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Riflemen of the Miami / by Edward S. Ellis. Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-239-31299712 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Riflemen of the Miami / by Edward S. Ellis. Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916. Beadle, New York :  117 p. ; 17 cm. Coleman Illustrated t.-p. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04814.02 KUK) Printing Master B92-239. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. BEADLE AND COMPANY, NEW YORK: 141 WILLIAM STREET. LONDON: 41 PATERNOSTER ROW. This page in the original text is blank. Entered according to Act of Congress, tn the Year 1862, by BEADLE AND COMPANY, k the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Ulited States fod the Soathern District of New York. THE RIFLENEN OF THE M1IAM11. CHAPTER I. TEE RESCUE. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly.-MACBETH. "QuIcK, boys, and be careful that they don't see your heads." Four men were moving along under the bank of the Miami, with their bodies bent, at a gait that was almost rapid enough to be called a run. They were constantly raising their heads and peering over the bank, as though watching something in the wood, which in this section was quite open. All four were attired in the garb of hunters, and were evidently men whose homes were in the great wilder- ness. They had embrowned faces, and sinewy limbs, and the personnel of the woodman-of the men who hovered only upon the confines of civilization, rarely, if ever, venturing within the crowded city tr village. It is hardly necessary to say that each carried his rifle and his hunting-knife. Between the three foremost was a striking resemblance; it appeared impossible that more than five years divided them in age. Two were brothers, George and Lewis Dernor, -lwhile the third answered to the sobrqwuet of Dick-his real name being Richard Allmat. The fourth-he who brought up the rear-possessed an individfiality which must have marked him in any situation. Barely more than five feet in height, and with bowed legs, instead of owning a jovial temper, as one would have a right to expect from his jolly-looking face, he was, in reality, a most irascible fellow. Never known to express satisfaction at any occurrence, gift or suggestion, he was constantly finding fault, and threatening dire vengeance upon those who surrounded him. These threats never being THlE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. carried out, attracted little attention. " Tom" (as he wu callea) was considered a privileged individual, and, in spite of his disposition, was a favorite with those who knew him. This may seem strange when we add that, in addition to his sour temper, the natural defect of his legs prevented him from placing any dependence upon them. At his best speed he was but an ordinary runner. A stranger well might wonder that he should adopt a life where fleetness of foot was so necessary-in fact, so almost indispensable. Tom O'Ilara turned ranger from pure love for the wild, adventurous life; and, despite the natural defects to which we have referred, possessed accomplishments that rendered him a most valuable ally and companion. He never had met his superior with the rifle, and his knowledge of woodcraft was such that, although he had spent ten years on the border, his slowness of foot had never operated against him; nor once had he been outwitted by the red-men of the woods. Besides this, he had the enviable reputation of being a lucky individual-one whose rifle never missed fire, or sped wide of its mark-one to whom no unfortunate accident ever occurred; so that, take him all in all, few hunters were safer in the wood than this same Tom O'Hara. These four were known as the Riflemen of the Miami, of whom Lewis Dernor was the leader. Another member, then a 1ong way uff, will be referred to hereafter. " Quick, boys, and be careful that they don't see your heads," admonished Lewis, ducking his own and gesticulating to those behind him. "Sh ! look quick ! there they go !" The four stretched' their necks, glancing over the bank, out into a small clearing in the wood. " They'll cross that in a minute," whispered the first speaker. "Don't raise your heads too high or you'll be seen." "You don't appear to think nobody knows nothirg but you," growled Tom, with a savage look. " Quiet! There they go !" One Indian strode into the clearing, followed by another, then bv two abreast, between whom a wonman was walking, her head bent as if in despair, with steps painful and labored. Behind these came three other savages. They passed across the clearing-the whole seven, with their captive like the a rtES IN AMBUSIEL moving figurea in a panorama, and entered the wood upon the opposite side. " Every mother's son of them is in his war-paint," said Lewis-who, by the way, divided his words with Tom, the other two rarely speaking except when directly appealed to. "Who said they wasn't" demanded Tom. "And what difference does it make They've got somebody's gal there, hain't they eh Say. And what's the odds whether they've daubed themselves up with their stuff or not " " Well, what's the next move To set up a yell and pitch after them " " None but a fool would want to do that." " But don't you notice the bank gets so low down yonder that it won't hide us, and we'll have to show ourselves " " It'll hide us as long as we want to be hid. Come, don't squat here, or we'll let the rascals slip, after all." Again the three moved down the bank, as rapidly, silently and cautiously as spirits, ever and anon raising their heads as they gained a glimpse of the Indians passing through the wood. Thle latter were following a course parallel with the Miami, so that the relative distance between the two parties remained nearly the same. It was manifest to the hunters that the Indians intended crossing the river with their captive at some point lower down, and were making toward that point. It was further evident from the deliberation in their movements, and from the fact that they were not proceeding in " Indian file," that as yet they had no suspicion of being pursued, although every one of their number knew of the existence of the Riflemen of the Miami-that formidable con- federation whose very name was a word of terror even to their savage hearts. Entirely unsuspicious of the danger which menaced them, every thing was in favor of the hunters. For several hundred yards further, the two parties main- tained their relative distance, the Indians proceeding at a usual walk, and the whites at a very irregular one-now running rapidly a few steps, and then halting and gazing over the bank to ascertain the precise whereabouts of their enemies; then skulking a few yards further, and halting as before, remaining all the time nearly opposite the " braves." Suddenly the latter came to a stand. 7 TE RIT7'LEMEN OF THE MIAMI. " Now for a confab," said Lewis, as his companions Zatheed about him. "I wonder what they are going to jabber about " "What do you want to know for, ch " asked Toni. "It's pretty plaiii they're going to cross the river, but, con- found it, how can we tell where it's going to be done I've told you that the bank gets so low, just yonder, that it won't hide us any longer." " Who wants it to hide us They intend to cross the river here, and in about ten minutes, too. Just watch their actions, if you can do it without showing your head." The Indians stood together, conversing upon some point about which there seemed a variance of opinion. Their deep, guttural, ejaculatory words were plainly audible to the hunters, and their gleaming, bedaubed visages were seen in all their hideous repulsiveness. They gesticulated continually, pointing behind them in the direction of their trail, and across the river, over the heads of the crouching Riflemen, who were watching every motion. Nothing would have been easier for the latter than to have sent four of these savages into eternity without a moment's warning; yet, nothing was further from their intentions, for, of all things, this would have been the surest to defeat their chief object. The captive would have been brained the instant the savages saw they could not hold her. The great point was to surprise them so suddenly and completely as to prevent this. From the present appearance of matters, this seemed not very difficult of accomplishment, as it was a foregone con- clusion upon the part of the hunters that the savages would endeavor to ford the river at the point where they lay in ambush for them. It only remained for the Riflemen to bide their time, and, at the proper moment, rush upon and scatter them, and rescue the captive from their hands. " I wonder whether they're going to talk all day," remarked Tom, impatiently, after they had conversed some twenty or thirty minutes. " They're in a dispute about something. It won't take them long to get through with it." "How do you know that, I should like to know Like enough they'll talk till lark, and keep us waiting. Conforuv4 'em, what's tMe use " 8 TE IRNDIANS IN CONSULTATION. No one ventured to reply to Tom's sulky observation, and, after several impatient exclamations, lie added: " The longer they talk the louder they get, which is a sure sign the dispute is getting hotter, which is another sign it'll be considerable time before they get through." "I am sure we can wait as long as they can," said Dick, mnildly. " SMy heavens! who said we couldn't Just hear 'em jabber !" The conversation of the Indians had now become so earnest, that every word spoken was distinctly heard by the Riflemen. The latter, from the dress and actions of the savages, under- stood they had no chief with them, but were merely seven warriors, who had been out on this barbarous expedition, and were returning to their town with the booty and the captive they had secured. "They're talking in the Shawnee tongue," said Lewis. "Can't you understand what they're driving at " "If you only keep your jaws shut a minute or two, I could; but if you three fellers mean to talk all the time, I .should like to know how I am going to understand any thing they say. See whether you can keep quiet a minute, just." Tom's companions did as requested, while he bent his head forward, and seemed to concentrate all his faculties into thle one of listening. Upon the part of the Riflemen all was still as death. After several minutes of the acutest attention, Tom raised his head, and said, with a glowing expression: " They're talking about us." "The deuce! what are they saying " " Don't you see they're pointing up the river and across it Well, the meaning of all that is, that they're wondering which way we'll come from." " What seems to be the general expectation'" "The trouble is just there-the expectation is altogether too general. Some think we're oln their trail, others that We're following the other side the river down, and waiting for the chance to let drive at 'em, while one, at least, feels certain we're coming up the stream to meet 'em." Is that their dispute " "A part of it, of course, but the trouble is-what to do. Scme want to strike off in tine woods and take a, roundaboutl 9 THE RIFI EMEN OF THE MIAI. way to reach home; but the greatest number want to cros the stream at this point." " They'll probably do it then." " Of course they will-no; I'll be shot if they ain't going further into the woods !" suddenly exclaimed Tom. "They're going to start in a minute, too. Get ready, boys, for a rush-it's all we can do." " Hold still a minute," commanded Tom, excitedly. Then dropping his rifle, he ran down to the river's cdge, and picked up several large pebbles, one of which he placed in his right hand as if about to throw it. " What are you going to do with that " asked Dick. "That's none of your business; you've only to wait and see. Just keep your heads down now, if you don't want them knocked off. Tom, drawing his hand back, struck it quickly against his thigh, accomplishing what is generally termed "jerking" the stone. The latter went circling high over the heads of the disputing Indians, and came down upon the other side of them, cutting its way through the dry leaves of the trees with a peculiar zip-ztp, which was distinctly heard by the Riflemen themselves. The unusual sound could not fail instantly to attract the attention of the Indians. They paused in their conversation, and turned their alarmed gaze toward it, as if in expectation of some danger. With their instinctive caution, they sepa- rated, and partially protecting themselves behind the trees, prepared to receive what they supposed to be their enemies. A noticeable fact did not escape the eyes of the Riflemen. The captive, a weak, defenseless girl, was not allowed to screen herself, as did her captors, but was compelled by them to stand out in full view, as an additional safeguard against their bullets. It was at this moment that Tom hurled the second stone over the heads of the Indians, it descending with the samne sharp, cutting sound, and resolving their suspicions into a certainty that their white enemies were indeed at hand. Lewis Dernor, now that the moment of action had arrived, was as sllrew(l and far-sighlted as either Tom or any of the others. It was these very qualities, coolness and self-reliance 10 THE MOMENT OF PERU. in the crisis of danger, that made him nominally the leader of the diflemen of the Miami. He saw the great advantage gained by O'Hara's artifice in attracting the attention of the Indians to the point opposite to that from which the peril threatened; but, at the same time, he well knew that those same Shawnees were too well skilled in woodcraft to suffer their gaze to be diverted for any length of time from the river-bank. As matters now stood, the captive herself was the only one who was looking in the direction of the latter, while her gaze was a mere mechanical one, wandering hither and thither without resting for a moment upon any particular object. Lewis felt that the all-important point was to make her aware of the vicinity of friends. Shel being a total stranger to them, and evidently with no hope of any immediate rescue, made this a matter of considerable difficulty; but, without hesitating a moment, Lewis suddenly arose to the upright position, thereby exposing his head and shoulders, and beckoned to the girl to approach him. The instant he had done this, he dropped on his face and disappeared. The attempt was only a partial success. At the moment of rising, the gaze of the captive was toward a point further down-stream; but the figure of the hunter, as it rose and sunk from view, was in her field of vision and did not entirely escape her notice. The unusual occurrence drew her look thither, making it certain that a second attempt, could it be made, would succeed far better than the first. All this Lewis comprehended, and as quick as possible repeated his move- ment precisely as before. This time the girl saw him and perfectly understood his meaning; but, with a precipitancy that filled the hunters with the greatest alarm, she started directly toward them, with outstretched arms, as if imploring assistance. It was at this instant that Lewis discovered a quickness of perception, cool- ness and promptness of action that was absolutely wonderful. Looking out upon the exciting drama being enacted before him, he saw with unerring certainty how far the girl could run before being fired at by the savages. Waiting until she had gone the distance, he raised his head and.shoulders to view, and called out in a voice of thunder: IS THE RIFT-'AXEN OF THE MIAMI. " I say, gal, drop flat on your face and stay there." The quickness with which this command was obeyed, ana the almost simultaneous crack of two rifles, might well have caused the belief that she had fallen because shot through the heart; but such was not the case. The command of Lewis broke upon her like a thunder-peal, and as quick as a flash of liglhtnin-g did she comprehend the fearfully imminent peril in which she was phlced. So marvelously close had been the calculation of the hunter, that at the very instant she obeyed him, the rifle of the nearest Indian was pointed full at her. This did not escape the eagle eye of O'Hara, who, with the same coolness that characterized the action of his leader, dis- charged his piece at the brazed head of the Shawnee, his aim scarcely oacupying a sec;,d. The bullet sped sure, striking the savage at the very moment his own weapon was fired, and his deatlh-yell mingled with the whistle of his own harm- less rifle-ball. Even in this moment of terrible danger, the manner in which the Indians shifted to the opposite side of the trees could but attract the notice of the hunters. It was simulta- neous on the part of all, and resembled that of automata, moved by machinery. First, every copper-colored body was exposed to full view; and the next minute six gleaming rifle- barrels only showed where they had sheltered themselves from the fire of the whites. They no longer doubted the point from which their danger threatened, and a genuine strategic Indian fight now commenced. Had the captive, who was now literally between two fires, done nothing but merely fall upon her face, her situation could niot have been improved in the least thereby. But the nature of the ground near her was such that, by lying per- fectly motionless, the bullets of the Shawnees could not strike her, unless they could gain a position nearer to the hunters. As matters stood, she was safe only so long as her captors could be kept from changing their places. This was manifest to both the whites and the Indians; and while tVre latter were now actuated by the desire to slay the girl, the efforts of the former were turned toward her salva- tion. It wa' further evident that the Shawnees were aware that they were now opposed to the IRifiemeD of the Miami, 12 N ARKSMANSELIP. and were noth.neg Both for a trial of skill. The loss of one of their number was such a matter of course, that it operated only as an incentive for exertion and skill upon their part. A portion of the dress bf the girl, as she lay upon the ground, could be seen by several of the Indians, and they fired numer- ous shots at it. Finding this accomplished nothing, they resorted to a far more dangerous expedient-that of shooting away enough earth in front of her to allow the free passage of one of their bullets to her body. It will be seen that great skill was required to do this, but the expertness of the Shaw- ,lee marksmen was equal to the task. They commenced their work by sending a ball so as to strike the earth immediately before her, and a few inches below the surface. The instant this was done, another fired his bullet directly after, with such skill that it varied but the fraction of an inch from following directly in its path. The force with which these balls were discharged was such that the twelfth one would most assuredly take the life of the girl. None knew this better than Lewis Dernor, who, in the same trumpet-like tone that had characterized his former command, called out: " Young gal, clean away tnt dirt in front of you and bde yourself better, or the imps will riddle you." It required no more incentive to do this, and she used her hands-with such vigor that a few moments accomplished all she could wish. The ground, being soft and moist, favored her, and when she dragged herself a few feet forward, all of her dress disappeared from the view of the Indians, and she was as safe from their bullets as if behind the river-bank it- self. A few more shots convinced the Shawnees of this, and they now sent several bullets whistling over the heads of the Rifle- men as if to remind them that they were to receive attention. So long as the members of the two parties maintained their respective positions, this affray could amount to nothing; accordingly, several of the savages made an effort to change their posts in such a manner as to outflank the whites. Despite the admirable skill with which this attempt was made, the deadly rifle of George Dernor brought down a warrior as he fitted from tree to tree. This, for the present, put a stop tc THlE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. the movement and turned the efforts of the savages in anothei direction. Two brawny Shawnees, convinced that nothing coii l bd done against the Riflemen, renewed their attempts to secure a shot at the girl, who all this time lay as motionless as if dead. They commenced working their way slowly but surely toward the. river, while she, unconscious of the murderous stratagem. patiently awaited the turn of affairs which would free her from her terrible thralldom. Finally, an Indian, who was squatted behind a tree, gained a view of a tuft of her hair and brought his rifle to his shoulder. The sunlight that scintillated along the barrel Gf his weapon made it resemble a burnished spear, poised in his lhand, while following it up to the stock, not only his crooked arm which supported the gun, but his entire pro- file was visible. Forgetting his own peril in his anxiety to slay the helpless girl, the Shawnee leaned several inches further forward, thereby discovering one-half of his shaven hea'l. Ere he could draw it back, the whip-like crack of another rifle broke the stillness, and he fell forward on his face, pierced through and through the brain. " I've a great notion to break your head for you !" exclaimed Tom, in an excited whisper to Dick, for it was the latter who had fired the fatal shot. " Why, what's up now " " I'd just got that Shawnee sure when you picked him off. Don't you serve me that trick again." With this ebullition, Tom subsided, and turned his attention once more toward their common enemy. The shot of Dick really decided the affray. It convinced the Indians that not only were they unable to shoot the girl or avenge themselves upon the Riflemen, but the latter had so much the advantage of them, that to prorong the contest would only be to insure their own annihilation. Three of their number were already slain, and the remaining four, from their respective positions, had not the shadow of a chance to pick off any of the whites. What might naturally be expected under the circumstances occurred. The savages commenced a retreat, conducting it with such caution that the whites could not gain another shot. The last seen of them was a shadowy glimpse in a distant part of the wood, as the four fled, thereby 14 THE CAPTIVE RESCUED. doing only what the Riflemen of the Miami had before com- pelled many a body of Indians to do. A few minutes later, Lewis rose up and said " This way, gal; there's none of the imps left." The girl, timidly raising her head, glanced about her, and then, Lewis' invitation being repeated, she arose and walked toward him, looking furtively backward as though still fearful of her late captors. "Bless your dear soul," said Lewis, warmly welcoming her, "you've had a skeery time with them Shawnees, but you're safe for the present. You may set that down as a question that needn't be argued." "Oh I how can I thank you for rescuing me! I can never, never repay you," said she, with streaming eyes. " Who the deuce wants you to pay us " asked Tom, gruffly. " Come, come, Tom, see whether you can't be civil once, even if you.'ve got to be sick for it. Don't mind him, little gal; he loves you all the more for what he said." " I know he does, or lie would never have risked his life to save a stranger as he has just done." Tom, from some cause or other, was obliged to gouge his eye several times Writh. his crooked finger. One might have suspected that they were more moist than usual, had he not looked particularly savage at that moment. Dick, who, by the merest accident, glanced in his face was nearly startled off his feet by the irascible fellow shouting: "What you looking at Say I Can't a chap rub his eyes without your gaping at him that way " Dick meekly removed his gaze, while Tom looked ferocious enough to annihilate the whole party. The girl, just rescuesd from the Shawnees, was a comely maiden. Though attired in the homespun garb of the back- woods, she would have attracted attention in any society. If not beautiful, she certainly was handsome, being possessed of a countenance rich with expression, and a form of perfect grace. Blue eves, golden hair, a well-turned head, small nose and a health-tinted complexion, were characteristics to arrest the eye of the most ordinary observer. Even under disadvantageous Circumstances like the present, these were so striking that they could but make an impression, and a skillful reader of 15 ToH RIFLEMEN OF THUE M AMI. human nature would have seen that Lewis had been tohd.d -that, in short, the leader of the Riflemen of the Miami had reached the incipient stages of the passion of passions, in the short interview to which we have referred. That he would rasier have been scalped than have been suspected of it by his companions, was very true. Taking the small hands which were confidingly placed in _tis own, he said; "Let us hear all about this scrape, my little one." "My home is, or was until night before last, many miles from here. On that evening, I was left alone by my dearest friend, who little dreamed of the danger which hovered over our house. The Indians must have been aware of his absence, for, before it was fairly dark, three of them stalked in the door without sayiLg a word, and led me away. They have traveled constantly ever since, and I was almost wearied to death, when you came up, and by the assistance of kind Heaven, saved me. How came you to be so interested in a stran- ger ' " As for that matter," replied Lewis, " it ain't the first time, my little one, that we've been interested in strangers. I might say we've a particular interest in all the whites and reds of this region. The Rifleinen of the Miami-" " Are you the men who are known by that name " asked the girl, with a glowing countenance. "At your service," replied Lewis, with a modest blurpu. "Indeed, I have heard of you, and have heard your name blessed again and again by the settlers further east." " Which certainly is pleasant to us. As I was going to say, we were coming down the Miami, this morning, when we chanced to strike the trail of these identical Indians. It was easy enough to see that it was but a short time since they had gone along, and, as it was in our line, of course we jogged on -fter them. The red imps were taking it coolly, and in a louple of hours or so we got sight of them going down the river. Well, we followed on after them till they made their halt out here, when-well, you know the rest." '' Of course she does," said Tom, "so what's the use of talking What's the gal want to do Go back to her friendl. I EposC P" 16 OLD SMITH;S HOUSE. lf you could take mne there. I could not express my thank- fulne.s." " Where is it you belong " The girl gave the name of a settlement nearly a hundred .miles distant. Lewis bent his head a moment, as if delibera- ting something, and then said: " We've got a job on our hands that must be done this very Iinghlt, and it is going to be such a lively one that it won't do to have you in the vicinity. Consequently, although there isn't one of us but what would risk his life to take you back to your friends, it can't be done just now." You will not leave me " plead the girl. "Leave you that's something the Riflemen, I make bold to say, never did yet. No; of course we'll not leave you. I'll tell you the plan. About five miles off from the river, lives old Caleb Smith and his two bigr sons, all as clever and kind as so many babies. We've got to be back at our rendezvous to-night, where the other member of our company is to meet us; and on our way there, we'll leave you at Old Smith's and return for you in a few days. Won't that be the best we can do, Tom " " S'pose so." The girl herself expressed great satisfaction a, this conclu- sion; and, as it was getting well along in the day, the Rifle- men set out with their charge. In due time they reached "Old Smith's house," who was well known to them, and who received them with the most hearty cordiality. IHe gladly took charge of the rescued girl, promising that she should be guarded as-nuch as if his own child. Just as the shadows of evening were closing over the wood, the Riflemen took their departure. Three days later they returned to fulfill their promise to the girl, when old Smith told them that, fearing some unexpected 'occurrence had detained them, he had sent his two sons to ,conduct her to her home. 17 6THEC RYFLEMEN OF THE YOWAML CHAPTER II. THTE SETTLERS. We will rear new trees under homes that glow A8 if gems were the frontage of every bough; O'er our white walls we will train the vine, And sit in its shadow at day's decline, And watch our herds as they range at will Through the green savannas, all bright and still. MRS. LIECHAI. TVE incident narrated in the preceding chapter occurred one autumn, many years ago. In the spring succeeding this autumn, a company of settlers, with their loaded teams, and unwieldy baggage, were making their slow way through the labyrinths of an Ohio forest to a sparse settlement buried many miles further in the wilderness. At that day, so comparatively recent, such a sight was rarely witnessed in this section, as a deep-rooted hostility ex- isted between the settlers and Indians, and an undertaking like the present was attended with too great danger for it to be often repeated. The rut of a single wagon, half obliterated by accumulated leaves and rankly-growing grass, showed that this route had been traveled over but once before, and that on the preceding season. At regular intervals, trees were passed with chips hacked from their Sides, the track having frst been " blazed " before being passed over. Like the emigrant-party which had preceded it, the present (fine i)ossessed but a single wagon, drawn by two pair of slow but p)owerful oxen. It had a substantial cover, beneath which were stowed an immense quantity of baggage and some six or eight children, including also four women, two of whom were married and two unmarried. At the side of the front oxer. walked the driver, whose whole attention was devoted to their direction. Several yards in advance rode two horsemen, and beside them three men plodded forward on foot. In the rear, scarcely a yard behind the lumbering wagon, walked " old Caleb Smith," and his two overgrown sons, as proud of them As was any monarch of his favorite generals. In addition to the men enumerated, there were three more - who mrty to AN EMiIGRIANT-PA-TY. properly be called the scouts of the party One of these was a couple of hundred yards in advance, stealing his way along, as carefuilly as if p),urs-ted by an unrelenting foe, his whole soul occupied in w.utchun- for signs of the dusky red-mnen of the woods. At a sMm r ]ivat less distances on either side of the road, and in such a position as to be opposite the wagon, was one -of the remaiining scouts, as watchful, vigilant and skillful as the one reforred to. Thus the party progressed, neglecting no precaution that could make their safety more secure, and although numerically small, still far more powerful than were many emigrant-parties who had preceded them in penetrating other portions of the Great West. One of the young women, that we have mentioned as being in the wagon, was Edith Sudbury, the heroine of the preceding chapter. She had not a single relation among all those around her, and it was certainly singular that she should have united her destinies with those who, several months before, were entirely unknown to her. But, though not related, every one was her friend. Tier amiable disposition, her grace and beauty of manners, her own prepossessing appearance, and above all, her unremitting kindness to every one with whom she came in contact, had won upon the hearts of all. Old Smith's two sons, Jim and Harry, one eighteen the other twenty, both over six feet in height, looked upon " littic Edith " as nothing more than a baby, and woe betide the one who dared to offer her harm or insult in their presence! " I say, father, how much further ahead is that creek we've got to cross" asked Jim, in a free and easy manner, as he would have spoken to an equal. " Well, sonny, it must ble nigh on to ten mile." Won't get over afore morning then " Don't expect to, ts you see it's well along in the after noon., "Let's see-we'vc conie over forty mile, hain't we ' "Yes, Jim, neare fifty." "Well, we're that much. nearer the settlement, that's certain. If we get over the creek without mauch. trouble with the oxen, we may fe tch. up there by sundown, eh " " That's the expectation, I believe." P Provided, of course, the 1Tnsf8 don't make trouble." 19 THIE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. " Sh I not so loud , Jim," continued Harry. " They might hear us in the wagon, and I don't s'pose you'd want to scare Edith, when there's no need of it." " I should like to see any one try that same thing on 'em. They'd be someb6dy else scared, I reckon. But, father," asked Jim, in an earnest whisper, " how is it about the Injins We haven't seen a sign of one yet, and that's what gets mPe." The parent and his children fell a few yards further behind, and commenced conversing together in suppressed voices. "I tell you what, boys," said the father, " it won't do to expect to get through without hot work. I've been talking with the scouts, and they think the same. I believe a number are following us, and wailing only for the proper place to come in upon us." " Where do you suppose that will be " " Tlhe creelkd" " Shouldn't wonder if 'l was," said Harry, in a matter-of- fact tone; " if we only had the -women-folks out the way, we might count on some tall fun. I wish Edith was taken care of." " That's the deuce of it. I should think she got enough of the imps last autumn, vshen the. Riflemen left her at our house; but that's the Injin, especially the Shawnee part of it. If there's any chance to get scalps with long hair, they're bound to do it. However. boys, it won't do to lose heart." "That's the fact, father! and I reckon none of this crowd intend to do that thing just now. Sam, in front, isn't likely to get asleep, is he " "No danger of him. They say he never shuts both eyes at the same time." " I'll answer for them on the sides of the road,'' added Hlarry. "If there's a greasy Shawnee in a mile, Jake Laughlin will scent him. You mind the time, Jim, when he went with us over into Kentucky, and he saved us froin running into that ambush " "'Tain't likely I'll ever forget it, being I got my arm bored with some of their lead." "Well, that affair satisfied me that Jake Laughlin under- stands as much as it is worth while to understand about Injin to JIM THTINS THEY A-UE IN LOVPL deviltries, and that lie ain't likely to lbe blind when there' so much ti practice eyesight on." " I'd give our yoke of oxen this minute, if I could only set yes on Lew Dernor and his boys, the Riflemen of the Miami," said the parent. "They've been long together, as I s'pose, and have been in more Injin filglts, and scrimmages than any men living, and yet not one of them has been grazed by a bullet. There's Tom O'Hara, whose legs are so short that he's about as tall when he sits down as he is when he stands up, and yet, I'll be hanged if lie isn't the luckiest one of the lot. Thev're a wonderful set of boys, are those Riflemen." "Father, " said son Jim, with a meaning smile, " you remember the night that Lew brought Edith to our house " " Of course I do." " Didn't it strike you that he acted queerly then " "What do you mean I don't understand you. I noticed nothing." " I did. I saw how lie watched Edith, and I made up my mind that he was in love with her! Since then I've found out it was so !" "Why, Jim, I never dreamed of such a thing. He hasn't been to our house since to see her." "Just because he i in love! I've met him in the woods a dozen times since, and by the way in which he questioned me, I'd been a downright fool if I hadn't understood him." This avowal seemed to trouble the father, as he bent his head; and, for a while, nothing further was said. But Jim, who had little reverence for sentiment or romance, added, in a meaning voice: " Thaft isn't all, father." " What else have you to tell " " That Edith loves him '" " Thunder! I don't believe it." " Well, I can't say posititely that she does; but I know slit, likes hini, and if Lew Dernor has a mind he can get her. You don't appear to like it, father." "I don't care much, but the gal seems so like my OWL da'ter, being I never had any, that I should hate despritly to lose her." "Fudge I it's got to come to that sooner or hater, and who 21 TIM RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. could she get bettei than Lew Dernor, the leader of the Miami Riflemen " " None, that's the fact, but-" A footstep attracted their attention, and looking up, they saw Jake Laughlin step into view. He raised his hand, as if to command silence, jerking his thumb at the same time signifi cantly toward the wagon and the rest of the settlers. He stepped carefully into the wagon-track, and the father and SonlS halted. " It's so," said he, nodding his head several times. "Are you sure" " I've seen sign a half-dozen times since noon." " Shawnees, I s'pose " "Yes. There are plenty of them in the woods." "What are they waiting for " "The chance. There ain't enough, and we're too wide awake to allow them to attack us at present. They're waiting to talke us off our guard or to get us at disadvantage. I've an idee where that'll be." "rThe creek " "Most certainly. There's where the tug of war will come, and I think if we should encamp to-night without a guard there would be no danger of attack from the Shawnees." "Are you going to warn others " " Nbot until night, I think, as there is no necessity for it." " Well, we don't need to tell you to be on the look-out You know we've got a lot of women-folks to take care of." " Never fear." With this, Laughlin stOle back into the wood, as cautiously as he had emerged from it, and the father and his sons quickened their pace in order to gain the ground they had lost. As they resumed their places in the rear of the wagon, no one would have suspected from their actions and appear- ance, that they had been conversing upon a subject so important to all. It was about the middle of the afternoon, and the emigrant- t1avty p)lodded patiently forward, chatting and conversing hpon ordinary topics with such pleasantry and zest that no one would have suspected the least thought of danger had entered their heads. So long as the silence of the scouts AN ALARM. continued, the emigrants knew there was no cause for alara. Should danger threaten, they would be warned in time. An hour later, as they were proceeding quietly along, the near report of a rifle broke upon their ears. Every face blanched, and every heart beat faster at the startling signal of danger. This it meant, and nothing else; and the members of the company instinctively lhalted, and made a partial preparation for an attack. They had scarcely done so, when Laughlin, with his cat-like tread, stepped in among them. "What made you fire, Jake " asked Dravoond, one of the leaders of the party. "Me fire I haven't pulled trigger since I shot the wild turkey yesterday. It must have been Sam or Myrick." As lie spoke, the latter two, who were the other scouts, also made their appearance, when, to the surprise of all, it was discovered that neither of them had fired the alarming shot. Consequently, it must have been done by a stranger. The moment this fact became known, the scouts separated and resumed their duties, while the emigrants, after a short consulta- tion, moved on again, more slowly and carefully than before. On the whole, although the report of the rifle could not be explained by any of the emigrants, the majority were disposed to take it rather as a favorable sign than otherwise. If made by Em Indian, it could not have been done accidentally, for such a thing rarely if ever was known among them; and, as it could not have been fired by an enemy, with the full knowl- edge of the vicinity of the emigrants, the savages, if savages they were; must either be unaware of the latter fact, or else the strange shot came from a white man. If there were lurking Indians in the wood, ignorant of the presence of the whites, they were soon apprised, for both of the leading oxen, who had not done such a thing for days, now paused and bellowed terrifically for several moments. The driver endeavored to check their dreadful noise by whacking theni over the heads, but it availed nothing. They were determined, and continued the clamor, pausing now and then, as though pleased with the echo, which could be heard rolling through the woods for over a mile distant. Having finished, they resurmed their progress, as if satisfied with what they had done. 38 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. " Father, them's our oxen,'" said Jim, " and, by tdunder, if they bawl out that way agin I'll shoot 'em both. How far did you say.the settlement is off"v "Forty or fifty miles. Wlly do you ask again " " Nothin', only if they've put any of their babies asleep to- day, them oxen have set them all to squalling agin." The sun was getting well down toward the horizon, and the dim twilight was wrapping the woods in its mantle, wheu the teamster halted the oxen, and the emigrants commenced their preparations for the encampment. The wagon was left standing in its tracks, the oxen simply unfastened, and with their yokes on, led to where some bundles of hay were spread upon the ground. A large fire was soon blazing and crack- ling a short distance away, around which the women were engaged in preparing the evening meal, while the men, who wandered hither and thither apparently without any definite object, neglected no precaution which could insure them against attack through the night. The three scouts had extended their beats several hundred yards, and completely reconnoitered the ground intervening between them and the camp-fire, so that they felt some assurance of safety as they joined their friends in the evening meal. Just as they all had finished partaking of this, a second rifle report, as near to them as was the first, broke the stillness. The men started to their feet and grasped their weapons. They gazed all around them, as if expecting the appearance of some one, but failing to see any thing, commenced specu- lating upon the cause of this singular repetition of what had puzzled them so at first. " It beats my larning to explain it," said old Smith. "I tell you what it is," said son Harry, "that ain't an Injin's piece, nohow you can fix it." " How do you know that " queried brother Jim. " It's the same gun we heard this afternoon, and when you see a Sliawnee do that I'll believe our oxen don't know how to beller." W AVe must be ready, my friends, for the worst," said one of the emigrants, who, up to this time, had not refeiTed to the danger at all. knother reconnoissance was made by the swoutt, but with 24 A PROWLER IN THE DARKNESS. no better success than before. The darkness of the wood was such that they labored at great disadvantage, and it would have been no difficult matter for a single person to have remained concealed within a short distance of the whites. As the night progressed, the females and children retired to the wagon, and the men chose their stations around it. The oxen, one by one, sunk heavily to the earth, contentedly chewing their cuds, and a stillness as profound as that of the tomb settled upon the forest. The fire had smouldered to a few embers, which glowed with a dim redness through the ashes, and occasionally disclosed a shadowy form as it hurried by. Several of the men were sleeping soundly, for enough were on duty as sentinels to make them feel as much case as it was possible to feel where they could never be assured of perfect safety. Two of the most faithful sentinels were Jim and Harry Smith, who were stationed within a few feet of each other. Now and then they exchanged a word or two, but the risk was too great to attempt any thing like a continued conversation. Three separate times Jim was sure he heard a footstep near him, and as often did lie turn his head and fail to discover the meaning of it. Finally, he caught a glimpse of some one as he brushed hurriedly by and disappeared in the darkness. He raised his gun, and was on the point of firing, when he lowered it again. The thought that probably it was a white man, and a dislike to give the camp a groundless alarm, was the cause of this failure to fire. Several times again through the night did he detect a foot- fall, but he was not able to catch sight of the stranger. Shortly after midnight the evidences of his visit ceased, and Jim concluded that he had withdrawn so as to be beyond sight when daylight broke. What was his surprise, therefore, when lie saw, as the gray light of morning stole through the wood, the form of a man seated on the ground, with his head reclining against a tree and sound asleep. If this surprise was great, it became abso- lute amazement when he examined his features, and saw that the mati was no other than Lewis Dernot, the leader of the Riflemen of the Miami! Jim could scarce believe his senses as lie walked forward and shook the sleeper by the shoulder. 25) THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. " I should as soon have expected to see Mad Anthony him. self as to see you, Lew Dernor, sitting here sound asleep," sa.YJ he, as the Rifleman opened his eyes and looked about him. A. smile crossed his handsome counten ance as he replied: " I believe I have been sleeping." " I believe you have, too. Have you been hanging around here all night f " Yes, and all day, too." " And was it you who fired those shots " " I fired my rifle once or twice, I believe." " Good! Well, Lew, we're glad to see you, and we would be a deuced sight gladder if we could see the rest of the Riflemen. Where are they " " Up the Miami, I suppose. At any rate, that's where I left them." "Well, I'm afraid we're getting into hot water here, Lew, to tell the truth, and there's no one whose face would be more welcome just now than yours. I see they are beginning to wake up and show themselves. Gavoon has started the fire, so s'pose we go in and you make yourself known." The hunter followed young Smith to the camp, where, in a short time, he met and shook hands with most of the settlers, who were indeed glad enough to see him; and this gladness was increased to delight when he expressed his willingness to accompany them across the dreaded creek. In the course of a half-hour the females began to make their appearance. Near by was a small stream where they performed their ablutions, which finished, they gathered around the camp-fire, and busied themselves with preparing the breakfast of the party. Dernor, the Rifleman, was conversing with one of the settlers, when some one touched him on the shoulder. Look- ing around, he encountered his friend, Jim Smith. " Here's a person I s'pose you've no objection to see," said he, with a light laugh. Thle bronzed face of the hunter deepened its hue as he Paw Edith Sudbury approaching, and although gifted with a natural grace of manner, he displayed some embarrassment as he advanced to greet her. Her conduct, too, was n t without its suspicious air. Rosy and fresh as the flowerF of the green 503MTH[ING IN A NAME. 2a1 woods around, perhaps the carnation of her cheeks was caused only by the morning exercise. Jim noticed these manifestations, and quietly smiled, but said nothing. In regard to the Rifleman, at least, he was right. As that brave and gallant-hearted ranger wandered through. the grand old forests of Ohio, and the cane-brakes of the " Dark and Bloody Ground," a fair face had haunted his waking and dreaming hours. As he knelt beside the sparkling brook to 'ake his thirst, he beheld the same features reflected beside his own in its mirror-like surface. As alone he threaded his way through the labyrinths of those dim solitudes, he had a fairy companion as faithful to him as his own shadow. And when with his tried and faithful followers, it was the same. Only in the excitement of the fight, or the moments when his strategic skill was in rivalry with that of his dusky enemies, did this shadowy being cease to haunt him. Night and day, it was the same-and now he had met the reality, and was conversing with her. T'he conversation lasted but a few minutes. The services of Edith were needed, and she tripped away to assist the others at their duties. As she disappeared, Jim came up and .aughingly remarked to the Rilemman: " A fine girl that, Lewis." " Indeed she is. I never have heard her name-that is, nothing more than Edith. What is the rest" " Sudbury-Edith Sudbury." The hunter started, as if bitten by a rattlesnake, and turned as pale as death. Young Smith noticed his emotion, and asked, with some alarm: "What's the matter, Lew What is there about that name that so troubles you " " Never blind, Jim. I did not think it was her !" Smith had too much natural kindness of heart to refer to a subject so painful to the hunter, although his curiosity was great to know what could possibly have affected him. so strangely. As nothing further was said by Dernor, this curiosity remained unsatisfied for a long time. The emigrant-party shortly after was under way. When within a mile or so of the creek to which we have referred, one of the scouts reconnoitered it, and came in with the report 8THE RIFLEMEN OF THE XIWMI. that quite a body of Shawnees were on its banks, and beyond a doubt were waiting for the company to come up. Dernor coincided in this opinion, and held a consultation with the male members of the party. The result of this consultation 'was a determination on his part to make all haste to the ren- lezvous of the Riflemen of the Miami, and bring them hither, the settlers agreeing to halt and await their arrival. The dan- ger that menaced them was certainly great to make this step necessary. CHAPTER III. TEE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. There they sat and chatted gayly, while the flickering of the blaze Led the shadows on their faces in a wild and devious maze; And among them, one I noted, unto whom the rest gave place, Which was token he was foremost in the fight or in the chase. Da. ENGLISH. ONE cold, drizzly, sleety day, in a winter toward the latter part of the last century, a party of Shawnee Indians crossed from the Kentucky cane-brakes into Ohio. Penetrating its deep, labyrinthine forests, they came upon a double cabin, where dwelt two widows, with several children. These they inhumanly massacred, and burnt their dwellings to the ground. Then, laden with their plunder, they set out on their return to Kentucky. It so happened that two brothers, George and Lewis Dernor, who were upon a hunting expedition in this section, came upon the burning cabin within an hour after the savages had left it. They saw by the numerous tracks that the party was too large for them to think of attacking; nevertheless, they took the trail with the resolution of ascertaining to what tribe :he savages belonged; and, if possible, to pick off one or two, as a slight payment for the outrage they had committed. Fol- lowing en for several miles, they gained a glimpse of them, as they crossed a ridge, and discovered, as they had suspected all a!ong, that they were a party of Shawnees returning to Kentucky, although the majority of this tribe of Indians at 28 A FIGHT WITH TIEI SHAWNEES. this tinme had their towns in Ohio. A half-hour later, by signs known only to experienced woodmen, they became convinced that some one else was also upon the trail of the Indians. After a great amount of maneuvering and strata- getic reconnoitering, they learned that it was a hunter like themselves, and no other but their old friend Dick Allmat. Accompanied by him, they continued the pursuit, and a mile further on, discovered that still another person was dogging the Shawnees. Pretty certain that this must' also be a friend they managed to make themselves known to him without the tedious ceremony which had characterized their introduction to Allmat. He proved to be Tom O'Hara, whose utmost exertions were necessary to keep pace with the retreating savages. He was in a perfect fury that they should proceed so fast, when he could see no necessity for it, and was half tempted to expend some of his wrath upon those of his friends who laughed at his discomfiture. The party, now numbering four experienced hunters, felt considerable confidence in their strength, and the proposition was made to attack the Shawnees. The latter numbered seven or eight, and from their deliberate and incautious move- ments, it was manifest, had not learned that they were pur- sued. Perhaps they believed no white man could brave the blinding, seething storm then raging, for they neglected those precautions which seem to be second nature with the North American Indian. The proposition made by Lewis Dernor was aggreed to, and the plan matured. The conflict took place in a sort of open hollow, and probably was one of the most sanguinary personal conflicts that ever occurred on the frontier. The hunters came out of it with no wounds worth mentioning, while only two of the savages escaped. These plunged into the woods, and disappeared with the speed of the wind, and the whites were left undisputed masters of the field. This was by no means the first outrage which had been committed by similar bands of Indians, and just at this lcar- ticular time the arm of the General Government was so weak ened from the repeated disastrous campaigns against them, that they insulted the whites with impunity, and entertained, 5u raflity, no fear at all of punishment or retribution. This 29 TnE IFlLEMEN OF THW. MIAMI. was the subject of conversation with the hunters, and so im- pressed them, that Lewis Dernor proposed that they shoulo bind themselves together for an in(lefinite periocl, (which was not intended to be over a couple of years or so at the most,) to do their utmost to check the monstrous outrages which were becoming so common along the border. The four hunt- ers mentioned were well known to each other, and had the reputation of being the best riflemen and woodmen of any then known. In addition to this, they were all unmarried, alnd without any prospects of changing their condition con- sequently they were at perfect liberty to wander whither they pleased. The proposition was considered, and received a unanimous and enthusiastic response from all. The brothers Dernor, in their hunting expeditions, had spent several nights in a cave along the Miami, which they had discovered by accident, and which afforded them not only a comfortable, but also a per- fect concealment. It was agreed that this should be their rendezvous, and in order that all might learn its locality, and the manner of approach to it, the following night was spent within it. Now commences the history of the Riflemen of the Miami. as they were christened by the settlers, to whom their exploits soon became known, and as they were proud to acknowledge themselves. Instead of disbanding at the end of two years, as was originally contemplated, this confederation had an exist- ence for over a dozen years. They participated in Anthony Wayne's great battle with the Indians, in 1794, where two of the members fell, and which concluded their history, as the surviving members retired to private life, and were too old to participate in the Tecumseh's war of 1812. It would require a volume to detail the exploits of these Riflemen. Unlitke many other confederations that were formed al)out this period, their only object was that of self-defense, and of offering protection to the settlers who were constantly penetrating the Great West. No innocent Indians ever stif fered at their hands, and many was the one they befriended and assisted in his extremity. But woe betide the offender that fell into their hands. To the cruel they were unsparing; to the merciless they showed no mercy. While their name so TrM FIFTH MEMBER OF THE BANsD. was loved and revered by the whites, it was feared and exe- crated by the savages. The Shawnees were unusually acttive and vindictive at this time, aud it was with them. that the most frequent encounters took place. The incident detailed in the first chapter was but one among many that were constantly occurring, and it scarcely equaled in importance numerous exploits that they had before performed. There was a fifth member, who joined the Riflemen only a year or two previous to the period in -which we desigyn to notice their actions more particularly. iHe was known as Ferdinand Sego, and became a member from a part which he performed one night on the Ohio, when the Riflemen were attacked by three times their number. He displayed such activity, skill and courage, that he was importuned to unite with them, altlhough, up to this time, they had refused to receive any accessions to their number. He consented, and from that time forward the Riflemen of the -Miami numbered five hunters. Sego joined them, however, with the understanding that hie should be obliged to absent himself from timne to Lime. At regular intervals he left them, and was gone sometimes for over a week. As lhe had no ride,, the cause of these excur- sions remained a mystery to his friends until hie chose to reveal it himself. It then turned out that it was nothing less than a female that exercised such a potent influence upon him. Sego, as lie became intimately acquainted with his friends, often spoke of this girl, and of the great affection he bore her. One day he gave her name-Edith Sudbury. This excited no unusual interest, until Lewis Dernor learned, on the day that he encountered the emigrants, that lie and Sego loved the sanme girl! This was the cause of his unusual agitation, and the pain lhe felt at hearin-' lher name pronlounced. I-Ie entertained the strongest friendship for Sego, but, until lhe had inet Edith, he hadval never known any thing, by experience, of the divine puwer of our nature. Wh'lien lhe did love, therefore, it was wvith his whole soul and being,. His companions, less salacious in sentimental affairs than wsorldly, failed to divine the cause of the singular action3 of their leader, who did his utmo;t to conceal it from them. Little kliJ lJo dream, as lie listened tV; THIE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI the eutautiastic praises of Edith by Sego, that it was the being who constantly occupied his thoughts. But the truth had broken upon him like a peal of thunder at midday. On tne day succeeding Lewis' departure from the settlers, three of his men, O'Hara, Dernor and Allmat, stood on the banks of the Miami, several hundred yards above their ren- dezvous. The sky was clear and sunshiny, and they were making ready for a trial of skill with their rifles. From where they stood, the most practiced eye would have failed to discover any spot which could possibly afford shelter for one of their number, much less for them all. But beneath a cluster of bushes, projecting from the upper edge of the bank, was an orifice, barely sufficient to admit the passage of a man's body. Entering this, on his hands and knees, he was ushered into a subterranean cave, dark, but of ample dimen- sions to accommodate a dozen men. It was furnished with blankets and the skins of different animals, and each of the Riflemen took especial pride in decorating and fixing it up for their convenience. Dick paced off two hundred yards, and then chipped a small piece from the trunk of a beech tree along the river- bank, as a target for their weapons. As he stepped one side, O'Hara raised his piece, and scarcely pausing to take aim, fired. Instead of striking the mark, he missed it by fully two inches. When this was announced, he turned round, and with an impatient exclamation, demanded: " Who fired that gun last " " I believe I( did," replied Dernor. " You just touch it again, and you'll never touch anothei rifle. Do you know what you have done " "Know what I've done Of course I do. I've fired it." "You've put a spelt on it." "The deuce! Try it again I" O'Hara shook his head. " It would never miss such a mark as that unless it was bewitched. I've got to melt up that money of mine, or the thing will never be worth a half-penny again." When a Kentuckian's gun is bewitched, or has a " spell upon it," the only way in which he can free it of its enchant- ment, is by firing a silver bullet from it. Unless this is A RIFLE BEWITCHED. done, they steadfastly believe it can never be relied upon afterward. O'Hara, accordingly, produced his bullet-mould, kindled a fire, 'which required much more blowing and care to fuse the metal than it did to melt lead or pewter. But he succeeded at last, melting down all his spare change io make the small, shining bullet. This was rammed down his gun, a deliberate aim taken, a, d Dick announced that it had struck the mark plump in the center. The charm. was gone! It would be uninteresting to narrate the different methods by Which each of the three men demonstrated his remarkable skill with his favorite weapon. They fired at different dis- tances, at objects in the air, and in each others' hands, and then discharged their pieces on a run, wheeling as quick as thought. Although the weapon used was the old flint-lock rifle, the dexterity exhibited by each could scarcely be excelled by that of the most famous sharp-shooters of the present day, with their improved guns. The exercise was continued for over two hours, when, as O'Hara was reloading his piece, the report of a rifle was heard upon the opposite side of the Miami, and the bullet whizzed within an inch of O'Hara's face. As all three looked across the river, they saw a faint, bluish wreath rising from the shrubbery, but no signs of the one who had fired the shot. " I guess his gun has had a spell put on it," said O'Hara, sneeringly. "And I guess you'll get a spell put on you, if he tries that again, " remarked Dick, carefully scrutinizing the opposite .jank. " Why doesn't he show himself, the coward Like enough there is a: whole party of Shawnees-" " Sh Something moved over there." " le's going to cross, I'll be shot if he isn't." A splash was now heard, as though something had been cast upon the surface of the water, and a moment later, a small Indian canoe, in which was seated a single person, shot from beneath the shrubbery, skimming over the river like a swallow, and headed directly toward the spot where the Riflemen were stanldinr. Dick raised his rifle, but instdUntly lowered it with a laugh "(3 is 88 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE AMG.. " It's nobody but Lew himself. He just fired to scare us." Propelled by a single paddle, the frail boat sped onward with great celerity, and its prow, in a few moments, grated lightly against the shingle at the feet of the hunters, and their leader stepped forth. "Been practicing, I see," he remarked. "A little; you tried your hand, also." Lewis smiled, as he replied: "A little fun, of course; but we've got better business on hand." "Let's hear it, for we are ready for any thing." "'A lot of settlers are going through the woods, clown below, and they need company, for the Shawnees have scented them as sure as the world. I've promised them that we will see them through-where's Sego" suddenly asked the leader, looking around, as if searching for the one men- tioned. "He went off yesterday." "That's unlucky, for we shall need him, too. Will he be back to-day " "Ie. said he expected to return this afternoon." "We will wait for him, then, though they need us, most certainly." "It's the first time Sego has been off in a good while," said Dick, " and I don't know what started him this time." Lewis thought that he would give a good deal if he knew, although he chose to say nothing about it. An hour or more was spent in conversation, when the four sauntered carelessly toward the cave, the canoe first having been pulled high enough. upon the bank to make it secure against being washed away by the current. They did not enter the cave, but passed it, and returned after it was fairly dark, when they were certain that no prying eyes had seen them. When morning dawned, Sego had not returned, and Lewis was undetermined whether to wait longer for him, or to go on at once. The case was urgent, but the need of Sego's arm was also urgent, and he concluded to wait still further The forenoon, the afternoon, and finally the night came and went, without bringing any signs of the absentee, and at. day- :ight on this day, Lewis ,and his men made readly to start, 84 ANXIETY AT TICE CAMP. resolved not to lose another moment. As they passed down to the river's edge, the delinquent made hil appearance and joined them. They crossed the Miami in the canoe-its lightness rendering it necessary to makte the passage twice and plunging in the forest, made all haste toward the settlers. Meanwhile, the prolonged absence of the Riflinemn, was the occasion of much speculation and anxiety upon the part of the emigrants. When Lewis had named the period at which he expected to join them with his men, they all knew he had allowed himself the widest limit, and fully intended to return within the time specified. When, therefore, this hour passed, they certainly had suffi- cient grounds for their anxiety and uneasiness, and some cf the men did not hesitate to express their conviction that the Riflemen would not come at all. Not that they would will- ingly fail to keep their appointment, but it was more than probable that circumstances had arisen which prevented it. The settlers remained encamped until thirty hours beyond the time of the expected arrival of the Riflemen, when every one had given up all hope of seeing them, and it was -agree(I to move on to the banks of the creek. The scouts, who had been constantly busy, reported that no signs of Indians were visible in the vicinity, and strong hopes were entertained that they would be able to cross without disturbance. "Before venturing into that same piece of water," said Smith, " I propose that another examination of the woods be made, and that some of us wade over first to see how deep the stream is." The latter suggestion had already been acted upon by the scouts several times, but, as all shared the feeling of Smith, the scouts, joined this time by the old man's two sons, set cut to act upon his proposal. After examining the bank upon which they stood, with the greatest care, for several hundred yards both above and below, they returned with the report that no signs of danger had been discovered. Two of them now entered the creek in front of the oxen, and commenced wading across. It would be impossible to depict the anxiety, intense apprehension, and almost terror with which they were regarded by their friends upon the shore. One was Laughlin and the other IHarry Smith, and THE RIFLEMEN OF THE IAM-. flixed with the p)arents' natural uneAsiLess, was a pride which glowed upton his face at seeing his son so unlhesitatingly facing 0 danger. Had lhe known that the most imminent peril threat- ened him, the wealth of the Indias would not ha-e tempted him to call him back. Step by step the two men advanced across the creek, the water in no place being above their knees, until they stepped upon dry land once more. This was the culminating point of anxiety with their friends. This apprehension now became so intense as to be painful and almost unbearable. Some ten or fifteen minutes (which seemed hours to the waiting friends) was spent in reconnoitering the shore, after which the two stepped into the station and set out on their return. They had taken but a step or two, when they suddenly drew back, and Laughlin made a signal of danger to the settlers, the cause of which was instantly seen by all. CHAPTER IV. THE PASSAGE OF TIHE CREEK. Be set forever in disgrace The glory of the red-nan's race, If fron the foe we turn our face, Or safety seek in flight!-G. P. MoRRIs. LAUGHTIN'S signal of danger was accompanied by a mean- ing motion up the creelk, intended to direct the attention of the settlers to that point. Looking in the direction indicated, they saw what at first appeared nothing but a mere log or stunmp floating on the water, but what, upon a closer inspec- tirno, it was evident, had a deeper significance than that. It was near the center of the current, drifting slowly downward, impelled certainly by nothing more than the force of the stream itself. As it came nearer, it proved to be three trees, partly trimmed of their branches, and secured together, a contrivance in. the formation of which the hand of man most surely must have been concerned. "Some Injin deviltry !" muttered the older Smilth, as he A SUSPICIOt'61 RFT. lay on his face with the other settlers. "It'll be dgerous o be too curious. Jest keep an eve on the concern, front Ovhere you lie, and if you see a top-knot, blaze away." At this moment, a low whistle from the scouts on the opposite hankl warned all tlhat this was no time for careless- nLss; and ceasing their whispered remarks, the men turnied their whole attention toward the object in question. The children were all lying down in the waeon, and the women crouched so low that no stray shot could reach. thlem. The greatest worriment was over the oxen. As they stoodl, lazily chewving their euds, their horns and eyes could be plainly seen from the creek, so that any foes concealed in the raft could shoot one or all of them, and thus inflict an irreparable injury upon the whvbites. Although it was possible that such an occurrence might take place, yet it was hardly probable the shots would be expended upon such "small" game. When directly opposite the settlers, the logs in question underwent a most searching scrutiny from both shores, the result of which was the conviction that no human being was nearer the suspicious object than those engaged in scrutinizing it. Whatever had been the intention of the Indians-for Indians undoubtedly they were who had formed tfie raft- they had declined to risk their own persons upon it, as it drifted down the current.: This was so plain, that Laughlin called out: " You needn't be skeart, boys, there's no Injin thar; so jest drive in and cross." "Take another look first," cried out one of the settlers. "There are Indians somewihere in these parts, for those trees never grew together like that." The advice of the settler was so sensible and timely, that Laughlin and Smith acted upon it at once, withdrawing some yards from the stream and proceeding somc distance up it, with the same caution that had characterized all their movements. The result of this reconnoissance was the same as the other. If there vere any savages at all in the vicinity, they were so carefully concealed that the skill of the two whites could avail nothing in discovering them. This being reported, preparations were resumed for crossing. It should be remarked, that the creek, a short distance 87 TILE HOLED.i OF THE MIAMl. above the fording-place, made a bend, thus limiting the view of thee whites considerably. This being the case, the other son of Smith stationed himself at this curve, to give notice of the approach of any danger. Every thing being in readi- iness, the oxen were driven into the water, which was accom- plished very easily, as all four were thirsty.. The progress was necessarily slow, the wheels of the wagon sinking so deep in the muddy bottom that the united efforts of the four powerful oxen were barely able to move it. The deepest portion was passed ere one-third of the stream was crossed, the men being compelled to place their hands to the wheels to keep them moving. It was at this moment, and just as the wagon-body raised several inches from the water, that an exclamation from young Smith startled all. Looking toward him, they saw him raise his rifle and fire at something in the creek, and then fall flat on his face. The next moment a raft, precisely similar to the first, came in view, floating somewhat nearer the left bank, so that it would pass between the shore and the wagon, provided the latter remained stationary. " There are Injins on that," called out Sinith from his hiding-place. " I seen their top-knots." The whites understood their peril at once. The oxen were lashed and goaded, until they slipped on their faces in their efforts to pull the wagon forward, while the men caught the wheels and turned them round and round without moving the wagon a particle. All depended upon reaching the shore before the Indians could come upon them, for, beyond a doubt, there were Indians concealed upon the raft which was so rapidly nearing them. For a dozen feet or so the wagon moved readily; but at this point it sunk below the hubs, and the united strength of men and oxen utterly failed to move it-this, too, occurring when the position was such that the approaching raft must pass so close as almost to touch it ! " No use, boys," called out Mr. Smith. "Get your rifles ready for the imps." Most of the men had placed their guns in the wagon while toiling at the wheels, and they now caught them andl stood on the defensive. As yet, nothing could be seep of the as SAFiVLY OVF.R THE CREEK. savages who were concealed upon the raft, but a moment .ater, the logs swerved over toward the shore which the settlers had just left. Thus it was plain that the Indians, seeing the true state of affairs, were as anxious to avoid the collision as'the whites had been. The water being shallow, they were able to place their feet upon the bottom, and thus move the raft readily. As is generally the case, the courage of the whites increased in proportion as they discovered that of the Indians diminishing, and the proposal was made by one to wade over to the contrivance and demolish it. The better sense of the others, hcwever, prevailed, and they main- tained the defensive only. As the raft came down-stream, it continued veering over to the shore so much, that if it passed the wagon at all, it would do -so by a safe distance. All at once, as the expectant settlers were looking at it with the most acute attention, some one called out: " Look under the concern." All, of course, did so, and all distinctly saw in the clear water, directly under the raft, some ten or tweiVe human feet walking along on the bottom. Not only the feet themselves, but the legs, as far up as the knees, could be seen, and they formed a most curious sight mixing promiscuously together, as it seemed, while moving forward. The raft thus had the appearance of some great aquatic monster, whose ridged back floated on the surface, while his -feet traversed the bottom. The bodies of the Indians, of course, were above the current; but being prone, the logs being arranged for that especial pur- pose, they were effectually concealed from view. In a moment, the raft floated over thlart portion of the river which had been nmuddied by the passage of the wagon, and the feet of the Indians became invisible. CWhen they had crossed it, they were too far down to be seen, and thus the logs went onward, moving so much faster than the current that they left a wake behind them. "Ali together now-once more !" said the older Smith, catching hold of one of the wheels. The others did the same, and the oxen llhaving h.ad sufficient rest the combined strength of all started the wvagon, and a few .noments later it went up the blank on dry land and enteiedl the woodsR 39 THE RIFLEMEN OF TIM, IM AM. With a want of foresight that was unaccountable, the Aettlers hiad failed to pay any further attention to the raft after it wRs fairly below them. Perhaps it was the recollection of this that led the elder Smith and one of his friends to walk down to tlhe bank and look for it. They descried it, lying against their own side of the creek, not more than two hun.- dred yards distant, and, at the very moment their eyes rested upon it, they caught a shadowy glimpse of an Indian, as lhe flitted noiselessly from it into the wood. As they waited and saw no more, they righltly judged that lie was the last one, the others having landed entirely unobserved. That looks bad, " said Smith, "w we are not done with tne :ascals yet." At thjis moment son Jim, who was still on the other side of the creek, called out that eight Indians had landed, and were stealing uip the river bank to attack the party. His words were heard, and every man dropped on his face in the wood, and withr loaded rifles waited the assault. They had scarcely lone so when the sharp explosion of several guns broke the stillness, and the two foremost oxen, with a wild bellow of agony, sunk to the ground and (lied. , The brutes behind them imitated their motion, although operated upon solely by their own.sense of weariness. They thus uncon- sciously did the wisest thing possible under the circumstances, as the shots that were afterward fired passed harmlessly over them. For the space of twenty minutes after this incident, a per- fect silence reigned4 in the wood. These twenty minutes were occupied by the Shawnecs in getting in a position to pick off the settlers. The latter could see them dodging from tree to tree, and coming closer and closer every moment. Emboldened by their immunity thus far, they became more incautious, until several exposed themselves so plainly that the elder Smi!h and one of the settlers fired precisely at the same moment, each one shooting a savage dead. A whole volley was retri"ned, several bullets cutting the shrub- bery and bushes over the heads of the settlers, while others passed through -the wagon-covering, evidently fired with intent against the women and children in it. These shots uccomnplished nothing, as the latter kept their heads below the 40 A 1EA-RTY WELCOME. tap of the heavy oaken sides, which were proof against, the bct rifle ever disclia-rge(. 'rhe two shots of the settlers for a time created a sort of painic with the Indians. They retreated far more rapidly than they had come up, and in a few moments were invisible. The whites were too well versed in Indian ways and strategy to take this as a genuine retreat, knowving that in a few moments they would return more furious than ever. There was an advantage in favor of the settlers of which, up to this moment, they had not been aware. Some fifty yards below them was an open space over forty fect in width, across which the Shawnees hurried pell mell into the cover beyond. Here they were reinforced by some half-dozen Indians of their own tribe, who had been in the vicinity and had been attracted by the sound of firing. The assailants now numbered about a dozen, and confident in their strength, made ready for the final attack. All this time young Smith, upon the opposite side of tho creek, was engaged in watching the Shawnees as well as he could from his covert. He now called out to the whites that they were about to advance again, and that he would pick off one at least as they passed across the open space referred to. A moment later, the crack of his rifle showed that he had kept his word and that the crisis of the contest was upon them. Young Smith had fired just at lthe moment the foremost Indian came in view. The other had advanced to a point about half way across the opening, when five spouts of flame burst from thle thick shrubbery upon the opposite side of the creek; there was the simultaneous report of as many rifles, and five messengers of death went tearing among the Sliaw- Dees, mangling, killing and scattering them like chaff in the whirlw ind. "The Biflemen of the Miami!" shouted Laughlin, in delirium of joy, springing to his feet and swinging his cap over his head. All eyes, in a transport of pleasure, were turned toward the spot where the thin, blucish smoke of their rifles was rising, but for a few moments nothing was seen. At the expiration of that time, the manly form of Lewis Dernor rose to view, and, with a nod of recognition, he 41 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. stepped into the stream and commenced wading across, closely followed by young Smith, who, up to the moment of the discharge of the rifles, had no more suspicion the hunters were in the vicinity than had the Shawnees themselves. It scarcely need be said that the welcome which the settlers extended to the hunter was of the most hearty and genuine kind. Through his instrumentality they felt they all had been'saved from massacre at the hands of the Shawnee3, "But where are your men" asked several. " Upon the opposite side. They will cross over shortly." "And will they accompany us " "They will not leave you until you have reached your destination." " Tue Indians will not trouble us again " " No, I think not; but the boys can go with you as well as not, and I make this arrangement as a sort of compensation for my failure to keep my appointment." " Your absence did excite much wonder, but you came tup in the nick of time, most certainly." "Sego, unconsciously, was the cause of our delay. HIe was absent at the time I reached the Miami. We could have come on wNithout him, of course; but, as I was pretty sure a large body of Indians were going to attack you, 1 thought it best not to come until we were all together." The Rifleman spoke with such sadness that all noticed it and felt great curiosity to know the cause. There was but one who dared to question him, the elder Smith, and he at once called him aside. "What's the matter, Lew " he asked. "I never saw you act so odd. Come, out with it." " Oh, there's nothing the matter with me," replied Dernor, his very manner showing an increase of his embarrassment. "Yes, now, I know there is. Let's hear it." The bronzed face of the hunter took a deeper hue Ma he asked: "Is she-Edith with you " "Of course she is," :aughed Smith, a dim, vague idea of his meaning beginning to make its way through his brain. "To tell the truth, then, Smith, there Is one man of ours that I must prevent from seeing her" QVUTNTrTIG A RiVi Smith lookved u;) in amazement. Lewis proceeded: "The distance from here to the settlement toward which you arc journeying is not more than forty miles. Let me take Edith and make that journey alone. I have traveled the ground often enough, and I will lead her through the woods safely and much sooner than you can perform the same journey. This is the only favor I have ever asked or expect to ask of you. Don't refuse it. "Why, my heavens t who intended to refuse it Take her Of course you may, provided she is willing, for where could she be safber than in the charge of Lew Dernor Nowhere, I cac'late." "You please tell her that it is necessary, then, will you ' Old Smith hastened away, and told Edith Sudbury that her own safety demanded that she should place herself und1ur tho care of the hunter, who would conduct her safely to the settlement. She exhibited some natural hesitation at first, but having perfect confidence both in Smith, who so Iong had acted the part of father toward her, and in. Dernor, who had manifested such interest in her welfare, she made her prepara- tions. Smith simply stated to the others that this singular proceeding was imperatively necessary, innd requested them not to refer to it in the presence of the other hunters. A few minutes latter, the four remaining Riflemen stepped into the stream, and commenced wading across. As they did so, Edith Sudburw and the hunter plunged into the forest, and ,ommeuced thri eventful journey to the settlement. 4TU IEMEN OF TIHE MIAM CHAPTER V. APPULEHIENSION. They're gone-agrain tCe red-men rally Writh datnce anid song, the woods resound; The hatchet's buried in the valley; No foe profatnes our hunting-ground! The green leaves on the blithe boughs quiver, The verdant liills with song-birds ring, While our bark canoes, the river Skin, like swallows on the wing.-G. P. MoRrIs. As tbe Riflemien reached the spot where the settlers were awaiting them, the preparations for resuming the journey were instantly made. The dead oxen were rolled to one side, and on the hardeiied3 ground the wagon was easily dragged by the remaining yoke. The hunters and experienced macn of the party were certain that the Shawnees had fled, and that, for the present at least, tlhere was no further danger- from them; but, in order to quiet the fears of the women, a thorough examination of the surrounding woods was made. This search resulted only in the discovery of the dead bodies of the Indians. As the Riflemen never scalped a savage, the bodies weere left undisturbed. "W Where the deuce has Lew gone to " demanded O'Hara, after several times looking around him. Those who were acquainted with the facts of the case looked in each other's face, as if in doubt what to reply. "Don't anybody know eh Say !" he repeated, in an angry voice. "H Ie's taken a near cut to the settlement," replied the elder Smith. " Anybody go with 7im " " Ile took a female, believing that her safety demanded such a course." " Lew never had more sense than lhe needed, and It's all gone now. Cutting across through the woods with a gal;" repeated O'Hara, in a contemptuous tone. "Just as though she'd be safer with him than with us. I hope the Shawnecs will get on his t.-ail anc catch both." 44 7ME STORM. 45 "What aio you w.ant the gal caught for " demanded Harry Smith, blustering up. "She'd no business to be such a fool as to go with him." "I never allow any one to say any thing against her)" added youing, Smith, growing red in the face. " If you want your head broke, just say so," said O'Hara, savagely. Come, come," interrt pted the elder Smith, " boys should be careful not to get mad. Shut uip, each of you, or I'll whip both of you." This ended the high words between the two parties, and five minutes later they were conversing together on L- friendly and good terms as it can. be possible between two mortals. All tlhings being in. readiness, the party req, mned lTheir journey, using the same caution that had characterized their march previous to the attack of the Indians. The Riflemen themselves performed the part of scouts, and the progress was uninterrupted by any incident worth mentioning until late in the afternoon. The sky, which had been of a threatening character foi several hours, now became overcast, and it was evident that a violent storm. was about to break upon them. This being the case, there was nothing to be gained by pressing onward, and the settlers accordin-ly halted for the night. A sort of barricade was made aroutid the wagon, so that, in case of attack, a good resistance could be made, and the oxen were secured fast to the wagon. Stakes were cut and driven into the ground, and a strong pieze of canvas, which had been brought for the purpo-e, stretched across them in such a manner that a comfortable shelter was afforded those whose duty did not compel them to brave the storm. These arrangements were hardly completed, when a dull, roaring sound, like that of the ocean, was heard in the woods. It came rapidly nearer, and in a few moments the swaying trees showed that it was passing onward over the camp. The friglhtened and bewildered birds circled screaming over- head, the rotten limbs and twigs went flying through the air, and thick darkness gathered at once over the forest. A moment later, several big drcps of water pattered through the leaves like so many bulletg and immediately the rain came THE- RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAI. eown in torrents. The thunder booming in the distance, then sharply exploling like a piece of ordnance directly over- head, the crack of the solid oak as the thunderbolt tore it to splfiters, the incessant streaming of the lightning across the sky, the coughing of the wind-all these made a scene terrifi- cally grand, and would have induced almost any one to have sought the shelter offered him, convinced that the only danger af such a time was from the, elements themselves. But with the Riflemen the case was far different. They well knew that it was just at such times that the wily Indian prowled through the woods in quest of his victims, and that at no other period was his watchfulness so great as at one like the present. Thus it was that three of the Miami Rifle- men braved the terrors of the storm on that night, and thus it was that all three were witnesses of the occurrences we are about to narrate. The storm continued without intermission almost the entire night. The only change perceptible was in the thunder and -lghtning. The flashes of the latter grew less and less, until several minutes frequently elapsed between them; but the rain came down as if the " windows of heaven were opened," and a minute's exposure was sufficient to drench one to the skin, while the wind, soughing through the trees, made the hours as dismal and dreary as it was possible for them to be. The three Riflemen who stood as sentinels, were Dick, George Dernor and O'Hara. No changes were made during the night, as the men would have looked upon such a pro- ceeding as childish and foolish. O'H,.ra was leaning against a tree, some ten or fifteen yards from the camp, watching that portion of the wood which immediately surrounded him, as well as the occasional gleams of lightning would permit. While doing this, his gaze fell upon a stump, about twenty feet distant. As the lightning flamed out, he saw distinctly a bareheaded man seated upon it ! At first sight of this singular apparition, O'Hara started, rubbed his eyes, fixed his gaze upon the spot, believing that he had been deceived. A moment later, as another flash illuminated the wood, he saw the man again. He was seated on the edge of the stump, his feet and arms hanging down, and, "s stated before, without any covering for his head. The 46 AN APPARITION. latter was oullet-shaped, and the view wliich was afforded of him was so perfect, that the hunter sawl he had short, curly hair, of a reddish color. His eyes were small, but sparkling like an Indian's, and, when they could be seen, were fixed with frightful intensity upon the Rifleman. The whole express.on of his face was forbidding and repulsive. At the first distinct view of this man, came the conviction to O'Hara that he had seen him before, and he spent a few minutes in endeavoring to remember where and when it was. He was unable to do so, however, although he was positive that he was an enemy to him. " I don't care who he is," muttered O'Hara; "he ought te know better than to squat out there when he knows I have seen him. I say, old chap," he called, in a louder tone, "come down off that stump, or I'll fetch you." Whoever the person addressed might be, it was evident li' cared nothing for the command of the hunter, for the latter, the next moment, saw him, not only seated as immobile as ever, but with a sneer of contempt upon his face. This so exasperated O'Hara that he instantly called out: "I'll give you two seconds to get off of that, and if you don't do it in that time, I'll tumble you off." He brought his rifle to his shoulder, so as to be ready to fire if the man remained. le held it thus full a minute, at the end of which he discerned the foolhardy being who hatl not changed his position in the least. Hesitating no longer, he pointed his piece directly at his heart, and discharged it. " It's your own fault," mused the hunter. " 1 gave you fair warning and plenty time to get out the way, and in such places as we're in just now, we can't afford to stand on cere- mony. You must be careful-" Again the red lightning flamed out, and revealed the man, seated as before, the sneer on his face having increased, and his eyes flaming with more dreadful intensity than ever ! "Man or spirit," said O'Hara, now thoroughly startled, "I'll give you another shot at any rate." He reloaded, and, awaiting his opportunity, fired again full at the man's breast. O'Hara's hair nearly lifted the cap from his head, when he saw his foe sitting unharmed, and as scorn- ful as though no bullet cc ulH-1 wound him. Thie bravest man 47 THE RIFLEMEN OF TUB WIAMI. has his weakness, and the greatest weakness of such chat to- ters as the manl we are dealing with is their superstition O'Ilara verily believed the man at whom he had ircd pos sessed more than mortal attributes, and, far mole frightened than he would have been had a score of Shawnees sounded their war-whoop in his ears, he made a low whistle as a sig- nal for Dick and Dernor to come up; In a moment they were beside him, curious to know the cause of his firing. The next flash of lightning showed three hunters intently staring toward a man who was sitting composedly on a stump, and staring back at them with equal intensity. "You all seen him, didn't you " asked Tom, in a whisper. Receiving an affirmative answer, he added: "Let's all aim square at his breast, and then we'll be sure that one of us at least will hit him. If that doesn't finish him, there's no use of trying." For tie. third time, the mysterious being braved the deadly bullets, this time from three separate rifles, and for the third time lhe was seen sitting, unharmed and contemptuous, upon the stump. "It's all a waste of powder," said O'Hara. "We might pour a broadside from a brigade into him without making him wink." " Let's go up and take him," said Dick. " He'll take us," said O'Hara, who was not ashamed of his frig1ht in such a case as this.. "Fudge! don't be frightened; come along. I'll lead." Thus strengthened, O'Hara moved on behind the two others. Most assuredly the mysterious personage would have been captured, had not the lightning, which continued to act the part of illuminator, discovered their approach to him. His feet were instantly seen to twinkle in the air, and he whisked off the stump as quick as thought, and disappeared. To make sure, however, the Riflemen passed their hands over the stump, but of course found nothing. The booming of the thunder had been so continuous, that the reports of the rifles had not awakened the settlers, and the three huntcrs conversed together without fear of disturbance. ' I don't care what he as," said O'Hara, " I'm sure I've een him before." isw THIE RIDDLE SOLVED. "'Just what I amn sure of," added Dick. " The very second I said my eyes on him, his face seemed faLliliar. But it musL have been several years ago."1 "It's queer I can't remember," repeated O'Hara, as if talk- ing with, himself. "I remember having seen him, too, I'll be hanged if I don't," added George Dernor, with a dogged (lecision. O'lara made a leap fully six feet from the ground, and uttered a half-whistle, indicative of some great discovery. " What's up what's the matter " asked Dick, consider- ably suaprised. " Just one of you break my head, will you, for I'm the greatest fool that ever lived. I remember now who that man is." " Who " O'Hara repeated a name that fairly took the breath away from the others. They had let one of the most inhuman villains of the day escape, and one for whose life either of the Riflemen would have undergone any sacrifice. The mention of his name, too, revealed to them the reason why he had been unharmed by their shots. "We fired at his breast every time," said O'LHara. "If we had only fired at some other part of his body, lhe would have been riddled. What a precious set of fools we are !" As no one disputed this exclamation, it may be supposed that all agreed to it. At any rate, their vexation was extreme for having failed to remember the nman who, at that particular time, was probably more notorious than any other living being in the West. "What's done can't be helped," remarked Dick. "If we ever have the chance to draw bead on him again, we'll know where to aim." Nothing further was seen of the man who had braved their utmost through the night. He had taken his departure, and was fated to play an important role with a couple of our other friends. The storm al)ated toward mornin-, and the settlers were once more under way. Their destination, a small frontier settlement, was reached late in the day, withlout any further incident, and their dangers for the present were ended To 49 TPRE IUFLEMEN OF TIJB MIAMI. the unbounded surprise of all, they learned that Lewis Dernor and Edith had not arrived, and there had been nothing heard of them. This caused the most painful apprehension with All, for they knew well enough that they would have been in several hours ahead of them, had not something unusual prevented. They could imagine but one cause-Indians! The settlers commenced their labors at once. Trees were felled, and the foundations of strong, substantial cabins laid, ground was cleared and prepared to receive the seed, while the garrison of the block-house was strengthened, and the condition of the settlement improved by every means at their command. Lewis had left a request with the emigrants, upon taking Edith. from them, that the Riflemen should await his return at this settlement, and they accordingly remained. Two days passed without his coming in, when the anxiety of Edith's friends became so great, that it was determined to form a party to go in quest of her; but, upon mentioning the resolve to O'Hara, he strenuously opposed it, affirming that a large party could accomplish nothing at all, save to get themselves inl trouble. In this opinion he was joined by several of the more experienced, and as a consequence, the scheme was abandoned. O'Hara then expressed the intention of taking a companion and going in search of them himself. The com- panion he chose was Dick Allmat. Sego took an active interest in these proceedings, but as yet had not heard the name of Edith Sudbury mentioned. Indeed, none knew that name except her immediate friends, who heeded the request which Lewis had made, that it should be kept a secret. Thus it happened that he entertained not the slightest suspicion of the true state of the case. Had he known it, nothing could have hindered him from hurrying forth at once to the rescue. O'Hara and Dick left the settlement one day about noon, and struck off in the woods toward the creek where the affray with the Shawnees had occurred. It was their design to take the trail, if possible, and follow it up until they discovered a clue to the unaccountable state of affairs. On reaching the creek, lioif ever, they were chagrined to find their fearn 50 BEARCING FOR THE TRAIL. realized. Tne storm which we have mentioned as succeeding the departure of Lewis and Edith, had completely obliterated all traces of their footsteps, and the Riflemen were left with no dependence except their wood-craft. This, in the end, answered their purpose. Examining the woods with the eye of a true hunter, O'lHara satisfied himself of the course his leader would take, and this he pursued with the dogged persistency of the Indian himself. lie was con- fident that the trail which lhe and the girl had made subse- quent to the storm could be followed without difficulty, if lhe could only strike it. But just here lay the trouble. " It looks likely," said O'Hlara, as lie and Dick stood celib- eTatihig upon the proper course to pursue. " that lhe wouldl take the nearest cut to the settlement, and then again it doesn't look so likely. Lew is such a fool- there's no telling what he'd do." "Why do you think lie wouldn't take the shortest way home " "'Cause he wouldn't, that's why. You see, Dick," added Tom, in a more pleasant voice, " Shawneea are in the woods, and it's no ways unpossible that they haven't learned that them two fools are tramping through the country. If they do it, why it looks nateral that they'd s'pose they'd try to reach home just as soon as they could, and would try to head 'em off. Now, if the red-skins know this, Lew knows also that they know it, and I hope, for our own credit, lie's got too much sense to walk into any of their traps. That's the reason why I think lie may have took a longer way home." " Just exactly what he has done," said Dick in a glow of admiration. " How do you know it is, eh " " I mean I think so, of course." " Well, say what you mean, next time. And that is what makes all the difficulty. How are wv to know where to look for his trail " " It's pretty certain we won't find it by standin. here all day." " You go west and I will follow the creek, and when you stumble on any thing worth looking at, just giva the whistle.' Si TUE RIFLEMEN OF ToE MIAMI. The two did as proposed. Dick ranged back ward and forward until ighlltfall, while O'Hara examined the banks of the creek, until the gathering darkness made it a hopeless task. Upon coming together, they had n1othing favorable to report, and thus ended the first day's search. " You know what I'm certain of" asked O'Hara, as they, were ready to resume the hunt upon the next morning. "No, of course not." - "I'm sure that that red-headed villain that we fired at on the stump is mixed up in this affair." Dick opened his eyes at this startling thought, and replied, in a few moments: "I shouldn't wonder at all if he really was. Hang him! it's just the business that suits him. But Lew ought to know enough for hin." "Every man is a fool when lhe is in love," said O'Hara, contemptuously, " and that's the reason why I'm pretty cer- tain both of 'em are In trouble. If he wasn't in love with the gal, he might know what to do; but-oh ! heavens," he added, unable to find words to express his disgust at his leader betraying such a weakness. "I s'pose we'll hunt as we did yesterday" "Of course. Let's go at it at once." O'Hara returned to the creek and resumed his search along the banks, while Dick took to the woods as before. A half- hour later, a whistle from the former called him to the stream, where he found his friend bending over some "sign" that he had discovered in the soft earth of the shore. "It's his," said O'Hara, " as sure as you live. They spent the night on the other side of the creek, and he has carried her across the next morning, and taken to the woods at this point." " We can easily tell the direction he has taken, then." " Not so easy, either; for don't you see he has gone up the creek, which ain't toward home. I tell you what it is, Lew has smelled danger, and if the red-skins have catched him. there's been some splendid fun afore they done it. Lew ain't such a fool, after all." " Do you think," asked Dick, iu a low tone, for he enter- tained a strong affection for his leader, "Do you think it is certain Lew has been catched " 52 TmIM SEARlCH ABtNDONED. " No SIR ." replied O'Hara, in tones so loud that they woke an echo thrt ugh1 the wCods. "It ain't certain by no means. JIe may have thotight it best to make a long circle before reaching home, and like enoughi lie is in the settlemnent this minute, or very near there. But I guess not," lie a(lded, after a minute's pause, and in a different voice. "Things look dubious, and we may lhave a big job before us." " Let's go to work at once." " The first sensible words you've spoken this morning, when it seems we're both doing more talking than is necessary. Come on." The trail was followed with the greatest difficulty, for the time- which had elapsed since it was made was almost sufficient to obliterate it entirely. Now and then, where the ground was more favorable, it was easily discernible. After progressing a mile or so, O'Hara exclaimed, with an air of perplexity: "There is something here that I don't understand. I've seen only the track of one person -zp to ths time." " She isn't with him, then " " Yes, but he appears to be carrying her; and what that means is more than I can tell. It can't be slhe's hurt." "Maybe, Tomn, we ain't on the track of Lew," said Dick, with a hopeful gleam. "Yes, we are. I could tell his track among a thousand. The mistake isn't there. All we've got to do is to follow it." The pursuit was renewed and kept up until the bank of a smaller stream was reached, where the trail was irrecover- ably lost. After leading into the water, it failed to come out upon the opposite side, and the utmost skill of the hunters was unable to regain it. The entire day was consumed by them in the search, when it was given up as hopeless. It would have been hard to tell which feeling predominated in the breasts of the two Riflemen-an apprehensive anxiety for the, fate of their leader, or a gratifying pride at this evidence which lie had given of his consummate knowledge of woodIcraft. These two hunters continued their hunt for two days more, when they returned to the settlement and reported their failure to gain any definite knowledge of Dernor and Edith, Neither had the settlers gained any tidings of them. Where were they THU RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. CHAPTER VI. A FUNTER'S WOOING. And we knew That this rare sternness had its softness too, That woman's charm and grace upon his being wrought; That underneath the armor of his breast Were springs of tenderness, all quick to flow In sympathy with childhood's joy or woe; That children climbed his knees, and made his arms their rest. LONDON CHARIVAKT. IT was with a heart beating with more than one excessive emotion, that Lewis Dernor, the Rifleman, plunged into the forest with Edith Sudbury. None knew better than he the perils that threatened them in those dim labyiinths, and none was better prepared to encounter them. Were they twice as many, he would rather have braved them than allowed Edith and Sego to meet before he had declared his love to her. In taking this step, the Rifleman had more than one twinge of conscience, for he could but consider it of questionable propriety in acting his part. Beyond a doubt, Sego and Edith were accepted lovers, who had been separated for months, and it seemed cruel, to say the least, thus to take advantage of their separation. The more he reflected upon it, the more guilty did he feel, until he formed the resolution to acquaint his fair charge with the presence of her lover with the settlers, and then leave her own heart to decide the matter. The instant this resolve was formed, the honest-hearted hunter felt better. What though the judgment should be against him, he had done his duty, and this very fact gave him a pleasure which nothing else could destroy. His great, all-absorbing love for Edith had led him to use the artifice mentioned, in order to defer the interview between. her and Sego; but, great as was this master-passion, it could lead him no further in deception than it had already done. More than once he half determined to turn and make his way back to the settlement, and was only prevented by a dread rf the speculation and remarks that such a proceeding would occa- uion upon their part. 54 -HE HUNTER NDN) fMIS ClARGE. It must not be supposed that Lcwis doubted his ability to reach the settlement in safety, with Edith. Had hie known what danger he was doomed to encounter, he would have retraced his steps instantly, although lie had commenoed them with such a strong determination to keep her and Sego separate for a time. For an hour or so the journey progressed in silence- upon the part of the hunter and his charge. While, as might be ,expected, his passion often led his gaze from the path he was pursuing, still it made him doubly alive to the responsibilities resting upon him, and increased his vigilance and watchful- ness to a degree that would have appeared absurd to an ordi- nary observer. Most of the time, he kept a step or two in advance of Edith, trailing his.rifle in his left hand, while his form was half bent, and his head projected forward, giving him the attitude of constant and intense attention. His eyes were flitting constantly from tree-top to ground, from side to side, ahead and behind him, kindling with admiration and fire as they rested upon the form of his companion. The latter was enveloped in a large shawl, a portion of which covered her head, while her arms gathered the rest around her person. Her face was inclined, so that she was not sens- ible of the many ardent glances to which she was subjected. She stepped lightly forward, her beautifully moccasined feet hardly disturbing the leaves, among which they twinkled like some forest-flower. Lewis had proposed to himself, when starting, to take the nearest route to the settlement; but his apprehension for the safety of Edith led him to change his intention after going a few miles. The Indians which he had assisted so signally so repulse, he believed would hover around the settlers so long as there remained an opportunity to pick off any.of them. They would not fail, too, to scour the woods in search of smaller parties, and knowing the destination of the emi- grants, would select the very ground over which they too were journeying. The Rifleman took the best course to avoid them. Retracing his steps some distance, he turned off toward the creek, he having concluded to ascend this for several miles, and then taka a circuitous route to the settlement, convinced that, in this case. the longest way was the surest. 55 THE lRFLEMEN OF TILE MIAMI. "'Wlhy this change of direction" asked Edith, looking up in alarm, as he turned and commenced retracing his steps. " 1 think it best," 'ie replied, with a smile. " Have you discovered danger Are we pursued " " Not tlat I know of. But I have been thinking for some time that if there are any Injins in this wood, this is the very ground they will select to cut us off, because they know tlhat it is tihe one Nvhiiclh we would naturally take, in making such a journey as this." "I have fall faith in you." And the gallant Rifleman felt lie would die before any act of his slhoul(l cause her to lose this faith in him. As she turned her trusting blue eyes up to his, their heavenly light seemed to fill his whole being, and he scarcely was conscious of what lhe did when he reached out his hand, and said: Edith, let me take your hand." Why, what need is there of that " she coyly asked, with a roguish look, as she half complied and half hesitated. " I shall feel safer-that is, I shall feel more certain of your safety if I lead you." "Oh ! well, you may lead me then," and she slid her almost fairy hand into his hard, horny palm, with a charming simplicity, which made the hunter's heart leap with a painful pleasure. That little, white member, as the Rifiemian. grasped it, was like the poles of a battery. It sent a shock through every part of his system, and gave his arm precisely the same tremor that takes place when a person is charged through this limb with electricity. If Edith had only returned the pressure, Lewis Dernor most assuredly would never have been able to stand it, and, therefore, it was fortunate that she did not. It was this pressure, and the looks accompanying it, that made Edith Sudbury conscious that the hunter loved her. She would have been an exception to her sex had she not suspected this before. The thousand and one acts, and little, airy nothings, had given her a suspicion of the truth long since, but she had never felt certain of it. This knowledge, which must ever be pleasant and flattering to trhe maiden, caused no unpleasant feelings on her part. If she did not love him, sIIe certainly iespected and admiTed 56 A PLEASATT2 E1IF.ODE. lhis n;,blc qualities, and the difference between the emotions named and love itself is cretainly too faint for recognition. Under almost any circumstances they will grow into thle passion, and all be lost in blending. Respect is the scout aend guide that leads love to the soul. Thle tell-tale blush stole on Edith's facee, as a rcalizing sense of her situation came upon her, and, for a long time, she dared not, look up, much less speak. Suddeley the Rifle- man made a spring in the air, and drew a deep breath, as though seized with a mortal pain. " Vhat's the matter" asked Edith, in a tremor of appre- hension. " Ohl ! it nearly killed me !" replied the hunter, in a faint voice. " What Do tell me. Are you hurt What caused it" " Why, Edith, didn't yout squeeze m-g hand " " If I did, it was certainly unintentional." " Never minid, I thought it was on purpose. The mnerry, musical laugh of the maiden rung out through the forest-arches, and thle Ridleman, for thle time, lost all thoughlts of Indians and dangfer; but this delightful forgetful- ness could not last lo(ng. As the faint rumble of thunder wag heard in the distance, he started, as thoughi awakened from a dream, and looked furtively around him, half expecting to see his dread foes start from behind- the trees, and rush upon him. " Are you frightened " asked Edith. " Only for you," lhe replied, with a Datural gallantry. " And why are you alarmed on my account What has occurred that makes you walk faster, and look so constantly about you " " Edithl," said the hunter, in a low voice of passionate ten- derness, " you have lived on the frontier long enough to be familiar with its dangers. When I first saw you, it was in an awful situation for a gal like y-urseil, but you bore it like a man. I 'spose, therefore, that thlere's no use in keeping any thing batck from you." Of course not. What good could that possibly do." " Well, then, it's my opinion that some one is follotring us." "What m)kes you hink so!X" asked Editlh, in genuine 57 TILB RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. alarm; for there - is something startling in the sudden knowledge that a foe is pursuing us, when there is no shelter at hands which can secure us against him. " I can not give you the reason that makes me positive a foe is behind us; but I am so certain of it, that we must hurry forward and take measures to hide our trail." " Why not rejoin our friends " " I do nt think it can be done, as there are. plenty Injin between us, and we could not avoid them." "Do what vou think best, for surely none can know better than you." " Come on, then." They ascended the creek until the darkening sky, booming thunder, and constant flashing of lightning warned them that the storm was at hand. The hunter then stooped, and, lifting his companion in his arms with the same ease that he would have picked up an infant, stepped into the stream, and waded nearly across, going several hundred yards further up before stepping upon the land. By this time, the swaying of the trees, and the pattering of several large drops of water, told them that they had but a few minutes to spare. The hunter was perfectly acquainted with this section, and made all haste ,oward a spot which, more than once, had served him as a shelter in such storms as this. It consisted of a number of fallen trees, evidently torn up by some tornad6, whose branches were so interlocked and matted that a slight effort of the hand of man had turned into a comfortable security as one need wish who was storm-stayed in the forest. As this was reached, the storm burst upon them in all its grand fury, but their refuge answered every purpose, and not a thread of Edith's clothes was wetted. Darkness came on prematurely, and, as the reader already knows, the storm continued nearly through the entire night. Fully, and almost morbidly alive to the danger that ever menaced them, Lewis kept his station at the Rputh or entrance of their shelter until daylight, not willing that for a moment a free entrance to any foe should be offered. When morning dawned, it was clear and beautiful, and the 'iwo set out immediately upon their journey. As they had partaken of no food for al considerable time, the Rifleman THE JOURNEY R1 RMED. was on the alert to procure some. The forets of Kentucky and Ohio, at that day, literally swarmed with game, and, in less than a half-hour from starting, he had brought down a wild turkey, which was dressed and cooked with admirable skill, and which afforded them a nourishing and substantial neal. Lewis was fearful that the late storm would cause such a ise in the creek that he would be unable to cross if lie waited fly longer, and he, therefore, attempted it at once. Ile found it muddy and rapidly rising, but he carried Edith over with- out difficulty, andt then resumed his journey, taking such a direction that he could only reach the settlement by a wide detour from directness. "At any rate," said Dernor, "if any one attempted to follow us yesterday, he is thrown off the track, and has got to commence again." " Should they accidentally come across out trail, it would be easy enough for them to follow it, would it not " "Yes, any one could do that, but you see we're so far up 'he stream that there is Fttle likelihood of that." "I do hope the Indifns will not trouble us more," said Edith, in a low, earnest voice. "And so do I, " said the Rifleman, in a lower and more earnest voice, and venturing at the same time to press the hand that he held within his own. There certainly was something in the situation of these two calculated to inspire mutual trust. Edith felt that, under the merciful Being who was ever watching her, there was no stronger or more faithful arm upon which she could rely than the one beside her-that there was no heart truer, and no devotion more trustworthy. Under these circumstances, her words were quite unembarrassed and familiar. " Suppose we are ove-'taken " she asked, looking up in hip face. "You will never be captured while I have streLgth to defend you," was the fervent reply. " You are too kind and noble." This time Edith impulsively pressed his hand, and, to his dying day, Lewis Dernor affirmed that this was one of the happiest moments of his life. Deeply learned as he was in TIME RIFLEMEN Or .M2P MIAML. wood-lore, he was a perfect novice in the subtle mysteries of the tender passion, and the cause of his ecstasy on this occasion was the sudden certainty that his love was returned. Had lhe been less a novice in such matters, lie would haves reflected that this slighlt evidence of regard mnost probably was but a mere momentary emotion which any man in his situation might have inspired. But, " where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise ;" and the happy hunter was al unconscious of this disagreeable possibility. He felt an unutterable desire to say something-something grand and terrible-which. would give Edith a faint idea of the strength of the passion burning in his breast. Inability to say this something kept him silent for a long period. Several times, indeed, lie was on the point of speaking, but the words that camie to him were too commonplace and weak to express his tumultuous thoughts. Just as lie was on the point of deciding upon something, it came to him with start- ling suddenness that he was too careless with his charge. For the last hour he had hardly.been conscious that he was traveling in the woods, much less that in these same woods iurked the deadly Indian, whose thoughts, were constantly bent upon murder and outrage. "Edithl," said lhe, "I would do any thing if it would only place us where we could talk without fear of being dis- turbed. But it can't be done here. There's Injins in these woods, and I'd never forgive myself if I should forget it agin, and I've already done so several times. Just stop a minute." He took her hand, and the two bent forward in theattitud8 of intense listening; and listening thus, they heard faintly in the distance the report of a rifle. It was several miles away, and evidently fired by some wandering Indian or hunter. Its only effect upon our friends was that peculiar one of making them more fully sensible that there were other beings in the woods besides themselves. "It means nothing," said Dernor. "Let's go on, but. more careful than before." "Do you think there is any one following us " asked Edith, for this constant renewal of her apprehension mado her nervous and unnaturally suspicious. 60 WOOD CRAFT. "I have no reasor to think so, and I haven't any sus- picion that there is. So I guess there's no need of being swared." "I can not help feeling frightened," said Edlith, clinging closer to him. "I do wish we were at the settlement. How much. longer will it take us to reach it " "To-morrow, at the very furthest, I hope we shall be there, and perhaps to-night, if we keep up -a brisk walk." "I see no reason why we should not hurry." "Nor I, either," laughied Dernor. "So come on." He struck up a brisk walk as lhe spoke, and continued it for some twenty minutes, when a small creek was reached, the one where O'Hara and Allinat lost the trail. Before wading it, the Rifleman l)ansed on its banks as if in deep thou-1gt. This was so marked that Edith questioned him. " I'm thinking whether it wouldn't be best to put this brook to the same use that I did last summer. Ak half-dozen Mliamis got rather closer to me than was pleasant, wvhen I jumped in here and threw theem off the scent." How " I will. show yOU. Ile picked her uip as lie spoke, and stepped carefully into the water. The center of the stream. was sufficiently deep to hide his trail, even had the bottom been less favorable than it vas. But this was hard, gravelly and pebbly, and he walked close to tbe edge without fear of betraying hllmsclf. Having gone a considerable distance, lie approached tlie bank, and Made a leap which carried him several feet upon it. He alighlted upon the face of a large, firmly-fixed stonie, where, poising himself for a moment, lhe sprung to another; and then, making a fourth leap, came down upon the ground. By this artifice lie avoided leaving any visible trail until so far from the creek that almost any pursuer would fail to discover it. This explains why his two pursuers did fail in pursuing him. "'We're safe again for a while,"t said the Rifleman. ' Auy one who comes upon our track must do it between us and the creek." "I feel greatly relieved," said Edith. "And much mcre comfortable, I suppose " G1 THE RIFLEMEN OF TIE IAML. " Why, of course," she replied, half laughing, as she turned her gleaming, radiant face up to his. The Rifleman hardly knew what he did. A mist seemed to come before his -,yes, and he felt as though floating in space, as, acting under an electrifying impulse, lhe stooped and kissed the warm lips of his fair companion. This trans- port of bliss was changed to the most utter misery when she answered, with every appearance of anger: " You ought to be ashamed of yourself to take advantage of my helplessness. " Are you offended " he asked, his very voice showing his wretchedness of feeling. Edith looked up with flashing eyes, crimsoned face, and silent voice, as if she would annihilate him by lher very look. Gradually a change, like the sunlight breaking through the storm-clouds, overspread her features. The light of her eves grew softer, and the expression of her face more mierciful, until, as the hunter had paused and scarcely breathed for her reply, she said, with one of her most enchanting smiles: "I am not offended. You may kiss me again if you wish to do so." "If I wish to," said the Rifleman, drawing her to him. "If I wish to-" Here his words became unintelligible. He continued kiss ing her until she checked him. "t Sh !"t The crackling of some bushes a few yards away showed that they were no longer alone. The whole aspect of the Rifleman changed. The lover became the Tanger instantly. Cocking his rifle, he placed himself in front of Edith so as to confront this unexpected danger. 62 AN ODD CHARACTER. CHAPTER VII. THE COUNTRYMAN. Nature hath framed strange fellows in hei time. SUAKSPEARB. Tni crackling of the bushes continued, while the Rifleman compressed his lips and stood like a tiger at bay. In- a moment he saw a man making his way through the tangled shrubbery, and almost immediately he lowNered his rifle with an expression of disappointment. The individual before him was so different from what he expected, that a fuller notice of of him is necessary, especially as he now takes his l)lace as one of the dramatis persoina of this tale. I-le appeared to be all awkward countryman, cowardly, ignorant of wood-craft, and completely bewildered by the dangers that beset him. His dress was half-savage and half- civilized, torn and disfigured, as if lhe had been running at the top of his speed through a thicket of bries and brambles. The only weapon lie carried was a large knife firmily grasped in his 'sand. His face was blank and expressionless, save that it bore the impress of great animal fear, now mingled with surprise at confronting our two friends so unexpectedly. His head was round, bullet-like, with. sandy hair, while the face seemned stained and begrimed with dirt and perspiration. He stood a moment wvith both hands stretched stiffly down- ward, his mouth wide open, apparently unable to find words to express his astonishment. "W Well, young man, good-day to you," said Dernor, advancing toward him. "Good-day-good-day; fine weather for corn," he repeated, as if anxious to gain the good opinion of the hunter. "How came you in these parts, my friend " " Heaven save you, I run here. The Injins have been after me." " They didn't catch you " " No, sir," replied the young man, bursting into a loud guffaw. iI run too fast." a 4TIE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. Wzat might be your name " "Zeke Hunt, but I'm derned 'fraid it won't be any name at all if I stay in these parts much longer. Oh1, dear," whined the young man, " I wish I was back in Pennsylvany, on the farm." " lVhat made you leave it " " The old manl whipped me, and I run away." " Why don't you go back " " I'd rather meet all the painted Injins in the woods than him. He'd wlhip ine all through the town." "No doubt you deserve it." " Boo-hoo! you ain't going to lick me too, are you " plead the man, gouging one eye with his finger. "No, no; don't make a fool of yourself. What would I wislh to liurt you for " " I don't know, I'm sule. I'm 'fraid of everybody." " See here, Zeke, was there any Injins clhasing you, just now " Yes-no. I've been clear of them a long time I run so fast, but I'm just as afeard, as I s'pose the Inj ins are all over the woods." "Not so bad as that, though we'd be willing to get along if there weas a few less." "Yes, that's so. Got any thing to eat " " No, but we'll soon have sorwetlhing" " Can I go 'long with you " asked the frightened fellow " If you wish to, provided you do what I want you to." " Oh, I'll do any thing for you. Who's that with you " he questioned, peering around the hunter, who, although he had advanced a few steps, still stood in front of Edith. "A young friend, Miss Edith Sudbury." "Glad to see you," said the young man, with an awk- ward bow. "But see here," pursued the Rifleman, "h how comes it you are in these woods at all You didn't come all the way from Pennsylvany alone" " Oh, no-olh, no. I came down the Ohio in a flat-boat." " How is it that you are here, then " " The other dlay we stopped along the shore a while, and I went off in the woodls, and got lost. When I founw my 64 A usPrIcious CIRCUMSTANCE. way back, the flat-boat had gone, and I was left alone. I've been wandering around ever since, and am nearly starved tG death. Be you two hunting " itNo, we are making our way to a settlement some miles off. Do you wish to go with us " " Yes, anywhere to get out of these derned woods. Grm- cious! what a big job it'll be to cut all these trees down" said young Hunt, looking above and around him, as thoucLgh absorbed Iwith this new idea. "A big job, certainly; but there'll be a big lot lo do ii when the time comes. There don't appear to be any reasor why we should wait, and so we'll move ahead." "Which way are you going " " Righlt ahead." " Over the same ground that T 'tome over " " I s'pose so." " Oh, heavens! you are lost if you do. Don't do that." "What's the matter Any danger " " The woods are chuck full of Injins, I tell you. Tller6 must have somebody passed that way and they looking fol them, there are co many." Dernor turnea and spoke to Edith: "No doubt lie is righlt. It is but what I sus,)ected. What shall I do Take a longer way home, and a safer one, oi the short route " "Take the sqfest, whichever that may be." "That is the longest. Com= on, friend." "I'm follerin', " replied that worthy, striding after him. It was considerably past the hour of noon, and the brish walk through the woods had given the Rifleman an appetite something akin to that of his new-found companion, so that he did not forget the expressed wish of the latter. Hle had n( difficulty in bringing down another turkey and cooking it There was one peculiarity which did not escape either Dernoi or Edith. On the part of the latter it occasioned no concern. but it was the subject of considerable wonder and speculation with the former. Zeke Hunt, as he called himself, professed to be ravenously hungry; but when the tempting, juicy meat of the turkey was placed before him, he swallowed but a few mouthfuls. This was E. small matter, it was true, and with 36 3 V., THE RTFTLEMXN OF THE MIAMI. any one except the Rifleman, would have escaped notice but this sagacious hunter considered it of so much importance as to ask an explanation. "tYou appeared to be dying with hunger, and now, when food is offered, you hardly touch ;t What is the meaning of that A' 'I don't know," said Zeke, wiping his fingers on the hair of his head. " Yes, you do know. Tell me the meaning of it." "S'pose I ain't hungry." "Isn't the bird cooked well enough " "Wouldn't hurt if 'twas cooked better." The Rifleman at first was disposed to resent this insult, but, on second thought, he set the man down as a fool, and one unworthy of notice. There is no disguising the fact that his action had given the hunter an unpleasant suspicion, which, however, was dissipated by the perfect coolness with which he met his inquiry. "I guess yer ain't used to cookin', be you " he asked, perfectly unabashed by the frigid manner of the hunter. "I've done considerable, sir, in the last few years." "Don't say so. Shouldn't have thought it, from the way that thing looks." "What is the matter with this cooking, I should like to know; eh" "t Oh, nothin') as I knows on. Tdie gal appears to like it w"ell enough." " Indeed I do," said.Edith, unable to restrain a laugh at the manner of their new companion, who, seeing it, rolled his head back and gave an answering "horse-laugh" that could have been heard a half-mile distant. "Don't let me hear that agin," said the Rifleman, rising to his feet. "Why don't you want to hear it" asked Zeke, in blank astonishment. " It's no wonder the flat-boet left yDu, if you were in the habit of making such noises as that. It's enough to wake every sleeping Injia in these woods." " It'll scare 'em, I guess, won't it" "I should think it would, so don't try it agin." 66 A UOGUE OR A FOOL "Done eatin' " " Yes, of course." " Thought it was about time." " We will not reach home to-night " said the Rfleman, speaking to Edith. " I'm sorry, for they'll be worried about us." " I amn sorry, too, for I dislike to remain in the woods so lon-." "This fellow will be of little use to us, as he doesn't appear to know any thing. I can't understand how he has come this far. He's been lucky, I s'pose, but whether we're going to be, with him along, is more than I can tell." " Of course you won't turn him off. It would be cruel," said Edith, sincerely commiserating the helpless situation 'f the young man. "As long as he behaves bimself, and it doesn't make it any more dangerous for you, lie can stay with us; but lhe mustn't open that big mouth of his as wide as he did just now." "Hello! how long afore you're goin' to start" called out Zeke, as our two friends stood talking together. " Follow behind us, and make no noise, if you want to save your top-knot.", "Hope there ain't no danger of that -happeninig, after I've come, as far as this all right." The three moved forward once again, the movements of the Rifleman characterized by his usual caution, while Zeke Hunt straddled along at a most awkward gait, kicking up the leaves, and breaking and bending the undergrowth in such a manner as to make the care of the hunter entirely useless. In this manner they traveled until nightfall, when they reached the banks of a small brook, beside which it was decided to encamp for the night. During the latter part of the day it Lad been steadily growing colder, so that, after some deliberation, Dernor concluded to start a fire. " You don't s'pose the Injins will see it, do you" aslkeC h1unt. "I'ra-sure I can't tell. Why do you ask " "'Cause, if they are goin' to see it, I want to get out the way. I don't s'pose you've traveled the woods much, have you " " Probably as much as you have." 07 .THE RIFLAMEN OF THE MAMI. " You have, eli" There was something in the tone in which this was uttered that made the hunter turn and look at Zeke Hunt. As he did so, he saw an expression of his greenish, gray goggle-eyes that made him feel certain, for the minute, that he had sem him before. It may have been a fancy, for the expression was gone instantly, and succeeded by the same blank, half- idiotic look. This was the second time the same unpleasant suspicion had entered the mind of the Rifleman, and he was -esolve-', at the least, to keep an eye upon Zeke Hunt. While it was not at all impossible that the story he had told was true in every particular, still there was an air of improbability about it, which could not escape the notice of so quick-sighted a man as Dernor, and, from this time forward, every action or word of the awkward countryman was watched with a jealous eye. The fire which was kindled was carefully screened, so that it would not be apt to catch the eye of any one in the neigh- borhood. After some conversation between the hunter and Edith, the latter wrapped his blanket over her own, and, thus protected, lay down upon the ground. The weariness and fatigue brought on by the day's travel soon manifested itself in a deep, dreamless, refreshing sleep. "Are you going to stay up all night " asked Dernor of the countryman. "I don't know whether I am or not." "Ain't you sleepy " "Don't feel much so jest now; s'pose I mought after a while." "You have traveled enough. Why don't you feel sleepy " "Haw! haw! haw I what a question. How do I know why I aint sleepy You don't appear so yourself." " I ain't, either." " You'vo done as much tramping as I have." " That may be; but I'm used to it, and you ain't." "Don't know 'bout that. Used to do good 'eal of it up on the farm. Say, you, did you ever hear of the Riflemen of the Miami " " Yes, very often. They are somctimes seen in these partk" SOB EHE HUNTER HOPFJ NOT. " I'd like to jine them 'ere fellers." "You jine 'em!" repeated Dernor, contemptuously. "You'd be a pretty chap to go with them. Them chaps, sir, is hunters P he added, in a triumphant tone. "Jest what I s'posed, and that's why I wanted to jine 'em." "Can you shoot " "Ef you'll lend me your iron there a minute, I'll show you what I can do." " It is dark now. There is no chance to show your skill. Wait till morning" "Very well, don't forget. I've done some shootin', fur all I ain't used to Injins. But, I say, do you know the head feller of them Riflemen " " I'm very well acquainted with him." " What sort of a chap is he " " Good deal such a man as I am." " Haw! haw! great man to be the leader. Hope you're never taken for him, be you " " Very often-because I am the leader of the Riflemen myself." "Get out," said the countryman, as if hle expected to be bitten. " You can't make me believe that." " It makes no difference to me whether you believe it or not. If you make much more noise, like enough you'll find out who I am." " Be you really the leader of the Riflemen " queried Zeke Hunt, not noticing the warning which had just been uttered. "I've told you once, so let's hear no more about it." "My gracious! you don't look much like one. 'Pears to me you and I look a good deal alike. Don't you think so ' "Heaven save me, I hope not." "Oh, I'm willing that it should be so. I ain't offended." The impudence of the countryman was so consummate that Dernor could not restrain a laugh at it. "They always considered me good-lookinng down hum," be added; " and there wasn't a gal I wasn't able to get if I wanted her." " I should think you would be anxious to get back again.` " Would be, if it wasn't for the old man. He was awful on me. Didn't appear to be proud of me at all ' 0THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAML " Queer, sure. I don't see how he could help it." " Me, neither. Dad was always mad, though, and used to aboose me shameful. The fust thing in my life that I can remember was of gettin' a ltekin'." " What was it for " "KNothin' worth tellin'. I was a little feller then, and one day heated the poker red-hot, and run it down grandmother's back. But there! didn't he lam me for that! Always was whippin' me. School-teacher was just as bad. Licked me like blazes the fust day." " Did he lick you for nothin' " " Purty near. Didn't do any thing except to put a handful of gunpowder in a dry inkstand, and then touch it off under his chair. Haw! haw a haw I didn't he jump and oh gracious !" he added, in a solemn tone, " didn't I jump, too, when he fell on me." " You seem to have been about the biggest scamp in the country. Why did he whip you this last time when you ran away '" " Hadn't any more reason than he had at other times. I tried to take Ann Parsons home from singing-school, and she wouldn't let me. That was the reason." " He couldn't have whipped you for that." " Well, it all come from that. I followed her home, and jest give her my opinion of her, and when her old man undertook to say any thing, I jest pitched in and Walloped him." " You had a sensible father, and it's a pity he hasn't got you now, for I don't care any thing about your company." " You going to turn me off You said you wouldn't." " And I shan't, I tell you agin, as long as you behave yourself. If you cac'late to go with me to the settlement, you must not have too much to say. Remember that we are still in dangerous territory, and a little foolishness by either of us may bring a pack of the red-skins upon us." "Just what I thought. I'm sleepy." And without further ceremony, he lolled over on the ground, and in a few minutes, to all appearances, was sound asleep. Intently watching his face for a time, the Rifleman now and then saw his eyelids partly unclose, as if he wished .70 SECOND XIGRT Ir TH' WILDERNESS. to ascertain whether any one was scrutinizing him. The. somewhat lengthy conversation which we have taken the pains to record, had about disarmed the hunter of the sus- picions which had been lingering with him for a long time. He believed Zeke Hunt an ignorant fellow, who had been left along the Ohio river, as lie had related, and who had not yet learned that trait of civilized society, carefully to conceal his thoughts and feelings when in conversation. The impres- sion which lhe first felt, of having met him before, might easiy- arise from his resemblance to some former acquaintance. Still, the Rifleman was by no means so forgetful of his charge as to indulge in slumber, when there was the remotest probability of danger threatening her. Inured as he was to all manner of hardships and sufferinl, it was no difficult matter for him to spend several nights in succession without sleep. He therefore watched over her through the second night, never, for a single moment, allowing himself to become unconscious. Several times lie saw the countryman raise his head and cnange his position, and when spoken to, heard him mutter something about it being " derned hard to sleep with his head on the soft side of a stone, and one side toasted and the other froze." The hours wore away without any incident worth men- tioning, and at the first appearance of day Edith was astir and ready to resume the journey. Enough of the turkey, slain on the day before, remained to give each a sufficient meal, and-with cheerful spirits upon the part of all, the three again took up their march through the wilderness. The route which the information of the countryman led the hunter to adopt was such that lie expected to reach the settlement in the course of the afternoon. It will thus be seen that it was a very circuitous one-they, in fact, being already several miles north of their destination. As yet, the eagle eye of the hunter had discovered no danger, and their march was continued without interruption until noon, when they halted for a few minutes' rest. " If you haint no 'bjection, I'll try a shot with your gun," said Zeke Hunt, "bein' as you thought I couldn't shoot any." "I'd rather not have my rifle fired at present, youngster, -K ears that we don't fancy might hear it." 71 TIES RIFLEMEN OF THE MIA. "Ycu're only afeard I might beat you, that's al,." This remark so nettled the hunter that he resolved to 6-ratiry his disagreeable companion. " Put up your mark, then," said he, " and as far off as you choose" The countryman walked to a tree somewhat over a hundred yards distant, and with his knife clipped off a small piece of bark, leaving a gleaming spot, an inch or two in diameter. " You fire first," said he, as he came back. The hunter drew up his rifle, and pausing hardly a second to take aim, buried the bullet fairly in the center of the target. "Whew I that's derned good; don't believe I can beat it much; but I'll try." The gun was quickly reloaded, and, after taking aim and adjusting it nearly a dozen times, Zeke Huunt fired, missing the tree altogether. As he ran to ascertain the result of his shot, instead of handing the rifle to Dernor, he carried it, apparently without thinking, with him. When he had care- fully examined the mark, lie proceeded to reload it, before returning. This was so natural an occurrence, that the hunter received his weapon without noticing it. "Want to fire again " asked the countryman. "No, it isn't worth while." "I give in, but think I'll be up to you after a little practice." About half an hour afterward, as they were walking along, Dernor, by a mere accident, happened to look at the pan of his rifle and saw that the priming had been removed. A moment's reflection convinced him that this had been done by Zeke Hunt, not accidentally, but on purpose. The hunter managed to reprime without being noticed, and he made a vow that this apparent lubber should henceforth be watched witl a lynx-eye. They had-gone scarcely a half-mile further, when the latter came up beside Edith, and remarked that he had been taken sick. "Don't you feel able to walk " she asked. "I'm dreadful afeard I shall have to ax you to pause for a while," he said, manifesting that peculiar repugnance to 72 THE MASK TlllOWNM OFF. receiving kindness, which, singularly, enough is manifested more or less by every person in similar circumstances. "What's the matter " gruffly asked Dernor, who was still meditating upon the incident we have mentioned above. "Sick," groaned Zeke Hunt, apparently in great misery. "What has made you sick " "I don't know; allers was considered delicate." 'How do you feel " "Jest as thougA I tvanted to whigtle !" was the curious reply and placing his finger in his mouth, the fellow gave a sound that would hlave done credit to an ordinary locomotive. " If you make that noise again I'll shoot you," said the Riflemnan, now fairly convinced that mischief was intended. Without heeding his threat, the sick man arose to the upright 3osition, and with flashing eyes, repeated the sound. "I gave you warning," said Dernor, raising his gun, pointing it at his breast, and pulling the trigger. It missed fire ! "I guess you'll have to fixt up that load a little," said Zeke Hunt, ii and afbre you can do that, you're likely to have visitors.' The Rifleman clubbed his gun and advanced toward the nman. The latter draw his knife, and said: "K eep off, Lew Dernor; don't you know me " "I've been a fool," said the hunter. " Yes, I know you through your disguise, Simon Girty. I see what you have been trying to do, but you will never take one of us alive. I hear the tramp of the coming Indians that he has sig- naled," he added, addressing Edith, " and there is not I winute to lose." So saying, he placed his arm around her waist, and started off at a rapid run. THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MA ML CHAPTER VIII. THE FLIGHT. The pass was steep and rugged, The wolves they howled and whined; But he ran like a whirlwind up the pass, And left the wolves behind.-MACAULAY. Moments like these, Rend men's lives into immottalities.-Byiox. FoR a few minutes, the R1ifleman ran " like a whirlwind," supporting entirely the weight of Edith, for none knew better than he the imm-inient, peril that menaced both. The wood was quite open, so that his way was not much impeded, and he went at a terrific rate, well aware that all depended upon gaining an advanta(re over the Indians at the start. Ile had gone bnt a short distance, when lie became con- vinced that his only danger was fromn falling into the hands of his pursuers, as it was their sole object to make him and Edith prisoners; as a consequence, there was no danger from being fired at by them. When he de(emed it prudent, he released his hold upon her, and she, half running and being half carried, flew over the ground at a rate as astonishing to herself as it was to her pursuers. The latter kept up a series of yells and outcries, amid which the discordant screeches of Zeke Hunt, now Simon Girty, the renegade, could be plainly distinguished. Several furtive glances over the shoulder gave him glimpses of some eight or ten savages in pursuit, the renegade being among the foremost. As Dernor was thus hurrying forward, he recalled that. less than half a mile distant, the woods were broken and cut. up by ravines and hills, as though an earthquake had passed through that section; and, believingc that this would afflord himn a better opportunity of eluding his foes, he turned in that direction and strained every nerve to reach it. As for Edith herself, she seemed fired with supernatural strength, and sped with a swiftness of which she never dreamed her- self capable. Seeing this, the Rifleman attempted to draw the charge out of his gun and reload it. It was a work of 74 THE RAmINK. great difficulty to. do this while running, but he succeeded in accomplishing it at last. Constantly glancing behind hSim, in order to see his chance, he suddenly whirled anld fired with the rapidity of thought. Without pausing to reload, he again l)iacecd his arlm around Edith, and dashed forwvard almost at the top of his speed. Finding that the Indians, if gaining at all, were gaining very slowly upon him, lie half concluded that it was their intention to run his companion down, well knowing that, although he was fully competent both in speed and in bottom to contest with them,.it could not be expected that she could continue the rate at which she was going, for any length of tinle. Ain't you tired " lie asked, hurriedly. "Not much; I can run a great deal further," she replied, in the same hurried manner. " Keep your spirits up; we'll soon have different ground to travel over." Almost a3 he spoke, they came to the edge of a sort of ravine, too broad for either to leap, and too precipitous to admit of an immediate descent by either. Still retaining his hold upon her, Dernor ran rapidly along the edge, until reaching a favorable spot, he lifted her bodily from the ground, and bounded down to a rock over a dozen feet below, and then leaped from this to the bottom of the ravine, Edith sustaining no more of a shock than if she had been a feather. Being now in the bottom of the ravine, where the ground was comparatively even, the hunter placed the girl once more upon her feet, and side by side they cofltinue(I their flight from their merciless pursuers. Their loud, exultant yells continued reverberating through the woods, and glancing upward, Dernor saw the form of a lhuge Indian suddenly come to view, on the edge of the ravine, some distance ahcead of him, and make some menacing motion toward him. As the ravine at this point was a sheer precipice, the hunter did not believe lhe would attempt to descend it, and feeling therc was no danger of being fired upon, lie kept steadily onward But he was mistaken. Before he was opposite the savage, he came sliding and tumbling down the ravine, as though ro1 7THE RIFLEMEN 0F THE MIAMI. some one had pushed him from behind. However that may have been, he alighted on his feet without injury, and maiis directly toward the fugitives, with the manifest intention of checking their flight. Lewis Dernor saw that a collision with the Indian was unavoidable, and without the least hesitation prepared him- self for it. The savage was a Miami-a brawny, muscular warrior, fully six feet in height, of matchless symmetry and formidable strengli.. When the combatants were perhaps a dozen yards apart, he raised his tomahawk over 1is head, and poisingf it a moment, hurled it, with a most deadly force, full at the head of the hunter. The latter had not expected such a demonstration as this, but had detected it in time to avoid it. He dropped his head the instant the weapon left the savage's hand, and it whizzed over him, going end over end, until it struck the solid rock, where the terrible force of the concussion shivered it to atoms. Seeing this, the Miami whipped out his knife and stood on the defensive. " Now, my good friend," muttered Dernor, between hin clenched teeth, " it is my turn." He handed his rifle to Edith-who had paused, now that they were so close to their enemy-and, drawing his own knife, made a sort of running bound, coming upon the Indian with a panther-like spring, that nearly drove him backward off his feet. There was a clashing of knives, the scintillation of steel against steel, the deadly embrace, and hand-to-hand struggle; and, as the Rifleman recoiled clear of his fallen adversary, he reached out to Edith for his rifle. " Come on," said he, in his ordinary voice; " I guess the way is clear." "I-I am afraid," faltered Edith, " that I can not run much further." " There ain't any need of it," said the hunter. "Lean on me, and we'll walk awhile, if there's a thousand tearing Injins after us." Edith panted and trembled violently from the exhausting efforts she had been compelled to make, while the mortal terror she felt at the Miamis, made her nearly wild with excitement. Their chilling yells, so different from any thing ever heard among civilized beings, would have crazed almost 76 A MOMENT'S RESPITY. any person, but Dernor listened to them with as much com- posure as he would to the songs of so many birds. He became aware, shortly after, from thi direction of these sounds, that the Indians had entered the ravine, and were now coming along again, at the top of their speed. He paused a moment, to determine precisely the distance of these, and then looked into the gloomy, ternor-stricken face of Edith. " I have rested," said he, "and if we ion't get over ground faster than this, them red-skins will have us both, in less than ten minutes. Let me carry you." She made no resistance, for she was barely able to stand, and supporting her in such a manner that her feet hardly touched ground, Dernor once more thiew all of. his astonish- ;ng energy into the flight. Fully a quarter of a mile lhe ran directly through the ravine, and then, reaching a point that would admit of it, he made a running leap, and came up out of it, like a diver emerging from the sea. He was now in the woods again, after having gained a con- siderable advantage over his pursuers; but the Indians belhind him were still uncomfortably close, and he could not hope that all would pass the point where he had left the ravine, without discovering the signs lie had left there of his flight. Knowing this, lhe was aware that the golden moment was tlhe present. The Miamis-to whom most of the pursuers belonged -were " thrown off the scent" for the time. After having gone a considerable distance, and having satisfied himself that they had not yet regained it, Dernor determined to take advantage of this to give Edith a portion of the rest she needed so much. "I am not used to running like this," said she, leaning heavily on him, " and I am afraid I can not bear it." "I ought to be shot and scalped, for making you take this journey," said Dernor. "Why, you did it for the best," she added, in surprise. "Yes, I thought so-perhaps, the best for myself. I had no idea of being pursued in this manner. It seems I have been a fool. I let that Simon dirty make me believe he was an awkward countryman, and lead me into this muss." " You think we can keep out of their hands " TUE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. "I trust so; the night ain't muny hours away, and if we can only keep clear till then, why, all right. II hain't seen the Injin yet, Miami or Shawnee, that could foller a track in the night-time." "They did not see us come out of the ravine. How will they know enough of our direction to keep up the pursuit " "Injin is Injin, and the dirt I made in scratching out of there will be seen by a dozen of their snaky eyes." " How far, dear friend, did you say it is to the settlement " " Full twenty miles." "We ua teath it, then, by traveling all night " "Yes, very easy, if you can hold out till thke darkness comes on." "I hope I can, but T am so terribly worn out that I must go very slowly. You said it was the best for you that we should undertake this journey alone, through the woods. What did you mean by saying that " " I will tell you some other time," replied the hunter, in great embarrassment. "I done so that I might be alone with you." Edith looked earnestly at him, as though she would read his very soul. She was about to speak, when the appalling yells of the human bloodhounds sounded so fearfully near, that her very blood seemed to curdle in her veins. "Where shall we fly " she asked, looking up imploringly in the face of the hunter. " Come on as rapidly as you can," he replied, again sup- porting her. Great as were the apprehension and terror of Edith, she could but notice the singular conduct of her companion. He kept constantly looking around, not as though he expected danger, but as if searching for something. The cause of this was soon manifest. "Edith," said he, "'it will be full two hours afore there'l; be enough darkness to do us any good. Can you stand it till then 7 "I can stand it," she answered, with a sad laugh, " but I can not run it." ' We must eitLer run or be tock. Now, my dearest '78 A LAST RESORT. me, you've done enough to kill a dozen common women, and you shouldn't try to do more, and I don't intend to let you. "But how can-Oh, Heavenly Father ! hear those shouts --but how can you prevent it " " I must leave you behind." Edith's eyes dilated with horror, now doubly intensified. "Don't think for a minute," tuhe hunter hastened to say, "that I intend to desart you. No, no; may the lightning strike me down if I could ever do such a thing. What I mean is, that I must hide you till night, when I'll come back, and we'll go on, taking tQiings comfortably." " It must be done quickly. Don't wait a minute." The Rifleman led the way to some thick, dense bushes and without approaching them very closely, signified her to enter them. She did so, with considerable difficulty, and when she had entered an d covered away, he could see nothing of her. " Stay there till I come," said he, " and be careful and not put your head out, if you hear any noise." "How shall I know whether it is you or not " "I'll be around as soon as it is dark enougli, and will speak. Don't forget what I said. Don't let any noise make Jou show yourself. Good-by." " Good-by ;" and the hunter turned to attend to his own safety. CHAPTER IZ. THE RIFLEMAN AND HURON ON THE MAIL. The woodcock, in his moist retre at, Heard not the fulling of their feet; On his dark roost the gray owl slep)t, Time, with his drum the partridge kept; Nor left the deer b.s watering-place, So hushed, so noiseless was their pace. WX. 1. C. IOSME R. Ohs -, fine summer day, 1he one siueceeding that upon whicb occurred the incident just related, one of the Riflonv!n of thu 79 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE ITAML Miami, was making his way through the dense forests that at that period nearly covered the entire portion of Ohio.- His short stature, bowed legs, and round, shining visage, showed unmistakably that he was Tom O'Hara. His rifle was slung over his shoulder, and as he walked leisurely along, he had that easy, saucy air which sliowed him to be totally unmind- fail of the opinion of friend or foe. That he had no fears of disturbance was manifest from the carelessness with which he proceeded, constantly kicking the leaves before him, and when a limb brushed his face, suddenly stopping and spitefully wrenching it off with an expression of impatience. He was in a worse temper than usual, and incensed at something that continually occupied his mind. " What can have become of the fools " he muttered. "He oughter been home two, three days ago, and we hain't seen a sign of him yet. Can't be Lew's such a dunce as to walk into the red-skins' hands. No, no, no." He shook his head as if displeased, and for a time continued his solitary journey in silence. The great question which he was debating was regarding his leader's whereabouts, and his i'l-temper arose principally from the fact that lie was unable to offer a solution satisfactory to himself. "Let me see," he added. "If Lew is took, why the gal's took, and if the gal's took, Lew must be too; so that p'int is settled. It might be some of the Injins have got him, but somehow or other I can't believe it. Don't look reasonable, although Dick 'peared to think so." Again he bent his head as if in deep thought. Gradually his meditations brought him nearer the truth. "He's found out that the shortest path was the safest one -something a man is pretty apt to think when he is with the gal he loves, and so he has took the roundabout way home. That's it, sure. But hold on a minute," said O'Hara, as a new thought. struck him; " I'd like to know the route which it would take them so long to travel over. It's queer, I'll be hanged if it isn't. That gal will be the death of Lew yet. I'd like to see the gal that could pull the wool over my eyes." And, as if alarmed at the thought, he strode rapidly for- walrl, shaking his head, and muttering more savagely than so AN nDIAN -SLEEPING. ever to himselt. Gradually he regained his natural state of semi-composure, and proceeded in his audible musings: "Whatever is up, I'm bound to find out afore I go back. Not that I care a cent for Lew-not a bit of it. If he don't know any better than to shut his eyes when Injins is about, he oughter suffer. But then I'd like to know how things ii. Hello !" The Rifleman stopped and commenced snuffing the air, like an animal when it scents danger. "That's smoke, as sure as I live. Who's been kindling a fire at this time of day 'r" Turning his head in every direction, he, at length, determ- ined the one from which the vapor came. There being scarcely any wind at all, lie rightly judged it must be close at hand. Stealing carefully along from tree to tree, he finally detected the faint blue rising through the wood, scarcely fifty yards away. Approaching still closer, he gained a full view of the fire, and also of him who had kindled it. The latter was an Indian warrior, who was seated on the ground with his legs gathered under him, and his head bowed forward as if sleeping. The hunter saw, from the nodding of his head, that such was the case. Occasionally he would incline forward until ready to fall on his face, when he would start up with a jerk, rub his eyes, look about him, and then go to nodding again. "It seems that everybody have lost their senses," muttered O'llara. "Now just see that Injin wagging lis head at the fire, tryin' to sleep ltere in broad daylight. How easy I could send a bullet through him ! But there's no danger of that, as we Riflemen don't fight in that style. Be careful, my fellow." Here the Indian fell over on his face and then scrambled to his feet, looked around, seeking to appear wondrously awake, and then sat down as before.' " A Huron, as I live," said O'Hara, in pleased astonishment. "What can that red-skin mean by being in these parts All alone, too. If he was only Oonamoo, now, I'd feel glad to sec him." Oonamoo, to whom the hunter alluded, was a Huron scout, well known along the frontier as one of the best friends the TIE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. whites possessed. He had the shrewdness, cunning and skill of his people in an astonishing degree, and had many times given evidence of his faithfulness to the settlers. He was well knows-n to the Riflemen of the Mliami, having guided them in several expeditions, and with O'Hara especially he was on good terms. The anxiety of the latter, therefore, to meet him can be well understood. " Oonamoo would unravel the whole thing afore noon," iai(l he, " and I'd about as lief see hirn this minute as I would see Lew. Let me get a better glimpse of his face. I didn't suspect him leing a Huron when lhe jumped up just now, or I'd noticed his features. It don't look like Oonamoo, to see him noddin' in that style." I-le moved cautiously around, until fairly in front of the savage, when hie uttered a low, peculiar whistle. The latter instantly raised his head, his black eyes open to their fullest extent, an(d gave a look that at once discovered his ideutity to O'Hlara. " Oonarnoo, and no imiistake," lie muttered; and then repeating the whistle as a warning that lhe was about to approach, lhe stepped boldly forth and revealed himszif. The Huron started with surprise, and then advanced -with art expression of pleasure to greet his white brother. " Glad to mieet," lie said, speaking brokenly. "And I'm derned glad to see you, Oonainoo, for I iteed your help this minute. -What are you doing Out on a scout" The Huron shook his head. "No scout-Oonamob live in woods-like the deer-can't sleep near white men's houses." "'Pears you can sleep here though, the way your head was bobbin' around. Been up late at night, I s'pose " "No sleep now-meet 'Hara, white brother," said he, with a1n expression of joy upon his swarthy countenance. " Ye-s, I smnelt the smoke of your fire, and follerin' it up I moiie onto you. 'Pears to me it was rather careless kindling vo ur fire here in broad ddylight. Ain't there any Injins in the neighborhood" "W oods full of 'em-Shawnees, Miamis, Delawares, all over, like leaves of trees," replied the savage, sweelnng his arm around him. THE HURON SCOUT Ainl't you afeard they might come down on you " The Rifleman indulged in an inward laugh, for lie wel\ knew the reply that would be made. The (lark face of the Huron assumed an expression of withering scorn as he answered: " Oonamoo don't know fear-spit on Shawnee and Miami- he sleeps in their hunting-grounds, and by their wig-wams, but they don't touch him. Ile scalp their warriors-all hle meets, but Oonamoo never lose scalp." "Don't be too sure of that; that proud top-knot of yours may be yanked off yet, Mr. Oonamoo. Many a Shawnee would be proud to have that hanging in his lodge." "He never get him though," replied tlte Huron, with great readiness. " I hope not, for I'd feel sorry to see such a good -warrior as you go under when lie is needed so much. You ain't on a scout or hunt just now, then " The savage shook his head from side to side as quick as lightning. "Then you'll take a tramp with me " It now went up and down with the same celerity. " To sum up then, Oonamoo, Lew, our leader, is in a bad scrape." " Shawnee got him Miami got him. " " That's what I want to find out. Slhoulln't be s'prised if both have nabbed him." " How get him " There was something curious in the eagerness with which the Huron asked the questions. It was more noticeable from the fact that O'Hara spoke slowly and deliberately, so that the short, broken sentences of the savage seemed all the miore short and broken. " That I can't tell, Oonamoo," repeated the hunter, who, it will be noticed, evinced the remarkable fact of being in a good temper with the Indian. "You see, him and the gal-" "Gal with him " asked the savage, with amazing quickness. "Yes; didn't I tell you that " "Bad-bad-gal make him blind-see notting, all time- she afore his face." " You've got the idea this time, Oonamoo. Lew's in love, 88 8 THF RIFLEMEN OF TE MUAM. above his head and ears, and can't be to blame so much fo: what he's done," said O'Hara, a gleam of pity stealing through his rough nature, like a ray of sunshine entering a gloomy cave. "He's made a fool of himself, I'm afeard, 'cause there's a female on his hands." " What want to do9 Foiler him-catch him " " That's it. The first thing to be done is to find the trail." " Where lost Where see him last " O'Hara proceeded to relate as best he could what is already know to the reader, or more properly that portion of it which was known to him. He stated that he and Dick Allmat had lost the trail in a small brook, and that their most persistent efforts had failed to recover it. Upon speculating further, he learned from Oonamoo that they were in the vicinity of the ravine where Dernor and Edith had so narrowly escaped the Indians, the latter fact of course being unknown to them. The Huron added, that there was " much track" in the woods around them, and O'Hara, thinking that perhaps his leader's might be among them, proposed that they should make an examination of them. To this the savage readily agreed, and the two moved forward through the wood for that purpose. In the course of a few minutes they reached the ravine, and the Indian, pointing down into it, as they stood upon its bank, said: "Full of tracks-many Injin pass there." "Let us go dozvn and take a look at them." A few minutes later, they were following up the ravine, olu a sort of half-run, the Huron leading the way, and evincing, at nearly every step, that remarkable quickness of sight and comprehension so characteristic of his race. Suddenly he paused so abruptly that O'Jlara ran against him. "What the deuce is the matter" he asked, rubbing his nose. " Look !" Several dark drops of blood were visible on the ground,, which was also torn. up by the feet of the combatants. As the reader probably suspects, this was the scene of the conflict between Dernor and the Miami Indian. "See," said Oonamoo, walking slowly around, and pointing to the ground. " Track of Injin-track of white man-teaw 84 rm.KiNG THE TRAIL. up ground-fight-till Injin killed. White man then run- cec him tracks there, there, there," he added, pointing further and further from him as he uttered each of the last three words. " But where's the gal " The Huron pointed to the spot where Edith had stood pell-bouncl while the contest was going on. O'Hara, although a skillful backwoodsman, was not equal to his savage com- panion; but he saw at once, from the dainty impress of the earth, that he was correct in supposing that Edith had stood there. They now resumed their pursuit, the hunter bringing all his wood-craft into play, in order to keep up with his companion. " I can't see her tracks to save my life," said the former, after they had proceeded some distance. Him carry her," replied the savage, wvitliout the least hesitation. "IHang me if you haven't got about as much brains as a person needs in these parts," muttered O'Hara, admiringly, as he imitated the monotonous trot of the savage. A moment later and he paused again. "What's up now " asked the hunter. " Track gone." " But I see plenty in front of us." " White man's not there-gone." A minute examination revealed the fact that most of the impressions were now made by persons passing backward as well as forward, as though confusion had arisen from some cause. O'Hara suspected the reason of this, but, without venturing an opinion, questioned his dusky friend : " Huntin' for tracks," he answered. " White man gone." The two now walked slowly backward, their gaze wander- ing along the sides of the ravine instead of the bottom. In a moment the quick eye of the Indian discerned the spot where he judged the exit had been made, and i short examination proved that he was right. The feet of Dernor had sunk deep in the soft earth as he made his Herculean efforts in the ascent, while those of his pursuers were so light that they hardly disturbed them. Up out of the ravine came the Huron and hunter, and into 85 TfIr RTIFLEMJU!N OF THE MIAMI. the woods they plunged, following the trail now with the greatest. readiness. A short distance further they reached the banks where Edith had concealed herself, and here, for a time, even the red-skin was at fault. He saw that the shrubbery had been passed by most of the pursuers without their having approached closely enough to make an examination. From the circuit which Dernor had made to reach these bushes, thie quick-witted Huron rightly suspected that he had turned them to some account. Accordingly, he cautiously parted them and looked in. An immediate " Ugh !" showed O'Hara that he had made some discovery. " Hide gal there-then run on." "Where is she " " Injin didn't git her in bushes," replied the savage, imply- ing that if she was captured at all it was not done here. " Go on, then," added O'Hara. It was now noticed that the steps of the fugitive had shortened, it following, as a natural consequence, that he had slackened his speed at this point. Several hundred yards further on, another fact was observed. The pursuing Indians, instead of adhering to the trail, as they had done heretofore, separated and left it. This, to both Oonamoo and O'Hara was evidence that they had either come in sight of Dernor, or else were so certain of the direction he was. taking that they did not deem it necessary to watch his footsteps. The Rifle- man could not believe the former was the case, inasmuch as it was the very thing, above all others, which his leader would seek to avoid; for the most requisite condition to the success of his artifice, was that his pursuers should still think Edith was with him. Be that as it may, one thing was certain. The pursuer and pursued at this point were very closo together-closer than the safety of the latter could admit for any length of time. A few hundred yards further, the dark face of the Huron lit up with an expression of admiring pleasure. "Him run agin," said he, glancing to O'Hara, who was now beside him. The steps of the flying Rifleman now lengthened rapidly, as if hej ad traveled at superhuman speed. As O'Hara saw the remarkable leaps which he -must, have taken, lie could not THE RENEGADE . aelp exclaiming, in admiration: " Go it, Lew. IP1 like to see the red-skin that could overhaul you, when you're a mind to brkng your pegs down to it." "'Run much-like scar't deer," added Oonamoo. Yes, - r; Lew has been letting out just along here, and I reckon them ITjins never seen such steps as he took." It was very evident that the hunter had " let out " to his utimost ability, and with the determination of leaving his- pursuers far in the rear. Previous to this he had not called hiis formidable power into play; but so rapidly had his gait increased that in many places his footsteps were fully ten feet apart ! It had not escaped the notice of Oonamoo and O'Hara, that a white man was among the pursuers, and it occasioned con- siderable speculation upon the part of the latter. The trails of the two were distinguishable, Dernor having a small, well- shaped foot, inclining outward very slightly, while that of the other was large, heavy, turning outward at a very large angle. " Who can this chap be " asked O'Hara of his companion. " Renegade-bad white man-Girty-white chief." " Whew ! I see 'how it is now. That's the dog that huncg around the settlers on the night of the storm, and got fired at a dozen times." "Why no killed-no hurt " "We didn't know who he was, and all shot at his breast." " Ugh ! no hurt him, then." "No, for, they say, the dog often wears a bullet-proof plate over his breast, and his life has, more than once, been saved by it. He's a brave man, for all he's such lan inhuman brute; for who would dare to sit and let us fire agin and agin at him, when it was just as likely we'd fire at his head as at his breast It was more of an Accident than any thing else that wve didn't killi im." "Bad man-kill women and children," said Oonaluoo. "No one disputes that. What a pity we didn't know him when we first set eyes on him. I shouldn't wonder now if he's been fooling Lew, as well as us. My gracious ! hasn't the boy used his pegs along here " exclaimed O'Hara, Agaift looking at the ground. 7 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. "No catch him," said the Huron. "No Injix rwi Ak. himn Tracks turn round pretty soon." " What makes you think so " " Gal bring him back-not leave her !" " You're right. He won't forget she is behind him. But how is he going to throw the dogs off the scent " " How t'row white men off scent, eh " " I understand-by taking to the water." " Take to water agin." As the Huron spoke, they came upon the edge of a second brook-one, in fact, large enough to be called a creek. The trail led directly into this, it being manifest that Dernor had so shaped his flight as to reach it. "I will cross over and examine the opposite side, while you do the same along this shore." "No, won't," replied Oonamoo, with a decided shake of his hlead. " White man no cross-gal behind him-come out on this side agin." The savage was so certain of this, that he refused even to allow O'Hara to enter the stream. A moment's reflection convinced him, also, that the supposition was correct, and they commenced their ascent of the bank. They had gone scarcely a dozen steps, when they came upon numerous moccasin- tracks, showing that, if the pursuers had crossed the creek, they had also returned. At this discovery, Oonamoo indulged in a characteristic exclamation: " le hide trail-all safe-no cotch him." "i low are wce going to find it " asked O'Hara. -Marvelous as was the skill of the Huron, he doubted his own ability to regaiu the trail in the ordinary manner, and lie accordingly had resort to the same means that he used in ascending the ravine. Without attempting to search for the trail itself, he carefully examined the shore in order to find tde point at which. the fugitive could safely leave the stream. Uoriatloo, from his knowledge of the leader of the Ritlemen, knew that lie would walk for miles in the creek, before he would leave it without the certainty of deceiving his pursuers. The course which Dernor had taken being such that lie had entered the 'water at a point congiderably bove where Edith had concealed herself, the savages, in case they were aware THE TRAIL IN THE CREEK. that the latter was somewhere on the back-trail, would natur- ally suppose that, if he came out of it on the same side in which he had entered, it would be below this point; -which, all being comprelientied by the Huron, satisfied him that the fugitive had disappoiiited these expectations, and gone up the stream. Two things, therefore, were determined with considerable certainty-Dernor had not crossed the creek, but had left at a point either near or above where Oonamoo and O'llara were standing. Satisfied of this, the two moved along the bank, taking long, leaping steps, treading so lightly as barely to leave the impression of their feet, and scrutinizing each bank with the most jealous eve. They had ascended fully a half-mile without discovering any thing upon whrch " to hang a suspicion," when O'Hara, who had contrived to get in advance of the Huron, uttered a suppressed exclamation of surprise. " Here's where he could have come out," said he. Oonamoo looked carefully before him, and shook his head. The object in question consisted of a fallen tree, the top of which lay in the edge of the stream, while the upturned roots were nearly a hundred feet distant. It will be seen at once, that the hunter could easily have walked along the trunk of this without leaving a visible footprint, and leaped off into the woods from the base and continued his flight as before. Plain as was this to the Huron, another fact was still plainer -the Rifleman had done no such thing. " Why do you think he hasn't used this tree " asked O'Hara. " Too plain-fnjin sure to t'ink he do it." Oonamoo had told the exact truth, for Dernor had really approached the branches of the tree with the intention of using them as we have Miated, when he had seen that his pursuers would be sure to suspect such an artifice, from the ready means afforded him; andl he had, therefore, given over his first resolve, and continued his ascent of the creek. All around the base wvere the imprints of moccasins, show- ing where the Shawnees and Miamis had searched and failed to find the trail. Oonainoo having noticed all this, in far less time than it has taken us to relate it, walked out on the tree- trunk as far as it would allow him without wetting his feet 89 go TUE RIFLEMEN OP THE MIAMI. Standing thus, he leaned over and peered out into the water. " Look dere-knowed it," said he, pointing out a few feet from the shore. The water was semi-translucent, so that it required a keen view to dis,over the object of the Huron's gaze; but, following the direction of his finger, O'Hara made out to discover on the bottom of the creek the sign left b1y the passage of a human foot. rhey were not impressions, because -there was not a dent visible, the ground being entirely free from any thing like it; but there were two delicate, yet perfect outlines of a moccasin. The hunter had stood a few moments on this spot, and then stepped into deeper water. The tracks thus left by his feet had gradually filled with the muddy sediment composing the bottom of the creek, until, as we have said, there were no impressions left; but, completely around where they had once been, ran a dark line, as if traced l)y the hand of an artist, a complete outline of the hunter's foot. This faint, almost invisible, evidence of his passage had entirely escaped the eyes of his pursuers. "What I t'ought," said Oonamoo; " knowed dey'd t'ink he'd come out dere-go in water agin-come out furder up-stream." "By thunder," said O'Hara, in amazement, "you make me ashamed of myself, Oonamoo. I believe you could track the gray eagle through air. Come, now, where is Lew you can tell, if you're a mind to." This extravagant compliment was entirely lost upon the stolid Huron. He appeared not to hear it. He merely repeated, "He come out furder up," and, springing lightly from the tree, continued his cautious ascent of the creek, O'Hara follow- ing behind, and occasionally muttering his unbounded admira- tion of the Indian's astonishing skill. The opposite side of the stream was overhung almost entirely with the heavy undergrowth so characteristic of the western forests. Beneath this it would have been an easy matter for a foe to have concealed himself and to fire upon the hunter and Indian; but the latter scarcely deigned to look across, well knowing that no such a danger threatened them. While the savages were searching for the trail of the fugitive, Oonamoo was certain that, as yet, no one knew that any one was upon theirs. Even had they kn')wn it, they would have A DISCOVERY. cared but little, for they were too formidable a body to fear the two men who were following themn. All along the shore were numerous moccasin-tracks, show- ng how persistently the Indians had kept up the pursuit. It struck O'Hara that his leader must have walked pretty rapidly through the creek to keel) out of sight of the enemies, for they, being upon the land, had nothing to retard their pro- gress. The causes of his success in this matter were twofold. In. the first place, the extraordinary speed at which lhe hasl run had placed him far in. advance of his pursuers, upon reaching the creek, so that he had ascended it a good distance before they reached it; and, unlike the shrewd Huron, they were deceived by the artifice he had practiced, believing that he had either crossed the stream, or gone down it. In this manner he gained a start sufficient to accomplish all he desired. O'Hara was just on the point of framing his mouth to ask a suppressed question, when Oonamoo, who was several feet in advance, suddenly paused and raised his hand over his head, as a signal that silence and caution were now necessary CHAPTER X. THE PURSUIT OF THE PrURSUERS. The red-breast, perched in arbor green, Sad minstrel of the quiet scene, While hymning, for the dying sun, Strains like a broken-hearted one, Raised not her mottled wings to fly, As swept those silent warriors by.-W. II. C. HIOSMER. Tox Huron stood a moment as motionless as a statue; then. bending slowly forward, still holding one hand partly raised as a signal for the hunter to retain his immobility, he took several steps forward, so lightly and cautiously that there was absolutely no sound at all produced. lie then sunk slowly downward, and seemed to ccncentrate all his faculties into the single one of sight. Thlis lasted but a moment, when he 91 TE R1IFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. arose to the upright position, and, turning his head, signified to O'Hara that he might approach. The latter did so, and immediately saw the cause of his cautious movements. Drawn up on the bank, so as to be entirely free of the water, with the bottom turned upward, lay an Indian's canoe. It was made of bark, beautifully shaped, and it was evident had not been used for a considerable time. They silently surveyed this object for some time, when Oonamoo, who had also been examining the earth around it gave vent to a chuckling, guttural laugh-a sure sign that he had made some discovery which delighted him hugely. It would have been an amusing sight for any one to have seen this expression of pleasure upon the dark, stoical face of the Huron. There was scarcely a change of his features, but such as was perceptible would have been mistaken by an ordinary observet as an evidence that he was undergoing some physical pain. "What is the matter what is it that prleases you, Oonamoo " asked O'Hara, considerably puzzled to understand the cause. " Shawnee fool-Miami fool-don't know notting." " What makes you think so " "He come out dere !" he replied, poirting at the end of the canoe which lay nearest the water, and then indulging his characteristic chuckle again. As we have hinted in the preceding pages, O'Hara was a mnost skillful backwoodsman, having few superiors among those of his own color. When he chose to exercise his wood-craft, the true cause of his being termed a lucky hunter was apparent, it being nothing more than his wonderful skill and shrewd- ness. But, remarkable as wvere those qualities in him, he was by no means equal to the Huron. Those signs, invisible in the deep labyrinths of the woods to common eyes, were as plain to him as the printed pages of the book to the scholar. In the preceding chapter, we have endeavored to give some idea of thie skill he displayed when these qualities were called into requisition. O'Llara, understan Jing perfectly the superior anility of his dusky friend, relied tpoii him to solve all diffi- cilties that might arise, scarcely making any effort himself to do so. This will account for his apparent ignorance of the secrets of the forest, which, perhaps has been noticed by the reader 91.91 AN INGENIOUS ARTICH. " Shawnee lool-Miami fool-don't know notting," :epeated the Huron. " They don't know as much as you, that's sartiu ; but I've round more than once they knowed enough to satisfy me." "1e come out dere," sail Oonamoo, again. Finding there was little chance of gaining what information he wished from the Indian, O'Hara set about solving the dif ticulty himself. The former having announced that Dernor had left the creek at this point, it now remained' for him to determine by what means he had thrown his pursuers off the scent, as it was very manifest he had done. The ground around the canoe was quite wet and spongy, showing the numerous footprints wit2z considerable distinctness. Among these, it was very easy to distinguish that of the leader of the Riflemen. The instant O'Hara saw this, he became aware of the curious fact that it was more recent than those of the Indian, proving that Dernor had foltowed them, instead of they having follQwed him! HIow this was accomplished, the hunter Was at a loss to determine, although, from. the expression of the Indian's face, he knew it was all plain to him. " Lew has gone over this ground last," said O'Hara, " but how he has done it, I can't see just now. How was it " " Look under canoe," said Oonamoo. O'Hara's eyes opened, as he began to comprehend matters. He caiefully raised one end of the.canoe, and saw at once that his leader had lain beneath it, while his enemies were search- ing for him. A few words more from the Huron, and every thing was explained. Believing the reader will be interested in the description of the ingenious artifice adopted by the hunter, we here give it as briefly as possible. It may seem incredible that Lewis Dernor should have been concealed beneath this Indian canoe, when fully a dozen savages were thirsting for his scalp, and when it would have appeared the height of absurdity to think that they would fail to look beneath it. Nevertheless, sue::h was really the ctase. It happened in the following manner: When the Rifleman discovered the canoe lying against the bank, he sprung .fi-om the water, coming upon the frail barken structure with such force that he perceptibly started the bottom. It thus appeared to have been deserted for its THP. RIPfEMPIN OF T1HE MIAMI. uselessness. Steppin- off of this upon the swampy ground, he walked about twtvnity yards up the bank, when lie turned to the left, and approached the water atrain. rflle trail which !he left was so distinct that no one could fail to see, he ieaving p)urposely nfiade it thus. Instead of taking to the water again. as it would appear lie had dolie, hie iimerely entered its mrtrgin, and thlen wAlked backward to the canoe again, steppinig so exactly in his own footsteps, that the wily Sliawnees and lMiamis had no suspicion of the stratagem practiced. Reaching the canoe, lie managared to lift it, without changing its position, when lie loweredl it again, without making any additional footprints. This done, lie slipped beneath it, drew up his feet, and confidently awaited the approach of the savages. In about twenty minutes they came up. The foremost paused, upon seeing the canoe with its cracked bottom, and were about to overturn it, when their eyes rested upon the footprints of the fugitive. There was no need of looking beneath it, for they could see the direction he had taken. He was going at such speed that they had no time to pause, and they immediately dashed off in pursuit, the others following suit, like so many hounds. So soon as he was satisfied they were out of sight, the Rifleman came from beneath the canoe, carefully setting it back in its place again, and struck off in the woods at a more leisurely gait. "All safe-nebber git on track agin," said Oonamoo. "Don't believe they will. By gracious ! but I should hate to try that trick of Lew's. Just s'pose they had looked under ! it would have been all up with him. I daresn't use such means, 'cause I haven't got legs enough for emergencies. Where does the trail lead to now, Oonamoo " "Where gal hid-go get her now-Injin know notting about it." " I s'pose Lew will take his time now, as he knows he's got the dogs off his track." "Go slow little ways-then run fast-want to see gal. The Huron certainly displayed some knowledge of the workings of the heart when he remarked, in substance, that, although the lover might proceed at a moderate gait for some distance, it would not be long before the thoughts of Edith would urge him to as great exertions as he had dioslayed 94 ToM PUR8UIT BY NIGHT. during the height of the chase. True to what he had said, O'Hara noticed that his footsteps gradually lengthened until it was manifest that he had been " letting himself out" again. It was now getting well along in the afternoon. The Huron struck into a sort of a compromise between a walk and a trot, he being anxious to make what progress he could before darkness set in. They had .come too far to overtake Dernor and Edith the next damr and O'Hara began really to believe that the two had reached the settlement by this time. Upon mentioning this supposition to Oonamoo, the latter shook his head-meaning that all danger had not been overcome by the fugitives. The woods were too full of Indians, and the settlement was too far away for them to accomplish the rest of their journey without danger. Objects were just growing indistinct, when O'Hara and the HMron came upon the bushes where Edith had been concealed. They saw that Dernor had approached on the opposite side from which he had left it, and that upon being rejoined by his charge, he had once more started northward, as if his desire was still to remain above his enemies, and avoid, as much as lay in his power, all probabilities of encountering them. " I s'pose we've got to lay on our oars, as the sailors say, till daylight," said O'Hara. The Huron looked at him, as if he failed to comprehend him, and he added, in explanation: " There being no light, of course we can't see their tracks, and will have to wait till morning." "No. wait-go on all night." " How will you do that " "Oonamoo know which way dey go." "I don't deny that, but, smart as you are, I don't believe you can see a trail on such a night as this." " Don't want to see trail-know which way go-ego up, then go off toward settlement." O'Hara understood that the Huron had formed his idea of the, general direction which the Rifleman had taken, and intended to follow him in this manner. Being thoroughly well acquainted with the country, there was no difficulty ii doing this; and, without pausing to think of drink or food, 96 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. the two resumed their pursuit as hopefully and confldenlyr as though the matter were already settled. To follow up thus persistently one of the most skillful border-men of the period, with the desire of assisting him in whatever strait he may have gotten himself, would have been the acme of absurdity upon the part of those undertaking it, and would have gained for them no thanks for attempting it, had the circumstances been difficult. But, incommoded as he was by the charge of Edith, and environed by enemies, it could hardly be expected that he would come through unscathed. His enemies, fully aware of the difficulties of his situation, undoubtedly were using every endeavor to thwart him, it being, certain that they were aware of his identity. To have captured the leader of the Riflemen of the Miami would have been a feat of which even a war-party would have been proud, and the Huron well knew they would not give over their efforts until he was absolutely beyond their reach. This was the reason why he was so anxious to prese forward as far as it would be prudent to venture during the darkness. By midnight the two had reached a point above which the Huron believed the fugitives would not go; and being unable to determine the precise course which they had taken after this, they concluded-to wait until daylight before going further. Accordingly they lay down on the ground, both dropping to sleep immediately, and both waking at precisely the same moment, just as the light of the day was appearing. A half-hour's search discovered the trail of their friends within several hundred yards of where they had slept-thus close and exact had been the calculation of the sagacious Huron. He and O'Hara now began to entertain hopes that, after all, the fugitives had succeeded in reaching the settle- nent. T1le latter, at the most, was not more than twenty mniles distant; and, had Dernor been allowed the entire night to travel, he could have safely reached it. A critical exami- nation of his footprints, however, revealed the fact that they had not been made more than twenty hours before. If he had reached the settlement, therefore, he must have done it in the latter part of the preceding day. The two now pressed on with all haste. They had gone 96 TIM LOG-MIMT. scarcely a half-mile, when both made a startling discovery. Numerous moccasin-tracks became suddenly visible, and O'Hara needed no prompting to understAnd that the persistent Indians were again upon the trail of the fugitives. How they hadl succeeded in regaining it, after being so cleverly misled, was a mystery. The Huron accounted for it only upon the suppositon that they had come upon it by accident. A slight comparison of the two trails by Oonamoo showed that the savages were close behind their friends-so close that they could overtake them erc they could reach their destination- Lhe settlement- ChAPTER XI. AT BAY. Like lightning from storm-clouds on high, The hurtling, death-winged arrows fly, And windrows of pale warriors lie! Oh! never has the sun's briglht eye Looked fromt his lill-top in the sky, Upon a field so glotious.-G. P. MORRIS. As Oonamoo and O'Hara pressed forward, they found they we'e gaining very rapidly upon the pursuers and pursued. As for the Huron, lhe had an apprehension amountingr almost ,,o a certain conviction that thie leader of the RifleZ., arter all, had committed a sad mistake, in. beiieving that he was safe from his enemies, after being rejoined by Edith. This belief had led him into some trap, and the faithful Indian felt .that his services were sorely needed at that very moment. It -was yet early in the day, when he and the hunter ascended a sort of ridge, 'which afforded. them quite an extensive view of the surrounding wilderness. Here, care- fully protecting their persons fromt observation, they lookefd out over the forest in quest of signs of human beings. The unexplerienced person might have looked for hours without discovering the slightest evidence of animnal life in the vasc Fxpaluse spread out befc-ei him. Ile would have seen the 36 4 97 TEE; AIMMEMBE! OF THE MAMI. dark emerald of these western wilds cut by the gleaming silver of many a stream and river; the tree-tops gently bowed, like a field of grain, when the breeze rides over it; and over, head, perhaps, would have been noted the flocks of birds circling in curious figures; but all beneath would have been gilent-silent, save in that deep, solemn murmur which com6s np perpetually like the voice of the ocean. Bilt the Huron had scarcely glanced over the sylvan scene, when his dark eye rested upon what, to him, was a most palpable evidence of the presence of others in these woods. Al)out a half-mile distant, on the edge of a small clearing, stood the remains of a log fort. This was subjected to a most searching scrutiny by both, but, for a time, O'Hara discovered nothing unusual in its appearance. "He's dere-he and the gal," said Oonamoo, pointing toward the pile of logs. "How do you know that Have you seen him " 1See now what he done-he's dere.. Look agin." "I've looked at them logs ever since we've bNen standing here, but hain't seen Lew or the gal yet." " Eber seen logs afore " " Have I ever seen them logs before Yes, often." " How they look when last see him " " The same as they do now, I believe." " Sure" asked Oonamoo, in a tone that revealed all to O'Hara. He now looked again toward the remains of the log-fort, and understood at once the meaning of the Huron's question. Ile had passed by the spot during the preceding autumn, and noticed that the logs were scattered and thrown down, as if a tornado had passed over the spot. Now, how- ever, there was system in their arrangement-proof sure that the hand of.man had been employed upon them. The Huron hlad seen them scarcely a week before, and knew that all tIhese changes had been made since-that, in fact, Lewis i "unior had made them, and at, that moment was standing at bay behind them. While yet they were looking, they saw something gleaw for an instant in the sunlight, and then disappear as if drawn hehind the logs. "That was Lew's -ifle," said O'Hara. "le ai ays keeps 98 RECONNOITERING. the barrel polished up so that it nearly blinds a pelson to shoot." ' ISh! look." At the point where they had witnessed the movement of this bright object, they now saw a red jet of flame spout out, a wreath of blue smoke arise, and then came the report of a rifle. " There's one red-skin the less," said O'Hlara. " When Lew pulls trigger, something is sure to go uinder." Want us there," said Oonamoo, starting down the ridge on his peculiar trot, and moving off toward what may now properly be termed a fort. Upon coming in its vicinity, both exercised the greatest caution in their movements, knowing, as they did, that it was besieged by their deadly enemies. A half-hour's reconnoitering by both showed that there were ten Indians, exclusive of one dead one, collected at one end of the clearing, where each, safely ensconced behind -a tree, was patiently waiting for a shot at the Rifleman, whom they now at last believed they had fairlj cornered. Upon witnessing this condition of affairs, OQnamoo and O'Hara debated a proposition proposed by the latter. It was that the Huron, who was very fleet of foot, should instantly make all haste to the settlement, and return with the Rifle- med and a sufficient force to scatter the besieging Indians to the four winds. This undertaking would require more than five hours at the utmost to fulfill it, but those five hours were so precious, that Oonamoo decided not to make the attempt He felt sure that unless Dernor surrendered, the party of savages would attack the place in a body before two hours elapsed; and, brave and determined as lie knew the Rifleman to be, he could see that a resistance upon his part. would be uiseless. He, therefore, acted with hisc usual wisdom, ii deciding to remain upon the ground to render assistancle wl1ell it would be needed. The first, plan adopted by O'Hara and the Huron was to keep their position, remaining carefully concealed, until th(l savages should move forward to the assault, when, as the (ormer expressed it, they would " wade in promiscuously." This project offered to its origirators the great point of 99 THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. excitement and desperate fighting, but was finally rejected by the Huron for the last reason. It is a very pleasant thing for a nation to think itself invincible and able to conquer all others with which it may come in collision. The same sensations, in a smaller degree, nt doubt are experienced by two persons when, in the flush of the moment, they feel able to combat with five times their numbers; but, if time be allowed, the " sober second thought " will prevail, and action will be guided more by prudence than madness. The Huron was as brave a man as ever breathed, but lhe was also as shrewd and cunning. He knew well enough that should he and O'Hara rush in upon ten desperate, well-armed warriors, no matter how fiercely they miglt fight, the result would be that both would be killed and no one benefited. He, therefore, determined to resort once more to his powers of stratagem. The great point now was to make Dernor aware of the vicinity of his two friends. Without this Oonamoo would be more likely to be shot by him than by the savages. This part of the stratagem was the most difficult to accomplish. The Shawnees and Miamis being collected at one end of the clearing, it could not be expected that any signal, however skillfully or guardedly made, would attract the notice of Dernor. It might possibly be seen by Edith, but would not be understood. This means, therefore, was not even attempted. The besieged Riflemen of course kept himself invisible. He had become aware, when within a mile or so of the present spot, that he was again pursued by his unrelenting enemies, and making all haste thither, had thrown the logs together as compactly and securely as the time allowed him would permit. He had brought down one of his assailants, and they in turn had buried some twenty balls in the logs around him, without inflicting injury upon either Edith or himself. In lihe hope of giving his leader an inkling of the condition of affairs, O'Hara uttered a whistle, so perfect an imitation of the call of a certain bird, that the suspicious Shawnees and Miaimis failed to notice it.- Pausing a few moments, h( repeated it, and then awaited the action of Oonamoc Whether Dernor hald caughit the si-na' or not, of course h-6 100 J UST IN TIME. friends had no means of judging; but the 1luron, knowing that if he had not his own death was certain, now coolly made the desperate attempt he had decided upon. Securely sheltered behind Ilis log-fort, Dernor stood with cocked rifle awaiting his chance to pick off one of his enemies. Every faculty was absorbed in this, and he scarcely removed his eye once from the spot where lhe knew they were collected. Ile was aware of their exact number, as he was also of the fact that Girty, the renegade, was not among them. His lips were compressed, a dark scowl had settled upon his face, and it would have been easy for any one to have read the iron determination of his heart. lie was at bay, it was true, and he was not ignorant of the desire of the savages to gain pos- session of him. Ile said nothing to Edith of the resolve lie had made, but she needed no telling to understand it. So long as life remained, her defender would never desert her. He was standing thus, gazing stealthily out through a- loop- hole, when Edith, who was watching every portion of the clearing, placed her hand on his shoulder and told him that an Indian was stealing toward them from the eide opposite to that on which their enemies were collected. As quick as thought Dernor wheeled around, pointed his rifle out and took aim at the approaching savage. The latter saw the movement, understood fully its cause, and yet made no attempt to escape, relying entirely upon the chances of the Rifleman discovering his identity before firing. His faith was rewarded, althcugh Oonamoo came nigher death in that single moment than ever he imagined. Dernor's finger was already pressing the triggers when he saw directly behind the approaching Indian the barrel of a rifle project from behind a tree and then disap- pear again. This served to arrest his attention, and before he renewed his aim the round face of O'Hara was thrust forth and disappeared again. This led him to examine the face of the venturesome Indian. A single glance and he recognized Oonamoo, the faithful Huron. Ile instantly drew his rifle in, and the latter, understanding the meaning of it, sprung nimbly forward, anct with one bound cleared the opposing barricades and came down beside the besieged Rifleman. The latter grasped his hand and silently pressed it. "Who is with you " he asked, after relinquishing it. 101 Tki RMILMEN OF ThE Mof, "'Harar-short feller--legs like bent Injin's bow." "Nobody else " "Nobody else," replied the Huron. "You watch that side, then, Oonamoo, and I will attend to this." " No watch this side-no Injin come here-all on toder side -me watch with you-come round this sade bime-by." "Do as you please; you're an Injin and ought to under- stand them." Oonamoo had been seen by -the besieging savages as he bounded over the logs, and, for a few minutes, they were puzzled to understand the meaning of so singular an ocurrence. Their first impression was that one of their number, more daring than the others, had taken this desperate means of getting at the Rifleman, and they listened intently for sounds of combat and struggles between them; but, as moment after moment passed without the silence being disturbed, their eyes were opened to the fact that he had been reinforced by a formidable ally; and this, too, when a little foresight on their part would have prevented it. Having felt certain, previous to this, that the white man had no friends in the vicinity, they had neglected to surround his fort, so as to prevent their approach. To prevent any thing further happening like this, a part of the band now proceeded to get on the opposite side of him. There was but one way in which this could be done with- out being menaced by the rifles of the besieged party. Several of the Indians, being careful to keep the protecting trees before them, slowly retreated backward until they had gone far enough in the wood to be safe, when they passed around and approached the fort from the opposite side. It was not long before they became aware that the friend of the Rifleman was fully as sagacious as himself, and that, after all, the parties were not so unequally matched. The threatening muzzles were constantly protruding from behind those logs, and it was absolute suicide for any one to attempt to stand before them Dernor having caught a glimpse of O'Hara, his companion, wondered considerably that he did not follow the example of the Huron, and unite with him in the fort. Thus strength- ened, his confidence would have been restored, and he weild EDITH CONFUSED. bid defiance to the Shawnees and Miamis. But, as he waned, and finally saw that a number of Indians had succeeded in getting behind him, he wais compelled to give up this hope. This excited speculation the more upon his part, because he was fully aware of O'Hara's defects, and felt that it would have been the most prudent course for him to adopt. At length he questioned the Huron: " Where's Tom " " Dunno-gone away." " Why didn't he do as you did-come over and join mc" "Tom 'Hara goin' to do mumkin'- else-he know what." "I expect he does. . He'd better move his carcise from where he was a few minutes ago, or them dogs will move it for him." " He know-dey won't move 7dm-hle get out way soon enough." "le's got too short legs," said Dernor, who, aware of the affection the Huron bore him, and experiencing a sort of reaction of his spirits after their continued depression, was disposed to quiz QOonamoo a little. " Got tong eyes, dough," replied he, quickly. " Got long eyes " laughed Dernor. "I doa't know as they're any longer than mine." " Good 'eal longer. Tom 'Hara neber let Shawnee and Miami get him atween the logs-he know too much." Dernor felt the sarcasm of this remark and took it kindly. "1 Neither would they have got me here, had.I been alone." It would be difficult to describe the expression that illumi- nated the Huron's face at this remark. He turned his dark, bamilisk orbs (their fierceness now subdued into a softer light) full upon Edith, who, seated upon a portion of one of the logs, was listening to the conversation. The muscles around the corners of his mouth twitched a little, a wrinkle or two gathered, his beautiful white teeth became visible, but she only half-suspected that he was smiling. " Nice gal," said he, his voice now as soft as a woman's "White man love her-fight for her-Oonamoo do so too." She did not know whether to be pleased or frightened at the look of the Huron. In her perplexity she turned toward Dernor. THE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. "You needn't be alarmed," said he, understanding he! embarrassment. "Oonamoo here is an old and tried friend, and will stand by you as long as I will, which," he added, in a lower tone, "will be as long as the One above givcs me breath. He is devoted to mne if he doesn't love you." " Yes, Oonamoo does-he love all white folks-love the gals-clever to him and feed him when hungry." Dernor merely smiled, believing that the remark of the savage fully explained his passion without any qualifying observation of his own. " Oonamoo love white folks-love missionaries-tell him all about God up dere"-pointing upward-" spirit land- happy place-Oonamoo don't take scalp when Injin sleeping -so he go up dere when he die." "I believe you will, for if there ever was an honorable savage you are one," said Dernor, warmly. The Huron made no reply to this compliment, evidently thinking enough had been said. It must not be supposed that this conversation occurred in the connected form in which we have given it. Several moments sometines elapsed between the different remarks, and hardly once during its progress did Dernor look at the savage. Once or twice he turned toward Edith, as also did Oonamoo, but the danger that menaced him was too great for either tc be diverted from it. Some twenty minutes had elapsed, when an exclamation from the Huron showed that some new scheme was afoot. Immediately after, a blazing arrow came whizzing through the air, and buried itself in the logs.. The sharp crackling told that the twist of flame had communicated with the logs and it was burning. "My God ! are we to be burnt alive" exclaimed Dernor, losing his self-possession for a moment. "Ugh-can't burn-logs too wet-go out," replied his unmoved companion. So it proved, although an inch or two of some of the logs were sufficiently seasoned to take fire, they were all too damp and soaked to burn. Oonamoo had hardly spoken when the blaze went out of itself. A perfect storm of arrows, tipped with burning tow, now came sailing in upon them, but 104 THIE SITUATION. the only inconvenience they occasioned was a blinding, suffocating smoke, which lasted, however, but a few moments. " Where the deuce did they get their bows and tow from I" asked Dernor. " Do they carry such articles with them " " Sent for 'em after git here," replied Oonamoo. " Won't any of these logs burn " "Too wet-smoke-but won't blaze." The Indians soon found that nothing could be accomplifhed in the way of burning out the fugitives, so they ceased the attempt only to devise some other expedient. What this was to be, the besieged party for, a long time were unable to determine. The first warning they had was a bullet, which grazed the face of Oonamoo, coming in at the top of the fort. "U Ugh! Shawnee climb tree-Oonamoo fetch him out lere," said the latter, sheltering himself as quick as lightning, and peering out in the hope of gaining a glimpse of the miscreant who had come so near shooting him. He was disappointed, however, the savage descending the tree with such skill and caution that his person was never once exposed to the eagle eye of the Huron. For an hour succeeding this last attempt nothing further was done by the besieging savages. They carefully kept their bodies concealed, so that the utmost watchfulness on the part of Oonamoo and Dernor failed to get a shot at them. They saw enough, however, to make them certain they were surrounded by their enemies, and that for the present, at least, under Heaven, they had nothing but their own bravery and good rifles to rely upon. There were several means by which the fugitives could be compelled to succumb in the end, if these means were only employed by the savages. The first and obviously safest was to keep up the siege until they were compelled to come to terms. Dernor had not a drop of water nor a particle of food, and consequently this plan on the part of the besiegers would have been onlY a question of time. Again, a rapid and determined assault could scarcely fail to take the Rifleman anc the Huron. There were ten Indians to make the attempt, but those ten knew well enough that two of their number would never live to reach the fort in cuse the rush was made 1015 TUBE RILLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. nal that there would be desperate work before the two mer. could be overcome. During the hour of silence these plans occurred to Dernor, and he mentioned the first to Oonamoo. The cunning savage shook his head. "Won't do that-afeard." "Afraid of what " "Settlement two-t'ree-fifteen mile off-afeard other Long Knives come afore we got starve." "I hope the boys are somewhere in the woods. Why don't the cowardly dogs rush in upon us They could batter these logs down ia five minutes." "Afrard we batter 'em down," replied the Huron, with a sparkle of his black eyes. " We would surely knock some of them over, but I don't suppose we could finish up the whole ten." " Finish some-don't know which-dat de reason." " Their heads are so full of their devilish inventions, I should think they could get up some way to attack us with- out getting a shot at them." "Attack purty soon-keep eye peeled-don't see notting " "Nothing at all," replied the Rifleman, who, all this time, was peering through a chink in the logs and not looking at the Indian. Taking it for granted that if the Huron saw no danger there could be none, Dernor turned toward Edith, and asked, in that low, passionate tone which he instinctively assumed in addressing her: " And how do you feel, dear Edith, all this time " " My courage, I think, will bear up as long as yours," she answered, with a faint smile. " It will bear up to the end, then," he added. Then look- ing at her a moment, he continued: "Edith, how you must feel toward me for bringing you into this trouble ! I have been thinking of it for the last day or two." "Did you do it on purpose" she asked. "That is, did you know we should be pursued and persecuted as we have been when we started " " Know it of course no L. I woulI have been hllot bdmre I would have como" 106 THIM CRISIS. "Then why do you ask me such a question No, Lewis, I do not blame you in the least. On the contrary, I shall never be able to express the gratitude I feel for what you have done." This was the first time Edith had addressed the Rifleman by his given name, and it gave him a peculiar pleasure which it would be difficult to describe. He was only restrained from approaching by the reflection that he would cut a most ridiculous figure in the presence of the Huron. His feelings were now such that, upon his own account alone, he would have welcomed several days' siege. In' fact, lhe would have cared very little had Oonamoo been a hundred miles distant just then. But these emotions were only temporary. Five minutes later, he felt heartily ashamed that he should have entertained them. " I am certain, Edith-" Further utterance was checked by an exclamation from the Huron. Looking forth, Dernor saw that the crisis of the contest had arrived! CHAPTER XIII. CONCLUSION. They come !-be firm-in sirence rally! The Long Knives our retreat have found! Hark! their tramp is in the valley, And they hem the forest round ! The burthened boughs with pale scouts quiver, The echoing hills tumultuous ring, While, across the eddying river, Their barks, like foaming war-steeds, spring, The bloodhounds darken land and water, They come-like buffaloes for slaughter.-G. P. MoRRIS. AT that point from which the Huron had advanced to the fort, the Shawnees and Miamis had now collected, preparatory to their final attack upon it. The wood being thick at this spot, they had little difficulty in keeping their bodies out of sight, the. besieged being enabled to judge of their position 107 TRE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. by the points of their rifles and portions of their dress, which they took no pains to conceal. "That means business," said Dernor, loosening his knife, and examining the priming of hig rifle. "What's their idea, Oonamoo " "Run all togedder-make big rush -all come from one side." Being satisfiec- of this, the Huron crossed over to the side of the hunter, so as to be ready for the assault. He was as cool as if sitting in his own wigwam, although none was more aware than himself of the peril .that hung over his head. Could the Shawnees or Miamis once obtain his person, no species of torment that their fiendish minds could invent would be left untried upon him. But he had played hide- and-seek too long with death, to be disconcerted in a moment like this. "What are they waiting for". asked Dernor, who began to grow impatient at the delay. "Ain't waitin'-here dey come !" As he spoke, ten Indians suddenly appeared to view, from behind as many trees, and, pausing a moment, set up a yell that must have been heard miles distant, and rushed with the speed of the whirlwind toward the fort. Half-way across the clearing they had come, when the sharp crack of two rifles was heard, and the two foremost savages, making a tremendous bound in the air, came down to the ground in their death- struggles. But the others were not checked in the least. On they came, right over the prostrate bodies, and the next minute were tearing at the pile of logs, with the fury of madmen. The Rifleman and the Huron had discharged their rifles together at the savages, as they came pouring forward; then drawing their knives, they awaited the onset. The logs, loosely thrown together, could not long resist the efforts to dislodge them, and, in a few minutes, came tumbling to the ground. The first bronzed skull that appeared above them was shattered like an egg-shiell, by the stock of the Huron's rifle; whIle, as the savages swarmed in, Dernor stooped, and catching Edith round the waist, bounded clear of the logs, and dashed at headlong speed acros the clearing. Right behind, like a pack of hounds, poured his relentless enemies, 108 SAVED. held in check solely by the Huron, who, covering the retreat of his whlite friends, raged like a tiger with his clubbed rifle; but, powerful and. agile as he was, he was finally brought to the earth, and, heedless of him, the savages poured onward, intent only on capturing Dernor and IE'ith. At this moment the edge of the clearing was reached; the fugitive had dashed into the wood, and his enemies were just following, when several flashes illuminated the edge of the forest, and simultaneous with the report, the remaining Riflemen of the Miami, with one exception, burst into the clearing and shot forward like a tornado toward the savages. The number of the whites was increasA by Harry and Jim Smith, but half of the Indians had already gone to the earth, and the remaining ones broke and scattered as if a mine had exploded beneath their feet. " Hello! anybody hurt " demanded Harry Smith. " Come back here, Lew, and let us see you." The fugitive had run quite a. distance; but, recognizing the voice of a friend, he halted, looked back, and then returned. In the clearing, he saw standing the panting, excited forms of the brothers Smith, Allmat, George Dernor and Ferdinand Sego! The latter was leaning on his rifle, and looked up as Leivis and Edith came to view. He instantly started, as if struck by a bullet, and gazed at her as though he doubted the evi- dence of his own eyes. Edith, on her part, was hardly less agitated. She trembled and leaned heavily a moment on the hunter's arm, and then, relinquishing her hold, bounded for- ward and was clasped in the arms of Sego. Neither spok6 until they- had partly recovered from their emotions; then they conversed in tones so low, that the bystanders, had they wished, could not have overheard the words that were said. All this time, as may well be supposed, Lewis Dernor was toitured by the most agonizing emotions. The beautiful dreams and air-castles which he had been continually forming and building during the past few days, now dissolved like mist in the air, and left nothing but the cold, cheerless reality, far colder and more cheerless than had ever before impressed him. Sego and Edith were reunited, and although there appeared to have been some mystery and misunderstanding 100 THIE RIFLEMEN OF THE MIAMI. between them, it was now cleared up, ani their happiness seemed complete.- The Rifleman drew a deep sigh and looked up. "I say, Lew," said his brother, "I've asked yer half a dozen times, whether there's any thing that need keep us here any longer " "The Huron-Oonaamoo " asked the hunter, looking around h1im. "Was Oonamoo with you -I recollect, now, Tom said he was. Well, that must be him, then, stretched out yonder." The two moved toward the prostrate form of the Indian, which lay upon its face. They rolled him over on his back, but lie wAas limp and nerveless as a rag. His body was still warm, but to all appearance he was entirely lifeless-a gash on the side of his face, from which a great quantity of blood had streamed over his person,. addinog to the ghastly appear- ance of the body. "Poor fellow! he's dead," said Lewis, with a saddened feeling, as he looked down upon him. "He was a faithful felloow. and had few equals. P'm sorry he's dead." " O.onamoo ain't dead," said.the prostrate individual, open- ing his eyes, and getting upon his feet with some difficulty. " Play 'possum-dat all." "You're a good one," said George Dernor, admiringly, as lhe supported hiim. "You've had considerable of a hurt though, along side of your noddle." Hit purty hard-hurt a leetle," said the Huron. "We'll dress your wounds as soon as we reach the brook out in the woods. What did you play 'possum for " " Fool Shawnee-fool Miami-t'ink dey cotch Lew and gal, den come and git Oonamoo scalp. If t'ink he ain't dead, kill him; wait- till get out of sight, den run." The meanin- of which was, that tHe Huron, upon being fel'lld to the earth, concluded it best to feign d6ath until his nemies were out of sighlt, whell lie would have risen to his eet and fled. The wound he had received was so severe, that lie knew Iis flight would be difficult and tardy, and ha, therefo-e, avoided giving any signs of -life as long as he had retason to believe the savages were in the vicinity. Of course be was perfectly conscious when the two Riflemen stood 110 OONAMOO S DEPARTURE. over him, and heard their words. Understanding at once from these the changed condition of affairs, he arose to aii feet, as we have mentioned. A few minutes later, the party was moving slowly through the wood. The brothers Smith led the way; behind them came Sego and Edith far more affectionate and loving than bile and Dernor had ever been. The latter, with his brother, nd Allmat and Oonamoo,.brought up the rear. In a few minutes they reached the brook, where the party halted. The stoical Huron had borne' up like a martyr thus far; but the precipitation with which he sought a seat the moment a pause was made, showed that he had taxed nature to the utmost. The cool fluid was taken from the brook 'in the canteens of the hunters, all the blood thoroughly washed from the Indian, and then the wound was carefully bandaged by Edith, from pieces of her own dress. This done, the savage rose to his feet-his head being so swathed and bundled up that it was nearly thrice its ordinary size-and looked about. him with an air that was truly amusing. "You'll be all right agin in a few days," said Harry Smith. ' Let's move on, as the day is getting well along." "Oonamoo don't go furder- leave you here," said the savage. "How is this Come, go with us to the settlement and stay till your wound gets better," said Lewis. All joined their entreaties, but it availed nothing. The savag-e had made up his mind, and it could not be changed. "Can't stay-Shawnees, Delawares, all round-git much scalp in woods," and waving them an adieu, he plunged into the forest. "Injin is Injin !" said Jim Smith; "you can't change his nature. Tile missionaries have had a hold of him, and made him an honorable red-skin, but they can't get that hankering atfter scalps out of him. Shall I tell you where he's going Ile's going back to the clearin' where them dead Injins are stretched, and intends to get their top-knots. I seen him look at 'em very wishful-like when we started away. He was too weak, and he didn't want to do it afore Edith, or he'd 've had 'em afore we left that place." (The next time the Riflemen encountered the Huron, it was All TVE IFILEMEN OF THE MIAMI. upon the war-trail, and full a dozen more scalp-locks hung A his girdle!] Again the party moved forward, now with considerable briskness, there being no cause for tardines3 or delay. Sego and Edith conversed in low tones, every look and action showing their perfect happiness, while the hardy leader of the Riflemen was as wretched an object as it is possible to imagine. They had progressed several miles, when, as they descended a sort of hollow, they encountered O'Hara, hurry- ing along as fast as the shortrtss of his legs would permit. Hello !" he exclaimed, suddenly halting. "Is the row done with " " Of course it is," replied H'arry Smith. " Who finished it " " We all had a hand in it, I reckon." " It's an all-fired shame. As soon as-where's Oonamoo " he abruptly demanded, looking around him. " Gone off in the woods for scalps." " Didn't lose his " "No; although he come mighty nigh losing his head." "It's an all-fired shame," resumed O'Hara. "As soon as he got inside the fort there with Lew, I streaked it for the settlement to get the boys. I told you to hurry, but after you got to the clearin', I wanted you to wait so that I could jine in the fun, and pitch in promiscuously. Why didn't you do it 1" "Matters were mixed up a little too much to allow us to wait," replied Lewis Dernor. "S'pose they was, but I'm mad and want to lick somebody. Won't you fight, Lew " The latter merely smiled, and the party moved on, O'llara being forced to bottle his wrath, as he could find no one upon whom to expend it. Occasionally, however, he and the brothers Smith had a war of words, but it amounted to nothing, being attended by no real ill-feeling upon eithei side. It was just growing dark when the party reached the set. tlement. The delight with which the fugitives were wel comed by the settlers need not be described. Many had had the most painful apprehensions regarding Edith, and nearly M1 A POUTING LO7EUR. every family felt as if one of its members had been restored, utpon her return, And the confidence which they reposed in the gallant-hearted Rifleman, the reliance which they placed upon his prowess and bravery, were such that all felt his death would have been a public calamity. The Riflemen remained several days in the settlement, there being no special cause for hurrying their departure While the members of this small party enjoyed themselves to the utmost, the sadness and dejection of their leader was re- marked by all. He was often seen wandering in the woods, silent and moody, resolutely refusing communication with any one. He carefully avoided Sego and Edith, until the latter, wondering more than the others at the cause of his changed behavior, sent word to him that she wished him to spend an evening with her. Dernor's first impulse was to refuse the invitation; but, on second -thought, he concluded to accept it, and he returned a reply promising to call upon her on the fbllowing evening. Edith wlas living with Smith, where Sego was also spend- ing his time, and, from the wording of her invitation, he con- fidently expected to meet her alone. He was considerably disappointed and chagrined, therefore, on entering the room, to find Sego seated within a few feet of her, the expression of both faces showing that each was full of happiness and utterly delighted with each other. Both welcomed him, and when he had been seated, Edith asked, rather abruptly: " Now, Lewis, what is the matter with you " "Nothing," he replied, looking at the toe of his moccasin, and feeling a little stubborn and ugly simply because his fair questioner was just the opposite. " Now you needn't tell me that," she persisted. "What makes you act so strangely-and keep away from me as though you lhated me" ' You ought to know," replied the hunter, more sullenly than before. " I I am sure I do not. Pray, what is it" The hunter, who was acting much like a pouting child, refused to make answer. Edith laughingly repeated her question several times, but it was not replied to. Still laugLh- ing and blushing, she arose, and moved her chair .\lct beside 36 5 113 TRE RIFLEMEN OF TIM, MAUI. him; then, sitting down, placed one of her warm hands in his. Gently patting his embrowned cheek with the other hand, she asked, in that voice which none butthe maiden can assume -who is conscious of her power: " Won't you tell Edith wbat troubles you " Matters were getting d6ecidedly dangerous. There sat the sullen hunter, his Lead bent, his lips closed, and his eyes fixed resolutely upon the toe of his moccasin. Right before these eyes, so directly before them that the view of his foot was almost hid, was the beaming, laughing, radiant face of Edith, looking right up in his own, her eyes sparkling, and her countenance a thousand times more lovely than ever. Several times Dernor felt like catching her to his bosom, and kissing her lips again and again; but, as he was on the very point of doing so, he remembered that Sego was in the room, and felt more angered than ever, and gazed harder than ever at his moccasin. " Won't you even look at me " asked Edfth, putting her open hand over his eyes, as if to pull his gaze down. He instantly looked her steadily in the face, without changing a muscle of his countenance, while she, folding her hands, returned the gaze with equal steadiness. Her lips, too, were resolutely closed, but her eyes fairly scintillated with mischief, and she seemed just able to prevent herself from laughing out- right. How long this oculistic contest would have continued we can not pretend to say, but it was ended by Edith asking: " What makes you look so troubled, Lewis " " Because I am," he replied, curtly. " Tell me the cause, and I will do all I call to help it." " It's you that have done it!" He spoke with deep feel- ing. " I that have done it !" repeated the girl, in consternation. eWhy, how did I do it " "Edith !" His words were ringingly clear. They were winged with reproof. "Do you want me to tell youle" "Of course I do." "When we were alone, you led me to believe that yor ,ed me. As soon as you saw Sego you went right into his arms, an) l A The lurking mirth and mischief in her face grew more 114 WOMAN, AND h1ER VICTIM. perceptible each moment, while he was certain, although he did not look in that direction, that Sego was doing his best to smother a laugh. "Well, what of that " she asked, looking down from his face and toyingr with a button at his waist. "WMat of that" he exclaimed, indignantly. "It is the meanest thing a person could do." The reader must be indulgent, and consider the circum- stances in which the hunter was placed. The mischievous Edith was tormenting him. How could she, being a woman, help it " Don't you believe I love you' 5" she asked, after a moment's pause. " Believe it To my sorrow and mortification, I know you don't." " Lewis I" "You love Sego, and I can be nothing to you but one of many friends," he added. " Yes, dearly do I love Sego !" the maiden replied, with the old roguishness in her eyes. "Fudge !" he exclaimed, impatiently, and making a move- ment as if to move away. " Edith"-he spoke earnestly-" I can not bear this trifling. I am sorry you have treated me thus. I must leave you-" " No, you must not leave me !" she as earnestly answered. "Do you wish to keep me here longer, to mortify me" " I have something more to say to you." " Say it quickly, then." "In the first place, look straight into my eves, as you did a few minutes ago." The hunter did as requested, although it was a harder task than he suspected. " Now," said Edith, " in the first place, I loe you; and, in the second place, I love him (pointing to Sego); but (here a pause) I do not feel the same toward each of you." "I shouldn't think youdid, the way things looked in the clearing !" Edith laughed outright, and then said: "Lewis, let me tell you something. The man sitting there, whom you know as Ferdinand Sego, tw my anon father I" 116 THE RIFLEMEN OF TEE MIAMI. "Is that so" demanded Dernor, almost springing off his seat. "Then, by thunder, if you ain't the most noble gal in the wide creation, and I the biggest fool." And he embraced her, unmindful of the presence of Sego, who seemed in danger of an epileptic fit from his excessive aughter. " How is this Let's understand matters," said the Rifle- man, a few minutes later. "I can soon explain," said Sogo. "To commence at the beginning, my name is Ferdinand Sego Sudbury. I emigrated out in this western country some years since, with my wife, and only daughter, Edith, here. Shortly after, my wife died; and, feeling lonely and dejected, I took to wandering in the woods, making long hunts, to while away the time. You remember when I encountered you,-nd received an invitation to make one of your number. I accepted it, with the under- standing that I could not spend my entire time with you. When not with you, I was at my own cabin, with my daughter I joined under the simple name which you have known me by, for no reason at all save that it was a mere notion, I having used that name in the East on more than one occasion. I kept my relations with your band secret from Edith, as I did not wish to alarm her by letting her know that I took part ia your desperate expeditions. "It happened on one occasion, when wandering along the Ohio, on my return to my cabin, that I encountered a flat- boat, in which were several of my acquaintances. At their urgent request, I waded out, was taken on board, and accom- panied them to their destination, down the river. Here I left them, and several days after reached my cabin. I found Edith gone. The undisturbed condition of the furniture forbade the supposition that she had been carried off by the savages. I endeavored to find her trail, but a storm obliterated all traces, anl I was compelled to give her up as lost. "It was quite a while before I rejoined you. When I did, T said nothing of my loss, not believiing that you knew any thing about it. It seems singular that I should have omitted to mention it; but, I will not deny I had a lingering suspi- cion that Edith had eloped with some young hunter, whose wouaintanse she had formed during my absence. After I 116 TXE DENOUEMENT. had been with you some time, I mentioned her name, but, you not having heard it, I gained no satisfaction by doing so. "NWhat happened after this is known, perhaps, better to yoll than to me. If you lave Edith, as I rather suspect you do, from all I have heard and seen, you are welcome to her. I know she has a strong affection for you." It is wonderful how a matter like the one in question will become known in a small community. The next day there was not a person in the whole settlement who was not aware of what has been related in the last few pages, and there was not one who did not rejoice in the happiness of the noble hearted leader of the Riflemen of the Miami: As we have hinted in the commencement of this work, the organization known by the name last mentioned, kept up its existence several years longer. Lewis Dernor remained its nominal leader, but, after his marriage, the exploits of its mem- bers became less frequent and noted. All, however, joined in the great border war which raged for several years previous to 1794. In Anthony Wayife's great battle of this year, Tom O'Hara and Ailmat fell, and, as has been said in another place, the organization was broken up, never again to be revived. Lewis Dernor and Edith lived to a ripe 1ld age, and their descendants at this day are among the most respect- able and widely-known of the inhabitants of Southern Ohh. 117