The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Dog Crusoe and His Master: A Story of Adventure in the Western Prairies

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Dog Crusoe and His Master: A Story of Adventure in the Western Prairies

Author: R. M. Ballantyne

Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #10929]
Most recently updated: December 23, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Dave Morgan, Bradley Norton and PG Distributed Proofreaders






A Story of Adventure in the Western Prairies


Robert Michael Ballantyne

Author of "The Coral Island," "The Young Fur-Traders," "Ungava,"

"The Gorilla-Hunters," "The World of Ice,"

"Martin Rattler."





The backwoods settlement--Crusoe's parentage and early history--The
agonizing pains and sorrows of his puppyhood, and other interesting


A shooting-match and its consequences--New friends introduced to
the reader--Crusoe and his mother change masters


Speculative remarks with which the reader may or may not agree--An
old woman--Hopes and wishes commingled with hard facts--The dog
Crusoe's education begun


Our hero enlarged upon


A mission of peace--Unexpected joys--Dick and Crusoe set off for
the land of the Redskins, and meet with adventures by the way as a
matter of course--in the wild woods


The great prairies of the far west--A remarkable colony discovered,
and a miserable night endured


The "wallering" peculiarities of buffalo bulls--The first buffalo
and its consequences--Crusoe comes to the rescue--Pawnees
discovered--A monster buffalo hunt--Joe acts the part of


Dick and his friends visit the Indians and see many
too, experiences a few surprises, and teaches Indian dogs a lesson--An
Indian dandy--A foot-race


Crusoe acts a conspicuous and humane part--A friend gained--A great


Perplexities--Our hunters plan their escape--Unexpected
interruption--The tables turned--Crusoe mounts guard--The escape


Evening meditations and morning reflections--Buffaloes, badgers,
antelopes, and accidents--An old bull and the wolves--"Mad
tails"--Henri floored,


Wanderings on the prairie--A war party--Chased by Indians--A bold
leap for life


Escape from Indians--A discovery--Alone in the desert


Crusoe's return, and his private adventures among the Indians--Dick
at a very low ebb--Crusoe saves him


Health and happiness return--Incidents of the journey--A buffalo
shot--A wild horse "creased"--Dick's battle with a mustang


Dick becomes a horse tamer--Resumes his journey--Charlie's
doings--Misfortunes which lead to, but do not terminate in, the Rocky
Mountains--A grizzly bear


Dick's first fight with a grizzly--Adventure with a deer--A


A surprise, and a piece of good news--The fur-traders--Crusoe
proved, and the Peigans pursued>.


Adventures with the Peigans--Crusoe does good service as a
discoverer--The savages outwitted--The rescue


New plans--Our travellers join the fur-traders, and see many
strange things--A curious fight--A narrow escape, and a
prisoner taken


Wolves attack the horses, and Cameron circumvents the wolves--A
bear-hunt, in which Henri shines conspicuous--Joe and the
"Natter-list"--An alarm--A surprise and a capture


Charlie's adventures with savages and bears--Trapping life


Savage sports--Living cataracts--An alarm--Indians and their
doings--The stampede--Charlie again


Plans and prospects--Dick becomes home-sick, and Henri
metaphysical--The Indians attack the camp--A blow-up


Dangers of the prairie--Our travellers attacked by Indians, and
delivered in a remarkable manner


Anxious fears followed by a joyful surprise--Safe home at last, and
happy hearts


Rejoicings--The feast at the block-house--Grumps and Crusoe come
out strong--The closing scene



The backwoods settlement--Crusoe's parentage, and early
history--The agonizing pains and sorrows of his puppyhood,
and other interesting matters

The dog Crusoe was once a pup. Now do not,

courteous reader, toss your head contemptuously,

and exclaim, "Of course he was; I could have told

that." You know very well that you have often seen a

man above six feet high, broad and powerful as a lion,

with a bronzed shaggy visage and the stern glance of an

eagle, of whom you have said, or thought, or heard others

say, "It is scarcely possible to believe that such a man

was once a squalling baby." If you had seen our hero

in all the strength and majesty of full-grown doghood,

you would have experienced a vague sort of surprise

had we told you--as we now repeat--that the dog

Crusoe was once a pup--a soft, round, sprawling,

squeaking pup, as fat as a tallow candle, and as blind

as a bat.

But we draw particular attention to the fact of

Crusoe's having once been a pup, because in connection

with the days of his puppyhood there hangs a tale.

This peculiar dog may thus be said to have had two

tails--one in connection with his body, the other with

his career. This tale, though short, is very harrowing,

and as it is intimately connected with Crusoe's subsequent

history we will relate it here. But before doing

so we must beg our reader to accompany us beyond the

civilized portions of the United States of America--beyond

the frontier settlements of the "far west," into

those wild prairies which are watered by the great

Missouri River--the Father of Waters--and his numerous


Here dwell the Pawnees, the Sioux, the Delawarers,

the Crows, the Blackfeet, and many other tribes of Red

Indians, who are gradually retreating step by step towards

the Rocky Mountains as the advancing white

man cuts down their trees and ploughs up their prairies.

Here, too, dwell the wild horse and the wild ass, the

deer, the buffalo, and the badger; all, men and brutes

alike, wild as the power of untamed and ungovernable

passion can make them, and free as the wind that

sweeps over their mighty plains.

There is a romantic and exquisitely beautiful spot on

the banks of one of the tributaries above referred

to--long stretch of mingled woodland and meadow, with

a magnificent lake lying like a gem in its green bosom--which

goes by the name of the Mustang Valley.

This remote vale, even at the present day, is but thinly

peopled by white men, and is still a frontier settlement

round which the wolf and the bear prowl curiously,

and from which the startled deer bounds terrified away.

At the period of which we write the valley had just

been taken possession of by several families of squatters,

who, tired of the turmoil and the squabbles of the

frontier settlements, had pushed boldly into the far

west to seek a new home for themselves, where they

could have "elbow room," regardless alike of the

dangers they might encounter in unknown lands and of

the Redskins who dwelt there.

The squatters were well armed with axes, rifles, and

ammunition. Most of the women were used to dangers

and alarms, and placed implicit reliance in the power

of their fathers, husbands, and brothers to protect them;

and well they might, for a bolder set of stalwart men

than these backwoodsmen never trod the wilderness.

Each had been trained to the use of the rifle and the

axe from infancy, and many of them had spent so much

of their lives in the woods that they were more than a

match for the Indian in his own peculiar pursuits of

hunting and war. When the squatters first issued from

the woods bordering the valley, an immense herd of

wild horses or mustangs were browsing on the plain.

These no sooner beheld the cavalcade of white men

than, uttering a wild neigh, they tossed their flowing

manes in the breeze and dashed away like a whirlwind.

This incident procured the valley its name.

The new-comers gave one satisfied glance at their

future home, and then set to work to erect log huts

forthwith. Soon the axe was heard ringing through

the forests, and tree after tree fell to the ground, while

the occasional sharp ring of a rifle told that the hunters

were catering successfully for the camp. In course of

time the Mustang Valley began to assume the aspect of

a thriving settlement, with cottages and waving fields

clustered together in the midst of it.

Of course the savages soon found it out and paid it

occasional visits. These dark-skinned tenants of the

woods brought furs of wild animals with them, which

they exchanged with the white men for knives, and

beads, and baubles and trinkets of brass and tin. But

they hated the "Pale-faces" with bitter hatred, because

their encroachments had at this time materially curtailed

the extent of their hunting-grounds, and nothing

but the numbers and known courage of the squatters

prevented these savages from butchering and scalping

them all.

The leader of this band of pioneers was a Major

Hope, a gentleman whose love for nature in its wildest

aspects determined him to exchange barrack life for a

life in the woods. The major was a first-rate shot, a

bold, fearless man, and an enthusiastic naturalist. He

was past the prime of life, and being a bachelor, was

unencumbered with a family. His first act on reaching

the site of the new settlement was to commence the

erection of a block-house, to which the people might

retire in case of a general attack by the Indians.

In this block-house Major Hope took up his abode

as the guardian of the settlement. And here the dog

Crusoe was born; here he sprawled in the early morn

of life; here he leaped, and yelped, and wagged his

shaggy tail in the excessive glee of puppyhood; and

from the wooden portals of this block-house he bounded

forth to the chase in all the fire, and strength, and

majesty of full-grown doghood.

Crusoe's father and mother were magnificent Newfoundlanders.

There was no doubt as to their being of

the genuine breed, for Major Hope had received them

as a parting gift from a brother officer, who had brought

them both from Newfoundland itself. The father's

name was Crusoe, the mother's name was Fan. Why

the father had been so called no one could tell. The

man from whom Major Hope's friend had obtained the

pair was a poor, illiterate fisherman, who had never

heard of the celebrated "Robinson" in all his life. All

he knew was that Fan had been named after his own

wife. As for Crusoe, he had got him from a friend,

who had got him from another friend, whose cousin had

received him as a marriage-gift from a friend of

and that each had said to the other that the dog's name

was "Crusoe," without reasons being asked or given on

either side. On arriving at New York the major's

friend, as we have said, made him a present of the dogs.

Not being much of a dog fancier, he soon tired of old

Crusoe, and gave him away to a gentleman, who took

him down to Florida, and that was the end of him. He

was never heard of more.

When Crusoe, junior, was born, he was born, of

course, without a name. That was given to him afterwards

in honour of his father. He was also born in

company with a brother and two sisters, all of whom

drowned themselves accidentally, in the first month of

their existence, by falling into the river which flowed

past the block-house--a calamity which occurred,

doubtless, in consequence of their having gone out without

their mother's leave. Little Crusoe was with his

brother and sisters at the time, and fell in along with

them, but was saved from sharing their fate by his

mother, who, seeing what had happened, dashed with

an agonized howl into the water, and, seizing him in

her mouth, brought him ashore in a half-drowned condition.

She afterwards brought the others ashore one

by one, but the poor little things were dead.

And now we come to the harrowing part of our tale,

for the proper understanding of which the foregoing

dissertation was needful.

One beautiful afternoon, in that charming season of

the American year called the Indian summer, there

came a family of Sioux Indians to the Mustang Valley,

and pitched their tent close to the block-house. A

young hunter stood leaning against the gate-post of the

palisades, watching the movements of the Indians, who,

having just finished a long "palaver" or talk with

Major Hope, were now in the act of preparing supper.

A fire had been kindled on the greensward in front of

the tent, and above it stood a tripod, from which depended

a large tin camp-kettle. Over this hung an ill-favoured

Indian woman, or squaw, who, besides attending

to the contents of the pot, bestowed sundry cuffs and

kicks upon her little child, which sat near to her playing

with several Indian curs that gambolled round the fire.

The master of the family and his two sons reclined on

buffalo robes, smoking their stone pipes or calumets in

silence. There was nothing peculiar in their appearance.

Their faces were neither dignified nor coarse in

expression, but wore an aspect of stupid apathy, which

formed a striking contrast to the countenance of the

young hunter, who seemed an amused spectator of their


The youth referred to was very unlike, in many

respects, to what we are accustomed to suppose a backwoods

hunter should be. He did not possess that quiet

gravity and staid demeanour which often characterize

these men. True, he was tall and strongly made, but

no one would have called him stalwart, and his frame

indicated grace and agility rather than strength. But

the point about him which rendered him different from

his companions was his bounding, irrepressible flow of

spirits, strangely coupled with an intense love of solitary

wandering in the woods. None seemed so well fitted

for social enjoyment as he; none laughed so heartily, or

expressed such glee in his mischief-loving eye; yet for

days together he went off alone into the forest, and

wandered where his fancy led him, as grave and silent

as an Indian warrior.

After all, there was nothing mysterious in this. The

boy followed implicitly the dictates of nature within

him. He was amiable, straightforward, sanguine, and

. When he laughed, he let it out, as

sailors have it, "with a will." When there was good

cause to be grave, no power on earth could make him

smile. We have called him boy, but in truth he was

about that uncertain period of life when a youth is said

to be neither a man nor a boy. His face was good-looking

earnest, candid face is) and masculine;

his hair was reddish-brown and his eye bright-blue.

He was costumed in the deerskin cap, leggings, moccasins,

and leathern shirt common to the western hunter.

"You seem tickled wi' the Injuns, Dick Varley,"

said a man who at that moment issued from the blockhouse.

"That's just what I am, Joe Blunt," replied the

youth, turning with a broad grin to his companion.

"Have a care, lad; do not laugh at 'em too much.

They soon take offence; an' them Redskins never forgive."

"But I'm only laughing at the baby," returned the

youth, pointing to the child, which, with a mixture of

boldness and timidity, was playing with a pup, wrinkling

up its fat visage into a smile when its playmate

rushed away in sport, and opening wide its jet-black

eyes in grave anxiety as the pup returned at full gallop.

"It 'ud make an owl laugh," continued young Varley,

"to see such a queer pictur' o' itself."

He paused suddenly, and a dark frown covered his

face as he saw the Indian woman stoop quickly down,

catch the pup by its hind-leg with one hand, seize a

heavy piece of wood with the other, and strike it several

violent blows on the throat. Without taking the

trouble to kill the poor animal outright, the savage then

held its still writhing body over the fire in order to

singe off the hair before putting it into the pot to be


The cruel act drew young Varley's attention more

closely to the pup, and it flashed across his mind that

this could be no other than young Crusoe, which neither

he nor his companion had before seen, although they had

often heard others speak of and describe it.

Had the little creature been one of the unfortunate

Indian curs, the two hunters would probably have

turned from the sickening sight with disgust, feeling

that, however much they might dislike such cruelty,

it would be of no use attempting to interfere with

Indian usages. But the instant the idea that it was

Crusoe occurred to Varley he uttered a yell of anger,

and sprang towards the woman with a bound that

caused the three Indians to leap to their feet and grasp

their tomahawks.

Blunt did not move from the gate, but threw forward

his rifle with a careless motion, but an expressive glance,

that caused the Indians to resume their seats and pipes

with an emphatic "Wah!" of disgust at having been

startled out of their propriety by a trifle; while Dick

Varley snatched poor Crusoe from his dangerous and

painful position, scowled angrily in the woman's face,

and turning on his heel, walked up to the house, holding

the pup tenderly in his arms.

Joe Blunt gazed after his friend with a grave, solemn

expression of countenance till he disappeared; then he

looked at the ground, and shook his head.

Joe was one of the regular out-and-out backwoods

hunters, both in appearance and in fact--broad, tall,

massive, lion-like; gifted with the hunting, stalking,

running, and trail-following powers of the savage, and

with a superabundance of the shooting and fighting

powers, the daring, and dash of the Anglo-Saxon. He

was grave, too--seldom smiled, and rarely laughed.

His expression almost at all times was a compound of

seriousness and good-humour. With the rifle he was

a good, steady shot, but by no means a "crack"

one. His ball never failed to
, but it often failed


After meditating a few seconds, Joe Blunt again

shook his head, and muttered to himself, "The boy's

bold enough, but he's too reckless for a hunter. There

was no need for that yell, now--none at all."

Having uttered this sagacious remark, he threw his

rifle into the hollow of his left arm, turned round, and

strode off with a long, slow step towards his own cottage.

Blunt was an American by birth, but of Irish extraction,

and to an attentive ear there was a faint echo of the

in his tone, which seemed to have been handed

down to him as a threadbare and almost worn-out heirloom.

Poor Crusoe was singed almost naked. His wretched

tail seemed little better than a piece of wire filed off to

a point, and he vented his misery in piteous squeaks as

the sympathetic Varley confided him tenderly to the

care of his mother. How Fan managed to cure him no

one can tell, but cure him she did, for, in the course of

a few weeks, Crusoe was as well and sleek and fat as




A shooting-match and its consequences
New friends
introduced to the reader
Crusoe and his mother
change masters

Shortly after the incident narrated in the last

chapter the squatters of the Mustang Valley lost

their leader. Major Hope suddenly announced his intention

of quitting the settlement and returning to the

civilized world. Private matters, he said, required his

presence there--matters which he did not choose to

speak of, but which would prevent his returning again

to reside among them. Go he must, and, being a man

of determination, go he did; but before going he distributed

all his goods and chattels among the settlers.

He even gave away his rifle, and Fan and Crusoe.

These last, however, he resolved should go together;

and as they were well worth having, he announced that

he would give them to the best shot in the valley. He

stipulated that the winner should escort him to the

nearest settlement eastward, after which he might return

with the rifle on his shoulder.

Accordingly, a long level piece of ground on the

river's bank, with a perpendicular cliff at the end of

it, was selected as the shooting-ground, and, on the

appointed day, at the appointed hour, the competitors

began to assemble.

"Well, lad, first as usual," exclaimed Joe Blunt, as he

reached the ground and found Dick Varley there before


"I've bin here more than an hour lookin' for a new

kind o' flower that Jack Morgan told me he'd seen.

And I've found it too. Look here; did you ever see

one like it before?"

Blunt leaned his rifle against a tree, and carefully

examined the flower.

"Why, yes, I've seed a-many o' them up about the

Rocky Mountains, but never one here-away. It seems

to have gone lost itself. The last I seed, if I remimber

rightly, wos near the head-waters o' the Yellowstone

River, it wos--jest where I shot a grizzly bar."

"Was that the bar that gave you the wipe on the

cheek?" asked Varley, forgetting the flower in his

interest about the bear.

"It wos. I put six balls in that bar's carcass, and

stuck my knife into its heart ten times, afore it gave

out; an' it nearly ripped the shirt off my back afore I

wos done with it."

"I would give my rifle to get a chance at a grizzly!"

exclaimed Varley, with a sudden burst of enthusiasm.

"Whoever got it wouldn't have much to brag of," remarked

a burly young backwoodsman, as he joined them.

His remark was true, for poor Dick's weapon was

but a sorry affair. It missed fire, and it hung fire; and

even when it did fire, it remained a matter of doubt in

its owner's mind whether the slight deviations from

the direct line made by his bullets were the result of

bad shooting.

Further comment upon it was checked by the arrival

of a dozen or more hunters on the scene of action.

They were a sturdy set of bronzed, bold, fearless men,

and one felt, on looking at them, that they would prove

more than a match for several hundreds of Indians in

open fight. A few minutes after, the major himself

came on the ground with the prize rifle on his shoulder,

and Fan and Crusoe at his heels--the latter tumbling,

scrambling, and yelping after its mother, fat and clumsy,

and happy as possible, having evidently quite forgotten

that it had been nearly roasted alive only a few weeks


Immediately all eyes were on the rifle, and its merits

were discussed with animation.

And well did it deserve discussion, for such a piece

had never before been seen on the western frontier. It

was shorter in the barrel and larger in the bore than

the weapons chiefly in vogue at that time, and, besides

being of beautiful workmanship, was silver-mounted.

But the grand peculiarity about it, and that which

afterwards rendered it the mystery of mysteries to the

savages, was that it had two sets of locks--one percussion,

the other flint--so that, when caps failed, by

taking off the one set of locks and affixing the others,

it was converted into a flint rifle. The major, however,

took care never to run short of caps, so that the flint

locks were merely held as a reserve in case of need.

"Now, lads," cried Major Hope, stepping up to the

point whence they were to shoot, "remember the terms.

He who first drives the nail obtains the rifle, Fan, and

her pup, and accompanies me to the nearest settlement.

Each man shoots with his own gun, and draws lots for

the chance."

"Agreed," cried the men.

"Well, then, wipe your guns and draw lots. Henri

will fix the nail. Here it is."

The individual who stepped, or rather plunged forward

to receive the nail was a rare and remarkable

specimen of mankind. Like his comrades, he was half

a farmer and half a hunter. Like them, too, he was

clad in deerskin, and was tall and strong--nay, more,

he was gigantic. But, unlike them, he was clumsy,

awkward, loose-jointed, and a bad shot. Nevertheless

Henri was an immense favourite in the settlement, for

his good-humour knew no bounds. No one ever saw

him frown. Even when fighting with the savages, as

he was sometimes compelled to do in self-defence, he

went at them with a sort of jovial rage that was almost

laughable. Inconsiderate recklessness was one of his

chief characteristics, so that his comrades were rather

afraid of him on the war-trail or in the hunt, where

caution and frequently
motion were essential

to success or safety. But when Henri had a comrade

at his side to check him he was safe enough, being

humble-minded and obedient. Men used to say he

must have been born under a lucky star, for, notwithstanding

his natural inaptitude for all sorts of backwoods

life, he managed to scramble through everything

with safety, often with success, and sometimes with


To see Henri stalk a deer was worth a long day's

journey. Joe Blunt used to say he was "all jints

together, from the top of his head to the sole of his

moccasin." He threw his immense form into the most

inconceivable contortions, and slowly wound his way,

sometimes on hands and knees, sometimes flat, through

bush and brake, as if there was not a bone in his body,

and without the slightest noise. This sort of work was

so much against his plunging nature that he took long

to learn it; but when, through hard practice and the loss

of many a fine deer, he came at length to break himself

in to it, he gradually progressed to perfection, and

ultimately became the best stalker in the valley. This,

and this alone, enabled him to procure game, for, being

short-sighted, he could hit nothing beyond fifty yards,

except a buffalo or a barn-door.

Yet that same lithe body, which seemed as though

totally unhinged, could no more be bent, when the

muscles were strung, than an iron post. No one

wrestled with Henri unless he wished to have his back

broken. Few could equal and none could beat him

at running or leaping except Dick Varley. When

Henri ran a race even Joe Blunt laughed outright, for

arms and legs went like independent flails. When he

leaped, he hurled himself into space with a degree of

violence that seemed to insure a somersault; yet he

always came down with a crash on his feet. Plunging

was Henri's forte. He generally lounged about the

settlement when unoccupied, with his hands behind his

back, apparently in a reverie, and when called on to act,

he seemed to fancy he must have lost time, and could

only make up for it by
. This habit got him

into many awkward scrapes, but his herculean power

as often got him out of them. He was a French-Canadian,

and a particularly bad speaker of the English


We offer no apology for this elaborate introduction

of Henri, for he was as good-hearted a fellow as ever

lived, and deserves special notice.

But to return. The sort of rifle practice called

"driving the nail," by which this match was to be

decided, was, and we believe still is, common among the

hunters of the far west. It consisted in this: an

ordinary large-headed nail was driven a short way into

a plank or a tree, and the hunters, standing at a distance

of fifty yards or so, fired at it until they succeeded in

driving it home. On the present occasion the major

resolved to test their shooting by making the distance

seventy yards.

Some of the older men shook their heads.

"It's too far," said one; "ye might as well try to

snuff the nose o' a mosquito."

"Jim Scraggs is the only man as'll hit that," said


The man referred to was a long, lank, lantern-jawed

fellow, with a cross-grained expression of countenance.

He used the long, heavy Kentucky rifle, which, from

the ball being little larger than a pea, was called a pea-rifle.

Jim was no favourite, and had been named

Scraggs by his companions on account of his appearance.

In a few minutes the lots were drawn, and the

shooting began. Each hunter wiped out the barrel of

his piece with his ramrod as he stepped forward; then,

placing a ball in the palm of his left hand, he drew the

stopper of his powder-horn with his teeth, and poured

out as much powder as sufficed to cover the bullet.

This was the regular
among them. Little

time was lost in firing, for these men did not "hang"

on their aim. The point of the rifle was slowly raised

to the object, and the instant the sight covered it the

ball sped to its mark. In a few minutes the nail was

encircled by bullet holes, scarcely two of which were

more than an inch distant from the mark, and one--fired

by Joe Blunt--entered the tree close beside it.

"Ah, Joe!" said the major, "I thought you would

have carried off the prize."

"So did not I, sir," returned Blunt, with a shake of

his head. "Had it a-bin a half-dollar at a hundred

yards, I'd ha' done better, but I never
hit the nail.

It's too small to

"That's cos ye've got no eyes," remarked Jim Scraggs,

with a sneer, as he stepped forward.

All tongues were now hushed, for the expected

champion was about to fire. The sharp crack of the

rifle was followed by a shout, for Jim had hit the nail-head

on the edge, and part of the bullet stuck to it.

"That wins if there's no better," said the major,

scarce able to conceal his disappointment. "Who comes


To this question Henri answered by stepping up to

the line, straddling his legs, and executing preliminary

movements with his rifle, that seemed to indicate an

intention on his part to throw the weapon bodily at the

mark. He was received with a shout of mingled laughter

and applause. After gazing steadily at the mark for

a few seconds, a broad grin overspread his countenance,

and looking round at his companions, he

said,--"Ha! mes boys, I can-not behold de nail at all!"

"Can ye 'behold' the
?" shouted a voice, when

the laugh that followed this announcement had somewhat


"Oh! oui," replied Henri quite coolly; "I can see

, an' a goot small bit of de forest beyond."

"Fire at it, then. If ye hit the tree ye desarve the

rifle--leastways ye ought to get the pup."

Henri grinned again, and fired instantly, without

taking aim.

The shot was followed by an exclamation of surprise,

for the bullet was found close beside the nail.

"It's more be good luck than good shootin'," remarked

Jim Scraggs.

"Possiblement," answered Henri modestly, as he retreated

to the rear and wiped out his rifle; "mais I

have kill most of my deer by dat same goot luck."

"Bravo, Henri!" said Major Hope as he passed;

to win, anyhow. Who's next?"

"Dick Varley," cried several voices; "where's Varley?

Come on, youngster, an' take yer shot."

The youth came forward with evident reluctance.

"It's of no manner o' use," he whispered to Joe Blunt

as he passed, "I can't depend on my old gun."

"Never give in," whispered Blunt, encouragingly.

Poor Varley's want of confidence in his rifle was

merited, for, on pulling the trigger, the faithless lock

missed fire.

"Lend him another gun," cried several voices.

"'Gainst rules laid down by Major Hope," said


"Well, so it is; try again."

Varley did try again, and so successfully, too, that

the ball hit the nail on the head, leaving a portion of

the lead sticking to its edge.

Of course this was greeted with a cheer, and a loud

dispute began as to which was the better shot of the


"There are others to shoot yet," cried the major.

"Make way. Look out."

The men fell back, and the few hunters who had not

yet fired took their shots, but without coming nearer

the mark.

It was now agreed that Jim Scraggs and Dick Varley,

being the two best shots, should try over again, and it

was also agreed that Dick should have the use of Blunt's

rifle. Lots were again drawn for the first shot, and it

fell to Dick, who immediately stepped out, aimed somewhat

hastily, and fired.

"Hit again!" shouted those who had run forward to

examine the mark. "
the bullet cut off by the

nail head!"

Some of the more enthusiastic of Dick's friends

cheered lustily, but the most of the hunters were grave

and silent, for they knew Jim's powers, and felt that he

would certainly do his best. Jim now stepped up to

the line, and, looking earnestly at the mark, threw forward

his rifle.

At that moment our friend Crusoe, tired of tormenting

his mother, waddled stupidly and innocently

into the midst of the crowd of men, and in so doing

received Henri's heel and the full weight of his elephantine

body on its fore paw. The horrible and electric

yell that instantly issued from his agonized throat could

only be compared, as Joe Blunt expressed it, "to the

last dyin' screech o' a bustin' steam biler!" We cannot

say that the effect was startling, for these backwoodsmen

had been born and bred in the midst of alarms,

and were so used to them that a "bustin' steam biler"

itself, unless it had blown them fairly off their legs,

would not have startled them. But the effect, such as

it was, was sufficient to disconcert the aim of Jim

Scraggs, who fired at the same instant, and missed the

nail by a hair's-breadth.

'Turning round in towering wrath, Scraggs aimed a

kick at the poor pup, which, had it taken effect, would

certainly have terminated the innocent existence of that

remarkable dog on the spot; but quick as lightning

Henri interposed the butt of his rifle, and Jim's shin

met it with a violence that caused him to howl with

rage and pain.

"Oh! pardon me, broder," cried Henri, shrinking

back, with the drollest expression of mingled pity and


Jim's discretion, on this occasion, was superior to his

valour; he turned away with a coarse expression of

anger and left the ground.

Meanwhile the major handed the silver rifle to young

Varley. "It couldn't have fallen into better hands," he

said. "You'll do it credit, lad, I know that full well;

and let me assure you it will never play you false.

Only keep it clean, don't overcharge it, aim true, and it

will never miss the mark."

While the hunters crowded round Dick to congratulate

him and examine the piece, he stood with a mingled

feeling of bashfulness and delight at his unexpected good

fortune. Recovering himself suddenly, he seized his old

rifle, and dropping quietly to the outskirts of the crowd,

while the men were still busy handling and discussing

the merits of the prize, went up, unobserved, to a boy

of about thirteen years of age, and touched him on the


"Here, Marston, you know I often said ye should

have the old rifle when I was rich enough to get a new

one. Take it
, lad. It's come to ye sooner than

either o' us expected."

"Dick," said the boy, grasping his friend's hand

warmly, "ye're true as heart of oak. It's good of 'ee;

that's a fact."

"Not a bit, boy; it costs me nothin' to give away an

old gun that I've no use for, an's worth little, but it

makes me right glad to have the chance to do it."

Marston had longed for a rifle ever since he could

walk; but his prospects of obtaining one were very poor

indeed at that time, and it is a question whether he did

not at that moment experience as much joy in handling

the old piece as his friend felt in shouldering the prize.

A difficulty now occurred which had not before been

thought of. This was no less than the absolute refusal

of Dick Varley's canine property to follow him. Fan

had no idea of changing masters without her consent

being asked or her inclination being consulted.

"You'll have to tie her up for a while, I fear," said

the major.

"No fear," answered the youth. "Dog natur's like

human natur'!"

Saying this he seized Crusoe by the neck, stuffed

him comfortably into the bosom of his hunting-shirt,

and walked rapidly away with the prize rifle on his


Fan had not bargained for this. She stood irresolute,

gazing now to the right and now to the left, as the

major retired in one direction and Dick with Crusoe in

another. Suddenly Crusoe, who, although comfortable

in body, was ill at ease in spirit, gave utterance to a

melancholy howl. The mother's love instantly prevailed.

For one moment she pricked up her ears at the sound,

and then, lowering them, trotted quietly after her new

master, and followed him to his cottage on the margin

of the lake.


Speculative remarks with which the reader may or may not agree--An
old woman--Hopes and wishes commingled with hard facts--The dog
Crusoe's education begun

It is pleasant to look upon a serene, quiet, humble

face. On such a face did Richard Varley look

every night when he entered his mother's cottage. Mrs.

Varley was a widow, and she had followed the fortunes

of her brother, Daniel Hood, ever since the death of her

husband. Love for her only brother induced her to

forsake the peaceful village of Maryland and enter upon

the wild life of a backwoods settlement. Dick's mother

was thin, and old, and wrinkled, but her face was

stamped with a species of beauty which

fades--the beauty of a loving look. Ah! the brow of snow

and the peach-bloom cheek may snare the heart of man

for a time, but the
loving look
alone can forge that

adamantine chain that time, age, eternity shall never


Mistake us not, reader, and bear with us if we attempt

to analyze this look which characterized Mrs. Varley.

A rare diamond is worth stopping to glance at, even

when one is in a hurry. The brightest jewel in the

human heart is worth a thought or two. By
a loving

we do not mean a look of love bestowed on a

beloved object.
is common enough; and thankful

should we be that it is so common in a world that's

overfull of hatred. Still less do we mean that smile

and look of intense affection with which some people--good

people too--greet friend and foe alike, and by

which effort to work out their
beau ideal
of the expression

of Christian love they do signally damage their

cause, by saddening the serious and repelling the gay.

Much less do we mean that
smile of good-will

which argues more of personal comfort and self-love

than anything else. No; the loving look we speak of

is as often grave as gay. Its character depends very

much on the face through which it beams. And it

cannot be counterfeited. Its
defies imitation. Like

the clouded sun of April, it can pierce through tears of

sorrow; like the noontide sun of summer, it can blaze

in warm smiles; like the northern lights of winter, it

can gleam in depths of woe;--but it is always the same,

modified, doubtless, and rendered more or less patent to

others, according to the natural amiability of him or her

who bestows it. No one can put it on; still less can

any one put it off. Its range is universal; it embraces

all mankind, though,
of course
, it is intensified on a few

favoured objects; its seat is in the depths of a renewed

heart, and its foundation lies in love to God.

Young Varley's mother lived in a cottage which was

of the smallest possible dimensions consistent with comfort.

It was made of logs, as, indeed, were all the other

cottages in the valley. The door was in the centre, and

a passage from it to the back of the dwelling divided it

into two rooms. One of these was sub-divided by a

thin partition, the inner room being Mrs. Varley's bedroom,

the outer Dick's. Daniel Hood's dormitory was

a corner of the kitchen, which apartment served also as

a parlour.

The rooms were lighted by two windows, one on each

side of the door, which gave to the house the appearance

of having a nose and two eyes. Houses of this kind

have literally got a sort of
on--if we may

use the word--their countenances.

give the appearance of easy-going placidity;

ones, that of surprise. Mrs. Varley's was a surprise

cottage; and this was in keeping with the scene in

which it stood, for the clear lake in front, studded with

islands, and the distant hills beyond, composed a scene

so surprisingly beautiful that it never failed to call forth

an expression of astonished admiration from every new

visitor to the Mustang Valley.

"My boy," exclaimed Mrs. Varley, as her son entered

the cottage with a bound, "why so hurried to-day?

Deary me! where got you the grand gun?"

"Won it, mother!"

"Won it, my son?"

"Ay, won it, mother. Druve the nail
, and

would ha' druve it
had I bin more used to

Joe Blunt's rifle."

Mrs. Varley's heart beat high, and her face flushed

with pride as she gazed at her son, who laid the rifle on

the table for her inspection, while he rattled off an

animated and somewhat disjointed account of the


"Deary me! now that was good, that was cliver.

But what's that scraping at the door?"

"Oh! that's Fan; I forgot her. Here! here! Fan!

Come in, good dog," he cried, rising and opening the


Fan entered and stopped short, evidently uncomfortable.

"My boy, what do ye with the major's dog?"

"Won her too, mother!"

"Won her, my son?"

"Ay, won her, and the pup too; see, here it is!" and

he plucked Crusoe from his bosom.

Crusoe having found his position to be one of great

comfort had fallen into a profound slumber, and on

being thus unceremoniously awakened he gave forth a

yelp of discontent that brought Fan in a state of frantic

sympathy to his side.

"There you are, Fan; take it to a corner and make

yourself at home.--Ay, that's right, mother, give her

somethin' to eat; she's hungry, I know by the look o'

her eye."

"Deary me, Dick!" said Mrs. Varley, who now proceeded

to spread the youth's mid-day meal before him,

"did ye drive the nail three times?"

"No, only once, and that not parfetly. Brought 'em

all down at one shot--rifle, Fan, an' pup!"

"Well, well, now that was cliver; but--." Here the

old woman paused and looked grave.

"But what, mother?"

"You'll be wantin' to go off to the mountains now, I

fear me, boy."

!" exclaimed the youth earnestly; "I'm

wantin'. I've bin wantin' ever since I could

walk; but I won't go till you let me, mother, that I

won't!" And he struck the table with his fist so forcibly

that the platters rung again.

"You're a good boy, Dick; but you're too young yit

to ventur' among the Redskins."

"An' yit, if I don't ventur' young, I'd better not ventur'

at all. You know, mother dear, I don't want to

leave you; but I was born to be a hunter, and everybody

in them parts is a hunter, and I can't hunt in the

kitchen you know, mother!"

At this point the conversation was interrupted by a

sound that caused young Varley to spring up and seize

his rifle, and Fan to show her teeth and growl.

"Hist, mother! that's like horses' hoofs," he whispered,

opening the door and gazing intently in the

direction whence the sound came.

Louder and louder it came, until an opening in the

forest showed the advancing cavalcade to be a party of

white men. In another moment they were in full view--a

band of about thirty horsemen, clad in the leathern

costume and armed with the long rifle of the far west.

Some wore portions of the gaudy Indian dress, which

gave to them a brilliant, dashing look. They came on

straight for the block-house, and saluted the Varleys

with a jovial cheer as they swept past at full speed.

Dick returned the cheer with compound interest, and

calling out, "They're trappers, mother; I'll be back in an

hour," bounded off like a deer through the woods, taking

a short cut in order to reach the block-house before

them. He succeeded, for, just as he arrived at the

house, the cavalcade wheeled round the bend in the

river, dashed up the slope, and came to a sudden halt

on the green. Vaulting from their foaming steeds they

tied them to the stockades of the little fortress, which

they entered in a body.

Hot haste was in every motion of these men. They

were trappers, they said, on their way to the Rocky

Mountains to hunt and trade furs. But one of their

number had been treacherously murdered and scalped

by a Pawnee chief, and they resolved to revenge his

death by an attack on one of the Pawnee villages. They

would teach these "red reptiles" to respect white men,

they would, come of it what might; and they had

turned aside here to procure an additional supply of

powder and lead.

In vain did the major endeavour to dissuade these

reckless men from their purpose. They scoffed at the

idea of returning good for evil, and insisted on being

supplied. The log hut was a store as well as a place of

defence, and as they offered to pay for it there was no

refusing their request--at least so the major thought.

The ammunition was therefore given to them, and in

half-an-hour they were away again at full gallop over

the plains on their mission of vengeance. "Vengeance

is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." But these men

knew not what God said, because they never read his

Word and did not own his sway.

Young Varley's enthusiasm was considerably damped

when he learned the errand on which the trappers were

bent. From that time forward he gave up all desire

to visit the mountains in company with such men, but

he still retained an intense longing to roam at large

among their rocky fastnesses and gallop out upon the

wide prairies.

Meanwhile he dutifully tended his mother's cattle and

sheep, and contented himself with an occasional deer-hunt

in the neighbouring forests. He devoted himself

also to the training of his dog Crusoe--an operation

which at first cost him many a deep sigh.

Every one has heard of the sagacity and almost reasoning

capabilities of the Newfoundland dog. Indeed, some

have even gone the length of saying that what is called

instinct in these animals is neither more nor less than

reason. And in truth many of the noble, heroic, and

sagacious deeds that have actually been performed by

Newfoundland dogs incline us almost to believe that,

like man, they are gifted with reasoning powers.

But every one does not know the trouble and patience

that is required in order to get a juvenile dog to understand

what its master means when he is endeavouring

to instruct it.

Crusoe's first lesson was an interesting but not a very

successful one. We may remark here that Dick Varley

had presented Fan to his mother to be her watch-dog,

resolving to devote all his powers to the training of the

pup. We may also remark, in reference to Crusoe's

appearance (and we did not remark it sooner, chiefly

because up to this period in his eventful history he was

little better than a ball of fat and hair), that his coat

was mingled jet-black and pure white, and remarkably

glossy, curly, and thick.

A week after the shooting-match Crusoe's education

began. Having fed him for that period with his own

hand, in order to gain his affection, Dick took him out

one sunny forenoon to the margin of the lake to give

him his first lesson.

And here again we must pause to remark that,

although a dog's heart is generally gained in the first

instance through his mouth, yet, after it is thoroughly

gained, his affection is noble and disinterested. He can

scarcely be driven from his master's side by blows; and

even when thus harshly repelled, is always ready, on the

shortest notice and with the slightest encouragement, to

make it up again.

Well; Dick Varley began by calling out, "Crusoe!

Crusoe! come here, pup."

Of course Crusoe knew his name by this time, for it

had been so often used as a prelude to his meals that

he naturally expected a feed whenever he heard it.

This portal to his brain had already been open for

some days; but all the other doors were fast locked,

and it required a great deal of careful picking to open


"Now, Crusoe, come here."

Crusoe bounded clumsily to his master's side, cocked

his ears, and wagged his tail,--so far his education was

perfect. We say he bounded
, for it must be

remembered that he was still a very young pup, with

soft, flabby muscles.

"Now, I'm goin' to begin yer edication, pup; think

o' that."

Whether Crusoe thought of that or not we cannot

say, but he looked up in his master's face as he spoke,

cocked his ears very high, and turned his head slowly

to one side, until it could not turn any farther in that

direction; then he turned it as much to the other side;

whereat his master burst into an uncontrollable fit of

laughter, and Crusoe immediately began barking vociferously.

"Come, come," said Dick, suddenly checking his mirth,

"we mustn't play, pup, we must work."

Drawing a leathern mitten from his belt, the youth

held it to Crusoe's nose, and then threw it a yard away,

at the same time exclaiming in a loud, distinct tone,

"Fetch it."

Crusoe entered at once into the spirit of this part of

his training; he dashed gleefully at the mitten, and

proceeded to worry it with intense gratification. As

for "Fetch it," he neither understood the words nor

cared a straw about them.

Dick Varley rose immediately, and rescuing the

mitten, resumed his seat on a rock.

"Come here, Crusoe," he repeated.

"Oh! certainly, by all means," said Crusoe--no! he

didn't exactly
it, but really he
these words


evidently that we think it right to let them stand as

they are written. If he could have finished the sentence,

he would certainly have said, "Go on with that game

over again, old boy; it's quite to my taste--the jolliest

thing in life, I assure you!" At least, if we may not

positively assert that he would have said that, no one

else can absolutely affirm that he wouldn't.

Well, Dick Varley did do it over again, and Crusoe

worried the mitten over again, utterly regardless of

"Fetch it."

Then they did it again, and again, and again, but

without the slightest apparent advancement in the path

of canine knowledge; and then they went home.

During all this trying operation Dick Varley never

once betrayed the slightest feeling of irritability or impatience.

He did not expect success at first; he was

not therefore disappointed at failure.

Next day he had him out again--and the next--and

the next--and the next again, with the like unfavourable result. In


it seemed at last as if Crusoe's

mind had been deeply imbued with the idea that he

had been born expressly for the purpose of worrying

that mitten, and he meant to fulfil his destiny to the


Young Varley had taken several small pieces of meat

in his pocket each day, with the intention of rewarding

Crusoe when he should at length be prevailed on to

fetch the mitten; but as Crusoe was not aware of the

treat that awaited him, of course the mitten never was


At last Dick Varley saw that this system would never

do, so he changed his tactics, and the next morning gave

Crusoe no breakfast, but took him out at the usual hour

to go through his lesson. This new course of conduct

seemed to perplex Crusoe not a little, for on his way

down to the beach he paused frequently and looked

back at the cottage, and then expressively up at his

master's face. But the master was inexorable; he went

on, and Crusoe followed, for
love had now taken

possession of the pup's young heart, and he preferred his

master's company to food.

Varley now began by letting the learner smell a piece

of meat, which he eagerly sought to devour, but was

prevented, to his immense disgust. Then the mitten

was thrown as heretofore, and Crusoe made a few steps

towards it, but being in no mood for play he turned


"Fetch it," said the teacher.

"I won't," replied the learner mutely, by means of

that expressive sign--
not doing it

Hereupon Dick Varley rose, took up the mitten, and

put it into the pup's mouth. Then, retiring a couple of

yards, he held out the piece of meat and said, "Fetch it."

Crusoe instantly spat out the glove and bounded

towards the meat--once more to be disappointed.

This was done a second time, and Crusoe came forward

with the mitten in his mouth
. It seemed as if it

had been done accidentally, for he dropped it before

coming quite up. If so, it was a fortunate accident,

for it served as the tiny fulcrum on which to place the

point of that mighty lever which was destined ere long

to raise him to the pinnacle of canine erudition. Dick

Varley immediately lavished upon him the tenderest

caresses and gave him a lump of meat. But he quickly

tried it again lest he should lose the lesson. The dog

evidently felt that if he did not fetch that mitten he

should have no meat or caresses. In order, however,

to make sure that there was no mistake, Dick laid the

mitten down beside the pup, instead of putting it into

his mouth, and, retiring a few paces, cried, "Fetch it."

Crusoe looked uncertain for a moment, then he picked

up the mitten and laid it at his master's feet. The

lesson was learned at last! Dick Varley tumbled all

the meat out of his pocket on the ground, and, while

Crusoe made a hearty breakfast, he sat down on a rock

and whistled with glee at having fairly picked the lock,

and opened
door into one of the many chambers

of his dog's intellect.


Our hero enlarged upon--Grumps

Two years passed away. The Mustang Valley settlement

advanced prosperously, despite one or two

attacks made upon it by the savages, who were, however,

firmly repelled. Dick Varley had now become a man,

and his pup Crusoe had become a full-grown dog. The

"silver rifle," as Dick's weapon had come to be named,

was well known among the hunters and the Redskins of

the border-lands, and in Dick's hands its bullets were as

deadly as its owner's eye was quick and true.

Crusoe's education, too, had been completed. Faithfully

and patiently had his young master trained his

mind, until he fitted him to be a meet companion in the

hunt. To "carry" and "fetch" were now but trifling

portions of the dog's accomplishments. He could dive

a fathom deep in the lake and bring up any article that

might have been dropped or thrown in. His swimming

powers were marvellous, and so powerful were his

muscles that he seemed to spurn the water while passing

through it, with his broad chest high out of the

curling wave, at a speed that neither man nor beast

could keep up with for a moment. His intellect now

was sharp and quick as a needle; he never required a

second bidding. When Dick went out hunting, he

used frequently to drop a mitten or a powder-horn unknown

to the dog, and after walking miles away from

it, would stop short and look down into the mild, gentle

face of his companion.

"Crusoe," he said, in the same quiet tones with

which he would have addressed a human friend, "I've

dropped my mitten; go fetch it, pup." Dick continued

to call it "pup" from habit.

One glance of intelligence passed from Crusoe's eye,

and in a moment he was away at full gallop, nor did

he rest until the lost article was lying at his master's

feet. Dick was loath to try how far back on his track

Crusoe would run if desired. He had often gone back

five and six miles at a stretch; but his powers did not

stop here. He could carry articles back to the spot

from which they had been taken and leave them there.

He could head the game that his master was pursuing

and turn it back; and he would guard any object he

was desired to "watch" with unflinching constancy.

But it would occupy too much space and time to

enumerate all Crusoe's qualities and powers. His

biography will unfold them.

In personal appearance he was majestic, having

grown to an immense size even for a Newfoundland.

Had his visage been at all wolfish in character, his

aspect would have been terrible. But he possessed in

an eminent degree that mild, humble expression of face

peculiar to his race. When roused or excited, and

especially when bounding through the forest with the

chase in view, he was absolutely magnificent. At other

times his gait was slow, and he seemed to prefer a quiet

walk with Dick Varley to anything else under the sun.

But when Dick was inclined to be boisterous, Crusoe's

tail and ears rose at a moment's notice, and he was

ready for anything. Moreover, he obeyed commands

instantly and implicitly. In this respect he put to

shame most of the boys of the settlement, who were by

no means famed for their habits of prompt obedience.

Crusoe's eye was constantly watching the face of his

master. When Dick said "Go" he went, when he said

"Come" he came. If he had been in the midst of an

excited bound at the throat of a stag, and Dick had

called out, "Down, Crusoe," he would have sunk to the

earth like a stone. No doubt it took many months of

training to bring the dog to this state of perfection,

but Dick accomplished it by patience, perseverance, and


Besides all this, Crusoe could speak! He spoke by

means of the dog's dumb alphabet in a way that defies

description. He conversed, so to speak, with his extremities--his head


his tail. But his eyes, his soft

brown eyes, were the chief medium of communication.

If ever the language of the eyes was carried to perfection,

it was exhibited in the person of Crusoe. But,

indeed, it would be difficult to say which part of his expressive

face expressed most--the cocked ears of expectation,

the drooped ears of sorrow; the bright, full eye

of joy, the half-closed eye of contentment, and the

frowning eye of indignation accompanied with a slight,

a very slight pucker of the nose and a gleam of dazzling

ivory--ha! no enemy ever saw this last piece of

canine language without a full appreciation of what it

meant. Then as to the tail--the modulations of meaning

in the varied wag of that expressive member--oh!

it's useless to attempt description. Mortal man cannot

conceive of the delicate shades of sentiment expressible

by a dog's tail, unless he has studied the subject--the

wag, the waggle, the cock, the droop, the slope, the

wriggle! Away with description--it is impotent and

valueless here!

As we have said, Crusoe was meek and mild. He

had been bitten, on the sly, by half the ill-natured curs

in the settlement, and had only shown his teeth in return.

He had no enmities--though several enemies--and

he had a thousand friends, particularly among the

ranks of the weak and the persecuted, whom he always

protected and avenged when opportunity offered. A

single instance of this kind will serve to show his character.

One day Dick and Crusoe were sitting on a rock beside

the lake--the same identical rock near which, when

a pup, the latter had received his first lesson. They

were conversing as usual, for Dick had elicited such a

fund of intelligence from the dog's mind, and had injected

such wealth of wisdom into it, that he felt convinced

it understood every word he said.

"This is capital weather, Crusoe; ain't it, pup?"

Crusoe made a motion with his head which was

quite as significant as a nod.

"Ha! my pup, I wish that you and I might go and

have a slap at the grizzly bars, and a look at the Rocky

Mountains. Wouldn't it be nuts, pup?"

Crusoe looked dubious.

"What, you don't agree with me! Now tell me,

pup, wouldn't ye like to grip a bar?"

Still Crusoe looked dubious, but made a gentle motion

with his tail, as though he would have said, "I've seen

neither Rocky Mountains nor grizzly bars, and know

nothin' about 'em, but I'm open to conviction."

"You're a brave pup," rejoined Dick, stroking the

dog's huge head affectionately. "I wouldn't give you

for ten times your weight in golden dollars--if there

be sich things."

Crusoe made no reply whatever to this. He regarded

it as a truism unworthy of notice; he evidently felt that

a comparison between love and dollars was preposterous.

At this point in the conversation a little dog with a

lame leg hobbled to the edge of the rocks in front of

the spot where Dick was seated, and looked down into

the water, which was deep there. Whether it did so

for the purpose of admiring its very plain visage in the

liquid mirror, or finding out what was going on among

the fish, we cannot say, as it never told us; but at that

moment a big, clumsy, savage-looking dog rushed out

from the neighbouring thicket and began to worry it.

"Punish him, Crusoe," said Dick quickly.

Crusoe made one bound that a lion might have been

proud of, and seizing the aggressor by the back, lifted

him off his legs and held him, howling, in the air--at

the same time casting a look towards his master for

further instructions.

"Pitch him in," said Dick, making a sign with his


Crusoe turned and quietly dropped the dog into the

lake. Having regarded his struggles there for a few

moments with grave severity of countenance, he walked

slowly back and sat down beside his master.

The little dog made good its retreat as fast as three

legs would carry it; and the surly dog, having swum

ashore, retired sulkily, with his tail very much between

his legs.

Little wonder, then, that Crusoe was beloved by

great and small among the well-disposed of the canine

tribe of the Mustang Valley.

But Crusoe was not a mere machine. When not

actively engaged in Dick Varley's service, he busied

himself with private little matters of his own. He

undertook modest little excursions into the woods or

along the margin of the lake, sometimes alone, but

more frequently with a little friend whose whole heart

and being seemed to be swallowed up in admiration of

his big companion. Whether Crusoe botanized or

geologized on these excursions we will not venture to

say. Assuredly he seemed as though he did both, for

he poked his nose into every bush and tuft of moss,

and turned over the stones, and dug holes in the ground--and,

in short, if he did not understand these sciences,

he behaved very much as if he did. Certainly he

knew as much about them as many of the human

species do.

In these walks he never took the slightest notice of

Grumps (that was the little dog's name), but Grumps

made up for this by taking excessive notice of him.

When Crusoe stopped, Grumps stopped and sat down

to look at him. When Crusoe trotted on, Grumps

trotted on too. When Crusoe examined a bush, Grumps

sat down to watch him; and when he dug a hole,

Grumps looked into it to see what was there. Grumps

never helped him; his sole delight was in looking on.

They didn't converse much, these two dogs. To be in

each other's company seemed to be happiness enough--at

least Grumps thought so.

There was one point at which Grumps stopped short,

however, and ceased to follow his friend, and that was

when he rushed headlong into the lake and disported

himself for an hour at a time in its cool waters. Crusoe

was, both by nature and training, a splendid water-dog.

Grumps, on the contrary, held water in abhorrence; so

he sat on the shore of the lake disconsolate when his

friend was bathing, and waited till he came out. The

only time when Grumps was thoroughly nonplussed

was when Dick Varley's whistle sounded faintly in the

far distance. Then Crusoe would prick up his ears

and stretch out at full gallop, clearing ditch, and fence,

and brake with his strong elastic bound, and leaving

Grumps to patter after him as fast as his four-inch

legs would carry him. Poor Grumps usually arrived at

the village to find both dog and master gone, and would

betake himself to his own dwelling, there to lie down

and sleep, and dream, perchance, of rambles and gambols

with his gigantic friend.


A mission of peace--Unexpected joys--Dick and Crusoe set off for
the land of the Redskins, and meet with adventures by the
way as a matter of course--Night in the wild woods

One day the inhabitants of Mustang Valley were

thrown into considerable excitement by the

arrival of an officer of the United States army and a

small escort of cavalry. They went direct to the blockhouse,

which, since Major Hope's departure, had become

the residence of Joe Blunt--that worthy having, by

general consent, been deemed the fittest man in the

settlement to fill the major's place.

Soon it began to be noised abroad that the strangers

had been sent by Government to endeavour to bring

about, if possible, a more friendly state of feeling between

the Whites and the Indians by means of presents,

and promises, and fair speeches.

The party remained all night in the block-house, and

ere long it was reported that Joe Blunt had been requested,

and had consented, to be the leader and chief

of a party of three men who should visit the neighbouring

tribes of Indians to the west and north of the

valley as Government agents. Joe's knowledge of two

or three different Indian dialects, and his well-known

sagacity, rendered him a most fitting messenger on such

an errand. It was also whispered that Joe was to have

the choosing of his comrades in this mission, and many

were the opinions expressed and guesses made as to who

would be chosen.

That same evening Dick Varley was sitting in his

mother's kitchen cleaning his rifle. His mother was

preparing supper, and talking quietly about the obstinacy

of a particular hen that had taken to laying her

eggs in places where they could not be found. Fan

was coiled up in a corner sound asleep, and Crusoe was

sitting at one side of the fire looking on at things in


"I wonder," remarked Mrs. Varley, as she spread the

table with a pure white napkin--"I wonder what the

sodgers are doin' wi' Joe Blunt."

As often happens when an individual is mentioned,

the worthy referred to opened the door at that moment

and stepped into the room.

"Good e'en t'ye, dame," said the stout hunter, doffing

his cap, and resting his rifle in a corner, while Dick

rose and placed a chair for him.

"The same to you, Master Blunt," answered the widow;

"you've jist comed in good time for a cut o' venison."

"Thanks, mistress; I s'pose we're beholden to the

silver rifle for that."

"To the hand that aimed it, rather," suggested the


"Nay, then, say raither to the dog that turned it,"

said Dick Varley. "But for Crusoe, that buck would

ha' bin couched in the woods this night."

"Oh! if it comes to that," retorted Joe, "I'd lay it

to the door o' Fan, for if she'd niver bin born nother

would Crusoe. But it's good an' tender meat, whativer

ways ye got it. Howsiver, I've other things to talk

about jist now. Them sodgers that are eatin' buffalo

tongues up at the block-house as if they'd niver ate meat

before, and didn't hope to eat again for a twelvemonth--"

"Ay, what o' them?" interrupted Mrs. Varley; "I've

bin wonderin' what was their errand."

"Of coorse ye wos, Dame Varley, and I've comed

here a purpis to tell ye. They want me to go to the

Redskins to make peace between them and us; and

they've brought a lot o' goods to make them presents

withal--beads, an' knives, an' lookin'-glasses, an' vermilion

paint, an' sich like, jist as much as'll be a light

load for one horse--for, ye see, nothin' can be done wi'

the Redskins without gifts."

"'Tis a blessed mission," said the widow; "I wish it

may succeed. D'ye think ye'll go?"

"Go? ay, that will I."

"I only wish they'd made the offer to me," said Dick

with a sigh.

"An' so they do make the offer, lad. They've gin

me leave to choose the two men I'm to take with me,

and I've corned straight to ask
. Ay or no, for we

must up an' away by break o' day to-morrow."

Mrs. Varley started. "So soon?" she said, with a

look of anxiety.

"Ay; the Pawnees are at the Yellow Creek jist at

this time, but I've heerd they're 'bout to break up

camp an' away west; so we'll need to use haste."

"May I go, mother?" asked Dick, with a look of


There was evidently a conflict in the widow's breast,

but it quickly ceased.

"Yes, my boy," she said in her own low, quiet voice;

"and God go with ye. I knew the time must come

soon, an' I thank him that your first visit to the Redskins

will be on an errand o' peace. 'Blessed are the

peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of


Dick grasped his mother's hand and pressed it to his

cheek in silence. At the same moment Crusoe, seeing

that the deeper feelings of his master were touched, and

deeming it his duty to sympathize, rose up and thrust

his nose against him.

"Ah, pup," cried the young man hastily, "you must

go too.--Of course Crusoe goes, Joe Blunt?"

"Hum! I don't know that. There's no dependin' on

a dog to keep his tongue quiet in times o' danger."

"Believe me," exclaimed Dick, flashing with enthusiasm,

"Crusoe's more trustworthy than I am myself.

If ye can trust the master, ye're safe to trust the pup."

"Well, lad, ye may be right. We'll take him."

"Thanks, Joe. And who else goes with us?"

"I've' bin castin' that in my mind for some time, an'

I've fixed to take Henri. He's not the safest man in

the valley, but he's the truest, that's a fact. And now,

youngster, get yer horse an' rifle ready, and come to the

block-house at daybreak to-morrow.--Good luck to ye,

mistress, till we meet agin."

Joe Blunt rose, and taking up his rifle--without

which he scarcely ever moved a foot from his own door--left

the cottage with rapid strides.

"My son," said Mrs. Varley, kissing Dick's cheek as

he resumed his seat, "put this in the little pocket I

made for it in your hunting-shirt."

She handed him a small pocket Bible.

"Dear mother," he said, as he placed the book carefully

within the breast of his coat, "the Redskin that

takes that from me must take my scalp first. But

don't fear for me. You've often said the Lord would

protect me. So he will, mother, for sure it's an errand

o' peace."

"Ay that's it, that's it," murmured the widow in a


Dick Varley spent that night in converse with his

mother, and next morning at daybreak he was at the

place of meeting, mounted on his sturdy little horse,

with the "silver rifle" on his shoulder and Crusoe by

his side.

"That's right, lad, that's right. Nothin' like keepin'

yer time," said Joe, as he led out a pack-horse from the

gate of the block-house, while his own charger was held

ready saddled by a man named Daniel Brand, who had

been appointed to the charge of the block-house in his


"Where's Henri?--oh, here he comes!" exclaimed

Dick, as the hunter referred to came thundering up

the slope at a charge, on a horse that resembled its

rider in size and not a little in clumsiness of appearance.

"Ah! mes boy. Him is a goot one to go," cried

Henri, remarking Dick's smile as he pulled up. "No

hoss on de plain can beat dis one, surement."

"Now then, Henri, lend a hand to fix this pack; we've

no time to palaver."

By this time they were joined by several of the

soldiers and a few hunters who had come to see them


"Remember, Joe," said one, "if you don't come back

in three months we'll all come out in a band to seek you."

"If we don't come back in less than that time, what's

left o' us won't be worth seekin' for," said Joe, tightening

the girth of his saddle.

"Put a bit in yer own mouth, Henri," cried another,

as the Canadian arranged his steed's bridle; "yell need

it more than yer horse when ye git 'mong the red


"Vraiment, if mon mout' needs one bit, yours will

need one padlock."

"Now, lads, mount!" cried Joe Blunt as he vaulted

into the saddle.

Dick Varley sprang lightly on his horse, and Henri

made a rush at his steed and hurled his huge frame

across its back with a violence that ought to have

brought it to the ground; but the tall, raw-boned, broad-chested

roan was accustomed to the eccentricities of its

master, and stood the shock bravely. Being appointed

to lead the pack-horse, Henri seized its halter. Then

the three cavaliers shook their reins, and, waving their

hands to their comrades, they sprang into the woods at

full gallop, and laid their course for the "far west."

For some time they galloped side by side in silence,

each occupied with his own thoughts, Crusoe keeping

close beside his master's horse. The two elder hunters

evidently ruminated on the object of their mission and

the prospects of success, for their countenances were

grave and their eyes cast on the ground. Dick Varley,

too, thought upon the Red-men, but his musings were

deeply tinged with the bright hues of a

The mountains, the plains, the Indians, the bears, the

buffaloes, and a thousand other objects, danced wildly

before his mind's eye, and his blood careered through

his veins and flushed his forehead as he thought of

what he should see and do, and felt the elastic vigour

of youth respond in sympathy to the light spring of

his active little steed. He was a lover of nature, too,

and his flashing eyes glanced observantly from side to

side as they swept along--sometimes through glades

of forest trees, sometimes through belts of more open

ground and shrubbery; anon by the margin of a stream

or along the shores of a little lake, and often over short

stretches of flowering prairie-land--while the firm,

elastic turf sent up a muffled sound from the tramp of

their mettlesome chargers. It was a scene of wild,

luxuriant beauty, that might almost (one could fancy)

have drawn involuntary homage to its bountiful Creator

from the lips even of an infidel.

After a time Joe Blunt reined up, and they proceeded

at an easy ambling pace. Joe and his friend Henri

were so used to these beautiful scenes that they had

long ceased to be enthusiastically affected by them,

though they never ceased to delight in them.

"I hope," said Joe, "that them sodgers'll go their

ways soon. I've no notion o' them chaps when they're

left at a place wi' nothin' to do but whittle sticks."

"Why, Joe!" exclaimed Dick Varley in a tone of

surprise, "I thought you were admirin' the beautiful

face o' nature all this time, and ye're only thinkin' about

the sodgers. Now, that's strange!"

"Not so strange after all, lad," answered Joe. "When

a man's used to a thing, he gits to admire an' enjoy it

without speakin' much about it. But it
true, boy,

that mankind gits in coorse o' time to think little o'

the blissin's he's used to."

"Oui, c'est
!" murmured Henri emphatically.

"Well, Joe Blunt, it may be so, but I'm thankful

not used to this sort o' thing yet," exclaimed

Varley. "Let's have another gallop--so ho! come

along, Crusoe!" shouted the youth as he shook his reins

and flew over a long stretch of prairie on which at that

moment they entered.

Joe smiled as he followed his enthusiastic companion,

but after a short run he pulled up.

"Hold on, youngster," he cried; "ye must larn to do

as ye're bid, lad. It's trouble enough to be among wild

Injuns and wild buffaloes, as I hope soon to be, without

havin' wild comrades to look after."

Dick laughed, and reined in his panting horse. "I'll

be as obedient as Crusoe," he said, "and no one can

beat him."

"Besides," continued Joe, "the horses won't travel

far if we begin by runnin' all the wind out o'


"Wah!" exclaimed Henri, as the led horse became

restive; "I think we must give to him de pack-hoss for

to lead, eh?"

"Not a bad notion, Henri. We'll make that the

penalty of runnin' off again; so look out, Master Dick."

"I'm down," replied Dick, with a modest air, "obedient

as a baby, and won't run off again--till--the

next time. By the way, Joe, how many days' provisions

did ye bring?"

"Two. That's 'nough to carry us to the Great

Prairie, which is three weeks distant from this. Our

own good rifles must make up the difference, and keep

us when we get there."

"And s'pose we neither find deer nor buffalo," suggested


"I s'pose we'll have to starve."

"Dat is cumfer'able to tink upon," remarked Henri.

"More comfortable to think o' than to undergo," said

Dick; "but I s'pose there's little chance o' that."

"Well, not much," replied Joe Blunt, patting his

horse's neck, "but d'ye see, lad, ye niver can count for

sartin on anythin'. The deer and buffalo ought to be

thick in them plains at this time--and when the buffalo

thick they covers the plains till ye can hardly see

the end o' them; but, ye see, sometimes the rascally

Redskins takes it into their heads to burn the prairies,

and sometimes ye find the place that should ha' bin

black wi' buffalo, black as a coal wi' fire for miles an'

miles on end. At other times the Redskins go huntin'

in 'ticlur places, and sweeps them clean o' every hoof

that don't git away. Sometimes, too, the animals seems

to take a scunner at a place, and keeps out o' the way.

But one way or another men gin' rally manage to

scramble through."

"Look yonder, Joe," exclaimed Dick, pointing to the

summit of a distant ridge, where a small black object

was seen moving against the sky, "that's a deer, ain't


Joe shaded his eyes with his hand, and gazed earnestly

at the object in question. "Ye're right, boy; and by

good luck we've got the wind of him. Cut in an' take

your chance now. There's a long strip o' wood as'll

let ye git close to him."

Before the sentence was well finished Dick and

Crusoe were off at full gallop. For a few hundred

yards they coursed along the bottom of a hollow; then

turning to the right they entered the strip of wood, and

in a few minutes gained the edge of it. Here Dick


"You can't help me here, Crusoe. Stay where you

are, pup, and hold my horse."

Crusoe seized the end of the line, which was fastened

to the horse's nose, in his mouth, and lay down on

a hillock of moss, submissively placing his chin on his

forepaws, and watching his master as he stepped noiselessly

through the wood. In a few minutes Dick

emerged from among the trees, and creeping from bush

to bush, succeeded in getting to within six hundred

yards of the deer, which was a beautiful little antelope.

Beyond the bush behind which he now crouched all was

bare open ground, without a shrub or a hillock large

enough to conceal the hunter. There was a slight undulation

in the ground, however, which enabled him to

advance about fifty yards farther, by means of lying

down quite flat and working himself forward like a serpent.

Farther than this he could not move without

being seen by the antelope, which browsed on the ridge

before him in fancied security. The distance was too

great even for a long shot; but Dick knew of a weak

point in this little creature's nature which enabled him

to accomplish his purpose--a weak point which it shares

in common with animals of a higher order--namely,


The little antelope of the North American prairies is

intensely curious about everything that it does not

quite understand, and will not rest satisfied until it has

endeavoured to clear up the mystery. Availing himself

of this propensity, Dick did what both Indians and

hunters are accustomed to do on these occasions--he

put a piece of rag on the end of his ramrod, and keeping

his person concealed and perfectly still, waved this

miniature flag in the air. The antelope noticed it at

once, and, pricking up its ears, began to advance, timidly

and slowly, step by step, to see what remarkable phenomenon

it could be. In a few seconds the flag was

lowered, a sharp crack followed, and the antelope fell

dead upon the plain.

"Ha, boy! that's a good supper, anyhow," cried Joe,

as he galloped up and dismounted.

"Goot! dat is better nor dried meat," added Henri.

"Give him to me; I will put him on my hoss, vich is

strongar dan yourn. But ver is your hoss?"

"He'll be here in a minute," replied Dick, putting his

fingers to his mouth and giving forth a shrill whistle.

The instant Crusoe heard the sound he made a savage

and apparently uncalled-for dash at the horse's heels.

This wild act, so contrary to the dog's gentle nature, was

a mere piece of acting. He knew that the horse would

not advance without getting a fright, so he gave him

one in this way, which sent him off at a gallop. Crusoe

followed close at his heels, so as to bring the line alongside

of the nag's body, and thereby prevent its getting

entangled; but despite his best efforts the horse got on

one side of a tree and he on the other, so he wisely let

go his hold of the line, and waited till more open ground

enabled him to catch it again. Then he hung heavily

back, gradually checked the horse's speed, and finally

trotted him up to his master's side.

"'Tis a cliver cur, good sooth," exclaimed Joe Blunt

in surprise.

"Ah, Joe! you haven't seen much of Crusoe yet.

He's as good as a man any day. I've done little else

but train him for two years gone by, and he can do

most anything but shoot--he can't handle the rifle


"Ha! then, I tink perhaps hims could if he wos try,"

said Henri, plunging on to his horse with a laugh, and

arranging the carcass of the antelope across the pommel

of his saddle.

Thus they hunted and galloped, and trotted and

ambled on through wood and plain all day, until the

sun began to descend below the tree-tops of the bluffs

on the west. Then Joe Blunt looked about him for a

place on which to camp, and finally fixed on a spot

under the shadow of a noble birch by the margin of a

little stream. The carpet of grass on its banks was soft

like green velvet, and the rippling waters of the brook

were clear as crystal--very different from the muddy

Missouri into which it flowed.

While Dick Varley felled and cut up firewood, Henri

unpacked the horses and turned them loose to graze,

and Joe kindled the fire and prepared venison steaks

and hot tea for supper.

In excursions of this kind it is customary to "hobble"

the horses--that is, to tie their fore-legs together, so

that they cannot run either fast or far, but are free

enough to amble about with a clumsy sort of hop in

search of food. This is deemed a sufficient check on

their tendency to roam, although some of the knowing

horses sometimes learn to hop so fast with their hobbles

as to give their owners much trouble to recapture them.

But when out in the prairies where Indians are known

or supposed to be in the neighbourhood, the horses are

picketed by means of a pin or stake attached to the

ends of their long lariats, as well as hobbled; for Indians

deem it no disgrace to steal or tell lies, though

they think it disgraceful to be found out in doing either.

And so expert are these dark-skinned natives of the

western prairies, that they will creep into the midst of

an enemy's camp, cut the lariats and hobbles of several

horses, spring suddenly on their backs, and gallop away.

They not only steal from white men, but tribes that

are at enmity steal from each other, and the boldness

with which they do this is most remarkable. When

Indians are travelling in a country where enemies are

prowling, they guard their camps at night with jealous

care. The horses in particular are both hobbled and

picketed, and sentries are posted all round the camp.

Yet, in spite of these precautions, hostile Indians manage

to elude the sentries and creep into the camp. When a

thief thus succeeds in effecting an entrance, his chief

danger is past. He rises boldly to his feet, and wrapping

his blanket or buffalo robe round him, he walks up

and down as if he were a member of the tribe. At the

same time he dexterously cuts the lariats of such horses

as he observes are not hobbled. He dare not stoop to

cut the hobbles, as the action would be observed, and

suspicion would be instantly aroused. He then leaps

on the best horse he can find, and uttering a terrific

war-whoop darts away into the plains, driving the loosened

horses before him.

No such dark thieves were supposed to be near the

camp under the birch-tree, however, so Joe, and Dick,

and Henri ate their supper in comfort, and let their

horses browse at will on the rich pasturage.

A bright ruddy fire was soon kindled, which created,

as it were, a little ball of light in the midst of surrounding

darkness for the special use of our hardy hunters.

Within this magic circle all was warm, comfortable, and

cheery; outside all was dark, and cold, and dreary by


When the substantial part of supper was disposed of,

tea and pipes were introduced, and conversation began

to flow. Then the three saddles were placed in a row;

each hunter wrapped himself in his blanket, and pillowing

his head on his saddle, stretched his feet towards

the fire and went to sleep, with his loaded rifle by his

side and his hunting-knife handy in his belt. Crusoe

mounted guard by stretching himself out

Dick Varley's side. The faithful dog slept lightly, and

never moved all night; but had any one observed him

closely he would have seen that every fitful flame that

burst from the sinking fire, every unusual puff of wind,

and every motion of the horses that fed or rested hard

by, had the effect of revealing a speck of glittering

white in Crusoe's watchful eye.


The great prairies of the far west
A remarkable colony
discovered, and a miserable night endured

Of all the hours of the night or day the hour that

succeeds the dawn is the purest, the most joyous,

and the best. At least so think we, and so think hundreds

and thousands of the human family. And so

thought Dick Varley, as he sprang suddenly into a

sitting posture next morning, and threw his arms with

an exulting feeling of delight round the neck of Crusoe,

who instantly sat up to greet him.

This was an unusual piece of enthusiasm on the part

of Dick; but the dog received it with marked satisfaction,

rubbed his big hairy cheek against that of his

young master, and arose from his sedentary position in

order to afford free scope for the use of his tail.

"Ho! Joe Blunt! Henri! Up, boys, up! The sun

will have the start o' us. I'll catch the nags."

So saying Dick bounded away into the woods, with

Crusoe gambolling joyously at his heels. Dick soon

caught his own horse, and Crusoe caught Joe's. Then

the former mounted and quickly brought in the other


Returning to the camp he found everything packed

and ready to strap on the back of the pack-horse.

"That's the way to do it, lad," cried Joe. "Here,

Henri, look alive and git yer beast ready. I do believe

ye're goin' to take another snooze!"

Henri was indeed, at that moment, indulging in a

gigantic stretch and a cavernous yawn; but he finished

both hastily, and rushed at his poor horse as if he intended

to slay it on the spot. He only threw the saddle

on its back, however, and then threw himself on the


"Now then, all ready?"

"Ay"--"Oui, yis!"

And away they went at full stretch again on their


Thus day after day they travelled, and night after

night they laid them down to sleep under the trees of

the forest, until at length they reached the edge of the

Great Prairie.

It was a great, a memorable day in the life of Dick

Varley, that on which he first beheld the prairie--the

vast boundless prairie. He had heard of it, talked of

it, dreamed about it, but he had never--no, he had

never realized it. 'Tis always thus. Our conceptions

of things that we have not seen are almost invariably

wrong. Dick's eyes glittered, and his heart swelled, and

his cheeks flushed, and his breath came thick and quick.

"There it is," he gasped, as the great rolling plain

broke suddenly on his enraptured gaze; "that's it--oh!--"

Dick uttered a yell that would have done credit to

the fiercest chief of the Pawnees, and being unable to

utter another word, he swung his cap in the air and

sprang like an arrow from a bow over the mighty ocean

of grass. The sun had just risen to send a flood of

golden glory over the scene, the horses were fresh, so

the elder hunters, gladdened by the beauty of all around

them, and inspired by the irresistible enthusiasm of

their young companion, gave the reins to the horses and

flew after him. It was a glorious gallop, that first

headlong dash over the boundless prairie of the "far


The prairies have often been compared, most justly,

to the ocean. There is the same wide circle of space

bounded on all sides by the horizon; there is the same

swell, or undulation, or succession of long low unbroken

waves that marks the ocean when it is calm; they are

canopied by the same pure sky, and swept by the same

untrammelled breezes. There are islands, too--clumps

of trees and willow-bushes--which rise out of this

grassy ocean to break and relieve its uniformity; and

these vary in size and numbers as do the isles of ocean,

being numerous in some places, while in others they are

so scarce that the traveller does not meet one in a long

day's journey. Thousands of beautiful flowers decked

the greensward, and numbers of little birds hopped

about among them.

"Now, lads," said Joe Blunt, reining up, "our troubles

begin to-day."

"Our troubles?--our joys, you mean!" exclaimed

Dick Varley.

"P'r'aps I don't mean nothin' o' the sort," retorted

Joe. "Man wos never intended to swaller his joys

without a strong mixtur' o' troubles. I s'pose he couldn't stand 'em


Ye see we've got to the prairie now--"

"One blind hoss might see dat!" interrupted Henri.

"An' we may or may not diskiver buffalo. An'

water's scarce, too, so we'll need to look out for it pretty

sharp, I guess, else we'll lose our horses, in which case

we may as well give out at once. Besides, there's

rattlesnakes about in sandy places, we'll ha' to look out

for them; an' there's badger holes, we'll need to look

sharp for them lest the horses put their feet in 'em; an'

there's Injuns, who'll look out pretty sharp for

they once get wind that we're in them parts."

"Oui, yis, mes boys; and there's rain, and tunder, and

lightin'," added Henri, pointing to a dark cloud which

was seen rising on the horizon ahead of them.

"It'll be rain," remarked Joe; "but there's no thunder

in the air jist now. We'll make for yonder clump

o' bushes and lay by till it's past."

Turning a little to the right of the course they had

been following, the hunters galloped along one of the

hollows between the prairie waves before mentioned, in

the direction of a clump of willows. Before reaching

it, however, they passed over a bleak and barren plain

where there was neither flower nor bird. Here they

were suddenly arrested by a most extraordinary sight--at

least it was so to Dick Varley, who had never seen

the like before. This was a colony of what Joe called

"prairie-dogs." On first beholding them Crusoe uttered

a sort of half growl, half bark of surprise, cocked his

tail and ears, and instantly prepared to charge; but he

glanced up at his master first for permission. Observing

that his finger and his look commanded "silence," he

dropped his tail at once and stepped to the rear. He

did not, however, cease to regard the prairie-dogs with

intense curiosity.

These remarkable little creatures have been egregiously

misnamed by the hunters of the west, for they

bear not the slightest resemblance to dogs, either in formation

or habits. They are, in fact, the marmot, and in

size are little larger than squirrels, which animals they

resemble in some degree. They burrow under the light

soil, and throw it up in mounds like moles.

Thousands of them were running about among their

dwellings when Dick first beheld them; but the moment

they caught sight of the horsemen rising over the ridge

they set up a tremendous hubbub of consternation.

Each little beast instantly mounted guard on the top of

his house, and prepared, as it were, "to receive cavalry."

The most ludicrous thing about them was that, although

the most timid and cowardly creatures in the

world, they seemed the most impertinent things that

ever lived! Knowing that their holes afforded them a

perfectly safe retreat, they sat close beside them; and as

the hunters slowly approached, they elevated their heads,

wagged their little tails, showed their teeth, and chattered

at them like monkeys. The nearer they came the

more angry and furious did the prairie-dogs become,

until Dick Varley almost fell off his horse with suppressed

laughter. They let the hunters come close up,

waxing louder and louder in their wrath; but the instant

a hand was raised to throw a stone or point a

gun, a thousand little heads dived into a thousand holes,

and a thousand little tails wriggled for an instant in

the air--then a dead silence reigned over the deserted


"Bien, them's have dive into de bo'-els of de eart',"

said Henri with a broad grin.

Presently a thousand noses appeared, and nervously

disappeared, like the wink of an eye. Then they appeared

again, and a thousand pair of eyes followed.

Instantly, like Jack in the box, they were all on the top

of their hillocks again, chattering and wagging their

little tails as vigorously as ever. You could not say

that you
them jump out of their holes. Suddenly,

as if by magic, they
out; then Dick tossed up his

arms, and suddenly, as if by magic, they were gone!

Their number was incredible, and their cities were

full of riotous activity. What their occupations were

the hunters could not ascertain, but it was perfectly

evident that they visited a great deal and gossiped

tremendously, for they ran about from house to house,

and sat chatting in groups; but it was also observed

that they never went far from their own houses. Each

seemed to have a circle of acquaintance in the immediate

neighbourhood of his own residence, to which in case of

sudden danger he always fled.

But another thing about these prairie-dogs (perhaps,

considering their size, we should call them prairie-doggies), another


about them, we say, was that

each doggie lived with an owl, or, more correctly, an

owl lived with each doggie! This is such an extraordinary

that we could scarce hope that men would

believe us, were our statement not supported by dozens

of trustworthy travellers who have visited and written

about these regions. The whole plain was covered with

these owls. Each hole seemed to be the residence of an

owl and a doggie, and these incongruous couples lived

together apparently in perfect harmony.

We have not been able to ascertain from travellers

the owls have gone to live with these doggies, so

we beg humbly to offer our own private opinion to the

reader. We assume, then, that owls find it absolutely

needful to have holes. Probably prairie-owls cannot dig

holes for themselves. Having discovered, however, a

race of little creatures that could, they very likely determined

to take forcible possession of the holes made

by them. Finding, no doubt, that when they did so

the doggies were too timid to object, and discovering,

moreover, that they were sweet, innocent little creatures,

the owls resolved to take them into partnership,

and so the thing was settled--that's how it came about,

no doubt of it!

There is a report that rattlesnakes live in these holes

also; but we cannot certify our reader of the truth of

this. Still it is well to be acquainted with a report that

is current among the men of the backwoods. If it be

true, we are of opinion that the doggie's family is the

most miscellaneous and remarkable on the face of--or,

as Henri said, in the bo'-els of the earth.

Dick and his friends were so deeply absorbed in

watching these curious little creatures that they did not

observe the rapid spread of the black clouds over the

sky. A few heavy drops of rain now warned them to

seek shelter, so wheeling round they dashed off at full

speed for the clump of willows, which they gained just

as the rain began to descend in torrents.

"Now, lads, do it slick. Off packs and saddles," cried

Joe Blunt, jumping from his horse. "I'll make a hut

for ye, right off."

"A hut, Joe! what sort o' hut can ye make here?"

inquired Dick.

"Ye'll see, boy, in a minute."

"Ach! lend me a hand here, Dick; de bockle am

tight as de hoss's own skin. Ah! dere all right."

"Hallo! what's this?" exclaimed Dick, as Crusoe

advanced with something in his mouth. "I declare, it's

a bird o' some sort."

"A prairie-hen," remarked Joe, as Crusoe laid the

bird at Dick's feet; "capital for supper."

"Ah! dat chien is superb! goot dog. Come here, I

vill clap you."

But Crusoe refused to be caressed. Meanwhile, Joe

and Dick formed a sort of beehive-looking hut by

bending down the stems of a tall bush and thrusting

their points into the ground. Over this they threw the

largest buffalo robe, and placed another on the ground

below it, on which they laid their packs of goods.

These they further secured against wet by placing

several robes over them and a skin of parchment. Then

they sat down on this pile to rest, and consider what

should be done next.

"'Tis a bad look-out," said Joe, shaking his head.

"I fear it is," replied Dick in a melancholy tone.

Henri said nothing, but he sighed deeply on looking

up at the sky, which was now of a uniform watery gray,

while black clouds drove athwart it. The rain was

pouring in torrents, and the wind began to sweep it in

broad sheets over the plains, and under their slight covering,

so that in a short time they were wet to the skin.

The horses stood meekly beside them, with their tails

and heads equally pendulous; and Crusoe sat before his

master, looking at him with an expression that seemed

to say, "Couldn't you put a stop to this if you were to


"This'll never do. I'll try to git up a fire," said

Dick, jumping up in desperation.

"Ye may save yerself the trouble," remarked Joe

dryly--at least as dryly as was possible in the circumstances.

However, Dick did try, but he failed signally. Everything

was soaked and saturated. There were no large

trees; most of the bushes were green, and the dead ones

were soaked. The coverings were slobbery, the skins

they sat on were slobbery, the earth itself was slobbery;

so Dick threw his blanket (which was also slobbery)

round his shoulders, and sat down beside his companions

to grin and bear it. As for Joe and Henri, they were

old hands and accustomed to such circumstances. From

the first they had resigned themselves to their fate, and

wrapping their wet blankets round them sat down, side

by side, wisely to endure the evils that they could not


There is an old rhyme, by whom composed we know

not, and it matters little, which runs thus,--


"For every evil under the sun

There is a remedy--or there's none.



If there is--try and find it;

If there isn't--never mind it!"


There is deep wisdom here in small compass. The

principle involved deserves to be heartily recommended.

Dick never heard of the lines, but he knew the principle

well, so he began to "never mind it" by sitting down

beside his companions and whistling vociferously. As

the wind rendered this a difficult feat, he took to singing

instead. After that he said, "Let's eat a bite, Joe,

and then go to bed."

"Be all means," said Joe, who produced a mass of

dried deer's meat from a wallet.

"It's cold grub," said Dick, "and tough."

But the hunters' teeth were sharp and strong, so they

ate a hearty supper and washed it down with a drink

of rain water collected from a pool on the top of their

hut. They now tried to sleep, for the night was advancing,

and it was so dark that they could scarce see

their hands when held up before their faces. They sat

back to back, and thus, in the form of a tripod, began

to snooze. Joe's and Henri's seasoned frames would

have remained stiff as posts till morning; but Dick's

body was young and pliant, so he hadn't been asleep a

few seconds when he fell forward into the mud and

effectually awakened the others. Joe gave a grunt,

and Henri exclaimed, "Hah!" but Dick was too sleepy

and miserable to say anything. Crusoe, however, rose

up to show his sympathy, and laid his wet head on his

master's knee as he resumed his place. This catastrophe

happened three times in the space of an hour, and by

the third time they were all awakened up so thoroughly

that they gave up the attempt to sleep, and amused

each other by recounting their hunting experiences and

telling stories. So engrossed did they become that day

broke sooner than they had expected, and just in proportion

as the gray light of dawn rose higher into the

eastern sky did the spirits of these weary men rise

within their soaking bodies.


The "wallering" peculiarities of buffalo bulls--The first buffalo
hunt and its consequences--Crusoe comes to the rescue--Pawnees
discovered--A monster buffalo hunt--Joe acts the part of ambassador

Fortunately the day that succeeded the dreary

night described in the last chapter was warm

and magnificent. The sun rose in a blaze of splendour,

and filled the atmosphere with steam from the moist


The unfortunates in the wet camp were not slow to

avail themselves of his cheering rays. They hung up

everything on the bushes to dry, and by dint of extreme

patience and cutting out the comparatively dry hearts

of several pieces of wood, they lighted a fire and boiled

some rain-water, which was soon converted into soup.

This, and the exercise necessary for the performance of

these several duties, warmed and partially dried them;

so that when they once more mounted their steeds and

rode away, they were in a state of comparative comfort

and in excellent spirits. The only annoyance was the

clouds of mosquitoes and large flies that assailed men

and horses whenever they checked their speed.

"I tell ye wot it is," said Joe Blunt, one fine morning

about a week after they had begun to cross the prairie,

"it's my 'pinion that we'll come on buffaloes soon. Them

tracks are fresh, an' yonder's one o' their wallers that's

bin used not long agone."

"I'll go have a look at it," cried Dick, trotting away

as he spoke.

Everything in these vast prairies was new to Dick

Varley, and he was kept in a constant state of excitement

during the first week or two of his journey. It

is true he was quite familiar with the names and habits

of all the animals that dwelt there; for many a time and

oft had he listened to the "yarns" of the hunters and

trappers of the Mustang Valley, when they returned

laden with rich furs from their periodical hunting expeditions.

But this knowledge of his only served to

whet his curiosity and his desire to
the denizens of

the prairies with his own eyes; and now that his wish

was accomplished, it greatly increased the pleasures of

his journey.

Dick had just reached the "wallow" referred to by

Joe Blunt, and had reined up his steed to observe it

leisurely, when a faint hissing sound reached his ear.

Looking quickly back, he observed his two companions

crouching on the necks of their horses, and slowly descending

into a hollow of the prairie in front of them,

as if they wished to bring the rising ground between

them and some object in advance. Dick instantly followed

their example, and was soon at their heels.

"Ye needn't look at the waller," whispered Joe, "for

a' tother side o' the ridge there's a bull

"Ye don't mean it!" exclaimed Dick, as they all dismounted

and picketed their horses to the plain.

"Oui," said Henri, tumbling off his horse, while a

broad grin overspread his good-natured countenance,

"it is one fact! One buffalo bull be wollerin' like a

enormerous hog. Also, dere be t'ousands o' buffaloes

farder on."

"Can ye trust yer dog keepin' back?" inquired Joe,

with a dubious glance at Crusoe.

"Trust him! Ay, I wish I was as sure o' myself."

"Look to yer primin', then, an' we'll have tongues

and marrow bones for supper to-night, I'se warrant.

Hist! down on yer knees and go softly. We might

ha' run them down on horseback, but it's bad to wind

yer beasts on a trip like this, if ye can help it; an' it's

about as easy to stalk them. Leastways, we'll try.

Lift yer head slowly, Dick, an' don't show more nor the

half o't above the ridge."

Dick elevated his head as directed, and the scene that

met his view was indeed well calculated to send an

electric shock to the heart of an ardent sportsman.

The vast plain beyond was absolutely blackened with

countless herds of buffaloes, which were browsing on

the rich grass. They were still so far distant that their

bellowing, and the trampling of their myriad hoofs, only

reached the hunters like a faint murmur on the breeze.

In the immediate foreground, however, there was a

group of about half-a-dozen buffalo cows feeding quietly,

and in the midst of them an enormous old bull was

enjoying himself in his wallow. The animals, towards

which our hunters now crept with murderous intent,

are the fiercest and the most ponderous of the ruminating

inhabitants of the western wilderness. The name of

, however, is not correct. The animal is the
and bears no resemblance whatever to the buffalo proper;

but as the hunters of the far west, and, indeed,

travellers generally, have adopted the misnomer, we bow

to the authority of custom and adopt it too.

Buffaloes roam in countless thousands all over the

North American prairies, from the Hudson Bay Territories,

north of Canada, to the shores of the Gulf of


The advance of white men to the west has driven

them to the prairies between the Missouri and the Rocky

Mountains, and has somewhat diminished their numbers;

but even thus diminished, they are still innumerable in

the more distant plains. Their colour is dark brown,

but it varies a good deal with the seasons. The hair

or fur, from its great length in winter and spring and

exposure to the weather, turns quite light; but when

the winter coat is shed off, the new growth is a beautiful

dark brown, almost approaching to jet-black. In

form the buffalo somewhat resembles the ox, but its

head and shoulders are much larger, and are covered

with a profusion of long shaggy hair which adds greatly

to the fierce aspect of the animal. It has a large hump

on the shoulder, and its fore-quarters are much larger,

in proportion, than the hind-quarters. The horns are

short and thick, the hoofs are cloven, and the tail is

short, with a tuft of hair at the extremity.

It is scarcely possible to conceive a wilder or more

ferocious and terrible monster than a buffalo bull. He

often grows to the enormous weight of two thousand

pounds. His lion-like mane falls in shaggy confusion

quite over his head and shoulders, down to the ground.

When he is wounded he becomes imbued with the spirit

of a tiger: he stamps, bellows, roars, and foams forth

his rage with glaring eyes and steaming nostrils, and

charges furiously at man and horse with utter recklessness.

Fortunately, however, he is not naturally pugnacious,

and can be easily thrown into a sudden panic.

Moreover, the peculiar position of his eye renders this

creature not so terrible as he would otherwise be to the

hunter. Owing to the stiff structure of the neck, and

the sunken, downward-looking eyeball, the buffalo cannot,

without an effort, see beyond the direct line of

vision presented to the habitual carriage of his head.

When, therefore, he is wounded, and charges, he does so

in a straight line, so that his pursuer can leap easily

out of his way. The pace of the buffalo is clumsy, and

slow, yet, when chased, he dashes away over

the plains in blind blundering terror, at a rate that

leaves all but good horses far behind. He cannot keep

the pace up, however, and is usually soon overtaken.

Were the buffalo capable of the same alert and agile

motions of head and eye peculiar to the deer or wild

horse, in addition to his "bovine rage," he would be the

most formidable brute on earth. There is no object,

perhaps, so terrible as the headlong advance of a herd

of these animals when thoroughly aroused by terror.

They care not for their necks. All danger in front is

forgotten, or not seen, in the terror of that from which

they fly. No thundering cataract is more tremendously

irresistible than the black bellowing torrent which sometimes

pours through the narrow defiles of the Rocky

Mountains, or sweeps like a roaring flood over the

trembling plains.

The wallowing, to which we have referred, is a luxury

usually indulged in during the hot months of summer,

when the buffaloes are tormented by flies, and heat, and

drought. At this season they seek the low grounds in

the prairies where there is a little stagnant water lying

amongst the grass, and the ground underneath, being

saturated, is soft. The leader of the herd, a shaggy old

bull, usually takes upon himself to prepare the wallow.

It was a rugged monster of the largest size that did

so on the present occasion, to the intense delight of

Dick Varley, who begged Joe to lie still and watch the

operation before trying to shoot one of the buffalo

cows. Joe consented with a nod, and the four spectators--for

Crusoe was as much taken up with the

proceedings as any of them--crouched in the grass, and

looked on.

Coming up to the swampy spot, the old bull gave a

grunt of satisfaction, and going down on one knee,

plunged his short thick horns into the mud, tore it up,

and cast it aside. Having repeated this several times,

he plunged his head in, and brought it forth saturated

with dirty water and bedaubed with lumps of mud,

through which his fierce eyes gazed, with a ludicrous

expression of astonishment, straight in the direction of

the hunters, as if he meant to say, "I've done it that

time, and no mistake!" The other buffaloes seemed to

think so too, for they came up and looked on with an

expression that seemed to say, "Well done, old fellow;

try that again!"

The old fellow did try it again, and again, and again,

plunging, and ramming, and tearing up the earth, until

he formed an excavation large enough to contain his

huge body. In this bath he laid himself comfortably

down, and began to roll and wallow about until he

mixed up a trough full of thin soft mud, which

completely covered him. When he came out of the

hole there was scarcely an atom of his former self


The coat of mud thus put on by bulls is usually permitted

by them to dry, and is not finally got rid of

until long after, when oft-repeated rollings on the grass

and washings by rain at length clear it away.

When the old bull vacated this delectable bath,

another bull, scarcely if at all less ferocious-looking,

stepped forward to take his turn; but he was interrupted

by a volley from the hunters, which scattered

the animals right and left, and sent the mighty herds

in the distance flying over the prairie in wild terror.

The very turmoil of their own mad flight added to their

panic, and the continuous thunder of their hoofs was

heard until the last of them disappeared on the horizon.

The family party which had been fired at, however, did

not escape so well, Joe's rifle wounded a fat young

cow, and Dick Varley brought it down. Henri had

done his best, but as the animals were too far distant

for his limited vision, he missed the cow he fired at, and

hit the young bull whose bath had been interrupted.

The others scattered and fled.

"Well done, Dick," exclaimed Joe Blunt, as they all

ran up to the cow that had fallen. "Your first shot at

the buffalo was a good un. Come, now, an' I'll show ye

how to cut it up an' carry off the tit-bits."

"Ah, mon dear ole bull!" exclaimed Henri, gazing

after the animal which he had wounded, and which was

now limping slowly away. "You is not worth goin'

after. Farewell--adieu."

"He'll be tough enough, I warrant," said Joe; "an'

we've more meat here nor we can lift."

"But wouldn't it be as well to put the poor brute

out o' pain?" suggested Dick.

"Oh, he'll die soon enough," replied Joe, tucking up

his sleeves and drawing his long hunting-knife.

Dick, however, was not satisfied with this way of

looking at it. Saying that he would be back in a few

minutes, he reloaded his rifle, and calling Crusoe to his

side, walked quickly after the wounded bull, which was

now hid from view in a hollow of the plain.

In a few minutes he came in sight of it, and ran

forward with his rifle in readiness.

"Down, Crusoe," he whispered; "wait for me here."

Crusoe crouched in the grass instantly, and Dick

advanced. As he came on, the bull observed him, and

turned round bellowing with rage and pain to receive

him. The aspect of the brute on a near view was so

terrible that Dick involuntarily stopped too, and gazed

with a mingled feeling of wonder and awe, while it

bristled with passion, and blood-streaked foam dropped

from its open jaws, and its eyes glared furiously.

Seeing that Dick did not advance, the bull charged him

with a terrific roar; but the youth had firm nerves,

and although the rush of such a savage creature at full

speed was calculated to try the courage of any man,

especially one who had never seen a buffalo bull before,

Dick did not lose presence of mind. He remembered

the many stories he had listened to of this very thing

that was now happening; so, crushing down his excitement

as well as he could, he cocked his rifle and

awaited the charge. He knew that it was of no use to

fire at the head of the advancing foe, as the thickness

of the skull, together with the matted hair on the forehead,

rendered it impervious to a bullet.

When the bull was within a yard of him he leaped

lightly to one side and it passed. Just as it did so,

Dick aimed at its heart and fired, but his knowledge of

the creature's anatomy was not yet correct. The ball

entered the shoulder too high, and the bull, checking

himself as well as he could in his headlong rush, turned

round and made at Dick again.

The failure, coupled with the excitement, proved too

much for Dick; he could not resist discharging his

second barrel at the brute's head as it came on. He

might as well have fired at a brick wall. It shook its

shaggy front, and with a hideous bellow thundered forward.

Again Dick sprang to one side, but in doing so

a tuft of grass or a stone caught his foot, and he fell

heavily to the ground.

Up to this point Crusoe's admirable training had

nailed him to the spot where he had been left, although

the twitching of every fibre in his body and a low continuous

whine showed how gladly he would have hailed

permission to join in the combat; but the instant he

saw his master down, and the buffalo turning to charge

again, he sprang forward with a roar that would have

done credit to his bovine enemy, and seized him by the

nose. So vigorous was the rush that he well-nigh

pulled the bull down on its side. One toss of its head,

however, sent Crusoe high into the air; but it accomplished

this feat at the expense of its nose, which was

torn and lacerated by the dog's teeth.

Scarcely had Crusoe touched the ground, which he

did with a sounding thump, than he sprang up and

flew at his adversary again. This time, however, he

adopted the plan of barking furiously and biting by

rapid yet terrible snaps as he found opportunity, thus

keeping the bull entirely engrossed, and affording Dick

an opportunity of reloading his rifle, which he was not

slow to do. Dick then stepped close up, and while the

two combatants were roaring in each other's faces, he

shot the buffalo through the heart. It fell to the earth

with a deep groan.

Crusoe's rage instantly vanished on beholding this,

and he seemed to be filled with tumultuous joy at his

master's escape, for he gambolled round him, and whined

and fawned upon him in a manner that could not be


"Good dog; thank'ee, my pup," said Dick, patting

Crusoe's head as he stooped to brush the dust from his

leggings. "I don't know what would ha' become o' me

but for your help, Crusoe."

Crusoe turned his head a little to one side, wagged

his tail, and looked at Dick with an expression that

said quite plainly, "I'd die for you, I would--not

once, or twice, but ten times, fifty times if need be--and

that not merely to save your life, but even to

please you."

There is no doubt whatever that Crusoe felt something

of this sort. The love of a Newfoundland dog to

its master is beyond calculation or expression. He who

once gains such love carries the dog's life in his hand.

But let him who reads note well, and remember that

there is only one coin that can purchase such love, and

that is
. The coin, too, must be genuine. Kindness

will not do, it must be

"Hallo, boy, ye've bin i' the wars!" exclaimed Joe,

raising himself from his task as Dick and Crusoe returned.

"You look more like it than I do," retorted Dick,


This was true, for cutting up a buffalo carcass with

no other instrument than a large knife is no easy

matter. Yet western hunters and Indians can do it

without cleaver or saw, in a way that would surprise

a civilized butcher not a little. Joe was covered with

blood up to the elbows. His hair, happening to have

a knack of getting into his eyes, had been so often

brushed off with bloody hands, that his whole visage

was speckled with gore, and his dress was by no means


While Dick related his adventure, or

with the bull, Joe and Henri completed the cutting out

of the most delicate portions of the buffalo--namely,

the hump on its shoulder--which is a choice piece,

much finer than the best beef--and the tongue, and

a few other parts. The tongues of buffaloes are superior

to those of domestic cattle. When all was ready

the meat was slung across the back of the pack-horse;

and the party, remounting their horses, continued their

journey, having first cleansed themselves as well as they

could in the rather dirty waters of an old wallow.

"See," said Henri, turning to Dick and pointing to a

circular spot of green as they rode along, "that is one


"Ay," remarked Joe; "after the waller dries, it becomes

a ring o' greener grass than the rest o' the plain,

as ye see. Tis said the first hunters used to wonder

greatly at these myster'ous circles, and they invented

all sorts o' stories to account for 'em. Some said they

wos fairy-rings, but at last they comed to know they

wos nothin' more nor less than places where buffaloes

wos used to waller in. It's often seemed to me that if

we knowed the
o' things, we wouldn't be so

much puzzled wi' them as we are."

The truth of this last remark was so self-evident

and incontrovertible that it elicited no reply, and the

three friends rode on for a considerable time in silence.

It was now past noon, and they were thinking of

calling a halt for a short rest to the horses and a pipe

to themselves, when Joe was heard to give vent to one

of those peculiar hisses that always accompanied either

a surprise or a caution. In the present case it indicated


"What now, Joe?"

"Injuns!" ejaculated Joe.

"Eh! fat you say? Ou is dey?"

Crusoe at this moment uttered a low growl. Ever

since the day he had been partially roasted he had

maintained a rooted antipathy to Red-men. Joe immediately

dismounted, and placing his ear to the ground

listened intently. It is a curious fact that by placing

the ear close to the ground sounds can be heard distinctly

which could not be heard at all if the listener

were to maintain an erect position.

"They're arter the buffalo," said Joe, rising, "an' I

think it's likely they're a band o' Pawnees. Listen an'

ye'll hear their shouts quite plain."

Dick and Henri immediately lay down and placed

their ears to the ground.

"Now, me hear noting," said Henri, jumping up, "but

me ear is like me eyes--ver' short-sighted."

"I do hear something," said Dick as he got up, "but

the beating o' my own heart makes row enough to spoil

my hearin'."

Joe Blunt smiled. "Ah! lad, ye're young, an' yer

blood's too hot yet; but bide a bit--you'll cool down

soon. I wos like you once. Now, lads, what think

ye we should do?"

"You know best, Joe."

"Oui, nodoubtedly.'

"Then wot I advise is that we gallop to the broken

sand hillocks ye see yonder, get behind them, an' take

a peep at the Redskins. If they are Pawnees, we'll go

up to them at once; if not, we'll hold a council o' war

on the spot."

Having arranged this, they mounted and hastened

towards the hillocks in question, which they reached

after ten minutes' gallop at full stretch. The sandy

mounds afforded them concealment, and enabled them

to watch the proceedings of the savages in the plain

below. The scene was the most curious and exciting

that can be conceived. The centre of the plain before

them was crowded with hundreds of buffaloes, which

were dashing about in the most frantic state of alarm.

To whatever point they galloped they were met by

yelling savages on horseback, who could not have

been fewer in numbers than a thousand, all being

armed with lance, bow, and quiver, and mounted on

active little horses. The Indians had completely surrounded

the herd of buffaloes, and were now advancing

steadily towards them, gradually narrowing the circle,

and whenever the terrified animals endeavoured to

break through the line, they rushed to that particular

spot in a body, and scared them back again into the


Thus they advanced until they closed in on their

prey and formed an unbroken circle round them, whilst

the poor brutes kept eddying and surging to and fro

in a confused mass, hooking and climbing upon each

other, and bellowing furiously. Suddenly the horsemen

made a rush, and the work of destruction began.

The tremendous turmoil raised a cloud of dust that

obscured the field in some places, and hid it from our

hunters' view. Some of the Indians galloped round

and round the circle, sending their arrows whizzing up

to the feathers in the sides of the fattest cows. Others

dashed fearlessly into the midst of the black heaving

mass, and, with their long lances, pierced dozens of

them to the heart. In many instances the buffaloes,

infuriated by wounds, turned fiercely on their assailants

and gored the horses to death, in which cases the men

had to trust to their nimble legs for safety. Sometimes

a horse got jammed in the centre of the swaying

mass, and could neither advance nor retreat. Then

the savage rider leaped upon the buffaloes' backs, and

springing from one to another, like an acrobat, gained

the outer edge of the circle; not failing, however, in his

strange flight, to pierce with his lance several of the

fattest of his stepping-stones as he sped along.

A few of the herd succeeded in escaping from the

blood and dust of this desperate battle, and made off

over the plains; but they were quickly overtaken, and

the lance or the arrow brought them down on the green

turf. Many of the dismounted riders were chased by

bulls; but they stepped lightly to one side, and, as the

animals passed, drove their arrows deep into their sides.

Thus the tumultuous war went on, amid thundering

tread, and yell, and bellow, till the green plain was

transformed into a sea of blood and mire, and every

buffalo of the herd was laid low.

It is not to be supposed that such reckless warfare

is invariably waged without damage to the savages.

Many were the wounds and bruises received that day,

and not a few bones were broken, but happily no lives

were lost.

"Now, lads, now's our time. A bold and fearless

look's the best at all times. Don't look as if ye

doubted their friendship; and mind, wotever ye do,

don't use yer arms. Follow me."

Saying this, Joe Blunt leaped on his horse, and,

bounding over the ridge at full speed, galloped headlong

across the plain.

The savages observed the strangers instantly, and a

loud yell announced the fact as they assembled from

all parts of the field brandishing their bows and spears.

Joe's quick eye soon distinguished their chief, towards

whom he galloped, still at full speed, till within a yard

or two of his horse's head; then he reined up suddenly.

So rapidly did Joe and his comrades approach, and so

instantaneously did they pull up, that their steeds were

thrown almost on their haunches.

The Indian chief did not move a muscle. He was

a tall, powerful savage, almost naked, and mounted on

a coal-black charger, which he sat with the ease of a

man accustomed to ride from infancy. He was, indeed,

a splendid-looking savage, but his face wore a dark

frown, for, although he and his band had visited the

settlements and trafficked with the fur-traders on the

Missouri, he did not love the "Pale-faces," whom he

regarded as intruders on the hunting-grounds of his

fathers, and the peace that existed between them at

that time was of a very fragile character. Indeed, it

was deemed by the traders impossible to travel through

the Indian country at that period except in strong force,

and it was the very boldness of the present attempt that

secured to our hunters anything like a civil reception.

Joe, who could speak the Pawnee tongue fluently,

began by explaining the object of his visit, and spoke

of the presents which he had brought for the great

chief; but it was evident that his words made little

impression. As he discoursed to them the savages crowded round the

little party, and began to handle and examine their dresses and

weapons with a degree of rudeness that caused Joe considerable


"Mahtawa believes that the heart of the Pale-face

is true," said the savage, when Joe paused, "but he

does not choose to make peace. The Pale-faces are

grasping. They never rest. They turn their eyes to

the great mountains and say, 'There we will stop.'

But even there they will not stop. They are never

satisfied; Mahtawa knows them well."

This speech sank like a death-knell into the hearts

of the hunters, for they knew that if the savages refused

to make peace, they would scalp them all and appropriate

their goods. To make things worse, a dark-visaged

Indian suddenly caught hold of Henri's rifle,

and, ere he was aware, had plucked it from his hand.

The blood rushed to the gigantic hunter's forehead, and

he was on the point of springing at the man, when Joe

said in a deep quiet voice,--

"Be still, Henri. You will but hasten death."

At this moment there was a movement in the outskirts

of the circle of horsemen, and another chief rode

into the midst of them. He was evidently higher in

rank than Mahtawa, for he spoke authoritatively to the

crowd, and stepped in before him. The hunters drew

little comfort from the appearance of his face, however,

for it scowled upon them. He was not so powerful

a man as Mahtawa, but he was more gracefully

formed, and had a more noble and commanding countenance.

"Have the Pale-faces no wigwams on the great river

that they should come to spy out the lands of the

Pawnee?" he demanded.

"We have not come to spy your country," answered

Joe, raising himself proudly as he spoke, and taking off

his cap. "We have come with a message from the great

chief of the Pale-faces, who lives in the village far

beyond the great river where the sun rises. He says,

Why should the Pale-face and the Red-man fight?

They are brothers. The same Manitou[*] watches over

both. The Pale-faces have more beads, and guns, and

blankets, and knives, and vermilion than they require;

they wish to give some of these things for the skins

and furs which the Red-man does not know what to

do with. The great chief of the Pale-faces has sent me

to say, Why should we fight? let us smoke the pipe of


At the mention of beads and blankets the face of the

wily chief brightened for a moment. Then he said


"The heart of the Pale-face is not true. He has

come here to trade for himself. San-it-sa-rish has eyes

that can see; they are not shut. Are not these your

goods?" The chief pointed to the pack-horse as he spoke.

"Trappers do not take their goods into the heart

of an enemy's camp," returned Joe. "San-it-sa-rish is

wise, and will understand this. These are gifts to the

chief of the Pawnees. There are more awaiting him

when the pipe of peace is smoked. I have said. What

message shall we take back to the great chief of the


[Footnote *: The Indian name for God.]

San-it-sa-rish was evidently mollified.

"The hunting-field is not the council tent," he said.

"The Pale-faces will go with us to our village."

Of course Joe was too glad to agree to this proposal,

but he now deemed it politic to display a little firmness.

"We cannot go till our rifle is restored. It will not

do to go back and tell the great chief of the Pale-faces

that the Pawnees are thieves."

The chief frowned angrily.

"The Pawnees are true; they are not thieves. They

choose to
at the rifle of the Pale-face. It shall be


The rifle was instantly restored, and then our hunters

rode off with the Indians towards their camp. On the

way they met hundreds of women and children going

to the scene of the great hunt, for it was their special

duty to cut up the meat and carry it into camp. The

men, considering that they had done quite enough in

killing it, returned to smoke and eat away the fatigues

of the chase.

As they rode along, Dick Varley observed that some

of the "braves," as Indian warriors are styled, were

eating pieces of the bloody livers of the buffaloes in a

raw state, at which he expressed not a little disgust.

"Ah, boy! you're green yet," remarked Joe Blunt in

an undertone. "Mayhap ye'll be thankful to do that

same yerself some day."

"Well, I'll not refuse to try when it is needful," said

Dick with a laugh; "meanwhile I'm content to see the

Redskins do it, Joe Blunt."


Dick and his friends visit the Indians and see many
wonders--Crusoe, too, experiences a few surprises, and teaches
Indian dogs a lesson--An Indian dandy--A foot-race.

The Pawnee village, at which they soon arrived, was

situated in the midst of a most interesting and

picturesque scene.

It occupied an extensive plain which sloped gently

down to a creek,[*] whose winding course was marked

by a broken line of wood, here and there interspersed

with a fine clump of trees, between the trunks of which

the blue waters of a lake sparkled in the distance.

Hundreds of tents or "lodges" of buffalo-skins covered

the ground, and thousands of Indians--men, women,

and children--moved about the busy scene. Some

were sitting in their lodges, lazily smoking their pipes.

But these were chiefly old and infirm veterans, for all

the young men had gone to the hunt which we have just

described. The women were stooping over their fires,

busily preparing maize and meat for their husbands

and brothers; while myriads of little brown and naked

children romped about everywhere, filling the air with

their yells and screams, which were only equalled, if not

surpassed, by the yelping dogs that seemed innumerable.

[Footnote *: In America small rivers or rivulets are termed "creeks."]

Far as the eye could reach were seen scattered herds

of horses. These were tended by little boys who were

totally destitute of clothing, and who seemed to enjoy

with infinite zest the pastime of shooting-practice with

little bows and arrows. No wonder that these Indians

become expert bowmen. There were urchins there,

scarce two feet high, with round bullets of bodies and

short spindle-shanks, who could knock blackbirds off

the trees at every shot, and cut the heads off the taller

flowers with perfect certainty! There was much need,

too, for the utmost proficiency they could attain, for the

very existence of the Indian tribes of the prairies depends

on their success in hunting the buffalo.

There are hundreds and thousands of North American

savages who would undoubtedly perish, and their tribes

become extinct, if the buffaloes were to leave the prairies

or die out. Yet, although animals are absolutely essential

to their existence, they pursue and slay them with

improvident recklessness, sometimes killing hundreds of

them merely for the sake of the sport, the tongues, and

the marrow bones. In the bloody hunt described in the

last chapter, however, the slaughter of so many was not

wanton, because the village that had to be supplied with

food was large, and, just previous to the hunt, they had

been living on somewhat reduced allowance. Even the

blackbirds shot by the brown-bodied urchins before mentioned

had been thankfully put into the pot. Thus

precarious is the supply of food among the Red-men,

who on one day are starving, and the next are revelling

in superabundance.

But to return to our story. At one end of this village

the creek sprang over a ledge of rock in a low cascade

and opened out into a beautiful lake, the bosom

of which was studded with small islands. Here were

thousands of those smaller species of wild water-fowl

which were either too brave or too foolish to be scared

away by the noise of the camp. And here, too, dozens

of children were sporting on the beach, or paddling

about in their light bark canoes.

"Isn't it strange," remarked Dick to Henri, as they

passed among the tents towards the centre of the village--"isn't

it strange that them Injuns should be so

fond o' fightin', when they've got all they can want--a

fine country, lots o' buffalo, an', as far as I can see,

happy homes?"

"Oui, it is remarkaibel, vraiment. Bot dey do more

love war to peace. Dey loves to be excit-ed, I s'pose."

"Humph! One would think the hunt we seed a little

agone would be excitement enough. But, I say, that

must he the chiefs tent, by the look o't."

Dick was right. The horsemen pulled up and dismounted

opposite the principal chief's tent, which was

a larger and more elegant structure than the others.

Meanwhile an immense concourse of women, children,

and dogs gathered round the strangers, and while the

latter yelped their dislike to white men, the former

chattered continuously, as they discussed the appearance

of the strangers and their errand, which latter soon

became known. An end was put to this by San-it-sa-rish

desiring the hunters to enter the tent, and spreading

a buffalo robe for them to sit on. Two braves

carried in their packs, and then led away their horses.

All this time Crusoe had kept as close as possible to

his master's side, feeling extremely uncomfortable in the

midst of such a strange crowd, the more especially that

the ill-looking Indian curs gave him expressive looks

of hatred, and exhibited some desire to rush upon him

in a body, so that he had to keep a sharp look-out

all round him. When therefore Dick entered the tent,

Crusoe endeavoured to do so along with him; but he

was met by a blow on the nose from an old squaw, who

scolded him in a shrill voice and bade him begone.

Either our hero's knowledge of the Indian language

was insufficient to enable him to understand the order,

or he had resolved not to obey it, for instead of retreating,

he drew a deep gurgling breath, curled his nose,

and displayed a row of teeth that caused the old woman

to draw back in alarm. Crusoe's was a forgiving spirit.

The instant that opposition ceased he forgot the injury,

and was meekly advancing, when Dick held up his


"Go outside, pup, and wait."

Crusoe's tail drooped; with a deep sigh he turned

and left the tent. He took up a position near the entrance,

however, and sat down resignedly. So meek,

indeed, did the poor dog look that six mangy-looking

curs felt their dastardly hearts emboldened to make a

rush at him with boisterous yells.

Crusoe did not rise. He did not even condescend to

turn his head toward them; but he looked at them out

of the corner of his dark eye, wrinkled--very slightly--the

skin of his nose, exhibited two beautiful fangs,

and gave utterance to a soft remark, that might be described as quiet,

deep-toned gurgling. It wasn't much,

but it was more than enough for the valiant six, who

paused and snarled violently.

It was a peculiar trait of Crusoe's gentle nature that,

the moment any danger ceased, he resumed his expression

of nonchalant gravity. The expression on this

occasion was misunderstood, however; and as about two

dozen additional yelping dogs had joined the ranks of

the enemy, they advanced in close order to the attack.

Crusoe still sat quiet, and kept his head high; but he

at them again, and exhibited four fangs for their

inspection. Among the pack there was one Indian dog

of large size--almost as large as Crusoe himself--which

kept well in the rear, and apparently urged the lesser

dogs on. The little dogs didn't object, for little dogs

are generally the most pugnacious. At this big dog

Crusoe directed a pointed glance, but said nothing.

Meanwhile a particularly small and vicious cur, with a

mere rag of a tail, crept round by the back of the tent,

and coming upon Crusoe in rear, snapped at his tail

sharply, and then fled shrieking with terror and surprise,

no doubt, at its own temerity.

Crusoe did not bark; he seldom barked; he usually

either said nothing, or gave utterance to a prolonged

roar of indignation of the most terrible character, with

barks, as it were, mingled through it. It somewhat

resembled that peculiar and well-known species of thunder,

the prolonged roll of which is marked at short

intervals in its course by cannon-like cracks. It was

a continuous, but, so to speak,

On receiving the snap, Crusoe gave forth

with a majesty and power that scattered the pugnacious

front rank of the enemy to the winds. Those that still

remained, half stupified, he leaped over with a huge

bound, and alighted, fangs first, on the back of the big

dog. There was one hideous yell, a muffled scramble of

an instant's duration, and the big dog lay dead upon

the plain!

It was an awful thing to do, but Crusoe evidently

felt that the peculiar circumstances of the case required

that an example should be made; and to say truth, all

things considered, we cannot blame him. The news

must have been carried at once through the canine portion

of the camp, for Crusoe was never interfered with

again after that.

Dick witnessed this little incident; but he observed

that the Indian chief cared not a straw about it, and as

his dog returned quietly and sat down in its old place

he took no notice of it either, but continued to listen

to the explanations which Joe gave to the chief, of the

desire of the Pale-faces to be friends with the Red-men.

Joe's eloquence would have done little for him on

this occasion had his hands been empty, but he followed

it up by opening one of his packs and displaying the

glittering contents before the equally glittering eyes of

the chief and his squaws.

"These," said Joe, "are the gifts that the great chief

of the Pale-faces sends to the great chief of the Pawnees.

And he bids me say that there are many more things in

his stores which will be traded for skins with the Red-men,

when they visit him; and he also says that if the

Pawnees will not steal horses any more from the Pale-faces, they shall

receive gifts of knives, and guns, and

powder, and blankets every year."

"Wah!" grunted the chief; "it is good. The great

chief is wise. We will smoke the pipe of peace."

The things that afforded so much satisfaction to San-it-sa-rish

were the veriest trifles. Penny looking-glasses

in yellow gilt tin frames, beads of various colours, needles,

cheap scissors and knives, vermilion paint, and coarse

scarlet cloth, etc. They were of priceless value, however,

in the estimation of the savages, who delighted to

adorn themselves with leggings made from the cloth,

beautifully worked with beads by their own ingenious

women. They were thankful, too, for knives even of

the commonest description, having none but bone ones

of their own; and they gloried in daubing their faces

with intermingled streaks of charcoal and vermilion.

To gaze at their visages, when thus treated, in the little

penny looking-glasses is their summit of delight!

Joe presented the chief with a portion of these coveted

goods, and tied up the remainder. We may remark

here that the only thing which prevented the savages

from taking possession of the whole at once, without

asking permission, was the promise of the annual gifts,

which they knew would not be forthcoming were any

evil to befall the deputies of the Pale-faces. Nevertheless,

it cost them a severe struggle to restrain their

hands on this occasion, and Joe and his companions felt

that they would have to play their part well in order

to fulfil their mission with safety and credit.

"The Pale-faces may go now and talk with the

braves," said San-it-sa-rish, after carefully examining

everything that was given to him; "a council will be

called soon, and we will smoke the pipe of peace."

Accepting this permission to retire, the hunters immediately

left the tent; and being now at liberty to do

what they pleased, they amused themselves by wandering

about the village.

"He's a cute chap that," remarked Joe, with a sarcastic

smile; "I don't feel quite easy about gettin' away.

He'll bother the life out o' us to get all the goods we've

got, and, ye see, as we've other tribes to visit, we must

give away as little as we can here."

"Ha! you is right," said Henri; "dat fellow's eyes

twinkle at de knives and tings like two stars."

"Fire-flies, ye should say. Stars are too soft an'

beautiful to compare to the eyes o' yon savage," said

Dick, laughing. "I wish we were well away from

them. That rascal Mahtawa is an ugly customer."

"True, lad," returned Joe; "had
bin the great

chief our scalps had bin dryin' in the smoke o' a Pawnee

wigwam afore now. What now, lad?"

Joe's question was put in consequence of a gleeful

smile that overspread the countenance of Dick Varley,

who replied by pointing to a wigwam towards which

they were approaching.

"Oh! that's only a dandy," exclaimed Joe. "There's

lots o' them in every Injun camp. They're fit for

nothin' but dress, poor contemptible critters."

Joe accompanied his remark with a sneer, for of all

pitiable objects he regarded an unmanly man as the

most despicable. He consented, however, to sit down

on a grassy bank and watch the proceedings of this

Indian dandy, who had just seated himself in front of

his wigwam for the purpose of making his toilet.

He began it by greasing his whole person carefully

and smoothly over with buffalo fat, until he shone like

a patent leather boot; then he rubbed himself almost

dry, leaving the skin sleek and glossy. Having proceeded

thus far, he took up a small mirror, a few inches

in diameter, which he or some other member of the tribe

must have procured during one of their few excursions

to the trading-forts of the Pale-faces, and examined himself,

as well as he could, in so limited a space. Next,

he took a little vermilion from a small parcel and

rubbed it over his face until it presented the somewhat

demoniac appearance of a fiery red. He also drew a

broad red score along the crown of his head, which was

closely shaved, with the exception of the usual tuft or

scalplock on the top. This scalplock stood bristling

straight up a few inches, and then curved over and

hung down his back about two feet. Immense care and

attention was bestowed on this lock. He smoothed it,

greased it, and plaited it into the form of a pigtail.

Another application was here made to the glass, and the

result was evidently satisfactory, to judge from the

beaming smile that played on his features. But, not

content with the general effect, he tried the effect of


portentously, scowled savagely, gaped

hideously, and grinned horribly a ghastly smile.

Then our dandy fitted into his ears, which were

bored in several places, sundry ornaments, such as rings,

wampum, etc., and hung several strings of beads round

his neck. Besides these he affixed one or two ornaments

to his arms, wrists, and ankles, and touched in a

few effects with vermilion on the shoulders and breast.

After this, and a few more glances at the glass, he put

on a pair of beautiful moccasins, which, besides being

richly wrought with beads, were soft as chamois leather

and fitted his feet like gloves. A pair of leggings of

scarlet cloth were drawn on, attached to a waist-belt,

and bound below the knee with broad garters of variegated


It was some time before this Adonis was quite satisfied

with himself. He retouched the paint on his shoulders

several times, and modified the glare of that on his

wide-mouthed, high-cheek-boned visage, before he could

tear himself away; but at last he did so, and throwing

a large piece of scarlet cloth over his shoulders, he thrust

his looking-glass under his belt, and proceeded to mount

his palfrey, which was held in readiness near to the

tent door by one of his wives. The horse was really a

fine animal, and seemed worthy of a more warlike

master. His shoulders, too, were striped with red paint,

and feathers were intertwined with his mane and tail, while

the bridle was decorated with various jingling ornaments.

Vaulting upon his steed, with a large fan of wild

goose and turkey feathers in one hand, and a whip

dangling at the wrist of the other, this incomparable

dandy sallied forth for a promenade--that being his

chief delight when there was no buffalo hunting to be

done. Other men who were not dandies sharpened

their knives, smoked, feasted, and mended their spears

and arrows at such seasons of leisure, or played at

athletic games.

"Let's follow my buck," said Joe Blunt.

"Oui. Come 'long," replied Henri, striding after the

rider at a pace that almost compelled his comrades

to run.

"Hold on!" cried Dick, laughing; "we don't want

to keep him company. A distant view is quite enough

o' sich a chap as that."

"Mais you forgit I cannot see far."

"So much the better," remarked Joe; "it's my

opinion we've seen enough o' him. Ah! he's goin' to

look on at the games. Them's worth lookin' at."

The games to which Joe referred were taking place

on a green level plain close to the creek, and a little

above the waterfall before referred to. Some of the

Indians were horse-racing, some jumping, and others

wrestling; but the game which proved most attractive

was throwing the javelin, in which several of the young

braves were engaged.

This game is played by two competitors, each armed

with a dart, in an arena about fifty yards long. One

of the players has a hoop of six inches in diameter.

At a signal they start off on foot at full speed, and on

reaching the middle of the arena the Indian with the

hoop rolls it along before them, and each does his best

to send a javelin through the hoop before the other.

He who succeeds counts so many points; if both miss,

the nearest to the hoop is allowed to count, but not so

much as if he had "ringed" it. The Indians are very

fond of this game, and will play at it under a broiling

sun for hours together. But a good deal of the interest

attaching to it is owing to the fact that they make it a

means of gambling. Indians are inveterate gamblers,

and will sometimes go on until they lose horses, bows,

blankets, robes, and, in short, their whole personal

property. The consequences are, as might be expected,

that fierce and bloody quarrels sometimes arise in which

life is often lost.

"Try your hand at that," said Henri to Dick.

"By all means," cried Dick, handing his rifle to his

friend, and springing into the ring enthusiastically.

A general shout of applause greeted the Pale-face,

who threw off' his coat and tightened his belt, while, a

young Indian presented him with a dart.

"Now, see that ye do us credit, lad," said Joe.

"I'll try," answered Dick.

In a moment they were off. The young Indian

rolled away the hoop, and Dick threw his dart with

such vigour that it went deep into the ground, but

missed the hoop by a foot at least. The young Indian's

first dart went through the centre.

"Ha!" exclaimed Joe Blunt to the Indians near him,

"the lad's not used to that game; try him at a race.

Bring out your best brave--he whose bound is like the

hunted deer."

We need scarcely remind the reader that Joe spoke

in the Indian language, and that the above is a correct

rendering of the sense of what he said.

The name of Tarwicadia, or the little chief, immediately

passed from lip to lip, and in a few minutes an

Indian, a little below the medium size, bounded into

the arena with an indiarubber-like elasticity that caused

a shade of anxiety to pass over Joe's face.

"Ah, boy!" he whispered, "I'm afeard you'll find

him a tough customer."

"That's just what I want," replied Dick. "He's

supple enough, but he wants muscle in the thigh.

We'll make it a long heat."

"Right, lad, ye're right."

Joe now proceeded to arrange the conditions of the

race with the chiefs around him. It was fixed that the

distance to be run should be a mile, so that the race

would be one of two miles, out and back. Moreover,

the competitors were to run without any clothes, except

a belt and a small piece of cloth round the loins. This

to the Indians was nothing, for they seldom wore more

in warm weather; but Dick would have preferred to

keep on part of his dress. The laws of the course,

however, would not permit of this, so he stripped and

stood forth, the
of a well-formed, agile man.

He was greatly superior in size to his antagonist, and

more muscular, the savage being slender and extremely

lithe and springy.

"Ha! I will run too," shouted Henri, bouncing forward

with clumsy energy, and throwing off his coat

just as they were going to start.

The savages smiled at this unexpected burst, and

made no objection, considering the thing in the light of

a joke.

The signal was given, and away they went. Oh! it

would have done you good to have seen the way in

which Henri manoeuvred his limbs on this celebrated

occasion! He went over the ground with huge elephantine

bounds, runs, and jumps. He could not have been

said to have one style of running; he had a dozen

styles, all of which came into play in the course of half

as many minutes. The other two ran like the wind;

yet although Henri
to be going heavily over

the ground, he kept up with them to the turning-point.

As for Dick, it became evident in the first few minutes

that he could outstrip his antagonist with ease, and

was hanging back a little all the time. He shot ahead

like an arrow when they came about half-way back,

and it was clear that the real interest of the race was

to lie in the competition between Henri and Tarwicadia.

Before they were two-thirds of the way back, Dick

walked in to the winning-point, and turned to watch

the others. Henri's wind was about gone, for he exerted

himself with such violence that he wasted half

his strength. The Indian, on the contrary, was comparatively

fresh, but he was not so fleet as his antagonist,

whose tremendous strides carried him over the

ground at an incredible pace. On they came neck and

neck, till close on the score that marked the winning-point.

Here the value of enthusiasm came out strongly

in the case of Henri. He
that he could not gain

an inch on Tarwicadia to save his life, but just as he

came up he observed the anxious faces of his comrades

and the half-sneering countenances of the savages. His

heart thumped against his ribs, every muscle thrilled

with a gush of conflicting feelings, and he

over the score like a cannon shot, full six inches

ahead of the little chief!

But the thing did not by any means end here. Tarwicadia

pulled up the instant he had passed. Not so

our Canadian. Such a clumsy and colossal frame was

not to be checked in a moment. The crowd of Indians

opened up to let him pass, but unfortunately a small

tent that stood in the way was not so obliging. Into

it he went, head foremost, like a shell, carried away the

corner post with his shoulder, and brought the whole

affair down about his own ears and those of its inmates,

among whom were several children and two or three

dogs. It required some time to extricate them all from

the ruins, but when this was effected it was found that

no serious damage had been done to life or limb.


Crusoe acts a conspicuous and humane part
A friend
A great feast

When the foot-race was concluded the three

hunters hung about looking on at the various

games for some time, and then strolled towards the lake.

"Ye may be thankful yer neck's whole," said Joe,

grinning, as Henri rubbed his shoulder with a rueful

look. "An' we'll have to send that Injun and his family

a knife and some beads to make up for the fright they


"Ha! an' fat is to be give to me for my broke


"Credit, man, credit," said Dick Varley, laughing.

"Credit! fat is dat?"

"Honour and glory, lad, and the praises of them


"Ha! de praise? more probeebale de ill-vill of de

rascale. I seed dem scowl at me not ver' pritty."

"That's true, Henri; but sich as it is it's all ye'll git."

"I vish," remarked Henri after a pause--"I vish I

could git de vampum belt de leetle chief had on. It

vas superb. Fat place do vampums come from?"

"They're shells--"

"Oui," interrupted Henri; "I know
dey is. Dey

is shells, and de Injuns tink dem goot monish, mais I

ask you
fat place
de come from."

"They are thought to be gathered on the shores o'

the Pacific," said Joe. "The Injuns on the west o' the

Rocky Mountains picks them up and exchanges them

wi' the fellows hereaway for horses and skins--so I'm


At this moment there was a wild cry of terror heard

a short distance ahead of them. Rushing forward they

observed an Indian woman flying frantically down the

river's bank towards the waterfall, a hundred yards

above which an object was seen struggling in the water.

"'Tis her child," cried Joe, as the mother's frantic cry

reached his ear. "It'll be over the fall in a minute!

Run, Dick, you're quickest."

They had all started forward at speed, but Dick and

Crusoe were far ahead, and abreast of the spot in a few


"Save it, pup," cried Dick, pointing to the child,

which had been caught in an eddy, and was for a few

moments hovering on the edge of the stream that rushed

impetuously towards the fall.

The noble Newfoundland did not require to be told

what to do. It seems a natural instinct in this sagacious

species of dog to save man or beast that chances

to be struggling in the water, and many are the authentic

stories related of Newfoundland dogs saving life in cases

of shipwreck. Indeed, they are regularly trained to the

work in some countries; and nobly, fearlessly, disinterestedly

do they discharge their trust, often in the midst

of appalling dangers. Crusoe sprang from the bank

with such impetus that his broad chest ploughed up the

water like the bow of a boat, and the energetic workings

of his muscles were indicated by the force of each

successive propulsion as he shot ahead.

In a few seconds he reached the child and caught it

by the hair. Then he turned to swim back, but the

stream had got hold of him. Bravely he struggled, and

lifted the child breast-high out of the water in his

powerful efforts to stem the current. In vain. Each

moment he was carried inch by inch down until he was

on the brink of the fall, which, though not high, was a

large body of water and fell with a heavy roar. He

raised himself high out of the stream with the vigour of

his last struggle, and then fell back into the abyss.

By this time the poor mother was in a canoe as close

to the fall as she could with safety approach, and the

little bark danced like a cockle-shell on the turmoil of

waters as she stood with uplifted paddle and staring

eyeballs awaiting the rising of the child.

Crusoe came up almost instantly, but
, for the

dash over the fall had wrenched the child from his teeth.

He raised himself high up, and looked anxiously round

for a moment. Then he caught sight of a little hand

raised above the boiling flood. In one moment he had

the child again by the hair, and just as the prow of the

Indian woman's canoe touched the shore he brought the

child to land.

Springing towards him, the mother snatched her child

from the flood, and gazed at its death-like face with eyeballs

starting from their sockets. Then she laid her

cheek on its cold breast, and stood like a statue of despair.

There was one slight pulsation of the heart and

a gentle motion of the hand! The child still lived.

Opening up her blanket she laid her little one against

her naked, warm bosom, drew the covering close around

it, and sitting down on the bank wept aloud for joy.

"Come--come 'way quick," cried Henri, hurrying off

to hide the emotion which he could not crush down.

"Ay, she don't need our help now," said Joe, following

his comrade.

As for Crusoe, he walked along by his master's side

with his usual quiet, serene look of good-will towards all

mankind. Doubtless a feeling of gladness at having

saved a human life filled his shaggy breast, for he wagged

his tail gently after each shake of his dripping sides;

but his meek eyes were downcast, save when raised to

receive the welcome and unusually fervent caress. Crusoe

did not know that those three men loved him as

though he had been a brother.

On their way back to the village the hunters were

met by a little boy, who said that a council was to be

held immediately, and their presence was requested.

The council was held in the tent of the principal

chief, towards which all the other chiefs and many of

the noted braves hurried. Like all Indian councils, it

was preceded by smoking the "medicine pipe," and was

followed by speeches from several of the best orators.

The substance of the discourse differed little from what

has been already related in reference to the treaty between

the Pale-faces, and upon the whole it was satisfactory.

But Joe Blunt could not fail to notice that

Mahtawa maintained sullen silence during the whole

course of the meeting.

He observed also that there was a considerable change

in the tone of the meeting when he informed them that

he was bound on a similar errand of peace to several of

the other tribes, especially to one or two tribes which

were the Pawnees' bitter enemies at that time. These

grasping savages having quite made up their minds that

they were to obtain the entire contents of the two bales

of goods, were much mortified on hearing that part was

to go to other Indian tribes. Some of them even hinted

that this would not be allowed, and Joe feared at one

time that things were going to take an unfavourable

turn. The hair of his scalp, as he afterwards said,

"began to lift a little and feel oneasy." But San-it-sa-rish

stood honestly to his word, said that it would be

well that the Pale-faces and the Pawnees should be

brothers, and hoped that they would not forget the

promise of annual presents from the hand of the great

chief who lived in the big village near the rising sun.

Having settled this matter amicably, Joe distributed

among the Indians the proportion of his goods designed

for them; and then they all adjourned to another tent,

where a great feast was prepared for them.

"Are ye hungry?" inquired Joe of Dick as they

walked along.

"Ay, that am I. I feel as if I could eat a buffalo

alive. Why, it's my 'pinion we've tasted nothin' since

daybreak-this mornin'."

"Well, I've often told ye that them Redskins think

it a disgrace to give in eatin' till all that's set before

them at a feast is bolted. We'll ha' to stretch oursel's,

we will."

"I'se got a plenty room," remarked Henri.

"Ye have, but ye'll wish ye had more in a little."

"Bien, I not care!"

In quarter of an hour all the guests invited to this

great "medicine feast" were assembled. No women were

admitted. They never are at Indian feasts.

We may remark in passing that the word "medicine,"

as used among the North American Indians, has a very

much wider signification than it has with us. It is an

almost inexplicable word. When asked, they cannot

give a full or satisfactory explanation of it themselves.

In the general, we may say that whatever is mysterious

is "medicine." Jugglery and conjuring, of a noisy,

mysterious, and, we must add, rather silly nature, is

"medicine," and the juggler is a "medicine man." These

medicine men undertake cures; but they are regular

charlatans, and know nothing whatever of the diseases

they pretend to cure or their remedies. They carry

bags containing sundry relics; these are "medicine bags."

Every brave has his own private medicine bag. Everything

that is incomprehensible, or supposed to be supernatural,

religious, or medical, is "medicine." This feast,

being an unusual one, in honour of strangers, and in

connection with a peculiar and unexpected event, was

"medicine." Even Crusoe, since his gallant conduct in

saving the Indian child, was "medicine;" and Dick

Varley's double-barrelled rifle, which had been an object

of wonder ever since his arrival at the village, was

tremendous "medicine!"

Of course the Indians were arrayed in their best.

Several wore necklaces of the claws of the grizzly bear,

of which they are extremely proud; and a gaudily picturesque

group they were. The chief, however, had

undergone a transformation that well-nigh upset the

gravity of our hunters, and rendered Dick's efforts to

look solemn quite abortive. San-it-sa-rish had once been

to the trading-forts of the Pale-faces, and while there

had received the customary gift of a blue surtout with

brass buttons, and an ordinary hat, such as gentlemen

wear at home. As the coat was a good deal too small

for him, a terrible length of dark, bony wrist appeared

below the cuffs. The waist was too high, and it was

with great difficulty that he managed to button the

garment across his broad chest. Being ignorant of the

nature of a hat, the worthy savage had allowed the

paper and string with which it had been originally

covered to remain on, supposing them to be part and

parcel of the hat; and this, together with the high collar

of the coat, which gave him a crushed-up appearance,

the long black naked legs, and the painted visage, gave

to him a
tout ensemble
which we can compare to nothing,

as there was nothing in nature comparable to it.

Those guests who assembled first passed their time in

smoking the medicine pipe until the others should arrive,

for so long as a single invited guest is absent the feast

cannot begin. Dignified silence was maintained while

the pipe thus circulated from hand to hand. When the

last guest arrived they began.

The men were seated in two rows, face to face.

Feasts of this kind usually consist of but one species of

food, and on the present occasion it was an enormous

caldron full of maize which had to be devoured. About

fifty sat down to eat a quantity of what may be termed

thick porridge that would have been ample allowance

for a hundred ordinary men. Before commencing, San-it-sa-rish

desired an aged medicine man to make an oration,

which he did fluently and poetically. Its subject

was the praise of the giver of the feast. At the end of

each period there was a general "hou! hou!" of assent--equivalent

to the "hear! hear!" of civilized men.

Other orators then followed, all of whom spoke with

great ease and fluency, and some in the most impassioned

strains, working themselves and their audience up to the

highest pitch of excitement, now shouting with frenzied

violence till their eyes glared from their sockets and the

veins of their foreheads swelled almost to bursting as

they spoke of war and chase, anon breaking into soft

modulated and pleasing tones while they dilated upon

the pleasures of peace and hospitality.

After these had finished, a number of wooden bowls

full of maize porridge were put down between the guests--one

bowl to each couple facing each other. But before

commencing a portion was laid aside and dedicated to

their gods, with various mysterious ceremonies; for here,

as in other places where the gospel is not known, the

poor savages fancied that they could propitiate God with

sacrifices. They had never heard of the "sacrifice of a

broken spirit and a contrite heart." This offering being

made, the feast began in earnest. Not only was it a

rule in this feast that every mouthful should be swallowed

by each guest, however unwilling and unable he

should be to do so, but he who could dispose of it with

greatest speed was deemed the greatest man--at least

on that occasion--while the last to conclude his supper

was looked upon with some degree of contempt!

It seems strange that such a custom should ever have

arisen, and one is not a little puzzled in endeavouring

to guess at the origin of it. There is one fact that

occurs to us as the probable cause. The Indian is, as

we have before hinted, frequently reduced to a state

bordering on starvation, and in a day after he may be

burdened with superabundance of food. He oftentimes

therefore eats as much as he can stuff into his body

when he is blessed with plenty, so as to be the better

able to withstand the attacks of hunger that may possibly

be in store for him. The amount that an Indian

will thus eat at a single meal is incredible. He seems

to have the power of distending himself for the reception

of a quantity that would kill a civilized man.

Children in particular become like tightly inflated little

balloons after a feast, and as they wear no clothing, the

extraordinary rotundity is very obvious, not to say

ridiculous. We conclude therefore that unusual powers

of gormandizing, being useful, come at last to be cultivated

as praiseworthy.

By good fortune Dick and Joe Blunt happened to

have such enormous gluttons as
that the portions

of their respective bowls which they could not

devour were gobbled up for them. By good capacity

and digestion, with no small amount of effort, Henri

managed to dispose of his own share; but he was last of

being done, and fell in the savages' esteem greatly. The

way in which that sticky compost of boiled maize went

down was absolutely amazing. The man opposite Dick,

in particular, was a human boa-constrictor. He well-nigh

suffocated Dick with suppressed laughter. He was

a great raw-boned savage, with a throat of indiarubber,

and went quickly and quietly on swallowing mass after

mass with the solemn gravity of an owl. It mattered

not a straw to him that Dick took comparatively small

mouthfuls, and nearly choked on them too for want of

liquid to wash them down. Had Dick eaten none at all

he would have uncomplainingly disposed of the whole.

Jack the Giant-Killer's feats were nothing to his; and

when at last the bowl was empty, he stopped short like

a machine from which the steam had been suddenly cut

off, and laid down his buffalo horn-spoon
a sigh.

Dick sighed, though with relief and gratitude, when

his bowl was empty.

"I hope I may never have to do it again," said Joe

that night as they wended their way back to the chief's

tent after supper. "I wouldn't be fit for anything for

a week arter it."

Dick could only laugh, for any allusion to the feast

instantly brought back that owl-like gourmand to whom

he was so deeply indebted.

Henri groaned. "Oh! mes boy, I am speechless! I

am ready for bust! Oui--hah! I veesh it vas to-morrow."

Many a time that night did Henri "veesh it vas to-morrow,"

as he lay helpless on his back, looking up

through the roof of the chief's tent at the stars, and

listening enviously to the plethoric snoring of Joe Blunt.

He was entertained, however, during those waking

hours with a serenade such as few civilized ears ever

listen to. This was nothing else than a vocal concert

performed by all the dogs of the village, and as they

amounted to nearly two thousand the orchestra was a

pretty full one.

These wretches howled as if they had all gone mad.

Yet there was "method in their madness;" for they congregated

in a crowd before beginning, and sat down on

their haunches. Then one, which seemed to be the conductor,

raised his snout to the sky and uttered a long,

low, melancholy wail. The others took it up by twos

and threes, until the whole pack had their noses pointing

to the stars and their throats distended to the uttermost,

while a prolonged yell filled the air. Then it sank

gradually, one or two (bad performers probably) making

a yelping attempt to get it up again at the wrong time.

Again the conductor raised his nose, and out it came--full

swing. There was no vociferous barking. It was

simple wolfish howling increased in fervour to an electric

yell, with slight barks running continuously through it

like an obbligato accompaniment.

When Crusoe first heard the unwonted sound he

sprang to his feet, bristled up like a hyena, showed all

his teeth, and bounded out of the tent blazing with indignation

and astonishment. When he found out what

it was he returned quite sleek, and with a look of profound

contempt on his countenance as he resumed his

place by his master's side and went to sleep.


Our hunters plan their
Unexpected interruption
The tables
Crusoe mounts guard
The escape

Dick Varley sat before the fire ruminating. We

do not mean to assert that Dick had been previously

eating grass. By no means. For several days

past he had been mentally subsisting on the remarkable

things that he heard and saw in the Pawnee village,

and wondering how he was to get away without being

scalped. He was now chewing the cud of this intellectual

fare. We therefore repeat emphatically--in case any

reader should have presumed to contradict us--that

Dick Varley sat before the fire

Joe Blunt likewise sat by the fire along with him,

ruminating too, and smoking besides. Henri also sat

there smoking, and looking a little the worse of his

late supper.

"I don't like the look o' things," said Joe, blowing

a whiff of smoke slowly from his lips, and watching it

as it ascended into the still air. "That blackguard

Mahtawa is determined not to let us off till he gits all

our goods; an' if he gits them, he may as well take our

scalps too, for we would come poor speed in the prairies

without guns, horses, or goods."

Dick looked at his friend with an expression of concern.

"What's to be done?" said he.

"Ve must escape," answered Henri; but his tone was

not a hopeful one, for he knew the danger of their

position better than Dick.

"Ay, we must escape--at least we must try," said

Joe. "But I'll make one more effort to smooth over

San-it-sa-rish, an' git him to snub that villain Mahtawa."

Just as he spoke the villain in question entered the

tent with a bold, haughty air, and sat down before the

fire in sullen silence. For some minutes no one spoke,

and Henri, who happened at the time to be examining

the locks of Dick's rifle, continued to inspect them with

an appearance of careless indifference that he was far

from feeling.

Now, this rifle of Dick's had become a source of

unceasing wonder to the Indians--wonder which was

greatly increased by the fact that no one could discharge

it but himself. Dick had, during his short stay at the

Pawnee village, amused himself and the savages by exhibiting

his marvellous powers with the "silver rifle."

Since it had been won by him at the memorable match

in the Mustang Valley, it had scarce ever been out of

his hand, so that he had become decidedly the best shot

in the settlement, could "bark" squirrels (that is, hit

the bark of the branch on which a squirrel happened

to be standing, and so kill it by the concussion alone),

and could "drive the nail" every shot. The silver rifle,

as we have said, became "great medicine" to the Red-men

when they saw it kill at a distance which the few

wretched guns they had obtained from the fur-traders

could not even send a spent ball to. The double shot,

too, filled them with wonder and admiration; but that

which they regarded with an almost supernatural feeling

of curiosity was the percussion cap, which, in Dick's

hands, always exploded, but in theirs was utterly useless!

This result was simply owing to the fact that Dick,

after firing, handed the rifle to the Indians without

renewing the cap; so that when they loaded and attempted

to fire, of course it merely snapped. When he

wished again to fire, he adroitly exchanged the old cap

for a new one. He was immensely tickled by the

solemn looks of the Indians at this most incomprehensible

of all "medicines," and kept them for some days

in ignorance of the true cause, intending to reveal it

before he left. But circumstances now arose which

banished all trifling thoughts from his mind.

Mahtawa raised his head suddenly, and said, pointing

to the silver rifle, "Mahtawa wishes to have the two-shotted

medicine gun. He will give his best horse in exchange."

"Mahtawa is liberal," answered Joe; "but the pale-faced

youth cannot part with it. He has far to travel,

and must shoot buffaloes by the way."

"The pale-faced youth shall have a bow and arrows

to shoot the buffalo," rejoined the Indian.

"He cannot use the bow and arrow," answered Joe.

"He has not been trained like the Red-man."

Mahtawa was silent for a few seconds, and his dark

brows frowned more heavily than ever over his eyes.

"The Pale-faces are too bold," he exclaimed, working

himself into a passion. "They are in the power of

Mahtawa. If they will not give the gun he will take


He sprang suddenly to his feet as he spoke, and

snatched the rifle from Henri's hand.

Henri being ignorant of the language had not been

able to understand the foregoing conversation, although

he saw well enough that it was not an agreeable one;

but no sooner did he find himself thus rudely and unexpectedly

deprived of the rifle than he jumped up,

wrenched it in a twinkling from the Indian's grasp, and

hurled him violently out of the tent.

In a moment Mahtawa drew his knife, uttered a

savage yell, and sprang on the reckless hunter, who,

however, caught his wrist, and held it as if in a vice.

The yell brought a dozen warriors instantly to the spot,

and before Dick had time to recover from his astonishment,

Henri was surrounded and pinioned despite his

herculean struggles.

Before Dick could move, Joe Blunt grasped his arm,

and whispered quickly, "Don't rise. You can't help

him. They daren't kill him till San-it-sa-rish agrees."

Though much surprised, Dick obeyed, but it required

all his efforts, both of voice and hand, to control Crusoe,

whose mind was much too honest and straightforward

to understand such subtle pieces of diplomacy, and who

strove to rush to the rescue of his ill-used friend.

When the tumult had partly subsided, Joe Blunt rose

and said,--"Have the Pawnee braves turned traitors that they

draw the knife against those who have smoked with them the pipe of


and eaten their maize? The

Pale-faces are three; the Pawnees are thousands. If

evil has been done, let it be laid before the chief.

Mahtawa wishes to have the medicine gun. Although

we said, No, we could not part with it, he tried to take

it by force. Are we to go back to the great chief of

the Pale-faces and say that the Pawnees are thieves?

Are the Pale-faces henceforth to tell their children when

they steal, 'That is bad; that is like the Pawnee?'

No; this must not be. The rifle shall be restored, and

we will forget this disagreement. Is it not so?"

There was an evident disposition on the part of

many of the Indians, with whom Mahtawa was no favourite,

to applaud this speech; but the wily chief sprang

forward, and, with flashing eyes, sought to turn the


"The Pale-face speaks with soft words, but his heart

is false. Is he not going to make peace with the enemies

of the Pawnee? Is he not going to take goods to

them, and make them gifts and promises? The Pale-faces

are spies. They come to see the weakness of the

Pawnee camp; but they have found that it is strong.

Shall we suffer the false hearts to escape? Shall they

live? No; we will hang their scalps in our wigwams,

for they have
struck a chief
, and we will keep all their

goods for our squaws--wah!"

This allusion to keeping all the goods had more effect

on the minds of the vacillating savages than the chief's

eloquence. But a new turn was given to their thoughts

by Joe Blunt remarking in a quiet, almost contemptuous


"Mahtawa is not the

"True, true," they cried, and immediately hurried to

the tent of San-it-sa-rish.

Once again this chief stood between the hunters and

the savages, who wanted but a signal to fall on them.

There was a long palaver, which ended in Henri being

set at liberty and the rifle being restored.

That evening, as the three friends sat beside their

fire eating their supper of boiled maize and buffalo meat,

they laughed and talked as carelessly as ever; but the

gaiety was assumed, for they were at the time planning

their escape from a tribe which, they foresaw, would

not long refrain from carrying out their wishes, and

robbing, perhaps murdering them.

"Ye see," said Joe with a perplexed air, while he

drew a piece of live charcoal from the fire with his

fingers and lighted his pipe--"ye see, there's more difficulties

in the way o' gettin' off than ye think--"

"Oh, nivare mind de difficulties," interrupted Henri,

whose wrath at the treatment he had received had not

yet cooled down. "Ve must jump on de best horses

ve can git hold, shake our fists at de red reptiles, and

go away fast as ve can. De best hoss
vin de


Joe shook his head. "A hundred arrows would be

in our backs before we got twenty yards from the

camp. Besides, we can't tell which are the best horses.

Our own are the best in my 'pinion, but how are we to

git' em?"

"I know who has charge o' them," said Dick. "I

saw them grazing near the tent o' that poor squaw

whose baby was saved by Crusoe. Either her husband

looks after them or some neighbours."

"That's well," said Joe. "That's one o' my difficulties


"What are the others?"

"Well, d'ye see, they're troublesome. We can't git

the horses out o' camp without bein' seen, for the red

rascals would see what we were at in a jiffy. Then, if

we do git 'em out, we can't go off without our bales,

an' we needn't think to take 'em from under the nose

o' the chief and his squaws without bein' axed questions.

To go off without them would niver do at all."

"Joe," said Dick earnestly, "I've hit on a plan."

"Have ye, Dick--what is't?"

"Come and I'll let ye see," answered Dick, rising

hastily and quitting the tent, followed by his comrades

and his faithful dog.

It may be as well to remark here, that no restraint

whatever had yet been put on the movements of our

hunters as long as they kept to their legs, for it was

well known that any attempt by men on foot to escape

from mounted Indians on the plains would be hopeless.

Moreover, the savages thought that as long as there was

a prospect of their being allowed to depart peaceably

with their goods, they would not be so mad as to fly

from the camp, and, by so doing, risk their lives and

declare war with their entertainers. They had therefore

been permitted to wander unchecked, as yet, far

beyond the outskirts of the camp, and amuse themselves

in paddling about the lake in the small Indian canoes

and shooting wild-fowl.

Dick now led the way through the labyrinths of

tents in the direction of the lake, and they talked and

laughed loudly, and whistled to Crusoe as they went,

in order to prevent their purpose being suspected. For

the purpose of further disarming suspicion, they went

without their rifles. Dick explained his plan by the

way, and it was at once warmly approved of by his


On reaching the lake they launched a small canoe,

into which Crusoe was ordered to jump; then, embarking,

they paddled swiftly to the opposite shore, singing

a canoe song as they dipped their paddles in the moonlit

waters of the lake. Arrived at the other side, they

hauled the canoe up and hurried through the thin belt

of wood and willows that intervened between the lake

and the prairie. Here they paused.

"Is that the bluff, Joe?"

"No, Dick; that's too near. T'other one'll be best--far

away to the right. It's a little one, and there's

others near it. The sharp eyes o' the Redskins won't

be so likely to be prowlin' there."

"Come on, then; but we'll have to take down by the

lake first."

In a few minutes the hunters were threading their

way through the outskirts of the wood at a rapid trot,

in the opposite direction from the bluff, or wooded knoll,

which they wished to reach. This they did lest prying

eyes should have followed them. In quarter of an hour

they turned at right angles to their track, and struck

straight out into the prairie, and after a long run they

edged round and came in upon the bluff from behind.

It was merely a collection of stunted but thick-growing


Forcing their way into the centre of this they began

to examine it.

"It'll do," said Joe.

"De very ting," remarked Henri.

"Come here, Crusoe."

Crusoe bounded to his master's side, and looked up

in his face.

"Look at this place, pup; smell it well."

Crusoe instantly set off all round among the willows,

in and out, snuffing everywhere, and whining with excitement.

"Come here, good pup; that will do. Now, lads,

we'll go back." So saying, Dick and his friends left

the bluff, and retraced their steps to the camp. Before

they had gone far, however, Joe halted, and said,--

"D'ye know, Dick, I doubt if the pup's so cliver as

ye think. What if he don't quite onderstand ye?"

Dick replied by taking off his cap and throwing it

down, at the same time exclaiming, "Take it yonder,

pup," and pointing with his hand towards the bluff.

The dog seized the cap, and went off with it at full

speed towards the willows, where it left it, and came

galloping back for the expected reward--not now, as in

days of old, a bit of meat, but a gentle stroke of its

head and a hearty clap on its shaggy side.

"Good pup! go now an' fetch it."

Away he went with a bound, and in a few seconds

came back and deposited the cap at his master's feet.

"Will that do?" asked Dick, triumphantly.

"Ay, lad, it will. The pup's worth its weight in


"Oui, I have said, and I say it agen, de dog is

so him is. If not, fat am he?"

Without pausing to reply to this perplexing question,

Dick stepped forward again, and in half-an-hour or

so they were back in the camp.

"Now for
part of the work, Joe. Yonder's the

squaw that owns the half-drowned baby. Everything

depends on her."

Dick pointed to the Indian woman as he spoke. She

was sitting beside her tent, and playing at her knee

was the identical youngster who had been saved by


"I'll manage it," said Joe, and walked towards her,

while Dick and Henri returned to the chief's tent.

"Does the Pawnee woman thank the Great Spirit

that her child is saved?" began Joe as he came up.

"She does," answered the woman, looking up at the

hunter. "And her heart is warm to the Pale-faces."

After a short silence Joe continued,--

"The Pawnee chiefs do not love the Pale-faces.

Some of them hate them."

"The Dark Flower knows it," answered the woman;

"she is sorry. She would help the Pale-faces if she


This was uttered in a low tone, and with a meaning

glance of the eye.

Joe hesitated again--could he trust her? Yes; the

feelings that filled her breast and prompted her words

were not those of the Indian just now--they were those of a


whose gratitude was too full for utterance.

"Will the Dark Flower," said Joe, catching the name

she had given herself, "help the Pale-face if he opens

his heart to her? Will she risk the anger of her


"She will," replied the woman; "she will do what

she can."

Joe and his dark friend now dropped their high-sounding

style of speech, and spoke for some minutes

rapidly in an undertone. It was finally arranged that

on a given day, at a certain hour, the woman should

take the four horses down the shores of the lake to

its lower end, as if she were going for firewood, there

cross the creek at the ford, and drive them to the

willow bluff, and guard them till the hunters should


Having settled this, Joe returned to the tent and

informed his comrades of his success.

During the next three days Joe kept the Indians in

good-humour by giving them one or two trinkets, and

speaking in glowing terms of the riches of the white

men, and the readiness with which they would part

with them to the savages if they would only make


Meanwhile, during the dark hours of each night,

Dick managed to abstract small quantities of goods

from their pack, in room of which he stuffed in pieces

of leather to keep up the size and appearance. The

goods thus taken out he concealed about his person, and

went off with a careless swagger to the outskirts of

the village, with Crusoe at his heels. Arrived there,

he tied the goods in a small piece of deerskin, and gave

the bundle to the dog, with the injunction, "Take it

yonder, pup."

Crusoe took it up at once, darted off at full speed

with the bundle in his mouth, down the shore of the

lake towards the ford of the river, and was soon lost

to view. In this way, little by little, the goods were

conveyed by the faithful dog to the willow bluff and

left there, while the stuffed pack still remained in safe

keeping in the chiefs tent.

Joe did not at first like the idea of thus sneaking off

from the camp, and more than once made strong efforts

to induce San-it-sa-rish to let him go; but even that

chief's countenance was not so favourable as it had been.

It was clear that he could not make up his mind to let

slip so good a chance of obtaining guns, powder and

shot, horses, and goods, without any trouble; so Joe

made up his mind to give them the slip at once.

A dark night was chosen for the attempt, and the

Indian woman went off with the horses to the place

where firewood for the camp was usually cut. Unfortunately,

the suspicion of that wily savage Mahtawa

had been awakened, and he stuck close to the hunters

all day--not knowing what was going on, but feeling

convinced that something was brewing which he resolved

to watch, without mentioning his suspicions to

any one.

"I think that villain's away at last," whispered Joe

to his comrades. "It's time to go, lads; the moon

won't be up for an hour. Come along."

"Have ye got the big powder-horn, Joe?"

"Ay, ay, all right."

"Stop! stop! my knife, my couteau. Ah, here I be!

Now, boy."

The three set off as usual, strolling carelessly to the

outskirts of the camp; then they quickened their pace,

and, gaining the lake, pushed off in a small canoe.

At the same moment Mahtawa stepped from the

bushes, leaped into another canoe, and followed them.

"Ha! he must die," muttered Henri.

"Not at all," said Joe; "we'll manage him without


The chief landed and strode boldly up to them, for

he knew well that whatever their purpose might be

they would not venture to use their rifles within sound

of the camp at that hour of the night. As for their

knives, he could trust to his own active limbs and the

woods to escape and give the alarm if need be.

"The Pale-faces hunt very late," he said, with a

malicious grin. "Do they love the dark better than

the sunshine?"

"Not so," replied Joe, coolly; "but we love to

walk by the light of the moon. It will be up in less

than an hour, and we mean to take a long ramble to-night."

"The Pawnee chief loves to walk by the moon, too;

he will go with the Pale-faces."

"Good!" ejaculated Joe. "Come along, then."

The party immediately set forward, although the

savage was a little taken by surprise at the indifferent

way in which Joe received his proposal to accompany

them. He walked on to the edge of the prairie, however,

and then stopped.

"The Pale-faces must go alone," said he; "Mahtawa

will return to his tent."

Joe replied to this intimation by seizing him suddenly

by the throat and choking back the yell that would

otherwise have brought the Pawnee warriors rushing to

the scene of action in hundreds. Mahtawa's hand was

on the handle of his scalping-knife in a moment, but

before he could draw it his arms were glued to his sides

by the bear-like embrace of Henri, while Dick tied a

handkerchief quickly yet firmly round his mouth. The

whole thing was accomplished in two minutes. After

taking his knife and tomahawk away, they loosened

their gripe and escorted him swiftly over the prairie.

Mahtawa was perfectly submissive after the first

convulsive struggle was over. He knew that the men

who walked on each side of him grasping his arms were

more than his match singly, so he wisely made no resistance.

Hurrying him to a clump of small trees on the plain

which was so far distant from the village that a yell

could not be heard, they removed the bandage from

Mahtawa's mouth.

he be kill?" inquired Henri, in a tone of


"Not at all," answered Joe; "we'll tie him to a tree

and leave him here."

"Then he vill be starve to deat'. Oh, dat is more


"He must take his chance o' that. I've no doubt

his friends'll find him in a day or two, an' he's game

to last for a week or more. But you'll have to run to

the willow bluff, Dick, and bring a bit of line to tie him.

We can't spare it well; but there's no help."

"But there
help," retorted Dick. "Just order the

villain to climb into that tree."

"Why so, lad?"

"Don't ask questions, but do what I bid ye."

The hunter smiled for a moment as he turned to the

Indian, and ordered him to climb up a small tree near

to which he stood. Mahtawa looked surprised, but

there was no alternative. Joe's authoritative tone

brooked no delay, so he sprang into the tree like a


"Crusoe," said Dick, "
watch him!

The dog sat quietly down at the foot of the tree, and

fixed his eyes on the savage with a glare that spoke

unutterable things. At the same time he displayed his

full complement of teeth, and uttered a sound like

distant thunder.

Joe almost laughed, and Henri did laugh outright.

"Come along; he's safe now," cried Dick, hurrying

away in the direction of the willow bluff, which they

soon reached, and found that the faithful squaw had

tied their steeds to the bushes, and, moreover, had

bundled up their goods into a pack, and strapped it on

the back of the pack-horse; but she had not remained

with them.

"Bless yer dark face!" ejaculated Joe, as he sprang

into the saddle and rode out of the clump of bushes.

He was followed immediately by the others, and in

three minutes they were flying over the plain at full


On gaining the last far-off ridge, that afforded a

distant view of the woods skirting the Pawnee camp,

they drew up; and Dick, putting his fingers to his

mouth, drew a long, shrill whistle.

It reached the willow bluff like a faint echo. At the

same moment the moon arose and more clearly revealed

Crusoe's cataleptic glare at the Indian chief, who, being

utterly unarmed, was at the dog's mercy. The instant

the whistle fell on his ear, however, he dropped his eyes,

covered his teeth, and, leaping through the bushes, flew

over the plains like an arrow. At the same instant

Mahtawa, descending from his tree, ran as fast as he

could towards the village, uttering the terrible war-whoop

when near enough to be heard. No sound sends

such a thrill through an Indian camp. Every warrior

flew to arms, and vaulted on his steed. So quickly

was the alarm given that in less than ten minutes a

thousand hoofs were thundering on the plain, and

faintly reached the ears of the fugitives.

Joe smiled. "It'll puzzle them to come up wi' nags

like ours. They're in prime condition, too--lots o' wind

in' em. If we only keep out o' badger holes we may

laugh at the red varmints."

Joe's opinion of Indian horses was correct. In a very

few minutes the sound of hoofs died away; but the

fugitives did not draw bridle during the remainder of

that night, for they knew not how long the pursuit

might be continued. By pond, and brook, and bluff

they passed, down in the grassy bottoms and over the

prairie waves--nor checked their headlong course till

the sun blazed over the level sweep of the eastern plain

as if it arose out of the mighty ocean.

Then they sprang from the saddle, and hastily set

about the preparation of their morning meal.


Evening meditations and morning reflections--Buffaloes, badgers,
antelopes, and accidents--An old bull and the wolves--"Mad
tails"--Henri floored, etc.

There is nothing that prepares one so well for the

enjoyment of rest, both mental and physical, as a

long-protracted period of excitement and anxiety, followed

up by bodily fatigue. Excitement alone banishes

rest; but, united with severe physical exertion, it prepares

for it. At least, courteous reader, this is our

experience; and certainly this was the experience of our

three hunters as they lay on their backs beneath the

branches of a willow bush and gazed serenely up at the

twinkling stars two days after their escape from the

Indian village.

They spoke little; they were too tired for that, also

they were too comfortable. Their respective suppers of

fresh antelope steak, shot that day, had just been disposed

of. Their feet were directed towards the small

fire on which the said steaks had been cooked, and

which still threw a warm, ruddy glow over the encampment.

Their blankets were wrapped comfortably round

them, and tucked in as only hunters and mothers know

to tuck them in. Their respective pipes delivered

forth, at stated intervals, three richly yellow puffs of

smoke, as if a three-gun battery were playing upon the

sky from that particular spot of earth. The horses

were picketed and hobbled in a rich grassy bottom close

by, from which the quiet munch of their equine jaws

sounded pleasantly, for it told of healthy appetites,

and promised speed on the morrow. The fear of being

overtaken during the night was now past, and the

faithful Crusoe, by virtue of sight, hearing, and smell,

guaranteed them against sudden attack during the hours

of slumber. A perfume of wild flowers mingled with

the loved odours of the "weed," and the tinkle of a

tiny rivulet fell sweetly on their ears. In short, the

"Pale-faces" were supremely happy, and disposed to be

thankful for their recent deliverance and their present


"I wonder what the stars are," said Dick, languidly

taking the pipe out of his mouth.

"Bits o' fire," suggested Joe.

"I tink dey are vorlds," muttered Henri, "an' have

peepels in dem. I have hear men say dat."

A long silence followed, during which, no doubt, the

star-gazers were working out various theories in their

own minds.

"Wonder," said Dick again, "how far off they be."

"A mile or two, maybe," said Joe.

Henri was about to laugh sarcastically at this, but

on further consideration he thought it would be more

comfortable not to, so he lay still. In another minute

he said,--

"Joe Blunt, you is ver' igrant. Don't you know dat

de books say de stars be hondreds, tousands--oh!

milleryons of mile away to here, and dat dey is more

bigger dan dis vorld?"

Joe snored lightly, and his pipe fell out of his

mouth at this point, so the conversation dropped.

Presently Dick asked in a low tone, "I say, Henri,

are ye asleep?"

"Oui," replied Henry faintly. "Don't speak, or you

vill vaken me."

"Ah, Crusoe! you're not asleep, are you, pup?" No

need to ask that question. The instantaneous wag of

that speaking tail and the glance of that wakeful eye,

as the dog lifted his head and laid his chin on Dick's

arm, showed that he had been listening to every word

that was spoken. We cannot say whether he understood

it, but beyond all doubt he heard it. Crusoe

never presumed to think of going to sleep until his

master was as sound as a top, then he ventured to indulge

in that light species of slumber which is familiarly known

as "sleeping with one eye open." But, comparatively as

well as figuratively speaking, Crusoe slept usually with

one eye and a half open, and the other half was never

very tightly shut.

Gradually Dick's pipe fell out of his mouth, an

event which the dog, with an exercise of instinct almost,

if not quite, amounting to reason, regarded as a

signal for him to go off. The camp fire went slowly

out, the stars twinkled down at their reflections in the

brook, and a deep breathing of wearied men was the

only sound that rose in harmony with the purling


Before the sun rose next morning, and while many of

the brighter stars were still struggling for existence

with the approaching day, Joe was up and buckling on

the saddle-bags, while he shouted to his unwilling companions

to rise.

"If it depended on you," he said, "the Pawnees

wouldn't be long afore they got our scalps. Jump, ye

dogs, an' lend a hand, will ye?"

A snore from Dick and a deep sigh from Henri was

the answer to this pathetic appeal. It so happened,

however, that Henri's pipe, in falling from his lips, had

emptied the ashes just under his nose, so that the sigh

referred to drew a quantity thereof into his throat and

almost choked him. Nothing could have been a more

effective awakener. He was up in a moment coughing

vociferously. Most men have a tendency to vent ill-humour

on some one, and they generally do it on one

whom they deem to be worse than themselves. Henri,

therefore, instead of growling at Joe for rousing him,

scolded Dick for not rising.

"Ha, mauvais dog! bad chien! vill you dare to look

to me?"

Crusoe did look with amiable placidity, as though to

say, "Howl away, old boy, I won't budge till Dick does."

With a mighty effort Giant Sleep was thrown off at

last, and the hunters were once more on their journey,

cantering lightly over the soft turf.

"Ho, let's have a run!" cried Dick, unable to repress

the feelings aroused by the exhilarating morning air.

"Have a care, boy," cried Joe, as they stretched out

at full gallop. "Keep off the ridge; it's riddled wi'

badger--Ha! I thought so."

At that moment Dick's horse put its foot into a

badger-hole and turned completely over, sending its

rider through the air in a curve that an East Indian

acrobat would have envied. For a few seconds Dick

lay flat on his back, then he jumped up and laughed,

while his comrades hurried up anxiously to his assistance.

"No bones broke?" inquired Joe.

Dick gave a hysterical gasp. "I--I think not."

"Let's have a look. No, nothin' to speak o', be

good luck. Ye should niver go slap through a badger

country like that, boy; always keep i' the bottoms, where

the grass is short. Now then, up ye go. That's it!"

Dick remounted, though not with quite so elastic a

spring as usual, and they pushed forward at a more

reasonable pace.

Accidents of this kind are of common occurrence in

the prairies. Some horses, however, are so well trained

that they look sharp out for these holes, which are generally

found to be most numerous on the high and dry

grounds. But in spite of all the caution both of man

and horse many ugly falls take place, and sometimes

bones are broken.

They had not gone far after this accident when an

antelope leaped from a clump of willows, and made for

a belt of woodland that lay along the margin of a stream

not half-a-mile off.

"Hurrah!" cried Dick, forgetting his recent fall.

"Come along, Crusoe." And away they went again

full tilt, for the horse had not been injured by its


The antelope which Dick was thus wildly pursuing

was of the same species as the one he had shot some

time before--namely, the prong-horned antelope. These

graceful creatures have long, slender limbs, delicately-formed

heads, and large, beautiful eyes. The horns are

black, and rather short; they have no branches, like

the antlers of the red-deer, but have a single projection

on each horn, near the head, and the extreme points

of the horns curve suddenly inwards, forming the

hook or prong from which the name of the animal

is derived. Their colour is dark yellowish brown.

They are so fleet that not one horse in a hundred

can overtake them; and their sight and sense of smell

are so acute that it would be next to impossible to kill

them, were it not for the inordinate curiosity which

we have before referred to. The Indians manage to

attract these simple little creatures by merely lying

down on their backs and kicking their heels in the air,

or by waving any white object on the point of an arrow,

while the hunter keeps concealed by lying flat in the

grass. By these means a herd of antelopes may be

induced to wheel round and round an object in timid

but intense surprise, gradually approaching until they

come near enough to enable the hunter to make sure of

his mark. Thus the animals, which of all others

to be the most difficult to slay, are, in consequence of

their insatiable curiosity, more easily shot than any other

deer of the plains.

May we not gently suggest to the reader for his or

her consideration that there are human antelopes, so to

speak, whose case bears a striking resemblance to the

prong-horn of the North American prairie?

Dick's horse was no match for the antelope, neither

was Crusoe; so they pulled up shortly and returned to

their companions, to be laughed at.

"It's no manner o' use to wind yer horse, lad, after

sich game. They're not much worth, an', if I mistake

not, we'll be among the buffalo soon. There's fresh

tracks everywhere, and the herds are scattered now. Ye

see, when they keep together in bands o' thousands ye

don't so often fall in wi' them. But when they scatters

about in twos, an' threes, an' sixes ye may shoot them

every day as much as ye please."

Several groups of buffalo had already been seen on

the horizon, but as a red-deer had been shot in a belt

of woodland the day before they did not pursue them.

The red-deer is very much larger than the prong-horned

antelope, and is highly esteemed both for its flesh and

its skin, which latter becomes almost like chamois

leather when dressed. Notwithstanding this supply of

food, the hunters could not resist the temptation to give

chase to a herd of about nine buffaloes that suddenly

came into view as they overtopped an undulation in the


"It's no use," cried Dick, "I
go at them!"

Joe himself caught fire from the spirit of his young

friend, so calling to Henri to come on and let the pack-horse

remain to feed, he dashed away in pursuit. The

buffaloes gave one stare of surprise, and then fled as fast

as possible. At first it seemed as if such huge, unwieldy

carcasses could not run very fast; but in a few

minutes they managed to get up a pace that put the

horses to their mettle. Indeed, at first it seemed as if

the hunters did not gain an inch; but by degrees they

closed with them, for buffaloes are not long winded.

On nearing the herd, the three men diverged from

each other and selected their animals. Henri, being

short-sighted, naturally singled out the largest; and the

largest--also naturally--was a tough old bull. Joe

brought down a fat young cow at the first shot, and

Dick was equally fortunate. But he well-nigh shot

Crusoe, who, just as he was about to fire, rushed in unexpectedly

and sprang at the animal's throat, for which

piece of recklessness he was ordered back to watch the


Meanwhile, Henri, by dint of yelling, throwing his

arms wildly about, and digging his heels into the sides

of his long-legged horse, succeeded in coming close up

with the bull, which once or twice turned his clumsy

body half round and glared furiously at its pursuer

with its small black eyes. Suddenly it stuck out its

tail, stopped short, and turned full round. Henri stopped

short also. Now, the sticking out of a buffalo's tail has

a peculiar significance which it is well to point out. It

serves, in a sense, the same purpose to the hunter that

the compass does to the mariner--it points out where to

go and what to do. When galloping away in ordinary

flight, the buffalo carries his tail like ordinary cattle,

which indicates that you may push on. When wounded,

he lashes it from side to side, or carries it over his back,

up in the air; this indicates, "Look out! haul off a

bit!" But when he carries it stiff and horizontal, with

slight curve
in the middle of it, it says plainly, "Keep

back, or kill me as quick as you can," for that is what

Indians call the
mad tail
, and is a sign that mischief is


Henri's bull displayed the mad tail just before turning,

but he didn't observe it, and, accordingly, waited for the

bull to move and show his shoulder for a favourable

shot. But instead of doing this he put his head down,

and, foaming with rage, went at him full tilt. The big

horse never stirred; it seemed to be petrified, Henri

had just time to fire at the monster's neck, and the next

moment was sprawling on his back, with the horse rolling

over four or five yards beyond him. It was a most

effective tableau--Henri rubbing his shins and grinning

with pain, the horse gazing in affright as he rose trembling

from the plain, and the buffalo bull looking on

half stunned, and evidently very much surprised at the

result of his charge.

Fortunately, before he could repeat the experiment,

Dick galloped up and put a ball through his heart.

Joe and his comrades felt a little ashamed of their

exploit on this occasion, for there was no need to have

killed three animals--they could not have carried with

them more than a small portion of one--and they upbraided

themselves several times during the operation of

cutting out the tongues and other choice portions of the

two victims. As for the bull, he was almost totally

useless, so they left him as a gift to the wolves.

Now that they had come among the buffalo, wolves

were often seen sneaking about and licking their hungry

jaws; but although they approached pretty near to the

camp at nights, they did not give the hunters any concern.

Even Crusoe became accustomed to them at last,

and ceased to notice them. These creatures are very

dangerous sometimes, however, and when hard pressed

by hunger will even attack man. The day after this

hunt the travellers came upon a wounded old buffalo

which had evidently escaped from the Indians (for a

couple of arrows were sticking in its side), only to fall

a prey to his deadly enemies, the white wolves. These

savage brutes hang on the skirts of the herds of buffaloes

to attack and devour any one that may chance, from

old age or from being wounded, to linger behind the rest.

The buffalo is tough and fierce, however, and fights so

desperately that, although surrounded by fifty or a

hundred wolves, he keeps up the unequal combat for

several days before he finally succumbs.

The old bull that our travellers discovered had evidently

been long engaged with his ferocious adversaries,

for his limbs and flesh were torn in shreds in

many places, and blood was streaming from his sides.

Yet he had fought so gallantly that he had tossed and

stamped to death dozens of the enemy. There could

not have been fewer than fifty wolves round him; and

they had just concluded another of many futile attacks

when the hunters came up, for they were ranged in a

circle round their huge adversary--some lying down,

some sitting on their haunches to rest, and others sneaking

about, lolling out their red tongues and licking their

chops as if impatient to renew the combat. The poor

buffalo was nearly spent, and it was clear that a few

hours more would see him torn to shreds and his bones

picked clean.

"Ugh! de brutes," ejaculated Henri.

"They don't seem to mind us a bit," remarked Dick,

as they rode up to within pistol shot.

"It'll be merciful to give the old fellow a shot," said

Joe. "Them varmints are sure to finish him at last."

Joe raised his rifle as he spoke, and fired. The old

bull gave his last groan and fell, while the wolves,

alarmed by the shot, fled in all directions; but they did

not run far. They knew well that some portion, at

least, of the carcass would fall to their share; so they

sat down at various distances all round, to wait as

patiently as they might for the hunters to retire. Dick

left the scene with a feeling of regret that the villanous

wolves should have their feast so much sooner than they


Yet, after all, why should we call these wolves villanous?

They did nothing wrong--nothing contrary to

the laws of their peculiar nature. Nay, if we come to

reason upon it, they rank higher in this matter than

man; for while the wolf does no violence to the laws of

its instincts, man often deliberately silences the voice of

conscience, and violates the laws of his own nature.

But we will not insist on the term, good reader, if you

object strongly to it. We are willing to admit that the

wolves are
villanous, but,
, they are


In the course of the afternoon the three horsemen

reached a small creek, the banks of which were lined

with a few stunted shrubs and trees. Having eaten

nothing since the night before, they dismounted here to

"feed," as Joe expressed it.

"Cur'ous thing," remarked Joe, as he struck a light

by means of flint, steel, and tinder-box--"cur'ous thing

that we're made to need sich a lot o' grub. If we could

only get on like the sarpints, now, wot can breakfast on

a rabbit, and then wait a month or two for dinner!

Ain't it cur'ous?"

Dick admitted that it was, and stooped to blow the

fire into a blaze.

Here Henri uttered a cry of consternation, and stood

speechless, with his mouth open.

"What's the matter? what is't?" cried Dick and Joe,

seizing their rifles instinctively.


There was a look of blank horror, and then a burst

of laughter from Dick Varley. "Well, well," cried he,

"we've got lots o' tea an' sugar, an' some flour; we can

git on wi' that till we shoot another buffalo, or a--ha!"

Dick observed a wild turkey stalking among the

willows as he spoke. It was fully a hundred yards off,

and only its head was seen above the leaves. This was

a matter of little moment, however, for by aiming a

little lower he knew that he must hit the body. But

Dick had driven the nail too often to aim at its body;

he aimed at the bird's eye, and cut its head off.

"Fetch it, Crusoe."

In three minutes it was at Dick's feet, and it is not

too much to say that in five minutes more it was in the


As this unexpected supply made up for the loss of the

meat which Henri had forgotten at their last halting-place,

their equanimity was restored; and while the meal

was in preparation Dick shouldered his rifle and went

into the bush to try for another turkey. He did not

get one, however, but he shot a couple of prairie-hens,

which are excellent eating. Moreover, he found a large

quantity of wild grapes and plums. These were unfortunately

not nearly ripe, but Dick resolved to try his

hand at a new dish, so he stuffed the breast of his coat

full of them.

After the pot was emptied, Dick washed it out, and

put a little clean water in it. Then he poured some

flour in, and stirred it well. While this was heating, he

squeezed the sour grapes and plums into what Joe

called a "mush," mixed it with a spoonful of sugar, and

emptied it into the pot. He also skimmed a quantity

of the fat from the remains of the turkey soup and

added that to the mess, which he stirred with earnest

diligence till it boiled down into a sort of thick porridge.

"D'ye think it'll be good?" asked Joe gravely; "I've

me doubts of it."

"We'll see.--Hold the tin dish, Henri."

"Take care of de fingers. Ha! it looks magnifique--superb!"

The first spoonful produced an expression on Henri's

face that needed not to be interpreted. It was as sour

as vinegar.

"Ye'll ha' to eat it yerself, Dick, lad," cried Joe,

throwing down his spoon, and spitting out the unsavoury


"Nonsense," cried Dick, bolting two or three mouthfuls,

and trying to look as if he liked it. "Try again;

it's not so bad as you think."

"Ho-o-o-o-o!" cried Henri, after the second mouthful.

"Tis vinégre. All de sugare in de pack would not

make more sweeter one bite of it."

Dick was obliged to confess the dish a failure, so it

was thrown out after having been offered to Crusoe,

who gave it one sniff and turned away in silence. Then

they mounted and resumed their journey.

At this place mosquitoes and horse-flies troubled our

hunters and their steeds a good deal. The latter especially

were very annoying to the poor horses. They bit

them so much that the blood at last came trickling

down their sides. They were troubled also, once or

twice, by cockchafers and locusts, which annoyed them,

not indeed by biting, but by flying blindly against their

faces, and often-narrowly missed hitting them in the

eyes. Once particularly they were so bad that Henri

in his wrath opened his lips to pronounce a malediction

on the whole race, when a cockchafer flew straight into

his mouth, and, to use his own forcible expression,

"nearly knocked him off de hoss." But these were

minor evils, and scarcely cost the hunters a thought.


Wanderings on the prairie
A war party
Chased by
A bold leap for life

For many days the three hunters wandered over

the trackless prairie in search of a village of the

Sioux Indians, but failed to find one, for the Indians

were in the habit of shifting their ground and following

the buffalo. Several times they saw small isolated bands

of Indians; but these they carefully avoided, fearing

they might turn out to be war parties, and if they fell

into their hands the white men could not expect civil

treatment, whatever nation the Indians might belong to.

During the greater portion of this time they met with

numerous herds of buffalo and deer, and were well supplied

with food; but they had to cook it during the day,

being afraid to light a fire at night while Indians were

prowling about.

One night they halted near the bed of a stream which

was almost dry. They had travelled a day and a night

without water, and both men and horses were almost

choking, so that when they saw the trees on the horizon

which indicated the presence of a stream, they pushed

forward with almost frantic haste.

"Hope it's not dry," said Joe anxiously as they galloped up to it.


there's water, lads," and they

dashed forward to a pool that had not yet been dried

up. They drank long and eagerly before they noticed

that the pool was strongly impregnated with salt. Many

streams in those parts of the prairies are quite salt, but

fortunately this one was not utterly undrinkable, though

it was very unpalatable.

"We'll make it better, lads," said Joe, digging a deep

hole in the sand with his hands, a little below the pool.

In a short time the water filtered through, and though

not rendered fresh, it was, nevertheless, much improved.

"We may light a fire to-night, d'ye think?" inquired

Dick; "we've not seed Injuns for some days."

"P'r'aps 'twould be better not," said Joe; "but I daresay

we're safe enough."

A fire was therefore lighted in as sheltered a spot as

could be found, and the three friends bivouacked as

usual. Towards dawn they were aroused by an angry

growl from Crusoe.

"It's a wolf likely," said Dick, but all three seized and

cocked their rifles nevertheless.

Again Crusoe growled more angrily than before, and

springing out of the camp snuffed the breeze anxiously.

"Up, lads! catch the nags! There's something in the

wind, for the dog niver did that afore."

In a few seconds the horses were saddled and the

packs secured.

"Call in the dog," whispered Joe Blunt; "if he barks

they'll find out our whereabouts."

"Here, Crusoe, come--"

It was too late; the dog barked loudly and savagely

at the moment, and a troop of Indians came coursing

over the plain. On hearing the unwonted sound they

wheeled directly and made for the camp.

"It's a war party; fly, lads! nothin' 'll save our

scalps now but our horses' heels," cried Joe.

In a moment they vaulted into the saddle and urged

their steeds forward at the utmost speed. The savages

observed them, and with an exulting yell dashed after

them. Feeling that there was now no need of concealment,

the three horsemen struck off into the open prairie,

intending to depend entirely on the speed and stamina

of their horses. As we have before remarked, they

were good ones; but the Indians soon proved that they

were equally well if not better mounted.

"It'll be a hard run," said Joe in a low, muttering

tone, and looking furtively over his shoulder. "The

varmints are mounted on wild horses--leastways they

were wild not long agone. Them chaps can throw the

lasso and trip a mustang as well as a Mexican. Mind

the badger-holes, Dick.--Hold in a bit, Henri; yer nag

don't need drivin'; a foot in a hole just now would

cost us our scalps. Keep down by the creek, lads."

"Ha! how dey yell," said Henri in a savage tone,

looking back, and shaking his rifle at them, an act that

caused them to yell more fiercely than ever. "Dis old

pack-hoss give me moche trobel."

The pace was now tremendous. Pursuers and pursued

rose and sank on the prairie billows as they swept

along, till they came to what is termed a "dividing

ridge," which is a cross wave, as it were, that cuts the

others in two, thus forming a continuous level. Here

they advanced more easily; but the advantage was

equally shared with their pursuers, who continued the

headlong pursuit with occasional yells, which served to

show the fugitives that they at least did not gain


A little to the right of the direction in which they

were flying a blue line was seen on the horizon. This

indicated the existence of trees to Joe's practised eyes,

and feeling that if the horses broke down they could

better make a last manful stand in the wood than on

the plain he urged his steed towards it. The savages

noticed the movement at once, and uttered a yell of

exultation, for they regarded it as an evidence that the

fugitives doubted the strength of their horses.

"Ye haven't got us yet," muttered Joe, with a sardonic

grin. "If they get near us, Dick, keep yer eyes

open an' look out for yer neck, else they'll drop a noose

over it, they will, afore ye know they're near, an' haul

ye off like a sack."

Dick nodded in reply, but did not speak, for at that

moment his eye was fixed on a small creek ahead which

they must necessarily leap or dash across. It was

lined with clumps of scattered shrubbery, and he

glanced rapidly for the most suitable place to pass.

Joe and Henri did the same, and having diverged a

little to the different points chosen, they dashed through

the shrubbery and were hid from each other's view.

On approaching the edge of the stream, Dick found to

his consternation that the bank was twenty feet high

opposite him, and too wide for any horse to clear.

Wheeling aside without checking speed, at the risk of

throwing his steed, he rode along the margin of the

stream for a few hundred yards until he found a ford--at

least such a spot as might be cleared by a bold

leap. The temporary check, however, had enabled an

Indian to gain so close upon his heels that his exulting

yell sounded close in his ear.

With a vigorous bound his gallant little horse went

over. Crusoe could not take it, but he rushed down

the one bank and up the other, so that he only lost a

few yards. These few yards, however, were sufficient

to bring the Indian close upon him as he cleared the

stream at full gallop. The savage whirled his lasso

swiftly round for a second, and in another moment

Crusoe uttered a tremendous roar as he was tripped up

violently on the plain.

Dick heard the cry of his faithful dog, and turned

quickly round, just in time to see him spring at the

horse's throat, and bring both steed and rider down

upon him. Dick's heart leaped to his throat. Had a

thousand savages been rushing on him he would have

flown to the rescue of his favourite; but an unexpected

obstacle came in the way. His fiery little steed, excited

by the headlong race and the howls of the Indians,

had taken the bit in his teeth and was now unmanageable.

Dick tore at the reins like a maniac, and in the

height of his frenzy even raised the butt of his rifle with

the intent to strike the poor horse to the earth, but his

better nature prevailed. He checked the uplifted hand,

and with, a groan dropped the reins, and sank almost

helplessly forward on the saddle; for several of the Indians

had left the main body and were pursuing him

alone, so that there would have been now no chance of

his reaching the place where Crusoe fell, even if he could

have turned his horse.

Spiritless, and utterly indifferent to what his fate

might be, Dick Varley rode along with his head drooping,

and keeping his seat almost mechanically, while the

mettlesome little steed flew on over wave and hollow.

Gradually he awakened from this state of despair to a

sense of danger. Glancing round he observed that the

Indians were now far behind him, though still pursuing.

He also observed that his companions were galloping

miles away on the horizon to the left, and that he had

foolishly allowed the savages to get between him and

them. The only chance that remained for him was to

outride his pursuers, and circle round towards his comrades,

and this he hoped to accomplish, for his little

horse had now proved itself to be superior to those of the

Indians, and there was good running in him still.

Urging him forward, therefore, he soon left the savages

still farther behind, and feeling confident that they could

not now overtake him he reined up and dismounted.

The pursuers quickly drew near, but short though it

was the rest did his horse good. Vaulting into the

saddle, he again stretched out, and now skirted along

the margin of a wood which seemed to mark the position

of a river of considerable size.

At this moment his horse put his foot into a badger-hole,

and both of them came heavily to the ground.

In an instant Dick rose, picked up his gun, and leaped

unhurt into the saddle. But on urging his poor horse

forward he found that its shoulder was badly sprained.

There was no room for mercy, however--life and death

were in the balance--so he plied the lash vigorously,

and the noble steed warmed into something like a run,

when again it stumbled, and fell with a crash on the

ground, while the blood burst from its mouth and nostrils.

Dick could hear the shout of triumph uttered by

his pursuers.

"My poor, poor horse!" he exclaimed in a tone of the

deepest commiseration, while he stooped and stroked its

foam-studded neck.

The dying steed raised its head for a moment, it almost

seemed as if to acknowledge the tones of affection,

then it sank down with a gurgling groan.

Dick sprang up, for the Indians were now upon him,

and bounded like an antelope into the thickest of the

shrubbery; which was nowhere thick enough, however,

to prevent the Indians following. Still, it sufficiently

retarded them to render the chase a more equal one than

could have been expected. In a few minutes Dick

gained a strip of open ground beyond, and found

himself on the bank of a broad river, whose evidently

deep waters rushed impetuously along their unobstructed

channel. The bank at the spot where he

reached it was a sheer precipice of between thirty and

forty feet high. Glancing up and down the river he

retreated a few paces, turned round and shook his

clenched fist at the savages, accompanying the action

with a shout of defiance, and then running to the edge

of the bank, sprang far out into the boiling flood and


The Indians pulled up on reaching the spot. There

was no possibility of galloping down the wood-encumbered

banks after the fugitive; but quick as thought

each Red-man leaped to the ground, and fitting an arrow

to his bow, awaited Dick's re-appearance with eager


Young though he was, and unskilled in such wild

warfare, Dick knew well enough what sort of reception

he would meet with on coming to the surface, so he kept

under water as long as he could, and struck out as vigorously

as the care of his rifle would permit. At last he

rose for a few seconds, and immediately half-a-dozen

arrows whizzed through the air; but most of them fell

short--only one passed close to his cheek, and went with

a "whip" into the river. He immediately sank again,

and the next time he rose to breathe he was far beyond

the reach of his Indian enemies.


Escape from Indians--A discovery--Alone in the desert

Dick Varley had spent so much of his boyhood

in sporting about among the waters of the rivers

and lakes near which he had been reared, and especially

during the last two years had spent so much of his

leisure time in rolling and diving with his dog Crusoe

in the lake of the Mustang Valley, that he had become

almost as expert in the water as a South Sea islander;

so that when he found himself whirling down the rapid

river, as already described, he was more impressed with

a feeling of gratitude to God for his escape from the

Indians than anxiety about getting ashore.

He was not altogether blind or indifferent to the

danger into which he might be hurled if the channel of

the river should be found lower down to be broken with

rocks, or should a waterfall unexpectedly appear. After

floating down a sufficient distance to render pursuit

out of the question, he struck into the bank opposite to

that from which he had plunged, and clambering up

to the greensward above, stripped off the greater part

of his clothing and hung it on the branches of a bush to

dry. Then he sat down on the trunk of a fallen tree

to consider what course he had best pursue in his present


These circumstances were by no means calculated to

inspire him with hope or comfort. He was in the

midst of an unknown wilderness, hundreds of miles

from any white man's settlement; surrounded by

savages; without food or blanket; his companions

gone, he knew not whither--perhaps taken and killed

by the Indians; his horse dead; and his dog, the most

trusty and loving of all his friends, lost to him, probably,

for ever! A more veteran heart might have

quailed in the midst of such accumulated evils; but

Dick Varley possessed a strong, young, and buoyant

constitution, which, united with a hopefulness of disposition

that almost nothing could overcome, enabled him

very quickly to cast aside the gloomy view of his case

and turn to its brighter aspects.

He still grasped his good rifle, that was some comfort;

and as his eye fell upon it, he turned with anxiety to

examine into the condition of his powder-horn and the

few things that he had been fortunate enough to carry

away with him about his person.

The horn in which western hunters carry their powder

is usually that of an ox. It is closed up at the large

end with a piece of hard wood fitted tightly into it, and

the small end is closed with a wooden peg or stopper.

It is therefore completely water-tight, and may be for

hours immersed without the powder getting wet, unless

the stopper should chance to be knocked out. Dick

found, to his great satisfaction, that the stopper was

fast and the powder perfectly dry. Moreover, he had by good fortune


it full two days before from the

package that contained the general stock of ammunition,

so that there were only two or three charges out of it.

His percussion caps, however, were completely destroyed;

and even though they had not been, it would have mattered

little, for he did not possess more than half-a-dozen.

But this was not so great a misfortune as at first it

might seem, for he had the spare flint locks and the little

screw-driver necessary for fixing and unfixing them

stowed away in his shot pouch.

To examine his supply of bullets was his next care,

and slowly he counted them out, one by one, to the

number of thirty. This was a pretty fair supply, and

with careful economy would last him many days. Having

relieved his mind on these all-important points,

he carefully examined every pouch and corner of his

dress to ascertain the exact amount and value of his


Besides the leather leggings, moccasins, deerskin hunting-shirt,

cap, and belt which composed his costume, he

had a short heavy hunting-knife, a piece of tinder, a

little tin pannikin, which he had been in the habit of

carrying at his belt, and a large cake of maple sugar.

This last is a species of sugar which is procured by the

Indians from the maple-tree. Several cakes of it had

been carried off from the Pawnee village, and Dick

usually carried one in the breast of his coat. Besides

these things, he found that the little Bible, for which

his mother had made a small inside breast-pocket, was

safe. Dick's heart smote him when he took it out and

undid the clasp, for he had not looked at it until that

day. It was firmly bound with a brass clasp, so that,

although the binding and the edges of the leaves were

soaked, the inside was quite dry. On opening the book

to see if it had been damaged, a small paper fell out.

Picking it up quickly, he unfolded it, and read, in his

mother's handwriting: "
Call upon me in the time of
trouble; and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify
me. My son, give me thine heart

Dick's eyes filled with tears while the sound, as it

were, of his mother's voice thus reached him unexpectedly

in that lonely wilderness. Like too many whose

hearts are young and gay, Dick had regarded religion, if

not as a gloomy, at least as not a cheerful thing. But

he felt the comfort of these words at that moment, and

he resolved seriously to peruse his mother's parting gift

in time to come.

The sun was hot, and a warm breeze gently shook

the leaves, so that Dick's garments were soon dry. A

few minutes served to change the locks of his rifle, draw

the wet charges, dry out the barrels, and re-load. Then

throwing it across his shoulder, he entered the wood and

walked lightly away. And well he might, poor fellow,

for at that moment he felt light enough in person if not

in heart. His worldly goods were not such as to oppress

him; but the little note had turned his thoughts towards

home, and he felt comforted.

Traversing the belt of woodland that marked the

course of the river, Dick soon emerged on the wide

prairie beyond, and here he paused in some uncertainty

as to how he should proceed.

He was too good a backwoodsman, albeit so young, to

feel perplexed as to the points of the compass. He

knew pretty well what hour it was, so that the sun

showed him the general bearings of the country, and he

knew that when night came he could correct his course

by the pole star. Dick's knowledge of astronomy was

limited; he knew only one star by name, but that one

was an inestimable treasure of knowledge. His perplexity

was owing to his uncertainty as to the direction

in which his companions and their pursuers had gone;

for he had made up his mind to follow their trail if

possible, and render all the succour his single arm

might afford. To desert them, and make for the settlement,

he held, would be a faithless and cowardly


While they were together Joe Blunt had often talked

to him about the route he meant to pursue to the Rocky

Mountains, so that, if they had escaped the Indians, he

thought there might be some chance of finding them at

last. But, to set against this, there was the probability

that they had been taken and carried away in a totally

different direction; or they might have taken to the

river, as he had done, and gone farther down without

his observing them. Then, again, if they had escaped,

they would be sure to return and search the country

round for him, so that if he left the spot he might miss


"Oh for my dear pup Crusoe!" he exclaimed aloud

in this dilemma; but the faithful ear was shut now,

and the deep silence that followed his cry was so oppressive

that the young hunter sprang forward at a run

over the plain, as if to fly from solitude. He soon became

so absorbed, however, in his efforts to find the

trail of his companions, that he forgot all other considerations,

and ran straight forward for hours together

with his eyes eagerly fixed on the ground. At last he

felt so hungry, having tasted no food since supper-time

the previous evening, that he halted for the purpose of

eating a morsel of maple sugar. A line of bushes in

the distance indicated water, so he sped on again, and

was soon seated beneath a willow, drinking water from

the cool stream. No game was to be found here, but

there were several kinds of berries, among which wild

grapes and plums grew in abundance. With these and

some sugar he made a meal, though not a good one, for

the berries were quite green and intensely sour.

All that day Dick Varley followed up the trail of his

companions, which he discovered at a ford in the river.

They had crossed, therefore, in safety, though still pursued;

so he ran on at a regular trot, and with a little

more hope than he had felt during the day. Towards

night, however, Dick's heart sank again, for he came

upon innumerable buffalo tracks, among which those of

the horses soon became mingled up, so that he lost them

altogether. Hoping to find them again more easily by

broad daylight, he went to the nearest clump of willows

he could find, and encamped for the night.

Remembering the use formerly made of the tall willows,

he set to work to construct a covering to protect

him from the dew. As he had no blanket or buffalo

skin, he used leaves and grass instead, and found it a

better shelter than he had expected, especially when the

fire was lighted, and a pannikin of hot sugar and water

smoked at his feet; but as no game was to be found, he

was again compelled to sup off unripe berries. Before

lying down to rest he remembered his resolution, and

pulling out the little Bible, read a portion of it by the

fitful blaze of the fire, and felt great comfort in its blessed

words. It seemed to him like a friend with whom he

could converse in the midst of his loneliness.

The plunge into the river having broken Dick's pipe

and destroyed his tobacco, he now felt the want of that

luxury very severely, and, never having wanted it before,

he was greatly surprised to find how much he had

become enslaved to the habit. It cost him more than

an hour's rest that night, the craving for his wonted


The sagacious reader will doubtless not fail here to

ask himself the question, whether it is wise in man to

create in himself an unnatural and totally unnecessary

appetite, which may, and often does, entail hours--ay,

sometimes months--of exceeding discomfort; but we

would not for a moment presume to suggest such a

question to him. We have a distinct objection to the

ordinary method of what is called "drawing a moral."

It is much better to leave wise men to do this for


Next morning Dick rose with the sun, and started

without breakfast, preferring to take his chance of finding

a bird or animal of some kind before long, to feeding

again on sour berries. He was disappointed, however,

in finding the tracks of his companions. The ground

here was hard and sandy, so that little or no impression

of a distinct kind was made on it; and as buffaloes

had traversed it in all directions, he was soon utterly

bewildered. He thought it possible that, by running

out for several miles in a straight line, and then taking

a wide circuit round, he might find the tracks emerging

from the confusion made by the buffaloes. But he was

again disappointed, for the buffalo tracks still continued,

and the ground became less capable of showing a footprint.

Soon Dick began to feel so ill and weak from eating

such poor fare, that he gave up all hope of discovering

the tracks, and was compelled to push forward at his

utmost speed in order to reach a less barren district,

where he might procure fresh meat; but the farther he

advanced the worse and more sandy did the district

become. For several days he pushed on over this arid

waste without seeing bird or beast, and, to add to his

misery, he failed at last to find water. For a day and

a night he wandered about in a burning fever, and his

throat so parched that he was almost suffocated. Towards

the close of the second day he saw a slight line

of bushes away down in a hollow on his right. With

eager steps he staggered towards them, and, on drawing

near, beheld--blessed sight!--a stream of water glancing

in the beams of the setting sun.

Dick tried to shout for joy, but his parched throat

refused to give utterance to the voice. It mattered

not. Exerting all his remaining strength he rushed

down the bank, dropped his rifle, and plunged headforemost

into the stream.

The first mouthful sent a thrill of horror to his heart;

it was salt as brine!

The poor youth's cup of bitterness was now full to

overflowing. Crawling out of the stream, he sank down

on the bank in a species of lethargic torpor, from which,

he awakened next morning in a raging fever. Delirium

soon rendered him insensible to his sufferings. The

sun rose like a ball of fire, and shone down with scorching

power on the arid plain. What mattered it to

Dick? He was far away in the shady groves of the

Mustang Valley, chasing the deer at times, but more

frequently cooling his limbs and sporting with Crusoe

in the bright blue lake. Now he was in his mother's

cottage, telling her how he had thought of her when

far away on the prairie, and what a bright, sweet word

it was she had whispered in his ear--so unexpectedly,

too. Anon he was scouring over the plains on horseback,

with the savages at his heels; and at such times

Dick would spring with almost supernatural strength

from the ground, and run madly over the burning plain;

but, as if by a species of fascination, he always returned

to the salt river, and sank exhausted by its side, or

plunged helplessly into its waters.

These sudden immersions usually restored him for a

short time to reason, and he would crawl up the bank

and gnaw a morsel of the maple sugar; but he could not

eat much, for it was in a tough, compact cake, which

his jaws had not power to break. All that day and

the next night he lay on the banks of the salt stream,

or rushed wildly over the plain. It was about noon of

the second day after his attack that he crept slowly

out of the water, into which he had plunged a few

seconds before. His mind was restored, but he felt an

indescribable sensation of weakness, that seemed to him

to be the approach of death. Creeping towards the

place where his rifle lay, he fell exhausted beside it,

and laid his cheek on the Bible, which had fallen out

of his pocket there.

While his eyes were closed in a dreamy sort of half-waking

slumber, he felt the rough, hairy coat of an animal

brush against his forehead. The idea of being torn

to pieces by wolves flashed instantly across his mind,

and with a shriek of terror he sprang up--to be almost

overwhelmed by the caresses of his faithful dog.

Yes, there he was, bounding round his master, barking

and whining, and giving vent to every possible

expression of canine joy!


Crusoe's return, and his private adventures among the Indians--Dick
at a very low ebb--Crusoe saves him

The means by which Crusoe managed to escape

from his two-legged captors, and rejoin his master,

require separate and special notice.

In the struggle with the fallen horse and Indian,

which Dick had seen begun but not concluded, he was

almost crushed to death; and the instant the Indian

gained his feet, he sent an arrow at his head with

savage violence. Crusoe, however, had been so well

used to dodging the blunt-headed arrows that were

wont to be shot at him by the boys of the Mustang

Valley, that he was quite prepared, and eluded the

shaft by an active bound. Moreover, he uttered one of

his own peculiar roars, flew at the Indian's throat, and

dragged him down. At the same moment the other

Indians came up, and one of them turned aside to the

rescue. This man happened to have an old gun, of

the cheap sort at that time exchanged for peltries by

the fur-traders. With the butt of this he struck

Crusoe a blow on the head that sent him sprawling on

the grass.

The rest of the savages, as we have seen, continued

in pursuit of Dick until he leaped into the river; then

they returned, took the saddle and bridle off his dead

horse, and rejoined their comrades. Here they held a

court-martial on Crusoe, who was now bound foot and

muzzle with cords. Some were for killing him; others,

who admired his noble appearance, immense size, and

courage, thought it would be well to carry him to their

village and keep him. There was a pretty violent dispute

on the subject, but at length it was agreed that

they should spare his life in the meantime, and perhaps

have a dog-dance round him when they got to their


This dance, of which Crusoe was to be the chief

though passive performer, is peculiar to some of the

tribes east of the Rocky Mountains, and consists in

killing a dog and cutting out its liver, which is afterwards

sliced into shreds or strings and hung on a pole

about the height of a man's head. A band of warriors

then come and dance wildly round this pole, and each

one in succession goes up to the raw liver and bites a

piece off it, without, however, putting his hands near

it. Such is the dog-dance, and to such was poor Crusoe

destined by his fierce captors, especially by the one

whose throat still bore very evident marks of his teeth.

But Crusoe was much too clever a dog to be disposed

of in so disgusting a manner. He had privately resolved

in his own mind that he would escape; but the

hopelessness of his ever carrying that resolution into

effect would have been apparent to any one who could

have seen the way in which his muzzle was secured,

and his four paws were tied together in a bunch, as

he hung suspended across the saddle of one of the


This particular party of Indians who had followed

Dick Varley determined not to wait for the return of

their comrades who were in pursuit of the other two

hunters, but to go straight home, so for several days

they galloped away over the prairie. At nights, when

they encamped, Crusoe was thrown on the ground like

a piece of old lumber, and left to lie there with a mere

scrap of food till morning, when he was again thrown

across the horse of his captor and carried on. When

the village was reached, he was thrown again on the

ground, and would certainly have been torn to pieces in

five minutes by the Indian curs which came howling

round him, had not an old woman come to the rescue

and driven them away. With the help of her grand-son--a

little naked creature, just able to walk, or rather

to stagger--she dragged him to her tent, and, undoing

the line that fastened his mouth, offered him a bone.

Although lying in a position that was unfavourable

for eating purposes, Crusoe opened his jaws and took it.

An awful crash was followed by two crunches--and it

was gone! and Crusoe looked up in the old squaw's

face with a look that said plainly, "Another of the same,

please, and as quick as possible." The old woman gave

him another, and then a lump of meat, which latter

went down with a gulp; but he coughed after it! and

it was well he didn't choke. After this the squaw left

him, and Crusoe spent the remainder of that night

gnawing the cords that bound him. So diligent was

he that he was free before morning and walked deliberately

out of the tent. Then he shook himself, and

with a yell that one might have fancied was intended

for defiance he bounded joyfully away, and was soon

out of sight.

To a dog with a good appetite which had been on short

allowance for several days, the mouthful given to him by

the old squaw was a mere nothing. All that day he

kept bounding over the plain from bluff to bluff in

search of something to eat, but found nothing until

dusk, when he pounced suddenly and most unexpectedly

on a prairie-hen fast asleep. In one moment its life

was gone. In less than a minute its body was gone

too--feathers and bones and all--down Crusoe's ravenous


On the identical spot Crusoe lay down and slept like

a top for four hours. At the end of that time he

jumped up, bolted a scrap of skin that somehow had

been overlooked at supper, and flew straight over the

prairie to the spot where he had had the scuffle with

the Indian. He came to the edge of the river, took

precisely the same leap that his master had done before

him, and came out on the other side a good deal higher

up than Dick had done, for the dog had no savages to

dodge, and was, as we have said before, a powerful


It cost him a good deal of running about to find the

trail, and it was nearly dark before he resumed his

journey; then, putting his keen nose to the ground, he

ran step by step over Dick's track, and at last found

him, as we have shown, on the banks of the salt creek.

It is quite impossible to describe the intense joy

which filled Dick's heart on again beholding his favourite.

Only those who have lost and found such an one

can know it. Dick seized him round the neck and

hugged him as well as he could, poor fellow! in his

feeble arms; then he wept, then he laughed, and then

he fainted.

This was a consummation that took Crusoe quite

aback. Never having seen his master in such a state

before he seemed to think at first that he was playing

some trick, for he bounded round him, and barked, and

wagged his tail. But as Dick lay quite still and

motionless, he went forward with a look of alarm;

snuffed him once or twice, and whined piteously; then

he raised his nose in the air and uttered a long melancholy


The cry seemed to revive Dick, for he moved, and

with some difficulty sat up, to the dog's evident relief.

There is no doubt whatever that Crusoe learned an

erroneous lesson that day, and was firmly convinced

thenceforth that the best cure for a fainting fit is a

melancholy yell. So easy is it for the wisest of dogs

as well as men to fall into gross error!

"Crusoe," said Dick, in a feeble voice, "dear good

pup, come here." He crawled, as he spoke, down to

the water's edge, where there was a level patch of dry


"Dig," said Dick, pointing to the sand.

Crusoe looked at him in surprise, as well he might,

for he had never heard the word "dig" in all his life


Dick pondered a minute then a thought struck him.

He turned up a little of the sand with his fingers, and,

pointing to the hole, cried, "
Seek him out, pup

Ha! Crusoe understood
. Many and many a

time had he unhoused rabbits, and squirrels, and other

creatures at that word of command; so, without a moment's

delay, he commenced to dig down into the sand,

every now and then stopping for a moment and shoving

in his nose, and snuffing interrogatively, as if he fully

expected to find a buffalo at the bottom of it. Then he

would resume again, one paw after another so fast that

you could scarce see them going--"hand over hand," as

sailors would have called it--while the sand flew out

between his hind legs in a continuous shower. When

the sand accumulated so much behind him as to impede

his motions he scraped it out of his way, and set to

work again with tenfold earnestness. After a good

while he paused and looked up at Dick with an

"it-won't-do,-I-fear,-there's-nothing-here" expression on his


"Seek him out, pup!" repeated Dick.

"Oh! very good," mutely answered the dog, and went

at it again, tooth and nail, harder than ever.

In the course of a quarter of an hour there was a

deep yawning hole in the sand, into which Dick peered

with intense anxiety. The bottom appeared slightly

. Hope now reanimated Dick Varley, and by

various devices he succeeded in getting the dog to scrape

away a sort of tunnel from the hole, into which he

might roll himself and put down his lips to drink when

the water should rise high enough. Impatiently and

anxiously he lay watching the moisture slowly accumulate

in the bottom of the hole, drop by drop, and while

he gazed he fell into a troubled, restless slumber, and

dreamed that Crusoe's return was a dream, and that he

was alone again, perishing for want of water.

When he awakened the hole was half full of clear

water, and Crusoe was lapping it greedily.

"Back, pup!" he shouted, as he crept down to the

hole and put his trembling lips to the water. It was

brackish, but drinkable, and as Dick drank deeply of

it he esteemed it at that moment better than nectar.

Here he lay for half-an-hour, alternately drinking and

gazing in surprise at his own emaciated visage as reflected

in the pool.

The same afternoon Crusoe, in a private hunting excursion

of his own, discovered and caught a prairie-hen,

which he quietly proceeded to devour on the spot, when

Dick, who saw what had occurred, whistled to him.

Obedience was engrained in every fibre of Crusoe's

mental and corporeal being. He did not merely answer

at once to the call--he
to it, leaving the prairie-hen


"Fetch it, pup," cried Dick eagerly as the dog came


In a few moments the hen was at his feet. Dick's

circumstances could not brook the delay of cookery; he

gashed the bird with his knife and drank the blood, and

then gave the flesh to the dog, while he crept to the

pool again for another draught. Ah! think not, reader,

that although we have treated this subject in a slight

vein of pleasantry, because it ended well, that therefore

our tale is pure fiction. Not only are Indians glad to

satisfy the urgent cravings of hunger with raw flesh,

but many civilized men and delicately nurtured have

done the same--ay, and doubtless will do the same

again, as long as enterprising and fearless men shall go

forth to dare the dangers of flood and field in the wild

places of our wonderful world!

Crusoe had finished his share of the feast before Dick

returned from the pool. Then master and dog lay down

together side by side and fell into a long, deep, peaceful



Health and happiness return
Incidents of the journey
buffalo shot
A wild horse "creased"
Dick's battle with
a mustang

Dick Varley's fears and troubles, in the meantime,

were ended. On the day following he

awoke refreshed and happy--so happy and light at

heart, as he felt the glow of returning health coursing

through his veins, that he fancied he must have dreamed

it all. In fact, he was so certain that his muscles were

strong that he endeavoured to leap up, but was powerfully

convinced of his true condition by the miserable

stagger that resulted from the effort.

However, he knew he was recovering, so he rose, and

thanking God for his recovery, and for the new hope

that was raised in his heart, he went down to the pool

and drank deeply of its water. Then he returned, and,

sitting down beside his dog, opened the Bible and read

long--and, for the first time,
--the story of

Christ's love for sinful man. He at last fell asleep over

the book, and when he awakened felt so much refreshed

in body and mind that he determined to attempt to

pursue his journey.

He had not proceeded far when he came upon a

colony of prairie-dogs. Upon this occasion he was little

inclined to take a humorous view of the vagaries of

these curious little creatures, but he shot one, and, as

before, ate part of it raw. These creatures are so active

that they are difficult to shoot, and even when killed

generally fall into their holes and disappear. Crusoe,

however, soon unearthed the dead animal on this occasion.

That night the travellers came to a stream of

fresh water, and Dick killed a turkey, so that he determined

to spend a couple of days there to recruit. At

the end of that time he again set out, but was able only

to advance five miles when he broke down. In fact, it

became evident to him that he must have a longer period

of absolute repose ere he could hope to continue his

journey; but to do so without food was impossible.

Fortunately there was plenty of water, as his course lay

along the margin of a small stream, and, as the arid

piece of prairie was now behind him, he hoped to fall in

with birds, or perhaps deer, soon.

While he was plodding heavily and wearily along,

pondering these things, he came to the brow of a wave

from which he beheld a most magnificent view of green

grassy plains decked with flowers, and rolling out to

the horizon, with a stream meandering through it, and

clumps of trees scattered everywhere far and wide. It

was a glorious sight; but the most glorious object in it

to Dick, at that time, was a fat buffalo which stood

grazing not a hundred yards off. The wind was blowing

towards him, so that the animal did not scent him,

and, as he came up very slowly, and it was turned away,

it did not see him.

Crusoe would have sprung forward in an instant, but

his master's finger imposed silence and caution. Trembling

with eagerness, Dick sank flat down in the grass,

cocked both barrels of his piece, and, resting it on his

left hand with his left elbow on the ground, he waited

until the animal should present its side. In a few

seconds it moved; Dick's eye glanced along the barrel,

but it trembled--his wonted steadiness of aim was

gone. He fired, and the buffalo sprang off in terror.

With a groan of despair he fired again---almost recklessly--and

the buffalo fell! It rose once or twice and

stumbled forward a few paces, then it fell again. Meanwhile

Dick reloaded with trembling hand, and advanced

to give it another shot; but it was not needful--the

buffalo was already dead.

"Now, Crusoe," said Dick, sitting down on the buffalo's

shoulder and patting his favourite on the head, "we're

all right at last. You and I shall have a jolly time o't,

pup, from this time for'ard."

Dick paused for breath, and Crusoe wagged his tail

and looked as if to say--pshaw! "
as if!

We tell you what it is, reader, it's of no use at all to

go on writing "as if," when we tell you what Crusoe

said. If there is any language in eyes whatever--if

there is language in a tail, in a cocked ear, in a mobile

eyebrow, in the point of a canine nose,--if there is

language in any terrestrial thing at all, apart from that

which flows from the tongue, then Crusoe

we not speak at this moment to
and if so, then

tell me wherein lies the difference between a written

and a given

Yes, Crusoe spoke. He said to Dick as plain as dog

could say it, slowly and emphatically, "That's my opinion

precisely, Dick. You're the dearest, most beloved, jolliest

fellow that ever walked on two legs, you are; and

whatever's your opinion is mine, no matter

it may be."

Dick evidently understood him perfectly, for he

laughed as he looked at him and patted him on the

head, and called him a "funny dog." Then he continued

his discourse:--

"Yes, pup, we'll make our camp here for a long bit,

old dog, in this beautiful plain. We'll make a willow

wigwam to sleep in, you and I, jist in yon clump o'

trees, not a stone's-throw to our right, where we'll have

a run o' pure water beside us, and be near our buffalo

at the same time. For, ye see, we'll need to watch him

lest the wolves take a notion to eat him--that'll be

duty, pup. Then I'll skin him when I get strong

enough, which'll be in a day or two, I hope, and we'll

put one-half of the skin below us and t'other half above

us i' the camp, an' sleep, an' eat, an' take it easy for a

week or two--won't we, pup?"

"Hoora-a-a-y!" shouted Crusoe, with a jovial wag of

his tail, that no human arm with hat, or cap, or kerchief

ever equalled.

Poor Dick Varley! He smiled to think how earnestly

he had been talking to the dog; but he did not cease to

do it, for although he entered into discourses the drift

of which Crusoe's limited education did not permit him

to follow, he found comfort in hearing the sound of his

own voice, and in knowing that it fell pleasantly on

another ear in that lonely wilderness.

Our hero now set about his preparations as vigorously

as he could. He cut out the buffalo's tongue--a matter

of great difficulty to one in his weak state--and carried

it to a pleasant spot near to the stream where the turf

was level and green, and decked with wild flowers.

Here he resolved to make his camp.

His first care was to select a bush whose branches

were long enough to form a canopy over his head when

bent, and the ends thrust into the ground. The completing

of this exhausted him greatly, but after a rest

he resumed his labours. The next thing was to light a

fire--a comfort which he had not enjoyed for many

weary days. Not that he required it for warmth, for

the weather was extremely warm, but he required it to

cook with, and the mere
of a blaze in a dark place

is a most heart-cheering thing, as every one knows.

When the fire was lighted he filled his pannikin at

the brook and put it on to boil, and cutting several

slices of buffalo tongue, he thrust short stakes through

them and set them up before the fire to roast. By this

time the water was boiling, so he took it off with difficulty,

nearly burning his fingers and singeing the tail of

his coat in so doing. Into the pannikin he put a lump

of maple sugar, and stirred it about with a stick, and

tasted it. It seemed to him even better than tea or

coffee. It was absolutely delicious!

Really one has no notion what he can do if he makes

very hard
. The human mind is a nicely balanced

and extremely complex machine, and when thrown a

little off the balance can be made to believe almost anything,

as we see in the case of some poor monomaniacs,

who have fancied that they were made of all sorts of

things--glass and porcelain, and such like. No wonder

then that poor Dick Varley, after so much suffering and

hardship, came to regard that pannikin of hot sirup as

the most delicious beverage he ever drank.

During all these operations Crusoe sat on his haunches

beside him and looked. And you haven't, no, you

haven't got the most distant notion of the way in which

that dog manoeuvred with his head and face. He opened

his eyes wide, and cocked his ears, and turned his head

first a little to one side, then a little to the other. After

that he turned it a
good deal
to one side, and then a

good deal more to the other. Then he brought it straight,

and raised one eyebrow a little, and then the other a

little, and then both together very much. Then, when

Dick paused to rest and did nothing, Crusoe looked mild

for a moment, and yawned vociferously. Presently Dick

moved--up went the ears again, and Crusoe came, in

military parlance, "to the position of attention!" At

last supper was ready and they began.

Dick had purposely kept the dog's supper back from

him, in order that they might eat it in company. And

between every bite and sup that Dick took, he gave a

bite--but not a sup--to Crusoe. Thus lovingly they

ate together; and when Dick lay that night under the

willow branches, looking up through them at the stars,

with his feet to the fire and Crusoe close along his side,

he thought it the best and sweetest supper he ever ate,

and the happiest evening he ever spent--so wonderfully

do circumstances modify our notions of felicity.

Two weeks after this "Richard was himself again."

The muscles were springy, and the blood coursed fast

and free, as was its wont. Only a slight, and, perhaps,

salutary feeling of weakness remained, to remind him

that young muscles might again become more helpless

than those of an aged man or a child.

Dick had left his encampment a week ago, and was

now advancing by rapid stages towards the Rocky

Mountains, closely following the trail of his lost comrades,

which he had no difficulty in finding and keeping

now that Crusoe was with him. The skin of the buffalo

that he had killed was now strapped to his shoulders,

and the skin of another animal that he had shot a few

days after was cut up into a long line and slung in a

coil round his neck. Crusoe was also laden. He had a

little bundle of meat slung on each side of him.

For some time past numerous herds of mustangs, or

wild horses, had crossed their path, and Dick was now

on the look-out for a chance to
one of those magnificent


On one occasion a band of mustangs galloped close

up to him before they were aware of his presence, and

stopped short with a wild snort of surprise on beholding

him; then, wheeling round, they dashed away at full

gallop, their long tails and manes flying wildly in the

air, and their hoofs thundering on the plain. Dick

did not attempt to crease one upon this occasion, fearing

that his recent illness might have rendered his hand too

unsteady for so extremely delicate an operation.

In order to crease a wild horse the hunter requires

to be a perfect shot, and it is not every man of the west

who carries a rifle that can do it successfully. Creasing

consists in sending a bullet through the gristle of the

mustang's neck, just above the bone, so as to stun the

animal. If the ball enters a hair's-breadth too low,

the horse falls dead instantly. If it hits the exact

spot, the horse falls as instantaneously, and dead to all

appearance; but, in reality, he is only stunned, and if

left for a few minutes will rise and gallop away nearly

as well as ever. When hunters crease a horse successfully

they put a rope, or halter, round his under jaw

and hobbles round his feet, so that when he rises he

is secured, and, after considerable trouble, reduced to


The mustangs which roam in wild freedom on the

prairies of the far west are descended from the noble

Spanish steeds that were brought over by the wealthy

cavaliers who accompanied Fernando Cortez, the conqueror

of Mexico, in his expedition to the New World in

1518. These bold, and, we may add, lawless cavaliers

were mounted on the finest horses that could be procured

from Barbary and the deserts of the Old World. The

poor Indians of the New World were struck with amazement

and terror at these awful beings, for, never having

seen horses before, they believed that horse and rider

were one animal. During the wars that followed many

of the Spaniards were killed, and their steeds bounded

into the wilds of the new country, to enjoy a life of

unrestrained freedom. These were the forefathers of

the present race of magnificent creatures which are

found in immense droves all over the western wilderness,

from the Gulf of Mexico to the confines of the

snowy regions of the far north.

At first the Indians beheld these horses with awe and

terror, but gradually they became accustomed to them,

and finally succeeded in capturing great numbers and

reducing them to a state of servitude. Not, however,

to the service of the cultivated field, but to the service

of the chase and war. The savages soon acquired the

method of capturing wild horses by means of the lasso--as

the noose at that end of a long line of raw hide is

termed--which they adroitly threw over the heads of

the animals and secured them, having previously run

them down. At the present day many of the savage

tribes of the west almost live upon horseback, and

without these useful creatures they could scarcely subsist,

as they are almost indispensable in the chase of

the buffalo.

Mustangs are regularly taken by the Indians to the

settlements of the white men for trade, but very poor

specimens are these of the breed of wild horses. This

arises from two causes. First, the Indian cannot overtake

the finest of a drove of wild mustangs, because his own

steed is inferior to the best among the wild ones, besides

being weighted with a rider, so that only the weak and

inferior animals are captured. And, secondly, when the

Indian does succeed in lassoing a first-rate horse he

keeps it for his own use. Thus, those who have not

visited the far-off prairies and seen the mustang in all

the glory of untrammelled freedom, can form no adequate

idea of its beauty, fleetness, and strength.

The horse, however, was not the only creature imported

by Cortez. There were priests in his army who

rode upon asses, and although we cannot imagine that

the "fathers" charged with the cavaliers and were unhorsed,

or, rather, un-assed in battle, yet, somehow, the

asses got rid of their riders and joined the Spanish

chargers in their joyous bound into a new life of freedom.

Hence wild asses also are found in the western

prairies. But think not, reader, of those poor miserable

wretches we see at home, which seem little better than

rough door-mats sewed up and stuffed, with head, tail,

and legs attached, and just enough of life infused to

make them move! No, the wild ass of the prairie is a

large powerful, swift creature. He has the same long

ears, it is true, and the same hideous, exasperating bray,

and the same tendency to flourish his heels; but for all

that he is a very fine animal, and often wages

warfare with the wild horse.

But to return. The next drove of mustangs that

Dick and Crusoe saw were feeding quietly and unsuspectingly

in a rich green hollow in the plain. Dick's

heart leaped up as his eyes suddenly fell on them, for

he had almost discovered himself before he was aware

of their presence.

"Down, pup!" he whispered, as he sank and disappeared

among the grass, which was just long enough

to cover him when lying quite flat.

Crusoe crouched immediately, and his master made

his observations of the drove, and the dispositions of

the ground that might favour his approach, for they

were not within rifle range. Having done so he crept

slowly back until the undulation of the prairie hid him

from view; then he sprang to his feet, and ran a considerable

distance along the bottom until he gained the

extreme end of a belt of low bushes, which would effectually

conceal him while he approached to within a

hundred yards or less of the troop.

Here he made his arrangements. Throwing down

his buffalo robe, he took the coil of line and cut off a

piece of about three yards in length. On this he made

a running noose. The longer line he also prepared

with a running noose. These he threw in a coil over

his arm.

He also made a pair of hobbles, and placed them in

the breast of his coat, and then, taking up his rifle,

advanced cautiously through the bushes--Crusoe following

close behind him. In a few minutes he was gazing

in admiration at the mustangs, which were now within

easy shot, and utterly ignorant of the presence of man,

for Dick had taken care to approach in such a way

that the wind did not carry the scent of him in their


And well might he admire them. The wild horse of

these regions is not very large, but it is exceedingly

powerful, with prominent eye, sharp nose, distended

nostril, small feet, and a delicate leg. Their beautiful

manes hung at great length down their arched necks,

and their thick tails swept the ground. One magnificent

fellow in particular attracted Dick's attention.

He was of a rich dark-brown colour, with black mane

and tail, and seemed to be the leader of the drove.

Although not the nearest to him, he resolved to crease

this horse. It is said that creasing generally destroys

or damages the spirit of the horse, so Dick determined

to try whether his powers of close shooting would not serve him on


occasion. Going down on one knee he aimed at the creature's neck, just



above the spot where he had been told that hunters

usually hit them, and fired. The effect upon the group

was absolutely tremendous. With wild cries and snorting

terror they tossed their proud heads in the air,

uncertain for one moment in which direction to fly;

then there was a rush as if a hurricane swept over the

place, and they were gone.

But the brown horse was down. Dick did not wait

until the others had fled. He dropped his rifle, and

with the speed of a deer sprang towards the fallen

horse, and affixed the hobbles to his legs. His aim had

been true. Although scarcely half a minute elapsed

between the shot and the fixing of the hobbles, the

animal recovered, and with a frantic exertion rose on

his haunches, just as Dick had fastened the noose of

the short line in his under jaw. But this was not

enough. If the horse had gained his feet before the

longer line was placed round his neck, he would have

escaped. As the mustang made the second violent

plunge that placed it on its legs, Dick flung the noose

hastily; it caught on one ear, and would have fallen

off, had not the horse suddenly shaken its head, and

unwittingly sealed its own fate by bringing the noose

round its neck.

And now the struggle began. Dick knew well

enough, from hearsay, the method of "breaking down"

a wild horse. He knew that the Indians choke them

with the noose round the neck until they fall down

exhausted and covered with foam, when they creep up,

fix the hobbles, and the line in the lower jaw, and then

loosen the lasso to let the horse breathe, and resume its

plungings till it is almost subdued, when they gradually

draw near and breathe into its nostrils. But the violence

and strength of this animal rendered this an

apparently hopeless task. We have already seen that

the hobbles and noose in the lower jaw had been fixed,

so that Dick had nothing now to do but to choke his

captive, and tire him out, while Crusoe remained a quiet

though excited spectator of the scene.

But there seemed to be no possibility of choking this

horse. Either the muscles of his neck were too strong,

or there was something wrong with the noose which

prevented it from acting, for the furious creature dashed

and bounded backwards and sideways in its terror for

nearly an hour, dragging Dick after it, till he was

almost exhausted; and yet, at the end of that time,

although flecked with foam and panting with terror,

it seemed as strong as ever. Dick held both lines, for

the short one attached to its lower jaw gave him great

power over it. At last he thought of seeking assistance

from his dog.

"Crusoe," he cried, "lay hold, pup!"

The dog seized the long line in his teeth and pulled

with all his might. At the same moment Dick let go

the short line and threw all his weight upon the long

one. The noose tightened suddenly under this strain,

and the mustang, with a gasp, fell choking to the


Dick had often heard of the manner in which the

Mexicans "break" their horses, so he determined to

abandon the method which had already almost worn

him out, and adopt the other, as far as the means in

his power rendered it possible. Instead, therefore, of

loosening the lasso and re-commencing the struggle, he

tore a branch from a neighbouring bush, cut the hobbles,

strode with his legs across the fallen steed, seized the

end of the short line or bridle, and then, ordering Crusoe

to quit his hold, he loosened the noose which compressed

the horse's neck and had already well-nigh terminated

its existence.

One or two deep sobs restored it, and in a moment

it leaped to its feet with Dick firmly on its back. To

say that the animal leaped and kicked in its frantic

efforts to throw this intolerable burden would be a tame

manner of expressing what took place. Words cannot

adequately describe the scene. It reared, plunged,

shrieked, vaulted into the air, stood straight up

on its hind legs, and then almost as straight upon its fore

ones; but its rider held on like a burr. Then the

mustang raced wildly forwards a few paces, then as

wildly back, and then stood still and trembled violently.

But this was only a brief lull in the storm, so Dick saw

that the time was now come to assert the superiority of

his race.

"Stay back, Crusoe, and watch my rifle, pup," he

cried, and raising his heavy switch he brought it down

with a sharp cut across the horse's flank, at the same

time loosening the rein which hitherto he had held


The wild horse uttered a passionate cry, and sprang

forward like the bolt from a cross-bow.

And now commenced a race which, if not so prolonged,

was at least as furious as that of the far-famed

Mazeppa. Dick was a splendid rider, however--at

least as far as "sticking on" goes. He might not

have come up to the precise pitch desiderated by a

riding-master in regard to carriage, etc., but he rode

that wild horse of the prairie with as much ease as he

had formerly ridden his own good steed, whose bones

had been picked by the wolves not long ago.

The pace was tremendous, for the youth's weight

was nothing to that muscular frame, which bounded

with cat-like agility from wave to wave of the undulating

plain in ungovernable terror. In a few minutes

the clump of willows where Crusoe and his rifle lay

were out of sight behind; but it mattered not, for Dick

had looked up at the sky and noted the position of the

sun at the moment of starting. Away they went on

the wings of the wind, mile after mile over the ocean-like

waste--curving slightly aside now and then to

avoid the bluffs that occasionally appeared on the

scene for a few minutes and then swept out of sight

behind them. Then they came to a little rivulet. It

was a mere brook of a few feet wide, and two or three

yards, perhaps, from bank to bank. Over this they

flew so easily that the spring was scarcely felt, and

continued the headlong course. And now a more

barren country was around them. Sandy ridges and

scrubby grass appeared everywhere, reminding Dick of

the place where he had been so ill. Rocks, too, were

scattered about, and at one place the horse dashed

with clattering hoofs between a couple of rocky sand-hills which, for

a few

seconds, hid the prairie from

view. Here the mustang suddenly shied with such

violence that his rider was nearly thrown, while a

rattlesnake darted from the path. Soon they emerged

from this pass, and again the plains became green and

verdant. Presently a distant line of trees showed that

they were approaching water, and in a few minutes

they were close on it. For the first time Dick felt

alarm. He sought to check his steed, but no force he

could exert had the smallest influence on it.

Trees and bushes flew past in bewildering confusion.

The river was before him; what width, he could not

tell, but he was reckless now, like his charger, which he

struck with the willow rod with all his force as they

came up. One tremendous bound, and they were

across, but Dick had to lie flat on the mustang's back

as it crashed through the bushes to avoid being scraped

off by the trees. Again they were on the open plain,

and the wild horse began to show signs of exhaustion.

Now was its rider's opportunity to assert his dominion.

He plied the willow rod and urged the panting

horse on, until it was white with foam and laboured

a little in its gait. Then Dick gently drew the halter,

and it broke into a trot; still tighter, and it walked,

and in another minute stood still, trembling in every

limb. Dick now quietly rubbed its neck, and spoke

to it in soothing tones; then he wheeled it gently

round, and urged it forward. It was quite subdued

and docile. In a little time they came to the river

and forded it, after which they went through the belt

of woodland at a walk. By the time they reached the

open prairie the mustang was recovered sufficiently to

feel its spirit returning, so Dick gave it a gentle touch

with the switch, and away they went on their return


But it amazed Dick not a little to find how long

that journey was. Very different was the pace, too,

from the previous mad gallop, and often would the poor

horse have stopped had Dick allowed him. But this

might not be. The shades of night were approaching,

and the camp lay a long way ahead.

At last it was reached, and Crusoe came out with

great demonstrations of joy, but was sent back lest he

should alarm the horse. Then Dick jumped off his

back, stroked his head, put his cheek close to his

mouth and whispered softly to him, after which he

fastened him to a tree and rubbed him down slightly

with a bunch of grass. Having done this, he left him

to graze as far as his tether would permit; and, after

supping with Crusoe, lay down to-rest, not a little

elated with his success in this first attempt at "creasing"

and "breaking" a mustang.


Dick becomes a horse tamer--Resumes his journey--Charlie's
doings--Misfortunes which lead to, but do not terminate in, the Rocky
Mountains--A grizzly bear

There is a proverb--or a saying--or at least

somebody or book has told us, that some Irishman

once said, "Be aisy; or, if ye can't be aisy, be as

aisy as ye can."

Now, we count that good advice, and strongly recommend

it to all and sundry. Had we been at the

side of Dick Varley on the night after his taming of

the wild horse, we would have strongly urged that

advice upon him. Whether he would have listened

to it or not is quite another question; we rather think

not. Reader, if you wish to know why, go and do

what he did, and if you feel no curious sensations

about the region of the loins after it, we will tell you

why Dick Varley wouldn't have listened to that advice.

Can a man feel as if his joints were wrenched

out of their sockets, and listen to advice--be that

advice good or bad? Can he feel as though these

joints were trying to re-set and re-dislocate themselves

perpetually, and listen to advice? Can he feel as if

he were sitting down on red-hot iron, when he's not

sitting down at all, and listen to advice? Can he--but

no! why pursue the subject. Poor Dick spent

that night in misery, and the greater part of the following

day in sleep, to make up for it.

When he got up to breakfast in the afternoon he felt

much better, but shaky.

"Now, pup," he said, stretching himself, "we'll go

and see our horse.
, pup; yours and mine: didn't

you help to catch him, eh, pup?"

Crusoe acknowledged the fact with a wag and a playful

"bow-wow--wow-oo-ow!" and followed his master

to the place where the horse had been picketed. It

was standing there quite quiet, but looking a little


Dick went boldly up to it, and patted its head and

stroked its nose, for nothing is so likely to alarm either

a tame or a wild horse as any appearance of timidity or

hesitation on the part of those who approach them.

After treating it thus for a short time, he stroked

down its neck, and then its shoulders--the horse eying

him all the time nervously. Gradually he stroked

its back and limbs gently, and walked quietly round

and round it once or twice, sometimes approaching

and sometimes going away, but never either hesitating

or doing anything abruptly. This done, he went down

to the stream and filled his cap with water and carried

it to the horse, which snuffed suspiciously and backed

a little; so he laid the cap down, and went up and

patted him again. Presently he took up the cap and

carried it to his nose. The poor creature was almost

choking with thirst, so that, the moment he understood

what was in the cap, he buried his lips in it and sucked

it up.

This was a great point gained: he had accepted a

benefit at the hands of his new master; he had become

a debtor to man, and no doubt he felt the obligation.

Dick filled the cap and the horse emptied it

again, and again, and again, until its burning thirst

was slaked. Then Dick went up to his shoulder, patted

him, undid the line that fastened him, and vaulted

lightly on his back!

We say
, for it was so, but it wasn't
, as

Dick could have told you! However, he was determined

not to forego the training of his steed on account

of what
would have called a "little bit pain."

At this unexpected act the horse plunged and reared

a good deal, and seemed inclined to go through the performance

of the day before over again; but Dick patted

and stroked him into quiescence, and having done so,

urged him into a gallop over the plains, causing the dog

to gambol round in order that he might get accustomed

to him. This tried his nerves a good deal, and no wonder,

for if he took Crusoe for a wolf, which no doubt he did,

he must have thought him a very giant of the pack.

By degrees they broke into a furious gallop, and

after breathing him well, Dick returned and tied him

to the tree. Then he rubbed him down again, and

gave him another drink. This time the horse smelt

his new master all over, and Dick felt that he had

conquered him by kindness. No doubt the tremendous

run of the day before could scarcely be called

kindness, but without this subduing run he never could

have brought the offices of kindness to bear on so wild

a steed.

During all these operations Crusoe sat looking on

with demure sagacity--drinking in wisdom and taking

notes. We know not whether any notes made by the

canine race have ever been given to the world, but

certain are we that, if the notes and observations made

by Crusoe on that journey were published, they would,

to say the least, surprise us!

Next day Dick gave the wild horse his second lesson,

and his name. He called him "Charlie," after a much-loved

companion in the Mustang Valley. And long and

heartily did Dick Varley laugh as he told the horse his

future designation in the presence of Crusoe, for it struck

him as somewhat ludicrous that a mustang which, two

days ago, pawed the earth in all the pride of independent

freedom, should suddenly come down so low as to carry

a hunter on his back and be named Charlie.

The next piece of instruction began by Crusoe being

led up under Charlie's nose, and while Dick patted the

dog with his right hand he patted the horse with his

left. It backed a good deal at first and snorted, but

Crusoe walked slowly and quietly in front of him

several times, each time coming nearer, until he again

stood under his nose; then the horse smelt him nervously,

and gave a sigh of relief when he found that

Crusoe paid no attention to him whatever. Dick then

ordered the dog to lie down at Charlie's feet, and went

to the camp to fetch his rifle, and buffalo robe, and

pack of meat. These and all the other things belonging

to him were presented for inspection, one by one,

to the horse, who arched his neck, and put forward his

ears, and eyed them at first, but smelt them all over,

and seemed to feel more easy in his mind.

Next, the buffalo robe was rubbed over his nose, then

over his eyes and head, then down his neck and shoulder,

and lastly was placed on his back. Then it was taken

off and
on; after that it was strapped on, and the

various little items of the camp were attached to it.

This done, Dick took up his rifle and let him smell it;

then he put his hand on Charlie's shoulder, vaulted on

to his back, and rode away.

Charlie's education was completed. And now our

hero's journey began again in earnest, and with some

prospect of its speedy termination.

In this course of training through which Dick put

his wild horse, he had been at much greater pains and

had taken far longer time than is usually the case among

the Indians, who will catch, and "break," and ride a

wild horse into camp in less than
three hours
. But

Dick wanted to do the thing well, which the Indians

are not careful to do; besides, it must be borne in remembrance

that this was his first attempt, and that his

horse was one of the best and most high-spirited, while

those caught by the Indians, as we have said, are generally

the poorest of a drove.

Dick now followed the trail of his lost companions at

a rapid pace, yet not so rapidly as he might have done,

being averse to exhausting his good dog and his new

companion. Each night he encamped under the shade

of a tree or a bush when he could find one, or in the

open prairie when there were none, and, picketing his

horse to a short stake or pin which he carried with him

for the purpose, lit his fire, had supper, and lay down

to rest. In a few days Charlie became so tame and so

accustomed to his master's voice that he seemed quite

reconciled to his new life. There can be no doubt whatever

that he had a great dislike to solitude; for on one

occasion, when Dick and Crusoe went off a mile or so

from the camp, where Charlie was tied, and disappeared

from his view, he was heard to neigh so loudly that

Dick ran back, thinking the wolves must have attacked

him. He was all right, however, and exhibited evident

tokens of satisfaction when they returned.

On another occasion his fear of being left alone was

more clearly demonstrated.

Dick had been unable to find wood or water that day,

so he was obliged to encamp upon the open plain. The

want of water was not seriously felt, however, for he

had prepared a bladder in which he always carried

enough to give him one pannikin of hot sirup, and

leave a mouthful for Crusoe and Charlie. Dried buffalo

dung formed a substitute for fuel. Spreading his buffalo

robe, he lit his fire, put on his pannikin to boil, and

stuck up a piece of meat to roast, to the great delight

of Crusoe, who sat looking on with much interest.

Suddenly Charlie, who was picketed a few hundred

yards off in a grassy spot, broke his halter close by the

headpiece, and with a snort of delight bounded away,

prancing and kicking up his heels!

Dick heaved a deep sigh, for he felt sure that his

horse was gone. However, in a little Charlie stopped,

and raised his nose high in the air, as if to look for

his old equine companions. But they were gone; no

answering neigh replied to his; and he felt, probably

for the first time, that he was really alone in the world.

Having no power of smell, whereby he might have

traced them out as the dog would have done, he looked

in a bewildered and excited state all round the horizon.

Then his eye fell on Dick and Crusoe sitting by their

little fire. Charlie looked hard at them, and then again

at the horizon; and then, coming to the conclusion, no

doubt, that the matter was quite beyond his comprehension,

he quietly took to feeding.

Dick availed himself of the chance, and tried to catch

him; but he spent an hour with Crusoe in the vain

attempt, and at last they gave it up in disgust and returned

to the fire, where they finished their supper and

went to bed.

Next morning they saw Charlie feeding close at hand,

so they took breakfast, and tried to catch him again.

But it was of no use; he was evidently coquetting with

them, and dodged about and defied their utmost efforts,

for there were only a few inches of line hanging to his

head. At last it occurred to Dick that he would try

the experiment of forsaking him. So he packed up his

things, rolled up the buffalo robe, threw it and the rifle

on his shoulder, and walked deliberately away.

"Come along, Crusoe!" he cried, after walking a few


But Crusoe stood by the fire with his head up, and

an expression on his face that said, "Hallo, man! what's

wrong? You've forgot Charlie! Hold on! Are you


"Come here, Crusoe!" cried his master in a decided


Crusoe obeyed at once. Whatever mistake there

might be, there was evidently none in that command;

so he lowered his head and tail humbly, and trotted on

with his master, but he perpetually turned his head as

he went, first on this side and then on that, to look and

wonder at Charlie.

When they were far away on the plain, Charlie suddenly

became aware that something was wrong. He

trotted to the brow of a slope, with his head and tail

very high up indeed, and looked after them; then he

looked at the fire, and neighed; then he trotted quickly

up to it, and seeing that everything was gone he began

to neigh violently, and at last started off at full speed,

and overtook his friends, passing within a few feet of

them, and, wheeling round a few yards off, stood trembling

like an aspen leaf.

Dick called him by his name and advanced, while

Charlie met him half-way, and allowed himself to be

saddled, bridled, and mounted forthwith.

After this Dick had no further trouble with his wild


At his next camping-place, which was in the midst of

a cluster of bushes close beside a creek, Dick came unexpectedly

upon a little wooden cross which marked the

head of a grave. There was no inscription on it, but the

Christian symbol told that it was the grave of a white

man. It is impossible to describe the rush of mingled

feelings that filled the soul of the young hunter as he

leaned on the muzzle of his rifle and looked at this

solitary resting-place of one who, doubtless like himself,

had been a roving hunter. Had he been young or old

when he fell? had he a mother in the distant settlement

who watched and longed and waited for the son

that was never more to gladden her eyes? had he been

murdered, or had he died there and been buried by his

sorrowing comrades? These and a thousand questions

passed rapidly through his mind as he gazed at the little


Suddenly he started. "Could it be the grave of Joe

or Henri?" For an instant the idea sent a chill to his

heart; but it passed quickly, for a second glance showed

that the grave was old, and that the wooden cross had

stood over it for years.

Dick turned away with a saddened heart; and that

night, as he pored over the pages of his Bible, his mind

was filled with many thoughts about eternity and the

world to come. He, too, must come to the grave one

day, and quit the beautiful prairies and his loved

rifle. It was a sad thought; but while he meditated

he thought upon his mother. "After all," he murmured,

"there must be happiness
the rifle, and youth,

and health, and the prairie! My mother's happy, yet

she don't shoot, or ride like wild-fire over the plains."

Then that word which had been sent so sweetly to him

through her hand came again to his mind, "My son,

give me thine heart;" and as he read God's Book, he

met with the word, "Delight thyself in the Lord, and he

shall give thee the desire of thine heart." "
The desire
of thine heart
" Dick repeated this, and pondered it

till he fell asleep.

A misfortune soon after this befell Dick Varley which

well-nigh caused him to give way to despair. For some

time past he had been approaching the eastern slopes

of the Rocky Mountains--those ragged, jagged, mighty

hills which run through the whole continent from north

to south in a continuous chain, and form, as it were, the

backbone of America. One morning, as he threw the

buffalo robe off his shoulders and sat up, he was horrified

to find the whole earth covered with a mantle of snow.

We say he was horrified, for this rendered it absolutely

impossible any further to trace his companions either by

scent or sight.

For some time he sat musing bitterly on his sad fate,

while his dog came and laid his head sympathizingly on

his arm.

"Ah, pup!" he said, "I know ye'd help me if ye

could! But it's all up now; there's no chance of findin'


To this Crusoe replied by a low whine. He knew

full well that something distressed his master, but he

hadn't yet ascertained what it was. As something had

to be done, Dick put the buffalo robe on his steed, and

mounting said, as he was in the habit of doing each

morning, "Lead on, pup."

Crusoe put his nose to the ground and ran forward a

few paces, then he returned and ran about snuffing and

scraping up the snow. At last he looked up and uttered

a long melancholy howl.

"Ah! I knowed it," said Dick, pushing forward.

"Come on, pup; you'll have to
now. Any way

we must go on."

The snow that had fallen was not deep enough to

offer the slightest obstruction to their advance. It was,

indeed, only one of those occasional showers common to

that part of the country in the late autumn, which

season had now crept upon Dick almost before he was

aware of it, and he fully expected that it would melt

away in a few days. In this hope he kept steadily

advancing, until he found himself in the midst of those

rocky fastnesses which divide the waters that flow into

the Atlantic from those that flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Still the slight crust of snow lay on the ground, and he

had no means of knowing whether he was going in the

right direction or not.

Game was abundant, and there was no lack of wood

now, so that his night bivouac was not so cold or dreary

as might have been expected.

Travelling, however, had become difficult, and even

dangerous, owing to the rugged nature of the ground

over which he proceeded. The scenery had completely

changed in its character. Dick no longer coursed over

the free, open plains, but he passed through beautiful

valleys filled with luxuriant trees, and hemmed in by

stupendous mountains, whose rugged sides rose upward

until the snow-clad peaks pierced the clouds.

There was something awful in these dark solitudes,

quite overwhelming to a youth of Dick's temperament.

His heart began to sink lower and lower every day, and

the utter impossibility of making up his mind what to

do became at length agonizing. To have turned and

gone back the hundreds of miles over which he had

travelled would have caused him some anxiety under

any circumstances, but to do so while Joe and Henri

were either wandering about there or in the power of

the savages was, he felt, out of the question. Yet in

which way should he go? Whatever course he took

might lead him farther and farther away from them.

In this dilemma he came to the determination of

remaining where he was, at least until the snow should

leave the ground.

He felt great relief even when this hopeless course

was decided upon, and set about making himself an encampment

with some degree of cheerfulness. When he

had completed this task, he took his rifle, and leaving

Charlie picketed in the centre of a dell, where the long,

rich grass rose high above the snow, went off to hunt.

On turning a rocky point his heart suddenly bounded

into his throat, for there, not thirty yards distant, stood

a huge grizzly bear!

Yes, there he was at last, the monster to meet which

the young hunter had so often longed--the terrible size

and fierceness of which he had heard so often spoken

about by the old hunters. There it stood at last; but

little did Dick Varley think that the first time he should

meet with his foe should be when alone in the dark recesses

of the Rocky Mountains, and with none to succour

him in the event of the battle going against him. Yes,

there was one. The faithful Crusoe stood by his side,

with his hair bristling, all his formidable teeth exposed,

and his eyes glaring in their sockets. Alas for poor

Crusoe had he gone into that combat alone! One stroke

of that monster's paw would have hurled him dead upon

the ground.


Dick's first fight with a grizzly
Adventure with a
A surprise

There is no animal in all the land so terrible and

dangerous as the grizzly bear. Not only is he the

largest of the species in America, but he is the fiercest,

the strongest, and the most tenacious of life--facts which

are so well understood that few of the western hunters

like to meet him single-handed, unless they happen

to be first-rate shots; and the Indians deem the encounter

so dangerous that to wear a collar composed

of the claws of a grizzly bear of his own killing is

counted one of the highest honours to which a young

warrior can attain.

The grizzly bear resembles the brown bear of Europe,

but it is larger, and the hair is long, the points being

of a paler shade. About the head there is a considerable

mixture of gray hair, giving it the "grizzly" appearance

from which it derives its name. The claws are

dirty white, arched, and very long, and so strong that

when the animal strikes with its paw they cut like a

chisel. These claws are not embedded in the paw, as

is the case with the cat, but always project far beyond

the hair, thus giving to the foot a very ungainly appearance.

They are not sufficiently curved to enable the

grizzly bear to climb trees, like the black and brown

bears; and this inability on their part is often the only

hope of the pursued hunter, who, if he succeeds in

ascending a tree, is safe, for the time at least, from the

bear's assaults. But "Caleb" is a patient creature, and

will often wait at the foot of the tree for many hours

for his victim.

The average length of his body is about nine feet,

but he sometimes attains to a still larger growth.

Caleb is more carnivorous in his habits than other

bears; but, like them, he does not object to indulge

occasionally in vegetable diet, being partial to the bird-cherry,

the choke-berry, and various shrubs. He has

a sweet tooth, too, and revels in honey--when he can

get it.

The instant the grizzly bear beheld Dick Varley

standing in his path, he rose on his hind legs and made

a loud hissing noise, like a man breathing quick, but

much harsher. To this Crusoe replied by a deep growl,

and showing the utmost extent of his teeth, gums and

all; and Dick cocked both barrels of his rifle.

To say that Dick Varley felt no fear would be simply

to make him out that sort of hero which does not exist

in nature--namely, a
hero. He
feel a


as if his bowels had suddenly melted into water!

Let not our reader think the worse of Dick for this.

There is not a man living who, having met with a huge

grizzly bear for the first time in his life in a wild, solitary

place, all alone, has not experienced some such

sensation. There was no cowardice in this feeling.

Fear is not cowardice. Acting in a wrong and contemptible

manner because of our fear is cowardice.

It is said that Wellington or Napoleon, we forget

which, once stood watching the muster of the men who

were to form the forlorn-hope in storming a citadel.

There were many brave, strong, stalwart men there, in

the prime of life, and flushed with the blood of high

health and courage. There were also there a few stern-browed

men of riper years, who stood perfectly silent,

with lips compressed, and as pale as death. "Yonder

veterans," said the general, pointing to these soldiers,

"are men whose courage I can depend on; they

what they are going to, the others
" Yes, these

young soldiers
very probably
were brave; the others


Dick Varley stood for a few seconds as if thunderstruck,

while the bear stood hissing at him. Then the

liquefaction of his interior ceased, and he felt a glow

of fire gush through his veins. Now Dick knew well

enough that to fly from a grizzly bear was the sure and

certain way of being torn to pieces, as when taken thus

by surprise they almost invariably follow a retreating

enemy. He also knew that if he stood where he was,

perfectly still, the bear would get uncomfortable under

his stare, and would retreat from him. But he neither

intended to run away himself nor to allow the bear to

do so; he intended to kill it, so he raised his rifle quickly,

"drew a bead," as the hunters express it, on the bear's

heart, and fired.

It immediately dropped on its fore legs and rushed

at him.

"Back, Crusoe! out of the way, pup!" shouted Dick, as

his favourite was about to spring forward.

The dog retired, and Dick leaped behind a tree. As

the bear passed he gave it the contents of the second

barrel behind the shoulder, which brought it down; but

in another moment it rose and again rushed at him.

Dick had no time to load, neither had he time to spring

up the thick tree beside which he stood, and the rocky

nature of the ground out of which it grew rendered it

impossible to dodge round it. His only resource was

flight; but where was he to fly to? If he ran along

the open track, the bear would overtake him in a few

seconds. On the right was a sheer precipice one hundred

feet high; on the left was an impenetrable thicket. In

despair he thought for an instant of clubbing his rifle

and meeting the monster in close conflict; but the utter

hopelessness of such an effort was too apparent to be

entertained for a moment. He glanced up at the overhanging

cliffs. There were one or two rents and projections

close above him. In the twinkling of an eye

he sprang up and grasped a ledge of about an inch

broad, ten or twelve feet up, to which he clung while

he glanced upward. Another projection was within

reach; he gained it, and in a few seconds he stood upon

a ledge about twenty feet up the cliff, where he had just

room to plant his feet firmly.

Without waiting to look behind, he seized his powder-horn

and loaded one barrel of his rifle; and well was it

for him that his early training had fitted him to do this

with rapidity, for the bear dashed up the precipice after

him at once. The first time it missed its hold, and fell

back with a savage growl; but on the second attempt

it sunk its long claws into the fissures between the rocks,

and ascended steadily till within a foot of the place

where Dick stood.

At this moment Crusoe's obedience gave way before

a sense of Dick's danger. Uttering one of his lion-like

roars, he rushed up the precipice with such violence

that, although naturally unable to climb, he reached and

seized the bear's flank, despite his master's stern order

to "keep back," and in a moment the two rolled down

the face of the rock together, just as Dick completed


Knowing that one stroke of the bear's paw would be

certain death to his poor dog, Dick leaped from his

perch, and with one bound reached the ground at the

same moment with the struggling animals, and close

beside them, and, before they had ceased rolling, he

placed the muzzle of his rifle into the bear's ear, and

blew out its brains.

Crusoe, strange to say, escaped with only one scratch

on the side. It was a deep one, but not dangerous, and

gave him but little pain at the time, although it caused

him many a smart for some weeks after.

Thus happily ended Dick's first encounter with a

grizzly bear; and although, in the course of his wild

life, he shot many specimens of "Caleb," he used to say

that "he an' pup were never so near goin' under as on

the day he dropped

Having refreshed himself with a long draught from

a neighbouring rivulet, and washed Crusoe's wound,

Dick skinned the bear on the spot.

"We chawed him up that time, didn't we, pup?"

said Dick, with a smile of satisfaction, as he surveyed

his prize.

Crusoe looked up and assented to this.

"Gave us a hard tussle, though; very nigh sent us

both under, didn't he, pup?"

Crusoe agreed entirely, and, as if the remark reminded

him of honourable scars, he licked his wound.

"Ah, pup!" cried Dick, sympathetically, "does't hurt

ye, eh, poor dog?"

Hurt him? such a question! No, he should think

not; better ask if that leap from the precipice hurt


So Crusoe might have said, but he didn't; he took

no notice of the remark whatever.

"We'll cut him up now, pup," continued Dick.

"The skin'll make a splendid bed for you an' me o'

nights, and a saddle for Charlie."

Dick cut out all the claws of the bear by the roots,

and spent the remainder of that night in cleaning them

and stringing them on a strip of leather to form a

necklace. Independently of the value of these enormous

claws (the largest as long as a man's middle finger) as

an evidence of prowess, they formed a remarkably graceful

collar, which Dick wore round his neck ever after

with as much pride as if he had been a Pawnee warrior.

When it was finished he held it out at arm's-length,

and said, "Crusoe, my pup, ain't ye proud of it? I'll

tell ye what it is, pup, the next time you an' I floor

Caleb, I'll put the claws round
neck, an' make ye

wear em ever arter, so I will."

The dog did not seem quite to appreciate this piece

of prospective good fortune. Vanity had no place in

his honest breast, and, sooth to say, it had not a large

place in that of his master either, as we may well grant

when we consider that this first display of it was on the

occasion of his hunter's soul having at last realized its

brightest day-dream.

Dick's dangers and triumphs seemed to accumulate

on him rather thickly at this place, for on the very

next day he had a narrow escape of being killed by a

deer. The way of it was this.

Having run short of meat, and not being particularly

fond of grizzly bear steak, he shouldered his rifle and

sallied forth in quest of game, accompanied by Crusoe,

whose frequent glances towards his wounded side

showed that, whatever may have been the case the day

before, it "hurt" him now.

They had not gone far when they came on the track

of a deer in the snow, and followed it up till they spied

a magnificent buck about three hundred yards off,

standing in a level patch of ground which was everywhere

surrounded either by rocks or thicket. It was a

long shot, but as the nature of the ground rendered it

impossible for Dick to get nearer without being seen,

he fired, and wounded the buck so badly that he came

up with it in a few minutes. The snow had drifted in

the place where it stood bolt upright, ready for a spring,

so Dick went round a little way, Crusoe following, till

he was in a proper position to fire again. Just as he

pulled the trigger, Crusoe gave a howl behind him and

disturbed his aim, so that he feared he had missed; but

the deer fell, and he hurried towards it. On coming

up, however, the buck sprang to its legs, rushed at him

with its hair bristling, knocked him down in the snow,

and deliberately commenced stamping him to death.

Dick was stunned for a moment, and lay quite still,

so the deer left off pommelling him, and stood looking

at him. But the instant he moved it plunged at him

again and gave him another pounding, until he was

content to lie still. This was done several times, and

Dick felt his strength going fast. He was surprised

that Crusoe did not come to his rescue, and once he

cleared his mouth and whistled to him; but as the

deer gave him another pounding for this, he didn't

attempt it again. He now for the first time bethought

him of his knife, and quietly drew it from his belt;

but the deer observed the motion, and was on him

again in a moment. Dick, however, sprang up on his

left elbow, and making several desperate thrusts upward,

succeeded in stabbing the animal to the heart.

Rising and shaking the snow from his garments, he

whistled loudly to Crusoe, and, on listening, heard him

whining piteously. He hurried to the place whence

the sound came, and found that the poor dog had fallen

into a deep pit or crevice in the rocks, which had been

concealed from view by a crust of snow, and he was

now making frantic but unavailing efforts to leap out.

Dick soon freed him from his prison by means of

his belt, which he let down for the dog to grasp, and

then returned to camp with as much deer-meat as he

could carry. Dear meat it certainly was to him, for it

had nearly cost him his life, and left him all black and

blue for weeks after. Happily no bones were broken,

so the incident only confined him a day to his encampment.

Soon after this the snow fell thicker than ever, and

it became evident that an unusually early winter was

about to set in among the mountains. This was a

terrible calamity, for if the regular snow of winter set

in, it would be impossible for him either to advance or


While he was sitting on his bearskin by the camp-fire

one day, thinking anxiously what he should do, and

feeling that he must either make the attempt to escape

or perish miserably in that secluded spot, a strange, unwonted

sound struck upon his ear, and caused both him

and Crusoe to spring violently to their feet and listen.

Could he be dreaming?--it seemed like the sound of

human voices. For a moment he stood with his eyes

rivetted on the ground, his lips apart, and his nostrils

distended, as he listened with the utmost intensity.

Then he darted out and bounded round the edge of a

rock which concealed an extensive but narrow valley

from his view, and there, to his amazement, he beheld a

band of about a hundred human beings advancing on

horseback slowly through the snow.


A surprise, and a piece of good news--The fur-traders--Crusoe
proved, and the Peigans pursued

Dick's first and most natural impulse, on beholding

this band, was to mount his horse and fly, for

his mind naturally enough recurred to the former rough

treatment he had experienced at the hands of Indians.

On second thoughts, however, he considered it wiser to

throw himself upon the hospitality of the strangers;

"for," thought he, "they can but kill me, an' if I remain

here I'm like to die at any rate."

So Dick mounted his wild horse, grasped his rifle in

his right hand, and, followed by Crusoe, galloped full

tilt down the valley to meet them.

He had heard enough of the customs of savage tribes,

and had also of late experienced enough, to convince

him that when a man found himself in the midst of an

overwhelming force, his best policy was to assume an

air of confident courage. He therefore approached them

at his utmost speed.

The effect upon the advancing band was electrical;

and little wonder, for the young hunter's appearance

was very striking. His horse, from having rested a

good deal of late, was full of spirit. Its neck was

arched, its nostrils expanded, and its mane and tail

never having been checked in their growth flew wildly

around him in voluminous curls. Dick's own hair, not

having been clipped for many months, appeared scarcely

less wild, as they thundered down the rocky pass at

what appeared a break-neck gallop. Add to this the

grandeur of the scene out of which they sprang, and

the gigantic dog that bounded by his side, and you will

not be surprised to hear that the Indian warriors clustered

together, and prepared to receive this bold horseman

as if he, in his own proper person, were a complete

squadron of cavalry. It is probable, also, that they

fully expected the tribe of which Dick was the chief to

be at his heels.

As he drew near the excitement among the strangers

seemed very great, and, from the peculiarity of the

various cries that reached him, he knew that there were

women and children in the band--a fact which, in such

a place and at such a season, was so unnatural that it

surprised him very much. He noted also that, though

the men in front were Indians, their dresses were those

of trappers and hunters, and he almost leaped out of his

saddle when he observed that "
" were among

them. But he had barely time to note these facts when

he was up with the band. According to Indian custom,

he did not check his speed till he was within four or

five yards of the advance-guard, who stood in a line

before him, quite still, and with their rifles lying loosely

in their left palms; then he reined his steed almost on

its haunches.

One of the Indians advanced and spoke a few words

in a language which was quite unintelligible to Dick,

who replied, in the little Pawnee he could muster, that

he didn't understand him.

"Why, you must be a trapper!" exclaimed a thick-set,

middle-aged man, riding out from the group. "Can

you speak English?"

"Ay, that can I," cried Dick joyfully, riding up and

shaking the stranger heartily by the hand; "an' right

glad am I to fall in wi' a white-skin an' a civil tongue

in his head."

"Good sooth, sir," replied the stranger, with a quiet

smile on his kind, weather-beaten face, "I can return

you the compliment; for when I saw you come thundering

down the corrie with that wonderful horse and

no less wonderful dog of yours, I thought you were the

wild man o' the mountain himself, and had an ambush

ready to back you. But, young man, do you mean to

say that you live here in the mountain all alone after

this fashion?"

"No, that I don't. I've comed here in my travels,

but truly this bean't my home. But, sir (for I see

you are what the fur-traders call a bourgeois), how

comes it that such a band as this rides i' the mountains?

D'ye mean to say that
live here?" Dick looked

round in surprise, as he spoke, upon the crowd of

mounted men and women, with children and pack-horses,

that now surrounded him.

"'Tis a fair question, lad. I am a principal among

the fur-traders whose chief trading-post lies near the

Pacific Ocean, on the west side of these mountains; and

I have come with these trappers and their families, as you see, to

hunt the

beaver and other animals for a

season in the mountains. We've never been here before; but that's a


of little moment, for it's not

the first time I've been on what may be called a discovery-trading

expedition. We are somewhat entangled,

however, just now among these wild passes, and if you

can guide us out of our difficulties to the east side of

the mountains, I'll thank you heartily and pay you well.

But first tell me who and what you are, if it's a fair


"My name is Dick Varley, and my home's in the

Mustang Valley, near the Missouri River. As to

I am--I'm nothin' yet, but I hope to desarve the name

o' a hunter some day. I can guide you to the east side

o' the mountains, for I've comed from there; but more

than that I can't do, for I'm a stranger to the country

here, like yourself. But you're on the east side o' the

mountains already, if I mistake not; only these mountains

are so rugged and jumbled up, that it's not easy

tellin' where ye are. And what," continued Dick,

"may be the name o' the bourgeois who speaks to


"My name is Cameron--Walter Cameron--a well-known

name among the Scottish hills, although it

sounds a little strange here. And now, young man,

will you join my party as guide, and afterwards remain

as trapper? It will pay you better, I think, than

roving about alone."

Dick shook his head and looked grave. "I'll guide

you," said he, "as far as my knowledge 'll help me;

but after that I must return to look for two comrades

whom I have lost. They have been driven into the

mountains by a band of Injuns. God grant they may

not have bin scalped!"

The trader's face looked troubled, and he spoke with

one of his Indians for a few minutes in earnest, hurried


"What were they like, young man?"

Dick described them.

"The same," continued the trader. "They've been

seen, lad, not more than two days ago, by this Indian

here, when he was out hunting alone some miles away

from our camp. He came suddenly on a band of

Indians who had two prisoners with them, such as you

describe. They were stout, said you?"

"Yes, both of them," cried Dick, listening with intense


"Ay. They were tied to their horses, an' from what

I know of these fellows I'm sure they're doomed. But

I'll help you, my friend, as well as I can. They can't

be far from this. I treated my Indian's story about

them as a mere fabrication, for he's the most notorious

liar in my company; but he seems to have spoken truth

for once."

"Thanks, thanks, good sir," cried Dick. "Had we

not best turn back and follow them at once?"

"Nay, friend, not quite so fast," replied Cameron,

pointing to his people. "These must be provided for

first, but I shall be ready before the sun goes down.

And now, as I presume you don't bivouac in the snow,

will you kindly conduct us to your encampment, if it be

not far hence?"

Although burning with impatience to fly to the rescue

of his friends, Dick felt constrained to comply with so

reasonable a request, so he led the way to his camping-place,

where the band of fur-traders immediately began

to pitch their tents, cut down wood, kindle fires, fill

their kettles with water, cook their food, and, in fact,

make themselves comfortable. The wild spot which, an

hour before, had been so still, and grand, and gloomy,

was now, as if by magic, transformed into a bustling

village, with bright fires blazing among the rocks and

bushes, and merry voices of men, women, and children

ringing in the air. It seemed almost incredible, and

no wonder Dick, in his bewilderment, had difficulty in

believing it was not all a dream.

In days long gone by the fur-trade in that country

was carried on in a very different way from the manner

in which it is now conducted. These wild regions, indeed,

are still as lonesome and untenanted (save by

wild beasts and wandering tribes of Indians) as they

were then; but the Indians of the present day have

become accustomed to the "Pale-face" trader, whose

little wooden forts or trading-posts are dotted here and

there, at wide intervals, all over the land. But in the

days of which we write it was not so. The fur-traders

at that time went forth in armed bands into the heart

of the Indians' country, and he who went forth did so

"with his life in his hand." As in the case of the

soldier who went out to battle, there was great probability

that he might never return.

The band of which Walter Cameron was the chief

had, many months before, started from one of the distant

posts of Oregon on a hunting expedition into the

then totally unknown lands of the Snake Indians. It

consisted of about sixty men, thirty women, and as

many children of various ages--about a hundred and

twenty souls in all. Many of the boys were capable of

using the gun and setting a beaver-trap. The men were

a most motley set. There were Canadians, half-breeds,

Iroquois, and Scotchmen. Most of the women had

Indian blood in their veins, and a few were pure


The equipment of this strange band consisted of upwards

of two hundred beaver-traps--which are similar to

our rat-traps, with this difference, that they have two

springs and no teeth--seventy guns, a few articles for

trade with the Indians, and a large supply of powder

and ball; the whole--men, women, children, goods, and

chattels--being carried on the backs of nearly four

hundred horses. Many of these horses, at starting, were

not laden, being designed for the transport of furs that

were to be taken in the course of the season.

For food this adventurous party depended entirely on

their guns, and during the march hunters were kept

constantly out ahead. As a matter of course, their

living was precarious. Sometimes their kettles were

overflowing; at others they scarce refrained from eating

their horses. But during the months they had already

spent in the wilderness good living had been the rule,

starvation the exception. They had already collected a

large quantity of beaver skins, which at that time were

among the most valuable in the market, although they

are now scarcely saleable!

Having shot two wild horses, seven elks, six small

deer, and four big-horned sheep the day before they

met Dick Varley, the camp kettles were full, and the

people consequently happy.

"Now, Master Dick Varley," said Cameron, touching

the young hunter on the shoulder as he stood ready

equipped by one of the camp-fires, "I'm at your service.

The people won't need any more looking after to-night.

I'll divide my men--thirty shall go after this rascally

band of Peigans, for such I believe they are, and thirty

shall remain to guard the camp. Are you ready?"

"Ready! ay, this hour past."

"Mount then, lad; the men have already been told

off, and are mustering down yonder where the deer gave

you such a licking."

Dick needed no second bidding. He vaulted on

Charlie's back, and along with their commander joined

the men, who were thirty as fine, hardy, reckless looking

fellows as one could desire for a forlorn-hope. They

were chatting and laughing while they examined their

guns and saddle-girths. Their horses were sorry looking

animals compared with the magnificent creature

that Dick bestrode, but they were hardy, nevertheless,

and well fitted for their peculiar work.

"My! wot a blazer!" exclaimed a trapper as Dick

rode up.

"Where you git him?" inquired a half-breed.

"I caught him," answered Dick.

"Baw!" cried the first speaker.

Dick took no notice of this last remark.

"No, did ye though?" he asked again.

"I did," answered Dick quietly. "I creased him in

the prairie; you can see the mark on his neck if you


The men began to feel that the young hunter was

perhaps a little beyond them at their own trade, and regarded

him with increased respect.

"Look sharp now, lads," said Cameron, impatiently,

to several dilatory members of the band. "Night will

be on us ere long."

"Who sold ye the bear-claw collar?" inquired another

man of Dick.

"I didn't buy it. I killed the bear and made it."

"Did ye, though, all be yer lone?"

"Ay; that wasn't much, was it?"

"You've begun well, yonker," said a tall, middle-aged

hunter, whose general appearance was not unlike that of

Joe Blunt. "Jest keep clear o' the Injuns an' the grog

bottle, an' ye've a glor'ous life before ye."

At this point the conversation was interrupted by the

order being given to move on, which was obeyed in

silence, and the cavalcade, descending the valley, entered

one of the gorges in the mountains.

For the first half-mile Cameron rode a little ahead of

his men, then he turned to speak to one of them, and

for the first time observed Crusoe trotting close beside

his master's horse.

"Ah! Master Dick," he exclaimed with a troubled

expression, "that won't do. It would never do to take a dog on an

expedition like this."

"Why not?" asked Dick; "the pup's quiet and peaceable."

"I doubt it not; but he will betray our presence to

the Indians, which might be inconvenient."

"I have travelled more than a thousand miles through

prairie and forest, among game an' among Injuns, an'

the pup never betrayed me yet," said Dick, with suppressed

vehemence. "He has saved my life more than

once though."

"You seem to have perfect confidence in your dog,

but as this is a serious matter you must not expect me

to share in it without proof of his trustworthiness."

"The pup may be useful to us; how would you have

it proved?" inquired Dick.

"Any way you like."

"You forgot your belt at starting, I think I heerd

ye say."

"Yes, I did," replied the trader, smiling.

Dick immediately took hold of Cameron's coat, and

bade Crusoe smell it, which the dog did very carefully.

Then he showed him his own belt and said, "Go back

to the camp and fetch it, pup."

Crusoe was off in a moment, and in less than twenty

minutes returned with Cameron's belt in his mouth.

"Well, I'll trust him," said Cameron, patting Crusoe's

head. "Forward, lads!" and away they went at a brisk

trot along the bottom of a beautiful valley on each side

of which the mountains towered in dark masses. Soon

the moon rose and afforded light sufficient to enable

them to travel all night in the track of the Indian

hunter who said he had seen the Peigans, and who was

constituted guide to the party. Hour after hour the

horsemen pressed on without check, now galloping over

a level plain, now bounding by the banks of a rivulet,

or bending their heads to escape the boughs of overhanging

trees, and anon toiling slowly up among the

rocks of some narrow defile. At last the moon set, and

the order was given to halt in a little plain where there

were wood and water.

The horses were picketed, a fire kindled, a mouthful

of dried meat hastily eaten, the watch was set, and then

each man scraped away the snow, spread some branches

on the ground, and wrapping himself in his blanket,

went to sleep with his feet presented towards the fire.

Two hours were allowed for rest; then they were

awakened, and in a few minutes were off again by the

gray light of dawn. In this way they travelled two

nights and a day. At the end of that time they came

suddenly on a small party of nine Indians, who were

seated on the ground with their snow-shoes and blankets

by their sides. They had evidently been taken by surprise,

but they made no attempt to escape, knowing

that it was useless. Each sat still with his bow and

arrows between his legs on the ground ready for instant


As soon as Cameron spoke, however, in their own

language they felt relieved, and began to talk.

"Where do you come from, and what are you doing

here?" asked the trader.

"We have come to trade with the white men," one

of them replied, "and to hunt. We have come from

the Missouri. Our country is far away."

"Do Peigans hunt with
" asked Cameron,

pointing to their weapons.

This question seemed to perplex them, for they saw

that their interrogator knew the difference between a

war and a hunting arrow--the former being barbed in

order to render its extraction from the wound difficult,

while the head of the latter is round, and can be drawn

out of game that has been killed, and used again.

"And do Peigans," continued Cameron, "come from a

far country to trade with the white men
with nothing?

Again the Indians were silent, for they had not an

article to trade about them.

Cameron now felt convinced that this party of

Peigans, into whose hands Joe Blunt and Henri had

fallen, were nothing else than a war party, and that

the men now before him were a scouting party sent out

from them, probably to spy out his own camp, on the

trail of which they had fallen, so he said to them:--

"The Peigans are not wise men; they tell lies to the

traders. I will tell you that you are a war party, and

that you are only a few warriors sent out to spy the

traders' camp. You have also two

in your camp. You cannot deceive me. It is useless

to try. Now, conduct me to your camp. My object

is not war; it is peace. I will speak with your chiefs

about trading with the white men, and we will smoke

the pipe of peace. Are my words good?"

Despite their proverbial control of muscle, these Indians

could not conceal their astonishment at hearing

so much of their affairs thus laid bare; so they said

that the Pale-face chief was wise, that he must be a

great medicine man, and that what he said was all true

except about the white men. They had never seen any

Pale-faces, and knew nothing whatever about those he

spoke of.

This was a terrible piece of news to poor Dick, and

at first his heart fairly sank within him, but by degrees

he came to be more hopeful. He concluded that if

these men told lies in regard to one thing, they would

do it in regard to another, and perhaps they might

have some strong reason for denying any knowledge of

Joe and Henri.

The Indians now packed up the buffalo robes on

which they had slept, and the mouthful of provisions

they had taken with them.

"I don't believe a word of what they say about your

friends," said Cameron to Dick in a low tone while the

Indians were thus engaged. "Depend upon it they

hope to hide them till they can send to the settlements

and get a ransom, or till they get an opportunity of

torturing them to death before their women and children

when they get back to their own village. But

we'll balk them, my friend, do not fear."

The Indians were soon ready to start, for they were

cumbered with marvellously little camp equipage. In

less than half-an-hour after their discovery they were

running like deer ahead of the cavalcade in the direction

of the Peigan camp.


Adventures with the Peigans
Crusoe does good service as a
The savages outwitted
The rescue

A run of twenty miles brought the travellers to a

rugged defile in the mountains, from which they

had a view of a beautiful valley of considerable extent.

During the last two days a steady thaw had been rapidly

melting away the snow, so that it appeared only here

and there in the landscape in dazzling patches. At the

distance of about half-a-mile from where they halted to

breathe the horses before commencing the descent into

this vale, several thin wreaths of smoke were seen

rising above the trees.

"Is that your camp?" inquired Cameron, riding up

to the Indian runners, who stood in a group in front,

looking as fresh after their twenty miles' run as though

they had only had a short walk.

To this they answered in the affirmative, adding that

there were about two hundred Peigans there.

It might have been thought that thirty men would

have hesitated to venture to attack so large a number

as two hundred; but it had always been found in the

experience of Indian life that a few resolute white men

well armed were more than a match for ten times their

number of Indians. And this arose not so much from

the superior strength or agility of the Whites over their

red foes, as from that bull-dog courage and utter recklessness

of their lives in combat--qualities which the

crafty savage can neither imitate nor understand. The

information was received with perfect indifference by

most of the trappers, and with contemptuous laughter

by some; for a large number of Cameron's men were

wild, evil-disposed fellows, who would have as gladly

taken the life of an Indian as that of a buffalo.

Just as the word was given to resume the march,

Dick Varley rode up to Cameron and said in a somewhat

anxious tone,--

"D'ye obsarve, sir, that one o' the Redskins has gone

off ahead o' his comrades?"

"I see that, Master Dick; and it was a mistake of

mine not to have stopped him, but he was gone too far

before I observed it, and I thought it better to appear

unconcerned. We must push on, though, and give him

as short time as possible to talk with his comrades in

the camp."

The trappers pressed forward accordingly at a gallop,

and were soon in front of the clump of trees amongst

which the Peigans were encamped. Their approach

had evidently spread great alarm among them, for there

was a good deal of bustle and running to and fro; but

by the time the trappers had dismounted and advanced

in a body on foot, the savages had resumed their usual

quiet dignity of appearance, and were seated calmly

round their fires with their bows and arrows beside

them. There were no tents, no women or children, and

the general aspect of the men showed Cameron conclusively

that his surmise about their being a war party

was correct.

A council was immediately called. The trappers ranged

themselves on one side of the council fire and the Indians

on the other. Meanwhile, our friend Crusoe had been

displaying considerable irritability against the Indians,

and he would certainly have attacked the whole two

hundred single-handed if he had not been ordered by

his master to lie still; but never in his life before had

Crusoe obeyed with such a bad grace. He bristled and

whined in a low tremulous tone, and looked imploringly

at Dick as if for permission to fly at them.

"The Pale-face traders are glad to meet with the

Peigans," began Cameron, who determined to make no

allusion to his knowledge that they were a war party,

"for they wish to be friends with all the children of the

woods and prairies. They wish to trade with them--to

exchange blankets, and guns, and beads, and other goods

which the Peigans require, for furs of animals which the

Pale-faces require."

"Ho! ho!" exclaimed the Indians, which expression

might be translated, "Hear! hear!"

"But," continued Cameron, "we wish to have no war.

We wish to see the hatchet buried, and to see all the

red men and the white men smoking the pipe of peace,

and hunting like brothers."

The "Ho--ho--ing" at this was very emphatic.

"Now," resumed the trader, "the Peigans have got two prisoners--two

Pale-faces--in their camp, and as we cannot be on good terms while our

brothers are detained, we have come to ask for them, and to
to the Peigans."

To this there was no "Ho" at all, but a prolonged

silence, which was at length interrupted by a tall chief

stepping forward to address the trappers.

"What the Pale-face chief has said is good," began

the Indian. "His words are wise, and his heart is not

double. The Red-men are willing to smoke the pipe of

peace, and to hunt with all men as brothers, but they

cannot do it while many of their scalps are hanging in

the lodges of their enemies and fringing the robes of the

warriors. The Peigans must have vengeance; then they

will make peace."

After a short pause he continued,--

"The chief is wrong when he says there are Pale-faces

in the Peigan camp. The Peigans are not

at war with the Pale-faces; neither have they seen

any on their march. The camp is open. Let the

Pale-faces look round and see that what we say is


The chief waved his hand towards his warriors as he

concluded, as if to say, "Search amongst them. There

are no Pale-faces there."

Cameron now spoke to Dick in a low tone. "They

speak confidently," he said, "and I fear greatly that

your poor comrades have either been killed or conveyed

away from the camp and hidden among the mountains,

in which case, even though they should not be far off,

it would be next to impossible to find them, especially

when such a band of rascals is near, compelling us to

keep together. But I'll try what a little tempting them

with goods will do. At any rate, we shan't give in

without a scuffle."

It now, for the first time, flashed across Dick Varley

that there was something more than he imagined in

Crusoe's restless anxiety, which had not in the least

abated, and the idea of making use of him now occurred

to his mind.

"I've a notion that I'll settle this matter in a shorter

time than you think," he said hurriedly, "if you'll agree

to try what
will do."

The trader looked grave and undecided. "I never

resort to that except as a last hope," he answered; "but

I've a good deal of confidence in your prudence. What

would you advise?"

Dick and the trader whispered a few minutes together,

while some of the men, in order to show the Indians how

perfectly unconcerned they were, and how ready for

, took out their pipes and began to smoke.

Both parties were seated on the ground, and during this

interval the Indians also held eager discussion.

At length Cameron stood up, and said to his men in

a quiet tone, "Be ready, lads, for instant action. When

I give the word 'Up,' spring to your feet and cock your

guns; but
don't fire a shot till you get the word
." He

then stepped forward and said,--

"The Peigan warriors are double-tongued; they know

that they have hid the Pale-face prisoners. We do not

wish to quarrel, but if they are not delivered up at once

the Pale-faces and the Peigans will not be friends."

Upon this the Indian chief again stood forward and

said, "The Peigans are
double-tongued. They have

not seen Pale-faces till to-day. They can say no


Without moving hand or foot, Cameron then said in

a firm tone, "The first Peigan that moves shall die!

Up, lads, and ready!"

In the twinkling of an eye the trappers sprang to

their feet, and cocking their rifles stood perfectly motionless,

scowling at the savages, who were completely taken

by surprise at the unusual suddenness and informality

of such a declaration of war. Not a man moved, for,

unlike white men, they seldom risk their lives in open

fight; and as they looked at the formidable row of

muzzles that waited but a word to send instant death

into their midst, they felt that discretion was at that

time the better part of valour.

"Now," said Cameron, while Dick Varley and Crusoe

stepped up beside him, "my young warrior will search

for the Pale-face prisoners. If they are found, we will

take them and go away. If they are not found, we

will ask the Peigans to forgive us, and will give them

gifts. But in the meantime, if a Peigan moves from

the spot where he sits, or lifts a bow, my young men

shall fire, and the Peigans know that the rifle of the

Pale-face always kills."

Without waiting for an answer, Dick immediately

said, "Seek 'em out, pup," and Crusoe bounded away.

For a few minutes he sprang hither and thither

through the camp, quite regardless of the Indians, and

snuffed the air several times, whining in an excited

tone, as if to relieve his feelings. Then he put his nose

to the ground and ran straight forward into the woods.

Dick immediately bounded after him like a deer, while

the trappers kept silent guard over the savages.

For some time Crusoe ran straight forward. Then he

came to a spot where there was a good deal of drifted

snow on the ground. Here he seemed to lose the trail

for a little, and ran about in all directions, whining in a

most piteous tone.

"Seek 'em out, pup," repeated Dick encouragingly,

while his own breast heaved with excitement and expectation.

In a few seconds the dog resumed its onward course,

and led the way into a wild, dark spot, which was so

overshadowed by trees and precipitous cliffs that the

light of the sun scarce found entrance. There were

many huge masses of rock scattered over the ground,

which had fallen from the cliffs. Behind one of these

lay a mound of dried leaves, towards which Crusoe

darted and commenced scraping violently.

Trembling with dread that he should find this to be

the grave of his murdered companions, Dick rushed

forward and hastily cleared away the leaves. The first

handful thrown off revealed part of the figure of a man.

Dick's heart beat audibly as he cleared the leaves from

the face, and he uttered a suppressed cry on beholding

the well-known features of Joe Blunt. But they were

not those of a dead man. Joe's eyes met his with a

scowl of anger, which instantly gave place to one of

intense surprise.

"Joe Blunt!" exclaimed Dick in a voice of intense

amazement, while Crusoe snuffed round the heap of

leaves and whined with excitement. But Joe did not

move, neither did he speak a word in reply--for the

very good reason that his mouth was tightly bound

with a band of leather, his hands and feet were tied,

and his whole body was secured in a rigid, immovable

position by being bound to a pole of about his own


In a moment Dick's knife was out, bands and cords

were severed, and Joe Blunt was free.

"Thank God!" exclaimed Joe with a deep, earnest sigh,

the instant his lips were loosened, "and thanks to

lad!" he added, endeavouring to rise; but his limbs had

become so benumbed in consequence of the cords by

which they had been compressed that for some time he

could not move.

"I'll rub ye, Joe; I'll soon rub ye into a right state,"

said Dick, going down on his knees.

"No, no, lad, look sharp and dig up Henri. He's

just beside me here."

Dick immediately rose, and pushing aside the heap

of leaves, found Henri securely bound in the same

fashion. But he could scarce refrain from laughing at

the expression of that worthy's face. Hearing the voices

of Joe and Dick Varley in conversation, though unable

to see their persons, he was filled with such unbounded

amazement that his eyes, when uncovered, were found

to be at their largest possible stretch, and as for the

eyebrows they were gone, utterly lost among the roots

of his voluminous hair.

"Henri, friend, I knew I should find ye," said Dick,

cutting the thongs that bound him. "Get up if ye

can; we haven't much time to lose, an' mayhap we'll

have to fight afore we're done wi' the Redskins. Can

ye rise?"

Henri could do nothing but lie on his back and gasp,

"Eh! possible! mon frere! Oh, non, non,

Oui! my broder Deek!"

Here he attempted to rise, but being unable fell back

again, and the whole thing came so suddenly, and made

so deep an impression on his impulsive mind, that he

incontinently burst into tears; then he burst into a long

laugh. Suddenly he paused, and scrambling up to a

sitting posture, looked earnestly into Dick's face through

his tearful eyes.

"Oh, non, non!" he exclaimed, stretching himself

out at full length again, and closing his eyes; "it are

too goot to be true. I am dream. I vill wait till I am


Dick roused him out of this, resolute sleep, however,

somewhat roughly. Meanwhile Joe had rubbed and

kicked himself into a state of animation, exclaiming that

he felt as if he wos walkin' on a thousand needles and

pins, and in a few minutes they were ready to accompany

their overjoyed deliverer back to the Peigan camp.

Crusoe testified his delight in various elephantine gambols

round the persons of his old friends, who were not

slow to acknowledge his services.

"They haven't treated us overly well," remarked Joe

Blunt, as they strode through the underwood.

"Non, de rascale, vraiment, de am villains. Oui!

How de have talk, too, 'bout--oh-o-oo-ooo-wah!--roastin'

us alive, an' puttin' our scalp in de vigvam for de poo-poose

to play wid!"

"Well, niver mind, Henri, we'll be quits wi' them

now," said Joe, as they came in sight of the two bands,

who remained in precisely the same position in which

they had been left, except that one or two of the more

reckless of the trappers had lit their pipes and taken to

smoking, without, however, laying down their rifles or

taking their eyes off the savages.

A loud cheer greeted the arrival of the prisoners, and

looks of considerable discomfort began to be evinced by

the Indians.

"Glad to see you, friends," said Cameron, as they

came up.

"Ve is 'appy ov de same," replied Henri, swaggering

up in the joviality of his heart, and seizing the trader's

hand in his own enormous fist. "Shall ve go to vork

an' slay dem all at vonce, or von at a time?"

"We'll consider that afterwards, my lad. Meantime

go you to the rear and get a weapon of some sort."

"Oui. Ah! c'est charmant," he cried, going with an

immense flounder into the midst of the amused trappers,

and slapping those next to him on the back. "Give me

veapon, do, mes amis--gun, pistol, anyting--cannon, if

you have von."

Meanwhile Cameron and Joe spoke together for a few


"You had goods with you, and horses, I believe, when

you were captured," said the former.

"Ay, that we had. Yonder stand the horses, under

the pine-tree, along wi' the rest o' the Redskin troop; an'

a hard time they've had o't, as their bones may tell without

speakin'. As for the goods," he continued, glancing

round the camp, "I don't know where--ah! yes, there

they be in the old pack. I see all safe."

Cameron now addressed the Indians.

"The Peigans," he said, "have not done well. Their

hearts have not been true to the Pale-faces. Even now

I could take your scalps where you sit, but white men

do not like war, they do not like revenge. The Peigans

may go free."

Considering the fewness of their numbers, this was

bold language to use towards the Indians; but the boldest

is generally the best policy on such occasions. Moreover,

Cameron felt that, being armed with rifles, while

the Indians had only bows and arrows, the trappers had

a great advantage over them.

The Indian who had spoken before now rose and said

he was sorry there should be any cause of difference

between them, and added he was sorry for a great many

more things besides, but he did not say he was sorry for

having told a lie.

"But, before you go, you must deliver up the horses

and goods belonging to these men," said Cameron, pointing

to Joe and Henri.

This was agreed to. The horses were led out, the two

little packs containing Joe's goods were strapped upon

them, and then the trappers turned to depart. The Indians

did not move until they had mounted; then they

rose and advanced in a body to the edge of the wood, to

see the Pale-faces go away. Meanwhile Joe spoke a few

words to Cameron, and the men were ordered to halt,

while the former dismounted and led his horse towards

the band of savages.

"Peigans," he said, "you know the object for which

I came into this country was to make peace between

you and the Pale-faces. I have often told you so when

you would not listen, and when you told me that I had

a double heart and told lies. You were wrong when

you said this; but I do not wonder, for you live among

nations who do not fear God, and who think it right to

lie. I now repeat to you what I said before. It would

be good for the Red-men if they would make peace with

the Pale-faces, and if they would make peace with each

other. I will now convince you that I am in earnest,

and have all along been speaking the truth."

Hereupon Joe Blunt opened his bundle of goods, and

presented fully one-half of the gaudy and brilliant contents

to the astonished Indians, who seemed quite taken

aback by such generous treatment. The result of this

was that the two parties separated with mutual expressions

of esteem and good-will. The Indians then returned

to the forest, and the white men galloped back to their

camp among the hills.


New plans
Our travellers join the fur-traders, and see many
strange things
A curious fight
A narrow escape, and
a prisoner taken

Not long after the events related in the last chapter,

our four friends--Dick, and Joe, and Henri,

and Crusoe--agreed to become for a time members of

Walter Cameron's band of trappers. Joe joined because

one of the objects which the traders had in view was

similar to his own mission--namely, the promoting of

peace among the various Indian tribes of the mountains

and plains to the west. Joe, therefore, thought it a

good opportunity of travelling with a band of men who

could secure him a favourable hearing from the Indian

tribes they might chance to meet with in the course of

their wanderings. Besides, as the traders carried about

a large supply of goods with them, he could easily replenish

his own nearly exhausted pack by hunting wild

animals and exchanging their skins for such articles as

he might require.

Dick joined because it afforded him an opportunity of

seeing the wild, majestic scenery of the Rocky Mountains,

and shooting the big-horned sheep which abounded

there, and the grizzly "bars," as Joe named them, or

"Caleb," as they were more frequently styled by Henri

and the other men.

Henri joined because it was agreeable to the inclination

of his own rollicking, blundering, floundering, crashing

disposition, and because he would have joined anything

that had been joined by the other two.

Crusoe's reason for joining was single, simple, easy to

be expressed, easy to be understood, and commendable.

joined--because Dick did.

The very day after the party left the encampment

where Dick had shot the grizzly bear and the deer, he

had the satisfaction of bringing down a splendid specimen

of the big-horned sheep. It came suddenly out

from a gorge of the mountain, and stood upon the giddy

edge of a tremendous precipice, at a distance of about

two hundred and fifty yards.

could not hit that," said a trapper to Henri,

who was rather fond of jeering him about his shortsightedness.

"Non!" cried Henri, who didn't see the animal in the

least; "say you dat? ve shall see;" and he let fly with a

promptitude that amazed his comrades, and with a result

that drew from them peals of laughter.

"Why, you have missed the mountain!"

"Oh, non! dat am eempossoble."

It was true, nevertheless, for his ball had been arrested

in its flight by the stem of a tree not twenty yards before


While the shot was yet ringing, and before the laugh

above referred to had pealed forth, Dick Varley fired,

and the animal, springing wildly into the air, fell down

the precipice, and was almost dashed to pieces at their


This Rocky Mountain or big-horned sheep was a particularly

large and fine one, but being a patriarch of the

flock was not well suited for food. It was considerably

larger in size than the domestic sheep, and might be

described as somewhat resembling a deer in the body

and a ram in the head. Its horns were the chief point

of interest to Dick; and, truly, they were astounding!

Their enormous size was out of all proportion to the

animal's body, and they curved backwards and downwards,

and then curled up again in a sharp point. These

creatures frequent the inaccessible heights of the Rocky

Mountains, and are difficult to approach. They have a

great fondness for salt, and pay regular visits to the

numerous caverns of these mountains, which are encrusted

with a saline substance.

Walter Cameron now changed his intention of proceeding

to the eastward, as he found the country not so

full of beaver at that particular spot as he had anticipated.

He therefore turned towards the west, penetrated

into the interior of the mountains, and took a

considerable sweep through the lovely valleys on their

western slopes.

The expedition which this enterprising fur-trader was

conducting was one of the first that ever penetrated

these wild regions in search of furs. The ground over

which they travelled was quite new to them, and having

no guide they just moved about at haphazard, encamping

on the margin of every stream or river on which

signs of the presence of beaver were discovered, and

setting their traps.

Beaver skins at this time were worth 25s. a-piece in

the markets of civilized lands, and in the Snake country,

through which our friends were travelling, thousands of

them were to be had from the Indians for trinkets and

baubles that were scarce worth a farthing. A beaver

skin could be procured from the Indians for a brass

finger-ring or a penny looking-glass. Horses were also

so numerous that one could be procured for an axe or a


Let not the reader, however, hastily conclude that the

traders cheated the Indians in this traffic, though the

profits were so enormous. The ring or the axe was indeed

a trifle to the trader, but the beaver skin and the

horse were equally trifles to the savage, who could procure

as many of them as he chose with very little

trouble, while the ring and the axe were in his estimation

of priceless value. Besides, be it remembered, to

carry that ring and that axe to the far-distant haunts of

the Red-man cost the trader weeks and months of constant

toil, trouble, anxiety, and, alas! too frequently cost

him his life! The state of trade is considerably modified

in these regions at the present day. It is not more

conducted, for, in respect of the value of goods

given for furs, it was justly conducted
, but time

and circumstances have tended more to equalize the relative

values of articles of trade.

The snow which had prematurely fallen had passed

away, and the trappers now found themselves wandering

about in a country so beautiful and a season so delightful,

that it would have seemed to them a perfect paradise,

but for the savage tribes who hovered about them,

and kept them ever on the
qui vive

They soon passed from the immediate embrace of stupendous

heights and dark gorges to a land of sloping

ridges, which divided the country into a hundred luxuriant

vales, composed part of woodland and part of prairie.

Through these, numerous rivers and streams flowed deviously,

beautifying the landscape and enriching the

land. There were also many lakes of all sizes, and

these swarmed with fish, while in some of them were

found the much-sought-after and highly-esteemed beaver.

Salt springs and hot springs of various temperatures

abounded here, and many of the latter were so hot that

meat could be boiled in them. Salt existed in all directions

in abundance and of good quality. A sulphurous

spring was also discovered, bubbling out from the base

of a perpendicular rock three hundred feet high, the

waters of which were dark-blue and tasted like gunpowder.

In short, the land presented every variety of

feature calculated to charm the imagination and delight

the eye.

It was a mysterious land, too; for broad rivers burst in

many places from the earth, flowed on for a short space,

and then disappeared as if by magic into the earth from

which they rose. Natural bridges spanned the torrents

in many places, and some of these were so correctly

formed that it was difficult to believe they had not been

built by the hand of man. They often appeared opportunely

to our trappers, and saved them the trouble and

danger of fording rivers. Frequently the whole band

would stop in silent wonder and awe as they listened to

the rushing of waters under their feet, as if another

world of streams, and rapids, and cataracts were flowing

below the crust of earth on which they stood. Some

considerable streams were likewise observed to gush

from the faces of precipices, some twenty or thirty feet

from their summits, while on the top no water was to

be seen.

Wild berries of all kinds were found in abundance,

and wild vegetables, besides many nutritious roots.

Among other fish, splendid salmon were found in the

lakes and rivers, and animal life swarmed on hill and

in dale. Woods and valleys, plains and ravines, teemed

with it. On every plain the red-deer grazed in herds

by the banks of lake and stream. Wherever there were

clusters of poplar and elder trees and saplings, the beaver

was seen nibbling industriously with his sharp teeth,

and committing as much havoc in the forest as if he

had been armed with the woodman's axe; others sported

in the eddies. Racoons sat in the tree-tops; the marten,

the black fox, and the wolf prowled in the woods in

quest of prey; mountain sheep and goats browsed on

the rocky ridges; and badgers peeped from their holes.

Here, too, the wild horse sprang snorting and dishevelled

from his mountain retreats--with flourishing

mane and tail, spanking step, and questioning

gaze--and thundered away over the plains and valleys, while

the rocks echoed back his shrill neigh. The huge,

heavy, ungainly elk, or moose-deer,
away from

the travellers with speed equal to that of the mustang:

elks seldom gallop; their best speed is attained at the

trot. Bears, too, black, and brown, and grizzly, roamed

about everywhere.

So numerous were all these creatures that on one

occasion the hunters of the party brought in six wild

horses, three bears, four elks, and thirty red-deer; having

shot them all a short distance ahead of the main body,

and almost without diverging from the line of march.

And this was a matter of everyday occurrence--as it

had need to be, considering the number of mouths that

had to be filled.

The feathered tribes were not less numerous. Chief

among these were eagles and vultures of uncommon size,

the wild goose, wild duck, and the majestic swan.

In the midst of such profusion the trappers spent a

happy time of it, when not molested by the savages, but

they frequently lost a horse or two in consequence of

the expertness of these thievish fellows. They often

wandered, however, for days at a time without seeing

an Indian, and at such times they enjoyed to the full

the luxuries with which a bountiful God had blessed

these romantic regions.

Dick Varley was almost wild with delight. It was

his first excursion into the remote wilderness; he was

young, healthy, strong, and romantic; and it is a question

whether his or his dog's heart, or that of the noble

wild horse he bestrode, bounded most with joy at the

glorious sights and sounds and influences by which they

were surrounded. It would have been perfection, had it

not been for the frequent annoyance and alarms caused

by the Indians.

Alas! alas! that we who write and read about those

wondrous scenes should have to condemn our own species

as the most degraded of all the works of the Creator

there! Yet so it is. Man, exercising his reason and

conscience in the path of love and duty which his Creator

points out, is God's noblest work; but man, left to the

freedom of his own fallen will, sinks morally lower than

the beasts that perish. Well may every Christian wish

and pray that the name and the gospel of the blessed

Jesus may be sent speedily to the dark places of the

earth; for you may read of, and talk about, but you

cannot conceive
the fiendish wickedness and cruelty which

causes tearless eyes to glare, and maddened hearts to

burst, in the lands of the heathen.

While we are on this subject, let us add (and our young

readers will come to know it if they are spared to see

many years) that
alone will never improve

the heart. Let history speak, and it will tell you that

deeds of darkest hue have been perpetrated in so-called

civilized though pagan lands. Civilization is like the

polish that beautifies inferior furniture, which water will

wash off if it be but
hot enough
. Christianity resembles

dye, which permeates every fibre of the fabric, and which

nothing can eradicate.

The success of the trappers in procuring beaver here

was great. In all sorts of creeks and rivers they were

found. One day they came to one of the curious rivers

before mentioned, which burst suddenly out of a plain,

flowed on for several miles, and then disappeared into the

earth as suddenly as it had risen. Even in this strange

place beaver were seen, so the traps were set, and a

hundred and fifty were caught at the first lift.

The manner in which the party proceeded was as

follows:--They marched in a mass in groups or in a long

line, according to the nature of the ground over which

they travelled. The hunters of the party went forward

a mile or two in advance, and scattered through the

woods. After them came the advance-guard, being the

bravest and most stalwart of the men mounted on their

best steeds, and with rifle in hand; immediately behind

followed the women and children, also mounted, and

the pack-horses with the goods and camp equipage.

Another band of trappers formed the rear-guard to this

imposing cavalcade. There was no strict regimental

order kept, but the people soon came to adopt the

arrangements that were most convenient for all parties,

and at length fell naturally into their places in the line

of march.

Joe Blunt usually was the foremost and always the

most successful of the hunters. He was therefore seldom

seen on the march except at the hour of starting, and at

night when he came back leading his horse, which always

groaned under its heavy load of meat. Henri, being a

hearty, jovial soul and fond of society, usually kept with

the main body. As for Dick, he was everywhere at

once, at least as much so as it is possible for human

nature to be! His horse never wearied; it seemed to

delight in going at full speed; no other horse in the

troop could come near Charlie, and Dick indulged him

by appearing now at the front, now at the rear, anon in

the centre, and frequently
!--having gone off

with Crusoe like a flash of lightning after a buffalo or a

deer. Dick soon proved himself to be the best hunter

of the party, and it was not long before he fulfilled his

promise to Crusoe and decorated his neck with a collar

of grizzly bear claws.

Well, when the trappers came to a river where there

were signs of beaver they called a halt, and proceeded

to select a safe and convenient spot, near wood and

water, for the camp. Here the property of the band

was securely piled in such a manner as to form a breastwork

or slight fortification, and here Walter Cameron

established headquarters. This was always the post

of danger, being exposed to sudden attack by prowling

savages, who often dogged the footsteps of the party in

their journeyings to see what they could steal. But

Cameron was an old hand, and they found it difficult to

escape his vigilant eye.

From this point all the trappers were sent forth in

small parties every morning in various directions, some

on foot and some on horseback, according to the distances

they had to go; but they never went farther

than twenty miles, as they had to return to camp every


Each trapper had ten steel traps allowed him. These

he set every night, and visited every morning, sometimes

oftener when practicable, selecting a spot in the stream

where many trees had been cut down by beavers for the

purpose of damming up the water. In some places as

many as fifty tree stumps were seen in one spot, within

the compass of half an acre, all cut through at about

eighteen inches from the root. We may remark, in

passing, that the beaver is very much like a gigantic

water-rat, with this marked difference, that its tail is

very broad and flat like a paddle. The said tail is a

greatly-esteemed article of food, as, indeed, is the whole

body at certain seasons of the year. The beaver's fore

legs are very small and short, and it uses its paws as

hands to convey food to its mouth, sitting the while in

an erect position on its hind legs and tail. Its fur is

a dense coat of a grayish-coloured down, concealed by

long coarse hair, which lies smooth, and is of a bright

chestnut colour. Its teeth and jaws are of enormous

power; with them it can cut through the branch of a

tree as thick as a walking-stick at one snap, and, as we

have said, it gnaws through thick trees themselves.

As soon as a tree falls, the beavers set to work industriously

to lop off the branches, which, as well as the

smaller trunks, they cut into lengths, according to their

weight and thickness. These are then dragged by

main force to the water-side, launched, and floated to

their destination. Beavers build their houses, or

"lodges," under the banks of rivers and lakes, and always

select those of such depth of water that there is

no danger of their being frozen to the bottom. When

such cannot be found, and they are compelled to build

in small rivulets of insufficient depth, these clever little

creatures dam up the waters until they are deep enough.

The banks thrown up by them across rivulets for this

purpose are of great strength, and would do credit to

human engineers. Their lodges are built of sticks,

mud, and stones, which form a compact mass; this

freezes solid in winter, and defies the assaults of that

housebreaker, the wolverine, an animal which is the

beaver's implacable foe. From this lodge, which is

capable often of holding four old and six or eight young

ones, a communication is maintained with the water

below the ice, so that, should the wolverine succeed in breaking up


lodge, he finds the family "not at

home," they having made good their retreat by the

back-door. When man acts the part of housebreaker,

however, he cunningly shuts the back-door
, by

driving stakes through the ice, and thus stopping the

passage. Then he enters, and, we almost regret to say,

finds the family at home. We regret it, because the

beaver is a gentle, peaceable, affectionate, hairy little

creature, towards which one feels an irresistible tenderness.

But to return from this long digression.

Our trappers, having selected their several localities,

set their traps in the water, so that when the beavers

roamed about at night they put their feet into them,

and were caught and drowned; for although they can

swim and dive admirably, they cannot live altogether

under water.

Thus the different parties proceeded; and in the

mornings the camp was a busy scene indeed, for then

the whole were engaged in skinning the animals. The

skins were always stretched, dried, folded up with the

hair in the inside, and laid by; and the flesh was used

for food.

But oftentimes the trappers had to go forth with the

gun in one hand and their traps in the other, while

they kept a sharp look-out on the bushes to guard

against surprise. Despite their utmost efforts, a horse

was occasionally stolen before their very eyes, and

sometimes even an unfortunate trapper was murdered,

and all his traps carried off.

An event of this kind occurred soon after the party

had gained the western slopes of the mountains. Three

Iroquois Indians, who belonged to the band of trappers,

were sent to a stream about ten miles off. Having

reached their destination, they all entered the water to

set their traps, foolishly neglecting the usual precaution

of one remaining on the bank to protect the others.

They had scarcely commenced operations when three

arrows were discharged into their backs, and a party of

Snake Indians rushed upon and slew them, carrying

away their traps and horses and scalps. This was not

known for several days, when, becoming anxious about

their prolonged absence, Cameron sent out a party,

which found their mangled bodies affording a loathsome

banquet to the wolves and vultures.

After this sad event, the trappers were more careful

to go in larger parties, and keep watch.

As long as beaver were taken in abundance, the

camp remained stationary; but whenever the beaver

began to grow scarce, the camp was raised, and the

party moved on to another valley.

One day Dick Varley came galloping into camp with

the news that there were several bears in a valley not

far distant, which he was anxious not to disturb until a

number of the trappers were collected together to go

out and surround them.

On receiving the information, Walter Cameron shook

his head.

"We have other things to do, young man," said he,

"than go a-hunting after bears. I'm just about making

up my mind to send off a party to search out the valley

on the other side of the Blue Mountains yonder, and

bring back word if there are beaver there; for if not, I

mean to strike away direct south. Now, if you've a

mind to go with them, you're welcome. I'll warrant you'll

find enough in the way of bear-hunting to satisfy you;

perhaps a little Indian hunting to boot, for if the Banattees

get hold of your horses, you'll have a long hunt

before you find them again. Will you go?"

"Ay, right gladly," replied Dick. "When do we


"This afternoon."

Dick went off at once to his own part of the camp to

replenish his powder-horn and bullet-pouch, and wipe

out his rifle.

That evening the party, under command of a Canadian

named Pierre, set out for the Blue Hills. They

numbered twenty men, and expected to be absent three

days, for they merely went to reconnoitre, not to trap.

Neither Joe nor Henri was of this party, both having

been out hunting when it was organized; but Crusoe

and Charlie were, of course.

Pierre, although a brave and trusty man, was of a

sour, angry disposition, and not a favourite with Dick;

but the latter resolved to enjoy himself, and disregard

his sulky comrade. Being so well mounted, he not unfrequently

shot far ahead of his companions, despite

their warnings that he ran great risk by so doing. On

one of these occasions he and Crusoe witnessed a very

singular fight, which is worthy of record.

Dick had felt a little wilder in spirit that morning

than usual, and on coming to a pretty open plain he

gave the rein to Charlie, and with an "
Adieu, mes camarade

he was out of sight in a few minutes. He rode

on several miles in advance without checking speed, and

then came to a wood where rapid motion was inconvenient;

so he pulled up, and, dismounting, tied Charlie

to a tree, while he sauntered on a short way on foot.

On coming to the edge of a small plain he observed

two large birds engaged in mortal conflict. Crusoe observed

them too, and would soon have put an end to the

fight had Dick not checked him. Creeping as close to

the belligerents as possible, he found that one was a

wild turkey-cock, the other a white-headed eagle. These

two stood with their heads down and all their feathers

bristling for a moment; then they dashed at each other,

and struck fiercely with their spurs, as our domestic

cocks do, but neither fell, and the fight was continued

for about five minutes without apparent advantage on

either side.

Dick now observed that, from the uncertainty of its

motions, the turkey-cock was blind, a discovery which

caused a throb of compunction to enter his breast for

standing and looking on, so he ran forward. The eagle

saw him instantly, and tried to fly away, but was unable

from exhaustion.

"At him, Crusoe," cried Dick, whose sympathies all

lay with the other bird.

Crusoe went forward at a bound, and was met by a

peck between the eyes that would have turned most

dogs; but Crusoe only winked, and the next moment

the eagle's career was ended.

Dick found that the turkey-cock was quite blind, the

eagle having thrust out both its eyes, so, in mercy, he

put an end to its sufferings.

The fight had evidently been a long and severe one,

for the grass all round the spot, for about twenty yards,

was beaten to the ground, and covered with the blood

and feathers of the fierce combatants.

Meditating on the fight which he had just witnessed,

Dick returned towards the spot where he had left

Charlie, when he suddenly missed Crusoe from his side.

"Hallo, Crusoe! here, pup! where are you?" he


The only answer to this was a sharp whizzing sound,

and an arrow, passing close to his ear, quivered in a

tree beyond. Almost at the same moment Crusoe's

angry roar was followed by a shriek from some one in

fear or agony. Cocking his rifle, the young hunter

sprang through the bushes towards his horse, and was

just in time to save a Banattee Indian from being

strangled by the dog. It had evidently scented out

this fellow, and pinned him just as he was in the act of

springing on the back of Charlie, for the halter was cut,

and the savage lay on the ground close beside him.

Dick called off the dog, and motioned to the Indian

to rise, which he did so nimbly that it was quite evident

he had sustained no injury beyond the laceration

of his neck by Crusoe's teeth, and the surprise.

He was a tall strong Indian for the tribe to which

he belonged, so Dick proceeded to secure him at once.

Pointing to his rifle and to the Indian's breast, to show

what he might expect if he attempted to escape, Dick

ordered Crusoe to keep him steady in that position.

The dog planted himself in front of the savage, who

began to tremble for his scalp, and gazed up in his face

with a look which, to say the least of it, was the reverse

of amiable, while Dick went towards his horse for the

purpose of procuring a piece of cord to tie him with.

The Indian naturally turned his head to see what was

going to be done, but a peculiar
in Crusoe's throat

made him turn it round again very smartly, and he did

not venture thereafter to move a muscle.

In a few seconds Dick returned with a piece of

leather and tied his hands behind his back. While this

was being done the Indian glanced several times at his

bow, which lay a few feet away, where it had fallen

when the dog caught him; but Crusoe seemed to understand

him, for he favoured him with such an additional

display of teeth, and such a low--apparently distant,

almost, we might say, subterranean--
, that he

resigned himself to his fate.

His hands secured, a long line was attached to his

neck with a running noose, so that if he ventured to

run away the attempt would effect its own cure by producing

strangulation. The other end of this line was

given to Crusoe, who at the word of command marched

him off, while Dick mounted Charlie and brought up

the rear.

Great was the laughter and merriment when this

apparition met the eyes of the trappers; but when they

heard that he had attempted to shoot Dick their ire was

raised, and a court-martial was held on the spot.

"Hang the reptile!" cried one.

"Burn him!" shouted another.

"No, no," said a third; "don't imitate them villains:

don't be cruel. Let's shoot him."

"Shoot 'im," cried Pierre. "Oui, dat is de ting; it

too goot pour lui, mais it shall be dooed."

"Don't ye think, lads, it would be better to let the

poor wretch off?" said Dick Varley; "he'd p'r'aps give

a good account o' us to his people."

There was a universal shout of contempt at this mild

proposal. Unfortunately, few of the men sent on this

exploring expedition were imbued with the peace-making

spirit of their chief, and most of them seemed glad to

have a chance of venting their hatred of the poor Indians

on this unhappy wretch, who, although calm, looked

sharply from one speaker to another, to gather hope, if

possible, from the tones of their voices.

Dick was resolved, at the risk of a quarrel with Pierre,

to save the poor man's life, and had made up his mind

to insist on having him conducted to the camp to be

tried by Cameron, when one of the men suggested that

they should take the savage to the top of a hill about

three miles farther on, and there hang him up on a tree

as a warning to all his tribe.

"Agreed, agreed!" cried the men; "come on."

Dick, too, seemed to agree to this proposal, and hastily

ordered Crusoe to run on ahead with the savage; an

order which the dog obeyed so vigorously that, before

the men had done laughing at him, he was a couple of

hundred yards ahead of them.

"Take care that he don't get off!" cried Dick, springing

on Charlie and stretching out at a gallop.

In a moment he was beside the Indian. Scraping together

the little of the Indian language he knew, he stooped

down, and, cutting the thongs that bound him, said,--

"Go! white men love the Indians."

The man cast on his deliverer one glance of surprise,

and the next moment bounded aside into the bushes and

was gone.

A loud shout from the party behind showed that this

act had been observed; and Crusoe stood with the end

of the line in his mouth, and an expression on his face

that said, "You're absolutely incomprehensible, Dick!

It's all right, I
, but to my feeble capacity it



"Fat for you do dat?" shouted Pierre in a rage, as

he came up with a menacing look.

Dick confronted him. "The prisoner was mine. I

had a right to do with him as it liked me."

"True, true," cried several of the men who had begun

to repent of their resolution, and were glad the savage

was off. "The lad's right. Get along, Pierre."

"You had no right, you vas wrong. Oui, et I have

goot vill to give you one knock on de nose."

Dick looked Pierre in the face, as he said this, in a

manner that cowed him.

"It is time," he said quietly, pointing to the sun, "to

go on. Your bourgeois expects that time won't be


Pierre muttered something in an angry tone, and

wheeling round his horse, dashed forward at full gallop,

followed by the rest of the men.

The trappers encamped that night on the edge of a

wide grassy plain, which offered such tempting food for

the horses that Pierre resolved to forego his usual

cautious plan of picketing them close to the camp, and

set them loose on the plain, merely hobbling them to

prevent their straying far.

Dick remonstrated, but in vain. An insolent answer

was all he got for his pains. He determined, however,

to keep Charlie close beside him all night, and also made

up his mind to keep a sharp look-out on the other


At supper he again remonstrated.

"No 'fraid," said Pierre, whose pipe was beginning to

improve his temper. "The red reptiles no dare to come

in open plain when de moon so clear."

"Dun know that," said a taciturn trapper, who seldom

ventured a remark of any kind; "them varmints 'ud

steal the two eyes out o' you' head when they set their

hearts on't."

"Dat ar' umposs'ble, for dey have no hearts," said a

half-breed; "dey have von hole vere de heart vas


This was received with a shout of laughter, in the

midst of which an appalling yell was heard, and, as if

by magic, four Indians were seen on the backs of four

of the best horses, yelling like fiends, and driving all the

other horses furiously before them over the plain!

How they got there was a complete mystery, but the

men did not wait to consider that point. Catching up

their guns they sprang after them with the fury of madmen,

and were quickly scattered far and wide. Dick

ordered Crusoe to follow and help the men, and turned

to spring on the back of Charlie; but at that moment

he observed an Indian's head and shoulders rise above

the grass, not fifty yards in advance from him, so without

hesitation he darted forward, intending to pounce

upon him.

Well would it have been for Dick Varley had he at

that time possessed a little more experience of the wiles

and stratagems of the Banattees. The Snake nation is

subdivided into several tribes, of which those inhabiting

the Rocky Mountains, called the Banattees, are the most

perfidious. Indeed, they are confessedly the banditti of

the hills, and respect neither friend nor foe, but rob all

who come in their way.

Dick reached the spot where the Indian had disappeared

in less than a minute, but no savage was to be

seen. Thinking he had crept ahead, he ran on a few

yards farther, and darted about hither and thither,

while his eye glanced from side to side. Suddenly a

shout in the camp attracted his attention, and looking

back he beheld the savage on Charlie's back turning to

fly. Next moment he was off and away far beyond the

hope of recovery. Dick had left his rifle in the camp,

otherwise the savage would have gone but a short way.

As it was, Dick returned, and sitting down on a mound

of grass, stared straight before him with a feeling akin

to despair. Even Crusoe could not have helped him

had he been there, for nothing on four legs, or on two,

could keep pace with Charlie.

The Banattee achieved this feat by adopting a stratagem

which invariably deceives those who are ignorant

of their habits and tactics. When suddenly pursued the

Banattee sinks into the grass, and, serpent-like, creeps

along with wonderful rapidity, not

his enemy, taking care, however, to avoid him, so that

when the pursuer reaches the spot where the pursued is

supposed to be hiding, he hears him shout a yell of

defiance far away in the rear.

It was thus that the Banattee eluded Dick and gained

the camp almost as soon as the other reached the spot

where he had disappeared.

One by one the trappers came back weary, raging,

and despairing. In a short time they all assembled,

and soon began to reproach each other. Ere long one

or two had a fight, which resulted in several bloody

noses and black eyes, thus adding to the misery which,

one would think, had been bad enough without such

additions. At last they finished their suppers and their

pipes, and then lay down to sleep under the trees till

morning, when they arose in a particularly silent and

sulky mood, rolled up their blankets, strapped their

things on their shoulders, and began to trudge slowly

back to the camp on foot.


Wolves attack the horses, and Cameron circumvents the
A bear-hunt, in which Henri shines
Joe and the "Natter-list
A surprise and a capture

We must now return to the camp where Walter

Cameron still guarded the goods, and the men

pursued their trapping avocations.

Here seven of the horses had been killed in one night

by wolves while grazing in a plain close to the camp,

and on the night following a horse that had strayed

was also torn to pieces and devoured. The prompt and

daring manner in which this had been done convinced

the trader that white wolves had unfortunately scented

them out, and he set several traps in the hope of capturing


White wolves are quite distinct from the ordinary

wolves that prowl through woods and plains in large

packs. They are much larger, weighing sometimes as

much as a hundred and thirty pounds; but they are

comparatively scarce, and move about alone, or in small

bands of three or four. Their strength is enormous,

and they are so fierce that they do not hesitate, upon

occasions, to attack man himself. Their method of

killing horses is very deliberate. Two wolves generally

undertake the cold-blooded murder. They approach

their victim with the most innocent-looking and frolicsome

gambols, lying down and rolling about, and

frisking presently, until the horse becomes a little

accustomed to them. Then one approaches right in

front, the other in rear, still frisking playfully, until

they think themselves near enough, when they make

a simultaneous rush. The wolf which approaches in

rear is the true assailant; the rush of the other is a

mere feint. Then both fasten on the poor horse's

haunches, and never let go till the sinews are cut and

he is rolling on his side.

The horse makes comparatively little struggle in

this deadly assault; he seems paralyzed, and soon falls

to rise no more.

Cameron set his traps towards evening in a circle

with a bait in the centre, and then retired to rest.

Next morning he called Joe Blunt, and the two went

off together.

"It is strange that these rascally white wolves should

be so bold when the smaller kinds are so cowardly,"

remarked Cameron, as they walked along.

"So 'tis," replied Joe; "but I've seed them other

chaps bold enough too in the prairie when they were

in large packs and starvin'."

"I believe the small wolves follow the big fellows,

and help them to eat what they kill, though they

generally sit round and look on at the killing."

"Hist!" exclaimed Joe, cocking his gun; "there he

is, an' no mistake."

There he was, undoubtedly. A wolf of the largest

size with one of his feet in the trap. He was a terrible-looking

object, for, besides his immense size and naturally

ferocious aspect, his white hair bristled on end and

was all covered with streaks and spots of blood from

his bloody jaws. In his efforts to escape he had bitten

the trap until he had broken his teeth and lacerated his

gums, so that his appearance was hideous in the extreme.

And when the two men came up he struggled with all

his might to fly at them.

Cameron and Joe stood looking at him in a sort of

wondering admiration.

"We'd better put a ball in him," suggested Joe after

a time. "Mayhap the chain won't stand sich tugs long."

"True, Joe; if it break, we might get an ugly nip

before we killed him."

So saying Cameron fired into the wolf's head and

killed it. It was found, on examination, that four

wolves had been in the traps, but the rest had escaped.

Two of them, however, had gnawed off their paws and

left them lying in the traps.

After this the big wolves did not trouble them again.

The same afternoon a bear-hunt was undertaken, which

well-nigh cost one of the Iroquois his life. It happened


While Cameron and Joe were away after the white

wolves, Henri came floundering into camp tossing his

arms like a maniac, and shouting that "seven bars wos

be down in de bush close by!" It chanced that this

was an idle day with most of the men, so they all leaped

on their horses, and taking guns and knives sallied forth

to give battle to the bears.

Arrived at the scene of action, they found the seven

bears busily engaged in digging up roots, so the men

separated in order to surround them, and then closed in.

The place was partly open and partly covered with

thick bushes into which a horseman could not penetrate.

The moment the bears got wind of what was going

forward they made off as fast as possible, and then commenced

a scene of firing, galloping, and yelling that

defies description! Four out of the seven were shot

before they gained the bushes; the other three were

wounded, but made good their retreat. As their places

of shelter, however, were like islands in the plain, they

had no chance of escaping.

The horsemen now dismounted and dashed recklessly

into the bushes, where they soon discovered and killed

two of the bears; the third was not found for some

time. At last an Iroquois came upon it so suddenly

that he had not time to point his gun before the bear

sprang upon him and struck him to the earth, where it

held him down.

Instantly the place was surrounded by eager men; but

the bushes were so thick, and the fallen trees among

which the bear stood were so numerous, that they could

not use their guns without running the risk of shooting

their companion. Most of them drew their knives and

seemed about to rush on the bear with these; but the

monster's aspect, as it glared around, was so terrible that

they held back for a moment in hesitation.

At this moment Henri, who had been at some distance

engaged in the killing of one of the other bears, came

rushing forward after his own peculiar manner.

"Ah! fat is eet--hay? de bar no go under yit?"

Just then his eye fell on the wounded Iroquois with

the bear above him, and he uttered a yell so intense in

tone that the bear himself seemed to feel that something

decisive was about to be done at last. Henri

did not pause, but with a flying dash he sprang like a

spread eagle, arms and legs extended, right into the

bear's bosom. At the same moment he sent his long

hunting-knife down into its heart. But Bruin is proverbially

hard to kill, and although mortally wounded,

he had strength enough to open his jaws and close them

on Henri's neck.

There was a cry of horror, and at the same moment

a volley was fired at the bear's head; for the trappers

felt that it was better to risk shooting their comrades

than see them killed before their eyes. Fortunately

the bullets took effect, and tumbled him over at once

without doing damage to either of the men, although

several of the balls just grazed Henri's temple and

carried off his cap.

Although uninjured by the shot, the poor Iroquois

had not escaped scathless from the paw of the bear.

His scalp was torn almost off, and hung down over his

eyes, while blood streamed down his face. He was

conveyed by his comrades to the camp, where he lay

two days in a state of insensibility, at the end of which

time he revived and recovered daily. Afterwards when

the camp moved he had to be carried; but in the course

of two months he was as well as ever, and quite as fond

of bear-hunting!

Among other trophies of this hunt there were two

deer and a buffalo, which last had probably strayed from

the herd. Four or five Iroquois were round this animal

whetting their knives for the purpose of cutting it up

when Henri passed, so he turned aside to watch them

perform the operation, quite regardless of the fact that

his neck and face were covered with blood which flowed

from one or two small punctures made by the bear.

The Indians began by taking off the skin, which

certainly did not occupy them more than five minutes.

Then they cut up the meat and made a pack of it, and

cut out the tongue, which is somewhat troublesome, as

that member requires to be cut out from under the jaw

of the animal, and not through the natural opening of

the mouth. One of the fore legs was cut off at the

knee joint, and this was used as a hammer with which

to break the skull for the purpose of taking out the

brains, these being used in the process of dressing and

softening the animal's skin. An axe would have been

of advantage to break the skull, but in the hurry of

rushing to the attack the Indians had forgotten their

axes; so they adopted the common fashion of using the

buffalo's hoof as a hammer, the shank being the handle.

The whole operation of flaying, cutting up, and packing

the meat did not occupy more than twenty minutes.

Before leaving the ground these expert butchers treated

themselves to a little of the marrow and warm liver in

a raw state!

Cameron and Joe walked up to the group while they

were indulging in this little feast.

"Well, I've often seen that eaten, but I never could

do it myself," remarked the former.

"No!" cried Joe in surprise; "now that's oncommon

cur'us. I've
on raw liver an' marrow-bones for

two or three days at a time, when we wos chased by the

Camanchee Injuns an' didn't dare to make a fire; an' it's

ra'al good, it is. Won't ye try it

Cameron shook his head.

"No, thankee; I'll not refuse when I can't help it,

but until then I'll remain in happy ignorance of how

good it is."

"Well, it
strange how some folk can't abide anything

in the meat way they ha'n't bin used to. D'ye

know I've actually knowed men from the cities as

wouldn't eat a bit o' horseflesh for love or money.

Would ye believe it?"

"I can well believe that, Joe, for I have met with

such persons myself; in fact, they are rather numerous.

What are you chuckling at, Joe?"

"Chucklin'? If ye mean be that 'larfin in to myself,'

it's because I'm thinkin' o' a chap as once comed out to

the prairies."

"Let us walk back to the camp, Joe, and you can

tell me about him as we go along."

"I think," continued Joe, "he comed from Washington,

but I never could make out right whether he wos

a Government man or not. Anyhow, he wos a pheelosopher--a

natter-list I think he call his-self--"

"A naturalist," suggested Cameron.

"Ay, that wos more like it. Well, he wos about six

feet two in his moccasins, an' as thin as a ramrod, an' as

blind as a bat--leastways he had weak eyes an' wore

green spectacles. He had on a gray shootin' coat an'

trousers an' vest an' cap, with rid whiskers an' a long

nose as rid at the point as the whiskers wos."

"Well, this gentleman engaged me an' another hunter

to go a trip with him into the prairies, so off we sot one

fine day on three hosses, with our blankets at our backs--we

wos to depend on the rifle for victuals. At first I

thought the natter-list one o' the cruellest beggars as

iver went on two long legs, for he used to go about

everywhere pokin' pins through all the beetles an' flies

an' creepin' things he could sot eyes on, an' stuck them

in a box. But he told me he comed here a-purpose to

git as many o' them as he could; so says I, 'If that's it,

I'll fill yer box in no time.'

"'Will ye?' says he, quite pleased like.

"'I will,' says I, an' galloped off to a place as was

filled wi' all sorts o' crawlin' things. So I sets to work,

an' whenever I seed a thing crawlin' I sot my fut on it

an' crushed it, an' soon filled my breast pocket. I

cotched a lot o' butterflies too, an' stuffed them into my

shot-pouch, an' went back in an hour or two an' showed

him the lot. He put on his green spectacles an' looked

at them as if he'd seen a rattlesnake.

"'My good man,' says he, 'you've crushed them all

to pieces!'

"'They'll taste as good for all that,' says I; for

somehow I'd taken't in me head that he'd heard o' the

way the Injuns make soup o' the grasshoppers, an' wos

wantin' to try his hand at a new dish!

"He laughed when I said this, an' told me he wos

collectin' them to take home to be
at. But that's

not wot I was goin' to tell ye about him," continued

Joe; "I wos goin' to tell ye how we made him eat

horseflesh. He carried a revolver, too, this natter-list

did, to load wi' shot as small as dust a'most, an' shoot

little birds with. I've seed him miss birds only three

feet away with it. An' one day he drew it all of a suddent an' let fly

at a

big bum-bee that wos passin',

yellin' out that it wos the finest wot he had iver seed.

He missed the bee, of coorse, 'cause it wos a flyin' shot,

he said, but he sent the whole charge right into Martin's

back--Martin was my comrade's name. By good luck

Martin had on a thick leather coat, so the shot niver

got the length o' his skin."

"One day I noticed that the natter-list had stuffed

small corks into the muzzles of all the six barrels of his

revolver. I wondered what they wos for, but he wos

al'ays doin' sich queer things that I soon forgot it.

'Maybe,' thought I, jist before it went out o' my mind--'maybe

he thinks that'll stop the pistol from goin'

off by accident;' for ye must know he'd let it off three

times the first day by accident, an' well-nigh blowed

off his leg the last time, only the shot lodged in the

back o' a big toad he'd jist stuffed into his breeches

pocket. Well, soon after we shot a buffalo bull, so

when it fell, off he jumps from his horse an' runs up to

it. So did I, for I wasn't sure the beast was dead,

an' I had jist got up when it rose an' rushed at the


"'Out o' the way,' I yelled, for my rifle was empty;

but he didn't move, so I rushed for'ard an' drew the