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Title: Strange Stories of the Great Valley - The Adventures of a Boy Pioneer
Author: Grosvenor, Abbie Johnston
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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STRANGE STORIES OF THE GREAT VALLEY


[Illustration: (See page 12 "GOOD LUCK! GOOD LUCK!" SHOUTED DOBY. "I'VE
FOUND THE THING I MOST NEED")]


STRANGE STORIES OF THE GREAT VALLEY

The Adventures of a Boy Pioneer

by

JOHNSTON GROSVENOR

Illustrated



[Illustration: logo]


Harper & Brothers Publishers
New York and London

STRANGE STORIES OF THE GREAT VALLEY

Copyright, 1917, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in the United States of America



CONTENTS


                                                                   PAGE

  FOREWORD                                                           ix

  CHAPTER I. LONG, LONG AGO                                           1

  Digging for treasure-trove with Parson Cutler among the
  Mound-Builders' work at Marietta.

  CHAPTER II. TAMING THE WILD                                        15

  Helping Johnny Appleseed to teach a red deer near the seat of
  Burr's Conspiracy at the Fairy Isle of Belpre.

  CHAPTER III. GOBBLE! GOBBLE!                                       28

  Bagging a wild turkey to feast Ol' Pap Soisson after his
  story of the French Grant at Gallipolis.

  CHAPTER IV. MAKING A SCOUT                                         41

  Saving Simon Kenton's foxhound from the dangers of the new
  city of Cincinnati.

  CHAPTER V. BLUE-JAY FEATHERS                                       55

  Riding with Colonel Johnson's Long Hunters down the Clark
  War Road to the rescue of Boonesboro.

  CHAPTER VI. LEFT HIND FOOT                                         77

  Henry Clay's home at Ashland and a runaway slave from
  Cumberland Gap.

  CHAPTER VII. THE DROWSY VILLAGE                                    96

  A man-hunt in the vineyards of the Dufours' Swiss colony at
  Vevay.

  CHAPTER VIII. GOIN' TO MEETIN'                                    109

  Wrestling with Lorenzo Dow and the rowdies in camp-meeting
  time at the Big Falls.

  CHAPTER IX. UNDER THE ELM                                         123

  A boy's trial by Judge Jonathan Jennings during a recess of
  the Constitutional Convention at Corydon.

  CHAPTER X. THE SPELLING-MATCH                                     139

  Reciting and writing by moonlight to please a little stranger
  in an early school of Spencer County.

  CHAPTER XI. A PIONEER PUPPY                                       154

  Struggling with wolves on the way to Old Vincennes over the
  bottom-land of the Wabash.

  CHAPTER XII. ONE PERCUSSION CAP                                   166

  How a bear disturbed Father Rapp's model communistic village
  at Harmony.

  CHAPTER XIII. THE VOYAGEUR                                        178

  A type of the early inhabitants.

  CHAPTER XIV. THE BEAVERS' DAM                                     190

  Creatures of the wild help to save a town.

  AFTERWORD                                                         221



ILLUSTRATIONS


  "GOOD LUCK! GOOD LUCK!" SHOUTED DOBY. "I'VE FOUND THE
  THING I MOST NEED"                                     _Frontispiece_

  THE BIRD JUMPED AT THE BOY. THE BOY STABBED AT THE
  BIRD                                                   _Facing p._ 38

  EACH SAVAGE GIBED AT THE BOY'S PAINTED TALISMAN, BUT
  EACH OBEYED ITS MESSAGE                                     "      74

  DOBY WHIPPED OUT HIS KNIFE AND CUT THE THONGS               "     116



                               FOREWORD


IN the very heart of our United States is a vast and wonderful valley.

Through the primeval hardwood forests of its hillsides, long ago, ran
the naked, rollicking boys of the Stone Age, choosing the best paths as
they hurried out to play, each one with his pet wolf puppy.

Afterward, in the rich alluvial soil of the bottom-lands, fur-clouted
lads of the Mound-Builders laid out good trails whereon every one could
drive tandem his team of captured fawns.

Later still, Indian striplings found the streams that might best bear,
with least portage, the birch-bark canoe in which, with his doeskin
blanket aflutter and his trained hawk on prow, many a one has shot the
rapids.

Then came the white men.

They discovered these routes and followed them.

Over the waterways, in the native canoes which he borrowed, sailed the
Jesuit missionary explorer with standard and altar; then the French
trading "voyageur" with bundles of skins and bead trinkets.

Through the old forest paths marched the scarlet-coated British soldier
and the ragged Continental volunteer who defied him.

By the trails advanced the best of all scouts, the backwoodsman. His
suit of fringed buckskin, with his 'coonskin cap and his moccasins,
made up the most artistic, the most serviceable, and the most
characteristic garb the New World has yet evolved. His vigorous
body, his keen intelligence, and his warm heart bespoke the true
American--the father of a mighty race.

Following fast upon the heels of these trooped the home-seekers, the
builders of a nation.

For picturesque effect and political significance, the groups who
floated down the Ohio River in home-made flatboats, and the families
who crossed overland through the romantic Cumberland Gap in their
wagon-trains, have never been excelled.

The saboted French, the wide-breeched Germans, the straw-crowned
Swiss, the beshawled Irish, the shad-coated New-Englander, the
gray-frocked Quaker, the sandy Scotch, all mingled in the brotherhood
of citizenship, while laughing black slaves looked on.

The wings of the air--geese, ducks, and songbirds; the hoofs of the
fields--deer, buffalo, and boar; the fins of the rivers--bass, trout,
and pickerel--all added to the zest of this new life, as did also the
luscious growth of plants and the odor of flowers.

One hundred years ago, this Middle West of ours had reached a most
interesting period. Never before and never since could there have been
more curious happenings than in those stirring times.

One boy, coming down the river then to seek his fortune, heard tales of
the past and hopes for the future from the people whom he met.

Strong Parson Cutler, quaint Johnny Appleseed, brave Simon Kenton,
Colonel Johnson's Long Hunters, pious Lorenzo Dow, the reformer Rapp,
the statesman Henry Clay, the legislator Jennings, and the boy Abraham
Lincoln were all his friends.

The strange stories about them in this book are _almost_ true! For that
boy told them to a person who told them to another person who told
them to me. In substance they are a faithful picture of the sort of
adventures that helped pioneer lads of the Great Valley to grow into
the full measure of men.

                                                                  J. G.

INDIANA, 1917



                        STRANGE STORIES OF THE
                             GREAT VALLEY



                  STRANGE STORIES OF THE GREAT VALLEY


                                   I

                            LONG, LONG AGO

                  _A Mound-Builder's Treasure-trove_


"O--YI--O! O--yi--o!" sang fifteen-year-old Obadiah Holman--called
Doby for short--as he tried to skip a flat stone across the big river.
"O--yi--o! O--yi--o!"

Dark clouds were tumbling up from the southwest, but March sunshine
still dimpled and danced and sparkled with the current.

"It _is_ pretty water. That's what the Indian name means, O--yi--o,
beautiful. A river beautiful," and he hopped about joyously, kicking
out another hatchet-shaped stone or two on the stream's edge of one
of the choice town lots of the O--hi--o river-port of Marietta in the
new farthest northwest State of Ohio, beyond whose small beginnings
of civilization lay the wilderness of the great Northwest Territory in
this year of 1816.

A flatboat made of green-oak planks, which held a family's household
goods and farming tools, was anchored 'longshore in a bayou that
promised safety from the coming storm.

The boxes and bales on it, made shipshape against wind and water, were
stacked in the form of a hollow square. They stood as walls to this
tiny floating fort. They protected the people and animals traveling on
it. The walls, in turn, were covered with branches of trees.

The boy's father was one of many pioneers, some from stony New England,
some from sandy eastern coasts, who had joined the crowds of emigrants
floating westward down the Ohio. Like most of the others, he was
searching for a place where he could afford to buy rich land on which
to build a homestead.

"I couldn't see our boat, 'though I was looking straight at it," the
boy said, proudly. "It is exactly like a piece of the river-bank."

"If the Indians cannot see it, or if they fail to shoot through the
barriers if they _do_ notice us as we drift down-stream, I, too, Doby,
will be pleased with our work on it," answered his father, as they
hurried up a hill before the wind toward Marietta's great stockade of
Campus Martius.

This fort was a hundred and eighty feet square and twenty feet high.
It was made of logs, each one flattened at the sides to fit snugly to
the next one, planted in the earth at the lower end and sharpened to a
point at the upper, like a huge picket fence without a crack in it, big
enough for a giant's dooryard. There were boxes for lookouts atop the
wall, blockhouses on its corners, and cabins inside its strong defenses.

Parson Cutler, at the head of the Ohio land company's New England
shareholders, had ceremoniously blessed this fort when it was completed
and ready to stand guard over the million and a half of their fertile
acres.

As he neared it Doby said, "Ma has already gone inside to the
schoolma'am's house."

"She means to get a book so she can give you a lesson every day as we
move. This town isn't quite thirty years old, yet it has had an academy
for twenty. 'Tis probably your ma's last chance to talk with scholars."

"I'll study the book," promised Doby. "I don't want to be a dunce like
the boys who can't spell their own names. Some cannot even cut their
initials on trees in the towns where we stop." And Doby sniffed with
scorn. "If I had a really good knife--a strong one--I could carve
better than I do now," he sighed, as he thought of his one great need.

"Piff! Puff!" the wind echoed his sigh. "Piff! Puff! Puff!"

Rain was close on their heels.

Mr. Holman pulled his 'coonskin cap down tight over his long hair,
girded up his fringed buckskin breeches, and ran for the fort, his
heavy boots clumping out a path through last year's weed-stalks.

Doby tucked his cap under his arm and let his tow thatch take the
breeze and, light as a ball in his moccasins, bounded along behind his
father.

They were not swift enough to gain the fort. As the downpour overtook
them they ducked underneath the branches of a gnarled and broken oak
and found good shelter.

"Much obliged, old tree," laughed Doby. "You've saved us a drenching."
He tried to girdle it with his arms. "I can't reach half-way. It's the
_biggest_ trunk!"

"This _is_ an old fellow. His crown has been twisted off by some
hurricane. There are lightning marks upon him. He feels his age. The
storm makes him shiver." And Mr. Holman placed an uneasy foot upon the
quaking roots.

"It's a big tree for such a little hill," was Doby's comment. "I never
did see so many funny little hills as are in this valley. Wasn't it
lucky there happened to be one over where the Muskingum River comes
into the Ohio? It is at the very best spot for Parson Cutler's settlers
to build their stockade."

Mr. Holman shook his head as they looked from their own small
oak-capped hill to the big one on which stood the fort defying the
lightning and wind of the storm quite as boldly as it had often done
the burning arrows and the wild rushes of Indian foes.

"That knoll did not _happen_ to be at the point of vantage," he said.
"It was built on purpose ages ago as a fort of earthwork to defend this
valley."

"Who did it?" asked Doby.

"I don't know. The folks who threw up that earthwork and the one over
there--and there--and there," and his father pointed out through the
broken curtain of the rain and sleet to a long rampart of earth, then
to another circle of low-lying, grass-grown walls, and afterward to
several small knobs, some with trees, some without. "The race who did
it could not have been white people, for they were all dead and gone
centuries before white men came to this continent."

"Maybe they were Indians," ventured Doby.

"Not like any Indians we know. For Indians roam over the country and
live by hunting and fishing. Indians never get to be as numerous as
these builders of mounds must have been. Only a great nation, somewhat
civilized, could put up the immense defenses they did. Each Indian
needs more acres than you can imagine to live on--"

"Savages don't work together. They quarrel and kill one another and
keep their numbers small," interrupted Doby.

"There may not be as many Indians in the State of Ohio now as there are
white people in the town of Pittsburg where we started our boat down
the river," his father continued.

Doby considered. "Wigwams and canoes are all that Indians build. These
people raised regular forts. Look at that plain! Even a storm like this
can't break those heavy banks. See the hail slide down them! It must
have taken lots of men with muscle to pile such heaps of dirt." Doby
spoke as one who knew what spading meant.

"Back from the river wherever settlers go they find these strange
earthworks in the valleys; huge masses for forts, fancy curves for
altars, and small piles for tombs. Walls surround what must have been
good-sized hamlets." As his father raised his voice to be heard against
the swish of the sleet Doby stared out over the plain with round eyes.
"Those walls where the trees are swaying so are as high as Cutler's
stockade. There is some timber-work, but no masonry in any of them.
They inclose half a hundred acres."

"What are those long ditches?" queried Doby, catching sleet on his
eyebrows as he leaned forward to look.

"They must have been canals full of water leading from one walled town
to another. 'Tis trade and commerce on short cuts that made it possible
to keep up such thickly populated villages as the Mound-Builders must
have had." Gusts of wind were fanning his words away, but Mr. Holman
was determined to tell Doby all he could, so he added: "Rivers are big
highways. Canals are smaller ones. A country thrives when its citizens
can trade with one another by easy routes. The new towns that settlers
are building in Ohio need just such waterways to make the bartering
good." Here he became emphatic. "If these old canals are mended or new
ones built--as the State is planning to do--then the countryside will
again be full of rich towns." Suddenly they both had to hang on to the
tree for safety.

"Whew! What a blast!" cried Doby. "See the trees go down!"

"Watch out!" yelled his father. Leaping to one side, he caught Doby's
hand and fled down the hill with the boy like a living kite on short
tether waving behind him.

There was roaring--grinding--snapping--crashing. Then came showers of
branches--leaves--bark--clods.

Doby had done a series of flipflaps. He was dizzy and confused, but he
lent a hand to his father, who was flat on the ground.

The uproar deepened. Then it shrilled away. In another moment the sleet
was gone, the sun was bright, the storm had passed.

The oak was standing on its head, kicking its heels in the air. The
mound was a lopsided dirt-pile.

Already dozens of excited men were pouring out of the stockade. They
ran with shovels and rakes and sticks to poke about in the cavity which
the capsized oak's roots had torn through the mound.

The genial parson came with them and looked on laughingly, to see fair
play at the digging. This Dr. Mannassah Cutler was one of the big men
of his time. He held the standard of his town so high that each of the
other Ohio settlements had to set its best foot forward to keep up with
Marietta's march of progress. He had a scholar's interest in mounds.
He ordered them preserved. He had an explorer's interest in their
treasures. He examined them scientifically. He had a leader's interest
in his people. He made them play fair. He was their court of last
resort.

In spite of the desperate curiosity driving him, Doby had not the
weight to hold his own at the front of this line of human gophers. He
was forced back to a spot where he could use nothing but his ears.
For two or three hours all he got out of the hole was some scraps of
conversation like this:

"Any gold?"

"Never _is_ any gold."

"Any money?"

"Never _is_ any money."

"Any jewelry?"

"Copper bracelets. Who wants copper bracelets?"

"Pearl beads, gone dull."

"Fine cloth wrappings--coarse cloth--all rotted through."

"Clay pots, every one broken."

"Bones, bones, bones. Ashes, ashes, ashes."

"The oak must be five or six, perhaps seven or eight hundred years old."

"Stuff buried when it was an acorn isn't much account now."

Not until after dark did the greedy crowd give up searching or cease to
hope for hidden treasure where so much else was buried.

"No luck in this mound. Nothing but boys buried here."

Curled in his sleeping-blanket within the fort walls, Doby gave
himself up to thoughts of the boys whose bones were once clothed with
plumpness like his own. "I wonder if those boys started the fires in
the earthwork watch-towers on the highest hills, where deep ashes show
that countless fires have flashed in signal warning to other far-away
towers."

In his dreams, he found himself running with the horde of young
barbarians into a walled town. With them slamming shut great gates,
heaving the bars in place, racing across the moat, hoisting aloft
the drawbridge, barricading the second set of gates, covering stores
of corn, herding women and children in huts of sod, catching blazing
arrows. In scant fur garments, wild of hair, jingling his copper
anklets, armed with spears and shouting an uncouth language, he
pranced along the top of mountain mounds and defied a besieging enemy.

After such activity further sleep was impossible. Doby sat up, tied a
knot in the corner of his blanket, and just before dawn mounted the
sentry's ladder, wedged the knot in the slot between pickets, and
lowered himself to the outside world.

Still under the spell of his fancies, he declared to himself, "Those
boys would not vanish without leaving me something. They liked me first
rate, even if they did all have to turn to bones. I'll go back where
they are and do some digging."

He ran to the mound, seized one of the abandoned shovels, and dug and
dug. The spectral light o' day gave him a chill sensation. The six
or eight hundred years of weird memories grinning at him from the
skulls in this desecrated tomb filled him with awe. But he was more
inquisitive than he was nervous, so he made the shovel fly. In the
loosened dirt, he used his fingers as a rake and dragged out funny old
tobacco-pipes well worth the trouble of burrowing.

As the light grew stronger his fingers struck something different--the
promise of a big find. He could not pull it out. He dared not use
the clumsy shovel. He went through his pockets and found one of the
hatchet-shaped stones he had picked up at the river's brink. He used it
as a lever and gently pried out a knife. It was long and sharp and just
the right weight for his hand.

Here was treasure indeed. Beautifully shaped, double-edged, an ancient
poniard, a knife of flint!

"Good luck! Good luck!" shouted Doby, not at all surprised to see that
his father and the parson had followed him and were now near enough to
ask, "What are you up to?"

"I've found the thing I most need--a really good knife. Bring on a
pie! I can cut it. Or I can skin a rabbit. I can whittle anything." He
looked at the parson. "Do you suppose that it will be right for me to
keep this knife?"

The parson reassured him. "Although the laws of treasure-trove are
complicated, I am glad to be able to tell you that in this case--in
most cases like yours--finding is keeping."

"I suppose that is because there are no Mound-Builders left," reasoned
Doby, trying the edge of his knife on his thumb. "What became of them?"

Doctor Cutler answered: "Perhaps some powerful enemy came along and
killed them all. Perhaps some dreadful disease overtook them and they
perished. Perhaps they were akin to the southern people--Aztecs and
others--whom the Spaniards discovered in the tropics. They may have
heard about their own kin far away. And then they may in time have
gathered their goods together and floated down the river."

"Ha!" cried Doby, "that was sensible. If they were clever enough to
build all those fine mounds, I know they were adventurous and emigrated
down the river beautiful. I hope that is what they did. I'm glad they
left this knife for me." Then he turned over his digging-stone. "This
little hatchet they might have made also."

The parson shook his head. "No; you must have pried that out of the
river mouth. Those stone hatchets were made by prehistoric men who
lived ages before the Mound-Builders' time."

"O--oh!" gasped Doby, "o--oh! the stone-hatchet men lived a long, long
time before the Mound-Builders came. The Mound-Builders lived a long,
long time before the Indians came. The Indians were here a long, long
time before we came. Everything is so old--old--old--that I can't
think _how_ old. If this country is so old--old--old, why do we call it
the new West?"

"Because it is new to us. The West is new in the same way that this
day is new. It is full of fresh promise for you and for me and for our
race. Some day this will be the very heart of America!"



                                  II

                            TAMING THE WILD

                 _The Fairy Isle in Burr's Conspiracy_


"LET'S pretend, Doby, that I'm an Indian," whispered Obadiah Holman to
himself, as he slipped along, pigeon-toed and silent, in his moccasins,
"and I'll sneak up on that buck and give it a scare."

The white flag of the buck's tail had caught Doby's eye. His keen sight
made out the dun form under the antlers. He advanced slowly through the
undergrowth, knowing that the wind blew toward him--that the buck could
not catch his scent.

He hoped to have a good view of it. Then he meant to give a great shout
to startle it, just for the fun of seeing it flee, crashing through the
forest.

His father's flatboat was tied to a tree on the lee shore of an island
which was sometimes called the Fairy Isle and sometimes the Haunted
Isle. Near by, across the Ohio River, was the settlement of Belpre.

Mr. Holman, on trading bent, had taken his scow to Belpre, while his
wife watched the flatboat and Doby went hunting for fresh meat in the
safety of the Haunted Isle.

It was secure from the ordinary dangers of the river, for Indians
and renegades alike avoided this place. They feared the ghost of a
beautiful scarlet-cloaked lady, the ghost of a magnificent velvet-clad
gentleman, and the ghosts of liveried servants wandering there.

Once upon a time the common people of Belpre and the soldiery of her
army post would scull across the river to catch envious glimpses of the
island's house of brick and stone, so different from their own wooden
cabins, and to stare open-mouthed at fine folk arrayed in satins and
laces, living so elegantly just beyond the frontier's workaday world.

Then on an evil day the gallant family on the island had been arrested
and marched away and exiled as criminals. The house had been burned to
warn other offenders against the Republic.

And ever since, on chill and foggy days, when the mists hung over
the river, ghosts walked in the ruins of the splendid mansion hidden
among the flowering trees of the Fairy Isle. They drifted through the
desolation where once sweet gardens bloomed. They danced with the wind
in weird couples on the forsaken lawns. And when the broken moonlight
came it showed them huddled in gray, fantastic groups along the shore.

The shuddering boatmen hugged the opposite bank and turned away their
faces that they might not see too plainly the beckoning fingers of
vapor, the foggy hair, and the trailing robes of cloud, so unreal, so
full of romance, and so disquieting to all who knew the story of this
place.

Doby was not to be startled by ghosts; at least he said he wasn't.
Though ghosts and goblins were merely names to him, he liked the idea
of a Fairy Isle.

Few boys could carry the heavy guns of that day for any distance. Doby
did not try to do so. His plan was to get what game he could with snare
and knife. He was bidden to keep within running distance of the boat,
and he set rabbit-traps in the brier patches.

From the briers he had sighted the buck. It was all aquiver, snorting
and twitching its ears. Doby hid behind a buckeye and softly shinned
into the first crotch lest the restless beast should turn and charge in
his direction.

"I'd like to know what is the matter with the buck," thought Doby. "It
is watching something that makes it half curious and half afraid."

The boy stared into the glen before him until his eyes became
accustomed to the shadows--until he saw what the buck saw. When he did
see he almost fell out of the tree with astonishment. He looked again.
He shut his eyes; he opened them; stared some more; he blinked; then he
gazed fixedly.

"No wonder the buck is nervous," gasped Doby. "I'm s'prised myself,"
and still he looked and could not believe that he saw what he really
did see.

For there on a log, in the shade of an elm, sat a gnome--a big gnome.

Doby was perfectly willing to be entertained by ghosts and fairies in
the gossip of the river towns. He liked such stories. But he knew, of
course, that there are no such things as wraiths and sprites. Even on a
fairy isle there could not possibly be a gnome.

"I feel dreadfully queer to be looking at him when I know he isn't
there," and something inside of Doby began to turn round and round.

The gnome, all of a faded bark color like the earth he grubbed in, sat
with his feet crossed, his thin arms akimbo, his beard hanging in a
point down his breast, and his hair tied in a wad on his head so that
it had a shape something of a peaked-cap style.

He was motionless. He was not a crooked stump. He was not a gnarled
branch. He was alive! Laughter was running out of his mouth like cider
gurgling from a jug. Between chuckles, his soft, clear voice was
scolding the buck.

"Now, Mr. Red Deer," he was saying, "this is the third time I have
caught you trying to break down the brush barricade and nipping at my
seedling apple-trees. Don't you know that seedlings can never grow up
to be trees and bear fruit if you tear the fence and reach over and
bite their heads off?"

The deer was so inquisitive about the quaint, still figure with the
soothing voice, that it advanced and retreated as if in fascination,
while the voice flowed on: "How can you be so greedy, Mr. Deer? I'm
ashamed of you. I'll have to carry away the seedlings so you can't get
them. I'll plant them in neat orchard rows for a farmer I know."

Doby craned forward, his mouth agape. He must watch this thing through,
no matter what happened.

"If I were you," continued the gnome, "I'd be a good stag and run along
home, before some boy with a stone knife speared at me." Here the
unbelievable gnome stared straight across the glade into Doby's face
and winked. Winked!

This was too much! With a thump Doby tumbled from the tree. With a leap
the deer vanished from the glen.

Doby thought, "This is the queerest dream I've ever had. I know I'll be
all right as soon as I wake up."

He did not wake up. He was picked up--by the gnome!

Gentle hands helped him. A friendly face looked into his. A musical
voice said, "I reckon you're not hurt a mite. That was no bump for a
boy. I was wishing I had some one to help me; so you are in time to
give Johnny a boost with his apple seedlings."

Johnny! Apple seedlings!

"O--o--h!" Doby regarded the gnome with a different interest.
"O--o--h! Are you Johnny Appleseed? The man who is traveling over this
countryside, gathering up apple seeds from the cider presses, cleaning
and sprouting and transplanting them for the farmers who don't know how
to do it for themselves? Starting orchards for settlers? Teaching 'em
how to make trees grow?"

"Yes, I'm Jonathan Chapman, the nurseryman."

"Coming down the river, we talked about you. I heard about these secret
seedling-pens where you hid people while the War of 1812 was going on.
Those folks must have been much obliged to you for saving their scalps
from the British Indians."

Modest Johnny nodded. Then, "Take your knife, son," he said. "It looks
like a good flint. I'll show you how to prune these little trees as we
handle and move them. Now is your chance to learn spring planting."

Doby rolled up his sleeves, spat on his hands, dug his soft-shod toes
into the ground, and went at it. His teacher was the wisest grower in
the Ohio Valley.

This eerie companion told him: "Our native fruits, cherries, plums,
haws, crabapples, pawpaws, huckleberries, gooseberries, and grapes, all
reached perfection in the magic gardens of this isle, where once the
owners of this fine estate helped me with my experiments in raising
plants. I find that they need only a little cultivation to make them
hang heavy with harvest around every barren frontier home."

Doby licked his lips. "I suppose you know how to gather sugar from
maple-tree sap and when to pick honey from bee-trees!" He was sure
that, "Fruit does make corn bread and bacon taste better."

"Wild roses, honeysuckle, goldenrod, and clematis would nod a glad
'Good morning' at the door of every lonesome cabin if we welcomed them
with care," continued Johnny, hoping to interest the boy.

The idea of spreading healthfulness through a fruit diet and joy by way
of flower-gardens was part of Johnny's self-sacrificing religion. He
preached it with ardor to every listener.

For more than a hundred years his words and his plants have borne fruit
through these valleys.

Doby stopped work from time to time to ramble and root about the
wreckage of the fine house. He asked, "Wasn't that grand Irish
gentleman, Mr. Blennerhasset, who bought this island home, a friend of
Aaron Burr's when Burr was Vice-President of the United States?"

"He was a friend and a welcome guest here," Johnny answered.

"If Mr. Blennerhasset and other friends of Aaron Burr wanted to give
him ships from the boat-builders in Marietta and hire him men from
the idlers in the West, why shouldn't they be allowed to do so? Why
shouldn't they man a fleet for him? If Aaron Burr wished to help free
Mexico from the Spanish, why wasn't it right for him to try it? Mexico
is always out of luck."

Johnny's face grew sad. "Many good people, like the Blennerhassets,
thought it right to help free Mexico. But our Government learned that
Burr had plans to take a piece of our Western country, to organize it
into a separate state, to join it to Mexico and perhaps to rule it all
himself."

"To split off a part of his own country and make himself a king! Gold
crowns and scepters--oh--fine!" cried Doby, sarcastically. "That's why
they call him a traitor, and no wonder. The people who helped him to
break up our independent nation ought to be punished, even if they were
innocent of his motive. No good comes of treason."

Johnny brightened up. "Perhaps great good may, after all, grow out of
the sad mistake of Burr's conspiracy. It has made the Government think
that if the East and West had been better acquainted, if the people of
both sections had been able to travel back and forth and had come to
think of themselves as all belonging to the same United States, the
idea of separating under Burr would never have occurred to them. So
now, to guard against any more such treason, it is going to build a
fine road straight 'cross country, from East to West, so that the two
sections will be tied together with a bond which all can understand."

Doby studied over the idea. "'Twill stir up commerce and patriotism and
loyalty. All travelers, all farmers, all dealers, even you and I will
be glad to have a great highway--a big national pike."

He picked up an arm-load of trees to lug them toward the shore. Johnny
told him to look back. "The buck may follow us," he said.

Doby was sure that its antlers showed among the brush. "I'll have pa
shoot it when he comes back. If I don't get a rabbit we will need
venison."

"Don't," begged Johnny. "I can't bear to see anything shot. I want to
be a brother to dumb animals as well as to men and to plants."

"What if the buck chews these trees?" asked the boy. "What if it gets
dangerous?"

The gentle answer was: "Be more careful of the trees. Take heed for
yourself. Never hurt any living thing. Let that pretty creature be.
Some day I may be able to domesticate the deer and the buffalo as I am
doing now with our wild plants."

Quite to himself, hungry Doby gave an impatient sniff. He was thinking,
"I don't intend to abuse anything; likewise I don't intend to let
anything abuse me--not an old bobtailed thief of a buck, anyway."

His mother climbed a stool and peeped over the high wall of baggage on
the flatboat to smile at him and his new friend, as he took his spade
and tried to keep pace with Johnny in digging a series of deep holes.

The nurseryman said, "I intend to plant mulberry-trees in this sunny
spot."

"I know," cried Doby. "This hole grows to grow a tree to grow a leaf to
grow a worm to grow a silk frock to grow a fine lady," and he returned
his mother's smile.

Behind them the silent buck had ventured up to take a browse at the
seedlings. Doby foolishly ran toward it to drive it off. Angrily it
rose on its hind legs to strike him.

Horrified Johnny felt that death was coming in that brutal downward cut
of hoof. Instantly, desperately, he flung his spade at the deer. The
metal clanged on its antlers. The deer turned aside. Doby vaulted to
the top of the boat's barricade, yelling for Johnny to follow him.

Johnny had seized the other spade and had thrown it in his own defense.
It hit the deer on the flank. Doby and his mother shrieked like mad.
Startled and confused by the attack and the noise, the buck took flight.

Whirling about wildly, it chose the one dangerous direction--straight
away, over the sunny open space where the digging had been done. Its
forelegs went down in one hole, its head seemed to light in another,
and the flying brute turned a complete somersault. Leaves and grass and
dirt filled the air.

Doby's screams redoubled. Johnny gained the boat's wall. He knew they
were out of danger's reach, should the buck turn back to rend them, for
the baggage stockade would protect them.

But he was shaken by their peril. While getting his breath and calming
Doby and his mother, he watched uneasily for the next movement of the
irate beast.

After many minutes of waiting he knew that it would never move again.
Its neck was broken.

Then Johnny Appleseed leaned his bark-colored form back against the
woodsy setting of the leaf-covered boat wall, crossed his feet, set
his arms akimbo--the kindest gnome who ever lived, the good spirit
of the Fairy Isle, the best-known and most-beloved character on the
frontier--and murmured to Doby:

"Now that the deer has done the killing himself, you might as well have
some fresh venison to eat before we go on with our work."



                                  III

                            GOBBLE! GOBBLE!

                   _Hard Times on the French Grant_


"IT is, 'Doby, do this,' and, 'Doby, do that,' from morning to night.
I've worked and worked and wor-r-rked," groaned Obadiah Holman, "'til
both of my heels are stone-bruised and I have a rag on every toe."

The expression of his face showed that he held strong feelings on the
subject of child labor and that those feelings were all against it.

Chore-boys did not get together and organize themselves in the olden
days. Protests against overtime jobs received so little attention that
Doby grumbled: "No use to sputter. S'pose I'll have to keep right on
quarryin'."

He had dropped his task to glance about the town of Gallipolis. It was
a lean and wizened, yet quaint and romantic settlement of Old World
Frenchmen. The log cabins were the same cubes of houses that pioneers
were everywhere building. But the town had a different air from
bustling Pittsburg or dignified Marietta. He examined one home after
another.

In the tiny holes of windows hung beribboned curtains of white. Never
before had he seen frilled curtains; never before a curtain in a cabin
window where there was neither sash nor glass.

Under the windows were crocuses and daffodils and leaf points of the
lilies-of-France showing gaily. Beside each door were sociable little
benches inviting the passer-by to stop and chat. Under the eaves hung
tambourines ready for a moment's playtime.

Doby wondered over these attempts at refinement of living in a land
where as yet the bare living itself was not quite certain. "This is a
brave little town," he decided.

Half a dozen years later there was born near here, at Point Pleasant,
that Ulysses S. Grant, whose soldierly courage under difficulties, and
whose steadfast purpose to make the best of national disaster, should
forever remain a watchword for those struggling to win success.

His achievements were brilliant and worldwide. Those of his neighbors
were smaller but happily complete; for in a few years more they, too,
overcame their handicaps.

Warned by rumors of Indians down the river, Doby's father had tied up
his flatboat at this hamlet and had brought his wife and son ashore
until the waterway became safe again.

To return the rather meager hospitality of Ol' Pap Soisson, a French
bachelor, who had offered them half of his cabin, Mr. Holman was taking
some round stones from the wash of the creek and was building for his
host a safe cobblestone chimney.

Most of the settlers had chimneys woven like birds' nests, of sticks
plastered together with mud, inside and out. When they dried out they
became dangerous. A stone one was fire-proof. It could hold the heat,
could reflect it into the room, and could cook food better than the
plastered one.

In the business of piling up masonry for the chimney Doby was first
assistant. Ol' Pap Soisson was a poor second. Doby was an unwilling
worker, but the bachelor useless. He was too small, too weak, too old.

As he himself explained to Doby, "It is of a certainty that I have
never yet had enough of the food to make a growth or a strength." His
bright eyes measured the boy as if to guess how stocky he himself might
become if fed aright. "Greed possesses me when I sit at the savory
meals prepared by that so accomplished madam, your mother."

He chuckled comfortably as he recalled the breakfasts, the dinners, and
the suppers which she had given him. The thought of them helped him
to roll up a big stone. Exhausted, but triumphant, he sat upon it and
became sociable.

"Once I lived in Paris. To me, at my trade of wigmaker, comes the man
Duer, of the Scioto Company, dealers in land American. I am then of the
restlessness of youth. To work at a living is a matter uninteresting.
That horror of all horrors--the Reign of Terror--approaches." He glared
fiercely and made a gesture of cutting his throat. "To escape its mad
mob of hungry-driven guillotinists I seek a land where successful
revolutionists like the Americans enjoy liberty restrained." His whole
quivering body expressed utter fear resulting from the "freedom" of the
French Revolution. "When the Scioto Company's agent offers us land in
this saner Republic so prosperous, scores of us small tradesmen give
him our savings in exchange for paper titles to New World estates.
Gladly we leave that disturbed kingdom. Gladly we come to this." Here
the little man danced a few steps of derision, jeered at his own cabin,
and snapped his fingers at the landscape.

"Land is a good thing," declared practical Doby. "You got land, didn't
you?"

"By the truth, no! Our titles, you understand, are of a badness
unbelievable. We are ruined. Swindle is the name of it. Voyaging
through discomforts numerous and cuisine scant, by ocean, by forest,
by mountain, by stream, in that long ago, we have arrived." He raised
his eyebrows in a grimace. "The land is not ours, but that of another.
Like lambs we are shorn by that Duer American. We cannot pluck sugar
from the trees of maple as is promised us. We cannot light the candles
of the barberry-bush as is also promised. To live we must have
agriculture. Agriculture is an art. We know it not. For me, I am a
wigmaker. That is my art. Behold!" He threw out ten fingers to cover
the case. "In ignorance of agriculture we starve; we freeze. Some die.
Some wander away."

Doby sat down beside him to express sympathy. Mr. Holman gave his whole
attention to the tale.

"Seeing us about to perish, the United States, in pity, gives us this
land. It is the French Grant, in that year of the famine which is worse
than all other bad times, of the date 1790."

"How many acres?" asked Doby, who every day talked about land values
with all sorts of emigrants.

"Of the number of forty thousand."

"Forty thousand acres make a big grant," cried Doby, much relieved by
his country's bit of justice toward these men. "A large colony can live
well on that much land."

"Ha!" shrugged Ol' Pap Soisson. "With that we take courage. By day
we learn the so necessary agriculture. By night we fiddle, step to
measure, sing the 'Marseillaise.' On Sunday, to preserve respect to
ourselves and to honor the Virgin, we say a mass and make a toilette of
fashionable attire."

Doby stared. "Do you mean to tell me that you dressed up in your city
wigs and furbelows? In the wilderness?" he demanded.

"Of a certainty, yes! We love the good appearance. We want the laughter
and the social life. Arrayed, I promenade the street for pleasure. A
wild red heathen with a hatchet comes from behind and scalps me of my
holiday wig, my best one!"

"No!" cried Doby. "No!"

"Yes! Yes!" bobbing his head a dozen times, the Frenchman insisted.
"Yes! Yes!" He added: "The land is full of game. To pursue it is to
live well. But see! for a quarter of a century I run from bear, from
deer, from charging buffalo. Never do I pursue. Ever I am the pursued
one. Of meat I taste little; of game nothing." He shook his head.
"Now--have the young men of our kind learned the pioneering. We old
mastered it not."

Doby was shocked. Such robbery and disappointment worried him. He
looked to his father to say something cheery to the plucky little man.

Mr. Holman, big and brawny, equal to any demand of frontier life, gazed
kindly at Ol' Pap Soisson, who had found its trials almost too much for
him. "We will give you a taste of game to-day. Go, Doby, and shoot that
gobbler we have been hearing."

"But, pa," protested Doby, "wild turkey isn't good in the spring.
Nobody eats it."

"It _will_ be good if your ma cooks it. I know some one who can eat
it," and he smiled at the Frenchman.

Ol' Pap Soisson flashed thirty-two white teeth in assent.

Stone-bruised heels were forgotten. Rags were torn from Doby's toes.
They did not hurt--much. He slipped on his moccasins, not because his
bare feet minded the March rime of frost, but just because all hunters
did wear moccasins.

He carried bow and arrows. Pioneer boys were clever with these, for
they were easy to pack about. Early guns were heavy.

"Wild turkeys are hard to shoot," he remembered as he trotted along
the edge of the wood. "If I can't get that gobbler, I'll bring home
something to cook in the new oven. Ol' Pap Soisson deserves a square
meal."

His father had pointed out the probable turkey-run. Doby had expected
to discover tracks at once, but he had to keep on and on, still in
sight of the cabin, until, when at last he did find fresh traces, he
must have been all of four miles away. But what are four miles to a
hunter? Mere detail!

He hid himself in the heart of a sycamore and waited for game to pass.
Sitting astride a limb in a rough old tree is much easier than lugging
stone for an oven, especially if it is one of those big outdoor affairs
fastened to the chimney.

His father would build a vent to make the draught strong. Then a
fire would have to burn for hours in the oven until the stones were
scorching. The coals would then be raked out and the turkey--_if Doby
got it_--would be shut in the hot empty oven to let the reflected,
heat roast it.

"If I were to tell that bony bachelor about the apple turnovers and
rabbit pie, the gingerbread and quail dumplings, the baked beans and
mince tarts, the succotash and blackberry short-cake, the whole shoats
and cinnamon buns, the halved squash pudding and caraway cookies that
ma can bake in such an oven, the poor fellow would lick his chops and
fall sick from in-di-ges-tion of the im-ag-i-na-tion!"

From some source Doby had learned that, in the Old World, every plant
and animal which is good to eat had been discovered and used by men
centuries before people had begun to write down any sort of history.
In the New World of the Americas, the natives had long ago found out
what was good to eat on their continent, and could show the immigrating
white man delicious foods which he had never before tasted--the golden
maize, the bison, and the turkey. Doby felt that a personal experience
of some of these dainties would make Ol' Pap Soisson joyous. So he kept
his eye out for the turkey.

He was hidden where he could not be seen by any man. He fancied that he
could not be noticed by any wild creature and that he himself could
see everything about him. Deluded hunter! If he had been clever enough
to peer more closely into the weeds below him, what trouble he might
have saved!

Soon, along the run far to the north, there was a stir. He could not
make it out. To the south was other movement.

"Doby, 'tend to business," he cautioned himself.

From the north came a turkey--a gobbler--_the_ gobbler. This _was_
luck. Doby fitted an arrow.

From the south came a boy--a big boy--an Indian. This was not so lucky.
Doby slackened his bowstring.

The savage had already seen the turkey. Silent and shadowy, he crept
from tree to tree toward the stately bird. His stalk was a model of
woodcraft.

What chance had Doby against such skill--against any grown boy? Very
little. Against a wild Indian he had none at all.

The dismayed Holman sat so still that he could hear his own ribs creak.
This was no longer his game. The hunter Doby was in danger of becoming
the hunted Doby. He lost all appetite for turkey.

The wise gobbler--he was neither young nor tender--kept a sharp
outlook on the shadows, an alert regard for his own giblets. He was
watching the Indian quite as closely as the Indian was watching him,
and with as much anxiety as Doby was watching them both. Then with a
strategic side-step he scuttled into the weeds near the foot of Doby's
tree and was off at a tangent.

Instantly the Indian let fly one arrow, then a second one. Both whizzed
in the same direction and at the same mark. There followed a great
squawk and flutter. A turkey with an arrow through its neck flopped
into sight and went scurrying north over the run. The Indian was in hot
pursuit.

When the quarry and the chase were out of sight Doby noticed--oh,
dull-eyed white man!--what he should have observed at first, that a
turkey hen must have been waiting all this time in the weeds for that
gobbler to come along.

The Indian's first arrow had pinned the gobbler to the ground. There
he still was, lying flat. By accident, the second arrow had struck the
hidden hen. Perhaps because the gobbler had fallen out of his sight,
perhaps because the flight of the hen deceived and confused him, the
Indian had followed the wounded turkey and Doby was left behind with
the dead one.

[Illustration: THE BIRD JUMPED AT THE BOY. THE BOY STABBED AT THE BIRD]

All this action had been so quick that Doby could do nothing. Now
he slung his bow and arrows out of the way, got down, and drew his
precious stone knife to cut the gobbler loose. He meant to hasten away
south toward home with the prize.

He pulled the arrow from the ground, then out through the bird's thigh
and wing.

Ignorant Doby! Foolish boy! Not to know what playing 'possum is!

The gobbler sprang to life. Did he run? Not he! A turkey cock is a
fighting cock. He whetted his spurs. His crest rose in menace. His
wattles blazed scarlet. He flew at Doby in a fury.

Taken by surprise, the boy covered his face with his hand and began
blindly to lunge and to fend with his knife every time the gobbler
struck at him. The bird jumped at the boy. The boy stabbed at the bird.
The battle grew. The gobbler would not run. Doby could not.

He never knew how long he fought. But he did fight and fight hard. The
gobbler fought and fought harder. Doby was knocked down.

After a while, a long while, he opened his eyes and sat up. He feebly
gazed around him. He stared at his foe. They had fought to a finish.
The boy was almost finished. The gobbler lying beside him was quite
finished.

Hours and hours later, Ol' Pap Soisson, keeping an excited lookout,
went running to meet Doby. The boy's feet were a mass of blisters. His
clothes were a tattered ruin from the spurs of the vanquished. His arms
were numb with lugging the fifteen-pound turkey over those four long
miles. His hands were swollen. His head was tied up.

The astonishment and delight of the little Frenchman pleased Doby. His
compliments, so spattered with exclamation points, were praises most
agreeable to the hunter.

What are a few scratches and bumps? What are bruises and cuts? Taken in
a good cause, they are nothing. Simply nothing!

Any boy would have agreed with Doby when he said, sincerely, as he
at last sat down to watch the first fire crackle in the new oven, "A
fellow feels all good and rested when he can quit work and take a
little time off for some lively sport which will fill the larder and
feed the hungry."



                                  IV

                            MAKING A SCOUT

                       _Cincinnati's Early Days_


"THIS rise of land is a hill. Why do they call it a 'knob,' I wonder?
While I am in Cincinnati I want to act as much like city folks as I
can, so I'll try to remember to say 'knob' whenever I mean hill," and
Obadiah Holman sat down on the knob and looked at the city.

His far-sighted blue eyes were trained for the open, not for roofs and
walls, so they passed over brick and stone architecture, well worth
noting in this new land of log and plank buildings, to watch a bit of
greensward near the edge of the knob where some form of animal life was
stirring.

He was instantly ready for lively observation. "I believe that's a dog.
Two dogs! They must be having a race. The yellow pup is the faster."
Leaping up, Doby put his fingers in his mouth and whistled shrilly,
hoping to change the direction of the run. He would like to see two
dogs at play, even if they were strange dogs.

They did not hear him. They were far away and they disappeared from his
sight in a flash.

He sat down again. He was disappointed. Their passing had given him
a singularly deserted feeling. "I wish they had come up here to be
company for me. A whole cityful," thought Doby, remembering the
three thousand inhabitants of Cincinnati, "is such a crowd of people
that a boy emigrant doesn't know any person and he feels left out of
everything and--anyway--no boy can have a really good time without a
dog."

Doby had another reason for being forlorn. He had been rejected by a
group of men whom he wanted to join on an expedition into Kentucky.
No one likes to be snubbed. He was trying to forget the uncomfortable
experience by visiting all the points of interest in the city and
then by climbing to the top of the knob where he could get a high and
impersonal glimpse of things.

Opposite him was the mouth of the Licking River as it flowed north into
the Ohio. Half a dozen miles east was the Little Miami. A score or so
to the west was the Big Miami.

All low grounds about these river mouths were flooded in spring by
what the astonished emigrants called "amazing high freshets," and the
towns which the promoters began on them had to be abandoned by "the
respectable public" whom their advertisements had drawn there.

But the knob was above the reach of backwater and higher than any
rising ague fog.

Three wise men thought it the best place for a city. One, Denman, who
was rich, paid two hundred and fifty dollars for the eight hundred
acres on the knob. Another, Colonel Patterson, who was influential, had
an army post for protection built here. And the third, Filson, who was
clever, surveyed the lands and made most valuable maps of the regions
round about. The irate Indians scalped Filson for his pains, but the
other two waxed prosperous with the growth of their city.

Doby had seen some of Filson's drawings of the surrounding trails.
Particularly was he entranced by the map of Kentucky. "Every time
I look at that dotted line of the great Clark War Road stretching
alongside the Kentucky River away into the wilderness, I want to go
down it." His thoughts kept coming back to his grievance like a cat
to an empty house. "There is no good reason why a boy shouldn't travel
that road any more than there is an excuse for a boy not having a dog."
He felt dreadfully sorry for himself. "Perhaps if I had a dog--a fine
tracking-hound or a fierce watch-dog--the scouts might need the dog and
take me along with it. But I haven't one thing that they want and I
can't go."

Up the road of Doby's desire, while it was yet a trail, had come the
Indians to the broad plateau of the knob. Long before Filson's time
these savages had seen the value of such a lookout. They made it a
stopping-place because it could so well be guarded against surprise.
Their signal-fires upon it could be seen by all surrounding tribes.
Even a smoke message could warn three valleys.

"'Twas such a safe place," thought Doby, whimsically, "that the Miamis
had to fight all the time to keep it from other Indians who also wanted
to be secure upon it. Constant battles here have given it the name of
the 'Miami slaughter-house.'"

George Rogers Clark, the Virginian, a Revolutionary hero, who came
across Kentucky hot on the track of the Miamis, used the savage trail
to such quick and victorious service against the British, making it
part of his route to his renowned conquest of the Northwest, that it
had taken his name. He built a sturdy little blockhouse for a fort and
supply station on the knob in 1780 as a half-way station between his
Kentucky outposts and the forts on the Wabash and the Great Lakes. And
there it still stood, like one of Clark's chunky soldiers who was said
to sink deeper into the ground every time the enemy charged him and who
had no intention of giving up, no matter how many times he was licked.

Cincinnati was founded by Revolutionary soldiers who were paid for
their services by grants of land in this neighborhood. Two companies of
regular troops in Fort Washington guarded them as they returned to the
plow and used their trusty swords to make their little pigs into famous
Queen City sausages.

Doby munched on a sweet, lumpy souvenir of his visit to the
sugar-factory as he gazed at the glass factory, the furniture-factory,
the cotton and hemp spinning and weaving mills, the flour-mills,
the tanneries, all the big city buildings where the newly invented
steam-engine was beginning to make for the pioneers all the things that
they had been obliged to do for themselves by hand.

"Ma will be glad to hear of the machine that can make cloth as fast
as I wear it out," and the boy examined the inside of his much-used
knife-pocket at a patch which needed a patch itself, although it was
already a patch upon another patch.

But all this machinery made his head tired. So did the smoke and the
smells and the confusion of streets.

Some rural path--preferably in Kentucky--was the only thing he could
think of that would rest him and entertain him when he had no person to
talk to and no pet to play with.

So he sat upon the knob and kicked his heels to cool his restless feet.
His eyes turned from the city's buildings to its fringe of green. They
wandered again to the spot where he had seen the most satisfactory
thing of the whole day--those passing dogs.

There was a bunch of tawny leaves blowing along the hillside. He stared
at it idly. No, it was not leaves, that patch of uncertain color. It
was something living, something leaping.

How uncertainly it moved! How wabbly it was! Doby sat up sharply and
peered. He stood up and leaned forward. He shut his eyes for a better
long-distance focus and squinted.

"It is the yellow dog again. Dog? No! Fox? It can't be a fox! It surely
is a fox." Behind the fox a dog was running. A long chase had tired
them both. Their pace was dragging.

"It is the same dog, I do believe, and the same fox that I saw before.
What a big circle they must be running!"

All alert now, Doby measured their speed. If he ran forward in quick
time at right angles to it, their course would pass quite close to him.
Away he flew.

He was thinking, "That fox is exhausted. It can hardly get along. The
hunt has been an all-day one. The dog--ah, the poor brave doggie!--is
worse off than the fox. He will never catch it. What a fine dog! What
a game dog, not to give up when he is outrun! He is my kind of a dog.
I'll help him."

Doby rushed down the hill to head off the fox. At most times it would
have been a silly and a useless thing to do. But now the spent fox was
not equal to any of its sly dodges.

It saw the man creature--that cruel enemy of all wild life--and for one
second it paused. On the instant the persistent dog also saw the man
creature--that kind friend of all tame brutes--and, reinforced by his
presence, leaped with a last bit of strength for the quarry.

Doby was in at the death. He cut the brush. It was a splendid trophy.
Then he gave his whole attention to the dog, who had fallen over on one
side and lay prone.

"Poor doggie, he looks as though he were going to die!" quavered Doby.
"Poor doggie! Come, doggie! I'll carry you to our flatboat and tend
you."

So over the hillside and down the terraces and through the unheeding
city streets he lugged the limp dog to the landing at the water's edge
and into the flatboat and on to a cushion.

"That dog seems to have a little of every kind of breed, so we will
call him a foxhound, for short," was Mr. Holman's comment, as Doby bent
anxiously over his find with water and milk and bread and meat. "But if
you want to do so, you may keep him for your own," he promised, as he
always did on every one of those numerous occasions when Doby adopted
some hapless stray and wistfully begged to be allowed to take care of
it and train it.

Thus, by chance, Doby had within an hour acquired a dog at a time when
he fancied that he needed it most.

What a good thing a reliable dog would be to a party of scouts, if the
boy who had him could go along to make him do his doggie best! These
were Doby's reflections as he watched the fagged one, bit by bit, grow
strong and lively.

He proved to be a grateful brute and an affectionate one. He answered
Doby's endearments most ardently. But, alas! as he recovered he grew
restless. He wanted to be off again.

Now around this dog's neck was a band of leather, the only kind of
collar that pioneer puppies knew. Mr. Holman had glanced at this
collar. He knew what it meant, but he did not say a word about it. Doby
also knew what it meant, but he did not speak of it, either. He sat and
stared at it by the hour together.

The collar had been made and fastened on the dog by some other boy. The
dog was some other boy's dog. He was a pet dog. If he was set free he
might return to some far-away home--to that other boy.

At this moment he was looking at Doby with adoring eyes, as that
uncomfortable boy thought, "If I keep him a long time, keep him shut up
and well fed, he will finally like me best and be my pet, for I saved
his life." The dog wagged a hearty assent to this; and to all Doby's
claims to loyalty he pounded his tail thankfully on the resounding
floor of the flatboat.

"The scouts would listen to me and take me along, almost surely take
me along, if I could show them a good tracking-hound," he argued.
"It is my one chance to get in with them." He was more miserable now
with the dog than he had ever been without it--well--because he kept
thinking.

The dog licked Doby's hands and reached for his face with a moist and
loving tongue. "I believe they would take me if he went, too." The dog
begged for a joyous tussle. He was the greatest fun to play with.

"You want to stay with me, don't you?" Doby asked of the completely
restored and lively hound, flushed and happy as they paused in a romp.
But the dog was already beginning to pace back and forth inside the
barricaded boat. He whined at every crack. He brought pleading sniffs
to Doby's feet.

The boy stood and thought. He must decide what to do about another
man's property. The more he thought, the deeper he frowned. His face
was a tangled hard knot of lines when, after a long inner struggle, he
finally got out his knife to cut a strip of bark from a slippery-elm
tree, stopping frequently to sigh over the hard task he had given
himself.

On the plain white inner side of the bark his stone knife carved
plainly, THE FOX TAIL IS ON HOLMAN'S FLATBOAT IN CINCINNATI HE IS A
FINE DOG WE HELPED HIM OBADIAH HOLMAN. Carefully rolling and tying it,
he fastened it inside the dog's collar as messages were sometimes sent.

He carried the dog ashore and released him. He was sure that all his
hopes for going with the scouts vanished with the dog.

A strange feeling of being grown up came over him. "After this when I
ought to do a thing, I'll just go ahead and do it, and not hesitate so
long about the deed I know is right."

Acting on this decision, he was silent and showed no childish regrets,
when the scouts, gathering on the dock the next afternoon, made ready
for their start. They never noticed him. Their thoughts were on Simon
Kenton, who was to direct them. He was the pioneer's ideal. He had once
saved the life of Daniel Boone, that most famous of all the patriotic
Kentucky rangers, and had become his fast friend in consequence.

Kenton's services as an Indian-fighter had given him a name that filled
the Middle West. He was brave beyond belief. The number of times that
he had been captured and the great difficulties of his escapes never
prevented him from offering his help wherever his woodcraft could lead
soldiers to victory through savage-infested country.

Half a dozen times and more he had run the gauntlet. Three times he is
said to have been tied to the stake for torture and burning. During
several periods of captivity he was most brutally treated. Yet in every
important battle with the redskins in his own State and out of it he
was one of the directing powers. Between-times he was a matchless spy
and a fearless ranger. Even now, although he was past middle age, he
had a splendid body, a tireless mind, and a dauntless courage.

"If any one can rescue the besieged wagon-train from the Indians,
this is the scout who will do it," said Mr. Holman. And they all rose
respectfully as the gray-eyed giant came among them.

They knew him to be fond of animals and kind to pets, so there was no
surprise that a dog should be hanging on his heels. The wonder was that
this should chance to be Doby's dog--the so-called foxhound. In noisy
recognition the happy pup leaped upon the boy, licked his face, knocked
him over backward, and tried to eat him up.

"Oh, you bad bow-bow," laughed Doby, returning the embrace.

"Wow-wow," answered the hound, rolling over on his back in an ecstasy
of delight at the meeting.

Simon Kenton's speech was as old-fashioned as his big brave heart. He
asked the boy, "Be ye Obadiah Holman?"

Doby nodded with something like a bow. "Well, then, I'm huntin' for
ye. I want a boy to go with us into Kentucky. Git ready to start
instanter." On Kenton's arm was hanging a small suit of fringed
buckskin. "Put these duds on. They'll fit well enough. When I found the
note in the collar I reckoned on ye bein' young," and the tall scout
smiled down on the boy. "I fetched a leetle rifle for ye."

The other men objected in chorus: "He's nothing but a boy. He can't go.
We can't take a boy and we can't take a dog."

"Don't want to take the dog; never do take the dog," was the easy
answer.

"The boy is too small," was the second chorus.

The bright gray eyes ran over Doby from his eager face to his
moccasined toes. Then Simon Kenton said "He is big enough for me. I
can use him on this ventur'. I've taken chances afore on folks that
befriended my dog. Nary chance did I ever lose."

Without more ado he took command of the expedition. He showed each man
his duty. Then he said to Doby: "I'll trust ye. Climb into yer new
suit, son, and scoot along. Show us yer ready for business. I reckon
ye'll never be anybody's small boy again. When ye made up yer mind to
give a man the things that belonged to him--the minute ye wrote that
note--w'y, just that minute ye growed into a first-class scout!"



                                   V

                           BLUE-JAY FEATHERS

           _An Indian Talisman on Clark's Kentucky War Road_


"I LOOK so grand that I want to say, 'Sir,' every time I speak to
myself," and Obadiah Holman swaggered a little as he donned his
equipment.

His coonskin cap was set atilt. Its short ringed tail was a tassel
bobbing over his left ear. He wore a man's suit of fringed buckskin.
He had shortened his "galluses" and hitched up his breeches to a very
comfortable fit. Leggings added a picturesque touch to them. His shirt,
which was worn outside like a coat, had a belt to hold in the fullness.
Cut off a little at the bottom and fringed anew, and treated the same
way at the cuffs, it had become exactly his size. Best of all, it was
_not_ new.

When he appeared among the other scouts, his clothes had the same worn
effect of a serviceable uniform that theirs did.

Doby glowed with pride when he considered the company he kept. What
patriotic duties had not these scouts been in? What good work had not
these uniforms seen?

He resolved with all the best that was in him to be worthy of the place
Simon Kenton had given him with Johnson's Long Hunters--the Kentucky
cavalrymen.

The War of 1812 was now all over. But who could forget the services of
these men through that trying time? For the grizzled veterans all about
him were Col. Richard Johnson's troopers, the bravest and boldest men
in the West.

When William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Northwest Territory,
the man who had won the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, against the
Indians, and so saved the Northwest to civilization, had later, in
1813, become so hard pressed in his struggle against Tecumseh's forces
allied with that Indian's British friends, farther east near Detroit,
it was the Kentucky regiment of Johnson's men whose furious valor broke
the stout line of British regulars on the Thames River and who kept the
Middle West from the clutches of old England.

A grateful country afterward made Colonel Johnson Vice-President of the
United States.

Boys and men cheered the doughty Kentuckians wherever they appeared.

Said one of them to Doby: "That Indian chief Tecumseh was a smart man.
He had more sense than most white men. He was a king, if ever a man
was. When the natives in his absence ceded to the whites so much of
the land around Fort Wayne, he was angry. He organized all the Western
Indians into a confederacy whose plan was to drive the Americans out
of the country. For he understood very soon the thing that it took the
other Indians a long time to learn. That was, the English and American
way of buying land."

"You see, the French, who came here first, met the Indians on terms
of friendly equality. The Indians responded to this by offering
hospitality. The French accepted it gratefully. The Indians passed
the peace pipes and said: 'Our Great Spirit tells us to welcome
our pale-face brothers. Our hunting-grounds are his.' And the
happy-go-lucky Frenchmen made their best society bows and said, 'After
you, kind friends, we will use them.' And they got along together first
rate."

"Our folks don't want to share and share alike with savages," declared
Doby. "We want to buy the land outright."

"That's what makes the trouble," answered the old Indian-fighter,
"savages do not know what buying land means. They never get our point
of view. When we give an Indian 'fire-water' and a disgracefully small
piece of money for his land, he thinks it is a present because we thank
him for the chance to hunt on that land. He fully expects us to buy it
again the next day and the next and the next. He thinks it is still his
after all this so-called buying."

"He gives us a deed to it," said Doby. "Anybody can understand what a
land title is."

"An Indian cannot. One day a white man, all smiles, comes to an
Indian's land, gives him a tawdry present, juggles a piece of
parchment, and shows the Indian how to make his mark among printed
words which he cannot read. Next day, the white man, all frowns, says
to the Indian, 'What d'you mean, making yourself to hum on my ground?
Git out!' and he kicks him off. It makes the Indian mad."

The veteran wagged his beard and his sweeping curly hair like an old
lion shaking his mane. "That's the real cause of the Indian uprisings.
General Harrison, who is a just and far-seeing ruler, has done his
best to compel fair play on both sides. Between the greed of the whites
and the treachery of the savages he hasn't had much luck."

"You fought with the other Long Hunters at New Orleans, didn't you?"
asked Doby.

"At that battle we licked the British again. The treaty of peace had
been signed, but word hadn't reached the South and we went at it
and hammered the beef-eaters fair and hard. Ah, those were the good
old times. Nothin' like it nowadays. Nothin' but a few odd jobs of
rescue-work like this one we are on. No real fightin'."

Doby looked in true respect at his friends of many scars. His hand went
up to his cap. He took it off in the presence of these patriots.

The Kentucky settlers called these men "Long Hunters" because they
could stay out more weeks on hunting-trips than less stalwart
backwoodsmen. "Long Knives" was the name the Indians gave them on
account of the ferocious dirks they carried. Even Doby sported his
stone knife in a formidable sheath.

Soft-hearted Simon Kenton had taken Doby along for a "lucky penny" or
"pocket-piece" as a later time would have taken some entertaining child
for a "mascot."

Like the other two dozen men in the group, Doby boasted a tomahawk
swung on his hip.

"A tomahawk is wild and savage-looking," laughed one of the men, seeing
how gingerly Doby handled the murderous thing, "but this one has been
tamed. It will be used to chop kindling-wood and to cut brush, unless
we get into a brash with redskins and you want to try its edge on a
scalp."

Also Doby had a powder-horn swung over his shoulder. In the hollow of
his left arm was as light a flintlock as that day afforded. It was
possible for him to carry the weight of this weapon because, oh, joy of
joys! between his knees was a Kentucky thoroughbred!

"No old nag to bring up the cows"--Doby was almost bursting with
pride--"will do for a fellow who is going West to fight Indians. He
needs a fast horse. This is one of the blue-grass best."

Every scout's saddle-bags carried rations for several days. They would
not use their rifles for game, nor would they build a fire except at
some station. They were traveling as light as possible, as fast as
their mounts would allow, and with as little noise as they could.

"Boonesboro'll keep the wagon-train as long as the grub holds out. The
pesky redskins 'ain't got a thing to do but to lay round an' besiege
the stockade 'til the buffaler come. When the herds git here the
redskins will follow the game north and the wagon-train can move again.
Trouble is that folks in stockades can't git along without eatin', and
these are plumb out o' vittles." And Simon Kenton, who had often gone
hungry in the Indian country, gave a little sigh of sympathy. "It ain't
likely that we will have a brash with Injuns hereabouts." Yet these
sagacious scouts slept in their clothes, had no fires, and took turns,
two at a time, doing sentinel duty. They rode, always, with guns primed
and loaded and ready under their trigger fingers.

Their plan was to add their force to the small number of men in the
train at Boonesboro and with a little food to bring them out to within
reach of game and to escort them north to Cincinnati. The Indians
generally fell back from any "Long Knives" train.

The scouts had crossed the Ohio River at Cincinnati, coming down,
gathering a few more fighters as they went. Doby's father, a seasoned
frontiersman, had gone with them because he was anxious to learn the
prospects for buying farming land in this richest soil of all the
States.

Now they were whirling down toward the Salt Lick Springs on the old
Clark War Road of Indian raids. At first the famous path led them to
the southwest.

Doby had ridden bareback from babyhood. He could "break" a colt or
subdue a "fractious" mare, but never had he gone down any pike at the
pace these Kentuckians set him as they tore away on their errand of
mercy.

His legs clung to the saddle, his moccasins stuck to the stirrups, his
hands grasped the bridle-rein as they flew. The scrambling up-hill
over rough ground, the breakneck sliding down into valleys, were his
delight. But when he saw the swollen Kentucky River that he must plunge
into for the first of several times on its winding course, he could
have screamed with hysterical excitement. He had no choice whether to
go or to stay. His horse carried him with the others on a rush into the
turbulent stream. The shock of the water and the sensation of leaving
solid earth for this swirling danger shook his chest with heavy sobs.

There is a contagion of courage as well as of fear. He caught the
spirit of his companions. By imitating them he was able to hold his
horse's head at an acute angle to the bank, so that the constant
up-stream effort kept the swimming animal from being swept down. He
stayed abreast of the others and landed with them at the road on the
opposite shore.

Then magnificent forests and open glades spun by them. They entered
canebrakes, those bottom-land stretches of succulent sugar-bearing
canes where wild turkeys scuttled in flocks before the sound of hoofs.

Simon Kenton smiled at Doby: "There ye be! Cane! Turkey! Kain tu'key!
There's where we git our name."

One night when they stopped to rest, Doby discovered on a flat-faced
boulder some crude outline pictures like the childish cartoons
of first-reader pupils. There were round turtles, square horses,
spindle-legged boys, moon faces, pigs with curly tails; just such
things as he had drawn on his slate many a time. All had been cut or
scraped in with a sharp point of stone or metal.

What boy could resist such a challenge? "Must be some sort of a
wilderness school near here," Doby thought as he whipped out his too
ready knife. Using the tip of the hilt, for he dare not risk the
precious point, he scratched a bird, to face another bird, something
like a blue jay which was already drawn to perch in this menagerie.

"I'll have to do something to tell what my bird and the other fellow's
bird are called," and he picked up a couple of fallen blue-jay
feathers. With a paste of mud he added them, one to each bird, for a
flaunting tail, grinning to think how surprised the children would be
when they noticed this addition to their art-gallery.

Simon Kenton, coming up, seemed to regard this as a serious matter.
"That pictur' is Injun writin'; lots of it hereabouts; every line and
dot means somethin'; can't tell what the varmints'll think of your
sign," and he shook his head dubiously; but he would not let the boy
try to erase it. "Better quit foolin' with it."

Doby was rather dismayed by this bit of indiscretion on his part. But
in the rapid going of the next few hours and in the flurry of the
wild-pig hunt which they allowed themselves when they came within hail
of the station, he forgot his regrets.

At this station they gave themselves a hot pork supper and a good rest.

A Kentucky station was from the first settlement of that coveted State
a spot full of romance, of danger, and of delight.

So fair was Kentucky, so rich, so promising, that native red men and
immigrating white men were ever ready to fight for a piece of her
fertile soil. Never was she more beautiful than in those days when
numerous battles caused her to be named the "dark and bloody ground."

Her stations, far apart, were built of log houses set in a hollow
square to form a solid wall toward the open country. Tiny loopholes
for rifles were the only windows on the outside walls. At each corner
was a two-story blockhouse, or "flanker," set up in such a way with
loopholes that the men inside could see and could cover with guns the
outside fort walls without themselves being seen by the Indians. There
were huge gates to these forts. They could defy and they did defy many
a savage attack. They were snug places for emigrants to stop.

Doby employed his idle hour making a "shrieker." First he cut a willow
whistle. On it he fastened the bladder of the slaughtered pig. Then
he took an immense breath, blew into the whistle, and filled the
bladder with air. When he could blow no longer he jerked it out of his
mouth. The air from the bladder rushed back through the whistle with a
hair-raising squeal.

Doby hopped in glee. But he dared not use it when they started again on
the dangerous War Road. There was always the chance of attracting some
foe.

"When we get inside the next station I'm going to give it one good
blow, Injuns or no Injuns," he declared.

So far had they now come by the road southwest, south, southeast, and
south again, that they were in the heart of Kentucky and approaching
Harrod's station not far distant from Boonesboro.

At Harrod's they had meant to eat hot game and save their full
saddle-bags for the wagon-train. But the sight of an Indian trading
at the post made them pause and go into a consultation with the
storekeeper.

A general store was kept in each of these stations. It dealt in every
article a settler could want. Here a trapper, red or white, who never
had any money could "swap" his furs for powder and coffee with a
storekeeper who never had any money, either. Though powder and coffee
were each a dollar a pound, neither the buyer nor the seller ever saw
that dollar. Trading was the rule.

Doby paid little heed to anything except the Indian, who stood
motionless beside a pile of 'coonskins which he had laid on a tobacco
bale. Any boy would have known that Indian for a warrior. He wore a
plain blanket. There were no feathers and no paint to be seen upon
him, yet he looked the wild fighting-man. He was tall and straight,
haughty of bearing, cruelly beautiful. He ignored the hunters with
royal indifference while he waited for his goods to be packed.

As Doby eyed the savage he thought: "How handsome he is and how
powerful! Perhaps Tecumseh had the same appearance."

Under the boy's admiring stare the Indian stood absolutely and
perfectly still, minute after minute, minute after minute, until Doby
became possessed of an impulse to test that stolidity, to shock that
dignity. So he impishly blew into the pig's-bladder whistle. Its blast
rent the air.

With snake-like quickness the Indian's hand shot out. He grabbed the
whistle and hid it in his blanket. He offered a blue-jay feather in
exchange. Doby felt indignant at this sort of trading and showed that
he did, whereupon the Indian, who certainly had seemed to have neither
paint nor feathers upon him, stuck the first feather and then a second
one in the front of Doby's cap. In so doing he left a streak of paint
on the boy's forehead. It was of the same shape and color as the
feather.

The boy's face flamed with anger, but when the watching Kenton said,
"Make your manners, bub," Doby thrust his hand into the Indian's palm
and said, "How?"

The Indian answered, "How?"

These two words were considered to be a complete conversation of the
friendliest sort between any two members of the white and red races.

Calmly and instantly Kenton pushed the boy from the store into the
midst of the hunters, who were hurriedly up and away. Night was closing
in, but they increased their pace. Kenton told Doby: "Under his blanket
that chief is rigged up for battle. He is buying guns and ammunition."

"A storekeeper will sell any Indian any amount of bullets to shoot
any number of settlers, if the savage merely says he wants 'em for
buffalo," thought Doby, in bitter contempt of that thing we call
commercialism, which allows one man to sacrifice others for his own
mercenary profit.

"To git through the varmints' stampin'-ground, we must use this dark
night for to cover us," and Kenton glanced at the black clouds and at
the occasional flashes of lightning. He listened to the wind in the
trees. He stopped to consult the others and laid his ear to the ground,
"for buffaler," he said.

For here the War Road, the Indian trail, and the Buffalo trace all
coincided to run through a very long, narrow ravine.

They decided to risk the trip through the ravine. The byways were long
and difficult. In the ravine there was danger of Indians in ambush,
danger of a cloudburst, and danger of meeting the buffalo herds almost
due on their annual migration north. But where was there not danger?

To these hardy soldiers danger was their bread and meat and they
rejoiced in it. So when they felt no quake of earth from moving hoofs,
they took the ravine at a run. They knew it was the sort of night
when the war of fire and water in the air might frighten buffalo into
a stampede; and Doby, blinking in the lightning, listened between
thunderclaps for other noises.

They were nearing the southern end of the ravine, too far from the
northern entrance to turn back, when they caught the far-away rumble
of myriad pounding hoofs. They spurred ahead. If they could reach the
plain and turn aside before the oncoming herds entered the ravine they
were safe. Kenton put his hand on Doby's bridle and they ran for their
lives straight toward the buffalo, which they could not see, but which
they could hear plainer and plainer with every hurrying second.

The rangers ahead yelled triumphantly as one by one they gained the
open and swerved in safety around to the east. Their shouts were
drowned in a vast bellowing that grew so near it roared in their ears
like heavy surf.

Kenton and Doby were bringing up the rear. Kenton's horse stepped into
a hole and went down heavily. Doby's leaped ahead. After a few jumps
he was able to check it. He wheeled and came back. Kenton had gained
his feet, but his mount was doomed--a broken leg. There was no help for
the poor brute but a merciful bullet. To this sad use unhappy Doby put
his proud flintlock. To Kenton, who was badly jarred, he reached a firm
hand and took him up behind.

Too late now to gain the plain, impossible to face the flying,
panic-stricken hordes, there was nothing for it but to flee straight
back over the course they had come.

To be overtaken was to be trampled down to earth, ground into fragments
and totally destroyed. Oh, the irony of traveling for days and days
through a country where the buffalo would have been harmless and then
to meet them in the one hour and the one place where they meant death
to man!

Kenton, recovering himself under the prick of their danger, watched
by the lightning flashes for an opening in the sides of the ravine.
He soon saw a tiny brook trickling from a cleft. They bolted from the
trace and stopped in it. Although it was only a tiny pocket set back
and up from the sides of the bluff, it was enough to shelter them and
their horse. In less than two minutes the herd came sweeping past below
them.

All night long, under a stormy sky, they huddled in their covert and
saw and heard and smelled the buffalo as they galloped past. All day
long, through the clearing weather, they watched more buffalo and more
buffalo--walking now. All night long again, under clear skies and
brilliant stars, they listened to the stragglers sedately following
behind.

The man and boy had food in their saddle-bags and water at their feet.
The horse drank and helped himself to green stuff.

Kenton said: "Give the Injuns followin' the herds time to vamoose. Then
we go on. Our folks won't hunt for us, 'cause they think we're wiped
out."

"If we trail alone, do you suppose the Indians will scalp us--you
and me?" quavered Doby. His bright dreams had been to win glory by
defeating Indians in open battle. Never at any time had he planned to
have them destroy _him_ on the sly.

"Think likely--yes," drawled Kenton. "Ye must git used to close calls.
I've had 'em many and many a time. Don't wash yer face. That's yer big
chance."

"Don't wash my face?" repeated Doby. "Don't wash my face!"

"The chief marked that paint daub an' set the feathers on ye for some
reason. He liked that noisy whistle. 'Tis Injun nature to return a
favor. Likely he stalked us when ye drew that pictur'. Blue jays may be
his totem."

"O-oh!" breathed Doby. "O-oh! Will this mark save me? Will it save you?"

"Perhaps. Two guns won't amount to much if there 're Injuns in the
ravine or the canebrake. We are in plain sight here; no use to try to
hide."

They could not stay longer where they were in the cramped little
hollow. They must follow the trace. There was no other way out. The
doubly loaded horse stepped into the road; but he was uneasy. He
snorted and backed about.

"Hold your face so the light will strike it. Turn from side to side so
the blue in your cap will show," commanded Kenton.

Crows on a dead tree above the ravine shrieked something at them. Doby
clutched the rein, for the bushes on the opposite bank had parted ever
so little. Red of nostril, white of eye, the horse stood still and
twitched his sensitive ears.

The crows called again. They circled widely. They returned to chatter a
warning.

Kenton, who never was known to lose his self-control, said, calmly: "Go
on. My gray curls will make a purtier scalp than your hank o' tow; 'f I
don't fret, you needn't."

Doby went on. The horse needed constant petting and coaxing. The crows
flapped and cawed, following a hiding something--an evil something
moving near the trail. The horse quivered and shied at the unseen peril
stalking him.

They reached the end of the ravine and descended into the canebrake of
the bottom-land which led to the Kentucky River. Far away on the other
side of the river they could see the stockade of Boonesboro.

"Could we signal the stockade?" faltered Doby.

"We'll be made into broth if we do," was the quiet reply.

Some Indians were cannibals. At this reminder, Doby's spine turned to
water and he slumped into a heap. But Kenton caught him up and shook
him forcibly with the words: "I once felt that-a-way myself. Ye can git
used to 't. Keep right on. The cane's full of the pesky redskins."

"I don't see any," gasped Doby, in forlorn hope.

"Nary glimpse. Watch the crows. Show yer passport. They're there,"
declared Kenton.

When the horse found that he could not hang back, he bolted. Wilder and
wilder his pace grew. Fear had seized him past all control.

Ever the canes, before, beside, behind their mad flight wavered for a
wicked pursuing foe who peeped and ran.

Ever the crows in dread curiosity beat the air and croaked in
apprehension.

Ever the boy, with his blue-jay feathers upright, clung to the saddle
and lifted his white face so plainly marked, with an attempt at bravado.

As the ford came in sight and the trampled clearing at its edge showed
an open space of ground they knew that the crisis was near.

[Illustration: EACH SAVAGE GIBED AT THE BOY'S PAINTED TALISMAN, BUT
EACH OBEYED ITS MESSAGE]

What was that sound? Shrill and weird, cutting their ears, they caught
the note of the pig's-bladder "shrieker"--Doby's whistle!

"Don't shoot," said Kenton. "Whatever happens--don't shoot--mind
that--don't shoot!"

Then--from the canebrake on three sides of the clearing sprang the
nimble-footed savages who had teased and outrun their horse. The
painted bodies closed across the entrance to the ford. Paralyzed with
fear, the sweating horse crouched.

The ears of Kenton and Doby were deafened with war-whoops, their
nostrils sickened by dangling scalps. A horrid threatening dance swung
round them. Tomahawks hurled past them. Color and noise, stench and
motion, caught them in a hideous vortex. Each savage gibed at the boy's
painted talisman, but each obeyed its message. They did not touch him.

Doby did not scream--he could not. Kenton never moved, resistance was
futile. In a great swoop the Indians bore down upon them. They were
covered with a shower of blue-jay feathers thrown by murderous fingers
as with wild gestures and wilder laughter the Indians vanished into the
canebrake to follow the buffalo north for more profitable hunting.

Surprised Boonesboro did not know what to make of the flurry. The
sentries halloed from the "flankers," and the Long Hunters, who had
never thought to see them again, swung wide the gates, and Kenton and
Doby swam across to Boonesboro--the end of their trail.



                                  VI

                            LEFT HIND FOOT

             _A First Survey for the Underground Railway_


AS though bell metal had been softly touched, a note of clear low
mirth came to the ear. Irresistible chuckles, one after another, in
purest glee followed. Gurgle upon gurgle of laughter was added to it.
And Obadiah Holman, who never in his life had heard anything quite
so musical or so funny, burst into sympathetic giggles before he was
really awake or knew what it was all about.

He was curled up on a bundle in an emigrant wagon. He raised his head
and peeped out of the round hole in the back of its canvas cover.

A hard day's ride had tired him. He had climbed into this wagon for
a short snooze and had taken instead a heavy sleep of several hours.
During that time his company of emigrants had been joined by another
wagon-train which they were expecting from a detour to the east, and
all had gone into camp together for the night.

The boy looked out on such a curious scene that he asked of himself,
"Where am I, Doby?" to be sure that he was not still in dreamland.

Against a purple sky, star-spangled, stood a solid bank of black-green
forest. In front of this woodsy background were the white tops of the
wagons. Silhouetted upon their canvases were the horses and the cows,
picketed for the night inside the protecting wall of the wagon-beds.

In the center, under the red glow of after-supper fires, a few belated
emigrants were finishing their tasks.

Among them Doby saw, what he had never seen before, what he had been
expecting to see with this coming wagon-train, and what he was hoping
for a glimpse of--black men!

Close to the tail-gate of the wagon, on a saddle which he was supposed
to be cleaning, sat a youth who was the color of a "tar baby." There
was a gourd in his hand. Out of his round throat came those sounds
which had so delighted the boy. And every time he laughed he waved
the gourd, threw back his kinky head, opened a tremendous mouth, and
showed a double set of teeth perfect enough for a dentist's sign. A
mocking-bird might have envied the trill in his laugh.

He rolled up his eyes until only the whites showed. Doby clutched the
canvas in alarm. What if they should not come down again?

"So that is a darky," he thought as he stared. "I can guess how he got
the name."

Many a boy has seen a darky, but few have ever watched one with a gourd
fiddle, the primitive African violin.

New England Doby did not approve of slavery. He had been taught that
it was a dreadful thing. So it gave him something of a surprise to see
what he had supposed would be a miserable, downtrodden captive having
such a very good time.

Tuning his fiddle and swinging his bow, the negro began to play and to
dance and to sing, drawing round him a dozen or so of other black boys
who joined the dance and the song, giving themselves up to such utter
enjoyment as Doby had never seen among any white people.

At first his Northern ears could not make out the words of the song.
When he had guessed at them, he listened with his attention so divided
between the syllables and the melody and the negroes' appearance and
actions, that their full meaning did not come to him until long
afterward.

Night wind in the trees, peeper frogs in the sedges, bare feet thumping
on the turf, and the sweet obligato of the gourd strings accompanied
the lyric tenor, who sang:

    "Dar am a b'ar,
    A big, la'ge b'ar,
      He wave hes tail so high,
    He wave hes tail,
    Hes big, la'ge tail
      At no'th star in de sky.

    "Dar am a b'ar,
    A sma', wee b'ar,
      He wave hes tail so high,
    He wave hes tail,
    Hes sma', wee tail
      At no'th star in de sky.

    "All night he wave,
    Big b'ar he wave,
      And show de nig' what dar.
    He wave hes tail,
    Hes big, la'ge tail,
      'Til nigger see dat star.

    "All night he wave,
    Sma' b'ar he wave,
      And show de nig' what dar.
    He wave hes tail,
    Hes sma', wee tail,
      'Til nigger see dat star."

Several melodious baritones took up the air and a superb bass joined
in. To this happy narcotic the boy gave himself up and went to sleep
again.

Doby's place in the train was with Simon Kenton's group of mounted
scouts. Many of them had belonged to Col. Richard Johnson's Kentucky
regiment of rangers. From Boonesboro, they had accompanied this wagon
party of Quaker emigrants northward on the road to Lexington.

The Quakers were a religious sect who did not believe in slavery. They
had left the Carolinas, where it was practised, and were going north
across the Ohio, where it was not allowed. They were opposed to war in
any form and continually preached the gospel of peace.

Through the dangerous State of Kentucky, which was ever the
battle-ground between the southern Creek and Cherokee, and the northern
Shawnee and Delaware Indians, the rangers traveled with the Quakers to
so intimidate the Indians that no fighting would be necessary.

The other wagon-train was from Virginia. It was made up of groups who
had the greatest pride in family honor, worldly estates, and ceremonial
government. They expected to found in the center of this fertile
Kentucky new farms, and homes, where lavish hospitality and dignified
elegance should imitate the easy life of the Old Dominion.

They were bringing their household goods, their slaves, and their
domestic animals with them. All were armed and ready to defend their
possessions and their views with vigor.

The Quakers, in serene self-denial, stood for the moral doctrine of
freedom in body and mind and spirit. They wore plain clothes and used
plain speech and practised plain living.

The common cause of keeping their scalps intact had linked these
different peoples together for protection on the trip, just as the
prospect of making a better living had driven them both northward
through Cumberland Gap.

Oh, Cumberland Gap! That "high-swung gateway of the mountains!" What
boy has not in fancy joined Daniel Boone when he held in his hand the
key to this wondrous portal? When that famous frontiersman opened the
gates and started on its course the most tremendous tide of emigration
this continent had ever seen, and when as scout he went before his
countrymen, he had more adventures than ever before fell to the lot
of any one pioneer as he blazed for them the trail through the Middle
West.

The spunky little settlements around the fort at Watauga, on the
eastern side of the mountains, continually fought the Indians to keep
them from extending their tribal lines north. By this bravery the
Gap was kept open for travel. Henderson's land company secured home
acres. Boone pointed out the acres and by the force of his splendid
personality kept the scattered settlers loyal to the United States and
to one another during the trying days of the Revolution.

Nothing could be better than the view from Cumberland Gap. Nothing much
worse than the path through it. Rough, miry, stony, over-flowed, washed
out, precipitous--all this and more! Every fault that a road could have
this one displayed. Yet because it was the only road nature had cut
through the mountains, Watauga guarded it and Boone's followers trod it
as never road was traveled before.

Between 1775 and 1790 seventy thousand people sweated in the jagged
up-hill climb to its sixteen hundred feet of height, paused for a
moment to look at the sides of the mountains towering another thousand
feet above the Gap, and then slid and scrambled down on the Kentucky
side. In 1816 they were still coming over this wilderness road.

Doby was tired of the twice-told tales of its hardships. He wanted to
make his rest-times as pleasant as possible, so on the second night he
left the wagging gray-beards and in sheer exuberance he tried to run
down a rabbit in the glade where they were encamped. All work and talk
broke off to see him do it.

The younger the rabbit the easier to catch. With every day's growth
of its hopping-muscles it waxes more enduring. Doby, having picked
an older rabbit than he thought, was hard pressed to tire the lively
creature out. He called for help. The older men instantly forbade the
younger ones to join the hunt. The boy who began it must finish it to
prove his right to the game.

He shouted to the darkies. They huddled in an excited bunch, but they
did not come.

Then as a matter of honor Doby was obliged to catch that rabbit. So of
course he did!

But he was over-tired, out of breath, and a little indignant as he said
to the lyric tenor, "Next time, come and help." And he tried the grand
manner of a Virginia slave-owner.

Such a bow and a scrape and a grin as he got!

"Yas, sir, nex' time, Mars'er Dob', yas, sir."

"Well, then, why didn't you come this time?"

"'Cause you is red-headed, Mars'er Dob'!" with a polite and
complimentary flourish.

In anger too great for words, Doby stalked away. If he had had one of
the Virginia whips he would have laid it on that darky then and there.
Red-headed! He had pummeled many a chum for that one word.

"I am _not_ red-headed. It is the firelight that makes my hair look
coppery. I don't so much mind being called tow-headed, because I _am_ a
little bit tow-headed," he conceded, "but red-headed, never!"

"Don't bother to dress the rabbit," said Simon Kenton to Doby.

"Why not?" asked the boy, putting back his stone knife as quickly as he
had pulled it out, for Kenton's slightest wish was law to him.

"The niggers'll steal it 'fore sun-up."

"Why?"

"Red-head for luck! That coon with a high voice needs a left hind foot,
or I miss my guess."

"Why?"

"Watch and see," was the puzzling answer.

So Doby slept on top of his rabbit to save it. But in the morning it
was gone.

He spied around.

About a freshly built knob of kinks on the tenor's head, the taint of
over-warm rabbit fur was climbing above all other odors, as the tuneful
one hummed, "Dar am a b'ar," with flagrant unconsciousness.

As an article of diet, Doby lost his interest in rabbit, but as a charm
it might prove exciting, so he decided to keep still and "watch and
see."

It is one of the results of slavery that the superstitions of the
"quarters" creep into the "big house" where the master lives.

Thus it happened that when they came to Ashland, one of those
splendid estates which slave labor made possible, in the neighborhood
of Lexington, the lucky boy, Doby, who looked red-headed but was
not, became one of the important persons invited with the Virginia
"gentlemen," the scout "officers," and the Quaker "preachers," by the
statesman, Henry Clay, to be his guest at dinner and to view his model
house and grounds.

Some of the Virginians had known Henry Clay when, as the barefooted
"mill boy" of the "Slashes"--a newly cleared region--he had ridden back
and forth in the Old Dominion with grist for his widowed mother, and
they now rejoiced in his self-made prosperity. Several of the scouts
had worked with him in political changes and they were proud of his
positions of trust. Many of the preachers of the "Society of Friends,"
as the Quakers called themselves, had discussed with the great leader
the evils and injustice of slavery; no one knew better than they how
hard Henry Clay worked to influence the laws which were intended to
help the blacks' condition and which tended toward final emancipation
for them.

In the evening, by torch-light on the lawn, darkies played the banjo
and danced and sang for the company.

Not one of them equaled the lyric tenor of the wagon-train, so Doby
wandered away from the lawn and in curiosity strolled out through the
quarters where the slaves lived. All the little whitewashed houses were
deserted, for the servants were allowed to look on at all festivities
and "minstrel shows." He was turning back when from one of the cabins
there came a tiny sound.

Again he heard that never-to-be-forgotten chime of distant silver
bells, that low gurgle of exquisite music. He would have known that
voice any place. How did the Virginia slave happen to be here and not
with the wagons? Why should that note of sadness creep into his sigh?
Why was he weeping?

His sobbing rose, so touched with grief, so poignant with despair,
that Doby's heart-strings tightened. He could hardly bear to hear it.

Then some motherly creature began to croon, "Da, chil' honey, poo'
chil' honey, don' you cry--"

The lyric tenor wailed in broken syllables: "My daddy--he whipped--he
die--my mammy--she whipped--she run away. I want my mammy--"

"Da, chil' honey, poo' chil' honey, don' you cry--"

"I want my mammy--I don' want ole Virginny--I don' want this yere--I
want my mammy--" The chant was torn with sorrow.

Then came the comforting, "Don' cry, honey," over and over again.

Poor Doby, listening in distressed sympathy, could not in the least
make out this black thief of the rabbit foot, whose lilting laughter
had turned to such bitter tears.

The boy who had heard both, stole away to hide in one of the wagons and
to cry himself to sleep over a trouble he could not understand.

He was ashamed to worry his father or Simon Kenton with further
questions about the slaves, who left them next day when the Virginians
stopped at their prospective settlement north of Lexington.

With the picturesque and merry blacks went much of the zest of life in
the wagon-train, and Doby was glad when the Ohio River came in sight
and the journey was at an end.

Busying himself with the luggage behind some hogsheads on the wharf
while the wagon-train was loading the ferryboat to cross the river,
Doby heard a strange Kentuckian hiss to another in a stage whisper,
"How many Quaker women in this company?"

He could not catch the mumbled reply, but the decision of the first
Kentuckian, "We will speak to each one of those women and find out,"
held such menace in its tone that it made the boy uncomfortable.

These women of the Society of Friends, whom Doby had never thought
of counting in all the time that he had been with them, had already
gone aboard the ferry. Through the long hard trip they had managed to
keep their calm appearance of perfect neatness and order in dress and
possessions.

Their full gray skirts almost touched the ground. Their clean white
kerchiefs were crossed surplice-wise on their gray waists. Snowy inner
caps showed at the edges of their gray scoop bonnets. Long gray shawls
were folded over their hands clasped primly in front of them.

They looked as much alike as doves in a cote.

It was an adventure for Doby to peer down into the tunnel of one of
these bonnets. He never could tell whether he would find a kindly
grandmother, an earnest matron, or a blushing maid, in the other end of
its cavernous depths.

Why, then, since they were all so much alike outwardly, should these
two rough men, who had sprung from the wharf, have reason to speak to
any one of them? What difference did it make how many there were of
them?

As he went aboard, they all looked as usual to him. Seated on the boxes
and bales, they had as much serene dignity as though the noisy boat had
been a bench in a silent "meeting-house."

It was plain, as the boat left shore, that the two Kentuckians meant to
carry out their plan. Doby, close on their heels, heard them ask the
same question of each in turn, "Are you going to Cincinnati?"

If she lifted her head as she gently answered, one man glanced sharply
into her bonnet. If she did not look up, the other man stooped and
stared into the bonnet. Between them they made sure of a view of every
concealed face.

Mr. Holman whispered to Doby, "Sheriff and deputy," and Doby was more
confused than ever. What were they hunting for?

He was so curious that he stood closer and closer to them, until one
turned upon him with a harsh scowl and bade him "git!"

Baffled, he retreated to the bow, and was about to seat himself on a
coil of rope on the up-stream side when he noticed another Quakeress
standing behind some tall piles of boxes. She was without a shawl. Her
bonnet strings were untied. Her arms were folded and her hands shoved
out of sight in her surplice.

She was shaking as with a chill; her whole figure, in spite of its
immaculate dress, had a hunched-up and miserable appearance.

Doby started toward her to offer help in case she was ill.

She was peeping round the corner of the pile of boxes and she drew back
suddenly as the two officers came toward the bow. Although they had not
yet seen her, they were sure to do so. But why should she be afraid of
them?

They stepped forward briskly. She started violently and fell headlong
into the river.

With a shriek for "Help!" Doby jumped to the rail. In the wild glance
that he gave to locate the Quakeress before he dived to her assistance
he saw the white soles of two bare feet, two long black legs in frog
stroke, a bonnet sinking, a kinky head atop black arms, which came out
freely from gray flowing sleeves.

With an expert movement, to make a turn and a neat dive, the figure
went under the ferryboat. It was the lyric tenor! Sucked under by the
current!

All this Doby noted in one flash, as, too late to check his own
impetuous jump to the rescue, he also went into the river.

He swam upward against the current. That much of common sense was
left in him, for all the surprise and horror of the darky's dreadful
disappearance under the boat where the doomed creature could not rise,
and where no one could rescue him.

There was a cry of, "Man overboard!"

Every person on the boat rushed to starboard. In Doby's ears there was
great confusion and roaring. On the boat was the same thing. But one
tidy Quakeress, without rumpling her surplice, made fast one end of the
rope coil to the rail and threw the other end to Doby.

April is not a good month for swimming even in the friendly Ohio. Shirt
and breeches of buckskin were very heavy; the chill of the water was
unnerving. The current was stronger than he thought, and the nearing
shore seemed much farther than it had looked from the deck of the
ferry. So he was not too proud of his swimming skill to allow himself
to be hauled on board. He was deeply grateful for the line.

There was too much help, Doby thought. His clothes were peeled off, he
was rubbed dry, and dressed anew, with some dozen or so men, women, and
children taking part in his toilet and the eyes of everybody on him and
his unlucky ducking.

With the chill and the shock, his teeth chattered so that he could not
tell them about the poor darky, try as he would.

So the two Kentucky officers went ashore, each grumbling to the other
about some "miscount." And Doby was hurried to his own flatboat home,
standing at the wharf, where a warm welcome and a cozy supper were
given to them and their guest, Simon Kenton, by Doby's waiting mother.

Then, and not till then, did Doby's father indulge in laughter long and
loud. But Kenton, with a merry twinkle, merely asked, "Tell us, son,
how much was on purpose and how much just happened so."

His father added, "You managed to get all the attention of the boat at
the time the runaway did not want it for himself."

Doby was still shuddering with horror at the fate of the black, and he
was ready to faint as he gasped, "The darky is drownded!"

"Don't think it," cried Mr. Holman. "He swam underwater with the
current, came up clear, took a big breath, dived toward the shore, and
swam away perfectly safe. I saw him climb into the bushes on shore. He
will roll in somebody's hay until his dress is dry; then travel north
to-night, watching for the Quakers to pick him up."

"The Society of Friends is working out a regular plan for helpin'
runaways that is liable to grow into a big thing one of these days,"
was Simon Kenton's prophecy.

When the first Quaker who felt a throb of pity for the wretched runaway
cowering for mercy at his feet, resolved to be a true Friend to the
unfortunate, by defying man's law of property and obeying God's law of
mercy, he surveyed in his mind the earliest routes for the underground
railway, as he considered to which Friend farther north he should send
this fugitive.

The underground railway was never built of wooden cross-ties nor of
steel rails. Its right of way was in the hearts of those who guarded
the secret paths and the hidden shelters through which the slaves
passed to the land of their hopes.

Past the perils of the auction-block, the lash, and the bloodhounds,
a vast emigration of blacks were smuggled through Cincinnati--the
Cumberland Gap of their race--and, guided by that celestial scout, the
north star, won their way to Canada and to freedom.

Doby was vastly relieved about his lyric tenor. Still, he asked, "How
will he know which way to go?"

Simon Kenton sang softly,

    "He wave hes tail,
    Hes sma', wee tail,
    At no'th star in de sky."

Then Doby smiled happily, "And he won't mind cold and hunger and
he can't be captured while he has such faith in the luck that a
boy--almost red-headed--gave him; and he wears in his kinks the left
hind foot of a stolen rabbit!"



                                  VII

                          THE DROWSY VILLAGE

             _Edward Eggleston's Favorite Spring at Vevay_


A STEAMBOAT'S paddles churned the Ohio backwater as she strove to make
a landing at Vevay, coming down.

Everybody on ships and on shore rushed for places to get a view of her.
Plainly her name showed on her sides, the _New Orleans_. A queer little
vessel was she. Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steam-engine, had
himself designed and built her. She was the second steam craft in the
whole wide world, and the first on Western waters.

Several others had been set afloat in the four years since she had made
her initial trip, but she was still certain to have a crowd of cheering
admirers whenever she chose to show off her great accomplishment of
going up-stream against the current.

For two months he had been a river-traveler, and, therefore, Obadiah
Holman knew that she could puff away as soon as she cared to do so,
no matter if the landlubbers did use hot arguments to prove that, "It
stands to reason that she cain't never go ag'in natur'."

The boy hung over the side of his father's flatboat and watched the
people who were watching the steamer. "I've seen a lot of towns,"
thought he, "but never any as quiet as this."

There was something in the changing sky above the misty blue
hills, something in the deep water which reflected the sky and the
hills, something in the long vistas and the fragrant air, that may
have reminded a little band of Swiss colonists of their native
mountain-land. They loved this place as soon as they saw it and settled
here.

Log cabins were built somewhat like the cottages which the herdsmen of
Switzerland set up among the Alps. Tiny chalets they were, and they
were perched on the prettiest heights above the river and the valley so
that the beauty-loving Swiss might have the finest views.

"Oh, sleepy little town! how enchanting you are!" The boy inhaled the
breeze. "It smells delicious." He scanned the acres of good bottom-land
between Indian and Plum creeks and took in the terraced hillsides.
Everywhere were stakes and trellises. "Ha! Grapes are in bloom. That's
what I smell. They are raising grapes."

He eagerly studied out the plan of the vineyards and the fields. It
interested him, this art which the Swiss had brought with them to the
banks of the Ohio. It would have been even more interesting could he
have foreseen that the grape culture begun by John Francis Dufour and
his brother John James Dufour in this valley was to spread up and down
the river and along the Great Lakes and become one of the sources of
the wealth of the Middle West.

His thirsty senses soon discovered a spring on the hillside. Reaching
down to the deck, he picked up a light-weight wooden bucket by its
woven-willow bail, resolving as soon as the boat docked to run up the
hill and get a drink from the spring. The taste of river water was
becoming tiresome to him.

"The landing looks like a hay-field," he laughed as the people bobbed
about. Every woman and child and nearly every man wore a straw hat, the
first ones he had ever seen. Skill in weaving straw was another art
introduced by the clever Swiss. In the May sunshine this entirely new
style of head-covering suggested comfort. "Take off your 'coonskin,
Doby," said the boy to himself. "Its season is over. The Swiss are
weaving the left-over straw-stacks into a millinery show."

He examined the faces under the hats. It was easy to pick out the Swiss
from among the New England emigrants and the roustabouts of the river.
They were more graceful and shorter of stature. Indeed, the Swiss
were so compact in physique that the master of the wagon-train who
freighted them from their port at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1801, across
the Alleghany Mountains to the flatboats at Pittsburg, complained that
six and one-quarter cents a hundredweight was not enough money for the
women and children who rode, since it took more than one person to make
a hundredweight and little people were as much trouble as big ones.

The Swiss used French words. And because the French were always
friendly to Indians, the squaws of the region seemed to feel sure of
the hospitality of this village. They hung about the Swiss like bees
about the grape blooms.

"Beggars, beggars, beggars!" sneered Doby. "They beg for themselves
and beg for the pappooses slung up behind them. They beg for their
families and beg for the dogs at their heels."

He scowled at our native red race as it filed along below him on the
wharf. "They can't be made to work and the Swiss will have to feed
'em or the braves will threaten war." Some idea of ultimate justice
stirred in Doby's mind, for he shook his head at a fat pappoose as he
reflected: "We have taken their hunting-ground without their leave.
They are making us pay for it without our leave."

Moving about with the crowd was one figure more uncouth than the
squaws. It was a ragged, blanketed, straw-hatted creature. Doby noticed
it. On its feet were mismatched gear, a torn moccasin for the right
foot, a broken leather boot for the left. No scarecrow could have worn
worse clothes.

As Doby leaned over the edge of the boat and stared, the shapeless
thing raised its head and returned the gaze. Then he saw that it was a
man, a white man, whose face was sodden with gin and lined with evil; a
degraded outcast deported from some Old World prison.

Numbers of such wretches were dumped on Eastern coasts. Few wandered
so far inland as Vevay. Doby recoiled from the threatening leer the
drunkard threw at him. Instinctively he laid his right hand on
the hilt of his stone knife, for he had the same sense of danger
approaching that the man has who claps his hand to his sword.

The steamboat was already loading with produce for the up-river trip.
Piles of new straw hats were tossed aboard. Skins of grape-juice,
protected by straw cratings, were stacked on deck. Firkins of marmalade
were handled carefully. Straw boxes of raisins were properly stowed. A
few bottles of delicate home-made wine were handed as compliments to
the officers of the boat.

Bottles always aroused the thirst of Indians. A bulky squaw threw
herself between an officer and the giver of the wine. She demanded
"firewater."

"Go along," cried the indignant officer. "This is not firewater. You
can't get drunk on this," and he retreated with his present.

The squaw imagined that one long orgy gurgled in that bottle. She
snatched it from him and rushed through the groups near by. As she ran
she slipped the bottle into the cloth wrappings which held the pappoose
on her back. Ducking down among her friends, she came up in another
place and stood with her hands folded, looking as innocent as any squaw
could.

No one could tell her from the others except the scarecrow whom Doby
was watching. With his eyes on Doby's face, he slipped a ready hand
about the pappoose and lifted the bottle out. The squaw, whose heart
and mind and nerves were all entwined about that one thing, felt it go.
She gave a grunt and lunged at the man.

Away he scampered. She pounded after him. There was the cry, "Stop
thief!" And the crowd, who had only a vague idea of what it was all
about, galloped through the town in his wake.

Still clinging to his bucket, Doby leaped the gap between his boat
and the shore and caught up with the others just as the people, now
grown angry, had made the man a prisoner. The squaw was also taken in
custody. The marshal held the bottle. A dignified gentleman, the only
unruffled person in town, was saying in a quiet voice, "Bring them into
my house."

Although this gentleman's house was only fourteen feet by twenty, it
had, since the beginning of the settlement, been used as a county
clerk's office, a post-office, and a court-house. Its owner, John
Francis Dufour, had been given most of the town's positions of trust.

The house filled with the principal actors in the play. The mob, who
could not see or hear what was happening, stood outside and yelled:
"Put 'em in jail! Give 'em the whipping-post!" The Indians stood in
sullen rage.

Doby had never seen a mob before. It made him think of Pontius Pilate,
and he was filled with worry.

The whipping-post was an old affair. The town was tired of it. It had
never done any business. But the jail was new. A court-house--a brick
one--and a jail--a log one--had been building through the year. The
court-house was not yet finished, but the jail was.

One offender had already been sentenced to the jail. No sooner had he
been put in at night than he began to whittle, and in the morning he
was gone. Now that they had another captive, civic pride demanded that
justice be satisfied in some way. His colonists looked to Dufour to do
this for them.

This man was famous for his sturdy common sense and that quality which
the early Hoosiers dubbed "gumption."

He immediately sent the harmful bottle of harmless wine back to the
unlucky officer, so that the boat might leave port at once. Part of the
mob followed the bottle. He turned the squaw over to three other squaws
with directions to take her home. Of course the whole tribe trailed
along to see this feat accomplished. Thus away went a second dangerous
group in quite another direction.

Then Judge Dufour said to the prisoner: "I will bind you over for
trial. In default of bail, you must be temporarily incarcerated."
Between two citizens sworn in for the purpose the prisoner shuffled
past Doby on his way to the jail. He was locked and double locked up.
He was a very satisfactory picture of a villain as he glowered through
the bars. This dramatic glimpse of a truly bad man satisfied the
remnant of the mob. The excitement died down.

But Doby himself was restless. He went to the spring and filled his
bucket. It was a good spring and most attractive to boys. For the two
famous Vevay brothers, Edward and George Cary Eggleston, who years
later wrote delightful stories of this part of Indiana and other
histories of their country, found as much fascination and beauty around
the hillside springs as Doby did.

Several times during the day he wandered back to the spring. At each
one he found himself taking a round-about way past the jail to get
another peep at the outlaw. He shuddered till his bucket rattled
when he recalled how this criminal had suddenly turned the friendly
villagers into a vindictive mob.

After supper he tried to explain his nervousness by saying: "This
moonlight gives me fidgets. I guess I'll run up to the spring again and
get us all a fresh drink before we go to bed. I'm not a bit sleepy."

"It's rather late for boys to be out," objected his mother.

"It is," agreed his father. "But 'tis such a bright night that I'll sit
here and watch you climb. I do not feel sleepy myself."

The open hillside had seemed inviting as Doby viewed it from the boat.
As he mounted higher and higher the perspective changed. The sheltering
home boat sank in lonesome distance. The shadows of the trellises
twisted grotesquely at his feet as if to twine about them. Calls of
"whip-poor-will" came mournfully from afar. The May night was turning
chill. The solitary path had lost its accustomed look. He began to
shiver.

"This isn't as pleasant as I thought 'twould be. I'll get the water and
hurry home," he resolved as he knelt at the spring. In the damp loam
where the spring dribbled in front of him were the prints of the feet
of one who had been there before him. They were fresh and distinct.
Born and bred near the frontier and raised to read its signs, he
understood the prints at a glance. But he bent nearer in the moonlight
to be sure he was not mistaken.

One was of a broken boot sole. The other was a moccasin impression.

There was nothing else.

He did some thinking. "This is odd. A white man wouldn't hop up on one
foot to drink. Neither would an Indian. And no one man would wear a
moccasin on his right foot and a boot on his left." Oh, wouldn't he?
Doby's memory jumped. The scarecrow on the wharf, the prisoner in the
jail, had just such feet.

He retreated from the spot as though the culprit himself stood in
the tracks. He was not thirsty any more. He told himself in quaking
thoughts: "Even if I didn't notice the prints this afternoon, they must
have been there. They can't be fresh, 'though they _do_ look so. The
man has been in jail for hours."

Perhaps so; but the boy could not drive himself back to the spring. The
moonlight only served to make the shadows blacker. They threatened him.
He seemed paralyzed where he stood. Nothing was real but the dread that
filled him. Even the earth and sky were changing hideously.

From the town came the cry of, "Fire! fire! fire!"

Bells clanged. Women screamed. Dogs howled. Men yelled for "help! help!
help!"

A red glare filled the valley. Smoke hid the moon.

"The jail is on fire! The prisoner will burn!"

The whole village was violently astir. Yet Doby could not move. He was
frozen.

A series of malicious chuckles, a burst of derisive laughter, wild
shouts of defiance echoed along the hillside. And the escaped
prisoner--the fire-bug--glad to find some one to vent his fury upon,
came plunging toward the boy.

The red eyes, the jagged teeth, the outstretched claws, in movement,
broke the spell upon him. He leaped aside to save himself. There was no
time to draw his knife. He flipped the empty bucket wrong side up, over
the drunkard's head.

Surprised and blinded, the man clutched and tore at the bail under his
chin. He had trouble in freeing himself. In that moment of respite Doby
flew down-hill like blowing tumbleweed. He sprang into the flatboat and
flung up the barricade.

But there was no danger. The prisoner--a prisoner no longer--did not
follow. He fled into the wilderness never to return.

John Francis Dufour directed the men in putting out the fire. He
promised them another jail in case another bad man came to town. He
reassured the women. He cuddled the frightened children. For a second
time that day he quieted his village.

Doby, still wide awake, stuck close to the boat and to his father.
No more running around at night! He thought these matters over. If
one small bottle of mildest wine had set a thousand folks into a
turmoil twice within twelve hours, what might not a big jug of genuine
"firewater" have done?

"I have decided," he murmured, when at last he became as quiet and as
drowsy as the village of Vevay, "that I'll take my stand with the men
who say, 'Down with the demon, RUM!'"



                                 VIII

                           GOIN' TO MEETIN'

               _Circuit-riding over the "Buffalo Trace"_


ON the flat top of the stump by the log-cabin door was a trencher of
soft soap. By its side stood a big gourd dipper of spring water. A
wash-trough, made from a five-foot section of oak-tree trunk which had
been burnt and scraped through the center to hollow it out like a tub,
was closer to the door, almost on its threshold.

This home-made tub was steaming with ten gallons or so of hot water. A
hand-woven towel hung over its edge.

Obadiah Holman sat on the rail fence and viewed these articles with
disfavor. He did not like the look of things.

It was not his cabin nor his stump. His family were visitors here. They
had floated down the Ohio River from Pittsburg to the settlements where
the Big Falls stretched across the stream. The rainbow mist above the
tumbled beauty of the rapids marked the end of the water road.

Boats could go no farther. So all were being unloaded, and a strong
party of emigrants were making up a wagon-train to take the trail
across Indiana to the fort at Vincennes.

Settlers in and around the Big Falls were eager to open their cabins to
these travelers.

New Albany was built below the Falls on the rich alluvial bottom-land,
and, alas! also within reach of the river freshets.

"She reminds me," Doby had thought at first sight of her, "of a pretty
girl shaking in her shoes for fear the water will come up and wet her
feet. About every other year she gets a soaking. When the river goes
down she keeps on shaking with chills 'n' fever from the ague vapors
that the floods leave behind. It is the price she has to pay for the
big crops the bottom-land gives her."

If Doby ever came to be seized with the dreaded chills 'n' fever--the
great scourge of all new countries--the one malady the pioneers were
sure to catch from the miasma of newly opened ground, he would never
again speak lightly of it.

When two settlers met, the most important greeting was, "Ketched the
agur yit?" The dismal head-shaking which the one who had had it gave,
struck such apprehension into the heart of the one who had not had it,
that he really could not enjoy the perfect health of the moment for the
dread of that future hour when "the shakes would git 'im sure."

The circuit-riding preachers who ministered to the souls of these river
people carried ample saddle-bags. In those saddle-bags was an endless
collection of "yarbs" and powders and bottles, which the preachers
carried to comfort the bodies of their hearers.

The pioneer doctor of divinity was "called" to preach, not by the
financial head of his congregation, but by the voice of the Lord. He
would not accept worldly money for spiritual service. But for the herbs
he gathered and brewed and the bitter concoctions he made, he expected
to be paid. On the sale of them he lived.

Some emigrants avoided the river. In the beautiful hills above the
falls, higher still than Jeffersonville, were tiny hamlets of Old World
folk, Irish, Swiss, German, and French, still wearing their native
peasant costumes.

All these places gave shelter and staple foods to the emigrants. In
return they accepted salt, tobacco, sugar, steel tools, and the small
luxuries of the river like packets of mail and newspapers and almanacs.

Doby liked the people. "But whenever we come to a town, then ma begins
to wash me," he sighed. "I don't see why. My hands are hardly dirty
at all. Brooks are good enough tubs for me. I do not need so much
soap. That towel is ma's. I know that towel whatever town I see it in.
'Tis so scratchy that it skins the curlicues in my ears." He eyed the
instruments of torture askance.

He had to draw on his stock of courage to prepare himself for the
ordeal by thinking, "I do want to go to meeting and I can't go unless
I'm washed according to ma's ideas."

So when the call came, "Dob-ee! Dob-ee! Time for a scrub!" he went
meekly to the operation.

Red and shining, his hair slicked down stylishly with bear's grease,
his best homespun suit on, Doby mounted a borrowed horse to sit behind
his mother, and formed one of a company who fared away to the grove
where the meeting was held.

His shoes were tied round his waist by a thong. They were ready to
put on when he came in sight of the meeting-place. Cobbled shoes of
leather were the most expensive luxury a pioneer boy could own. Neither
Doby nor any other backwoods fellow would think of wearing them if he
could possibly go barefoot or use his moccasins.

He and his mother were following a little procession of neighbors over
the very best thoroughfare in all that region, the "Buffalo Trace."

In the spring when the buffalo came up from the South to graze through
the summer on Northern plains, the great herds crossed the Ohio River
below the Big Falls. There were thousands and thousands of buffalo. It
took days and days for the long parade of them to pass the settlements.
Their countless hoofs beat out a path wide enough for the largest
wagons and hard enough to make a perfect road.

Riding the "Buffalo Trace" was the best of going.

"Although it is a new country and a strange horse, I feel safe on the
road to-day," said his mother, "for there is plenty of company. The
preacher rides around such a big circle of settlements that he cannot
get to any one place very often."

"When he does come," Doby observed, "it is the big event. Everybody
goes to hear him. But _I_ don't think there are many folks near us
just now. Some have dropped out of sight around the bend and there
isn't any one ahead of us."

For a moment the mother was uneasy. The "Trace" between the grim lines
of dark forests seemed suddenly a dreary lane. The distant murmur of
the Big Falls always trembling in the air was very like a growling
beast. She gave the nag a hasty whack and jounced along at livelier
gait.

"Now I can see horses ahead of us," began Doby in a loud tone.
"But"--and his voice sank to a whisper--"the men are not on them. How
odd their motions are! What _are_ they doing?"

The mother stopped their horse as suddenly as she had started it. She
backed into some elders and, peeping through the blossoms, she studied
the scene so far before them. She decided: "Those four men are up to
mischief. I know it--I am perfectly sure of it by the way they act.
They are sneaking away from something."

"They haven't seen us, but they are ready to make tracks. See 'em go!"
cried Doby, as the men sprang to saddle and fled at a gallop along the
"Trace" to the meeting-grounds.

The mother considered a moment. "Such young rowdies like to play pranks
on the preacher. They must have been doing something of that kind when
we first saw them at the forest edge of bushes. Perhaps they have
hidden his Bible. That is one of the things such jokers do. We will
follow their tracks into the undergrowth and get his Book back for him."

Doby did not fancy entering that unknown forest where more miscreants
might be lurking. But as his mother expected him to hold the flintlock
ready for any danger they might meet, there was nothing for him to do
but to swallow his doubts and to turn the horse in when they came to
the trampled spot.

More boldly than he felt, he peered about as they followed the line of
disturbed branches into the heart of the forest.

After a few rods, "O-o-oh!" murmured his mother, "o-o-oh!" with pity
and indignation in her tone.

Here was a jest! The best of all frontier tricks! The funniest thing a
practical joker could imagine!

In front of them, tied to a tree, was not the preacher's Bible, but the
preacher himself, bound and gagged and left alone.

The hour for his sermon was close at hand, yet here he was, silent
and helpless, a mile from the meeting. Young huskies of the border
considered it a fair game to bait the circuit-riders and to make it as
difficult as possible for them to reach their hearers. If one baffled
them and arrived at the appointed place on his circuit, they tried to
keep him from preaching by all sorts of traps.

Why not? they argued. He was a grown man. Let him take his chances in
work and play, just as they did themselves.

Doby leaped from the horse, whipped out his knife, and cut the thongs.

The preacher, as he found himself released, rolled his eyes in a frenzy
of excitement and exclaimed: "Behold! I prayed for help, and, lo! an
angel of the Lord with his shining sword hath freed me from the bondage
of sinners."

The boy blushed awkwardly at the idea of acting the part of an angel.
But privately he thought it not too much praise for his cherished
knife. "No big, long sword could have done as good a job of snipping
loose as this sharp stone knife did," he bragged to himself.

To the mother's words of sympathy and further offers of help the
preacher gave no heed. He cared nothing for his bodily hurts, nothing
for his humiliation, nothing for himself. "I am a shepherd in the
service of my Master. I must go to feed my lambs."

[Illustration: DOBY WHIPPED OUT HIS KNIFE AND CUT THE THONGS]


With immense nervous energy, even while they stood staring, he
retrieved his horse, which had been stampeded farther into the wood.
Then he fixed his rummaged saddle-bags, mounted, and galloped off,
singing a hymn so loudly and triumphantly that it echoed in their ears
like a battle-call.

"His name is Lorenzo Dow. He is not afraid of man or devil," said the
mother, half in praise, half in criticism of this great Methodist
preacher. "His manner is strange beyond belief; yet he sways all hearts
toward righteousness."

"He is a lively one. They must have sneaked up on him, four to one, to
get him," Doby guessed.

Mother and son hurried after him and came to the top of the next hill
in time to see him, at a mad run and yelling lustily, charge down upon
his late captors as they crossed the valley.

The huskies were taken all aback. There was something of witchcraft in
the way their prisoner appeared before them. Their minds were too slow
to form a plan to stop him. He whirled past them like a storm, went
over the next hill, and straightway was in the grove.

Doby and his mother were among the many to see the spare figure of the
circuit-riding preacher mount a stump in the grove and in ringing tones
proclaim the Church militant.

It was that perfect thing which comes in the easy times after
corn-planting, a May day of sunshine and balmy airs.

Boards for seats had been carried from a barn close by and people sat
under the new leaves within scent of the wild honeysuckle. Later in the
dry summer season these outdoor meetings would become camp-meetings of
a sort which lasted for a week at a time. Whole families would bring
enough household gear and food and shelter to enable them to live on
the spot for that length of time.

Church and prayer meetings would be going day and night under pressure
of religious revival. To-day was to be a foretaste of the form of
worship the summer-time was sure to bring.

Madcap young pioneers had ridden miles for the sake of a little
excitement. They meant to make the preacher furnish them with a
wrestling-match as well as a sermon.

Older citizens tried to prevent what seemed to them a sacrilegious
brawl. They were outnumbered by the mischief-makers.

Women hid in the barn and peeped through the cracks. "No place for
females 'til the tussle is over," quoth the men.

Doby hastily put on his almost forgotten shoes. If there was a fight he
wanted to see it. Nobody knew better than he did what a poor place for
bare toes a crowd of booted men can be.

The rowdy leader pulled off his 'coonskin cap and grinned at the
Methodist. "I learned one lesson from ye in the woods and on the road
to-day; in wits ye are smarter than I be. In muscle I kin down ye.
Right here on the buffaler waller I kin force ye to a fall."

Lorenzo Dow threw off his shad-bellied coat and his stock, girded up
his breeches, stepped into the smooth, hard ring of earth made by
wallowing buffaloes, and stood grimly ready for the attack.

Perhaps he was glad to fight. If he won, the news would fly as
though the bees had carried it. His cause would then win honor from
a successful bout and men would flock to the standard of a Church
unafraid. If he lost, he became a sufferer with the martyrs. And for
whom do more friends rise up than for the persecuted?

So he welcomed action. He would do anything and bear anything which
brought him and his message before the stripling who so much needed
the life of the Spirit. He seemed a gallant figure struggling against
huge odds.

But he was not so much to be pitied as Doby thought. For he was only
forty--not nearly so old as his adventurous life on two continents
had made him look. And from constant hard riding over bad roads every
muscle in him had taken on the spring of oak.

To wrestle in prayer for his people, to wrestle in set-to for his
Church, both were part of his day's work. He went at both with all his
might.

Amid wild cheers and wilder cries from the folks about
them the wrestler and the preacher clinched. They
strained--slipped--pulled--stamped--puffed--tore--in a cruel embrace.

Once the preacher's shoulders touched the dusty mat of the wallow. How
the huskies yelled! How the hidden women wailed!

Another struggle followed, more terrific and of longer duration. Doby
clapped for the preacher and shrieked and jumped about and enjoyed
himself disgracefully. Then before the gaping crowd the sweating,
desperate preacher tried a new grapple which he had learned in
England. Under the strain of this unexpected hold the confident youth
could not use all of his brawn to save himself. He went down--once
--twice--three times. There he was; so pinned that he could not rise.

"'Nough?" shouted the onlookers.

"'Nough," groaned the rowdy.

Then the victor, all tousled, stood again upon the stump, his hand on
the shoulder of the vanquished. In the silence which followed their
discovery of his prowess he began a funny story. At its quips the
audience burst into gales of laughter. He told another funny one, and
then another, with uproarious results.

Doby listened to every word, yet he could not tell how it happened
that presently the voice of Dow, rich and magnetic, held them all
entranced. He went from merriment to pathos. The men drew nearer. The
women stole out from the barn and joined his audience. Soon under his
kind and searching words the throng grew still. These simple folks were
touched to the heart. The preacher, now sure of their attention, rose
to inspired heights of oratory. He called and held them at his will.

He denounced their sins. They wept over their misdoings. They gave way
to hysterical wailings. They cowered on the ground in their remorse and
shook with the excitement in spasms called "jerks."

He promised forgiveness to those who truly repented. Over his pictures
of a better life they shouted aloud with joy. He gathered them into his
Father's fold like hungry lambs and fed them with His Word.

This was Doby's first plunge into the great wave of religious frenzy
which was sweeping over the whole country, leaving some extravagances,
but much lasting good behind it.

As the borrowed horse plodded on the homeward "Trace" and the Big Falls
resounded like a blessing in their ears, Doby, whose face now shone
with something brighter than soft soap and water, said to his mother in
a tone of high resolve: "I'm a-goin' to mind that preacher. I'm a-goin'
to keep the soul inside of me just as clean as clean can be!"



                                  IX

                             UNDER THE ELM

                 _The Building of a Mid-Western State_


A MAN sat on a horse. A boy hung on behind the man. And the horse
jounced along the trail toward the stone State House at Corydon.

Corydon was near the center of population in Indiana, and for that
reason had been made the capital.

Two months before this, in April, 1816, James Madison, President of the
United States, had signed an Enabling Act which allowed the people of
Indiana Territory to vote for delegates to represent them in writing
out a State constitution and in arranging a form of State government.

The delegates had been selected at a popular election. And now, every
morning in this fine June weather, they were meeting at the very new
State House--that proud stone house--in constitutional convention for
the yet newer State, at the sound of the newest possible bell.

Obadiah Holman settled himself on the sharp bones of the old nag's back
and said to his father: "Don't you suppose, pa, that it would be a
good plan for us to settle in this new State? We are helping with the
constitution all we can, and it makes me feel just as though I wanted
to be a Hoosier!"

The emigrant-train which was bearing the Holmans' fortunes had left the
"river beautiful" far behind and was following a trail "blazed" through
a land even more charming than the water path had been.

A big canvas-covered wagon had taken the place of the flatboat. Two
oxen tugged the wagon. A horse and a cow ambled behind it. Buckets and
tools swung rattling under the bed, clothing dangled at the sides. On
the tailgate was spread, three times a day, the jolly good meals that
pioneer mothers knew how to cook.

The wagons of the train, all very much alike, kept close together, one
behind the other, through the shadowy, sweet-smelling forest. The men
walked beside the animals, viewing the land with the inquiring eyes
of prospective settlers in this happy Hoosier State where even the
Indians and wild beasts were less dangerous than elsewhere.

The train had stopped short at Corydon and gone into camp by the
wayside, because the men who formed it wanted to stay through the
convention and see what happened. As builders of the new West, they
wanted to take lessons from these sturdy Hoosiers who were so seriously
bent on making Indiana a good State.

"You see, Doby," explained Mr. Holman, "the reason they discuss
questions day after day is because they want to find the very best
legal provisions that will give the new State civil and religious
liberty, protect the rights of every class, help free education, forbid
slavery, take care of the poor, keep down rum, and punish lawbreakers."

At the word "lawbreakers" Doby thought of his own troubles in
connection with Corydon and the convention, and he began to snuffle
audibly.

"Don't cry," said his father, kindly; "this business of an arrest and a
trial is not your fault."

The son dried his eyes by rubbing them across the ringed tail which
dangled in front of him from the 'coonskin cap on his father's head, as
the horse tried to trot.

Doby did not own a handkerchief. Few pioneer boys did. When he wanted
a rag to clean a gun, or to scrub a rabbit-trap, or to bind a wounded
knee, or to do any of the things a boy needs a handkerchief for, he had
to tear a piece from his homespun shirt or use some other substitute.

At this moment the 'coon's tail was the handy thing.

"I'm not cry--cry--cry--ing," he choked. "I'm just thinking how
sor--sor--sor--ry I am because it is my knife that makes the
trial--be--cause--cause the cobbler's son is such a bad boy that he had
to be arrested."

Now the cobbler was a hunched-back dwarf who went from one settler's
homestead to another, making shoes for each family. He was a useful
guest in the cabins. Everybody liked him. He was as honest as honest
could be. But the cobbler's son--a hulking fellow--"took after" his
"ma's folks" and was "light-fingered."

The homely treasures of the wagon-train had tempted him. While
following his father around he had looted it of small trinkets.

For his father's sake, Corydon had already forgiven him much petty
thieving among his townspeople; but when he robbed the town's guests
under the assembled eyes of the greatest lawyers in the whole region
it seemed like a defiance of the new State, and of the convention and
of the constitution as well.

So it was resolved to make an example of this unruly citizen; to
arrest, try, and punish him by a due process of law during a recess of
the convention.

And Doby, because his knife was the most important thing stolen, was
the chief witness against him.

To change the unhappy current of the boy's thoughts, his father said:
"It will be hot in the State House to-day. I hope they will move the
session out of doors under that big elm close by. They have talked of
doing that as a matter of comfort," and Mr. Holman fanned himself with
his fur cap.

"To-day they are doing it," Doby declared as they came in sight of the
giant elm with its spread of some hundred and fifty feet of grateful
shade.

There the delegates were sitting on chairs, boxes, boards, and stumps,
and going on most comfortably with the work in hand. And there Doby,
pressed into service for the refreshment of the convention, bore a
bucket of spring water and a gourd, from one distinguished politician
to another, serving the ones who wanted a drink, and looking into
their strong faces, listening to their debates, and watching for the
important decisions.

These delegates had come together from all parts of the new State. And
since there were no turnpikes nor plank roads nor canals any place in
the State, some were splattered with the mire of swampy valleys, some
were dusty from the windy hilltops, some were in worn hunting garb, and
some had on their farming clothes of homespun. Others had been able to
pick their way over better trails and by a process of seeming magic
were able to bloom out all "dressed up" for the occasion.

Such lucky ones wore blue-cloth coats with brass buttons and long
tails, buff "small clothes" which were something like a boy's "short
pants," fine white ruffled linen shirts with "stocks," hand-knitted
silk stockings, low shoes, huge beaver hats, and although it was
beginning to go out of fashion, those who had "fine heads of hair"
wore a queue much beribboned. Also they carried immense canes. They
flourished gold watches almost as large and nearly as noisy as
alarm-clocks.

Each expected to be addressed as "squire." And every one of them was
so called; and with the greatest respect, too, since nearly every one
of them had earned this title. But then, the plainly clothed delegates
were also called "squire," and for the same reason--they had earned it;
and the Hoosiers were quick to give honestly deserved honors.

Yet the men in "smart" attire were exactly like the ones in every-day
garments in this one thing--they were bent on doing their work on the
constitution the way it ought to be done. It was a sacred trust to them.

For this constitution of the State had to lay down the principles which
all future laws were to follow. It outlined the different departments
and decided upon the duties of each one. In a system of representative
government there must be a legislative department composed of men
elected to make the laws, an executive department having control of
troops and police officers whose business it is to enforce the laws,
and a judicial department made up of courts which are meant to secure
justice for all persons under the laws.

Then there must be State officers. Doby counted them on his fingers to
be sure that he remembered them, for he was in a hurry to grow up and
vote. And after he had watched these delegates take such pains with the
constitution, he made up his mind that he should always vote for the
best man and keep an eye on him to see that he carried out his oath of
office.

On his right hand were, after the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor:
Thumb--Secretary of State, who puts the big seal on papers;
forefinger--Auditor of State, who keeps the accounts; middle
finger--Treasurer of State, who takes care of the money; ring
finger--Attorney-General, who is lawyer for the Commonwealth; little
finger--Geologist, who knows where the good farm-lands are.

On his left hand were: Superintendent of State Schools; Librarian
of State Books; clerk of Supreme Court, who keeps records; clerk of
decisions, who publishes them; and a statistician whose official name
Doby could not pronounce, but whom he regarded as the wisest man of
all since his head was full of figures on every possible subject and
he could tell any number, from millions down to one-seventeenth of
one-nineteenth per cent. of any articles that could be counted.

Besides these, there were enough boards and committees and various
minor offices to have numbered all his toes.

Late in the afternoon the convention adjourned. Court sat. The case of
the cobbler's son was called. A stump was spread with the tools of
the law. There was a big family Bible for taking the oath, a gourd of
home-made poke-berry ink, goose-quills for pens, and a rare sheet or
two of paper.

At one side was a magpie nest of small, shining articles--silver spoons
and thimbles, gold beads and pewter cups, some pipes and a snuffer.
Brave among them was a knife in a "Long Hunter's" sheath--Doby's knife.

How the boy did gloat over that knife!

But he had to let it lie and go to take his place on a log with the
other witnesses.

"'Tis far and away the best thing there," thought he as the clerk of
the court picked up the leather sheath, took out the curious stone
knife, examined it with interest, tried its edge, and then began to
sharpen a goose-quill pen-point with it. "I'll keep an eye on it," the
nervous owner decided.

A bailiff drummed on the log with a stone until Doby had to shake his
ears as though he had been in swimming. This stone gavel called the
court to order. A curious crowd of country people, of townspeople, and
of delegates gathered under the elm.

Jonathan Jennings, president of the constitutional convention,
afterward first Governor of Indiana, and a member of Congress, acting
as local or associate judge, sat upon the bench, which in this case was
a sturdy, literal bench, it having been borrowed from under the tubs in
a neighbor's wash-house.

William Hendricks, afterward third Governor of Indiana and later
Senator from Indiana, who was secretary of the convention, became clerk
of this local court, by appointment, _pro tem_.

Both of these empire-builders gave to the case of Doby's old knife the
same formal attention that the cause of justice should always command
even in the smallest courts.

Jonathan Jennings was young, not much over thirty, and as rosy and
blond as Doby himself. His manner was grave and kind as he said: "The
court is ready to try the case of the State of Indiana versus Jerry
Cobbler. Is the State ready?"

Answer: "It is."

"Is the defendant ready?"

Answer: "He is."

"Then let the case proceed."

The genial clerk, Hendricks, for many years probably the most popular
man in Indiana, began, "If it please your Honor, I shall read the
information." And then went on to do so, rolling off big words in a
sonorous voice, declaring that "'the aforesaid Jerry Cobbler, in the
State of Indiana, on the twenty-fifth day of June, 1816, at the town of
Corydon, did then and there take and carry away a certain stone knife,
said stone knife being then and there the personal goods of one Obadiah
Holman, with the felonious intent then and there to deprive the said
Obadiah Holman thereof, against the peace and dignity of the State of
Indiana.'"

"Guilty or not guilty?"

"Not guilty."

Thereupon the witnesses were sworn to testify to the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth.

All eyes turned on Doby. He was seized by bashfulness and by the
bailiff. Between the two he went through his examination with small
credit to himself. He was glad to get back to his seat. He listened to
the other witnesses, then to the counsel for the defense, and then to
the prosecutor again. It was hard for him to follow the arraignment and
the defendant's plea.

"I can see the tracks of a badger better than I can the steps of the
law. What's the use of all this talk?" he thought. "Everybody knows
that Jerry stole the stuff even if he did say 'Not guilty.' They ought
to take it from him, hand it to the owners, give him a lickin' and get
back home to supper."

The written law of a State requires that a trial by judge shall go
through a certain legal form; the unwritten law of the people of a
State demands that a trial shall be dramatic and entertaining. Only
thus can the people's power and the force of their justice be shown to
them as upon a stage. So this trial had followed the usual course.

The clerk had read the information. The prosecutor had made his
accusation. Counsel for defense stood with the prisoner. Witnesses had
testified against and for him. Upon the evidence, the judge decided the
case in accordance with the law in the matter.

The verdict was against the cobbler's son. He was the thief beyond
doubt and he was pronounced "Guilty!"

Then came the sentence.

"You must pay a fine of twelve and one-half cents," decided the judge.

"'Ain't got 'n' money," answered the prisoner.

"Perhaps your friends can pay it for you," suggested his attorney.

"'Ain't got 'n' friends," said the prisoner, with perfect truth.

"The cobbler has friends," murmured the crowd.

Alas! Most of the cobbler's friends were as poor as himself. Those who
were well-to-do did not like to part with real money for so undeserving
a cause. In those days when most debts were paid by produce and
business was done by barter, twelve and a half cents was no small sum.
No one offered to pay the fine.

Then Judge Jennings said, "According to the law, if you cannot pay the
fine, you must go to jail."

Whereupon the guilty one drawled, "'Ain't got 'n' jail." This also was
true.

The one building in town which had a few times been officially dubbed a
jail, was now, in the stress of the emergency of a crowded convention
time, turned into a temporary boardinghouse. In other words, the jail
was full of statesmen!

There was no room in it for Jerry.

The crowd stirred. Some showed pride in this state of affairs; some
were plainly disgusted; others amused. Doby didn't know what to think.

Then said the judge to Jerry, "I may release you on your own
cognizance."

"'Ain't got 'n' cone-ans," objected the stupid Jerry.

The judge explained: "That means the sentence is suspended. You may be
a free man as long as you do not steal any more."

Then the judge gave to his audience a short lecture on honest
citizenship and loyalty to the new State. It was so simple that Doby
understood its every word, and so earnest that it brought the ready
tears to his eyes as he stood close beside the judge, looking up at him.

The court adjourned. Day was closing. Victims of the robberies hastened
to prove their properties. They must get back to the wagons by
milking-time.

The trial was over. Every one was satisfied--except Doby.

"Don't cry," said his father, impatiently this time, to the boy behind
him on the homeward-bound horse.

"I want my knife!" wailed Doby.

His father pulled up short. "We have taken up hours of valuable time!
We have stopped the making of a State to get it for you! What more do
you want?"

"I--want--my--knife!"

"Hav'n't you got your knife?"

"No!"

"Who has it?" demanded his father.

"_He_ has," stuttered Doby. "_He_ has. He will come past this
cross-trail in a few minutes. He said he was going home this way. Can't
we wait and ask him for it?"

"Who?" cried his father. "Ask whom?"

"Him," gulped Doby. "Him. I don't want anybody to arrest him. I love
him."

Bewildered, Mr. Holman stared. "What do you mean?"

Doby swallowed hard. He began again: "The clerk picked up my knife
and sharpened a goose-quill into a pen-point. Then he gave the knife
to the judge. The judge cut a pen for himself. Then he put the knife
in his pocket while he was talking to the clerk. My knife is--in--the
judge's--pocket--this--minute!"

Mr. Holman protested: "But, Doby, you went to the judge and asked him
for it. I saw you do that."

"Yes, I told him to please give me what he had in his pocket. And he
put his hand in his pocket to get it for me as he was telling me not to
feel so sorry about the trial. He said I must not cry about it. Then
he pulled his handkerchief instead of my knife from his pocket, and he
wiped my eyes and he gave me the handkerchief, and he patted me on the
head and went away--" Here poor Doby broke down completely and used
the Jennings linen freely.

Mr. Holman was greatly amused to find that the absent-minded judge had
given the boy the handkerchief which was needed in place of the knife
which was wanted.

How heartily the people's idol--the adored Jonathan Jennings--the great
man of the convention--would laugh at his own mistake! How quickly he
would "trade back" the knife for the handkerchief, and how happily
Doby's tears over the loss of his property would be changed to smiles
over its recovery!

The chuckling father and the weeping son reined up beside the trail.

Mr. Holman said to Doby: "I can see the judge coming now. We will
stop him. You must speak to him yourself. It will please his sense of
justice to have you demand reparation because you feel sure of his
kindness. When he gives you the knife he will give you his affection
with it. He will be your friend for life."



                                   X

                          THE SPELLING-MATCH

                     _The Carving of a Great Name_


"I WONDER who that other boy is," and Obadiah Holman stared at a slim
little fellow, dark and serious-looking, who was having hard work to
keep step with his long-legged father.

A group of men and boys were trudging through the big woods in Spencer
County, Indiana.

Several movers from Kentucky had fallen in with the wagon-train of
emigrants to which the Holman boy's father belonged, and together the
men of both companies were looking over a section of land.

"Out of breath, Doby?" asked Mr. Holman.

Doby _was_ out of breath, so he nodded.

His father suggested: "You boys had better sit down on a log and wait
'til we go to the crown of the hill and back. It is more than a mile
and the walking is rough."

Most of the home-seekers were pleased with this place. It offered them
the finest of soil. The hardwood trees were splendid. The springs were
pure. Every tumbling brook suggested water-power to turn their mills.
There were few dangerous beasts and no unfriendly Indians.

Wild fruits and berries and nuts, something delicious to eat for almost
every month in the year, were growing on the hillsides. Game was
plentiful. The climate was mild. The soil was fertile and very deep.

The father of the little boy said: "The titles to the lands in this
State are made out by honest officials. That is a very important
matter."

All the men wagged their heads over the misfortunes of settlers who
were careless about securing the proper officers to record their farms.
Hundreds of early homes were lost through legal mistakes.

"If a settler once takes up his land and pays for it, Indiana protects
his right to the homestead he has earned," Mr. Holman agreed. But he
made this strong objection to the site. "I'm not over-fond of chopping
down whole forests of stout oaks, nor of burning them. I'd rather get a
section where Nature has done some of the clearing."

The father of the little boy, who was also dark and serious-looking,
considered the spot an ideal one. He said: "I do not mind the work of
felling trees. My wife loves the woods. She would be safe and happy
here. I want to get her away from the Indian war-paths and the panther
region. I could build a half-face cabin here and bring my family this
fall. We could be comfortable all winter in a snug camp. By spring I'd
have a clearing made."

"Land can be bought for about two dollars and a half an acre; one third
down, one third next year, and the last third the next," Mr. Holman
told him.

He answered, "Another fine thing about this State is the provision
for school land in every township." He smiled. "I like that plan.
Schools bring the better class of folks. They make a neighborhood
intelligent. Until a schoolhouse can be built in this township, lessons
are being taught in one of the cabins, I've heard. We are invited to a
spelling-match there to-night. Everybody is," and he looked whimsically
at his small son and smiled.

The little boy returned the smile with a sudden lightening of his
serious childish face, and watched his father with happy eyes as the
tall figure strode away with the other men.

Then the two boys on the log edged nearer and nearer to each other.
Doby was thinking of the stranger: "He is tall, but I don't believe he
is more than eight years old. I'd just as soon play with a nice small
chap if there are no big fellows around." So he grinned cheerfully at
his companion.

Shyly the little boy moved closer yet.

"It will be easy to like him," Doby decided. "He is so friendly."

Doby could not think of anything to say. He pulled out his stone knife
and fell to carving his initials on the beech log.

The little boy gazed at Doby's queer knife. (Boys always noticed
that knife. It was the owner's letter of introduction to all chance
acquaintances.) Then he opened his own shabby pocket-knife and neatly
cut the date--1816--below the bold O H.

Then Doby promptly cut all the figures 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0 below the
date.

The little boy valiantly accepted the challenge and started to make the
whole alphabet in capitals. This was a big task, but he slashed away
at it and finally the letters stood in proper order. He had not missed
one. He glowed with interest in his work.

"Just like he had a lighted candle inside of him," thought Doby, full
of admiration for the youthful student. "I'll have to take the dare."
So he followed, rather laboriously, with the curlicued small letters.
This took a long time. They, too, were correct. Upon this, both boys
broke into satisfied laughter and began to talk.

"Do you know how to spell?" asked Doby.

"Every word in my book," answered the little boy, "beginning at the
front or beginning at the back, I can spell 'em all." Then he added,
honestly: "I can't always remember the order the big words come in.
Page twelve is the hard page. My mother drills me on that page every
day."

Now they _were_ friends! Doby knew in a flash how the little boy lived
and how he thought. He exclaimed, "That is the way _my_ mother does!"
And the two boys, one from New England, one from Kentucky, because
their mothers were alike, could look into each other's heart with
perfect understanding.

Doby said: "The last page in my speller is the hard one. Every day ma
teaches me those words and every night I forget 'em."

The little boy pursed his mouth and shook his head as one who had also
gone through this troublesome forgetting. "I can read Æsop's fables,"
he said.

"I have a New England primer," began Doby, painstakingly quoting from
its title-page:

                                 "The
                          New England Primer
                               Improved
                 For the more easy attaining the true
                          Reading of English
                          To which is added,
                       The Assembly of Divines,
                           and Mr. Cotton's
                               Catechism
                      Boston: Printed and Sold by
                   S. Adams, in Queen-street. 1762.

Have you got one?"

The little boy shook his head.

"You ought to have," was Doby's dogmatic decision, "because for ever
so many years it has been _the_ most important lesson-book for schools
and families. A million boys have studied it and another million grown
folks have bought it, and there have been another million besides
those."

The little boy was much impressed by these large numbers which Doby
knew were true.

"It says:

    "Thy life to mend
    This Book attend;

and

    An idle Fool
    Is whipt at school;

and

    My Book and Heart
    Shall never part.

"If I had a fresh-cut pine slab, I could show you how some of it is
printed. A slab is a nice slate to scratch verses on--"

The little boy interrupted with this discovery of his own: "Our big
wooden shovel is thick. I write on it with a burnt stick. When it is
all covered with words, I whittle the writing off in thin shavings.
Then I write on the clean wood again."

"That's a bright idea," praised Doby. "I'll try it some time." He
carved on the beech:

    Zaccheus he
    did climb the Tree,
    his Lord to see.

The little boy examined it, doubtfully. "Is that poetry?" he asked.

"Yes, indeed," affirmed Doby, pointing out the rhymes. "And that bunch
of wavy lines at the bottom are the sycamore-tree that he climbed--in
the Bible story, you know."

The little boy _did_ know the Bible story. He showed plainly that he
was a friend and acquaintance of the famous Zaccheus. But his eyes
traveled from Doby's copy of the primer's illustration to a living
sycamore down by the brook and the doubt in them deepened.

Doby hastened to explain: "That's what they call art. I have noticed
that poetry and art are sometimes different from the way we might
expect them to be. We can't always understand them."

Oh, boys of long ago!

Oh, queer old rhymes and drawings!

If Doby could have rolled over giggling on the log and tried to sing
Riley's song of the "Raggedy Man and 'Lisabuth Ann," or if the little
Kentuckian could have stuck up his hair in pretended fright, made his
eyes round and scary, and begun to recite,

  An' gobble'uns'll git you
    Ef you
      Don't
        Watch
          Out--

how easily they might have understood such poetry and what fun they
might have had!

Or if they could have seen the art of Adams, or Stark, or Steele, or
Bundy, whose canvases hold sycamores with mottled bark glistening in
the sunshine, broad leaves rustling in the breeze, white roots wading
in the creek, the very buttons a-dance with joy, they would have
wanted, as every boy does nowadays, to straightway try to climb them!

"Spelling--well--spelling has to be exactly right or it won't do at
all," announced Doby, returning to a safe subject.

At this the little boy brightened. He could understand spelling.

As the men returned and the group began to separate, the little boy
said to Doby, "I hav'n't any candle to bring to help light the cabin
for the spelling-match to-night."

"Come anyway," urged Doby. "Ma and pa and I are going. We hav'n't any
candles to take. Plenty of other people will bring them."

But strangely enough, not one of those who gathered at the friendly
settler's cabin after chore-time had remembered to bring the promised
candles.

The settler's wife was the schoolma'am. Besides teaching lessons to
other people's boys and girls, and mothering her own eight children,
and helping her husband, she was a gardener, a florist, a beekeeper,
and a chicken-fancier. She was a spinner, a weaver, a seamstress, a
milliner, a tanner, a laundress, a dairy-maid, a cook, and a general
"handy man."

In attending to the demands of these various trades she had temporarily
left out candle-making. She had trusted to her neighbors to help, and
they had failed her.

The first ordinance for the rule of the Northwest Territory had said
that, "religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to a good
government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of
education shall forever be encouraged."

The laws of the new State of Indiana said the same thing. When a county
was surveyed by the government's orders, it was divided into townships,
each containing six square miles, or "sections," numbered from one up
to thirty-six. Lot 16 in each township was reserved for school purposes.

Until the near-by settlers could build a schoolhouse on this land, the
children of that neighborhood had to be taught in their own homes, or
the homes of some one of them. If money couldn't be raised to pay a
teacher, the pioneer youngsters had to memorize their letters, had to
learn to spell and to read the story of Noah and his ark, from fathers,
mothers, and circuit-riding preachers.

The hearth of the settler's cabin became the altar where parents
struggled to keep alive the flame of desire for better things, until
the schoolhouse could be built. To them the little log temple on Lot 16
meant the hope of progress.

Such women as this teacher-mother were not to be dismayed by a small
failure like the absence of candles to light her way.

How could she "give out" words with nothing but moonlight to show her
the printed page?

Doby was watching her. He was fond of sociability, and any party,
'specially a spelling-party, is better if it can be seen.

Was there any way in which a boy could help her?

He grasped his new friend, the little boy from Kentucky. He whispered
excitedly to him. The little boy, timid at first, soon entered into
Doby's plan. Together they sidled up to her and secretly got her ear.

She was interested and pleased. She praised their scheme. "Bright as a
button," she considered it.

In the settler's dooryard, with the full July moon shining down upon
them, the guests formed two opposing lines of a dozen or so of people
on each "side," and made ready for the spelling-match.

'Twas "light as day" they all declared; an idle hour for a bit of fun
after a hard day's work.

In the deep shadow of the door-jamb, where no one could see him, stood
the little boy from Kentucky. When it was time to begin he shut his
eyes and, forgetting everything else, he looked into the book of his
trained memory.

Beginning at top of the left-hand column on page one, he pronounced
aloud, in a firm childish treble, all the words, one after another, in
that column.

The two lines, or "sides," of guests, as they had been "chosen up" by
their leaders, "took turns," one person at a time, in spelling the
words as the little boy gave them out.

The schoolma'am acted as judge. She decided, "C'rect," if the speller
got his word right. "Next," she called, if the wrong letters were used.

Beginning at the second column, the little boy pronounced its words in
the same way; then he took the third column; then the fourth. The ones
who missed the words he gave were "spelled down" and had to take their
seats. Slowly the stools and stumps in the yard filled with faulty
scholars.

The little boy's thoughts turned the leaf with as much certainty as
though he held a printed book in his hand. He began again on page two
at the upper left-hand column and went down it; began on column two and
finished that; began on column three--how easy it was!

How often and often and often had he and his mother gone over and over
these same old words, laughing because he could spell them with the
book upside down or with the book shut!

Wouldn't she be happy when he told her how useful a thing her teachings
had proved to be! Her love and her pride inspired him to do his best.
And wasn't he glad that his father was sitting on the door-step, ready
to encourage him if he got scared!

He kept on pronouncing. Page three went blithely for him and so did
page four. Then came five--six--seven; word after word column after
column.

The boy stood to it bravely, but the spellers were giving out. Three
went down on "phthis-icky" and four on "Ticdouloureux."

Those who remained sharpened their wits and went at the words as though
they were splitting rails.

Page after page they conquered. But "asafoetida" was too much for
them. Even the schoolma'am wanted two _f's_ in it. She found it hard to
give one of them up at the command of a little boy. But he was positive
on the subject of one _f_ and the crowd stood with him through perfect
faith in his ultimatum. She took her seat. At this the match was over.
Every one was spelled down.

The sole survivor was the little boy from Kentucky, who stole away with
Doby. He did not stay for the praise the spellers wanted to give him.

Doby thought, "I s'pose he will be all puffed up about himself."

But it was a humble little boy who confessed to Doby: "When I got to
page twelve, I couldn't remember--just could _not_ remember what comes
after 'potentialities' and 'incomprehensibility' except 'asafoetida.'
If they had spelled that word--that 'asafoetida'--I could not have
told them the next word. _I did not know what it was._"

Doby was appalled, as well he might be, by this narrow escape. What
if they had failed? That their plan had ended fortunately moved him
to say, earnestly: "I like you. I am going to give you my New England
primer to remember me by. It's got pictures in it. I don't need it
any more. I'll put my name on the back cover, then you can always see
who gave it to you. The schoolma'am loaned me this lead on purpose so
we can do good printing." And he set down primly the letters, OBADIAH
HOLMAN.

"Now," he continued, passing over the lead, "you can have your name in
the front to show that it is your book."

Smiling happily at the giver and the gift, the little boy from
Kentucky, who was soon to become a Hoosier, carefully wrote his name.
Doby, straining his eyes in the moonlight, looked over his shoulder and
read the words, ABRAHAM LINCOLN.



                                  XI

                            A PIONEER PUPPY

              _A Wagon-train Besieged by Fire and Wolves_


"SMOKE!" cried Obadiah Holman. "Smoke!" The men of the wagon-train drew
together anxiously. They, too, had smelled smoke. But no one of them
had wanted to say so.

Now they all agreed, "Yes, Doby," and nodded. Their eyes were on the
horizon.

It was near the end of a hot day in July and quite time to go into camp
for the night.

The marsh-grass bottoms of a network of creeks had so withered in a
long "dry spell," that their green plants had become like tinder.
The emigrants were afraid to stop or to make supper fires in such a
dangerous spot.

One spark might set the whole wide bottom ablaze.

No wonder then that they moved along as rapidly as they could and gazed
at one another in quick alarm at the coming of an acrid current of air.

While they debated what to do the breeze increased. Smoke-clouds
tumbled in the northwest. A droning like the hum of distant bees came
to their ears.

"Doby, help the men to start fires to the south of us in the path of
the wind," cried his father, as part of the folks of the train ran
forward to light the grass. The only defense they could muster was
their plan to fight fire with fire.

It flamed up. The wicked little tongues noisily licked the ground brown
and bare as the now strong wind blew the flames away from the wagons.

Other men were violently busy trying to hurry on to this barren ground
the oxen who pulled the wagons, and the horses and cows which followed
them.

The ashes were hot to their feet, stifling to their nostrils. The
utmost urging was necessary to force them over the burned acres.

Women and children ran along, screaming with fear and constantly
stopping to beat one another's garments where the embers had ignited
them.

The wagons and their utensils rattled and banged. Cattle lowed. Horses
neighed. Men struggled to keep up a semblance of order and to control
the animals.

"Whenever there is a panic I must try to keep sensible," thought Doby
as he helped steadily at the teams where he was most needed.

From the north they could now see the awful wall of red and black
rushing after them as they fled.

In the bedlam of the burned district, between the two great blazing
waves, they hung to their animals, covering them and their own bodies
with woolen blankets and skirts and coats. They endured with fortitude
what they could not remedy.

Doby sat on the yoke between his oxen, for his moccasined feet could
not bear the smoldering ground. He tried to quiet the beasts as he
listened to the cries of birds above him and the plaints of small,
scurrying creatures of the thickets. Deer and wild pigs galloped past
without noticing the wagon-train, so wildly were they driven by fear of
the coming fire.

The emigrants had managed to get many rods into their charred oasis.
In the midst of their suspense the fire which was coming toward them
met the district that had already burned, and died down suddenly for
lack of fuel. The blaze running from them had leaped into a triangle
between two flowing creeks and quenched itself.

The woods on the bluffs had not caught. The danger had passed as
quickly as it had come. In the sooty, half-strangled train no serious
harm was done.

After a scrambled supper where they stood, most of the emigrants sank
to exhausted sleep under doubled sentries. But wakeful Doby sat on a
tail-gate and viewed the smoking, blackened landscape with misery in
his heart.

He shut his eyes and tried to dream of his future home in Vincennes,
to cheer himself with pictures of his favorite heroes. There was the
gallant Spaniard, Francis Vigo, in doublet and high boots, in plumed
hat and sword, with his following of half-wild "voyageurs" and traders
at his heels. There was Father Gibault, the French Jesuit, in black
cassock and cap, rallying his willing parishioners to their country's
defense. Best of all, there was George Rogers Clark, the frontiersman,
in buckskin, whose trained army of fighting patriots inspired both of
the other leaders to the conquest of Vincennes and the saving of the
Northwest Territory to the Union of States.

These pictures of his imagination would not stay with him. There was
too much smoke in his eyes and too many blisters on his feet, so he
gave himself up to woe and sighed aloud. He did not know that the sons
of the early settlers must always be a bold and fearless lot. Such
facts about himself had never reached him.

His conscience--that little candle of his soul--was burning low. He
tried to resolve to forget his troubles and to show a cheerful face to
the wagon-train, but his better thoughts ended in another groan.

The dismal sound was echoed from the wagon-wheels beneath him. He
could not believe his ears, for this was not an echoing place. He was
silenced by surprise, but the echo continued. It crept toward the
tail-gate--a sobbing breath--and a clumsy little animal fell at his
feet.

"Oh!" cried Doby. "Oh, you poor puppy! Where did you come from?"

He picked up the mangled and bony brute. At first it fought him off as
though whatever perils had brought it to this wretched plight had made
it afraid of both foes and friends.

On the instant Doby forgot his own grievances. He snuggled the wanderer
against his wampus and crawled into the wagon with him, eager to apply
first aid to the case.

He rubbed the cinders out of its hair. He washed the sores and greased
the cuts. With his handy knife he shaped bandages and tied up the
wounds. He gave it milk. It moaned with pain and feebly snapped at the
fingers which tended it. But, after a while, warm and dry and fed, it
cowered in a shawl on his lap and whimpered itself to sleep.

"May I have it for mine?" was the world-old demand of the boy to his
parents.

"I think you will be obliged to keep it for a time," answered his
father, full of pity for the tiny stray. His mother smiled and set out
another cup of milk.

"I would like to know where it came from," mused the boy. "It must have
been lost in the fire."

His father and mother looked at each other, but did not speak. Why
should they suggest to him that some other wagon-train might have been
overtaken by the fire and this little creature be one of the victims of
a terrible disaster?

It kept him busy. Although it could not have been more than six weeks
old, its unlucky adventures had already rather spoiled its disposition.
In return for kindness it often gave bites and snarls.

"It doesn't love back the way I thought a pup would do," said Doby
next day, sucking some ugly nips on his thumb as they trailed along.
"When it gets old enough to stand solid on its legs, I guess it will be
about the fiercest dog of its size in the State."

With this pet to care for and to teach, in addition to his chores for
the wagon, Doby could bustle about with some appearance of forgetting
their precarious life.

For until the drought should be broken and the sky drop rain to renew
the springs and cool the bottoms, each hour became more fraught with
danger from the wild.

From the black edges of the moonless nights green eyes glared at the
fires of the emigrants. Panthers wailed from the bluff in long shrieks,
like frightened children--a sound that chilled the blood of every one
in the train.

Wolves howled in the daytime--there is no sound more menacing--and
dread hung over the travelers.

So the queer little puppy, who took itself so seriously in spite of the
ridiculous look of its wabbly legs and mangled ears, was a source of
interest and diversion to the whole company.

When it heard a wolf howl it quickly got to its feet, raised what
bristles it had, and answered shrilly, pacing back and forth under the
canvas top of the wagon where the boy kept it fastened.

"It wants to get out and fight 'em," cried Doby, proudly. "It wants to
eat 'em up. See how eager it looks!"

On the second night of its stay in their wagon-bed it won their
gratitude. By its yelping and its scratching at the canvas it sounded
the alarm, "Wolf at the door!"

Even after Mr. Holman had caught up his rifle to drive at the wolf,
which was by that time quite out of range, the adopted puppy rushed
about the wagon-floor in an ecstasy of usefulness and slept no more
that night.

Through the depressing, unfriendly land which the flames had desolated,
women and children huddled timidly in the wagons, men doubly armed
walked close to their domestic animals for fear of a stampede, scouts
forged ahead and sentries brought up the rear. Dust, heat, distant
puffs of smoke, dried-out or muddy watercourses, all told of a region
suffering in an untoward season and of beasts uncomfortable and
dangerous.

Their train was followed, not by a pack as they sometimes feared it
might be, but by one of those lone gray timber wolves, whose age or
ferocity--or something--finds satisfaction in nothing but the silent
stalk and the solitary kill.

At last things came to such a pass, at last the lone wolf--it was a
gaunt she-wolf--lurked so near, that panic seized the hearts of the
emigrants. For no rifle could hit her. Like the horrid werewolf, in
whom some of the superstitious travelers still believed, no bullet
touched her, so uncanny was her cleverness in getting beyond range
after every depredation.

"I'm glad that pa put ma in another wagon, for the wolf picks our stuff
every time, probably because we are the last in the train," worried
Doby, who was frankly afraid of the gleaming eyes which had twice
slipped past the sentries in the darkness and appeared below him during
his turn at watching at the tiny round window in the middle of the back
of the wagon-top. He was not ashamed to swing his lighted pine-knot
torch vigorously most of the time. "Those teeth looked as sharp as
knives."

To the excited puppy he promised, "When you are a little bigger I'll
let you out to do battle." But the frantic puppy did not want to wait
to grow bigger. It was ready at once. Its new master was full of
applause for its vigilance.

On the third night an awful moment came. The ready sentries patrolling
near, and his father at the oxen's head, seemed far, far away when Doby
turned from a moment's soothing of his growling pet to find himself
face to face with the blazing eyes in a great, slavering head thrust
through the little round window.

He shrieked and called as he beat at the hideous, threatening thing
with his burning pine knot.

Men came running to help him. But in the half-light of flickering
torches no one dared to fire into the group who had been surprised into
a hand-to-hand fight with the wolf. From that medley of human screams
and bestial growls, the flash of knives, the thump of clubbing guns,
she escaped as strangely as she had done before.

The puppy, licking at Doby's bitten hand, begged ferociously to be
allowed to get out and get at her.

His father gave his animals to the care of another and took the boy's
watch at the wagon's end in the last of the train. Doby, who could
not sleep on account of his pet's restlessness, sat beside his father
through the long hours of that fearsome night.

In the darkest time, just before the dawn, when deep sleep had finally
settled upon the train, the puppy leaped up and slipped its leash and
called in sharp glad barks. Without, under the doubly guarded wagon,
the she-wolf crooned. The puppy capered with joy. Softly the coaxing
whine was repeated. The puppy answered in baby staccato.

And then they knew! Even Doby knew! Knew whence the puppy came, why it
was so fierce, and why the lone wolf stalked the train!

A dozen rifles cracked, but the "unerring" pioneer marksmen could not
hit that sly wolf in the darkness. She was out of range again.

The father and son looked at each other in consternation.

There was only one thing to do. Poor Doby did it.

He spoke a word to the guards. Then with his heart-strings quite torn
apart he took the beloved and unloving wolf whelp from the wagon, set
it upon the ground, and watched it lope away into the waiting dark.

Because a wolf never returns to an uncovered trap, the siege was raised.

When affairs are at their worst a brave spirit struggles hardest.
So daylight found Doby cheerfully holding a court of speculating
emigrants, who were bent on discussing their late guest, the wolf whelp.

His bandaged hand held his busy knife and he carved on a wide, thick
strap of leather as he said: "Oh, never mind about the puppy! I don't
care--much. There are other dogs. As soon as a friend of mine, who
always keeps his word, gets back to his farm at Urbana, he is going
to send me a foxhound by the next wagon-train to our new home at
Vincennes." And he showed them the leather collar. Near the fastening
he had cut OHIO * KENTUCKY * INDIANA. On one side were the words SIMON
KENTON. On the opposite side it said, OBEDIAH HOLMAN. Between the two
was the comforting legend, THEIR DOG.



                                  XII

                          ONE PERCUSSION CAP

            _The "Pennsylvania Dutch" Colony on the Wabash_


SLEEPY Obadiah Holman shivered and pulled the covers over his head, for
gusts of wind were fanning his cheek.

"Sniff, snuff," said the wind. "Grunt--g-r-o-w-l!"

The boy jumped from his bed to the middle of the cabin's puncheon
floor. Wide awake now, he listened. What was that sound?

A bear was smelling at his pillow through a crack between the logs of
the wall.

Slowly his feet grew cold. Slowly his scalp began to itch.

Only that morning, Father George Rapp, the chief man of the town of
Harmony, had said to his boy guest, "Better mix up wet clay with grass,
Doby, and chink the hole by your bed, or some wild creature will come
along and nip your nose while you are asleep."

At the moment of Father Rapp's command, Doby had been busy. Everybody
in Harmony always was busy. The industry of the settlement was
epidemic. Even growing boys caught it.

The Harmonists worked early and late. Their clean, blue,
homespun-covered figures moved sedately through their gardens, fields
and dairies, through their cocoonery and silk-factory, through their
brickyard and woolen and oil mills. They toiled without hurry and
without useless motions to the time of their own singing or to the
music of their little German band.

Even the dogs climbed into the treadmills to do a daily task of turning
the smaller machines.

Nothing was bought which they could possibly make themselves. All their
surplus goods were sold to outside settlers. Thus, by never taking
anything out of their treasury and by always putting something into it,
they became so very rich that in 1825, ten years from the time they
founded their settlement, Robert Dale Owen, a social experimenter,
was glad to buy the town because it seemed to offer such a promise
of prosperity to the communistic colony which he himself wanted to
establish there.

After a few hours with the strong-willed Father Rapp, who kept the
colony going so successfully, Doby had found himself as busy as the
other Harmonists. As soon as it was suggested to him, he went to work
driving half a dozen pegs into the wall between the logs, and on them
laying a board which he had helped split from an oak-tree. He had been
obliged to pick up his shavings and his scraps. No carpenter's litter
was allowed to mar the perfect neatness and order of the spotless town.

In trying to live up to this high standard of tidiness, Doby had
forgotten to daub the fresh clay over the place where his pounding had
jarred the chinking out.

He had been proud of his work, for that board on its pegs formed his
bed. It was such a comfortable bed with its homespun tick filled with
leaves and its patchwork quilt on top.

Now on this very first night he was driven from it by a bear.

"But I'm not scared," said Doby to himself. "I just know I can't be
scared. It's nothing but a she bear taking a walk."

While the bear strolled round the cabin and came back to try another
sniff, strolled round the other way and came back for yet more sniffs,
Doby stood in his linsey-woolsey bed-gown, wondering why he felt so
chilly on an August night, and saying over and over in his mind: "I'm
trusted to take care of myself. I'm trusted to look after this place.
What ought I to do now?"

Doby and his father had been given the cabin to use while they were
staying in this Posey County Eden, fifty miles up from the mouth of the
Wabash.

As change was the only unchanging thing in Doby's moving life, he was
not surprised to find himself alone at night in an outlying cabin
of this quaint "Pennsylvania Dutch" colony, while his father, who
had brought an important message from Vincennes to George Rapp and
Frederick Rapp, his son, was still closeted in the house of those great
men.

It had seemed easier in the bright sunset to say to his father, "I'll
take care of this place while you are with the Rapps," than it did now
all by himself in the dim cabin with that big brute pacing near.

He tried to think, "She can't get me."

Indeed she couldn't. The cabin was as stout as stout could be. The
door was four inches thick. Its inside bar was of double strength. The
windows were tiny. The wide chimney-top was withed across; nothing
could drop down it.

"She can't get the stock."

Cows and oxen were secured in a log barn as snug as the cabin. Pigs
were in a lean-to quite as strong. Chickens roosted in tall saplings no
bear could climb.

Oh, the men who usually stayed in this cabin knew how to look after
stock in the safest way! No one person owned the stock. Each man and
woman in the community owned an equal share in every house and in every
beast and every tool in the whole property. But no person owned any one
thing, not even the clothes he wore. It was all a partnership affair.

"As long as I stay here I must act like one of the community family and
do my share. I wonder if they have any partnership rules about bears?
What harm can she do?

"She might trample the garden. She might steal the corn."

Another chill shook the small visitor.

"She has sneaked round the bear-traps. She has chosen the farthest-away
field." He began to hope, "P'r'aps she won't go in the corn."

There were sounds outside which told him that she was doing the very
thing he feared.

Doby silently crept up the ladder to the loft. He peered from its gable
window.

The bear was walking along in the moonlight, standing up straight on
her hind legs like a person in a fur overcoat.

Over the rail fence, which almost touched the corner of the cabin, she
climbed exactly as his mother might have done.

She went down one corn row and up the next, pulling open the husks
with her forepaws and examining each ear of the green corn. If it were
well filled out and milky, she picked it and piled it, one ear after
another, on her arm as his mother might have held firewood. When she
had a dozen she walked to the fence and started to climb out of the
field. She was not forty feet from Doby.

"Good," he thought. "Now she is going home."

In getting over the fence, she dropped an ear of corn. This provoked
her and she threw the whole armload on to the ground. Then she turned
back for more.

She could not have noticed Doby nor have suspected any harm, for she
selected as much more corn. In the ear it is not easy to carry and
she had the same luck with the second batch. As an ear slid out, she
spitefully threw the rest away and turned into the field again.

"Oh, the wicked, wasteful thing!" raged Doby. "If she does that many
times there won't be half a crop left in this garden."

He slipped down the ladder and stared at a gun hanging on forked
sticks over the door. It was a queer gun; the latest-style rifle with
cap and ball, which was destined to replace the ordinary flintlock then
used by most frontiersmen.

Traders on the river had explained the mechanism of this kind of gun to
every passing emigrant. Doby thought: "I can remember every thing I've
heard about that newfangled cap gun. Now is my chance to try it."

It was loaded. Every pioneer kept firearms ready for instant use.

Without a sound, Doby moved the table, put a stool on top of it and
mounted to the rack.

He could not lift the gun from its place. It was a huge weapon. Even
his fifteen-year-old shoulders and his stocky legs were not equal to
the task of getting it down. He began to sweat as he glanced round the
room. "What shall I do?"

His eyes caught a dark blotch of clothes hanging on the wall. "There
are my best breeches. I know I look big in them. I reckon if I had them
on I could handle the gun."

In desperate haste he tore off his bed-gown. He girded himself in
the manlier garments. He made a final trial--a supreme test of his
muscle--and--b-o-o-s-t-e-d the rifle over the hooks!

Remembering to keep the barrel pointed from him and to guard the
trigger, he toiled at white heat and dragged the thing up the ladder,
"'Cause there may be trouble, and if there _is_ trouble a high spot is
the place for me."

He took a peep. The thief had already thrown away another armload, at
the same place in the fence, almost under the window. She was in the
field.

When she came back again she would be very close to him. He knew he
could hit her. He meant to swing the rifle to his shoulder and to
take careful aim. He braced his feet. He made the start. But he could
not--he could _not_--positively _could not_ raise that gun to his
shoulder. It was more than five feet long and weighed a dozen pounds.

But nothing could stop him now. "I'll have to set it on a rest."

He pulled an old spinning-wheel close to the window. The bar held the
gun at an angle, sloping downward. The distaff kept the butt from
slipping. He sighted along the barrel's shining steel, training it on
the length of fence where the bear was sure to come.

There was a queer thumping under his galluses. "I can't point it at
her. But--if--she--gets--in--range--"

He held his eye on the sight and waited. He waited and waited and
waited and waited. He grew numb with crouching and goose-fleshed with
suspense.

"Suppose she went out the other way! Suppose she climbed some other
part of the fence. Suppose--

"Ha! Here she is."

Doby pulled the trigger. The gun roared. The bear roared.

Flames sparkled round him. The gun's recoil kicked him end over end.
Banged and battered, and rubbing his shoulder, he lay and blinked. If
the safe end of the gun had done this to him, what might not its full
cannon force have done to the bear?

He was quite prepared for the scene which was before him as he crawled
shakily to the window and ventured a look below. The bear lay stretched
out on a huddle of rails and corn.

"Of course she's dead." Doby breathed deep. "I know she must be. But--I
guess I'll stay up here 'til pa comes. It won't be long before the
folks who heard that gun will get here in a flock." He took another
peep and another breath. "That is a big bear. Her pelt is almost prime
now in the last of August." He got out his knife and examined its
edge. A knife must be in perfect trim to skin a bear.

Then an entirely new suspicion dismayed the boy.

"The pelt of a community bear can't belong to any one person. Nearly a
thousand people will each have a small share in it. Father George Rapp,
the church and state, will direct Frederick Rapp, the business manager,
to sell the pelt. Then we will all have an equal interest in the money
after it is in the bank."

In the midst of its successes, the Rapp colony finally failed, as did
Owen's socialistic colony after it. Both dwindled away after the strong
leaders were gone. Both were forsaken, as all others like them have
been, and always for much the same reason as Doby gave, when all by
himself in the darkness the honest human nature in his soul said to
the listening walls in a burst of indignation: "_I_ am the person who
killed the bear. _I_ am the one who ought to have the pelt to do with
as I please. _I want my own things!_ Be sensible and sell the fur for
money? Put the money in the bank? Own one and nine one hundred and
seventy-eighth part of the proceeds? No! I'd like to have the pelt to
sit on and to look at and to tell hunters about!"

Still another disagreeable thought came to him. It was so appalling
that it turned him pale. "If we came here to live, my stone knife would
be everybody's knife. I would have to bring my new dog here to be
everybody's dog."

He took another peep at the bear. Then he gazed at the ideal town,
perfect in its beauty of flower-hung artistic houses, perfect in its
thrifty business arrangement, perfect in the justice of its laws.

He thought of happy-go-lucky old Vincennes, struggling to maintain
herself under all sorts of faults and difficulties, of that promised
foxhound who was already waiting for him, of the house that his father
and mother had planned, and he tightened his galluses, jerked on his
shoes, donned his cap, like a knight buckling on his armor, as he
proclaimed aloud: "I shall let the town keep the pelt, because it is
the polite thing to do. But I am glad that pa chose the other town to
live in. I'm going to take my knife and get back home to old Vincennes!"

And so it happened, on account of this decision of the boy's and the
more practical investigations of his father, that the stone knife found
itself established on the farm which the Holmans bought near the old
capital of the Northwest Territory.

There the flint entered upon an age of wood.

Out of the forest on the banks of the Wabash came the farm--by clearing.

Out of the forest rose a house and barn of logs.

Out of the forest were made the tools for the farm and the furniture
for the house.

From the trees about them all the pioneers who settled in the Ohio
Valley took most of their necessities and many of their luxuries.

The ax, the cross-cut saw, and the draw-knife cut the material for
the heavy building. The father's Barlow knife and the son's stone one
fashioned all the finer work upon it.

When the big fireplace was finished, Doby could sit in the glow of the
back log with his foxhound at his knee in the long autumn evenings,
and set his knife to the interesting task of making the utensils
which the household needed. After that came the joy of whittling
animal-traps, fiddles, darts, drums, bows and arrows, snow-shoes,
sleds--anything--everything--the happiest boy in the world could want!



                                 XIII

                             THE VOYAGEUR

                _The French Who Followed the Explorers_


THERE was a glint of sun on metal. It came through the branches of
the willows at the edge of the homestead clearing. A bit of red cloth
wavered beside it.

Again the metal shone with a twinkling flash, again the scarlet patch
nodded in the light. Beneath the willows the prow of a canoe pushed
silently from the Wabash River into the mouth of a little creek that
wandered through the farm.

Obadiah Holman crouched motionless like a rabbit when he caught that
flash. At the canoe's movement forward he bounded toward home, as a
frightened rabbit leaps from danger.

"Indians!" he signaled to his father. "Indians!"

The father, who was unhitching his horses, hastily got them into the
log barn. With the flintlock on his arm as it had been all through the
fall plowing in this natural open glade of his section of land, he,
too, leaped for the cabin, which was already being barricaded by the
boy and his mother.

Through peepholes the family watched.

Soon a solitary figure appeared.

"That can't be an Indian," breathed the mother; "but it may be some
kind of an Indian decoy."

"We will hold our aim on him and keep under cover," the father decided.

They could see that the new-comer had a mobile, laughing face. His
clothes were of fur, picked out with bright cloth, somewhat ragged.
A bandana tied back his grizzled curls to show the gold hoops in his
ears. A strap across his forehead bore the weight of a pack which hung
down his back.

He was playing a lively tune upon an elder flute, stepping to its
measures with his moccasined feet.

While eying the man to be sure that he was not a treacherous disguised
Indian, and to decide what sort of a chance comer he might be, the
father's brow wrinkled with thoughts of this big Northwest and the men
it had known and the origin of this wayfarer.

"Whom have we here, Doby?" he asked.

But Doby could not answer. Neither could his mother. Both were on the
verge of panic. For it is a nerve-racking thing to stand still and wait
for the next movement of a doubtful visitor, who may be going to send
a burning arrow into the barn loft or to call a band of warriors to
attack the house.

To give his wife and son a chance to collect their wits, the father
queried: "Who were the first white folks to come to this part of the
country? Perhaps we can guess who this man is."

"The French came earliest," answered the mother.

"When?"

"About a hundred years ago," she said.

"What did they do?"

"They built a fort and trading post at Miamis where Fort Wayne now is.
Then they set up another at Ouiatanon and still another one here." As
she stared at the motley figure coming nearer, the mother smiled, for
she began to understand that she was now to meet quite a different sort
of habitant from any of the varied peoples she had seen in the long
journey to this old French settlement of Vincennes.

"Ha!" cried Doby, trying to keep one eye on the loophole and the other
on his father's face. "When the Spanish discovered America, they
claimed the whole continent. If they had known about this place, they
would have set up a flag here. But the French explorers really did find
it and their flag is the one that covered it." Here he caught a hint
from his father's questions and his mother's recovered calm. "'Twas a
race of traders who followed the explorers." He now became eager to
examine the stranger. "A half-breed trader! That's what he is!"

"He is so queer-looking," was the mother's objection to him.

Doby was quick with his surmises. "If these French traders made friends
with the Indians and sometimes lived with them in their wigwams, and
copied all the clever things the Indians knew about living in the
open, they would become half Indians themselves. This odd old man is a
voyageur. I know he is!"

"But," faltered the mother, "if he is friendly to the Indians, he may
not be safe for us to know."

Mr. Holman was sure of his harmless character. "The French never
incited the Indians to cruelty. Their influence was all for peaceful
barter. He wants to buy any pelts we have for sale and to trade with
us."

The mother's New England habits made her long for any kind of a trader
to dicker with. No matter how outlandish his garb nor how strange his
manner, a peddler was a peddler, and as such she was glad to see him.

So they opened wide the door and called a welcome.

As Doby examined the voyageur at close range, he thought, "I never did
see such a wild-looking man," yet the stranger's joyous face, his quick
gestures, and his lilting music drew the boy to him irresistibly.

For Doby's pleasure, after the greetings were over, the guest sang the
words of his song and then he piped it, as a plover might have done.
He whistled the tune and then he trotted it. He changed to calls of
feathered songsters and to other measures and to different steps.

Whatever the melody or whatever the dance; whether he sang or whistled
or piped, he was a constant swirl of music and laughter and motion.
Into Doby's sober life he came as a figure of purest joy, never to be
forgotten--a faun of the forest--a creature of fantasy.

To live out of doors and to follow the seasons, to be away from all
care, and free to take up the next trading path that beckoned him in
the strange new country--that was a voyageur's happy life.

No wonder that these bold spirits of the Old World crowded into the
white-winged caravals that could bear them to the great valley of
romance and adventure!

No other country has ever seen the like of these voyageurs. No other
country ever will. Even in the far north, they are vanishing with the
forests and the fur-bearing animals. They can never come again.

There were no bounds to Doby's delight in the grotesque appearance, the
bird music, and the elfin dancing of this one.

The contents of his pack were small assortments of hardware. He spread
them upon the stump by the log-cabin door.

In a mixture of French and English, as musical as any verse, he told
them that ammunition was lying in his canoe. He went and fetched it,
and also brought with it his own rifle. These things, even the gun, he
would trade for skins.

"All these of the best, the finest, n'est ce pas?" he asked, throwing
out his hands and showing his beautiful teeth. "Voilà, m'sieu!"

Doby's father was in need of powder and shot. They fell to business
whilst the mother busied herself with supper. She wanted pins, needles,
and a candle-snuffer. She hoped after he had eaten home-made dainties,
the trader might offer her bargains.

Doby stood enthralled beside the collection of nails, hooks, gimlets,
and plow-points. Here were the convenient odds and ends needed to make
the work on their new home complete.

First of all--above and beyond everything else in a boy's sight--was
the voyageur's percussion-cap rifle. It was the most improved and best
firearm of that day. It was not as heavy as most of them. It had seen
service. And what was a curious, but entirely sensible thing, someone
had cut off a couple of feet from the end of the barrel!

"I believe I could handle that gun," said the boy. "Everybody thinks I
am growing fast."

The trader took the hint and nodded for him to try it.

Doby's greedy fingers closed over the trigger. It was rather heavy, of
course, but he could lift and he could carry it.

"Fifteen going on sixteen is an age when every boy should have his own
rifle," said his father. "But I'm sure our whole fall collection of
skins would not pay for it."

The trader gave one appraising glance at the really fine stock they
had spread for his examination and shook his head until his ear-rings
danced.

Doby's heart sank like lead. Why was he always so foolish as to set
his hopes on the one thing that was beyond reach? Why were guns so
expensive?

The crafty voyageur was not anxious to part with it. "I think to sell
it at much gain to one very rich youth--a hunter great and successful.
He is newly a citizen of Vincennes. To him I bear a letter and a
present of elegance supreme."

"We back out from the trade," laughed Mr. Holman. "We cannot overbid
the rich and great."

Doby's mind shrank into a sordid little ball of envy. It was not fair
for a rich boy to have a "present of elegance supreme" and the rifle
both! As he opened his mouth to utter his selfish disappointment, a
glance at his mother's sympathetic face, and at his father's resigned
one, moved him to shut it again. If he could not own a gun, he could at
least be decently quiet about his fate. But to be forever borrowing a
gun was so humiliating to a big boy!

"Who is this wonderful hunter?" asked the mother, in neighborly
curiosity.

"Of the family there are two; it is m'sieu the father, and m'sieu the
son. For that son is the letter. I go to the town yonder. I inquire. I
present myself to him."

"But what is his name?" insisted Doby's mother.

The voyageur smiled at her vaguely. Then she knew that he could not
read the message which he carried. His instructions were to find a
hunter and show the letter. Now he pawed around in his nondescript
garment and brought out a soiled paper.

The letter had been written on a large sheet of white paper. Then the
paper had been folded in such a way that the writing was concealed
and the corners turned over to look like a modern envelope. Envelopes
themselves had not then been invented. It was sealed with a big red
daub of wax.

"Two bits" had been paid to the messenger, who now pointed to the plain
script of the address, which he held carefully wrong side up.

Mrs. Holman twisted her head. Then she gasped, and hastily reversing
the letter in his polite and willing hand, she looked at her family
with startled eyes.

Letters were so much of a rarity in those good old days of long
distances and slow transportation that it was perfectly correct to show
interest in any man's correspondence.

Indeed, every inhabitant of Vincennes had been known to handle at
least twice any letter which came to town, and to register several
guesses as to its probable contents, before the person to whom it was
addressed felt that he had a social right to claim and open it.

So Doby and his father would not have been considered in the least rude
as they sprang to look over the voyageur's shoulder as the mother was
already doing.

They read in concert:

  "Obadiah Holman, Esquire
        Vincennes
              Indiana"

The voyageur, who could not spell out an address, was quick enough
at reading faces. He said to Mr. Holman, "I make my respects to that
hunter so rich and great." And he presented the letter with formality.

"No, no!" cried the father. He handed the legal-looking document to
"m'sieu, the son." Now Doby had never before had a letter in his
own name. His fingers were shaking and clumsy as he broke the seal,
unfolded the sheet, and read in a strained and unnatural voice:


                                     "HARMONY, INDIANA, August 31, 1816
      "OBADIAH HOLMAN, ESQ.
           "Honored Sir:

     "For value received in the matter of garden truck, field corn, hived
     honey, et cetera, saved in the shooting of a she bear by your
     respected self, the community of Harmony voted to pay the pelt of the
     bear aforesaid; likewise the pelt of the he bear belonging to the
     same. Said pelts herewith attached and forwarded.

                                      "Your very obedient servant,
                                                       FREDERICK RAPP."


The voyageur, plainly interested, hastened to get the pelts, to spread
them out, and to indicate, now that his best moment had come, that
these two bearskins plus two big beaverskins--the finest of their
collection--were the price of the rifle.

Privately, Mr. Holman thought this rather a hard bargain, even more
than the "much gain" which the trader was entitled to have. Beaver had
been scarce and high in value for two years. A good beaver, taken in
October, outpriced an August bear whose winter coat was coming well but
was not yet in its prime.

One glance at Doby's face brought to the father's mind the day when he
had acquired his own flintlock; so he nodded indulgently to close the
deal.

The voyageur's words, "It is that you become owner, m'sieu," were the
sweetest of sounds in Doby's ears.

Then followed a blissful hour of target-shooting, to learn the
ways of the new gun, and then followed, as a matter of course, the
over-confident moment when the excited boy let the trigger down upon a
clumsy thumb.

As his father patiently dressed his wound, Doby's conscience--that New
England torch always flickering before his mind--threw its light on a
point of conduct he had not noticed until this moment. He saw that he
ought to do something that he did not want to do.

The voyageur, chuckling cozily by the hearth, with his picturesque
head abob, never knew that the half-grown Doby, who sat staring at his
bandaged thumb, was struggling with spiritual forces that nearly tore
his heart asunder.

No stranger could guess how great a victory over his own selfish
desires the boy had won when he raised his face to his father's and
said, "I think, pa, that you should take this new rifle for your own
gun and give me the old flintlock."

Doby's father was of upright stuff himself; and he now saw that his
son, also, had the making of a just man in him. So he looked at Doby
kindly, and the two understood each other perfectly. But all the father
said was: "I've had my old flintlock ever since I was your age. I use
it every day. I couldn't learn the tricks of one of these newfangled
rifles. No, Doby, you can't swap firearms with your pa!"



                                  XIV

                           THE BEAVERS' DAM

                        _A Patriot's Sacrifice_


He stood upon a bluff overlooking the Wabash. Outlined against an
autumn sunset, his noble figure dominated the landscape.

A velvet cap with a jaunty plume rested lightly upon his short,
snow-white, curling hair.

Velvet also were his coat and breeches and the sweeping cavalier cape
that clasped on his shoulder. Silken hose and fine linen added to the
magnificence of his costume.

It was of a style long gone by, even then, but its sumptuous fashion
became him and set off his sturdy old age to its best advantage.

His dress was a habit. He wore it unconsciously. But the sword on his
hip--that was another matter!

His lean and practised hand, a bit shaky with his seventy-six years,
grew steady and as firm as youth when it swung to position and clasped
that hilt. His faithful blade was his best companion.

The deep red of oak, the scarlet of sumac, the yellow of maple, the
brown of beech, every color of frost-kissed October mingled in the
background and was reflected on the borders of the opal river whose
shining length formed the waterway to the outside world.

The little town was all astir. It was a gala day. Banners fluttered at
the door of each cozy cabin, and from the tall pole of the old wooden
fort of St. Vincent swung the American flag, almost ready for the
sunset gun.

On the river, rafts and flatboats, rowboats and small sail moved about
and fell into position to make way for a procession of canoes coming
down the stream.

The folk of the town, big and little, hurried to the water's edge,
waving their arms in welcome and shouting until they were hoarse.

But the man on the bluff kept his high position and his attitude of
martial waiting. Under his heavy white brows, his sharp black eyes grew
large and tender, for in the distant canoes were his children--his
careless, happy children--coming home to him, as they had done twice
every year since the old days when he had begun to buy their furs of
them. Younger business men now held the fur trade in their own hands,
but the voyageurs continued their practice of holiday regatta to greet
this white-haired man.

Obadiah Holman, hastening into town, far ahead of his father and
mother, was decked in his buckskin. With rifle on shoulder and knife in
belt and hound at heel, he walked on air. For he looked like a man, he
felt like a man, and he was a man--almost!

More than satisfied with himself, he whistled as he strode, until he
came to the person in velvet. Then his vanity dropped to his feet and
was whisked away.

Here was one more elegantly attired than he had ever beheld a mortal.

"Doby, make your manners," he commanded himself. Off came his cap and
he accomplished a bow.

The gentleman turned square upon him. The bold, dark eyes read him
through and through.

The boy's face lit up with admiration at the sight of the noble
countenance and at the sound of the kind voice saying, "I give you
greeting, stranger."

Impulsive Doby had small knowledge of etiquette. Quite carried away by
his good luck in meeting this man, he burst out, impetuously, "I do
hope that you are Francis Vigo!"

The dark face--haughty and stern--flashed into a quick foreign smile,
but the bare right hand gave Doby a good American grip. "From what my
first arriving voyageur tells me, I suspect that you are M'sieu Holman,
the son," he said.

They gazed at each other as men will who are destined to become
friends. Further words were stopped by the sound of a distant chantey,
clear and merry.

Forgetting all else, Francis Vigo answered the call of his children by
turning his eyes toward the canoes.

Doby slipped unnoticed to a great rock halfway down the bluff. From
this vantage he could watch the fleet of voyageurs. Furbished for their
entrance to the town, each wore a turban of scarlet bandana and sash of
parti-colors. Ear-rings, thumb-rings, metal compasses, were all adangle.

The paddles feathered as they dipped and the jeweled drops sparkled in
the light. Purple martins awheel flipped into the eddies of their wake,
great bass leaped athwart their bows, and tiny rainbows sprang anew
from every disturbance of the water.

Voices rippled from chantey to roundelay and back to chantey again. The
river carried the tune afar and the hills echoed and re-echoed it.
From the forward canoe an excited arm pointed to Francis Vigo on the
height. A full-throated, "Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!" rose to him.

He gave them a military salute.

They answered with cheers and burst into their best melody as they
raced into port.

In the confusion of the shadowed landing torches began to glimmer. On
the darker places of the river's brink lanterns bobbed. But a nimbus of
golden light still shone around the gallant Vigo. And one by one, as
they stepped ashore, the voyageurs ran up the slope to greet him--the
hero of their hearts!

Doby gazed in amazement at the volatile Frenchmen surrounding him.
"Judging by their enthusiasm, every one of these men might have
followed him in battle. But they are most of them too young to have
fought in 1779, as he did at the capture of Vincennes. They are
honoring him for other things which he has done for them."

Truly they loved him for himself and the many brave deeds through which
he had carried their kind.

Francis Vigo was a soldier of fortune--a man out of Spain. With one
of his mother country's regiments he had come to the West Indies and
to New Orleans; afterward on his own account he had traveled up the
Mississippi to Fort St. Louis, where he joined a company of traders and
was known as the "Merchant of St. Louis."

In his warehouse among his bundles of valuable skins he was the
merchant prince who gave thirty thousand dollars--thirty thousand
dollars in big Spanish doubloons--round golden doubloons--which he
had bartered for and scared out of many a wicked Portuguese pirate
who sneaked up the Mississippi to cheat him or to rob him--gave them
to feed and equip the army of George Rogers Clark at a time when the
Government had no money to finance anything.

Without the help which Vigo gave to Clark, the little American army
could not have lived. Without the army the great Northwest could not
have been won.

In pursuit of his business and in his joy of the wild, Vigo had often
gone up and down the forest paths. He knew the country, was friendly
with each trader, and could call every pirogue by its owner's name.

Doby's rather cool blood began to run faster and his heart to pound
with sympathetic interest as, scrambling for turns, the voyageurs fell
upon Francis Vigo's neck, kissed his hands, and laughed aloud or wept
outright in their delight at the meeting.

One old fellow, in an abandonment of affection, threw himself upon the
ground and laid his forehead against the Spaniard's shoe, bathing it
with his tears.

"O-o-h," cried Doby. "O-o-h! That is my voyageur! The one who brought
my rifle! He was servant to Francis Vigo when they were both taken as
spies at Vincennes, by the British Governor Hamilton. He told me so
himself." Here the contagion of the old voyageur's devotion caught
Doby and he had to swallow a sob or two. "It's perfectly right for him
to be upset by memories. For when the Jesuit Father Gibault persuaded
Hamilton to release Francis Vigo, this voyageur and that other old one
went back with the Merchant of St. Louis to Colonel Clark at Kaskaskia
and helped plan the attack which captured Vincennes." And Doby took off
his cap and waved it and shouted with the best of them:

"Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!"

By the next morning's light, at call of reveille, these voyageurs, who
had gathered from all points of the compass, made ready to set off for
their various stations to begin their winter's work of trapping or of
gathering skins from Indians and settlers.

In one of the canoes, in plain attire, sat Francis Vigo and the oldest
voyageur--his one-time servant. In another canoe sat the second
voyageur of Vigo's historic spying expedition and--looking very
conscious of himself and of his newly acquired servant--Doby! bound on
a secret errand in the service of his country!

"We need young blood for our nation's future growth," Francis Vigo had
said overnight to Mr. Holman. "Give me your son for my assistant on
this voyage for the Government. I will train him--make a patriot of
him."

Now Mr. Holman knew that Francis Vigo was the one man in the great
valley whom Gen. William Henry Harrison had trusted to influence the
Indians and the voyageurs in the troubled times before the War of 1812;
the one who could go back and forth with negotiations to the Indians'
Prophetstown on the Tippecanoe. Both races put their faith and their
national confidence in this man. He was their ideal of justice.

So Mr. Holman, whose entire stock of cash in hand was three Spanish
dollars--those storied "pieces of eight"--did not hesitate, during his
conversation with Francis Vigo, to lay these silver coins on the town
blacksmith's anvil as an answer to the request for the boy's services.

The blacksmith had cut each one up into eight sections, like a pie. Two
of these "bits" made a "quarter," and six of them equaled seventy-five
cents.

This was the currency of the time. So unsettled had the War of 1812
made the nation's credit, so doubtful was the value of federal money,
and so unsafe all banks, that a "bit" in the hand was worth, in actual
purchasing power, many times its value of paper in the pocket.

One of his dollars Mr. Holman had presented to Francis Vigo with the
formal request, "I beg you will accept my contribution to my country's
cause in the matter of this voyage."

The second dollar he had given to Doby. "This is a stake for your
future fortune," he said.

The third he had put in his own pocket.

Afterward, Doby had asked of his father: "Why did you give Francis
Vigo money in such a way that he had to take it? He is the richest man
in town. Everybody says so, because the Government owes him thirty
thousand dollars. Nobody else in town has that much money."

Doby felt of the "bits" in his pocket and imagined them thirty thousand
times as heavy. Rich indeed!

Mr. Holman had a gloomy expression. "I know we will continue to owe
him." Then he quoted something about the "law's delay--the insolence of
justice," but added, practically, "I don't suppose we ever have that
much in our treasury that we want to pay debts with. Our money affairs
are in disorder."

Scandalized Doby almost whispered, "Do you mean that he probably hasn't
any money except what you gave him?"

Mr. Holman nodded, and glowered at fate. Doby knew that the mission to
Fort Wayne on which they were this morning starting was a financial one.

As he sat in his canoe and gripped his paddle for the start, it gave
him a curious sensation to reflect that the vigorous old man who was
in the next one, ready to steer through the silver water out into the
sunrise, was the Spaniard who had used his inherited fortune for the
cause of exploration in the New World; was the colonist who had given
the fortune he had earned to the cause of the Northwest conquest; was
the true American now ready to risk his sole capital of eight bits
toward securing financial liberty for an embarrassed government.

Silver and rose, the sky hung over the river. Silver and rose, the
water reflected it. The forest, mysterious and vague, surrounded the
town. The embarked voyageurs, now in working clothes, looked toward
Francis Vigo. They rested on their paddles.

He rose in his prow. Baring his head, he threw out his arms in the form
of a cross.

With the simplicity of little children, the voyageurs folded their
hands and said their prayers; they crossed themselves; then lifted up
their voices in such a hymn that the valley resounded with their praise.

"It is that we separate for the half-year," explained Doby's voyageur,
as with every few miles of going up-stream some canoe turned in at a
tributary and disappeared for its trading-grounds.

After that morning burst of song they all moved silently. The paddles
made no sound. The dull colors of the boats themselves--some birch-bark
canoes, some hollowed-out log pirogues--mingled like foliage with the
shore line. The men in butternut brown or fur were mere shadows on the
river. The woodland and its streams were swallowing up its wild men.

By and by the two canoes with Francis Vigo and Doby in them were alone
upon the river.

"Look!" signaled Francis Vigo's eyes to Doby.

A red deer was drinking on the brink.

"Look!"

A bear was at his bath.

"Look!"

A blue heron was fishing in the shallows.

And a saucy kingfisher helped himself to a bite of the red haws stuck
in Doby's cap, so much a part of the primeval vastness had they already
become.

Once, as they stopped for dinner on the shore, the odor of frying
bacon was so delicious to some of the forest creatures that they had a
glimpse of a mother wolf bringing her whole whelp family to take a peep
at those men creatures who sometimes left such savory scraps behind,
and who were, upon a pinch, not such bad eating themselves.

"They like bacon cooked, but they would take me raw," and Doby was glad
that he had a rifle of his very own.

In the silence of their forest night camp, whilst the two voyageurs
slept with their feet to the fire and the harvest moon looked down upon
them through the Indian-summer haze, Francis Vigo explained to the boy
the nature of his errand.

"I am getting old," he said. "Time is too precious to waste in making
money for myself. I must teach the Northwest the value of an honest
currency, else all business will be ruined and our country fall into
poverty."

He showed Doby a package wrapped in oilskin. "This priceless paper did
not go to Corydon with the documents of Indiana State. It is Government
property and must be secretly delivered to the proper agent at Fort
Wayne, to go on to Washington. We should have safe banks and vaults for
such moneys and papers. They should not be exposed to the mercy of fire
and water and chance journeys as this one is. I must use this as an
argument to those in authority for the need of national banks. I shall
also prove to them the demand for a tariff to protect our industries.
These are our present necessities."

"The tariff is to make us money and the banks are to guard it," said
Doby, who knew that these two vital measures were expected to influence
the fate of the great valley as much as any war had ever done. "So you
want to get there before election. And you want them to vote for James
Monroe for President, don't you?"

"Yes; because as Secretary of State and as Secretary of War he carried
us through the war, we now need him to take us over the financial
crisis which always follows a war."

All Saints' Day came in glorious October sunshine. On that day they
entered Fort Wayne.

Again in velvet, with gleaming sword, Francis Vigo made ready for an
audience.

An enthusiastic bugler of the fort was so impressed by the appearance
of the dignitaries in the approaching canoes that he went through his
entire repertoire of calls without waiting for official permission, and
brought all the people of the town to give welcome to the visitors.

So Doby had the feeling of walking up-stage as he entered the village.

That sensation stayed with him during the few days that they spent at
the fort; and it rose high in the hour of their departure when the
entire populace showered blessings after them as the velvet cap of the
smiling leader waved, "Farewell."

Their going was a spectacle. Yet when they made a landing down the
river for the night's camp, all the glory faded. The beautiful country
turned cruel and sordid.

"That is a threatening sky," commented Francis Vigo, as he put away his
velvet and began to prepare for rough weather.

"Bad wind," from one dejected voyageur.

"More cold," from the other.

"Here comes the rain!" cried Doby.

Dark November filled their camp with melancholy discomfort.

In place of the gallant soldier there hovered over the damp and sickly
fire an old, old man, blue with chill, and tired and dispirited.

Doby said to himself: "In the matter of delivering the precious papers
and of teaching the district the value of tariff and sound banks,
the errand for the Northwest was successful. But in the business of
collecting some interest to live on he has failed. That means that he
has no way to feed himself this winter. Red tape makes poor clothes and
worse meals."

Dismayed and pitiful, the boy longed to comfort that good man who had
fallen into the habit of sacrificing himself for his country.

"S-w-i-s-h! S-w-i-s-h!" poured the rain; "W-h-e-w! W-h-e-w!" howled the
wind, as the swollen current of the Wabash bore them homeward next day.

"H-o-n-k! H-o-n-k!" cried the wild geese overhead.

"Q-u-a-c-k! Q-u-a-c-k!" complained the migrating ducks as, wearied
by the buffeting, they dropped to the water for a little respite and
surrounded the canoes with the querulous wails.

A heartless loon laughed long and discordantly over their wretched
plight.

The river which had beckoned them with sunlight and with song, now with
fickle change of face grabbed them by the prows and hurtled them along
at terrific flood speed.

To a voyageur his canoe was as a second skin. He would never think of
abandoning it. He took whatever the weather sent.

But as they came to a bend in the river, "Yi! Yi!" shrieked one
voyageur in panic. "Yi! Yi!" for danger seemed about to overwhelm them.

A giant sycamore, undermined by the flood, swayed toward them and came
over into the river with a crash and spatter that deafened and almost
swamped them.

In one moment its mighty top had divided a portion of the river, as
a child's hand might turn a rill from a spring, and the new current,
seeking an outlet, leaped into a bayou and went sweeping down it, to
make a new channel. With instant turn of paddles to escape the tree the
voyageurs spun the canoes into the midst of this new current and were
borne by its irresistible force through the bayou, over a bar, and into
a stream that ran parallel with the river and finally emptied into it.

Like the débris on its surface, the canoes bobbed and tossed with
the runaway stream, in constant danger of being crushed by rocks and
snagged by thickets. They were part of chaos. With all their might
they backed water. The clever voyageurs steered between trees and
around stones as the truant flood bore them headlong to almost certain
destruction.

But louder than the storm in the trees, stronger than the rush of wind
in their ears as they tore along, came the ominous roar of water over a
tremendous dam.

To shoot such rapids as he knew was one thing to a voyageur, as part
of his day's work. To go over an unknown dam at freshet pace, as the
result of an accident, was quite another. Huge, muddy boulders rose
suddenly on all sides of them.

"Fend!" yelled the voyageurs as they gripped the paddles to steady the
last rush. Dozens of smaller black stones looked like streaks as they
miraculously flashed through this strange, rocky gully without hitting
a stone.

"The dam is broken!" howled Doby, although he knew he could not be
heard. They all saw the broken center and they whirled through it
at the speed of an express train, one close behind the other. Below
the dam were dozens more of the small black stones, which to their
straining eyes seemed to shift and move as fast as they were going
themselves.

The almost unendurable strain on their arms and backs suddenly gave
way. The new stream emptied itself into a wide bottom and spread out
harmlessly in a tame and shallow lake which looked toward the Wabash.

They edged out of the current into quiet backwater. All was as tame as
a mill-pond.

Doby, thoroughly shaken, exhausted, and amazed, cried out: "That was
about the luckiest escape any one could have! Big stones and little
stones! I never saw such a rocky gully! How _did_ we miss them!"

Francis Vigo crossed himself and looked at the boy in grave reproof. He
did not believe in luck.

The voyageurs clapped their hands and laughed aloud. To Doby's
astonishment, all three of his wet, tired, and discouraged companions
glowed with warmth and some new interest.

Their escape--their danger--was already forgotten. They were keen for
some plan which had formed in their minds as they came to safe water.

Doby could not follow their thoughts. He turned round eyes from one to
the other.

"Big stones were beaver houses," smiled one trader.

"Little black stones were beaver heads," explained the other.

And Francis Vigo added: "The dangerous way of our duty has brought us
to the beavers in a year when their fur is of double value. Since towns
and people and money have failed us, the wood and stream will give us
our living for the year."

Doby's economical Anglo-Saxon mind suddenly flowered into Latin
courtesy. He took off his cap to the Spaniard and said so fervently
that he knew his gift would be accepted, "Because of the education
this voyage has been to me and as a thank-offering that my life is
preserved, I present my share in this beaver find to my creditor,
Francis Vigo!"

Francis Vigo's face beamed kindly on the ardent boy.

Doby was proud of his dramatic success in this elaborate speech of
politeness. He thrilled pleasantly and made a little flourish with his
cap.

Alas and alack!

Erratic movement above the point of balance is not the thing for a
canoe's safety. Doby's gesture was an unsportsman-like thing and he
might have paid for his vanity by a fatal capsize had not the alert
voyageur, always suspicious of his impulsive passenger, bent his own
body quickly and restored the balance.

The canoe was still upright, but the action of the paddle, the surging
of the craft and the other canoe's violent action to avoid being caught
in disaster brought them so close to the main stream, that the current
had seized them again. Before Doby could realize his fault they were
whirling down the Wabash as before.

Whether they would or no, they were on their way home. Some other day
in quiet water they would come back to the town of beavers.

Later and later grew the hour. Slowly and more slowly flowed the river.
The channel had widened. The pent waters were finding space. The
harassed travelers looked about for a landing-spot to spend the night.

At last, the top of a fallen tree at the bottom of a gradual hill
seemed to promise a practical buffer.

"Merci!" cried Doby's voyageur. "Fend!" He backed water, and as the
other canoe came alongside he raised a shaggy eyebrow in question to
Vigo, who assented with a nod.

Together they eased their frail craft from the sweep of the river into
the resilient branches of the tree.

They edged inshore, found the ground solid, and pulled up the
boats. Other people had picked the tree as a safe harbor. When Doby
straightened himself to ease his tired back his eyes met the baleful
gleam of an Indian's glance.

Before he could gasp a warning to the others strong fingers closed upon
his windpipe. He was lifted by his hair and borne to the top of the
hill. All thought and feeling left him.

There was no sound but the r-r-i-i-p-p-p of leaves as heavy bodies were
dragged through them; no light but the uncertain moon through ragged
clouds.

He had no sense of up or down, of earth or sky. He hurtled along
through space with his feet dangling.

He struck a tree, freed himself from the strangler, and collapsed in a
heap.

Dimly some sort of light reddened around him. People were feeding a
fire. The hollow glade in which he lay swam like a mirage before him.

About the fire circled a dozen or so of very old Indians. They were so
absorbed in the ritual of their dance that they ignored the presence
of the other group of younger Indians who had brought in the prisoners.
Prisoners were a minor thing and of no importance compared with this
ceremony, which must not be interrupted.

The old Indians went round and round and round and round, without
words, without music, without sound of any kind. Their hands were
weaponless, their gestures were as one.

Dizzied and dumfounded by this circular marching, Doby closed his eyes
and waited for death by violence.

Vigo and the two voyageurs were in the same plight. Yet none of them
was gagged or bound or weaponless. Their captors did not rush forward
in triumph with their prey, nor give the conqueror's war-whoop.

They stayed half hidden in the background. Their one desire seemed to
be to keep the silence unbroken.

The voyageurs, rough adventurers, soon recovered from the surprise of
their capture, and stood lightly poised either to fight or to run.

Escape was the first thought in their minds. Their expression
soon changed from shock to curiosity; from curiosity to wide-eyed
incredulity.

Even Doby's shattered wits found an uncanny aspect of things. Abject
fear was swallowed up by a thrill at the weirdness which breathed from
the glade.

The whites looked from the young savages, unarmed, guarding them, to
the old ones, unarmed, gyrating monotonously, and using their hands
rhythmically.

One of the hardy voyageurs turned green and ghastly under his tan and
his knees doubled under him.

Francis Vigo, following his glance, went white to the lips. But the
poniard up his sleeve shot out and he pricked the fainting voyageur
cruelly. The pain revived the man. His companion received the same
treatment.

Even then they were plainly weak with horror. And Francis Vigo, the
intrepid soldier, closed his eyes, as though the dancing men were the
most dreadful sight of his life--a vision sickening beyond endurance.

While his captors stood rigid in shadow, while the voyageurs shook with
nervous chill, while Vigo glanced wildly here and there, Doby stared at
this curious feast which could so undo strong men.

For despite its dull and lugubrious setting, feast of some kind it
certainly must be.

This place was not a village. There were no wigwams, no women, no
children, no ponies, no dogs. All the interest centered on a great
flat stone in the center of the glade. It held a bed of glowing coals.
Savory meat was roasting there.

The old men, swooping slowly back and forth, were gorging
themselves in a strange and barbarous ceremony of united forms of
handling--biting--chewing. Solemnly, in an ancient, long-forbidden and
almost-forgotten rite, they were invoking some spirit of evil.

From one detail of the medicine-men's costumes to another, from one
mesmeric swing of arm and body to the next went Doby's glance in vague
alarm. Last of all, he viewed the sizzling rock.

A sacrificial cannibal rock!

Not all the poniards of the realm could have helped Doby to
self-control. He swooned upon the turf.

Bending to raise the boy, Francis Vigo brought his own face into a
patch of moonlight. His captor recognized him. For what Indian did not
know Francis Vigo? Vigo caught the expression of friendliness, and with
an imperious gesture signified that they must be taken from this spot.

It was daytime when Doby again opened his eyes. He was between the
voyageurs under the fallen tree near the canoes. On the river bank sat
the old Indians. Francis Vigo, jaunty in velvet, cap, plume, and sword,
was smoking the calumet.

One voyageur whispered to Doby, "Indians want to burn Vincennes."

The other murmured, "Père François tries to prevent that."

The first again: "They mean to join with renegades and capture the
fort. Renegades get Government money. Indians get fire-water."

Doby whispered back, "Has he told them that he took the money and the
papers worth money to Fort Wayne?"

Both nodded.

"Do they know he has had the fire-water moved away?"

They nodded again.

"Will they believe what he tells them?"

Emphatic bobs of both heads.

With the point of his sword Francis Vigo was drawing a map on the
alluvial mud of the inlet. The Indians bent over it. The voyageurs
exchanged dismayed glances.

Even before he saw the map it was not hard to guess, that the "merchant
of Saint Louis," knowing how to turn greed into profit, had bought the
lives of his three followers and had purchased the safety of his home
town with the one thing he had to sell--the newly found fur tract.

"They agree to take the beaver dam," was the meaning of one voyageur's
sigh.

"They go to it instead of to Vincennes," was the translation of the
other's shrug.

Doby thought, "To their old bones, the certainty of furs to bring
fire-water is better than the risk of a clash with the whites, who
always defeat them."

So the hunched, misshapen, and degraded old savages, each with his
attendant youth, embarked upon the now quiet river and paddled out of
sight of the alien race who loathed them.

The dominant Vigo, who had lazily watched them depart, now dropped his
assumed calm as suddenly as he did the velvet coat.

"Home!" he commanded. "To warn the fort!"

As they hurried along, he declared: "The renegades must be captured and
defeated. They are wicked men."

"The Indians are dreadfully wicked," shuddered Doby.

"They know nothing better than their own customs; I pity them," said
the great friend of Indians. "Some day over that sacrificial stone
shall be hung a bell--I vow it now. I put it in my will. I promise
it to my country. A deep-toned bell! It shall call all children to a
school to learn the laws of civilization, and all men to a court of
justice to keep those laws in force. Old Vigo's tongue can live in a
bell and go on preaching something better than greed, something higher
than money!"

(For many, many years gone by, and for to-day and for to-morrow, the
deep-toned bell above the forgotten stone is calling melodiously.
Hundreds of boys have listened to "Old Vigo," the bell, talking to
them.)

Although he planned for the better defense of the fort, Vigo was no
longer the commandant of militia, as he had been some seasons before
this. But he knew that both citizens and soldiers would respond to his
warning as to nothing else, so he outlined his strategy as he paddled
toward Vincennes.

"The renegades will come across the river by my private ferry--they
think I will be far from home--and they expect to meet the savages by
appointment at midnight." His face glowed with the spirit which could
not be subdued. "They will meet soldiers instead. I can fight bad men
of my own race with good appetite," he declared.

It was long past dark when they came to their own town. The dock was
deserted. So Doby set off at a run to rouse the early-to-bed militiamen
and to summon them to the post.

He had a vast sense of his own importance when he stuck his head in the
unlatched doors of the unsuspicious sleeping citizens and yelled: "Arm!
Arm! Come to the fort!"

For such clamor followed as few boys may ever be able to stir up.
Nightcaps and flintlocks were poked from the windows. But he was beyond
the reach of questions or shot ere they got their eyes open. A stream
of men, first awakened, were running toward the fort before the last
ones could find their boots.

Light-headed from hunger, lack of sleep, and excitement, Doby could not
follow all the plans for defense. Friendly Indians and boys disguised
as Indians were to take the place of the ones whom Colonel Vigo had
bought off up-river. These decoys were to follow the renegades, and in
the attack upon the fort were to fight them from the rear.

Doby, with his loaded rifle in his hands for the first attack, and
his knife on hip for hand-to-hand work, was given a man's place at a
loop-hole of the stockade. He waited in the dark for the signal to the
impromptu garrison to surprise the surprisers.

There was a muffled stirring of many feet. First a scuffle--then a run.
Shadowy forms advanced upon the seemingly unguarded fort. Thieving
hands fumbled at the gates.

In the breathless silence, Colonel Vigo's voice sounded like a
pistol-shot. "Fire!" he snapped.

Two dozen rifles spat. The cracking took the invaders completely off
their guard. They fell back in astonishment. But they rallied quickly
and returned the fusillade.

Boys within the fort lighted torches and waved them to show the
defenders how the battle lay.

The attacking renegades were made up of numbers of outlaws, of
deserters from the army, and of unlucky or incompetent settlers. Every
post in the Northwest had more or less of this human riffraff and many
towns had the same unlucky experiences with them.

These robbers did not trust their Indian allies. Treacherous
themselves, they suspected the old Indians' motives in joining them. So
they had purposely given their own number as much smaller than it was,
lest the Indians should turn upon them.

Doby's heart was not the only one which thumped with dismay as the
flare of the torches lit up the goodly number of the besiegers. Even
Francis Vigo's strategy of replacing their allied Indians with friends
of the town could not assure Vincennes of victory. She would have to
fight for her life. How curious if the far-away beaver dam should be
the thing that bought her safety! It had lessened her foes and given
her a fighting chance.

Madly the renegades charged the stockade. Staunchly the citizens helped
the handful of soldiers to hold it.

Again the rabble advanced. Fell back! Advanced! Fell back!

Mercy and justice had no place in Doby's mind. His duty was to hold his
section of the fort. He banged away with the best of the volunteers
and howled like an Indian as the renegades ran from his fire into the
volleys of the disguised men behind them.

During a lull in the battle he was proud to be obliged to tie up his
head where a bullet had grazed it, and to swagger like an old war-dog
as he moved across a barrier to help Colonel Vigo tie up a flesh wound
in his sword arm.

Then--on came the renegades! "Hi! Hi! Hi!" was their rallying call.

"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" answered the flintlocks.

Over the walls piled the enemy. Through the gates came the disguised
Indians, fighting for the fort, and against their supposed allies.

Hand to hand--without command--without system--without mercy. One
of those free-for-all defenses in which frontiersmen had to become
victorious if they hoped to survive.

The renegades were beaten down, overcome, captured, and imprisoned. The
town was saved, as many a settlement in the Great Valley was held for
the white race--by the determined spirit of its founders.

Little blood was shed; less talk was heard; least record was made.
One item in a dusty old book is all that is printed about that lively
night. To wit:

   This da. novem. 12. 1816. by Col. F. Vigo licens^d ferry freebooters
   attack^d stockade. 9 wound^d. loss 1 pk. horse. Attack repuls^d.

This document marked the final touch to Doby's education for
that important year. He was on his way toward becoming a man and
a citizen--for he was at last a soldier--a volunteer soldier--a
victorious soldier--in defense of the Great Valley.



                               AFTERWORD


THE glory of the Great Valley is in the deeds of her heroes whose
conquests are blazoned on the tablets of the nation's memory.

Her prosperity is in the genius of her inventors and the hands of her
artisans--those renowned creators of her colossal fortunes.

But her safety lies deep in the hearts of her common people whose names
are seldom heard.

On their integrity depends the fate of this land. They are the very
life of the United States.

How can we better understand the stuff whereof our people are made, the
labor they have done, the ideals they have created, the institutions
they have reared in the two centuries since they first set foot in this
valley, than by studying their present by the light of their past?

How can we thank them more appropriately for the treasures they give
us, than by imitating the sincerity of their lives?

One of them, a boy pioneer, who lived in the times half-way between the
lads of to-day and the young men who built the fort at Ouiatanon, has
told us his story. It is the plain tale of his hardships and successes
in the struggle for a home, where his small daily tasks might help to
keep alive, upon the altar of its hearth, the sacred flame of love.

Through his adventures runs the plea for honest citizenship.

His acts declare: Not in war, but in work uplifted by service for
others, in peace fraught with neighborly good-will, in self-sacrifice
for our country's sake, is the spirit of patriotism that will keep
afloat forever over the Great Valley the flag of the Stars and Stripes!


                                THE END



                   BOOKS BY KATE DICKINSON SWEETSER


    _TEN BOYS FROM DICKENS_
    _TEN GIRLS FROM DICKENS_
    _TEN BOYS FROM HISTORY_
    _TEN GIRLS FROM HISTORY_
    _BOYS AND GIRLS FROM GEORGE ELIOT_
    _BOYS AND GIRLS FROM THACKERAY_
    _BOOK OF INDIAN BRAVES_
    _TEN GREAT ADVENTURERS_

"Particularly spirited is Miss Sweetser's biographical work. Accuracy
of historic fact has been the author's commendable aim in all her
books. Luckily she has likewise treated her characters as human beings,
something which cannot be said of most writers of biography for
children."--_The Nation._

Octavo, Pictorial Covers, numerous full-page illustrations, many in
color



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    _HARPER'S BOOK FOR YOUNG GARDENERS_
    _HARPER'S INDOOR BOOKS FOR BOYS_
    _HARPER'S OUTDOOR BOOK FOR BOYS_
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    _HARPER'S BOATING BOOK FOR BOYS_
    _HARPER'S ELECTRICITY BOOK FOR BOYS_
    _HARPER'S BOOK FOR YOUNG NATURALISTS_
    _HARPER'S HOW TO UNDERSTAND ELECTRICAL WORK_
    _HARPER'S MACHINERY BOOK FOR BOYS_
    _HARPER'S HANDY-BOOK FOR GIRLS_
    _THE STORY OF OUR GREAT INVENTIONS_
    _MOTOR-BOATING FOR BOYS_

               Each Volume Fully Illustrated. Crown 8vo



                FAMOUS BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BY LOUIS RHEAD


    _THE ARABIAN NIGHTS_
    _TREASURE ISLAND_
    _GULLIVER'S TRAVELS_
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All these volumes are fully illustrated with numerous full-page
drawings and many decorations. Crown 8vo, bound in Red Cloth



                       HARPER'S CAMP LIFE SERIES


_CAMPING ON THE GREAT RIVER_

   BY RAYMOND S. SPEARS

_A farmer's son ventures out into the great world to make a man of
himself and succeeds. He embarks in a shanty-boat and sails down the
Ohio and Mississippi, where he has all kinds of adventures which will
make the boy-reader long to imitate him._


_CAMPING ON THE GREAT LAKES_

   BY RAYMOND S. SPEARS

_A story of self-reliance and independence as well as adventure. Will
Sayne and Miles Breton take a voyage of discovery from Ontario and
Erie, through Huron to the vast stretch of Lake Superior. They become
involved innocently in smugglers' plots._


_CAMPING IN THE WINTER WOODS_

   BY ELMER RUSSELL GREGOR

_The story of two boys who are granted the privilege of a winter of
hunting and trapping in the Maine woods under the tuition of their
father's famous guide, Old Ben. It is not only a fine story but is
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love._


_CAMPING ON WESTERN TRAILS_

   BY ELMER RUSSELL GREGOR

_The same two boys spend a summer in the Rocky Mountains, shoot
mountain-lions and wolves, secure photographs of mountain-sheep and
bears, pan gold in cañon streams, and are nearly suffocated in a forest
fire._

                        _Illustrated. Post 8vo_


                           HARPER & BROTHERS

              NEW YORK      ESTABLISHED 1817      LONDON



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

    page  51, removed comma between tying and it (rolling and tying
        it, he fastened it)
    page  62, space inserted between legs and clung (His legs clung to
        the saddle)
    page 184, some one changed to someone (someone had cut off a
        couple of feet)
    page 200, pirouges changed to pirogues (some hollowed-out log
        pirogues)
    page 219, capitalized staunchly (Staunchly the citizens helped the
        handful of  soldiers to hold it.)
    page 220,  Vigos changed to Vigo (Col. F. Vigo)





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