must be punished. They must be taught to keep the law." Here Cameron's voice grew gentle as a child's, but there was in its tone something that made the Chief glance quickly at his face. "Huh, my young men no steal cattle," he said sullenly. "No? I am glad to hear that. I believe that is true, and that is why I smoke with my brother beside his camp fire. But some young men in this band have stolen cattle, and I want my brother to find them that I might take them with me to the Commissioner." "Not know any Indian take cattle," said Running Stream in surly defiance. "There are four skins and four heads lying in the bluff up yonder, Running Stream. I am going to take those with me to the Commissioner and I am sure he would like to see you about those skins." Cameron's manner continued to be mild but there ran through his speech an undertone of stern resolution that made the Indian squirm a bit. "Not know any Indian take cattle," repeated Running Stream, but with less defiance. "Then it would be well for my brother to find out the thieves, for," and here Cameron paused and looked the Chief steadily in the face for a few moments, "for we are to take them back with us or we will ask the Chief to come and explain to the Commissioner why he does not know what his young men are doing." "No Blackfeet Indian take cattle," said the Chief once more. "Good," said Cameron. "Then it must be the Bloods, or the Piegans or the Stonies. We will call their Chiefs together." There was no hurry in Cameron's manner. He had determined to spend the day if necessary in running down these thieves. At his suggestion Running Stream called together the Chiefs of the various bands of Indians represented. From his supplies Cameron drew forth some more tobacco and, passing it round the circle of Chiefs, calmly waited until all had smoked their pipes out, after which he proceeded to lay the case before them. "My brothers are not thieves. The Police believe them to be honest men, but unfortunately among them there have crept in some who are not honest. In the bluff yonder are four hides and four heads of steers, two of them from my own herd. Some bad Indians have stolen and killed these steers and they are here in this camp to-day, and I am going to take them with me to the Commissioner. Running Stream is a great Chief and speaks no lies and he tells me that none of his young men have taken these cattle. Will the Chief of the Stonies, the Chief of the Bloods, the Chief of the Piegans say the same for their young men?" "The Stonies take no cattle," answered an Indian whom Cameron recognized as the leading representative of that tribe present. "How many Stonies here?" The Indian held up six fingers. "Ha, only six. What about the Bloods and the Piegans?" demanded Cameron. "It is not for me," he continued, when there was no reply, "to discover the cattle-thieves. It is for the Big Chief of this camp, it is for you, Running Stream, and when you have found the thieves I shall arrest them and bring them to the Commissioner, for I will not return without them. Meantime I go to bring here the skins." So saying, Cameron rode leisurely away, leaving Jerry to keep an eye upon the camp. For more than an hour they talked among themselves, but without result. Finally they came to Jerry, who, during his years with the Police, had to a singular degree gained the confidence of the Indians. But Jerry gave them little help. There had been much stealing of cattle by some of the tribes, not by all. The Police had been patient, but they had become weary. They had their suspicions as to the thieves. Eagle Feather was anxious to know what Indians were suspected. "Not the Stonies and not the Blackfeet," replied Jerry quietly. It was a pity, he continued, that innocent men should suffer for the guilty. He knew Running Stream was no thief, but Running Stream must find out the thieves in the band under his control. How would Running Stream like to have the great Chief of the Blackfeet, Crowfoot, know that he could not control the young men under his command and did not know what they were doing? This suggestion of Jerry had a mighty effect upon the Blackfeet Chief, for old Crowfoot was indeed a great Chief and a mighty power with his band, and to fall into disfavor with him would be a serious matter for any junior Chief in the tribe. Again they withdrew for further discussion and soon it became evident that Jerry's cunning suggestions had sown seeds of discord among them. The dispute waxed hot and fierce, not as to the guilty parties, who were apparently acknowledged to be the Piegans, but as to the course to be pursued. Running Stream had no intention that his people and himself should become involved in the consequences of the crimes of other tribes whom the Blackfeet counted their inferiors. Eagle Feather and his Piegans must bear the consequences of their own misdeeds. On the other hand Eagle Feather pleaded hard that they should stand together in this matter, that the guilty parties could not be disclosed. The Police could not punish them all, and all the more necessary was it that they should hold together because of the larger enterprise into which they were about to enter. The absence of the Sioux Chief Onawata, however, weakened the bond of unity which he more than any other had created and damped the ardor of the less eager of the conspirators. It was likewise a serious blow to their hopes of success that the Police knew all their plans. Running Stream finally gave forth his decision, which was that the thieves should be given up, and that they all should join in a humble petition to the Police for leniency, pleading the necessity of hunger on their hunting-trip, and, as for the larger enterprise, that they should apparently abandon it until suspicion had been allayed and until the plans of their brothers in the North were more nearly matured. The time for striking had not yet come. In this decision all but the Piegans agreed. In vain Eagle Feather contended that they should stand together and defy the Police to prove any of them guilty. In vain he sought to point out that if in this crisis they surrendered the Piegans to the Police never again could they count upon the Piegans to support them in any enterprise. But Running Stream and the others were resolved. The thieves must be given up. At the very moment in which this decision had been reached Cameron rode in, carrying with him the incriminating hides. "Here, Jerry," he said. "You take charge of these and bring them to the Commissioner." "All right," said Jerry, taking the hides from Cameron's horse. "What is up, Jerry?" said Cameron in a low voice as the half-breed was untying the bundle. "Beeg row," whispered Jerry. "Eagle Feather t'ief." "All right, keep close." Quietly Cameron walked over to the group of excited Indians. As he approached they opened their circle to receive him. "My brother has discovered the thief," he said. "And after all a thief is easily found among honest men." Slowly and deliberately his eye traveled round the circle of faces, keenly scrutinizing each in turn. When he came to Eagle Feather he paused, gazed fixedly at him, took a single step in his direction, and, suddenly leveling an accusing finger at him, cried in a loud voice: "I have found him. This man is the thief." Slowly he walked up to the Indian, who remained stoically motionless, laid his hand upon his wrist and said in a clear ringing voice heard over the encampment: "Eagle Feather, I arrest you in the name of the Queen!" And before another word could be spoken or a movement made Eagle Feather stood handcuffed, a prisoner. CHAPTER XIV "GOOD MAN--GOOD SQUAW" "That boy is worse, Mrs. Cameron, decidedly worse, and I wash my hands of all responsibility." The old army surgeon was clearly annoyed. Mandy sat silent, weary with watching and weary with the conflict that had gone on intermittently during the past three days. The doctor was determined to have the gangrenous foot off. That was the simplest solution of the problem before him and the foot would have come off days ago if he had had his way. But the Indian boy had vehemently opposed this proposal. "One foot--me go die," was his ultimatum, and through all the fever and delirium this was his continuous refrain. In this determination his nurse supported him, for she could not bring herself to the conviction that amputation was absolutely necessary, and, besides, of all the melancholy and useless driftwood that drives hither and thither with the ebb and flow of human life, she could imagine none more melancholy and more useless than an Indian crippled of a foot. Hence she supported the boy in his ultimatum, "One foot--me go die." "That foot ought to come off," repeated the doctor, beginning the controversy anew. "Otherwise the boy will die." "But, doctor," said Mandy wearily, "just think how pitiable, how helpless that boy will be. Death is better. And, besides, I have not quite given up hope that--" The doctor snorted his contempt for her opinion; and only his respect for her as Cameron's wife and for the truly extraordinary powers and gifts in her profession which she had displayed during the past three days held back the wrathful words that were at his lips. It was late in the afternoon and the doctor had given many hours to this case, riding back and forward from the fort every day, but all this he would not have grudged could he have had his way with his patient. "Well, I have done my best," he said, "and now I must go back to my work." "I know, doctor, I know," pleaded Mandy. "You have been most kind and I thank you from my heart." She rose and offered him her hand. "Don't think me too awfully obstinate, and please forgive me if you do." The doctor took the outstretched hand grudgingly. "Obstinate!" he exclaimed. "Of all the obstinate creatures--" "Oh, I am afraid I am. But I don't want to be unreasonable. You see, the boy is so splendidly plucky and such a fine chap." The doctor grunted. "He is a fine chap, doctor, and I can't bear to have him crippled, and--" She paused abruptly, her lips beginning to quiver. She was near the limit of her endurance. "You would rather have him dead, eh? All right, if that suits you better it makes no difference to me," said the doctor gruffly, picking up his bag. "Good-by." "Doctor, you will come back again to-morrow?" "To-morrow? Why should I come back to-morrow? I can do no more-- unless you agree to amputation. There is no use coming back to- morrow. I have other cases waiting on me. I can't give all my time to this Indian." The contempt in the doctor's voice for a mere Indian stung her like a whip. On Mandy's cheek, pale with her long vigil, a red flush appeared and in her eye a light that would have warned the doctor had he known her better. "Is not this Indian a human being?" she asked quietly. But the doctor was very impatient and anxious to be gone. "A human being? Yes, of course, a human being, but there are human beings and human beings. But if you mean an Indian is as good as a white man, frankly I don't agree with you." "You have given a great deal of your time, doctor," said Mandy with quiet deliberation, "and I am most grateful. I can ask no more for THIS INDIAN. I only regret that I have been forced to ask so much of your time. Good-by." There was a ring as of steel in her voice. The doctor became at once apologetic. "What--eh?--I beg your pardon," he stammered. "It is not at all necessary. Thank you again for all your service. Good-by." "Eh? I don't quite--" "Good-by, doctor, and again thank you." "Well, you know quite well I can't do any more," said the old doctor crossly. "No, I don't think you can." "Eh--what? Well, good-by." And awkwardly the doctor walked away, rather uncertain as to her meaning but with a feeling that he had been dismissed. "Most impossible person!" he muttered as he left the tent door, indignant with himself that no fitting reply would come to his lips. And not until he had mounted his horse and taken the trail was he able to give full and adequate expression to his feelings, and even then it took him some considerable time to do full justice to himself and to the situation. Meantime the nurse had turned back to her watch, weary and despairing. In a way that she could not herself understand the Indian boy had awakened her interest and even her affection. His fine stoical courage, his warm and impulsive gratitude excited her admiration and touched her heart. Again arose to her lips a cry that had been like a refrain in her heart for the past three days, "Oh, if only Dr. Martin were here!" Her experience and training under Dr. Martin had made it only too apparent that the old army surgeon was archaic in his practice and method. "I know something could be done!" she said aloud, as she bent over her patient. "If only Dr. Martin were here! Poor boy! Oh! I wish he were here!" As if in answer to her cry there was outside a sound of galloping horses. She ran to the tent door and before her astonished eyes there drew up at her tent Dr. Martin, her sister-in-law and the ever-faithful Smith. "Oh, oh, Dr. Martin!" she cried, running to him with both hands outstretched, and could say no more. "Hello, what's up? Say, what the deuce have they been doing to you?" The doctor was quite wrathful. "Oh, I am glad, that's all." "Glad? Well, you show your joy in a mighty queer way." "She's done out, Doctor," cried Moira, springing from her horse and running to her sister-in-law. "I ought to have come before to relieve her," she continued penitently, with her arms round Mandy, "but I knew so little, and besides I thought the doctor was here." "He was here," said Mandy, recovering herself. "He has just gone, and oh, I am glad. He wanted to cut his foot off." "Cut his foot off? Whose foot off? His own?" said Dr. Martin. "But I am glad! How did you get here in all the world?" "Your telegram came when I was away," said the doctor. "I did not get it for a day, then I came at once." "My telegram?" "Yes, your telegram. I have it here--no, I've left it somewhere-- but I certainly got a telegram from you." "From me? I never sent a telegram." "I beg your pardon, Mrs. Cameron. I understood you to desire Dr. Martin's presence, and--I ventured to send a wire in your name. I hope you will forgive the liberty," said Smith, red to his hair- roots and looking over his horse's neck with a most apologetic air. "Forgive the liberty?" cried Mandy. "Why, bless you, Mr. Smith, you are my guardian angel," running to him and shaking him warmly by the hand. "And he brought, us here, too," cried Moira. "He has been awfully good to me these days. I do not know what I should have done without him." Meantime Smith was standing first on one foot and then on the other in a most unhappy state of mind.
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