List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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It was answered by a series of short, sharp yelps nearer at hand.

"Coyote," she said disdainfully, for she had learned to despise the
cowardly prairie wolf.

But again that long distant howl.  In spite of herself she
shuddered.  That was no coyote, but a gray timber wolf.

"I wish Allan would come," she said again, thinking of wakening the
Indian.  But her nurse's instincts forbade her breaking his heavy

"Poor boy, he needs the rest!  I'll wait a while longer."

She took her ax and went bravely at some dead wood lying near,
cutting it for the fire.  The Indian never made a sound.  He lay
dead in sleep.  She piled the wood on the fire till the flames
leaped high, shining ruddily upon the golden and yellow leaves of
the surrounding trees.

But again that long-drawn howl, and quite near, pierced the silence
like the thrust of a spear.  Before she was aware Mandy was on her
feet, determined to waken the sleeping Indian, but she had no more
than taken a single step toward him when he was awake and listening
keenly.  A soft padding upon the dead leaves could be heard like
the gentle falling of raindrops.  The Indian rolled over on his
side, swept away some dead leaves and moss, and drew toward him a
fine Winchester rifle.

"Huh!  Wolf," he said, with quiet unconcern.  "Here," he continued,
pointing to a rock beside him.  Mandy took the place indicated.  As
she seated herself he put up his hand with a sharp hiss.  Again the
pattering feet could be heard.  Suddenly the Indian leaned forward,
gazing intently into the gloom beyond the rim of the firelight,
then with a swift gliding movement he threw his rifle up and fired.
There was a sharp yelp, followed by a gurgling snarl.  His shot was
answered by a loud shout.

"Huh!" said the lad with quiet satisfaction, holding up one finger,
"One wolf.  Big Chief come."

At the shout Mandy had sprung to her feet, answering with a loud
glad halloo.  Immediately, as if in response to her call, an Indian
swung his pony into the firelight, slipped off and stood looking
about him.  Straight, tall and sinewy, he stood, with something
noble in his face and bearing.

"He looks like a gentleman," was the thought that leaped into
Mandy's mind.  A swift glance he swept round the circle of the
light.  Mandy thought she had never seen so piercing an eye.

The Indian lad uttered a low moaning sound.  With a single leap the
man was at his side, holding him in his arms and kissing him on
both cheeks, with eager guttural speech.  A few words from the lad
and the Indian was on his feet again, his eyes gleaming, but his
face immobile as a death mask.

"My boy," he said, pointing to the lad.  "My boy--my papoose."  His
voice grew soft and tender.

Before Mandy could reply there was another shout and Allan,
followed by four Indians, burst into the light.  With a glad cry
Mandy rushed into his arms and clung to him.

"Hello!  What's up?  Everything all right?" cried Allan.  "I was a
deuce of a time, I know.  Took the wrong trail.  You weren't
frightened, eh?  What?  What's happened?"  His voice grew anxious,
then stern.  "Anything wrong?  Did he--?  Did anyone--?"

"No, no, Allan!" cried his wife, still clinging to him.  "It was
only a wolf and I was a little frightened."

"A wolf!" echoed her husband aghast.

The Indian lad spoke a few words and pointed to the dark.  The
Indians glided into the woods and in a few minutes one of them
returned, dragging by the leg a big, gray timber wolf.  The lad's
bullet had gone home.

"And did this brute attack you?" cried Allan in alarm.

"No, no.  I heard him howling a long way off, and then--then--he
came nearer, and--then--I could hear his feet pattering."  Cameron
drew her close to him.  "And then he saw him right in the dark.
Wasn't it wonderful?"

"In the dark?" said Allan, turning to the lad.  "How did you do

"Huh!" grunted the lad in a tone of indifference.  "See him eyes."

Already the Indians were preparing a stretcher out of blankets and
two saplings.  Here Mandy came to their help, directing their
efforts so that with the least hurt to the boy he was lifted to his

As they were departing the father came close to Mandy, and, holding
out his hand, said in fairly good English:

"You--good to my boy.  You save him--to-day.  All alone maybe he
die.  You give him food--drink.  Sometime--perhaps soon--me pay

"Oh," cried Mandy, "I want no pay."

"No money--no!" cried the Indian, with scorn in his voice.  "Me
save you perhaps--sometime.  Save you--save you, man.  Me Big
Chief."  He drew himself up his full height.  "Much Indian follow
me."  He shook hands with Mandy again, then with her husband.

"Big Piegan Chief?" inquired her husband.

"Piegan!" said the Indian with hearty contempt.  "Me no Piegan--me
Big Chief.  Me--"  He paused abruptly, turned on his heel and,
flinging himself on to his pony, disappeared in the shadows.

"He's jolly well pleased with himself, isn't he?" said Cameron.

"He's splendid," cried Mandy enthusiastically.  "Why, he's just
like one of Cooper's Indians.  He's certainly like none of the rest
I've seen about here."

"That's true enough," replied her husband.  "He's no Piegan.  Who
is he, I wonder?  I don't remember seeing him.  He thinks no end of
himself, at any rate."

"And looks as if he had a right to."

"Right you are!  Well, let's away.  You must be dog tired and used

"Never a bit," cried Mandy.  "I'm fresh as a daisy.  What a
wonderful ending to a wonderful day!"

They extinguished the fire carefully and made their way out to the

But the end of this wonderful day had not yet come.



The moon was riding high in the cloudless blue of the heavens,
tricked out with faintly shining stars, when they rode into the
"corral" that surrounded the ranch stable.  A horse stood tethered
at the gate.

"Hello, a visitor!" cried Cameron.  "A Police horse!" his eyes
falling upon the shining accouterments.

"A Policeman!" echoed Mandy, a sudden foreboding at her heart.
"What can he want?"

"Me, likely," replied her husband with a laugh, "though I can't
think for which of my crimes it is.  It's Inspector Dickson, by his
horse.  You know him, Mandy, my very best friend."

"What does he want, Allan?" said Mandy, anxiety in her voice.

"Want?  Any one of a thousand things.  You run in and see while I
put up the ponies."

"I don't like it," said Mandy, walking with him toward the stable.
"Do you know, I feel there is something--I have felt all day a kind
of dread that--"

"Nonsense, Mandy!  You're not that style of girl.  Run away into
the house."

But still Mandy waited beside him.

"We've had a great day, Allan," she said again.  "Many great days,
and this, one of the best.  Whatever comes nothing can take those
happy days from us."  She put her arms about his neck and drew him
toward her.  "I don't know why, Allan, I know it's foolish, but I'm
afraid," she whispered, "I'm afraid."

"Now, Mandy," said her husband, with his arms round about her,
"don't say you're going to get like other girls, hysterical and
that sort of thing.  You are just over-tired.  We've had a big day,
but an exhausting day, an exciting day.  What with that Piegan and
the wolf business and all, you are done right up.  So am I and--by
Jove!  That reminds me, I am dead famished."

No better word could he have spoken.

"You poor boy," she cried.  "I'll have supper ready by the time you
come in.  I am silly, but now it's all over.  I shall go in and
face the Inspector and dare him to arrest you, no matter what you
have done."

"That's more like the thing!  That's more like my girl.  I shall be
with you in a very few minutes.  He can't take us both, can he?
Run in and smile at him."

Mandy found the Inspector in the cozy ranch kitchen, calmly smoking
his pipe, and deep in the London Graphic.  As she touched the latch
he sprang to his feet and saluted in his best style.

"Never heard you ride up, Mrs. Cameron, I assure you.  You must
think me rather cool to sit tight here and ignore your coming."

"I am very glad to see you, Inspector Dickson, and Allan will be
delighted.  He is putting up your horse.  You will of course stay
the night with us."

"Oh, that's awfully kind, but I really can't, you know.  I shall
tell Cameron."  He took his hat from the peg.

"We should be delighted if you could stay with us.  We see very few
people and you have not been very neighborly, now confess."

"I have not been, and to my sorrow and loss.  If any man had told
me that I should have been just five weeks to a day within a few
hours' ride of my friend Cameron, not to speak of his charming
wife, without visiting him, well I should have--well, no matter--to
my joy I am here to-night.  But I can't stay this trip.  We are
rather hard worked just now, to tell the truth."

"Hard worked?" she asked.

"Yes.  Patrol work rather heavy.  But I must stop Cameron in his
hospitable design," he added, as he passed out of the door.

It was a full half hour before the men returned, to find supper
spread and Mandy waiting.  It was a large and cheerful apartment
that did both for kitchen and living room.  The sides were made of
logs hewn smooth, plastered and whitewashed.  The oak joists and
planking above were stained brown.  At one end of the kitchen two
doors led to as many rooms, at the other a large stone fireplace,
with a great slab for mantelpiece.  On this slab stood bits of
china bric-a-brac, and what not, relics abandoned by the gallant
and chivalrous Fraser for the bride and her house furnishing.  The
prints, too, upon the wall, hunting scenes of the old land, sea-
scenes, moorland and wild cattle, with many useful and ornamental
bits of furniture, had all been handed over with true Highland
generosity by the outgoing owner.

In the fireplace, for the night had a touch of frost in it, a log
fire blazed and sparked, lending to the whole scene an altogether
delightful air of comfort.

"I say, this does look jolly!" cried the Inspector as he entered.
"Cameron, you lucky dog, do you really imagine you know how jolly
well off you are, coddled thus in the lap of comfort and surrounded
with all the enervating luxuries of an effete and forgotten
civilization?  Come now, own up, you are beginning to take this
thing as a matter of course."

But Cameron stood with his back to the light, busying himself with
his fishing tackle and fish, and ignoring the Inspector's cheerful
chatter.  And thus he remained without a word while the Inspector
talked on in a voluble flow of small talk quite unusual with him.

Throughout the supper Cameron remained silent, rallying
spasmodically with gay banter to the Inspector's chatter, or
answering at random, but always falling silent again, and altogether
was so unlike himself that Mandy fell to wondering, then became
watchful, then anxious.  At length the Inspector himself fell
silent, as if perceiving the uselessness of further pretense.

"What is it, Allan?" said Mandy quietly, when silence had fallen
upon them all.  "You might as well let me know."

"Tell her, for God's sake," said her husband to the Inspector.

"What is it?" inquired Mandy.

The Inspector handed her a letter.

"From Superintendent Strong to my Chief," he said.

She took it and as she read her face went now white with fear, now
red with indignation.  At length she flung the letter down.

"What a man he is to be sure!" she cried scornfully.  "And what
nonsense is this he writes.  With all his men and officers he must
come for my husband!  What is HE doing?  And all the others?  It's
just his own stupid stubbornness.  He always did object to our

The Inspector was silent.  Cameron was silent too.  His boyish
face, for he was but a lad, seemed to have grown old in those few
minutes.  The Inspector wore an ashamed look, as if detected in a

"And because he is not clever enough to catch this man they must
come for my husband to do it for them.  He is not a Policeman.  He
has nothing to do with the Force."

And still the Inspector sat silent, as if convicted of both crime
and folly.

At length Cameron spoke.

"It is quite impossible, Inspector.  I can't do it.  You quite see
how impossible it is."

"Most certainly you can't," eagerly agreed the Inspector.  "I knew
from the first it was a piece of--sheer absurdity--in fact brutal
inhumanity.  I told the Commissioner so."

"It isn't as if I was really needed, you know.  The Superintendent's
idea is, as you say, quite absurd."

The Inspector gravely nodded.

"You don't think for a moment," continued Cameron, "there is any
need--any real need I mean--for me to--"  Cameron's voice died

The Inspector hesitated and cleared his throat.  "Well--of course,
we are desperately short-handed, you know.  Every man is overworked.
Every reserve has to be closely patroled.  Every trail ought to be
watched.  Runners are coming in every day.  We ought to have a
thousand men instead of five hundred, this very minute.  Of course
one can never tell.  The chances are this will all blow over."

"Certainly," said Cameron.  "We've heard these rumors for the past

"Of course," agreed the Inspector cheerfully.

"But if it does not," asked Mandy, suddenly facing the Inspector,
"what then?"

"If it does not?"

"If it does not?" she insisted.

The Inspector appeared to turn the matter over in his mind.

"Well," he said slowly and thoughtfully, "if it does not there will
be a deuce of an ugly time."

"What do you mean?"

The Inspector shrugged his shoulders.  But Mandy waited, her eyes
fixed on his face demanding answer.

"Well, there are some hundreds of settlers and their families
scattered over this country, and we can hardly protect them all.
But," he added cheerfully, as if dismissing the subject, "we have a
trick of worrying through."

Mandy shuddered.  One phrase in the Superintendent's letter to the
Commissioner which she had just read kept hammering upon her brain,
"Cameron is the man and the only man for the job."

They turned the talk to other things, but the subject would not be
dismissed.  Like the ghost at the feast it kept ever returning.
The Inspector retailed the most recent rumors, and together he and
his host weighed their worth.  The Inspector disclosed the
Commissioner's plans as far as he knew them.  These, too, were
discussed with approval or condemnation.  The consequences of an
Indian uprising were hinted at, but quickly dropped.  The
probabilities of such an uprising were touched upon and pronounced
somewhat slight.

But somehow to the woman listening as in a maze this pronouncement
and all the reassuring talk rang hollow.  She sat staring at the
Inspector with eyes that saw him not.  What she did see was a
picture out of an old book of Indian war days which she had read
when a child, a smoking cabin, with mangled forms of women and
children lying in the blackened embers.  By degrees, slow, painful,
but relentlessly progressive, certain impressions, at first vague

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