for instance, utterly debarred from procuring the simplest
products of civilization, entirely thrown on such resources as savages
are called to practice to sustain life and health, yet they have not
only surmounted great obstacles, but are undaunted by those that lay
before them, and have actually made themselves comfortable. Simple as
their abode and fare were, nay, even extremely rude, yet they
experienced a satisfaction and enjoyment when they retraced their
wanderings since they were carried away captives, and the feeling of
thankfulness for their wonderful escape from the savage cannibals,
begat one of contentment in their present lot. It is true, they were
fortunate in having found and occupied the building in ruins, as it
afforded them a more secure shelter than they could have built, with
the small complement of tools they possessed, yet it is a safe venture
to conclude, that had they not discovered them, they would have made
themselves an abode that would have shielded them from wet and cold.

There were four rooms in the temple, two only of which had been
cleared. They had often been in the others, but as they had no use for
them, they were left unmolested. The goat and the kid were stabled
nightly in the hall, but as she had become so tame as to return at
nightfall, she was allowed to roam at pleasure through the day.
Following her instinct, she sought her food among the crags and defiles
of the mountains, thus relieving them from the trouble of providing for
her. When the snow first began to cover the ground in early winter, it
caused them much anxiety as to how she was to be provided for until
spring. Her milk was of too much importance to think of killing her, or
turning her loose to run wild again, and she was at first tethered so
as to prevent her wandering away. This was relinquished after a while,
when they saw she returned of her own accord.

The colt caused them more trouble. Recently captured, they did not dare
to turn it loose to seek food as they did the goat; and the only way
left for them, was to tether it in the thickets of maple and
basswood--the young tender growth of which the wild prairie horses are
very fond of. These thickets were usually studded with a luxuriant
undergrowth of small shrubs and evergreens that were very nutritious,
and of which the fat condition of the wild horses, buffaloes, deer,
antelope, mountain sheep, and goats that feed thereon, is sufficient
proof. Often in the winter, plats of grass may be found in patches
sheltered from the storms; but the chief dependences for food of the
multitudes of cattle that roam through the western wilds, is the
luxuriant growth of shrubs that spring up uncropped in the summer, as
the cattle then prefer the tender grass on the prairies.

Sidney, to his great satisfaction, now began to use his arm without the
slightest difficulty, and with his strength his spirits resumed their
wonted healthful vigor, greatly to the relief of the trapper and Jane,
who had been under the necessity of keeping a watch over him to prevent
his coming to a rupture with the chief. He was now active, and only
laughed heartily at what had annoyed him before, and tormented Jane
unmercifully on the conquest she had made.

They were all in excellent health, and only waited with impatience for
the winter to break up, so that they could resume their journey in
safety in search of home. One thing alone grieved them--the evident
increasing terror with which Mahnewe, the Indian mother, regarded the
chief. In order to free her as much from his presence as possible, Howe
had proposed long hunts, by going to the forest at early dawn, and not
returning until evening. They enjoyed the sport, as it not only placed
Mahnewe at ease, but they gained a perfect knowledge of the surrounding
country, which was of much importance to them, as well as kept their
larder supplied with abundance of game.

They had lost the day and month; and now their only guide was the
fluctuations of the weather, of which, fortunately for themselves, they
were good observers, and could calculate within half a month of the
time at any season of the year. About the middle of February, as they
calculated time, Howe and the chief went out one morning for a hunt,
and following the valley down a mile or two, crossed the stream, and
ascending a knoll, stood on its summit, surveying the country around
them. The trees being shorn of their foliage, gave them an
uninterrupted view of the broad valley, with its barrier of hills, and
peak rising above peak, until they towered up and seemed almost to
pierce the sky.

"I do not think it would be safe for us to cross this mountain," said
the trapper. "Our homes, I do not think, are in that direction. We must
have been deceived in our course."

"Yonder," said the chief, pointing down the valley, "are the hunting
grounds of the Arapahoes. Far away, over a broad prairie, four days'
journey, the warriors of Whirlwind follow another chief to battle, and
listen to him in council, as they were wont to their lost chief, whose
death song they have sung amidst the wail of the squaws. Yet Whirlwind
does not grieve. He has found another squaw, fleeter than the antelope,
more graceful than the fawn, whose voice is like the singing birds, and
face fairer than imagery of the spirit land. Let my brother go to his
home, but Whirlwind's home is where the antelope is, he will live and
die with her."

"Pshaw! chief. You will be as much the chief of your people when you
return as ever. Probably they have supposed you dead and elected
another chief; still, according to your customs, if you return, the
authority would be by universal acclamation, given back into your
hands. As for that other little matter, why the child is too young to
talk of it. Our first great object is to find our way out of this
scrape, and the rest will then come natural enough."

"Whirlwind will hunt the deer and beaver here: this is his home; he is
not a child, but a warrior, and can wait for the antelope," said the
chief in a tone of decision not to be mistaken.

"I can tell you, chief," said Howe, "we will find our way out, and
bring the whole family here. This place will exactly suit Jane's
father, and then you know she would be so much more contented if they
were here?" he added.

The chief regarded the speaker with an inquiring glance for a moment,
then said: "Whirlwind is not to be played with. When the antelope says
she will go with him, he will take her, if she is hemmed in with

"Whirlwind, I will be plain with you," said Howe, "for I know you are
noble, generous, and brave. Jane is not my child, and is not mine to
dispose of; but as she has no other guardian here, I will protect her
until once more restored to her family. You must wait until then, and
if her family consent, and she desires it, I shall make no objections.
Perhaps by that time your love fit will be over, and you will not want
her. There is Mahnewe, why don't you make love to her?"

"The eagle mates not with the owl, nor the Arapahoe with the Snake,"
retorted the savage angrily.

"Oh! well, just as you like; yet I think she is rather pretty. Come,
chief, you cannot help but see it, as well as I. Don't you think she
would make a wigwam look comfortable, and more homelike than Jane?"

"I cannot tell; I never see the stars when the sun shines," returned
the Indian.

"It is a pity no one but an old bachelor heard that compliment it is
such a waste," laughed the trapper. "I see you are over ears in love,
chief. I know precisely how you feel. I was once in love myself. It did
not last long though, for my flame gave my keepsakes to a good for
nothing popinjay from down east; one for a string to bind round a
broken knapsack, the other to carry home with him for a show. That was
enough for me. I just told her I was done with her."

"You in love! that is capital! ha! ha!" rang out a voice behind the
speaker, who, turning round, stood face to face with Edward, who had
taken it into his head to share in the sport, and, following their
track in the snow, had come up with them unperceived.

"What sent you here? anything the matter at the camp?" they asked in a

"Nothing at all, that is why I came. I mistrusted you had some fun
together out here, and I came to share it. Come, uncle, give the whole
history of your love making. The bare idea of your being in love is
rich," and the merry boy laughed until the woods rang with the joyous

"I shall do no such thing. Do you think because I am old and ugly now,
that I have always been so. There has been a day, boy, when----"

"You were once handsome, uncle, that is a fact, and they do say I look
just as you used to. Come now, tell us about this affair."

"Well," said the trapper, mollified by the flattery, "when I was about
three-and-twenty, I was just about as green as young, and took it into
my head to get married, having persuaded myself that I was in love, and
that, if I did not, I should not live long. Polly Crane was a nice
girl, she could hoe corn, thresh grain, break fractious colts, or shoot
a bear, just as well as I could myself. She was just the one for me,
and we had got everything all fixed to be married, when a chap came
travelling up there, (making mischief I thought) dressed exactly like a
minister, only I knew he was not, he used such profane language. Well
what does he do but begin making love to Polly, which made me very

"'Never mind, Andy,' said Polly. 'You know I don't care for him or
anybody else but you. I am only trying to see how bad he will feel when
we are married.'

"'Go ahead then,' I said, 'if that is your game,' and sure enough she
did go ahead, as I soon found out. When I was up round Lake Superior,
the winter before, trapping with father, we got one night by mistake,
into a grizzly bear's den, intending to spend the night. We soon found
out our mistake, when we saw some cubs, and got ourselves out of the
scrape as soon as we got in; but, as the cubs were such pretty things,
I thought what a nice keepsake one of them would make Polly. So I hid
one under my jacket unbeknown to father, until the old bear came
snarling about us, after we had built a fire and laid down to sleep.'

"'Wonder what's the matter with the beast,' said father, 'guess she has
tracked us from her den.'

"'Guess she misses her cub,' said I.

"'By George, Andy, you have got us in a fine scrape. However, my lady,'
said the old man to the bear, 'you can't have that cub now: we never
give up to anybody;' and, with that, he fired a ball between her eyes.
But instead of dying, she attacked us, and we had a desperate fight.
She got the worst of it though, for we carried off both her skin and
cub. You ought to have seen the cub, it was a beauty, and when I gave
it to Polly, she pretended that she thought it the nicest keepsake she
ever saw. The other was, the skin of a snake. It was nearly six feet
long, and very wide, spotted all over its back with white, brown, and
black spots, and its sides were striped with brown, so that, when I
split it open in the middle, it looked like a ribbon. I made it as
soft, smooth and pretty as anything you ever saw.

"I did really think Polly was trying to deceive him, until he was going
away, when I saw that pretty snake skin tied around his plunder, and as
if that was not enough with a string in hand, he was leading away the
cub of the grizzly bear that I had brought all the way from Superior
for her."

"My brother's squaw's tongue was forked--the antelope's tongue is not
forked, she cannot lie," said the chief.

"Look here, chief; they are all alike. When they say they will have
you, they mean they will if they don't get out of the notion of it."

"My brother's heart is dark, and, looking through it, he sees nothing
but gloom, where I see sunshine," returned the chief.

"That is, I am to understand, you are in love, and uncle thinks it is
an exploded fallacy," said Edward, laughing; for, in truth, he was in a
merry mood, and his uncle's mishaps did not have a tendency to lessen
it in the least.

"It is nonsense, all nonsense," said the trapper.

"Hist!" said the chief, laying his finger on his lip, "there is large
game approaching!--there! I hear it again: have your arrows in
readiness," he continued, after a moment's pause.

"Deer, perhaps," said the trapper, "it comes in leaps; I hear it

"Yes, deer," said the chief, drawing his bow to his shoulder as a noble
buck bounded in sight, with his tongue protruding from his mouth, and
his eyes had a wild look of agony and terror, such as is only seen at a
moment of despair.

"Chased by a wolf! let the deer pass and shoot the pursuer," said the
trapper; but, scarcely were the words spoken, when a giant form covered
with hair, but bearing in form a semblance to humanity, came bounding
after, clearing from ten to twelve feet at every bound. On he came,
and, at the base of the knoll on which they stood, overtook his prey,
and grasping it by the throat, with one hand dealt it a succession of
furious blows on the head which knocked it down, when choking it until
life was extinct, he stood upright contemplating his prey.

They had instinctively dropped their arrows when they saw the pursuer;
and Whirlwind motioning the others to keep still, glided on towards the
singular creature, slipping from tree to tree until within a few rods
of him, when, taking from beneath his tunic his lasso, which he always
carried with him, he cut a circle with it in the air, then giving it a
throw, it quickly descended, girdling the strange being in its fold.
With an unearthly yell, he attempted to free himself from its coil.
Unfortunately it did not confine either arm, as the chief hoped it
would, and the creature finding it could neither break the stout hide
nor gnaw it off, sprang with ferocity at his captor, who had just
succeeded in fastening the other end of the lasso to a tree, and before
he had time to get out of the way, seized and threw him on the snow
with terrific force.

Howe saw the chief at the mercy of the monster, and in a moment an
arrow winged its flight, burying itself in its shoulder, causing the
monster to lose his hold. Another and another were shot in quick
succession, striking where they would not give a mortal wound, for it
looked so human, the trapper would not kill him if he could save the
life of the chief otherwise. This new attack puzzled the monster for a
moment; then seeing Howe and Edward, who had approached within a few
yards of him, he rushed with such force upon them, that they had no
time to get out of reach, and they were also caught by him and hurled
to the ground, but not before a blow dealt by Edward with a club had
broken his left arm. At that moment the chief, who had recovered from
the stunning effect of the fall, rushed upon the monster, and with a
single blow of his tomahawk, felled him to the ground, and before he
could rally, the lasso that was still on him, was tied around his arms
and feet to render him powerless. In defiance of the wounds he had
received, he was in nowise tamed, but glared on them, howling and
gnashing his teeth, while the foam rolled from his mouth, and he
writhed and rolled with rage on the snow a captive. The stout lasso of
hide they had cut in pieces, and so tied his hands and feet that he was
powerless to do them harm.

They now had a chance to examine the powerful creature at leisure. He
was entirely naked, with a perfect human form and face, but was
perfectly covered with hair, except the forehead, eyelids, palms of the
hands, and soles of the feet. They were surprised to see that the skin,
where it was protected from the sun by the hair, was white and fair as
their own. He was powerfully built, full six feet high, and uttered no
sound that approached the pronunciation of words; a succession of
snarls, growls, and yells, were all the sounds he uttered, and these
approached, when accompanied by his efforts to release himself, the
terrific, nearer than anything they had ever heard.

"Well, uncle, what will you do with him now you have got him?" said

"Kill him," spoke up the chief, indignantly.

"Take him home and tame him," said the trapper. "He is a human being
like ourselves; probably has been lost in infancy, and grown up wild,
without doubt, never having seen his kind before to-day."

"He will kill us if you take him home," said the chief; "better shoot

"No, chief, I could not kill him, but will see he does us no harm. I
will make him as tame as a kitten in a month."

"How will you get him home, uncle? We can not carry him, and if you
untie his feet he will run away."

"That is what I was just thinking about. I think one of us had better
return for the colt, and make him ride."

"Very good, if you can get him on and make him stay there," said the

"Make him go himself: tie him so he cannot run away," suggested Edward.

"I am not sure but that would be the best plan," said Howe. "I am sorry
he got that blow on his arm; I am sure it pains him; see how he
attempts to raise it, and groans at every motion he makes."

"Do you really think, uncle, he is human? It strikes me he is a monkey,
or an orang-outang, rather than human."

"There is neither monkey nor orang-outang in the North American
forests. One such snow as now lies on the ground, would kill a myriad
of them. I am quite confident of the customer I have to deal with. He
is no more nor less than a wild man, whose long exposure to the
elements, and total isolation from every human being, has caused the
hair to grow over his body. This also explains why he cannot speak like

They then endeavored to get him forward, having partly untied his feet
so as to allow him to move. The chief, with a stout cord, went forward
and endeavored to urge him on, but the wild man refused to move. After
exhausting every plan they could devise, they bethought themselves of
coercion. Howe accordingly raised a club as if he would strike, when,
with a wild cry of alarm, he raised his eyes imploringly, at the same
time starting forward, when the chief moving on, gave him to understand
he was to follow.

On perceiving what was required of him, and finding it was useless to
attempt an escape, he made no further opposition to follow, although it
was not safe to be near him as he gnashed with his teeth at every one
that approached him.

Reaching the temple without further trouble, Edward called the
attention of Jane to the new addition to their family, and said with
perfect gravity--

"I really think you have one of the most devoted wooers; see what a
rare prize he has risked life and limb in securing for you, which he
begs you will have the kindness to accept from him in token of the love
he bears you."

"Why, what a monster it is," said Sidney, walking round and round it.
"It is a comical keepsake to give a girl, I must say. Really, chief,
you Indians have curious tastes about such matters."

"My brother gave his squaw a cub," retorted the chief, angrily, as they
all burst into a laugh at the very idea of the monster being presented
to Jane, who was casting furtive glances from it to the chief, and was
just beginning to think that she might next be called on to accept a
wolf or panther, and was casting in her mind the chances she had in
escaping such an infliction, when the chief said, as if divining her

"It is not for the antelope. See, Whirlwind kill it," and he raised his
tomahawk, and would have driven it into the wild man's skull had not
his arm been caught by the trapper.

"Chief! would you be a murderer?" asked the trapper, sternly. "See him
crouch! he fears you, and depend upon it, if we use our power over him
discreetly, we shall tame him."

The chief dropped his arm and doggedly walked away. Jane brought some
nuts and placing them where he could reach them, begged her uncle to
unbind the cord around his hand so that he could eat them. This he did
not think prudent to do until the broken bone was set, which, after a
great deal of trouble, he succeeded in doing, effectually binding up
the fracture with soft strips of the mountain sheep skin, of which they
had an abundance in their store room.

After this was done he was dressed in a tunic and small clothes, the
long hair was cut from his face as well as they could with their
hunting-knives, to which they had given an extra sharpening for the
occasion. Tightening the cord around his feet they unbound the cord
that confined his hands, when he seized the nuts, cracked them with his
teeth and devoured them with avidity.

"Broil him some steaks, Jane," said the trapper, "I think he is

"There is a cold haunch of venison in the store room; perhaps he will
eat that," said Jane.

"Of course he will; bring it in." Cutting off some thick slices she
laid them before him; eyeing them intently for a moment as if not
knowing what they were, he cautiously turned them over and then turned
his eye with an inquiring look towards Jane, who smiling, cut off
another slice and commenced eating it. Seeing the action he cautiously
raised his slice to his lips; but as soon as he had tasted it all doubt
seemed to vanish, for the venison disappeared rapidly. Jane continued
to cut as long as he continued to eat, and when he had done gave him a
gourd of water to drink.

"I am afraid we have fed him too highly for his broken arm. There will
be danger of fever," said the trapper. They miscalculated his nature,
and supposed causes produced the same effects in a healthful and an
enervated constitution. This knowledge gradually dawned on them as day
after day went by without exhibiting the least derangement in his
system. From the first, he had been docile and obedient to Jane, and
when in the most violent paroxysms, if she spoke to him, his anger
vanished and his countenance assumed a pleasing expression. He had eyes
of clear, deep blue, large, quick and varying as the emotion in his
heart. They could see the passion that held sway over him by his eye;
for he had not, like his brothers, learned to dissemble and hide the
workings of the soul within. Howe had also become a great favorite with
him; but he feared the chief, always cowering and uttering a shrill cry
of fear if he came near him. Edward was also a favorite and spent much
of his time in learning him to pronounce words in which he was quite
successful, his powers of imitation seeming to be boundless. After he
had pronounced the first the difficulty seemed to vanish, and he was
never tired of repeating words after others. The greatest trouble they
experienced with him was during his fits of passion. Then he was
furious, tore his fur garments in shreds, and threw down every thing in
his reach. They had not dared to liberate him on account of these
paroxysms of anger, over which he did not seem to have the least
control. He evidently pined to be free again; for if left to himself he
uttered a low moan, while tears chased each other down his
weather-beaten cheeks.

Chapter Fourteenth.

The return of spring. Their thoughts of home. Preparations to continue
their journey. The chief insists upon their course being wrong. Escape
of the Wild Man. They discover a borough of Prairie Dogs. Traces of
Buffalo observable. They suffer from want of water. A party of Indians.
A beautiful landscape. A terrific storm. The chief rendered insensible
by a stroke of lightning. He recovers and returns to the camp.

The warm south wind now began to stir the air, while the lengthened
days, swelling buds, and melting snows, assured them the patiently
waited for and much desired spring had come.

"Home--father, mother, brothers, sister; for, where they are, there is
home. Shall we indeed see you and once more be folded in your arms?
Shall these wanderings ever cease, of which our souls are weary, and
our hearts are sick? Oh! home; thou hope of the weary, and haven of
rest, though thy place be the tomb, when shall we see thee!" they sadly
and feelingly exclaimed.

Howe and the chief made daily excursions down the valley, in search of
wild horses, being anxious to secure each member of their party one for
riding and two for pack horses. "For," said Howe, "we will start with
good horses, and as the summer is before us, it will go hard with us,
if we do not find home before cold weather comes again."

"Before the snows again fall," said the chief, "we will not only have
found the son of the great Medicine, but will be back here, never more
to leave again."

They were successful in their hunts, and a finer set of horses never
wore a halter than those wild ones they had secured, and which twice a
day they rode round the forest, in order to tame, and accustom them to
carry burthens. They had quite a store of nuts still on hand, packed in
bags made of skins, which they lashed on one of the horses' backs; and
their jerked and dried meats, together with a quantity of salt that
they collected at the salt spring, were packed on another; as was also,
half a dozen gourd shells, and one of the kettles they had found, which
had, from the many uses to which they applied it, become a necessity.
Three or four skins according to their thickness, that had been cured
with the hair on, were tightly sewed together for a saddle with small
strings, and the whole firmly bound on the horses' back by a broad
band. By means of the leather they had been enabled to make a very good
bridle for Jane and Edward, but Howe and the chief preferred riding
with a single band or string for a halter, and this they rarely held in
their hands, but went dashing through the forest, their hands free, and
their bodies bent almost to their horses' necks.

With something like the feeling of parting with a friend, they bade
adieu to the friendly shelter that had protected them from the wet and
cold so many months; the beautiful valley with its park-like trees,
many now in bloom; and the smooth verdant sward, its ruins, the sole
links of the present with the past, and the only token left that others
had lived, known joy and sorrow, and died on a land, supposed to have
never, before the present race become its masters, known a civilized

They rode gaily forth--Howe with his niece and nephew, the Indian
chieftain, the timid Mahnewe with her child, and the wild man, whom
they had christened Oudin, from a habit he had of repeating a sound
very much like the pronunciation of that word. He had become quite
docile, understood many sentences, and could be made to understand by
words and signs all that was required of him. He also attempted to use
words in conveying his wants to others, and they noticed with pleasure,
his fits of passion were less frequent, and when they had passed away
he seemed ashamed of them.

Taking their course down the valley, which grew broader and gradually
assumed the appearance of a primitive forest, and pursued their way
along the stream that kept its course at the base of the mountain on
their right until night, when they encamped on its bank. At early dawn
they again commenced their journey, and leaving the stream, took their
course farther to the left, as the chief persisted in his belief that
their whole course had been wrong, and that in order to find their
friends, they must take another direction. Howe readily assented to
this; for, in fact, he was so completely bewildered that he was at a
loss what course should be pursued. The forest now began to lose much
of its grandeur, the soil grew sandy, and every species of verdure had
a stunted and gnarled appearance. At night they encamped on the verge
of a broad prairie that stretched far away towards the horizon. They
had much difficulty in procuring a supply of water for their horses
that night, the surface around where they were having a parched, arid
appearance; so different from the fresh verdure of the forest through
which they had been travelling, as to cause a feeling of momentary
sadness to come over them. This was, however, dispelled by the chief
who was highly elated at having struck the prairie.

"Over yonder," said he, stretching his hand towards the wide expanse
before them, "our friends await us. Let not our hearts fail us, for
before two more suns shall set, we will be among them!"

"So soon! Oh, what joy!" said Jane, transported with the thought.

"They may have left the encampment, and pursued their journey, if they
had the good fortune to get out of the hands of the Crows; and, then,
it may be many days before we overtake them."

"No," said the trapper. "If your father is living, he never leaves the
ground on which he was encamped, until he ascertains the fate of his
children. Probably he has built a cabin, and is cultivating a patch of
ground around it. He will never leave it if we do not return. If it is
not so, I have a wrong conception of the man."

With the chief for a guard, they lay down to sleep. On awakening the
next morning, they found, to their amazement, that Oudin had escaped to
the forest. This was a great disappointment to them, after they had
taken so much care to keep him safe and tame him, as he gave promise of
much intelligence when he should become civilized. There was no help
for it, as he had evidently watched his opportunity to escape and,
perhaps, was now miles away.

"The ungrateful wretch," said Edward, "to thus run away after we had
done our best to civilize him."

"Good!" said the chief; "glad he is gone. He would kill us some day had
he remained."

"I think not," said Howe. "But it is a mystery to me how he escaped
your vigilant eye and ear. Whirlwind, I think you must have slept
during your watch."

"No," returned the chief, proudly, "Whirlwind never sleeps when on
guard. Whirlwind saw Oudin loose his bands, but kept still, and when he
stole softly away, did not pursue him."

"What! you saw and permitted his escape?" said the trapper, hurt at the
want of good faith in the chief.

"He pined for the forest even as I should pine in the white man's
village. What right had we to detain him in a place, and confine him to
a life for which he had no inclination? Let him go; he is free, and it
is all he craves."

"We had the right of the civilized over the savage. It was our place to
instruct and enlighten him, and we have done him a great wrong in
permitting him to return to the brutish life he led when we found him."

"Would he be happier when civilized, and had learned to curse the Great
Spirit, and drink the white man's fire water? Is the red man happier
than he was before the white man came?" asked the Indian, scornfully.

"You know, chief," said the trapper, "no one regrets the wrongs my race
have inflicted on your own more than I do. I hope there is a brighter
dawn in store for you, and that you may live to bless the coming of my
people to your shores."

"The dawn of a never-ending day in the spirit land awaits us--no other.
I give you my hand, brother; let there be peace between us," said the
chief, sadly.

The trapper grasped the offered hand in a moment, and after due
preparation, they once more pursued their journey, taking their way
directly across the prairie that stretched out before them. Their
horses were fleet travellers, and they hurried over the smooth, green
sward that covered the prairie, for two hours, when they were brought
to a sudden pause by stumbling on a borough of prairie dogs, the ground
being tunneled in every direction underneath, leaving a thin crust of
earth, through which the horses broke, sending the yelping denizens
howling from their dens over the prairie in admirable fright and
confusion. Making a circuit round the deceptive traps of the snarling
curs, they again struck out for the distant boundary of the prairie,
which they hoped soon to reach. At noon they rested by a pool of
stagnant water, the first they had seen since morning, which was unfit
for use but of which the horses drank sparingly. The spring grass, now
tender and nutritious, was cropped with avidity by the horses, and
after a halt of two hours, they again pursued their journey. They soon
found the first buffalo they had seen since the preceding autumn, and
they hailed the sight of them as an omen of good. About sunset,
Whirlwind had the good fortune to kill one, and they deemed it prudent
to encamp, as it would be impossible for them to reach the boundary of
the prairie that night. Steaks constituted the chief feature of their
supper, and a rarity they were, having so long been deprived of them,
and which, with the addition of the Indian bread-root, made a no mean

They had searched every ravine, cavity, and hollow for more than a mile
around for fresh water, but without success. A pool of unwholesome
water similar to the one they rested by at noon, being all they found.
This was a little relief to the distressed horses, but none to them.
Dividing the milk of the goat between them, they lay down to sleep. At
dawn, they were again in motion; and after three hours' hard riding,
they saw the distant forest, that bounded the prairie, looming against
the horizon. Buffalo, antelope, elk, deer, and fowl now became quite
numerous, giving indications that the forest was well watered and
fertile. With renewed energy, they rode on, and about noon entered the
welcome heavily timbered forest--the surface of which was uneven and
rolling, sometimes rising in gentle hills, then towering in precipitous
cliffs, interspersed with sylvan dells, through which streamlets wound,
sometimes in quiet beauty, and again dashing down ledges of rock,
lashing their waters to a foam.

Eagerly they drank the waters of the limpid stream for which they as
well as their beasts had been suffering. Tired with their rapid marches
which the necessity of procuring water had forced them to take they
resolved to rest the remainder of the day. Selecting a spot by the
stream, shut in by tall cliffs on either side, they secured their
horses and were preparing to spend the night when the chief hurriedly
motioned them to be silent. He then with noiseless tread ascended the
cliff behind them. Evidently some new danger awaited them, and with
terror they clung to each other for protection from the unknown evil.
In half an hour he returned. "Indians yonder!" said he, briefly,
pointing towards the cliff on the opposite side of the stream.

"Have you seen and do you know them?" asked the trapper, adding,
"Perhaps we are nearer home, and they belong to some friendly tribes?"

"Does she?" asked the chief, turning with a scornful gesture towards

The squaw rising from the bank where she had been sitting advanced with
the look of sadness entirely dispelled from her face, which was now
sunny and radiant with joy.

"Mahnewe," said she, speaking earnestly and rapidly, "is the friend of
the white man, and so are her people. Over the hills yonder is their
village and these are their hunting grounds. Let not the white man
fear; he has saved the life of a wife of the chief, and Mahnewe will
answer for his safety."

"Are you sure of what you say?" asked Jane, whose dread of cannibals
was the torture of her life.

"Mahnewe cannot mistake the place of her people," said the squaw,
looking amused at the evident fright of the young girl.

"I mean of what tribe are they,--are you, Mahnewe?"

"The squaw will not tell," said the chief, tauntingly. "She knows they
are the enemies of the Arapahoes. The Snake fears the Eagle."

"Mahnewe is the daughter of a chief, and the wife of a chief. She is
not a coward; red blood is in her veins. She is a Snake, and fears not
the Arapahoe!"

"Come, this will never answer, chief! Leave Mahnewe to me. Now, tell me
truly,--are we on the hunting-grounds of the Snakes, and are you one of
that tribe?"

"Mahnewe has said it, and cannot lie," returned the woman earnestly,
and with great dignity of manner.

"If this is true, we are saved," said the trapper. "I have friends
among that people, and know my way home from their hunting-grounds."

"Are you sure of what you tell us, Mahnewe?" asked Sidney; "for a
mistake on this point might involve us all in destruction."

"Are not yonder the hills where my childhood's years were spent? Who
can forget the home of their kindred, the place of their birth?"

"Sometimes hills in the distance bear a resemblance to others, which
vanishes on a nearer approach," observed the trapper.

"Let Mahnewe go to her people, she fears not of finding strangers in
their place," said she, in pleasing tones.

"A good idea, uncle, let her go and ascertain positively; but keep the
child to prevent treachery," suggested Sidney.

"Mahnewe goes not without her child, if all our lives should depend on
her going!" said the squaw, decidedly.

"But consider, Mahnewe, if they should not prove to be your people the
child would only hinder your retreat, and if they should be, you can
return and claim it in safety," said Howe.

"If my brother listens to the forked tongue of the Snake's squaw, she
will guide the warriors of her people to our retreat, where we shall
all be slaughtered," said the chief.

"I think not, chief; there is an air of sincerity about the squaw that
dispels all thought of treachery in my mind; besides, she is under
great obligations to us for saving her own and the child's life. The
Indians are not ungrateful you know, chief, and I think we do her wrong
to suspect her motives in wanting to go."

"The Snakes are friends of my brother, and will not harm him. Let the
squaw conduct the dogs to our camp; Whirlwind knows how to die,"
returned the chief.

"They shall not hurt you while we live," said Edward. "Those who are
our friends must not offer harm to you, unless they want us their

"Do not go, Mahnewe," said Jane. "Some harm might result from it for
which we should all repent. We shall find out in the course of
to-morrow at furthest if these are the Snakes, and if they are you can
join them when we are assured no harm can result to us from it."

Mahnewe turned her dark, liquid eyes imploringly to Howe as if to gain
his voice in her favor, but they were evidently all against it, and he
did not like to take the responsibility.

"Not to-night," said he, kindly, "but perhaps to-morrow you may go."

Sad and sorrowfully she walked away, and they saw how bitter was her

"Never mind, child," said Howe, "it will all be well yet. Patience and
perseverance will overcome everything. Our first business must be to
secure ourselves on the defensive. From the appearance of the Indians,
I do not think they suspect our being in this vicinity, and I propose
that our horses be secured in this thicket that skirts the bank here,
where they can feed and not be detected. We must do without a fire, and
one of us had better go cautiously to the top of the cliff yonder, and

"Whirlwind, will go. Keep watch of the squaw, or she will betray us."
So saying, the chief started on his scouting expedition.

Following the course of the brook until it curved around a sudden bend
of the cliff, he crossed it, and striking a narrow ravine overhung on
one side by shelving rock, he followed on within its shadows for over a
mile, when the ravine began to widen, the sides gradually lessen in
height, and which, a mile farther on terminated in rolling acclivities,
covered with verdure, while the ground between became a beautiful dell,
shaded with tall, stately trees, the branches of which were vocal with
a hundred bird voices, filling the air with their melody. The dell was
quite free from undergrowth, and the sun was excluded by the primitive
trees, that interlaced their branches, making the forest almost
impenetrable. The soul of the Indian was entranced, as he gazed on this
scene, so wild and silent in its beauty. It was his beau-ideal of the
Spirit-Land; and, as he gazed, he drew his hand across his eyes to see
if he, indeed, was waking. Still, there lay the landscape before him,
with the melody above. At that moment the spell was broken by a herd of
deer, leisurely crossing the dell. Drawing his bow, he was on the point
of shooting, when recollecting his errand thither, he recovered his
prudence; for, should the deer escape with an arrow sticking in it, and
be seen by the Indians, he was in search of, it would give them to
understand that others were near them.

Cautiously he proceeded across the enchanting landscape, and, after an
hour's walk, discovered an opening in the forest. "Here," thought the
chief, "I shall get a glimpse of the dogs, and if, as I think, they are
Snakes, it will go hard with me, if I don't carry off one scalp at
least," and his eyes glared with the ferocity of a tiger. He was as
much a savage still at heart as ever. Nearing the opening, he saw
before him a lake to which he approached by a smooth grassy plat, of
several rods wide, dotted here and there with mosses, ferns, and
beautiful wild flowers, with an occasional tree shorn of half its limbs
which lay scattered along the water's edge. The opposite bank skirted
the base of the hills they had seen from the encampment, rising in
peaks, barren and rocky on their summits. The water of the lake was
transparent and calm, and looked as placid as though nothing had ever
penetrated the lonely spot in which it was nestled, to mar its surface.
The chief on emerging into the open glade, saw the sky had become
flecked with clouds that were scudding across the heavens, in a
thousand fantastic waves, while just above the peak of the topmost hill
over the lake, a black cloud, heavy and portentous with a gathering
storm, was rising slowly, leaving a long streak of light unbroken cloud
against the horizon.

The chief surveyed the lake, the hills and the forest from which he had
emerged, with the surrounding scenery long and earnestly, and then
murmured to himself in a tone, that betokened a sorrowful certainty;
"It is not true, these are not the hunting grounds of the Snakes; they
have none so good and beautiful as these. We are lost! lost! in the
interminable wilds of the West, where hope or deliverance may never
come." And the stern but proud chieftain bowed his head in despair for
a moment: then stretching his hands towards the sky, which dimly shone
through the dark rolling clouds, he cried: "Father, Manito! why hast
thou left thy child to wander from his people, and cast a spell[10] over
his feet so that he cannot return?--Has he done an evil in thy sight,
that he is thus punished?--Great Spirit, Manito! thy prophet awaits thy

      [10] The Indians imagine that good and evil spirits can cast a
      spell over any person they desire, and while under it, they have
      no control over their own actions, but are obliged to follow the
      inclination of the spirit by which the spell is cast.

As he concluded, a peal of thunder that shook the ground, burst from
the clouds above, followed by a blinding flash of lightning, which was
quickly followed by another, and another; and, as the wind came
sweeping down in angry blasts, it seemed as if every element in nature
were warring against each other. The chief stood unmoved on the spot,
his arms still raised, his lips parted but motionless, stupefied by the
storm around him. The Great Spirit he imagined had spoken to him
angrily in the storm, and superstitious as all the Indians are, it
filled his soul with horror. Large drops of rain soon began to fall,
the wind rose furiously, lashing the water on the lake into huge waves,
while wild fowls and birds darted frightened through the air. Still the
chieftain stood there. What was now the storm to him? Was not the Great
Spirit angry? and as the rain fell on his upturned face in torrents,
the lightnings descended, shivering a tree near where he stood, and
stunning him with the shock. He was prostrated, and lay on the green
sward motionless, the rain forming a pool about him, which was every
moment augmented as the torrents came down upon him.

When consciousness again returned, the sky was clear, without a single
cloud to mar its serenity. It was night, and the heavens were dotted
with a thousand gems that apparently smiled at the forlorn appearance
of the half-drowned chief as he slowly dragged himself from his
unsought bath. The lake was as placid as when he first saw it, and
there was nothing to remind him of the commotion that had raged around
him, save the shivered tree and his saturated garments and hair.

"It is the abode of the Evil Spirits," said he, "and they have lured me
hither." Starting in the direction whence he came, he saw within half a
mile, a camp-fire dimly burning as if struggling with wet fuel. Highly
elated at the discovery, as it plainly showed by their lighting a fire
that they were unaware of others being around, he crept noiselessly
towards them. Approaching within a few rods he saw they were a party of
about thirty, who were evidently on a hunt. They were not Snakes; he
was sure of that; but of what tribe they were he could not tell.
Evidently not of any tribe of which he had any knowledge, and they had
a stronger resemblance to the cannibals than to any others he had seen.
With this information he returned about midnight, much to the relief of
the rest at the camp, who had feared he had been captured, and were in
great suspense for his safety.

Chapter Fifteenth.

They endeavor to conceal themselves from the Indians. They are
discovered. A frightful encounter. Escape of Mahnewe. They pursue their
journey in the night and take a wrong direction. Discovery of a river,
over which they cross. Came to a prairie. Desolate appearance of the
country. Approach a sandy desert and conclude to cross it. They provide
themselves with ample provisions and set out over the cheerless waste.

All the next day they remained concealed in order to escape
observation, and to allow the strange Indians to go far enough away so
that they could proceed without being molested. Which way to journey
next was a difficult question to them, but as it would be quite
impossible to cross the barren, rocky hills before them, they finally
determined to go down the stream until they came to the terminus of the
hills that the chief had seen, and instead of crossing over as he had
done to strike out into the woodland beyond the dell, and take their
course on as far as it extended. Having made everything ready for an
early start the next morning, they laid down to sleep. About midnight
they were awakened by the blinding glare of torches, and found three
hideous savages bending over them with raised tomahawks. Comprehending
at once the nature of the assault, they sprang to their feet and
attacked their assailants. The chief had the fortune to cleave the
skull of the one nearest him at the first blow of his tomahawk, and
turning, saw another who had the trapper at disadvantage, with tomahawk
raised above his head, and with a dexterous blow he disabled the arm
raised with the murderous weapon. In a moment he would have killed the
Indian had not the screams of Jane, whom the remaining savage attempted
to carry off in his arms after knocking Sidney senseless with his
war-club, made him forget all else, and spring to her rescue. The
trapper, who was not hurt, made a blow at his assailant, but he evaded
it and tied into the forest where Howe thought it not prudent to
follow, as he imagined a whole ambuscade of Indians might be in waiting
to seize upon him. Hastening to the assistance of Whirlwind, he saw him
closed hand to hand with the savage, their hunting-knives being their
only weapons, both having dropped their tomahawks. Howe saw they were
equally matched, and fearing the chief would get a bad wound, raised a
club and dealt the savage a blow that felled him to the ground. The
chief soon despatched him, and then they turned to Sidney and Edward.
Already were they reviving, not having received any serious wounds. The
copious gourds of water that Jane had sprinkled over them were all the
care they needed. They now bethought themselves of Mahnewe. She was
gone; not a vestige or clue remaining of her or the child.

"Betrayed!" said the chief with compressed lips and glistening eyes.

"Oh, no; she has never betrayed us!" said the trapper. "I fear there
was more than three of the savages, and they have stolen her."

"It is horrible! they will kill her! Oh, uncle, cannot we pursue and
overtake them?" said Jane.

"I will go and bring her scalp," said the chief. "She is a foe and has
led the dogs to murder her benefactors."

"No; we shall have to leave her to her fate," said Howe. "One of the
Indians has escaped to give the alarm, and perhaps within this hour or
as soon as daylight, the whole tribe will be down upon us. Our only
hope for our own lives is in flight. Our horses may out-travel them if
they defer the attack until daylight. Fortunately for us the horses are
fresh and strong."

Hastily mounting in the darkness, with no light save the faint glimmer
of the stars, they plunged into the unknown wilds before them,
Whirlwind leading them as a guide. But instead of taking the direction
they had determined on after a long consultation the day before, they
mistook the route in their haste and the darkness, and fled north-west
of it; but they pursued their way in silence.

At last the welcome day broke, and halting to take a drink themselves
and water their horses, they remounted, and galloped rapidly through
the forest. In about two hours they came to the bank of a river, the
largest they had seen in their wanderings. Entering this in order to
throw their pursuers off the track, they rode up it as long as the
river continued wide, but as it contracted the water became too deep to
be breasted by the horses, and they crossed to the opposite bank. Here,
to their great sorrow, their goat and her kid gave out, and no urging
could induce them to proceed. The animals had evidently gone as far as
they were capable, and with sorrow they turned them loose and left
them. The goat's milk had been such an indispensable addition to their
store that they felt as if parting with one of their main reliances in
leaving her behind.

Still they pursued their way, avoiding the hills as much as possible
until the sun was high in the heavens; when becoming weary with their
hard ride, and faint for want of food, they halted in a spot where a
cool spring gushed from beneath a huge boulder that looked as if it had
been hurled from a rocky acclivity above to its bed. Tethering their
horses where they could feed, they set a guard and began with all haste
to eat such as their provision bags afforded. Cooking was out of the
question, for the smoke would point out the exact spot where they were,
a thing they were most desirous to hide.

They now calculated they were thirty miles from the place of their last
encampment, and beyond the danger of being overtaken, provided their
enemies had no horses, which they thought quite probable. However, they
deemed it imprudent to rely on such a supposition; and after an hour's
halt, they again moved on, pausing occasionally to refresh themselves,
until towards sunset, when the ground became more even and the soil
more sandy. Here they noticed the vegetation was becoming more sparse,
what trees there were having a stunted and gnarled appearance; after a
long search they found a spring of pure water, by which they encamped
for the night, being now relieved from the fear of an attack; for, had
they been ever so well mounted they could not have made a greater
distance than they had, and having the advantage of a start of their
pursuers they calculated on a certain escape. They were unmolested
through the night; and early in the morning they again set forth. At
noon where they halted the face of the country was much as it was when
they set out in the morning; but, after a rapid ride in the afternoon,
the vegetation entirely disappeared except the rank grass, leaving a
broad prairie before them. Here they paused, resolving to rest
themselves before they proceeded farther.

Alas! had they only known which way to proceed,--what direction would
lead them to their home and friends, it would have been well with them.
But they had pursued so many different directions they had become
bewildered, and all courses seemed to them alike. The next and the next
day passed over and found them undecided whether it was best to cross
over the prairie or not; but the third day they concluded to do so, and
refreshed and invigorated they set out. Two days of their journey they
found occasional supplies of water, and on the third towards noon they
came to its boundary. The forest skirting the border of the prairie was
a clump of stunted trees, and there was very little grass or shrubs
growing around. Everything looked forlorn and desolate about them,
offering but scanty subsistence for themselves or beasts.

Following the forest down a short distance they found a tolerable
camping ground where they spent the night. The next day on riding
through the forest about three miles they found that it terminated,
leaving a field of sand without a blade of grass or shrub growing upon
it. It was nothing but sand, drear and desolate as far as the eye could
reach. They were stupefied, and gazed sadly on the barren waste before

"This," at last said the trapper, "is the desert of which we have heard
by vague rumors and traditions, but of which, until now, I never
believed existed. We have undoubtedly made our way on the opposite
side, and it will be necessary for us to either go across or round it
in order to get home. The nearest course is across, and even when
there, we shall be many hundred miles from home."

Jane could hardly repress the sob that arose as her uncle announced the
dismal prospect that lay before them, and even hope almost died in her
heart. For the first time she entertained the thought that there was a
probability of ending their days in those unknown, unbroken regions.
Whirlwind saw the emotion that was stirring her heart, for he was a
keen observer, and read human nature with that accuracy peculiarly
characteristic of the Indian. Placing himself by her side, he said in a
mild tone--

"Why is the antelope troubled? is not her warrior by her side to make
her a new home? The wilderness encircles us on every side, and the
Great Spirit makes a barrier of sand that we cannot escape. It is his
will that we remain; let us not attempt to leave the forest."

"Look here, chief, let Jane alone," said Sidney, angrily, as he
attempted to draw her from Whirlwind.

"Sidney," said Howe, in an authoritative tone, "how long will it be
before you learn prudence?"

An angry retort rose to his lips, but catching the pleading eye of the
young girl fixed upon him, he remained silent and walked away.

"Come, chief, what say you, shall we strike the desert or not."

"Were I to consult my own inclination, I should say not, but return to
our quarters, and prepare for winter."

"That is out of the question, chief; go home we must," spoke up Edward,
with a tone of energy and decision quite new to him.

"Yes, go home! we not only _must_, but _will_," said Sidney.

"If we can get home," added Jane, sadly.

"We will do our best," said Howe, in a cheerful tone. He saw, too, that
he had an arduous trial to contend with in the angry feelings Sidney
entertained for the chief, which to his credit the chief never seemed
to notice or resent. He knew the temper of the chieftain well, and knew
him patient and forgiving, but knew him also unrelenting in his hate,
when his anger was aroused. Howe's policy was to keep up a unity of
feeling and purpose between every member of his little band, as he well
knew a division would weaken their exertions, and cripple their efforts
to extricate themselves from the trials that every day were thickening
and becoming more complicated around them.

A consultation ensued, in which they came to the conclusion to cross
the desert; but, as tradition said there was not a drop of water or a
blade of grass to be had between the two boundaries, and that the
desert was two days' journey across, they retreated to a spot where
grass and water could be collected in quantities sufficient to last
them the three days they would be in crossing the barren waste. Happily
they were well provided with horses, having still in their possession
those that had been appropriated to the use of Oudin and Mahnewe, as
well as the two pack horses. Gathering large quantities of grass by
cutting it up with their hunting knives, they bound it in compact
bundles; then taking some skins, they sewed them up, making them tight
and secure for water-bags. The morning of the third day found them
ready for their perilous adventure. Each one taking a water-bag, a
bundle of grass and provision on his own horse, sufficient to last them
through the first day, which, together with the four horses heavily
laden with provision, water and grass, they thought quite sufficient to
last them, double the time they intended being on the desert.

Hope again gilded the future to the wanderers as they surveyed with
satisfaction the result of their labors; and, when they turned their
horses towards the sandy plain before them, their hearts were elated,
and a feeling of security against its terrors made them even gay and
joyous. It is well the future is always hid from view; were it not, the
heart would faint and shrink from its trials when called to endure
them, and instead of bravely contending with them, it would be palsied
and weakened by fear.

Chapter Sixteenth.

They set out over the Desert. Encampment in the sand. An island in the
sand discovered. Singular appearance of rocks. Human skeletons found in
the sand. A mirage. Dreary prospects. Some of their horses give out.
They arrive at an oasis. Beautiful scenery. They come to a lake.
Singular geological features, They discover and explore a cavern in
which they come upon mysterious implements. Gold found in abundance.
The cavern supposed to have been an ancient mine. Its remarkable

The sky was overcast with clouds as they entered the desert, which
broke and finally cleared away before the day was half spent. It had
been their intention to ride as fast as their horses could travel; but
they found that travelling in the sand, where, at every step the
horses' hoofs sank above the fetlock, was easier talked of than
performed, and to their dismay, they found themselves reduced to a
walk, by the time they lost sight of the forest whence they started. A
feeling of loneliness now crept involuntarily over them which deepened
by finding the desert bestrewed with bones bleached in the sun, of
those who had probably been lost in this barren waste, and had perished
with hunger and thirst. The mid-day sun now poured its rays on their
unprotected heads, causing a feeling of dizziness, while its glittering
reflection from the sand almost blinded their sight. At sunset, when
about to halt for the night, they caught a faint glimmer of a body
rising against the horizon, brought into relief by the expiring light.
"A forest!" they all shouted joyously at the sight. But, as they were
now fatigued and hungry, and the object ahead, if a forest, was
apparently miles away, they concluded to spend the night where they
were. That night the sand was their bed, the skins they used for
saddles their pillows, and the star-gemmed canopy above their only
covering. At dawn they were again on their march, and as they proceeded
the objects they had seen the night before faint and indistinctly,
became more clearly defined, having the appearance of uneven bodies,
scattered over a considerable extent of territory. In a few hours, they
came to them and found, instead of a forest, a singular mass of rocks,
sometimes rising in smooth perpendicular columns, some of them capped
by a huge flat rock laying as regularly as if placed there by the hand
of mechanical skill, and then again they were thrown down and lay
scattered around as if by some violent throe of nature. Though there
were vast fields of rock, not a shrub, nor any sign of vegetation could
be seen. All was desolate, sand and rock. What struck them as being
very singular about these rocks, was the fact that, they were divided
into two distinct parts, leaving a pathway through them fifty feet
wide, unincumbered by boulder or stones, and which was smooth and even.
Guiding their horses through this defile, which seemed like a portal to
the desert beyond, they could not refrain from the thought that the
hand of man had built here a barrier, to prevent the incursion of some
foe; still these rocks were so massive, rude, and in such gigantic
proportions, it almost set at defiance the supposition that human
agency could have placed them there. Riding further on a few miles,
they came upon the skeleton of an Indian, half buried in the sand,
entirely denuded of flesh, and laying as if he had calmly lain down to
die. Shuddering at the spectacle, they rode on a few paces, when
another, and another, met their sight, until they had counted fifteen
skeletons. They had probably been a party lost in the desert, and being
unable to extricate themselves had miserably perished in that dreary

Surveying these a moment, and then with a glance at their own store of
provisions, they urged on their horses until night, when they were
obliged to halt, for their animals exhibited signs of giving out from
fatigue, although no indication of the expected forest, with its supply
of water and game, was in view, as they had anticipated. Nothing but a
plain of sand, occasional rocky beds, and huge boulders scattered among
them were seen. Well it was for them that they had taken an extra
supply of provisions, or they, too, might have perished by a death more
lingering and terrible than cannibals could inflict. With heavy hearts
and dread forbodings when light again dawned, they once more resumed
their journey, the desert retaining the same appearance it had the day
before, until towards night, when, to their joy! a forest loomed
against the horizon. Forgetting their fatigue, they urged their wearied
beasts on, mile after mile, until darkness hid every object in its
mantle of gloom. Still on they went, till the horses paused, trembling
and tottering, ready to fall. They could proceed no farther. Giving
them water and grass, they ate their own supper and lay down to sleep,
with the expectation of being in full view of the forest when daylight
should break upon them.

Worn with fatigue they slept soundly, forgetting for a few hours, the
terrible anxiety that tortured them when awake, and the sun had already
risen before they awoke from dreaming of beautiful forests, through
which clear streams went murmuring, and where game of every
description, from the huge buffalo to the tiny singing bird, abounded.
Rousing themselves, their first thought was of the forest, and looking
around not a vestige was to be seen, and the truth gradually dawned
upon them as they gazed horror stricken in each other's bloodless
faces, that they had seen a mirage, and that, instead of terminating,
it betokened that the desert extended far beyond them. Seeing the panic
into which they were all thrown by this discovery, Howe said in a
cheerful tone--

"Come! come! this will never do: we have provision and water enough for
us and the horses for to-day, and we can easily divide, and make it
last two days. We are caught and must do the best we can; at least we
can never free ourselves, if we stand still and bewail our fate."

"Oh, uncle! this is terrible," said Edward, gazing abstractedly around
where nothing but desolation met his eye.

"We can do no better than help ourselves out of it," said Jane,
encouragingly. "Be a man, Edward, and, doing your best, take your
chance with the rest."

"That is a brave girl," said Howe, with a nod of approval. "Let us be
courageous; the darkest hour of the night is that just before the dawn.
Is it not so, chief?"

"Always," answered the chief. "I have heard our old men speak of these
deserts, but they are more vast and dreary than even the report
portrayed them. But if we would escape, every moment is precious, and
we must haste away."

Alas! a new evil had visited them, for on going to their horses they
found them lame, stiff, and hardly able to move. One refused to rise
from the bed of sand, and no effort could move him. Constant travel in
the desert beneath the burning sun, had done the work for him; he was
useless, and to save his dying from thirst and starvation, they killed
him. They did that with sorrowful hearts, well knowing if they waited
to take him with them, it would be death to them, and that he could
never escape from his girdle of sand, if left alive.

The other horses soon began to show sufficient activity to warrant
their travelling, and again they rode on. That day they had sufficient
to last them, but they could not make it hold out longer unless they
put themselves on short allowance. Halting at noon, where not a ray of
deliverance shone upon them any more than their first day out, they
concluded to kill the three spare horses in order to save the water and
grass for the rest. Selecting the three that exhibited the greatest
signs of lassitude, they killed them. Confident now of holding on their
course another day, they took their luggage on the horses they rode,
and again set out. A copious shower of rain fell before night which was
a great relief, as it refreshed their heated bodies as well as their
horses, and cooled the temperature of the sand, from which they had
been greatly annoyed by its scattering, and sometimes almost blinding
their eyes, causing them to become inflamed and exceeding painful. That
night also rain fell; but making a covering of the skins they used for
saddles, they managed to get a few hours' sleep, and as it served to
refresh them and the horses, and knowing that rain in the desert is of
rare occurrence, they felt as if it was truly providential. They also
found their horses in the morning in better condition than they had
expected, and with a faint hope that they might reach a forest that
day, they set out expecting that, in all probability, they were near
land well moistened, and the showers they had received had been only
the extension of a larger one that had passed over a tract of country
supplying moisture for plenteous evaporation. This they knew the desert
could never do, and it caused their spirits to elate with hope. In a
few hours more a small speck was seen circling in the air. "A bird! a
bird!" cried the chief, pointing at the object. Howe's quick eye caught
the sight of it, when it disappeared, and was lost in the distance.

"Thank Heaven," cried Jane, fervently; "we shall be saved at last!" and
tears of joy filled eyes that trials could not dim.

"Yes, we are near a forest," said the chief; "the dark hour is passing;
may the day in its brightness repay us for its darkness."

"Amen to that!" said Sidney; "and may the day bring no evil worse than
the night."

"What can be worse," indignantly asked Edward, "than the terrible days
we have spent on these burning sands."

"Do not repine, Edward," said Jane, gently "Those bleaching bones we
passed indicate that others have fared worse than we have', for _we_
still live."

"They were nothing but Indians, and they get used to such things," said

"Does the young brave think the Indians cannot feel?" asked the chief,
reproachfully. "He will not repine at his lot, because red blood flows
in his veins, and he scorns to be a coward. Those that wail most feel
the least; they throw their griefs to the winds; but the Indian is too
proud to be pitied, and hides the grief in his heart, singing his
war-song to cover its workings."

"You make heroes of your people, chief," said Sidney, touched by the
deep tone of feeling with which these words were uttered.

"We are warriors and braves," returned the chief.

About noon the waving tops of trees became visible, strangely
intermixed with bold outlines which they found on a nearer approach to
be rocks. This time the trees proved to be real; and as they
approached, the forest grew more clearly defined, and towards night to
their inexpressible joy, they came to patches on which were found
sparse and stunted vegetation. Halting, they used their last water for
themselves and horses, consumed their last provisions, and lay down to
rest, until daylight should enable them to explore the place around
them. Alas! when the rising sun lit up the scenery around them, they
saw that they had not gained the main land, but had come to an oasis of
about three miles in circumference, much of which was quite barren, and
the rest covered with coarse grass, large beds of slate rock, with here
and there a huge boulder, and the whole intermixed with scattered trees
that looked as if they had struggled hard to maintain existence. The
whole tribe of cactæ was here represented, stretching its long
snake-like arms over the rocky place, giving it a peculiarly ugly
appearance. Fortunately, a few shrubs grew scattered over the oasis, on
which their horses might feed, and turning them loose to glean where
they could find anything, being well assured they would not of their
own accord, enter the desert, they dispersed in search of water and
something to satisfy their own hunger. For, having been on short
allowance the day before, they did not relish the idea of fasting any
length of time.

Edward and Jane took a course to the right, while the rest separately
took courses in different directions, with the understanding that they
were to communicate with each other by hallooing, if they found either
water, roots, or game. The children's course at first was over a pebbly
bed, which terminated in a disjointed mass of sandstone, which towered
up to a considerable height, and was one of the objects that had
attracted their attention from the desert. Ascending to the top of this
with much difficulty, a vision of loveliness met their sight--a vision
which gladdened the hearts of the half famished children. A vale lay
before them shaded by luxuriant foliage, and covered with a green
sward, in the centre of which, a lake spreading over about three acres
of ground slept in tranquil beauty, its waters dotted with numerous
water fowl of brilliant plumage.

They stood for some time silently contemplating the scene before them;
their hearts were too full for words, and a feeling of gratefulness
that they had been led thither, made them forget for the time all they
had suffered.

"Shout, Edward, and call them to us," said Jane, as the trance-like
feeling that first seized her, wore away.

The hallo of Edward rung out on the clear air, answered the next moment
by another, and then another, until all had been apprized of their
discovery. Guided by Edward's voice, they all arrived on the ledge of
rocks in half an hour, and as they, in turn, looked down on the scene
below, they were almost overcome with joy, at the sight of the
deliverance at hand. They soon descended the rocky ledge, which they
found exceedingly hazardous, as the pebbles gave way under their feet,
often precipitating them on the sharp stones below. They heeded not
their difficulties, for the vale lay invitingly before them, and with
their eyes on that, they finally reached the bottom in safety, and
entered the welcome shade. They found the soil was rich and productive,
teeming with vegetation, and the woods filled with fowl. No signs of
other game were around, but they saw the lake was filled with fine
fish, which were so tame that they swam close to the water's edge.

"Build a fire; we all want breakfast," cried the chief, exultingly, as,
with stick in hand, he waded out a few feet, striking right and left
among the finny tribes. In a few minutes a number of large fish,
stunned by the blows, turned over on their sides, and floated on the
surface, when they were caught up by the chief, and thrown on the
shore. A plentiful repast was soon ready, and having satisfied their
hunger, they turned their thoughts to their future.

"We will encamp here," said the trapper, "until we shall have recruited
ourselves and horses. Our luggage, though it is so scanty, is of
incalculable value to us, and must be brought thither also."

"How the poor horses will relish this tender grass and cool water?"
said Jane.

"I am going for them," said the chief. "Let one of the young braves go
with me, and all may be brought at once." Sidney and the chief set out
on their way, following the base of the ledge of rocks in order to get
around it, when they met the horses making their way towards them at a
rapid gait. The instinct of the wild prairie horse had caused them to
scent the water, for which they were making by the nearest route. Poor
things! they were worn almost to skeletons, lamed and crippled, and
were pitiable sights to look upon.

Building themselves a hut to shield them from rain and dew, they made
preparations to remain a number of days before they again ventured on
the dreary desert. They supposed by the large quantities of fowl, that
they were at no great distance from main land; but as this was mere
conjecture, they dared not rely upon it. Past experience, dearly
purchased, warned them to presume on nothing, and that their own
boasted woodcraft was of little avail, under difficulties like those in
which they were now placed.

For the three first days of their sojourn at that place they were so
fatigued and debilitated that they were content to keep quiet by the
lake, the delightful repose which they enjoyed so intensely, after the
harassing terrors of the desert, strengthened the spirits of the
wanderers as well as their bodies.

The fifth and sixth days they began to explore farther around the
place, and the seventh they had become quite strengthened, so magically
had the pure water and an abundance of fish and fowl, together with the
numerous roots which they found, acted upon them. They found this lake
had no streams entering or running from it, and that no motion stirred
its placid bosom save a singular circular one that never changed from
the slow monotony of its course.

In one of their rambles they had noticed a singular opening in the
rocks that formed the ridge; but something else attracting their
attention at the moment, they had passed it by without a close
inspection of it. A week afterwards they chanced to be in its vicinity,
and they at once resolved to explore the cavern, for such the opening
they had no doubt would lead them to. Providing themselves with
torches, they ventured in, the chief leading the way. The opening was
about eight feet high and three broad, resembling a doorway; and
holding their torches close to the edge they found it had been actually
cut, as distinct traces of where the rock had been broken off were
still visible. Passing over the rubbish that had accumulated at the
mouth, they came to a solid rocky floor quite smooth as if worn so by
constant friction. For about fifty feet the passage had a uniform
appearance, the sides and roof looking as if recently cut by a mason's
hand. The passage suddenly terminated, and they found themselves in a
place about six feet wide, and running parallel to the ledge. How long
it was they could not see, as it extended in two directions. Taking the
one leading to the right they had gone but a few feet when a peculiar
glittering in the opposite side of the cave arrested their attention,
which on close inspection they pronounced to be particles of gold mixed
with the rock. They found, as they proceeded, that they were ascending
gradually, and that the passage was of a uniform height; and, as the
particles of gold were plainly visible imbedded in the rock, they came
to the conclusion that they had come to an ancient gold mine, and the
tunnel had indeed been cut by human skill.

They soon came to the terminus of this part, and when they returned
they resolved to explore the cavern at the left, being very anxious to
do so. The chief, however, dissented, for he had been troubled from the
moment they had discovered the particles of gold. At first he
peremptorily refused to go with them until he found they were resolved
to go even if he remained behind. Then yielding a reluctant consent he
took his torch and led the way. This passage was precisely similar to
the other, with the exception that it descended gradually while the
other ascended. Here too the particles of gold were discovered
glittering in the rock that formed one of the sides of the passage;
and, as none of the precious ore was visible on the roof or other side,
they supposed a vein had run through the rock in a dip formed by an
upheaval of the rock, and which having been discovered by some unknown
persons, the ledge had been tunneled and the ore taken from its hidden

Following the tunnel a short distance, they came to a single step,
about two feet high, which descending, they found others at regular
intervals of about ten feet apart, until they had counted fifty of
them. The sides along which the vein ran bore indications of having
yielded vast quantities of ore, with still enough to repay the labor of
crushing the quartz in which it was imbedded, and extracting the gold.
The steps now terminated, and the passage branched in two directions at
right angles with each other. In one of the branches they found the
continuation of the vein of precious ore, and followed it up. Instead
of its descending, they found it perfectly level, the passage having
the same width and height as at its mouth for a considerable distance,
when it suddenly opened into a large room, which they found, by pacing
it, to be three hundred feet long, and two hundred and twenty wide, in
the longest and widest parts. Its shape was very singular, jutting out
here and there, and as the glare of the torches lighted up the gloom,
millions of particles from every crevice and jutting point of its
rugged sides, reflected back their light in flashing rays.

"The abode of evil spirits!" cried the chief, in great alarm, with more
agitation perhaps than he would have exhibited before a shower of darts
aimed at him, or than at the stake of an enemy. "Fly!" he continued,
"before it is too late! The anger of the Evil Spirit is fearful, when
aroused; fly! fly! and save yourselves," and, with a vice-like grasp,
he caught up Jane and bounded up the passage. Howe saw the movement,
but the chief had been so quick, that he had made half the distance of
the passage before he could overtake, and get ahead of him so as to
block up the passage.

"Put her down!" thundered the indignant trapper, with menacing gestures
to the chief.

Sitting her on her feet, he glanced first at the trapper who stood
before him with compressed lips and flashing eyes, then at the
terrified girl, from her around the cavern, as if he expected a demon
to pounce upon them at every moment.

"Chief! this is hardly what I should have expected from you!" said the
trapper, angrily.

The chief seemed stupefied, and stood gazing around him like one
suddenly demented.

"No violence shall be offered to Jane, while I live," continued the
trapper. "I am her guardian here."

"And after you, I, and her brother," said Sidney, defiantly.

"Don't be too hard on the chief," spoke up Edward. "He intended no
wrong, and, judging from his actions, I take it, he thought he was
doing her a great kindness by securing her from some imagined danger.
What say you, Jane? is the chief culpable or not?"

"He was frightened, I presume," returned the young girl, evasively.

"I am not a coward; yet, who is there that dare contend with invisible
spirits?" said the chief, in an humble tone. "This is an evil place,
and the evil spirits that have their abode here, have stirred up strife
among us already! Come, let us hurry away, else we shed each others'

"Take my hand, chief, and forgive my anger," said the trapper, kindly.
"I was wrong to deal so harshly with prejudices taught at your mother's
knee, and which are inherent with your very nature."

"That is right, uncle," said Edward. "Jane and I have long been under
the impression that it is no way to eradicate prejudice by becoming
angry with it. This," he added, addressing Sidney, "is quite as much
for your benefit as any one's."

"There, the evil spirit is at work again!" said Jane, as a cutting
retort fell from Sidney. "Come," she added, "I have not seen half
enough of that wonderful room; let us return and give it a thorough

"No, no," said the chief, in alarm, "do not go, we have seen too much

"I shall go, and so shall Jane," said Sidney, decidedly, "you can
return any moment you like; but your heathen prejudices shall never mar
our pleasure."

"Oh, yes, chief," said Edward, kindly, "we must explore the cavern. If
bad spirits preside there, they will not harm us; you need not go; we
shall think none the less of you for returning."

"We are desirous to give this cave a thorough exploration, and while
doing this, you get us some ducks for dinner," said the trapper. "We do
not desire you to accompany us since you have such a great repugnance
for doing so."

"Does the white chief think his brother is a coward, that he asks him
to desert him in the hour of danger? If you go and rouse their anger, I
go also to share your fate; though that be death!" So saying, the chief
caught up some broken rocks with which the floor was scattered in one
hand, and drawing his hunting knife in the other, cried out in a tone
of desperation, "lead on; I am prepared for them!"

This last act of the chief of arming with missile and knife to fight
invisible spirits was too much for Edward's risibility, and the
consequence was a shout of laughter in which they all joined save the
chief. The merry, mocking tones reverberated through the cavern,
swelling and gathering strength from a thousand echoes that threw back
the sound until it seemed as if a legion of demons were mocking them
from every crevice and niche of the passage. They were silent for the
moment, and glanced around them in terror. The superstition of the
savage had not been without its influence, although reason refused to
acknowledge it.

"You are not frightened at an echo, are you? why I believe you are all
cowards, scared out of your wits at your shadows!" said Howe, in a
subdued voice; for, in truth, he did not care himself to awaken the
echoes needlessly.

Entering the room they had left so unceremoniously, they found the vein
of ore had probably once covered the whole area and had been about
seven feet thick, as the vein of pure ore commencing about two feet
from the bottom of the cavern extended that height and then it was
mixed with quartz rock three feet further up. The whole cavern was
about eighteen feet high, and had the appearance of being entirely
artificial. The children could not repress a cry of astonishment as
they comprehended the vastness of the hidden treasures before them--a
treasure sufficient to enrich kingdoms. It might, for aught they knew,
cover miles in extent around of the same thickness; certainly what was
visible was unparalleled for purity and extent by any that had ever
been discovered. Heaps of quartz rock, in which particles of gold
glittered, strewed the bottom of the cavern as if they had been blocked
out and cast aside in digging the purer metal. Among these were found a
number of chisels made of a metal which, by reason of its being so
corroded, they could not make out. Mallets of stone were also found,
looking as if but lately used. These instruments had cheated time of
its prey, and lay there in their pristine distinctness a link binding
the past with the future. They also found an instrument which was
something like our pick-axe, and had evidently been used in dislodging
the treasure from its bed.

"The relics of the lost people whom the Great Spirit destroyed in his
anger!" said the chief.

"Rather say, the treasure-house where the natives obtained their
treasure before our people came to this continent, and for which
misguided Europeans put thousands to death for not revealing the
locality where the golden deposit lay!" said Howe.

While carelessly tumbling over the masses of rock that lay scattered
over the floor, they came to a circular helmet of copper, similar to
the one they had previously found; and by its side a javelin resembling
that found sticking in the petrified body in the cavern through which
they escaped from the cannibals. Stimulated by these discoveries they
began to search with earnestness and were soon rewarded by the
discovery of a quantity of bones, some of them still quite perfect,
sufficiently so for them to ascertain that they were those of a man,
and that he had been of extraordinary size. Pushing their exertions
farther on they came across a massive urn of pure gold bearing the
appearance of having been cut out of a solid lump. The brim was
elaborately wrought, as were also the handles and the three feet on
which it rested, leaving a space running through the middle perfectly
plain with the exception of several beautifully carved hieroglyphics
that were placed with great regularity and precision around the centre.
The trapper took the urn in his hands, and after clearing it from dust
and mould held it close to the torches and examined the hieroglyphics
long and minutely and laying it down, said--

"Could we tell the meaning of these characters we should have more
light to illuminate the gloom that enshrouds the history of a nation
that once held this continent and enriched their coffers from this
cavern. This urn has been the work of the ancestors of the old man of
Lake Superior. The characters on it are identical with those he showed
me, and may the day be not far distant when we may be enabled to read
these records of the past."

"How beautiful!" they all remarked, as this discovery came to light,
with the exception of the chief, who sullenly stood apart regarding the
discoverers with unmistakable disapproval.

"This must be ours," said Sidney; "if we should ever find our way home
it would be a great curiosity sufficient to repay us for some of the
suffering we have endured."

"Oh, yes; this is too beautiful to leave here any longer," said Jane.
"We can wrap it in grass and furs and carry it on the horses very

"I agree with you in this," said Howe, "and think it would be a
sacrifice of the beautiful to leave such a mark of civilization in this
lonely spot."

"My brother forgets himself, as he will sacrifice the lives of the
children of the great Medicine for a paltry love of a glittering
bauble," said the chief, sadly.

"We must have our way this once, chief," said Howe, good humoredly,
"but promise you faithfully whatever else we may find may remain."

"That you may safely promise, for nothing more rich and beautiful could
be found," said Jane.

"Unless we find another chair of state set with star stones, as the
chief calls them, but which I believe are veritable diamonds," said

On further examination numerous pieces of pottery were found, and also
more bones, javelins and helmets, but nothing different from what they
had seen. Leaving this vast treasure-house, they retraced their steps
to the place where the other avenue branched off, and there depositing
their treasures, prepared to explore this part of the cavern. This
passage they found grew wider as they advanced about a hundred feet,
when it enlarged into a lofty, spacious room remarkable for nothing
except being of an extraordinary size, and faintly lighted by an
opening in the top which permitted a few rays of light to penetrate and
soften the gloom below. This part of the cavern was evidently a natural
freak of nature, for they found no traces of hewn rock or precious ore.
From the opposite side of the cavern they found a low opening which, on
entering, they gradually descended winding round in a curve, the
passage enlarging a little until two could pass abreast without
stooping. Following this a distance of nearly two hundred feet they
were astonished to hear the roar of water which sounded like the
breaking of surf against rocks. The sound grew louder and louder as
they advanced, until its roar filled the cavern with stunning echoes
reverberating along its hidden passages. The cavern now became more
lofty and wider, the sides more rugged, and at last it terminated on
the brink of a stream which boiled and lashed its rock-girt sides with
its troubled waters. To attempt to penetrate further would have been
dangerous, and they retraced their steps. They concluded that they had
found a connexion with the lake above, which was some reward for
exploring that part of the cavern.

Chapter Seventeenth.

Recovery, and continuation of their journey. A joyous prospect. They
discover a Lake. It changes to gloom. Discovered and followed by
Indians. They finally escape, though compelled to leave their baggage,
&c.. They wander on, unconscious of their way. Discover a beautiful
valley, by which they encamp and rest themselves. Their journey
continued. They meet with friendly Indians, who offer them their
hospitality. The Indians give them cheering intelligence. They rest
with them a few days.

Six weeks had now elapsed, and they, with their horses, were fairly
recovered from the wearying effects of their journey over the desert,
and they were ready to launch once more on the unknown barren waste
before them. Large quantities of fish and fowl had been provided--some
by smoking, and others by drying--which, together with the fresh and
dried fruits and vegetables they had secured, they calculated would
last them five or six days. There were no animals of any kind,
consequently they had not such facilities for preparation of dried
meats as before; and being without any salt, it was both inconvenient
and difficult for them to preserve their provisions. Loading their
horses with what they had prepared, and with a supply of water and
grass, they set out on foot, for it would be impossible for the beasts
to carry them and the baggage, and they would be obliged to travel on
foot for two days at least, until the provisions were consumed
sufficiently to relieve the beasts of part of the weight. It was now
mid-summer: they knew that by the intense heat that poured its
scorching rays upon them so that they were obliged to halt before noon,
and entrench themselves behind a mass of rock they found, to protect
themselves from its burning rays. When the greatest heat of the day was
over, they again set out, and after an hour's travel, came in sight of
a dense forest, which they reached long before the sun had set. They
now laughed heartily at the idea of their sojourn on the oasis so long,
preparing with so much pains and anxiety for so short a journey.
Whithersoever they went they found the forest increasing in fertility,
and they knew by the extent of it this time, they had reached the main
land, and had really crossed an immense desert.

They were not all joyous feelings that agitated them that night; for on
every hand they saw traces of Indians, and should they prove to be
unknown, hostile tribes, they feared sad consequences. The night
passed, however, quietly enough; and when morning broke, they set out,
taking the precaution to move cautiously along, and though they often
came upon places where Indians had encamped to cook their meals, and
sometimes found the brands of fires still smoking, they had the good
fortune to travel three days without falling in with them. On the
fourth day, about noon, as they were turning the bend of a stream that
wound round a hill, they were suddenly confronted by a party of five
fierce looking savages, entirely naked, who seemed to be as much
surprised at the meeting as they were, for they stopped, glanced wildly
around them a moment, and then precipitately fled.

"Well, chief," said the trapper, "how do you like the looks of these

"They are a people I know nothing of, and this is the first time they
have ever seen a pale face."

"I fear we have not mended matters by crossing the desert," said Jane,
sadly. "The sight of Indians does not speak well for our speedy return
to the land of civilization."

"Let not the antelope be fearful. Strong hearts and hands are still
around her," said the chief.

"Which can avail but little against the hordes of savages that infest
these wilds," remarked Jane.

"What is that Jane? You were lecturing me awhile ago, about doing our
best,--courage, &c.--and leaving the rest for time to unravel," said
Edward, cheerily.

"I am glad you reminded me of it," said Jane, "for the old feeling of
despair was fast creeping into my heart."

"I do not see anything to fear," remarked Sidney, "evidently the
savages are afraid of us, and if they are not, so long as they run away
from us, we are surely safe enough."

"You do not know the treachery of the Indians who apparently infest
these regions," said Jane. "Perhaps they are cannibals, and it would
then be terrible to fall into their hands."

"The Indians are not naturally treacherous; but the wrongs they have
endured have perverted their nature, and they meet treachery by the
treachery they have learned while smarting under it," said the trapper.

"The white chief speaks like one of us," said Whirlwind, proudly. "We
have endured wrong and suffering, and been submissive; but, at last,
goaded to resistance, our lands were drenched with the blood of our
wives and children, because our warriors dared to strike a blow for
freedom. All this we have suffered, and must finally suffer extinction,
while the pale faces will thrive on the soil enriched by our blood, and
to future ages hold us up as a nation notorious for all the vices and
crimes ever known, even that of drunkenness, which the Indian never
knew until the white man came to our then peaceful shores."

"You are not all treacherous, even now," said the trapper, "and whether
the tribe is to which these belong is for the future to determine. One
thing is certain, we must keep out of their hands if possible, and to
do this, we had better ride on as fast as we can, and place as great a
distance between us and them as we can before dark; for, if they
interfere with us, it will be undertaken after we are encamped for the

Much to their relief, they were not molested, although they were kept
in constant excitement by seeing the Indians hanging on their trail,
keeping at a proper distance from them, halting when they halted, and
travelling when they travelled. This continued for several days, and
then the Indians entirely disappeared, greatly to the relief of our

For the last few days they had been travelling first in one direction
and then in another--alas! they knew not whither, perfectly bewildered.
They seemed to be disheartened in pursuing a regular course, and went
where their judgments dictated for the hour, perhaps retracing their
steps the next. One afternoon they came to a high, rolling part of the
forest, which terminated at the foot of a range of hills rearing their
heads in mural peaks, and on ascending them, they found that they
overlooked a beautiful plain below, in the centre of which a vast lake
stretched away over many miles, and lay nestled in that wilderness like
a gem in a setting of emerald. This lake was studded with numerous
islands which were heavily timbered, and formed a beautiful scene.
Taking a circuitous route so as to reach the lake in safety, they
encamped on its banks as the last rays of the setting sun were
reflected in golden gushes from its placid bosom and nestling isles. As
they gazed on the enchanting scene before them, it seemed as if nature
had reserved all her beauties for this chosen spot, denying to the vast
desert they had traversed fertility enough to make it inhabitable.

On the opposite side of the lake arose precipitous ridges, varying in
height from five hundred to a thousand feet, covered with the
balsam-pine, whose dark stately green, formed a magnificent contrast
with the graceful foliage of the aspen, which bordered the lake. A
curious phenomenon here attracted their attention. Beneath the
transparent waters of the lake were distinctly visible, trees of
enormous proportions, standing erect, with the leaves and branches
entire, looking as though they had grown there, or been sunken in their
watery bed. Making themselves a raft of dry wood, they explored every
part of the lake, and found beneath them in the water the same
forest-like appearance, and they concluded that the lake had once been
unobstructed, and that there had been an immense land-slide which had
precipitated itself from the ridge over which they had entered the
valley into the lake; part of the wood drifting on the surface, had
formed itself into the little isles, while the rest had become
submerged, and still rested at a great depth beneath the waters that
closed placidly over its topmost branches.

Innumerable fowl filled the branches of the trees in these isles, while
countless numbers of them were sporting in the water, undisturbed by
the intrusion of our wanderers. Evidently they had never seen man
before, and had yet to learn he would prey on their numbers to sustain
life. Here they also found the salmon trout, grown to great size, so
large that one was enough for a supper for the whole party. There were
also great quantities of tender grass which, growing undisturbed in a
constant shade, was as tender, and which the horses cropped with as
much avidity, as the grasses of early spring, although now the
mid-summer, with scorching sun, was upon them.

Not a trace of a native was visible, and the whole valley, nestled
among the high ridges on every side, had probably never before echoed
to the voice of civilized man, or the soil pressed by his foot, for
ages on ages--at least, by any race now known. Perhaps, too, thousands
of years ago a race knew of its existence, when the world was young, if
that time ever was. For the world is always young to the young, but
when old age comes on, it becomes hoary to his heart also. The heart of
every man is his world. When it is young, joyous, and happy, the world
is seen through the emotions that hold his soul in rosy meshes, and it
is thus tinged to his sight with youth, love, hope, and a joy that
fills the heart with a fulness and ecstasy of happiness that leaves
nothing further to be desired. Let the rosy meshes fall, and hoary age,
or the long list of hours of a misspent life, hold up another scene, in
which despair contends with the waning hours, and sombre clouds obscure
the future! Then the world is always old, always sad, hard, and cold;
and man learns too late that the beauty and gracefulness of age can be
only with the heart that is still young, though it has seen long
years--and that, to enjoy life to the latest hour, the heart must still
be kept green.

As enchanting as this valley was, they dared not spend a day in it
longer than was necessary, and with reluctance they left it to launch
forth, they knew not where. Crossing over the ridge, they came to a
high table land, broad, and over which a fresh pure air constantly
circulated. This was lightly timbered, and they feared another desert
was before them. They were, however, relieved from this fear by coming
to a high range of hills, which, on crossing, they found a succession
of ridges, the first ridge having hid the summits of the others; as
they crossed one after another, they became more and more entangled
among them, and continued for two days wandering among shady dells, and
over rocky, craggy precipices, until they sat down at night exhausted,
with their flesh torn by the thorns and stones over which they had made
their way. For the last two days, they had been unable to ride, the
ground being so broken that they found it quite as much as their beasts
were able to do, to make their way along unburthened, and now they were
lame, their hoofs being much bruised, and the flesh around the hoofs
swollen. Selecting a narrow defile, the best spot for a camp they could
find, they turned their horses loose to graze, having no fear they
would run away, and then turned to provide for their own wants.

This was soon over, and then they lay down to rest. When the morning
broke, their horses had disappeared, and on examining the trail where
they went, they discovered they had been led away in Indian file,
having been stolen by savages. Here, now, was new trouble for them;
for, without doubt, the Indians would hang around, and attack them,
perhaps, the first moment it suited them, or that they could be sure of

"There was but a small party of them last night that stole the horses;
I am sure of that, and they will return with augmented numbers very
soon, or I shall be deceived," said the trapper.

"We can fight as well as they," said the chief; "so let them beware."

"Yes, we can do that; but we must get out of this spot. There is not an
uglier one in the whole continent to be attacked in," replied the

"How can we get away? our horses gone, and if here, would be as
helpless almost as we are, and ourselves so worn out that very little
life is left in us," said Jane, in a desponding tone.

"While there is life there is hope," said the trapper. "Do not give up
so, we have passed too many severe trials to despair at the loss of our

"Than which, a greater calamity could not have happened," said Sidney;
"but, as uncle says, we must get out of this place, for if we are
obliged to defend ourselves, we shall stand but little chance of doing
it effectually, hemmed in here."

"Look! look! and save yourselves; we are too late!" cried Edward,
pointing upward towards the top of the precipice that overhung the
defile, and from which, as they raised their eyes, they saw a dozen
savages on its verge, in the act of hurling a shower of rocks upon

The savages, seeing their whereabouts was discovered, set up an
unearthly yell, which was given back by the chief with one of defiance,
as he darted behind a tree, an act the rest had performed at the first
moment of alarm. The stones and arrows flew around them like hail, but
glancing against the large trunks of the trees behind which they were
entrenched, fell harmless at their feet. After keeping up this mode of
warfare upwards of an hour to no purpose, they held a council on the
cliff, and after a short debate dispersed again, but now about half of
the number began to let themselves down by catching hold of the
saplings that grew along the cliff, and bending them, held on to the
tops until they obtained a foothold several feet below, and then
repeating the operation until they were two-thirds down. The chief said
to Howe, "It will never do to let them among us--better pick them off
before they get down."

"So I think," returned the trapper; "you stop the swinging of the lower
one, and I will take the next."

Drawing their bows, two messengers of death hissed through the air,
propelled by strong, true hands, and the two lower savages fell to the
ground, striking on the very stones they had hurled down from the
summit, and were horribly crushed and mutilated. The rest seeing the
fate of their comrades, with a wild cry of alarm quickly swung
themselves up again, and the whole party precipitously fled. The
savages had evidently supposed they were unarmed, and on finding to the
contrary, had probably retired to take counsel how to more safely carry
their point.

"Now," said the chief, "is our time to save ourselves; for they are
exasperated at the loss of the two warriors, and will never rest
satisfied until they have destroyed us, if we remain within their

Starting down the ravine, for about a mile, they ascended a cleft-like
formation of the hills, which terminated at the base of an overhanging
precipitous ledge of rocks rising two hundred feet above them, with
rents occasionally along the line, extending from the top to the bottom
in yawning chasms, in one of which they hoped to shield themselves from
further pursuit. Ascending one of these chasms to the top of the ledge,
they saw the savages running to and fro along the valley in search of
them, having evidently lost the trail, much to their satisfaction, for
now they could gain on their pursuers.

Following up their present advantages, they descended the mountain on
the other side, and finding themselves at the foot of another less
lofty, ascended it also, from which they saw before them a beautiful
plain, level and well timbered, stretching away as far as the eye could
reach. It was now dark, and secreting themselves the best they could,
they spent the night supperless; for, alas! they had nothing to eat;
their whole stock of provisions, furs, gourds, kettle, and, indeed,
every article they had accumulated, being left behind them in their
flight from the savages. Very little game was to be found on the
mountains; but as day dawned, they struck out on the plain, hoping to
find abundance.

The sun had far advanced, and they had become faint and weary, when
they came to a stream which was filled with excellent fish, from which,
with some berries and roots, they made a plentiful repast. While
despatching this, deer came to the water to drink, and a fine doe was
shot by the trapper, much to their satisfaction. Cutting it up, they
shouldered it, and pursued their way. At nightfall they halted much
exhausted, and had the savages then found them, they would have fallen
an easy prey. But as they saw nothing of them they hoped they had
relinquished the pursuit.

The next and the next day, they found themselves too sore and lame to
move, and the third attempting to travel, they proceeded about three
miles, when they gave out, building a bough hut by a clear spring of
water, and resolved to stop until better fitted for travelling. No
traces of Indians were visible, and they now found their greatest foes
were beasts of prey, with which it seemed as if this part of the forest
was filled. They managed, however, to spend three weeks without
sustaining any serious injury from them, although they nightly prowled
around their camp.

The days now began to shorten perceptibly, and the nights to lengthen,
and the disagreeable truth forced itself upon them that the summer was
waning, and they were as far, for aught they knew, as ever, from
attaining the sole object of their lives,--their lost friends. Crossing
the plain which extended many miles, they came to another range of
hills which was so barren that they endeavored to avoid crossing it by
going around them, and with this object, followed them down two day's
journey, when they found the hills decreased to half their former
height, and assuming a more fertile appearance, so they started to go
over them. On arriving at the summit a scene of grandeur met their
vision, although it appalled the stoutest hearts. Before them,
stretching away in the distance and rising until its summit, capped
with snow, pierced the clouds, a range of mountains lay--a formidable
barrier over which they knew they ought not to go--and then came the
conviction that they had wandered to the foot of the great barrier that
separated the Pacific from the vast unexplored sandy desert, and the
snowy peaks that rose before them were those of the Sierra Nevada. Now
they were more certain of their whereabouts than they had been before;
for, though they had never seen the great Sierra, they had heard of it
often and knew the snows never left its summit, and to attempt to cross
it was a feat they had no disposition to undertake. They knew moreover,
that their friends were this side of the great Mountain, and that the
desert they had passed must consequently have been between them. Then
came the conviction that they had not wandered round the desert before
they had crossed it, as they supposed, but had been on the eastern side
instead of the western, and had from that moment been travelling
directly from home during the journey in which they had endured so
much, forced itself upon them. And yet, with the certainty of these
facts, they did not dare to turn back and retrace their steps, for to
do so in the bewildered and weakened state in which their minds and
bodies were, would be almost sure destruction, could they hope or
attempt to make their way through the territories of the savages that
they had so fortunately evaded in their journey thither.

Long they stood on the summit of that mountain, their position
commanding a view of the country for many miles around them,
overlooking everything but the great Sierra that lifted its hoary head
above them, as if commanding them to retreat. Awe and terror held them
in breathless silence for a while, when a half sob was heard, and Jane
pressed her hand tightly over her mouth to restrain the emotion which,
in her weakened state, she could not control. Seeing her distress, the
chief took her gently by the arm, and led the way down the mountain,
until they came to a spring, where they stopped, kindled a fire, cooked
their supper, and as the night air bid fair to be very cold before
morning, built a temporary shelter of boughs. With a large fire burning
to frighten beasts and dispel the damp air, they laid down to sleep.

Refreshed the next morning, they were better fitted to calmly reflect
on their condition than the night before; still they were unable to
form any decided course to pursue further than to remain through that
day near their present encampment. After breakfasting, they descended
to the valley, and there, to their surprise, found an encampment of
Indians. Frightened, they turned to ascend the mountain, when the
Indians came running towards them making unmistaken signs of

"They are friendly tribes, thank Heaven! for it betokens assistance
when we least expected it," said Howe, joyfully, as he advanced to meet

"You had better be careful, uncle, and not get in their power, as they
may prove treacherous," cried Jane.

The chief turned with a sorrowful look to her, and said,

"The pale faced maiden has no faith in the words of her darker skinned
brothers. Is it because they have wronged her people more than they
have suffered wrong; or because they dared in their manhood to defend,
to the last moment, the houses of their wives and children, and the
graves of their kindred?"

"No, no; not that, chief," said Jane, earnestly. "Why let such thoughts
forever disturb you? Some cannot be trusted, and these may be of the
number, for that reason I bade uncle be cautious. You, we never
suspected, and you wrong us in being so sensitive on this subject."

"It would be a fearful thing," returned the chief, "to see your race
and kindred blotted from existence, to see their homes and pleasant
places occupied by those who may be the cause of their extinction, and
to know when the last of the race shall have departed, their name will
be held synonymous with treachery and cruelty to futurity! Maiden!
maiden!" added he, with a wild look, distorting his dark features, "may
you never experience the torture of this feeling, nor the agony that
hourly and yearly is mine."

"Think you, chief, the sorrow you feel for the extinction of your
people is greater than that the people felt whom you extinguished in
ages gone by, and whose existence can be traced only by the works of
art they left behind them, which alone have survived, and still defy
ages to come?"

"Listen to me, girl; for I speak from the promptings of the _Great
Spirit_. The day may come when no longer our lands shall be yours, for
another race may arise and avenge my people by the extinction of your
own. You will be spared the torture of seeing it, as I do the struggles
of my people. Nevertheless, the day will come when this shall be." So
saying, with a hasty step and defiant brow, he turned from her, and
joined the group of Indians who were conversing with Howe, Sidney, and

These Indians had evidently seen white men, or heard of them before;
but could not speak a word of English, or any dialect the wanderers
understood. They were, however, very communicative, and by signs and
lines drawn on pieces of bark, gave them to understand that two moons'
journey down the mountains was a pass over them, and on the other side
there were plenty of people like themselves. But as it was now getting
late in the season, they had better defer their journey until spring
came again. At the same time they offered to take them in their
village, and provide for them until they could depart in safety. They
would not listen to this proposition, but accepted with eagerness their
hospitality for a few days, in order to have an opportunity of making
further inquiries as to the route and locality of the country they
would have to pass through.

Chapter Eighteenth.

Thirty persons in the village. Their stay with the Indians. They
proceed on their journey. Jane bitten by a rattlesnake. Taken back to
the village. Frightful effects of the poison. It causes a violent fever
to set in. Fatal consequences apprehended. She becomes delirious. The
chief's unremitting exertions to counteract the disease. It slowly
abated and Jane finally recovers. A war party returns having two white
prisoners. Fears entertained of their safety. Minawanda assists them to
escape by a sound indicating that of a whippoorwill. The white men also
accompany them as guides. Their joy at their anticipated deliverance
from the wilds of the forests. Miscellaneous conversation. They proceed
on their flight unmolested.

There were about thirty persons in the lodges, the rest of the Indians,
with their women and children, having gone out on one of their yearly
hunting expeditions, as well for the excitement as for the supplies
which they gather from them. These few were left to look after the
village in the absence of the rest, and were principally those who were
too old or ill to travel and hunt. After remaining a few days to
prepare themselves, they set out, persuading an old Indian to accompany
them as a guide two days' journey, in order to get them once more
started in the right direction. They had no hope of returning directly
to their friends. In fact, they knew that would be an impossibility to
do by crossing the Sierra, and their object at that time was to find a
settlement where they might know their whereabouts, and in what
direction to go in order to return. The old Indian was positive there
were people like themselves over the mountain of snow, and knowing they
must have wandered a great way to come to it, they determined to make
the most direct route to the nearest European habitation; for they had
wandered so long that their friends had become a secondary object with
them. Their first thoughts were to free themselves from the
interminable forest, and sustain life.

About mid-day, as they were making their way among a thick growth of
brush, a quick rattle was heard, which they all recognized as the
warning of a deadly snake; but before they could save themselves, it
had struck its poisonous fangs deep into the fleshy part of Jane's
right foot.

Howe saw the snake bite her, and was at her side in a moment, and with
a heavy club killed the terrible reptile on the spot. He then proceeded
to bind the limb to prevent a free circulation of the blood, which in a
few minutes would have conveyed the poison to the heart, and proved
fatal. In the meantime, the chief and Sidney had been gathering an
herb, which they bruised between two flat stones and poured over the
wound, and put a few drops of the juice in her mouth.

She soon began to suffer excruciating pain, the limb swelling rapidly
and turning a livid hue, while the bruised herbs which were bound over
the wound every few minutes had to be exchanged for fresh ones, so
rapidly did the poison act upon them.

"I feel it here!" said the poor girl, laying her hand on her heart; "it
chokes, it suffocates me! Oh, it is terrible to die here! can you do
nothing more? can nothing save me?" she added, turning her eyes
inquiringly from one to the other of the group around her.

"We will do our best," said Sidney, "but that is very little," he added

"Be brave, my poor child and never say _die_ while there is life. As
yet I see nothing to fear. The Indian's remedy is doing its work; we
see that by the poison it extracts," said Howe, at the same time
turning aside to hide the emotion that was welling up from his heart.

"The antelope shall not die," said the chief, "there is another remedy
if the plant can be found," and with these words he hastened away into
the forest. Her breathing now became more labored, her eye grew glassy,
and languor began to pervade her whole frame. With breathless anxiety
they awaited the return of the chief; for, if even successful in
finding what he was in search of, he might be too late, as already life
was waning; and as they knelt around her in speechless agony, and saw
the distorted features and glassy eye, they knew that unless some
active and powerful stimulant could be procured immediately she would
be dead.

After twenty minutes' absence, though it seemed to them to be an hour,
the chief returned with his hands filled with roots freshly torn from
their bed, and laying them between two flat stones crushed them. Then
pressing the juice into a drinking cup they had procured at the Indian
village, held it to her lips. She made a motion as if she would drink,
but her limbs were powerless, her teeth set, and every muscle rigid.
With a low moan she closed her glassy eye, and hope then even fled from
her heart. Not so the chief; prying open her teeth with the aid of his
hunting-knife, he poured the extract down her throat, and then with a
solution of it mixed in water, washed the wound, binding over it the
bruised roots from which he had extracted the antidote. He then
procured more of the same roots,[11] extracted the juice and repeated
the process, continuing his efforts for half an hour, when she slowly
opened her eyes, looked around, and whispered faintly, "I shall not die
now, uncle. I breathe easier," then closed her eyes again with a sweet
smile playing around her lips.

      [11] Rattlesnake root--Botanical, _Polygala senega_--being an
      active stimulant, will counteract the bite of this most poisonous
      of reptiles.

Still the chief did not for a moment relax his exertions; he knew too
well the subtlety of the poison of the rattlesnake, but while the rest
were active in building a soft couch of boughs and leaves on which to
lay her, he continued extracting the antidote with as much energy as at
the first moment.

Her skin now began to assume a more natural hue; the eye lost its
glassiness, and she could articulate with ease. An hour afterwards the
swelling began to subside, and the danger was past. The chief had again
saved her life.

He said not a word in exultation of his success, but it gleamed from
his dark eyes, flushed his swarthy cheek, and swelled his brawny chest.
Never strode he with loftier step or more regal carriage--a very
impersonation of barbarian royalty. His superior knowledge in many
emergencies into which they were brought in their primitive mode of
life, his coolness, courage and energy under the trying circumstances
that often occurred, commanded their voluntary reverence for the
untaught, uncivilized Indian chief. The day and night wore away, and
when they had hoped to resume their journey they found that a fever had
succeeded the prostration produced by the poison, and she was too ill
to travel. Dismayed at this new calamity, they were at a loss for
awhile how to proceed. Their guide settled the point for them by
insisting that the sick girl should be conveyed on a litter back to the
village, where she could have a better shelter, and where her wants
could be better supplied than in that lonely spot.

This they gladly acceded to, and when the sun again set she lay tossing
in feverish delirium on a couch of skins within the tent of Minawanda
their benevolent guide.

Cooling drinks were given her, and her throbbing, burning temples laved
with cold water, fresh from the fountain. This soothed the pain, but it
did not arrest the raging fever that burned in her veins, wasting her
strength, and reducing her to a state as helpless as that of infancy.

The women in the village were untiring in their exertions to alleviate
her suffering, and although they rendered her condition comparatively
comfortable, yet the fever grew higher and stronger each day, until she
became deprived of both reason and strength. The chief stood by the
door of her lodge day and night, apparently without observing anything
that was passing around him, and with the one feeling filling his
entire soul--that of the antelope lying at the point of death, and he
could do nothing to save her. Sidney was more active, and never left
her couch, save to procure something for her. He, with Edward by her
side, caressed her in her wild ravings until the excitement passed, and
she was again calm. Then they would renew their exertions to assuage
the fever, and cool the brain by laving it with water. It was all the
remedy they had, and they used this freely. The ninth day of her
illness the fever suddenly died away, and closing her eyes she slept as
peacefully as the sleep of infancy for half an hour, when her breathing
grew shorter, her chest heaved laboriously, and she unclosed her eyes,
from which the light of reason once more shone. She whispered faintly,
"Edward, come nearer; where are the rest of you? I feel so strangely!
is this death?"

"We are here--all here!" cried Sidney, with a broken voice; "and you
know us now, do you not, sister?"

"Yes, I know you now; but I feel so weak, and so strangely! have I been
sick long? I remember now," she added, "the snake bit me, and I am
poisoned, and shall die!"

"No, oh! no, you will not," said Howe, in his cheering tones; "you will
not do any such thing. You are a brave girl, and will live many a long
year yet. Here is a good draught for you, take it and keep quiet, and
you will be well in a few days," he added, as he presented her some
whey he had made from goats' milk and ripe grapes. Then ordering every
one from the lodge, he shut out the light, and stationing himself by
her side, bade her sleep, taking the precaution to arouse her every few
minutes to administer to her the whey. She slept at intervals till
sunset, when she again awakened perfectly conscious, and declared she
felt much better. She now improved rapidly, and in a week's time was
enabled to walk with assistance in the open air. Her appetite returned
which, together with the pure air, caused her rapidly to improve, and
regain her strength again; but they were at a loss in what manner to
prosecute their fatiguing journey with her. To set out on foot was out
of the question, as she would probably give out the first day, and to
be carried on a litter she would not consent to, as she rightly argued
it was as much as one was able to do to get himself along, without
carrying a burthen.

There was not a horse or a mule in the village, although the Indians
insisted that the hunting parties that had gone out had some with them,
and if they would await their return, they could obtain one for her.
While hesitating what course to pursue, shouts of the returning party
were heard from the summit of the hill, and were recognized as those
that betokened a great victory. The answer was taken up by every
inhabitant of the village, and echoed back in full chorus.

In half an hour, the Indians, in admirable confusion, came galloping
into the village, decorated in all the savage panoply of war; their
grotesque features made still more repulsive and hideous by the paint
with which they were besmeared. This, together with the shouts of the
women, and wild yells of the children, constituted a more vivid picture
of pandemonium than anything earthly.

One group of the returning party seemed to concentrate the curiosity of
the Indians in the village more than another, and going thither they
saw with surprise two white men confined as prisoners, their hands
bound behind them with leather thongs. They looked almost worn out with
fatigue and anxiety. Apprehensive for their own safety, they retreated
to the lodge of their guide, and there learned that these two men had
been captured three hundred miles south, and that they belonged to an
overland emigrant party, who, in a battle with the Indians, had all
been killed, with the exception of the two, and these, with the oxen,
horses, and baggage, had fallen into the hands of the savages, and were
conveyed to their village.

"This does not look well for our own safety," said Sidney.

"Not an arm will be raised against the pale faces who have eaten and
smoked beneath the lodge of Minawanda," said the guide, solemnly.

"Perhaps not, with your consent," retorted Sidney, "but they may not
think it worth while to ask it."

"The rights of hospitality are sacred with my people; let not the young
man fear; no harm will come to him," said the guide, indignantly.

"One thing is certain, a light is breaking on our path. We have found
some of our own race, though under unfavorable circumstances. Yet we
may learn from them how to find our homes," said the trapper,

"If we get a chance to speak to them," said the chief, pointing
significantly towards a lodge whence rose the wail of despair for a
warrior who had gone out in the pride of manhood and returned not.
"They will be avenged for the warriors who fell in the fight with the
whites," he added, "and though they will respect us while guests of
Minawanda, they will hem us round so we cannot escape, at last falling
into their hands, if the blood of the two prisoners do not satisfy the
bereaved friends of their lost warriors."

"We must deceive them some way and slip away privately," said the
trapper, in a subdued voice as the guide left the lodge, and wended his
way over to the lodges whence proceeded the mournful sounds.

"Let us fly from here, now we are alone and free," said Jane,
nervously. "The deepest recess of the forest is preferable to staying

"We cannot do that; we should be discovered, brought back, and strictly
guarded, and thus be frustrated in all our chances of escaping. No, no;
we want some of their horses to give us a start, besides several hours
of the night to cover our retreat," said the chief.

"Besides this," said the trapper, "it is hardly a Christian act to
leave these two men to perish by the hands of the savages. I do not
think they will offer us any harm, and we may not only effect their
escape peacefully, but induce the Indians to carry us to the nearest
settlement with their horses. We must keep a strict and vigilant watch,
and see which way things turn, and act accordingly."

The day passed and the sun had set, yet Minawanda had not returned to
his lodge, from which the wanderers had not ventured for fear of
further exasperating the Indians. This occurrence troubled them, and in
truth looked ominous, as it had never occurred before, and with great
impatience they watched for his coming. Still, hour after hour passed,
and he came not, and with forebodings of evil, they proposed that one
of them should reconnoitre the village under the cover of darkness to
discover what was brewing among them. The chief volunteered his
services, as possessing a subtlety which was unequalled, and with his
noiseless tread, he went silently forth; but, before he had gone twenty
yards from the door a hand was laid on his shoulder, and the voice of
the guide whispered in his ear, "return to the lodge! your life depends
upon it. I will be there in an hour!"

The chief stood irresolute a moment, then as silently returned to the
lodge and related the circumstance, and asked the advice of the rest
whether he had better wait or proceed.

"I think Minawanda is our friend, and we had better do his bidding,"
said the trapper.

Silently they remained a few moments, when the sound of a light step
fell on their ear, and the _Fawn_, a child of twelve years, and a
daughter of the guide stepped within the lodge, and with a startled
look stood irresolute for a moment, then going up to Jane, nestled
close to her side fixing her dark starry eyes on hers with a bewildered

"What would you with me?" inquired the young girl, as she endeavored to
reassure her.

"My father can no longer protect the white strangers," she replied,
"but he can save them if they will place themselves under his

"What says the young squaw?" asked the chief, whose acute ear had
caught the low tones of the child.

Jane repeated what the fawn had said, when the trapper placed himself
by her side and demanded what they were to do.

"I do not know, except that, when the Whippoorwill is heard behind the
lodge, you are all to go out silently, and as the cry is heard, you are
to follow the sound until you meet others who will be in waiting for

"To lead us to the stake!" said the chief. "Is my brother mad, that he
listens to this chattering, and will he run into the snare laid to
entrap him?"

"Really, chief, you see through the treachery of these savages better
than any one else, and do credit to your education," said Sidney.

"We will not go to them to be murdered in the dark," said Edward. "If
they want anything of us, here we are, and here we will be until

"It will then be too late," said the fawn, sadly. "My father bade me
say the two pale faced prisoners would be there, and when day broke,
and it was found they had escaped, my people could not be restrained,
but would sacrifice you in their stead. He would have come himself to
tell you this, but feared to be from the council that has been held,
for fear of suspicion, as it is known to all the returned hunters that
you are in his lodge."

"I do not believe that Minawanda meditates treachery," said Howe. "If
he wanted to give us up, why take the precaution? He knows we are in
his lodge, and he could lead his warriors to take us any moment, if
that was his object. I think he is sincere, and, for one, am willing to
place myself in his hands."

"I, too, am willing to trust him," said Jane. "We cannot make matters
worse, and it may be the means of our return to our friends. The sight
of others inspires hope, and if we could get away with them, they could
probably lead us out of the forest."

Their conversation was here cut short by the clear shrill notes of the
Whippoorwill, close behind the lodge.

"There it is," cried the fawn, bounding to her feet. "Go! go! do not
hesitate, or you will be lost!"

"Come," said the trapper, taking Jane by the hand; "I feel assured
there is truth in that child's face. Let us hasten on."

"If you go, I do," said Edward; "I can stand as much, and more than you

"And I," said Sidney.

"If the antelope goes, I will go to defend her," said the chief,
following, as the trapper, with Jane, moved away in the darkness, in
the direction whence the sound had come. Hurrying into the thick forest
that skirted the back of the lodge, they were at a loss which direction
to take, when again some distance ahead the shrill cry burst on their
ears, and they noiselessly and rapidly advanced as near as they could
imagine a quarter of a mile, when it was again heard ahead of them.
Still following, they travelled about the same distance again, when the
hand of Minawanda was laid on Howe's arm, as he said--"Stand still a
moment!--I will apprise the others of your presence!" and disappearing
in the darkness, they heard him talking low, but rapidly, for a few
moments; then he once more stood before them, and bidding them follow,
led them on a short distance where, by the faint glimmer of starlight,
they saw men and a number of horses standing. "Mount!" said Minawanda;
"there are horses for all. Here is the best one for the young squaw;"
so saying, he lifted Jane from the ground, and seated her firmly on her
horse's back--and placing the bridle in her hand, turned to assist the
rest; but they had all mounted, and were waiting directions which way
to proceed. Up to this moment they had not heard the voices nor seen
the forms of those who were to accompany them, save by the dusky
outlines which did not even reveal the number, and so quiet and rapidly
had the whole transpired, that they had no time to think of anything.

"Guides! move on!" said Minawanda; "follow, brothers, they will lead
you to your own people--and when there, forget not that a generous,
disinterested deed may be performed by an Indian, although he risks
life in so doing." So saying, he shook hands with them all in rapid
succession, and darting away, they were alone with the guides, whom
they saw were two in number, and mounted like themselves.

"Well, Jones," one of them said, in a very subdued tone, "if this is
not one of the queerest pieces of work I ever saw, then call me an

"Never mind, Cole," the other answered, "push ahead as fast as you can,
or the Indians will broil us yet. We must get a good start to cheat the
rascally red-skins."

"Hush about the broiling, you make me nervous. How about our company?
All there?" again sung out the one called by his companion, Jones.

"Here! all right; five of us, following we do not know who, nor where
he will lead us to," said Howe, in a merry tone.

"Don't know? Well, perhaps you never heard of Jones, son of old Major
Jones, away down in old Connecticut. That is me, and I guess you will
not be sorry you are following me, especially as Cole says, we were all
to be broiled in a heap by those red skins."

"That I shall not, and right glad I am of your services to help us out
of as deep an entanglement as I think ever a set of Christians got
into," said the trapper.

"Well, I do not know, but I guess we will cheat them; the moon will be
up soon, and then we can ride faster," replied Jones.

"Are you sure of the way you have to go?" asked Sidney, who was still
nervous about getting bewildered in the forest.

"I guess I am," replied Jones. "Did I not come over it this morning?"

"Yes, but you might miss your way," returned Sidney.

"Might miss! Why young man, where was you educated, to learn the
possibility of doing such a thing? There is no such word as failing to
a downeaster."

"I think you must have failed once, or you would not be here," retorted
Sidney, facetiously.

"The best failure for us that was ever made," said Jane, earnestly. "We
shall find our way out by that means."

"Only that object is attained, I do not care for the rest," remarked
Edward. "See yonder the moon is rising, and welcome enough will be its

They made their way quite rapidly, and as mile after mile was placed
between them and the village, their hopes of eluding their pursuers
were strengthened. Jane did not feel the fatigue, so excited had she
become, although, Howe had taken the precaution soon after they
started, of riding close by her side, so that he could assist her at a
moment's warning; for he knew she was too weak to bear such rapid
travelling over fallen trees, stones, brush, and marshy ground long,
and he feared that a reaction would ensue. He did not know how strongly
the love and desire to reach home again burned in her heart,
strengthening by its power every muscle and nerve.

Chapter Nineteenth.

They arrive at a stream of considerable magnitude over which they
cross. Encampment on its bank. They ride in the water to elude their
pursuers. Jones and Cole give them some information relative to their
friends, having met Lewis at Fort Laramie. The joyful reception of the
news. Desire to return. The lateness of the season prevents it. They
continue on. Arrival at the base of the Sierra Nevada. Fear of crossing
the mountains in the snow. They retreat to a place of security with
intentions to encamp for the winter. They construct themselves winter
quarters as well as they can.

At daylight the fugitives came to a considerable stream which they
crossed and halted on the opposite bank. They turned their horses loose
to feed and rest, and taking some fish from the stream by means of
shooting them with their arrows,[12] they broiled them. The fish,
together with some roasted _yampa_ roots, made a plentiful and
nourishing repast. Letting their horses rest as long as they dared,
they mounted and entering the stream, followed it down a mile, so as to
deceive the Indians, should they be pursued, then again taking to the
bank they rode with great speed, until their beasts began to flag, when
again halting on a position that overlooked the country around, they
prepared themselves a dinner, turning their horses loose to graze while
they ate. After partaking of their meal, Jane fortunately fell asleep,
and when they feared to remain in that position, they awoke her, and
proceeded on till late in the night. Again halting, and posting a
sentinel who was relieved every two hours, they lay down to sleep, for
they were worn out with their rapid marches. At the first faint streak
of light, they were in motion, and thus pursuing their way rapidly for
three more days, they were glad to halt, as their horses were
emaciated, lame, and sore, and were scarcely able to keep their feet,
so galling and toilsome had been their journey.

      [12] A common mode of taking fish among the Indians.

They calculated they had saved themselves from pursuit, and accordingly
prepared for a few days' rest which was made doubly sweet to them by
the prospect of the dear home and friends which loomed up before them.
Building a temporary shelter, they spent several days in that place and
became more acquainted with their two new companions. Jones was a
curiosity in himself, fearing nor caring for nothing but being broiled
alive, a fate for which he evinced the utmost repugnance, and declared
he would be willing to adopt any emergency than encounter it, an
alternative they all coincided heartily in, with the exception of Cole,
who expressed a decided belief that it was preferable to many things,
and delighted to hold up its advantages, but what they were he never
specified to his more sensitive companion.

They were both from Connecticut and had been some years sailors, their
ship having been driven and wrecked by winds on the Pacific coast they
were obliged to content themselves as best they could; and as they
enjoyed a large share of constitutional Yankee restlessness, sought to
turn their misfortunes to some account. While waiting for relief they
explored the deep unbroken wilds that surrounded them. In doing this
they encountered many difficulties, and often hazarded their lives, but
were rewarded by finding, as they asserted, gold mines scattered over a
large district. Returning home by an overland route with specimens of
the ore, they had induced others to return with them, accompanied by
their families, their object being to take up the land on which the
precious metal was found and settle it, guessing with characteristic
shrewdness that as soon as it was known in the Eastern States that
there was gold in the place, the land would be of immense value.

There were eleven of them all, two women and two children, one ten and
the other twelve years old; the rest being well calculated for such a
daring enterprise. It was their intention to keep the same Indian trail
back they had gone over in returning home, trusting to memory to keep
them from straying. When their journey was two-thirds accomplished the
Indians had come unawares upon them and after fighting as long as they
could hold out, all were killed but these two, who were made prisoners
with all their baggage. "It was a struggle for life, and two days we
kept them at bay," said Jones, "but we were one after another picked
off until but five of us were left, when the savages maddened by the
sight of their killed and wounded which must have been in great
numbers, closed around us and we fought hand to hand for a few minutes,
when Cole and myself were overpowered, disarmed and captured, the rest
were killed, scalped, and their dead bodies left on the ground unburied
to become a prey to beasts scarcely more savage than the Indians. Our
fate was decided on in council the same evening we were taken to the
village. We were sentenced to run the gauntlet.[13] If we survived we
were to become part of the tribe to supply the places of the lost
warriors; if we fell, the stake awaited us. We looked upon ourselves as
doomed, when an old Indian came to us, and displacing the thongs with
which we were bound, bade us follow him. The rest you know, and we are
here together."

      [13] The gauntlet consists in drawing up the members of the
      village in two files facing each other four feet apart, through
      which the victim has to make his way, the Indians striking at him
      as he runs with clubs, knives, tomahawks or any weapon they
      choose to arm themselves with. Not one out of a hundred get
      through the file, and if they do they are sure to meet with
      kindness; but if beaten down they are either killed on the spot
      or carried wounded and bleeding to the stake where they perish
      amidst horrible tortures.

"For which I am really grateful," said the trapper, who informed them
of the principal events of their wandering for the last year and
a-half. They listened with great interest until the recital was
finished, and then Jones said, musingly, "It must be that you are the
same of whom we heard so much, more than a year ago, although your
friends believed you had perished by the cruel hands of the Indians."

"Then you have seen them! Are they well? Have they removed from the
encampment by the brook?" and numberless other questions were showered
in a breath upon them.

"One at a time," said the imperturbable Yankee; "one at a time, and I
will answer them all."

"Then, are they alive and well?" asked Jane, who could not restrain her

"They are, as far as I know," said Jones. "I saw but one they called
Lewis, and he was well, and I heard him tell another man who was
inquiring for the rest of the family that the rest were.

"Thank heaven for that," said Jane, fervently.

"Where are they?" asked the trapper.

"I don't know, exactly," said Jones. "The young man I saw was at Fort
Laramie. He had heard there were several distant tribes of Indians
encamped there to trade with the whites, and had come to see if he
could learn from them the fate that had befallen you."

"Then I suspect," said the trapper, "they have remained near the spot
where they were encamped when we were stolen."

"Who is the chief of the Arapahoes?" asked Whirlwind.

"I think he is called the Bald Eagle, but I don't remember distinctly.
When I passed through their country last spring, I heard about a great
Medicine man, who was likewise their chieftain, who had been killed or
carried away at the same time part of the family of Mr. Duncan had."

"This is the chief," said the trapper, "he still lives, and I hope will
for many a long year yet to come."

"That would be great news for the Arapahoes," said Cole, "and their joy
could scarcely be exceeded by that of Mr. Duncan's family, could they
know their lost ones were safe."

They had somewhat recovered from the fatigues of their flight, and
proposed renewing their journey. The autumn, which was far advanced,
warned them it was time to be on the move, if they intended to reach
the haunts of civilization before the snows began to fall, and as Cole
and Jones assured them they would certainly strike a trail that led to
the Pacific coast in three or four days' travel, they were impatient to
be on the move. They suffered much with the cold, as the nights were
keen enough to create ice an inch in thickness, and the frosts
destroyed a great deal of the herbage on which the horses subsisted.
The third day the sky began to grow heavy in the morning, and as the
air was keen they feared snow would fall, but it partially broke away
before night, greatly to their satisfaction. They lay down by their
camp-fire with the stars gleaming, though faintly, above them.

About midnight they were awakened by flakes of snow falling on their
faces, and on awaking, they discovered the ground white around them.
Before morning the white covering was three inches deep. The winter had
set in uncommonly early, and they with saddened hearts rode all day
through the falling snow. Night came on, and scraping the ground clear
of leaves and snow, they built themselves a temporary shelter, leaving
one side open, by which the camp-fire was built. They had nothing to
eat, having laid by no supply of roots or meat, and the ground was
covered with snow so that the roots could not be found. Leaving Sidney,
Edward, and Jane in the camp, the rest went out to get some game, and
in half an hour the trapper returned with a pair of wild turkeys. He
was followed soon by Cole who brought some pheasants and a grey
squirrel. As the shades of night began to gather around them, the
others came in with a fawn and a mountain sheep. There was no fear then
of their being supperless; and, after eating a hearty meal, they laid
down to sleep with the snow still falling around them. When they awoke
in the morning the sky was clear and the sun arose warm, and by noon
had softened the snow so much as to make it wet their clothing, as they
brushed it from the pendant branches in riding along. When they
encamped that night, Jane was shivering with cold, and too ill to eat;
but the rest lay by the fire, and slept as well as the disagreeable
situation in which they were placed would allow. Jane was quite ill the
next day, and they did not think it prudent to travel; but by night she
felt much better, and as they calculated they could strike the trail in
another day's journey, they determined to be in the saddle by daylight.

Riding, as fast as the rugged uneven country through which they were
travelling would permit, for three hours, they came to the trail
earlier in the day than they had anticipated, greatly to their relief.
Here now they were on a road that would lead them to their friends from
which they had so long been separated, during which time they had
encountered so many trials and so much suffering. The sight of it
dispelled all fatigue from them, and they were ready, nay, eager, to
turn their horses homeward. They were restrained from such mad
proceedings by the cool, undisturbed equanimity of Jones, who said:
"The journey home requires three months' hard travelling, and if we
undertake it in our present unprepared condition, we shall certainly
perish by cold and hunger. On the other hand the trail in the opposite
direction, will lead us to a safe harbor, in a third of the distance
which, when accomplished, we shall be willing to stay in till spring
comes again. It is always dangerous travelling through these wilds when
prepared, but in our destitute condition it is most hazardous."

"Lead us on; we can endure it," cried the children, enthusiastically.

"No, no; children," said the trapper, "Jones tells the truth, we can
never cross the country that lies between us and our friends, in the
dead of winter. We must content ourselves in a place of security, if we
can find one, until spring again comes."

"Yonder," said the chief, pointing towards the west, where the Great
Sierra arose with its snowy peaks towering among the clouds, "are the
Snow mountain. To reach the white settlement beyond we must cross it.
We are too weak and destitute to do it. Let us build a lodge here and
gather what provisions we can before the snow is deeper, and the deer
all leave us."

"I believe it is the best thing we can do, for our safety," said the
cautious trapper.

"Oh! no; do not think of such a thing!" said Sidney. "I am sure we can
cross the mountain, and when over them, it cannot be far to civilized

"You are young and sanguine," said the trapper, "and do not know the
dangers before you."

"We might as well pursue the trail a day or two," said Jones, "and
then, if we think we cannot cross the mountain, we can build winter
quarters. For my part, I do not relish a winter here, any more than

"Well," said Cole, casting an admiring glance towards Jane, "I think
quarters might become tolerable, if well supplied with venison--and I
think they might, between us all."

The chief saw the look, and a close observer might have for an instant
observed a peculiar glitter in his eye, but no word or movement of his
indicated that he had witnessed it, or if he did, cared for it.
Resuming their journey, they were soon made aware that the ground
before them was rising, and covered with a greater depth of snow. By
noon they had come to the base of high ranges of hills that rose one
above another, and above all towered the Sierra Nevada. Over these the
trail extended, and they were compelled either to encamp on the spot,
go back, or cross over the mountains. To pass over them seemed
impossible--to encamp on the exposed slope on which they were would
subject them unnecessarily to severe suffering from cold; and their
only safe alternative was to fall back to some secure unexposed
position, and raise a winter camp.

A few miles back, a sheltered position was discovered; the snow was
cleared away, and all working with an earnest will, a commodious hut
was soon erected consisting of strong poles for the frame work, which
were covered with bark, and this again thickly studded with boughs to
keep out the cold. The ground was also strewn with them, for they had
no skins to spread over it, nor even to make themselves a covering
through the night with--a want from which they suffered much. Taking
advantage of their experience the last winter, they collected stone
from beneath the snow, and built themselves a rough but efficient
fire-place, which occupied nearly one side of the hut, and in which
they could build large fires that diffused their genial warmth over the
room without endangering the frail fabric.

Chapter Twentieth.

The cold increases. The men take large quantities of fur. Abundant
supplies of game. Conversation on various matters. Jones and Cole tell
some of their adventures in the gold regions. A boulder of gold.
Shooting it from a precipice. Jones loaded down with riches.
Comfortable condition of the children. Howe describes an adventure he
experienced near Lake Superior by falling into an Indian's deer-pit.
Whirlwind relates a circumstance that occurred to himself and Shognaw
in reference to their escape from the Crows. The party's resignation to
their lot.

As the severity of the winter increased, they took daily hunting
excursions, in order to procure the necessary furs and skins to help
ward off the cold, always preserving their game, which was brought
home, dried and smoked by the fire, to preserve it against an hour of
need. They soon had their hut lined throughout with skins, the edges
joined with sinews or slender strips of hide, which kept the wind from
finding its way to them through the openings. They also covered the
ground with skins, reserving the fur of the foxes and beaver which they
snared, as well as the lighter skins, to make themselves new and warm
clothing. Their food was almost entirely animal, as they rarely
succeeded in getting anything of a vegetable character. They
occasionally found a "nut-pine" tree, from which they gathered its
fruits, but they disliked the taste of them, and gathered them more for
the light they gave when on fire, than for eating. Though they were not
as comfortably housed, or as well provided with the necessaries of
life, as the winter previously; yet they did not suffer so as to
endanger health, by either hunger or cold, and their greatest
discomfort arose from the want of vegetable food and salt. For the last
article they had searched in vain, and had come to the conclusion that
there were no saline beds within many miles of them. Jones and Cole
never grew tired of listening to their account of the hidden wealth
they had discovered, and they would spend days speculating on the best
plan of opening a communication with the districts containing the
golden prize.

"I would have kept the urn," said Cole, "if a whole legion of Indians
had been at my back."

"Perhaps not," said Jones. "I myself have seen the time when gold was a

"The time you shot the boulder!" remarked Cole, laughing.

"Laugh as you will," said Jones; "that was a lucky shot if it was an
almost fatal one."

"What is it?" they all asked, seeing there was more than Jones felt
disposed to tell.

"Why," said Jones, "when among the gold mines on the other side of the
mountain we were not satisfied with the flakes of gold in the sand, and
supposed, of course, that there was a solid bed of it somewhere up the
river, from which it was washed down by the constant action of the
waters. As we proceeded along the river the ground became more rugged
until it led us into a cluster of hills and precipices jumbled up
together. Entering a narrow ravine we soon came to a curious looking
place with smooth sides standing perpendicularly, about twenty feet
apart, which was gradually contracted to within two feet, leaving the
end narrow and jagged. We soon saw there was ore in it, and on
examining closely we discovered places where large blocks of the
precious metal had been torn from its bed, with the marks of the mining
tools still plainly visible. Looking around us we picked up among the
loose pieces on the ground some lumps of pure gold, which were among
the specimens we carried home."

"Yes, yes; that is all very well, and very true," said Cole, "but it is
not all; tell the rest."

"They will not believe it if I do. They never did in the States, so
what is the use of it?" said Jones.

"We have seen such wonderful things ourselves that we are prepared for
anything," said the trapper.

"He may if he chooses," said Jones, pointing to Cole. "I shall not, it
is of no use."

"The narrow place," said Cole, "where we found the gold was about fifty
feet high, and nearly half way up to the top we discovered a huge
boulder of pure gold, as large as a bushel basket, hanging by a slim
thread of gold no larger than your finger. This thread was fully four
inches long, and seemed to have been cut that way by some one who had
been supported while doing so from above, for the boulder was in that
position that if worked at from below it would crush the artisan in its
fall. We were equally resolved to get hold of this mammoth prize, but
the question how we could get it was not so easily solved, as it rested
against the opposite side and would evidently turn and fall if this
narrow thread was broken.

"'I have it!' said Jones, exulting at the happy thought. 'I'll shoot it
off,' for we both had rifles.

"'And be crushed with its weight,' said I; but the words had not died
on my lips when the sharp crack of the rifle was heard, and down came
the prize. Both turned to fly from the danger, but Jones's foot caught
in some loose stones and he was prostrated, and the boulder rolling as
it fell deposited itself exactly across him. I removed the
uncomfortable load as soon as possible, but Jones's stomach has been
out of order ever since, especially when he sees solid bodies

"What became of the lump of gold?" asked the trapper.

"We hid it in the earth; but should have been to it again before this
time had we not been overhauled by the Indians."

"A fortunate escape," said Howe, "equal to one I made many years ago,
ere I learned to distrust the ground I walked over before testing its
security. Being on one of our trapping expeditions, father and myself
found ourselves on the territory of the St. Croix Indians, who evinced
great friendship for us, insisting we should take up our abode in their
village as long as we thought fit to remain in their territory. We soon
became domesticated among them, and spent our nights there although our
days were spent in the most secret recesses of the forest in setting
our traps, curing skins, and in observing the habits of the wild
denizens of the forest. One day father and myself separated, he to look
after our traps set in one direction, I in another; and as I neared the
place of destination, while walking over ground smooth and level as you
ever saw the ground in the forest, suddenly it gave way, precipitating
me into a hole full ten feet deep with smooth, perpendicular sides that
defied all attempts to climb them. I had fallen into an Indian's deer
trap, dug and covered over so as to deceive them; but which would
readily give way precipitating the game into the snare, the escape from
which was impossible. I laughed at my stupidity at first, as I knew
within an hour, father would be along when with his assistance I could
be easily extricated. I soon had enough to do without laughing, for in
half an hour after, I heard a step above, but before I had time to
speculate on it, the nose of a half grown cub was thrust over the top,
and in the next moment its ugly carcase came tumbling down and fell
with a crash at my feet, uttering a cry of pain as it fell, which was
answered by a growl from above, and in a minute more its dam stood on
the brink growling fiercely at me, as she saw her cub lay helpless and
moaning on the ground. With a spring she lighted on her feet within six
feet of where I stood, for I had retreated into the farthest corner,
not at all relishing a fight in such close quarters, for the hole was
only about eight feet square--and not a very agreeable place to be
cornered in with an enraged bear. Fortunately I had clung to my rifle,
in falling, and had also my hunting knife in my belt, so I concluded if
she was in for a struggle, not to back out of it. I saw at once the cub
had been killed in the fall, for the old bear smelt round and moaned
softly to it, and then finding it did not stir, turned it over and over
with her paw. Finding it still exhibited no signs of life, she turned
towards me with gnashing teeth and flashing eyes, and then, I must say,
I really felt cornered. You know I told you," he added apologetically,
"that I was young then; in fact not more than twenty. Well, the beast
raised herself for a spring at me, when I gave her a pair of bullets,
that made her howl; but she sprang and grasping me in her huge arms,
fastened my arms to my side so that my knife was useless in my belt,
and I was making up my mind that all was over with me, when father
halloed above, he having been drawn thither, by my calls for help,
followed by a leap into the hole, and a half dozen thrusts of his knife
into the monster's heart, relieved me from the closest embrace I hope
ever to encounter."

"I should suppose you could have seen some signs to indicate the trap,"
said Edward.

"The Indians take good care that there are none; covering slender poles
over with a thick layer of leaves that hides effectually the abyss

"My brother was in danger," said the chief, laughing at his mishaps,
"but it was not equal to one of my warriors who, with me, went out once
to recover some horses the thieving Crows had driven away. We found the
horses, and starting for home had proceeded about a mile, when we
discovered a whole army of the Crows start in pursuit. Our only hope of
safety for ourselves lay in flight, and abandoning our horses for which
we had risked our lives, we went scouring through the forest at a
furious rate. The animals we rode were jaded, and those of our pursuers
fresh, and we soon saw they gained upon us, and abandoning our horses
behind a sharp curve that hid us from sight, we made them gallop away,
and then betook ourselves to trees for safety. In ten minutes after the
Crows galloped past us, leaving us safely secreted in the friendly
branches in which we had taken shelter. Shognaw had climbed a large
beech tree that stood within a few feet of the one in which I had taken
shelter. I once or twice thought I heard a growl like that uttered by
cubs, but the excitement I felt for our safety, dispelled it the next
moment. As soon as we were left alone, and the sounds of the pursuers
died away in the distance, I felt some alarm, for I knew if there were
cubs about, the old bear would dislodge us, and, in all probability,
our retreat would be discovered by some straggling Crows. At that
moment, Shognaw, calling my attention in a low tone, said, 'I have got
into a bear's hole, full of young cubs, what shall I do? for the old
one will not be away long, as she, on finding a commotion raised by the
Crows will, for her own safety, take refuge in her den.'

"'We cannot fight her, that is certain,' said I, 'for we should then be
discovered; but, if we watch our chance, we may get away from this
spot, and find safety in some other, but we must be very cautious that
no Crows are in sight first.'

"'I think there are none now,' he replied, not at all relishing the
idea of trespassing on the domicil of madam Bruin.

"'Hist! there they are,' said I, as we saw a number of them come
yelling towards us, and on looking again, I discovered them in pursuit
of something which, in a few minutes, bounded from a clump of bushes
and made for the tree in which Shognaw had hid, and then to our dismay,
we saw it was the old bear pursued by the Crows. He too saw her coming,
and ascended to the topmost branches high above the hole, and well he
did, for in a moment more, she had crawled in just as the hunters came
to the foot of the tree. They were foiled of their game, and after
consulting for a moment whether it was best to cut or burn down the
tree, they concluded to burn it, as the less laborious way to dislodge
the old bear. Accordingly, they dispersed in search of fire, leaving
half their number to guard the tree while away. I saw at once that we
were caught in a trap, and that nothing but coolness and strategy could
save us. The tree in which I was, being a little out from the one they
were watching, favored my escape, which I effected by noiselessly
descending, and edging away by darting from tree to tree, until I had
attained a safe position that overlooked the spot where I feared
Shognaw would meet his doom. The fire was soon kindled, and being fed
with dry brush, soon wound and crackled up the trunk, and began to
scorch and consume the branches and leaves of the tree. I began to
think I ought to face the whole band single handed, in an attempt to
rescue the poor fellow, when I saw him swing himself down from limb to
limb, and drop to the ground in the midst of the astonished Crows, and
take to flight. For a moment they were too surprised to comprehend that
it was really a man, and a foe; but they soon recovered from the panic,
and sounding their war cry, the whole band gave chase. Shognaw took to
a river half a mile distant, and plunging in, rose among some rushes
that skirted the bank, among which he hid himself till dark, when he
made his way in safety home, which he reached before I did, for I was
looking out for him the whole night, and returned when I made up my
mind that he had at last fallen into the hands of the Crows."

Chapter Twenty-First.

Departure of winter. Joy at the fact of knowing which way they were
travelling. Their encampment by the side of a beautiful lake. They
reach the first ranges of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Whirlwind offers
to go to Mr. Duncan's encampment and guide them through the forests. He
starts on that expedition accompanied by Cole. The children pursue
their journey. Discovery of gold. They experience great difficulties in
crossing the Sierra. Three of their horses dashed to pieces over a
precipice. Narrow escape of Jones. Discovery of singular ancient walls.
An engraved slab of granite. They reach the foot of the Sierra in
safety. Their route continued. They finally arrive at the residence of
a Spanish Curate. They consent to tarry awhile at his house.

Winter gradually wore away--the snow-girt hills and valleys were
divested of their mantle of gloom, and were clothed with vestments of
green, spangled with crimson, blue, and gold flowers, the perfume of
which called forth the soft hum of bees as they flew from flower to
flower, extracting the honied dews. Far from the sunny South the birds
came with their glad, cheering voices, giving forth a welcome to the
dawning spring. The winter had been long and tedious, cheered only with
the certainty that they knew which way they had to travel in order to
reach the haunts of civilization; and though they had kept the hunger
wolf at bay, their strength gradually gave out under their unhealthy
diet, and when they were ready to travel, they were in a pitiful
condition to endure its fatigues. Their horses were even worse off than
themselves. Worn with privation to skeletons, they were drooping and
spiritless; and had not the wanderers used great exertion to collect
the young grass for them, they would have perished, for they were too
languid to crop it themselves.

Slowly at first new vigor became infused into them, and in a few weeks'
delay, and the spring rains being over, their horses gathered strength,
and they determined to proceed on their journey. Upon mature
deliberation they considered it prudent to cross the mountains to the
Pacific coast, and then send word to Mr. Duncan where they were, as
they did not deem themselves strong or well enough prepared to make the
distance back to their friends. Whirlwind heard the decision, and then
told them he thought it best that one or more of them should return to
Mr. Duncan, and as he could be spared best, offered to go, if either
Jones or Cole would guide him on the road; "for," said the chief,
"Duncan and the rest can come to you better than you can go to them, in
your present condition."

"Always generous," said Jane, with gratitude beaming in her eye, for in
truth she felt heart-sick at the thought of placing a still greater
distance between herself and those her heart yearned to see.

"It is nothing," said the chief. "Whirlwind would give his life, if it
would save the antelope a pang of sorrow or grief."

"I think Duncan would as soon settle here as in Oregon, his original
destination," said the trapper; "and if we can so arrange it as to make
it safe for us, I think myself it would be a better plan, than for all
of us to proceed over the mountains, and then, when we are able, return

"In doing this," said Cole, "we can reach Mr. Duncan's camp, if still
where you left him, which I think he is, before midsummer, and then he
will be able to reach you at the nearest settlement by the time frost
again comes. I am willing to accompany the chief, while Jones can guide
you in safety over the Sierra before you."

Selecting two of the best horses for the use of Whirlwind and Cole,
they took leave of them, charging them with a multitude of messages for
their friends, and when they started on the homeward route, they too
moved on towards the mountain before them, whose snow-crested head
loomed up among the clouds. At noon our wanderers halted at the spot
they retreated from when they went into their winter quarters, and
after resting, began to climb the rugged ascent, Jones leading the way;
and, save an occasional path beaten by the denizens of the forest,
their only landmark was the blazed trees.[14] Jones had been over the
ground before, and as his memory was very tenacious, he saved them from
much anxiety, and often from danger, as well as unnecessary fatigue.
Their progress was necessarily slow and painful, but they were still
brave at heart, and bore it in silence. At night they halted by the
side of a beautiful lake, around which the hills curved gracefully,
forming a natural basin, which held the transparent waters against the
side of the mountain. Its banks were richly covered with grass, and
shaded by aspens which, with the rugged peaks of the mountains that
towered above, gave it a sylvan appearance.

      [14] Bark cut off from trees to indicate a certain course through
      the forests. It is a very common practice among the pioneers of
      the West.

Numerous flocks of ducks were seen on the surface of the lake, and some
of them contributed to the supper of the travellers, whose appetites,
sharpened by the mountain air, relished their delicious flavor.
Following down this lake the next morning for nearly half a mile, they
passed round it, and commenced the ascent of the range above them.
Innumerable springs dotted the trail on either side, while shrubs and
the earliest spring flowers hung and overrun every crevice in the rocks
around them. The scenery was wilder here than any they had met with
before in all their wanderings. Their path led them often between
stupendous, curious looking rocks, which rose on either side, narrowing
the pass so that they were obliged to travel in Indian file. It was a
singular place--the grey, smooth, rocky precipices--the strip of blue
sky far above--an open chasm, in which one would naturally expect if
anywhere, to encounter spirits and hobgoblins. Happily for our
wanderers, they were well aware they had not emigrated from the old
world, but in their place feared to encounter hostile Indians. Emerging
from this defile, they continued their course over a rocky surface, the
vegetation every moment growing more sparse, and when night came on
they were nowhere near water, and all they had to relieve their thirst
was what they found in crevices of rocks that had collected there
during the last rain. A little scanty herbage was all their horses
could find after their hard day's travel, and had they not brought a
supply of fowl from the lake where they had camped the night before,
they would have gone supperless to rest.

At early dawn they left that inhospitable spot, and by sunrise came to
the top of the acclivity of the range. Below them lay a beautiful
valley clothed with verdure, through which flowed a considerable river,
and beyond the range of hills that skirted it on the other side, rose
the topmost snow-covered peak of the Sierra. They found the descent
into the valley far more difficult than the ascent, the trail often
leading them along a narrow footpath, the rocks rising perpendicularly
on one side, while on the other were yawning chasms a hundred feet
below, apparently ready to receive them, should they stumble, or
deviate from the rugged path before them. They made the descent in
safety, and rested themselves for the remainder of the day on the bank
of the river. On examining the stream, they found it too deep to be
forded in the usual way of riding their horses over. They built a raft,
on which they crossed, holding the horses by the halter, making them
swim by its side.

The next morning, with a day's supply of provisions for themselves and
animals, they began the ascent of the range before them, the summit of
which they gained the next day with perfect safety, and then began the
opposite descent, camping for the night on the western side. The slope
at this point was less rugged and difficult of descent than the other,
and they encamped at its base, having made extraordinary marches the
last few days, taking into consideration the dangerous path over which
they had travelled. There was no valley here, the ground between this
range and the Sierra being a commingling of rolling hills, shady dells,
and narrow ravines, all densely covered with verdure, through which
small rivulets murmured, taking their rise at the base of the Sierra,
and wound their way through the broken surface, now in tranquil beauty,
and anon dashing in waterfalls down ledges of rocks, their clear limpid
waters lashed to a foam. Large quantities of deer, elk, antelope, and
mountain sheep, were found there, as well as wild turkeys, geese,
partridges, duck, and numerous other smaller fowls. Secure in the
mountain fastnesses the game had multiplied till it had completely
filled the whole country, and Howe declared that during all his hunting
and trapping career, he had never encountered such a variety and
quantity in so small a space of territory.

"I cannot think it a small space," said Jones. "In my opinion, it
extends many hundred miles each way, giving game range enough."

They were now at the foot of the last and most formidable object that
debarred them from civilization, and here they thought it prudent to
halt a few days to recruit their own as well as their animal's
strength, and prepare provision to carry with them. The second day of
the halt while they were in search of the roots of the yampa, they
found on turning up the earth that it was specked with fine particles
of gold. They were highly elated at this, for now, with a fair prospect
of freeing themselves from the wilds, it had its old intrinsic value,
and doubly valuable would it be to them, on gaining a settlement, as
not one of them had an article of clothing about them that was not made
of skins, and many in not over good repair.

"We can save this now, I suppose," said Sidney, "that the chief is not
by with evil spirits?"

"Certainly, as much as you like," returned the trapper. "I intend to
find some on my own account."

"You will not find any that will equal in quantities and value, that of
the cavern in the oasis," said Edward.

"You don't know that," returned his uncle. "I have always noticed where
gold is found in flakes, mixed with earth, that it has been washed in
ages past into its present bed, from where it originally was in a pure
state. At least such is the conclusion formed by present appearances."

"No harm in searching for it," said Jones, who was in ecstacies at the
discovery of gold, and he began to tear up the loose earth in every
direction around him. Leaving the rest picking out the tiny flakes from
the earthy bed, Howe and Jones spent the day in examining the
localities around where they thought it most likely the ore was to be
found, but obtained only torn hands and feet for their labor, and were
glad to give up the search and return to camp. During their absence the
children had collected a great deal, sometimes finding nuggets as large
as a walnut.

"Oh! well," said Jones, in a fretful tone, when the children displayed
their wealth before him, "I can get enough when I am over the
mountains, if I have missed it to-day."

"As for that, we will share with you," said Jane. "You have lead us so
far out of the wilderness where, without your aid, we might have
perished. We do not forget this, and what we have to bestow, which is
very little, is at your command."

"Well, well, there is no need of it: I tell you I have lumps of gold
over the mountains larger than I can lift. Besides, can I not get some
myself out of the earth to-morrow?"

After a few days' sojourn here, they prepared themselves as well as
their scanty means would allow, to cross the barrier before them. All
day long they rode over the broken ground, along which the trail lay,
and at night halted far up its rugged side, where they could look down
upon the rolling valley below. Here they found the night air very cold,
and they were obliged to enclose boughs around them to break the wind
from their miserable retreat while they slept.

Taking an early breakfast, they started on, and at night, having made a
good day's ride, reached within a short distance of the summit of the
mountain. Here they experienced much difficulty in respiration. The
vegetation also became very sparse; the ground sometimes in large
spaces being covered with piles of slate and limestone, among which,
not a shrub could take root. They often terminated in precipices making
the trail through their windings difficult and dangerous. By the aid of
large fires they spent the night very comfortably, and the next morning
determined, while still refreshed by rest, to cross the summit and make
the descent so far as would make respiration less difficult, for even
now they were at times dizzy and faint. To ride through these difficult
places was impossible, and dismounting, they passed up the narrow path
one at a time; sometimes the ascent was so glassed with ice and so
steep that they were obliged to pull themselves up by clinging with
their hands to the rocks above them. A crust of ice and snow covered
the ground, and the horses being unshod, floundered and stumbled, and
often made narrow escapes from being precipitated into the abyss below.
The poor beasts seemed to comprehend the danger, and carefully tried
the ground at every step before venturing their weight fully upon it,
and shuddering and trembling, kept as far from the edge of the
ice-bound rocks as the narrowness of the pass would allow them. The sun
shone brightly, but it created little warmth, and in the middle of June
they were suffering the rigors of winter.

Safely they stood upon the summit of the Sierra! Away to the west a
smooth blue belt girt the horizon, while to the east a long range of
mountains rose against the sky. It was the Pacific on the west, and the
Wahsatch mountains on the east, with the broad valleys basking in a
summer sun between them, through which rivers wound their dark
serpentine lines, while away to the north-east the great desert lay,
with its white sands glittering beneath the rays that fell upon it.

What struck them as peculiar, was numerous dark spots scattered at
intervals over the barren waste, while in the centre lay some of
immense size, clothed with dark verdure, from the midst of which rose a
mountain, looking from that distance, like a shaft against the sky.
They concluded to themselves, these must be strips of land, yet in
their wanderings they had come across but one. They did not relish the
idea of being caught in darkness on that inhospitable elevation, and
turning their steps once more into the trail, began the descent.
Greatly to their relief, they found this more even and less steep, and
descended a few hundred feet without any great exertion. They now could
breathe freer, and began to be much relieved. Ice and snow also
disappeared, and keeping on their way steadily, by night they reached a
refreshing spring, around which grass grew in abundance, and by which
they encamped for the night. Tired and weary as they were, they were
more cheerful and happy that night than they had been for months
previously, it seemed to them that the great barrier had been overcome,
and they had safely passed the last fiery ordeal they should be called
to encounter. They felt as though the night had passed, and day was
dawning on their weary and forlorn prospects.

They were in no great hurry to be on their road the next morning, for
on awaking they found themselves sore and stiff in their limbs, and
their beasts' hoofs torn and swollen. Towards noon, however, much
refreshed, they once more started, and after proceeding on their
journey about two hours, they came to a dangerous pass--the path being
not over three feet wide, steep, and difficult of descent.[15] Directing
Sidney, Jane, and Edward ahead, Howe and Jones began the descent with
the horses; when in the most difficult place, one of the animals became
restive, and rearing, was precipitated below, dragging Jones, who had
hold of the bridle, with him. One terrible cry of distress was heard as
the horse went over the side, and then a crash on the jagged rocks, and
the noble beast was dashed to atoms two hundred feet below them.
Frightened at the plunge and cries of mortal anguish, the rest of the
horses broke, and bounded wildly down the path. Howe, seeing he could
not control them, sprang close to the wall of rock, thus saving himself
from being crowded over the abyss by the terrified beasts who, in their
headlong career, heeded nothing before them. As they came to a sharp
angle in the trail, as it wound down the mountain, the two foremost
horses, instead of turning, plunged over the side, and with a neigh of
terror, were soon crushed, like their companion, on the rocks in the
deep abyss below. The others seeing the two disappear, paused
sufficiently to avert the danger, and turning the angle, landed safely
on the table, where the children had preceded them.

      [15] Since 1840 this pass over the Sierra has been abandoned, and
      one far easier and less difficult discovered twenty miles below
      it. It was originally used by the Indians, as the shortest route
      to the valley beyond.

Terrified at seeing the horses without Howe and Jones, they hastened up
the mountain to where the first catastrophe had occurred, and arrived
in time to see their uncle assist Jones into the path from a jutting
rock a few feet below, where he had landed in no wise hurt, with the
exception of a few bruises. The rock that had caught him was but a few
feet broad, and it was nearer a miracle that he was not dashed to the
bottom of the abyss than we are accustomed to experience. The poor
beast was a pitiful sight to look upon, and at a glance at his mangled
body they turned sickened away. The other two had also been crushed
instantly and lay lifeless where they had fallen. Thankful for their
own escape, yet grieving for the fate of their faithful animals that
had been through so many privations with them, they encamped on the
broad table below, where they found a spring of pure water and plenty
of grass for their two remaining horses.

The next day as they were wending their way slowly along, they came to
a range of walls so singular in their conformation as to make them
pause in their journey to examine them. On a broad table, girt in on
either side by the rocky fortresses of the Sierra, a column arose
twenty feet long and sixteen wide at the base, diminishing as it rose
to a height of thirty feet so as to leave the top eight by twelve feet
in dimensions. This column was ascended by a flight of steps, regular
and perfect in their construction. They were not long in ascertaining
this to be a work of art, and perhaps for centuries on centuries it had
stood there defying the elements, and was even now as solid and
perfect, with every block of granite in its place, as when first laid.

"This is the work of the ancestors of the old man of Lake Superior,"
said Howe, thoughtfully.

"Perhaps the savages he told you of, whom he said inhabited the
mountains built it," returned Jane.

"It was never built by a people destitute of the arts and sciences.
Mark the accuracy with which each stone is made to fit its place, hewn
and polished until it is as smooth as marble. Note also the cement in
which it is laid, black and hard as glass, like that in which the
temple was laid where we spent our first winter. No, no; depend upon
it, a civilized people have been here centuries before our forefathers
ever heard of this continent."

A cry of astonishment from Edward who had ascended to the summit,
called their attention there also. Gaining the top, they found on the
centre, raised on blocks of granite, a foot from the smooth floor, a
heavy slab of granite six feet long and two wide and six inches thick,
elaborately carved on the edges, the design being entwined serpents,
the heads laying over the ends with closed mouths and open eyes. They
were represented as being scaly, and each scale was chiseled with some
strange device, all differing in shape and finish. On this slab lay a
flint, the edges sharp, hollowed into a slightly oval form, being made
into a sharp and thin scoop with the shape of a shell. By its side lay
a stone mallet perfect also in its finish. With feelings of awe they
left this memento of the unknown past, and pursued their journey.

The rest of the descent they found comparatively easy, and they were
once more where birds sang and flowers bloomed, game roamed, and
savages prowled. Making easy journeys, in a few days they hailed with
joy a clearing which they saw was inhabited. The owner proved to be a
Creole missionary from a Spanish settlement below, who had been
stationed there to look after the spiritual welfare of the Indians, and
who received our wanderers with great kindness. When they told him who
and what they were, the benevolent curate, like a good christian,
insisted they should make his domicil their home until they heard from
their friends. This offer they gladly accepted; and in exchange for
their gold which fascinated the pious man's eyes in a wonderful degree,
they obtained some clothing, and when once more dressed in the garb of
civilization, they began to think their wanderings were indeed over.

Chapter Twenty-Second.

Return to the family of Mr. Duncan. Lewis and his father succeed in
getting back to camp. The effect the capture of the children produced
on the health of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan. Cole and the chief reach the camp
of the Arapahoes. Their surprise. They continue their course to Mr.
Duncan's camp. Joy at the news they bring. They start again for the
west. Thirty Arapahoes accompany them. They arrive at the Sierra

Having followed our wanderers through many exceedingly trying and
difficult scenes, since they became separated from the rest of the
family and were lost in the deep and dreary desert, to the hospitable
fireside of the curate beyond the Sierra Nevada where they again met
with the comforts of civilized life, we will leave them for the present
and return to the family of Mr. Duncan. The last we saw of Mr. Duncan
and Lewis was in the battle with the Crows; but they succeeded in
making their escape, and finally returned to their camp, only, however,
to convey the sorrowful intelligence of the sad fate of all who had
gone out to the rescue except himself and Lewis. This sad event
confined him to a bed of sickness from which he arose after many weeks
of suffering, with feeble and tottering steps, and locks whitened by
suffering. Grief had done what time had not--it had made him old and

Mrs. Duncan submitted meekly to the terrible blow; but the elasticity
of her step was gone, the light from her eye, and the usual glad smile
from her lips had disappeared. Had her children sickened and died, she
could have laid them away in the grave, with the consoling thought,
that all must lay there at last. But the harassing idea of the torture
they would be subjected to, and the terrible death they must at last
suffer, if indeed they still lived, was a constant source of agony to

"If I only knew that they were dead and at rest, I would be content;
but, alas! I fear they still live!" she often said to herself, and then
the throbbings of her heart would not be still. Poor mother! her
thoughts made her life a torture of the deepest intensity.

Lewis would not believe they were dead, and had devoted the whole time
of their absence in wandering from tribe to tribe, in his endeavors to
gain some information of them. Once he heard there were some white
persons captive in a distant Indian village, but he could not learn the
name of the tribe, or in what part of the vast western wilds they were
located. Twice he had been through to Oregon in hopes of obtaining a
clue to their whereabouts, but heartsick had returned only to sink the
already drooping spirits of his parents still lower. Mr. Duncan had
removed his family farther east, where he would be less liable to be
annoyed by hostile Indians, and there taking up his abode determined to
await until he could learn the fate of his children.

Cole and the chief travelled with great rapidity. They were inured to
hardship from infancy, and with nothing to impede their progress,
sometimes riding, and sometimes walking, the fourth week out they came
to the Arapahoe village in the evening just as the shades of night were
drawing to the lodges, the men, women, and children who had scattered
themselves during the day through the forest. The chieftain's eye
kindled as the old familiar faces passed before him, and his breast
heaved with pride us he read in their cheerful steps and careless ways
the security and prosperity of his tribe. Cole and the chief were
standing in the shadow of a large chesnut tree, which protected them
from observation, but from which they saw all that was passing in the
village without being seen. Gradually the Arapahoes seated themselves
on the bank of a small stream in little groups, and then the chief saw
who it was that had succeeded him in command--it was his best
friend--the brave and good Eagle.

"Stay here, till I return," whispered the chief to Cole, and then
folding his arms over his brawny chest, he walked with a proud step
into their midst. Every tongue seemed to be paralyzed, every limb
nerveless, as they, with horror depicted on their swarthy faces, saw
him approaching.

At last one old man slowly arose and stretching his long bony hand
toward him, said--"Does not our chief rest well in the spirit land,
that he comes back to his people again? or does he come to warn us of

"The Arapahoes have forgotten their chief," said Whirlwind, bitterly.

"No, no: not forgotten him!" cried a young girl--his sister--bounding
into the circle, and throwing herself, into his arms.

"The Singing-Bird does not forget," said the chief, holding her tightly
in his embrace.

"We did not forget, but thought you dead!" they all cried, after fairly
recovering from their panic. The Eagle was one of the first to give him
a hearty welcome back, and as he did so, he laid his plume on the
returned chieftain's head--thus resigning his title and authority.

"No, keep it yet for awhile," returned Whirlwind, "I must leave you for
a time." He then explained the disasters that had befallen them, and,
finally, his self-imposed duty in uniting the severed family.

The Indians never do a generous act by piecemeal. They are either warm
friends or bitter enemies, knowing no medium between the two. They will
lay down their lives to serve a friend, and murder a friend's enemy for
the same reason, although they have never seen him before, and
personally have no animosity towards him. The Arapahoes applauded the
noble design of their chief, and furnished fresh horses to him and
Cole, with which to accomplish the distance to the frontier, where Mr.
Duncan and his companions were.

Mr. Duncan and family were seating themselves at their evening meal, as
the two horseman halted at the door. A glance was sufficient to tell
them one was a stranger, and the other--could it be?--was the Arapahoe
chief, who was taken captive with his lost ones! They all with one
impulse started for the door, but Mrs. Duncan, too overcome with
anxiety, stood trembling, pale and speechless, leaning on a chair, from
which she had just arisen. Mr. Duncan reached the door, but the words
he would have spoken died on his lips, as Lewis bounded past him, and
grasping the chiefs arm convulsively, cried--"Do _they_ live!--speak,
if you would not see _them_ die!" pointing to his father and mother--"do
they live?"

"All live!" said the chief; and as the words fell from his lips, a cry
of joy and gladness resounded from the chastened hearts of the family.
The certainty that the lost ones still lived, though they yet knew not
where nor under what circumstances, roused their enervated energies,
nerved their limbs and called back the healthful flush to the cheek,
and the light of joy to their eyes.

"To be sure they are well," said Cole to their inquiries, "and we have
come all the way from the Sierra Nevada mountains to bring you the
news, and take you to them."

"Yes, yes; we will go. To-morrow we will be on the road to see them,"
said Mrs. Duncan.

"Not so fast as that," returned Cole; "I lost all my traps by the
red-skins, and must collect some more. Besides, you need more
preparation than could be made in that time, or you will fall into
savage hands the second time."

"Let it be a week, then; we can be ready in that time," said Mr.
Duncan. Their wanderings were recounted by Whirlwind, and when he had
concluded, Mrs. Duncan's joy was nearly turned to sorrow, for fear they
had not escaped the dangers of the Sierra. Accordingly, their
arrangements were made to set out after a week's preparation. Mr.
Duncan's equipments being nearly the same as those with which he had
started two years before, when his journey was so unfortunately
interrupted. Their destination now was somewhat different than what it
was then; their only object being to recover their lost children. Cole
had given such glowing descriptions of the country west of the Sierra
that they thought it probable they should settle there; still, this was
a minor consideration with them.

They reached the Arapahoe village in safety, where they found thirty of
their warriors ready to accompany them as a guard. Their love and
devotion to their chief prompted them to this disinterested act. They
were all well mounted on half-tamed prairie horses,--their swarthy
forms fantastically painted, and their heads and tunics adorned with
shells, beads, and feathers, which gave them a wild, grotesque, but not
unbecoming appearance. This was their gala costume, prepared after the
most approved Indian style, and France never looked upon her sovereign
with more pride when decked in his costliest regal vestments, than this
tribe of savages did upon these thirty warriors, that the whole village
had been laid under contribution to decorate in befitting pomp for this
occasion. It is unnecessary to follow them minutely as they progressed
in their journey. Suffice it that their guard protected them from the
depredations of other Indians, and at the same time kept them supplied
with meat and fish in abundance, cleared the path when obstructed, and
daily rendered invaluable service to the emigrants. On reaching the
Sierra, they were shown another pass by some Indians they met with,
which was less dangerous, although farther over, and quite as toilsome
in crossing.

Chapter Twenty-Third.

The Curate has become much attached to the Wanderers. Arrival of Mr.
and Mrs. Duncan's family, accompanied by a number of Arapahoes.
Whirlwind demands Jane in marriage. Duncan's feeling in the matter.
Jane refuses and the Indians take their departure. The curate gives an
account of the discoveries he made of a singular road, city, pyramid.
The marriage of Jane and Sidney. Prosperous condition of Mr. Duncan's
family. The lapse of twelve years. Change of their condition. Age
whitens their locks. Conclusion.

We will go back again to the Pacific valley. The good curate had formed
a strong attachment to our wanderers who had been so unceremoniously
thrown upon his hospitality, and he held out such strong inducements
for them to settle permanently there that Howe had taken some land, and
by the aid of Indians whom the curate had partially civilized and
taught to labor, cleared a few acres and built thereon a neat and
convenient house for the reception of Mr. Duncan, whose arrival he was
expecting daily.

Not long after this was completed, as they were all assembled on the
porch, a troop of wild looking horsemen emerged from the forest, and
galloped towards the house.

"It is a party out on a hunt," said the curate, "we have nothing to
fear from them. They will no doubt give us a call, and then hasten away
to the forest again."

Howe had been looking intently towards them from the first moment they
came in sight, as if in doubts as to who and what they were. The
approaching Indian's vision was keener than Howe's, for recognizing the
trapper, Whirlwind's joyous shout rang in the air in a prolonged "_tu

"The chief! it is the chief!" cried Howe, recognizing the sound, "he
has come to bring us joyful tidings."

"May it be so for your sakes," returned the curate, with apparent joy.

Approaching with their panting horses, the Indians were dismounted the
next moment, and shaking hands with the little group; but, when the
chief came to Jane, he caught her in his arms and gazed wistfully in
her clear blue eyes.

"They are all safe and close at hand," said he speaking rapidly,
anticipating her inquiry, "and I have come to claim the antelope. Will
she not now go with her chief?"

"I cannot tell you yet; my mother! father! let me see them," cried the
bewildered girl.

"They will be here very soon. The hill yonder is all that now hides
them from view," replied the chief, releasing her from his embrace.

"We will go to meet them," said Sidney who, in gratitude to the chief
for safely conducting his more than father and mother over the dreary
wilds, forgot to evince jealousy at the embrace to which the chief had
so unceremoniously treated himself.

"Yes, yes; let us go to meet them," responded Jane, eagerly.

"The white mother longs for her children," said the chief; "you shall
go to meet her. The antelope can ride,--will you?" he continued,
pointing to his horse, and before she had time to speak he caught her
in his arms, and with the agility of a chamois, sprang on the horse's
back, placing the half terrified girl before him, and then galloped
away to the forest in the direction whence he came, with the rest,
including the curate, following after them. Turning the curve of the
hill, they came suddenly upon the emigrants, who at sight of their
children, uttered an exclamation of joy, and ran forward, catching Jane
who was the first to come up, from the chief's arms, and who, with a
glad cry, sprang to meet a long embrace from her father and mother.

"Mother! father! Jane!" was all they could say, for their hearts were
too full to speak.

"I come! father! mother--I come!" cried Edward, rushing into their
arms, which were glad to hold him there again.

"Oh, God! I thank _Thee_, that _Thou_ hast restored me these lost
ones!" cried the mother fervently, still holding her recovered children
in her arms.

"Amen!" responded the curate, gently.

"Joy, for your arrival--joy for our escape and re-union," cried Sidney,
returning the warm embrace with which he was greeted.

"These children make children of us," said Howe, shaking Mr. and Mrs.
Duncan by the hand, while endeavoring to keep his joy at again seeing
them in becoming bounds, for the children's volubility was becoming

Lewis, Martin, Annie, and Benjamin were not behind the rest in their
greeting. Indeed they were extravagant in their joy.

The emigrants were now conducted to the dwelling prepared for them,
which gave them a pleasant surprise, for they had not anticipated
finding a house awaiting their arrival. The baggage was soon placed in
it, and by nightfall they were fairly domiciled in their new home.
Tired of being unsettled, Mr. Duncan, on examining the locality around
him, determined to make himself a permanent home, much to the
gratification of the curate, whose choice of society had been hitherto
necessarily limited, as there were but few settlers within twenty miles
of his station. Jones and Cole refused to take up their abode there.
Visions of gold mines constantly haunted them, and after a week's delay
they departed for their hidden treasure.

The chief now became impatient to return, and to the astonishment of
all, and great indignation of Sidney, formally demanded of Mr. Duncan
that he should give authority for him to marry Jane, in order that he
might be on his journey back to his people. This demand was so
extraordinary that the father did not know what to do, and sought Howe,
to see if he could throw any light on this singular freak of the chief.
A shade of sorrow settled on the brow of the trapper when Mr. Duncan
told him his errand. "The chief," he remarked, "has been making love in
his fashion to Jane ever since we have been away, greatly to the
annoyance of Sidney, who looks upon her as if he thought no one had a
right to make love to her but himself."

"How is it with Jane?" asked Mr. Duncan, anxiously.

"If I am not greatly deceived, she prefers the chief to Sidney. I am
not certain of it, however. She was too guarded in her looks for me to
ascertain positively."

"This is strange! What am I to do?"

"Not strange at all, Duncan," returned the trapper. "Do what is right,
and all will be well enough."

"The question then is, what is right?"

"Not a hard one, by any means, to answer. If she prefers him, and he
will abandon his savage habits, live and be civilized like other
people, let her take him by all means. He is a noble, generous fellow,
and we are under great obligations to him, and common gratitude demands
from us any consistent return."

"But this mixing of the races!--I must acknowledge I can but feel a
repugnance to it; but we will see what Jane says, and leave it all to

On approaching, they found her in earnest conversation with the chief,
and as they came up, they heard her say--"Do not ask me to leave them;
I feel as if a separation from all my kindred would be fatal to my
happiness. Your people are strangers to me; and though they would
undoubtedly, as you say, be kind to me, yet it would not be like my own
people. Their ways are not like ours; and though I could not live among
them, you could with ours."

"Whirlwind was cradled in the forest, and he is not a child to die in a
white man's wigwam," returned the chief. "If the antelope will not go
with him to his people, he must leave her;" and though the words were
slow and measured as they fell from his lips, his chest heaved
convulsively, and his eye was bent with intense light on her, as if he
would read the secret workings of her soul.

"Oh, I cannot, cannot go!" she said, extending her clasped hands
appealingly, as she raised her eyes towards him.

"Because you do not love as I do," said he, clasping her in a long and
close embrace, then releasing her with a single bitterly uttered
"Farewell! we may never meet again," bounded away, leaving the poor
girl alone to ponder on the strange conduct of the chief.

"She is better alone," said Howe, "let us away," and retreating, they
found the Arapahoes in commotion, and before they could rightly
comprehended the meaning of what had transpired, they formed into a
body, each one holding his horse by the halter, and at a signal from
the chief, were firmly mounted on their steeds. Waving their adieu to
their host, they were out of sight before Mr. Duncan and Howe were
conscious of their design.

"Poor fellow," said the trapper, "he has carried away a sad heart--an
inadequate return, indeed, for all he has done for us."

"I would willingly have had it otherwise, but it seems they were both
too strongly attached to customs and kindred among which they were born
and which have become a part of their being, to give them up for each

"Well, well," said Howe, "I have little faith in broken hearts; at
least what I have had was never strengthened by observation or
experience. It is all for the best, I suppose, but I liked the chief,
and feel as though I had parted from a brother."

While assembled together in a group a few evenings after, of which the
curate occupied a prominent position, our wanderers had been recounting
some of the wonders they had seen, among which Mr. Duncan related to
the curate the story of the Old Man of Lake Superior, and Howe gave
them a description of the ruins among the mountains. The curate
listened silently, but, evidently, with great interest to the recital
until its conclusion. He then commenced telling what he had seen:

"Last summer I was in Nacogdoches, an inland village of Texas, and
while transacting some business that had called me thither, I
incidentally heard a curious road spoken of, and much speculation was
entertained as to who could have been the builders. 'It never was built
by the Mexicans,' said one, who seemed both learned and gentlemanly,
'for had it been some record would have survived, and I am confident
there is none, for I have made the early annals of the country my sole
study for years, and must have found a record or something to throw
light upon such a costly and stupendous undertaking had it been built
by them.' This was enough to arouse my curiosity, for I had already
seen works of art still perfect, that were known to be older than any
erected by the inhabitants of this continent at the time of the
conquest; and, joining the group of gentlemen, learned that the road
referred to was a broad paved avenue leading west, and was said to
extend many hundred miles: so far indeed into the wilderness that its
termination was unknown. Rumor said it terminated at the Pacific Ocean.
My resolution was at once taken. I determined to return to the Pacific
valley by this route, for if there was such a road it would be
conferring an incalculable benefit on travellers to explore it. My
business completed, in company with four others, one of them being Don
Quavale, an amateur antiquarian, with his servant, Jose, and a man by
the name of Campbell, we set out. I had a servant, Diego, the same who
you see here every day. It was a small party for such an adventure, but
we were not aware of the dangers that lay before us, and we entered the
wilderness with light hearts."

"You followed it up, then?" said Howe; "bravo! you priests have nerve
as well as kind words, it seems."

"Yes: we followed it up," replied the curate, quietly. "Light hearted
and eager to explore the whole extent of this stupendous monument of a
lost people, we entered the wilderness, and soon struck the object of
our search. We examined it closely and found it about eighty feet wide
and paved with granite in slabs twenty feet long and ten wide, and were
evidently of great thickness. The whole road was covered with a soil,
made up of decayed leaves and branches sometimes, more than a foot in
thickness. Still we were enabled to follow the road without the
slightest difficulty, as it would not support a large growth of trees,
for the blocks of granite were so closely fitted against each other
that it precluded the possibility of their taking root between them.
Consequently they ran along the surface, and as soon as the branches
attained any large size the wind overturned them, leaving a broad
avenue through the tall forest trees. We followed this road through the
day; sometimes the ground had been raised, as was plainly visible from
the low lands on either side; then again it went through hills that had
been excavated, as they rose on either side in their original height,
giving the road the appearance of a broad defile between them. Towards
sunset of the fourth day we came to a cluster of what we at first
thought to be rocks overgrown with shrubs and moss, but which, on a
closer view, proved to be a large building in ruins. Removing the
accumulated soil we found it still perfect in some of its parts. One of
its doors in particular had its lintel of granite on which rested a
huge mass of fallen stone without displacing it. Passing inside this
door we entered a room perfect in all its proportions, being about
twenty feet square; but what excited us still more than the discovery
of the ruins was some beautiful hieroglyphics carved on one side of the
room directly beneath a human figure cut in relief and curiously
decorated, holding a sceptre in its hand.

"Observing a curious knob in one side of the room, Don Quavale took
hold of it roughly to see if it was a part of the wall, when to our
astonishment it clicked heavily, and an unseen door slowly swung open
revealing an inner room of the same size as the first, but different in
appearance. Having been kept closed and, as near as we could tell,
air-tight, it was still in its original appearance. The floor which was
entirely destitute of rubbish, was of beautiful white marble, smooth
and even as glass, while the sides were covered with paintings drawn on
the wall of the size of life, the colors still vivid and beautiful. The
characters drawn were men, birds and fishes, and sometimes a
nondescript animal--half eagle and half man--a perfect monster in
appearance. Overhead was a representation of the sun, the rays
emanating from the centre in flashing colors covered the surface and
finally died away in the softest possible tints of rose color. A more
perfect representation of the sun I never beheld, and as we gazed upon
it, it seemed as if we were contemplating some beautiful creation of an
artist of our own day rather than the remains of a people of whom we
know not even the name."

"What you have seen, exceeds in finish our discoveries," said Howe.

"Yes: we found there stranger things still," continued the curate.
"Ranged around three sides of the room, at regular intervals, were
knobs like the one on the door by which we entered, and on pressing one
with considerable force it slowly opened, and within we discovered a
small, low niche in which lay a corpse as perfect as if just deposited
there. It was that of a young woman with symmetrical form, dimpled
cheeks and flowing hair, decorated in rich habiliments of gorgeous
dyes, her waist encircled by a zone of diamonds, and her arms with
bracelets of precious stones. Wonder stricken at what we saw we gazed
in silence upon her, and while we gazed the body slowly crumbled away
and in half an hour it had dissolved in air leaving but a handful of
dust and the glittering gems that had decked her a bride of death, to
mark the spot where she lay. Turning another knob another door opened
like the previous ones, and in a niche before us lay a warrior in the
prime of manhood. He was very tall and muscular, a perfect Hercules in
proportions, with a broad, massive forehead and prominent features. He
was attired in a sort of uniform of curious workmanship. This
apparition vanished quicker than the other, owing probably, to the room
being better filled with fresh air. We had, without doubt, lighted on a
mausoleum of the lost people; and wishing to preserve the rest of the
niches for scientific investigation, we did not open any more. With
reverence we left the bodies of the builders of these ruins to their

"Proceeding onward we came, in two more days, to a high table land, on
which was a place known as Gran Quivira. It is now in ruins, but bears
the appearance of once having been a large populous city, regularly
laid out in streets at right angles. The city is about three miles
long, running from north-east, to north-west, and nearly a mile in
breadth. It is built of stone hewn and accurately fitted together. Some
of the houses are still standing, though the greater part of them are
thrown down. Entering one of these which exhibited signs of original
magnificence amidst the crumbling ruins around it, we found ourselves
in a capacious hall, the walls of which were covered with paintings of
which a faint tinge of distinct coloring was visible, but as the
figures had been cut in the wall before being colored they were easily
defined, and were similar to those we had found in the mausoleum two
days before. This room was so filled with rubbish, among which were the
dried bones and decayed carcasses of animals, that we were on the point
of quitting the disagreeable vicinity, when Campbell called our
attention to a stairway that descended to some place below. Descending
the steps with care--for the slabs of granite which composed them were
loosened and seemed ready to tumble down--we found ourselves in a room
entirely empty about eighteen feet square, the walls of which were
covered with figures in bas-relief and colored elaborately, the tints
being still vivid and quite fresh.

"We discovered on examination that we were on a level with the street,
and that time had accumulated a soil to the depth of many feet, hiding
the exterior of what had been, originally, the first floor, from view.
This room was also strewn with rubbish, but we saw enough of it to
suppose that the structure had been an imposing one when in the
possession of its builders. Leaving this structure, we followed some
fallen and shapeless masses of ruins until we came to a range of hills,
where we found a curious opening in them, which we soon ascertained to
be artificial, with the rock hewn away so as to give free egress from
within. Providing ourselves with torches, we penetrated this cavern,
and discovered it to be an ancient mine, with the implements of the
miners scattered around, as if the artisans had been suddenly
interrupted in their labors. There were crowbars quite like our own,
though not of iron, chisels, hammers, and a kind of axe more wieldy
than ours, but not unlike it. These implements of mining were black,
and all of the same kind of metal, but what metal it was, we could not
determine. We found also here vessels of pottery, beautiful in shape
and highly colored.[16]

      [16] Since the above was written, a gentleman who became
      acquainted with the above facts from the Curate, visited the spot
      and made other discoveries of importance, which he communicated
      to the Maryland Historical Society in an important document, to
      which the reader is referred.

"Returning from the hills, we came to a large building, which must have
been five or six stories high, of which half of the walls were thrown
down. On clambering over the blocks of granite, we found, by what
remained that it had been a guard-house, as there were port-holes in
the walls which were four feet in thickness. This building, like the
others we had seen, was made of hewn stone, smoothly cut and fitted
together without any cement. Indeed they needed none, for the thinnest
knife-blade could not have been inserted between them. To the north of
this guard-house we found a reservoir in the form of an ellipse, its
axis one hundred and fifty yards in length, its breadth at least one
hundred, and its depth about fifty feet, paved at the bottom, and built
up at the sides with hewn stone. At the northern side an aqueduct
entered it, and this we followed a long way, but not finding where it
terminated, and being too fatigued to pursue it farther, we
returned.[17] The width of this channel is about twelve feet, and ten in
depth, finished at the bottom and the sides like the reservoir.
Continuing our journey, we followed the road which led us a little
north of west. We often saw Indians entirely nude who fled from us, and
as we took the precaution of getting out of their vicinity as soon as
our horses could carry us, we were not molested by them. We saw nothing
further of interest, until we struck the desert through which the road
lay, and, for the first time, we found it difficult to follow, as the
desert was without vegetation, the dry sand covering the whole extent
for miles around, with an arid and even surface. We should, in all
probability, have lost ourselves in that trackless waste, had there not
been huge shapeless piles of stone at intervals, and we soon found that
on digging down near these, we came to the paved road, and that on
removing the sand from around one of these piles of stone, we came upon
unmistakable evidences that they had once formed a building in all
probability to refresh travellers while journeying over this barren

      [17] Within a year past the aqueduct has been traced forty miles,
      terminating at the banks of a beautiful stream, which now empties
      its waters into the Pecos, the mouth of the aqueduct being
      blocked up.

"Keeping in the track as near as possible, we came to the Colorado, and
crossing over on a raft we made for the purpose, we saw on the western
side, rising from the plain at a considerable distance, a curious
shaft, and we soon found that the road ran by it. It must have been six
or eight miles from the Colorado, for we rode two hours before coming
to it, and when we did our astonishment was overwhelming to find a
pyramid rising one hundred and twenty feet from its base. It was level
at the top, and about fifty feet square, and afforded an easy ascent on
the opposite side from which it leaned. This pyramid projected ten
degrees from the perpendicular. I am inclined to think it was not built
in that position, but has been thrown out of an erect construction by
some convulsion of nature which, at the same time, displaced and threw
down the top. This conclusion we arrived at unanimously on examining
the structure, and a mass of fallen stone that lay at the base on the
side towards which it leaned. These were in a pile, shelving from the
pyramid, looking as though but lately fallen from above. If we were
right in our conclusion, the structure must have been one hundred and
fifty feet high. The sand had accumulated about its base to a great
depth, a fact we ascertained by digging it away a few feet. To lay bare
the shaft to the base was a greater task than we were able to
accomplish, and we left it to be more thoroughly explored by some
future antiquarian.[18]

      [18] Early in the year 1853, a party of California explorers came
      across this same pyramid, but as they were not prepared to
      investigate it nothing new was elicited.

"It is impossible to describe the sensation we felt in standing before
this monument of the past--this proof of a once strong and powerful
people, who erected the structure. We knew that no European had ever
gazed on it before, and we almost expected to see the builders,
indignant at our intrusion, start up from the desert around, and drive
us from their shrines. Pursuing our journey, we found the road dotted
on either side, at intervals, with evidences of a once civilized
people; but nearly every vestige of peculiar interest about them had
been destroyed by time, save the bare blocks of granite, cut into
various forms to please the mysterious builders, all, all was gone! and
desolation had made their pleasant places her abode."

Twelve years have passed since Mr. Duncan and his family settled on the
California coast of the Pacific; and, in conclusion, let us look in
once more upon them and witness their prosperous condition.

In a neat and tastily arranged cottage sits a woman in the prime of
matronly beauty, with love and happiness beaming from her soft blue
eyes, as they wander in gratified pride from a fine boy some eight
years old, who stands at her side, to a man who sits reading by a
window that overlooks the beautiful landscape. This is the home of
Sidney and Jane, and they are now enjoying a life of contentment that
cannot fail to encircle their lives with a halo of bliss which gold can
never buy. They never recrossed the Sierra in search of the riches that
still lie buried in the mountains and desert, for the mere mention of
them, vividly recalls the recollection of the terrible sufferings they
endured in their wanderings through the wilds of the west. The rest of
Mr. Duncan's children are also happily settled near them, while the
trapper is an inhabitant of each cottage and the forest alternately, as
inclination dictates, and is supposed to be the most contented man in
the Pacific valley.

We said that twelve years had elapsed since our wanderers reached the
Pacific Valley--that is a short period of time, yet it is long enough
for events to transpire whose influences shall be felt for centuries to
come; long enough to develop the strength and resources of a continent.
Great is the change which civilization has made in that portion of the
west. The broad and almost interminable forests have yielded to the
woodman's axe; the streams and rivers, and even old Ocean itself, have
become transformed into channels of commerce and trade, and bear upon
their bosoms the auxiliaries of progress and science. The mountains and
valleys, where once nothing but the wild shouts of untutored savages
and the howls of beasts of prey broke the stillness of the dismal
solitude, are now vocal with the voice and bustle of civilization, as
in giant strides science and art triumph over the rough barriers, and
open avenues for the advancement of moral reform.

The changes have been equally advantageous to the prosperity of Mr.
Duncan, whose evening of life is surrounded with ease and wealth, while
peace and the love of his children render those years the most blissful
of an eventful lifetime. Everywhere throughout the Pacific border of
the Sierra Nevada, the indomitable spirit of enterprise and the
unchecked perseverance of Americanism are busy at work, and the _golden
results_ bid fair, in a few years to convert that auriferous region
into a granary of wealth and agricultural prosperity.






*Guy Mannering.
The Antiquary.
Rob Roy.
Black Dwarf; and Old Mortality.
The Heart of Mid-Lothian.
The Bride of Lammermoor; and A Legend of Montrose.
The Monastery.
The Abbott.
The Pirate.
The Fortunes of Nigel.
Peveril of the Peak.
Quentin Durward.
St. Ronan's Well.
The Betrothed; and The Talisman.
The Fair Maid of Perth.
Anne of Geierstein.
Count Robert of Paris; and Castle Dangerous.
Chronicles of the Canongate.

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    This is the best edition for the library or for general use
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with the Waverley Novels.

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    This edition contains the Fourth Series--Tales from French
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CHARLES DICKENS' COMPLETE WORKS. Author's Edition. 14 vols., with a
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Pickwick Papers.
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Old Curiosity Shop, and Reprinted Pieces.
Barnaby Rudge, and Hard Times.
*Martin Chuzzlewit.
Dombey and Son.
*David Copperfield.
Christmas Books, Uncommercial Traveller, and Additional Christmas Stories.
Bleak House.
Little Dorrit.
Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations.
Our Mutual Friend.
Edwin Drood, Sketches, Master Humphrey's Clock, etc., etc.

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    instinctively recognizes in connection with their truth to
    darkness."--_E. P. Whipple_.

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HUME'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND. From the invasion of Julius Cæsar to the
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author's last corrections and improvements; to which is prefixed a
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Notes, by Rev. H. H. MILMAN. Standard Edition. To which is added a
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Holiday Tour in Europe," etc. With 487 finely engraved illustrations,
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historic scenes and rural life of England and Wales. With Mr. Cook's
admirable descriptions of the places and the country, and the splendid
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season, and the sale will doubtless be very large. 4to. Cloth, extra,
gilt side and edges, $7.50; half calf, gilt, marbled edges, $10.00;
half morocco, full gilt edges, $10.00; full Turkey morocco, gilt edges,
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    This work, which is prepared in elegant style, and profusely
    illustrated, is a comprehensive description of England and Wales,
    arranged in convenient form for the tourist, and at the same time
    providing an illustrated guide-book to a country which Americans
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    this land which is so generously gifted by Nature and so full of
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    fortresses, delicious scenery, rock-bound coasts, and celebrated
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    been called into requisition to graphically illustrate its
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    highest style of the engraver's art, while the book itself is one
    of the most attractive ever presented to the American public.

    Its method of construction is systematic, following the most
    convenient routes taken by tourists, and the letter-press includes
    enough of the history and legend of each of the places described to
    make the story highly interesting. Its pages fairly overflow with
    picture and description, telling of everything attractive that is
    presented by England and Wales. Executed in the highest style of
    the printer's and engraver's art, "England, Picturesque and
    Descriptive," is one of the best American books of the year.

faithfully Engraved from the Originals, and Printed in Three Colors.
8vo. Cloth, per volume, $3.50; red cloth, extra, Roxburgh style, uncut
edges, $3.50; sheep, library style, $4.50; half Turkey morocco, $6.00.
Vols. I, II, and III now ready.

    The third volume embraces, without abridgment, the fifth and sixth
    volumes of the French edition, and covers one of the most
    interesting as well as the most anxious periods of the war,
    describing the operations of the Army of the Potomac in the East,
    and the Army of the Cumberland and Tennessee in the West.

    It contains full accounts of the battle of Chancellorsville, the
    attack, the monitors on Fort Sumter, the sieges and fall of
    Vicksburg and Port Hudson; the battles of Port Gibson and
    Champion's Hill, and the fullest and most authentic account of the
    battle of Gettysburg ever written.

                     *      *      *      *      *

    "The head of the Orleans family has put pen to paper with excellent
    result.... Our present impression is that it will form by far the
    best history of the American war."--_Athenæum, London._

                     *      *      *      *      *

    "We advise all Americans to read it carefully, and judge for
    themselves if 'the future historian of our war,' of whom we have
    heard so much, be not already arrived in the Comte de
    Paris."--_Nation, New York._

                     *      *      *      *      *

    "This is incomparably the best account of our great second
    revolution that has yet been even attempted. It is so calm, so
    dispassionate, so accurate in detail, and at the same time so
    philosophical in general, that its reader counts confidently on
    finding the complete work thoroughly satisfactory."--_Evening
    Bulletin, Philadelphia._

                     *      *      *      *      *

    "The work expresses the calm, deliberate judgment of an experienced
    military observer and a highly intelligent man. Many of its
    statements will excite discussion, but we much mistake if it does
    not take high and permanent rank among the standard histories of
    the civil war. Indeed that place has been assigned it by the most
    competent critics both of this country and abroad."--_Times,

                     *      *      *      *      *

    "Messrs. Porter & Coates, of Philadelphia, will publish in a few
    days the authorized translation of the new volume of the Comte de
    Paris' History of Our Civil War. The two volumes in French--the
    fifth and sixth--are bound together in the translation in one
    volume. Our readers already know, through a table of contents of
    these volumes, published in the cable columns of the _Herald_,
    the period covered by this new installment of a work remarkable in
    several ways. It includes the most important and decisive period of
    the war, and the two great campaigns of Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

    "The great civil war has had no better, no abler historian than the
    French Prince who, emulating the example of Lafayette, took part in
    this new struggle for freedom, and who now writes of events, in
    many of which he participated, as an accomplished officer, and one
    who, by his independent position, his high character and eminent
    talents, was placed in circumstances and relations which gave him
    almost unequalled opportunities to gain correct information and
    form impartial judgments.

    "The new installment of a work which has already become a classic
    will be read with increased interest by Americans because of the
    importance of the period it covers and the stirring events it
    describes. In advance of a careful review we present to-day some
    extracts from the advance sheets sent us by Messrs. Porter &
    Coates, which will give our readers a foretaste of chapters which
    bring back to memory so many half-forgotten and not a few hitherto
    unvalued details of a time which Americans of this generation at
    least cannot read of without a fresh thrill of excitement."

HALF-HOURS WITH THE BEST AUTHORS. With short Biographical and Critical

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Library Edition. Printed on fine laid and tinted paper. With
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smooth Russia, limp, round corners, in Russia case, per set, $25.00;
full seal grained Russia, limp, round corners, in Russia case to match,

    The excellent idea of the editor of these choice volumes has been
    most admirably carried out, as will be seen by the list of authors
    upon all subjects. Selecting some choice passages of the best
    standard authors, each of sufficient length to occupy half an hour
    in its perusal, there is here food for thought for every day in the
    year: so that if the purchaser will devote but one-half hour each
    day to its appropriate selection he will read through these six
    volumes in one year, and in such a leisurely manner that the
    noblest thoughts of many of the greatest minds will be firmly in
    his mind forever. For every Sunday there is a suitable selection
    from some of the most eminent writers in sacred literature. We
    venture to say if the editor's idea is carried out the reader will
    possess more and better knowledge of the English classics at the
    end of the year than he would by five years of desultory reading.

    They can be commenced at any day in the year. The variety of
    reading is so great, that no one will ever tire of these volumes.
    It is a library in itself.

THE POETRY OF OTHER LANDS. A Collection of Translations into English
Verse of the Poetry of Other Languages, Ancient and Modern. Compiled by
N. CLEMMONS HUNT. Containing translations from the Greek, Latin,
Persian, Arabian, Japanese, Turkish, Servian, Russian, Bohemian,
Polish, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese
languages. 12mo. Cloth, extra, gilt edges, $2.50; half calf, gilt,
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    "Another of the publications of Porter & Coates, called 'The Poetry
    of Other Lands,' compiled by N. Clemmons Hunt, we most warmly
    commend. It is one of the best collections we have seen, containing
    many exquisite poems and fragments of verse which have not before
    been put into book form in English words. We find many of the old
    favorites, which appear in every well-selected collection of
    sonnets and songs, and we miss others, which seem a necessity to
    complete the bouquet of grasses and flowers, some of which, from
    time to time, we hope to republish in the
    'Courier.'"--_Cincinnati Courier._

    "A book of rare excellence, because it gives a collection of choice
    gems in many languages not available to the general lover of
    poetry. It contains translations from the Greek, Latin, Persian,
    Arabian, Japanese, Turkish, Servian, Russian, Bohemian, Polish,
    Dutch, German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese languages.
    The book will be an admirable companion volume to any one of the
    collections of English poetry that are now published. With the full
    index of authors immediately preceding the collection, and the
    arrangement of the poems under headings, the reader will find it
    convenient for reference. It is a gift that will be more valued by
    very many than some of the transitory ones at these holiday
    times."--_Philadelphia Methodist._

the latest, and beyond doubt the best collection of poetry published.
Printed on fine paper and illustrated with thirteen steel engravings
and fifteen title pages, containing portraits of prominent American
poets and facsimiles of their handwriting, made expressly for this
book. 8vo. Cloth, extra, black and gold, gilt edges. $5.00; half calf,
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plush, padded side, nickel lettering, $14.00.

    "The editor shows a wide acquaintance with the most precious
    treasures of English verse, and has gathered the most admirable
    specimens of their ample wealth. Many pictures which have been
    passed by in previous collections hold a place of honor in the
    present volume, and will be heartily welcomed by the lovers of
    poetry as a delightful addition to their sources of enjoyment. It
    is a volume rich in solace, in entertainment, in inspiration, of
    which the possession may well be coveted by every lover of poetry.
    The pictorial illustrations of the work are in keeping with its
    poetical contents, and the beauty of the typographical execution
    entitles it to a place among the choicest ornaments of the
    library."--_New York Tribune._

    "Lovers of good poetry will find this one of the richest
    collections ever made. All the best singers in our language are
    represented, and the selections are generally those which reveal
    their highest qualities.... The lights and shades, the finer play
    of thought and imagination belonging to individual authors, are
    brought out in this way (by the arrangement of poems under
    subject-headings) as they would not be under any other system....
    We are deeply impressed with the keen appreciation of poetical
    worth, and also with the good taste manifested by the

    "Cyclopædias of poetry are numerous, but for sterling value of its
    contents for the library, or as a book of reference, no work of the
    kind will compare with this admirable volume of Mr. Coates. It
    takes the gems from many volumes, culling with rare skill and
    judgment."--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

over 500 poems carefully selected from the works of the best and most
popular writers for children; with nearly 200 illustrations. The most
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    "This seems to us the best book of poetry for children in
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    name another that deserves to be compared with this admirable
    compilation."--_Worcester Spy._

    "The special value of the book lies in the fact that it nearly or
    quite covers the entire field. There is not a great deal of good
    poetry which has been written for children that cannot be found in
    this book. The collection is particularly strong in ballads and
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    kinds; and Mr. Coates has shown good judgment in supplementing this
    department with some of the best poems of that class that have been
    written for grown people. A surer method of forming the taste of
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    richly illustrated and beautifully bound."--_Philadelphia Evening

    "A more excellent volume cannot be found. We have found within the
    covers of this handsome volume, and upon its fair pages, many of
    the most exquisite poems which our language contains. It must
    become a standard volume, and can never grow old or
    obsolete."--_Episcopal Recorder._

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF THOS. HOOD. With engravings on steel. 4 vols.,
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    Hood's verse, whether serious or comic--whether serene like a
    cloudless autumn evening or sparkling with puns like a frosty
    January midnight with stars--was ever pregnant with materials for
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    there was a deep vein of melancholy pathos running through his
    mirth, and even when his sun shone brightly its light seemed often
    reflected as if only over the rim of a cloud.

    Well may we say, in the words of Tennyson, "Would he could have
    stayed with us." for never could it be more truly recorded of any
    one--in the words of Hamlet characterizing Yorick--that "he was a
    fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."    D. M. MOIR.

OF DERBY. From the latest London edition, with all the author's last
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    "It must equally be considered a splendid performance; and for the
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    language."--_London Times._

    "The merits of Lord Derby's translation may be summed up in one
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    more closely allied to the original, and superior to any that has
    yet been attempted in the blank verse of our
    language."--_Edinburg Review._

THE WORKS OF FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS. Comprising the Antiquities of the Jews;
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History of the Arts and Sciences of the Ancients. By CHARLES ROLLIN.
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COOKERY FROM EXPERIENCE. A Practical Guide for Housekeepers in the
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Interleaved Edition. Cloth, extra, black and gold, $1.75.


The proof readings of our Comparative Edition have been gone over by so
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    The Comparative New Testament has been published by Porter &
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with two illustrations by George G. White. 12mo. Cloth, extra, black
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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.