List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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"Oh, if I only had my horse," groaned Cameron, "I might have a
chance to turn them off just here."

At the point at which he stood the slope of the hillside fell
somewhat toward the left and away slightly from the mouth of the
funnel.  A skilled cowboy with sufficient nerve, on a first-class
horse, might turn the herd away from the cut-bank into the little
coulee that led down from the end of the fence, but for a man on
foot the thing was quite impossible.  He determined, however, to
make the effort.  No man can certainly tell how cattle will behave
when excited and at night.

As he stood there rapidly planning how to divert the rush of cattle
from that deadly funnel, there rose on the still night air a soft
rumbling sound like low and distant thunder.  That sound Cameron
knew only too well.  It was the pounding of two hundred steers upon
the resounding prairie.  He rushed back again to the right side of
the fenced runway, and then forward to meet the coming herd.  A
half moon rising over the round top of the hill revealed the black
surging mass of steers, their hoofs pounding like distant artillery,
their horns rattling like a continuous crash of riflery.  Before
them at a distance of a hundred yards or more a mounted Indian rode
toward the farther side of the funnel and took his stand at the very
spot at which there was some hope of diverting the rushing herd from
the cut-bank down the side coulee to safety.

"That man has got to go," said Cameron to himself, drawing his gun.
But before he could level it there shot out from the dim light
behind the Indian a man on horseback.  Like a lion on its prey the
horse leaped with a wicked scream at the Indian pony.  Before that
furious leap both man and pony went down and rolled over and over
in front of the pounding herd.  Over the prostrate pony leaped the
horse and up the hillside fair in the face of that rushing mass of
maddened steers.  Straight across their face sped the horse and his
rider, galloping lightly, with never a swerve or hesitation, then
swiftly wheeling as the steers drew almost level with him he darted
furiously on their flank and rode close at their noses.  "Crack!
Crack!" rang the rider's revolver, and two steers in the far flank
dropped to the earth while over them surged the following herd.
Again the revolver rang out, once, twice, thrice, and at each crack
a leader on the flank farthest away plunged down and was submerged
by the rushing tide behind.  For an instant the column faltered on
its left and slowly began to swerve in that direction.  Then upon
the leaders of the right flank the black horse charged furiously,
biting, kicking, plunging like a thing possessed of ten thousand
devils.  Steadily, surely the line continued to swerve.

"My God!" cried Cameron, unable to believe his eyes.  "They are
turning!  They are turned!"

With wild cries and discharging his revolver fair in the face of
the leaders, Cameron rushed out into the open and crossed the mouth
of the funnel.

"Go back, you fool!  Go back!" yelled the man on horseback.  "Go
back!  I have them!"  He was right.  Cameron's sudden appearance
gave the final and necessary touch to the swerving movement.
Across the mouth of the funnel with its yawning deadly cut-bank,
and down the side coulee, carrying part of the fence with them, the
herd crashed onward, with the black horse hanging on their flank
still biting and kicking with a kind of joyous fury.

"Raven!  Raven!" cried Cameron in glad accents.  "It is Raven!
Thank God, he is straight after all!"  A great tide of gratitude
and admiration for the outlaw was welling up in his heart.  But
even as he ran there thundered past him an Indian on horseback, the
reins flying loose and a rifle in his hands.  As he flashed past a
gleam of moonlight caught his face, the face of a demon.

"Little Thunder!" cried Cameron, whipping out his gun and firing,
but with no apparent effect, at the flying figure.

With his gun still in his hand, Cameron ran on down the coulee in
the wake of Little Thunder.  Far away could be heard the roar of
the rushing herd, but nothing could be seen of Raven.  Running as
he had never run in his life, Cameron followed hard upon the
Indian's track, who was by this time some hundred yards in advance.
Suddenly in the moonlight, and far down the coulee, Raven could be
seen upon his black horse cantering easily up the slope and toward
the swiftly approaching Indian.

"Raven!  Raven!" shouted Cameron, firing his gun.  "On guard!  On

Raven heard, looked up and saw the Indian bearing down upon him.
His horse, too, saw the approaching foe and, gathering himself, in
two short leaps rushed like a whirlwind at him, but, swerving
aside, the Indian avoided the charging stallion.  Cameron saw his
rifle go up to his shoulder, a shot reverberated through the
coulee, Raven swayed in his saddle.  A second shot and the black
horse was fair upon the Indian pony, hurling him to the ground and
falling himself upon him.  As the Indian sprang to his feet Raven
was upon him.  He gripped him by the throat and shook him as a dog
shakes a rat.  Once, twice, his pistol fell upon the snarling face
and the Indian crumpled up and lay still, battered to death.

"Thank God!" cried Cameron, as he came up, struggling with his
sobbing breath.  "You have got the beast."

"Yes, I have got him," said Raven, with his hand to his side, "but
I guess he has got me too.  And--" he paused.  His eye fell upon
his horse lying upon his side and feebly kicking--"ah, I fear he
has got you as well, Nighthawk, old boy."  As he staggered over
toward his horse the sound of galloping hoofs was heard coming down
the coulee.

"Here are some more of them!" cried Cameron, drawing out his guns.

"All right, Cameron, my boy, just back up here beside me," said
Raven, as he coolly loaded his empty revolver.  "We can send a few
more of these devils to hell.  You are a good sport, old chap, and
I want to go out in no better company."

"Hold up!" cried Cameron.  "There is a woman.  Why, there is a
Policeman.  They are friends, Raven.  It is the doctor and Moira.
Hurrah!  Here you are, Martin.  Quick!  Quick!  Oh, my God!  He is

Raven had sunk to his knees beside his horse.  They gathered round
him, a Mounted Police patrol picked up on the way by Dr. Martin,
Moira who had come to show them the trail, and Smith.

"Nighthawk, old boy," they heard Raven say, his hand patting the
shoulder of the noble animal, "he has done for you, I fear."  His
voice came in broken sobs.  The great horse lifted his beautiful
head and looked round toward his master.  "Ah, my boy, we have done
many a journey together!" cried Raven as he threw his arm around
the glossy neck, "and on this last one too we shall not be far
apart."  The horse gave a slight whinny, nosed into his master's
hand and laid his head down again.  A slight quiver of the limbs
and he was still for ever.  "Ah, he has gone!" cried Raven, "my
best, my only friend."

"No, no," cried Cameron, "you are with friends now, Raven, old
man."  He offered his hand.  Raven took it wonderingly.

"You mean it, Cameron?"

"Yes, with all my heart.  You are a true man, if God ever made one,
and you have shown it to-night."

"Ah!" said Raven, with a kind of sigh as he sank back and leaned up
against his horse.  "That is good to hear.  It is long since I have
had a friend."

"Quick, Martin!" said Cameron.  "He is wounded."

"What?  Where?" said the doctor, kneeling down beside him and
tearing open his coat and vest.  "Oh, my God!" cried the doctor.
"He is--"  The doctor paused abruptly.

"What do you say?  Oh, Dr. Martin, he is not badly wounded?"  Moira
threw herself on her knees beside the wounded man and caught his
hand.  "Oh, it is cold, cold," she cried through rushing tears.
"Can you not help him?  Oh, you must not let him die."

"Surely he is not dying?" said Cameron.

The doctor was silently and swiftly working with his syringe.

"How long, Doctor?" inquired Raven in a quiet voice.

"Half an hour, perhaps less," said the doctor brokenly.  "Have you
any pain?"

"No, very little.  It is quite easy.  Cameron," he said, his voice
beginning to fail, "I want you to send a letter which you will find
in my pocket addressed to my brother.  Tell no one the name.  And
add this, that I forgive him.  It was really not worth while," he
added wearily, "to hate him so.  And say to the Superintendent I
was on the straight with him, with you all, with my country in this
rebellion business.  I heard about this raid; and I fancy I have
rather spoiled their pemmican.  I have run some cattle in my time,
but you know, Cameron, a fellow who has worn the uniform could not
mix in with these beastly breeds against the Queen, God bless her!"

"Oh, Dr. Martin," cried the girl piteously, shaking him by the arm,
"do not tell me you can do nothing.  Try--try something."  She
began again to chafe the cold hand, her tears falling upon it.

Raven looked up quickly at her.

"You are weeping for me, Miss Moira?" he said, surprise and wonder
in his face.  "For me?  A horse-thief, an outlaw, for me?  I thank
you.  And forgive me--may I kiss your hand?"  He tried feebly to
lift her hand to his lips.

"No, no," cried the girl.  "Not my hand!" and leaning over him she
kissed him on the brow.  His eyes were still upon her.

"Thank you," he said feebly, a rare, beautiful smile lighting up
the white face.  "You make me believe in God's mercy."

There was a quick movement in the group and Smith was kneeling
beside the dying man.

"God's mercy, Mr. Raven," he said in an eager voice, "is infinite.
Why should you not believe in it?"

Raven looked at him curiously.

"Oh, yes," he said with a quaintly humorous smile, "you are the
chap that chucked Jerry away from the door?"

Smith nodded, then said earnestly:

"Mr. Raven, you must believe in God's mercy."

"God's mercy," said the dying man slowly.  "Yes, God's mercy.  What
is it again?  'God--be--merciful--to me--a sinner.'"  Once more he
opened his eyes and let them rest upon the face of the girl bending
over him.  "Yes," he said, "you helped me to believe in God's
mercy."  With a sigh as of content he settled himself quietly
against the shoulders of his dead horse.

"Good old comrade," he said, "good-by!"  He closed his eyes and
drew a deep breath.  They waited for another, but there was no

"He is gone," said the doctor.

"Gone?" cried Moira.  "Gone?  Ochone, but he was the gallant
gentleman!" she wailed, lapsing into her Highland speech.  "Oh, but
he had the brave heart and the true heart.  Ochone!  Ochone!"  She
swayed back and forth upon her knees with hands clasped and tears
running down her cheeks, bending over the white face that lay so
still in the moonlight and touched with the majesty of death.

"Come, Moira!  Come, Moira!" said her brother surprised at her
unwonted display of emotion.  "You must control yourself."

"Leave her alone.  Let her cry.  She is in a hard spot," said Dr.
Martin in a sharp voice in which grief and despair were mingled.

Cameron glanced at his friend's face.  It was the face of a haggard
old man.

"You are used up, old boy," he said kindly, putting his hand on the
doctor's arm.  "You need rest."

"Rest?" said the doctor.  "Rest?  Not I.  But you do.  And you too,
Miss Moira," he added gently.  "Come," giving her his hand, "you
must get home."  There was in his voice a tone of command that made
the girl look up quickly and obey.

"And you?" she said.  "You must be done."

"Done?  Yes, but what matter?  Take her home, Cameron."

"And what about you?" inquired Cameron.

"Smith, the constable and I will look after--him--and the horse.
Send a wagon to-morrow morning."

Without further word the brother and sister mounted their horses.

"Good-by, old man.  See you to-morrow," said Cameron.

"Good-night," said the doctor shortly.

The girl gave him her hand.

"Good-night," she said simply, her eyes full of a dumb pain.

"Good-by, Miss Moira," said the doctor, who held her hand for just
a moment as if to speak again, then abruptly he turned his back on
her without further word and so stood with never a glance more
after her.  It was for him a final farewell to hopes that had lived
with him and had warmed his heart for the past three years.  Now
they were dead, dead as the dead man upon whose white still face he
stood looking down.

"Thief, murderer, outlaw," he muttered to himself.  "Sure enough--
sure enough.  And yet you could not help it, nor could she."  But
he was not thinking of the dead man's record in the books of the
Mounted Police.



On the rampart of hills overlooking the Piegan encampment the sun
was shining pleasantly.  The winter, after its final savage kick,
had vanished and summer, crowding hard upon spring, was wooing the
bluffs and hillsides on their southern exposures to don their
summer robes of green.  Not yet had the bluffs and hillsides quite
yielded to the wooing, not yet had they donned the bright green
apparel of summer, but there was the promise of summer's color
gleaming through the neutral browns and grays of the poplar bluffs
and the sunny hillsides.  The crocuses with reckless abandon had
sprung forth at the first warm kiss of the summer sun and stood
bravely, gaily dancing in their purple and gray, till whole
hillsides blushed for them.  And the poplars, hesitating with
dainty reserve, shivered in shy anticipation and waited for a surer
call, still wearing their neutral tints, except where they stood
sheltered by the thick spruces from the surly north wind.  There
they had boldly cast aside all prudery and were flirting in all
their gallant trappings with the ardent summer.

Seeing none of all this, but dimly conscious of the good of it,
Cameron and his faithful attendant Jerry lay grimly watching
through the poplars.  Three days had passed since the raid, and as
yet there was no sign at the Piegan camp of the returning raiders.
Not for one hour had the camp remained unwatched.  Just long enough
to bury his new-made friend, the dead outlaw, did Cameron himself
quit the post, leaving Jerry on guard meantime, and now he was back
again, with his glasses searching every corner of the Piegan camp
and watching every movement.  There was upon his face a look that
filled with joy his watchful companion, a look that proclaimed his
set resolve that when Eagle Feather and his young men should appear
in camp there would speedily be swift and decisive action.  For
three days his keen eyes had looked forth through the delicate
green-brown screen of poplar upon the doings of the Piegans, the
Mounted Police meantime ostentatiously beating up the Blood Reserve
with unwonted threats of vengeance for the raiders, the bruit of
which had spread through all the reserves.

"Don't do anything rash," the Superintendent had admonished, as
Cameron appeared demanding three troopers and Jerry, with whom to
execute vengeance upon those who had brought death to a gallant
gentleman and his gallant steed, for both of whom there had sprung

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