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The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail by Ralph Connor

Part 4 out of 7

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and, without more than a single word of greeting, were led to the
tent in which the sick boy lay. Beside him sat the old squaw in a
corner of the tent, crooning a weird song as she swayed to and fro.
The sick boy lay on a couch of skins, his eyes shining with fever,
his foot festering and in a state of indescribable filth and his
whole condition one of unspeakable wretchedness. Cameron found his
gorge rise at the sight of the gangrenous ankle.

"This is a horrid business, Mandy," he exclaimed. "This is not for
you. Let us send for the doctor. That foot will surely have to
come off. Don't mess with it. Let us have the doctor."

But his wife, from the moment of her first sight of the wounded
foot, forgot all but her mission of help.

"We must have a clean tent, Allan," she said, "and plenty of hot
water. Get the hot water first."

Cameron turned to the Chief and said, "Hot water, quick!"

"Huh--good," replied the Chief, and in a few moments returned with
a small pail of luke-warm water.

"Oh," cried Mandy, "it must be hot and we must have lots of it."

"Hot," cried Cameron to the Chief. "Big pail--hot--hot."

"Huh," grunted the Chief a second time with growing intelligence,
and in an incredibly short space returned with water sufficiently
hot and in sufficient quantity.

All unconscious of the admiring eyes that followed the swift and
skilled movements of her capable hands, Mandy worked over the
festering and fevered wound till, cleansed, soothed, wrapped in a
cooling lotion, the limb rested easily upon a sling of birch bark
and skins suggested and prepared by the Chief. Then for the first
time the boy made a sound.

"Huh," he grunted feebly. "Doctor--no good. Squaw--heap good. Me
two foot--live--one foot--" he held up one finger--"die." His eyes
were shining with something other than the fever that drove the
blood racing through his veins. As a dog's eyes follow every
movement of his master so the lad's eyes, eloquent with adoring
gratitude, followed his nurse as she moved about the wigwam.

"Now we must get that clean tent, Allan."

"All right," said her husband. "It will be no easy job, but we
shall do our best. Here, Chief," he cried, "get some of your young
men to pitch another tent in a clean place."

The Chief, eager though he was to assist, hesitated.

"No young men," he said. "Get squaw," and departed abruptly.

"No young men, eh?" said Cameron to his wife. "Where are they,
then? I notice there are no bucks around."

And so while the squaws were pitching a tent in a spot somewhat
removed from the encampment, Cameron poked about among the tents
and wigwams of which the Indian encampment consisted, but found for
the most part only squaws and children and old men. He came back
to his wife greatly disturbed.

"The young bucks are gone, Mandy. I must get after this thing
quickly. I wish I had Jerry here. Let's see? You ask for a
messenger to be sent to the fort for the doctor and medicine. I
shall enclose a note to the Inspector. We want the doctor here as
soon as possible and we want Jerry here at the earliest possible

With a great show of urgency a messenger was requisitioned and
dispatched, carrying a note from Cameron to the Commissioner
requesting the presence of the doctor with his medicine bag, but
also requesting that Jerry, the redoubtable half-breed interpreter
and scout, with a couple of constables, should accompany the
doctor, the constables, however, to wait outside the camp until

During the hours that must elapse before any answer could be had
from the fort, Cameron prepared a couch in a corner of the sick
boy's tent for his wife, and, rolling himself in his blanket, he
laid himself down at the door outside where, wearied with the long
day and its many exciting events, he slept without turning, till
shortly after daybreak he was awakened by a chorus of yelping curs
which heralded the arrival of the doctor from the fort with the
interpreter Jerry in attendance.

After breakfast, prepared by Jerry with dispatch and skill, the
product of long experience, there was a thorough examination of the
sick boy's condition through the interpreter, upon the conclusion
of which a long consultation followed between the doctor, Cameron
and Mandy. It was finally decided that the doctor should remain
with Mandy in the Indian camp until a change should become apparent
in the condition of the boy, and that Cameron with the interpreter
should pick up the two constables and follow in the trail of the
young Piegan braves. In order to allay suspicion Cameron and his
companion left the camp by the trail which led toward the fort.
For four miles or so they rode smartly until the trail passed into
a thick timber of spruce mixed with poplar. Here Cameron paused,
and, making a slight sign in the direction from which they had
come, he said:

"Drop back, Jerry, and see if any Indian is following."

"Good," grunted Jerry. "Go slow one mile," and, slipping from his
pony, he handed the reins to Cameron and faded like a shadow into
the brushwood.

For a mile Cameron rode, pausing now and then to listen for the
sound of anyone following, then drew rein and waited for his
companion. After a few minutes of eager listening he suddenly sat
back in his saddle and felt for his pipe.

"All right, Jerry," he said softly, "come out."

Grinning somewhat shamefacedly Jerry parted a bunch of spruce
boughs and stood at Cameron's side.

"Good ears," he said, glancing up into Cameron's face.

"No, Jerry," replied Cameron, "I saw the blue-jay."

"Huh," grunted Jerry, "dat fool bird tell everyt'ing."

"Any Indian following?"

Jerry held up two fingers.

"Two Indian run tree mile--find notting--go back."

"Good! Where are our men?"

"Down Coulee Swampy Creek."

"All right, Jerry. Any news at the fort last two or three days?"

"Beeg meetin' St. Laurent. Much half-breed. Some Indian too.
Louis Riel mak beeg spik--beeg noise--blood! blood! blood! Much
beeg fool." Jerry's tone indicated the completeness of his
contempt for the whole proceedings at St. Laurent.

"Something doing, eh, Jerry?"

"Bah!" grunted Jerry contemptuously.

"Well, there's something doing here," continued Cameron. "Trotting
Wolf's young men have left the reserve and Trotting Wolf is very
anxious that we should not know it. I want you to go back, find
out what direction they have taken, how far ahead they are, how
many. We camp to-night at the Big Rock at the entrance to the Sun
Dance Canyon. You remember?"

Jerry nodded.

"There's something doing, Jerry, or I am much mistaken. Got any

"Grub?" asked Jerry. "Me--here--t'ree day," tapping his rolled
blanket at the back of his saddle. "Odder fellers--grub--Jakes--
t'ree men--t'ree day. Come Beeg Rock to-night--mebbe to-morrow."
So saying, Jerry climbed on to his pony and took the back trail,
while Cameron went forward to meet his men at the Swampy Creek

Making a somewhat wide detour to avoid the approaches to the Indian
encampment, Cameron and his two men rode for the Big Rock at the
entrance to the Sun Dance Canyon. They gave themselves no concern
about Trotting Wolf's band of young men. They knew well that what
Jerry could not discover would not be worth finding out. A year's
close association with Jerry had taught Cameron something of the
marvelous powers of observation, of the tenacity and courage
possessed by the little half-breed that made him the keenest scout
in the North West Mounted Police.

At the Big Rock they arrived late in the afternoon and there waited
for Jerry's appearing; but night had fallen and had broken into
morning before the scout came into camp with a single word of


"No Piegans?" exclaimed Cameron.

"No--not dis side Blood Reserve."

"Eat something, Jerry, then we will talk," said Cameron.

Jerry had already broken his fast, but was ready for more. After
the meal was finished he made his report. His report was clear and
concise. On leaving Cameron in the morning he had taken the most
likely direction to discover traces of the Piegan band, namely that
suggested by Cameron, and, fetching a wide circle, had ridden
toward the mountains, but he had come upon no sign. Then he had
penetrated into the canyon and ridden down toward the entrance, but
still had found no trace. He had then ridden backward toward the
Piegan Reserve and, picking up a trail of one or two ponies, had
followed it till he found it broaden into that of a considerable
band making eastward. Then he knew he had found the trail he

"How many, Jerry?" asked Cameron.

The half-breed held up both hands three times.

"Mebbe more."

"Thirty or forty?" exclaimed Cameron. "Any Squaws?




"Where were they going?"

"Blood Reserve t'ink--dunno."

Cameron sat smoking in silence. He was completely at a loss.

"Why go to the Bloods?" he asked of Jerry.


Jerry was not strong in his constructive faculty. His powers were
those of observation.

"There is no sense in them going to the Blood Reserve, Jerry," said
Cameron impatiently. "The Bloods are a pack of thieves, we know,
but our people are keeping a close watch on them."

Jerry grunted acquiescence.

"There is no big Indian camping ground on the Blood Reserve. You
wouldn't get the Blackfeet to go to any pow-wow there."

Again Jerry grunted.

"How far did you follow their trail, Jerry?"

"Two--t'ree mile."

Cameron sat long and smoked. The thing was extremely puzzling. It
seemed unlikely that if the Piegan band were going to a rendezvous
of Indians they should select a district so closely under the
inspection of the Police. Furthermore there was no great prestige
attaching to the Bloods to make their reserve a place of meeting.

"Jerry," said Cameron at length, "I believe they are up this Sun
Dance Canyon somewhere."

"No," said Jerry decisively. "No sign--come down mesef." His tone
was that of finality.

"I believe, Jerry, they doubled back and came in from the north end
after you had left. I feel sure they are up there now and we will
go and find them."

Jerry sat silent, smoking thoughtfully. Finally he took his pipe
from his mouth, pressed the tobacco hard down with his horny middle
finger and stuck it in his pocket.

"Mebbe so," he said slowly, a slight grin distorting his wizened
little face, "mebbe so, but t'ink not--me."

"Well, Jerry, where could they have gone? They might ride straight
to Crowfoot's Reserve, but I think that is extremely unlikely.
They certainly would not go to the Bloods, therefore they must be
up this canyon. We will go up, Jerry, for ten miles or so and see
what we can see."

"Good," said Jerry with a grunt, his tone conveying his conviction
that where the chief scout of the North West Mounted Police had
said it was useless to search, any other man searching would have
nothing but his folly for his pains.

"Have a sleep first, Jerry. We need not start for a couple of

Jerry grunted his usual reply, rolled himself in his blanket and,
lying down at the back of a rock, was asleep in a minute's time.

In two hours to the minute he stood beside his pony waiting for
Cameron, who had been explaining his plan to the two constables and
giving them his final orders.

The orders were very brief and simple. They were to wait where
they were till noon. If any of the band of Piegans appeared one of
the men was to ride up the canyon with the information, the other
was to follow the band till they camped and then ride back till he
should meet his comrades. They divided up the grub into two parts
and Cameron and the interpreter took their way up the canyon.

The canyon consisted of a deep cleft across a series of ranges of
hills or low mountains. Through it ran a rough breakneck trail
once used by the Indians and trappers but now abandoned since the
building of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Kicking Horse
Pass and the opening of the Government trail through the Crow's
Nest. From this which had once been the main trail other trails
led westward into the Kootenays and eastward into the Foothill
country. At times the canyon widened into a valley, rich in
grazing and in streams of water, again it narrowed into a gorge,
deep and black, with rugged sides above which only the blue sky was
visible, and from which led cavernous passages that wound into the
heart of the mountains, some of them large enough to hold a hundred
men or more without crowding. These caverns had been and still
were found to be most convenient and useful for the purpose of
whisky-runners and of cattle-rustlers, affording safe hiding-places
for themselves and their spoil. With this trail and all its
ramifications Jerry was thoroughly familiar. The only other man in
the Force who knew it better than Jerry was Cameron himself. For
many months he had patroled the main trail and all its cross
leaders, lived in its caves and explored its caverns in pursuit of
those interesting gentlemen whose activities more than anything
else had rendered necessary the existence of the North West Mounted
Police. In ancient times the caves along the Sun Dance Trail had
been used by the Indian Medicine-Men for their pagan rites, and
hence in the eyes of the Indians to these caves attached a dreadful
reverence that made them places to be avoided in recent years by
the various tribes now gathered on the reserves. But during these
last months of unrest it was suspected by the Police that the
ancient uses of these caves had been revived and that the rites
long since fallen into desuetude were once more being practised.

For the first few miles of the canyon the trail offered good
footing and easy going, but as the gorge deepened and narrowed the
difficulties increased until riding became impossible, and only by
the most strenuous efforts on the part of both men and beasts could
any advance be made. And so through the day and into the late
evening they toiled on, ever alert for sight or sound of the Piegan
band. At length Cameron broke the silence.

"We must camp, Jerry," he said. "We are making no time and we may
spoil things. I know a good camp-ground near by."

"Me too," grunted Jerry, who was as tired as his wiry frame ever
allowed him to become.

They took a trail leading eastward, which to all eyes but those
familiar with it would have been invisible, for a hundred yards or
so and came to the bed of a dry stream which issued from between
two great rocks. Behind one of these rocks there opened out a
grassy plot a few yards square, and beyond the grass a little
lifted platform of rock against a sheer cliff. Here they camped,
picketing their horses on the grass and cooking their supper upon
the platform of rock over a tiny fire of dry twigs, for the wind
was blowing down the canyon and they knew that they could cook
their meal and have their smoke without fear of detection. For
some time after supper they sat smoking in that absolute silence
which is the characteristic of the true man of the woods. The
gentle breeze blowing down the canyon brought to their ears the
rustling of the dry poplar-leaves and the faint murmur of the
stream which, tumbling down the canyon, accompanied the main trail
a hundred yards away.

Suddenly Cameron's hand fell upon the knee of the half-breed with a
swift grip.

"Listen!" he said, bending forward.

With mouths slightly open and with hands to their ears they both
sat motionless, breathless, every nerve on strain. Gradually the
dead silence seemed to resolve itself into rhythmic waves of motion
rather than of sound--"TUM-ta-ta-TUM. TUM-ta-ta-TUM. TUM-ta-ta-
TUM." It was the throb of the Indian medicine-drum, which once
heard can never be forgotten or mistaken. Without a word to each
other they rose, doused their fire, cached their saddles, blankets
and grub, and, taking only their revolvers, set off up the canyon.
Before they had gone many yards Cameron halted.

"What do you think, Jerry?" he said. "I take it they have come in
the back way over the old Porcupine Trail."

Jerry grunted approval of the suggestion.

"Then we can go in from the canyon. It is hard going, but there is
less fear of detection. They are sure to be in the Big Wigwam."

Jerry shook his head, with a puzzled look on his face.

"Dunno me."

"That is where they are," said Cameron. "Come on! Only two miles
from here."

Steadily the throb of the medicine-drum grew more distinct as they
moved slowly up the canyon, rising and falling upon the breeze that
came down through the darkness to meet them. The trail, which was
bad enough in the light, became exceedingly dangerous and difficult
in the blackness of the night. On they struggled painfully, now
clinging to the sides of the gorge, now mounting up over a hill and
again descending to the level of the foaming stream.

"Will they have sentries out, I wonder?" whispered Cameron in
Jerry's ear.

"No--beeg medicine going on--no sentry."

"All right, then, we will walk straight in on them."

"What you do?" inquired Jerry.

"We will see what they are doing and send them about their
business," said Cameron shortly.

"No," said Jerry firmly. "S'pose Indian mak beeg medicine--bes'
leave him go till morning."

"Well, Jerry, we will take a look at them at any rate," said
Cameron. "But if they are fooling around with any rebellion
nonsense I am going to step in and stop it."

"No," said Jerry again very gravely. "Beeg medicine mak' Indian
man crazy--fool--dance--sing--mak' brave--then keel--queeck!"

"Come along, then, Jerry," said Cameron impatiently. And on they
went. The throb of the drum grew clearer until it seemed that the
next turn in the trail should reveal the camp, while with the drum
throb they began to catch, at first faintly and then more clearly,
the monotonous chant "Hai-yai-kai-yai, Hai-yai-kai-yai," that ever
accompanies the Indian dance. Suddenly the drums ceased altogether
and with it the chanting, and then there arose upon the night
silence a low moaning cry that gradually rose into a long-drawn
penetrating wail, almost a scream, made by a single voice.

Jerry's hand caught Cameron's arm with a convulsive grip.

"What the deuce is that?" asked Cameron.

"Sioux Indian--he mak' dat when he go keel."

Once more the long weird wailing scream pierced the night and,
echoing down the canyon, was repeated a hundred times by the black
rocky sides. Cameron could feel Jerry's hand still quivering on
his arm.

"What's up with you, Jerry?" said Cameron impatiently.

"Me hear dat when A'm small boy--me."

Then Cameron remembered that it was Sioux blood that colored the
life-stream in Jerry's veins.

"Oh, pshaw!" said Cameron with gruff impatience. "Come on!" But
he was more shaken than he cared to acknowledge by that weird
unearthly cry and by its all too obvious effect upon the iron
nerves of that little half-breed at his side.

"Dey mak' dat cry when dey go meet Custer long 'go," said Jerry,
making no motion to go forward.

"What are you waiting for?" said Cameron harshly. "Come along,
unless you want to go back."

His words stung the half-breed into action. Cameron could feel him
in the dark jerk his hand away and hear him grit his teeth.

"Bah! You go hell!" he muttered between his clenched teeth.

"That is better," said Cameron cheerfully. "Now we will look in
upon these fire-eaters."

Sharp to the right they turned behind a cliff, and then back almost
upon their trail, still to the right, through a screen of spruce
and poplar, and found themselves in a hole of a rock that
lengthened into a tunnel blacker than the night outside. Pursuing
this tunnel some little distance they became aware of a light that
grew as they moved toward it into a fire set in the middle of a
wide cavern. The cavern was of irregular shape, with high-vaulted
roof, open to the sky at the apex and hung with glistening
stalactites. The floor of this cavern lay slightly below them, and
from their position they could command a full view of its interior.

The sides of the cavern round about were crowded with tawny faces
of Indians arranged rank upon rank, the first row seated upon the
ground, those behind crouching upon their haunches, those still
farther back standing. In the center of the cavern and with his
face lit by the fire stood the Sioux Chief, Onawata.

"Copperhead! By all that's holy!" cried Cameron.

"Onawata!" exclaimed the half-breed. "What he mak' here?"

"What is he saying, Jerry? Tell me everything--quick!" commanded
Cameron sharply.

Jerry was listening with eager face.

"He mak' beeg spik," he said.

"Go on!"

"He say Indian long tam' 'go have all country when his fadder small
boy. Dem day good hunting--plenty beaver, mink, moose, buffalo
like leaf on tree, plenty hit (eat), warm wigwam, Indian no seeck,
notting wrong. Dem day Indian lak' deer go every place. Dem day
Indian man lak' bear 'fraid notting. Good tam', happy, hunt deer,
keel buffalo, hit all day. Ah-h-h! ah-h-h!" The half-breed's
voice faded in two long gasps.

The Sioux's chanting voice rose and fell through the vaulted cavern
like a mighty instrument of music. His audience of crowding
Indians gazed in solemn rapt awe upon him. A spell held them
fixed. The whole circle swayed in unison with his swaying form as
he chanted the departed glories of those happy days when the red
man roamed free those plains and woods, lord of his destiny and
subject only to his own will. The mystic magic power of that rich
resonant voice, its rhythmic cadence emphasized by the soft
throbbing of the drum, the uplifted face glowing as with prophetic
fire, the tall swaying form instinct with exalted emotion, swept the
souls of his hearers with surging tides of passion. Cameron, though
he caught but little of its meaning, felt himself irresistibly borne
along upon the torrent of the flowing words. He glanced at Jerry
beside him and was startled by the intense emotion showing upon his
little wizened face.

Suddenly there was a swift change of motif, and with it a change of
tone and movement and color. The marching, vibrant, triumphant
chant of freedom and of conquest subsided again into the long-drawn
wail of defeat, gloom and despair. Cameron needed no interpreter.
He knew the singer was telling the pathetic story of the passing of
the day of the Indian's glory and the advent of the day of his
humiliation. With sharp rising inflections, with staccato phrasing
and with fierce passionate intonation, the Sioux wrung the hearts
of his hearers. Again Cameron glanced at the half-breed at his
side and again he was startled to note the transformation in his
face. Where there had been glowing pride there was now bitter
savage hate. For that hour at least the half-breed was all Sioux.
His father's blood was the water in his veins, the red was only his
Indian mother's. With face drawn tense and lips bared into a
snarl, with eyes gleaming, he gazed fascinated upon the face of the
singer. In imagination, in instinct, in the deepest emotions of
his soul Jerry was harking back again to the savage in him, and the
savage in him thirsting for revenge upon the white man who had
wrought this ruin upon him and his Indian race. With a fine
dramatic instinct the Sioux reached his climax and abruptly ceased.
A low moaning murmur ran round the circle and swelled into a
sobbing cry, then ceased as suddenly as there stepped into the
circle a stranger, evidently a half-breed, who began to speak. He
was a French Cree, he announced, and delivered his message in the
speech, half Cree, half French, affected by his race.

He had come fresh from the North country, from the disturbed
district, and bore, as it appeared, news of the very first
importance from those who were the leaders of his people in the
unrest. At his very first word Jerry drew a long deep breath and
by his face appeared to drop from heaven to earth. As the half-
breed proceeded with his tale his speech increased in rapidity.

"What is he saying, Jerry?" said Cameron after they had listened
for some minutes.

"Oh he beeg damfool!" said Jerry, whose vocabulary had been learned
mostly by association with freighters and the Police. "He tell
'bout beeg meeting, beeg man Louis Riel mak' beeg noise. Bah!
Beeg damfool!" The whole scene had lost for Jerry its mystic
impressiveness and had become contemptibly commonplace. But not so
to Cameron. This was the part that held meaning for him. So he
pulled up the half-breed with a quick, sharp command.

"Listen close," he said, "and let me know what he says."

And as Jerry interpreted in his broken English the half-breed's
speech it appeared that there was something worth learning. At
this big meeting held in Batoche it seemed a petition of rights, to
the Dominion Parliament no less, had been drawn up, and besides
this many plans had been formed and many promises made of reward
for all those who dared to stand for their rights under the
leadership of the great Riel, while for the Indians very special
arrangements had been made and the most alluring prospects held
out. For they were assured that, when in the far North country the
new Government was set up, the old free independent life of which
they had been hearing was to be restored, all hampering restrictions
imposed by the white man were to be removed, and the good old days
were to be brought back. The effect upon the Indians was plainly
evident. With solemn faces they listened, nodding now and then
grave approval, and Cameron felt that the whole situation held
possibilities of horror unspeakable in the revival of that ancient
savage spirit which had been so very materially softened and tamed
by years of kindly, patient and firm control on the part of those
who represented among them British law and civilization. His
original intention had been to stride in among these Indians, to put
a stop to their savage nonsense and order them back to their
reserves with never a thought of anything but obedience on their
part. But as he glanced about upon the circle of faces he
hesitated. This was no petty outbreak of ill temper on the part of
a number of Indians dissatisfied with their rations or chafing under
some new Police regulation. As his eye traveled round the circle he
noted that for the most part they were young men. A few of the
councilors of the various tribes represented were present. Many of
them he knew, but many others he could not distinguish in the dim
light of the fire.

"Who are those Indians, Jerry?" he asked.

And as Jerry ran over the names he began to realize how widely
representative of the various tribes in the western country the
gathering was. Practically every reserve in the West was
represented: Bloods, Piegans and Blackfeet from the foothill
country, Plain Crees and Wood Crees from the North. Even a few of
the Stonies, who were supposed to have done with all pagan rites
and to have become largely civilized, were present. Nor were these
rank and file men only. They were the picked braves of the tribes,
and with them a large number of the younger chiefs.

At length the half-breed Cree finished his tale, and in a few brief
fierce sentences he called the Indians of the West to join their
half-breed and Indian brothers of the North in one great effort to
regain their lost rights and to establish themselves for all time
in independence and freedom.

Then followed grave discussion carried on with deliberation and
courtesy by those sitting about the fire, and though gravity and
courtesy marked every utterance there thrilled through every speech
an ever deepening intensity of feeling. The fiery spirit of the
red man, long subdued by those powers that represented the
civilization of the white man, was burning fiercely within them.
The insatiable lust for glory formerly won in war or in the chase,
but now no longer possible to them, burned in their hearts like a
consuming fire. The life of monotonous struggle for a mere
existence to which they were condemned had from the first been
intolerable to them. The prowess of their fathers, whether in the
slaughter of foes or in the excitement of the chase, was the theme
of song and story round every Indian camp-fire and at every sun
dance. For the young braves, life, once vivid with color and
thrilling with tingling emotions, had faded into the somber-hued
monotony of a dull and spiritless existence, eked out by the
charity of the race who had robbed them of their hunting-grounds
and deprived them of their rights as free men. The lust for
revenge, the fury of hate, the yearning for the return of the days
of the red man's independence raged through their speeches like
fire in an open forest; and, ever fanning yet ever controlling the
flame, old Copperhead presided till the moment should be ripe for
such action as he desired. Back and forward the question was
deliberated. Should they there and then pledge themselves to their
Northern brothers and commit themselves to this great approaching

Quietly and with an air of judicial deliberation the Sioux put the
question to them. There was something to be lost and something to
be gained. But the loss, how insignificant it seemed! And the
gain, how immeasurable! And after all success was almost certain.
What could prevent it? A few scattered settlers with no arms nor
ammunition, with no means of communication, what could they effect?
A Government nearly three thousand miles away, with the nearest
base of military operations a thousand miles distant, what could
they do? The only real difficulty was the North West Mounted
Police. But even as the Sioux uttered the words a chill silence
fell upon the excited throng. The North West Mounted Police, who
for a dozen years had guarded them and cared for them and ruled
them without favor and without fear! Five hundred red coats of the
Great White Mother across the sea, men who had never been known to
turn their backs upon a foe, who laughed at noisy threats and whose
simple word their greatest chief was accustomed unhesitatingly to
obey! Small wonder that the mere mention of the name of those
gallant "Riders of the Plains" should fall like a chill upon their
fevered imaginations. The Sioux was conscious of that chill and
set himself to counteract it.

"The Police!" he cried with unspeakable scorn, "the Police! They
will flee before the Indian braves like leaves before the autumn

"What says he?" cried Cameron eagerly. And Jerry swiftly

Without a moment's hesitation Cameron sprang to his feet and,
standing in the dim light at the entrance to the cave, with arm
outstretched and finger pointed at the speaker, he cried:

"Listen!" With a sudden start every face was turned in his
direction. "Listen!" he repeated. "The Sioux dog lies. He speaks
with double tongue. Never have the Indians seen a Policeman's back
turned in flight."

His unexpected appearance, his voice ringing like the blare of a
trumpet through the cavern, his tall figure with the outstretched
accusing arm and finger, the sharp challenge of the Sioux's lie
with what they all knew to be the truth, produced an effect utterly
indescribable. For some brief seconds they gazed upon him stricken
into silence as with a physical blow, then with a fierce exclamation
the Sioux snatched a rifle from the cave side and quicker than words
can tell fired straight at the upright accusing figure. But quicker
yet was Jerry's panther-spring. With a backhand he knocked Cameron
flat, out of range. Cameron dropped to the floor as if dead.

"What the deuce do you mean, Jerry?" he cried. "You nearly knocked
the wind out of me!"

"Beeg fool you!" grunted Jerry fiercely, dragging him back into the
tunnel out of the light.

"Let me go, Jerry!" cried Cameron in a rage, struggling to free
himself from the grip of the wiry half-breed.

"Mak' still!" hissed Jerry, laying his hand over Cameron's mouth.
"Indian mad--crazy--tak' scalp sure queeck."

"Let me go, Jerry, you little fool!" said Cameron. "I'll kill you
if you don't! I want that Sioux, and, by the eternal God, I am
going to have him!" He shook himself free of the half-breed's
grasp and sprang to his feet. "I am going to get him!" he

"No!" cried Jerry again, flinging himself upon him and winding his
arms about him. "Wait! Nodder tam'. Indian mad crazy--keel
quick--no talk--now."

Up and down the tunnel Cameron dragged him about as a mastiff might
a terrier, striving to free himself from those gripping arms. Even
as Jerry spoke, through the dim light the figure of an Indian could
be seen passing and repassing the entrance to the cave.

"We get him soon," said Jerry in an imploring whisper. "Come back
now--queeck--beeg hole close by."

With a great effort Cameron regained his self-control.

"By Jove, you are right, Jerry," he said quietly. "We certainly
can't take him now. But we must not lose him. Now listen to me
quick. This passage opens on to the canyon about fifty yards
farther down. Follow, and keep your eye on the Sioux. I shall
watch here. Go!"

Without an instant's hesitation Jerry obeyed, well aware that his
master had come to himself and again was in command.

Cameron meantime groped to the mouth of the tunnel by which he had
entered and peered out into the dim light. Close to his hand stood
an Indian in the cavern. Beyond him there was a confused mingling
of forms as if in bewilderment. The Council was evidently broken
up for the time. The Indians were greatly shaken by the vision
that had broken in upon them. That it was no form of flesh and
blood was very obvious to them, for the Sioux's bullet had passed
through it and spattered against the wall leaving no trail of blood
behind it. There was no holding them together, and almost before
he was aware of it Cameron saw the cavern empty of every living
soul. Quickly but warily he followed, searching each nook as he
went, but the dim light of the dying fire showed him nothing but
the black walls and gloomy recesses of the great cave. At the
farther entrance he found Jerry awaiting him.

"Where are they gone?" he asked.

"Beeg camp close by," replied Jerry. "Beeg camp--much Indian.
Some talk-talk, then go sleep. Chief Onawata he mak' more talk--
talk all night--then go sleep. We get him morning."

Cameron thought swiftly.

"I think you are right, Jerry. Now you get back quick for the men
and come to me here in the morning. We must not spoil the chance
of capturing this old devil. He will have these Indians worked up
into rebellion before we know where we are."

So saying, Cameron set forward that he might with his own eyes look
upon the camp and might the better plan his further course. Upon
two things he was firmly resolved. First, that he should break up
this council which held such possibilities of danger to the peace
of the country. And secondly, and chiefly, he must lay hold of
this Sioux plotter, not only because of the possibilities of
mischief that lay in him, but because of the injury he had done
him and his.

Forward, then, he went and soon came upon the camp, and after
observing the lay of it, noting especially the tent in which the
Sioux Chief had disposed himself, he groped back to his cave, in a
nook of which--for he was nearly done out with weariness, and
because much yet lay before him--he laid himself down and slept
soundly till the morning.



Long before the return of the half-breed and his men Cameron was
astir and to some purpose. A scouting expedition around the Indian
camp rewarded him with a significant and useful discovery. In a
bluff some distance away he found the skins and heads of four
steers, and by examination of the brands upon the skins discovered
two of them to be from his own herd.

"All right, my braves," he muttered. "There will be a reckoning
for this some day not so far away. Meantime this will help this
day's work."

A night's sleep and an hour's quiet consideration had shown him the
folly of a straight frontal attack upon the Indians gathered for
conspiracy. They were too deeply stirred for anything like the
usual brusque manner of the Police to be effective. A slight
indiscretion, indeed, might kindle such a conflagration as would
sweep the whole country with the devastating horror of an Indian
war. He recalled the very grave manner of Inspector Dickson and
resolved upon an entirely new plan of action. At all costs he must
allay suspicion that the Police were at all anxious about the
situation in the North. Further, he must break the influence of
the Sioux Chief over these Indians. Lastly, he was determined that
this arch-plotter should not escape him again.

The sun was just visible over the lowest of the broken foothills
when Jerry and the two constables made their appearance, bringing,
with them Cameron's horse. After explaining to them fully his plan
and emphasizing the gravity of the situation and the importance of
a quiet, cool and resolute demeanor, they set off toward the Indian

"I have no intention of stirring these chaps up," laid Cameron,
"but I am determined to arrest old Copperhead, and at the right
moment we must act boldly and promptly. He is too dangerous and
much too clever to be allowed his freedom among these Indians of
ours at this particular time. Now, then, Jerry and I will ride in
looking for cattle and prepared to charge these Indians with
cattle-stealing. This will put them on the defensive. Then the
arrest will follow. You two will remain within sound of whistle,
but failing specific direction let each man act on his own

Jerry listened with delight. His Chief was himself again. Before
the day was over he was to see him in an entirely new role.
Nothing in life afforded Jerry such keen delight as a bit of cool
daring successfully carried through. Hence with joyous heart he
followed Cameron into the Indian camp.

The morning hour is the hour of coolest reason. The fires of
emotion and imagination have not yet begun to burn. The reactions
from anything like rash action previously committed under the
stimulus of a heated imagination are caution and timidity, and upon
these reactions Cameron counted when he rode boldly into the Indian

With one swift glance his eye swept the camp and lighted upon the
Sioux Chief in the center of a group of younger men, his tall
commanding figure and haughty carriage giving him an outstanding
distinction over those about him. At his side stood a young Piegan
Chief, Eagle Feather by name, whom Cameron knew of old as a
restless, talkative Indian, an ambitious aspirant for leadership
without the qualities necessary to such a position. Straight to
this group Cameron rode.

"Good morning!" he said, saluting the group. "Ah, good morning,
Eagle Feather!"

Eagle Feather grunted an indistinct reply.

"Big Hunt, eh? Are you in command of this party, Eagle Feather?
No? Who then is?"

The Piegan turned and pointed to a short thick set man standing by
another fire, whose large well shaped head and penetrating eye
indicated both force and discretion.

"Ah, Running Stream," cried Cameron. "Come over here, Running
Stream. I am glad to see you, for I wish to talk to a man of

Slowly and with dignified, almost unwilling step Running Stream
approached. As he began to move, but not before, Cameron went to
meet him.

"I wish to talk with you," said Cameron in a quiet firm tone.

"Huh," grunted Running Stream.

"I have a matter of importance to speak to you about," continued

Running Stream's keen glance searched his face somewhat anxiously.

"I find, Running Stream, that your young men are breaking faith
with their friends, the Police."

Again the Chief searched Cameron's face with that keen swift
glance, but he said not a word, only waited.

"They are breaking the law as well, and I want to tell you they
will be punished. Where did they get the meat for these kettles?"

A look of relief gleamed for one brief instant across the Indian's
face, not unnoticed, however, by Cameron.

"Why do your young men steal my cattle?"

The Indian evinced indifference.


"My brother speaks like a child," said Cameron quietly. "Do deer
and sheep have steers' heads and hides with brands on? Four heads
I find in the bluff. The Commissioner will ask you to explain
these hides and heads, and let me tell you, Running Stream, that
the thieves will spend some months in jail. They will then have
plenty of time to think of their folly and their wickedness."

An ugly glance shot from the Chief's eyes.

"Dunno," he grunted again, then began speaking volubly in the
Indian tongue.

"Speak English, Running Stream!" commanded Cameron. "I know you
can speak English well enough."

But Running Stream shook his head and continued his speech in
Indian, pointing to a bluff near by.

Cameron looked toward Jerry, who interpreted:

"He say young men tak' deer and sheep and bear. He show you skins
in bluff."

"Come," said Running Stream, supplementing Jerry's interpretation
and making toward the bluff. Cameron followed him and came upon
the skins of three jumping deer, of two mountain sheep and of two
bear. They turned back again to the fire.

"My young men no take cattle," said the Chief with haughty pride.

"Maybe so," said Cameron, "but some of your party have, Running
Stream, and the Commissioner will look to you. You are in command
here. He will give you a chance to clear yourself."

The Indian shrugged his shoulders and stood silent.

"My brother is not doing well," continued Cameron. "The Government
feed you if you are hungry. The Government protect you if you are

It was an unfortunate word of Cameron's. A sudden cloud of anger
darkened the Indian's face.

"No!" he cried aloud. "My children--my squaw and my people go
hungry--go cold in winter--no skin--no meat."

"My brother knows--" replied Cameron with patient firmness--"You
translate this, Jerry"--and Jerry proceeded to translate with
eloquence and force--"the Government never refuse you meat. Last
winter your people would have starved but for the Government."

"No," cried the Indian again in harsh quick reply, the rage in his
face growing deeper, "my children cry--Indian cannot sleep--my
white brother's ears are closed. He hear only the wind--the storm--
he sound sleep. For me no sleep--my children cry too loud."

"My brother knows," replied Cameron, "that the Government is far
away, that it takes a long time for answer to come back to the
Indian cry. But the answer came and the Indian received flour and
bacon and tea and sugar, and this winter will receive them again.
But how can my brother expect the Government to care for his people
if the Indians break the law? That is not good. These Indians are
bad Indians and the Police will punish the thieves. A thief is a
bad man and ought to be punished."

Suddenly a new voice broke in abruptly upon the discourse.

"Who steal the Indian's hunting-ground? Who drive away the
buffalo?" The voice rang with sharp defiance. It was the voice
of Onawata, the Sioux Chief.

Cameron paid no heed to the ringing voice. He kept his back turned
upon the Sioux.

"My brother knows," he continued, addressing himself to Running
Stream, "that the Indian's best friend is the Government, and the
Police are the Government's ears and eyes and hands and are ready
always to help the Indians, to protect them from fraud, to keep
away the whisky-peddlers, to be to them as friends and brothers.
But my brother has been listening to a snake that comes from
another country and that speaks with a forked tongue. Our
Government bought the land by treaty. Running Stream knows this to
be no lie, but the truth. Nor did the Government drive away the
buffalo from the Indians. The buffalo were driven away by the
Sioux from the country of the snake with the forked tongue. My
brother remembers that only a few years ago when the people to
which this lying snake belongs came over to this country and tried
to drive away from their hunting-grounds the Indians of this
country, the Police protected the Indians and drove back the hungry
thieving Sioux to their own land. And now a little bird has been
telling me that this lying snake has been speaking into the ears of
our Indian brothers and trying to persuade them to dig up the
hatchet against their white brothers, their friends. The Police
know all about this and laugh at it. The Police know about the
foolish man at Batoche, the traitor Louis Riel. They know he is a
liar and a coward. He leads brave men astray and then runs away
and leaves them to suffer. This thing he did many years ago." And
Cameron proceeded to give a brief sketch of the fantastic and
futile rebellion of 1870 and of the ignoble part played by the vain
and empty-headed Riel.

The effect of Cameron's words upon the Indians was an amazement
even to himself. They forgot their breakfast and gathered close to
the speaker, their eager faces and gleaming eyes showing how deeply
stirred were their hearts.

Cameron was putting into his story an intensity of emotion and
passion that not only surprised himself, but amazed his
interpreter. Indeed so amazed was the little half-breed at
Cameron's quite unusual display of oratorical power that his own
imagination took fire and his own tongue was loosened to such an
extent that by voice, look, tone and gesture he poured into his
officer's harangue a force and fervor all his own.

"And now," continued Cameron, "this vain and foolish Frenchman
seeks again to lead you astray, to lead you into war that will
bring ruin to you and to your children; and this lying snake from
your ancient enemies, the Sioux, thinking you are foolish children,
seeks to make you fight against the great White Mother across the
seas. He has been talking like a babbling old man, from whom the
years have taken wisdom, when he says that the half-breeds and
Indians can drive the white man from these plains. Has he told you
how many are the children of the White Mother, how many are the
soldiers in her army? Listen to me, and look! Get me many
branches from the trees," he commanded sharply to some young
Indians standing near.

So completely were the Indians under the thrall of his speech that
a dozen of them sprang at once to get branches from the poplar
trees near by.

"I will show you," said Cameron, "how many are the White Mother's
soldiers. See,"--he held up both hands and then stuck up a small
twig in the sand to indicate the number ten. Ten of these small
twigs he set in a row and by a larger stick indicated a hundred,
and so on till he had set forth in the sandy soil a diagrammatic
representation of a hundred thousand men, the Indians following
closely his every movement. "And all these men," he continued,
"are armed with rifles and with great big guns that speak like
thunder. And these are only a few of the White Mother's soldiers.
How many Indians and half-breeds do you think there are with
rifles?" He set in a row sticks to represent a thousand men.
"See," he cried, "so many." Then he added another similar row.
"Perhaps, if all the Indians gathered, so many with rifles. No
more. Now look," he said, "no big guns, only a few bullets, a
little powder, a little food. Ha, ha!" he laughed contemptuously.
"The Sioux snake is a fool. His tongue must be stopped. My Indian
brothers here will not listen to him, but there are others whose
hearts are like the hearts of little children who may listen to his
lying words. The Sioux snake must be caught and put in a cage, and
this I do now."

As he uttered the words Cameron sprang for the Sioux, but quicker
than his leap the Sioux darted through the crowding Indians who,
perceiving Cameron's intent, thrust themselves in his path and
enabled the Sioux to get away into the brush behind.

"Head him off, Jerry," yelled Cameron, whistling sharply at the
same time for his men, while he darted for his horse and threw
himself upon it. The whole camp was in a seething uproar.

"Back!" yelled Cameron, drawing his gun. The Indians fell away
from him like waves from a speeding vessel. On the other side of
the little bluff he caught sight of a mounted Indian flying toward
the mountains and with a cry he started in pursuit. It took only a
few minutes for Cameron to discover that he was gaining rapidly
upon his man. But the rough rocky country was not far away in
front of them, and here was abundant chance for hiding. Closer and
closer he drew to his flying enemy--a hundred yards--seventy-five
yards--fifty yards only separated them.

"Halt!" cried Cameron, "or I shoot."

But the Indian, throwing himself on the far side of his pony, urged
him to his topmost speed.

Cameron steadied himself for a moment, took careful aim and fired.
The flying pony stumbled, recovered himself, stumbled again and
fell. But even before he reached the earth his rider had leaped
free, and, still some thirty yards in advance, sped onward. Half a
dozen strides and Cameron's horse was upon him, and, giving him the
shoulder, hurled the Indian senseless to earth. In a flash Cameron
was at his side, turned him over and discovered not the Sioux Chief
but another Indian quite unknown to him.

His rage and disappointment were almost beyond his control. For an
instant he held his gun poised as if to strike, but the blow did
not fall. His self command came back. He put up his gun, turned
quickly away from the prostrate Indian, flung himself upon his
horse and set off swiftly for the camp. It was but a mile distant,
but in the brief time consumed in reaching it he had made up his
mind as to his line of action. Unless his men had captured the
Sioux it was almost certain that he had made his escape to the
canyon, and once in the canyon there was little hope of his being
taken. It was of the first importance that he should not appear
too deeply concerned over his failure to take his man.

With this thought in his mind Cameron loped easily into the Indian
camp. He found the young braves in a state of feverish excitement.
Armed with guns and clubs, they gathered about their Chiefs
clamoring to be allowed to wipe out these representatives of the
Police who had dared to attempt an arrest of this distinguished
guest of theirs. As Cameron appeared the uproar quieted somewhat
and the Indians gathered about him, eagerly waiting his next move.

Cameron cantered up to Running Stream and, looking round upon the
crowding and excited braves, he said, with a smile of cool

"The Sioux snake has slid away in the grass. He has missed his
breakfast. My brother was about to eat. After he has eaten we
will have some quiet talk."

So saying, he swung himself from his saddle, drew the reins over
his horse's ears and, throwing himself down beside a camp fire, he
pulled out his pipe and proceeded to light it as calmly as if
sitting in a council-lodge.

The Indians were completely nonplussed. Nothing appeals more
strongly to the Indian than an exhibition of steady nerve. For
some moments they stood regarding Cameron with looks of mingled
curiosity and admiration with a strong admixture of impatience, for
they had thought of being done out of their great powwow with its
attendant joys of dance and feast, and if this Policeman should
choose to remain with them all day there could certainly be neither
dancing nor feasting for them. In the meantime, however, there was
nothing for it but to accept the situation created for them. This
cool-headed Mounted Policeman had planted himself by their camp-
fire. They could not very well drive him from their camp, nor
could they converse with him till he was ready.

As they were thus standing about in uncertainty of mind and temper
Jerry, the interpreter, came in and, with a grunt of recognition,
threw himself down by Cameron beside the fire. After some further
hesitation the Indians began to busy themselves once more with
their breakfast. In the group about the campfire beside which
Cameron had placed himself was the Chief, Running Stream. The
presence of the Policeman beside his fire was most embarrassing to
the Chief, for no man living has a keener sense of the obligations
of hospitality than has the Indian. But the Indian hates to eat in
the presence of a white man unless the white man shares his meal.
Hence Running Stream approached Cameron with a courteous request
that he would eat with them.

"Thanks, Running Stream, I have eaten, but I am sure Jerry here
will be glad of some breakfast," said Cameron cordially, who had no
desire whatever to dip out of the very doubtful mess in the pot
which had been set down on the ground in the midst of the group
around the fire. Jerry, however, had no scruples in the matter
and, like every Indian and half-breed, was always ready for a meal.
Having thus been offered hospitality and having by proxy accepted
it, Cameron was in position to discuss with the Chief in a judicial
if not friendly spirit the matter he had in hand.

Breakfast over, Cameron offered his tobacco-pouch to the Chief,
who, gravely helping himself to a pipeful, passed it on to his
neighbor who, having done likewise, passed it in turn to the man
next him till the tobacco was finished and the empty pouch returned
with due gravity to the owner.

Relations of friendly diplomacy being thus established, the whole
party sat smoking in solemn silence until the pipes were smoked
out. Then Cameron, knocking the ashes from his pipe, opened up the
matter in hand, with Jerry interpreting.

"The Sioux snake," he began quietly, "will be hungry for his
breakfast. Honest men do not run away before breakfast."

"Huh," grunted Running Stream, non-committal.

"The Police will get him in due time," continued Cameron in a tone
of quiet indifference. "He will cease to trouble our Indian
brothers with foolish lies. The prison gates are strong and will
soon close upon this stranger with the forked tongue."

Again the Chief grunted, still non-committal.

"It would be a pity if any of your young men should give heed to
these silly tales. None of your wise men have done so. In the
Sioux country there is frequent war between the soldiers and the
Indians because bad men wish to wrong the Indians and the Indians
grow angry and fight, but in this country white men are punished
who do wrong to Indians. This Running Stream knows to be true."

"Huh," grunted Running Stream acquiescing.

"When Indians do wrong to white men it is just that the Indians
should be punished as well. The Police do justly between the white
man and the Indian. My brother knows this to be true."

"Huh," again grunted Running Stream with an uneasy look on his

"Therefore when young and foolish braves steal and kill cattle they
must be punished. They must be taught to keep the law." Here
Cameron's voice grew gentle as a child's, but there was in its tone
something that made the Chief glance quickly at his face.

"Huh, my young men no steal cattle," he said sullenly.

"No? I am glad to hear that. I believe that is true, and that is
why I smoke with my brother beside his camp fire. But some young
men in this band have stolen cattle, and I want my brother to find
them that I might take them with me to the Commissioner."

"Not know any Indian take cattle," said Running Stream in surly

"There are four skins and four heads lying in the bluff up yonder,
Running Stream. I am going to take those with me to the
Commissioner and I am sure he would like to see you about those
skins." Cameron's manner continued to be mild but there ran
through his speech an undertone of stern resolution that made the
Indian squirm a bit.

"Not know any Indian take cattle," repeated Running Stream, but
with less defiance.

"Then it would be well for my brother to find out the thieves,
for," and here Cameron paused and looked the Chief steadily in the
face for a few moments, "for we are to take them back with us or we
will ask the Chief to come and explain to the Commissioner why he
does not know what his young men are doing."

"No Blackfeet Indian take cattle," said the Chief once more.

"Good," said Cameron. "Then it must be the Bloods, or the Piegans
or the Stonies. We will call their Chiefs together."

There was no hurry in Cameron's manner. He had determined to spend
the day if necessary in running down these thieves. At his
suggestion Running Stream called together the Chiefs of the various
bands of Indians represented. From his supplies Cameron drew forth
some more tobacco and, passing it round the circle of Chiefs,
calmly waited until all had smoked their pipes out, after which he
proceeded to lay the case before them.

"My brothers are not thieves. The Police believe them to be honest
men, but unfortunately among them there have crept in some who are
not honest. In the bluff yonder are four hides and four heads of
steers, two of them from my own herd. Some bad Indians have stolen
and killed these steers and they are here in this camp to-day, and
I am going to take them with me to the Commissioner. Running
Stream is a great Chief and speaks no lies and he tells me that
none of his young men have taken these cattle. Will the Chief of
the Stonies, the Chief of the Bloods, the Chief of the Piegans say
the same for their young men?"

"The Stonies take no cattle," answered an Indian whom Cameron
recognized as the leading representative of that tribe present.

"How many Stonies here?"

The Indian held up six fingers.

"Ha, only six. What about the Bloods and the Piegans?" demanded
Cameron. "It is not for me," he continued, when there was no
reply, "to discover the cattle-thieves. It is for the Big Chief of
this camp, it is for you, Running Stream, and when you have found
the thieves I shall arrest them and bring them to the Commissioner,
for I will not return without them. Meantime I go to bring here
the skins."

So saying, Cameron rode leisurely away, leaving Jerry to keep an
eye upon the camp. For more than an hour they talked among
themselves, but without result. Finally they came to Jerry, who,
during his years with the Police, had to a singular degree gained
the confidence of the Indians. But Jerry gave them little help.
There had been much stealing of cattle by some of the tribes, not
by all. The Police had been patient, but they had become weary.
They had their suspicions as to the thieves.

Eagle Feather was anxious to know what Indians were suspected.

"Not the Stonies and not the Blackfeet," replied Jerry quietly. It
was a pity, he continued, that innocent men should suffer for the
guilty. He knew Running Stream was no thief, but Running Stream
must find out the thieves in the band under his control. How would
Running Stream like to have the great Chief of the Blackfeet,
Crowfoot, know that he could not control the young men under his
command and did not know what they were doing?

This suggestion of Jerry had a mighty effect upon the Blackfeet
Chief, for old Crowfoot was indeed a great Chief and a mighty power
with his band, and to fall into disfavor with him would be a
serious matter for any junior Chief in the tribe.

Again they withdrew for further discussion and soon it became
evident that Jerry's cunning suggestions had sown seeds of discord
among them. The dispute waxed hot and fierce, not as to the guilty
parties, who were apparently acknowledged to be the Piegans, but as
to the course to be pursued. Running Stream had no intention that
his people and himself should become involved in the consequences
of the crimes of other tribes whom the Blackfeet counted their
inferiors. Eagle Feather and his Piegans must bear the consequences
of their own misdeeds. On the other hand Eagle Feather pleaded hard
that they should stand together in this matter, that the guilty
parties could not be disclosed. The Police could not punish them
all, and all the more necessary was it that they should hold
together because of the larger enterprise into which they were about
to enter.

The absence of the Sioux Chief Onawata, however, weakened the bond
of unity which he more than any other had created and damped the
ardor of the less eager of the conspirators. It was likewise a
serious blow to their hopes of success that the Police knew all
their plans. Running Stream finally gave forth his decision, which
was that the thieves should be given up, and that they all should
join in a humble petition to the Police for leniency, pleading the
necessity of hunger on their hunting-trip, and, as for the larger
enterprise, that they should apparently abandon it until suspicion
had been allayed and until the plans of their brothers in the North
were more nearly matured. The time for striking had not yet come.

In this decision all but the Piegans agreed. In vain Eagle Feather
contended that they should stand together and defy the Police to
prove any of them guilty. In vain he sought to point out that if
in this crisis they surrendered the Piegans to the Police never
again could they count upon the Piegans to support them in any
enterprise. But Running Stream and the others were resolved. The
thieves must be given up.

At the very moment in which this decision had been reached Cameron
rode in, carrying with him the incriminating hides.

"Here, Jerry," he said. "You take charge of these and bring them
to the Commissioner."

"All right," said Jerry, taking the hides from Cameron's horse.

"What is up, Jerry?" said Cameron in a low voice as the half-breed
was untying the bundle.

"Beeg row," whispered Jerry. "Eagle Feather t'ief."

"All right, keep close."

Quietly Cameron walked over to the group of excited Indians. As he
approached they opened their circle to receive him.

"My brother has discovered the thief," he said. "And after all a
thief is easily found among honest men."

Slowly and deliberately his eye traveled round the circle of faces,
keenly scrutinizing each in turn. When he came to Eagle Feather he
paused, gazed fixedly at him, took a single step in his direction,
and, suddenly leveling an accusing finger at him, cried in a loud

"I have found him. This man is the thief."

Slowly he walked up to the Indian, who remained stoically motionless,
laid his hand upon his wrist and said in a clear ringing voice
heard over the encampment:

"Eagle Feather, I arrest you in the name of the Queen!" And before
another word could be spoken or a movement made Eagle Feather stood
handcuffed, a prisoner.



"That boy is worse, Mrs. Cameron, decidedly worse, and I wash my
hands of all responsibility." The old army surgeon was clearly

Mandy sat silent, weary with watching and weary with the conflict
that had gone on intermittently during the past three days. The
doctor was determined to have the gangrenous foot off. That was
the simplest solution of the problem before him and the foot would
have come off days ago if he had had his way. But the Indian boy
had vehemently opposed this proposal. "One foot--me go die," was
his ultimatum, and through all the fever and delirium this was his
continuous refrain. In this determination his nurse supported him,
for she could not bring herself to the conviction that amputation
was absolutely necessary, and, besides, of all the melancholy and
useless driftwood that drives hither and thither with the ebb and
flow of human life, she could imagine none more melancholy and more
useless than an Indian crippled of a foot. Hence she supported the
boy in his ultimatum, "One foot--me go die."

"That foot ought to come off," repeated the doctor, beginning the
controversy anew. "Otherwise the boy will die."

"But, doctor," said Mandy wearily, "just think how pitiable, how
helpless that boy will be. Death is better. And, besides, I have
not quite given up hope that--"

The doctor snorted his contempt for her opinion; and only his
respect for her as Cameron's wife and for the truly extraordinary
powers and gifts in her profession which she had displayed during
the past three days held back the wrathful words that were at his
lips. It was late in the afternoon and the doctor had given many
hours to this case, riding back and forward from the fort every
day, but all this he would not have grudged could he have had his
way with his patient.

"Well, I have done my best," he said, "and now I must go back to my

"I know, doctor, I know," pleaded Mandy. "You have been most kind
and I thank you from my heart." She rose and offered him her hand.
"Don't think me too awfully obstinate, and please forgive me if you

The doctor took the outstretched hand grudgingly.

"Obstinate!" he exclaimed. "Of all the obstinate creatures--"

"Oh, I am afraid I am. But I don't want to be unreasonable. You
see, the boy is so splendidly plucky and such a fine chap."

The doctor grunted.

"He is a fine chap, doctor, and I can't bear to have him crippled,
and--" She paused abruptly, her lips beginning to quiver. She was
near the limit of her endurance.

"You would rather have him dead, eh? All right, if that suits you
better it makes no difference to me," said the doctor gruffly,
picking up his bag. "Good-by."

"Doctor, you will come back again to-morrow?"

"To-morrow? Why should I come back to-morrow? I can do no more--
unless you agree to amputation. There is no use coming back to-
morrow. I have other cases waiting on me. I can't give all my
time to this Indian." The contempt in the doctor's voice for a
mere Indian stung her like a whip. On Mandy's cheek, pale with her
long vigil, a red flush appeared and in her eye a light that would
have warned the doctor had he known her better.

"Is not this Indian a human being?" she asked quietly.

But the doctor was very impatient and anxious to be gone.

"A human being? Yes, of course, a human being, but there are human
beings and human beings. But if you mean an Indian is as good as a
white man, frankly I don't agree with you."

"You have given a great deal of your time, doctor," said Mandy with
quiet deliberation, "and I am most grateful. I can ask no more for
THIS INDIAN. I only regret that I have been forced to ask so much
of your time. Good-by." There was a ring as of steel in her
voice. The doctor became at once apologetic.

"What--eh?--I beg your pardon," he stammered.

"It is not at all necessary. Thank you again for all your service.

"Eh? I don't quite--"

"Good-by, doctor, and again thank you."

"Well, you know quite well I can't do any more," said the old
doctor crossly.

"No, I don't think you can."

"Eh--what? Well, good-by." And awkwardly the doctor walked away,
rather uncertain as to her meaning but with a feeling that he had
been dismissed.

"Most impossible person!" he muttered as he left the tent door,
indignant with himself that no fitting reply would come to his
lips. And not until he had mounted his horse and taken the trail
was he able to give full and adequate expression to his feelings,
and even then it took him some considerable time to do full justice
to himself and to the situation.

Meantime the nurse had turned back to her watch, weary and
despairing. In a way that she could not herself understand the
Indian boy had awakened her interest and even her affection. His
fine stoical courage, his warm and impulsive gratitude excited her
admiration and touched her heart. Again arose to her lips a cry
that had been like a refrain in her heart for the past three days,
"Oh, if only Dr. Martin were here!" Her experience and training
under Dr. Martin had made it only too apparent that the old army
surgeon was archaic in his practice and method.

"I know something could be done!" she said aloud, as she bent over
her patient. "If only Dr. Martin were here! Poor boy! Oh! I wish
he were here!"

As if in answer to her cry there was outside a sound of galloping
horses. She ran to the tent door and before her astonished eyes
there drew up at her tent Dr. Martin, her sister-in-law and the
ever-faithful Smith.

"Oh, oh, Dr. Martin!" she cried, running to him with both hands
outstretched, and could say no more.

"Hello, what's up? Say, what the deuce have they been doing to
you?" The doctor was quite wrathful.

"Oh, I am glad, that's all."

"Glad? Well, you show your joy in a mighty queer way."

"She's done out, Doctor," cried Moira, springing from her horse and
running to her sister-in-law. "I ought to have come before to
relieve her," she continued penitently, with her arms round Mandy,
"but I knew so little, and besides I thought the doctor was here."

"He was here," said Mandy, recovering herself. "He has just gone,
and oh, I am glad. He wanted to cut his foot off."

"Cut his foot off? Whose foot off? His own?" said Dr. Martin.

"But I am glad! How did you get here in all the world?"

"Your telegram came when I was away," said the doctor. "I did not
get it for a day, then I came at once."

"My telegram?"

"Yes, your telegram. I have it here--no, I've left it somewhere--
but I certainly got a telegram from you."

"From me? I never sent a telegram."

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Cameron. I understood you to desire Dr.
Martin's presence, and--I ventured to send a wire in your name. I
hope you will forgive the liberty," said Smith, red to his hair-
roots and looking over his horse's neck with a most apologetic air.

"Forgive the liberty?" cried Mandy. "Why, bless you, Mr. Smith,
you are my guardian angel," running to him and shaking him warmly
by the hand.

"And he brought, us here, too," cried Moira. "He has been awfully
good to me these days. I do not know what I should have done
without him."

Meantime Smith was standing first on one foot and then on the other
in a most unhappy state of mind.

"Guess I will be going back," he said in an agony of awkwardness
and confusion. "It is getting kind of late."

"What? Going right away?" exclaimed Mandy.

"I've got some chores to look after, and I guess none of you are
coming back now anyway."

"Well, hold on a bit," said the doctor. "We'll see what's doing
inside. Let's get the lie of things."

"Guess you don't need me any more," continued Smith. "Good-by."
And he climbed on to his horse. "I have got to get back. So

No one appeared to have any good reason why Smith should remain,
and so he rode away.

"Good-by, Mr. Smith," called out Mandy impulsively. "You have
really saved my life, I assure you. I was in utter despair."

"Good-by, Mr. Smith," cried Moira, waving her hand with a bright
smile. "You have saved me too from dying many a time these three

With an awkward wave Smith answered these farewells and rode down
the trail.

"He is really a fine fellow," said Mandy. "Always doing something
for people."

"That is just it," cried Moira. "He has spent his whole time these
three days doing things for me."

"Ah, no wonder," said the doctor. "A most useful chap. But what's
the trouble here? Let's get at the business."

Mandy gave him a detailed history of the case, the doctor meanwhile
making an examination of the patient's general condition.

"And the doctor would have his foot off, but I would not stand for
that," cried Mandy indignantly as she closed her history.

"H'm! Looks bad enough to come off, I should say. I wish I had
been here a couple of days ago. It may have to come off all

"Oh, Dr. Martin!"

"But not just to-night."

"Oh, I knew it."

"Not to-night," I said. "I don't know what the outcome may be, but
it looks as bad as it well can."

"Oh, that's all right," cried Mandy cheerfully. Her burden of
responsibility was lifted. Her care was gone. "I knew it would be
all right."

"Well, whether it will or not I cannot say. But one thing I do
know, you've got to trot off to sleep. Show me the ropes and then
off you go. Who runs this camp anyway?"

"Oh, the Chief does, Chief Trotting Wolf. I will call him," cried
Mandy. "He has been very good to me. I will get him." And she
ran from the tent to find the Chief.

"Isn't she wonderful?" said Moira.

"Wonderful? I should say so. But she is played right out I can
see," replied the doctor. "I must get comfortable quarters for you

"But do you not want some one?" said Moira. "Do you not want me?"

"Do I want you?" echoed the doctor, looking at her as she stood in
the glow of the westering sun shining through the canvas tent. "Do
I want you?" he repeated with deliberate emphasis. "Well, you can
just bet that is just what I do want."

A slight flush appeared on the girl's face.

"I mean," she said hurriedly, "cannot I be of some help?"

"Most certainly, most certainly," said the doctor, noting the
flush. "Your help will be invaluable after a bit. But first you
must get Mrs. Cameron to sleep. She has been on this job, I
understand, for three days. She is quite played out. And you,
too, need sleep."

"Oh, I am quite fit. I do not need sleep. I am quite ready to
take my sister-in-law's place, that is, as far as I can. And you
will surely need some one--to help you I mean." The doctor's eyes
were upon her face. Under his gaze her voice faltered. The glow
of the sunset through the tent walls illumined her face with a
wonderful radiance.

"Miss Moira," said the doctor with abrupt vehemence, "I wish I had
the nerve to tell you just how much--"

"Hush!" cried the girl, her glowing face suddenly pale, "they are

"Here is the Chief, Dr. Martin," cried Mandy, ushering in that
stately individual. The doctor saluted the Chief in due form and

"Could we have another tent, Chief, for these ladies? Just beside
this tent here, so that they can have a little sleep."

The Chief grunted a doubtful acquiescence, but in due time a tent
very much dilapidated was pitched upon the clean dry ground close
beside that in which the sick boy lay. While this was being done
the doctor was making a further examination of his patient. With
admiring eyes, Moira followed the swift movements of his deft
fingers. There was no hesitation. There was no fumbling. There
was the sure indication of accurate knowledge, the obvious self-
confidence of experience in everything he did. Even to her
untutored eyes the doctor seemed to be walking with a very firm

At length, after an hour's work, he turned to Mandy who was
assisting him and said:

"Now you can both go to sleep. I shall need you no more till
morning. I shall keep an eye on him. Off you go. Good-night."

"You will be sure to call me if I can be of service," said Mandy.

"I shall do no such thing. I expect you to sleep. I shall look
after this end of the job."

"He is very sure of himself, is he not?" said Moira in a low tone
to her sister-in-law as they passed out of the tent.

"He has a right to be," said Mandy proudly. "He knows his work,
and now I feel as if I can sleep in peace. What a blessed thing
sleep is," she added, as, without undressing, she tumbled on to the
couch prepared for her.

"Is Dr. Martin very clever? I mean, is he an educated man?"

"What?" cried Mandy. "Dr. Martin what?"

"Is he very clever? Is he--an educated man?"

"Eh, what?" she repeated, yawning desperately. "Oh, I was asleep."

"Is he clever?"

"Clever? Well, rather--" Her voice was trailing off again into

"And is he an educated man?"

"Educated? Knows his work if that's what you mean. Oh-h--but I'm

"Is he a gentleman?"

"Eh? What?" Mandy sat up straight. "A gentleman? I should say
so! That is, he is a man all through right to his toe-tips. And
gentle--more gentle than any woman I ever saw. Will that do?
Good-night." And before Moira could make reply she was sound

Before the night was over the opportunity was given the doctor to
prove his manhood, and in a truly spectacular manner. For shortly
after midnight Moira found herself sitting bolt upright, wide-awake
and clutching her sister-in-law in wild terror. Outside their tent
the night was hideous with discordant noises, yells, whoops, cries,
mingled with the beating of tom-toms. Terrified and trembling, the
two girls sprang to the door, and, lifting the flap, peered out.
It was the party of braves returning from the great powwow so
rudely interrupted by Cameron. They were returning in an evil
mood, too, for they were enraged at the arrest of Eagle Feather and
three accomplices in his crime, disappointed in the interruption of
their sun dance and its attendant joys of feast and song, and
furious at what appeared to them to be the overthrow of the great
adventure for which they had been preparing and planning for the
past two months. This was indeed the chief cause of their rage,
for it seemed as if all further attempts at united effort among the
Western tribes had been frustrated by the discovery of their plans,
by the flight of their leader, and by the treachery of the
Blackfeet Chief, Running Stream, in surrendering their fellow-
tribesmen to the Police. To them that treachery rendered
impossible any coalition between the Piegans and the Blackfeet.
Furthermore, before their powwow had been broken up there had been
distributed among them a few bottles of whisky provided beforehand
by the astute Sioux as a stimulus to their enthusiasm against a
moment of crisis when such stimulus should be necessary. These
bottles, in the absence of their great leader, were distributed
among the tribes by Running Stream as a peace-offering, but for
obvious reason not until the moment came for their parting from
each other.

Filled with rage and disappointment, and maddened with the bad
whisky they had taken, they poured into the encampment with wild
shouting accompanied by the discharge of guns and the beating of
drums. In terror the girls clung to each other, gazing out upon
the horrid scene.

"Whatever is this, Mandy?" cried Moira.

But her sister-in-law could give her little explanation. The
moonlight, glowing bright as day, revealed a truly terrifying
spectacle. A band of Indians, almost naked and hideously painted,
were leaping, shouting, beating drums and firing guns. Out from
the tents poured the rest of the band to meet them, eagerly
inquiring into the cause of their excitement. Soon fires were
lighted and kettles put on, for the Indian's happiness is never
complete unless associated with feasting, and the whole band
prepared itself for a time of revelry.

As the girls stood peering out upon this terrible scene they became
aware of the doctor standing at their side.

"Say, they seem to be cutting up rather rough, don't they?" he said
coolly. "I think as a precautionary measure you had better step
over into the other tent."

Hastily gathering their belongings, they ran across with the doctor
to his tent, from which they continued to gaze upon the weird
spectacle before them.

About the largest fire in the center of the camp the crowd
gathered, Chief Trotting Wolf in the midst, and were harangued by
one of the returning braves who was evidently reciting the story of
their experiences and whose tale was received with the deepest
interest and was punctuated by mad cries and whoops. The one
English word that could be heard was the word "Police," and it
needed no interpreter to explain to the watchers that the chief
object of fury to the crowding, gesticulating Indians about the
fire was the Policeman who had been the cause of their humiliation
and disappointment. In a pause of the uproar a loud exclamation
from an Indian arrested the attention of the band. Once more he
uttered his exclamation and pointed to the tent lately occupied by
the ladies. Quickly the whole band about the fire appeared to
bunch together preparatory to rush in the direction indicated, but
before they could spring forward Trotting Wolf, speaking rapidly
and with violent gesticulation, stood in their path. But his voice
was unheeded. He was thrust aside and the whole band came rushing
madly toward the tent lately occupied by the ladies.

"Get back from the door," said the doctor, speaking rapidly.
"These chaps seem to be somewhat excited. I wish I had my gun," he
continued, looking about the tent for a weapon of some sort. "This
will do," he said, picking up a stout poplar pole that had been
used for driving the tent pegs. "Stay inside here. Don't move
till I tell you."

"But they will kill you," cried Moira, laying her hand upon his
arm. "You must not go out."

"Nonsense!" said the doctor almost roughly. "Kill me? Not much.
I'll knock some of their blocks off first." So saying, he lifted
the flap of the tent and passed out just as the rush of maddened
Indians came.

Upon the ladies' tent they fell, kicked the tent poles down, and,
seizing the canvas ripped it clear from its pegs. Some moments
they spent searching the empty bed, then turned with renewed cries
toward the other tent before which stood the doctor, waiting, grim,
silent, savage. For a single moment they paused, arrested by the
silent figure, then with a whoop a drink-maddened brave sprang
toward the tent, his rifle clubbed to strike. Before he could
deliver his blow the doctor, stepping swiftly to one side, swung
his poplar club hard upon the uplifted arms, sent the rifle
crashing to the ground and with a backward swing caught the
astonished brave on the exposed head and dropped him to the earth
as if dead.

"Take that, you dog!" he cried savagely. "Come on, who's next?" he
shouted, swinging his club as a player might a baseball bat.

Before the next rush, however, help came in an unexpected form.
The tent flap was pushed back and at the doctor's side stood an
apparition that checked the Indians' advance and stilled their
cries. It was the Indian boy, clad in a white night robe of
Mandy's providing, his rifle in his hand, his face ghastly in the
moonlight and his eyes burning like flames of light. One cry he
uttered, weird, fierce, unearthly, but it seemed to pierce like a
knife through the stillness that had fallen. Awed, sobered,
paralyzed, the Indians stood motionless. Then from their ranks ran
Chief Trotting Wolf, picked up the rifle of the Indian who still
lay insensible on the ground, and took his place beside the boy.

A few words he spoke in a voice that rang out fiercely imperious.
Still the Indians stood motionless. Again the Chief spoke in
short, sharp words of command, and, as they still hesitated, took
one swift stride toward the man that stood nearest, swinging his
rifle over his head. Forward sprang the doctor to his side, his
poplar club likewise swung up to strike. Back fell the Indians a
pace or two, the Chief following them with a torrential flow of
vehement invective. Slowly, sullenly the crowd gave back, cowed
but still wrathful, and beginning to mutter in angry undertones.
Once more the tent flap was pushed aside and there issued two
figures who ran to the side of the Indian boy, now swaying weakly
upon his rifle.

"My poor boy!" cried Mandy, throwing her arms round about him, and,
steadying him as he let his rifle fall, let him sink slowly to the

"You cowards!" cried Moira, seizing the rifle that the boy had
dropped and springing to the doctor's side. "Look at what you have
done!" She turned and pointed indignantly to the swooning boy.

With an exclamation of wrath the doctor stepped back to Mandy's
aid, forgetful of the threatening Indians and mindful only of his
patient. Quickly he sprang into the tent, returning with a
stimulating remedy, bent over the boy and worked with him till he
came back again to life.

Once more the Chief, who with the Indians had been gazing upon this
scene, turned and spoke to his band, this time in tones of quiet
dignity, pointing to the little group behind him. Silent and
subdued the Indians listened, their quick impulses like those of
children stirred to sympathy for the lad and for those who would
aid him. Gradually the crowd drew off, separating into groups and
gathering about the various fires. For the time the danger was

Between them Dr. Martin and the Chief carried the boy into the tent
and laid him on his bed.

"What sort of beasts have you got out there anyway?" said the
doctor, facing the Chief abruptly.

"Him drink bad whisky," answered the Chief, tipping up his hand.
"Him crazee," touching his head with his forefinger.

"Crazy! Well, I should say. What they want is a few ounces of

The Chief made no reply, but stood with his eyes turned admiringly
upon Moira's face.

"Squaw--him good," he said, pointing to the girl. "No 'fraid--much

"You are right enough there, Chief," replied the doctor heartily.

"Him you squaw?" inquired the Chief, pointing to Moira.

"Well--eh? No, not exactly," replied the doctor, much confused,
"that is--not yet I mean--"

"Huh! Him good squaw. Him good man," replied the Chief, pointing
first to Moira, then to the doctor.

Moira hurried to the tent door.

"They are all gone," she exclaimed. "Thank God! How awful they

"Huh!" replied the Chief, moving out past her. "Him drink, him
crazee--no drink, no crazee." At the door he paused, and, looking
back, said once more with increased emphasis, "Huh! Him good
squaw," and finally disappeared.

"By Jove!" said the doctor with a delighted chuckle. "The old boy
is a man of some discernment I can see. But the kid and you saved
the day, Miss Moira."

"Oh, what nonsense you are talking. It was truly awful, and how
splendidly you--you--"

"Well, I caught him rather a neat one, I confess. I wonder if the
brute is sleeping yet. But you did the trick finally, Miss Moira."

"Huh," grunted Mandy derisively, "Good man--good squaw, eh?"



The bitter weather following an autumn of unusual mildness had set
in with the New Year and had continued without a break for fifteen
days. A heavy fall of snow with a blizzard blowing sixty miles an
hour had made the trails almost impassable, indeed quite so to any
but to those bent on desperate business or to Her Majesty's North
West Mounted Police. To these gallant riders all trails stood open
at all seasons of the year, no matter what snow might fall or
blizzard blow, so long as duty called them forth.

The trail from the fort to the Big Horn Ranch, however, was so
wind-swept that the snow was blown away, which made the going fairly
easy, and the Superintendent, Inspector Dickson and Jerry trotted
along freely enough in the face of a keen southwester that cut to
the bone. It was surely some desperate business indeed that sent
them out into the face of that cutting wind which made even these
hardy riders, burned hard and dry by scorching suns and biting
blizzards, wince and shelter their faces with their gauntleted

"Deuce of a wind, this!" said the Superintendent.

"It is the raw southwester that gets to the bone," replied
Inspector Dickson. "This will blow up a chinook before night."

"I wonder if he has got into shelter," said the Superintendent.
"This has been an unusually hard fortnight, and I am afraid he went
rather light."

"Oh, he's sure to be all right," replied the Inspector quickly.
"He was riding, but he took his snowshoes with him for timber work.
He's hardly the man to get caught and he won't quit easily."

"No, he won't quit, but there are times when human endurance fails.
Not that I fear anything like that for Cameron," added the
Superintendent hastily.

"Oh, he's not the man to fall down," replied the Inspector. "He
goes the limit, but he keeps his head. He's no reckless fool."

"Well, you ought to know him," said the Superintendent. "You have
been through some things together, but this last week has been
about the worst that I have known. This fortnight will be
remembered in the annals of this country. And it came so
unexpectedly. What do you think about it, Jerry?" continued the
Superintendent, turning to the half-breed.

"He good man--cold ver' bad--ver' long. S'pose catch heem on
plains--ver' bad."

The Inspector touched his horse to a canter. The vision that
floated before his mind's eye while the half-breed was speaking he
hated to contemplate.

"He's all right. He has come through too many tight places to fail
here," said the Inspector in a tone almost of defiance, and refused
to talk further upon the subject. But he kept urging the pace till
they drew up at the stables of the Big Horn Ranch.

The Inspector's first glance upon opening the stable door swept the
stall where Ginger was wont to conduct his melancholy ruminations.
It gave him a start to see the stall empty.

"Hello, Smith!" he cried as that individual appeared with a bundle
of hay from the stack in the yard outside. "Boss home?"

"Has Mr. Cameron returned?" inquired the Superintendent in the same
breath, and in spite of himself a note of anxiety had crept into
his voice. The three men stood waiting, their tense attitude
expressing the anxiety they would not put into words. The
deliberate Smith, who had transferred his services from old
Thatcher to Cameron and who had taken the ranch and all persons and
things belonging to it into his immediate charge, disposed of his
bundle in a stall, and then facing them said slowly:

"Guess he's all right."

"Is he home?" asked the Inspector sharply.

"Oh, he's home all right. Gone to bed, I think," answered Smith
with maddening calmness.

The Inspector cursed him between his teeth and turned away from the
others till his eyes should be clear again.

"We will just look in on Mrs. Cameron for a few minutes," said the
Superintendent. "We won't disturb him."

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