Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Big Brother - A Story of Indian War
Author: Eggleston, George Cary, 1839-1911
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 Big Brother - A Story of Indian War" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



page images generously made available by the Kentuckiana Digital Library
(http://kdl.kyvl.org/)



      Images of the original pages are available through the
      Kentuckiana Digital Library. See
      http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=kyetexts;cc=kyetexts;xc=1&idno=B92-200-30752132&view=toc



THE BIG BROTHER

A Story of Indian War

by

GEORGE CARY EGGLESTON

Author of "How to Educate Yourself," Etc.

Illustrated



[Illustration: THE DOG CHARGE.]



New York
G. P. Putnam's Sons
Fourth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street
1875.

Copyright.
G. P. Putnam's Sons.
1875.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.
                                                           Page.
SINQUEFIELD                                                   7

CHAPTER II.
THE STORMING OF SINQUEFIELD                                  17

CHAPTER III.
SAM'S LECTURE                                                28

CHAPTER IV.
SAM FINDS IT NECESSARY TO THINK                              38

CHAPTER V.
SAM'S FORTRESS                                               46

CHAPTER VI.
SURPRISED                                                    61

CHAPTER VII.
CONFUSED                                                     67

CHAPTER VIII.
WEATHERFORD                                                  71

CHAPTER IX.
WEARY WAITING                                                83

CHAPTER X.
FIGHTING FIRE                                                93

CHAPTER XI.
IN THE WILDERNESS                                           104

CHAPTER XII.
AN ALARM AND A WELCOME                                      118

CHAPTER XIII.
JOE'S PLAN                                                  124

CHAPTER XIV.
THE CANOE FIGHT                                             130

CHAPTER XV.
THE BOYS ARE DRIVEN OUT OF THE ROOT FORTRESS                143

CHAPTER XVI.
WHERE IS JOE?                                               159

CHAPTER XVII.
A FAMINE                                                    163

CHAPTER XVIII.
WHICH ENDS THE STORY                                        173



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                           Page.

THE DOG CHARGE                                    _Frontispiece._

SAM'S PARTY                                                 20

"WE'S DUN LOS'--DAT'S WHA' WE IS"                           40

JUDIE ON THE RAFT                                           49

THE PERILOUS LEAP                                           83



THE BIG BROTHER.



CHAPTER I.

SINQUEFIELD.


In the quiet days of peace and security in which we live it is difficult
to imagine such a time of excitement as that at which our story opens,
in the summer of 1813. From the beginning of that year, the Creek
Indians in Alabama and Mississippi had shown a decided disposition to
become hostile. In addition to the usual incentives to war which always
exist where the white settlements border closely upon Indian territory,
there were several special causes operating to bring about a struggle at
that time. We were already at war with the British, and British agents
were very active in stirring up trouble on our frontiers, knowing that
nothing would so surely weaken the Americans as a general outbreak of
Indian hostilities. Tecumseh, the great chief, had visited the Creeks,
too, and had urged them to go on the war path, threatening them, in the
event of their refusal, with the wrath of the Great Spirit. His appeals
to their superstition were materially strengthened by the occurrence of
an earthquake, which singularly enough, he had predicted, threatening
that when he returned to his home he would stamp his foot and shake
their houses down. Their own prophets, Francis and Singuista, had
preached war, too, telling the Indians that their partial adoption of
civilization, and their relations of friendship with the whites, were
sorely displeasing to the Great Spirit, who would surely punish them if
they did not immediately abandon the civilization and butcher the
pale-faces. Francis predicted, also, that in the coming struggle no
Indians would be killed, while the whites would be completely
exterminated. All this was promised on condition that the Indians should
become complete savages again, quitting all the habits of industry and
thrift which they had been learning for some years past, and fighting
mercilessly against all whites, sparing none.

All these things combined to bring on the war, and during the spring
several raids were made by small bodies of the Indians, in which they
were pretty severely punished by the whites. Finally a battle was fought
at Burnt-corn, in July 1813, and this was the signal for the breaking
out of the most terrible of all Indian wars,--the most terrible, because
the savages engaged in it had learned from the whites how to fight, and
because many of their chiefs were educated half-breeds, familiar with
the country and with all the points of weakness on the part of the
settlers. Stockade forts were built in various places, and in these the
settlers took refuge, leaving their fields to grow as they might and
their houses to be plundered and burned whenever the Indians should
choose to visit them. The stockades were so built as to enclose several
acres each, and strong block houses inside, furnished additional
protection. Into these forts there came men, women, and children, from
all parts of the country, each bringing as much food as possible, and
each willing to lend a hand to the common defence and the common
support.

On the 30th of August, the Indians attacked Fort Mims, one of the
largest of the stockade stations, and after a desperate battle destroyed
it, killing all but seventeen of the five hundred and fifty people who
were living in it. The news of this terrible slaughter quickly spread
over the country, and everybody knew now that a general war had begun,
in which the Indians meant to destroy the whites utterly, not sparing
even the youngest children.

Those who had remained on their farms now flocked in great numbers to
the forts, and every effort was made to strengthen the defences at all
points. The men, including all the boys who were large enough to point a
gun and pull a trigger, were organized into companies and assigned to
port-holes, in order that each might know where to go to do his part of
the fighting whenever the Indians should come. Even those of the women
who knew how to shoot, insisted upon being provided with guns and
assigned to posts of duty. There was not only no use in flinching, but
every one of them knew that whenever the fort should be attacked the
only question to be decided was, "Shall we beat the savages off, or
shall every man woman and child of us be butchered?" They could not run
away, for there was nowhere to run, except into the hands of the
merciless foe. The life of every one of them was involved in the defence
of the forts, and each was, therefore, anxious to do all he could to
make the defense a successful one. Their only hope was in desperate
courage, and, being Americans, their courage was equal to the demand
made upon it. It was not a civilized war, in which surrenders, and
exchanges of prisoners, and treaties and flags of truce, or even
neutrality offered any escape. It was a savage war, in which the Indians
intended to kill all the whites, old and young, wherever they could find
them. The people in the forts knew this, and they made their
arrangements accordingly.

Now if the boys and girls who read this story will get their atlases and
turn to the map of Alabama, they will find some points, the relative
positions of which they must remember if they wish to understand fully
the happenings with which we have to do. Just below the junction of the
Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, on the east side of the stream, they will
find the little town of Tensaw, and Fort Mims stood very near that
place. The peninsula formed by the two rivers above their junction is
now Clarke County, and almost exactly in its centre stands the village
of Grove Hill. A mile or two to the north-east stood Fort Sinquefield.
Fort White was several miles further west, and Fort Glass, afterwards
called Fort Madison, stood fifteen miles south, at a point about three
miles south of the present village of Suggsville. On the eastern side of
the Alabama river is the town of Claiborne, and at a point about three
miles below Claiborne the principal events of this story occurred. It
will not hurt you, boys and girls, to learn a little accurate geography,
by looking up these places before going on with the story, and if I were
your schoolmaster, instead of your story teller, I should stop here to
advise you always to look on the map for every town, river, lake,
mountain or other geographical thing mentioned in any book or paper you
read. I would advise you, too, if I were your schoolmaster, to add up
all the figures given in books and newspapers, to see if the writers
have made any mistakes; and it is a good plan too, to go at once to the
dictionary when you meet a word you do not quite comprehend, or to the
encyclopædia or history, or whatever else is handy, whenever you read
about anything and would like to know more about it. I say I should stop
here to give you some such advice as this, if I were your schoolmaster.
As I am not, however, I must go on with my story instead.

Within a mile or two of Fort Sinquefield lived a gentleman named
Hardwicke. He was a widower with three children. Sam, the oldest of the
three, was nearly seventeen; Tommy was eleven, and a little girl of
seven years, named Judith, but called Judie, was the other. Mr.
Hardwicke was a quiet, studious man, who had come to Alabama from
Baltimore, not many years before, and since the death of his wife he had
spent most of his time in his library, which was famous throughout the
settlement on account of the wonderful number of books it contained.
There were hardly any schools in Alabama in those days, and Mr.
Hardwicke, being a man of education and considerable wealth, gave up
almost the whole of his time to his children, teaching them in doors and
out, and directing them in their reading. It was understood that Sam
would be sent north to attend College the next year, and meantime he had
become a voracious reader. He read all sorts of books, and as he
remembered and applied the things he learned from them, it was a common
saying in the country round about, that "Sam Hardwicke knows pretty
nearly everything." Of course that was not true, but he knew a good deal
more than most of the men in the country, and better than all, he knew
how very much there was for him yet to learn. A boy has learned the very
best lesson of his life when he knows that he really does not know much;
it is a lesson some people never learn at all. But books were not the
only things Sam Hardwicke was familiar with. He could ride the worst
horses in the country and shoot a rifle almost as well as Tandy Walker
himself, and Tandy, as every reader of history knows, was the most
famous rifleman, as well as the best guide and most daring scout in the
whole south-west. Sam had hunted, too, over almost every inch of
country within twenty miles around, trudging alone sometimes for a week
or a fortnight before returning, and in this way he had learned to know
the distances, the directions, and the nature of the country lying
between different places,--a knowledge worth gaining by anybody, and
especially valuable to a boy who lived in a frontier settlement. He was
strong of limb and active as he was strong, and his "book knowledge," as
the neighbors called it, served him many a good turn in the woods, when
he was beset by difficulties.

Sam's father was one of the very last of the settlers to go into a fort.
He remained at home as long as he could, and went to Fort Sinquefield at
last, only when warned by an Indian who for some reason liked him, that
he and his children's lives were in imminent danger. That was on the
first of September, and when the Hardwicke family, black and white, were
safely within the little fortress, there remained outside only two
families, namely, those of Abner James and Ransom Kimball, who
determined to remain one more night at Kimball's house, two miles from
Sinquefield. That very night the Indians, under Francis the prophet,
burned the house, killing twelve of the inmates. Five others escaped,
and one of them, Isham Kimball, who was then a boy of sixteen,
afterwards became Clerk of Clarke County, where he was still living in
1857.



CHAPTER II.

THE STORMING OF SINQUEFIELD.


When the news of the massacre at Kimball's reached Fort Glass, a
detachment of ten men was sent out to recover the bodies, which they
brought to Fort Sinquefield for burial. The graves were dug in a little
valley three or four hundred yards from the fort, and all the people
went out to attend the funeral. The services had just come to an end
when the cry of "Indians! Indians!" was raised, and a body of warriors,
under the prophet Francis, dashed down from behind a hill, upon the
defenceless people, whose guns were inside the fort. The first impulse
of every one was to catch up the little children and hasten inside the
gates, but it was manifestly too late. The Indians were already nearer
the fort than they, and were running with all their might, brandishing
their knives and tomahawks, and yelling like demons.

There seemed no way of escape. Sam Hardwicke took little Judie up in his
arms, and, quick as thought calculated the chances of reaching the fort.
Clearly the only way in which he could possibly get there, was by
leaving his little sister to her fate and running for his life. But Sam
Hardwicke was not the sort of boy to do anything so cowardly as that.
Abandoning the thought of getting to the fort, he called to Tom to
follow him, and with Judie in his arms, he ran into a neighboring
thicket, where the three, with Joe, a black boy of twelve or thirteen
years who had followed them, concealed themselves in the bushes. Whether
they had been seen by the Indians or not, they had no way of knowing,
but their only hope of safety now lay in absolute stillness. They
crouched down together and kept silence.

"What's we gwine to do here, I wonder," whispered the black boy. "Whar
mus' we go, Mas Sam?"

Sam did not answer. He was too much absorbed in studying the situation
to talk or even to listen. The Indians were coming down upon the white
people from every side, and the only wonder was that Sam's little party
had managed to find a gap in their line big enough to escape through.

"Be patient, Joe," said little Judie, in the calmest voice possible.
"Brother Sam will take care of us. Give him time. He always does know
what to do."

"Be still, Joe," said Sam. "If you talk that Indian'll see us," pointing
to one not thirty steps distant, though Joe had not yet seen him.

A terrified "ugh!" was all the reply Joe could make.

Meantime the situation of the fort people was terrible. Cut off from the
gates and unarmed, there seemed to be nothing for them to do except to
meet death as bravely and calmly as they could. A young man named Isaac
Harden happened to be near the gates, however, on horseback, and
accompanied by a pack of about sixty hounds. And this young man, whose
name has barely crept into a corner of history, was both a hero and a
military genius, and he did right then and there, a deed as brilliant
and as heroic as any other in history. Seeing the perilous position of
the fort people, he raised himself in his stirrups and waving his hat,
charged the savages _with his pack of dogs_, whooping and yelling after
the manner of a huntsman, and leading the fierce bloodhounds right into
the ranks of the infuriated Indians. The dogs being trained to chase and
seize any living thing upon which their master might set them, attacked
the Indians furiously, Harden encouraging them and riding down group
after group of the bewildered savages. Charging right and left with his
dogs, he succeeded in putting the Indians for a time upon the defensive,
thus giving the white people time to escape into the fort. When all were
in except Sam's party and a Mrs. Phillips who was killed, Harden began
looking about him for a chance to secure his own safety. His impetuosity
had carried him clear through the Indian ranks, and the savages, having
beaten the dogs off, turned their attention to the young cavalier who
had balked them in the very moment of their victory. They were between
him and the gates, hundreds against one. His dogs were killed or
scattered, and he saw at a glance that there was little hope for him.
The woods behind him were full of Indians, and so retreat was
impossible. Turning his horse's head towards the gates, he plunged spurs
into his side, and with a pistol in each hand, dashed through the savage
ranks, firing as he went. Blowing a blast upon his horn to recall those
of his dogs which were still alive, he escaped on foot into the fort,
just in time to let the gate shut in the face of the foremost Indian.
His horse, history tells us, was killed under him, and he had five
bullet holes through his clothes, but his skin was unbroken.

[Illustration: SAM'S PARTY.]

Francis and his followers were balked but not beaten. Retiring for a few
minutes behind the hill, they rallied and came again to the assault,
more furiously than ever. Their savage instincts were thoroughly aroused
by the unexpected defeat they had sustained in the very moment of their
victory, and they were determined now to take the fort at any cost.
Their plan of attack showed the skill of their leader, who was really a
man of considerable ability in spite of his fanatical belief in his own
prophetic gifts. He avoided both the errors usually committed by Indian
leaders in storming fortified places. He refused, on the one hand, to
let his men waste their powder and their time in desultory firing, and,
on the other, he decided not to risk everything on the hazard of a
single assault. His plan was to take the fort by storm, but the storming
was to be done systematically. Dividing his force into two parts, he
sent one to the attack, and held the other back in the hope that the
first would gain a position so near the stockade as to make the assault
of the second, led by himself, doubly sure of success. The plan was a
good one, without doubt, and no man was better qualified than Francis to
carry it out.

When the storming party came, the people in the fort were ready for it.
Counting out the women and children, their numbers were not large, but
they were a brave and determined set of men and boys, who knew very well
in what kind of a struggle they were engaged. They reserved their fire
until the Indians were within thirty yards of the fort, and then
delivered it as rapidly as they could, taking care to waste none of it
by random or careless shooting. The fort consisted, as all the border
fortifications did, of a simple stockade, inside of which was a
block-house for the protection of the women and children, and designed
also as a sort of "last ditch," in which a desperate resistance could be
made, even after the fort had been carried. The stockade was made of the
trunks of pine-trees set on end in the ground, close together, but
pierced at intervals with port-holes, through which the men of the
garrison could fire. Such a stockade afforded an excellent protection
against the bullets and the arrows of the Indians, and gave its
defenders a great advantage over the assailing force, which must, of
course, be exposed to a galling fire from the men behind the barriers.
As the stockade was about fifteen feet high, climbing over it was almost
wholly out of the question, and the only way to take the fort was to
rush upon it with fence rails, stop up the port-holes immediately in
front, and keep so close to the stockade as to escape the fire from
points to the right and left, while engaged in cutting down the timber
barrier. If the Indians could do this, their superior numbers would
enable them to rush in through the opening thus made, and then the
block-house would be the only refuge left to the white people. The
block-house was a building made of very large timbers, hewed square,
laid close upon each other and notched to an exact fit at the ends. It
had but one entrance, and that was near the top. This could be reached
only by a ladder, and should the Indians gain access to the fort, the
whites would retire, fighting, to this building, and when all were in,
the ladder would be drawn in after them. From the port-holes of the
block-house a fierce fire could be delivered, and as the square timbers
were not easily set on fire, a body of Indians must be very determined
indeed, if they succeeded in taking or destroying a block-house. At Fort
Mims, however, they had done so, burning the house over the heads of the
inmates.

The reader will understand, from this description of the fort, how
possible it was for the people within it to withstand a very determined
attack, and to inflict heavy loss upon the savages, without suffering
much in their turn. Francis's men charged furiously upon the silent
stockade, but were sent reeling back as soon as they had come near
enough for the riflemen within to fire with absolute accuracy of aim.
Then the second body, under Francis himself, charged, but with no
better success. A pause followed, and another charge was made just
before nightfall.

This time some of the savages succeeded in reaching the stockade and
stopping up some of the port-holes. They cut down a part of the pickets
too, and had their friends charged again at once, the fort would
undoubtedly have been carried. As it was, Francis saw fit to draw off
his men, for the time at least, and retire beyond the hill. What was now
to be done? The attack had been repulsed, but it might be renewed at any
moment. The Indians had suffered considerably, while the casualties
within the fort were limited to the loss of one man and one boy. But the
obstinate determination of Francis was well known, and it was certain
that he had not finally abandoned his purpose of taking the little fort.
He had already demonstrated his ability to carry the place, and it was,
at the least, likely that he would come again within twenty-four hours,
probably with a larger force, and should he do so, the little garrison
was not in condition to repel his attack. To remain in the fort,
therefore, was certain destruction; but the country was full of savages,
and to attempt a march to Fort Glass, fifteen miles away, which was the
nearest available place, the other forts being difficult to reach, was
felt to be almost equally hazardous. A council was held, and it was
finally determined that the perilous march to Fort Glass must be
undertaken at all hazards. Accordingly, not long after nightfall the
whole garrison, men, women and children, stealthily left the fort and
silently crept away to the south.

Sam had seen the dog charge and the escape of the whites into the fort.

"What a fool I was!" he exclaimed, "not to stay where I was! We might
have got in with the rest of them."

"Why can't we go to de fort now, or leastways, as soon as de Injuns goes
away?" asked Joe.

"They ain't going away," said Sam. "They're going to storm the
fort,--look, they're coming right here for a starting-point, and 'll be
on top of us in a minute. Come!--don't make any noise, but follow me.
Crawl on your hands and knees, and don't raise your heads. Look out for
sticks. If you break one, the Indians 'll hear it."

"Mas' Sam--dey's Injuns ahead'n us an' a-comin right torge us too. Look
dar!"

Sam looked, and saw a body of Indians just in front of him coming to
reinforce the others. He and his friends were cut off between two bodies
of savages.

"Lie down and be still," he whispered. "It's all we can do--and I'm to
blame for it all!"



CHAPTER III.

SAM'S LECTURE.


The people of the fort made no search for Sam and his companions; not
because they cared nothing for them, but simply because they believed
them certainly dead. Mr. Hardwicke, himself, had seen Sam start with
little Judie towards the fort, before the dog charge was made, and as
neither the boys nor Judie had ever reached the gates, he had no doubt
whatever that his three children were slain, as was Mrs. Phillips, the
only other person who had failed to get inside the stockade. Mr.
Hardwicke wished to go out in search of their bodies, but was overruled
by his companions, who, knowing that the savages were still in the
immediate vicinity, thought it simply a reckless and unnecessary risk,
to go hunting for the bodies of their friends hundreds of yards away,
and immediately in front of the place at which the Indians were last
seen. The idea was abandoned, therefore, and the fort party marched away
in the darkness of a cloudy night, towards Fort Glass. Leaving them to
find their way if they can, let us return to Sam and his little band.
Seeing the Indians coming towards them, they lay down in the high weeds.
The savages hurrying forward to reinforce their friends, passed within a
few feet of the young people, but did not see them. The storming of the
fort then began, and after watching the evolutions of the Indians for
some time, Sam said:

"We mustn't stay here. Those red skins are working around this way, and 'll
find us. Crawl on your hands and knees, all of you, and follow me."

"Whar's ye gwine to, Mas' Sam?" asked Joe.

"_Sh, sh_," said Judie. "Don't talk Joe, but do as Brother Sam tells
you. Don't you know he always knows what's best? Besides, maybe he
hasn't quite found out where he's going yet, himself."

But Joe was not as confident of Sam's genius for doing the right thing
as Judie was, and so, after crawling for some distance, he again broke
silence.

"Miss Judie."

"What do you want, Joe?"

"Does _you_ know whar Mas' Sam's a-takin' us to, an' what he's gwine to
do when he gits dar?"

"No, of course I don't."

"How you know den, dat he's doin' de bes' thing?"

But the conversation was terminated by a word from Sam, who said, in a
whisper,

"Joe, I'll tell you _where we're going if you keep talking_."

"Whar, Mas' Sam?"

"Into the hands of the Indians. Keep your mouth shut, if you don't want
your hair lifted off your head."

As the black boy certainly did not want his hair cut Indian fashion, he
became silent at once.

When they had travelled in this way until they could no longer hear the
yells of the Indians and the popping of guns at the fort, Sam called a
halt. It was now nearly midnight.

"Here is a good place to spend the rest of the night," he said, "and we
must be as still as we can. We can stay here till to-morrow night, and
then we must try to get to Fort Glass. It's about twelve or thirteen
miles from here."

"Le's go on now, Mas' Sam; I'se afear'd to stay here," said the black
boy.

"We can't," said Sam. "I got scratched in the foot with a stray bullet,
just as we went into the thicket there at the fort, and I can't walk. I
am a little faint and must lie down."

At this little Judie, who fairly idolized Sam, and felt perfectly safe
from Indians and everything else when he was with her, was disposed to
set up a wail of sorrow and fright. If poor Sam were wounded, he might
die, she thought, and the thought was too much for her.

Sam soothed her, however, and the poor, tired little girl was soon fast
asleep in his arms.

"Bring some moss, boys," he said to his companions, "and make a bed for
Judie here by this log."

When he had laid her down, he drew off his shoe and wrapped the wounded
foot in some of the long gray moss which hangs in great festoons from
the trees of that region. Joe, with the true negro genius for sleeping,
was already snoring at the foot of a tree. Sam quietly called Tom to his
side.

"Tom," said he, "my foot is bleeding pretty badly, and I can't see till
morning to do anything for it. I have wrapped it up in moss, stuffing
the softest parts into the wound, and that may stop it after a while.
But I may not be able to travel to-morrow night, and if I can't you must
leave me here and try to find your way to Fort Glass, with Judie. You
must remember that her life will depend on you, and try to do your duty
without flinching. Don't try to travel in the daytime. Go on to the
south as fast as you can of nights, keeping in the woods and thickets,
and as soon as you see a streak of gray in the sky find a good
hiding-place and stop. You can get some corn and some sweet potatoes out
of any field, but you must eat them raw, as it wont do to make a fire.
Now go to sleep. I may be able to travel myself, but if I shouldn't,
remember you are a brave man's son, and must do your duty as a
Hardwicke should." And with that he shook the little fellow's hand.

After a time Tom, overcome by weariness, fell asleep, but Sam remained
awake all night, trying to staunch the flow of blood from his foot. He
knew that if he could go on with the others their chance of safety would
be vastly greater than without him, and so he was disposed to leave no
effort untried to be in a fit condition to travel the next night. When
morning came Sam called Tom and Joe, and directed them to examine his
wound, into which he could not see very well.

"Is the blood of a bright red, as it comes out, or a dark red?" he
asked.

"Bright," they both said.

"Then it comes from an artery," he replied. "Are you sure it is bright
red?"

The boys were not quite sure.

"Does it come in a steady stream or in spurts?" he asked.

"It spurts, and stops and spurts again," said Tom.

"It is an artery, then," said Sam. "Look and see if you can find the
place it comes from."

The boys made a careful examination and at last found the artery, a
small one, which was cut only about half way across.

"All right," said Sam. "If that's the case, I think I know how to stop
the blood. Put your finger in, and _break the artery clear in two_".

"O Sam, then you'll bleed to death," said Tom.

"No I won't. Do as I tell you."

"Let me cut it, then. It wont hurt you so much."

"No, no, no," cried Sam, staying his hand. "Don't cut it. Tear it, I
tell you, and be quick."

Tom tore it, and the blood stopped almost immediately. Sam then bound
the foot up with strips of cloth torn from his clothing, and as he did
so said:

"Now I'll tell you both all about this so that you'll know what to do
another time. If you know only _what_ to do, you may forget; but if you
know _why_, you'll remember. The blood comes out from the heart to all
parts of the body in arteries, and when it leaves the heart it is bright
red, because it is clean and pure. Your heart is a sort of force-pump,
and every time it beats it forces the blood all over you. The arteries
fork and branch out in every direction, until they terminate in
millions of little veins smaller than the finest hairs, and these
running together make bigger veins, through which the blood is carried
to the lungs. In the veins it flows steadily, because the _capillary_
veins, the ones like hairs, are so small that the spurts can't be felt
beyond them. The blood in the veins is thick and dark, because it has
taken up all the impurities from the system; but when it gets to the
lungs your breath takes up all these and carries them off, leaving the
blood pure again for another round. Now the arteries are long elastic
tubes, that is to say, they will stretch a little, and fly back again,
if you pull them, and when one is cut nearly but not quite off, the
contraction keeps it wide open. If it is cut or torn entirely in two,
the end draws back, and nine times in ten, if the artery is a small one,
the drawing back shuts the end up entirely and the blood stops. But it
is better to tear it than to cut it, because when torn the edges are
jagged and it shrivels up more. I don't quite understand why, myself,
but that is what the surgical books say. When anybody is hurt and
bleeding badly, the first thing to do is to find out whether it is an
artery or a vein that's cut. If the blood is bright and comes out in
spurts, it's an artery. If it is dark, and flows steadily, it's a vein.
If it's an artery and isn't cut quite in two, tear it in two. If that
don't stop it, you must make a knot in a handkerchief and then press
your finger above the cut in different places till you find where the
artery is by the blood stopping. Then put the knot on that place and tie
the handkerchief around the limb. You can stop a vein in the same way
and more easily, but if it's a vein you must tie the handkerchief so
that the cut place will be between it and the heart. You see the blood
comes from the heart in the arteries, and goes back towards the heart in
the veins, and so to stop an artery you tie inside, and to stop a vein
outside of the cut place."

I think it altogether probable that Master Sam would have gone into
quite a lecture on anatomy and minor surgery, if little Judie had not
waked up just then complaining of hunger. What he told the boys,
however, is well worth remembering. He took little Judie on his lap and
sent the two boys out to find a field of potatoes or corn. When they
came back all four made a breakfast of raw sweet potatoes, drinking
water which Tom brought in his wool hat from a creek not very far away.
Sam grew stronger during the day, and at night the party set out on
their way to Fort Glass. Sam's foot was not painful, but he was afraid
of starting the blood again, and so he held it up, walking with a rude
crutch which he had made during the day.



CHAPTER IV.

SAM FINDS IT NECESSARY TO THINK.


It was twelve miles from their first encampment to Fort Glass, and if
Sam had been strong and well, and the way open, they might easily have
made the journey before morning, by carrying little Judie a part of the
way. As it was, they had to go through the thickest woods to avoid
Indians, and must move cautiously all the time, as they could never know
when they might stumble upon a party of savages around a camp-fire, or
sleeping under a tree. Those of my readers who live in the far South
know what thick woods are in that part of the country, but others may
not. The trees grow as close together as they can, and the underbrush
chokes up the space between them pretty effectually. Then the great
vines of various kinds wind themselves in and out until in many places
they literally stop the way so that a strong man with an axe could not
go forward a hundred feet in a week. In other places the thick cane
makes an equally impenetrable barrier, and Sam needed all his knowledge
of the forest to enable him to work his way southward at night through
such woods as those. The little party of wanderers sometimes found
themselves apparently walled in in the pitchy darkness, with no possible
way out but Sam's instinct, as he called it, which was simply his
ability to remember the things he had learned, and to put two facts
together to find out a third, always extricated them. Once they found
themselves in a swamp, where the water was about eight inches deep. The
underbrush, canes and vines made it impossible for them to see any great
distance in any direction.

"Oh, I know we will never get out of here," whined poor little Judie,
ready to sink down in the water.

"Yes we will, lady bird," said Sam cheerily. "What's the good of having
a big brother if he can't take care of you? Tell me that, will you?
Keep your courage up, little girl, I think I know where we are. Let me
think."

"I know wha' we is. Mas' Sam," said Joe.

"Where, Joe," asked Sam, incredulously.

"We'se dun' los',--dat's wha' we is," replied Joe.

Sam laughed.

"I know more than that," said Tom, "I know _where_ we're lost."

"Wha', Mas' Tom?" cried Joe, eagerly.

"In a swamp," said Tom.

"And I know what swamp," said Sam, "which is better still. This swamp is
the low grounds of a little creek, and I've been in it before to-night.
I don't know just which way to go to get out, because I don't know just
what part of the swamp we're in. But if my foot was well I'd soon find
out."

"How, Mas' Sam?"

"I'd climb that sweet gum and look for landmarks."

"Lan' marks? what's dem, Mas' Sam? will dey bite?"

"No, Joe, I mean I would look around and find something or other to
steer by,--a house an open field or something."

"I kin climb, Mas' Sam," replied Joe, "an' I'll be up dat dar tree in
less'n no time."

[Illustration: "WE 'S DUN LOS'--DATS WHAT WE IS."]

And up the tree he went as nimbly as any squirrel might. As he went up,
Sam cautioned him to make no noise, and not to shout, but to look around
carefully, and then to come down and tell what he had seen.

"I see a big openin'," said Joe, when he reached the ground again, "an'
nigh de middle uv it dey's a big grove, wid a littler one jis' off to de
left."

"Yes," said Sam, "I thought you'd see that. That's where Watkins's house
stood: now which way is it?"

"Which-a-way's what, Mas' Sam?"

"The opening with the groves in it."

"I 'clar' I dunno, Mas' Sam."

It had not entered Joe's head to mark the direction, and so he had to
climb the tree again. In going up and coming down, however, he wound
around the tree two or three times and was no wiser when he returned to
the ground than before he began his ascent.

"Look, Joe," said Sam. "Do you see that bright star through the trees?"

"De brightest one, Mas' Sam?"

"Yes."

"Yes, I sees it."

"Well, climb the tree, and when you get to the top, turn your face
towards that star. Then see which way the opening is, and remember
whether it is straight ahead of you, behind you, or to the right or
left."

Joe went up the tree again and this time managed to bring down the
information that when he looked at the star the opening was on his left.

With the knowledge of locality and direction thus gained, Sam was not
long in finding his way to firm ground again, and as soon as he did so
he selected a hiding-place for the day, as the morning was now at hand.

The next night they had fewer difficulties, the woods through which they
had to pass being freer from undergrowth than those they had already
traversed, and when the third morning broke they were within a mile or
two of Fort Glass. Sam thought at first of pushing on at once to the
fort, but, seeing "Indian sign" in the shape of some smouldering fires
near a spring, he abandoned the undertaking until night should come
again, and hid his little company in the woods. Something to eat was the
one immediate necessity. They were all nearly famished, and neither corn
nor sweet potatoes were to be found anywhere in the vicinity. Sam
directed the boys to bring some rushes from the creek bottoms, and
peeling these, he and his companions ate the pith, which is slightly
succulent and in a small degree nourishing. Sam had learned this fact by
accident while out hunting one day, and Sam took care never to forget
anything which might be useful. Towards night, when the rushes failed to
satisfy their hunger, Sam was puzzling himself over the problem of
getting food, when Tom asked him if he knew the name of a singular tree
he had seen while out after rushes.

"It has the biggest leaves I ever saw," he said, "and they all grow
right out of its top. Some of 'em are six feet long, and they've got
folds in 'em. There ain't any limbs to the tree at all."

"Where did you see that?" asked Sam eagerly.

"Right over there, about a hundred yards."

"Good! It's palmetto. I didn't know there was one this far from the sea
though. Here, take my big knife and you and Joe go and cut out as much
as you can of the soft part just where the leaves come out. It's what
they call palmetto cabbage, and it's very good to eat too, I can tell
you."

The boys, after receiving minute instructions, went to the palmetto-tree
and brought away several pounds of the terminal bud. On this the little
company made a hearty meal, finding the "cabbage," as it is called, a
well-flavored, juicy and tender kind of white vegetable substance, very
nourishing and as palatable as cocoanut, which it closely resembles in
flavor. Storing what was left in their pockets, they began to prepare
for their night's journey to the fort, which they hoped to reach within
an hour or two. They were just on the point of starting when a party of
Indians, under Weatherford, the great half-breed chief, who was the life
and soul of the war, rode across a neighboring field, and settled
themselves for supper within a dozen yards of Sam's camp. The sky was
overcast with clouds, and so night fell even more quickly than it
usually does in Southern latitudes, where there is almost no twilight
at all. Sam made his companions lie down at the approach of the savages,
and as soon as it was fairly dark, the little party crept silently away.
Before leaving, however, Sam had heard enough of the conversation
between Weatherford and Peter McQueen, the other great half-breed
warrior, to know that he could not reach the fort that night. The two
half-breeds talked most of the time in English, and Sam learned that
they had a large body of Indians in the vicinity, who were scouring the
country around Fort Glass. Sam knew enough of Indian warfare to know
that there would be numerous small parties of savage scouts lurking
immediately around the fort day and night, for the purpose of picking
off any daring whites who might venture outside the gates, and
especially any messenger who might attempt to pass from that to any
other fortress. He knew, therefore, that for some time to come it would
be impossible to reach Fort Glass, and penetrating the woods for a
considerable distance he stopped and sat down on a log, burying his face
in his hands, and telling his companions not to speak to him, as he
wanted to think.



CHAPTER V.

SAM'S FORTRESS.


Sam's companions kept perfectly still. Their reverence for Sam had grown
with every foot of their travels, and their confidence in his ability to
get out of any difficulty, and ultimately to accomplish his purposes in
the face of any obstacle, was now quite unbounded. And so, when he told
them it was impossible to reach the fort and that he wanted to think,
they patiently awaited the results of his thinking, confident that he
would presently hit upon precisely the right thing to do.

After a while he raised his head from his hands and said:

"Come on, we must get clear away from here before morning;" but he said
not a word about where he was going. His course was now nearly
south-east, and just as the day was breaking he stopped and said:

"There is the river at last. Now let's go to sleep."

They obeyed him unquestioningly, though they had not the faintest idea
where they were or what river it was which he had seen a little way
ahead. When Sam waked it was nearly noon, and he ate a little of the
palmetto cabbage left in his pockets, while the others slept. His face
was very pale, however, and he sat very still until his companions
aroused themselves. Then he explained.

"When I found that we could not get to Fort Glass, the question was,
where should we go? Fort Stoddart is probably surrounded by Indians too,
and so the only thing to do was to make our way down through the Tensaw
Country to Mobile; but that is about eighty or a hundred miles away, and
the fact is I am a little sick from my wound. My foot and leg are all
swelled up, and I've been having a fever, so that I can't travel much
further. It seemed to me that the best thing to do, under the
circumstances, was to find a good hiding-place where it will be easy to
get something to eat, and to stay there till I get better, or something
turns up, and so I thought of the Alabama River as the very best place,
because mussels and things of that kind are better than sweet potatoes,
and here we are; now the next thing is to find a hiding-place, and I
think I know where one is. It has a spring by it, too, which is a good
thing, for drinking this swamp and creek water will make us all sick. I
was all through here on a camp-hunt once, and I remember a place on the
other side of the river where two big hollow trees stand right together
on top of a sort of bluff. About fifty yards further down the river
there is a spring, just under the bluff. We must find the place if we
can, to-night, and to do it we must first get across the river. It's so
low now we can easily wade it, I think, and Judie can be pushed across
on a log."

As soon as night fell the plan was put into execution. The river was
extremely low at the time, and Sam was confident that by choosing a wide
place for their crossing, they could wade the stream easily; but lest
there might be a channel too deep for that, he fastened four logs
together with grapevines, and putting Judie on this raft bade the two
boys tow it over, telling them that if they should find the water too
deep for wading at any point, they could easily support themselves by
clinging to the logs. They had no difficulty, however, and were soon on
the east bank of the stream. Sam's task was a much harder one. The
current was very rapid and the bottom too soft for the easy use of his
crutch, while his strength was almost gone. His spirit sustained him,
however, and after a while he reached the shore. When all were landed,
the search began for the hiding-place Sam had described. It proved to be
more than a mile higher up the river, and when they found it, the day
was breaking. The trees were not hollow, as Sam had supposed. The river
bank in that place is in three terraces, and the two great trees stood
almost alone on the second one of these. The sandy soil had been
gradually washed out from under the great trunks, so that the trees
proper began about fifteen feet from the ground, the space below being
occupied by a great net-work of exposed roots, some of them a foot or
two in thickness, and others varying in size all the way down to mere
threads. The freshets which had washed the earth away from the roots,
had piled a great mass of drift-wood against one side of them. Sam made
a careful examination of the place, and then all went to work. The two
boys so disposed some of the drift-wood as to make a sort of covered
passage from the edge of the bank to the two trees whose roots were
interlaced with each other. Sam cut away some of the roots with his
jackknife so as to make an entrance, and once inside the circle of outer
roots, he was not long in making a roomy hiding-place for the whole
party, immediately under the great trees.

[Illustration: JUDIE ON THE RAFT.]

"We can enlarge our house with our knives whenever we choose," he said,
"and if we stay here long enough, we must make Judie a room for herself
under the other tree, with a passage leading from this into it."

Sam said this to avoid saying something which would have alarmed and
distressed the others. In truth he knew himself to be really ill, and
believed that he would be much worse before being any better. For this
reason he knew they must have more room than the present hiding-place
afforded, and it was his plan to cut another room under the other tree,
with a very narrow passage between. "Then," thought he, "if the Indians
find us here, as I am afraid they will, they will find only poor sick
Sam here in the outer room, and won't think of hunting further." Sam
thought he was going to die at any rate, and his only care now was to
save the lives of the others. He had made them gather some mussels at
the river, and some green corn in a neighboring field, and he now said
to the two boys, "These things must be cooked. It will not do for you to
eat them raw any longer. They aren't wholesome that way, and so I've
been thinking of a plan for cooking them. The spring is down under the
lower bluff, and a fire down there won't make much smoke above the upper
banks. We must make one out of drift-wood, but we mustn't use any pine.
That smokes too much. The fire must be made in the daytime, because at
night it would be seen too far. You boys must do the cooking, while I
keep a look-out for Indians, and if any come within sight you can both
get in here before they discover you, or if they do see you, they can't
find you after you run away from the fire, and they will look for you
out in the woods somewhere. Nobody would think of looking here. Now let
me tell you how to cook the things. I was at a 'clam bake' in New
England once, and I know how to make these mussels and corn taste well.
You must dig a sort of fireplace in the sand bank and build your fire in
there. When it burns away until you have a good bank of coals, you must
put down on them a layer of the corn, in the shuck, then a layer of
mussels, then a layer of corn, and finally cover them all up with coals
and hot ashes, and leave them there for an hour or two, when they will
be cooked beautifully."

"But Mas' Sam," said Joe.

"Well, what is it, Joe?"

"How's we gwine to git de fire?"

"Well, how do you think, Joe?"

"I 'clare I dunno, Mas' Sam, 'thout you got some flints an' punk in your
pockets."

"No, I have no flints and no punk, Joe, but I'm going to get you some
fire when the sun gets straight overhead."

"Is you gwine to git it from de sun, Mas' Sam?"

"Yes."

"What wid, Mas' Sam?"

"With water, Joe."

"Wid water, Mas' Sam! You'se foolin'. How you gwine to git fire wid
water, _I'd_ like to know."

"Well, wait and see. I'm not fooling."

To tell the truth, Tom was quite as much at a loss as Joe was, to know
how Sam could get fire with water; but his confidence in his "big
brother," as he called Sam, was too perfect to admit of a doubt or a
question. As for Judie, she would hardly have raised her eyebrows if Sam
had burned water, or whittled it into dolls' heads before her eyes. She
believed in Sam absolutely, and supposed, as a matter of course, that he
knew everything and could do anything he liked. But Joe was not yet
satisfied that water could be made to assist in the kindling of a fire.
He said nothing more, however, but carefully watched all of Sam's
preparations.

That young gentleman began by tearing a strip of cotton cloth from his
shirt, and picking it to pieces. He then gathered from the drift-wood a
number of dry sticks, and broke and split them up very fine.

"We must have a few splinters of light-wood," he said; "but after the
fire is once started, we mustn't put any more pine on."

So saying, he split off a few splinters from a piece of rich heart-pine,
which Southern people call "light-wood," because the negroes use it
instead of lamps or candles.

"Come now," said Sam, "its nearly noon, and I think I can get fire for
you. Go up on top of the drift-pile, Tom, and look out for Indians. If
you don't see any we can all go down to the spring together long enough
to start a fire. Then I must come back to Judie, and I'll keep a
look-out for Indians while you and Joe get the corn on. When you get it
on, come back here and wait until it has time to cook. Stop a minute,
Tom. Let's understand each other. If the one on the look-out sees
Indians, he must let the others know; but it won't do to holler. Let me
see. Can you whistle like a kildee, Tom?"

"Yes, or like any other bird."

"Can you, Joe?"

"I reckon I _kin_, Mas' Sam," said Joe, who, to prove his powers
straightway gave a shrill kildee whistle, which nearly deafened them
all.

"There, that'll do, Joe. Well, let's understand then, that if anyone of
us sees Indians, he must whistle like a kildee. If the Indians hear it
they'll think nothing of it."

Tom went to the look-out, and seeing no savages anywhere, returned, and
the whole party, little Judie excepted, proceeded to the spring. Sam
then laid his sticks down in a pile, and taking out his watch removed
the crystal. This he filled with clear water from the spring, and
holding it over the cotton ravellings, moved it up and down until the
sunlight, passing through it, gathered itself into a small bright spot
on the cotton. Joe, eager to see, thrust his head over Sam's shoulder,
and directly between the glass and the sun.

"Take your head away, Joe, or I'll have to draw the fire right through
it," said Sam, laughing.

"Mercy, Mas' Sam, don't do dat. I'se 'feard o' your witches' ways,
anyhow," said Joe, drawing back. The glass was again put in position
and the spot of bright sunlight reappeared. Presently a little cloud of
smoke rose, and a moment afterwards, the cotton was fairly afire. It was
not difficult now to get the light-wood and dry sticks to blazing, and a
good fire was soon secured.

"Now boys," said Sam, "I'll go back to the drift-pile and keep a
look-out. If you hear the kildee call, run in as quickly as you can.
When you get the corn and mussels on, and covered up, come back at
once."

No Indians showing themselves anywhere in the neighborhood, the boys got
their dinner on or rather _in_ the fire, and then returned to the root
cavern to await the completion of the cooking process. When they were
all safely stowed away in their places, Tom gave voice to the curiosity
with which he was almost bursting.

"Sam," he said, "how did you do that?"

"How did I do what, Tom?"

"How did you make the sun set the cotton on fire?"

"I don't know whether I can make you understand it or not," said Sam,
"but I'll try. You know light always goes in straight lines, if left to
itself, don't you?"

"No, I didn't know that!

"Yes you did, only you never thought of it. If you want to keep light
out of your eyes, you always put your hand between them and the light,
because you know the light goes straight and so will not go around your
hand."

"Yes, that's true, and when I want to make a shadow anywhere, I put
something right before the light."

"Certainly. Well, the rays of the sun all come to us straight, and side
by side. They are pretty hot, but not hot enough to set fire to anything
that way. But if you can gather a good many of these rays together and
make them all shine on one little spot, they will set fire to whatever
they fall on. Now a piece of glass or any other thing that you can see
through easily,--that is, any _transparent_ thing, lets the sunlight
through it, and if it is flat on both sides, it doesn't change the
directions of the rays. But if both sides are rounded out, or if one
side is rounded out and the other side is flat, it turns all the rays a
little, and brings them right together in a point not far from the
glass. If the sides are hollowed _in_ instead of bulging out, the rays
scatter, and if one side bulges out and the other bulges in, as they do
in a watch crystal, one side scatters and the other side collects the
rays, and so it is the same as if the glass had been perfectly flat, one
side undoes the other's work. Now I have no glass which bulges out on
both sides, and none that bulges out on one side and is flat on the
other, but my watch crystal bulges out on one side and in on the other.
But when I filled it with water, the water being as clear as the glass,
it made it flat on top and bulging underneath, and so it gathered the
sun's rays together in the light spot you saw, and set fire to the
cotton."

"Yes, but why did you have to wait till noon?" asked Tom.

"Because the glass must be held right across the rays of light, and as I
couldn't turn the crystal to either side without spilling the water, I
had to use it at noon, when the sun was almost exactly overhead, and its
rays came nearly straight down. If I had had a glass rounded out on both
sides I could have got fire any time after the sun was well up in the
sky. Now let me tell you what they call all these different kinds of
glasses. One that is flat on one side and bulges out on the other is
called a _convex lens_; if it bulges out on both sides it is a _double
convex lens_; if it is hollowed in on one side and flat on the other it
is a _concave lens_; if hollowed in on both sides we call it a _double
concave lens_; and when it is hollowed in on one side and bulged out on
the other, as any watch crystal does, it is a _concave convex lens_."

"Where did you learn all that, Sam?" asked Tom.

"I learned part of it with father's spectacles, and part out of a book
father lent me when I asked him why I couldn't make the bright, hot spot
with a pair of near-sighted glasses that I found in one of mother's old
work boxes. You see, when people begin to get old, their eyes flatten a
little, and so everything they look at seems to be shaved off. They see
well enough at a distance, but can't see small things close to them."

"Is that the reason pa always looks over his spectacles when he looks at
me?" asked Judie.

"Yes, little woman. He can't see to read without his glasses, but he
can see you across the room without them, well enough. Well, to remedy
this defect, old people wear spectacles with double convex lenses in
them. But near-sighted people have exactly the opposite trouble. They
can't see things except by bringing them near their eyes, because their
eyes are not flat enough, and so their spectacles are made with double
concave lenses. When I asked father about it, he gave me a book that
explained it all, and that is where I learned the little I know about
it."

"The _little_! I'd like to know what you call a good deal," said Tom. "I
never saw anybody that knew half as much as you do."

"That is only because we live in a new country, Tom, where there are no
very well educated people, and because you don't know how much there is
to learn in the world. If these Indians ever get quiet, I hope to learn
a good deal more every year than I know now. But it's time to see about
our mussel bake. Run to the look-out, Tom, and then we can all go down
and bring up the dinner."



CHAPTER VI.

SURPRISED.


The baked corn and mussels made a savory dish, or one which would have
been savory enough but for the absence of salt. The boys knew well
enough that salt was not to be had, however, and so they made a joke of
its absence, and even pretended that they did not like their food salted
at any time. Little Judie was so hungry that she cared very little
whether food tasted well or not, provided it satisfied her appetite.

The rest and the more wholesome food seemed to restore Sam to something
like his customary strength during the first ten days of his stay in the
"root fortress," as he had named their singular dwelling. His wounded
foot got better, though it was still far from well, and, better than
all, his fever left him. As he regained strength he began to lay plans
again. To stay where they were was well enough as a temporary device for
escaping the savages, but Sam's main purpose now was to get the little
people under his charge back to civilization somewhere, and then to do
his part in the war between the Indians and whites. He must first find a
way to get Tom and Judie and Joe into one of the forts or into some safe
town, and how to do this was the problem. He was unwilling to take them
away from their present pretty secure hiding-place until he could decide
upon some definite plan offering a reasonable prospect of escape. If he
could have known as much as we now know of the movements of the savages,
he would have had little difficulty. The larger part of the Indians had
left the peninsula now forming Clarke County, and crossed to the
south-eastern shore of the Alabama river,--the side on which Sam's root
fortress stood, and if he could have known this, he would have made an
effort to cross the river again and reach Fort Glass. The chief
difficulty in the way of this undertaking would have been that of
crossing the river, which was now swollen by recent rains. He knew
nothing about the matter, however, and as Fort Mims, the first point
attacked by the savages, was on the south-east side of the river, he
reasoned that having afterwards crossed to Clarke County the Indians
would not again cross to the south-east side in any considerable force.
In this, as we know, he was mistaken, and the error led him into some
danger, as we shall see. Thinking the matter over, he decided that his
first plan of a march down through the Tensaw Country to the
neighborhood of Mobile would be the safest and best thing to undertake.
He was unwilling, however, to begin it with his companions without
making a preliminary reconnoissance. Accordingly he explained the plan
to Tom and Joe, and said:

"I'm going to-night down towards old Fort Mims, to see if the country is
pretty free from Indians, and to find out what I can about the chance of
getting away from here. I'll leave you here with Judie, and you must be
extra careful about exposing yourselves. You've corn and mussels and
sweet potatoes enough already cooked, to last you a week, and I'll
probably be back before that; if not you must eat them raw till I do
come: it won't do to build a fire while I'm away." After giving minute
directions for their guidance during his absence, Sam put a sweet potato
in one pocket and an ear of corn in the other, and set out on his
journey, walking with a stout stick, having discarded his crutch as no
longer necessary. How far he walked that night, I am unable to say, his
course being a very circuitous one. The moon rose full, soon after dark,
and shone so brightly that Sam dared not cross the fields, but skirted
around them keeping constantly in the woods and the edges of canebrakes.
The next night and the next he continued his journey, though he found
the country full of Indians. He saw their "sign" everywhere, and now and
then saw some of the Indians themselves. The fourth evening found him so
lame (his foot having swelled and become painful again) that he could
not possibly go on. He had already gone far enough to discover that the
country on that side of the river was too full of Indians for him to
carry his little party safely through it, and so he determined to work
his way back to the root fortress, and try the other side. Seeing a
house in a field near by the place in which he had spent the day, he
resolved to visit it for the purpose of bringing away any article he
could find which might be useful to him in his effort to provide for his
little band. In a grove near the house he found a horse,--a young and
powerful animal, and as he feared his lameness would not permit him to
reach his root fortress again on foot, he determined to ride the animal
in spite of the fact that on horseback he would be in much greater
danger of discovery by the Indians than on foot. The horse had a bridle
on, and had evidently escaped, probably during a skirmish, from its
white or red master.

Sam tied him in the grove, and went on to the house, which had been
sacked and partially burned. Looking around in the moonlight, Sam
discovered a hatchet, and, in the corner of what had once been a
store-house, the remains of a barrel of salt. These were two valuable
discoveries. The hatchet would be of great service to him not only in
the root fortress but even more in forcing a pathway through the
canebrakes when he should again cross the river and try to reach one of
the forts. The salt he must have at any cost, and as he had no bag he
made one by ripping off the sleeve of his coat and tying its ends with
strips of bark. He had just filled it, and tied up the ends when,
hearing a noise, he turned, and saw two Indians within six feet of him.



CHAPTER VII.

CONFUSED.


The two Indians who had startled Sam, were on the point of entering the
old dwelling house, and seemingly were unaccompanied by any others. Sam
happened fortunately to be standing in shadow, and they passed without
seeing him. But what was he now to do? He was at the back of the house,
and a high picket fence around the place made it impossible for him to
escape by the front-way, towards which the savages had gone. Looking
through the door-way, he saw that the pair had passed through the room
nearest him and into the adjoining apartment. He knew that other Indians
were in the neighborhood, and that a dozen of them might wander into the
enclosure at any moment. Resolving upon a bold manoeuvre, he stepped
lightly into the rear room of the house, and climbed up inside the wide
mouthed chimney. Whether the Indians heard him or not he never knew, but
at any rate he was none too soon in hiding, for he had hardly cleared
the fireplace in his ascent when four or five savages came into the room
and began to demolish the few articles of furniture left in the house.
They had got whiskey somewhere, and having drank freely were even
noisier than white men get under the influence of strong drink. They
remained but a short time, when, setting fire again to the half-burned
house, they left the place yelling as savages only can. Sam escaped as
soon as he could from his uncomfortable quarters and made his way to the
grove. Mounting his horse he rode away in the direction of the root
fortress, keeping in the woods as well as he could and taking every
precaution to avoid coming suddenly upon savages.

As he rode only at night, the Indians' almost universal habit of
building camp-fires wherever they stop for the night, helped him to
avoid them. When morning came he sought a place deep in the forest, when
he turned his horse loose to graze all day, while he slept at some
distance from the animal, so that the noise of the beast's stamping and
browsing might not lead to the discovery of his own whereabouts.

As the evening of the second day of his return came round, Sam found
himself genuinely sick. His foot and leg were much inflamed, and the
excitement of the preceding night, together with his continued exposure
to the drenching dews of the Southern autumn, had brought back his fever
with increased violence, and a very brief experiment convinced him that
he could not go further that night. He mounted his horse, but had ridden
less than a mile when he felt a giddiness coming over him and found it
necessary to abandon the effort to ride that night. He could hardly see,
and the pain in his head, neck, back and limbs was excruciating. He
dismounted and threw himself down on the ground without taking the
trouble even to separate himself from his horse. The truth is, Sam had
what they call in South Carolina country fever, a high type of malarial
fever, which stupefies and benumbs its victim almost as soon as it
attacks him. The dews in the far South, especially in the fall, are so
heavy that the water will drip and even stream off the foliage of the
trees all night, and Sam had been drenched every night during both his
journeys, having no fire by which to warm himself or dry his clothes.
Even without this drenching the poisonous exhalations of the swamps and
woods would doubtless have given him the fever, and as it was he had it
very severely. He laid down again almost under his horse's feet and fell
into a sort of stupor. He knew that his fever required treatment, and
that it would rapidly sap his strength, and the thought came to him:
What if he should die there and never get back to the tree fortress? He
was too sick to care for himself, but the thought of little Judie
haunted his dreams, and he was seized with a semi-delirious impulse to
remount his horse and ride straight away to the hiding-place in which he
had left her, regardless of Indians, and of everything else. He dreamed
a dozen times that he was doing this, and finally, when morning came, he
forgot all about the danger of travelling by daylight, and mounting his
horse in a confused, half-delirious way, rode straight out of the woods
towards the open country, which he had hitherto so carefully avoided.



CHAPTER VIII.

WEATHERFORD.


The fiercest and most conspicuous leader of the Indians in this war was
William Weatherford, or the Red Eagle, as the Indians called him. He is
commonly spoken of in history as a half-breed, but he was in reality
almost a white man, with just enough of the Indian in his composition to
add savage emotions to Scotch intellect and Scotch perseverance. His
father was a Scotchman, and his mother a half-breed Indian Princess. He
was brought up in the best civilization the border had, his father being
wealthy. He became very rich himself, and, despite his savage instincts,
which were always strong, his wealth, in land and slaves, made him a
conservative. At first he favored a war with the whites, but a calmer
afterthought led him to desire peace, and when he found that the
tempest he had helped to stir up would not subside at his bidding, he
began casting about for a way of escape. He was a man of unquestionable
genius; a soldier of rare strategic ability; an orator of the truest
sort, and his courage in danger was simply sublime. Such a man was
likely to be of great value to the Indians in their approaching war, and
when they began to suspect his loyalty to the nation, they watched him
narrowly. Finding it impossible to postpone the war, and not wishing to
sacrifice his fine property near the Holy Ground, he made a secret
journey to the residence of his half brother David Tait and his brother
John Weatherford, who lived among what were known as the "peacefuls,"
namely, the Indians disposed to remain at peace with the whites in any
event. His brothers, hearing his story, advised him to bring his
negroes, horses and movable property generally, together with his
family, to their plantations, and to remain there, inactive and neutral,
during the struggle. When he returned to his residence for the purpose
of doing this, however, he found that the hostile Indians had seized his
family and his negroes as hostages, and, under the compulsion of their
threat that they would kill his wife and children if he should dare to
remain at peace, he joined in the war against the whites, becoming the
fiercest of all the chieftains. He planned and led the assault upon Fort
Mims, and was everywhere foremost in all the fighting. When the Creeks
were utterly routed at the battle of the Holy Ground a month or so after
the time of which I am writing, General Jackson issued a proclamation
refusing terms of peace to the chiefs until Weatherford, whom he had
determined to put to death, should be brought to him, alive or dead.
Weatherford hearing of this, although he was safe beyond the borders and
might have easily made his escape to Florida, as his comrade Peter
McQueen did, rode straightway to Jackson's head-quarters, where he said
to the commander who had set a price upon his head:--

"I am Weatherford. I have come to ask peace for my people. I am in your
power. Do with me as you please. I am a soldier. I have done the white
people all the harm I could. I have fought them and fought them bravely.
If I yet had an army I would fight and contend to the last. But I have
none. My people are all gone. I can now do no more than weep over the
misfortunes of my nation."

Jackson was so impressed with the sublime courage and the dignity of the
man upon whose head he had set a price, that he treated him at once with
chivalrous consideration. He told him that the only terms upon which the
Indians could secure peace were unconditional submission and uniform
good conduct; but "as for yourself," he said, "if you do not like the
terms, no advantage shall be taken of your present surrender. You are at
liberty to depart and resume hostilities when you please. But if you are
taken then, your life shall pay the forfeit of your crimes."

Weatherford calmly folded his arms and replied; "I desire peace for no
selfish reasons, but that my nation may be relieved from its sufferings;
for independent of the other consequences of the war, my people's cattle
are destroyed and their women and children destitute of provisions. I
may well be addressed in such language now. There was a time when I had
a choice and could have answered you. I have none now. Even hope has
ended. Once I could animate my warriors to battle. But I cannot animate
the dead. My warriors can no longer hear my voice. Their bones are at
Talladega, Tallashatche, Emuckfaw and Tohopeka. I have not surrendered
myself thoughtlessly. While there were chances of success I never left
my post nor supplicated peace. But my people are gone, and I now ask
peace for my nation and myself. On the miseries and misfortunes brought
upon my country, I look back with the deepest sorrow, and wish to avert
still greater calamities. If I had been left to contend with the Georgia
army, I would have raised my corn on one bank of the river and fought
them on the other. But your people have destroyed my nation. General
Jackson, you are a brave man,--I am another. I do not fear to die. But I
rely upon your generosity. You will exact no terms of a conquered and
helpless people but those to which they should accede. Whatever they may
be it would now be folly and madness to oppose them. If they are
opposed, you shall find me among the sternest enforcers of obedience.
Those who would still hold out can only be influenced by a mean spirit
of revenge. To this they must not and shall not sacrifice the last
remnant of their country. You have told us what we may do and be safe.
Yours is a good talk, and my nation ought to listen to it. They _shall_
listen to it."[1]

[Footnote 1: For these speeches of Weatherford's and for other
historical details I am indebted to a valuable and interesting book,
"Romantic Passages in South Western History," by A. B. Mull, Mobile, S.
H. Goetzsl & Co. publishers, which is now, unfortunately out of print.
The speeches are well authenticated I believe.]

Jackson was too generous and too brave a man to remain unmoved under
such a speech from a man who thus placed his own life in jeopardy for
the sake of his people. He bade the chieftain return home, and promised
peace to his people, a promise faithfully kept to this day. All this
however occurred nearly two months after the time of which I write, and
it is introduced here merely by way of explaining the things which
happened to Sam on the morning of the rash resumption of his journey.

This man Weatherford, the fiercest enemy the whites had, with a party
of about twenty-five Indians, bivouacked, the night before, in the edge
of the woods, and when Sam mounted his horse that morning the Indians
were lying asleep immediately in his path as he rode blindly out of the
thicket. The first intimation he had of their presence was a grunt from
a big savage who lay almost under his horse's feet. Coming to himself in
an instant, Sam took in the whole situation at a glance, and with the
rapidity and precision which people who are accustomed to the dangers
and difficulties of frontier life always acquire, he mentally weighed
all the facts bearing upon the question of what to do, and decided. He
saw before him the savages, rising from the ground at sight of him. He
saw their horses browsing at some little distance from them. He saw a
rifle, on which hung a powder-horn and a bullet-pouch, standing against
a bush. He saw that he had already aroused the foe, and that he must
stand a chase. His first impulse was to turn around and ride back, in
the direction whence he had come; but in that direction lay the thicket
through which he could not ride rapidly, and so if he should take that
course, he would lose the advantage which he hoped to gain from the
fleetness of his particularly good horse. Besides, in the thicket he
must of course leave a trail easily followed. Just beyond the group of
Indians he saw the open fields, and he made up his mind at once that he
would push his horse into a run, dash right through the camp of the
savages, pick up the convenient rifle if possible, and reaching the open
country make all the speed he could. In this he knew he would have an
advantage, inasmuch as he would get a good many hundred yards away
before the savages could catch and mount their horses for the purpose of
pursuing him, and he even hoped that they, seeing how far he was in
advance of them, would abandon the idea of pursuit altogether. All this
thinking, and weighing of chances, and deciding was the work of a single
half second, and the plan, once formed, was executed instantly. Without
pausing or turning he pushed his horse at a full run through the group
of savages, receiving a glancing blow from a war club and dodging
several others as he went. He succeeded in getting possession of the
rifle which stood by the bush, and reached the field before a gun could
be aimed at him. It was now his purpose to get so far ahead as to
discourage pursuit, and with this object in view he continued to urge
his horse forward at his best speed. This hope was a vain one, as he
soon discovered. The Indians, infuriated by his boldness, mounted their
horses and gave chase immediately. Sam had an excellent habit, as we
know, of keeping his wits about him, and of preparing carefully for
difficulties likely to come. The first thing to be done was to escape,
if possible, and so he continued to press his high-spirited colt
forward, while he debated the probabilities of being overtaken, and
discussed with himself the resources at his command if the savages
should come up with him. He was armed now, at any rate, and if running
should prove of no avail, he could and would sell his life very dearly.
Indeed the possession of the rifle roused all the spirit of battle there
was in him, and great as the odds were against him, he was sorely
tempted to pause long enough to shoot once at least. He remembered Tom
and Judie and Joe, however, and their dependence upon him for guidance
and protection, and for their sake more than for his own, suppressed
the impulse and continued his flight. The Indians were nearly half a
mile behind him, and, as nearly as he could tell, were not gaining upon
him very rapidly. His colt seemed equal to a long continued race, and as
yet showed no sign of faltering or fatigue. The question had now
resolved itself, Sam thought, into one of endurance. How long the
Indians would continue a pursuit in which he had the advantage of half a
mile the start, he had no way of determining, but that his horse's
endurance was as great at least as their perseverance, he had every
reason to hope.

Just as he had comforted himself with this thought, a new danger
assailed him. One of the Indians, it seemed, taking advantage of a
minute knowledge of the country, had saved a considerable distance by
riding through a strip of woods and cutting off an angle. When Sam first
caught sight of him, coming out of the woods, the savage was within a
dozen yards of him, and evidently gaining upon him at every step. Sam's
horse was a fleet one, but that of the Indian was apparently a
thoroughbred, whose speed remained nearly as great after a mile's run
as at the start. Knowing the Indians' skill in shooting while riding at
full speed, Sam leaned as far as he could to one side, so that as little
as possible of his person should be exposed to his pursuer's aim. He
continued to press his horse too, but the savage gained steadily.
Finding at last that he must shortly be overtaken, Sam resolved upon a
bold manoeuvre, by which to kill his foremost pursuer. Seizing the
hatchet he had brought away from the house, he suddenly stopped his
horse, and, as the Indian came along-side, aimed a savage blow at his
head.

"Don't you know me, Sam?" said the Indian in good English, dodging the
blow. "I'm Weatherford. If I'd wanted to kill you I might have done so a
dozen times in the last five minutes. You know I don't want to kill
_you_, though you're the only white man on earth I'd let go. But the
others will make an end of you if they catch you. Ride on and I'll chase
you. Turn to the left there and ride to the bluff. I'll follow you.
There's a gully through the top. Ride down it as far as you can and jump
your horse over the cliff. It's nearly fifty feet high, and may kill
you, but it's the only way. The other warriors are coming up and
they'll kill you sure if you don't jump. Jump, and I'll tell 'em I
chased you over."

Sam knew Weatherford well, and he knew why the blood-thirsty chief
wished to spare him if he could, for Sam had rescued Weatherford once
from an imminent peril at great risk to himself, though the story is too
long to be told here. Whether or not there is nobleness enough in the
Indian character to make the savage remember a benefit received, I am
sure I cannot say, but Weatherford was _three-fourths white_, and with
all his ferocity in war, history credits him with more than one generous
impulse like that by which Sam was now profiting. The two rode on,
Weatherford pretending to be in hot pursuit, shooting occasionally and
yelling at every leap of his horse. The bluff towards which they rode
was probably a hundred feet high, and was washed at its base by a deep
but sluggish creek, on the other side of which lay a densely wooded
swamp. Through the top of the bluff, however, was a sort of fissure or
ravine washed by the flow of water during the rainy season, and where it
terminated the height of its mouth above the stream was not more than
forty or fifty feet. Down this gully Sam rode furiously, so that his
horse might not be able to refuse the leap, which was a frightful one.
Coming to the edge of the precipice with headlong speed, the animal
could not draw back but plunged over with Sam sitting bolt upright on
his back. Riding back to the top of the bank Weatherford met his
warriors.

[Illustration: THE PERILOUS LEAP.]

"Where is he?" asked the foremost.

"His _body_ is down there in the creek. I drove him over the precipice,"
said the chief with well-feigned delight.[2]

[Footnote 2: This incident of the leap over the precipice is strictly
historical, else I should never have ventured to print it here.
Weatherford himself, on the 23d of December, 1813, after the battle of
Tohopeka, escaped a body of dragoons in a precisely similar manner. A
still more remarkable leap was that of Major Samuel McCullock, on the 2d
of September 1777, over a precipice fully 300 feet high near Wheeling,
West Virginia. He jumped over on horseback, thinking such a death
preferable to savage torture, but singularly enough, both he and his
horse escaped unhurt.]

His purpose evidently, was to satisfy the warriors that Sam was
certainly killed, so that they might pursue him no further. Whether he
was yet alive or not, Weatherford himself had no means of knowing. The
last he had seen of him was as he went over the precipice, sitting bolt
upright on his horse, grasping his rifle and looking straight ahead. He
heard a splash in the water below, after which everything was still.



CHAPTER IX.

WEARY WAITING.


The days seemed very long to Tom and Joe and little Judie after Sam left
on his journey. They had nothing to do but to sit still in their corners
among the roots all day, and time always drags very slowly when people
are doing nothing. Their provisions, as we know, were already
cooked,--enough of them at least, to last a week, and before Sam left he
had made them bring more than a bushel of sweet potatoes and all the
corn they could find which was still soft enough to eat, and store it
away for use if his return should be delayed in any way. The result was
that their legs got no stretching, and they became moody, dispirited and
unhappy before the second day of Sam's absence had come to an end. They
found doing nothing the hardest and the dullest work they ever had done
in their lives. Joe managed to sleep most of the time, but Tom was
nervous, and poor little Judie, without Sam to depend upon, grew
low-spirited and began to fear all sorts of evil things. Finally Sam's
week was up and Sam had not appeared. The little people were now fairly
frightened. What had become of him? they wondered. Had he fallen into
the hands of the Indians? And if so, what were they to do now? They had
never before known how dependent they were upon him. Even during his
absence they had been regulating their lives by his minute instructions,
and depending upon him for guidance after he should return. But what if
he should never return? And why hadn't he come already? These thoughts
were too much for them. Judie sat in her corner brooding over her
trouble, and crying a little now and then. Joe was simply frightened,
and his eyes grew bigger and rounder than ever. Tom was sustained in
part by the thought that the burden of responsibility was now on him,
and so he suppressed all manifestations of uneasiness, as well as he
could, and gave himself up to the duty of studying the situation,
calculating his resources and trying to decide what was the best thing
to be done if Sam should not come back at all. He hit upon several
excellent ideas, but made up his mind that before trying to put any of
them into practice he would wait at least a fortnight longer for Sam's
return. Their stock of provisions, eaten raw, would last much longer
than that, and the fields were full of sweet potatoes, wherefore he
wisely thought it best not to lose any chance of having Sam to do the
thinking and planning. He was so anxious for his brother's return that
he spent the greater part of his time on the drift-pile where he had
built himself a little observatory, so arranged that he could see in
every direction without the possibility of being seen in his turn.

Sitting there in his look-out, watching for Sam, he had time to think of
many things. His thinking was not always wise, as a matter of course,
but for a boy of his age it did very well, certainly, and one day he hit
upon a really valuable idea.

The way it came about was this. He fell into a reverie, and remembered
the happy old days at home, and one day in particular, when he was busy
all day making a little wagon in which to give Judie a ride, and he
remembered how very short that day seemed, although it was in June. Just
then it popped into his head to think that there was a reason for
everything, and that that day had seemed so short only because he had
been very busy as its hours went by. If he had known what
"generalization" means, he would have generalized this truth as
follows:--

"Time passes rapidly with busy people." He did nothing of the kind,
however. He only thought.

"If poor little Judie had something to keep her busy all the time, she
wouldn't be so miserable."

And so he cudgelled his brains to invent some plan or other by which to
set Judie at work and keep her at it all the time.

When he returned to the fortress towards night, he said to the little
woman; "Judie, I reckon poor Sam's foot is troubling him again, and
that's the reason he hasn't got back yet. He'll work along slowly and
get here after a while, but I'm afraid he'll be dreadfully tired and
sick when he comes. We must have a good soft bed ready for him so that
he can get a good rest."

To this Judie assented, though in her heart she feared she should never
see Sam again, as indeed Tom did too, though neither would admit the
fact to the other.

"Now I've been thinking," said Tom, "that it wont do, if he comes back
half sick, to let him lie on green moss with all the outside on. Let me
show you."

And taking a strand of the long moss he scraped the greenish gray
outside off, leaving a black strand like a horse hair.

"There," he said, "Sam told me once that it's the soft outside part that
holds water, while the inside is dry almost always. Now why can't we
scrape the outside off of a great deal of moss and have the dry inside
ready for Sam to sleep on when he comes back? It'll surprise him and
he'll be glad too. He never cared for himself much, but he'll be glad to
see that we care for him."

The plan pleased little Judie wonderfully well. She was always delighted
to do anything for Sam, and now that she was uneasy about him, and kept
thinking of him as dead or dying or sick somewhere, and could hardly
keep her tears back, nothing could have pleased her so well as to work
for his comfort. Tom and Joe went out after dark, and brought in a large
lot of moss, and the next morning all went to work, Judie made very
little progress with her scraping, but she kept steadily at it, and it
served its purpose in making her less miserable than before. The days
passed more rapidly to Tom and Joe, too, and the whole party grew more
cheerful under the influence of work. It was now ten days, however,
since Sam had gone away, and his non-appearance was really alarming.
When work stopped for the night, the thought of Sam was uppermost in the
minds of all three, and for the first time they talked freely of the
matter.

Tom was disposed to cheer himself by cheering the others, and so he
explained:

"It's about forty-five miles to where Fort Mims stood, so Sam told me,
and he said he might go nearly that far, if he didn't see Indians. If he
went only thirty-five miles it would take him four or five nights; say
five nights, and five more to come back would make ten. But may be his
foot got sore, or Indians got in the way, and so it has taken him longer
than he thought. I don't think we ought to be uneasy even if he should
stay two weeks in all."

That was all very well as a theory, and true enough too, but Tom was
uneasy, nevertheless, and so were Joe and Judie. The worst of it was
that none of them could hide the fact. The eleventh day came, and with
it came an excitement. Tom was the first to wake, and without waiting
for the others, he proceeded to make his breakfast off an ear of raw
corn, which was almost hard enough to grind, and altogether too hard to
be eaten as green corn at any well-regulated table. Tom ate it, however,
having nothing better, and when Judie waked he offered her a softer ear,
which he had carefully selected and laid aside. Judie tried but couldn't
eat it. She was faint and almost sick, and found it impossible to
swallow the raw corn.

"Poor little sister," said Tom. "If I had any fire I'd roast a potato
for you to-day anyhow, but the fire's all out and I can't."

"Mas' Tom!" said Joe, "I'll tell you what! I dun see a heap o' fox
grapes down dar by de creek, an' I'se gwine to git some for Miss Judie
quicker'n you kin count ten." And so saying Joe ran first to the
look-out, to make a preliminary reconnoissance. The boys rarely ever
left the trees during the daytime, and when they did so they were
careful first to satisfy themselves that there were no savages in the
neighborhood. The creek, of which Joe spoke, emptied into the river a
short distance above the root fortress, and, along its banks was a dense
mass of undergrowth, which skirted the river below, all the way to the
drift-pile. Joe had seen the grapes from the look-out, and had planned
an excursion after them. He could follow the river bank to the creek,
keeping in the bushes and moving cautiously, and if any Indians should
appear he could retreat in the same way, without discovery. Tired of raw
corn and sweet potatoes, the grapes had tempted him sorely, and it only
needed Judie's longing for a change of diet to induce him, to make this
foraging expedition.



CHAPTER X.

FIGHTING FIRE.


Before proceeding to relate the incidents which follows, it is necessary
to explain a little more fully the arrangement of the root fortress and
the drift-pile. The two trees, which were enormous ones, had originally
grown as close together as they could, and their roots had interlaced
beneath the soil. The sand in which they grew having been gradually
washed away, their great masses of roots were exposed for about fifteen
feet below the original level of the soil and as they spread out they
made two circles (one running a foot or two into the other), of about
twelve or fifteen feet in diameter. Inside of this circle of great
roots, the roots were mostly small, and the boys had cut them away with
their knives, leaving just enough of them to stop up all the holes and
obscure the view from without. The drift-pile, or hammock, as it is
sometimes called at the South, had been years in forming, being
drift-wood which had floated down the river during winter and spring
freshets, and as it had lodged against the trees it lay only on their
upper side, where it was piled up into a perpendicular wall nearly
twenty feet high. Thence it stretched away up the river for a hundred
yards or more. Now the only entrance big enough to admit a person into
the root fortress was on the side next to the drift, and it opened only
into an alley-way which the boys had partly found and partly made
through the drift. This alley-way led past several little aisles running
out to the right and left for a dozen yards or so,--aisles formed by the
irregular piling of the logs on top of each other. In the fortress there
were a dozen places at least, where the big roots were sufficiently wide
apart to admit a grown man easily, but the boys had left the smaller
roots which covered these gaps undisturbed, and cut only the one
entrance. After cutting that on the side next the hammock, they had
moved some of the drift so as to close up the sides of the entrance and
make it open only into the alley-way. All this had been done under Sam's
supervision, and as a result of his prudence and fore thought.

Joe had been gone nearly half an hour when he burst suddenly into the
chamber in which the others were. His hands were full of the wild
grapes, but of those he was evidently not thinking. His face was of that
peculiar hue which black faces assume when if they were white faces they
would grow pale; and his lips, usually red, were of an ashy brown. His
eyes were of the shape of saucers, and seemed not much smaller. He
gasped for breath in an alarming way, and Tom saw that the poor fellow
was frightened almost out of his wits.

"What's the matter Joe? Tell me quick," said the younger boy.

"O Mas' Tom, we'se dun surrounded. I was jest a-gittin' de grapes when I
seed a'most a thousand Injuns a-comin,' an' I dun run my life a'most out
a-gittin' here. Dey did not see me, but I seed dem, an' I tell you dey's
de biggest Injuns you ever did see. I 'clar dey's mos' as tall as
trees."

"How many of 'em are there, Joe?" asked Tom standing up.

"I couldn't count 'em e'zactly, Mas' Tom, but I reckon dey's not less'n
a thousand of 'em,--maybe two thousan' for all I know."

"Where are they, and what were they doing?" asked Tom; but before Joe
could answer, the voices of the Indians themselves indicated their
whereabouts, and Tom discerned that they were disagreeably close to his
elbow.

Seeking a place in which to cook their breakfast the savages had
selected the corner formed by the root fortress and the drift-pile as a
proper place for a fire, and were now breaking up sticks with which to
start one. They were just outside the fortress, and either of the boys
could have touched them by pushing his arm out between the roots. Tom
motioned the others to keep absolutely silent, and going a little way
into the hammock, through the passage way he managed to find a place
from which he could see the intruders. He soon discovered that Joe's
account of them was slightly exaggerated in two important particulars.
They were only ordinary Indians, neither larger nor smaller than grown
Indians usually are, and instead of a thousand there were but three of
them in all.

But three fully grown Indians were enough to justify a good deal of
apprehension, and if they should discover the party in the tree, Tom
knew very well they would make very short work of their destruction. He
crept back to the tree therefore and again cautioned Joe and Judie, in a
whisper, not to speak or make any other noise. Then he returned to his
place of observation and watched the Indians. They soon made a crackling
fire and proceeded to broil some game they had killed, this and the
eating which followed occupied perhaps an hour, during which Tom made
frequent journeys to the little room, nominally for the purpose of
cautioning the others to keep still, but really to work off some portion
of his uneasiness, which was growing with every moment. He was terrified
at first upon general principles, as any other boy of eleven years old
would have been. Then he was afraid that the Indians would by some
accident, lean something against the curtain of small roots between two
other big trees, and that the curtain might not be strong enough to
support it, in which event their hiding-place would be discovered at
once. He was afraid, too, that some slight noise inside the fortress
might catch the uncommonly quick ears of the Indians.

All these were dangers well worth considering; but now a new, and much
greater danger began to show itself. The drift was largely composed of
light wood, and from his hiding-place Tom could see that the fire built
by the trees had communicated itself to the hammock, and that the flames
were rapidly spreading. The danger now was that the fire would burn into
the alley-way and so cut off retreat from the fortress, and if so those
inside would be burned alive. Quitting his place of observation
therefore, he established himself as a sentry in the alley-way, having
determined, if the fire should approach the passage, to take Joe and
Judie out of the fortress and into one of the aisles near the farther
edge of the drift-pile. Having begun to plan he saw all the
possibilities of the case and tried to provide for all. He knew that if
the wind should drive the flames into the drift the whole pile would be
destroyed in a very brief time, but in that case, he reasoned, the black
smoke of the resinous pine would make it impossible for the Indians to
see very far in that direction, and so he resolved, if the worst came,
to lead his companions out of the upper end of the hammock, into the
bushes and so escape to the creek, where he hoped to find a hiding-place
of some sort. He had got this far in his planning when he heard Judie
cough, and stepping quickly into the room found it full of smoke. Seeing
that to stay there was to suffocate, he beckoned his companions to
follow, and stepping lightly they passed down the alley-way and sat down
in one of the aisles, behind a great sycamore log which ran across the
pile. Peeping over this log Tom saw the three Indians shoulder their
guns and walk away. He ran at once to the look-out, and though the smoke
almost blinded him he observed all their movements. He wanted them away
speedily, so that he and Joe might extinguish the fire if that were
still possible, and as every minute served to increase the difficulty
and lessen the chances of doing so, the loitering of the savages seemed
interminable. They stopped first to drink at the spring. Then they
amused themselves by throwing sticks, and pebbles and shells at a turtle
which was sunning himself on a log in the stream. Then they stopped to
examine the track of a turkey or of some animal, in the sand, and it
really seemed to Tom that they did not mean to go away at all.

All things have an end, however, and even the stay of disagreeable
visitors cannot last always. The three savages finally disappeared a
mile down the river, and Tom, after scanning the surrounding country and
satisfying himself that there were no others in the immediate
neighborhood, hurried to the place where Joe and Judie were hidden.

"They've gone at least," he said, "and now Joe, we must put this fire
out, if we can. Judie, you stay here, and if you find the smoke bothers
you, go further down the alley that way. Don't try to stay if the smoke
comes."

How to stop the fire was the problem. Fortunately there was very little
wind, and what there was blew chiefly from up the river. The flames had
spread over a considerable space, however, and the boys had hardly
anything with which to work.

They carried water in their hats from the river, which was only a few
yards away, now that it had risen to the bottom of the second bank.
This was altogether too slow a way of working, however, and the fire was
visibly gaining on the boys. But, slow as this process was, it served to
teach Tom a lesson or rather to remind him of one he had learned and
forgotten. He found that a hatful of water thrown on the bottom of the
fire did more good than two hatfuls thrown on top, and he remembered
that when the soot in the chimney at home caught fire once, his father
would not allow anybody to pour water down the chimney, but stood
himself by the fireplace throwing a little water, not up the chimney
but, on the blazing fire below. This water, turned into steam, went up
the chimney and soon extinguished the fire there. In the same way Tom
now discovered that when he threw a hatful of water on a burning log at
the bottom of the pile it had a perceptible effect all the way to the
top. Thinking of the chimney fire he remembered also that his father had
said at the time that a plank laid over the top of a burning chimney, or
a screen fastened over the fireplace would stop the burning of the soot
by stopping the air, and so smothering the fire. This suggested a new
plan of operations for present use. The long gray moss grew in great
abundance all around the place, and gathering this he dipped it in the
river and then threw it on top of the fire. A bunch of the moss held
greatly more water than his hat, and it served also to smother the fire.
He and Joe repeated the operation, putting some of the moss on top and
some against the sides of the burning pile of timber. The steam from
these perceptibly checked the burning, and an hour's work covered the
fire almost entirely up, so far at least as the exposed side of the
drift-pile was concerned. But just as they were disposed to congratulate
themselves upon their success in subduing the flames, they discovered
that while they had been smothering the fire on one side it had been
burning freely further in. The openness of the hammock gave free access
to the air from the other side, and just beyond the line of moss they
saw a blaze licking its tongue out from below. They were tired out,
already, and this added discouragement to weariness. Little Judie,
although the boys had urged her to remain quiet, had been hard at work
bringing moss to them, insisting upon her right to work as well as
they. She had discovered too that the sand, just below the surface was
wet, and that this served almost as good a purpose as the moss itself
when thrown on the fire. The poor little girl was utterly tired out at
last, however, and when the fire seemed to be subsiding, she had yielded
to Tom's entreaties, and going into the drift-pile had laid down to
rest. Now that all their work promised to accomplish nothing, the boys
were vexed with themselves for having permitted the frail little girl to
wear herself out in so fruitless a task. This, with their
disappointment, served to make them utterly wretched.



CHAPTER XI.

IN THE WILDERNESS.


When Sam went over the cliff, he thought of poor little Judie, and Tom
and Joe, and, for their sake more than his own, took every precaution
which might give him an additional chance of life. He knew that he
should fall into the creek, and that the blow, when he struck the water,
would be a very severe one. If he could keep his horse under him all the
way, however, the animal and not he would be the chief sufferer. Fearing
that the horse would hesitate at the cliff, blunder, and throw him a
somersault, perhaps falling on him, he held the beast's head high and
urged him forward at full speed, and so, as we have seen, the horse's
back was almost level as he leaped from the top of the bank. Sam had no
saddle or stirrups in which to become entangled, and as the horse
struck the water fairly, the blow was not nearly so severe a shock to
the boy as he had expected. Both went under the water, but rising again
in a moment Sam slid off the animal's back, to give the poor fellow a
better chance of escape by swimming. Striking out boldly Sam reached the
bank and crawling up looked for his horse. The poor beast was evidently
too severely hurt to swim with ease, and so he drifted away, Sam running
along the bank, calling and encouraging him. He struck the shore at
last, and Sam examining him found that while he was stunned and bruised
no serious damage had been done.

"Poor fellow," he said, stroking the colt's head, "you cannot serve me
any further in this swamp, but you saved my life and I'm glad you're not
killed anyhow."

Then taking the bridle off, he turned the horse loose, to graze and
browse at will in the dense growth of the swamp.

Sam was feverish still, and very weak, but his anxiety to reach the root
fortress again was an overmastering impulse. He had lost his bearings in
the mad chase, and the sky was so overcast that he could make no use of
the sun as a guide. He knew that his course lay nearly northward, and it
was his purpose to travel only at night, as before; but unless he could
get out of the swamp during the day, and ascertain in what direction he
must travel, he could not go on during the night at all. If it should
clear off by evening, the pole star would show him his way, but there
was no promise of a clearing away. He must find the course during the
day, and he set about it at once, after examining his salt bag which he
had put around his body, under his shirt, on the night on which he got
it. The salt was saturated with water, and Sam's first impulse was to
wring it out; but it occurred to him that the water he should squeeze
out of it would be salt water, or in other words, that some of the salt
would come away with the water and be lost. If he let it dry gradually,
however, all the salt would remain, and he determined to let it dry,
carrying it, with that in view, over his shoulder. How to find out which
way was north was the question, and it puzzled him sorely. He knew the
general course of all the creeks in that part of the country, but as
they wind about in every direction it was impossible to get any
information out of the one he was near. It was his habit, when he wanted
to solve any difficult problem, to sit down and think of it in all its
bearings, and a very excellent habit that is too. Nearly half our
blunders, all through life, might be avoided if we would think carefully
before acting; and nearly half the useful things we know, have been
found out simply by somebody's thinking. Sam sat down on a log and said
to himself;--

"Now if there is anything in the woods which always or nearly always
points in any one direction, I can find it by looking. Then I can find
out which way it points, by remembering how the woods look around home,
where I know the points of the compass."

This was an excellent beginning, and Sam straightway began looking for
something which should guide him. A patch of sunflowers grew by the
creek, and he had heard that they always turn their heads to the sun,
but upon examining them, he found some of them turned one way and some
another, so that they were of no use whatever. Presently he observed
some beautiful green moss growing at the root and for a good many feet
up the trunk of a tree, and looking around he saw that the moss at the
roots of all the trees grew only or chiefly on one side, and that the
covered side was the same with all of them. Here was a uniform habit of
vegetation, and Sam knew enough to know that such a habit was not likely
to be confined to one particular locality. He began thinking of the
woods around home, and especially of a clump of trees in the yard at his
father's house, the moss-covered roots of which were Judie's favorite
playing place. This moss, he remembered, was nearly all on the north
side of the trees, whose southern roots were bare. All the other mossy
trees he could remember taught the same lesson, namely, that the green
moss which grows around the bases of trees, grows chiefly on the north
side. He had no doubt that the law was a general, if not a universal
one, and as the mossy trees were very numerous, he had a guide easily
followed. Striking out northwardly, therefore, he travelled several
miles before stopping, coming then to a suitable resting-place he lay
down to gather strength for the night's journey. When night came,
however, it had been raining for some hours, and in addition to the
darkness of a rainy night in a swamp, Sam found the soft alluvial soil
so saturated with water that he sank almost to his knees at every step.
Finding it impossible to go on he stopped again on the highest and
dryest piece of ground he could find, and prepared to spend the night
there. Cutting down a number of thick-leaved bushes he arranged them
against a fallen tree, as a shelter.

He had been lying down but a short time when he discovered that pretty
nearly all the rain that fell on his bush roof found its way through in
great drops from the leaves. It then occurred to him that he had erred
in placing the bushes with their tops up. This indeed, made them mere
catchers and conductors of water to the space they covered. Turning
them, so that their drooping leaves pointed downward, he was not long in
making a really comfortable shelter, through which very little water
could find its way.

Towards morning he waked and found himself lying in water. He could see
nothing in the darkness, but supposed that the rain had in some way made
a pool where he was lying. On coming out from his tent, however, he
found matters much worse than he had thought. In whatever direction he
looked he could see nothing but water, and he knew what the trouble was.
The rain had been very heavy all along the creek, and the stream having
very little fall had spread out over the whole surface of the swamp.
There was nothing to do except wait for daylight, and he climbed upon
the trunk of the fallen tree to get out of the water while he waited.
The rain had ceased to fall, and he had therefore no reason to fear any
great increase in the depth of the surrounding water.

When morning came, Sam found that he was not the only occupant of the
fallen tree. A fine large opossum had taken refuge in one of the upper
branches, and Sam used his rifle to good purpose in bringing him down.
He was still suffering somewhat from the fever, though the excitement of
his recent ride had done much to relieve him, as anything which occupies
one's mind is apt to do in fevers of that sort, but he was nevertheless
extremely hungry, not having tasted food of any kind for nearly two
days, and having previously lived for a long time, as we know, upon an
insufficient and not very wholesome diet. He was delighted therefore to
get a fat young opossum for breakfast. The next thing was to cook it.
Sam was in no danger here from Indians, who were not likely to be in
such a swamp at any time, and were certainly not then, when the swamp
was full of water. He had no objection therefore to a fire, but where
and how to build one he was at some loss to determine. Looking carefully
around he discovered that in falling the great sycamore tree on which he
stood had thrown up a large mound of earth at its roots, as big trees in
blowing down nearly always do. This mound was well above the water, even
at its base, and here Sam determined to roast his opossum. He first dug
a hole in the ground, making it about two feet long, one foot wide and
eighteen inches deep. This was to be his fireplace and oven. He next
collected dry bark from the under side of the fallen tree, and by
breaking off its dead and well-seasoned limbs secured several large
armfuls of wood. Then taking from his leathern bullet-pouch a piece of
greased rag, kept there to wrap bullets in before ramming them in the
barrel, he placed it in the "pan" of his rifle. Does the reader know
what the "pan" of a rifle is? If not he knows nothing of flintlock guns,
and I must explain. Before the invention of percussion caps, guns were
provided with a little groove-shaped trough by the side of the powder
chamber. From this "pan" as it was called, a little hole led into the
charge. Over the pan fitted a piece of steel on a hinge, so that it
could be opened and shut at pleasure. This piece of steel, after
covering the pan, extended diagonally upward, and its surface was
roughened like the face of a file. When the rifleman had loaded his gun
he opened the pan, poured in a little powder and closed it again. In the
hammer was a piece of flint, and when the trigger was pulled the flint
came down with great force into the pan, scraping the roughened steel as
it came, and raising the pan cover on its hinge. It thus deposited a
shower of sparks in the pan, set fire to the powder there and through it
to the charge in the gun.

Sam's object was merely to get fire, however,--not to discharge his
rifle,--wherefore, without reloading it, after shooting the opossum, he
merely filled the pan with powder, placed the greasy rag in it, and
cocking the gun pulled the trigger. In a moment the rag was burning, and
before many minutes had passed, Sam had a good fire burning in and over
the hole he had dug. He then skinned and dressed the opossum, stopping
now and then to replenish the fire and to throw all the live coals into
the hole as they formed. Within an hour the hole was full of burning
coals, and hot enough, Sam thought, for his purpose. He cut a number of
green twigs and collected a quantity of the long gray moss. He then
removed all the fire from the hole, the sides and bottom of which were
almost red hot, and passing a twig through the opossum, lowered it to
the middle of the hole, where the twig rested on ledges provided for
that purpose. This brought the dressed animal into the centre of the
hole, without permitting it to touch either the sides or the bottom. He
then laid twigs across the top of the hole, covered them with moss, and
threw nearly a foot of loose earth over the moss. The sides and bottom
of the hole, as I have said, were very hot, and Sam's plan was to keep
the heat in until it should roast the meat thoroughly. That his plan
was a good one, I know from experience, having roasted more than one
turkey in that way. It is, in fact, the very best way in which meat of
any kind can possibly be roasted at all, as it lets none of the flavor
escape in the form of gases.

Sam waited patiently for an hour, when, opening his earth oven, he found
his opossum cooked to a rich, crisp brown. He ate a heartier and more
wholesome breakfast that morning than he had eaten for weeks, and felt
afterwards altogether better and stronger than before. The breakfast
would have been an excellent one at any time, as the flesh of the
opossum tastes almost exactly like that of a suckling pig, but it was
doubly good to the poor half-famished boy. He stowed away the remains of
his feast in his coat pockets to be eaten on his way back to the root
fortress, resolving to kill some other game on the journey, for the use
of the little garrison there. He was now, as he knew, not more than ten
or twelve miles from his destination, but it was as yet impossible for
him to travel. The swamp was full of cypresses, and it is a peculiar
habit of these trees to turn their roots straight upward for any
distance, from an inch to many feet, and then to bring them straight
down again, making what are called cypress knees. These knees are very
sharp on top, and sometimes stand not more than a foot apart. Being of
all heights, many of them, as Sam knew, were under water now, and these
made travelling impossible, even if there had been no quagmires to fall
into, as there were. After studying the situation, Sam determined to
remain where he was until the water should subside, and then to travel
by daylight, at least until he should be out of the swamp and upon high
ground again. The waters of the creek subsided much more slowly than
they had risen, and Sam remained at the Sycamore Camp, as he called the
place, for four days and nights before he thought travelling again
practicable.

He then resumed his march, beset by many difficulties. The ground was
muddy everywhere, and impassably so in some places. There were many
ponds and pools left in the swamp, and these had to be avoided, so that
night had already come before he found himself fairly out of the swamp
and on the bank of the river, about two miles below the root fortress.
He now began to feel all sorts of apprehensions. He had been away
eleven days, and he could not help imagining a variety of terrible
things which might have happened to his little band during his absence.
Presently he saw a great light up the river, and at once the thought
flashed into his mind that the Indians had discovered and butchered the
boys and Judie, and were now burning the drift pile.

"I'll hurry on," he said to himself, "and if the Indians are really
there, it's time for me to take part in this war. I can keep in the
timber and pick off half a dozen of them there in the fire light. Then
if they scalp me, I don't care. I'll at least make them suffer for what
they've done."

A fierce storm was just breaking,--a storm of the violent and heroic
type seen only in tropical and sub-tropical countries, but Sam thought
nothing of that. He pushed on almost unconsciously, with no thought
except that with his rifle, hidden in the darkness, he could wage one
sharp and terrible battle with the murderers of Judie and Tom and Joe,
before suffering death at their hands. The lightning struck a tree just
ahead of him, but he seemed not to observe the fact. He was going into
battle, and what was a thunderbolt more or less at such a time. The rain
followed, drenching him instantly, but not dampening his determination
in the least.



CHAPTER XII.

AN ALARM AND A WELCOME.


When Tom and Joe made the disheartening discovery that in spite of all
their efforts the fire was burning inside the hammock, they felt like
giving up in despair, and seeking another refuge.

"But then Sam would never find us," said Tom, "even if he gets back. He
will find this place burned up and think the Indians have killed us all.
We _must_ put this fire out, Joe, if it takes a week."

And straightway the boys began again, saturating large armfuls of moss
with water and laying them on top of the drift whenever the blaze showed
itself. Heart-pine burns rapidly with a great blaze and much smoke, but
it makes no coals, and a gallon of water will sometimes stop the
burning of a great log of it, instantly. Every armful of wet moss
therefore had an immediate and perceptible effect which greatly
encouraged the boys. They worked hour after hour, not succeeding in
putting the fire out, indeed, but managing to check it very decidedly,
and better than all, to keep it away from the trees and from the
alley-way leading to their hiding-place. Just as night fell, Joe called
out,

"I say, Mas' Tommy, it's gwine to rain bucketsful."

"I wish it would," said Tom, looking up to the black clouds which as yet
he had hardly observed at all. Just then a sharp flash followed by a
sudden peal of thunder almost stunned the boys.

"Dat didn't strike fur from here," said Joe.

"No, it must have hit a tree down the river a little way," said Tom.

The rain followed in torrents, and little Judie came out of her
hiding-place to beg the boys to come in lest the lightning should strike
them. They were encouraged by the rain, however, to continue fighting
the fire, and resumed operations at once.

"Hush!" said Tom presently, "there's Indians about. I heard 'em walking
in the brush. Run around the hammock quick, and let's hide."

All ran without a moment's hesitation, and secreting themselves in the
drift awaited results.

Presently they heard footsteps in the alley-way, and the voice of their
big brother called out.

"Where are all you, little people, and what do do you hide from me for?"

The Indian they had heard was Sam creeping around to see who it was that
was burning the drift. Seeing the boys and Judie, he walked out of the
thicket, but before he could get to them they had taken refuge in the
drift from the supposed danger. Their joy at Sam's return, and Sam's joy
at finding them safe and well instead of finding Indians dancing around
their burning dwelling, may be imagined. Tom put his arm around his
brother's neck, and could say nothing but,

"Dear old Sam," which he said over again every ten seconds during half
an hour at least. Judie hugged and kissed Sam, and cried over him and
called him her "dear, best, big brother," and did all sorts of foolish
things which didn't strike Sam as foolish at all. Joe would sit awhile
and then get up and dance until he knocked his shins against some of the
drift, and then set down again, and then get up and dance again,
grinning with delight, I have no doubt, though it was too dark for
anybody to see whether he grinned or not.

After a little while Sam went out and returning reported that the rain
had completely extinguished the fire. They then retired to the root
fortress which was unhurt, and Sam said he thought they ought to hold
prayers before going to sleep. Sam prayed rather awkwardly perhaps, but
he prayed because he felt like thanking the Father who had watched over
them all in so many dangers, and the awkwardness of such a prayer is a
matter of no consequence. They all laid down, after prayers, and one
after another fell asleep.

The next morning a fire was started after the plan Sam had adopted in
the swamp, and some game which he had killed made a savory breakfast for
all of them. Judie thought salt, which she now tasted for the first time
in many weeks, was altogether better than sugar,--an opinion which it
seems she never before held. After breakfast explanations were in
order. Sam told the others all about his adventures, and they gave him a
minute history of their life during his absence. Then Sam explained that
from the number of savages he had seen on that side of the river, he
thought the other side must now be comparatively free from them.

"Fort Glass is just twelve miles away from here," he said, "and I mean
now to go there, just as soon as I get a little rested and feel strong
enough. The country along this part of the river is very bad to travel
through, though, since the river rose, as all the creeks are up, and if
we could get up the river about eight miles, we should be within six
miles of the fort, with a good country to travel through. We can't get
there, however, and so it's no use to talk about it. We must just strike
out from here and make our way across the best way we can."

But clearly Sam was in no condition to travel yet. His fever had come
back on him that morning, and it was necessary to postpone the journey
to Fort Glass until he should get better. He went into the woods during
the day, and shot two squirrels and a wild turkey, but upon his return
found himself unable to sit up longer. The bed of scraped moss was very
welcome to the weary and sick boy. The next day he was a little better,
but the next found him very ill and partly delirious. The boys were
frightened. They had seen enough of the fevers of that region to know
that they require immediate and constant treatment, and they had good
reason to fear that Sam could never recover without medicine and a
doctor. They ministered to him as well as they could, but they could do
nothing to check the fever, which was now constant and very high. Sam
knew hardly anything, and rarely ever spoke at all except to talk
incoherently in fits of delirium.



CHAPTER XIII.

JOE'S PLAN.


Sam's illness continued day after day, and the boys were greatly
troubled. Little Judie remained by her "big brother's" side almost
constantly, while Tom and Joe provided food, cooked it, and attended to
the wants of the little community to the very best of their ability.
They were in the habit too, of retiring now and then, to a secluded spot
in the drift-pile, to consult and discuss plans of procedure. One day
Tom went to the rendezvous and found Joe there leaning against a log,
with his feet on another, and his eyes closed.

"Are you asleep, Joe?" he asked.

"No, Mas' Tom, I'se not asleep," said Joe, "I'se just thinkin'."

"Well, what were you thinking, Joe?"

"I'se been layin' plans, Mas' Tom, an' I's laid one good un anyhow."

"What is it, Joe?"

"Well, you see Mas' Sam ought to have a doctor, an' he's gwine to die if
he don't, dat's sartain. But dey ain't no doctor here."

Joe said this as if it were a new truth just discovered, that there was
no doctor there.

"Well, go on, Joe," said Tom, "and tell me your plan, maybe it's a good
one."

"Course it's a good un. I dun tell you dat fust."

"Well, what is it?"

"Mas' Tom, don't you know Mas' Sam always begins 'way back whar' he's
been thinkin' an' tells all dat fust so you kin see all de why's and
wharfores?"

"Yes; but what has that to do with your plan, Joe?"

"Nothin', only dat's de way I'se gwine to 'splain my plan, I'se dun
begun way back whar I'se dun been thinkin', an' I'se gwine to tell all
'bout dat fust. Den you'll understan' de whys and wharfores. You mus'n't
hurry me, Mas' Tom, dat's all."

"All right, tell it your own way, Joe," said Tom, laughing.

"No, I'se gwine to tell it Mas' Sam's way. Well, you see dey ain't no
doctor here an' we can't git one to come here neither. So we must take
Mas' Sam to whar' dey is doctors, do you see?"

"That's all very well," said Tom, "but how are we to do that?"

"Now you'se hurryin' me again, Mas' Tom. Dat's just what I'se a-comin'
to. Mas' Sam said de other mornin' dat if we was up de river about eight
miles furder, de fort would be only six miles away, an' de country would
be easy 'nuff to cross. He dun say we couldn't git up de river, but we
_kin_. You see Mas' Sam was sick, an' dat's de reason he say dat. Now I
dun bin thinkin' of a way to git up de river. Dey's lots of cane here,
an' you an' me kin twis' canes one over de other like de splits in a
cha'r bottom, an' dat way, when we gits a dozen big squars of it made,
as big both ways as the canes is long, we kin lay 'em on top o' one an'
other, an' fasten 'em togedder wid bamboos, an' it'll be a fust-rate
raft. Den you an' me kin pole it up stream, keepin' close to de shore,
wid Mas' Sam an' little Miss Judie on it. When we git up dar, I kin go
over to de fort, leavin' you wid Mas' Sam till de folks comes after you
all."

This was Joe's plan of operations, and upon thinking it over Tom was
disposed to think it the best plan possible under the circumstances.
Accordingly he and Joe went to work at once. They could not make the
raft inside the drift-pile, for want of room, but they found a place in
the bushes near the mouth of the creek, where they could work
unobserved. They cut down a large number of the flexible green canes,
and wove them together into a square net work. Repeating this operation
several times they finally had enough of the squares to make, they
thought, a secure raft, when laid one on top of the other. It would not
do to join them in the bushes however, as that would make their weight
so great that the boys could not lift them to the water. They
determined, therefore, to get their pushing poles first, and then to
carry the squares one by one to the river, and, arranging them there, to
embark soon after nightfall. The work of construction had occupied many
days, and it was now the 12th of November. The boys hoped to complete
their undertaking the next day and embark the next night. After their
return to the drift-pile, however, it occurred to Tom to inquire whether
or not Joe knew the way from the river to the fort, after they should
reach the end of their voyage.

"I 'clar', Mas' Tom, I never thought o' dat at all!" said Joe in
consternation. "I dunno a foot of de way, an' I dunno whar' de fort is
either."

Tom being equally ignorant, their long consultation held on the spot,
ended in an enforced abandonment of the enterprise which had occupied
their heads and hands for so long a time.

"Now dar' it is, Mas' Tom," said Joe. "Dat's always the way. Mas' Sam
never makes no blunder, 'cause he thinks it all out careful fust. Poor
Joe's head gets things all mixed up. I ain't no count anyhow, an' I jest
wish I was dead or somethin'."

Poor Joe! The disappointment was a sore one to him. He had been thinking
all along of the glory he should reap as the saviour of the little
party, and now his whole plan was found to be worthless. He slept little
that night, and once Tom heard him quietly sobbing in his corner.
Creeping over to him Tom said:

"Don't cry, Joe. You did your best anyhow, and it isn't your fault that
you don't know the way to the fort," and passing his arm around the poor
black boy's neck he gently drew his head to his shoulder, where it
rested while the two slept.

The next morning Judie was the first to wake, and she quietly waked Tom
and Joe.

"Boys, boys," she cried in a whisper, "the Indians are all around us,
there is a fight going on. Get up quick, but don't make any noise."

The little girl was right. Rifles were cracking and Indians yelling all
around their little habitation. It at once occurred to Tom that here was
hope as well as danger. If the Indians should be driven back by the
whites, he could communicate with the latter and the little garrison of
the root fortress would be rescued. At present, however, it was the
savages and not the whites who surrounded the trees and the drift pile.
Tom determined lose no chance, however, and cautioning the others to
keep still, he went to the look-out to watch for an opportunity to
communicate with the white men whom these Indians were evidently
fighting.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CANOE FIGHT.


Before going further with the story of what happened around the root
fortress on that morning, it is necessary to explain how it came about
that a battle was fought there. I gather the facts from authentic
history.

During all the time spent by the Hardwickes in their wanderings and in
the root fortress, the war had been going on vigorously. The occupants
of Fort Sinquefield, when they abandoned that fort as described in the
early chapters of this story, succeeded in making their way to Fort
Glass, or Fort Madison, as it was properly named, though the people
still used its original name Fort Glass in speaking of it, for which
reason I have so called the place throughout this story. In July General
Floyd, who was in command of all the United States forces in the
south-west, sent General Claiborne, with his twelve months' Mississippi
volunteers to Fort Stoddart, with instructions to render such aid as he
could to the forts in the surrounding country. His force consisted of
seven hundred men, and of them he took five hundred to Fort Stoddart,
sending the remaining two hundred, under Col. Joseph E. Carson, a
volunteer officer, to Fort Glass. The two hundred soldiers added greatly
to the strength of the place, and with the settlers who had taken refuge
inside, rendered it reasonably secure against attack. The refugees were
under command of Captain Evan Austill, himself a planter of the
neighborhood.

Shortly after the storming of Fort Sinquefield, and almost immediately
after the garrison of that place had reached Fort Glass, the Indians
appeared in great numbers in that neighborhood, burning houses, killing
everybody who strayed even a few hundred yards outside the picket gates,
and seriously threatening the fort itself. In view of these facts Col.
Carson sent a young man of nineteen years of age named Jerry Austill,
the son of Capt. Evan Austill to General Claiborne's head-quarters,
with dispatches describing the situation and asking for reinforcements.
Young Austill made the journey alone and at night, at terrible risk, as
he had to pass through a country infested with savages, but on his
return brought, instead of assistance, an order for Col. Carson to
evacuate the fort and retire to Fort Stephens. When he did so, however,
Captain Austill and about fifty other planters, with their families,
determined to remain and defend Fort Glass at all hazards. Among those
who remained was Mr. Hardwicke, who, now that the Indians had murdered
his children, as he supposed, had little to live for, and was disposed
to serve the common cause at the most dangerous posts, where every
available man was needed.

After a time Col. Carson was sent back to the fort with his Mississippi
volunteers, and this freed the daring spirits inside the fort from the
necessity of remaining there. They went at once on scouting parties,
Tandy Walker, the guide, being almost always one of the number going out
on these perilous expeditions. They scoured the country far and near, in
bodies ranging from two or three to twenty or thirty men, and fought the
Indians in many places, losing some valuable men but making the Indians
suffer in their turn.

Finally it was determined to send out a party larger than any that had
yet gone, to operate against the savages on the south-east side of the
river. This expedition numbered seventy-two men, thirty of whom were
Mississippi Yauger men, under a Captain Jones, while the others were
volunteers from private life. The expedition was under the command of
Sam Dale, already celebrated as an Indian fighter, and known among the
Creeks, with whom he had lived, as Sam Thlueco, or Big Sam, on account
of his enormous size and strength. During this Creek war he had
performed some feats of strength, skill and daring, the memory of which
is still preserved in history, together with that of the celebrated
canoe fight, which we are now coming to. To tell of these deeds of
prowess would lead us away from our proper business, namely, the telling
of the present story; but the canoe fight comes properly into the story,
being in fact one of its incidents. Three only of Dale's companions
figured with him in the canoe fight, and they alone need mentioning by
name. These were, first Jerry Austill, the young man already spoken of,
who was six feet two inches high, slender but strong, and active as a
cat; second, James Smith, a man of firm frame and dauntless spirit; and
third Cæsar, a negro man, who conducted himself with a courage and
coolness fairly entitling him to bear the name of the great Roman
warrior.

The expedition left Fort Glass on the 11th of November, 1823. Tandy
Walker was its guide, and every man in the party knew that Tandy was not
likely to be long in leading them to a place where Indians were
plentiful. He knew every inch of country round about, and nothing
pleased him so well as a battle in any shape. The day after they left
Fort Glass, Dale's men reached the river at a point eighteen miles below
the present town of Clairborne, and about fifteen miles below the root
fortress. Here they crossed, in two canoes, to the eastern shore of the
river, and spent the night without sleep. The next morning Austill, with
six men, ascended the river in the canoes, while Dale, with the rest of
the party, marched up the bank. About a mile below the root fortress,
Dale who was marching some distance ahead of his men, came upon some
Indians at breakfast, and without waiting for his men to come up, shot
their chief. The rest fled precipitately, leaving their provisions
behind. Pushing on, Dale reached a point about two hundred yards below
the root fortress, and there determined to recross the river. The canoes
transported the men as rapidly as possible, but when all were over
except Dale and eight or nine men (among whom were Smith, Austill and
Cæsar), and only one canoe remained at the eastern side of the stream, a
large party of Indians, numbering, as was afterwards ascertained, nearly
three hundred, attacked the handful of whites still remaining. These
retreated from the field, where they were breakfasting, and keeping the
Indians in check by careful and well-aimed firing, were about to get
into the canoe and escape to the opposite bank, about four hundred yards
away, when they discovered that their retreat was cut off by a large
canoe full of Indians, eleven in all, which had come out of the mouth of
the creek just above. The savages tried to approach the shore, but, in
spite of the fact that by careening the canoe to one side and lying down
they were able to conceal themselves, they were prevented from landing
by Austill and one or two other men. Two of the Indians jumped into the
water and tried to swim to the shore, while the others, firing over the
gunwale of the boat, were sorely annoying the whites. Austill shot one
of the swimmers but the other escaped to the shore, and joined the
savages there, informing them, as Dale supposed, of the weakness of his
force, which they had not yet discovered. Dale called to the men on the
other side of the river to cross and assist him, but they, after making
an abortive attempt to send a canoe load across, remained idle
spectators of the terribly unequal conflict. Dale, seeing that no help
was to come from them, and knowing that the Indians would shortly
overcome him by sheer force of numbers, resolved upon a recklessly
daring manoeuvre, namely, an attempt to capture the Indian canoe! He
called out to his comrades.

"I'm going to fight the canoe with a canoe. Who will go with me?"

Austill, Smith and Cæsar volunteered at once, and Cæsar took his post as
steersman, while the three stalwart soldiers were leaping into the
canoe for the purpose of fighting hand to hand the nine Indians opposed
to them. As they shot out from the shore the savages on the bank
delivered a fierce fire upon them, but fortunately without effect. The
savages in the canoe had exhausted their powder, and Dale's party would
have had an advantage in this but for the fact that their own powder had
become wet as they were getting into their canoe. The fight must be hand
to hand, but they were not the men to shrink from it. When the boats
struck, the Indians leaped up and began using their rifles as clubs.
Austill, who was in the bow of Dale's boat, received the first shock of
the battle, but Cæsar promptly swung his boat around, and grappling the
other canoe held the two side by side during the whole fight. Dale's
boat was a very small one, and he to relieve it sprang into the Indian
canoe, thereby giving his comrades more room and crowding the Indians so
closely together as to embarrass their movements. The blows now fell
thick and fast. Austill was knocked down into the Indian boat, and an
Indian was about to put him to death when Smith saved him by braining
the savage. Austill then rose, and snatching a war club from one of the
Indians used that instead of his rifle. Eight of the savages were slain,
and Dale found himself face to face with the solitary survivor, whom he
recognized as a young Muscogee with whom he had been for years on terms
of the most intimate friendship, and whom he loved, as he declared,
almost as a brother. He lowered his up-raised rifle to spare his friend,
but the savage would not accept quarter. He cried out in the Creek
language, which Dale understood as well as he did English.

"Big Sam, you are a man, and I am another! Now for it!" and with that
the two joined in a struggle for life. A blow from Dale's gun ended at
once the canoe fight and the life of the young brave, who, even from his
friend, would not accept the mercy which his nation was not ready to
show to the whites. It is said that to the day of his death Dale could
not speak of this incident without shedding tears.

Dale and his comrades had still a duty to do and some danger yet to
encounter. The party remaining on the bank was in imminent peril, and
must be rescued at all hazards. The little canoe was not large enough to
carry them all, and so the big one must be cleared of the dead Indians
in it, and the heroes of the canoe fight accomplished this under a
severe fire from the bank. Then jumping into the captured boat, they
paddled to the shore, and taking their hard pressed comrades on board,
crossed under fire to the other side, whence they marched to Fort Glass,
twelve miles away, having dealt the savages a severe blow without losing
a man. Austill was hurt pretty badly on the head, and a permanent dent
in his skull attested the narrowness of his escape.

This battle was waged within sight of the root fortress, the drift pile
being indeed the cover from which the Indians fought. Tom, as we know,
went to the look-out at the beginning of the fight, and he remained
there to the end in the hope that the fortune of battle might possibly
bring the whites within call, and thus afford the little refugee band a
chance of escape. No such chance came, however, and sadly enough the
two boys, for Joe was also in the look-out, watched the passage of the
last of Dale's men across the stream, half a mile below.

"Mas' Tom," said Joe, "dem folks gwine right straight to de fort."

"Yes, of course," said Tom. "What of it?"

"Nothin', only I wish I could go wid 'em, and tell 'em Mas' Sam's here
sick."

"So do I, Joe, but we can't go with them, and it's no use wishing."

"I reckon 'tain't no use, but I can't help wishin' for all dat. When
folk's got der own way dey don't wish for it. It's when you can't git
your way dat you wish, ain't it?"

Tom was forced to admit that Joe was right, and that in wishing to be
with the retreating party he was not altogether unreasonable.

The two boys sat there, looking and longing. The savages had disappeared
almost as suddenly as they had come, and presently Joe sprang up,
saying.

"Dar's de little canoe lodged in the bushes, an' I'se gwine to fasten
her to the bank anyhow, so's we'll have her if we want her."

What possible use they could make of the canoe, it had not entered
Joe's head to ask perhaps, but he tied the boat in the bushes
nevertheless and secreted the paddle in the drift pile. He then visited
the place where Dale's men had been surprised at breakfast, and brought
off the pack of provisions which Dale had captured that morning from the
savages and had himself abandoned in his turn. The pack was a
well-stored one, and its possession was a matter of no little moment to
the boys, whose bill of fare had hitherto embraced no bread, of which
there was here an abundance in the shape of ash cake.

"Mas' Tom," said Joe that evening, "do you know my master?"

"Mr. Butler? Yes, certainly."

"Well, if anything happens to poor Joe, and if you ever gits to de fort
an' if Joe don't, an' if you sees my master dar you'll tell him Joe
never runned away anyhow, won't you."

"Yes, I'll tell him that Joe."

"Even if the Ingins ketches me an' you dunno whar' I'se gone to, you'll
tell him anyhow dat Joe never runned away from him or from you nuther,
won't you, Mas' Tom?"

"Of course, Joe. But there won't be any chance to tell him anything
about it unless we all get back to the fort, and then you can tell him
for yourself. He thinks you are dead, of course, and doesn't dream that
you ever ran away. You'll get back safely if the Indians don't catch
you, and if they catch you they'll catch all of us, so I won't be there
to tell your master about you."

"Dun no 'bout dat," replied Joe. "Dey mought catch Joe 'thout catchin'
anybody else, an' 'thout you nor nobody knowin' nothin' 'bout it, and
Joe wants you to promise anyway dat you'll stick to it to de las' dat
poor Joe was no runaway nigger, nohow at all. Kin you do dat for me,
Mas' Tom?"

"Certainly, Joe," said Tom laughing, "I promise you."

"Will you git mad if Joe axes you to shake han's on dat, Mas' Tom? I
wants to make sartain sure on it."

Tom laughed, but held out his hand, convinced that the poor black boy
was out of spirits at least, if not out of his mind.



CHAPTER XV.

THE BOYS ARE DRIVEN OUT OF THE ROOT FORTRESS.


Sam was only partially conscious during the battle around his
habitation. The fever, which now rose and fell at intervals, was usually
highest during the forenoon, abating somewhat later in the day. When it
was highest he was always in either an unconscious stupor, or a wild
delirium. When the fever abated, however, his consciousness returned,
and he was capable of talking and of understanding all that was said. In
these lucid intervals, he insisted upon knowing all that had happened,
so that he might tell the boys what was best to do. On this day Tom had
a story of more than ordinary interest to tell him, about the battle and
the chance of rescue which had so narrowly passed them. Sam was
interested in it all as a matter of course, but he was still more
deeply interested, it seemed, in the condition of the sand near the
place where he was lying. He had dug a little hole with his hand, and
feeling of the sand found it decidedly wet. Turning to Tom, he said:

"The river is rising rapidly, isn't it?"

"Yes; but how did you find it out?"

"By the sand. I've been watching it a good deal since the fall rains set
in, as I'm afraid the river will drive us out of here. You see, the
water works easily through the sand, and you can always tell what the
level of the river is, if its banks are sandy, by digging down to where
the sand is wet."

"Yes," said Tom, "but the river isn't within a hundred feet of us yet."

"You are mistaken. It is within six inches of us," said Sam.

"How's that?"

"Well, this bank is almost exactly level, and when the river gets above
its edge it spreads at once all over it. Now the sand is wet within six
inches of the top, and the river is within six inches of the edge of the
bank. When it rises six or eight inches more, it'll be in here, and I'm
afraid it will rise that much before morning. At any rate we must be
ready for it."

"What can we do?" asked Tom in alarm. "There's no place to hide on the
upper bank."

"We mustn't quit this bank, and we mustn't quit the drift-pile either,"
replied Sam. "You must find a good place, high up in the drift where, by
pulling out sticks, you and Joe can make a place for us to stay in."

"But, Sam, what if the water gets to us there?"

"It won't get to us there."

"How do you know?"

"Because the biggest freshets always come in the spring, and the top of
this drift-pile was put where it is by the biggest freshets, so the
river won't go near the top in November. You see, as the drift _floated_
on top of the water to its present place, the top of the pile must be
the highest point, or very nearly the highest, that the water ever
reaches. If you can find a good place therefore in the upper part of the
drift-pile, we shall be safe there. But you'd better see about it at
once, as the water may be in here before morning, and at any rate we
mustn't allow ourselves to be taken by surprise. You'd better go to the
river and set a stake first so you can tell how fast the water rises and
know when to move into the new place."

Tom set his stake at the water's edge and then selected the most
available place he could find for the new abode. He and Joe went
diligently to work, rearranging the loose sticks of drift-wood and even
carrying many of them clear out of the pile, so as to enlarge the hole
they had found and make it as habitable as possible.

"The trouble is," said Tom when they had nearly completed their task,
"that we can't make a smooth floor, and it's going to be rather
uncomfortable lying on loose logs and big round sticks that run every
which way."

"That's my business," said Judie looking in at the entrance. "I'm the
housekeeper, you know, and I've thought of all that."

And sure enough the little woman had brought a great pile of small,
leafy, tree branches and bush tops, with which she speedily filled up
the low places between the timbers, and covered the timbers themselves
to a depth of three or four inches, making a soft as well as a level
floor. She had foreseen the difficulty, and borrowing Sam's knife, had
worked with all her might to provide in advance against it. But the
bushes and leaves were not all that she had brought. She had collected
also a large quantity of gray moss with which to make a carpet for the
springy floor.

"Now please don't tell brother Sam," she said when the boys praised her
thoughtfulness and ingenuity. "I want to surprise him when he comes."

Tom and Joe promised, and Tom said they would have to call her their
"little housekeeper" hereafter.

The river was still rising, but more slowly, it appeared, than it had
done before. By Tom's calculations it was coming up at the rate of an
inch in three hours, wherefore Sam thought they might safely remain
where they were until morning at least, while if the water should come
to a stand during the night, they would have no occasion to move at all,
as a fall would rapidly follow, if the weather should remain clear.

Joe had worked faithfully at the task of preparing the new place of
refuge, but he was not at all satisfied with the arrangement.

"I tell you, Mas' Tom," he said, "wood'll float, 'thout 'tis live oak,
an' dis here drif'-pile 'll jest raise up an' float away, you'll see if
it don't."

"Why hasn't it floated away long ago, then, Joe?" asked Tom.

"May be it has. How you know dis drif' didn't all on it come here las'
time de river was up?"

"Well, there's too much of it for that, and besides, Sam says this place
is safe, and you know he is always right about things when he speaks
positively about them."

"Mas' Tom, don' you know Mas' Sam done been a-talkin' nonsense for two
weeks now?"

"Yes; but that's only when he's out of his head."

"How you know when he's outen his head an' when he ain't?"

"We know he's out of his head when he talks nonsense."

"Well, maybe dis here 's nonsense. I jest knows it is, and dat's how I
know Mas' Sam was outen his head when he said it."

Tom saw that Joe was not to be convinced, and so he contented himself
with saying,

"Well, we'll see."

"Yes, dat's jest it. We _will_ see, and feel too, when we all gets
drownded in de water."

The water came to a stand about midnight, and was falling slowly the
next morning. But when morning came it was raining hard, and the rain
was evidently not a local but a general one, wherefore, Tom feared that
the fall would shortly be changed into a rise, and that the bank would
soon be covered. He watched his stake carefully, visiting it every half
hour. At nine o'clock the river had fallen three inches, and was about
eight inches below the bank. From nine to ten it fell only about half an
inch. Between ten and eleven the fall was not more than a quarter of an
inch. Between eleven and twelve no fall at all was perceptible. From
twelve to one there was a slight rise. Between one and two it rose
nearly an inch. The next hour brought with it a rise of two inches. By
five o'clock the level of the water was barely two inches below the
edge of the bank, and as it was rising at the rate of two or three
inches an hour, Sam thought it time to remove from their old to their
new quarters. The change was of advantage to the sick boy, who was now
getting somewhat better at any rate, and when he found himself in the
new place the interest he showed in examining all the details of its
arrangements, was the best possible evidence of improvement.

"Come here, little woman," he said to Judie, "and give an account of
yourself. You borrowed my knife yesterday, and somebody has been using
it in cutting bush tops to make a smooth floor with, and the idea was a
very good one. Can you tell me who it was?"

"Maybe it was Tom," she replied mischievously.

"No, it was not Tom," Sam answered. "He's too much of a great awkward
boy to think of anything so comfortable. You must guess again."

"Joe, then," she said.

"No, it wasn't Joe, either," said Sam. "Joe can sleep on the edge of a
fence rail as well as anywhere else, and he never would have thought of
making our floor soft and smooth. Guess again."

"Maybe it was brother Sam," said Judie.

"Oh, certainly. It must have been I," replied Sam. "I must have done it.
I'm so strong and active now-a-days. Yes, on reflection, I presume I did
it, and the man in the moon helped me. Now I think it was a very
thoughtful and helpful thing for anybody to do, so you ought to kiss me
for doing it, and when the weather gets clear you must throw a kiss to
the man in the moon, too, for his share." And with that he kissed the
little housekeeper, and she felt herself abundantly repaid for her work
and for the thoughtfulness she had shown. She was never so happy as when
Sam praised her, "because he's such a splendid big brother," she would
explain.

Tom, seeing that Sam was getting better at last, began to hope for his
complete recovery, and the hope made him buoyant of spirit again. Judie,
too, who watched and weighed every symptom in Sam's case, discovered to
her delight that he was decidedly better, and the discovery made her as
happy as a healthy girl well can be. Poor Joe seemed to be the only
miserable one in the party. He said almost nothing, answering questions
with a simple "yes" or "no," and sitting moodily in his corner, when he
stayed inside the "drift cavern"--which was Sam's name for the new
abode--at all. He spent most of his time, however, on top of the pile,
where he watched the water and the clouds. The rain had ceased, but the
river, which was now creeping over the broad bank, continued to rise.

"What is the matter with Joe?" asked Sam after the boy had gone out for
the twentieth time.

"I think he's afraid we're all going to be drowned," said Tom.

"Drowned? How?"

"Well, he says wood will float, and so he thinks when the water comes up
under the drift-pile, it will all float away."

"What nonsense!" exclaimed Sam. "Why didn't you tell him better, Tom?"

"I did; but he sticks to it, and--"

"Well, couldn't you explain it so that he would understand it and not
have to trust to your judgment for it?"

"No, I couldn't. The fact is, I don't quite understand it myself. There
isn't a stick in this whole pile that won't float, and I don't quite
understand why the pile won't. But I don't doubt you're right about it,
Sam. You always are right whether I understand how things are or not."

"Let me explain it to you, then. Do you know why some things float and
others don't?"

"Yes, of course. Because the things that float are lighter than the
things that sink."

"Not exactly. That log there is too heavy for you to lift, while you can
carry a bullet between your thumb and finger. The log is many hundred
times heavier than a bullet, but the log will float while the bullet
will sink always."

"That's so," said Tom, "and I don't know what does make some things
float and other things sink."

"Did you ever set a teacup in the water and see it float?"

"Yes, many a time."

"But if you fill it with water it will sink, won't it?"

"Yes, of course."

"Well, now I can explain the thing to you, I think. If a thing is
heavier,--the whole thing I mean, than the amount of water it
displaces,--that is, if it is heavier than exactly its own bulk of
water, it will sink; but if it is lighter than its own bulk of water it
will float."

"Oh, yes, I see."

"Now a bullet weighs a good deal more than its own bulk of water, and so
it sinks. A log weighs less than its own bulk of water, and so it
floats. An empty teacup weighs less than a solid body of water equal to
it in size, and it therefore floats. If you fill it with water, however,
you increase its weight without adding anything to the amount of water
it displaces,--or rather, as you let water into all the hollow space,
you lessen by that much the amount of water it must displace in sinking
without taking away anything from its weight, and so it sinks; or, if
you break the teacup you lessen the amount of water it must displace
without lessening its weight, and so it sinks in that case, too. Do you
understand that?"

"Yes, I think I do," said Tom; "but I don't exactly see how it applies
to the drift-pile."

"I'll explain that presently. I want to make it plain first that the
ability of a thing to float depends not on its weight, but on its weight
as compared with that of a like bulk of water. This comparative or
relative weight is called _specific gravity_, and in measuring the
specific gravity of substances water is taken as the standard usually,
though sometimes gold is used for that purpose. Now to come to the
drift-pile. When the water rises say two or three feet, it will be above
the level of the lower logs, and these would float away, if they were
free, because their specific gravity is less than that of water. But
there is twenty feet of other timber on top of them, and its weight must
be added to theirs. The water displaced is exactly equal to their bulk,
while the weight is many hundred times greater than theirs. Do you
understand?"

"Yes, I think I do. You mean that the water must come high enough to
pretty nearly cover the whole drift-pile before any of it can float."

"Yes. The pile must be considered as a whole, and it won't float until
there is water enough to float the whole. The bottom logs can't float
while those above them are clear out of water, if their weight rests on
the bottom logs, as it does in the drift-pile. You see when you put
anything into the water, it sinks until it has displaced a bulk of water
equal to its own weight, and then stops sinking. In other words, that
part of the floating thing which goes under the water is exactly the
size of a body of water equal in weight to the whole thing. If a log
floats with just half of itself above water, you know that the log
weighs exactly the same as half its own bulk of water, or, in other
words, that its specific gravity is just half that of water. Water two
inches deep won't float a great saw-log, because a great saw-log weighs
more than the amount of water it takes to cover its lower part two or
three inches deep; and water two or three feet deep won't float a
drift-pile twenty feet high, because such a drift-pile weighs a good
deal more than a body of water two or three feet deep, of its own length
and width. But even if the water were to rise to the top of the hammock,
the pile wouldn't float away. It would float, of course, and some of the
wood near its edges would be carried away, but the main pile would
remain here, because it is all tangled together and can't go away except
in one great mass. It is so firmly lodged against the trees as to
prevent that, and as a freshet big enough to cover, or nearly cover it,
would bring down a great quantity of new drift and deposit it here, the
pile would grow bigger rather than smaller. But the river won't get very
high at this season, or at any rate it won't rise to anywhere near the
top of the hammock, as I have already explained to you, because it is
evidently only the biggest freshets that ever come near the top, and the
biggest freshets never come in the fall, but always in the spring. It
isn't rising fast enough either. It isn't rising nearly so fast now as
it was before it got over the bank."

"Why, how do you know that, Sam? You haven't been to look."

"No, but I know it, nevertheless, simply because I know that water, left
to itself, will find its level."

"I don't see what that's got to do with it," said Tom.

"Perhaps not, but it has something to do with it for all that," replied
Sam; "and I can make you see how, too."

He paused, to think the matter over and determine how to present it to
Tom's comprehension.

"You see," he then resumed, "that the river inside its banks is about
four hundred yards wide. When it rises above the banks, however, it
spreads out over the level ground, and becomes, in some places, many
miles wide, averaging a mile at least in width. Now there is only a
certain amount of water coming into the river every hour. The rain has
stopped, but the soil is full of water, and so there is about as much
running into the river now as there was while the rain lasted. But the
surface of the stream is now many times greater than it was, and as
water finds its level, all that comes into the river spreads out over
its whole surface, and of course doesn't raise its level nearly so much
as the same quantity did while the stream was still within its banks. Do
you understand now?"

"What a great big brother you are, Sam, anyhow!" was all the reply Tom
made.



CHAPTER XVI.

WHERE IS JOE?


It was now getting late, and Sam knew that it was not well for him to
talk longer. He felt so much better, however, that he knew he would
continue to talk in spite of himself unless the whole party should go to
sleep at once. Joe had not been in the drift cavern for more than two
hours, and Sam, observing his prolonged absence, said:

"Tom, I'm afraid some of us have hurt poor Joe's feelings. Go and look
at your water-mark, and while you are out, find the poor fellow and find
out what's the matter with him. He's a good boy, and has done his part
faithfully ever since we started. I can't bear to think of him moping."

Tom went out and examined his stake, which showed that the water was not
more than an inch or two over the bank, and was not rising very rapidly
now; but he could see nothing of Joe anywhere. He went to the look-out,
but the boy was not there, and a diligent search through the drift-pile,
showed that he was nowhere in the neighborhood of the fortress. Tom was
now fairly alarmed, and returning, was about to report the facts to Sam,
when little Judie, in a whisper, informed him that the big brother was
asleep. As his fever had risen somewhat, Judie rightly thought it better
not to disturb him, as he certainly could not aid in any way in finding
Joe.

"I must just think," Tom said to himself, "as Sam does, and then I can
do all there is to be done. Now I know Joe isn't anywhere in the
hammock, because I knew every place he could squeeze himself into, and
I've looked in every one of them. It's no use then to waste time looking
there any more. He must have left here, either accidentally or on
purpose. He couldn't have slipped off the drift and drowned, because he
can swim pretty well and would have swam out in a minute. There is no
other way in which he can have left here by accident, unless an Indian
has killed him on the drift-pile somewhere, and if that were so I would
have found his body. He must have run away on purpose."

But just as Tom reached this point in his thinking he remembered the
earnestness with which poor Joe had begged him to bear witness in any
and every event that he was not "a runaway nigger." And this reminded
Tom of all the queer ways he had noticed in Joe of late. The boy must
have had a premonition, he thought, that something was going to happen
to him. Only two theories remained. One was that Joe had gone crazy
under his long exile from civilized life and had madly put an end to
himself by jumping into the river; and the other that, persisting in his
belief in the instability of the drift-pile, he had gone to the upper
bank for safety and had fallen asleep there. In that event he must be
found, lest an Indian should discover him in the morning and put him to
death. Tom went ashore after explaining his purpose to Judie, so that
she might not be alarmed at his absence, and literally spent the entire
night in hunting for the black boy. Joe was nowhere to be found, and
when daylight came, Tom saw that a further search was of no use
whatever, and he therefore returned sadly to the drift cavern. The water
was now going down again, and the bank was free from it, but the sand in
the root fortress was still too wet to sit or lie upon, and so Tom made
no immediate preparation for their return.

Sam's fever was very slight that morning, and his first question was
about Joe. Tom told him of his night's search, and Sam's deduction from
all the facts was that the poor boy had committed suicide, had been
killed by an Indian and thrown into the river, or had fallen in
accidentally and drowned.

"He would never have left us in any case," said Sam, "and even had he
been less faithful, he would have been afraid to run away, not knowing
where to run or how to take care of himself in the woods."

They were too much grieved for Joe's loss, to relish their breakfast,
and that meal was dispatched very quickly. Tom watched the falling of
the water all day, and at night reported that the river was well inside
its banks again.



CHAPTER XVII.

A FAMINE.


The river having gone down until no water remained on the sandy bank,
Tom reported the fact and added,

"Now let's move back again to the root-fortress. It's a safer place than
this, by a good deal, if it isn't quite so big or quite so comfortable."

"No, we mustn't go back yet," said Judie, who had visited the fortress
before Tom had, "because the sand in there is as wet as can be, and I
can't let my big sick brother lie on it."

"There, Tom," said Sam, "my doctor forbids my return yet awhile, and a
sick man always must obey the doctor you know. Besides, Judie is right.
It won't do for any of us to lie on wet sand; we must wait till it
dries; but that won't be very long if the river continues to go down."

Accordingly they spent one more night in the drift cavern. Early the
next morning Judie went to the fortress, and returning said, playing
doctor.

"Now, then, Mr. Hardwicke, the floor of your lower house is quite dry,
and I think it will be safe to move back again. Will you have your
breakfast first, or will you wait until you get back home again before
eating anything?"

"Oh, let's wait, by all means, and eat breakfast in the dear old
root-fortress," said Tom, and as Sam made no objection, it was so
arranged.

By nine o'clock the moss carpet was laid in the root-fortress and the
little party was back in its old quarters again. The vacant corner which
had been Joe's, reminded them sadly of his disappearance. Poor fellow!
they had learned to love him almost as a brother, and they could not
think of him now without tears. When three people sit down with a silent
grief, their conversation is very apt to be lively, or, if they cannot
quite accomplish that, they are sure to talk only of indifferent
matters, and so it was in the present case. Judie was the first to break
the silence which had fallen upon all.

"Tom," she said playfully, "I'm afraid you're not a good provider. Here
we are, hungry as wolves, and you haven't brought us a mite of anything
to eat. You've moved everything but the provisions, and you've forgotten
them entirely."

Master Tom admitted the grievousness of his fault and returned at once
to the drift cavern after the forgotten provision pack. The bread, as
they all knew, was long ago exhausted, but plenty of meat remained, and
this Tom presently brought. When he opened the pack a disagreeable odor
spread itself at once over the little room.

"Phew! what's that?" said Tom, and putting his nose to the meat, he
looked up in blank consternation, saying:

"The meat is spoiled, Sam! What on earth shall we do?"

The case was an alarming one certainly. They were hungry, and Sam, whose
returning health had brought with it a ravenous appetite, was
particularly so. He needed wholesome, nourishing food now more than
anything else, as he knew.

"Well," he said, after thinking the matter over, "it can't be helped.
There's nothing for it but to fall back on sweet potatoes till I get
strong enough to go hunting. You must go to the potato field Tom, and
bring some."

There had been but one field of corn in the neighborhood at first, and
the various parties of Indians who had camped in its vicinity had long
ago carried away the last ear of corn from that, as the boys knew very
well. The river was altogether too high now for mussels to be got, and
so the sweet potatoes in a field half a mile away, were their only
resource.

Tom set out at once in quest of them, carefully looking out for lurking
savages. He was gone more than an hour, and just as Sam was growing
really uneasy on his account, he returned, _empty handed_!

"There isn't a potato in the field," he said as he sat down in utter
dejection. "The Indians have dug every one of them."

This announcement was indeed an alarming one to the whole party. They
were without an ounce of food of any sort within their utmost reach, and
it was plain that they must starve, unless they could hit upon some new
device, by which to get a supply.

"I must go hunting, sick or well," said Sam rising; but he had no sooner
got upon his feet, than he felt the utter impossibility of doing
anything of the kind.

"It's of no use," he said sadly. "I can't make my legs carry me, Tom,
and so we must depend upon you. Go into the woods there by the creek,
and sit down or stand still till you see something in the way of game,
and then take good aim before you shoot, for we mustn't waste any of our
powder."

With this he shook the horn to ascertain how much remained in it, and
was horrified to find it empty! Tom remembered that the last time he had
loaded the gun he had used the last grain of powder in the horn.

"Well, then," said Sam, "we have only one charge of powder between us
and starvation, and it won't do to waste that, Tom. You can shoot pretty
well when you have time enough to take good aim, and I suppose, if you
make up your mind beforehand that you won't shoot till you know you can
kill what you shoot at, it is safe enough. At any rate we must risk it.
Remember, however, that you mustn't run the risk of wasting this load
in your anxiety to kill the first thing you see to shoot at. There is
plenty of game in the woods, so if you can't get a sure shot at one
thing, wait for another. Get a sure shot anyhow, if it takes you all
day. It must be something big enough to last us awhile, too. You mustn't
shoot at anything less than a turkey or a 'possum, and you mustn't shoot
at all till you get _very_ close, because if you miss, we will starve.
Better take all day to-day and all day to-morrow than to miss when you
fire."

And after many instructions and cautionings, Tom sallied forth in search
of game. Going into the woods for a considerable distance, he sat down
on a log in the thick undergrowth and waited patiently for the
appearance of some animal which could be eaten. Hour after hour passed,
and Tom fell asleep. How long he slept he did not know, but waking
suddenly he saw a flock of wild turkeys within a few yards of him.
Raising his gun and taking a very deliberate aim he pulled the trigger.
No explosion followed, but the clicking of the hammer was enough to put
the game to flight.

Poor Tom was disheartened, but it would not do to give up, and so he
carefully picked the edge of his flint with his knife and walked further
into the woods.

He had not walked very far, with cautious steps, when he heard a
rustling in the bushes just ahead of him. At first he thought it must be
an Indian, and drawing back he waited for further developments. A grunt
soon enlightened him as to the character of the game, and creeping
through the bushes he found himself close to a fat young hog, one of the
many running wild in those woods and thickets. That was something worth
having. Levelling his gun again, he again pulled the trigger, but
without effect, and opening the pan he discovered that during the rain,
while in the drift cavern, the "priming," as the powder in the pan is
called, had been reduced to a paste by water. To fire the gun was out of
the question, and so clubbing it, Tom ran at the hog and dealt him a
blow on the head, hoping in that way to secure the game which he could
not shoot. The blow fell upon the nose of the animal, however, and while
it brought a squeal of pain from him, it produced no beneficial result.
The hog ran rapidly away, and Tom was left with nothing better than a
broken gun to carry back to the fortress.

Arriving there about three o'clock in the afternoon he told the doleful
story of his failure, and sitting down burst into tears.

"Come, come!" said Sam. "This will never do, old fellow. It's bad enough
as it is without crying about it. We'll come all right if you'll only
keep your courage up, and give me a chance to think. I'm getting better
every day now, and if we can only hold out a few days longer, I'll be on
my feet again, and then we'll go straight to Fort Glass. Just as soon as
I can walk at all, we'll start, meantime we must get something to eat,
and to do that I must think. Let me see. The gun is of no use now, but
there are other ways of getting game besides shooting it. We must set
some traps. This spoiled meat will do for bait. Get me a good piece of
poplar wood, Tom, or cypress, or some other sort, that I can whittle
easily, and I'll make some figure-four triggers. Then I'll tell you how
to make dead-falls, and you must set as many of them as you can to make
sure of getting something to eat by to-morrow morning."

Tom brought the wood and Sam soon whittled out several sets of triggers.

"Now do you know how to set a trap with these triggers, Tom?" he asked.

"Yes, I've set many a partridge trap with figure fours."

"Very well then. Now you must set dead-falls in the same way. That is,
instead of a trap you must set a log. You see I've made the triggers big
and strong, and you must put them under one end of as heavy a log as you
can lift. Then you must lay other logs on top to make it as heavy as
possible, and bait it with a piece of the spoilt meat. If anything
undertakes to eat the meat to-night, the dead-fall will break its neck
or back, sure. Here are six sets of triggers and you must set six
dead-falls. We can go hungry till to-morrow, can't we, little woman?"
chucking Judie under the chin.

"We can try, anyhow," answered the little woman as cheerfully as she
could, though she was by no means confident that she could do anything
of the sort. She was already faint and almost sick, and whether she
could live till morning or not was an undetermined question in her
mind. To tell the truth, Sam himself felt but little confidence in his
device. The spoiled meat, he knew, would attract only the larger
animals, and such dead-falls as Tom could set were by no means certain
to kill these in their fall. It was the very best thing he could do,
however, and he must trust to it in the absence of any better reliance.
He concealed his anxiety therefore, and after receiving Tom's report of
his operations in dead-fall setting, he drew Judie to his side and told
her a fairy story, as night fell. All went to sleep at last, and when
morning came Sam aroused Tom very early and sent him to examine the
traps. The boy was gone for an hour or more, when he returned with
downcast countenance. Two of the traps had been thrown, but there was no
game under them, while the four others remained undisturbed.

Here was a bad out-look certainly, and they had not tasted food now for
more than thirty hours!



CHAPTER XVIII.

WHICH ENDS THE STORY.


"Something must be done," said Sam, as soon as he had heard Tom's
report, "and quickly too. Let me think a few minutes. We are beginning
now to be hungry enough to eat anything, and when people get that hungry
there are a good many things that can be eaten. I'll tell you what we
must do, Tom--"

But what it was that Sam had hit upon, Tom never knew. Just as this
point in the conversation was reached _Joe_ came running in through the
alley-way, his face flattened out into a broad grin of delight, his
teeth and eyes shining, while he danced all over the fortress, shaking
hands over and over again, and saying,

"Hi! Miss Judie! Hi! Mas' Tom! Hi! Mas' Sam! How does ye all do now? Did
you think Joe had runned away? Joe tell ye he never runned away. Joe
ain't no runaway nigger, nohow at all, and de Ingins ain't ketched Joe
nuther. Joe's back all safe an' sound, sartin sure! Hi!"

"What on earth ails you, Joe? You're out of your wits, poor fellow,"
said Sam, convinced that the black boy was demented.

"No I ain't nuther, Mas' Sam," he replied. "Joe ain't crazy one bit, but
he's glad _sure_."

"Where have you been, Joe, since you left us?"

"Whar? Why to de fort, an' I'se dun brung back a rescue too, didn't I
tell you? Laws a massy, dat's what I comed in fust for to tell you. I'se
done been to Fort Glass and brung a big rescue party, and de white folks
dey said, long as Joe brung us he's 'titled to tell de good news fust,
an' dat's how I'm here while de rest is outside de drif'."

"Go and see, Tom," said Sam, afraid to believe this story of the
seemingly insane boy, who, he thought, had become crazed from long
brooding over the chances of rescue. Tom got up to go, but as he started
Mr. Hardwicke himself met him in the door way and caught him in his
arms. Tandy Walker was just behind.

"Well, this beats all," said Tandy. "I've done a good many jobs o'
rescuin' in my time, but I never yit found the rescued hid in the roots
of a tree an' fortified with a drift-pile. An' if I'm a jedge o' sich
things, this here party's a'most starved. I've seed hungry people afore
now, an' I say le's have a breakfast sot right away for these here
little ones."

Tandy was right, as we know, and it was not long before an abundant
breakfast was spread for Sam and Tom and little Judie. The rescue party
consisted of twenty stout fellows from the fort, and after breakfast a
rude litter was provided for Sam, and crossing the river in the little
canoe the party began its homeward march. Tom was glad to walk, the walk
being in that direction. Judie was carried, part of the time in her
father's arms, part of it in Tandy Walker's, and part on the broad
shoulders of Cæsar, the negro man who had participated in the canoe
fight. Sam was stretched on a litter, carried by four of the men, and
Joe insisted on walking always by his side, though he fell behind now
and then for the purpose of dancing a little jig of delight. He would
execute this movement, and then running, catch up with the litter again.

"Tell me, Joe," said Sam after the black boy had become somewhat quiet
again, "tell me all about this thing."

"'Bout what thing, Mas' Sam?"

"About your going to the fort and all that. How did you manage it, and
how came you to think of it?"

"Well, you see, Mas' Sam, when you was at your wust, I got a thinkin',
an' I thought out a plan dat Mas' Tom said was a good un. Him an' me was
to make a raf' out'n cane, an' pole it up de river wid you an' little
Miss Judie on it, an' den I was to go cross de country to de fort an'
bring help. Jes' as we got de raf' ready, howsomever, Mas' Tom he axed
me if I know de way to de fort, an' as I didn't know nothin' 'bout it, I
jis' sot down an' gived up. But I kep' a thinkin' all de time, an' I
said to myself, 'Joe, you're a fool anyhow, an' you mustn't tell your
plans till you know dey're good uns, an' you ain't got sense enough to
know dat till you try 'em.' An' so I sot my head to work to git up a
new plan, meanin' to try it all by myself. When de big fight took place
an' I seed the white folks marchin' away, I said out 'loud, 'dem dare
folks is gwine right straight to de fort,' an' I said to myself, 'I
means to go dere too if I kin.' It took me two days 'n more to git de
thing fixed up right in my min'.

"I was willin' enough to risk Injuns, but I was afear'd you'n Mas' Tom
'ud think Joe was a runaway nigger if I never comed back, an' dat
troubled me. I fixed dat at las' by makin' Mas' Tom mos' swar he'd stick
to it dat I wasn't no runaway nigger, an' den I sot out. I crossed de
river in de little canoe an' hid her in de bushes. I found de place whar
de white folks started from, an' I jes' follered dere trail. Dat was my
plan. I know'd dey would make a big easy trail, dere was so many of 'em,
an I meant to follow 'em. It took me more'n two whole nights to git to
de fort, dough, 'cause de creeks was all high an' de brush very tangley.
When I tole de folks about you'n Miss Judie an' Mas' Tom, dey didn't
more'n half believe me, an' when I tole 'em I'd lead 'em straight to
whar you was, an' dey said dey'd sculp me if I didn't, I jest said all
right, 'cause if we don' find Mas' Sam an' little Miss Judie an' Mas'
Tom no more, den I'd rather be sculped'n not, anyhow. But we did fin'
you, didn't we Mas' Sam?" and at this Joe had to drop behind again and
execute a rapid jig movement, as a relief to his feelings.

       *       *       *       *       *

The government forces under General Jackson, together with the settlers
themselves, were now pressing the savages very hard. Battles were fought
almost every day, and every battle weakened the Indians. In December,
General Claiborne invaded the Holy Ground, and utterly destroyed
Weatherford's command, as a result of which that chief surrendered to
Jackson and the war was practically at an end. A few more battles were
necessary before a final peace could be made, and the last of them was
fought on the 27th of March, 1814, at Horseshoe Bend; but after the
battle of December 23d a little more than a month after Sam's party was
rescued, the country north and west of the Alabama river was
comparatively free from savages, who no longer dared wander about in
small bands, plundering and burning houses, and the planters began to
return to their homes to get ready for spring work.

When Mr. Hardwicke was about to go home with his children, he sent for
Joe. When the boy came, little Judie handed him a carefully folded
document, saying,

"Here's a present for you, Joe.

"What's dis?" asked Joe, unable to guess what possible use he could have
for such a paper as that, inasmuch as he couldn't read it to save his
life.

"These are your _free papers_, Joe," said Sam. "Father has bought you
from Mr. Butler, for the purpose of setting you free, as a reward for
your good conduct."

Joe evidently wanted to say something, but did not know how.

"Are you glad to be free, Joe?" asked Mr. Hardwicke.

"Ain't I though?" and Joe's feet began to shuffle as if a jig were
coming in spite of his desire to behave well.

"Well, Joe," said Mr. Hardwicke, "I mean to give you a fair chance in
life, and I've thought the matter over carefully. You are free now to
do precisely as you please, and you can live where you like. But I've a
proposition to make--a plan for you. Do you know my cypress farm,--the
little one down in the fork of the two creeks?"

"De one whar' ole uncle Peter Dun lived so long?"

"Yes, the one uncle Peter manages for me."

"Yes, master, I knows dat place mighty well."

"Well, how would you like to buy it, Joe?"

"Buy the farm, master? What's Joe got to buy wid? I ain't got no money,
'thout it's a quarter Mas' Tandy Walker dun gim me fur to clean his
boots sence we comed back to de fort, an' I jest know that a quarter
won't buy no sich low grounds as dem dar down twix' dem dar creeks is.
Dat's de very bes' lan' in Alabama. Leastways I dun hear de folks say
'tis heaps o' times. You's jokin' wid Joe, master."

"No, I am not, Joe. You can buy the land if you want it, and there are a
hundred and ten acres in the tract, besides the strip of woods along
both creeks."

"How's I gwine to buy it, master?"

"Well, let me see. You're about thirteen now. It will be nine years yet
before you will be a man, and if you choose to live with me until you
are twenty-one, I'll feed and clothe you till then, and the day you are
twenty-one the farm shall be yours in payment of wages."

"How you mean, master?"

"I mean, that besides feeding and clothing you as I feed and clothe my
people, I will give you the farm for your nine years' work. If you like
the place, I will have all the papers made out, so that the farm will be
yours, even if I should die before the time is up. I have more land than
I care to keep, and you see I want to sell that one farm to you, if
you'll buy it."

"Looks to me, heap more like's if you was gwine to give it to me,
master; dis on'y your fun to say I buy's it."

"No, the bargain is a fair one, Joe. I could give you the farm now, but
I think it will be better for you to work for it, and then you'll feel
that it's yours by right and not by favor. I want to make a man of you,
Joe, and my children shall always think of you as one of their best
friends. Go out of doors if you want to dance, Joe," seeing the feet
beginning to shuffle, and understanding the mingled joy and
embarrassment of the boy.

Joe hesitated a moment, and then with a sudden straightening of his
shoulders, as if the future manliness were already beginning to assert
itself in him, he advanced to Mr. Hardwicke, and shaking his hand, said:

"Joe ain't got no learnin' an' no manners nuther, master, but Joe's
_grateful_ anyhow," and bursting into tears the boy left the room.


THE END



CAPITAL BOOKS FOR BOYS.

Published by G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS.
4th AVE. AND 23d STREET, NEW YORK.


I.

THE BOY WITH AN IDEA; by Mrs. Eiloart, author of "Chris Fairlie's
Boyhood," &c. Illustrated, cloth extra, $1.75.


II.

THE YOUNG MECHANIC; Practical Carpentry. Containing Directions for the
use of Tools, and for the Construction of Steam-Engines and Mechanical
Models, including the Art of Turning in Wood and Metal. Illustrated,
octavo, cloth extra, $1.75.

"A valuable book, eminently useful to beginners, and suggestive even to
the experienced and skilful."--_Albany Journal._


III.

THE REALM OF THE ICE-KING; by the author of "Saved from the Wreck."
Illustrated, cloth extra, $2.00

This will be found a most attractive volume of Arctic Travels and
Adventures.


IV.

WONDERS OF THE DEEP; by Prof. Schele De Vere. Contents: Pearls, Corals,
Oysters, a Pinch of Salt, a Grain of Sand, Odd Fish, Lighthouses,
Mercury, &c., &c., &c. Illustrated, cloth extra, $1.50

"One of the freshest, most scientific, and at the same time, most
popular and delightful books of the kind we have ever read."--_St.
John's Telegraph._


V.

THE LIFE AND JOURNALS OF JOHN J. AUDUBON, THE NATURALIST. Comprising
narrations of his expeditions in the American Forests, &c. 12mo., cloth
extra, gilt top, $2.25

"It is a grand story of a grand life, more instructive than a sermon,
more romantic than a romance."--_Harper's Magazine._

--Any of the above sent, postpaid, on the receipt of price.



Putnams' Series of Popular Manuals.

HALF-HOURS WITH THE MICROSCOPE.

By EDWIN LANKESTER, M.D., F. R.S. Illustrated by 250 Drawings from
Nature. 12mo, cloth, $1.25.

"This beautiful little volume is a very complete manual for the amateur
microscopist. * * * The 'Half-Hours' are filled with clear and agreeable
descriptions, whilst eight plates, executed with the most beautiful
minuteness and sharpness, exhibit no less than 250 objects with the
utmost attainable distinctness."--_Critic._


HALF-HOURS WITH THE TELESCOPE:

Being a popular Guide to the Use of the Telescope as a means of
Amusement and Instruction. Adapted to inexpensive instruments. By R. A.
PROCTOR, B.A., F.R.A.S. 12mo, cloth, with illustrations on stone and
wood. Price, $1.25.

"It is crammed with starry plates on wood and stone, and among the
celestial phenomena described or figured, by far the larger number may
be profitably examined with small telescopes."--_Illustrated Times._


HALF-HOURS WITH THE STARS:

A Plain and Easy Guide to the Knowledge of the Constellations, showing
in 12 Maps, the Position of the Principal Star Groups Night after Night
throughout the Year, with introduction and a separate explanation of
each Map. True for every Year. By RICHARD A. PROCTOR, B.A., F.R.A.S.
Demy 4to. Price, $2.25.

"Nothing so well calculated to give a rapid and thorough knowledge of
the position of the stars in the firmament has ever been designed or
published hitherto. Mr. Proctor's 'Half-Hours with the Stars' will
become a text-book in all schools, and an invaluable aid to all teachers
of the young."--_Weekly Times._


MANUAL OF POPULAR PHYSIOLOGY:

Being an Attempt to Explain the Science of Life in Untechnical Language.
By HENRY LAWSON, M.D. 18mo, with 90 Illustrations. Price, $1.25.

Man's Mechanism, Life, Force, Food, Digestion, Respiration, Heat, the
Skin, the Kidneys, Nervous System, Organs of Sense, &c., &c., &c.

"Dr Lawson has succeeded in rendering his manual amusing as well as
instructive. All the great facts in human physiology are presented to
the reader successively; and either for private reading or for classes,
this manual will be found well adapted for initiating the uninformed
into the mysteries of the structure and function of their own
bodies."--_Athenæum._


WOMAN BEFORE THE LAW.

By JOHN PROFFATT, LL.B., of the New York Bar.

CONTENTS.--I. Former Status of Women. II. Legal Conditions of Marriage.
III. Personal Rights and Disabilities of the Wife. IV. Rights of
Property, Real and Personal. V. Dower. VI. Reciprocal Rights and Duties
of Mother and Children. VII. Divorce.

12mo, cloth, $1. Half bound, $1.25.


BASTIAT. SOPHISMS OF PROTECTION.

By FREDERIC BASTIAT. With Preface by HORACE WHITE. Cloth. Price $1.00.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Big Brother - A Story of Indian War" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
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.



Home