List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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and passionately resisted, were wrought into convictions in her
soul.  First, the Inspector, in spite of his light talk, was
undeniably anxious, and in this anxiety her husband shared.  Then,
the Force was clearly inadequate to the duty required of it.  At
this her indignation burned.  Why should it be that a Government
should ask of brave men what they must know to be impossible?  Hard
upon this conviction came the words of the Superintendent, "Cameron
is the man and the only man for the job."  Finally, the Inspector
was apologizing for her husband.  It roused a hot resentment in her
to hear him.  That thing she could not and would not bear.  Never
should it be said that her husband had needed a friend to apologize
for him.

As these convictions grew in clearness she found herself brought
suddenly and sharply to face the issue.  With a swift contraction
of the heart she realized that she must send her husband on this
perilous duty.  Ah!  Could she do it?  It was as if a cold hand
were steadily squeezing drop by drop the life-blood from her heart.
In contrast, and as if with one flash of light, the long happy days
of the last six months passed before her mind.  How could she give
him up?  Her breathing came in short gasps, her lips became dry,
her eyes fixed and staring.  She was fighting for what was dearer
to her than life.  Suddenly she flung her hands to her face and
groaned aloud.

"What is it, Mandy?" cried her husband, starting from his place.

His words seemed to recall her.  The agonizing agitation passed
from her and a great quiet fell upon her soul.  The struggle was
done.  She had made the ancient sacrifice demanded of women since
ever the first man went forth to war.  It remained only to complete
with fitting ritual this ancient sacrifice.  She rose from her seat
and faced her husband.

"Allan," she said, and her voice was of indescribable sweetness,
"you must go."

Her husband took her in his arms without a word, then brokenly he

"My girl!  My own brave girl!  I knew you must send me."

"Yes," she replied, gazing into his face with a wan smile, "I knew
it too, because I knew you would expect me to."

The Inspector had risen from his chair at her first cry and was
standing with bent head, as if in the presence of a scene too
sacred to witness.  Then he came to her, and, with old time and
courtly grace of the fine gentleman he was, he took her hand and
raised it to his lips.

"Dear lady," he said, "for such as you brave men would gladly give
their lives."

"Give their lives!" cried Mandy.  "I would much rather they would
save them.  But," she added, her voice taking a practical tone,
"sit down and let us talk.  Now what's the work and what's the

The men glanced at each other in silent admiration of this woman
who, without moan or murmur, could surrender her heart's dearest
treasure for her country's good.  This was a spirit of their own

They sat down before the fire and discussed the business before
them.  But as they discussed ever and again Mandy would find her
mind wandering back over the past happy days.  Ever and again a
word would recall her, but only for a brief moment and soon she was
far away again.

A phrase of the Inspector, however, arrested and held her.

"He's really a fine looking Indian, in short a kind of aristocrat
among the Indians," he was saying.

"An aristocrat?" she exclaimed, remembering her own word about the
Indian Chief they had met that very evening.  "Why, that is like
our Chief, Allan."

"By Jove!  You're right!" exclaimed her husband.  "What's your man
like, again?  Describe him, Inspector."

The Inspector described him in detail.

"The very man we saw to-night!" cried Mandy, and gave her
description of the "Big Chief."

When she had finished the Inspector sat looking into the fire.

"Among the Piegans, too," he mused.  "That fits in.  There was a
big powwow the other day in the Sun Dance Canyon.  The Piegans' is
the nearest reserve, and a lot of them were there.  The
Superintendent says he is somewhere along the Sun Dance."

"Inspector," said Allan, with sudden determination, "we will drop
in on the Piegans to-morrow morning by sun-up."

Mandy started.  This pace was more rapid than she had expected,
but, having made the sacrifice, there was with her no word of

The Inspector pondered the suggestion.

"Well," he said, "it would do no harm to reconnoiter at any rate.
But we can't afford to make any false move, and we can't afford to

"Fail!" said Cameron quietly.  "We won't fail.  We'll get him."
And the lines in his face reminded his wife of how he looked that
night three years before when he cowed the great bully Perkins into
submission at her father's door.

Long they sat and planned.  As the Inspector said, there must be no
failure; hence the plan must provide for every possible contingency.
By far the keenest of the three in mental activity was Mandy.  By a
curious psychological process the Indian Chief, who an hour before
had awakened in her admiration and a certain romantic interest, had
in a single moment become an object of loathing, almost of hatred.
That he should be in this land planning for her people, for innocent
and defenseless women and children, the horrors of massacre filled
her with a fierce anger.  But a deeper analysis would doubtless have
revealed a personal element in her anger and loathing.  The Indian
had become the enemy for whose capture and for whose destruction her
husband was now enlisted.  Deep down in her quiet, strong,
self-controlled nature there burned a passion in which mingled the
primitive animal instincts of the female, mate for mate, and mother
for offspring.  Already her mind had leaped forward to the moment
when this cunning, powerful plotter would be at death-grips with her
husband and she not there to help.  With intensity of purpose and
relentlessness of determination she focused the powers of her
forceful and practical mind upon the problem engaging their thought.

With mind whetted to its keenest she listened to the men as they
made and unmade their plans.  In ordinary circumstances the
procedure of arrest would have been extremely simple.  The
Inspector and Cameron would have ridden into the Piegan camp, and,
demanding their man, would have quietly and without even a show of
violence carried him off.  It would have been like things they had
each of them done single-handed within the past year.

"When once we make a start, you see, Mrs. Cameron, we never turn
back.  We could not afford to," said the Inspector.  There was no
suspicion of boasting in the Inspector's voice.  He was simply
enunciating the traditional code of the Police.  "And if we should
hesitate with this man or fail to land him every Indian in these
territories would have it within a week and our prestige would
receive a shock.  We dare not exhibit any sign of nerves.  On the
other hand we dare not make any movement in force.  In short,
anything unusual must be avoided."

"I quite see," replied Mandy with keen appreciation of the delicacy
of the situation.

"So that I fancy the simpler the plan the better.  Cameron will
ride into the Piegan camp inquiring about his cattle, as,
fortunately for the present situation, he has cause enough to in
quite an ordinary way.  I drop in on my regular patrol looking up a
cattle-thief in quite the ordinary way.  Seeing this strange chief,
I arrest him on suspicion.  Cameron backs me up.  The thing is
done.  Luckily Trotting Wolf, who is the Head Chief now of the
Piegans, has a fairly thorough respect for the Police, and unless
things have gone much farther in his band than I think he will not
resist.  He is, after all, rather harmless."

"I don't like your plan at all, Inspector," said Mandy promptly.
"The moment you suggest arrest that moment the younger men will be
up.  They are just back from a big brave-making powwow, you say.
They are all worked up, and keen for a chance to prove that they
are braves in more than in name.  You give them the very opportunity
you wish to avoid.  Now hear my plan," she continued, her voice
eager, keen, hard, in the intensity of her purpose.  "I ride into
camp to-morrow morning to see the sick boy.  I promised I would and
I really want to.  I find him in a fever, for a fever he certainly
will have.  I dress his wounded ankle and discover he must have some
medicine.  I get old Copperhead to ride back with me for it.  You
wait here and arrest him without trouble."

The two men looked at each other, then at her, with a gentle
admiring pity.  The plan was simplicity itself and undoubtedly
eliminated the elements of danger which the Inspector's possessed.
It had, however, one fatal defect.

"Fine, Mandy!" said her husband, reaching across the table and
patting her hand that lay clenched upon the cloth.  "But it won't

"And why not, pray?" she demanded.

"We do not use our women as decoys in this country, nor do we
expose them to dangers we men dare not face."

"Allan," cried his wife with angry impatience, "you miss the whole
point.  For a woman to ride into the Piegan camp, especially on
this errand of mercy, involves her in no danger.  And what possible
danger would there be in having the old villain ride back with me
for medicine?  And as to the decoy business," here she shrugged her
shoulders contemptuously, "do you think I care a bit for that?
Isn't he planning to kill women and children in this country?  And--
and--won't he do his best to kill you?" she panted.  "Isn't it
right for me to prevent him?  Prevent him!  To me he is like a
snake.  I would--would--gladly kill him--myself."  As she spoke
these words her eyes were indeed, in Sergeant Ferry's words, "like
little blue flames."

But the men remained utterly unmoved.  To their manhood the plan
was repugnant, and in spite of Mandy's arguments and entreaties was

"It is the better plan, Mrs. Cameron," said the Inspector kindly,
"but we cannot, you must see we cannot, adopt it."

"You mean you will not," cried Mandy indignantly, "just because you
are stupid stubborn men!"  And she proceeded to argue the matter
all over again with convincing logic, but with the same result.
There are propositions which do not lend themselves to the
arbitrament of logic with men.  When the safety of their women is
at stake they refuse to discuss chances.  In such a case they may
be stupid, but they are quite immovable.

Blocked by this immovable stupidity, Mandy yielded her ground, but
only to attempt a flank movement.

"Let me go with you on your reconnoitering expedition," she
pleaded.  "Rather, let US go, Allan, you and I together, to see the
boy.  I am really sorry for that boy.  He can't help his father,
can he?"

"Quite true," said the Inspector gravely.

"Let us go and find out all we can and next day make your attempt.
Besides, Allan," she cried under a sudden inspiration of memory,
"you can't possibly go.  You forget your sister arrives at Calgary
this week.  You must meet her."

"By Jove!  Is that so?  I had forgotten," said Cameron, turning to
study the calendar on the wall, a gorgeous work of art produced out
of the surplus revenues of a Life Insurance Company.  "Let's see,"
he calculated.  "This week?  Three days will take us in.  We are
still all right.  We have five.  That gives us two days clear for
this job.  I feel like making this try, Mandy," he continued
earnestly.  "We have this chap practically within our grasp.  He
will be off guard.  The Piegans are not yet worked up to the point
of resistance.  Ten days from now our man may be we can't tell

Mandy remained silent.  The ritual of her sacrifice was not yet

"I think you are right, Allan," at length she said slowly with a
twisted smile.  "I'm afraid you are right.  It's hard not to be in
it, though.  But," she added, as if moved by a sudden thought, "I
may be in it yet."

"You will certainly be with us in spirit, Mandy," he replied,
patting the firm brown hand that lay upon the table.

"Yes, truly, and in our hearts," added the Inspector with a bow.

But Mandy made no reply.  Already she was turning over in her mind
a half-formed plan which she had no intention of sharing with these
men, who, after the manner of their kind, would doubtless block it.

Early morning found Cameron and the Inspector on the trail toward
the Piegan Reserve, riding easily, for they knew not what lay
before them nor what demand they might have to make upon their
horses that day.  The Inspector rode a strongly built, stocky horse
of no great speed but good for an all-day run.  Cameron's horse was
a broncho, an unlovely brute, awkward and ginger-colored--his name
was Ginger--sad-eyed and wicked-looking, but short-coupled and with
flat, rangy legs that promised speed.  For his sad-eyed, awkward
broncho Cameron professed a deep affection and defended him stoutly
against the Inspector's jibes.

"You can't kill him," he declared.  "He'll go till he drops, and
then twelve miles more.  He isn't beautiful to look at and his
manners are nothing to boast of, but he will hang upon the fence
the handsome skin of that cob of yours."

When still five or six miles from camp they separated.

"The old boy may, of course, be gone," said the Inspector as he was
parting from his friend.  "By Superintendent Strong's report he
seems to be continually on the move."

"I rather think his son will hold him for a day or two," replied
Cameron.  "Now you give me a full half hour.  I shall look in upon
the boy, you know.  But don't be longer.  I don't as a rule linger
among these Piegan gentry, you know, and a lengthened stay would
certainly arouse suspicion."

Cameron's way lay along the high plateau, from which a descent
could be made by a trail leading straight south into the Piegan
camp.  The Inspector's course carried him in a long detour to the
left, by which he should enter from the eastern end the valley in
which lay the Indian camp.  Cameron's trail at the first took him
through thick timber, then, as it approached the level floor of the
valley, through country that became more open.  The trees were
larger and with less undergrowth between them.  In the valley
itself a few stubble fields with fences sadly in need of repair
gave evidence of the partial success of the attempts of the farm
instructor to initiate the Piegans into the science and art of
agriculture.  A few scattering log houses, which the Indians had
been induced by the Government to build for themselves, could be
seen here and there among the trees.  But during the long summer
days, and indeed until driven from the open by the blizzards of
winter, not one of these children of the free air and open sky
could be persuaded to enter the dismal shelter afforded by the log
houses.  They much preferred the flimsy teepee or tent.  And small
wonder.  Their methods of sanitation did not comport with a
permanent dwelling.  When the teepee grew foul, which their habits
made inevitable, a simple and satisfactory remedy was discovered in
a shift to another camp-ground.  Not so with the log houses, whose

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