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´╗┐Title: The Wilderness Fugitives
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 Wilderness Fugitives" ***

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



[Illustration: "WHAT IN BLAZES ARE YOU AIMING AT?"--Page 168.]



    THE WILDERNESS FUGITIVES
    BY
    EDWARD S. ELLIS

    AUTHOR OF "DEERFOOT" SERIES, "LOG CABIN" SERIES, "BOY PIONEER" SERIES,
    ETC.

    ILLUSTRATED

    THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PHILADELPHIA, CHICAGO, TORONTO.

    COPYRIGHTED 1893 BY THE PRICE-McGILL CO.



    CONTENTS.


    CHAP.                                 PAGE.

         I--Alone and Together,               7
        II--Soft and Low,                    15
       III--Eavesdropping,                   22
        IV--The Course of True Love,         30
         V--A Light Ahead,                   37
        VI--The Fragments of the Feast,      44
       VII--The Report of a Gun,             51
      VIII--Mr. Isaac Perkins,               59
        IX--Border Bravery,                  67
         X--On the River,                    75
        XI--An Unfavorable Omen,             83
       XII--Forced Backward,                 91
      XIII--New Peril,                      100
       XIV--Diamond Cut Diamond,            107
        XV--A Delicate and Dangerous Task,  114
       XVI--Iroquois Against Iroquois,      121
      XVII--At Last!,                       128
     XVIII--The Southeastern Shore,         136
       XIX--The Mohawk Objects,             143
        XX--The Longest Way Home,           152
       XXI--A Curious Discovery,            159
      XXII--Another Fugitive,               166
     XXIII--Doubt and Perplexity,           174
      XXIV--The New Guide,                  182
       XXV--The Hiding-place,               189
      XXVI--Curious Proceedings,            196
     XXVII--What Does it all Mean?          203
    XXVIII--Up and Doing,                   210
      XXIX--A Startling Check,              217
       XXX--A Merited Fate,                 227
      XXXI--The Mohawk Explains,            234
     XXXII--The Fatal Tree,                 242
    XXXIII--Captive and Captors,            249



THE WILDERNESS FUGITIVES.



CHAPTER I.

ALONE AND TOGETHER.


The reader will recall that at the close of The River Fugitives the
narrative left our friends in a situation, apparently, of safety; and
the belief, on the part of Jo Minturn, his sister Rosa and Ned Clinton,
was strong that, in their flight from the dreadful scenes of the Wyoming
massacre of July, 1778, they had left all dangers behind. They were
confident that, under the guidance of the matchless Mohawk, Lena-Wingo
(temporarily absent in quest of food), the road to security was beset by
no perils worth the mention.

But, as has also been intimated, they were altogether wrong in this
belief. Brother and sister and Ned Clinton were seated near each other
on a fallen tree, and it was not yet fully dark when the soft tread of a
moccasin was heard on the leaves, and they saw the tall, slim figure of
the Mohawk come forth like some spirit of the forest to ask them their
business in thus invading his domains. The supposition was so general
that he had gone in quest of food, that a common instinct led them to
look to see whether he brought anything of that nature with him. There
was enough light left to show that he carried nothing but his gun.

"Well, Jack," said Ned, "we thought you had gone out foraging, but if
you did, you didn't make much success of it."

"Lena-Wingo didn't hunt eat--he hunt something more."

"Well, did he find it?" asked Rosa, who was more daring in her questions
than the others thought it prudent to be.

"Yes--he find him."

"Why don't you bring him here, then, that we may see him?"

"He gone," was the direct but rather unsatisfactory answer, for there
was no telling to what he referred.

Rosa was on the point of questioning him further, when it struck her
that if he desired them to know what he had been doing he would tell
them only when he chose. And so she forbore.

"I hope the result was pleasing to you," ventured Ned Clinton, on what
seemed forbidden ground.

"When Lena-Wingo look for Iroquois in canoe, he take knife along."

As this remark was clearly intended in the light of a joke, all felt the
duty of laughing at it, although the mirthful inclination was not very
tremendous, coming from such a grim source.

"Jo," added the redskin, after waiting for the applause to wear itself
out, "want to see you."

The young man thus appealed to sprang to his feet, and placed himself
beside the red scout, wondering what he could have to say that he should
keep from the rest. Ned and Rosa saw them talking together for a minute
or two, when they turned, as if to walk deeper into the woods. At that
moment, Jo looked around and called to them in a cautious voice, just
loud enough to be heard:

"We won't be back for some time."

This was a curious proceeding, indeed; but there was no use of
protesting against it. The Mohawk had a way of doing as he pleased about
such matters, and it was useless to interfere. When they had been gone
several minutes, it struck Ned that, as they would not be back for
awhile, he was given a chance to converse with Rosa, such as had not
been his since the invasion of the Wyoming valley.

The consciousness came upon him so suddenly that he was not a little
confused by the problem of how he was to improve the opportunity. True,
he had spent many hours in the company of the beautiful girl, but it
seemed to him that never had he felt as he did then. He was sure that
she must be aware of the unutterably tender affection he held toward
her--a feeling that had grown within the last few days, until it took
possession of his being. Not until the life of Rosa Minturn was placed
in peril did he comprehend how much he loved her. When there was reason
to fear she was in the hands of the Iroquois or the Tory colonel, and
that he might never see her more, then it was that it seemed his heart
must break from grief alone. And when, a short time after, she was found
without a hair of her head injured, his joy was correspondingly
great--so great, indeed, that he was sure all noticed it, even Rosa
herself.

The couple were seated upon a fallen tree, there being some two or three
feet of space between them. The twilight, which was fairly upon forest
and stream, threw the faces of both in shadow, and Ned was glad of it.
If there was one thing in the world of which he was absolutely certain,
it was that he was never so ill at ease as he was at that moment, it
following, as a matter of course, that Rosa could not but be aware of
it, and that she looked upon him with pity and contempt. She was
wonderfully kind, it seemed to him, and so far as he could judge, showed
no consciousness of the pitiful exhibition he was making of himself.

"When we once arrive at Wilkesbarre, and you are safe from the Indians
and Tories, I suppose Jack will hasten back to your parents with the
tidings, for it will be a great relief to them."

"He hasn't said anything to me about it, but it will be just like him,
for he is never content with anything except danger and action."

"It would have gone hard with you if you had had any one besides him to
lead you through the woods."

"None is so capable as he when he chooses to exert himself; but I think
he has been a little careless. There was no need of his being caught as
he was in that house when you went to his rescue."

Although it was too dark for it to be seen, yet a crimson flush
overspread the face of the young scout again at receiving such a
compliment from those fair lips. He checked the protest that rose to his
own with the remembrance of the reproof of Jo, fearing that he might
appear to assume a modesty that he did not feel.

"Where one has done so much for us as the Mohawk, it would be ungrateful
not to give him what assistance I could. I was as much pleased as was he
that I was able to divert the attention of the Iroquois until he found a
chance to get away. But, Rosa, you know as well as I that they could not
have held him there, for he has been in many a worse situation than
that."

"That may all be true, Edward, but you do wrong to throw aside all the
credit, as you seem anxious to do. You acted bravely, and you know it.
Jo has told me about it, and he said more than that, too!"

"I don't know what he could say more than that," said young Clinton in
surprise.

"He told me that you had a dreadful time in getting away from the
battle. You had to swim the river out to Monacacy island, and the
Indians followed you, and came near capturing both. You acted very
bravely again, as any one who knows you might have been sure you would,
and helped him very much, indeed. I thank you for that, Edward."

"I don't want to appear in the light of disputant of all that Jo says,
but he gives me more credit in that matter than belongs to me. It was
all we could do, and more than appeared possible, to take care of
ourselves--each of us alone, without thinking of the other. He surely
helped me as much as I helped him."

"Well, I shall have to wait till I hear what he has to say about that,"
responded Rosa, with that persistency so charming in a beautiful woman
when it is in favor of him with whom she is holding her argument.

The certainty that he possessed the good opinion of this girl, in spite
of his own sense of awkwardness and embarrassment, caused more than one
thrill of delight to pass through the young hero as he listened to the
words--a thousand times more delightful--coming from such lips as hers.

"I am pleased beyond measure," he said, gathering courage from her
utterances, and the darkness that now veiled their faces from each
other, "to find that I have earned your good opinion, and all that I
ask is that I may continue to deserve it."

"Why, of course you will," she was prompt to reply. "What could you do
to make any one respect you less?"

"Well, I might do a great many things that I hope I won't do," he
laughed. "Not to mention my own principles, the fear of displeasing you
would be enough at any time--"

"'Sh!" interrupted Rosa, in a frightened whisper. "I am sure I heard
some one just then behind us."



CHAPTER II.

SOFT AND LOW.


At the mention of suspected danger, Clinton sprang up and moved in the
direction whence he supposed it came, though he heard nothing of it
himself. It was so dark that he could see but a little way in the woods.
After stealing a few paces, rifle in hand, he paused and listened,
thinking that if any enemies were at hand, they would be sure to betray
themselves by attempting to advance. But the stillness remained
unbroken, and he suspected that Rosa had been mistaken. Even though he
knew not where Jo and the Mohawk were just then, he was sure that they
were at no great distance, and the redskin was certain to discover the
approach of any foe. When five or ten minutes passed he turned about and
rejoined his fair friend.

"You must have been in error," said he.

"I _was_ mistaken," she said, with a laugh; "and I was on the point of
calling and telling you what it was."

"Well, what was it?"

"Lena-Wingo; he was here a minute ago, and said he had come to see if
all was right, after which he went back to where Jo is waiting for him."

"How long before they will be here again?"

"Not very long," said Rosa. "He told me they were not quite ready to
start, but would be shortly; he made a little noise when he was coming,
so as to let us know he was near!"

"And I didn't hear him. If it hadn't been for you, he would have come
right upon us."

Ned sat down on the fallen tree beside Rosa. Somehow or other, the space
between the two was reduced almost to no space at all. It may have been
that the young scout was so absent-minded, that he forgot about the
respectable gap that existed a short time before. But be that as it may,
Rosa herself was so absent-minded, also, that she forgot to remind him
of it. So they sat, so near that they could afford to understand each
other without speaking above a whisper.

Having resumed his seat, Ned sat a while trying to think of something
appropriate to say, but it seemed that all his ideas were scattered to
the winds. When that interruption broke in upon them, he flattered
himself that he was getting along very well--that is, for him--but
now--why, he was never so put to it in all his life. If the innocent
cause of all this misery had not come to his relief, there is no telling
how long the oppressive silence would have lasted. But Rosa was
merciful, or else she became tired of waiting.

"Edward," said she, in that low, winning voice that was hers alone,
"when Colonel Butler and his Tories and Indians leave the valley, what
are you going to do?"

"Whatever seems the best for our country. I cannot exactly say what that
will be, but I have thought I would join the Continental Army under
Washington. I so love and revere that great man, that I can fight better
if near him, where I can see his face and hear his voice now and then."

"I have often thought the same thing myself, but I have never seen him.
Lena-Wingo told me that he has spoken to him many times, and he looks
upon him as if he were some one sent by the Great Spirit to save our
country."

"He means Heaven when he speaks of the Great Spirit, and he is right;
for he is the man of all others to carry the colonies to their
independence."

"Have you ever seen Washington?"

"No. That great pleasure is before me. But I have talked with many who
have, and they have raised my eagerness to the highest point. But," he
added, more thoughtfully, "it would not be right for me to go to his
army and enlist just to fight under him, when I may be needed somewhere
else!"

"You cannot go anywhere that you will not be needed," said Rosa, in the
same thoughtful voice. "There are too many Tories and Britons, and too
few patriots, in this country. If ever I wished that I was a man it is
now, that I might shoulder a musket, and help fight the battles of my
country."

"That you cannot do, of course, but you can encourage all who are at
home and able to bear a hand to do so; if I were the greatest coward
that ever lived, your words would drive me into the army, for it would
take more courage to brave them than to face the cannon's mouth, or
cross bayonets with the British regulars."

"You seem to place great value on my counsel, Edward."

"So I do; I would rather die than displease you in anything."

These fervent words were uttered in a low, earnest tone, that Ned would
not have dared to use a few minutes before, when he first took his seat
so close to the idol of his heart. As was perhaps natural, it was the
girl who seemed never to lose her self-command, and who parried every
attempt to broach the subject that was evidently clamoring for utterance
in the heart of the youth.

"Well, if you value my opinion so highly," she answered, in that
half-frivolous and half-serious tone that was especially tantalizing to
one of his ardent temperament, "I shall be very careful of the advice I
give."

"You couldn't advise me to do anything except that which is best for
myself and country."

"I can reply as you did a moment ago--that I could easily do so, but I
have no intention of trying it. Jo tells me that you and he are to go
together?"

"Of course we shall. We have been friends all our lives, and we may as
well stick together in the army."

"I am glad to hear that, for it has many advantages--but why talk of
those things now?"

The girl looked around in the darkness, as if she wondered at the
continued absence of Lena-Wingo and her brother.

"I am half tempted to lose my patience with Jack!" she said, after a
minute of waiting and listening. "He doesn't seem to be in a hurry at
all; we ought to have been in Wilkesbarre before daylight this morning,
and here it is dark again, and there is no telling when he will be ready
to start."

"I have no fear of the Mohawk," replied Ned, who thought they might find
a much more interesting subject to talk about. "He will be here in due
time, and is sure to do his part in whatever needs to be done. I think
he has gone in search of that supply of food he was talking about a
while ago. When he gets it he will bring us a good supper, which will
not come amiss to any of us, although I should have preferred to eat it
in Wilkesbarre."

"We may as well content ourselves here until Jack is ready," said Ned,
keeping his seat as close to Rosa as he conveniently could. "Until then,
remember that I am here, ready to defend you with my life."

"I know you would, Edward," she responded in a softer, tenderer voice
than the last few words had been spoken. "But I do not want to see the
occasion come."

"I should welcome it, Rosa, to prove my devotion to you."

"I need no proof," she answered, speaking so low that he barely caught
the words.

"How happy your words have made me! Hello! here comes some one at last!"



CHAPTER III.

EAVESDROPPING.


Both supposed that they heard the footsteps of Lena-Wingo and Jo
Minturn; but a habit taught by the hard experience of the last few days
caused them to cease speaking and to listen. Only a second was needed to
tell them that strangers were approaching them, although, fortunately
they were not heading in a direct line for the place where the lovers
were sitting. Had it been otherwise, it is hard to see how they could
have escaped observation. The men were issuing from the wood and making
for the shore of the river, aiming at a point a few yards above where
Ned and Rosa were stationed. They were walking at a leisurely gait,
evidently with no suspicion that any white persons were within earshot.
Judging from the sound of feet upon the leaves, a half dozen persons
were proceeding without any caution at all, talking as freely as if
together at their own homes.

The feelings of Rosa Minturn, when she recognized the voice of the Tory
colonel, Butler, may be imagined. He was accompanied by another white
man, probably one of his officers, and several Indians, and he was
talking more freely. In the stillness of the summer night, while they
were so close at hand, it was as easy to distinguish every word uttered
as if the speech was intended for the ears of the eavesdroppers.

"We have heard so much of the smartness of that Mohawk scout that I
began to think there was something in him," said the principal member of
the party, Rosa identifying him as the detested Butler. "But I have
never seen anything myself that showed up very well on his part. Here he
is on this side of the Susquehanna, when he ought to have been at
Wilkesbarre before daylight this morning."

"We ought to have been there before that time, even," replied his
companion. "I am sure we could have played the deuce with that place, a
confounded sight better than with Wyoming, for they were so scared that
they were on the run and that's just the time to strike, you know,
colonel."

"Yes; we might have done something if we had gone over at once, but it
was some time before we learned what was going on."

"I hear they are not much better yet, and it seems to me that it is not
too late to slip our men across and clean 'em out."

But Colonel Butler was too wily to consent to any such project, although
there was reason to believe that it might have succeeded, even though
deferred till that rather late hour.

"It isn't worth our while. There's only one more of the rebels that I
want to lay hands on. Let me get that one and the rest may go."

"I think I know who it is, colonel."

"No doubt you do," was the prompt reply. "Any one who has heard me speak
within the last twenty-four hours has found it out. I tell you, captain,
that you don't often see as pretty a rebel as that young Minturn. She
slipped off last night because she found I admired her so much that I
couldn't keep my eyes from her."

"You're right there, colonel, when you speak of her beauty, for I have
never seen one that could surpass her; I wonder that she don't turn the
heads of all she meets. Perhaps she does, though, and, if you hadn't
foreclosed there, I would be tempted to make a claim myself."

"It will be dangerous for any man to interfere with me."

The individual whom he addressed as a captain was heard to laugh at the
words of his superior officer, and he replied:

"I am sure there is no fear of my trying to intrude myself in that
direction, for I am opposed to the thing on principle."

"I am aware of that," replied the colonel, the party having halted on
the edge of the river, as if awaiting the coming of some one. "Of course
I had no reference to _you_ when I spoke, but I feel especially angry
toward Red Jack, or Lena-Wingo, and I will give a good deal for his
scalp. He has played the mischief with our plans more than once, and
now, when everything is going along just as I want it to, he comes in
and walks off with the prize."

"But don't you suppose he was set up to do it?"

"Certainly; and Colonel Denison was the man who put it into his head. I
can see it all now, though I didn't suspect it at the time."

"Why don't you shoot him?"

"I was mad enough to do that; and I believe that if I had met him last
night, after the Mohawk escaped so narrowly being cut through by my
sword, I would have done it. But I have thought the matter over to-day,
and made up my mind that it won't pay. There have already been some
things about this Wyoming business that will make trouble. The Indians
ought to have killed every rebel that wasn't shot down in battle; but
they let so many get away that they will tell all sorts of stories about
us, and when they get to England, they may interfere with some little
plans of my own."[A]

"Well, if you catch the bird that flew away, you can afford to forgive
the well-intended schemes; for when she is once in your hands, what care
you for others? You tell me, colonel, that the Mohawk did not reach
Wilkesbarre with her to-day?"

"No. I had word from there at sunset, and they had not been seen
anywhere in the neighborhood; and, as the Mohawk was observed on this
side of the stream near noon to-day, he must still be here."

"It has been dark quite awhile, and he may have slipped across since the
sun went down."

"He may, it is true, but it is hardly likely, for the redskins, as a
rule, don't like to do their work until the latter part of the night.
People are too apt to be wide awake in the earlier portion of the
evening; and I am quite sure Red Jack will wait till beyond midnight
before he makes a move in the business."

"The night promises to be dark, so that when he undertakes to paddle to
the other shore, he will be pretty apt to do it."

"It isn't likely we could hinder him, if he was on the watch, as I
suppose he will be," growled Butler, reluctant to concede to the redskin
the skill and prowess that he knew properly belonged to him. "But I have
figured on the supposition that he will get safely across with the girl,
so it won't make much difference whether he does set foot on the other
shore or not. If he _does_ get there, though, he will find there is more
than one lion in the path between him and Wilkesbarre. I have some of
the best runners and scouts of the Iroquois on the hunt for the couple,
and it is scarcely possible that they can fail. I go across myself, so
as to be ready to take charge of matters the minute a competent guiding
hand is needed."

"And you want me to go with you?"

"You may as well, for matters are dull behind us, and are likely to stay
so for the few days that we shall yet remain. Come along with us,
Captain Bagley, and you will be likely to see some sport before you get
back."

"That reminds me," said the officer, whose name was just spoken, "that I
heard somewhere from some one that this pretty rebel has an ardent
admirer and lover in the person of a young soldier of Denison's forces,
and that he and a brother of the girl fought like the very deuce in the
battle--"

"And was killed?" struck in the Tory, with an eagerness that showed how
intense was his hate for the one who dared to love with a pure and holy
affection her whom he had selected as the object of his sinful
admiration.

"I am sorry to say I cannot give you that information," said the
captain, with a half-laugh at the colonel's eagerness. "Both young men,
I have been told, managed to get through the battle without a scratch,
and are probably somewhere in the valley at this moment--perhaps trying
to help the young lady to get to Wilkesbarre."

Colonel Butler broke in with an imprecation, as he recalled the
accounts he had received of the affair at the settler's house that same
day, and which left no doubt in his mind that the two young rebels
referred to were acting in concert with the Mohawk scout, Lena-Wingo.

[Footnote A: After the Revolution, Colonel Butler tried hard to obtain
the honor of knighthood from the King of Great Britain, but failed.]



CHAPTER IV.

THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE.


Rosa and Ned, without wish or intention on their part, were obtaining
some very interesting information from the Tory leader; and, as the way
was not clear as to a safe method of extricating themselves from the
position of eavesdroppers, they could do nothing more than hold their
peace and allow the entertainment to continue.

The Tory was enraged by the discovery that Rosa was the beloved of
another, who was probably doing all he could at that moment to assist in
placing her beyond his reach, and to raise himself in her affection by
such a display of devotion.

"When are you going to cross over?" inquired his companion.

"Right away--we have waited too long already. The evening is well along,
and we're losing time."

The sounds which succeeded showed that the party were moving nearer the
river shore, having been standing a few feet off while holding the
conversation. Back in the darkness of the wood, Rosa and Ned were
invisible, while they were able to catch the outlines of the moving
figures when thrown against the dim sky beyond. It was plain that the
party meant to use the canoe in which the girl had spent a portion of
the afternoon, and which, it was intended, should serve as a vehicle to
carry the whites to the other side.

The redmen were heard placing the boat in position, and the splash of
the paddle was noticed as all took their places, and the oarsman assumed
his duty of guiding the craft, burdened to its utmost capacity, across
the Susquehanna. Colonel Butler, who had been so talkative a few minutes
before, and also accommodating enough to reveal his purposes to those
most concerned, seemed to have gone to the other extreme, for nothing
more was heard from him. Captain Bagley took upon himself the task of
directing the movements of the others, whenever they needed direction.
The canoe, with its occupants, left the shore and was impelled into the
Susquehanna, heading for the other bank, invisible in the gloom of the
night. Before the craft had vanished, however, Ned caught sight of a
couple of figures on the bank immediately in front of where he was
standing with Rosa.

"'Sh!" she whispered, detecting the fact at the same instant; "they have
left a couple behind."

At this instant one of the forms turned and advanced toward them, the
distance being so short that he had taken but a few steps when he
arrived.

"Did you see them?" he asked, when he was at their side.

"See them? Of course we did," replied Rosa, recognizing her brother,
"and we heard them, too. They've been standing and talking together
right here, close enough for us to hear every word they said."

"Well, what did they say?"

"It would be hard to tell what they didn't say," replied Rosa, with
something of her old spirit of mischief. "Colonel Butler is very sweet
on some young rebel, which I am afraid is about my age, and looks very
much like me. He has gone across the river to catch me before I can
reach Wilkesbarre, but I don't see why he need be in a hurry, for I
don't think we'll see that place within a couple of weeks, unless
Lena-Wingo gets in more of a hurry than he is now."

This "satirical" remark was intended for the ears of the Mohawk, who had
approached during the last few seconds, and who did not lose a syllable;
but it would have taken more bitter words than ever fell from those
sweet lips to stir any resentful feelings in his dusky breast.

"Talk much," was the only response he made, thereby uttering a truth
which not even the young lady herself would deny.

"What else did he say?" asked Jo, referring to Colonel Butler.

"Well, the substance of it all was that he had sent a lot of Iroquois
across the river to cut us off before we can reach Wilkesbarre, and he
has no doubt they will succeed. He goes over himself, so as to be on
hand, I believe, to take charge of me--that is, when _they catch me_."

"Is that all?"

"Do you think of anything more?" asked Rosa, addressing Ned.

"You have given all that was said--that is, all that is worth telling,"
answered the young man, into whose brain were burned some utterances
which had not been referred to by his fair companion.

"If there is anything else," persisted Jo, "why, let's have it; for
though it may seem trifling to you, it may be of importance when weighed
by the Mohawk. Out with all you remember!"

"I have nothing more to tell," replied Ned, feeling the situation
becoming embarrassing.

"I forgot something else," added the girl, in a light manner, that sent
the shivers down the back of young Minturn, for his instinct told him
what was coming. "You can't ask me to tell you all the bad words Colonel
Butler used."

"Not unless you would like to go over them, but let me know what it was
that _caused_ him to speak in that style?"

"Oh! but he had good cause for it all, for that wicked Captain Bagley
told him there was a young gentleman somewhere that thought all the
world of me, and of whom I thought all the world, and the idea that I
liked anybody else besides him was what made him so angry. I believe you
have _all_ now."

"Yes, I believe I have," replied Jo, with a low laugh. "Jack and I were
standing almost as close to them as were you and Ned, and we heard their
conversation."

If the pretty sister had possessed a parasol, she would have made her
brother's head feel the weight thereof. All this was pure jest that
seemed to intrude itself by a law of physiology into the hearts
oppressed so long by grief, dread and anxiety. But there was one heart
upon which the airy words fell with a weight of which the speakers never
dreamed. To Ned Clinton there was something cruel in this reference to
his affection for Rosa. He considered it a sacred secret--perhaps dimly
suspected now by Rosa herself--too sacred, indeed, to be spoken of in
jest by others.

He knew that his friends meant no unkindness, but it touched him
scarcely the less for all that. He and Rosa had passed a few deep,
earnest words, bearing upon that dream of the future which he cherished
so fondly, and not the words merely, but the tones, the manner and the
occasion gave them a significance which was of the profoundest import to
him; and now to hear the maiden refer to them as she did pained him. Was
it, then, all a jest to her? Did she regard the picture he had faintly
limned as one of those unsubstantial dreams which the young and
ambitious are so fond of drawing, and which can never be realized? Did
she look upon him merely as a friend--a dear one, perhaps, whom she had
known and liked from their early childhood, because they had been
schoolmates, and he and her brother were friends?

In short, was it not evidence that she merely _liked_, but felt nothing
at all of _love_--that great over-mastering emotion that pervaded and
swayed his whole nature?



CHAPTER V.

A LIGHT AHEAD.


On the eve of starting for their destination they were confronted by a
practical difficulty, necessary to surmount before the journey could be
made. Their enemies had coolly appropriated the boat in which they had
intended to cross the river, and, another must be found for the use of
the fugitives. Ordinarily, this would have been a small matter, but,
coming as it did, it presented a difficulty not easily surmounted. Where
was the canoe to be secured? Lena-Wingo was the one to whom the others
looked to solve the problem, and he undertook it without delay.

"Stay here," said he. "Lena-Wingo find canoe."

"If you can manage to get back before to-morrow night," put in Rosa, "it
may save us a deal of valuable time."

"Lena-Wingo come back soon as can--girl don't talk much."

"I am glad to hear you speak so encouragingly," she responded, as he
moved off and instantly vanished in the deep gloom of the night.

Left to themselves, the three had little to do but to wait and hope that
their dusky friend would make good the promise of returning as soon as
possible.

"It is one of those things that could not be discounted beforehand,"
said Jo Minturn, feeling that his sister was becoming unjustly
impatient. "For no one could have dreamed that they would step up at the
moment we were ready to start, and run off with the boat."

"They must have known nothing about Rosa having occupied it this
afternoon," remarked Ned Clinton, glad of the chance of saying something
that would ward off any approach to the matter that had caused him so
much pain. "Their actions showed they did not suspect what had taken
place while they were gone."

"Yes; some of them must have taken that boat to the place this forenoon
or early in the afternoon, with the purpose of using it to carry the
colonel to the other shore."

"Suppose Lena-Wingo doesn't find another canoe?" asked Rosa, who felt
anything but comfortable over the absence of the tried and trusty
scout.

"It may take him longer than he wants, but he will succeed, you may be
sure of that."

"I should like to know why you and he went off in that mysterious
fashion a short time ago?" continued the girl, addressing her brother.
"It must have been a very important errand, judging from the way you
managed it."

"Well, I think it was important, for it was to find something to eat,
and I notice you are pretty sure to be interested in anything of that
nature."

"Well, did you get any food?"

"We got on the track of some when Colonel Butler appeared with his
Iroquois, and we had to take a look after them."

"So you didn't find any, after all," she repeated. "It is about what I
expected when you went away."

"Don't be too quick to judge us," replied the brother, in a voice that
was meant to signify a deal more than the mere words. "You'll be
surprised before long."

"The only thing to surprise me will be to see something like haste used
in getting over the river to Wilkesbarre. I suspect that Lena-Wingo will
wait till daylight before making the start, even if he finds a canoe, on
the ground that we ought to have something to eat before starting."

A few minutes after, while the two were in an earnest discussion, the
Mohawk appeared among them, and said, in his sententious manner:

"Come with me--walk still--make no noise."

The fugitives had been in enough danger to render this admonition
unnecessary, but it was a warning which the Mohawk seemed to consider
timely on all occasions, for he was much addicted to using it. It was so
dark in the gloom of the forest that it was a matter of no small
difficulty for the little party to keep together.

"Jo, you had better take my hand on one side, and you, Edward, on the
other," said Rosa, "it is hard work to get along without help."

The suggestion was adopted without much perceptible increase of speed,
as it still was necessary to feel their way with great caution to
prevent collisions with trunks and limbs. But the bliss of Ned Clinton;
who shall tell it? He forgot all the misery of a short time before when
the world seemed dismal and full of despair, and was only conscious of
the sweet fact that he held the hand of Rosa Minturn in his own! At the
first touch it seemed that a thrill like the flash of the subtle
magnetic current passed through him, and he would not have cared if the
journey continued for half a dozen miles, so long as this arrangement
lasted.

The admonition of the red scout was not forgotten, and when they spoke
it was in whispers, while frequent pauses were made, in answer to the
faintest possible "'Sh!" of Lena-Wingo, who was conducting matters with
his proverbial caution. Minturn saw something suggestive in the fact
that their guide was leading them away from instead of toward the river,
for the depths of the wood was not the place to look for the canoe, of
which they stood in so much need just then. He suspected there was
another reason, which would soon become apparent. Ned might have noticed
the same fact and made inquiry about it, had he been capable of
appreciating anything besides the delight of holding the hand of his
beloved. That was happiness enough to last him at least for the time in
which the journey continued, and he cared very little whither their
guide led them, so long as he did not separate him from Rosa.

Where all was shrouded in such darkness, neither of the fugitives, with
the exception of the Mohawk, was able to keep anything like a knowledge
of the precise course which they were following. The ground was
familiar to all, and indeed there was not one who had not been over it
so frequently that he or she would have identified it in the daytime.
But when all was indistinguishable, in the darkness of the night, they
could only trust to the skill of the dusky guide, who seemed able at any
time to pick his way with unerring accuracy through the trackless
forest.

In the earlier portion of the evening there was no moon, but after
starting a faint one was observed in the sky, and enough of its rays
penetrated the branches overhead to afford considerable assistance to
the three who were threading their way as best they could in the track
of the Mohawk. A few minutes after the moon was noticed, all were
startled by hearing the discharge of a gun at no great distance on their
left--that is, away from the river. They paused and listened, expecting
something to follow that would explain what the report meant. But the
stillness remained as profound as that of the grave, the night being so
quiet that there was scarcely a rustle among the branches overhead,
while not even the soft flow of the river reached their ears.

The pause was only a few minutes in length, when the cautious journey
was resumed, still heading some little distance away from the stream
which they were so anxious to cross. Rosa had observed this fact before,
but she felt that it was hardly the thing to criticise the Mohawk when
he was at work; but she was becoming impatient, and might have said
something in the way of protest, but for the discovery that a bright
light was shining ahead of them, which light undoubtedly meant something
of interest to them all.



CHAPTER VI.

THE FRAGMENTS OF THE FEAST.


The instant the light was detected, the attention of all the fugitives
became centered upon it, for it was plain they were journeying in a
direct line toward it, and unless a speedy turn to the right or left was
made, the camp fire, as it appeared to be, would soon be reached. Viewed
as they neared it, it seemed to be simply a fire, and nothing more,
there being so many intervening trees and undergrowth, that nothing
except the light itself was noticeable. But, as a rule, wherever there
was a camp fire there were those who kindled it, and it struck Rosa that
the Mohawk was reckless in advancing upon it; but she held her peace,
certain he would commit no blunder.

The little party continued advancing steadily until within less than a
hundred yards, when, as if by a common instinct, they halted, with their
eyes bent inquiringly upon the fire. It was more plainly visible than
before, and was seen to be burning brightly, showing that if no persons
were near it, they had been absent but a short time.

"Stay here--I go look--make no noise."

With these words, Lena-Wingo moved toward the blaze, and his tall, dark
figure was seen more than once as in its stealthy advance it came
between them and the flames. But, as it neared them, he made a turn
which shut him from sight until a short distance away on his return. The
Mohawk had been absent but a brief time, and when he rejoined them he
said:

"Come 'long--walk fast--talk if want to."

This seemed curious advice, but it was accepted, and the fugitives kept
up a constant talk in low tones, until they had halted before the fire
itself. The expectation of Ned and Rosa was to meet some one, most
probably a party of the settlers, who were taking refuge in the woods
until the Indians and Tories should leave the valley; but in this they
were disappointed. Halting directly before the blaze, they looked
around, but saw no one besides themselves.

"Rosa," said Jo, with a meaning grin, "do you feel as though you can do
justice to a lunch?"

Then the truth flashed upon her. Lena-Wingo had brought them thither for
the purpose of furnishing them with supper. A protest rose to her lips,
but she checked it, feeling that she had perhaps said too much already.
Certainly if any one in the world ought to have faith in the skill and
devotion of the Mohawk scout, she was that one, and she resolved at the
instant she drove back the complaining words that they should remain
unsaid, not for then only, but for all time.

"Well, yes, Jo; I _am_ hungry, and if you have anything in the way of
supper, I am sure it will be welcomed by all."

"How is it, Ned? Do you feel any hankering for eatables?"

"I do."

"Well, you shall have that yearning satisfied; when Jack and I went off,
it was in search of food, for we need it, every one of us. Rosa seems to
think we are loitering away our time, but Jack knows what he is doing.
It is an easy matter to get across the river, but when on the other side
our real trouble will begin. Colonel Butler expects us to cross the
stream, and he won't make much effort to prevent us, but what he means
to do is to keep us from reaching Wilkesbarre, and we aren't going to
get there in a hurry, either. Well, don't you see that we are likely to
be in the woods a good while, and we may have to take a long circuitous
route to get out? I shouldn't be surprised if we were two or three days
longer on the way, for when Jack undertakes a job of this sort, he does
it thoroughly, and he isn't the one to spoil it by hurry, no matter what
his companions want him to do. All this being so, it isn't necessary to
tell you that we must have our meals as regular as we can get them. If
we eat a good supper now, we shall be able to pass to-morrow without any
food, but it will go hard without anything in that line."

"If you will bring out your supper, Jo, and stop your chatter, I will
agree to do the same, but I shan't believe you have anything in the way
of food till I see it."

The brother kept up a stream of talk, in the way of badinage, asking his
friends to name whatever article of diet they wished, as he could
furnish one almost as well as another. Finally, when the thing had
continued long enough, he produced the supper, and it was a surprise to
Ned and Rosa indeed. While Lena-Wingo was engaged in stirring and
throwing more wood on the fire, Jo removed some fresh green leaves from
a package that had been lying unnoticed near at hand, and within was
found a large piece of roast pig! Furthermore, it was young, tender,
well cooked, juicy and clean.

The appetites of all were keen, and as they took seats on the ground and
ate as well as they could, with the help of the keen hunting knives of
the party, it would have been impossible to enjoy it more. Nobody but
the Mohawk knew how long it was since he had partaken of food, but had
the period been a week, he could not have shown a keener relish for the
nourishing meat. While employed in this pleasant manner, it was
explained how it came about that they were furnished with this supper.
As Jo had already told his sister, he and the Mohawk started off in
quest of food, when they affected such a mystery in their movements.

It was no time nor neighborhood in which to look for game, and their
purpose was to hunt some farm-house, where they hoped to find enough of
the stock left to furnish them with one meal at least. While on their
way through the woods, they came in sight of this same camp fire, which
they approached and reconnoitered. The first figure they recognized was
that of Colonel Butler, and next to him was Captain Bagley, his
well-chosen assistant, besides which there were four Iroquois Indians,
whose principal business seemed to be that of roasting a plump pig,
which they had stolen from some settler in the valley.

Colonel Butler was very loquacious, and talked so freely with the
captain that his purpose of crossing the river speedily became known to
the listening scouts. Some of his references to Rosa Minturn were such
that Jo would have shot him as he sat eating by his own camp fire, had
not the Mohawk interfered and quieted him with the philosophical
observation:

"Hain't got gal yet--won't get her--talk won't hurt her."

Although it was certain that the party meant to cross the Susquehanna
that night, probably as soon as the supper was finished, yet it did not
occur to the Mohawk that they intended to use the canoe which was
awaiting the whites. When the Tories and Iroquois completed their meal,
they started for the stream, and Lena-Wingo and Jo followed, keeping
them under scrutiny until they left the shore for the other side. The
party went off leaving their camp fire burning brightly, and as there
was no reason to believe that any of their allies were near little was
feared in returning to the scene and appropriating what was left as
fragments of their feast.

The friends, therefore, ate with that enjoyment which comes of a sharp
appetite, good food, and the consciousness that they need be in no hurry
to finish. It was the purpose of the Mohawk to place his companions on
the other side of the stream before daylight, but he convinced them that
there was nothing to be gained by hurrying in the business.

As the weak force at the station of Wilkesbarre would be on guard
against the approach of all enemies, especially during the darkness of
the night, it would be a matter of difficulty, as well as one of extreme
danger, to secure admission at that time. For this reason he preferred
to do that part of his work in the daytime, when he could have an
opportunity to use all his senses, and not be taken at a disadvantage.



CHAPTER VII.

THE REPORT OF A GUN.


There was one matter that caused Ned Clinton so much uneasiness that he
appealed to the Mohawk to know whether some attention should not be paid
to it. That was the report of the gun which they had heard while on the
way to, and only a short distance from, this place. If a gun was fired,
it followed that some one must have fired it, and the probabilities were
the marksman was not far away. Such was the view of the young scout when
he reflected upon the affair. Furthermore, nothing seemed so likely to
attract the notice of friend or foe, at night, as the blazing camp
fire--the most conspicuous object possible at such a time in the forest.

Lena-Wingo was not the one to forget an occurrence like the firing of a
gun, and when the question was put to him by Ned, he answered in the
most satisfactory manner. Upon his first approach to the camp fire, when
conducting his friends thither, he had made a complete circuit of the
place, walking so far from the blazing sticks that the reconnoissance
was as complete as it could be made. Failing to detect any sign of
danger, he concluded that there was none. The gun whose report they had
noticed he believed was fired by some white man who was lurking in the
neighborhood, in the hope of being able to protect his property, or,
more probably, with a view of securing something in the way of food, it
might be, for a party of fugitives in hiding at no great distance.

There were many instances of such flight and concealment during the few
days of, and succeeding, the massacre of Wyoming. Parties of men and
women, who had not been demented by the atrocities that marked that
dreadful era in the history of the settlement, were, in some instances,
wise enough to seek some good hiding-place before exhausting themselves
in the frantic efforts to flee.

By keeping a vigilant watch against the approach of their enemies, and
by studiously avoiding an exposure of themselves, except when forced
thereto, and by stealing out at night in quest of food, they were able
to emerge from the reign of terror far better than hundreds of their
neighbors did.

Lena-Wingo was positive that the gun which alarmed them was discharged
by a member of such a party, though what his precise reason was for the
conclusion was more than any of the three could comprehend or suspect,
and he did not make it clear to them. And so the supper of roast pig was
eaten in peace, and with an enjoyment that has already been referred to.
When it was finished, Jo said:

"Now, as there is no telling when we will be able to secure the next
meal--for we can't expect Colonel Butler to keep up his supply of roast
pig--I think we ought to take some of this with us to provide for
emergencies."

"Where shall we get it?" was the pertinent question of his sister.

"Why, take along what is left."

"Have you any left?"

"Well, no, I haven't any, but I suppose the others have."

"Take a look, and let us know how much there is!"

Jo took the look, as suggested, and the result was, as might have been
suspected, there was not so much as an ounce of meat to be found. And
yet, they had eaten every particle they wished, so that a more
well-ordered meal could not have been furnished.

"What is the use of taking thought for the morrow?" asked Rosa. "Has not
Lena-Wingo proved himself able to provide us with all we want in the way
of food?"

"There is no denying that, but I only wanted to assist him in a simple
matter; and if we are all to possess such appetites as we have shown
to-night, it may not be an easy matter, after all, to keep up the
quartermaster's supplies. However," he added, cheerfully, "we won't
borrow trouble after the great good fortune that has followed us from
the beginning."

They succeeded in making themselves comfortable in this respect, though
now and then the manner in which the Mohawk acted caused a doubt to
rise. Instead of sitting still, as did the others, while he was eating,
he frequently rose to his feet and went off in the woods, the direction
from which he reappeared showing that he had been making another of his
reconnoissances of their own position. Rosa explained to her companions
that such was his invariable custom whenever he was in camp, and it was
accepted as a way he had of conducting his own business.

As the party had secured a meal, the next thing was to find the canoe
with which to cross the Susquehanna, a proceeding that had been delayed
so long that more than one of the little company began to feel a
superstitious fear that it might be they were doomed to stay forever on
this side. This was a duty which, as a matter of course, belonged to the
Mohawk, and, after his usual admonition to his friends about keeping
silent during his absence, he went off again. As there was no telling
how long the red scout would be gone, it remained for the three friends
to content themselves as best they could until his return. This was a
comparatively easy matter, or would have been, but for the memory of
that single rifle shot heard but a short time before reaching this spot.

"I think the best thing we can do," said Ned Clinton, "is to let this
fire go out, or leave it altogether. We are too conspicuous here, and,
as the night is quite warm, we can stay in one part as well as another."

"I would rather do it than not," replied Jo, "if we had only asked Red
Jack before he went away; but it seems to be always an unlucky thing for
us when we disregard his instructions."

"What do you think of it?" asked Ned, turning to Rosa, who, up to this
time, had held her peace.

"I suppose Lena-Wingo would not be likely to make any objection, and if
he did, I don't see why we should stay here and expose ourselves to
danger on his account."

"Very well, I agree to that--"

To the amazement of all, a second report, apparently of the same gun,
broke in upon their startled ears.

By a common instinct, they sprang to their feet, and started off in the
gloom, expecting to learn the cause of the strange firing. The sound of
some one hurrying rapidly over the leaves was heard by all, and Ned
Clinton whispered to the rest:

"Quick! Back, out of the way!"

While the words were still in his mouth, the three retreated into the
darkness of the woods beyond the light of the camp fire, and paused,
waiting, watching and listening. The rustling of the leaves, which had
alarmed them so much a short time before, was heard no more, and the
same oppressive, because suggestive, silence held reign. Who had fired
the gun? At whom was it pointed? Was the marksman a white or red man?
Were there more of the Iroquois in the immediate vicinity, and were they
stealing up to this camp where the little party of fugitives had taken
supper? Were the friends being drawn into a skilfully laid ambush? Such
were some of the questions they asked themselves as they stood in the
darkness of the forest, waiting for the cause of all this apprehension
to come forth and show himself.

Suddenly the same soft rustling of the leaves was detected and whoever
was the cause thereof was plainly approaching the camp fire. Then a form
issued into view and paused. It was Lena-Wingo, the Mohawk. His friends
instantly gathered about him to learn the success of his errand, and the
explanation of the report of the rifle.

"You hear gun?" asked the red scout.

"Of course we did," answered Ned, "and what did it mean?"

The old grin came back to the face of the Mohawk as he replied: "That
gun fired by white man. He aim at Lena-Wingo!" was the astounding
information he gave his companions.



CHAPTER VIII.

MR. ISAAC PERKINS.


Grinning in his imperturbable fashion, the Mohawk turned part way round,
and made a signal, evidently for some one invisible to all. Be that as
it may, it was instantly responded to by the coming forward of a man in
the ordinary dress of a farmer settler of the valley. He had an honest
countenance, and was about forty years old. As he came into full view,
so that the firelight fell full upon his face, he was recognized as an
old acquaintance, named Perkins, who lived but a short distance from
where the camp fire was burning.

"Wall, how are ye all?" he asked in a drawling voice and an accent that
betrayed the fact that he was one of the descendants of the Connecticut
pioneers that built Forty Fort, not a great many years before. "I say,
how are ye all?" he continued, as he began shaking hands round. "I'll be
shot if I expected to see any one of ye folks round here. I say, how
are ye all agin?"

"Well, Ike," replied Ned Clinton, who was well acquainted with him, and
felt authorized to answer, "we are all right, as you can see for
yourself, and you seem to be equally fortunate."

"Wall, I s'pose I am," was the hesitating answer, "the main trouble
being that we have been suffering for the last few days from a dreadful
scare; but then we hain't been injured in any way, thanks be to the Lord
for it all."

"Then you aren't alone--"

"Yes, I am," interrupted the farmer; "that is, when I'm abroad."

The precise meaning of this was not clear to the listeners, but Ned
continued without noticing it:

"I did not see you in the battle, Mr. Perkins."

"No, thanks be to the Lord for it all, I was able to keep out by running
away, when the battle begun, or rather a little before. I had hard work
to get clear; thanks to the Lord, I managed to do it."

"Where's your family?"

"Wall, now, thar's where I've ben specially favored again. You know that
there are three of us--myself, Mrs. Perkins, and Master George
Washington Perkins, aged four years, so I had my hands full in looking
after them; but the second Mrs. Perkins is a remarkable woman, and
possesses an exceedingly powerful mind--an exceedingly powerful mind,
beyond all question. I must give her the credit for the able management
of this enterprise, for she deserves more credit than I. You know how
brave a man I am by nature, and how I have a natural hankering for gore.
Wall, that yearning to be killing some one made me furious to plunge
head first into the battle when it began raging down the valley, and I
started seventeen times--yes, seventeen times--to go in to do or die, I
didn't care which, but Mrs. Perkins had her eagle eye on me, and every
time I made a rush, she rushed also, and caught me by the coat-tails,
and nothing short of an earthquake could have persuaded her to let go.
Wall, to make that story short, she prevailed, and kept me out of the
struggle, thanks be to the Lord for all that."

"But how did you manage to keep clear of the Indians?"

"There it was her planning again. She called to mind a spot in the woods
not far away, where, when she was a sweet little girl, she used to play
hide-and-whoop with her playmates, and where she was always able to
secure a hiding that baffled the skill of her young friends, and
straightway it occurred to her that there was the very spot in which to
take refuge, and there we went."

"Any trouble in getting there?"

"Nothing to speak of," replied the farmer, in his lofty way. "Of course
the Tories and Indians tried to head us off, but I had a gun, and the
strength of my good right arm, and more than all that, I had Mrs.
Perkins as my second in command, and where was the use of any one trying
to break such a combination as that? We were bound to prevail, and we
never allowed ourselves to be turned aside by any trifles, and we
reached the refuge in safety, and there we are staying, and expect to
stay till things quiet down again."

"But how did you manage for food?" asked Jo, desirous of testing the
accuracy of the Mohawk's judgment when he declared that the first gun
fired had been discharged by a man in the situation of Perkins while
searching for something to eat.

"Wall," he said, in the old drawling style peculiar to men who love to
hear themselves talk, "when stealing becomes a matter of necessity, it
ain't stealing any longer, and I have been in the habit of slipping out
on the sly and fetching down some of the stock that's roaming through
the woods without knowing who their master is--thanks be to the Lord for
all that!"

"Was that you who fired off your gun a little while ago?"

"I've shot off my rifle twice within the last hour. The first time was
at a hog, and I missed him, for, somehow or other, the rampaging of the
Indians and Tories through the valley seems to have upset everything,
the dumb animals as well--Mrs. Perkins is more nervous than
usual--thanks be to the--I was about to say that the dumb critters know
that something is going on round them that ain't right, and they are as
wild as mad bulls, which is why I come to miss hitting that porker."

So the rather lengthy reply of the loquacious farmer proved that
Lena-Wingo was accurate in his opinion as to the reason the former shot
was fired.

"Was your second shot sent after another wild animal?"

At this question, Mr. Perkins looked meaningly at the Mohawk and
laughed:

"Wall, no; I don't suppose it would be safe to call Red Jack a wild
animal, but when I caught sight of him, or, rather, heard him moving
through the woods, I set him down as one of the Iroquois, who have made
Mrs. Perkins so nervous--thanks to the--I say I set him down as one of
those villains, and I blazed away."

"Did you hit him?"

"Wall, no--thanks to the Lord for it all--for, to tell the truth, I
didn't try, for I don't like to pick off a man in that style without
giving him a little notice, though I'm sorry to say I've had to do it
more than once. I just meant to give him a scare, and I guess I made out
to do that--didn't I, Jack?"

"Not much scare--don't shoot straight," was the rather uncomplimentary
reply of the Mohawk.

"Wall, we won't quarrel over that, Jack, for I'm mighty glad I didn't
hurt you. I would have felt very bad if I had shot such a good fellow as
you."

"Do you know whether there are any more Indians in this neighborhood?"

"I don't think there are any nearer than Forty Fort; they have been
rampaging up and down the valley for the past two or three days, but
they must have found that I'm around, for they are a good deal more
afraid than they were. But then there was quite a lot of them through
these parts to-day."

"Did you see Colonel Butler and his party?"

"Oh, yes," answered the settler, as though he pitied the ignorance of
his listeners, "I have had them under my eye ever since they came out of
the fort. Do you know that I came very near capturing them all?"

Ned replied that they had no knowledge of such a startling fact.

"The minute I laid eyes onto them, I made up my mind they were up to
some deviltry, and I watched them--watched them as a cat does a mouse. I
heard that old rascal say something about his looking for the purtiest
lady in the valley, and I knew at once he meant Mrs. Perkins, and that
roused my dander, as you may guess, and I swore I would go for him. I
was so mad that I was determined to snatch the whole party, and I laid
my plans to do it."

"And how was it that you failed?"

"By the merest slip in the world. My plan was to follow close behind,
dogging their footsteps, and picking them off one by one till they were
all gone. It would have been a big thing, wouldn't it?"

"Most certainly it would; and why did you fail?"

"Wall, I'm just telling you; it didn't take me long to fix up all my
scheme, and I had just drawn a bead on Colonel Butler, having Captain
Bagley in a line, too, so that I was sure to fetch them both, when I
happened to remember that my gun wasn't loaded. I drew off to load it
with an extra large charge, when something must have told them of the
danger that threatened, for they moved off and before I could find them
again it was so dark that they couldn't be found, and so by that narrow
chance they all escaped."



CHAPTER IX.

BORDER BRAVERY.


Mr. Perkins having been allowed to relate his own story--in the telling
of which he drew a pretty long bow--his listeners judged it was time to
do something practical. He was asked therefore whether he could inform
them where to lay hands on a boat with which to cross the Susquehanna.

"Do I know where a boat is?" he repeated, as if surprised at the mere
idea that he could not give the information. "Why, of course I do.
There's one only a short distance from where we are standing this very
minute."

"Perhaps you refer to the one which Colonel Butler appropriated for
himself," suggested Ned, whose faith in the man was considerably
lessened by what he told them.

"No such thing; I'll put one in your hands in five minutes, if you will
go with me."

The three friends looked at Lena-Wingo, as if they wished his opinion
before they assented to the proposal. The Mohawk had been a patient
listener throughout, and he nodded his head and set the example by
leading the way.

"Go with him--he find boat."

Mr. Perkins seemed to form an exalted idea of his own usefulness by the
consciousness that he was the real guide for the time being, and he
stalked off like some leader of his clan. The apprehension that he was
misleading them was quieted by the confidence which the Mohawk showed in
his offer.

"I don't think there's any Indians or Tories about here, and the Lord be
thanked," remarked the settler, who found it about impossible to hold
his tongue when it was once loosed; "but it will be well to act as if
there was danger at every turn now. I advise you all to do like me--and
that is, not to speak a word when on the way through the woods--for I
tell you that it is the easiest thing in the world to let a whole tribe
know your poking round--"

"Be still!" struck in the Mohawk, evidently angered, where the others
were only amused. "Talk too much!"

This peremptory summons to put a check to his clatter was accepted in
the most philosophic manner by the individual for whom the command was
intended.

"That's what I have always maintained," he said. "People are ever
inclined to use their tongues more than they ought."

"Is your gun loaded?" asked Lena-Wingo, in a more considerate manner.

"Yes. I have got a double charge in her."

Thereupon the Indian whispered to Ned Clinton and Jo Minturn to drop
quietly behind, doing it in such a way that their disappearance would
not be noticed by their vaunting leader. The hint was acted upon and
within five minutes from the time it was given, Mr. Perkins was
conducting only the red scout through the forest, while he supposed the
three were directly in the rear of him, awed and speechless by the
stunning observations he was continually making for their benefit.

"As I was about to remark when you interrupted me," continued the
loquacious settler, "there is no fault more frequent than that of using
the tongue when it should be permitted to rest, and the Lord be thanked
that weakness can never be laid to my charge. When Mrs. Perkins and me
was a-coming to our retreat in the woods, she was so inclined to talk
that I had to admonish her several times it was likely to get us into
trouble. But law me! who ever heard of a handsome young lady that would
take any advice about talking? Mrs. Perkins is very sensitive on that
subject, and she chose to disregard what I said, and what was the
consequence? Why, my friends--it wasn't five--certainly not ten--minutes
after that, while we were picking our way along as best we could--What's
that?"

The settler paused in his walk and talk, like one who was suddenly
apprised that he was on the brink of some peril.

"What's that?" he repeated in a whisper, turning his head toward the
Mohawk, who was dimly discernible in the gloom.

"Iroquois Indian look for you."

"Good heavens and earth! You don't think so, do you?" fairly gasped the
man, trembling with affright.

"He Indian--he hear you talk--he come look for you."

"Oh, heaven! It won't do for me to stay here," whispered the poor
fellow, beginning a cautious retreat that brought him into collision
with the Mohawk, who was standing perfectly still, as if listening for
something that would tell him what the real danger was.

Lena-Wingo threw him off with such force that he stumbled forward upon
his hands and knees.

"What the blazes are you doing?" demanded the indignant Perkins,
scrambling to his feet. "What's the use of knocking a feller over that
way?"

By this time he was erect and gazing, or rather glaring, back into the
gloom, as if to make sure where his man was standing and then demolish
him. But, to his amazement, his man was not to be seen; he had
fled,--driven away, as the settler believed, by the fear of the other
Indians that were so near at hand. Perkins was silent for a moment, not
knowing what he should do. Then he called the name of the Mohawk in a
cautious tone:

"Hello! Leaner-Winger, where are you?"

But the silence gave no token, and he pronounced the name of Ned, Jo and
Rosa in turn, without any further success.

"They've all left me," he muttered angrily. "All of them together
haven't the courage that I have alone. Wall, I can get along without
them if they can without me; but if there are Indians, I'll bet they'll
be sorry they gave me the slip. It ain't every party that's lucky enough
to have a man of my experience and skill and courage to help them out of
trouble--blazes!"

The bravery of the settler, which had been growing during the silence
succeeding the first alarm, suddenly collapsed when his ear caught a
sound, precisely as if some one was stealing over the leaves toward him.
There must be real danger after all!

"Who's there?" called Perkins, in a shiver. "If you don't answer I'll
shoot."

Nevertheless, no answer was evoked by such a threat and the settler made
up his mind that if he could not effect an orderly retreat he must make
some kind of a fight. Accordingly, he peered ahead in the darkness,
seeking a view of the crouching redskin, with the purpose of giving him
the whole charge of the musket.

"I hope there ain't more than one of them, for if there happens to be,"
he said to himself, "I ain't likely to get a chance to reload before
they come down on me. It was an infernal mean piece of business in that
crowd to sneak off that way and leave me in the lurch just when I was
likely to need their help."

While he was muttering in his endless fashion, he was still retreating
as stealthily as possible, hoping to get far enough off from the
dangerous spot to give himself a chance to make a run for some safe
concealment. He had taken only a step or two, when he was hailed from
somewhere in the gloom ahead.

"Stop, white man, or me take scalp!"

The settler paused at this fearful summons and his knees smote together.

"Wh-wh-what do yo-yo-you want?" he stammered, hardly conscious of what
he was saying.

"Want your scalp, white man."

"Thunderation! I hain't got any! My wife pulled out all my hair the
first week we were married. I'm bald-headed, so what's the--"

"Stop!" broke in the voice of the hidden Indian, who seemed to know that
he was trying to steal away.

"Well, what do you want?" asked the victim, showing a disposition to
argue the matter.

"Want your scalp! Come up--hand it to me."

This was more than flesh and blood could stand. With a howl of terror
the settler whirled around and dashed into the depths of the forest,
never pausing long enough to notice that the voice which addressed such
terrifying words to him was that of Lena-Wingo, the Mohawk.



CHAPTER X.

ON THE RIVER.


After the unceremonious flight of Mr. Perkins, the whites gathered
around the Mohawk and expressed a fear that their little joke had
resulted in the loss of the boat which the frightened settler was about
to place in their possession. But the Indian assured them there was no
loss on that account, as he knew the precise point where, if there was
any boat within reach, it would be found. He proved the truth of what he
said by leading them to the shore of the river, where, sure enough, the
very thing for which they were looking was discovered.

"I feel like forgiving Ike for all those tremendous yarns he told us,"
said Clinton, when the prize was found.

"Well, I don't think he has suffered any harm beyond a good scaring,
which he deserved," added Rosa, who enjoyed the discomfiture of the
settler as much as did the Mohawk himself.

When they came to examine the vessel more carefully, however, there was
some disappointment; for, instead of being a neat, clean canoe, like the
one in which the girl had spent a portion of the day, it was a very
ordinary structure, known along the rivers of the eastern part of the
country as a "scow," and which under any circumstances was incapable of
any speed. It was not propelled in the same manner as a canoe, the only
implement being a long pole, so that if they should happen to get beyond
their depth, they would be totally at sea. The only good quality it
appeared to possess was that it was perfectly tight,--a quality not
often seen in crafts of its class,--and the bottom was without a drop of
water. Ned and Jo were so disappointed in the boat that they proposed,
in the same breath, that they should look further before making the
attempt to reach the other side.

"Suppose we were seen by Colonel Butler or any of his men," said Jo. "We
would be at their mercy. It strikes me as very likely that we may
encounter them, and what will we do, with nothing but a pole to push the
old thing through the water?"

"I am of the same opinion," said Ned. "It will be a hard task to work
our passage over, any way, not to mention the danger of being seen by
some of the Iroquois. What do you think, Rosa?"

"I don't fancy a voyage in such a vessel; but the river is not very
wide, and I am afraid that if we stop to hunt up another, to-morrow
morning will find us on this side of the Susquehanna."

While these words were passing between the three, the Mohawk stood
somewhat apart, silent, grim, and listening. He appeared interested in
what was said, but showed no inclination to say anything until directly
appealed to.

"Are you satisfied to trust yourself in such a craft?" asked Jo, as he
faced the silent one. "Tell us what you think of it."

They were now entirely out of the forest, so that the faint light of the
moon enabled them to see each other's faces quite well. When Lena-Wingo
was appealed to, it was natural that the others should look him full in
the face and, as they did so, each saw the old grin with which they were
becoming so familiar.

"Lena-Wingo say nothing," was the unexpected reply of their guide, who
still leaned on the pole as if waiting for the others to finish their
discussion and enter the boat.

"But you must say something," persisted Jo; "you don't suppose we are
going to let our haste to cross blind us to the means we use."

"If want to go over t'other side, Lena-Wingo push over--if don't want to
go in boat, Lena-Wingo wait and get t'other boat."

This answer was hardly more satisfactory than the first, and Jo refused
to accept it as an answer at all.

"We aren't going to let you get out that way," continued the young
scout; "we want a reply to the question I put to you."

Without relaxing the broad grin on his painted face, the Mohawk said:

"Lena-Wingo take over in this boat, if want to go."

Jo was half angry, and was on the point of saying something impatient,
when his sister interfered.

"Lena-Wingo has answered your question, Jo; he says that he will take us
across in this boat, if we want him to, and I'm sure that is as plain
an answer as any one could ask for."

"It isn't as clear as I want, but if you are satisfied I'm certain that
Ned and I are also, and have nothing more to say."

"I am not afraid to trust myself in this boat with him, for I am
convinced he wouldn't undertake it if he wasn't confident he could
accomplish the voyage. So go ahead, Lena-Wingo, for there has been so
much delay that we'll never get across if we wait much longer."

This settled the question, and the preparations for the embarkation
followed immediately. The scow was shoved off a little from the shore,
so that the combined weight would not make it too difficult to move it.
Then Rosa took her place in the furthest part, and her brother and lover
did the same. Lena-Wingo waited till all had arranged themselves, when
he forced the craft clear of the land, and sprang lightly into it, as it
was still moving away into the stream.

The handling of a pole is not an occupation to which the Indians, as a
general thing, are trained, and it was not to be expected that the
Mohawk would display anything like the skill which he possessed in the
management of the paddle. But Lena-Wingo was one of those individuals,
occasionally seen, who seem to take naturally to any kind of physical
exercise, and he controlled the rather awkward implement in a way that
excited more than one commendatory remark from the two youths who were
watching him.

This species of craft is intended for water close to the land, and
always where it is shallow, so that the redman was under a disadvantage,
even with all his skill. As the pole was long enough to touch the bottom
in any portion of the stream, there was no fear that he would not reach
the other shore, provided he was not disturbed by his enemies; but when
his companions reflected on what might take place, in case they were
forced to resort to anything like a contest with the Iroquois, they
could not but shudder, and regret that the start was made.

They had hardly left the land behind them when, as if by a common
impulse, all three of the whites turned their heads and gazed doubtfully
at the shore they were approaching. In the gloom of the night it could
not be seen at all, a dark wall seeming to shut it from view. As the
water deepened, the current became swifter and the task of managing the
unwieldly craft more difficult, though it was hard to see how any one
could have done better than the Mohawk.

It was impossible to cross in anything like a direct line, and it was
found that they were drifting rapidly down stream. Still, Lena-Wingo
persevered in his calm, unexcited way until the middle of the river was
nearly reached, when it struck both the young scouts that it was hardly
the thing for them to sit idle in the boat while he was toiling so
manfully to work his way over. Ned whispered to Jo that he meant to take
a hand at the pole.

"Do so," whispered his friend back again, "and when you are tired, I
will try it, for it will tire us all pretty well before we make the
other shore. I am sure you can do as well as he."

Ned arose at once, and stepping across the length of the swaying craft,
reached out his hand for the pole.

"Let me help you, Jack; there is no need of wearying yourself out when
we are doing nothing."

Ned expected that the Mohawk would refuse to let him interfere, but, to
his surprise, he assented at once.

"Take him--he ain't a paddle," replied the redman, passing the implement
over to him.

"You are right on that point," laughed the youth as he accepted it from
him, and almost immediately found the truth of the declaration verified
in his own experience.

They were in deeper water than they supposed, the depth having increased
very rapidly in the last few minutes. But Clinton went at the work
manfully, with the determination to do all he could for the "good of the
cause."



CHAPTER XI.

AN UNFAVORABLE OMEN.


Ned pressed the pole into the bottom of the river, which was so far
below that only a few feet of the stick remained above the surface, and
he was forced to lean over the side of the craft to secure any leverage.
Any one who has tried it knows that it is next to impossible to
accomplish much under similar circumstances, and the young scout was of
the opinion that he was not making any progress at all toward the other
shore.

"We are in the deepest part," said Jo, with a view of encouraging him.

"And it looks as if we were going to stay there," replied Ned, straining
and pushing at his work.

"This deep part must be very narrow, and you'll soon be over it."

"That's the trouble," said his friend, with a laugh, "I am over it, and
don't see that there is much prospect of my getting anywhere else."

Still he worked and toiled at the greatest possible disadvantage, the
swaying of the boat frequently causing it to baffle all his efforts to
move onward. Several times, when he braced his shoulders, the craft
would sag against the pole with such force as almost to wrench it from
his grasp.

"Keep heart," called out Jo. "I think you are gaining."

"In which way?"

"We're a few inches nearer the southern shore than we were--"

"When we started," interrupted Ned, showing a very modest estimate of
his own abilities in the way of managing the craft.

Jo rose and went to the side of his friend, hoping that he might be of
assistance, for he clearly needed something of the kind.

"Let me take hold," said he, "or we are stuck, as sure as you live."

"I don't see how you can be of any help to me," answered Ned, who would
have been glad enough to receive it, if there was any direction in which
it could be applied. "You notice the trouble is that it so deep just
here, and the current so strong, that it bothers a fellow amazingly.
Now, if you will get overboard and push the stern you will do some
good, but I don't see that you are going to amount to anything in any
other way."

"Then I rather calculate that I won't amount to anything at all," was
the sensible conclusion of the other, as he returned to his place beside
his sister and the Mohawk.

There was reason to believe that the labors of Ned Clinton were not
entirely in vain, even though they were not encouraging. The boat was
certainly progressing, and the height of the pole above the water showed
that the depth was less by a few inches than before.

It must continue to diminish, and as it did so, the boatman would gain,
in a corresponding degree, his control of the craft. A few minutes after
this the truth became apparent to Ned himself, and he toiled all the
harder, until he regained, in a great degree, his mastery over the scow.

"Whew!" he exclaimed, as he paused a moment to catch breath. "I feel
like giving a hurrah for me!"

"You deserve a great deal of credit," said Rosa, "I thought several
times you had undertaken something more than you could accomplish. But
you stuck to it bravely, and if it was only safe, I should like to hear
a cheer for you."

"Very well; we'll consider it given."

"If you wait much longer with that pole doing nothing," added Rosa,
looking down stream as she spoke, "I think we'll arrive opposite the
fort, where some of the Iroquois will be sure to see us."

Once more the pole was thrust against the bottom, and immediately the
craft responded to the impulse, and all felt high hopes of making the
other bank in a few minutes.

While the light talk was going on, the Mohawk was scanning the shore
they were approaching, for it was all-important that they should strike
it at some point where none of their enemies could see them. Several
times he hushed his companions when they were talking in too
unrestrained a manner, for the sound of anything can be heard a long
distance over the water on a still summer night, and there was danger of
being betrayed in that way. The party had advanced so far by this time,
that the outline of the bank was dimly discerned ahead of them. It was
nothing more than a heavy wall of shadow, showing where the trees came
down to the edge of the water, but it was the kind of shore they wanted
to see.

"Let me take a hand," said Jo, as he stepped up beside his friend. "You
must be pretty well tired out by this time."

"I can take the old scow to the land as well as not, but, as you haven't
had anything to do since we started, I'll let you try it awhile."

Accordingly, Jo pressed the pole against the hard bottom of the
Susquehanna, and the progress continued without interruption until some
half a dozen rods were passed, when operations were suddenly checked by
the Mohawk uttering his warning aspiration:

"'Sh!"

This was as effective as if he had called out in a loud voice that the
Iroquois were upon them. Jo paused on the instant, and like the rest
glanced at the Indian to learn what it meant. Up to that moment all,
with the exception of him who managed the pole, were seated on the
gunwale, but the Mohawk, at the instant of uttering the exclamation,
rose to his feet, and was seen to be looking toward the land which was
their destination. Since this placed his back toward his friends, they
could only gaze in the same direction in quest of the cause of his
alarm.

At first they saw nothing, but in a few seconds the explanation came in
the shape of a light, which resembled a torch carried in the hands of
some one who was walking along the edge of the water. As this light
showed itself near the spot at which they were aiming, it was high time
they halted. The whole party, gazing in the direction of the strange
illumination, made an interesting tableau while drifting down the river.
The torch--if such it was--continued visible but a few seconds, when it
vanished as if plunged into the water.

Here was another unexpected interference with their plans, and the old
feeling of doubt came to the heart of Rosa Minturn, when she recalled
the extraordinary delay that had attended their attempts to get to Fort
Wilkesbarre, and now when her hopes were high, and they were actually in
sight of the shore, this mysterious light had come to warn them off.

Lena-Wingo did not stand idle long when they were confronted by such
danger, but turning about, stepped hastily back to where Jo was
awaiting the word of command, and took the pole from him.

"Must go back--Iroquois heard us coming--watch for us."

More than one heart sank as these words were uttered, for all felt that
it was a bad omen thus to turn back, when they were so near the land
they were seeking. There was another fact which was equally apparent,
and which caused them no very pleasant reflection. They had very likely
betrayed themselves by their own indiscretion, in talking in tones that
reached the ears of those who were watching for them. No one was to
blame, therefore, but themselves for the unfortunate situation in which
they were placed.

Jo yielded the pole without a murmur, and the Mohawk applied it with a
power and skill that made the retrogression much faster than was the
progress in the other direction. When the deepest portion of the channel
was reached, Lena-Wingo used the implement with a great deal more
cleverness than Ned Clinton had displayed, and it was crossed in
considerably less time than before. Then, as the more shallow water
came, and the craft was quite manageable, the Mohawk stopped work, and
holding the pole motionless and motioning his friends not to speak or
move, he listened, they also using their eyes and ears to the best of
their ability.



CHAPTER XII.

FORCED BACKWARD.


Ear and eye were strained to catch sound or sight that would tell
something of their enemies. All, even the Mohawk, expected to hear the
ripple of the paddles of the Iroquois in pursuit, but the stillness of
the tomb was not more profound than that in which they were now
enfolded. Probably a half mile below them another light was seen
shining, and almost directly opposite was a similar one. It looked as if
the Iroquois were signaling to one another; and, if it so happened that
this scow, with its occupants, was the object of these communications,
the latter might well feel anxiety about their situation.

Lena-Wingo seemed puzzled to find that there was no evidence of his
enemies being immediately behind them, for he was confident that the
light which had arrested the forward movement of the boat was not only
in the hands of one of the Iroquois, but was intended as a signal to
apprise others that the fugitives had been discovered, and the time had
come to close in upon them. What, therefore, meant this profound
stillness, at a time when the sounds of the most active pursuit ought to
have been heard? Could it mean, after all, that the light was an
accident, and the redmen had seen nothing of the fugitives stealing in
upon them? While the Mohawk was revolving the matter in his mind, Rosa
Minturn uttered a suppressed exclamation:

"See there!"

It so happened, at that moment, that she was the only one of the party
gazing in the direction of the shore which they had originally left, and
she alone made the discovery that instantly turned all eyes in that
direction. Exactly at the spot where they would have been landed by the
Mohawk--allowing for the inevitable dropping down stream--was still
another light, resembling the first that had startled them.

This was complicating matters, indeed, and the alarm of the whites
became greater than at any time since starting. It looked as if they had
not only been detected, but that the Iroquois had quietly perfected
their preparations for capturing them. The Mohawk, as was his
peculiarity under all circumstances, was as cool as ever, and he looked
back and forth as if not particularly desirous of learning who were the
torch-bearers.

"Don't stand up," he whispered, fearing that some of his companions
would rise to their feet in their excitement.

There was a possibility that the fugitives had not been detected, though
the probabilities were against such a hopeful fact. It would have seemed
to an uninterested spectator that if the Iroquois were aware that the
party whom they were seeking had embarked, they would have kept them
under surveillance until they learned where they were likely to land,
and then would have made preparations to capture them as they left the
boat. Such was the simplest plan, and it would have been more effective
than any other. That they had neglected to do so was ground for the hope
of the Mohawk that he and his friends were still undiscovered.

It was equally probable that the redmen on the southeastern shore,
having learned that their game was coming into their hands, had signaled
the fact to their allies across the Susquehanna, so that they might be
prepared for the retrograde movement which was actually made. Under the
circumstances, there was but one thing remaining for the Mohawk to do,
and that was to drift with the current until below the point where the
last light had shown itself, and then to make an effort to land.
Fortunately, the woods were dense at this place, so that if they could
secure a foothold once more, there was a good prospect that this natural
protection could be turned to account. And this was what the guide now
attempted to do.

Stooping low in the boat, so that his head and shoulders barely appeared
above the gunwale, he held the pole ready to use any instant it might be
required, and patiently awaited the moment when the flat-bottomed craft
should reach the point desired. The excitement was the more intense
because none dared move, and all were in a state of expectancy that made
the suspense of the most trying nature. It seemed to the whites as they
peeped cautiously over the low gunwale of the scow, that the moon threw
double the light that it did when they were in the middle of the river
and anxious to gain a view of the land they were seeking to reach. Again
and again Rosa was sure she saw shadowy figures stealing along in the
darkness, watching them with the keenness of so many lynxes, and quite
as frequently she was equally sure she detected stealthy movements by
the sound of the moccasin-covered feet on the bank.

Before they were a dozen feet below the point where the light was seen,
it vanished from sight and the gloom enveloped them on every hand. While
this was taken as another ominous sign by the whites, the Mohawk did not
accept it as such. If the torches were meant as signals, nothing was
more natural than that, having performed their duty, they should be
withdrawn. The four parties in the scow maintained their cramped
positions until the boat was a hundred yards below where the alarming
light was seen. At this time, the Mohawk rose partly to his feet still
keeping the greater portion of his body concealed, and the pole was
carefully thrust over the side into the water.

No noise accompanied the cautious movement, but the others noticed that
the boat felt the impulse at once. Lena-Wingo was using it for its
legitimate purpose, and was gradually, but none the less certainly,
working in toward the land. It seemed to the others that such a
proceeding was dangerous in the highest degree, for the boat, on account
of its size, was likely to attract attention. It was impossible that
the others should keep their own persons out of sight when the situation
was so critical. Ned and Jo closed their hands upon their rifles, ready
to use them at an instant's notice, for to them nothing was more
probable than that they would be called upon to resist an attack as soon
as, if not before, they placed their feet on the shore.

When they were within a rod or so, the Mohawk ceased work with the pole,
and devoted himself to listening for a short time. Unlike the others, he
did not confine his observations to a single spot, but peered toward
every point of the compass, on the watch for some canoe creeping down
upon them from the other side of the stream. His keen vision was unable
to detect anything upon the surface of the stream itself, but he saw
once more the light that had caused them to turn back from landing. It
was in very nearly the same spot, too, where it was first seen, and,
what was more, it was moving precisely as if intended to convey a hasty
message to parties on the opposite side the stream.

Lena-Wingo studied the action closely, for he was capable of reading
many of the signs of the Iroquois unknowable to others, and there was a
chance for him to gain important information. The torch was not merely
vibrating as if carried by a person walking along the margin of the
river, but it was swung round in a circle, slowly and impressively,
beginning in this fashion, and increasing until it resembled a fiery
wheel. Suddenly it disappeared, and all was darkness and stillness again
on both sides of the Susquehanna.

"The whites and the Mohawk scout are on the river, and will try to
return to the shore which they left."

This was the interpretation of Lena-Wingo, and it was about impossible
for him to make any mistake. The retrogression of the fugitives had been
detected, and the confederates on the bank toward which they were
working their way were notified to be prepared for their coming.
Certainly it was high time that the little party in the scow looked to
what they were doing.



CHAPTER XIII.

NEW PERIL.


With the hostile Iroquois on both sides the Susquehanna, and the awkward
scow near the shore, it will be seen that the situation of the
fugitives, striving to reach the protection of Wilkesbarre, was not of
an encouraging nature. The Mohawk was confident that he had read the
meaning of the waving torch aright, and that if he expected to reach the
shore immediately behind him, it must be done at once.

The signal light was scarcely extinguished when he rose to a stooping
position, and applied the pole with all the vigor at his command. It was
astonishing to see the speed he was able to force out of the unwieldy
structure. The foam actually curled away from the bow, and in a few
seconds it ran plump against the bank and stuck fast.

"Now is our time," said Ned, as he caught the hand of Rosa, who sprang
up at the same instant with her brother.

"Yes; it won't do to wait a second," added Jo.

"'Sh! move fast--don't make noise," put in the Mohawk.

In a twinkling the entire party had landed, and hurried away from the
spot, expecting some of the Iroquois would be there within a very short
time. They were right in this supposition, and were none too soon in
getting away from the place. The Mohawk led the way directly up stream,
keeping close to the shore, but still leaving enough space between them
and the water for the passage of a number of their enemies.

It was certainly less than three minutes after the landing of the whites
that sounds around them were detected, proving that the redmen were
hastening to the spot. Their failure to be there when the landing took
place seemed to point to the conclusion that they must have failed to
keep track of the craft after receiving the notification from the allies
across the river. The faintest possible "'Sh!" from the Mohawk apprised
his companions that danger was close, and all came to an instant halt.
The sounds of the Iroquois moving near them were slight, but they told
the story as plainly as if the sunlight revealed every form.

As might be expected, the Indians did not take long to find the scow
that had been abandoned by the fugitives. And when the craft was
discovered it told its own story. The nest was warm, but the bird had
flown. When the Iroquois realized this fact, they exchanged a few words,
which the Mohawk heard and understood, for they were in his own tongue.

"We have come too late to find the pale faces," said one.

"They have gone," replied another. "They are hiding in the woods, and we
shall not find them till to-morrow."

"They cannot cross the big brook," continued one who seemed to be the
first speaker. "When the sun comes to light up the forest, then we will
take their trail and hunt them to their holes, and before the sun goes
down there shall not be a scalp left but on the head of the Flower of
the Woods."

"And the traitor Lena-Wingo, what shall be done with him?"

"His scalp shall be torn from his head and flung in his face. Then he
shall be taken to the towns of the Iroquois and tied to a tree, and left
till the birds pick out his eyes. The Iroquois women and children shall
dance around him, and laugh till his eyes are gone."

This was interesting information to the individual referred to, but it
affected him little. He had heard too many such threats before.

"Lena-Wingo is cunning as the serpent that crawls in the grass,"
continued the Iroquois, who were dissecting him in his own hearing.

"You do not hear him move when he comes for his prey, or steals away
from the warriors that are hunting him."

"But Brandt, the great chieftain, has sworn to take the scalp of
Lena-Wingo, and he will do it, unless the traitor runs away from so
great a warrior, as Brandt says he has run when he heard that he was
hunting for him."

If ever there was an angry Indian, that one was Lena-Wingo, when he
heard these words. The thought of his running away from any one through
fear was a little more than he could stand with composure; and those who
were crouching around him in breathless stillness were surprised to hear
him shift his position and breathe hard, as though struggling to
suppress his emotions. Could they have seen his face at that moment,
distorted as it was by passion, they would have been frightened at his
appearance. His hand clutched his knife and he was on the point of
stealing toward the warrior who had uttered the irritating untruth, when
he seemed to gain the mastery of himself--aided no doubt by the fact
that at the same instant his quick ear caught the sound of a paddle, so
faint that no one else heard it. He was on the alert in a second, for a
scheme flashed through his mind with the quickness of lightning.

The faint noise showed that several new-comers had arrived on the scene,
and naturally a change in the current of conversation followed. The wish
of Lena-Wingo was to learn where these later arrivals came from--whether
from the other shore or whether they were prowling up and down the bank,
where they were now grouped. To the whites, who could hear every word
uttered, the talk of course was incomprehensible; but the loudness of
the tones, as well as the rapidity and general jangle, led them to
believe they were angry about something that had taken or had failed to
take place, and that had produced a quarrel between them. Such was the
fact, and Lena-Wingo listened to the high words with the hope that they
would lead to blows, in which there would be a good chance of the one
who had slurred his courage receiving his deserts.

Those in the canoe, it seemed, had been stealing up and down the shore,
on the alert to detect the departure of the fugitives, but, from some
cause or other, failed to do their duty, and they must have been quite
a way off at the time the Mohawk put out his awkward scow. The party on
shore were angry because of the failure, which was certainly a
discreditable one, and they were very ready to accuse their comrades of
being "squaws" on the war-path. The accused were equally ready to charge
the others with being "old women" for permitting the whites to land
under their noses, and to reach cover again. It would be hard to say
which of the companies was most to blame, and, as is the rule at such
times, each berated the other all the more on that account. The prospect
was promising for a deadly quarrel; but one or two in the party appeared
to be cool-headed, and they managed to quiet the rising storm, much to
the regret of the listening Mohawk.

It being clear to all the Iroquois that Lena-Wingo was too cunning for
them, although he had failed in carrying his charge across the
Susquehanna, it was plain that all his enemies could do was to fix upon
a plan to retrieve their own slip. And so, in full hearing of the leader
of the fugitives, they discussed their different schemes. Lena-Wingo was
not long in learning that there were plenty of his enemies watching both
sides of the river, and that it was to be an undertaking of extreme
difficulty for him to cross with his friends. This did not lessen his
determination, but rather strengthened it, and he inwardly resolved that
he himself would place his three companions on the southeastern shore,
if Colonel Butler had his whole force of Indians and Tories arranged
along the bank to prevent it!

The consultation between the Iroquois lasted all of half an hour, by
which time they had decided what to do. They would all land and scatter
up and down the river's margin, thus covering as much ground as
possible, and watch for the moment when the whites would come out of
their cover again. In other words, they meant to patrol the beach so
vigilantly that it would be out of the power of the fugitives to leave
their hiding-place without detection and capture.



CHAPTER XIV.

DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND.


All that could be done for a time by the fugitives was to maintain their
position and remain as quiet as the grave until the Indians moved from
their immediate vicinity. The prowling Iroquois were keen-witted, and
although they may have been careless at first, yet they were on the
lookout for the slightest indication of their enemies. Consequently, the
least movement at that time would have been pretty sure to tell them
that the whites, whom they would suppose were hiding somewhere in the
woods, were really close at hand, and within their power. Every one of
the fugitives realized this, and did not stir while the consultation was
going on.

By some means or other--Ned could never explain how--he had reached out
his hand, at the moment they took these positions, and grasped that of
Rosa Minturn. It seemed to have been one of those instinctive actions
that are natural under certain peculiar circumstances. And so, during
the better part of an hour, he enjoyed the sweet pleasure of feeling
that delicate little hand nestling within his own.

At last, when the council of war was finished, the soft rustling among
the leaves and undergrowth showed that the Iroquois were engaged in
carrying out the programme they had just arranged among themselves. They
were separating, and the danger now was that in leaving the spot they
would stumble upon the whites themselves who were so near them. Nothing
could be done to lessen this danger on the part of the fugitives, the
only thing remaining for them being to continue the deathlike stillness
until the peril was gone. Lena-Wingo was well satisfied that the
Iroquois did not suspect the proximity of the whites, for the act of
taking refuge so near their enemies was scarcely to be expected. They
would not look, therefore, for them in such a place, and it was a matter
of accident or providential interference that would carry the Iroquois
beyond without learning of the presence of the fugitives. All the
latter--even Rosa herself--understood this danger, and the succeeding
few minutes were exceedingly trying.

The faint, catlike motion of the redskins proved they were very close,
and likely to come closer any second; and if they happened to turn to
the left but a few feet, it was sure to precipitate the collision that
must be disastrous to the patriots. More than once Ned Clinton was
certain a warrior was crouching so near him that he could touch him by
reaching out his hand. The young scout was possibly correct in his
surmise, for Rosa, who was next to him, was equally sure of the presence
of an enemy, the supposition, in her case, extending even further. Her
eyes were fixed upon the spot where she believed she could detect a dark
form stealing along on the ground, so near that she fancied he must
touch her dress. If she could see the Indian, she knew the eyes of the
warrior were keen enough to discover her presence, from which some idea
of the painful nature of her situation may be ascertained.

The senses of the girl were preternaturally acute, and still more, she
was no less convinced that she could hear the breathing of the savage as
he crept slowly forward. Fortunately for her, this fearful strain upon
her nerves could last but a few minutes. If the Indian should come to a
halt, she would take it as evidence that he had discovered the presence
of the fugitives, and she would give the alarm to her friends, but so
long as he kept moving, ever so slowly, there was cause to hope he was
unaware of how close he was to the prize for which they were hunting.
The dark form gradually passed from view, and a few minutes later the
straining vision of Rosa was unable to discover anything to excite
alarm, although her ears, for several minutes after, apprised her that
some of the dreaded figures were still making their way through the
undergrowth dangerously near to her and her friends.

It was, perhaps, a half hour more from the conclusion of the conference
of the Iroquois that they got so far away from the spot that the
fugitives felt as though the peril had lifted so that they could venture
to draw a deep breath and move a cramped limb. However, all waited a
while longer before they dared speak in the most cautious whisper, it
being considered the duty of the whites to wait until Lena-Wingo took
the initiative. Suddenly, in the gloom, it was noticed that the tall
Mohawk was standing perfectly erect, as though looking at something in
the direction of the river. He held this singular position a few
minutes, and then knelt to the earth and applied his ear to the ground.
This was one of his favorite methods when in the immediate vicinity of a
foe, and it rarely failed to add to his knowledge of the movements of
his enemies. While he was thus occupied, his friends patiently waited
until he should be through and ready to direct them what to do. It did
not take him long; for, according to the plans he had heard agreed upon,
every minute only added to the difficulty of the task he had taken upon
himself.

"Stay here," he whispered, his words being the first uttered since they
crouched down in this spot. "Lena-Wingo go way--soon come back--don't
make noise."

Every one wondered what the errand could be that should take the Mohawk
away at this critical moment, and Rosa ventured to ask him.

"Why do you leave us, Lena-Wingo, when there is danger all around?"

"Won't go far--Lena-Wingo soon be back--stay right here."

"We've been staying now till we're tired of it, and if you can find
other quarters, I'm sure I will be better satisfied, for one."

"Soon do so," responded the scout, and without any more explanation he
began a cautious withdrawal from their presence. All were desirous of
knowing what he was after, and they watched him as well as they could.
This, of course, was only for an instant, but it was long enough to see
that he was going in the direction of the river, from which they had
retreated in so much haste. This fact led Clinton to suspect the true
errand of the Mohawk the instant he started. He said nothing of his
belief to his friends, however, as he had no wish to make a blunder, and
the truth would soon become apparent. All were so impressed with the
gravity of the situation, that only a few syllables passed between them
during the absence of their leader.

As the Indian was not to be seen the three listened with the keenest
attention, hoping to gain something of the purpose of the Indian. But
the silence could not have been more profound had they been the only
living creatures within a thousand miles. They could detect the soft
flow of the Susquehanna, only a few yards from where they were hiding in
the undergrowth. Once, too, the sound of a rifle broke upon their ears,
but it seemed to be a full mile away, in the depths of the forest, and
gave them no alarm, its only effect being to make the solemn stillness
more solemn and impressive, and to inspire a feeling of loneliness that
was almost painful. Once or twice a ripple of the water was heard, such
as might be supposed to come from the movement of an enemy stealing
through the current, but each of the three knew it was not caused by
friend or foe. They had noticed the same thing many a time before, and
knew it was caused by a drooping branch or projecting root, acted upon
by the sluggish current which caused it to dip in and out of the stream.

And so that which might have excited apprehension in another caused no
alarm on the part of those whose experience in the woods had taught them
better. At the end of ten minutes, perhaps, Ned Clinton detected a
slight rustle at his side, and turning his head to learn the cause,
found that Lena-Wingo had returned.



CHAPTER XV.

A DELICATE AND DANGEROUS TASK.


Without using the broken language of the Mohawk scout, his mission may
be explained. While the conference between the Iroquois was under way,
he detected sounds that told him a canoe had arrived among
them--confirmed immediately after by the sound of the quarrel already
referred to. The instant he became aware of this, he resolved to obtain
possession of the boat and appropriate it to his own use. Every reason
urged him to do this. One of the most powerfully exciting causes was the
wish--natural to the white as well as the red man--to outwit his
enemies. To capture their canoe would be a brilliant winding up of the
shrewd escape he had made from the parties on the water and land.
Besides this, it had become plain that the only way to get across the
Susquehanna was by using a craft equal in every respect to those
employed by his enemies.

To venture out again in the scow would be to surrender to the Iroquois,
and, as sharp as was the Mohawk, he could not but wonder that they were
enabled, as it was, to get back after putting out from shore, with all
the chances so against them. He supposed the redmen would leave the
boat lying where it was, while they scattered up and down the shore to
keep watch for the fugitives, should they attempt to repeat the
embarkation. As the scow was moored near to where the canoe was drawn
up, it was to be expected that the Iroquois would hold that place and
its vicinity under close watch. This rendered the task of the Mohawk one
of the most difficult in the world, and all the more relished on that
account. Suffice it to say that he succeeded in reaching the spot, where
he found one of the best canoes of his experience resting lightly
against the bank. A further examination of the craft told the Mohawk
that the boat was his own, having been stolen from a place up stream
where he had left it, not suspecting it was in danger.

Lena-Wingo was rather pleased than otherwise to learn this, for
it was proof that, if he could secure possession of the little
vessel--abundantly able to contain all the party--he would have
the one of all others which he could manage with his own consummate
skill. The paddle was there, only awaiting a claimant. But in making his
reconnoissance, Lena-Wingo ascertained that an Iroquois sentinel was
stationed within a dozen feet, where he was using his eyes and ears as
only a redskin knows how to use those organs. It was necessary to get
the canoe from beneath his nose before there was any prospect of escape,
and the question was as to how this should be done.

The Mohawk, with his usual perception, saw that the boat could not be
entered at the point where it now lay, and he so informed his friends.
His plan was to move it some twenty feet or more down stream, where it
would be beyond the range of the sentinel's vision. That accomplished,
he looked upon the rest as a small matter. He instructed them,
therefore, to steal as quietly as they could for about the distance
named down stream, and there await him. This being understood, they
began the cautious movement, while he went back to the still more
difficult task.

It was an easy matter for the three whites to do as they were bid
without betraying themselves, and it was done in perfect silence, after
which they resumed their waiting, watching, and listening. When
Lena-Wingo reached the river-side again, he found the Iroquois at his
station, where he would be likely to detect the first design upon the
canoe. Then how was the latter to be used by the red scout? There was a
method that would have suggested itself to any one. That was the very
obvious plan of stealing up to the unconscious sentinel, and putting him
out of the way so effectually that he could never disturb them more.

The reason why the warrior hesitated to employ the method which his
enemies would have been only too glad to use against him was in
obedience to that strange forbearance in his composition, and which
rendered him reluctant to shed blood, unless in legitimate warfare.
There was not a particle of doubt that he could have stolen up to the
guard and dispatched him before he could make a single outcry or apprise
his companions of what was going on. This would leave the coast clear
for him to take the whites aboard and use his own leisure to reach the
other shore. But the scheme he had in his mind would leave the sentinel
unharmed, while its after effect would be almost equal to death itself.
This plan was to steal the canoe away without attracting the notice of
the Iroquois--a proceeding which would be such a disgrace to the warrior
that he was likely to fare ill at the hands of his comrades, who were
exasperated over the failures already made.

His course of action being decided upon, the Mohawk went at it with his
accustomed caution and promptness. His rifle had been left in the hands
of Ned Clinton so that his arms were untrammeled, and he entered the
water a short distance below where the boat was lying against the bank.
Fortunately, the stream was deeper than he anticipated, rising to his
waist when he was within a yard of the land. This gave him the facility
he desired, as by stooping he was able to hide all but his head, which
was so placed that the canoe, resting high upon the surface, was brought
between him and the sentinel. This concealed him from the sight of the
warrior, and gave him the shelter so indispensable. It then required but
a minute to make his way through the water to the stern of the canoe,
which he cautiously grasped.

All depended upon the skill with which he managed this part of the
scheme. If the Iroquois should suspect any such attempt, the suspicion
was sure to defeat it. After placing his hand upon the rear gunwale, he
paused for fully a minute and listened. The stillness remained
undisturbed, and it looked as if the way were clear for the daring
attempt. At the very instant that Lena-Wingo began to exert a gently
increasing pressure, his keen sense of hearing told him the sentinel was
moving, and the scout paused before the frail boat had yielded to the
force.

The Iroquois was approaching the canoe, as if he suspected mischief.

The boat itself was no quieter than the Mohawk, as he listened to the
advance of his enemy. He could tell what the latter was doing as well as
if he were looking directly at him. He knew he was picking his way to
where the boat was lying, and a minute after, had paused within arm's
length of the same. There he stood while the Mohawk awaited his next
move.

If the sentinel should step into the craft, it would show that he
intended to look over the stern, in which case the Mohawk held himself
ready to sink below the surface, coming up so far out in the stream that
he would be invisible. But if the Iroquois really suspected any such act
upon the part of the great enemy of his tribe, his fears were removed by
the utter silence. After waiting a little longer, he returned to his
former position with the same caution and silence as before. Lena-Wingo
hardly paused until he was out of the way, when he drew a little harder
upon the stern, and felt it slowly yielding to the force. A few more
minutes of undisturbed action, and he was sure of having the canoe just
where he wanted it!



CHAPTER XVI.

IROQUOIS AGAINST IROQUOIS.


Slowly and evenly, as the shadow steals along the face of the dial, did
the Mohawk draw the canoe from its resting place on the dark bank of the
river. One might have stood and gazed directly at it for ten minutes
without suspecting what was going on, it being only when he compared its
situation with what it was a short time before that the difference was
likely to be noticed. If the Iroquois sentinel should be on the alert
for some such strategy on the part of the Mohawk, who was known to all
as one of the most cunning of his race, it would seem that the trick was
impossible. But there was every reason to hope that he did not suspect
it, as his action in returning to his first station after the brief
examination, showed, and the Mohawk acted on this belief.

The retrograde movement, once started, was not abated till the boat was
drawn clear of the shore and floated free in the water. Then, without
shifting its position as regarded the bank itself, the motion was
continued down the current, until some eight or a dozen feet were
passed. The hopes of Lena-Wingo were high, for the fact that the
sentinel had failed to discover what was going on under his very eyes
indicated that his suspicions were turned in another direction. Even
should he detect the change of position on the part of the boat, there
was reason to hope he would attribute it to the action of the current,
for the motion of the craft was made to imitate such progression by the
cunning Mohawk.

Something like half the distance was accomplished, when Lena-Wingo made
a change in his own position. Instead of remaining at the stern of the
canoe as he had done before, he changed to the side, so that he could
appear at the front or rear the moment the necessity arose. The reason
for this step was that he had progressed so far that he was determined
there should be no failure. The experiment had in his eyes been an
assured success. If the Iroquois should appear and attempt to interfere,
Lena-Wingo would meet him half way, and dispose of him for all time to
come. Fortunately for the sentinel, he seemed to be unusually obtuse
that night, and allowed the daring scheme to be carried out under his
very nose, without objection on his part.

The motion of the canoe was not hastened in the least, but continued in
the same steady, uninterrupted manner till the point was reached where
the fugitives were anxiously awaiting the success of the plan of the
scout. The first indication the latter received of what was done, and
the approach of the Mohawk, was his cautious "'Sh!" uttered just loud
enough to reach their ears. Not one of the three had been able to detect
the slightest sound that indicated what the scout was doing, so
skillfully had he conducted the whole affair. Ned returned the almost
inaudible exclamation to apprise their friend that they were expecting
him. A minute later, the Mohawk appeared among them with the silence of
a shadow.

"All here?" was his rather curious question.

"All here," replied Ned.

"Boat ready--come along--make no noise."

The four stole forward after the manner of those who knew their lives
depended upon perfect silence, and they succeeded in reaching the side
of the stream without alarming the sentinel, who still held a position
dangerously near the fugitives. Rosa was the first to enter, and she
took her place in the extreme end, there being no difference between the
bow and stern of such a craft. Immediately after her came Ned, who
placed himself as close to her as possible. Then followed the Mohawk,
paddle in hand, Jo Minturn locating himself in the prow, so as to give
the Mohawk the best position in which to manage the craft, and to "trim
ship," as the expression goes.

This was as the red scout wanted matters arranged; and when he grasped
the paddle it was with a greater confidence than he had felt at any time
during the night. But he had entered upon one of the most perilous
attempts conceivable, and he was sure the trick would be detected within
the succeeding five minutes. In fact, it was discovered in less than
that time; for he had no more than fairly dipped the oar in the water
than he heard a low, vibrating whoop from the spot where the Mohawk was
stationed. That sound, as Lena-Wingo well knew, meant danger, and was
intended as a signal for his companions to hasten to the spot--a signal
that was sure to be promptly obeyed when more than a half dozen were on
the alert and waiting for just such a call. It was so distinct that the
whites accepted it as evidence that their flight was discovered, and
pursuit was sure to follow.

Rosa was much frightened, for she felt they had gone so far that they
could not return, and it was a question whether they would reach the
other side of the river in safety, or be captured on the stream itself,
with the probabilities in favor of the latter. Everything depended upon
the skill and sagacity of the Mohawk, who showed himself equal to the
occasion. At the same instant that the sound mentioned reached his ear,
he dipped his paddle deep into the water, and sent the canoe, with one
powerful sweep, several rods down the bank, keeping so close to the land
that the leaves of the overhanging limbs brushed the heads of the
occupants, and compelled them to duck their heads. This done, he allowed
the boat to rest, while he listened to learn what his enemies were
doing. The sounds that fell upon his ear told him the flight of the boat
had been detected, and there could be no doubt that the whole force of
Iroquois would be engaged in the hunt in the next few minutes. Without
speaking, he dipped the paddle again, and the canoe was driven as far
as before down the stream; but, in this instance, he did not permit it
to rest, continuing the process until he had gone fully a hundred yards
from his starting point. This done, he considered he had reached the
point where he could make a change in the direction, and he headed
boldly out into the river, aiming for the other shore, which had been
their destination so long, and which he was determined to make this
time.

The skill with which he controlled and swayed the ashen blade was
wonderful. The night was still, without a breath of air stirring the
tree-tops, but the instant the boat left the cover of the bank, the
faces of the whites were swept as if by a gale. At that rate, the other
shore would be made in a very short time, and the action of the Mohawk
indicated that such was his purpose, guided, perhaps, by the hope that
it might be done before the alarm could reach those grouped on that
side.

But they were as vigilant as the ones who had made the discovery of the
flight, and a whoop that came from some point ahead warned the Mohawk
that the passage was not to be as uneventful as he expected. The worst
of it was, the reply heard by all in the canoe came from immediately in
front, so that they had only to keep on in the direction in which they
were going to run straight into ambush. At this time the fugitives were
near the middle of the Susquehanna, the night being so dark that they
were invisible to any upon either shore, and they were hardly liable to
discovery unless some of their enemies should start out upon the river
in quest of them. It was obviously the duty of the Mohawk to hold that
position, and move up or down stream, as might seem best. The whites
supposed he would continue down the current, but, to their surprise, he
headed straight against it, and sped upward with astonishing speed.



CHAPTER XVII.

AT LAST!


Up to that time the fugitives, although steadily drifting down stream,
seemed to keep directly in the way of the parties whom they were seeking
to avoid; for, no matter where they headed, or at what point they aimed,
they were sure to find some of the Iroquois waiting to receive them. It
looked, indeed, as if the redmen were shrewd enough to make allowance
for this fact, judging from the way the attempt turned out in each
instance. It was the purpose of Lena-Wingo, in heading up stream, to
break through this chain that seemed thrown around them, and there
appeared no other way of doing it.

Neither to the right nor left turned he, but swinging his paddle
powerfully and noiselessly, he drove the deeply-laden canoe against the
current with a force that sent the water foaming from the prow, the soft
wash and rustle of the current being the only noise that marked this
bird-like flight. Going at such a rate, he did not need much time to
pass over considerable space, and he was still forging ahead in the same
swift fashion when he caught the sound of another paddle. This, then,
was proof that the pursuers did not care to wait till the fugitives
should land, but had sent some of their warriors out to search for them.

Lena-Wingo recognized the sound as coming from the shore which he meant
to reach, but at some distance below them, which fact was proof of his
wisdom in taking the course he did. He kept up his flight without the
least cessation, and had every reason to hope that the Iroquois were
outwitted, when he was more angered than alarmed by hearing the sweep of
still another paddle--this time coming from a point above where he was,
but on the same side of the river as the former. The Iroquois were
making the hunt hotter than he anticipated. The Mohawk stopped paddling
and looked around in the gloom that shut down on every hand, for there
was cause to expect the appearance of other boats, and it was necessary
to watch where his own craft was going.

"We have got along very well so far," said Jo, who, not having noticed
the evidence of their pursuit, supposed their friend had merely paused
to take his bearings.

"Pretty well," assented the Mohawk, speaking in the lowest key and
scanning the stream in every direction.

"Do you think they know where we are?" continued the young scout.

"Know we on river--they find us."

Upon hearing these alarming words, Rosa Minturn straightened up and
peered anxiously about, impelled thereto by the manner, more than the
utterance, of the leader.

"I think I hear the sound of another paddle," she said in a whisper,
turning inquiringly to the Indian.

"Yes, two boats on water; looking for us; maybe find us."

"In which direction is this last one that Rosa noticed, and which I also
hear?" asked Ned Clinton, in the same guarded tone.

Lena-Wingo answered by pointing toward the shore a little above a spot
opposite where they were lying in the stream.

"Right there--he go 'bout--look for us."

"Yes, and I see him, too!" added Rosa, the next instant.

"There he come!" added the Mohawk, making the discovery at the same
moment. "Stoop down, quick! must not see you! Put head low down, so
can't see you--make no noise."

His command was obeyed at once. The other canoe having approached near
enough to be seen itself, was sure to discover the boat. The heads of
Ned Clinton and of the brother and sister were instantly lowered, so
that they could not be seen from the outside, and they waited with
throbbing hearts for the issue. The occupants of the strange boat
descried the Mohawk almost as soon as he saw them, and as he expected
they headed straight toward him. The action of Lena-Wingo depended for
success on its very boldness, and he went at it with as much coolness
and self-possession as if failure was impossible.

Lena-Wingo, being a Mohawk, was also an Iroquois, as much as if he were
a member of the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, or Seneca branch of the
powerful confederation known as the Six Nations. His intention was to
assume the character of a genuine enemy of the white race, and to answer
whatever questions were put to him in a way to mislead their foes.
Still, this trick had been played so often by him, that it required all
the skill of which he was master. It was necessary also that he should
not permit the strange canoe to come too near, else the deception would
be detected.

As the boat drew nigh, he kept up a slight movement of his paddle, which
caused the craft to glide in a slanting direction from the other.

"Where are the pale faces?" asked one of the four Iroquois who sat in
the new boat, while the couple were separated by two or three rods.

"How should Magawan know?" asked the Mohawk in return, in a surly voice,
as if angry that the question was put to him. "The warriors on the land
are squaws, and they do not know how to look for the traitor and the
pale faces. They have let them go again."

These words were spoken in the Indian tongue, the accent as clear as
that of those who addressed him. There was truth and sense in what
Lena-Wingo said, for it was this very suspicion that the Indians were
not doing as well as they should that led to the canoe being launched
from the other side.

"But they called to us that Lena-Wingo was on the river in a canoe,"
said one of the new-comers, sidling up toward the Mohawk, who was as
cautiously sidling away from him.

"They spoke the truth if they said the pale faces have gone off again. I
am looking for them."

"Why does Magawan look for them this way?"

"To find them," was the quick response. "Are you searching for them?"

"We have been sent out by Taunwaso, the great chief of the Oneidas, to
find Lena-Wingo, the traitor, and the whites."

"Why don't you find them, then? If they are not here they are somewhere
else. Go there and find them."

And, as if he were tired of the conversation, the Mohawk dipped his
paddle lower than before, and deliberately paddled away from his
questioners. The surliness of the repulse made it quite effective, and
the four Iroquois sat for several minutes as if undecided what they
ought to do after such an interview.

Lena-Wingo knew that he was in great peril, for he believed from the
first that the others were not satisfied with the appearance of things.
He shaped his action on the supposition that they would speedily detect
the trick and start in pursuit. He kept up the river until he had gone
far enough to screen his movements, when he made a sharp bend in the
course he was following, and headed for the bank on his right. There was
another canoe that was also hunting for them, as will be remembered,
and, in case these two should meet, the whole truth would become known
at once. Lena-Wingo was not mistaken in his suspicion that he heard the
two boats at the same time, showing that they were not only very near,
but drawing nearer every minute.

While the Mohawk was paddling in this fashion, striving to make his
landing-place as far up stream as he could, he knew the two canoes had
joined and that the hottest kind of a hunt was on foot. But there was
not a great deal of water between him and the shore, and he quickly made
it still less.

"Raise head now--make no noise!" he said, as the water foamed again from
the bow of the canoe.

As the fugitives obeyed, they saw they were close to the bank, and the
limbs of the overhanging trees were within their reach. Lena-Wingo kept
along the shore for some distance further, when one turn of the paddle
sent the canoe in so sharply against the bank that it stuck fast, and
all were forced forward by the sudden stoppage. The Susquehanna was
crossed at last.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE SOUTHEASTERN SHORE.


The Mohawk felt that he had accomplished a great feat in the taking of
the canoe before the very eyes of the Iroquois sentinel set to watch it
and in successfully eluding the pursuit of the others. But the danger
was not yet disposed of, for, at the moment the fugitives stepped from
the canoe, the other two crafts were in swift pursuit, the occupants
having learned the trick played upon them by the wily Mohawk. Although
the canoe of the latter was invisible, yet they were well aware of the
direction taken, and could not avoid a pretty accurate guess as to the
destination of the occupants. Thus it was that they headed almost in a
direct line for the precise point where the fugitives landed, and were
not much behind them in reaching the spot.

The majority of persons, in making such a flight, would have started for
the depths of the forest without an instant's delay, but the Mohawk
perpetrated a little piece of strategy which proved of inestimable
benefit to him and his friends. At the moment they stepped from the boat
he seized the latter in a strong grasp and gave it a powerful impulse
that sent it far out and down the stream. Although their pursuers were
coming up rapidly, yet they were not quite in sight, and in the brief
interval that must elapse before they could catch a glimpse of the empty
craft, the purpose of Lena-Wingo was perfected. An exultant whoop from
one of the pursuing canoes told of the discovery of the drifting boat,
whose occupants had effected a landing but a second or two before. But
the craft which caused the outcry was several rods below the spot where
it had touched the land, and the fugitives themselves were still further
removed from the water's edge, stealing along in the darkness of the
woods from the Iroquois who were hastily gathering to the spot, apprised
by a dozen signals of what had taken place.

The Indian, telling his friends to keep on the move and make no noise,
remained in the rear, to learn what his foes intended to do. He saw the
two canoes halt for a moment beside the empty boat, as if they wished to
make sure that it held none of the party for whom they were hunting,
and then they shot their own craft in to the shore, leaving the other to
drift aimlessly down the river. The two which struck the bank did so at
a point something more than a rod below where the other landing had
taken place. There they met quite a number of others who came down from
the woods, where they had been signaling to and answering calls from
those across the stream. Then followed a wrangle, with the same prospect
of conflict that occurred at no great time before. The provocation in
the latter instance was much greater than in the former, for the
fugitives had slipped through the hands of the Iroquois in the most
exasperating manner. But there seemed, also, to be the identical
level-headed ones, who were backed by an authority sufficient to compel
the fiery warriors to keep the peace. The storm of passion subsided
almost as soon as it rose.

Lena-Wingo was desirous of learning what the party, as a whole, would
do, now that it was clear that the fugitives had succeeded in crossing
the Susquehanna in spite of all the preparations to prevent it; but the
warriors gathered around were so numerous and began to spread out in
such a fashion, that his position became untenable, and he found it no
easy matter to get out of his rather uncomfortable quarters and to
rejoin his companions, who were awaiting him some little distance off.
All were in high spirits over the success of the strategy of the Mohawk,
but they could not shut their eyes to the fact that in one sense they
had crossed the Rubicon. As there was no turning back, they must press
forward.

With many whispered congratulations over the discomfiture of the
Iroquois, the fugitives hurried forward until they reached the spot
where they felt free to say what they chose without danger of being
heard by their pursuers. The Mohawk was at the head of the little party
and conducted them to the edge of a large clear space, where grain had
been growing. As there was every convenience for sitting down and
enjoying a comfortable rest, they paused, and for the first time that
night felt the pleasure of knowing that there was nothing to be feared
from the Tories and Indians.

"Lena-Wingo, you're a brick!" exclaimed Jo Minturn, taking the liberty
of slapping the grim Indian a resounding blow on the back. "I couldn't
have done that thing better if I had taken the contract myself."

The guide did not resent this familiarity, though at times it would have
offended him.

"Iroquois get mad," he replied, with his usual grin. "When Iroquois get
mad, then Lena-Wingo get glad."

"Yes; I suspect you were inclined that way, from what I've heard of your
dealings with those people."

"Recollect that we haven't reached Wilkesbarre yet," put in Rosa, "and
it isn't wise to rejoice until we're well out of the woods. It seems to
me that the hardest part of the work still lies before us."

"Gal speak right," assented the Mohawk, with an approving nod. "Iroquois
all round--look everywhere."

"It strikes me that is what they've been doing for the past few days,"
added Jo, who was not to be discouraged. "But they haven't made a
success of it, so far."

"It seems to me," said Ned, addressing Jo, but meaning his words for
Lena-Wingo, "that when the approaches to Wilkesbarre are guarded so
closely it will be wiser for us to go somewhere else."

This scheme had been freely discussed by the two young scouts, and they
had arranged that it should be introduced in this manner for the purpose
of learning the views of the Mohawk.

"I have thought of the same thing," replied Jo, as if it were the first
time it had been mentioned in his hearing. "And it does look as if it is
risking a great deal to push right through the woods in this way, when
there are hundreds of other paths by which we can escape the Iroquois."

"It would be a good trick on Colonel Butler, when he has arranged his
redskins and Tories so that he is sure we will walk right into their
hands, for him to learn that we have gone somewhere else."

"It can be done," said Jo, carrying out the plan fixed upon some time
before. "We have already shown them that there is no use of their trying
to stop us, when we have made up our minds to do something,--I mean
Lena-Wingo more than us,--and so we can afford to retire and leave them
to themselves."

"If they can't stop us," said Rosa, "what, then, is the use of acting as
though they had done so?"

"See here," said her brother, turning rather sharply, "I thought Ned and
I had arranged without your help."

Not one of the three imagined that Lena-Wingo was quick enough to take
the cue from what was thus said by Jo, but such was the case. The Mohawk
held his peace and listened, but he was not deceived.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE MOHAWK OBJECTS.


"I forgot," Rosa answered, laughingly; "but you must try to put a little
more logic in what you say."

"Logic!" repeated the young man. "What does a woman know about logic?
However, we will discuss that some other time. Just now I'm busy with
the new idea of Ned's. There's a good deal in what you said," he added,
addressing his companion again, "and the more I consider it, the more
favorably am I inclined. We can continue up the Susquehanna till we go
so far that there's no danger from the Indians, and, when we believe the
way is clear, we can come back. Colonel Butler is not going to stay long
at Wyoming, for he dare not. He don't know how soon there will be a
gathering of the forces that will swoop down on him, and he'll get out
while he can. Consequently all we have to do is to remain invisible
until he leaves."

"Nothing easier in the world," was the prompt remark of Ned, backing up
his friend. "Jack, here, can keep out of their reach with no trouble. It
would be a great relief to your parents, too, to know that Rosa is not
running such a risk as it will be to try to get into the fort at
Wilkesbarre."

"How angry Butler will be!" exclaimed Jo, with as much zest as if he saw
the villain tearing his hair on account of his disappointment.

The plan of the young scouts was pretty well unfolded by this time, so
that both were satisfied the Mohawk knew what the opinions were, and was
able to give his own for the asking. Calm consideration of the
proposition of the friends and companions must lead one to speak of them
favorably. Colonel Butler knew that the fugitives were aiming for
Wilkesbarre, and had taken every precaution to secure their capture.
Nothing could be more certain than that they could not enter, nor even
approach within range of the fortifications of that place, without
encountering some of these redmen or Tories. It would seem, therefore,
that the most foolhardy thing for the whites to do was to persevere in
the effort to reach that place in the face of such danger. There were
plenty of other directions that could be taken, and the plan suggested
by the youths in their brief conversation was only one of the many that
suggested themselves whenever they thought of the subject. Jo Minturn,
believing their wishes had been sufficiently uncovered by what had been
said, now addressed himself directly to the Mohawk:

"Lena-Wingo, you heard what we said; now I should like to know what you
think of it."

"Nonsense."

There it was! an opinion about which there could be no misunderstanding.
There was enough moonlight for the young scouts to see each other's
faces, and they stared in blank dismay. The next thing they did was to
look at Rosa, who was trying hard to restrain her laughter.

"You ought to be satisfied," she said, "without scowling at me that way;
you asked Lena-Wingo what he thought of your plans, which you and Ned
fixed up between you, and he told you in one word."

"That's the trouble; he didn't take quite as many words as we would have
liked to hear. If he had talked the whole thing over, we would have
gained a chance to argue, and perhaps convince him."

The Mohawk, as a matter of course, heard all that passed between his
friends, and he seemed to think the time had come for him to put in an
additional word or two.

"All nonsense," he said, by way of introducing the subject. "The
Iroquois say Lena-Wingo shan't go to Wilkesbarre--all lie--Lena-Wingo
_will_ go there--Iroquois say Lena-Wingo shan't take gal there--all
lie--_will_ take gal there--Iroquois say Lena-Wingo run away from
Brandt--all lie--_never_ run away."

These broken sentences contained the secret of the Mohawk's course of
action. It had now become a matter of pride with him, and since the
Tories and Indians had made such elaborate preparations to prevent the
fugitives reaching Wilkesbarre, he was fired by the resolve that the
lines should be passed through, and the maiden placed safely behind the
fortifications at that town. In making this determination he did not
forget the interests of Rosa. He knew what he was doing, and was sure
that he could accomplish it with safety to her, though he felt there
was a possible doubt about running the two young men through the
environing danger.

He saw, as well as his companions, that the plan proposed by them was
attended with little danger, but when a scheme was in that shape it lost
all attraction for him. To escape the Iroquois by dodging or running was
attended, in his estimation, with a certain ignominy that made it
repulsive to him. He was naturally elated in reflecting how neatly he
had just outwitted them, and that fact was not calculated to lessen his
confidence in his own prowess.

"Well, Lena-Wingo," said Jo, when the ripple of fun had died out, "you
seem to have made up your mind on the subject, and I suppose there is no
use of arguing with you."

"No use," was the response of the Indian.

"If that's the case," added Ned, "we may as well dismiss it, and find
out what is to be done."

"Go to Wilkesbarre," said the Mohawk, as if he were determined there
should be no misunderstanding of his position.

"I understand that, but the night must be pretty well gone, and it won't
do for us to sit here for two or three days, so I would like to know
what the next step is to be."

Ned Clinton expressed the wish that was on the tongue of his two
friends, and they listened eagerly to the reply. The Indian straightened
up his form, so that his slim, tall figure looked slimmer and taller
than ever, and he took a minute or two to gaze into the gloom before
answering.

"We go back yonder," he said, pointing in the direction of the mountains
which form the southeastern boundary of the valley of Wyoming. "We go
yonder--stay there--find way to go to Wilkesbarre."

The whites correctly interpreted this as meaning that he believed it
prudent, in view of the fact that the direct approach to the place was
so closely watched, to use some strategy to secure an entrance, the
point in his mind being merely to beat the Iroquois, without considering
the means by which it was done. In the range of mountains stretching to
the southeast of the valley, where the Mohawk had taken Rosa many a time
on a hunt, were numerous places offering secure hiding for the fugitives
from the hunt of the enemies. It was the intention of Lena-Wingo to
conduct his friends to that neighborhood, as he explained further, and
then look over and watch the ground so carefully that he could commit no
mistake when he did make his move. So soon as he should see the way
clear, he would take Rosa to the shelter before the Tories and Indians
could learn what he was trying to do.

Lena-Wingo spoke with so much quiet confidence that his listeners could
not but feel something of the same spirit. As for Rosa, she favored his
plan, and so expressed herself. The Indian had made his resolve before
that, but he was as firm as the rock of Gibraltar, reinforced by her
endorsement.



CHAPTER XX.

THE LONGEST WAY HOME.


The little party of fugitives occupied the position on the margin of the
grain-field for an hour or so longer, discussing the past and arranging
their plans for the immediate future. As they had the time, the Mohawk
took pains to explain some of his movements made on the other side of
the river, and also when they were engaged in stealing across, which
movements none of the party understood at the time. It was necessary at
this stage of the proceedings for all to comprehend as fully as possible
the plans that were now to be followed in the game, where the stakes
were life itself.

Lena-Wingo assured them that with the coming of daylight the Iroquois
would use every exertion to capture them, as it had also become a matter
of pride on their part to outwit the Mohawk, with whom they were really
making the fight. Some of them would hunt and follow the trail of the
party, and every approach to the Wilkesbarre fortifications would be
guarded by their best warriors. Such being the case, Ned and Jo were
more convinced than ever that their plan of giving up this method was
wise, but they said nothing, for they knew it was useless.

While they were talking the growing light in the eastern horizon
apprised them that day was near, and that it was unsafe to wait longer.
All instantly rose to their feet, looking upon the face of the warrior
for direction as to what they were to do. Before he could speak, the
sound of a rifle was heard, causing a start of alarm on the part of his
companions. The latter noticed that the direction of the report was from
the river, and, as it seemed, from the very spot where they had left it.

"What is the meaning of that?" asked Ned. "Can it have--"

Bang! bang! bang! came several other reports in quick succession,
showing that something serious was going on. Every voice was hushed, and
they looked in each other's faces, and then stared at the Mohawk as if
they would read the explanation in his painted countenance. At the first
glance there was nothing that could give them a clue on those bronzed
features, as seen in the early light of the morning. The Indian was
also listening and waiting till he could hear and learn more before
saying anything. The firing lasted until it sounded as if a skirmish was
going on close at hand. Could it be that a party of fugitive patriots
was engaged in a fight with a lot of Tories and Indians?

When the firing had continued in a desultory way for several minutes,
the whites caught the sound of whoops, showing that the redmen had a
part in the trouble. The instant these cries fell on the ears of the
Mohawk, his dark face lit up with a gleam of satisfaction, the
expression of delight being noticed by all.

"What is it, Lena-Wingo?" asked Rosa. "Are they Iroquois and white folks
that are fighting?"

"No, not that."

"What then?"

"Iroquois fighting Iroquois."

So his wish was granted, after all. The warriors had fallen into battle
among themselves, with a sure benefit to the fugitives. Hence it was
natural that the Mohawk, after being disappointed twice on the preceding
night, should listen to the sounds of the strife with genuine pleasure.
It looked as if with the coming of daylight the Iroquois had discovered
that some of their number had blundered in the hunt for the Mohawk in a
way that could not be forgiven. A deadly quarrel was the result, with
the certainty that more than one of their bravest warriors would bite
the dust before it could be terminated, even by the chiefs and leaders
themselves. The fight lasted but a short time, for it was a fierce fire,
which must exhaust itself speedily for want of fuel.

The Mohawk, however, heard enough to convince him that execution had
been done, and his rejoicing was not interfered with through any fear
that it had been quieted down as were the other two impending
disturbances. But the morning was advancing, and the hours were as
precious to the fugitives as to the Iroquois. The probabilities were
that the revengeful enemies would soon be on their track, and the whites
had but to remain where they were a short time longer to fall into their
hands.

At the moment the noise of the conflict between the Indians ceased,
Lena-Wingo, who had maintained the standing position from the first,
moved off in a southerly course, looking around as a signal for his
companions to follow him. They were heading toward the range of
mountains which bounded the Wyoming valley on the southeast, and which
loomed up dark and frowning in the gray mist of the early morning.

This route led them over cultivated ground and through woods, where it
seemed to the whites they might halt and find all the shelter they could
need. But the Mohawk pressed straight on, his destination being the
mountains themselves. The guide of the party kept away from the
cultivated portions of the valley as much as possible, for it was
dangerous to approach any body of men, or the places where they were
likely to be found. Lena-Wingo was in his own territory, and it was his
intention to manage the business without asking for or accepting any
suggestions from his friends.

The company had advanced something like a half mile when the morning was
fairly upon them--another of those clear, mild summer days common to
this latitude at that season of the year. They were approaching rising
ground, and soon began ascending to a higher level than that which they
had been treading for some time. The Indian still stuck to the forest,
for he felt a confidence in its shadows such as the open country could
not afford.

While progressing in this manner it was noticed by the youths that he
led them over as rough and stony paths as possible, and that at the same
time he stepped as carefully as he knew how--no doubt with the purpose
of hiding their tracks from the too curious Iroquois.

Lena-Wingo evinced no objections to his companions talking together as
they picked their way along, provided they kept their voices below
"concert pitch"--a precaution which they were sure to remember, in view
of what they had passed through so recently. For all that, the Mohawk
advanced with a confidence which at times resembled recklessness, and
Ned Clinton more than once was on the point of remonstrating with him.
But he held his peace, through fear of offending him. The journey was
continued in this fashion, the party walking quite rapidly until they
were well into the rising ground of the mountains, when a halt was made.

It was a good omen that the whites had been able to go thus far without
encountering any of the Iroquois, and they were not a little cheered
thereby. But the fact remained--and it took somewhat from their
rejoicing--that they were further from Wilkesbarre at the time of
halting than they were at starting. It was because they had gone away
from instead of toward their destination that accounted for their
immunity from disturbance. Still, it is the longest way home which is
often the surest, and the Mohawk, in conducting his companions in that
direction, was only carrying out a plan which he had formed while on the
other side of the Susquehanna, and of which this was but the preliminary
step.



CHAPTER XXI.

A CURIOUS DISCOVERY.


"Stay here," said the Mohawk, as soon as they halted; "Lena-Wingo go
look for Iroquois--soon be back--don't go away--don't make noise,
listen--watch, don't go away."

"But suppose some of them come down upon us, Jack?" asked Ned,
determined to understand the situation as fully as possible.

"Keep out way--won't come down--stay away."

"Well, if you are enough satisfied to give me a written guarantee,
that's all there is about it. How long do you expect to be gone?"

"Not long--soon be back."

This was not very definite, but it was all the Mohawk would say, and
without any more words he took his departure, walking back over the
trail which they had been following since leaving the river.

"I can't understand why he is sure that no one will make a call on us
while he is gone," said Jo Minturn to Ned, as the three once more
seated themselves, this time on a fallen tree.

"The only reason that suggests itself to me is that he believes we are
so far off the track of the Iroquois that the only possibility that can
lead them this way is by their discovering our trail, and if they
attempt that, they will run against him, as he is going backward over
it."

"That seems to be a pretty good reason, but he may miss it,
nevertheless. There may not be much danger of an invasion from any other
direction, and yet there's no telling, either, from what point of the
compass these wretches may come."

"You ought to have explained all that," said Rosa. "I am quite sure that
Lena-Wingo would be grateful for all the instruction you can give him in
the ways of the woods. But you know he is so much younger than you, and
has had so little experience, that you must be charitable, and not judge
him too harshly."

Jo laughed and shook his head at his sister, who persisted in "touching"
him up on every occasion.

"As we are to stay here indefinitely," said Ned, "there can be no harm
in taking an observation and learning something for ourselves."

"How are we to do it?" asked his friend.

Ned pointed to the towering trees which stood on every hand.

"Climb up among those branches; what better outlook can one ask than he
can get among those limbs?"

"What a nice target a man would be, too, if an Indian should catch sight
of him!" said Rosa, as she looked up at the leaves gently swaying in the
slight morning breeze. "But after what Lena-Wingo said, I don't think
there's much to be feared of that, and I look upon your idea as a good
one, Edward."

"If my sister considers the idea a good one," said Jo, "that settles it,
and you need have no further fear."

"Of course not," was the prompt assent of Ned, who moved to the tree
which he had selected as his lookout.

As there was a remote possibility that some such a contingency as the
one intimated by their fair companion might occur, Jo and Rosa stationed
themselves beneath the tree to guard against surprise, Jo holding his
gun ready, while Ned left his own piece in the hands of Rosa, who,
should the occasion arise, knew how to employ it effectively. It was
the work of a few minutes for the athletic young man to make his way to
the top of the tree, which was one of the tallest in the neighborhood,
and gave him the opportunity he wished. Ned remembered the words of
Rosa, which, uttered in jest as they were, contained a good deal of
sense. While making his way among the limbs, he frequently paused and
carefully scrutinized the ground below, on the lookout for lurking
Indians.

The most rigid scrutiny failed to reveal anything alarming, and reaching
as high a point as was prudent, he settled himself among the luxuriant
branches, and then, like the shipwrecked mariner, looked long and
searchingly over the waste around him.

Peering to the northward, from his elevated perch, Ned saw the stretch
of woods, cultivated fields, the broad, smoothly-flowing Susquehanna,
with the faint view of the ruins of Fort Wintermoot and of Forty Fort
beyond. The view was a lovely one, as seen in the clear sunlight of this
summer morning, and it was hard to realize that the fair vale had been
desecrated within so brief a time by the merciless white and red men,
who had not yet left the valley. No wonder that the beauties of this
enchanting spot have drawn the tribute of the poets of the Old and New
World.

Ned Clinton had often gazed on the attractions of his native vale, and
he appreciated them always, but he restrained the admiration which he
might have felt at any other time. The first glance over the extended
scene failed to discover any signs of life; but when he had looked
again, he detected the figure of a canoe crossing the river, the
distance making it appear but a speck, while the number of occupants was
indistinguishable. To the southwest, almost in the line of the
Susquehanna, he observed a black cloud resting like a smirch of dirt
against a clear, blue sky. This, he had no doubt, was the smoke from
some conflagration of the night before.

The little primitive town of Wilkesbarre, with its rude fortifications,
lay also along the bank of the river, but owing to some intervening
trees of tall growth, standing close to the fort, the view in that
direction was not as complete as in others. Having scanned the outer
boundaries of the field, Ned attended to those portions which lay nearer
to him. It was a long time before he could fix upon any spot that
promised to give him information of friend or foe. Nothing could be
seen of Lena-Wingo, who was pursuing his investigations in his own way,
and was not likely to return until he had accomplished something upon
which to base an intelligent course of action. But by and by, as the
youth was scanning a point two or three hundred yards away, his eye fell
upon something which promised to give him the very knowledge he was
seeking.

In an open space at the distance mentioned, he observed a large flat
rock, which had nothing peculiar in its appearance, but which, it was
evident, was being used by some one as a means of concealment, while he
in turn took a survey of the young man in the tree. Ned was under the
impression that no matter how much he played the sentinel, he was
invisible to all outsiders that might be attempting to steal toward him
and his friends. It happened that he glanced directly at the object at
the moment that a man, whose dress showed him to be of the same race as
the young scout, rose to his feet, stood a second or two, and then
dropped down out of sight again. His action was such as a man would make
when he suspected that some one else was trying to obtain a closer
scrutiny than was agreeable. Ned was not a little puzzled by what he
witnessed. He looked down to his friends, and spoke in a careful
undertone:

"Keep a sharp lookout; I have discovered something which I want to study
a while."

"All right," called back Jo; "manage your end of the rope as you ought,
and we'll take care of ours."

Left thus free, the sentinel devoted himself to the task of watching the
movements of the stranger, and learning what his intentions were in
conducting himself in the manner described.

"He can't get away from where he is without my seeing him," was the
reflection of the watcher, "and if he means mischief, I shall detect it
in time to prevent his hurting us."

The stranger at this period was invisible, as he must continue to be so
long as he kept behind the rock; but it was hardly likely that he would
stay there long.

"It may be he is some fugitive like ourselves," added young Clinton,
"and he doesn't feel certain enough of our identity as yet to trust
himself within reach."



CHAPTER XXII.

ANOTHER FUGITIVE.


At the end of five or ten minutes Ned Clinton, with his eyes fixed upon
the broad, flat rock, was sure he saw the figure of a man behind it. It
was only the top of his head, thrust a little above the edge of the
stone, as if the stranger were seeking a view of the one who was
watching him without his purpose being detected. The slouched hat and
the eyes and forehead were in plain sight for a minute or two, when they
sank down again and all was as before.

"If he is a friend," thought Ned, "he is very timid, or he has a queer
way of showing his good will."

The distance between the two was too great for either to do anything in
the way of shooting, but the youth was inclined to send a rifle shot in
that direction, as a challenge for the strange craft to come out and
show its colors.

He called down to Jo again, to watch for the approach of any foe, for he
was compelled to give close attention to this particular stranger, and
another might steal up beneath the very tree without the one in the
branches detecting his danger. In this way nearly an hour passed without
any change in the situation, and the fugitives began to look for the
return of the Mohawk, he having promised not to stay away long.

"I wish he would come," said the watchman, to himself, "for it wouldn't
take him a great while to find out what that fellow is driving at. I
don't see that I have much chance of learning without his help."

If there was any opportunity for the stranger to withdraw, Ned would
have suspected the man had done so, but he was satisfied it was
impossible for him to elude him in that way, and consequently he must
still be behind the rock. Clinton at last grew tired and called to Jo
that he was about to fire his gun, to compel the stranger to let him
know who he was and what he wanted. Before doing so, he scanned the wood
in his immediate vicinity, fearing that some other questionable
character had stolen near enough to take a shot at him.

He was relieved, however, when after the closest search he was unable to
find any cause for fear. There seemed to be no grounds for further
delay, and pointing his weapon at the spot where he had last seen the
head, he took a quick aim and pulled the trigger. It was a strange
coincidence that at this very instant the man was in the act of rising
to view again, and the poorly aimed shot, even when the distance was so
great, came near proving fatal to the stranger. The smoke was scarcely
wafted from the muzzle of the rifle, when the man sprang up from behind
the rock, and standing erect, called out in a voice that penetrated far
beyond the point aimed at.

"What the mischief are you trying to do?"

"I was trying to make you show yourself," replied the amazed Ned
Clinton, "and that seemed to be the only way to do it."

"Well, I can't admit that I fancy that style of saying how-de-do to a
fellow. Why don't you sing out to him and ask him what he is after?"

As the individual asked this question in the same loud voice, he
unhesitatingly stepped from behind his concealment and began walking
toward the one that had used him as a target. Ned accepted this
proceeding as a proffer of good will, and although he was not quite
satisfied, yet he began descending the tree, so as to be on the ground
to meet him. He had barely time to acquaint Jo and Rosa Minturn with
what had occurred, when the stranger appeared at the base of the tree
and seemed not a little surprised to meet another young man with his
handsome sister.

The new-comer was a man apparently in middle life, with a yellow, shaggy
beard, reaching nearly to his eyes, dressed in rather tattered garments,
that had more of the look of the farmer than the military about them.
His face, so far as it could be seen, was by no means a pleasing one;
the eyes were of a gray color, but with a strange, restless glitter. His
appearance would lead one to set him down as a vagabond settler--one who
was so lazy that he spent the greater part of his time in hunting the
woods for game, or searching the streams for fish.

He was sharply scrutinized as he came to view, while he, in turn, keenly
surveyed the fugitives.

If he were a settler, as he appeared to be, there was not one of the
three who remembered seeing him before. To Jo Minturn there came a faint
impression that he had met him at some time, though he could not recall
where or when it was. But the stranger quickly recovered from the
temporary embarrassment he showed upon finding himself confronted by
three, where he expected to see only one person.

"Well, now, I am glad to meet you," he said, in a hearty way that
suggested the Mr. Perkins whom they had met when on the other side of
the river. "I cotched sight of that young man climbing a tree, though I
couldn't satisfy myself for a long time whether he was a friend or foe.
I suppose you know me, don't you?"

Ned answered for the others:

"I have no recollection of having ever seen you before."

"Why, I remember you very well. You are Ned Clinton, and that young
gentleman is Jo Minturn, with his sister Rosa."

"You are certainly right, as far as that goes, but you are none the less
a stranger to us for all that!"

"My name is Worrell, and I am a settler, living about a mile up the
river. I have often seen your father--both of them--at Forty Fort."

"That, I suppose, is where you have met us, also?"

"Yes, and at your homes near there. I do a great deal of hunting, and
have sold Mr. Minturn and Mr. Clinton a good deal of game."

"How is it you didn't recognize me when you saw me in the tree?"

"I couldn't make sure, because I couldn't get a fair look at you."

"How is it, too, that you are abroad at this time, when the Indians and
Tories are playing havoc in the valley?"

"That's just the reason," was the ready response of Worrell. "A party of
them came so near my home that I had to dig out. That was day before
yesterday, and I have been roaming about the woods ever since, not
daring to go back home again."

"What did they do with your family?"

"I haven't got any family, so there was nothing done with them."

"What were you doing when you observed me?"

"I had just reached that rock and had sat down to rest myself, when I
was scared by happening to look toward you and seeing you climbing the
tree. I have been dodging the redskins and Tories all of two days, and
have had pretty sharp work, I can tell you, and a good many narrow
escapes. I had three scrimmages with redskins, and came so near losing
my scalp in the last case that I have been mighty careful ever since as
to how I went up to a stranger and shook hands with him till I was
pretty sure he was a friend, which is why I waited so long with you."

"Well, you were cautious, indeed, but perhaps it was as well, for one
can't be too careful at such a time as this."

"Then I take it you're dodging the same parties that I am?" said
Worrell, taking a seat on the log, as if he meant to unite forces with
the little party.

"Yes," replied Ned Clinton, willing to tell their new companion all
their purposes, and glad of his company. "Yes, we set out for
Wilkesbarre, but there are so many Indians in the path that we find the
task a hard one."

"Are you alone?"

"Not exactly," was the answer. "We have an Indian scout with us."

"Who is he? Lena-Wingo, the Mohawk?"

"The same."

It may have been fancy on the part of Rosa but at that moment she saw an
expression flit over the small part of the man's face that was visible,
that she thought betokened disappointment at these words.



CHAPTER XXIII.

DOUBT AND PERPLEXITY.


The fugitives felt like congratulating themselves upon the acquisition
of so valuable a man as the patriot Worrell. A hunter like him, who had
spent years in wandering through the woods, must be acquainted with all
those places that were the most available as a means of concealment.
There were many retreats which had proven of the greatest benefit to
other fugitives, but they were those that had been seized upon in the
frenzy of flight, when the thirsting pursuers were as eager as those
whom they were hunting, and the slightest incident was frequently
sufficient to turn aside the human bloodhounds. But something had now
become necessary, for there was the danger of a carefully managed hunt
by the Indians themselves, in which case the whites would need to take
advantage of every expedient possible. What more likely, therefore, than
that this man could give them the very assistance they needed in that
respect?

The thought occurred to Ned Clinton and Jo Minturn at the same moment.
Rosa remained seated when he came up, bowing politely to the stranger,
but contenting herself with merely looking on and studying him as best
she could. She was not much disturbed until she saw the expression of
disappointment on the upper part of his face when he learned that
Lena-Wingo, the Mohawk, had charge of the party and was expected soon to
return. The opportunity of studying the character of the man from his
face was limited on account of the shaggy, luxuriant beard; but woman
has an intuitive perception, which avails her more than the reasoning
power of man; and, although the maiden felt it was possible she was
mistaken in what she saw there, the impression remained that he was one
who ought to be regarded with distrust, if not suspicion. And yet she
determined to say and do nothing that could interfere with any plans of
her companions. She felt that she had already said much in that
direction, and well convinced as she was that they were abundantly
qualified to take care of themselves, it seemed to her the crisis was
too grave for her to delay any movement by objections for which she
could give no valid reason.

"You've had that Mohawk to help you ever since you left Forty Fort?" was
the inquiring remark of Worrell, in answer to the information of Ned
Clinton that the Indian was a member of the party.

"Yes; we couldn't have gotten along without him. There can be no doubt
that we would have fallen into the hands of the Iroquois long ago but
for his presence."

"Me and Red Jack--though I believe he likes his name of Lena-Wingo the
best--have been on many a hunt together, and he beats anything I ever
saw."

"There is no cause for his being otherwise, when he has spent so many
years as a hunter and scout. The Iroquois would give a great deal to
secure his scalp."

"You can just bet they would, and so would Colonel Butler, Captain
Bagley or any of the Tories. You know that the fellow has done too much
against the scamps to be forgiven. But where has he gone?"

"He is off taking a look through the neighborhood to see how the land
lies, and what is the best thing for us to do."

"When do you expect him back?"

"We expect him from this time forward till he comes, but there is no
telling when that will be. He is master of his own motions, and will
return, I suppose, when he deems the hour is best for him to do so."

"I found that out long ago, but you don't know where he has gone?"

"No more than you. You seem interested."

"Well, Red Jack and me are old friends, and if I knowed where he was I
might go out to hunt him up and give him a point or two about the lay of
the land in these parts."

"I suppose you are acquainted with it all?"

"Well, I ain't the man to boast, and don't know that it is bragging to
tell the truth. But if there is a spot I don't know all about in this
neighborhood I'm ready to pay a good reward for a sight of the same."

"It seems to me you might be able to do us a good turn."

"I'll do anything in the world for you and the lady, if I have the
chance. What have you in mind?"

"We feel that, as long as we occupy this position, we are in danger of
being swooped down upon by the Iroquois--"

"You can bet on that! Didn't I tell you a minute ago how many narrer
escapes I made while poking round in these woods? Why, it ain't an hour
ago since I saw three Indians that must have been some of the painted
Iroquois who are looking around for you!"

"Is that the case?" asked Jo Minturn, rising to his feet and walking
closer to their visitor. "How far off were they?"

"Not more than a quarter of a mile at the most, and it took careful work
on my part to keep out of their way."

The youths looked at each other with something like dismay, while Rosa
became deeply interested.

"There can scarcely be a doubt that they were hunting for us," said Jo,
in an undertone that was intended to escape his sister, but of which
every word reached her ear. "It isn't a pleasant situation, with
Lena-Wingo gone, and no one knowing when he will be back. He is the
shrewdest fellow in the world, but no one is smart enough to save
himself from mistake at all times. Who knows but that he has gone in
just such a direction that he will escape seeing the very Indians from
whom the visit is most likely to come?"

"I think that we had better get this fellow to take us to some good
hiding-places where we can place Rosa--at least, till the Mohawk comes
back. I don't believe he has any idea of trying to run into Wilkesbarre
while it is day, but is getting up some plan for stealing in at night
with her."

"It does look that way, which means our waiting in some place of hiding
till the time shall come to make the attempt."

"And this isn't much of a hiding-place, when the minute I climbed a tree
I was seen by Worrell, there."

"It makes Lena-Wingo angry," continued Jo, who felt a hesitation about
running directly in the face of the well-known wishes of the dusky
scout, "for us to disregard his instructions on a point like this; but I
think if he understood the chance we have of helping him in this matter
he would be glad for us to avail ourselves of it."

"Well, I can't see that there is any great risk run in allowing Worrell
to conduct us to shelter. This will never be of any use to us, and I
can't feel safe here one minute after what he has told us. I propose
that we get him to find us other quarters."

"I'm favorable to the plan, because he is a good hunter, and while
Lena-Wingo is operating in one direction, he may be of help in the way,
also, of getting food for us."

And so it was that, look at the matter in whatever light they chose, it
seemed a wise step for them to call in the services of the straggling
patriot that had joined them in the rather curious manner already told.
The only hesitation with the young men came from the consciousness that
they were sure to violate either the expressed or understood command of
the Mohawk. But they argued themselves into a justification of the step
by the manifest advantages to be gained in taking it.

"Find out what Rosa thinks about it," finally suggested Ned, when the
two had gone over all the arguments to each other.

Jo stepped over to where his sister was sitting and put the question to
her.

"Whatever you think best," was her answer. "I don't feel, Jo, that I am
competent to give advice."

"There can be no doubt that it is the best thing for us to do, but we
hesitate because it will be a direct disregard of the wishes of
Lena-Wingo himself."

"If the move is for the best, he will find no fault with you. But, Jo,
are you sure that if you put yourself under charge of that man it _will_
be for the best?"



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE NEW GUIDE.


Minturn looked in the face of his sister a moment, as if he would read
her very thoughts. Then he asked in a whisper that not even Ned Clinton
overheard:

"Do you mistrust him, Rosa?"

She regretted her words, and answered:

"I ought not to have said it, Jo, but I didn't like his looks when he
first joined us; have you ever seen him before?"

"I think I have, though I can't recall the place or occasion."

"Well, that makes a different matter of it; do as you think best."

Believing that his sister had come to his view of the case, Jo so stated
to Ned, and there was no further hesitation. While this little
conference was going on, Worrell remained seated, acting as if he had no
concern in the matter. He busied himself in examining his rifle, and
making sure it was in order. A minute or so before Jo was prepared to
make a definite proposition to him, he rose to his feet, and assumed an
attitude of intense attention, as though some faint signal had fallen on
his ear. Then as the young scout turned to address him, he spoke first:

"Well, I guess I'll have to bid you good-morning."

"And why so?" asked Jo, in some surprise.

"To tell the truth, this is too dangerous a place to stay any longer. I
hear sounds in the woods that lead me to think there are some of the
redskins not very far off, and I prefer to dig out; maybe it'll be safer
and better for you to wait till Lena-Wingo comes back, and he'll get you
out better than I can."

"No one could do better than the Mohawk if he were only here, but the
trouble is he isn't here just now, and we've come to the conclusion that
it is not safe to wait for him. Where do you mean to go?"

"Oh, there's a little hiding-place up here a way, where I'll crawl into,
for, when I'm in there, you may trot out all the redskins in the valley,
and I'll go to sleep while they're hunting. I don't care if Lena-Wingo
is among them. I ca'c'late to spend some time there till the Indians
get a little scarcer."

"What will you do for food?"

"I've got _that_ fixed," replied Worrell, in a voice and with a manner
that implied there was nothing to fear on that score.

"Well, if you will allow us to go with you--"

"Allow you!" exclaimed the man, in a gushing mood. "Haven't I been
wanting you to go with me ever since I stopped and found in what trouble
you were? Why, come along, and I'll put you in a place where you can
stay a month, if you want to, without a living soul finding out where
you are."

"We'll do it, and be forever grateful for your kindness; but you say
even Lena-Wingo will be unable to find out where we are hiding. We must
let him know where we are when he returns and misses us."

"That can be fixed. When we see him looking for us, we can step out and
let him know we are around, and he'll be there in a second, of course."

"All right, then; lead the way."

The man placed himself at the head of the party, Jo following, while Ned
and Rosa brought up the rear. The first move of Worrell impressed the
youths in his favor, for he headed toward the mountain close at hand, a
course that would suggest itself to one who was hunting a hiding-place.
It looked as if he understood his business, and knew where to take them
to find what they wanted. There was no material change in the appearance
of the forest through which they were making their way, except that it
grew somewhat rougher and more difficult to traverse, though the company
continued to journey without any hesitation in their rate of progress.

They pushed along for quite a distance in this manner, when their guide
halted, as if he had again detected something that did not suit him. He
stood with his head bent in the way they noticed before starting, but
said nothing.

"What's up now?" asked Jo, who thought they might as well understand
everything as they went along.

"It's queer," replied their companion, in a low voice, "but I've fancied
once or twice that I heard signals in the woods just such as have caught
my ear when I knew the redskins were looking for some of us. Night
before last, I picked up a poor chap--Tom Haley, a settler living near
me, and was on my way to another place to hide him, when we heard the
same sort of sounds, and we stopped to listen to 'em, but we hadn't
stood more than five minutes when they come down on us. The first notice
we had was the banging of about a dozen rifles, and that was the last of
poor Tom. I was lucky enough to get away, but I don't want to meet any
more neighbors like that."

This was not cheerful or soothing information, and the three fugitives
felt anything but comfortable.

"Haven't you heard the sounds?" asked Worrell, addressing the three.

None of them had noticed anything, and Rosa asked:

"What do they resemble?"

"Nothing so much as the faint call of the whip-o'-will, so low and soft
that the ear can hardly catch it."

"It is strange that you should be the only one to notice it," she
continued; "are you sure that you weren't mistaken?"

"It may be I was, but my experience with the Iroquois has made me very
suspicious; but I do hope I was off the track, for it may prove a bad
thing if I wasn't."

"Do you hear it now?"

"Hark! let us listen."

All stood motionless, and scarcely breathing. But nothing resembling the
sounds described by their guide was noticed.

"It _does_ look as if I was mistaken," said Worrell, brightening up. "I
hope I was."

"It could be very well the other way," said Ned Clinton. "The Indians
may have made a dozen calls to each other, but they were not likely to
keep it up very long. A few signals would accomplish all they want."

Nothing was to be gained by argument over the question, in which all was
conjecture, and they moved on once more. It was not five minutes before
their guide paused again, but it was only for a moment, and he said
nothing. He acted as if he fancied he caught something suspicious, but
seeing the whites with the appearance of attention, concluded he was
mistaken, so long as nothing of the kind fell upon their ears. By that
time the afternoon was well advanced, and the day was somewhat warmer
than before.

None of the fugitives had gained a moment's sleep during the preceding
night, while the exhaustion and privation of the past few days were so
severe that they experienced the need of rest and food. Ned and Jo felt
that the man could not do them a greater favor and kindness than to lead
them into some retreat where they could recuperate in this
respect,--sleep being needed more than anything else. Jo turned about
while they were walking cautiously forward, and whispered to Ned
immediately behind:

"Watch the route we take."

Ned nodded his head to signify he understood him. At intervals they
reached and crossed small spaces of natural clearings, where Rosa and
the youths scanned all the country that could be brought under their
field of vision. In no instance were these very extensive, and the view
resulted in nothing tangible as regarded the movements of their enemies.
Much of the ground which was passed was rough and covered with stones.
Upon these they stepped so carefully that they left a trail which it
would require the keenest eye of the Indian warrior to detect and
follow.



CHAPTER XXV.

THE HIDING-PLACE.


Twenty minutes or more was consumed by Worrell, in conducting the
fugitives to the hiding-place, where he promised they should be secure
from all molestation from their enemies. In making this journey they
walked slowly, often pausing to examine the ground passed over, and to
listen for those unfavorable signals which the straggling settler was
sure he heard from the Iroquois. Thus it was that, in spite of the time
consumed in making the expedition, they were really at no great distance
from the starting point, and both Ned and Jo were confident that they
could retrace their steps without difficulty.

"Here we are!"

As the guide uttered these words, he paused before a mass of boulders,
or large stones, where there was an abundance of undergrowth, and the
trees were so numerous that the view in all directions was almost cut
off.

"I see we are here," responded Ned. "But what for?"

"Here is the hiding-place I told you about."

"Where?"

All three were looking inquiringly around, but their eyes saw nothing
that could explain why the man called this a place of concealment.

"Do you mean that we are to crouch behind some of these stones, just as
you did behind the rock, when you found I was looking at you?" asked Ned
Clinton, with a laugh.

"Not exactly. Wait and I'll show you."

He walked forward a few steps further and turned to the right,
approaching a large stone that looked heavy enough to require the
strength of a Hercules to stir it. Nevertheless, with one hand he turned
it aside, it being so nicely poised that there was no trouble in using
it as a door on hinges. Drawn back, the astonished whites saw the
entrance to a cave beyond. The indications were that, at some remote
time, the stones had been placed in position by a party of aborigines of
the country, and used by them as a retreat or dwelling.

"It is the very place," said Rosa; "for I have been inside."

"You? When?" asked her brother.

"Lena-Wingo brought me here one day last fall, when we were caught in a
storm in these mountains!"

"What kind of a place is it?"

"There could be no better one for us. I thought of it this morning, and
spoke to Lena-Wingo about it."

"What did he say?"

"He replied that he would probably take us here, if he found we had to
keep out of sight for awhile."

"That is well, then. Mr. Worrell has done for us what the Mohawk meant
to do later in the day."

"I don't know that I would not have proposed to you that we should come
here after he left, if I had been sure of finding my way, but I wasn't."

"Is the interior comfortable?"

"It is in warm weather, for none of the sun's rays can enter, and the
stones seem to give it coolness."

"As dark as a wolf's mouth, I suppose?"

"Not at all. There are several windows, made by crevices between the
stones, which let in enough light to help us see where we are."

"The young lady speaks the truth," said Worrell. "She has been in and
remembers all about it."

"How came you to find it when it is so well concealed?"

"I was hunting a bear in these mountains some two years ago and wounded
him, when he started to retreat. I followed him as fast as I could, when
he put straight for this heap of stones, and he would have got away if I
hadn't come in sight just in time to see him pull that door aside with
one paw and start in. I gave him a shot as he was doing so, and it
finished him before he could get out of my reach."

The reports of the cavern being so favorable, the fugitives were glad to
avail themselves of its shelter without further delay. Ned Clinton was
the first to explore the retreat, he being obliged to assume a stooping
position to enter it. As soon as he was inside, he called to the others
to follow, and Worrell himself obeyed, Jo going next, while Rosa came
last.

The place was not a disappointment in the least when viewed from the
inside. The windows of which Rosa spoke proved sufficient to give all
the light they could ask, and more than the young scouts expected to
see. Besides, when they were fairly within it was noticed that the roof
ascended, while the floor was lowered to that extent that they could
easily stand at their full height--a luxury which any one in their
situation would have appreciated. It was dry, and there was nothing to
make them uncomfortable. Expressions of delight came from all, excepting
him who had taken them to the retreat. He seemed to enjoy listening to
the praise bestowed upon his choice.

"Ah! if some of the poor fellows who were fleeing from Monacacy and the
woods, after the battle," said Ned, "could have stumbled upon this they
would have been safe."

"And even if they had been seen," added Jo, "they could have turned it
into a fort itself, and held out against ten times their number."

"Then why can we not make the same use of it?" asked Rosa. "It will
serve us if Colonel Butler happens to discover where we are hid."

"He isn't going to discover us," put in Worrell, with a confidence which
gave the youths greater faith in their safety than before; but which,
strange to say, impressed Rosa in the opposite manner.

It was the manner rather than the words that grated on her
sensibilities, and she found her old mistrust of the man deeper than
before. It struck her that he was too ready to declare they were now
beyond the reach of Colonel Butler and his men. It was like parrying a
blow before it was struck, though the young men readily saw in the words
which called out the remark sufficient cause for the same. With this
suspicion came a conviction that, despite the critical position in which
they seemed to be placed, when awaiting the return of the Mohawk, they
had committed a perilous blunder in leaving the spot where he would
expect to find them.

"I said there was no danger of our being discovered by Colonel Butler or
any of his men; but maybe that was putting it too strong, for I suppose
that we are always in danger as long as them redskins are within a dozen
miles of us; but what I meant to say was, that there ain't any spot
anywhere among these mountains where you can feel safer from the enemy
than here."

This is what he ought to have said in the first place, as it seemed to
Rosa, and yet the after effect of the words was almost as if they had
been uttered at the right time. A strange compound is that which goes to
make up the emotions of man and woman; for with the expression just
given, Rosa Minturn experienced something like a revulsion of feeling,
and reproved herself that she should have suspected the man at all. She
saw in him nothing but a simple-minded hunter-settler, who was a
fugitive for the time being like themselves, and was anxious to befriend
them to the best of his ability. The most circumspect and devoted ally
would have acted as he did. Because he was dressed in rather shabby
attire, and was unattractive in person, should she doubt his loyalty?
Had she not lived long enough to learn that "the rank is but a guinea's
stamp," and that, though repulsive without, he might be "a man for a'
that?"



CHAPTER XXVI.

CURIOUS PROCEEDINGS.


In the twilight of the underground apartment, the figures of each were
dimly discernible, but there was abundance of room for all to circulate
without interfering with each other. Ned conducted the girl to the
furthest extremity of the cavern, where it would seem that the couches
of the ancient occupants had been placed.

"You are wearied and tired," said he, in a tender voice. "Let me beg you
to use your chance while it is here. Recline in the corner and Jo and I
will keep watch."

"But you and he need rest as well as I!" she protested. "Why not seek it
now?"

"Perhaps we may. I will talk to him, but don't think of us. Here seems
to be some sort of blanket."

At this moment Worrell called out:

"You'll find a blanket near where you are standing. I left it a few
weeks ago when I was hunting in these parts."

Everything seemed to be as they wished, and Rosa accepted the
invitation, which was emphasized by her own sense of its need. She sat
down on the blanket, with her head resting against a large stone behind
her, just as she had sat many a time in the old armchair at home, and
she had scarcely assumed the position when she sank into slumber.

"Well, now you are here," said Worrell, as Ned Clinton came back from
where Rosa was reclining, "how do you mean to pass the time?"

"Jo and I, here, are half dead for sleep, and if we can put in a couple
of hours or so, it will make new fellows of us."

"What's to hinder? Why don't you lay down and sleep all you want to?"

"It looks like running great risk for all three of us to commit
ourselves to slumber when the Indians might steal in and nab every one
of us."

Worrell laughed.

"I never seen anybody so backward about asking a favor as you. If I
hadn't pumped that out of you, you two would have sat here winking, and
blinking, and nodding for hours, just 'cause you had a notion in your
heads that there was some danger in going to sleep."

"We may take turns about it," said Jo. "But we could not consent that
all of us should be unconscious at the same time."

Again the fellow laughed, as though it was all a capital joke.

"I put in ten, good, solid hours of slumber here last night, and I can't
do any more of it before midnight, if I was to be paid a thousand pounds
for it."

"And you are willing to stay here a couple of hours while we sleep?"

"Nothing will give me greater pleasure."

"I don't know how we shall ever pay you for your kindness."

"By never saying nothing about it. Come, we're losing too much time;
you'll get no sleep at all if you never stop talking. Lay down at once,
for I ca'c'late you ain't partic'lar about having a straw bed, nor very
soft pillers."

Again expressing their gratitude to the man for his repeated kindness,
Ned and Jo stretched themselves upon the flinty floor, and quickly
glided into the land of dreams. Slumber, indeed, they all needed, for
the most athletic and hardened frame, the toughest and most enduring
system, must have time in which to recuperate the exhausted energies.
Five minutes from the time Ned Clinton spoke the last words to the
settler, the latter was the only one within the cavern who possessed his
senses. In the far corner scarcely visible in the dim light of the
place, reclined the lovely Rosa, and nearer, in full view, were
stretched the forms of her two friends--all handsome and attractive, but
as helpless as so many babes.

For a brief while after the slumber of the whites had come upon them,
Worrell, the straggling farmer, sat near the entrance of the cavern, the
stone which served as a door being partly drawn aside, so that a flood
of light made its way through, and fell directly on his countenance. It
was a curious scene--the three unconscious forms, while the fourth was
wider awake than ever. He was sitting at the very entrance, the light
which streamed in striking him in such a way that all was in shadow
excepting his hat, shoulders, and face. The slouched head-gear was
thrown back, showing a low forehead, while the hair that lay in matted
and spiked masses on and around his crown was of a grizzled brown
color--that which dangled from beneath his hat when he met the young
scouts being of as fiery a red as were the whiskers themselves.

So curious an exhibition proved that it was never done by the hand of
nature! The whiskers themselves looked genuine, until a movement of the
hand caused a displacement, such as could not have taken place, had they
been attached to the face by a natural growth.

The man muttered impatiently, glanced toward the sleeping forms of the
youths, and drew back into the shadow until he could set all right
again. Then, satisfied that they were in too deep slumber to notice his
actions, he leaned forward, throwing his head and shoulders into the
sunlight as before. And why sat he there so close to the opening of the
cavern? Was it that he might the better hear the sound of danger when it
came that way? Was it that he meant that his ward and watch should be as
faithful as if it were his own loved ones whom he was guarding against
the approach of wolves or ravening beasts? It might be all this--it
might be otherwise.

A few more minutes passed, and he turned and looked toward the young men
with a piercing, penetrating glance, as if something aroused his
suspicion. He did not stir as he pronounced the name of Ned Clinton in
quite a loud voice, repeating it several times, and doing the same in
the case of Jo Minturn. The slumber of both was too deep to be disturbed
by such trivial causes, and he received no answer.

"I don't believe they're playing possum," he muttered to himself,
staring distrustfully toward them. "But it won't do to make any blunder
right here."

To prevent any error, he rose softly and walked to where they were
sleeping. Brief listening told him that their regular breathing was not
feigned, but he leaned over and shook each in turn by the shoulder,
pronouncing their names in louder tones than before. The slumber
continued undisturbed. A muttered exclamation escaped the man again, one
expressive of pleasure at the discovery.

"They'll sleep till to-morrow morning if nobody comes along to wake 'em
up. The trouble is with that deuced Mohawk, who has a way of turning up
just when he isn't wanted. But I don't think he'll get a chance to put
his finger in this pie."

He looked over in the gloom toward the corner where he could catch the
outlines of the head of Rosa Minturn, as it rested against a large
stone. Then he appeared to be of the opinion that the time had come for
action of some kind. He moved to the cavern door but did not stay there;
with scarcely a pause, he stooped down and speedily placed himself on
the outside of the mountain retreat.



CHAPTER XXVII.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?


As soon as Worrell found himself on the outside of the cavern, he walked
rapidly for a hundred yards or so, taking a direction at right angles to
that which he followed when conducting the fugitives to the retreat. His
gait became almost a run until he reached an elevation, when he paused,
as if to make a survey of a portion of the country spread out below him.

"The sun is almost overhead," he muttered, as he looked up to the sky
with an impatient expression, "and I am all of an hour behind time, but
this is one of them things that can't be fixed just as you want it, and
I don't see why it should make any difference."

He was gazing at the section which lay spread out at his feet, and was
between him and the Susquehanna. His eyes first roved in a quick,
restless way over the broad stretch of woods and clearings, as if
seeking for some object upon which to rest. At the end of a few minutes,
his gaze became fixed upon a place where stood a small house in the
middle of a clearing. It evidently belonged to one of the settlers in
the Wyoming valley, who had been smitten with the panic which drove so
many from their homes, and had fled without taking any of his stock with
him, or destroying his property to prevent it falling into the hands of
the enemy.

The manner of Worrell showed that he awaited some person or signal in
connection with this house, but he was disappointed. The tomb itself
could not have been more deserted and desolate, and he gazed until sure
there was nothing on or about it which was intended for his eye.

"That's the way it always is," he muttered. "I have got everything fixed
just as I promised, and now they turn up missing at the very time they
ought to be on hand. I suppose I've got to hunt 'em up, and that may
take me till dark, by which time that Mohawk will put in his oar."

He spent a few more minutes searching for something which did not
appear. Then he advanced to a small tree that grew on the edge of the
open space where he had halted, and drawing a large red handkerchief
from his pocket, bent down a small sapling and tied the silk to it. As
the little tree flew back to its upright position, there was enough
breeze to make the signal rise and float in the wind. The man stood off
a few paces, and watched it.

"I can't improve on that," he said to himself. "If they will only look
this way, they can't help seeing it, and it will tell the story; but the
trouble is, there is no knowing when they will take the trouble to look
this way. Faugh! why didn't they leave the whole thing to me? It would
have been ended by this time, and there would have been no after-clap,
but this waiting and bother is what will upset the whole arrangement
unless they come up to time better than they are likely to do."

Impatient as he was, he was obliged to content himself, while he kept an
unremitting watch on the house and its surroundings, occasionally giving
vent to his feelings by a series of expletives. In fact, Worrell, who
now showed himself to himself, as it may be said, was altogether a less
prepossessing character than the one who had so kindly conducted the
fugitives to the hiding-place in the woods, and bidden them sleep while
he watched over their slumbers. Suddenly he started. He had discerned
something for which he was waiting. Moving to the edge of the open
space, he gazed with the keenness of one whose life depended upon making
no mistake as to what he saw. The house which engaged so much of his
attention was a quarter of a mile distant. The wonder was how he
distinguished anything so far off with enough certainty to determine its
character; but he had done so.

"Better late than never," he muttered; "though it looked awhile ago as
if it was to be never. Yes," he added, a moment after, "they are there,
and it won't take them long to find out that I am here."

So it proved; for, in a few minutes there was an answering signal waving
from an upper window of the house in the form of a handkerchief of a
white color, swung by the hand of a man instead of the wind, as in the
former case.

"I don't know as there's any use of my waiting any longer," he growled,
"for I don't s'pose they'll come to me, and I may as well go to them,
for there is no telling where that infernal Mohawk is. I wouldn't meet
him for all the Colonel Butlers that ever breathed. He is the devil
himself, and I prefer to keep out of his path."

Impressed with the value of time, the man gripped the sapling and swung
it violently, so as to make the red handkerchief wave in the breeze.
Then he started down the mountain, taking a direction which led him
straight toward the house in which he had shown so much interest from
the first. All the way was down-hill, and Worrell walked like one
accustomed to the woods, making such good time that at the end of ten
minutes he was with the parties whom he was anxious to see and meet. Who
were they?

Six Indians, under the charge of Captain Bagley, who has already been
introduced to our readers.

A glance at the painted warriors showed they were Iroquois, who were
following so vigilantly the fugitives that had managed to elude them
thus far. Bagley emerged from the house and shook hands with Worrell,
the two at once entering into a hurried conversation, while the Indians,
in accordance with their nature, stood apart, saying nothing to each
other, but satisfied to wait till the time should come for them to act
in obedience to the orders of their leader. Something was wrong, for
Bagley and Worrell continued talking a long time, each earnest and
abounding with gesture. As might be supposed, it was Lena-Wingo, the
Mohawk, that had caused the trouble. Several of the warriors had seen
him in another direction, and an encounter of some kind had taken place
between the celebrated scout and the Iroquois, with the result that
Colonel Butler had now two less men than before.

Captain Bagley was of the opinion that the half dozen with him were
insufficient to enter the cave and secure the fugitives sleeping there.
He wanted about as many more before making the attempt. Worrell insisted
there should be no delay. The three were in sound slumber, and all they
had to do was to enter the cavern, take possession of their arms, and
then the trio themselves. Captain Bagley's objection to this was that
because of the time that had elapsed, they would not be found asleep
when his men arrived there.

Furthermore, from what his informant told him, he was confident the
Mohawk would reach the cavern ahead of them, in which event it would be
vain to attack them with only six Indians and two white men, even though
these eight were among the bravest soldiers that had entered the
Wyoming valley. It was folly, in his opinion, to try such a task without
a force that would insure success from the first. Worrell, however, was
as vehement for an immediate advance, insisting that all that was needed
was promptness. A liberal reward had been promised him, and would
assuredly be his if his plan was carried to a successful completion. At
last, his importunity prevailed when he promised to be the first one to
enter the cavern, and the start was made.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

UP AND DOING.


Worrell, the traitor, had been gone nearly an hour from the cavern in
which the three fugitives were sleeping, when Rosa Minturn awoke, no
doubt because she was not so much in need of sleep as the others, and
held a lingering suspicion of the loyalty of the man who had brought
them to the retreat. This distrust went to sleep with her, but it is a
peculiarity of the mind that the emotions which have been with us
through our waking hours frequently remain with us when we are wrapped
in slumber. It is as if the innumerable train that is forever wending
its way through the mysterious labyrinths of the brain repeats the
procession, and those which affected us the most strongly when in
command of our senses often do the same when we are unconscious. But
without stopping to consider the question, suffice it to say that at the
time mentioned Rosa opened her eyes in full possession of her
faculties, and with the impression that the man Worrell was an enemy
instead of a friend.

She did not move at first, supposing he was still within the cavern;
but, as she peered cautiously around the dimly lighted space, she saw
only the forms of her two sleeping friends. The fact at once deepened
the suspicion, and caused her great distress of mind, for all doubt of
the hostility of the man was removed upon making the discovery. Still
she supposed it possible that he was close at hand, and waited several
minutes to see whether he reappeared; but her condition of mind was such
that every second of delay caused her increasing uneasiness.

"I am sure he has gone to tell Colonel Butler and the Indians where we
are," she said to herself, as she rose and walked to where her brother
was asleep.

Stooping over, she shook him by the shoulder until he opened his eyes
and, recognizing her, asked what the matter was.

"That man has gone."

"Where has he gone?"

"To tell the Indians we are here!"

Jo sprang to his feet.

"What are you talking about, Rosa? What do you mean?"

"Just as I say; he has gone to bring the Indians, and will soon be back,
too."

"How do you know that?"

"Don't ask me, but I _know_ what I say."

This was alarming news, and though Jo suspected his sister based all
upon her dislike of the man, without positive knowledge of the facts,
yet he was impressed with the belief that she had good cause for her
words.

"He may be on the outside, keeping watch," said the youth, after they
had talked over the matter. "Wait till I take a look. If he can't be
found, we'll awake Ned."

Jo crept out of the cavern dreading a hostile shot as he did so, and
made as thorough an examination of the surroundings as was possible. He
saw nothing of the man whom they missed, that individual at that moment
being a quarter of a mile or more away, holding his vehement argument
with Captain Bagley about the advance with the six Iroquois upon the
sleeping fugitives. His invisibility confirmed the young man in his
misgivings as to the treachery of the man.

"I have no doubt Rosa is right," he muttered, as he walked thoughtfully
back toward the cavern. "She was always quick to detect anything like
that, and it is strange that neither Ned nor I had any such thought. The
only thing that troubled us was whether we could convince Lena-Wingo we
did right in leaving the place where he left us. The thought never
entered our heads that there was anything of this kind in the wind."

He had reached the mouth of the cavern again, where his sister was
anxiously waiting him.

"Did you find anything of him?"

"No," he answered, with a shake of the head. "I believe you are right;
the man has gone off somewhere after his promise to keep watch over us
while we slept; that's enough for me. Is Ned awake?"

"Not that I am aware of."

"He must be aroused at once, for it will not do to stay here after what
has taken place."

Jo passed inside and awakened his friend, without pausing to be very
gentle as to the means. It took but a minute to make plain the trouble.
He became as alert and suspicious as they on the instant.

"There!" he exclaimed; "I had a suspicion when he came under the tree
that I had seen him somewhere."

"So had I, but I couldn't recall where and when it was."

"Don't you remember when the battle was going on the other day, we saw
one man among the Tories who was tomahawking the whites as savagely as
any of them?"

"Yes, I remember him well, but he didn't look like this fellow!"

"Not a great deal, that's true, but I believe it was he for all that."

Jo was silent for a moment, as if in deep thought.

"There was something about him that reminds me of this fellow, though
one had whiskers and the other had not, and it is hard to tell just how
they resemble each other."

The youths were more anxious to take themselves and Rosa away from the
cavern than they were to discuss the question, upon which they agreed
quite well. Hastily picking up their rifles, they passed outside. When
they found themselves within the shelter of the wood again, and beyond
the vision of any one who might approach the retreat, the relief was
inexpressible.

"We agree that the counsel of Rosa was wise," said Ned Clinton, as they
came to a halt, "but you see how it may be possible she was mistaken.
Now it won't do to go wandering too far from the place, for when the
Mohawk comes back and finds us gone he may not hunt for us."

"Why not, then, go back over the same route that we followed in coming
here?" asked Jo.

"That is what I would like to do, if it wasn't for the danger; it seems
to me that that is the path which Worrell will take when he starts for
the cavern again with his Indians, and we don't want to meet him face to
face, for we can do that by waiting in the cavern."

"I have it!" exclaimed Ned. "I will take the back trail alone, on the
lookout for the Mohawk and for the white man, too. What do you say?"

"And shall Rosa and I wait here till you come back?"

"That will be the safer plan, unless another Worrell comes along and
takes you away to a new cavern or hiding-place."

"We will be as safe here as anywhere," said Rosa, believing that her
opinion would have some weight in the matter.

"I suspect she is right," assented her brother. "If the Iroquois come to
the cavern and find we have left, they will think we have got as far
away as we can, and they won't be apt to look for us so close at hand;
and then, too, these stones over which we have traveled haven't left any
trail for them to follow."

"Which shows why you shouldn't go hunting for some other location,
unless the Indians happen to come so close that you can't help it, for
it will be impossible for me to hunt you up."

This was simple truth, and Jo promised that nothing should be done to
increase the difficulty of their speedy reunion, whenever his friend
should want to find him and Rosa again. The day was passing and it
seemed that they were trifling away the time which was so valuable to
all the fugitives. There was something, too, in the continued absence of
their guide, Lena-Wingo, that caused them uneasiness. They recalled that
he had promised a speedy return, and it was rarely that the Mohawk made
them a promise which was not fulfilled in spirit and letter.



CHAPTER XXIX.

A STARTLING CHECK.


Ned and Jo had said nothing to each other about the continued absence of
the Mohawk, for whatever they might utter would necessarily be
conjecture, and would only excite the alarm of Rosa without
accomplishing any good. But it was in the thoughts of both, and when Ned
bade the two good-bye for a season, it occupied more of his speculations
than did the movements of the man who had played them false.

"One can never lose faith in Lena-Wingo, and yet the pitcher may go to
the fountain once too often," he mused, as he picked his way with the
greatest care. "And that great scout is likely to fall at any time. A
single rifle ball may do it, and he cannot tell whether there is not
more than one of his own race in hiding, waiting patiently till he shall
come that way and receive his death. He has escaped so often that he
must become careless of his own safety, and will pay the penalty one of
these days."

Ned had fixed the route so clearly in his own mind that he found no
difficulty in retracing the steps taken when he was following the
leadership of Worrell. He was apprehensive that he would meet him on his
return, probably with a number of Indians. He therefore picked his way
with all the care and stealth of which he was master. He imitated the
actions of Lena-Wingo under similar circumstances. Frequently pausing
and listening for sounds of his enemies, he used his eyes as keenly as
he could for the detection of the first sign of approaching danger. This
kind of progress was not of the most rapid order, but it was the wisest
that could have been adopted, and he continued it for half an hour. At
the end of that time, he reached the base of the tree from the branches
of which he fired the shot that brought Worrell from behind the rock.

"Here is where we met him," he said to himself, "and I have a feeling
that he isn't very far away now. What a wise girl Rosa is!" he added,
with a blush, as if fearful she had heard the complimentary words. "She
mistrusted that villain from the first, and gave us the alarm just in
time to save ourselves."

Having reached the spot for which he set out, the question with the
youth was whether he should stay where he was or go further. He had seen
nothing of Lena-Wingo and Worrell--a disappointment in both cases,
though of a different nature.

"I can't see why the Indian stays away so long, unless something unusual
has happened. He must know how much we are alarmed over his absence, and
he would be back if it were possible."

Waiting a short time, he concluded to advance a little farther, so as to
meet either of the two men if they were approaching, while at a greater
distance from the cavern, though he was not unmindful that he was liable
to miss them altogether. However, he had gone less than a hundred yards
when he detected the signs of some one coming immediately in front. It
was his ear which heard a crackling of a twig, so close that he had
barely time to leap aside and conceal himself from view when the figure
of Worrell, closely followed by Captain Bagley, came up a sort of path
toward the open space from which Ned had fled in such haste. The youth
barely caught sight of them when the forms of six Iroquois appeared,
one by one, immediately in the rear of the two white men.

When Ned saw the latter, he was much concerned, fearing that they would
detect the slight trail he must have left in his hurry for cover. But it
was too late to make any further flight, as he would be discovered from
the noise, if not by the sight.

From his concealment he watched the party, their manner of marching
being peculiar, as the eight walked in Indian file. Worrell, being the
guide, took the lead. Bagley kept so close that they could hold a
conversation in low tones, while the Iroquois stalked along like so many
phantoms of the wood.

If Ned was alarmed at sight of the redmen, knowing their skill in
detecting and following a trail of an enemy, he was thrown into a cold
perspiration of dread when the whole party halted in the open space from
which he had bounded when he heard the crackling twig. The clear space
covered something like an eighth of an acre, and Clinton was too
disturbed to notice that the particular spot where the group was
gathered was so far removed from his footprints that there was really
little danger of their being noticed. But when they had stood awhile,
and the two white men began a conversation, he noticed the gratifying
fact and became composed enough to listen to the words that passed
between Captain Bagley and Worrell.

"You may say what you please," said the former, "but there is more risk
in this business than I want to assume. You are so anxious to get the
reward promised by Colonel Butler that you can't see the difficulties in
the way."

"If there were any difficulties I would see them, but they ain't there.
Where's the difficulty in eight armed men taking possession of two who
are asleep, and a woman who is also unconscious?"

"None, of course, when you put it in that way; but the Mohawk is
somewhere about, and, as I told you a while ago, he has a way of turning
up just when you don't want to see him."

"These Iroquois say they want to meet him, and if he is there, they'll
have the chance."

"But I ain't anxious to meet him, and if he is about, as I feel in my
bones he is, there'll be the mischief to pay."

Worrell uttered an imprecation. He had been obliged to keep up an
argument with the captain ever since they started from the house with
the Indians--even before; and now the man had halted again, more loth
than ever to proceed. It was plain that he held the Mohawk in great
fear.

"Where is this cave in which you say the party are asleep?" he asked, in
reply to the explanation of the guide.

"You have only to go a little way further with me and you'll see it,"
replied Worrell, who was evidently unwilling that any one should share so
valuable a secret with him.

"Colonel Butler has all of twenty of the best Iroquois with him, and the
wisest thing for us is to go to his camp, tell him how the case stands,
and get him to let us have eight or ten more; then we can come back and
lay regular siege to the place. Then we shall be sure of catching them
sooner or later."

"Yes, at the end of a month or so, and it won't do for Butler to stay
much longer in the valley. He knows it, and will leave in a day or two."

"But why speak of waiting a month before they can be taken, when thirst
and starvation will bring them to terms in a couple of days at the
most?"

"It will, eh?" said Worrell, contemptuously. "There is a spring of water
in one corner of the cavern, and they have enough provisions stored
there to last all of a month."

"How came the provisions in that place?"

"I took them there myself, for I have used the cave many a time."

This was a falsehood, so far as the water and food were concerned, the
cavern containing nothing of the kind.

"Do not any of these Iroquois know where the place is?"

"Of course not, and there is no danger of the Mohawk finding it under
two or three days' hunt."

"You needn't tell me such stuff as that," said Captain Bagley. "There's
nothing that you can hide from him."

"This is a pretty crowd that is afraid to go forward because there
happens to be a single Indian somewhere in the woods. If you want to
stay behind, let me have the warriors, and I will take them to the spot,
and deliver the three into the hands of Colonel Butler inside of an
hour. What do you say to that?"

"You are so determined, you may lead on, and we'll follow."

"Well, let's do it, then, without any more--"

At that instant, the crack of a rifle broke the stillness, and the man
Worrell threw up his hand and fell forward on his face, dead!



CHAPTER XXX.

A MERITED FATE.


The amazement of Ned Clinton was no greater than that of Captain Bagley
and the Indians over the sudden death of Worrell. For one moment the
comrades of the deceased stood transfixed, staring at the inanimate form
stretched on the ground before them. Then the Iroquois gave out their
war whoop, and sprang to the cover of the nearest undergrowth. This
brought them much nearer the youth than was pleasant. The thought struck
him that these warriors would believe the one who fired the fatal shot
was near by, and begin a search which must result in revealing Clinton
himself. The precautionary action of the redmen served to recall Captain
Bagley to his own situation, and he raised his gaze from the prostrate
figure, and looked affrightedly around him.

"It was that Mohawk who fired that shot!" he exclaimed, making a hurried
rush for the same cover that was sheltering the half dozen Iroquois.

As fate would have it, he crouched down in the undergrowth so close to
Ned Clinton that the latter believed discovery was inevitable. He was
well hidden, however, and flattened out until it seemed he must force
himself into the ground, while he feared if the Tory escaped seeing him,
he would learn of his presence from the throbbing of his heart. But
there was one thing in favor of the youth. The shot--by whomsoever
fired--had come from exactly the opposite direction, a fact which was
perceptible to the Iroquois themselves even if unnoticed by the young
man at the time.

Perfect stillness succeeded the report, and when some ten minutes
passed, the warriors appeared to suspect their inaction would permit the
daring Mohawk to escape, when there was a chance to secure his scalp. At
the end of the time mentioned, Ned, from his concealment, caught a
glimpse of two warriors stealing along the edge of the open space. Their
backs were toward him, thus showing they were pursuing an opposite
direction in quest of the one who had slain their leader. Shortly after
he detected others, and last of all went Captain Bagley himself, he
having changed from a leader to a follower. Thus in a brief time Ned
found himself alone, with no one in sight excepting the inanimate form,
now stark and stiff, telling its impressive story of a miscreant cut
down in the middle of his wicked career.

"I wonder whether it was Lena-Wingo who did that," mused the youth,
raising his head and peering through the undergrowth at the form.
"Captain Bagley believed so, and I guess he was right, for I can't think
of any one else who would do it."

After what had taken place, Ned was in doubt as to what his own course
should be. From the conversation which he overheard between Worrell and
Bagley, he knew that none of the survivors was aware of the location of
the cavern, so that the fugitives might stay within it in safety. The
youth concluded he had seen enough to carry back to his friends. He,
therefore, cautiously retreated from the hiding-place, not wishing to
encounter any of the Indians, who could be at no great distance, and
desirous, too, of avoiding another sight of the dead man. It took but a
short time to reach the tree, where he had first seen the one who had
attempted to betray them, and who had come near succeeding, too, in the
effort.

"I don't know that anything is to be gained by staying here, and I will
go back to where I left Jo and Rosa, and tell them they may take refuge
in the cavern without any danger or disturb--"

At that instant he heard a stealthy movement behind him, and he was in
dread of a collision with some of the Iroquois, who seemed to be almost
everywhere in the forest and on the mountain. As he wheeled about, there
was the redman, painted and with gun in his grasp; but it was the redman
whom, of all others, he was anxious to see, being no other than
Lena-Wingo, the scout.

"Thank the Lord!" was the fervent exclamation of the youth, as he rushed
toward the Mohawk and caught his hand. "Where have you been so long?"

Lena-Wingo took the proffered hand and shook it warmly, for he held the
youth in the highest estimation, as he had shown on more than one
occasion. At the same time, he put on his usual broad grin, and replied,
in his broken way:

"Lena-Wingo been watching you. Seen you hide in bushes when Iroquois
come, and he watch."

"That was you, then, who picked off Worrell?"

"Who Worrell?" demanded the Mohawk, sharply.

"Why, that chap that was shot while talking to Captain Bagley."

"His name not Worrell," said Lena-Wingo. "He Dick Evans."

"No!" gasped Ned, in return.

"That he--Lena-Wingo look good while for him--found him--shoot
him--won't kill any more women and babies."

And who was Dick Evans, that the mention of his name should cause so
much emotion on the part of those who heard it pronounced? He was one of
the most infamous wretches produced by the Revolutionary war. He had
been heard of in Wyoming valley for years before the invasion of the
Tories and Indians, and was looked upon as an outlaw who was compelled
to live in the woods to escape the penalty of his innumerable crimes
against civilization. There was no deed too dark for him to perpetrate.
When the Revolution broke out he turned against the land that gave him
birth, and committed atrocities that no other Tory or Indian had
exceeded. It was well known that he had slain women and children in more
than one instance, and when he held the power no one expected mercy at
his hands. He was one of the most wicked of beings and more than
deserved the death which came to him with the bullet aimed and fired by
the Mohawk.

The latter had declared to more than one person that he would shoot him
like a dog at the first opportunity. With the defiant nature of his
race, he sent the man himself word by a Seneca Indian that he was
looking for him, and intended to keep it up until able to draw a bead on
him. Evans sent word back in reply, that he was also looking for the
Mohawk, and dared him to shoot him if he could. The only palliating
characteristic of the despicable wretch was his bravery, and he really
did do his utmost to gain a shot at the Indian who had threatened him.
But he engaged in a game in which his antagonist was his superior, and
had paid the penalty.

The body was left where it fell, for another of the peculiarities of
Lena-Wingo was that, for a number of years, he had refused to take the
scalp of his fallen foe. At the time the Mohawk shot Evans, he suspected
he was leading the party in search of the fugitives in the mountain; but
the scout was so far removed from the two men while they were talking,
that he failed to gain the import of their words. He therefore knew
nothing of the scheme which had been so skillfully laid for entrapping
the three whites. When Ned came to tell him the story, the Indian was
astonished. He had not dreamt of any such thing, for he supposed that
his friends would await him where he told them to stay and not suffer
themselves to be persuaded to disobey him. He showed that he was
displeased, but he said little, and the feeling was not deep. Ned
Clinton generously assumed all the blame himself, and, like the
lightning-rod, it did not take him long to draw the lightning from the
wrathful cloud, so that all became serene again.



CHAPTER XXXI.

THE MOHAWK EXPLAINS.


When Ned had told Lena-Wingo all, and succeeded in restoring him to good
humor, he attempted to draw from the Indian an idea of what he had been
doing since he left them. But the youth did not gain much satisfactory
information. The interview lasted but a short time, when Lena-Wingo
proposed that they should return to their friends, who must be quite
anxious over their continued absence. He added, also, that they could
not but be hungry--a want which he took particular pains to satisfy. On
the way to where the brother and sister had been left, the Mohawk turned
off to the right, and drew from beneath a fallen tree two goodly-sized
loaves of bread and fully ten pounds of well-cooked meat.

"Where in the name of the seven wonders did you get that?" asked Ned.

"Lena-Wingo make bread and cook meat," grinned the redskin.

"Come, now, that won't do," laughed his young friend. "You might have
cooked a piece of meat, but you never baked a loaf of bread in your
life. You have been making a call upon some of the folks in the valley."

"No--not that--Tory call on settler--Tory make bread--then go to
sleep--then Lena-Wingo call on Tory--go 'way--take bread."

That told the whole story. The Mohawk had made a raid upon some of the
thieves in the valley who had robbed some of the patriots only to be
spoiled in turn. Such being the fact, the food could not but taste all
the better to the fugitives, who were in sore need of nourishment.

The fact that several Iroquois were on the hunt for Lena-Wingo appeared
to cause that individual no concern. He walked forward as unconcernedly
as if there were no such things as war and hostile men of his own race.
He agreed with Ned that it was safe to occupy the cavern while they were
compelled to hide, and until he could complete his arrangements for
guiding Rosa into Wilkesbarre. It was prudent to keep her out of their
sight while the Tories and Indians were making diligent search for her,
and the way was not clear to run the gauntlet. The Iroquois being
new-comers, it was hardly possible that any of them knew the location of
the cave which had been occupied by the whites.

The conversation which Ned overheard between Bagley and Evans confirmed
this supposition.

As they journeyed, Lena-Wingo gradually divulged what he had been at
during the afternoon, and why it was he had been absent so much longer
than he intended. The scout had been into Wilkesbarre!

Before attempting to conduct Rosa thither he wished to reconnoitre the
ground, and was more successful than he expected. Stealing up close to
the rude fortifications, he managed to make himself recognized, and
secured admission without any of his enemies suspecting the daring act.
Had he been accompanied by Rosa at this time, he could have conducted
her safely within; but he established an understanding with the inmates,
so as to feel sure that when the time came to make the effort, he would
run no risk of being injured by his friends, or of having his entrance
dangerously delayed when he should claim admittance. In leaving the
town, the Mohawk was observed by several Iroquois, and became engaged
with them, but escaped with his usual good fortune.

Lena-Wingo had no more than finished his narration when the cavern was
reached, and they paused a moment or two to examine it. The Mohawk
entered, and as he came back reported that it was as when he last saw
it, adding that no place existed in the neighborhood which would serve
as well for a real hiding-place for the young lady while her friends
were preparing for the entry into Wilkesbarre. Taking this as his
starting point again, Ned Clinton had no difficulty in finding the spot
where he had bid good-bye to Jo and his sister. By the time the place
was fairly identified, the two came forward and greeted him and the
Mohawk.

The meeting was pleasant to all, for there was something in the presence
of the famous and skillful scout that filled the three with confidence
and hope. When he revealed the provisions he brought, there was some
merriment, increased by the narration that Ned gave as to the manner in
which it had been secured. The last food the fugitives ate was on the
night preceding, so that all were in the condition to appreciate his
thoughtful kindness. When the noonday meal was finished they had made a
goodly-sized reduction of the supply. The sensation of the occasion came
afterward, when Ned told how Evans had met his end at the hands of the
Mohawk, after completing his arrangements to capture the sleeping
fugitives in the cavern.

Jo and his sister shuddered at the thought that they had been so nearly
in the hands of the fearful scourge of the valley, and it was hard to
understand why he spared them as they slept. The remembrance that the
three had actually allowed themselves to become unconscious while he
mounted guard over them, made all tremble as though the danger was not
yet passed. Rosa and Jo expected that the Mohawk would be angered when
he learned how his wishes had been disregarded, but Ned had already
succeeded in calming his impatience. The event could not but be a lesson
to all, since it was that disregard which came so near defeating the
whole plan of procedure. None of the friends made any reference to it,
nor did Lena-Wingo, but there came a resolve which took a deep hold of
the hearts of the three that hereafter, while in the woods, the
instructions of the Mohawk should be followed to the letter, even
though the threatened consequences were death itself.

The provisions which were left were carefully gathered up and carried to
the cavern, which it was agreed should remain their headquarters. It was
near midday, the sun only having slightly crossed the meridian. The
weather was so warm that all were glad of the chance to spend an hour or
two in doing nothing. Near by was a small stream of clear, cool, gushing
water, from which they slaked their thirst, while they sat down beneath
a large tree, to listen to the plan the Mohawk had decided upon. This he
explained briefly, for the scheme was simple and easily comprehended, it
being nothing more than to wait where they were until he could find the
easiest way by which to enter Wilkesbarre.

The establishment of an understanding with the garrison was a necessary
step, in which he had been fortunate. It had been his aim to do this
also without discovery, and, had he succeeded, he would have conducted
the entire party around to the opposite side, and run safely into
shelter with them before sunset. The Iroquois having detected him as he
was coming out, the difficulty of the return was greatly increased. But
for the fact, also, that Captain Bagley had learned from Evans before
his death that the young lady was concealed in the woods, Lena-Wingo was
confident he could have made the warriors believe he had delivered her
there, and thus greatly simplified the real task of doing so.



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE FATAL TREE.


Lena-Wingo's plan was to learn how large a force was on their side of
the river, how they were disposed, and what was the precise scheme of
the Tory colonel for the capture of the girl. When this was done, he
could decide in a very few minutes on the course to circumvent him. Now
that his friends were all together again, and were scarcely likely to be
molested for some time to come, there was no occasion so favorable as
the present in which to perform this duty.

Accordingly he told them he should start within half an hour, and would
probably be gone the whole afternoon, for he meant to make his work so
thorough that there would be nothing remaining to be done after his
return except to enter Wilkesbarre that night, and most probably in the
early portion of the evening. Could he succeed, the campaign would be
ended and our story also; for once safely within the fortifications, the
persecuted girl would be beyond all further trouble or molestation from
the Tory leader, whose name must forever remain one of execration when
mentioned with that of Wyoming valley. Butler had not enough men to
venture across the river and attack Wilkesbarre by force, as there was a
goodly number still in his rear, who were sure to rise the instant the
opportunity were given, and avenge the atrocious massacre of neighbors
and friends. The only hope that he had was to secure the girl while
attempting to reach this place of safety, and there could be no doubt he
would strain every nerve to do so.

The Mohawk told his friends that if they went to sleep in the evening
they must expect to be awakened by him, and must therefore be prepared.
He advised Rosa to spend the most of her time in the cavern, as no place
was more comfortable, and certainly none so safe. While there, her
friends should keep watch through the surrounding woods, for there was a
possibility of a visit from some of the Iroquois who might wander into
the section. A little care, therefore, would be like the ounce of
prevention, and might avert some serious difficulty.

The fugitives promised that his suggestions should be considered in the
light of positive commands. And then, as Lena-Wingo arose to go, he
paused a minute or two while he explained a little secret about the
cavern which he believed was unknown to everybody except himself. This
was, that there was another means of ingress and egress to it, the
ancient occupants of the same having probably constructed a means of
escape in case their enemies should press them too hard. This consisted
of a narrow underground tunnel, running from the couch where Rosa had
obtained her brief rest, and rising to the surface beneath a broad flat
stone, near a mass of dense undergrowth. The entrance to it from the
interior of the cavern was covered in the same manner, and it is hardly
likely that Evans himself was aware of its existence. The stone that hid
the mouth at either end of the tunnel was so thin that a man could lift
it with a slight effort, and, no doubt, at some time or other they had
answered a good purpose.

Jo and Ned were delighted with this discovery, and were confident that,
if a company of Iroquois should swoop down upon them, they could keep
them at bay until nightfall, and then steal out without discovery.
Nothing more remained for Lena-Wingo to say; and, as he was a man of
few words, he vanished almost immediately into the forest.

"I don't apprehend that there is danger of our disregarding the wishes
of Lena-Wingo this time," said Ned, with a laugh, when they found
themselves alone.

"No, I'll be hanged if there is!" replied Jo. "We have done that once or
twice, and it has always got us into trouble where he had to help us out
again."

"I supposed that he would be angry when we spoke about it," remarked
Rosa, "but he showed no feeling at all."

"I understand how that came about," added Jo, with a significant look
toward his friend. "Ned has made him believe it was all his fault, and
Lena-Wingo has poured out his wrath upon his head, so that none was left
for us."

"Is that true?" asked Rosa, looking into the face of her admirer, who
blushed and tried to turn the conversation.

As there was no escaping the accusation, Ned had to take a scolding from
Rosa herself, who loved him none the less for this little act of
self-abnegation.

"See here!" exclaimed the victim, "One of the suggestions of Lena-Wingo
was that Jo and I should keep a lookout while the day lasted, so that
none of the big Indians might steal down here and eat up Rosa right
before our eyes. What do you say, Jo?"

"That's what Red Jack told us," responded his friend, "and if he said
it, why, that insured its being a wise suggestion. I'm ready, and while
we're gone, Rosa ought to withdraw into the cavern."

"So I think."

It was she herself who made this last remark. As she did so she sprang
up, pulled the stone aside, and whisked within, disappearing from sight
like a fairy, pausing only long enough at the entrance to wave a light
adieu with her snow-white hand. Left to themselves once more, the youths
walked slowly away from the cavern, for they had a wish that, if seen,
their location might not suggest in the most remote manner, the
whereabouts of Rosa Minturn.

"I don't suppose there's much we can do," said Jo, as they halted near
the spot where Ned Clinton had left the brother and sister. "You might
go over the same route that you followed when you were looking for the
Mohawk, as you have made yourself familiar with it."

"That strikes me as a good plan," replied Ned; "there can be no telling
how long I'll be gone, as it will depend upon what I see, but if I can
discover nothing you may look for me back at the end of an hour or so."

"All right," said Jo. "There's no hurry about it; come when you get
ready, and I'll do the same."

And in this off-hand manner the young scouts separated, neither dreaming
that danger threatened. Ned followed the course indicated, now well
known to him. It was only a brief walk to the tree, and there he paused
awhile.

"I was fortunate enough to make a discovery when I climbed that tree
this morning," he reflected, "and I may succeed in doing something of
the kind if I try it again. But I would rather fail, for I don't want to
see another Tory or Indian until Lena-Wingo comes back to us, ready to
lead the way into Wilkesbarre. But if there's any one there, I ought to
know it, so I'll take another look from the tree-top."

He leaned his rifle against the trunk, and was about to make an upward
leap, for the sake of grasping the lowermost limb when he saw a hand
suddenly thrust from behind the tree, and his weapon was whisked out of
sight like a flash. Before he could recover from his amazement he was
surrounded by a half dozen Iroquois warriors and made prisoner!



CHAPTER XXXIII.

CAPTIVE AND CAPTORS.


The capture of Clinton by the six Iroquois was done as artistically as
if the whole thing were a play in which all had studied and rehearsed
their parts. The youth had not the least suspicion of the peril, until
he saw the hand suddenly extended and the rifle withdrawn at the same
moment he leaned it against the tree trunk. Then, before he was able to
form an idea of what it meant, the Indians came out, he was surrounded
and all escape cut off. His gun was beyond his reach, and, wherever he
turned, he was confronted by a painted and fully armed Indian warrior.

Ned was confident that these were the same ones he had seen under the
command of Captain Bagley, and he looked around for that officer. But he
was not to be seen. It was a small matter, however, whether they were
the same redmen or not. It was not to be expected that there was any
perceptible difference between the Iroquois--let them come from whatever
part of the country they chose.

The warriors seemed to enjoy the consternation depicted on the face of
their prisoner, who was speechless for a minute or so. But Ned was
brave, and there was no shrinking when he was called upon to face one of
the possibilities of the warfare in which he was engaged. The first
really strong emotion of which he was sensible was that of astonishment,
as he recalled the events of the past few days, during which he had met
with so many narrow escapes, both from death and capture. Now he had
fallen a victim just like a lamb when driven into a corner by the
slayer. The next matter which agitated him was the question whether the
Iroquois would kill him then and there, or whether they meant to
preserve him for future punishment and torture. It must have been that
they had received instructions from higher authorities that the whites,
whenever possible, were to be taken prisoners instead of being shot, for
they made no demonstration toward the fugitive in their power.

After the first feeling of amazement passed, and the captors and
captured seemed to understand the situation more fully, the Iroquois
stood for several minutes in a conversation which seemed to Ned to
consist mainly of exclamations and gestures. He concluded they were
discussing what was best to do with him. As he was unable to catch the
meaning of a single word uttered, he busied himself in trying to read
their sentiments through the gestures in which they indulged. This was a
hard task, for they were not of a character natural and expressive to
him. But when the thing had lasted some time, he caught the name of
Lena-Wingo pronounced by one of them. This led the youth to suspect they
were discussing some other question, having determined what was to be
done with him long before.

It might be that the warriors were arguing the question whether they
should attempt to reach the cavern, seeing that they had secured one of
the fugitives, who could conduct them direct to the spot. But, in case
such was their intention, Ned was resolved that he would die before
playing the part of guide and thus be the means of delivering Rosa into
the hands of Colonel Butler. If they addressed him, even, in broken
English, he could feign an ignorance of what they said; and, if it
should prove impossible to carry out that artifice, he would simply
refuse to lead them, and they could do their worst. Fortunately,
however, he was not subjected to the trial. The conversation lasted but
a short time, when the Indians seemed to conclude it wise for them to
leave the immediate neighborhood, for Lena-Wingo was abroad, and there
was no telling when or where he would strike, nor in what manner he
would call on them.

"I suppose they're on their way to camp," thought Ned, following as
obediently as a child, "and I am likely to meet the great Colonel
Butler. I know what he thinks of me, and he won't be apt to adopt me as
a brother."

The mind of the young man was very active, and he indulged in all kinds
of speculation as he moved toward his unknown destination. He was well
aware that the Tory commander held him in especial hatred, for the
reason that he knew that he loved Rosa Minturn, and suspected that she
loved him in return. Surrounded by such heartless allies as were the
Iroquois, a cruel man like the Tory could readily find the means of
doing what he willed in the way of punishing a rival in the affections
of a lady. After indulging in these reflections until he wearied, the
prisoner found himself wondering as to how long it would be before the
Mohawk would find out what had befallen his young friend.

"I think he will conclude to give me up," muttered Ned, "for whenever he
goes off to look after the interests of Rosa, he comes back and finds
the rest of us have gotten into trouble. It would have been a great deal
better if he had left Jo and me at home, for we have been of little
help. He may be gone till long after dark, and when he returns it will
be too late for him to devote any attention to me, even if he has the
inclination to do so. As for Jo," continued Ned, following out his train
of thought, "it may be a long time ere he suspects what has befallen me;
I didn't set any fixed time when I would return, and may stay away as
long as Lena-Wingo himself before he will dream anything has happened."

His thoughts were called from these speculations by the party having him
in charge. They came to a halt, and acted as if they had discovered
something of an alarming character. Several warriors darted to cover, as
if in quest of something in the undergrowth, while the others stood
listening and peering into the woods about them. It was natural that
Ned should suspect the presence of Lena-Wingo when he saw this, and his
heart beat high with the hope of some rescue organized by that scout,
who was so fertile in all the expedients of the war-path. Had he
reflected, he would have known that if the Mohawk had attempted any such
thing, he would have managed it in such a way that the Iroquois would
not have discovered it so readily. The halt lasted but a few minutes,
when the warriors who had gone into cover so suddenly reappeared, a few
words were exchanged, and the march was resumed.

"I'd like to know what all that was for," thought Ned. "We have come
quite a distance," he added, looking up and about him, "and we ought to
be very near the camp of Colonel Butler by this time."


THE END.


    The sequel to The Wilderness Fugitives
                  is entitled
           "Lena-Wingo, the Mohawk."



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=HUGHES (THOMAS)--Tom Brown's School-days at Rugby.= New edition with 22
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=LAMB (CHARLES AND MARY)--Tales from Shakespeare.= Edited with an
introduction by The Rev. Alfred Ainger, M.A. New Edition with 20
illustrations. 12mo. Cloth. $1.00

=MOTHER'S PRIMER.= Printed from large clear type, contains alphabet and
edifying and entertaining stories for children. 12mo. Paper covers. Per
dozen $0.50

=TANNENFORST (URSULA)--Heroines of a School-Room.= A sequel to The
Thistles of Mount Cedar. An interesting story of interesting girls.
Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth. $1.25

--=The Thistles of Mount Cedar=. A story of a Girls' Fraternity. A
well-told story for Girls. Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth. $1.25

=TAYLOR (JANE)--Original Poems for Infant Minds.= 16mo. Cloth. $1.00

=WOOD (REV. J. G.)--Popular Natural History.= The most popular book on
Birds, Beasts and Reptiles ever written. Fully illustrated. 8vo. Cloth.
$1.00



NOTABLE NOVELS _and_ GIFT BOOKS OF VERSE _BY_ JOHN TROTWOOD MOORE


JACK BALLINGTON, FORESTER

The story concerns the fortunes of Jack Ballington, who, on account of
his apparent lack of fighting qualities, seems to be in danger of losing
his material heritage and the girl he loves, but in the stirring crisis
he measures up to the traditions of his forefathers.

"Will captivate by its humor, set all the heart strings to vibrating by
its pathos, flood one's being in the great surge of patriotism ... a
story that vastly enriches American fiction."--_Albany Times-Union._

=12mo. Cloth. 341 pages=

Price $1.20 Net. Postage 13 cents


THE BISHOP OF COTTONTOWN

A STORY OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY

Love, pathos and real humor run through the book in delightful measure.
Over all is shed the light of the "Old Bishop," endearing himself to
every reader by his gentleness, his strength and his uncynical knowledge
of the world which he finds so good to live in. 31 editions have already
been sold.

=12mo. Cloth. 606 pages=

Price $1.50 Postpaid


UNCLE WASH: HIS STORIES

A book of stories centering about the character of "Uncle Wash," which
even in the brief time since its publication has achieved a large and
notable success among all classes of readers. Many editions have already
been sold.

"One of the few great books."--_Rochester Union and Advertiser._
"A mine of humor and pathos."--_Omaha World-Herald._

=12mo. Cloth. 329 pages=

Price $1.50 Postpaid


A SUMMER HYMNAL

A ROMANCE OF TENNESSEE

The story of Edward Ballington and his love affairs with two delightful
girls in charming contrast, forms the plot of this captivating love
story. On the threads of this narrative is woven the story of a blind
man who meets the catastrophe of sudden darkness in a spirit of bravery,
sweetness and resignation which commands the love and respect of every
reader.

=12mo. Cloth. 332 pages=

Price $1.25 Postpaid


SONGS AND STORIES FROM TENNESSEE

In truth Mr. Moore, in this collection of songs and stories of Dixie
Land, has created a work that will live long in the traditions of the
South and longer in the hearts of his readers. One has only to read "Ole
Mistis," the first story in this collection, to feel the power of Mr.
Moore's genius. It is at once the finest story of a horse race ever
written, a powerful love story and most touchingly pathetic narrative of
the faith and devotion of a little slave.

=12mo. Cloth. 358 pages=

Price $1.25 Postpaid


THE OLD COTTON GIN

The "Old Cotton Gin" breathes the passionate patriotism of the South,
her dearest sentiments, her pathos and regrets, her splendid progress
and her triumphant future. This poem is a popular favorite throughout
the South, and has been adopted officially in some states. The author is
one of her truest sons. All the pages of the book are decorated with
original drawings, including seven exceedingly fine full-page
illustrations.

=Bound in Imported Silk Cloth. Size 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches=

Price $1.00 Net. Postage 10 cents


ALL OF THE ABOVE BOOKS ARE HANDSOMELY ILLUSTRATED BY WELL-KNOWN ARTISTS



NEW EDITION OF ALGER'S GREATEST SET OF BOOKS

--THE--

Famous Ragged Dick Series

NEW TYPE-SET PLATES MADE IN 1910

In response to a demand for a popular-priced edition of this series of
books--the most famous set ever written by =Horatio Alger, Jr.=--this
edition has been prepared.

Each volume is set in large, new type, printed on an excellent quality
of paper, and bound in uniform style, having an entirely new and
appropriate cover design, with heavy gold stamp.

As is well known, the books in this series are copyrighted, and
consequently none of them will be found in any other publisher's list.

 RAGGED DICK SERIES. By Horatio Alger, Jr. 6 vols.
 RAGGED DICK
 FAME AND FORTUNE
 MARK, THE MATCH BOY
 ROUGH AND READY
 BEN, THE LUGGAGE BOY
 RUFUS AND ROSE

Each set is packed in a handsome box

12mo. Cloth

Sold only in sets       Price per set, $3.60. Postpaid



RECOMMENDED BY REAR ADMIRAL MELVILLE, WHO COMMANDED THREE EXPEDITIONS TO
THE ARCTIC REGIONS

--THE--

New Popular Science Series

BY PROF. EDWIN J. HOUSTON

=THE NORTH POLE SERIES.= By Prof. Edwin J. Houston. This is an entirely
new series, which opens a new field in Juvenile Literature. Dr. Houston
has spent a lifetime in teaching boys the principles of physical and
scientific phenomena and knows how to talk and write for them in a way
that is most attractive. In the reading of these stories the most
accurate scientific information will be absorbed.

 THE SEARCH FOR THE NORTH POLE
 THE DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH POLE
 CAST AWAY AT THE NORTH POLE

Handsomely bound. The volumes, 12mo. in size, are bound in Extra English
Cloth, and are attractively stamped in colors and full gold titles. Sold
separately or in sets, boxed.

Price       $1.00 per volume. Postpaid



CHARLES ASBURY STEPHENS

This author wrote his "Camping Out Series" at the very height of his
mental and physical powers.

"We do not wonder at the popularity of these books; there is a freshness
and variety about them, and an enthusiasm in the description of sport
and adventure, which even the older folk can hardly fail to
share."--_Worcester Spy._

"The author of the Camping Out Series is entitled to rank as decidedly
at the head of what may be called boys' literature."--_Buffalo Courier._


CAMPING OUT SERIES

By C. A. STEPHENS

=All books in this series are 12mo., with eight full-page illustrations.
Cloth, extra, 75 cents.=

=Camping Out.= As Recorded by "Kit."

"This book is bright, breezy, wholesome, instructive, and stands above
the ordinary boys' books of the day by a whole head and
shoulders."--_The Christian Register_, Boston.

=Left on Labrador; or, The Cruise of the Schooner Yacht "Curlew."= As
Recorded by "Wash."

"The perils of the voyagers, the narrow escapes, their strange
expedients, and the fun and jollity when danger had passed, will make
boys even unconscious of hunger."--_New Bedford Mercury._

=Off to the Geysers; or, The Young Yachters in Iceland.=

As Recorded by "Wade."

"It is difficult to believe that Wade and Raed and Kit and Wash were not
live boys, sailing up Hudson Straits, and reigning temporarily over an
Esquimaux tribe."--_The Independent, New York._

=Lynx Hunting.= From Notes by the Author of "Camping Out."

"Of _first quality_ as a boys' book, and fit to take its place beside
the best."--_Richmond Enquirer._

=Fox Hunting.= As Recorded by "Raed."

"The most spirited and entertaining book that has as yet appeared. It
overflows with incident, and is characterized by dash and brilliancy
throughout."--_Boston Gazette._

=On the Amazon; or, The Cruise of the "Rambler."= As Recorded by "Wash."

"Gives vivid pictures of Brazilian adventure and scenery."--_Buffalo
Courier._

Sent Postpaid on Receipt of Price



--THE--

Famous Standard Juveniles

 Published by
 THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.
 Philadelphia

EDWARD S. ELLIS

=Edward S. Ellis=, the popular writer of boys' books, is a native of Ohio,
where he was born somewhat more than a half-century ago. His father was
a famous hunter and rifle shot, and it was doubtless his exploits and
those of his associates, with their tales of adventure which gave the
son his taste for the breezy backwoods and for depicting the stirring
life of the early settlers on the frontier.

Mr. Ellis began writing at an early age and his work was acceptable from
the first. His parents removed to New Jersey while he was a boy and he
was graduated from the State Normal School and became a member of the
faculty while still in his teens. He was afterward principal of the
Trenton High School, a trustee and then superintendent of schools. By
that time his services as a writer had become so pronounced that he gave
his entire attention to literature. He was an exceptionally successful
teacher and wrote a number of text-books for schools, all of which met
with high favor. For these and his historical productions, Princeton
College conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts.

The high moral character, the clean, manly tendencies and the admirable
literary style of Mr. Ellis' stories have made him as popular on the
other side of the Atlantic as in this country. A leading paper remarked
some time since, that no mother need hesitate to place in the hands of
her boy any book written by Mr. Ellis. They are found in the leading
Sunday-school libraries, where, as may well be believed, they are in
wide demand and do much good by their sound, wholesome lessons which
render them as acceptable to parents as to their children. Nearly all of
the Ellis books published by The John C. Winston Company are reissued in
London, and many have been translated into other languages. Mr. Ellis is
a writer of varied accomplishments, and, in addition to his stories, is
the author of historical works, of a number of pieces of popular music,
and has made several valuable inventions. Mr. Ellis is in the prime of
his mental and physical powers, and great as have been the merits of his
past achievements, there is reason to look for more brilliant
productions from his pen in the near future.


DEERFOOT SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Hunters of the Ozark
  The Last War Trail
  Camp in the Mountains


LOG CABIN SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Lost Trail
  Footprints in the Forest
  Camp-Fire and Wigwam


BOY PIONEER SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Ned in the Block-House
  Ned on the River
  Ned in the Woods


THE NORTHWEST SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Two Boys in Wyoming
  Cowmen and Rustlers
  A Strange Craft and its Wonderful Voyage


BOONE AND KENTON SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Shod with Silence
  In the Days of the Pioneers
  Phantom of the River


WAR CHIEF SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Red Eagle
  Blazing Arrow
  Iron Heart, War Chief of the Iroquois


THE NEW DEERFOOT SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Deerfoot in the Forest
  Deerfoot on the Prairie
  Deerfoot in the Mountains


TRUE GRIT SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Jim and Joe
  Dorsey, the Young Inventor
  Secret of Coffin Island


GREAT AMERICAN SERIES

  2 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $2.00
  Teddy and Towser; or, Early Days in California
  Up the Forked River


COLONIAL SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  An American King
  The Cromwell of Virginia
  The Last Emperor of the Old Dominion


FOREIGN ADVENTURE SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Lost in the Forbidden Land
  River and Jungle
  The Hunt of the White Elephant


PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  The Forest Messengers
  The Mountain Star
  Queen of the Clouds


THE ARIZONA SERIES

  3 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $3.00
  Off the Reservation
  Trailing Geronimo
  The Round Up


OVERLAND SERIES

  2 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $2.00
  Alden, the Pony Express Rider
  Alden Among the Indians


THE CATAMOUNT CAMP SERIES

  2 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $2.00
  Captain of the Camp
  Catamount Camp


THE FLYING BOYS SERIES

  2 vols.       By EDWARD S. ELLIS       $2.00
  The Flying Boys in the Sky
  The Flying Boys to the Rescue


Sent Postpaid on Receipt of Price

  THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., _Publishers_
  WINSTON BUILDING       PHILADELPHIA



    Transcriber's notes:

    '=' denotes bold type.
    p17: Extraneous opening quote removed from before But. 'the
         highest point. But,"'
    p24: someone changed to some one for consistency. 'the coming of
         some one.'
    p54: rifle-shot changed to rifle shot to match other incidences.
    p61 & p217: anyone changed to any one for consistency.
    p91: , changed to .  'any time since starting.'
    p98 & p120: Sh! changed to 'Sh! for consistency  (three occurrences).
    p112: red-men changed to red men to match other incidences.
    p112: up-stream changed to up stream for consistency.
    p113: down-stream changed to down stream for consistency (two
          occurrences).
    p128: ! added to chapter title to match table of contents.
    p145: hyphen removed from 'south-east' to make spelling consistent.
    p145: hyphen removed from 'south-eastern' to make spelling consistent.
    p176: hyphen added to 'Lena-Wingo' to make it consistent.
    p184: starting-point changed to starting point to make it consistent.
    p196: missing opening quote added. '"But it won't do to'
    p215: red men changed to redmen for consistency.
    p227: goodly sized changed to goodly-sized for consistency.
    p247: '.' added after box.
    p250: Extraneous opening quote removed from before The.
          'The "Old Cotton Gin"'





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