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Title: In the Rocky Mountains - A Tale of Adventure
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Rocky Mountains - A Tale of Adventure" ***

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IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.

[Illustration: FINDING A FRIEND.]



IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS

A Tale of Adventure.

BY

W. H. G. KINGSTON,

AUTHOR OF "OLD JACK," "IN THE EASTERN SEAS," "ON THE BANKS OF THE
AMAZON," "IN THE WILDS OF AFRICA," ETC.

LONDON: THOMAS NELSON AND SONS.
EDINBURGH AND NEW YORK.
1878.



Contents.


CHAPTER I.

WHY UNCLE JEFF CAME TO "ROARING WATER,"--THE SITUATION OF THE FARM--THE
INMATES OF THE HOUSE--MY SISTER CLARICE AND BLACK RACHEL--UNCLE
JEFF--BARTLE WON AND GIDEON TUTTLE--ARRIVAL OF LIEUTENANT
BROADSTREET AND HIS MEN--THE TROOPERS QUARTERED IN THE HUT--OUR
FARM-LABOURERS--SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF THE REDSKIN WINNEMAK--HIS FORMER
VISIT TO THE FARM--CLARICE ENCOUNTERS HIM AT THE SPRING--BADLY
WOUNDED--KINDLY TREATED BY CLARICE AND RACHEL--HIS GRATITUDE 13-33


CHAPTER II.

WINNEMAK WARNS US OF THE APPROACH OF ENEMIES--BARTLE GOES OUT TO
SCOUT--NO SIGNS OF A FOE--I TAKE THE LIEUTENANT TO VISIT "ROARING
WATER"--BARTLE REPORTS THAT THE ENEMY HAVE TURNED BACK--THE LIEUTENANT
DELAYED BY THE SERGEANT'S ILLNESS--THE VISIT TO THE HUT--A TIPSY
TROOPER--KLITZ AND GILLOOLY MISSING--THE SERGEANT BECOMES WORSE--SEARCH
FOR THE MISSING MEN--I OFFER TO ACT AS GUIDE TO THE LIEUTENANT--BARTLE
UNDERTAKES TO FIND OUT WHAT HAS BECOME OF KLITZ AND BARNEY 31-55


CHAPTER III.

MY FAMILY HISTORY--MY FATHER, ONCE A CAPTAIN IN THE BRITISH ARMY, COMES
TO AMERICA AND MARRIES UNCLE JEFF'S SISTER--HE SETTLES ON A FARM IN
OHIO--CLARICE AND I ARE BORN--MY GRANDFATHER'S FARM DESTROYED BY A
FLOOD--THE NEXT YEAR OUR FARM IS BURNT--MY FATHER RESOLVES TO MIGRATE TO
THE WEST--WE SET OFF IN WAGGONS WITH AN EMIGRANT TRAIN--PROSPEROUS
COMMENCEMENT OF JOURNEY--PROVISIONS RUN SHORT--I WITNESS A BUFFALO
HUNT--THE EMIGRANTS SUFFER FROM CHOLERA--MY MOTHER DIES--MANY OF THE
EMIGRANTS TURN BACK--MY FATHER PERSEVERES--FIERCELY ATTACKED BY
INDIANS--WE KEEP THEM AT BAY--AGAIN ATTACKED, WHEN A STRANGER COMES TO
OUR ASSISTANCE--CLARICE GIVES HIM A BOOK--HE PROMISES TO READ IT--WE
CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY, AND REACH FORT KEARNEY--REMAIN THERE FOR SOME
MONTHS--MY FATHER, THOUGH STILL SUFFERING, INSISTS ON SETTING OUT
AGAIN--HE SOON BECOMES WORSE, AND DIES--I AM DIGGING HIS GRAVE, WHEN AN
EMIGRANT TRAIN COMES BY--UNCLE JEFF IS THE LEADER, AND WE ACCOMPANY HIM
TO ROARING WATER 56-80


CHAPTER IV.

AS THE LIEUTENANT AND I ARE STARTING, WE HEAR THAT KLITZ AND BARNEY HAVE
GONE OFF WITH A WHEELBARROW FOR CALIFORNIA--A PLEASANT BIVOUAC--AT LAST
WE CATCH SIGHT OF THE DESERTERS--THE LIEUTENANT IS ABOUT TO RIDE AFTER
THEM, WHEN A PARTY OF INDIANS APPEAR--THE INDIANS TAKE TO FLIGHT, AND WE
LOSE SIGHT OF THE RUNAWAYS--FORM OUR CAMP--DISCOVER THAT WE ARE
WATCHED--FOLLOW THE SPY, WHO PROVES TO BE MAYSOTTA--FIND THE DESERTERS
TAKING THEIR EASE--WE CAPTURE THEM, AND, GUIDED BY MAYSOTTA, TAKE THEM
TO THE INDIAN CAMP--RESOLVE TO RETURN TO THE FARM 81-102


CHAPTER V.

WE LEAVE THE INDIAN CAMP--MAYSOTTA'S KIND OFFER--OUR RIDE TO ROARING
WATER--INDIANS IN THE DISTANCE--IN SIGHT OF THE FARM--A STRANGER
INDIAN--OUR RECEPTION BY UNCLE JEFF--THE INDIAN'S STORY--HE GETS FOOD
AND SHELTER--MATTERS NOW LOOK SERIOUS--A COUNCIL OF WAR--MY DOUBTS OF
THE INDIAN--CLARICE AND RACHEL ACCOMPANY THE LIEUTENANT TO THE INDIAN
CAMP--WE BARRICADE THE HOUSE--DISAPPEARANCE OF THE INDIAN--BARTLE GOES
OUT TO RECONNOITRE--APPROACH OF THE ENEMY--A DETERMINED ATTACK--SEVERE
LOSSES--THE OUT-BUILDINGS SET ON FIRE--OUR AMMUNITION RUNS SHORT--THE
ROOF TAKES FIRE--HOW ARE WE TO ESCAPE?--UNCLE JEFF'S RUSE, AND HOW IT
SUCCEEDED 103-133


CHAPTER VI.

WE ARE SURPRISED BY THE INDIANS WHILE LEAVING THE HOUSE--BARTLE'S
ADVICE--I AM PERSUADED TO ESCAPE ALONE--AN EXCITING PURSUIT--FOOD AND
REST--MY JOURNEY RESUMED--AMONG THE MOUNTAINS--MY ANXIETY ABOUT MY
FRIENDS--A WEARY DAY--AN INDIAN IN SIGHT--FRIEND OR ENEMY?--A
RECOGNITION--WINNEMAK AND HIS BRAVES--I AM KINDLY TREATED--NO NEWS OF
UNCLE JEFF--A SPY--WE START IN PURSUIT OF HIM--THE SPY OVERTAKEN--A
DEADLY COMBAT--WINNEMAK OVERCOMES PIOMINGO--IS HE DEAD?--MY
INTERCESSION--ON THE WAY FOR WINNEMAK'S CAMP 134-157


CHAPTER VII.

ON THE MARCH--WINNEMAK UNABLE TO GIVE ME NEWS OF MY FRIENDS--MY
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF PIOMINGO--ENCAMPED FOR THE NIGHT--WE REACH
WINNEMAK'S CAMP--BRAVES AND SQUAWS--WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS?--WINNEMAK AND
HIS IDOLS--A PARTY OF BRAVES ARRIVE, WITH PRISONERS--MAYSOTTA AND HER
DOG--A STRANGE MEETING--THE LIEUTENANT'S STORY--WE START IN QUEST OF
CLARICE AND RACHEL--A FRUITLESS SEARCH--I LOSE MY FRIEND IN THE
FOREST--TRYING TO REGAIN THE RIGHT PATH, I MEET WITH CLARICE AND
MAYSOTTA--MY SISTER'S STORY--I TELL HER OF THE BURNING OF THE FARM--WE
SET OUT FOR THE CAMP, AND MEET WITH THE LIEUTENANT--NIGHT COMING ON, WE
ENCAMP IN THE FOREST--RESUMING OUR JOURNEY IN THE MORNING, WE REACH THE
CAMP IN SAFETY 158-188


CHAPTER VIII.

I SEEK OUT PIOMINGO--A STRONG DESIRE TO SAVE HIS LIFE--I PLEAD WITH THE
CHIEF, AND GAIN MY POINT--I OFFER THE YOUNG BRAVE MY HORSE AND
ARMS--KINDNESS REQUITED--THE INDIAN'S ESCAPE--A DARING ACT, AND A KIND
DEED--WE SEEK PROTECTION FROM THE INDIANS--RETURN OF UNCLE JEFF AND
MAYSOTTA--AN ADDRESS TO THE BRAVES--HOW IT SUCCEEDED--UNCLE JEFF'S
STORY--THE LIEUTENANT ABOUT TO LEAVE US--HIS PLANS--WE SEND OUT
SCOUTS--ALARMING INTELLIGENCE--THE CAMP STRUCK--WE MOVE TO THE
NORTHWARD--WE CHANGE OUR PLANS--A WONDERFUL REGION--WE SEPARATE FROM OUR
INDIAN FRIENDS--THROUGH A PINE FOREST--THE CATARACT OF THE PASS--WE SEND
BACK OUR HORSES--OUR JOURNEY CONTINUED--A "CANADA STAG" KILLED--ENCAMPED
FOR THE NIGHT 189-216


CHAPTER IX.

WE CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY OVER THE MOUNTAINS, AND ENCAMP IN A FERTILE
VALLEY--HUNT ELK IN COMPANY WITH A PANTHER--I SPOIL THE SPORT OF THE
LATTER--UNCLE JEFF WOUNDS AN ELK, WHICH IS LOST DOWN A PRECIPICE--MORE
FORTUNATE AFTERWARDS--UNCLE JEFF RESOLVES TO REMAIN WITH CLARICE,
RACHEL, AND PAT, WHILE MANLEY, THE SERGEANT, AND I PUSH ON--DIFFICULTIES
IN CROSSING THE MOUNTAINS--MANLEY IN FEARFUL DANGER--HE ESCAPES--DESCEND
TOWARDS A BROAD VALLEY--ITS WONDERFUL APPEARANCE--WE ENCAMP--THE
SERGEANT NEARLY SCALDS HIS FINGERS IN A TEMPTING SPRING--CURIOUS
PHENOMENON--DREADFUL NOISES OF WILD BEASTS DISTURB OUR SLUMBERS 217-238


CHAPTER X.

ADVANCE TOWARDS A BEAUTIFUL LAKE--HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS MET WITH--BOILING
MUD POTS--CURIOUS BASINS FORMED BY WATER IN THE SIDE OF THE
MOUNTAIN--LOVELY FRETWORK ROUND THEIR RIMS--NEARLY SINK INTO A BOILING
MUD POOL--THE LAKE REACHED--ABUNDANCE OF GAME, AND FISH--BUILD A
RAFT--BEGIN VOYAGE ACROSS LAKE--VIOLENT STORM--IN GREAT DANGER--DRIVEN
ACROSS THE LAKE--WE CLING TO TREES WHILE THE RAFT IS DASHED TO
PIECES--MAKE OUR WAY THROUGH THE FOREST--I MISS MY COMPANIONS, AND LOSE
MY GUN AND KNAPSACK OVER A PRECIPICE--REACH FOOT OF MOUNTAIN--I CAMP
WITHOUT SUPPER OR FIRE 239-265


CHAPTER XI.

ALONE IN THE FOREST--AWAKENED BY THE CRY OF A PANTHER--THE BRUTE
DISCOVERS ME--I TAKE REFUGE IN A TREE--THE PANTHER DISAPPEARS--A VISIT
TO THE LAKE--VAIN EFFORTS TO RECOVER MY RIFLE AND KNAPSACK--I CONTINUE
TOWARDS THE WEST, HOPING TO MEET MY FRIENDS--MORE SULPHUR
SPRINGS--NEARLY OVERWHELMED BY A MUD VOLCANO--A POISONOUS VALLEY--CAUGHT
IN A SNOW-STORM--BUILD A HUT--MY FARE, THISTLE ROOTS--MAKE TRAPS AND A
FISHING-LINE--SALLY FORTH--CATCH THREE BEAVERS--FIND ANOTHER
LAKE--SALMON-TROUT CAUGHT--CONTINUE DOWN A RIVER, AND COME UPON A NUMBER
OF MAGNIFICENT GEYSERS--AM ABOUT TO TAKE UP MY ABODE IN A GROTTO, WHEN A
HOT SPRING RISES FROM IT--I SHIFT MY QUARTERS--PREPARE FOR ANOTHER
SOLITARY NIGHT--I HEAR A SHOT, AND A WOUNDED DEER BOUNDS NEAR ME 266-288


CHAPTER XII.

I KILL THE DEER--MORE WONDERS--MEET MANLEY AND SERGEANT CUSTIS AT
LAST--A PLEASANT EVENING--PARCHED WITH THIRST AMIDST SPARKLING
STREAMS--OUR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY OVER THE MOUNTAINS--SAFE ARRIVAL AT FORT
HARWOOD--WELCOMED BY THE COMMANDANT--AN EXPEDITION ORGANIZED TO DRIVE
THE INDIANS FROM THE COUNTRY--MANLEY COMMANDS IT--I ACCOMPANY HIM--MEET
BARNEY AND KLITZ, STILL BOUND FOR CALIFORNIA--BARNEY GIVES AN ACCOUNT OF
THEIR ESCAPE--THEIR JOURNEY STOPPED--THEY RETURN WITH US--WE MEET
PIOMINGO AND HIS SQUAW--TELLS US THAT HE HAS BURIED THE
WAR-HATCHET--HEAR AN ALARMING ACCOUNT OF BARTLE--ASCEND THE MOUNTAIN TO
WHERE WE LEFT UNCLE JEFF--FIND HIM AND CLARICE WELL--HE HAS OBTAINED A
LARGE SUPPLY OF PELTRIES--OUR RETURN TO WINNEMAK'S CAMP--MAYSOTTA
ACCOMPANIES CLARICE TO ROARING WATER 289-309


CHAPTER XIII.

ON OUR WAY WE VISIT PIOMINGO--HE TELLS US OF BARTLE'S CAPTIVITY, AND
OFFERS TO ASSIST US IN HIS RECOVERY--GIDEON, PIOMINGO, AND I SET OUT,
FOLLOWED BY A STRONG PARTY UNDER SERGEANT CUSTIS--WE DISCOVER THE TRAIL,
AND FOLLOW IT UP--HORRIBLE CRUELTIES PRACTISED BY INDIANS ON THEIR
PRISONERS--THE TRAIL LEADS ALONG THE MOUNTAIN--WE SEE A FIGURE ABOVE
US--IT IS BARTLE--IS HE ALIVE?--JUST IN TIME--GIDEON AND I STAY BY
HIM--I AFTERWARDS SET OFF TO OBTAIN HELP--PIOMINGO HAS SENT A LITTER--WE
ARRIVE SAFE AT ROARING WATER--HARD AT WORK REBUILDING THE HOUSE--A FORT
ESTABLISHED--BARNEY AND KLITZ JOIN US--A VISIT FROM MANLEY--A PROPOSAL,
AND CONFESSION--UNCLE JEFF APPROVES OF THE ENGAGEMENT OF MANLEY AND
CLARICE--WINNEMAK AND PIOMINGO BECOME CHRISTIANS, AND INSTRUCT THEIR
PEOPLE--THE HOUSE REBUILT--SETTLERS GATHER ROUND US, AND UNCLE JEFF'S
FARM BECOMES THE MOST FLOURISHING IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD 310-333



IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.



CHAPTER I.

     WHY UNCLE JEFF CAME TO "ROARING WATER"--THE SITUATION OF THE
     FARM--THE INMATES OF THE HOUSE--MY SISTER CLARICE AND BLACK
     RACHEL--UNCLE JEFF--BARTLE WON AND GIDEON TUTTLE--ARRIVAL OF
     LIEUTENANT BROADSTREET AND HIS MEN--THE TROOPERS QUARTERED IN
     THE HUT--OUR FARM-LABOURERS--SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF THE REDSKIN
     WINNEMAK--HIS FORMER VISIT TO THE FARM--CLARICE ENCOUNTERS HIM
     AT THE SPRING--BADLY WOUNDED--KINDLY TREATED BY CLARICE AND
     RACHEL--HIS GRATITUDE.


We were most of us seated round a blazing fire of pine logs, which
crackled away merrily, sending the sparks about in all directions, at
the no small risk of setting fire to garments of a lighter texture than
ours. Although the flowers were blooming on the hill-sides, in the woods
and valleys, and by the margins of the streams; humming-birds were
flitting about gathering their dainty food; and the bears, having
finished the operation of licking their paws, had come out in search of
more substantial fare; and the buffalo had been seen migrating to the
north,--the wind at night blew keenly from off the snow-capped
mountain-tops which, at no great distance, rose above us, and rendered a
fire acceptable even to us hardy backwoodsmen.

Our location was far in advance of any settlement in that latitude of
North America, for Uncle Jeff Crockett "could never abide," he averred,
"being in the rear of his fellow-creatures." Whenever he had before
found people gathering around him at the spot where he had pitched his
tent, or rather, put up his log-hut, he had sold his property (always to
advantage, however), and yoking his team, had pushed on westward, with a
few sturdy followers.

On and on he had come, until he had reached the base of the Rocky
Mountains. He would have gone over them, but, having an eye to business,
and knowing that it was necessary to secure a market for his produce, he
calculated that he had come far enough for the present. He therefore
climbed the sides of the mountain for a short distance, until he entered
a sort of cañon, which, penetrating westward, greatly narrowed, until it
had the appearance of a cleft with lofty crags on either side,--while it
opened out eastward, overlooking the broad valley and the plain beyond.

He chose the spot as one capable of being defended against the Redskins,
never in those parts very friendly to white men,--especially towards
those whom they found settling themselves on lands which they looked
upon as their own hunting-grounds, although they could use them for no
other purpose.

Another reason which had induced Uncle Jeff to select this spot was,
that not far off was one of the only practicable passes through the
mountains either to the north or south, and that the trail to it led
close below us at the foot of the hills, so that every emigrant train or
party of travellers going to or from the Great Salt Lake or California
must pass in sight of the house.

A stream, issuing from the heights above, fell over the cliffs, forming
a roaring cataract; and then, rushing through the cañon, made its way
down into the valley, irrigating and fertilizing the ground, until it
finally reached a large river, the Platte, flowing into the Missouri.
From this cataract our location obtained its name of "Roaring Water;"
but it was equally well known as "Uncle Jeff's Farm."

Our neighbours, if such they could be called in this wild region, were
"birds of passage." Now and then a few Indian families might fix their
tents in the valley below; or a party of hunters or trappers might
bivouac a night or two under the shelter of the woods, scattered here
and there; or travellers bound east or west might encamp by the margin
of the river for the sake of recruiting their cattle, or might
occasionally seek for shelter at the log-house which they saw perched
above them, where, in addition to comfortable quarters, abundant fare
and a hospitable welcome--which Uncle Jeff never refused to any one,
whoever he might be, who came to his door--were sure to be obtained.

But it is time that I should say something about the inmates of the
house at the period I am describing.

First, there was Uncle Jeff Crockett, a man of about forty-five, with a
tall, stalwart figure, and a handsome countenance (though scarred by a
slash from a tomahawk, and the claws of a bear with which he had had a
desperate encounter). A bright blue eye betokened a keen sight, as also
that his rifle was never likely to miss its aim; while his well-knit
frame gave assurance of great activity and endurance.

I was then about seventeen, and Uncle Jeff had more than once
complimented me by remarking that "I was a true chip of the old block,"
as like what he was when at my age as two peas, and that he had no fear
but that I should do him credit; so that I need not say any more about
myself.

I must say something, however, about my sister Clarice, who was my
junior by rather more than a year. Fair as a lily she was, in spite of
summer suns, from which she took but little pains to shelter herself;
but they had failed even to freckle her clear skin, or darken her light
hair--except, it might be, that from them it obtained the golden hue
which tinged it. Delicate as she looked, she took an active part in all
household duties, and was now busy about some of them at the further end
of the big hall, which served as our common sitting-room, workshop,
kitchen, and often as a sleeping-room, when guests were numerous. She
was assisted by Rachel Prentiss, a middle-aged negress, the only other
woman in the establishment; who took upon herself the out-door work and
rougher duties, with the exception of tending the poultry and milking
the cows, in which Clarice also engaged.

[Illustration: "ROARING WATER" FARM]

I have not yet described the rest of the party round the fire. There was
Bartle Won, a faithful follower, for many years, of Uncle Jeff; but as
unlike him as it was possible that any two human beings could be. Bartle
was a wiry little fellow, with bow legs, broad shoulders (one rather
higher than the other), and a big head, out of which shone a pair of
gray eyes, keen as those of a hawk--the only point in which he resembled
Uncle Jeff. He was wonderfully active and strong, notwithstanding his
figure; and as for fatigue, he did not know what it meant. He could go
days without eating or drinking; although, when he did get food, he
certainly made ample amends for his abstinence. He was no great runner;
but when once on the back of a horse, no animal, however vicious and up
to tricks, had been able to dislodge him.

Gideon Tuttle was another faithful follower of Uncle Jeff: he was a
hardy backwoodsman, whose gleaming axe had laid many monarchs of the
forest low. Though only of moderate height, few men could equal him in
strength. He could fell an ox with his fist, and hold down by the horns
a young bull, however furious. He had had several encounters with bears;
and although on two occasions only armed with a knife, he had come off
victorious. His nerve and activity equalled his strength. He was no
great talker, and he was frequently morose and ill-tempered; but he had
one qualification which compensated for all his other deficiencies--he
was devotedly attached to Uncle Jeff.

There were engaged on the farm, besides these, four other hands: an
Irishman, a Spaniard, a negro, and a half-breed, who lived by themselves
in a rough hut near the house. Although Uncle Jeff was a great advocate
for liberty and equality, he had no fancy to have these fellows
in-doors; their habits and language not being such as to make close
intimacy pleasant.

The two old followers of Uncle Jeff--although they would have laughed at
the notion of being called gentlemen--were clean in their persons, and
careful in their conversation, especially in the presence of Clarice.

Just before sunset that evening, our party had been increased by the
arrival of an officer of the United States army and four men, who were
on their way from Fort Laramie to Fort Harwood, on the other side of the
mountains; but they had been deserted by their Indian guide, and having
been unable to find the entrance to the pass, were well-nigh worn out
with fatigue and vexation when they caught sight of Roaring Water Farm.

The officer and his men were received with a hearty welcome.

"There is food enough in the store, and we will make a shake-down for
you in this room," said Uncle Jeff, wringing the hand of the officer in
his usual style.

The latter introduced himself as Lieutenant Manley Broadstreet. He was a
fine-looking young fellow, scarcely older than I was; but he had
already seen a great deal of service in border warfare with the Indians,
as well as in Florida and Texas.

"You are welcome here, friends," said Uncle Jeff, who, as I have said,
was no respecter of persons, and made little distinction between the
lieutenant and his men.

At this Lieutenant Broadstreet demurred, and, as he glanced at Clarice,
inquired whether there was any building near in which the men could be
lodged.

"They are not very fit company for a young lady," he remarked aside.

He did not, however, object to the sergeant joining him; and the other
three men were accordingly ordered to take up their quarters at the hut,
with its motley inhabitants.

Their appearance, I confess, somewhat reminded me of Falstaff's "ragged
regiment." The three varied wonderfully in height. The tallest was not
only tall, but thin in the extreme, his ankles protruding below his
trousers, and his wrists beyond the sleeves of his jacket; he had lost
his military hat, and had substituted for it a high beaver, which he had
obtained from some Irish emigrant on the road. He was a German; and his
name, he told me, was Karl Klitz. The shortest of the party, Barnaby
Gillooly, was also by far the fattest; indeed, it seemed surprising
that, with his obese figure, he could undergo the fatigue he must
constantly have been called upon to endure. He seemed to be a jolly,
merry fellow notwithstanding, as he showed by breaking into a hearty
laugh as Klitz, stumbling over a log, fell with his long neck and
shoulders on the one side, and his heels kicking up in the air on the
other. The last man was evidently a son of Erin, from the few words he
uttered in a rich brogue, which had not deteriorated by long absence
from home and country. He certainly presented a more soldierly
appearance than did his two comrades, but the ruddy blue hue of his nose
and lips showed that when liquor was to be obtained he was not likely to
let it pass his lips untasted.

The three soldiers were welcomed by the inhabitants of the hut, who were
glad to have strangers with whom they could chat, and who could bring
them news from the Eastern States.

On coming back to the house, after conducting the three men to the hut,
I found the lieutenant and his sergeant, Silas Custis, seated before the
fire; the young lieutenant every now and then, as was not surprising,
casting a glance at Clarice. But she was too busily occupied in getting
the supper-table ready to notice the admiration she was inspiring.

Rachel, with frying-pan in hand, now made her way towards the fire, and
begging those who impeded her movements to draw on one side, she
commenced her culinary operations. She soon had a huge dish of rashers
of bacon ready; while a couple of pots were carried off to be emptied of
their contents; and some cakes, which had been cooking under the ashes,
were withdrawn, and placed hot and smoking on the platter.

"All ready, genl'em," exclaimed Rachel; "you can fall to when you like."

The party got up, and we took our seats at the table. Clarice, who until
a short time before had been assisting Rachel, now returned--having been
away to arrange her toilet. She took her usual seat at the head of the
table; and the lieutenant, to his evident satisfaction, found himself
placed near her. He spoke in a pleasant, gentlemanly tone, and treated
Clarice in every respect as a young lady,--as, indeed, she was. He now
and then addressed me; and the more he said, the more I felt inclined to
like him.

Uncle Jeff had a good deal of conversation with Sergeant Custis, who
appeared to be a superior sort of person, and had, I suspect, seen
better days.

We were still seated at supper when the door opened and an Indian
stalked into the room, decked with war-paint and feathers, and rifle in
hand.

"Ugh!" he exclaimed, stopping and regarding us, as if unwilling to
advance without permission.

"Come in, friend," said Uncle Jeff, rising and going towards him; "sit
down, and make yourself at home. You would like some food, I guess?"

The Indian again uttered a significant "Ugh!" as, taking advantage of
Uncle Jeff's offer, he seated himself by the fire.

"Why, uncle," exclaimed Clarice, "it is Winnemak!"

       *       *       *       *       *

But I must explain how Clarice came to know the Indian, whom, at the
first moment, no one else had recognized.

Not far off, in a grove of Cottonwood trees up the valley, there came
forth from the side of the hill a spring of singularly bright and cool
water, of which Uncle Jeff was particularly fond; as were, indeed, the
rest of us. Clarice made it a practice every evening, just before we
returned home from our day's work, to fetch a large pitcher of water
from this spring, that we might have it as cool and fresh as possible.

It happened that one afternoon, in the spring of the previous year, she
had set off with this object in view, telling Rachel where she was
going; but she had just got out of the enclosure when she caught sight
of one of the cows straying up the valley.

"I go after her, Missie Clarice; you no trouble youself," cried Rachel.

So Clarice continued her way, carrying her pitcher on her head. It was
somewhat earlier than usual, and having no especial work to attend to at
home, she did not hurry. It was as warm a day as any in summer, and
finding the heat somewhat oppressive, she sat down by the side of the
pool to enjoy the refreshing coolness of the air which came down the
cañon. "I ought to be going home," she said to herself; and taking her
pitcher, she filled it with water.

She was just about to replace it on her head, when she was startled by
the well-known Indian "Ugh!" uttered by some one who was as yet
invisible. She at first felt a little alarmed, but recollecting that if
the stranger had been an enemy he would not have given her warning, she
stood still, with her pitcher in her hand, looking around her.

[Illustration: CLARICE AND WINNEMAK]

Presently an Indian appeared from among the bushes, his dress torn and
travel-stained, and his haggard looks showing that he must have
undergone great fatigue. He made signs, as he approached, to show that
he had come over the mountains; he then pointed to his lips, to let her
understand that he was parched with thirst.

"Poor man! you shall have some water, then," said Clarice, immediately
holding up the pitcher, that the stranger might drink without
difficulty. His looks brightened as she did so; and after he had drunk
his fill he gave her back the pitcher, drawing a long breath, and
placing his hand on his heart to express his gratitude.

While the Indian was drinking, Clarice observed Rachel approaching, with
a look of alarm on her countenance. It vanished, however, when she saw
how Clarice and the Indian were employed.

"Me dare say de stranger would like food as well as drink," she observed
as she joined them, and making signs to the Indian to inquire if he was
hungry.

He nodded his head, and uttered some words. But although neither Clarice
nor Rachel could understand his language, they saw very clearly that he
greatly required food.

"Come along, den," said Rachel; "you shall hab some in de twinkle ob an
eye, as soon as we get home.--Missie Clarice, me carry de pitcher, or
Indian fancy you white slavey;" and Rachel laughed at her own wit.

She then told Clarice how she had caught sight of the Indian coming
over the mountain, as she was driving home the cow; and that, as he was
making his way towards the spring, she had been dreadfully alarmed at
the idea that he might surprise her young mistress. She thought it
possible, too, that he might be accompanied by other Redskins, and that
they should perhaps carry her off; or, at all events, finding the house
undefended, they might pillage it, and get away with their booty before
the return of the men.

"But he seems friendly and well-disposed," said Clarice, looking at the
Indian; "and even if he had not been suffering from hunger and thirst, I
do not think he would have been inclined to do us any harm. The Redskins
are not all bad; and many, I fear, have been driven, by the ill
treatment they have received from white men, to retaliate, and have
obtained a worse character than they deserve."

"Dere are bad red men, and bad white men, and bad black men; but, me
tink, not so many ob de last," said Rachel, who always stuck up for her
own race.

The red man seemed to fancy that they were talking about him; and he
tried to smile, but failed in the attempt. It was with difficulty, too,
he could drag on his weary limbs.

As soon as they reached the house Rachel made him sit down; and within a
minute or two a basin of broth was placed before him, at which she blew
away until her cheeks almost cracked, in an endeavour to cool it, that
he might the more speedily set to. He assisted her, as far as his
strength would allow, in the operation; and then placing the basin to
his lips, he eagerly drained off its contents, without making use of the
wooden spoon with which she had supplied him.

"Dat just to keep body and soul togedder, till somet'ing more 'stantial
ready for you," she said.

Clarice had in the meantime been preparing some venison steaks, which,
with some cakes from the oven, were devoured by the Indian with the same
avidity with which he had swallowed the broth. But although the food
considerably revived him, he still showed evident signs of exhaustion;
so Rachel, placing a buffalo robe in the corner of the room, invited him
to lie down and rest. He staggered towards it, and in a few minutes his
heavy breathing showed that he was asleep.

Uncle Jeff was somewhat astonished, when he came in, on seeing the
Indian; but he approved perfectly of what Clarice and Rachel had done.

"To my mind," he observed, "when these Redskins choose to be enemies, we
must treat them as enemies, and shoot them down, or they will be having
our scalps; but if they wish to be friends, we should treat them as
friends, and do them all the good we can."

Uncle Jeff forgot just then that we ought to do good to our enemies as
well as to our friends; but that would be a difficult matter for a man
to accomplish when a horde of savages are in arms, resolved to take his
life; so I suppose it means that we must do them good when we can get
them to be at peace--or to bury the war-hatchet, as they would express
themselves.

The Indian slept on, although he groaned occasionally as if in
pain,--nature then asserting its sway, though, had he been awake, he
probably would have given no sign of what he was suffering.

"I suspect the man must be wounded," observed Uncle Jeff. "It will be
better not to disturb him."

We had had supper, and the things were being cleared away, when, on
going to look at the Indian, I saw that his eyes were open, and that he
was gazing round him, astonished at seeing so many people.

"He is awake," I observed; and Clarice, coming up, made signs to inquire
whether he would have some more food.

He shook his head, and lay back again, evidently unable to sit up.

Just then Uncle Jeff, who had been out, returned.

"I suspect that he is one of the Kaskayas, whose hunting-grounds are
between this and the Platte," observed Uncle Jeff; and approaching the
Indian, he stooped over him and spoke a few words in the dialect of the
tribe he had mentioned.

The Indian answered him, although with difficulty.

"I thought so," said Uncle Jeff. "He has been badly wounded by an arrow
in the side, and although he managed to cut it out and bind up the hurt,
he confesses that he still suffers greatly. Here, Bartle, you are the
best doctor among us," he added, turning to Won, who was at work mending
some harness on the opposite side of the room; "see what you can do for
the poor fellow."

Bartle put down the straps upon which he was engaged, and joined us,
while Clarice retired. Uncle Jeff and Bartle then examined the Indian's
side.

"I will get some leaves to bind over the wound to-morrow morning, which
will quickly heal it; and, in the meantime, we will see if Rachel has
not got some of the ointment which helped to cure Gideon when he cut
himself so badly with his axe last spring."

Rachel, who prided herself on her ointment, quickly produced a jar of
it, and assisted Bartle in dressing the Indian's wound. She then gave
him a cooling mixture which she had concocted.

The Indian expressed his gratitude in a few words, and again covering
himself up with a buffalo robe, was soon asleep.

The next morning he was better, but still unable to move.

He remained with us ten days, during which Clarice and Rachel watched
over him with the greatest care, making him all sorts of dainty dishes
which they thought he would like; and in that time he and Uncle Jeff
managed to understand each other pretty well.

The Indian, according to the reticent habits of his people, was not
inclined to be very communicative at first as to how he had received his
wound; but as his confidence increased he owned that he had, with a
party of his braves, made an excursion to the southward to attack their
old enemies the Arrapahas, but that he and his followers had been
overwhelmed by greatly superior numbers. His people had been cut off to
a man, and himself badly wounded. He had managed, however, to make his
escape to the mountains without being observed by his foes. As he knew
that they were on the watch for him, he was afraid of returning to the
plains, and had kept on the higher ground, where he had suffered greatly
from hunger and thirst, until he had at length fallen in with Clarice at
the spring.

At last he was able to move about; and his wound having completely
healed, he expressed his wish to return to his people.

"Winnemak will ever be grateful for the kindness shown him by the
Palefaces," he said, as he was wishing us good-bye. "A time may come
when he may be able to show what he feels; he is one who never forgets
his friends, although he may be far away from them."

"We shall be happy to see you whenever you come this way," said Uncle
Jeff; "but as for doing us any good, why, we do not exactly expect that.
We took care of you, as we should take care of any one who happened to
be in distress and wanted assistance, whether a Paleface or a Redskin."

Winnemak now went round among us, shaking each person by the hand. When
he came to Clarice he stopped, and spoke to her for some
time,--although, of course, she could not understand a word he said.

Uncle Jeff, who was near, made out that he was telling her he had a
daughter of her age, and that he should very much like to make them
known to each other. "My child is called Maysotta, the 'White Lily;'
though, when she sees you, she will say that that name ought to be
yours," he added.

Clarice asked Uncle Jeff to tell Winnemak that she should be very glad
to become acquainted with Maysotta whenever he could bring her to the
farm.

Uncle Jeff was so pleased with the Indian, that he made him a present of
a rifle and a stock of ammunition; telling him that he was sure he would
ever be ready to use it in the service of his friends.

Winnemak's gratitude knew no bounds, and he expressed himself far more
warmly than Indians are accustomed to do. Then bidding us farewell, he
took his way to the north-east.

"I know these Indians pretty well," observed Bartle, as Winnemak
disappeared in the distance. "We may see his face again when he wants
powder and shot, but he will not trouble himself to come back until
then."

We had begun to fancy that Bartle was right, for many months went by and
we saw nothing of our Indian friend. Our surprise, therefore, was great,
when he made his appearance in the manner I have described in an earlier
portion of the chapter.



CHAPTER II.

     WINNEMAK WARNS US OF THE APPROACH OF ENEMIES--BARTLE GOES OUT
     TO SCOUT--NO SIGNS OF A FOE--I TAKE THE LIEUTENANT TO VISIT
     "ROARING WATER"--BARTLE REPORTS THAT THE ENEMY HAVE TURNED
     BACK--THE LIEUTENANT DELAYED BY THE SERGEANT'S ILLNESS--THE
     VISIT TO THE HUT--A TIPSY TROOPER--KLITZ AND GILLOOLY
     MISSING--THE SERGEANT BECOMES WORSE--SEARCH FOR THE MISSING
     MEN--I OFFER TO ACT AS GUIDE TO THE LIEUTENANT--BARTLE
     UNDERTAKES TO FIND OUT WHAT HAS BECOME OF KLITZ AND BARNEY.


"Glad to see you, friend!" said Uncle Jeff, getting up and taking the
Indian by the hand. "What brings you here?"

"To prove that Winnemak has not forgotten the kindness shown him by the
Palefaces," was the answer. "He has come to warn his friends, who sleep
in security, that their enemies are on the war-path, and will ere long
attempt to take their scalps."

"They had better not try that game," said Uncle Jeff; "if they do, they
will find that they have made a mistake."

"The Redskins fight not as do the Palefaces; they try to take their
enemies by surprise," answered Winnemak. "They will wait until they can
find the white men scattered about over the farm, when they will swoop
down upon them like the eagle on its prey; or when all are slumbering
within, they will creep up to the house, and attack it before there is
time for defence."

"Much obliged for your warning, friend," said Uncle Jeff; "but I should
like to know more about these enemies, and where they are to be found.
We might manage to turn the tables, and be down upon them when they
fancy that we are all slumbering in security, and thus put them to the
right-about."

"They are approaching as stealthily as the snake in the grass," answered
Winnemak. "Unless you can get on their trail, it will be no easy matter
to find them."

"Who are these enemies you speak of; and how do you happen to know that
they are coming to attack us?" asked Uncle Jeff, who generally suspected
all Indian reports, and fancied that Winnemak was merely repeating what
he had heard, or, for some reason of his own--perhaps to gain credit to
himself--had come to warn us of a danger which had no real existence.

"I was leading forth my braves to revenge the loss we suffered last
year, when our scouts brought word that they had fallen in with a large
war-party of Arrapahas and Apaches, far too numerous for our small band
to encounter with any chance of success. We accordingly retreated,
watching for an opportunity to attack any parties of the enemy who might
become separated from the larger body. They also sent out their scouts,
and one of these we captured. My braves were about to put him to death,
but I promised him his liberty if he would tell me the object of the
expedition. Being a man who was afraid to die, he told us that the party
consisted of his own tribe and the Apaches, who had been joined by some
Spanish Palefaces; and that their object was not to make war on either
the Kaskayas or the Pawnees, but to rob a wealthy settler living on the
side of the mountains, as well as any other white men they might find
located in the neighbourhood. Feeling sure that their evil designs were
against my friends, I directed my people to follow me, while I hastened
forward to give you due warning of what is likely to happen. As they are
very numerous, and have among them firearms and ammunition, it may be a
hard task, should they attack the house, to beat them off."

Such in substance was the information Winnemak brought us.

"To my mind, the fellows will never dare to come so far north as this;
or, if they do, they will think twice about it before they venture to
attack our farm," answered Uncle Jeff.

"A wise man is prepared for anything which can possibly happen," said
the Indian. "What is there to stop them? They are too numerous to be
successfully opposed by any force of white men in these parts; and my
braves are not willing to throw away their lives to no purpose."

Uncle Jeff thought the matter over. "I will send out a trusty scout to
ascertain who these people are, and what they are about," he said at
length. "If they are coming this way, we shall get ready to receive
them; and if not, we need not further trouble ourselves."

Lieutenant Broadstreet, who held the Indians cheap, was very much
inclined to doubt the truth of the account brought by Winnemak, but he
agreed that Uncle Jeff's plan was a prudent one.

Bartle Won immediately volunteered to start off to try and find the
whereabouts of the supposed marauding party. His offer was at once
accepted; and before many minutes were over he had left the farm, armed
with his trusty rifle, and his axe and hunting-knife in his belt.

"Take care they do not catch you," observed the lieutenant.

"If you knew Bartle, you would not give him such advice," said Uncle
Jeff. "He is not the boy to be caught napping by Redskins; he is more
likely to lay a dozen of them low than lose his own scalp."

The Indian seeing Bartle go, took his leave, saying that he would join
his own people, who were to encamp, according to his orders, near a wood
in the valley below. He too intended to keep a watch on the enemy; and
should he ascertain that they were approaching, he would, he said, give
us warning.

"We can trust to your assistance, should we be attacked," said Uncle
Jeff; "or, if you will come with your people inside the house, you may
help us in defending it."

Winnemak shook his head at the latter proposal. "We will aid you as far
as we can with our small party," he answered; "but my people would
never consent to shut themselves up within walls. They do not understand
that sort of fighting. Trust to Winnemak; he will do all he can to serve
you."

"We are very certain of that, friend," said Uncle Jeff.

The Indian, after once more shaking hands with us, set off to join his
tribe.

Lieutenant Broadstreet expressed his satisfaction at having come to the
farm. "If you are attacked, my four men and I may be of some use to you;
for I feel sure that we shall quickly drive away the Redskins, however
numerous they may be," he observed.

He advised that all the doors and lower windows should be barricaded, in
case a surprise might be attempted; and that guards should be posted,
and another scout sent out to keep watch near the house, in case Bartle
might have missed the enemy, or any accident have happened to him. The
latter Uncle Jeff deemed very unnecessary, so great was his confidence
in Bartle's judgment and activity.

Notice was sent to the hut directing the men to come in should they be
required, but it was not considered necessary for them to sleep inside
the house.

These arrangements having been made, those not on watch retired to rest.
But although Uncle Jeff took things so coolly, I suspect that he was
rather more anxious than he wished it to appear. I know that I myself
kept awake the greater part of the night, listening for any sounds which
might indicate the approach of a foe, and ready to set out at a
moment's notice with my rifle in hand,--which I had carefully loaded
and placed by my bedside before I lay down. Several times I started up,
fancying that I heard a distant murmur; but it was simply the roaring of
the cataract coming down the cañon.

At daybreak I jumped up, and quickly dressing, went downstairs. Soon
afterwards Gideon Tuttle, who had been scouting near the house, came in,
stating that he had seen no light to the southward which would indicate
the camp-fires of an enemy, and that, according to his belief, none was
likely to appear. In this Uncle Jeff was inclined to agree with him.

Lieutenant Broadstreet now expressed a wish to proceed on his way; at
the same time, he said that he did not like to leave us until it was
certain that we were not likely to be exposed to danger.

"Much obliged to you, friend," said Uncle Jeff; "you are welcome to stay
here as long as you please; and Bartle Won will soon be in, when we
shall know all about the state of affairs."

It was our custom to breakfast at an early hour in the morning, as we
had to be away looking after the cattle, and attending to the other
duties of the farm.

The lieutenant happened to ask me why we called the location "Roaring
Water."

"I see only a quiet, decent stream flowing by into the valley below," he
observed.

"Wait until we have a breeze coming down the cañon, and then you will
understand why we gave the name of 'Roaring Water' to this place," I
answered. "As I can be spared this morning, and there is not much chance
of the enemy coming, if you like to accompany me I will take you to the
cataract which gives its name to this 'quiet, decent stream,' as you
call it; then you will believe that we have not misnamed the locality."

We set off together. The lieutenant looked as if he would have liked to
ask Clarice to accompany us; but she was busy about her household
duties, and gave no response to his unspoken invitation.

Boy-like, I took a great fancy to the young officer. He was quiet and
gentlemanly, and free from all conceit.

I took him to Cold-Water Spring, at which Clarice had met the Indian;
and after swallowing a draught from it, we made our way onward over the
rough rocks and fallen logs until we came in sight of what we called our
cataract. It appeared directly before us, rushing, as it were, out of
the side of the hill (though in reality there was a considerable stream
above us, which was concealed by the summits of the intervening rocks);
then downward it came in two leaps, striking a ledge about half-way,
where masses of spray were sent off; and then taking a second leap, it
fell into a pool; now rushing forth again foaming and roaring down a
steep incline, until it reached the more level portion of the cañon.

"That is indeed a fine cataract, and you have well named your location
from it," observed the lieutenant. "I wish I had had my sketch-book with
me; I might have made a drawing of it, to carry away in remembrance of
my visit here."

[Illustration: "ROARING WATER."]

"I will send you one with great pleasure," I answered.

"Do you draw?" he asked, with a look of surprise, probably thinking that
such an art was not likely to be possessed by a young backwoodsman.

"I learned when I was a boy, and I have a taste that way, although I
have but little time to exercise it," I answered.

He replied that he should be very much obliged. "Does your sister
draw?--I conclude that young lady is your sister?" he said in a tone of
inquiry.

"Oh yes! Clarice draws better than I do," I said. "But she has even less
time than I have, for she is busy from morning till night; there is no
time to spare for amusement of any sort. Uncle Jeff would not approve of
our 'idling our time,' as he would call it, in that sort of way."

The lieutenant seemed inclined to linger at the waterfall, so that I had
to hurry him away, as I wanted to be back to attend to my duties. I was
anxious, also, to hear what account Bartle Won would bring in.

But the day passed away, and Bartle did not appear. Uncle Jeff's
confidence that he could have come to no harm was not, however, shaken.

"It may be that he has discovered the enemy, and is watching their
movements; or perhaps he has been tempted to go on and on until he has
found out that there is no enemy to be met with, or that they have
taken the alarm and beat a retreat," he observed.

Still the lieutenant was unwilling to leave us, although Uncle Jeff did
not press him to stay.

"It will never do for me to hurry off with my men, and leave a party of
whites in a solitary farm to be slaughtered by those Redskin savages,"
he said.

At all events, he stayed on until the day was so far spent that it would
not have been worth while to have started.

Clarice found a little leisure to sit down at the table with her
needle-work, very much to the satisfaction of the lieutenant, who did
his best to make himself agreeable.

I was away down the valley driving the cattle into their pen, when I
caught sight of Bartle coming along at his usual swinging pace towards
the farm.

"Well, what news?" I asked, as I came up to him.

"Our friend Winnemak was not romancing," he answered. "There were fully
as many warriors on the war-path as he stated; but, for some reason or
other, they turned about and are going south. I came upon their trail
after they had broken up their last camp, and I had no difficulty in
getting close enough to them to make out their numbers, and the tribes
they belong to. The appearance of their camp, however, told me clearly
that they are a very large body. We have to thank the chief for his
warning; at the same time, we need not trouble ourselves any more on the
subject."

"Have they done any harm on their march?" I asked.

"As to that, I am afraid that some settlers to the south have suffered;
for I saw, at night, the glare of several fires, with which the rascals
must have had something to do. I only hope that the poor white men had
time to escape with their lives. If I had not been in a hurry to get
back, I would have followed the varmints, and picked off any stragglers
I might have come across."

"As you, my friends, are safe for the present, I must be off to-morrow
morning with my men," said the lieutenant when I got back; "but I will
report the position you are in at Fort Harwood, and should you have
reason to expect an attack you can dispatch a messenger, and relief
will, I am sure, be immediately sent you."

I do not know that Uncle Jeff cared much about this promise,
so confident did he feel in his power to protect his own
property,--believing that his men, though few, would prove staunch. But
he thanked the lieutenant, and hoped he should have the pleasure of
seeing him again before long.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the night the sergeant was taken ill; and as he was no better in
the morning, Lieutenant Broadstreet, who did not wish to go without him,
was further delayed. The lieutenant hoped, however, that by noon the
poor fellow might have sufficiently recovered to enable them to start.

After breakfast I accompanied him to the hut to visit the other men.
Although he summoned them by name,--shouting out "Karl Klitz," "Barney
Gillooly," "Pat Sperry,"--no one answered; so, shoving open the door, we
entered. At first the hut appeared to be empty, but as we looked into
one of the bunks we beheld the last-named individual, so sound asleep
that, though his officer shouted to him to know what had become of his
comrades, he only replied by grunts.

"The fellow must be drunk," exclaimed the lieutenant, shaking the man.

This was very evident; and as the lieutenant intended not to set off
immediately, he resolved to leave him in bed to sleep off his debauch.

But what had become of the German and the fat Irishman? was the
question. The men belonging to the hut were all away, so we had to go in
search of one of them, to learn if he could give any account of the
truants. The negro, who went by no other name than Sam or Black Sam, was
the first we met. Sam averred, on his honour as a gentleman, that when
he left the hut in the morning they were all sleeping as quietly as
lambs; and he concluded that they had gone out to take a bath in the
stream, or a draught of cool water at the spring. The latter the
lieutenant thought most probable, if they had been indulging in
potations of whisky on the previous evening; as to bathing, none of them
were likely to go and indulge in such a luxury.

To Cold-Water Spring we went; but they were not to be seen, nor could
the other men give any account of them.

The lieutenant burst into a fit of laughter, not unmixed with vexation.

"A pretty set of troops I have to command--my sergeant sick, one drunk,
and two missing."

"Probably Klitz and Gillooly have only taken a ramble, and will soon be
back," I observed; "and by that time the other fellow will have
recovered from his tipsy fit; so it is of no use to be vexed. You should
be more anxious about Sergeant Custis, for I fear he will not be able to
accompany you for several days to come."

On going back to the house, we found the sergeant no better. Rachel,
indeed, said that he was in a raging fever, and that he must have
suffered from a sunstroke, or something of that sort.

The lieutenant was now almost in despair; and though the dispatches he
carried were not of vital importance, yet they ought, he said, to be
delivered as soon as possible, and he had already delayed two days. As
there was no help for it, however, and he could not at all events set
out until his men came back, I invited him to take a fishing-rod and
accompany me to a part of the stream where, although he might not catch
many fish, he would at all events enjoy the scenery.

It was a wild place; the rocks rose to a sheer height of two or three
hundred feet above our heads, broken into a variety of fantastic forms.
In one place there was a cleft in the rock, out of which the water
flowed into the main stream. The lieutenant, who was fond of fishing,
was soon absorbed in the sport, and, as I expected, forgot his troubles
about his men.

He had caught several trout and a couple of catfish, when I saw Rachel
hurrying towards us.

"Massa Sergeant much worse," she exclaimed; "him fear him die; want bery
much to see him officer, so I come away while Missie Clarice watch ober
him. Him bery quiet now,--no fear ob him crying out for present."

On hearing this, we gathered up our fishing-rods and hastened back to
the house, considerably out-walking Rachel, who came puffing after us.

We found Clarice standing by the bedside of the sick man, moistening his
parched lips, and driving away the flies from his face.

"I am afraid I am going, sir," he said as the lieutenant bent over him.
"Before I die, I wish to tell you that I do not trust those two men of
ours, Karl Klitz and Gillooly. I learned from Pat Sperry that they have
been constantly putting their heads together of late, and he suspects
that they intend either to desert, or to do some mischief or other."

"Thank you," said the lieutenant; "but do not trouble yourself about
such matters now. I will look after the men. You must try to keep your
mind quiet. I hope that you are not going to die, as you suppose. I have
seen many men look much worse than you do, and yet recover."

The sergeant, after he had relieved his mind, appeared to be more quiet.
Rachel insisted on his taking some of her remedies; and as evening drew
on he was apparently better,--at all events, no worse. Clarice and the
negress were unremitting in their attentions, utterly regardless of the
fever being infectious; I do not think, indeed, that the idea that it
was so ever entered their heads.

[Illustration: OUR TROUT-STREAM IN ROARING WATER CANON.]

The lieutenant had been so occupied with his poor sergeant, that he
seemed to have forgotten all about his missing men. At last, however, he
recollected them, and I went back with him to the hut.

On the way we looked into the stables, where we found the five horses
and baggage mules all right; so that the men, if they had deserted, must
have done so on foot.

We opened the door of the hut, hoping that possibly by this time the
missing men might have returned; but neither of them was there. The
drunken fellow was, however, still sleeping on, and probably would have
slept on until his hut companions came back, had we not roused him up.

"You must take care that your people do not give him any more liquor, or
he will be in the same state to-morrow morning," observed the
lieutenant.

We had some difficulty in bringing the man to his senses; but the
lieutenant finding a pitcher of water, poured the contents over him,
which effectually roused him up.

"Hullo! murther! are we all going to be drowned entirely at the bottom?
Sure the river's burst over us!" he exclaimed, springing out of his
bunk. He looked very much astonished at seeing the lieutenant and me;
but quickly bringing himself into position, and giving a military
salute, "All right, your honour," said he.

"Yes, I see that you are so now," said the lieutenant; "but little help
you could have afforded us, had we been attacked by the enemy. I must
call you to account by-and-by. What has become of your comrades?"

"Sure, your honour, are they not all sleeping sweetly as infants in
their bunks?" He peered as he spoke into the bunks which had been
occupied by the other men. "The drunken bastes, it was there I left them
barely two hours ago, while I jist turned in to get a quiet snooze. They
are not there now, your honour," he observed, with a twinkle in his eye;
"they must have gone out unbeknown to me. It is mighty surprising!"

"Why, you impudent rascal, you have been asleep for the last twelve
hours," said the lieutenant, scarcely able to restrain his gravity.
"Take care that this does not happen again; keep sober while you remain
here."

"Sure, your honour, I would not touch a dhrop of the cratur, even if
they were to try and pour it down me throat," he answered. "But I found
a countryman of mine living here. It is a hard matter, when one meets a
boy from Old Ireland, to refuse jist a sip of the potheen for the sake
of gintility!"

"Follow me to the house as soon as you have put yourself into decent
order," said the lieutenant, not wishing to exchange further words with
the trooper.

Pat touched his hat, to signify that he would obey the order, and the
lieutenant and I walked on.

"I cannot put that fellow under arrest, seeing that I have no one to
whom I can give him in charge," said the lieutenant, laughing. "But what
can have become of the others? I do not think, notwithstanding what
Sergeant Custis said, that they can have deserted. They would scarcely
make an attempt to get over this wild country alone, and on foot."

As soon as Pat made his appearance, the lieutenant ordered him to stand
on guard at the door, where he kept him until nightfall.

When our men came in, I inquired whether they knew anything of the
troopers. They one and all averred that they had left them sleeping in
the hut, and that they had no notion where they could have gone.

"Could the fellows, when probably as drunk as Pat, have fallen into the
torrent and been drowned!" exclaimed the lieutenant anxiously.

"Sure, they were as sober as judges," observed Dan, one of our men. Then
an idea seemed to strike him. "To be sure, your honour, they might have
gone fishing up the stream. That broth of a boy Barney might jist have
rolled in, and the long Dutchman have tried to haul him out, and both
have been carried away together. Ill luck to Roaring Water, if it has
swallowed up my countryman Barney."

I suspected, from the way in which Dan spoke, that he had no great
belief that such a catastrophe had occurred; in fact, knowing the fellow
pretty well, I thought it very probable that, notwithstanding what he
said, he was cognizant of the whereabouts of the truants.

Uncle Jeff and the lieutenant examined and cross-examined all the men;
but no satisfactory information could be got out of them.

"Whether they come back or not, I must be on my way to-morrow morning
with Sperry; while I leave my sergeant under your care, if you will take
charge of him," said the lieutenant.

Uncle Jeff willingly undertook to do this.

"As you are unacquainted with the way, and Pat is not likely to be of
much assistance, if Uncle Jeff will allow me I will act as your guide to
the mouth of the pass, after which you will have no great difficulty in
finding your way to Fort Harwood," I said to the lieutenant.

He gladly accepted my offer.

"But what about the possibility of the farm being attacked by the
Indians? You would not like in that case to be absent, and I should be
unwilling to deprive your friends of your aid," he observed. "If you
accompany me, I must leave Sperry to attend on Sergeant Custis, and to
come on with him when he is well enough. Although I do not compare the
Irishman to you, yet, should the farm be attacked, I can answer for his
firing away as long as he has a bullet left in his pouch."

Uncle Jeff, much to my satisfaction, allowed me to accompany the
lieutenant. I had a good horse, too, and had no fears about making my
way back safely, even should the country be swarming with Indians.

When the lieutenant spoke of the possibility of the farm being attacked
by the Redskins, Uncle Jeff laughed. "They will not venture thus far,"
he observed. "But even if they do come, we will give a good account of
them. Not to speak of my rifle, Bartle's and Gideon's are each worth
fifty muskets in the hands of the Indians; our other four fellows, with
your trooper, will keep the rest at bay, however many there may be of
them. The sergeant, too, will be able to handle a rifle before long, I
hope; while Clarice and Rachel will load the arms, and look after any of
us who may be hurt. But we need not talk about that; the varmints will
not trouble us, you may depend upon it."

When Bartle Won heard of the disappearance of the troopers, and that we
had examined our men, but had been unable to elicit any information from
them as to what had become of the truants, he observed,--"Leave that to
me. If they know anything about the matter, I will get it out of them
before long. As to the fellows having tumbled into the torrent, I do not
believe it. They are not likely to have gone off without our people
knowing something about it. They are either in hiding somewhere near
Roaring Water,--and if so, I shall soon ferret them out,--or else they
have gone away to take squaws from among the Indians, and set up for
themselves."

The lieutenant did not think that the latter proceeding was very
probable; but their absence was mysterious, and we had to confess that
we were no wiser as to their whereabouts than we were at first.



CHAPTER III.

     MY FAMILY HISTORY--MY FATHER, ONCE A CAPTAIN IN THE BRITISH
     ARMY, COMES TO AMERICA AND MARRIES UNCLE JEFF'S SISTER--HE
     SETTLES ON A FARM IN OHIO--CLARICE AND I ARE BORN--MY
     GRANDFATHER'S FARM DESTROYED BY A FLOOD--THE NEXT YEAR OUR FARM
     IS BURNT--MY FATHER RESOLVES TO MIGRATE TO THE WEST--WE SET OFF
     IN WAGGONS WITH AN EMIGRANT TRAIN--PROSPEROUS COMMENCEMENT OF
     JOURNEY--PROVISIONS RUN SHORT--I WITNESS A BUFFALO HUNT--THE
     EMIGRANTS SUFFER FROM CHOLERA--MY MOTHER DIES--MANY OF THE
     EMIGRANTS TURN BACK--MY FATHER PERSEVERES--FIERCELY ATTACKED BY
     INDIANS--WE KEEP THEM AT BAY--AGAIN ATTACKED, WHEN A STRANGER
     COMES TO OUR ASSISTANCE--CLARICE GIVES HIM A BOOK--HE PROMISES
     TO READ IT--WE CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY, AND REACH FORT
     KEARNEY--REMAIN THERE FOR SOME MONTHS--MY FATHER, THOUGH STILL
     SUFFERING, INSISTS ON SETTING OUT AGAIN--HE SOON BECOMES WORSE,
     AND DIES--I AM DIGGING HIS GRAVE, WHEN AN EMIGRANT TRAIN COMES
     BY--UNCLE JEFF IS THE LEADER, AND WE ACCOMPANY HIM TO ROARING
     WATER.


But the readers of my Journal, if so I may venture to call it, would
like to know how Clarice and I came to be at Uncle Jeff's farm. To do
so, I must give a little bit of my family history, which probably would
not otherwise interest them.

My father, Captain Middlemore, had been an officer in the English army,
but sold out and came to America. Being, I suspect, of a roving
disposition, he had travelled through most of the Eastern States without
finding any spot where he could make up his mind to settle. At length
he bent his steps to Ohio; in the western part of which he had one night
to seek shelter from a storm at the farm of a substantial settler, a Mr.
Ralph Crockett (the father of Uncle Jeff). Mr. Crockett treated the
English stranger with a hospitality which the farmers of Ohio never
failed to show to their guests. He had several sons, but he spoke of one
who seemed to have a warm place in his heart, and who had gone away some
years before, and was leading a wild hunter's life on the prairies.

"I should like to fall in with him," said my father. "It is the sort of
life I have a fancy for leading,--hunting the buffalo and fighting the
Red Indian."

"Better stay and settle down among us, stranger," said Mr. Crockett. "In
a few years, if you turn to with a will, and have some little money to
begin with, you will be a wealthy man, with broad acres of your own, and
able to supply the Eastern States with thousands of bushels of wheat. It
is a proud thing to feel that we feed, not only the people of our own
land, but many who would be starving, if it were not for us, in that
tax-burdened country of yours."

My father laughed at the way in which the Ohio farmer spoke of Old
England; but notwithstanding that, he thought the matter over seriously.
He was influenced not a little, too, I have an idea, by the admiration
he felt for the farmer's only daughter, Mary Crockett.

My father had the price of his commission still almost intact; and it
was looked upon as almost a princely fortune to begin with in that part
of the world. So, as he received no hint to go,--indeed, he was warmly
pressed to stay whenever he spoke of moving,--he stayed, and stayed on.
At last he asked Mary Crockett to become his wife, and promised to
settle down on the nearest farm her father could obtain for him.

Mr. Crockett applauded his resolution; and he purchased a farm which
happened to be for sale only a few miles off, and gave him his daughter
for a wife. She had gone to school in Philadelphia, where she had gained
sufficient accomplishments to satisfy my father's fastidious taste; and
she was, besides being very pretty, a Christian young woman.

She often spoke of her brother Jeff with warm affection, for he, when at
home, had ever showed himself to be a loving, kind brother; indeed, Mary
was his pet, and if anybody could have induced him to lead a settled
life, she might have done it. He had had, somehow or other, a quarrel
with her one day,--little more than a tiff,--so off he went into the
woods and across the prairies; and, as it turned out, he never came
back. She was not the cause of his going, for he had been thinking about
it for a long time before, but this tiff just set the ball rolling.

My parents were perfectly happy in their married life, and might have
remained so had it not been for my poor father's unsettled disposition.
I was born, then Clarice; and both my father and mother devoted all the
time they could spare from the duties of the farm to our education.
Clarice was always a bright, intelligent little creature, and rapidly
took in all the instruction she received. My mother's only unhappiness
arose from the thought of sending her to Philadelphia,--where she might
have to complete her education, as she wished her to become as perfect a
lady as our father was a thorough gentleman. He, being well informed,
was able to instruct me, and I made as much progress as my sister. Rough
in some respects as were our lives, we found the advantage of this, as
we could enjoy many amusements from which we should otherwise have been
debarred. Clarice learned to play and sing from our mother; and I was
especially fond of drawing, an art in which my father was well able to
instruct me.

But our family, hitherto prosperous, were now to suffer severe reverses.
My grandfather's property lay in a rich bottom, and one early spring the
floods came and swept away his corn-fields, destroyed his meadows, and
carried off his cattle. One of my uncles was drowned at that time,
another died of fever caught from exposure, and a third was killed by
the fall of a tree. The old man did not complain at God's dealing with
him, for he was a true Christian, but he bowed his head; and he died
shortly afterwards, at our house. My father's property had escaped the
floods, but the following summer, which was an unusually dry one, a fire
swept over the country. It reached our farm, and although my father had
timely notice, so that he was able to put my mother and us into one of
the waggons, with the most valuable part of his household property, the
rest was enveloped in flames shortly after we had left the house. The
next day not a building, not a fence, remained standing. The whole farm
was a scene of black desolation.

"We have had a pretty strong hint to move westward, which I have long
been thinking of doing," said my father. "Many who have gone to the
Pacific coast have become possessed of wealth in half the time we have
taken to get this farm in order. What do you say, Mary?"

Our mother was always ready to do whatever he wished, although she would
rather have remained in the part of the country where she was born and
still had many friends.

"I should say, let us go eastward, and purchase a small farm in some
more civilized district; we can then send our children to school, and be
able to see them during the holidays," she observed.

"We ourselves can give them such schooling as they require," replied my
father. "You will make Clarice as accomplished as yourself, and I will
take good care of Ralph. It is not book learning a lad requires to get
on in this country. He is a good hand at shooting and fishing,
understands all sorts of farm work, and is as good a rider as any boy of
his age. He will forget all these accomplishments if we go eastward;
whereas if we move westward, he will improve still more. And as he is as
sharp as a Yankee, he will do well enough in whatever line he follows."

The truth was, my father had made up his mind to go in the direction he
proposed, and was not to be turned aside by any arguments, however
sensible, which my mother might offer. So it was settled that we should
make a long journey across the prairie. As for the difficulties and
dangers to be encountered, or the hardships to which my mother and
Clarice would be exposed, he did not take these into consideration.
There are people with minds so constituted that they only see one side
of a question; and my father was unhappily one of these.

He proposed to unite himself with some respectable party of emigrants,
who would travel together for mutual protection. He considered that they
might thus set at defiance any band of Indians, however numerous, which
they might encounter.

The two farms were no doubt much inferior in value to what they would
have been with buildings, outhouses and fencings, standing crops and
stock; yet, even as they stood, they were worth a good sum, for they
were already cleared--the chief work of the settler being thus done.
However, they realized as much as my father expected, and with a
well-equipped train and several hired attendants we set out.

The first part of our journey was tolerably easy; the emigrants were
good-humoured, we had abundance of provisions, the country was well
watered, and the cattle could obtain plenty of rich grass to keep up
their strength. But as soon as we got out of the more civilized
districts our difficulties began. Some of the rivers were very difficult
to cross, and often there was no small danger of the waggons sticking
fast in some spots, or being carried down by the current in others; then
we had hills to surmount and rocky ground to pass over, where there was
no herbage or water for our beasts.

My father kept aloof as much as possible from the other emigrants, so
that we did not hear of the complaints they were making. At last a
rumour reached us that the owners of several of the waggons were talking
of turning back. We had met at different times two or three trains of
people who had given up the journey, and these had declared that the
hardships were greater than any human beings could bear; but my father
had made up his mind, and go on he would, even if he carried his own
waggons alone over the prairie. A few Indians hovered round us at times,
but our rifle-shots warned them to keep off; and at night we encamped,
under my father's direction, in military fashion, with the waggons
placed so as to form a fortification round the camp.

Our fresh provisions had come to an end, too, and it now became very
important that we should procure game.

We had encamped one evening, when several Indians approached, making
signs that they were friends. They proved to belong to a tribe which had
been at peace with the white people. Our guide knew one of them, and we
had no doubt that they could be trusted. They have long since been
driven from their old hunting-grounds, and I forget even the name of the
tribe. When they heard that we were in want of fresh food, they said
that if any of our hunters would accompany them they would show us where
buffalo could be found; and that we might either shoot them ourselves,
or that they would try to kill some for us.

Few of our people, although hardy backwoodsmen, were accustomed to
hunting; and few, indeed, had ever seen any buffalo. But my father,
feeling the importance of obtaining some fresh meat, volunteered to
go,--directing a light cart to follow, in order to bring back our
game,--and I obtained leave to accompany him.

One of the Indians could speak English sufficiently well to make himself
understood by us. Talking to my father, and finding that even he had
never shot any buffalo, the Indian advised that we should allow him and
his people to attack the herd in their own manner, as the animals might
take alarm before we could get up to them, and escape us altogether. My
father agreed to this, saying that, should they fail, he would be ready
with his rifle to ride after the herd and try to bring down one or more
of them. This plan was agreed to, and we rode forward.

I observed our Indian friend dismount and put his ear to the ground
several times as we rode forward. My father asked him why he did this.
He replied that it was to ascertain how far off the buffalo were: he
could judge of the distance by the sound of their feet, and their
occasional roars as the bulls engaged in combat. Not an animal, however,
was yet visible.

At last we caught sight of a number of dark objects moving on the
prairie in the far distance.

"There is the herd!" exclaimed the Indian; "we must now be wary how we
approach."

Still we went on, the animals being too busily engaged in grazing, or in
attacking each other, to observe us. At last the Indian advised that we
should halt behind a knoll which rose out of the plain, with a few
bushes on the summit. Here we could remain concealed from the herd. So,
having gained the foot of the knoll, we dismounted; and leaving our
horses in charge of the men with the cart, my father and I climbed up to
the top, where by crouching down we were unseen by the herd, although we
could observe all that was going forward.

The Indian hunters now took some wolf-skins which had been hanging to
their saddles, and completely covering themselves up, so as to represent
wolves, they began to creep towards the herd, trailing their rifles at
their sides; thus they got nearer and nearer the herd. Whenever any of
the animals stopped to look at them, they stopped also; when the buffalo
went on feeding, they advanced. At length each hunter, having selected a
cow, suddenly sprang to his knees and fired, and three fine animals
rolled over; though, had the buffalo bulls known their power, they
might, with the greatest ease, have crushed their human foes. On hearing
the shots, the whole herd took to flight.

"Well done!" cried my father. "I should like to have another, though;"
and hurrying down the hill, he mounted his horse and galloped off in
chase of the retreating herd.

Heavy and clumsy as the animals looked, so rapidly did they rush over
the ground that he could only get within range of two or three of the
rearmost. Pulling up, he fired; but the buffalo dashed on; and,
unwilling to fatigue his horse, my father came back, somewhat annoyed at
his failure.

[Illustration: INDIAN MODE OF ATTACKING BUFFALO.]

The three animals which had been killed were quickly cut up, and we
loaded our cart with the meat; after which the Indians accompanied us
back to the camp to receive the reward we had promised. The supply of
fresh meat was very welcome, and helped to keep sickness at a distance
for some time longer.

After this we made several days' journey, the supply of fresh provisions
putting all hands into better spirits than they had shown for some time.
There was but little chance, however, of our replenishing our stock when
that was exhausted, for we saw Indians frequently hovering round our
camp who were not likely to prove as friendly as those we had before met
with, and it would be dangerous to go to any distance in search of game,
as there was a probability of our being cut off by them.

We had soon another enemy to contend with, more subtile than even the
Redskins. Cholera broke out among the emigrants, and one after another
succumbed. This determined those who had before talked of going back to
carry out their intentions; and notwithstanding the expostulations of my
father and others, they turned round the heads of their cattle, and back
they went over the road we had come.

I had by this time observed that my mother was not looking so well as
usual. One night she became very ill, and in spite of all my father and
two kind women of our party could do for her, before morning she was
dead. My father appeared inconsolable; and, naturally, Clarice and I
were very unhappy. We would willingly have died with her.

"But we must not complain at what God ordains," said Clarice; "we must
wish to live, to be of use to poor papa. She is happy, we know; she
trusted in Christ, and has gone to dwell with him."

Clarice succeeded better than I did in soothing our poor father's grief.
I thought that he himself would now wish to go back, but he was too
proud to think of doing that. He had become the acknowledged leader of
the party, and the sturdy men who remained with us were now all for
going forward; so, after we had buried our dear mother in a grove of
trees which grew near the camp, and had built a monument of rough stones
over her grave, to mark the spot, we once more moved forward.

We had just formed our camp the next day, in a more exposed situation
than usual, when we saw a party of mounted Indians hovering in the
distance. My father, who had not lifted his head until now, gave orders
for the disposal of the waggons as could best be done. There were not
sufficient to form a large circle, however, so that our fortifications
were less strong than they had before been. We made the cattle graze as
close to the camp as possible, so that they might be driven inside at a
moment's notice; and of course we kept strict watch, one half of the men
only lying down at a time.

The night had almost passed away without our being assailed, when just
before dawn those on watch shouted out,--

"Here they are! Up, up, boys! get in the cattle--quick!"

Just as the last animal was driven inside our fortifications the enemy
were upon us. We received them with a hot fire, which emptied three
saddles; when, according to their fashion, they lifted up their dead or
wounded companions and carried them off out of the range of our rifles.

Our men shouted, thinking that they had gained the victory; but the
Indians were only preparing for another assault. Seeing the smallness of
our numbers, they were persuaded that they could overwhelm us; and soon
we caught sight of them moving round so as to encircle our camp, and
thus attack us on all sides at once.

"Remember the women and children," cried my father, whose spirit was now
aroused. "If we give in, we and they will be massacred; so we can do
nothing but fight to the last."

The men shouted, and vowed to stand by each other.

Before the Indians, however, got within range of our rifles, they
wheeled round and galloped off again; but we could still see them
hovering round us. It was pretty evident that they had not given up the
intention of attacking us; their object being to weary us out, and make
our hearts, as they would call it, turn pale.

Just before the sun rose above the horizon they once more came on,
decreasing the circumference of the circle, and gradually closing in
upon us; not at a rapid rate, however, but slowly--sometimes so slowly
that they scarcely appeared to move.

"Do not fire, friends, until you can take good aim," cried my father, as
the enemy got within distant rifle range. "It is just what they wish us
to do; then they will come charging down upon us, in the hope of finding
our rifles unloaded. Better let them come sufficiently near to see their
eyes; alternate men of you only fire."

The savages were armed only with bows and spears; still they could shoot
their arrows, we knew, when galloping at full speed.

At a sign from one of their leaders they suddenly put their horses to
full speed, at the same time giving vent to what I can only describe as
a mingling of shrieks and shouts and howls, forming the terrific Indian
war-whoop. They were mistaken, however, if they expected to frighten our
sturdy backwoodsmen. The first of our men fired when they were about
twenty yards off. Several of the red warriors were knocked over, but the
rest came on, shooting their arrows, and fancying that they had to
attack men with empty firearms. The second shots were full in their
faces, telling therefore with great effect; while our people raised a
shout, which, if not as shrill, was almost as telling as that of the
Indian war-whoop. The first men who had fired were ramming away with all
their might to reload, and were able to deliver a second fire; while
those who had pistols discharged them directly afterwards.

The Indians, supposing that our party, although we had but few waggons,
must be far more numerous than they had expected, wheeled round without
attempting to break through the barricade, and galloped off at full
speed,--not even attempting to pick up those who had fallen.

The women and children, with Clarice, I should have said, had been
protected by a barricade of bales and chests; so that, although a number
of arrows had flown into our enclosure, not one of them was hurt.

On looking at my father, I saw that he was paler than usual; and what
was my dismay to find that an arrow had entered his side! It was quickly
cut out, although the operation caused him much suffering. He declared,
however, that it was only a flesh wound, and not worth taking into
consideration.

The Indians being still near us, we thought it only too probable that we
should again be attacked. And, indeed, our anticipations were soon fully
realized. In less than half an hour, after having apparently been
reinforced, they once more came on, but this time with the intention of
attacking only one side.

We were looking about us, however, in every direction, to ascertain what
manoeuvres they might adopt, when we saw to the westward another body
of horsemen coming across the prairie.

"We are to have a fresh band of them upon us," cried some of our party.

"No, no," I shouted out; "they are white men! I see their rifle barrels
glancing in the sun; and there are no plumes above their heads!"

I was right; and before many minutes were over the Indians had seen them
too, and, not liking their looks, had galloped off to the southward.

We received the strangers with cheers as they drew near; and they proved
to be a large body of traders.

"We heard your shots, and guessed that those Pawnee rascals were upon
you," said their leader, as he dismounted.

He came up to where my father was lying by the side of the waggon.

"I am sorry to see that you are hurt, friend," he said. "Any of the rest
of your people wounded? If there are, and your party will come on to our
camp, we will render you all the assistance in our power."

"Only two of our men have been hit, and that but slightly; and my wound
is nothing," answered my father. "We are much obliged to you, however."

"Well, at all events I would advise you to harness your beasts and move
on, or these fellows will be coming back again," said the stranger. "We
too must not stay here long, for if they think that our camp is left
unguarded they may pay it a visit." His eye, as he was speaking, fell on
Clarice. "Why! my little maiden, were you not frightened at seeing those
fierce horsemen galloping up to your camp?" he asked.

[Illustration: CLARICE AND THE STRANGER.]

"No," she answered simply; "I trusted in God, for I knew that he would
take care of us."

The stranger gazed at her with surprise, and said something which made
her look up.

"Why! don't you always trust in God?" she asked.

"I don't think much about him; and I don't suppose he thinks much about
such a wild fellow as I am," he said in a careless tone.

"I wish you would, then," she said; "nobody can be happy if they do not
trust in God and accept his offer of salvation, because they cannot feel
secure for a moment without his love and protection; and they will not
know where they are to go to when they die."

"I have not thought about that," said the stranger, in the same tone as
before; "and I do not suppose I am likely to find it out."

"Then let me give you a book," said Clarice, "which will tell you all
about it."

She went to the waggon, and brought out a small Bible.

"There! If you will read that, and do what it tells, you will become
wise and happy."

"Well, my dear, I will accept your book, and do as you advise me. I once
knew something about the Bible, before I left home, years and years ago;
but I have not looked into one since."

Without opening the book, the stranger placed it in his breast-pocket;
then, after exchanging a few words with my father, who promised to
follow his advice, he left the camp and rejoined his companions.

My father, being unable to ride without difficulty, had himself placed
in the waggon by the side of Clarice; and the animals being put to, we
once more moved on to the westward, while we saw our late visitors take
an easterly course.

My father, however, made but slow progress towards recovery; his wound
was more serious than he had supposed, and it was too clear that he was
in a very unfit state to undergo the fatigue of a journey.

We at length reached Fort Kearney, on the Platte River, where we met
with a kind reception from the officers of the garrison, while my father
received that attention from the surgeon he so much required. The rest
of our party were unwilling to delay longer than was necessary; but the
surgeon assured my father that he would risk his life should he
continue, in the state in which he then was, to prosecute his journey.
Very unwillingly, therefore, he consented to remain,--for our sakes more
than his own,--while our late companions proceeded towards their
destination. We here remained several months, of course at great
expense, as both our men and animals had to be fed, although we
ourselves were entertained without cost by our hospitable hosts.

At last another emigrant train halted at the post, and my father,
unwilling longer to trespass on the kindness of his entertainers,
insisted on continuing his journey with them. The surgeon warned him
that he would do so at great risk; observing that should the wound,
which was scarcely healed, break out again, it would prove a serious
matter. Still, his desire to be actively engaged in forming the new
settlement prevailed over all other considerations, and on a fatal day
he started, in company with about a dozen other waggons. The owners, who
were rough farmers, took very little interest either in my poor father
or in us.

We had been travelling for about ten days or a fortnight when my father
again fell ill. He tried to proceed in the waggon, but was unable to
bear the jolting; and we were at length obliged to remain in camp by
ourselves, while the rest of the train continued on the road. Our camp
was pitched in an angle formed by a broad stream on the side of a wood,
so that we were pretty well protected should enemies on horseback attack
us. My father proposed to remain here to await another emigrant train,
hoping in a short time to be sufficiently recovered to move on. But, to
our great grief, Clarice and I saw that he was rapidly sinking. He
himself did not appear to be aware of his condition; and fearing that it
would aggravate his sufferings were he to think he was about to leave
us, young as we were, in the midst of the wild prairie among strangers,
we were unwilling to tell him what we thought.

The men with us began to grumble at the long delay, and declared their
intention of moving forward with the next emigrant train which should
come by. But what was our dismay, one morning, to find that both the
villains had gone, carrying off the cart, and a considerable amount of
our property! We were not aware at this time, however, that they had
managed to get hold of the chest which contained our money. Our father
was so ill, too, that we did not tell him what had occurred; and that
very evening, as Clarice and I were sitting by his side holding his
hands, he ceased to breathe.

At first we could not persuade ourselves that he was dead. That was
indeed a terrible night. I felt, however, that something must be done,
and that the first thing was to bury our poor father. We had spades and
pick-axes in the waggon, so, taking one of each, I commenced my
melancholy task near the banks of a stream.

I was thus engaged when I heard Clarice cry out; and on looking up I saw
a small emigrant train passing, which must have been encamped at no
great distance from us down the river. Fearing that they might pass
without observing us, I ran forward shouting out, entreating the leader
to stop. The train immediately came to a standstill, and a man advanced
towards me, in whom I soon recognized the person to whom Clarice had
given the book many months before.

"Why, my man," he said, "I thought I knew you! How are your sister and
your father? He had got an ugly hurt, I recollect, when I saw him."

"He is just dead," I answered.

"Dead!" he exclaimed; "and are you two young ones left on the prairie
alone?"

"Yes," I replied; "our men have made off, and I was going to beg you to
take us along with you."

"That I will do right gladly," said the stranger.

When I told him how I was engaged, he immediately sent some of his men,
and they at once set to work and dug a deep grave. Our poor father
having then been placed in it, they raised over it a pile of heavy logs.

"I wish we could have done better for him," said the stranger; "but many
a fine fellow sleeps under such a monument as that."

I need not dwell upon our grief as we watched these proceedings. I was
sure that the sooner Clarice was away from the spot the better it would
be for her; so, as the leader of the emigrant train did not wish to
delay longer than was necessary, I assisted in harnessing the animals to
our waggon, and we at once moved on.

I was walking beside our new friend, when he asked me my name.

"Ralph Middlemore," I replied; "and my sister is called Clarice."

"Ralph!" repeated the stranger; "that was my father's name."

"I was called after my grandfather," I observed,--"Ralph Crockett."

I do not know how I came to say that. My companion started, and gazing
at me attentively, asked,--"What was your mother's name?"

"Mary."

"Where is she now?" he inquired eagerly.

"She died after we began this sad journey," I said.

The stranger was silent, stifling some deep emotion.

"Your sister is like her,--very like what she was at the same age. You
have heard of Jeff Crockett, boy? I am your Uncle Jeff; and though I
have much to mourn for, I thank Heaven I was sent to rescue Mary's
children in their distress. And Clarice! she has been to me as an angel
of light. You remember that she gave me a book. I took it to please her,
not intending to read it; but I did read it, and it showed me what I
was--a wretched, lost sinner. I learned that I was like the prodigal
son; and as I heard that my earthly father was no more, I determined to
go to my Heavenly Father, knowing that he would receive me. He has done
so, and I can now say honestly that I am a Christian, and fit to take
charge of Mary's children."

I need say very little more than that from this time Uncle Jeff
constituted himself our guardian, and that we thankfully accompanied him
to the new location he was forming at Roaring Water.

And now I shall resume my narrative at the point at which I interrupted
it to give the reader a bit of my family history.



CHAPTER IV.

     AS THE LIEUTENANT AND I ARE STARTING, WE HEAR THAT KLITZ AND
     BARNEY HAVE GONE OFF WITH A WHEELBARROW FOR CALIFORNIA--A
     PLEASANT BIVOUAC--AT LAST WE CATCH SIGHT OF THE DESERTERS--THE
     LIEUTENANT IS ABOUT TO RIDE AFTER THEM, WHEN A PARTY OF INDIANS
     APPEAR--THE INDIANS TAKE TO FLIGHT, AND WE LOSE SIGHT OF THE
     RUNAWAYS--FORM OUR CAMP--DISCOVER THAT WE ARE WATCHED--FOLLOW
     THE SPY, WHO PROVES TO BE MAYSOTTA--FIND THE DESERTERS TAKING
     THEIR EASE--WE CAPTURE THEM, AND, GUIDED BY MAYSOTTA, TAKE THEM
     TO THE INDIAN CAMP--RESOLVE TO RETURN TO THE FARM.


The lieutenant and I had arranged to start at daybreak, on horseback,
with a couple of baggage mules carrying provisions and camp utensils.
Clarice was up to give us our breakfast, and I heard the lieutenant tell
her how much he hoped to meet her again.

"Not very likely, in this wild region," she answered with perfect
composure, although a slight blush came to her cheek as she spoke.

The lieutenant having given directions to Pat to remain and do his
duty,--charging him not to get drunk again, and to come on with the
sergeant as soon as he was able to travel,--we were on the point of
mounting our horses, when Bartle came up.

"I thought that I should get something out of our fellows," he said. "Of
all the strange things I have ever heard of people doing, the strangest
is what your two troopers are attempting. It seems that the Dutchman and
the Irish chap have taken possession of one of our wheelbarrows and a
couple of pick-axes and spades, with such other things as they had a
fancy for, and have gone off, expecting to make their way to California,
where, it is said, gold can be had to any amount by digging for it."

"The rascals!" exclaimed the lieutenant; "they will not get there in a
hurry, and we shall probably come up with them before long."

"They have had a good many days' start of you," observed Bartle, "and if
they have kept on going, they must be some distance on their road by
this time."

"Then we must push on all the faster," said the lieutenant. "I should
like to catch the fellows before the Indians take their scalps;
although, when we have got them, it will be difficult to know what to do
with them, as they will delay me while they move slowly along on foot."

"Send them back to us; we will soon show them how to use their picks and
spades," said Bartle.

After the usual hand-shaking at parting, and the lieutenant had once
more lifted his cap to Clarice, who stood at the door watching us, we
set off down the hill, each of us leading a baggage mule by the bridle.

Every inch of the way, for some miles, was known to me, so that we could
move on without troubling ourselves about the road. We had occasionally
hills to go over, spurs of the big mountains on our left; but we kept
as much we could on the level ground,--sometimes having to make a detour
for the sake of avoiding the rocky heights, which were inaccessible to
our animals.

As the day advanced we began to look out for the runaways, although the
lieutenant was of opinion that they must be still some way ahead of us.
We also kept our eyes open on the chance of any Indians coming down upon
us,--although I did not think that there was much risk of that; for
every one at the farm had been convinced that the Arrapahas had long
since gone away to the southward, and that we should hear no more of
them.

That night we encamped at a snug spot near a stream, with a wood to the
southward almost surrounding us, so that the light of our fire could not
be seen by any one on that side. There was rich grass for our animals,
and they were therefore not likely to stray. We were both young, in good
health and spirits, and with no cares to oppress us, so we greatly
enjoyed our bivouac. We sat by the fire chatting away for some time;
then we lay down, wrapped in our buffalo robes, to sleep, resolving to
awake at intervals, in order to put on fresh fuel, as it was important
not to let our fire get low. Fortunately, we awoke as often as was
needful, and by maintaining a good blaze we kept at a distance any bears
or wolves which might have been prowling about.

The next morning, at daybreak, we once more moved on. As yet, we had
discovered no signs of the runaways; indeed, when we came to think over
the matter, we considered that they would probably have kept out of the
beaten track, in order to avoid discovery should they be pursued. From
the nature of the ground, they would not have gone to the left; and I
therefore suggested that we should keep to the right, where, if they
really were making for the pass, we should be pretty certain of coming
upon them. We accordingly struck off at an angle in the direction I
proposed, and then once more continued our former course northward,
keeping a bright look-out ahead and on either side.

"If the fellows are still before us, they deserve credit for the speed
at which they must have been travelling," observed the lieutenant.

"But, notwithstanding, we shall be up with them before dark," I
exclaimed. "See there!" and I pointed to a mark on the grass, which my
quick eye had detected as that made by a single wheel.

The lieutenant, however, could not see it, and thought that my fancy was
deceiving me.

Had we not been detained by the baggage mules, we should, I was sure,
have quickly overtaken the runaways. I must own, however, that I felt
very little interest in their capture, for I considered them not worth
their salt as soldiers,--a couple of "Uncle Sam's" hard bargains,--but
the lieutenant had no wish to be blamed for losing his men, should he
arrive at the fort without his escort.

We had to call a halt twice in the day, to allow our animals to feed and
drink, and to take some refreshment ourselves. Two or three times, as I
looked round, I fancied that I saw some objects in the distance; it
might have been Indians or deer, or perhaps even buffalo, although the
latter seldom came so close to the mountains.

[Illustration: THE DESERTERS IN SIGHT]

We, of course, kept our arms ready for any emergency; and as but few of
the natives in those regions had at that time firearms, I knew that
Indians would be very wary how they approached within range of our
rifles.

The day was drawing to a close, and I was looking out for a convenient
spot for camping, when I saw in the far distance ahead of us, and just
on the summit of some rising ground, a couple of figures.

"Who can these be?" exclaimed the lieutenant, who saw them at the same
time.

"Unless I am greatly mistaken, they are your two deserters, Klitz and
Gillooly."

We dragged on the unwilling mules, in the endeavour to overtake them;
but I think the fellows must have seen us, for they moved forward at a
rapid rate. The fat little Irishman was ahead trundling the wheelbarrow,
while the tall German followed close at his heels carrying a couple of
muskets, one over each shoulder.

"Stay by the mules, Ralph; pray do!" exclaimed the lieutenant. "I will
gallop after the rascals, and bring them to a halt."

"There is a deep stream between us and them," I observed, "and you may
have some difficulty in crossing it alone; we will follow at our
leisure, for we are sure to catch them up before dark."

Just as I spoke, the ominous cry of an Indian war-whoop came from behind
us; and looking round, we saw nearly a dozen mounted warriors coming on
at full gallop. To throw ourselves from our horses, and to get our
rifles ready for firing, was the work of a moment.

The Indians had expected to see us take to flight, so on observing our
determined attitude they pulled rein. They stopped and watched us for
some time; and then, apparently considering that the risk they would run
of certainly losing two of their number, if not more, was not worth the
object to be attained, they wheeled round and galloped off in the
direction from whence they had come.

We continued watching them until they had disappeared in the distance;
and when we turned about and again looked for the runaways, they were
nowhere to be seen.

"Never fear," I observed; "we shall soon catch them up. But I would
rather that those Redskin fellows, if they are enemies, had not been in
the neighbourhood; for they may take it into their heads to pay us a
visit while we are encamped at night. Knowing, however, that we are well
armed, and likely to be prepared for them, they will not attack us
openly; yet they will, if they can, steal up to our camp, and try to
take us by surprise."

Our great object now was to find a secure camping-ground; so we pushed
on, and I led my companion across the stream by a ford somewhat further
up. But still we saw nothing of Klitz or Gillooly, while the waning
light prevented me from discovering their trail, had they crossed where
we did. Some way ahead was a large wood, which extended to the very foot
of the mountains, and within its recesses we should be able to shelter
ourselves from any onset of horsemen, although the trees would favour
the approach of enemies who might attempt to take us by surprise.

We rode on, skirting the forest as long as we had sufficient light to
distinguish objects at any distance, still with the hope that we might
find the runaways encamped, in case they should not have seen us. That
they had not perceived us, near as we were to them, was quite possible,
as their backs had been turned towards us the whole time they were in
sight; and their moving on so quickly might be accounted for by their
wish to reach a good spot for camping on before dark.

We ourselves, after searching about for some time, and being unable to
find any traces of them, resolved to encamp in a small recess in the
wood which presented itself. There was water near, from a rivulet which
came winding through the forest, and plenty of grass. We accordingly
hobbled and staked our horses close at hand; and we then collected wood
for our fire, and made down our beds with our saddles and horse-cloths.

While we were seated at supper, I proposed to my companion to go a short
distance from the wood, that we might command a more extensive range of
view than we could where we were seated; so that should the runaways be
anywhere in the neighbourhood, we might find them out by the light of
their fire. No glare appeared, however, along the whole length of the
forest; but still that was no proof that they were not somewhere in one
of its recesses, as, even should they have kindled a fire, the trees
might conceal its light from us.

Neither of us feeling inclined for sleep, we sat up talking.

"I much regret being obliged to leave the farm, for I confess that I am
not quite satisfied about the movements of the Indians who have been
seen by the chief Winnemak," observed Lieutenant Broadstreet. "Should
they return to the farm, your friends will be exposed to great danger. I
purpose, on reaching Fort Harwood, to lay the state of the case before
the commandant, and to try and induce him to send me back with a body of
men, either to relieve the garrison of the farm should it be attacked,
or to go in search of the marauders."

I thanked the lieutenant kindly for this offer, although I did not
suppose that Uncle Jeff and his companions would have any difficulty in
beating off their assailants.

"As we must be off by daylight, it is now time to turn in," said the
lieutenant. "Suppose you keep one eye open, and I another! We must not,
if we can help it, be surprised by wolves or bears--nor Indians either.
It is just possible that the fellows whom we saw in the afternoon may
follow us."

"Then I will sit up and keep watch while you sleep," I said. "If they
come at all, they will try and steal upon us when they think that we may
be asleep."

"I agree to your proposal," answered my companion. "If you will call me
in a couple of hours, I will then take my turn, and thus let you have
the morning watch. I am accustomed to have my sleep broken."

Nothing occurred during the first watch, and at the end of it I roused
up the lieutenant and lay down. I suspect that he had intended to keep
on watch for the rest of the night; but I happened to awake, and
insisted--finding he had had a long spell--on his lying down. The young
officer, therefore, rolling himself in his buffalo robe, was again
quickly asleep.

I sometimes walked up and down, my rifle in my hand; sometimes leaned
against a tree, peering in every direction. It could not then have
wanted more than a couple of hours to dawn. The only sounds which
reached my ear were those from our animals as they cropped the rich
grass, or the occasional scream of some night-bird in the forest. The
moon, too, was nearly at its full, and I was thus enabled to see objects
at a distance distinctly. I could judge pretty well of the hour by the
appearance of the fire, on which, from time to time, I threw a few
sticks to keep up the blaze.

I was leaning against a tree, beginning to feel somewhat sleepy, and
thinking that it would soon be time to call the lieutenant, when a sound
as of something moving in the forest behind me struck on my ear. I
remained perfectly motionless, and again I heard the sound. "It may be a
bear," was my first thought; "but then, a bear moving among the bushes
would make more noise than that. It must be some human being; perhaps an
Indian, who is watching an opportunity to shoot us down."

I kept completely in the shade, while I turned my eyes in the direction
from whence the sound came. I thus hoped, should there be an enemy near,
to get sight of him before he could discover me.

On arousing the lieutenant, I told him of the sounds I had heard.

"If there are Indians near, we had better at once go in search of them,"
he answered. "I have no fancy to be shot down, as you suppose it likely
we may be; and as it will not do to leave our horses, I propose that we
mount them, and try and push through the forest. The moonlight will
enable us to make our way without difficulty."

I should have preferred going on foot, but, of course, there was a risk,
as the lieutenant had observed, of our horses being carried off. I
therefore thought it wisest to agree to his proposal.

Our animals were quickly saddled, and we at once pushed into the forest.
After we had passed through the outer belt, the trees grew wide apart,
and as we soon came to several broad glades, we had no difficulty in
making our way.

We had gone some distance, when suddenly my horse gave a start, and I
caught sight of a figure, partly concealed by a tree, right ahead of me;
but as I saw neither bow nor rifle-barrel, I had no fear of encountering
an enemy.

[Illustration: OUR MEETING WITH MAYSOTTA.]

"Who is there?" I asked. "Come forth and show yourself. We wish to be
friends, and will not harm you."

I rode on, and just then the moonbeams, shining amid the boughs, shed
their light on the figure of a young girl, whose countenance and costume
plainly showed that she was an Indian. After surveying my companion and
myself--apparently to ascertain who we were--she stepped forth from her
place of concealment, and advanced fearlessly towards us.

"How comes it that you are wandering in this forest by yourself?" I
asked.

"My friends are not far off," she answered; "and they are your friends
also. I am Maysotta, the daughter of Winnemak. Seeing the light of your
fire, I approached your camp, in order to ascertain who you were; but as
you concealed yourself, I was unable to do so. As I had promised not to
be long absent, I was returning to the camp of my people when you
overtook me. My father has directed us to come on here; while he has
gone back to the farm to warn your friends that the Arrapahas have once
more turned their faces northward, and are very likely to carry out
their hostile intentions."

"This is important information you give, Maysotta," I observed, "and we
thank you for it. Are you certain it is correct?"

"My father is never deceived," she answered. "He believes that the farm
will certainly be attacked, and that if those living there are not
prepared, they will run a great risk of being cut off."

The lieutenant and I had dismounted, and were holding our horses by the
bridle, while we talked to the Indian girl.

"If I could get hold of these deserters, I should feel warranted in
returning to assist your friends," observed the lieutenant to me. "But
do you think that we can depend upon the information this girl gives
us?"

"I feel sure that we may," I answered. "And as I should not like to be
absent while Clarice and Uncle Jeff are exposed to danger, I would
certainly urge you to return. Perhaps our friend here may be able to
assist us in discovering the runaways!"

I turned to Maysotta and asked her whether she or any of her people had
seen the two truants, or had observed the light of a camp-fire anywhere
in the forest.

"Are you seeking for any one?" she asked.

I told her that two of the lieutenant's men, forgetful of their duty,
had gone off by themselves, and that they might now be of use, could
they be discovered, in defending the farm.

"Will they be punished for what they have done?" she inquired.

I told the lieutenant what she said.

"Not if they return to their duty," he answered.

"Then I think I can lead you to where they are," said Maysotta. "I
observed the light of a small fire reflected in the sky some little way
from this, and I feel sure that it must have been kindled by the men you
speak of."

"At all events, we will approach cautiously," said the lieutenant. "If
my men are there, we shall have no difficulty in recovering them; or
should the fire prove to be at the camp of hostile Indians, we shall be
able to retreat unobserved."

Maysotta had no fear on the latter point, and advising us to picket our
horses where we then were, she led the way towards the point she had
described. In many places the thick foliage prevented the moonbeams from
penetrating through the forest, and we could with difficulty distinguish
the figure of our conductress, at so rapid a rate did she glide on
through the forest.

"I hope that the girl is not deceiving us," observed the lieutenant. "Is
it not possible that she may have been sent merely to beguile us into an
ambush?"

"I do not think that at all likely," I answered. "There can be no doubt
that she is the daughter of whom Winnemak told my sister Clarice, and
that she has heard all about us from her father. She is thus anxious to
render us any service in her power."

Maysotta, hearing us talking, stopped, and putting her finger to her
lips, made us understand that we must be silent. She then moved forward
again, at a slower pace, keeping close in front of us. After going a
little farther, I observed the faint glare of a fire reflected on the
loftier boughs of the trees. As we advanced it grew brighter and
brighter, some of the rays penetrating even through the bushes which
concealed the fire itself.

Maysotta now touched my arm, and pointing to the fallen trunk of a tree,
observed, "Creep up there, and you will ascertain whether those are the
people you are in search of."

We cautiously made our way towards the point indicated; but even before
we could lift our heads to look over the fallen trunk, the sound of
Barney Gillooly's jovial voice reached our ears, accompanied by Klitz's
guttural notes.

The lieutenant was about to spring over the trunk and seize hold of the
deserters at once, but I held him back.

"Let us see what the fellows are about," I whispered; and we crept
closer, keeping ourselves concealed by the bushes.

Gillooly and Klitz were seated on the ground opposite each other, with
the fire between them. The Irishman was holding up a piece of venison,
which he had just cooked, at the end of a stick, while Klitz held
another piece to the fire.

"Arrah! now, this illigint piece of meat will be enough to last us until
we stop again for the night!" exclaimed Gillooly. "I'll race you now,
and see who can get his whack down the fastest. If I win, you must hand
over to me what remains of yours; and if you win, you shall have the
remainder of my whack."

[Illustration: THE RUNAWAYS.]

"Dat would not be fair," answered Klitz. "You got big mout and short
body, and can stow away much faster dan I. You eat your breakfast as
fast as you like, but let me take mine at my ease."

"Arrah! thin, here goes," cried Gillooly; and he began gnawing away with
right good will at the _lump_ of venison.

It was pretty evident that either he or Klitz must have managed to kill
a deer, judging from the ample supply of meat they appeared to possess.
Their rifles lay at a little distance, and close to their wheelbarrow,
which seemed to be well loaded. There was no danger, therefore, of their
firing at us before they discovered who we were; and, besides, they were
not likely men to offer any determined resistance.

We amused ourselves for some little time in watching them; and certainly
no two individuals could have afforded a greater contrast. Gillooly went
on eating, laughing, and drinking, diverting himself by quizzing his
saturnine companion, who replied only occasionally, and in
monosyllables.

"We have had enough of this," at length whispered the officer to me. "If
you will seize the Irishman, I will manage the Dutchman. Hold your
pistol to Gillooly's head, and he will be as quiet as a lamb. I will
treat Klitz in the same way."

To bound over the trunk was the work of a moment, and the two deserters,
greatly to their astonishment and dismay, found themselves in our power,
without any hope of escape.

"Where were you going, you rascals?" exclaimed the lieutenant.

"Sure, your honour, a military life disagreed intirely wid me health,
and I thought it best to take Frinch leave, to save me comrades the
trouble of burying, me," answered Barney. "Sure, I niver dreamed of
deserting."

"And you, Mr. Klitz, what have you to say?" asked the lieutenant.

"Dat I could not let dis fellow, like one big baby, go alone," answered
the German; "so I went to take care of him."

There was no use in bandying words just then, so the lieutenant ordering
Klitz to take up the muskets, and Gillooly, as before, to trundle the
wheel-barrow, we set off, guided by Maysotta, for the Indian camp.

We found but few persons in the camp, and these chiefly women and
children,--the men having accompanied their chief. From the assurances
Maysotta again gave us, we were convinced of the danger to which our
friends were exposed. The lieutenant accordingly at once decided to
leave the baggage-mules behind, and, as the Indians could supply us with
a couple of horses, to mount our two men, and return at full speed to
the farm.



CHAPTER V.

     WE LEAVE THE INDIAN CAMP--MAYSOTTA'S KIND OFFER--OUR RIDE TO
     ROARING WATER--INDIANS IN THE DISTANCE--IN SIGHT OF THE FARM--A
     STRANGER INDIAN--OUR RECEPTION BY UNCLE JEFF--THE INDIAN'S
     STORY--HE GETS FOOD AND SHELTER--MATTERS NOW LOOK SERIOUS--A
     COUNCIL OF WAR--MY DOUBTS OF THE INDIAN--CLARICE AND RACHEL
     ACCOMPANY THE LIEUTENANT TO THE INDIAN CAMP--WE BARRICADE THE
     HOUSE--DISAPPEARANCE OF THE INDIAN--BARTLE GOES OUT TO
     RECONNOITRE--APPROACH OF THE ENEMY--A DETERMINED ATTACK--SEVERE
     LOSSES--THE OUT-BUILDINGS SET ON FIRE--OUR AMMUNITION RUNS
     SHORT--THE ROOF TAKES FIRE--HOW ARE WE TO ESCAPE?--UNCLE JEFF'S
     RUSE, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED.


The Indian girl readily undertook the charge of our baggage-mules and
property, as well as of the deserters' wheel-barrow, which she promised
should be sent back to the farm. Having secured the muskets of the two
men to our own saddles, we made them mount and ride on before us, so
that they might have no opportunity of running away. Gillooly pulled as
long a face as his jovial countenance was capable of, while that of
Klitz elongated even more than was its wont.

"We shall probably have some sharp fighting, my lads; and if you behave
well I intend to overlook your conduct; but if not, you must take the
consequences," said the lieutenant.

"Sure, if we get sight of an inemy, I will do nothing to disgrace the
name of Gillooly," answered Barney.

Klitz muttered something in German, but what it was I could not make
out. They were neither of them likely to fight for honour and glory; at
the same time, I had little doubt but they would blaze away at an enemy,
when they knew that by failing to do so they would lose their scalps.

"Tell the 'Fair Lily' that I have heard of the danger by which she is
threatened, and that if she will come here Maysotta will take care of
her, and cherish her as a sister," said the Indian girl, as I was about
to vault into my saddle.

I thanked her, and told her that I was sure Clarice would be glad to
meet with her. I was much struck by the artless manners of the young
Indian girl, who, although endowed with the features of her race,
possessed a beauty rarely seen among them.

"Move on, lads; we must be at Roaring Water before nightfall," cried the
lieutenant. "Keep together, and do not pull rein until I give the order.
Remember that I will stand no nonsense; and the first of you who plays
any trick, I will shoot him through the head."

"Arrah! sure, we will be afther obeying your honour, thin," cried
Barney, as he and Klitz galloped on ahead--the lieutenant giving them
the order to turn to the right or to the left as was necessary.

We kept on at a good pace. The Indian mustangs, although somewhat small,
were strong and wiry; and our horses, having had a good feed, were
perfectly fresh. The distance, therefore, which on the previous
days--having our mules to drag after us--was slowly traversed, was now
quickly got over. But we had to call a halt at noon, by the side of a
stream, in order to water our animals and let them feed; while we
ourselves took some of the provender which we had brought in our
wallets.

Klitz and Barney sat down opposite to us, by the orders of the
lieutenant, and ate their meal in silence. They bore their
disappointment very well. Perhaps, after their three or four days'
experience, they may have begun to suspect that they would not reach
their El Dorado without some considerable difficulty, should they ever
get there at all; and they possibly consoled themselves with the idea
that, since they had been retaken, they were getting off very cheaply.

Our meal over, we moved on as before. I kept a sharp look-out by the
way, and twice I caught sight of figures which I knew must be Indians,
moving in the distance, but whether friends or foes it was impossible to
say. Perhaps they belonged to Winnemak's tribe; or, should Maysotta's
account be correct, they might be Arrapahas. They did not approach us,
however, and we were allowed to proceed unmolested.

Although we were moving along the line used by emigrant trains, we did
not meet a single one; but it was possible that any coming from the
eastward might have been attacked by the Arrapahas, or, hearing that an
enemy was in the neighbourhood, might have halted for the purpose of
defending themselves. When Indians can manage to attack a train on the
move, they, in most instances, prove successful; whereas even a small
party of white men, when encamped and under the protection of their
waggons, can generally keep a large band of warriors at bay.

The fact of our not meeting with any emigrant trains made Maysotta's
report more probable. Of course I felt somewhat anxious about ourselves,
for, even although we had a couple of rifles and two muskets, besides
our pistols, we might find it a hard matter to drive off any large
number of mounted assailants; but I felt far more anxious about the
inmates of the farm.

We kept the two men moving ahead of us at such a rate that Barney more
than once cried out, "Sure, lieutenant, our bastes will have no wind
left in thim at all, at all, if we don't pull up!"

"Go on, go on," cried the lieutenant; "do not mind your beasts, as long
as they can keep their legs."

"Thin it's meself I'd be plading for," cried Barney, turning round.

"Do not mind yourself either," answered the lieutenant. "The lives of
our friends are at stake, and if we are to help them we must get to the
farm without delay."

Whack, whack, whack went Barney's stick. The German also urged forward
his mustang in the same manner--his feet, from the length of his legs,
nearly touching the ground. Indeed, when passing through long grass,
his feet were so completely hidden, that, as he kept moving his legs
about all the time, it appeared as if he were running along with his
horse under him.

At length the mountains which rose above Roaring Water appeared in
sight. As we neared them I looked out eagerly from the summit of a ridge
we had reached, to ascertain if any Indians were in the neighbourhood;
but as none were to be seen, I hoped that we might reach the farm before
any attack had been commenced.

As we passed the confines of the property I saw none of our people
about; but, as the evening was drawing on, I thought it probable that
they had gone home from their work. Still, I felt somewhat anxious; my
anxiety being also shared by the lieutenant, who was making his tired
beast breast the hill faster than he, as a humane man, would otherwise
have done.

As we got close to the house, an Indian started up from behind a copse
which grew on the side of the hill. He had neither war-paint nor
ornaments on, and looked weary and travel-stained. He was a young,
active man; but, at the first glance, I did not like his countenance. A
person unaccustomed to Indians cannot easily distinguish one from
another, although in reality they vary in appearance as much as white
men do; as does also the expression of their countenances.

"Are you going to the farm?" he asked, addressing me. He knew at once by
my dress that I was a settler.

"Yes," I replied. "Why do you put the question?"

"I wish to go there too," he answered. "I want to tell the Palefaces
living there that they are likely to be attacked by enemies who have
sworn to take their scalps, and that unless they run away they will all
lose their lives."

"You do not bring us news," I replied; "but you can accompany us to the
farm and speak to the white chief, telling him what you know--although I
do not think it likely that he will follow your advice."

"Come on, come on, Ralph," cried the lieutenant; "do not lose time by
talking to that fellow."

I quickly overtook my companion; while the Indian followed,
notwithstanding his tired appearance, at a speed which soon brought him
up with us.

As we rode up to the house, Uncle Jeff appeared at the door.

"What has brought you back?" he exclaimed, with a look of surprise.
"Glad to see you, at all events; for we have had our friend Winnemak
here with news sufficient to make our hair stand on end, if it were
addicted to anything of that sort. He declares that the Arrapahas are
coming on in overwhelming force, and that, unless we are well prepared
for them, we shall one and all of us lose our scalps. He has gone off
again, though, promising to make a diversion in our favour, as he has
been unable to get his people to come and assist in defending the farm,
which would have been more to the purpose. However, as you have
returned,--and brought your two deserters, I see,--we shall be able to
beat the varmints off. No fear of it, though they may be as thick as a
swarm of bees."

A few words explained how we had fallen in with the runaways.

The Indian who accompanied us then stepped forward. He told Uncle Jeff
that he was a Pawnee, that his name was Piomingo, and that, having a
warm affection for the Palefaces, he had come to warn us of the danger
in which we were placed, and to advise us forthwith to desert the farm
and take to the mountains, for that we had not a chance of defending it
against the numerous bands of Arrapahas who were advancing to attack us.
They had, he said, put to death all the white men, as well as women and
children, they had met with in their progress, as their manner was to
spare no one; and they would certainly treat us in the same way.

"We have already heard something of this," said Uncle Jeff, looking as
unconcerned as he could; "but how did you happen to know about it?" he
asked.

"I was taken prisoner by the Arrapahas while on my way to visit a young
squaw, who is to become my wife. But on the night before I was to be
tortured and put to death I managed to make my escape, and came on here
at once to tell the Palefaces of their danger, of which I had heard when
in the camp of the enemy."

I suspected that Uncle Jeff did not altogether believe the account given
by the Indian. At any rate, he received it with perfect composure.

"We thank you, friend Piomingo, for your good intentions. You are now
at liberty to pursue your journey on your intended visit to the young
squaw of whom you speak," he answered.

"I would follow the advice of the Paleface chief, but I am weary and
hungry, and require sleep and rest. He would not turn me away like a dog
from his door!"

"No, I will not do that," said Uncle Jeff. "You shall have as much food
as you require, and you can lie down and sleep until you are rested;
after that, you shall be welcome to depart."

The Indian expressed his gratitude in a much longer speech than the
occasion required; but when Rachel brought some food he ate it
voraciously, as if he really were as hungry as he had asserted.

Clarice blushed and smiled, when the lieutenant told her how anxious he
had been made by the report he had received from Maysotta, and how glad
he was for the opportunity of returning.

The sergeant was by this time much better, and able to move about. Pat,
too, had behaved very well. The four farm hands had been brought into
the house, and Sergeant Custis and Pat had been regularly drilling them,
and teaching them how to handle their muskets properly.

I found that Uncle Jeff considered matters far more serious than he had
at first been willing to do. Winnemak had been urging him to allow
Clarice, attended by Rachel, to quit the farm--promising to conduct them
to his daughter, and to afford them protection. Should the farm be
attacked, it was quite possible that the defenders might have, as a
last resource, to cut their way out; and, encumbered with the two women,
the risk they would have to run would be far greater than if they had
only themselves to think of.

"I cannot help acknowledging that our Indian friend's advice is sound,"
observed Uncle Jeff. "If we knew that Clarice and Rachel were safe, we
should fight with far more freedom than we could do with them in the
house. And if matters came to the worst, we should, as he says, be able
to escape with far less difficulty than if we had them to look after."

"I am very unwilling to desert you," said the lieutenant; "but, under
the circumstances, if you will confide your niece to my care, with her
attendant, I will undertake to escort them to the Indian camp, where the
chief's daughter is ready to receive her. Indeed, the Indian girl
proposed this herself, and seemed to be aware of what her father had
advised you to do."

While we were talking, I observed that the stranger was listening, and
apparently doing his best to take in what we said. Though he was a
handsome young fellow, yet, as I before remarked, I did not like the
expression of his countenance; it now struck me that it had a cunning,
sinister look. Whenever he saw my eyes directed towards him, he turned
away, and appeared to be thinking only of the food he was eating.

I have elsewhere alluded to my talent as an artist. While Winnemak was
with us, I had made a tolerably fair portrait of him; indeed, it was
considered a good likeness, and was hung up against the wall. As
Piomingo was passing it, I saw him start in a way an Indian seldom does;
and he then stood gazing earnestly at it for a minute or more.

"Who is that man?" he asked, pointing to the portrait.

I told him.

"Ah, bad man!" he muttered; "take care what he do."

"We think him a good man; he is a friend of ours."

He shook his head, but said nothing more. After this, instead of lying
down, he stole near to where Uncle Jeff, the lieutenant, and I were
talking, although, unless he knew English much better than he seemed to
do, he could not have been any the wiser.

Uncle Jeff considered seriously the proposal made by Winnemak, and now
repeated by the lieutenant.

"Yes," he said at length, "I am sure it is the best plan. I will entrust
my niece and Rachel to your charge. I conclude you will take your men
with you! Indeed, although we can ill spare any hands, I wish Ralph to
accompany you, if you will allow him."

"You may trust me, Mr. Crockett, that I will defend your niece and her
attendant with my life; but I shall be very glad to have the aid of your
nephew," answered Lieutenant Broadstreet. "With regard to my own men, I
propose taking only the most trustworthy, Sergeant Custis and Sperry;
the other two I will leave with you, for they will, at all events, fight
as well as better men within walls, and I can more readily spare them
than the others."

[Illustration: WINNEMAK.]

On hearing this arrangement, I was placed in a dilemma. I did not at all
like the idea of being compelled to quit the post of danger; while at
the same time I felt it was my duty to assist in protecting Clarice. I
told the lieutenant how I felt on the subject.

"I will speak to your uncle," he answered; "and if you wish to remain, I
will assure him that your coming is not absolutely necessary. We may
hope to reach the Indian camp early to-morrow, and your sister will then
be placed under the charge of the Indian chief and his daughter."

When I put the question to Clarice, she replied,--"I would infinitely
rather have you with me; but if you believe that it is your duty to
remain with Uncle Jeff, I could not bear the thought of your leaving
him. Besides, he seems to be confident that he will be able to beat off
the enemy, should the farm be attacked."

I confess that I was in two minds on the subject until the last moment.

The plans being arranged, no time was lost in making the necessary
preparations. The horses which had been selected for the journey having
been well fed and watered, were brought to the door. Clarice was soon
ready. She was a good horse-woman, and even Rachel had been accustomed
to the saddle in former years.

I wrung my friend's hand.

"You will take care of my sister, I know you will," I said as I parted
from him.

"Indeed, Ralph, I will," he answered solemnly; and I felt that she was
as safe as she would have been had I accompanied her.

The moon was now shining brightly, and enabled the lieutenant and his
companions to pursue their way at a rapid rate. They took no baggage
except such as could be strapped to the saddles of their horses; they
were, therefore, not impeded as we had been by slow-moving mules. It was
nearly midnight when they set off; and as little noise as possible was
made when they left the house, in case any of the enemy's scouts
watching in the neighbourhood might hear them.

The stranger Indian had, some time before the party set off, thrown
himself on a buffalo robe in a corner of the room, and was apparently
asleep; but I suspected that he knew pretty well all that was going
forward. He remained, however, without moving, as if in a sound slumber.

As soon as Uncle Jeff and I returned (we had accompanied our friends a
little way down the hill), Uncle Jeff addressed his small garrison.

"Putting all things together, lads," said he, "I believe these Redskin
varmints whom we have been hearing of for some days past will really at
last make an attempt to rob the farm; but I know that you will fight to
the last, and we shall manage to drive them off. There is no reason why
we should not feel confident of success. We have a good store of powder
and bullets, with trustworthy rifles and muskets; and what more, pray,
can men wish for?"

The men, one and all, promised to stand by him.

"That is all I want," he answered. "The first thing we have to do is to
barricade the lower windows and the doors, so that while we are
defending one side the Indians may not walk in at the other."

There were ten of us altogether, and having abundance of tools and
materials, we soon put the building in a state of defence, with
loopholes on all sides. Before the doors were finally closed, Uncle Jeff
told Bartle to bring in his favourite horse "Jack;" the remainder of the
animals had been turned loose to seek their own safety.

The day dawned, but as nothing had yet been seen of our expected
enemies, Bartle agreed to go out and ascertain their whereabouts as soon
as the sun rose above the horizon. Bartle was too old a scout to care
whether he had to approach an enemy in daylight or darkness; his only
object at present was to find out if the Indians were really marching
towards the farm.

While we were busily engaged in barricading the house, no one had
thought of our Redskin visitor. When last seen he was apparently wrapped
in slumber.

"I suppose we may count on Piomingo as one of the defenders of the
house; he probably knows how to use a rifle," observed Uncle Jeff, near
whom I was working. "Go and speak to him. Say that we expect him to do
his duty; and ask him if he knows how to load a rifle."

As soon as I had finished the work I was about, I went to where Piomingo
had been lying down. He was not there; I looked everywhere about for
him, but he had disappeared. No one had seen him leave the house, so
that, if he was not still within, he must have watched his opportunity
when our eyes were off him, and slipped out.

What his object was in coming, and then going away secretly, it was
difficult to say. His departure was suspicious, too; he might have
visited us with treacherous intentions. But perhaps he was merely a
coward, and finding that we would not take his advice and desert the
farm, he had escaped, to avoid the danger to which he would be exposed.
However, if he intended treachery, it was better to have him out of the
way.

"Maybe, afther all, the spalpeen is hiding somewhere," observed
Gillooly, when he found that we were inquiring for the Indian; "if he is
anywhere inside, sure I'll ferret him out;" and the Irishman immediately
began poking his nose into every hole and cranny in the building.

"Bedad! he's convarted himself into a rat, for nowhere can I find him in
any hole that a mortal man could stow himself into!" exclaimed Barney,
after a long search.

I have not yet described the building which, if we were attacked, was
to serve as our fortress. It was of considerable size; the lower part of
the walls consisting of stout logs, the upper portion being of
framework, and boarded. Round three sides was a stout palisade, forming
an enclosure, while the remaining side was occupied by stables and other
out-buildings. Barns, cow-sheds, and piggeries were placed at some
little distance off. Then there was the hut occupied by the farm hands;
while overhanging the stream, which flowed by on one side, was a small
mill, the wheel of which was turned by its waters.

The hills rose on either side, but too far off to allow an enemy to
command the house from them; while the intervening space was rough and
rocky,--forming shelter, however, to an approaching foe. Had we felt
sure that we would be attacked, we should have been wise to have
destroyed many of these out-buildings, as they were calculated to
protect the enemy. But to the last Uncle Jeff was not fully persuaded
that the Indians would venture to approach the place, as they must have
known that we were prepared for their reception.

The day drew on, but still Bartle did not return; and we began to hope
that after all no enemy would appear. But about noon, and just as we
were making ready to sit down to dinner, he was seen approaching the
house with rapid strides.

"There is no doubt about what these varmints intend!" he exclaimed as he
rushed into the house. "They are coming on as fast as their legs can
carry them, and will be here before the day is much older. Look to your
firearms, lads; we must be ready for them, and give them such a dose of
bullets that they will wish they hadn't come to Roaring Water."

In accordance with Bartle's advice, all the doors and windows were fast
closed, and we were shut up in our fortress.

"It is ill to fight on empty stomachs, so turn to and eat your dinner,
lads; I'll give you notice when you are wanted."

Uncle Jeff having thus spoken, mounted to a window commanding the road
by which the enemy were likely to approach; and there, after snatching a
hasty meal, I quickly joined him. I first, however, took a glance out of
another window, opening to the southward, as it was possible that some
of the Indians might make their way over the hills so as to take us on
the flank.

To each man was given his particular post, at which he was to remain
until summoned elsewhere.

The time now seemed to go by very slowly.

"I do not think they will come, after all," I observed to Uncle Jeff;
"more than an hour has passed since Bartle returned."

He looked at his watch. "It is not one o'clock yet," he observed; "and
Bartle does not often make a mistake."

Just as he spoke, I saw the plumes of a chief's head-dress rising over a
point of rocky ground round which the road passed, and shortly
afterwards a band of painted warriors came into view. They approached
very cautiously, and gazed about them, as if expecting at any moment to
encounter an enemy. Finding, however, that none of us were visible, they
began to advance at a more rapid rate. Immediately afterwards I saw
another and a much larger party coming over the hill, who, as they drew
near, scattered themselves in every direction, so as to be able to get
under shelter behind the intervening rocks and shrubs.

"Tell the men to be ready," cried Uncle Jeff; "and charge them not to
fire until I give the word,--they must not throw a shot away."

I ran hastily round the building, and ascertained that every man was at
his post, prepared for whatever might happen. I then returned to Uncle
Jeff for further orders.

Presently an Indian belonging to the party which had descended the hill
advanced towards the house with a white handkerchief on a pole.

"The fellows have some pretensions to civilization," said Uncle Jeff
when he saw it; "perhaps their white friends have put them up to that."

The Indian, having got within speaking distance, now halted; but seeing
no one whom he could address, he proceeded around the building,
apparently examining our preparations for defence. At length he again
stopped, having satisfied himself that the building was fortified, and
contained a garrison.

"Friends," he shouted, "do you want to lose your scalps? If not, march
out and leave this house to us. We mean to come in."

Uncle Jeff now appeared at the window opposite to where the Indian was
standing.

"Clear out of this, you rascal!" he exclaimed. "We do not intend that
you shall have our scalps, or get inside these walls. If you make the
attempt, you will pay dearly for it; that is what I've got to say."

The Indian seemed to recognize Uncle Jeff. "You, Jeff Crockett," he
shouted out, "you good man! If you like to go out you may go, and we
take scalps of rest."

Uncle Jeff burst into a loud laugh.

"That's a likely thing," he thundered out. "If it was not for your white
flag, I would treat you as you deserve."

The tone of voice in which this was said convinced the Indian that Uncle
Jeff was in earnest; and in no very dignified fashion he scampered off
to rejoin his companions.

The whole of the band now united in giving utterance to a terrific
war-whoop, and came rushing up to the house. There was no longer any
doubt as to their intentions; they halted for a moment to fire, and then
came right on at a rapid pace, up to the palisade.

"Now, lads, give it them!" shouted Uncle Jeff; and every bullet fired by
our little garrison brought down one of our foes.

The death of their companions served but to inflame the rage of the
rest; and climbing up over the palisade of which I have spoken, they
attempted to get into the enclosure. Several were shot down in the act;
but others succeeded in reaching the enclosure, though they soon paid
dearly for their activity, as they were shot down as soon as we could
reload our rifles. The loss of so many men in their first attack seemed
to discourage the rest, and they drew off to a distance, under such
shelter as they could find.

"We have soon settled the fellows; they have had enough of it," cried
some of our men.

"Wait a bit, lads," said Bartle; "that is not the Indian fashion. They
will be upon us again before long."

He was right; in a few minutes a considerable number of the
enemy were seen moving round, in order to get to the rear of the
out-buildings--Bartle and Gideon meanwhile picking off two or three who
incautiously exposed themselves. Having gained the position they
desired, they made a rush towards the buildings, which sheltered them
almost entirely from our fire. Breaking through the enclosure on that
side, they next advanced boldly into the open space in front of the
stables, where they were once more exposed to view. Scarcely had they
reached it when Bartle's unerring rifle brought down their leader. His
followers, on seeing this, rushed into the stables, while others made
their appearance in the same direction.

Either because they fancied that their chief was still alive, or that it
was a disgrace to allow his body to remain on the ground, a couple of
warriors dashed out for the purpose of carrying it off; but before they
had time to stoop down and lift it from the ground, Gideon and Bartle's
rifles had laid them, both by its side. Two others followed, and were
picked off by Gillooly and Klitz, both of whom showed themselves no
despicable shots. In the meantime Bartle and Gideon had reloaded, and
two more warriors shared the fate of the first.

As yet, all the success had been on our side; and there appeared every
probability of our being able to defeat any attempt of the enemy to
enter the building. Those who had got into the stables were so many
withdrawn from the attack; and although under shelter, they could effect
nothing against us. Had the Indians been alone, we might have kept them
at bay, cunning as they were; but there were white men among them, who,
although not eager to expose their own lives, were well able to assist
our enemies by their advice.

Presently our assailants, with the exception of those in the stables and
other out-buildings, retreated. It was but for a short time, however;
soon they appeared on the opposite side of the house, many of them
carrying burning brands, which they threw under the fencing. This being
of combustible materials, soon blazed up; and, sheltered by the
intervening flames and smoke, the enemy opened a hot fire on us. Every
now and then, however, a dark form was seen, and as surely a bullet
searched it out. But the whole of our little garrison was now required
to keep the enemy at bay on this side; and those who had been hidden in
the out-buildings took the opportunity of making their escape. Some of
them, we found, had thrown themselves into the mill, which afforded them
sufficient shelter to fire steadily at our loopholes with less risk of
being hit in return. None of us had hitherto been struck, but no sooner
had the mill been taken possession of than two of the farm hands, who
were less cautious than the experienced hunters, were badly wounded--one
of them mortally, while the other was unable to handle his rifle.

The palisade being now burned to the ground, we were deprived of its
protection, and our assailants could consequently get close up to the
walls. But though our numbers were diminished, we endeavoured, by the
rapidity of our fire, not to let the enemy discover our loss.

The fight had now continued for some hours, but still our foes seemed as
determined as ever to capture the place. They, or perhaps the white men,
had heard a report that Uncle Jeff was the owner of fabulous wealth, of
which they had resolved to make themselves the possessors. This would
account for their obstinate perseverance.

Fresh bands continued to arrive, too; and after a cessation of firing, a
shower of arrows, from enemies concealed behind the rocks, came flying
over the house. Had they been simply arrows, they would not have done
much harm; but, to our dismay, we saw that each one carried a piece of
burning tow; and if these fell on the shingles of the roof, they would
too probably set them on fire. To extinguish the flames, too, we should
have to expose ourselves to a great risk of being shot. Happily, as yet
the arrows either flew over the building, or the tow fell out, and as
far as we could discover no damage had been done. Some, however, struck
the out-buildings; and the roofs of these being thatched, they were soon
in flames. The barns, too, were set on fire, and blazed furiously.

Night at length came on, but it brought us no respite; for our savage
foes could be seen, by the light from the burning out-buildings, still
hovering in vast numbers round us. Suddenly, too, the granary burst into
flames, making the night almost as bright as the day. It enabled us,
however, to see our foes more clearly, and of this we did not fail to
take advantage. We prudently retained only light enough in the house to
enable us to see our way about; and we were thus comparatively
concealed, while they were exposed to view.

We might have still kept the enemy at bay, had not the other two field
hands both been struck down, in the same manner as their companions. We
were now only six, opposed, as it appeared to us, to several hundred
foes. Still no one dreamed of giving in.

Klitz and Gillooly behaved admirably, and did much to retrieve their
character. They always kept together--Klitz kneeling down to fire, while
Gillooly sprang now on one side, then on the other, of his loophole, as
he fired his rifle through it.

Our position had become very critical; the wind might at any moment
bring the flames of the out-buildings against the house itself, in which
case our fate would be sealed, for it would be almost impossible for us
to extinguish them.

At length, to our relief, the enemy again drew off. From their previous
daring conduct, we could not hope, however, that they intended to raise
the siege; perhaps they only waited to see whether the flames from the
out-buildings would set the house on fire, and thus save them all
further trouble and danger. But the wind, fortunately, continued to blow
up the valley, keeping the flames away from the house.

Uncle Jeff now directed me to go round and give some food to each man.
When I came to him, "Ralph," said he, "go and look into the
ammunition-chest. I have my fears that we are running short of
cartridges!"

I did as directed, and what was my dismay to find that no more than
three rounds remained for each one of us! One of the poor fellows who
had been last hit had been employed in supplying us with cartridges, and
he had omitted to tell Uncle Jeff how short we had run.

"I wish I had let you go, Ralph," he said; "but it cannot be helped now.
We must cut our way out; it is possible that all of us who are alive may
succeed. If the enemy come on again, we must begin blazing away at them
as before; then, when our last shot is expended, we must burst open the
door and dart out. Call Bartle and Gideon, and I will tell them what I
propose doing. You and they are active, and know the country, and if you
can reach the mountains you may get off free; although it will go hard,
I fear, with the two troopers."

His two old followers, on hearing that the ammunition was almost
expended, agreed that it was the only course to pursue with any chance
of saving our lives.

Fortunately there were several swords, and we each of us provided
ourselves with one, and besides this we had a pistol apiece.

"Now, then," said Uncle Jeff, "I propose doing what will look like
deserting you, but in reality it is the best plan for saving your lives.
I am thinking of dressing up a figure, and placing it on Jack's back, so
as to partly cover me when I am mounted; and I will conceal myself by
hanging over along his neck. I will then dash out ahead of you, when the
enemy are certain to direct their fire at me, though I hope that they
will hit the figure instead. You, in the meantime, can make up the
valley; and as you know every inch of the ground, you will soon distance
them. What say you to my proposal, Bartle?"

"It is as good as any I can think of," answered Bartle. "I wish you
would let me ride the horse, though, for I think you run a greater risk
than any of us."

"No, no," answered Uncle Jeff; "although that may be true, it is my duty
to you all. And Jack knows me better than any one else; it won't be his
fault if he doesn't carry me clear."

I at once began to consider how I could make such a figure as would
answer Uncle Jeff's purpose, and as I was of an ingenious turn, I was
not long, with the aid of some pliable laths and some strips of
cow-hide, in making the framework; the arms I formed in the attitude of
holding the reins. The framework once formed, it was quickly clothed in
the costume generally worn by Uncle Jeff; and as I placed it with the
legs over a chair, it was allowed that, on a dark night, it might
deceive those not prepared for the trick to be played upon them.

Jack, who had been busy munching his hay in a corner of the room, was
now saddled, and the figure placed in position, and secured with straps
round the body; while Uncle Jeff himself, stripped to his trousers, hung
over in the attitude he proposed. Looking across the dimly-lighted room,
we could scarcely perceive him.

"That will do," cried Bartle enthusiastically; "it will give you a
better chance of escape, at all events."

We had reason to be thankful that the Indians gave us so long a time for
preparation. The night was now advancing, and any doubts that we might
have entertained as to their having taken their departure were soon
dissipated, for once more showers of fiery arrows came flying over and
against the house--shot, however, from a distance. Several whistled
through the loopholes, but none of us were hit, and these were of course
immediately extinguished.

I was in the upper story, when, looking up, to my dismay I saw a bright
light overhead; the roof had been set on fire. Under other circumstances
we might have attempted to extinguish it; as it was, I ran to tell Uncle
Jeff what had occurred.

"Then the time has come, my lads, when we must cut our way out. God
protect one and all of us. Would that I could help you further."

We shook hands round, and Bartle and Gideon stood by with their axes to
knock away the barricade. Uncle Jeff mounted Jack, and secured the
figure behind him. Some time passed, however, before he gave the word.
The enemy were close at hand, but they were concentrated, as far as we
could judge by the sounds which reached us, on one side of the house,
and Uncle Jeff would be able to pass by them, and thus leave the road
open for us.

A few strokes cleared away the barricade. Uncle Jeff was to dash out
first, Bartle and Gideon were to follow, they understanding that I
should keep between them, while Klitz and Gillooly were to bring up the
rear.

"Now open the door!" cried Uncle Jeff.

Just as he spoke I looked around, and discovered that neither Klitz nor
Gillooly was behind me. What had become of them I could not tell; and
there was no time to consider, for the door was thrown open, and out
dashed Uncle Jeff, directing his course by the path down the valley.

For some seconds he was not observed by the enemy, until he went
clattering away down the steep path at a pace which would have brought
many a steed on his knees. But Jack knew what he was about. Not until
Uncle Jeff found that the enemy had seen him did he utter a sound. He
then gave vent to a loud shout, which rang through the air, echoing from
rock to rock. It had the effect he intended, and drew the attention of
our foes to him. A shower of bullets went whistling through the figure
and on either side of it; still the horse kept on his way uninjured.

[Illustration: A RACE FOR LIFE.]

The Indians, who had their horses tethered below, mounted in haste, and
pushed on in hot chase. But Uncle Jeff was on ahead of them, so, casting
off the straps which bound the figure, he let it fall to the ground,
whilst he, recovering his proper position, turned round, and shaking his
fist at his astonished foes, continued his course at increased speed.

We of course could not see what occurred, but we heard of it
afterwards.



CHAPTER VI.

     WE ARE SURPRISED BY THE INDIANS WHILE LEAVING THE
     HOUSE--BARTLE'S ADVICE--I AM PERSUADED TO ESCAPE ALONE--AN
     EXCITING PURSUIT--FOOD AND REST--MY JOURNEY RESUMED--AMONG THE
     MOUNTAINS--MY ANXIETY ABOUT MY FRIENDS--A WEARY DAY--AN INDIAN
     IN SIGHT--FRIEND OR ENEMY?--A RECOGNITION--WINNEMAK AND HIS
     BRAVES--I AM KINDLY TREATED--NO NEWS OF UNCLE JEFF--A SPY--WE
     START IN PURSUIT OF HIM--THE SPY OVERTAKEN--A DEADLY
     COMBAT--WINNEMAK OVERCOMES PIOMINGO--IS HE DEAD?--MY
     INTERCESSION--ON THE WAY FOR WINNEMAK'S CAMP.


The furious rush made by Uncle Jeff had, as he expected, so distracted
the attention of our numerous enemies surrounding the house, that they
did not at first notice Bartle, Gideon, and me. We were thus able to get
to some distance from the house, and had hopes of escaping altogether
unobserved, when the party who had been concealed in the mill caught
sight of us, and uttering a loud war-whoop, rushed out expecting to take
our scalps. Bartle and Gideon shot down with their pistols two of our
assailants; and I cut down a third, who had sprung before us to stop our
progress. Others soon came on, but we managed to keep them at bay,
although it was too probable that ere long we should be overwhelmed, as
others were coming up from all directions to join the fight. But so
well did my companions wield their swords, that they for some time kept
the enemy back.

"Now, lad," cried Bartle to me, "now is your time; run for it, and you
will get off free! Gideon and I will manage these fellows; never fear,
we will look after ourselves."

I hesitated to desert my faithful friends.

"Go, I say--go, Ralph!" again cried Bartle. "It will make it more
difficult for us to escape if you remain."

It was probable, I saw, that Bartle and Gideon, with their great
strength and activity, might by themselves be able to cut their way
through a host of foes, although with me to protect they might find the
task too great even for them.

"Good-bye, then; I hope we shall meet all right before long," I
exclaimed.

"Never fear, lad," cried Bartle, as I bounded off up the cañon, my rifle
at my back, with three spare cartridges, and my pistol in my belt.

For some seconds the Indians did not observe what I was about, and I
soon had a good start of them. When at length they did catch sight of my
figure, dimly seen in the gloom of early morning, for it was scarcely
yet daylight, several started off in chase. I saw that they were coming,
but I did not stop to count their number. I was well acquainted with
every inch of the ground, which it was not likely that they were, and I
knew I should have abundance of hiding-places between the rocks and
crags, among which I might baffle pursuit. My purpose then was to cross
the torrent at a narrow part where a tree hung over it, and to make to
the northward, where I hoped to join Uncle Jeff and Clarice at
Winnemak's camp.

The Indians, however, had no intention of allowing me to escape. On they
came, uttering loud shrieks and shouts, expecting to strike terror into
my heart, and make me yield. Two or three were in advance of the rest,
and one especially seemed to be gaining on me. I would not willingly
have taken his life, but too probably, should I not stop his progress,
he would take mine. Having reached a rock, I sprang behind it; then
unslinging my rifle, I stepped out and took steady aim at the advancing
foe, who fell back shot through the body. His fall had the effect of
stopping the others, who lifted him up to ascertain if he were dead,
thus affording me time to reload my rifle, and gain several more yards
in advance. I could thus bring down another enemy, if necessary, at a
distance, and still have my pistol and sword to defend myself in a
closer encounter.

I had not forgotten my two brave friends. I only wished that they had
accompanied me, for we might, on the ground I had now reached, have set
a whole host of our enemies at defiance.

I sprang on among the rocks, almost entirely concealed from the view of
my pursuers. Few of them, fortunately, had firearms, although an
occasional ill-aimed bullet whistled over my head, but I had very little
fear of being struck while among the rocks. My great object was to reach
the tree over the torrent before the Indians came up, because I should
be exposed to view when climbing along the trunk.

I dashed on, and mounting the rock still unobserved, reached the root of
the tree. It would be necessary to use great caution as I approached the
further end, as only the more delicate branches hung over the stream,
and should I venture on one incapable of bearing my weight I should fall
into the torrent, which there went roaring by at a fearful rate. This
very circumstance, however, should I succeed, would secure my safety,
as, even should the Indians discover by what means I had crossed, they
would not venture to follow; or if they did, would most probably fall
into the current and be swept away.

I did not stop to ascertain how far off my pursuers were, but, climbing
up on the trunk, I made my way along it--trusting to the uncertainty of
their aim, should any with muskets see me and fire. My great object was
now to discover a bough on which I could depend. I cast my eye along
one, as far as the light would allow, and selected it; then, like a wild
cat about to spring on its prey, I crawled quickly on. There were
several branches below me, which, should the one I was on give way,
would still afford me support, and there were many on either side. The
bough bent with my weight, and as I reached the further end I every
moment expected that it would break. I felt it giving way, cracking
horribly. It broke! I endeavoured to seize another bough--in vain. With
a crash, down I came, but it was to find myself on the opposite bank,
and by making a few springs I reached the upper ground.

On looking back to ascertain if the Indians had found out the way by
which I had crossed, I could see no one, but I caught sight in the
distance of a bright glare, which I was too certain was caused by our
burning house, every part of which by this time must have been in
flames. I did not stop, however, to contemplate the sad scene, but
pushed on as fast as I was able. I could not trust to the Indians not
pursuing me, for I know, when intent on an object, that they will run
every danger rather than abandon it, and the death of their companion
would make them still more eager to kill me than might otherwise have
been the case. On, therefore, I sprang. I could still hear them,
although I believed they had not seen me cross by the tree, or perhaps
even had not discovered the tree itself, as it was concealed by an
intervening rock. I hoped that they would fancy I had taken the way
further up the cañon, and would pursue in that direction. I might
therefore proceed at a less furious pace than I had hitherto been going.
Still, I resolved to leave nothing to chance, but to follow my course
until the Indians had given up the pursuit.

Stopping to listen a moment, I could hear their voices. Again I went on
as fast as before. Now I had a mountain to scale; now to make my way
along its steep side; now to descend into a valley; now to wade across a
stream which threatened to carry me off my legs; now to climb another
height: and so on I went, until I was conscious that my strength was
failing me. At length, completely exhausted, I sank down beneath an
overhanging rock. It afforded me some shelter from the fiery rays of the
sun, which had now risen high in the sky.

I had drunk at a spring on my way, but I again felt painfully thirsty.
Could I obtain some water, I should be greatly relieved; but I was not
likely to find it without further exertion, and of that I was incapable.
I had brought a little food in my wallet, according to Uncle Jeff's
advice before we left the house, and this I believe was the means of
saving my life. Although it was dry, it gave me some strength.

I remained in a sort of stupor, scarcely conscious of what had occurred;
and some hours, I suspect, went by, before I attempted to resume my
journey. I had no desire to spend the night in this exposed part of the
mountains. The scenery around Roaring Water was wild enough, but this
appeared to me wilder still. Lofty broken cliffs rose on either side of
me. So broken and irregular were their fantastic forms, that I could
fancy myself amid the ruins of some Egyptian temple. It seemed to be a
gateway, as it were, to some still wilder or more wonderful region, as
yet unexplored by the foot of man. I had never been thus far before, and
had very just fears, should darkness come on, of losing my way. I
therefore pushed forward as fast as my strength would allow, in the hope
of coming upon water, and kept a sharp look-out in every direction to
find indication of it.

The sun had crossed the mountains, and was sinking towards the west; in
a short time the shadows of their peaks would be thrown over the ground
upon which I was travelling. Stopping for a moment, I heard the sound of
water rushing over a rocky bed, and hurrying forward I found myself
beside a foaming stream. I had, however, to seek for a path by which I
could descend, before I could slake my thirst. At last I got to a place
where, lying at full length, and holding on with one hand by the branch
of a bush, I could lift the water with the other to my mouth. It seemed
impossible to get enough; but at last I felt that I ought to take no
more.

The ground being tolerably practicable along the bank of the stream, I
proceeded in that direction, desirous of reaching a lower region before
nightfall; and as I went along I resolved to seek for some bushes or an
overhanging rock, under which to take shelter for the night.

I had now very little fear of being overtaken; indeed, the Indians would
probably have lost my trail in the streams I had crossed, while the
rocky nature of the ground would scarcely bear marks sufficient for even
their acute eyes to discover. I knew that as yet I could not be abreast
of Winnemak's camp, and, indeed, that across the mountains it would
probably take me two or three days to reach it. Still I felt that it
would be prudent, in case the Indians should be scouring the country in
the plains, to keep to the mountains for another whole day or so.

[Illustration: THE MOUNTAIN PASS.]

Just at dusk I saw a spot at which, from the appearance of the water, I
judged that I could cross the torrent. "I will put that, at all events,
between myself and my enemies, should they be pursuing me," I thought,
and without further hesitation I waded towards the opposite shore. The
water rose higher and higher. I had, I feared, been deceived by the
light, and might have to swim for it. The danger of this was, that I
might lose my rifle, and wet my pistol and ammunition. Very thankful,
therefore, was I when the water again shallowed; and, keeping my feet in
spite of the rush against my legs, I at last got to the bank to which I
was directing my course.

I now continued down the stream until I reached a rock which almost
overhung it, with bushes on either side. This, I saw, would afford me as
secure a resting-place as I could expect to find. I accordingly resolved
to stop; and having examined the locality on the further side, in case I
should have to beat a retreat, I sat down and took some food, of which I
still had a small portion left. The air was tolerably warm, and,
fatigued as I was, I should under ordinary circumstances have slumbered
soundly; but as it was I felt very little inclination to sleep. I was
too anxious about Uncle Jeff, and Bartle, and Gideon. Had Uncle Jeff
escaped the bullets of the enemy; and had the others managed to cut
their way through the horde of savages? The white men in company with
the Redskins, I looked upon as no better than they were. What, too, had
become of the German and the Irishman? Had they, afraid of fighting in
the open, remained in the house, and fallen victims to the flames? Such,
indeed, must have been the fate of the poor wounded fellows left in the
house. My only satisfaction was, that we had done all that men could do,
and that we could not have saved their lives, although we should, to a
certainty, have sacrificed our own had we made the attempt. Still I had
an idea that Barney and Klitz had some plan of their own for escaping,
and that they might turn up some day or other. I half expected to find
that Bartle and Gideon had followed me, and I looked out eagerly, hoping
to see them. How far I had come I could not exactly calculate, but I
knew that, at the rate I had been moving, it must be a considerable
distance.

At length, overcome by fatigue, I fell asleep, trusting that He by whom
I had been mercifully preserved would watch over me. When I at last
awoke, daylight was glancing across the foaming waters, the only sound I
heard being that of their roar as they rushed over their rocky bed
towards the valley below. I knelt down and prayed, as I had been
accustomed to do from my childhood; and then, before resuming my
journey, I took some of the scanty remains of the food I had brought
with me, which I washed down with a draught from the stream.

Finding a practicable path to the left over the mountains, I followed
it, still resolved not to trust myself in the neighbourhood of our foes.
They could not have travelled over the mountains by night, but they
might take it into their heads to follow me by day, and it would be
unwise to linger. I did not slacken my speed, either, for if they did
come they would move as fast as I could, and I might be overtaken. I
stopped only occasionally, to eat a little food and to take a draught of
water, of which I now found abundance by the way.

I cannot fully describe the events of that day. On and on I went, like a
deer chased by the hunters. Sometimes I would fancy that I heard the
war-whoops of the Indians behind me; at others the sounds which I
conjured up appeared to be uttered by Bartle or Gideon. I would stop to
listen, but only the roar of some distant waterfall or the murmur of a
nearer rapid struck my ear. Or now and again I heard the cry of some
bird of prey, as it swooped down from its lofty eyrie towards the
carcass which it had espied far off on the plain below.

Again I was becoming faint with my exertions, and my food was exhausted.
Whenever I stopped to rest, too, my mind dwelt upon the fearful scenes I
had witnessed, and the fate of my friends. I was not altogether free
from anxiety about Clarice, either. Brave and trustworthy as was my
friend Manley, his party might have been pursued and overpowered by the
savages, and my fair young sister might have been carried away into
captivity, to suffer worse than death. To succumb, however, would have
been unmanly. Although fatigued in body and anxious in mind, I had still
sufficient physical strength to pursue my way.

The day was advancing, and I determined to strike down into the plains,
where, at all events, I could make more rapid progress than over the
rough ground I had been traversing. I accordingly directed my course, as
I believed, to the eastward; but still hill beyond hill appeared, and it
seemed as if I should never reach the more level ground. Still on and on
I went, until at length I gained a height from whence, looking down, I
saw that the prairie stretched out in the far distance before me.

I was descending at as rapid a rate as the ground would allow, when I
caught sight, in the approaching gloom of evening, of the figure of a
man. The person, whoever he was, had seen me as I appeared on the top of
a rock exposed against the sky, and was coming towards me. To avoid him
was impossible, so I got my weapons ready for an encounter, should he
prove to be an enemy. Although he must have seen I held my rifle in my
hand, he advanced without hesitation.

"What! do you not know me?" he exclaimed, when he got nearer. "I am
Winnemak, the friend of the Palefaces; although, alas! with but little
power to assist them. You, however, I can aid, for I see you are weary
and hungry. Come with me to where a few of my braves are encamped--but
few, alas! the rest are killed or dispersed. We were on our way to the
northward, where our squaws, children, and old men are encamped, when I
caught sight of you as you came down the mountain, and I knew at once
that you were flying from the Arrapahas."

This information explained Winnemak's unexpected appearance. Aided by
him, I continued the descent of the mountain, although I believe without
his support I could have gone no farther. He then told me all that had
occurred.

Having visited Roaring Water and warned Uncle Jeff of the attack he knew
would be made on the farm, he returned to where he had left his
warriors, resolved to make a diversion in our favour, as he had
promised. He had attacked the Arrapahas with much determination, but,
overwhelmed by numbers, he had been driven back, with the loss of many
of his followers. Having in vain attempted to reach the farm, he had
stationed a band of his best warriors to afford us support should we
have deserted the house, or attempted afterwards to cut our way out of
it.

I was much disappointed to find that he could give me no information
about Uncle Jeff, or about any of our friends; he was not even aware
that Clarice had gone to join his daughter at the camp. He expressed his
satisfaction at hearing that she had escaped the fate which had, he
supposed, befallen all the inmates of the farm.

He now conducted me to his temporary camp, where we found a few of his
warriors reclining on the ground. Several of them were wounded, and all
looked weary and disheartened. They had, however, succeeded in killing a
deer, and food was abundant. I was thankful to get a substantial meal,
after which I lay down with the rest by the side of the stream, to
obtain the sleep I so much needed.

A few skins had been stretched over some poles to afford shelter to the
wounded, who required it more than the rest of us.

I had been asleep for several hours, when, suddenly awaking, I happened
to turn my eyes across the stream, and saw, partly concealed by the
brushwood, the figure of an Indian stooping down and apparently watching
us. My first impulse was to jump up and present my rifle at him. I had,
indeed, made some slight movement, when I felt a hand placed upon my
arm. It was that of Winnemak.

"Hush!" he whispered. "I see the spy, and can kill him if I wish; but it
is important to take him alive, to learn what he is about."

I observed, as he spoke, that he was freeing himself of such parts of
his dress as might impede his progress, and that he was gradually
creeping nearer and nearer to the edge of the stream. Being in the
shade, he could not be seen by the stranger. Presently Winnemak rose to
his feet, and making a spring, almost cleared the stream. With a few
bounds he was on the opposite bank.

The spy saw him coming, and finding that he was discovered, rose from
his recumbent position. He, too, was fleet of foot, and lightly clad.
Away he rushed towards the level prairie; perhaps he expected to find
friends there, or had his horse staked in that direction, near some wood
or copse.

[Illustration: A SPY ON THE WATCH.]

As soon as I perceived what Winnemak was about, I too sprang up, as did
several Indians, but as they were all worn out with fatigue they were
soon left behind. Being a good runner, I kept pace with the chief,
although still at a considerable distance behind him, as he had had the
start of me.

Day was just breaking, and there being no objects to impede the rays of
the sun as it approached the horizon, the light rapidly increased.
Although I had, at first, lost sight of Winnemak, I soon again saw him,
with the man he was pursuing at no great distance in front.

On the two went. Neither of them being armed, the fight was not likely
to be a bloody one; still it was evident that Winnemak attached great
importance to the capture of the spy. Perhaps he suspected who he was;
and he evidently entertained a bitter animosity against him. I could not
have supposed that he would have exhibited so much activity, judging
from his appearance when clothed in his usual robes. Although he
appeared to be a strong, muscular man, the other Indian, from his
movements, was evidently young and active. How he had ventured to
approach the camp without being armed, was a mystery. He could not, at
all events, have intended to injure any one, or he would have come with
his bow and arrows. As the light rapidly increased, and I saw him more
clearly than at first, it struck me that he was the young brave,
Piomingo, who had lately paid us a visit at the farm; but of this,
seeing him at the distance he was from me, I could not be certain.

The chase promised to be a far longer one than I had expected. The
stranger seemed as resolved to escape as Winnemak was to overtake him.
Few people, Indians or whites, except after long training, could have
continued running so fast and for so long a period as did the spy and
Winnemak.

I had the greatest difficulty in keeping near them; and, indeed, I had
begun to fall behind, when I saw in front of me a broad piece of water.
The fugitive saw it too, but had he turned either to the right or to the
left it would have given an advantage to his pursuer; he therefore kept
straight on.

His efforts to escape were vain. As he approached the bank the ground
became so soft that his feet sunk deep into it at every step. He
discovered, too late, his mistake. Springing back, he attempted to make
his way to the right; but in doing so he fell. Recovering himself,
however, he sprang back on to the firm ground; but seeing that escape by
flight was no longer possible, he turned round and boldly faced his
pursuer. At the same instant a wild swan, rising from the water, flew
off with a loud cry. It might have been taken for the death-wail of one
of the combatants. Like a couple of wild beasts, the two Indians rushed
at each other, and the next instant they were clasped in a deadly
embrace. A desperate struggle ensued. It was youth and activity opposed
to well-knit muscles and firm nerves.

Fierce was the contest. The young man attempted to free himself from the
grasp of his opponent; now they strove to seize each other by the
throat; now his antagonist bore back the chief by making a desperate
spring as his feet for a moment touched the ground; but if the older man
allowed himself to retreat, it was only for the purpose of wearing out
the strength of the younger, which he knew would soon be exhausted.

[Illustration: A DEADLY EMBRACE.]

Winnemak now seized one of his antagonist's arms, and with a movement as
quick as thought threw him on his back across his own knee; then
pressing him down, it appeared to me that he intended to break his
spine. A fearful shriek, wrung from him by the agony he was suffering,
escaped the lips of the young brave; his eyes closed--the struggle was
over. Still Winnemak did not let go his victim, but gazing fiercely down
on his countenance until all appearance of life had ceased, he hurled
the body to the ground. As he did so he exclaimed, "Stay there! You have
betrayed me once; you would have stolen my daughter; you will no longer
have the power to follow your evil practices."

The combat was over as I reached the place.

"Is he dead?" I asked, as I gazed down on the face of the vanquished
brave.

"He will die," answered Winnemak; "but he still breathes."

"But I thought you wished to gain information from him?" I observed,
feeling anxious to preserve the life of the poor wretch.

"I did; but now I would rather enjoy the pleasure of seeing him die."

"That is not the way we Palefaces treat a fallen enemy," I remarked.
"You must not be displeased at what I say,--I would ask you to allow me
to have him brought into the camp. At all events, for the present he
can do no further harm, and he may wish to show his gratitude to those
who have preserved his life."

"Do as you please," said the chief, after a moment's consideration.

I got some water from the lake,--finding a hard place by which I could
approach it,--and threw it over the face of the fallen man, who had, I
perceived, merely fainted from the excruciating pain he was suffering.
He at length opened his eyes, and seemed to recognize me. It was
Piomingo. The chief, I noticed, stood by, watching every movement of his
late antagonist. I raised Piomingo's head, and was thankful to find that
he now began to breathe more freely.

"Take care," said the chief. "He intends acting the part of the cunning
fox, and will yet make an effort to escape."

Piomingo turned his eyes towards the speaker, apparently understanding
him.

I was still making every effort to restore him, when several of
Winnemak's followers came up.

"Then you grant my request?" I said, turning to the chief.

"I will not refuse you!" he answered; "but he will not thank you for the
mercy you wish to show him."

I begged the Indians to assist me in carrying the injured man back to
the camp, and the chief bade them do as I desired. Obtaining some poles
from a copse which grew near, they quickly formed a litter, upon which
they bore him back to the spot from which we had started. Not a groan
escaped him, although I suspected, from the expression of his
countenance, that he was suffering greatly. On arriving at the camp, in
spite of my representations the chief ordered that his legs should be
bound together, and that one of his hands should be fastened to a tree,
so that he would be unable to escape.

Those who had remained in camp had prepared breakfast, to which even the
wounded did ample justice. I took some food to the prisoner, who in a
short time was able to swallow a little.

After some persuasion from me, and the promise of a reward, four of the
Indians undertook to carry their captive to the camp of Winnemak, to
which we were bound; it was very evident that otherwise he must have
been left to die miserably, as he was quite unable to walk. Three of the
wounded men had also to be carried, so that we formed a mournful-looking
party, as, shortly after our meal was finished, we commenced our march.



CHAPTER VII.

     ON THE MARCH--WINNEMAK UNABLE TO GIVE ME NEWS OF MY FRIENDS--MY
     ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF PIOMINGO--ENCAMPED FOR THE NIGHT--WE
     REACH WINNEMAK'S CAMP--BRAVES AND SQUAWS--WHERE ARE MY
     FRIENDS?--WINNEMAK AND HIS IDOLS--A PARTY OF BRAVES ARRIVE,
     WITH PRISONERS--MAYSOTTA AND HER DOG--A STRANGE MEETING--THE
     LIEUTENANT'S STORY--WE START IN QUEST OF CLARICE AND RACHEL--A
     FRUITLESS SEARCH--I LOSE MY FRIEND IN THE FOREST--TRYING TO
     REGAIN THE RIGHT PATH, I MEET WITH CLARICE AND MAYSOTTA--MY
     SISTER'S STORY--I TELL HER OF THE BURNING OF THE FARM--WE SET
     OUT FOR THE CAMP, AND MEET WITH THE LIEUTENANT--NIGHT COMING
     ON, WE ENCAMP IN THE FOREST--RESUMING OUR JOURNEY IN THE
     MORNING, WE REACH THE CAMP IN SAFETY.


As we proceeded on our journey, I walked alongside the chief,
endeavouring to gain from him all the information I could. I was
surprised that he had not fallen in with Uncle Jeff, and that he had
seen nothing of Lieutenant Broadstreet and Clarice. I supposed that he
or his people would certainly have met them on their way to his camp.
Winnemak could only account for it by supposing that they had made a
detour to avoid some party of the enemy.

"But might they not, then, have been surprised and overcome?" I asked,
with much agitation.

"Not if they faced them with a bold front, or kept a proper watch at
night," he answered. "Those Arrapahas are cowardly; they will only
attack their enemies when they feel secure in their numbers, or can take
them by surprise."

"They fought bravely enough when they assaulted Uncle Jeff's farm," I
observed. "I should not have called them cowards."

"They had white men with them--and only the bravest of their warriors
took part in the fight," he replied.

I could only trust that Winnemak was right in his conjecture, and that
we should find Clarice and her escort at the camp. With regard to Uncle
Jeff, I was still more anxious, and I began to fear that,
notwithstanding his clever trick, he might not have escaped the bullets
and arrows of his pursuers; or his horse might have fallen, and he have
been taken prisoner. Altogether, my state of mind may be better imagined
than described; still, always hopeful, I continued to hope, in spite of
the appearance of things, that they would all turn up right at last.

I spoke to the chief on another subject. I was not altogether satisfied
as to the way in which he intended to treat his prisoner, and he did not
seem at all disposed to enlighten me. I told him how white men always
fed their prisoners, and took good care of the wounded; and when war was
over, set them free to return to their homes.

"The ways of the Palefaces are not those of the Redskins," he answered
evasively. "Piomingo must be treated according to our customs; and my
braves would complain were I to set him free to commit more mischief."

I pleaded for the poor wretch that he had not done us any injury as yet;
that though he had been watching the camp, we could not tell that he had
any sinister object in doing so; and that, as his life had been
preserved, it would be barbarous to take it afterwards.

The chief heard me very patiently, but he was evidently unmoved by all
my arguments.

I now and then went up and spoke to the poor prisoner, who, I suspected,
was still suffering great pain, although Indian fortitude forbade him to
give expression to his feelings. I urged his bearers, in the few words I
could speak of their language, and by signs, to carry him carefully, for
they were inclined to treat him as they would a deer or any other animal
they might have shot. I saw the prisoner's eyes turned towards me, but
he in no way expressed any gratitude for the service I desired to render
him.

Winnemak was all this time keeping a look-out on every side; while
several of his men were acting as scouts, so as to give us timely notice
of danger.

At night we encamped as before, keeping a strict watch; while the
prisoner was bound in a way which would have rendered it difficult for
him to escape even had he possessed strength enough to run off. Our camp
being pitched in a sheltered position, we lighted a fire, which even at
that time of the year was pleasant, if not absolutely necessary; and
there was but slight risk of its position betraying our presence to any
passing foe.

[Illustration: WINNEMAK'S CAMP.]

The next morning we proceeded as before; and I was thankful when at
length, just as evening was approaching, the chief told me that we were
not far from the camp. I looked out eagerly ahead for the first sight of
it, for I hoped to meet Clarice and Uncle Jeff there, and to have my
anxiety at last set at rest.

The sun was just tinging the southern side of the snowy mountains on our
left, ere it sank below them, when I caught sight of the wigwams of the
Kaskaskias, on the slopes of a pine-covered hill. The camp as we drew
near did not present a very attractive appearance. The wigwams were such
as are only used in summer--a few poles, covered with buffalo hides, or
deer skins, more to afford shelter from the heat of the sun, or from a
downfall of rain, than protection from the cold. A number of squaws were
seated about, some inside the tents nursing pappooses, others tending
large pots of broth boiling over fires. A few braves were standing
about, and others looking after the horses of the tribe, which they had
apparently just driven in from pasture; while a pack of dogs, the most
ill-favoured of mongrels ever seen, were squatted about, watching for
the offal which might be thrown to them, or ready to rush in and seize
any of the meat which might for a moment be left unguarded.

The women, continued at their various employments, but the braves, as we
approached, advanced to meet us. The chief halted and addressed them,
but I could not follow him. I judged, however, by the intonations of his
voice, that he was telling them of his defeat, and the loss of so many
of their people. Meantime, I was looking about eagerly for signs of
Clarice, Uncle Jeff, and Manley, but nowhere could I see any. Still, I
knew it would be contrary to Indian etiquette to interrupt the chief by
inquiring for them.

On hearing of the various disasters which had occurred, the men showed
but little emotion. The chief, I observed, now pointed to his prisoner,
by which I feared the worst for poor Piomingo.

As soon as I could venture to address the braves, I inquired for Clarice
and the officer; and great was my dismay to find that they had not
arrived at the camp, nor had Uncle Jeff appeared.

The chief now asked for his daughter.

Maysotta had gone out hunting with her favourite dog Keokuk. There was
no danger of any harm befalling her while she had so good an attendant,
as Keokuk knew when a foe was within a mile or so, and would give her
ample warning; as he would were deer, buffalo, bears, or wolves within
the same distance.

The chief, seeing my disappointment, endeavoured to console me by saying
that perhaps my friends had missed the camp altogether, and had gone on,
and that probably we should soon hear of them; a party of his braves
were still out on an expedition, and they perhaps had fallen in with
Clarice or Uncle Jeff.

No news was received during the night, but, in spite of my anxiety, I
was glad to lie down in a corner of the chief's tent and obtain some
rest, of which I stood greatly in need. During our journey, when we
might at any moment have been attacked by an enemy, I had only slept at
intervals.

I had been for some hours, I fancy, fast asleep, when I was awakened by
a movement made by the chief, who had been lying near by me, wrapped in
his buffalo robe. By the light of the moon, which streamed in through
the unclosed entrance, I saw him get up and leave the tent.

Influenced by a motive for which I cannot now account, I rose and
followed him. My belief is that I was scarcely awake; indeed, I walked
along like a person in a dream. He at once left the camp, and took the
way down to the lower and open ground. I was at some distance behind
him, so he did not hear my footsteps.

After walking for a quarter of an hour or more, I found myself in the
midst of an Indian burial-ground, which I recognized by the number of
small platforms, raised on posts and thatched over, rising in all
directions. Besides the platforms, I observed several strange-looking
figures fixed to the top of tall poles, and composed, as far as I could
judge, of bits of coloured rags and skins, which fluttered in a weird
fashion in the night breeze.

The chief stopped before a couple of these fantastic-looking objects,
and, with folded arms, gazed up at them, uttering some words which I was
too far off to hear distinctly, though the sound of his voice reached my
ears. He was praying,--of that I could have no doubt,--and these
trumpery scarecrows were his idols. I could not have supposed that a man
of good sense, as he appeared to be, could be the victim of a
superstition so gross and contemptible.

He continued standing for some time, making various signs, and uttering
words as before.

Unwilling to be discovered, now that I was fully awake, I was on the
point of retreating, when the sound of my footfall reached his ears, and
turning round he saw me. I did not wish that he should fancy I was
afraid of encountering him, so I at once advanced, and told him frankly
how I came to follow him. I assured him, also, that I had had no
intention of acting as a spy on his movements. As he appeared to be in
no way displeased, I asked him, while we were walking back to the camp,
whether he had really been worshipping the figures I had seen.

"Why not?" he inquired in a serious tone. "The times are full of danger
and difficulty, and I wished to obtain the protection and support of the
guardian spirits of our people. If I did not ask them, how could I
expect them to grant me what I want? While I was staying at Roaring
Water, I heard your uncle pray to your gods; and I suppose that you
expected them to give you what you asked for."

I tried to explain to him that there is but one God, the Great Spirit of
whom his people knew, though they were sadly ignorant of his character;
and that we never prayed to inferior beings, as our God would not allow
us to do so. Much more I said, though at the time with little effect;
indeed, the chief was as deeply sunk in the grossest superstition as are
the Indian tribes among whom the gospel light has not yet shone.

[Illustration: WINNEMAK AND HIS IDOLS.]

On reaching his tent, he bade me lie down again, observing that he would
talk over the matter another day.

The next morning I was surprised to find that Maysotta had not returned.
Still, her father appeared to feel no anxiety about her.

The sun had been up a couple of hours or so when I heard shouts in the
camp, and the chief with all his braves hurried out. They went to
welcome the return of a party of their warriors, who marched in singing
and shouting,--the leading men having three or four scalps at the end of
their spears, while among them were dragged three or four unfortunate
Arrapahas, whom they had captured, and who were, according to the Indian
custom, to be put to death. Among them, to my surprise and horror, was a
young squaw, who, if not beautiful according to my taste, was certainly
interesting-looking. She bore herself with as much fortitude,
apparently, as the men, although she knew that her fate would be the
same as theirs.

The chief had said nothing to me about Piomingo, and I now felt
satisfied that it was the intention of his people to sacrifice him with
the rest of the prisoners. I resolved, however, to plead for him, as
well as for them, and make special endeavours to save the life of the
young squaw. According to the savage Indian custom, she would be
barbarously tortured before being put to death. It seems strange that
human beings can take a pleasure in thus treating their
fellow-creatures; it shows how debased, how diabolically cruel, men can
become when they have once gone away from God. At present, however, the
braves were too much occupied in recounting their deeds of valour to
think of their prisoners, who were left bound, and guarded with
lynx-eyed watchfulness by some of the old squaws.

I found that this was only one of the parties of braves, and that
another was expected shortly with more prisoners. As far as I could
understand, these prisoners were said to be white men; but I concluded
that they were some of the Mexican outlaws who had accompanied the
Arrapahas on their marauding expedition.

While looking out for them, I saw a solitary figure, rifle in hand,
approaching the camp, whom I recognized as Maysotta, accompanied by her
dog Keokuk. I hastened to meet her, and told her of my anxiety at the
non-appearance of Clarice.

"If they do not come, I will go in search of them," she said.

She had killed a deer, so she sent off some of her people, under the
guidance of Keokuk, to bring it in. Her dog would, she said, lead them
to the spot.

Shortly afterwards, the second band, who were expected, made their
appearance in the distance, and, as before, the warriors hurried out to
meet them.

I was still talking to Maysotta, when I saw her look towards the
approaching party, and an expression of astonishment take possession of
her countenance.

"What have our braves been doing?" she said. "They have made a prisoner
of our friend the young white chief."

As she spoke, I looked in the same direction, and I too was greatly
astonished, and also much alarmed, at seeing Lieutenant Broadstreet,
with his arms tied behind him, in the midst of the warriors--his two
troopers following, closely guarded.

"What can have happened?" I exclaimed. "What can have become of Clarice
and Rachel? My dear sister! some accident must have befallen her."

"I will learn what has happened," said Maysotta.

I hurried to Winnemak, and explained that his people had made prisoners
of those who were on their way to visit his camp.

He thought I was mistaken; but I assured him that I was not, and that
his daughter would corroborate my statement. On hearing this he ordered
the prisoners to be brought forward, when, at once recognizing the
lieutenant and the two troopers, he ordered them to be set at liberty.

Hurrying up to my friend, I eagerly inquired for Clarice and her
attendant.

His emotion would scarcely allow him to reply. He seemed dreadfully cast
down, as well as weak and faint from want of food.

"We had encamped two nights ago," he said, "in a secure spot, as I
supposed, and were in hopes the next day of reaching our destination,
when just at dusk I saw a band of Indians approaching. To prevent them
coming near, I ordered my men to mount and ride forward, while your
sister and Rachel remained, as I hoped, concealed from view. The Indians
retreated to some distance, and I was induced to follow. They then
halted and made signs of friendship, which tempted me to go still
nearer. Suddenly, however, as I was about to inquire who they were, and
where they were going, they set upon me and my men, without the
slightest warning, and before we could even draw our swords or pistols
we were dragged from our horses, and our arms bound behind us. At first
I thought that our captors must be Arrapahas; but looking again at their
costume, I was sure that they were Kaskaskias, belonging to a friendly
tribe. In vain I expostulated, and tried to explain who we were; but
they did not understand me, mistaking us, I believe, for some of the
Mexicans who had accompanied the Arrapahas; at all events, we were
dragged ignominiously along, neither food nor water being given us."

I at once told the chief what the lieutenant had said. He was very
indignant with his people, but explained that the whole had happened by
mistake.

Our first thought, of course, was to discover Clarice and Rachel. The
lieutenant himself was eager to start immediately, but he was evidently
too weak for the undertaking, and was at once led to the chief's tent,
where Maysotta hurried to attend on him, while some of the older squaws
took care of his two troopers.

[Illustration: MAYSOTTA AND THE LIEUTENANT.]

Maysotta immediately brought him food and water. "Eat," she said; "the
'Fair Lily' is my friend as well as yours; I am as anxious as you are to
find her. As soon as you are rested we will set out. Were you to go now,
you would faint by the way."

I was standing outside the entrance to the tent while Maysotta was
speaking to the lieutenant, and it struck me, from her looks and tone of
voice, that she felt a warm interest in the young lieutenant, which
might, I feared, prove inconvenient, if it had not worse consequences.

I was watching the Indians, who, having lost their white prisoners, had
now brought forward their Redskin captives, and were dancing a horrible
war-dance round them. Their appearance on ordinary occasions was
somewhat savage, but they looked ten times more savage now, as they
shrieked, and leaped, and tossed their arms and legs about, and went
round and round, flourishing their tomahawks, and jeering at the
unfortunate people in their midst. The latter, knowing that they would
not yet be sacrificed, sat in perfect silence, without exhibiting any
emotion, and bearing patiently the insults heaped upon them.

I had not abandoned my idea of pleading for the unhappy prisoners, but
at this time I was thinking more of Clarice, and the means of recovering
her; still, should I go away, I feared that the prisoners might be put
to death during my absence. Having seen that the horses of my white
friends were turned out on a pasture close at hand, where they could get
abundance of grass, I went to the chief and asked him whether he wished
to be on friendly terms with the Palefaces?

He said that he certainly did--it was his greatest ambition.

"Then," I replied, "you must live as they do, and imitate their customs.
I have told you before, that we do not torture or otherwise injure our
prisoners, and that it is our duty to forgive our enemies, and to do
them good. Now I want you to promise me that no one shall suffer while I
am away."

The chief could not make up his mind to yield, but I urged him again and
again, and at last I hoped, from what he said, that he would do as I
wished.

The lieutenant was now sufficiently recovered to mount his horse, and,
followed by his two troopers, he and I set off in search of Clarice.
None of the Indians, however, offered to accompany us, nor did Maysotta,
as I thought she would have done; but I found that she had left the camp
with her dog and rifle before we started. It was her custom, I
discovered, to act in a very independent manner on all occasions, her
father never interfering with her.

We pushed forward at as rapid a rate as we could make our horses move;
but the ground was at first too rough to allow us to proceed as fast as
we wished. When we got to the plain we gave our steeds the rein.

Judging from the report of Winnemak's people who last came in, we had
not much risk of encountering any of our foes; indeed, our whole
thoughts were entirely occupied by Clarice and Rachel. Had they waited
quietly the return of their escort; or had any hostile Indians
discovered them, and carried them off as captives? The idea of such an
occurrence as that was too horrible to be contemplated. Perhaps they
might have caught and mounted their horses, and set off to try and find
their way to the camp. In that case we might possibly meet them, and as
we rode along we kept a strict look-out on every side.

"Can they possibly have passed us?" I inquired of my companions.

"I do not see how that can be, unless they should have gone very much
out of their way; and I remember having pointed out to your sister the
position of the Indian camp, so that she would know how to direct her
course," answered Manley. "The peculiar form of the mountains above it
would be sufficient to guide her."

After all, we felt that there was but little use in talking about the
matter, or in surmising what might have happened--though, of course, we
did talk on without ceasing.

We at last approached the spot where Manley had left Clarice and her
companion. Should we not find them there, we must endeavour to follow
their trail; and when I thought of the possibility of having to do this,
I regretted not having endeavoured to induce an Indian to accompany us.

"There is the place," said Manley, at length; "but I see no smoke, and
had they remained they would certainly have kept up a fire."

We rode forward eagerly; but our fears were realized. The ashes of the
fire at the camp were there, but the fire itself had long been
extinguished.

Clarice and Rachel must have left the spot some time before!

We searched about in every direction, but could find no traces of their
having been there lately, and our eyes were not sufficiently sharp to
distinguish the signs which would have enabled an Indian to say in what
direction they had gone. We next looked out for their horses, but they
were nowhere within sight.

Some time was thus spent, and the day was drawing to a close. Should we
not find them before nightfall, we must wait until the next morning. To
have to do this was trying in the extreme, but we had to submit, as it
was so dark that we could with difficulty see our way as we returned to
the deserted camp. My poor friend Manley was dreadfully out of spirits,
but I assured him that he had no reason to blame himself. He had acted
for the best, and no man could do more.

The next morning we resumed our search; but without success. We were
both of us in despair.

"They must have taken their horses and ridden off towards the mountains;
it is useless searching for them here any longer," I said.

Manley agreed with me, and, believing that they must have gone on to the
camp by a different route from the one we had taken, he was eager to
return.

He and his men had pushed ahead through the forest while I stopped to
tighten the girths of my saddle; and when I rode forward, expecting
immediately to overtake them, I found that I had followed a different
direction from that which they had taken.

It is no easy matter, in a thick forest, to regain the right path, or to
get up with those who have once been lost sight of. I found it to be so
in the present instance. I was sure that I could not be going very far
wrong, and expected as soon as I reached the edge of the forest to see
my friends, although they might have got some little way ahead on the
open ground.

As I was riding on, I fancied that I heard the bark of a dog. I
listened, and again heard the same sound. I was now certain that the
animal was not far off. To whom could it belong? The dog was not likely
to be wandering by itself in the forest. I rode in the direction from
whence the sound proceeded, and in a short time reached a somewhat more
open part of the forest. Great was my surprise and joy to see my dear
little sister Clarice, leaning on the arm of Maysotta, who carried her
rifle in her hand, while Keokuk ran beside her.

Leaping from my horse, I sprang towards Clarice, who threw her arms
round my neck, exclaiming, "O Ralph, I am so thankful to see you! I have
been in a dreadful state of alarm and anxiety, thinking that Manley--I
mean Lieutenant Broadstreet--and his men had been killed. Maysotta has
somewhat relieved my mind. But where is he? Has he been unable to come
and look for me?"

The assurance I gave that Manley was well, and not far off, soon
restored Clarice to her usual composure.

Having no longer any fears about Manley's safety, she was able to answer
the questions I put to her. After telling me how the lieutenant and his
men had ridden off to meet the Indians, she continued:--

"We were sitting before the fire awaiting their return, when what was
our dismay to see two huge wolves approaching the camp, followed by a
number of cubs! Our first impulse was to fly; and while the wolves
stopped to eat up our provisions, we were able to escape to a distance.
We took refuge in the hollow of a tree, which afforded us sufficient
shelter, and the aperture being some way up, we felt sure the wolves
could not make their way in. But Maysotta has been telling me that
something dreadful has happened, though I cannot make out what she
means."

"I will tell you all about that by-and-by," I answered; "but I am eager
to know how Maysotta managed to find you."

"As soon as we thought that the wolves had gone from our camp, Rachel
went to see if anything had been left; but the savage creatures had
carried off everything, and at the same time frightened away our horses
and mules, and they were nowhere to be seen. We remained in the tree for
some time, and I do not think anybody would have found us. Then Rachel
went away to try and get some berries and roots. She had not been long
absent when I heard a dog barking, and looking out through a small hole
in the hollow trunk, I saw Maysotta approaching. I therefore stepped out
of my place of concealment; and Maysotta, who was delighted to find me,
said that she had come out expressly to search for us, and would take us
immediately to the camp. Of course, I could not go without Rachel, and
we are now on our way to look for her, as she cannot be far off."

[Illustration: FOUND AT LAST!]

"Keokuk will find her," said Maysotta, patting her dog on the head, and
saying a few words to him.

Away he started, and in a short time we heard him barking loudly.
Maysotta, leaving Clarice with me, hurried on, and in a few minutes we
saw her approach, guiding Rachel towards us.

Rachel's joy on seeing me was so demonstrative, that I scarcely liked to
tell her or my sister of the destruction of the farm. However, it had to
be done, and I related all that had taken place. As I proceeded, Rachel
gave full vent to her grief, whilst my sister betrayed the sorrow she
felt by her tearful and troubled countenance. Rachel wrung her hands and
burst into tears, which her own previous perilous position had not been
able to draw from her.

"De farm burned!" she exclaimed; "oh dear! oh dear! And what become of
Jenny, Nancy, Polly, and all de oder cows, and de pigs and de poultry?
And Uncle Jeff, what he do; and Bartle and Gideon?"

I consoled her somewhat by saying that I thought it possible all three
had escaped, and that even the cows and pigs might have got away, either
into the woods or among the hills.

On hearing this she became somewhat more tranquil, and was able to chat
away in her usual style.

We now prepared to set out for the camp. I thought it probable, on
account of the delay, that we might not overtake Manley, although I
specially wished to do so, in order to put an end to his anxiety. It
was, of course, important to recover the horses and baggage-mules, and
Maysotta proposed that she should conduct us to the edge of the forest,
where we could remain while she, with Keokuk, searched for the
animals,--expressing, at the same time, her confidence of success.

Having placed Clarice on my horse, I led the animal by the rein till we
reached the spot proposed. We looked out to the westward for Manley and
his troopers, and were greatly disappointed at not seeing them. So, I
suspect, was Clarice. We had not, however, waited long until I caught
sight of three horsemen. They came rapidly on, and to my great
satisfaction I distinguished our friends. On observing us they put spurs
to their horses, and the lieutenant galloped forward.

Clarice met him with a sweet smile.

"I felt very sure that you had not willingly deserted us," she answered,
when, in an agitated voice, Manley told her of the anguish of his mind
at finding himself a prisoner in the hands of the Indians, leaving her
unprotected in the forest.

As we could not tell how long Maysotta might be absent, we lighted a
fire and cooked some provisions, of which both Clarice and Rachel stood
greatly in need. The Indian damsel, however, had been so confident
about finding the horses, that I was not surprised to see Keokuk driving
them towards us, a short time before sunset.

Maysotta expressed her satisfaction at finding the young white chief, as
she called Manley, and his men with us. "As it is now too late to set
off to-night," she said, "we must remain here. There are water and grass
near at hand; and if your men will do as I direct them, we will quickly
put up a wigwam for Clarice, the black woman, and me."

Manley and I offered to act under her directions; but, except that we
cut some rough sticks, and transported some bark, she really gave us
very little to do,--performing nearly the whole of the architectural
operations with her own hands.

I was thankful that Clarice would thus have shelter, and be able to
obtain the rest which she so much required.

Maysotta had shot several small animals, and these, with the provisions
we had brought, afforded us an abundant supper.

The night was passed without any interruption, and early the next
morning we set off for Winnemak's camp. I offered to take Maysotta on my
horse, but she declined, saying that she would proceed on foot, as she
hoped to shoot some deer by the way.

We rode as fast as we could; indeed, I was most anxious to get back,
both on account of the unhappy captives, and because I hoped to hear
news of Uncle Jeff.

As we got into the neighbourhood of the camp, we caught sight, on the
summit of a slight elevation, of a single horseman, who sat his steed
without moving, apparently unable to make out who we were, as, lifting
his hand to his brow, he peered at us from under it. We had got within
speaking distance before I recognized our host Winnemak. His whole
appearance and bearing were totally changed. With a magnificent crown of
feathers on his head, a jacket of rich fur handsomely trimmed,
glittering bracelets and earrings, a spear in his hand and a shield at
his back, as he firmly sat his strongly-built mustang, he looked every
inch a warrior chief.

"I did not know you at first, but I do now," he said, smiling; "and the
White Lily is truly welcome to my tents."

Clarice thanked him, and we rode to the camp together. He told us that
he purposed visiting the chiefs of all the neighbouring tribes and
forming a confederation, in order to resist effectually any future
invasion of our common enemies the Arrapahas. "For such a purpose a
chief must be habited as becomes a chief," he added, to account to us
for the change in his costume.

I scarcely listened to him, however, as I was eagerly waiting to inquire
if Uncle Jeff had arrived at the camp; and I was much disappointed to
find that nothing had been seen or heard of him.

[Illustration: WINNEMAK IN FULL DRESS.]



CHAPTER VIII.

     I SEEK OUT PIOMINGO--A STRONG DESIRE TO SAVE HIS LIFE--I PLEAD
     WITH THE CHIEF, AND GAIN MY POINT--I OFFER THE YOUNG BRAVE MY
     HORSE AND ARMS--KINDNESS REQUITED--THE INDIAN'S ESCAPE--A
     DARING ACT, AND A KIND DEED--WE SEEK PROTECTION FROM THE
     INDIANS--RETURN OF UNCLE JEFF AND MAYSOTTA--AN ADDRESS TO THE
     BRAVES--HOW IT SUCCEEDED--UNCLE JEFF'S STORY--THE LIEUTENANT
     ABOUT TO LEAVE US--HIS PLANS--WE SEND OUT SCOUTS--ALARMING
     INTELLIGENCE--THE CAMP STRUCK--WE MOVE TO THE NORTHWARD--WE
     CHANGE OUR PLANS--A WONDERFUL REGION--WE SEPARATE FROM OUR
     INDIAN FRIENDS--THROUGH A PINE FOREST--THE CATARACT OF THE
     PASS--WE SEND BACK OUR HORSES--OUR JOURNEY CONTINUED--A "CANADA
     STAG" KILLED--ENCAMPED FOR THE NIGHT.


The chief, who seemed inclined to treat us with every kindness,
immediately ordered a wigwam to be put up for Clarice and Rachel, and
another for Manley and me.

In the meantime, feeling interested in the fate of Piomingo, I went to
seek him out. I found him lying on the ground, under the shade of some
trees, to one of which he was secured by ropes. I asked him if he
desired to escape.

"Yes," he replied; "life is sweet. But I am prepared to die as becomes a
brave, if my enemies are resolved to take my life."

"If you were free, what would you do?" I asked. "I would endeavour to
rescue the young squaw who was brought in a prisoner two days ago; she
is the maiden I was about to make my wife. Life without her would be of
little value to me; were she to be put to death, I should be ready to
die with her."

"But are you able to move?" I asked.

"The pain has left my back, and I am as strong as ever," he answered.
"Give me the opportunity, and you will see how I shall act."

Feeling a strong desire to save the lives of these two young people at
every risk, I immediately went back to the chief, and used every
argument in my power to induce him to set Piomingo at liberty. I pointed
out to him how it was far more noble to forgive an injury than to avenge
it, and that if he allowed Piomingo to go free he would make him his
friend for life.

"If you choose to set him at liberty, you are welcome to do so," he said
at last; "but he is unable to move, and if he remains in this camp he
will be killed."

"I will see to that, and assist him to get away," I answered.

I hurried back to where Piomingo lay, and at once undid the cords which
bound him.

"I feel that my strength has returned, and that I shall be able to
perform whatever I undertake," he said.

"I do not wish to do things by halves," I remarked. "You shall have my
horse; I will place the animal in yonder wood. If you have an
opportunity, you can return him; but if not, I will give him to you."

"Young Paleface," he said, struck by my kindness, "Piomingo would wish
to serve you for the remainder of his days; perhaps he will have an
opportunity of showing his gratitude; but he would ask you to show him
your generosity still further. Supply him with arms; without them, he
may fall a victim to the first foe he meets."

"I will give you my knife and sword, but you must promise me not to use
them against any of the people of this tribe except in self-defence,
should they attempt to recapture you."

Piomingo swore by the Great Spirit that he would act as I desired.

"I will leave the sword and knife close to the tree to which I will
secure my horse," I said on leaving him.

I thought it better not to question him as to his intentions in regard
to the young squaw, although I had my suspicions on the subject.

I forthwith went for my horse, which I led to the wood, as I had
promised. All the Indians were so much engaged that they took no notice
of my proceedings; and when every arrangement had been made, I returned
to Piomingo.

Grasping my hand, he exclaimed,--"You are more generous than I deserve;
for when I went to your farm it was with the intention of working you
evil. But after I saw the 'Fair Lily,' your sister, I had not the heart
to do her an injury; and instead of remaining and opening the gate to
your enemies, as I had intended, I made my escape. When I was watching
your camp, it was with no treacherous design. I wished to warn you that
the Arrapahas were still advancing, and that their purpose was to occupy
the passes through the mountains, so that they could intercept you and
any other Palefaces who might travel in that direction. They must, by
this time, have carried out that part of their plan, so that I would
advise you and your friends to pass on more to the north, by which means
you may escape them. I have also to tell you that one of your people is
in their hands. They have been carrying him about with them from place
to place; but whether they intend to kill him, as they have done the
other prisoners, I could not learn."

I thanked Piomingo for his information, which, I felt sure, gratitude
had prompted him to give. And, of course, I resolved to urge the chief
to act upon it.

On questioning Piomingo, I was convinced, from the description he gave
of the white man who had been made prisoner, that it must be either
Gideon or Bartle. I had great hopes, at all events, that Uncle Jeff had
escaped from his pursuers; but what had since become of him I could not
conjecture, nor could Piomingo give me any information.

It was now sufficiently dark to allow of the captive making his escape
without being observed. I again cast off the ropes, therefore, and stole
quietly away from the spot. The moment I had gone, he must have crept
away--crouching down, Indian fashion, until he had got to a safe
distance from the camp, when, having first secured the weapons I had
left for him, he must have mounted my horse and galloped off.

The next day had been fixed for the death of the prisoners, so I boldly
told the chief that, taking advantage of his permission, I had set
Piomingo at liberty, and urged him to be equally generous towards the
young squaw.

"My people will complain if they are disappointed," he answered, turning
aside.

I was sorry that I could not see Maysotta, as she might have effectually
pleaded for one of her own sex.

Stakes had now been driven into the ground, and every preparation made
for the horrible sacrifice. But, looking at the captives, I should not
have supposed that they were to be the victims. Even the young squaw
retained her composure.

I spoke to Manley on the subject. "We must not allow these savages to
carry out their cruel intention," I said. "If you and your men will
assist, we might set them free."

"I would gladly do as you propose," he answered, "but it would be at the
sacrifice, probably, of our own lives and that of your sister. These
Redskins now treat us with every respect; but were we to interfere with
their customs, they would naturally turn upon us."

I felt that he was right in that respect; but still I could not bear the
thought of allowing the horrible deed to be perpetrated, without again
interceding for the victims.

The hour now approached for the death of the prisoners, and finding that
Piomingo had escaped, the Redskins were the more eager to put to death
those who remained in their power. They were therefore led out and bound
to the stakes, and the savages commenced their horrible war-dance round
them.

Manley and I again pleaded with the chief.

"It is useless," answered Winnemak; "I have said it, and it must be
done."

Just then, from behind the shelter of a wood on one side of the
mountains, a mounted warrior dashed out. I saw at once that it was
Piomingo. His eyes were fixed on one point; it was the spot where the
young squaw was bound. Quick as lightning he cut the cords which bound
her, and placing her before him on the saddle, galloped off, and was out
of reach before those at hand could hinder him. Fortunately, none of
Winnemak's people had firearms, and their bows and arrows having been
laid aside, they hurried to their wigwams to obtain them. But ere bow
could be drawn the rescued squaw and her deliverer were far beyond their
reach. In vain were showers of arrows sent after them; the fugitives
heeded them not. Many of the braves ran for their horses; but I well
knew that my gallant steed, even with two people on his back, could keep
ahead of them.

The whole camp was soon in confusion and astonishment at the audacity of
the act. Some of the braves may have suspected that I had had a hand in
the business, for I observed that they cast angry glances at me as they
passed. So great was their excitement, too, that for the moment they
had forgotten the other prisoners.

Just then I met Sergeant Custis and Pat Sperry.

"Now is our time to do a kind deed," I said; "it may be at some risk,
but let us set the other prisoners free."

"Sure, won't I, thin!" cried Pat.

"I will venture on it," said the sergeant.

We hurried to the spot, and, in spite of the expostulations of a few old
squaws who had remained to watch them, we cut the ropes which bound the
unhappy captives to the stakes.

"Now run for your lives!" I exclaimed.

The released prisoners did not require a second bidding, although the
old squaws tried to stop them. They were all young and active men, too,
and before any of the braves had returned from their futile chase after
Piomingo, the fugitives had got to a considerable distance from the
camp.

As I knew that our part in the affair must at once become known, I
immediately hastened to the chief.

"I have saved you from committing a great crime, which would have made
you despised and hated by all white men," I exclaimed, with a boldness
at which I myself was surprised. "If my uncle were here he would speak
as I do, and approve of my conduct."

The chief appeared to be dumfounded at my audacity; but, although he
himself would not have interfered, I do not think he was really sorry
that the prisoners had escaped.

"I must get you to protect us from your people when they return," I
said. "We have no wish to take the places of the prisoners, or to have
bloodshed in the matter. At the same time, we are resolved to fight for
our lives, should your people attempt to molest us."

"You indeed speak boldly," said the chief. "But I will endeavour to
prevent further mischief, and will tell my people all you have said."

Almost immediately afterwards the braves came hurrying back to the camp,
when the old squaws commenced in screeching tones to tell them what had
occurred. The warriors on this advanced towards us with threatening
looks. The chief stepped forward, and holding up his hands, they at once
stopped and prepared to listen to him. He possibly may have made a very
eloquent speech in our favour, but his braves were evidently not
satisfied. We saw them making violent gestures, and, from the words
which reached us, I made out that they insisted on our being delivered
up to suffer in the place of the prisoners we had liberated.

Lieutenant Broadstreet, who had now joined us, rifle in hand, told me to
say to the chief that if his people were injured an army of white men
would be sent by his Government against them, and not one would be
allowed to escape.

Although, I believe, the chief spoke as I begged him, the angry braves
were not to be appeased, still crying out that we must be handed over to
them.

"Not while we have got a cartridge left in our pouches," cried Sergeant
Custis, lifting his rifle as he spoke, as if he intended to make use of
it, while Manley, Pat, and I followed his example.

Just at this juncture two persons were seen approaching the camp,--the
one was Maysotta, accompanied by Keokuk, the other was a tall person
dressed in skins. At first I did not recognize him; but on looking
again, what was my joy to see Uncle Jeff! Both he and Maysotta must have
observed that something unusual was taking place in the camp, for they
hurried forward at a quick pace, and in another moment had approached
the chief.

Uncle Jeff at once put out his hand. "What does all this mean?" he
asked.

Winnemak was silent.

"I will tell you all about it, Uncle Jeff," I said; and I briefly
related what had occurred.

"You acted rightly, Ralph," he answered. "It would never do for white
men to stand by and see murder committed, which proper boldness could
prevent. Hand me a few cartridges, for I have expended my ammunition;
and although we are five to fifty, I feel very sure these fellows will
not interfere with us. However, we will try fair means first; and the
young squaw will, I am sure, be on our side."

He at once turned to Maysotta, and telling her what had occurred, begged
her to plead with her father and his people. She did not seem to think
it necessary to say anything to Winnemak, but at once addressed herself
to the braves, over whom it was evident she had great influence.

I saw the angry expression gradually disappear from their countenances;
their gestures became less menacing, and at length their fury completely
subsided. Maysotta saw the advantage she had gained, and went on to tell
them that we were their guests, and that, even had we been guilty of a
greater provocation, they were bound to protect our lives with their
own; that we had always been friendly with the red men; and, above all,
that we had preserved the life of their chief, who, had it not been for
us, would have died. She by this means completely won over the braves,
but she had a harder task with the old squaws. Finally, however, she
succeeded with them, and what appeared at one time to threaten a serious
termination was at length settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

We promised, as soon as we could obtain them, presents of tobacco,
blankets, and beads for the squaws, and some arms and ammunition for the
braves, on condition that they would always use them in our service.

We were, of course, very eager to hear how Uncle Jeff had escaped. I
noticed, besides, that he looked fatigued and careworn, and had
evidently suffered much.

[Illustration: THE MEETING WITH MAYSOTTA.]

"I had a narrow escape from my pursuers, on leaving the farm," he said,
"for more than one bullet whistled close to my ears, while two entered
the sides of my brave Jack--who bore me, notwithstanding, for many a
mile, until I had left my enemies far behind. Then my gallant steed sank
down and died. As I was making my way northward on foot, I caught sight
of several parties of Arrapahas. This made me feel very anxious on
account of Clarice and her escort, who, I feared, might have fallen into
their hands. I myself had some difficulty in avoiding them, and at
length I found it necessary to take to the mountains, where, at the same
time, I should have a better chance of killing game. Unfortunately, for
the first time in my life I became very ill, and had to remain, for
several days in a cave, hardly able to crawl out and get a draught of
water from a spring hard by. Recovering, I moved on again; but having
exhausted the few cartridges I possessed, I was reduced to hard straits
for food.

"I was making my way on when I heard a shot fired; and as I approached
the spot, I saw a young Indian girl who had just killed a small deer.
Her quick eye caught sight of me at the same moment. I made signs to her
that I was desperately hungry, and she in turn pointed to the deer; so,
as she appeared in no way alarmed at seeing me, I at once went up to
her. After exchanging a few words, it occurred to me that she must be
the daughter of our friend Winnemak; and on my asking her, she said that
such was the case. I then informed her who I was; upon which she
immediately cut up the deer, lighted a fire, and prepared such a meal as
I had not enjoyed for many a day. I soon felt my strength wonderfully
restored, and my spirits rose when she told me that Clarice and you were
safe. We accordingly at once set off for the camp, and I am thankful
that we arrived in time to settle matters amicably with our friends
here."

The arrival of Uncle Jeff produced a great improvement in the state of
affairs. The Indians had all heard of him, and Winnemak treated him with
the greatest respect. Uncle Jeff was indeed likely to exercise a
beneficial influence over the tribe. He told them that although men had
a right to defend themselves against their enemies, the Great Spirit
disliked their making war one upon another; that he wished them all to
live at peace with their fellow-creatures; to provide proper food,
clothing, and shelter for their squaws and pappooses; and that the Great
Spirit intended that they should cultivate the ground, and not depend
upon the precarious supply which the chase afforded. Uncle Jeff told
them also that the Great Spirit loved them all, and wished them to be
his children; that they were very wicked, but that he was ready to
forgive them, and had sent One on earth, his own dear Son, who had
consented to be punished instead of them, that he might become their
Elder Brother, and that they might enjoy the affection and privileges
bestowed by the Father upon his children.

Uncle Jeff was not much of a preacher, but, as he said, he might manage
to break ground, so that any missionary coming after him would be more
likely to be well received.

Clarice did not fail to talk to Maysotta on the same subject; and the
Indian girl appeared to take in the truths of the gospel much more
readily than did the men of her tribe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although the camp was pitched in a tolerably secure position, both
Uncle Jeff and Winnemak considered it necessary to send out scouts in
order to ascertain what the enemy were about.

Lieutenant Broadstreet, who had no longer any excuse for remaining with
us, felt that it was his duty to proceed, with the two troopers, on his
journey. But he was evidently very unwilling to leave Clarice; and I
suspect that she also had no wish to let him go.

"I cannot tell to what dangers you may be exposed, and I shall be in a
miserable state of anxiety until I once more have the happiness of
seeing you," he said to her. "My intention is to point out the state of
affairs to the commandant at Fort Harwood, and induce him to obtain such
a body of troops as will effectually overawe the savages and drive them
back to the southward, so that your uncle and other settlers may be able
to resume possession of their property, and for the future live in
peace. The sooner, therefore, I set out, the more quickly will this
desirable object be attained."

"I highly applaud your intention, lieutenant," said Uncle Jeff; "and I
speak honestly when I say that, if you wish at any time to turn your
sword into a ploughshare, as the saying is, I shall be happy to have you
for a neighbour; and come when you may, you shall always be welcome at
Roaring Water. I hope that it will not be long before I am back there
again. I only wish I knew what has become of Bartle and Gideon; if they
are alive, we shall very soon get the farm built up again, and
everything put to rights."

The first of the scouts who had been sent out soon came back, with the
information that the enemy were still in considerable numbers in the
neighbourhood. Winnemak and Uncle Jeff agreed, therefore, that it would
be prudent to move further to the north, in consequence of what Piomingo
had told me. Camp was accordingly struck, and the baggage
animals--which, I am sorry to say, for the sake of my Redskin friends,
included a number of the squaws--were loaded. A small party of warriors
going ahead acted as an advance-guard, while the remainder of the tribe
brought up the rear, or went as scouts on either hand.

As the lieutenant had to follow the same road for some distance, we
continued together,--he, as may be supposed, riding alongside of
Clarice. I do not know what Uncle Jeff thought about the matter, but it
was evident to me that Clarice and Manley were very fond of one another.
However, as I thought highly of him, I did not feel myself called upon
to interfere in the matter.

We had proceeded some distance, when another of the scouts came in with
the alarming intelligence that the enemy, in considerable numbers, were
ahead of us, and that it was too probable they intended to attack us on
our march. We had therefore to proceed with greater caution than before;
and the advance-guard was considerably strengthened, so that they might
be able to keep an enemy in check until the remainder of the tribe could
come up.

It was too evident that the Arrapahas had overrun the country, and that
it would be some time before they could be expelled; and, such being
the case, Uncle Jeff said he would fix upon another location, perhaps to
the west of the Rocky Mountains, where the Indians were friendly, and
where he would still be near enough to the high-road to obtain a market
for his produce.

He had, consequently, just settled to accompany the lieutenant through
the pass, when another scout came in with the information that the
Arrapahas had taken possession of the pass itself, and that they had so
fortified themselves that they could not be driven out except by a
strong party, and at considerable loss of life.

This made it necessary for Uncle Jeff and Manley to change their plans.
They settled that we should proceed northwards with the Indians, while
they reconnoitred the pass; promising, should they find the account they
had received to be correct, to rejoin us, and perhaps attempt to cross
the mountains so as to reach the western plains. The mountains to the
northwards, however, were but little known, and even Winnemak confessed
that he had never wandered among them. He had heard, he said, that there
was a wonderful region in that direction, where the earth trembled
frequently; the fountains, instead of being cold, were hot, and that the
water was seen rushing upwards in huge jets; and that there were lakes
amid the mountains, and torrents, and waterfalls such as were nowhere
else to be seen.

"If the chief's account is correct, it must be an interesting region to
visit," said Sergeant Custis. "For my own part, I hope we shall have
the chance of getting there."

While travelling on we kept in compact order, looking out, as usual, for
the approach of foes; but happily none appeared. Crossing the road which
led to the pass, we continued onwards until nightfall. We then encamped
in as strong a position as we could find. We knew it was of no use to
attempt concealing the route we had followed; for even had we taken the
greatest pains to do so, we should not have succeeded in eluding the
sharp eyes of our foes, had they wished to pursue us.

Soon after it grew dark, the sounds of horses' feet were heard. The
braves flew to arms. We stood ready with our rifles. Before we could see
any one, Uncle Jeff's voice was heard, and he and Manley rode into camp.
They had found that the report of the scouts was correct, and that we
could not hope to be able to get through in that direction. Accordingly,
the next morning we again started, and pushed on until we reached a spot
strongly guarded by rocks and trees, with a stream flowing on one side.
Here Winnemak, believing himself secure from his foes, resolved to
remain.

[Illustration: IN THE PINE FOREST.]

We now made preparations to separate from our Indian friends. None of
them were willing to encounter the fatigue and dangers necessary to be
undergone in crossing the mountains; they also evidently believed the
region to be enchanted, and, if inhabited at all, to be the abode of
spirits, or beings differing greatly from the human race. When Maysotta
heard we were going, she begged Clarice and Rachel to remain with her;
but Clarice had made up her mind to accompany us, and was fully prepared
for all the difficulties we might have to encounter. Fortunately,
Lieutenant Broadstreet had sufficient supplies of provisions for all our
wants. We were thus not altogether destitute of the necessaries of life,
for we had, I remember, even tea and coffee, sugar and salt. The
lieutenant had also a very small bell-tent, the canvas of which formed
scarcely half a load for a man. He himself seldom used it, but he
insisted that it should be brought, to afford shelter to Clarice. Three
or four Indians, moreover, agreed to accompany us as far as our
baggage-mules could go, that they might convey our provisions and
stores; after which we should have to carry them ourselves in knapsacks
on our backs.

On parting with Winnemak, he told us that we should come back sooner
than we expected, as he was sure we should never get over the mountains.

"'Where there's a will there's a way.' There is nothing like having the
will to do a thing, to help one to succeed," answered Uncle Jeff.

Our guides were under the belief that the only practicable way in which
they could get to the region they had heard of, was by following up a
torrent which, they said, came down from the far-off snowy summits of
the mountains in a succession of cataracts. For some distance we
travelled through a dense pine forest, following the course of a stream
into which we concluded the torrent fell. We frequently had to turn
aside to avoid the numberless fallen trunks, or to dismount and lead our
animals over them. We thus made but slow progress, and were compelled to
encamp in the midst of the forest at a much earlier hour than would have
been necessary in the open country. We kept up a blazing fire, however,
and happily escaped a visit from bears, or any of the savage animals
whose voices we heard round us on every side.

The next morning we moved forward, and looked out eagerly for a torrent.
At length we heard the roar of tumbling waters, and making our way
through the forest we came in sight of a cataract which altogether
surpassed that of our own location. It appeared to be formed of several
streams, which, rushing forth from the snowy heights, joined the main
body, and then came leaping downwards in one vast mass of water, with a
strength sufficient, it would seem, to force its way through the hardest
rock. There could be no doubt that this was the very cataract we were in
search of.

To carry our animals farther, would be impossible; indeed, had they been
able to make their way, they would not have found sufficient grass for
their sustenance in the rocky region we were approaching. We accordingly
encamped on a level spot not far from the cataract. When I surveyed the
wild and difficult region which we had to pass, I regretted that Clarice
had accompanied us, and wished that she had remained with the Indians.
Besides the fatigue which we must undergo, I feared that we might run
short of provisions, and that my sister might be exposed to other
hardships, which she was little able to endure.

[Illustration: THE CATARACT OF THE PASS.]

She laughed at my fears.

"You do not know how strong I am; I shall be able to go through as much
as any of you," she said. "Although I like Maysotta, I should not have
been happy among her savage tribe."

The next morning we sent the animals back, and loaded ourselves with
packs of provisions. Rachel carried as much as any one of us, and
Clarice insisted on having a load likewise--although Manley, who made it
up, took good care that it should be a very light one.

The first day's journey was not so fatiguing as we expected to find it,
for we managed to wend our way upward on the slopes of the hills,
avoiding the more broken and steep places. We were soon satisfied, too,
that there was no risk of running short of food, for several times we
came upon herds of deer; although, as we approached them without care,
they scampered off before we were near enough to get a shot.

We had made our way through another pine forest, and had just turned an
angle in the mountains, when suddenly before us we saw several wapiti,
commonly known as the "Canada stag," one of the largest of the deer
tribe. This animal is fully as large as the biggest ox I ever saw; his
horns, branching in serpentine curves, being upwards of six feet from
tip to tip. In colour he is reddish-brown; on the upper part of the
neck the hairs are mixed with red and black, while from the shoulders
and along the sides the hide is a kind of gray.

The stags stopped and gazed at us stupidly, without taking to flight,
then began to utter cries which sounded wonderfully like the braying of
an ass; upon which Uncle Jeff lifted his unerring rifle and brought one
of them down, when the rest, taking fright, scampered off.

He and the two soldiers immediately began cutting up the animal.

"I wish we could take the hide with us, for it makes the best leather
anywhere to be found," Uncle Jeff observed; "but we must not add to our
loads."

As the day was now drawing to a close, we had not far to carry the meat
we had just obtained; and coming to a spot near one of the numerous
streams which fed the "big cataract," we encamped. As before, the small
bell-tent, which Pat Sperry had carried, was erected for Clarice and
Rachel; while we made our beds of fir-tops, round our camp-fire, with
such shelter as our blankets and a few boughs afforded. We were too well
accustomed to this sort of life, however, to consider it any hardship.

We had no longer any fear of being attacked by Indians, but it was still
necessary to keep a watch by night, for it was very possible that a
grizzly might take it into his head to pay us a visit, or a pack of
wolves find us out; or a prowling panther might pounce down upon us,
should the fire go out, and no one be on the alert to drive him off.

[Illustration: WAPITI OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.]



CHAPTER IX.

     WE CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY OVER THE MOUNTAINS, AND ENCAMP IN A
     FERTILE VALLEY--HUNT ELK IN COMPANY WITH A PANTHER--I SPOIL THE
     SPORT OF THE LATTER--UNCLE JEFF WOUNDS AN ELK, WHICH IS LOST
     DOWN A PRECIPICE--MORE FORTUNATE AFTERWARDS--UNCLE JEFF
     RESOLVES TO REMAIN WITH CLARICE, RACHEL, AND PAT, WHILE MANLEY,
     THE SERGEANT, AND I PUSH ON--DIFFICULTIES IN CROSSING THE
     MOUNTAINS--MANLEY IN FEARFUL DANGER--HE ESCAPES--DESCEND
     TOWARDS A BROAD VALLEY--ITS WONDERFUL APPEARANCE--WE
     ENCAMP--THE SERGEANT NEARLY SCALDS HIS FINGERS IN A TEMPTING
     SPRING--CURIOUS PHENOMENON--DREADFUL NOISES OF WILD BEASTS
     DISTURB OUR SLUMBERS.


The next day, at an early hour, we were again on the move, Clarice and
Rachel trudging on bravely with the help of long thin poles, the points
hardened in the fire. Onwards and upwards we went, sometimes passing
through dense forests, and climbing over the trunks of fallen trees; at
others making our way through glades, where, sheltered from the sun, the
walking was comparatively easy. On emerging into the more open ground,
we searched for some cañon or cleft in the mountains through which we
might find a passage. As for going over the summits of the mountains,
that was evidently impossible. They consisted of jagged pinnacles, or
precipitous rocks covered with snow; and even the most experienced
mountaineers, supplied with ropes and all other appliances, could not
hope to surmount them.

At length, after traversing for some distance the mountain-side, we saw
before us a deep gorge, at the bottom of which rushed a torrent towards
the east.

"If we can find holding ground for our feet, we may get through there,"
said Manley.

Uncle Jeff agreed with him, so we made towards it. For ourselves we had
no fears, but we naturally felt very anxious for Clarice, who must
suffer from fatigue with such rough and dangerous climbing as lay before
us; although, in reality, with her correct eye and active feet, she was
as secure on the giddy heights and snowy ledges over which we passed as
any one of us.

Poor Rachel felt the cold greatly, and was less able to get along than
her young mistress. Still she persevered. "If you go I go, Missee
Clarice; never mind where," said the faithful creature; although very
often she crept along on her hands and knees rather than trust herself
to an upright position.

Thus, climbing along the side of the precipice, with a gorge so deep on
one side that the bottom was invisible, and the mountain rising on the
other apparently lost in the skies, we worked our way on until, after
descending again for some distance, we reached more level ground. It was
a large valley or plateau surrounded by mountains; those we had crossed
being on the one side, while a still more elevated range occupied the
other. Wild as was the scenery through which we had passed, this was
wilder still. It was traversed, however, by the stream whose course we
had followed, and although we were unable to see its source, there could
be no doubt that it descended from the lofty range before us. A portion
of the plateau was covered by a forest, nourished by numerous rivulets,
most of which flowed into larger streams, although some found an outlet
towards the southward. No signs of inhabitants were visible; but game of
every kind was most abundant, herds of deer, mountain sheep, and birds
of all descriptions.

"I am not the man to propose going back," said Uncle Jeff; "but unless
we can find an opening in these rocks, it is very clear that our present
party cannot go forward. I propose, therefore, that we should camp here
until we have explored the country ahead, after which we shall be able
to form our plans."

He looked towards Clarice as he spoke. He had resolved not to expose her
to the fatigue and peril which his experience told him must inevitably
be endured by those attempting to make their way through so wild a
region as that before us. He therefore selected a suitable spot for
camping. Clarice's tent was put up, and we cut down poles and boughs
with which to form a couple of small huts for ourselves. Uncle Jeff,
Manley, and I had one, and the two men the other.

While the sergeant and Pat were employed in erecting the huts, the rest
of us took our rifles and started in search of game, and before long we
caught sight, towards the northern end of the valley, of several elk or
moose feeding near a wood. It was necessary to approach them
cautiously, however, for should they take the alarm they would be off at
a rate which would give us little chance of overtaking them. But the
wind came from them to us, and this was to our advantage.

The elk is one of the most wary of the deer tribe, and, notwithstanding
his enormous horns, he can pass through a thick forest, as he throws
them back on his shoulders so as in no way to impede his progress. Large
as was the wapiti which we had before met with, the elk is still larger,
and one of the animals we saw before us was fully seven feet in
height--as tall, indeed, as many an elephant. As the flesh is very
palatable food, we were eager to kill one or more of the herd. Uncle
Jeff, too, said that he wanted the skins to assist in making a tent, in
case we should have to remain some time at our present location.

Creeping along, then, as much under cover as possible, we endeavoured to
get within shot of the animals. We succeeded at last in reaching the
wood, and hoped, by making our way through it concealed by the trees, to
get up to them before we were discovered. Uncle Jeff led the way, while
Manley and I followed in Indian file. It was important not only to keep
ourselves concealed, but to avoid making any noise, as the elk has a
remarkably acute sense of hearing, and the slightest sound might startle
the herd.

[Illustration: ELK OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.]

We had succeeded in gaining a spot a thousand yards or so from them,
when I heard a noise in the bushes on our left, and rather ahead, the
herd being on the right. On looking narrowly in the direction from
whence the sound came, I caught sight of a panther, or "American lion,"
as the beast is commonly called, stealing along, very probably on the
same errand as we were,--hoping to pounce upon one of the females of the
herd, could he catch his prey unprepared. He is bound to be cautious,
however, how he attacks a buck, for the elk can do battle with his horns
and hoofs, and might disable even the savage panther.

Uncle Jeff saw the brute as soon as I did, and turning round, he made a
sign to me to aim at the panther the moment he should fire at the elk.
In the meantime, the panther was so intent on reaching his expected prey
that he was not likely to observe us. As may be supposed, I kept a
watchful eye on the wild beast, for he might possibly become aware of
our presence; and if so, might content himself with a human being for
his supper instead of venison, and I had no fancy to give him an
opportunity of selection.

It was very exciting having both the panther and deer before us.
Frequently Uncle Jeff stopped, fearful of being discovered by the elk;
while the panther, for the same reason, did likewise. Thus the savage
beast would creep on and on, crouching down and concealing himself from
view. He so far interfered with our sport, that we could have the chance
of killing only two deer instead of three; for I was to reserve my fire
for his benefit, and I ardently hoped I should not miss. I tried to make
Manley understand that it would be prudent in him not to fire until he
saw whether my bullet took effect, but I could not be certain what he
would do.

Our progress was now slower than ever. Several times the deer had looked
up, apparently suspecting that danger was near; but still Uncle Jeff
advanced, in a stooping posture, unwilling to stir even the smallest
twig for fear of alarming the wary herd. I moved on more rapidly; the
panther was now not more than twenty yards from us, and would in a few
seconds make his deadly spring.

Suddenly Uncle Jeff stopped, raised his rifle to his shoulder, and
fired. The panther at that moment was rising, about to dash forward from
the brushwood. I pulled the trigger; at the same instant Manley
fired--he had aimed at the deer--and as the smoke cleared away I saw the
panther fall back on the ground.

The deer were now in full flight, so I followed Uncle Jeff and Manley in
the direction the herd were taking towards the north end of the valley.
What means they had of escape we could not tell; we hoped that, shut in
by the mountain, we might again get near enough to have another shot.

The wounded elk was evidently severely hurt, for his pace now began to
slacken, so Uncle Jeff cheered us on. We saw, however, that unless we
could soon come up with the chase he might escape us altogether. The
appearance of the country had changed, too; while rocks arose at some
distance, there was evidently a vast intervening chasm between us and
them.

[Illustration: DISAPPOINTED HUNTERS.]

Once more Uncle Jeff fired, but, although the bullet took effect, the
deer continued his course. Almost immediately afterwards, what was our
disappointment to see the wounded animal, regardless of the fate he was
about to suffer, spring over the edge of a precipice, while the rest of
the herd scampered away towards some almost inaccessible rocks on the
left!

The elk was irretrievably lost. In vain we searched for a way by which
we might reach the bottom of the gorge; we were soon convinced that the
cliff was utterly impracticable.

"It can't be helped," cried Uncle Jeff; "but we must not give up the
hope of obtaining some venison this evening. The elk will not long
remain out on these barren rocks, and if we can hide ourselves near
where they have to pass, we may each of us kill one."

We were not long in finding some thick bushes behind which we could
kneel and take good aim at the passing deer.

"Do not let us be greedy," said Uncle Jeff; "you and Manley, Ralph,
select one animal, and I will take another."

In half an hour or less the deer came trotting back towards their former
feeding-ground, and we all three fired; Uncle Jeff knocked over a buck,
and we killed a doe.

It took us some time to cut them up, and it was nearly dark before we
reached the spot where I had shot the panther. Anxious to know whether
it was still alive, I made my way through the wood to the place, but
could nowhere find the animal. Had it escaped, notwithstanding its
wound? It was too dark, however, to search for it; so we hurried on as
fast as we could with our load of venison to the camp, where Clarice was
eagerly looking out for us. The huts were erected by this time, and a
blazing fire lighted; and I noticed that Clarice's tent had been
carefully staked round by the sergeant, so that no wild beast could
break suddenly into it.

"I am afraid, Miss Middlemore, that you will grow very weary of the
rough life we are compelled to lead," observed Manley.

"Oh no! I enjoy it very much indeed," she answered, looking up in his
face, "and shall be really sorry when it comes to an end."

"I doubt that very much, young lady," said Uncle Jeff. "We have only
just commenced the passage of the mountains, and I have made up my mind
not to let you go on unless some tolerably easy path can be found over
them. I am very much afraid, however, that we shall not discover one fit
for you to travel on."

"Then what are we to do, Uncle Jeff?" asked Clarice.

"I will tell you," he answered. "I propose remaining here with one of
the men, while Lieutenant Broadstreet, the other man, and Ralph, try to
make their way across the mountains. They may manage to do it; but if
they had you with them, they would probably fail--no disrespect to your
prowess, so don't pout your lips."

"What do you say to my plan, lieutenant?"

"Although I would rather have Miss Middlemore's company, yet I confess
that I should be often very anxious about her and her servant venturing
into places through which I should not hesitate to penetrate alone. I
consider your plan, therefore, under the circumstances, the best that
could be adopted; and as you promise me the assistance of Ralph, I will
leave Pat Sperry to attend on you--and Pat is a trustworthy fellow, when
the liquor bottle is kept out of his way."

I do not think Clarice liked this plan, but she had no valid objection
to urge against it; indeed, when she looked up at the snowy mountains
before us, and the vast chasms which yawned on each side, she must have
owned to herself that she was unfitted to travel through such a region.

Next morning we sent the two men for the deer skins, and a further
supply of venison; but when they came back they brought the skin of the
panther as well. They had found the animal close to the body of the
deer, by the scent of which he must have been attracted; but he must
have died of his wounds before he had begun to eat the flesh.

We spent the rest of the day in making pemmican, and in doing up our
packages in a more compact form. The larger part of our stores we left
for the party in camp--only taking powder and shot, a small quantity of
coffee, and a few simple cooking utensils, so that we might travel as
lightly as possible. We had little doubt about being able to obtain a
sufficient supply of game; and Sergeant Custis, who was a bit of a
botanist, said that he hoped to find roots which would serve as
vegetables.

Early in the morning, having said good-bye to our friends, we set out.
The valley was soon crossed, and we then proceeded along the base of the
mountains to the southward, in the hope of finding some opening in the
cliffs, or a practicable path up which we might climb. Our rifles were
slung at our backs, and we each carried a long pole, on the strength of
which we could thoroughly depend.

At length we came to an opening. It did not look very promising, but it
was the only one which offered us any means of penetrating into the
mountains, and ultimately, as we hoped, of getting over them. For some
distance we kept along a ledge which gradually ascended, with a steep
precipice on one side and an almost perpendicular cliff on the other.
Gradually, however, the ledge became broader, and we forced our way
among the trees which grew on it.

Manley proved himself an excellent mountaineer; and as I had for many
years been accustomed to climbing, I ventured along paths which many
would have hesitated to follow.

I cannot describe the whole of that day's journey--the dreadful
precipices along which we scrambled, the profound gorges into which it
almost made the head giddy to look down, the rugged heights we climbed,
the thick forests of pine through which we penetrated. Still, we did not
complain, hoping that success would crown our efforts.

At length we reached a place near trees and water, which would supply us
with the only necessaries we required; so we built a rough shelter with
boughs, for the wind was piercingly cold. We were able to defy it,
however, with the help of a large fire, which we kept blazing in front
of our hut.

We were making better progress than I had expected, but still range upon
range of snowy mountains lay between us and the western slopes which it
was our object to descend. Perhaps our trials and fatigues had only just
commenced. However, none of us were inclined to give in; and as we got
some sound sleep by turns, we were prepared after breakfast to set out
again.

Up, up we went, the cold increasing rapidly. Every hollow below us was
filled with snow; still, we could find no cañon or gorge of any
description through which to make our way. Over the range we must
go--or, at all events, some lofty shoulder of it. We had now to
encounter a new description of danger, too. The snow lay on the only
practicable path, and it might conceal deep crevasses; or an avalanche
might descend from above, and overwhelm us; or the mass, slipping from
beneath our feet, might carry us down into one of the fathomless chasms
below. Notwithstanding this, we went on and on, until it would have been
as dangerous to turn back as to go forward.

I was taking the lead, when, on turning an angle of a rock, I saw spread
out before me a valley so broad that my eye could scarcely reach the
opposite side. Flowing through it were numerous streams; a large lake,
many miles in extent, occupied its centre; while hills and forests
dotted it in all directions. But, as I looked below, I saw a precipice
of fearful depth, which it would be impossible to descend.

I had observed, as I came by, a steep slope leading upwards on our
right, thickly covered with snow. I thought, however, that it might
afford us a way by which, having ascended it, we could reach a part of
the mountain from whence to descend with less risk than from that on
which we now stood, so I shouted to my companions to take it. Sergeant
Custis heard me, and we mounted together, expecting that Manley would
follow.

I looked round to speak to him, when what was my horror to see him
gliding rapidly down, surrounded by a vast mass of crumbling snow,
towards the edge of the precipice which I have just mentioned! My heart
sank within me. To render him any assistance was impossible; in a few
minutes he would be dashed to pieces. I should have been horrified to
see any human being in so fearful a predicament; but he was my friend,
the first I had ever possessed. I thought, also, of the grief the news
of his death would cause my sweet sister Clarice. How should I be able
to tell her of it? These thoughts flashed across my mind.

Close to the very edge of the precipice, a mass of jagged rock stood
out. Already Manley had disappeared, and the snow went thundering down.
For a moment I felt inclined to let myself glide down also. Just then I
heard a voice; it was Manley shouting out to us not to attempt to come
to his rescue. When about to be hurled over the edge of the precipice,
he had clutched the jutting rock, and held on for his life, while the
snow went rushing by under his feet. He waited until it had ceased to
fall, and then, clutching the sides of the rock, by a powerful effort
slowly worked himself upward, until at last he gained the firmer part of
the snow. Still, he several times cried out to us not to attempt to join
him, lest our united weight might again set the mass in motion.

[Illustration: A PROVIDENTIAL ESCAPE.]

"I have indeed been mercifully preserved," he said, when, having
rejoined us, we congratulated him on his escape. "I pray that we may
succeed in getting down into the valley, although at present I see no
path open to us."

After climbing some way, we found a gap in the rocks, which, although
full of snow, afforded a sufficiently firm footing to enable us to get
on without much difficulty. From thence, although the descent was not
without danger, we succeeded in reaching a broad ledge free from snow.
Here some bushes grew, of sufficient size to afford us fuel; and
sheltered in the hollow of a rock, we passed the night in tolerable
comfort.

On the return of day we recommenced our search for a practicable way
down the mountain; and happily finding it, we at length reached one of
the lower heights of the wide valley I have mentioned. I call it a
valley, but it was rather a large basin, surrounded, as far as the eye
could reach, by lofty mountains.

"Now we are here, how are we ever to get out again?" I asked Manley.

"Where those rivers find an outlet, so probably shall we," he answered.
"There can be no doubt that two or perhaps more cañons lead into this
basin,--some to the north and east, so far as I can judge, and others to
the west,--and by them, without having any ascent to climb, we shall
probably be able to make our way in the direction we wish to go."

Having the day before us, we proceeded westward across the basin. We
soon found, however, that it was anything but level. Large hills, many
of which might have been dignified by the title of mountains, rose up in
various directions. One object, however, engaged our attention in the
far distance: it was a beautiful sheet of water, blue as the sky
overhead--like a jewel in a setting of green.

Nowhere could we see any Indian wigwams, but here and there we observed
what appeared like smoke rising above the trees.

"I very much doubt if what we see is smoke," observed Manley; "it looks
more like vapour; and, from the appearance of this region, I suspect
that some volcanic action is going forward. However, we shall discover
that as we proceed."

Although we at first fancied we had reached the valley's level, we found
we had still a considerable descent to make, and that we could not hope
to arrive that day on the banks of the lake. We therefore encamped on
the borders of a forest overlooking a stream which evidently ran into
the lake, and which would serve to guide us the next day. The stream was
bordered by rocks of a curious form, but we had not time to examine
them before it was dark, as we had to make our usual preparations for
passing the night.

Sergeant Custis at once took the can to get some water from a spring
which, not far off issued from a rock and fell into a basin. From the
regular appearance of this basin, we might have supposed it to have been
artificial. The sergeant dipped in his can, but he drew it back in a
great hurry, exclaiming, "Why, it's at boiling heat!"

We hurried up, and found that such was indeed the case. As the water had
a peculiar taste, we agreed not to use it for cooking, lest it might
have some pernicious effect; so the sergeant had a considerable distance
to go before he could get down to fill his can.

It had now become quite dark, and we were seated round our camp-fire,
when we heard low rumbling sounds; and great was our astonishment to
see, by the light of the moon, which just then appeared from behind a
cloud, a lofty jet of silvery water, rising, as it seemed to us, a
hundred feet or more into the air! Although our curiosity was excited,
we had no wish to venture towards the spot in the darkness, as we hoped
to be able to examine it the next morning.

Scarcely had we placed our heads on the fir-tops which formed our
couches, when hideous sounds burst forth from the forest. The screeching
of night-birds, the barking of coyotas, the dismal howling of the
llovas, the cry of the panther, and other sounds, well-nigh drove sleep
from our eyelids, and showed us that this region must be thickly
inhabited by the wild beasts of the forest, although no human beings
might be found within it. Having plenty of powder and shot, however, we
were not alarmed on that account. Still, it was necessary to keep up a
blazing fire, and to watch vigilantly, lest any unwelcome visitor might
intrude upon us, and still more unpleasantly disturb our night's rest.



CHAPTER X.

     ADVANCE TOWARDS A BEAUTIFUL LAKE--HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS MET
     WITH--BOILING MUD POTS--CURIOUS BASINS FORMED BY WATER IN THE
     SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN--LOVELY FRETWORK ROUND THEIR RIMS--NEARLY
     SINK INTO A BOILING MUD POOL--THE LAKE REACHED--ABUNDANCE OF
     GAME AND FISH--BUILD A RAFT--BEGIN VOYAGE ACROSS LAKE--VIOLENT
     STORM--IN GREAT DANGER--DRIVEN ACROSS THE LAKE--WE CLING TO
     TREES WHILE THE RAFT IS DASHED TO PIECES--MAKE OUR WAY THROUGH
     THE FOREST--I MISS MY COMPANIONS, AND LOSE MY GUN AND KNAPSACK
     OVER A PRECIPICE--REACH FOOT OF MOUNTAIN--I CAMP WITHOUT SUPPER
     OR FIRE.


In spite of the fearful noises produced by the savage inhabitants of
that region, and certain low, ominous rumbling sounds which came up from
the direction of the waterspout, when we did go to sleep we slept
soundly enough. At length the sergeant, who had taken the last watch,
roused up Manley and me, and we started to our feet--my first impulse
being to look out for the jet of water which I supposed I had seen on
the previous evening, but which was now nowhere visible.

"If we have got into an enchanted land, as the Indians suppose it is,
the fairies or spirits have not thought fit, during the night, to
trouble us," said Manley, laughing. "Our business now is to try and make
our way across this valley--so, forward!"

After breakfast, we strapped on our packs and recommenced our march, our
object being to reach the shore of the lake as soon as possible. If
there were any native inhabitants in this region, they would probably be
found there; and we would either get them to put us across the lake in
their canoes, or else we would skirt along it until we could again take
a westerly course.

We soon found that we had got into a region subject to violent volcanic
action, and were compelled to turn aside to avoid a wide space full of
ponds, the intervals between which were covered with a crust of
brimstone. I attempted to reach one of the ponds, but had not gone far
when the point of my pole went through the crust, and up bubbled a
quantity of black slime. On touching it, and finding it scalding hot, I
shouted to my companions, who were behind, not to venture on the
treacherous ground. A horror seized me, and every instant I feared that
I should break through the surface. Should that take place, what a
dreadful fate would be mine! I hastened back, stepping cautiously, as if
moving over ice too thin to bear my weight; and very thankful I was when
I once more got on hard ground.

[Illustration: A WONDERFUL REGION.]

Still further on, as we proceeded down the valley, we saw vapour rising
from numerous fissures in the hill-sides. Around these vents quantities
of sulphur had been deposited. But the most curious objects were basins
of all sizes, nearly circular, of which there were great
numbers--formed, apparently, by the lime contained in the hot springs.
Some of these springs were exhausted; others, as they gushed forth from
the mountain-side, were hot enough to boil potatoes. Beautiful as was
the appearance of the basins, we were too eager to push forward, to
examine them minutely. One was from twelve to twenty feet in diameter,
and had a beautifully scalloped border. So perfect was the shading of
the scallops, that it looked like a most delicate work of art rather
than the production of nature. From the centre spouted up water to the
height of seven or eight feet. Farther on was another boiling spring, of
far greater dimensions,--a horrible-looking caldron, the water dark and
muddy, and in ceaseless agitation.

"Here is a pot suitable for the witches' caldron in Macbeth," cried out
Manley.

He was rather ahead of me, and on overtaking him I found him standing by
the side of a circular basin whose diameter we calculated to be fully
twenty feet. The contents consisted of what greatly resembled hasty
pudding, or, as Manley said, "a huge caldron of thick mash." The whole
surface was bubbling up every instant, and giving off a thud like the
noise produced by the escape of the gas below.

Curious as these sights were, we were still more astonished by the
appearance of the side of the mountain, the base of which we passed. All
up the slope was seen, as it were, one above another, a succession of
large basins or reservoirs. The margins were beautifully scalloped and
adorned with natural bead-work of exquisite beauty. In spite of our
hurry, we could not resist the temptation of making our way up to them.
One of the largest springs we calculated to be fully thirty feet in
diameter; and so perfectly transparent was the water, that, as we looked
down into it, we could see to the very bottom. Its sides were ornamented
with coral-like forms of various shades, from pure white to bright
cream-yellow, while the blue sky overhead gave an azure tint to the
whole surface which no art could imitate. Over several parts of the rim
the water was flowing down into other basins. I climbed up and looked
over into one of the pools, which was literally hanging on to the one
above it like a bird's nest to a wall; while beautiful stalactites were
suspended below it, caused by the water which flowed over the sides. The
temperature of the water when it came out of the side of the mountain
was high, but in the course of its passage from pool to pool it became
gradually cooler.

"I cannot resist the temptation of taking a bath in one of these
beautiful basins," exclaimed Manley.

Selecting one, I followed his example; and the sergeant was soon sitting
in a third, with his head just above the water. Nothing could be more
refreshing and invigorating, and when we got out we all agreed that we
felt better able to continue our journey.

[Illustration: CURIOUS HOT-WATER "BATHS."]

We found that the clear atmosphere of this region greatly deceived us as
to distances, and it was not until the following day that we arrived on
the shores of the lake. It was nearly evening when, after having
penetrated a thick pine forest, we at length stood on its borders. Few
lake-scenes could be more beautiful than that now spread out before us.
The southern shore was indented with long narrow inlets, while
pine-crowned promontories stretched from the base of the hills on every
side. Islands of emerald hue dotted its surface, and round the margin
was a sparkling belt of yellow sand. The surface, unruffled by a breath
of air, was of a bright green near the shore, shading into a dark
ultramarine towards the centre. Whether there were fish, we had yet to
discover; but we had no fear of starving, for the whole surface of the
lake swarmed with birds--swans, gulls, pelicans, geese, herons, brants,
sand-hill cranes, and many varieties of ducks. An island in view was
literally white with the numbers of pelicans which had taken up their
abode upon it. We had also seen many other birds during the day--eagles,
hawks, ravens, ospreys, prairie-chickens, grouse, mocking-birds, and
woodpeckers; while we caught sight of several kinds of deer, elk, and
mountain sheep. Even buffalo had made their way into the valley. Grizzly
bears and panthers, too, we had good reason to fear, abounded, and were
likely to be troublesome to us.

We formed our camp on the shore of the lake, where there was fuel in
abundance; and taking my gun, in the course of a quarter of an hour I
shot geese and ducks enough to give us an ample supper, and breakfast
next morning. Manley, who was a good angler, had, in the meantime, been
fitting up a rod and line--for he had brought hooks with him; and I
found, when I got back, that he and the sergeant had caught a dozen
salmon-trout, between a pound and a pound and a half in weight. Their
colour was of a light gray above, and a pale yellow below. The dorsal
and caudal fins were dark gray, and the others mostly of a brilliant
orange or bright yellow.

We calculated that the lake was fully twenty miles long, and not less
than fifteen broad in its widest part; and had we not been in a hurry to
proceed on our journey, we agreed that we would have willingly spent
some days in this enchanting spot. However, this was not to be thought
of.

We kept up a blazing fire all night, and consequently escaped a visit
from either grizzly or panther. The question now was, "How were we to
cross the lake?" We were none of us much accustomed to boating, although
Sergeant Custis knew more about it than either Manley or I. At first we
talked of building a canoe, but the sergeant suggested that, as it would
take some time to construct one, it would be better to form a raft,
which could be put together in a few hours.

"If the water remains as quiet as it does at present, we can soon paddle
to the other side; and we can also rig a mast and yard, on which we can
make a very good sail with our blankets," he observed.

At daylight we commenced to build a raft. There were logs enough of
every size and length in the forest, and we selected those only which we
could drag with ease to the water's edge. Lithe vines, of which there
were plenty hanging to the trees, served instead of ropes, and with
these we bound our logs together. As the pine-wood was heavy, we formed
a platform on the top of the logs with smaller poles and lighter
branches, interwoven, and bound together as tightly as we considered
necessary for the easy voyage we proposed to undertake.

[Illustration: THE LAKE AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.]

We were, it must be understood, at the north-east end of the lake. On
the west side was the promontory which we hoped to reach, and beyond it
a deep gulf ran up the shore, the farther end of which we could not
distinguish.

Some hours were passed in constructing the raft. We had then to cut out
the paddles, a long oar to steer by, and also the mast and yard. These,
although they were very roughly formed, occupied us some time longer, so
that it was late in the day before we were ready to commence our voyage.
We calculated, however, that we should have no difficulty in getting
across before sundown; and as the evening promised to be calm and
beautiful, we expected to have a pleasant passage. The wind, too, was
favourable, blowing from the eastward, and would help us
along,--although, as it was very light, we must be prepared to use our
paddles.

The raft had been built in the water, so that all we had to do was to
step on board, set our sail, and shove off. "Away we go!" cried Manley,
giving a shove with the steering oar, and we glided off from the shore.

Sergeant Custis quickly set the sail, which, as we got a little way on,
blew out with the breeze. He and I then plied the paddles. We appeared
to be making fair progress, too, although the raft moved but slowly. But
the wind soon dying away, we had our paddles alone to depend on. Manley
tried to scull with the oar, but he was not an adept at the art, and it
did not help us much. When we watched the shore we had left, we saw that
we had made some progress; but when we looked ahead towards the side of
the lake we wished to reach, it appeared no nearer than when we stood on
the shore we had left, while the mountains rose towering up above our
heads as gigantic as ever. The sun had already disappeared beyond the
pine-clad heights to the west, leaving the valley in rapidly increasing
shade.

"I doubt, Ralph, whether we shall set foot on shore much before
midnight, unless we move at a faster rate than we are now doing," said
Manley.

I agreed with him; observing, however, that a moonlight voyage on that
calm lake would be pleasant in the extreme, and a thing to be
remembered.

Not expecting to be so long on the raft, and intending to have supper on
our arrival, we grew very hungry. Fortunately we had plenty of cooked
provisions, and fresh water alongside, so that we had no difficulty in
satisfying our appetites.

While the sergeant was engaged in again doing up the pack, a sudden
squall struck our sail, carrying away the mast, and had I not sprung up
and seized hold of it, the blanket would have been lost. Fortunately I
caught it before it was wet. This squall was quickly followed by
another, and we could see the white-topped waves curling up around us on
all sides. Our raft was but ill calculated to buffet with a tempest such
as seemed but too likely to come on. The wind being as yet favourable,
however, the sergeant attempted to repair the mast and re-hoist the
sail; but scarcely had he done so when it was again carried away.

"We must trust to our paddles, and the wind will still drive us along,"
said Manley.

We could hear the wind roaring among the trees on the shore, and every
instant it increased, raising up big waves which threatened to sweep
over us. The raft was tossed and tumbled about, and sometimes it was
with difficulty we could hold on sufficiently to prevent ourselves from
being shaken off into the seething water. We had, fortunately, at the
suggestion of the sergeant, secured our rifles and knapsacks to the top
of the platform in the centre of the raft, where they were tolerably
secure.

We were now driving on much faster than we had hitherto been doing, but
the darkness prevented us from knowing whether it was in the right
direction, for we could see only the foaming waters dancing up around
us. All we could do, therefore, was to hold on, and try with the
steering oar to keep the raft before the wind, hoping that we might be
driven into some sheltered bay, where we could land in safety.

I thought of what Clarice would have said, if she had been with
us--"Trust in God"--and I felt sure that she would not have been more
alarmed than we were. We saw our danger,--we could not be blind to
that,--but none of us gave way to cowardly fears. Manley sat with
perfect calmness, steering, while Sergeant Custis and I paddled away,
endeavouring to keep the raft before the following seas. At last I
caught sight of some dark object rising out of the water, but instead of
being ahead, it was on the right hand, or, as we judged, to the
northward of us. It was evidently land, but whether the end of the
island we had seen in that part of the lake, or the mainland, we could
not determine. In vain we attempted to paddle up to it; the gale drove
us on, and showed us that we were perfectly unable to go in any
direction excepting that towards which the wind should impel us.

Again we lost sight of the land, and this led us to think that we must
have passed an island. The waves hissed and foamed, and danced up around
us as much as ever; still our raft held together, and we were enabled to
cling on to it. Even if we were only moving at the rate of two miles an
hour, it could not take us more than seven or eight hours to get across
from one side of the lake to the other, and we calculated that we must
already have been that time on the raft. What if we had got into a
channel of some river, which might rush rapidly along, pouring over some
terrific cataract? Should we by any means be able to reach the shore, so
as to escape being carried along with the raft? Had it been daylight,
the danger would not have been so great, for we might have seen in what
direction to direct our efforts. As it was, we might, should we paddle
to one side or the other, be placing ourselves in greater danger than by
allowing the raft to drive on before the gale. Our ears were assailed by
the continued roar of the waves dashing on the shore, of the wind
rushing through the trees, and of the foaming waters as they clashed
against each other; we sometimes, indeed, could scarcely hear each
other's voices. There being now no sail, we were able to keep our eyes
turning in every direction.

"When we do reach the shore, we must take care not to lose our things,"
said Manley, with due thought. "Let each man seize his rifle and
knapsack; for if we fail to get into a harbour, we shall probably be
dashed against a rocky shore, or among overhanging trees, where our raft
will, no doubt, quickly be knocked to pieces."

Dangerous as was our present position, we had to confess that the
operation of landing might prove even more perilous; still we were eager
to go through it, trusting that, notwithstanding the danger, we should
escape.

At length Sergeant Custis cried out, "Land ahead! We shall be close to
it in a few minutes. It seems to me to be covered with wood, with
mountains rising beyond. Yes! no doubt about it! We must each try to get
hold of a stout branch or trunk of a tree, and cling on to it until
daylight returns and we can see our way."

The sergeant was right, although the time we took to reach the shore was
longer than he expected it would be. In daylight we could have made our
escape without difficulty, but now we ran the most fearful risk of being
crushed against the raft, as it surged up and down; or against the
trees, which hung, some with their branches in the water, others but
slightly raised above it, while the seething waters whirled and leapt
around their trunks with a force which must soon reduce our raft to
fragments.

"Now is our time!" cried the sergeant. "Quick, quick, gentlemen!" and
seizing a branch, he swung himself up into a tree, hauling his rifle and
knapsack after him. The next instant he extended his hand to me, by
which assistance I was enabled to follow his example. On looking round,
I lost sight of Manley. Had he been washed off, or struck by a bough?

"Manley, Manley!" I shouted; "where are you?"

"All right!" he answered, greatly to my relief.

The sound came from a distance, for even after I had left the raft it
had been driven some way on before he could manage to grasp a bough. We
had at all events succeeded in our object of crossing the lake, although
we had not landed exactly in the manner we desired, nor could we tell
our whereabouts. We might be at the very southern end of the lake,
should the wind have shifted to the northward, or we might be at its
western extremity. Wherever we were, there we must remain until
daylight; for were we to attempt moving, in the pitchy darkness which
hung around, we might fall off into the water, or lose ourselves in the
forest.

"It cannot be far off daylight, sergeant," I observed.

"I think not," he answered; "but I would advise you to take care not to
drop off to sleep. If you do, you may chance to fall into the water. It
will be as well to caution the lieutenant, or he, being alone, may
forget himself."

Considering the noise of the waves dashing under our feet, the waving of
the trees, and the howling of the wind amid them, I did not think the
caution very necessary; but, notwithstanding, I shouted out to Manley.

"No fear of that," he answered. "It would require a more comfortable
spot for a bivouac, to induce me to take a snooze."

That night appeared to me the longest I can remember. Days appeared to
have passed since we had left the eastern shore, with the bright
sunlight and the calm blue water. Still, day must return. What a comfort
that thought often is! The roar of the waters gradually decreased, the
wind having fallen, and thus, in spite of the sergeant's warning, my
head was beginning to nod, when he cried out,--

"Here is daylight at last; I see a tint of red over the snowy tops of
the mountains. We shall have the sun himself sending his warm rays down
upon us before long."

His voice aroused me in a moment. Manley answered his hail; and as the
light increased we saw that we were at the farther end of what might be
the main body of the lake, or a branch running off it. It was in
reality the great western arm of the lake, and we had been carried many
miles on our journey, in the exact direction we wished to go.

We had soon light enough to enable us to crawl off the branches to which
we had clung, and make our way down to the ground--if ground it could be
called, for, in reality, in every direction it was covered thickly with
logs in all stages of decay, some only lately fallen, others which could
be knocked to pieces with a kick, while the feet sank at almost every
step in decomposed vegetable matter. Still this was the region through
which, somehow or other, we must make our way.

After an hour's toil we reached a small open space, where the ground was
sufficiently hard to enable us to light a fire and dry our drenched
clothes and blankets. We had also to look to the priming of our rifles,
as they were likely to have got damp, and might fail us at a pinch.
Being unwilling to encamp in the forest altogether, though we all
greatly required rest, we resolved to push on until we could reach more
open ground where water was to be obtained.

To save my companions labour, as I was a more practised backwoodsman
than either of them, I offered to go ahead and try to find the shortest
way out of the forest. How far it might be, I could not tell; but I had
hopes that the forest in which we were might prove to be only a belt of
trees on the shore of the lake.

It did not occur to me as possible that my companions could miss my
trail. I shouted now and then, however, but did not hear their voices
in reply, the forest being so dense that sounds could not penetrate far
through it. I went on and on, feeling sure that I was directing my
course to the westward. The ground rose more and more, too, in some
places rather abruptly, but still covered with a dense growth of trees,
and soon I found that I was mounting a hill. The path was more easy than
at first, however, there being but few fallen trunks, so I made much
better progress.

"I must get out of this," at last I said to myself; and so I continued
moving on, occasionally notching a tree with my axe, if I thought my
trail was not sufficiently distinct. "Of course they will follow," I
thought more than once. I did not, indeed, entertain a doubt about it.

I had reached the top of the hill, but the trees were too high to enable
me to see any of the country around. I could judge by the direction of
the sun's rays, however,--which had now drawn round, and were striking
in my face,--that I was steering westward, as before. I occasionally
stopped and looked back, expecting that my friends would overtake me;
and although I did not see them, I felt so sure that they must be close
behind that I continued my course.

On and on I went, when again I found myself descending, and thus knew
that I had crossed over a hill of some height; still the trees prevented
me from getting a view of the country beyond. At last I came to some
marshy ground of a similar character to that which I had met on the
other side of the lake, with sulphur springs in the centre. I had
therefore to make a detour to avoid it, but as the tall trees which grew
on the surrounding hills would not allow me to get a view of the
country, I could not determine in what direction to steer my course. I
did not perceive an important circumstance. Owing to the spongy nature
of the ground, into which my feet sank at every step, the marks were
soon obliterated, while I still supposed that my trail was sufficiently
defined to enable Manley and the sergeant to follow me.

I now mounted another hill, of a far more rugged character than the
former ones which I had passed over.

"Surely," I thought, "on the other side of this there must be open
ground, where I shall be able to see my way ahead, and select a spot for
our camp." The hill, however, proved to be even more rugged than I had
expected. Still I did not like to go back, though the farther I went the
wilder and more jagged it became.

At last I found myself scrambling along the summit of a precipice, until
I saw before me a foaming cascade falling down the precipitous rocks,
with lofty pinnacles rising above it. This formed a cataract which,
after a short course, ran into a lakelet at the foot of the cliffs;
while beyond was the open ground I had been hoping to find.

[Illustration: THE CASCADE.]

Although a good cragsman, my climb had been a rough one, and I now sat
down to rest on the top of the cliff before I commenced mounting higher,
which it was necessary to do in order to get above the falls, and from
thence make my way down the further side of the mountain on to the open
ground. To rest my shoulders, I had taken off my pack, and placed it
with my rifle by my side. I failed to notice, as I did so, the slippery
nature of the rock, which was covered with a velvet-like surface of
moss, produced by the constant spray from the waterfall. Feeling
thirsty, I thought that I could reach a small jet of water which,
flowing amid the rocks, fell into the main cascade. I therefore got up
to make my way to it, and while doing so must have touched my rifle with
my foot. I obtained the water, although not without difficulty, and more
danger than it was wise to run for the purpose. But, on returning, what
was my dismay to see neither rifle nor knapsack! They had both, it was
very evident, slipped over the cliff, and fallen into the lakelet. Had I
been alone, my loss would have been indeed a serious one, but as I hoped
that my friends would soon overtake me, I did not allow it to depress my
spirits.

I approached as near to the edge of the cliff as I dared, thinking it
possible that my rifle and knapsack might have fallen on some ledge, or
perhaps been stopped in their downward progress by bushes; but, as far
as I could judge, the precipice was perpendicular, and they must have
fallen into the lakelet. I saw at once, therefore, that there was very
little chance of my being able to recover them: still that point could
not be decided until I got down to the level of the lake, when I might
ascertain its depth. If not very deep, I might perhaps be able to dive
to the bottom; but though naturally eager to make the attempt, I felt it
would be safest to do nothing in the matter until I was joined by my
friends.

I waited a short time for their coming up, but as they did not appear, I
thought it desirable to retrace my steps, in case they should have
missed their way, or lost sight of my trail. I accordingly went back,
shouting out to them; but it was not until I came to the spongy ground I
had passed, that I saw the probability of their having lost my trail and
gone in some other direction. In vain I searched for signs of them.
Should I return to where I parted from them, a long time might elapse
before we might meet; and my anxiety to try and recover my rifle and
knapsack forbade me doing this.

The day was advancing, and darkness would come on before I could get to
the shore of the lake, so I again turned and made my way over the
mountain till I got above the fall; from thence, with infinite labour
and at no little risk, I ultimately succeeded in reaching the level
ground. I had now to go round the base of the mountain in order to reach
the lake; but the distance was considerable, and I could scarcely hope
to reach it before nightfall. I felt, therefore, that it would be
prudent to look out for a spot for camping. A grove of trees of no great
extent was before me, and their trunks would afford shelter; but what
about a fire? My flint and steel I had incautiously left in my knapsack,
but I had a small burning-glass which one of our visitors at the farm
had given me. I had seldom made use of it, but I had put it in my
pocket, with the few valuables I possessed, on the night we left Roaring
Water. As the sun had disappeared, that, however, would be of no use for
the present; so I arrived at the unsatisfactory conclusion that I must
pass the night without food or fire.



CHAPTER XI.

     ALONE IN THE FOREST--AWAKENED BY THE CRY OF A PANTHER--THE
     BRUTE DISCOVERS ME--I TAKE REFUGE IN A TREE--THE PANTHER
     DISAPPEARS--A VISIT TO THE LAKE--VAIN EFFORTS TO RECOVER MY
     RIFLE AND KNAPSACK--I CONTINUE TOWARDS THE WEST, HOPING TO MEET
     MY FRIENDS--MORE SULPHUR SPRINGS--NEARLY OVERWHELMED BY A MUD
     VOLCANO--A POISONOUS VALLEY--CAUGHT IN A SNOW-STORM--BUILD A
     HUT--MY FARE, THISTLE ROOTS--MAKE TRAPS AND A
     FISHING-LINE--SALLY FORTH--CATCH THREE BEAVERS--FIND ANOTHER
     LAKE--SALMON-TROUT CAUGHT--CONTINUE DOWN A RIVER, AND COME UPON
     A NUMBER OF MAGNIFICENT GEYSERS--AM ABOUT TO TAKE UP MY ABODE
     IN A GROTTO, WHEN A HOT SPRING RISES FROM IT--I SHIFT MY
     QUARTERS--PREPARE FOR ANOTHER SOLITARY NIGHT--I HEAR A SHOT,
     AND A WOUNDED DEER BOUNDS NEAR ME.


My exertions had made me hungry. Recollecting the amount of animal life
which abounded in that region, however, I had no great fear of starving
altogether, for if I could not shoot I might trap animals. I hoped,
however, to be able to rejoin my companions the following day, when my
wants would be supplied, so that I was not much out of spirits. Should I
fail to trap game at any time, or should I fail to meet my companions
even for some days, there were, I remembered, roots of various sorts
which might serve for food, though it was now too late to obtain them.
Indeed, barely light enough remained to enable me to cut down some
branches with which to form a slight hut. I managed to collect a few to
answer my purpose, the thick trunk of a tree serving as a back. In spite
of this shelter, it was very cold; but of course I made up my mind to
endure it as best I could, and, in spite of hunger and anxiety, it was
not long before I fell asleep.

What time had elapsed I know not, when I was awakened by a shrill cry,
almost like that of a human being. I shouted out for help before I was
quite awake, thinking it must come from my companions, who were in
danger; but when completely aroused, I knew too well that it was the
shriek of the panther which so often makes night hideous in the forests
of the south. What the brute was about, I could not tell; but as I knew
he must be close to me, I again shouted out, hoping to frighten him
away. At the same time clutching hold of a low branch of the tree which
hung directly overhead, I swung myself into it.

Presently I saw the panther come out of a thicket close at hand, and
smell round the hut. He had only just discovered me, and seemed to have
a strong inclination to make his supper off my body. I did not feel
altogether comfortable, even where I was, as I had a belief that
panthers can climb, like most of the cat tribe, and that he might take
it into his head to mount the tree. I had no weapon besides my knife,
but with that I managed to cut off a pretty thick branch, with which I
hoped to be able to defend myself.

As I found it very cold where I sat, my first object was to try and
drive the brute away. I therefore kept pelting him with pieces of
withered branches, which I broke off; but to no purpose. Still snarling
occasionally, he kept smelling round and round the tree, frequently
casting a look up at me with his glittering eyes. Now and then he went
to a little distance, and seemed about to spring into the tree. At last
he got into a position which enabled me to take good aim at him, and I
threw a heavy piece of a branch, which hit him directly on the nose. At
the same time I sprung round the tree, so as to be concealed from his
view. He gave an upward glance; but not seeing me, he appeared to be
seized with sudden fright, and, greatly to my satisfaction, went
muttering away into the depths of the wood.

Trusting that the panther would not come back, I descended the tree, and
once more sought the shelter from which he had driven me. The
interruption to the night's repose had been somewhat unpleasant, but
that did not prevent me sleeping on until daylight; after which I
proceeded in the direction where I expected to find the lakelet into
which my rifle and knapsack had dropped.

I was considering what I should do for food, when I observed a green
plant of a bright hue, with a small head, which I recognized as a
thistle, the roots of which I had seen the Indians use for food. Pulling
it up, I found it not unlike a radish in taste and consistency.
Searching about, I soon found several more: and although not likely to
be very nutritious, the roots served to stop the gnawings of hunger, and
enabled me to make my way with a more elastic step.

My thoughts were occupied as to the probability of finding Manley and
the sergeant. I hoped that, once clear of the forest, they might encamp
and make a large fire, the smoke of which would serve to guide me to
them. Should they, on the contrary, continue searching about, we might
miss each other.

The shore of the lakelet was at last reached, but my first glance at it
convinced me that there was every probability of its being of great
depth. The cliffs over which my rifle and knapsack had fallen went sheer
down into it; while farther on the torrent brought a large supply of
water, which found an exit on the opposite side. The water was clear as
crystal, and from the shore upon which I stood I could see the bottom.
When I put in my stick, however, I could not fathom it--and this at the
shallowest part. Still, my existence might depend upon recovering my
rifle, so, throwing off my clothes, I plunged in and swam to the foot of
the cliff. I felt sure that I was under the very spot from whence the
things had fallen, but when I looked down, notwithstanding the clearness
of the water, I could not see them, nor the bottom, and this at once
convinced me of the immense depth. I had therefore to abandon all hope
of recovering my rifle and knapsack, and swim back, not altogether
without some fear of being seized with cramp from the coldness of the
water.

Quickly dressing, I ran on to warm myself, keeping as before to the
west, as I felt sure that Manley and the sergeant would proceed in the
same direction. Coming to a high mound or hill, I climbed to the top,
whence I could obtain a pretty extensive view; but nowhere could I see
any objects moving which could be my friends. A herd of elk were
browsing in the far distance, and a number of mountain sheep were
scampering about on the side of the neighbouring height. My eyes were
attracted, however, by some wreaths of vapour far down the valley, in
the direction which it was probable Manley and the sergeant had taken.
The vapour might arise from a fire they had kindled; but when I looked
again, I saw not only one, but several wreaths, or rather jets, which
made me fear that my first conjecture was wrong. However, as these jets
appeared in the right direction, I determined to go towards them.

I descended from the height, and continued my course, feeling unusually
weak and weary, when, some way along the valley, I observed several
circular holes, full of mud of different colours bubbling up, while
vapour issued from various fissures in the sides of the hills, and a
sulphureous odour pervaded the air.

Becoming more and more fatigued, at last I threw myself on the ground,
and ate a few of the thistle roots which I had fortunately brought with
me. I remember noticing a large hole not far off, but it appeared to be
empty. I felt very drowsy, and dropped off to sleep before long, my head
resting on my knees; when suddenly I became conscious of a loud rumbling
sound, while the earth beneath me seemed to shake and upheave.

[Illustration: A DANGEROUS LOCALITY.]

Springing to my feet, what was my horror to see, close to me, a mass of
dark water and mud rising up in the shape of a column! Higher and higher
it rose, surrounded by volumes of vapour; while from its summit was
scattered far and wide thick lumps of mud. Becoming aware that I had
been sleeping close to an active mud geyser, I sprang away from the
dangerous neighbourhood, narrowly escaping being overwhelmed with the
hot and horrible mixture. The spout, or column, I should think, must
have risen to a height of nearly fifty feet; while every few seconds
loud reports were heard, and with each report a dense volume of steam
shot forth--the ground meanwhile shaking violently.

I stood watching it till, gradually decreasing, the centre part of the
column sank down into the orifice from which it had been expelled; and
within a short time all was again quiet. The mass of mud which covered
the ground, and coated even the boughs of the neighbouring trees, alone
showed the violent outbreak that had just taken place.

As I advanced the valley began to narrow. Miasmatic vapours, escaping
from holes and crevices on either side, filled the air, making it
difficult to breathe with freedom, so I hastened on, anxious to get out
of so horrible a region. To escape from it I climbed a hill, along the
side of which I made my way as fast as the uneven nature of the ground
and fallen logs and rocks would allow.

I again got into a more open country, where I became conscious of a
considerable change in the atmosphere. Hitherto the air had been
tolerably warm, though bracing; it now grew sensibly cooler. Thick
clouds were gathering in the sky. The wind, before a gentle breeze, now
rose rapidly, and blew with violence. It soon became icy cold, and
flakes of snow began to fall. Without a fire, I felt I should well nigh
perish. At all events, before I could make a fire I must search for some
cavern in which to light it; or, failing to find a cavern, I must build
a hut. As the appearance of the ground did not indicate that caverns
were likely to exist on the side of the hill, I set to work without
delay to collect materials for building a hut; and having cut down a
number of pine branches, I stuck them in the ground, weaving their tops
together with vines, and piling as many rough pieces of bark against the
side as I could find.

In vain I watched for a gleam of sunshine, which would enable me, by
means of my burning-glass, to kindle a fire. The clouds gathered thicker
and thicker; and no hope remained of my being able to obtain the desired
spark. Taking advantage, therefore, of the remaining light, I searched
about and pulled up all the thistle roots I could find. With this
hermit-like fare, the only provender I was likely to obtain while the
storm lasted, I retired into my hut.

Scarcely had I got under shelter when down came the snow, and the whole
face of the country was speedily covered with a sheet of white. How
long the storm might last, I could not tell; it might blow over in one
or two hours, or days might elapse before it ceased. It was too early in
the year, however, to fear the setting in of winter weather, even in
that elevated region, or my condition would indeed have been deplorable.

I had kept an opening through which I could look over the valley, in
case my friends might pass that way. But night came on, and they did not
appear; so, closing up my window, I coiled myself away to sleep, as the
size of my hut would not allow me to stretch myself at full length.

I had little fear that a panther would break into my bower; but I was
not so confident that, should a grizzly scent me out, he might not poke
in his nose. Still I could trust to Him who had hitherto protected me. I
had my knife and my long stick, and, at all events, I might give Master
Bruin an unpleasant scratch on the snout, should he come within my
reach.

Notwithstanding my uncomfortable position, I was soon asleep, and did
not awake until daybreak. Had I possessed any means of cooking my roots,
I might have made a tolerably satisfactory breakfast. Indeed, although
they assisted to sustain life, they were far from wholesome raw; still,
to quell the cravings of hunger, I ate them.

The storm continued to blow with as much violence as on the previous
evening, and, lightly clad as I was, I felt that it would be rash to
continue my course till it was over. I sincerely hoped that Manley and
the sergeant had found suitable shelter. However, as they could light a
fire, and had abundance of food, I was pleased to think that they were
better off than I was.

To employ the time, I tried to manufacture some traps of such materials
as I possessed. I then bethought me that I had a fish-hook in my pocket;
but when I came to search for a line I could find none. I had, however,
a silk neckerchief; and having unravelled this, I twisted it with the
greatest care into a strong thread. It occupied a good deal of time, but
I succeeded in three or four hours in forming a line of sufficient
length for my purpose. I had plenty of loose shot, too, which I split
for weights. I then carefully rolled up the line round a piece of wood,
ready for use as soon as I should reach a lake or stream likely to
contain trout.

The storm lasted upwards of two days. Although my journey was thus
delayed, I felt sure my friends would likewise have been prevented from
travelling, and thus I was none the less likely to meet them. At length
the wind subsided, the clouds dispersed, and the sun shone forth with
dazzling brightness on the snow, which began quickly to disappear
beneath his rays.

Carrying the traps I had manufactured, and my fishing-line, I now
sallied out. I had exhausted all my roots, but as the snow cleared away
I obtained a further supply, though, hungry as I was, I still had very
little inclination to eat them raw.

I had not gone far when I came to some boiling springs; one of which,
although the water was of intense heat, was little larger than a
good-sized caldron. I threw in my roots, and sat down beside it to warm
my feet, which were benumbed with the melting snow. While my frugal
dinner was cooking, I looked about in search of my friends; but again I
was disappointed. When I thought that the roots were sufficiently
boiled, I raked them out with my stick. They were certainly more
palatable, and I hoped they would prove more nutritious.

Every hour was now of importance, for Manley and the sergeant would, I
calculated, be pushing on, under the belief that I was before them. I
had quenched my thirst with snow, for in that volcanic region I could
find no water fit to drink; it was either intensely hot, or so
impregnated with sulphur and other minerals that I was afraid to swallow
it. I saw that it would soon be necessary again to camp, so, that I
might not have to pass the night without a fire, I endeavoured to obtain
a light by means of my burning-glass, before the sun should descend too
low. The wood around was so wet that I feared, after all, I should not
succeed; but having made my way to a forest on one side of the valley, I
discovered some moss growing under the branches of a tree which had
sheltered it from the wet. Here also was abundance of dead wood. With as
much as I could carry I hurried back into the open, and sitting down,
brought the glass to bear on the now fast sinking rays of the sun. I
watched the effect with almost trembling eagerness, till, greatly to my
joy, from the small bright spot caused by the concentrated rays a thin
thread of smoke began to ascend and spread over the moss. This I blew
gently, placing over it a few twigs at a time, until I soon had a brisk
fire burning.

The place where I had lighted my fire was not one at which I wished to
camp, but once having a fire, I could carry a burning brand and ignite
another in some more convenient situation. I was not long in selecting a
spot close under a rock, where I soon had a fire blazing up. I thus had
warmth, although I was still destitute of wholesome food; and, indeed, I
found myself weaker than I had ever before been.

I was not of a disposition to give way to despondency, but sombre
thoughts would intrude. I began to fear that I might not be able to
rejoin my friends; that they, unable to find me, would suppose that I
had met with some accident, and would at length make their way to the
fort by themselves. Had I possessed my rifle and knapsack, I should have
had no fear on the subject, but the only means I had of obtaining food
were precarious; and I could not cast off the thought that, should I
continue to grow weaker, I might ultimately perish.

I was soon shown, however, that I ought not to have desponded. I was
more successful with my beaver traps than I had expected; and,
imperfectly formed as they were, I caught no less than three animals in
them, which afforded me ample food, and greatly restored my strength.

Pushing on over a wooded height, I saw below me a beautiful lake two or
three miles long, and almost as many broad. I hastened down to its
shore, and having caught some grasshoppers on the way, I quickly had my
line in the water. Having chosen a favourable spot, scarcely a moment
had passed before I hauled out a salmon-trout a pound or more in weight.
In half an hour I had caught a dozen--as many as I could carry. I
therefore camped and cooked some of the fish, which afforded me a more
satisfactory supper than I had eaten for many days.

Seeing a stream running out of the lake, I next morning followed its
course. I cannot describe the beautiful waterfalls which I passed on my
way, or the scenery, which was altogether very fine. I hastened along,
believing that the stream, from the direction it took, would lead to an
outlet among the mountains.

I had thus gone on for some miles, when the cañon down which I was
travelling widened, and suddenly I saw before me a scene far more
wonderful than any I had yet witnessed. In every direction over the
broad valley, on both sides of the stream, rose a number of jets of
sparkling water far surpassing in beauty the artificial fountains in the
most celebrated gardens of royal mansions.

I hurried on, to get a more perfect sight of this wonderful region.
Suddenly, from a high mound some thirty feet or more above the level of
the plain, I saw a jet burst forth, which rose to the height of one
hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty feet--a perfect geyser, the
first real one I had yet seen. It continued playing for fifteen minutes
or more, the mass of water falling back into the basin, and then running
over the edges and down the sides of the mound. Others were playing all
the time. As I hastened on, from another cone a column shot upwards to a
far greater height--considerably above two hundred feet, I should
say--and lasted very much longer than the first. The intervening spaces
between these geysers were covered with grass; and in many places trees
rich with foliage grew luxuriantly, showing that there was no danger in
venturing among them.

Another beautiful geyser, which burst up when I was not more than a
hundred yards from it, had the exact appearance of a fan. On examining
it, I found that it possessed a double orifice, which discharged five
radiating jets to the height of sixty feet; the drops of spray as they
fell perfectly representing the feathers of a fan. Nothing could be more
beautiful than the effect. The eruption lasted nearly thirty minutes,
the water preserving its elegant form during the whole time. About forty
feet from it dense masses of vapour ascended from a hole, emitting at
the same time loud sharp reports. As I looked along the river I saw
small craters of every conceivable form; some were quiescent, while
others poured out cascades forming small rivulets which ran into the
river.

So beautiful and curious was the scene, that for a time I forgot my
perilous position.

[Illustration: A FAN-LIKE GEYSER.]

I had no fear of starving, as long as I had my fishing-line and traps,
and was able to light a fire; but I knew that I had a wild and rugged
road to pursue, and probably snow-capped mountains to climb, before I
could reach the western plains. It was important, therefore, to obtain
substantial fare, that I might regain my full strength for the
undertaking. I had not, of course, given up all hope of falling in with
my friends, but still I was forced to contemplate the possibility of
missing them. I wondered that we had not yet met, as I certainly thought
they would have taken the same direction that I had followed.

I must, at all events, spend another night in the valley; and I was
looking about for some place which would afford me shelter, when I saw,
a short distance off, what appeared to be a beautiful grotto--consisting
of fantastic arches, pillars, and turrets, with hollows beneath them, in
one of which I might find a comfortable sleeping-place. I determined to
explore it, and, after collecting wood for a fire, to take my rod and
line and endeavour to catch some fish in the river. I should, at all
events, have no difficulty in cooking them in one of the numerous
boiling caldrons in the neighbourhood. Directly behind the grotto was a
forest of firs, from which I could collect an ample supply of wood for
my fire, as also small branches to form my couch, should the ground
prove damp.

I was making my way towards the grotto, when I heard a rumbling sound,
and directly afterwards two jets of water spouted from its midst--one of
them rising rapidly to the height of nearly a hundred feet, when,
spreading out, down it came, the scalding water falling in a dense
shower on every side, while wreaths of steam were ejected from the
various holes which had been within their influence, the which would
speedily have parboiled me, had I not at once run off to a safe
distance. I then turned back to look at the beautiful phenomenon.
Although the jet was not so lofty as many of the other geysers, its form
was not less beautiful, assuming, as it curled over, the appearance of a
gigantic ostrich feather.

I had received a lesson not to trust to appearances, and was now very
unwilling to take up my lodgings in any one of the curious grottoes
which lay scattered about in the valley. They might be perfectly quiet,
and afford me comfortable shelter; or, proving treacherous, a stream of
hot water might burst forth from some unperceived vent and blow me fifty
feet into the air, or scald me to death. I accordingly resolved to build
myself a bower in which, although it would not afford me so much shelter
as a cavern, I might pass the night in safety.

It was necessary, however, before the sun should disappear, to light my
fire; and having fixed upon a spot, I repaired to the woods nearest at
hand to collect the fuel. I had not gone far when I saw rising before me
a curious white mound, twenty-five or thirty feet in height, and about a
hundred at the base. From the summit rose a small puff of steam, like
that escaping from the lid of a kettle; but I saw, from the appearance
of the trees around it, that it could not for many years have sent forth
any dangerous stream of hot water. Not far off was a small basin with an
elegantly scalloped rim; it was full of hot water, which scarcely
bubbled over. "This will make me a capital fish-kettle," I said to
myself, "so I will build my hut near here. I do not think there can be
any risk."

[Illustration: THE TREACHEROUS GROTTO.]

Having selected a clear spot, I set to work and piled up the wood for my
fire. This was the first operation. I could build my hut in the dusk, or
even by the light of the fire, should it be necessary, after I had
caught my fish. Then taking a handful of moss into the open, with a few
dry sticks, I quickly lighted it with my burning-glass, and carrying it
back, soon had my fire in a blaze. I next made it up carefully, that it
might burn until I came back, and hurried down to the river. I was
doubtful whether trout were to be found in water into which hot streams
were constantly pouring; however, as most of them became cold before
they reached the main current, I thought it possible that I might be
successful. In the expectation of catching fish, I had omitted to set my
traps; or rather, occupied by the wonderful scenes around me, I had
forgotten all about the matter. In vain I threw in my line, baited with
an active grasshopper; not a fish would bite. I went higher up the
river, where fewer hot springs ran into it, but I was equally
unsuccessful.

The shadows beginning to spread over the valley, warned me that I must
return to my camping ground and content myself with a few thistle roots
for supper; and I had just wound up my line, when my ear caught the
sound of what appeared to be a shot fired at some distance up the
valley. It was so faint, however, that I thought it might possibly be a
sound emitted by some geyser or fire-hole. Just then a deer came
bounding along, a short distance off. On seeing me it swerved slightly
out of its course, and as it did so I perceived a stream of blood
flowing from its side.

"That _was_ a shot, then!" I exclaimed; "and my friends must have fired
it."

My first impulse was to run in the direction from whence the shot came,
but on looking at the deer I perceived that it was slackening its pace;
and after a few more bounds, down it sank to the ground, not one hundred
yards from me.



CHAPTER XII.

     I KILL THE DEER--MORE WONDERS--MEET MANLEY AND SERGEANT CUSTIS
     AT LAST--A PLEASANT EVENING--PARCHED WITH THIRST AMIDST
     SPARKLING STREAMS--OUR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY OVER THE
     MOUNTAINS--SAFE ARRIVAL AT FORT HARWOOD--WELCOMED BY THE
     COMMANDANT--AN EXPEDITION ORGANIZED TO DRIVE THE INDIANS FROM
     THE COUNTRY--MANLEY COMMANDS IT--I ACCOMPANY HIM--MEET BARNEY
     AND KLITZ, STILL BOUND FOR CALIFORNIA--BARNEY GIVES AN ACCOUNT
     OF THEIR ESCAPE--THEIR JOURNEY STOPPED--THEY RETURN WITH US--WE
     MEET PIOMINGO AND HIS SQUAW--TELLS US THAT HE HAS BURIED THE
     WAR-HATCHET--HEAR AN ALARMING ACCOUNT OF BARTLE--ASCEND THE
     MOUNTAIN TO WHERE WE LEFT UNCLE JEFF--FIND HIM AND CLARICE
     WELL--HE HAS OBTAINED A LARGE SUPPLY OF PELTRIES--OUR RETURN TO
     WINNEMAK'S CAMP--MAYSOTTA ACCOMPANIES CLARICE TO ROARING WATER.


Although I had not forgotten the friends I hoped soon to see, my
instinct as a hunter made me anxious to secure the deer, as it might
possibly get up again, and be lost to us by springing into the river.
Acting on this impulse, therefore, I ran up to the wounded animal. The
poor brute was endeavouring to rise on its knees, so, hamstringing it
with my knife, I effectually prevented it from escaping. I had, however,
to approach it cautiously, for a blow from its antlers, even in its
present state, might prove dangerous. I managed at length to reach its
throat, when its struggles speedily ceased.

I now looked round for my friends, in the expectation of seeing them at
any moment, for I was sure they would follow the deer; but they did not
come. Still I could not have been mistaken. The animal had been shot by
a rifle bullet; it was a rifle I had heard fired. Had Indian hunters
shot the deer, they would certainly have followed more closely at its
heels; and besides, they were not likely to have rifles.

After having secured the deer, I hastened in the direction from whence
it had come, expecting that every moment would solve the mystery. Yet,
eager as I was, my eyes could not avoid remarking the wonderful objects
around me. On one side was a basin, its projecting rim carved with
marvellously intricate tracery, while the waters within were tinted with
all the colours of the rainbow. On the other side appeared a mass
greatly resembling an ancient castle. It rose more than forty feet above
the plain, while in its midst was a turret of still greater dimensions.
A succession of steps, formed by the substances in the water which had
become hardened, led up to it, ornamented with bead and shell work;
while large masses, shaped like cauliflowers or spongy-formed corals,
projected from the walls. Out of this curious structure, as I was
passing it, shot a column of water sixty feet or more in height, vast
volumes of steam escaping at the same time.

[Illustration: A JOYFUL MEETING.]

It seems curious that I should have been able to remark these objects at
a time when my mind was occupied by a matter of so much importance.
Still I could not avoid seeing the objects; and although I did not at
the time think much about them, they stamped their impression on my mind
as I went along. Suddenly two figures appeared, which put every other
object out of my sight. My eyes were fixed upon them; I had no doubt
that they were Manley and Sergeant Custis. I shouted. They saw and heard
me, and came hurrying forward, and we were soon warmly shaking hands.

"Ralph, my dear fellow! we feared that you were lost," exclaimed Manley,
"and we have been hunting for you day after day. How haggard you look!
How did you manage to lose us? and what has become of your rifle?"

These and numerous other questions I had briefly to answer. How they had
missed me, they could not very clearly tell. Instead, however, of coming
westward, they had for some time hunted about in the very neighbourhood
where they had at first lost sight of me. At length they reached one of
my camps, and from thence they had followed me up, although they had
been compelled, as I had, to take shelter during the storm.

Of course, they were as much delighted as I was with the extraordinary
region in which we found ourselves; and I could now enjoy an examination
of its wonders far more than I did at first.

We were very anxious to push on, in order to carry relief to our
friends, and to punish the Arrapahas for their audacious raid on our
territory, but that evening we could proceed no farther. We therefore
cut up the deer, and carried as much of its flesh as we required to
camp, where we built a hut, and employed the evening in preparing the
venison for the remainder of our journey--for we had snowy heights to
surmount, where we might be unable to meet with game. An abundant meal
and a night's rest completely set me up; and my friends insisting on
alternately keeping watch, I was allowed to sleep on without
interruption.

I must pass rapidly over the next few days of our journey. We worked our
way along the rugged gorges through which the river forced a passage,
and we had torrents to cross, precipitous mountains to climb, amid
glaciers and masses of snow, where by a false step we should have been
hurled to destruction. But we were mercifully preserved.

Game in these wild regions is scarce, and we were frequently hard
pressed for food. In one of the valleys, at the beginning of this part
of our journey, nowhere was a drop of drinkable water to be found. For
hours we walked on, with bright fountains bubbling up on every side; but
they were scalding hot, or so impregnated with minerals that we dared
not touch them. Our fate promised to be like that of Tantalus: with
water on every side, we were dying of thirst. At length I espied, high
up on the mountain slope, a little green oasis, scarcely larger than a
small dinner-plate. I scrambled up to it, and, putting down my hand,
found a fountain of cool bright water issuing forth. I shouted to my
companions, who quickly joined me. Never was nectar drank with more
delight; and, revived and strengthened, we again pushed on.

Sometimes we slept in caverns, sometimes in huts built of clods and
boughs. Frequently we had to camp on the bare ground, without shelter,
our feet as close to the fire as we could venture to place them without
running the risk of their being scorched.

At last, to our great joy, we saw the western plains stretching out
before us. I call them the plains, although hills of all heights rose in
their midst. Far away to the south-west was the great Salt Lake; while
in front of us were the mountainous regions bordering the
Pacific,--California and its newly-discovered gold-mines. Now descending
steep slopes, now traversing gorges, now climbing down precipices, now
following the course of a rapid stream, we ultimately reached level
ground, and at last arrived at Fort Harwood.

"Why, Broadstreet, my dear fellow!" exclaimed the commandant, who, with
a number of other officers, came out on seeing us approach, "we had
given you up as lost! Some emigrants who escaped from a train which was
attacked reported that every white man on the other side of the pass,
for miles to the southward, had been murdered. They had heard, also,
that an officer and his men had been cut off, so we naturally concluded
you were the unhappy individual."

"Such would have been our fate, if we had attempted to get through the
pass; but, guided by my friend here, we crossed the mountain, for the
purpose of asking you to send a force of sufficient strength to drive
back the Indians, with their rascally white allies," answered the
lieutenant.

"The very thing I purposed doing, if I could obtain a trustworthy
guide," said the commandant.

"You could not have a more trustworthy one than my friend, Ralph
Middlemore," answered Manley. "He knows the mountains better than any
white man we are likely to find; and as for Indians, I would not put
confidence in one of them."

Of course, I at once expressed my willingness to undertake the duty
proposed; and the expedition was speedily arranged. Our troops may not
have had a very military appearance, but the men knew how to handle
their rifles, and had had experience in border warfare. We numbered
fifty in all, besides the drivers of the baggage horses and mules
conveying our provisions and ammunition. All not absolutely necessary
encumbrances were dispensed with, our camp equipage consisting of a few
iron pots, tin cups, and plates. Lieutenant Broadstreet had command of
the party, and he was directed to select a fit site for a new fort in
the neighbourhood of Roaring Water, to assist in holding the Arrapahas
in check for the future.

Not an hour was lost; and by sunrise, two days after our arrival, we
commenced our march. I had advised Manley to let me go ahead with a few
of the most experienced men, to act as scouts, that we might ascertain
whether the enemy still held the pass; but two days had gone by without
any signs of the Indians. The remains of their fires, however, showed
that they had been there not long before. At the end of the second day,
just as we were about to encamp, I caught sight of two figures coming
over the brow of a slight elevation. I rubbed my eyes; was it fancy, or
did I really see Klitz and Barney before me, precisely as I had seen
them on a previous occasion, when attempting to make their escape from
the farm? No doubt about it. There was Barney wheeling a barrow, and
Klitz, with a couple of muskets on his shoulder, marching behind him.
Had I been inclined to superstition, I might have supposed that I beheld
a couple of ghosts, or rather beings of another world; but I was
convinced, unless I was the victim of some optical delusion, that the
two worthies were there in flesh and blood.

I did what every one should do when there exists any doubt about a
matter,--I hastened forward to solve the mystery. No sooner did they see
me than Klitz dropped his muskets, and Barney, letting go the handles of
his wheel-barrow, stood gazing at me with open eyes and outstretched
hands.

"Arrah, now, it's the young masther himself!" exclaimed Barney; whilst
the German uttered an exclamation which I did not comprehend. "Sure,
now, we were afther thinking your honour was kilt intirely," continued
Barney. "Might I be so bold as to ax where your honour comes from now?"

"Let me inquire where you come from, and how you escaped from the
burning house," I said. "Although I am glad to see you, I would rather
you had rejoined your regiment."

"Sure, Mister Ralph dear, we were returned as dead, and it would have
been sore against our consciences to take sarvice under the
circumstances. But your honour was axin' how we escaped. Sure, when I
was hunting for the Redskin spy, didn't I find out the root-house. And
so, afther matters came to the worst, we got in there, with food enough
to last until those thieves who wanted our scalps had taken themselves
off. As to cutting our way through the enemy, I knew well enough that
would not suit me; for I could not run, and Klitz would have been a mark
a mile off. So, when you rushed out, he and I dropped down through the
trap and stowed ourselves away. The Indians, marcifully, niver came to
look for us. In truth, while they were hunting about down came the
building on their heads, and we could hear their shrieks and cries as
they tried to scramble out from among the flames. If it had not been for
a small vent-hole far away up in a corner, we should have been
suffocated, maybe. All day long we could hear them screeching and
hallooing outside the house; but before night the thieves of the world
took themselves off, we suppose, for all was silent.

"At the end of a couple of days we thought we might safely venture to
take a few mouthfuls of fresh air, and begin to work our way out from
among the ruins. It was no easy job, but we got free at last. Neither
Redskin nor white man was to be seen; and of all the buildings, the hut
and the mill only were standing. The villains had carried off all our
blankets and most of the cooking-pots, but enough was left for our
wants, seeing that we had nothing to put in them. However, Klitz was not
the boy to starve. He soon caught some fish, and I got hold of a sheep
which came up to the door; and if there had only been a dhrop of the
cratur', we should have lived like princes. One thing there was which
the Indians had not carried off, and that was a wheel-barrow. When Klitz
saw it, 'We will go to California!' says he. Says I, 'I'm the boy for
it!' So, as we had our muskets and a few rounds of ammunition, afther
drying the mutton and making some other necessary preparations we set
off. The Indians had left the country, and no one stopped us, so surely
your honour won't be so hard as to stop us now!"

"That must depend on what Lieutenant Broadstreet has to say in the
matter," I observed. "I am under his orders, and will conduct you to
him."

Klitz elongated his visage on hearing this, but Barney took the matter
with his usual good-humour.

In consideration of the dangers the men had gone through, and their
conduct in the defence of the farm, the lieutenant treated them kindly.
He could not allow them to continue on their way to California, of
course, which they most certainly would never have reached, but he
inflicted no greater punishment than ordering them to mount the
baggage-mules and return with us.

We did not entirely rely on Barney's report that the Indians had left
the neighbourhood, though it perhaps made us less cautious than we would
otherwise have been. As I was well mounted, I frequently went on a
considerable distance ahead, eager to fall in with some one from whom I
might gain intelligence of Uncle Jeff, Clarice, or our friends. I did
not suppose that Uncle Jeff would remain in the mountains where we had
left him, but that he would certainly have come down to meet us; or
perhaps, should Bartle and Gideon have escaped, he might have rejoined
them and returned to Roaring Water.

We had got through the pass, and were about to march to the southward,
in the hope of overtaking the enemy, should they be still lingering in
that part of the country, when I saw smoke ascending from the level
ground close to the foot of the mountain, and some way ahead. On
watching it, I was satisfied that it rose from an encampment of white or
red men. As there was little doubt that information could be obtained
from the inhabitants, whoever they were, the sergeant and I, with two
well-mounted troopers, rode forward, keeping on the alert to guard
against coming suddenly on an enemy.

As we got nearer, I saw, by means of a telescope which I had obtained at
the fort, an Indian camp of a more permanent character than I had yet
fallen in with in that neighbourhood. This was a proof that the
inhabitants were friendly.

[Illustration: PIOMINGO AND HIS SQUAW.]

In a short time several persons appeared; and on seeing us one of them
came forward, habited in the costume of a chief, a quiver at his back
and a bow in his hand. A squaw followed him. He stopped and gazed at me.
Then, as I rode on, he advanced, and, putting out his hand, exclaimed,--

"You know me!--Piomingo. This my squaw. You save my life and her life,
and I am ever your friend."

I told him that I was very glad to see him, and that he could give me
information I very much desired. In the course of conversation he
informed me that he had talked with Winnemak, and had buried, as he
said, the war-hatchet; and he had therefore come and settled in that
district. He had also preserved my horse with the greatest care; and, he
added, he was ready to restore him to me in good condition. With regard
to Uncle Jeff, he could tell me nothing. As my uncle, however, had not
rejoined Winnemak, I concluded that the latter was still in the
mountains, well contented with his new locality, and engaged in shooting
and trapping.

"Can you give me any information about my other friends?" I asked.

One white man, he said, had gone to Winnemak's camp; and from his
description I had little doubt that the person he spoke of was either
Bartle or Gideon. I was very sure, however, that either of them would
without delay have rejoined Uncle Jeff. What Piomingo told me about the
other caused me much anxiety. He had been captured by the Arrapahas, he
said, who had carried him about with them; probably, according to their
cruel custom, with the intention of ultimately putting him to death in
some barbarous manner.

As Piomingo volunteered to lead a party of us in search of the
marauders, who still had, according to his report, a white man with
them, I at once accepted his offer, and would gladly have set off
immediately; but it was important first to carry assistance to Uncle
Jeff and Clarice, who could not fail--so Manley thought--to require it.
He and I, with twenty troopers and some of our baggage animals,
accordingly turned to the northward, leaving Sergeant Custis and the
remainder of our force to watch the pass, in order to prevent the return
of the Arrapahas.

We pushed on as fast as our horses would go, the lieutenant being fully
as eager as I was, but it took us two days to reach the foot of the
mountains. Manley declared that he could not have found the spot had it
not been for my assistance. We here formed camp, while he and I, with
six of our strongest baggage animals, and men to look after them, took
our way up the mountain.

I need scarcely describe the route. Sometimes we made tolerable
progress, at other times we had to use the greatest caution to escape
falling over the precipices which we had now on one side, now on the
other. But the most arduous part of the undertaking was forcing our way
through the primeval forests, over trunks of trees, and through pools of
water, into which the horses sank up to their knees. The poor brutes had
an uncomfortable time of it. The men, armed with thick sticks, went
behind whacking them unmercifully, while others dragged away at their
heads. I was thankful to have the task of acting as guide, although it
was not an easy one--having every now and then to climb over fallen logs
or leap across pools. I was, however, saved the pain of witnessing the
sufferings of the animals; and I determined, if possible, to find an
easier path down again.

[Illustration: FOREST-TRAVELLING.]

At length a height which separated us from the first valley was passed;
and looking down, to our infinite satisfaction we caught sight of a
well-constructed hut, with a wreath of smoke ascending from its chimney.
All, then, was likely to be well. Manley and I, leaving our men to
follow with the animals, hurried down, and in less than a quarter of an
hour we were shaking hands with Uncle Jeff and Clarice. I need scarcely
describe how Manley and my fair young sister met, but it was very
evident that they were not sorry to see each other. Rachel came out,
beaming with smiles; and in a short time Pat Sperry appeared, followed
by another person whom I was truly glad to see--Gideon Tuttle. The
latter had joined Uncle Jeff some days before. Although desperately
wounded, he had managed to make his escape, and had lain in hiding in
the mountains for several days, till he had recovered sufficient
strength to travel. The report he gave us of Bartle, however, was truly
alarming. There could be no doubt that he had been captured by the
Indians, and, Gideon feared, must have been put to death by them; but
when I told him what Piomingo said, he became more hopeful as to the
fate of his old friend.

"If he is alive, we will find him out, wherever he may be!" he
exclaimed. "Even if the varmints have him in the middle of their camp,
we will manage to set him free."

Uncle Jeff, as I expected, had not been idle. Ever since the day we had
left him, he had been hunting and trapping, and had collected a large
store of skins of all sorts of animals, with dried meat enough to supply
an army. The baggage animals we had brought could carry but a small
amount of the stores collected by Uncle Jeff. It was arranged,
therefore, that a larger number should be sent up as soon as possible,
to bring away the remainder. Who was to take charge of them? was the
question. Uncle Jeff, Gideon, and I, were naturally anxious to return to
Roaring Water, that we might get up huts and re-establish ourselves
before the commencement of winter.

While we were in this dilemma, Winnemak and several of his braves
appeared. On hearing of our difficulty, he said, "Commit them to my
care. I will protect them with my life--although I believe no one will
venture up here to carry them off. I have, as yet, had few opportunities
of showing my gratitude. I failed to assist you, when I wished to do so,
against the Arrapahas; but in this matter I can, at all events, render
you a service."

"Where will Maysotta remain while you are up in the mountains?" asked
Uncle Jeff, after he had accepted Winnemak's offer.

"Oh, let her come with us!" exclaimed Clarice. "I wish to show her that
I am grateful for the service which she rendered me; and she may perhaps
be pleased with the life we lead. She has several times expressed a wish
to know how white people spend their time."

The chief, who seldom interfered with the movements of his daughter,
replied that she was at liberty to do as she wished, and that we should
find her in the camp at the foot of the mountains.

Lieutenant Broadstreet had to rejoin his men as soon as possible, and no
time, therefore, was lost in commencing our journey down the mountain.
Winnemak and several of his people were left in charge of Uncle Jeff's
hut and stores.

We had not a few difficulties to encounter on our return, but Clarice,
by whose side Manley rode whenever the path would permit, endured them
bravely; and we ultimately, without accident, reached the foot of the
mountains, where we found Maysotta encamped with the remainder of her
people. She was well pleased with the proposal Clarice made to her; and
her baggage being put into little bulk, she mounted her horse and
accompanied us forthwith.



CHAPTER XIII.

     ON OUR WAY WE VISIT PIOMINGO--HE TELLS US OF BARTLE'S
     CAPTIVITY, AND OFFERS TO ASSIST US IN HIS RECOVERY--GIDEON,
     PIOMINGO, AND I SET OUT, FOLLOWED BY A STRONG PARTY UNDER
     SERGEANT CUSTIS--WE DISCOVER THE TRAIL, AND FOLLOW IT
     UP--HORRIBLE CRUELTIES PRACTISED BY INDIANS ON THEIR
     PRISONERS--THE TRAIL LEADS ALONG THE MOUNTAIN--WE SEE A FIGURE
     ABOVE US--IT IS BARTLE--IS HE ALIVE?--JUST IN TIME--GIDEON AND
     I STAY BY HIM--I AFTERWARDS SET OFF TO OBTAIN HELP--PIOMINGO
     HAS SENT A LITTER--WE ARRIVE SAFE AT ROARING WATER--HARD AT
     WORK REBUILDING THE HOUSE--A FORT ESTABLISHED--BARNEY AND KLITZ
     JOIN US--A VISIT FROM MANLEY--A PROPOSAL, AND CONFESSION--UNCLE
     JEFF APPROVES OF THE ENGAGEMENT OF MANLEY AND CLARICE--WINNEMAK
     AND PIOMINGO BECOME CHRISTIANS, AND INSTRUCT THEIR PEOPLE--THE
     HOUSE REBUILT--SETTLERS GATHER ROUND US, AND UNCLE JEFF'S FARM
     BECOMES THE MOST FLOURISHING IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.


As we approached Piomingo's camp, or rather village, we saw him hurrying
out to meet us.

"I have gained information for you," he said, "about one of your white
friends who has long been held in captivity by the Arrapahas. The party
who have him remained for some time in the neighbourhood of Roaring
Water, if they are not there still. If you hasten on, you may overtake
them; but it would be dangerous to approach with a large band, in case
they should immediately kill their prisoner--they have already killed
several who had fallen into their power--rather than run the risk of
allowing him to escape. My advice is, that a small number of experienced
men should pursue them, followed by a larger party at a short distance;
and I willingly offer to serve as a scout to accompany the first party.
If we can find the Arrapahas in camp, we may be able to liberate the
prisoner; or if we can form an ambush and pounce suddenly out on them,
we may manage to cut the thongs with which he is bound, mount him on one
of our horses, and carry him off."

As we were convinced that the white man of whom Piomingo spoke was
Bartle Won, Uncle Jeff and Gideon accepted the brave's offer without
hesitation. It was finally settled that Piomingo, Gideon, and I should
push on until we came upon the trail of the Arrapahas, and that a party
of twenty men, under Sergeant Custis, should follow us. We were then
cautiously to approach the camp of the enemy, and endeavour by some
means or other to liberate Bartle. We had confidence in the success of
our plan, for Piomingo had ever been celebrated for his cunning and
audacity, which he had in times past exercised in less reputable ways
than that in which he now proposed to employ them. Some of Winnemak and
Piomingo's people, who were now on good terms, scoured the country as
scouts; and from the reports they brought us we were satisfied that the
chief body of the enemy had completely deserted the neighbourhood.
Still, the party of whom Piomingo had heard might have remained behind,
and we therefore at once commenced our search for their trail.

But I must be brief in my account. For two days we searched in every
direction, scarcely resting, till at length we discovered a trail which
Piomingo was confident was that of our foes; and, moreover, he said they
had a white man with them. They had, however, he thought, passed some
days before. Piomingo sent back one of his men to urge Sergeant Custis
to come on rapidly; and we pushed forward as fast as we could travel,
hoping soon to overtake the Arrapahas.

After following the trail, we found that it took the way along the
mountains. This was rather an advantage in some respects, as, being
accustomed to mountain travelling, we might move on faster than those of
whom we were in pursuit. As, however, we were made of flesh and blood,
we were obliged to encamp at night, although the dawn of day found us
again in pursuit.

[Illustration: INDIANS AND THEIR BARBARITIES.]

Piomingo thrilled my heart with horror by an account which he gave of
the cruelties practised by the savages on some of their captives, and I
had great fear that our friend Bartle might have been subjected to the
same horrible tortures. Piomingo told us that he himself had been
present at some of the scenes he described. It showed me how debased
men, formed in the image of God, can become, when they have departed
from Him, and how cruel by nature is the human heart, which can devise
and take satisfaction in the infliction of such barbarities. The white
men who were thus treated had done nothing to injure the Indians, except
in attempting to defend their lives and property when attacked. The
captives having been brought out into an open space, bound hand and
foot, the Indians threw off their usual garments, and dressed themselves
in the most fantastic manner. One of their victims was first led forward
and stretched on the ground, to which he was bound by cords and pegs, so
that he could move none of his limbs. The savages then commenced a wild
dance round him, jeering and mocking him, while they described the
various tortures for which he must be prepared. One of the unfortunate
victim's companions was, in the meantime, held, with his hands bound
behind him, and made a witness to his sufferings. The savages, as they
danced round and round him, stooped down and pricked him with daggers
and knives, taking good care not to wound him mortally. Next one of the
wretches, seizing his knife, cut his scalp from off his head; while
others brought some burning embers of wood and placed them on his
breast.

But I see no advantage in further mentioning the diabolical cruelties
practised by these savages of which Piomingo told us. Far removed from
the benign influences of Christianity, these red men only acted
according to the impulses of their barbarous nature. The thought came
upon me with great force, Is it not the duty of white men who are
Christians to send the blessed light of the gospel, by every means in
their power, to their benighted fellow-creatures? They have souls as we
have, and they are as capable of receiving the truths of the gospel as
we are. Bold, energetic men, imbued with the love of souls, are
required, who, ready to sacrifice all the enjoyments of civilization,
will cast themselves fearlessly among the native tribes, and by patience
and perseverance endeavour to induce them to listen to the message of
reconciliation, and to imitate the example of Him who died for them.

I spoke earnestly and faithfully to Piomingo of this, and I was thankful
to find that he listened not only willingly but eagerly to what I said.

"Yes," he exclaimed at length, "I see that you are right. Although some
white men have set us a bad example, it is no reason that all should do
so. The truths about which you speak are independent of man. There must
be bad white men as well as bad red men; but I am sure that those who
follow the example of Him of whom you tell me, the Son of the Great
Spirit, must be good men. I will try to follow him, and when we get
back, you must tell me more about him."

I gladly promised to do so, and was thankful for this opportunity of
speaking to Piomingo.

Before starting next morning we sent a message to the sergeant, begging
him to keep as close to the foot of the mountain as possible, as we were
sure the enemy could not have gone far up; indeed, their trail led along
the lower part of the side. They had taken this direction, probably, in
order that they might obtain a view over the plain, and thus the more
easily escape from those who by this time, they must have known through
their scouts, were in pursuit of them, although they could not be aware
that our small party was so close at their heels. In a few hours more,
we believed, we should probably be up with them; and we hoped that while
they were in camp we might find some means or other of releasing Bartle.

Though generally keeping our eyes ahead, or down on the plain, I
happened on one occasion to look up the mountain. On the height above me
was the figure of a human being. I pointed it out to my companions.

"There is no doubt about it," exclaimed Gideon; "what you see is a
cross, with a man, well-nigh stripped, bound to it."

The spot was one difficult of access, but it had been reached shortly
before, and, Piomingo declared, by Indians, whose trail he discovered on
the hard rock, where Gideon and I could not perceive the slightest
marks.

"That is Bartle," cried Gideon as we were climbing on. "Little chance,
however, of the poor fellow being alive. The cruel varmints! I'll punish
them one of these days for what they have done."

The expressions which his indignation drew forth were very natural, but
they were not in accordance with the precepts I had been endeavouring to
inculcate on Piomingo.

As we hastened on Gideon cried, "I think I saw his head move; if so, he
must be alive. We are coming! cheer up, cheer up, Bartle; we are coming
to your help!" he shouted.

The faint sound of a human voice was heard in return.

"He is alive," I exclaimed; "he is alive!" and I waved my cap as we
rushed to our friend's assistance.

Another minute, and we were by Bartle's side. We could perceive no
wound, but his eyes were starting from his head, and his tongue
protruded. Not a moment was lost in cutting the lashings with which he
was bound to the stump of a small tree, with another rough piece of wood
fastened across it. A few minutes later, and I believe he would have
breathed his last. We had fortunately brought with us a bottle of water
and some spirits, some of which we poured down his throat, and in a
wonderfully short time he revived, and was able to tell us what had
happened to him. He had rendered one of his captors a service on some
occasion, and this man had sufficient influence with the others to
preserve his life. When, however, they found themselves closely pursued
by our troops, they were about to kill him; but, at the instigation of
the brave who had hitherto saved him from being put to death, they
resolved to bind him to the tree and leave him. In all likelihood, his
friend had proposed this with the intention of afterwards returning and
setting him free.

As Bartle would certainly be unable to move for some time, Gideon and I
remained by him, while Piomingo returned to inform Sergeant Custis of
our success, and also to warn him that the enemy were not far ahead. The
sergeant, we afterwards heard, pushed rapidly on, and in a short time
came up with the party, and, by the careful way in which he approached,
took them completely by surprise. They attempted to defend themselves,
but the greater number were cut to pieces--a few only escaping to the
southward.

[Illustration: TO THE RESCUE!]

Gideon and I, I have said, had been left on the mountain-side to look
after Bartle. The first thing Gideon did was to take off his own coat
and wrap it round our friend, whose limbs were swollen by the pressure
of the cords, while he was chilled by long exposure to the cold air;
indeed, most men would have sunk under the sufferings he had endured.
How were we to get him down the mountain? was the next question. He
could not walk, and Gideon and I together were unable to carry him. The
spot was exposed to a hot sun by day, and to cold winds by night, and
there were no materials at hand to build a hut; indeed, but little wood
even to form a fire. At last I proposed setting off to try and obtain
help,--though, should the troops or the Indians who accompanied us have
gone south, it might be a long time before I could fall in with any one.
There was nothing else to be done, however, as far as we could see,
although I greatly feared that before I could return Bartle would have
succumbed.

"Quick, Ralph," said Gideon, as I rose to set off. "Do not forget some
food; and bring a litter, or something of that kind, to carry Bartle
on."

I had scarcely got a hundred feet down the mountain when I saw two
Indians in the distance, coming towards me, each carrying something on
his back, and a long pole in his hand. I waved to them, and they made
signals in reply. They were soon close to me, and on coming up they said
that they had been sent by Piomingo, and that they carried materials for
forming a litter. He had thought of the very thing we required. It was
rapidly put together; and placing Bartle on it, we each of us took the
end of a pole, and began cautiously to descend the mountain. Of
necessity our progress was very slow. Sometimes we had to place the
litter on the ground, not for the sake of resting ourselves, but that we
might lower it with more caution. Thus proceeding, we at last reached
the plain, where, as the day had closed, we encamped.

Next morning, Bartle, although better, was still unable to walk; we
therefore carried him the whole way to Roaring Water. We found Uncle
Jeff standing in the midst of the ruins of the old house,--in no
desponding mood, however,--and he welcomed Bartle as he would have done
a beloved brother.

"You will soon come round, Bartle," he said, as he took his hand; "and
we will get a house up as big and as strong as the old one."

"Ay! that we will," answered Bartle; "and if the Redskins pay us another
visit, we will take good care that they shall never get inside it."

       *       *       *       *       *

The hut had been thoroughly cleaned out, and Clarice, Maysotta, and
Rachel had taken possession of it, while the rest of the party occupied
the mill.

Lieutenant Broadstreet had, in the meantime, fixed on a good site for a
fort on the summit of a precipice by the river-side, and his men were
busily engaged in cutting and fixing up the palisades which were to
surround it. So much was he occupied in the duty he had to perform, that
he could rarely come over to Roaring Water; while I was so fully
employed that I had no time to visit him.

We were greatly in want of labourers to supply the places of the poor
fellows who had been killed when the Indians attacked the house, and at
last Uncle Jeff told me to go over to the fort and ascertain if any men
were likely to obtain their discharge, and if so, to offer them good
wages.

"You can tell the lieutenant that we shall be glad to see him over here
whenever he can come," said Uncle Jeff, "although we have not the best
accommodation in the world to offer him."

I had little doubt that Manley would not be influenced by the latter
consideration; so, mounting my horse, I rode off to the fort, and gave
him Uncle Jeff's message.

"I can afford you two hands, at all events," he answered, and I saw a
twinkle in his eyes. "They know the place, and perhaps you may get more
work out of them than I can; only take care they do not run away."

I guessed to whom he alluded; nor was I mistaken. We went out together,
and he summoned Klitz and Barney, who were slowly working away with
pick, axe, and spade.

"Men," he said, "you have claimed your discharge; you shall have it, if
you are willing to go and take service at Roaring Water."

"Sure, with the greatest pleasure in me life; there's not a finer
gintleman on this side of the Atlantic than Mr. Crockett," said Barney.

Klitz simply gave a grunt of acquiescence.

The whole matter was arranged; and they were to return with me the next
day. I was also glad to obtain two more men, who, though they belonged
to that class of individuals known as "Uncle Sam's bad bargains," and
might be lazy rascals when labouring for a Government for which they did
not care a cent, turned out to be very ready to serve a master who
treated them kindly and paid them well. As we travelled along they
showed no inclination to decamp, but chatted and laughed, each in his
own style--Barney being undoubtedly the leading wit of the party. They
were heartily welcome at Roaring Water, and both Klitz and Barney showed
that they were willing and able to work. The only thing which seemed to
put the German out was when any allusion was made to a wheel-barrow.

We had just begun active operations when Winnemak came to see his
daughter. Maysotta, however, had no inclination to return with him, and
begged that she might remain to assist her new friend, from whom she was
hearing more wonderful things daily, as well as gaining more knowledge.
Winnemak offered us the services of some of his men, who were willing
to work for wages; and although they were not equal to the worst of the
white men, yet, by Uncle Jeff's good management, they were made very
useful.

From some passing emigrant trains we obtained a good supply of
tools,--axes and saws,--and we were busily at work from sunrise to
sunset. Clarice and Rachel had succeeded in recovering some of the
cattle, pigs, and poultry which had strayed, and in a short time the
farm began to assume something of its former appearance.

I had, one afternoon, come back from the forest in which we obtained our
timber, in order to get a fresh axe in place of one which I had broken,
when I found Maysotta alone in the hut. On asking for Clarice, I was
told she had gone to the cool fountain for a pitcher of water. It struck
me that something was amiss with the Indian girl, but what it was I
could not tell. I was going on to the mill, where I expected to find an
axe, when Maysotta added,--

"The young white chief, from the fort out there, came here just now
inquiring for you. When he heard that Clarice was at the spring, he
hastened off in that direction, without seeming to regard me."

Having obtained the axe, I set off after Manley, whom I was anxious to
see, and as I got near the spring I heard him in conversation with my
sister.

"Oh no, no! I must not leave my uncle and Ralph; I should be neglecting
my duty, should I do so," said Clarice.

"But I have told you how devotedly, how fondly I love you," said Manley.
"Do you not love me in return?"

"Yes, I do; I have loved no one else," she replied.

On hearing this confession I should have withdrawn, for I had perfect
confidence in Manley, and what I had heard gave me unbounded
satisfaction. Clarice, however, had heard me moving among the bushes,
and turned her eyes towards me with a startled look. I was sure she had
perceived me, so I at once came forward. Manley put out his hand.

"You heard what I said to your sister?"

"Yes; and what she said in reply," I answered. "It gives me the greatest
possible pleasure. There is no man I ever met whom I should so much like
as a brother-in-law. I would advise Clarice to tell Uncle Jeff at once,
and hear what he says about the matter. My belief is, that he will not
say anything which either of you would dislike."

Dear little Clarice looked very happy when I said this. I was not
surprised that Manley had fallen desperately in love with her, although
her beauty certainly did not depend on the elegance of her costume, for
she had come out without shoes or stockings, with her hair hanging down
over her shoulders, and in her rough working-dress. I must confess I
forgot all about my axe, and where I had been going; and having been
taken into the confidence of Manley and my sister, I remained talking
with them, and settling plans for the future. Suddenly, however, I
recollected that I had work to do; and I had an idea that the young
couple would not object just then to my attending to my duties. At all
events, they said nothing to detain me. Manley agreed to remain with us
that night, and I advised him to lose no time in speaking to Uncle
Jeff.

[Illustration: A QUESTION, AND A CONFESSION.]

To make a long story short, when Uncle Jeff came back after his day's
work, Manley, following my advice, spoke to him. His reply was what I
had expected:--

"You shall have her with all my heart, for I am very sure you will make
her a good husband."

Manley had received his appointment as commandant of the fort; but as
the buildings were not as yet fully completed, nor would be fit for a
lady's reception during the winter, it was settled that the young couple
should wait until next spring to be married, when it was hoped that the
chaplain at Fort Harwood would be able to come over and perform the
ceremony.

Before the winter set in we had got up a sufficient portion of the house
for our accommodation, while the new field hands occupied the hut. Our
friend Winnemak paid us frequent visits, too, always bringing a supply
of game, which was very welcome, as we had but little time for hunting,
and were unwilling to kill any of our farm-stock.

Maysotta had always much to say to her father, and he willingly allowed
her to remain with us. His mind was already beginning to awaken to
spiritual truth, as he had had the gospel explained to him, and he now
compared it with the dark heathen superstitions in which he had
hitherto believed. Maysotta entreated Clarice to tell her father all she
had told her. She gladly did so, and the hitherto proud chief "became as
a little child." He at last fixed his camp in our neighbourhood, and
used to visit us nearly every day, in order that he might receive
instruction. He even expressed a wish to learn to read; so Uncle Jeff
and I became his masters, aided occasionally by Clarice and Maysotta,
who had already made considerable progress. The chief's memory was
wonderfully good, too, and he thus rapidly learned whole chapters of the
Bible, from a translation which we had obtained in the dialect of his
people. His great desire was now not only to learn himself, but to
induce his own people to accept the blessings of the gospel; and as his
wish was to imitate us in everything, he had put up a log-house of
considerable size in his village.

I had often promised to pay him a visit. One Sunday I had ridden over to
the fort, after Clarice's marriage, to see her and join the service
there, when on my way back I bethought me of my promise to Winnemak. I
accordingly rode to his village. None of his men were about; so,
fastening up my horse, I went towards his house. As I looked in at the
door, I saw him standing up at one end, while his chief men and braves
were seated around him, attentively listening to the words which fell
from his lips. Once he would have addressed them only on some war-like
or political matter, but now he was preaching the blessed gospel, while
those fierce warriors sat listening with the most profound attention to
his words.

[Illustration: WINNEMAK AS A MISSIONARY.]

What were those words? He was telling them that they must become as
children; that they must be born again, that their old evil nature might
be overcome; that they must do good to their enemies, and forgive those
who should injure them; that they must lead pure and holy lives, not
giving way to their angry feelings, or even indulging in angry thoughts.
He told them, too, of the Saviour's love, and the Saviour's death; how
God would forgive their sins, which, though red as scarlet, would become
white as wool, if they trusted that by that death he had taken their
sins upon himself, and had become their Saviour, their Advocate, their
great High Priest.

Winnemak having thus become a Christian, did not rest content until he
had used every effort to convert the whole of his tribe. Nor did he stop
here: he went to other tribes; and when he found his own influence was
not sufficient, he procured the assistance of white missionaries, whom
he supported and protected.

His example was followed by his former enemy Piomingo, whose young wife
and himself became industrious settlers--the greater number of their
tribe completely abandoning their old barbarous customs. The only regret
of Winnemak was that he and his people had not received these glorious
tidings in earlier days, before they had almost ceased to exist as a
people in the land where once their warriors were counted by thousands.

But I have been anticipating events. From several of the emigrant
trains which came by next season, we obtained not only such stores as we
required, but several useful hands; while many of the families, seeing
the fertility of the country, and the progress we had made, to say
nothing of the protection of the military post, resolved, instead of
incurring the dangers of a longer journey, to settle in our
neighbourhood.

The new house, as Uncle Jeff and Bartle intended, was far superior to
the old one, and although we hoped that we should never again be
attacked, yet it was built with an eye to defence, and was considered
almost as strong as the fort itself. Happily, however, we have never had
occasion to try its capabilities of withstanding a siege.

Fields were added to fields; the stock increased; and God prospering us
notwithstanding the heavy losses we had incurred, Uncle Jeff's farm
eventually became the most flourishing in the neighbourhood.



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Our Four-Footed Friends and Favourites. Stories Illustrative of Animal
Sagacity. With Seven Illustrations. Post 8vo, cloth. Price 2s.


T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.





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