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his horse like some old Covenanter. His I am observed, make for the fort. My head was bent forward as if listening. papers are in the holster, and you know His set jaw, the deep, earnest meaning their value.” of his ordinarily cold hazel eye, his Go on,” replied Wilson, who knew hand clenched quivering on the hilt of the peculiar character of his companions. his revolver, demonstrated his faith in "Go on, I will do as you tell me. In a the high purpose to which he had de- born,” he added, as he cautiously folvoted himself.
lowed the earnest northerner and led Wilson acknowledged the propriety the two horses through the long grass. of caution. They dismounted and drove “In a horn, old Yank. I would not seo the pack-animals together at the bottom a hair of your head hurt for all the aboof the slope.
litionists that ever stood beneath the They then rode on.
shadow of Bunker Hill monument." Again and again, they heard the dull It was no time for conversation. reports of the fire-arms, which had first Making a motion to his companion, awakened their attention.
Gardiner bent down, and, hiding himThey spurred their tired horses; they self in the tangled grass, crawled slowly were excited by an almost ungovernable to the summit of the mound they had curiosity; they drew near to the com- approached. batants.
The scene before him was fearful as As they approached a broad swale unexpected. A half score of mounted of the prairie, Gardiner halted-he dis- Indians occupied the plain below. mounted. ** Hold the horses,” he said. They were circling near a small copse “ I am a better frontiersman than you. of cotton-wood, where lay, hidden from Remember that you could never stalk view, some object to which their attenan antelope –I can. You are now ex- tion was devoted. cited—I am calm. It is, therefore, better At intervals, the dark forms of the for you to remain here—for me to go Indians movnd rapidly around the low
Dismount, and thus take the cover, and, at such moments, a chorus weight from the back of your tired of wild yells reached the attentive ears horse.
Now cling hard to both the of the friends on the mound. bridles : the ponies may get excited “They have driven the Grizzly to his and try to break away from you. If lair,” said Gardiner. “The horse of
Kaya has tired, and he has taken to will be guarded against." The New the bush. I swear they dare not come Englander seated himself upon the within gun-shot of the cover,” he cried ground and became busy with Colt's exultantly.
immortal fire-arm. “Hurrah for the gallant balf-breed ! Soon rising, he ran down the bill, It is he to a certainty.”.
dragging with him by their bridles the • What shall we do?" said Wilson. two riding horses, and then discharged • Shall we ride on ?"
the loads in quick succession. While “ Not at all—by no means," replied he knelt over the weapon to replace the Gardiner. “I will load the spare cylin- discharged cylinder with a loaded one, der of my heavy Texan six-shooter for bis comrade saw the Indians dashing a reserve, and then discharge the pistol. about in wild confusion. It will cause these fellows to break up Gardiner had replaced the loads in their party for a reconnoissance. In the his revolver, and now joined his commean time, the quick senses of Kaya will panion. demonstrate to him the class of arm by Suddenly a wild shout shook the stillthe peculiar sound of the report. He ness of the autumn air. The next inwill know that we are near him. He stant, they saw the gray horse of the will make a break to us, or, the Indians Kaya dash out of the wood. In the being divided, we will make a rush distance he seemed to approach them through them to the cover. We shall riderless. probably pass the night in that covert, The half-dozen Indians in waiting, and, perhaps, to-morrow. If we ever rode madly in pursuit. reach it, they can only beat us by horse came gallantly on.
In a few mostarving us out; and, by filling your ments they could discern the form of saddle-pockets with dried meat, that the half-breed. He was hanging from
the saddle. Twice they saw him change right. The form of the mountaineer his position, twice they saw the smoke was for an instant exposed. With a and heard the report of the Indian wild yell, the Blackfoot discharged an guns. “Good! Admirable!” cried
It struck the Kaya. He Gardiner, " human nature alike in set- struggled to a sitting posture, threw up tlement and on prairie. So long as the his short gun like a lance, and, withfools only use the European fire-arm, out putting it to his face, returned a bulso long Kaya is safe. They cannot let for the arrow, which had evidently shoot with accuracy with the gun, yet severely wounded him. they will not use their arrows. Hurra The Indian faltered, caught wildly at for progress, even in the wilderness. the air, his head settled forward, he Kaya will reach us yet.” As he spoke, lost the motion of his horse, jolted the gray horse wheeled in his course, heavily in the saddle, clutched at the and dashed at the nearest Indian. mane of his animal, and then fell to There was
a mad rally; men and the ground. His companions halted, horses seemed overturned ; shots were and the brave mountaineer galloped up heard, and then Kaya once more gal- to his former comrades. He was a terloped towards them.
rible spectacle. His white hunting-shirt “Good!” cried Wilson. “he has was stained with gore. His blood-shot, changed horses in the mêlée. He has haggard eyes stared on the excited struck down the Indian from the fine men who had come to seek him. An black horse, and is now riding him." arrow had transfixed his shoulder, and
“ White man versus Indian,” said stood up as from a quiver behind his Gardiner. " He has certainly struck right arın. His strongly marked feasome great chief ; see, he is only follow- tures, streaked with bright vermilion, ed by three warriors--two have stopped were blackened by gunpowder, and his by the fallen brave; but now be ready. dark lips, drawn away from teeth white Do not shoot unless the Indian is com- as ivory, gave a ghastly character to ing straight towards you, and as there the awful meaning of his smile. "The are only three of them, the nearer the Piegans are short of a chief,” he said. better."
“There are more dead Blackfeet on the Kaya seemed to know, as if by in- bottom lands than there are moons in stinct; where the friends lay, and rode the year. They looked in the face of to them as directly as the crow flies. a half-breed of the north- and dropped Suddenly & tall warrior wheeled his like leaves in the first frost." horse almost across that of the moun- He then staggered down from the taineer. The half-tamed animal which fierce horse be bestrode, and, throwing Kaya bestrode, swerved short to the the end of the lariat* rope to Gardiner,
* Long line of hair rope, by wbich the Indian horse is ridden and secured.
knelt and reloaded bis gun, and then
“Do not imitate me," he discharged it at the group of Blackfeet. said, and turned in his saddle. The They divided, and at last the Indians Blackfoot warrior nearest them instantfairly broke for the bottom-lands, ly wheeled from the line, and swung leaving the body of the slain chief out of sight behind his horse. The on the ground. Kaya as suddenly crack of the rifle was heard, and the mounted bis horse, and, with a stifled gallant dark steed of the Indian stum. yell, started in mad pursuit. He drew bled, and then fell forward, shot up and dismounted at the side of through the shoulders. Instantly rethe fallen chief, with one quick stroke newing the charge, Gardiner again of bis knife tore the scalp from bis raised the efficient weapon. Covering head, again mounted and dashed on horse and man as they rode straight after the braves, from whom he had towards him, be brought the second Inapparently fled a few moments be- dian to the ground. fore.
The thicket was but a few paces in “He seems maddened by his wounds," front when the half-breed again passed said Gardiner. “But now is our time." them like a spectre of death, and the
The pack-animals were soon collect- next moment was wheeling among the ed and driven headlong toward the discomfited Indians. “ Turn no more," thicket. The sagacity of the Indians, cried Gardiner; “Kaya will engage but for a moment at fault, soon detect- them." ed the full number of their foes, and, They reached the cover, drove the with the fierce war-whoop of the north- sluggish animals toward an indentation ern tribes, they dashed towards them. of the swampy ground, and, as the In
• The thicket,” cried Gardiner, " the dian ponies stopped, and with their thicket; drive up, drive up, don't stop natural sagacity pawed the moist earth, to shoot! The cover is our only safe- they once more shook hands together ty! Hurra for the gallant Kaya, here and dismounted. he comes again! He has driven the The silence was broken by a call first party out of our path."
from Wilson. “The gray mule scents As he spoke, the half-breed again something here to the right,” he said. appeared in sight around the corner of “We are approached from the river.” the wood.
At once Gardiner assisted the halfGardiner throw his short rifle across breed to his feet.
The arrow had been extricated; but straggling thickets of the cotton which the wbite hunting-shirt was wet with we have already described. the blood of the uncomplaining Kaya. Among these the hostile party might
He staggered against a tree, and have harbored, but where they were, eagerly reached out his band for the gun Kaya could alone aid in informing them; which Wilson brought to him. Then so far, at least, as ordinary vision could the shrubbery was parted, and the beau. discern, they were gone. tiful face of a young Indian woman They threaded their way through looked out upon them. It was wan with the thick under-brush, and moved caufatigue and exhaustion. With a single tiously toward the waters of the stream. glance around she came forward, paused, Suddenly Gardiner clasped the arm of and then, with a bound, knelt at the feet his friend, and, pointing to the ground, of Kaya. She caught his bloody band looked warily about him. The waters to her face, pressed it to her cheek, and of the branch had been turned back by murmured low, sweet words of the the labors of the beaver. Near one of Indian tongue.
the large clear pools thus created by Kaya stood with his face averted from the flooding of the bottom-land, in the the companions. He did not look at soft black mud of the swamp, was the the young squaw, who now cuddled down fresh track of a moccasin.
It was like a little child beside him, or notice deeply indented, and so recently made her presence.
that the water from the sponge-like " Thank God!" cried Gardiner, " that texture of decayed leaves and moss of woman is safe for the present at least. the morass still trickled into it, and had Throughout our day's ride my imagina- not yet filled it up. tion has presented her to me, tortured Gardiner pressed his companion to a by the Blackfeet in their most bellish stooping posture. He cocked his sis. style. Her child is gone, though. She shooter, an example which was followhas lost the son of the most noted scouted by Wilson, and tben, for an instant of all these northern regions, which is bending more intently over the evidence sorrow enough to her, you may well of the dangerous proximity of their believe. Ah, Wilson. my boy, I'd foes, suddenly started to his feet, and hardly know whether that cry of yours, uttered a few words aloud in the Ina few minutes since, was a laugh or a dian tongue. groan. At any rate, it was most too A low ejaculation was heard on the loud for safety, and, if heard by the right, then a light foot-fall came splashPiegans, will tell them we have struck ing from hussock to root, and then a joy or grief here in the thicket. Prob. tall Indian came forward, and gazed at ably they will think that we have run on them across the pool with a smile on the lair of a grizzly. It is getting late his painted face. in the day: When night comes the “Look out, little gun, he shoot,” he Indians will be upon us howling; but said, pointing at the revolver of Wilson, they may be here at any moment. In still at full cock and aimed towards him ; an Indian skirmish nothing frets me so then the expression of his face changed much as silence. I do not then know to the stony look of the great warrior which way to meet, or where to expect, when upon the war-path, as another the blow which, in the present case, is, footstep was heard approaching at full I think, sure to be dealt.”
speed, and the young wife of Kaya As they went toward the edge of the came up to them and gazed with a thicket, Wilson stole a look at the guide. sturtled, anxious look in the face of the Kaya bad sat down upon the ground; his head was leaning on the slight form If possible, the face of the brave beof his young wife. She had clasped it cama still more utterly devoid of ex. with both her hands; her lips were pression, as he met the gazo of her pressed to his broad, high forehead. earnest eyes thus fixed upon him; but
“ He is her idol, her life, her faith," he held up the fingers of both his hands murmured Wilson, and sighed as he -with one arm swept a half-circle passed on.
around his head, placed the fork of the If there were Indians near thom, they fore and middle fingers of his right were hidden from view.
hand upon the first finger of his left, Along the stream, which stretched and with the latter imitated the gallopaway to the south, were the broken, ing of a horse at full speed. He thon