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´╗┐Title: The Frontier Angel - A Romance of Kentucky Rangers' Life
Author: Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Frontier Angel - A Romance of Kentucky Rangers' Life" ***

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



by The Kentuckiana Digital Library)



Transcriber's Note

- The position of some illustrations has been changed to improve
readability.

- Words surrounded by =equal signs= should be interpreted as being in
bold type.

- In general, geographical references, spelling, hyphenation, and
capitalization have been retained as in the original publication.

- Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.

- Significant typographical errors have been corrected. A full list of
these corrections is available in the Transcriber's Corrections section
at the end of the book.

       *       *       *       *       *



                              THE
                         FRONTIER ANGEL

                         [Illustration]

                        EDWARD S. ELLIS



  [Illustration: JIM PETERSON QUESTIONING THE FRONTIER ANGEL.]



                              THE
                         FRONTIER ANGEL

                          A ROMANCE OF

                     KENTUCKY RANGERS' LIFE



                               BY
                        EDWARD S. ELLIS
       AUTHOR OF "BILL BIDDON, TRAPPER," "FAMOUS AMERICAN
             NAVAL COMMANDERS," "GOLDEN ROCK," ETC.



                            NEW YORK
                        HURST & COMPANY
                           PUBLISHERS



COPYRIGHT, 1910,
BY
HURST & COMPANY.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

     I. The Night before the Departure                          9

    II. The Fate of the Flat-Boat                              21

   III. The Two Scouts                                         46

    IV. The Faint Hope                                         59

     V. The Mysterious Warning                                 70

    VI. The Frontier Angel--The Shawnees                       83

   VII. The Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties            90

  VIII. A Man in Trouble                                      105

    IX. Peter Jenkins--A Couple of Speeches                   127

     X. In which there is a Future Account of the Shawnees,
          the Speakers, and Jenkins                           139

    XI. A Prize Gained and Lost                               151

   XII. A Mingling of Fear, Doubt, and Hope                   174

  XIII. Dark                                                  189

   XIV. The Attack in the Wood                                201

    XV. "All's Well that Ends Well."                          225



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

  Jim Peterson Questioning the Frontier Angel        FRONTISPIECE

                                                             PAGE

  "For God's sake come and take me off, for they are after
       me."                                                    33

  The Frontier Angel                                           39

  "Onward they poured, shouting like madmen."                  45

  "Whosomever is on that flat-boat ain't living, that's
       sartin."                                                51

  "'O Lord, I'm shot,' suddenly exclaimed Jenkins."            81

  "Before he could rise the Indians were upon him."           108

  "The Frontier Angel gazed calmly on him a moment."          126

  "'Mr. Thomas McGable, Esq., I believe,' said Peterson with
       much gravity, without removing the aim of his rifle."  156

  "'Quick! water; she has fainted,' exclaimed Mansfield."     229

  "Then die--!"                                               244



THE FRONTIER ANGEL:

A ROMANCE OF

KENTUCKY RANGERS' LIFE.



CHAPTER I.

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DEPARTURE.


IN the western part of Pennsylvania, near the commencement of the Ohio
river, stands a small town, which, at the close of the last century,
numbered about thirty dwellings. Although properly a border settlement
at the time mentioned, there were so many others beyond, that it was
hardly regarded as being in the "Mighty West." The inhabitants were
mostly farmers, possessed of large and beautiful farms, who commenced
their labors in the morning, and retired to rest in the evening, without
much fear of the molestation of their savage brethren. True, a few years
previous, the latter had committed murders and depredations even farther
east than this, and the settlers never allowed themselves fully to give
way to an undue sense of security. But, unless a most unexpected triumph
should crown the struggles of the Indians, there was little occasion for
apprehension upon the part of the whites.

The time on which we visit this village, is an evening in the spring,
toward the close of the last century. The night is dark and cloudy, and
the houses are invisible in the deep gloom; but there are numerous
twinkling lights in the different dwellings, which give it the
appearance of a constellation set in the vast sky of darkness around.
Broad fields of cleared land stretch for a long distance into the
background, while there are numerous other dwellings further eastward,
toward Pittsburg, and many cabins further westward in Ohio and Virginia;
so that they are not without neighbors, and may properly be said still
to be in the land of civilization.

Near the western end of the village, stood a large frame house, in the
lower story of which a bright light was burning. Within, and seated
around a large, crackling fire, were four individuals engaged in
conversation. The first was a pleasant, middle-aged man, rather portly
and good-natured; the second was his wife, a few years younger, with an
equally pleasant face, and a cheerful, musical voice. Upon the opposite
side of the fire sat a young man, of a hardy, muscular frame, and a
rather handsome appearance. Beside him was a maiden of eighteen or
twenty years, who, without the least exaggeration on our part, might be
pronounced beautiful.

The first couple, as said, were man and wife. The second two intended to
be at some future time--that is, they were lovers.

The name of the parents was Abbot, and the maiden was Marian Abbot,
their daughter. They were farmers, who, not having succeeded as well as
they anticipated, had come to the determination to emigrate further
west--in fact, into the very heart of Kentucky. A flat-boat was to start
the next morning down the river, in which a number of their neighbors
were going, and in which they intended to send Marian; but, the parents
themselves were compelled to wait several months in order to bring their
affairs to a settlement. Their resolution had been taken rather
suddenly, but, as said, they were compelled to wait before fulfilling
it.

The flat-boat which was to start on the morrow, carried with it more men
than Abbot expected would accompany him, and hence he deemed it much
safer for Marian that she should go with it, and, in their western home,
wait for his coming.

The young man to whom we have referred, was Russel Mansfield, the only
son of his parents, as was Marian the only daughter of hers. An
attachment had existed between them for a year or two, and it was
generally expected by the parents of both, that, as soon as they were in
a proper condition, they would be united for life. The parents of
Mansfield united with Abbot in their resolution, and it was their
intention to depart at the same time with him. The same causes that led
to his detention, produced theirs; and, as it was their wish that Russel
should remain with and accompany them, he had consented. The young man
disliked very much the idea of a separation, even for so short a period
as a few months, from his beloved; but reflection and sober sense told
him it was best that it should be so. Nearly a dozen well-armed and
courageous men would protect her, while should her going be deferred
until his, there would hardly be half that number. Thus it was that the
present turn of affairs came about.

"If we have a storm at the commencement of our journey, it will be a bad
omen, will it not, father?" asked Marian with a smile.

"Tut, tut, dear, don't speak of such foolish things. I would that your
mother had such a body-guard when she follows you."

"Oh, well, I meant nothing. I am sure I have no apprehension."

"There is danger it is true," remarked Mansfield, "but it only threatens
weakness and inexperience. Your party are strong, and they surely have
had enough experience, to avoid all stratagems and decoys of their
enemy."

"Yes, darling, don't let such thoughts trouble you. There is One who is
able to protect the weakest in the hour of the greatest peril. Dangers
will beset you on every hand, but there will be strong and friendly
hearts around you, and a strong and friendly Heart overhead," added the
mother.

"There is but one thing that seriously troubles me," remarked Abbot,
gravely, "and that is the thought of that McGable. He has now been
absent a year, and you remember, Marian, that he threatened vengeance
against you when he left."

"Why, father, how can _he_ injure me?" asked Marian in surprise; "who
knows where he has gone?"

"I have been told that he was in the West," answered Abbot, quietly.

"Well, and what of that? I am sure there is nothing in that, that need
frighten us."

"I have heard a darker story of him," added the father in a lower tone,
and glancing around as if he feared other ears might hear him.

"What was it?" asked Marian breathlessly.

"I have been told by those whose word could not be doubted, that he has
turned renegade, and that his atrocities are equal to those of Girty,
McGee, Proctor, and the other similar fiends."

"Where does he generally commit his outrages?" asked Mansfield.

"I do not wish to alarm you, Marian, and I think there is no reason for
your being alarmed; but, as all the others who will accompany you, know
the same thing, there can be no harm in warning you. At first, when he
joined the British and Indians, he united with the parties who attacked
the defenseless settlements and travelers; but he is cowardly, and there
was too much danger in that. He is now a decoy along the Ohio river, and
uses all the means in his power to entice the passing flat-boats to
shore. The devil himself seems to aid his invention, for he has
contrived such ingenious schemes that it is said he has outwitted some
of the old backwoodsmen and hunters themselves."

"What does he do with his prisoners?"

"He has never been known to give quarter to any one. All are consigned
to the tomahawk or the stake, and the women perhaps to a still more
dreadful fate."

"What induced him to turn traitor?"

"His own devilish disposition, I suppose. He has more than once given
out that you will suffer, daughter, for your rejection of him; and next
to you his especial enmity seems to be against Mansfield here."

"I only ask Heaven that we two may meet on equal ground. He would never
shame the race to which he belongs, again," exclaimed our hero,
indignantly.

"Perhaps you may, Russel--perhaps you may. Ah! is that thunder?"

All listened for a moment, and heard the distant booming of thunder, and
the soughing of the wind through the trees that stood near the house. A
storm was, indeed, gathering. Dark, tumultuous clouds were wheeling
through the sky, and, as Mrs. Abbot looked out, she could discern by the
aid of the fire blazing on the broad hearth, the tops of the trees
swaying, and hear the night wind howling through and around the village.

"There is a storm gathering, but I am in hopes that it will pass off
before morning," she remarked, as she resumed her knitting and seat in
the family rocking-chair.

"I guess it will not last long," added Mansfield.

Silence now reigned for a time in the house. Abbot sat in the corner
slowly smoking his pipe, and gazing meditatively in the fire, watching
the glowing embers as they fell apart, and conjuring up pictures and
images in the coals. The mother continued knitting, her chair gently
rocking, and giving out the same pleasant squeak that it had for years.
Now and then she raised her eyes for a moment to glance at her husband
or daughter, and then let them fall again to the work before her. A
kitten was tumbling over the floor, playing antics with her ball of
yarn, or whirling around in a circle in an attempt to grasp the end of
its tail. Failing in this, it stood a moment, as if in meditation, and
then with a plunge, lit upon the back of a big maltese, quietly
slumbering at the feet of Marian, and fixed its claws in his head, eyes,
or any place that offered. The fellow bore it unflinchingly for a
moment, until becoming unendurable, he grasped the mischievous creature
by the head and holding it thus a moment, gave it several digging kicks
that sent it into the middle of the floor, and then quietly resumed his
half-sitting posture and shut his eyes again.

Upon the other side of the fire was stretched Hero, the house-dog. He
was of the hound species, and a noble fellow. As he lay, his long nose
was dropped upon the hearth, between his two paws, and turned toward the
fire. Probably he suspected mischief, for now and then he slowly raised
the corner of one eyelid, and glanced at the kitten, and then with a
twitch and start, slightly shifted his position. Once or twice he
flapped his long ears as if to give warning that he was not yet asleep,
and it would be dangerous to trifle with him.

But the demon of mischief seemed to possess the young kitten. It walked
straight up to him, laid its paw on his cold nose, and then scratched
terribly. The dog in turn, raised one of his huge paws, and gave it a
cuff that rolled it to the middle of the floor again. The kitten rose
demurely and had recourse to the ball of yarn once more. Hero seeing
this, dropped his head with a threatening look, and again slept.

The old clock ticked loudly upon the mantel, and the wind roared down
the chimney, and moaned around the house. Soon several drops of rain
rattled against the window, a terrific crash of thunder burst overhead,
and the storm came in all its fury.

It lasted but a short time when a lull occurred. Just at this moment,
the clock struck the hour of nine. Abbot knocked the ashes from his
pipe, took down the old, wooden-covered Bible, and commenced reading a
chapter. The mother laid aside her knitting, folded her hands upon her
lap, and Mansfield and Marian paid a respectful attention.

The chapter finished, all sank devoutly upon their knees, and the
earnest monotone of Abbot ascended to the Protector of all. The
desolate moaning of the tempest, added solemnity to the scene, and gave
a beautiful appropriateness to the petition that was offered.

As the parents arose, they bade Russel good night and retired. Our hero
left alone with Marian, glided to her side, took her hand within his own
and pulled her head over upon his bosom.

"What are you thinking of, Marian?"

"I was wondering at what father said."

"What? about McGable?"

"Yes."

"Are you alarmed?"

"I feel some apprehension, I confess. You know what a wicked man he is,
and what terrible passions he has. I know more of him than you do,
Russel."

"I suppose you do," he replied in a tone of slight reproof.

"What do you mean by that?" she asked, looking up in his face with a
reproachful expression in her mild blue eyes.

"Oh, nothing!" he laughed, kissing her glowing cheek.

"I mean I know more of him, Russel, because he has plagued me more with
his presence than he has you. I dreaded him as I did a serpent, and when
I, at last, told him I never wished to see him again, he left me with a
curse. O Russel! it was not me alone that he cursed, but _you_! He swore
that he would kill you, for he knew you were the cause of it, and he
said I should suffer, too."

"You are not alarmed for me, Marian?"

"Yes, for I shall fear his power as long as he lives. I almost wish that
father would remain here, but there is no persuading him, and I shall
not falter at the last moment."

"I cannot share your apprehension. You are going to a settlement which
is well-guarded, and whose inhabitants are experienced in Indian
warfare. I can see no reason for fear."

"I trust there is not, but if I ever get there I shall look anxiously
for my parents and your arrival."

The two conversed longer upon the departure tomorrow, and discussed
their plans for the future, until, when the storm had ceased, our hero
took his departure.

As perhaps the reader has surmised, the person referred to by the
parents and the lovers, had once sought the hand of Marian. He had made
his appearance in the village a year or two previous, and gave his name
as Tom McGable. Further than this, nothing was known. He professed to
belong to the Eastern states, and had no relations or acquaintances in
the village. He was a thin, nervous, sharp-featured man, with long
Indian hair, dark, restless eyes, and a forbidding cast of countenance.
He was a person of awful passions, and was dreaded by all who knew him.
Marian turned from his advances with loathing, but he pertinaciously
persisted until he was driven from her house. He left, vowing revenge;
and rumor shortly after reached the village that he had gone further
west and united with the Indians against the whites. There was good
reason for this report, as all knew that he was a man who would stop at
nothing that might gratify his vindictive feelings.



CHAPTER II.

THE FATE OF THE FLAT-BOAT.


AS was predicted, the storm soon cleared away, and the morning dawned
bright and beautiful. Birds were singing and flitting from limb to limb,
the water sparkled upon the grass and twigs, and by the time it was
fairly light, the whole village was astir.

Down in the water, but safely moored to shore, rested a flat-boat,
waiting for its living freight, before being loosened from its
fastenings. As the commotion in the village increased, numbers commenced
wending their way toward the river, and in a short time nearly all stood
upon the shore. The majority carried furniture and utensils with them,
which, by passing over several planks, were deposited upon the boat.

The farewells were now given. There were ten men, seven of whom had
wives, besides Marian, so that the entire number was eighteen. With the
exception of the latter, these had embarked all of their wealth and
possessions upon this perilous undertaking.

Marian embraced her parents, received their last advice, and, as she
passed over the plank, encountered Mansfield.

"Good-by," she said, gayly; "I shall soon expect you."

He took her hand, and, holding it a moment, said:

"I trust we shall be separated but a short time, dear Marian. I have
lain awake all night thinking of this, and I believe there _is_
danger--danger not only upon the river, but after you have reached your
destination. You know to whom I refer--and oh! let me beseech you to be
careful of exposing yourself. God bless you! Good-by, and may we soon
meet again."

He wrung her hand, as she passed over the boat; the plank was drawn on
board, the fastenings unloosened, and the flat-boat commenced slowly
moving with the current.

"Good luck to you!" called out Abbot. "Look out for danger; have your
eyes open for decoys, and don't, under any pretense, be induced to leave
the center of the stream. If you are betrayed, you will have no one to
blame but yourselves, for you are now warned."

The flat-boat slowly swept out into the stream, and, after a time,
gaining the center of the current, moved forward with greater rapidity.
Numbers yet stood upon the shore, waving their farewells; but the boat
soon rounded a bend, and they all disappeared from view.

Those on board now withdrew their eyes from the shore, and made
preparations for the perilous journey before them. The flat-boat was a
large, unwieldy affair, built like all similar ones, so as to float with
the current alone. The sides were bullet-proof, and the shape of the
thing was similar to a box. About three-fourths of the length were taken
up as the cabin, which communicated with the other part by means of a
small door. A long, sweeping oar was hung at each end, and balanced so
as to dip into the water. There was a small space at either end of the
boat which could be reached by passing through the cabin. The latter was
divided into two compartments, and as regarded comfort and convenience,
probably the flat-boat could have been little improved.

The occasion and season of the year were such that none could help
feeling buoyant and hopeful. The sun was now up in the heavens, shedding
its warm and cheering rays upon forest and river. The rain-drops hung
like pendent jewels, and the river glistened like molten gold. A thin
mist was rising along the shore, as the sun's warmth grew greater. Now
and then a woodsman's cabin was passed, and it could be seen nestling in
the small clearing, and apparently as comfortable as though no enemy had
ever threatened it. Perhaps the settler himself came forth with his wife
to wonder and view the passing boat, and exchange salutations with the
first white persons they had seen for months. Toward noon they detected
a solitary form standing below them, upon a bend in the river. A nearer
approach, showed him to be a hunter. He waved his coon-skin cap over his
head as they came abreast, gave a cheering hurrah, and called out:

"Keep a powerful look-out for reds, you, fur they're thick as flies in
August down toward the Big Sandy and Sciota. Wal they is, strangers; and
if you gits through without gittin' a taste of thar compliments, why,
here's as will stand treat all round."

After giving this warning, the hunter watched them a few minutes longer,
and then turned and disappeared in the forest.

Some miles farther down they passed a small settlement which had been
commenced but a few months before. A block-house, however, was erected
and stood at one end, as if to ward off all approach. It was a clumsy,
awkward building, but abundantly able to answer every purpose for which
it was intended. It was two stories in height, the upper one so much
smaller than the lower one, that it had the appearance of standing upon
a platform. The outer edge of this projection was protected by
palisades, inclosing it, except at one point where the gaping mouth of a
swivel gave warning of the resistance it was capable of giving. The
instrument was of brass, and so brightly burnished that it could be seen
gleaming in the sunlight by those upon the flat-boat. A sentinel was
pacing slowly around the block-house, a long rifle resting upon his
shoulder, and his keen eye sweeping the horizon at a glance. As he
caught sight of the flat-boat, he raised his cap and saluted it; and
shortly after several others appeared beside him and did the same. Our
friends returned the salutation, and continued watching the tiny
settlement until the intervening forest hid it from view.

This block-house was constructed somewhat differently from those
generally upon the frontiers, although now and then a similar one is
found even at this day.

The settlements and solitary cabins were still passed at long intervals,
and the night proved so dark and cheerless, that they put into shore
near a small cluster of houses and spent the night. As they were hardly
yet in dangerous territory, they committed no indiscretion in doing
this.

At sunrise the boat was loosened, and our friends were once more
floating forward, a day's journey nearer their destination. Nothing
worth noting occurred through this day. The settlements became more
rare, and the faces of their kindred scarcer. Late in the afternoon they
passed the mouth of the Muskingum, and at night a small river which put
in from the Virginia side. There was a slight moon this night. A
vigilant watch, of course, was maintained, but nothing to excite alarm
took place.

In the morning they were opposite the point where the Great Kanawha
debouches into the Ohio. The settlement here was termed Point Pleasant,
by which name it is known at the present day. It was at this point that
they were joined by a man who stated that he was a ranger going to
Massie's Station down the Ohio. Without the least mistrust or suspicion,
our friends took him on board, and continued floating hopefully down the
beautiful river.

This day, when at the mouth of the Big Sandy, and just at the elbow of
the great bend in the Ohio, an attempt was made to decoy them ashore.
The stranger whom they had taken on board, instantly warned them of
their danger, and told them that they must pay no attention to the
entreaties from the white men. The emigrants, as the case stood, would
not have deviated from their course, but the earnestness of their
new-found friend made them esteem him highly and congratulate themselves
upon having secured such a valuable ally.

All, we say, thought thus; but there were two exceptions--Marian and a
tall, bony, unmarried man by the name of Peterson. This fellow looked
upon their new acquaintance with distrust the minute he stepped upon the
boat.

"I'll be darned, Marian," he said, in an undertone to her, after they
had passed the decoy, "ef I don't s'picion that chap. He's mighty
clever, and the trouble is he is a _leetle too clever_."

"Do you really fear him?" asked Marian, frightened at finding that
another shared her suspicions.

"Fear him? I'd like to see the man _I'm_ afeared of. All I'd ask would
be to just git them are paws on old Simon Girty or that McGable that
people allow is out in these parts, or that man thar, if he ain't what
he orter be, which I allow is the case."

"At any rate, watch him, Jim, for it won't do to have a traitor within
when there were so many without."

"I'll watch him, I reckon, Marian; and by the Eternal, the first real
genuine sign of treachery I see, I'll shoot him! You may bet on that."

As these words were uttered by the indignant Jim Peterson to Marian, he
stood looking upon the object of his remarks with flashing eyes, and
gesticulating earnestly with his long, bony, muscular arms as though he
ached to get him once fairly within his grasp. In fact, Jim Peterson
would have been a dangerous customer for any man. He was now about
thirty years of age, and eight years of his life had been spent as scout
and ranger. He had served under St. Clair and Gen. Harmar, and when the
former suffered such a disastrous defeat, he became so disgusted with
the generalship of his leaders, that he left the country and settled
down in the village mentioned at the commencement of this work. Here he
had remained until the present time; but the daring, wandering, reckless
spirit was so strong within him that he could resist no longer, and he
joined the present party with the full determination of taking to the
woods again as soon as they arrived at their destination.

He was over six feet in height, of a thin, attenuated frame, capable of
panther-like strength and activity, with a keen, restless gray eye, and
a sharp-featured visage.

Marian, after the conversation with him, descended to the cabin; but her
mind was in such a tumult of fear and apprehension that she could not
restrain her agitation. She now firmly believed that the stranger above
was an enemy, and that, even with the shrewdness of Jim Peterson to
protect them, they were all still in the utmost peril. But she knew of
no course to pursue, except to invoke Divine protection. Should she
impart her suspicions to the females around her, they would either
ridicule her or become so terrified themselves, that the case would be
infinitely worse. She concluded, at last, that there was nothing she
could do, and, under Heaven, the case must be left to Peterson.

In a short time night commenced settling over the woods and river. The
emigrants had now made such progress upon their way, that they were
about half way between the Big Sandy and Sciota. The dense forests of
Kentucky and Ohio shut down upon either hand, and not a sign of
civilization met the eye.

Before it was fairly dark, the flat-boat was suddenly hailed from the
shore. A white man, limping and apparently in great distress, besought
them to run in and take him on board before the Indians reached him.

"He's a decoy," remarked the stranger, who had intently watched him from
the first.

"How do you know he is, colonel?" asked Peterson, who had intently
watched the stranger all the time.

"How do I know he is?" repeated the latter. "I reckon as how any fool as
has one eye could tell the same mighty quick."

"You're sure of it then, eh?"

"In course I am, ain't you?"

"Yas, sir."

With this the ranger turned on his heel, satisfied that they had a
traitor on board. This may seem strange to the reader, but it would not
be to a backwoodsman who understood the case. The eagerness and
quickness this man had evinced to point out danger, ever since he joined
our friends, was good reason in itself for suspicion. Had he been a
genuine ranger, he would have hesitated before giving his opinion, and
not defeat his own ends by showing too much knowledge of what was
unknown to the rest.

Peterson walked away from him, and communicated his suspicions to
several of his friends. Just as he expected, they laughed at him, and
accused him almost of meanness. Stung by this rebuke, the ranger became
silent and sullen and left them.

In the meantime, the man upon shore was bellowing louder than ever. Not
content with being once refused, he was limping along shore, and
beseeching them in more piteous tones than ever. Still the whites
resolutely turned their ears against him, and would not have noticed him
at all, had not the stranger spoken.

"I declare, it looks queer anyhow. I never knowed one of them decoys to
hang on like that."

"You have no notion that he is anything else but one, or that he has any
object except our own destruction?"

"I didn't think different at first, but it begins to look doubtful. Just
let me say a few words to him."

With this, he stepped to one side of the boat, and called out, "What's
your name?"

"John Haggart."

"How come you to git in such an ugly fix?"

"I was out scouting it, and was cotched by the Shawnees, and have just
got away from them. For God's sake, come and take me off, for they're
after me."

  [Illustration: "For God's sake come and take me off, for they are
     after me."]

"Jump into the river and swim out to us."

"My hurt is too bad; I've got a bullet clean through my thigh, and can
just drag the leg after the other. Yonder is the smoke of their wigwams
up on the hill and they ain't fur off. My God! don't leave a white man
thus! Heaven would curse you if you did."

Our friends looked in the direction he indicated, and could faintly
discern in the gathering gloom a thin wreath of smoke rising from the
trees. The suffering man, as if aware of their thoughts, called out:

"That is whar' they are, and their runners are out after me. May God
forever curse you, if you leave me here."

"What do yer think?" asked the stranger, turning round with an air of
perplexity to the others. "I believe that man ain't a decoy, not at all;
and ef he isn't, we orter not leave him there to be cooked by the red
devils. Still, I shouldn't say nothing, but leave it with you."

"It will never do to run the boat ashore," said several of the men,
firmly.

"Oh, I didn't mean that. In course, it would be all-fired foolish to do
that ar' thing. But I've been thinking"--and the man dropped his eyes,
as if in great perplexity--"that we orter help that man off. To do sich
a thing we ain't compelled by any duty to expose ourselves to any
danger. What is your views, friends?"

"Why, if the thing can be done without imperiling ourselves, it is our
Christian duty to do it; but we are at a loss at present to understand
how we could manage it thus."

"Oh, easily enough; just run the boat in about half way where the water
is so shallow that the fellow can wade out to us. Keep your eyes open,
and if there is the least sign of treachery, we can fall into the
current again and float off."

"A good plan, and I see no reason for not carrying it out."

All echoed this sentiment, with the exception of Peterson, who still
stood apart, in a sullen, pouting mood, leaning against the side of the
boat, with his head dropped upon his breast.

"Come, Jim, what do you think of it?" asked one of the emigrants, and
the others all turned toward him for a reply.

"I think, in the first place, you are all a set of the thunderingest
fools I ever heard of, not to see you've got a sneaking decoy right
among ye, who's doing his purtiest to git you into shore to please that
other trap."

"Outrageous! shameful!" exclaimed several, horrified at the blunt,
plain-spoken answer they had received.

"Go on, and do what you please, but don't ax me nothin' more, for I've
got nothing at all to say," added Peterson, who was touched to the quick
by what he had heard in reply.

The stranger, it was observed, said nothing at all, except, after a few
minutes, to urge the matter upon our friends. It was now quite dark, but
the shadowy form of the man on shore could be seen struggling along, and
calling out in tones that were really heartrending. The men consulted
together a while longer, and then it was determined to follow the
suggestion of their friend.

The long, guiding oars were dipped into the water, and with a loud plash
swung a few feet, when the unwieldy flat-boat began slowly sliding in
toward shore. It moved very tardily, however, and it was noticed that
its progress down stream was continually growing less and less. This was
accounted for by the fact that they were getting out of the current, and
moving in shallow water.

The man, all this time, was limping and gesticulating on shore,
imploring them to hurry, as his life stood in imminent danger every
moment, and the whites, to their credit be it spoken, worked with a good
will.

They had hardly commenced rowing, when Marian asked Peterson whether
there was not another person upon the bank.

"It is a female, and see how motionless she stands! She is just below
that man."

"Yes, I see her--she is waving her hands. Hark!"

"Keep off! keep off! You will all be killed! This man is a decoy!"
called out the person alluded to in a beseeching voice.

"Who is she?" asked Marian, growing more excited every moment.

"Ah! she's the Frontier Angel. Haven't you heard of her? When _she_
warns a white, he can depend on it she means what she says. This ain't
the fust time she has done that thing."

  [Illustration: The Frontier Angel.]

"O Jim!" implored Marian, "this is awful; tell them before it is too
late. They cannot but heed you."

The ranger hesitated a moment, as he remembered the cutting rebuff he
had received; but the imploring voice of Marian, together with his own
sense of duty, conquered. He turned his head and looked at the oarsmen.
They had paused as the warning voice reached them.

"What does that mean?" asked one.

"That gal is the Frontier Angel that you've heard the boys talk about at
the settlement. Ef any of you wants red night-caps, don't mind her; ef
you doesn't, jest get back into the channel as soon as them oars will
take you."

"_I've_ heard that that gal you call the _Frontier Angel_ is nobody but
a crazy squaw," said one of the oarsmen, still hesitating.

"Go on, then," said Peterson, stung to the quick by this second repulse.
"I shan't say no more," he added, in a lower tone, to Marian.

"Didn't you know that gal is a crazy fool?" said the stranger,
sneeringly. "Of course she is, and I thought you knowed it. Ef you're
going to help that dyin' feller, you've got to be quick about it, 'cause
the reds can't be far off."

Thus appealed to, the oarsmen commenced, although it cannot be said all
were free from misgivings. But in the face of the suspicious actions of
the man upon shore, and the continued warnings of the Frontier Angel,
the flat-boat gradually approached its doom. Several of the men already
half-repented their rashness, and stood with their eyes fixed upon
shore, and an expression of painful doubt upon their features.

Peterson saw all these manifestations, and thus communed with himself.

"No use of talkin', they're all goin' sure, and, Jim Peterson, the
question is what you purpose to do. You can tend to yourself well
enough, but how 'bout Marian? It won't do to leave her. You hain't
forgotten, Jim, the time them same reds butchered _your_ gal. No, Jim
you never forgot that, and _you never will_; and how do you s'pose
Mansfield will feel ef you leave his gal in the same fix? 'Twon't do,
'twon't do, Jim. Can you swim, Marian?" he asked, turning toward her.

"Yes; why do you ask?"

"It's what has got to be done, Marian. You see, we'll be inshore in a
few minutes. Stick by me, and I'll take you overboard."

"Why not now, Jim?"

"You see it's getting dark fast, and every minute will help us. By the
eternal! do you know that feller on shore? It is McGable! Hello! the
boat has struck!"

Such was the case, and what was more alarming they were but a few rods
from shore. It was noticed, too, that the wailing tone of the decoy had
changed to a more commanding one, while the Frontier Angel had
disappeared.

"What does this mean, sir?" asked one of the oarsmen, thoroughly
alarmed.

"_You're my prisoners, sir!_" replied the stranger. "Don't get
excited--it's no use. That man is McGable, and the Shawnees are waitin'
fur yer ha'r. Ef you undertake to fight, you'll be tomahawked in a
minute; but ef you give in nice like, p'raps some of yer'll be let
alone. Ef you've no objections, I'll give the signal for 'em to come
aboard."

All except Peterson were paralyzed with horror, and seemed utterly
speechless. He stepped deliberately forward and said:

"I'd like to ax a question afore you does that thing. What yer going to
do with _me_?"

"Burn and toast you as soon as we get ashore."

"I rather reckon not, old hoss. _How does that suit?_"

Before even his victim divined his intention, the ranger brought his
rifle to his shoulder and fired, his ball passing clean through the
breast of the villain. The latter gave a spasmodic start and gasp, a
groan, and sucking the breath through his teeth, fell forward, the blood
spouting in a stream from his wound.

"Hyer's as opines as how it won't be _you_ that'll toast Jim Peterson
just yit," remarked the ranger, coolly fastening his rifle to his back.

"O God! what shall we do?" frantically wailed the settlers.

"Fight! you was so anxious to see McGable, you'll have the chance now.
Ef yer'd a minded what me and the Frontier Angel said, you wouldn't got
into this fix. It won't do no good to touch the oars. You're fast in the
mud, and have got to fight it out!"

Instantly the shore became alive with savages. Yells that might have
curdled a demon's blood rent the air, and the whole mass of swarming
bodies plunged into the shallow water, and made for the flat-boat. The
whites discharged their shots, but the numbers and power of their
enemies were irresistible. Onward they poured, shouting like madmen, and
clambering up the sides, a scene of butchery took place that sickens the
heart to contemplate.

  [Illustration: "Onward they poured, shouting like madmen."]

Peterson saw the critical moment had arrived, and catching Marian by the
waist, he sprang upon the gunwale, intending to leap over. But that
instant a volley was poured into the boat, and a bullet struck her. The
ranger felt her become a dead weight, at the same moment that a stream
of hot blood poured over his hand. He bent his head down, and peered
into her face. The dark, blue eyes were slowly shutting, and her head
dropped heavily.

"I am dying, Jim," she murmured. "God bless you for your effort. Give my
last love to Russel, mother, and father--good-by!"

"Heaven bless you!" said the ranger, laying her gently upon the deck, in
spite of the wild scene that had commenced. "You've escaped that
McGable, anyhow."

Peterson again sprang to the gunwale, and, with an almost superhuman
leap, bounded outward in the darkness and disappeared.



CHAPTER III.

THE TWO SCOUTS.


ONE day in spring, a border ranger was making his way through the
cane-brakes of Kentucky, in what is now called Lewis county.

All through the frontier wars, such men were employed by the generals
and leaders of the different forces, and they formed no insignificant
part of their power. Of the American scouts is this especially true. A
more daring, reckless, and effective set of men the world has never
known. Scores of names have come down to us, whose record is but one
long, brilliant array of thrilling acts, any one of which would have
sufficed for the lifetime of an ordinary individual.

For a period of nearly half a century, the valleys of the Ohio, Sciota,
Miami, Mad, and numerous other rivers, were constantly ranged by these
characters, who generally went alone, but sometimes in couples, and very
rarely in larger companies. Their whole duty was to spy the hostile
Indian tribes. The warlike, revengeful Shawnees, a mighty and powerful
nation in themselves, had so stirred up the other tribes, that nothing
but eternal watchfulness could guard the settlers from the knife and
tomahawk. Many long years was the government compelled to keep an
independent force to protect the frontier. The disastrous results of
many of these campaigns but prolonged the painful war; and the final
success of our arms is much more due to the prowess of these border
rangers, than we are apt to imagine. Every artifice was adopted by them
to secure the necessary information. Should the tribes collect in
unusual numbers in any village, there was sure to be a pair of keen eyes
watching every movement from some hiding-place. Their deadliest enemies
ventured in disguise among the Indians, dogged their trail for days, or
lay concealed in such proximity that only at night did they dare to
creep forth. All perils were undergone by these hardy men.

Such a character we have now to deal with.

Had we been in close proximity to him, we might have heard a slight
rustling now and then, and perhaps the breaking of a small twig. The
scout was proceeding with caution, but it was evident that it was more
from habit than from any suspicion of danger. Were there savages in the
vicinity, not the slightest noise would have betrayed his presence to
the most watchful one.

A moment after, the bushes parted, and the ranger, in a half-crouching
position, emerged into the open wood. Here he straightened himself up,
and disclosed a frame wondrously like that of Peterson. Tall, sinewy,
graceful, and thin almost to emaciation, with a sharp-featured face,
half-covered by a thin, straggling beard, and small twinkling eyes of
such glittering blackness that they fairly scintillated fire in
excitement--these were the noticeable characteristics of the man.

After coming into the open wood, he stood a moment, as if listening, and
then strode rapidly forward, trailing a long nitid rifle as he did so.
Reaching the edge of the river, he suddenly halted and darted behind a
tree. His quick eye had discovered "sign." From this point he peered
cautiously out, and then instantly jerked his head back again. This
movement was repeated several times, until, at last he held his head in
a stationary position. After gazing a few minutes, he muttered:

"Yes, it's a flat-boat aground, sure as my name's Dick Dingle. Things
look s'pishus the way it's sticking in the mud thar. Some of the blasted
Shawnees' work, I'll swar; and I'll bet my head that that ar' Tom
McGable's been at the bottom of the whole. Ef I could only meet that dog
in a fair stand-up fight, I wouldn't ax no other boon. I'd go home, fold
my arms, and with a smile upon my brow, lay down and softly go under.
Jest keep docile now, Dick Dingle, and look around afore you gets nigher
that concern out thar'. Like as not it's a hornet's nest full of reds."

For over two hours Dingle reconnoitered the flat-boat, and all the time
kept himself carefully concealed from it. He glided around in the wood,
viewing it from every imaginable position that could be reached from the
shore. At last he seemed satisfied.

"Whosomever is in that flat-boat ain't _livin'_, that's sartin; and
whosomever is watching it from shore ain't nigh enough to hurt you,
Dingle, so hyer goes."

  [Illustration: "Whosomever is on that flat-boat ain't living, that's
     sartin."]

With this, he stepped softly into the water, and waded out toward the
flat-boat. After reaching it, he again paused a moment, glanced toward
the shore, and then placing his hand upon the gunwale, bounded over into
the boat. The ranger, probably the first time in his experience, instead
of alighting firmly upon his feet, slipped and immediately fell flat
upon his side; but he instantly sprang up again, and then saw the cause
of his mishap. He had alighted directly in a pool of dark, thick,
sticky blood! The sight that met his eye was enough to freeze with
horror, for a moment, even him who was used to meeting death in every
repulsive shape! The deck was slippery with blood, and from the cabin
came the sickening smell of death. Blood and brains were scattered
around, against, and upon everything, but not a corpse was visible!

"They've tomahawked 'em all, and pitched 'em overboard. Ef that ain't
enough to make a minister or even a scout swear, then my name ain't Dick
Dingle, that's all. That ar' McGable's been hyer, sure; 'cause whar
_he's_ been nobody lives, and I ca'c'late nobody of them poor whites has
lived in these parts. Wal, wal, it's bad business. I like scouting it
when the killin' is all on our side; but it ain't, by a heap. Ef it
wan't, why we wouldn't need to scout; but that ar' McGable is bound to
squar' accounts with me yit for this night's business."

The ranger remained a short time longer, examining the flat-boat, which,
as the reader has probably supposed, was the one whose sad fate was
recorded in the preceding chapter. He was satisfied that not a soul had
survived the frightful massacre, and after a few minutes' further delay,
he again dropped into the water, and made his way to land. He stepped
cautiously ashore, and, as was his invariable custom, commenced talking
to himself.

"Old Mad Anthony sent me down in these parts to find out what the reds
ar' drivin at, and reckon as how I've found--hello, Dingle, what are ye
about?"

With the last question, uttered in a hurried whisper, the ranger
disappeared like a shadow. Had any one been beside him, he would have
been at a loss to understand the cause of the sudden movement, for not
the least noise was audible, nor the slightest movement visible. But the
truth was the scout, all at once, became aware that some person beside
himself was in the wood. The instant of discovery he dropped upon his
hands and knees, and glided swiftly and noiselessly away, and commenced
reconnoitring the stranger to ascertain his identity and intentions.

Now, it so happened that the latter was in precisely the same situation,
and it was a singular coincidence that both should make the discovery of
the other's presence, and commence seeking to know him at the same
moment.

But thus it was, and the stratagems, maneuvers, and artifices resorted
to by each to accomplish his ends, were extraordinary. For nearly two
hours they dodged and feinted, glided and retreated, without coming any
nearer success, and finally made the discovery by accident. Dingle came
to the conclusion that whoever his rival was, he was certainly a genuine
woodsman, and, if an Indian, one who was well worthy of coping with him.
But the consummate tact and skill displayed, led him to suspect the
other was a white man, and for this reason he became more careless in
his movements. The consequence was that, after he had flitted from one
tree to another, he began to doubt whether he had accomplished the
movement successfully; and, while thus doubting, he heard his name
called.

"Shoot me, if that ain't you, Dick Dingle! Why don't you come out and
shake paws with an old friend?"

And the next minute Jim Peterson stepped boldly forth.

"Wal, Jim, I might've knowed that was your ugly picter. Whar'd you come
from?"

The two grasped hands, and gave, what Edward Everett terms, the genuine
_tourniquet_ shake. They had been brother rangers through Gen. St.
Clair's war, and had ever been together, encountering all imaginable
dangers, and were the joint heroes of the most wonderful escapes. And
when we say that neither had seen the face of the other for over six
years, it may well be supposed that their meeting was of the most
pleasant kind. As they stood, grasping hands, and smilingly exchanging
jocose remarks in their characteristic way, the resemblance between them
was most remarkable. In fact, they had often, when in service, been
taken for brothers, and their identity was often confounded. The
Shawnees, who knew them rather more than they cared about, termed them
the "Double Long-Knives." Both were tall, graceful, and sinewy, as
straight as arrows, and with faces sparsely bearded, and, to increase
the perplexity of separating them, they dressed precisely alike. But
Dingle had small, black eyes, and a sharp Roman nose, while Peterson had
eyes of a light gray color, and a nose a perfect Grecian in cast.

"Come, Dick, what are you doin' in these parts?" asked Peterson.

"I'm out fur Mad Anthony, as you might know, and have been taking a look
at the flat-boat there. Ah! bad business! bad business, Jim!"

"Yas, if you'd have only seed it, Dick, you might say so."

"Do you know anything 'bout it? Who the poor wretches was?--when 'twas
done?--how they came to do it?--and _who_ done it?" asked Dingle,
excitedly.

"I war on that boat, and the only one who saved his hair."

"The only one, Jim?"

"The only one; and when I got clean off, I jist clapped my hand on my
head to see ef my hair was thar still, fur I had strong doubts of it. I
was the only one! I took a long jump and a dive fur it."

"How was it, when you was on, that they come in for one of the all-fired
decoys?"

"I couldn't hender them;" and Peterson proceeded to give, in a few
words, what is already known to the reader.

"Let me ax you one thing," said Dingle, when he had finished. "Do you
know whether that renegade McGable had anything to do with this
business?"

"He was the decoy himself; but a feller come on board up at the Kanawha
who got the poor fools to run into shore."

"Was he a short, squashy-looking imp?"

"He war exactly so."

"Then 'twas Pete Gammock. I know him. He and McGable have hung together
fur three--four years that way. That's his plan; he's tried the same
trick afore. He goes on the flat-boats, at some place up that way, and
purtends he's one of us going down the river to the 'Three Islands',
Marysville, or some of the forts. After he gits on, he fixes so as to
pull the wool over thar eyes, and when McGable bawls out fur 'em to come
ashore, he persuades 'em to do it."

"He'll never do it agin, fur I settled the business with him soon as he
owned up he'd come the gammon game. I feel sorry, Dick, mighty sorry fur
them poor whites that was sarved that mean trick; but thar was one among
'em that went under, and I ain't ashamed to own it makes me feel watery
to think on it. I left her dyin' on board just as I jumped over and the
imps clambered up."

Peterson drew the sleeve of his hunting-shirt across his eyes, and
Dingle, with respect to his feelings, remained silent a moment, when he
returned: "P'r'aps she ain't gone under, Jim; maybe the reds have gone
off with her."

"No they haven't; she's out in the river yender somewhar. The reds
tomahawked every one. I kinder had a faint hope she might be among 'em,
and I've been follerin' them to find out. I seed all the Injuns, and
that infarnal McGable among 'em. They had plenty of hair hangin' to
their girdles, but they hadn't a captive among 'em. That ar' McGable
tried to get Marian Abbot, and because she wouldn't have him, he has
done this. I b'lieve he fired the gun that killed her, when I had her
in my arm just goin' to jump overboard to take a swim for it. And, Dick,
I swear that I'll never rest till that renegade McGable pays for this."

"I jine you in that!" said Dingle, taking his hand. "We'll hunt him
together. He's murdered enough of his own blood, and we'll stop it
_right off_."

"I've got to go and tell the old folks of it, and young Mansfield. I
know it'll break their hearts, and I'd rather be shot and burnt than do
it; but it's got to be done, and I must do it."

"Are you goin' now?"

"Yas, right away. As soon as I see 'em, I'll be back agin. I'll wait fur
you down at the fort below."

"And what then, Jim?"

"We'll start off on that hunt," said Peterson, in a low tone, and with
this, the two rangers separated, and took different directions in the
forest.



CHAPTER IV.

THE FAINT HOPE.


THERE is a scene that we must not dwell upon. There are some that awaken
emotions which no pen can describe, no imagination conceive. When
Peterson, the ranger, communicated the dreadful intelligence of the fate
of Marian to her parents, the shock was terrible. The mother swooned
away, and for nearly a week remained more in death than life. The father
received the shock like the oak when riven by the thunderbolt--firm and
unbending, but still shattered to the very heart. He groaned in spirit,
but, for the sake of his wife, bore up with superhuman calmness. But it
well-nigh killed him; and his wife, when she was pulled from the grasp
of death, felt that she could never, never recover from it. Her heart
was broken.

Russel Mansfield bore the affliction like a man. He held up in the
presence of others; but there were moments when alone in which he gave
way to his great woe. We have no desire to dwell upon this painful
scene, but hasten forward.

The resolution of Abbot to emigrate still farther to the west, instead
of being weakened by this sad calamity, was strengthened into a
determination. Why it was, he would almost have been at a loss to tell.
We all know that when death, for the first time, strikes down some one
near and dear to us, it is difficult to believe that such is the case;
it is a long time before we can bring ourselves to realize it. There is
a singular, lingering doubt, the faint shadow of a hope that, after all,
it is not death, and that through the subtle power of medicine the lost
one will still return to us. And even, after burial, for a long time,
there will be moments when we give way to the same extraordinary hope
and find ourselves indulging in dreams of fancy in which the lost one is
again found.

Those who have had a similar experience to this, will appreciate the
feeling that led Abbot and his stricken wife to emigrate to the scene
which was so full of horror to them. The same motive strengthened the
determination of Mansfield, although his parents now refused to
accompany the party. Several of the other families also refused, so that
the company bid fair to be alarmingly small. Peterson had whispered to
Mansfield the intention of Dingle and himself of seeking out the
renegade McGable and revenging themselves upon him, and he was anxious
to either join them or be so situated that he could receive the earliest
intelligence of their success.

Accordingly, one morning in September, another flat-boat floated away
from the village referred to at the commencement of this work, and
carrying with it four families only, together with young Mansfield. The
weather continued fine all the way, and they experienced no difficulty
in reaching their destination. Just before they reached the Sciota, a
desperate attempt was made to get them ashore. Mansfield, shrewdly
suspecting that it was McGable himself who acted the part of a decoy,
raised his rifle with the intention of shooting him; but the wily demon
was too quick for him. He suspected something, and secreted himself
before Mansfield could secure his aim. The latter, however, fired, and
came so uncomfortably close, that the decoy ceased his entreaties, and,
by way of a return for the compliment, a whole volley was fired at the
flat-boat by the concealed savages. Some of the bullets struck the boat
and the others whistled overhead, but they did no further damage.

The settlement, which was the destination of our friends, was a few
miles further down the river, and they came in sight of it about the
middle of the afternoon. As Peterson had given the settlers notice of
their coming, they were expected and joyfully welcomed. The flat-boat
was swept into shore and fastened, and, with the aid of the willing
settlers, its contents removed in an incredibly short space of time. The
boat itself was then hauled as far up the bank as possible, and taken
carefully apart, and its timbers preserved for building purposes.

As this village is to be the location of many of the succeeding
incidents of our story, we will here briefly describe it, and then
hasten forward to the incidents that follow.

The settlement consisted of about twenty cabins, and numbered a hundred
inhabitants. A small block-house was erected near the lower end of the
village for immediate refuge in case of sudden attack; but the governor
of the territory had ordered a large one to be erected and continually
manned by men well-skilled in border warfare. This block-house was
erected in advance of the settlement itself, so as to better guard the
approach of an enemy. It stood in a broad clearing, protected on the one
hand by a marshy swamp, and the other by the Ohio river. The block-house
consisted of two stories. The lower one was about thirty feet square,
and the upper thirty-three, so that it projected over the lower, giving
those within an opportunity of defending the door and windows, in case a
determined attack was made. A well had been sunk in one corner, so that
if besieged they could not be brought to terms by thirst. The roof was
so steeply-shelving as to prevent any burning missiles from remaining
upon it, and the planks themselves were so smooth-shaven that the most
agile savage could not maintain a position upon it for an instant. The
sides were built of solid green logs of some eighteen or twenty inches
in diameter, dove-tailed at the ends in the usual manner, and the
interstices filled in with mortar. The doors and windows and shutters
were bars of ponderous puncheons, secured by massive bars of wood on the
inside. The upper part of the house was pierced with numerous
loop-holes, through which a large force could keep up a constant fire
upon their assailants.

The block-house was surrounded by a substantial wall of palisades. These
were made by cutting trees of a foot in diameter into pieces fifteen
feet in length. These pieces were then quartered, hewed off sharply at
one end, and driven four feet into the solid ground, leaving eleven feet
above. The palisades were kept firmly in their places by means of stout
braces and wall-pieces upon the inside; and, as they were set with their
smooth side outward, and close together, no force could scale them
without the aid of ladders.

A flagstaff stood a few feet from the block-house, and the stars and
stripes ever waved from the summit. At the second story was a
projection, facing the forest, upon which the sentinel passed most of
his time while on duty, and which supported a swivel, so hung that it
could be brought to bear upon almost any point from which danger was to
be apprehended.

This fort was quite a celebrated one, and being manned by the governor
with an active force, was much resorted to by the scouts and rangers
along the frontiers. Dick Dingle was enrolled as a member of this
company, although the governor and the commander of the fort knew there
was no use of undertaking to bring any such character under discipline.
He was allowed to go and come when he pleased, and it may be said, in
fact, that the whole class of frontier rangers were a set of _Border
Zouaves_. They were ever in the most perilous situations, did the most
dangerous service, and acknowledged no leader other than their own free
will. The commander, with several of his leading men, had served in the
capacity of rangers, and were all adepts in Indian warfare.

It was the duty of Dingle to range through the adjoining country, to
keep a constant watch upon the movements of the Indians, and to return
as often as possible with his report to the commander. At this time
there were other scouts performing similar duties in other situations,
who have since become celebrated in history. McArthur, White, McCleland,
and Davis, and the Whetzel brothers are the ones to whom we refer. They
occasionally visited the fort singly, but never in company, and
sometimes remained several days in conversation and feasting with their
friends.

Peterson, upon his return with Dingle, had had his name enrolled as a
member of the company at the block-house; and they had already made
several excursions in company. When Abbot and his friends arrived at the
settlement, these two scouts had just returned from a journey up the
Sciota valley to one of the Shawnee towns. The genial settlers, having
known of the coming of their new friends, showed their good-will by
erecting several cabins and presenting them to the new-comers
immediately upon their arrival. By dusk, Abbot, with his wife and
Mansfield, were snugly domiciled in theirs, and ready to join their
neighbors, on the morrow, in clearing the forest, breaking the ground,
or whatever their duty might chance to be.

Although Abbot had not seen Peterson, he had heard that he was in the
settlement, and sent for him in the evening. The good-hearted fellow had
purposely kept out of the way, for fear that his presence would be
painful to them, but upon hearing the wish of Abbot, he immediately went
to his house.

The meeting could not be but painful upon both sides. There was a
manifest restraint about the ranger, for he well knew the feelings that
must be awakened by his presence. The conversation turned upon ordinary
subjects, and each carefully refrained from any allusion that might
bring up the matter that was in the mind of every one.

In the course of a half hour or so, the quick eye of Mrs. Abbot saw her
presence was a restraint upon something her husband wished to say; and
she made an excuse for withdrawing and retiring for the night.

After she had gone, the conversation continued a short time as usual,
and then, as it sometimes will, it suddenly came to a dead pause. Utter
silence fell upon all.

"Jim," said Abbot, glancing furtively around to assure himself that his
wife was not within hearing, "Jim, I must once more speak about _that_."

"Wal?" queried the ranger, uneasily.

"I must ask you once more to narrate, as particularly as is in your
power, the account of the attack upon the flat-boat, and the death of
Marian. I will not ask you to give anything else but that alone."

"I dunno as I can tell anything more, but, howsumever, I can tell that
over again if you want it," and thereupon he proceeded to give with
fearful vividness, the dying-words and actions of Marian Abbot. The
father heard him all through, without a syllable of interruption,
keeping his lips compressed, his brow knit, and his eye fixed upon the
smoldering fire before him.

"You think, Jim, then, that she is--she must be dead?" he inquired.

"Why, Abbot, 'sposen I had fifty bullets right smack through this h'yer
noddle of mine, and you should ax me if I had any s'pishions I'd
survive, and I should tell you I was as dead as a door nail, wouldn't
you believe me?"

"Of course."

"Wal, then, though I'm sorry to say it, there ain't a bit more hope for
her. She never seed the devils that climbed over the boat. She died
afore I got twenty feet from the boat."

"You are _certain of it_?"

"Yes, sir; I'm certain."

"You must wonder at my talking thus, Jim; but I have no hopes either; I
have given her up long since. I have still one wish--to know what fate
attended her body."

"I can tell you that."

"What was it?"

"She was thrown overboard with the others."

"You did not see that done, Jim, and cannot be sure of it."

The ranger was about to contradict him, and tell that he had followed
the murderers and seen that they bore no body with them; but he did not,
and Abbot continued.

"It is this doubt--this uncertainty that still troubles me. When that
has been cleared up I shall never speak of the subject again. Russel has
told me that you and Dingle are going to seek revenge upon McGable?"

"We are not going to seek it; we are going to _get_ it."

"I profess to be a Christian, and the Bible teaches me that vengeance is
not for us, but for One alone. And, Jim, I can really say that I have no
desire that McGable should suffer at your hands. God knows that he has
broken two hearts, but the time will come when he will have to answer
for it."

"That's my idee, exactly, and I reckon as how 'twill be a little sooner
than he expects."

"He knows, if any human being does, the fate of Marian. Obtain, if
possible, first of all, the truth from him."

"I can't see just now, Abbot, how that's gwine to be done."

"Take him captive and bring him in, and we will make him answer. Do you
not think you and your companion may succeed in capturing him?"

"P'r'aps so--bein' it's your wish we'll do our best to do it, and,"
added Peterson to himself, "O Lordy! won't we skemer the old devil when
we git him. We'll toast him afore a slow fire, I'll bet my life."

"Get him, if you can, Jim, and you will confer a favor that I shall
never be able to repay."

"Never mind about that, _the thing will be done_!"

Shortly after this, Peterson took his departure.



CHAPTER V.

THE MYSTERIOUS WARNING.


IT was a mild September night in 179-. The day had been one of those
warm, hazy ones that sometimes appear at that season of the year, and
the night had set in with delicious coolness. There was a faint moon in
the heavens, and several flaky clouds were drifting past it, causing
their fantastic shadows to glide like phantoms over the settlement,
sometimes, for a moment, throwing it into shadow, and then permitting
the moonlight again to stream down upon it.

Most of the settlers had withdrawn within their cabins, and as the hour
had grown quite late, there were few, if any, stirring through the
village. A few pencils of light issued from the upper port-holes of the
block-house, showing that those inside were still up; and a hearty
laugh, ringing out now and then, told as plainly that they were engaged
in their usual habit of story-telling and joking. Peterson was inside
relating one of his earlier experiences, which infinitely amused them
all, the commander not hesitating to join in the merriment.

On the outside, the slow-measured tread of the sentinel was heard, and
his form could be seen against the wall of the block-house, as he walked
to and fro upon the platform. His keen eye never failed to take in at
every turn, every noticeable object before him. At one end of the
projection, he had a view of the river, now glistening in the sheen of
the moonlight like liquid silver; and, during the remainder of his walk,
his vision rested upon the broad, gloomy, murmuring forest, stretching
mile after mile before him, until, at last, it joined the sky away in
the faint horizon. It was Dick Dingle, whose watch extended until
midnight.

While in the act of turning on his heel, at the end of the platform, he
suddenly stopped as something suspicious caught his eye. Far up the
Ohio, at such a distance that it would have been invisible to ordinary
eyes, he saw a small, dark body in the water. At first, it had the
appearance of a large bird swimming over the surface, but the hunter
well knew that it was a canoe, approaching from the Ohio side. A slight
protuberance near the middle, convinced him that there was but one
person in it.

When about three-fourths of the way across, the sparkle of the ashen
oars could be seen, as they dipped in the water. A moment after, it
entered the line of shadows upon the Kentucky shore and disappeared.

Dingle's suspicion was aroused. The long silence and inactivity of the
savages had led him to the belief that they were preparing to strike a
great blow upon the settlements. Neither he nor Peterson had been
scouting lately, and he had no means of discovering their intentions.

"Leastways, Dick Dingle," he muttered, as he resumed his walk, "it won't
do fur you to wink both eyes at the same time. Look out fur sign."

He continued walking with the same measured, deliberate tread backward
and forward, apparently watching nothing, and yet maintaining a more
than usual scrutiny upon the river and forest. A half-hour passed away,
and finally an hour had elapsed, without bringing any new suspicion to
him; but he was well aware that this delay was as good reason for
apprehension, as could have been the noise of approach.

"You don't cotch Dingle asleep in the night-time, or when there's reds
about. It would do to let on that. Now let's see, Dingle, you old fool,
what do you s'pose the imps are up to now? Jest go to meditatin' will
you and cipher it out. In the first place, and afore anything else,
they're up to _sunkthin'_; and that ar' sunkthin' is the _devil_.
Consequently, it's a pinted fact, that they're up to the devil, and
therefore, Dingle, there's sunkthin' in the wind; so mind your eye and
look out for squalls. Wish they'd hurry up 'cause it's gettin' well on
to that green feller's watch, and I'd like to have an idee given me of
their intentions ef they're no partickler objections."

The eccentric ranger continued his walk, occasionally interspersing it
with characteristic observations similar to those above; and, all the
time, wondering why it was that something else "didn't turn up" to give
him an "idee"; but another hour wore away without bringing the desired
knowledge to him.

By this time, it was near midnight, and shortly after, a man appeared
beside him to relieve him of his watch. This new-comer was known as
Jenkins, and was what the rangers termed a "green hand:" that is, he had
seen little or nothing of Indian service, and was not one who could be
relied upon in an emergency. Several practical jokes had been played
upon him, such as getting him into the wood and raising an alarm of
Indians, or firing very closely to him from concealment; and the result
of these same tricks had given one or two a suspicion that he was
somewhat lacking in courage, and would show the white feather if pressed
to the wall.

"Careful and not get a snoozin' to-night," remarked Dingle.

"Why? you don't s'pose I would, do you?"

"Didn't know but what you might; thought I'd tell you anyway, 'cause it
_won't do to shut your eyes to-night_."

"Why? what's the matter? What's up, eh?" queried Jenkins eagerly.

"Oh, nothin' in partickler; only I've seen Injins to-night."

"Pshaw! don't say so? You're joking, Dick?"

"Ef you think so, jest think on, but ef you don't see sights afore
mornin', it'll be 'cause you can't see: that's all," and Dingle with a
warning shake of his head turned to enter the block-house.

"Oh say, Dick, that ain't fair!" said Jenkins, laying his hand on his
shoulder.

"What's the matter? Ain't scart, be you?" demanded the ranger,
confronting him with an angry countenance.

"Oh! no-no-no, I ain't scart at all--not at all; I only want you to tell
a feller all about it. You might do that, I think."

"Wal, see hyer then. I seed four or five Shawnees skulking out yonder
near the wood, tryin' to draw bead on me, and I had to do some tall
dodging to hender them. You'll have to hop around rather agile, but I
guess you can steer clear. Ef you git hit, holler and I'll haul you in
and let you die inside."

"Oh, thunder! hold on. Dingle, don't go and leave a feller this way. I
don't think it's the fair shake at all."

"What in blazes do you want?" demanded the ranger, again indignantly
facing him.

"Why, I was a-going to say--just to kind of make the observation, you
know--that--perhaps--I would think--that is--I would like to know if you
wouldn't just as lief stay out here a while?"

"What for?"

"Oh, just for company. I'll do the same favor for you some of these
times."

"I never want anybody out hyer when I'm standin' watch."

"Won't you stay. Dingle?"

"No."

And the scout turned and entered the block-house. But it was by no means
his intention to intrust the safety of the settlement to such hands as
Jenkins'; he only wished to test his courage, and create a little
diversion for his own individual benefit. He shut the door and
listened.

He could hear Jenkins walking along the platform, stamping his feet
bravely upon it, and whistling as loudly as his lips would possibly
permit him. Dingle ventured to open the door very slightly and peep out
at him. He saw him with his hands thrust deep down into his pockets, his
rifle leaning against the block-house, and shooting his feet far out in
advance, and slapping them down on the planks with such effect as to set
the men within growling and snarling at each other, as they half awoke
from their slumbers. His hat was jammed down upon the back of his head,
his hair dashed away from his forehead, the white of his eyes only being
visible, as the pupils were constantly turned toward the dreaded wood.
His mouth resembled the letter O, fringed around the edges, as he
resolutely maintained its position. "Old Hundred" came out loudly, the
fall of each foot being emphasized by a desperate burst of wind and
music, and a spasmodic jerk of the head now and then. When the whistle,
at times, became more windy than musical, he rested his lips by
communings with himself.

"Darn the Injins! I wish they were all dead! I can't see what they want
poking round here when I'm standing watch. If I catch sight of one, I'll
bet he will wish he never heard of Pete Jenkins! They're mean to be
watching us all the time. If I was the Injins, I would keep hunting the
deers and bears and I never would come around here when I was standing
watch, but I'd shoot that Dingle, because he's so everlastingly mean.
Let me see: I was turning 'Old Hundred,' I believe." The tune was now
resumed, and continued a short time, when he again broke forth. "If them
Injins will only stay away till morning I won't care, though it would be
all the same to me, and perhaps just as well if they didn't come then
either. I was just thinking--hello! Jerusalem! I seen something move
then as sure as the world!"

Dingle, who had been listening all the while, now judged that it was
time to venture forth, and, closing the door behind him, stood upon the
platform. Jenkins, whose eyes were turned toward the wood, saw nothing
of him, until he tumbled over his bent form.

"Thunderation! that you. Dingle? what you doing here?" he exclaimed,
scrambling to his feet again.

"I thought I'd come out and keep you company a while."

"Good! I am glad of it, for I feel dreadful lonely."

"Seen anything?"

"I thought I did, out yonder near the edge of the wood."

Dingle looked intently toward the point indicated a few moments, and
then became satisfied that Jenkins was right--there was a person there.
While gazing in this direction, he purposely kept his body concealed by
the guard around the platform. He continued his watch upon the
suspicious object, and at last satisfied himself of the _identity_ of
the person who had thus alarmed his friend.

"All right!" he muttered to himself. "It's the Frontier Angel, and
there's no danger of her hurting any one. She's got sunkthin' to tell,
and she's waitin' to see ef I'm about. Howsumever, I'll keep shady a
while, just to see how this long-legged feller hyer will jump when she
gives notice she's around."

"Anything there?" asked Jenkins, for the third or fourth time.

"Yas, there is; don't make too much noise."

"What makes you stoop down, Dick?" he asked, in a whisper.

"I can see better this way."

"Shan't I stoop down, too?"

"Ef you're _afraid_."

"I ain't afraid at all, only--O Lord, I'm shot!" suddenly exclaimed
Jenkins, falling down and moaning as if in his death struggle. Dingle
was not surprised; he had heard the twang of a bow, the whizz of the
arrow, and now saw it sticking several feet above him in the wood of the
block-house. He had expected this, for it was the manner in which that
mysterious being, known along the border as the "Frontier Angel," gave
notice of her presence.

  [Illustration: "'O Lord, I'm shot,' suddenly exclaimed Jenkins."]

"Get up, you fool," he commanded, giving his moaning companion a kick,
and now thoroughly provoked at the cowardice he had shown. "Get up, I
tell you; you ain't hit, but it's a pity you wasn't. Nobody has fired at
you, or tried to hit you."

"Didn't they? Come to think, I believe they didn't; but the fact is,
Dingle, I've been subject to fits ever since I was a boy--darnation! do
you mean to say I fell on purpose?" demanded Jenkins, suddenly regaining
his upright position and his courage at the same time, at finding that
he was unharmed.

"No; but it's kinder queerish the way you fell."

"Yes, them plaguy falling fits take me any time----"

"Never mind about the fits, or I'll give you some more. You stay hyer
and keep watch while I go down to the gate."

"What--what you going to do there?"

"There's somebody as wants to see me."

"You won't be gone long, will you? Who is it?"

"The one that fired that arrow up there at you."

"O Jerusalem! and so they shot at me after all. I knowed so."

"Wal, keep that jaw of your'n still, or you'll git shot at agin; and, if
you do, you won't be missed either. I'll be back pretty soon."

With these words Dingle descended and made his way to the gate at the
palisades, to receive the message of the Frontier Angel.



CHAPTER VI.

THE FRONTIER ANGEL--THE SHAWNEES.


THE person referred to in the preceding chapter as the Frontier Angel,
had received that appellation from the scouts and rangers who had known
her for several years. We say had known her, but beyond the mere fact of
her existence, nothing was known. Who she was or where she had come from
was a mystery to all. She was ever painted and dressed in the fantastic
costume of an Indian, but many supposed her to be a white person, and
gave as a reason that her language was precisely the same as that used
by themselves. She discarded entirely the extravagant, high-flown
figures so much in vogue among the North American Indians, and which
often renders their meaning unintelligible to ordinary persons. She was
always alone, and rarely if ever seen in the daytime. The whole object
of her life seemed to be that of befriending the settlers. More than
once her timely warning had saved scores of whites from the fury of the
savages. Sometimes she would make her appearance among the settlements
in the Sciota Valley, and after giving full intelligence of the
movements of their enemies, would take her departure; and the next that
would be heard of her, would be that she had performed a similar office
for the villages further east. She became known to all the rangers,
nearly all of whom regarded her not as either a white person or an
Indian, but as a spirit--an angel; and it was thus that she had gained
the name that we have mentioned. These hardy, but superstitious beings,
reverenced her as something far above them, whose touch would be instant
death. Lewis Whetzel, the most famous of the four celebrated brothers,
was the one who, to his dying day, carried out the very letter of the
vow he had made, never to let any treaty, flag of truce, or any
imaginable pretense, screen an Indian from his vengeance. This terrible
resolution he had made for the inhuman butchery of his parents when a
mere boy by the savages. The case is familiar to all, of his having
associated with Veach Dickerson, and killed an Indian in the face of the
proclamation issued by General Harmar, that all hostilities should cease
for a few days in order to negotiate with them. The reward offered by
Harmar for his apprehension, his capture, and subsequent escape to the
woods again, could not induce him to abate one tittle of his unceasing
hostility. It is said that this terrible Lew Whetzel once encountered
the Frontier Angel in the forest, and, for the first and only time in
his life, broke his vow. In relating the incident afterward, he said
that he felt as if he raised his rifle, one look from her eyes would
have struck him dead.

It was thus that the mysterious Frontier Angel was regarded by those who
held communication with her; it was no wonder that Dingle felt some
trepidation, and he hastened down, unbarred the massive gate, and saw
her standing beside him.

"What news have you to-night?" he asked.

"I have much news; but why have you remained at home so long?"

"I've no reason, I s'pose."

"Then hasten to the woods again, for there is much for you to see."

"Won't you tell me the fuss?"

"I know not it all, but the Shawnees and Wyandots are making great
preparations for taking the war-path."

"Is their idee to come hyerabouts?"

"I cannot tell; it may be, and it may be not."

"Whar' am they kickin' up this muss?"

"At Piqua."

"Yas; wal, I'll pay them a visit. Anything more?"

"That is all. I will now depart."

Dingle unbarred the gate, allowed her to pass out, and after securing
it, made his way back to the block-house again. As he passed out on the
platform, Jenkins demanded:

"Who is that you was talking with?"

"A gal that comes down to see me once in a while."

"An Injin?"

"A half-breed--splendid critter."

"Jerusalem! she looked purty. What in the name of all that's human made
she shoot that arrer at me?"

"To kill yer, in course."

"To kill me! What did she want to kill me for? I'm sure I never done her
any harm."

"She thought you'd jist come out to show yerself and try and cut me out.
It made her all-fired mad."

"Did you tell her about it."

"Yas; but I can't tell you what she said. I'm goin' in to sleep now.
Don't whistle so loud, nor slap your hoofs down so, nor git to talkin'
how mean Dick Dingle is, or he might come out and make you shut up."

With these words, the ranger opened the door of the block-house and
entered, leaving Jenkins completely dumbfounded at what he had said.

"By George! how did he know what I said? I'll bet that infernal Injin
gal is down there yet, and waiting for a chance to shoot. I'll kill her,
if she tries it, just as sure as I live. She'll wish she never knowed
anything of Pete Jenkins."

But no attempt was made upon the sentinel's life, and when the morning
dawned, the forest and river wore their usual appearance.

In the morning. Dingle imparted the message of the Frontier Angel to the
commander of the post, and offered to visit the Piqua village and
ascertain the meaning of their movements.

"If she says there is mischief afoot, you may depend that there is. Yes,
Dingle, you had better go. Take who you please, find out what you can,
and get back as soon as possible."

The visit of this strange being was only a night or two after the
interview between Abbot and Peterson, so that the latter had not yet
started upon his hunt after the renegade McGable. Upon consulting with
Dingle, it was argued between them that, as there was no need of
hurrying in such a matter, they would defer their expedition until after
their return from Piqua. The safety of the settlement was paramount to
all other considerations. Besides, it was very probable that the
renegade was in the village named, and they were just as likely to
accomplish the object of both their journeys at the same time. The two
rangers held a long consultation, and the conclusion they came to took
all by surprise. It was that Peterson should visit the Shawnee town in
Paint Creek valley, while Dingle, in company with the redoubtable
Jenkins, would reconnoiter Piqua. There was wisdom in this plan
certainly, but many thought it singular that the two should separate,
when they had never been known to do such a thing before when in
service.

The Shawnees were the great enemy of the whites, and to them may be
traced nearly all of the long and bloody wars on the frontier. They were
a vindictive, revengeful, "restless people, delighting in wars." Their
very name, as has been remarked, was a word of terror or of execration
to the early settlers among the canebrakes of Kentucky or upon the rich
bottoms of Ohio.

When this country was discovered, the Shawnees occupied the southern
part of Georgia and Florida. Here they, at last, became so obnoxious to
the other Indians by their continual murders and robberies, that a
combination of the most powerful tribes--the Choctaws, Cherokees, and
Creeks, was effected, and perpetual, unceasing war was declared against
them. Finding the country too hot to hold them, the Shawnees emigrated
north, settling on the Ohio and its tributaries. The Wyandots welcomed
them, and they increased to a mighty and powerful nation, retaining
their characteristic traits. From the commencement of the old French
war, in 1755, down to the final struggle between Tecumseh and the
whites, nearly sixty years after, they were continually engaged in some
murderous foray, interrupted only by a dozen years of quiet, succeeding
the treaty of Wayne.

Like all large Indian nations, the Shawnees were subdivided into tribes,
and these subdivided into families. The names of but four of these
tribes are now known: The Piqua, Kiskapocoke, Chillicothe, and
Mequachake. Piqua, in the Indian tongue, means a _man rising from the
ashes_, and there is a tradition among them, that it was thus this
division originated.

They had a large village at the head of Massie's Creek, a short distance
north of where Xenia now stands, and another named Piqua, on Mad River,
a few miles below Springfield. Their principal headquarters were in the
valley of Paint creek and Sciota river.

The simple preparations of the scouts were made, and it was agreed they
should start in a few hours upon their perilous journey.



CHAPTER VII.

THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE UNDER DIFFICULTIES.


PETERSON'S destination being the Sciota valley, he left the settlement
and proceeded eastward, up the Ohio, until the mouth of the Sciota was
reached, when he prosecuted his journey in a northerly direction, making
it all on foot. Leaving him to continue his duty, we will follow the
fortunes of the other two.

Dingle had two reasons for taking Jenkins with him. The first was for
his own good, and the second was for his own--that is the
ranger's--amusement. He counted on little difficulty in ascertaining all
that he wished, and believed that his companion would be so tractable in
his hands that little trouble need be apprehended from his erratic
disposition. His plan was to proceed westward, following the course of
the Ohio, until the mouth of the Little Miami was reached, up which he
would proceed in a canoe. As he had often visited the same town, he took
occasion, when upon one of his expeditions, to "borrow" an Indian canoe,
as he expressed it, and concealing it at the mouth of this river, to be
used for the purpose named.

"Confound it! what did you want to take me along for?" demanded Jenkins,
spitefully, after they were fairly in the wood.

"Why, to scout around, and obsarve the pecooliarities of the Shawnees,"
replied Dingle.

"Yes, s'pose so! darned if I don't shoot every one I see!"

"Good! give us your paw on that, Jenkins, you're some, after all."

"After all what?" demanded the wrathful man, not at all relishing the
eagerness with which the ranger took his threat.

"After all the dodgin' and sneakin' you've done when the reds war
around."

"See here now!" exclaimed Jenkins, stepping in front of and confronting
the ranger. "I want to know what you mean by that? That's a reflection
upon my courage which I never intend to permit."

Dingle, concluding it best not to offend him at present, answered, "I
meant the time you fell down so flat when the Frontier Angel fired her
arrer at you."

"Do you know what made me do it, sir?"

"Oh! yes--I mind me now, you had a fit just then."

"Well, sir, don't let me hear anything more about that then; I have
explained all about them fits, and you must remember."

"Wal, never mind, Jenkins, it won't do to git them now, coz why, if you
do, when you come to again, you'll find you've cotched another kind of
fits--wal, you will, ole feller."

"Do you s'pose, Dick, they'll watch us close?" asked Jenkins, in a tone
so changed from his braggadocio style to that of earnest inquiry, that
Dingle could not conceal a smile.

"Mighty clus, you'll find out. Howsumever, ef you tend to your business
and mind what I tell you, you'll come out all right, I guess."

"My gracious! I wish we was only on our way back. I don't like Injins no
way you can fix it."

"I don't neither, so let's pike ahead and hold in for a while."

The journey continued in silence. They were on the Ohio side of the
river, having crossed it at the commencement of their expedition. Late
in the afternoon they were obliged to swim a small stream that put in
from the Ohio. This was accomplished easily, as both were excellent
swimmers, Jenkins fully equal to the ranger. On the shore of this they
halted, spent a few moments in eating a portion of the food they had
brought with them. By this time darkness had settled over the forest,
but the moon was quite strong, and they kept on for several hours. At
the end of that time they reached a solitary block-house, standing on a
clearing, where it was the intention to shortly commence a settlement.
There was a small force stationed there by the governor of the territory
some months previous. The sentinel was on the look-out and detected the
approach of Dingle as soon as the latter became aware of the
block-house. He was instantly challenged, but a word set the matter
right, and in a moment one of the force descended, unbarred the gate,
and joyfully welcomed him in. Lew Whetzel, to whom we have before
referred, was in the block-house, and the meeting between him and Dingle
was cordial on both sides. There were eight soldiers besides, all adepts
in Indian warfare. The commander produced his cups, poured out whisky,
and none, save Jenkins, needed an invitation to drink. The latter was a
perfect novice, and with wondering eyes followed the motions and actions
of Dingle. The consequence was, before any one suspected it, he
commenced nodding, and shortly dropped upon the floor. One of the men
rolled him into the corner, where he slept until morning.

Dingle, Whetzel, and several others kept up the conversation all through
the night. They drank enough to make each communicative, and related
stories and anecdotes almost without end. Lew Whetzel gave that incident
in his experience to which we have before alluded. At its conclusion, he
sprang to his feet with a regular Shawnee yell.

"And here is Lew Whetzel! ready for a bear-fight, Indian hug, or a hair
raise."

As he uttered these words, he gave Jenkins a kick that thoroughly
awakened him.

"Gracious alive! what's the matter?" exclaimed the latter, starting to
his feet.

"Day has broke, and it's time to be trampin'," said Dingle.

"Yas," added Whetzel; "and I must go up the river to see the boys."

The appearance of this Lewis Whetzel was most extraordinary. He was
below the medium height, with a square massive breast, very broad
shoulders, and arms as powerful as piston-rods. His face was nearly as
dark as an Indian's, and marked with the small-pox. His eyes were of the
fiercest blackness imaginable, and there were few who could stand their
terrible glance when angry. It is said that he never allowed his hair to
be cut. At any rate, at the time mentioned, it was so long, that when
allowed to flow unrestrained, it reached down below his knees.

Dingle and Jenkins passed outside, and after a hasty good-by, plunged
resolutely into the forest. The ranger led the advance, in his usual
cautious manner, proceeding rapidly, and yet so stealthily that their
approach could not have been heard a dozen feet distant, excepting now
and then, when Jenkins caught his foot in some vine, and tumbled with a
suppressed exclamation upon his hands and knees, or forgot himself so
much as to undertake to commence a conversation.

The journey was continued without incident worthy of note until
nightfall. Not an Indian or white man was encountered through the day.
Just at dusk, they reached a river, which, as Dingle informed Jenkins,
was the Little Miami.

"My gracious! has that got to be swam, too?" asked the latter, in
astonishment.

"No! we'll row over, I guess."

"Row over? how can we do that?"

"Don't ax too many questions and you'll see."

With this, Dingle proceeded some distance upstream, and then halted
before a large, tangled mass of undergrowth. Here he stooped down, and
pulled out a small birchen canoe, almost as light as paper. An Indian's
paddle lay beside it, which he instructed Jenkins to bring forth. As he
dropped the boat in the river, it danced as uneasily and buoyantly as an
eggshell.

"Where under the sun did you get that thing?" asked Jenkins.

"That belongs to the Frontier Angel. It's the one we used to go sparking
in when we was young."

"Pshaw, Dick, you're joking," replied Jenkins, incredulously.

"I should think you knowed enough of me to know that I never joke when
I'm scouting it. Jest jump in while I give it a shove."

Now if any of our readers have ever seen a small Indian canoe, they will
detect at once the mischievous object of Dingle in asking his companion
to "jump into" this one. It is an impossibility for a person who does
not understand them, to spring in without going overboard. It is
precisely similar to putting on a pair of skates for the first time.
Unless you have tried it before, and know how to do it, you are sure to
be deceived. But Jenkins had no suspicions, judging from the last remark
of Dingle that he was perfectly serious.

So he made a spring, struck the thing near the bow, and it shot like a
bolt backward into the shore, and he disappeared with a loud splash
beneath the surface of the water.

"Blast that boat! what made it do that?" he spluttered, scrambling into
shore again.

"You're a smart one!" remarked Dingle, without changing a muscle of his
face. "I'd 'vise you to practice a little at gettin' in a boat, when
you've got time. I s'pose I'll have to hold it for you, this time."

And so he did, seizing it by the stern, and holding it firmly while
Jenkins carefully deposited himself in the front part. Dingle then
stepped in, seated himself near the middle, and dipping his paddle in
the water, shot rapidly toward the opposite bank.

It was now quite dark, and by keeping near the center of the stream, he
felt secure from observation from either shore. An hour or two, he sped
swiftly forward, encountering no suspicious object, and exchanging not a
syllable with his companion. After a time, the moon arose; and, as it
slowly rolled above the wilderness, it shed such a flood of light as to
make it extremely dangerous to continue as heretofore. The tall forest
trees towered upon both sides, throwing a wall of shadow far out into
the stream. Dingle ran his canoe in under protection of these, upon the
left bank, and dipped his oars more deeply and silently, commanding
Jenkins not to utter a syllable.

Dingle paddled hour after hour, until toward midnight, he touched the
bank, sprung out, and exchanged places with Jenkins, who took his turn
at the paddle. At first he made several feints, nearly upsetting the
canoe, but, in a short time, he became quite an expert, and did his duty
without a murmur. Another exchange, another long pull, and the ranger
ran his canoe again into shore, pulling it up and concealing it on the
bank. Day was dawning, and they had reached that point where it was
necessary to take to the forest again, and strike across toward Mad
river.

In doing this, our friends were compelled to pass the Indian village
mentioned as being a short distance below where Xenia now stands. This
being a smaller and less important one than Piqua, Dingle concluded to
visit it upon his return. The river, at the point where they
disembarked, made a bend to the eastward; so that, by taking a direct
northwest course toward Mad river, it was not even necessary to make a
detour to avoid it.

They had now progressed so far upon their journey, that Dingle knew they
could reach Piqua long before night. Accordingly, he crawled into a
dense mass of undergrowth, followed by Jenkins, who carefully restored
the bushes behind him to their upright position, so as to remove all
signs of their trail. Here they both lay down and slept soundly.

Dingle possessed that power, which is so singular and yet so easily
acquired, of waking at the precise moment he wished. About noon he
opened his eyes, arose to the sitting position, gave Jenkins a kick, and
ordered him to make ready to start. After a hearty meal upon the last of
the venison they had brought with them, they emerged from their
resting-place, and once more resumed their journey.

As they gradually approached the neighborhood of the Indian settlement,
Dingle became more and more cautious in his movements, until Jenkins was
in a perfect tremor of apprehension.

"Don't fall behind!" admonished the ranger, unmercifully.

"My gracious, I won't! Every time you stop, I bump against you. I've
mashed my nose already."

"Never mind; we're gettin' nigher every minute."

"I know we are, and that's what troubles me so much. If we were only
going the other way, I wouldn't mind it so much."

Several times they came upon Indian trails, some of which were so fresh
that Dingle made several detours, painfully tedious to Jenkins, who
every minute was getting into a feverish state. Before dark, they
ascended a sort of ridge, which seemed the boundary of a valley on the
left. Jenkins followed his guide so closely, that he hardly took his
eyes off of him, much less did he know where he was going. He saw they
were ascending a rising ground, and that, after about an hour's labor,
he came to a halt.

"Take a look down there!" whispered Dingle, parting the bushes in front
of him. Jenkins followed the direction of his finger, and saw, spread
out before him, in the valley below, the entire Indian village.

"My gracious! don't that look funny!" he exclaimed.

"It don't strike me as rather funny, when you understand what they're
making all that fuss for."

"Not for us, you don't mean."

"Yes, for us."

"Let's be gettin' out of here, then."

"No, I don't mean for us here, but for the settlement--the block-house."

"Oh! I thought you meant they were coming here."

It was evident to any eye, that the savages below them were making
preparations for some hostile expedition. Dingle judged it was against
their own village from what the Frontier Angel had said. Most of the
warriors were collected upon a large open space near one end of the
village. Here several of their orators--_stump speakers_ is a better
term--were constantly haranguing them. The excited gesticulation, the
bobbing of the head, and now and then a word could be heard by our two
friends in concealment. The men were arrayed in the gaudy hideousness of
war-paint, and to all appearances hugely delighted with the oratory that
greeted their ears. Men were continually arriving and departing,
sometimes nearly a score passing into the wood, and then reappearing in
a short time again. Every second several shouts or yells pierced the
air. The whole village was in commotion, and Dingle could as well have
departed at once with the information that the Shawnees were again
taking the war-path, and the settlement was most probably the object of
their fury. But he determined to know more before he went back.

As it was getting darker, and the shrubbery and undergrowth were so
dense as to afford a sure concealment in spite of the moon, which rose
at a late hour, he felt no hesitation at making a much nearer approach.

In a short time they were within a hundred yards of the upper end. Here
they both nestled down, and waited some time before making a further
movement.

"Keep powerful quiet, while I look around!" admonished Dingle, crouching
down and commencing to move off in the darkness.

"Here, hold on a minute," whispered Jenkins, eagerly catching the skirt
of his hunting-dress; "how long are you going to be gone?"

"I don't know--sh!"

The footsteps of some one were now heard, breaking through the bushes.
Dingle and Jenkins bent low, and in a moment discerned, looming up
against the light in the village, the dark form of an Indian.

"By gracious! he's coming right onto us. Where's my gun?"

"Shut up, or I'll break it over your head," replied Dingle.

The hunter loosened his knife in his belt, for an encounter seemed
unavoidable. The Indian came right straight ahead, in a line toward
them; but when within ten feet, unconsciously to himself perhaps, he
turned to the left and passed on, thus escaping a collision and his own
doom at the same time.

"Now don't stir from hyer till I come back," whispered Dingle, again.

"Just wait a minute, Dick; I want to ask a question or two."

"Spit them out, quick then!"

"How long are you going to be gone?"

"P'r'aps an hour or two."

"What must I do all that time?"

"Why, lay still--don't budge an inch, 'cept you want to lose your ha'r."

"Oh! I don't want to lose it. S'pose the Injins come poking round here,
what's to be done then?"

"Keep docile, and like as not they won't see you; but if they does, why,
jump up, give 'em a lunge with your knife, and put to the woods. You can
run fast 'nough to give 'em the slip. In course, you'll have to make
some tall dodgin' to do it, but I guess you are able."

"I'll try it, Dick, though I'd much rather you'd stay."

"I can't--so don't bother me agin."

With this, Dingle moved away as silently as a snake, and disappeared
instantly. He made his way toward the opposite side of the village. It
was not his intention to proceed thus far at first, but circumstances
compelled him. It seemed impossible to gain the view he wished. At every
point, some obstruction presented itself. The Indians, too, were so
continually passing through the wood, that discovery sometimes appeared
inevitable. They made their appearance so suddenly, that they were not
seen until almost upon him, and then it was only by the most labored
caution that they could be avoided. Several times, indeed, had it come
to that point, that he clutched his knife, and stooped to spring; but
kind fortune still screened him.

Dingle had been absent about a couple of hours, and had reached a spot
from which he believed he could obtain all the information he wished,
when he was startled by the report of a rifle, and a series of yells
from the quarter in which he had left Jenkins! He heard the rush of feet
through the bushes and the signals of alarm all about him.

"That cussed fool has got himself into a fix, I'll swear!" muttered the
ranger retreating several yards, so as to be concealed by the wood, and
hurrying around toward the spot in which he had left him. He reached it
in a few minutes, but all signs of commotion had ceased. An
extraordinary stillness reigned over the village. He signaled for
Jenkins, but no answer was returned. He found, at last, the precise spot
in which he had left him. But he was gone, most certainly.

"Yas, the fool's in a fix, sure. Sarved him right. He'll larn sunkthin'
afore he gets back to the settlement again."



CHAPTER VIII.

A MAN IN TROUBLE.


DINGLE waited in the wood until morning, searching and signaling for
Jenkins, but without success. He hoped at first that he had made his
escape; but he was compelled, after carefully watching the village for a
long time, to the belief that he had been captured. In fact, it was a
certainty with the ranger. He understood the actions of the Shawnees
well enough to be satisfied upon that point.

"Now, Dingle, what's to be done?" queried the ranger meditatively. "He's
in their claws--that's a sure case, and it don't look right for you to
leave him thar. But jest hold on a minute. The great moral question is
this: which ar' to be saved--him or the whole settlements? Ef I stay
h'yer, pokin' round for him, like as not, I'll get cotched myself--no, I
won't either, for Dick Dingle don't get that thing done to him. The reds
ar' goin' on a ha'r raise, that's sure; and they'll leave Jenkins till
they come back afore they roast him. Consequently, he'll have time to
look round and git acquainted with his friends, and p'r'aps make a
bargain to let him off on a visit. No, Dingle, you must make tracks fur
home powerful fast."

This decision arrived at, the ranger lost no time in putting it into
execution. He knew he could not get much start of his enemies; and,
although they would be armed at the settlement, yet it was imperatively
necessary they should have more definite knowledge of the intended
assault. Slinging his rifle over his shoulder, he turned his face to the
south and plunged into the forest.

In the meantime Peter Jenkins _had_ managed to fall into an unpleasant
predicament.

Upon the departure of Dingle, he made up his mind to obey every letter
of his instructions. Accordingly, he squeezed himself into the smallest
space possible, and curled obediently up on the ground. He lay thus
perhaps a half-hour, when he fell sound asleep. This was unintentional
on his part; but the fatigue of the expedition, and the time he had
passed, without slumber, were too much for him, and he finally
succumbed.

He would have slept, in all probability, until the return of Dingle, had
it not been for a purely accidental circumstance. As his slumbers grew
more heavy, he gave two or three jerks, and finally straightened out
upon his back. In doing this, he naturally threw his hands backward, and
by the merest accident in the world, struck a toad that sat blinking a
foot or two distant. The creature made a startled leap and plumped down
square in his face, but immediately sprang off again. It, however,
seemed to awaken Jenkins, who rose to the sitting position, and entirely
unmindful of where he was, commenced talking, in a mumbling tone, to
himself.

"Like to know who that feller was that hit me in the face. Liked
to knocked me out of bed; s'pose it was Dingle, though--just like
him--makes my nose feel awful cold. Queer a feller can't sleep when
he wants to--all-fired mean to 'sturb a person that way. Lay over
on your own side, Dick. Hello! he ain't here! Look at these
bushes!--Thunderation! where am I?"

He stared bewilderingly about him. Gradually a recollection of his
situation came to him. And then he was filled with apprehension lest he
had betrayed himself. He listened carefully for a few minutes, but
hearing nothing, judged that matters were all right; and, as he was
excessively sleepy, he dropped languidly back again, and was falling
rapidly into a state of unconsciousness, when he was waked again.

The fact was he had been overheard by a couple of brawny Shawnees who,
at that moment, were passing within a few feet of him. They dropped
noiselessly to the earth, and commenced making their way toward him, as
he fell back so unconsciously.

In the meantime, one of those little, active, prying dogs, that are
always bobbing around an Indian village, made the same discovery. He ran
fearlessly up to the prostrate man, poked his cold nose against his
cheek, and gave a loud bark that electrized Jenkins completely.
Remembering the parting admonition of Dingle, to "fire and run," in case
of discovery, he seized his gun, blazed away at the dog, and turned on
his heel.

Even then he might have effected his escape, had it not been for the dog
mentioned. The Indians suspecting he was a scout, were taken all aback
by the unexpected manner in which he acted, and hesitated so long before
following, that, as we said, he might have escaped, had it not been for
the dog. The creature was unhurt by his shot, and with a yelp of alarm,
sprang in front of him. Jenkins was too confused to notice him, the dog
got entangled between his legs, and he pitched headlong to the ground.
Before he could rise the Indians were upon him, and yelling with
exultation.

  [Illustration: "Before he could rise the Indians were upon him."]

"We kill--if fight--no run," muttered one in broken English.

"Jerusalem! I won't run--don't kill me. I won't run at least with you
two fellers on my back. Don't kill me!"

"Stand up--quick!"

"Yes, I will--don't kill me!"

One of the savages had already secured his rifle; and, as he arose, one
stood on either side of him and took a firm hold of his arms. By this
time there were a score of other savages around, all dancing, shouting,
and yelling; and in the midst of them our friend Jenkins was marched
into the center of the Indian village.

Immediately a score of Shawnees scattered into the wood, to ascertain
whether there were any more whites lurking in the vicinity, while
Jenkins was hurried into a lodge, thrown upon his face, his hands tied
securely behind him, and his feet locked as tightly together, as if they
had been screwed in a vice.

"Consarn it! what's the use in serving a feller that way? I told you I
wouldn't run away, and you shouldn't doubt my word."

Some eight or nine remained to guard, but no one seemed disposed to heed
his request.

"You ugly old heathen, standing there by the door, grinning at me, just
loosen these cords, will you?" said Jenkins. The Indian, still paying no
attention to his entreaties. Jenkins supposed he did not understand the
English language; and he repeated his request in a louder tone, as
though that would assist his understanding. But with no better effect.
"I don't want the cords loosened--wouldn't have them untied if you
wanted to do it," he added, sullenly.

As his captors still evinced no desire to do anything more than watch
him, he resigned himself sullenly to his fate, and ceased speaking.

The night wore slowly away without any noticeable change taking place in
his condition. Sleep, under the existing circumstances, was out of the
question, and Jenkins contented himself--if the expression is
allowable--with maintaining a moody silence, varied now and then by a
gratuitous insult to those around, which, luckily for him, they failed
to comprehend.

While this sleepless guard was being kept upon our unfortunate friend,
there was another tribunal, as sleepless and vastly more important to
him. In the chieftain's lodge was assembled half a hundred warriors,
debating the matter of life or death. It could be hardly said there was
a debate upon that either; for all agreed that their victim should
die--agreed that he should not only die, but _be burned at the stake_!

They were considering only _when_ this should be done. It could not be
expected there would be a single dissenting voice as to his fate, and
there was none. But the question was whether the war-expedition should
be deferred by consummating the torture, or whether it should be left
over until they returned. It was their intention to start upon the
morrow for the settlement which we have so often referred to; and
rightly fearing that every hour of delay was a day's gain to their
intended victims, it was at last decided that Jenkins should be kept
until their return, when he should suffer the awful torture of death by
fire. They knew their passions would be inflamed to that pitch that the
agonies of their prisoner's torment would be the most exquisite pleasure
they could enjoy.

Most fortunate, indeed, for Jenkins was it that the renegade was not
present at that council. Had he been, he never would have seen the light
of another morning; for he had learned long before that no white
prisoner was sure to them until he had been a victim to their vengeance.
The renegade had left only a day or two before for the Indian towns in
the Sciota valley, and consequently knew nothing of Jenkins' capture.

When the morning dawned, there was great commotion throughout the
village. The final preparations were made for the departure of the
war-party.

Jenkins heard the confusion and clamor around him, but he was in no mood
to care what they were doing. A sort of stolid indifference had
succeeded to the excessive fear he had at first evinced.

"Darnation! I don't care what they do! They can burn me and eat me, if
they want to! Let 'em blaze away!"

Shortly after daybreak, the war-party departed. About a dozen men
remained behind to guard the village, and see that no attempt was made
to free the prisoner, while a whole host of squaws and children raised
bedlam. The lodge in which Jenkins was confined was completely beset by
them. At first his guards allowed them to rush in and torment him in
their characteristic manner--such as pulling his hair, pinching, and
striking him with sticks. Finally his patience became exhausted.

"By thunder! if you don't take these things off I'll kill every one of
them!" he exclaimed, furiously wriggling and tugging at his bonds.

The Indians enjoyed the sport hugely, especially the impotent wrath he
displayed. They made no attempt to restrain the excited multitude, until
they became so numerous and boisterous, that for their own convenience,
they cleared the lodge of the tormentors.

"You'd better done that just then," said the prisoner. "I was just
getting ready to knock some of their brains out."

At noon he was given some meat and drink, and he ate ravenously, for his
situation seemed to have little effect upon his appetite. His usual fear
and subsequent indifference had now given way to a perfect recklessness.
Goaded to madness, he cared not a straw what he did. He swore within
himself that he would make his escape before morning, though how to
effect it wasn't plain even to himself.

His guard maintained their sullen watch until dark, when the clamorous
crowd again commenced pressing around. They were restrained from
entering, but they continued yelling and pressing against the lodge
till, all at once, the side gave way, and fell inward. Those pressing
against it were so numerous that they poured irresistibly forward,
piling in a mass upon Jenkins, kicking and struggling to free
themselves, and making the confusion perfectly horrid by their yells. To
make the matter still worse, the sudden incoming of the multitude had
extinguished the burning torches, so that all was in total darkness.

Jenkins, feeling the mass upon him, became doubly enraged and made
furious efforts to free himself. But the cords were too firm, and he
finally gave up in despair.

Immediately he felt some one fingering around him; and to his
inexpressible astonishment found the cords at his feet and hands cut,
and he was now perfectly free. He lost no time in taking advantage of
this providential intercourse of some one. Springing to his feet, he
turned to make a dash through the open side of the lodge. At that moment
a soft hand touched his, and some one, pulling his head downward,
whispered eagerly in his ear:

"Don't stop! run as fast as you can!"

"You may bet I'll do that," he replied, although he scarcely heard his
own voice in the deafening uproar around him.

Of course, in the darkness, it was impossible to distinguish the
prisoner. When the building crashed inward, two or three savages hurried
off for torches, while several more sprang to the opening to intercept
his flight, should he attempt it. As they knew his bonds were too firm
to be broken, they had little fear of this, but adopted these
precautions in obedience to their cautious instincts. But Jenkins
avoided them all. He made a spring outward, a literal "leap in the
dark," ran a short distance in a straight line, until, as might be
expected, he brought up all standing against a lodge that happened to be
in his way. There were none inside, for the tumult in the village had
drawn them out, and he suffered no injury, except a few scratches.
Without stopping to ascertain the damages, he made an abrupt turn to the
left, and hurrying onward, found himself, in a few seconds, clear of the
town and in the dark wood.

The lights were soon recovered and brought to the lodge from which he
had fled. Held in the entrance, they revealed a swarm of dark,
struggling bodies, piled pell-mell upon each other. Under the light of
the smoking-torches, these regained their feet in an incredible short
space of time. Then to the unutterable astonishment of the Shawnees, it
was found that the prisoner had escaped.

The Indians stood completely dumbfounded for a moment, totally unable to
realize that such was the case. But a Shawnee Indian rarely gives way to
his emotions, and when he does, it does not last long. A long, wild,
lengthened howl conveyed the dismal intelligence that the white man had
fled to the woods.

Now the pursuit and search commenced. Lights were gleaming and flitting
through the trees, like frantic fire-flies, and the eager savages were
darting and yelling in every direction. Signals were given and returned,
and all imaginable artifices adopted.

But a pursuit, under such disadvantages, could hardly be expected to be
successful. And it did not prove so in this case. Jenkins knew well how
to use his legs, especially when his life depended upon them; and the
manner in which he flew through the forest would have made an ordinary
Indian despair at once. He had nearly the entire night before him, and
he hardly halted for breathing time until morning. The moon arose toward
midnight, and so lit up the wood that it would have been exceedingly
dangerous for him had his pursuers been anywhere in the vicinity. But
they were not, and he had it all to himself.

At morning he was so exhausted that he threw himself upon the ground, at
the roots of a fallen tree, and slept heavily. Slept until near the
middle of the afternoon, and then he would not have awakened, had not a
visitor helped him to recall his wits. He opened his eyes and started
with unbounded astonishment at seeing before him that mysterious being
known as the Frontier Angel. She stood a few feet away, surveying him
with a look of mild joy, and holding in her right hand a rifle which he
instantly recognized as his own.

"So you made your escape, did you?" she remarked, seeing that he said
nothing.

"Hello! how are you? Glad to see you. How's your folks? Been well?"
asked Jenkins, suddenly thinking he had been remiss in his usual
politeness. These questions were accompanied by a profound bow and
scrape of his foot upon the earth.

The being before him paid no heed to these demonstrations, but repeated
her remark:

"So you made your escape, did you?"

"Very well, I thank you, how's your health?"

"You have escaped, I say?"

"Oh! yes, a pleasant day."

The personage paused and looked at him in astonishment. The truth of the
matter was, Jenkins was so confused that he did not comprehend a single
remark made by her. He continued bowing and scraping and speaking
incoherently until, at last, his senses returned. The Frontier Angel
merely gazed at him with a wondering expression, in which not a particle
of mirth could be seen. Waiting a few moments, she once more repeated
her remark.

"Oh--you spoke of escape, did you? Yes, I managed to get away _myself_."

"Were you not bound?"

"Oh, yes; with tremendous big cords."

"How did you free yourself of them?"

"Broke them all by my giant strength, ma'm," he replied, valiantly.

"You are mistaken, sir."

"Oh! was it you that cut them when we was in the muss?" he asked,
eagerly.

"I cut them and admonished you to fly. You should not take the credit
yourself," mildly replied the visitor.

"I didn't know as you done it, or I wouldn't said so," said Jenkins,
somewhat crestfallen at being so caught.

"How came you to be captured?" she continued, standing in front of him,
and keeping her dark eyes fixed upon him.

"Overpowered by main force! I'd like to see the man that could withstand
forty-three Shawnee Indians."

"Were there that many who assailed you?"

"Well, I couldn't say positively now--perhaps more or less. To speak
within bounds, we'll call it forty-two."

"And where is he who was with you?"

"Who?--Dick Dingle? He wouldn't stay and fight, but run and left me
behind to meet all the danger."

"You were scouts, then, sent to reconnoiter the Indians, I suppose. In
doing so, you were captured by your enemies, while your companion
escaped. But, thanks to the great Ruler above, you were also delivered
from death. Your friend, from what I know of him, leads me to the
belief that he gained enough knowledge of the Indians to answer all
purposes. And he will be able to give all information to the settlements
which I was unable to give."

"S'pect so. Leastways I know, when I get home, I'll be able to give our
settlement a great deal of information that they never knowed or dreamt
on before."

"I have followed your trail, my friend, to come up with you and find out
what I have just learned. I rejoice to learn that it has turned out
thus. And now I will bid you good-by. Do not delay, for, although you
are a great way from the Indian town, there may be many and swift
pursuers upon your trail."

"Say! hold on a minute!" called out Jenkins, springing toward her, first
reaching out his hand, and then suddenly withdrawing it, as he
remembered what he had heard said would be the consequences of such an
act.

"What do you want?" she asked, turning round and facing him.

Now, the truth of the matter was, Jenkins had fallen desperately in love
with this singular personage. And, all things considered, it could not
be wondered at. Arrayed in her fantastic Indian dress, her beauty was
certainly wild and wonderful. Gay, painted eagle and porcupine quills
formed a fiery head-dress, which contrasted well with the long,
luxuriant hair of jetty blackness, that rolled unrestrained down her
shoulders. The face was small and a delicate oval, the eyelashes long
and black, the nose thin and small, and the teeth of pearly pureness.
Viewed from the side, the profile was perfectly straight from the upper
part of the forehead to the base of the nose, from which point it
slightly retreated to the chin. The eyes were dark, and when fixed upon
a person, wore a meek, mild expression; at other times they fairly
blazed with fire. A dress of dazzling colors reached from the shoulders
to the ankles, and was confined at the waist by a band of gleaming red.
The feet were encased in small, ornamented moccasins which displayed the
symmetrical limbs to advantage. Several rows of wampum were hung around
the neck and waist, and the whole dress was such as an Indian chief
would put upon his princess.

When she turned so abruptly and faced Jenkins, he was considerably
disconcerted. Upon any other occasion, he would have hesitated and
stammered much, before he would have come to the point; but, he well
knew there were but a few minutes left him, and he said:

"I just want to speak a word with you. I s'pose you know Dick Dingle,
don't you? that feller that left me so cowardly?"

"Yes," she replied, without changing a feature or removing her gaze from
him.

"Well, I was just going to say--that is--I wouldn't have anything to do
with him. He is an awful mean man; I wouldn't speak to him."

"Why?" was the same quiet question.

"Oh! 'cause he's so everlastingly mean. Darnation! haven't I told you a
thousand times? How many more times are you going to ask me?"

"Is that all?"

"Yes--no--hold on!"

"What else do you wish?"

"I want to know if--if--if you don't like him, do you now?" suddenly
broke forth Jenkins.

The maiden began acting strangely. Her eyes brightened, her lips
quivered, and she seemed striving to say something. She controlled her
emotion in a moment, and sweeping her hand over her eyes, looked calmly
at her questioner, but without deigning a reply.

"Don't you--don't you--don't you _love me now_? I do you!" besought our
friend, going down on his knees in true, sentimental style.

The Frontier Angel gazed calmly on him a moment, then raised her eyes,
turned on her heel, and disappeared in the forest.

  [Illustration: "The Frontier Angel gazed calmly on him a moment."]



CHAPTER IX.

PETER JENKINS--A COUPLE OF SPEECHES.


"CONSARN her, I don't care nothin' for her. I was just fooling; I only
got down to see where she had put my rifle. Wonder where she got it
from! She's awful ugly. S'pect Dingle has been telling her some lies
about me. By gracious! if I'd only thought about her shooting that arrer
at me, she'd have cotched it. Wonder if it would have killed a feller if
he'd touched her! I wouldn't risk it, no how. She is purty--_somewhat_.
Never mind, I don't care, though I should like to know who she is. It's
time I was tramping home, or the folks will begin to worry about me!"

Soliloquizing thus, Jenkins took his rifle, which he saw was still
loaded, and once more turned his face homeward. Let us precede his
arrival at the settlement.

Dingle, upon starting, after he deemed it useless to wait for Jenkins,
had made all haste through the wood, and proceeded much faster than the
war-party which started the next day. Nothing occurred to interrupt his
journey, and in due time he made his appearance before the block-house.
He was joyfully welcomed back by all. The fate of Jenkins was sincerely
regretted by every one, but under the circumstances it could not be
helped. He was known to all, and although from his suspected cowardice
he commanded little respect, his loss was none the less mourned.

"They're paintin' and greasin' themselves, so that they can slip around
easy like, and they're just ready to start agin some settlement. More
than that, boys, they've started afore now, and their faces are turned
this way and you've jest got time to git ready to invite 'em in."

"How many?" inquired the commander of the post.

"Can't tell, but a powerful heap. Howsumever there ain't more than we
can give 'Hail Columbia.' I don't think there'll be any Shawnees except
from the upper town on Mad river. The imps in the other towns have got
enough other deviltry to attend to, and I s'pect this is a kinder
independent affair for the Piqua skunks."

The news of Dingle, as might be expected, occasioned the greatest
excitement throughout the little encampment. The settlers, with
compressed and silent lips, commenced moving the most valuable part of
their furniture into the block-house, while the women, "whispering with
white lips," moved hurriedly about, uttering their supplications
continually.

As for the men in the block-house, they were in the highest of spirits.
It had been a long time since anything had occurred to break the
monotony of their life, and they hailed with delight the prospect of
storms ahead. When one of the men became so boisterous, that the
commander endeavored to check him, by telling him that the fight would
probably be a desperate and bloody one, the fellow actually sprang off
his feet, swung his hat over his head, and shouted, "Glory!"

Peterson had returned the day before Dingle, but without any news to
alarm the settlement. The Indians in the Sciota valley were as quiet as
usual, and there was no evidence to show that they intended a hostile
expedition. The attack, as said by Dingle, and also by the Frontier
Angel, was most probably contemplated by those at the Piqua town alone.

After most of the preparations had been completed, Abbot called Dingle
aside, and asked him whether he had learned anything of McGable.

"He wasn't in that village," he replied.

"I suppose you are sure of it."

"Yes, for I surrounded the village two or three times, and if he'd have
been thar', I'd seen him. I seen the chiefs, and could have shot any
reds I'd been asked to."

"Peterson says he is not in the towns either, which he visited, for he
examined each most thoroughly. How can it be? Where is he?"

"I've found out that he is at the village at the head of the Little
Miami most of the time. Thar's where he is now, you may bet a
considerable."

"Do you suppose he will be with the attacking Indians?"

"P'r'aps so, though it can't be told for a startin thing. I s'pose
you'd like to know where me and Jim are going to catch him. You needn't
think we're going to give it up. We ain't, 'cause we've set our hearts
on it; and as soon as these reds as ar' comin' here get a little taste
of us, the thing's going to be done. 'Cause why? Dick Dingle and Jim
Peterson has said so."

"I hope you will learn of the fate of poor Marian, for I believe her
mother will not live three months longer if you do not. When she finds
out for certain, that her child is dead, and gone to her rest, she may
bear up under this great affliction."

"Hold still a minute," said Dingle, as if a sudden thought had struck
him. "Now there's Frontier Angel; she knows all about the Injin affairs,
and I shouldn't wonder ef she could tell you somethin' about her. Freeze
me to death, why didn't I think of it? I know she can."

"Frontier Angel, who is she? I have heard her spoken of as an Indian
maiden, of whom nothing is known except that she is one of the best
friends the settlers ever had."

"So she is--so she is; ef it hadn't been for her two or three times,
thar' would have been some big ha'r raising done by the reds. She finds
out nearly all their deviltry, and she's bound to let the whites know
it."

"Do you know where she is now?"

"Tellin' the settlements to keep their eyes peeled, or maybe she's gone
up to Heaven a little while. You needn't laugh, for she's a
_sperit_--she's an angel, sure. Lew Whetzel says so, and I know she is,
too."

"Why do you suppose she is such a being?"

"She's jest like one. She's as purty and as good. No one knows whar's
she has come from, or whar' she goes to. She is allers alone, and goes
about in the night. She ain't afeared of nothin', while everything is
afeared of her."

"How are you going to get, then, the information of which you speak?"

"Just ax her the next time I see her. She knows me, and we've often
talked together. She come and told me the other night 'bout the reds
comin' down this way, and said I must go up and look 'round."

"Well, Dingle, find out what you can; I've no doubt you will. Perhaps
it is time we separated, as there is enough for all to do. Mansfield, I
believe, wishes to speak with you. Ah! here he comes."

Mansfield approached. His inquiries at first were the same as Abbot's,
and receiving the same answers, he continued:

"How soon, Dingle, do you suppose the attack will be made?"

"To-night, sir."

"So Peterson said, and I suppose you must be right. You have no fears of
the result?"

"No, sir; the Shawnees always attack in the night-time. I understand
their capers. Ef it wa'n't for Frontier Angel, there would be a hard
scratch, for we wouldn't have been fixed up so snug for 'em. I shouldn't
wonder if thar' wa'n't much fight after all, when they find how things
is."

"If they are to attack to-night, they cannot be far off?"

"No; they ain't many miles out of the way. It's now 'bout noon. They'll
send thar' scouts ahead, and when the news reaches them that they are
anxiously expected, they'll hurry up and git along afore dark."

"What will be their object in doing that?"

"You'll see; they'll hoot and yell, and make speeches to scare us, and
make believe there's a heap of 'em. They'll order us to surrender, or
they'll blow us to flinders. You'll larn sunkthin', you will. Freeze me
to death, if you don't."

The afternoon gradually wore away, and the words of Dingle were found to
be true. Vigilant sentinels were watching every point in the wood, and,
at last, they discovered several Indians reconnoitering them. Every
inhabitant was gathered into the block-house. All the men fully armed
and anxious for the affray. Dingle and Peterson volunteered to enter the
wood and spy out the movements and intentions of their enemies; but the
commander would not permit it. He believed they could not escape being
drawn into ambush, by the outlying scouts. Besides, he could not see
what good could result from such an attempt. He peremptorily forbade any
man recklessly exposing himself, or to attempt to execute any
undertaking without orders.

Near the middle of the afternoon, some six or seven Indians were
continually seen, flitting from tree to tree, and approaching the
settlement as nigh as they dared. They seemed to make no attempt to
conceal themselves, and often boldly exposed themselves upon the edge of
the clearing. They viewed the settlement from every point possible for
them to reach, and could not avoid the discovery that the whites were
abundantly prepared for the assault.

Growing bolder and bolder, at the continued silence within the
block-house, one of the Indians strode fearlessly out into the clearing,
and stepping upon a large stump, shook his hand in a warning manner
toward it. That instant there was the sharp crack of a rifle, the Indian
made a hurried jump from the stump and hobbled away into the wood. As he
did so he could not help hearing the loud laugh that greeted his exit.

"Guess he run a splinter in his foot!" remarked Peterson, who had fired
the shot.

"Forgot sunkthin', I guess," added Dingle. "Hello! the reds have come!"

Others were now visible, and the number increasing, the wood appeared to
swarm with them. They passed and repassed, and finally the majority
appeared upon the edge of the clearing. Here they remained stationary a
moment, and then entered the wood again.

"Heavens! there are five hundred of them!" exclaimed Mansfield, in
consternation.

"Git out!" laughed Peterson; "don't you understand that trick? They're
showin' themselves half a dozen times over to scare us into knocking
under. Thar's just 'bout a hundred of 'em, not one more, and they ain't
a little scart themselves."

"Who is at the head of them?"

"Do you see that feller standin' off at one end like? kinder hid behind
that tree?"

"Yes; but he isn't dressed like a chief."

"'Cause he ain't a chief, nohow. Don't you know him?"

"No, I never saw him before."

"I reckon you have. That ar' gentleman is Mr. Thomas McGable, that
you've been wantin' to see so long."

At mention of this notorious renegade's name, there was a sensation
among the whites. Abbot, Mansfield, and others strained to get a view of
him through the loop-holes, and expressions of indignation were freely
made.

"How nice I could pick him off," whispered Peterson to Mansfield, and he
ran his eye along the glistening barrel of his rifle.

"Don't do it--don't do it," admonished our hero. "Remember your promise
to Abbot."

"You needn't be afraid; shootin' would be too good for him. He's bound
to know what the white men think of him afore he dies."

The marching, filing, and counter-marching continued a considerable
time, when the commander within the block-house was heard to say:

"Hello! we're going to hear something."

"Just as I s'pected," said Dingle. "McGable's goin' to exhort us."

The renegade made his appearance, holding a white handkerchief suspended
on a stick over his head, as a flag of truce. He walked forward, waving
the fluttering signal conspicuously, until about half way between the
forest and the block-house, when he mounted one of the stumps which were
so numerous about him, and then _he made a speech_. First, he advised
them as a _friend_ to surrender; demonstrated the utter foolishness of
hoping to resist such an overwhelming force as he had at his back, and
pledged _his honor_ that they should be treated humanely. Warming with
his subject, he informed them what a mighty man he was; what he had
done, and what he would do, and how all white men knew better than to
resist him. If his summons to surrender were not heeded, he would blow
the whole settlement sky-high, and tomahawk every man, woman, and child!

We regret we have not space to give this remarkable speech _verbatim_.
It was so long and windy that we feel compelled to be satisfied with the
above synopsis.

After the renegade had finished, he seated himself upon the edge of the
stump, and waited for the commander's answer. The latter, without
keeping him waiting, stepped boldly out upon the platform, and shouted
in a voice, every syllable of which, Jenkins, who was several miles away
in the forest, afterward averred he distinctly heard:

"Tom McGable! You may attack and be hanged!"



CHAPTER X.

IN WHICH THERE IS A FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE SHAWNEES, THE SPEAKERS, AND
JENKINS.


AFTER receiving the summary reply of the commander of the block-house,
McGable arose, and without a word walked toward the wood. Here he seemed
to spend a short time in consultation with the Indians; for they
immediately after separated and disappeared among the trees.

"What does that mean?" asked Mansfield.

"They've drawn off, and will wait till night 'fore they try any of their
games," replied Peterson. "We ain't done with 'em yet."

Such seemed to be the impression of all the others who had had any
experience in Indian warfare. The Indians were too eager and
well-prepared to be satisfied with anything short of an attempt to carry
the block-house.

The night set in cold and stormy. The rein poured down in torrents, and
the wind hurled it rattling against the block-house. The air, too, was
of inky darkness, and the dismal sighing of the forest, the dull,
murmuring roar of the Ohio, made the scene gloomy enough to the
settlers. Had it not been for the incessant lightning, the time could
not have been more favorable for the assault of the Indians. But the
sharp, trembling streams of fire played constantly overhead, lighting up
the forest and clearing as if at noonday, and the "near crashing of the
thunderbolt" seemed to inspire the timid with a sort of valor--a
peculiar bravery that they were strangers to at other times.

Dingle, Peterson, and the most experienced Indian-fighters never removed
from their stations at the loop-holes during the night. The terrible
storm that prevailed was of incalculable benefit to the whites in
another particular. It prevented their assailants from using that most
dreaded of all agencies--fire, in the assault.

The sentinels mentioned kept a continual watch from all sides of the
block-house upon the wood and clearing. They knew too well that the
continued silence of their enemies was more dangerous than open
demonstration. Some deep-laid plan was hatching which was expected
momently to develop itself.

Now and then a few syllables were exchanged between those within, but
these fragments of conversation only seemed to make the gloom more
impressive. No lights were burning, and none could see his neighbor. The
men had all been assigned stations by the commander, which they did not
offer to leave or exchange, while some of the women and younger portion,
overcome by watching and the confined air, gave way to their drowsiness
and slept feverishly and fitfully.

The hours between midnight and morning are the invariable ones selected
by the North American Indian for making his attack upon his enemy. This
strange being, so similar to the wild animal in more than one respect,
seems to have learned many a lesson from him. Darkness, the stealthy
approach and blow; the inevitable yell and leap in death; the howl of
rage and disappointment; the chilling war-whoop; the persisting trailing
of an enemy; the patient, silent watch; the black passions of revenge;
the reveling in blood; all these are passions common to and a part of
both.

It was at that hour, just beyond midnight, the most weird and gloomy of
all, when a sort of stupor or indifference had fallen upon all except
the most experienced, that Dingle gave the intelligence of the Indians
having been seen upon the clearing, in the rear of the block-house.
Almost at the same instant, Peterson added that they were also upon the
front. Their course of action was now suspected at once; it was to
attack the rear until the attention was concentrated in this direction,
when a rush would be made upon the front, and an attempt to scale the
palisades.

Every man was now upon the alert. The lightning, as if ordered of
Providence, inflamed more incessantly, and nearly every step of the
approaching savages could be seen. Some twenty were halting just beneath
the edge of the wood, and evidently waiting for a moment of darkness in
which to make a rush.

"H'yer they come!" said Peterson.

The same instant all saw them half way across the clearing, and almost
immediately a dozen spouts of flame flashed from as many port-holes, and
nearly half the Indians leaped wildly in the air and rolled quivering to
the ground. The others wavered for a moment, and then scattered and took
to the wood again.

"H'yer they am now, sartain!" called out Dingle.

The real attack was now attempted. Nearly the whole pack, yelling like
so many tigers, rushed forward, and came up against the palisades like a
hurricane. Here, as their heads appeared, by the aid of the friendly
lightning, they were shot down by the cool and deliberate fire of the
whites. The firing was as incessant as the lightning, and told with
frightful effect upon the assailants. But the Shawnees are brave, when
excited, and they maintained the assault most determinedly. McGable was
soon seen several times, and three of the soldiers, as they afterward
said, aimed nearly all of their shots at him. But fate seemed to protect
him.

As the darkness blazed forth with the living fire, the block-house
loomed forth, clear and defined, standing as it did, like a large, dark,
motionless animal brought at bay by his dogged pursuers, and from whose
hundred eyes the red bolts of destruction were hurled incessantly and
wrathfully.

The Shawnees continued their desperate attempts to scale the palisades,
growing more furious and revengeful at their repeated failures. But the
steady, continual fire of the whites made dreadful slaughter, and they
finally broke and fled in the wildest confusion to the wood. The shots
from the block-house continued as long as a single Indian was visible.

"What do they now propose to do?" asked Mansfield.

"To git home 'bout as quick as their legs will let them."

"Good! Our success has been better than we could have hoped."

"Don't git excited now, 'cause it ain't noways sartin they've left yet."

"It makes no difference whether they have or not; it is all the same to
us. We haven't lost a single man, while they have had twenty killed.
They can't make a more vigorous attack than this last one, and they
cannot possibly meet with a more complete repulse."

"I tell _you_ that ef it hadn't been for the rain and the lightning,
we'd have found things considerably summat different. In the first
place, we wouldn't had the light to shoot by, and in the next they
would've had some chance to give us a taste of what they had larned to
do with fire."

"They've gone for home," said Dingle, decisively; "they won't bother us
again very soon."

So it proved. An hour or two later, it began to become gray and misty in
the east, the rain ceased falling, and gradually the light of morning
stole over the wood and settlement. As the day broke, the scene was
dismal and cheerless. The appearance of the forest, after a cold storm
of rain has passed over it, always seems to wear its most disagreeable
look. The dripping twigs, the branches loaded overhead with water, every
rustle of which brings it down in torrents. The cold, sticky leaves, the
wet, shining bark of the trees, and the chilling wind that soughs
through the wood, all induce a feeling of desolation and dislike.

Such appeared the forest the morning after the attack. In the clearing,
the bare, charred stumps seemed blacker than usual, and the beautiful
river was now turbulent and muddy. Not a sign of the savages was seen.
They had disappeared, carrying with them their dead and wounded; and the
only vestiges of the conflict were numerous red spots in the clayey
earth which the storm had not completely washed away.

Before it was light, Dingle and Peterson entered the wood to ascertain
whether the Shawnees had really fled or not. They now made their
appearance with the intelligence that they were not in the neighborhood,
and there was no further cause for fear. The settlers, thankful and
joyous, poured out of the block-house, carrying back their furniture and
valuables, and by noon the settlement wore its usual appearance again.

One of the sentinels reported to the commander about this time, that
there was still an Indian in the wood, apparently bent upon mischief.

"Draw bead and shoot him the first chance you get," was the reply.

With this determination, the sentinel betook himself to watching again.
He was the only person acting in that capacity at this time, the
commander deeming the assurance of Dingle and Peterson of enough weight
to allow his men a good half day's rest.

Occasional glimpses of the supposed savage could be obtained; but it was
a long time before the sentinel could bring his rifle to bear upon him.
He dodged and flitted so rapidly that it seemed impossible; but becoming
impatient and provoked, the sentinel at last raised his gun, took a
quick aim at what he supposed to be his head, and blazed away.

"Consarn your old picter, who you shooting at?" called out the indignant
Jenkins, as he stepped into the clearing.

The sentinel dropped his gun in amazement, and stared all agape at the
speaker as he recognized him. Jenkins supposing his silence the result
of fear, suddenly became valiant and again demanded,

"Say, who you shooting at? S'pose you'd have hit me. Smart, ain't you.
You needn't look so innocent and drop that gun, and pretend you didn't
do it. I seen you take aim and shoot, and I'll pay you for it, danged if
I don't!"

By this time Peterson and several others appeared on the platform, and
understanding how matters stood, their laughter was loud and continued.
Jenkins indeed presented a comical and curious appearance. Naturally
thin and bony, he now seemed doubly elongated, from the fact that his
clothes were completely saturated, and clung tightly to his limbs. As he
straddled indignantly forward, they flapped together, and it would have
been no great stretch of imagination to suppose him a post gliding over
the ground.

"Can't you answer? WHO YOU SHOOTING AT?"

"Why at you, of course," replied the commander, striving vainly to
restrain his gravity. Jenkins was heard to give a loud "umph!" and seen
to shake his hand in a warning manner, when he was admitted into the
gate and strode hurriedly toward the fort. The sentinel, who had gained
his senses by this time, enjoyed the fun as much as the others, and
determined to carry the joke through. He made no reply for the very
purpose of giving Jenkins the idea he was sorely frightened at his
mistake.

The indignant Jenkins soon made his appearance upon the platform, and
observing the cowering sentinel shrinking behind the others, called out,

"You're the man, yes, sir! Come out here, and get half killed!"

"That's right, Jenkins, give it to him. He'll larn better than to fire
at you agin," said Dingle, with an appearance of just indignation.

"Go in, long-legs, and hammer him," repeated the others.

"Yes! come out here and take it, you old coward, you!" shouted Jenkins,
stepping around and rubbing his fore-arms as though he were rolling up
his sleeves. "Come out here, I tell you!"

The men now pushed the trembling man from behind them, and retreated so
as to leave the two in an open space and facing each other. The sentinel
now put off all semblance of fear, and demanded in a gruff tone,

"What do you want?"

"Why, I want you to stand still while I hammer you half to death!"

"Hammer away, but if your head isn't cracked before five minutes, I'll
stand treat, boys."

The astonishment shown by Jenkins at this unexpected change was
ludicrous in the extreme. His hands suddenly unclinched, and he
stammered out,

"What--what did you say?"

"Why, come on and fight," replied the sentinel, blustering as vigorously
as did Jenkins at first.

"You shot at me, didn't you?"

"Yes; and will do it again, too."

"I don't think it was the right thing. I wouldn't do it to you."

"Because you are _afraid_."

"No,--I don't think I would."

"Well, what of it?"

"I s'pose you didn't do it on purpose, and I won't say anything about it
this time. But you mustn't do it again."

"Yes I will, if I want to. I shot at you, and am sorry I didn't hit you.
Come, I thought you was going to whip me."

"Yes, Jenkins, give it to him. You said you were going to," cried the
others.

"I don't s'pose he done it on purpose," he replied, turning toward the
others.

"Yes I did, I told you so, and would as lief do it again as not."

"Jerusalem! here I'm standing in my wet clothes and catching cold every
minute. This'll never do!"

And in spite of the jeers and laughs of the others, Jenkins with an
anxious look, hurried away to "change his clothes."



CHAPTER XI.

A PRIZE GAINED AND LOST.


JENKINS, as it afterward turned out, was in the wood reconnoitering the
fort when the shot was fired which had well-nigh been so fatal to him.
His object in doing this was to find out, before venturing to show
himself, whether the Shawnees or whites held possession of the
settlement. He had made the discovery of the attack when but a few miles
off, and hearing the guns and becoming alarmed for his own safety, he
ascended a tree and remained there until every Indian had departed from
the neighborhood.

Some time after the closing scene of the last chapter, the sentinel
confessed to Jenkins that he mistook him for an Indian when he fired,
and he begged forgiveness for his great mistake. It is needless to say
that the pardon was freely granted, and good humor held reign among them
all.

The day after the attack and repulse, Dick Dingle, for the first time in
his life, was taken sick. He was not dangerously so, but so severely
that he was compelled to remain within doors. This happened
unfortunately for Peterson, for the two had determined to pursue the
retreating Indians for the purpose of capturing the renegade. A short
consultation was held, when Peterson announced that he should make the
attempt himself, accompanied only by Mansfield, who was all eagerness to
join him.

Accordingly at noon, the two passed out of the gate and commenced the
expedition by plunging into the forest. The trail of the retreating
Shawnees was so recent that it had not been obliterated by the rain, and
it was easily followed. It led up the river a couple of miles, when it
crossed to the Kentucky shore and took a northwest direction directly
toward Mad river.

Our friends had not proceeded far when Peterson assured Mansfield that
they were gaining rapidly upon the savages. The latter, encumbered by
their dead and wounded, were making their way very slowly through the
wood, and evidently had no thoughts of pursuit. An hour or two later
Peterson remarked,

"We're goin' too fast, Mansfield; we'll run our heads into some trap
afore we know it. Let's set down a while."

The two seated themselves upon a fallen tree and engaged in
conversation.

"If we don't stop we'll be up with them afore night," said Peterson.

"And why shouldn't we?"

"Because--sh! there's some one back of us now."

Before they either had time to conceal themselves, the bushes parted,
and the mysterious Frontier Angel stood before them.

"What are you doing here?" she asked quietly.

"Looking for that renegade," replied Mansfield.

"Do you know how far the Shawnees are away?"

"Can't be very fur, I think," replied Peterson.

"They are encamped a half-mile from here, and have sent scouts back upon
their trail to see who pursues. If you remain here twenty minutes longer
you will be seen and shot."

"Whew! that's more than we bargained for," remarked Peterson; "if it's
all the same, we'll decline at present and slide."

"Do you know anything of McGable--"

Our hero stopped, for she had disappeared as quickly and quietly as she
came.

"It won't do to wait hyer--reds is about," admonished Peterson.

No time was lost by our friends in seeking safety. The trail of the
retreating body was so broad and palpable that there was little fear of
their pursuit being noticed. The scouts sent back would take the
direction of the back trail, and keep alongside of it to ascertain
whether any force was following them. If so, an effort would be made to
draw them in ambush. They had no suspicion, and cared nothing for such
pursuit as was really made.

Peterson and Mansfield proceeded in a direction at right angles with the
main travel, for several hundred yards, where they secreted themselves.
Here they remained for over an hour. By this time it was well toward
night, and they ventured forth to resume the Shawnee trail again. After
reaching it, they followed it a considerable distance, when finding that
the Indian camp could be but a short distance away, they halted and
again made off in a side direction.

It was while doing this, and when several hundred feet from it, that
Peterson, who was slightly in advance, suddenly halted and raised his
hand over his head as a signal for Mansfield to remain quiet. Both stood
motionless a moment, when Peterson took several stealthy steps forward
and motioned for Mansfield to come to his side. The latter did so, his
looks showing more than words, the curiosity he felt. The ranger, by way
of reply, pointed ahead, and downward. Mansfield followed the direction
of his finger, and he felt every nerve thrill within him, as he saw a
few feet in advance, the extended and sleeping form of the renegade,
McGable.

"We've got him at last!" whispered Peterson exultingly.

The man, from all appearances, had lain down to rest a short distance
from the camp to escape the hubbub and confusion occasioned by the
presence of so many wounded and dying. That he was entirely unsuspicious
of personal danger was evident from this fact.

Mansfield was too excited and fearful of awakening him to even whisper
or suggest anything to Peterson. The latter, coolly and deliberately,
stepped forward and removed the rifle from the nerveless embrace of
McGable; then, stooping gently, pulled his knives from his girdle. This
done, Peterson cocked his own gun, and holding it pointed toward the
breast of the renegade, said:

"Now wake him, Mansfield--give him a kick on the shins, and don't be
afraid of hurting him."

Our hero gave him a gentle touch with his foot, which, failing to have
effect, he increased to a kick. Seeing him make a movement as though
awakening, he stepped back as directed. The renegade, mumbling to
himself, finally opened his eyes and stared bewilderingly about him,
seemingly totally unable to comprehend his whereabouts.

"Mr. Thomas McGable, Esq., I believe," said Peterson, with much gravity,
without removing the aim of his rifle.

  [Illustration: "'Mr. Thomas McGable, Esq., I believe,' said Peterson
     with much gravity, without removing the aim of his rifle."]

"Who the devil are you?" demanded the renegade.

"Your master, sir."

"We'll see about that. Where--"

He paused as he reached for his rifle and found it gone; and his
astonishment turned to furious indignation when he discovered that his
knives had also been removed.

"What in the name of the furies are you doing with my arms?"

"Jest sot 'em one side for fear you might hurt yourself."

"See here, I understand your game, but it won't do. You think I'm your
prisoner, eh? Did you know there is a hundred Shawnees within calling
distance, who'd cut you to pieces ef they knowed you war here. Now, if
you don't hand me my gun and knives back, they'll do it. I call 'em and
then you may whistle for your hair."

Peterson's face grew as black as a thunder-cloud, and his eyes fairly
scintillated with fierceness.

"Tom McGable," said he, in a voice as deep and rumbling as the distant
thunder, "we come after _you_. You've _got to go back_ to the settlement
with us, and it don't matter whether you're dead or alive! I've swore
that I will bring you back with me, and ef I thought it would be any
trouble to drive you thar, I'd shoot you through your black heart this
minute, grab you by the neck, and drag you along. You can holler to the
Shawnees, but it would never do _you_ any good; you'd never live to see
'em. Ef I hadn't made a promise, I'd knife you this minute. Tom McGable,
you may take yer choice; you can either git up and walk along jist as we
tell you, without making the least noise, or you can set still and be
shot on the ground there. It don't make a bit of difference to me, but
one or t'other has got to be done. I'll give you four seconds and a half
to decide in. Ef you ain't started by that time, I'll shoot, by
thunder!"

During the utterance of these words, the renegade manifested a curious
compound of emotions. First indignation and blustering bravado were
depicted upon his snaky face; this gave way to doubt and hesitation, and
when the last expletive fell from Peterson's lips, he was the embodiment
of trembling, craven-hearted fear.

"What--what will you do with me?" he asked tremblingly.

"Kill you, like as not."

"What do you want me for?"

"Come, you going to start? Your time's up. Speak quick!"

Pale as death and muttering a fearful curse, the renegade arose to his
feet and faltered that he was ready.

"Trot along then, and we'll foller."

"Which way you going? This way?" he asked, turning his face in the
direction of the Indian camp.

"I ruther guess not at present. Turn round t'other way 'zactly, don't
turn your head, or try to come any of your dodges, for the minute you
do, you'll be hacked to flinders, shot, and yur ha'r raised."

McGable wheeled around in the direction indicated, and started forward,
our two friends following him closely. It was now quite dark, and the
gloom in the wood was intense. There was no moon, and the sky was still
cloudy and obscured. When the darkness became so great, Peterson took
the renegade by one arm, Mansfield by the other, and the trio thus
proceeded.

After walking an hour or so, the renegade, probably finding there was no
immediate, personal danger, regained in some degree his courage and
ventured to speak.

"I'd like to ask you a question. No 'bjection I s'pose."

"Not as long as you're respectful to your 'speriors," replied the
ranger.

"Wal, then, how come you to find me?"

"We looked for ye."

"I s'pose, but you didn't s'peck I was such a cussed fool to go off in
the woods to sleep, did you? Leastways, I didn't s'peck I was myself."

"No, it was kinder accident that we found you."

"S'pose so. How was it you was so well fixed at the block-house for us.
How did you find out we were coming?"

Peterson reflected a moment before replying to this question. He was in
doubt whether a disclosure would not be dangerous to the Frontier Angel.
He asked Mansfield's advice upon it, and the two fell behind and debated
it in an undertone for a few moments. They came to the same conclusion,
that, as McGable was already condemned to death, and there seemed no
possibility of his escape, there could be no harm in letting him know
the truth. This decided, they stepped forward, took him by the arms, and
the ranger replied, or rather asked:

"S'posen we tell you; what of it?"

"Oh nothin', only I thought I'd like to know before I died. There's a
gal that's called the Frontier Angel, that I've had my s'picion of. I've
told the Shawnees of it, but she acts so good, they won't believe it.
Didn't she have nothing to do with telling you?"

"Yes, she told us."

"So I thought. It's lucky the Injins won't believe it."

"Now I wish to ask you a question," said Mansfield.

"Wal, what is it?"

"Who is Frontier Angel?"

The renegade maintained silence for several minutes till our hero
repeated in a louder tone.

"Who is the person they call Frontier Angel? Do you know?"

"Yes, but I cannot tell you."

"Why not? I am sure it can do no harm."

"P'r'aps not, but _I can't tell you_. Let that be the answer."

"I am not willing that it shall be. I insist that you tell or give some
reason for not doing so."

"I'll give you the reason, then. I know who she is, but have sworn never
to tell a white, and I swear agin I never will."

"In that case, I have no right to question you further."

The renegade made no reply, and the three continued their journey for a
considerable distance in silence, when he said:

"There's one thing, howsumever, I'll tell you without the axing. The gal
they call the Frontier Angel _is crazy_!"

Mansfield started painfully at this.

"What made her crazy?" he asked, forgetting himself.

"Don't ax me, fur I can't tell you any more."

"She ain't white, is she?" demanded Peterson. "Won't hurt yer, I guess,
ef you let us know that much."

"I won't tell you no more, so you can both dry up."

The journey was now continued without a word being spoken by any. The
renegade seemed sullen and moody and maintained silence. His remarks had
set both Peterson and Mansfield to thinking. It was not the first time
they had both puzzled themselves thus. Who could the singular Frontier
Angel be? was the all-absorbing question. She was crazy! that accounted
for the reverence and awe in which she was held by the Indians. And yet
her manner had never awakened the remotest suspicion that such was the
case among the whites with whom she had come in contact. That accounted
for the temerity with which she executed the holy object of her
life--that of befriending the whites in peril.

Despite the improbability of the case, Mansfield could not avoid the
thought that she was a white person. He could form no possible reason
for thus thinking, and yet the thought would present itself. At last he
imparted his singular idea to Peterson. The latter dissipated it at once
by telling him that such could not be the case. Dingle, who knew as
much, if not more of her than any of the rangers, assured him that he
had noticed her features and face to satisfy himself, as he entertained
and had heard so many doubts expressed about it. She had the black eyes
and hair of the Indian, although the prominent cheek-bones and several
other characteristics of the race were wanting. But the skin showed
unmistakably that she belonged to the aboriginals.

"But where has she obtained that perfect knowledge of the English tongue
that she evinces in her conversation?"

"Dick can't answer that, but h'yers as thinks that goes to show she's a
sperit sure, 'cause if she ain't, what else can she be?"

This set Mansfield's thoughts in another direction. A darker picture
presented itself. The refusal of McGable to answer his question added
life to the picture, and our hero became satisfied that he had now
struck the truth.

"Isn't she your _wife_, Tom McGable?" he asked, bending his mouth close
to the ear of the renegade.

The latter started, as if stung by a serpent, trembled and breathed hard
for a moment, but made no answer. Mansfield repeated his question in a
more peremptory tone, but it was of no avail: the renegade had
resolutely sealed his lips.

This, together with his manner, demonstrated to a certainty to
Mansfield, that the Frontier Angel had been or was now the Indian wife
of McGable. She had married him, he believed, when she dreamt not what a
black heart she was taking to her bosom. Goaded by his cruelty and the
subsequent knowledge of his awful crimes against his own race, her
reason had become dethroned. And the safety of the people, that was the
object of eternal hatred to her husband, now became the burden of her
life. The change from the natural aversion which she, as an Indian, felt
to the whites, to that of friendship and love for them, he believed was
due to the unbounded horror created in her mind by the atrocities of
McGable. It was one of those singular phenomena which the human mind
often presents. Mansfield, previous to this, had felt some slight degree
of compassion for their captive, but it was all gone now. The man who,
independent of the last-named crime, could bring himself to forswear and
massacre his own kindred, without a shadow of provocation upon their
part, he felt deserved any death that the ingenuity of man could invent.

The march of the three was continued all through the night, and the halt
in the morning was of but a few minutes duration, as Peterson felt
fearful of pursuit in case the absence of the renegade was discovered. A
short time after, the settlement was in sight, and before twenty minutes
more had passed, Tom McGable, the notorious renegade, was ushered within
the palisades by our two friends.

The astonishment and rejoicing created by his capture were unbounded. He
was taken at once to the block-house and placed in the upper story, from
which it was impossible for him to escape. There had been quite a heavy
reward offered for his apprehension, and the commander assured Peterson
and Mansfield that, as soon as it could be secured, they should have it.
The latter, however, refused to receive any portion, as he had rendered
no assistance worthy of mention in the capture of the prisoner.

The excitement became so great among the settlers that the commander, to
quiet them, gave out that the garrison would determine what should be
done with McGable at once. Abbot, hearing this, requested the commander
that he might be allowed, as a great favor, to see the prisoner alone
for a short time. The peculiar circumstances of the stricken father
being known, this request was granted; and McGable, under charge of
Dingle--who asserted that he had been cured by his capture--and the
officious Jenkins, was conducted to Abbot's house. There being but one
door by which the lower story could be entered the guards remained
outside, and Abbot found himself face to face with the man who had so
well-nigh killed his entire family at one blow. Mrs. Abbot, not wishing
to be present at such an interview, had purposely absented herself, and
the two, the murderer and the murdered, we might almost say, were alone.
Abbot gave the renegade a seat, and then sat himself in front of him,
where he could look directly into his face.

"I have petitioned that I might see you alone, McGable," commenced
Abbot, in a low, quiet tone, "in order that I might ask you something,
which, perhaps, you suspect. God knows that I have no desire to revenge
myself upon you. Only grant me this privilege, and I will forgive you,
McGable, for the awful crime you have committed. Last spring I sent
Marian upon a flat-boat, expecting to rejoin her in this settlement a
few months later. Instead of reaching her destination, the boat was
decoyed and all on board murdered, with the exception of Peterson, who
effected his escape. He left Marian dying, he believed, upon the boat as
he sprang away. Had he left her dead, this interview would not have been
sought by me. But there has been a doubt ever since in the mind of her
mother and myself, of the _manner in which_ she died,--for we do not
pretend to hope that she survived. This doubt has so troubled us, that I
have tried all means of solving it. You must know the circumstances,
McGable, and now a broken-hearted father appeals to you to give this
knowledge, and set his trouble forever at rest."

While Abbot was uttering these words, the renegade sat like a demon
incarnate, his eyes blazing with the most baleful passion. His teeth
were set and he drew his breath hard and gaspingly through them. He
controlled this whirlwind of fury, in a measure, before Abbot had
finished, and when he spoke it was in the low, frightful voice of
suppressed passion.

"Richard Abbot, your daughter refused me, and I swore I would be
revenged. I joined the Shawnees as Simon Girty and others did, but I
kept watch upon your settlement. I found out that you was going to send
her to this place in company with others. Then I cac'lated the time had
come, and was only sorry that _you_ wasn't there, too, that you could
have been tomahawked, too! I found out when the boat started, and it was
dogged till it reached the right spot, when we came down upon it. Don't
ax me no more. I've had my revenge, and that's enough."

The stricken-hearted man sat as pale and silent as death while these
burning words were being uttered. It was not his emotions alone that
made him thus, but the mighty struggle it took to control them.

"Will you not tell me?" he asked, in a voice of wailing agony that it
would have melted the heart of human.

"_No_; I'll tell you nothing!" fairly shouted McGable, glaring like a
tiger upon him.

"Once more I ask you, McGable, and in the name of Heaven do not refuse
me. Was Marian killed outright?"

"None your business," was the sullen reply.

Such a sudden dizziness came over Abbot at this point, that, for fear of
fainting, he arose and hurried into the room which occupied the same
floor, and which connected with the one in which he had been sitting. He
hoped to return in a moment, and was so bewildered and overcome that he
only thought of being alone till he could regain his self-command. It is
said the Old Boy himself sometimes helps his favorites. Whether such is
the the case we are not prepared to say; but what now took place is
enough to make us skeptical, to say the least.

Most singularly it happened that just before Abbot withdrew, Dingle felt
a sudden return of his sickness of the morning. It was so violent that
his iron will could not resist it, and he staggered away for the same
purpose of being alone; for, if our readers have noticed it, it is
almost invariably the case that when a man, unaccustomed to sickness, is
suddenly taken, his first wish is to be alone with himself. He felt,
too, that perfect recklessness which is apt to come over us at such
times, in regard to temporal matters, and had Dingle been admonished at
this particular moment of his imprudence, his probable reply would have
been that McGable might go to perdition for all he cared. Thus it
happened that the terrible renegade was left with no guard at all except
Jenkins.

Even then it might not have happened so unfortunately, had not the
last-named individual taken it into his head to ascertain how matters
were progressing inside. Being left without the companionship of Dingle,
it was perfectly natural that he should take this means of passing away
time.

"Hello! inside there, you, how you getting along?" he called out, poking
his head in at the door. Receiving no reply, he shoved his head further
in, and then made the discovery that the renegade was standing alone in
the middle of the floor. "Hello! all alone, eh? what you thinking about?
Your sins, I s'pose. Shouldn't wonder now if you did feel sorter down in
the mouth."

"What do you want?" gruffly demanded McGable.

"Oh, nothing in particular. Dick has just gone off to see the doctor to
get some medicine to take for the gripes he has just got, and I thought
I'd look in to pass away time till he comes back."

"Where is he?" asked the man quickly, vainly striving to conceal his
agitation.

"Just off here, a little ways. If you want to see him, I'll call him."

"Never mind."

"I s'pose now--umph!"

The last exclamation of Jenkins was perfectly involuntary, and caused by
receiving a terrific blow from the foot of the renegade, directly in the
stomach, which doubled him up like a jack-knife. As he gasped and rolled
over upon the grass, McGable shot over his head like an arrow, and
bounded away for the palisades. Nearly all the men were at the
block-house, debating upon his fate, but several descried the flying
fugitive, and shouted the alarm. An instant after he scaled the
palisades, and Peterson and several other rangers sped across the
clearing in pursuit. Dingle, who had nearly recovered, raised a regular
war-whoop, and joined in the chase.

Late at night, several of the pursuers returned, moody and sullen with
their ill success. In the morning, another made his appearance with the
intelligence that Dingle and Peterson were still in rapid pursuit, but
there was little hope of overtaking the renegade, as he possessed a
wonderful fleetness of foot, and in all probability had given them the
slip during the night.

So it proved. Some time after the two rangers returned and confirmed
this suspicion. They had not even caught a glimpse of him after he
crossed the clearing and entered the wood.



CHAPTER XII.

A MINGLING OF FEAR, DOUBT, AND HOPE.


AND so it happened that the terrible sentence, "He shall first be shot
and then be burnt in the clearing and cast into the river," was never
executed upon Tom McGable. The opportunity was never given.

The indignation at his escape could scarcely be repressed; but the
version given by Jenkins so completely exculpated himself from blame,
that he escaped entirely the shafts of indignation. There were some, it
is true, who had their private opinion of this wonderful story; but, as
there was no witness to disprove it, these opinions were unexpressed.

Jenkins affirmed that what first induced him to peep into the room was a
strong smell of brimstone. Upon looking in, he saw McGable sitting
astride of the devil, who was walking slowly toward the open door,
holding a trident in one claw. Jenkins informed him that he was very
sorry to oppose him, but nevertheless, he felt compelled by the stern
dictates of duty to prevent his passage. At that, the father of all evil
made a rush toward him, striking him in the breast with the trident, and
grappling with him. They closed in with each other, and the struggle
became fearful. Jenkins, securing the trident, used it as a "whip of
scorpions," and was satisfied he gave some "strange horrors" with it. He
believed he would have eventually triumphed, had he not been taken with
one of his fainting fits at the critical moment. Victory thus secured,
the arch-enemy galloped over his prostrate form, vanished in mid air,
and left McGable skimming over the ground toward the sheltering wood.

More than one placed implicit faith in this story. Such is the
superstition of the bravest of the brave--the border ranger!

But there was one thing which troubled the settlement more than the
escape of the renegade: it was the fate of the Frontier Angel. There was
no fear of what the Indians would do, for it was well known that a crazy
or foolish person is regarded among them as one specially gifted by
Manitou, and under no consideration will they venture to harm him; but
it could hardly be expected that McGable would share in this
superstition; and, now that his suspicions of the friendship of this
being to the whites was resolved into an absolute certainty, some plan,
it was rightly thought by the settlers, would be taken by him to close
her lips forever. It was well known that there was no crime against the
human race too great for the scoundrel to commit; and the weak,
defenseless Frontier Angel, through the stupidity of the whites, would
fall a victim to his vengeance.

"Freeze me to death, ef it shall be so!" exclaimed Dingle, who was
discussing the subject with Peterson, the commander, and several others.
"No, sir; ef that sperit is killed, her blood will be on us."

"If she is a spirit, she cannot be harmed by mortals," ventured Abbot.

"Wal, Tom McGable ain't a mortal; he's an infarnal imp."

"Whoever this strange being is, that you term Frontier Angel," remarked
the commander, "it is evident to all that she is the firm friend of the
whites. The timely warnings which she has so repeatedly given us, and,
in fact, all the settlements along the Ohio, entitle her to their
everlasting gratitude. If she is slain by McGable, as Dingle observes,
the blood will be as much upon us. For it was ourselves who first told
him she was our friend, and then allowed him to escape to do what he
pleased with her. No, friends, it will never do. Some plan must be taken
to warn her of her peril and afford her all the protection she will
receive. Have you any plan?"

"Kill that renegade and then the matter will be set at rest," replied
Peterson.

"That is easier said than done," remarked Mansfield. "If I may be
allowed to give an opinion it is this: now that McGable has been
convinced of our deadly enmity to him, and our anxiety to secure him, he
will take particular care never to give us an opportunity. It will be
only in battle where he will be likely to feel our will in regard to
him. This Frontier Angel is still roaming through the forest, engaged in
her truly angelic work of befriending the whites; and the plan that I
propose is this: Let all the settlements which it is known she visits
be notified of the whole circumstances, and instructed to warn her upon
the first opportunity; and, besides this, let us all try to induce her
to abandon the life she is leading, and to settle down and remain with
us."

"Yes, do; tell her I'll marry her if she will," said Jenkins, all eager
seriousness.

"Remember me and she is engaged," said Dingle.

"Didn't Mansfield just say you was going to get her to abandon savage
life and become civilized; consequently, won't she have to leave you and
come to me?"

"There, that will do," interrupted the commander. "The plan proposed by
Mansfield strikes me as being the best, and I am in favor of adopting it
at once."

"It's my opine it's the real thing," said Peterson. "What do you think,
Dick?"

"It's the ticket, and h'yer's as moves we stop talkin' and go to
workin'."

A short time longer was spent in consultation, when the following course
was decided upon: Peterson was to go up the Ohio, and state the case at
the different settlements, all the time seeking an interview with her,
while Dingle and Mansfield were to range the vicinity of the Indian
towns in the hope of meeting her.

This plan, with characteristic vigor, was acted upon at once, and in the
afternoon of the day succeeding the escape of McGable, the three men
were in the forest, seeking out the Frontier Angel. Dingle and Mansfield
as said, took a northwest direction, toward the Shawnee towns, which
they reached in due time. They remained in their neighborhood several
days, and during that time gained one or two glimpses of McGable, but
could see nothing of the being for whose benefit they came. At last they
were satisfied she was not in them, and must either be in the Sciota
valley, or engaged upon some errand of mercy or--had she already fallen
a victim to revenge?

Some time after, Dingle and our hero were in the Sciota valley,
carefully reconnoitering the Indian villages, but they obtained no
further information, and were reluctantly compelled to the belief that
she was either at the eastern settlements, or she had already been
murdered by McGable. The latter, as Mansfield remarked, took such care
of his person, that there was little hope of again obtaining possession
of it. Several days were spent in the neighborhood, without further
success, when they turned their faces homeward, convinced that they had
done all that it was possible for them to do in this direction, although
that all was nothing.

They reached the settlement and reported themselves, and then all waited
anxiously for the return of Peterson. Before going out all knew the
wishes of Abbot, and it was expected that something definite would be
gained of the fate of poor Marian.

It was a week before Peterson came in; but, when he did come, he had a
report to give that thrilled every heart in the settlement. At the first
village he reached, he was told the Frontier Angel had left there that
morning, and that her manner was so wild and strange as to induce the
settlers to use everything except force, to retain her. From her
rambling, incoherent manner, and several remarks she made, they
gathered that her life had already been attempted by McGable, and that
the memory and thoughts of it made her act so singularly.

From this settlement, he went on to the next, but she had not been seen
here for several weeks. Having been instructed to visit all of the
frontier villages, Peterson did so, but learnt nothing more of her. From
this he supposed that, if not in the Shawnee towns, she could be at no
great distance from the settlement first mentioned. Accordingly, he
spent several days searching the woods and streams in the hope of
obtaining some trace of her. He failed to find her, but was discovered
himself by her.

He had lain down one afternoon to rest himself, and was just falling
into a doze, when he was startled to his feet by her suddenly appearing
before him.

"Are you looking for me?" she asked.

"Yes; but, confound it, how did you know it?"

"Do you, too, seek my life?" she asked, gazing at him with the most
painful anguish and terror depicted in her face.

"No; I wouldn't hurt you for ten hundred thousand million pounds in
British money. I'm looking for you to tell you, you must keep your eyes
peeled, 'cause there's sunkthin' in the wind."

There was a wildness in her look which, despite himself, made Peterson
restless and ill at ease, although he took occasion to show by his words
and manner that he had no such thoughts. The girl stared at him a
moment, and then asked:

"You do not want to kill me, then, do you?"

"No; I wouldn't do no such thing, and I would raise the ha'r of the man
that tried it, if he was my own brother."

"He tried to; he shot at me, and chased me with his knife."

"Who did so?"

"That bad man; he is hunting now for me, and wants to kill me."

"Who do you mean? McGable?"

"Yes, it was he--he nearly killed me."

"He may kill you yet. Won't you go with me where he can't hurt you?"

"Oh, no--no--I live alone, and God will take care of me."

She turned to depart, and Peterson, who all the time had felt fidgety
and nervous, was glad to be alone, when it suddenly occurred to him
there were several questions which he must yet ask, to gain the desired
information for Abbot and Mansfield. So he called her back.

"Say, will you let me ax you a thing or two?"

She answered by turning around and silently facing him.

"You know McGable in course, and must know he's the all-firedest varmint
that tramps. Wal, last spring he and a lot of Shawnees attacked a
flat-boat, and sliced 'em all up 'cepting the best-looking one of the
lot--him as is squatted afore you. Wal, that ain't much to do with the
matter, 'cept to illusrate the point. There was a gal on board--that I
tried to jump overboard with, but she got shot just as I was ready, and
I left her behind. She wan't dead _then_, but about so. Howsumever, her
folks never'll be satisfied till they know all about it. Might be you've
heard of the gal?"

"No," replied the Frontier Angel, shaking her head with a pensive,
saddened look.

"S'pect you did. Sorry, 'cause I'd like to find out. Never heard McGable
say nothin' 'bout her?"

"No."

"Qu'ar. Oh! is that renegade your husband?"

The maiden simply gave him a wondering stare without making a further
reply. Now that Peterson was fairly started, he determined to learn all
he could of her.

"The name of the gal was Marian Abbot," observed the ranger, suddenly
recollecting that he had not mentioned her name. As he uttered it, his
heart fairly stopped beating, at the manner of the mysterious being
before him. She started, her dark eyes opening so strangely, and her
breath coming so short and gaspingly, that Peterson averred he felt his
hair lift his coon-skin cap clean from his head.

"Marian Abbot--Marian Abbot--Marian," she repeated, as if communing with
herself, and gazing, not at Peterson, but over his head, far away into
the horizon where the purple and golden clouds were then blazing with
the fire of heaven.

"Yes, that was her name," said Peterson anxious to help her. "Splendid
looking gal--looked some like me--little shorter than you--purty near as
good looking."

"Marian Abbot--Marian Abbot," she still repeated, drawing her hand over
her forehead as if engaged in intense thought.

"Yes--I've told you that was her name."

"Have I heard of her, you ask? Have I heard of Marian
Abbot?--no--yes--let me see--I remember. I saw her--no I know nothing of
her!" she replied, dropping her hands from her forehead, and looking up
at him with the same wild, fiery look.

"Think agin," urged Peterson, much disappointed at her manner. "You jest
now said you remembered her. Put your thinkin' cap on and p'r'aps
you'll find out arter all."

"No; I can't remember anything. Don't ask me to, for it hurts my head so
much. Wait a moment--" she said, pressing her hand quickly to her temple
again. "Marian Abbot--yes--there was such a girl--I remember her--_I saw
her among the Indians!_--"

At this point, she turned deadly pale, and sank to the earth. That
singularly foolish notion, that it was fatal to touch the Frontier
Angel, prevented Peterson from springing forward to her assistance. She
did not faint, however, but instantly recovered herself and bounded away
in the wood without uttering another syllable.

This information, conveyed in substance, to the breathless listeners, by
the ranger, thrilled every one, as we said, to the heart. It awakened,
both in the father and Mansfield, a strange hope, that, from its every
intensity, produced a deadly heart-sickness. Abbot reeled to his home,
where, for a long time, he strove to control his agitation. He said
nothing to his wife, for he was nearly unmanned, and feared he should
turn crazy himself.

"O merciful Father! can _my daughter be alive_? Did she escape that
awful massacre? Is this a dream? Am I going mad? Oh, grant that no hope
may be awakened to be dashed from me again!"

Mansfield was equally excited. The cold sweat came upon his face, and it
seemed as if his heart stood still, and could never recover its power.
It is difficult to conceive of a keener torment--a more excruciating
agony than that which is produced by the awakening--the sudden bringing
to life of a long-buried hope. The extremes of joy and pain are the
same, but the culminating point of the latter is reached, when
doubt--almost and yet not quite _uncertainty_--is a part of the former.
It is impossible for a human being to quietly bear it. Relief must be
found in some direction, or the sufferer's reason will flee.

The painful affliction of Abbot and his wife was known to the entire
settlement, and they had the heartfelt sympathy of every one. It was
believed by all that the wife was dying of a broken heart. She was
silent and remained at home, seeking the society of no one. She had
become pale and fearfully emaciated, seeming resigned and anxious for
the death that was so fast approaching. Her only desire was to rejoin
her sainted child, where no murderer's hand could ever separate them.

After the father had, in some degree, regained command of himself, he
passed out of the house again, without speaking to his wife, and made
his way back to where a knot of the settlers were discussing the
all-absorbing question. Here he found with _painful joy_--for those two
words express exactly his emotion--that the belief was quite general
that Marian might possibly be alive and a prisoner among the Indians.

"I tell you it won't be the fust time such a thing has happened,"
remarked Dingle impressively, "there's no tellin' what capers them
Shawnees are up to. In course, there's a powerful heap of chances that
the gal has gone under, but h'yer's as thinks it ain't noways onpossible
that the gal is kickin' yet. Now, Jim Peterson, tell the truth for once;
is you sartin that gal died when you dropped her on the boat? Mind
you're on your oath."

"No, by the eternal, I don't _know_ she is dead, though I'd swear to it,
on the Bible this minute."

"Wall, sir, h'yer's is goin' to the Shawnee towns and findin' out
whether that gal is livin'."

"But," persisted Abbot, who seemed determined to receive no false basis
for his hope, "how can she be there? Have you not been to all the towns,
and had an opportunity of judging. You certainly would have heard of her
before this time."

"No; I don't know as I would. Them Shawnees ar' all the time up to such
tricks that no one can begin to keep track of 'em. Freeze me, and Lord
bless you, man, I don't want to make you think I am going to find your
gal for you and then have her dead all the time. You must be ready for
disappointment."

"I am ready for anything, I trust," faintly replied Abbot, who felt that
he could not survive such a cruel dashing of the cup of hope from his
lips.



CHAPTER XIII.

DARK.


THE excitement in relation to the Frontier Angel and the lost Marian,
was greatly increased by two circumstances, that occurred on the day
following the return of Peterson. It had been determined, as the reader
has already learned, by Dingle, that he should start to the Shawnee
towns in search of tidings of Marian. In this dangerous undertaking it
was agreed that Peterson should join him. The latter, having undergone
considerable toil and fatigue, was compelled to remain over night by the
commander, in order to be prepared for what was before him.

Shortly after the sun had risen, and while the two scouts were preparing
to start upon their expedition, the sentinel on the platform of the
block-house reported an Indian canoe visible, far up the Ohio. The
scouts including Abbot, Mansfield, Jenkins, and several others instantly
ascended the platform to view the suspicious object. It was at a great
distance--so great that it resembled a duck, or something similar,
slowly swimming the river. It was not crossing, as first supposed, but
coming down stream, and would if it continued, pass by the settlement.

"Hello!" exclaimed Dingle, "there comes another one right behind it.
What does that mean? Looks qu'ar I declar'."

Our friends continued gazing at the two canoes now visible with an
intense interest. The last one had just rounded a bend in the river, and
followed in the wake of the first. Whether it was in pursuit or not was
impossible to tell at the great distance; but, _if_ so, their progress
was so similar, that they seemed like moving automata, connected with
each other under the water, and propelled by the same power. They kept
the center of the current, in a direct line with each other, and moved
steadily and rapidly as could be easily seen even at the distance they
were away. They did not swerve a foot from a straight line, as
seemingly anxious were they to hurry forward.

"Can't you make anything of it?" asked Mansfield.

"I can see their paddles shinin' in the water," replied Dingle,
"and--I--think--" he added, speaking slowly with his eyes fixed upon the
canoes--"I think--yes,--I know there is only one in the first boat and
there is--yes, two in the last. It is a race, sure as thunder!" he
exclaimed, standing and looking around upon the others.

"Perhaps only a friendly one, between a couple of Indian canoes,"
suggested Abbot.

"We don't have such races on the 'Hio this time of year," replied the
ranger with a quiet smile.

It was certainly singular that the same suspicion should enter the heads
of all at the same time, and yet not one mention it, until it grew into
a certainty. All continued watching the canoes, until it was evident
that one person was pursued by a couple, and that the race was a most
determined one upon both sides.

"Freeze me to death on a stump!" suddenly exclaimed Peterson, "if that
person in the first canoe ain't that _Frontier Angel_, then shoot me!"

"That's so," added Dingle, "and the one as is chasin' of her is our old
friend Mr. McGable and an Injin!"

Several, as said, had entertained suspicions that the mysterious
Frontier Angel was in the first canoe, but not one, save Dingle, had any
idea that it could be the notorious renegade in pursuit. Even as it was,
the commander of the post refused to believe he would venture so soon
within sight of the block-house.

"It's him," continued the ranger with complete assurance, "I never was
mistaken 'bout him, you can bet a powerful heap on that."

"If so, you are standing here and going to see our best friend
captured," said the commander in a tone of severe rebuke.

"She ain't agwine to be captured," coolly replied Dingle. "I guess
McGable and his Shawnee will have to take a few instructions in rowing
of the canoe, afore they'll stand a chance to cotch the Frontier
Angel."

"Can he not shoot her?" asked the commander more sternly than before.
"Dingle, you and Peterson hurry into the wood to her assistance, for she
will need it. Shoot that McGable, and I will give each of you twenty
pounds a piece, besides reporting you to the general."

"He _can_ shoot," said Dingle to himself. "Come, boys, let's hurry. We
orter started long ago, and we might've stood some chance. He can kill
her now ef he takes a notion afore we can draw bead on him."

The two, accompanied by Mansfield, hurried out to the gate, were
permitted to pass out by a man stationed there, and away they sped
across the clearing and into the wood, as fast as their legs could carry
them.

"Foller me!" called Dingle, ducking his head and plunging through the
bushes with a wonderful celerity, while Mansfield and Peterson strung
along behind him with equal fleetness.

In the meantime, those upon the platform were watching the canoe with
intense and painful interest.

"The old rapscallion is gainin' on the beautiful angel," remarked
Jenkins, excitedly. "Oh, if I was only where I could get my grasp on
that feller's throat, I'd choke him to death in five seconds! Oh! oh!
oh! wouldn't I?"

"No; I do not think he has gained at all upon her," remarked Abbot. "At
any rate, the race cannot be continued much longer, for they will soon
be nigh enough to run into danger. If we could only hit them with the
swivel," he added, looking toward the commander.

The latter shook his head.

"The swivel is only to be used in cases of great emergency. We did not
use it when the Shawnees made the night attack, because we could get
along without its aid. Besides, it is not loaded with a single ball, but
filled with slugs, bullets, and bits of iron, so as to do as much
destruction as possible upon an enemy nigh at hand. No; the firing of
the swivel, however well aimed, could effect no good purpose."

"I wonder at the presumption and daring of McGable," said Abbot, turning
his gaze once more up the river. "They say he only differs from Simon
Girty in point of cowardice. His heart is as black, but his face is
often white with fear. But this looks like bravery, to see him venture
so nigh the spot which he knows is so dangerous to him."

"He won't come much nigher. I only hope that Dingle will get him within
range of that rifle of his. It is all folly to undertake to capture him.
If we should secure him, he would manage to get off again through the
help of that fool of a Jenkins."

The commander did not notice that the individual he referred to stood
directly behind, and was gazing completely dumbfounded at him. Had he
known it, he would not have cared, for the thought of the foolish escape
of the renegade was ever a source of irritation to him, and he took no
pains to conceal his opinion of Jenkins' cowardice. But this was the
first time the latter had heard him speak thus, and, as said, he was
astonished in no small degree.

"Why, didn't I tell you how it was? how the Old Boy carried him off, and
I fought like blazes to stop him, but happened to have one of my
fainting fits just then. Think you'd believe a feller when he tells the
truth."

"I do," dryly rejoined the commander.

"I tell you," said Abbot, excitedly, "if McGable comes much further he
will surely run against Dingle's bullet. He is so eager he does not seem
to notice where he is running to. Look how that Shawnee pulls!"

"And they are gaining upon her as sure as the world. She is wearied and
well-nigh tired out. Heavens! it is too much to stand here and witness
that," exclaimed the commander, half beside himself. "Why, in the name
of heaven, don't Dingle shoot him? He would have been nigh enough if he
had only walked. I cannot comprehend it!"

"Look! McGable is going to shoot!"

"It cannot be--yes--"

At that instant, a bright flash was seen to flame out in the front of
the rear canoe, a thin wreath of smoke curled upward, and a moment
after, the faint report of the renegade's rifle was heard.

"Is she hit? Curse it, where is Dingle?" exclaimed the commander,
fidgeting and moving about as though unable to contain himself.

"She is wounded, but not killed. See! she is coming in to shore."

The canoe of the Frontier Angel was now hurrying in toward the Kentucky
shore, swiftly followed by that of the renegade. She had approached so
nigh as to be hidden to the view of those at the block-house, but was
still at a considerable distance. It was at this moment that the Indian
accompanying McGable dropped his paddle, rose to his feet, and had the
gun already at his shoulder, when two simultaneous reports were heard,
and he threw his arms wildly over his head and sprang headlong into the
river, upsetting the canoe at the same time. McGable, who was a most
excellent swimmer, dove deep and came up a long way from the canoe,
whose bottom formed a black spot on the surface. His head hardly
appeared before it sank again, and Dingle and Peterson really believed
he was drowning. But it was only a feint of the wary wretch. His head
was descried still farther down-stream, when it finally disappeared
altogether. But, after a while, he was seen to rise too far away to be
within rifle-range, and walked away in the forest.

The reason of his escaping all the shots of the whites was this. In the
hurry of departure, Mansfield had never once thought of taking his rifle
with him, so that there were really but two shots. Dingle and Peterson
had hurried to their utmost, notwithstanding the remark of the
commander, who was not so situated as to be able rightly to judge of
duration. Upon coming in view, they both raised their guns together and
took aim at the form of the renegade. That instant the savage rose and
aimed at the Frontier Angel. His immediate death could only save her;
there was no time for consultation, so that one might accomplish this.
The danger was too imminent, and, naturally enough, they both fired
together. The canoe instantly upset, and the skillful manner in which
the renegade effected his own escape has already been shown.

Our three friends remained watching for his reappearance, until it was
made at a great distance down-stream. This, of course, was a
considerable time after the shooting of the Indian, and during the
interval their attention had never once been directed to the Frontier
Angel. Now, as they turned to look for her, she was nowhere to be seen.
Remembering the point toward which she was hastening, they searched
along the shore, and, at last, found her canoe, pulled high upon the
bank and secreted beneath the bushes, but there were no signs of her. A
careful examination of the canoe and the ground around, failed to show
the least sign of blood, so that they were compelled to the joyful
belief that she had escaped the shot of McGable without being even
wounded.

How this could be, the two rangers were at a loss to tell, for the
renegade was so close at hand, and the object was so well-presented,
that even an ordinary marksman could scarcely have failed.

"That settles the matter," said Dingle, compressing his lips and shaking
his head; "that's the second time he's tried to kill her and couldn't do
it. I s'pose some will say she ain't a _sperit_ now--but you needn't
tell Dick Dingle so."

"Nor Jim Peterson," added that individual himself.

"There ain't even a trail of her, and she ain't nowhere about
_h'yer_--she's _gone up_, she has. You might shoot at her all day, and
not hurt her. H'yers as don't undertake any such foolery as to warn
her--'cause why? thar ain't no need of it. She ain't in danger, and
never was or will be."

"Wonder why she don't kill that devil McGable?" remarked Peterson,
leaning on his rifle and gazing meditatively down the river.

"She'll give it to him _awful_ 'fore he gets through--see ef she don't.
His time ain't come yet."

Some further time was spent in similar remarks, when the three set out
for the block-house. It was the intention of Dingle and Peterson to
start for the Shawnee towns, but the commander instructed them to remain
over until the next morning, when, if nothing unusual happened, they
would be allowed to pursue their journey. The rangers were not very
unwilling to this, as the sky gave appearance of another storm, and the
adventure with McGable had its effect upon them.

The morrow came, but the rangers went not, and it was ordered that they
never should again.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE ATTACK IN THE WOOD.


THE storm which threatened during the afternoon broke forth toward night
and raged until morning. Little rain fell, but the wind was terrific, as
it howled around the settlement and screamed through the forest. What
rain fell came almost horizontally, and rattled like hailstones against
the cabins.

All night long the dim, yellow light burned in the block-house, and the
shadowy form of a shivering sentinel was never absent from the platform.
It was such a night as to make one relish the comforts of a shelter.
Chilly, windy, and dismal without, it was all light and sunshine within.
A huge fire of hickory logs was roaring in the fireplace, lighting up
the bronzed faces of the hunters and rangers without the aid of the
torch that smoked further back in the room. Now and then the men were
furnished with drinks of whisky, and their spirits were light and
jovial. Dingle and Peterson were there, relating and listening to
stories as usual, and "all went merry as a marriage-bell."

Little apprehension of an attack was felt, as the late repulse had
taught the Indians a lesson which they could not but heed. The shivering
sentinel paced his walk, slowly and gloomily, while the keen wind
whistled round his ears. As he heard the merry laugh of those within, he
breathed more than one earnest prayer that the time would hurry by and
bring a relief to take his place. He could not be said to keep a very
vigilant watch, as the darkness was so intense as to prevent; and when
the windy rain was hurtled in his face, he felt more like covering it up
with his great cloak than in peering toward the hoarse, soughing
wilderness. He had first whistled a tune, then hummed it, and was now
counting his steps, to pass away the time. He had calculated the number
of turns he should be compelled to make before his watch would be up,
and was now noting by this means the minutes as they slipped away.

His watch extended from nine o'clock until midnight. About half of it
had transpired, and he was completely absorbed in enumerating his steps,
when he was brought to a sudden stand-still, and felt a thrilling chill
creep over him, as a voice, faint and suppressed, but yet distinct and
clear, called out from the direction of the clearing:

"Hello there?"

The sentinel stopped abruptly and looked in the direction from which the
voice came. Once, it seemed, the outlines of a man was discernible, but
it was only an illusion. He reflected that it might be an artifice, and
hesitated before replying. "It's like enough he wants to find out where
I stand, and then blaze away. However, I'll fix it so that I can answer
him."

Leaning himself as much as possible behind the protection of the
platform, he called out:

"What's wanting out there?"

"Admittance; I am half frozen to death. Will you let me in?"

"You must wait till morning, my dear sir."

"But I will perish. Have you a man in the fort named Jim Peterson?"

"Yes; what of it?"

"Call him; he will admit me if you will not."

"I don't know about that. Who are you?"

"Tell him Madison Drake wishes to see him."

The sentinel was too wary to leave his post. He suspected that this was
a stratagem of the man to attack the gates; and yet, he reflected, that
if he was innocent of any evil design, it was not right that he should
be denied shelter. The commander had given imperative orders that no one
should unfasten the gates after nightfall. So the sentinel adopted an
artifice. He answered that he would coil Peterson, and, at the same
moment opened and closed the door. But he shut himself upon the outside,
and remained a few moments listening. Hearing nothing, he concluded it
was no risk to call the ranger. Accordingly he partly opened the door,
put his head in quickly, and said in a loud tone:

"Peterson, there is a man named Madison Drake out here who wants to see
you."

Had a thunderbolt fallen at the feet of Peterson it could not have
startled him more. He was in the midst of a story, all life and
animation, when the gruff words of the sentinel broke in so abruptly
upon him. And yet it was not the words alone, but the _name_ pronounced
that so affected him, for Jim Peterson would have taken his solemn oath
that that man was killed months before. He was sure of it, and what
could the sentinel mean by breaking in upon them with such intelligence?
He looked around upon the faces all turned expectantly toward him,
waiting for the remainder of his story. He believed he must have been
mistaken.

"What did that feller say?" he asked, looking half ashamed at asking the
question.

"He said there was a man named Drake who wanted to see you. What makes
you look so scared, Jim; I hope you don't owe him anything."

"Wal, by the eternal, that gits my time. Ef that man's alive, then I'll
swear that men don't die now-a-days unless they want to."

"Why, what's up now?" asked Dingle.

"Don't you remember that name?" asked Peterson, turning towards our
hero.

"I was just thinking I had heard it somewhere."

"Wal, sir, he was on the flat-boat with me when all was killed 'cepting
me. Yes, sir."

Peterson shook his head meaningly and slapped his hand upon his knee as
he uttered these words:

"Like enough it's him," said Dingle, "Freeze me to death, if you can
tell what's goin' to happen now-a-days."

"It may be a decoy of McGable," added the commander. "It is unnecessary
to caution you, Peterson. Nevertheless, I will accompany you."

The two went out on the platform. The wind was so strong as to nearly
lift them off their feet, and the darkness so great that they barely
discerned the form of the sentinel beside them.

"Where is he?" asked the commander.

"He will speak in a minute."

They listened, and finally the suffering man called out:

"Hello there, sentinel; hain't Peterson come out yet?"

"Yes, here I am; what do you want?" replied and asked the ranger.

"Don't you know me, Peterson? Don't you remember Madison Drake who was
on the flat-boat with you?"

"Yes; but the one I knowed war _killed_ that night. Be you him?"

"I am he. I was not killed, although well-nigh so. But, if you will not
admit me, I will not live long, as I am nearly perished now."

"Have patience, Drake, a few minutes and I will see about it."

"Do you believe he is not trying to deceive us?" asked the commander, in
a low tone.

"That's his voice--I'd swear to it 'mong ten thousand. But I'll swear,
too, that he has been _killed_ once!"

"Fudge! Jim, you ain't such a fool as that? Go down and let him in, if
you ain't afraid. Remember what I said and be careful."

The ranger, without a word, turned and made his way downward. As he
passed out toward the gate, it was not without considerable misgivings
and a hearty wish that matters and things in general would not take it
into their head to assume such mysterious and inexplicable a form to
him. He had no fear of anything mortal, but he would have rather faced a
dozen yelling Shawnees than the ghostly apparition which he believed was
waiting for him upon the outside.

"Where'n thunder ar' you?" he demanded spitefully as he approached the
gate.

"Here, just on the outside, half chilled to death," was the reply from
the rattling teeth of the sufferer.

"Sure there ain't no reds about as ar' goin' to try to dodge in atween
your legs?"

"No, no; and in Heaven's name, how much longer are you going to keep me
here?"

"Wal, you needn't be so cross 'bout it."

With these words, Peterson cautiously unbarred the gate, and opened a
small space. Instantly, a cold, wet skeleton-apparition glided through
and stood trembling beside him.

"How are you, Jim? You don't appear glad to see me," it said, pushing a
cold, bony hand toward him.

"Just wait--wait till I fasten this gate and then I'll go up to the
block-house with you," replied the ranger, working at the massive bolts,
and at the same time, glancing furtively over his shoulder, at what he
believed to be a veritable ghost beside him.

"Now, give us your hand, Jim, for, if ever a white man was glad to see
another, I am glad to see you: Jeh-u-u-u! _ain't_ it cold?" exclaimed
the apparition desperately, as a regular spasmodic shock shook him, and
apparently ejected the words in a most unceremonious hurry from his
rattling teeth. Peterson could not refuse the proffered hand; but, as he
took it, he felt a cold chill crawl, from the finger ends of the ghost,
up through his arms, clean to the crown of his head where it seemed to
halt, gather in a big mass, and then separating into a number of arrowy
needles, shoot through every part of his system, even contracting his
very toes.

"How--_how'r_ yer--'tis cold--let's go in," he said, turning toward the
block-house, and walking hurriedly away.

We should like to know whether any of our readers have been in a
situation, where their greatest desire has been to get ahead as fast as
possible, and yet they felt ashamed to either look behind them, or to
increase their gait. If they have, they can appreciate the peculiar
sensations of the really brave-hearted Peterson. Imagine yourself, on a
dark night, when within a few rods of your own door, where you know your
friends are peering into the darkness in expectation of your momentary
arrival--we say imagine that, just at that moment, you hear a footfall
behind you! You start and your heart commences to throb, and you hastily
debate whether it is best to walk unconcernedly along, as though such a
thing as fear never entered your head, or to glance behind you, and
break into a regular run for the door. But ridicule, more potent than
fear, prevents you, and you walk, it is true, a little faster, but as
you push open the door, you cannot help shoving yourself in rather
hurriedly, as your friends judge.

It was with feelings somewhat similar to these, that Peterson walked
toward the block-house, his unwelcome visitor stalking after him.

"H'yer we is," he exclaimed, as he ushered him into the warm glowing
room of the block-house, where the hardy backwoodsmen sat conversing.

"A dismal night, gentlemen," said Drake, bowing to the men, and
approaching the fire, against which he turned his back and gazed
composedly at the men. "A reg'lar snorter this night is; thought I'd
freeze to death. Jeh-u-u-u! that fire feels good. But I can't blame you
for your tardiness and suspicion in such times as these. Though Mad
Anthony has taught the Indians manners, it seems that they forget them
once in a while."

The hunters were not men to sit silent and unsocial when a stranger
claimed their hospitality. They saw it was no ghost, but a veritable
flesh and blood human being who stood before them. He was a tall,
cadaverous-looking man, his face all hair and eyes, and yet his voice
showed him to be a good-natured gentleman. His garments were soaked with
water, which slowly dropped from his ragged shirt, and every turn of his
clothes, and steamed constantly from them on account of his proximity to
the fire. He was without weapons of any kind. Without waiting as long as
it has taken us to introduce this description, the commander replied:

"A cold and dismal night indeed. Let me give you something to warm you
within, for it is plain you need it."

"Thank you," replied Drake, taking the proffered cup of raw whiskey and
swallowing it. "No more, thank you. I feel considerably better now."

"Why, Drake, that _is_ you," suddenly exclaimed Peterson; "give us your
hand and tell us how you are getting along."

"Ha! ha! has it taken you all this time to discover my identity? I
thought you acted strangely when you admitted me into the gate."

"I own up, Mat, I took you for a _spook_, and it goes hard yet to think
as how it is _you_ standin' thar lookin' so jolly, when the last I seed
of you, you had knocked under. Come, you've got warmed up a little,
let's hear how it was."

"Well. I will."

And thereupon, the new-comer related his experience, which may be summed
up briefly, as follows:

This Madison Drake, as the reader has probably suspected, was one of the
number on the flat-boat, whose sad fate was related at the commencement
of this work. When the Shawnees made their rush upon it, he, with all
the rest, was too bewildered to offer the slightest resistance. He
remembered seeing Peterson spring overboard, and attempted to follow
him; but he was not soon enough to escape a terrible blow from an
Indian's tomahawk. As he descended into the water, his wound rendered
him perfectly crazy, and, without knowing it, he swam in to the Ohio
shore. Here he was immediately seized by several savages, who made no
attempt to offer him further injury. After the massacre was completed,
the Indians assembled upon the bank, and the others then noticed his
presence. But, instead of killing him, a strange whim possessed them to
spare his life. He was too frightened to utter a complaint about the
horrible wound in his back, as he knew it would be relieved only by
death. They traveled all night and most of the next day without halting.
After a time, they reached the Shawnee towns in the Sciota Valley, where
he had remained a prisoner until the day before. An opportunity had then
offered of escaping, which he instantly seized. He knew the location of
the settlement and made all haste toward it, where, as shown, he
effected his arrival.

All listened breathlessly to this recital. Before he had fairly
finished, Peterson asked:

"Are you the only one, Mat, 'ceptin' me that got off?"

"I am the only one."

"Are you sure? Did you ever hear anything of Marian?"

"I am sure I am the only person the Indians took from that boat."

"But, I follered them that night and part of the next day, and I didn't
see nothin' of you, and you might seen nothin' of her."

"Our party just after starting, separated and did not reunite until just
before we reached the Shawnee towns. You followed the wrong one. You
might easily have done this, as both parties were large. No; do not hope
that Marian or _any one_ besides us had escaped, I could not have helped
knowing it."

"That settles the matter, then," said the commander, "we will tell
Abbot, in the morning. Poor man! I pity him and his wife."

"Is he here?" asked Drake, "I do pity him then; it was a hard blow for
him."

"But, I have heard," continued the commander, who saw that Mansfield was
painfully affected, "that there was a female captive among them."

"Yes; there was one; but she was captured from a settler on the Virginia
frontier. Poor creature! she died long ago from her sufferings. But,
friends, you will excuse me I trust. I have had a hard run for freedom;
and, if you have no objections, I will now turn in for the night."

"Certainly; let me help you to another snifter, to make you sleep
soundly."

Drake did not refuse the offered drink. At it was now late, the sentinel
was called in, another sent to take his place, and those within
stretched themselves out upon the floor, where, wrapped in their
blankets, they were soon oblivious to external things.

All excepting Mansfield, who sat listening to the howling wind without,
and gazing into the glowing embers with feelings which we shall not
attempt to describe.

When the morning broke, the slumberers were astir. The storm cleared off
toward daybreak, and the sun came out bright and cold. Mansfield, who
had not slept one moment, arose and took himself toward Abbot's house
with a heavy, painful heart. Deeming that it would be a relief to his
wife to hear his intelligence, he introduced it before them both,
stating what Drake had said and that there could now be no room for
further hope. It would be presumption, they all felt, to entertain the
slightest hope that Marian could still be living.

"I have cherished no hope of again seeing her on earth," said the
mother. "I thank my heavenly Father that I am satisfied now that she was
killed outright. I have nothing now to do but to wait until He calls me
to rejoin her."

"Let us go patiently at work, dear wife," said Abbot. "It is a relief to
know that she was killed at once. It was a bitter cup for us to drink,
but we have swallowed the bitterest portion. I thank God for this
intelligence. And, you, Russel, is this a relief to you?"

"Yes," he faintly answered, turning his head away.

And so the hope which had been exhumed and fanned into a feeble life
died again and was now reburied.

The expedition of search by the rangers for Marian, of course was now
given up. It was still their determination to capture McGable, but the
attempt was reluctantly deferred until a few months later, when it was
rightly judged the caution of the renegade would be worn off, and an
opportunity would present itself.

It was decided by a number of settlers to spend most of the time in the
wood, felling trees. It was necessary to collect a large quantity of
fuel,--besides it was in contemplation to erect one or two cabins. This
was one of the duties, devolving upon the settlement, which was always
dangerous, and yet one that must be done sooner or later.

So, a company of men numbering over a dozen, including Abbot, Mansfield,
and Peterson, passed through the gate, across the clearing, each bearing
a rifle and an ax. It was quite early in the forenoon; therefore they
calculated upon doing a good day's work.

The spot selected for their operations, was three or four hundred yards
from the clearing. Here they stacked their rifles and scattered
themselves in such a manner, that the weapons would be safe from the
reach of any foe, and commenced their labors right merrily. The clear
ring of their axes, the fall of the trees like a rumble of thunder, and
the shout and song, could be heard at the block-house and settlement.

They wrought vigorously until noon when they ceased, and seating
themselves upon the fallen trees, partook of the lunch they had brought
with them. They sat close together, joking and laughing, their faces all
aglow with good-humor and exercise. The meal was finished, and several
of the men had risen to recommence their labors, when a crashing in the
undergrowth was heard, and the next moment the Frontier Angel burst in
upon them, her arms outstretched, her hair flying, her eyes all agleam,
and her whole appearance that of a raving lunatic.

"Quick! quick!" she exclaimed; "fly! he is coming! _he_ is coming with a
lot of Indians! No--you can't reach the fort--they are on that side of
you! Take your guns quick! they are going to kill you all!"

Hardly were her words finished, before each man had seized his rifle,
and stood waiting the orders of some one of their number.

"Get down between these two trees--I hear their tread!" commanded
Mansfield, whose ears, quickened to supernatural strength, distinctly
caught their tramp through the forest. "Hurry, boys, they're here!"

At the same instant he bounded over the fallen tree beside him, followed
by all of the men, when, in a twinkling, they were so disposed that
nothing but their heads and rifle-barrels were visible. Then, as they
looked for the foe, they saw with horror that the Frontier Angel was
still standing as if transfixed upon the same spot where she had uttered
her warning.

"Fly, for God's sake!" exclaimed Mansfield, springing to his feet, and
excitedly waving his hand toward her. "Fly, for your life, Frontier
Angel! There they come!"

As he spoke she turned to flee, and, at the same moment, the sharp crack
of a rifle was heard. She gave a scream, swung her arms wildly over her
head and staggered further into the wood, where she was concealed from
view. The woodman had no time to follow her, for immediately there was
heard a rushing, and, as the bushes parted, near a score of Indians, led
by McGable, bounded into the opening. As they caught sight of the
settlers, they poured a deadly volley in upon them, whose fearful effect
was told by more than one yell of agony.

"Now charge, boys!" exclaimed Mansfield, springing over the log and
dashing straight at the yelling savages. There was an electric power in
his words that thrilled every heart, and they charged with such
enthusiasm after their gallant leader, that it was irresistible. The
Indians were unprepared for any such movement. When nigh enough to touch
them with their gun-muzzles, every rifle of the whites was discharged,
and then swung over their heads.

"At them!" shouted Mansfield; "don't spare one!"

The rifles came down with murderous force, and, for a few moments, one
of the fiercest hand-to-hand contests raged. But the number of the
whites, after their discharge, was fully equal to the savages, and their
fury could not be withstood. The Indians, in a short time, broke and
scattered in the wood, and the panting whites suddenly gazed into each
other's faces as they saw there was no foe left to encounter.

"Have they fled?" asked Mansfield, in astonishment.

"Not one is left--all are killed or fled! Any of us slain?"

"Yes; I heard some one groan when we started."

The whites turned back to the logs where they had first sheltered
themselves; here they found two of their number dead, both having
received a bullet through the brain, while several others had been given
severe cuts.

A moment after, a dozen more men arrived from the block-house. They had
heard the firing in the wood, and had been instantly dispatched by the
commander; but their help was not needed, as not a foe was left, so
signal had been the repulse. But, for the timely warning of the Frontier
Angel, a most fearful massacre must have taken place. Several of the
settlers picked up the two dead men and carried them to the settlement,
as the commander had instructed them to return the minute they could.
Mansfield, Peterson, Dingle, and Jenkins (the latter having come with
the reinforcement) remained behind. Four Shawnees lay doubled up in
death, while a fifth was rolling, and clutching, and flinging the
leaves in his agony. Shortly, to the relief of all, death put him out of
his misery.

"Who was killed?" asked Peterson.

"Smith and Thompson," replied Mansfield.

"Both single men; it is good for them that they have no women or
children to mourn 'em. We've straightened out five of _them_, besides
hacking a few more. By gracious, isn't that McGable h'yer? Ef I didn't
hit him, then I'll never shoot agin," asked Peterson.

"He appears to have escaped. What is to be done with these dead
Indians?"

"Why, leave 'em h'yer for the varmint, after we raises thar ha'r."

"In Heaven's name, Peterson, you are not going to do that?"

"I reckon I is. Eh, Dick?"

"In course, we must have their top-knots," replied Dingle, producing his
hunting-knife.

"You are as much a savage as they are," said Mansfield, turning his back
upon the sickening scene.

The two rangers were not to be deterred from scalping the Indians,
although they had enough respect for the feelings of Mansfield, to go
through the disgusting operation without their usual remark and
braggadocio.

"They'd 've been glad to 've done that same thing for us," said
Peterson.

"Freeze me," said Dingle, "if I don't believe thar is more of 'em round
h'yer. S'posen we take a look? Jenkins, look through the bushes thar by
you."

All, including Mansfield, now commenced searching the wood to see
whether any of their number had crawled away to die in secret. Jenkins
had beat about but a few minutes, when he exclaimed:

"Come here, quick! there's somebody under this bush! Just hear him
groan!"

All hastened thither; and, as Dingle pulled aside the bush, the white,
ghastly face of the renegade McGable was seen turned toward them.

"I thought I'd give you your last sickness," said Peterson, with a
shocking want of feeling.

"Oh! let me alone, I am dying!" wailed the miserable wretch.

All feelings except pity left the heart of Mansfield, as he saw the poor
man in his last moments. He hastily ran back, and, seizing an ax, cut
away the bushes around him, so that the air could reach him. It was then
seen that he had received the bullet of Peterson in his side. He was
leaning upon his elbow, spitting blood, while his hands closed rigidly
over the wound, and the blood oozed through them and pattered upon the
leaves beneath.

"Can I do anything for you?" asked Mansfield, kneeling down beside him
and opening his hunting-shirt.

"Oh, no! I can't live long. I deserve to die, but I don't want to. I
thought--"

He paused as the blood in his throat choked him. Peterson and Dingle
were both touched by his misery, and silently withdrew, followed shortly
by Jenkins. Mansfield saw that he was alone, and determined to do his
duty to the dying man.

"McGable, you are dying, it is true. Put away now all thoughts of this
world, and turn your heart toward the hereafter. Your sins are great,
but there is a God whose mercy is sufficient for everything."

"Do not talk of God and mercy to me," said the man with a look so full
of horrible torment, that Mansfield shuddered to his very soul. "The day
of mercy has passed with me. A thousand years could not atone for the
crimes I have committed. If you can forgive me, Mansfield--"

"I forgive you all, and so does Abbot--fear nothing of that."

"I have harmed you and him more than you have dreamed. Oh! this wound!
Can you not stay the flow?"

McGable removed his hand as he spoke, and before Mansfield could stanch
it, such a quantity of blood spouted forth, that the miserable man
fainted. The forgiving man bandaged it as well as he was able, and
presently the sufferer revived.

"I have harmed you more than you suspect," he said, faintly, turning his
dark eyes, all woe and misery, to him.

"You have not. What do you mean?"

"_Marian!_"

"How?--what?--McGable, you will not refuse me now."

"Mansfield, in a few minutes, you will have seen a monster die. Let me
adjure you to remember it to your last breath. The pain of my wound is
nothing to what I suffer in spirit. The awful torment is unutterable--"

"But what of Marian?" gently reminded Mansfield.

"Marian is--" muttered the man dropping his head back on Mansfield's arm
and gasping for breath, "_Marian was not killed on the flat-boat that
night!_"

"What do you say?" fairly shrieked our hero, believing that his mind was
wandering.

"_Marian was not killed that night!--but I killed her!--I see her angel
face now!--Oh! is this death?_"

The renegade McGable was dead!



CHAPTER XV.

"ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL."


AS the death-rattle was heard in McGable's throat, Mansfield felt his
head fall back upon his arm. He looked down and saw that all was over.
Laying his head gently back upon the leaves, he straightened his limbs,
and arose and looked around for his companions. Peterson and Jenkins
approached.

"It is all over," said our hero, sadly. "Poor man! he has paid dearly
for his sins. I pray Heaven, I may never witness another such a death!
Have you found any other bodies?"

"We have not looked; Dingle is searching."

"Let us look further. We will return this afternoon and bury McGable.
Ah! here comes Dingle! What can be the matter with him, he looks so
flustered?"

The ranger approached them, pale and agitated.

"Boys, the FRONTIER ANGEL SITS OUT YONDER ON A LOG, AND SHE IS DYIN'!"

Without a word, Mansfield dashed toward the point indicated. The others
followed less rapidly, for that singular fear of the mysterious being
forsook them not, even at the last moment. A few rods brought them to
the spot.

That personage, known as the Frontier Angel in these pages, was sitting
upon one of the trees, felled by the choppers, her hand pressed to her
forehead, and her elbows resting upon her knees. She sat perfectly
motionless, and a sickening fear that she was already dead took
possession of Mansfield. The blood could be seen dropping from her face
down upon one of her moccasins, which was clotted and stained with it.
She did not look up as our friends approached, and Mansfield paused
before her and asked:

"Are you hurt much?"

"Oh! I feel wretched--"

Mansfield sprang forward and caught her head as she fainted. The sight
made even the hardy rangers shudder. A rough wound was seen at the
temple, from which a great amount of blood had issued. Her dark, waving
hair hung loose around her shoulders, while her half-closed eyes gave an
unearthly terror to her countenance.

"Quick! water! she has fainted!" exclaimed Mansfield.

  [Illustration: "'Quick! water; she has fainted,' exclaimed
     Mansfield."]

Peterson sprang away, and in an instant returned with a jug of water
which had been brought by the woodmen in the morning for their use.
Mansfield sprinkled some in her face, and in a moment she revived.
Dingle, with ready wit, had prepared a bandage by tearing his
hunting-shirt to shreds, and this was carefully bound over her forehead.

"She must be taken to the block-house at once. Bear a hand, friends,"
said Mansfield to the two rangers who were looking on. That absurd fear
made them hesitate for a moment; but, as if ashamed of their weakness at
such a time, they sprang forward and made amends by sustaining her
entire weight themselves.

"Run ahead, Jenkins, and notify the commander of this," said Mansfield,
"and see that no crowd is in our way."

Jenkins darted away, and the three moved carefully through the wood
toward the clearing. An occasional moan from their burden was the only
sign of life she gave. Not a word was spoken by the three, as they made
their way forward. The rangers hardly dared to look down upon the form
their arms sustained, but gazed anxiously toward the block-house,
evidently in fear of a curious multitude of people. The commander, with
praiseworthy foresight, had unbarred the gates, and prepared the
block-house for her reception. Though nearly struck dumb with Jenkins's
intelligence, he did not allow it to interfere with his duty. He briefly
informed those gathered around what had happened, and besought them to
retire and leave the way clear for him. So, when Mansfield and the
rangers brought their charge, there were only one or two to receive
them.

"Is it a bad wound?" he asked, as he closed the doors of the block-house
behind him.

"I fear so; you will have to take charge of her."

"Place her on the litter, and remain with me a moment."

The commander of the fort was the physician of the settlement. It may
seem strange that a man holding his position, could find time to attend
to the duties thus devolving upon him. But he did find abundant time;
for it must be remembered, that such a thing as sickness is rarely known
in a frontier settlement. The time when his services were in
requisition, was upon an occasion like the present, directly after an
engagement with an enemy.

After the sufferer had been placed in the lower room of the block-house,
the commander desired all to depart, so that he might be left alone with
her. His determination was to make an examination of her wound at once.
He saw that she was hurt only in the corner of the forehead, where it
seemed was a slight fracture of the bone.

As he approached the bed, the Frontier Angel sprang to her feet and
screamed for him to keep away. He did his best to pacify her, but she
became more frantic each moment, until he desisted out of fear of the
consequences. After a time she seated herself upon the bed, and speaking
in a soothing manner, he gently approached her again. But she was wilder
than before, and he retreated at once. From her actions, she seemed to
imagine him to be the renegade McGable, and no words upon his part could
change the impression.

The good physician sat a while in a dilemma. He saw it was imperatively
necessary that her wound should be attended to, and it was impossible
for him to do this alone. After debating a moment, he called in
Mansfield and Peterson.

The latter entered, and the sufferer meekly submitted at once. Mansfield
took her gently but firmly by one arm, and the ranger held the other.
The physician then stepped forward, and, with a simple instrument,
examined the wound. A moment showed him the entire truth. A bullet,
years before, had glanced over the forehead in such a manner as to
press inward a thin strip of bone directly upon the brain. This simple
fact had caused that singular hallucination which she had so long
evinced. The wound had become cicatrized, leaving the bone in this
position. Another shot, precisely similar, had glanced in the same
manner, reopening the wound and increasing her aberration. A simple
action of the physician removed this cause of her insanity.

"Just wash the wound, Mansfield," said the commander, "and we will then
let her rest until morning."

Our hero proceeded to do as requested. A moment later he exclaimed in a
suppressed voice:

"My heavens! see here--SHE IS WHITE!"

Such was indeed the case, and the astonishment of all was unbounded. The
water had washed off that species of paint so commonly used among the
American Indians, and left the skin perfectly clear and transparent.

"Wonderful!" exclaimed the commander, "what can it mean? As it is nearly
all removed from her face, it shows what a beautiful woman she is.
Hello! what's the matter with Peterson?"

The ranger had turned as pale as death and fainted--a weakness of which
he had never been guilty before. Mansfield instantly dashed some water
in his face and he came to. He stared about him totally bewildered.

"Why, what's the matter, Jim?" laughed the commander. "Are you so
tender-hearted that you must faint when a female is hurt?"

"Get me out of here, quick, if you value _her_ life!" he said,
staggering to his feet.

He was assisted to the door, where the physician asked:

"What does this mean, Jim?"

"I'll tell you in the morning; don't say anything to me about it now.
Just bring _her_ to her senses as soon as you can."

Wondering and perplexed, the commander passed into the room again. As he
entered, he naturally turned his eyes toward his patient, and it was now
his turn to evince the agitation that had seized the ranger.

"What's the matter with you, doctor?" asked Mansfield.

"_My heavens! I know that girl!_"

"Who is she?"

"Never mind now. I understand the meaning of Peterson's conduct. Leave
me alone, Russel, and it shall all be made plain to you in the morning."

Our hero withdrew, and the commander was left alone with that being who
has figured as the Frontier Angel in these pages. She sat bolt upright
in the bed, staring at him with a look as fixed and intense as that of a
wild animal.

"Lie down, _Myra_!" he spoke gently.

"Lie down!" she repeated half to herself. "What does all this mean?--Why
am I here?--Have I been wounded?--Why is my head bandaged?--Am I
dreaming?"

The commander approached and laid her head back upon the pillow. In this
position she pressed her hand to her forehead and commenced muttering to
herself. The commander listened, and now and then caught her words.

"Reason has returned, or is now striving to regain its place," he
thought. "She is, in fact, in her right mind already, but it is no
wonder that her recollections still confuse her. Strange! strange! who
would have thought the Frontier Angel could have been _her_?"

Soon the patient slept--a troubled, dreamy sleep. She talked
incessantly--now in soft, beseeching tones to Peterson and Holmes (the
commander), then fairly shrieking the name of McGable, and once or twice
she spoke the name of _Marian Abbott_!

The wind howled around the old block-house, moaning through the forest
and ridging the Ohio till the dismal beat of its waves could be heard,
when an occasional lull occurred. The rain rattled through the village
like the incessant volleys of shot, and the pale flickering light
shining through the loop-holes of the fort was the only visible sign of
life.

The commander paced the floor a while and then sat down and gazed into
the face of the sufferer. Her eyes were closed and her face was of
unearthly whiteness. Now and then the thin lips moved and the broken
words came forth. Once the brow compressed as if a twinge of pain ran
through her, and then she started and gasped:

"Oh, don't! don't! McGable, you will kill her! Let her alone!"

"What can she mean?" wondered Holmes. "Yes--it is Marian--there! she
spoke her name then."

All at once, the patient come to the sitting position, and opening her
eyes to their fullest extent, stared apparently through the very walls
of the block-house out into the wilderness. Then, raising her hand, she
repeated these words:

"I see them!--they are hastening to the cave!--they will kill her!--she
cannot get away!--she will die."

"You are excited--lie down again!" pleaded the commander. But she
heeded him not. Her dark eyes glowed with tenfold light, and she added:

"I see them! they are Indians going to kill Marian Abbot! There are two
Shawnee warriors, and they are now picking their way through the forest.
She will die! she will die, if she is not saved at once!"

The patient seemed as if speaking in a trance. She was in that state
which baffles all human knowledge to understand, and, without attempting
to explain what never can be understood, we give the facts alone. What
the Frontier Angel saw on that stormy night, when neither the
impenetrable walls of the block-house, nor the miles of wilderness could
bound her vision, was really occurring. And the commander, rapt,
wondering, and believing, listened. When she had finished, she turned
toward him.

"Franklin Holmes, I understand all, not all either; but I feel I have
passed through some dreadful darkness, and light is again dawning upon
me. There is a white captive in danger this moment. She must be rescued!
I can lead the way!"

"But--but, Myra, you cannot. Hear how the storm rages," pleaded the
commander.

"Have I not passed through more fearful storms than this?" she asked,
stepping upon the floor and confronting him. "Yes," she added in a low,
meaning tone, "if you value the life of Marian Abbot, _who is now
living_, it must be done. Get me one or two companions and I will lead
the way."

Holmes believed that it was his duty to do so, and answering her that
her wish should be gratified at once, he passed out. He aroused Dingle
and Mansfield, but Peterson was nowhere to be found. He imparted to the
ranger the identity of their guide, and the absence of Peterson was then
understood. Preparations were made at once to start, and the impatience
and excitement of Mansfield was painful to witness.

The Frontier Angel--as we shall call her for a time--arrayed herself in
her usual garments, wrapping a large shawl around her form, and covering
her head securely, and was ready when Holmes reentered the room.

"How many are going?" she asked.

"Two well-tried and reliable men."

"That is plenty. Let us wait no longer."

She passed out without a word, and the two men joined her. The commander
unbarred the gate and saw them move off in the darkness, adding no
unnecessary caution or question.

"Keep close to me and move as fast as possible," she said as soon as
they were alone.

The rain was still falling, and the wind howled dismally overhead. The
Frontier Angel led the way to the river, where they entered one of the
canoes that were always there, and were propelled across by Dingle. As
they reached the Ohio side the ranger saw a dark form suddenly appear
beside him and glide along as silently as a shadow.

"Hello! who are you?" he demanded.

"You know well enough--don't speak my name. I knowed you'd be on some
such a tramp as this."

Mansfield recognized the voice of Peterson, and to set their fair guide
at ease, he informed her that it was merely a friend who had joined
them.

The speed with which the Frontier Angel moved through the wood was
wonderful. She neither seemed to run nor walk, but to glide as silently
and swiftly as a specter over the ground. Her companions did not run,
but they executed an amount of what might properly be termed "tall
walking."

On--on she led them like the _ignis fatuus_, brushing through the
dripping branches, tumbling over the gnarled and twisted roots,
splashing through the watery hollows, tearing their way through the
tangled undergrowth, until after many a mile had been passed and hours
had elapsed, she halted and said:

"Here is the spot."

At first, our friends were unable to pierce the darkness; but, after
gazing steadily for a few moments, they discerned the faint outlines of
a hill or swell in the ground in front. Still at a loss to understand
how this could be their destination, Mansfield inquired:

"What is there here that can assist us in our search?"

"--Sh! some one approaches!" admonished the guide.

The snapping of a twig was heard, and presently the footsteps of
persons. Our friends sank to the earth and silently waited their
approach. Scarcely more than ten feet away they halted, and presently
the guttural voice of a savage was heard. What he said was of course
unintelligible to Mansfield, although Frontier Angel and Peterson
understood every word. Despite the rain which was still falling, a huge
torch instantly flashed out and displayed the gleaming visages of two
Shawnees, stealing forward like the panther. At the very base of the
hill or knoll alluded to, they halted. Here by the aid of the flickering
torches, our friends were enabled to gain a view of its peculiarities.
It merely resembled a mass of solid green earth, with a number of stones
piled at the base. A moment later, the dusky warriors entered the cave,
and swinging their torch overhead called out: "Pauquachoke!
Pauquachoke!"

A shuffling, sliding over the ground was heard, and a bent, withered,
old squaw appeared. For the benefit of our readers we will translate the
Indian tongue into the English.

"What seeks the Shawnee chiefs?" asked the old squaw.

"The captive pale-face, bring her at once."

Thus commanded, the squaw clapped her hands three times, and with
feelings which we leave to the imagination of the reader, our friends
beheld _Marian Abbot_ approach! She said nothing, but stood with her
head meekly bent as if awaiting her doom. She appeared the same as when
Mansfield had last seen her, except she was paler and more dejected.

The Frontier Angel had entered the cave behind the savages, so that all
save Peterson were now within it. He had purposely remained outside to
conceal his identity. The savages standing with their backs toward the
entrance failed to see the shadows behind them, which might be said to
be in fact a part of the gloom itself, so faint was the light of the
torch.

There was no mistaking the meaning of the savages. Their glowing
visages, doubly hideous in their horrid war paint, their weapons, their
attitude, all showed they were upon the work of death. Mansfield felt
ready to spring forward and rend the demons limb from limb; but an
emotion, that was ever after unaccountable to him, held him in his
place.

One of the savages, placed his hand upon the knife in his belt and
addressed Marian in broken English.

"White man, McGable dead--white gal die too."

"I am ready if you wish to kill me," she replied meekly.

"Pale-face wan't die. McGable say kill white gal ef he no come back. He
no come back--white gal must die."

"I have told you I am ready--why do you wait. Strike, now, and may God
forgive you both."

Still the savage hesitated. A baleful light glittered in his black eye
as he surveyed the vision of loveliness before him. His hand toyed with
the buckhorn handle of his knife, and his chest sank and rose like the
billows of the sea. Several times the knife was partly withdrawn, until
Marian wondering at the stillness and inaction, looked up and
encountered the fiery gaze of the Indian. The latter forced his knife to
its place, and sucking his breath between his teeth, demanded,

"White gal no want to die?"

"I have not deserved death, and I do not wish to die, but I am prepared
for death and expect nothing else at your hands."

"Be Indian chief's squaw?" asked the Indian with the rapidity of
lightning.

Marian started, as if stung by an adder, and gazed into the eyes which
fairly scintillated their electric light into her own. She comprehended
the meaning of the words in an instant.

"No, Indian, I cannot be your squaw."

"Then die--think two, tree time, afore speak agin."

"No, never, Indian, kill me if you will."

"Then die--!"

  [Illustration: "Then die--!"]

Marian darted backward with a piercing shriek, as the torch was dashed
to the ground, and the savage sprang toward her. She had caught sight of
a pale, horror-struck face that shot in from the mouth of the cave, and
heard the words:

"We are here, Marian! Don't be frightened. We'll clear the cave of these
monsters in a second!"

With ready wit, Marian had sprung one side, when the torch fell to the
ground, and thus escaped the well-nigh fatal blow. All being blank
darkness her assassin was at fault, even had he repeated the attempt.
But the Indians scented danger that second, and dashing the torch to the
earth, whisked out of the cave and were gone in a twinkling, escaping
the murderous onslaught Peterson had prepared himself to give them as
they emerged.

A few moments of necessary confusion followed the announcement of
Mansfield's presence. Guided by the unerring instinct of love, he soon
had Marian clasped in his arms. A fervent embrace and he led her forth.
As they passed out of the entrance, the dark body of the old squaw
brushed by them and scurried off in the darkness.

"Thank God, the dead is alive!" exclaimed Mansfield impulsively,
pressing a kiss upon the cold cheek of Marian. "Can you bear the walk,
dearest? it is a long way to your home; let me wrap this blanket around
you."

"I can bear _anything now_!" she replied in a low tone. "Are the Indians
gone?"

"None but friends are around you."

"I saw some one just now move by me."

"It is Pe--a friend."

"Let us go on then. Is this dear, good Frontier Angel here."

"It is to her your life is owing. She is no longer crazy."

"Oh, this must be a dream!" cried Marian, as she was locked in the arms
of her devoted friend. "It cannot--cannot be real."

For a few moments nothing but the sobbing of the two was heard. Peterson
seemed restless, and moved uneasily but said nothing.

"Let us go," said the Frontier Angel, "for there is a long distance to
travel."

The storm had partly ceased, though the wind was stronger than ever.
Through the woods again--through swamps and thickets--over brooks and
the matted undergrowth--brushing through the dripping bushes--until as
the misty light of morning was breaking over the scene, they once more
appeared upon the banks of the Ohio, opposite the block-house.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a happy reunion--one whose perfect joy our feeble pen can never
give. There were two persons who, it seemed, had risen from the dead.
The Frontier Angel and Marian Abbot. When the identity and remarkable
history of the former became known through the settlement, there were
many, even of the most intelligent, who believed it nothing less than a
miracle.

If the reader, who has followed us through these pages, will examine the
history of the West, he will find that in the summer of 1788, three
flat-boats were attacked by the Shawnees, a short distance below the
mouth of the great Sciota, and nearly all of the inmates massacred. Two
of the boats were sunk, and history states that every one on board were
slain. On the remaining boat was a Methodist missionary by the name of
Tucker, who fought as only those valiant old Methodist pioneers can
fight. There were several women, who loaded their dead husband's rifles
and handed them to him, while he fired with such deadly effect, that his
boat finally escaped, and he reached Maysville, where, a few days after,
he died of his wounds.

In one of the boats which were sunk by the savages, was a man named
William Orr, with his family. Every one of these, it is stated by
historians, fell a victim to the fury of the Shawnees. And here we take
the liberty of saying that, not for the first time, the historical
accounts are in error. The writer traveled over that section, where most
of our scenes have been laid, some years since, and obtained from an
aged man (who had known the rangers, Jim Peterson and Dick Dingle, years
before) the following account of the affair:

The boat which contained Orr and his family was the hindmost, and upon
the second volley of the Shawnees, every one was killed, except Myra
Orr, the youngest daughter. Even she was wounded. A bullet grazed her
forehead, pressing a piece of bone inward upon the brain, in such a
manner as to render _her crazy_!

In a few moments, the savages came up and proceeded to scalp their
victims, when noticing that she was still alive, she was taken as a
prisoner to the shore. It was subsequently ascertained that she was
demented and no harm was offered her.[A] In time, she dressed and
painted like the Indians, but she was never one of their number. She
mingled with them, but her singular manner impressed them with the
belief that she was something more than mortal. After a year or so, she
took to the woods, and somewhere in its recesses she built herself a
home. In the year 1790, she appeared before a settlement, and warned
them of an intended attack, and from this time up to the closing scenes
of our story, she devoted her life to the one object of befriending the
whites. In time she became known all along the frontier, and the
unaccountable mystery which hung down over her, gave rise to the
superstitious belief that she was in reality an _angel_. Many attempts
were made to discover her history, but none succeeded, until her reason
was restored and she gave it herself.

  [A] A crazy or idiotic person is always regarded with
      superstitious reverence by the North American Indian.

But what is perhaps nearly as singular, is that Myra Orr, the "Frontier
Angel," and Jim Peterson, the ranger, were lovers in their younger days.
They had separated much in the same manner that Mansfield and Marian
had. When the tragic fate of his love reached the ears of Peterson, he
turned ranger and acted with the celebrated Dingle in that capacity. He
rarely referred to his great bereavement, but there were several who
knew it. Among these, was Franklin Holmes, commander of the block-house,
who was acquainted with the Orr family, before they removed from the
East.

It will be remembered that Peterson left Marian Abbot, as he believed,
in a dying condition, when the flat-boat was attacked. She was
desperately wounded, and without the utmost care would have died.
McGable recognized her as he boarded the flat-boat, and carried her to
the shore, where he gave her in charge of an Indian runner, with
instructions to carry her at once to Pauquachoke, one of their old
"medicine women." McGable instantly returned and joined in the massacre.
A few days after, he visited the medicine woman, and learned that Marian
would recover, although it would necessarily require a long time. In
fact, she had not been able to walk until a month previous to her
rescue. Escape was impossible, as Pauquachoke had been instructed never
to permit her to pass out of the cave. By an accident, the Frontier
Angel became aware of the state of things and visited the captive on
several different occasions. This reached the ears of McGable, and
fearful of losing his prey through her means, he determined to kill her.
His attempts and failures to do this, have been referred to. The fearful
exertion through which Myra Orr went, on the night of Marian's rescue,
well-nigh proved fatal to her. Reason flickered and fled for a time, but
it finally returned in its full strength.

Marian for a long while was nearly delirious with joy--and so were the
father and mother, and Mansfield, too. And Jim Peterson, the genial,
good-hearted ranger, was heard to exclaim scores of times, "It beats
all! it's powerful queer that I've met my gal here for nearly ten years,
and was afraid she'd kill me ef she touched me. It's queer! Powerful
queer!"

We wish our readers could have been down at the settlement, on the night
of October 20, 1798. It would have required immense room, to have
accommodated them we suppose, but the woods were large enough. This
double wedding was a greater one than Seth Jones' and George Graham's.
Yet it was much the same, and we will not describe it, but close our
story with a paragraph.

Jim Peterson gave up the ranger's life and settled down as a farmer. He
had several children, and two of his grandsons are now prominent
merchants in the city of Cincinnati. In the war of 1812, Russel
Mansfield acted as Colonel, and at its close retired to his farm near
Maysville, covered with honor and glory. Here he lived with his children
and grandchildren, and it is only a few years since that he followed his
wife to her last resting-place. Dick Dingle and Peter Jenkins became
bosom friends, and spent many years of adventure and peril together. We
will dismiss them, with the promise that their experiences shall not be
withheld from the reader, and that they both shall be heard of again.


THE END.



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Transcriber's Corrections

Following is a list of significant typographical errors that have been
corrected.

- Page 69, "Petetrson" changed to "Peterson" (added Peterson to
himself).

- Page 84, "Harmer" changed to "Harmar" (offered by Harmar).

- Page 90, "CAPTER" changed to "CHAPTER" (CHAPTER VII.).

- Page 166, "discoved" changed to "discovered" (renegade was
discovered).





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