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´╗┐Title: The Lost Trail
Author: Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Lost Trail" ***

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      this book from a different source.
      See etext04/lstrl10.txt or etext04/lstrl10.zip:
THE LOST TRAIL

BY EDWARD S. ELLIS

AUTHOR OF "SETH JONES," "THE FOREST SPY," ETC., ETC.

1911



[Illustration: "THAT INDIAN HAS CARRIED CORA AWAY!"--_Frontispiece_.]



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

   I. The Shadow
  II. The Adventures of a Night
 III. The Jug Acquaintances
  IV. An Ominous Rencounter
   V. Gone
  VI. The Lost Trail
 VII. A Hibernian's Search for the Trail
VIII. The Trail of Death
  IX. The Dead Shot
   X. Conclusion



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

He held his long rifle in his right hand, while he drew the shrubbery
apart with his left, and looked forth at the canoe.

"A purty question, ye murtherin haythen!"

"Where does yees get the jug?"

Dealt the savage a tremendous blow

"Well, At-to-uck," said he, kindly, "you seem troubled."

The trail was lost!

"And so, Teddy, ye're sayin' it war a white man that took away the
missionary's wife."

"It's all up!" muttered the dying man. "I am wiped out at last, and
must go under!"

"Harvey Richter--don't you know me?" he gasped.



THE LOST TRAIL.



CHAPTER I.


THE SHADOW.

  Ye who love the haunts of nature,
  Love the sunshine of the meadow,
  Love the shadow of the forest,
  Love the wind among the branches,
  And the rain-shower and the snow-storm,
  And the rushing of great rivers.
  Listen to these wild traditions.--HIAWATHA.


One day in the spring of 1820, a singular occurrence took place on one
of the upper tributaries of the Mississippi.

The bank, some fifteen or twenty feet in height, descended quite
abruptly to the stream's edge. Though both shores were lined with
dense forest, this particular portion possessed only several sparse
clumps of shrubbery, which seemed like a breathing-space in this sea
of verdure--a gate in the magnificent bulwark with which nature girts
her streams. This green area commanded a view of several miles, both
up and down stream.

Had a person been observing this open spot on the afternoon of the day
in question, he would have seen a large bowlder suddenly roll from the
top of the bank to bound along down the green declivity and fall into
the water with a loud splash. This in itself was nothing remarkable,
as such things are of frequent occurrence in the great order of
things, and the tooth of time easily could have gnawed away the few
crumbs of earth that held the stone in poise.

Scarcely five minutes had elapsed, however, when a second bowlder
rolled downward in a manner precisely similar to its predecessor, and
tumbled into the water with a rush that resounded across and across
from the forest on either bank.

Even this might have occurred in the usual course of things. Stranger
events take place every day. The loosening of the first stone could
have opened the way for the second, although a suspicious observer
might naturally have asked why its fall did not follow more
immediately.

But, when precisely the same interval had elapsed, and a third stone
followed in the track of the others, there could be no question but
what human agency was concerned in the matter. It certainly appeared
as if there were some _intent_ in all this. In this remote wilderness,
no white man or Indian would find the time or inclination for such
child's play, unless there was a definite object to be accomplished.

And yet, scrutinized from the opposite bank, the lynx-eye of a veteran
pioneer would have detected no other sign of the presence of a human
being than the occurrences that we have already narrated; but the most
inexperienced person would have decided at once upon the hiding-place
of him who had given the moving impulse to the bodies.

Just at the summit of the bank was a mass of shrubbery of sufficient
extent and density to conceal a dozen warriors. And within this,
beyond doubt, was one person, at least, concealed; and it was certain,
too, that from his hiding-place, he was peering out upon the river.
Each bowlder had emerged from this shrubbery, and had not passed
through it in its downward course; so that their starting-point may
now be considered a settled question.

Supposing one to have gazed from this stand-point, what would have
been his field of vision? A long stretch of river--a vast, almost
interminable extent of forest--a faint, far-off glimpse of a mountain
peak projected like a thin cloud against the blue sky, and a solitary
eagle that, miles above, was bathing his plumage in the clear
atmosphere. Naught else?

Close under the opposite shore, considerably lower down than the point
to which we first directed our attention, may be descried a dark
object. It is a small Indian canoe, in which are seated two white men
and a female, all of whom are attired in the garb of civilization. The
young man near the stern is of slight mold, clear blue eye, and a
prepossessing countenance. He holds a broad ashen paddle in his hand
with which to assist his companion, who maintains his proximity to the
shore for the purpose of overcoming more deftly the opposition of the
current. The second personage is a short but square-shouldered
Irishman, with massive breast, arms like the piston-rods of an engine,
and a broad, good-natured face. He is one of those beings who may be
aptly termed "machines," a patient, plodding, ox-like creature who
takes to the most irksome labor as a flail takes to the sheafs on the
threshing-floor. Work was his element, and nothing, it would seem,
could tire or overcome those indurated muscles and vice-like nerves.
The only appellation with which he was ever known to be honored was
that of "Teddy."

Near the center of the canoe, which was of goodly size and straight,
upon a bed of blankets, sat the wife of the young man in the stern. A
glance would have dissipated the slightest suspicion of her being
anything other than a willing voyager upon the river. There was the
kindling eye and glowing cheek, the eager look that flitted hither and
yon, and the buoyant feeling manifest in every movement, all of which
expressed more of enthusiasm than of willingness merely. Her constant
questions to her husband or Teddy, kept up a continual run of
conversation, which was now, for the first time, momentarily
interrupted by the occurrence to which we have alluded.

At the moment we introduce them the young man was holding his paddle
stationary and gazing off toward his right, where the splash in the
water denoted the fall of the third stone. His face wore an expression
of puzzled surprise, mingled with which was a look of displeasure, as
if he were "put out" at this manifestation. His eyes were fixed with a
keen, searching gaze upon the river-bank, expecting the appearance of
something more.

Teddy also was resting upon his paddle, and scrutinizing the point in
question; but he seemed little affected by what had taken place. His
face was as expressionless as one of the bowlders, save the
ever-present look of imperturbable good-humor.

The young woman seemed more absorbed than either of her companions, in
attempting to divine this mystery that had so suddenly come upon them.
More than once she raised her hand, as an admonition for Teddy to
preserve silence. Finally, however, his impatience got the better of
his obedience, and he broke the oppressive stillness.

"And what does ye make of it, Miss Cora, or Master Harvey?" he asked,
after a few moments, dipping his paddle at the same time in the water.
"Arrah, now, has either of ye saan anything more than the same
bowlders there?"

"No," answered the man, "but we may; keep a bright look-out, Teddy,
and let me know what you see."

The Irishman inclined his head to one side, and closed one eye as if
sighting an invisible gun. Suddenly he exclaimed, with a start:

"I see something now, _sure_ as a Bally-ma-gorrah wake."

"What is it?"

"The sun going down in the west, and tilling us we've no time to
shpare in fooling along here."

"Teddy, don't you remember day before yesterday when we came out of
the Mississippi into this stream, we observed something very similar
to this?"

"An' what if we did, zur? Does ye mane to say that a rock or two can't
git tired of layin' in bed for a thousand years and roll around like a
potaty in a garret whin the floor isn't stiddy?"

"It struck us as so remarkable that we both concluded it must have
been caused _purposely_ by some one."

"Me own opinion was, ye remember, that it was a lot of school-boys
that had run away from their master, and were indulging themselves in
a little shport, or that it was the bears at a shindy, or that it was
something else."

"Ah! Teddy, there are times when jesting is out of place," said the
young wife, reproachfully; "and it seems to me that when we are alone
in this vast wilderness, with many and many a long mile between us
and a white settlement, we should be grave and thoughtful."

"I strives to be so, Miss Cora, but it's harder than paddling this
cockle-shell of a canoe up-shtream. My tongue will wag jist as a dog's
tail when he can't kape it still."

The face of the Irishman wore such a long, woebegone expression, that
it brought a smile to the face of his companion. Teddy saw this, and
his big, honest blue eyes twinkled with humor as he glanced upward
from beneath his hat.

"I knows yees _prays_ for me, Misther Harvey and Miss Cora, ivery
night and morning of your blessed life, but I'm afeard your prayers
will do as little good for Teddy as the s'arch-warrant did for Micky,
the praist's boy, who stole the praist's shirt and give it away
because it was lou--"

"_Look!_"

From the very center of the clump of bushes of which we have made
mention, came a white puff of smoke, followed immediately by the faint
but sharp report of a rifle. The bullet's course could be seen as it
skipped over the surface of the water, and finally dropped out of
sight.

"What do you say, now?" asked the young man. "Isn't that proof that
we've attracted attention?"

"So it saams; but, little dread need we have of disturbance if they
always kaap at such a respictable distance as that. Whisht, now! but
don't ye saa those same bushes moving? There's some one passing
through them! Mebbe it's a shadow, mebbe it's the divil himself. If
so, here goes after the imp!"

Catching up his rifle, Teddy discharged it toward the bank, although
it was absolutely impossible for his bullet to do more than reach the
shore.

"That's to show the old gintleman we are ready and ain't frightened,
be he the divil himself, or only a few of his children, that ye call
the poor Injuns!"

"And whoever it is, he is evidently as little frightened as you; that
shot was a direct challenge to us."

"And it's accepted. Hooray! Now for some Limerick exercise!"

Ere he could be prevented, the Irishman had headed his canoe across
stream, and was paddling with all his might toward the spot from which
the first shot had been fired.

"Stop!" commanded his master. "It is fool-hardiness, on a par with
your general conduct, thus to run into an undefined danger."

Teddy reluctantly changed the course of the boat and said nothing,
although his face plainly indicated his disappointment. He had not
been mistaken, however, in the supposition that he detected the
movements of some person in the shrubbery. Directly after the shot had
been fired, the bushes were agitated, and a gaunt, grim-visaged man,
in a half-hunter and half-civilized dress, moved a few feet to the
right, in a manner which showed that he was indifferent as to whether
or not he was observed. He looked forth as if to ascertain the result
of his fire. The man was very tall, with a face by no means
unhandsome, although it was disfigured by a settled scowl, which
better befitted a savage enemy than a white friend. He held his long
rifle in his right hand, while he drew the shrubbery apart with his
left, and looked forth at the canoe.

[Illustration: He held his long rifle in his right hand, while he drew
the shrubbery apart with his left, and looked forth at the canoe.]

"I knew the distance was too great," he muttered, "but you will hear
of me again, Harvey Richter. I've had a dozen chances to pick you off
since you and your friends started up-stream, but I don't wish to do
_that_. No, no, not that. Fire away; but you can do me no more harm
than I can you, at this moment."

Allowing the bushes to resume their wonted position, the stranger
deliberately reloaded his piece and as deliberately walked away in the
wood.

In the meantime, the voyagers resumed their journey and were making
quite rapid progress up-stream. The sun was already low in the sky,
and it was not long before darkness began to envelop wood and stream.
At a sign from the young man, the Irishman headed the canoe toward
shore. In a few moments they landed, where, if possible, the wood was
more dense than usual. Although quite late in the spring, the night
was chilly, and they lost no time in kindling a good fire.

The travelers appeared to act upon the presumption that there were no
such things as enemies in this solitude. Every night they had run
their boat in to shore, started a fire, and slept soundly by it until
morning, and thus far, strange as it may seem, they had suffered no
molestation and had seen no signs of ill-will, if we except the
occurrences already related. Through the day, the stalwart arms of
Teddy, with occasional assistance from the more delicate yet firm
muscles of Harvey, had plied the paddle. No attempt at concealment
was made. On several occasions they had landed at the invitation of
Indians, and, after smoking, and presenting them with a few trinkets,
had departed again, in peace and good-will.

Not to delay information upon an important point, we may state that
Harvey Richter was a young minister who had recently been appointed
missionary to the Indians. The official members of his denomination,
while movements were on foot concerning the spiritual welfare of the
heathen in other parts of the world, became convinced that the red-men
of the American wilds were neglected, and conceding fully the force of
the inference drawn thence, young men were induced to offer themselves
as laborers in the savage American vineyard. Great latitude was
granted in their choice of ground--being allowed an area of thousands
upon thousands of square miles over which the red-man roamed in his
pristine barbarism. The vineyard was truly vast and the laborers few.

While his friends selected stations comparatively but a short distance
from the bounds of civilization, Harvey Richter decided to go to the
Far Northwest. Away up among the grand old mountains and majestic
solitudes, hugging the rills and streams which roll eastward to feed
the great continental artery called the Mississippi, he believed lay
his true sphere of duty. Could the precious seed be deposited there,
if even in a single spot, he was sure its growth would be rapid and
certain, and, like the little rills, it might at length become the
great, steadily-flowing source of light and life.

Harvey Richter had read and studied much regarding the American
aborigines. To choose one of the wildest, most untamed tribes for his
pupils, was in perfect keeping with his convictions and his character
for courage. Hence he selected the present hunting-grounds of the
Sioux, in upper Minnesota. Shortly before he started he was married to
Cora Brandon, whose devotion to her great Master and to her husband
would have carried her through any earthly tribulations. Although she
had not urged the resolution which the young minister had taken, yet
she gladly gave up a luxurious home and kind friends to bear him
company.

There was yet another whose devotion to the young missionary was
scarcely less than that of the faithful wife. We refer to the
Irishman, Teddy, who had been a favorite servant for many years in
the family of the Richters. Having fully determined on sharing the
fortunes of his young master, it would have grieved his heart very
deeply had he been left behind. He received the announcement that he
was to be a life-long companion of the young man, with an expression
at once significant of his pride and his joy.

"Be jabers, but Teddy McFadden is in luck!"

And thus it happened that our three friends were ascending one of the
tributaries of the upper Mississippi on this balmy day in the spring
of 1820. They had been a long time on the journey, but were now
nearing its termination. They had learned from the Indians daily
encountered, the precise location of the large village, in or near
which they had decided to make their home for many and many a year to
come.

After landing, and before starting his fire, Teddy pulled the canoe up
on the bank. It was used as a sort of shelter by their gentler
companion, while he and his master slept outside, in close proximity
to the camp-fire. They possessed a plentiful supply of game at all
times, for this was the Paradise of hunters, and they always landed
and shot what was needed.

"We must be getting well up to the northward," remarked the young
man, as he warmed his hands before the fire. "Don't you notice any
difference in the atmosphere, Cora?"

"Yes; there is a very perceptible change."

"If this illigant fire only keeps up, I'm thinking there'll be a
considerable difference afore long. The ways yees be twisting and
doubling them hands, as if ye had hold of some delightsome soap,
spaaks that yees have already discovered a difference. It is better
nor whisky, fire is, in the long run, providin' you don't swaller
it--the fire, that is."

"Even if swallowed, Teddy, fire is better than whisky, for fire burns
only the body, while whisky burns the soul," answered the minister.

"Arrah, that it does; for I well remimbers the last swig I took a'most
burnt a hole in me shirt, over the bosom, and they say that is where
the soul is located."

"Ah, Teddy, you are a sad sinner, I fear," laughingly observed Mrs.
Richter, at this extravagant allusion.

"A _sad_ sinner! Divil a bit of it. I haven't saan the day for twinty
year whin I couldn't dance at me grandmother's wake, or couldn't use a
shillalah at me father's fourteenth weddin'. Teddy _sad_? Well, that
is a--is a--a mistake," and the injured fellow further expressed his
feelings by piling on the fuel until he had a fire large enough to
have roasted a battalion of prize beeves, had they been spitted before
it.

Darkness at length fairly settled upon the wood and stream; the gloom
around became deep and impressive. The inevitable haunch of venison
was roasting before the roaring fire, Teddy watching and attending it
with all the skill of an experienced cook. While thus engaged, the
missionary and his wife were occupied in tracing the course of the
Mississippi and its tributaries upon a pocket map, which was the chief
guide in that wilderness of streams and "tributaries." Who could deny
the vastness of the field, and the loud call for laborers, when such
an immense extent then bore only the name of "Unexplored Region!" And
yet, this same headwater territory was teeming with human beings, as
rude and uncultivated as the South Sea Islanders. What were the
feelings of the faithful couple as their eyes wandered to the left of
the map, where these huge letters confronted them, we can only
surmise. That they felt that ten thousand self-sacrificing men could
be employed in this portion of the country we may well imagine.

As the evening meal was not yet ready, the missionary folded the map
and fell to musing--musing of the future he had marked out for
himself; enjoying the sweet approval of his conscience, higher and
purer than any enjoyment of earth. All at once came back the
occurrence of the afternoon, which had been absent from his thoughts
for the hour past. But, now that it was recalled, it engaged his mind
with redoubled force.

Could he be assured that it was a red-man who had fired the shot, the
most unpleasant apprehension would be dissipated; but a suspicion
_would_ haunt him, in spite of himself, that it was not a red-man, but
a white, who had thus signified his hostility. The rolling of the
stones must have been simply to call his attention, and the rifle-shot
was intended for nothing more than to signify that he was an enemy.

And who could this enemy be? If a hunter or an adventurer, would he
not naturally have looked upon any of his own race, whom he
encountered in the wilderness, as his friends, and have hastened to
welcome them? What could have been more desirable than to unite with
them in a country where whites were so scarce, and almost unknown?
Was it not contrary to all reason to suppose that a hermit or
misanthrope would have penetrated thus far to avoid his brother man,
and would have broken his own solitude by thus betraying his presence?

Such and similar were the questions Harvey Richter asked himself again
and again, and to all he was able to return an answer. He had decided
who this strange being might possibly be. If it was the person
suspected, it was one whom he had met more frequently than he wished,
and he prayed that he might never encounter him again in this world.
The certainty that the man had dogged him to this remote spot in the
West; that he had patiently plodded after the travelers for many a day
and night; that even the trackless river had not sufficed to place
distance between them; that, undoubtedly, like some wild beast in his
lair, he had watched Richter and his companions as they sat or
slumbered near their camp-fire--these, we may well surmise, served to
render the missionary for the moment excessively uncomfortable, and to
dull the roseate hues in which he had drawn the future.

The termination of this train of thought was the sudden suspicion that
this very being was at that moment in close proximity. Unconsciously,
Harvey rose to the sitting position and looked around, half expecting
to descry the too well remembered figure.

"Supper is waiting, and so is our appetites, be the same token in your
stomachs that is in mine. How bees it with yourself, Mistress Cora?"

The young wife had risen to her feet, and the husband was in the act
of doing the same, when the sharp crack of a rifle broke the
stillness, and Harvey plainly heard and felt the whiz of the bullet as
it passed before his eyes.

"To the devil wid yer nonsense!" shouted Teddy, furiously springing
forward, and glaring around him in search of the author of the
well-nigh fatal shot. Deciding upon the quarter whence it came, he
seized his ever-ready rifle, which he had learned to manage with much
skill, dashed off at the top of his speed, not heeding the commands of
his master, nor the appeals of Mrs. Richter to return.

Guided only by his blind rage, it happened, in this instance, that the
Irishman proceeded directly toward the spot where the hunter had
concealed himself, and came so very near that the latter was compelled
to rise to his feet to escape being trampled upon. Teddy caught the
outlines of a tall form tearing hurriedly through the wood, as if in
terror of being caught, and he bent all his energies toward overtaking
him. The gloom of the night, that had now fairly descended, and the
peculiar topography of the ground, made it an exceedingly difficult
matter for both to keep their feet. The fugitive, catching in some
obstruction, was thrown flat upon his face, but quickly recovered
himself. Teddy, with a shout of exultation, sprung forward, confident
that he had secured their persecutor at last, but the Irishman was
caught by the same obstacle and "floored" even more completely than
his enemy.

"Bad luck to it!" he exclaimed, frantically scrambling to his feet,
"but it has knocked me deaf and dumb. I'll have ye, owld haythen, yit,
or me name isn't Teddy McFadden, from Limerick downs."

Teddy's fall had given the fugitive quite an advantage, and as he was
fully as fleet of foot as the Irishman, the latter was unable to
regain his lost ground. Still, it wasn't in his nature to give in, and
he dashed forward as determinedly as ever. To his unutterable chagrin,
however, it was not long before he realized that the footsteps of his
enemy were gradually becoming more distant. His rage grew with his
adversary's gradual escape, and he would have pursued had he been
certain of rushing into destruction itself. All at once he made a
second fall, and, instead of recovering, went headlong down into a
gully, fully a dozen feet in depth.

Teddy, stunned by his heavy fall, lay insensible for some fifteen or
twenty minutes. He returned to consciousness with a ringing sensation
in his ears, and it was some time before he could recall all the
circumstances of his predicament. Gradually the facts dawned upon him,
and he listened. Everything was oppressively still. He heard not the
voice of his master, and not even the sound of any of the denizens of
the wood.

His first movement was to feel for his rifle, which he had brought
with him in his descent, and which he found close at hand. In the act
of rising, he caught the sound of a footstep, and saw, at the same
instant, the outlines of a person that he knew at once could be no
other than the man whom he had been pursuing. The hunter was about a
dozen feet distant, and seemed perfectly aware of the Irishman's
presence, for he stood with folded arms, facing his pursuer. The
darkness prevented Teddy's discovering anything more than his enemy's
outline But this was enough for a shot to do its work. Teddy
cautiously brought his rifle to his shoulder, and lifted the hammer.
Pointing it at the breast of his adversary, so as to be sure of his
aim, he pulled the trigger, but there was no response. The gun either
was unloaded, or had been injured by its rough usage. The dull click
of the lock reached the ear of the target, who asked, in a low, gruff
voice:

"Why do _you_ seek me? You and I have no quarrel."

"A purty question, ye murtherin' haythen! I'll settle with yees, if
yees only come down here like a man. Jist play the wolf and belave me
a sheep, and come down here for your supper."

[Illustration: "A purty question, ye murtherin haythen!"]

"My quarrel is not with you, I tell you, but with your psalm-singing
_master_--"

"And ain't that _meself_?" interrupted Teddy. "What's mine is his, and
what's his is mine, and what's me is both, and what's both is me,
barring neither one is my own, but all belong to Master Harvey, and
Miss Cora, God bless their souls. Don't talk of quarreling wid _him_
and being friendly to _me_, ye murtherin' spalpeen! Jist come down
here a bit, I say, if ye's got a spick of honor in yer rusty shirt."

"My ill-will is not toward you, although, I repeat, if you step in my
way you may find it a dangerous matter. You think I tried to shoot
you, but you are mistaken. Do you suppose I could have come as near
and _missed_ without doing so on _purpose_? To-night I could have
brought you and your master, or his wife, and sent you all out of the
world in a twinkling. I've roamed the woods too long to miscarry at a
dozen yards."

Teddy began to realize that the man told the truth, yet it cannot be
said that his anger was abated, although a strong curiosity mingled
with it.

"And what's yer raison for acting in that shtyle, to as good a man as
iver asked God's blessing on a sunny morning, and who wouldn't tread
on one of yer corns, that is, if yer big feet isn't all corns, like a
toad's back, as I suspict, from the manner in which ye leaps over the
ground."

"_He_ knows who I am, and he knows he has given me good cause to
remind him of my existence. _He_ can tell you, if he chooses; I shall
not. But let yourself and him take warning from what you already
know."

"And be the same token, let yourself be taking warning. As sure as
I'm the ninth son of the seventh mother, I'll--"

The hunter was gone!



CHAPTER II.


THE ADVENTURES OF A NIGHT.

  The echoing rock, the rushing flood,
  The cataract's swell, the moaning wood;
  The undefined and mingled hums--
  Voice of the desert never dumb!
  All these have left within this heart
  A feeling tongue can ne'er impart;
  A wildered and unearthly flame,
  A something that's without a name.--ETTRICK SHEPHERD.


With extreme difficulty, Teddy made his way out of the ravine into
which purposely he had been led by the hunter. He was full of aches
and pains when he attempted to walk, and more than once was compelled
to halt to ease his bruised limbs.

As he painfully made his way back to the camp he did a vast deal of
cogitation. When in extreme pain of body, produced by a mishap
intentionally conceived by another, it is but following the natural
law of cause and effect to feel a certain degree of exasperation
toward the evil-doer; and, as the Irishman at every step experienced a
sharp twinge that ofttimes made him cry out, his ejaculations were
neither conceived in charity nor uttered in good-will toward all men.
Still, he pondered deeply upon what the hunter had said, and was
perplexed to know what could possibly be its meaning.

The simple nature of the Irishman was unable to fathom the mystery. He
could not have believed even had Harvey Richter himself confessed to
having perpetrated a crime or a wrong, that the minister had been
guilty of anything sufficient to give cause of enmity. The strange
hunter whom they had unexpectedly encountered several times, must be
some crack-brained adventurer, the victim of a fancied wrong, who,
most likely, had mistaken Harvey Richter for another person.

What could be the object in firing at the missionary, yet taking pains
that no harm should be inflicted? That was another impenetrable
mystery; but, let it be comprehensible or not, the wrathful servitor
inwardly vowed that, if the man crossed the path of himself or his
master again, and the opportunity offered, he should shoot him down as
he would a wild animal.

In the midst of his absorbing reverie, Teddy suddenly paused and
looked around him. He was lost. Shrewd enough to understand that to
attempt to extricate himself would only lead into a greater
entanglement, from which it might not be possible to escape at all, he
wisely concluded to remain where he was until daylight. Gathering a
few twigs and leaves, with his well-stored "punk-box" he soon started
a small fire, by the light of which he collected a sufficient quantity
of fuel to last until morning.

Few scenes of nature are more impressive than a forest at night. That
low deep roar, born of silence itself--the sad sighing of the
wind--the tall, column-like trunks, resembling huge sentinels keeping
guard over the mysteries of ages--the silent sea of foliage overhead,
that seems to shut in a world of its own--all have an influence,
peculiar, irresistible and sublime.

The picket upon duty is a prey to many an imaginary danger. The
rustling of a leaf, the crackling of a twig, the flitting shadows of
the ever-changing clouds, are made to assume the guise of a foe,
endeavoring to steal upon him unawares. Again and again Teddy was
certain he heard the stealthy tread of the strange hunter, or some
prowling Indian, and his heart throbbed violently at the expected
encounter. Then, as the sound ceased, a sense of his utter loneliness
came over him, and he pined for his old home in the States, which he
had so lately left.

A tremulous wail, which came faintly through the silence of the
boundless woods, reminded him that there were other inhabitants of the
solitude besides human beings. At such times, he drew nearer to the
fire, as a child would draw near to a friend to shun an imaginary
danger.

But, finally the drowsy god asserted himself, and the watcher passed
off into a deep slumber. His last recollection was a dim consciousness
of hearing the tread of something near the camp-fire. But his stupor
was so great that he had not the inclination to arouse himself, and
with his face buried in the leaves of his bushy couch, he quickly lost
cognizance of all things, and floated off into the illimitable realms
of sleep--Sleep, the sister of Death.

He came out of his heavy slumber from feeling something snuffing and
clawing at his shoulder. He was wide awake at once, and all his
faculties, even to his anger, were aroused.

"Git out, ye owld sarpent!" he shouted, springing to his feet. "Git
out, or I'll smash yer head the same as I smashed the assassin's,
barring I didn't do it!"

The affrighted animal leaped back several yards, as lightly as a
shadow. Teddy caught only a glimpse of the beast, but could plainly
detect the phosphorescent glitter of his angry eyes, that watched
every movement. The Irishman's first proceeding was to replenish the
fire. This kept the creature at a safe distance, although he began
trotting around and around, as if to seek some unguarded loophole
through which to compass the destruction of the man who had thus
invaded his dominions.

The tread of the animal resembled the rattling of raindrops upon the
leaves, while its silence, its gliding motion, convinced the
inexperienced Irishman of the brute's exceedingly dangerous character.
His rifle was too much injured to be of use and he could therefore
only keep his precocious foe at a safe distance by piling on fuel
until the camp-fire burned defiantly.

There was no more sleep for Teddy that night. He had received too
great a shock, and the impending danger was too imminent for him to do
any thing but watch, so long as darkness and the animal remained.
Several times he thought there was evidence of the presence of another
beast, but he failed to discover it, and finally believed he had been
mistaken.

It was a tiresome and lonely occupation, this incessant watching, and
Teddy had recourse to several expedients to while away the weary
hours. The first and most natural was that of singing. He trolled
forth every song that he could recall to remembrance, and it may be
truly said that he awoke echoes in those forest-aisles never before
heard there. As in the pauses he heard the volume of sound that seemed
quivering and swaying among the tree-trunks, like the confined air in
an organ, he was awed into silence.

"Whist, ye son of Patrick McFadden; don't ye hear the responses all
around ye, as if the spirits were in the organ loft, thinkin' ye a
praist and thimselves the choir-boys. I belaves, by me sowl, that
ivery tree has got a tongue, for hear how they whispers and mutters.
Niver did I hear the likes. No more singin', Teddy my darlint, to sich
an audience."

He thereupon relapsed into silence, but it was only momentary. He
suddenly looked out into the darkness which shrouded the still
watchful beast from sight, and exclaimed:

"Ye owld shivering assassin, out there, did yees ever hear till how
Tom O'Reilly got his wife? Yees never did, eh? Well, then, be aisy
now, and I'll give yees the truths of the matter.

"Tom was a great, rollicking boy, that had an eye gouged out at the
widow Mulloney's wake, and an ugly cut that made his mouth six inches
wide: and, before he got the cut, it was as broad as yer own out
there. Besides, his hair being of a fire's own red, you may safely say
that he was not the most beautiful young man in Limerick, and that
there wasn't many gals that were dying of a broken heart for the same
Tom.

"But Tom thought a mighty sight of the gals and a great deal more of
Kitty McGuire, that lived close by the brook as yees come a mile or
two out of this side of Limerick. Tom was possessed after that same
gal, and it only made him the more determined when he found that Kitty
didn't like him at all. He towld the boys he was bound to have her,
and any one who said he wasn't would get his head broke.

"There was a little orphan girl, whose father had gone to Ameriky and
whose mother was dead, that was found one night, years before, in
front of old Mrs. McGuire's door. She was about the same age as Kitty,
and the owld woman took her out of kindness and brought them up
together. She got to be jist as ugly a looking a gal as Tom was a man.
Her hair was redder than his, and her face was just that freckled that
yees couldn't tell which was the freckle and which was the skin
itself. And her nose had a twist, on the ind of it, that made one
think it had been made for a corkscrew, or some machine that you bore
holes with.

"This gal, Molly Mulligan, used to encourage Tom to come to the house,
and was always so mighty kind to him that he used to kiss and shpark
her by way of compinsating her for her trouble. She used to take this
all _very_ well, for she was a great admirer of Tom's, and always
spoke his praise. But Tom didn't make much headway with Kitty. It
wasn't often that he could saa her, and when he did; she was mighty
offish, and was sure to have the owld woman present, like a
dumb-waiter, to be sure. She come to tell him at length that she
didn't admire his coming, and that he would greatly plaise her if he
would make his visits by staying away altogether. The next time Tom
went he found the door locked, and, after hammering a half-hour, and
being towld there was no admittance, he belaved it was meant as a kind
hint that his company was not agreeable. Be yees listening, ye
riptile?

"Tom might have stood it very well, if another chap hadn't begun
calling on Kitty about this time. He used to go airly in the evening,
and not come out of the house till after midnight, so that one might
belave his visits were welcome. This made Tom feel mighty bad, and so
he hid behind the wall and waylaid the chap one night. He would have
killed the chap, his timper was so ruffled, if the man hadn't nearly
killed him afore he had the chance. He laid all night in the gutter,
and was just able to crawl home next day, while the fellow went
a-courting the next night, as if nothing had happened.

"Tom begun to git melancholy, and his mouth didn't appear quite as
broad as usual. Molly Mulligan thought he had taken slow poison and it
was gradually working through his system; but he could ate his pick of
praties the same as iver. But Tom felt mighty bad; that fact can't be
denied, and he went frequently to consult with a praist that lived
near this ind of Limerick, and who was knowed to cut up a trick or
two during his lifetime. When Tom came out one day looking bright and
cheery, iverybody belaved they had been conspiring togither, and had
hit on some thavish trick they was to play on little Kitty McGuire.

"When the moon was bright, Kitty used to walk to Limerick and back
again of an evening. Her beau most likely went with her, but sometimes
she preferred to go alone, as she knowed no one would hurt a bonny
little gal as herself. Tom knowed of these doings, as in days gone by
he had jined her once or twice. So one night he put a white sheet
around him as she was coming back from Limerick, and hid under the
little bridge over the brook. It was gitting quite late, and the moon
was just gone down, so, when she stepped on the bridge, and he came
out afore her, she gave one shriek, and like to have fainted intirely.

"'Make no noise, or I'll ate ye up alive,' said Tom, trying to talk
like a ghost.

"'What isht yees want?' she asked, shaking like a leaf, 'and who are
yees?'

"'I'm a shpirit, come to warn ye of your ill-doings.'

"'I know I'm a great sinner,' she cried, covering her face with her
hands; 'but I try to do as well as I can.'

"'Do you know Tom O'Reilly?' he asked, loud enough to be heard in
Limerick. 'You have treated him ill.'

"'That I know I have,' she sobbed, 'and how can I do him justice?'

"'He loves you.'

"'I know he does!'

"'He is a shplendid man, and will make a much bitter husband than the
spalpeen that ye now looks on with favor.'

"'Shall I make him my husband?'

"'Yis; if ye wish to save yourself from purgatory. If the other man
marries yees, he'll murder yees the same night.'

"'Oh!' shrieked the gal, as if she'd go down upon the ground, 'and how
shall I save meself?'

"'By marrying Tom O'Reilly.'

"'Is that the only way?'

"'Ay. Does yees consint?'

"'I do; I must do poor Tom justice.'

"'Will ye marry him this same night?'

"'That I will.'

"'Tom is hid under this bridge; I'll go down and bring him up, and
he'll go to the praist's with yees. Don't ye shtir or I'll ate yees.'

"So Tom whisked under the ind of the bridge, slipped off the sheet,
all the time kaaping one eye cocked above to saa that Kitty didn't
give him the shlip. He then came up and spoke very smilingly to the
gal, as though he hadn't seen her afore that night. He didn't think
that his voice was jist the same.

"Kitty didn't say much, but she walked very quiet by his side, till
they came to the praist's house at this ind of Limerick. The owld
fellow must have been expecting him, for before he could knock, he
opened the door and let him in. The praist didn't wait long, and in
five minutes he towld them they were man and wife, and nothing but
death could iver make them different. Tom gave a regular yell that
made the windys rattle, for he couldn't kaap his faalings down. He
then threw his arms around his wife, gave her another hug, and then
dropped her like a hot potato. For instead of being Kitty McGuire, it
was Molly Mulligan! The owld praist wasn't so bad after all. He had
told Kitty and Molly of Tom's plans, and they had fixed the matter
atween thim.

"Wal, the praist laughed, and Tom looked melancholier than iver; but
purty soon he laughed too, and took the praist's advice to make the
bist of the bargain. Whisht!"

Teddy paused abruptly, for he heard a prolonged but faint halloo. It
was, evidently, the call of his master, and indicated the direction of
the camp. He replied at once, and without thinking one moment of the
prowling brute which might be upon him instantly, he passed beyond the
protecting circle of his fire, and dashed off at top of his speed
through the woods, and ere long reached the camp-fire of his friends.
As he came in, he observed that Mrs. Richter still was asleep beneath
the canoe, while her husband stood watching beside her. Teddy had
determined to conceal the particulars of the conversation he had held
with the officious hunter, but he related the facts of his pursuit and
mishap, and of his futile attempt to make his way back to camp. After
this, the two seated themselves by the fire, and the missionary was
soon asleep. The adventures of the night, however, affected Teddy's
nerves too much for him even to doze, and he therefore maintained an
unremitting watch until morning.

At an early hour, our friends were astir, and at once launched forth
upon the river. They noted a broadening of the stream and weakening of
the current, and at intervals they came upon long stretches of
prairie. The canoe glided closely along, where they could look down
into the clear depths of the water, and discover the pebbles
glistening upon the bottom. Under a point of land, where the stream
made an eddy, they halted, and with their fishing-lines, soon secured
a breakfast which the daintiest gourmand might have envied. They
were upon the point of landing so as to kindle a fire, when Mr.
Richter spoke:

"Do you notice that large island in the stream, Cora? Would you not
prefer that as a landing-place?"

"I think I should."

"Teddy, we'll take our morning meal there."

The powerful arms of the Irishman sent the frail vessel swiftly over
the water, and a moment later its prow touched the velvet shore of the
island. Under the skillful manipulations of the young wife, who
insisted upon taking charge, their breakfast was quickly prepared,
and, one might say, almost as quickly eaten.

They had now advanced so far to the northward that all felt an
anxiety to reach their destination. Accordingly no time was lost in
the ascent of the stream.

The exhilarating influence of a clear spring morning in the forest, is
impossible to resist. The mirror-like sparkle of the water that sweeps
beneath the light canoe, or glitters in the dew-drops upon the ashen
blade; the golden blaze of sunshine streaming up in the heavens; the
dewy woods, flecked here and there by the blossoms of some wild fruit
or flower; the cool air beneath the gigantic arms all a-flutter with
the warbling music of birds; all conjoin to inspire a feeling which
carries us back to boyhood again--to make us young once more.

As Richter sat in the canoe's stern, and drank in the influence of the
scene, his heart rose within him, and he could scarcely refrain from
shouting. His wife, also, seemed to partake of this buoyancy, for her
eyes fairly sparkled as he glanced from side to side. All at once
Teddy ceased paddling and pointed to the left shore. Following the
direction of his finger, Richter saw, standing upon the bank in full
view, the tall, spare figure of the strange hunter. He seemed occupied
in watching them, and was as motionless as the tree-trunks behind
him--so motionless, indeed, that it required a second scrutiny to
prove that it really was not an inanimate object. The intensity of his
observation prevented him from observing that Teddy had raised his
rifle from the canoe. He caught the click of the lock, however, and
spoke in a sharp tone:

"Teddy, don't you dare to--"

His remaining words were drowned in the sharp crack of the piece.

"It's only to frighten him jist, Master Harvey. It'll sarve the good
purpose of giving him the idee we ain't afeard, and if he continues
his thaiving tricks, he is to be shot at sight, as a shaap-stalin'
dog, that he is, to be sure."

"You've hit him!" said his master, as he observed the hunter leap into
the woods.

"Thank the Lord for that, for it was an accident, and he'll l'arn
we've rifles as well as himself. It's mighty little harm, howiver, is
done him, if he can travel in that gay style."

"I am displeased, for your shot might have taken his life, and--but,
see yonder, Teddy, what does that mean?"

Close under the opposite bank, and several hundred yards above them
was discernible a long canoe, in which was seated at least a dozen
Indians. They were coming slowly down-stream, and gradually working
their way into the center of the river. Teddy surveyed them a moment
and said:

"That means they're after us. Is it run or fight?"

"Neither; they are undoubtedly from the village, and we may as well
meet them here as there. What think you, dear wife?"

"Let us join them, by all means, at once."

All doubts were soon removed, when the canoe was headed directly
toward them, and under the propulsion of the many skillful arms, it
came like a bird over the surface of the waters. A few rods away its
speed was slackened, and, before approaching closer, it made a circuit
around the voyageurs' canoe, as if the warriors were anxious to assure
themselves there was no decoy or design in this unresisting surrender.

Evidently satisfied that it was a _bona fide_ affair, the Indians
swept up beside our friends, and one of the warriors, stretching out
his hands, said:

"Gib guns me--gib guns."

"Begorrah, but it would be mighty plaisant to us, if it would be all
the same to yees, if ye'd be clever enough to let us retain
possission of 'em," said Teddy, hesitating about complying with the
demand. "They might do ye some injury, ye know, and besides, I didn't
propose to--"

"Let them have them," said Richter. The Irishman reluctantly obeyed,
and while he passed his rifle over with his left hand, he doubled up
his right, shaking it under the savage's nose.

"Ye've got me gun, ye old log of walnut, but ye hain't got me fists,
begorrah, but, by the powers, ye shall have them some of these fine
mornings whin yer eyes want opening."

"Teddy, be silent!" sharply commanded the missionary.

But the Indians, understanding the significance of the Irishman's
gestures, only smiled at them, and the chief who had taken his gun,
nodded his head, as much as to say he, too, would enjoy a fisticuff.

When the whites were defenseless, one of the savages vaulted lightly
into their canoe, and took possession of the paddle.

"I'm highly oblaiged to ye," grinned Teddy, "for me arms have been
waxin' tired ever sin' I l'arned the Injin way of driving a canoe
through the water. When ye gets out o' breath jist ax another
red-skin to try his hand, while I boss the job."

The canoes were pulled rapidly up-stream. This settled that the whites
were being carried to the village which was their original
destination. Both Harvey and his wife were rather pleased than
otherwise with this, although the missionary would have preferred an
interview or conversation in order to make himself and intentions
known. He was surprised at the knowledge they displayed of the English
language. He overheard words exchanged between them which were as easy
to understand as much of Teddy's talk. They must be, therefore, in
frequent communication with white men. Their location was so far north
that, as Richter plausibly inferred, they were extensive dealers in
furs and peltries, which must be disposed of to traders and the agents
of the American Fur and Hudson Bay Companies. The Selkirk or Red river
settlement also, must be at an easily accessible distance.

It may seem strange that it never occurred to the captives that the
savages might do them harm. In fact, nothing but violence itself would
have convinced the missionary that such was contemplated. He had
yielded himself, heart and soul, to his work; he felt an inward
conviction that he was to accomplish great good. Trials and sufferings
of all imaginable kinds he expected to undergo, but his life was to be
spared until the work was accomplished. Of that he never experienced a
moment's doubt.

Our readers will bear in mind that the period of which we write,
although but a little more than forty years since, was when the
territory west of the Mississippi was almost entirely unknown.
Trappers, hunters and fur-traders in occasional instances, penetrated
into the heart of the mighty solitude. Lewis and Clarke had made their
expedition to the head-waters of the Columbia, but the result of all
these visits, to the civilized world, was much the same as that of the
adventurers who have penetrated into the interior of Africa.

It was known that on the northwest dwelt the warlike Blackfeet, the
implacable foes of every white man. There, also, dwelt other tribes,
who seemed resolved that none but their own race should dwell upon
that soil. Again, there were others with whom little difficulty was
experienced in bartering and trading, to the great profit of the
adventurous whites, and the satisfaction of the savages; still, the
shrewd traders knew better than to trust to Indian magnanimity or
honor. Their reliance under heaven, was their tact in managing the
savages, and their own goodly rifles and strong arms. The Sioux were
among the latter class, and with them it was destined that the lot of
Harvey Richter and his wife should be cast.

The Indian village was reached in the course of a couple of hours. It
was found to be much larger than Richter could have anticipated. The
missionary soon made known his character and wishes. This secured an
audience with the leading chief, when Harvey explained his mission,
and asked permission for himself and companions to settle among them.
With the ludicrous dignity so characteristic of his people, the chief
deferred his reply until the following day, at which time he gave
consent, his manner being such as to indicate that he was rather
unwilling than otherwise.

That same afternoon, the missionary collected the dusky children of
the forest together and preached to them, as best he could, through
the assistance of a rude interpreter. He was listened to respectfully
by the majority, among whom were several whom he inferred already had
heard the word of life. There were others, however, to whom the
ceremony was manifestly distasteful. The hopeful minister felt that
his Master had directed him to this spot, and that now his real
life-work had begun.



CHAPTER III.


THE JUG ACQUAINTANCES.

  With that dull, callous, rooted impudence,
  Which, dead to shame and every nicer sense,
  Ne'er blushed, unless, when spreading Vice's snares,
  He stumbled on some virtue unawares.--CHURCHILL.


A YEAR has passed since the events recorded in the preceding pages,
and it is summer again. Far up, beside one of those tributaries of the
Mississippi, in the western portion of what is now the State of
Minnesota, stands a small cabin, such as the early settlers in new
countries build for themselves. About a quarter of a mile further up
the stream is a large Sioux village, separated from the hut by a
stretch of woods through which runs a well-worn footpath. This
arrangement the young missionary, Harvey Richter, preferred rather
than to dwell in the Indian village. While laboring with all his heart
and soul to regulate these degraded people, and while willing to make
their troubles and afflictions his own, he still desired a seclusion
where his domestic cares and enjoyments were safe from constant
interruption. This explains why his cabin had been erected at such a
distance from his people.

Every day, no matter what might be the weather, the missionary visited
the village, and each Sabbath afternoon, when possible, service was
held. This was almost invariably attended by the entire population,
who now listened attentively to what was uttered, and often sought to
follow the counsels uttered by the good man. A year's residence had
sufficed to win the respect and confidence of the Indians, and to
convince the faithful servant that the seed he had sown was already
springing up and bearing fruit.

About a mile from the river, in a dense portion of the wood, are
seated two persons, in friendly converse. But a glance would be
required to reveal that one of these was our old friend Teddy, in the
most jovial and communicative of moods. The other, painted and
bedaubed until his features were scarcely recognizable, and attired in
the gaudy Indian apparel, sufficiently explains his identity. A small
jug sitting between them, and which is frequently carried to the mouth
of each, may disclose why, on this particular morning, they seemed on
such confidential terms. The sad truth was that the greatest drawback
to Harvey Richter's ministrations was his own servant Teddy. The
Indians could not understand why he who lived constantly with the
missionary, should be so careless and reckless, and should remain
"without the fold," when the good man exhorted them in such earnest
language to become Christians. It was incomprehensible to their minds,
and served to fill more than one with a suspicion that all was not
what it should be. Harvey had spent many an hour with Teddy, in
earnest, prayerful expostulation, but, thus far, to no purpose.

For six months after the advent of the missionary and his wife,
nothing had been seen or heard of the strange hunter, when, one cold
winter's morning, as the former was returning from the village through
the path, a rifle was discharged, and the bullet whizzed within an
inch or two of his eyes. He might have believed it to be one of the
Indians, had he not secured a fair look at the man as he ran away. He
said nothing of it to his wife or Teddy, although it occasioned him
much trouble and anxiety of mind.

A month or two later, when Teddy was hunting in the woods, and had
paused a moment for rest, a gun was discharged at him, from a thick
mass of undergrowth. Certain that the unknown hunter was at hand, he
dashed in as before, determined to bring the transgressor to a
personal account. Teddy could hear him fleeing, and saw the agitation
of the undergrowth, but did not catch even a glimpse of his game.

While prosecuting the search, Teddy suddenly encountered an Indian,
staggering along with a jug in his hand. The savage manifested a
friendly disposition, and the two were soon seated upon the ground,
discussing the fiery contents of the vessel and exchanging vows of
eternal friendship. When they separated it was with the understanding
that they were to meet again in a couple of days.

Both kept the appointment, and since that unlucky day they had
encountered quite frequently. Where the Indian obtained the liquor was
a mystery, but it was an attraction that never failed to draw Teddy
forth into the forest. The effect of alcoholic stimulants upon persons
is as various as are their temperaments. The American Indian almost
always becomes sullen, vindictive and dangerous. Now and then there is
an exception, as was the case with the new-made friend of Teddy. Both
were affected in precisely a similar manner; both were jolly.

"Begorrah, but yees are a fine owld gintleman, if yer face does look
like a paint-jug, and ye isn't able to lay claim to one-half the
beauty meself possesses. That ye be," said Teddy, a few moments after
they had seated themselves, and before either had been affected by the
poisonous liquid.

"I loves you!" said the savage, betraying in his manner of speech a
remarkable knowledge of the English language. "I think of you when I
sleep--I think of you when I open my eyes--I think of you all the
time."

"Much obleeged; it's meself that thinks and meditates upon your beauty
and loving qualities all the time, barring that in which I thinks of
something else, which is about all the time--all the same to yer
honor."

"Loves you very much," repeated the savage; "love Mister Harvey, too,
and Miss Harvey."

"Then why doesn't ye come to hear him preach, ye rose of the
wilderness?"

"Don't like preaching."

"Did yees ever hear him?"

"Neber hear him."

"Yer oughter come; and that minds me I've never saan ye around the
village, for which I axes yees the raison?"

"Me ain't Sioux--don't like 'em."

"Whinever yees are discommoded with this jug, p'raps it wouldn't be
well for yees to cultivate the acquaintance of any one except meself,
for they might be dispoused to relave yees of the article, when yees
are well aware it's an aisy matter for us to do that ourselves. Where
does yees get the jug?"

[Illustration: "Where does yees get the jug?"]

"Had him good while."

"I know; but the contents I mean. Where is it ye secures the vallyble
contents?"

"Me get 'em," was the intelligent reply..

"That's what I've been supposing, that yees was gitting more nor your
share; so here's to prevint," remarked Teddy, as he inverted the jug
above his head. "Now, me butternut friend, what 'bjections have yees
to that?"

"All right--all be good--like Miss Harvey?"

Teddy stared at the savage, as if he failed to take in his question.

"Like Miss Harvey--good man's squaw--t'ink she be good woman?"

"The loveliest that iver trod the airth--bless her swate soul. She
niver has shpoken a cross word to Teddy, for all he's the biggest
scamp that iver brought tears to her eyes. If there be any thing that
has nigh fotched this ould shiner to his marrowbones it was to see
something glistening in her eyes," said the Irishman, as he wiped his
own. "God bliss Miss Cora," he added, in the same manner of speech
that he had been wont to use before she became a wife. "She might make
any man glad to come and live alone in the wilderness wid her. It's
meself that ought to be ashamed to come away and l'ave her alone by
herself, though I thinks even a wild baste would not harm a hair of
her blissid head. If it wasn't for this owld whisky-jug I wouldn't be
l'aving her," said Teddy, indignantly.

"How be 'lone?--Mister Harvey dere."

"No, he isn't, by a jug-full--barring the jug must be well-nigh empty,
and the divil save the jug, inny-how; but not until it's impty."

"Where Mr. Harvey go, if not in cabin?" asked the savage, betraying a
suspicious eagerness that would have been observed by Teddy upon any
other occasion.

"To the village, that he may preach and hould converse wid 'em. I
allers used to stay at home when he's gone, for fear that owld thaif
of a hunter might break into the pantry and shtail our wines--that is,
if we had any, which we haven't. Blast his sowl--that hunter I mane,
an' if iver I cotch him, may I be used for a flail if I don't settle
_his_ accounts."

"When Mister Harvey go to village?"

"Whin he plaises, which is always in the afternoon, whin his dinner
has had a fair chance to sittle. Does ye take him for a michanic, who
goes to work as soon as he swallows his bread and mate?" said the
Irishman, with official dignity.

"Why you not stay with squaw?"

"That's the raison," replied Teddy, imbibing from the vessel beside
him. "But you will plaise not call Miss Cora a _shquaw_ any more. If
ye does, it will be at the imminent risk of havin' this jug smashed
over yer head, afther the whisky is all gone, which it very soon will
be if a plug isn't put into your mouth."

"Nice woman--_much_ good."

"You may well say that, Mister Copperskin, and say nothing else. And
it's a fine man is Mister Harvey, barring he runs me purty close once
in a while on the moral quishtion. I'm afeard I shall have to knock
under soon. If I could but slay that thaif of a hunter that has been
poking around here, I think I could go the Christian aisy; but whin I
thinks of _that_ man, I faals like the divil himself. They's no use
tryin' to be pious whin _he's_ around; so pass the jug if ye don't
mane to fight meself."

"He bad man--much bad," said the savage, who had received an account
of him from his companion.

"I promised Master Harvey not to shoot the villain, excipt it might be
to save his life or me own; but I belave if I had the chance, I'd jist
conveniently _forgit_ me promise, and let me gun go off by accident.
St. Pathrick! _wouldn't_ I like to have a shindy wid the sn'akin,
mean, skulkin' assassin!"

"Does he want kill you?"

"Arrah, be aisy now; isn't it me master he's after, and what's the
difference? Barring I would rather it was meself, that I might sittle
it gintaaly wid him;" and Teddy, "squaring" himself, began to make
threatening motions at the Indian's head.

"Bad man--why not like Mr. Harvey?" said the savage, paying no
attention to Teddy's demonstrations.

"There yees has me. There's something atween 'em, though what it
might be none but Mr. Harvey himself knows, less it mought be the
misthress, that I don't belave knows a word on it. But what is it yer
business, Mr. Mahogany?"

"Mebbe Mr. Harvey hurt him some time--do bad with him," added the
Indian, betraying an evident interest in the subject.

"Begorrah, if yees can't talk better sinse nor that, ye'd bist put a
stopper on yer blab. The idaa of me master harming any one is too
imposterous to be intertained by a fraa and inlightened people--a fraa
and inlightened people, as I used to spell out in the newspapers at
home. But whisht! Ye are a savage, as don't know anything about Fourth
of July, an' all the other affections of the people."

"You dunno what mebbe he done."

"Do ye know?" asked Teddy, indignantly.

"Nebber know what he do--how me know?"

"Thin what does ye mane by talking in that shtyle? I warns ye, there's
some things that can't be passed atween us and that is one of 'em. If
ye wants to fight, jist you say that again. I'm aching for a shindy
anyhow: so now s'pose ye jist say that again." And Teddy began to show
unmistakable signs of getting ready.

"Sorry--didn't mean--feel bad."  "Oh blarney! Why didn't ye stick to
it, and jist give me a chance to express meself? But all's right;
only, be careful and don't say anything like it again, that's all.
Pass along the jug, to wash me timper down, ye know."

By this time Teddy's ideas were beginning to be confused, and his
manner maudlin. He had imbibed freely, and was paying the
consequences. The savage, however, had scarcely taken a swallow,
although he had made as if to do so several times. His actions would
have led an inexperienced person to think that he was under the
influence of liquor; but he was sober, and his conduct was feigned,
evidently, for some purpose of his own. Teddy grew boisterous, and
insisted on constantly shaking hands and renewing his pledges of
eternal friendship to the savage, who received and responded to them
in turn. Finally, he squinted toward the westering sun.

"I told Mr. Harvey, when I left, I was going to hunt, and if I expects
to return to-day, I thinks, Mr. Black Walnut, we should be on our way.
The jug is intirely impty, so there is no occasion for us to remain
longer."

"Dat so--me leave him here."

"Now let's shake hands agin afore we rise."

The shaking of hands was all an excuse for Teddy to receive assistance
in rising to his feet. He balanced himself a moment, and stared around
him, with that aimless, blinking stare peculiar to a drunken man.

"Me honey, isn't there an airthquake agitatin' this solitude?" he
asked, steadying himself against a sapling, "or am I standing on a
jug?"

"Dunno--mebbe woods shake--feel him a little--earth must be sick,"
said the savage, feigning an unsteadiness of the head.

"Begorrah, but it's ourselves that's the sickest," laughed Teddy,
fully sensible of his sad condition. "It'll niver do to return to
Master Harvey in _this_ shtyle. There'd be a committee of
investigation appointed on the spot, an' I shouldn't pass muster
excipt for a whisky-barrel, och hone!"

"Little sick--soon be well--then shoot."

"I wonder now whether I could howld me gun straight enough to drop a
buffler at ten paces. There sits a bird in that tree that is grinning
at me. I'll t'ach him bitter manners."

The gun was discharged, the bullet passing within a few inches of the
head of the Indian, who sprung back with a grunt.

"A purty good shot," laughed Teddy; "but it _would_ be rayther
tiresome killing game, being I could only hit them as run behind me,
and being I can't saa in that direction, I'll give over the idaa; and
turn me undivided attention to fishing. Ah, divil a bit of difference
is it to the fish, whin a worm is on the right ind, whether a drunken
man or a gintleman is at the other."

The Indian manifested a readiness to assist every project of the
Irishman, and he now advised him to fish by all means, urging that
they should proceed to the river at once. But Teddy insisted upon
going to a small creek near at hand. The savage strongly demurred, but
finally yielded, and the two set out, making their way somewhat after
the fashion of a yoke of oxen.

Upon reaching the stream, Teddy, instead of pausing upon the bank,
continued walking on until he was splashing up to his waist in water.
Had it not been for the prompt assistance of the Indian, the poor
fellow most probably would have had his earthly career terminated.
This incident partially sobered Teddy, and made him ashamed of his
condition. He saw the savage was by no means so far gone as himself,
and he bewailed his foolishness in unmeasured terms.

"Who knows but Master Harvey has gone to the village, and Miss Cora
stands in the door this minute, 'xpacting this owld spalpaan?"

"No go till arternoon," said the savage.

"What time might it be jist now?"

"'Tain't noon yit--soon be--bimeby."

"It's all the same; I shan't be fit to go home afore night, whin I
might bist stay away altogether. And you, Mr. Copperskin, was the
maans of gittin' me in this trouble."

"_Me_ make you drink him?" asked the savage. "You not ax for jug, eh?
You not want him?"

"Yes, begorrah, it was me own fault. Whisky is me waikness. Its
illigant perfume always sits me wild fur it. Mister Harvey was
belaving, whin he brought me here, that I wouldn't be drinking any of
the vile stuff, for the good rais'n that I couldn't git none; but,
what'll he say now? Niver was I drunker at Donnybrook, and only once,
an' that was at me father's fourteenth weddin'."

"Don't want more?"

"NO!" thundered Teddy. "I hope I may niver see nor taste another drop
so long as I live. I here asserts me ancient honor agin, an' I defy
the jug, ye spalpeen of a barbarian what knows no better." Teddy's
reassertion of dignity was very ludicrous, for a tree had to support
him as he spoke; but he evidently was in earnest.

"Neber gib it--if don't want it."

"They say an Indian never will tell a lie to a friend," said Teddy,
dropping his voice as if speaking to himself. "Do you ever lie, Mr.
What's-your-name?"

"No," replied the savage, thereby uttering an unmitigated falsehood.

"You give me your promise, then, that ye'll niver furnish me anither
drap?"

"Yis."

"Give me yer hand."

The two shook hands, Teddy's face, despite its vacant expression,
lighting up for the time with a look of delight.

"Now I'll fish," said Teddy. "P'raps it is best that ye l'ave these
parts; not that I intertains inmity or bad-will toward you, but thin
ye know----hello! yees are gone already, bees you?"

The Indian had departed, and Teddy turned his attention toward
securing the bait. In a few moments he had cast the line out in the
stream and was sound asleep, in which condition he remained until
night set in.



CHAPTER IV.


AN OMINOUS RENCOUNTER.

             "I will work him
  To an exploit now rich in my device,
  Under the which he shall not choose but fall."


The sun passed the meridian, on that summer day in 1821 and Harvey
Richter, the young missionary, came to the door of his cabin,
intending to set forth upon his walk to the Indian village. It was
rather early; the day was pleasant and as his wife followed him, he
lingered awhile upon the steps, loth to leave a scene of such holy
joy.

The year which the two had spent in that wilderness had been one of
almost unalloyed happiness. The savages, among whom they had come to
labor, had received them more kindly than they deemed it right to
anticipate, and had certified their esteem for them in numberless
ways. The missionary felt that a blessing was upon his labor.

An infant had been given them, and the little fellow brought nothing
but gladness and sunlight into the household. Ah! none but a father
can tell how precious the blue-eyed image of his mother was to Harvey
Richter; none but a mother can realize the yearning affection with
which she bent over the sleeping cherub; and but few can enter into
the rollicking pride of Teddy over the little stranger. At times, his
manifestations were fairly uproarious, and it became necessary to
check them, or to send him further into the woods to relieve himself
of his exuberant delight.

Harvey lingered upon the threshold, gazing dreamily away at the
mildly-flowing river, or at the woods, through which for a
considerable distance, he could trace the winding path which his own
feet had worn. Cora, his wife, stood beside him, looking smilingly
down in his face, while her left hand toyed with a stray ringlet that
would protrude itself from beneath her husband's cap.

"Cora, are you sorry that we came into this wild country?"

The smile on her face grew more radiant, as she shook her head without
speaking. She was in that pleasant, dreamy state, in which it seems an
effort to speak--so much so that she avoided it until compelled to do
so by some direct question.

"You are perfectly contented--happy, are you?"

Again the same smile, as she answered in the affirmative by an
inclination of the head.

"You would not change it for a residence at home with your own people
if you could?"

The same sweet denial in pantomime.

"Do you not become lonely sometimes, Cora, hundreds of miles away from
the scenes of your childhood?"

"Have I not my husband and boy?" she asked, half reproachfully, as the
tears welled up in her eyes. "Can I ask more?"

"I have feared sometimes, when I've been in the village, that perhaps
you were lonely and sorrowful, and often I have hurried my footsteps
that I might be with you a few moments sooner. When preaching and
talking to the Indians, my thoughts would wander away to you and the
dear little fellow there. And what husband could prevent them?" said
Harvey, impulsively, as he drew his wife to him, and kissed her again
and again.

"You must think of the labor before you."

"There is scarcely a moment of my life in which I don't, but it is
impossible to keep you and him from my mind. I am sorry that I am
compelled to leave you alone so often. It seems to me that Teddy has
acted in a singular manner of late. He is absent every afternoon. He
says he goes hunting and yet he rarely, if ever, brings anything back
with him."

"Yesterday he returned shortly after you left, and acted so oddly, I
did not know what to make of him. He appeared very anxious to keep me
at a distance, but once he came close enough for me to catch his
breath, and if it did not reveal the fumes of liquor then I was never
more mistaken in my life."

"Impossible! where could he obtain it?"

"The question I asked myself and which I could not answer;
nevertheless his manner and the evidence of his own breath proved it
beyond all doubt to my mind. You have noticed how set he is every
afternoon about going away in the woods. Such was not his custom, and
I think makes it certain some unusual attraction calls him forth."

"What can it all mean?" asked the missionary of himself. "No; it
cannot be that he brought any of the stuff with him and concealed it
in the boat. It must have been discovered."

"Every article that came with us is in this house."

"Then some one must furnish him with it, and who now can it be?"

"Are there not some of your people who are addicted to the use of
liquor?"

"Alas! there are too many who cannot withstand the tempter; but I
never yet heard of an Indian who knew how to _make_ it. It is only
when they visit some of the ports, or the Red river settlement, that
they obtain it. Or perhaps a trader may come this way, and bring it
with him."

"And could not Teddy have obtained his of such a man?"

"There has been none here since last autumn, and then those who
visited the village had no liquor with them. They always come to the
village first so that I could not avoid learning of their presence.
Let me see, he has been away since morning?"

"Yes; he promised an early return."

"He will probably make his appearance in the course of an hour or so.
Watch him closely. I will be back sooner to-day, and we shall probe
this matter to the bottom. Good-by!"

Again he embraced his wife, and then strode rapidly across the
Clearing in the direction of the woods. His wife watched his form
winding in and out among the trees, until it finally disappeared from
view; and then, waiting a few moments longer, as if loth to withdraw
her gaze from the spot where she had last seen him, she finally turned
within the house to engage in her domestic duties.

The thrifty housewife has seldom an idle moment on her hands, and Cora
passed hither and thither, performing the numerous little acts that
were not much in themselves, but collectively were necessary, if not
indispensable, in her household management. Occasionally she paused
and bent over her child, that lay sleeping on the bed, and like a fond
mother, could not restrain herself from softly touching her lips to
its own, although it was at the imminent risk of awaking it.

An hour passed. She went to the door and looked out to see whether
Teddy was in sight; but the woods were as silent as if they contained
no living thing. Far away over the river, nearly opposite the Indian
village, she saw two canoes crossing the stream, resembling
ordinary-sized water-birds in the distance. These, so in harmony with
the lazy, sunshiny afternoon, were all that gave evidence that man had
ever invaded this solitude.

Cora Richter could but be cheerful, and, as she moved to and fro, she
sung a hymn, one that was always her husband's favorite. She sung it
unconsciously, from her very blithesomeness of spirits, not knowing
she was making music which the birds themselves might have envied.

All at once her ear caught the sound of a footstep, and confident that
Teddy had come, she turned her face toward the door to greet him. She
uttered a slight scream, as she saw, instead of the honest Hibernian,
the form of a towering, painted savage, glaring in upon her.

Ordinarily such a visitor would have occasioned her no surprise or
alarm. In fact, it was rare that a day passed without some Indian
visiting the cabin--either to consult with the missionary himself, or
merely to rest a few moments. Sometimes several called together, and
it often happened that they came while none but the wife was at home.
They were always treated kindly, and were respectful and pleased in
turn. During the nights in winter, when the storm howled through the
forest, a light burned at the missionary's window, and many a savage,
who belonged often to a distant tribe, had knocked at the door and
secured shelter until morning. Ordinarily we say, then, the visit of
an Indian gave the young wife no alarm.

But there was something in the appearance of this painted sinewy
savage that filled her with dread. There was a treacherous look in his
black eyes, and a sinister expression visible in spite of vermilion
and ocher, that made her shrink from him, as she would have shrunk
from some loathsome monster.

As the reader may have surmised, he was no other than Daffodil or
Mahogany, who had left Teddy on purpose to visit the cabin, while both
the servant and his master were absent. In spite of the precaution
used, he had taken more liquor than he intended; and, as a
consequence, was just in that reckless state of mind, when he would
have hesitated at no deed, however heinous. From a jovial,
good-natured Indian, in the company of the Hibernian, he was
transformed into a sullen, vindictive savage in the presence of the
gentle wife of Harvey Richter. He supported himself against the door
and seemed undecided whether to enter or not. The alarm of Cora
Richter was so excessive that she endeavored to conceal it.

"What do you wish?" she asked.

"Where Misser Richter?"

"Gone to the village," she replied, bravely resolving that no lie
should cross her lips if her life depended upon it.

"When come back?"

"In an hour or so perhaps."

"Where Ted?"

"He has gone hunting."

"Big lie--he drunk--don't know nothing--lay sleep on ground."

"How do you know? Did you see him?"

"Me gib him fire-water--much like it--drink good deal--tumble over
like tree hain't got root."

"Did you ever give it him before?" asked the young wife, her curiosity
supplanting her alarm for the moment.

"Gib him offin--gib him every day--much like it--drink much."

Again the wife's instinctive fear came back to her, and she endeavored
to conceal it by a calm, unimpassioned exterior.

"Won't you come in and rest yourself until Mr. Richter returns?"

"Don't want to see him," replied the savage, sullenly.

"Who do you wish to see then?"

"You--t'ink much of you."

The wife felt as if she would sink to the floor. There was something
in the tones of his voice that had alarmed her from the first. She was
almost certain this savage intended rudeness, now that he knew the
missionary himself was gone. She glanced up at the rifle which was
hung above the fireplace. It was charged, and she had learned how to
fire it since her marriage. Several times she was on the point of
springing up and seizing it and placing herself upon the defensive.
Her heart throbbed wildly at the thought, but she finally concluded to
resort to such an act only at the last moment. She might still
conciliate the Indian by kindness, and after all, perhaps he meditated
no harm or rudeness.

"Come and sit down then, and talk with me awhile," said she, as
pleasantly as it was possible.

The savage stumbled forward a few feet, and dropped into a seat, where
he glared fully a minute straight into the face of the woman. This was
the most trying ordeal of all, especially when she raised her own blue
eyes, and addressed him. It seemed impossible to combat the fierce
light of those orbs, although she bore their scrutiny like a heroine.
He had seated himself near the door, but he was close enough for her
to detect the fumes of the liquor he had drank, and she knew a savage
was never so dangerous as when in a half-intoxicated condition.

"Have you come a long distance?" she asked.

"Good ways--live up north."

"You are not a Sioux, then?"

"No--don't like Sioux--bad people."

"Why do you come in their neighborhood--in their country?"

"'Cause I want to--_come see you_."

"You must come again--"

At this juncture, the child in the cradle awoke and began crying. The
face of the savage assumed an expression of ferocity, and he said,
abruptly:

"Stop noise--me tomahawk if don't."

As he spoke he laid his hand in a threatening manner upon his
tomahawk, and the mother sprung up and lifted the infant in her arms
for the purpose of pacifying it. The dreadful threat had almost
unnerved her, for she believed the savage would carry it out upon the
slightest pretext. But before that tomahawk should reach her child,
the mother must be stricken to the earth. She pressed it convulsively
to her breast, and it quickly ceased its cries. She waited until it
closed its eyes in slumber and then some impulse prompted her to lay
it upon the bed, and to place herself between it and the Indian, so
that she might be unimpeded in her movements if the savage should
attempt harm to her or her offspring.

Several moments now passed without the Indian speaking. The interval
was occupied by him in looking around the room and examining every
portion upon which it was possible to rest his gaze. The survey
completed, he once more fixed his scrutiny upon the young wife, and
suddenly spoke in his sententious, abrupt manner.

"Want sunkin eat."

This question was a relief, for it afforded the wife an opportunity of
expressing her kindness; but, at the same time, it caused a more rapid
beating of her heart, since to procure what was asked, she would be
compelled to pass out of the door, and thus not only approach him much
more closely than she was willing, but it would be necessary to leave
him alone with her infant until her return.

She was in a painful dilemma, to decide whether it was best to refuse
the visitor's request altogether or to comply with it, trusting to
Providence to protect them both. A casual glance at the Indian
convinced her that it would be dangerous to thwart his wishes
longer; and, with an inward prayer to God, she arose and approached
the door. As she passed near him, he moved and she involuntarily
quickened her step, until she was outside. The Indian did not follow,
and she hurried on her errand.

She had gone scarcely a yard, when she heard him walking across the
floor, and detected at the same moment, the cry of her infant. Fairly
beside herself with terror, she ran back in the house, and saw the
savage taking down her husband's rifle. The revulsion of her feelings
brought tears to her eyes, and she said:

"I wish you would go away, I don't like you."

"Kiss me--den I go!" said he, stepping toward her.

"Keep away! keep away!" she screamed, retreating to the door and yet
fearing to go out.

"Kiss me--tomahawk pappoose!" said the savage, placing his hand upon
the weapon.

The young wife placed her hands over her face and sobbed aloud. She
did not hear the cat-like footsteps of the savage, as he approached.
His long arm was already stretched forth to clasp her, when the door
was darkened, a form leaped into the room, and with the quickness of
lightning, dealt the savage a tremendous blow that stretched him limp
and lifeless upon the floor.

[Illustration: Dealt the savage a tremendous blow.]

"Move a limb and I will kill you!" shouted the young missionary, his
face all ablaze with passion. "Cora, has he harmed you?"

"No, no, no, Harvey; have you not already killed him?"

"Pity that I haven't. He is not fit to live."

"Dear Harvey, you are carried away by your passion. Do restrain
yourself."

Woman-like, the only emotion of Cora Richter was that of commiseration
for the poor wretch that had been stricken down by the hand of her
husband. She saw the blood trickling from his face and knew that he
was dreadfully injured. The missionary, too, began to become more calm
and collected; and yet, while regretting the occasion, he could but
think he had done his simple duty to his insulted wife. Had he been
prepared as he entered the door, he would have shot the savage dead in
his tracks.

Harvey picked up his rifle that lay in the middle of the floor, and
approached the prostrate Indian. After pushing and shaking, he gave
signs of returning consciousness, and at length arose to his feet.
His nose had bled copiously, and one eye was "closed," as if he had
been under the manipulation of some pugilist.

The wife brought a basin of water, and offered a bandage, while Harvey
proffered his assistance. But the Indian, without speaking, motioned
them aside, and made his way out the door. On the threshold he paused
a moment and looked back--and that look Harvey Richter will remember
to his dying day.

Both breathed freer when he had gone. They then looked in each other's
faces a moment and the wife sunk into her husband's arms.

"Did I not do right, Cora?"

"Yes; oh, yes; but, Harvey, this will not be the last of it. You have
made an enemy of that Indian, and he can never be made a friend."

"Such is often the result of doing your simple duty. Let us therefore
trust to God and say no more about it. Ah! here comes Teddy."

The Irishman at this moment entered the door. He was still under the
influence of liquor though he made ludicrous efforts to conceal it.
The wife found opportunity to communicate to her husband all that had
been told her, before the conversation had progressed far. The peril
which she had so narrowly escaped decided the missionary to be
severely just with his servant.

"Teddy, where have you been?"

"Won't that spake for itself?" he replied, holding up a handsome
string of fish. "Begorrah, but it was mighty poor luck I had hunting."

"I should judge you had discovered something unusual from your strange
actions."

The face of the Irishman flushed scarlet, and his confusion was
distressing. "Teddy," he continued, "I am displeased at the manner in
which you have acted for the last week or two. Had it not happened
that I left the village sooner than usual to-day, most probably my
wife and son would have been killed."

The fellow was completely sobered.

"What is it ye say, Mister Harvey?"

"For several days you have failed to return in the time you promised,
so that I have been compelled to leave them alone and unprotected.
This afternoon, an Indian came in the house and threatened the life of
both my wife and child--"

"Where the divil is he?" demanded Teddy, springing up; "I'll brake
ivery bone in his body."

"He is gone, never to return I trust."

"Be the powers! if I could but maat him--"

"Do not add falsehood to your conduct. He said that you and he have
met constantly and drank liquor together."

The expression of blank amazement was so genuine and laughable that
the missionary could hardly repress a smile. He felt that his last
remark was hardly fair. Teddy finally burst out.

"'Twas that owld Mahogany copperskin; but did I iver 'xpact he was up
to _sich_ a trick and he would niver have l'aved me a-fishing. Oorah,
oorah!" he muttered, gnashing his teeth together. "What a miserable
fool I _have_ been. He to come here and insult me mistress after
professin' the kindest regards. May I be made to eat rat-tail files
for potaties if iver I trust red-skin honor again!"

"It strikes me that you and this precious savage had become quite
intimate. I suppose in a few weeks longer you would have left us and
lived with him altogether."

The tears trickled down Teddy's cheeks, and he made answer in a meek,
mournful tone:

"Plaise forgive me, Mister Harvey, and Miss Cora. Yees both knows I
would die for yees, and it was little I dr'amed of a savage iver
disecrating this house by an ungentlemanly act. Teddy never'll sarve
yees the like agin."

"I have no faith in the promises of a man who is intemperate."

The Irishman raised his hand to heaven:

"May the good Father above strike me dead if I iver swallow another
drop! Do yees belave me now. Mister Harvey?"

"You must not place the reliance in your own power, Teddy. Ask His
assistance and you'll succeed."

"I'll do so; but, ye saa, the only mill where I could get the cursed
stuff was of this same Indian, and as I politely towld him I'd
practice wid me gun on him if he offered me anither drop, and, as I'd
pick him off now, after this shine, as quick as I would a sarpent, it
ain't likely he'll bother me agin."

"I hope not, but I have the same apprehension as Cora that he will
return when we least expect him. We must manage so that we are never
both away from the house at the same time. It is now getting well
along in the afternoon, Teddy; you may prepare your fish for supper."

The Irishman obediently moved away, and the young missionary and his
wife were left together.



CHAPTER V.


GONE!

  Alas, alas, fair Inez,
  She went away with song,
  In sounds that sang Farewell, Farewell
  To her you've loved so long.--HOOD.


Alertness or watchfulness is sure to succeed the accomplishment of an
enemy's designs. The moment danger is over, then the most vigilant
preparations against it are made. The burglar knows better than to
visit the same house two nights in succession. He is wise enough to
wait until time has lulled the inmates into fancied security.

With such an interest at stake as had Harvey Richter, one may well
believe that no precaution was neglected which could operate to defeat
the designs of the savage whom he had driven in anger from his door.
He changed his hour of visitation from the afternoon to the forenoon.
Teddy needed no admonition against leaving the house during his
absence. He kept watch and ward over the house as if he would atone
by vigilance for past shortcomings.

The missionary had dwelt long enough among the Indians to gain a
pretty accurate estimate of their character. What troubled him most,
therefore, was a conviction that the savage's revenge, though delayed
for ten years, for want of the convenient opportunity, was sure to be
accomplished. He might have gone immediately to the north or east,
there to remain with his own tribe until convinced that the moment had
come to strike the blow--a blow, which no human influence, no personal
danger, no suffering, could persuade him from inflicting upon the
offending white man.

But there was no certainty even of delay. Did the savage believe the
moment to strike propitious, he would be ready for the trial. Even
then, he might be skulking in the woods, with his black eyes fixed
upon the cabin. It will be perceived, that, did he contemplate the
death of either of the parties concerned, he could have compassed it
without difficulty. Opportunities offered every day for the fatal
bullet to reach its mark; but the _insult_ to the Indian was so great,
that he contemplated a far sweeter compensation than death itself.
Whatever that might be, time would be sure to develop it, and that,
too, at the moment when least expected.

This fear became so ever-present and troublesome, that the missionary
made it known in the village, where he could command the services of
half a hundred warriors. A dozen at once made search through the woods
to ascertain whether the savage was concealed anywhere in the
vicinity. One of these chanced upon a trail, which, after following
some distance, was lost in the river. This, however, he pronounced to
be the trail of a _white man_. The suspected Indian evidently, had
fled, and no trace was discovered of him.

Another source of annoyance was opened to Harvey. Since the shot at
Teddy, nothing had occurred to remind them of the existence of the
strange hunter, whose mysterious warnings had accompanied their advent
into the country. Richter could not believe that the man had left
altogether, but regarded his actions with considerable equanimity, as
it was apparent that his warning shots were intended rather to
frighten than to kill. Harvey never would converse with his wife about
this white foe, and had cautioned Teddy not to allude to him in her
presence. The missionary had a strong hope that, some day, he would
be brought face to face with this stranger, when an explanation would
be secured and the annoyance ended. He therefore repeated his warning
to the Irishman not to shoot the hunter, unless compelled to do so to
save his own life; but rather to use every effort to secure him and
bring him to the cabin.

About a week after the occurrence narrated, Teddy went fishing,
leaving the husband and wife together. He followed the shore of the
river about a half-mile downward, when he settled himself by a huge
rock that projected a few feet into the water. He had just thrown his
line into the stream, when he heard the crackling of bushes behind
him, and, turning, saw the hunter walking in a direction parallel with
the river, with his head bent, as if in thought. Apparently he was
unsuspicious of the presence of any one.

Teddy at once sunk down to screen himself as he watched the movements
of his old foe, out of all manner of patience with himself that he had
left his rifle at home, and possessed only the arms that nature had
furnished him. Still, he resolved that the man should be secured, if
possible.

"Arrah, now, be aisy!" he whispered, "and yees may cotch a fish that
didn't nibble at yer bait. Whisht! but do ye _saa_ him? But _isn't_ he
a strappin' fellow, to be sure--a raal shark ten foot long, with claws
like an alligator!"

The hunter walked but a few rods, when he seated himself upon a fallen
tree, with his back toward the Irishman. This was the coveted
opportunity.

"Yees have got the fellow now, Teddy, barring yees haven't got him at
all, but that ain't saying ye won't get him. Be aisy now, and don't
get excited! Jist be as wise as a rat and as still as a mouse, and
ye'll catch the catamount, if he don't catch you, that is."

These self-admonitions were much needed, for the fellow was all
tremulous with excitement and scarcely able to restrain himself.
Waiting a few moments until he could tone down his nerves, he
commenced making his way toward his victim. He exercised extreme
caution until within a rod, when a twig snapped under his foot. He
made ready to spring, for he was certain of being discovered; but, to
his surprise, the hunter made no motion at all. He evidently was so
absorbed in some matter as to be unconscious of what was passing
around.

Slowly and stealthily Teddy glided toward the man, until he arose
almost to the standing position, not more than a foot distant. Then
slowly spreading out his arms, so as to inclose the form of the
stalwart woodsman, he brought them together like a vise, giving
utterance at the same time to an exultant "whoop."

"Yer days of thramping _this_ country, and alarming paceable
inhabitants are done wid, Mister Anaconda. So jist kaal over
gracefully, say tin Ave Marias, and consider yourself in the hands of
Gabriel sint for judgment."

All this time Teddy had been straining and hugging at the hunter as if
determined to crush him, while he, in turn, had taken it very coolly,
and now spoke in his gruff bass voice:

"Let go!"

"Let go! Well now, that's impudint, ye varlet. As if Teddy McFadden
would let go hook and line, bob and sinker, whin he had got hold of a
sturgeon. Be aisy now; I'll squaze the gizzard and liver iv ye
togither, if ye doesn't yield gracefully."

"Let go, I say! Do you hear?".

"Yis, I hears, and that is the extint--"

Teddy's next sensation was as if a thunderbolt had burst beneath his
feet, for he was hurled headlong full half a rod over the head of the
hunter. Though considerably bruised, he was not stunned by the fall,
and quickly recovered. Scratching his head, he cried:

"Begorrah, but yees can't repate _that_ trick!" making a rush toward
his antagonist, who stood calmly awaiting his onset.

"By heavens, I'll give you something different then!" said the man, as
he caught him bodily in his arms, and running to the edge of the
river, flung him sprawling into it. The water was deep, and it
required considerable struggling to reach the shore.

This last prodigious exhibition of strength inspired the Irishman with
a sort of respect for the stranger. Teddy had found very few men, even
among frontiersmen and Indians, who could compete with him in a
hand-to-hand struggle; yet, there was now no question but what he was
overmatched, and he could but admire, in a degree, the man who so
easily handled his assailant. It was useless to attack the enemy after
such a repulse; so he quietly seated himself upon the shore.

"Would ye have the kindness, ye assassinating disciple of the
crowner's jury, whin yees have jist shown how nately ye can dishpose
of a man like meself, to tell me why it was you run so mighty harrd
whin I took once before after yees? Why didn't ye pause, and sarve me
then jist as ye have done? I'd jist like to know that before we go any
further wid _this_ matter."

"It wasn't because I feared you!" said the hunter, turning sullenly
away, and walking into the wood.

"Farewell!" called out Teddy, waving his hand toward him. "Ye're a
beauty, and yees have quite taking ways wid ye; but it wouldn't be
safe for me to find yees lurking about the cabin, if I had a rifle in
me hand. You'd have trouble to fling a bullet off as ye flung me. Be
jabers, but _wasn't_ that a nate thing, to be sure. I'll bet a
thousand pounds which I niver had, that that fellow could draw the
Mississippi up-stream if he was fairly hitched on to it. Ah, Teddy,
you ain't much, afther all," he added, looking dolefully at his wet
garments.

Teddy had been so completely outwitted that he was unwilling any one
should know it. So he resolved to continue fishing until his clothes
were thoroughly dry, and until he had secured enough fish to repay him
for his journey. It was near the middle of the afternoon, and, as he
had remained at home until the return of the young missionary from
the village, there was nothing to disturb his labor, or sport as it
might be called, except darkness itself.

During this same afternoon, Harvey Richter and his wife were sitting
on a bench in front of their cabin. The day was warm, but, as the
bench always was shaded, it was the ordinary resort of the young
couple when the weather was sultry. The missionary had been reading,
but the volume was laid aside, and he was smilingly watching his wife
as she sported with the boy in her lap. The little fellow was in
exuberant spirits, and the parents, as a matter of course, were
delighted. Finally he betrayed signs of weariness, and in a few
moments was asleep in his mother's arms.

"I think it was a wise thing, for several reasons--that of changing
your hour from the afternoon to the forenoon," said the wife.

"Why do you think so?"

"We all feel more wearied and less inclination at this time of day for
work than we do during the earlier hours. We could then be little
together, but now nothing interferes with our afternoon's enjoyment of
one another's society."

"That is true; but you see the Indians are more likely to be off
fishing or hunting during the earlier part of the day. They have
willingly conformed, however, to the change."

"I think it is more in accordance with your own disposition," smiled
the wife, "is it not?"

"Yes; I am free to admit that my lazy body inclines to quiet and rest
after partaking of a hearty dinner, as I have done to-day."

"If we think of rest at this early stage in our lives, how will it be
when we become thirty or forty years older?"

"I refer only to the temporary rest of the body and mind, such as they
must have after periods of labor and excitement. Such rest the
youngest as well as the oldest requires. Be careful, Cora, you don't
drop the little fellow!"

"Never fear," laughed the mother, as the youngster woke and commenced
several juvenile antics more interesting to the parents than to any
one else:

"How lively!" remarked the proud father. "It seems to me I never saw a
child at his age as bright and animated."

And what father does not hold precisely the same opinion of his young
hopeful?

"Look!" exclaimed the mother, "some one must be coming to see you."

An Indian woman was discernible among the trees, walking along the
path at a rapid walk, as if she were greatly hurried. Her head was
bent, but now and then she raised it and glanced toward the cabin,
showing that that was her destination.

Passing from the shadow of the wood into the Clearing, the missionary
recognized one of the worst women of the tribe. She had scoffed at his
preaching, had openly insulted him, and during the first month or two
had manifested a disposition approaching violence. To this Richter
only answered by kindness; he used every means to conciliate her
good-will, but thus far with indifferent success. Her husband,
The-au-o-too, a warrior favorably inclined toward the white man, was
thoughtful and attentive; and the good minister wondered that the
savage did not restrain these unwomanly demonstrations upon his
squaw's part.

She approached with rapid step, until she stood directly in front of
them. Harvey saw that her countenance was agitated.

"Well, At-to-uck," said he, kindly, "you seem troubled. Is there
anything I can do for you?"

[Illustration: "Well, At-to-uck," said he, kindly, "you seem
troubled."]

"Me ain't trouble," she answered, using English as well as her very
imperfect knowledge would admit. "Me ain't trouble--_me_ ain't."

"Who may it be then?"

"The-au-o-too--he _much_ trouble. Sick--in woods--die--_berry_ sick."

"What do you mean, At-to-uck?" asked the missionary, his interest
strongly awakened. "Has anything befallen your husband?"

"He fall," she answered, eagerly, catching at the helping word, "he
fall--much hurt--die--die--won't got well."

"Where is he?"

She spun around on one foot, and pointed deeper into the woods. "He
dere--lay on back--soon die."

"And he wishes me to see him; is that it?"

She nodded her head vigorously, but made no answer for a moment. Then
she suddenly broke forth:

"Send At-to-uck to git good man--hurry--berry hurry--he die--won't
live. The-au-o-too say hurry--die soon--won't see good man--Riher."

Harvey looked at his wife. "What must I do, Cora? It will not do to
leave you, as Teddy may not return for several hours, and yet this
poor Indian should be attended in his dying moments."

"You should go, Harvey; I will not fear."

He turned to the squaw in perplexity.

"How far away is The-au-o-too?"

"Not much far--soon find--most dead."

"It may be," he said in a low tone, "that he can be got to the house,
although it would be no easy matter for us two to bring him."

"I think your duty calls you to the dying man."

"I ought to be there, but I tell you, Cora, I don't like this leaving
you alone," said he, impressively. "You know we made up our minds that
it should never occur again."

"There must be occasions when it cannot be avoided, and this is one of
them. By refusing to attend this man, you may not only neglect a great
duty, but incur the ill-will of the whole tribe. You know the
disposition of this woman."

The latter, at this point, began to give evidence of agitation, and to
remark in her broken accents that The-au-o-too was dying and would be
dead before they could reach him. The missionary, in sore perplexity,
looked at his wife.

"Go," she said, or rather signified without speaking.

"I will," he said, rising with an air of decision. "God grant I may
never regret this."

"I trust you never will."

He kissed the infant, embraced his wife and then signified to the
squaw to lead the way.

"Keep up a good heart," he added, turning, as he moved away.

The wife smilingly nodded her head but said nothing. It did not escape
the notice of her husband that there were tears in her eyes, and he
half resolved to remain with her after all, but the next moment he
moved on.

The squaw took the well-beaten track, walking very rapidly and often
looking back to see that she was followed. Her strangeness of manner
the missionary attributed to her excitement regarding her husband.
Several times she exhibited hesitation, and once or twice muttered
something that was unintelligible to him.

When they were about half-way to the village, she paused.

"Well, At-to-uck, what is the matter now?"

"Mebbe dead."

"Oh, I hope not," he answered, cheerfully. "Do you turn off here?"

She answered in the affirmative and asked him to lead the way.

"No; I am unacquainted, and you ought certainly to know where to find
your dying husband better than I do."

She took the duty of guide upon herself again, and advanced but a rod,
when she abruptly paused. "Hark! hear groan? Me hear him."

Harvey listened intently but heard nothing. Knowing that the hearing
of the Indians is marvelously acute, he believed the squaw had heard
sounds of distress; but, instead of quickening her steps, she now
moved more slowly than ever.

"Have you lost your way, At-to-uck?"

"No," she answered, in a significant voice.

The suspicions of the missionary that had been slumbering were now
fully roused.

"What do you mean then?"

The squaw turned full around and gave a leer which, if possible, made
her face more hideous than ever. Without thinking Harvey caught her by
the arm and shook her sharply.

"Explain this, At-to-uck. What is the meaning of this?"

"He-he-e-e-e! _big_ fool. The-au-o-too hunt--_no hurt_!"

A sharp reproof arose to the missionary's lips, but deeming it would
be lost upon such a person, he merely turned his back upon her and
walked away. She called and taunted him, but he was the last man who
could have been roused to anger by such means, and he walked, with his
arms folded, slowly and deliberately away toward the path.

It had not occurred, as yet, to the mind of Richter that anything more
than a simple annoyance to himself was contemplated by this
proceeding; but, as he resumed his steps homeward, a suspicion flashed
upon him which almost checked the beating of his heart. "God save it
being so!" was his mental prayer, as he hurried forward. A moment
later he was on a full run.

The afternoon was well advanced, but he soon caught a glimpse of his
cabin through the trees. Before this, however, he had detected the
outcries of his infant, which struck him as a favorable omen, and he
abated his speed somewhat. But, as he came into the Clearing, his
heart gave a great bound, as he saw his child lying upon the ground
some distance from the house. His anxiety was so distressing that he
dashed by it into the cabin.

"Cora, Cora, what is the matter? Where have you concealed yourself?
Why this untimely pleasantry?"

He came out again, caught up the infant and attempted to soothe it,
all the time looking wildly about in the hope of seeing the returning
mother.

"CORA! CORA!" he again called in agonized tones, but the woods gave
back only the hollow echo. For a few moments he was fairly beside
himself; but, at the end of that time, he began to reason more calmly.
He attempted to persuade himself that she might return, but it was
useless; and with a sort of resigned despair, he looked about him for
signs of the manner in which she was taken away.

The most convincing evidence was not wanting. The ground was trampled
and torn, as if there had been a violent struggle; and, inexperienced
as were his eyes, he detected the unmistakable impress of a moccasin
upon the soft earth, and in the grass. The settle, too, was overturned
and the baby lay in the grass as if tossed there by the act of some
other arm, than a mother's.



CHAPTER VI.


THE LOST TRAIL.

  "'Twas night--the skies were cloudless blue,
     And all around was hushed and still,
  Save paddle of the light canoe,
     And wailing of the whippowill."


On that sunny afternoon, the fish in a particular locality of a
tributary of the Mississippi did not take the bait very well. The spot
to which we refer was that immediately surrounding Teddy, whose
patience was well-nigh exhausted. There he sat for several tedious
hours, but had secured only two nibbles at his line, neither of which
proved to be anything more.

"Begorrah, but it must be they'se frightened by meself, when that ould
scalliwag give me a fling into the stream. Jabers! _wasn't_ it done
nately. Hallo! there's a bite, not bigger, to be sure, than a lady's
fut, but a bull-pout it is I know."

He instantly arose to his feet, as if he were about to spring in the
water, and stood leaning over and scanning the point where his line
disappeared in the stream, with an intense interest which the
professional angler alone can appreciate. But this, like all others,
proved a disappointment, and he soon settled down into his waiting but
necessary attitude of rest.

"A half-hour more of sunshine, and then these same pants will be the
same as if they've niver saan water, barring it's mighty seldom they
have or they wouldn't be in this dirty condition. Arrah! what can be
the m'aning of that?"

Faintly but distinctly through the long stretch of woods came the
sound of his name. It was repeated again and again until the Irishman
was convinced beyond all possibility of mistake.

"What is up now?" he asked of himself as he drew in his line. "That is
Mister Harvey's voice sure, and he is calling as though he was in a
mighty hurry. Faith, and I must not linger! If anything _should_
happen whin I was away I'd feel wus'n old Boney at Watherloo whin he
lost the day an' his crown."

The line was soon stowed away, and Teddy made his way at a half-walk
and ran in a homeward direction. He had gone about a hundred rods when
he paused and listened. Clearer and more distinctly came his name in
tones whose earnest entreaty could not be mistaken. Teddy rose on his
heels and made reply to the hail, to assure his master, if possible,
that he was approaching with all speed.

The Irishman's words were yet lingering in his mouth, when another and
more terrible sound reached his ears. It was that of a suppressed,
half-smothered woman's scream--a sort of gasp of terror. It was so
short and so far away that it was impossible to tell its direction. He
stopped, his heart beating like a hammer, but he heard no more.

"God protect me, but there's something gone wrong at the cabin!" he
exclaimed, dashing forward through the wood at a reckless rate. A few
moments later it came in view, and he then saw his master walking to
and fro, in front of the house, with the child in his arms. His manner
and deathly pale face confirmed the forebodings of Teddy's heart.

"What's the matter, Mister Harvey? What's the matter?"

"_That Indian has carried Cora away_!" was the agonized reply.

"Where has the owld divil carried her?" very naturally asked the
Hibernian.

"I do not know! I do not know! but she has gone, and I fear we shall
never see her again alive."

"May me owld head be scraped wid a scalping-knife, an' me hands be
made into furnace-grates for being away," ejaculated the servant, as
the tears streamed down his cheeks.

"No, Teddy, you are not in the least to blame, nor is it my fault,"
impetuously interrupted the missionary.

"Till me how it was, Mister Harvey."

The husband again became composed and related what is already familiar
to the reader. At its close, Teddy dashed into the house and brought
out his rifle.

"I'll murther that At-to-uck, be me sowl, and then I'll murther that
haythen assassinator, an' iverybody that gits in me way. Be the powers
of the saints and divils, but I'll murther somebody. May the divil
roast me if I--"

"Hold!" said the missionary, who by this time was himself again. "The
first thing to be attended to is pursuit. We must not lose a second.
We can never follow them ourselves through the wood. Hold the child,
while I go to the village and get some of the Indians to help us."

Teddy took the child that had cried itself asleep, and the missionary
started on a full run up the river. When he reached the settlement, it
required but a moment to make his errand known. A dozen warriors
volunteered at once, for these dozen would have laid down their lives
for their faithful instructor. Many of the squaws also gave utterance
to dismal howls upon learning what had befallen their pale-faced
sister. Had the missionary chosen to tell the part taken by At-to-uck
in the affair, it may be reasonably doubted whether her life would
have been spared. But he was not the man to do such a thing. Knowing
how anxious Teddy would be to participate in the pursuit, he secured
the wife of one of the Christian Indians to return with him, and take
charge of the boy during their absence.

At the time of the missionary's visit, the chief and his principal
warriors were absent on an expedition to the north. Although holding
little interest himself in the mission of the minister among his
people, he would undoubtedly have led a party to the search for the
audacious savage who had abducted the respected white woman; and, had
he been overtaken, a swift and merciless retribution would have
fallen upon the trangressor's head.

Harvey Richter deemed it best to take but a few Indians with him.
Accordingly he selected five that he knew to be skillful, and with
them hurried at once in the direction of his cabin. He saw with a
sinking heart, as he returned, that the sun was already low in the
horizon, and the woods were becoming dark and gloomy. Teddy was at his
post chafing like a confined lion.

"This woman, Teddy, will take care of the boy, so that you may join us
in the search."

"Bliss you for that! It would be the hardest work of me life to stay
here when I thought there's a chance of gitting a whack at that
thaiving villian. Oh, _if_ I could only git howld of him, I wouldn't
l'ave a piece of him big enough to spit on."

"I think there's little probability of either of us obtaining a
glimpse of him. We must rely upon these Indians to take the trail and
follow it to the end."

"They're like the hounds in the owld country, barring they go on two
legs an' don't stick their noses in the ground, nor howl whin they git
on trail. They're mighty handy to have around ye at such a time as
this, if they be savages wid only a spark of Christianity in 'em not
bigger than a tobaccy pipe."

"It will be impossible, I think, for the savage to conceal traces of
his flight, and, if there be any chance of coming up with him, these
men will surely do so."

"But suppose Miss Cora should be tomahawked and--"

"Don't mention it," said the missionary, with a shudder.

While these words were interchanged, the Indians had employed the time
more profitably in solving the meaning of the footsteps upon the
ground. A slight whoop announced the trail's discovery, and when the
missionary turned, he saw the whole five gliding off in a line through
the woods. They went in "Indian file," and resembled a huge serpent
making its way with all swiftness toward its prey.

Our two friends started at once after them. On reaching the edge of
the Clearing Teddy asked, abruptly:

"If the haythen comes back to the cabin while we's be gone?"

"Impossible! he cannot."

"Spowsen he hides his track in that manner, he may take a notion to
gobble up the little boy."

"He would not dare--"

Nevertheless, the remark of his servant alarmed the missionary, and he
hesitated. There might be foundation for what had been said. The
savage finding the pursuit too close to escape with his prey, might
slay her and then return stealthily to the cabin and dispatch the boy.
It would not do to leave him alone with the Indian woman.

"I can afford little assistance in the hunt, and will remain behind.
Hurry on, Teddy, or they will be too far away for you to follow."

The Hibernian shot off through the trees, at a rate that soon
exhausted him, while Harvey Richter returned within his cabin, there
to keep company with his great woe, until the return of the pursuers
brought tidings of the lost one.

An Indian on the trail is not likely to permit any trivial cause to
turn him aside, and the five Sioux made rapid progress so long as the
light in the wood allowed them to do so. This, however, was a
comparatively short time; and, after progressing fitfully and
uncertainly for several hundred yards, they finally drew up to wait
until the morrow.

The trail, instead of taking the direction of the river, as the
pursuers believed it would, ran precisely parallel to it. So long as
the savage kept away from the stream--that is, so long as he did not
take to a canoe--his trail could be followed with absolute certainty,
and he be overtaken beyond doubt. Impeded by an unwilling captive, he
could not avoid a rapid gain upon him by his pursuers; and to escape
certain capture, he must either abandon his prey or conceal his flight
by resorting to the river.

It might be, and the pursuers themselves half believed, that the
fleeing Indian did not fear a pursuit by any of his own race, in which
case he could make a leisurely escape, as the unpracticed white men
could not have followed him for a half-mile through the wilderness. If
this were really the case, the Sioux were confident of coming up with
him before the morrow's sun should go down.

The Indians had paused but a few moments, when a great tearing and
scrambling was heard, and Teddy came panting upon them.

"What be yees waiting for?" he demanded. "Tired out?"

"Can't go furder--dark--wait till next day."

"I'm sorry that yees didn't stand it bitter. I can go some ways
further meself if yees'll be kind enough to show me the trail. But,
yees don't pant or blow a bit, so I can't think ye're too much tired."

"Too dark--can't see--wait till sun."

"Oh, begorrah! I didn't understand ye. The Injin 'l' git a good start
on us, won't he though?"

"Ain't Injin--_white man_!"

"A white man, does ye say, that run off wid Miss Cora?"

Two of the Indians replied in the affirmative.

Teddy manifested the most unbounded amazement, and for a while, could
say nothing. Then he leaped into the air, struck the sides of his
shoes with his fingers, and broke forth:

"It was that owld hunter, may purgatory take him! Him and that owld
Mahogany, what made me drunk--blast his sowl--have been hid around in
the woods, waiting for a chance to do harm, and one is so much worse
than t'other yees can't tell both from which. Och! if I but had him
under the sight of me gun."

The spot upon which the Indians and Teddy were standing was but a
short distance from the village, and yet, instead of returning to it,
they started a small fire and lay down for the night. _They were upon
the trail_, and nothing was to turn them aside from it until their
work was completed, or it was utterly lost to them.

Teddy was more loth than they to turn his face backward, but, under
the circumstances, he could not forget the sad, waiting husband at
home. So he returned to the cabin, to make him acquainted with the
result of their labors thus far.

"If the Indian only avoids the river, he may be overtaken, but if he
takes to that, I am fearful he can never be found."

"Be me sowl, Mr. Harvey, but thim savages says he's not an Injin, but
a _white man_, and yees know they cannot be mistook fur they've got
eyes like hawks, and sinses sharper than me only needle, which,
begorrah, hasn't got a point."

"Can it be that Bra--that that hunter has done me this great wrong?"
said the missionary, correcting himself so dextrously that his servant
failed to observe it. "Has such been the revenge that he has been
harboring up for so many years? And he has followed us these hundreds
of miles for the purpose of striking the blow!"

"The owld haythen assassinator! The bloodthirsty beast, the sneakin'
dog, the dirthy jail-bird, the--"

"He has not shot either of us when we were at his mercy, for the
purpose of lulling us into security, the better to obtain his revenge,
and oh, he has succeeded how well!"

The strong man, who still sat in the front of his cabin, where he
might catch the first sound of returning footsteps, now covered his
face, and his whole form heaved with emotion. Teddy began to feel
uncomfortable. He arose, walked to and fro, and wiped the tears from
his own cheeks. Despite his tears, however, he recognized in the
exclamations of his master a reference to some mystery which he had
long suspected, but which had never been cleared up. The missionary
must have met this strange hunter before this encounter in the
wilderness, and his identity, and the cause of his deadly enmity,
must, also, be known. Teddy had a great curiosity; but, as his master
had repulsed his inquiries upon a previous occasion, he forbore to
make any reference to it. He walked backward and forward until the
good man's emotion had subsided somewhat, and then he said:

"Good Master Harvey, the owld cabin is so lonely wid the form of Miss
Cora gone, that it's meself that couldn't very well stay here till
morning. So, wid yer leave jist, I'll return to the Injins, so as to
be ready to folly the trail bright and early in the mornin'."

"And how do you suppose I feel, Teddy?"

"God save us! It can be no worse than meself."

"I am willing that you should go."

The missionary had need, indeed, for the sustaining power which can
come only from above. The faithful Indian woman remained with his
child through the night, while he, with bare head, and hands griped
together, paced backward and forward until the morrow's sun had risen.
How he prayed and agonized in spirit during those long, lonely hours,
God and himself only know. When the day had fairly dawned, he entered
the house, lay down wearily, and slept a "long and troubled sleep."

With a heavy heart Teddy made his way back through the woods to where
the Indians were congregated. They were seated around the camp-fire
engaged in smoking, but did not exchange nor utter a syllable. They
all understood each other, and therefore there was no need of talk.
The Irishman seated himself beside them, and joined an hour or two in
smoking, when they all lay down and slumbered.

All with the exception of Teddy, who could not sleep. He rolled hither
and thither, drew deep sighs, and took new positions, but it availed
nothing. The events of the past day had driven sleep far from his
eyelids, and he soon gave over the effort altogether. Rising to a
sitting position, he scratched his head (which was significant only of
abstraction of thought), and gazed meditatively into the smoldering
embers.

While seated thus, an idea suddenly came to him which brought him
instantly to his feet. The fact that it had not occurred to the
Indians he attributed to their inferior shrewdness and sagacity. He
recalled that the abduction of the young wife took place quite late in
the afternoon; and, as she must be an unwilling captive of course, she
would know enough to hinder the progress of the man so as to afford
her friends a chance to overtake them. Such being the case, the hunter
would find himself compelled to encamp for the night, and therefore he
could be but a short distance away. The more the Irishman reflected,
the more he became convinced that his view was right; and, we may
state, that for once, at least, his supposition had a foundation to
stand upon.

The matter, as has been evident from the first to the reader, rested
entirely upon the impossibility of following the trail at night. Thus
far it had maintained its direction parallel with the river, and he
deduced that it must continue to do so. Such being the case, the man
could be reached as well during the darkness as daylight.

Teddy concluded not to awaken the savages, as they would hardly
coincide with him. So he cautiously rose to his feet, and walking
around them, made off in the darkness. He was prudent enough to obtain
an idea of the general direction before starting, so as to prevent
himself going astray; after which he pressed the pursuit with all
possible speed. At intervals he paused and listened, but it seemed as
if everything excepting himself was asleep. He heard no sound of
animal or man: He kept his eyes flitting hither and thither, for he
had hopes of chancing upon the camp-fire of the abductor.

It is always a difficult matter to keep one's "reckoning" in the
woods. If they be of any extent, it requires extraordinary precautions
upon the part of an inexperienced person to prevent himself from
being lost. Should he endeavor to travel by night, it would be almost
a miracle indeed if he could save himself from going totally astray.

Teddy had every disadvantage to contend against, and he had not
journeyed a half-hour, when his idea of his own position was just the
opposite of truth. As he had not yet become aware of it, however, it
perhaps was just as well as if he had committed no error. He was
pressing forward, with that peculiar impelling feeling that it was
only necessary to do so ultimately to reach his destination, when a
star-like glimmer caught his eye. Teddy stopped short, and his heart
gave a great bound, for he believed the all-important opportunity had
now come. He scanned the light narrowly, but it was only a flickering
point, such as a lantern would give at a great distance at night. The
light alone was visible, but no flame. It was impossible to form any
correct idea of its location, although, from the fact that the nature
of the wood must prevent the rays penetrating very far, he was pretty
certain it was comparatively close at hand.

With this belief he commenced making his way toward it, his movements
certifying his consciousness that a mis-step would prove fatal. To his
dismay, however, he had advanced but a dozen steps or so when the
light disappeared, and he found it impossible to recover it. He moved
from side to side, forward and backward, but it availed nothing, and
he was about to conclude it had been extinguished, when he retreated
to his starting-point and detected it at once.

Keeping his eye fixed upon it, he now walked slowly, but at the same
point as before it disappeared. This, he saw, must arise from some
limb, or branch or tree interfering, and it only remained for him to
continue advancing in the same line. Having proceeded a hundred rods
or so, he began to wonder that he still failed to discover it.
Thinking he might be mistaken in the distance, he went forward until
he was sure he had passed far beyond it, when he turned and looked
behind him. Nothing but the dim figures of the tree-trunks rewarded
his gaze.

Fully a half-hour was spent in wandering to and fro in the further
efforts to locate the light that had caught his eye, and he finally
sought to obtain his first stand-point. Whether he succeeded or not
Teddy never could tell, but he never saw nor learned anything more
regarding the camp-fire to which he was confident that he had been
in such close proximity.

About this time, which was in the neighborhood of midnight, Teddy made
the discovery that he was lost, and, like a sensible person, gave up
all efforts to right himself. He was so wearied that he did not awake
until daylight, when he was aroused by the five Indians, whose
trail-hunt led them to the spot where he lay sleeping.

The trail was now followed rapidly for a half-mile when, as the
pursuers had feared all along, it made a sudden bend to the river,
upon the banks of which it was totally lost. Not to be baffled in this
manner, a canoe was produced with which three crossed the river. The
entire day was spent by these upon one bank, while the two other
Indians and Teddy pursued the search for traces of the hunter's
landing upon their own side of the stream. Not the slightest evidence
was discovered that he had touched shore after embarking. The man had
escaped, and even the eagle-eyed Sioux were compelled on the second
night to return to their village with the sad announcement that the
TRAIL WAS LOST!

[Illustration: THE TRAIL WAS LOST.]



CHAPTER VII.


A HIBERNIAN'S SEARCH FOR THE TRAIL.

  "Oh I let me only breathe the air,
  The blessed air that's breathed by thee;
  And, whether on its wings it bear
  Healing or death, 'tis sweet to me."


At the close of a windy, blustering day in 1821, two men were seated
by a camp-fire in the depths of the wilderness of the northwest. The
wind howled through the branches with a moaning sound such as often
heralds the approach of bitter cold weather; and a few feathery flakes
of snow that sailed along on the wind, proved that the season of
storms was close at hand.

The fire was built down deep in a sort of gorge, where its cheery,
crackling blaze could not be seen by any one until he was nearly upon
it. The men sat with their pipes in their mouths, their rifles beside
them and their feet toward the fire. From appearances they were on
the best of terms. One of them needs no introduction, as he is our old
friend Teddy, who evidently feels at home in his new situation. The
other is a man of much the same build although somewhat older. His
face, where it is not concealed by a heavy, grizzly beard, is covered
by numerous scars, and the border of one eye is disfigured from the
same cause. His dress and accouterments betray the hunter and trapper.

"And so, Teddy, ye're sayin' it war a white man that took away the
missionary's wife, and hain't been heard on since. Let me see, you
said it war nigh onto three months ago, warn't it?"

[Illustration: "And so, Teddy, ye're sayin' it war a white man that
took away the missionary's wife."]

"Three months, come day after to-morrow. Begorrah, but it's not I
that'll forgit that same date to my dying day, if, indade, I forgit it
at all, at all, even whin somebody else will be wearin' me clothes."

"It was a dirty trick, freeze me if it wasn't; but you can _allers_
find a white man to do a mean trick, when you can't a copperskin;
_that_ you may set down as a p'inted fact, Teddy."

"I belaves ye, Mister Tim. An Indian is a poor mean thing at the bist,
an' their squaws--kah! they are the dirtiest beasts that iver jabbered
human lingo; an' their babies, I raaly belaves, is caught with a hook
an' line in the muddy creeks where the catfish breed; but, fur all
that, I don't think they could have been equal to this piece of
wickedness. May the divil git howld of his soul. Blazes, but won't
there be a big squeal in purgatory when the divil gits howld of him!"
And Teddy seemed to contemplate the imaginary scene in Hades with a
sense of intense satisfaction.

"But it's powerful strange you could never git on the trail. I don't
boast of my own powers, but I'll lay if I'd been in the neighborhood,
I'd 've found it and stuck to it like a bloodhound, till I'd 've
throttled that thievin' wretch."

"The Sioux spent the bitter part of the day in the s'arch, an' meself
an' siveral other savages has been looking iver since, and none of us
have got so much as a scint of his shoe, bad luck to him."

"But, Teddy, what made him do it?" asked the trapper, turning his
keen, searching eyes full upon him.

"There's where I can't answer yees."

"There be some men, I allow, so infarnal mean they'll do a mean thing
just 'cause they _like_ to do it, and it might be he's one of them."

"It's meself that belaves he howlds some spite agin Mister Harvey for
something done in years agone, and has taken this means of revinging
himself upon the good man, as I am sure niver did one of his
fellow-creatures any harm."

"It may be there's been ill-blood a long time atween 'em, but the
missionary couldn't a done nothin' to give the rapscallion cause to
run off with his wife, 'less he'd run off with this hunter's old woman
before, and the hunter was paying him for it."

"Git out wid yer nonsense!" said Teddy, impatiently. "It couldn't been
a great deal, or if it was, it couldn't been done purposely, for I've
growed up wid Mister Harvey, and knowed him ever since he was knee
high to a duck, and he was _always_ a boy that did more praying than
fighting. The idea of _his_ harming anyone, is _pre-pos-te-trous._
After the haythen had fired at us, the good man actilly made me
promise not to do the wretch hurt if the chance was given me; and a
mighty foolish thing, for all it was Master Harvey who towld me, fur
I've had a chance or two at the spalpaan since. Oh blissed Virgin, why
_didn't_ I cut his wizzen for him whin I could have done it--that is,
if I could!"

"And you've been huntin' 'im these three or four months be you?"

"The same, yer honor, huntin' constantly, niver losing a day rain or
shine, wid Indians an' widout 'em, cold, hungry and tired, but not a
day of rist."

"Freeze me then, if you haven't got _grit_. Thar ain't many that would
track through the woods that ar long. And ye haven't caught a glimpse
of the gal nor heard nothin' of her?"

"Not a thing yet; but it's meself that 'xpacts to ivery day."

"In course, or ye wouldn' keep at the business. But s'pose, my friend,
you go on this way for a year more--what then?"

"As long as I can thravel over the airth and Miss Cora isn't found, me
faat shall niver find rest."

The trapper indulged in an incredulous smile.

"You'd be doing the same, Tim, if yees had iver laid eyes on Miss Cora
or had iver heard her speak," said Teddy, as his eyes filled with
tears. "God bliss her! she was worth a thousand such lives as mine--"

"Don't say nothin'" interrupted the trapper, endeavoring to conceal
his agitation; "I've l'arned years ago what that business is. The
copperskins robbed me of a prize I'll never git agin, long afore
you'd ever seen one of the infarnal beings."

"Was she a swateheart?"

"Never mind--never mind; it'll do no good to speak of it now. She's
_gone_--that's enough."

"How do you know she can't be got agin, whin--"

"She was tomahawked afore my eyes--ain't that enough?" demanded the
trapper, indignantly.

"I axes pardon, but I was under the impression they had run away with
her as they did with Miss Cora."

"Hang 'em, no! If they'd have done that I'd have chased 'em to the
Pacific ocean and back agin afore I'd give 'em up."

"And that's what meself intends to do regarding Miss Cora."

"Yer see, yer don't know much about red-skins and their devilments,
and therefore, it's my private opine, instead of getting the gal,
they'll git you, and there'll be the end on't."

"Tim, couldn't yees make the s'arch wid me?" asked Teddy, in a deeply
earnest voice. The trapper shook his head.

"Like to do't, but can't. It's time I was up to the beaver runs this
night and had my traps set. Yer see I'm _compelled_ to be in St. Louey
at the end of six months and hain't got a day to spare."

"Mister Harvey has money, or, if he hasn't, he has friends in St.
Louis, be the same token, that has abundance of it, and you'd find it
paid you bitter in the ind than catching poor, innocent beavers, that
niver did yees harm."

"I don't foller sich business for money, but I've agreed to be in St.
Louey at the time I was tellin' you, and it's allers a p'int of honor
with me to keep my agreements."

"Couldn't yees be doing that, and this same thing, too?"

"Can't do't. S'pose I should git on the trail that is lost, can yer
tell me how fur I'd have to foller it? Yer see I've been in that
business afore, and know what it is. Me and three others once chased a
band of Blackfeet, that had carried off an old man, till we could see
the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and git a taste of the breath of
wind that comes down from their ice and snow in middle summer."

"Didn't yees pursue the subjact any further?"

"We went fur enough to find that the nimble-footed dogs had got into
the mountains, and that if we wanted to keep our ha'r, we'd only got
to undertake to foller 'em thar. So we just tramped back agin, havin'
our trouble for nothin'."

"Wasn't that about as poor a business, for yees, as this be for me,
barring yees was hunting for an old man and I'm hunting for a young
woman?"

"It warn't as foolish by a long shot, 'cause we _war on the trail_ all
the time, and kept it, while you've lost yours, and never'll be able
to find it agin. We war so close more nor once that we reached their
camp-fires afore the embers had died out and from the tops of two,
three hills we got a glimpse on 'em on thar horses. We traveled all
night a good many times, but it done no good as they done the same
thing, and we found we war further away, if anything, next morning
than we war at sundown. If we'd ever lost the trail so as not to find
it we'd guv up and come home, but we never done that nor never lost
more nor an hour in lookin' for it. You see," added the trapper,
impressively, "you never have found the trail, and, therefore, there
ain't the shadder of a chance."

"Begorrah, yees can't blame us whin we tried to the bist of our
indeavor to find it and wasn't able."

"Yer done the best yer knowed, I s'pose; but why didn't four on 'em
divide so as to let one go up one side the river and one t'other, and
the same way down-stream. Yer don't s'pose that feller was able to
keep paddlin' forever in the river, do yer? and jist so soon as he
landed, jist so sure would one of them Sioux find the spot where he
touched land, and foller him to his hole."

"Begorrah, if wees had only thought of that!"

"A Sioux is as cunning a red-skin as I ever found, and it's jist my
opine every one of 'em _did_ think of that same thing, but they didn't
try it for fear they might catch the varmint! They knew their man,
rest assured o' that."

Teddy looked up as if he did not comprehend the meaning of the last
remark.

"'Cordin' to yer own showin', one of them infarnal copper-gals was at
the bottom of the hull business, and it's like as not the men knowed
about it, too, and didn't _want_ to catch the gal!"

"There's where yees are mightily mistook, as Pat McGuire said whin
his landlord called him honest, for ivery one of them same
chocolate-colored gintlemen would have done their bist for Master
Harvey. They would have cut that thaif's wizzen wid a mighty good
will, I knows."

"Mebbe so, but I don't believe it!" said the hunter, with an
incredulous shake of his head.

"Would ye have me give up the s'arch altogether?"

"Can't say that I would; howsumever, the chance is small, and ye'd
better go west with me, and spend the winter in l'arning how to trap
fur beaver and otter."

"What good might result from that?"

"None, as I knows on."

"Then it's meself that thanks yees for the offer and respectfully
declines to accept the nomination. I'll jist elict meself to the
office of sheriff an' go about these regions wid a s'arch-warrint in
my shoes that'll niver let me rist until Miss Cora is found."

"Wal, I 'spose we'll part in the mornin' then. As yer say this are the
first time you've got as fur north, I'll say I think you're nearer the
trail than yer ever war yit."

"What might be the reason for that?" eagerly asked Teddy.

"I can't say what it is, only I kind o' feel it in my bones. Thar's a
tribe of copperskins about a hundred miles to the north'ard, that I'll
lay can tell yer _somethin'_ about the gal."

"Indians? An' be what token would they be acquaint with her?"

"They're up near the Hudson Bay Territory line, and be a harmless kind
of people. I stayed among 'em two winters and found 'em a harmless lot
o' simpletons that wouldn't hurt a hair o' yer head. Thar's allers a
lot of white people staying among 'em."

"I fails yit to see what they could be doing with Miss Cora."

"Mind I tells yer only what I _thinks_--not what I _knows_. It's my
private opine, then, that that hunter has took the gal up among them
Injins, and they're both living thar. If that be so, you needn't be
afeard to go right among 'em, for the only thing yer'll have to look
out fur will be the same old hunter himself."

This remark made a deep impression upon Teddy. He sat smoking his
pipe, and gazing into the glowing embers, as if he could there trace
out the devious, and thus far invisible, trail that had baffled him so
long. It must be confessed that the search of the Hibernian thus far
had been carried on in a manner that could hardly be expected to
insure success. He had spent weeks in wandering through the woods,
sleeping upon the ground or in the branches of some tree, fishing for
awhile in some stream, or hunting for game--impelled onward all the
time by his unconquerable resolve to find Cora Richter and return her
to her husband. On the night that the five Sioux returned to the
village, and announced their abandonment of the pursuit, Teddy told
the missionary that he should never see him again, until he had gained
some tidings of his beloved mistress, or had become assured that there
could be no hope of her recovery. How long this peculiar means of
hunting would have gone on, it is impossible to tell, but most
probably until Teddy himself had perished, for there was not the
shadow of a chance of his gaining any information of the lost one. His
meeting with the trapper was purely accidental, and the hint thrown
out by the latter was the reason of setting the fellow to work in the
proper way.

The conversation was carried on for an hour or so longer, during which
the trapper gave Teddy more advice, and told him the best manner of
reaching the tribe to which he referred. He cautioned him especially
against delaying his visit any longer, as the northern winter was
almost upon them, and should he be locked in the wilderness by it, it
would be almost impossible for him to survive its rigor; but if he
should be among the tribe, he could rest in security and comfort until
the opening of spring. Teddy concluded to do as his companion advised,
and, after more unimportant conversation, both stretched themselves
out by the camp-fire and slept.

Just as the earliest light was breaking through the trees, the trapper
was on his feet, rekindling the fire. Finding, after this was
completed, that Teddy still slumbered, he brought him to his senses by
several forcible applications of his foot.

"Begorrah, it's meself that's thinking yees 'av a mighty gintle way of
coming upon one unawares, barring it's the same as a kick from a wild
horse. I was dr'aming jist thin of a blast of powder in a stone
quarry, which exploded under me feet, an' sint me up in the ship's
rigging, an' there I hung by the eaves until a lovely girl pulled me
in at the front door and shut it so hard that the chinking all fell
out of the logs, and woke me out of me pleasint delusions."

The trapper stared at the Irishman incredulously, thinking him
demented. Teddy's gaping and rubbing of his eyes with his fists, and,
finally, his stretching of arms and legs, reassured Tim of the
fellow's sanity, and he added:

"If yer hadn't woke just now, I'd tried ef lammin' yer over the head
would've done any good."

"Yees might have done that, as long as ye plaised, fur me sconce got
used to being cracked at the fairs in the owld country."

"I thought yer allers lived in this country."

"Not always, or how could I be an Irishman? God plaise I may niver
live here long enough to forgit owld Ireland, the Gim of the Sea.
What's the matter with yees now?"

The trapper having wandered a few yards from the camp-fire, had paused
suddenly and stood gazing at the ground. Teddy was obliged to repeat
his question.

"What is it yees have diskivered?"

"Sign, or ye may shoot me."

"Sign o' what?"

"Injins, ye wood-head! What else could I mean?"

Teddy now approached and narrowly examined the ground. His knowledge
of wood-craft had been considerably increased during the past month or
two, and he had no difficulty in distinguishing the imprint of a
moccasin.

"Look at the infarnal thing!" exclaimed the trapper, in disgust.
"Who'd a thort there'd 've been any of the warmints about, whin we
took sich pains with our fire. Why the chap didn't send a piece of
cold lead into each of our bread-baskets is more nor I can tell. It
would've sarved us both right."

"P'raps thim tracks there was made fornenst the night, and that it's
ourselves that was not here first."

"Don't yer s'pose I know all about _that_?" demanded the trapper,
savagely. "Them tracks was made not more'n three or four hours ago."

As he spoke. Tim turned and followed it a rod or two, and then, as he
came back, said:

"If I had the time I'd foller it; but it goes just t'other way from
what I want to go. I think like 'nough it leads to the village that
you want to find; so if yer'd like one of 'em to introduce yer to the
rest on 'em, drive ahead and make his acquaintance. Maybe he kin tell
yer something about the gal."

Teddy determined to follow the trail by all means. He partook of the
morning meal with the trapper, exchanged a pleasant farewell, and
then the two parted never to meet again.

The footprints were distinct and easily followed. Teddy advanced with
long, loping strides, at a gait considerably more rapid than his usual
one. He indulged in curious reveries as he followed it, fancying it to
be an unfriendly Indian with whom a desperate collision must
inevitably take place, or some friendly member of the tribe, of whom
the trapper had told him, that would prove a boon companion to him.
All at once he reached a small, marshy tract, where the trail was much
more palpable; and it was here that he either saw or fancied the toes
of the footprints turned _outward_, thus demonstrating that, instead
of an Indian, he was following a white man.

The Hibernian's heart throbbed at the thought that he was upon the
track of the strange hunter, with all probability of overtaking him.
It caused his heart to throb violently to reflect how close he was
upon the critical moment. Drawing a deep breath and closing his lips
tightly, he pressed on ready for the conflict.

The trail continued as distinct as ever, and the pursuit suffered no
interruption until it entered a deep swamp into which Teddy hesitated
to enter, its appearance was so dark and forbidding. As he gazed into
its gloomy depths, he was almost certain that he had discovered the
_home_ of the hunter. That at that moment the criminal was within its
confines, where perhaps the beloved Cora was imprisoned, a miserable
and pining captive. The thought maddened him, and he pressed forward
so rashly that he soon found himself completely entrapped in a network
of briers and brambles. Carefully withdrawing into the open wood, it
suddenly occurred to him, that if the hunter had passed through the
thicket, there was no earthly necessity of his doing it. He could pass
around, and, if the footprints were seen upon the opposite side, it
only remained to follow them, while, if they were not visible, it
certified that he was still within the thicket and he could therefore
shape his actions accordingly.

Teddy therefore made his way with patience and care around one end of
the thicket. He found the distance more considerable than he at first
supposed. It was full an hour before he was fairly upon the opposite
side. Here he made a careful search and was soon rewarded by finding
unmistakable footprints, so that he considered it settled that the
hunter had passed straight through the thicket.

"It's a quaar being he is entirely, when it's meself that could barely
git into the thicket, and he might have saved his hide by making a
short thramp around, rather than plunging through in this shtyle."

Teddy pressed on for two hours more, when he began to believe that he
was close upon the hunter, who must have traveled without intermission
to have eluded him thus far. He therefore maintained a strict watch,
and advanced with more caution.

The woods began to thicken, and the Hibernian was brought to a
stand-still by the sound of a rustling in the bushes. Proceeding some
distance further, he came upon the edge of a bank or declivity, where
he believed the strange hunter had laid down to rest. The footprints
were visible upon the edge of the bank, and at the bottom of the
latter was a mass of heavy undergrowth, so dense as effectually to
preclude all observation of what might be concealed within it.

It was in the shrubbery, directly beneath him, that Teddy believed the
hunter lay. He must be wearied and exhausted, and no doubt was in a
deep sleep. Teddy was sure, in his enthusiasm, that he had obtained a
glimpse of the hunter's clothes through the interstices of the leaves,
so that he could determine precisely the spot where he lay, and even
the position of his body--so eagerly did the faithful fellow's wishes
keep in advance of his senses.

And now arose the all-important question as to what he should do. He
might shoot him dead as he slept, and there is little question but
what Teddy would have done it had he not been restrained by the simple
question of expediency. The hunter was alone, and, if slain, all clue
to the whereabouts of Mrs. Richter would be irrecoverably lost. What
tidings that might ever be received regarding her, must come from the
lips of him who had abducted her. If he could desperately wound the
man, he might frighten him into a confession, but then Teddy feared
instead of wounding him merely with his rifle, he would kill him
altogether if he attempted to shoot.

After a full half-hour's deliberation, Teddy decided upon his course
of action. It was to spring knife in hand directly upon the face of
the hunter, pin him to the ground and then force the confession from
his lips, under a threat of his life, the Irishman mercifully
resolving to slay him at any rate, after he had obtained all that was
possible from him.

Teddy did not forget his experience of a few months before when the
hunter gave him an involuntary bath in the river. He therefore held
his knife firmly in his right hand. Now that he had concluded what to
do, he lost no time in carrying his plan into execution.

He took a crouching position, such as is assumed by the panther when
about to spring upon its prey, and then drawing his breath, he leaped
downward.

A yelping howl, an impetuous scratching and struggling of the furious
mass that he attempted to inclose in his arms, told Teddy that instead
of the hunter, he had pounced down upon an innocent, sleeping bear!

It was well for the Irishman that the bear was peaceably inclined,
else his search for the lost trail might have terminated then and
there. The brute, after freeing itself from its incubus, sprung off
and made all haste into the woods, leaving Teddy gazing after it in
stupefied amazement. He rose to his feet, stared at the spot where it
had last appeared and then drew a deep sigh, and sadly shook his
head.

"I say nothing! Be jabers! it's meself that can't do justice to the
thame!"


Harvey Richter stood in his cabin-door, about five months after his
great loss, gazing off toward the path which led to the Indian
village, and which he had traveled so many, many times. Sad and weary
was his countenance, as he stood, at the close of the day, looking
into the forest, as if he expected that it would speak and reveal what
it knew of his beloved partner, who was somewhere concealed within its
gloomy depths. Ah, how many an hour had he looked, but in vain. The
forest refused to give back the lost, nor did it breathe one word of
her, to ease the gloom which hung so heavily upon his soul.

A footfall caught his ear, and turning, he saw Teddy standing before
him. The face of the Irishman was as dejected as his own, and the
widowed man knew there was scarce need of the question:

"Have you heard anything, Teddy?"

"Nothing, sir, saving that nothing is to be learnt."

"Not my will, but thine, oh God, be done!" exclaimed the missionary,
reverently, and yet with a wailing sadness, that proved how
unutterable was his woe.



CHAPTER VIII.


THE TRAIL OF DEATH.

  These likelihoods confirm her flight from hence;
  Therefore, I pray you, stay not to discourse,
  But mount you presently.--SHAKESPEARE.


The trapper, after separating from the Irishman, pursued his way
through the woods with a slow tread, as if he were deliberating some
matter with himself. Occasionally he muttered and shook his head, in a
manner that showed his conscience was getting the better of the
debate, whatever it might be. Finally he paused.

"Yas, sir; it's a mean piece of business in me. 'Cause I want to cotch
a few beavers I must let this gal be, when she has been lost to her
husband already for three months. It's ongenerous, and _can't be
done_!" he exclaimed, emphatically. "What if I does lose a few
peltries when they're bringing such a good price down in St. Louey?
Can't I afford to do it, when there's a gal in the matter?"

He resumed his walk as slowly and thoughtfully as before, muttering to
himself.

"If I go, I goes alone; least I don't go with that Teddy, for he'd be
sartin to lose my ha'r as sure as we got onto a trail. There's no
calc'latin' the blunders of _such_ a man. How he has saved his own
scalp to this time is more nor I can tell, or himself neither, for
that matter, I guess. I've been on many a trail-hunt alone, and if I
goes--if I goes, why, _in course_ I does!" he added, impetuously.

The resolution once taken seemed to afford him unusual pleasure, as it
does with us all when the voice of conscience is a monitor that is
heeded. He was tramping toward the west, and now that the matter was
decided in his own mind, he paused again, as if he could better debate
other matters that must in the circumstances necessarily present
themselves.

"In the first place, there's no use of going any further on _this_
track, for I ain't gettin' any nigher the gal, that's pretty sartin.
From what that Teddy told me of his travels, it can't be that she's
anywhere in these parts, for if she war, he couldn't have helped
l'arning something of her in all this time. There's a tribe up north
that I've heard was great on gettin' hold of white gals, and I think
I'll make a s'arch in that direction afore I does anything else."

Nothing more remained for Tim but to carry out the resolution he had
made, and it was characteristic of the man that he did it at once.
Five minutes after the above words had been muttered, he was walking
rapidly along in a northern direction, his rifle thrown over his arm,
and a beaming expression of countenance that showed there were no
regrets at the part he was acting. He had a habit of talking with
himself, especially when some weighty or unusual matter obtruded
itself. It is scarcely to be wondered, therefore, that he became quite
talkative at the present time.

"I allers admire such adventur's as this, if they don't bring in
anything more nor thanks. The style in which I've received them is
allers worth more money nor I ever made trapping beavers. The time I
cotched that little gal down on the Osage, that had been lost all
summer, I thought her mother would eat me up afore she'd let me go. I
believe I grinned all day and all night for a week after that, it made
me think I was such a nice feller. Maybe it'll be the same way with
this. Hello!"

The trapper paused abruptly, for on the ground before him he saw the
unmistakable imprint of a moccasin. A single glance of his experienced
eye assured him upon that point.

"That there are Injins in these parts is a settled p'int with me, and
that red and white blood don't agree is another p'int that is settled.
That track wasn't made there more nor two hours ago, and it's pretty
sartin the one that made it ain't fur away at this time. It happens it
leads to the north'ard, and it'll be a little divarsion to foller it,
minding at the same time that there's an Injin in it."

For the present the trapper was on a trail, and he kept it with the
skill and certainty of a hound. Over the dry leaves, the pebbly earth,
the fresh grass, the swampy hollow--everywhere, he followed it with
unerring skill.

"That Injin has been on a hunt," he muttered, "and is going back home
agin. If it keeps in this direction much longer, I'll believe he's
from the very village I'm hunting after. Heigh! there's something else
up!"

He suddenly checked himself and began snuffing the air, as though it
was tainted with something suspicious.

"I hope I may be shot if there ain't a camp-fire within two hundred
yards of where I am standing."

He looked sharply around in every direction, but saw nothing of the
camp, although positive that his olfactories could not have deceived
him.

"Whether it belongs to white or red can't be said, _sartin_; but it's
a great deal most likely that it's red, and it's just about as sartin
that that Injin ahead of me has gone pretty close to the camp, so I'll
keep on follering him."

A short distance further he became assured that he was in close
proximity to the fire, and he began to use extreme caution in his
movements. He knew very well how slight an inadvertence would betray
his approach, and a betrayal was almost fatal. Advancing some distance
further, he suddenly came in full view of the camp-fire. He saw three
Indians seated around it, smoking, and appearing as if they had just
finished their morning meal. It seemed, also, as if they were
discussing some matter that deeply interested all. The mumbling of
their voices could be heard, and one of them gesticulated quite
freely, as though he were excited over the conference. There was not
even the most remote possibility that what they were saying was of the
least concern to the trapper; and so, after watching them a few
moments, he moved cautiously by.

It was rarely that Tim ever had a mishap at such perilous times as
these, but to his dismay something caught his foot so dextrously, that
in spite of himself he was thrown flat upon his face. There was a dull
thump, not very loud, it is true, but he feared it had reached the
ears of the savages. He lay motionless, listening for a while, but
hearing nothing of their voices or footsteps, he judged that either
they had no suspicion of the true cause, or else had not heard him at
all. He therefore rose to his feet and moved on, occasionally glancing
back, to be sure he was not pursued.

The trapper proceeded in this manner until noon. Had the case been
urgent, he would not have paused until nightfall, as his indurated
muscles demanded no rest; he could go a couple of days without
nourishment, and experience little inconvenience. But there was no
call for haste. He therefore paused at noon, on the banks of a small
stream, in quest of some water-fowl.

Tim gazed up and down-stream, but saw nothing that would serve as a
dinner. He could have enticed a fish or two from their element, but he
had set his heart upon partaking of a bird, and was not willing to
accept anything else. Accordingly, he began walking down the bank of
the creek in search of one.

In such a country as was Minnesota forty years ago, the difficult
matter would have been to _avoid_ game rather than to find it. The
trapper had searched but a short distance, when he caught sight of a
single ptarmigan under the opposite bank. In a twinkling Tim's rifle
was raised, and, as it flashed forth its deadly messenger, the bird
made a single struggle, and then floated, a dead object, down the
current.

Although rather anxious for his prize, the trapper, like many a hunter
since that day, was not willing to receive a wet skin so long as it
was possible to avoid it. The creek could be only of inconsiderable
depth, yet, on such a blustering day, he felt a distaste toward
exposing himself to its chilling clasp. Some distance below he noticed
the creek narrowed and made a curve. At this point he hoped to draw it
in shore with a stick, and he lost no time in hurrying to the point.
Arrived there, the trapper stood on the very margin of the water,
with a long stick in hand, waiting for the opportune moment. He
naturally kept his eye upon the floating bird, as any animal watches
the prey that he is confident is coming directly into his clutches.

From the opposite bank projected a large, overhanging bush, and such
was the bird's position in the water, that it was compelled to float
within a foot, at least, of this. Tim's eyes happened to be fixed
intently upon it at this moment, and, at the very instant it was at
the point named, he saw a person's hand flash out, seize the ptarmigan
by the neck, and bring it in to shore in a twinkling.

Indignation upon the part of the trapper was perhaps as great as his
surprise. He raised his rifle, and had it already sighted at the point
where he was confident the body of the thief must be concealed, when a
second thought caused him to lower his piece, and hurry up-stream, to
a spot directly opposite where the bird had disappeared.

Here he searched the shore narrowly, but could detect no sign of the
presence of any person. That there was, or had at least been, one
there, needed no further confirmation. The trapper was in no mood to
put up with the loss of his dinner, and he considered it rather a
point of honor that he should bring the offending savage to justice.
That it was an Indian he did not doubt, but he never once suspected,
what was true, that it was the identical one he had been following,
and who had passed his camp-fire.

In a few moments he found a shallow portion of the creek across which
he immediately waded and made his way down the bank, to where the
Indian had first manifested his presence. Here the keen eye of Tim at
once detected moccasin prints, and he saw that the savage had departed
with his prize.

There was no difficulty in following the trail, and the trapper did
so, with his long, loping, rapid walk. It happened to lead straight to
the northward, so that he felt it was no loss of time for him to do
so.

It was morally certain the savage could be at no great distance; hence
the pursuer was cautious in his advance. The American Indian would
rather seek than avoid an encounter, and he was no foe to be despised
in a hand-to-hand contest. The trapper was in that mood that he would
not have hesitated to encounter two of them in deadly combat for the
possession of the bird which was properly his own, and which he was
not willing to yield until compelled to do so by physical force.

About a hundred rods brought the trapper to a second creek of larger
size than the first. The trail led directly into this, so he followed
without hesitation. Before doing so, he took the precaution to sling
his rifle to his back, so that his arms should be disencumbered in any
sudden emergency.

The creek proved to be of considerable depth, but not sufficient to
cause him to swim. Near the center, when it was up to his armpits, and
he was feeling every foot of the way as he advanced, he chanced by
accident to raise his head. As he did so, he caught a movement among
the undergrowth, and more from habit than anything else, dodged his
head.

The involuntary movement allowed the bullet that was discharged at
that moment to pass harmlessly over his crown and bury itself in the
bank beyond. The next instant the trapper dashed through the water,
reaching the shore before the savage could reload. To his
disappointment and chagrin, the Indian was gone.

Tim, however, was not to be baffled in this manner, and dashed on as
impetuously as before. He was so close that he could hear the
fugitive as he fled, but the nature of the ground prevented rapid
progress upon the part of either, and it was impossible to tell for a
time who it was that was gaining.

"There's got to be an end to this race _some time_," muttered Tim, "or
I'll chase you up the north pole. You've stole my dinner, and tried to
steal my topknot, and now you shall have it or I shall have yours."

For some time this race (which in many respects resembled that of
Teddy and the strange hunter) continued, until the trapper found it
was himself that was really losing ground, and he sullenly came down
to a walk again. Still, he held to the trail with the unremitting
perseverance of the bloodhound, confident that, sooner or later, he
must come up with the fugitive.

All at once, something upon the ground caught his eye. It was the
ptarmigan, and he sprung exultingly forward and picked it up. It was
unharmed by the Indian, and he looked upon it as a tacit surrender, on
the part of his adversary, of the matter of dispute between them.

At first Tim was disposed to keep up the pursuit; but, on second
thought, he concluded to partake of his dinner, and then continue
his search for his human game. In order to enjoy his dinner it was
necessary to have it cooked, and he busied himself for a few moments
in collecting a few dried sticks, and plucking the feathers from the
fowl and dressing it.

While thus occupied, he did not forget to keep his eyes about him, and
to be prepared for the Indian in case he chose to come back. He
discovered nothing suspicious, however, and came to believe there was
no danger at all.

At length, when the afternoon was well advanced, the trapper's dinner
was prepared. He took the fowl from the blaze, and cutting a piece
with his hunting-knife, was in the very act of placing it in his
mouth, when the sharp crack of a rifle broke the stillness, and he
fell backward, pierced through the body by the bullet of the Indian
whom he had been pursuing.

"It's all up!" muttered the dying man. "I am wiped out at last, and
must go under!"

[Illustration: "It's all up!" muttered the dying man. "I am wiped out
at last, and must go under!"]

The Lost Trail had been the means of Tim, the trapper, discovering
what proved to him _the trail of death!_



CHAPTER IX.


THE DEAD SHOT.

  And now 'tis still I no sound to wake
     The primal forest's awful shade;
  And breathless lies the covert brake,
     Where many an ambushed form is laid.
  I see the red-man's gleaming eye,
     Yet all so hushed, the gloom profound,
  That summer birds flit heedlessly,
     And mocking nature smiles around.--LUNT.


Five years have passed. It is the summer of 1825. In that
comparatively brief period, what vast changes have taken place! How
many have come upon and departed from the stage of life! How many
plans, intentions and resolutions have been formed and either failed
or succeeded! How many governments have toppled to the earth, and
followed by "those that in their turn shall follow them." What a
harvest it has been for Death!

The missionary's cabin stands on the Clearing where it was first
erected, and there is little change in its outward appearance, save
that perhaps it has been more completely isolated from the wood. The
humble but rather massive structure is almost impervious to the touch
of time. It is silent and deserted within. Around the door plays a
little boy, the image of his mother, while some distance away, under
the shadow of the huge tree, sits the missionary himself. One leg is
thrown over the other, an open book turned with its face downward upon
his lap, while his hands are folded upon it, and he is looking off
toward the wood in deep abstraction of thought. Time has not been so
gentle with Harvey Richter. There are lines upon his face, and a sad,
wearied expression that does not properly belong there. It would have
required full fifteen years, in the ordinary course of events, to have
bowed him in this manner.

The young man--for he is still such--and his little boy are the only
ones who now dwell within the cabin. No tidings or rumors have reached
him of the fate of his wife, who was so cruelly taken from him four
years before. The faithful Teddy is still searching for her. The last
two winters he has spent at home, but each summer he has occupied in
wandering hither and thither through the great wilderness, in his
vain searching for the lost trail. Cast down and dejected, he has
never yet entirely abandoned hope of finding traces of her. He had
followed out the suggestion of the trapper, and visited the Indians
that dwelt further north, where he was informed that nothing whatever
was known of the missing woman. Since that time his search had been
mostly of an aimless character, which, as we have already stated,
could be productive of no definite results.

The missionary had become, in a degree, resigned to his fate; and yet,
properly speaking, he could not be said to be resigned, for he was not
yet convinced that she was entirely lost to him. All traces of the
strange hunter seemed irrecoverably gone, but Richter still devoutly
believed the providence of God would adjust everything in due time. It
is true, at seasons, he was filled with doubt and misgiving; but his
profession, his devotedness to his work, brought him in such close
communion with his divine Master that he trusted fully in his
providences.

On this summer afternoon, thoughts of his wife and of the strange
hunter occupied his mind more exclusively than they had for a year
past. So constant and preoccupying, indeed, were they, that he once
or twice believed he was on the eve of learning something regarding
her. While engaged in reading, the figures of his wife and the hunter
would obtrude themselves; he found it impossible to dismiss them, so
he had laid down the book and gone off into this absorbing reverie.

An additional fear or presentiment at times haunted the mind of the
missionary. He believed this hunter who could resort to such
diabolical means to revenge himself, would seek to inflict further
injury upon him, and he instinctively looked upon his boy as the
vulnerable point where the blow would be likely to fall. For over a
year, while Teddy was absent, Richter had taken the boy with him, when
making his daily visits to the village, and made it a point never to
lose sight of him. During these years of loneliness, also, Harvey
Richter had hunted a great deal in the woods and had attained
remarkable skill in the use of the rifle--an accomplishment for which
he had reason to be thankful for the remainder of his life, as we
shall presently see. On a pleasant afternoon, he frequently employed
himself in shooting at a target, or at small game in the lofty trees
around him, until his aim became so unerring that not a warrior among
the Sioux could excel him. It may seem singular, but our readers will
understand us when we say that this added to his popularity--and, in a
manner, paved a way for reaching many a heart that hitherto had
remained unmoved by his appeals.

The year preceding, an Indian had presented the missionary with a
goat, to the neck of which was attached a large cow-bell, that
probably had been obtained of some trader. Where the animal came from,
however, he had never been able to tell. It was a very acceptable
present, as it became a companion for his Charley, who spent many and
many an hour in sporting with it. It also afforded for a while a
much-valued luxury in the shape of milk, so that the missionary came
to regard the animal as an indispensable requirement in his household.

The goat acquired a troublesome habit of wandering off in the woods,
with an inclination not to return for several days. From this cause
the bell became useful as a signal to indicate the animal's
whereabouts. It rarely wandered beyond hearing, and caused no more
trouble than would have resulted from a cow under the same
circumstances. For the last few weeks it had been the duty, or rather
privilege, of Charley to bring his playmate home, and the child had
become so expert that the father had little hesitation in permitting
him to go out for it. The parent had misgivings, however, in allowing
him to leave the house, so near dark, to go beyond his sight if not
beyond his hearing; and for some time he had strenuously refused to
permit the boy to go upon his errand; but the little fellow plead so
earnestly, and the father's ever-present apprehensions having
gradually dulled by their want of realization, he had given his
reluctant consent, until it came to be considered the special province
of the boy to bring in the goat every evening just before nightfall.

The afternoon wore away, and still the missionary sat with folded
hands, gazing absently off in the direction of the wood. The boy at
length aroused him by running up and asking:

"Father, it is getting late. Isn't it time to bring Dolly home?"

"Yes, my son; do you hear the bell?"

"Listen!"

The pleasant _tink-a-link_ came with faint distinctness over the still
summer air.

"It isn't far away, my son; so run as fast as you can and don't play
or loiter on the way."

The child ran rapidly across the Clearing in the direction of the
sound, shot into the wood, and, a moment later, had disappeared from
his father's sight.

The father still sat in his seat, and was looking absently toward the
forest, when a startled expression flashed over his face and he sprung
to his feet. What thus alarmed him? _It was the sound of the
goat-bell._

All of my readers who have heard the sound of an ordinary cow-bell
suspended to the neck of an animal, have observed that the natural
sound is an _irregular one_--that is, there is no system or regularity
about the sound made by an animal in cropping the grass or herbage.
There is the clapper's tink-a-link, tink-a-link--an interval of
silence--then the occasional tink, tink, tink, to be followed,
perhaps, by a repetition of the first-named sounds, varied
occasionally by a compound of all, caused by the animal flinging its
head to free itself from troublesome flies or mosquitoes. The bell in
question, however, gave no such sounds _as these_, and it was this
fact which filled the missionary with a sudden, terrible dread.

Suppose a person take one of these bells in his hand, and give a
steady, _uninterrupted_ motion. The consequence must be a regular,
unvarying, monotonous sound, which any ear can distinguish from the
natural one caused by the animal itself. It was a steady tink, tink,
tink, that the bell in question sent forth.

The missionary stood but a moment; then dashing into the house, he
took down his ever-loaded rifle and ran in the direction of the sound.
In his hurry, he forgot powder-horn and bullet, and had, as a
consequence, but a single charge in his rifle. He had gone scarcely a
hundred yards, when he encountered the goat returning home. One glance
showed there was _no bell_ to its neck, while that ominous tink, tink,
tink, came through the woods as uninterruptedly as before.

The father now broke into a swifter run, almost losing his presence of
mind from his great, agonizing fear. The picture of the Indian, whom
he had felled to the floor, when he insulted his wife years before,
rose before him, and he saw his child already struggling in the
savage's merciless grasp. Nearer and nearer he approached the sound,
until he suddenly paused, conscious that it was but a short distance
away. Hurrying stealthily but rapidly several rods to the right, the
whole thing was almost immediately made plain to him.

Two trees, from some cause or other, had fallen to the ground in a
parallel direction and within a yard of each other. Between the trunks
of these an Indian was crouched, who held the goat-bell in his left
hand, and caused the sound which so startled the father. The savage
had his back turned toward the missionary, and appeared to be looking
in the opposite direction, as if he were waiting the appearance of
some one.

While the father stood gazing at this, he saw his boy come to view
about fifty feet the other side of the Indian, and, as if wearied with
his unusual hunt, seat himself upon a log. As soon as the boy was
visible, the savage--whom Richter recognized at once as the same man
that he had felled to the floor of his cabin, four years
before--called into use a little common sense, which, if it had been
practised somewhat sooner, must have completely deluded the father and
accomplished the design meditated. If, instead of giving the bell the
monotonous tink, the Indian had shaken the clapper irregularly, it
would have resulted in the certain capture of the child, beyond the
father's power of aid or rescue.

The missionary, we say, penetrated the design of the Indian almost
instantly. Although he saw nothing but the head and top of one
shoulder, he recognized, with a quick instinct, the villain who had
felt the weight of his hand years before, and who had now come in the
fullness of time, to claim his revenge. Directly in front of the
savage rose a small bush, which, while it gave him a view of the boy,
concealed himself from the child's observation.

The object of the Indian seemed to be to lure the boy within his
reach, so as to secure him without his making an outcry or noise. If
he could draw him close to the logs, he would spring upon him in an
instant, and prevent any scream, which assuredly must reach the
father, who, with his unerring rifle would have been upon the ground
in a few moments. It was an easy matter for the savage to slay the
boy. It would not have done to shoot his rifle, but he could have
tomahawked him in an instant; hence it was plain that he desired only
to take him prisoner. He might have sprung upon his prey in the woods,
but there he ran the risk of being seen by the child soon enough for
him to make an outcry, which would not fail of bringing immediate
assistance. His plan, therefore, was, to beguile the little fellow on
until he had walked directly into the snare, as a fly is lured into
the web of a spider.

This, we say, was the plan of the Indian. It had never entered into
his calculations that the goat, after being robbed of her bell, might
go home and tell a tale, or that there were other ways in which the
boy could be secured, without incurring half the peril he already had
incurred.

The moment the father comprehended what we have endeavored to make
plain, he raised his rifle, with the resolve to shoot the savage
through the head. As he did so, he recalled the fact that he had but a
single charge, and that, as a consequence, a miss would be the
death-warrant of himself as well as of his child. But he knew his eye
and hand would never fail him. His finger already pressed the trigger,
when he was restrained by an unforeseen impediment.

While the deadly rifle was poised, the boy stretched himself up at
full length, a movement which made known to the father that his child
was exactly in range with the Indian himself, and that a bullet
passing through the head of the savage could not fail to bury itself
in the little fellow's body. This startling circumstance arrested the
pressure of the trigger at the very moment the ball was to be sped
upon its errand of death.

The missionary sunk down upon one knee, with the intention of bringing
the head of the savage so high as to carry the bullet over the body of
his boy, but this he found could not be done without too seriously
endangering his aim. He drew a bead from one side of the tree, and
then from the other, but from both stand-points the same dreadful
danger threatened. The ground behind the tree was somewhat elevated,
and was the only spot from which he could secure a fair view of the
bronze head of the relentless enemy.

Two resorts were at the command of Richter. He could leave the tree
altogether, and pass around so as to come upon the savage from a
different direction; but this involved delay during which his boy
might fall into the Indian's power and be dispatched, as he would be
sure to do when he found that the father was close at hand; and from
the proximity of the two men, it could hardly fail to precipitate a
collision between them. The Indian, finding himself at bay, could not
fail to prove a most troublesome and dangerous customer, unarmed, as
Richter was, with weapons for a close encounter.

The father might also wait until the boy should pass out of range.
Still, there was the possibility of his proceeding directly up to the
spot where the savage lurked, thus keeping in range all the while.
Then the attempted rescue would have to be deferred until the child
was in the hands of the savage. These considerations, passing through
Richter's brain much more rapidly than we have narrated them, decided
him to abandon both plans, and to resort to what, beyond question, was
a most desperate expedient.

The Indian held the bell in his left hand. It was suspended by the
string which had clasped the neck of the goat, and, as it swayed
gently back and forth, this string slowly twisted and untwisted
itself, the bell, of course, turning back and forth. The father
determined to slay the Indian and save his son by _shooting this
bell_!

It is not necessary to describe the shape and make of the common
cow-bell in general use throughout our country; but it is necessary
that the reader should bear them in mind in order to understand the
manner in which the missionary proposed to accomplish this result.
His plan was to strike the bell when in the proper position, and
_glance the bullet into the head of the savage_!

The desperate nature of this expedient will be seen at once. Should
the gun be discharged when the flat side of the bell was turned toward
him, the ball would pass through, and most probably kill his child
without endangering the life of the Indian. If it struck the narrow
side, it accomplished neither harm nor good; while, if fired at the
precise moment, and still aimed but an inch too low, the bell would
most likely be perforated. Consequently, it was requisite that the
rifle be discharged at the precise instant of time when the signal
brass was in the correct position, and that the aim should be
infallibly true.

All this Richter realized only too painfully; but, uttering an inward
prayer, he raised his rifle with a nerve that knew no faltering or
fear, holding it pointed until the critical moment should arrive. That
moment would be when the string was wound up, and was turning, to
unwind. Then, as it was almost stationary, he fired.

No sound or outcry betrayed the result; but, clubbing his rifle, the
father bounded forward, over the trees, to the spot where the Indian
was crouching. There he saw him in his death-struggle upon the ground
the bell still held fast in his hand. In that critical moment, Harvey
Richter could not forbear glancing at it. Its top was indented, and
sprinkled with white by the glancing passage of the lead. The blood,
oozing down the face of the savage, plainly showed how unerringly true
had been the aim.

Something in the upward look of the dying man startled the missionary.

"Harvey Richter--don't you know me?" he gasped.

[Illustration: "Harvey Richter--don't you know me?" he gasped.]

"I know you as a man who has sought to do me a wrong that only a fiend
could have perpetrated. Great Heaven! Can it be? Is this you, Brazey
Davis?"

"Yes; but you've finished me, so there isn't much left."

"Are you the man, Brazey, who has haunted me ever since we came in
this country? Are you the person who carried away poor, dear Cora?"

"Yes--yes!" answered the man, with fainting weariness.

Such, indeed, was the case. The strange hunter and the Indian known
as Mahogany were one and the same person.

"Brazey, why have you haunted me thus, and done me this great wrong?"

"I cannot tell. When I thought how you took her from me, it made me
crazy when I thought about it. I wanted to take her from you, but I
wouldn't have dared to do that if you hadn't struck me. I wanted
revenge then."

"What have you done with her?"

"She is gone, I haven't seen her since the day after I seized her,
when a band of Indians took her from me, and went up north with her.
They have got her yet, I know, for I have kept watch over her, and she
is safe, but is a close prisoner." This he said with great difficulty.

"Brazey, you are dying. I forgive you. But does your heart tell you
you are at peace with Him whom you have offended so grievously?"

"It's too late to talk of that now. It might have done years ago, when
I was an honest man like yourself, and before I became a vagabond,
bent on injuring one who had never really injured me."

"It is never too late for God to forgive--"

"Too late--too late, I tell you! _There!_" He rose upon his elbow,
his eyes burning with insane light and his hand extended. "I see
her--she is coming, her white robes floating on the air. Oh, God,
forgive me that I did her the great wrong! But, she smiles upon
me--she forgives me! I thank thee, angel of good----"

He sunk slowly backward, and Harvey Richter eased the head softly down
upon the turf. Brazey Davis was no more.



CHAPTER X.


CONCLUSION.

  Heart leaps to heart--the sacred flood
    That warms us is the same;
  That good old man--his honest blood
    Alike we frankly claim.--SPRAGUE.


The missionary gazed sadly upon the inanimate form before him. He saw
the playmate of his childhood stricken down in death by his own hand,
which never should have taken human life, and although the act was
justifiable under the circumstances, the good man could but mourn the
painful necessity that occasioned it. The story, although possessing
tragic interest, was a brief one. Brazey Davis, as he had always been
termed, was a few years older than himself, and a native of the same
neighborhood. He was known in childhood as one possessing a vindictive
spirit that could never forgive an injury--as a person who would not
hesitate at any means to obtain revenge. It so happened that he became
desperately enamored of the beautiful Cora Brandon, but becoming
aware, at length, that she was the betrothed of Harvey Braisted, the
young missionary in embryo, the disappointed lover left the country,
and was never heard of by the missionary until he made himself known
in the singular manner that we have related at the opening of our
narrative. He had, in fact, come to be a sort of monomaniac, who
delighted in annoying his former rival, and in haunting his footsteps
as if he were his evil shadow. The abduction of his wife had not been
definitely determined upon until that visit to the cabin, in the garb
and paint of an Indian, when he received the tremendous blow that
almost drove the life from his body. Davis then resolved to take the
revenge which would "cut" the deepest. How well he succeeded, the
reader has learned.

The missionary's child stood pleading for an explanation of the
strange scene before him. Loosening the bell from the grasp of the
dead man, the minister took the little hand, and, with a heart
overflowing with emotion, set out for his cabin. It was his wish to
give the hunter a Christian burial; but, for the present, it was
impossible. These dying words rung in his ears: "The Indians took her
from me, and went up north with her, where she now is, _and safe_!"
Blessed thought! She was then living, and was yet to be restored to
his arms. The shadow of death passed away, and a great light
illuminated his very being. The lost was found!

When the missionary came to be more collected, he concluded that this
must be the tribe of which Teddy had once spoken, but which had been
visited by him without success. The prize was too great to be
intrusted in the hands of another, and Harvey determined to make the
search in person, to settle, if possible, once and forever, the fate
of his beloved wife.

He soon proceeded to the Indian village, where he left his boy and
gave notice that he should not be back for several days. He then
called one of the most trusty and skillful warriors aside, and asked
for his company upon the eventful journey. The savage cheerfully
complied, and the two set out at once. It was a good distance to the
northward, and when night came down upon them, many miles yet remained
to be passed. There was little fear of disturbance from enemies, and
both lay down and slept until daylight, when they were immediately on
their way again.

This journey through the northern wilderness was unvaried by any
event worthy of record, and the details would be uninteresting to the
reader. Suffice it to say that, just as the fourth day was closing in,
they struck a small stream, which pursued a short distance, brought
them directly upon the village for which they had been searching.

The advent of the Indian and missionary among them created
considerable stir, but they were treated with respect and
consideration. Harvey Richter asked immediately for the chief or
leading man, and shortly stood in his presence. He found him a short,
thick-set half-breed, whose age must have been well-nigh three-score
years, and who, to his astonishment, was unable to speak English,
although many of his subjects spoke it quite intelligibly. He
understood Sioux, however, and the missionary's companion acted as
interpreter.

Our friend made a full statement of his wife's abduction, years
before, and of the assertion of the dying man that she had been taken
from him by members of this tribe, who had retained her ever since.
The chief waited sometime before replying; he seemed debating with
himself as to the proper course to pursue. Finally he said he must
consult with one of his warriors, and departed abruptly from the
lodge.

Ten minutes later, while the missionary, with a painfully-throbbing
heart, was gazing around the lodge, with that minute scrutiny of the
most trifling objects peculiar to us at such times, he caught the
sound of returning footsteps, and turned to the lodge door. There
stood the Indian, and, directly beside him, his own lost Cora!

The next day at noon, a camp-fire might have been seen some miles
south of the northern village of which we have made mention. An Indian
was engaged in cooking a piece of meat, while the missionary and his
reclaimed jewel, sitting side by side, her head reclining upon his
shoulder and his hand dallying with her hair, were holding delightful
communion. She looked pale and somewhat emaciated, for these years of
absence had indeed been fraught with suffering; but the old sweet look
had never departed. It was now changed into an expression of perfect
joy.

The wife's great anxiety was to reach home and see the child she had
left an infant, but who was now a frolicksome boy, and she could
hardly consent to pause even when night overtook them, and her
lagging limbs told her husband how exhausted she had become. Cora
never had suspected the identity of the Indian and the hunter, until
on that sad day when he sprung from behind the cabin and hurried her
off into the wood. There was something, however, in his look, when he
first felt the weight of her husband's blow, that never left her
remembrance. While hurrying her swiftly through the wood he said
nothing at all, and at night, while she pretended to sleep, he watched
by the camp-fire. It was the light of this fire which had puzzled
Teddy so much. On the succeeding day the abductor reached the river
and embarked in his canoe. A half-hour later he leaned over the canoe
and washed the paint from his face and made himself known in his true
character, as Brazey Davis, her former lover. He had scarcely done so,
when an Indian canoe rounded a bend in the river, and, despite his
earnest protestations, the savages took the captive from him, and
carried her with them to their village, where she had been ever since.
Retained very closely, as all prisoners among Indians are, she had
heard nothing of Teddy's visit. She was treated with kindness, as the
destined wife of a young chief; but the suit for her consent never
was pressed by the chief, as it is in an Indian's code of honor never
to force a woman to a distasteful marriage. The young brave, with true
Indian pertinacity, could wait his time, confident that his kindness
and her long absence from home would secure her consent to the savage
alliance. She was denied nothing but her liberty, and her prayers to
be returned to her husband and child.

At this point in her narration, an exclamation from the Indian
arrested attention. All listened and heard but a short distance away:

"Begorrah, Teddy, it's yerself that's entitled to a wee bit of rist,
as yees have been on a mighty long tramp, and hasn't diskivered
anything but a country that is big enough to hide the Atlantic ocean
in, wid Ireland on its bosom as a jewel. The chances are small of yees
iver gitting another glimpse of heaven--that is, of Miss Cora's face.
The darlint; if she's gone to heaven, then Teddy McFadden don't care
how soon somebody else wears out his breeches--that is, on the
presumption that St. Peter will say, 'Teddy, me lad, ye can inter an'
make yerself at home, to be sure!'"

The husband and wife glanced at each other significantly as the fellow
rattled on.

"Wait a moment," said Harvey, rising to his feet, and carefully
making his way in the direction of the sound.

It was curious that the Irishman should have paused for his noonday
rest in such close proximity to our friends; but, he had learned from
a trader who had recently visited the Red River country, that there
_was_ a white woman, beyond all question, among the tribe in the
north, and he was on his way to make them a second visit.

The missionary found his servant seated by a tree. Teddy looked up as
he heard a footstep. It seemed as if his eyes would drop from their
sockets. His mouth opened wide, and he seemed, for the moment,
confounded. Then he recovered his presence of mind in a measure, and
proceeded to scratch his head vigorously. That, with him, ever was a
sign of the clearing up of his ideas.

"How do you do, Teddy?" at length the missionary said, after having
enjoyed the poor fellow's confusion.

"Faith, but ye sent the cold shivers over me. _Is_ it yerself, Mister
Harvey, out in these woods, or is it yer ghost on the s'arch for
Misthress Cora? I sometimes thinks me own ghost is out on the s'arch
without me body, an' I shouldn't be surprised to maat it some day.
But I'm mighty glad it's yerself an' not yer ghost, for, to till the
thruth, I don't jist like ghosts--they makes a body feel so quare in
the stomach."

"Come with me; I have an Indian as company, and you may as well join
us."

The Hibernian followed, a few paces behind, continually expressing his
astonishment at seeing his master so far away from home. He did not
look up until they were within a few paces of the camp-fire, when
Richter stepped from before him.

"Save us! save us! but if there isn't the ghowst of Miss Cora come to
haunt me for not finding her afore!" exclaimed Teddy, retreating a
step or two in genuine terror. "Saint Patherick, Saint Pether, Saint
Virgin Mary, protict me! I didn't mane to get dhrunk that day, ye
know, nor to make a frind of--"

"I am no ghost but my own self, Teddy, restored to my husband in
safety. Can you not welcome me?"

"Oorah! Oorah!" and he danced a moment in uncontrollable joy. Then he
exclaimed: "God bliss yer own swate self!" taking her in his brawny
arms. "God bliss you! No ghost, but yer own swate self. Oh, I feel
like a blast of powder ready to go off!" And again he danced a
singular commixture of the jig and cotillion, much to the Indian's
amazement, for he thought him crazy. "I knew that I should look upon
your face again; but, till me where it is yees have come from?" he
finally subsided enough to ask.

Teddy was soon made to understand all that related to the return of
the young wife. When he learned that Mahogany, with whom he had so
often drank and "hobnobbed," was only the hunter disguised, who was
thus plotting his crime, the Irishman's astonishment can hardly be
described. He was irritated, also, at his own stupidity. "That Teddy
McFadden iver should have been so desaved by that rascal of
purgatory!" he exclaimed; but, as the evil man had gone to the great
tribunal above, there was no disposition, even in Teddy's heart, to
heap curses on his memory.

A few days more, and the three whites passed through the Indian
village on their way to the Clearing. The joy of the savages at the
return of their sweet, pale-faced sister was manifested in many ways,
and she once feared they would never allow her to leave them and go
to her own humble home. Finally, however, they reached the Clearing,
and, as they walked side by side across it, opened the door and sat
down within the cabin, and the fond mother took the darling boy in her
lap, the wife and husband looked in each other's faces with streaming
eyes, and murmured "Thank God! thank God!"

THE END.


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