Part 1 out of 3
THE LOST TRAIL
BY EDWARD S. ELLIS
AUTHOR OF "SETH JONES," "THE FOREST SPY," ETC., ETC.
[Illustration: "THAT INDIAN HAS CARRIED CORA AWAY!"--_Frontispiece_.]
I. The Shadow
II. The Adventures of a Night
III. The Jug Acquaintances
IV. An Ominous Rencounter
VI. The Lost Trail
VII. A Hibernian's Search for the Trail
VIII. The Trail of Death
IX. The Dead Shot
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
He held his long rifle in his right hand, while he drew the shrubbery
apart with his left, and looked forth at the canoe.
"A purty question, ye murtherin haythen!"
"Where does yees get the jug?"
Dealt the savage a tremendous blow
"Well, At-to-uck," said he, kindly, "you seem troubled."
The trail was lost!
"And so, Teddy, ye're sayin' it war a white man that took away the
"It's all up!" muttered the dying man. "I am wiped out at last, and
must go under!"
"Harvey Richter--don't you know me?" he gasped.
THE LOST TRAIL.
Ye who love the haunts of nature,
Love the sunshine of the meadow,
Love the shadow of the forest,
Love the wind among the branches,
And the rain-shower and the snow-storm,
And the rushing of great rivers.
Listen to these wild traditions.--HIAWATHA.
One day in the spring of 1820, a singular occurrence took place on one
of the upper tributaries of the Mississippi.
The bank, some fifteen or twenty feet in height, descended quite
abruptly to the stream's edge. Though both shores were lined with
dense forest, this particular portion possessed only several sparse
clumps of shrubbery, which seemed like a breathing-space in this sea
of verdure--a gate in the magnificent bulwark with which nature girts
her streams. This green area commanded a view of several miles, both
up and down stream.
Had a person been observing this open spot on the afternoon of the day
in question, he would have seen a large bowlder suddenly roll from the
top of the bank to bound along down the green declivity and fall into
the water with a loud splash. This in itself was nothing remarkable,
as such things are of frequent occurrence in the great order of
things, and the tooth of time easily could have gnawed away the few
crumbs of earth that held the stone in poise.
Scarcely five minutes had elapsed, however, when a second bowlder
rolled downward in a manner precisely similar to its predecessor, and
tumbled into the water with a rush that resounded across and across
from the forest on either bank.
Even this might have occurred in the usual course of things. Stranger
events take place every day. The loosening of the first stone could
have opened the way for the second, although a suspicious observer
might naturally have asked why its fall did not follow more
But, when precisely the same interval had elapsed, and a third stone
followed in the track of the others, there could be no question but
what human agency was concerned in the matter. It certainly appeared
as if there were some _intent_ in all this. In this remote wilderness,
no white man or Indian would find the time or inclination for such
child's play, unless there was a definite object to be accomplished.
And yet, scrutinized from the opposite bank, the lynx-eye of a veteran
pioneer would have detected no other sign of the presence of a human
being than the occurrences that we have already narrated; but the most
inexperienced person would have decided at once upon the hiding-place
of him who had given the moving impulse to the bodies.
Just at the summit of the bank was a mass of shrubbery of sufficient
extent and density to conceal a dozen warriors. And within this,
beyond doubt, was one person, at least, concealed; and it was certain,
too, that from his hiding-place, he was peering out upon the river.
Each bowlder had emerged from this shrubbery, and had not passed
through it in its downward course; so that their starting-point may
now be considered a settled question.
Supposing one to have gazed from this stand-point, what would have
been his field of vision? A long stretch of river--a vast, almost
interminable extent of forest--a faint, far-off glimpse of a mountain
peak projected like a thin cloud against the blue sky, and a solitary
eagle that, miles above, was bathing his plumage in the clear
atmosphere. Naught else?
Close under the opposite shore, considerably lower down than the point
to which we first directed our attention, may be descried a dark
object. It is a small Indian canoe, in which are seated two white men
and a female, all of whom are attired in the garb of civilization. The
young man near the stern is of slight mold, clear blue eye, and a
prepossessing countenance. He holds a broad ashen paddle in his hand
with which to assist his companion, who maintains his proximity to the
shore for the purpose of overcoming more deftly the opposition of the
current. The second personage is a short but square-shouldered
Irishman, with massive breast, arms like the piston-rods of an engine,
and a broad, good-natured face. He is one of those beings who may be
aptly termed "machines," a patient, plodding, ox-like creature who
takes to the most irksome labor as a flail takes to the sheafs on the
threshing-floor. Work was his element, and nothing, it would seem,
could tire or overcome those indurated muscles and vice-like nerves.
The only appellation with which he was ever known to be honored was
that of "Teddy."
Near the center of the canoe, which was of goodly size and straight,
upon a bed of blankets, sat the wife of the young man in the stern. A
glance would have dissipated the slightest suspicion of her being
anything other than a willing voyager upon the river. There was the
kindling eye and glowing cheek, the eager look that flitted hither and
yon, and the buoyant feeling manifest in every movement, all of which
expressed more of enthusiasm than of willingness merely. Her constant
questions to her husband or Teddy, kept up a continual run of
conversation, which was now, for the first time, momentarily
interrupted by the occurrence to which we have alluded.
At the moment we introduce them the young man was holding his paddle
stationary and gazing off toward his right, where the splash in the
water denoted the fall of the third stone. His face wore an expression
of puzzled surprise, mingled with which was a look of displeasure, as
if he were "put out" at this manifestation. His eyes were fixed with a
keen, searching gaze upon the river-bank, expecting the appearance of
Teddy also was resting upon his paddle, and scrutinizing the point in
question; but he seemed little affected by what had taken place. His
face was as expressionless as one of the bowlders, save the
ever-present look of imperturbable good-humor.
The young woman seemed more absorbed than either of her companions, in
attempting to divine this mystery that had so suddenly come upon them.
More than once she raised her hand, as an admonition for Teddy to
preserve silence. Finally, however, his impatience got the better of
his obedience, and he broke the oppressive stillness.
"And what does ye make of it, Miss Cora, or Master Harvey?" he asked,
after a few moments, dipping his paddle at the same time in the water.
"Arrah, now, has either of ye saan anything more than the same
"No," answered the man, "but we may; keep a bright look-out, Teddy,
and let me know what you see."
The Irishman inclined his head to one side, and closed one eye as if
sighting an invisible gun. Suddenly he exclaimed, with a start:
"I see something now, _sure_ as a Bally-ma-gorrah wake."
"What is it?"
"The sun going down in the west, and tilling us we've no time to
shpare in fooling along here."
"Teddy, don't you remember day before yesterday when we came out of
the Mississippi into this stream, we observed something very similar
"An' what if we did, zur? Does ye mane to say that a rock or two can't
git tired of layin' in bed for a thousand years and roll around like a
potaty in a garret whin the floor isn't stiddy?"
"It struck us as so remarkable that we both concluded it must have
been caused _purposely_ by some one."
"Me own opinion was, ye remember, that it was a lot of school-boys
that had run away from their master, and were indulging themselves in
a little shport, or that it was the bears at a shindy, or that it was
"Ah! Teddy, there are times when jesting is out of place," said the
young wife, reproachfully; "and it seems to me that when we are alone
in this vast wilderness, with many and many a long mile between us
and a white settlement, we should be grave and thoughtful."
"I strives to be so, Miss Cora, but it's harder than paddling this
cockle-shell of a canoe up-shtream. My tongue will wag jist as a dog's
tail when he can't kape it still."
The face of the Irishman wore such a long, woebegone expression, that
it brought a smile to the face of his companion. Teddy saw this, and
his big, honest blue eyes twinkled with humor as he glanced upward
from beneath his hat.
"I knows yees _prays_ for me, Misther Harvey and Miss Cora, ivery
night and morning of your blessed life, but I'm afeard your prayers
will do as little good for Teddy as the s'arch-warrant did for Micky,
the praist's boy, who stole the praist's shirt and give it away
because it was lou--"
From the very center of the clump of bushes of which we have made
mention, came a white puff of smoke, followed immediately by the faint
but sharp report of a rifle. The bullet's course could be seen as it
skipped over the surface of the water, and finally dropped out of
"What do you say, now?" asked the young man. "Isn't that proof that
we've attracted attention?"
"So it saams; but, little dread need we have of disturbance if they
always kaap at such a respictable distance as that. Whisht, now! but
don't ye saa those same bushes moving? There's some one passing
through them! Mebbe it's a shadow, mebbe it's the divil himself. If
so, here goes after the imp!"
Catching up his rifle, Teddy discharged it toward the bank, although
it was absolutely impossible for his bullet to do more than reach the
"That's to show the old gintleman we are ready and ain't frightened,
be he the divil himself, or only a few of his children, that ye call
the poor Injuns!"
"And whoever it is, he is evidently as little frightened as you; that
shot was a direct challenge to us."
"And it's accepted. Hooray! Now for some Limerick exercise!"
Ere he could be prevented, the Irishman had headed his canoe across
stream, and was paddling with all his might toward the spot from which
the first shot had been fired.
"Stop!" commanded his master. "It is fool-hardiness, on a par with
your general conduct, thus to run into an undefined danger."
Teddy reluctantly changed the course of the boat and said nothing,
although his face plainly indicated his disappointment. He had not
been mistaken, however, in the supposition that he detected the
movements of some person in the shrubbery. Directly after the shot had
been fired, the bushes were agitated, and a gaunt, grim-visaged man,
in a half-hunter and half-civilized dress, moved a few feet to the
right, in a manner which showed that he was indifferent as to whether
or not he was observed. He looked forth as if to ascertain the result
of his fire. The man was very tall, with a face by no means
unhandsome, although it was disfigured by a settled scowl, which
better befitted a savage enemy than a white friend. He held his long
rifle in his right hand, while he drew the shrubbery apart with his
left, and looked forth at the canoe.
[Illustration: He held his long rifle in his right hand, while he drew
the shrubbery apart with his left, and looked forth at the canoe.]
"I knew the distance was too great," he muttered, "but you will hear
of me again, Harvey Richter. I've had a dozen chances to pick you off
since you and your friends started up-stream, but I don't wish to do
_that_. No, no, not that. Fire away; but you can do me no more harm
than I can you, at this moment."
Allowing the bushes to resume their wonted position, the stranger
deliberately reloaded his piece and as deliberately walked away in the
In the meantime, the voyagers resumed their journey and were making
quite rapid progress up-stream. The sun was already low in the sky,
and it was not long before darkness began to envelop wood and stream.
At a sign from the young man, the Irishman headed the canoe toward
shore. In a few moments they landed, where, if possible, the wood was
more dense than usual. Although quite late in the spring, the night
was chilly, and they lost no time in kindling a good fire.
The travelers appeared to act upon the presumption that there were no
such things as enemies in this solitude. Every night they had run
their boat in to shore, started a fire, and slept soundly by it until
morning, and thus far, strange as it may seem, they had suffered no
molestation and had seen no signs of ill-will, if we except the
occurrences already related. Through the day, the stalwart arms of
Teddy, with occasional assistance from the more delicate yet firm
muscles of Harvey, had plied the paddle. No attempt at concealment
was made. On several occasions they had landed at the invitation of
Indians, and, after smoking, and presenting them with a few trinkets,
had departed again, in peace and good-will.
Not to delay information upon an important point, we may state that
Harvey Richter was a young minister who had recently been appointed
missionary to the Indians. The official members of his denomination,
while movements were on foot concerning the spiritual welfare of the
heathen in other parts of the world, became convinced that the red-men
of the American wilds were neglected, and conceding fully the force of
the inference drawn thence, young men were induced to offer themselves
as laborers in the savage American vineyard. Great latitude was
granted in their choice of ground--being allowed an area of thousands
upon thousands of square miles over which the red-man roamed in his
pristine barbarism. The vineyard was truly vast and the laborers few.
While his friends selected stations comparatively but a short distance
from the bounds of civilization, Harvey Richter decided to go to the
Far Northwest. Away up among the grand old mountains and majestic
solitudes, hugging the rills and streams which roll eastward to feed
the great continental artery called the Mississippi, he believed lay
his true sphere of duty. Could the precious seed be deposited there,
if even in a single spot, he was sure its growth would be rapid and
certain, and, like the little rills, it might at length become the
great, steadily-flowing source of light and life.
Harvey Richter had read and studied much regarding the American
aborigines. To choose one of the wildest, most untamed tribes for his
pupils, was in perfect keeping with his convictions and his character
for courage. Hence he selected the present hunting-grounds of the
Sioux, in upper Minnesota. Shortly before he started he was married to
Cora Brandon, whose devotion to her great Master and to her husband
would have carried her through any earthly tribulations. Although she
had not urged the resolution which the young minister had taken, yet
she gladly gave up a luxurious home and kind friends to bear him
There was yet another whose devotion to the young missionary was
scarcely less than that of the faithful wife. We refer to the
Irishman, Teddy, who had been a favorite servant for many years in
the family of the Richters. Having fully determined on sharing the
fortunes of his young master, it would have grieved his heart very
deeply had he been left behind. He received the announcement that he
was to be a life-long companion of the young man, with an expression
at once significant of his pride and his joy.
"Be jabers, but Teddy McFadden is in luck!"
And thus it happened that our three friends were ascending one of the
tributaries of the upper Mississippi on this balmy day in the spring
of 1820. They had been a long time on the journey, but were now
nearing its termination. They had learned from the Indians daily
encountered, the precise location of the large village, in or near
which they had decided to make their home for many and many a year to
After landing, and before starting his fire, Teddy pulled the canoe up
on the bank. It was used as a sort of shelter by their gentler
companion, while he and his master slept outside, in close proximity
to the camp-fire. They possessed a plentiful supply of game at all
times, for this was the Paradise of hunters, and they always landed
and shot what was needed.
"We must be getting well up to the northward," remarked the young
man, as he warmed his hands before the fire. "Don't you notice any
difference in the atmosphere, Cora?"
"Yes; there is a very perceptible change."
"If this illigant fire only keeps up, I'm thinking there'll be a
considerable difference afore long. The ways yees be twisting and
doubling them hands, as if ye had hold of some delightsome soap,
spaaks that yees have already discovered a difference. It is better
nor whisky, fire is, in the long run, providin' you don't swaller
it--the fire, that is."
"Even if swallowed, Teddy, fire is better than whisky, for fire burns
only the body, while whisky burns the soul," answered the minister.
"Arrah, that it does; for I well remimbers the last swig I took a'most
burnt a hole in me shirt, over the bosom, and they say that is where
the soul is located."
"Ah, Teddy, you are a sad sinner, I fear," laughingly observed Mrs.
Richter, at this extravagant allusion.
"A _sad_ sinner! Divil a bit of it. I haven't saan the day for twinty
year whin I couldn't dance at me grandmother's wake, or couldn't use a
shillalah at me father's fourteenth weddin'. Teddy _sad_? Well, that
is a--is a--a mistake," and the injured fellow further expressed his
feelings by piling on the fuel until he had a fire large enough to
have roasted a battalion of prize beeves, had they been spitted before
Darkness at length fairly settled upon the wood and stream; the gloom
around became deep and impressive. The inevitable haunch of venison
was roasting before the roaring fire, Teddy watching and attending it
with all the skill of an experienced cook. While thus engaged, the
missionary and his wife were occupied in tracing the course of the
Mississippi and its tributaries upon a pocket map, which was the chief
guide in that wilderness of streams and "tributaries." Who could deny
the vastness of the field, and the loud call for laborers, when such
an immense extent then bore only the name of "Unexplored Region!" And
yet, this same headwater territory was teeming with human beings, as
rude and uncultivated as the South Sea Islanders. What were the
feelings of the faithful couple as their eyes wandered to the left of
the map, where these huge letters confronted them, we can only
surmise. That they felt that ten thousand self-sacrificing men could
be employed in this portion of the country we may well imagine.
As the evening meal was not yet ready, the missionary folded the map
and fell to musing--musing of the future he had marked out for
himself; enjoying the sweet approval of his conscience, higher and
purer than any enjoyment of earth. All at once came back the
occurrence of the afternoon, which had been absent from his thoughts
for the hour past. But, now that it was recalled, it engaged his mind
with redoubled force.
Could he be assured that it was a red-man who had fired the shot, the
most unpleasant apprehension would be dissipated; but a suspicion
_would_ haunt him, in spite of himself, that it was not a red-man, but
a white, who had thus signified his hostility. The rolling of the
stones must have been simply to call his attention, and the rifle-shot
was intended for nothing more than to signify that he was an enemy.
And who could this enemy be? If a hunter or an adventurer, would he
not naturally have looked upon any of his own race, whom he
encountered in the wilderness, as his friends, and have hastened to
welcome them? What could have been more desirable than to unite with
them in a country where whites were so scarce, and almost unknown?
Was it not contrary to all reason to suppose that a hermit or
misanthrope would have penetrated thus far to avoid his brother man,
and would have broken his own solitude by thus betraying his presence?
Such and similar were the questions Harvey Richter asked himself again
and again, and to all he was able to return an answer. He had decided
who this strange being might possibly be. If it was the person
suspected, it was one whom he had met more frequently than he wished,
and he prayed that he might never encounter him again in this world.
The certainty that the man had dogged him to this remote spot in the
West; that he had patiently plodded after the travelers for many a day
and night; that even the trackless river had not sufficed to place
distance between them; that, undoubtedly, like some wild beast in his
lair, he had watched Richter and his companions as they sat or
slumbered near their camp-fire--these, we may well surmise, served to
render the missionary for the moment excessively uncomfortable, and to
dull the roseate hues in which he had drawn the future.
The termination of this train of thought was the sudden suspicion that
this very being was at that moment in close proximity. Unconsciously,
Harvey rose to the sitting position and looked around, half expecting
to descry the too well remembered figure.
"Supper is waiting, and so is our appetites, be the same token in your
stomachs that is in mine. How bees it with yourself, Mistress Cora?"
The young wife had risen to her feet, and the husband was in the act
of doing the same, when the sharp crack of a rifle broke the
stillness, and Harvey plainly heard and felt the whiz of the bullet as
it passed before his eyes.
"To the devil wid yer nonsense!" shouted Teddy, furiously springing
forward, and glaring around him in search of the author of the
well-nigh fatal shot. Deciding upon the quarter whence it came, he
seized his ever-ready rifle, which he had learned to manage with much
skill, dashed off at the top of his speed, not heeding the commands of
his master, nor the appeals of Mrs. Richter to return.
Guided only by his blind rage, it happened, in this instance, that the
Irishman proceeded directly toward the spot where the hunter had
concealed himself, and came so very near that the latter was compelled
to rise to his feet to escape being trampled upon. Teddy caught the
outlines of a tall form tearing hurriedly through the wood, as if in
terror of being caught, and he bent all his energies toward overtaking
him. The gloom of the night, that had now fairly descended, and the
peculiar topography of the ground, made it an exceedingly difficult
matter for both to keep their feet. The fugitive, catching in some
obstruction, was thrown flat upon his face, but quickly recovered
himself. Teddy, with a shout of exultation, sprung forward, confident
that he had secured their persecutor at last, but the Irishman was
caught by the same obstacle and "floored" even more completely than
"Bad luck to it!" he exclaimed, frantically scrambling to his feet,
"but it has knocked me deaf and dumb. I'll have ye, owld haythen, yit,
or me name isn't Teddy McFadden, from Limerick downs."
Teddy's fall had given the fugitive quite an advantage, and as he was
fully as fleet of foot as the Irishman, the latter was unable to
regain his lost ground. Still, it wasn't in his nature to give in, and
he dashed forward as determinedly as ever. To his unutterable chagrin,
however, it was not long before he realized that the footsteps of his
enemy were gradually becoming more distant. His rage grew with his
adversary's gradual escape, and he would have pursued had he been
certain of rushing into destruction itself. All at once he made a
second fall, and, instead of recovering, went headlong down into a
gully, fully a dozen feet in depth.
Teddy, stunned by his heavy fall, lay insensible for some fifteen or
twenty minutes. He returned to consciousness with a ringing sensation
in his ears, and it was some time before he could recall all the
circumstances of his predicament. Gradually the facts dawned upon him,
and he listened. Everything was oppressively still. He heard not the
voice of his master, and not even the sound of any of the denizens of
His first movement was to feel for his rifle, which he had brought
with him in his descent, and which he found close at hand. In the act
of rising, he caught the sound of a footstep, and saw, at the same
instant, the outlines of a person that he knew at once could be no
other than the man whom he had been pursuing. The hunter was about a
dozen feet distant, and seemed perfectly aware of the Irishman's
presence, for he stood with folded arms, facing his pursuer. The
darkness prevented Teddy's discovering anything more than his enemy's
outline But this was enough for a shot to do its work. Teddy
cautiously brought his rifle to his shoulder, and lifted the hammer.
Pointing it at the breast of his adversary, so as to be sure of his
aim, he pulled the trigger, but there was no response. The gun either
was unloaded, or had been injured by its rough usage. The dull click
of the lock reached the ear of the target, who asked, in a low, gruff
"Why do _you_ seek me? You and I have no quarrel."
"A purty question, ye murtherin' haythen! I'll settle with yees, if
yees only come down here like a man. Jist play the wolf and belave me
a sheep, and come down here for your supper."
[Illustration: "A purty question, ye murtherin haythen!"]
"My quarrel is not with you, I tell you, but with your psalm-singing
"And ain't that _meself_?" interrupted Teddy. "What's mine is his, and
what's his is mine, and what's me is both, and what's both is me,
barring neither one is my own, but all belong to Master Harvey, and
Miss Cora, God bless their souls. Don't talk of quarreling wid _him_
and being friendly to _me_, ye murtherin' spalpeen! Jist come down
here a bit, I say, if ye's got a spick of honor in yer rusty shirt."
"My ill-will is not toward you, although, I repeat, if you step in my
way you may find it a dangerous matter. You think I tried to shoot
you, but you are mistaken. Do you suppose I could have come as near
and _missed_ without doing so on _purpose_? To-night I could have
brought you and your master, or his wife, and sent you all out of the
world in a twinkling. I've roamed the woods too long to miscarry at a
Teddy began to realize that the man told the truth, yet it cannot be
said that his anger was abated, although a strong curiosity mingled
"And what's yer raison for acting in that shtyle, to as good a man as
iver asked God's blessing on a sunny morning, and who wouldn't tread
on one of yer corns, that is, if yer big feet isn't all corns, like a
toad's back, as I suspict, from the manner in which ye leaps over the
"_He_ knows who I am, and he knows he has given me good cause to
remind him of my existence. _He_ can tell you, if he chooses; I shall
not. But let yourself and him take warning from what you already
"And be the same token, let yourself be taking warning. As sure as
I'm the ninth son of the seventh mother, I'll--"
The hunter was gone!
THE ADVENTURES OF A NIGHT.
The echoing rock, the rushing flood,
The cataract's swell, the moaning wood;
The undefined and mingled hums--
Voice of the desert never dumb!
All these have left within this heart
A feeling tongue can ne'er impart;
A wildered and unearthly flame,
A something that's without a name.--ETTRICK SHEPHERD.
With extreme difficulty, Teddy made his way out of the ravine into
which purposely he had been led by the hunter. He was full of aches
and pains when he attempted to walk, and more than once was compelled
to halt to ease his bruised limbs.
As he painfully made his way back to the camp he did a vast deal of
cogitation. When in extreme pain of body, produced by a mishap
intentionally conceived by another, it is but following the natural
law of cause and effect to feel a certain degree of exasperation
toward the evil-doer; and, as the Irishman at every step experienced a
sharp twinge that ofttimes made him cry out, his ejaculations were
neither conceived in charity nor uttered in good-will toward all men.
Still, he pondered deeply upon what the hunter had said, and was
perplexed to know what could possibly be its meaning.
The simple nature of the Irishman was unable to fathom the mystery. He
could not have believed even had Harvey Richter himself confessed to
having perpetrated a crime or a wrong, that the minister had been
guilty of anything sufficient to give cause of enmity. The strange
hunter whom they had unexpectedly encountered several times, must be
some crack-brained adventurer, the victim of a fancied wrong, who,
most likely, had mistaken Harvey Richter for another person.
What could be the object in firing at the missionary, yet taking pains
that no harm should be inflicted? That was another impenetrable
mystery; but, let it be comprehensible or not, the wrathful servitor
inwardly vowed that, if the man crossed the path of himself or his
master again, and the opportunity offered, he should shoot him down as
he would a wild animal.
In the midst of his absorbing reverie, Teddy suddenly paused and
looked around him. He was lost. Shrewd enough to understand that to
attempt to extricate himself would only lead into a greater
entanglement, from which it might not be possible to escape at all, he
wisely concluded to remain where he was until daylight. Gathering a
few twigs and leaves, with his well-stored "punk-box" he soon started
a small fire, by the light of which he collected a sufficient quantity
of fuel to last until morning.
Few scenes of nature are more impressive than a forest at night. That
low deep roar, born of silence itself--the sad sighing of the
wind--the tall, column-like trunks, resembling huge sentinels keeping
guard over the mysteries of ages--the silent sea of foliage overhead,
that seems to shut in a world of its own--all have an influence,
peculiar, irresistible and sublime.
The picket upon duty is a prey to many an imaginary danger. The
rustling of a leaf, the crackling of a twig, the flitting shadows of
the ever-changing clouds, are made to assume the guise of a foe,
endeavoring to steal upon him unawares. Again and again Teddy was
certain he heard the stealthy tread of the strange hunter, or some
prowling Indian, and his heart throbbed violently at the expected
encounter. Then, as the sound ceased, a sense of his utter loneliness
came over him, and he pined for his old home in the States, which he
had so lately left.
A tremulous wail, which came faintly through the silence of the
boundless woods, reminded him that there were other inhabitants of the
solitude besides human beings. At such times, he drew nearer to the
fire, as a child would draw near to a friend to shun an imaginary
But, finally the drowsy god asserted himself, and the watcher passed
off into a deep slumber. His last recollection was a dim consciousness
of hearing the tread of something near the camp-fire. But his stupor
was so great that he had not the inclination to arouse himself, and
with his face buried in the leaves of his bushy couch, he quickly lost
cognizance of all things, and floated off into the illimitable realms
of sleep--Sleep, the sister of Death.
He came out of his heavy slumber from feeling something snuffing and
clawing at his shoulder. He was wide awake at once, and all his
faculties, even to his anger, were aroused.
"Git out, ye owld sarpent!" he shouted, springing to his feet. "Git
out, or I'll smash yer head the same as I smashed the assassin's,
barring I didn't do it!"
The affrighted animal leaped back several yards, as lightly as a
shadow. Teddy caught only a glimpse of the beast, but could plainly
detect the phosphorescent glitter of his angry eyes, that watched
every movement. The Irishman's first proceeding was to replenish the
fire. This kept the creature at a safe distance, although he began
trotting around and around, as if to seek some unguarded loophole
through which to compass the destruction of the man who had thus
invaded his dominions.
The tread of the animal resembled the rattling of raindrops upon the
leaves, while its silence, its gliding motion, convinced the
inexperienced Irishman of the brute's exceedingly dangerous character.
His rifle was too much injured to be of use and he could therefore
only keep his precocious foe at a safe distance by piling on fuel
until the camp-fire burned defiantly.
There was no more sleep for Teddy that night. He had received too
great a shock, and the impending danger was too imminent for him to do
any thing but watch, so long as darkness and the animal remained.
Several times he thought there was evidence of the presence of another
beast, but he failed to discover it, and finally believed he had been
It was a tiresome and lonely occupation, this incessant watching, and
Teddy had recourse to several expedients to while away the weary
hours. The first and most natural was that of singing. He trolled
forth every song that he could recall to remembrance, and it may be
truly said that he awoke echoes in those forest-aisles never before
heard there. As in the pauses he heard the volume of sound that seemed
quivering and swaying among the tree-trunks, like the confined air in
an organ, he was awed into silence.
"Whist, ye son of Patrick McFadden; don't ye hear the responses all
around ye, as if the spirits were in the organ loft, thinkin' ye a
praist and thimselves the choir-boys. I belaves, by me sowl, that
ivery tree has got a tongue, for hear how they whispers and mutters.
Niver did I hear the likes. No more singin', Teddy my darlint, to sich
He thereupon relapsed into silence, but it was only momentary. He
suddenly looked out into the darkness which shrouded the still
watchful beast from sight, and exclaimed:
"Ye owld shivering assassin, out there, did yees ever hear till how
Tom O'Reilly got his wife? Yees never did, eh? Well, then, be aisy
now, and I'll give yees the truths of the matter.
"Tom was a great, rollicking boy, that had an eye gouged out at the
widow Mulloney's wake, and an ugly cut that made his mouth six inches
wide: and, before he got the cut, it was as broad as yer own out
there. Besides, his hair being of a fire's own red, you may safely say
that he was not the most beautiful young man in Limerick, and that
there wasn't many gals that were dying of a broken heart for the same
"But Tom thought a mighty sight of the gals and a great deal more of
Kitty McGuire, that lived close by the brook as yees come a mile or
two out of this side of Limerick. Tom was possessed after that same
gal, and it only made him the more determined when he found that Kitty
didn't like him at all. He towld the boys he was bound to have her,
and any one who said he wasn't would get his head broke.
"There was a little orphan girl, whose father had gone to Ameriky and
whose mother was dead, that was found one night, years before, in
front of old Mrs. McGuire's door. She was about the same age as Kitty,
and the owld woman took her out of kindness and brought them up
together. She got to be jist as ugly a looking a gal as Tom was a man.
Her hair was redder than his, and her face was just that freckled that
yees couldn't tell which was the freckle and which was the skin
itself. And her nose had a twist, on the ind of it, that made one
think it had been made for a corkscrew, or some machine that you bore
"This gal, Molly Mulligan, used to encourage Tom to come to the house,
and was always so mighty kind to him that he used to kiss and shpark
her by way of compinsating her for her trouble. She used to take this
all _very_ well, for she was a great admirer of Tom's, and always
spoke his praise. But Tom didn't make much headway with Kitty. It
wasn't often that he could saa her, and when he did; she was mighty
offish, and was sure to have the owld woman present, like a
dumb-waiter, to be sure. She come to tell him at length that she
didn't admire his coming, and that he would greatly plaise her if he
would make his visits by staying away altogether. The next time Tom
went he found the door locked, and, after hammering a half-hour, and
being towld there was no admittance, he belaved it was meant as a kind
hint that his company was not agreeable. Be yees listening, ye
"Tom might have stood it very well, if another chap hadn't begun
calling on Kitty about this time. He used to go airly in the evening,
and not come out of the house till after midnight, so that one might
belave his visits were welcome. This made Tom feel mighty bad, and so
he hid behind the wall and waylaid the chap one night. He would have
killed the chap, his timper was so ruffled, if the man hadn't nearly
killed him afore he had the chance. He laid all night in the gutter,
and was just able to crawl home next day, while the fellow went
a-courting the next night, as if nothing had happened.
"Tom begun to git melancholy, and his mouth didn't appear quite as
broad as usual. Molly Mulligan thought he had taken slow poison and it
was gradually working through his system; but he could ate his pick of
praties the same as iver. But Tom felt mighty bad; that fact can't be
denied, and he went frequently to consult with a praist that lived
near this ind of Limerick, and who was knowed to cut up a trick or
two during his lifetime. When Tom came out one day looking bright and
cheery, iverybody belaved they had been conspiring togither, and had
hit on some thavish trick they was to play on little Kitty McGuire.
"When the moon was bright, Kitty used to walk to Limerick and back
again of an evening. Her beau most likely went with her, but sometimes
she preferred to go alone, as she knowed no one would hurt a bonny
little gal as herself. Tom knowed of these doings, as in days gone by
he had jined her once or twice. So one night he put a white sheet
around him as she was coming back from Limerick, and hid under the
little bridge over the brook. It was gitting quite late, and the moon
was just gone down, so, when she stepped on the bridge, and he came
out afore her, she gave one shriek, and like to have fainted intirely.
"'Make no noise, or I'll ate ye up alive,' said Tom, trying to talk
like a ghost.
"'What isht yees want?' she asked, shaking like a leaf, 'and who are
"'I'm a shpirit, come to warn ye of your ill-doings.'
"'I know I'm a great sinner,' she cried, covering her face with her
hands; 'but I try to do as well as I can.'
"'Do you know Tom O'Reilly?' he asked, loud enough to be heard in
Limerick. 'You have treated him ill.'
"'That I know I have,' she sobbed, 'and how can I do him justice?'
"'He loves you.'
"'I know he does!'
"'He is a shplendid man, and will make a much bitter husband than the
spalpeen that ye now looks on with favor.'
"'Shall I make him my husband?'
"'Yis; if ye wish to save yourself from purgatory. If the other man
marries yees, he'll murder yees the same night.'
"'Oh!' shrieked the gal, as if she'd go down upon the ground, 'and how
shall I save meself?'
"'By marrying Tom O'Reilly.'
"'Is that the only way?'
"'Ay. Does yees consint?'
"'I do; I must do poor Tom justice.'
"'Will ye marry him this same night?'
"'That I will.'
"'Tom is hid under this bridge; I'll go down and bring him up, and
he'll go to the praist's with yees. Don't ye shtir or I'll ate yees.'
"So Tom whisked under the ind of the bridge, slipped off the sheet,
all the time kaaping one eye cocked above to saa that Kitty didn't
give him the shlip. He then came up and spoke very smilingly to the
gal, as though he hadn't seen her afore that night. He didn't think
that his voice was jist the same.
"Kitty didn't say much, but she walked very quiet by his side, till
they came to the praist's house at this ind of Limerick. The owld
fellow must have been expecting him, for before he could knock, he
opened the door and let him in. The praist didn't wait long, and in
five minutes he towld them they were man and wife, and nothing but
death could iver make them different. Tom gave a regular yell that
made the windys rattle, for he couldn't kaap his faalings down. He
then threw his arms around his wife, gave her another hug, and then
dropped her like a hot potato. For instead of being Kitty McGuire, it
was Molly Mulligan! The owld praist wasn't so bad after all. He had
told Kitty and Molly of Tom's plans, and they had fixed the matter
"Wal, the praist laughed, and Tom looked melancholier than iver; but
purty soon he laughed too, and took the praist's advice to make the
bist of the bargain. Whisht!"
Teddy paused abruptly, for he heard a prolonged but faint halloo. It
was, evidently, the call of his master, and indicated the direction of
the camp. He replied at once, and without thinking one moment of the
prowling brute which might be upon him instantly, he passed beyond the
protecting circle of his fire, and dashed off at top of his speed
through the woods, and ere long reached the camp-fire of his friends.
As he came in, he observed that Mrs. Richter still was asleep beneath
the canoe, while her husband stood watching beside her. Teddy had
determined to conceal the particulars of the conversation he had held
with the officious hunter, but he related the facts of his pursuit and
mishap, and of his futile attempt to make his way back to camp. After
this, the two seated themselves by the fire, and the missionary was
soon asleep. The adventures of the night, however, affected Teddy's
nerves too much for him even to doze, and he therefore maintained an
unremitting watch until morning.
At an early hour, our friends were astir, and at once launched forth
upon the river. They noted a broadening of the stream and weakening of
the current, and at intervals they came upon long stretches of
prairie. The canoe glided closely along, where they could look down
into the clear depths of the water, and discover the pebbles
glistening upon the bottom. Under a point of land, where the stream
made an eddy, they halted, and with their fishing-lines, soon secured
a breakfast which the daintiest gourmand might have envied. They
were upon the point of landing so as to kindle a fire, when Mr.
"Do you notice that large island in the stream, Cora? Would you not
prefer that as a landing-place?"
"I think I should."
"Teddy, we'll take our morning meal there."
The powerful arms of the Irishman sent the frail vessel swiftly over
the water, and a moment later its prow touched the velvet shore of the
island. Under the skillful manipulations of the young wife, who
insisted upon taking charge, their breakfast was quickly prepared,
and, one might say, almost as quickly eaten.
They had now advanced so far to the northward that all felt an
anxiety to reach their destination. Accordingly no time was lost in
the ascent of the stream.
The exhilarating influence of a clear spring morning in the forest, is
impossible to resist. The mirror-like sparkle of the water that sweeps
beneath the light canoe, or glitters in the dew-drops upon the ashen
blade; the golden blaze of sunshine streaming up in the heavens; the
dewy woods, flecked here and there by the blossoms of some wild fruit
or flower; the cool air beneath the gigantic arms all a-flutter with
the warbling music of birds; all conjoin to inspire a feeling which
carries us back to boyhood again--to make us young once more.
As Richter sat in the canoe's stern, and drank in the influence of the
scene, his heart rose within him, and he could scarcely refrain from
shouting. His wife, also, seemed to partake of this buoyancy, for her
eyes fairly sparkled as he glanced from side to side. All at once
Teddy ceased paddling and pointed to the left shore. Following the
direction of his finger, Richter saw, standing upon the bank in full
view, the tall, spare figure of the strange hunter. He seemed occupied
in watching them, and was as motionless as the tree-trunks behind
him--so motionless, indeed, that it required a second scrutiny to
prove that it really was not an inanimate object. The intensity of his
observation prevented him from observing that Teddy had raised his
rifle from the canoe. He caught the click of the lock, however, and
spoke in a sharp tone:
"Teddy, don't you dare to--"
His remaining words were drowned in the sharp crack of the piece.
"It's only to frighten him jist, Master Harvey. It'll sarve the good
purpose of giving him the idee we ain't afeard, and if he continues
his thaiving tricks, he is to be shot at sight, as a shaap-stalin'
dog, that he is, to be sure."
"You've hit him!" said his master, as he observed the hunter leap into
"Thank the Lord for that, for it was an accident, and he'll l'arn
we've rifles as well as himself. It's mighty little harm, howiver, is
done him, if he can travel in that gay style."
"I am displeased, for your shot might have taken his life, and--but,
see yonder, Teddy, what does that mean?"
Close under the opposite bank, and several hundred yards above them
was discernible a long canoe, in which was seated at least a dozen
Indians. They were coming slowly down-stream, and gradually working
their way into the center of the river. Teddy surveyed them a moment
"That means they're after us. Is it run or fight?"
"Neither; they are undoubtedly from the village, and we may as well
meet them here as there. What think you, dear wife?"
"Let us join them, by all means, at once."
All doubts were soon removed, when the canoe was headed directly
toward them, and under the propulsion of the many skillful arms, it
came like a bird over the surface of the waters. A few rods away its
speed was slackened, and, before approaching closer, it made a circuit
around the voyageurs' canoe, as if the warriors were anxious to assure
themselves there was no decoy or design in this unresisting surrender.
Evidently satisfied that it was a _bona fide_ affair, the Indians
swept up beside our friends, and one of the warriors, stretching out
his hands, said:
"Gib guns me--gib guns."
"Begorrah, but it would be mighty plaisant to us, if it would be all
the same to yees, if ye'd be clever enough to let us retain
possission of 'em," said Teddy, hesitating about complying with the
demand. "They might do ye some injury, ye know, and besides, I didn't
"Let them have them," said Richter. The Irishman reluctantly obeyed,
and while he passed his rifle over with his left hand, he doubled up
his right, shaking it under the savage's nose.
"Ye've got me gun, ye old log of walnut, but ye hain't got me fists,
begorrah, but, by the powers, ye shall have them some of these fine
mornings whin yer eyes want opening."
"Teddy, be silent!" sharply commanded the missionary.
But the Indians, understanding the significance of the Irishman's
gestures, only smiled at them, and the chief who had taken his gun,
nodded his head, as much as to say he, too, would enjoy a fisticuff.
When the whites were defenseless, one of the savages vaulted lightly
into their canoe, and took possession of the paddle.
"I'm highly oblaiged to ye," grinned Teddy, "for me arms have been
waxin' tired ever sin' I l'arned the Injin way of driving a canoe
through the water. When ye gets out o' breath jist ax another
red-skin to try his hand, while I boss the job."
The canoes were pulled rapidly up-stream. This settled that the whites
were being carried to the village which was their original
destination. Both Harvey and his wife were rather pleased than
otherwise with this, although the missionary would have preferred an
interview or conversation in order to make himself and intentions
known. He was surprised at the knowledge they displayed of the English
language. He overheard words exchanged between them which were as easy
to understand as much of Teddy's talk. They must be, therefore, in
frequent communication with white men. Their location was so far north
that, as Richter plausibly inferred, they were extensive dealers in
furs and peltries, which must be disposed of to traders and the agents
of the American Fur and Hudson Bay Companies. The Selkirk or Red river
settlement also, must be at an easily accessible distance.
It may seem strange that it never occurred to the captives that the
savages might do them harm. In fact, nothing but violence itself would
have convinced the missionary that such was contemplated. He had
yielded himself, heart and soul, to his work; he felt an inward
conviction that he was to accomplish great good. Trials and sufferings
of all imaginable kinds he expected to undergo, but his life was to be
spared until the work was accomplished. Of that he never experienced a
Our readers will bear in mind that the period of which we write,
although but a little more than forty years since, was when the
territory west of the Mississippi was almost entirely unknown.
Trappers, hunters and fur-traders in occasional instances, penetrated
into the heart of the mighty solitude. Lewis and Clarke had made their
expedition to the head-waters of the Columbia, but the result of all
these visits, to the civilized world, was much the same as that of the
adventurers who have penetrated into the interior of Africa.
It was known that on the northwest dwelt the warlike Blackfeet, the
implacable foes of every white man. There, also, dwelt other tribes,
who seemed resolved that none but their own race should dwell upon
that soil. Again, there were others with whom little difficulty was
experienced in bartering and trading, to the great profit of the
adventurous whites, and the satisfaction of the savages; still, the
shrewd traders knew better than to trust to Indian magnanimity or
honor. Their reliance under heaven, was their tact in managing the
savages, and their own goodly rifles and strong arms. The Sioux were
among the latter class, and with them it was destined that the lot of
Harvey Richter and his wife should be cast.
The Indian village was reached in the course of a couple of hours. It
was found to be much larger than Richter could have anticipated. The
missionary soon made known his character and wishes. This secured an
audience with the leading chief, when Harvey explained his mission,
and asked permission for himself and companions to settle among them.
With the ludicrous dignity so characteristic of his people, the chief
deferred his reply until the following day, at which time he gave
consent, his manner being such as to indicate that he was rather
unwilling than otherwise.
That same afternoon, the missionary collected the dusky children of
the forest together and preached to them, as best he could, through
the assistance of a rude interpreter. He was listened to respectfully
by the majority, among whom were several whom he inferred already had
heard the word of life. There were others, however, to whom the
ceremony was manifestly distasteful. The hopeful minister felt that
his Master had directed him to this spot, and that now his real
life-work had begun.
THE JUG ACQUAINTANCES.
With that dull, callous, rooted impudence,
Which, dead to shame and every nicer sense,
Ne'er blushed, unless, when spreading Vice's snares,
He stumbled on some virtue unawares.--CHURCHILL.
A YEAR has passed since the events recorded in the preceding pages,
and it is summer again. Far up, beside one of those tributaries of the
Mississippi, in the western portion of what is now the State of
Minnesota, stands a small cabin, such as the early settlers in new
countries build for themselves. About a quarter of a mile further up
the stream is a large Sioux village, separated from the hut by a
stretch of woods through which runs a well-worn footpath. This
arrangement the young missionary, Harvey Richter, preferred rather
than to dwell in the Indian village. While laboring with all his heart
and soul to regulate these degraded people, and while willing to make
their troubles and afflictions his own, he still desired a seclusion
where his domestic cares and enjoyments were safe from constant
interruption. This explains why his cabin had been erected at such a
distance from his people.
Every day, no matter what might be the weather, the missionary visited
the village, and each Sabbath afternoon, when possible, service was
held. This was almost invariably attended by the entire population,
who now listened attentively to what was uttered, and often sought to
follow the counsels uttered by the good man. A year's residence had
sufficed to win the respect and confidence of the Indians, and to
convince the faithful servant that the seed he had sown was already
springing up and bearing fruit.
About a mile from the river, in a dense portion of the wood, are
seated two persons, in friendly converse. But a glance would be
required to reveal that one of these was our old friend Teddy, in the
most jovial and communicative of moods. The other, painted and
bedaubed until his features were scarcely recognizable, and attired in
the gaudy Indian apparel, sufficiently explains his identity. A small
jug sitting between them, and which is frequently carried to the mouth
of each, may disclose why, on this particular morning, they seemed on
such confidential terms. The sad truth was that the greatest drawback
to Harvey Richter's ministrations was his own servant Teddy. The
Indians could not understand why he who lived constantly with the
missionary, should be so careless and reckless, and should remain
"without the fold," when the good man exhorted them in such earnest
language to become Christians. It was incomprehensible to their minds,
and served to fill more than one with a suspicion that all was not
what it should be. Harvey had spent many an hour with Teddy, in
earnest, prayerful expostulation, but, thus far, to no purpose.
For six months after the advent of the missionary and his wife,
nothing had been seen or heard of the strange hunter, when, one cold
winter's morning, as the former was returning from the village through
the path, a rifle was discharged, and the bullet whizzed within an
inch or two of his eyes. He might have believed it to be one of the
Indians, had he not secured a fair look at the man as he ran away. He
said nothing of it to his wife or Teddy, although it occasioned him
much trouble and anxiety of mind.
A month or two later, when Teddy was hunting in the woods, and had
paused a moment for rest, a gun was discharged at him, from a thick
mass of undergrowth. Certain that the unknown hunter was at hand, he
dashed in as before, determined to bring the transgressor to a
personal account. Teddy could hear him fleeing, and saw the agitation
of the undergrowth, but did not catch even a glimpse of his game.
While prosecuting the search, Teddy suddenly encountered an Indian,
staggering along with a jug in his hand. The savage manifested a
friendly disposition, and the two were soon seated upon the ground,
discussing the fiery contents of the vessel and exchanging vows of
eternal friendship. When they separated it was with the understanding
that they were to meet again in a couple of days.
Both kept the appointment, and since that unlucky day they had
encountered quite frequently. Where the Indian obtained the liquor was
a mystery, but it was an attraction that never failed to draw Teddy
forth into the forest. The effect of alcoholic stimulants upon persons
is as various as are their temperaments. The American Indian almost
always becomes sullen, vindictive and dangerous. Now and then there is
an exception, as was the case with the new-made friend of Teddy. Both
were affected in precisely a similar manner; both were jolly.
"Begorrah, but yees are a fine owld gintleman, if yer face does look
like a paint-jug, and ye isn't able to lay claim to one-half the
beauty meself possesses. That ye be," said Teddy, a few moments after
they had seated themselves, and before either had been affected by the
"I loves you!" said the savage, betraying in his manner of speech a
remarkable knowledge of the English language. "I think of you when I
sleep--I think of you when I open my eyes--I think of you all the
"Much obleeged; it's meself that thinks and meditates upon your beauty
and loving qualities all the time, barring that in which I thinks of
something else, which is about all the time--all the same to yer
"Loves you very much," repeated the savage; "love Mister Harvey, too,
and Miss Harvey."
"Then why doesn't ye come to hear him preach, ye rose of the
"Don't like preaching."
"Did yees ever hear him?"
"Neber hear him."
"Yer oughter come; and that minds me I've never saan ye around the
village, for which I axes yees the raison?"
"Me ain't Sioux--don't like 'em."
"Whinever yees are discommoded with this jug, p'raps it wouldn't be
well for yees to cultivate the acquaintance of any one except meself,
for they might be dispoused to relave yees of the article, when yees
are well aware it's an aisy matter for us to do that ourselves. Where
does yees get the jug?"
[Illustration: "Where does yees get the jug?"]
"Had him good while."
"I know; but the contents I mean. Where is it ye secures the vallyble
"Me get 'em," was the intelligent reply..
"That's what I've been supposing, that yees was gitting more nor your
share; so here's to prevint," remarked Teddy, as he inverted the jug
above his head. "Now, me butternut friend, what 'bjections have yees
"All right--all be good--like Miss Harvey?"
Teddy stared at the savage, as if he failed to take in his question.
"Like Miss Harvey--good man's squaw--t'ink she be good woman?"
"The loveliest that iver trod the airth--bless her swate soul. She
niver has shpoken a cross word to Teddy, for all he's the biggest
scamp that iver brought tears to her eyes. If there be any thing that
has nigh fotched this ould shiner to his marrowbones it was to see
something glistening in her eyes," said the Irishman, as he wiped his
own. "God bliss Miss Cora," he added, in the same manner of speech
that he had been wont to use before she became a wife. "She might make
any man glad to come and live alone in the wilderness wid her. It's
meself that ought to be ashamed to come away and l'ave her alone by
herself, though I thinks even a wild baste would not harm a hair of
her blissid head. If it wasn't for this owld whisky-jug I wouldn't be
l'aving her," said Teddy, indignantly.
"How be 'lone?--Mister Harvey dere."
"No, he isn't, by a jug-full--barring the jug must be well-nigh empty,
and the divil save the jug, inny-how; but not until it's impty."
"Where Mr. Harvey go, if not in cabin?" asked the savage, betraying a
suspicious eagerness that would have been observed by Teddy upon any
"To the village, that he may preach and hould converse wid 'em. I
allers used to stay at home when he's gone, for fear that owld thaif
of a hunter might break into the pantry and shtail our wines--that is,
if we had any, which we haven't. Blast his sowl--that hunter I mane,
an' if iver I cotch him, may I be used for a flail if I don't settle
"When Mister Harvey go to village?"
"Whin he plaises, which is always in the afternoon, whin his dinner
has had a fair chance to sittle. Does ye take him for a michanic, who
goes to work as soon as he swallows his bread and mate?" said the
Irishman, with official dignity.
"Why you not stay with squaw?"
"That's the raison," replied Teddy, imbibing from the vessel beside
him. "But you will plaise not call Miss Cora a _shquaw_ any more. If
ye does, it will be at the imminent risk of havin' this jug smashed
over yer head, afther the whisky is all gone, which it very soon will
be if a plug isn't put into your mouth."
"Nice woman--_much_ good."
"You may well say that, Mister Copperskin, and say nothing else. And
it's a fine man is Mister Harvey, barring he runs me purty close once
in a while on the moral quishtion. I'm afeard I shall have to knock
under soon. If I could but slay that thaif of a hunter that has been
poking around here, I think I could go the Christian aisy; but whin I
thinks of _that_ man, I faals like the divil himself. They's no use
tryin' to be pious whin _he's_ around; so pass the jug if ye don't
mane to fight meself."
"He bad man--much bad," said the savage, who had received an account
of him from his companion.
"I promised Master Harvey not to shoot the villain, excipt it might be
to save his life or me own; but I belave if I had the chance, I'd jist
conveniently _forgit_ me promise, and let me gun go off by accident.
St. Pathrick! _wouldn't_ I like to have a shindy wid the sn'akin,
mean, skulkin' assassin!"
"Does he want kill you?"
"Arrah, be aisy now; isn't it me master he's after, and what's the
difference? Barring I would rather it was meself, that I might sittle
it gintaaly wid him;" and Teddy, "squaring" himself, began to make
threatening motions at the Indian's head.
"Bad man--why not like Mr. Harvey?" said the savage, paying no
attention to Teddy's demonstrations.
"There yees has me. There's something atween 'em, though what it
might be none but Mr. Harvey himself knows, less it mought be the
misthress, that I don't belave knows a word on it. But what is it yer
business, Mr. Mahogany?"
"Mebbe Mr. Harvey hurt him some time--do bad with him," added the
Indian, betraying an evident interest in the subject.
"Begorrah, if yees can't talk better sinse nor that, ye'd bist put a
stopper on yer blab. The idaa of me master harming any one is too
imposterous to be intertained by a fraa and inlightened people--a fraa
and inlightened people, as I used to spell out in the newspapers at
home. But whisht! Ye are a savage, as don't know anything about Fourth
of July, an' all the other affections of the people."
"You dunno what mebbe he done."
"Do ye know?" asked Teddy, indignantly.
"Nebber know what he do--how me know?"
"Thin what does ye mane by talking in that shtyle? I warns ye, there's
some things that can't be passed atween us and that is one of 'em. If
ye wants to fight, jist you say that again. I'm aching for a shindy
anyhow: so now s'pose ye jist say that again." And Teddy began to show
unmistakable signs of getting ready.
"Sorry--didn't mean--feel bad." "Oh blarney! Why didn't ye stick to
it, and jist give me a chance to express meself? But all's right;
only, be careful and don't say anything like it again, that's all.
Pass along the jug, to wash me timper down, ye know."
By this time Teddy's ideas were beginning to be confused, and his
manner maudlin. He had imbibed freely, and was paying the
consequences. The savage, however, had scarcely taken a swallow,
although he had made as if to do so several times. His actions would
have led an inexperienced person to think that he was under the
influence of liquor; but he was sober, and his conduct was feigned,
evidently, for some purpose of his own. Teddy grew boisterous, and
insisted on constantly shaking hands and renewing his pledges of
eternal friendship to the savage, who received and responded to them
in turn. Finally, he squinted toward the westering sun.
"I told Mr. Harvey, when I left, I was going to hunt, and if I expects
to return to-day, I thinks, Mr. Black Walnut, we should be on our way.
The jug is intirely impty, so there is no occasion for us to remain
"Dat so--me leave him here."
"Now let's shake hands agin afore we rise."
The shaking of hands was all an excuse for Teddy to receive assistance
in rising to his feet. He balanced himself a moment, and stared around
him, with that aimless, blinking stare peculiar to a drunken man.
"Me honey, isn't there an airthquake agitatin' this solitude?" he
asked, steadying himself against a sapling, "or am I standing on a
"Dunno--mebbe woods shake--feel him a little--earth must be sick,"
said the savage, feigning an unsteadiness of the head.
"Begorrah, but it's ourselves that's the sickest," laughed Teddy,
fully sensible of his sad condition. "It'll niver do to return to
Master Harvey in _this_ shtyle. There'd be a committee of
investigation appointed on the spot, an' I shouldn't pass muster
excipt for a whisky-barrel, och hone!"
"Little sick--soon be well--then shoot."
"I wonder now whether I could howld me gun straight enough to drop a
buffler at ten paces. There sits a bird in that tree that is grinning
at me. I'll t'ach him bitter manners."
The gun was discharged, the bullet passing within a few inches of the
head of the Indian, who sprung back with a grunt.
"A purty good shot," laughed Teddy; "but it _would_ be rayther
tiresome killing game, being I could only hit them as run behind me,
and being I can't saa in that direction, I'll give over the idaa; and
turn me undivided attention to fishing. Ah, divil a bit of difference
is it to the fish, whin a worm is on the right ind, whether a drunken
man or a gintleman is at the other."
The Indian manifested a readiness to assist every project of the
Irishman, and he now advised him to fish by all means, urging that
they should proceed to the river at once. But Teddy insisted upon
going to a small creek near at hand. The savage strongly demurred, but
finally yielded, and the two set out, making their way somewhat after
the fashion of a yoke of oxen.
Upon reaching the stream, Teddy, instead of pausing upon the bank,
continued walking on until he was splashing up to his waist in water.
Had it not been for the prompt assistance of the Indian, the poor
fellow most probably would have had his earthly career terminated.
This incident partially sobered Teddy, and made him ashamed of his
condition. He saw the savage was by no means so far gone as himself,
and he bewailed his foolishness in unmeasured terms.
"Who knows but Master Harvey has gone to the village, and Miss Cora
stands in the door this minute, 'xpacting this owld spalpaan?"
"No go till arternoon," said the savage.
"What time might it be jist now?"
"'Tain't noon yit--soon be--bimeby."
"It's all the same; I shan't be fit to go home afore night, whin I
might bist stay away altogether. And you, Mr. Copperskin, was the
maans of gittin' me in this trouble."
"_Me_ make you drink him?" asked the savage. "You not ax for jug, eh?
You not want him?"
"Yes, begorrah, it was me own fault. Whisky is me waikness. Its
illigant perfume always sits me wild fur it. Mister Harvey was
belaving, whin he brought me here, that I wouldn't be drinking any of
the vile stuff, for the good rais'n that I couldn't git none; but,
what'll he say now? Niver was I drunker at Donnybrook, and only once,
an' that was at me father's fourteenth weddin'."
"Don't want more?"
"NO!" thundered Teddy. "I hope I may niver see nor taste another drop
so long as I live. I here asserts me ancient honor agin, an' I defy
the jug, ye spalpeen of a barbarian what knows no better." Teddy's
reassertion of dignity was very ludicrous, for a tree had to support
him as he spoke; but he evidently was in earnest.
"Neber gib it--if don't want it."
"They say an Indian never will tell a lie to a friend," said Teddy,
dropping his voice as if speaking to himself. "Do you ever lie, Mr.
"No," replied the savage, thereby uttering an unmitigated falsehood.
"You give me your promise, then, that ye'll niver furnish me anither
"Give me yer hand."
The two shook hands, Teddy's face, despite its vacant expression,
lighting up for the time with a look of delight.
"Now I'll fish," said Teddy. "P'raps it is best that ye l'ave these
parts; not that I intertains inmity or bad-will toward you, but thin
ye know----hello! yees are gone already, bees you?"
The Indian had departed, and Teddy turned his attention toward
securing the bait. In a few moments he had cast the line out in the
stream and was sound asleep, in which condition he remained until
night set in.
AN OMINOUS RENCOUNTER.
"I will work him
To an exploit now rich in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall."
The sun passed the meridian, on that summer day in 1821 and Harvey
Richter, the young missionary, came to the door of his cabin,
intending to set forth upon his walk to the Indian village. It was
rather early; the day was pleasant and as his wife followed him, he
lingered awhile upon the steps, loth to leave a scene of such holy
The year which the two had spent in that wilderness had been one of
almost unalloyed happiness. The savages, among whom they had come to
labor, had received them more kindly than they deemed it right to
anticipate, and had certified their esteem for them in numberless
ways. The missionary felt that a blessing was upon his labor.
An infant had been given them, and the little fellow brought nothing
but gladness and sunlight into the household. Ah! none but a father
can tell how precious the blue-eyed image of his mother was to Harvey
Richter; none but a mother can realize the yearning affection with
which she bent over the sleeping cherub; and but few can enter into
the rollicking pride of Teddy over the little stranger. At times, his
manifestations were fairly uproarious, and it became necessary to
check them, or to send him further into the woods to relieve himself
of his exuberant delight.
Harvey lingered upon the threshold, gazing dreamily away at the
mildly-flowing river, or at the woods, through which for a
considerable distance, he could trace the winding path which his own
feet had worn. Cora, his wife, stood beside him, looking smilingly
down in his face, while her left hand toyed with a stray ringlet that
would protrude itself from beneath her husband's cap.
"Cora, are you sorry that we came into this wild country?"
The smile on her face grew more radiant, as she shook her head without
speaking. She was in that pleasant, dreamy state, in which it seems an
effort to speak--so much so that she avoided it until compelled to do
so by some direct question.
"You are perfectly contented--happy, are you?"
Again the same smile, as she answered in the affirmative by an
inclination of the head.
"You would not change it for a residence at home with your own people
if you could?"
The same sweet denial in pantomime.
"Do you not become lonely sometimes, Cora, hundreds of miles away from
the scenes of your childhood?"
"Have I not my husband and boy?" she asked, half reproachfully, as the
tears welled up in her eyes. "Can I ask more?"
"I have feared sometimes, when I've been in the village, that perhaps
you were lonely and sorrowful, and often I have hurried my footsteps
that I might be with you a few moments sooner. When preaching and
talking to the Indians, my thoughts would wander away to you and the
dear little fellow there. And what husband could prevent them?" said
Harvey, impulsively, as he drew his wife to him, and kissed her again
"You must think of the labor before you."
"There is scarcely a moment of my life in which I don't, but it is
impossible to keep you and him from my mind. I am sorry that I am
compelled to leave you alone so often. It seems to me that Teddy has
acted in a singular manner of late. He is absent every afternoon. He
says he goes hunting and yet he rarely, if ever, brings anything back
"Yesterday he returned shortly after you left, and acted so oddly, I
did not know what to make of him. He appeared very anxious to keep me
at a distance, but once he came close enough for me to catch his
breath, and if it did not reveal the fumes of liquor then I was never
more mistaken in my life."
"Impossible! where could he obtain it?"
"The question I asked myself and which I could not answer;
nevertheless his manner and the evidence of his own breath proved it
beyond all doubt to my mind. You have noticed how set he is every
afternoon about going away in the woods. Such was not his custom, and
I think makes it certain some unusual attraction calls him forth."
"What can it all mean?" asked the missionary of himself. "No; it
cannot be that he brought any of the stuff with him and concealed it
in the boat. It must have been discovered."
"Every article that came with us is in this house."
"Then some one must furnish him with it, and who now can it be?"
"Are there not some of your people who are addicted to the use of
"Alas! there are too many who cannot withstand the tempter; but I
never yet heard of an Indian who knew how to _make_ it. It is only
when they visit some of the ports, or the Red river settlement, that
they obtain it. Or perhaps a trader may come this way, and bring it
"And could not Teddy have obtained his of such a man?"
"There has been none here since last autumn, and then those who
visited the village had no liquor with them. They always come to the
village first so that I could not avoid learning of their presence.
Let me see, he has been away since morning?"
"Yes; he promised an early return."
"He will probably make his appearance in the course of an hour or so.
Watch him closely. I will be back sooner to-day, and we shall probe
this matter to the bottom. Good-by!"
Again he embraced his wife, and then strode rapidly across the
Clearing in the direction of the woods. His wife watched his form
winding in and out among the trees, until it finally disappeared from
view; and then, waiting a few moments longer, as if loth to withdraw
her gaze from the spot where she had last seen him, she finally turned
within the house to engage in her domestic duties.
The thrifty housewife has seldom an idle moment on her hands, and Cora
passed hither and thither, performing the numerous little acts that
were not much in themselves, but collectively were necessary, if not
indispensable, in her household management. Occasionally she paused
and bent over her child, that lay sleeping on the bed, and like a fond
mother, could not restrain herself from softly touching her lips to
its own, although it was at the imminent risk of awaking it.
An hour passed. She went to the door and looked out to see whether
Teddy was in sight; but the woods were as silent as if they contained
no living thing. Far away over the river, nearly opposite the Indian
village, she saw two canoes crossing the stream, resembling
ordinary-sized water-birds in the distance. These, so in harmony with
the lazy, sunshiny afternoon, were all that gave evidence that man had
ever invaded this solitude.
Cora Richter could but be cheerful, and, as she moved to and fro, she
sung a hymn, one that was always her husband's favorite. She sung it
unconsciously, from her very blithesomeness of spirits, not knowing
she was making music which the birds themselves might have envied.
All at once her ear caught the sound of a footstep, and confident that
Teddy had come, she turned her face toward the door to greet him. She
uttered a slight scream, as she saw, instead of the honest Hibernian,
the form of a towering, painted savage, glaring in upon her.
Ordinarily such a visitor would have occasioned her no surprise or
alarm. In fact, it was rare that a day passed without some Indian
visiting the cabin--either to consult with the missionary himself, or
merely to rest a few moments. Sometimes several called together, and
it often happened that they came while none but the wife was at home.
They were always treated kindly, and were respectful and pleased in
turn. During the nights in winter, when the storm howled through the
forest, a light burned at the missionary's window, and many a savage,
who belonged often to a distant tribe, had knocked at the door and
secured shelter until morning. Ordinarily we say, then, the visit of
an Indian gave the young wife no alarm.
But there was something in the appearance of this painted sinewy
savage that filled her with dread. There was a treacherous look in his
black eyes, and a sinister expression visible in spite of vermilion
and ocher, that made her shrink from him, as she would have shrunk
from some loathsome monster.
As the reader may have surmised, he was no other than Daffodil or
Mahogany, who had left Teddy on purpose to visit the cabin, while both
the servant and his master were absent. In spite of the precaution
used, he had taken more liquor than he intended; and, as a
consequence, was just in that reckless state of mind, when he would
have hesitated at no deed, however heinous. From a jovial,
good-natured Indian, in the company of the Hibernian, he was
transformed into a sullen, vindictive savage in the presence of the
gentle wife of Harvey Richter. He supported himself against the door
and seemed undecided whether to enter or not. The alarm of Cora
Richter was so excessive that she endeavored to conceal it.
"What do you wish?" she asked.
"Where Misser Richter?"
"Gone to the village," she replied, bravely resolving that no lie
should cross her lips if her life depended upon it.
"When come back?"
"In an hour or so perhaps."
"He has gone hunting."
"Big lie--he drunk--don't know nothing--lay sleep on ground."
"How do you know? Did you see him?"
"Me gib him fire-water--much like it--drink good deal--tumble over
like tree hain't got root."
"Did you ever give it him before?" asked the young wife, her curiosity
supplanting her alarm for the moment.
"Gib him offin--gib him every day--much like it--drink much."
Again the wife's instinctive fear came back to her, and she endeavored
to conceal it by a calm, unimpassioned exterior.
"Won't you come in and rest yourself until Mr. Richter returns?"
"Don't want to see him," replied the savage, sullenly.
"Who do you wish to see then?"
"You--t'ink much of you."
The wife felt as if she would sink to the floor. There was something
in the tones of his voice that had alarmed her from the first. She was
almost certain this savage intended rudeness, now that he knew the
missionary himself was gone. She glanced up at the rifle which was
hung above the fireplace. It was charged, and she had learned how to
fire it since her marriage. Several times she was on the point of
springing up and seizing it and placing herself upon the defensive.
Her heart throbbed wildly at the thought, but she finally concluded to
resort to such an act only at the last moment. She might still
conciliate the Indian by kindness, and after all, perhaps he meditated
no harm or rudeness.
"Come and sit down then, and talk with me awhile," said she, as
pleasantly as it was possible.
The savage stumbled forward a few feet, and dropped into a seat, where
he glared fully a minute straight into the face of the woman. This was
the most trying ordeal of all, especially when she raised her own blue
eyes, and addressed him. It seemed impossible to combat the fierce
light of those orbs, although she bore their scrutiny like a heroine.
He had seated himself near the door, but he was close enough for her
to detect the fumes of the liquor he had drank, and she knew a savage
was never so dangerous as when in a half-intoxicated condition.
"Have you come a long distance?" she asked.
"Good ways--live up north."
"You are not a Sioux, then?"
"No--don't like Sioux--bad people."
"Why do you come in their neighborhood--in their country?"
"'Cause I want to--_come see you_."
"You must come again--"
At this juncture, the child in the cradle awoke and began crying. The
face of the savage assumed an expression of ferocity, and he said,
"Stop noise--me tomahawk if don't."
As he spoke he laid his hand in a threatening manner upon his
tomahawk, and the mother sprung up and lifted the infant in her arms
for the purpose of pacifying it. The dreadful threat had almost
unnerved her, for she believed the savage would carry it out upon the
slightest pretext. But before that tomahawk should reach her child,
the mother must be stricken to the earth. She pressed it convulsively
to her breast, and it quickly ceased its cries. She waited until it
closed its eyes in slumber and then some impulse prompted her to lay
it upon the bed, and to place herself between it and the Indian, so
that she might be unimpeded in her movements if the savage should
attempt harm to her or her offspring.
Several moments now passed without the Indian speaking. The interval
was occupied by him in looking around the room and examining every
portion upon which it was possible to rest his gaze. The survey
completed, he once more fixed his scrutiny upon the young wife, and
suddenly spoke in his sententious, abrupt manner.
"Want sunkin eat."
This question was a relief, for it afforded the wife an opportunity of
expressing her kindness; but, at the same time, it caused a more rapid
beating of her heart, since to procure what was asked, she would be
compelled to pass out of the door, and thus not only approach him much
more closely than she was willing, but it would be necessary to leave
him alone with her infant until her return.
She was in a painful dilemma, to decide whether it was best to refuse
the visitor's request altogether or to comply with it, trusting to
Providence to protect them both. A casual glance at the Indian
convinced her that it would be dangerous to thwart his wishes
longer; and, with an inward prayer to God, she arose and approached
the door. As she passed near him, he moved and she involuntarily
quickened her step, until she was outside. The Indian did not follow,
and she hurried on her errand.
She had gone scarcely a yard, when she heard him walking across the
floor, and detected at the same moment, the cry of her infant. Fairly
beside herself with terror, she ran back in the house, and saw the
savage taking down her husband's rifle. The revulsion of her feelings
brought tears to her eyes, and she said:
"I wish you would go away, I don't like you."
"Kiss me--den I go!" said he, stepping toward her.
"Keep away! keep away!" she screamed, retreating to the door and yet
fearing to go out.
"Kiss me--tomahawk pappoose!" said the savage, placing his hand upon
The young wife placed her hands over her face and sobbed aloud. She
did not hear the cat-like footsteps of the savage, as he approached.
His long arm was already stretched forth to clasp her, when the door
was darkened, a form leaped into the room, and with the quickness of
lightning, dealt the savage a tremendous blow that stretched him limp
and lifeless upon the floor.
[Illustration: Dealt the savage a tremendous blow.]
"Move a limb and I will kill you!" shouted the young missionary, his
face all ablaze with passion. "Cora, has he harmed you?"
"No, no, no, Harvey; have you not already killed him?"
"Pity that I haven't. He is not fit to live."
"Dear Harvey, you are carried away by your passion. Do restrain
Woman-like, the only emotion of Cora Richter was that of commiseration
for the poor wretch that had been stricken down by the hand of her
husband. She saw the blood trickling from his face and knew that he
was dreadfully injured. The missionary, too, began to become more calm
and collected; and yet, while regretting the occasion, he could but
think he had done his simple duty to his insulted wife. Had he been
prepared as he entered the door, he would have shot the savage dead in
Harvey picked up his rifle that lay in the middle of the floor, and
approached the prostrate Indian. After pushing and shaking, he gave
signs of returning consciousness, and at length arose to his feet.
His nose had bled copiously, and one eye was "closed," as if he had
been under the manipulation of some pugilist.
The wife brought a basin of water, and offered a bandage, while Harvey
proffered his assistance. But the Indian, without speaking, motioned
them aside, and made his way out the door. On the threshold he paused
a moment and looked back--and that look Harvey Richter will remember
to his dying day.
Both breathed freer when he had gone. They then looked in each other's
faces a moment and the wife sunk into her husband's arms.
"Did I not do right, Cora?"
"Yes; oh, yes; but, Harvey, this will not be the last of it. You have
made an enemy of that Indian, and he can never be made a friend."
"Such is often the result of doing your simple duty. Let us therefore
trust to God and say no more about it. Ah! here comes Teddy."
The Irishman at this moment entered the door. He was still under the
influence of liquor though he made ludicrous efforts to conceal it.
The wife found opportunity to communicate to her husband all that had
been told her, before the conversation had progressed far. The peril
which she had so narrowly escaped decided the missionary to be
severely just with his servant.
"Teddy, where have you been?"
"Won't that spake for itself?" he replied, holding up a handsome
string of fish. "Begorrah, but it was mighty poor luck I had hunting."
"I should judge you had discovered something unusual from your strange
The face of the Irishman flushed scarlet, and his confusion was
distressing. "Teddy," he continued, "I am displeased at the manner in
which you have acted for the last week or two. Had it not happened
that I left the village sooner than usual to-day, most probably my
wife and son would have been killed."
The fellow was completely sobered.
"What is it ye say, Mister Harvey?"
"For several days you have failed to return in the time you promised,
so that I have been compelled to leave them alone and unprotected.
This afternoon, an Indian came in the house and threatened the life of
both my wife and child--"
"Where the divil is he?" demanded Teddy, springing up; "I'll brake
ivery bone in his body."
"He is gone, never to return I trust."
"Be the powers! if I could but maat him--"
"Do not add falsehood to your conduct. He said that you and he have
met constantly and drank liquor together."
The expression of blank amazement was so genuine and laughable that
the missionary could hardly repress a smile. He felt that his last
remark was hardly fair. Teddy finally burst out.
"'Twas that owld Mahogany copperskin; but did I iver 'xpact he was up
to _sich_ a trick and he would niver have l'aved me a-fishing. Oorah,
oorah!" he muttered, gnashing his teeth together. "What a miserable
fool I _have_ been. He to come here and insult me mistress after
professin' the kindest regards. May I be made to eat rat-tail files
for potaties if iver I trust red-skin honor again!"
"It strikes me that you and this precious savage had become quite
intimate. I suppose in a few weeks longer you would have left us and
lived with him altogether."
The tears trickled down Teddy's cheeks, and he made answer in a meek,
"Plaise forgive me, Mister Harvey, and Miss Cora. Yees both knows I
would die for yees, and it was little I dr'amed of a savage iver
disecrating this house by an ungentlemanly act. Teddy never'll sarve
yees the like agin."
"I have no faith in the promises of a man who is intemperate."
The Irishman raised his hand to heaven:
"May the good Father above strike me dead if I iver swallow another
drop! Do yees belave me now. Mister Harvey?"
"You must not place the reliance in your own power, Teddy. Ask His
assistance and you'll succeed."
"I'll do so; but, ye saa, the only mill where I could get the cursed
stuff was of this same Indian, and as I politely towld him I'd
practice wid me gun on him if he offered me anither drop, and, as I'd
pick him off now, after this shine, as quick as I would a sarpent, it
ain't likely he'll bother me agin."
"I hope not, but I have the same apprehension as Cora that he will
return when we least expect him. We must manage so that we are never
both away from the house at the same time. It is now getting well
along in the afternoon, Teddy; you may prepare your fish for supper."
The Irishman obediently moved away, and the young missionary and his
wife were left together.
Alas, alas, fair Inez,
She went away with song,
In sounds that sang Farewell, Farewell
To her you've loved so long.--HOOD.
Alertness or watchfulness is sure to succeed the accomplishment of an
enemy's designs. The moment danger is over, then the most vigilant
preparations against it are made. The burglar knows better than to
visit the same house two nights in succession. He is wise enough to
wait until time has lulled the inmates into fancied security.
With such an interest at stake as had Harvey Richter, one may well
believe that no precaution was neglected which could operate to defeat
the designs of the savage whom he had driven in anger from his door.
He changed his hour of visitation from the afternoon to the forenoon.
Teddy needed no admonition against leaving the house during his
absence. He kept watch and ward over the house as if he would atone
by vigilance for past shortcomings.
The missionary had dwelt long enough among the Indians to gain a
pretty accurate estimate of their character. What troubled him most,
therefore, was a conviction that the savage's revenge, though delayed
for ten years, for want of the convenient opportunity, was sure to be
accomplished. He might have gone immediately to the north or east,
there to remain with his own tribe until convinced that the moment had
come to strike the blow--a blow, which no human influence, no personal
danger, no suffering, could persuade him from inflicting upon the
offending white man.
But there was no certainty even of delay. Did the savage believe the
moment to strike propitious, he would be ready for the trial. Even
then, he might be skulking in the woods, with his black eyes fixed
upon the cabin. It will be perceived, that, did he contemplate the
death of either of the parties concerned, he could have compassed it
without difficulty. Opportunities offered every day for the fatal
bullet to reach its mark; but the _insult_ to the Indian was so great,
that he contemplated a far sweeter compensation than death itself.
Whatever that might be, time would be sure to develop it, and that,
too, at the moment when least expected.
This fear became so ever-present and troublesome, that the missionary
made it known in the village, where he could command the services of
half a hundred warriors. A dozen at once made search through the woods
to ascertain whether the savage was concealed anywhere in the
vicinity. One of these chanced upon a trail, which, after following
some distance, was lost in the river. This, however, he pronounced to
be the trail of a _white man_. The suspected Indian evidently, had
fled, and no trace was discovered of him.
Another source of annoyance was opened to Harvey. Since the shot at
Teddy, nothing had occurred to remind them of the existence of the
strange hunter, whose mysterious warnings had accompanied their advent
into the country. Richter could not believe that the man had left
altogether, but regarded his actions with considerable equanimity, as
it was apparent that his warning shots were intended rather to
frighten than to kill. Harvey never would converse with his wife about
this white foe, and had cautioned Teddy not to allude to him in her
presence. The missionary had a strong hope that, some day, he would
be brought face to face with this stranger, when an explanation would
be secured and the annoyance ended. He therefore repeated his warning
to the Irishman not to shoot the hunter, unless compelled to do so to
save his own life; but rather to use every effort to secure him and
bring him to the cabin.
About a week after the occurrence narrated, Teddy went fishing,
leaving the husband and wife together. He followed the shore of the
river about a half-mile downward, when he settled himself by a huge
rock that projected a few feet into the water. He had just thrown his
line into the stream, when he heard the crackling of bushes behind