List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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his eyes brilliant with fever but more with hate.  At the foot of
the couch still crouched the old crone, but there was no sign of
the Chief.

"Get up!" said the Inspector to the old squaw, turning the blankets
and skins upside down.

"Hee! hee!" she laughed in diabolical glee, spitting at him as he

"Did no one enter?" asked Cameron.

"Not a soul."

"Nor go out?"

"No one except the old squaw here.  I saw her go out with a pack."

"With a pack!" echoed Cameron.  And the two men stood looking at
each other.  "By Jove!" said Cameron in deep disgust, "We're done.
He is rightly named Copperhead.  Quick!" he cried, "Let us search
this camp, though it's not much use."

And so indeed it proved.  Through every teepee they searched in hot
haste, tumbling out squalling squaws and papooses.  But all in
vain.  Copperhead had as completely disappeared as if he had
vanished into thin air.  With faces stolid and unmoved by a single
gleam of satisfaction the Indians watched their hurried search.

"We will take a turn around this camp," said Cameron, swinging on
to his pony.  "You hear me!" he continued, riding up close to
Trotting Wolf, "We haven't got our man but we will come back again.
And listen carefully!  If I lose a single steer this fall I shall
come and take you, Trotting Wolf, to the Fort, if I have to bring
you by the hair of the head."

But Trotting Wolf only shrugged his shoulders, saying:

"No see cow."

"Is there any use taking a look around this camp?" said the

"What else can we do?" said Cameron.  "We might as well.  There is
a faint chance we might come across a trace."

But no trace did they find, though they spent an hour and more in
close and minute scrutiny of the ground about the camp and the
trails leading out from it.

"Where now?" inquired the Inspector.

"Home for me," said Cameron.  "To-morrow to Calgary.  Next week I
take up this trail.  You may as well come along with me, Inspector.
We can talk things over as we go."

They were a silent and chagrined pair as they rode out from the
Reserve toward the ranch.  As they were climbing from the valley to
the plateau above they came to a soft bit of ground.  Here Cameron
suddenly drew rein with a warning cry, and, flinging himself off
his broncho, was upon his knee examining a fresh track.

"A pony-track, by all that's holy!  And within an hour.  It is our
man," he cried, examining the trail carefully and following it up
the hill and out on to the plateau.  "It is our man sure enough,
and he is taking this trail."

For some miles the pony-tracks were visible enough.  There was no
attempt to cover them.  The rider was evidently pushing hard.

"Where do you think he is heading for, Inspector?"

"Well," said the Inspector, "this trail strikes toward the
Blackfoot Reserve by way of your ranch."

"My ranch!" cried Cameron.  "My God!  Look there!"

As he spoke the ginger-colored broncho leaped into a gallop.  Five
miles away a thin column of smoke could be seen rising up into the
air.  Every mile made it clearer to Cameron that the smoke rising
from behind the round-topped hill before him was from his ranch-
buildings, and every mile intensified his anxiety.  His wife was
alone on the ranch at the mercy of that fiend.  That was the
agonizing thought that tore at his heart as his panting broncho
pounded along the trail.  From the top of the hill overlooking the
ranch a mile away his eye swept the scene below, swiftly taking in
the details.  The ranch-house was in flames and burning fiercely.
The stables were untouched.  A horse stood tied to the corral and
two figures were hurrying to and fro about the blazing building.
As they neared the scene it became clear that one of the figures
was that of a woman.

"Mandy!" he shouted from afar.  "Mandy, thank God it's you!"

But they were too absorbed in their business of fighting the fire.
They neither heard nor saw him till he flung himself off his
broncho at their side.

"Oh, thank God, Mandy!" he panted, "you are safe."  He gathered her
into his arms.

"Oh, Allan, I am so sorry."

"Sorry?  Sorry?  Why?"

"Our beautiful house!"


"And all our beautiful things!"

"Things!"  He laughed aloud.  "House and things!  Why, Mandy, I
have YOU safe.  What else matters?"  Again he laughed aloud,
holding her off from him at arm's length and gazing at her grimy
face.  "Mandy," he said, "I believe you are improving every day in
your appearance, but you never looked so stunning as this blessed
minute."  Again he laughed aloud.  He was white and trembling.

"But the house, Allan!"

"Oh, yes, by the way," he said, "the house.  And who's the Johnny
carrying water there?"

"Oh, I quite forgot.  That's Thatcher's new man."

"Rather wobbly about the knees, isn't he?" cried Cameron.  "By
Jove, Mandy! I feared I should never see you again," he said in a
voice that trembled and broke.  "And what's the chap's name?" he

"Smith, I think," said Mandy.

"Smith?  Fine fellow!  Most useful name!" cried Cameron.

"What's the matter, Allan?"

"The matter?  Nothing now, Mandy.  Nothing matters.  I was afraid
that--but no matter.  Hello, here's the Inspector!"

"Dear Mrs. Cameron," cried the Inspector, taking both her hands in
his, "I'm awfully glad there's nothing wrong."

"Nothing wrong?  Look at that house!"

"Oh, yes, awfully sorry.  But we were afraid--of that--eh--that

"Yes, Mandy," said her husband, making visible efforts to control
his voice, "we frankly were afraid that that old devil Copperhead
had come this way and--"

"He did!" cried Mandy.


"He did.  Oh, Allan, I was going to tell you just as the Inspector
came, and I am so sorry.  When you left I wanted to help.  I was
afraid of what all those Indians might do to you, so I thought I
would ride up the trail a bit.  I got near to where it branches off
toward the Reserve near by those pine trees.  There I saw a man
come tearing along on a pony.  It was this Indian.  I drew aside.
He was just going past when he glanced at me.  He stopped and came
rushing at me, waving a pistol in his hand.  Oh, such a face!  I
wonder I ever thought him fine-looking.  He caught me by the arm.
I thought his fingers would break the bone.  Look!"  She pulled up
her sleeve, and upon the firm brown flesh blue and red finger marks
could be seen.  "He caught me and shook me and fairly yelled at me,
'You save my boy once.  Me save you to-day.  Next time me see your
man me kill him.'  He flung me away from him and nearly off my
horse--such eyes! such a face!--and went galloping off down the
trail.  I feared I was going to be ill, so I came on homeward.
When I reached the top of the hill I saw the smoke and by the time
I arrived the house was blazing and Smith was carrying water to put
out the fire where it had caught upon the smoke house and stables."

The men listened to her story with tense white faces.  When she had
finished Cameron said quietly:

"Mandy, roll me up some grub in a blanket."

"Where are you going, Allan?" her face pale as his own.

"Going?  To get my hands on that Indian's throat."

"But not now?"

"Yes, now," he said, moving toward his horse.

"What about me, Allan?"

The word arrested him as if a hand had gripped him.

"You," he said in a dazed manner.  "Why, Mandy, of course, there's
you.  He might have killed you."  Then, shaking his shoulders as if
throwing off a load, he said impatiently, "Oh, I am a fool.  That
devil has sent me off my head.  I tell you what, Mandy, we will
feed first, then we will make new plans."

"And there is Moira, too," said Mandy.

"Yes, there is Moira.  We will plan for her too.  After all," he
continued, with a slight laugh and with slow deliberation,
"there's--lots--of time--to--get him!"



The sun had reached the peaks of the Rockies far in the west,
touching their white with red, and all the lesser peaks and all the
rounded hills between with great splashes of gold and blue and
purple.  It is the sunset and the sunrise that make the foothill
country a world of mystery and of beauty, a world to dream about
and long for in later days.

Through this mystic world of gold and blue and purple drove Cameron
and his wife, on their way to the little town of Calgary, three
days after the ruthless burning of their home.  As the sun dipped
behind the western peaks they reached the crossing of the Elbow and
entered the wide Bow Valley, upon whose level plain was situated
the busy, ambitious and would-be wicked little pioneer town.  The
town and plain lay bathed in a soft haze of rosy purple that lent a
kind of Oriental splendor to the tawdry, unsightly cluster of
shacks that sprawled here and there in irregular bunches on the

"What a picture it makes!" cried Mandy.  "How wonderful this great
plain with its encircling rivers, those hills with the great peaks
beyond!  What a site for a town!"

"There is no finer," replied her husband, "anywhere in the world
that I know, unless it be that of 'Auld Reekie.'"


"Meaning!" he echoed indignantly.  "What else but the finest of all
the capitals of Europe?"

"London?" inquired Mandy.

"London!" echoed her husband contemptuously.  "You ignorant
Colonial!  Edinburgh, of course.  But this is perfectly splendid,"
he continued.  "I never get used to the wonder of Calgary.  You see
that deep cut between those peaks in the far west?  That is where
'The Gap' lies, through which the Bow flows toward us.  A great
site this for a great town some day.  But you ought to see these
peaks in the morning with the sunlight coming up from the east
across the foothills and falling upon them.  Whoa, there!  Steady,
Pepper!" he cried to the broncho, which owed its name to the
speckled appearance of its hide, and which at the present moment
was plunging and kicking at a dog that had rushed out from an
Indian encampment close by the trail.  "Did you never see an Indian
dog before?"

"Oh, Allan," cried Mandy with a shudder, "do you know I can't bear
to look at an Indian since last week, and I used to like them."

"Hardly fair, though, to blame the whole race for the deviltry of
one specimen."

"I know that, but--"

"This is a Sarcee camp, I fancy.  They are a cunning lot and not
the most reliable of the Indians.  Let me see--three--four teepees.
Ought to be fifteen or twenty in that camp.  Only squaws about.
The braves apparently are in town painting things up a bit."

A quarter of a mile past the Indian encampment the trail made a
sharp turn into what appeared to be the beginning of the main
street of the town.

"By Jove!" cried Cameron.  "Here they come.  Sit tight, Mandy."  He
pointed with his whip down the trail to what seemed to be a rolling
cloud of dust, vocal with wild whoops and animated with plunging
figures of men and ponies.

"Steady, there, boys!  Get on!" cried Cameron to his plunging,
jibing bronchos, who were evidently unwilling to face that rolling
cloud of dust with its mass of shrieking men and galloping ponies
thundering down upon them.  Swift and fierce upon their flanks fell
the hissing lash.  "Stand up to them, you beggars!" he shouted to
his bronchos, which seemed intent upon turning tail and joining the
approaching cavalcade.  "Hie, there!  Hello!  Look out!" he yelled,
standing up in his wagon, waving his whip and holding his bronchos
steadily on the trail.  The next moment the dust cloud enveloped
them and the thundering cavalcade, parting, surged by on either
side.  Cameron was wild with rage.

"Infernal cheeky brutes!" he cried.  "For two shillings I'd go back
and break some of their necks.  Ride me down, would they?" he
continued, grinding his teeth in fury.

He pulled up his bronchos with half a mind to turn them about and
pursue the flying Indians.  His experience and training with the
Mounted Police made it difficult for him to accept with equal mind
what he called the infernal cheek of a bunch of Indians.  At the
entreaties of his wife, however, he hesitated in carrying his
purpose into effect.

"Let them go," said Mandy.  "They didn't hurt us, after all."

"Didn't?  No thanks to them.  They might have killed you.  Well, I
shall see about this later."  He gave his excited bronchos their
head and sailed into town, drawing up in magnificent style at the
Royal Hotel.

An attendant in cowboy garb came lounging up.

"Hello, Billy!" cried Cameron.  "Still blooming?"

"Sure!  And rosebuds ain't in it with you, Colonel."  Billy was
from the land of colonels.  "You've got a whole garden with you
this trip, eh?"

"My wife, Billy," replied Cameron, presenting her.

Billy pulled off his Stetson.

"Proud to meet you, madam.  Hope I see you well and happy."

"Yes, indeed, well and happy," cried Mandy emphatically.

"Sure thing, if looks mean anything," said Billy, admiration
glowing in his eyes.

"Take the horses, Billy.  They have come a hundred and fifty

"Hundred and fifty, eh?  They don't look it.  But I'll take care of
'em all right.  You go right in."

"I shall be back presently, Billy," said Cameron, passing into the
dingy sitting-room that opened off the bar.

In a few minutes he had his wife settled in a frowsy little eight-
by-ten bedroom, the best the hotel afforded, and departed to attend
to his team, make arrangements for supper and inquire about the
incoming train.  The train he found to be three hours late.  His
team he found in the capable hands of Billy, who was unharnessing
and rubbing them down.  While ordering his supper a hand gripped
his shoulder and a voice shouted in his ear:

"Hello, old sport!  How goes it?"

"Martin, old boy!" shouted Cameron in reply.  "It's awfully good to
see you.  How did you get here?  Oh, yes, of course, I remember.
You left the construction camp and came here to settle down."  All
the while Cameron was speaking he was shaking his friend's hand
with both of his.  "By Jove, but you're fit!" he continued, running
his eye over the slight but athletic figure of his friend.

"Fit!  Never fitter, not even in the old days when I used to pass
the pigskin to you out of the scrimmage.  But you?  You're hardly
up to the mark."  The keen gray eyes searched Cameron's face.
"What's up with you?"

"Oh, nothing.  A little extra work and a little worry, but I'll
tell you later."

"Well, what are you on to now?" inquired Martin.

"Ordering our supper.  We've just come in from a hundred and fifty
miles' drive."

"Supper?  Your wife here too?  Glory!  It's up to me, old boy!
Look here, Connolly," he turned to the proprietor behind the bar,
"a bang-up supper for three.  All the season's delicacies and all
the courses in order.  As you love me, Connolly, do us your
prettiest.  And soon, awfully soon.  A hundred and fifty miles,
remember.  Now, then, how's my old nurse?" he continued, turning
back to Cameron.  "She was my nurse, remember, till you came and
stole her."

"She was, eh?  Ask her," laughed Cameron.  "But she will be glad to
see you.  Where's MY nurse, then, my little nurse, who saw me

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