It was to Cameron an extreme satisfaction
to ride with some twenty of his comrades behind White Horse, who,
handcuffed and with bridle reins tied to those of two troopers, and
accompanied by Chief Red Crow, Bull Back, and others of their tribe,
made ignominious and crestfallen entry into the Fort next day. It was
hardly less of a satisfaction to see Mr. Cadwaller exercise himself
considerably in making defence against the charges of Bull Back and his
friends. The defence was successful, and the American citizens departed
to Lone Pine, Montana, with their recovered horses and with a new and
higher regard for both the executive and administrative excellence of
Her Majesty's North West Mounted Police officers and men. Chief Red
Crow, too, returned to his band with a chastened mind, it having been
made clear to him that a chief who could not control his young braves
was not the kind of a chief the Great White Mother desired to have in
command of her Indian subjects. White Horse, also, after three months
sojourn in the cooling solitude of the Police guard room, went back to
his people a humbler and a wiser brave.
The horse-stealing, however, went merrily
on and the summer of 1884 stands in the records of the Police as the
most trying period of their history in the Northwest up to that date.
The booming upon the eastern and southern boundaries of Western Canada
of the incoming tide of humanity, hungry for land, awakened ominous
echoes in the little primitive settlements of half-breed people and
throughout the reservations of the wild Indian tribes as well.
Everywhere, without warning and without explanation, the surveyors'
flags and posts made appearance. Wild rumours ran through the land, till
every fluttering flag became the symbol of dispossession and every
gleaming post an emblem of tyrannous disregard of a people's rights. The
ancient aboriginal inhabitants of the western plains and woods, too, had
their grievances and their fears. With phenomenal rapidity the buffalo
had vanished from the plains once black with their hundreds of
thousands. With the buffalo vanished the Indians' chief source of
support, their food, their clothing, their shelter, their chief article
of barter. Bereft of these and deprived at the same time of the supreme
joy of existence, the chase, bitten with cold, starved with hunger,
fearful of the future, they offered fertile soil for the seeds of
rebellion. A government more than usually obsessed with stupidity, as
all governments become at times, remained indifferent to appeals, deaf
to remonstrances, blind to danger signals, till through the remote and
isolated settlements of the vast west and among the tribes of Indians,
hunger-bitten and fearful for their future, a spirit of unrest, of fear,
of impatience of all authority, spread like a secret plague from Prince
Albert to the Crow's Nest and from the Cypress Hills to Edmonton. A
violent recrudescence of whiskey-smuggling, horse-stealing, and
cattle-rustling made the work of administering the law throughout this
vast territory one of exceeding difficulty and one calling for
promptitude, wisdom, patience, and courage, of no ordinary quality.
Added to all this, the steady advance of the railroad into the new
country, with its huge construction camps, in whose wake followed the
lawless hordes of whiskey smugglers, tinhorn gamblers, thugs, and
harlots, very materially added to the dangers and difficulties of the
situation for the Police.
For the first month after enlistment
Cameron was kept in close touch with the Fort and spent his hours under
the polishing hands of the drill sergeant. From five in the morning till
ten at night the day's routine kept him on the grind. Hard work it was,
but to Cameron a continuous delight. For the first time in his life he
had a job that seemed worth a man's while, and one the mere routine of
which delighted his soul. He loved his horse and loved to care for him,
and, most of all, loved to ride him. Among his comrades he found
congenial spirits, both among the officers and the men. Though
discipline was strict, there was an utter absence of anything like a
spirit of petty bullying which too often is found in military service;
for in the first place the men were in very many cases the equals and
sometimes the superiors of the officers both in culture and in breeding,
and further, and very specially, the nature of the work was such as to
cultivate the spirit of true comradeship. When officer and man ride side
by side through rain and shine, through burning heat and frost "Forty
below," when they eat out of the same pan and sleep in the same
"dug-out," when they stand back to back in the midst of a horde of
howling savages, rank comes to mean little and manhood much.
Between Inspector Dickson and Cameron a
genuine friendship sprang up; and after his first month was in, Cameron
often found himself the comrade of the Inspector in expeditions of
special difficulty where there was a call for intelligence and nerve.
The reports of these expeditions that stand upon the police record have
as little semblance of the deeds achieved as have stark and grinning
skeletons in the medical student's private cupboard to the living moving
bodies they once were. The records of these deeds are the bare bones.
The flesh and blood, the life and colour are to be found only in the
memories of those who were concerned in their achievement.
But even in these bony records there are
to be seen frequent entries in which the names of Inspector Dickson and
Constable Cameron stand side by side. For the Inspector was a man upon
whom the Commissioner and the Superintendent delighted to load their
more dangerous and delicate cases, and it was upon Cameron when it was
possible that the Inspector's choice for a comrade fell.
It was such a case as this that held the
Commissioner and Superintendent Crawford in anxious consultation far
into a late September night. When the consultation was over, Inspector
Dickson was called in and the result of this consultation laid before
"We have every reason to believe, as you
well know, Inspector Dickson," said the Commissioner, "that there is a
secret and wide-spread propagandum being carried on among our Indians,
especially among the Piegans, Bloods, and Blackfeet, with the purpose of
organizing rebellion in connection with the half-breed discontent in the
territories to the east of us. Riel, you know, has been back for some
time and we believe his agents are busy on every reservation at present.
This outbreak of horse-stealing and whiskey-smuggling in so many parts
of the country at the same time is a mere blind to a more serious
business, the hatching of a very wide conspiracy. We know that the Crees
and the Assiniboines are negotiating with the half-breeds. Big Bear,
Beardy, and Little Pine are keen for a fight. There is some very
powerful and secret influence at work among our Indians here. We suspect
that the ex-Chief of the Bloods, Little Thunder, is the head of this
organization. A very dangerous and very clever Indian he is, as you
know. We have a charge of murder against him already, and if we can
arrest him and one or two others it would do much to break up the gang,
or at least to hold in check their organization work. We want you to get
quietly after this business, visit all the reservations, obtain all
information possible, and when you are ready, strike. You will be quite
unhampered in your movements and the whole force will co-operate with
you if necessary. We consider this an extremely critical time and we
must be prepared. Take a man with you. Make your own choice."
"I expect we know the man the Inspector
will choose," said superintendent Crawford with a smile.
"Who is that?" asked the Commissioner.
"Constable Cameron, of course."
"Ah, yes, Cameron. You remember I
predicted he would make good. He has certainly fulfilled my
"He is a good man," said the Inspector
"Oh come, Inspector, you know you consider
him the best all-round man at this post," said the Superintendent.
"Well, you see, Sir, he is enthusiastic
for the service, he works hard and likes his work."
"Right you are!" exclaimed the
Superintendent. "In the first place, he is the strongest man on the
force, then he is a dead shot, a good man with a horse, and has
developed an extraordinary gift in tracking, and besides he is perfectly
"Is that right, Inspector?"
"Yes," said the Inspector very quietly,
though his eyes were gleaming at the praise of his friend. "He is a good
man, very keen, very reliable, and of course afraid of nothing."
The Superintendent laughed quietly.
"You want him then, I suppose?"
"Yes," said the Inspector, "if it could be
"I don't know," said the Commissioner.
"That reminds me." He took a letter from the file. "Read that," he said,
"second page there. It is a private letter from Superintendent Strong at
The Inspector took the letter and read at
the place indicated—
"Another thing. The handling of these
railroad construction gangs is no easy matter. We are pestered with
whiskey-smugglers, gamblers, and prostitutes till we don't know which
way to turn. As the work extends into the mountains and as the camps
grow in numbers the difficulty of control is very greatly increased. I
ought to have my force strengthened. Could you not immediately spare me
at least eight or ten good men? I would like that chap Cameron, the man,
you know, who caught the half-breed Louis in the Sarcee camp and carried
him out on his horse's neck—a very fine bit of work. Inspector Dickson
will tell you about him. I had it from him. Could you spare Cameron? I
would recommend him at once as a sergeant."
The Inspector handed back the letter
"Well?" said the Commissioner.
"Cameron would do very well for the work,"
said the Inspector, "and he deserves promotion."
"What was that Sarcee business,
Inspector?" enquired the Commissioner. "That must have been when I was
"Oh," said the Inspector, "it was a very
fine thing indeed of Cameron. Louis 'the Breed' had been working the
Bloods. We got on his track and headed him up in the Sarcee camp. He is
rather a dangerous character and is related to the Sarcees. We expected
trouble in his arrest. We rode in and found the Indians, to the number
of a hundred and fifty or more, very considerably excited. They objected
strenuously to the arrest of the half-breed. Constable Cameron and I
were alone. We had left a party of men further back over the hill. The
half-breed brought it upon himself. He was rash enough to make a sudden
attack upon Cameron. That is where he made his mistake. Before he knew
where he was Cameron slipped from his horse, caught him under the chin
with a very nice left-hander that laid him neatly out, swung him on to
his horse, and was out of the camp before the Indians knew what had
"The Inspector does not tell you," said
Superintendent Crawford, "how he stood off that bunch of Sarcees and
held them where they were till Cameron was safe with his man over the
hill. But it was a very clever bit of work, and, if I may say it,
"I should like to give you Cameron if it
were possible," said the Commissioner, "but this railroad business is
one of great difficulty and Superintendent Strong is not the man to ask
for assistance unless he is in pretty desperate straits. An
unintelligent or reckless man would be worse than useless."
"How would it do," suggested the
Superintendent, "to allow Cameron in the meantime to accompany the
Inspector? Then later we might send him to Superintendent Strong."
Reporting this arrangement to Cameron a
little later, the Inspector enquired:
"How would you like to have a turn in the
mountains? You would find Superintendent Strong a fine officer."
"I desire no change in that regard,"
replied Cameron. "But, curiously enough, I have a letter this very mail
that has a bearing upon this matter. Here it is. It is from an old
college friend of mine, Dr. Martin."
The Inspector took the letter and read—
"I have got myself used up, too great
devotion to scientific research; hence I am accepting an offer from the
railroad people for work in the mountains. I leave in a week. Think of
it! The muck and the ruck, the execrable grub and worse drink! I shall
have to work my passage on hand cars and doubtless by tie pass. My hands
will lose all their polish. However, there may be some fun and likely
some good practice. I see they are blowing themselves up at a great
rate. Then, too, there is the prospective joy of seeing you, of whom
quite wonderful tales have floated east to us. I am told you are in
direct line for the position of the High Chief Muck-a-muck of the Force.
Look me up in Superintendent Strong's division. I believe he is the
bulwark of the Empire in my district.
"A letter from the old burgh across the
pond tells me your governor is far from well. Awfully sorry to hear it.
It is rough on your sister, to whom, when you write, remember your
"I am bringing out two nurses with me,
both your devotees. Look out for squalls. If you get shot up see that
you select a locality where the medical attendance and nursing are 'A
"It would be awfully good to see the old
boy," said Cameron as he took the letter from the Inspector. "He is a
decent chap and quite up-to-date in his profession."
"What about the nurses?" enquired the
"Oh, I don't know them. Never knew but
one. A good bright little soul she was. Saw me through a typhoid trip.
Little too clever sometimes," he added, remembering the day when she had
taken her fun out of the slow-footed, slow-minded farmer's daughter.
"Well," said the Inspector, "we shall
possibly come across them in our round-up. This is rather a big game, a
very big game and one worth playing."
A bigger game it turned out than any of
the players knew, bigger in its immediate sweep and in its nationwide
For three months they swept the plains,
haunting the reservations at unexpected moments. But though they found
not a few horses and cattle whose obliterated brands seemed to warrant
confiscation, and though there were signs for the instructed eye of evil
doings in many an Indian camp, yet there was nothing connected with the
larger game upon which the Inspector of Police could lay his hand.
Among the Bloods there were frequent
sun-dances where many braves were made and much firewater drunk with
consequent blood-letting. Red Crow deprecated these occurrences, but
confessed his powerlessness to prevent the flow of either firewater or
of blood. A private conversation with the Inspector left with the Chief
some food for thought, however, and resulted in the cropping of the mane
of White Horse, of whose comings and goings the Inspector was
On the Blackfeet reservation they ran into
a great pow-wow of chiefs from far and near, to which old Crowfoot
invited the representatives of the Great White Mother with impressive
cordiality, an invitation, however, which the Inspector, such was his
strenuous hunt for stolen horses, was forced regretfully to decline.
"Too smooth, old boy, too smooth!" was the
Inspector's comment as they rode off. "There are doings there without
doubt. Did you see the Cree and the Assiniboine?"
"I could not pick them out," said Cameron,
"but I saw Louis the Breed."
"Ah, you did! He needs another term at the
They looked in upon the Sarcees and were
relieved to find them frankly hostile. They had not forgotten the last
visit of the Inspector and his friend.
"That's better," remarked the Inspector as
they left the reservation. "Neither the hostile Indian nor the noisy
Indian is dangerous. When he gets smooth and quiet watch him, like old
Crowfoot. Sly old boy he is! But he will wait till he sees which way the
cat jumps. He is no leader of lost causes."
At Morleyville they breathed a different
atmosphere. They felt themselves to be among friends. The hand of the
missionary here was upon the helm of government and the spirit of the
missionary was the spirit of the tribe.
"Any trouble?" enquired the Inspector.
"We have a great many visitors these
days," said the missionary. "And some of our young men don't like
hunger, and the offer of a full feast makes sweet music in their ears."
"No, no, the sun-dances are all past. Our
people are no longer pagans."
"Good man!" was the Inspector's comment as
they took up the trail again toward the mountains. "And with quite a
sufficient amount of the wisdom of the serpent in his guileless heart.
We need not watch the Stonies. Here's a spot at least where religion
pays. And a mighty good thing for us just now," added the inspector.
"These Stonies in the old days were perfect devils for fighting. They
are a mountain people and for generations kept the passes against all
comers. But Macdougall has changed all that."
Leaving the reservation, they came upon
the line of the railway.
"There lies my old trail," said Cameron.
"And my last camp was only about two miles west of here."
"It was somewhere here that Raven fell in
"No, some ten miles off the line, down the
old Kootenay trail."
"Aha!" said the Inspector. "It might not
be a bad idea to beat up that same old trail. It is quite possible that
we might fall in with your old friends."
"It would certainly be a great pleasure,"
replied Cameron, "to conduct Mr. Raven and his Indian friend over this
same trail as they did me some nine months ago."
"We will take a chance on it," said the
Inspector. "We lose time going back the other way."
Upon the site of McIvor's survey camp they
found camped a large construction gang. Between the lines of tents, for
the camp was ordered in streets like a city, they rode till they came to
the headquarters of the Police, and enquired for the Superintendent. The
Superintendent had gone up the line, the Sergeant informed them,
following the larger construction gangs. The Sergeant and two men had
some fifty miles of line under patrol, with some ten camps of various
kinds on the line and in the woods, and in addition they had the care of
that double stream of humanity flowing in and flowing out without
ceasing day or night.
As the Inspector stepped inside the Police
tent Cameron's attention was arrested by the sign "Hospital" upon a
large double-roofed tent set on a wooden floor and guyed with more than
"Wonder if old Martin is anywhere about,"
he said to himself as he rode across to the open door.
"Is Dr. Martin in?" he enquired of a
Chinaman, who appeared from a tent at the rear.
"Doc Matin go 'way 'long tlain."
"When will he come back?" demanded
"Donno. See missy woman."
So saying, he disappeared into the tent
while Cameron waited.
"You wish to see the doctor? He has gone
west. Oh! Why, it—"
Cameron was off his horse, standing with
his hat in one hand, the other outstretched toward the speaker.
"Why! it cannot be!—it is—my patient." The
little nurse had his hand in both of hers. "Oh, you great big monster
soldier! Do you know how fine you look?"
"No," replied Cameron, "but I do know how
perfectly fine you look."
"Well, don't devour me. You look
"I should truly love one little bite."
"Oh, Mr. Cameron, stop! You terrible man!
Right in the open street!" The little nurse's cheeks flamed red as she
quickly glanced about her. "What would Dr. Martin say?"
"Dr. Martin!" Cameron laughed. "Besides, I
couldn't help it."
"Oh, I am so glad!"
"Thank you," said Cameron.
"I mean I am so glad to see you. They told
us you would be coming to join us. And now they are gone. What a pity!
They will be so disappointed."
"Who, pray, will be thus blighted?"
"Oh, the doctor I mean, and—and"—here her
eyes danced mischievously—"the other nurse, of course. But you will be
"No, south, to-day, and in a few minutes.
Here comes the Inspector. May I present him?"
The little nurse's snapping eyes glowed
with pleasure as they ran over the tall figure of the Inspector and
rested upon his fine clean-cut face. The Inspector had just made his
farewell to the Sergeant preparatory to an immediate departure, but it
was a full half hour before they rose from the dainty tea table where
the little nurse had made them afternoon tea from her own dainty tea
"It makes me think of home," said the
Inspector with a sigh as he bent over the little nurse's hand in
gratitude. "My first real afternoon tea in ten years."
"Poor man!" said the nurse. "Come again."
"Ah, if I could!"
"But YOU are coming?" said the little
nurse to Cameron as he held her hand in farewell. "I heard the doctor
say you were coming and we are quite wild with impatience over it."
Cameron looked at the Inspector.
"I had thought of keeping Cameron at
Macleod," said the latter. "But now I can hardly have the heart to do
"Oh, you needn't look at me so," said the
little nurse with a saucy toss of her head. "He wouldn't bother himself
about me, but—but—there is another. No, I won't tell him." And she
Cameron stood mystified.
"Another? There is old Martin of course,
but there is no other."
The little nurse laughed, this time
"Old Martin indeed! He is making a
shameless pretence of ignorance, Inspector Dickson."
"Disgraceful bluff I call it," cried the
"Who can it be?" said Cameron. "I really
don't know any nurse. Of course it can't be—Mandy—Miss Haley?" He
laughed a loud laugh almost of derision as he made the suggestion.
"Ah, he's got it!" cried the nurse,
clapping her hands. "As if he ever doubted."
"Good Heavens!" exclaimed Cameron. "You
don't mean to tell me that Mandy—What is poor Mandy doing here?
"Cooking indeed!" exclaimed the nurse.
"Cooking indeed! Just let the men in this camp, from John here,"
indicating the Chinaman at the rear of the tent, "to the Sergeant
yonder, hear you by the faintest tone indicate anything but adoration
for Nurse Haley, and you will need the whole Police Force to deliver you
from their fury."
"Good Heavens!" said Cameron in an
undertone. "A nurse! With those hands!" He shuddered. "I mean, of
course—you know—she's awfully good-hearted and all that, but as a nurse
you know she is impossible."
The little nurse laughed long and
"Oh, this is fun! I wish Dr. Martin could
hear you. You forget, Sir, that for a year and a half she has had the
benefit of my example and tuition."
"Think of that, Cameron!" murmured the
Inspector reproachfully. But Cameron only shook his head.
"Good-bye!" he said. "No, I don't think I
pine for mountain scenery. Remember me to Martin and to Man—to Nurse
"Good-bye!" said the little nurse. "I have
a good mind to tell them what you said. I may. Just wait, though. Some
day you will very humbly beg my pardon for that slight upon my
"Slight? Believe me, I mean none. I would
be an awful cad if I did. But—well, you know as well as I do that, good
soul as Mandy is, she is in many ways impossible."
"Do I?" Again the joyous laugh pealed out.
"Well, well, come back and see." And waving her hand she stood to watch
them down the trail.
"Jolly little girl," said the Inspector,
as they turned from the railway tote road down the coulee into the
Kootenay trail. "But who is this other?"
"Oh," said Cameron impatiently, "I feel
like a beastly cad. She's the daughter of the farmer where I spent a
summer in Ontario, a good simple-hearted girl, but awfully—well—crude,
you know. And yet—" Cameron's speech faded into silence, for his memory
played a trick upon him, and again he was standing in the orchard on
that sunny autumn day looking into a pair of wonderful eyes, and,
remembering the eyes, he forgot his speech.
"Ah, yes," said the Inspector. "I
"No, you don't," said Cameron almost
rudely. "You would have to see her first. By Jove!" He broke into a
laugh. "It is a joke with a vengeance," and relapsed into silence that
lasted for some miles.
That night they slept in the old lumber
camp, and the afternoon of the second day found them skirting the Crow's
"We've had no luck this trip," growled the
Inspector, for now they were facing toward home.
"Listen!" said Cameron, pulling up his
horse sharply. Down the pass the faraway beat of a drum was heard. It
was the steady throb of the tom-tom rising and falling with rhythmic
"Sun-dance," said the Inspector, as near
to excitement as he generally allowed himself. "Piegans."
"Where?" said Cameron.
"In the sun-dance canyon," answered the
Inspector. "I believe in my soul we shall see something now. Must be two
miles off. Come on."
Though late in December the ground was
still unfrozen and the new-made government trail gave soft footing to
their horses. And so without fear of detection they loped briskly along
till they began to hear rising above the throb of the tom-tom the weird
chant of the Indian sun-dancers.
"They are right down in the canyon," said
the Inspector. "I know the spot well. We can see them from the top. This
is their most sacred place and there is doubtless something big going
They left the main trail and, dismounting,
led their horses through the scrubby woods, which were thick enough to
give them cover without impeding very materially their progress. Within
a hundred yards of the top they tied their horses in the thicket and
climbed the slight ascent. Crawling on hands and knees to the lip of the
canyon, they looked down upon a scene seldom witnessed by the eyes of
white men. The canyon was a long narrow valley, whose rocky sides,
covered with underbrush, rose some sixty feet from a little plain about
fifty yards wide. The little plain was filled with the Indian
encampment. At one end a huge fire blazed. At the other, and some fifty
yards away, the lodges were set in a semicircle, reaching from side to
side of the canyon, and in front of the lodges were a mass of Indian
warriors, squatting on their hunkers, beating time, some with tom-toms,
others with their hands, to the weirdly monotonous chant, that rose and
fell in response to the gesticulations of one who appeared to be their
leader. In the centre of the plain stood a post and round this two
circles of dancers leaped and swayed. In the outer circle the men, with
clubs and rifles in their hands, recited with pantomimic gestures their
glorious deeds in the war or in the chase. The inner circle presented a
ghastly and horrid spectacle. It was composed of younger men, naked and
painted, some of whom were held to the top of the post by long thongs of
buffalo hide attached to skewers thrust through the muscles of the
breast or back. Upon these thongs they swayed and threw themselves in
frantic attempts to break free. With others the skewers were attached by
thongs to buffalo skulls, stones or heavy blocks of wood, which, as they
danced and leaped, tore at the bleeding flesh. Round and round the post
the naked painted Indians leaped, lurching and swaying from side to side
in their desperate efforts to drag themselves free from those tearing
skewers, while round them from the dancing circle and from the mass of
Indians squatted on the ground rose the weird, maddening, savage chant
to the accompaniment of their beating hands and throbbing drums.
"This is a big dance," said the Inspector,
subduing his voice to an undertone, though in the din there was little
chance of his being heard. "See! many braves have been made already," he
added, pointing to a place on one side of the fire where a number of
forms could be seen, some lying flat, some rolling upon the earth, but
all apparently more or less in a stupor.
Madder and madder grew the drums, higher
and higher rose the chant. Now and then an older warrior from the
squatting circle would fling his blanket aside and, waving his rifle
high in the air, would join with loud cries and wild gesticulations the
outer circle of dancers.
"It is a big thing this," said the
Inspector again. "No squaws, you see, and all in war paint. They mean
business. We must get closer."
Cameron gripped him by the arm.
"Look!" he said, pointing to a group of
Indians standing at a little distance beyond the lodges. "Little Thunder
"Yes, by Jove!" said the Inspector. "And
White Horse, and Louis the Breed and Rainy Cloud of the Blackfeet. A
couple of Sarcee chaps, I see, too, some Piegans and Bloods; the rest
are Crees and Assiniboines. The whole bunch are here. Jove, what a
killing if we could get them! Let's work nearer. Who is that speaking to
"That's Raven," said Cameron, "and I
should like to get my hands on him."
"Steady now," said the Inspector. "We must
make no mistake."
They worked along the top of the ravine,
crawling through the bushes, till they were immediately over the little
group of which Raven was the centre. Raven was still speaking, the
half-breed interpreting to the Crees and the Assiniboines, and now and
then, as the noise from the chanting, drumming Indians subsided, the
policemen could catch a few words. After Raven had finished Little
Thunder made reply, apparently in strenuous opposition. Again Raven
spoke and again Little Thunder made reply. The dispute waxed warm.
Little Thunder's former attitude towards Raven appeared to be entirely
changed. The old subservience was gone. The Indian stood now as a Chief
among his people and as such was recognized in that company. He spoke
with a haughty pride of conscious strength and authority. He was
striving to bring Raven to his way of thinking. At length Raven appeared
to throw down his ultimatum.
"No!" he cried, and his voice rang up
clear through the din. "You are fools! You are like little partridges
trying to frighten the hunter. The Great White Mother has soldiers like
the leaves of the trees. I know, for I have seen them. Do not listen to
this man!" pointing to Little Thunder. "Anger has made him mad. The
Police with their big guns will blow you to pieces like this." He seized
a bunch of dead leaves, ground them in his hands and puffed the
fragments in their faces.
The half-breed and Little Thunder were
beside themselves with rage. Long and loud they harangued the group
about them. Only a little of their meaning could the Inspector gather,
but enough to let him know that they were looking down upon a group of
conspirators and that plans for a widespread rebellion were being laid
Through the harangues of Little Thunder
and Louis the half-breed Raven stood calmly regarding them, his hands on
his hips. He knew well, as did the men watching from above, that all
that stood between him and death were those same two hands and the
revolvers in his belt, whose butts were snugly nosing up to his fingers.
Little Thunder had too often seen those fingers close and do their
deadly work while an eyelid might wink to venture any hasty move.
"Is that all?" said Raven at last.
Little Thunder made one final appeal,
working himself up into a fine frenzy of passion. Then Raven made reply.
"Listen to me!" he said. "It is all folly,
mad folly! And besides," and here his voice rang out like a trumpet, "I
am for the Queen, God bless her!" His figure straightened up, his hands
dropped on the butts of his guns.
"By Jove!" exclaimed Cameron. "Isn't that
"Very fine, indeed," said the Inspector
softly. Both men's guns were lined upon the conspirators.
Then the half-breed spoke, shrugging his
shoulders in contempt.
"Let heem go. Bah! No good." He spat upon
Raven stood as he was for a few moments,
"Good-bye, all," he said. "Bon jour,
Louis. Let no man move! Let no man move! I never need to shoot at a man
twice. Little Thunder knows. And don't follow!" he added. "I shall be
waiting behind the rocks."
He slowly backed away from the group,
turned in behind a sheltering rock, then swiftly began to climb the
rocky sides of the canyon. The moment he was out of sight Little Thunder
dodged in behind the ledges, found his rifle, and, making a wide detour,
began to climb the side of the ravine at an angle which would cut off
Raven's retreat. All this took place in full view of the two watchers
"Let's get that devil," said the
Inspector. But Cameron was already gone. Swiftly along the lip of the
canyon Cameron ran and worked his way down the side till he stood just
over the sloping ledge upon which the Indian was crouched and waiting.
Along this lodge came the unconscious Raven, softly whistling to himself
his favourite air,
"Three cheers for
the red, white and blue."
There was no way of warning him. Three
steps more and he would be within range. The Inspector raised his gun
and drew a bead upon the crouching Indian.
"Wait!" whispered Cameron. "Don't shoot.
It will bring them all down on us." Gathering himself together as he
spoke, he vaulted clear over the edge of the rock and dropped fair upon
the shoulders of the Indian below, knocking the breath completely out of
him and bearing him flat to the rock. Like a flash Cameron's hand was on
the Indian's throat so that he could make no outcry. A moment later
Raven came in view. Swifter than light his guns were before his face and
levelled at Cameron.
"Don't shoot!" said the Inspector quietly
from above. "I have you covered."
Perilous as the situation was, Cameron was
conscious only of the humourous side of it and burst into a laugh.
"Come here, Raven," he said, "and help me
to tie up this fellow." Slowly Raven moved forward.
"Why, by all the gods! If it isn't our
long-lost friend, Cameron," he said softly, putting up his guns. "All
right, old man," he added, nodding up at the Inspector. "Now, what's all
this? What? Little Thunder? So! Then I fancy I owe my life to you,
Cameron pointed to Little Thunder's gun.
Raven stood looking down upon the Indian, who was recovering his wind
and his senses. His face suddenly darkened.
"You treacherous dog! Well, we are now
nearly quits. Once you saved my life, now you would have taken it."
Meantime Cameron had handcuffed Little
"Up!" he said, prodding him with his
revolver. "And not a sound!"
Keeping within cover of the bushes, they
scrambled up the ravine side. As they reached the top the Indian with a
mighty wrench tore himself from Cameron's grip and plunged into the
thicket. Before he had taken a second step, however, the Inspector was
upon him like a tiger and bore him to the ground.
"Will you go quietly," said the Inspector,
"or must we knock you on the head?" He raised his pistol over the Indian
as he spoke.
"I go," grunted the Indian solemnly.
"Come, then," said the Inspector, "we'll
give you one chance more. Where's your friend?" he added, looking about
him. But Raven was gone.
"I am just as glad," said Cameron,
remembering Raven's declaration of allegiance a few moments before. "He
wasn't too bad a chap after all. We have this devil anyhow."
"Quick, now," said the Inspector. "We have
not a moment to lose. This is an important capture. How the deuce we are
to get him to the Fort I don't know."
Through the bushes they hurried their
prisoner, threatening him with their guns. When they came to their
horses they were amazed to find Little Thunder's pony beside their own
and on the Inspector's saddle a slip of paper upon which in the fading
light they found inscribed "One good turn deserves another. With Mr.
"By Jove, he's a trump!" said the
Inspector. "I'd like to get him, but all the same—"
And so they rode off to the Fort.