List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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to me."  He bent low before her, but did not touch her outstretched
hand.  As he turned toward the door Jerry slipped in before him.

"You let him go?" he cried excitedly, looking at the Superintendent;
but before the latter could answer a hand caught him by the coat
collar and with a swift jerk landed him on the floor.  It was Smith,
his face furiously red.  Before Jerry could recover himself Raven
had opened the door and passed out.

"Oh, how awful!" said Mandy in a hushed, broken voice.

Moira stood for a moment as if dazed, then suddenly turned to Smith
and said:

"Thank you.  That was well done."

And Smith, red to his hair roots, murmured, "You wanted him to go?"

"Yes," said Moira, "I wanted him to go."



Commissioner Irvine sat in his office at headquarters in the little
town of Regina, the capital of the North West Territories of the
Dominion.  A number of telegrams lay before him on the table.  A
look of grave anxiety was on his face.  The cause of his anxiety
was to be found in the news contained in the telegrams.  An orderly
stood behind his chair.

"Send Inspector Sanders to me!" commanded the Commissioner.

The orderly saluted and retired.

In a few moments Inspector Sanders made his appearance, a tall,
soldierlike man, trim in appearance, prompt in movement and
somewhat formal in speech.

"Well, the thing has come," said the Commissioner, handing
Inspector Sanders one of the telegrams before him.  Inspector
Sanders took the wire, read it and stood very erect.

"Looks like it, sir," he replied.  "You always said it would."

"It is just eight months since I first warned the government that
trouble would come.  Superintendent Crozier knows the situation
thoroughly and would not have sent this wire if outbreak were not
imminent.  Then here is one from Superintendent Gagnon at Carlton.
He also is a careful man."

Inspector Sanders gravely read the second telegram.

"We ought to have five hundred men on the spot this minute," he

"I have asked that a hundred men be sent up at once," said the
Commissioner, "but I am doubtful if we can get the Government to
agree.  It seems almost impossible to make the authorities feel the
gravity of the situation.  They cannot realize, for one thing, the
enormous distances that separate points that look comparatively
near together upon the map."  He spread a map out upon the table.
"And yet," he continued, "they have these maps before them, and the
figures, but somehow the facts do not impress them.  Look at this
vast area lying between these four posts that form an almost
perfect quadrilateral.  Here is the north line running from
Edmonton at the northwest corner to Prince Albert at the northeast,
nearly four hundred miles away; then here is the south line running
from Macleod at the southwest four hundred and fifty miles to
Regina at the southeast; while the sides of this quadrilateral are
nearly three hundred miles long.  Thus the four posts forming our
quadrilateral are four hundred miles apart one way by three hundred
another, and, if we run the lines down to the boundary and to the
limit of the territory which we patrol, the disturbed area may come
to be about five hundred miles by six hundred; and we have some
five hundred men available."

"It is a good thing we have established the new post at Carlton,"
suggested Inspector Sanders.

"Ah, yes, there is Carlton.  It is true we have strengthened up
that district recently with two hundred men distributed between
Battleford, Prince Albert, Fort Pitt and Fort Carlton.  But Carlton
is naturally a very weak post and is practically of little use to
us.  True, it guards us against those Willow Crees and acts as a
check upon old Beardy."

"A troublesome man, that Kah-me-yes-too-waegs--old Beardy, I mean.
It took me some time to master that one," said Inspector Sanders,
"but then I have studied German.  He always has been a nuisance,"
continued the Inspector.  "He was a groucher when the treaty was
made in '76 and he has been a groucher ever since."

"If we only had the men, just another five hundred," replied the
Commissioner, tapping the map before him with his finger, "we
should hold this country safe.  But what with these restless half-
breeds led by this crack-brained Riel, and these ten thousand

"Not to speak of a couple of thousand non-treaty Indians roaming
the country and stirring up trouble," interjected the Inspector.

"True enough," replied the Commissioner, "but I would have no fear
of the Indians were it not for these half-breeds.  They have real
grievances, remember, Sanders, real grievances, and that gives
force to their quarrel and cohesion to the movement.  Men who have
a conviction that they are suffering injustice are not easily
turned aside.  And these men can fight.  They ride hard and shoot
straight and are afraid of nothing.  I confess frankly it looks
very serious to me."

"For my part," said Inspector Sanders, "it is the Indians I fear

"The Indians?" said the Commissioner.  "Yes, if once they rise.
Really, one wonders at the docility of the Indians, and their
response to fair and decent treatment.  Why, just think of it!
Twenty years ago, no, fifteen years ago, less than fifteen years
ago, these Indians whom we have been holding in our hand so quietly
were roaming these plains, living like lords on the buffalo and
fighting like fiends with each other, free from all control.
Little wonder if, now feeling the pinch of famine, fretting under
the monotony of pastoral life, and being incited to war by the hot-
blooded half-breeds, they should break out in rebellion.  And what
is there to hold them back?  Just this, a feeling that they have
been justly treated, fairly and justly dealt with by the Government,
and a wholesome respect for Her Majesty's North West Mounted Police,
if I do say it myself.  But the thing is on, and we must be ready."

"What is to be done, sir?" inquired Sanders.

"Well, thank God, there is not much to be done in the way of
preparation," replied the Commissioner.  "Our fellows are ready to
a man.  For the past six months we have been on the alert for this
emergency, but we must strike promptly.  When I think of these
settlers about Prince Albert and Battleford at the mercy of Beardy
and that restless and treacherous Salteaux, Big Bear, I confess to
a terrible anxiety."

"Then there is the West, sir, as well," said Sanders, "the
Blackfeet and the Bloods."

"Ah, yes, Sanders!  You know them well.  So do I.  It is a great
matter that Crowfoot is well disposed toward us, that he has
confidence in our officers and that he is a shrewd old party as
well.  But Crowfoot is an Indian and the head of a great tribe with
warlike traditions and with ambitions, and he will find it
difficult to maintain his own loyalty, and much more that of his
young men, in the face of any conspicuous successes by his Indian
rivals, the Crees.  But," added the Commissioner, rolling up the
map, "I called you in principally to say that I wish you to have
every available man and gun ready for a march at a day's notice.
Further, I wish you to wire Superintendent Herchmer at Calgary to
send at the earliest possible moment twenty-five men at least,
fully equipped.  We shall need every man we can spare from every
post in the West to send North."

"Very good, sir.  They will be ready," said Inspector Sanders, and,
saluting, he left the room.

Two days later, on the 18th of March, long before the break of day,
the Commissioner set out on his famous march to Prince Albert,
nearly three hundred miles away.  And the great game was on.  They
were but a small company of ninety men, but every man was
thoroughly fit for the part he was expected to play in the
momentous struggle before him; brave, of course, trained in prompt
initiative, skilled in plaincraft, inured to hardship, oblivious of
danger, quick of eye, sure of hand and rejoicing in fight.
Commissioner Irvine knew he could depend upon them to see through
to a finish, to their last ounce of strength and their last blood-
drop, any bit of work given them to do.  Past Pie-a-pot's Reserve
and down the Qu'Appelle Valley to Misquopetong's, through the
Touchwood Hills and across the great Salt Plain, where he had word
by wire from Crozier of the first blow being struck at the south
branch of the Saskatchewan where some of Beardy's men gave promise
of their future conduct by looting a store, Irvine pressed his
march.  Onward along the Saskatchewan, he avoided the trap laid by
four hundred half-breeds at Batoche's Crossing, and, making the
crossing at Agnew's, further down, arrived at Prince Albert all fit
and sound on the eve of the 24th, completing his two hundred and
ninety-one miles in just seven days; and that in the teeth of the
bitter weather of a rejuvenated winter, without loss of man or
horse, a feat worthy of the traditions of the Force of which he was
the head, and of the Empire whose most northern frontier it was his
task to guard.

Twenty-four hours to sharpen their horses' calks and tighten up
their cinches, and Irvine was on the trail again en route for Fort
Carlton, where he learned serious disturbances were threatening.
Arrived at Fort Carlton in the afternoon of the same day, the
Commissioner found there a company of men, sad, grim and gloomy.
In the fort a dozen of the gallant volunteers from Prince Albert
and Crozier's Mounted Police lay groaning, some of them dying, with
wounds.  Others lay with their faces covered, quiet enough; while
far down on the Duck Lake trail still others lay with the white
snow red about them.  The story was told the Commissioner with
soldierlike brevity by Superintendent Crozier.  The previous day a
storekeeper from Duck Lake, Mitchell by name, had ridden in to
report that his stock of provisions and ammunition was about to be
seized by the rebels.  Immediately early next morning a Sergeant of
the Police with some seventeen constables had driven off to prevent
these provisions and ammunition falling into the hands of the
enemy.  At ten o'clock a scout came pounding down the trail with
the announcement that Sergeant Stewart was in trouble and that a
hundred rebels had disputed his advance.  Hard upon the heels of
the scout came the Sergeant himself with his constables to tell
their tale to a body of men whose wrath grew as they listened.
More and more furious waxed their rage as they heard the constables
tell of the threats and insults heaped upon them by the half-breeds
and Indians.  The Prince Albert volunteers more especially were
filled with indignant rage.  To think that half-breeds and Indians--
Indians, mark you!--whom they had been accustomed to regard with
contempt, should have dared to turn back upon the open trail a
company of men wearing the Queen's uniform!  The insult was

The Police officers received the news with philosophic calm.  It
was merely an incident in the day's work to them.  Sooner or later
they would bring these bullying half-breeds and yelling Indians to
task for their temerity.

But the volunteers were undisciplined in the business of receiving
insults.  Hence they were for an immediate attack.  The
Superintendent pointed out that the Commissioner was within touch
bringing reinforcements.  It might be wise to delay matters a few
hours till his arrival.  But meantime the provisions and ammunition
would be looted and distributed among the enemy, and that was a
serious matter.  The impetuous spirit of the volunteers prevailed.
Within an hour a hundred men with a seven-pr. gun, eager to exact
punishment for the insults they had suffered, took the Duck Lake
trail.  Ambushed by a foe who, regardless of the conventions of
war, made treacherous use of the white flag, overwhelmed by more
than twice their number, hampered in their evolutions by the deep
crusted snow, the little company, after a half-hour's sharp
engagement with the strongly posted enemy, were forced to retire,
bearing their wounded and some of their dead with them, leaving
others of their dead lying in the snow behind them.

And now the question was what was to be done?  The events of the
day had taught them their lesson, a lesson that experience has
taught all soldiers, the lesson, namely, that it is never safe to
despise a foe.  A few miles away from them were between three
hundred and four hundred half-breeds and Indians who, having tasted
blood, were eager for more.  The fort at Carlton was almost
impossible of defense.  The whole South country was in the hands of
rebels.  Companies of half-breeds breathing blood and fire, bands
of Indians, marauding and terrorizing, were roaming the country,
wrecking homesteads, looting stores, threatening destruction to all
loyal settlers and direst vengeance upon all who should dare to
oppose them.  The situation called for quick thought and quick
action.  Every hour added to the number of the enemy.  Whole tribes
of Indians were wavering in their allegiance.  Another victory such
as Duck Lake and they would swing to the side of the rebels.  The
strategic center of the English settlements in all this country was
undoubtedly Prince Albert.  Fort Carlton stood close to the border
of the half-breed section and was difficult of defense.

After a short council of war it was decided to abandon Fort
Carlton.  Thereupon Irvine led his troops, together with the
gallant survivors of the bloody fight at Duck Lake, bearing their
dead and wounded with them, to Prince Albert, there to hold that
post with its hundreds of defenseless women and children gathered
in from the country round about, against hostile half-breeds
without and treacherous half-breeds within the stockade, and
against swarming bands of Indians hungry for loot and thirsting for
blood.  And there Irvine, chafing against inactivity, eager for the
joyous privilege of attack, spent the weary anxious days of the
next six weeks, held at his post by the orders of his superior
officer and by the stern necessities of the case, and meantime
finding some slight satisfaction in scouting and scouring the
country for miles on every side, thus preventing any massing of the
enemy's forces.

The affair at Duck Lake put an end to all parley.  Riel had been
clamoring for "blood! blood! blood!"  At Duck Lake he received his
first taste, but before many days were over he was to find that for
every drop of blood that reddened the crusted snow at Duck Lake a
thousand Canadian voices would indignantly demand vengeance.  The
rifle-shots that rang out that winter day from the bluffs that
lined the Duck Lake trail echoed throughout Canada from ocean to
ocean, and everywhere men sprang to offer themselves in defense of
their country.  But echoes of these rifle-shots rang, too, in the
teepees on the Western plains where the Piegans, the Bloods and the
Blackfeet lay crouching and listening.  By some mysterious system
of telegraphy known only to themselves old Crowfoot and his braves
heard them almost as soon as the Superintendent at Fort Macleod.
Instantly every teepee was pulsing with the fever of war.  The

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