Part 2 out of 7
are braves in more than in name. You give them the very opportunity
you wish to avoid. Now hear my plan," she continued, her voice
eager, keen, hard, in the intensity of her purpose. "I ride into
camp to-morrow morning to see the sick boy. I promised I would and
I really want to. I find him in a fever, for a fever he certainly
will have. I dress his wounded ankle and discover he must have some
medicine. I get old Copperhead to ride back with me for it. You
wait here and arrest him without trouble."
The two men looked at each other, then at her, with a gentle
admiring pity. The plan was simplicity itself and undoubtedly
eliminated the elements of danger which the Inspector's possessed.
It had, however, one fatal defect.
"Fine, Mandy!" said her husband, reaching across the table and
patting her hand that lay clenched upon the cloth. "But it won't
"And why not, pray?" she demanded.
"We do not use our women as decoys in this country, nor do we
expose them to dangers we men dare not face."
"Allan," cried his wife with angry impatience, "you miss the whole
point. For a woman to ride into the Piegan camp, especially on
this errand of mercy, involves her in no danger. And what possible
danger would there be in having the old villain ride back with me
for medicine? And as to the decoy business," here she shrugged her
shoulders contemptuously, "do you think I care a bit for that?
Isn't he planning to kill women and children in this country? And--
and--won't he do his best to kill you?" she panted. "Isn't it
right for me to prevent him? Prevent him! To me he is like a
snake. I would--would--gladly kill him--myself." As she spoke
these words her eyes were indeed, in Sergeant Ferry's words, "like
little blue flames."
But the men remained utterly unmoved. To their manhood the plan
was repugnant, and in spite of Mandy's arguments and entreaties was
"It is the better plan, Mrs. Cameron," said the Inspector kindly,
"but we cannot, you must see we cannot, adopt it."
"You mean you will not," cried Mandy indignantly, "just because you
are stupid stubborn men!" And she proceeded to argue the matter
all over again with convincing logic, but with the same result.
There are propositions which do not lend themselves to the
arbitrament of logic with men. When the safety of their women is
at stake they refuse to discuss chances. In such a case they may
be stupid, but they are quite immovable.
Blocked by this immovable stupidity, Mandy yielded her ground, but
only to attempt a flank movement.
"Let me go with you on your reconnoitering expedition," she
pleaded. "Rather, let US go, Allan, you and I together, to see the
boy. I am really sorry for that boy. He can't help his father,
"Quite true," said the Inspector gravely.
"Let us go and find out all we can and next day make your attempt.
Besides, Allan," she cried under a sudden inspiration of memory,
"you can't possibly go. You forget your sister arrives at Calgary
this week. You must meet her."
"By Jove! Is that so? I had forgotten," said Cameron, turning to
study the calendar on the wall, a gorgeous work of art produced out
of the surplus revenues of a Life Insurance Company. "Let's see,"
he calculated. "This week? Three days will take us in. We are
still all right. We have five. That gives us two days clear for
this job. I feel like making this try, Mandy," he continued
earnestly. "We have this chap practically within our grasp. He
will be off guard. The Piegans are not yet worked up to the point
of resistance. Ten days from now our man may be we can't tell
Mandy remained silent. The ritual of her sacrifice was not yet
"I think you are right, Allan," at length she said slowly with a
twisted smile. "I'm afraid you are right. It's hard not to be in
it, though. But," she added, as if moved by a sudden thought, "I
may be in it yet."
"You will certainly be with us in spirit, Mandy," he replied,
patting the firm brown hand that lay upon the table.
"Yes, truly, and in our hearts," added the Inspector with a bow.
But Mandy made no reply. Already she was turning over in her mind
a half-formed plan which she had no intention of sharing with these
men, who, after the manner of their kind, would doubtless block it.
Early morning found Cameron and the Inspector on the trail toward
the Piegan Reserve, riding easily, for they knew not what lay
before them nor what demand they might have to make upon their
horses that day. The Inspector rode a strongly built, stocky horse
of no great speed but good for an all-day run. Cameron's horse was
a broncho, an unlovely brute, awkward and ginger-colored--his name
was Ginger--sad-eyed and wicked-looking, but short-coupled and with
flat, rangy legs that promised speed. For his sad-eyed, awkward
broncho Cameron professed a deep affection and defended him stoutly
against the Inspector's jibes.
"You can't kill him," he declared. "He'll go till he drops, and
then twelve miles more. He isn't beautiful to look at and his
manners are nothing to boast of, but he will hang upon the fence
the handsome skin of that cob of yours."
When still five or six miles from camp they separated.
"The old boy may, of course, be gone," said the Inspector as he was
parting from his friend. "By Superintendent Strong's report he
seems to be continually on the move."
"I rather think his son will hold him for a day or two," replied
Cameron. "Now you give me a full half hour. I shall look in upon
the boy, you know. But don't be longer. I don't as a rule linger
among these Piegan gentry, you know, and a lengthened stay would
certainly arouse suspicion."
Cameron's way lay along the high plateau, from which a descent
could be made by a trail leading straight south into the Piegan
camp. The Inspector's course carried him in a long detour to the
left, by which he should enter from the eastern end the valley in
which lay the Indian camp. Cameron's trail at the first took him
through thick timber, then, as it approached the level floor of the
valley, through country that became more open. The trees were
larger and with less undergrowth between them. In the valley
itself a few stubble fields with fences sadly in need of repair
gave evidence of the partial success of the attempts of the farm
instructor to initiate the Piegans into the science and art of
agriculture. A few scattering log houses, which the Indians had
been induced by the Government to build for themselves, could be
seen here and there among the trees. But during the long summer
days, and indeed until driven from the open by the blizzards of
winter, not one of these children of the free air and open sky
could be persuaded to enter the dismal shelter afforded by the log
houses. They much preferred the flimsy teepee or tent. And small
wonder. Their methods of sanitation did not comport with a
permanent dwelling. When the teepee grew foul, which their habits
made inevitable, a simple and satisfactory remedy was discovered in
a shift to another camp-ground. Not so with the log houses, whose
foul corners, littered with the accumulated filth of a winter's
occupation, became fertile breeding places for the germs of disease
and death. Irregularly strewn upon the grassy plain in the valley
bottom some two dozen teepees marked the Piegan summer headquarters.
Above the camp rose the smoke of their camp-fires, for it was still
early and their morning meal was yet in preparation.
THE ILLUSIVE COPPERHEAD
Cameron's approach to the Piegan camp was greeted by a discordant
chorus of yelps and howls from a pack of mangy, half-starved curs
of all breeds, shapes and sizes, the invariable and inevitable
concomitants of an Indian encampment. The squaws, who had been
busy superintending the pots and pans in which simmered the morning
meal of their lords and masters, faded from view at Cameron's
approach, and from the teepees on every side men appeared and stood
awaiting with stolid faces the white man's greeting. Cameron was
known to them of old.
"Good-day!" he cried briefly, singling out the Chief.
"Huh!" replied the Chief, and awaited further parley.
"No grub yet, eh? You sleep too long, Chief."
The Chief smiled grimly.
"I say, Chief," continued Cameron, "I have lost a couple of steers--
big fellows, too--any of your fellows seen them?"
Trotting Wolf turned to the group of Indians who had slouched
toward them in the meantime and spoke to them in the singsong
monotone of the Indian.
"No see cow," he replied briefly.
Cameron threw himself from his horse and, striding to a large pot
simmering over a fire, stuck his knife into the mass and lifted up
a large piece of flesh, the bones of which looked uncommonly like
ribs of beef.
"What's this, Trotting Wolf?" he inquired with a stern ring in his
"Deer," promptly and curtly replied the Chief.
"Who shot him?"
The Chief consulted the group of Indians standing near.
"This man," he replied, indicating a young Indian.
"What's your name?" said Cameron sharply. "I know you."
The young Indian shook his head.
"Oh, come now, you know English all right. What's your name?"
Still the Indian shook his head, meeting Cameron's look with a
"He White Cloud," said the Chief.
"White Cloud! Big Chief, eh?" said Cameron.
"Huh!" replied Trotting Wolf, while a smile appeared on several
"You shot this deer?"
"Huh!" replied the Indian, nodding.
"I thought you could speak English all right."
Again a smile touched the faces of some of the group.
"Where did you shoot him?"
White Cloud pointed vaguely toward the mountains.
"How far? Two, three, four miles?" inquired Cameron, holding up
"Huh!" grunted the Indian, holding up five fingers.
"Five miles, eh? Big deer, too," said Cameron, pointing to the
"How did you carry him home?"
The Indian shook his head.
"How did he carry him these five miles?" continued Cameron, turning
to Trotting Wolf.
"Pony," replied Trotting Wolf curtly.
"Good!" said Cameron. "Now," said he, turning swiftly upon the
young Indian, "where is the skin?"
The Indian's eyes wavered for a fleeting instant. He spoke a few
words to Trotting Wolf. Conversation followed.
"Well?" said Cameron.
"He says dogs eat him up."
"And the head? This big fellow had a big head. Where is it?"
Again the Indian's eyes wavered and again the conversation followed.
"Left him up in bush," replied the chief.
"We will ride up and see it, then," said Cameron.
The Indians became voluble among themselves.
"No find," said the Chief. "Wolf eat him up."
Cameron raised the meat to his nose, sniffed its odor and dropped
it back into the pot. With a single stride he was close to White
"White Cloud," he said sternly, "you speak with a forked tongue.
In plain English, White Cloud, you lie. Trotting Wolf, you know
that is no deer. That is cow. That is my cow."
Trotting Wolf shrugged his shoulders.
"No see cow me," he said sullenly.
"White Cloud," said Cameron, swiftly turning again upon the young
Indian, "where did you shoot my cow?"
The young Indian stared back at Cameron, never blinking an eyelid.
Cameron felt his wrath rising, but kept himself well in hand,
remembering the purpose of his visit. During this conversation he
had been searching the gathering crowd of Indians for the tall form
of his friend of the previous night, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Cameron felt he must continue the conversation, and, raising his
voice as if in anger--and indeed there was no need of pretense for
he longed to seize White Cloud by the throat and shake the truth
out of him--he said:
"Trotting Wolf, your young men have been killing my cattle for many
days. You know that this is a serious offense with the Police.
Indians go to jail for this. And the Police will hold you
responsible. You are the Chief on this reserve. The Police will
ask why you cannot keep your young men from stealing cattle."
The number of Indians was increasing every moment and still
Cameron's eyes searched the group, but in vain. Murmurs arose from
the Indians, which he easily interpreted to mean resentment, but he
paid no heed.
"The Police do not want a Chief," he cried in a still louder voice,
"who cannot control his young men and keep them from breaking the
He paused abruptly. From behind a teepee some distance away there
appeared the figure of the "Big Chief" whom he so greatly desired
to see. Giving no sign of his discovery, he continued his
exhortation to Trotting Wolf, to that worthy's mingled rage and
embarrassment. The suggestion of jail for cattle-thieves the Chief
knew well was no empty threat, for two of his band even at that
moment were in prison for this very crime. This knowledge rendered
him uneasy. He had no desire himself to undergo a like experience,
and it irked his tribe and made them restless and impatient of his
control that their Chief could not protect them from these unhappy
consequences of their misdeeds. They knew that with old Crowfoot,
the Chief of the Blackfeet band, such untoward consequences rarely
befell the members of that tribe. Already Trotting Wolf could
distinguish the murmurs of his young men, who were resenting the
charge against White Cloud, as well as the tone and manner in which
it was delivered. Most gladly would he have defied this truculent
rancher to do his worst, but his courage was not equal to the
plunge, and, besides, the circumstances for such a break were not
At this juncture Cameron, facing about, saw within a few feet of
him the Indian whose capture he was enlisted to secure.
"Hello!" he cried, as if suddenly recognizing him. "How is the
"Good," said the Indian with grave dignity. "He sick here,"
touching his head.
"Ah! Fever, I suppose," replied Cameron. "Take me to see him."
The Indian led the way to the teepee that stood slightly apart from
Inside the teepee upon some skins and blankets lay the boy, whose
bright eyes and flushed cheeks proclaimed fever. An old squaw,
bent in form and wrinkled in face, crouched at the end of the
couch, her eyes gleaming like beads of black glass in her mahogany
"How is the foot to-day?" cried Allan. "Pain bad?"
"Huh!" grunted the lad, and remained perfectly motionless but for
the restless glittering eyes that followed every movement of his
"You want the doctor here," said Cameron in a serious tone,
kneeling beside the couch. "That boy is in a high fever. And you
can't get him too quick. Better send a boy to the Fort and get the
Police doctor. How did you sleep last night?" he inquired of the
"No sleep," said his father. "Go this way--this way," throwing his
arms about his head. "Talk, talk, talk."
But Cameron was not listening to him. He was hearing a jingle of
spurs and bridle from down the trail and he knew that the Inspector
had arrived. The old Indian, too, had caught the sound. His
piercing eyes swiftly searched the face of the white man beside
him. But Cameron, glancing quietly at him, continued to discuss
the condition of the boy.
"Yes, you must get the doctor here at once. There is danger of
blood-poisoning. The boy may lose his foot." And he continued to
describe the gruesome possibilities of neglect of that lacerated
wound. As he rose from the couch the boy caught his arm.
"You' squaw good. Come see me," he said. "Good--good." The eager
look in the fevered eye touched Cameron.
"All right, boy, I shall tell her," he said. "Good-by!" He took
the boy's hand in his. But the boy held it fast in a nervous
"You' squaw come--sure. Hurt here--bad." He struck his forehead
with his hand. "You' squaw come--make good."
"All right," said Cameron. "I shall bring her myself. Good-by!"
Together they passed out of the teepee, Cameron keeping close to
the Indian's side and talking to him loudly and earnestly about the
boy's condition, all the while listening to the Inspector's voice
from behind the row of teepees.
"Ah!" he exclaimed aloud as they came in sight of the Inspector
mounted on his horse. "Here is my friend, Inspector Dickson.
Hello, Inspector!" he called out. "Come over here. We have a sick
boy and I want you to help us."
"Hello, Cameron!" cried the Inspector, riding up and dismounting.
Trotting Wolf and the other Indians slowly drew near.
"There is a sick boy in here," said Cameron, pointing to the teepee
behind him. "He is the son of this man, Chief--" He paused. "I
don't know your name."
Without an instant's hesitation the Indian replied:
"His boy got his foot in a trap. My wife dressed the wound last
night," continued Cameron. "Come in and see him."
But the Indian put up his hand.
"No," he said quietly. "My boy not like strange man. Bad head--
here. Want sleep--sleep."
"Ah!" said the Inspector. "Quite right. Let him sleep. Nothing
better than sleep. A good long sleep will fix him up."
"He needs the doctor, however," said Cameron.
"Ah, yes, yes. Well, we shall send the doctor."
"Everything all right, Inspector?" said Cameron, throwing his
friend a significant glance.
"Quite right!" replied the Inspector. "But I must be going. Good-
by, Chief!" As his one hand closed on the Indian's his other slid
down upon his wrist. "I want you, Chief," he said in a quiet stern
voice. "I want you to come along with me."
His hand had hardly closed upon the wrist than with a single
motion, swift, snake-like, the Indian wrenched his hand from the
Inspector's iron grasp and, leaping back a space of three paces,
stood with body poised as if to spring.
"Halt there, Chief! Don't move or you die!"
The Indian turned to see Cameron covering him with two guns. At
once he relaxed his tense attitude and, drawing himself up, he
demanded in a voice of indignant scorn:
"Why you touch me? Me Big Chief! You little dog!"
As he stood, erect, tall, scornful, commanding, with his head
thrown back and his arm outstretched, his eyes glittering and his
face eloquent of haughty pride, he seemed the very incarnation of
the wild unconquered spirit of that once proud race he represented.
For a moment or two a deep silence held the group of Indians, and
even the white men were impressed. Then the Inspector spoke.
"Trotting Wolf," he said, "I want this man. He is a horse-thief.
I know him. I am going to take him to the Fort. He is a bad man."
"No," said Trotting Wolf, in a loud voice, "he no bad man. He my
friend. Come here many days." He held up both hands. "No teef--
A loud murmur rose from the Indians, who in larger numbers kept
crowding nearer. At this ominous sound the Inspector swiftly drew
two revolvers, and, backing toward the man he was seeking to
arrest, said in a quiet, clear voice:
"Trotting Wolf, this man goes with me. If he is no thief he will
be back again very soon. See these guns? Six men die," shaking
one of them, "when this goes off. And six more die," shaking the
other, "when this goes off. The first man will be you, Trotting
Wolf, and this man second."
Trotting Wolf hesitated.
"Trotting Wolf," said Cameron. "See these guns? Twelve men die if
you make any fuss. You steal my cattle. You cannot stop your
young men. The Piegans need a new Chief. If this man is no thief
he will be back again in a few days. The Inspector speaks truth.
You know he never lies."
Still Trotting Wolf stood irresolute. The Indians began to shuffle
and crowd nearer.
"Trotting Wolf," said the Inspector sharply, "tell your men that
the first man that steps beyond that poplar-tree dies. That is my
The Chief spoke to the crowd. There was a hoarse guttural murmur
in response, but those nearest to the tree backed away from it.
They knew the Police never showed a gun except when prepared to use
it. For years they had been accustomed to the administration of
justice and the enforcement of law at the hands of the North West
Mounted Police, and among the traditions of that Force the Indians
had learned to accept two as absolutely settled: the first, that
they never failed to get the man they wanted; the second, that
their administration of law was marked by the most rigid justice.
It was Chief Onawata himself that found the solution.
"Me no thief. Me no steal horse. Me Big Chief. Me go to your
Fort. My heart clean. Me see your Big Chief." He uttered these
words with an air of quiet but impressive dignity.
"That's sensible," said the Inspector, moving toward him. "You
will get full justice. Come along!"
"I go see my boy. My boy sick." His voice became low, soft,
"Certainly," said Cameron. "Go in and see the lad. And we will
see that you get fair play."
"Good!" said the Indian, and, turning on his heel, he passed into
the teepee where his boy lay.
Through the teepee wall their voices could be heard in quiet
conversation. In a few minutes the old squaw passed out on an
errand and then in again, eying the Inspector as she passed with
malevolent hate. Again she passed out, this time bowed down under
a load of blankets and articles of Indian household furniture, and
returned no more. Still the conversation within the teepee
continued, the boy's voice now and again rising high, clear, the
other replying in low, even, deep tones.
"I will just get my horse, Inspector," said Cameron, making his way
through the group of Indians to where Ginger was standing with sad
and drooping head.
"Time's up, I should say," said the Inspector to Cameron as he
returned with his horse. "Just give him a call, will you?"
Cameron stepped to the door of the teepee.
"Come along, Chief, we must be going," he said, putting his head
inside the teepee door. "Hello!" he cried, "Where the deuce--where
is he gone?" He sprang quickly out of the teepee. "Has he passed
"Passed out?" said the Inspector. "No. Is he not inside?"
"He's not here."
Both men rushed into the teepee. On the couch the boy still lay,
his eyes brilliant with fever but more with hate. At the foot of
the couch still crouched the old crone, but there was no sign of
"Get up!" said the Inspector to the old squaw, turning the blankets
and skins upside down.
"Hee! hee!" she laughed in diabolical glee, spitting at him as he
"Did no one enter?" asked Cameron.
"Not a soul."
"Nor go out?"
"No one except the old squaw here. I saw her go out with a pack."
"With a pack!" echoed Cameron. And the two men stood looking at
each other. "By Jove!" said Cameron in deep disgust, "We're done.
He is rightly named Copperhead. Quick!" he cried, "Let us search
this camp, though it's not much use."
And so indeed it proved. Through every teepee they searched in hot
haste, tumbling out squalling squaws and papooses. But all in
vain. Copperhead had as completely disappeared as if he had
vanished into thin air. With faces stolid and unmoved by a single
gleam of satisfaction the Indians watched their hurried search.
"We will take a turn around this camp," said Cameron, swinging on
to his pony. "You hear me!" he continued, riding up close to
Trotting Wolf, "We haven't got our man but we will come back again.
And listen carefully! If I lose a single steer this fall I shall
come and take you, Trotting Wolf, to the Fort, if I have to bring
you by the hair of the head."
But Trotting Wolf only shrugged his shoulders, saying:
"No see cow."
"Is there any use taking a look around this camp?" said the
"What else can we do?" said Cameron. "We might as well. There is
a faint chance we might come across a trace."
But no trace did they find, though they spent an hour and more in
close and minute scrutiny of the ground about the camp and the
trails leading out from it.
"Where now?" inquired the Inspector.
"Home for me," said Cameron. "To-morrow to Calgary. Next week I
take up this trail. You may as well come along with me, Inspector.
We can talk things over as we go."
They were a silent and chagrined pair as they rode out from the
Reserve toward the ranch. As they were climbing from the valley to
the plateau above they came to a soft bit of ground. Here Cameron
suddenly drew rein with a warning cry, and, flinging himself off
his broncho, was upon his knee examining a fresh track.
"A pony-track, by all that's holy! And within an hour. It is our
man," he cried, examining the trail carefully and following it up
the hill and out on to the plateau. "It is our man sure enough,
and he is taking this trail."
For some miles the pony-tracks were visible enough. There was no
attempt to cover them. The rider was evidently pushing hard.
"Where do you think he is heading for, Inspector?"
"Well," said the Inspector, "this trail strikes toward the
Blackfoot Reserve by way of your ranch."
"My ranch!" cried Cameron. "My God! Look there!"
As he spoke the ginger-colored broncho leaped into a gallop. Five
miles away a thin column of smoke could be seen rising up into the
air. Every mile made it clearer to Cameron that the smoke rising
from behind the round-topped hill before him was from his ranch-
buildings, and every mile intensified his anxiety. His wife was
alone on the ranch at the mercy of that fiend. That was the
agonizing thought that tore at his heart as his panting broncho
pounded along the trail. From the top of the hill overlooking the
ranch a mile away his eye swept the scene below, swiftly taking in
the details. The ranch-house was in flames and burning fiercely.
The stables were untouched. A horse stood tied to the corral and
two figures were hurrying to and fro about the blazing building.
As they neared the scene it became clear that one of the figures
was that of a woman.
"Mandy!" he shouted from afar. "Mandy, thank God it's you!"
But they were too absorbed in their business of fighting the fire.
They neither heard nor saw him till he flung himself off his
broncho at their side.
"Oh, thank God, Mandy!" he panted, "you are safe." He gathered her
into his arms.
"Oh, Allan, I am so sorry."
"Sorry? Sorry? Why?"
"Our beautiful house!"
"And all our beautiful things!"
"Things!" He laughed aloud. "House and things! Why, Mandy, I
have YOU safe. What else matters?" Again he laughed aloud,
holding her off from him at arm's length and gazing at her grimy
face. "Mandy," he said, "I believe you are improving every day in
your appearance, but you never looked so stunning as this blessed
minute." Again he laughed aloud. He was white and trembling.
"But the house, Allan!"
"Oh, yes, by the way," he said, "the house. And who's the Johnny
carrying water there?"
"Oh, I quite forgot. That's Thatcher's new man."
"Rather wobbly about the knees, isn't he?" cried Cameron. "By
Jove, Mandy! I feared I should never see you again," he said in a
voice that trembled and broke. "And what's the chap's name?" he
"Smith, I think," said Mandy.
"Smith? Fine fellow! Most useful name!" cried Cameron.
"What's the matter, Allan?"
"The matter? Nothing now, Mandy. Nothing matters. I was afraid
that--but no matter. Hello, here's the Inspector!"
"Dear Mrs. Cameron," cried the Inspector, taking both her hands in
his, "I'm awfully glad there's nothing wrong."
"Nothing wrong? Look at that house!"
"Oh, yes, awfully sorry. But we were afraid--of that--eh--that
"Yes, Mandy," said her husband, making visible efforts to control
his voice, "we frankly were afraid that that old devil Copperhead
had come this way and--"
"He did!" cried Mandy.
"He did. Oh, Allan, I was going to tell you just as the Inspector
came, and I am so sorry. When you left I wanted to help. I was
afraid of what all those Indians might do to you, so I thought I
would ride up the trail a bit. I got near to where it branches off
toward the Reserve near by those pine trees. There I saw a man
come tearing along on a pony. It was this Indian. I drew aside.
He was just going past when he glanced at me. He stopped and came
rushing at me, waving a pistol in his hand. Oh, such a face! I
wonder I ever thought him fine-looking. He caught me by the arm.
I thought his fingers would break the bone. Look!" She pulled up
her sleeve, and upon the firm brown flesh blue and red finger marks
could be seen. "He caught me and shook me and fairly yelled at me,
'You save my boy once. Me save you to-day. Next time me see your
man me kill him.' He flung me away from him and nearly off my
horse--such eyes! such a face!--and went galloping off down the
trail. I feared I was going to be ill, so I came on homeward.
When I reached the top of the hill I saw the smoke and by the time
I arrived the house was blazing and Smith was carrying water to put
out the fire where it had caught upon the smoke house and stables."
The men listened to her story with tense white faces. When she had
finished Cameron said quietly:
"Mandy, roll me up some grub in a blanket."
"Where are you going, Allan?" her face pale as his own.
"Going? To get my hands on that Indian's throat."
"But not now?"
"Yes, now," he said, moving toward his horse.
"What about me, Allan?"
The word arrested him as if a hand had gripped him.
"You," he said in a dazed manner. "Why, Mandy, of course, there's
you. He might have killed you." Then, shaking his shoulders as if
throwing off a load, he said impatiently, "Oh, I am a fool. That
devil has sent me off my head. I tell you what, Mandy, we will
feed first, then we will make new plans."
"And there is Moira, too," said Mandy.
"Yes, there is Moira. We will plan for her too. After all," he
continued, with a slight laugh and with slow deliberation,
"there's--lots--of time--to--get him!"
THE SARCEE CAMP
The sun had reached the peaks of the Rockies far in the west,
touching their white with red, and all the lesser peaks and all the
rounded hills between with great splashes of gold and blue and
purple. It is the sunset and the sunrise that make the foothill
country a world of mystery and of beauty, a world to dream about
and long for in later days.
Through this mystic world of gold and blue and purple drove Cameron
and his wife, on their way to the little town of Calgary, three
days after the ruthless burning of their home. As the sun dipped
behind the western peaks they reached the crossing of the Elbow and
entered the wide Bow Valley, upon whose level plain was situated
the busy, ambitious and would-be wicked little pioneer town. The
town and plain lay bathed in a soft haze of rosy purple that lent a
kind of Oriental splendor to the tawdry, unsightly cluster of
shacks that sprawled here and there in irregular bunches on the
"What a picture it makes!" cried Mandy. "How wonderful this great
plain with its encircling rivers, those hills with the great peaks
beyond! What a site for a town!"
"There is no finer," replied her husband, "anywhere in the world
that I know, unless it be that of 'Auld Reekie.'"
"Meaning!" he echoed indignantly. "What else but the finest of all
the capitals of Europe?"
"London?" inquired Mandy.
"London!" echoed her husband contemptuously. "You ignorant
Colonial! Edinburgh, of course. But this is perfectly splendid,"
he continued. "I never get used to the wonder of Calgary. You see
that deep cut between those peaks in the far west? That is where
'The Gap' lies, through which the Bow flows toward us. A great
site this for a great town some day. But you ought to see these
peaks in the morning with the sunlight coming up from the east
across the foothills and falling upon them. Whoa, there! Steady,
Pepper!" he cried to the broncho, which owed its name to the
speckled appearance of its hide, and which at the present moment
was plunging and kicking at a dog that had rushed out from an
Indian encampment close by the trail. "Did you never see an Indian
"Oh, Allan," cried Mandy with a shudder, "do you know I can't bear
to look at an Indian since last week, and I used to like them."
"Hardly fair, though, to blame the whole race for the deviltry of
"I know that, but--"
"This is a Sarcee camp, I fancy. They are a cunning lot and not
the most reliable of the Indians. Let me see--three--four teepees.
Ought to be fifteen or twenty in that camp. Only squaws about.
The braves apparently are in town painting things up a bit."
A quarter of a mile past the Indian encampment the trail made a
sharp turn into what appeared to be the beginning of the main
street of the town.
"By Jove!" cried Cameron. "Here they come. Sit tight, Mandy." He
pointed with his whip down the trail to what seemed to be a rolling
cloud of dust, vocal with wild whoops and animated with plunging
figures of men and ponies.
"Steady, there, boys! Get on!" cried Cameron to his plunging,
jibing bronchos, who were evidently unwilling to face that rolling
cloud of dust with its mass of shrieking men and galloping ponies
thundering down upon them. Swift and fierce upon their flanks fell
the hissing lash. "Stand up to them, you beggars!" he shouted to
his bronchos, which seemed intent upon turning tail and joining the
approaching cavalcade. "Hie, there! Hello! Look out!" he yelled,
standing up in his wagon, waving his whip and holding his bronchos
steadily on the trail. The next moment the dust cloud enveloped
them and the thundering cavalcade, parting, surged by on either
side. Cameron was wild with rage.
"Infernal cheeky brutes!" he cried. "For two shillings I'd go back
and break some of their necks. Ride me down, would they?" he
continued, grinding his teeth in fury.
He pulled up his bronchos with half a mind to turn them about and
pursue the flying Indians. His experience and training with the
Mounted Police made it difficult for him to accept with equal mind
what he called the infernal cheek of a bunch of Indians. At the
entreaties of his wife, however, he hesitated in carrying his
purpose into effect.
"Let them go," said Mandy. "They didn't hurt us, after all."
"Didn't? No thanks to them. They might have killed you. Well, I
shall see about this later." He gave his excited bronchos their
head and sailed into town, drawing up in magnificent style at the
An attendant in cowboy garb came lounging up.
"Hello, Billy!" cried Cameron. "Still blooming?"
"Sure! And rosebuds ain't in it with you, Colonel." Billy was
from the land of colonels. "You've got a whole garden with you
this trip, eh?"
"My wife, Billy," replied Cameron, presenting her.
Billy pulled off his Stetson.
"Proud to meet you, madam. Hope I see you well and happy."
"Yes, indeed, well and happy," cried Mandy emphatically.
"Sure thing, if looks mean anything," said Billy, admiration
glowing in his eyes.
"Take the horses, Billy. They have come a hundred and fifty
"Hundred and fifty, eh? They don't look it. But I'll take care of
'em all right. You go right in."
"I shall be back presently, Billy," said Cameron, passing into the
dingy sitting-room that opened off the bar.
In a few minutes he had his wife settled in a frowsy little eight-
by-ten bedroom, the best the hotel afforded, and departed to attend
to his team, make arrangements for supper and inquire about the
incoming train. The train he found to be three hours late. His
team he found in the capable hands of Billy, who was unharnessing
and rubbing them down. While ordering his supper a hand gripped
his shoulder and a voice shouted in his ear:
"Hello, old sport! How goes it?"
"Martin, old boy!" shouted Cameron in reply. "It's awfully good to
see you. How did you get here? Oh, yes, of course, I remember.
You left the construction camp and came here to settle down." All
the while Cameron was speaking he was shaking his friend's hand
with both of his. "By Jove, but you're fit!" he continued, running
his eye over the slight but athletic figure of his friend.
"Fit! Never fitter, not even in the old days when I used to pass
the pigskin to you out of the scrimmage. But you? You're hardly
up to the mark." The keen gray eyes searched Cameron's face.
"What's up with you?"
"Oh, nothing. A little extra work and a little worry, but I'll
tell you later."
"Well, what are you on to now?" inquired Martin.
"Ordering our supper. We've just come in from a hundred and fifty
"Supper? Your wife here too? Glory! It's up to me, old boy!
Look here, Connolly," he turned to the proprietor behind the bar,
"a bang-up supper for three. All the season's delicacies and all
the courses in order. As you love me, Connolly, do us your
prettiest. And soon, awfully soon. A hundred and fifty miles,
remember. Now, then, how's my old nurse?" he continued, turning
back to Cameron. "She was my nurse, remember, till you came and
"She was, eh? Ask her," laughed Cameron. "But she will be glad to
see you. Where's MY nurse, then, my little nurse, who saw me
through a fever and a broken leg?"
"Oh, she's up in the mountains still, in the construction camp. I
proposed to bring her down here with me, but there was a riot. I
barely escaped. If ever she gets out from that camp it will be
when they are all asleep or when she is in a box car."
"Come along, then," cried Cameron. "I have much to tell you, and
my wife will be glad to see you. My sister comes in by No. 1, do
"Your sister? By No. 1? You don't say! Why, I never thought your
sister--by No. 1, eh?"
"Yes, by No. 1."
"Say, Doc," said the hotel man, breaking into the conversation.
"There's a bunch of 'em comin' in, ain't there? Who's the lady you
was expectin' yourself on No. 1?"
"Lady?" said Cameron. "What's this, Martin?"
"Me? Wake up, Connolly, you're walking in your sleep," violently
signaling to the hotel man.
"Oh, it won't do, Martin," said Cameron with grave concern. "You
may as well own up. Who is it? Come. By Jove! What? A blush?
And on that asbestos cheek? Something here, sure enough."
"Oh, rot, Cameron! Connolly is a well-known somnambulist."
"Sure thing!" said Connolly. "Is it catchin,' for I guess you had
the same thing last night?"
"Connolly, you've gone batty! You need a nurse."
"A nurse? Maybe so. Maybe so. But I guess you've got to the
point where you need a preacher. Ha! ha! Got you that time, Doc!"
laughed the hotel man, winking at Cameron.
"Oh, let it out, Martin. You'll feel better afterward. Who is
"Cameron, so help me! Connolly is an infernal ass. He's batty, I
tell you. I'm treating him for it right now."
"All right," said Cameron, "never mind. I shall run up and tell my
wife you are here. Wait for me," he cried, as he ran up the
"Connolly, you fool! I'll knock your wooden block off!" said the
doctor in a fury.
"But, Doc, you did say--"
"Oh, confound you! Shut up! It was--"
"But you did say--"
"Will you shut up?"
"Certain, sure I'll shut up. But you said--"
"Look here!" broke in the doctor impatiently. "He'll be down in a
minute. I don't want him to know."
"Aw, Doc, cut it out! He ain't no Lady Clara."
"Connolly, close that trap of yours and listen to me. This is
serious. He'll be back in a jiffy. It's the same lady as he is
going to meet."
"Same lady? But she's his sister."
"Yes, of course, you idiot! She's his sister. And now you've
queered me with him and he will think--"
"Aw, Doc, let me be. I'll straighten that tangle out."
"Sh-h! Here he is. Not a word, on your life!"
"Aw, get out!" replied Connolly with generous enthusiasm. "I don't
leave no pard of mine in a hole. Say," he cried, turning to
Cameron, "about that lady. Ha! ha!"
"Shut your ugly mug!" said the doctor savagely.
"It's the same lady. Ha! ha! Good joke, eh, Sergeant?"
"Same lady?" echoed Cameron.
"Sure, same lady."
"What does he mean, Martin?"
"The man's drunk, Cameron. He got a permit last week and he hasn't
been sober for a day since."
"Ha! ha!" laughed Connolly again. "Wish I had a chance."
"But the lady?" said Cameron, looking at his friend suspiciously.
"And these blushes?"
"Oh, well, hang it!" said Martin. "I suppose I might as well tell
you. I found out that your sister was to be in on this train, and
in case you should not turn up I told Connolly here to have a room
"Oh," said Cameron, with his eyes upon his friend's face. "You
found out? And how did you find out that Moira was coming?"
"Well," said Martin, his face growing hotter with every word of
explanation, "you have a wife and we have a mutual friend in our
little nurse, and that's how I learned. And so I thought I'd be on
hand anyway. You remember I met your sister up at your Highland
home with the unpronounceable name."
"Ah, yes! Cuagh Oir. Dear old spot!" said Cameron reminiscently.
"Moira will be heart broken every day when she sees the Big Horn
Ranch, I'm afraid. But here comes Mandy."
The meeting between the doctor and Cameron's wife was like that
between old comrades in arms, as indeed they had been through
many a hard fight with disease, accident and death during the
construction days along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway
through the Rocky Mountains.
A jolly hour they had together at supper, exchanging news and
retailing the latest jokes. And then Cameron told his friend
the story of old Copperhead and of the task laid upon him by
Superintendent Strong. Martin listened in grave silence till the
tale was done, then said with quiet gravity:
"Cameron, this is a serious business. Why! It's--it's terrible."
"Yes," replied Mandy quickly, "but you can see that he must do it.
We have quite settled that. You see there are the women and
"And is there no one else? Surely--"
"No, there is no one else quite so fit to do it," said Mandy.
"By Jove, you're a wonder!" cried Martin, his face lighting up with
"Not much of a wonder," she replied, a quick tremor in her voice.
"Not much of a wonder, I'm afraid. But how could I keep him? I
couldn't keep him, could I," she said, "if his country needs him?"
The doctor glanced at her face with its appealing deep blue eyes.
"No, by Jove! You couldn't keep him, not you."
"Now, Mandy," said Cameron, "you must upstairs and to bed." He
read aright the signs upon her face. "You are tired and you will
need all the sleep you can get. Wait for me, Martin, I'll be down
in a few moments."
When they reached their room Cameron turned and took his wife in
"Mandy! as Martin says, you are wonderful. You are a brave woman.
You have nerve enough for both of us, and you will need to have
nerve for both, for how I am going to leave you I know not. But
now you must to bed. I have a little business to attend to."
"Business?" inquired his wife.
"Yes. Oh, I won't try to hide it from you, Mandy. It's 'The Big
Business.' We are--Dr. Martin and I--going up to the Barracks.
Superintendent Strong has come down for a consultation." He paused
and looked into his wife's face. "I must go, dear."
"Yes, yes, I know, Allan. You must go. But--do you know--it's
foolish to say it, but as those Indians passed us I fancied I saw
the face of Copperhead."
"Hardly, I fancy," said her husband with a laugh. "He'd know
better than run into this town in open day just now. All Indians
will look to you like old Copperhead for a while."
"It may be so. I fancy I'm a little nervous. But come back soon."
"You may be sure of that, sweetheart. Meantime sleep well."
The little town of Calgary stands on one of the most beautiful
town-sites in all the world. A great plain with ramparts of hills
on every side, encircled by the twin mountain rivers, the Bow and
the Elbow, overlooked by rolling hills and far away to the west by
the mighty peaks of the Rockies, it holds at once ample space and
unusual picturesque beauty. The little town itself was just
emerging from its early days as a railway construction-camp and was
beginning to develop ambitions toward a well-ordered business
activity and social stability. It was an all-night town, for the
simple and sufficient reason that its communications with the world
lying to the east and to the west began with the arrival of No. 2
at half-past twelve at night and No. 1 at five o'clock next
morning. Few of its citizens thought it worth while to settle down
for the night until after the departure of No. 2 on its westward
Through this "all-night" little town Cameron and the doctor took
their way. The sidewalks were still thronged, the stores still
doing business, the restaurants, hotels, pool-rooms all wide open.
It kept Sergeant Crisp busy enough running out the "tin-horn"
gamblers and whisky-peddlers, keeping guard over the fresh and
innocent lambs that strayed in from the East and across from the
old land ready for shearing, and preserving law and order in this
hustling frontier town. Money was still easy in the town, and had
Sergeant Crisp been minded for the mere closing of his eyes or
turning of his back upon occasion he might have retired early from
the Force with a competency. Unhappily for Sergeant Crisp,
however, there stood in the pathway of his fortune the awkward fact
of his conscience and his oath of service. Consequently he was
forced to grub along upon the munificent bounty of the daily pay
with which Her Majesty awarded the faithful service of the non-
coms. in her North West Mounted Police Force. And indeed through
all the wide reaches of that great West land during those pioneer
days and among all the officers of that gallant force no record can
be found of an officer who counted fortune dearer than honor.
Through this wide awake, wicked, but well-watched little town
Cameron with his friend made his way westward toward the Barracks
to keep his appointment with his former Chief, Superintendent
Strong. The Barracks stood upon the prairie about half a mile
distant from the town. They found Superintendent Strong fuming
with impatience, which he controlled with difficulty while Cameron
presented his friend.
"Well, Cameron, you've come at last," was his salutation when the
introduction was completed. "When did you get into town? I have
been waiting all day to see you. Where have you been?"
"Arrived an hour ago," said Cameron shortly, for he did not half
like the Superintendent's brusque manner. "The trail was heavy
owing to the rain day before yesterday."
"When did you leave the ranch?" inquired Sergeant Crisp.
"Yesterday morning," said Cameron. "The colts were green and I
couldn't send them along."
"Yesterday morning!" exclaimed Sergeant Crisp. "You needn't
apologize for the colts, Cameron."
"I wasn't apologizing for anybody or anything. I was making a
statement of fact," replied Cameron curtly.
"Ah, yes, very good going, Cameron. Very good going, indeed, I
should say," said the Superintendent, conscious of his own
brusqueness and anxious to appease. "Did Mrs. Cameron come with
"Indeed. That is a long drive for a lady to make, Cameron. Too
long a drive, I should say. I hope she is quite well, not--eh--
"She is quite well, thank you."
"Well, she is an old campaigner," said the Superintendent with a
smile, "and not easily knocked up if I remember her aright. But I
ought to say, Cameron, how very deeply I appreciate your very fine--
indeed very handsome conduct in volunteering to come to our
assistance in this matter. Very handsome indeed I call it. It
will have a good effect upon the community. I appreciate the
sacrifice. The Commissioner and the whole Force will appreciate
it. But," he added, as if to himself, "before we are through with
this business I fear there will be more sacrifice demanded from
all of us. I trust none of us will be found wanting." The
Superintendent's voice was unduly solemn, his manner almost somber.
Cameron was impressed with this manifestation of feeling so unusual
with the Superintendent.
"Any more news, sir?" he inquired.
"Yes, every post brings news of seditious meetings up north along
the Saskatchewan and of indifference on the part of the Government.
And further, I have the most conclusive evidence that our Indians
are being tampered with, and successfully too. There is no reason
to doubt that the head chiefs have been approached and that many of
the minor chiefs are listening to the proposals of Riel and his
half-breeds. But you have some news to give, I understand?
Dickson said you would give me particulars."
Thereupon Cameron briefly related the incidents in connection with
the attempted arrest of the Sioux Chief, and closed with a brief
account of the burning of his home.
"That is most daring, most serious," exclaimed the Superintendent.
"But you are quite certain that it was the Sioux that was
responsible for the outrage?"
"Well," said Cameron, "he met my wife on a trail five miles away,
threatened her, and--"
"Good God, Cameron! Threatened your wife?"
"Yes, nearly flung her off her horse," replied Cameron, his voice
quiet and even, but his eyes glowing like fires in his white face.
"Flung her off her horse? But--he didn't injure her?" replied the
"Only that he terrified her with his threats and then went on
toward the house, which he left in flames."
"My God, Cameron!" said the Superintendent, rising in his
excitement. "This is really terrible. You must have suffered
awful anxiety. I apologize for my abrupt manner a moment ago," he
added, offering his hand. "I'm awfully sorry."
"It's all right, Superintendent," replied Cameron. "I'm afraid I
am a little upset myself."
"But what a God's mercy she escaped! How came that, I wonder?"
Then Cameron told the story of the rescue of the Indian boy.
"That undoubtedly explains it," exclaimed the Superintendent.
"That was a most fortunate affair. Do an Indian a good turn and
he will never forget it. I shudder to think of what might have
happened, for I assure you that this Copperhead will stick at
nothing. We have an unusually able man to deal with, and we shall
put our whole Force on this business of arresting this man. Have
you any suggestions yourself?"
"No," said Cameron, "except that it would appear to be a mistake to
give any sign that we were very specially anxious to get him just
now. So far we have not shown our hand. Any concentrating of the
Force upon his capture would only arouse suspicion and defeat our
aim, while my going after him, no matter how keenly, will be
accounted for on personal grounds."
"There is something in that, but do you think you can get him?"
"I am going to get him," said Cameron quietly.
The superintendent glanced at his face.
"By Jove, I believe you will! But remember, you can count on me
and on my Force to a man any time and every time to back you up,
and there's my hand on it. And now, let's get at this thing. We
have a cunning devil to do with and he has gathered about him the
very worst elements on the reserves."
Together they sat and made their plans till far on into the night.
But as a matter of fact they could make little progress. They knew
well it would be extremely difficult to discover their man. Owing
to the state of feeling throughout the reserves the source of
information upon which the Police ordinarily relied had suddenly
dried up or become untrustworthy. A marked change had come over
the temper of the Indians. While as yet they were apparently on
friendly terms and guilty of no open breach of the law, a sullen
and suspicious aloofness marked the bearing of the younger braves
and even of some of the chiefs toward the Police. Then, too, among
the Piegans in the south and among the Sarcees whose reserve was in
the neighborhood of Calgary an epidemic of cattle-stealing had
broken out and the Police were finding it increasingly difficult to
bring the criminals to justice. Hence with this large increase in
crime and with the changed attitude and temper of the Indians
toward the Police, such an amount of additional patrol-work was
necessary that the Police had almost reached the limit of their
"In fact, we have really a difficult proposition before us, short-
handed as we are," said the Superintendent as they closed their
interview. "Indeed, if things become much worse we may find it
necessary to organize the settlers as Home Guards. An outbreak on
the Saskatchewan might produce at any moment the most serious
results here and in British Columbia. Meantime, while we stand
ready to help all we can, it looks to me, Cameron, that you are
right and that in this business you must go it alone pretty much."
"I realize that, sir," replied Cameron. "But first I must get my
house built and things in shape, then I hope to take this up."
"Most certainly," replied the Superintendent. "Take a month. He
can't do much more harm in a month, and meantime we shall do our
utmost to obtain information and we shall keep you informed of
anything we discover."
The Superintendent and Sergeant accompanied Cameron and his friend
to the door.
"It is a black night," said Sergeant Crisp. "I hope they're not
running any 'wet freight' in to-night."
"It's a good night for it, Sergeant," said Dr. Martin. "Do you
expect anything to come in?"
"I have heard rumors," replied the Sergeant, "and there is a
freight train standing right there now which I have already gone
through but upon which it is worth while still to keep an eye."
"Well, good-night," said the Superintendent, shaking Cameron by the
hand. "Keep me posted and when within reach be sure and see me.
Good-night, Dr. Martin. We may want you too before long."
"All right, sir, you have only to say the word."
The night was so black that the trail which in the daylight was
worn smooth and plainly visible was quite blotted out. The light
from the Indian camp fire, which was blazing brightly a hundred
yards away, helped them to keep their general direction.
"For a proper black night commend me to the prairie," said the
doctor. "It is the dead level does it, I believe. There is
nothing to cast a reflection or a shadow."
"It will be better in a few minutes," said Cameron, "when we get
our night sight."
"You are off the trail a bit, I think," said the doctor.
"Yes, I know. I am hitting toward the fire. The light makes it
better going that way."
"I say, that chap appears to be going some. Quite a song and dance
he's giving them," said the doctor, pointing to an Indian who in
the full light of the camp fire was standing erect and, with hand
outstretched, was declaiming to the others, who, kneeling or
squatting about the fire, were giving him rapt attention. The
erect figure and outstretched arm arrested Cameron. A haunting
sense of familiarity floated across his memory.
"Let's go nearer," he said, "and quietly."
With extreme caution they made about two-thirds of the distance
when a howl from an Indian dog revealed their presence. At once
the speaker who had been standing in the firelight sank crouching
to the ground. Instantly Cameron ran forward a few swift steps
and, like a hound upon a deer, leapt across the fire and fair upon
the crouching Indian, crying "Call the Police, Martin!"
With a loud cry of "Police! Police! Help here!" Martin sprang
into the middle of an excited group of Indians. Two of them threw
themselves upon him, but with a hard right and left he laid them
low and, seizing a stick of wood, sprang toward two others who were
seeking to batter the life out of Cameron as he lay gripping his
enemy by the throat with one hand and with the other by the wrist
to check a knife thrust. Swinging his stick around his head and
repeating his cry for help, Martin made Cameron's assailants give
back a space and before they could renew the attack Sergeant Crisp
burst open the door of the Barracks, and, followed by a Slim young
constable and the Superintendent, came rushing with shouts upon the
scene. Immediately upon the approach of the Police the Indians
ceased the fight and all that could faded out of the light into the
black night around them, while the Indian who continued to struggle
with incredible fury to free himself from Cameron's grip suddenly
became limp and motionless.
"Now, what's all this?" demanded the Sergeant. "Why, it's you,
doctor, and where--? You don't mean that's Cameron there? Hello,
Cameron!" he said, leaning over him. "Let go! He's safe enough.
We've got him all right. Let go! By Jove! Are they both dead?"
Here the Superintendent came up. The incidents leading up to the
present situation were briefly described by the doctor.
"I can't get this fellow free," said the Sergeant, who was working
hard to release the Indian's throat from the gripping fingers. He
turned Cameron over on his back. He was quite insensible. Blood
was pouring from his mouth and nose, but his fingers like steel
clamps were gripping the wrist and throat of his foe. The Indian
lay like dead.
"Good Lord, doctor! What shall we do?" cried the Superintendent.
"Is he dead?"
"No," said Martin, with his hand upon Cameron's heart. "Bring
water. You can't loosen his fingers till he revives. The blow
that knocked him senseless set those fingers as they are and they
will stay set thus till released by returning consciousness."
"Here then, get water quick!" shouted the Superintendent to the
slim young constable.
Gradually as the water was splashed upon his face Cameron came back
to life and, relaxing his fingers, stretched himself with a sigh as
of vast relief and lay still.
"Here, take that, you beast!" cried the Sergeant, dashing the rest
of the water into the face of the Indian lying rigid and motionless
on the ground. A long shudder ran through the Indian's limbs.
Clutching at his throat with both hands, he raised himself to a
sitting posture, his breath coming in raucous gasps, glared wildly
upon the group, then sank back upon the ground, rolled over upon
his side and lay twitching and breathing heavily, unheeded by the
doctor and Police who were working hard over Cameron.
"No bones broken, I think," said the doctor, feeling the battered
head. "Here's where the blow fell that knocked him out," pointing
to a ridge that ran along the side of Cameron's head. "A little
lower, a little more to the front and he would never have moved.
Let's get him in."
Cameron opened his eyes, struggled to speak and sank back again.
"Don't stir, old chap. You're all right. Don't move for a bit.
Could you get a little brandy, Sergeant?"
Again the slim young constable rushed toward the Barracks and in a
few moments returned with the spirits. After taking a sip of the
brandy Cameron again opened his eyes and managed to say "Don't--"
"All right, old chap," said the doctor. "We won't move you yet.
Just lie still a bit." But as once more Cameron opened his eyes
the agony of the appeal in them aroused the doctor's attention.
"Something wrong, eh?" he said. "Are you in pain, old boy?"
The appealing eyes closed, then, opening again, turned toward the
"Copperhead," he whispered.
"What do you say?" said the Superintendent kneeling down.
Once more with painful effort Cameron managed to utter the word
"Copperhead!" ejaculated the Superintendent in a low tense voice,
springing to his feet and turning toward the unconscious Indian.
"He's gone!" he cried with a great oath. "He's gone! Sergeant
Crisp!" he shouted, "Call out the whole Force! Surround this camp
and hold every Indian. Search every teepee for this fellow who was
lying here. Quick! Quick!" Leaving Cameron to the doctor, who in
a few minutes became satisfied that no serious injury had been
sustained, he joined in the search with fierce energy. The teepees
were searched, the squaws and papooses were ruthlessly bundled out
from their slumbers and with the Indians were huddled into the
Barracks. But of the Sioux Chief there was no sign. He had
utterly vanished. The black prairie had engulfed him.
But the Police had their own methods. Within a quarter of an hour
half a dozen mounted constables were riding off in different
directions to cover the main trails leading to the Indian reserves
and to sweep a wide circle about the town.
"They will surely get him," said Dr. Martin confidently.
"Not much chance of it," growled Cameron, to whom with returning
consciousness had come the bitter knowledge of the escape of the
man he had come to regard as his mortal enemy. "I had him fast
enough," he groaned, "in spite of the best he could do, and I would
have choked his life out had it not been for these other devils."
"They certainly jumped in savagely," said Martin. "In fact I
cannot understand how they got at the thing so quickly."
"Didn't you hear him call?" said Cameron. "It was his call that
did it. Something he said turned them into devils. They were
bound to do for me. I never saw Indians act like that."
"Yes, I heard that call, and it mighty near did the trick for you.
Thank Heaven your thick Hielan' skull saved you."
"How did they let him go?" again groaned Cameron.
"How? Because he was too swift for us," said the Superintendent,
who had come in, "and we too slow. I thought it was an ordinary
Indian row, you see, but I might have known that you would not have
gone in in that style without good reason. Who would think that
this old devil should have the impudence to camp right here under
our nose? Where did he come from anyway, do you suppose?"
"Been to the Blackfoot Reserve like enough and was on his way to
the Sarcees when he fell in with this little camp of theirs."
"That's about it," replied the Superintendent gloomily. "And to
think you had him fast and we let him go!"
The thought brought small comfort to any of them, least of all to
Cameron. In that vast foothill country with all the hidings of the
hills and hollows there was little chance that the Police would
round up the fugitive, and upon Cameron still lay the task of
capturing this cunning and resourceful foe.
"Never mind," said Martin cheerily. "Three out, all out. You'll
get him next time."
"I don't know about that. But I'll get him some time or he'll get
me," replied Cameron as his face settled into grim lines. "Let's
"Are you quite fit?" inquired the Superintendent.
"Fit enough. Sore a bit in the head, but can navigate."
"I can't tell you how disappointed and chagrined I feel. It isn't
often that my wits are so slow but--" The Superintendent's jaws
here cut off his speech with a snap. The one crime reckoned
unpardonable in the men under his own command was that of failure
and his failure to capture old Copperhead thus delivered into his
hands galled him terribly.
"Well, good-night, Cameron," said the Superintendent, looking out
into the black night. "We shall let you know to-morrow the result
of our scouting, though I don't expect much from it. He is much
too clever to be caught in the open in this country."
"Perhaps he'll skidoo," said Dr. Martin hopefully.
"No, he's not that kind," replied the Superintendent. "You can't
scare him out. You have got to catch him or kill him."
"I think you are right, sir," said Cameron. "He will stay till his
work is done or till he is made to quit."
"That is true, Cameron--till he is made to quit--and that's your
job," said the Superintendent solemnly.
"Yes, that is my job, sir," replied Cameron simply and with equal
solemnity. "I shall do my best."
"We have every confidence in you, Cameron," replied the
Superintendent. "Good-night," he said again, shutting the door.
"Say, old man, this is too gruesome," said Martin with fierce
impatience. "I can't see why it's up to you more than any other."
"The Sun Dance Trail is the trail he must take to do his work.
That was my patrol last year--I know it best. God knows I don't
want this--" his breath came quick--"I am not afraid--but--but
there's-- We have been together for such a little while, you
know." He could get no farther for a moment or two, then added
quietly, "But somehow I know--yes and she knows--bless her brave
heart--it is my job. I must stay with it."
THE GIRL ON NO. 1.
By the time they had reached the hotel Cameron was glad enough to
go to his bed.
"You need not tell your wife, I suppose," said the doctor.
"Tell her? Certainly!" said Cameron. "She is with me in this. I
play fair with her. Don't you fear, she is up to it."
And so she was, and, though her face grew white as she listened to
the tale, never for a moment did her courage falter.
"Doctor, is Allan all right? Tell me," she said, her big blue eyes
holding his in a steady gaze.
"Right enough, but he must have a long sleep. You must not let him
stir at five."
"Then," said Mandy, "I shall go to meet the train, Allan."
"But you don't know Moira."
"No, but I shall find her out."
"Of course," said Dr. Martin in a deprecating tone, "I know Miss
"Of course you do," cried Mandy. "Why, that is splendid! You will
go and Allan need not be disturbed. She will understand. Not a
word, now, Allan. We will look after this, the doctor and I, eh,
"Why--eh--yes--yes certainly, of course. Why not?"
"Why not, indeed?" echoed Mandy briskly. "She will understand."
And thus it was arranged. Under the influence of a powder left by
Dr. Martin, Cameron, after an hour's tossing, fell into a heavy
"I am so glad you are here," said Mandy to the doctor, as he looked
in upon her. "You are sure there is no injury?"
"No, nothing serious. Shock, that's all. A day's quiet will fix
"I am so thankful," said Mandy, heaving a deep sigh of relief, "and
I am so glad that you are here. And it is so nice that you know
"You are not going to the train?" said the doctor.
"No, no, there is no need, and I don't like to leave him. Besides
you don't need me."
"N-o-o, no, not at all--certainly not," said the doctor with
growing confidence. "Good-night. I shall show her to her room."
"Oh," cried Mandy, "I shall meet you when you come. Thank you so
much. So glad you are here," she added with a tremulous smile.
The doctor passed down the stairs.
"By Jove, she's a brick!" he said to himself. "She has about all
she can stand just now. Glad I am here, eh? Well, I guess I am
too. But what about this thing? It's up to me now to do the Wild
West welcome act, and I'm scared--plain scared to death. She won't
know me from a goat. Let's see. I've got two hours yet to work up
my ginger. I'll have a pipe to start with."
He passed into the bar, where, finding himself alone, he curled up
in a big leather chair and gave himself up to his pipe and his
dreams. The dingy bar-room gave place to a little sunny glen in
the Highlands of Scotland, in which nestled a little cluster of
stone-built cottages, moss-grown and rose-covered. Far down in the
bottom of the Glen a tiny loch gleamed like a jewel. Up on the
hillside above the valley an avenue of ragged pines led to a large
manor house, old, quaint, but dignified, and in the doorway a
maiden stood, grave of face and wonderfully sweet, in whose brown
eyes and over whose brown curls all the glory of the little Glen of
the Cup of Gold seemed to gather. Through many pipes he pursued
his dreams, but always they led him to that old doorway and the
maiden with the grave sweet face and the hair and eyes full of the
golden sunlight of the Glen Cuagh Oir.
"Oh, pshaw!" he grumbled to himself at last, knocking the ashes
from his pipe. "She has forgotten me. It was only one single day.
But what a day!"
He lit a fresh pipe and began anew to dream of that wonderful day,
that day which was the one unfading point of light in all his Old
Country stay. Not even the day when he stood to receive his
parchment and the special commendation of the Senatus and of his
own professor for his excellent work lived with him like that day
in the Glen. Every detail of the picture he could recall and ever
in the foreground the maiden. With deliberate purpose he settled
himself in his chair and set himself to fill in those fine and
delicate touches that were necessary to make perfect the foreground
of his picture, the pale olive face with its bewildering frame of
golden waves and curls, the clear brown eyes, now soft and tender,
now flashing with wrath, and the voice with its soft Highland
"By Jove, I'm dotty! Clean dotty! I'll make an ass of myself,
sure thing, when I see her to-day." He sprang from his chair and
shook himself together. "Besides, she has forgotten all about me."
He looked at his watch. It was twenty minutes to train-time. He
opened the door and looked out. The chill morning air struck him
sharply in the face. He turned quickly, snatched his overcoat from
a nail in the hall and put it on.
At this point Billy, who combined in his own person the offices of
ostler, porter and clerk, appeared, his lantern shining with a dim
yellow glare in the gray light of the dawn.
"No. 1 is about due, Doc," he said.
"She is, eh? I say, Billy," said the Doctor, "want to do something
for me?" He pushed a dollar at Billy over the counter.
"Name it, Doc, without further insult," replied Billy, shoving the
dollar back with a lordly scorn.
"All right, Billy, you're a white little soul. Now listen. I want
your ladies' parlor aired."
"Aired?" gasped Billy.
"Yes, open the windows. Put on a fire. I have a lady coming--I
have--that is--Sergeant Cameron's sister is coming--"
"Say no more," said Billy with a wink. "I get you, Doc. But what
about the open window, Doc? It's rather cold."
"Open it up and put on a fire. Those Old Country people are mad
about fresh air."
"All right, Doc," replied Billy with another knowing wink. "The
best is none too good for her, eh?"
"Look here, now, Billy--" the doctor's tone grew severe--"let's
have no nonsense. This is Sergeant Cameron's sister. He is
knocked out, unable to meet her. I am taking his place. Do you
get me? Now be quick. If you have any think juice in that block
of yours turn it on."
Billy twisted one ear as if turning a cock, and tapped his forehead
with his knuckles.
"Doc," he said solemnly, "she's workin' like a watch, full jewel,
"All right. Now get on to this. Sitting-room aired, good fire
going, windows open and a cup of coffee."
"Coffee? Say, Doc, there ain't time. What about tea?"
"You know well enough, Billy, you haven't got any but that infernal
green stuff fit to tan the stomach of a brass monkey."
"There's another can, Doc. I know where it is. Leave it to me."
"All right, Billy, I trust you. They are death on tea in the Old
Country. And toast, Billy. What about toast?"
"Toast? Toast, eh? Well, all right, Doc. Toast it is. Trust
yours truly. You keep her out a-viewin' the scenery for half an
"And Billy, a big pitcher of hot water. They can't live without
hot water in the morning, those Old Country people."
"Sure thing, Doc. A tub if you like."
"No, a pitcher will do."
At this point a long drawn whistle sounded through the still
"There she goes, Doc. She has struck the grade. Say, Doc--"
But his words fell upon empty space. The doctor had already
"Say, he's a sprinter," said Billy to himself. "He ain't takin' no
chances on bein' late. Shouldn't be surprised if the Doc got there
He darted upstairs and looked around the ladies' parlor. The air
was heavy with mingled odors of the bar and the kitchen. A
spittoon occupied a prominent place in the center of the room. The
tables were dusty, the furniture in confusion. The ladies' parlor
was perfectly familiar to Billy, but this morning he viewed it with
"Say, the Doc ain't fair. He's too swift in his movements," he
muttered to himself as he proceeded to fling things into their
places. He raised the windows, opened the stove door and looked
in. The ashes of many fires half filling the box met his eyes with
silent reproach. "Say, the Doc ain't fair," he muttered again.
"Them ashes ought to have been out of there long ago." This fact
none knew better than himself, inasmuch as there was no other from
whom this duty might properly be expected. Yet it brought some
small relief to vent his disgust upon this offending accumulation
of many days' neglect. There was not a moment to lose. He was due
in ten minutes to meet the possible guests for the Royal at the
train. He seized a pail left in the hall by the none too tidy
housemaid and with his hands scooped into it the ashes from the
stove, and, leaving a cloud of dust to settle everywhere upon
tables and chairs, ran down with his pail and back again with
kindling and firewood and had a fire going in an extraordinarily
short time. He then caught up an ancient antimacassar, used it as
a duster upon chairs and tables, flung it back again in its place
over the rickety sofa and rushed for the station to find that the
train had already pulled in, had come to a standstill and was
disgorging its passengers upon the platform.
"Roy--al Ho--tel!" shouted Billy. "Best in town! All the comforts
and conveniences! Yes, sir! Take your grip, sir? Just give me
them checks! That's all right, leave 'em to me. I'll get your
baggage all right."
He saw the doctor wandering distractedly up and down the platform.
"Hello, Doc, got your lady? Not on the Pullman, eh? Take a look
in the First Class. Say, Doc," he added in a lower voice, coming
near to the doctor, "what's that behind you?"
The doctor turned sharply and saw a young lady whose long clinging
black dress made her seem taller than she was. She wore a little
black hat with a single feather on one side, which gave it a sort
of tam o' shanter effect. She came forward with hand outstretched.
"I know you, Mr. Martin," she said in a voice that indicated
"You?" he cried. "Is it you? And to think I didn't know you. And
to think you should remember me."
"Remember! Well do I remember you--and that day in the Cuagh Oir--
but you have forgotten all about that day." A little flush
appeared on her pale cheek.
"Forgotten?" cried Martin.
"But you didn't know me," she added with a slight severity in her
"I was not looking for you."
"Not looking for me?" cried the girl. "Then who--?" She paused in
a sudden confusion, and with a little haughty lift of her head
said, "Where is Allan, my brother?"
But the doctor ignored her question. He was gazing at her in
"I was looking for a little girl," he said, "in a blue serge dress
and tangled hair, brown, and all curls, with brown eyes and--"
"And you found a grown up woman with all the silly curls in their
proper place--much older--very much older. It is a habit we have
in Scotland of growing older."
"Yes, older, and more sober and sensible--and plainer."
"Plainer?" The doctor's mind was evidently not working with its
usual ease and swiftness, partly from amazement at the transformation
that had resulted in this tall slender young lady standing before
him with her stately air, and partly from rage at himself and his
"But you have not answered me," said the girl, obviously taken
aback at the doctor's manner. "Where is my brother? He was to
meet me. This is Cal--gar--ry, is it not?"
"It's Calgary all right," cried the doctor, glad to find in this
fact a solid resting place for his mind.
"And my brother? There is nothing wrong?" The alarm in her voice
brought him to himself.
"Wrong? Not a bit. At least, not much."
"Not much? Tell me at once, please." With an imperious air the
young lady lifted her head and impaled the doctor with her flashing
"Well," said the doctor in halting confusion, "you see, he met with
"An accident?" she cried. "You are hiding something from me, Mr.
Martin. My brother is ill, or--"
"No, no, not he. An Indian hit him on the head," said the doctor,
rendered desperate by her face.
"An Indian?" Her cry, her white face, the quick clutch of her
hands at her heart, roused the doctor's professional instincts and
banished his confusion.
"He is perfectly all right, I assure you, Miss Cameron. Only it
was better that he should have his sleep out. He was most anxious
to meet you, but as his medical adviser I urged him to remain quiet
and offered to come in his place. His wife is with him. A day's
rest, believe me, will make him quite fit." The doctor's manner
was briskly professional and helped to quiet the girl's alarm.
"Can I see him?" she asked.
"Most certainly, in a few hours when he wakes and when you are
rested. Here, Billy, take Miss Cameron's checks. Look sharp."
"Say, Doc," said Billy in an undertone, "about that tea and toast--"
"What the deuce--?" said the doctor impatiently. "Oh, yes--all
right! Only look lively."
"Keep her a-viewin' the scenery, Doc, a bit," continued Billy under
"Oh, get a move on, Billy! What are you monkeying about?" said the
doctor quite crossly. He was anxious to escape from a position
that had become intolerable to him. For months he had been looking
forward to this meeting and now he had bungled it. In the first
place he had begun by not knowing the girl who for three years and
more had been in his dreams day and night, then he had carried
himself like a schoolboy in her presence, and lastly had frightened
her almost to death by his clumsy announcement of her brother's
accident. The young lady at his side, with the quick intuition of
her Celtic nature, felt his mood, and, not knowing the cause,
became politely distant.
On their walk to the hotel Dr. Martin pointed out the wonderful
pearly gray light stealing across the plain and beginning to
brighten on the tops of the rampart hills that surrounded the town.
"You will see the Rockies in an hour, Miss Cameron, in the far west
there," he said. But there was no enthusiasm in his voice.
"Ah, yes, how beautiful!" said the young lady. But her tone, too,
Desperately the doctor strove to make conversation during their
short walk and with infinite relief did he welcome the appearance
of Mandy at her bedroom door waiting their approach.
"Your brother's wife, Miss Cameron," said he.
For a single moment they stood searching each other's souls. Then
by some secret intuition known only to the female mind they reached
a conclusion, an entirely satisfactory conclusion, too, for at once
they were in each other's arms.
"You are Moira?" cried Mandy.
"Yes," said the girl in an eager, tremulous voice. "And my
brother? Is he well?"
"Well? Of course he is--perfectly fine. He is sleeping now. We
will not wake him. He has had none too good a night."
"No, no," cried Moira, "don't wake him. Oh, I am so glad. You
see, I was afraid."
"Afraid? Why were you afraid?" inquired Mandy, looking indignantly
at the doctor, who stood back, a picture of self condemnation.
"Yes, yes, Mrs. Cameron, blame me. I deserve it all. I bungled
the whole thing this morning and frightened Miss Cameron nearly
into a fit, for no other reason than that I am all ass. Now I
shall retire. Pray deal gently with me. Good-by!" he added
abruptly, lifted his hat and was gone.
"What's the matter with him?" said Mandy, looking at her sister-in-
"I do not know, I am sure," replied Moira indifferently. "Is there
anything the matter?"
"He is not like himself a bit. But come, my dear, take off your
things. As the doctor says, a sleep for a couple of hours will do
you good. After that you will see Allan. You are looking very
weary, dear, and no wonder, no wonder," said Mandy, "with all that
journey and--and all you have gone through." She gathered the girl
into her strong arms. "My, I could just pick you up like a babe!"
She held her close and kissed her.
The caressing touch was too much for the girl. With a rush the
"Och, oh," she cried, lapsing into her Highland speech, "it iss
ashamed of myself I am, but no one has done that to me for many a
day since--since--my father--"
"There, there, you poor darling," said Mandy, comforting her as if
she were a child, "you will not want for love here in this country.
Cry away, it will do you good." There was a sound of feet on the
stairs. "Hush, hush, Billy is coming." She swept the girl into
her bedroom as Billy appeared.
"Oh, I am just silly," said Moira impatiently, as she wiped her
eyes. "But you are so good, and I will never be forgetting your
kindness to me this day."
"Hot water," said Billy, tapping at the door.
"Hot water! What for?" cried Mandy.
"For the young lady. The doctor said she was used to it."
"The doctor? Well, that is very thoughtful. Do you want hot
"Yes, the very thing I do want to get the dust out of my eyes and
the grime off my face."
"And the tea is in the ladies' parlor," added Billy.
"Tea!" cried Mandy, "the very thing!"
"The doctor said tea and toast."
"The doctor again!"
"Sure thing! Said they were all stuck on tea in the Old Country."
"Oh, he did, eh? Will you have tea, Moira?"
"No tea, thank you. I shall lie down, I think, for a little."
"All right, dear, we will see you at breakfast. Don't worry. I
shall call you."
Again she kissed the girl and left her to sleep. She found Billy
standing in the ladies' parlor with a perplexed and disappointed
look on his face.
"The Doc said she'd sure want some tea," he said.