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Title: Field and Forest - The Fortunes of a Farmer
Author: Optic, Oliver, 1822-1897
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: OLD MATT AND THE HORSE-THIEVES. Page 12.]











Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.





This Book



1. _Field and Forest_; OR, THE FORTUNES OF A FARMER.

2. _Plane and Plank_; OR, THE MISHAPS OF A MECHANIC.


4. _Cringle and Cross-Tree_; OR, THE SEA SWASHES OF A SAILOR.

5. _Bivouac and Battle_; OR, THE STRUGGLES OF A SOLDIER.

6. _Sea and Shore_; OR, THE TRAMPS OF A TRAVELLER.


which the career of a youth from his childhood to manhood is illustrated
and described. In following out the plan which the author adopted when
he began to write books for the young, and which he has steadily
pursued in the fifty volumes now before the public, he has endeavored
to make his hero a young man of high aims and lofty purposes, however
strange, stirring, or even improbable his adventures might seem. Phil
Farringford, the leading character of this series, though he may have
some of the conceit which belongs to youth, is always honest, true to
principle, and faithful to the light which he seeks in the gospel, and
in all the other sources of wisdom. He aims to be a Christian young
man, respects and loves all the institutions of religion, and labors to
make his life an "Upward and Onward" progress.

The scene of the story is laid upon the waters of the upper Missouri:
and while the writer hopes the reader will find the story sufficiently
stirring and exciting to engage his attention, he also trusts that
Phil's Christian principles, his reverence for the Bible, and his
devotion to duty and principle, will receive the earnest consideration
of his young friends.


_June_ 6, 1870.







    IN WHICH PHIL FOLLOWS KIT CRUNCHER.                            53




    IN WHICH PHIL HAS A VISITOR AT THE CASTLE.                     95



        CAPTORS OF ELLA.                                          127

    OF KIT CRUNCHER.                                              138



    IN WHICH PHIL ARRIVES AT THE CASTLE.                          171

    OF DEFENCE.                                                   182


    AND MORGAN FIRES THE BIG GUN.                                 204

    WITH THE INDIANS.                                             215


    IN WHICH PHIL UNDERTAKES A HEAVY JOB.                         236


    OF THE CHEST.                                                 257


    FAREWELL TO FIELD AND FOREST.                                 278






"Hollo, Phil!"

That was the name to which I answered, especially when it was spoken as
decidedly as on the present occasion.

"I'm coming," I replied, at the top of my lungs.

I had been a-fishing in a stream which flowed into the Missouri about a
mile above my home. I had been very successful, and had as many fish as
I could carry. I was gathering them up, after I had fastened my bateau
to the stake, and intended to convey them to the Castle, as our log hut
was rather facetiously called by its owner.

"Phil! Phil!" repeated the voice above the bluff of the river.

It was Matt Rockwood who called; and as he was the only master and
guardian I had ever known, I always obeyed him--when I could not help
doing so. His tones were more imperative than before, and I proceeded
with greater haste to gather up my fish, stringing them upon some
willow twigs I had just cut for the purpose.

Crack went a rifle. The sound startled me, and, dropping my fish, I ran
up the steep bank of the river to the summit of the bluff on which the
Castle was located.

"What's the matter?" I asked, when I reached the spot by the side of
the house where Matt stood.

"Don't you see?" he replied, raising his rifle again, and taking aim.

I looked in the direction towards which his weapon was directed, and
saw two Indians, mounted, each of whom had a led horse.

"Them pesky Injuns hes stole our hosses," added old Matt, as he fired
his rifle the second time. "'Tain't no use; I might as well shoot at
the north star."

The two Indians, with their animals, disappeared in the forest beyond
the clearing, and Matt's last chance was gone. A few years earlier in
the life experience of the old squatter, the thieves would not have
escaped so easily, for Matt was a dead shot before the rheumatism took
hold of him. Now he hobbled about a little on a pair of rude crutches I
had made for him; but his eyes were rather weak, and his arm was
unsteady. His rifle was no longer unerring, and the thieving savages
could plunder him with impunity.

There was an Indian village about ten miles from the Castle, and from
the known character of its inhabitants, and the direction the marauders
had taken, we concluded they had come from there. I went into the
house, and procured my rifle--a light affair, which old Matt had
purchased on board a trading steamer for my use.

"'Tain't no use, Phil. You needn't run arter 'em," said the old man,
shaking his head. "You don't expect to run fast enough to ketch Injuns
on hossback--do you?"

On second thought I concluded to take his view of the matter.

"But we can't afford to lose them hosses, Phil," continued old Matt, as
he hobbled to a seat. "And if we can, them Injuns shan't hev 'em. I
ain't a-goin' to hev old Firefly rid by them critters, and starved, and
abused--I ain't a-goin' to do it! Them hosses must be got back. You're
gittin' old enough to do sunthin' with Injuns now, Phil, and you must
git them hosses back agin."

"I'm ready to do anything I can; but, if I can't catch the Indians,
what shall I do?" I replied.

"We can't do a thing in the field without them hosses, Phil; and
'tain't no use to try. We can't plough the ground, and we can't haul no
wood. We must hev them hosses back agin, if I hev to hobble arter 'em

"What can I do?" I asked, willing to fight the Indians if necessary;
and I was rather impatient over the amount of talk the old man bestowed
upon the subject.

"I'll tell you what to do, Phil. Hosses is skuss with them varmints.
It's been a hard winter for vagabonds as don't lay up nothin' for cold
weather, and they lost half their hosses--starved 'em to death. Them
critters they rid on wan't nothin' but frames, and you could hear their
bones rattle when they trotted. They won't go far on them hosses
to-day, for it's most night now."

"But if I'm going to do anything, it's time to be doing it," I
suggested, impatiently.

"Keep cool, boy; 'tain't time to go yet," added the old man, lifting
one leg painfully over the other with his hands. "About dark, them
Injuns will camp for the night, and that'll be the time to take 'em."

"Very well; then I will go down and bring up my fish. I'm hungry,
Matt," I added.

"So am I."

"While they are cooking, we will talk the matter over."

"Stop a minute, Phil," said Matt, as I started for the river. "There
was a jug of fire-water in the barn. I left it there this arternoon. I
used some on't to wash Firefly's leg where 'twas swelled up. Go into
the barn, and see if it's there now."

I knew what the old man was thinking about, and I went in search of the
jug. I could not find it, and so reported to him.

"I didn't think o' that jug before. The Injuns come into the castle,
and asked for fire-water. I never gin 'em none, and shan't begin now.
They were lookin' for hosses, and went to the barn. They took that jug
of whiskey, but it's jest like camphene. 'Tain't fit to drink no more'n

"They will get drunk on it," I added.

"They kin git drunk very quick on such stuff as that, and they won't go
fur afore they do it, nuther."

"Then I can very easily get the horses."

"If you work it right, you kin, Phil; but if they are crazy drunk, you
musn't go to showin' yourself to 'em. Wait till they go to sleep, as
they will when they git drunk enough. Then take your hosses and come

"I will go down and get the fish, Matt."

"Go, boy."

The old man rose with difficulty from his seat, and, with the rifle in
his right hand, with which also he was obliged to handle a crutch, he
hobbled into the Castle. I hastened down to the river, excited by the
prospect of an adventure that night with the Indians. I was a boy of
only thirteen, and the idea was an immense one. I was to go out into
the forest and recapture the horses--an undertaking which might have
taxed all the skill and courage of a person of mature age and
experience. But I considered myself equal to the mission upon which I
was to be sent. I had been brought up in a log cabin, and even as a
child had made long hunting and trapping tramps with old Matt Rockwood.
I had stood before angry Indians, as well as thieving and drunken ones.
I had shot deer, bears, and wolves, as well as smaller game, with my

Old Matt had always taught me that there was nothing in the world to be
afraid of but one's own self--a philosophy which was very pretty in
theory, but not always capable of being reduced to practice. But I
certainly was not afraid of an Indian, or of any number of them. From
my rough old guardian I had acquired a certain contempt for them; but I
had never passed through an Indian war or an Indian massacre. I had
heard of the savage Blackfeet, and other tribes, who were not to be
contemned, but I had never seen any of them.

I hastily completed the stringing of my fish, thinking all the time how
I should conduct the expedition in which I was to engage. Indeed, I
could think of nothing else; for, although I had often been away on
similar excursions, it was always in company with my guardian, while on
the present occasion I was to manage for myself. I forgot that I was
hungry, and only lived in the brilliant schemes for recovering the
horses, capturing the camp, and even wiping out the Indians themselves.
I was bent on desperate deeds, and intended to convince old Matt that I
was worthy of the confidence he reposed in me.

"You have been lucky to-day, Phil Farringford," said a voice near me,
as I rose from the bottom of the boat to step on shore.

It was Mr. Mellowtone, an old neighbor of ours, who had squatted on an
island in the river. He was a good friend of mine, and I regarded him
with the utmost love and respect. He had taught me to read and write,
and furnished me books, which had been both a comfort and a blessing to

"I have done first rate to-day," I replied. "Won't you take some of

"Thank you, Phil Farringford. I will take two or three of them, if you
have any to spare."

"Take as many as you can use, Mr. Mellowtone," I continued, removing
from the twig some of the handsomest of the fish.

"Enough, Phil Farringford. I am not a swine, to eat more than six
pounds of trout in a day," said he, with a smile.

I strung them upon a willow twig, and handed them to him, as he stood
in his barge--a very aristocratic craft, which he had brought with him
from the regions of civilization.

"I must be in a hurry now, Mr. Mellowtone. Won't you come up to the
Castle with me? The Indians stole both of our horses this afternoon,
and I am going out after them."

"That's unfortunate," he replied, running his barge upon the bank. "I
will walk up to the Castle with you, and you shall tell me about it."

Securing his boat to the stake, he followed me up the bank of the
river; and on the way to the house I told him what had happened just as
I returned from my fishing trip. We entered the log house, where old
Matt had kindled a huge fire to cook our evening meal.

"Good evening, Mr. Rockwood," said my friend, as politely as though he
had been speaking to the President of the United States.

"Your sarvant, Mr. Mellowtone," replied Matt, who always labored to be
as courteous as his visitor, though not always with the same success.

"You have been unfortunate, I learn from Phil Farringford."

"Yes; them pesky redskins is gittin' troublesome, and I'm afraid we
shall hev to wipe out some on 'em."

"We must not allow them to steal," added Mr. Mellowtone, decidedly.

"No; Phil is goin' out arter 'em. They stole my jug of fire-water, and
they'll be as drunk as owls afore long."

"If neither he nor you object, I will go out with him."

"I hain't no kind o' objection. I should be much obleeged to you if you
help git back them hosses."

"I shall be glad to have you go with me, Mr. Mellowtone," I replied, as
I put the pan of fish on the fire.

We were all of the same mind.



I was certainly very glad to have Mr. Mellowtone go with me on the
expedition after the Indians; but I did not exactly like to share the
glory of the great deeds I expected to do even with him, though he was
one of my best friends. However, I consoled myself with the reflection
that his pleasant company would in part compensate me for the share of
the glory he would appropriate.

While the fish were on the fire, I set the table in the best style that
the contents of our meagre China closet would permit, for our
distinguished visitor seldom honored us by taking a meal at the Castle,
and I was anxious to make the best possible appearance. Measured by the
standard of civilized life, the result was not a success; but for the
backwoods it was. Our table ware was mostly of tin, dented and marred
at that; but we had one crockery plate, and I devoted that to the use
of our honored guest.

If the table ware was not elegant, the fish were infinitely better than
are ever set before the pampered sons of civilization. They had been
swimming in their native element a couple of hours before, and were a
species of trout, weighing from a pound and a half to two pounds
apiece. Mr. Mellowtone declared that they were delicious; and he
justified his praise by his trencher practice. For bread we had cold
johnny cake, for we were out of flour, as no trading steamer had passed
since the ice in the river broke up. We lived well at the Castle, for
besides the game and fish supplied by the woods and the rivers, we had
bacon, pork, potatoes, and vegetables from the farm.

"Now, Phil, you must be keerful," said old Matt, as we were eating our
supper. "Injuns is wicked, and Injuns is cunnin'."

"I will try to be careful," I replied. "I suppose, if we follow Little
Fish Creek, we shall find the Indians before morning."

"Yes, you will. Go through the forest, and cross the brook. Follow the
path till you come to the creek, and you'll be all right. The varmints
hain't got no feed for their hosses, and they won't go fur to-night."

The old man gave us directions how to proceed until we finished the
meal; and after I had put things in order about the house, I slung my
rifle over my shoulder. Mr. Mellowtone had no weapon, and declared that
he needed none. Just at dark we left the Castle, and, crossing the
field, entered the forest. There was a well-beaten path, so that we
were in no danger of losing our way. We crossed the bridge over the
brook which bounded the farm on the north-west; we continued our course
through the forest till we reached Little Fish Creek, at the point
where it flows into Big Fish Creek. All the names of streams and of
localities in the vicinity had been given by Matt Rockwood. The brook
we had crossed was called Kit's Brook, because, three miles from its
junction with the Big Fish, lived on its banks one Kit Cruncher, an old
hunter and trapper, who, until the arrival of Mr. Mellowtone, five
years before, had been Matt's only neighbor.

We followed the Little Fish for an hour without discovering any signs
of the Indians or the horses. We were within a mile, across the
country, of Kit Cruncher's cabin, and we concluded that the thieves
would not deem it prudent to halt near so formidable a person as the
old hunter had proved himself to be.

"Are you sure we are on the right track, Phil Farringford?" asked my

"We are on the right road to the Indian village," I replied.

"Is it certain that the thieves came from there?"

"They must have come from there, for I don't know of any other Indians
within forty miles of the Castle."

"They may be wandering Dakotahs, who do not stay long in one place."

"But there were only two of them, and Dakotahs go in bigger crowds than
that. Matt says they took this path, and I saw them strike into the
woods myself."

"Doubtless we are right, then. We might go over to Kit Cruncher's, and
inquire if he has seen anything of the thieves," suggested Mr.

"I am sure he has not seen them; if he had, he would have stopped them.
And the Indians know him well enough to keep out of his way. He is hard
on Indians when they don't behave themselves."

"Very well, Phil Farringford. You are the leader of this expedition,
and I will obey your orders."

"I hope you won't, sir; at least, I don't mean to give you any orders,"
I replied, abashed at the humility of one whom I regarded as the
greatest and best man in the world.

We walked in silence for another hour, for my companion always did more
thinking than talking. I led the way, and kept both of my eyes and both
of my ears wide open, expecting every moment to come upon the camp of
the savages. While we were thus cautiously tramping through the forest,
I heard the neighing of a horse behind us.

"Hark!" I whispered to Mr. Mellowtone. "We have passed them."

"How can that be?"

"They struck off from the river, and went into the woods to sleep. That
was old Firefly's voice, I know. I shouldn't wonder if he heard us."

"If he did, perhaps the Indians heard us also."

"If they have that jug of whiskey with them, they are too drunk to hear
anything by this time."

"We must look for the place where they left the path."

"It is rather dark to look for anything tonight," I replied, as I led
the way back.

We proceeded with great care, though we made noise enough to apprise
Firefly of the approach of friends. He was a knowing old horse, and had
faithfully served his master for ten years, but was still a very useful
animal. I fancied that he despised Indians quite as much as old Matt
himself, and that he was utterly disgusted with his present situation
and future prospects. Doubtless he was very uneasy, and displeased at
being away from his rude but comfortable stable. The grass had just
begun to start a little in the wet soil, and as our stock of hay was
getting low, I had picketed them with long ropes where they could feed.
In this situation they had become an easy prey to the Indians.

I hoped old Firefly would speak again, and I ventured upon a low
whistle, to inform him of my presence, but he did not respond. The
other horse was a good beast, and worked intelligently by Firefly's
side at the plough and the wagon: but he was an ignoramus compared with
his mate, and I expected nothing of him.

"They can't be far from here," said I, as I halted and whistled again a
little louder than before.

"We must examine the ground, and see if there are any horse tracks,"
replied Mr. Mellowtone, as he lighted a match to enable us to see the

"No tracks here," I added. "They all lead the other way."

"Then they turned in farther down."

We resumed our walk, but in a few minutes we examined the ground again.

"Here they are," said my companion. "They turned in between this place
and that where we stopped last. Whistle again, Phil Farringford."

"We are farther from them now than when I heard the voice of old
Firefly," I replied, after I had whistled in vain several times.

"But we are on the track of the horses. There can be no doubt of that,"
answered Mr. Mellowtone. "We can follow their trail till we find where
they left the path."

"I hope you have a good supply of matches."

"I have about a dozen more."

We examined the path in several places, and at last found that the
Indians had left it to follow a small brook which flowed into the
Little Fish. I whistled at intervals, but received no response from
Firefly. The stream which was our guide did not lead us far from the

"I smell smoke," said Mr. Mellowtone, after we had proceeded a
considerable distance. "We are not far from them."

"I don't see the light of any fire."

"Probably it has burned down by this time, for the Indians must be

I whistled, and this time a very decided answer came back from Firefly.

"We are close by them," said I; and involuntarily we slackened our

"I am afraid the noise that horse makes will awaken the Indians."

"They are beastly drunk, without a doubt, and no ordinary sounds will
rouse them," I replied. "If they had known what they were about, they
would not have built a fire. They are not more than two miles from Kit
Cruncher's cabin."

In silence, then, and very cautiously, we crept towards the bivouac of
the Indians. In a few moments I saw the four horses, fastened to the
trees: but between us and them lay the extended forms of the two
Indians. They reposed on the ground, one on each side of the
smouldering embers of a fire they had kindled earlier in the evening.
The faint light enabled me to see the whiskey jug, lying on the ground
near them. The cork was out, and it was evidently empty. The thieves
snored so that the earth seemed to shake under them, and I was
satisfied that they were as drunk as human beings could be and live.

We made a circuit around the sleeping Indians, and reached the place
where the horses were fastened. Firefly neighed and danced in his
delight at seeing me, and even his more stolid mate was disposed to
make a demonstration of joy; for both animals had been in the habit of
spending their nights in a comfortable stable. The horses of the
Indians were as they had ridden them, wearing their bridles, and the
folded blankets, which served us saddles, strapped upon their backs.

"We needn't spend much time thinking about it," said I, after I had
patted Firefly on the neck to assure him I was still his friend. "They
have nothing but halters on their necks, though we have only to mount
them, and they will go home without any guiding."

"The Indian horses have saddles and bridles on," answered Mr.
Mellowtone. "I think we had better do as the redskins did--ride their
horses, and lead the others."

"Shall we take their horses?" I asked, rather startled by the

"Certainly; we must teach them a lesson which they will remember. We
are in the world as instructors of those who are less wise than we, and
it is our duty to impart wisdom to those who need it."

"They will come down after them, when they are sober."

"They will do that if you take only your own animals. They will fight
just as hard to recover the property they stole as to obtain what is
justly their own."

Without stopping to debate the matter any further, we mounted the
Indians' horses.



I took old Firefly's halter in my hand, while Mr. Mellowtone had that
of our other horse. We were ready to start; but the problem of reaching
the river path without disturbing the Indians did not seem so easy of
solution as at first. We intended to make a circuit around the drunken
thieves; but I found the underbrush was so thick that a passage with
the horses was impossible. There was seldom any undergrowth in the
forest, but this place appeared to have been chosen by the redskins for
the purpose of presenting to us the very difficulty we now encountered.

They knew that they must be pursued, if at all, from the direction of
the Castle, and they had built their fire in the space between the
brook and the dense undergrowth, so that the horses could not be taken
back without passing over them. I had visited the place before, and, as
I recalled its peculiarities to my mind, the difficulty of the
situation increased. The ground was low and swampy, and though I had
easily passed through it on foot, the horses could not go through
without brushing off their riders. The brook had its rise in the low
ground. We could cross it, but the bushes were just as thick on the
other side.

We tried in vain to find a passage for the horses; and it occurred to
me then that the Indians had possibly come to a halt here because they
could go no farther in this direction. I did not like to ride over the
drunken thieves, though this seemed to be our only means of passing
them. They were asleep, and snoring like the heavy muttering of an
earthquake, and we could not tell exactly how drunk they were. It was
possible that they were still able to use their rifles and knives,
though, if they had drank the entire contents of the whiskey jug, which
probably was not less than a quart, we had little to fear from them.
Some Indians, however, could drink a pint, and still be able to use a
rifle, while others would be overcome with half that quantity.

"We can't get out in this way," said Mr. Mellowtone, after we had
vainly sought a passage around the Indians.

"I will take a look at the drunken redskins," I replied, dismounting,
and fastening my two horses to a sapling.

I walked cautiously to the spot where the Indians lay. I threw a few
dry sticks on the fire, so as to obtain some light from the blaze. I
found that the thieves lay on a knoll between the brook and the swamp.
There was not space enough on either side for two horses to pass
abreast without stepping over or on their sleeping forms; but there was
no other way for us to get out of the trap. The horses might pass
singly, and I decided at once what to do.

"I think we will ride the Indian horses, and let the others follow,"
said I, returning to my companion.

"But they may take it into their heads not to follow."

"Firefly will go as straight to his stable as he can," I replied,
loosing him, and securing the halter around his neck. "The other one
will follow him."

Mr. Mellowtone released his led animal, and I mounted my steed. The
latter was an ugly beast, as he must have been from the force of
association. I urged him towards the Indians, and Firefly closely
followed me. The horse I rode was not disposed to pass the fire and the
sleeping forms; but I pounded his naked ribs till he changed his mind,
and stepped over the legs of his drunken master. Firefly snorted, and
sprang over the obstruction.

"Hoo!" shouted the savage, over whose legs I had passed, springing to
his feet.

But he was too drunk to stand up, and pitched over upon the body of his
companion. As the path was now clear for an instant, Mr. Mellowtone
urged his horse forward, and joined me. Our other horse, which I had
always called Cracker, though Matt never recognized the name, followed
without making any sensation whatever. The fall of the one Indian upon
the other had awakened the latter, and by the light of the blazing
sticks I saw them clutch each other. Probably the second, in his tipsy
stupor, supposed the first was an enemy, having designs upon his life.
They rolled over together, and in the struggle the legs of one of them
were thrown upon the fire.

Such an unearthly yell I had never heard. He was not so drunk that fire
would not burn him, and the pain made him howl like a wounded buffalo.
They rolled and struggled, and the firebrands were scattered in every
direction. In a moment they sprang to their feet, but only to fall
again upon the burning brands which were strown over the ground. They
did not appear to see us, though we had halted quite near them, curious
to see the result of the struggle.

As they fell upon the earth, the brands burned them, and they leaped to
their feet again; but they no longer grappled with each other. It was
now only getting up and falling down, and this continued until they had
stumbled out of the circuit where the brands had been strown. Exhausted
by the violence of their exertions, or bewildered by the fumes of the
liquor, they lay still, and we started on our return to the Castle. If
the Indians saw us at all, they were unable to follow us; and their
experience seemed to point the moral that, when one steals horses, he
must not steal whiskey at the same time.

"They had a warm time of it," said my companion, as we jogged along
very slowly through the forest, for the horses we rode could not be
persuaded to go faster than a walk.

"I am glad they wasted their strength upon each other, instead of us."

"What a condition for a human being to be in!" added Mr. Mellowtone,
with an expression of disgust.

"I don't see why Indians take to whiskey so readily. It is a curse to
all the redskins I ever knew."

"It is a curse to any man, red or white."

"I never saw a white man drunk."

"Your experience has been very limited, Phil Farringford."

"That's very true. I never saw much of the world, but I hope to see
more of it one of these days. What do you suppose these Indians will do
when they become sober?" I asked.

"No doubt they will try to get back their horses. They came down for
more, and they go back with fewer, unless they can recover them. If
they behave themselves we will let them have their own horses. We don't
want them."

"They are nothing but skin and bones."

"Very likely they are good horses, but they have been starved and

"Old Matt won't care about filling them out, for we haven't more than
grain enough to carry us through. I suppose we shall see these redskins
again by to-morrow."

"Perhaps not; they may go to their village first, and return with more

"Well, we won't borrow any trouble about them. When they come we will
take care of them. We shall be obliged to watch our horses after this;
for I would rather shoot old Firefly than have him abused by those

"They are not worthy to possess so noble an animal as the horse. But,
after all, the white man is more to blame for their present degraded
condition than they are themselves. Out of the reach of the vices of
civilization there are still noble red men."

"I never saw any of them," I added, rather incredulously.

We continued on our way through the solemn forest, and by the side of
the rolling river. Old Firefly and Cracker were ahead of us, but we
could hear the tramp of their feet, and were satisfied that they were
on the right track. When we reached the Castle, we found them patiently
waiting at the stable for our arrival. I opened the door for them, and
they returned to their quarters with a satisfaction which they could
not express. As our stock of hay was nearly expended, we had room
enough in the barn for the two Indian horses. I fed all the animals
alike, for it was not the fault of the strangers that they kept bad

Old Matt had gone to bed when we went into the house, but he wanted to
know all about our adventures; and, when I had told him the story, I
was pleased to hear him say that I had done well. Late as it was, Mr.
Mellowtone insisted upon returning to his home on the island, two miles
above the Castle; but he promised to come down early the next day, for
we expected trouble with our Indian neighbors. I went down to the river
with him, and watched his barge till it disappeared in the gloom of the
night. I was beginning to be sleepy, but I dared not go to bed, fearful
that the Indians would come before morning, and steal the horses. I had
concluded to sleep in the barn, if at all, with my rifle at my side, so
as to be sure that no accident happened while I was in the house.

I did sleep in the barn, and with my rifle at my side; but I was not
disturbed by the visit of any redskins, and the horses were all right
in the morning. I fed them alike again, and watered them at the brook.
Before we had finished our late breakfast in the Castle, Mr. Mellowtone

"Have you seen any more Indians, Phil Farringford?" he asked.

"No, sir; but we expect to see the two who stole the horses very soon."

"I brought my rifle with me this time," he added. "I saw Kit Cruncher
this morning. He says there is a band of Indians in the woods north of

"How many?" I asked.

"He saw ten together, all of them mounted, and thinks they came down to
find feed for their horses. I told him what had happened here
yesterday, and he says there will be trouble before the day is over."

"Does he think so?" asked old Matt, rather anxiously.

"He does; and I came prepared to assist you, if need be."

"Thank'e, Mr. Mellowtone. Time was when I didn't want no help agin any
ten of these yere redskins; but the rheumatiz has spiled me, and my arm
shakes so I can't shoot much now," added old Matt, mournfully.

"Kit said he would come here immediately."

"Kit is a good neighbor, and is allus on hand when he's wanted, and
there's any Injuns to shoot."

At that moment the door was darkened by the appearance of Kit Cruncher,
who bowed his head, and entered without ceremony.



Kit Cruncher was about six feet and a half high, and it was necessary
that he should bow his head when he entered even the humble log cabin
of Matt Rockwood. He wore a cap made of skins, so tall that it seemed
to add another foot to his height. It was ornamented with the long,
bushy tail of a fox, which dangled on one side like the tassels from
the cap of a hussar. His beard, gray and massive, was more than a foot
long, and gave him a patriarchal aspect. His pants were stuffed in the
legs of his long boots, and he wore a kind of hunting frock, which
reached nearly to his knees. He was lean and lank, but, annealed in the
hardships of backwoods life, he was wiry and sinewy. He was about fifty
years old, though his gray hair and beard alone appeared to betray his
age. He was from the south; a fine specimen of the real Kentucky
hunter--"half horse and half alligator."

There was a kind of stern dignity in his countenance that always awed
me, though I knew that Kit had a kind heart, and was only terrible to
those who injured him or his friends. He lived by hunting and trapping,
and always had a large supply of peltries to dispose of whenever a
trading steamer came up the Missouri.

"How's yer bones, Matt?" said he, dropping the butt of his long rifle
upon the earthen floor of our cabin.

"Poorly, Kit, poorly," replied Matt. "I'm about did for in this world.
I can shoot no more, and couldn't hit the moon at ten paces."

"That's bad; 'cause 'pears like some shootin' must be did. There's a
squad o' redskins up above me, and I cal'late they mean mischief, if
they begin by stealin' your hosses. We'll git out into natur'," said
Kit, as he left the house, followed by the rest of the party.

He evidently expected a visit from the savages very soon. I took down
my little rifle from the brackets, and also, at Matt's request, carried
out his long weapon, with the accoutrements. We were all rigged for the
war path, and, for my own part, I was never so much excited in my life.
I wondered how Kit could keep so cool. He was deeply skilled in Indian
craft, and when he thought there was danger, others might be excused
for adopting his opinion. Old Matt seated himself on a box near the
barn door, and the rest of us gathered around him.

"Them Injuns has had a hard winter on't," said Kit. "They won't git
their gov'ment money and traps for a month yit, and they are half
starved. They've lost half their hosses, and all these things makes 'em
ugly. But I didn't think o' nothin' till I heered they stole your
hosses, and you hed theirs."

"I never hed much trouble with 'em," added old Matt. "They've stole my
hosses afore, but I allus got 'em back, as I did this time."

"When an Injun's hungry, he's ugly."

The two patriarchs discussed the situation at length, while I listened
in reverent humility to their words. Mr. Mellowtone smoked his pipe in
silence. I think his pipe was in his mouth at least two thirds of the
time, and was a very great comfort to him. We were all watching the
path which led across the field into the forest, for this was the only
approach to the Castle by the land side. Matt's farm--as he called
it--was situated between two deep creeks, the Fish on the west and the
Bear on the east. Half a mile from the cabin, in the midst of the
forest, was a lake, through which flowed Bear Creek. Half way between
this sheet of water and the Little Fish ran Kit's Brook, on the bank of
which was a path leading to the hunter's cabin. The great thoroughfare
to the north was by the Fish, and this was the only practicable way for
mounted men, and was the road by which the Indians came down to the
Missouri to exchange their peltries for powder and whiskey.

While we were all watching the spot where the path entered the forest,
a couple of redskins emerged from its shades, and hurried towards the
Castle. As they approached we all raised our rifles. Even old Matt rose
from his seat, and prepared to use his weapon. But the savages made the
signs of peace; and Kit, to whom we all looked for inspiration and
direction, permitted them to approach. I immediately identified them as
the two who had stolen our horses, and whom I had seen rolling among
the burning brands the night before. Their greasy garments showed the
marks of fire, and the leggings of one of them were nearly burned off.

"Those are the redskins who stole our horses," said I to Kit Cruncher.

"Jest so," replied Kit, as the savages halted before us.

They were very much excited, and looked decidedly ugly. Their eyes were
bloodshot after the debauch of the preceding night, and their eyeballs
seemed to be marked by the fiery nature of the liquor they had drank.

"Ugh!" growled one of them, shaking his head.

"Well, old Blower, what do you want?" demanded Kit, straightening up
his tall, gaunt form.

"Want um hosses," snarled the Indian, shaking his head violently, as
though he was so ugly he could not contain himself.

"D'ye want to steal some hosses?" added Kit, sternly.

"Ugh! White man steal hosses! Lose um two hosses," howled the
spokesman, pointing to the barn.

We understood what be meant. He evidently thought it quite right for
him to steal our horses, but very wicked for us to reciprocate in the
same manner.

"Well, they sarved you jest as you sarved them. You stole Matt's
bosses, his folks stole yours. That's fair play," added Kit.

"No steal hosses!" growled the Indian. "Give back hosses."

"They kin hev their own hosses. I don't want 'em," interposed Matt.
"They ain't fit for scarecrows."

"Bring 'em out, Phil," said Kit. "They shall hev their own. We won't
wrong an Injun, no how."

I led out the bony racks which the Indians had ridden, and delivered
them to their owners.

"Now you kin leave," added Kit.

"Want more hosses," said the Indian who spoke this pigeon English, and
which the other appeared not to be able to do, and only grunted and
howled his anger and indignation.

"You won't git no more hosses here."

"Want corn, want meat, want whiskey."

"Not a corn, not a meat, not a whiskey," replied Kit, decidedly. "Ef
you'd come as a hungry man, we mought hev fed you."

"Big Injun come, burn house, kill white man--no give hoss and whiskey."

"Big Injun mought git shot, ef he don't behave hisself."


"You kin leave," repeated Kit, significantly, as he raised his rifle.

"No go," howled the Indian, though he retreated a few paces, and
plainly did not like Kit's cool and stiff manner. "White man pappoose
steal um hosses, and burn Injun."

The speaker stooped down, drew aside his tattered leggin, and pointed
to a huge blister on his leg, made by the fire into which he had rolled
in his drunken frenzy. Then he pointed to me, and as he did so, his
bloodshot eyes lighted up with rage and malice. I understood him to
charge me with the infliction of the injury upon his leg. Since both of
the thieves were so very drunk when we were at their camp, I did not at
first see how they had been made aware of my presence. They did not
seem to see me, and I concluded that they had identified me in the
morning by the smallness of my track in the soft soil. They could not
have known what transpired in their fury, but probably reasoned that,
as I had been there, and taken the horses, I had burned their legs


"I did not do it," I protested, hardly able to restrain a laugh, as I
recalled the ludicrous scene of the night, before at the camp fire.

I explained how the Indian had burned himself.

"Pay Injun damage," added the injured thief.

"Nary red. You stole whiskey, got drunk, and rolled into your own camp
fire," answered Kit. "You kin leave."

The tall hunter raised his rifle again, and the two Indians, mounting
their bony steeds, rode off, yelling in the fury of their rage and
disappointment. They had intended to obtain something more than their
horses. Indeed, the Indians never visited the Castle without begging or
demanding something, always whiskey, and often corn and meat.

"There's more on 'em up there somewhere," said Kit, as the thieves rode

"Do you think they will return?" asked Mr. Mellowtone.

"I'm afeered they will. Them Injuns is ugly, and I reckon they mean to
make trouble. They don't ask for bread and meat; they demand 'em. They
spoke for t'others more'n for theirselves. 'Tain't wuth while to
quarrel with 'em ef you kin help it. I allus give 'em sunthin' to eat,
when they are hungry, ef they ask for't; but I don't let 'em git the
upper hands on me. 'Twon't do."

"If you think they mean to attack us, don't you think we had better
prepare to defend ourselves?" suggested Mr. Mellowtone.

"I'm allus ready, and I am now," replied Kit.

"So am I," added old Matt, as he examined the lock of his weapon.

"But we might do something to make a better defence," said Mr.
Mellowtone. "There are ten or a dozen Indians, you think, while we are
but four."

"What kin we do except shoot 'em when they come?" replied old Matt.

"There is a bridge over the brook in the woods yonder," continued Mr.
Mellowtone, pausing to permit Kit to take up the suggestion, if he

"Yes, there is; and it cost me a deal of hard work to make it," said
Matt. "It wan't an easy matter to get a hoss over afore it was put up."

"Precisely so, and it won't be an easy matter now. Therefore I think we
had better take up the bridge, and make the brook our line of defence."

Kit approved the plan, and we hastened to execute it. The brook ran at
the bottom of a deep gully as it approached its mouth, and for half a
mile it was impossible to take a horse over, except on the bridge. We
removed the logs with which it was covered, but allowed the
string-pieces to remain. Kit thought we could do better if we prevented
the Indians from coming over on their horses.

By the time we had finished our work, old Matt had hobbled over the
ground, dragging his rifle after him. Just as he approached we heard
the yell of the savages on the other side of the stream, and a band of
ten dashed up to the position. Kit told us to got behind the trees, to
guard against any accident. The Indians drew up their horses when they
discovered that the bridge had been dismantled. I heard the crack of a

Old Matt uttered a deep groan, and dropped to the ground, shot through
the heart.

In his weak condition he had not been able to reach the shelter of a
tree in season to save himself. We knew now what the savages meant.



Old Matt Rockwood, my friend and protector, the friend and protector of
my childhood, was dead.

Ten years before, he had taken me to his home and his heart, and since
that time had done for me all that his limited means would permit. He
had been a father to me, and the bullet that sped through his heart
lacerated mine.

All that I could remember of existence was associated with the Castle
and its vicinity, though I was not born there. I knew nothing of my
parents, and nothing of the circumstances under which I had come into
the world. Ten years before, while upon a hunt, Matt Rockwood had
wrapped himself up in his blanket, and slept on the bank of the
Missouri, about a dozen miles below the Castle. It was in the spring,
and the water was very high, for the melting snows in the mountains had
swelled the mighty stream to its fullest volume.

A bright light awoke the hunter in the evening, and he discovered a
steamer on fire in the river, only a short distance below. Launching
his bateau, in which he had come down the stream, he paddled with all
his might to the scene of disaster. The pilot had run the steamer
ashore; but before those on board could escape,--for the fire was in
the forward part of the boat,--the swift current carried her off again,
and she descended the stream at a rapid rate. Matt paddled after her;
but, half a mile below the point where the steamer had run ashore, he
heard the wail of a child, very near him.

The light from the burning boat enabled him to see the child. It was
floating on a door, which had evidently been put into the water to
support its helpless burden. Matt, who often told me the story,
believed that the child's father, or some other person, had intended to
ferry the little one on shore in this manner, when the steamer had been
run aground. Probably the starting of the boat had defeated his plan,
or possibly the person who was trying to save the child had lost his
hold on the door. There was no one near the little raft. Matt took the
young voyager on the great river from its perilous situation. It was
benumbed with cold, and he wrapped it in his blanket, and laid it in
the bottom of the boat.

Hardly had he accomplished this humane task before the boilers of the
burning steamer exploded, and she was instantly a wreck on the swift
tide. Matt paddled his bateau as swiftly as possible, but he was unable
to overtake the mass of rushing fire. He shouted occasionally, in order
to attract the attention of any sufferer; but no one responded to his
call. Though he searched diligently, he was unable to find another
survivor of the terrible calamity.

The little child thus saved from the fire and the water was myself.

Matt took his charge to the shore, made a fire, warmed it, and fed it
with buffalo meat and soaked cracker. Wrapping the little stranger in
his blanket, he pressed him to his bosom, and both slept till morning.
The next day, with the child in his bateau, he renewed the search for
any survivors of the calamity. He could find none; but months
afterwards he read in an old newspaper he had obtained from a trading
steamer, that another boat had passed down the river and picked up a
few persons; but neither the names of the lost nor of the saved were

Loading his bateau with as much buffalo meat as it would carry, Matt
started for the Castle with his new charge; but the current of the
swollen river was so swift that it was night before he arrived. At this
point in his story, I used to ask my kind protector whether he tried to
find out anything more about me. He always answered that he was unable
to obtain any information; but, after I was old enough to understand
the matter better, he confessed that he did not wish to discover the
friends of the child. After he had taken care of it for a few months,
he became so attached to it that he was only afraid of losing the
little waif.

[Illustration: MATT AND THE LITTLE FOUNDLING. Page 55.]

I was only two years old when I was thus cast upon the protection of
the old squatter. He watched over me and cared for me with all the
tenderness of a mother, and I became a stout and healthy child. The
plain food and the wholesome air of the wilderness gave vigor to my
limbs. The old man took care of me like a woman when I had the maladies
incident to childhood, and I passed safely through the whole catalogue
of them.

The steamer which had been burned was the Farringford, and Matt had
read the name on her paddle-box. He gave it to me as a surname, to
which he prefixed Philip as a Christian name, simply because it suited
his fancy. With such a charge on his hands Matt was unable to make any
hunting expeditions for several years; but he had already begun to turn
his attention to farming. His only neighbor at that time was Kit
Cruncher, with whom he exchanged corn and pork for game and buffalo
meat. Matt was disposed to indulge more in the comforts of civilization
than the hunters and trappers generally do. He sold wood to the
steamers that passed, and thus obtained money enough to purchase
clothing, groceries, and other supplies.

When I was about seven years old Matt began to take me with him when he
went hunting and fishing, and I soon learned to be of some service to
him. I acquired all the arts of the backwoodsman, and soon became quite
skilful. I worked in the field, and tramped a dozen miles a day with
him. I was tough and sinewy, and knew not the meaning of luxury. My
clothes were made by old Matt, until I was able with his help to
manufacture them myself.

It was a fortunate thing for me that Mr. Mellowtone established himself
in the vicinity of the Castle, for he took an interest in me, and
taught me to read and write. He was a singular man; but I shall have
more to say of him by and by. Until he came, I spoke the rude patois of
Kit and Matt; but Mr. Mellowtone taught me a new language, and insisted
that I should speak it.

Matt had been a pioneer in Indiana, but had afterwards engaged in trade
and failed. His ill success had driven him into the far west to resume
his pioneer habits. Even then he had passed the meridian of life; but
he cleared up a farm, and had been prosperous in his undertakings. The
sale of wood and the produce of the field to the steamers brought in
considerable money, and he had supplied himself with all needed farm
implements, so that we were able to work to advantage. We had a
grist-mill, turned by horse power, which enabled us to convert our corn
into meal. We raised pigs, and always had an abundant supply of pork
and bacon.

I was about thirteen years old when my story opens. I was contented
with my lot, though I was occasionally troubled to ascertain who my
parents were. Matt had no doubt they were both dead, since no inquiries
had ever been made for the lost child. Some day I expected to visit the
regions of civilization, and see the great world. Only twice in my life
had I seen any white women, at least within my memory. They were on the
deck of a steamer, lying at our wood-yard near the mouth of Fish Creek.
I had a reasonable curiosity, which I hoped to gratify when I was
older. For the present, I was willing to cleave to old Matt, as he had
to me.

But now the old man lay upon the ground, silent and motionless. The
crack of the rifle which had sent the ball to his heart was still
ringing in my ears. It was almost instantly followed by another, and I
saw a burly savage drop from his horse, and roll over into the brook.
Kit Cruncher had fired, and was loading his rifle for a second shot. It
was fortunate that we had removed the logs from the bridge, for the
Indians were kept at bay by the deep gully in which the brook flowed.

When the big Indian fell, his comrades set up a fierce howl, for he
seemed to be the leader of the band. Mr. Mellowtone fired next; but his
aim was less certain than that of the hunter. For my own part, heedless
of the howling savages, I stood behind the tree gazing at the prostrate
form of old Matt. I wept bitterly, and should have thrown myself upon
his body if Kit had not sternly commanded me not to move.

The savages were not long in discovering that all the advantage was on
our side, and, with a ringing whoop, they turned their horses and
retreated a short distance.

"They are unhossing theirselves," said Kit. "Don't move, boy!"

"Matt is shot!" I exclaimed. "I must go to him."

"Don't go, boy. You can't help him any now, and you mought git shot if
you show yourself. Don't do it, boy."

"Is Matt dead?" I asked, trembling with emotion.

"Dead as a hammer," replied Kit. "He'll never move hisself again. Hold
still, boy."

"He may be alive, and I want to do something for him," I insisted.

"He hain't moved since he dropped, and I know by the way he went over
that it's all up with Matt. Don't throw your life away, boy."

"Poor Matt," sighed Mr. Mellowtone, from his position near us. "It is a
sad day for him, and for us."

"Keep your eyes wide open, or some o' the rest on us will smell the
ground," added Kit. "The redskins is gittin' down into the brook."

The savages retreated to a point on the stream, where they dismounted,
evidently with the intention of crossing. They picketed their horses,
and we judged that they meant to complete the work which they had

"We must follow them up," continued Kit. "Boy, take Matt's rifle, and
follow me."

I bent over the form of the fallen patriarch. I placed my hand upon his
heart, but there was no answering throb. He was indeed dead, and my
whole frame was shaken with convulsive grief.

"Don't stop there, boy!" called Kit.

"He is dead!" I groaned in bitterness of spirit.

"I know he is, boy; but we can't help it. We can't stop to cry now."

"My best friend!"

"Come, boy!" shouted Kit. "Bring his rifle, powder, and ball."

I wiped the tears from my eyes, but I could not banish the sorrow from
my heart. Gently I raised the head of the old hunter, and removed the
powder-horn and bullet-pouch which were suspended over his shoulder.
Picking up the rifle, which lay near him on the ground, I followed my
companions into the forest. I felt then that I could shoot an Indian
without any remorse.



Kit Cruncher was a prudent man, brave as he was. We did not therefore
march boldly through the forest, for there were only three of us
against four times as many Indians. We dodged from tree to tree, always
keeping our bodies sheltered from the bullets of the savages. Kit went
along near the brook, and presently I saw him raise his rifle and fire.
The shot was followed by a wild yell from the savages.

"Give me Matt's rifle, boy," said Kit, as he passed me his own, with
his powder-horn and ball-pouch. "Load that, boy."

With his eye still on the spot where he had seen the Indian, he told me
how much powder to put in his rifle, and to be sure and ram the ball
home. I loaded it as quickly as I could, but he did not find another
opportunity to fire.

"Did you hit the one you fired at, Kit?" I asked.

"I hit him, but I didn't kill him. They won't cross the brook in that
place. I'm afeard they'll scatter next. Howsomever, we've did enough
out here. We'll go back to the bridge. That's the safest place for us.
I don't hear 'em now; and that's a bad sign with Injuns."

"Where are they?"

"They was trying to cross the brook when I fired last time. They hev
got behind the trees now. We must git nearer the Castle, or they'll
drop in atween us."

Kit led the way, and Mr. Mellowtone and myself followed him, dodging
from tree to tree, until we reached the bridge. A couple of shots,
fired by the enemy, assured us they were on the watch, though none of
us was injured.

"'Tain't no use to stay here," said Kit. "The brook is a good line agin
hosses, but not agin Injuns afoot."

"I think you are right," replied Mr. Mellowtone. "When I spoke of the
brook as a line of defence, I considered the enemy as mounted men."

"The Castle is the best place for the rest of this fight."

"But the Indians can cross the brook, and then lay down this bridge
again," suggested Mr. Mellowtone.

"Set them sticks afire, boy," added Kit, pointing to the heap of logs
we had removed from the bridge. "It will be easier to cut some more
than to let the redskins use them."

Mr. Mellowtone gave me a card of matches, and I piled up some dry
sticks against the heap, which I set on fire. While I was thus
employed, my companions made a litter, on which they placed the body of
Matt. As we could neither see nor hear the savages, we concluded they
had gone farther up the brook to find a crossing. We waited till the
fire had nearly consumed the bridge material, and then started for the
Castle. Kit and Mr. Mellowtone bore the litter, while I carried two
rifles. It was a mournful procession to me, and my companions were sad
and silent. I knew that Kit grieved at the loss of his old friend; but
he was only grave and solemn, as he always was.

When we reached the Castle, the body of the old man was placed upon his
bed, and we left the room to prepare for the defence of the place. It
was not in the nature of the Indians to go away without further
wreaking their vengeance. Besides, the Castle was rich in plunder to
men pressed with want, and even with hunger. We must expect a visit
from them by night, if not before.

The Castle was a log cabin, containing only a single room, with the
chimney on the outside, and next to the river. On the other side was
built the barn, which was twice as large as the house. They were joined
together, so as to save the labor of building one wall, as well as for
convenience in winter. The building stood on a kind of ridge, which was
the "divide" between Bear Creek and Kit's Brook. From one stream to the
other the land was cleared, and included in the farm. The forest line
was within a hundred and fifty rods of the river.

We had, therefore, an open space from stream to stream, three miles
long by about a hundred and fifty rods wide, from which Matt Rockwood
had cut off the wood, hauling it to the landing-place at the mouth of
Fish Creek for the steamers. Only a portion of this territory had been
cultivated, though all of it was used for crops or for pasture. Kit had
come to the conclusion that we could defend ourselves better in the
open space than in the woods, so long as we were able to prevent the
Indians from dashing suddenly upon us on horseback.

"Our army's small," said the old hunter, as we met again in front of
the Castle. "We must see, and not be seen."

"We can stay in the Castle, and fire out the windows, then," suggested
Mr. Mellowtone.

"That won't do. It hain't but two winders, and none on the wood side,"
replied Kit. "We must make a block house, or sunthin' o' that sort.
Here's plenty of timber sticks."

He pointed to the pile of wood which we had hauled to the vicinity of
the Castle during the milder days of the winter, when Matt was able to
be out. The sticks were about eight feet long, and suitable for such a
stockade as I had seen at the fort twenty miles up the Missouri.

"You mean to build a fort?" asked Mr. Mellowtone.

"That's jest what I mean," replied Kit; "a kind of a den we kin fire
out on, and will turn a bullet at the same time."

"Where shall we put it?"

"Jest on the ridge back of the barn. Then we kin see the whole
clearin', and draw a bead on a Injun jest as quick as he shows his
head. We hain't no time to lose, nuther."

"I'm ready," replied Mr. Mellowtone, throwing off his coat.

"Fetch on the shovels, boy," added Kit.

I furnished them with picks and shovels, and went to the high ground in
the rear of the barn. We carried all the arms with us. Kit marked out a
circle about ten feet in diameter, outside of which we began to dig a
trench. The ground was soft for the first foot, and the work easy.
Below this the labor was very severe. We watched the woods all the
time, that the Indians might not surprise us. We were out of the range
of their rifles, and only by coming into the open space could they fire
with any chance of hitting us. We found they were not disposed to waste
powder, and we judged that their supplies of ammunition were as low as
those of food.

At noon I was relieved from work to get some dinner for my companions.
I went back to the Castle and built a fire. The form of Matt lay on the
bed in the room where I was at work, covered over with the quilt. I put
the fish and potatoes on the fire, but I could not refrain from crying.
I had often before attended to my domestic work while the old man lay
in the bed, but he was never so still as now. He did not speak to me,
and did not know that I was there. I could not help looking frequently
at the bed, and gazing at the outline of his form beneath the quilt.
His death might change the whole current of my destiny, but I did not
think much of that then. I dwelt only upon the loss I had sustained,
recalling the kindness of the old man to me. I was glad then to think
that I had always done my best to serve him; that I had tenderly and
devotedly nursed him in sickness, as he had me; and this thought was a
very great comfort to me.

When I had cooked the dinner, I carried it out to the site of the block
house, and with our faces to the forest we ate it. We were a sad and a
silent party. For ten years before I had not eaten a meal except in the
presence of him who was now no more. Kit said not a word about his lost
friend; but Mr. Mellowtone, seeing how badly I felt, tried to comfort

After dinner, my companions resumed their labors; but Kit directed me
to commence carting the timber to the block house. I put away the
dishes, and harnessed the horses to the wagon. The sticks were only
three or four inches in diameter, and I loaded them without difficulty.
By the time I had hauled a sufficient number for the structure, the
trench was deep enough, and we all went to work setting up the sticks.
We placed them on the inside of the ditch, propping them up with
others, until we had a dozen up, when we began to throw in the dirt
around them, jamming it down with a maul.

After a beginning was made, I was directed to set up the sticks, while
Kit threw in the earth, and Mr. Mellowtone rammed it down. Once in
every four feet I was required to put in a stick only five feet long,
so that above it there was an opening three inches wide, which formed a
loophole from which the rifles could be discharged at the enemy. The
trench was two feet deep, leaving the bottom of the loophole three feet
above the level of the ground.

As none but the straightest sticks were used in the works, the cracks
were very narrow; but the earth was to be heaped up to the bottom of
the loopholes against the outside, thus making the structure absolutely
bullet-proof for three feet from the ground. By the middle of the
afternoon, the sticks were all set, and the trench filled up. A space a
foot and a half wide was left on the side next to the barn, for a door.
I nailed together a sufficient number of sticks, putting cross-pieces
of board over them, to fill this space, and serve as a door. In the
mean time my friends shovelled the dirt against the outside of the
palisades; and before sundown the work was completed, and we were ready
for the Indians as soon as they wished to make an attack.

"No doubt this fort is a great institution; but the Indians will come
upon us in the night, when we can't see them," said Mr. Mellowtone.

"But we must see 'em," replied Kit.

"The nights are rather dark now."

"There is plenty of pitch wood, and we can make it as light as we

"That's your plan--is it?"

"That's the idee. We must keep the fires up all night, and one pair of
eyes wide open."

"It's a pity we haven't my twelve-pounder here," added Mr. Mellowtone.

"I reckon you'll hev to fotch it down, Mr. Mell'ton."

"I would if I could leave."

"I reckon we kin stand it one night."

"I don't wish to stay here any longer," I added, sorrowfully. "Matt is
dead, and I don't care much where I go."

"You'll git over that, boy, one of these days. You kin kerry on the
farm and do well here," added Kit. "But I reckon we must plant the old
man to-night."

He meant, to bury him; and while they were digging a grave near the
block house, I made a rude coffin of some boards we had saved for
another purpose. It was the saddest job I had ever done, and my tears
fell continually on the work. I carried the box into the house, and my
companions laid the silent old man in it. I took my last look at the
face of my venerable friend, and the lid was nailed down. We bore him
to his last resting-place, as the shades of night were gathering around
us. Mr. Mellowtone was to make a prayer at the grave, and had knelt
upon the ground for that purpose, when we heard the wild yell of the
savages on the border of the forest.



We had realized all day, while building the block house, that we were
watched by the Indians, and that whenever a favorable opportunity was
presented, they would make a dash upon us. The dusk of the evening now
favored them, and I think they understood what we were doing. But the
movement on their part was premature, for it was still light enough to
enable us to see an Indian anywhere in the clearing.

"Run for the block house!" said Kit Cruncher, leading the way with long

It was only a few rods distant, and we rushed in before the savages
were near enough to use their rifles, which were not of the best
quality. Our four weapons rested against the palisades, loaded and
ready for instant service.

"Shut the gate, boy," continued Kit, as he thrust the muzzle of his
rifle through a loophole.

I closed and barred the gate with the heavy timber I had prepared for
the purpose. Before I had done so, Kit fired, and I heard an awful yell
from the savages.

"There goes one of them," said Mr. Mellowtone.

"I shall fotch down one every time I shoot," replied Kit, calmly, as he
picked up the rifle of old Matt. "Load my piece, boy, and be sure you
ram the ball home."

"They have come to a halt," added Mr. Mellowtone, as he discharged his

"You didn't hit nothin', Mr. Mell'ton," said Kit, quietly, as he gazed
through the loophole in front of him.

"I see that I missed my aim that time. Well, it's too late now; they
are running away again."

"They kin no more stand it to be shot at than they kin live without
eatin'," added Kit, as he set the rifle against the palisades. "They
was go'n to run up and shoot, because they see we hadn't nary gun in
our hands. We kin leave this place now."

The Indians had disappeared in the forest, bearing with them the body
of the one who had fallen. We left the block house, after making sure
that our rifles were in condition for use at the next attack.

"We mought light the fires now, afore we finish planting Matt," said
Kit. "But I don't reckon them Injuns will come agin jest yit."

"I should not think they would come at all," added Mr. Mellowtone.
"They have lost two of their number, and one or two have been wounded."

"We've lost one man, too," replied Kit. "That gin 'em courage to go

"But they are sure of losing more the moment they show themselves. I
should think they would get tired of the game."

"They'll wait till they think it's safe afore they come agin. Now light
up the fires, boy."

While I had the horses harnessed, I had hauled a supply of pitch-wood
and other fuel for this purpose, and had prepared two heaps, one on
each side of the block house, in readiness to apply the match. I
lighted them, and the combustible wood blazed up, and cast a red glare
upon all the clearing. Kit Cruncher's calculation was fully justified,
and we were satisfied that no Indian could approach the Castle without
our knowledge, if we only kept a vigilant watch.

Again we gathered around the coffined form of old Matt. Mr. Mellowtone
knelt at the head of the grave, and we followed his example. He prayed
fervently and solemnly for both Kit and me, and I wept anew when he
recounted the virtues of the deceased. I forgot that there were any
Indians within a thousand miles of me, as I recalled the kindness of
him who was now lying cold and silent before me.

Mr. Mellowtone finished the prayer, and we lowered the rude coffin into
the grave. Not one of us spoke a word, and there was no sound to be
heard but the crackling of the fires, and the sobs I tried in vain to
repress. I was unutterably sad and lonely. I felt that no one on the
broad earth could take the place of Matt, and be to me what he had
been. The current of existence seemed to have come to a sudden stop,
and in my thought I could not make it move again.

My companions filled up the grave, and I watched the operation with a
swelling heart. I saw them place the sods on the mound they had heaped
up, and more than before I realized that I was never again to behold
the face from which had beamed upon me, for ten long years, so much of
love and joy. I thought of the old man pressing me as a little child to
his heart on the banks of the Missouri, when he had saved me from the
cold and the waters. I considered the days, months, and years of care
and devotion he had bestowed upon me--upon me, who had not a single
natural claim upon his love.

"Come, boy, don't stand there any longer," said Kit Cruncher, calling
to me from the vicinity of the block house. "You may git shot."

I turned, and found that my companions had left me alone. I joined
them, and with an effort repressed the flowing tears. I tried to
realize that I was still living, and that there was a future before me.

"I know you feel bad, boy; but 'tain't no use to cry," said Kit. "We'll
take good care on you."

"Matt has been very good to me," I replied.

"That's truer'n you know on, boy. Many's the time he sot up all night
with you when you was sick, and held you in his arms all day. I've been
twenty miles to the fort in the dead o' winter myself to git some
medicine for you. If Matt hed been a woman, he moughtn't have nussed
you any better."

"I'm very grateful to him, and to you."

"I know you be, boy. You took good care of old Matt when he was down
with the rheumatiz. You've been a good boy, and I don't blame you much
for cryin' now the old man's dead and gone. I think we will have
sunthin' to eat now."

I went to the Castle, and prepared a supper of fried bacon and
johnny-cake, which I carried to the block house. My companions ate as
though life had no sorrows; but we had all worked very hard in the
construction of our fortress, and the circumstances did not favor the
development of much fine sentiment. I carried the supper things back to
the Castle, washed the dishes, gave the pigs their supper, watered and
fed the horses, and then returned to the block house. Kit had brought
an armful of hay from the barn, and some blankets from the house, with
which he had prepared sleeping accommodations for two of the party. Mr.
Mellowtone was walking up and down between the two fires, smoking his
pipe, and doing duty as sentinel.

"Now, boy, you kin turn in and sleep," said Kit. "Mr. Mell'ton kin
sleep too, and I will keep an eye on the Injuns. 'Pears like they won't
come when they finds we are all ready for 'em."

"I'm not sleepy, Kit," I replied; "but I'm rather tired."

"You mought turn in and rest, then," replied Kit, as he left the block

Mr. Mellowtone, relieved by the old hunter, soon joined me. I lay down
on the hay, and covered myself with a blanket. My friend sat down on
the ground and smoked his pipe. I could not sleep. Old Matt was in my
mind all the time. I continued to see him fall before the bullet of the
savage, and I still saw him lying silent and motionless on the ground.

"I think the Indians will be shy about coming here again," said Mr.
Mellowtone, after I had rolled about on my bed for a time; and I think
he spoke to turn my thoughts away from the engrossing subject which
burdened me.

"I wish they had not come at all. They have made it a sad day for me,"
I replied, bitterly.

"You mustn't take it too hardly, Phil Farringford."

"How can I help it?"

"It is not strange that you weep; but you are young, and your spirits
are buoyant. You will feel better in a few days."

"What is to become of me now?" I asked. "Old Matt is gone, and I need
stay here no longer."

"Why not? You can carry on Matt's farm, with the help of Kit and me.
You have done most of the work for the last year, and you can get along
as well in the future as you have in the past."

"Shall I live here alone?"

"Of course you may do as you please. You are your own master now, as
not many boys of your age are. But it is rather early now to consider a
matter of so much importance."

"What should I do if the Indians came upon me?"

"You would defend yourself, as you do now. But the Indians will be
taken care of. As soon as we can send word up to the fort, the officer
in charge will detail a force to punish them for what they have done,
and secure our safety in the future. I have been in this vicinity for
five years, and this is the first time I have known any serious
difficulty with the savages."

Mr. Mellowtone smoked his pipe out, and then lay down by my side. In a
few moments he dropped asleep. I was very tired after the severe labor
of the day, and I had been up most of the preceding night. Nature at
last asserted her claim, and I slept.

When I awoke, the sun was shining in through the loopholes of the block
house. Kit Cruncher lay by my side, still fast asleep. I realized that
the Indians had not made an assault during the night. I rose carefully,
stepped over the long gaunt form of the stalwart hunter, and left the
fortress. Mr. Mellowtone was walking up and down, with his pipe in his
mouth, between the expiring embers of the fires, which had been
permitted to go out at daylight.

"Why didn't you call me, and let me take my turn on the watch, Mr.
Mellowtone?" I asked, after the sentinel had given me a pleasant

"Kit told me not to call you, and I did not intend to do so, Phil
Farringford. You are a boy, and you need sleep."

"I'm willing to do my share of the watching."

"You shall take your turn to-night. We can do nothing to-day but eat
and sleep. If you will give us some breakfast, we shall be ready for

"I will--right off. Have you seen anything of the Indians?"

"No; not one of them has ventured into the clearing. Being ready for
them is more than half the battle. I doubt whether they trouble us
again at present. We have taught them a lesson they will not soon

"Yes; and they have taught us one which we shall not soon forget," I
added, glancing at the mound over the grave of Matt Rockwood.

I went to the Castle, made a fire, and while the kettle was boiling I
attended to the horses. I cooked some fish and potatoes, and we
breakfasted between the block house and the forest. All day long we
watched and waited for the coming of the savages; but we heard nothing
of them. At night I took the first watch, and walked around the Castle,
keeping up the fires, till I was so sleepy I could hardly keep my eyes
open; and then, as a matter of prudence rather than comfort, I called



We were rather tired of this life of inactivity after a couple of days.
We watched for Indians, but none came; and, on the third day after the
death of Matt Rockwood, Kit declared his intention to take a tramp into
the woods in the direction of his own cabin. If he found any Indians he
would return; but he was satisfied that the party who had made the
attack expended all their provisions, and were obliged to retire to
obtain more.

"I shall be atween you and the Injuns all the time, boy," said he.

"I am not afraid, Kit; and I'm very grateful to you for what you have
done for me--and for Matt," I replied, walking with him towards the

"Matt and I was good friends; but all that's passed and gone. I shall
come back in a few days--sooner ef there's any Injuns round. Good by,

He walked across the brook on one of the stringers, and disappeared in
the forest. Mr. Mellowtone was also impatient to depart. He had been
away from his home on the island for several days. In the afternoon, as
Kit did not return, we concluded the enemy had retired, and my friend
embarked in his barge for home; but he promised to return before night.
I was alone then, and I walked about the farm thinking of Matt.
Whichever way I turned, there was always something to remind me of him.

I could not help considering my prospects for the future. I had
concluded to carry on the farm that season, though I did not like the
idea of living all alone. Mr. Mellowtone said nothing about taking up
his residence with me, though I had suggested the idea to him. I knew
that he was fond of solitude for a large portion of his time. He was
too much enamoured of his island to leave it. Kit's habits would not
permit him to settle down and dwell in a house, for though he had a
cabin, he did not live in it except in the winter. If I carried on the
farm, I must do it alone, though I should doubtless receive frequent
visits from my neighbors.

I walked about the farm thinking what I should do the coming season,
and I laid out work enough to keep me well employed till the coming of
the autumn. I intended to plant ten acres in corn, potatoes, and
vegetables. Fortunately the soil was easily worked, and I had no doubt
of my ability to perform the labor, with the aid of the horses and the
implements at my command. I walked till I had arranged my plans, and
then went into the Castle to consider them further.

My thoughts wandered away from the practical duties of the farm to the
past. I recalled the scene on the banks of the Missouri, where Matt had
folded me in his arms by the bivouac fire. He was not my real father,
though he had done all a parent could do for me. I had had a real
father and mother, who probably believed, if they were saved from the
calamity, that I had perished. The subject was full of interest to me.
Perhaps my parents had been saved, and still lived. Matt had told me
that one half of the people on board the Farringford had been picked up
by the steamer that passed the next morning.

The more I thought of this subject, the more curious and anxious I
became. I glanced at a large chest, which stood near the head of the
bed. It contained all the valuables of Matt, and he always kept it
locked. I had never known him to open it, except when he had sold a lot
of wood, and wished to put away the money. Although he never said
anything about it, I thought he did not wish me to see what the chest
contained. He kept it locked, it seemed to me, to prevent me from
opening it, for there was no other person who was likely to meddle with
it. I respected his wishes, though he never expressed them, and
refrained even from looking at him when he opened the chest. There must
be money in it; but that was of no use to me, except when the trading
steamers came along.

I was sure that it was not to keep me from meddling with the money that
my patriarchal friend locked the chest. There was something in it, I
fancied, which was connected with the mystery of my parentage. Though
it did not occur to me then, I have thought since that Matt Rockwood
did very wrong in not trying to ascertain who my father and mother
were. Even Kit Cruncher had insisted upon his doing this; but after he
had loved me and cared for me, he could not permit me to be taken from
him. I could forgive him because of his tenderness and affection for
me; but even these could not justify his conduct.

I rose from the bench on which I was seated, and walked across the room
to the chest. It was locked; but where was the key? Old Matt had always
carried it in his pocket, and I concluded that it had been buried with
him. Had it been in my possession I should have opened the chest; but I
had not the courage to break it open. I resumed my seat on the bench,
and the mystery of my parentage seemed to become awful and oppressive.
Why could I not know whether my father, or mother, or both, were alive
or dead? But all was dark to me, and I could not penetrate the veil
which hung between me and those who had given me being.

While I was thinking, I heard the whistle of a steamer, frequently
repeated, indicating that she wanted a supply of wood. I hastened to
the stable, and mounted Cracker, for the landing-place was a mile from
the Castle. By the time the boat had made fast to the tree, which
served as a mooring-stake, I reached the wood-yard. We had one hundred
cords of cotton-wood piled up in readiness for sale.

"Hallo, Phil Rockwood," said the captain, crossing the gang-plank to
the shore. "Where is your father?"

"He is dead, sir," I replied, gloomily enough, for the scene reminded
me very strongly of Matt, and this was the first time I had been called
upon to make a bargain myself.

"Dead! I am sorry for that. When did he die?" added the captain, with
an appearance of real regret.

"He was shot by the Indians four days ago."

"Shot! Well, that's too bad."

"I wish you would tell the commander of the fort above all about it."

"I will, certainly. But what do you ask for wood?"

"Matt Rockwood said he must have four dollars a cord now, for we have
to haul it farther than we used to," I replied.

"That's rather high."

But I stuck to the price which Matt had fixed, and the captain finally
agreed to it, though it was more than we had ever charged before. We
measured off twenty cords, and the deck hands of the steamer began to
carry it on board. While they were thus engaged, I told the captain all
about our difficulty with the Indians, and he was confident that the
commandant of the fort would send a force to chastise them.

While the boat was wooding up, the passengers went on shore, and walked
in the woods to vary the monotony of the tedious voyage. Among them I
observed a young lady of twelve or thirteen, the first I had ever seen
in my life of the white race. I gazed at her with curiosity and
interest, as she walked up the cart path towards the castle. She was
alone, for the other passengers took the road on the bank of the brook.
She was very prettily dressed, and the sight of her gave me a new
sensation. I saw two ladies, but they were watching the labors of the
deck hands, and did not leave the steamer.

"You have some passengers, captain," said I, wishing to introduce the
subject, so that I could inquire about the young lady.

"A few, but it is rather too early in the season for them. Mine is the
first boat this year," he replied.

"Where are these ladies going?"

"They are going to Oregon--Portland, I believe."

"Who is that young lady?" I asked.

"She is the daughter of one of the ladies on deck, and a very pretty
girl she is, too. Her name is Ella Gracewood."

The hands had nearly finished loading the wood, and the captain ordered
the bell to be rung and the whistle to be blown, in order to call back
his passengers, who were wandering about on shore. He paid me eighty
dollars in gold for the wood; for in this wild region we used only hard
coin, and did not believe in banks hundreds or thousands of miles
distant. I took the money, and with a portion of it purchased a barrel
of flour, a keg of sugar, a quantity of ground coffee, and some other
supplies needed at the Castle. The steamer hauled in her plank, and
casting off her hawser, renewed her long voyage up the river. Mounting
Cracker, I rode back to the Castle, and harnessed both horses to the
wagon, in order to haul up the stores I had purchased.

While I was thus employed, I saw the young lady, who had landed from
the steamer, walking very deliberately across the field from the
forest, to which she had extended her promenade. In her hand she
carried some of the little flowers which blossomed in the grass.
Occasionally she held them to her nose, and seemed to enjoy their
fragrance very much. I drove my horses down the slope, and intercepted
her as she reached the road. I knew she had made a serious mistake in
not returning before; but she, as yet, had no suspicion that the
steamer had departed. I hauled in my horses, but she was not disposed
to take any notice of me.

I may say now, fifteen years after, that I was not a dandy, and my
appearance was not calculated to make an impression upon a young lady.
I wore coarse gray pants, "fearfully and wonderfully made," besides
being fearfully soiled with grease and dirt, the legs of which were
stuffed into the tops of my boots, after the fashion of our backwoods
locality. Above these I wore a hunting-frock, made of a yellow blanket,
with a belt around my waist. My cap was of buffalo hide, and shaped
like a gallon tin-kettle. My frock was dirty, greasy, and ragged, for I
wore it while cooking, taking care of the pigs and horses, and in doing
other dirty work about the house and barn.

I thought the young lady did not like my appearance, for she seemed to
be very timid, and perhaps thought I was a brigand. I was near enough
to see that she was very pretty, even according to the standard of
later years, though I had no means of making a comparison at that time.

Though I pulled in my horses, she only glanced at me, and resumed her
walk towards the landing, apparently determined to avoid me. I was
rather vexed at this treatment, for I wished to invite her to ride down
to the river. I knew nothing about the shyness and reserve of young
ladies in civilized life. I drove on once more, and she stepped out of
the road to permit the team to pass. She glanced at me again, and I saw
that she was not angry with me. I stopped the horses, and then I
ventured to speak to her.



"Won't you ride?" I asked, as the young lady stepped out of the road to
allow my team to pass.

"No, I thank you," she answered, with a smile and a blush.

I did not then understand the absurdity of the invitation I extended to
her. The wagon was simply a platform on wheels, with stakes. It had
been built by old Matt, though the wheels had been brought from some
town hundreds of miles down the river. It was the only vehicle on the
place, and was used for carting wood and hay, and for all the purposes
of the farm. It was not a suitable chariot for a civilized young lady,
dressed as prettily as Miss Gracewood was.

"Did you know that the steamer you came in had gone?" I added.

"Gone!" exclaimed she, with a start, and an expression of utter

"She left half an hour ago."

"What shall I do!" cried she, so troubled that I felt very bad myself.
"The steamer cannot have gone without me."

"She went more than half an hour ago," I added. "I suppose they thought
you were on board."

"O, dear! what shall I do!"

"She will come back after you when they find you have been left

"Do you think they will?"

"To be sure they will."

"Why did she go so soon? They have always stopped three or four hours
in a place."

"I suppose the boat had more business to do at other landings than
here. She only stopped here for wood. She whistled and rang her bell
half an hour before she started. Didn't you hear the whistle?"

"I did hear it, but not the bell, which I supposed was the signal to
call the passengers. It was such a pretty place in the forest that I
enjoyed it very much, and I did not think of such a thing as the
steamer starting for several hours. The boat whistles so much that I am
used to it, and don't heed it. What will become of me!"

[Illustration: PHIL AND ELLA. Page 95.]

"I don't think you need trouble yourself much about it. The steamer
will come back as soon as they miss you," I continued, very much moved
when I saw the tears starting in her eyes.

"I'm afraid they won't miss me."

"Why, certainly they will," I protested, earnestly. "Won't you ride
down to the landing?"

She glanced at the dirty wagon. She appeared to be tired after her long
walk, and the invitation was a temptation to her; but the character of
the vehicle did not please her. I had put a clean box on the wagon to
contain the small stores I had purchased.

"You can sit on this," I added, pointing to the box.

"I don't think I can get into the wagon."

I jumped upon the ground, and placed the box near the vehicle, so that
she could use it as a step. I did not understand the rules of gallantry
well enough to offer to assist her when she really needed no
assistance. She stepped upon the box, and, grasping one of the stakes,
easily mounted the platform. I placed the box in the middle of the
wagon, and she seated herself. I drove slowly to the landing-place, so
that the motion of the rude vehicle might not disturb her.

"I am afraid they won't come back to-night," said she, as she strained
her eyes in gazing up the river.

"Your friends on board would compel the captain to return; but he is a
very good man, and I think he will be willing."

"But they may not miss me. There are very few passengers on board, and
I have a state-room all to myself. I have been in it half the time,
reading, and they may think I am there."

"There will be another steamer along in a few days, and you can go in

"In a few days!" repeated she. "What can I do for two or three days?"

"There's Mr. Mellowtone," I interposed, pointing to the pretty barge of
my friend, who was returning to the Castle, as he had promised to do.

"And who is Mr. Mellowtone?" inquired my fair companion.

I explained who he was: and by the time I had finished my description,
we arrived at the landing.

"There is no steamer to be seen," said Miss Ella, sadly.

"But she will come back, I am sure, even if she has gone a hundred
miles, when they discover your absence," I replied.

"I wish I could think so."

"You may depend upon it."

"It is almost dark now."

"The steamers run by night as well as by day, in this part of the
river, when the water is as high as it is now."

She walked down to the bank of the river, and continued to gaze
earnestly up the stream, while I employed myself in loading my goods. I
did not think, when I bought the barrel of flour, that I was now alone,
and two hundred pounds was more than I could lift from the ground to
the body of the wagon. But in the backwoods every person is necessarily
full of expedients. Taking a shovel from the shanty, which Matt had
built as a shelter in stormy weather, I dug a couple of trenches into
the slope of the hill, corresponding to the wheels, and then backed the
wagon into them, until I had a height of less than a foot to overcome.
Using a couple of sticks as skids, I easily rolled the barrel of flour
upon the vehicle. After loading the other articles, I was ready to
return to the Castle.

Miss Ella stood on the bank of the river, still watching for the
steamer. It did not come, and I invited her to return with me. She was
chilled with the cool air of the evening, and reluctantly consented. I
made a seat for her on the wagon, and assured her I should hear the
whistle of the steamer when she returned.

"I am afraid she will not return," said she again, very gloomily.

"Of course she will. I doubt whether she will go any farther to-night
than the fort, about twenty miles farther up the river," I replied.
"Your friends must have discovered your absence by this time."

"No," she replied, shaking her head, "they will think I am in my

"Your mother is on board, I heard the captain say."

"She is, and my aunt."

"I am sure your mother will discover your absence. She will want to see
you before you go to bed."


I had no experience of domestic life among civilized people, but I had
read in books, lent to me by Mr. Mellowtone, that parents and children
were very affectionate. In the stories, little girls always kissed
their mothers, and said "good night" after they repeated their prayers.
I thought it would be very strange if Ella's mother did not discover
her absence till the next day. The young lady was very sad, and shook
her head with so much significance, that I was afraid her mother was
not kind to her, though I could hardly conceive of such a thing.

"Do you live here all alone?" she asked, after a silence of a few
moments, as though she wished to turn my attention away from a
disagreeable subject.

"I am all alone now, though it is only four days since the old man with
whom I lived was killed by the Indians."

"By the Indians!" exclaimed Miss Ella, with a look of terror.

I repeated the story of the attack of the Indians; but I did not wish
to alarm her, and refrained from saying that we expected another visit
from them soon. I had heard nothing from Kit Cruncher since he
departed, and I concluded that there was no present danger. My fair
companion sympathized with me in the loss I had sustained, and asked me
a great many questions in regard to my life in the woods. I told her
how I happened to be there, and I think she forgot all about herself
for the time, she was so interested in my eventful career.

We arrived at the Castle, and I found a good fire blazing in the room,
but I did not see Mr. Mellowtone, though he had lighted it. I conducted
Miss Gracewood into our rude house, and gave her a seat before the
fire. Unhitching my horses, I went to the barn with them. While I was
feeding them for the night, Mr. Mellowtone came in.

"I have been out into the woods," said he; "but I see no signs of any

"I don't think there are any very near us," I replied. "If there were,
Kit Cruncher would return, and let us know of their approach. I have
some company in the Castle, Mr. Mellowtone."


"Yes; a young lady."

"Is it possible!"

"She was left by the steamer. She had been to walk in the forest, and
did not heed the whistle."

"This is not a very good place for ladies. We are liable to receive a
visit from the Indians at any time."

"Don't say anything to her about it. It would only frighten her, and
she is uncomfortable enough now," I suggested, as I led the way towards
the house.

"Stop a minute, Phil Farringford," interposed Mr. Mellowtone. "I think
I will not see your visitor."

"Not see her!" I exclaimed, astonished that one who had hardly seen a
lady for years should desire to avoid one, especially a young lady of

"No; I think not."

"But she is young, and very pretty."

"So much the worse. It would revive old associations in my mind which
are not pleasant. I will tell you more about that another time. But the
steamer will return for the young lady--will it not?"

"Of course it will; but she thinks her friends in the boat will not
discover her absence before morning, for she occupied a state-room

"If the boat comes in the night, we shall hear her whistle. You and I
can sleep in the block house, and your visitor can have the Castle all
to herself."

"Very well."

"Now go and attend to her wants, and I will smoke my pipe in the field.
It would not be polite to smoke in the presence of a lady," continued
Mr. Mellowtone, as he left me.

He disappeared behind the building, leaving the aroma of his pipe after
him. I thought his conduct was very strange; but then I had always
regarded him as a singular man. He had never gone to the landing when a
steamer arrived. If he wanted any stores, or wished to send to St.
Louis for anything, he always commissioned Matt or me to do his
business for him. He had never whispered a word in my hearing in regard
to his past history, though he took a great interest in me.

I went into the Castle, and found that Miss Ella was as comfortable as
the circumstances would permit. I put some pitch wood on the fire,
which made the room light enough to enable one to read in any part of
it. I prepared some supper, of which she ate very sparingly, though
when, like an accomplished housekeeper, I apologized for the fare, she
declared that it was very good.

I had to unload the wagon; but the barrel of flour was still too much
for me, and I asked Mr. Mellowtone to help me, and he came to the front
of the Castle for that purpose. I lighted a pitch-wood torch, and went
out. Miss Ella followed me, and insisted upon holding the torch, when I
began to thrust one end of it into the ground.

Mr. Mellowtone could not help seeing her; and when I was ready to roll
down the barrel of flour on the skids, I saw that he was gazing at her
very intently.

"What is this young lady's name, Phil Farringford?" he asked, in a low

"Ella Gracewood," I replied.

"My daughter!" exclaimed he, with deep emotion, as he sprang towards



Ella raised the torch, and gazed earnestly into the face of Mr.

"Father!" exclaimed she, springing into his arms.

I took the torch from her hand, utterly confounded by the scene. I
could not see how Mr. Mellowtone could be the father of Miss Gracewood,
for I knew enough of the customs of society to be aware that the
daughter bore the parent's name. They wept and sobbed in each other's
arms, and I was so touched that I could not help crying, too.

"You are but little changed, Ella," said the father. "Only a little

He stepped back and gazed at her, as if to note the change which time
had wrought in her.

"And you don't look any older than when we parted; how well I remember
it!" replied Ella, her pretty face lighted up with joy. "Only your
clothes are different."

Mr. Mellowtone wore the costume of the woods--a blue hunting-shirt, or
frock, over pants stuffed into the tops of his boots, with a felt hat.

"I suppose, if I wore my black clothes, you would see no change at all
in me," replied the father. "But I will help you unload your flour,
Phil Farringford."

"I am in no hurry," I answered.

"Let us do it at once."

I handed the torch to Ella again, and we rolled the heavy barrel to the

"How funny it looks to see you doing such work, father!" said she,

"But I am my own cook and my own servant. I chop my own wood, and shoot
my own dinner. You shall go to my island home to-morrow, and I think we
shall be very happy there."

"You needn't do anything more, Mr. Mellowtone," I interposed, when he
was going to help unload the rest of the goods. "You can go into the
house, and talk with your daughter."

"Why do you call him Mr. Mellowtone?" asked Ella. "That is not his

"It is the name by which I am known here in the forest," added he.

"But your name is Henry Gracewood."

"And you may call me so, Phil Farringford, in future," said Mr.
Mellowtone. "My own name sounds strange to me now. I changed it to
escape impertinent questions which might possibly be put to me."

Father and daughter entered the Castle, and seated themselves before
the blazing fire. I rolled the barrel of flour into the store-room,
between the house and the barn. Disposing of the rest of the articles I
had bought in their proper places, my work was finished for the night.

"I will go to the block house now, Mr. Gracewood," I remarked, not
wishing to intrude myself upon the happy father and child in the

"No, Phil Farringford," replied he; "I shall have no secrets from you
after this, for you have learned enough to make you desire to know

"I don't wish to intrude, sir."

"Sit down, Phil Farringford. Now Matt Rockwood is gone, I shall regard
you both as my children," continued Mr. Gracewood, with more
sprightliness than I had ever seen him exhibit before.

I put some more pitch wood on the fire, and seated myself opposite the
father and daughter, where I could see the glowing faces of both.

"Now, Ella, tell me how you happen to be so far from St. Louis," said
Mr. Gracewood.

"We were going to Portland, Oregon. Mr. Sparkley failed in business,
and lost all his property," replied she.

"Mr. Sparkley is my brother-in-law, Phil," added Mr. Gracewood. "And
you are going with him, Ella?"

"Yes; Mr. Sparkley has a good chance to go into business there."

"Is your--is your mother with him?" asked Mr. Gracewood, with some

"She is."

I was not a little puzzled by what I heard. My good friend spoke of the
mother of Ella, and I knew that she was his daughter. The mother,
therefore, was his wife, as I reasoned out the problem; but I could not
understand how he happened to be living in the backwoods, away from her
and his child. Mr. Gracewood was silent for a time, and I began to
realize that there was something unpleasant in his family relations,
though the matter was incomprehensible to me.

"I suppose your mother does not speak very kindly of me," said the
father, at last, with considerable emotion.

"I never heard her speak an unkind word of you, father," replied Ella,
promptly; and at the same time her eyes filled with tears.

"I am glad to hear that."

"It is true, father," added the daughter, wiping the tears from her

"Don't cry, Ella; all may yet be well. Perhaps I was to blame, in

"You will see mother when she comes back in the steamer--won't you,
father?" pleaded she.

"She may not wish to see me."

"I know she will be glad to see you."

Mr. Gracewood was moody and agitated again. I saw that he was
struggling with his feelings, and I hoped that the gentle words of his
daughter would lead to a reconciliation. She seemed like an angel of
peace to me, as she threw oil upon the troubled waters. But I felt like
an intruder in such a scene, and I left the Castle on the pretence of
attending to the horses. I did not return, feeling that I was not
needed in such an interview. I made up a bed in the block house, and
was about to turn in, when Mr. Gracewood joined me. He told me he had
attended to all the wants of his daughter, and that she would sleep in
the Castle.

"I know you were astonished at what you heard, Phil Farringford," said
he, as we lay down in the block house.

"I was, sir, and I felt very bad when your daughter wept."

"I am afraid, from what Ella says, that I am quite as much to blame as
her mother. Indeed, I had begun to think before that the fault was not
all on her side. When my father died, he left a handsome fortune, which
was divided between my brother and myself. I was educated at one of the
best colleges in the west, and intended to study the profession of law;
but the death of my father placed sufficient wealth in my possession to
enable me to live in luxury without any exertion. I was married, and
for a few years lived very happily.

"I had always been very fond of fishing and hunting, and while in
college I spent all my vacations in camp, on the prairie or in the
forest. After I was graduated, I used to devote two or three months of
the year to these pursuits. When I was married, I was not willing to
forego this luxury,--for such it was to me,--and without going into the
painful details, this subject became a source of difference between us.
I thought my wife was unreasonable, and she thought the same of me. Six
years ago she told me, if I went on my usual excursion, she would leave
me, never to return. I could not believe she was in earnest. I had
reduced the period of my absence to six weeks, and when I returned
found my house closed. Mrs. Gracewood was at the residence of her
brother, Mr. Sparkley. I sent her a note, informing her of my return.

"She wrote me in reply, that if I would promise to abandon my annual
hunting trip, or take her with me, she would come back. I replied that
I would travel with her wherever she desired to go, and at any time
except in June and July, and that a woman was out of place in a camp of
hunters. She positively refused to return or to see me on any other
than her own conditions. I met Ella every week at my own house, where
she came in charge of a servant. Neither of us would yield, and life
was misery to me. The next spring I placed all my property in the hands
of my brother, with instructions to pay my wife an annuity of three
thousand dollars a year, and made a will in favor of my child.

"I had been to this region before, and hunted upon the island where I
now live. To me it was a paradise, and I determined to spend the rest
of my days there. I felt that I had been robbed of all the joys of
existence in the love of my wife and child. Taking the materials for my
house, furniture, a piano, and my library, with a plentiful supply of
stores, I came up the river in a steamer, and have lived here ever

"But didn't you wish to see your daughter?" I asked.

"Very much; but I was afraid that the sight of her would break down my
resolution, and induce me to yield the point for which I had contended.
A kind Providence seems to have sent my child to me, to open and warm
my heart."

"Do you still think you were right?" I asked.

"I do; my annual hunt was life and strength to me for the whole year. I
thought my wife's objections were unkind and unreasonable; but I
believe now, since I have seen Ella, that my manner was not
conciliatory; that I was arbitrary in my refusal. Perhaps, if I had
been kind and gentle, and taken the pains to convince her that my
health required the recreation, she would have withdrawn her
objections. Quarrels, Phil Farringford, oftener result from the manner
of the persons concerned than from irreconcilable differences."

I went to sleep, but I think it was a long night to Mr. Gracewood. When
I waked he had left the block house; but I found him with Ella, at
sunrise, on the bank of the river. He had called her up, and was going
to start at that early hour for Paradise, as he called his island. He
invited me to go up as soon as I could, declaring that there was no
danger from the Indians so long as Kit did not return. I was sorry to
lose my pretty visitor so soon; but she was as impatient to see the
home of her father as he was to have her do so.


I watched the beautiful boat as Mr. Gracewood pulled up the stream; but
I trembled when I considered the danger of losing my neighbors, for
Ella would not think of remaining long in such a lonely region. I took
care of the horses, and turned them out to feed on the new grass,
believing that they would be better able to take care of themselves in
my absence if the Indians visited the clearing. After breakfast, I
walked down to the landing, where I had a boat, as starting from there
would save me the labor of paddling a mile against the current. I soon
reached the island, and landed upon the lower end. I had taken my rifle
with me, so as to bring down any game I happened to see.

As I walked up the slope of the hill, I discovered in the water, on the
north side of the island, a couple of Indian dugouts. I was alarmed,
and hastened with all speed to the house of my good friend. I heard the
music of his piano, and was assured that the Indians had not yet done
any mischief. I went up to the door, which was wide open. Mr. Gracewood
sat at the instrument, with his pipe in his mouth, inspired by the
melody he was producing. At the same instant I perceived the head of an
Indian at a window behind the pianist. I saw him raise a rifle, as if
to take aim. As quick as my own thoughts, I elevated my own piece and



The shot which I fired was instantly followed by a fierce and savage
yell. Until this moment the invaders had been creeping like cats up to
the house, and Mr. Gracewood and Ella had no suspicion of their
presence. In coming up the river I had crossed to the opposite side by
a diagonal course, partly to shorten the distance, and partly to avoid
a strong current, which swept in close to the shore above the mouth of
Fish Creek. The Indians must have been making the passage at the same
time; but the island was between them and me, so that I could not see

They belonged to the same band that had attacked us at the Castle. The
fact that they had their dugouts with them assured me they had come
down Crooked River, the next stream above the Fish, on our side of the
Missouri. I concluded that they intended to renew the attack upon the
Castle, and had come in their boats so that they could approach on the
water side of the farm. They knew Mr. Gracewood very well, and meant to
plunder him first, for his share in the occurrences of the last week.

I could form no idea of the number of Indians on the island. I judged
that there were but few, for I could see only two dugouts on the bank
of the river. The savage at whom I had fired was in the act of stealing
in at the window. He had but just raised his head, and was the only one
I could see. His companions were near him, however, as I soon learned
from the yell they uttered.

Mr. Gracewood's house was large enough to contain two rooms below, and
two sleeping apartments in the attic. The front room, on the south side
of the building, was nearly half filled by a Chickering's grand
piano--a magnificent instrument, which was the joy and solace of the
recluse in his self-imposed exile. I had often sat for hours, while he
played upon it, listening to the wonderful melody he produced. He was
an enthusiast in music, and when he played he seemed to be inspired.
Almost invariably his pipe was in his mouth when seated at the
instrument, and I supposed his two joys afforded him a double rapture.
I used to think, if it had been my case, I could have dispensed with
the pipe, for it seemed like adding gall to honey.

The grand piano was a powerful instrument, and I had heard its tones
before I landed, and I listened to them with pleasure until my
attention was attracted by the sight of the dugouts. The front door was
open, and Mr. Gracewood glanced at me as I appeared at the door, but he
did not suspend his rapturous occupation. Behind him stood Ella,
enjoying the music; and both were totally unconscious of the deadly
peril that menaced them. At the same instant I discovered the head of
the Indian. He had evidently surveyed the interior of the room before,
and he did not see me. I fired, and he dropped. His companions yelled,
and Ella uttered a scream of terror. She was beside herself with fear,
and apparently thinking the house was full of Indians, she rushed out
at the open door as I entered. Mr. Gracewood seized his rifle, and a
revolver which hung on the wall.

I loaded my piece without delay, and followed the recluse out of the
house. I heard him fire before I overtook him. The plan of the savages
failed as soon as they were discovered, for they were too cowardly to
stand up before the rifles of the white man. As I hastened after Mr.
Gracewood, I glanced at the outside of the window through which I had
fired at the Indian. I supposed I had killed him, but his body was not
there. A terrible scream from Ella, followed by a cry of anguish from
her father, startled me at this moment, and I ran with all speed in the
direction from which the sounds came. Passing beyond the house, I
discovered four Indians in full retreat. Two of them were dragging the
shrieking Ella over the ground towards the point on the river where the
dugout lay. My blood ran cold with horror as I realized that they had
captured the fair girl.

The poor child, in her terror, had run away from the house to escape
the savages, who, she supposed, were in it, but only to encounter them
where we could not prevent her capture. The agony of her father was
fearful. He groaned in the heaviness of his soul. We could not fire
upon the Indians without danger of hitting Ella, whom her captors
cunningly used to protect their own bodies from our bullets.

Mr. Gracewood ran, but his limbs seemed to be partially paralyzed by
the agony of his soul. It was but a short distance to the river, and
before we could overtake the Indians they had dragged their prisoner
into one of the dugouts, and pushed off from the shore. I passed the
poor father, but reached the bank of the river too late to be of any
service to Ella. There were two Indians in each boat. They had gone but
a few rods before a bullet whistled near my head, and I retreated to
the shelter of a tree until Mr. Gracewood joined me.

[Illustration: ELLA CARRIED OFF CAPTIVE. Page 119.]

"Heaven be merciful to me and to her!" groaned he, pressing both hands
upon his throbbing head. "What shall we do, Phil Farringford? Tell me,
for I am beside myself."

"Let us take your barge and follow them."

At that moment the shrill whistle of a steamer echoed over the island.
The sound came from up the river, and I was satisfied that it was the
boat in which Ella had been a passenger, returning for her.

"It will be a sad moment to her mother when she hears what has become
of Ella," groaned Mr. Gracewood.

"Let us get into your boat as quick as possible, and meet the steamer
as she comes down," said I.

We ran to the landing-place at the lower end of the island, and
embarked in the barge. Mr. Gracewood rowed with all his might up the

"Do you see the dugouts, Phil Farringford?" he asked, after he had
pulled to the upper end of the island.

"I can just see them. They are making for Crooked River."

"Do you see the steamer?"

"She is not in sight yet."

The mouth of Crooked River was half a mile above Paradise Island. Its
head waters were in the Indian country, but the most of its course was
through a more level region than that through which the two branches of
the Fish flowed, though the mouths of the two were not more than a
couple of miles apart. Crooked River was, therefore, practicable for
boats, while there were frequent rapids in Fish Creek and its

"There's the steamer," said I, after we had gone a short distance

"And where are the dugouts?"

"They have gone into Crooked River."

"Can the people in the steamer see them?" asked the anxious father.

"No," I replied, sadly.

Mr. Gracewood continued to pull with all his might, and in silence,
till we came within hail of the steamer.

"Hold on!" I shouted, making violent gestures with my arms.

The captain immediately recognized me, and the wheels of the steamer
stopped. Mr. Gracewood pulled the barge up to the steamer, and we went
on board.

"Where is the young lady we left at your wood-yard?" demanded the
captain, very much excited, as I stepped on deck.

"She was captured by the Indians less than an hour ago," I replied,
breathless with emotion. "They have taken her up into Crooked River. Do
put your boat about and chase them."

"Captured by the Indians!" exclaimed the captain, aghast at the

"Will you put about, and follow them, captain?" interposed Mr.

"He is Ella's father," I added.

"I am," said he.

The captain directed the pilot to start the steamer, and head her up
the river, as we dragged the barge on deck.

"But we can't go up these small streams," he added.

"The Indians cannot have gone far, and the water is deep for several
miles," replied Mr. Gracewood.

"I will do the best I can. We have a detachment of troops which I am to
land at your yard, Phil," continued the captain.

"I'm glad to hear that. The Indians will give us no peace until they
have been punished for the mischief they have done."

"Did you say this gentleman was Ella's father?" asked the captain,
pointing to Mr. Gracewood, who had gone to the bow of the boat, and was
on the lookout for the Indians.

I told him all that had transpired since we met the evening before,
including the capture of Ella.

"If he is Ella's father, his wife is on board," said the captain. "I
suppose I must tell her what has happened to her daughter; but I don't
like to do it."

As he left me to perform this unpleasant duty, I saw two ladies and
three gentlemen, two of them officers, coming down the steps from the
boiler deck. I inferred that one of these ladies was the mother of
Ella. She had evidently received an intimation that something had
occurred to her daughter, for she was very much disturbed.

"What has happened, Captain Davis? Where is Ella?" she demanded, in
broken tones.

"I am sorry to say that the news is not as pleasant as I could wish,"
replied the captain.

"Where is she?" cried Mrs. Gracewood.

"Her father is here, and----"

"Her father!" exclaimed the anxious mother.

Mr. Gracewood, whose attention was attracted by the sound of her voice,
came up to the group, and was instantly recognized by his wife.

"O, Henry!" gasped she. "Forgive me!"

"Nay, I ask to be forgiven," he replied, choking with emotion.

Without any explanation or terms whatever, the reconciliation seemed to
be perfect.

"This must be a sad meeting, Emily, for I fear that Ella is lost to

"Where is she?" demanded Mrs. Gracewood.

"In the hands of the Indians," replied the suffering father.

"O, mercy! mercy!" groaned the poor mother. "They will kill her!"

"Let us hope not," replied Mr. Gracewood, struggling to repress his

But this intelligence was too heavy for the strength of the poor lady,
and she was borne fainting up the stairs to the saloon. Mr. Gracewood
assisted in this duty, and I was left to give the military officers the
information they needed. The steamer had already entered Crooked River,
and a leadman was calling out the depth of water.

"There they are!" I cried, when the boat turned a sharp bend in the
river, as I discovered the two dugouts paddling up the stream.

"We will make short work of them," replied Lieutenant Pope, who was in
command of the detachment of soldiers sent down for our relief.

The Indians saw the steamer, and immediately made for the shore, where
they landed.



"What is your name, young man?" said Lieutenant Pope to me.

"Phil Farringford, sir."

"Are you acquainted with the country in this vicinity?"

"Yes, sir; I have been over it many times."

"Then you can act as a guide," added the officer, who had collected his
force on the forward deck, in readiness to disembark them.

Presently the steamer reached the point at which the Indians had
landed. The dugouts were hauled up on the shore; but we could see
nothing of the savages, who had disappeared in the forest, half a mile
from the stream, where the land began to rise.

"Can we make a landing here?" asked the captain.

"You can," I replied.

"Do so, captain," added Lieutenant Pope.

"I wouldn't land here," I interposed.

"Why not?"

"This boat can go three miles up the river, sure, and perhaps five. The
Indians must travel up stream in order to escape you. If you go up two
miles farther, you can head them off."

"Keep her a-going, captain," added the officer.

"Two or three miles east of us is Big Fish Creek. The Indians can't get
across below us without swimming."

"Then we shall have them between these two streams."

"Of course it is possible for them to get across the Big Fish, but it
won't be very easy, unless they get rid of their prisoner."

"How far is it across the country to the creek?" asked the lieutenant.

"About three miles here. Crooked River twists round in a half circle."

"You may be gone a week, Lieutenant Pope," interposed the captain. "I
can't wait here a great while."

"You need not wait an hour after you have landed my force," replied the
officer. "But you must take my stores down to the landing at the
wood-yard. I will send a sergeant and ten men to take charge of them."

The campaign, it appeared, was to be commenced at this point, and I was
to guide the soldiers to the Indian village north of our settlement.
Mr. Gracewood soon appeared on the forward deck, and the plan was
explained to him. His wife was a little better, and he was anxious to
join in the pursuit of the savages. I tried to prevail upon him to go
down to the landing with the soldiers; but he was resolute, and
declared that he would follow the Indians till he recovered his

"One of us should go down with the soldiers, and take care of Mrs.
Gracewood; for I suppose she no longer thinks of going to Oregon," I

"Why will you not go, Phil Farringford?" he replied.

"I am to act as the guide for the soldiers who pursue the Indians."

"I will guide them," added Mr. Gracewood.

"Either of you," interposed the lieutenant.

I was anxious to go with the soldiers myself, and to have a hand in
capturing the miscreants who had carried off Ella; but her father had a
stronger claim upon this duty, and I yielded. Two miles above the point
where we had passed the dugouts, the steamer made a landing. After I
had explained to Lieutenant Pope the nature of the country, and the
localities of the streams, he decided to take only half his force with
him, and to send the other half to the landing, with instructions to
march up the Little Fish towards the Indian village. The two
detachments would come together on the river before reaching their
final destination.

The soldiers who were to pursue the Indians landed, and the steamer
started again. It was about noon when we reached the landing at the
Castle. The captain, who had been detained so long by the events
narrated that he was impatient to be on his voyage up the river again,
hurried the soldiers on shore. Mrs. Gracewood bade adieu to her brother
and his wife, who proceeded on their long journey. It was hard to leave
without knowing the fate of poor Ella, but the circumstances were
imperative. I conducted Mrs. Gracewood to the shore, and the steamer

The poor mother was in a state bordering on frenzy. Her anxiety and
suspense were hardly endurable. I went up to the Castle, caught the
horses, harnessed them to the wagon, and conveyed her and her trunks to
the house. In the mean time the soldiers had marched up to the
clearing, and decided to pitch their tents near the block house, for
they were not to start for the upper country till the next morning,
lest the Indians should be alarmed before the other force could reach
the place of meeting.

The troops hauled their tents and provision to the camp ground with my
team; and the scene at the clearing was vastly more lively than I had
ever before seen there. Mrs. Gracewood could not stay in the Castle,
and she joined me in the field. I said all that I could to comfort and
console her. I know not how many times she asked me whether I thought
the savages would kill her daughter. I did not believe they would.

"Why should they, Mrs. Gracewood?" I reasoned. "They know very well
that such a murder would bring a terrible vengeance upon them. Before
this time they have seen that the soldiers are on their track."

"Why should they carry her off, then?" asked the poor mother, wiping
away the tears that so frequently blinded her.

"As a prisoner, alive and well, she may be of great value to her
captors. They may procure a large ransom for her, or they may protect
themselves by having her in their power. To kill her would bring
nothing but disaster to them."

"But they will at least abuse her."

"They may compel her to travel too fast for her strength, for the
soldiers will keep them moving at a rapid rate. Wasn't it very singular
that she was left behind last night?" I asked, wishing to change the
current of her thoughts a little, if possible.

"It seems strange now. I did not think of such a thing as that she was
not on the steamer. I supposed she was in her state-room reading till
evening. Her room was lighted, as usual; and when I retired, as the
light seemed to assure me she was there, I thought I would not disturb
her. The steamer stopped at the fort. She did not appear at breakfast,
and I went to her room. I was frightened when I saw that it had not
been occupied, and I ran to the captain. Inquiry proved that she had
not been seen since we left this landing. I was told that people lived
here, and that she would not suffer. As soon as the freight was
unloaded, the steamer returned."

While I was talking with her, the shrill screaming of a steamboat
whistle assured me I had another customer for wood. Slinging my rifle
over my shoulder,--for in these troublous times it was not safe to go
unarmed,--I rode old Firefly down to the landing. I sold twenty cords
of cotton-wood, and put eighty dollars into my pocket. I told the
captain all the news, while the hands were loading the fuel; and the
steamer went on her winding way up the river. In a short time she
disappeared beyond the bend. I was about to mount my horse, and return
to the Castle, when I discovered a dugout in the distance cautiously
stealing down the great river, under the shadow of the bank. It
contained two Indians; but I was thrilled with excitement when I
discovered a young lady seated between them.

It was Ella Gracewood.

I was in a clump of trees, where I had fastened Firefly, and the
savages could not see me. I unslung my rifle, and satisfied myself that
it was in condition for use. Breathless with interest and anxiety, I
watched the dugout. I realized that the Indians had doubled on the
soldiers in pursuit of them by returning to their boats, and coming
down Crooked River. They evidently intended to ascend the Fish River.
Aware that the troops were in hot pursuit of them, I could understand
that their only solicitude was to escape with their prisoner, whose
presence was a sort of guarantee of their own safety.

I hardly dared to breathe, lest the savages should discover me. I
crouched behind a bush, and watched the progress of the enemy, as they
rounded the point, and paddled up the Fish River. I could not make up
my mind what to do. If I went up to the camp to inform the soldiers of
what I had seen, I should lose sight of the dugout. I expected every
moment to see the other two Indians come round the point in the second
dugout, but they did not appear.

As the savages ascended the stream, I crawled out of my hiding-place.
Mr. Gracewood's barge had been left at the lauding by the steamer, and
I launched it as the dugout disappeared beyond a bend in the creek. I
rowed with the utmost caution up the stream, fearful that the quick ear
of the Indians might detect the sound of the oars. I took the
precaution to muffle the oars, using an old coat I found in the boat
for the purpose. At the bend where I had lost sight of the enemy, I
held the barge by an overhanging branch, until I had satisfied myself
that it was safe to proceed. The dugout was not in sight, and I
continued to pull up the stream, pausing at every turn to take an

As it was not safe for me to go forward while the dugout could be seen,
I had not obtained another view of it when I reached the junction of
the Big and Little Fish Creeks. As the soldiers were between the former
and Crooked River, I knew the fugitives would not take that branch, and
I confidently pulled up the Little Fish. Two miles above the junction
the rapids commenced, and boats could go no farther in this direction.
Unfortunately the stream was too straight to suit my purpose, and
seeing the dugout half a mile ahead of me, I landed, and determined to
walk in the path on the bank of the creek.

The trees enabled me to keep out of sight, and I quickened my pace, so
as to lessen the distance between myself and the enemy. As they made
but slow progress against the current, I was soon as near them as I
dared to go. In this manner I crept along the path till the dugout
arrived at the rapids. The Indians landed, and compelled Ella to do so.
I could not see her face, but I judged that she had in some degree
become reconciled to her situation.

The place where the fugitives landed was at the mouth of the little
brook up which Mr. Gracewood and I had followed the horse thieves. The
rapids were just above the mouth of this stream, and the locality was
my favorite fishing-ground. I supposed the savages would follow the
path on the bank of the creek, which led to the Indian village; but
instead of doing so, they struck into the woods by the route the horse
thieves had taken. I walked up to the mouth of the brook; but I knew
the Indians could go but a short distance in the direction they had
chosen. It was nearly sundown, and I concluded that they intended to
encamp for the night. I had about decided to return to the Castle, and
procure the assistance of the soldiers, when I heard one of the Indians
approaching. Concealing myself behind a tree, I waited to observe his

He went to the river, embarked in the dugout, and pushing out into the
middle of the stream, commenced fishing, not fifty yards from me. I
could not resist the temptation to open the battle, and taking
deliberate aim at the Indian with my rifle, I fired.



If I had considered the matter a moment longer, probably I should not
have had the courage to open the battle; for, if I failed to hit the
Indian, my situation would become desperate, and with an empty rifle in
my hand, I could only depend upon my legs for safety, while the savages
would be able to escape with their prize before the soldiers could be
brought up.

Fortunately for me, I did not miss my aim. My bullet evidently passed
through the brain of the savage, for he threw up his arms, and dropped
over into the bottom of the dugout. His fall disturbed the boat, and
detached it from the overhanging branch by which he had secured it, to
enable him to fish. The current whirled it around, and carried it down
the river.

Though I could not rid myself of a certain sensation of horror, when I
found that I had actually taken a human life, I was well satisfied with
what I had done. My frame trembled with emotion and excitement as I
hastened to load my rifle again. I expected that the sound of the shot
would bring the other Indian to the spot, and I nervously awaited his
approach; but he did not appear. As the first Indian had come to the
creek to obtain food, his companion doubtless supposed he had fired at
some game. The wind wafted the smell of smoke to me, and I surmised
that the savage at the camp was preparing to cook the fish or game
which the other was to obtain.

The sun went down, and it began to be dark in the shades of the forest.
I had become composed and resolute again, after waiting half an hour
for the coming of the other redskin. I had arrived at the conclusion
that it was not worth while to return to the Castle for the soldiers. I
was sure that the Indian at the camp fire would soon come down to the
creek to ascertain what had become of his companion. To prevent him
from stumbling upon me, I retreated a little farther from the stream
into the forest. I could not be mistaken in my calculation, which was
soon verified by the sound of footsteps in the direction of the Indian

I found my heart beating violently again, and I dreaded the necessity
of shooting the savage almost as much as I did the consequences if I
failed to do so. It was still light enough for me to see him distinctly
when he made his appearance on the bank of the brook. I raised my rifle
with the intention of firing the instant he stopped long enough to
enable me to insure my aim, for I had not confidence enough to shoot
while he was in motion. But I was so agitated that I was not in
condition to do justice to my own skill. The savage walked rapidly to
the bank of the creek, and halted, looking up and down in search of the
dugout and his companion.

"Ugh!" grunted he, in order to express his dissatisfaction at the long
absence of his associate, I suppose.

Then he shouted, and waited for a response from his absent friend; but
he did not hold still long enough to enable me to cover his head with
the muzzle of my piece. I was so excited by the consideration of the
fatal consequences to me, and perhaps to Ella, if I failed to bring him
down, that I had not pluck enough to fire. I had slain one man, and it
was awful to think of killing another. I would have given all the gold
in my pocket if Kit Cruncher had stood by my side at that instant, and
relieved me of the fearful responsibility of the occasion.

Of course there was no response to the call of the Indian; and, after
glancing all around him, he walked rapidly down the path on the bank of
the creek in search of his lost mate. This movement on his part
afforded me a new hope. As Ella had not come to the stream with her
surviving captor, it was evident enough that he had left her at the
camp fire, probably tied to a tree, or otherwise secured.

I waited till the Indian had disappeared, and then hastened in the
direction of the camp. I did not take much pains to move without noise,
for I concluded that the Indian would have his ear to the ground
frequently, to obtain tidings of his missing associate. I ran with all
the speed I could command. I found Ella fastened to a tree near the
fire. Her hands were tied behind her, so that she was unable to help

"O, Phil Farringford!" cried she, as I approached.

"Don't make any noise, Ella," I replied, cutting the cords which bound
her. "Follow me, and be very careful."

"Where are the Indians?" she asked, in a whisper, her teeth chattering
with terror and excitement.

"I have shot one, and the other is not far off."

I conducted my fair companion a short distance down the brook, and
taking her in my arms, I bore her across the stream.

"Hark!" said I, as I placed her on the other side.

We listened, and I heard the Indian shouting for his companion. From
the direction of the sound I concluded that he was near the mouth of
the brook. Certainly he had retraced his steps from the point where he
was when I started to rescue Ella. It was probable that he had heard my
steps, but doubtless he supposed they were those of his missing mate. I
had made considerable noise when I scrambled up the steep bank of the
brook with my burden, which was immediately followed by his call.

"He has heard us," I whispered, preparing my rifle for use.

"What shall I do?" asked my trembling charge.

"Come with me. The brook is between him and us now, and I don't think
he will hear our steps, if we move very carefully."

I took her by the hand and led her through the dark forest. I intended
to proceed in an easterly direction till I came to Kit Cruncher's
Brook, and then follow the path along its bank to the Castle. I paused
occasionally to listen, but I heard no more shouting. The savage had
probably gone back to his camp, and discovered that his prisoner was

"We must hurry along as fast as we can, Ella," said I, finding that my
companion was inclined to go very slowly.

"I am very tired, Phil."

"I am sorry, but we cannot waste our time. If that Indian can find
where we crossed the brook, he will pursue us."

"How far must we go?"

"It is five miles to the Castle, but it is only two to Kit Cruncher's

"I am very faint, for I have eaten nothing since we breakfasted on the
island very early this morning," added Ella.

"I think I can find something for you to eat when we get to Kit's

"But where is my father, Phil?" asked Ella. "I hope nothing has
happened to him."

"Nothing has happened to him. He is with the soldiers who landed up
Crooked River. Did you not see the troops?"

"I saw them when they landed, but not afterwards."

"Did the Indians use you badly?" I inquired.

"No; they only compelled me to walk when I was so tired that every step
was painful."

"Where did you go after you left the dugouts?"

"I'm sure I don't know. We travelled till we came to another river."

"That was the Great Fish," I added.

"Two of the Indians left us then, and paddled across this river on a
log. They had a talk before they separated, and they pointed often at
me. I knew that it was about me."

"Where did you go then?" I asked, anxious, if possible, to ascertain
the plan of the savages.

"We walked back again till we came to the edge of the forest, not far
from the river. Here one of the Indians lay down on the ground, so that
the soldiers could not see him, and crawled to the stream. The other
led me through the woods towards the Missouri, two or three miles, I
should think; at any rate, I was completely exhausted. At last we
arrived at the great river, in sight of the island where my father

[Illustration: PHIL BEARING ELLA ACROSS THE FORD. Page 142.]

"But where were the soldiers?" I asked.

"I suppose they were beating about the woods, looking for us. The
Indian drove me down the steep bank of the river to the water-side. I
was terribly frightened, and if my savage conductor had not held my arm
I should have slipped down into the river. Here I was permitted to rest
myself for an hour, and then the other Indian came in the boat."

"Did you see the steamer that went up the river this afternoon?"

"I did; and when the Indians heard the whistle, they ran the boat into
a creek, and kept very quiet until she had passed. Then they paddled up
the river by the wood-yard."

"I saw you when you went by, and followed in your father's barge," I

"Did you come all alone?"

"Yes; there are about thirty soldiers at the Castle; but I thought, if
I went after them, I should lose sight of you, and so I came up alone.
I have some good news for you, Ella."

"What is it?" she asked, faintly.

"Your father and mother met on board of the steamer, and are now good

"I am so glad! But I do wish we could rest," she added.

"Sit down on this log, Ella," I replied, conducting her to a fallen
tree. "I haven't heard anything from that Indian, and I don't believe
he is on our track."

"O, I hope not; but I couldn't run if I saw him this instant."

"We ought to get back to the Castle to-night, if it is possible," I

"I don't believe I can walk so far."

"Your poor mother is suffering every moment. If she only knew you were
safe, I would not go farther than Kit's cabin to-night."

After resting for half an hour, we resumed the weary tramp through the
woods, and at last reached the brook on the other side of which was the
hunter's log hut. There was a light in it, which assured me Kit was at
home. I carried Ella over the stream in my arms, and we approached the
house. I took the precaution to reconnoitre the premises before I
entered, for it was not impossible that some of the enemy had taken
possession of the cabin; but through the open door I saw the tall
hunter at work over the fire, evidently cooking his supper.

"How are you, Kit?" said I, leading my charge into his presence.

"Are you hyer, Phil, boy!" exclaimed he. "Who's that with you?"

"It's Mr. Mellowtone's daughter."

"I never knowed he had a darter."

As briefly as possible, I told Kit what had occurred since he left the

"I've jest kim in from the nor'ard," said he. "The Injuns is on the
rampage. There's more'n a hund'ed on 'em not more'n a two hours' tramp
up the Little Fish, and there's goin' to be more trouble. I was goin'
down to the Castle as soon as I'd eat my supper. I ain't sartin there
ain't some redskins 'tween hyer and the clearing. Leastwise, I don't
think it's safe to go down by the brook path."

I was surprised and annoyed at his last remark; and Kit, after putting
another slice of bacon in the pan over the fire, proceeded to explain
the ground of his fears.



If there were any Indians between the Castle and Kit Cruncher's cabin,
we were certainly between two fires, and it was necessary that
something should be done very soon.

"What makes you think there are Indians below us, Kit?" I asked.

"I'll tell you, boy," replied the patriarchal hunter, as he turned a
slice of bacon in the pan. "I've seen Injun tracks p'inted that way."

"Where did you see them?"

"Over on the Little Fish. It has rained hard sence I went up the river,
and the tracks I see was new ones."

"Were they above or below the lower rapids?"

"Above, boy. I struck across the country above the swamp, and hit my
brook near the spring where it starts. Two Injuns had come down, I

"Well, Kit, those were the two who crossed the Big Fish on a log--two
of the four who went to the island this morning and captured Miss
Gracewood. The other two came around by the river in the dugout, and
camped near the lower rapids. In my opinion, they had agreed to meet

"Most like it is as you say, boy. I'm glad it's no wus. But 'tain't
safe for the gal to stay hyer. There'll be a hund'ed Injuns down hyer
to-morrow, mebbe as arly as daylight. I cal'late them two that come
over this mornin' is doggin' round the Castle now."

"If they are, they have found a camp of soldiers there, and not a very
good chance to plunder the place."

Kit Cruncher placed the frying-pan, in which the great slices of bacon
had been cooked, upon a chest, with a basket of crackers. Ella ate
heartily of the meat, for it was very good, in spite of the homely
manner in which it was served. We finished the meal without any
interruption from Indians or others. The poor girl declared that she
felt very much refreshed and strengthened, and was able to walk again.

"Now we are ready for a start," said Kit, when he had put his house in

"How far is it through the woods to the Little Fish, Kit?" I asked.

"Across hyer 'tain't more'n a mile."

"Then I think we had better go that way," I added. "I left Mr.
Gracewood's boat not far from the place where the two rivers join, and
we can go down in that."

"Very well, boy; but I cal'late there's three Injuns atween us and the
Castle somewhar. But 'tain't no matter; if they show theirselves, my
rifle will make quick work on 'em."

We crossed the brook, and struck into the woods on the other side. Ella
walked by my side, holding my hand, while Kit led the way through the
gloomy forest.

"Where do you suppose my father is now, Phil?" asked the poor girl.

"With the soldiers."

"But where are the soldiers?"

"They are in the woods beyond the Big Fish, I suppose. They must have
scoured the woods down to the Missouri before dark. I have no means of
knowing whether they were able to find any tracks of the fugitives to
assist them; if not, they have been very much puzzled."

"And all this time my poor father thinks I am in the hands of the
Indians, and fears that I have been killed or abused," added Ella.

"I am very sorry; but I do not see that we can do anything to-night to
relieve his anxiety."

"No, Phil, I see that you cannot. You have been very brave and noble,
and very kind to me, and I shall remember you with gratitude as long as
I live."

"I don't ask for anything better than to serve you," I replied. "In the
morning the troops at the Castle will start, and I have no doubt they
will communicate with those beyond the Big Fish in the course of the

"I do wish father were here. I am afraid he will expose himself to the
Indians, or wear himself out, he is so anxious for me."

"We will do the best we can to let him know that you are safe. Perhaps
Kit and I will try to find him, as soon as we have conducted you to the
Castle, and relieved the anxiety of your poor mother."

"We marched very cautiously through the woods, and with our rifles in
our hands ready for instant use. In a short time, under the skilful
lead of the hunter, we reached the river; but I had left the barge a
mile farther down the stream.

"I am not sure that we shall find the barge where I left it, Kit," said
I, as we took the path on the bank of the Little Fish.

"Most like you won't, boy. That Injun that went down to look for
t'other mought have took it."

"What will you do, then?" asked Ella.

"We shall be obliged to walk another mile, to the landing-place."

My trembling companion was constantly in fear of an attack from the
savages, or that a shot from them would hit her, or some other one of
the party. I said all I could to comfort and assure her; but the
circumstances were so novel to her that she could not be reconciled to
them. As I was not without fear myself, I could not take the matter so
coolly as Kit did. But the old hunter, steady and brave as he was in
peril, was a prudent man, and not at all disposed to be reckless. He
knew that an Indian bullet could kill him, as well as another man, and
he had none of that affectation of courage which so often belies the
boaster and the reckless man.

"Hyer's your barge," said Kit, ahead of us, when we had gone less than
half a mile down the stream.

"So it is; but I did not leave it here," I replied, as I glanced at the

"That Injun has come up stream in it, and left it hyer. Most like he
ain't fur from hyer."

I assisted Ella into the barge. Kit seated himself in the bow, and I
took the oars.

"Fotch her over under the further shore, boy," said Kit, as I pushed
off the boat. "Keep as fur as you kin from danger allus."

The old hunter's suggestion was certainly a good one, as was fully
demonstrated only a few minutes later. I pulled the barge to the other
side of the river; but we had gone only a few rods before the crack of
a rifle, followed by a whizzing bullet, assured us the enemy were at
hand. The barge was painted white, and was a shining mark in the night
for the savages to fire at.

"O, mercy!" cried Ella.

"Did it hit you?" I asked, alarmed by her cry.

"No, no--but----"

"Don't make any noise, then."

"Run the barge ashore hyer, boy," said Kit Cruncher, quietly.

I obeyed instantly; but another shot followed the first one, though,
fortunately, neither of them did any harm.

"Let the gal go ashore," added Kit.

I understood his plan, and assisted Ella to land.

"Run up the bank into the woods, and get behind a tree," I said to her,
as a third shot came across the river.

But the Indians were firing blindly in the dark, and though the last
bullet hit the boat, we were still safe. Kit stepped on the shore, and
we dragged the boat out of the water. The hunter paused on the bank of
the river, and gazed across in the direction from which the shots came.

"There's three on 'em over thyer," said Kit. "The shots was too near
together to come out of one barrel. Haul the barge up the bank afore
they hev time to load up agin."

The barge was light, and we had no difficulty in taking it up the bank
into the woods. For the present we were safe; but it was certain that
there were three savages on the bank of the river, and between us and
the Castle. We had, luckily, escaped injury so far, and Kit was not the
man to lead us into any unnecessary peril. We were now on the tongue of
land between the Big and the Little Fish Rivers, and only a short
distance above their junction. At the point where we landed it was less
than a quarter of a mile from one river to the other.

"We can't go down Fish River to-night," said I, when we had pulled the
boat up the bank.

"Not without resk, boy," replied Kit.

"What shall we do?" asked the frightened Ella.

"Don't be skeered, little gal," interposed Kit, in a tone more tender
than he was in the habit of using. "You are as safe hyer as you'd be in
your marm's lap."

"Can't the savages come over here?" she inquired.

"'Pears like they can't; leastwise, not without swimming, and we kin
stop 'em faster'n they kin come over. Rifle-balls travels fast,"
answered Kit, sagely. "But I don't reckon they'll want to come over

"Do you suppose they know there are soldiers at the clearing?" I asked.

"I don't reckon they do. They mought know it, and they mought not; but
from what you say, I cal'late they hain't had time to go down and see."

"Perhaps they intended to go there to-night," I suggested.

"It mought be."

"I think they were looking for something to eat first. I believe the
two Indians who came across the river on the log were to meet the other
two at the camp on the brook where I went. They knew they could get
plenty of fish there. After I shot one of the party at the camp, the
remaining one must have come across the other two. They will keep
between us and the Castle."

"Most like they've been lookin' for the gal all the evenin'," added

"It seems to me, if they knew the soldiers were at the clearing, they
would not stay here."

"'Tain't much use to guess at these things. You mought as well shoot at
nothin' in the dark. We can't go down Fish River to-night; that's all
that's sartin."

"That is very true."

"And I cannot see my mother to-night, then," said Ella.

"I dunno, little gal; 'pears like you can't; but mebbe you kin see your
father," replied Kit. "And it mought be you kin see both. I dunno. We
must be keerful. Better not see 'em till to-morrer 'n not see 'em at

"What do you mean by seeing her father tonight, Kit?" I inquired,
afraid that he was kindling vain hopes in the mind of the suffering

"I'll tell you, boy. Ef, as you say, them soldiers is rampagin' over
the country 'tween the Fish and Crooked River, we mought find 'em afore
mornin'. We kin kerry this boat over to the Big Fish, and land on
t'other side on't."

"That's a capital plan, Kit, and our safest course," I replied.

We wasted no time in debating a question on which we were perfectly
agreed. We carried the light barge across the tongue of land, and
launched it in the Big Fish. Our party embarked, and I pulled up the
river. I realized that it would not be an easy matter to find the
soldiers, for they would not kindle any camp fire, which would betray
their presence to the savages.

I pulled vigorously, for half an hour, against the current; and we were
satisfied that the three Indians had not crossed the river, for we were
not again annoyed by them. As the barge approached the rapids, beyond
which we could not go by water, we heard a noise on the shore.

"Who goes there?" shouted a soldier.

"Friends," I replied.

"Advance, friends, and give the countersign."

We had no countersign, but I immediately ran the boat ashore, and we



"Who are you?" demanded the soldier who had hailed the boat, probably
astonished to find himself answered in plain English.

"Friends," I replied.

"What is your name?"

"Phil Farringford."

"You are the boy that came on board the steamer this morning?"

"I am; have you seen any Indians to-day?"

"Not an Indian."

"You didn't go where they were," I added.

"We have been beating about the woods all day; but the Indians who
captured the girl have dodged us."

"Then you haven't recovered her yet?"


"I have; and here she is," I continued; helping Ella out of the boat,
and up the bank of the river.

By this time half a dozen soldiers had gathered on the shore, with
their blankets on their arms. When they understood that the young lady
had been recovered from the Indians, they gave an involuntary cheer.

"Where is my father?" asked Ella, anxiously.

"I suppose he is with Lieutenant Pope," replied Corporal Flint, who was
the spokesman of the party. "The headquarters are about a mile up the

"I must go to him at once," added Ella, nervously.

"You shall, miss. The hunt's up now, and we needn't stay here any
longer," continued the corporal. "We are divided into three squads, and
posted on the river to keep the Indians from crossing."

"There hasn't been an Indian on this neck for six hours," I added; and
I proceeded to inform the corporal in what manner the Indians had made
their escape.

"They are cunning," said he. "They know the country better than we do."

"Whar's the cap'n?" demanded Kit, who had been engaged in hauling the
barge out of the water, and concealing it in the bushes.

"Who are you?" replied Corporal Flint, as the tall hunter loomed up
before him.

"I don't reckon it makes any matter who I am; but I want to see the
cap'n, and show him whar the redskins is."

"Lieutenant Pope commands the troops, and he will be very glad to know
where the redskins are."

"My father is with him; do let us make haste," said Ella, dragging me
by the hand in the direction of the next post of the soldiers.

"We will escort you, miss," added the corporal, ordering his squad to

Our walk was enlivened by the frequent challenge of the sentinels
posted along the bank of the river. One half of the troops were
watching the stream, while the other half slept. In a short time we
reached the bivouac of the commanding officer. As we approached, I
recognized the form of Mr. Gracewood, who was walking back and forth
near the party asleep on the ground.

"Here she is, Mr. Gracewood!" I shouted, while the soldiers were going
through their military forms, for they were very precise in all these

The unhappy father halted, and Ella dragged me towards him, impatient
to heal the wounded heart. He seemed to be unable to comprehend the
meaning of my words; but as soon as he saw her in the gloom of the
forest, he rushed forward and clasped her in his arms. I heard them sob
in each other's embrace, and while the tears started in my own eyes, I
had an all-sufficient reward for the peril and labor I had incurred in
restoring her.

"Why, Ella, I can hardly believe it is you," said he, his voice
tremulous with emotion.

"It is I, father," she replied, clinging to him convulsively. "I am so

"Are you safe? Are you hurt? Did they injure you?"

"No, father I have been awfully frightened, but I am not hurt. You
don't say a word to Phil. He saved me."

"Phil Farringford!"

"Yes, father."

"My dear boy, you have saved me from a misery you cannot understand,"
said the glad parent, grasping my hand.

"I am very glad to do something for you, after you have done so much
for me, sir."

"But how was it? Tell me about it. Where did you find her?" asked Mr.

"I congratulate you, sir," said Lieutenant Pope, approaching the spot,
having learned the substance of the story from Corporal Flint.

"I am the happiest man in the world," added Mr. Gracewood, with
enthusiasm. "Phil Farringford is a hero! Now let us know where you
found her."

"Here's Kit Cruncher, too," I added, unwilling that my stalwart ally
should be ignored.

Mr. Gracewood shook hands with Kit, who was duly introduced to the

"I'm hyer, Mr. Mell'ton, or Mr. Greasewood--if that's your name."

"Gracewood," interposed the happy Ella.

"Jest so; Greasewood--that's what I say. I'm hyer, and I want to tell
the cap'n whar the redskins is; but I don't reckon my story'll spile
while Phil tells you about the gal. Go on, boy; wag your tongue as fast
as you wagged your legs to-day."

"I've had rather a long tramp to-day, and I'll sit down and rest while
we talk," I answered, availing myself of a log.

I related minutely all the circumstances of the recapture of Ella, and
gave her explanation of the plan by which the Indians had escaped from
the soldiers.

"I never thought of those dugouts," said the lieutenant. "We have not
been near the river to-day."

"Now, cap'n," interposed Kit Cruncher, "the Injuns from the nor'ard is
on a rampage. More'n a hund'ed on 'em is camped on the head streams of
the Little Fish, working down this way. They mean to wipe out all on
us. They stole Matt's hosses, but we got 'em back. Then they kim down
on us, and two or three on 'em got shot. Now the whole on 'em's comin'

"I will take care of them if you will show me where they are," added
the officer.

"I'll do that. I ain't no milintry man, but I kin tell you how to fix
them redskins. Them Injuns up thar has got hosses. They're go'n' to
come down by the Little Fish. Phil tells me you sent a force to the
Castle. Ef you take 'em in the rear with your men, by marchin' round
across both the Fish rivers, the t'other kin take 'em in front, and
atwixt the two you'll chaw 'em all up."

"Do you think we had better march to-night?" asked Lieutenant Pope,
evidently impressed by the suggestion of the veteran hunter.

"No; that would spile the whole game. Let 'em kim down as fur's they

"But where are the three Indians who were engaged in the capture of
Miss Gracewood?"

"They're doggin' round the clearin'; but I don't reckon they know any
sogers is over thar yet."

"They will join the large force on the Little Fish, and inform them of
our presence here."

"They mought do it; but a march of seven mile will fotch you to 'em.
They'll start arly 'n the mornin'; and them three Injuns won't go up to
their camp to-night, for they're as fur off from it as we are. Ef you
start at sunrise, you kin git in behind 'em, crossin' both rivers in
the forenoon."

Kit Cruncher was very clear in his views, and the commander of the
troops saw the wisdom of his plan. The latter knew nothing of the
country, and was dependent upon the information afforded by such men as
Kit for the means of punishing the Indians when they violated their
treaty obligations.

"As my daughter cannot go with you, we need remain here no longer,"
said Mr. Gracewood.

"But you can't get to the clearing to-night," replied Lieutenant Pope.
"You may be intercepted by these strolling savages; and I cannot spare
my men to escort you, for they may be obliged to march all day

"Where is my barge, Kit?" asked the anxious father.

"In the bushes down the river."

"We can carry it across the land to the Crooked River, and go down in
that way. I am very anxious to join my wife, who is still suffering
with anxiety for our child," added Mr. Gracewood.

"Very well; if you feel safe to leave the camp, I shall not object,"
continued the lieutenant. "My men shall carry your boat over to the

"Phil will go with me, and I don't think there is any danger."

"I should be glad to have you go, for I wish to send some orders to
Lieutenant Jackson, commanding the men at the clearing."

"Exactly, cap'n," interposed Kit. "Send word for 'em to form a line
atween the Little Fish and the pond. Phil kin show 'em whar it is."

Four men were sent to carry the barge across the country to Crooked
River, and Kit explained to the officer the nature of the region where
he suggested that the line of defence should be established. By the
light of a match, the lieutenant wrote an order, which he gave to me,
to be delivered to the officer in command of the detachment at the
Castle. Bidding the lieutenant good night, we started for the river,
attended by Kit, who was determined to see us safely embarked.

"I am afraid you are too tired to walk, Ella," said I, placing myself
at her side.

"I am very tired, and I hope the distance is not long."

"Not less than two miles," I replied.

"I will try to do it," said she, with all the courage she could muster.

After going half the distance, we met the men who were carrying the
boat. They had laid it on a couple of poles, and were bearing it on
their shoulders. By this time poor Ella was almost fainting with

"We kin tote the gal in the boat," said Kit.

"She cannot sit on the keel of it," replied Mr. Gracewood; for the
soldiers had placed it bottom upwards on the sticks.

"We kin turn it t'other side up," added Kit. "Drop that boat, sogers."


The men, who were full of sympathy for Ella, laid the boat upon the
ground. Kit turned it over, and with the painter and another line,
slung it to the poles right side up. Ella seated herself in the barge,
and the soldiers lifted it up, placing the poles upon their shoulders.
The march was resumed, and occasionally Kit and Mr. Gracewood relieved
the men, so that it was not very hard work. We reached the river, and

"Take care of yourself. There'll be a big fight to-morrer, and the
Injuns'll git squeezed."

"I will endeavor to take care of myself," I replied, as we pushed off.

Mr. Gracewood took the oars, and I was permitted to rest myself, after
the severe fatigue and excitement of the day.

"Is there any danger now, father?" asked Ella.

"No, child, I don't think there is," replied Mr. Gracewood.

"Do you think there is, Phil?" she added, appealing to me.

"No; but I should like to know where those two dugouts are."

"According to your story, one of them has gone adrift, and the other is
up this river," said Mr. Gracewood. "Is your rifle in order, Phil?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then keep a sharp lookout, Phil; and I think we shall be all right."

And we were all right till we reached a point near the mouth of Fish
River, where I discovered a dugout moving out into the Missouri, and
containing three men.



Mr. Gracewood was not rowing at the time I discovered the dugout, for
the swift current of the Missouri gave us sufficient headway, and the
oars were only used to keep the boat from whirling. Poor Ella, worn out
by the fatigues and perils of the day, had dropped asleep, her head
resting upon my shoulder. I only raised my hand, and pointed out the
position of the dugout. Mr. Gracewood understood me, and looked in the
direction indicated.

The three Indians in the boat were doubtless the ones who had visited
the island in the morning. I concluded that they had found the dugout
in which I had shot the savage, and which had probably grounded
somewhere in the shallow water. But the Indians were not coming towards
us, and I judged from their movements that they did not see us. The
dugout came into the great river, and then headed down the stream.

"Don't move," I whispered to Mr. Gracewood.

"But the current is carrying us upon them," he replied, his anxiety
apparent in his tones.

"If you can work her farther in shore without making any noise, do so,"
I added.

In paddling the dugout the Indians all faced ahead, instead of astern
as in rowing. We were under the shadow of the high bank of the river,
which was covered with wood. Mr. Gracewood carefully worked the barge
nearer to the bank, until I was able to grasp the branch of a tree
which had fallen down as the earth caved off beneath its roots. I held
it there, and in a moment more the dugout disappeared in the gloom.

"They are not looking for us," said Mr. Gracewood.

"No; but they have not come down here for nothing," I replied.

"What do you think they intend to do?"

"They fired at us as we were coming down the river. Possibly they
followed us, and saw us go up the Big Fish. Perhaps they think now that
there is no one at the Castle, and they can plunder it without
opposition. They will soon discover their blunder."

"But Mrs. Gracewood is there."

"So are the soldiers."

"They may capture her if she is in the Castle, while the soldiers are
encamped in the rear, not expecting an enemy on the river side."

"We need not stay here any longer," I added, letting go the branch, and
permitting the current to carry the barge down the stream. "Don't make
any noise with the oars, Mr. Gracewood."

"We must hurry forward and alarm the soldiers. They have no suspicion
that there are any Indians within many miles of them."

"What's the matter, father?" cried Ella, waking with a start.

"Hush! Ella. Don't make any noise. We are safe, and there is no

"What has happened?" she whispered, trembling with fear.

"Nothing has happened; but we saw three Indians go down the river. They
did not discover us, and there is nothing to fear. Don't be alarmed."

The barge floated down to the mouth of the Fish, and Mr. Gracewood,
using the oars very carefully, guided it to the landing, where we went
on shore. I hastened up the rising ground to ascertain if there was any
demonstration against the Castle. On the way, I heard old Firefly
neigh; and then I remembered that I had left him there when I started
to follow the Indians. The old fellow was very glad to see me, for he
probably did not like to be excluded from his warm stable, and robbed
of his supper.

I jumped upon his back, and rode down to the landing, where Mr.
Gracewood was hauling up his boat. My appearance on horseback startled
him and Ella, but the sound of my voice reassured them. I explained in
what manner I happened to be mounted so speedily.

"I will ride up to the Castle, and see that the soldiers are on the
lookout for those Indians," I added. "I will return with the wagon in a
few minutes, and carry you to the house."

"And leave us here alone?" said Mr. Gracewood.

"Do you think there is any danger?" I inquired.

"Those Indians may land here and discover us. For myself I don't care;
but I am afraid on account of Ella, who is too weak to run, how ever
great the peril."

"I will take her on the horse with me if you like," I suggested.

"But you may meet the savages, and a bullet from the cunning foe might
destroy all my hopes in this world."

"I will not leave you, then, sir; but I thought Ella was too feeble to
walk another mile."

"I could not walk a mile," added she, faintly.

"What shall we do, then?" I asked.

"We will go a little way with you."

Ella had sat so long in the barge that her limbs were stiff, and she
was unable to walk, even a short distance. Her father had lifted her
out of the boat, and seated her on a log.

"I could do nothing if the Indians came upon me, with my child in this
helpless condition. I will carry her in my arms a little way, and we
will conceal ourselves in the bushes. Go as quick as you can, Phil
Farringford," said the anxious father.

"I will not be absent long," I replied, as I urged Firefly forward.

The horse was anxious to reach his stable, and he galloped at the top
of his speed. I kept a wary lookout for the savages, as I approached
the Castle, but I saw none.

"Halt!" shouted a sentinel, placing himself in the road.

This vigilance on the part of the troops assured me the Castle was in
no danger of a surprise, and I reined in my steed.

"Who goes there?" demanded the guard.

"Friend, in a tremendous hurry," I replied.

"Advance, friend in a tremendous hurry, and give the countersign."

"I have no countersign; but I am Phil Farringford."

"O, the young fellow that belongs here!"

"Yes; and by this time there are three Indians in a dugout in front of
you. Stir up your men, and send two or three of them down towards the
landing. Mr. Gracewood and his daughter are there, and the Indians may
find them."

"Has the girl been found?"

"Yes; but I can't stop to talk. Wake up your officer."

I hurried Firefly to the barn, and dismounted.

"Who is it? What has happened?" asked Mrs. Gracewood, in trembling
tones, as she came towards the stable.

"It's only Phil," I replied. "All right, Mrs. Gracewood."

"Where have you been? I was afraid the Indians had caught you."

"I have been after Ella."

"O, have you heard anything from her?" demanded she, choking with

"Yes, we have heard from her. She's all right," I answered, as I throw
the harness upon Firefly.

"What do you mean? Don't deceive me, Phil."

"I won't, Mrs. Gracewood. You shall see her yourself in ten minutes."

"Where is she?" gasped the poor mother, apparently unable to believe
the good news.

"She is down at the landing; but she is all worn out, and not able to
move a step. I am going down with the wagon after her."

"Do you really mean so?"

"Certainly I do, Mrs. Gracewood; and her father is with her."

"Father in heaven, I thank thee!" exclaimed she, fervently, sobbing and

"It's just as I tell you; but you had better go into the house, for
there are some Indians along the river somewhere."

"I am not afraid of them, if I can only see Ella."

By this time, the sentinel who had confronted me had passed the word to
the camp, and the soldiers were all under arms. A squad of them
hastened to the river, and presently I heard a couple of shots in that
direction. I had finished harnessing the horses, and was putting old
Matt's bed upon the wagon for Ella to lie upon, when Lieutenant
Jackson, the officer in command of the detachment, rushed up to me.

"What is the matter?" he demanded. "Are we attacked?"

"There are three Indians on the river. I suppose your men are firing at
them. Here is an order from Lieutenant Pope," I added, handing him the
paper, and jumping upon the wagon, where Mrs. Gracewood had already
placed herself. "We have recovered the young lady, and I am going down
to the landing after her."

"But I wish to know----"

"Well, I can't stop now to talk, sir."

"I will go with you;" and he leaped upon the wagon.

"I advise you to take two or three more with you. You may capture the
three Indians your men are firing at now."

He called three of his men, who joined us in the wagon, and I drove off
as fast as I could make the horses go.

"Where did you see Lieutenant Pope?" asked Mr. Jackson.

"At his camp on the Big Fish. You must keep those three Indians from
going up the Fish River if you can."

"Why so?"

But the violent jolting of the wagon prevented me from talking, and him
from hearing; so I deferred my explanation till a more convenient
season. In a few minutes, I stopped the horses a short distance from
the landing, when Mr. Gracewood hailed me from a clump of bushes. I
felt relieved when I saw that Ella and he were safe. I helped the
trembling mother out of the wagon, and conducted her to the spot.

"My child! O, Ella!" cried Mrs. Gracewood, as she bent over the form of
her daughter.

"I am safe, mother," she replied, faintly.

They sobbed and wept in each other's arms till Mr. Gracewood
interposed, and then we placed the sufferer on the bed in the wagon.

"Now, lieutenant, if you will let one of your men drive the horses up
to the Castle, I will tell how the land lies here," said I, when the
party was ready to start.

Mr. Jackson ordered one of the soldiers to go with the wagon, and
return with it; but Mr. Gracewood preferred to drive himself while Ella
was a passenger. As the team started, I walked with the officer and two
soldiers down to the landing. I imparted all the information I had
obtained, including the movements of the Indians who had captured Ella.

"You are a plucky little fellow to stand up and shoot down an Indian:
but I think you would have done better if you had called me, instead of
following the Indians yourself," said Lieutenant Jackson.

"I don't think so. We might have gone a dozen miles before we found
them, if I had lost sight of them. The three Indians went down the
river just as we came in sight. I heard your men fire at them. Now you
must not let them go up the Fish, for they will carry information to
the large party up that river, and spoil the plan of Lieutenant Pope."

"You are right, my boy," replied the officer, as he posted his two men
where they could see the dugout as it approached.

"You will have a big fight to-morrow," I added.

"I should think so from what you say; but I haven't read my orders


I heard the splashing of paddles in the river below us, and I concluded
that the three Indians who had failed in front of the Castle were
returning to Fish River.



I had a theory of my own in regard to the movements of the four Indians
who had come down the Crooked River in the two dugouts. The savages
were incensed against us because they had failed to obtain our horses,
and because we had shot two or three of their men in the skirmishes
which followed. This party had gone home and stirred up the Indians,
who were now upon the war-path. Mr. Gracewood had identified himself
with the defence of the Castle, and they had visited his island to
wreak their vengeance upon him, and obtain his property.

If he was at home, they would kill him; if not, they would appropriate
or destroy his property. Having disposed of him, if he were there, the
four Indians were to go down the river to the front of the Castle, and
when the main body appeared in the forest, make an attack on the river
side, or steal upon us in the night, and murder us in our sleep. At any
rate, these Indians knew that a large force of their own people were
coming down the Fish, and they were in some manner to assist them.

Lieutenant Jackson and myself went to the bank of the river, and soon
saw the dugout, two of the Indians in it paddling with all their might.
They had discovered their blunder, in part at least, when the soldiers
opened upon them. The fact that any one was awake at the Castle was
enough to turn them from their purpose, for they had not the courage to
stand up before the rifle of Kit Cruncher, whom they doubtless supposed
to be there.

"Give them a shot, Morgan," said the lieutenant to one of his men.

The soldier fired, but without effect, except to alarm the Indians.

"Why didn't you hit them?" added the officer, as the savages turned the
dugout from the shore, and paddled with renewed zeal towards the
opposite side of the great river.

"So I would if they would hold still long enough for me to cover them,"
replied the soldier.

The other man fired, but with no better success, so far as we could
discover. Before they could reload their pieces, the dugout was too far
off to warrant the wasting of any more powder and lead.

"You will not see them again to-night," said I, as the Indians
disappeared in the gloom.

"Can they get to the rear of our position by any other way than up this
river?" asked Lieutenant Jackson.

"Yes, sir, they can. They may go up Bear River to the lake, and cross
the country to the Fish," I replied. "But there are rapids between the
lake and the Missouri, and they would have to carry their boat half a

"Then I must put a guard at the mouth of the Bear."

"It will be the safest way," I added, as the soldier returned with my

We drove back to the Castle, and I put up the horses. The lieutenant
sent a corporal and two men to the mouth of Bear River, two miles below
the Castle; and I was satisfied that the three Indians could not
possibly join the band which was moving down the Fish. We went into the
house together, where a cheerful fire of pitch wood was blazing on the
hearth. Poor Ella had dropped asleep, and her father and mother sat by
her bedside watching her heaving chest. They were very anxious about
her, though Mr. Gracewood declared that she suffered only from
exhaustion, and that rest would restore her.

The lieutenant read the order I had brought to him, and we left the
Castle, so as not to disturb Ella. By this time I was willing to
believe I was tired myself. I thought it must be nearly daylight, and
was surprised when the officer told me it was only twelve o'clock. It
seemed to me that I had lived a whole year since sundown. I was invited
to sleep in the lieutenant's tent, and I did sleep there in good
earnest till long after sunrise the next morning, when a soldier called

"We are about ready to start, Phil," said Mr. Jackson. "My orders say
you are to be my guide."

"I must take care of my horses and pigs, and eat my breakfast."

"My men have fed your horses, and cleaned them. I thought you would be
very tired, and I had your work done for you," said the lieutenant.

"I was tired--that's a fact; but I am as good as new now."

"Mr. Gracewood says your breakfast is all ready."

"How is Ella?" I asked.

"She is better, but still very weak."

"Is she sick?"

"No, they say not; only worn out."

I went to the Castle, and was at once greeted with an outpouring of
thanks from father, mother, and daughter for what I had done the night
before. Ella, as the officer had said, was suffering only from stiff
limbs and over-fatigue. Mr. Gracewood had cooked our breakfast, and we
all sat down to the table. It was a happy family which gathered around
the board, and the father said a prayer of thanksgiving for the mercy
of God in sparing our lives during the perils of the preceding day and
night; and it was a prayer in which we all joined, in mind and heart.

The scene was a novel one to me. It was the first time in my life that
I had ever sat at table with women--the first family I had ever seen
together. I had read of such things, and my kind teacher had told me
all about the customs of civilized life. I thought that every family,
as father, mother, and children gathered together at table, or in the
evening, ought to be very happy. Still I knew it was not so, for even
the reunited husband and wife before me had quarrelled and separated.
People do not understand and appreciate their greatest blessings,
because they are so common; but I, who had never known a mother's
care,--at least not since my infancy,--could realize what a joy it was
to have a father and mother, and to be with them every day. It seemed
to me that I could never disregard the slightest wish of father or
mother, if I had them.

I ate a hearty breakfast, for even the pretty sentiment which was
flitting through my mind could not impair my appetite. When I went out
I found that the lieutenant had drawn up his force in the field, struck
his tents, and loaded his baggage upon my wagon. Firefly and Cracker
were harnessed, and I had only to take my seat on the load. The
soldiers had repaired the bridge over the brook, and everything was
ready for a start.

"Of course you leave a guard here, lieutenant," I said, as I took my
place on the wagon.

"I have detailed a corporal and three men to take care of the Castle,"
replied Mr. Jackson. "Do you think that is force enough?"

"Plenty, sir, if they keep their eyes wide open," I replied. "They have
only to guard the approach on the water side."

"All right. Attention--company! Shoulder arms! Right shoulder--shift!

The soldiers marched ahead, and I followed with the wagon. It was about
two miles to the point between the lake and the Little Fish, where the
detachment was to be posted, and in less than an hour we arrived at our
destination. We halted, and a sergeant and three men were sent forward
to scout the woods, and give the troops early intimation of the
approach of the enemy. The rest of the force was immediately set at
work in the erection of two breastworks--one near the river, and the
other between Kit's Brook and the lake. The first commanded the road on
the Little Fish, and the other the brook path.

"Don't your soldiers have any cannons?" I asked, after the lieutenant
had set the men at work.

"We have some mountain howitzers at the fort; but field-pieces are not
available for this bushwhacking service," replied Mr. Jackson. "I wish
we had a couple of howitzers here."

"Mr. Gracewood has what he calls a twelve-pounder."

"Indeed! Is it mounted?"

"It's on wheels, if that is what you mean."

"Do you know whether he has any ammunition for it?" asked the officer,
evidently much interested in the information I had given him.

"He has plenty of powder, and some tin cans----"

"Canister shot: just the thing for us," interposed the officer. "Is it
possible to have this gun brought down here?"

"I don't see why it isn't."

"It would be as good as twenty men to us in these breastworks. Couldn't
you take a couple of my men, and go after it?"

"Of course I could, and I will."

"You will do us a great service, for I may have to fight four times my
own force."

Two men were selected to go with me to the island, and taking them upon
the wagon, I drove back to the Castle. Mr. Gracewood readily gave me
permission to bring off the gun, but he wanted to know how I expected
to bring it over.

"In the boat," I replied.

"Do you mean my barge?"

"Yes, sir."

"How much do you think it weighs?" he asked, with a smile.

"I don't know--perhaps a hundred weight," I answered, comparing it with
a barrel of flour, which was my standard.

"Not less than six hundred," said he. "The barge will not carry it with
three of you besides; and if it would, you could not load it."

"I can get it over, I know," I replied, confidently, and rather pleased
to have a difficult problem to solve.

"Very well. The ammunition is in the blue box; and that will be a good
load for the barge."

"I will agree to get them both over here," I replied; and, jumping upon
the wagon, I drove down to the landing.

While I was securing the horses, the two soldiers put the barge into
the water. I was thinking all the time of the problem of transporting
the gun and ammunition. I was quite sure that I could do the job, and I
had my plan ready. I took a couple of axes from the shanty at the
landing, and we embarked. One of the soldiers rowed the boat.

"What are you going to do with the axes, Phil?" asked the soldier who
was seated in the bow.

"I thought we might want them, and so I brought them along," I replied,
not caring to discuss my plan with him.

"How big is the gun we are to bring?"

"Mr. Gracewood says it weighs about six hundred."

"Do you expect to bring a gun weighing six hundred in this little

"We'll see," I replied.

"We are on a fool's errand."

"You wait and see."

"I think you are smart, Phil, after what you did last night; but you
might as well try to drink up the Missouri as to bring that gun in this
boat," persisted the soldier.

"Let Phil alone," said Morgan, the oarsman, who seemed to have more
confidence in my ability than his companion.

We landed at the south end of Paradise Island, because there were no
bluffs to interfere with our operations. Securing the boat, we walked
up the hill to the house. I was still thinking of the plan by which the
gun was to be transported to the main shore, when I was startled by the
crack of a rifle from the direction of the house.



"Get behind the trees!" I called to my companions, as I promptly
adopted the tactics of Kit Cruncher; for in fighting Indians discretion
is eminently the better part of valor.

"Was any one hit?" asked Morgan, the man nearest to me, as he dodged
behind a cotton-wood tree.

"I am not," I replied.

"Nor I," added Plunkett, the other soldier; "but that ball came within
a quarter of an inch of my right ear."

"Who fired that shot?" asked Morgan. "I didn't see anybody."

"The Indians are here," I replied.

"Then we had better take ourselves off as quick as possible," suggested

"Not without the gun," I continued. "The three Indians you fired at on
the river last night have come over here. You don't mean to run away
from three Indians--do you?"

"No; but I don't like the situation," said Plunkett.

The cotton-wood trees were large enough to furnish us ample shelter,
and we waited a reasonable time, with our guns pointed, for the savages
to show themselves; but they were no more disposed to do so than we
were. It looked like a slow and lazy fight, and I was afraid the main
body of the redskins would attack the lieutenant before we could reach
him with the gun.

"What shall we do? We don't want to stay here all day," said Morgan.

"It is just as dangerous to go back as it is to go forward," I replied.

"Forward it is, then," added Morgan. "I don't want to be shot in the
back, if I am to be shot at all."

As my companion did not suggest a plan of operations, unless the
proposition of Plunkett to run away may be regarded as such, I
endeavored to solve the problem myself. The formation of the island,
like many others in the Mississippi and Missouri, was peculiar. Its
surface was a gradual slope from the point where we had landed to the
up-river end, which was a bluff of considerable height. On the most
elevated portion grew the tallest of the trees, which gradually
diminished in size, till at the lower end they were mere bushes. The
current of the river beating against the upper end washed away the
earth, and carried the soil to the lower end, leaving an annual deposit

From the high ground the water had gullied for its passage a channel to
the lower end. As the descent was considerable, it was dry except
during heavy rains. This gully in the part of the island where we had
halted was about four feet deep. Farther up and lower down it was less
than this. In leading the way up to Mr. Gracewood's house, I had
followed this channel, and when we stopped, I had taken shelter behind
a tree on the side of it, whose roots reached into it. The Indians were
some distance from the gully, which led, in a sinuous course, within a
few rods of the house.

"I am going to do something," said I, when I had arranged a plan to
take advantage of the shelter the gully would afford me. "I will follow
this channel up till I can got a good shot at the Indians. When I fire,
you do the same."

"Don't be rash, Phil," said Morgan, who perhaps thought he ought to
perform the perilous work of the expedition; but really one place was
just as safe as the other.

"I will take care of myself," I replied. "Twenty rods farther up the
gully I shall be in position to see behind the trees where the Indians
are. I shall bring down one of them then."

"All right, Phil; but the Indians will see you when you leap into the
gully," added Morgan.

"I shall run the risk of that. If you will do the same, we can make a
sure thing of it."

"I will, for one. I won't have a boy like you get ahead of me; but I
thought you wanted us to stay here."

"One of you stay behind the tree, and the other jump into the ditch."

"All right. I'll jump in," said Morgan.

"I will go up the gully; you go down. I will go without noise; you will
make a noise, so as to make the Indians think we have both gone down
towards the place where we landed. Do you understand me?"

"Like a book."

"And, Plunkett, you must keep both eyes wide open. If an Indian shows
his head, shoot him."

"I'll do that."

"But don't show your own head."

"I won't do that."

I leaped into the gully as soon as I had completed my preparations. One
of the Indians fired instantly. Morgan promptly followed me, and
without drawing the fire of the Indians. I crept carefully up the
gully, while my companion took the opposite direction, making plenty of
noise. He had gone but a short distance before the discharge of
Plunkett's musket assured me the ruse had been successful so far. The
savages, thinking we were escaping to the water, had left their trees,
and shown themselves to our sentinel.

I hastened on my winding way with all practicable speed, careful not to
betray my presence. Every step brought me nearer to the Indians, and,
as I crept along, I occasionally stole a glance over the brink of the
gully; but as yet I could not see the foe. I continued on my way, not
daring to step on a stick or a stone, lest the noise should reveal my
presence, until I had reached my objective point. A cautious glance
then assured me that I was abreast of the savages. I was exactly at
their right hand, and not ten rods from them. I could distinctly see
them, with their rifles elevated in readiness to fire, and glancing
with one eye, from behind the tree, at the position of Plunkett.

The three positions occupied respectively by Plunkett, the savages, and
myself, were at the three angles of an isosceles triangle, the two
equal sides of which were about twenty rods, while the other and
shortest side was ten rods, the latter being between the Indians and
myself. They were straining their eyes to take advantage of any
movement where Plunkett stood.

I placed my ammunition so that I could reload with the greatest
possible haste after I had fired, and then prepared to make the shot
upon which our fate in a great measure depended. Indeed, it was
necessary to do something to end my own suspense and anxiety, for my
nerves were so strained up that I thought they would crack. This
holding of one's breath, and moving in absolute silence on penalty of
death for failure, is a terrible trial to a boy, whatever it may be to
a man inured to peril and hardship.

Having completed my preparations, and considered where and how I should
retreat in case of failure, I took careful aim at the Indian nearest to
me, and fired. The savage uttered a howl, and clapped his hand upon the
back of his head. I had wounded him, but evidently had not disabled
him. I loaded my rifle again, regarding my first shot as an unfortunate
one. I could hear the enemy talking earnestly together, and I realized
that they were not satisfied with the situation. The report of a musket
below assured me the Indians had changed their position. Another shot
from our side told me that Morgan was improving his opportunities.

These bullets from the front, although they appeared not to have done
any harm, compelled the savages to resume their first position, which
again opened them to my fire. I aimed a second time, and fired at the
mark as before. The discharge was followed by a fearful howl, and the
savage raised his hand to his face. He was not killed, but by this time
he was badly demoralized. He turned his head to see where the ball had
come from. His face was covered with blood.

I stooped to load my rifle again. While doing so, I could hear the
savages chattering violently. They had evidently discovered the
insecurity of their position, and felt that, if they staid there long
enough, they would certainly be shot. I did not deem it prudent to
remain where I was any longer, lest the enemy should take it into their
heads to charge upon the gully. I retreated a few rods towards the
house. While I was doing so, the reports of the two muskets of the
soldiers assured me the Indians were making a movement. I raised my
head, and saw that they were running with all speed towards the north
side of the island, where they had landed the preceding day.

Morgan and Plunkett had come out of their hiding-places, and were
already in hot pursuit. I followed their example, and being nearer the
enemy than they, I fired. This time an Indian dropped: but his fall did
not delay the flight of the others. I paused to load, and presently
heard the shots of both the soldiers. They also halted to load again,
and I ran ahead of them; but the savages were more fleet of foot than
we, and gaining rapidly upon us, reached their boat without further
loss or damage.

[Illustration: THE WOUNDED INDIAN. Page 203.]

"We are lucky," said I, as we gave up the chase, and gazed at the
dugout, half way across the river.

"That's so. Was any one hit?" added Morgan.

"No; and of all the shots we have fired, we have brought down but one

"If we had been as near as you were, Phil, we should have dropped one
every time," replied Plunkett. "However, I knocked over that one that

"You did!" I exclaimed.

"Why, yes; didn't you see him fall?"

"I did; but he fell the instant I fired," I replied.

"You are a little fast, Phil. You haven't hit anything to-day," said

"I hit every time I fired."

"You! Nonsense!"

"I fired the first shot after the Indians started to run, and this one
dropped before you had fired at all," I persisted, indignant that
Plunkett, who had wished to run away in the beginning should claim to
have done all the execution that had been accomplished.

"Keep cool, Phil," laughed Plunkett. "That redskin dropped when I

"We will settle that matter another time," I answered, leading the way
towards the house.

We passed the Indian who had fallen. He was not dead, and I saw
Plunkett fixing his bayonet, evidently with the intention of finishing
the work I had begun. I protested, and so did Morgan, against his
course. The savage reclined on one side, resting upon his elbow. He had
torn away his blanket, so that we could see where the ball had struck
him in the hip.

"You didn't fire that ball, Plunkett," said Morgan. "You couldn't have
hit him there from the place where you fired."

"What's the reason I couldn't?" demanded the braggart.

"Because the Indian was running ahead of you, and you couldn't have hit
him on the side of the hip. Phil was up by the house, and his shot did
it. Half his nose is gone, and he has a wound on the back of the head."

"He turned round when I fired; but I will finish him," said Plunkett,
approaching the Indian with his bayonet pointed at him.

"No!" I shouted, earnestly. "It is murder."

The Indian, who had watched us with savage dignity, apparently
regardless of the pain his three wounds must have given him, suddenly
grasped his tomahawk, and raised himself as far as his injured hip
would permit. He looked ugly and defiant, and Plunkett paused.



"Let him alone, Plunkett," said Morgan.

"He will throw his tomahawk at you," I added.

"I can shoot him," replied the coward, retreating backwards with more
haste than dignity.

"If you do, I'll report you to Lieutenant Jackson," continued Morgan.

"I don't believe in leaving your work to be done over again," growled
Plunkett. "What's to prevent this Indian from killing some of us, when
he gets a chance?"

"We are not Indians, and we don't kill the wounded," replied Morgan.
"Come along; we are fooling away our time."

We went up to Mr. Gracewood's house, and entered it. The Indians had
been there before us. In the middle of the floor was a pile of goods,
which they had intended to carry down to the boat. They had done no
injury to the building, though they would doubtless have burned it if
we had not disturbed them. The gun for which we had come was in the
rear chamber, limbered up and ready for use. The recluse of the island
had brought it as a weapon of defence. It could be discharged from any
door or window; and, loaded with canister and fired into an invading
horde of savages, it would produce fearful havoc among them.

I attached a rope to the carriage, and we rolled it out of the house.
When I realized how heavy it was, my confidence in my ability to convey
it to the main shore was a little shaken. However, it was down hill all
the way to the point where we had landed, and we had no difficulty in
moving it so far; but we had to return a second time for the

"Here we are," said Plunkett, "and here we are likely to be, unless we
go over without the gun. It won't swim over there."

"Of course it won't," I replied, impatiently; "but we are going to take
it over there. Now we must make a raft."

"A raft!" exclaimed the croaker. "The lieutenant ought to have sent a
whole section over here."

"That's the idea! We can make a raft in less than an hour. There is no
end of logs here," added Morgan, glancing along the shore, where there
were plenty of sticks of timber, of all sorts and sizes.

Plunkett growled; but he assisted Morgan, who went to work in earnest.
While they were rolling the logs to a convenient position in the water,
I went back to the house. Mr. Gracewood had a wheelbarrow. I broke up
some large boxes, and wheeled the boards, with a supply of nails, down
to the river. By this time the soldiers had placed half a dozen logs,
from fifteen to twenty feet long, in the water, side by side. They had
been obliged to use the axes a little, but generally the sticks had
been deprived of their branches by being tossed about on the shore. The
boards I had brought were nailed across them, so as to hold them

Above this foundation shorter and dryer sticks, from the woods, were
placed crosswise, and while my companions were laying them down I
returned to the house with the wheelbarrow. I could take only a small
portion of the ammunition at a load, and I repeated the journey several
times before the raft was finished. I did not bring the whole of it,
but I thought I had enough to kill all the Indians within twenty miles
of the Castle.

The raft was built up a foot above the water, so as to furnish the
necessary floating power, and the parts were securely bound together
with board battens. We rolled the gun upon the structure, and were
delighted to find that everything was a perfect success. We placed logs
on each side of the wheels, and lashed the carriage down to the raft.
Loading the ammunition, which I had put into several boxes in order to
trim the raft, we pushed it off from the shore.

"Now we are all ready," said Morgan, as he leaped into the boat, with
the rope attached to the raft in his hand.

"What is to be done with that Indian up by the house?" asked Plunkett.

"Nothing," replied Morgan.

"Don't you think it is more humane to kill him than to let him starve
to death?"

"He won't starve to death," I added. "He will crawl up to Mr.
Gracewood's house, where there is enough to feed an army for a short

"Don't you suppose the two Indians that escaped are watching us now?"
asked Morgan.

"Very likely they are."

"And as soon as we are gone, they will come back."

"We can't help it," I answered.

"They will burn the house, and destroy that Chickering's grand piano."

"It would break Mr. Gracewood's heart to have that destroyed, for it
was his best friend for years; but I don't see that we can do anything
to preserve it. We might save some of his property."

"I think we ought to do so," added Morgan. "It will not delay us
fifteen minutes."

We decided to do so; and, fastening the rope attached to the raft to a
tree, we hastened up to the house. Loading the wheelbarrow with the
most valuable articles, and carrying as many as we could in our hands,
we returned to the raft. Putting the goods into the boat, we were again
ready for a start. The barge was so crowded with Mr. Gracewood's
effects that the two soldiers decided to go on the raft, leaving me to
row the boat, which was not a difficult task, down the river. The two
men were provided with poles to assist in steering it, and getting it
off from the shore.

"Push her off!" I shouted, when all was ready.

I pulled at the oars, and my companions on the raft tugged at the
poles. We cleared the shore, and in a few minutes the action of the
current gave us a good headway.

"We are all right. We could go down to St. Louis on this craft," said

"We could, but I think we won't," I replied. "We must be sure and not
let the current carry us beyond Fish River. If we do, we can never get
back again."

Fortunately the current set towards the landing-place, which was our
destination, and I pulled well towards the north shore.

"Indians!" shouted Plunkett, after we had gone a short distance.

"Where are they?" I asked, unable to see them.

"Just coming out from the north shore, above the island," replied

Standing up in the barge, so that I could see over the gun on the raft,
I discovered the dugout. It contained the two Indians who had escaped
from the island. They were paddling towards us with all their might;
and the soldiers picked up their muskets. I could not believe that the
savages intended to attack us upon the open river, after the repeated
defeats they had sustained; but I was convinced of my error when they
opened fire upon us. However, they did not come near enough to render
their own or our fire effectual.

"Phil, didn't I see some round shot among the ammunition you brought
down?" called Morgan to me.

"Yes; I brought down a few cannon balls. I didn't know there were any
there before," I replied.

"Do you happen to know where they are now?"

"I put them on the raft."

He and Plunkett overhauled the boxes, and found the shot. Morgan
intended to use the gun, which would make short work of the enemy. The
dugout had followed us at a safe distance till we were half way to the
landing. The Indians had evidently come to the conclusion that they
were wasting their powder, and were now paddling down nearer to the
raft. It was a long time before the soldiers had the gun in condition
for use, for they were obliged to alter the lashings, so that they
could elevate or depress it, and we were within a quarter of a mile of
our destination before it was ready. Although the Indians quickened
their speed, they did not fire again, and I soon discovered that they
were headed to the north shore.

"Hurry up, Morgan!" I shouted. "I see what they are going to do."


"They are headed to the shore."

"I see they are," replied he, as he rammed home the shot.

"They are going into the woods to fire at us from behind the trees when
we land," I answered.

"I'll soon block that game. Stand by the lock-string, Plunkett."

The dugout was now going at a right angle with the course of the raft,
and was about sixty yards from the shore.

"Pull as hard as you can, Phil, so as to keep the raft steady!" called
Morgan, as he sighted along the gun.

I applied all my strength to the oars.

"Out from the shore a little more, Phil," added the gunner, as he
depressed the muzzle of the piece. "Fire!" shouted he.

I stood up in the barge to note the effect of the shot. A yell of
dismay rose from the Indians, and I saw that the dugout was splintered
in pieces. One side of it was broken in, and the savages, leaping into
the water, swam for the shore.

"I have made one good shot to-day, any how," said Morgan.

"Didn't I fire that gun?" cried Plunkett.

"Yes, sir! You are the organ-blower that played the tune," replied
Morgan, taking no pains to conceal his disgust.

"Mind the raft," I interposed, finding that it was swinging off from
the shore.

I used the oars vigorously to counteract this tendency; but the
soldiers could not reach bottom with their poles, and were unable to
help me much. The raft was heavy and the current very strong. We were
within a few rods of the Fish River.

"We shall be carried down the river, if we don't look out!" I called,

"What shall we do? We can't reach bottom with the poles," replied

"Clear away a long rope," I added. "When the current of Fish River
strikes us, we shall be carried down in spite of all we can do, if we
don't get a check on her."

"Here's your rope."

"Cast off the drag-line, and make fast to it."

Morgan did as I directed, and taking the line into the boat, I carried
it to the point on the Fish opposite the landing. I succeeded in
catching a turn around a tree. The rope strained, and I was obliged to
ease it off to prevent it from snapping; but the raft was checked.

"We are all right now," said Morgan.

"Not quite," I replied. "If we let her go again, the current will carry
it down the river."

I jumped into the barge, and pulled across the river, where I had
plenty of rope in the shanty. I carried a line to the raft, and having
made it fast, I conveyed the two soldiers to the shore. Crossing the
river, I eased off the line which was secured to the tree, while the
men on the other side pulled the raft up to the landing.

"That's very well done, Phil," said Morgan, after my return.

"Any fool could have done it," added Plunkett.

"Of course they could--you could have done it," retorted Morgan.

"It is just the plan I was going to propose----"

"But didn't."

I backed the wagon into the two trenches I had dug to load the flour,
and rolling the gun upon the platform, where we also placed the
ammunition, we started for the line of defence.



"Did you fire the gun, Phil?" asked Mr. Gracewood, as we halted for a
moment at the Castle to inform him that his goods were at the landing.

"Yes, sir; Morgan fired one shot at the Indians in the dugout, who
would not let us alone. He used a solid shot, and smashed the boat so
that the redskins had to swim ashore. We left an Indian wounded in the
hip on your island."

"Is he badly wounded?"

"I don't know how badly, but I don't think he will be able to get away
from there very soon. He will not be likely to do any mischief at
present. We brought over a boat-load of your things, but we hadn't time
to bring them up here."

"I will go to the landing and attend to them."

"How is Ella, sir?"

"She is doing very well."

"Glad of it; but we must hurry on to the camp."

"I suppose you will not remain there long, Phil Farringford?"

"I shall have to come back to feed my horses before night."

"Better come back immediately. I want to talk with you, and arrange our
plans for the future."

"If there is a fight going on up in the woods, I shall want to know how
it is coming out."

"I can tell you that beforehand. The Indians will be defeated, utterly
routed, and perhaps annihilated. That is always the case when the
savages fight with the white man, unless they surprise him in the
night. I hope you will not expose yourself, Phil Farringford. Ella is
very much concerned about you, and afraid that some harm will befall

"I will return as soon as I can, sir," I replied, pleased that Ella
should think of me at all, though I felt that I had earned a claim upon
her regard.

[Illustration: THE TWELVE-POUNDER ON THE RAFT. Page 212.]

I drove on, and we soon came in sight of the works of the soldiers.
They had nearly completed their breastworks, which consisted merely of
an embankment of logs and earth, which would shelter the men from the
fire of the Indians. It extended from the river across the path, and
some distance into the forest.

"You are just in time, Phil," said Lieutenant Jackson, as I stopped my

"Why? Have you seen the Indians?"

"No; but our scouts have just come in, and report a large body of
savages moving this way. We are all ready for them, or we shall be as
soon as we have planted this gun. You were gone longer than I expected
you would be."

"The gun was heavier than I thought it was, and we had to fight the
Indians before we could do anything."

While Morgan and a squad of men were unloading the gun, I told the
officer the adventures of the morning, and described the means by which
we had transported the gun.

"Did my men behave well?" he asked.

"Morgan did, and is a first-rate fellow. Plunkett did all he was asked
to do, but I would rather have another man next time I go on an

"I should have sent more men if you had not said it was a light job."

"I thought so myself."

"We might have known that those Indians were lurking somewhere in the

"I don't think they will give us much more trouble."

"They will continue to annoy you as long as they have the power. You
smashed their dugout, but they have another up the river where we went

I had forgotten all about the other dugout, and thought it was a great
pity it had not been secured or destroyed, for the neglect might cost
Mr. Gracewood his house and other property on the island. The two
Indians had swum ashore not three miles from the point where the dugout
had been left. They knew that our party had left the island, and the
rich plunder there would be too great a temptation to be resisted. I
begged the lieutenant to send a couple of men with me to protect the
property of my good friend.

"This gun is a great reënforcement to me, Phil, and I can spare three
men--more if you need them," replied the officer.

"Three will do very well. Let Morgan be one of them," I added.

"You might take two of the men left at the clearing; for, in attacking
the Indians, you will be defending the Castle, as you call it."

"They are coming," said one of the scouts, approaching the spot where
the officer stood.

"How far off are they?"

"Not a mile by this time."

I drove my horses off into the woods, where they could not be injured
by any flying bullets; but I was not willing to depart from the
exciting scene which impended, and I hastened back to the breastwork.
The lieutenant had posted his men behind their defence, and I could
distinctly hear the tramp of horses' feet in the distance. The cannon
had been placed at the opening in the works prepared for it. The men
lay upon the ground behind the defence, with their muskets ready for
use. The forest was as silent as at midnight, for the lieutenant had
ordered his men not to show themselves till the order to do so was

I lay upon the ground, looking through a loophole. The officer in
command was near me, watching his opportunity. But the savages were
wary; and instead of seeing the whole band, as we had expected, a
couple of mounted scouts only appeared. They discovered the formidable
obstacle in their path, and halting, unslung their guns.

"I hope they don't mean to assault us alone," said Mr. Jackson.

"They seem to be examining the works," I added.

"I don't want to fire till the main body appears."

"They are going back to report."

The two Indians turned their horses, and were soon out of sight. We did
not see any of the enemy again for half an hour. They came the next
time in a swarm, with shouting and yelling, sounding their war-cry as
though they were thoroughly in earnest, as we had no doubt they were.
Without attempting to count them, I judged that they numbered two
hundred. Though the greater portion of them moved in the path, they
were scattered through the woods in a column longer than our
breastworks. They had left their horses behind. As soon as they came in
sight of the works, they broke into a run, and, increasing their savage
yells, rushed forward with the evident intention of carrying our line
by storm.

"Ready!" shouted Lieutenant Jackson, with a coolness and
self-possession which astonished me.

The men all levelled their muskets at the approaching foe, pointing
them through the loopholes, which had been left for the purpose. Their
bayonets were all fixed, in readiness to repel an assault, if the first
fire did not check the advance of the Indians. Morgan was sighting the
twelve-pounder. On rushed the enemy, as it seemed to me, to certain
destruction. I could not believe that they were aware of the presence
of the soldiers, and perhaps supposed they were attacking a fort manned
by half a dozen persons. None of the Indians who had come down Crooked
River had been able to return to afford them any information.
Lieutenant Pope's force must be in their rear, and if they had known
that he was near them, they would not have come down the river.

Lieutenant Jackson permitted the savages to come within fifty yards of
the works before he gave the order to fire. The cannon was pointed so
as to cover the path on the bank of the river, where a dense mass of
Indians was moving.

"Fire!" shouted the officer, when the decisive moment came.

Almost at the same instant every musket was discharged, and the
twelve-pounder awoke the echoes of the forest at the same time. I fired
with the rest. It was a yell of terror and despair which followed the
volley; and, as soon as the smoke rolled away, I saw that the ground
was covered with the dead and wounded. So dense was the column in front
of the fort, that it was not possible for any man in it to fire without
hitting an Indian, while the scattered missiles from the canister shot
probably did as much execution as a dozen muskets.

The men were prepared to repel an assault with the bayonets; but no
attack was made, for the Indians fled with the utmost precipitation
from the deadly spot. The soldiers promptly reloaded their muskets, and
the cannon was ready for another discharge.

"You can go now, Phil," said Lieutenant Jackson. "The battle is fought
for the present. They will not renew it."

"Where do you suppose the rest of the soldiers are--those who went up
the river yesterday?"

"Probably they have been holding back, so as not to alarm the enemy.
The noise of that twelve-pounder will inform them that the work has
commenced. Now, Phil, is it possible for these Indians to escape by any
other route than this by this river?"

"Not with their horses. They can cross over to the brook, and follow
that, which will lead them to their village, eight miles from here."

"Very well; I think we shall be able to capture a good portion of them
as soon as the other force closes upon them."

"I will go over to the island now, though I should like to stay and see
how the thing is coming out."

"Of course there can be no doubt of the result. I think we have already
convinced them that it is not safe to shoot down white men."

I glanced at the ground in front of the works, where many of the
savages were still writhing in the agony of their wounds. It was a
sickening sight, and I turned away from it. The soldiers were standing
up, and gazing at the bloody field. I walked down the road towards the
place where I had left the horses.

"Hyer, boy!" shouted a voice on the other side of the river, which I at
once recognized as that of Kit Cruncher, though I could not understand
how he happened to be here.

"Hallo, Kit! Is that you?" I responded.

"'Tain't nobody else. Hev you nary a boat over thar?"

"I have not."

"Who's that, Phil?" asked Mr. Jackson, calling to me from the fort.

"Kit Cruncher; the man who guided the other force."

"Tell the leftenant I want to speak to him, boy. I hev a message from
t'other officer."

I went back to the fort, and delivered the message of Kit. The soldiers
had some rubber army boats, which they carried with them to use in
crossing streams. A couple of men were sent to prepare one of them,
which was launched, and I paddled it across the river.

"I heerd the firin', boy, and the battle has begun," said Kit, as he
seated himself in the bottom of the boat.

"We fired only one volley at them, and that was all they would stop to

"You hev a big gun here."

"Yes, Mr. Gracewood's twelve-pounder. It knocks down everything before

"I see it does. I was on t'other side of the Fish when the job was
done, and I see it all. I did my part, too; for I shot one Indian I

"But where is the other party of soldiers?" I asked.

"They ain't more'n three miles from here; and I cal'late, when they
heerd that big gun, they begun to hurry up."

We landed, and I conducted Kit to Mr. Jackson, to whom the hunter
delivered a written order.



"We expected this fight earlier in the day," said Lieutenant Jackson,
as Kit and I appeared before him.

"The Injuns stopped to fish on the way, and to feed their stock,"
replied Kit, as he delivered the order of Lieutenant Pope. "The cap'n
sent me down to see if everything was all right on this side."

"And he orders me to send part of my force up the brook on our right."

"That's Kit's Brook," I added.

"I shall want a guide, then."

"I'm your man," interposed Kit. "And now's the right time to start, for
the fight will begin on t'other side in a few minutes."

A sergeant and ten men were detailed to move up Kit's Brook, in order
to prevent the Indians from escaping in that direction. Kit led the
party towards the stream, but they had hardly disappeared in the forest
before we heard the rattle of musketry in front of us. Lieutenant
Pope's force had come up with the Indians, and had attacked them. We
listened to the warlike sounds which came to us, and that was all we
could do. I was too much excited to leave the scene of conflict until
the battle had been decided.

The din of the strife gradually became more distinct as the combatants
approached, the Indians being driven before the soldiers. By this time
the sergeant and his party, who had gone up the brook with Kit, were
taking the enemy on the flank. Presently we saw a few of the Indians
rushing wildly through the woods, and occasionally a riderless horse
came into view. We realized that the savages had been routed,
scattered, and dispersed. We saw them swimming across the river, and
skulking into the woods. Lieutenant Jackson ordered his men to form in
front of the breastwork, for by this time the firing had ceased.
Leading them forward, they captured a few prisoners, who were sent to
the rear. As the two columns approached each other, the retreat of
about twenty of the savages was cut off, and they were surrounded. It
appeared that nearly fifty prisoners had been taken by both parties,
and not less than twenty horses, while as many more were running loose
in the forest.

"How are you, Jackson?" said Lieutenant Pope, as the two officers met.

"Very well, thank you. How is it with you?"

"I am all right. We have done our work thoroughly."

"We have, indeed."

"After it became nothing but butchery, I ordered my men to cease
firing," added Lieutenant Pope. "The enemy were badly cut up when we
came upon them. Didn't I hear a heavy gun here?"

"Yes, we have a twelve-pounder on our battery. We fired it but once,
loaded with canister;" and Mr. Jackson proceeded to explain how he had
obtained the gun.

"What shall we do with these prisoners?" continued Lieutenant Pope.
"They will be a nuisance to us, and I don't wish to feed them a great

"We had better take them down to the clearing."

"There is feed enough for the horses down on Bear River," said I.

"We will send them down there," added Lieutenant Pope. "I have no idea
that these Indians will assemble again."

"No: they are completely scattered, and they will make their way back
to their village."

"But they may cause some trouble."

"Very true; and, Phil, you must hurry to the island. If you have boats
enough, you may take half a dozen men."

"We have three boats," I replied.

I went for my team, and Lieutenant Pope ordered the men who had come
with him to remain at the breastwork, while those under Mr. Jackson
conducted the prisoners and the horses to the clearing. The senior
officer rode down with me, and on the way I told him all that had
occurred since I left him the night before. He informed me that his
force had followed the band of Indians, three or four miles in their
rear, till they heard the firing in front, when they had pressed
forward with all speed, and intercepted the enemy, as they retreated,
not more than a mile from the breastwork.

"I don't think you will have any more trouble with the Indians," said
he, in conclusion. "They have been severely punished for the murder
they committed. If I can find the man who shot your father, I shall
make an example of him."

"I think he was the first Indian that fell," I replied. "Kit Cruncher
dropped a redskin as soon as Matt Rockwood was hit. I don't think they
will need any more punishing."

"I hope not."

When we reached the Castle, we found that two of the guard had gone
over to the island to protect Mr. Gracewood's property. Dinner was
ready, and as we were now in no haste, we sat down with the reunited
family. Ella was up, and had been improving rapidly. The news of the
total defeat of the Indians seemed to quiet her fears in regard to the

"She does not wish to go upon Paradise Island again," said her father.

"She need not go there," I added; "though your house is much better
than the Castle."

"I have been thinking the matter over for some time, Phil. I have
concluded that we had better move my house over to the clearing, if you
will let us locate on your land."

"On my land?"

"I believe in squatter sovereignty, Phil Farringford, and I regard this
as your farm. The house is put up with screws, and can be readily taken

"What will you do with your piano, sir?" I inquired.

"I must get some passing steamer to transport that. The box in which it
was brought up from St. Louis is still on the island."

"Our men shall assist you in moving the house," said Lieutenant Pope.

"It can be done in a couple of days, with force enough," added Mr.

"We will go to work upon it to-morrow."

After dinner, Morgan and I went over to the island, where we found the
two soldiers domiciled in the house. The wounded Indian was there with
them. He had crawled into the front room before their arrival, and I
was pleased to learn that they had fed him, and done what they could
for his wounds. They had put a big plaster on his nose, and bound up
the back of his head. An assistant surgeon belonged to the detachment,
but he was attending the wounded soldiers and Indians above the
breastwork. None of the troops had been killed; one was severely and
two slightly wounded.

Probably the presence of the two soldiers on the island had prevented
the Indians from returning. Leaving Morgan at the house, I returned to
the clearing. On my arrival I found that Lieutenant Pope, after serving
out rations to his prisoners, which they had greedily devoured, had
assembled them in the field, for the purpose of having a "big talk"
with them. Two or three of them spoke English enough to act as

"Why have you done this?" asked Mr. Pope. "Why did you come down here,
steal the horses, and then murder the owner of them?"

The spokesman charged us with stealing the Indian horses and killing
one of their chiefs.

"How's that, Phil?" asked the officer.

"They stole our horses, and when we found them, we took two other
horses belonging to the thieves," I replied. "But we returned them when
they came for them, the next day. They demanded more horses, besides
corn, meat, and whiskey, which we refused to give them, and they
threatened us. Then about a dozen Indians came on horseback; but we had
taken up the bridge, so that they could not cross over the brook. When
old Matt came down, they shot him dead, without a word of talk. Then
Kit Cruncher fired, and brought down the foremost Indian. The rest of
them ran away. We defended ourselves in the block-house, and they did
not dare to come near us, for Kit was sure of his man every time he
fired. Then some more of them came down to the island, and when we
drove them away from the house, they carried off Miss Ella. That's the
whole story. Mr. Gracewood was here all the time, and he will tell you
the same thing."

Lieutenant Pope repeated my statement to the Indians, and insisted that
it was the whole truth.

"These people have been your friends," said he. "They have often given
you meat and corn when you were hungry, and have lived in peace with
you for many years. Our great father the president will not permit his
children in the forest to be murdered. If you kill one white man, or
steal his property, you shall be punished as you have been to-day. We
bought your lands in fair bargain, and we give you every year money,
blankets, food, and all you need. If the white man wrongs you, he shall
be punished."

"No!" exclaimed the Indian, whose experience, perhaps, did not verify
this statement.

"If you complain of him, and we can find him, he shall be punished,"
repeated the officer.

He proceeded to show that the Indians had been the aggressors in the
present difficulty; that they had murdered one of the settlers without
provocation. He enlarged upon the terrible consequences which would
follow if the Indians persisted in waging war upon the white man. If
the lieutenant had proved that he was powerful on the war-path, he also
demonstrated that he was equally potent in an argument, and the savages
were as completely overwhelmed by his logic as by his arms.

"Will you have peace or war?" demanded he, sternly.

"We make peace," replied the spokesman.

"Then bring your chiefs to me, and we will smoke the pipe of peace. We
wish you well, and will be friends if you are willing; if not, we will
go to your country, and destroy you with fire and sword. You may go;
take your horses, and all that belongs to you."

The savages seemed to be astonished at this unexpected decree. Their
spirit was broken by the heavy losses they had sustained. Their horses,
some of which were fine animals, were driven up, and a detachment of
the troops conducted them to the fort in the forest, where they were
sent on their way. Probably those who had escaped were already on their
way to the north. As it was no longer necessary to maintain the camp in
the forest, it was removed to the clearing. A portion of the breastwork
near the river was taken away to open the road, the dead Indians were
buried, and the war was practically ended. From what I had heard of
these Indians, I was confident that we should have no further trouble,
though Lieutenant Pope intended to visit the Indian village, and have a
talk with the chiefs before he returned to the fort.

The next morning our three boats conveyed twelve soldiers to the island
to commence the removal of Mr. Gracewood's house. The wounded Indian
was placed on a bed under a tree, and the soldiers commenced their
task. After they had gone to work with knives and screw-drivers to take
down the house, I returned to the clearing for Lieutenant Jackson, who
was to superintend the operation.



"How big is this house, Phil?" asked Lieutenant Jackson, as I rowed him
up to Paradise Island.

"It is thirty feet long and fifteen wide."

"I haven't heard anything said about the manner of transporting it,"
added the officer.

"We must raft it down. We have taken up all the ropes we have. Mr.
Gracewood told me how to handle the grand piano."

"The grand piano," laughed Mr. Jackson. "That's a pretty plaything to
have away back here in the woods."

"Mr. Gracewood sets his life by that piano. He used to smoke and play
upon it by the hour together. He is very fond of music."

"I should think he must be, to bring a grand piano out here. How heavy
is it?"

"It weighs about eight hundred pounds. Mr. Gracewood told me to have it
put in the box, and leave it here till some steamer can be hired to
bring it down."

"Tho rain and dampness will spoil it."

"He told me to wrap it up in the oil-cloth that belongs with it; but,
if you are willing, Lieutenant Jackson, we will astonish him by taking
it down with us."

"I think it would astonish me as much as him to see it done."

"We can do it."

"I hear that you are an engineer, Phil," added my passenger. "Morgan
says you engineered the job of transporting the gun."

"The grand piano is not more than two or three hundred pounds heavier
than the twelve-pounder."

"That is adding a third, and the gun was on wheels."

"No matter for that; we had but three to do that, and now we have a

"How will you do it, Phil?"

I explained my plan, and Mr. Jackson thought it was practicable.

"I suppose Mr. Gracewood and his family intend to remain at the
clearing after we have moved the house," continued my companion in the

"I don't know. I don't believe his wife and daughter will be content to
stay a great while in this lonely place. They may live here during the
summer; but in winter we don't see anybody or anything for months."

"What do you do in winter?"

"I have been studying for several years."

"I thought you talked very well for a boy brought up in the woods."

"I don't have anything to do for six months in the year but take care
of the horses, and do the housework. I read and study about twelve
hours a day in winter. I took up Latin and French last season."

"Indeed! You will make a learned man if you keep on. Have you no desire
to see more of the world?"

"Sometimes I have. I don't think I shall stay here many years longer."

"I shouldn't think you would. Why do you study Latin and French?"

"Only because I like them. It is a very great pleasure to me to puzzle
out the sentences. Mr. Gracewood is a great scholar, and has plenty of
books on the island. I believe I have read them all, except the
dictionaries. He had given me a lot of books, which he sent to St.
Louis for."

"I should think you would want to know something about your
family--your father and mother," added the lieutenant, to whom Mr.
Gracewood had related the substance of my history.

"I do, sometimes; but I am almost sure I should learn that one or both
of them were lost in the steamer."

"Perhaps not. Mr. Gracewood thinks your foster-father did very wrong in
not causing some inquiries to be made for your parents."

"I think so myself; but I can excuse him when I consider how much he
did for me, and the reason why he kept still," I replied, as I ran the
barge upon the shore at the lower end of the island.

"Have you any of the clothing, or other articles, found upon you?"

"I don't know of any."

"Almost every little child has a necklace, a ring, or some other
ornament upon it, especially when travelling."

"Matt Rockwood never said anything to me about such matters. He has a
chest at the Castle, which he always kept locked, and I don't know what
there is in it."

"Didn't you open it after he was killed?"

"No; the key was buried with him, and I did not exactly like to break
it open yet. Besides, I have been so driven about since we buried him
that I haven't had much time to think about it."

"I would open it, if I were you."

"I shall," I replied, as we walked up the slope towards the house.

"Perhaps there is something valuable in it."

"I know there is money in it, for we have sold a great deal of wood,
and he always put the gold into that chest."

"You may be a rich man yet, Phil."

"I don't know that the money belongs to me. I suppose Matt had friends
and relatives somewhere, though I don't know where they are."

"You have done as much as Matt, of late years, to earn this money, and
it would be a hard case to have it taken from you by his relations."

"I think it would. Matt did most of the chopping, and I did all the
hauling. But I meant to be honest, and the money shall go wherever it

Page 236.]

"Have you any idea how much there is?"

"Not the least; but I don't suppose there is a great deal," I replied,
as we reached the house.

"If I can help you, Phil, call upon me at any time. I shall be at the
fort above for a year or two, probably."

"Thank you, Mr. Jackson. You have been very kind to me. I shall always
remember you."

The soldiers had removed most of the boards on the sides of the house,
and were now taking off the roof. The lieutenant ordered some of his
men to bring up the piano box, which was in a rude shanty used as a
storehouse for supplies. All the force that could get hold of the piano
then placed it sidewise upon four chairs, and we took off the legs. The
instrument was then wrapped in the oil-cloth, and placed in the box,
where it could not be injured by a falling board or timber. Raising the
case upon three rollers, which I had prepared for the purpose, we
easily slid it out of the house on a track of boards.

"Now, Mr. Jackson, if you will let Morgan help me, we will move this
box down to the river," said I, when it was ready.

"But you want half a dozen men," added he.

"No, sir. Let all the rest of the men take down the house. We can do
this alone. It is a long job, and we must have it moving at once."

"Just as you say, Phil," laughed the officer.

The distance to the river was about eighty rods. The forest was open
enough, the greater part of the way, to permit the passage of the box,
and only near the river should we be obliged to cut away the young
trees. We demolished the old shanty, and taking half a dozen of the
boards, laid down a track towards the river. The ground was nearly
level for a short distance, and we used levers to propel the box
forward. As fast as one roller ran out in the rear, we placed it
forward, and thus managed to keep both ends of the box up all the time.

"Why couldn't we move the house without taking it to pieces, Phil?"
said the lieutenant, laughing, as he watched the operation.

"We could, sir, if the trees were not in the way. It would be more work
to cut a track through the woods wide enough for the house than to take
it to pieces and put it together."

"Do you really think you could move the house, without taking it to
pieces, if the trees were not in the way?"

"I know I could."

"You have a good deal of confidence in yourself."

"I was brought up in the woods, where we have to do our own thinking."

"How would you take it down the river?"

"There are hundreds of cotton-wood sticks, from forty to sixty feet
long, on the shore. We could make a raft of them, that would keep the
building right side up."

"But, after your raft got started, how could you stop it, and haul it
in at the mouth of Fish River? The current here is not less than four
miles an hour."

"That would be the greatest difficulty about the job. I should have
some sweeps on the raft, and a dozen men could crowd it over against
the north shore, where we could send a couple of ropes on shore, and
check it by catching a turn around the trees."

"Very likely you would do it, Phil; but it's lucky we haven't the job
on our hands."

"I wish we had, for I should enjoy the fun, if I were boss of the job."

We continued to roll the box on its way down to the river, carrying the
boards forward as we passed over them, until we came to the downward
slope, when the heavy weight was inclined to travel faster than was
safe for it. But I had a rope on the case, for I had already provided
for the emergency. Making it fast to the rear end of the box, I passed
it round a tree, and while Morgan eased it down the slope, I shifted
the rollers. When the whole length of the line had been run out, we
changed it to another tree.

As the descent increased, we found that the rope canted the box, so
that it was in danger of running off the board track. Morgan cut down a
tree about thirty foot high, and trimmed off its branches. We placed
the stick across the track behind the box, and above two trees. Passing
the rope around this timber, we had our purchase in the right place.
When we shifted the cross stick down the hill, the box was held by a
couple of props. In this manner we descended the slope. It was dinner
time then, and we halted in our triumphant progress to refresh
ourselves with boiled bacon and johnny-cake.

After dinner we resumed our labor. Taking the axes, we cleared a road
through the young wood near the river. We had occasionally been obliged
to use the shovels to level off the ground, and the axes to remove a
stump, or a small tree. Our course had been rather devious also, in
order to obtain the smoothest path. A couple of hours more enabled us
to reach the river. We placed the box near a convenient place to embark
it. We then prepared a dozen logs for the foundation of the great raft
we were to make of the lumber, and returned to the house.

I found the soldiers growling at the idea of lugging all the boards and
timbers down to the river.

"Don't do it," said I to Mr. Jackson.

"They must do it, or leave them here."

"No, sir, I think not. There is not a board nor a timber here that is
more than twelve feet long. We can make three or four piles of the
boards, and roll them down to the river, as we did the grand piano."

"Bully for you, Phil!" said a lazy soldier, in a low tone.

"You may try it, Phil," replied Mr. Jackson.

Morgan and I made a pile of boards eight feet long, three feet wide,
and three feet high. We were careful to "break joints" in laying up the
pile, and it was a compact mass when finished. We started it for the
river, on the rollers.



In moving the pile of lumber to the river, we followed the path chosen
for the piano box, and as the road was all ready, there was no delay.
Morgan superintended its progress, having three men to assist him.
Another pile was immediately made at the site of the house, and started
on its way with four men to handle it. A third and a fourth were piled
up, and by the time the last was ready, the first had arrived at its
destination. Slowly as the masses of lumber were moved, the
transportation was effected much sooner, and certainly with less labor,
than the building could have been carried down by the soldiers.

As soon as the last pile had been started, the lieutenant and myself
went down to the water. We had placed the dozen logs, intended for the
foundation of the raft, in the right place, where there was water
enough to float the structure after it was built, and the heavy piano
had been placed near it. When the second pile of lumber arrived, the
officer ordered the men who had come with it to prepare the timbers.
They were placed about a foot apart, and secured by nailing boards
across them. By the time the foundation was completed, the rest of the
lumber was on the spot, and all our force were ready for the work.

The frame of the house was laid upon the logs, and then the boards were
placed upon them, alternate layers crossing each other, so as to bind
the whole firmly together. The raft, when completed, was twenty-four
feet long, and fifteen wide. The most difficult task was yet to be
performed--the loading of the grand piano. We found it necessary to
remove the raft to a place where the bank was more shelving, so that
the shore side of the structure would rest on the ground, because the
weight of the piano on one side would cant it over so that we could not

For skids we laid down a couple of smooth, water-soaked sticks of
timber, sliding the piano box upon them down to the raft. As soon as
the heavy body was on the raft, the side which floated settled down
before the box had reached the middle of the platform. The raft was
gradually pried off the shore with levers, and as it came to a level,
the box was moved farther upon it, till it had been placed in the
centre. Then the structure floated in all its parts, and I was glad to
see that its equilibrium had been correctly calculated. The piano was
not a heavy load for the raft, for it floated well out of water, and
had buoyancy enough to sustain the weight of a dozen men.

"What shall we do with that wounded Indian, Phil?" asked Mr. Jackson,
when we had completed the loading of the box. "He will starve to death
in time, if we leave him here."

"We must take him with us, of course," I replied. "There are a great
many things at the house to bring down."

The lieutenant sent his men back, and we followed them. The wheelbarrow
was loaded with small articles, and each took all he could carry. They
were sent down to the raft, and directed to return. While they were
absent, we talked with the wounded Indian, who had been observing all
our movements with apparent interest. Though he was in a high fever,
and must have suffered severely from his injuries, he exhibited no
signs of pain in our presence. I told him that we would take good care
of him till he was well, and that we must convey him to the clearing,
where the surgeon of the troops would attend to him.

"No hang me--kill me?" he said, with a smile.

"No; that is not the way the Christians serve their enemies," added Mr.
Jackson. "We feed them, and cure them if they are sick or wounded."

"Why did you attack us, and murder one of us?" I asked. "We have been

"Indian come back and say white man kill chief. Must kill white man

It was the ancient philosophy of the Indians, that one injury must be
repaid by another; but he entirely ignored the fact that the savages
had been the aggressors. I told him of the battle of the day before;
that his people had been routed with severe loss, and that they had
fled to their reservation.

"Smoke pipe now; no fight again; peace always," said he.

"I hope so," I added.

"Me no fight. Me white man friend. Hunt for white man, work for white
man, fight for white man; good friend always."

I think he was grateful for the favor extended to him. When the
soldiers came back from the raft, four of them were directed to convey
the camp bedstead on which the Indian lay to the river, and the rest
carried down the remainder of Mr. Gracewood's goods. We walked down to
the lower end of the island with the bearers of the bedstead. It was
placed on the raft, and the other articles were stowed so as to
preserve the balance of the structure.

"We are ready for a start," said Morgan. "But we ought to have a
steamboat to tow the thing down."

"I think we have men enough to handle it," I replied. "It is almost
night, and we must hurry up, though it will not take us long after we
get started."

Two of our boats were bateau, and the other was Mr. Gracewood's barge.
Two men were placed in each, and the others upon the raft. I sat in the
stern of the barge to tend the drag-rope. Mr. Jackson was in one of the
bateaux. The lines were cast off, and the men, with their
setting-poles, pushed the raft from the shore. The current soon acted
upon it, carrying it over towards the north side of the river. We
followed the course taken by the raft on which we had transported the
twelve-pounder; and, profiting by the experience gained in that
enterprise, we guided our huge structure safely to the landing at the
mouth of Fish River. We landed our check-lines in season this time, and
everything worked entirely to our satisfaction. It was nearly dark now,
and we moored the raft to the shore for the night. The bed of the
wounded Indian was removed to the shanty, and the surgeon sent for.

The lieutenant and myself went to the Castle to report progress, while
the soldiers sought their camp. Mr. Gracewood staid in the house all
the time. He had hardly been out during the day. He was so rejoiced at
the reunion of his little family that he was not willing to leave his
loved ones even for a moment.

"I hope you left the piano where it will be safe on the island, Phil
Farringford," said Mr. Gracewood, when I had told him we had brought
over the house.

"No, sir; we did not."

"Did not? You know I love that instrument, and I hope, before the
summer is past, to hear Ella play upon it."

"We brought it with us, sir," I replied.

"Impossible!" exclaimed he.

"It is on the raft down at the landing."

"Phil is quite an engineer, and is entitled to all the credit of its
removal," added the lieutenant, who explained the means by which the
piano had been moved to the river, and floated to the landing.

"I am very glad, indeed, that you have brought it, Phil. We shall be
happy here this summer now," said Mr. Gracewood.

"Then you intend to stay here this summer."

"We have concluded to remain as long as Mrs. Gracewood and Ella can be

"I am afraid that will not be long," I added, glancing at Ella, who was
seated on Matt's chest.

"I am sure I shall be very happy here among such good friends," she
replied; and I could not help realizing how delighted I should be while
she was at the clearing.

"I will help you carry on your farm, Phil," continued Mr. Gracewood.

"We shall do well, I know."

I felt that paradise had been transported from the island to the
clearing, while, as we ate our supper, Ella told what a beautiful place
it was. It was so much pleasanter than the boundless prairies which
covered the greater portion of the country. It seemed as if
civilization had been transplanted to my field and forest as I looked
upon Mrs. Gracewood and her daughter. But I was sad when I thought that
the time must come, sooner or later, when they would leave me, and I
should be more desolate and lonely than ever before.

I slept in the barn again that night; but I hoped Mr. Gracewood's house
would be ready for the accommodation of his family by the next evening,
and that we should hear the melodious tones of the grand piano by the
following day, which would be Sunday. Ella was rapidly recovering from
the fatigues of her forced journey with the Indians; and I pictured to
myself the pleasure it would afford me to walk with her through the
forest, and sail with her on the river. When I went to sleep, I dreamed
that I went a fishing with her, and that a big gray trout pulled her
into the water, from which, of course, I had the satisfaction of
rescuing her.

The next morning Lieutenant Pope directed all his men to assist in the
erection of the house. We landed the big box, loaded it upon the wagon,
and hauled it up to the site which had been chosen for the new home of
the Gracewoods, not a hundred feet from the Castle. While a portion of
the troops carted the lumber, the others prepared the foundation of the
house. A series of posts were set in the ground, and sawed off on a
level about a foot above the sod, so as to make the lower floor dry and
comfortable. On those were laid the sills, and before noon the building
was up and half covered. All the boards and timbers were numbered, and
so many men made quick work of it. In the middle of the afternoon the
last board had been screwed on, the sides of the house had been banked
and sodded, and the structure was ready to receive the furniture.

Mr. Gracewood had used a ladder to reach the attic where he slept; but
Mr. Jackson thought he ought to have stairs for his wife and daughter.
I had a decided taste for carpenter's work, and promised to build them
as soon as possible. However, Mrs. Gracewood and Ella thought they
should like the ladder better, as it could be drawn up after them,
which would add to their safety in case the Indians should be
troublesome again.

The grand piano was taken from the box, and put in the front room.
While its owner was tuning it, I put up a couple of rude box bedsteads
in the attic, and filled them with clean hay. The cooking-stove was put
up in the rear apartment, and the whole building looked as though it
had never been disturbed, for everything had been placed as it was on
the island. I had the pleasure of conducting Ella to her new home,
where we passed a very pleasant evening.



Lieutenants Pope and Jackson were of the pleasant party in the
reconstructed house. Both of them were good singers, and I experienced
a new sensation. Ella was able to sit up all day now, and she and her
mother sang. To the accompaniment of the grand piano, the party sang
what they called old and familiar tunes. I had never heard anything
which could be called singing before, and I was more delighted than I
can express. The instrument, highly as I had appreciated it before,
seemed to have a double power and a double melody.

The tunes were Old Hundred, Peterboro', Hamburg, and others like them,
which have since become familiar to me. They raised my soul from earth
to heaven, and inspired me with new love and new hope. I had read some
of the hymns they sang; but their musical interpretation gave them a
purer and loftier sentiment than their words could convey. Ella sang a
little song alone; and, as I listened to her sweet voice, I could
hardly restrain my tears, the melody was so new and strange, and withal
so heavenly. What would earth be if men and women could not sing!

It was a gloomy moment to me when the party separated. It was like
coming down from heaven to earth when the music ceased, and I heard
only the commonplace sounds which were familiar to me. I left the house
with the two officers; but it was still early in the evening, and I
invited Mr. Jackson, to whom I had become much attached, to go into the
Castle with me. He had taken an interest in me and in my affairs, and I
wanted to talk with him about the great world I had never seen. After
the raptures of the evening, I could not help shuddering as I thought
of the time when the Gracewoods would return to their old home in St.
Louis. The thought of a separation was intolerable, and I resolved to
abandon Field and Forest when they decided to go.

"Is that the chest of which you spoke, Phil?" said Mr. Jackson, as we
entered the Castle, where a bright fire of pitch-wood was burning.

"Yes, sir; it has not been opened since Matt Rockwood was buried," I

"Why don't you open it?" added the officer. "It may afford you some
information in regard to yourself."

"I will do it now, if you please, for I don't like to open it alone."

"Very well; but are you sure there is no key to the chest?"

"I only know that Matt carried the key in his pocket, and I suppose it
was buried with him."

"No, it wan't," said Kit Cruncher, walking in at the open door. "Not if
you mean the key to that box."

"That is what we were speaking of, Kit," I replied. "I thought you had
gone up to your cabin."

"I've been, and got back. 'Pears like them Injuns is comin' down agin.
They've stole all my bacon."

"Probably they did that on their retreat," suggested the lieutenant.
"They are short of food, and the wounded one told me they were going
down to the buffalo country, after they had revenged themselves for the
death of the chief."

"I cal'late some on 'em is in the woods above hyer now."

"Very likely."

"It mought be, but I hain't seen none. I want some supper, boy."

"You shall have it, Kit," I replied. "We have plenty of bacon, and Mrs.
Gracewood made some bread to-day, which will be a treat to you."

I went to the store-room, and cut off a large slice of bacon, and put
it in the pan on the fire. The white bread, which had been baked in the
stove, was a new thing at the Castle, and I put the loaf on the table.

"What was you talkin' about when I kim in?" asked Kit, while he was
waiting for his supper.

"We were talking about opening this chest," replied Mr. Jackson.
"Perhaps it contains something which will help Phil to find who his
parents were."

"I know it do," added Kit. "Leastwise, there used to be, for I've seen
the traps myself. Matt Rockwood didn't want to hev me say nothin' to
the boy about 'em, for the old man sort o' doted on that boy, and was
afeard o' losin' on him."

"I understood you to say that the key of the chest was not buried with
the owner," said the lieutenant.

"No; it wan't. I took it off on him myself. Hyer it is," replied the
hunter, handing the key to the officer. "I don't reckon you'll stop
hyer a great while now, boy."

"I shall stay through the summer, at any rate."

"I see the house from the island has been fotched over hyer. I cal'late
Mr. Greasewood's folks mean to stop hyer a spell, from that."

"They will spend the summer here; and when they go, I think I shall go
too," I answered.

"I reckon, boy, from what I know on't, that you belong to a good
family. If you do, your bringin' up won't be no disgrace to you. I
don't reckon there's many boys in the towns that know any more'n you

"What makes you think he belongs to a good family, Kit?" asked Mr.

"From the traps he had on when Matt picked him up. There was sunthin'
else, too. What I was go'n to say, boy, was this: I'm gittin' old, and
can't run through the woods as I used to. Twenty mile a day rather
wears on me. I don't reckon I shall do much more trappin', and when you
go, boy, I'll buy your place at a fair price."

"You needn't buy it, Kit. You can take it. I wish you would come down
and live with me now."

"Do you wish so, boy?"

"I do, with all my heart. I shouldn't have been alive now if you hadn't
stood up against the Indians when they came."

"Don't say nothin', boy; I'll come right off. But when you leave, I'll
buy the place, for Matt owned it just as much as any man could own a
piece of ground. I cal'late he took out the gov'ment papers for it."

"You shall have it all, Kit, and be welcome to it, so far as I am
concerned," I persisted.

"Had Matt any heirs?"

"He had a brother," replied Kit. "I don't reckon he'll come up hyer."

"Your supper is ready, Kit," I added, putting the frying-pan on a block
upon the table, according to our usual custom, though I did not do it
while the ladies were my guests.

"You kin open the box, boy," said Kit, as he sat down at the table, and
helped himself out of the pan.

Mr. Jackson unlocked the chest, and raised the lid. It contained a very
great variety of articles, including a tolerably good suit of clothes,
which I had never seen upon the person of the old man. I took these
out, and discovered a little dress, musty and mildewed. It was made of
fine material, and was elaborately ornamented. There was a complete
suit, and also a heavy plaid shawl.

"You was tied up in that blanket when Matt picked you up," said Kit.
"Look in the till, in the end of the box."

I opened the till, and found there a locket, attached to a string of
beads. There was also a pair of coral bracelets, which the lieutenant
said had been used to loop up the sleeves of the child's dress at the
shoulders. On them were the initials P. F., which were certainly the
first letters of my present name; but I concluded that Matt had made
the name to suit the initials. Mr. Jackson opened the locket, and found
it contained a miniature of a lady. He passed it to me, and I gazed at
it with a thrill of emotion? Was it my mother who looked out upon me
from the porcelain? Did she perish in the terrible steamboat calamity
from which I had been so providentially saved? I carried the locket to
the fire, where I could examine more minutely the features of the
person. It was the portrait of a lady not more than twenty-five years
of age. If she was not handsome, there was something inexpressibly
attractive to me in the gentle look of love and tenderness which she
seemed to bestow upon me.

"Do you think this is my mother, Mr. Jackson?" I asked.

"Of course I know nothing about it, but I should suppose it was. Whose
portrait but a mother's would a little child be likely to wear?"

"It mought be, and it mought not be, boy," added Kit.

"It must be!" I exclaimed, so tenderly impressed by the picture that I
was not willing to believe anything else; and I felt that my instinct
was guiding me aright.

[Illustration: UNLOCKING THE CHEST. Page 263.]

"Let us see what else there is in the chest," said the lieutenant. "We
may find something that will give us further light on the subject."

I placed the miniature on the table, and returned to the chest. Mr.
Jackson took from it an old time-stained newspaper. He threw it upon
the floor, as a matter of no consequence; but I picked it up, for I
remembered what I had heard Matt say about a newspaper. But it
contained only a brief paragraph, and alluded to another and fuller
account of the calamity contained in a previous issue.

There was nothing else in the chest that related to me, but I felt that
I had enough. Mr. Jackson said that, if I ever went to St. Louis, I
could find a file of the newspaper of which we had a single copy, and
could find the number containing the names of the saved and the lost at
the burning of the Farringford. The portrait would enable me to
identify my mother, if she were still living, and also to establish my
own identity.

"Here is Matt Rockwood's money," said the lieutenant, as he took from
the bottom of the chest several shot-bags.

"I have some money to add to it," I answered, taking from the
store-room the amount I had received for wood since the death of my

"The old man did a good business here, I should say," added Mr.
Jackson, as he held up the bags in order to estimate their weight.

"We had better count the gold."

Counting the money seemed to have a greater fascination to my friend
the officer than to me. He placed the coins upon the table in piles of
one hundred dollars each. When he had nearly finished, I counted eight
of them. There was not enough, even with the silver, to make another,
and the whole amount was eight hundred and ninety-one dollars.

"What will you do with this money, Phil?" asked Mr. Jackson.

"I don't know; keep it, I suppose."

"It is a pity to let it lie idle here. If you invest it, you will have
double this amount when you are of age."

"I can only invest it in a mud bank up here," I replied. "But we have
nearly a hundred cords of wood at the landing, which ought to bring
about four hundred dollars more, as it sells this year. A great many
steamers come up here now, and I think we shall sell it all this

"Then you will have twelve or thirteen hundred dollars. If Mr.
Gracewood goes to St. Louis this fall, I advise you to let him invest
it for you."

"I will, sir. Is there anything else in the chest?"

"Here are papers relating to Matt Rockwood. There are names upon them,
and if you desire, you can obtain some information in regard to your

I did not care to look at the papers; and returning the money and other
articles to the chest, I locked it, and put the key in my pocket. Mr.
Jackson went to his tent, and Kit and I slept together in the Castle.
The picture of my mother, as I insisted upon believing it was, seemed
to be before me; and I gazed upon it in imagination till sleep shut it
out from my view.



The Sabbath sun rose bright and beautiful, and shed its hallowed light
upon field and forest. Sunday had always been a day of rest at the
clearing since the coming of Mr. Gracewood. Matt Rockwood and I used to
spend the day at the island when the weather would permit us to go
there. The recluse, on these occasions, invariably read several
chapters of the Bible to us, explaining the meaning of the verses as he
proceeded, when necessary. After this he read a sermon, or a portion of
some religious book.

This had been our Sunday routine for the last three years; and Mr.
Gracewood told Matt and me that his religious experience dated no
farther back than this period. He declared that he was really worried
about me, a child of eight, who had received no religious training. As
my education had fallen to him, his conscience troubled him because he
confined his instruction to secular branches. He did not feel competent
to instruct me in sacred things; but he had devoted himself to a study
of the Bible for my sake, that he might be able to teach me. His stock
of religious books was very small, but he had sent to St. Louis for a
new supply.

The study of the Bible, which he pursued with maps, commentary, and
Bible dictionary, soon became very interesting to him. It awakened in
his mind a new spirit, and kindled emotions which before had been
foreign to him. He was an earnest teacher, while he was an inquiring
student. The course of study which he had undertaken for my sake had
been even a greater blessing to himself than to me, though I am sure I
profited by his instructions. After we had studied together for a year,
a prayer was added to our Sunday exercises. Mr. Gracewood told us that
he prayed morning and evening, and begged us to do the same. Sometimes
Kit Cruncher came down and joined our little class.

On these occasions, which were always very pleasant to me, the grand
piano gave forth its deepest and most solemn tones. Mr. Gracewood
played only sacred music on the Sabbath; and he performed the pieces
with so much interest and feeling, that we were always moved by them.
He never sang, declaring that his voice was not adapted to singing.

With this knowledge of Mr. Gracewood's religious views and feelings, I
was not surprised when Ella told me, after breakfast, that her father
would have a service at his house in the forenoon and in the afternoon.
All the soldiers were invited, and all of them came. The familiar hymn,
"The morning light is breaking," was sung first, and was followed by a
prayer, and the reading of a chapter from the New Testament. The
beautiful hymn,--

    "When all thy mercies, O my God,
      My rising soul surveys,
    Transported with the view, I'm lost
      In wonder, love, and praise,"--

was then sung. Many of the soldiers joined, and I was almost carried
away by the strange effect, at once so melodious and so inspiring. The
words of the hymn had a peculiar fitness, for the occasion, after we
had been spared from the vengeance of the savages. Mr. Gracewood read
each verse before it was sung, so as to recall the words to the
audience. After the singing, he read a sermon appropriate to the
circumstances of the family. At the end of it he spoke of Matt
Rockwood, and paid a very pleasant tribute to his memory.

In the afternoon we attended another service. That Sunday was a holy
day to me, and the singing had opened a new avenue of inspiration to
me. In the evening Ella told me about her Sunday school in St. Louis,
and I listened to her description with intense interest. I wished that
I could attend one, hear the children sing, and receive the
instructions of kind teachers. I was astonished when she told me that
many young people did not go to the Sunday school, though all were
invited to do so. I could not understand how any were willing to forego
such a blessed privilege.

Early on Monday morning the troops marched for the Indian country at
the north of us. I loaned them the wagon and horses to convey their
baggage, and Kit Cruncher went as guide. I saw the column disappear in
the forest. By this time Ella was able to walk about on the farm, and I
derived great pleasure from the excursions I made with her about the
clearing. I pulled up Little Fish River with her in the barge, and
showed her where the battle with the Indians had occurred. We landed,
examined the breastwork, and visited the mound which marked the
burial-place of the savages who had fallen in the affray.

Later in the week I rowed up to Fish Rapids, and showed her how to
catch a trout. She tried her hand, and soon hooked a two-pounder, which
would have realized my dream about her, if I had not taken the line in
my own hands. We caught half a dozen, and returned to the clearing.
This kind of life was delightful to my fair young companion, and, with
her, it was equally so to me. She seemed to have inherited something of
her father's fondness for the sports of the wilderness and the prairie.

[Illustration: THE GRATEFUL INDIAN. Page 273.]

On Saturday the troops arrived from their march to the Indian region.
Lieutenant Pope had met some of the principal chiefs, had listened to
their grievances,--for they always have some,--and had promised to
redress them. They had smoked the pipe of peace together, and the "big
Indians" had assured him that they would keep their word. After the
severe lesson which had been administered, they were, doubtless, glad
enough to make peace on these easy terms. During the rest of my stay at
the Castle, they gave us no trouble. Though they came down occasionally
to the landing, they were always peaceable and friendly. We took care
of the wounded Indian at the shanty till he was able to return to his
people, and he left us filled with gratitude. Three months after, he
brought us in his canoe, down Crooked River, three antelopes, which he
had shot in the region above us, for much of the best game had
abandoned the vicinity of our settlement.

The soldiers remained a week at the landing, waiting for a steamer to
convey them up to the fort. At the end of that time they departed. I
had several long talks with Lieutenant Jackson, who gave me much good
advice in regard to the future course he thought I ought to pursue; and
when he left I felt that I had parted with a true friend. To the
steamer which conveyed the soldiers up the river, I sold twenty cords
of wood, and added eighty dollars to the gold in the chest.

Mrs. Gracewood insisted that Kit and myself should take our meals at
the house, instead of keeping up a separate mess. Her husband had
purchased a supply of table ware of the steamer which had just left,
and we found ourselves quite civilized. The old hunter was rather
embarrassed and awkward, for he had always been in the habit of eating
his bacon out of the pan in which it had been cooked; but he soon
accustomed himself to the new order of things, though it was impossible
for him to be very graceful at the table, or anywhere else.

As the season advanced we ploughed and planted the field. With Mr.
Gracewood, who insisted upon doing his full share of the labor, and Kit
to help me, the task was not so hard as it had been. We planted a large
piece of ground with corn, potatoes, and vegetables, and by the middle
of June, everything was up, and looked finely. The rich soil and the
southern slope were favorable to our crops, and we had abundant
promises of a rich harvest.

During the preceding year there had been an immense emigration from the
eastern states. Kansas and Nebraska were in rapid progress of
settlement, and during the season which followed the events I have
described, the wave of civilization had almost touched the Castle. We
were not out of the reach nor out of the influence of this tide of
emigration. Twice as many steamboats went up the river, carrying
emigrants and goods on their way to Oregon. In July I had sold all my
wood, and after haying we went to work in the forest to obtain a new
supply. By September the hot sun of our southern slope had rendered it
fit for steamboat use. In the mean time, we managed to obtain a supply
of dry wood sufficient to meet the demand, by obtaining a double-handed
saw, and cutting up the logs and drift-wood brought down by the rivers.

During the season we sold wood to the amount of seven hundred dollars,
which was equally divided between Kit and me, for Mr. Gracewood refused
his share. We all worked hard, but we were very happy. Mrs. Gracewood,
lady as she was in the city, was busy all the time, and even Ella
declared that she found a new delight in working. I ought to say that,
after our corn and potatoes were planted, all the rest of the work in
the field was done with the horses. We planted in hills, and covered
with the plough. The first weeding was done with the cultivator, and in
the light alluvial soil of the clearing it was easy work even for a boy
like me to use it alone. Firefly was well trained, and understood his
business perfectly.

At the second weeding, I ran the cultivator through the long rows and
the cross rows, and then, with the small plough, threw the soil up
against the plants. We did not use a hoe except in the vegetable
garden. We got along so well that I was only sorry we had not planted
twice as many acres.

September and October were busy months to us; but we revelled in the
joys of a plentiful harvest. Three hundred bushels of corn, and four
hundred of potatoes, rewarded our toil, besides more than we could use
of garden vegetables. This was three times as much as we had ever
raised in a season before, and we had not room for it in our barn and
storehouse. We could not use a quarter of the potatoes, even if we all
remained at the farm through winter. We offered them for sale to the
steamers and traders, and sold three hundred bushels to a speculator,
who doubled his money on them at a settlement, where the people had
come too late to make a crop that season.

The cool weather was coming, and, after we had slaughtered our pigs,
the hard work of the season was over. The Gracewoods had decided not to
remain over winter, and I could not think of parting with them. I was
determined to see the world. I heard so much of the country below that
I could not resist the temptation to visit it. I stated my intention to
Kit Cruncher and the Gracewoods. None of them offered any objections,
not even the hunter, who was to be left alone.



"This place is wuth money, boy," said Kit Cruncher, when I had told him
what I intended to do.

"The more it is worth, the better it will be for you, Kit," I replied.

"I'm willin' to pay for the place and the improvements. I've made well
on it this year--more'n ever I could trappin'. Then, you see, the
settlements is workin' up this way, and another year I shall hev 'em
all round me."

"All right; hope you'll make your fortune, Kit."

"But I want to buy you out."

"I don't think I have any rights here which I can sell. You are welcome
to everything that belongs to me. But I will leave the whole matter to
Mr. Gracewood. I know he will do what is fair."

"Just as you say, Phil. This life jest suits me, now I'm gittin' old,
and don't want to tramp through the woods no more. It's a good
sitooation for me, and I shall be lucky to get it at any fair price. I
shan't want it long, and when I've done with it, yon kin hev it agin,
for I hain't no relations to fight over what I leave behind me."

"How long have you lived in the woods, Kit?" I asked; for, though I had
known him from my childhood, I had no knowledge of his antecedents.

"Nigh on to thirty years, boy."

"Where did you come from?"

"I was born and raised down in Kaintuck. My father died when I was
young, and I took to the river for a livin'. I worked a choppin', a
flat boatin', and firin' on a steamboat. I was down in Loosiana one
time, on a plantation, when the owner's cub--and he war wus nor any
bar's cub I ever see--tied up a black woman who had been sick, because
she didn't do all her stent. He wanted me to lick her. I told him I
wouldn't do it, no how. This made him mad, and he struck me. I knocked
him down with my fist quicker'n you could wink. He got up, and kim at
me with a knife. I hit him with a heavy stick on the head. He dropped,
and didn't move no more."

"Did yon kill him?" I asked, deeply interested in the narrative.

"I dunno; I don't reckon I did. But I feared I hed; but whether I hed
or not, it would have been all the same with me. It mought have cost me
my life if they'd cotched me, and I left. I travelled across the
country till I came to the Ark'saw River, and thar I went to work agin
firin' on a steamer. When I got money enough I bought my rifle, and
traps, and went into the woods. I hev tramped all over the pararies,
and in the end I fotched up here."

"Have you always lived alone?"

"Allus; I hedn't no 'fection for them pesky half breeds, nor them
French Kanucks nuther. They are thick enough all along the river, and I
allus kep away from 'em. I reckon I got more bufler hides nor any on
'em; but the critters is druv off now. I sold a good many skins of all
sorts, and as I never drunk no liquor, I've got the money now. I
fotched it down with me t'other day."

"Shall you ever return to Kentucky?"

"I don't reckon I shall; but I mought."

"What became of your mother?"

"She died long afore I kim off. Now, boy, I kin live jest as I want to
here, and I'll buy your farm."

"We will talk with Mr. Gracewood about it. I will do whatever he says
is right."

My fortunes as a farmer were certainly very satisfactory, and I had no
reason to complain. I was to leave my Field and Forest with about
fifteen hundred dollars in my pocket; and I could not but ask myself
whether I was not going from a certainty to an uncertainty. Farming, in
connection with the wood business, had paid well. But then I wanted to
see something of the great world, of which I had heard so much. I had a
decided taste for some mechanical calling, and I was sure that I could
make my way in life if I had fair play. Yet, if my prospects had been
far less favorable, I could not have endured the separation from the

Leaving Kit in the Castle, thinking over his future operations, I went
to the house of Mr. Gracewood, in order to consult him in regard to the
disposal of the farm. I found him with his pipe in his mouth, playing
on the grand piano, and lost in the inspiration of the "Gloria." I
could not interrupt him, and I waited till he had finished, which,
however, was not till his pipe was exhausted.

"Phil, I must take this piano with me; but we have not force enough to
put it in the box."

"I think we have, sir," I replied. "If you say it must go, it shall be
at the landing when the steamer comes down."

"Two men and a boy cannot put it into the box, to say nothing of
loading it upon the wagon."

"I think we can, sir, if we have time enough; for, as you taught me,
what is gained in power is lost in time. I will take the job, sir."

"You are very confident, Phil Farringford," added Mr. Gracewood, with a

"I got up the plan by which we brought it over here from the island."

"But you had a dozen men to lift it up and put it in the box."

"As we haven't a dozen now, we can do it with two men and a boy, if we
have time. The next boat will not come down for a week. But I wanted to
see you about another matter. Kit wants to buy the farm of me, and I
don't think I own it. We left the decision to you."

"Legally, you have no rights here."

"That is what I said."

"If Matt Rockwood has any heirs, they can obtain whatever legal rights
he had in the premises."

"Matt owns the quarter section, as an actual settler. I found the paper
signed by a land agent."

"Then his heirs, if he has any, can claim it, as well as all his

"Then you think I have no right to the money found in Matt's chest?"

"So long as no heirs appear, I think you have a moral right to keep

"Then Kit can have the place."

"I do not think it would be right for you to sell it. You cannot give
him a legal title to it. But it is right for him to pay you for your
share of the produce now on the place."

This seemed to me to be a fair and just decision, and I repeated it to
Kit, who was, of course, entirely satisfied. It was agreed that he
should pay me one hundred dollars for my share, and the business was
completed. Mr. Gracewood presented him, as a free gift, the house and
all it contained, except the piano, books, and other articles which
were strictly personal. The barge was included in the gift, and Kit
suddenly became a rich man, in his own estimation.

In a box, which Mr. Gracewood gave me, I packed up all the articles I
intended to take with me, including the child's suit and some of Matt's
papers. My money, except a reasonable sum for expenses, I placed in the
hands of Mr. Gracewood, who gave me a note for the amount. I meant to
take my rifle with me, as a memorial of my life in the woods. As Kit
took care of the horses and pigs now, I had a great deal of time for
idle dreaming. I went to all the familiar localities in the vicinity
with Ella. While I was sad at the thought of leaving the haunts of my
childhood, I was excited by the prospect of seeing new and strange
sights. A new life seemed to be opening upon me, and the indefinite
wonders of the civilized world flitted wildly through my mind.

"Well, Phil Farringford, if we are going to move the piano, it is about
time to begin," said Mr. Gracewood, one morning.

"I am all ready, sir."

"I do not yet see how it is to be done; but I will leave the job to

"We shall be obliged to take down a part of the house--one end and a
portion of the floor."

"That can very easily be done."

I sawed four cotton-wood sticks so that they would just reach from the
ground to the timbers of the attic floor. We placed them in position to
support the frame above, which was to bear the weight of the piano
during the process of loading it upon the wagon. I then placed a couple
of hewn sticks across the attic floor, after removing the boards. Two
stout ropes were then passed around the piano and over these sticks,
drawn tight. The piano-case was protected from chafing by a couple of

Kit and I then went into the attic, and with a lot of wedges I had
made, proceeded to raise the two hewn timbers, over which the rope
passed. We drove the wedges between the sticks and the timbers of the
frame. As fast as we gained an inch, we put a board under, upon which
we drove another series of wedges. The process was slow but it was
sure, and in time the piano below hung suspended clear of the floor.

"That's all very good, so far, Phil Farringford," laughed Mr. Gracewood.

"Is it clear of the floor, sir?" I asked.

"Yes, all clear."

"Then we will take off the legs."

When this task was accomplished, we took up the floor and joists under
the instrument, and removed the sill on the end of the house. Of course
we had to take out the studs below the plate; but the posts I had put
in were amply sufficient to support the frame. We levelled down the
banking so as to form a smooth road to the ground beneath the piano. I
then carefully measured the distance from the bottom of the piano to
the earth. It was four feet and one inch, while the body of the wagon,
which I intended to back under the instrument, was only two feet and a
half high. We laid down some logs crosswise, upon which we placed a
track of boards for the wheels of the wagon. The vehicle was then
backed beneath the piano, with the box upon the platform. The oil-cloth
was placed in the case, so that we could cover the instrument after it
had been deposited in the box.

Kit and I had hewn four timbers of the length of the wagon, on opposite
sides, like a railroad sleeper. Raising the vehicle with levers, we
placed these sticks under the wheels. As we lifted up the wagon, the
box was elevated so as to enclose the instrument. The timbers under the
wheels were each about six inches thick, and when we had them in
position, the bottom of the piano was not an inch from the bottom of
the case. We then drove our wedges between the two timbers, on each of
which rested two of the wheels, securely blocked. The wagon rose till
the ropes which supported the piano were slackened, and we untied and
removed them. The instrument rested on heavy pads in the bottom of the
box, so that we had no trouble in pulling out the ropes. Covering the
piano with the oil-cloth, we screwed on the lid of the case. By this
time it was dark, though we had begun early in the morning.

The next day we made an inclined plane of cotton-wood sticks, upon
which to run the wagon down upon level ground. This we did by hand, and
then we were ready to hitch on the horses. We did not intend to haul it
down to the landing till we heard the whistle of the steamer, for the
boat would wait a whole day for half a ton of freight on her down trip.
But it was three days more before we heard any whistle.

After we had restored the house to its former condition, Ella and I
wandered in the woods and along the banks of the river, waiting
impatiently for the expected signal. I had dressed myself in my best
clothes, discarding forever my hunting-frock and skin cap. I thought I
was a pretty good-looking fellow, and Ella said as much as this to me.

At last we heard the whistle, and Kit and I hastened to hitch on the
horses. We placed all the baggage on the wagon with the piano-case, and
for the last time I drove old Firefly and Cracker down to the landing.
A dozen men lifted the piano from the wagon, and placed it on the deck
of the steamer. The trunks and other baggage were carried on board;
and, after the deck hands had taken in twenty cords of wood, the
whistle sounded again.

"Good by, Kit," said I, as I grasped his rough hand. "May God bless and
keep you. I hope I shall see you again."

"It mought be, and it mought not; leastwise I don't reckon you will, if
you don't come here. But good by, boy. I hope everything will allus go
well with you; and if you kin, just kim up here and see me. Good by,

Kit displayed more emotion than I had ever seen him exhibit before, and
I found it difficult to suppress a rising tear. Mr. Gracewood and his
family shook hands with him, and left their best wishes for his future
prosperity and happiness.

"Good by, Mr. Greasewood. You are a good man, and you will allus be
happy. Don't forget old Kit."

"I never shall," protested Mr. Gracewood, as the old hunter stepped on
shore; and that was the sentiment in all our hearts.

The bell rang, the boat started, and we waved our adieus to the old man
on shore, who stood gazing solemnly and sadly at us. The wheels of the
steamer were turning, and as I gazed upon the familiar shore, I
realized that I was departing, perhaps forever, from my FIELD AND

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