(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Ongon : a tale of early Chicago"

imu^^f^:-': \ 














RESOLUTE AS A QUEEN . . . WHILR THB 
STILL SMOKING PISTOL " 



O N G O N 

A Tale of Early C hie ago 



By 
DUBOIS H. LOUX 



WEW YORK; 
1902 



COPYRIGHTED, I902 
BY 

DUBOIS H. LOUX 



CHARLES FRANCIS PRESS 
NEW YORK 



/C.nU/Cn 



TO MY 

GREAT HEARTED WIFE 

WHOSE CHEERFULNESS AND LOVING MINISTRATIONS 

HAVE BEEN TO ALL HER FRIENDS 

AN INSPIRATION 

THIS LITTLE BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED 

BY THE AUTHOR 



FOREWORD 

BEFORE writing this tale, the author visited the places in Vir- 
ginia connected with the story. In the ancient churchyard 
of Opecquon, deep in the quiet of the Shenandoah Valley, are 
yet standing the simple monuments to the memory of the sturdy 
Scotch-Irish pioneers of Kentucky and Illinois. Here, upon the old- 
est tombstone in northern Virginia, Washington's hands must have 
been laid when, as a young Colonel he rode out from Winchester to 
worship at the only church near Fort Loudon. A few rods down 
the gentle slope, a century later Sheridan galloped in his famous 
ride from Winchester. To-day a new stone edifice has taken the 
place of the old Presbyterian meeting-house of Opecquon. At its 
door a plain granite pillar has been erected by one of the leading 
families of Chicago in honor of its dead. In this valley Jean's child- 
hood was passed. 

The year 1833, in which the scenes of this book are laid, brought 
to Chicago and northern Illinois men and women of strong minds 
and affectionate hearts, whose forefathers prepared the way for the 
third and fourth generation. Ere yet the Indians were removed, 
Harriet Martineau, visiting Chicago, was astonished at the intel- 
lectual vigor and true refinement of its first citizens, who, enduring 
cheerfully every privation, set their faces steadfastly toward the fu- 
ture of the village. Meanwhile the Indians, completing a quarter of 
a century of loyalty and good will, drew on to the hour of their 
great desolation. From legend and history and the lives of their 
illustrious chiefs, we have a marvelous picture of these canoe and 
prairie tribes struggling against fate. That fate leaves a door ajar 
through which a superior race may do well to walk softly. ^|i 

While spending a week with the Indians in Colorado last sum- 
mer, the author was impressed with the ideals which, much writing 
to the contrary, are cherished by the red men. God needs not to 
apologize for having created the Indian. Philosophers may go to 
school to him; psychologists may find abundant material in him for 
a master-work on the slow but sure development and supremacy 
of mind ; statesmen may trace in this American savage potentials of 
character that make for civic power ; and ministers of the gospel may 
come to discover in him another justification of God's ways to man. 
A distinguished senator of Colorado, cheerfully giving the author 
of Ongon an hour of his vacation time, was bold to affirm that he 



Foreword 

thoug:ht the Indian a moral being and the Christian reUgion adapted 
to help the Creator complete his plan in every part of his great, 
ethical world. We smile when we put our affirmations into sen- 
tences ; but many of us have held the tomahawk so close to our eyes 
that we have never really seen the Indian, 

The author wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to School- 
craft's "Indian Tribes of the United States," prepared 1847 and 
published 1855, for the "Lake Song" printed in Ongon on page 98, 
and for the Indian chant on page 107. These were taken respec- 
tively from Part V, pages 562 and 612. On page 606 may be found 
the entire chapter of I Cor. 13 in the Indian tongue. The "Dog 
Dance," printed on page 139, is taken from "Haines' American 
Indian," page 533 — a work far too valuable not to be found in either 
the Astor or the New York Public Libraries. Chicago possesses at 
least two copies, one at the Newberry, the other at the Public 
Library. Ongon's legend, which he tells on page 135, is adapted 
from Mathew's translation of the "Winter Spirit and His Visitor" 
in Mason's "Indian Fairy Book," published in 1856, page 261. 
Black Hawk in his biography, dictated by himself, 1833, speaks of 
the Indian's wooing enacted in the little play of chapter XLIII. in 
Ongon. Catherine Dale, as well as her early philosophy of religion, 
will be recognized by many. In another dress she is the saddened 
Russian artist who, with an American sphere, might have achieved 
health and happiness in the end. Sometimes in this book an authen- 
tic Indian quotation will be used or modified to show the Indian's 
fondness for figures of speech. 

For their esteemed service in helping out a three-months' re- 
search, the librarians and assistants of the Congressional Library, 
Washington ; the Newberry and Historical libraries of Chicago, and 
New York Astor and Public libraries are heartily thanked. The 
Chicago Public Library is so accustomed to distribute goodness 
without expecting gratitude that any mention of its thousand and 
one kindnesses would be considered a superfluous expense of energy. 
One may take from its shelves a hundred books to write a line, and 
only be asked. Be brief. 



Ongon 



THE CACHE 

He who will take Jean to his heart shall learn why, for a season, 
she chose to be called Lusette. Then he will return to the warm, 
bright stillness of the early June afternoon, and understand what 
gratitude lay in her own heart, and how much more she meant than 
she expressed when her lips murmured that the playful ripples of 
Lake Michigan, brown and violet and blue, were myriads of eyes 
arching their brows and dancing with welcome for them on the 
shore. 

"Oh, thousand years of unseen beauty, given for a moment of 
mind !" Very beautiful was Jean addressing the lake, Hfting a face 
that seemed the human counterpart of the ever-changing delicate 
colors on the waters. From the depth of her woman's feeling, her 
countenance, too, suggested that, like the quiet Michigan, it might 
become storm-tossed with passion. Therefore, the highest light that 
played in her eyes and seemed to move upon her lips was the 
promise of a strength of self-mastery. Though just now she led in 
the playful mood, there was a tenderness even in her abandon. Had 
she spoken her real thoughts, they had been tears — and not un- 
worthy of greatest joy. 

Her maid and companion, now called Gurgling Water, and now 
Josie, was younger in years, Indian, and from her speech educated. 
Once Jean had called her pretty and roguish — the very spirit of a 
merry smile that had taken a fourteen-year-ply sunburn, and thence 
had turned up human and feminine. Then the mistress had been 
answered by a devotion of eyes. Savage is the delight for praise. 

The two were kneeling in the sands with flowers, rejoicing in a 
strangely fascinating task. They had formed a cross of wild prim- 
roses, and the letters "O. A." of violets upon a delicate framework 
of primrose stems. The Indian girl had enjoyed the play of trying 
to make her fingers move as deftly as those of her mistress, while 
laughingly endeavoring as well to grasp with a quick mind the 
mystery of words. 

I 



Ong 



on 

"Josie," said Jean, when the work was completed to their satis- 
faction and they had paused to feel its daintiness and to feast their 
eyes again upon the color scheme of sky and waters, "think of it, 
for days as these sands for multitude, this lake has slept and swept 
in brimming isolation from the world." 

"Merrigo, has it, Lusette," replied the Indian maiden, tapping 
her forehead to settle the new words safely for definitions when 
interests should lull. 

"How Ongon must look when he stands upon the shore. 
Heaven grant it to breathe with the air into his blood that the world 
was created in thought of him." 

Her maid could understand such love, and was not forbidden the 
privilege of answering by placing a heart of violets in her mistress' 
hair. She knew also why the subject was changed so abruptly. 

"Do you think. Gurgling Water, to these odd breadths of green 
and red in my robe any folds of admission cling that what we have 
adopted is not unadapted ? — Do I look like a gypsy ?" 

"I would never take you for a gypsy," answered the girl, replying 
to the understood section of the sentence, with admiration for the red 
and green confusion of words, and genuine Indian fondness for the 
realities with which the body of her mistress was clad. 

"It's my Scotch-Irish face, Josie, and all the training at the 
female seminary," said Jean, reopening the black box which they had 
discovered in the plundered cache. 

"It was strange that they left the box and didn't find what was 
in it — and to think if my horse hadn't run away we should not 
have come here to give yours a drink before he must carry us both !" 

"And not have discovered the cache made by Ongon had been 
opened by some one? — Nay, Josie, then must we have needs been 
drawn hither by other powers." 

Josie was whispering it, "And to think, Lusette, your name in 
the box and that ring !" 

"And this magazine, too. Gurgling Water ; see Ongon has marked 
this for a study." It was an almost current number of the 
Museum with an engraving of Hogarth's painting "Marriage a la 
Mode"; the pencil marks were against a poem descriptive of the 
painting. 

"In his own person centres all his pride, 
And as his bride loves him, he loves his pride." 

" 'The bridegroom has turned away from his bride in love with 
himself,' " read Lusette. " 'He is gazing in the mirror with delight in 

2 



The Cache 

an affected style, displaying his snuff-box and glittering ring. The 
ceiling is decorated with Pharaoh's host drowning in the sea.' " 

"Who was Pharaoh?" inquired Josie; "what has that to do 
with a selfish husband?" 

"The critic must never go too far, my dear," said the young 
mistress; "but Pharaoh was pursuing the Hebrews, perhaps your 
ancestors, before they became the lost tribes and some of them 
reached America. You have a history then before my forefathers 
were known." 

"Tell me of your fathers, Josie will keep the secret." 

The pages had slipped on to a quotation from Goethe that his- 
torical writing is a way of getting rid of the past. "Historical tell- 
ing is the same sort of a way, Josie, we don't know much about the 
Scotch-Irish, only we are called Presbyterian Irish, and fight and 
die, but never surrender. Celt and Saxon are in us combined after 
each had been refined and tempered. We are energetic, vigorous, 
home-loving, from-home-roving people. Patrick Henry was one of 
us, and Thomas Jefferson, and Hamilton. We have been called the 
kernel of Americanism; much we helped Washington and every 
good cause since. My great-grandfather was a preacher who fol- 
lowed bridle paths and Indian trails in Virginia, seeking small places 
in which to do some good. At night he unsaddled his horse and 
hobbled him with hickory bark and turned him to the hills. Then he 
slept with his saddle-bag for a pillow and the stars for the silver de- 
sign in his ceiling. We are plainer people in our customs than the 
CavaHers of our Virginia, but our men 'reckon we have done as much 
good' — oh !" 

Trained to follow her mistress quickly, if at all, Josie was search- 
ing the page for the sudden excitement, " 'Mr. Harry Clermont,' " 
she read at the bottom of an engraving of a noted secret service man. 
"He's from Virginia, too, Lusette ?" now finding more in the face of 
her companion than in the picture. 

"Yes, the magazine is having a run of engravings by such men as 
Keenan, Mr. Clermont is among the successful men, you see. Here 
is a face I like better ; isn't he handsome !" 

She had turned to another month and both were engaged by the 
full-length print of Major John Trenton, one of the heroes of the 
Black Hawk War of the year before. But Josie had been taught 
to trail interesting ideas with the eagerness of her race for game, 
and she soon discovered that the direction of her mistress' thought 
was towards the other one. "Who was he, Lusette ?" 

"Yes, Mr. Clermont is a Cavalier, Gurgling Water." 
3 



Onoron 

o 

"And who are they, Lusette?" 

"The Cavaliers are proud aristocrats from England who love to 
hear the cultured rustle of approaching silks," affected the mistress. 

"And you are jealous — then I won't like them." 

"But we must hurry; if we should be found here, it would spoil 
everythiiig," said Jean, although the horizon was clear. 

"He will never know what the "A" means until " 

"Until he knows all, Josie," answered her mistress, bending over 
the violets tenderly. "Now we are ready to put in the flowers, but 
not a word beside, alas ! Cover them gently, so." 

"Why don't it crush things more to bury them in sand, Lusette?" 
asked Josie, when they had begun industriously to pull down the 
sand dune into the hole. "Why can we bury eggs but a few inches 
and walk over them without crushing them?" 

"Because the weight is distributed laterally, as they say, or side- 
wise by every grain of sand. The whole world gets part of the push 
of the foot as well as the little egg. Now the very dry sand on top, 
Josie, there ! we can mount and away." 

They rode along at a steady jog until Lusette's eyes were satisfied 
that they had gone as far as they might safely dare together, when 
she dismounted and gave the Indian girl the reins. "You will have 
to keep them in your hand for my horse," she said, smiling, when 
Josie playfully grasped the mane as her usual hold and means of 
guidance. 

"We could go all the way together," protested the Indian maiden. 

"Too slow. Gurgling Water, if discovered. You know just what 
to do with the box if any one pursues you ?" 

"Yes." 

"You shall have a new dress for this, Josie, only be sure to avoid 
everybody along the road — even Wautoma — and put the box exactly 
where I have said." 

"Josie will be careful, — oh, merrigo, Lusette !" 

The exclamation followed the dropping of a thick brown veil 
over the face of her mistress, whose fingers still kept in lingering 
touch of the box even after the hands had let go of it. 

"Is it good, Josie ?" 

"Oh, merrigo, merrigo, Lusette," laughed the girl, "they will 
never know you together with that and the heavy cloak !" 

"It is good, then, and this is the way I must walk." The utter 
awkwardness caused even the horse to prick up his ears. 

"Is my Lusette sure that they put a beaver fur in there, too?" 

4 



Evening at the Tavern 

asked the girl at last when they must depart on their separate ways 
in earnest. 

"It is gone — taken by some one who learned that they were to 
bury the things, that is plain." 

"Then why wasn't this box stolen too?" 

"Perhaps to catch us," returned her mistress. "Now, Gurgling 
Water, ride hard, and I will be home by the stage to-morrow." 

Not waiting for a second command the girl wheeled the horse 
about and was off along the shore at a rapid canter, turning once to 
note that the figure behind her had lifted the veil and was waving 
her a good journey with the same wondrously pleased look that she 
had worn ever since they had found the box. 

Breathing a prayer aloud to the Great Spirit to keep her beautiful 
Lusette from all harm, the Indian maiden laid her open fingers upon 
her heart and thence saluted towards her mistress, receiving a kin- 
dred salutation in return. They had vowed again to seek each other's 
good in the simple but expressive language of Indian signs. 

Then Jean walked rapidly in the direction whence the blue 
smoke was curling lazily against the sky. Because she chose to wear 
a veil on this afternoon, it would not be in keeping with that prefer- 
ence to tell, while she is on the sands, of her eyes and hair and 
natural grace. 

"Breath Master ! — Great Spirit ! — God !" — suddenly she had 
thrown aside the role she was to play and was kneeling in the sand. 
"If Thou wilt truly help me to save my brother Ongon, then wilt 
Thou give his sister strength to wait until she can see him wisely, 
with courage for dangers and protection from every foe." Dear 
orphan child, with thy great love. Heaven hears thee, go forward 
in peace. So she felt the message had come to her heart when she 
arose and journeyed onward to the inn. 

II 

EVENING AT THE TAVERN 

When Ongon's sister reached the rude tavern toward which she 
had directed her steps, a second surprise was in store for her, to be 
met as unexpectedly as the box in the opened cache. The inn was 
one of a little chain of public houses that had begun to offer immi- 
grants — and already some few emigrants — the luxury of a night's 
wayside lodging, such as it was and for a price. 

Yes, she could have the only room unoccupied upstairs, since she 

5 



On 



gon 



had conveyed the impression that she would rather part with her 
money than with her incognito. Though the obUging landlord, re- 
lieving her in advance of a considerable portion of the contents of 
her purse, would never have revealed by his eyes how much also he 
had obtained of her identity, nevertheless the change spoke for itself. 

"Sir, you have returned me more than is due," observed Jean, 
counting back the difference. 

"I made a mistake in naming the price," said the host deferen- 
tially. 

"Oh !" 

There was more astonishment on the part of the veiled lady than 
could be accounted for by the amount of money, but she tried im- 
mediately not to have appeared to recognize the gentleman at the 
desk with the landlord. And while the innkeeper observed and 
came adroitly to her rescue, his words confirmed her brief glance. 

"Ah, those wicked soldiers, Mr. Clermont, when they came back 
last year from following Black Hawk, they would insist on the 
beauties of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, and here we 
poor tavern-keepers are, victims of our inability to supply half the 
room desired !" 

"Alas," murmured the disguised celebrity, "limited capacity in 
the busy season takes away the poetry of inn-keeping, I should 
judge." 

"Oh, there's poetry enough," twinkled the host. "Two months ago 
a party of newly married young folk came along," — the manner of 
his telling it was enough to hold Jean for a moment in spite of 
herself — "and they were full of poetry. 'Think of it,' cried the little 
wife in ecstasy, 'long lines of prairie schooners, my uncle said — he 
was a soldier, you know — floating over the plains ! They toss their 
precious freight in a sea of beautiful flower-gemmed prairie grass 
which has swept every tree from the horizon — except where a little 
river anchors an occasional grove !' " 

"Exquisite," said Clermont, "but when the sentiment sub- 
sided?" 

"It left them face to face with painted Indians — then I had them 
as guests the second time, on the home voyage, via the prairie 
schooner, so to speak." 

As Jean mounted the stairs musing upon the reason of the pres- 
ence of the noted Virginian, the face of the landlord and the bright- 
ness of his conversation, in contrast with the sadness of his eyes, 
forced themselves upon her. The inn-keeper's features wore the 
habit of one who had come to be a bargainer, but his eyes were too 



Evening at the Tavern 

honest a brown to admit the native sharper. This the return of the 
change had proved as welL Here v^as a man past thirty, perhaps, 
vi^ith a history. Of Mr. Clermont — she smiled to herself under the 
veil. 

"The travelers keep a-comin', the travelers keep a-comin'/' was 
the tavern-keeper's happy murmur to himself as the day wore into 
night and his guests became a host. 

The last to arrive, and destined to give the landlord as great a 
shock of surprise as Clermont's presence had occasioned Jean, was 
out of humor. Having tossed his bridle to a servant, with the re- 
mark that this was a devilish treeless sort of a place for a town-site, 
and having gone out of his way to kick a bush with his boot to make 
sure that it was not a crouching Indian, he pushed the open door 
farther ajar and passed in, paying no attention to the oath of the 
owner of the pair of legs stretched upon the floor. 

The room with its partitions constituted the lower floor of the 
inn, and, owing to the crowded condition of the house, was by even- 
ing serving in the combined capacity of sample-room, dining-room, 
and smoking-room, bedroom, parlor, and hotel oflice. 

"Saints, Bulbsy!" muttered the landlord to himself, rising from 

his seat behind the counter. "Good-evening ?" 

"Buhl-Bysee," answered the latest guest, so writing his name on 
the register, "and yours ?" 

"Craps," replied the host. 

"Anybody passing?" 

"Major Trenton, yesterday." 

Buhl-Bysee looked up quickly, but the landlord apparently had 
merely mentioned the name of the most popular of his recent guests, 
and was checking the register. 

"Seems to me I have seen you before?" said the newcomer. 

"Yes?" 

But he was not in a searching frame of mind, being hungry. 
"Have you anything fit to eat, for I see you haven't a confounded 
place to sleep?" 

"All full of ladies, too," nodded the landlord to further divert the 
attention of the guest. 

The rude partitions which received the benefit of the inn-keeper's 
gesture, bulging out with extra beds, were making no attempt to 
hide the articles of apparel between the cracks, that arrangement of 
clothing being, in truth, the attempt of their feminine owners to hide 
themselves. 

"Humph !" 

7 



On 



gon 



With such remark Buhl-Bysee turned his back on the landlord 
with an order for the best he had; after which he advanced to a 
long table at the fartherest end of the room, where a company of the 
more jovial guests were making the night merry, and a few of the 
more industrious, profitable. 

At the sound of his voice floating out from the open window, the 
other side of the shrub that had received the attention of the Buhl- 
Bysee's boot crept nearer the dining side of the hotel office, and to 
the faculty of self-transplantation added that of audition. 

"Two hundred dollars, did I hear you say, for a lot in Chicago? 
Ton my honor, man, you are too generous ! Why I can buy a 
farm of a hundred and sixty acres of land for half the money !" 

It was not this conversation between two bargainers that held 
the ears of the listening bush outside. 

"Dull country, did I hear you say?" some one was answering 
Buhl-Bysee, "why look at that man for a good adventure !" 

He was showing something that elicited admiration around 
the table. 

"There we are, I got that exquisite fur along with one of the few 
romances that come to a man, I tell you." 

Was the bush growing taller or was it only imagination to the 
eye of Lusette up-stairs at the window ? Now it was collapsing again. 

In response to a request for the story of his adventure, the owner 
of the fur was beginning to recount his tale. 

"There is in these parts some mysterious agency that has bound 
together a strange band of Indians who go about in becoming cos- 
tumes of gray with a cross on their breasts. Every one of the band 
— how many there are I do not know — is pledged to obey some one or 
something for which they have a name. Sometimes they pronounce 
it in a soft way that would seem to be a whispered 'ON,' and then 
again with more force like "GUN." From hearing the first you 
might fancy it is a human being, but then again you are led to be- 
lieve that it is a force, perhaps the force of powder driving home the 
rifle ball they half worship. 

"Whatever the nature of the power that binds together these 
peculiar Indians, at least some one among them is led by it to practice 
some of the more useful arts. What could be more intelligent than 
the way they have dressed this beaver? They had to know how to 
salt the pelt, wash it, remove the fat, cut out the long coarse hairs, 
and perhaps in the end dye it a dozen times. 

"But this is not my story. A few nights ago, when making my 
outward trip not far from here, I saw a light on the lake on an 

8 



Evening at the Tavern 

approaching canoe. It was a very dark and cloudy night, just the 
kind of an evening when men select an hour to do mysterious things,, 
and, says I, lay low old fellow, and see what turns up. Which I 
did, though I'll be hanged if I want to do it again. 

"They landed — four Indians — a stone's throw from where I 
crouched, chattering away in those dulcet tones they use when they 
are happy and feel perhaps a little more romantic than usual them- 
selves. Soon they were digging in a sand dune well back from the 
lake near me. Ugh, I could hear them breathe, but I don't believe- 
that my lungs performed the office of respiration for fifteen minutes^ 
Into that hole they put this beaver along with some other things, and 
a black box. Then while I was trembling all the while lest they 
reconnoiter and discover me, they left hastily, and soon I could hear 
the sound of the paddle again. 

"Now they say the beaver is caught by leading him to obey his- 
sense of duty. The trappers just make a breach in the dam which the 
creatures have toilsomely built and there they hide their trap. As- 
soon as they are gone the beavers rush to repair the hole. They say 
it's like using a baby's cry to draw its mother into an ambush. The 
steel jaws of the trap cruelly seize the faithful workers just as they 
are succeeding. The ruse has worked. And so in as much as I had 
been drawn into an ambush I felt that duty led me to mark the spot 
and in the morning repair to where the cache had been made. 

"Very generously I left the black box and its papers, taking only 
this fur and some other trifles. But I can tell you, if you knew where 
all the buried Indian things are, you could quit rustling and live like 
princes the rest of your days." 

"Will you not be afraid to return here again," suggested' 
Qermont. 

"Oh, I've done with coming out here anyhow. To my notion; 
this whole country is overdone. You never can make much out of 
these parts. 

"Is there no society here ?" drawled Buhl-Bysee, who had laughed 
to himself over the "ON" and the "GUN." The story was either 
tiresome to him, or else he wished to draw attention from the subject 
of the box. 

"We have some ladies here to-night," said Clermont. 

"Oh, yes, of course," replied the latest comer, looking around con- 
temptuously, "but I mean anybody of note or accomplishments?" 

"They say that Catherine Dale, who painted that rage of "Les 
Gar cons, is here, or was rather, but has gone out to live with the 
Indians away from Fort Dearborn," said the owner of the beaver. 

9 



Ongon 



"Fort Dearborn isn't here," growled Buhl-Bysee, "it's sixty miles 
away from here." 

"Haven't bought here, partner, have you?" 

The laugh at Buhl-Bysee's expense led him to reveal himself in 
all his importance, and Clermont, who had started at the mention of 
the name of Catherine Dale, was covering his momentary confusion 
by asking Buhl-Bysee to repeat just what he had said. 

"I am one of the commissioners of the United States authorized 
to make a treaty with the Indians looking to their removal west of 
the jNIississippi," said Buhl-Bysee, obligingly. 

Thereupon Clermont engaged the commissioner in a conversation 
that repeatedly made the bush outside sway as if shaken by the wind. 
Clermont seemed impressed by the grandeur of Buhl-Bysee, and both 
advanced his own opinions with diffidence, and permitted himself to 
be overridden with great meekness. 

"The government is making history and should take care, should 
it not, to leave no taint of dishonor on this transaction?" suggested 
Clermont. 

"May be so," drawled the commissioner, smacking his lips and 
adding to the contents of his mouth, "but we must open up the land 
for the settlers." 

"Honorably, let us hope," ventured the other. 

"By extinguishing the titles of the Indians," replied the agent. 

"I mean in a way creditable to our countrymen." Clermont's 
question contained its own request for pardon if irritating. 

"In the most expeditious way possible; it's a thing we've got to 
get done and that in a hurry," plumped Buhl-Bysee. 

"Ah, but I saw yesterday at Detroit a schooner leave for Chicago, 
its holds filled with barrels of whiskey." The voice asked to be set 
right on what it saw. 

"Of course, they'll have it anyhow, the Indians are easier to treat 
with when supplied with liquor," sneered Buhl-Bysee. 

"But does not that seem to be making them drunk in order to 
get their five million acres for a song?" asked Clermont. 

"We'll make them drunk to give them a good time, my friend," 
said the agent, who would have done with the subject, now that his 
importance was made apparent to them all. "To be brief and to the 
point with you, sir, my government intends that the Indians shall be 
rem.oved west of the Mississippi. If it must be done by force of 
arms, why" — he laughed coarsely — "we have Major Trenton at 
hand, I believe. But if by treaty peaceably, so much the better. 
However, since their going is not a debatable question, therefore a 
flow of liquor is better than a flow of blood." 

lO 



Weird Figures 



Had Lusette not retired from the window, a twig of the bush 
might have been seen feeling for the pistol at the shadow of its 
girth. But the gust of anger gave place to discretion, and, the con- 
versation being ended, the whole migratory shrub moved off over the 
barren waste into the darkness. 

Ill 

WEIRD FIGURES 

When at a safe distance from the inn the Indian arose and 
pushed out with rapid strides in a direction away from the lake. 
Once on his pony, which he had tied to more than an imaginary bush, 
the miles flew beneath his feet, until a distant light glimmered sud- 
denly on the horizon like a star of low magnitude. Towards this 
horse and rider sped with common will, the powerful beast stretch- 
ing his legs in the night until soon, like the opening of the telescope, 
he had brought the star into a flaming world. 

The Indian's fingers were extended and moved sharply down in 
front of the eyes of his pony. Before that obedient creature could 
halt his master was upon the ground. A long, plaintive call of woe, 
like the moan of the screech-owl, fled from the Hps of the chief. 

Then he stood with his arms folded and leaning upon the neck 
of his horse — waiting the response. 

The cry seemed to have smothered the fire-world toward which 
both man and beast were looking intently. 

But only for a minute. The fresh wood thrown upon the blaze 
in answer to the call of the young chief soon caught the spirit of the 
flame and now fantastic figures were dancing in the sky as the fire 
darted heavenward. 

Watching the effect for a few brief moments the rider was again 
on the back of his pony. Again the furious ride was on, the faithful 
beast striking the trail as readily and with as sure a foot as if it were 
noon-time on a broad highway. 

Now figures yet more weird than the flashes of the blaze against 
the sky ! Like the mad fantasies of the imagination in a strange, wild 
dream, a band of Indians, frenzied by the communication sent for- 
ward in the owl-call of the advancing chief, were circling the fire in 
frantic measures through the terrible furies of the death leap. 

An enemy must die to-night ! — "High-key ! — High-key ! — blur ! — 
blur! — blur!" the revengeful intonations of the quick gutturals 
seemed to say. At least passion could not be pitched to a higher key, 
nor mind be void of aught save hate. 

II 



Ongon 

No need for a hand to hold the bridleless pony of the young 
chief as he Hung himself into the wild circle. Now by the rumbling 
and gestures which went the rounds from lip to lip, and from hand 
to hand, and by the fiendish contortions of the red men's faces it 
could be seen that the story the chief had told had been understood. 
They knew all their fate from the agent's own tale in the light of 
their own chief's exquisite revulsion. 

"Ne-gau nis-sau ! — ne-gau nis-sau ! 

Kitchi-mau-li sau ! — ne-gau nis-sau !" 
"I will kill !— I will kill !— 

The American I will kill !" 

But the band of thirty now breathing out in direct words their 
purpose was too small — their ponies must join in the death leap ! 

Quickly the horses were as their masters. Wonderful creatures ! — 
were they the spirits of dead chieftains, that their response was so 
eager, that their nostrils sniffed such blood, that their limbs trem- 
bled with such vehemence? On the galop reeled — faster! — faster! 

Hark ! What strange note was that the warriors heard among 
themselves? Somebody with them, but not of them! Had they 
been so wrapped in a flame of rage as to have been insensible to the 
approach of a spirit foreign to their purpose? 

Again the shrill cry of warning, of pleading forbiddance, of 
noble daring ! 

Like the halt of doomsday, when all earth's orgies shall stop 
short of execution, the horses reared on their haunches and the 
circle had become a mass of savages. 

There stood the intruder — on the back of her horse ! — Close by 
the fire, that leaped up fiercely to betray her presence, an Indian 
girl, as motionless as her pony, her face of wonderful strength and 
beauty illuminated by other light than that of the burning wood. 

"You shall not slay the white men" came the soft clear words 
like a whisper unfolding. 

"What! Minnetonka, you here?" It was the chief's voice who 
rode from the mass toward the fire. 

"Wautoma! Wautoma!" — all the plaintive beseeching whose 
resistless power had brought the death-whirl to so abrupt a halt 
was intensified in the outcry. 

"Well, sister?" 

"Minnetonka knows the fire in your breasts ; she understands the 
redman's love for his native fields ; she gives her heart to beat with 
their sorrow." 

12 



Weird Figures 



And they knew the princess' words were so. Her eyes were 
flaming, too, but with the master-passion they had seen before. 

"You do not well, my sister, the paleface intends our ruin," 
cried Wautoma bitterly. 

At the mention of their enemies the band's rage was on fire 
again and the mass was once more a circle, grinding out its hate. 

Only Wautoma stood within the wild human ring upon whose 
flaming figures the blaze was painting such passion. Thrown against 
the night what whirling silhouettes of maddened creatures on will- 
ing steeds they were ! Even Minnetonka kept time, nodding her head 
with her brother's to the tune of the fearful clatter of hoofs. She 
waited her brother's signal for the circle to become a mass again. 

"See, every one has halted towards the enemy," said Wautoma 
when at last he had brought up the pause. 

But when the princess' flute-like voice caught the ear of the sav- 
ages its magnetism turned their eyes to hers. 

"If your love for the lodge is greater than mine, go on. But if 
not, listen to my words, my brothers," she was speaking in their 
dialect. " 'I am an aged hemlock, my children,' my grandfather 
chieftan used to say, 'and the winds of seventy years have whistled 
through my branches and already I am dead at the top ; yet my roots 
have always had the rains and the sun has returned every spring 
time. Use not Mitchemanito's name often, but believe that he 
created his children from his own heart and trust him.' Have our 
braves no desire to win, have the warriors of Wautoma no Ongon, 
no cross, no maple-leaf?" 

"Ah, but the way is long, Minnetonka," cried her brother, "and 
the Father across the hills is going to move us beyond the Mississippi. 
That is the meaning of great council-fire to be lighted before the 
frosts return !" 

"You do not know, my brother, we have always lived east of the 
Mississippi," spoke the girl in silvery tones of confidence. 

"Nay, bad-agent said to-night at the white lodge we all must 
surely tear ourselves away — our going is not a talkable question." 

"Must then the artist now perish and the picture never be 
finished?" 

"Oh, Minnetonka!" 

"But if you kill the white people " 

The mumblings of the warriors began to offer up their terrible 
beseeching to the Great Spirit for speedy revenge. 

"Art thou false, dost thou love bad-agent?" 

Barely were the words from the excited lips of one of the war- 

13 



On 



gon 



riors when the hand of Wautoma was in his hair and the offender 
plucked from his horse. 

"Touch him not, Wautoma," cried the girl, dismounting to 
share his disgrace, who had spoken against her. His shoulder 
quivered when her hand was laid gently upon it, but there was no 
fear of even death in the eye that met Wautoma's wrath stolidly. 

"My brothers, not without reason you are beside yourselves to- 
night, but by the authority of this I command you to return home." 

At the sight of the rude cross of gold fastened to a bit of white 
fur which she drew from her bosom a groan of disappointment 
arose from the band. 

"Attend !'' she had separated a brand from the fire. Thrice they 
must follow her about it, for in her hands the silver vial they knew 
so well. Upon the brand the powder is falling ! — In the crimson 
light that talked back to the angry fire and turned aside its glare 
with a softer radiance the savages became other selves. With the 
gentle glowing a deep silence fell upon the group. 

"Ongon," said the girl with a reverential wave of her hand over 
the sacred coals. 

And at the sound of this mysterious word the deadly struggle of 
hate relaxed in the dark faces. Making sign of the cross and mur- 
muring the name after her, one by one the redmen followed in the 
trail of the princess who, remounting her pony, led the way 
homeward. 

On into the night, riding like the wind, tireless as nature and their 
faithful steeds, one driving line of human strength and frailty — 
led away from murderous passion, led by a woman with the cross in 
her bosom — sped the strange company, acknowledging as superior 
to their own fierce wills a being whose name the girl had breathed as 
tenderly and gratefully as a prayer — Ongon. 

IV 

PEBBLE PHILOSOPHY 

If departure from a savage state is towards the power to con- 
struct and moves successfully in smaller circles, the next morning 
proved Craps to be civilized in advance of his surroundings. 

At daybreak the presiding genius of the inn had gathered his 
first group into the only private sanctum about the tavern, a little 
boat on the lake. 

Granted that an oak, tall and branching, but putting forth 

14 



Pebble Philosophy 



scarcely a leaf in the summer time, may be called handsome, so. 
might Craps be considered a prepossessing man. Great strength 
bore him up, but something was gnawing at the roots of his life. 
At thirty-one for such a man to be planted as the landlord of an in- 
significant public house seemed like the transplantation of some noble 
tree from a happy estate to a rocky waste with goats for companions. 
He was a man who missed the laughter that had been in his life. 
Upon him was the lasting impress of the tenderest and gentlest 
touches society can give a man. Perhaps once he had been loved and 
admired, now, but for his strength he had been a desolate man. 

This is not to say that any one ever found Craps in an ill-humor.. 
He was one of those men who entertain you while in their presence, 
and afterwards leave the impression that fate had been kinder to. 
have placed worthiness in a better environment. 

Therefore it was that before the morning and other breezes had 
set in to disturb the calm the host received the reports of his three 
servants and informed them cheerfully that it was always a for- 
tunate thing to have an oversupply of guests to balance an under- 
supply of provisions. 

"Why not cut your pastry according to your people?" he in- 
quired after listening to sundry complaints. 

That he shared their distress at having to serve a mean repast to 
distinguished but crowding guests was evident from his gestures. 
He might then and there have lost his domestic helpers but for his 
fingers. When he had made a V of the first and second fingers of 
his hand to represent the cut of pastry, and from spreading the fin- 
gers as far apart as possible had brought them back, with a graphic 
smile, to the normal and medium distance of nearly an inch, every 
servant of them saw that the opportunity of his life confronted him. 
They had enough bread in the house to give every man one piece. 
If they cut it into straws, instead of a hundred complaints every 
guest would take in the situation at once and supply his hunger out 
of his humor. And tip the waiters for their brightness ! 

"That's it," said Craps, observing the cloud departing from the 
brows of his one maid and two men servants. "We will give them a 
collation of good cheer, that will be good business." 

A bright pebble had caught his eye in the bottom of the boat. 
"You see it is this way with hfe on the domestic side," he continued, 
tossing the stone into the smooth waters — "there !" They watched the 
rings in the water grow wider and wider, and the landlord's face 
broader. "There you see the lesser circle creates and includes the 
greatest, giving us the moral that if we put intelligent force inta 

15 



Ongon 

the victuals they will expand to reach the last particle of all 
hunger." 

The moral, which the Irishman among them and leader of the 
domestic strike now blandly presumed to call a swell thing, was to 
have an immediate demonstration, if the strides of the angular look- 
ing guest approaching them argued anything. 

"My name is Castor, and I have lost my husband," began the 
voice with terrors in it, *'and there is such a crowd in there " 

"Ah, ma'am," interrupted Craps sympathetically, "a crowd may 
be so dense that a friend may be in it within arm's reach and yet be 
hidden from view, from which it follows that a man may be lost in a 
room less than five feet square, unless he is pretty tall, or the others 
pretty short, or he is on a platform, or — but I will try to find your 
husband if " 

"My husband for three years has been beyond the torments of 
this world, I give you to understand," snapped the fiery widow ; "and 
if ever you get to the blessed place to which he has gone there will 
have to be a mighty change in a hurry in the way you keep lodging 
house, I can tell you !" 

Crap's attendants expected the wink from their superior, but 
a figure in the doorway had caught his eye, which softened as he 
said half to himself, looking out over the waters, "This is the anni- 
versary of the day she died who was to have been my wife." 

"It was a merciful providence," returned Mrs. Castor, glad to be 
given a stone to fling that once had cut, "you're a bad man and you 
have drawn all the wicked men of the country out here !" 

"The pioneer instinct is a thread that strings together strange 
beads," admitted Craps. 

"To be dangled about one's ears all night with their profanity," 
retorted Airs. Castor; "may the merciful powers preserve me from 
ever spending another day in such a place !" 

"Out here we generally come to embrace what at first we cry 
out most against," said Craps, pitifully; "you'd thrive ma'am at the 
head of a boarding house." 

It was evident to the landlord that the widow had come West to 
thrive on limited means, and he had thrown in the pebble at a wise 
venture, for Mrs. Castor was moderated immediately to an impatient 
demand for an extra wash-basin, and some better excuse for towel- 
ing. She gave her family history and also what might be an outcry 
against what Craps had predicted she might be coming to in her 
finishing sentence. 

"When my ancestors came over in the Mayflower they were all 
i6 



Pebble Philosophy 



respectable men and women and knew each other intimately — but 
forbid the familiarity of these creatures !" 

Having neither basin nor Pilgrim forefathers the spare host 
could only furnish a prospective landlady with a sample of the 
dry humor to be used in lieu of equipments : "Here madam," his 
voice crackled cheerfully, "is our extra basin always ready, fresh, 
and full — all our aristocratic tourists prefer the lake." 

Craps' finger pointed in two directions at the same time, to the 
visible proof in the form of a gentleman below them on the beach, 
and to the suppressed argument that, in this case, what was good for 
the gander was also good for the goose. 

"Dear me, what a solitary spectacle !" 

The reference was not to the lone female figure she should make 
on the shore, but a scornful cut of her eyes at the rude structure be- 
longing to Craps in which she had actually passed a night of her 
sacred existence ! 

It was not a genteel-looking establishment, but Craps was wise 
enough to know when a taunt was a compliment. In the widow's 
reference to what was his, she was actually considering him. Else 
why did she hold her bag so close to her body as if it contained suffi- 
cient capital for at least a wing to the inn? 

"Do you think this will ever be a valuable site, Mr. Craps?" 
asked the widow in tones appropriate to the precious position of 
the bag. 

"This, ma'am? This is the commercial hope of the State of 
Indiana. City is already surveyed and platted." 

Mrs. Castor's scorn returned in spite of herself. She did not 
think that there was anything in the disposition of the waste of sand 
to prematurely betray the secret. He would be telling her next that 
it had a name, too. 

"Yes, ma'am, we Indianians are philosophical, and far from tak- 
ing affront at nature, particularly the lake for the dunes about here, 
we have decided to be grateful for what we have been given, and. In 
honor of the giver, have called it Michigan City." 

Left by Craps to ruminate upon the tenderness she was sure she 
had inspired in him, the widow's thoughts were led still further 
away from the basin by the approach of the object which had caught 
the host's eyes on her emerging from the doorway. 

It was the young lady in brown whom she had seen come down 
in the morning, as she had seen her go up at night, with her face 
concealed by a heavy brown veil. 

At home Mrs. Castor would have had unspeakable things to say 
17 



On 



gon 



of such behavior, particularly as it had been impossible for her to 
engage the mysterious lady in conversation. Really that inability 
had been the last straw in the way from preventing Mrs. Castor's 
obedience to the stirring idea of a flight against the landlord. 

But now that she had had it out with Craps and felt in with 
him, the more she contemplated the effectiveness of the girl's habit 
the more she was impressed with its desirability. It gave an air 
of mystery to woman, and her first husband had once said that it 
must have been some mysterious power in her that first appealed 
to his affections. 

"In Rome do as the Romans do." 

This remark, addressed to the sands that had begun their drifting 
ages before her Pilgrim ancestors had infused the migratory cul- 
ture in her blood, explained why Mrs. Castor rode to Chicago behind 
three thicknesses of an old black veil. 



V 

THE GYPSY 

If Buhl-Bysee had been a man of real depth or of some read- 
ing, he would have discovered, what most of his fellow guests had 
learned very quickly, who the gentleman was that played so quietly 
to his vanity. But the agent never had a friend. The fault was his, 
true, but his poverty could not have helped him to Goethe's thought 
which Jean had seen on one of the pages of the Museum the day 
before, and was now thinking out at the lake — "One who feels not 
love must learn to flatter, or he will never succeed." It would not be 
pleasant to go into the commissioner's mind except from curiosity, 
but so doing, something thus was his conception of the master 
detective : "Medium height, boyish face, age problematical. Hair 
chestnut. Like that wood looks as if, were he cleft straight along 
from head to foot, which would really take no great blow to ac- 
complish, nothing but evenness and sameness of grain in this man 
throughout. Never could pass for mahogany, certainly would break 
under the strain of oak or pine. Chestnut wood is good for country 
rails, and this man, but for his clothing — neat, tasteful — looks able 
to keep the cows from running into the corn-fields. Looks as if he 
has always just stopped smiling." 

Some words the visitor into the agent's mind would have sup- 
plied for the description thus given, but that is licensed privilege 



The Gypsy 



since it is a debatable question whether man thinks with words at 
all, and Buhl-Bysee prided himself on being much of a man. 

But Buhl-Bysee had forgotten to notice that Clermont seldom 
smiled at all. Laugh he sometimes did, heartily, always aloud. 
But a smile is no more a laugh than a sigh is a tear — though all 
are currents in one emotional stream. 

Others were observing the strength in Clermont's hand when 
it pushed its way through the abundant, curly hair. But the time 
was to come when Buhl-Bysee would modify his judgment that here 
was a gentle, easily understood nature, endowed with good health to 
make up for the want of strong fiber; and yet was also to tell 
whether first appearances are altogether deceitful to any man. 

Buhl-Bysee, on the other hand, was tall, and with a kind of 
handsomeness that will always command admirers when speech will 
not run before the figure. Athletic in build, perhaps forty years of 
age, with a turn of cruelty to an otherwise weak mouth, enforced 
by a strong but not heavy chin. 

Somehow it made the host darker and his eyes sadder to look 
at Buhl-Bysee, when he was called out to the platform where the 
agent was waiting for the stage. But the agent was in good humor 
from Clermont's attention, and kept summoning into his face a pecu- 
liar smile which nobody ever saw that was not either won by it or 
else made it a study. 

"Now wouldn't that be fetching, Bulbsy," said Craps to himself 
on being greeted with this engaging radiance; "really it's a new 
wrinkle now, as charming as the light we used to put into the 
pumpkin false-faces to amuse the children — but you don't come that 
on me, you know." Such a trend of thought, however, is degrading, 
and Craps struggled against it, meeting Buhl-Bysee with a simple 
business air. 

"Haven't I seen you somewhere before, sir?" asked the agent, 
repeating the inquiry of the evening before. 

"And haven't I seen you, sir?" answered Craps. 

"Well, it's queer," said Buhl-Bysee, giving it up at last with the 
smile that undid Craps so bothersomely. "But you said Major Tren- 
ton passed this way yesterday?" 

"Very early," was the reply. 

"He must be a very high-spirited and gallant fellow," observed 
the agent. 

"So every one thinks in these parts." 

"Ha, ha — and the ladies, what think they of him?" 

"Major Trenton is still unmarried, you know," answered the 

19 



Ongon 

landlord, putting- his teeth to his hps, cither as a host may do 
who has the thread of many topics to bite for his guests, or else 
as a man must who has the temper to say more than he will. 

"So, so, still unmarried, you say — but had a romance once I be- 
lieve?" said Buhl-P)ysee with the cruelty in his lips. 

*'He was engaged to be married once to Miss Malita Strong, 
daughter of old Judge Strong, of New York ; but the young woman 
became enamored of a man by the name of Bulbsy and broke her 
engagement." 

"Yes," said Buhl-Bysee, putting one hand to his lips and sup- 
porting his elbow with the other, "I heard — and afterwards ?" 

"She broke her heart, for she married Bulbsy and lived just long 
enough to rue her bargain. Died, poor girl, at sea." 

"And what became of Buhl — of Bulbsy?" 

The commissioner looked searchingly, but the landlord was gaz- 
ing upon the lake, whose waters had been suggested by reference 
to the sea. 

"Bulbsy went abroad afterwards — that was five years ago — and 
became naturalized there, they say, though he has been back once." 

Clermont had listened to the conversation with eyes of admira- 
tion for Craps, even remarking to himself aside that he must have 
this man. Now he interposed to ask the landlord who the veiled 
woman might be, walking along the shore. 

"That's the gypsy," replied the host; "sure of it for all her dis- 
guise. One of the most beautiful of women, they say. See her 
contradictory walk. She is trying to be ungraceful when, ye gods, 
every line of her figure is crying out that to have to try to do it 
is a disgraceful shame !" 

"You're pretty observing," said Buhl-Bysee, eying the landlord 
curiously. 

"Not half so much as the scientist who fell in love with a 
handsome woman and wrote her the only scientific words on drapery 
I have ever read. It seems she had taken him out to a masquerade 
ball or something wherein she, too, as yonder girl, was cloaked from 
head to foot, in a sort of a long nightrobe coat. 'A heavy dress 
enveloping the form of woman from head to foot,' he said, 'is 
not to be likened to a rough box concealing the diamond. The 
gem, in order to betray its presence, needs a conspiracy of openings 
to receive and flash a ray of light ; but grace of form does not wait, 
on the laws of incidence and reflection, one step flashes the secret, 
and from being a mere garb of cloth utility, dress is transformed into 
a place in the fine arts.' " 

20 



Clermont's Promise 

"Your memory serves you well, sir," said Buhl-Bysee, still turn- 
ing over in his mind where he had seen this man. 

"I even think the scientist added that movement in a beautiful 
woman is to her beauty what fragrance is to the flower," said the 
host with a wink that made his eyes seem smaller when the com- 
missioner was searching for his identity and looking into them as 
if he would find it there. 

As to Jean herself, she had determined at last to meet Clermont, 
for she had learned from the nature of his inquiries made, however 
casually, that he had come West for professional reasons. He gath- 
ered that she wished to speak to him and hastened to her side. 

VI 

Clermont's promise 

Clermont was conscious in turning away with Jean that she 
forced him to take her stride; but he had learned long before that 
women of power have it intuitively to judge a man by his ability 
to keep step. 

"There is more than one agent of the Government here." Her 
voice, though low and musical, had something of the huskiness of 
the morning in it that thrilled his ear. 

"You have more knowledge than the commissioner possesses," 
replied Clermont, pushing his hand through his hair. 

"Sir, I know that you are charged with a matter of life and 
death." She spoke in the same tone, but the words came faster, 
and with passion. 

He did not answer, and she knew what she had said forbade a 
reply on his part. Her pause in the walk was so abrupt that the 
halt was not with him, but from him, and he went on several steps 
in company with his astonishment before he realized the pass. 

When he had turned her veil was lifted and he beheld a face 
of singular beauty and power — that of a young girl scarcely twenty 
summers past. 

He could not hide the fact that he was struck with sheer amaze- 
ment. 

The gypsy's lips were curled with a girlish sense of triumph at 
having taken the noted secret-service man so unawares. 

Then he was lost in the magnetism of her voice and eyes. 

"Mr. Clermont, you are a man proud of your record and justly 
credited for great ability in the affairs of your department." 

He bowed his acknowledgment of the compliment. 

21 



Ongon 



"Will you let a girl make a request that may seem to cast reflec- 
tion on your judgment? Sir, I remember when scarce in my teens 
reading a statement of yours that in the detective service a woman's 
mind is apt to be too willowy and emotional for use — and how a 
childish rage of resentment seized me because of it !" 

She spoke with such a charm of girlish fascination, no man 
could have been offended at anything she could have said. 

"A man will let one woman bend and break his stoutest ideas," 
said Clermont. "I should welcome the suggestion." 

"It would not endanger your honor or compromise your stand- 
ing with the authorities to promise me that, inasmuch as you are 
to use circumstantial evidence in the matter which brings you 
here, you will reserve the announcement of your decision one month 
after it is made." She did him the honor to be ablaze with the sig- 
nificance and high concession of such a promise. Her fingers played 
upon each other and toward him with such gentle entreaty. 

His eyes grew large and inquiring at the sight of the plain 
gold band upon the third finger of her left hand. "You cannot 
mean that he is " 

He did not finish the sentence, but glanced from the ring to 
the beautiful face, so young and care free, yet with such a wealth 
of woman's strength in it, 

"I am not his wife, nor is he a man whom I should ever marry, 
but his life is precious to me. And to you, Mr. Clermont, I can 
safely say that I am not married at all. But I must at least seem 
discreet, while you can play the fool and be wise." 

With these words she dropped the veil again — by which action 
he knew that the thing of moment to her and for which she had 
sought the interview was his promise. 

"I will be glad to please you in any way I can honorably," he 
said, eagerly; "I promise." 

The hand she gave him quickly was like none other in the man- 
ner of its touch. It seemed to know the trustworthiness of his 
own, fluttering for a moment in his as if its owner yearned to rest 
from some great struggle — then a buoyancy from within her will 
and it was withdrawn. "I am Lusette for the present, which I admit 
is assumed. I cannot tell you my real name for it might bias and 
embarrass you. We shall not talk on the stage, and I leave at the 
Calumet, where I am in safe hands. Thank you, I trust that you 
shall find him innocent." No doubt of that innocency was in the 
soft, rich tones of her confidence. 

Out from the distance on the clear air came the stirring cadence 

22 



Clermont's Promise 

of hurrying horse's feet. Then, keepmg to the sand of the shore 
for his route, his pouches flying out Hke wings from the sides of his 
steed, the Httle Frenchman galloped past, hastening on to Chicago 
with the weekly mail from the East. Afterwards, as a freight train 
following the express on the same track, lumbered the incoming 
stage, the long blare of its horn starting into activity such of the 
tavern guests as were to be its passengers. High-ho ! the travelers 
were in and the stage was off again, the great chains clanking, and 
the horn encouraging the fresh relay of horses to make a becoming 
exit. Craps bowed his appreciation to the driver, who cracked his 
whip merrily as if he felt himself every inch a Jehu and a gallant 
modern horseman combined. Then the journey was on. 

A philosopher has remarked that if potatoes are put into a wagon 
and carted to market, the larger ones will always jolt to the top. 
Similarly, there is nothing like a long stage journey to bring to light 
the true size of people. 

The keen and practised eye of Clermont would have discovered 
long before the journey was half over that she who had chosen the 
title of Lusette was no ordinary person, however young in years. 
It was more than that a veiled woman is a woman as truly as a 
woman is a veiled spirit. Clermont was ready to vow that versatility 
needs neither face nor utterance to declare its existence. 

He knew that the girl read everybody like a book, that her eyes 
sparkled, though unseen, when oddities were passed on the way. He 
divined that she flashed a scorn upon Buhl-Bysee for what might 
have been an impertinence had he not found an innocent way to 
intercept it. Her wonderful vitality, however much it bestowed of 
its strength in making the other woman who dozed more comfort- 
able, kept its own freshness undiminished. The sensitive play of 
the slender fingers alone would have told that. He knew, too, and 
his professional heart was not too grand to be indifferent to the 
charm of it, that he was communicated with in a hundred little way- 
side ways, by a lissome bending of her body, by a symphony of glance 
and Roman gesture of her forceful little thumb, by a gentle tapping 
of her foot when the stage stopped for another change of horses, 
and she saw that he was pleased with the enchanting song of a veery. 

The sight of a soldier was like a headline to a newspaper to direct 
the travelers' attention to the local military affairs. Being 1833, 
Black-Hawk's raid of the year before became the theme, and with 
it mention of the hero of Dixon's Ferry, and Bureau Creek, and 
Wisconsin Heights, Major John Trenton. By the same law that 

23 



Ongon 



makes it more thrilling to talk of ghosts in dark the very loneliness 
of the country through which they were passing exalted the courage 
of the young soldier until he was an idol for the tedious hours. 

"But after all he could have done nothing great without the help 
of Ongon." 

The remark was from Buhl-Bysee, who seemed restive under the 
praise which was given on all sides to Major Trenton. Only Cler- 
mont observed the agitation of Lusette. But her self-control quieted 
the signs of emotional excitement in a moment. In this she was 
helped by the clasping and agreement of her hands, until Clermont 
vms more charmed by her perfect stillness than he had been by the 
spell of her words and gestures. The outburst of Buhl-Bysee had 
the effect of terminating the conversation, for he did not explain, 
and few knew about Ongon, Thoughts were turned inward until 
the driver announced the approach to the Calumet. 

Lusette had dismounted very quickly, scarcely touching the 
hand Clermont had extended to help her out. There was no one 
there to meet her, and he took several steps with her. "Thank you, 
once more, Mr. Clermont. The month will be dear to me. Till we 
meet again, good-bye." She did not hesitate which way to go and 
was lost in the woods almost immediately. 

VII 

PLAYING WITH THE STREAM 

"Josie, what, it is Josie!" 

Following the lead of the princess and their long shadows cast 
by the early sun, Wautoma and his bucks had forded the south 
branch of the Chicago River, when the sight of the girl on horseback 
drew his attention. 

"Hughgh, she rides a strange pony with her hands full, and she 
flies !" cried the chief, "after her, all !" 

The long night's ride on the bare backs of their steeds had not 
taken away the Indian's appetite for excitement. Surpassing the 
endurance of his pony is that of the redman himself. 

"She's into the woods," yelled Wautoma in the dialect ; "circle !" 

But the girl was too sharp for that, for when they closed in 
again Josie was the same distance ahead, riding at full speed. 

"Josie !" 

But she answered by crashing along through the underbrush 
into the woods again. 

"Circle!" 

24 



Playing with the Stream 

This time the horse was caught within the closing ring of pur- 
suers, but Josie — the sly little fox — had escaped. 

"Beautiful horse!" cried Wautoma, seizing the captured animal 
by the bridle. "Not Indian !" 

"But a woman's pony," said Minnetonka, "and tired from much 
riding." 

"Take her to the lodge, Minnetonka, while we hunt for the girl," 
said her brother. 

But the princess, who had followed Josie more in protest than 
by desire, smiled. 

"You will anger her, Wautoma," she said, taking the bridle as 
it was offered. 

"She must obey," cried Wautoma. 

"Not when she is just beginning to love," smiled she. 

"If she will not now, she will not ever," returned the chief ; "but 
Wautoma cannot argue — away and after her !" The command 
addressed to the bucks received instant alacrity, and Minnetonka was 
left to pet the beautiful horse and thence to lead him home with 
her. Broken twigs told the Indians that Josie had taken a course 
toward the river again. The party must divide — she had waded 
some distance in the stream. 

"Ha, here !" Wautoma had found some turned leaves and was 
in hot pursuit in the direction of their trend. There is no sight keen- 
er than that of the rednian on the trail of an object — he is Nature's 
human hound, tracking by signs scarcely more visible to ordinary 
paleface eyes than could be the scent by which the dog pursues 
his game. 

"What, Josie, where have you been?" The way had led back to 
the water again, and there the object of his quest was sitting on a 
projecting log, dangling her feet in a stream. 

"You've been away all night, somewhere, Wautoma," said the 
girl archly, not thinking it meet to give the account desired of her. 

"Come, Josie, explain, what does this mean?" insisted the young 
chief, sharply ; the anger was cutting into his voice. 

*'Oh, you are tired of my staying here already," said the girl, 
making eddies with her feet. 

"Josie, you know better." 

"But I don't ; Josie will go back to the Mississippi." 

"Where is that which you were carrying?" insisted the young 
chief. 

"Where is that for which you rode sixty miles for nothing?"' 
retorted the Indian maiden. 

25 



Ongon 



"Josie!" 

"Yes, Wautoma?" 

"You must take care !" 

She answered him by a merry laugh and added her hands to the 
water. How she could sit there so lightly and bend over so far 
without falling into the stream was a problem of grace to even the 
irate chieftain's mind. Her long black hair played upon the surface 
of the river, but she had turned her head so that her eyes were 
dancing into his as brightly as the flickering sunlight through the 
leaves upon the water. 

"Where did you get your horse, Josie?" 

"I brought it with me when I came from the Sioux." 

"No, this new horse?" 

"I rode him for Lusette." 

"Who is Lusette?" 

"Josie mustn't tell." 

"Wautoma will be angry." 

"He is." 

"But you must tell." 

"I shall go back to my people." 

"Minnetonka has taken the horse to the lodge." 

"Josie would have taken the horse to the lodge." 

"You don't care for me." 

"I never said I did."" 

On both sides of the river the lines of Wautoma's followers, 
extending down at regular intervals to the bend, stood motionless 
beside their ponies — a splendid appeal to her maidenly vanity and 
good sense. But a savage belle remains true to the instincts of her 
sex — and plays with the stream again. 

"Oh, Josie !" 

Her hand replied with a tantalizing ripple on the water as she 
laughed aloud again. 

"Why does the Dakotah maiden love war so?" murmured 
Wautoma. 

Her lips were parted roguishly, her hand was laid softly across 
her throat. Wasn't he cutting off his own head with the question? 
"Where was Wautoma last night that he hates war so?" asked the 
girl, coyly. 

"Oh, Josie!" 

Now she would test his love for her and her own power over 
hiin — her woman's wit had found a way to protect the box. "Wau- 
toma, you are not the only people whose duty it is to serve Ongon. 

26 



The Painting 



Think you Josie should hide anything from Wautoma that did not 
concern Ongon?" 

Her voice — which she had pitched in a higher key for all the 
braves to hear — had such a ring of the truth in it, the chief was 
already looking the penitent savage for having doubted her. 

"Now, for shame on you and your men!" shouted the girl; "if 
you are as brave and good as Josie thought you were, leave her at 
once !" 

"And you will come for the picture to-day?" asked the chief. 

"Josie will come in time for the picture." 

They would return according to Wautoma's signals — by every 
buck of them riding grandly across the stream in front of the re- 
viewing maiden. To accomplish this half had to ford the river 
twice, coming up behind the other half, the chief watching the 
effect upon the Dakotah maiden. Oft she smiled and nodded and 
almost permitted Wautoma to throw his blanket over her when it 
was done, how she turned it aside he never knew. 

"For the Auxplaines River," commanded the chief, when Josie 
had jumped across the river from the end of the log. 

The exhilaration of the ride of the night and the excitement 
of the morning had given vent to the superfluous energy of the 
savages and brushed from their faces the dark hatred of the even- 
ing before, leaving them bright as coppers newly from the mint. 

"Josie holds her head high for Wautoma's band," was the cry 
that reached the chieftain as he passed out of sight. 

And could the old trees of the forests whisper their secrets they 
could tell of chivalry as pretty as the legends in which the Indian 
himself has told his love — of gallant woodsmen who had come be- 
fore Wautoma to catch their sweethearts by the stream ! Yea, but 
if he could only do something great to show the Dakotah beautiful 
one his true passion for her ! 

But Josie had found the birchen canoe and putting in the precious 
box which had been at her feet in the stream with the rock upon 
it, she drew the papers from her bosom with the rings and all. 
Then she paddled quickly for Hardscrabble. 

VIII 

THE PAINTING 

At the portage the merest wave of the chief's hand scattered the 
Indians as quickly and effectively as if the movement had been the 
tossing of pennies into the field. True a squirrel's chatter brought 

27 



OncTon 

o 

a bobbing up of their heads again — but this was only the young 
chieftain's trying his power over his band. A sign, and he was 
alone with his sister, who had come to meet him. 

If the ride had occupied two nights instead of one, Wautoma's 
face, too, might have shared the quiet of his braves ; but in him 
the restless tide of passion still surged, and Minnetonka, discerning 
this, did not venture to speak to her brother, but led him into the 
long low structure of logs which they called the lodge. 

When she paused it was before a painting of himself, nearly 
finished. In front of this she knelt with kindling eyes. Because 
the wild fire w^as in her face as she gazed upon the portrait and her 
bosom heaved with the terribleness of their common suflfering, she 
held him in her master-passion. There is a savage desire in the 
breast of every brother to have his sister kneel before his idol. Let 
her but worship tow^ard his ambition, and she may rule him. Thus 
had Minnetonka come to dominate her brother's life. Long he 
stood by her side, his arms folded, watching her face until she with- 
drew the cross of gold again from her bosom and was holding it 
beseechingly in the direction he was looking in the picture. 

She had not told her brother that their Catherine was also 
sketching her for a painting of the Madonna. But in her purity and 
grace, and in the ineffable light that seemed to fall from above upon 
her perfectly oval face, and thence to pervade her being until it 
blended with the beauty of her soul, the thought of inferior race 
was lost, and Art might well be happy if the hand and eye of one of 
its servants was near to copy what nature had begotten. 

The painting before which she was kneeling represented Wau- 
toma in an attitude of noble defiance, challenging his right to hold a 
place in the American peerage, and scorning the greed of the whites 
as well as the vices of his own people. His kindred and his 
kindred's enemies together were striking the spark of grandeur 
in his mind with the glow spreading over his countenance. Aptly 
the artist was painting him in the fields with the trees and the old 
ruins of some primitive fort in the background. 

Much of the passion in the brother and sister as they lingered 
before the portrait was due to the genius of the woman whose brush 
had caught the moment when cruelty was felt, and had enlarged 
upon the theme. Left to herself, with the same skill, Minnetonka 
would never have chosen the emotion Catherine Dale had drawn 
upon. There were softer times in her brother that she would have 
loved to keep for him. But when the cruelty was before her and she 
realized its truth it aroused a kindred feeling in her. Perhaps to 

28 



The Painting 



break away at last from the thralldom of its suggestions, Minne- 
tonka looked up to her brother's face with a smile. 

"Did Wautoma find that he could trust Josie?" 

The young chief looked around at the blanket he had taken 
from his pony when going in search of Josie. He had not left it 
with her, neither had she sheltered under it. Minnetonka's fingers 
played upon his hand fondly. 

"But she was proud of Wautoma's bucks," said the chief, putting 
the best construction on the unsuccessful wooing. 

"Of course, and of Wautoma, too," said Minnetonka, proudly. 

"Why did she run away at last then?" 

"Did she?" asked the princess, taking the last thread of the en- 
counter and drawing it cautiously with a sister's desire to hear the 
whole story. 

"But cried out afterwards when Wautoma could not see her 
that she held her head high for his band." 

"Did you let her do most of the talking, Wautoma?" 

"She wouldn't talk." 

"Perhaps you wanted to know most about the box?" 

"Yes, the box." 

"Did she know that you trusted her even when she could not 
tell you everything?" 

"Ugh," said the chieftain, with a negative shake of the head. 

"Then she will think you did not love her, brother. You must 
tell her that with your eyes and your words and your head held 
toward her goodness." 

"Dakotahs are warriors," said Wautoma, tersely, not committing 
himself to accept any such advice. 

"And you fought her? Oh, brother!" 

"She fought me, Wautoma wanted to be peaceable." 

"Tell me how she looked," said Minnetonka, rising and giving 
the picture an affectionate turn to show him how great he could 
look. 

And then he told her all, and she gave him laughing advice. But 
when they spoke of her words about her mission for Ongon, and 
of the Lusette that owned the beautiful horse, they began to whisper 
confidences. It was, of course, a savagely soft thing for a brother 
to say, but his eyes spoke with his words, at last : "Sister princess, 
I love you, too ; Wautoma wants a wife as good as Minnetonka." 

Again they fell back to their contemplation of the picture. Their 
father's death, their mother's burial, their sense of loneliness until 
Ongon came — much in their natures wrapped them inseparably in 

29 



Ongon 



their p^reat sorrow. But for Ongon, looking at the painting, they 
had shuddered before it under the sense of impending doom. 

"Wautoma goes and waits for the work to begin," the brother 
said at last. He felt as if the destiny of the picture was to make 
his race immortal. He must, therefore, prepare himself to tell the 
story eloquently, as one favored to represent his people. 

The time had not yet come when they would wish the picture 
had never been painted. Now if Wautoma should have been called 
upon to die to save the portrait, scarcely could Minnetonka have 
desired him to flinch from the sacrifice. Not one scratch or harm 
must come to it. 

"Yes, go, Wautoma, Catherine is almost ready, Josie will soon 
come." 

But first they must look at the horse of Lusette again — how 
strong ! — if Lusette served Ongon too ! Then Wautoma's strides 
carried him from the lodge up the knoll to the site of the ancient 
palisades. There he halted and stood for more than an hour, mo- 
tionless as a statue. 



IX 

CATHERINE REFUSES THE FLOWER 

At last Wautoma's patience was to be rewarded, the artist was 
approaching accompanied by Josie. With many Httle ceremonies, 
and that dignity so beloved of the Indian, keeping step together 
though apart, and mumbling a weird Indian chant, the women drew 
near. The chant carried motion into Wautoma's limbs, for he, too, 
started in an outer circle, while the artist with Josie completed the 
inner winding. When he had resumed his place the picture and its 
frame were already placed beside the chairs in waiting for them. 
As the artist withdrew her cloak, for a moment Wautoma's lips 
were parted for gladness, and then he was looking as the portrait — 
a very provocation for Catherine Dale to fly to her work. After 
placing Josie where she could not catch the eye of the model, there 
was no occasion for the Indian to feel that he was the subject of 
an idle hour. 

"There, Wautoma, a few more strokes and you will have made 
us famous !" 

To fancy the Indian silent as the sphynx is to imagine that the 
child cannot talk from its shyness, that the bird cannot sing because 
it has lost its sunshine. Wautoma, secure in the sense of an appre- 

30 



Catherine Refuses the Flower 

ciative audience, was soon orator in three languages. To the artist 
painting away furiously on the picture, the young chief had been 
making his complaints in alternate French and English phrases; 
while at the same time his pose had not forbidden the use of the 
sign language in the communication of his feelings to the silent 
Josie. After once telling him by signs that Catherine did not wish 
her to talk to him, the Dakotah maiden had kept the mandate re- 
ligiously. 

A very contrast to the swart complexion of the Dakotahn who 
stood beside the easel, intent upon the work, though with a half 
dubious air about its value, was the face of the toiler, whose only 
points of color were her lips and eyes. But the pallor was emphasis 
in white of the same story told by the red lips and the flashing 
greenish-gray eyes — of twenty-six years of life whipped to intensity 
by hot, resistless blood. She was either not as pretty as she had 
been — which was the presumption, or as she was to be — a possibility. 
But nature had more than atoned for the severity cast upon a 
haughty face by the plentiful adornment of rich brown hair and 
by the elegance it had lavished upon her figure. Even on the wilds 
of the prairie frontier she had not grown careless of her dress, which, 
red, to please the Indians, followed the style immediately fore- 
running crinoline. 

"Wautoma, you are sublimely fierce this morning. The great 
serpent is putting the very poison of his wrath into our work." Her 
voice was as her face, imperiously haughty. 

But fierceness was not all the brush of Catherine Dale was 
dashing upon the canvas. The painting of the tall young savage, 
however much his handsome face was fired with Indian spirit, with- 
out paint and feathers, was a revelation of natural grace and 
strength. His legs, naked to the knee, were clean and shapely as if 
belonging to a polished bronze statue. Blacker than the straight 
black hair were the restless shining eyes that snapped with the same 
fierce energy cut like granite in the chin and burning in the lips. 
Artist and model were in complete sympathy with the spur of her 
words chosen with quick discernment of his thoughts. It was his life 
that she valued and interpreted for him, and, by drawing and sus- 
taining the intense cast of his feeling, had reproduced at last. Now 
her smallest brush was striking the corner of the canvas the title 
she had given it : "The American Nobleman in the Ruins." 

It was no idle whim, or mere passing fancy, nor yet the desire of 
fame that had moved Catherine Dale in her task. Her heart was 
knit to the hearts of the Indians by the strong cords of fate. Her 

31 



Ongon 



life had been a preparation for the painting — because she was a 
woman and had suffered wrongs of her own. As one who read her 
own history in her changeful eyes, and could not at all times at 
will hide from others the story of a disappointed life, she clave to the 
cause of the Indians. Among them by a strange providence she 
had found the place to drop the plummet line beneath common sor- 
rows to find the more intense despair. This morning she had hung 
in her room at the lodge her motto, "I don't want a God who tells 
me to look at the maimed and blind and halt and be satisfied with 
my lot lest the bears come out of the woods and eat me up." 

But just now, intent upon the finishing strokes, she had not 
seen the strained salute of Wautoma, nor heard the footsteps be- 
hind her, else she had not murmured aloud in French : "Oh, God, 
be neutral and I shall be satisfied !" Somewhere she had found 
these words and adopted them for her own covenant with Deity. 

"May an intruder be pardoned?" asked a deep masculine voice. 

Turning abruptly with a disdain born of the knowledge that he 
must have heard and perhaps understood her imprecation, Catherine 
Dale was confronted by the commanding figure of a young officer in 
uniform with cap and riding whip in hand. His distinguished bear- 
ing needed no explanation not found in the fearless, adventuresome 
ej'-es that met hers — this must be the Major Trenton. 

She did not offer him entire the chair — the cushion was with- 
drawn. Anything less than a hard seat for a soldier would be 
eflfeminate ! It was the action of the painter rather than the woman, 
tendering him, as she held the cushion quite at present arms, the 
most delicate tribute art could give to valor. 

"I learned that the creator of Les Garcons was here, and came 
to thank her for her Parisian boys," said the soldier without taking 
the ofifered seat. 

"Major Trenton, I believe?" 

"Pardon me, I forgot, that is my name " 

"I fear Major Trenton will regret the journey." There was a 
fearless aim at her late passionate outburst in Catherine's words — 
and she was looking from him to the portrait. 

He thought her very beautiful — the most present of any woman 
he had ever met, not even excepting the long ago. He surmised 
that he could be nothing to her because her sympathies were with 
the Indians. And yet nobody ever entered the presence of Catherine 
Dale without becoming a suitor at least for her favor — and at last, 
-unless she or providence prevented it, for her affections. 

"It is only a primrose plucked from our prairie," said Trenton, 

32 



Catherine Refuses the Flower 

whose tone and eye conveyed the parenthetical explanation that he 
understood her, "but may a rude soldier be bold to offer it?" He 
felt that it would have been no sin for him to have touched her, a 
very delicate sensation for the Indian fighter. 

Her hand trembled as it moved a rejection of the flower, but her 
voice was haughty still when she replied, "Major Trenton, I may 
admire your courage, but we cannot be friends — we may even be- 
come foes." 

The primrose held by the long stem drooped in Trenton's hand. 
He would have liked to put it in his button-hole with some remark 
that if they became foes he would enlist in her cause and fight 
against himself, but he was afraid of the results. It had been so long 
since he had had dealings with womankind, and he had only the 
dim sense that the words might sound like a thrust when he was 
rusty as such fencing. Accordingly he only smiled and dropped the 
flower — the most unpardonable thing he could have done before 
Catherine Dale. 

"I have been fighting the Indians," said he with a little play 
of mock sorrow on his lips. 

"Beware, Major Trenton, for you have intruded to the very 
door of the chieftain most hostile to you," said Catherine full- 
blooded against trifling in this, her supreme hour of revolt against 
a nation's cruelty. 

Because he dreaded offense against her, he was taken for a 
coward, then he would show contempt for the Indian at his door — 
"Miss Dale, Indian chieftains to-day are such only in name. There 
are no chiefs here." 

She answered by seizing her brush to underscore the title on her 
picture. 

"The American Nobleman," said Trenton, reading aloud the 
words. "I have often heard it reported that the old chief's son 
was good-looking, and you have certainly idealized his anger." 

"Is that all, Major Trenton?" 

"I admire the picture and congratulate you on getting an Indian 
to pose for you. It is the first time in the history of painting, I doubt 
not." 

"And r 

He remembered the saying that when two people meet one is 
always conscious that he holds the advantage. Unless the unexpect- 
ed should now happen, he could not hope to get away with credit — 
to go away and come back to begin right with her. 

"And f" she repeated. 

33 



Ongon 



He would fall into her hands gracefully — "You have followed 
a great thought in your conception of the theme." 

"It is a suggestion for a statue for an American temple of Justice, 
Major Trenton," said Catherine, ironically. 

There never was a man with a love for excitement that would 
pass by an opportunity of prolonging the splendor of an animated 
woman. Trenton was only a soldier and yielded. He would like 
to draw from her the full force pent up beyond the words she had 
spoken. Even though he saw Wautoma approaching to listen. 
There was the mumbling of an approaching storm within Catherine 
that would burst suddenly upon the slightest provocation, even as 
it had come unexpectedly upon her. Trenton was not strong enough 
to resist the temptation. He smiled again and folded his arms. 

"Major Trenton, the American Indian ordered to design a na- 
tional hall of justice would slightly alter the conventional statue 
that, fashioned in bronze or stone, has become a favorite pillar in 
such temples. Instead of the sameness of a blindfold covering both 
eyes of the goddess of justice, that bandage in perpetual stone should 
slip below on one cheek to reveal the squint in the trammeled eye. 
So, too, would tip the scales which the redman never saw bal- 
anced. And if the sword should be made to appear dripping with 
human blood, the nation should not quarrel with the Indian's carv- 
ing in stone that zvliich has been cut out of his heart. The central 
figure thus chiseled for the American palace of justice would present 
nothing of the appearance of an idle cartoon to be lightly laughed at, 
or to win the insolent guffaws of a superior race. Indian history 
is the record that a travesty on justice is a terrible thing. For, 
blinded with rage under the bitter sense of injustice, the redman 
has hurled himself upon his fate. Only to prove, alas, his strength 
unequal to his lot, and with all his cruelty, only to dash his own 
brains against the hard scales — yes, I will say it — against the hard 
scales of an inconsiderate destiny." 

Before she had finished speaking a squirrel's call had begun 
in the same key, ominous, dreadful — hardly a gentle squirrel's bark 
at all, but carrying from tree to tree the same scornful irony — as 
with every yell a new head arose to offer its savage lips to project 
the sound. Every warrior's hand was upon the strings of his bow, 
and a score of arrows were piercing the disc of moss-covered bark 
thrown by Wautoma into the air. Passion following so soon upon 
thwarted vengeance was now waiting upon a woman's voice to 
command what in the night a woman had forbidden, 

Trenton well knew that the Indian is most malignant when aware 

34 



Catherine Refuses the Flower 

that the foe is completely in his power. But, though he was con- 
scious of the very moment when the situation had passed from the 
control of the artist, he stood impassive with folded arms. Not a 
muscle moved in his face or body, and the young warriors who had 
never seen the superb self-control of this officer now became awed 
to caution by his apparent indifference to his fate. 

Catherine Dale, again no longer the woman but the artist, gloried 
in the exhibition before her, half-forgiving Trenton for his splendid 
nerve. Unconscious of the real depth and purpose in the mind of 
the savages, and unacquainted with the language of their gestures, 
her face glowed with enthusiasm in the presence of such action. 
Her eager form was bent forward with Spartan grace to catch the 
sound of their voices, and to note the fierceness of their wrath. 
Once she looked at the picture as if she was sorry this had not 
occurred before she had finished her conception. 

She was the type that could die with splendid animation, if. 
only she might look upon herself the while to detect the ways of 
the passion of death. 

Was Trenton mad that he permitted the orgies of that dance un- 
moved? Why had he waited even until the last savage had come 
up — until every one of the demons' arrows was ready for the silent 
flight of death? Who could find his lone grave on a boundless 
prairie? On they leaped and gnashed, closer, closer — fiendish, yell- 
ing slaves of rage, watching for the slightest movement of Wau- 
toma's hand. At last the preliminary sign had been given with the 
direction that no one should hurt the painting. The fingers of the 
savage hands were upon the strings, in a moment 

Quick as the flash of a bird on wing, Trenton's arms had relaxed, 
and with a shout of triumph that rose above the Indians' yells, 
breaking their monotony in the middle, the officer had darted for- 
ward. Seizing the picture from the easel, he plunged down the 
knoll toward his horse, swaying his body from side to side with 
the painting as a shield — not an arrow following, not a redman 
near enough to overtake him, not a horse so fleet as his charger once 
he had leaped upon his back. 

"Now, Tom, show them your head and then your heels !" 

Keeping the picture between their arrows and his wheeling horse, 
the soldier gave loose rein to the intelligent steel, who, like his 
master, made one swing as of tearing through the savage band, 
then flung himself into the retreat. Only once was there a pause — 
when Trenton lifted the canvas as he rose in the stirrups and 
saluted Wautoma, the nearest pursuer. 

35 



Ongon 

THE RUBY 

At sundown came a different band of Indians, gray clad, with 
fur-lined moccasins, and a maple leaf woven into the blouse with a 
white cross in the center. They kept to the woods along the branches 
of the river until dusk, when they separated, each still avoiding all 
settlers, and carrying a package with great care and awesome 
gravity. 

Soon came the cry of the whip-poor-will answered by blinking 
red lights from out the packages. To an eye in the far distance, 
whether in the woods or on the prairie, dark fire-flies were seeking 
to pierce and open the night. 

Within an hour every lantern had gathered about it a little group 
of redmen similarly clad. Then all were terrestrial comets with 
dark trailing bands behind. The circling movement was stealthily 
toward the portage. 

"Hughgh !" 

The lantern man had challenged the form of a woman who had 
crossed the trail in front of him. "Hughgh ! hughgh !" 

"In the spring the maple leaves return!" came in the Ojibway 
dialect from the hurrying figure that would not tarry or return. 

"A friend ! she is a friend !" sputtered from the head to the foot 
of the comet, as the low, musical notes of the fleeting woman came 
to the ear of the challenger, and her cry was passed along the line. 
Somebody in sympathy with themselves was on a mission of her 
own. 

"Wouldst have the night-word?" She was crying, ready to 
give the pass, if they desired it. 

"Hughgh ! hughgh !" returned the leader, swinging his lantern. 

"0-n-g-o-n," long and lovingly, sweeter and more triumphant 
than the beautiful swelling, melting song of the twilight veery, rose 
and fell her answer. 

The voioe was new to the chiefs, but the word involved in its 
cadence swept the savage breasts with a kindred pleasure. Not over 
the waters of Venice at eventide could a chorus from masculine 
throats have poured forth a richer melody than their deep respon- 
sive "Ongon." 

"Lady !" The men had passed on, but Lusette was being pur- 
sued by a woman. 

"Lady !" The voice was entreating and following when its first 
whisper was ignored. 

36 . 



The Ruby 

Lusette tarried by the hawthorns until her pursuer overtook 
her. 

"And thou, too, dost know Ongon? Speak, fair lady!" said the 
Indian woman. 

"Am I very near the house, do you know him ?" asked Jean, with 
sudden unreserve. 

"I am Minnetonka the princess ; he will be with the chieftains to- 
night at their flag-room, but our lodge is near, come thou with me, 
fair lady." 

"I may not be fair lady," returned Jean with a girlish laugh. 

"Oh, yes, thy voice is beautiful," said Minnetonka; "I know not 
why, but it thrills me, and when I heard, standing in the door, I must 
fly toward thee." 

Jean suffered herself to be led by Minnetonka, and when they 
were within the lodge and her cloak fell from her face, lo, she was 
fair indeed ! 

"Oh, I love thee; I must call the artist — and dost thou know 
Ongon?" 

"Stay," entreated Jean, catching Minnetonka by the hand and 
holding her back gently, "I would rather not see any others to-night 
— some other time. But tell me what you know of Ongon." 

She asked rather because she liked to hear the happy voice of 
the princess than as if she wanted to know a secret. 

"He saved my father, he buried my father, he guides my brother, 
he has taught his sister, he is king of all the chiefs, and " 

"You love him," murmured Jean, clasping Minnetonka in a 
passionate embrace. "Your eyes have told me that you love him." 

"He is my husband, I am his queen," said Minnetonka, softly, as 
Jean held her by the shoulders and gazed with lustrous pleasure into 
her eyes. 

"Yes, I know," said Jean, dreamily. 

They were both a tiptoe above the medium height, and Minne- 
tonka, too, was lithe and slender, her figure suggesting both delicate- 
ness and strength. Her long raven hair was fastened prettily with 
a wisp of prairie grass, with a deft turn of myrtle upon the head. 
She was clad in a simple dress with a border of the daintiest, softest 
fur, and at the open throat was a double circle of red haws. 

"Yes, yes, sweet, happy Minnetonka!" murmured Jean, slowly. 
It was not jealousy, there was sorrow in her voice — and yet she was 
not displeased. After all she looked as if she was glad it was just 
so. 

"He is so great, so good," said Minnetonka. 

37 



Ongon 

Jean's eyes were beaming with a thought : "I have heard — show 
him to me, will you — the babe," she said in breaths. 

"I will if thou wilt tell me thy name," answered Minnetonka, half 
playfully. 

"Jean," replied the girl ; "that is my real name, to others I must 
be known as Lusette — now let me see Mylo, please." 

"How did you know his name?" asked Minnetonka in surprise. 

"Oh, I am the gypsy, you know, and of course I had to learn 
that," laughed the girl. Then her face sobered. "How hard for you 
when they killed little Joseph !" 

"Oh, fair lady, thou dost know all." Minnetonka buried her face 
in her hands, but there were no tears when she lifted her eyes again. 
"I will bring Mylo." 

He was not yet asleep, and when brought was fairer of skin than 
his mother. Though she was not dark. Indeed, if the legend be true 
that the Indians are the descendants of the lost tribes of the Jews, 
Minnetonka might have been selected in evidence. 

"Oh, darling little king, I, Jean, salute thee !" cried the girl 
gathering the child in her arms tenderly and covering his face with 
kisses. The child was not to take without giving. To him her hair 
as lawless in its myriad wanderings as the little hand itself, was a 
charm of color and opportunity. The tears were in the girl's eyes 
for delight, while Minnetonka gazed in fascinated wonderment. 

"You think you have seen me before?" asked Jean, still holding 
the babe. 

"Yes, no, somewhere, your spirit, perhaps in a dream," replied 
the bewildered princess. 

Jean noticed the changed form of address. 

"Who would have believed that I should find my way here to- 
night!" cried the girl — adding suddenly, "Oh, mightn't I see him 
among the chiefs to-night? I know the pass, could you not get us 
present ?" Her eyes danced from dark to light, as she gave back the 
babe, and repeated her entreaty with half-girlish, half-womanly fer- 
vor. 

"I dare not," answered Minnetonka, "it would displease Ongon. 
Besides, though you have won my heart, I know not who you are." 

"You are right — and I cannot tell you anything about myself 
now. Indeed, I must be going. I am the gypsy, that is all." 

"Must you go, you are not afraid, are you even braver than 
INlinnetonka ?" asked the princess, disappointedly. 

"See, he wants this pin, he shall have it !" said Jean quickly, with- 
drawing a large ruby stone in a scarf setting from the ribbon about 

38 



Treacherous Cat's-paw 

her throat. She gave it rather into the safer hand of the mother, 
adding, "You might tell Ongon that it was my mother's stone." 
Then she was gone. 

XI 

TREACHEROUS CAx's-PAW 

When Jean left the lodge she had barely time to steal to the tan- 
gled hawthorns beneath the lindens before the last party of Indians 
on their way to the flag-room filed past. Each carried a long rod- 
like parcel in his hand, and they were stepping forward cautiously 
like tight-rope walkers practising for the fair. 

"What Cat's-paw!" muttered the girl half-aloud as the leader 
shuffled ahead. 

He was an older man than the rest with a bent form and a double- 
jointed action at the knees. This with his crooked nose and ugly 
little eyes made him a hideous sight to behold — yet even so, more 
sufiferable to a sensitive mind provided only his parts would keep 
still. Each step seemed like the Fall of Man — every roll of his eyes 
a proof that there must be a place of perdition. 

"He bodes nobody any good, how can Ongon " but a new 

sight stopped Jean's thoughts as though they never had been — where 
had she seen that type before? The cause of the interruption that 
drove out Cat's-paw was a tall, finely built man with a strong, proud 
mouth. 

They were passing so close to her that they brushed the end of 
the wild grapevine she had grasped to support her in her position. 
Surely some one would observe that the vine trembled more than 
mere reaction from their striking it would warrant ! There ! she 
had steadied herself. But in so doing had lost sight of an individual 
she certainly must have recognized. 

Try as she could the tall chief who had passed after Cat's-paw 
haunted her mind — where had she felt that strange influence before? 
"Impossible, yes ; so — Cat's-paw a traitor — that man was Buhl-By- 
see !" And the girl was upon her feet in an instant. She knew that 
they were going to the ruins and at the risk of her life she would 
hasten thither to intercept and expose the perfidy. 

The red lanterns were casting a weird light upon the old fort 
when Jean dropped behind the hazel copse and gazed upon the solemn 
parade of the dark warriors. The ceremony of the redmen's march- 
ing, no longer in single file but by twos and fours, with the grand 
air upon their faces and the erect, martial spirit in their figures, ap- 

39 



Ongon 

pealed to her sense of grandeur. There was more than pomp in the 
stately marching — here was a race with a noble passion for what they 
did not themselves understand. They were more than children cry- 
ing in the night, and with other language than a cry. Each was a 
poor undeveloped man-child with a capacity for work, if in the form 
of play ; of unity, if around some great and good man as a center. 

Jean soon rediscovered Buhl-Bysee among the Indians, and — 
could it be true — not far in the rear, the disguised Clermont, a sunny 
Indian revelling in the fantasies of the night ! "If only he were 
called upon to carry on an extended conversation in Pottawatomie 
or Ojibway dialect, what a series of charming grunts they would be !" 

His arrival put a new construction on Cat's-paw's treachery. 
While she could laugh at the thought of the predicament Clermont 
would be in, if discovered, there was no great need of alarm. The 
old chief had only wanted to make some money, perhaps. It would 
endanger the detective's life and anger Cat's-paw for nothing after 
all. And both could be of more service to her alive than dead. 

No she must not expose Buhl-Bysee now. She must depart. 
However, she would stay to obtain just one glimpse of Ongon. 
How her heart fluttered at the thought. "Oh, Ongon, Ongon !" 

Would he not almost know that she was there ? She was gypsy 
enough, whatever else beside, to believe in the influence of mind over 
mind. When the vine fluttered in her hand just before, and she had 
wished Cat's-paw to hurry on, had not they seemed to quicken their 
pace? And now when she wanted so much to see Ongon, would he 
not be drawn to the hazel copses by the very force of her desire, 
especially when it was his noble mind that should be touched by the 
sensible fluid in the air ? 

No, she could not remain, much as she wanted to behold him. 
She must not endanger his cause, or hurt Clermont. She could wait 
another time — she had waited thus long. 

Poor child ! she had been thinking it laboriously in hard sen- 
tences, and she was weeping now at the thought of having to go. 
It was almost too hard to turn away from him when he was ap- 
proaching so near. She could see him in his kingliness if she waited 
— the beloved of whom she could well be proud ! 

"Oh, God, for answering my prayer," and in her faith, not 
needing to ask for sight, she crept back to the thicket beneath the 
elms and stole away softly, the girl and the woman mingling ten- 
derly in her thought of him whom they called king of the chiefs, her 
brother. When she could tell him the truth, in the pure moment of 
lifted condemnation, he would love her as one of heaven's mes- 

40 



In the Flag-room 



sengers. Oh, there must be a place in his heart for her love, she 
would try to be to Ongon what the Creator had in thought when he 
designed sisterhood. She was glad others had tried to find her 
brother for her and had failed because the seeking had been pure 
joy to her; and Ongon should never know aught but the joy of 
brotherhood. When they were permitted first to meet on earth, he 
would then know how his sister Jean had discovered that he was 
alive, and alone with her aunt had traced him, believing in him from 
the first dark hour that had brought her the secret of the accusation 
against him. Certainly her lips should not be the first to tell him that 
he was under suspicion. Else she had waited for him at the ruins to 
throw herself into his arms and cry "Oh, my brother, my brother 
Ongon !" Nay, not now ; she would wait and seek Clermont to give 
him the paper and tell him how the agent first came to hate Ongon. 
"Oh, Ongon, as thy sister goes hence, she prays that thy coming 
may be sacred to thy chiefs this night. Greeting, Jean leaves with 
every flower that meets thine eyes on the morrow," 



XII 



IN THE FLAG-ROOM 

It is a common observation that while the Romans worshiped 
the idea of an all-powerful ruler the Greeks adored the perfect man. 
It might be said of the Indians that they have idolized their chief- 
tains and obeyed their commands according as these rulers have ap- 
proximated to their conception of the ideal man. The Indians them- 
selves claim that their sign for chief means, "He rises above all 
others and stands solidly on the ground." Bravery in war, skill in 
hunting, generosity at home — these virtues have won savage hom- 
age. Many of the chiefs who have used their influence steadfastly 
for the promotion of the welfare of their people, often at great per- 
sonal sacrifice, have exerted an almost unlimited patriarchal power 
over their bands. Therefore whole tribes were represented in the 
men who came to the flag-room this night. 

The passage beneath the ruined palisades through which the 
Indians passed, when their maneuvers above were completed, led 
into halls that were built for chiefs alone. It was a great secret 
society which Clermont must understand before he went further. 
To the detective, and to Buh!-Bysee even with his purpose, the work 
which the redmen had accomplished underground was marvelous. 
Aside from the impenetrable nooks and hidings that lent a sense of 

41 



Ongon 

dark mystery and power to the approaches, the council-room itself 
would have commanded their admiration. Great oak pillars, polished 
and oiled, and now wreathed with garlands of wild flowers, sup- 
ported a ceiling of cedar inlaid with grotesque figures in curious 
stones. Being hard by both the Desplaines and the Chicago rivers, 
by way of the former the canoes had brought the abundance of 
stone necessary for making the cemented cavern, while from the 
East had come shells from the ocean, fragrant woods from north- 
ern Michigan, bits of curios from old caverns of whose fairies and 
witches the Indian grandfathers for centuries had told the children 
at night. It was enough that over the cemented stone had been 
laid a flooring of scented woods smooth as the wax of the bees. 
But no, bufl:'alo robes, with their dark-brown and their drab-brown 
splendor, shared the space on equal footing with gray rugs from the 
backs of the prairie wolves, black furs from the bears of the north, 
yellow sealskin beauties from Alaska. 

"Indiapolitan profusion," murmured Clermont to himself, as he 
walked upon the soft luxuries that king's palaces might well covet, 
and yet realized how easily these had been gotten in the wilds of 
America by these Indian hunters. 

But richer than the gathering of furs salted and dressed by the 
hand of Ongon, were the men he had won to himself by his person- 
ality. To Clermont all the Indian faces looked alike, but to the red- 
men assembled was the greater charm. They knew that one roof 
now sheltered representatives from distant and hostile tribes long 
separated by inveterate hatred. Here on common rugs from the 
common pipe Sac and Fox sat down to smoke with Sioux and 
Winnebago. The Miamis squatted with the Iroquois, the Pottawato- 
mies with the Illinois, and, from the Far West, Crow and Ute re- 
clined with the Navajo and Comanche. 

Much ceremony and imperturbable gravity went the rounds while 
a sparkling liquor made from roots was dispensed, in place of strong 
drink, by boys, the sons of chiefs in variegated costumes. It was 
noticed that there was no general paint and few feathers to be seen. 
Had Cat's-paw played a trick on Buhl-Bysee and himself, thought 
the detective, that they were notable exceptions to the rule of feath- 
ers? Clermont resolved to be an early convert, and with the air of 
an agreeable, newly arrived young chief, he looked around and nod- 
ded grunts while removing the locality of the feathers from his head 
to his blouse. 

Gently at first like the breath of sound across the waters, then 
swelling into a louder, happier euphony, broken at the point of in- 

42 



\ 







f 






ONGON STRONG AND FIERCE ELEMENTS HELD FAST BY A 

MIGHTY SPIRIT WITH A GREAT PURPOSE." 



In the Flag-room 



tensity into the rhythmical notes of an inspiring chant, the Indians 
were demonstrating their power in music. It was some national air 
Ongon had taught them, for presently hiden doors opened in the 
walls, and a body of white-clad cross-men, walking with august pre- 
cision, advanced, carrying royal banners. Cut in the shape of maple 
leaves, all with a white cross in the center, some with the delicate 
color of the early spring foliage, others with the darker shades of 
summer's green, and still others with the beautiful tints of autumn, 
— they were the chosen emblems of the seasons of Indian life ! Cler- 
mont would never have dreamed that forty flags could so beautify 
a room. 

As the standard bearers were lined on either side of the way 
from the great entrance door to the throne in their midst, and the 
Indians arose to greet their chief king, a deeper patriotism than 
Clermont had ever felt took possession of him. At this moment he 
was proud to have been born in a land whose first Americans were 
Indians. He had sat in the galleries of state and national legislative 
halls, and had cheered the entrance of the nation's chief, but he now 
felt a deeper thrill of pleasure in anticipation of seeing this man 
who out of chaotic governments had constructed such a magnificent 
union of savage men. Verily the Indians were a foreign nation in 
the midst of a republic. How little the paleface knew of the aspi- 
rations in the woods of the frontier! No newspaper had ever been 
created to tell the story of the forest kingdom. 

Another, more triumphant chant was beginning, and a deeper, 
more intense gravity was settling profoundly upon the features of 
the chiefs. Fortunately Clermont had observed his fellow moccasin- 
clad men were not going to give vent to their great feeling by 
applause. So would he veil his excitement under the muscles of his 
face. And what excitement it was ! He could hear, he was certain, 
the silence after the chant! Now the maple banners were being 
crossed, the door was swinging, he was coming ! 

Unattended, robed in pure white fur of the finest peltries, with 
the maple-leaf and cross pendant from the chain of gold about his 
neck, his black intense eyes fixed upon the larger cross before the 
throne, he walked among them with firm but easy step. A man 
above six feet in height, of powerful but not unwieldy frame, with 
the passionate lips of the orator, but with the head of the profound 
thinker. His black hair was shorter than the average Indian's, but 
when he laid aside his robe, the same costume was his in common 
with the other chiefs. His face, perhaps because of his intense feel- 
ing, was a lighter cast of color than that of the men about him, but 

43 



Ong 



on 

it was Indian type, strong, and fierce elements held fast by a mighty 
spirit with a great purpose. 

"In the spring the maple leaves return !" Every tongue seemed 
able to speak the watchword in English though afterward it was 
repeated in a dozen dialects before there was silence again. 

It was a kingly moment, for nothing exceeds the majesty of a 
congregation of powerful men awaiting eagerly for a great leader's 
first word — unless it be that fascination of attention which follows 
when such high anticipation is not disappointed. And the chiefs of 
the nations needed not the white man's color or ways of expression 
to make known their satisfaction. By an ideal gravity, sometimes 
pensive, sometimes triumphant, sometimes chastened, but ever more 
and more royally transformed by contact with the speaker's mind, the 
conclave of warriors feasted upon the sound of Ongon's voice. They 
seemed content to rest in his heart. If Catherine Dale had painted 
Wautoma in such colors that he had towered in resentment against 
the paleface, now, under the influence of Ongon's words, the young 
chief fairly exulted in the descriptions of his superior, and lost him- 
self in Ongon's ultimate hope for the redman. It was truth's hour 
of triumph over crude strength. Had Ongon once been guilty of 
some great sin against himself that he could lay hold upon such 
eternal verities ? 

Clermont was present to study the man, and yet he was conscious 
that soon he was being examined in return by looks that did not hang 
fire, but shot straight across the room and lingered not when they 
had gone through him. The detective also noticed that the eyes of 
all were upon Ongon gratefully. They knew nothing of the crime, 
that was certain. He was to them their chief-king back again from 
his long trip among the nations to meet them gathered from afar. 
He could not understand the Indian tongue in which Ongon spoke. 
Sometimes when the chief-king gazed above with a tremendous pas- 
sionate outcry, it seemed to leave his lips like the hissing rise of the 
roman candle, but when it had spent itself in the night of their 
thought, a radiance burst upon his countenance compelling admira- 
tion for its happy light. 

Ongon spoke with characteristic Indian brevity, while the 
speeches that followed were of even shorter duration. From the 
gestures of the orators Clermont judged that they were conferring 
upon the chief-king further authority. Now and then the word 
"council-fire," known to him, acquainted him with the fact that the 
action of the American government was under consideration. But 
the secret officer could read the faces with little more readiness than 

44 



A Flash of Red Powder 

he could understand the words. He was in the presence of the best 
and gravest of the chiefs who were past masters in the office of 
secrecy. 

Then there was a sHght diversion arranged for both the pleasure 
and the discipline of the Indians. Ongon had apparently adopted 
a plan under pressure to exhibit his skill to his delighted followers. 
On the whole Clermont thought that the form it took was as good 
as any otl^pr. He could reason out what had happened afterward. 
When the colors drooped it was the offenders who entered, perhaps 
in their chant naming their own misdemeanor. At least in this the 
detective had guessed truly. 



XHI 



A FLASH OF RED POWDER 

Among those to be temporarily degraded in rank was no less 
a person than the brother of Ongon's princess. "Wautoma has 
violated the laws of the flag-room by this day seeking the hfe of man. 
Let him not wear the maple cross for a month." 

Other similar punishments were commanded by Ongon, and then 
ere the infliction, amidst profound silence, the door was opened lead- 
ing to the ruins above. Any one of the guilty not desiring to submit 
to the discipline with a full purpose of newer obedience might leave 
the order of the cross in the maple leaf, and retire forever from the 
flag-room. None passed out of the door. 

"Close and bring the fire," came from the lips of old Cat's-paw, 
chief of the day. 

Helmet-shaped caps of tin with a round disk above like the top of 
a mortar-board hat were brought out. On the top of the disks little 
inverted cups — dunce caps they looked to Clermont. But when they 
were led away to the farther end of the room and Ongon taking his 
stand at the opposite extremity was given a rifle and the lights were 
put out, save one dim candle that permitted the heads of the guilty 
to be seen, the five men were supporting small red targets on their 
heads. It was a device by which, should the rifle ball carry true, a 
flash of red powder was to follow each shot. Simple as was the 
arrangement, the excitement of the suspense, with the charm of the 
light and the pleasure of witnessing superb markmanship, proved 
the most thrilling part of the ceremonies of the evening. 

Five times as many rifles, successively handed Ongon, rang out 
with a startling report. Five times not a head of the guilty flinched. 

45 



Ongon 



And five times the red light threw its brief mystery about the heads 
of the kneeling Indians. 

"There," whispered Buhl-Bysee to Cat's-paw, "you see how easy 
it was for him to do the deed. Do you still doubt it?" 

The reply given the commissioner by Cat's-paw was not as sig- 
nificant as it was short and simple — "Humph !" 

But it was the time agreed upon for their retiring from the room. 
That which was to follow was too sacred even for bribery. The old 
fox would shuffle them to the door before the lights were struck 
again. 

XIV 

EYES AT THE WINDOW 

The highest type of any race is sensitive to moods. If it were 
not so then nature, which is swept by the lights and shadows, the 
life and breath of the seasons, would present a creation surpassing 
man in sensibility. Only controlled, even depression becomes a hu- 
man being as fragrance becomes the flower when crushed. 

And Minnetonka could not drive from her heart the weight of 
sadness that had grown heavier with the hours. The very return 
of the season of a terrible bereavement makes the battle harder for 
cheerfulness. And it was just a year ago this day that the little 
Joseph was shot. But that was not why Minnetonka had the pistol 
in her hand, or knelt with the cross in the other all alone. If only 
Ongon would come soon. The vacant easel on which Wautoma's 
picture had rested so many days and nights made the loneliness more 
unbearable. She would go to the room of the artist and sit there 
again quietly at the foot of her bed. It did not disturb the sleeper. 
Ah, hark, his footsteps, he was coming ! 

"I am returned, Minnetonka." 

"I rejoice, Ongon." 

His duty to the nations had brought them many separations since 
the day he had come to her putting his two fingers side by side, and 
she had smiled and made them look like one, and he had proudly 
taken her to his own home. At first he used to go away on purpose 
every morning to come back just to hear her say so truly, 'T rejoice, 
Ongon." But now with months away from her the pleasure was a 
hundred fold. 

Together they bent over the little cradle of fragrant woods made 
by his hands. With their fingers intertwined they stood like chil- 
dren gazing upon the gift left at their door. 

46 



Eyes at the Window 



"Ongon," Minnetonka's hands were on the shoulders of her 
husband in the new way taught her by the gypsy, "Ongon." 

"Yes, Minnetonka," drinking in the love-light in her eyes. 

"Do I satisfy thee, Ongon?" 

"Why does my princess ask the question?" 

"Because thou hast come back from this journey troubled, 
and " 

"You tremble, my queen, has some ill befallen you?" He drew 
her gently from the cradle towards the window. 

"I fell asleep to-night while waiting for thee and dreamed a 
frightful dream." 

"Not of the little Joseph again ?" 

"Yes and more — oh, Ongon, if they should take thy life and " 

"Ah, my precious one, who could think of taking Ongon's Hfe?" 

"I dreamed of a strange tall man, who came with the rest, and 
found his way " 

"Stay, Minnetonka, not into our flag-room, did you dream?" 

"Yes, Ongon." 

"Was he given much to smiling?" 

"Yes, and to looking at thee with evil eyes, when he thought 
thou wast not seeing." 

"The same, I saw him in the council-room to-night !" 

"And he was with Cat's-paw." 

"Oh, Minnetonka!" 

"And came away early, Ongon." 

"But you tremble so, my princess !" 

"And when I awoke " 

She threw her arms around his neck and sought to hold him to 
her. 

"I am not going, Minnetonka, how strange you are to-night, 
you were never so before. I fear " 

"Nay, let me whisper it in thine ear, Ongon." 

"Not here! Did you say it was here?" 

"At this very window." 

''He?" 

"He, looking in upon me with evil in his eyes and tried the door. 
And, Ongon, I was tempted for thy sake to run for Wautoma's 
pistol. Which I did, my king, in anger I did." 

"And then ?" 

"When I came back with the pistol he turned and smiled and 
noded to some one behind him " 

"Cat's-paw." 

47 



Ongon 

"I think so, nodded as if he were saying 'I told you so.' Oh, I 
did wrong, I do not understand it but some way I hurt thy cause 
then I know." 

He pressed her to him silently. 

"Ongon." 
"Yes, my love." 

"If anything should happen have I helped thee upward?" 

"Upward, always, upward, Minnetonka." 

"But if she could help thee more with her young strength and 
her beautiful ways " 

"Who help me, princess ?" 

"The queen, the beautiful Lusette." 

"I know not Lusette, and you are my beautiful queen — ah, 
when they give me the title of chief-king, I only care for your sake, 
Minnetonka, mother of my babes, my life and my treasure." 

"I know thy love is wonderful and yet that I am unworthy of thy 
heart of hearts ; therefore, I will serve thee, I will be thy slave, but 
thou shalt be happy, all happy, my king Ongon." 

"Who is this Lusette, Minnetonka, has she other name?" 

"She hath, but I must not speak it to thee, Ongon, only to her." 

"Soft, my child, many maidens look to thy husband for a broth- 
er's direction, but thou hast thine Ongon's heart sealed within thine 
own." 

"Oh, Ongon, that is too much. I do not ask it of thee. Thou 
art greater than I, and I was wrong ever to think I could keep thee 
wholly to myself. Thou wert educated by the fathers in many- 
tongues with much learning, but " 

She unloosed his clasp of her hand and glided to the cradle. 
Under the baby's robe she had placed the ruby and the pretty ribbon 
when Buhl-Bysee was peering through the window. "She left this 
for Mylo, Ongon." 

He clasped it quickly in his hand and gazed upon it with strange 
eyes. His breath came faster as he turned it over and over. Then 
his head sank in his hand and she knew that he was thinking wildly. 
At such times and in such ways he was wont to penetrate to some 
proper course for keeping his chiefs faithful. 

Gently her hand touched his forehead. 

"Come, we will walk in the open air, my princess, we are feverish 
here, and the night has been hard for you." 

Neither spoke as they walked hand in hand under the open stars. 
At the linden under which she had found Jean Minnetonka left the 
side of her husband for a little rising of the ground ; there she stood 

48 



Eyes at the Window 



alone, with her face from him. He did not seek to follow her, for 
he knew that she was in prayer, and it is sacred with the Indian never 
to interrupt another in such devotions. 

When she returned her face wore its usual calm and her voice 
was as of old, the spring- was in her step, and she touched his hand 
lightly. "They cannot hurt you, Ongon, we can dance before their 
evil." 

He knew so well her strength that he did not fear to tell her 
now — "There was another man with Cat's-paw to-night." 

"Hush, not here, Ongon, there may be ears, you know. We will 
go in again." 

"She had not shared the depths of his innermost life with trifling 
regard for its value. And whatever he was to the world she knew 
him in his kingliest moments and since she was at heart a queen, the 
nobleness of her nature rose in majesty to meet his own. There- 
fore he felt the sympathy and power in her step as they walked 
to the house. "I laughed at myself, Ongon, it was silly to fear 
for you, tell me, who seeks to know more of you and is aided by 
Cat's-paw ?" 

"A man of subtle power, a deep, wonderful man, whom many 
might pass by, but one who looks to read your soul, and lives, I 
believe, for deep work unto which he would sacrifice love and all 
his life." 

"A man also colored by Cat's-paws arts ?" 

"Yes, white." 

"Was he with the other — by his side?" 

"No." 

"Did they make signs or nod or seem to communicate with each 
other ?" 

"They seemed not to know each other, although the deep man 
often studied the tall man when he knew it not." 

"Were they dressed alike?" 

"Wautoma says that both had feathers at first, but not when I 
arrived." 

"The evil one had the feathers." 

"Yes." 

"Then they are not friends, he would have told a friend the 
bad manners of feathers with us ; you have nothing to fear concern- 
ing this one." 

"I knew it, but I wanted to tell it too. Yet he was there to study 
me, Minnetonka, only for a righteous purpose I know." 

" 'Tis well." 

49 



Ongon 



"Aye, while I live they cannot break down my influence with my 
men. It grows, it grows, oh, it is worth the while, Minnetonka !" 

"If I should be taken from thee, thou must never let them go, 
Ongon. Thou alone hast the discernment to know our people's 
hearts. They may be the sick men of America to some, but when 
they have hope, with thy leadership, the Great Spirit shall not have 
created the Indians in vain." 

"Yes, Minnetonka it is not I but the Breath-Master who guides 
them, and we are a strange people kept wisely by the spirit who pre- 
serves the nations." 

The soul was in her eyes as she took his hands and thanked him 
for what she and he knew together his words meant. 

"And, Ongon." 

"Yes, Minnetonka." 

"Thou must treasure sacredly the gift of the beautiful Lusette's 
love." 

XV 

A THRILLING ALTO 

To John Trenton, in the woods skirting the way by the South 
Branch from Fort Dearborn to the Portage, the sound of a thrilling 
alto was more startling than would have been the singing of a dozen 
rifle balls 

"Have a care. Cat's-paw, or you will sink over your head !" 

The old reprobate of an Indian, Cat's-paw, Trenton knew, but 
to whom belonged the voice vibrating with such pleading and warn- 
ing? On his way to reconnoiter and, if possible, return the stolen 
picture, he who had wounded one woman's feelings might now atone 
for his offense by helping womankind in general. 

He felt the reward of the virtuous was with him, for he could 
make his way where there were no dry leaves to crackle almost direct 
into the sunny opening. Only one clump of dense underbrush was 
massed between him and the voices. In this he could hide with all 
reasonable hope of concealment, and yet cast his eye upon the 
crooked old Indian and his machinations. Something like an old 
surface root of a big tree enabled him to almost slide along to the 
coveted spot. 

Cat's-paw tent was the largest object, pitched amidst tinkling 
bobolinks, blackthroated dicksissels, and thrilling meadow larks upon 
a grassy carpet gemmed with buttercups and daisies, violets, and his 

50 



A Thrilling Alto 



flower of yesterday, the primrose. Cat's-paw himself, seated upon a 
backless chair bathing himself in the brilliant sunlight of the June 
morning, defied even the heavens to change him from what he was, 
a black spot upon the fair earth. He might smoke the air with his 
pipe, but it could not cleanse him with its breath. Trenton had never 
seen him so like a devil incarnate, which was saying a good deal. 
A little company was with the old Indian — and still others about him. 
Among the former — Trenton's eye would never have needed a sec- 
ond observation — was no less a person than Buhl-Bysee in Indian 
make up, sitting close beside Cat's-paw on a log ! Near them, but not 
of them — interesting sight to behold! — were the artist and the girl 
Josie with Wautoma and two of his band — all on horseback. 

Remembering the irony of Catherine Dale in her invective against 
the United States government for its injustice to the Indian, Trenton 
thought with a smile that, if she were only omniscient, she might 
now acknowledge that the scales were tipped the other way. He had 
no horse — they had five ! But, he figured carefully, the Indian maid 
Josie's was an animal of the finest fettle, and he could slip her from 
the horse's back — or, if necessary, carry her along with him for a 
shield. Wise is the warrior who makes provision for a safe re- 
treat ! Soon he was aware that another woman was present, and 
directly he forgot himself and everything that might chance to hap- 
pen in what was before him. 

"You are too good looking a gypsy to be running about wild 
here " 

It was Buhl-Bysee venturing his insolence, as a girlish figure 
moved towards the rest with Josie smiling and Catherine Dale's 
eyes fixed upon her in the same animated way that had characterized 
her the day before when Wautoma's squirrels had whisked them- 
selves and arrows from their hiding. 

A moss-colored cloak from head to foot — its silver threads not 
half so bright nor so many as the dazzling lights upon a face in 
which, child though she was, the spiritual and the passionate blended 
in wondrous beauty and purity — so came Trenton's first vision of 
Jean. 

Trenton had come upon events at their crisis. The girl was 
about to speak, or do, something very like herself, and the soldier 
could hear his heart beat in anticipation. Her hand was directing 
attention to where a thrush was engaged in bending the top of a 
tall lithe herb, with the skill of an archer, and darting from the 
bow like an arrow shot by its own thought — only to return each 
time with a low, plaintive note of dissatisfaction. 

51 



Ongon 

Before the observers had time to comprehend the action, and with 
a grace as dainty as the bird's, the gypsy had drawn a small pistol 
from the folds of her dress. Her hand, her eye, her aim, and the 
bullet, seemed to flash together and the herb was shattered to the 
ground. 

As if its throat would burst with triumphant song the thrush 
had arched over the heads of the riders and was fluttering in the 
bosom of the gypsy. Lusette, erect and resolute as a queen, pressing 
the little songster to her heart with one hand while holding the still 
smoking pistol in the other, faced Buhl-Bysee as a girl confident of 
her ability to take care of herself. The flush of power had not faded 
from the face of the gypsy before the wondrous strength of her 
character had impressed itself with startling force upon all. 

Trenton, half-fascinated into believing that this was not her pet 
bird, so instinct with commanding energy were the slender, pliant 
fingers, was wholly charmed. Catherine Dale, to whom art was all 
reality, and this superlative art, admitted no thought of preconcer- 
tion. 

The songster had found the hand and together they were ten- 
derly pressing against the cheek whose beautiful olive tint found 
something of a deeper response in the plumage of the bird. But its 
wings were tawny, while her hair was rich mahogany-red, with 
ringlets wild, lawless, and as profuse as the jubilant notes of the 
thrush's anthem. 

"Who are you, dear strange girl !" Catherine Dale had dis- 
mounted to throw herself in ecstasy upon the gypsy. But Jean 
motioned her back and now was stooping to pick up a thread for 
other event. 

As her fingers snapped and the thread pulled, Trenton began to 
feel the ground give way under him as if even the root of the tree 
upon which he lay was obeying the girl — and then he saw to his 
consternation a huge serpent glide from beneath him, hastening on 
with its glittering coils to wind itself about the slender form of the 
enchantress ! 

Not in all his eventful life of a quarter of a century had the 
soldier felt so comfortable and so uncomfortable both at once, con- 
sidering himself, and so apprehensive concerning another. 

But then and there he tore from himself the insidious winding 
thought — no this was not unworthy of such a girl, he would not have 
it! He would rather have had her thrill him with thrushes, but if 
she must use a serpent, she was a wise daughter of Eve ! It never 
occurred to him to ask himself why he was defending this girl, he 

52 



A Thrilling Alto 

was too wholly absorbed in the fact. How he remembered it when 
it was too late to tell it to those who would best have loved to hear 
it said! 

But it was not an excessive demonstration, for even Cat's-paw the 
snake was fearful of the huge constrictor and drew back when the 
girl stepped close to him. She was a witch, a sorceress, in league 
with the lower world to which he had allied himself, only she was 
mistress where he was slave. 

"Have a care, Cat's-paw, or you will sink over your head," said 
the girl, repeating the words that fortunately had attracted Trenton's 
attention. 

"Take this and keep still," must have been the whisper given the 
old chief by Buhl-Bysee, as he put into his hand a large piece of gold, 
after which a new current intercepted the fear of the chief who had 
grasped it with the avarice of a demon. The action seemed hidden 
to the eyes of all save those of Trenton. 

"Lady Gypsy, me have told truth," muttered the old Indian. 

"Beware of the devil, Cat's-paw," returned the girl twirling the 
head of the boa toward him. 

"Me have " — and another coin for his hand from Buhl-Bysee 

— "nothing more say, Lady Gypsy !" 

"Suppose Mitchimanitou sends the snake upon you to-night," 
warned the gypsy. 

The knees of the Indian miser shook in spite of himself with 
twice the ordinary shaking from their double-jointedness. 

"Or to-morrow and next day ?" 

The little eyes of the old man closed to shut out the vivid reality. 

"And wound his head around your neck." 

It was cruel to scare a child into such a fit. 

"Look at me Cat's-paw, the bird's have whispered to me your lies, 
and do you think that you can deceive the Father in Washington 
with your story, as you have deceived the Sauganash and Shau- 
bena ?" 

He did not answer and Trenton was amazed to discover from 
her next words that this gypsy girl knew Buhl-Bysee was there, 
and had the courage to scorn him to his face. 

"Cat's-paw, listen," — she petted the great serpent as if it were a 
thing of soft fur, and while she spoke the boa forked his tongue 
angrily at the chief — "you think. Cat's-paw, that the money of a man 
who is the commissioner of this country to the Indians, and yet so 
base as to paint himself at night and steal into the flag-room of 
the nation, and to visit you the next day to turn you by his ill- 

53 



Ongon 

gotten gains, you think that such an one can save you from the eye 
of the Father over the hills ! But the birds shall whisper to the 
Father as to the gypsy, and where then shall you both be?" 

"It's false," cried Buhl-Bysee, rising and sinking back again. 

"You know that it is true, you are a painted paleface ; think you 
Cat's-paw did not know that we knew that last night?" It was 
Wautoma who had dropped from his horse during the gypsy's ring- 
ing denunciation, and following her eye had read the face of Buhl- 
Bysee. 

"Stop, remember your crossless leaf," returned Buhl-Bysee. It 
was not his words but something magnetic and indescribable in Jean 
that restrained the hand of Wautoma. 

"Touch me," said Buhl-Bysee, taking advantage of the hesita- 
tion and imputing it to what he had said, "and Major Trenton's 
soldiers shall burn your lodge before morning." 

The underbrush whence the serpent had glided shook behind the 
girl. 

"Of course I was there last night, of course I shall come again, 
and I am here this morning to keep designing creatures from forcing 
Cat's-paw to perjury. Shame on you, gypsy, for undertaking to 
break down truthful testimony !" The agent gave Jean a look which 
could not hide its meaning. And Trenton who knew the arts of 
Buhl-Bysee understood it thrice distinctly. Who was a poor gypsy 
to withstand this man in the day of his opportunity? What might 
have happened then, Trenton could never have told, had not another 
Indian appeared riding rapidly towards the group. His message de- 
livered in the ear of Cat's-paw his chief, and afterwards into that 
of Wautoma, seemed to tell of excitement worth their seeing. 

"Come," said the old chief, rising with a gleam in his eye, "will 
you follow me?" 

Evidently the call was to some distance, for a horse's blanket 
was brought for the old chief and another for Buhl-Bysee, and they 
were off; all except Josie who remained with the gypsy and her 
strange pets. 

XVI 

A MEETING OF EYES 

Trenton felt that he had no right to linger in hiding, and, from 
the light upon Jean's countenance, no preparation to meet her im- 
mediately. She had taken a seat and was looking down upon the 
ground thoughtfully when he withdrew. Then he heard her voice, 

54 



A Meeting of Eyes 



but could not distinguish her words, for he had purposely retreated 
beyond the profanity of overhearing what she might have to say to 
the Indian girl after the terrible ordeal. He did not know how to 
explain the beautiful tenderness in her face as last he had seen it; 
but it moved him to feel that the whole world was more sacred in its 
design and agencies than he had ever dreamed. He had noticed that 
Josie, too, had stood in awe without interrupting the gypsy's thought. 
What love and sweet hunger was it that commingled in that face of, 
faces? Why, when he murmured "God bless her," did he feel that 
only God could bless her ? It was strange, stranger to him than life, 
that he, John Trenton, rough soldier, careless, indifferent fellow, who 
had not read his prayer-book for months, should have felt that he 
could have kneeled with this girl and prayed Heaven for her cause. 
Was not her face a prayer as she sat on the log? "God answer her, 
Amen." 

"Come, Josie," said Jean, softly, "let us go together to the Breath- 
Master." 

The Indian maid was permitted to kiss her Lusette's forehead 
before she knelt at her side. It was only an expression the angels 
would have loved to make in this hour of supreme human affection. 
What had exalted Trenton, belonged to the intercommunication be- 
tween two worlds. 

"Father God," breathed Jean, holding Josie's hand, "help that we 
may never need to use the serpent again. Touch Cat's-paw for 
us; let him not destroy Ongon. Only in Thy strength is our 
strength. Teach us Thy meaning of our lives, for great love 
trembles before great mystery, and the hearts that belong to us are 
divided from us. Father God, love is a great loneliness. But 
Thou art at the threshold. Are others separated, wandering, cruelly 
accused, followed by love, wrapped in Thy love? — in Thy light let 
them see Hght. We thank Thee." 

Indian arms about the form of the beautiful child of trust. She 
who was but fourteen wished almost to be as a mother in this human 
moment of her Lusette's yearning. 

"Lusette, when Josie saw Ongon he was large mind and beautiful 
words, he will understand you." She knew how to pour into her 
mistress' ear the qualities that stilled by their own matchless pres- 
ence the haste and unquiet. Not less is the charm of the way 
true prayer is answered than the reverence of its bequest. As Josie 
ministered unto Jean, they became almost inseparable in a strong 
faith and gentle gladness that gave them a power of oneness. 

The serpent uncoiled, and languid upon the ground brought 

55 



Ongon 



them out of the ideal world into the practical. They must take 
him back. 

"Poor Coilie, if you were a horse we could pet you for your as- 
sistance, but there is no honest affection, no tie between reptile and 
human beings." Then Jean's eyes were lifted to observe the stranger 
advancing toward them. 

It is a trifling thing to dwell upon that which is merely said in a 
first great meeting of two human beings. When yet no word has 
passed between man and woman, but images have been wrought 
from chance praise or accidental sight, there is a fragile path between 
them too delicate for the coarse steps of syllables. Perhaps it is 
the mind-light upon the face that strengthens but does not destroy 
the way ; perhaps it is all that each has ever been ; or, it may be, all 
that both are to be. There is no contradiction in a first glance, when 
none has been made by the lips. Afterward the way is paved for 
life. 

"You are Major Trenton, I am sure," said Jean when he stood 
before them cap in hand, 

"With a confession to make," answered the soldier, returning 
her courtesy with a military reverence. "I overheard — not just im- 
mediately now, for I went away when Cat's-paw took his leave — 
but when you used the reptile." 

She followed his hand when he pointed to the serpent and took 
Josie's while waiting for him to complete what he might say. 

"I — I almost feel like wanting to give a command" — he smiled, 
but the officer was in him — "that you never permit the snake to coil 
itself about you again." 

"You have no right to do that," Jean bit her lips for saying it, 
but she stood straight to abide by the utterance. "I am not enlisted, 
you know." 

"How is my name known?" he asked, wanting to inquire her 
own, but hesitating. 

The pet thrush on the twig between them arched its head with 
a sidewise grace like her own. "What is it, Josie ?" asked Jean. 

He was so tall and her mistress so different from her usual self, 
the Indian maiden felt her first sense of jealousy. "This is that 
soldier who took the picture," she whispered. 

"My maid tells me that you confessed and made proof of the 
name yesterday," said Jean, brushing the girl's face smooth with her 
hand. 

"You like him," whispered the girl. 
56 



A Meeting of Eyes 



"That we must never tell a strange gentleman," instructed her 
mistress. 

"But may I tell her that I brought this necklace for her thinking 
she was the artist's maid, whom I have offended?" 

"You have found the way to her heart, Major Trenton," ob- 
served Jean, as the girl bounded forward for the pretty treasure of 
beads. 

Josie had not taken them, however, without studying his face 
earnestly. She knew what it meant to receive the gift, and if it 
had been given in the spirit of bribery she would have scorned the 
offer. 'T liked your picture in the magazine, we talked about you 
afterward, but Wautoma does not like you, why are you here ?" 

"Ah, now that you have challenged me, I can trust you, and 
you can help perhaps," said Trenton when the beads were in Josie's 
hands. "Several years ago Miss Dale, while engaged to be married 
to a gentleman in our secret service, painted a beautiful, sunny pic- 
ture of Parisian boys that won deserved praise. I was led by that 
picture when abroad to take up some work in their behalf. Since 
returning to this country I have lost the spirit again. Perhaps 
shouldn't have known it" — he smiled that he was being so frank 
with them — "if her name had not been mentioned recently. The 
good that is once done, by woman at least, lives unto her. I shall 
always be grateful to the artist, though alas, she will never believe 
it now. But frankly, you have done me good — both of you, and 
being only a poor soldier, why should not I say it before I make 
another blunder?" 

He had not talked with trifling words in his simple confession. 
Nor could he have pleased them better. They were sorry, Jean said, 
about the picture and he must think them acting very strangely, per- 
haps improperly. 

"May not I be entrusted to help a little, I don't exactly fit in any- 
where just now, and " 

"You don't exactly sympathize with the Indians," said Jean, half- 
playfully, half in earnest. 

"Now — " Trenton hesitated for a name. 

"Call me Lusette, please," said Jean. 

"Now Lusette," said Trenton, his bow the very reverence of a 
soldier for woman, "would you undertake the contract to make me 
like the Indians?" 

"He gave me the beads, he likes me," soliloquized the Dakotah 
maiden in simple confidence. 

"There, Major Trenton, observe the way to a woman's heart," 

57 



Ongon 



said Jean gaily, "you have only to cultivate Josie's acquaintance 
faithfully now to acquaint yourself with all our weaknesses and help- 
lessnesses, 

"If the Indian had confidence in me I could help him," said Tren- 
ton looking gratefully at Josie. 

"We can help anybody so long as they have confidence in us, 
]\Iajor," said Jean, looking at him inquiringly, "but was there never 
a single Indian man who trusted you, not simply admired but trusted 
you ?" 

"Yes, one — Ongon," said Trenton after a moment. "But he has 
helped me rather than I him." 

"Then you care for Ongon?" 

Her eyes were so full of inquiry that had he been less occupied 
by the thought of the Indian leader he would have observed the 
delicate color coming and going in the face upturned to his." 

"Lusette — it hardly seems right for me to be permitted to call 
you by your first name " 

"'Go on, please, it is only my gypsy name, think of the L as 
part of mademoiselle and the name 'Usette' ; you do care for 
Ongon?" 

"He is the one man of any color who has ever profoundly moved 
me, save, perhaps one other dear friend," replied Trenton. BeHeve 
me, I have reason not only to admire and esteem him, but also to 
love him." It was a blunt soldier's way of speaking the words of 
affection for another man, but it went straight to more than Josie's 
heart. 

"Yes, Major Trenton, you can help me, you can help Ongon." 
Her words were spoken with such tenderness for the chief-king, 
Trenton was startled. For a moment their eyes met, hers so full 
of heaven's blue, his so strong with mastered pain. He understood. 
Her life was bound up with Ongon — whom she loved better than 
herself. 

She should never know how much it cost him to thank her for 
the privilege. It was enough that she knew that he spoke from the 
sincerity of his soul when he vowed, if necessary, to give his life to 
help Ongon. She saw the pain and kept her eyes upon his until 
she drove it from him. 

"Then would you mind carrying my boa over to the water for 
me?" asked Jean, returning to her old playfulness. "Don't touch 
him though, if you are the least bit nervous." 

Trenton picked up the constrictor as lightly as if it had been a 
thing of fur instead of iron muscle and reptile heart. And there he 

58 



The Old Settler's Story 

took his first lesson in a service that then seemed to make human 
life, once identified with the Indian's cause, a thing of mockery and 
hopeless despair. 

XVII 

THE OLD settler's STORY 

Mrs. Castor had a second talent wrapped in a possible landlady's 
napkin which, though not exactly befitting the profession and un- 
mentioned indeed by Craps, occasionally distinguishes the mistress 
of a boarding house. She possessed the faculty of esteeming every- 
thing in the lodging house as being of it. 

Wautoma's picture, in her eyes, would look better if brought 
down to the living room where all could see it. 

"Major Trenton is so modest, hero, that he is," explained the 
widow to the people at the Forks, "that he would consider it a 
breach of propriety to even speak of his triumphs and trophies, much 
less show them — but now isn't this a beauty!" 

Everybody admired the painting, of course. 

"There, we will place it where it will greet the hero when he re- 
turns to-morrow," said Mrs. Castor with patriotic pride. "Pity he 
did not bring an easel along with him too." 

"And we will have a hop in his honor with Mr. Beaubien, your 
landlord, to play the fiddle," added the old settler with a piping 
voice, "with Mr. Wright and Mr. Case." 

"Dear me, sir, you must have been here a long time to know 
so many people by their names," remarked the widow to the early 
settler. 

That worthy smiled beneath his makeup, but his face looked so 
sober to outsiders. It was Jean who, for the purpose of delivering 
the papers to Clermont had donned man's attire, and was present 
for supper at the Sauganash hotel. 

"Comin' and goin', been here nigh onto three year," piped the 
old settler's voice. "In my time I have seen this settlement sur- 
veyed and growed from almost nothin'. Why since my comin', we 
have named the streets and made provision for a pubHc levee along 
South Water street like other Western river villages, and we have 
erected a frame building for business purposes at Water and Dear- 
born streets in which we are packing and shipping hogs, until now 
we have a hundred souls in Chicago, and a reg'lar pony mail service 
oncet a week." 

During the interval of this speech and the long delivery of a 

59 



Ongon 



suitable prophesy as to the future of the community to match its 
wonderful past, Buhl-Bysee sat behind his paper in a corner of the 
room. When unobserved,, his eyes rolled at the picture — and came 
back to him each time quickly. The manner was as if he were 
afraid lest his organs of vision should pop away from him and hit 
the picture, causing an explosion. Therefore, he kept them under 
control. 

And the Indians will soon be gone from here," wound up the 
settler. 

"Cat's-paw will do it," muttered Buhl-Bysee to himself, agreed 
at last upon a procedure. 

The guests would have looked up had they understood the 
muttering, but there was no connection between the settler's and the 
agent's references to the redmen, save that they crossed each other 
in the same angle of time. 

Buhl-Bysee had turned the page of his paper and was folding it 
as he did everything, the guests thought, so very neatly. How or- 
dered his mind ! Mrs. Castor had thought thrice already. 

"Trenton will be compromised and gotten out of the way — it 
will be worth the while to get control of the picture — it's a way 
to Wautoma — I'll do it," continued Buhl-Bysee to himself. 

Duty called him to the saddle, he explained, as he left the 
room; but he would be delighted to be at the hop to-morrow night 
when they complimented the Major on his picture. 

"How gallantly Mr. Buhl-Bysee rides," observed Mrs. Castor, 
following him at the window. 

"Yes, he's very proud of his horsemanship," said the old settler, 
"he never could forgive the man who should outstrip him in a race. 
And thereby hangs a tale, I'm told." 

"Do tell it, sir," entreated Mrs. Castor. 

"It is said that the Indians of various tribes in America have 
a confederation, with a leader whom they call chief-king. He is 
very handsome, I have heard it whispered by the camp-fires at night, 
and rides, as all Indians do, like the devil." 

"Oh, sir, your language is " interrupted Mrs. Castor. 

"Quite necessary for Western purposes," said Jean in her dis- 
guise, truthfully ; "but pardon me, ma'am, and I will try not to offend 
again. I meant to say that he rides like a streak of lightning, and 
Buhl-Bysee, didn't know it. If he had, his pride wouldn't a had its 
fall, more'n likely. The agent sorter had the fancy that this king, or 
chief, or king-chief, or whatever you call him, was too humble to 
have any go in him at all. Well, a couple of years ago, in some 

60 



The Old Settler's Story 

Western town, the Indians and government commission-errers got 
together to talk over the real-estate matters. They chose an open 
stretch where the squaws and their papooses could look on, and be- 
gun dickering on prices. Government thought land was cheap, In- 
dians argued it was on a boom. Well, as I say, they got to pow- 
wowing and pelavering and arguing, when suddenly a shriek was 
heard across the field, and a wild, wounded buffalo came ragin' and 
tearin' through the camp of squaws. What a come-oshun it was ! — 
a bull on the market, sure ! But seein' the danger, the squaw of the 
king-chief — a young princess of great beauty and some darin' too 
of her own, had fearlessly directed the attention of the buffalo to 
herself. Buhl-Bysee was quickly ahorse with his gun in his hands, 
and a great chance for glory. But the princess' husband beat him 
down the field three lengths. The Indians never had a question of 
the outcome and cheered all the way. Half the way Buhl-Bysee 
thought they were applaudin' him, but tother half he knowed it was 
jeers they were a givin' him. What's more the young chief-king 
got in between Buhl-Bysee and the buffalo so that the agent could 
not shoot, and then the Indian coolly planted an arrow back of the 
foreshoulder of the animal with such force that it passed through the 
body and fell to the ground, other side. Oh, that ain't no yarn of 
mine, I've seed other fellers do that, it's the skill as much as the 
strength. Then the chief and his squaw joined hands pretty Hke 
and looked up at Buhl-Bysee and thanked him for his good in- 
tions. 

"How kind," cried Mrs. Castor. 

"Yes, kind of exasperating. They say the come-o-shunner has 
never forgiven either to this day." 

The piping voice had gained Clermont's attention from the first, 
as it desired. "Is that a likely story?" asked the detective. 

"It's true head and tail, judge," nodded the narrator. 

"How do you know, may I ask, if it does not seem impertinent." 

"Well, judge, I saw the buffalo myself the next day, to begin 
with," said the settler rubbing his palm on his knee. It was heavily 
bandaged. "That orter be a good end for a starter, I reckon ?" 

"Yes," said Clermont frankly. 

"And here's the newspaper account of it in better words than 
mine, judge, for an afiidavat, your honor," concluded the shrill voice. 

"I confess that I, too, am run down in a hurry," said Clermont 
smiling; "might I have this paper — giving you security for its re- 
turn — it shows a phase of Indian life worth keeping." 

"Oh, keep it judge, it's nothin' to me I calkerlate, I have the story 
6i 



Ongon 



poorty well in my head as it is, and you are welcome to the print of 
it. But my, it was a corker of a buffalo !" 

Clermont thanked the settler for his readiness to part with the 
paper, and assured him of his own to do him a favor any time he 
could. 

"It's a bargain, judge, I might get in a tight place sometime. 
Will you give it to me in writin' jess to show the folks at home? — 
Thank you." 

Then Clermont would have engaged the settler in further graph- 
icisms of his own about the Indians, but he must go now and milk his 
cows. 

"Well," said the widow, "how awkward he do walk!" 

"But he has a bright head on him," said Clermont. 

Once in her canoe Jean unbandaged her hands and paddled 
swiftly down the South Branch. "First papers served personally 
on the old chap !" she murmured in the high key just to try it again. 

Then the exhilaration of playing somebody else gave place to a 
feeling of reaction from the first brush with the mighty Clermont. 
"Poor gypsy heart, keep brave, after all a woman's mind may not be 
too emotional and willowy for use." 

It was raining softly, but the sun was shining, and when Jean 
was far enough away to remove her settler's disguise and put it in 
•the basket, her face was smiling through her tears. 

XVIII 

TREASURE TROVE 

Hardscrabble, once Lee's Place, toward which Jean paddled, 
was four miles up the South Branch from Fort Dearborn. Its little 
cluster of cabins were occupied by French traders with their Indian 
wives and lively half-breed children. Intermarriage between the 
races, beside giving the Frenchmen faithful helpmeets, prevented a 
repetition of the scalping scene at Lee's Place on the 6th of April 
preceding the fatal 15th of August, 181 2. 

Three months before the events of these chapters Jean's canoe 
had first touched at Hardscrabble. She had come house hunting, 
she had said, and decided to take the vacant cabin of Chief Alex- 
ander Robinson. Then she had brought a beautiful lady like her- 
self with darker face, but with quaint and pretty gypsy things 
that, in the eyes of the children, transformed the room, once trader's 
quarters, into a little paradise. Soon an awe of mystery surrounded 
the cabin of the newcomers. Strange things were brought at night 

62 



Treasure Trove 

by strange men who departed as silently as they came. One 
morning a small "lean-to" was added to the cabin. The half-breeds 
whispered it was a bear that growled inside of the addition. And 
their eyes looked big as they scampered away with thoughts too 
large for even Indian words. 

But the gypsies did not live in utter isolation from their neigh- 
bors. When an afternoon was taken for some prairie festival or 
general sociability, her presence with the high-spirited Josie was fre- 
quently added to the company. She had raced with them, told them 
stories, and, greater than all, once had pitched a tent and had given 
them a gypsy afternoon when their fortunes had been told, with her 
sitting dressed like a queen and bowing and giving each a pretty 
necklace of beads and some candy. 

The other lady — they heard the queen call her "Aunt Mary" — 
was full of good deeds when they were sick, and on Sunday after- 
noons read to them gathered about her interesting Bible stories. 
And they would sing together, leaning to pray. She smiled when 
the children called her "Hardscrabble Auntie," and sometimes she 
permitted them to peep upon the wonders of the "Gypsy Cabin." 
When Josie had brought the tin-box carefully wrapped in prairie- 
grass, they had come to the conclusion that each new parcel meant 
good things to eat, for Lusette's Aunt Hardscrabble had taken care 
to send them candy to satisfy their trooping eyes. It was a costly 
precedent to establish — and one that has needed a continuance in 
kind in that ward ! — for now every curious bundle brought to the 
cabin was taken as a village blessing — the more so because never 
in vain. 

The children were told by their parents that gypsies lived well 
because they had secret ways of making money into which they 
must never inquire. Perhaps Lusette was the daughter of a king, 
perhaps the queen herself. 

If a bundle was taken away in a basket, it was always sure to 
come back larger than it had been to bring them the new good- 
thing or plaything. 

Therefore when the canoe touched the bank with Jean and the 
basket of old settler's clothes covered with prairie flowers there 
was a wealth of welcome to gladden her heart. "Princess Gypsy, 
we waited for you," sang the chorus of happy voices, while strong 
arms drew out the canoe to its place on the grass. 

Under the flowers was a box of toys and dolls — which receiving, 
the children had not thought that the Princess Gypsy hastened un- 
usually fast into the cabin. 

63 



Ongon 

"Letters, 'Hardscrabble Aunt,' " cried the girl as the door closed 
and Jean bounded into the room to her aunt's arms. "I waited for 

the mail to be distributed into Just promise not to betray the 

secret, and I will tell you !" 

"Faithfully," said her aunt, smiling the confidence out of the girl. 

"They took the letters, these feminine letters, your letters, out 
of the mail-pouch and put them into pigeon-holes made of men's 
old boots upon an old shelf among the groceries !' 

"Yes, her aunt agreed with her, she was an old antiquarian to 
te always finding out such secrets ! 

It had been the rule with them that only one at a time should 
have to wear the gypsy clothes. Then if interrupted, the other 
could hide behind the curtain until the visitor departed. And so be- 
fore the two letters were given into their owner's hands the over- 
gown must be retired and she who had been called Aunt Mary 
and other things appeared as a tall, well dressed, handsome woman 
of perhaps forty-five, with black hair and dark, beautifully soft 
skin. She walked with the same quick strength that characterized 
her niece and carried an air of refinement that made the gypsy 
profession seem the stranger lot for both the women. 

The rain settled for a soft, steady shower while Jean nestled on a 
stool at the feet of her aunt to hear the news. Winchester was the 
same as ever. Spring was bringing the green again to the Shen- 
andoah Valley. There had been a marriage, with a gentleman 
from southern Virginia as best man, Mr. Harry Clermont. They 
ached to tell him that Miss Mary Devere and her niece were in the 
West, for he was en route, he said, for a summer in the West, near 
Chicago. But they had kept their promise religiously. The 
Opecquon was kept with flowers. They were missed by all, and 
must come home soon. 

Cozily the two women rested back upon the past, as the letters, 
freighted with little details of old scenes and faces, gave their abun- 
dant cheer. Afterward Jean told of the experience of the day. 

"Brave lady, never frightened when Jean is away," cried the 
girl, putting her face in her aunt's hands to brush back her hair, 
"and always believing." 

"Not always, Jean, dear," protested her aunt honestly. 

"Ever since our argument, and we proved certain things," said 
Jean smiling through a shower of tresses that fell in spite of her 
aunt's hands. 

"Especially since the rings were found," acknowledged the elder. 

"Come treasure-trove," cried the girl, springing to her feet and 
64 



Treasure Trove 

gliding to the box that had been found in the cache, "show us your 
deamess again!" 

Underneath the magazines and notes written on strips of birchen 
bark in Ongon's hand was the desire of the women — an old envelope 
with two rings, one a wedding ring with the initials L. J. A. and the 
date 1809 inscribed, the other a tiny bit of golden circlet made for a 
babe's finger. 

"Isn't it cunningly dear," murmured Jean softly, folding her 
hands reverently while her aunt held the little ring. She could not 
keep back the tears, however, that had been threatening their way 
for some reason all afternoon, and her aunt held her in her arms 
tenderly mingling her sympathy and her own silent grief. 

"Ongon, Ongon, how I love him — oh, to be with Ongon !" 

But it was sweet yearning without bitterness, and the pure color 
upon her cheeks was as if the delicate spirit of the flowers lifting 
their heads outside in the rain had hastened to touch her. 

"You will be patient still, it will come, my darling," said her aunt 
when they had rested long in each other's arms. "Can we read 
Ongon's diary now?" 

The record spoke of his desires for his people and was full of 
hope and strong faith. Only in one place did it mention anything 
disagreeable — the loss of an old, much prized necklace of shells, tiny 
shells, he said, with two letters beside, one from Major John Tren- 
ton, the other from W. B. Craps. The first of these, said the record, 
wishing to preserve the substance, described Trenton's meeting with 
certain Western chiefs and of the council that had gathered to hear 
him present Ongon's plans. "It was strange business for a soldier," 
Ongon marked the letter as having said, "but he enjoyed it im- 
mensely, rather as much as fighting." The second letter dated a 
year earlier, according to the record, had thanked Ongon for his 
kindness about some will the writer appeared to have drawn. Hav- 
ing lost these letters in some mysterious way, Ongon had taken pains 
to copy the heart of their contents. He only wished he could copy 
the necklace as easily. 

"The loss of those things explain why Ongon had this box 
buried on the shore," said Jean's aunt as they replaced the treasures. 
"Your eyes are saying, my darling, that you want to recover the 
necklace, too." 

"Yes," cried the girl with her full bouyancy, "I heard this Mr. 
Craps remark at the tavern that 'the greater plan may as well include 
the lesser.' " She had not finished, although she had paused. 

"What else, dearie?" 

65 



Ongon 

"Do you know about Craps — isn't that an odd name?" 

"Very." 

"Well, if a woman wasn't so willowy she would very readily be- 
lieve that Craps isn't that man's real name, nor tavern-keeping his 
final destination. But a woman cannot help out in such matters." 

"Perhaps she alone of all beings can," replied Miss Devere, 
smiling. 

Jean said she would if she had half the chance. 

But her aunt remembered something else the girl had whispered, 
and she did not see how Jean could — in the way she had meant — 
give the landlord the needed impetus. Something, however, even 
by aunts, are thought not said. But how could she thoroughly know 
about the innermost Jean until she had walked longer in the new 
path? 

XIX 

OUT BY THE WINDOW AT ONE 

"Cat's-paw, how old are you?" asked Buhl-Bysee when he 
had found the old chief and had given him a new string of gaudy 
beads. 

"Sixty snows," answered the Indian. 

"And you ought to be by right of your age and your father's 
service the chief-king of the Indians, Cat's-paw." 

"Hush," cried the old miser, clutching a bead of red glass and 
looking around as if he had heard a beautiful voice. 

"Ongon knows it," said Buhl-Bysee, coming close to the side 
of the squatted chief and adding a bit of gold to the fascinating 
string. 

"Ugh, me not understand." 

"I mean he knows he took what first belonged to you — and now 
the treasure of the flag-room, the gold and diamonds and wonderful 
riches that belong to the place he has hidden. He was tempted to 
take your place from you before the nations." 

"Ongon not want gold. He good, berry good, not like Cat's-paw 
at all. Ongon good," said the chief, shaking his head. 

"But you want to find that hidden gold," protested Buhl-Bysee. 

"Oh, no, no," muttered the crouching Indian ; but his denial was 
a request for more talk. 

"Would you Hke a place in the people's heart?" 

But Cat's-paw was not to be found by that tack. He was not 
there. 



Out By the Window at One 

"You have four hundred braves, Cat's-paw." 

"One hundred," corrected the chief, "Cat's-paw's village only one 
hundred braves." 

"One hundred warriors are in Cat's-paw's village," continued the 
tempter, "and yet, with no warriors of his own, Ongon is king." 

"Yes, so," agreed the Indian. 

"And yet it has been hard for you to keep believing the truth. 
I am come to tell you more, Cat's-paw, to tell you all." 

The Indian miser arose and leaped to his open chest. The 
bag of coin that he lifted was heavy, and when he had poured it out 
into the pan, the glass and gold and silver gleamed in profusion 
before his savage eyes. Each piece, large and small was figured, 
poised, examined with a gloating so loathsome that even Buhl-Bysee 
turned away from the picture of avarice in disgust. 

"Cat's-paw listens," said the old chief at last, not tired of his 
possession, but like a spider, eager for fresher blood. 

"Cat's-paw, Wautoma does not like Ongon. " 

"Yes." 

"No, he fears the office, but despises the king, Ongon is not true 
to the princess. Did you not see the gypsy to-day? Tell me, did 
she not plead for Ongon? You saw her eyes and heard her voice." 

The crooked old form shivered and the miserable chief was 
vainly blinding his eyes with his hands. 

"Humph, Cat's-paw is a woman, he is afraid," sneered Buhl- 
Bysee, "Cat's-paw afraid of a serpent." 

But no, he was not shrinking from the serpent then, but from 
the thought that Ongon was not good. If that were true where 
would the flag-room be — where the hope of the nation ? No, it was 
false. 

"It is passed," growled the chief, "go on." 

"Did you not see that she loves him — the gypsy — and lives 
for Ongon?" 

"Go on," repeated the savage. 

"Therefore she cannot hurt you, for the serpent only obeys the 
pure and good, and Ongon is married to the princess." 

"It is so," agreed the old chief. 

"And being so Wautoma will grow to hate Ongon — and serve 
you, Cat's-paw. You shall be chief-king, with all the treasure of the 
far off palace, and everybody shall serve you." 

"Ugh!" 

"Is it not so?" 

"Now Cat's-paw tell you. He like gold, much gold, me gold 

^7 



Ongon 



friend, me know it. Me like not Wautoma, you know it. Me want 
palace of far off riches, we know it. Me ugly, old, devilish Indian. 
Gypsy girl fine, good, serpent good, with her against me. Cat's-paw 
wicked, he awful wicked, but Ongon, he chief-king. Grand chief- 
king. He say. Cat's-paw, I want you, Ongon wants you. You be 
doorkeeper. Cat's-paw feel big, want good, want bad away. You 
come heap gold and fine necklaces, you tempt Cat's-paw. You give 
him drink, then Cat's-paw, he do what you say. Me not love bad 
agent, me believe Ongon good." Amidst all the struggle towards 
the light, the Indian had painted himself too faithfully. He had 
given Buhl-Bysee the secret of his life. Keep him away from 
drink, let Ongon's power be felt yet a little longer, and perhaps this 
misshapen wretch might come to die better than he had lived. 

But the commissioner hesitated but a moment. In his pocket 
was a flask. In a flash it was above Cat's-paw's head. The old 
chief cowered as against himself, and shook his head imploringly. 
Once and again he pleaded miserably against the liquor. But the 
agent was determined upon the execution of his purpose. His 
strength overpowered the impotence of the savage and the assault 
was again committed upon the lips of the wretch. When the 
flask was half empty, the demon was in the old chief and of his 
own hands he seized and devoured the remainder of its contents. 

"Everything shall serve you. Cat's-paw," said the agent when the 
chief smacked his lips and looked up. 

"What can Cat's-paw do?" asked the savage v/ith a hurried 
breath. 

"The artist has painted a picture of Wautoma. Major Trenton 
has stolen it. You must have that picture. Wautoma must know 
that you have a belief afterwards that you can find it. He will 
follow you as a dog his master as long as he thinks you are on 
track of it." 

"Picture where?" asked Cat's-paw hurriedly. 

"In the village of Chicago at Wolf Point, at the Sauganash 
hotel," replied Buhl-Bysee distinctly. 

"How we get it?" asked the chief. 

"To-night Trenton is away at the Fort in talk with council of 
officers. You are out by the window at one, I find and give you 
the picture." 

"Sure," nodded the old chief, "Cat's-paw is out by the window 
at the Sauganash at one." 



68 



Nightingale of the Forest 

XX 

NIGHTINGALE OF THE FOREST 

It was not SO easy for John Trenton to meet Jean a second time. 
He was afraid of himself. The one hour in her presence had been 
as life to him, and afterwards he had dreamed too much. She had 
met him with her eyes. Somehow then he had felt that she had 
gone further than he. In walking through the woods to the river 
another nightingale of the forest had called to the gypsy's thrush, 
and its sweet "E-o-lie" had caused the girl to pause. The wealth of 
melody poured forth to each other by the songsters had lured a 
brown thrasher from its concealment in the thicket, tempting it al- 
most to Lusette's feet. Its own throat was vibrating with a soft 
whispering, delicate and plaintive, addressed to the speck of sky 
above the trees rather than to the other birds. But, with the license 
of the forest, the whisper had soon become a lofty andante of song. 
Then Lusette had looked up to Trenton again and smiled, lifting her 
hand so gently that the bird was not frightened, and she had brought 
him to look at Josie. He had never really seen an Indian girl in the 
forest, but he now understood from Josie's heaving bosom and bril- 
liant eyes how much the wild life meant to the savage heart. The 
thrasher was a little being of soul and power to the child of nature 
who had fallen to her knees and for the moment let go of her neck- 
lace of beads. What had Lusette meant when she met his eyes 
again ? What appeal ? What direction and motive to his life ? She 
had been a wonderful creation of nature then, too, and together she 
had taken him infinite distances. 

It was enough to make him fear himself. But he had felt the 
first thread in the web of fate had been drawn and he was to meet 
her to-day to hear from her lips the story of Ongon. Dispatching 
a courier from the fort where he had spent the night, he trusted 
that the note of apology and the information that the picture would 
be delivered to Wautoma at the Sauganash hotel would atone for 
his transgression, and then he set out for the appointed place of 
meeting. 

The flowers that Jean held in her right hand as she greeted him 
did not bend with sweeter and more natural grace than her lissome 
body — with her left hand drawing even her gown into the courtesy. 
"Josie has the canoe ready. Major Trenton, we are both glad you 
have come," said Jean, decorating his officer's coat with nature's 
honorable mention while she spoke. "You are to sit sternly in the 
rear, sir, while the paddling is left to us women, after the Indian 
fashion." 

69 



Ongon 

He remarked that he was consumed with a driving passion to 
take his ease, but wouldn't they take him into an ambush when he 
had no arms? In spite of the ribbons he had brought Josie — pos- 
sibly it was because of them — it was she who replied archly that 
once before he had not needed arms when there was something beau- 
tiful to seize. 

"Wautoma will come for the picture to-day," said Trenton, ex- 
plaining about his note. "But am I not to have even a paddle?" 

"We are going a long distance, Major Trenton," said Jean, "and 
you would scarce know which direction to cast the stroke. The 
dawn of a thousand mornings was in her eyes until they fell, and 
then the long dark lashes trembled even while her lips were parted 
with a smile. 

Josie was seated nearest him, and for the frank light in her 
eyes and her simple approval of his face, he was ready to sign a 
statement in his own blood never again to fight the Indians, 

"You are in a Quaker mood. Major Trenton," said Jean over 
Josie's shoulders. 

"Yes, I am going to renounce war," replied the soldier, "and 
like those peaceful people " he paused abruptly and the smile de- 
parted from his lips. 

"You mean you are half-inclined to give up your sword," sug- 
gested Jean. 

"I've suddenly been convinced," said he in a graver tone, "that 
there are elements in the world which might have given adjustment 
to our Hves." 

"To your life?" asked Josie. 

"Very vague and interesting. Major Trenton, I'm sure, though, 
you understand him completely, Josie," cried Jean persisting in 
laughing. 

"Why does she laugh at me, Josie?" asked Trenton. 

"She is feeling good, she always likes the gliding of the canoe 
on the water, and you did so talk as if you had given up," said the 
Dakotah maiden. 

"Given what up?" asked Trenton. 

"Yourself," replied the maid. 

"There, Major Trenton," cried the gypsy, "you have the genius 
of all Indian philosophy, stoical contentment, sir, and — whatever 
comes — eternal hopefulness." 

"Yesterday the Indian's hopelessness oppressed me," said Tren- 
ton, bluntly. 

Neither answered him, but the grace of their movement as they 
70 



The Gypsy's Secret 



drove the canoe forward seemed to become newer animation at the 
initiative of the gypsy. Josie had caught her spirit, too, and the 
lines of their supple figures against the morning background of 
flowers and passing trees charmed him into his first entrance to the 
sweetest of all feelings — that every created form is man's to ap- 
preciate and enjoy. No words could have answered Trenton like 
the influence of this indescribable motion. It was just what the 
gypsy had called eternal hopefulness — come into white and red- 
brown beauty, with symmetry and the power of rhythm and laugh- 
ter — that took possession of them and made them beings worth the 
while. 

"I am already less a savage," murmured Trenton; 'T am ready 
to go to school to the nature-loving Indian." 

"And to Lusette," added the faithful Josie. 

"And Lusette," repeated the soldier. 

"But if this shouldn't last forever ?" suggested Jean with a smile. 

"It will last long enough," said Trenton desperately. 

"Of course it will," said Josie. 

Jean believed so, too, she said, and then it was her turn to be 
sober. "We are far enough not to be molested, and I can speak 
freely of Ongon." 

XXI 

THE GYPSr's SECRET 

When the boat was brought to land where Jean had espied a 
paradise of shade and flowers, she did not seat herself at once with. 
Trenton and Josie. It was plain to see that what she was about 
to say would cost her very much. Remaining still at the brink, she 
seized her dress between her thumb and fingers, making it taut in 
front as if about to ford a stream, and, standing at profile, turned 
her head dreamily and looked down at Trenton with parted lips. "I 
will tell," exclaimed the girl gliding to his side quickly, "let me read 
your palm. Major Soldier." 

"It's a blank," said Trenton, as she took his hand in her fingers 
and bent over it with searching eyes that were now almost black with 
their intensity. 

"Sir, why were you ever a soldier ?" asked the gypsy suddenly. 

"Aren't there any martial lines in my hand?" he murmured 
humbly. 

"You have had trouble, and for years you have been trying to 
escape from yourself. You have possibilities all undeveloped — you 

71 



Ongon 

could have a splendid life, and yet you are not trying. Yes, you 
have been resolute in one thing, and have grown in good will. 
You don't hate as much as once, and — now I am ready to begin." 

"Josie why did she make that study of my hand?" asked Tren- 
ton with his face turned away thoughtfully. 

"She wanted to see whether you could bear the story and under- 
stand," answered the Indian girl, contemplating her own hand with 
curiosity. 

"Josie, would you sing that "Thanks to the Maple" again — the 
Ota De None Neo Wata ; sing it softly, please. 

The chant was not unfamiliar to Trenton, and when, in the sec- 
ond stanza Jean's rich alto joined in the song, the soldier obeyed the 
nod of the gypsy's head, and found a place where he could mumble 
in bass. It did them good, making them feel near to each other, 
which gave the atmosphere Jean wanted. 

"Major Trenton, I will not tell you now how many years I have 
known Ongon, nor enter very far back into his past. You are well 
acquainted with his aims and plans. He believes profoundly in the 
kingly ofifice that he holds himself with great reluctance, and is per- 
suaded that in time the problem of the Indian will be solved by lead- 
ing the redmen to unfold what is in them. The Indians are, as 
you know, the most imaginative of people. Ignorance, and this 
wild, beautiful nature, with its playful streams and caroling birds, 
have prolonged the childhood of the American native. The 
Creator has also, I believe, Ongon believes, made the Indian less a 
slave to the mere getting of riches and empty honors, which alas, 
too occupies our own race. 

"The Indian is a dreamer. Long ago Thomas Jefferson pointed 
cut that the redman is gifted with powers in the sublime arts. He 
can draw, he is an orator, he had his book of legends before we 
dreamed of colonizing this western continent. But he will not be 
bent to our type of civilization. If time is given, whether now, 
under Ongon, whether much later, when the problem of the Indian 
has become less pressing, but more vital — as we grow toward the 
point of our own development — we shall meet the developing Indian 
at an angle on a higher plane where we shall be proud of him. Are 
not the Chinese slow ? But you say the Indian does not care to make 
money like the Chinaman. True, neither does he care for the pig- 
tail. But Ongon found that the Indian, as a human being, was 
given strong, worthy instincts, and his watchword is 'wait' — so he 
works waiting." 

"Oh, I believe the Indian will amount to something, too," said 
72 



The Gypsy's Secret 



Trenton in the brief hesitancy on the part of Jean. How strong her 
mind when the girl became woman and was thinking ! 

"As to Ongon/' continued she, "he is not without his enemies. 
The fur-trade, profits of which he has diverted from greedy hands; 
the law that he has made forbidding whisky to members of the 
order of which he is the head, and his persevering honesty have 
brought him antagonism. When a man has once had to prove an- 
other dishonest in his dealings that other will try to retaliate by 
smirching the good character of the honest man. And so you do 
not know, Major Trenton, for as yet it is kept secret, that the gov- 
ernment of the United States is to-day secretly investigating On- 
gon's history to prove or disprove a charge of murder that has been 
preferred against him." 

"No, Lusette, you cannot mean it against Ongon, impossible!" 
Trenton had hurled the thought from him as he spurned the stone 
from his heel. 

"A year ago his first child, a little one just beginning to creep, was 
ruthlessly shot in the field by a soldier for target practice, and " 

"I know that sort of a thing has been done," interrupted Trenton, 
savagely; "but Ongon never told me of this." 

"No, he kept it secret fearing to excite the Indians, and that very 
fact has been taken as the first count against him. But a few 
days ago — no I have not finished my story, have I ? Later that same 
week a subordinate officer of some popularity, and I believe innocent 
of the murder of the child, was missed at the barracks. Upon 
search he was found dead in a copse near the Calumet. His body 
showed signs of great violence. He had not died without a struggle. 

"Cat's-paw has made the testimony that he saw Ongon throw 
away his pistol and run from the copse immediately after he heard a 
shot. A trace was made and Ongon's pistol was found empty with 
blood on the handle. Since then the detective has discovered other 
blood-stained things of Ongon's pointing to his guilt." 

"How have you found out these things ?" asked Trenton hoarsely. 

"The government has sent a secret service man, the most noted 
detective of Virginia, to go over the evidence carefully. Just yester- 
day the murdered man's watch was found at the lodge, and Ongon's 
blouse, blood stained, concealed by his own hands in a cache." 

"But you believe him innocent," said Trenton with studied calm- 
ness, 

"I know that he is innocent," she too was calm, though her eyes 
were flashing; "there is no murder in Ongon's heart." 

"How old is he?" asked Trenton. 



Ongon 

"Yes, there is one of the points they are to make against him. 
Ongon is young, younger than any one even dreams, only twenty- 
two. They will claim that he has not reached the years of self- 
command. He loved his child passionately — a wonderful boy who 
could talk at ten months. They will show that the Indian spirit is 
revengeful." 

"He can hardly fail of being arrested, Lusette," said Trenton 
gravely. 

"He would have been seized long ago if it had not been that the 
government fears the people's anger. The government is even dis- 
posed to treat Ongon as it did Black Hawk, to pardon him, but do 
you know innocence, and that which has not had great publicity, has 
not the chance often given burning lawlessness ? Ongon never con- 
sented to Black Hawk's raid, but that counts little in his favor now." 

"Lusette, I believe Ongon is innocent," said Trenton decisively. 

Few as were these words their effect upon the gypsy was electri- 
fying. She had not expected it, however firm in her own belief. 
Her eyes were wells of gratitude and pleasure. Soon her face 
and whole being seemed flooded with joy. 

"Thank you, Major Trenton, I was afraid " She finished the 

sentence by embracing Josie, .who had risen to take the gypsy's hand, 
and had burst into tears. 

"You see the Indians can be demonstrative, Major Trenton," 
said Jean lovingly. But Josie had gone to be apart to talk with 
the Great Spirit. "Do you know she believes in dreams," said Jean, 
softly ; "and thrice she has dreamed that Ongon's life was taken ; but 
I don't believe in dreams — gypsy that I am." 

"Neither do I," said Trenton. 

"Now you understand why I keep a trained serpent," said she 
smiling, "I am to work out a persuasion, sir." 

"I believe you are on the right track, Lusette, and come to think 
of it. I have an old friend, once a detective himself in a way, who 
may be a help to us. I must go to see friend Will — the tavern-keeper 
at Michigan City, if you have ever stopped there." 

"Don't be afraid if you find moving bushes thereabout. Major." 
And Jean told him of her night at the inn and of Clermont's promise 
in the morning. 

"If nature had pitched Mr. C-r-a-p-s name and environs in a dif- 
ferent key he might have been a musical composer," said Jean 
smiling. 

"He does know a thing or two," responded Trenton. 

"Yes, he knows how to make use of discords," rejoined the girl. 

74 



The Luncheon and After 

XXII 

THE LUNCHEON AND AFTER 

Nothing brings an immeasurable acquaintance so fast as a June 
luncheon in the country. Crumbs blown to the flowers where grass 
is cleaner than linen and birds are peeping with promises to take 
care of the remnants daintily. Even a squirrel came down and was 
coaxed to help himself to the nuts. His airy majesty sniffed as 
they offered him peanuts, but frisked away gaily with the tendered 
hickory nut. "Ha," cried Jean, "abundance doth make epicures of 
us all !" 

Yes, while the deep sky was hovering near the sea of primroses 
with the eyes of the violets, amidst a dozen other flowers, peeping 
at them too, and asking for no gift but a moment's attention to their 
modest presence, Trenton also was an epicure. He was ready to 
vow that a pair of blue eyes belonged to an infinitely more unex- 
plorable world than the heaven beyond the soft June sky. Sweet 
was the repast of three who, believing in Ongon could relax from 
thought to be each other's company. Did not the atmosphere seem 
to breathe unto them all the charm it had gathered from lawn fetes 
and picnics and wild woods throughout all time ? 

Then to go home together ! They let him row, because they said 
it was down stream, anyhow — and he had tried them out talking to 
him. In the excitement of the long days that followed, Trenton 
never forgot the pleasure of the return. The canoe was made to 
row or paddle. He chose a long, steady stroke, and they began liv- 
ing as one, the sense of grace and strength in strong arms and Indian 
boat on yielding stream. 

Jean forgot the responsibility resting upon her and was a beau- 
tiful, dreamy girl who could not keep her hands out of the water, 
and smiled to herself over a child's thoughts again. And the stream 
laughed back to her, holding her image and the sky beside. 

At first she hardly seemed to hear the conversation between Tren- 
ton and Josie, who sat at the soldier's feet and explained to him her 
quaint interpretations of nature. But after a while Jean talked to 
them, too, with a girl's philosophy of life out of a girl's enthusiasm. 
She had read much, Trenton discovered, but she had thought more. 
When somehow the subject turned to prayer, she defined it as a 
proof that God wished man to have his own way, and to follow 
his own plans, and to realize his own desires. Only youth and 
purity and a true will could have formed the definition, but it 

75 



Ongon 

seemed to be part of her very atmosphere and life. Literature was 
the mirror of Love's world-spirit. And she told of how fiercely 
her own spirit had beat against the void until epoch after epoch filled 
it and she knew of Hannibal and Caesar, and Charlemagne and 
Napoleon. Then she found her native ignorance, that thirsted to 
know of men and women who had lived before, was only part of the 
same spirit driving her that had driven them who had filled the 
world with memorable deeds. Had they thought that on the same 
waters now carrying them homeward, Joliet, La Salle, and Mar- 
quette had pushed their way through storm and peril only to pene- 
trate their ignorance and know the world? 

She played in the water again and talked in broken sentences 
about themselves. How well Trenton remembered it when the days 
came back that took her from them! He knew then that he loved 
this girl and that she answered every craving of his nature. Gypsy 
though she might be had she been free to love him he would 
have gloried, as man never gloried before, in leading her to the altar 
as his wife. But he was too noble to encroach upon the holy ground 
that belonged to her one affection. He recognized the right, inalien- 
able and beyond human control, of the heart to give itself where the 
hand could never be bestowed. His love could be as sacred for 
this girl as hers for Ongon and as unexpressed ; for he doubted not 
Ongon had never known the story of the gypsy's love. 

His thought quickened his pace — and in the mystery of move- 
ment saved his life. An arrow, sent to his heart and true to its aim, 
had glanced on the oar. Some one concealed on the left bank had 
sought to take revenge at last upon the Indian fighter. 

The gypsy had already risen in the boat balancing herself lightly, 
and in a moment her pistol was flashing, and with a cry of rage or 
sorrow or both, Wautoma had dropped the splintered bow, and was 
rushing upon them with a huge stone to capsize the boat. He had 
not noticed Josie, for she had been sitting low in the canoe. Now 
she, too, had raised herself and seizing an oar, with two strokes had 
brought the boat to land and had leaped upon the shore. There 
was no hesitation in the Dakotahn. She also had a pistol, which she 
drew and planted coolly against Wautoma's breast. 

"Are you mad?" demanded the girl with flashing eyes. "Do 
you want to be degraded a year by Ongon ?" 

"I must hate Ongon," muttered Wautoma. 

"You must hate Ongon?" repeated the girl wonderingly. 

"Yes," replied the sorrowful chief. 

"Then go," her words were colder than steal and far more in- 
76 



The Luncheon and After 

cisive. Wautoma could not mistake their meaning. Then she had 
renounced him forever. 

"Oh, wait, I had to hate him!" 

"Oh, you did," her words were more distant than the poles. 

"Stay, listen Josie, that man stole my picture," entreated Wau- 
toma. 

"What has that to do with Ongon ?" demanded the girl. 

"Ongon ignores me." 

"In what way?" 

"He don't know the value of my picture." 

"Neither do I, you are conceited." 

"But Wautoma, I sent you word to come to the Sauganash to-day 
to get the picture," Trenton had come up with his usual salute for the 
chief. 

"It is gone from the Sauganash, you took it away last night." 

"Wautoma, sit down there, if you please," said the gypsy, coolly 
reloading her weapon. 

Glad not to have to leave the Dakotah maiden the Indian showed 
surprising obedience. 

"Cat's-paw has been to see you," said Jean without looking at 
him yet. 

The Indian hung his head sullenly. 

"And he has tried to poison your mind. Tell me, did you really 
deep down in your heart believe Cat's-paw, or was not it a rage 
and a fight for one hour to doubt Ongon ?" 

She had touched the truth in him. "That is so, Wautoma 
worked by lies and was tied by them. He told Josie first to see 
how it sounds. Ongon is good. Wautoma loves him." 

The discovery was made by both Jean and Josie at the same mo- 
ment — Wautoma had been drinking, which accounted for the pos- 
sibility of his strange conduct. 

"Wautoma," said Jean sadly, "who gave you whisky?" 

"Paleface, big agent, and the men, Wautoma dared do it." 

And then it was wrung from him that he had been approached 
with skill by those who wished to arouse in the chief a first suspicion 
against Ongon. A bragging party had been arranged, it would 
seem, and the young chief, being full of his exploits, had led in his 
stories and bravos. He would follow any man anywhere on a wager 
— and as he had kept his word, such was his final condition. 

"Josie sobered me," said Wautoma at last. 

"I should think so," said that maiden, but turning away to hide 
her crestfallen spirits. 

17 



Ongon 

"Wautoma, are you going to separate yourself forever from 
Josie? Do you know what she has told me?" asked Jean. 

The Indian looked up quickly. 

"She said that if you proved the true, good chief she was going 
to marry 3'OU when she was sixteen." 

The chief arose and held out his hands eagerly toward the gypsy. 
"Talk to her for Wautoma, be good to poor Indian chief, Wautoma 
broken, sick, do any thing." 

"But can't talk straight," said Josie bitterly. 

"Promise any thing, Josie, see, sober !" She had worked in him 
so mightily that his iast word was like opening the old door to his 
old self. 

Josie looked at her mistress. 

"Are you willing to sign it — Josie will write her name and your 
name in her own blood, together with your writing hers and yours on 
this same paper, if you promise never to drink another drop — will 
you?" 

He was reaching for the needle in the gypsy's hand and his blood 
was flowing freely from the long gash he made with it on his arm. 

"Can you love Major Trenton, too?" asked Jean softly in a pause 
before giving the needle to Josie. 

Wautoma sprang up, walked about the tree slowly, looked Tren- 
ton full in the face, saw the soldier's kindly spirit in them toward 
him, glanced at Josie who had taken the Major's hand affectionately, 
and then, when both Trenton and Josie stretched forth their free 
hands, the proud young blood in him lost its fire and the three were 
joined in one clasp of hands. 

I am proud of you all," said Jean from the outside of the trio's 
circle — "and lonesome!" Trenton was willing, Josie was willing, 
Wautoma was willing — Jean could take but two hands and they were 
Josie's and Wautoma's. If she could have read Trenton's thoughts 
— but she had been going so fast in a different trend from his ! 

Josie wrote the names first, in little trembling lines that followed 
each other as softly as the ripples on the calm waters, Wautoma 
tossed the same in great waves of eager devotion that fairly swept 
themselves off the paper in their mightiness. 

But too deep was the quiet now in Josie's bosom for Trenton 
and Jean to share. Wautoma had a heart and Josie knew that she 
had won it sacredly. They turned away together, gypsy and soldier. 

"So once," said Trenton — Jean pardoned him for it — "an arrow 
aimed at my heart has pierced through two with Cupid's dart." 

They heard Wautoma laugh. Josie had said something about 

78 




"had his boldness been greater, or his characte.^ less- 



A Confession 

the picture. "She will tell him she Hkes his picture," said Jean, 
looking into Trenton's eyes laughingly. 

"It has been a likeable day," said the soldier, after he had mur- 
mured his thanks at last for her having saved his life, and she had 
disavowed that she had played anything of the part in the affairs 
of the afternoon that Josie had. 

"And it has all turned out as a summer shower on a picnic day 
ought to," said Jean; "the storm was too brief to take away the 
pleasure and it has cleared leaving everything more fresh and 
lovely." 

They were standing before the tree that had received Jean's 
bullet after it had ruined Wautoma's bow. By accident, at the same 
moment, Jean and Trenton were seized by an impulse to cover the 
mark on the tree with their hands. In after days Trenton returned 
to the spot to put his hand upon the place where the bullet had en- 
tered — as if in so doing he might have communicated to him again 
the touch that had vanished, with its revelation of affectionate ten- 
derness toward him, and with all the accompanying light in her 
eyes before her hand had been withdrawn. Alone, with Jean gone, 
he fought himself for the silence he had put upon his lips and for 
the resistance he had given his arms. By greater boldness then and 
less character he might have saved life and suffering. 



XXIII 

A CONFESSION 

Catherine Dale had stood at last in the presence of Ongon — and 
had come forth bathed in sweet peace. She had not thought of his 
being an Indian, for she had felt the power of Man. It had 
been said by others that his influence lay in a mesmeric gift the 
strongest could not withstand. But there had been no passes on his 
part, no corners of conversation, no effort to dethrone her will. 

She had begun by confession. God had struck her spirit blow 
after blow. She had tried and believed — and lost and failed. 
Wishing to conquer the world, it had overwhelmed her. Once be- 
lieving herself born to be happy, now she was unhappy in everything. 
She felt like a deserted landscape full of fog and desolation. While 
in one sense she had won, in another, and higher, she had lost be- 
yond all hope. Heaven had sent her misery and she had begun to 
say impertinent things to God. What had she done that God had 
thrust her through and through? 

79 



On 



gon 



"And oh, Ongon, priest-king, I have lost the tones that touch the 
soul !" She had uttered the cry standing half-averted from him, her 
eyes downcast, her fingers playing passionately with the ends of the 
ribbon at her waist, and the loveliness of her form speaking aside 
with exquisite suppliance to a luxuriant nature. 

His answer had been all delicacy and feeling. She had not dis- 
tinguished between her dreams and her real sentiments. Mortals 
were angels if they could. But bitterness is a bad dream, whose 
mad wailings strike others' hearts no more than the efforts of the 
\vi\\ in nightmare can speak the word that will bring from another 
the awakening touch. But she had really half-admitted that to 
suffer patiently cruel wrongs is the path to all nobleness. She had 
told it all in one sentence — that she had a horror and terror of asking 
anything. That was a departure from childhood and simplicity. 
He had asked her to come again the next day. 

Before her mirror after the visit she found that she was much 
prettier, that her complexion was fresh and velvety, and her eyes 
bright and sparkling. Beyond stark hopelessness was a glimmering. 
And yet how few and simple had needed to be the words of the for- 
est chief-king ! 



XXIV 

■ THE LILY IN THE STREAM 

"If there is an explanation why the Indian has been permitted to 
suffer so much, I — I shall believe." Catherine had come to Ongon 
in a rich but simple robe, finding her way with sweet gliding just be- 
fore him as he stood by the river wrapt in pleasant thought. A deli- 
cate beauty was in her face and a touch of girlishness in her voice. 

"There is a lily in the stream," said the chief-king, with a gallant 
grace of the head that accorded her all the pure loveliness of the 
flower. "If I were painting the Indian, I would not represent him- 
as stooping to grasp the lily while hopelessly hindered by a load 
on his back." 

His manner of talking was with that delightful abandon she had 
expected and dreamed and wanted of him. She had his company 
for an hour and afterwards realized how much it meant to her. 

"The load?" asked Catherine, bending prettily with her great 
pleasure for the flower which the chief-king accepted in the same 
royal simplicity with which it was offered him. 

"The load is a burden of plunder, let us say," replied Ongon. In 
80 



The Lily in the Stream 

the pause he smiled. He was waiting for her to express his mean- 
ing and she had understood him quickly. 

"The Indian's disposition in such a case will not permit him to lay 
aside the burden ; and if he bends forward far enough to reach the 
flower he will lose his balance, and then, wetting his plunder, lose 
also his desire for the lily?" 

"When you take the conception you must make him so," replied 
Ongon. 

"What shall we do then?" asked Catherine simply. 

"You must paint an angel above the Indian, ready to remove 
the burden," replied the chief-king. "God will sometime help the 
Indian to the flower." 

"Why should not the white man come gather the lily and give it 
to the Indian lovingly?" demanded Catherine. 

"The white man is too occupied in his building boats for com- 
merce on the stream to consider the savage at its brink." There was 
no condemnation in Ongon's voice, but rather pity. 

"That is it !" exclaimed Catherine. 

"No, good artist," replied the chief-king gently, "that is only 
painting the white man with ships on his back." He had answered 
her question by his calm strength of view, rather than by his words. 
Indian caprice, a wise Providence, guardian angels, were working 
together, even while apparent hopelessness stared the redman in 
the face. It was a long view, but it possessed him. 

"You look so far off," said Catherine. 

"Nay, let us say I have been given to see afar," replied Ongon — 
"and I have seen something about you," he added looking at the 
lily. 

"Oh!" 

But he had turned aside first to tell her how the day before when 
she had spoken hard thoughts against Trenton, he had only wished 
she might have understood something of his problem. She could 
not have harbored revengeful feelings against him had she known 
what had driven him westward. 

"And the vision?" asked Catherine, not ready yet to confess to 
anything in that new direction save a hesitant arch of her head. 

"First, I must say a word to you about myself," said the chief- 
king with a smile. 

"Catherine drew a breath of real pleasure, "Oh, do tell me — ten 
thousand words !" 

"Life is made for us as soon as we accept the fact that we are 
put unalterably in a place for a high and beautiful purpose. Time 

8i 



Ongon 



was when I lived in rebellion. At first it was a battle for me to 
understand my people. Their ways were strange and mysterious 
to me, and I quarreled with them, while the white man's pleased me. 
Then Minnetonka came into my life. She had listened to the story 
of our Master's obedience, and when I understood his life, I saw a 
way out of my darkness. Thus the princess had taught me to ap- 
preciate the strivings of my people. I believe that the white man 
will some day desire to find the heart of the Indian. In it are buried 
the richest natural treasures of the American continent. Did you 
ever think that in Christ there is a way for God to justify himself 
for all the permission of human conditions on his part and a way 
for every creature to triumph? 

He had said enough to awaken great inquiries in Catherine's 
heart. Could it be that he was not an Indian? It was a question 
to ponder. If so — his was the greater achievement still. 

She had found another lily and had given it to him lovingly. 
"What shall I do?" she asked, referring to his vision for her. 

"You are now on the eve of seeking a solution of your own 
problem," said the chief-king with a satisfied conviction in his voice. 
"I would begin not by attacking the whole problem at once, but 
by finding a way to solve the nearest perplexity. Suppose you set 
out to discover that picture of Wautoma with the philosophy" — he 
smiled — "that it was a wise Providence that caused its loss and that 
there is a loving meaning in it for you?" 

He had talked to her like a brother, and the words were running 

in her mind "God hath made of one blood all nations to dwell ." 

If there had been no Indian problem she had never met Ongon ! 

"Agreed," cried Catherine from out the conflict of her feelings. 

"Then if you should make your way, say with Josie, to a tavern 
some sixty miles to the east, you will find a man of wonderful de- 
tective powers who has often been my only source of reliable in- 
formation. I think that he can help you. His name is William 
Buckingham Craps. You can afford to have all confidence in him." 

Catherine felt the impulse to follow his direction implicitly. It 
would ally her with a method. For all her genius, she had the de- 
sire to be guide'd as a child. And it was as if she was to have 
the priest-king with her on her way. And so all felt who had been 
in the presence of Ongon. 



82 



Interrupting a Process 

XXV 

INTERRUPTING A PROCESS 

Innocence is not the necessary forerunner of grace. Neither 
is seeming perversity either total depravity or hopeless piety. One 
may worship at a false shrine because worship he must at some 
shrine. And so there is pardon for a mortal, and hope as well, if 
when angels have his name on their lips his own may be mumbling 
strange incantations. For one may turn on his knees in quickest 
repentance — if there is anything worshipful behind him. 

It was not a laudatory enterprise that still engaged Craps, if the 
irate guest was to be the judge. "A dollar a night for such a bed 
is extortion. You are certainly taking advantage of prosperous 
times !" 

The protest was eliciting an appropriate response. 

"Certain people need prosperity to teach them to despise it," said 
Craps, reaching for the extra money. 

"But we don't all get it," growled the gentleman. 

"Our fault," returned the host; "success is like sleep to the 
nervous — a certain amount is due every being and if a man will 
steady himself to expect it, and will circulate his blood a little, the 
thing Avill come of its own accord and in pleasing proportions." 

"How do you do, Will !" said a different voice behind. 

"Why, Major John, you do me honor," cried the landlord, turn- 
ing from gay to grave, as he wheeled about and greeted the soldier 
with solid pleasure. ♦ 

"I interrupt a process," said the officer with a twinkle in his eye. 

"You terminate it — for the present," said Craps, waving his hand 
to the guest in a way that said plainly that there were times when 
it was no time to make money. 

If the host could let go the extra, so could the guest, and the sil- 
ver fell back into the latter's pocket, while pocket and all fell back to 
the door. .„, i 

"He is gone with the better part of the argument," laughed Tren- 
ton. 

Craps said that he would be paid a hundred fold if he could be 
permitted to get a fellow a steaming dinner. "My, John, I remem- 
ber when you were a little boy " 

"Spare me, Will, there's no one here to spank me," said Trenton 
with a reminiscent grin. 

" 'Deed there isn't," murmured Craps, looking over the athletic 
83 



Ongon 



build of the soldier with pride; "there isn't any one can do it, I 
reckon, John." 

But then Trenton must look at the sketch of his boyhood self 
taken by Craps the lad five years his senior, and they must laugh to- 
gether over tragic outcomes and philosophize over early bearings on 
later days ! At twenty-six and thirty-one, fifteen and ten are more 
than half of all existence. Then they grew sober and by mutual 
consent passed by a sadder lapse of years. 

"I have come to say I have need of you. Will," said Trenton after 
a pause. "Could you leave here and go away with me ?" 

"There, I dreamed last night that I ought to accept the thing! 
Been offered a price for my establishment. Decided to accept it any- 
how, since a certain old-timer came through here whose presence 
means harm, I know. I'm pretty much of a rover to be tied down, 
here anyway. But indeed I will go away with you. Major Jack!" 

"I've seen him too," said Trenton with feeling. 

Craps looked up suddenly. "You do not mean that Buhl-Bysee 
has crossed your path again? Ah, I see; indeed, I will try to be of 
some help to you, Trenton." 

They talked of the picture briefly and then of Ongon. The land- 
lord asked whether his friend had ever heard of the crime against 
the chief-king's youth? "There is a secret there some day to be 
brought to light," said Craps, "and it has helped me many a time." 

"Now, Will you must forget about that," said the soldier, no- 
ticing the depression coming upon his friend. "You know that you 
are innocent, and you can afford to wait until the truth comes to 
light, as you say of Ongon." 

"Aye, but to have served in the penitentiary, John, the very dis- 
grace of it breaks a man down. It is too bitter to stand long. Aye, 
it is too bitter." 

"Remember Joseph in prison in Egypt, Will." 

"Nay, the Pharaohs are all dead, and there is no messenger can 
come to me, John. I am ostracized. Think what I was — and then 
look at these rooms. Now, if I were fifty, the blood would not be 
so hot in me. And yet" — ^it was as if he was lifting himself out 
of the pit by his own boot straps — "do you know after talking with 
Ongon I feel that if we will give the Almighty a chance, let him 
have time, there is not a sinner of us but he is well oflf. It is having 
to live alone, John, that is it ; to see the weakling in high places, to 
note the trifling mistake, perhaps the very vigor of over truthful- 
ness and faithfulness, get us into difficulties that wrench us from our 

careers — that is galling. But " he arose and paced the floor while 

84 



Interrupting a Process 

speaking, "did it ever occur to you that God is novel ? The hero of a 
story must work and live against odds or he does not hold our atten- 
tion, perhaps these nightmare troubles of ours just keep us some way 
in God's attention ? But it is hard to rule hatred out of order to give 
the main question the floor in our minds." 

The landlord had been called out just as two women entered 
the opposite door. They were Catherine Dale and Josie. He 
hastened to greet them. 

Catherine spoke first, in an astonishingly different tone from the 
scorn at the ruins. 'T am sorry, Major Trenton, to have involved 
you, by a fit of my rashness, in troublesome perplexities, I am come 
to seek a gentleman who can help both of us." 

He could have said exactly the same words to her. But since she 
had overwhelmed him with the unexpected, he gave her in return the 
sweetest confidence a man in his estate could not but give. 

"I was a dunce. Miss Dale, but if I had known a few days ago 
what I have learned since, I might have acted sensibly." 

He had not said too much, and he had said it so naturally — he 
felt every word of it, and that was the requisite with Catherine Dale 
— and stopped so wisely — universally a befitting thing to do — that 
Catherine, remembering as well his exalted courage and brilliant idea 
in taking the picture for a shield, was thoroughly pleased with him. 

"Do you know of any detective I could get from this place, Major 
Trenton?" she asked, beaming upon him her full forgiveness. 

He could not resist the temptation. He did know of an excellent 
one, would they be seated while he ordered their horses groomed and 
he called the gentleman. Trenton finding Craps, explained to him the 
situation, asking him to put on his best suit for the meeting with the 
artist who had painted the picture of Wautoma.' "Been forgiven," 
said Trenton happily. "Will, it's one of the unaccountable miracles, 
I'd have offered her ten thousand for the picture to have gotten such 
a pardon had I dared !" 

"Ideas are worth more than dollars, she perhaps has a new 
philosophy," smiled Craps. 

Trenton was even happier over Craps when he came down than 
he had been over Catherine's cordiality. Dress had transformed the 
landlord. And Craps was feeling in as fine spirits as his clothes. 

"This is Mr. William Buckingham Craps?" asked Catherine, 
rising with a pleased look and stepping toward him with extended 
hand. Her manner was too open and warm-hearted to permit Craps 
to be more than inwardly startled by her mention of his full name, 
for Trenton had agreed never to p:ive any one that. 

85 



Ongon 

Giving him her hand ! But the full glow of its touch was still 
buoying him upward as she explained to him rapidly the need she 
had of him. Somehow he soon forgot himself as he stood before 
her and answered her questions with the graceful ease of a cul- 
tured gentleman. Her account of the taking of the picture was a 
woman's, with bits of fun now and then in it for Trenton. It 
was a good tale to tell now that nothing serious except the loss of the 
picture had resulted, and Josie helped to embellish it. 

"You say the picture was stolen afterward from the Sauganash, 
madame?" he asked with a playful light in his eyes when she had 
finished ; "a hotel is usually too safe a place for grand larceny, I mean 
out here." 

"Where valuables of any size seldom enter," added Trenton with 
a soldier's pleasure at making a double stroke with one slash. 

"Sirs, you have sometimes stopped at one," said Catherine 
smiling. 

"Occasionally," admitted Craps. 

"Suppose now a detective should open a hotel, Miss Dale?" said 
Trenton in compliment to the detective. 

"It would not be run like" — Catherine's eyes had swept the room 
hastily — "like hotels in general." 

Trenton judged she w^as taking note of the detective's head to 
paint it as part of his reward for the return of the picture. And it 
was a fine head, now that it had clothes to match it. There was 
nothing like putting one's best suit forward ! 

"Madame," said Craps, feeling the honor of Catherine's last 
remark, "the detective may yet have to play the host to get that 
painting." 

"I've been thinking, Miss Dale," said Trenton, brightly, "how 
much better your first meeting with Mr. William Detective gets on 
than the first with a certain soldier." 

It was Craps who laughingly replied, "There are sensibilities 
which those that have dealt with so blunt a thing as a sword cannot 
appreciate." 

Catherine beamed upon him. Trenton sighed. Josie shook her 
head. 

But the men w^ere beginning to feel guilty. This pleasure did 
not honorably belong to them. In speaking of the landlord as a de- 
tective and in introducing him as such, even in fun-loving goodwill, 
Trenton had committed an offense more unpardonable than his 
taking the picture. Craps, too, was growing more quiet. It was 
with a heavy heart that he promised to use his influence to get the 

86 



The Apology 



artist and Josie the best room in the house. The pleasantry had in- 
volved them hopelessly. Had it only been the little pastime itself, 
they could have explained then and there. But how could Trenton 
bear to tell it of his friend, when now, because he had introduced the 
man to Catherine Dale, he must speak cruel testimony against him ? 
And yet Catherine had gone upstairs turning prettily about on 
the first step to express her pleasure at the honor of having met the 
detective ! 



XXVI 

THE APOLOGY 

Catherine Dale thought the apology on Trenton's lips when he 
came to her later referred to the old subject, "Major Trenton, while 
we are sorry the picture had to be taken, I am glad that it has 
brought the second disaster." 

He did not reply anything coherent except that he was afraid she 
misunderstood him. 

"You haven't another primrose, have you?" asked Catherine, 
smiling. 

Trenton drew from his coat an envelope in which were th?. 
crumbled leaves of the once rejected flower. "When man by his 
Thoughtlessness has offended a true woman he thanks heaven that 
life is long enough to chance sometime an opportunity to make 
amends," he said, telling with his eyes that he wanted her for a 
friend. 

"Dear little flower, may I take the envelope and all, Major? 
Do you know I think that I have met more really true men in the 
last month than in all my life before?" She was reaching out her 
hand to him — "We can be friends, Major Trenton." 

"Miss Dale, what you say cuts me to the heart," said Trenton 
with desperation. "Yesterday at this hour I should have been jubi- 
lant over your words just spoken, but now, when valuing them even 
more highly, I have lost all right to them. I have come to confess. 
My friend whom I introduced as a detective in the room below 
would also see you and explain, if that were permitted to him, but 
alas, that is a forfeited right for him and he feels it most keenly. 
But we were elated, I was at fault and began the subterfuge. He 
never would have thought of it himself. He is only an inn-keeper 
now and not a detective and deems the post you offer him too 
honorable for his acceptance. 

87 



Ongon 



"Mr. Craps is a most worthy and most modest gentleman," re- 
plied Catherine, sweetly, and he has a most honorable friend who 
persists in calling himself names. That is a habit we all acquire 
when we oughtn't to and I have resolved to put my complete trust 
in those who are so violent against themselves." 

"But, Miss Dale " 

"Do you know, Major, I passed a night without a single bad 
dream, the first for some time, and I do not possess any reason for 
quarreling with either you or Mr. Craps because he happens to own 
this modest house. Now upon your honor, sir, Mr. Craps is the kind 
of a man who is likely to own a good deal more — dare you deny it ?" 

"As to money he is a rich man, I admit, Miss Dale, but " 

"You do not mean to say that you would slander his character. 
Major?" she bent forward eagerly. 

"Not his character, I believe that to be beyond reproach," replied 
Trenton. 

Catherine looked relieved. "Then, Major Trenton, what is it, 
speak frankly ?" Her manner had returned to the state of repose in 
w4iich she had announced her unalterable trust in the violent. 

"His reputation has suffered — he bade me tell it all to you and 
say it at once briefly — in the eyes of the world, Miss Dale, where he 
is known, he is a pardoned criminal — convicted of murdering another 
man when under the influence of drink. He served two years in the 
penitentiary and at last was pardoned by the governor of his State." 

"Then even the governor admitted his innocence," said Catherine 
quietly. 

"No, Miss Dale, but the circumstances of the affair did not seem 
to warrant life imprisonment." 

"Was he guilty of the crime, do you believe?" asked the artist, 
looking up. 

"I believe he is entirely innocent of the deed, and purely the vic- 
tim of circumstances, and hope some day to prove it," said Trenton 
proudly. 

"How has it affected Mr. Craps ?" asked Catherine gently. 

"For a long time he too believed that he must have committed 
the murder and lived the horrors of a guilty man. A sensitive soul, 
the isolation cut him to the heart. I have heard him say that there 
have been times when his hands have trembled as he received from 
the post a letter which for the moment he thought was in the hand- 
writing of some old friend. Each time the disappointment fastened 
upon his Hfe." 

"Did you not write him?" asked Catherine. 
88 



" Let Us Change Everything" 

"I was abroad those years in study and travel, somewhat isolated 
myself from the world — pouting days, I am sorry to say — and when 
I returned the days of his imprisonment were about over." 

"You say about over — you had some influence in getting his par- 
don, then?" asked Catherine quickly. 

"Because I believe in his innocence," said Trenton, the pensive 
sadness returning to him again. "Miss Dale, we wronged you yes- 
terday, but I did it because I knew he hungered for a woman's recog- 
nition. Not since that night has a woman's hand been extended to 
him. It killed the delicate, sensitive girl who was to have married 
him. He was never a drinking man, I do not believe he was drunk 
that night " 

"Major, will you bring him to me ? I will be at the lake, and tell 
Josie I shall be in presently." 



XXVII 
''let us change everything " 

"I, too, believe with Major Trenton." 

There was no smile upon the lips of Catherine Dale, but faith 
had touched her eyes and left its brightness there — enough to brush 
away the memory of the frowns of all the world. She had been 
gazing upon the lake as the two men approached and when they 
paused, she had turned to them with a womanly eloquence of face 
and form that spoke the gospel of her confidence before her lips had 
moved. Her head, as theirs, was bare, and her fingers were finding 
the pearls of the long necklace that fell below her waist. Everything 
in all her life had prepared her to be the beautiful woman she was in 
this great moment. 

He who had played the detective a little while before was not 
now clad in broadcloth; but there are kingly times when true char- 
acter would shine through rags and the lifting of condemnation 
from the guiltless is as the unveiling of glory. 

At first the heads of the men were bowed as if knighthood had 
been conferred upon them. When they looked up, a queen could not 
have received greater homage. It was not vain pride that when the 
men clasped hands their tall figures were erect, and their heads lifted 
high, for tears stood in their eyes. She had opened a fountain of 
truth for them, and it had overflowed their souls with its refreshing. 
A woman's faith, when she can give it wholly, is life to man. 

"Your name is not Craps," said Catherine, when they had passed 
89 



Ongon 

together through the transfiguration scene in a silence of deUcate 
beauty none dared to break. '1 have noticed that Major Trenton 
has never called you Craps." 

"William Buckingham," said the man over whom was still creep- 
ing new strength and power — changing his features as the rising 
sun on the mountain top drives away the shadows. 

Catherine had turned her eyes again to the lake. "See," she said 
gently, "how squadrons of colors are chasing each other over the 
deep. Now one royal purple banner has been sunk in that inky 
chasm that came down from the horizon — but now it has arisen again 
a brighter, vaster glory. Then after a pause she brought her eyes to 
meet Buckingham's and gave him her hand again. 

"Your kindness is a gift from eternity and the time is too short 
to grasp its unutterable meaning," said Buckingham, just suffering 
his fingers to touch her white hand. 

And Catherine Dale knew that the lily was in the stream of this 
man's life. She had set him free to grasp it. Long they stood, 
speaking few words, drinking in the meaning of this new morning 
until a spirit of playfulness came upon Catherine. "Oh, Major 
Trenton," she cried, looking up wistfully at the soldier, "there is 
somebody near here I wish you could know and understand — she is 
called only a gypsy, but I thought of you when first I saw her." 

"I am afraid Josie has secrets," said Trenton with a quiet 
smile. 

"Secrets — then you know ? What a pleasure it must be !" 

"Pleasure always has a way of looking as if it would run away," 
said Trenton, indefinitely, while the artist nodded it was exactly so 
and more too. In a moment she brought herself abruptly before a 
newer thought. One glance at Buckingham had been the occasion. 

"See, let us change everything !" 

She had fastened her little round cap on her head and was gazing 
■traight ahead without looking at any one in particular — as if just 
out of a dream, and not fully awake to understand where she was 
or what had passed. 

"Alas !" if we change everything," said Trenton, "every thing 
changed will have new capacities for change, and a new dependence 
on the one who has changed everything." 

In answer Catherine planted her feet firmly together with her 
hands folded beneath the short wrap which she quickly whirled into 
a muff. But the pretty cap could not contain much less conceal the 
mischievous curls that fell upon her shoulders and lent their glory 
to the arched posture of her head and body. 



The Printed Record 

"Are you listening for a surprise?" asked Buckingham, for the 
first time smiling. 

"It is going to be worth living to accomplish — let us help trans- 
form everything. Let us be friends." She was so pure and so 
wrapped in the devotion of her thought that these two men needed 
her — an angel could not have come down to take up their cause with 
more unexpected brightness and enthusiasm. 

"There shall be no half turning, Miss Dale, be assured," said 
Buckingham, picking up her handkerchief that had fallen and re- 
turning it to her as an artist would have loved to return the pencil of 
one of the masters. 

XXVIII 

THE PRINTED RECORD 

. The touch of Catherine Dale's hand had literally changed the 
blood as it ran in Buckingham's veins. And going beyond that, the 
shock of her faith in him had transformed his whole moral and spir- 
itual fiber. Within an old drawer in his room in the tavern, under 
double lock and key, he found the parchment that had been a sort 
of wretched makeshift of a compass to his latter days. It was his 
will — a strange, queer, document, made in the spirit of revenge, and 
designed to be a fingerpost of scorn more indestructible than iron 
or granite. In this will were provisions for the children of his for- 
mer acquaintanceship that had deserted him in his hour of need. 
When any of the children of such had become poor, their bare neces- 
sities should be supplied out of a fund bequeathed by him for this 
purpose. The remainder should endow a library for the town and 
provide for its maintenance — "where none should ever want for the 
friendship of a good book." 

"When a tree isn't bearing fruit, it usually runs to leaves," was 
the estimation Buckingham now placed upon the document as he set 
a match to it and cast it into the stove. 

While the will was burning a gust of wind caused a slamming 
throughout the house. It did not jar upon Buckingham's nerves for 
he was smiling to himself, while his mind made a new philosophy out 
of the material furnished by his heart — "An open window blows 
many a door to." 

Yet his hand was rummaging nervously through the drawer and 
trembling visibly when an old package, blue, and sealed, was found. 
It was a newspaper upon which in flaming headHnes was his name 
— and after it the words of horror. The hand of the reporter had 

91 



Ongon 



made everything of the two unusual circumstances of the crime. 
The magnificent club-house in which two of its members had quar- 
reled and afterwards made up, only to reopen the feud later when 
alone and frenzied with drink, was pictured with all its meaning 
to society. 

Then was told how the young woman who was engaged to be 
married to the murderer had entered with a friend — Mr. Augustus 
Buhl-Bysee — and how she had gasped at the sight of her betrothed 
lying in a drunken stupor with the blood-stained knife in his hand, 
with the club men who had entered, just beginning to gather about 
him. How there had been a pause — and the rest she had not seen. 
But falling herself beside her sleeping lover, and awakening him 
W'ith her fall, it was told how she ignored his cry of recognition and 
astonishment, and had dragged herself away from him with a dying 
moan. Then the tragedy was rehearsed from the beginning again 
in smaller print, and Buckingham's speechless guilt was portrayed 
in all its development. How he had not attempted to defend him- 
self, but had sufifered the officers of the law to take him away with- 
out a murmur. His own lips had attested that so the girl had died 
as described. Then another, later paper, told how society had felt 
that it must ostracise the man who had brought such disgrace upon 
the club. Surely he had not drunk enough to have become intoxi- 
cated, how had he been drugged? It was still a blank in his mind, 
nothing came to aid his memory. 

Might he not have fallen asleep, from the hard day's and night's 
activities in the twenty- four hours preceding the tragedy? Why 
had he never thought of that, or anybody else? — ah, because too 
convinced of his guilt on awakening, and too filled with the unde- 
sirability of life since that of his betrothed had been the penalty of 
his condition! Alone in the world he had not cared then to seek 
an extenuation of the circumstances. 

But though he had burned his will this newspaper could not be 
effaced. In many a city the printed record had become to time 
what he thought his guilt would be to eternity. The newspaper files, 
like the tongues of gossips, have no certain location. Had not Buhl- 
Bysee a copy of this paper? Ah, here was a dedication of the 
foundation of a granite structure described in the next column. A 
copy of each of the day's journals of the city was to be placed in the 
iron box within the corner stone. Again a quiet, beautiful wedding 
on another page — who should say that they had not kept the paper ? 
Here the notice of one who died in peace and a right to be mourned 
was given, with the request that certain country papers copy. 

92 



The Printed Record 

"It is spread from sea to sea; alas, poor name, poor Belle, God 
pity the man whose the deed !" Sailing-craft were few on the lake 
and yet so intent was the man upon the document of his past, he 
scarcely noticed the movements of the vessel coming in from the 
horizon. The great question lay on his heart, if a human life is 
made of the threads of its past, might he hope that the dark, coarse 
fibers of those reckless days could ever let him have peace? 

The philosophy had come to him — God had created another 
woman, pure and beautiful, almost adorable, and had let her enter 
his life with a woman's tenderness and gracious kindness in order 
that she might punish him with the sweet excelling glory of her 
womanhood. For a little season he was to be permitted to breathe 
like a man, for a time he was to be helped into the circle of human 
affection — then left to work out his life alone, but on a higher 
plane. He had been a religious boy — with a gap of godless indiffer- 
ence between ; intermittent faith finds it hard to believe in grace. 
After they lost that the Israelites wandered forty years, he remem- 
bered, and died outside the promised land. 

Strange that on the envelope of the will were words he had never 
noticed before — "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, 
good will to men." How had these words come there in lead pencil ? 
Ah, when he had made the will and had asked Ongon to be witness, 
the Indian chief-king had written the words in quiet protest and 
friendliness ! The text was one that had moved him as a boy, 
strange to say, to want to be a missionary to the Indians. Now an 
Indian had given it to him for his gospel when he was groping in 
the dark! How living these words when faith in himself and his 
destiny was almost dying! 

Now he traced upon the table with his finger the name of the 
chief-king, while slowly the text was crystallizing the cinders of his 
poor self into a lustrous hope. Then he was up with another surge 
of life, ready to be an active and healthy participant in the real strug- 
gle of the world, filled with vast enthusiasm to help save Ongon's 
life from his enemies. There was no need of locking the drawer 
again, for peace had destroyed the will and the newspapers he would 
give to Catherine. 

Trenton's voice was calling him to hasten down stairs. Looking 
out of the window as he passed he saw that the little ship had cast 
anchor and that a skiff had been put down and was making toward 
the shore. 



Ong 



on 



XXIX 

TO-MORROW 

When Buckingham reached the open air he was startled by the 
unexpected wave of excitement. The ship had signaled bad news 
to them and all were hurrying to the shore after Josie who, with a 
cry "poor Lusette," had darted forward. 

"It is Wautoma in the boat, he says Lusette in trouble, needs 
me," cried the Indian girl, making signs rapidly back to the figure 
in the bow of the yawl. Mingled suffering and vexation character- 
ized her movements. She was not pleased with Wautoma's slow- 
ness of expression. "Humph !" the sunrise Indians can't talk signs 
like the sunset tribes," muttered the Dakotah girl in exasperation. 

"Something unusual has happened, I have never known Wau- 
toma to come by boat before," said Buckingham in a low voice to 
Trenton. In spite of his caution, his words had carried to Catherine 
Dale's ears. 

"Do you think that they have taken the lodge and the horses?" 
she asked anxiously, thinking not so much of the painting of Min- 
netonka as of the terrible meaning of it all, for Josie had been asked 
to tell her about the charge against Ongon. Since then she had 
been happy in her mind casting about how they might all help the 
chief-king. 

"Not with Wautoma alive would they destroy the lodge," an- 
swered Josie, stopping in the midst of her vexation with Wautoma 
to defend him. 

The artist smiled at the bit of true womanhood in the act, what- 
ever the Indian variations. 

"Josie is right," said Trenton ; "no one could reach the lodge 
without first riding over the bodies of Wautoma and his band. 

"Perhaps Cat's-paw has poisoned Wautoma's mind again, for he 
talks only of harm to the gypsy," suggested Catherine. 

The flash was in Josie's eye, "Wautoma will die when he has 
spoken and his word is given for Ongon." Her feet were in the 
water and she was bending a keen ear to catch the first sound of 
Wautoma's voice. 

The boat was now near enough for Wautoma to come to his 
glory. He had seen the result of his signs and when he began to 
utter a series of war-whoops the two white oarsmen paused to 
enjoy the vocal magnificence. His yell did not correspond with the 
interpretation of his signs at all. There was pomp and exultation in 

94 



To-Morrow 

the savage outcries that stirred the hearers to want to do and dare 
something fiercely quick. 

Catherine, born lover of the artistic and potent elements in human 
life, was scarcely behind Josie in detecting that if anything had 
occurred it was not so much a direful event as it might be the 
opportunity of joyful activity. Who shall say that the wonderful in- 
fluence of a great chief over his band has not been in large measure 
due to his power of putting motive and determination in his yells? 
At least VVautoma had communicated to them a readiness to follow 
him before he was understood. Meanwhile Josie was a-smile again 
and laughing to herself in great amusement. But that was laid 
aside for the present in the general eagerness to know the reason for 
Wautoma's coming. 

The Indian's contempt for water was seen in Wautoma's leap 
when the boat was nearing the shore. A circus acrobat could not 
have jumped farther or wriggled in more uncertain gyrations, con- 
sidering his coming down safely at last, than did the savage. It 
was not every day that he was given the opportunity for executing 
his specialty before a gentle audience and for Josie's benefit. 

And it was as good as a side-show to see his shy glance at Josie 
to find out the impression he had made, when his body was in a 
posture to admit the use of his eyes. 

"Welcome, Wautoma, what brings you to our shore in a ship?" 
asked Buckingham, smiling with the rest. 

"To-morrow ! to-morrow ! to-morrow !" cried the chief exult- 
antly. 

"Something moving, then, Wautoma?" asked Trenton. 
"To-morrow — Cat's-paw ! To-morrow — Cat's-paw ! Cat's-paw — 
to-morrow ! Cat's-paw — to-morrow !" Whichever way it was taken 
to-morrow was to be up and Cat's-paw down, that much was plain. 

"You have good news then, where will you begin ?" asked Josie» 
showing an early wifely insight into the savage nature of man who 
must be left to his own devices when he is possessed of something 
interesting to tell. 

"To-morrow Wautoma's band and Cat's-paw's band — and the 
gypsy and Cat's-paw," said the chief. 

"Just so, we understand," said the Dakotahn with new pleasure 
that her husband to be could really hold a secret. "You have come 
for us, but why the boat ?" 

"Here, she paid gold for it, Ongon may need," said the chief 
pointing to the anchored vessel. 

Then one of the sailors, when turned to, explained that they were 
95 



Ongon 



a little lumber craft and had been employed in running now up the 
South Branch about three miles for stone, and now in carrying tim- 
ber from the Calumet — all for the first pier at the mouth of the 
Chicago River. The gypsy had paid them well to make a year's con- 
tract with her, and so they were out of the commercial into the poetic 
Hne just then, they might put it. 

They were not to take the story altogether out of Wautoma's 
mouth, however, for he now snatched the thread. The boat was to 
be kept anchored at the mouth of the Calumet for emergency. The 
gypsy's father had known the sailors and they could be trusted. A 
crisis might come in events at any time. The presence of the boat 
would not be suspected inasmuch as it had been in the employ of the 
pier-contractor, also a friend of the gypsy's family. It was a good 
sailing craft and either Lusette or Ongon, or both, might have need 
of it any day. While the substance of these facts were being related 
by Wautoma and the sailors the company exchanged glances with 
each other. Who then was this gypsy, that she had such means 
and friends for the achievement of her purpose ? And why so much 
for Ongon? And what?" 

"She is prepared to do desperate things," said Trenton in a low 
voice to Buckingham. 

"Ours to help her," was the answer; "it is apparent that she is 
to be the general-in-chief of this campaign and we must report to 
headquarters for orders." 

jMuch to their disappointment, however, a brief note asked Cath- 
erine and Josie to hasten back by the boat with Wautoma, but to 
bring nobody else with them. Circumstances demanded it. 

Josie was in too playful a mood, nevertheless, to suffer anybody 
to be serious. "Oh, Wautoma, you wanted to make sign that Lu- 
sette was in danger to-morrow maybe, and instead you said that her 
heart was bad and though she was brave she had been killed !" 
Then she taught him to say it with his hands as the Dakotah's did; 
and afterwards he watched her go with the artist to get ready for the 
voyage to the Calumet with a perfectly satisfied air. Other eyes were 
following the two, for it was the same spot where the waves had 
danced with new joy to Buckingham. If she had been an angel of 
light, Catherine Dale could not have touched the sands with lighter 
grace to him. As to Trenton's thoughts — she was growing more 
girlish and loveable. 

When they returned from the house and were in the yawl, Cath- 
erine, flushed with pleasure at the thought of action at last, gave 
them each her hand and her warmest welcome to the lodge when 

96 



A Broad Pathway upon the Waters 

they should care to come into the wilderness. Buckingham made 
a start and then stopped short of execution. "Always obey first 
thoughts, sir," said Catherine, who had observed the movement and 
reached forth her hand smilingly for what he had made the move- 
ment to give her from his coat pocket. 

"If when you have read that you will repeat the invitation " 

he looked at Trenton. 

"We shall come very gladly then," said the soldier, stepping 
nearer to Buckingham. 

Once the awful paper was in her fair hands, Buckingham turned 
away, to find that Trenton had anticipated the movement and had 
stepped quickly to the other side, to stand cap in hand waving adieu 
to those in the departing boat, while his free arm was locked in 
Buckingham's. When Catherine stood at the altar by the side of 
John Trenton, Buckingham remembered the devotion of his friend, 
and knowing the beautiful strength of Catherine Dale, with her love 
for the excitement of a soldier's life and her affection for Major 
Trenton when his heart too, had become knit to the Indian's heart, 
Buckingham had no resentment against his faithful friend. And 
the strange events thereafter had come too rapidly for Buckingham 
to find fault with a directing Providence. 

XXX 

A BROAD PATHWAY UPON THE WATERS 

Wautoma and Josie sang themselves away as they moved to- 
wards the little anchored schooner. Sang the lake songs of the 
Chippewas, more anciently called the Ojibvv^ays, of which people 
came Wautoma. Often when his ancestors had gone in search of 
their allies the Pottawatomies and the Ottawas, also fierce boat- 
men, had they sung the same war chant. Perhaps before moving 
against the fathers of the Dakotah maiden, Josie ! And perhaps the 
inter-marriage between the tribes was ordained that the Indian chief- 
tain, always somewhat under the advice of his squaw, even for his 
battles, might have a spirited time at home ! 

Catherine wondered whether her own ancestors, the hardy 
Anglo-Saxons, not so many centuries before, disdaining to sleep in- 
doors on a winter's night, had not ordained impatience for her blood, 
and the rushing, compelling spirit, at such moments when they, too, 
had chanted their battle songs and exulted in a night's advancement 
towards the morning's fray. Perchance morning itself, with its 
doors unlocked for conquest, owed its vehemence of spirit to the 

97 



Ongon 

Creator's wisdom in letting the human race develop out of bar- 
barism. If all souls were like hers, then she pitied the day when 
there should be no barbarism left in man, no strivings, aye no 
cruelties — to be turned over to woman for her half-barbarous soften- 
ings 



Then Catherine joined in the Lake Song. 



WAR SONG OF THE CHIPPEWAS 

SUNG ON THE LAKES WHEN ONE PARTY GOES IN SEARCH OF ANOTHER, 
TO JOIN IN THE WAR 




And afterwards it was a strange paper to be clasped even ten- 
derly in Catherine Dale's hands and to be read over and over again 
in the little cabin. When night came and she sat on deck in the 
moonlight the printed story was with her word for word. But did 
not frighten her. Rather it brought troops of strongest forces into 
her will. And yet the beautiful evening was the mirror of her soul. 
Under the silver light — that first beat a pathway on the waters and 
then clung to the horizon like a faint dawn of surprise at the love- 
liness of its own handiwork — the running outline of the distant shore 
was no longer a waste of sand. Day with its garish inspection, with 
its minuteness of detail and its glaring repetition of the common- 
place was forgotten. The steady filling of the sails, with the gurg- 
ling rhythm between the ship's sides and the sturdy waves seemed 
to answer to her feelings in the progress of her thought. 

On board the ship the difference between being calm and being 
becalmed is emphasized. In Catherine Dale's life there could have 
been nothing of pleasure or content in an idle stillness of soul. But 
to find a mast for the fabric of subtle malice in that newspaper still 
in her hands and to fling to the winds that coarse texture, until that 
which had been furled about a man's heart should become a 
carrying power to his life, this was calmness and peaceful strength to 
Catherine. And yesterday life was all darkness to her — when now a 
broad pathway was upon the waters ! 

She was a woman, and understood herself onlv so far as to look 



I 



A Broad Pathway upon the Waters 

up to the tall mast before her and to remember that once it grew 
in a cold wilderness of nature. Only might her faith grow, straight 
and strong, for life would be in its use. 

Wautoma, afraid that the artist was lonesome, had come from 
Josie's side. "I don't care so much for the picture now since Josie 
is so good to me," he said simply. 

"Plow did you first come to be fond of Josie, Wautoma ?" asked 
Catherine, still able to enter his thoughts and understand the alchemy 
of his feelings. 

"Josie was always kind to stray cats," answered Wautoma. 

"Do you like cats, Wautoma?" 

"No." 

"Then why should you like that in Josie ?" 

Wautoma did not know, but he could tell her why he liked Mr. 
Craps. 

"His name is changed, Wautoma, it is Mr. Buckingham now," 
said Catherine; "you like that better, don't you?" she added, seeing 
the pleasure on his face. 

"Yes, it's longer and deeper," said the chief, to whom length was 
mystery, and mystery life. "It is more like him. Buckingham 
likes my bucks, too." 

"But why did you come to like him, did you say?" asked Cath- 
erine. 

"Once when there was no com he gave our village big money 
for food," answered Wautoma. Then he told how lately he and his 
braves had intended to kill the white men at the tavern, but that they 
had resolved to spare Buckingham because of his kindness to them. 
That was before the picture was stolen. Did he not look fine to-day 
with the soldier when the skiflF landed? 

"But you didn't like Major Trenton, I thought, Wautoma?" 
observed Catherine. 

"He can ride," answered Wautoma, as if he would relate the ar- 
guments for his conversion before stating the fact. 

Catherine understood him. "What else, Wautoma?" 

"He shoots like Ongon." 

"Yes." 

"Our gypsy has told how he loves Ongon and has been soldier 
because he thought that he could do more good that way. If we are 
kind to him, Lusette says he may not fight the Indians any more. 
She says he fought because there were some paleface Ongons and 
Minnetonkas who have been wronged by other Cat's-paws, and he 
did not know at first which were the Cat's-paws." 

99 



Ongon 



"What do you think of Major Trenton's taking that picture to 
save his life, Wautoma?" 

"It was cunningly quick, Wautoma couldn't help but like him 
for that but when he thought that he had lied and wanted to steal 
the picture for good he hated him." 

If the questions had been asked by Catherine to see whether the 
chief would be in full sympathy with the two men in their plans for 
Ongon she could not have been more fully satisfied. But for all 
Wautoma's hot head she had always loved to find his heart for the 
good it did her to see how the Indian was a human being that re- 
sponded to kindness. 

"Wautoma, how do you likeLusette?" concluded Catherine softly. 

"Next to Josie, outside the family," said the Indian honest to the 
core in his frankness. 

She did not say lightly, as many another would have said, 
"Present company always excepted." A week before Catherine must 
have felt it an ingratitude. Now she knew that to the childlike na- 
ture of Wautoma, loving sunlight, Lusette had won by appealing to 
a greater life and a sweeter reasonableness within him. Her wild 
life had its charm, too, but the forest man could feel that the gypsy 
was moving him toward something definite and helpful. Lusette 
had inspired hope in him, while she as artist had worked upon his 
despair. Even if the object of hope failed Lusette would be the 
one to keep alive the feeling of hope. The gypsy's faith had touched 
Wautoma's life. 

And now Catherine felt as if in playing upon the artistic elements 
of despair within his savage breast, in order to effect the picture, she 
had been guilty of a sin against him. 

How the moonlight upon the clear pathway to the horizon 
danced away the darkness with dreamy content. Oh, this wide, lake 
how many would come to love it, be influenced, strengthened, self- 
revealed by it ! 

"Wautoma, we will seek the picture, but perhaps we will be 
happier if we fail to find it," said Catherine, after studying the 
characteristics in the Indian's face that she had never found before. 

"Yes," he said, "unless you will paint the other Wautoma !" 

Catherine could have clapped her hands. 

"I am glad that you like Lusette," said she, taking his hand. 

"Wautoma just told Josie that he would die for her to-morrow/'' 
said the chief proudly. 

"And she said?" 

"She said that she could not love Wautoma unless at any time 

1 100 



The Sun Dance 

Wautoma would die for Lusette." They had been talking of Lu- 
sette before the moon came up he continued. Perhaps Josie would 
tell her, too, how she came to know her and be with her. 

XXXI 

THE SUN DANCE 

The spirit of Homer's Greeks, with their primitive love for the 
beautiful and the virtuous, possessed the Dakotah maiden when 
Catherine had welcomed her lovingly into the circle. Josie at Wau- 
toma's request began by bearing her arm to show the artist where 
the slash of the medicine man had left its ugly scar. 

"For Blue Earth," she said, with the first bitterness Catherine 
had ever noticed in her. 

"Blue Earth bad man," exclaimed Wautoma. "Buffalo Skin 
wants Josie to marry Blue Earth." 

"Buffalo Skin is my father," said Josie, "and Blue Earth paid a 
price for me and thinks he owns me. But he must begin with the 
Sun Dance." 

"Josie you never told me anything about yourself before. You 
just came to me so naturally I thought you were just lent me by 
Minnetonka when I was good," said the artist as the Indian girl 
waited for her story to come to her in the right way. 

"No, she belongs to Lusette," said the chief; "only now the 
gypsy has said that Josie could tell you about herself." 

The accent on the last words told Catherine that she was not 
to hear everything now and quite as well that Wautoma had not 
heard everything. 

"We have our Sun Dance in the full moon of June," began 
Josie. "We give it to the Great Spirit when the grass has come 
green. Lusette first came three years ago when I was eleven, 
and saw Blue Earth make the vow and be bound, in order to please 
my father. So should he have the English-taught daughter for 
his wife. That was me. The priest had me from the time my 
mother died when I was a babe until I was ten. So they called 
me the English daughter, but I am full Indian. The pole had 
been cut, tall like that sail pole, and the strings were tied in the 
muscles of Blue Earth's back, and he was hung from the pole. 
Some said that they saw then that Blue Earth was a white man, and 
thought that once he had been bad. If he could hang and whistle 
and dance in the air until he tore away his muscles, then he was to 
be called pure and good before all the people and become a medi- 

lOI 



Ongon 



cine man, and my father would give me to him for the money Blue 
Earth had paid. I grew tall at early time and at twelve I was to be 
married. That is early for our people. My mother had not been 
married until she was eighteen. Then Lusette came very brave 
and beautiful and said I pleased her and did I love Blue Earth. I 
poured out all my sorrow to her and she said she would see. The 
more clearly it was shown that Blue Earth would prove himself 
pure, the more I asked the Great Spirit to give me my Sun Dance 
prayer. We can always make our great prayer at the Sun 
Dance. It is our religious dance. I prayed that my father would 
let Lusette buy me and take me for her maid as she had said. 
"At sundown she came to me and said that we were free to go. 
She had bought my liberty of Blue Earth's hand and my father 
would give back the money to Blue Earth. I have been with Lu- 
sette since and she has taught me to do the things she does." 

"What are the things, Josie?" asked Catherine. 

"She said some day a good Indian chief would want to marry 
me and come for me. But I must not want to marry the wrong 
one. She taught me what to say to men and I learned that very 
soon." 

"And what not to say, Josie?" asked Catherine with a smile. 

"That is harder," acknowledged the girl; "men are not like 
women; they want so much and will give — as Wautoma gives." 

"She taught you a great deal, Josie?" 

"Yes, how to shoot, and be, as you say, independent, and not to 
seem to care for Wautoma until he had proved himself good — that 
was so easy — and not to fear about Blue Earth's ever coming to seek 
me again." 

"You are afraid of that?" asked Catherine, noting an anxious 
tremor in the girl's voice. 

"I have dreamed often that he would come to take me away," 
said the girl with a shudder, but Lusette laughs and says that she 
does not believe in dreams." 

"Would you have to go?" asked Catherine. 

"If father never gave back the money and came to tell me I must, 
unless Blue Earth would release me, or I was already married to 
Wautoma," said the girl with sacred reverence for custom, however 
much the dread. "I know lots of girls among the Sioux that mar- 
ried out of force from their parents. A girl will stand a bad hus- 
band rather than too much beatings and scoldings at home. We 
like to get married." 

"Oh, Josie!" cried Catherine at this portrayal of woman. 

102 



The Sun Dance 

"Wautoma wants to marry me before the two years are up, but 
we do not care so much to be married in a hurry," corrected the girl. 

"Wautoma, how did you woo Josie?" asked Catherine, noting 
that he wanted to say something. 

"Every way," answered the young chief. 

"How was the first way?" 

"We began by saying that we will walk into somebody's house, 
and I said that too the first time," replied Wautoma. 

"That was patient wooing," said Catherine, "and then?" 

"Then I said Wautoma will walk in her house, in Josie's house," 
said Wautoma, still being orthodox. 

"I didn't hear that though the first time he said it," observed 
Josie archly. 

"Then I said, Wautoma will walk into Josie's house some night." 

"And he did not know where it was and does not yet," laughed 
the maiden. 

"And then I said, Wautoma will walk into Josie's house during 
the winter." 

"Which winter?" teased the Dakotahn. "But if he will be very 
good," said Josie, seeing his sadness, "about two years from now 
in June time he may say, 'Wautoma will walk into Josie's house 
to-night.' " 

"Did Blue Earth woo you that way?" asked Catherine of the 
girl?" 

"No, he came to the house with a cloak over his head and sat 
on a seat alone. Afterwards my father said that other Vi'as my 
seat and big enough for two. Then my father and the new 
mother talked to me and tried to get me to go out and sit by Blue 
Earth's side. But I kept the day off without any beatings by asking 
my parents to look up the history of the man who wanted to be my 
husband. We always try to do that on both sides if we are good 
people. Blue Earth said that he was wilHng to give six horses for 
me, and that made me feel good, because usually it is not half of six, 
only the best are six. That made me the best, Wautoma. I had a 
little sister and she would be given Blue Earth too, according to 
our custom. But she was hurt by a soldier and died, and that put 
off the day. Then came June and the Sun Dance and so I never 
sat beside Blue Earth." 

Wautoma looked relieved. He had not asked quite so far into 
affairs that had gone before and now had been following as 
eagerly as a reader does to see that his story's heroine is not kissed 
by the villain. 

103 



Ongon 



"I wished Lusette loved Major Trenton," said Josie frankly. 

"Perhaps that would depend somewhat upon Major Trenton's 
first loving her," said Catherine with a smile. 

"Oh, by his eyes I know that he would love her if he dared, 
but she turns him away and will never say anything to me about 
him." 

"But it was sacred ground on which they were treading now, 
and Josie already had shrunk back from herself as if she had been 
disloyal to Lusette and felt guilty for the words which she had 
spoken. Again they let their eyes rest on the path of the moonlight 
upon the waters. Yet their thoughts were with the gypsy, whose 
courage and resources awed them, but of whose ways none were 
fully informed except Josie, while her final purpose remained only 
with herself. 

XXXII 

BEFORE THE STRUGGLE 

Nothing unusual appeared to be happening when the party 
left the schooner in the morning. Only one of Wautoma's band 
awaiting with the horses, and he seemed to act as if he felt he was 
in for a lazy day. An expert on Indian motions might have in- 
ferred, from an occasional stamping of his feet, in contradiction to 
his general shiftless air, that he had hopes of being shortly harnessed 
to an interestng line of activity but no expert was in sight. 

Josie, however, observed much more than Catherine Dale. She 
soon was aware that they were riding along the trail between a 
double escort of Indians, dismounted, and either looking at them 
from behind the trees, or peeping from coverings in the grass of the 
prairie as they passed. One Indian was actually a stone, to all ap- 
pearances, paleface judging, another had a flower patch growing 
from his back ! And how the Dakotah maiden smiled at him ! 
Catherine, too, saw a buck occasionally, but he was only a grave 
individual roaming about aimlessly at large, part of no tribal unit, 
with no share in aught save idle hours and worthless habits, poor 
savage ! 

"How the eyes of these poor men gleam in spite of their depress- 
ing condition, Josie," said the artist after meeting the third lone 
Indian. 

"They look as if they never had a thing to do," acquiesced the 
girl. 

"Wautoma does not say much to them," said Catherine dis- 
appointedly. 

104 



Before the Struggle 



"He mustn't," whispered Josie with a merry little laugh. 

That gave the whole plan away in the instant and then Josie 
explained that Wautoma had a communication with each of the men 
who were his braves protecting them from harm on their journey — 
though he needn't to have done it. Thereafter every one of the 
savages seemed clothed with power. Everything was ordered and 
designed, and that was enough for Catherine Dale's mind, to engage 
it thoroughly. 

"Have you seen anything?" asked Josie wheeling her horse about 
as they passed an Indian sitting on a limb of a fallen tree and 
scarcely noticing them at all, 

Catherine said she thought that she had seen a very bored 
looking Indian, that was all. 

"Have you seen that every Indian is either sitting on a limb, or 
carrying some branch of a tree, maybe only a mite of it? That 
means that it has been found that the plan will work and that they 
will be quartered in the different woods by and by." 

But talking was over, Wautoma signed. Rightly, two white 
men were passing. Josie knew Buhl-Bysee, and guessed from 
Lusette's description that the other was the secret man, Clermont. 
Wautoma did not seem to know either of the men. Alas, Catherine 
had seen them both, and her head was throbbing with pain. Must 
they deal with him to-day ? Then she knew Wautoma's light fancy 
that to-day would be up and Cat's-paw down was to have a sterner 
meaning before nightfall. 

The two men were going fishing from the rods in their hands, 
but Catherine knew that Clermont had always detested the sport. 

"Catherine," said Josie, "Wautoma may be too confident about 
the result of the struggle, would you mind listening to a plan to help 
Lusette that perhaps he has not thought of? I beheve the secret 
man may find out everything that is to be done except what Lusette 
soon will do, and nobody could ever guess that." She whispered 
the plan — to which Catherine eagerly assented. It was just that 
of all things which she could do, and what would perhaps alone of 
all things help, should Clermont take the part Josie fancied he would. 

"After another mile Wautoma turned with a proud face and 
spoke to Catherine, "You need not be afraid to stay here with Josie, 
Lusette will be here soon." It was a bower of shade just across 
from the ford of the South Branch, where they could talk over 
their plan which Josie thoroughly believed would save the day. 

"You are a credit to our sex," said Catherine softly, but she could 
not have heart to smile just then, for it was now as if the very 

105 



Ongon 



turbulence of her years was to mingle its fierceness with the strife of 
the day. 

Then Lusette came, dressed as before in the thin gray cloak and 
attended by two Indian girls, who carried a box between them. The 
cloak the gypsy laid aside, after Catherine had greeted her with a 
kiss, and she had given Josie similar greeting. Even Josie, who had 
seen it before, gave a cry of pleasure on beholding Jean's costume 
for the day, A clinging dress of black, close fitting, trimmed with 
lace, cut low in the neck and spangled all over with silver, to give 
her form its freedom, and to express its pure, girlish loveliness. 
Her hair, arranged Grecian fashion, low on her head, with a tiara of 
silver spangles ; her arms were bare for this day of her triumph, and 
her eyes almost black with the intensity of the struggle through 
which she was determined to go to attain her end. 

"I think it is to come out well," she said, plunging immediately 
into the work that was before her. "But I may fail and lose my 
life. I thought that I would let you see me just as I shall go 
in before Cat's-paw, therefore Josie will go with me, and you, my 
dear good artist, whom I have admired at a distance and hope to 
know some day intimately, will rest quietly at the lodge until the 
excitement is over. I think a woman's purity and prayers shall 
win and I shall be happy at last — so happy ! Now let us pray." 
And kneeling there she offered a child's prayer to heaven for its 
guidance and blessing upon that which they in their infinite wisdom 
esteemed the best means for the work of the day. And she had 
them join with her in the Lord's prayer after her own brief petition. 

Now Wautoma had come and, with the gray cloak over her 
shoulders again, she drew the chief aside and had him rehearse to her 
just what was to be expected of him. When satisfied that the chief 
was thoroughly persuaded of the importance of their acting in per- 
fect unison she stopped in her hurriedness and sat down. 

"Wautoma will you and Josie sing for us the chanted prayer, I 
love so well ? Sing it softly please, very softly " 

"Stop," cried Catherine, gliding to her, "you do not really fear 
the results of it all, do you?" The face of the girl was so like an 
angel's then, Catherine felt a nameless dread seize her. What if 
this girl must pay the penalty of her life to save Ongon ! She re- 
membered afterwards the words of Jean and they helped her in 
that moment when she, too, at this ford must decide how much 
she could be willing to give up for the chief-king's life. 

"No, no, Catherine, dear, but we must be ready to sacrifice our 
lives for Ongon." 

io6 



Strategy 

Already the Indians were beginning the beautiful chant : 

"Kan-gig ahnah-me-au-win 
We tebie-ga-dau 
Gitchy Monedo atau 
Songee sauge audau. 

Matche pe-mau-de-zewin 
Kau-kinna, kau-kinna 
Matche pe-mau-de-zewin 
Kau-kinna wa-be-nundau." 

Ever let prayer 
Be the rule of our lives 
The Great Spirit alone 
Alone let us love. 

All evil-living of mankind 
All, all that is bad, 
All evil living — as a tainted wind 
All, let us forsake. 

It was not a strangeness, out of place, a folly of unseemliness be- 
fore the battle. "What a beautiful rest we have had together," mur- 
mured Jean at the end. "Miss Catherine, the girls will go with you 
now. Wautoma, I would hasten. Come, Josie, we can carry this 
together." 

Catherine kissed the brow that was as white and pure as snow 
and they separated for their places of duty. 

XXXIII 



"Boy," said Cat's-paw in the Pottawatomie tongue to the lad 
playing near the tent opening, "see, a wild bear yonder, stealing 
along the woods ! He must be mine, do you hear, within an hour. 
Go tell Bat Eye and all that he must be my fur." 

"Dead?" asked the lad. 

"Yes, dead, boy," growled Cat's-paw, giving him a lash upon the 
back with his cane for the tarrying. "Chief must have him dead 
within an hour, mind !" 

The lad was already oft' to tell the dozen warriors of the old 
chief's order. 

When the redmen had sighted the bear he was making toward 
the Aussaginaushke swamp, which, in the shorter, and crisper term- 
inology of the paleface, had begun to be called ]\Tud Lake. So 

107 



Ong 



on 

rapidly betook the bear to his race for Hfe that the warriors left 
everything and joined in a noisy pursuit that left Cat's-paw in no 
doubt about the boy's obedience. Fainter, fainter, grew the sounds 
of the yells. Had not Cat's-paw wished to please Wautoma an hour 
ago he would have had his horses and could have ridden out to see 
the capture. But now he would wait alone until the skin was 
brought to him. The braves in pursuit suddenly lost track of 
bruin and scattered over the fields for a trace of the grizzly's hiding 
place. Almost with one yell they were crying to each other pres- 
ently for aid — they were being outwitted by another band of Indians 
also wanting the bear's skin. Nay, wanting them, for the ruse 
had worked as Lusette and Wautoma had planned. At the exact 
moment the pursuers in search of the victim were prisoners them- 
selves, wnth Wautoma's variations to Lusette's directions. 

"Down," cried Wautoma, sitting heavily upon Bat Eye, nearest 
of kin to Cat's-paw, "the squirrels are with the bears." But the 
weight was as if the elephants were with them. 

"Ugh !" cried the under Indian, half from the physiological 
reason of his position. 

"Tie their hands behind their back, shoot the first one that yells 
again," shouted the chief, rising from his victim and walking 
around him with cat-like grace. 

"It is a dull sport when there is no chance to play for the advan- 
tage," said the prostrate warrior in the dialect. 

"We have no time for play, we have thrown each other once 
apiece, Bat Eye, and now we are bear hunting, just let me have 
that pistol, will you?" 

It was evident that they had often had such rough and tumbles 
for all their flag-room connection, but now Wautoma was myste- 
riously grave, so Bat Eye knew something unusual was brewing. 
But being relieved of his weapon he was next being sounded about 
the secret-service man's movements. 

Two of your people went fishing to-day with the paleface," ob- 
served Wautoma, measuring pistols the while. 

"I know not," said Bat Eye stragetically. 

"You should not lie, truth-teller," said Wautoma, taking ad- 
vantage of the reputation Bat Eye had for being opposite to his uncle 
Cat's-paw in straightforwardness and honesty. 

"Well, then I do," said the under Indian. 

"Thought so," said the other, quite as a mother about to chastise 
her child for disobedience ; "feeling funny, aren't you for ly-ing; 
oh. Bat Eye, I never thought that of you." 

io8 



Strategy 



To hear this in the dialect of the Pottawatomie, which Wautoma 
used for Bat Eye, was very prolonged, however fewer the words. 

"You would die sooner than tell, wouldn't you. Bat Eye," con- 
tinued Wautoma, when his rival in prairie skill kept his silence. 

"Yes." 

"Well, now I will tell you, they are fishing- for something very 
important," said Wautoma, ordering this one's hands tied too. 

"You were racing to-day," said Bat Eye, when Wautoma assisted 
to make things sure. 

"Oh, I borrowed your horses so that you could not hunt the 
bear too fast. Yes, I Ued, I haven't your conscience, Bat Eye. You're 
too good for fast company. The horses are all tied together in the 
first woods, but we just loaned them, you know." 

The chief's bucks who, if the truth were told, had figured in 
more adverse than successful encounters, half-play, half-earnest, with 
the Bat Eye tribe, walked about with their Wautoma saying that 
this was too easy. All they had gotten was extra pistols, nice ones, 
too. 

"Where's the bear?" asked Wautoma, with droll pleasure, turn- 
ing one of his specialty somersaults in happy demonstration of his 
good feeling with himself. In answer the bucks must get down on 
their knees and go about on all fours asking where was the bear. 
But Bat Eye was cheerful while the fun was being poked at him, 
even though his followers brought near him all tied as he, gave him 
the gleam that it was a grizzly old trick against them. 

"Yes, it's handsome," said Wautoma, reading the faces of the 
Bat Eye people and telling it to the taciturn Bat Eye. 

"Where is the bear?" asked the bound chief at last. 

Wautoma's cunning took the hint. "More than Cat's-paw knows 
the value of fur, and that it is scarce these days here. What zuill 
Cat's-paw do to you, ugh ?" 

Bat Eye was honest and desirous of saving his men from the 
wrath of his uncle. He offered therefore to let Wautoma wear his 
cross in the maple leaf; a thing permissible according to the flag- 
room laws, if any one could be found willing to expiate for the guilt 
of an offender. "If you will let us up, Wautoma, you shall have the 
maple leaf for a month, and I will go without it — there, that is one 
for you against us." 

Wautoma wanted to know whether Bat Eye would also give up 
the knife, and the beads, and the long pipe, and a Hst of other things 
that told how long had been the line of Bat Eye's successes against 
him. 

109 



On 



gon 



No, Bat Eye would not be a fool. The necklace he had given 
to a maiden and the pipe was too good a triumph to turn back. 
Wautoma would be showing it to all the villagers for years and 
that was more than reason could stand. 

"Oh, you are not so popular. Bat Eye; if I had that pipe every- 
body would be dancing with me, but the fellows among all the bucks 
think you are a prig. You ought to be a missionary, you are so 
good !" 

Then it was Bat Eye's turn to be crafty and from his victor he 
gathered that something was being done to Cat's-paw, and that 
they feared Clermont and Buhl-Bysee. They were such easy prison- 
ers that Wautoma could not help saying what he felt was sifted wis- 
dom to divulge. 

"You see Cat's-paw looks as if he were going to be a traitor to 
Ongon," said Wautoma. 

"Never," said his nephew. 

"Oh, you know Buhl-Bysee and that he was with Cat's-paw at 
the flag-room. What was that for, but to betray the chief-king?" 

"Cat's-paw likes money," said Bat Eye, shamefully. 

"I wouldn't be his nephew, then, if I were you," said Wautoma. 

"I wouldn't belong to the same flag-room with him," countered 
the nephew. 

"Oh, that is different, it isn't my fault," said the victor. 

Bat Eye was too wise an Indian to answer unanswerable logic in 
that form and kept his silence. He saw that Wautoma was making 
preparations to go, leaving the prisoners in the hands of only two 
of his men, and if he could manage to get a knife, he believed that 
none, after Wautoma, was so fleet as he. 

Instructed to take his time, before his next move, Wautoma took 
the pains again to mention his several victories over Bat Eye, and 
to hope that the poor buck would take his medicine like a brave 
Indian. Then he left with his frisky squirrels, save two. 

XXXIV 

THE ENCOUNTER 

Cat's-paw had unlocked the heavy chest again to feast his eyes 
upon his glittering life harvest. Gorged to his eyes with the passion 
of possession, he nevertheless shriveled from its utter emptiness. 
The fire of avarice was consuming the innermost walls of his being, 
and his dark, cavernous features seemed to be on the verge of crash- 
ing down into an abyss of human wreckage. The fact that his 



The Encounter 

temper was provoked by the delay in bringing him his new treasure 
made him look more lean and hungry and misshapen. He had 
ordered the boy to hasten, but still they loitered with the pelt. 

"Hughgh!" his quick ear had caught the breaking of stems in 
the thicket. It was the sound of feet. They were coming. 

"Now Josie, open the box right here," whispered Jean before 
springing out. Be sure that the thread is on his head and keep out 
of sight !" 

"Ugh ! squaw — the serpent woman !" The stick was in his hand 
to strike the lad — he had not looked for it to be a woman — she was 
followed by the bear! 

Jean came before him so quickly, with her dazzling white arms, 
and her radiant pure face, and her silver spangles shining so brightly 
in the sun — the stick fell from the hands of the old chief. Yes, 
she was pure, Buhl-Bysee had lied, and if he kept his stick she 
would bring out that snake again. 

"Oh, Cat's-paw," cried Jean, facing him with rapid movements, 
"are you going to betray Ongon ?" 

His face was sullen and he set his lips tightly upon each other. 

"Then the bad spirit will have it out with you. Cat's-paw. Your 
men are kept away, this bear led them away. We are all alone now. 
Cat's-paw, and I must know the truth." 

He looked for the first time into her eyes, so blue and true. 
Something in her voice moved him. Cat's-paw came near and 
whispered what he thought he had discovered with his little eye 
shining at her fiercely. 

Jean drew back in astonishment. "You say that. Cat's-paw ! you 
will have to prove it — but if it is so, then you are the first one to have 
guessed it, and you are very wise, and such a foolish Indian to play 
into the hands of Buhl-Bysee. He never tells you what you have 
told me ! Oh, Cat's-paw, for Ongon's sake, let me plead with you !" 

"You are good, pure, it is so!" shouted the old chief, looking 
again into her eyes, "me see it so!" 

She watched the truth dawn upon him, and because he had dis- 
covered that she was Ongon's sister she felt that she must not try 
to frighten him now, as she had planned. There was more in the 
ugly redman than she had dreamed, and she honored Ongon in the 
hour of her discovery. 

"Cat's-paw, you are better than that box, give me the necklace 
out of it, and two letters, one from Trenton and the other from 
Buckingham, you stole them, they burn you while you keep them, 
they are Ongon's !" 

Ill 



Ongon 



He shook his head. 

"Come, I will give you gold for them." 

"Me take no gold from you or Ongon," said the old chief. 

"Oh, Cat's-paw, has Ongon reached your heart, then I forgive 
you, and for his sake I will love you, too — come give back Ongon's 
necklace and letters !" 

The old Indian started toward the chest rolling his eyes about 
his head, but stopped half way. "You tell Ongon he hate Cat's-paw." 

"I will never tell him then. Cat's-paw, so long as we shall live," 
said Jean, stepping to his side and touching his arm assuringly. 

Another glance into her eyes convinced the chief, if conviction 
were wanting, after her word was spoken, and he was finding the 
treasures. Afterward he watched her face lighten, and her eyes 
fill with tears — then he was sure that he had her secret. 

"Now Cat's-paw, who do you think committed that murder, who 
killed the soldier — did you see it?" 

"No," answered the old chief. 

Jean would have clapped her hands at this breaking down of 
his testimony, but she would not hurt Cat's-paw's feelings now for 
the world. 

"Then who killed the soldier?" 

"Not Buhl-Bysee," said Cat's-paw. 

"No? Then who?" 

"Blue Earth," said the chief, one gleam of happiness crossing his 
face to have told the truth at last. But this did not last. Weak from 
the strain. Cat's-paw almost immediately fell into one of his fits 
and writhed upon the ground. 

"Josie, come," cried Jean, softly, running to the door of the 
tent. "He is in a fit, take the serpent back into the box, we do not 
need him, nor the bear. Come we will take them to the canoe by the 
river, the men are waiting." 

"Good-bye coilie," murmured the Indian girl, as they put away 
the serpent for the last time. 

It was rapid work, with no time for Jean to think whether to tell 
Josie what she had learned. The men were ready with the large 
flat-boat to take the snake and bear to the village. 

"Have the snake well cared for," said Jean in her instructions, 
"and shipped at once to Detroit. My aunt is on the boat by this 
time at the Calumet ?" 

"She is Miss " 

"Hush," cried Jean; "very well, every thing may be removed 
from Hardscrabble now. Give everything that is left for the 

112 



In the Woods 

children to them with Lusette's love, tell them it was a happy time we 
spent with them." She had made every direction as carefully as if 
she knew before the terrible end that it must come. "And now, 
Josie, ride in a circle back to Major Trenton, and tell him all is well 
and that we shall hope to be at the tavern as soon as we can get back 
from the North trip where we go for some other dear evidence." 

They embraced as friends in life or death, and Josie was gone, 
leaving Lusette alone with the chief. If she had not gone back to 
help Cat's-paw, Buhl-Bysee would never have had his opportunity. 
But, for himself, he had come timely. Scarcely had Jean mounted 
her horse, after bringing water to the old Indian who had slowly 
regained his power over himself, when the agent tore through the 
woods riding one horse and leading another. 

"Ha !" were his words, "a fine sight, really a fine sight !" 

"Which disappears with the secret," cried Jean, loosening her 
rein, drawing her cloak over her shoulders, and dashing through the 
same thicket out of which Buhl-Bysee had just crashed. 

One glance told Buhl-Bysee that Cat's-paw had made good his 
threat at last. But the agent did not hesitate. Again the old chief 
was made the victim of his greatest enem.y, the flask of whisky, and 
Cat's-paw was fired to mount and pursue the girl. 

XXXV 

IN THE WOODS 

Lusette had taken the shortest trail toward the Calumet. It led 
to open exposure, but she had no choice. Wautoma's escort was 
not forthcoming, and soon she realized that all depended upon the 
strength of her horse, because already there was the sound of 
pursuing feet behind her. For a last resort she had her trusty 
weapon, but she never could use that upon Cat's-paw now, she 
might try to cripple his horse. One glance behind told her it was 
he, waving his arms excitedly, and raving at her through the dis- 
tance. She could not understand the change in him. unless Buhl- 
Bysee had done to him what he had to Wautoma the day he had 
shot at Major Trenton in the canoe. It was a long ride to escape 
now, with the chance of Cat's-paw's Indians rushing upon her from 
one of the woods between her and the schooner. But her horse was 
fresh and her courage unfaltering. 

Meanwhile Wautoma heard the yell of Cat's-paw, but was 
powerless to come to the gypsy's aid. When he had left Bat Eye 
and his followers bound and in charge of two of his men he had 

i?3 



Ongon 

not dreamed that one of his bucks would turn traitor. But after 
waiting patiently for the proper time, when the other guard sat 
down to chaff Bat Eye, according to the mode of his chief, the 
other found Httle difficulty in disarming him. 

The liberation of the other Indians being accomplished, the 
boy was left to watch the chaffer. 

"Tell Wautoma, he pulled me from the horse at death leap," 
said the traitor guard to his companion, as he gave him a laugh and 
disappeared with the rest. 

, "Creep through the creek bed until the woods, circle to the 
second, there is Wautoma," said the betraying Indian. 

With five of the band Wautoma had taken the advance position, 
when the rest heard his voice they should know that the danger 
was greater than he could control. Otherwise they should keep 
cover and wait. Such his orders. But the yell was not to be forth- 
coming. Bat Eye was upon him and sitting on his back with two 
men to each of Wautoma's before the squirrels could bark. 
\ "Gag them," ordered Bat Eye, wiser than Wautoma, and not 
caring for speech. He was not playing a trick upon Wautoma, but 
bent upon seeing now what it meant to have had the strategy worked 
against him. 

Soon Bat Eye was favored with the solution. The gypsy ap- 
peared riding at breakneck speed, with Cat's-paw hard behind her. 
The sight made Wautoma groan, for he was permitted to witness 
it. Whether it pleased Bat Eye to see his uncle pursuing a woman 
could not be told from his face. He made no sign to help or hinder. 
The life of the gypsy was now in the nephew's hand, but he did not 
move. 

Her life was within another's power also — Clermont, also well 
ahorse, was not to prove the serious obstacle to the escape of Jean. 
Having been warned by Buhl-Bysee that the gypsy was planning 
the escape of Ongon, the detective, for want of facts, had mounted 
a pony and was spurring him on lest, after all his careful work, he 
be baffled by a woman. If Cat's-paws idols were his treasures, 
Clermont's worship of his success was scarcely less exacting of him. 
He remembered Lusette's words at the tavern and he now believed 
her to be on a foolish mission born of a romantic attachment and 
the desire to circumvent him. The angle of his own direction, when 
he emerged from the woods and saw Lusette's flight with Cat's-paw 
pursuing, would give him no trouble to head off the gypsy. 

Peacefully the lake stretched to the left to intercept Lusette if 
she turned in that direction, while riding at anchor near the little 

114 



In the Woods 

river was the vessel he had seen coming and going with stone. If 
a commercial enterprise might be accused of being interested in the 
welfare of the Indian, Clermont might have suspected the craft that 
morning. Perhaps if Lusette had imagined that her second pur- 
suer was Clermont she might have turned toward him in relief and 
security. But she did not know who was the rider signalling to 
Cat's-paw and bidding him take courage though falling behind. So 
she kept her course straight toward the vessel. 

"Halt, Harry Clemont, or I fire !" A woman's form arose from 
the bushes in front of the officer of the government and a woman's 
hand was stretched toward him, not as in the days past, but weighted 
with an argument she had never dreamed of pointing against him — 
a loaded weapon. 

"Why, Catherine, you here thus, this is strange conduct," ex- 
claimed Clermont in astonishment. 

"Not half so strange as your assisting a vicious Indian to ride 
down a woman," replied Catherine with scorn. 

"She is in league with an Indian chief, plotting his escape. Re- 
main here and I will return to you," said Clermont with a glance 
toward the speeding gypsy. 

But his horse was not to obey his spur, for without hesitation 
Catherine Dale stepped in front of him and fired. The bullet had 
been well aimed and the horse sank beneath his rider dead. 

"The gypsy would scorn to aid Ongon to escape. I swear to 
you she has no thought of doing so. If you wish to speak to me, 
hasten to that monster of an Indian and bid him turn from pursuing 
an innocent girl." 

"But I have been told " 

"Foolish man," cried Catherine, bitterly; "if you refuse, I go 
myself." 

"Stay, Catherine, I will stop him." 

She turned aside to allow him to pass without looking at him. 
It was sweeter to watch the girl now hastening on to sure liberty. 
She had been of service at last, cost what it had, to have faced the 
man whose horse lay at her feet. 

Partly from a woman's tenderness at the thought of having been 
compelled to take the life of so noble a beast, and partly from the 
joy of seeing Lusette pass safely beyond the reach of vengeful hands, 
Catherine Dale knelt in the sand and, laying her head upon that of 
the horse, for the first time in three years the tears fell fast. 



115 



Ongon 

XXXVI 

■ "CATHERINE, TERIJAPS I WAS A FOOL " 

"Catherine, after all I cannot but admire you for this." Cler- 
mont had found her with her head buried in her arms upon the 
horse's neck. Her form in grief was so exquisitely beautiful, and the 
place so wild and out of keeping with the elegance and refinement in 
which he had always known her, that he could not keep his first 
resentment. She did not answer him and he spoke again, "I have 
stopped the Indian and the girl is safe, Catherine, can I do anything 
more to please you ?" 

"We cannot be honest and speak the truth to each other without 
seeming to quarrel," answered Catherine, forcing herself to rise, 
but her face averted from his. 

He cut himself with his riding whip nervously, "Often I have 
wanted to have one more talk with you since you did not under- 
stand me perfectly when we parted," he said slowly. Some great 
new strength took hold on him even while she turned from him. He 
had thought to find her passionate and bitter toward him, but now 
she revolted from their saying unkind things to each other. 

"I understood you, Harry — Mr. Clermont — but you understood 
yourself better than you did me." She could say this to him gently 
with her womanhood helping. He had failed to meet her because 
he was without capacity to appreciate a woman's heart. She had 
sought, once, to give him everything, but in the end he had felt no 
need of the endowment of her affection. 

"I have always been too absorbed in my profession, Cath — 
Miss Catherine — if you will have it so " 

The old frankness which she had always admired in him caused 
her to look. "Let us not do as the world does, Harry, but keep the 
names as a sacred part of the past, however gone forever it may be." 

"Thank you," he said, with a readiness born of the same desire 
to avoid the creation of unnecessary distances between them. "I 
hate to look out upon the old avenues of life through closed shut- 
ters." 

Catherine was moved to enter the heart of the meeting at once. 
"But for the fact that you were so honest it would have been 
unbearable," she said dreamily "When you came to me asking that 
our engagement be broken and stating that you feared you had 
sought me to further your ambition and not because you loved me, 
it filled me with a nameless horror. But I had at least the comfort 

ii6 



Catherine, Perhaps I Was a Fool 

of picturing in my memory how you stood when you spoke those 
words." 

"Catherine, perhaps I was a fool," said Clermont, striking the 
sand with his whip. 

"I thought you were cruel, lately I have thought that you were 
right," she said, clasping her hands and looking away toward the 
ship. 

"But I cannot even say that," he answered. "Catherine, it has 
seized me that I am wanting the greatest of the common instincts. 
At first I was startled and then for your sake I was gladdened 
because of all that has happened." 

Catherine spoke very rapidly, when she answered, with her face 
averted, but in the same new strength he had felt when she was 
risen. "It has made me happier to believe that your Hfe would be 
enriched, even if sometimes saddened, could you know what God 
has placed in a woman's heart for man. I could never tell you, alas, 
for a woman's affection is too delicate and fragile to be put in a 
clinic room for dissection and microscopic revelations. We will 
unfold in an atmosphere of love, but we can put forth no life for the 
lens of a critical eye. I could never tell you what love was." 

But she was telling him now — what he had never dreamed of 
before. Not in so many words, but more through what she was in 
this moment of tenderness. Somewhere she had found an atmos- 
phere. 

"Catherine, you have changed," he said, when their eyes came 
together. 

"Until I want those hollow days that seem to mock me and have 
made me cry out against heaven, led into the light and cleansed, 
Harry. Is there no way of our brightening the memory ?" 

"You had a ring of bitterness," he answered with his honest 
frankness. "It was natural for one of your nature to recoil upon 
yourself when the support was taken away. If I tramp upon this 
flower it has no beauty for either God or man until another spring 
has hovered over the plant. You were true, Catherine. I can see 
that the storm has swept your life. It is a strange word for me to 
say to you, but even the fury of your complaint was designed in 
order that you might be satisfied at last." 

"Harry !" She looked at him with pity in her eyes, he was awak- 
ening — too late. With a woman's instinct she saw that he would 
come to analyze himself as he had her love in days before. "I see 
you think it will cost me to understand myself," he said with the 
same evenness always in him whatever the occurrence. "I shall regret 

117 



Ongon 



— I even now regret everything. I ask not to loiow what has come 
into your Hfe. It will be to me to admire and possibly at last to love 
you as it is given man to love a woman. But it will be a long process, 
and between lies my love for my work." 

"Stay, speak more kindly of yourself, believe " 

"No, Catherine, even now, standing by your side and hearing 
your voice again speak kindly, I am being drawn back to my work 
away from you, away from love. I am even now no longer what I 
was a moment ago. I can see how my presence chilled your life and 
shut me From its beauty." 

"But you follow a phantom, Ongon " 

"Is guilty, you cannot shake my belief in the overwhelming evi- 
dence against him." 

"You do not even know him, you have never heard him, you 
have judged him hastily " 

"Yes, I have heard him." 

"Then your life is wanting that faith which is the Hfe of the 
common law of nations, Harry. In law is it not true that a man is 
innocent until proved guilty? But with all your learning and suc- 
cess you have not learned to keep faith in character, however up- 
right, if circumstance brings strong contradictions. You are a 
human blood-hound, and if there is blood " 

She did not need to explain to him that her strong language was 
that of a friend. "You are a woman, Catherine, given faith to cast 
a sunshine into the world that it sadly needs. But though you may 
draw the best life from the darkest characters — I must draw the 
worst from the best and brightest." 

"But you seem to exult in tracking guilt — even if it were true 
that Ongon in a moment of anger struck down that man — which 
I deny!" cried Catherine, springing away from the place she had 
taken before him. 

Again he was frank to speak the truth. "Perhaps I am a human 
blood-hound. And therein I learn that I shall come to suffer. I, 
being but a force with a nature that fairly revels in overtaking and 
exposing wrong, do know beforehand that the sin of my turning 
from our betrothal will surely find me out." 

"But heaven tempers justice with mercy. Oh, Harry, your 
companionship taught me after our parting to look at my life and 
my world as wronged and ruined because love died in me. And so 
I fought heaven — until Ongon taught me, not so much by his words 
as by his character, that when we have lost love we are blinded to 
the true relation of things. You are revelling in a miserable eclipse 

ii8 



Lovers Still 

of the truth and do not know it but I must not philosophize in 
this hour. When you have a weak confidence in men you are made 
practically inefficient to find out guilt. Your skill may even succeed 
in finding out enough to hound Ongon to his ruin — but you will 
thereby aid the really guilty man to escape. 

"Let us not part with an argument," said Clermont, abruptly. 

"I do not intend to call this a separation, Harry, but if you will 
escort me over there, I think that we shall find the Indian Wautom^a, 
perhaps in disaster, at least in distress." 

XXXVII 

LOVERS STILL 

Minnetonka had placed a letter in the hands of Ongon who sat 
under a linden before the lodge with a map of America upon his 
knees and little Mylo beside him playing contentedly in the grass. 
"It is from Lusette," said Minnetonka, kneeling to offer the letter 
temptingly. "From whom, my princess? — ah, from the one who 
left the pin for our babe. Come closer, my true one, and let me 
speak to you." 

"Thou needest not say anything, Ongon," she answered, clasping 
a hand of the father's with one of the child's in both of her own. 
"Minnetonka's happiness is full and her life more than lived." 

He looked upon her as always did when she spoke her fear. But 
never could he dislodge the conviction from her that her life would 
be taken sometime very quickly. 

"Must thou, Minnetonka?" 

She answered him by placing her hand reverently over her heart. 
She had told him this before their marriage and there had been no 
moment since when she had not lived in preparation for the great 
parting. Sweet strength to go was her abiding portion and when 
she thought of it there came over her an almost spiritual beauty. 

"Everything Minnetonka has done has been a help to Ongon," 
he said tenderly. "We have helped our people together." 

She bent forward in tender listening over the head of the babe. 
"Does Lusette understand our secret?" 

"More than Ongon does, I think, my princess," he repHed, 
drawing her to him gently. 

"We must have her here again when we can be together — but 
now her letter," murmured the princess. 

He laid it in her hands to open, but she would not have it so. 
119 



Ongon 



When he had broken the seal and read the contents, he turned 
back and read the letter over again aloud. 

"Charged zvith murder, Ongon, and Cat's-paw a traitor !" she 
rested her head upon his arm to read for herself, and then her up- 
turned face passed with his into the deep of a great strength. 

The remainder of the letter was full of its own faith. Lusette 
would have him give himself up with a request for a trial. He 
would be proved as blameworthy as he was innocent. 

"I understand now why Cat's-paw and that man were looking 
into the window that night," said Minnetonka. 

"Why does she move me so?" he asked, showing that his 
thought was more upon the gypsy than upon the accusation that 
Buhl-Bysee had brought against him. "I have never seen her 

yet " 

"Never seen her, Ongon ! Why she — no, she never said that she 
had seen you — strange, strange, oh, why did I let her go before you 
came. She wanted to see you, Ongon, but I dared not let her go into 
the flag-room." 

"Tell me again, what did she say, Minnetonka?" 
"I found her here near these lindens, she had been speaking your 
name, 0-n-g-o-n, so softly, and I loved her for it." 

He listened to the story of the night with his hands clasped 
upon his knees and his eyes staring into the sky. 

"She can tell of Ongon's boyhood," was her conclusion ; "but 
brought the lad other news, Minnetonka?" 

"That there was to be fighting to-day between Wautoma and Bat 
Eye," said she quietly. 

"I will go," he said, rising and laying aside his other work. 
"Ongon will give himself up." 

Minnetonka accompanied him to the lodge and when he was 
ready she had unfastened both ponies and was prepared to go with 
him, Mylo in her arms. 

"Even so then, my princess," he said, taking the child, his hand 
securing the ruby safely ; "we will live it together." 

As they rode across the sweet-scented prairie and through the 
vine-tangled woods the straight Indian trail threading the luxuriance 
of the centuries seemed to have been made for such a worthy coming. 
And when the blue sky hovered, and the flowers smiled upon them, 
and the babe cooed to the birds upon the branches why should not 
they laugh and talk to each other like lovers, half believing that 
behind the great eyes of Mylo was a spirit perfectly understanding 
them both? 



Lovers Still 

"He knows our secret, Ongon, see how he must look from one 
to the other of his parents. He is us both !" 

"Then Ongon envies him," laughed the father. 

"And Minnetonka adores him," responded the mother. 

The way led them first through the woods where Wautoma's 
braves were still waiting for some sign from their chief. But if they 
had resented the sight of Cat's-paw pursuing Lusette, while they had 
not been called upon to take a part in the activities, the chagrin was 
brushed aside by the sight of the chief-king with the princess and the 
little child. One may even love his king next to himself, and be- 
cause he understood them, Ongon was part of their ideals and 
dreams. 

They had said that Clermont had been sighted in the next woods 
and that Cat's-paw was there. Still Wautoma did not send for them 
and the orders of the day forbade them to stir until the signal was 
given them. They would remain until Ongon had gone to examine 
the trouble. 

Meanwhile Clermont had accompanied Catherme to the woods 
to seek for Wautoma and there had found him gagged and hu- 
miliated with his five bucks under Bat Eye and the latter's ten. 

"We do not allow him to talk," said Bat Eye. "Until Cat's-paw 
gives his orders, Wautoma is only ears." 

"Then I will pour into them that Lusette is safe," cried Catherine 
to give the Indian rest from his fears. 

But poor Wautoma had come to a miserable ending of the glor- 
ious strategy that was to more than even things with Bat Eye. It 
was merciful that he was prevented from speech for it excused him 
from a sullen refusal to talk. 

"What are you going to do?" asked Clermont of Cat's-paw, who 
was not even looking at the Indians. 

"Ugh !" was the sole response. 

"Shall you not order these Indians released?" continued Cler- 
mont. 

"Ugh!" 

'Cat's-paw you must, here comes Ongon !" cried Catherine, run- 
ning to meet Ongon and Minnetonka and seizing the babe from the 
chief-king's arms lovingly. "The strange nurse cannot quiet the 
turbulence in the child's breast," she said, leading them forward and 
pointing to Cat's-paw. 

The chief-king thanked her with his eyec for her faith in bis 
presence. "The child can soothe his own rage, if he will but accept 
his place in the loving arms of his mother," was his reply in the same 
French tongue. 



Ongon 



The most impressive scene may be the most hopeless, and to 
Clermont, who had seen Cat's-paw with Buhl-Bysee, nothing could 
seem more improbable than that the old chief would yield to Ongon 
when it came to a test. What affinity could there be between the 
base, treacherous old chief and his fine grained superior who, in a 
moment of vengeful anger, had slain the soldier ? But nobility itself 
possesses the virtue of kinship. Character cannot be denied the 
birthright of its influence. Had Buhl-Bysee played upon the avarice 
that he had found in Cat's-paw until he had worked it into a frenzy ? 
And had passion under the influence of drink conspired against fealty 
to Ongon? Where are the depths of even the savage sounded? 
After all was the spiritual altogether perished from Cat's-paw? Or 
could the personality of a self -true man reach the innermost self of 
the hardened wretch ? Why had Cat's-paw entered nito a voluntary 
relationship under Ongon? 

The test was to prove whether Cat's-paw wanted gold more than 
the integrity of his race. Ongon stood for the Indian, he had un- 
dertaken Cat's-paw's development. The vices of a Buhl-Bysee 
might fascinate Cat's-paw, but it was more cunning for him to outwit 
himself and turn to Ongon. But if personality is a sweet reasonable- 
ness, it is not a reasoning. Ongon said nothing, Cat's- paw nothing. 
The door of the flag-room was open for Cat's-paw to quit it for ever. 
Minnetonka had drawn the cross of gold from her bosom — it was 
in the palm of Ongon as his hand was outstretched to Cat's-paw. 

"In the spring the maple leaves return," said Ongon gently. 

And the thought of the final hope of his race drove down the 
liquor from the brain of the old chief. Gold in the form of the cross 
had covered the worship of the idol of gold, and Cat's-paw could 
see clearly to his only salvation. His life was more empty than his 
treasure chest — only Ongon had helped him to know it. And when 
Cat's-paw's hand had taken Ongon's, Bat Eye's cut the cords that 
bound Wautoma's — and every man was on his feet. 

"You have w-on. Cat's-paw, may the Great Spirit keep you." 
Soon it was to be remembered that such had been Ongon's words 
to the old chief. 

"I congratulate you," said Clermont, bowing to the chief-king. 

The signal had been given by the risen Wautoma and now from 
the other woods had come his band of warriors who stood about the 
chief-king in a circle. 

"I desire the government to proceed with the trial," said Ongon 
bowing also to Clermont ; "you need not fear my people. There will 
be no uprising; you can take me now, sir." 

122 



A Slave Is Free 

If only instead the country could have taken him to its heart and 
at that late hour believed in the truth of his mission ! 

XXXVIII 

A SLAVE IS FREE 

After five days Buhl-Bysee was determined that Cat's-paw should 
give him the information he desired. Had the ship been scuttled, 
and if so where had they taken Lusette? How far north had the 
boat sailed and who kept the girl ? He had asked for a soldier from 
the fort and there had been detailed to his service a tall, bearded 
Irishman with the wealth of fun in him that the agent preferred for 
a day's companion. 

"Sure," said Buckingham, who had secured the post of valet 
by grace of Trenton's influence with the commander of the fort, 
"sure, an' it's togither wid the loike of your honor I'm to go? — thin 
I'll niver take me eyes off of you while you are wid the rid divils." 
Many a story well told had done more to break down reserve by 
laughter than all the tortures of rack and thumb-screw combined. 
Buckingham took neither his eyes nor his ears from their attendance 
upon the agent. And yet before they had reached Cat's-paw, Buhl- 
Bysee had set him down for a harmless, ignorant, fun-loving, Indian- 
hating son of Erin. 

"He knows where my girl is," said the agent in confidence. 
"She got into danger among the Indians and I want to find her. 
I have been a pretty wild sort of a rover, but when we are married 
I intend to settle down. She's beautiful — ever see the gypsy?" 

Once, he had, without enlarging upon it. 

But when they found Cat's-paw and the half-breed rode out with 
them, the old chief enlarged upon it. "You not have girl, she too 
good for you; she belong Ongon." 

Afterward, on that other morning at four o'clock, when Trenton 
stood before the minister with Catherine, Buckingham remembered 
Cat's-paw's words. 

"I have come to tell you that you must give me the secret, Cat's- 
paw, what has been done with the girl — was the ship sunk?" 

"Yes.' 

"And the girl is safe?" 

"Yes, me guess." 

"You guess, then you don't know?" 

"Me guess." 

Buckingham was permitted to overhear the conversation, Buhl- 
123 



Ongon 



Bysee telling the Indian that he was a Frenchman and could not 
understand English. Evidently Cat's-paw was telling the truth, 
he did not know whether Lusette had been saved from the sinking 
ship or not. 

"Cat's-paw," said Buhl-Bysee in the dialect, to throw off Buck- 
ingham, "you and I have had many an encounter and you know me. 
I must have this girl for my wife. She pleases me right well. And 
then after the big council fire is lighted I am going away never to re- 
turn, unless it pleases Ongon to have me stay. Nothing will come 
out of this murder business. Ongon will be found guilty and re- 
leased. Let us play fair. Then I will help Ongon." 

"Ongon no need of Buhl-Bysee," sneered the old Indian. 

Hot words followed, with Buhl-Bysee the loser in the argument, 
the old chief would not divulge where the captivity of Lusette 
should be. Some general order he had given which he half said 
he wish he could have recalled after it was too late. The interview 
would have not been the remembrance of a day had it not been 
for the ending. Once more Buhl-Bysee's flask was at the throat of 
his victim and again the demon had come out of it. 

The transformation of Cat's-paw was enough to startle Bucking- 
ham's strong nerves. The fire almost puffed from the eyes of the 
Indian as if there had been an explosion within his nature. As be- 
fore, its raging swept the savage and kindled a fierce desire to do 
the opposite of what he had intended. But now the struggle against 
his revealing the great secret to Buhl-Bysee, uniting with the tor- 
rent of hellish flames, begot a passion even the agent had not wit- 
nessed before. 

"Ugh, me put it out, me die cool !" 

Before the arm of Buhl-Bysee could reach him, the old man had 
whirled his pony down the sand, and gathering momentum for the 
plunge, had whooped his horse about, rushing him Into the lake. 
Wildly splashed and staggered the obedient steed until swimming 
depths were reached, and then the fiendish yells of the Indian, which 
had awakened the shores with their madness, were suddenly hushed. 
The horse was swimming outward with strong limbs that com- 
municated their willingness and power to the savage old man. He 
was singing and petting his pony without looking behind him, as if 
already his temper was forgotten and banished forever from his 
brain. The liquor had made him as one demented, he was riding 
on to the happy hunting grounds, he sang. 

"Indian heap better, Indian heap better," more and more indis- 
tinctly came the words to the shore, until in the distance their sound 

i 124 



The Fatal Massacre Tree 

was but a murmur of content. At last the far departure whose 
breathings are beyond the ken of human ears : — horse and rider had 
gone down together into the great deep's eternal quiet. 

XXXIX 

THE FATAL MASSACRE TREE 

Many days since the death of Cat's-paw a twittering bird 
hovered about Buckingham. It was a thrush, very tame, that often 
flew over the ruins near the lodge once occupied by Ongon and Min- 
netonka. Buckingham had never thought to speak to any one of a 
hundred breathings from the forest and prairie, and this was one of 
them. He became acquainted with the bird — and then it disap- 
peared to return to him no more. That had been before September 
had come. He would have liked to take it to Ongon and his 
princess to sing to their prison room and so had sought first to train 
it. Failing in this, instead every day the freshest flowers from the 
fields were sent by him when he could not come himself. "John, we 
must make his prison days his happiest." 

And Trenton had understood his friend. "Aye, Buckingham, in 
the days of the crime against you, you can find now the spring of a 
greater love. When I see you bringing the myrtle with the red 
wood-berries and the flowers of their own planting, the picture 
of your own cell comes before me vividly. It was bare and desolate, 
aye, for it was the planting time of your joy. Yea, let us make the 
walls bright for Ongon now." 

The roughest soldier of the fort had greeted the chief-king with 
respectful deference. When Trenton and Buckingham had marked 
the room that pleased Ongon most, the Sergeant who occupied it, of 
his own accord, had anticipated any request from the chief-king's 
friends, and had found a delicate way to relinquish it to the prison- 
er. Trenton had preferred to have Ongon take one of the brighter 
rooms in the newer brick building belonging to the officers' part of 
the fort, but Ongon with a smile had asked instead for the honor 
of being placed in the old log quarters on the west side of the in- 
closure. "We can behold our prairies. Major, and the Indians will 
forgive us for facing westward," Ongon had said, with his arm en- 
twined in Minnetonka's, as they gazed out wistfully over the cap- 
tivating lands that had been the birthright of the Indian. 

Brought up from childhood in the wilds of the beautiful west, 
the enjoyment of the royal family was understood by officer and 
private alike, when from day to day the friends of the prisoners 

125 



On 



on 



brought them Uttle mementoes, loving surprises, to break the mo- 
notony of their confinement before the trial. Every day, with a defer- 
ence noted by all, Trenton walked with Ongon about the inclosure 
and delighted in lingering over anything that pleased him. The bas- 
tions at the northwest and southeast angles of the fort were favorite 
places within the modest ramparts, but nothing seemed to hold On- 
gon so much as the view through the gun holes of the block house 
at the southwest corner of the palisades. 

"Ah, Trenton, I believe you have never needed to use these loop 
holes against us since the fort was rebuilt in 1816," said Ongon, 
smiling. 

"Only for the refugees last year to peep out to see whether Black 
Hawk was coming," said Trenton, laughing back. 

"Black Hawk is having a safe escort home from the East, I be- 
lieve," observed Ongon, showing the interest he took in the affairs 
of the nation. 

"Yes, he is safely conducted home. We sent soldiers from 
Chicago to Green Bay, fearing his reception by the States in which 
he had made his raid would not be so cordial as that in Baltimore 
where he outdrew the president as an attraction." 

"Ah, we must forget not Black Hawk ; those who use the sword 
shall perish with the sword," said Ongon. 

"It is hard to see you in prison when Black Hawk is touring the 
country," complained Trenton. 

"It is harder to see my poor people being ruined body, mind, and 
soul by this whisky," said Ongon, spurning a small cask with his 
foot. 

"Yes, barrels of the liquor are found all over the town before 
the very eyes of the commissioners to the treaty, who wink at the 
sale of the whisky. They now say that the lot over by the slough 
there" — he pointed to the place which was to be the site of Tremont 
House — "two years ago was worth a cord of wood, last year a pair 
of boots, and this year a barrel of whiskey. Liquor is the medium of 
exchange for the year." 

"Yes, yes," was all the chief-king answered. 

Meanwhile Buckingham had met another inhabitant of the woods 
— a tall, powerful Indian with weak eyes and a melancholy face. 
One day, finding that this Indian could speak and understand English, 
he had told him a story with a mixture of kind philosophy in it. The 
Indian had then given his name — Bat Eye. Since then they had be- 
come acquainted and visited together nearly every day. Bat Eye 
told his history. As nephew of Cat's-paw, he had his chiefdom 

126 



The Fatal Massacre Tree 

encumbered with heirship to many troubles. The old chief's enemies 
were as the leaves for number, and bitter toward him as the old 
garlic from which Chicago had its name. They were winking men, 
if Cat's-paw had left any friends ; and their hands had been bony 
for heaps of the old chief's plunder. He had given them a whole 
chestful of gold, silver and beads, he said, keeping nothing for 
himself. 

This had made one Buhl-Bysee, agent, angry with him, who 
claimed at a late hour a share in the distribution unless he should re- 
veal to him certain plans Cat's-paw had left for the year. But Bat 
Eye would be a man of his promise. 

"Why not make friends with Wautoma?" Buckingham had asked 
him. 

Because Wautoma never forgets the day Bat Eye humbled him," 
was the answer. 

"Let me help." 

"He is jealous, too. Bat Eye keeps the flag-room in Ongon's 
absence." 

Every problem has its own elements of confusion. Because Bat 
Eye was so friendly and honest and forsaken, Buckingham never 
suspected his knowledge of Lusette's place of imprisonment. Bat 
Eye presented the redman struggling with himself for a moral vant- 
age ground. He had been led to Buckingham to show the white 
man the need the Indian had of the superior intelligence and spiritual 
fiber of his white brother. Buckingham remembered Ongon's say- 
ing: "I can only explain my love for the Indian by my conviction 
that the redman is an equal heir of God's eternity." And it had 
been worth many a walk through lonely trails to Indian tents now 
since Buckingham had found something of this fire within himself. 

Bat Eye would often talk of Ongon — always reverently, yet never 
with the slightest suggestion of disloyalty to Cat's-paw. Something 
of ancestral worship had possession of the faithful nephew. ^^ 

At length Buckingham spoke of the gypsy and told Bat Eye 
of the need Ongon had of her knowledge to be cleared of the charge 
of murder. Bat Eye listened silently and said that he would think 
over what he could do to help. The next day he had solemnly said 
to Buckingham that he had reliable knowledge of Lusette's being 
alive and well. 

"But Bat Eye promised not to tell where she is seen." 

"It does not fight you to hunt her, Bat Eye?" 

"No." 

"Then she is not so far away as we had thought?" I' 

^ 127 



Ongon 



Bat Eye did not answer. '" •'' .' ' • '. 

"Is it possible for us to find her?" 
"Not for a year." 

"Why?" r 

"Indian deep." 

"We must get word from her for Ongon's sake." 
"No." ^ 

"Perhaps you can let Wautoma know more than you can me?" 
"Send for Wautoma." And so the message had gone to the 
lodge and two of Wautoma's bucks had hastened to the fort. 

"Tell Wautoma to meet me here at the massacre cottonwood by 
the lake as soon as he can after the entertainment to-night," had been 
Buckingham's instructions. Then on his old tavern paper he had 
written the note for Trenton and had enclosed it in a tavern envelope. 
Thus had run the words, "Meet me at four o'clock at the old place. 
On track Lusette. Buckingham." The note had gone into 
the pouch and, as many times before, the pouch had been buried 
in the sand at the foot of the poplar while Buckingham took an 
afternoon swim in the lake. 

"Ha !" cried Buhl-Bysee, crawling from the grass with Indian 
stealth, "Blue Earth has tarried his coming to some good purpose, 
perhaps !" He had heard the directions, but most of all he had seen 
the burial of the pouch. Rapidly his fingers worked until the sealed 
envelope was found. Quickly the agent felt in his pocket. Yes, in 
his folder he had an assortment of tavern envelopes — and here one 
of this same "CRAP HOUSE" variety ! But now the pleasure of 
finding a similar envelope was nothing in comparison to the joy of 
discovering the contents of Buckingham's note. "In love and war 
strategy is never vicious!" Deftly he copied the handwriting of 
Buckingham, as if he had practised such work many times before. 
So the letter lay in the pouch addressed and sealed by William Buck- 
ingham to Major Trenton with the compliments of Wautoma. Then 
the pouch had been returned to its sands, tracks obliterated — and 
Buhl-Bysee had vanished. , 

There had been an old observation of Craps that like a game 
of chess, so is life — "Most of its defeats come," he often said, "when 
mortals are nearest the victory. In two moves we say, we shall 
v^in — and in the next we are checkmated. None is the fault other 
than that the Anglo-Saxon who invented the game is blinded to its 
intricacies by his own overcharge of enthusiasm. When in sight of 
the goal we forget there is one other man always against us whose 
interests are opposed to our winning." 

128 



Influence Offered 

But other events were to go before ere Buckingham was to lay 
himself down at the foot of the cottonwood and with his head resting 
in sleep where Buhl-Bysee's fingers had been. Buckingham, in- 
nocent of the scene upon which the sun would rise on the morrow, 
might be foiled as others before him. Yet brighter hours and other 
thoughts were to precede the fateful hour — even though Buhl- 
Bysee had his place in them also. 

],,.-' XL : . , ,^; 

INFLUENCE OFFERED 

It was the day of the culmination of Buhl-Bysee's plans when 
he should have the reins in his hands. For some time he had per- 
ceived that the influence of Ongon over his chiefs was founded upon 
a good scheme. Properly managed it could be made a great success. 
Ongon had failed because his closest advisers could not see as far as 
he. It had been a great stroke for Ongon to get arrested, the agent 
observed, for thereby the chief-king attracted attention to his meth- 
ods, and was the more likely to gain that capital of brains which was 
necessary for the future. Therefore he was moved to come be- 
fore Ongon with his most matured plan and confess that he un- 
derstood him as none other. 

"I have made it sure that we shall not be interrupted to-day," 
said the agent, when in the presence of Ongon. 

There was one flash from the eyes of the prisoner that his room 
had been entered without knocking, but he bade Buhl-Bysee to be 
seated with no further show of resentment. 

"Cat's-paw is dead," said Buhl-Bysee regretfully. "While riding 
with a soldier and myself he met his end some six weeks ago." 

"Yes, I have been told," said Ongon. "Cat's-paw was a brave 
chief. In his day none were swifter or more feared." 

"He died having completed his testimony against you," observed 
Buhl-Bysee. 

Ongon smoothed the cloth upon the table and rearranged the 
flowers in the pitcher without answering. 

"But I begin to understand you, chief-king, and the charge of 
guilt can be removed by influence." 

"Ongon is innocent," replied the prisoner quietly. 

"Perhaps, but already as the condemned, but will the chief-king 
listen?" 

"The Indian never interrupts when a man will speak on," replied 
' 129 



Ongon 



Onj^on witin the gentle forbearance that always kept the storm quiet 
within him. 

"I begin to understand you, chief-king, I see now that your in- 
fluence will be lasting. The lodge which you call your kingdom 
has a strong hold upon your followers. They are mighty, and from 
every tribe. Make me chief in Cat's-paw's place and I will secure 
your pardon. Together we will build an empire within the republic,, 
rich, grand, surpassing the dreams of the Orient. You will save 
your honor, your wife and child will have the taint removed from 
your name — perhaps we can even prove you innocent, and upon you 
and your children will descend majesty in the presence of 
democracy." 

"A man has first tempted Ongon," — he had arisen and was 
looking out of the window, with Buhl-Bysee at his side, hands open 
to receive the prospect, eyes searching the chief-king's face. 

"The government will give large sums of money to the In- 
dians " urged the agent. 

"The white man interrupts," said Ongon quietly. 

"Nay, speak on, chief-king," replied the commissioner with a 
sweep of his hand towards the prairie, and talking with his insinuat- 
ing eyes. 

"A man first tempts Ongon to consider the effect of his life upon 
his family after his death." 

"Even so," whispered Buhl-Bysee. 

"Sir, let me briefly explain. Ongon was the victim of a cruel 
wrong- in his childhood. There was nothing in life but to bear it. 
Then he found that by it was a way to live perhaps a truer life, 
and better for many, than if Ongon had never suffered. What if 
when he had been wronged he should give his life to the task made 
possible by the cruel crime against him ? — Ongon can have no better 
wish for his child than that the child shall accept any fate brought 
him through what happens to his father as a promise of heaven's 
favor. You are a white man, Buhl-Bysee, tell me, did not Valley 
Forge endear Washington to American hearts for all time? On- 
gon would rather be loved at last by a great people whose conscience 
has been touched by the redman's problem, than possess all the honor 
the present may heap upon him. Or he would rather be worthy of 
such love." 

"Ah, but the white man will have nothing but scorn for you, 
Ongon." Buhl-Bysee was still near him. 

"The trial is not over yet," replied Ongon with the same firm 
quietness. 

130 



Fierce Blows 

"The source of your hope is smkhig sand. Where is the gypsy 
now?" asked Bhul-Bysee with a sneer. 

"Ongon has reason to believe in Providence until his work is 
done," replied the chief-king, not deigning to hear his reference to 
Jean. 

But Buhl-Bysee saw him advancing to open the door. "You 
reject me then, as a chief, who am come to you friendly and well ad- 
vised?" 

"I know the manner of Cat's-paw's death," said Ongon. "It re- 
pents the soldier who served you as valet that day, that he ever un- 
dertook to find himself as the aid of Buhl-Bysee. Beware." Some- 
thing in the eye of the powerful Indian made the agent put a silence 
on his lips from giving utterance to the words he had almost dared. 

XLI 

FIERCE BLOWS 

When Buhl-Bysee had gotten himself out and had entered the 
dark, narrow hall leading from Ongon's room to the stairs, he could 
not tell to whom the approaching figure belonged until he was face 
to face with Trenton, The way was straight, and when the com- 
missioner would not give passage first, Trenton drew himself close to 
the wall. But Buhl-Bysee was in no hurry to take the clear path 
thus offered to him, and rested upon his walking stick quite in a 
way mocking the officer's leaning upon his. 

"We are very civil," said the agent with a cold sneer. 

"I bear you no ill-will," said Trenton, "will you be so kind as to 
take the way?" 

"Like to know a secret?" leered Buhl-Bysee; "there is little hope 
now that your gypsy sailor and her boat will ever return. Two 
months, ha ! two months and no word from Lusette, ha ! ha ! ha ! 

"Do you mean to insinuate " 

"Oh, nothing, nothing at all, only how easy for one to have 
stolen aboard and hid in the hold to scuttle the ship in the night, 
ha! ha!" 

"And the girl, tell me man of the girl?" demanded Trenton. 

Buhl-Bysee had surmised rightly. Trenton had not been told as 
much as his friends knew. "How anxious we are now to speak to 
each other — aren't we my dear fellow? We couldn't let the firl 
sink just in that manner, could we?" He was caressing the head of 
his cane on the palm of his left hand, and now stood aside to let 
Trenton pass. 

131 



Ongon 



"Buhl-Bysee, when you married Malite did you find happiness? 
Did she not awake to the fact that you married not from love but to 
spite me? Remember the misery of a woman who drew back into 
herself and began to die day by day when she found she could not 
live without love. You remember the end. Spared to repeat your 
power." 

"You plead like a woman," sneered Buhl-Bysee. "But promise 
me" — his face had instantly become a most engaging smile — 
"promise me that you will never marry the girl and I promise that 
she shall come back safe of harm from me." 

Trenton's face had passed from anxiety to contempt. "If you 
meant to convey to me the impression that you know where the 
gypsy is, I see you lied." 

Twice the agent struck at the head of the soldier, and twice the 
blow was skilfully parried. Then when Buhl-Bysee sought to draw 
his pistol, Trenton at last took the offensive, and gave blow in re- 
turn for blow. Still the agent talked. "That!" — which Trenton 
parried — "that!" — which he turned aside with the same skill — 
"that !" — and Trenton, who had spoken no word, had found the blow 
that sent Buhl-Bysee sprawling to the floor with his foot upon the 
agent's throat. 

"Confess!" said Trenton, who had lifted his cane for a second 
blow. 

"I lied !" wheezed the helpless man. 

Trenton lowered his stick, and rapped three times with it upon 
the floor. The call brought a quick response from below. 

"Officer, take this man out, and see that he never returns unac- 
companied by a soldier." Then Trenton went in to see Ongon, his 
knock having opened the door at which the chief-king was standing 
instantly. 

XLII 

"my people'"' 

Sound of the clash of canes had come to Ongon, for the fire 
was -in his eyes, and when he grasped Trenton's hand the spark 
was running through his being. With a consent mutually word- 
less the two men locked arms and drew to the window. From the 
view they could see eight yoke of oxen as silently holding their heads 
toward the sail boat from the East which they had drawn across the 
sand from the lake to the river. 

"She's from Oswego, the first private yacht to enter the Chicago 

132 



My People" 



River," came up from below in a conversion between ox-driver and 
citizen; "she's owned by three brothers." 

"Her name is significant," was, the reply. The prisoner and hi» 
companion had already observed the bright letters on the boat — 
"Westward Ho," 

"And everything from the East has a charm for us." It was 
Ongon who had spoken first, and the sentiment coming from him 
and with such intensity, startled Trenton. He looked up, but could 
not find words to interrupt the tide of chastened passion in the man. 
But when Buhl-Bysee, grand and pompous, was seen hailing the 
captain of the yacht, who sent a boat to the shore to bring the agent 
aboard, the scene added a fire that broke through reserve. 

"I heard him strike you, Trenton. Only for my promise not to 
leave this room without permission, I should have been out — but 
I knew that you could take care of yourself." He spoke the words 
with a suppression of feeling such as Trenton had never witnessed 
in him before. 

"It was not the personal encounter — if one could only defend 
others as well," said Trenton, who had turned back to the window 
they had left at the sight of Buhl-Bysee. He leaned his head heavily 
upon his hands and when he looked up the sail had disappeared. 

"I begin to be moved," said the chief-king, half to himself as he 
walked to the darkest end of the room. 

When Trenton directed his eyes to see the meaning of Ongon's 
passionate utterance, he grasped for the first time the truth of the 
man. The chief-king's eyes were as if he had opened a door to a 
dark furnace wherein the coals were at white heat. Trenton also 
had stiffened to his greatest height, standing unconsciously as if on 
guard at his angle of events. "It would be magnificent once to see 
Ongon on fire," he said, half offering Ongon his cane to see him 
break it on the table. 

"Would you believe it, Trenton," said Ongon, "I sometimes 
fancy my life will end so — perhaps in the same cause that has just 
engaged you. After all, our affections are our heritage, and life is 
the sum of its passion." He was holding the edge of the table as 
if it were a ledge on a precipice to whose sides he had picked his 
way to seek some jewel carried to an eagle's nest. 

"You do not really know why we came to blows?" cried Tren- 
ton, stepping to Ongon's side with his hand upon his shoulder and his 
eyes as steadfastly upon the chief-king's as the Indian's were upon 
the floor. 

"I fancy it is Lusette." His tone was the heart of gentleness 

133 



Ong 



on 

and when he looked up his eyes were cahn — but it was the quiet 
at the centre of a cyclone. No language could have told Trenton 
better the lengths to which Ongon would go for this girl. 

"Yes." The two at last had spoken her name to each other. 

Their eyes met as only men's can whose love is wrapped about 
the same woman. "Yes, her mysterious absence," repeated Tren- 
ton; "from no source are we able to get any word since she sailed 
— but I was not aware " 

In his hesitation Ongon finished the sentence — "Of her move- 
ments being known to me ? Let us sit down, Trenton, for there are 
things that I have wanted you to know for some time." 

Ongon drew a small buckskin pouch from his belt and laid it 
upon the table, his fingers playing with the strings but not unfasten- 
ing them. "Suppose, Trenton," he began in a deep voice, "suppose 
that Ongon is not an Indian?" 

"Oh, my friend!" Trenton had started up, but sank back again 
into his chair. It was his turn to hold to the edges of the table. 

"Hardly could it be known." Ongon was baring his arm as he 
spoke, and to Trenton it might still be counted as belonging at least 
to a half-breed Indian of wonderful strength. "When I was a child 
of six, on the banks of the Mississippi, I overheard the chief, my 
father, say that I was not his child, that I was white, and that he had 
taken me to raise. When I was sixteen he died, leaving me his 
chief dom — and also a knowledge of something of my history. I had 
been washed ashore from a shipwreck, a white babe less than three 
years of age. His own son had died, my face resembled his. He 
took me to a medicine man to have me painted Indian. But the 
medicine man knew more than is wont. He saturated my blood 
with silver in the form of the nitrate. The sun, and I suppose a 
naturally dark and smooth skin free from beard, with Indian fea- 
tures, did the rest." 

"Oh, Ongon, you a victim of such a deed — I can begin to under- 
stand now the pathos of your life, and why you have carried an at- 
mosphere about you greater than anything you have ever said or 
done !" 

"At first it made me terribly severe. I took delight in inflicting 
punishment when justice demanded it. Until the sweetest and most 
beautiful of women came into my life. Then when through Minne- 
tonka I understood the Indian nature a passion of admiration and 
helpfulness seized me. Ah, if true white men and women had to be 
Indians a life time, what would not the Indians come to be!" In 
the thought of the Indian's greatness, the newer passion was for the 

134 



My People' 



moment stilled in Ongon, and he was his old self again. He had 
paused only for a second to feel the truth of what he was about 
to say and then he continued : 

"They have a legend among the redmen prophetic of themselves. 
An old man — the Indian — sat alone with his fuel gone, and his fire 
low. Just as it was dying a youth — the white man — entered with 
cheeks of red and eyes of pleasure and his lips a beautiful smile. 

" 'Ah my son/ said the old man, greeting him, 'I am glad to see 
you. Let us spend the evening together and entertain each other 
with our deeds.' Reaching down a curiously carved pipe from the 
side of the lodge, and filling it with the choicest tobacco, he handed 
it to his guest, and then taking a pipe himself, and puffing out a 
few clouds of smoke he thus began to speak : 

" 'I breathe, and the streams cease to flow, and become hard and 
brittle as crystal.' 

" 'I breathe,' answered the youth, 'and the flowers spring up in 
my path.' 

" 'I shake my hoary locks,' rejoined the old man, 'and the leaves 
fall and whirl away and the earth is snow, the birds seek the distant 
clime, and the beasts fly to the shelter of the forest and caves.' 

" 'I toss my sunny curls,' said the youth, 'and the soft showers are 
upon the earth, the plants gently raise their heads, the birds warble 
amidst the groves, and all nature rejoices.' Then the youth gazed 
upon the old man, and his gaunt visage and lank form lost their 
outlines, the old man was transformed, and the blue bird began to 
chirp and sing on the roof of the lodge, the stream to murmur along 
its course, and the sweet scent of violets to laden the air.' " 

As he finished Ongon rose and stretched his hand across the 
table just out of the reach of his friend's grasp — "And Trenton, why 
not? Why should not the white man who is the strong younger 
brother help transform the Indian ? My people only need the strong 
man and time." 

To Trenton the majesty of Ongon's words "my people" was an 
eloquence of the heart he never forgot. 

"But I digress," said Ongon, looking down at the buckskin pouch 
again. Trenton could not forget the change that came over Ongon 
with the words, nor the vehemence that made his voice scarcely au- 
dible. "A girl, brave, winsome, loving, sent of heaven, acquainted 
with my story, has touched these prairies with her feet, and lent her 
beauty to these woodlands. And Trenton for me! for me!" 

"And when you look upon her face you thank heaven that you 
live in the same world," said the soldier. 

135 



Ongon 



"I never saw her !" cried Ongon. 

Trenton arose in surprise that grew to astonishment. "Never saw 
her, never saw her, why, Ongon, I thought " 

But Ongon only looked as if he would have the light that came 
into the soldier's face perpetuated. "Trenton, I have thought of 
late that you loved Lusette and it has given me joy for you; my 
hand that you may win, if " 

The chief-king had arisen and, taking from the pouch the ruby 
Jean had left for Mylo, bent over the soldier with the stone in his 
hand. "This was her mother's, she left word to me, and I think our 
mothers and sisters, and the gypsy is my own cousin." 

And it pleased the men to decorate each other with the flowers 
from the pitcher, as if that might make them feel thereafter their 
oneness in the presence of every blossom that grew. Again they 
locked arms as at the first. But the sound of laughter and many 
voices was in the hall and Trenton remembered the pretty mission 
on which he had come at the direction of Catherine Dale. 

XLIII 

A PROCESSION OF HAPPY FACES 

The door opened upon a procession of happy faces. First came 
four of Wautoma's braves — bearing in their hands lengths of can- 
vas painted to represent the forest and prairie — Catherine's work, 
and by her direction fastened to slender pine frames. Afterwards 
followed two more bucks with armsful of flowers gathered at the 
lodge, succeeded by Wautoma wrapped in a handsome blanket with 
a flute in his hands. In a mystery of gay decorations, all Indian 
costume, came Catherine and Josie, bouncing Mylo between them. 
Last to enter but first to greet Ongon who stood in wonderment, 
tripped Minnetonka. 

"We have come to take you out into our beautiful Indian land," 
she said putting her hands in Jean's way, which she had loved the 
more since understanding her mission. 

"And always with the same charm disclosing a wealth of pre- 
ciousness," said Ongon touching lightly the beautiful chaplet of roses 
on his princess' head. 

"Minnetonka is the preferred," said Catherine with a flush of 
pleasure at the sight of Ongon's tender aiTection for his wife. 

"Always," said the chief-king, bowing as much with his eyes as 
with his head and body. If Ongon had been slow to understand, the 
quick placing of the decorations would have told him the secrete 

136 



A Procession of Happy Faces 

They had come in a new way to entertain his hours. This time a 
representation of an Indian wooing was to be enacted before him, 

^'In a drama of three acts," announced Catherine, the stagemas- 
ter, "Me-Big-Chief will seek a bride from among the handsome 
ladies present." 

It was Wautoma's hour. "Corn planting done. Me-Big-Chief 
go fine dressed, these feathers in his hair, to crane dance, seek bride, 
squaw." Wautoma takes his time to make Big Chief's passage 
through the trail seem long, and pains to tell again and again that the 
ladies do the planting. 

But it was not to be a wearisome drama, and not at all make 
believe, for the crane dance feast, under the handsome ladies' sugges- 
tion, was a real repast. Their deft hands were quickly spreading the 
table with the viands they had brought. Everything, even to the 
apples, oranges, and dried grapes, Minnetonka explained, had been 
brought by a quick relay of runners with these letters from the vari- 
ous chiefs. The sparkling soda water was from the Ute Pass in 
Colorado, and the letter from this chief had been written in the 
Garden of the Gods. This maize had grown beside the Falls of 
Minnehaha. 

"It was parched, Ongon, by the falls of much laughter at the 
lodge," said Minnetonka, most beautiful ever when pausing in her 
quick action to kneel for a moment beside her husband and child. 

Josie stood holding Trenton's arm, and dancing with delight at 
Ongon's pleasure. "We worked it up when you first came here," 
she explained with a courtesy to Ongon when his eye fell upon her 
beaming face. 

"My hospitable great hearted Indians," said Ongon with his arm 
about Minnetonka's waist ; "from every note is loyalty and devotion, 
my princess." 

But a glamour must now be over the eating and presently Ongon 
felt the witchery of glances being directed towards Wautoma, hero 
of the play. Who am.ong the willing maidens should gain Me-Big- 
Chief 's attention ? 

At last when the merry supper was ended, by a concert of action 
between Trenton and Wautoma, not in the play, Trenton took the 
flute and the young chief seized the unsuspecting Josie by the waist. 
The arrangement was not at all to be settled so soon for Josie was 
sly, and supple and elusive. 

"Big Chief will now tell his mother of his love and his mother 
will tell the maiden's mother," announced the stagemaster. 

And then Catherine, as mother of Wautoma, drew from Big 

137 



Onyon 

Chief more than he had meant to tell or had uttered in the rehearsals. 
He had loved the maiden ever since he had seen her, it was not his 
fault that the courting- had to be so slow. And now Catherine, with 
courtesy to Ongon and a sly glance towards Trenton, tells Minne- 
tonka, the mother of Jota, all that is meant for a girl to have won a 
Big Chief's aflfection. The hour is appointed between the mothers 
when Big Chief is to go to the lodge while all are asleep, or pretend- 
ing so to be. 

The scene is announced to change to evening, and as it is night 
outside when the light in the room is put out company and audience 
are all in the dark. But the wall is being tapped and they know Big 
Chief is approaching stealthily. The provided match is struck and 
Big Chief soon discovers where Jota is sleeping. He holds the can- 
dle close to his face that she may know him. Then he places it 
within her reach. She does not blow it out. He is to retire — a re- 
jected suitor. Then the scene is morning. Romeo is not allowed to 
go in the lodge, for it has no balcony. But he is permitted to place 
himself in full view of the tent, flute in hand and play. His music 
lures out one by one, first Catherine then Minnetonka to know 
whether he is playing for them. The tune changes to let them know 
that he is not playing for either of them. Now his intended appears 
in the door and the courting tune is continued until she returns to 
the lodge. The music stops. Big Chief is to venture again with 
matches and candle at night. 

"Is it just for a year?" asks Jota, springing from her couch the 
second night when the candle has been placed within reach. She 
stands very real before Me-Big-Chief in a bewitching night robe 
trimmed with Catherine's lace, long, lent with all its splendor for the 
occasion to make the moment ideal. 

"Usually they try each other for a year and if they don't get on 
they are free," replies Big Chief to the too earnest question of Jota. 

"But is this just for but a year?" Jota is more than playing and 
Big Chief had better take care. 

But he will die reckless, /'Yes, just for but a year," he says very 
grave. 

Very well, the light will not go out. Jota is inexorable or some 
other unbreakable will. He must go through an extra act. And 
then the third night Jota has decided that it had best not go out at all. 

"But Josie, Wautoma was only in fun," pleaded the real chief, in 
order to get the light out. 

However the real drama was roguishly uncertain — he should 
tease best who teased last. 

138 



A Procession of Happy Faces 

"But you wrote your name in your blood with mine," protested 
Wautoma. 

"But this is Me-Big-Chiefs play, and I am the maiden Jota," 
cried Josie dancing off to Trenton's side. 

"Will anybody moralize?" asked Trenton with a smile. 

None but Wautoma, and that by showing a good nature at last 
and acknowledging that the fun was against him. 

Then Josie, pleased with Wautoma and repentant in herself, 
asked permission to teach them all the Dakotah Dog Dance, explain- 
ing however that her people seldom made a repast of the dog any 
more, though they once did. 

DAKOTAH DOG DANCE 




They were not penitential measures and there was enough of 
Josie's spirit supplementing the want of English vivacity in the 
rhythm to make the dance catching. Even Trenton's ear had at last 
become cultured to the beauties of the Indian classics, rough hewed as 
they were, and so until the time of parting they romped all in sly and 
savagely mincing steps. 

"Following Me-Big-Chief it's a virtue to be able to put big feel- 
ing into small progress," laughed Trenton to Catherine his partner, 
"so far as that might be, we would call this in military parlance a 
jerking out of marked time." 

Catherine's answer went dancing through his ears, "Just think 
we shall not know to whom we belong after we are through !" 

"Shall we belong to somebody?" 

But Catherine had not heard his question. How pretty she had 
grown ! The beautiful lines of her figure had found a sweet sym- 
phony in every thing about her now. 

"I shall write out this music to remember what we have put into 
it," said Catherine looking at Trenton in the old, artistic way. 



139 



Ongon 



XLIV 

FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE 

It was remembered afterward how the simple evening's merri- 
ment came to an end. Some one had said laughingly that every- 
body had better say goodnight since nobody had chosen anybody. 
Playful words these, that left a spirit of greeting at parting — but so 
fraught with other meaning before dawn ! The night held scarcely 
a ray of light and Catherine told Trenton that she was smiling upon 
him in the dark. Yet why should there be a tremor in her voice 
almost immediately ? 

"I have a strange feeling, Major John; let us ride around the 
palisades and give them a serenade for their blessing before we 
leave." When they had done so and the light came to the window in 
answer to Wautoma's flute, Ongon was holding the lamp before the 
princess' face. 

"We can see your face, too, to remember it," cried Catherine 
eagerly. 

"We would like to plunge into the night with you," replied 
Minnetonka, a happy dawn to you all !" 

"Farewell!" 

"Farewell!" 

But Ongon had said nothing. 

It was then that the sound of other horses' feet fell on their ear. 
Two Indians of Wautoma's band had come with a message for 
their chief, flashing out a lantern as they drew near. There was a 
hurried conversation apart, and then Wautoma, with an air of vast 
importance, came back to say that he would ride on with his 
braves and meet them later at the south ford. They need not hurry, 
if they would be so kind, and the lantern would be left with them. 
They could flash it at the fords. Josie had taken the lantern from 
her lover, and sought to read his face, but it was unfathomable. 

"Ugh, Me-Big-Chief, yet we stay," cried the Dakotahn giving 
it up. 

Then they were gone. 

"Catherine, what is love?" asked the girl after twirling the light 
until it no longer tripped upon the speeding horsemen. 

"Love is to discover that when a man has an acid appetite we 
are not to feed him all his life on sweet delicacies/' said Catherine. 

"That was for you, Major Trenton," laughed the girl quickly, 
catching Catherine's glance at the soldier. 

140 



Friendship and Love 



"She means that a woman's love is bounded by man's capacity, 
Josie," admitted Trenton. 

"And her own capacity to sweetly give him sour things," added 
Catherine. 

"Is love an understanding then?" continued the girl; "I think I 
understand Wautoma." 

"Yes, I think you do, Josie," answered Catherine. 

There was something in the darkness of the night to provoke 
thoughts that foreran events belonging to it. Why will one be 
thinking pleasantly of a half -forgotten friend when just then the 
postman is bringing a letter up the walk announcing that friend's 
marriage, or inheritance of a fortune, or perhaps, best of all, his own 
most welcome self is coming? Mystery of mysteries and yet feel- 
ings do prepare the way for life's facts. So it was with Catherine 
Dale and John Trenton. 

"How pleasant the sound of the water in the darkness," cried 
Catherine when they had trotted at last to the fords. "Let us linger 
in the middle of the stream and talk !" 

The horses were as willing to put their heads together while 
Catherine gave expression to the undercurrent that had been in her 
mind all the evening. "Do you know. Major Trenton, before I met 
Ongon, I never got any further into my life than if I had picked up 
a strange novel and tried to understand the thread of its story by 
reading an isolated page?" 

Trenton could imagine. There had been a gloomy time once 
when he could not keep the fact from Ongon that he thought the 
world was moving backward. 

"Did you !" exclaimed Catherine, touching his arm lightly. "I 
always thought you were the kind of a man that would die in grim 
silence rather than make one complaint." 

"If it were a matter of dying perhaps a fellow could glory in it, 
but when there is a slow living out of things that madden — then 
there's rebellion." 

"And Ongon said to you ?" 

"Nothing." 

"Nothing?" 

"He asked me to take a canoe ride with him kindly bringing my 
compass along. 'Which way does the river flow here. Major?' 
'East,' I replied, 'And here?' 'Not a great variation from south,' 
I answered without suspicion. But after sundry such questions, I 
caught the drift of his purpose and was ready for the main inquiry — 
'Well which way does the Chicago River run. Major?' He knew he 

141 



Ongo 



n 



did not need to ask it, but I confessed that it depended, however the 
general trend was east. It was just Ongon's way to bring out wood- 
land logic, but honestly it cleared me up most wonderfully. And all 
this day long I have been rejoicing in the general trend of events." 

"Satisfactory in the end," said Catherine softly. 

Then their thoughts turned nearer the one most in their minds 
but least spoken of during the evening. The loneliness brought them 
too close to the thought of Lusette to exclude her now. They spoke 
of what she had risked because she loved Ongon and talked of the 
satisfaction there was in living near one who could love much. They 
agreed that heaven sent few great lovers as it sent few great geniuses 
into each generation. Passing fancy there was, hasty marrying, 
broken ability. To Catherine there was no explanation why a woman 
should not want to dress for her husband, think fondly of him 
all the day long, look for his coming — even as the maiden for her 
lover. And Trenton acknowledged that even a soldier was never 
himself apart from the woman he loved. 

"I fear we walk so often flat-footed into men's lives," said 
Catherine. "But that, I suppose, no woman could do who has 
really once entered softly into a man's heart. Oh, thrice happy is 
the man who has been wedded to the woman of his heart's love! 
— and yet is not Providence most often against it — at least not 
hindering what could have been lightly prevented ?" 

"Do you know," said Trenton, drawing away from the bitter- 
ness into which they were both descending, "I think Buckingham 
will find the way to Lusette at last." 

"Why did he not come to-night, Major?" asked Catherine, at the 
mention of Buckingham's name. 

"He does not feel worthy to participate in simple home joys, 
Miss Catherine; "he must earn his way, so to speak, back to the 
equality we all enjoy at birth, ere he can feel right." 

"He does value home joys then, do you really think?" Catherine 
looked up quickly. 

"He was out five nights to my knowledge, helping to gather 
those notes from the chiefs that Ongon was so proud of to-night," 
replied Trenton. 

"Perhaps the spirits talk of men at night as you are talking of 
him," said Josie, touched when the conversation has run on to the 
dangers Buckingham had entered into with his characteristic cheer- 
fulness and ability to bury himself. 

"Major Trenton, I used to despise a humble man," observed 
Catherine. 

142 



Friendship and Love 

"And then how the soldier caught it," murmured Trenton, 

"I never despised you, I did not understand you," answered 
Catherine. 

"He was simply not the one for you to love," said Josie going 
back to definitions. 

"Conversation must not be exact science," laughed Trenton, 
meeting Catherine's eyes in the half-dark. 

"I hated everybody when my father wanted me to marry Blue 
Earth, until Lusette came," said Josie. 

"Josie, you are the bravest of all in mentioning her name. You 
really believe a way shall be found to bring her back?" 

"Yes." 

"Speaking of Buckingham," said Trenton, pressing Josie's hand, 
"he has changed so rapidly and grown so fast I am ashamed to 
think of my poor progress. He has become proud to have won 
hearty friends, but so sorry that while he was held guilty he grew 
•hard spirited and reckless." 

"There is a touch of that in us all," said Catherine, remembering 
the little while before and how good fellowship had carried them 
beyond the feeling. Dreamily she watched Josie flash the light 
against the water of the stream beneath their feet. 

"Buckingham used to be full of proverbs and wise saws and 
now he seldom speaks," observed Trenton. 

"Not that he has ceased to be a philosopher. Major John ?" 

"Hardly that, but with more reverence for it, because his esti- 
mate of his knowledge grows less," 

"I should think," said Josie, "the angels would want to help such 
a man — Catherine, if I were you I would marry him," 

"I sometimes think he will never marry," said Catherine quietly, 
but putting her arm about Josie, "Sometimes, for all we have said* 
to-night, Josie, highest love is to marry for duty rather than from 
choice." 

"Be in league with the angels and good spirits, Miss Catherine," 
had been all that Trenton had ventured. 

Then they were all looking at the shadows that ogred from 
the lantern upon the waters. "Feels like being a spirit without a 
body, to be here in the dead of night," said Catherine — "hark !" 

"They are coming," said Josie, whose quick ear knew the sound 
of Wautoma's horse. 

They were on the east bank to meet him when he halted. He 
had ridden far and furiously, from the foam on his steed. 
"Major Trenton, a letter from Buckingham," said the chief, hand- 

143 



Ongon 



ing him a sealed envelope. It was one of the old hotel envelopes 
with the name of Craps in the upper left corner, but it was not the 
printing- over which Trenton had lingered, although his eye went 
back to the envelope after he had read the contents of the letter. 

"Is it bad news?" asked Catherine, when Trenton passed his 
hand heavily across his forehead, as if to press back great pain. 
The soldier answered by giving her the letter without a word. 

"Lusette is alive and can be saved if you are willing to make 
the sacrifice. Catherine must go with you, to whom, to save Lusette 
from an awful death, you must be married at once. If Catherine 
will consent to the step you and she together can accomplish the 
deliverance. But it must be before morning. Do not wait to see 
me as I cannot be there in time for the marriage. I know the cost. 
But the saving of Lusette means the only hope for Ongon. You 
can be conducted forward at four in the morning, if you are will- 
ing to be married. Buckingham." 

Keeping nothing from Josie, Catherine had given her the letter, 
and was turning away with clasped hands. Trenton sat motionless. 
To save two lives : "it is sometimes highest love to marry from duty 
rather than from personal choice" ; he was not sure of Lusette's 
love; Catherine had always been a fair and wonderful being to 
him ; if he had never met Lusette — but would he not be marrying for 
Lusette? — no, for Ongon as well. His eye fell upon the profile 
of Catherine against the night. Surely she seemed a beautiful 
creation designed for great, strong deeds of love; to claim her as 
his wife, to build his life with her — the problem was gentle harsh- 
ness. If Trenton were to learn that Lusette was dead, would not 
he hail the advent of such an hour? Josie's question. What is love, 
arose in his mind. Love is earth's best substitute for heaven, he 
could have said then — love after all was another being, able to 
lend substance to dreams and some definite reality and corre- 
spondence to definite longings. In marrying Catherine could be 
keep the reverence and pleasure he had in her friendship, would 
the rights of a husband mar the gifts now belonging to their less 
intimate association? 

"Major John — John " she said, in a low, sweet voice that 

sounded like Lusette and all womanhood speaking. 

He rode to her side and on with her, taking the lantern from 
Josie as she motioned. When she paused they were away from 
the sight or sound of any voice. He could not pass to infinity with 
her then, as he had so readily with Jean at once. But the thought 
was bright comfort then that perhaps were an angel to appear to 

144 



Friendship and Love 



man, the influence might have been something Hke the gypsy's, too 
rarely beautiful to be his forever. There was a barrier between 
Catherine and himself — but rather one of degree perhaps than of 
kind. He felt that he could live in a world of power with Catherine. 
They would be strong man and strong woman revealing to each 
other the creative ability of God. Arguments of attachment may not 
be love — but they are attachment. 

"Catherine," he said, drawing out upon the great sea of the 
bitter-sweet necessity. 

"Does the whole night seem to have been preparing us for 
this?" 

"God only knows." 

"If we refuse?" 

"Catherine, I swear to you, in a way I have always loved you." 

By the pressure of her hand she could say the same to him. 
Her eyes were even now confessing that there was nothing she 
would not do if they must take the step. The full dower of her 
womanhood would be waiting — if it were right. He lifted the hand 
to his lips and kissed the fingers fervently. 

She seized the lantern again and put it behind her and they 
were alone together in the dark. "Would duty sanctify the mar- 
riage to you, John?" 

"We could esteem each other and know by all the light that 
heaven gave us that we followed the most loving choice left us," 
he answered slowly. 

"We can help our friends and it will not be hard to live for 
them. Major John. Do you know that the Dales have a record 
that once a Dale married a Trenton and made her a Dale." 

"We are the sole survivors of our ancient houses," he said 
with a smile. "Shall now the Dales be altogether lost?" 

The light was before her face again for answer. 

"In the end perhaps we shall find that our marriage was ordained 
in heaven — Catherine, will you be my wife?" 

"At four I am willing." 

"Wautoma will have time to ride for the minister and I for the 
legal authority." 

And Catherine sealed the brief betrothal with the first kiss she 
had given man. 



145 



Ongon 

XLV 

SHIPWRECKED 

When the Indian canoes had surrounded the little schooner after 
it had been scuttled in the night, and had compelled the prisoners 
to enter the boats, Jean had laughed the redmen out of the idea of 
Mnding her. "Hughgh !" she had cried, holding her thrush in her 
an»^.s and whistling like a mocking-bird until it had waked to song 
and she could laugh merrily over its out-pitching her. Then she 
had called several of the chiefs by name, and none had been so 
harsh as to seize her ; instead she had taken a paddle from one of her 
captors to help to the shore. 

"How long are we to be prisoners ?" was her question when her 
boat was first to land, not by her strength to push in the water so 
much as by her keenness to make a race out of a catastrophe. And 
the bird had helped by fluttering on her shoulder as if in urgent 
haste to reach the shore. 

"Forever," was the dusky reply. 

"Impossible !" she cried ; "when we reach the happy hunting 
grounds you may be my prisoners. Listen now and I will tell you 
of the white buffalo." Down they sat at her feet to hear the story. 
What was the hurry to the savages if she was not in a haste ? 

"Long years before the Dakotahs had ponies two young men 
were sent from the camp in search of buffalo. In their hunt they 
saw a beautiful young white woman. One of the Indians was bad, 
the other good, who said This is a holy woman. And she said to 
the good man, I will follow you to your village. As she drew near 
to the village she was met by medicine men and carried on a 
blanket. It was noticed while being carried that she held a pipe 
high in the air toward the sun. A large fire was built in the lodge 
and everybody circled about the beautiful woman. She said, I bring 
you this sacred pipe by which you will tell, when it grows heavier, 
that buffalo are near and plenty. Then she presented the pipe to the 
chief medicine man of the Dakotahs with much good advice. They 
treated her well until she vanished out of sight. Then it was found 
that she was a beautiful white buffalo who took that shape to give 
them this pipe. And who do you think I am?" 

"You will not run away ?" asked the chief. 

"How long are we to be kept?" 

"Cat's-paw said a year, but he will see you and tell you all," 
said the leader of the band in the dialect. 

146 



shipwrecked 



"Where?" 

"We take you to the windings by the side of the flag-room." 

Lusette clapped her hands. "We will not run away for a year 
unless Cat's-paw tells us, neither my aunt, nor these good sailors, 
for I see that if you let one of us go, you know that he would tell. 

"They go north to the caves," was the response. 

"But what have I done?" 

"You have witched the serpent." 

"Poor coilie!" 

"And you have hurt Cat's-paw." 

"I did not scare him, you don't mean that? Cat's-paw is no 
woman !" 

Her courage, together, perhaps, with Cat's-paw's instructions 
that they should do her no harm, won the night. • Save for the 
forced marches, Jean and her aunt were treated with the consider- 
ation of allies of rank. At the flag-room Jean learned from the 
lips of Bat Eye that his uncle was dead. Much secrecy should be 
over his village for the year commanded, then she and all should 
go free. 

"Much secrecy — I will be secret a year," she promised; "but, 
by and by, I shall want just one promise from you, Bat Eye. I 
will not tell you now until we are acquainted." 

Every day she had told him stories and when they had larger 
liberty to go about through the underground rooms, she had been 
shown of Bat Eye a recess in which was the stolen picture of 
Wautoma ! 

"Huddled away for the prison of our pilgrimage, auntie — oh, 
Bat Eye, your rival 1" She had found on the instant that he was 
jealous of Wautoma and had been ever since the artist had chosen 
him for her model. That was why the Indians did not like to have 
their picture taken, she said. Jealous savages are inconvenient peo- 
ple to have together, and they knew it, she now believed. 

"Quick Step may take the picture to her room," Bat Eye, had 
said trustingly. That had been Bat Eye's name for her, and Jean 
had many a waltz before her aunt over the nomenclature. 

And so they had become acquainted with Catherine's first con- 
ception of the Indian problem in the form of the fierce Wautoma. 

"She ought to marry Major Trenton, auntie," Jean had said 
one day when they had passed from portrait to painter. "She 
could unfold those possibilities prophesied in his hand." 

Then she talked of the soldier and his strong, deep eyes, while 
walking back and forth within the long hall-like room that Ongoa 

147 



Ongon 

had built of cedar with a massive pillar in the center supporting 
the ceiling. But Ongon was always the end of every conversation. 
"See how he made these dear Httle air shafts, Aunt Hardscrabble — 
perfect ventilation ! You could never feel damp in such a polished 
sub-chamber of scented woods ! These seats are all Grecian up- 
rightness to fit his straight, strong back. Here he has studied, 
perhaps, and mastered his passions. Here he has dreamed that 
perhaps some people like us were in existence, and — I would like 
to greet him first in this room !" 

Had any one ridden with her in her flight from Cat's-paw 
he would have found that this triumphant spirit was with her 
then and her aunt had known that it had never departed from her 
since. Until the shock of events that forever changed her life, even 
before it had become fixed, she was the bonnie girl who had laugh- 
ingly thrown the flowers into the cache they had found on the 
shore. These were the care-free days of her life, happy yet in the 
unbroken march of events in her favor. And when Bat Eye added 
the nearly finished madonna of Catherine's affection, she would sit 
for hours to tell what Ongon would see in the great, dark eyes, the 
perfect nose, the oval splendor of Minnetonka's face. 

"I almost wish that God had made me an Indian, auntie — yet 
who could laugh like Josie ! — and I'd want to be a laughing Indian 
to turn up at the pow-wows and palaverings with a demure and 
fastidious grin of enjoyment! I wonder whether anybody has 
missed us? How they will be talking of the poor gypsies when 
we are domiciled in the costliest palace in the West ! And how 
others will call it mad folly for a girl to venture forth with only 
an Aunt Hardscrabble for the voyage — and warn their children 
never to go and do hkewise! You remember the school-teacher's 
stone in the Opecquon burial ground, auntie? How dear old 
Winchester would look now, and how the staid old Scotch-Irish 
people would never have dreamed that its traveling daughters did 
conceive and dare to penetrate the wilds of the west, etc., etc. ! 
When I was a child I used to touch the old stone of that young 
wife of the schoolmaster and their 'two childer' and vow always 
to be good and stay at home and never run into any danger that my 
children might not die early. I don't believe that I ever thought it 
possible for me to die young." 

Then her aunt would tell again the history of their sturdy fore- 
fathers, and the deeds they had done, the danger and privations 
they had passed through to build their names and fortunes sure. 

148 



Ship^ 



^wrecked 

"And you, Jean, have inherited all the dauntless enthusiasms of 
them all!" 

"And their goodnesses, auntie," she added laughingly. 

"It has been easy for you to be good and cheerful, full of faith 
and enterprise, Jean, whose ancestors' faith was hke the great oaks 
surrounding their Opecquon meeting-house.'^ 

"Where Washington used to worship," said the girl with true 
Virginian pride. "Oh, dear old road to Staunton ! Auntie, if Ongon 
ever rides down the sweet old turnpike and drinks water from all 
the wells out from Winchester to where our father and mother lie 
buried !" 

"Jean, do you remember where Lord Fairfax died in Winches- 
ter, when he heard of Cornwallis' surrender to Washington at York- 
town ?" the tone was thoughtful, 

"Yes, auntie, dear !" 

"And do you remember what you said when we drove down 
from Winchester to White Post to view the little house to which 
Lord Fairfax, disappointed in love in England, withdrew, and in 
which he lived testily with the Indians about him ?" 

"That Jean would chirp to the end of her days, come what dis- 
aster? — yes, auntie." 

"Suppose then, my darling, that you should come to love a good 
true man whose love should be given to another, could you yet re- 
main the same blithe, winsome girl, so full of song the day through ?" 

Jean knelt very close. "If love were taken from me, auntie, I 
should rage like Wautoma in that picture, and feel worse than those 
ruins look behind his back — and above us. Then Jean would want 
to paint; a study of patience, it should be — of dark hours alone 
with the thought of a magnificent soul wasted" — she smiled even 
sadly — "when it might have been otherwise. Lord Fairfax should 
come and go in closer companionship. We are all made alike, auntie. 
Then I should think of Ongon's braveheartedness and he should' 
be as a priest-king to poor Jean." 

"Ah, you are changed, my darling, so soon — God grant that 
the trial never come !" 

Jean had been true interpreter of the vision she saw within her- 
self should the clouds become so lowering. But the glimpse was 
not suffered to be more than momentary. Too sunny was the girl's 
unbelief that such a future were possible to her. 



149 



Ongon 



XLVI 

TAKING THE MARRIAGE VOW 

At the lodge there had been Httle sleep. Exactly at four, 
Wautoma had come with the missionary who was to perform the 
wedding ceremony. Trenton had obtained the permit of the mar- 
riage and had brought it to Catherine. "Last year I should have 
had to ride to Peoria," he said, "for the authority, at least two 
years ago." 

His face, though calm, was haggard. Catherine's beautiful wo- 
manhood had upborne him only while in her presence. When he rode 
alone afterward, he felt that he was leaning upon her goodness with- 
out a strength of his own love. About to forego it forever, during 
his ride he had been brought face to face with the intensity of his 
love for Lusette. It was not true that without having met her he 
would have come to love Catherine. He realized that unless the 
gypsy had come into his life nothing could have really awakened 
true love. His boyish attachment for Malite had been sincere, his 
regard for Catherine was a deep admiration that had ripened into 
friendship, but only once had he loved. If a man marry his friend, 
he has a friend for his wife, to whom he can honestly confide all 
things — even the truth that the Creator made man to enter the 
holy of holies to love one finite being better than himself. Friend- 
ship marriages, for a home, for influence, from admiration, because 
of situations, may be even necessities, but they are never unities. 
The very time Trenton had believed Ongon and Lusette drawn to 
each other by the irresistible magnet of true love had been long 
enough to stamp upon Trenton the horror of a mistaken marriage. 
Now when learning the truth from Ongon's lips, to be plunged into 
the fatal necessity from which afterward there could be no with- 
drawal for either of them had worn upon his soul and made it 
lean. 

He would marry her as they had agreed even if every step they 
took together thereafter cried out, Mistake, mistake. If there ex- 
isted one woman who could make a harmony out of such exquisite 
suffering it was Catherine. Thenceforth he would fight every re- 
gret as if he were battling with the Indians again. After that the 
grim resolution upbore him. 

But when Catherine spoke to him upon his return, her presence 
awakened in him the feeling he had found at midnight. He felt 
that he must train her to him in gratitude for all she was in her 

150 



Taking the Marriage Vow 

beautiful womanliness to take the place of that which was to be 
denied him. But he forebore to more than kiss her hand. 

"I had no wedding dress, but have put on the very best in my 
trousseau, sir," she said, smoothing with her hands the hollows in 
his cheeks and shaking her head at him determinedly, "Do you like 
it?" It was a pink watered silk creation with pointed folds in the 
body, bows of gauze ribbon, and short sleeves with epaulets trimmed 
with blonde, she told him, when he was admiring her more than the 
gown, for all its prettiness. "My Colonnes Satinees," she said smil- 
ing, "a gypsy came when I had it made and was first trying it on, 
and she said I should wear it on an occasion of greatest joy fulness. 
So I selected it this morning, sir Major." 

"Catherine, you are very beautiful to me, I shall try to give you 

all my heart " 

"Listen, I had a dream, John, though I do not know that I have 
been asleep to-night. I will not tell it to you now, but it shall be 
all right. We must go to the altar at the old ruins — for so I 
dreamed." 

And so they went. Josie had gone before to decorate the spot 
with fern flowers and to weep over it with an almost broken 
heart. The Indian messenger had come to take them to the trail 
that should lead them to Lusette, and the lanterns guided the bridal 
procession from the lodge along the trail under the lindens, where 
Trenton brushed the same vine that had once steadied the form of 
Lusette, and past the hazel copse where she fain had waited to see 
Ongon. 

Behind another part of the ruin a traveler, just dismounted 
from his horse that he had left where Trenton had tied his charger 
on the day he had first met Catherine, had hidden at the sight of the 
approaching lanterns. Eagerly this dismounted traveler watched 
the procession come out of the distance until his eyes made sure of 
the number and identity of the party. "Trenton and Catherine," 
he muttered strangely — "flov/ers, a minister, good God, a bridal 
procession, they are to be married !" 

The company had entered and filled the ruins before the traveler 
had withdrawn his hands from his face to look again. The min- 
ister was standing with the prayer book in his hand. Now he was 
reading the solemn words. If none would now declare reason why 
this man and this woman should not be made man and wife, let him 
forever hold his peace. The traveler started but did not move. 
"Wilt thou, Trenton, have this woman to be thy lawful wife; wilt 

151 



On 



gon 



thou love her, honor her, cherish her, and, forsaking all others, keep 
thee only unto her so long as ye both shall live ?" 

The pause was only momentary, though it seemed longer, then 
to the stranger came the deep, hollow words, "I will." 

"Wilt thou, Catherine, take this man to be thy husband " 

Her lips were parted at the end to speak when there was a flutter 
in the branches and a beautiful thrush dropped upon the bosom of 
Catherine and gave a little morning song of jubilation. 

Again the traveler started but seemed rooted to the ground on. 
which he stood. His hands were still clasped in pain. 

The interruption had disconcerted the minister and he had re- 
peated the question solemnly from the beginning. \ 

"1 will," rang out her voice with clear distinctness, but it was 
a statement she was determined upon making rather than an answer 
to the question propounded. 'T will tell you of the dream. Last 
night I thought I heard a voice say to me in a dream, 'Go thou to 
the altar in the morning at the ruins, and if heaven forbids this mar- 
riage, the thrush of Lusette will fly to thy bosom ere it is too late, 
and thou shalt know that the letter of Buckingham's was mistaken. 
Judge you now all, sirs, my duty." 

Now the stranger emerged from the shadows, and advanced 
toward the bridal circle. It was William Buckingham. "I beg 
your pardon for venturing upon this scene uninvited, but I over- 
heard my name in connection with a letter. Having had the same 
strange dream of a thrush coming with a message at these ruins, 
and not being able to banish the impression from my mind, I rode 
hither with all haste only to find this strange scene " 

"Strange, Buckingham, did you say, sent you not a letter de- 
manding it?" 

'T, what Trenton, how ?" 

"Sent you not that Lusette was surely alive and well?" 

"I did." 

"This ?" 

Buckingham took the piece of paper from the hand of the 
soldier, and when he had read it, they saw from his face that it 
was a forgery. 

"Wautoma !" 

The chief came forward promptly. , 

"Is this the letter Mr. Buckingham gave you?"^ 

"It is." 

"Where did you stop on the way ?" 

"No place." 

152 



Another Danger Ahead 

"Hold, Trenton," said Buckingham, " I remember, it was out of 
-my hands at the cottonwood tree for half an hour, then there was 
time for this dastardly crime." 

"Your indiscretion has led almost to a tragedy of errors," said 
the missionary, "unless this man and this woman still agree " 

"Occasion for haste being removed, I would prefer to be led to the 
altar in my mother's orange blossoms," said Catherine demurely. 

Josie having embraced Trenton with no show of disapproval 
from Wautoma, had a whisper for Catherine's ear that was worth 
following, for together they tripped out of the ruins into the trail, 
Catherine making the courtesy before they disappeared. 

CHAPTER XLVn 

ANOTHER DANGER AHEAD 

It was well that Buckingham and Trenton whispered what they 
had to say to each other. Having again explained the vividness 
of his dream, the former recounted briefly what had delayed his 
reaching the ruins sooner. A sound of voices had interrupted him 
when he went for his horse. One was Buhl-Bysee's, who spoke 
first and rapidly, as if he must make some distant point after con- 
vincing the other man. The latter's voice Buckingham was sure 
he had heard somewhere before, but as yet he had racked his brain 
in vain for the owner. 

" 'The gypsy is away, Josie's father is here, you paid him the 

money for the girl ' the agent was arguing. Both interrupted 

each other frequently. 

" 'But the girl ' 

"Is not of age. I tell you man, it's the thing to do. Her 
iather is here for the council that begins to-morrow. I will do 
my best to get things through with in the morning, and then every- 
body will go home and you can take her and make her your wife." 

" T hardly want to do that,' objected the other. 

" 'But you must, Blue Earth.' I stayed only long enough to 
discover that Blue Earth had been guilty of something or other and 
then I crept across the stretch to where my horse was tethered," 
concluded Buckingham. 

Trenton had been told by Josie the story she had related 
Catherine on board the schooner and he now recounted it to Buck- 
ingham. From this they drew the most immediate and necessary 
conclusion. The council must be prolonged to give them time to 
gain further information. 

153 



Ongon 

"Marrying people seems to be Buhl-Bysee's forte now. Major; 
once upon a time " 

Trenton pressed his friend's hand gently without replying. For 
some time they sat together in silence upon one of the fallen 
timbers. 

"That thrush belonged to Lusette," said Trenton at length. 

"Did it ! then perhaps the girl is somewhere in this vicinity — 
Bat Eye did not deny it. Major." 

They went over all that Buckingham could remember of Bat 
Eye's words. Why would it be useless to try to discover Lusette's 
place of imprisonment for a year? And why did Bat Eye tell 
something when he could not tell everything? And still more, 
how came it that Bat Eye had said only after some hesitation that 
no communication could be received from Lusette? 

"My conviction," said Trenton, "is that Bat Eye is either more 
of a man or else a greater knave than I ever took him for." 

"More of a man," said Buckingham. 

"Then we must cultivate him," said Trenton with a smile. 

"Perhaps he knows that it will take just a year to do that," 
rejoined Buckingham. 

It was Josie who interrupted them with a hasty breakfast on a 
tray. She sat at their feet and looked up into their eyes with parted 
lips. "Say it, Josie?" said Trenton with a smile. 

"It was for Ongon, Catherine was willing, for Ongon's sake, 
even to die for him." She needed not to add that her love was 
extended also to Lusette. But she had spoken the whole truth — 
Ongon's life had seemed to command the sacrifice and Catherine 
had been willing to make it. 

"None need ever lean in vain upon the strength of Catherine 
Dale," said Trenton with deep reverence. 

"Amen," said Buckingham, hoarsely. 

XLVIII 

THE COUNCIL FIRE 

Ongon had requested Buckingham and Trenton to abide with 
him a few moments, for he had something he wished to say to 
them.' 

"I have not done much," began the chief-king sadly, "and it 
may be that brief life shall be my portion. The flag-room with 
its banners must perish from this place. To-day the nations are 
round about us, but the Indian tents must be folded away and our 

154 



The Council Fire 

people be scattered. This earth is too small for roaming states. As 
Powhatan is only a memory in Virginia, so the time must come 
when this Chicago, though Indian its name, will have citizens who 
will scarce know that the Indians have ever lived here. My friends, 
do a little to carry on my work. You will see where Ongon has 
made mistakes. But you will find that his heart was loving and 
when he looks into your faces he knows that he has not lived un- 
loved by the best and bravest of men. Go patiently : love every 
creature in the world. It is a great universe, worthy of the lofty 
design of a supreme and allwise Ruler. Be not discouraged by the 
council-fire of to-day — look at the effulgence of the counsels of 
God." 

"Ongon, we have loved you, speak not of leaving us." 

"Aye, we cannot be lost, dear friends, long ago it was written 
that one dead yet speaks. We shall live in each other's memories, 
no matter who goes first. Let me say to you I could not have lived 
my life apart from this little testament. Its aid has been my strength. 
Sent a long way, and not so long ago, by some Parisian boys who 
had been converted through the painting of a picture — I have never 
been able to find who the painter or what the painting, it matters 
not — this little book helped to carry forward what my princess by 
her faith had brought to me. Friends, when a man's wife has re- 
vStored him heaven she is as one of the angels to him. Who brings 
us to Christ has begotten for himself or herself an eternal love like 
none other on earth." 

When the friends had departed, they talked together of the 
deep solemnity upon Ongon. So strong, so young, so magnificent, 
yet he had spoken as if his time were short. 

"I remember," said Trenton, "how he said to me that he might 
end his life on fire. It will be sacred fire. Do you know, I think his 
love for Lusette and his gratitude to her for her seeking him con- 
sumes him. Every thing in his life has fitted him for such love. 
Truly he yearns to be loved." 

"Aye, the sensitive, sacrificing man, made tender by his bruises, 
cries out for the balm of love," admitted Buckingham. 

"Here, Buckingham, is my hand. No man can go in Ongon's 
path, or do his work, but we can follow his master-mind in a humble 
way." 

So the two friends grasped hands as they passed through the 
muddy torn-up town where clapboard and plank houses were rising 
on every side. Others, too, were wending their way toward the 
large open shed on the green meadow opposite the fort on the north 

155 



Ongon 



■side of the river. Sharpers, peddlars, grog-sellers, contractors, 
creditors, agents, lawyers, merchants, visitors, soldiers — all eager to 
catch a glimpse of the famous chiefs invited by the government from 
the far and near. 

The cloudy night had dawned a fair day. The commissioners, 
honorable men, none of them accused of bargaining with the Indians 
for self-profit, took the upper end of the inclosure. Opposite them 
the two-score chieftains. Buhl-Bysee opened the council by stating 
that as the Great Father in Washington had heard that the Indians 
wished to sell their land he had sent commissioners to treat with 
them. Promptly Wautoma was on his feet. "The Great Father in 
Washington must have seen a bad bird that told him a lie ; far from 
wishing to sell their land they wanted to keep it." 

But the commissioners were nothing daunted. "Nevertheless, 
as they had come together for a council they must take the matter 
into consideration." Then was explained the desire of the Great 
Father. Poor parent, to have his wish so nodded against. 

"This mighty lake on which the birchen canoe had been 
paddled," Buhl-Bysee explained, "must now see the great ships walk- 
ing over its broad waters. When the Black Hawk had been east with 
his son. Tommy Hawk" — the speaker paused for paleface smiles — 
"it had been explained that the great villagers of Washington and 
Philadelphia and New York needed grain to feed them and wood 
to keep them warm. Therefore already the dutiful sons of the Great 
Father in Washington were obeying him and the Indian children 
■must be good too. It had cost Illinois six hundred thousand dollars 
to pay its militia for serving in Black Hawk's war and they must 
never have another war." 

The young chiefs, and those who were not tipsy, looked stolidly 
at the rafters supporting the roof of the shed. War was their best 
excitement and they had never been furnished with any other suf- 
ficient open-air entertainment. The Great Father wanted to take 
away all his red children's playthings. 

Bat Eye was holding Wautoma in consultation in the dialect, 
whispering in his ear rapidly, "Buhl-Bysee is bad agent. Bat Eye 
saw lanterns last night at the ruins. He hid to see what doing. 
Then he found others were in the bushes near him — Buhl-Bysee and 
Blue Earth. They were talking against Buckingham. Some time 
Blue Earth had done great bad against Buckingham, did Wautoma 
Icnow what?" 

"Buckingham always good," averred the young chief. 

*"Bad agent said that Buckingham used to keep tavern, that he 

156 



Every Day the Signal Gun 

had met him there, but could not place him, but lately he had re- 
membered ; he had thought he was in prison." 

At length in the meantirfie the commissioners seemed to be 
weary of the long silence given deferentially by the Indian to the 
speeches of the paleface, for Buhl-Bysee had repeated the wish 
of the Great Father and asked the Indian chiefs for their opinions, 

Wautoma arose, looked at the sky, and saw a few wandering 
clouds. The eyes of the other chiefs followed his. Heads were 
giving general savage consent to the plan in the mind of the young 
Ojibway. "Brothers, it is not clear enough for so solemn a 
counsel," spoke the radiantly red Wautoma, "let us adjourn until the 
day is bright." 

And with these words it is recorded that straightway the council 
adjourned sine die. 

CHAPTER XLIX 

EVERY DAY THE SIGNAL GUN 

Afterwards there seemed to be no possibility of bringing the 
Indians together again. They could be seen arguing under every 
bush, or racing two on a pony, or lifting knives in drunken brawls, 
or mumbling through fierce war dances, but every day the signal 
gun from the fort gave notice in vain of an assemblage of chiefs at 
the council fire. One day when a messenger would be sent to 
inquire why, when the Great Father in Washington had made a 
feast for his children, they refused to come, the Indians would make 
answer that a great chief was yet absent; without him they could 
not reason to the end. Another day the messenger was told that it 
was too cloudy; they should know the Indian never does important 
business except the sky be clear. Once Buhl-Bysee was angered 
by being told that Wautoma was absent at the fort on a visit to see 
Ongon, and that therefore they could not come. Then Buhl-Bysee, 
at Josie's suggestion, was as frightened as Cat's-paw by the sight 
of the snake, by being told they were in communication with Blue 
Earth to-day and the matter was too important to drop. Buck- 
ingham meanwhile had laid his plans well, that he assented to the 
message for, thanks to him. Blue Earth had disappeared out of 
Buhl-Bysee's reach. The agent needed not to know of a dark night 
when Wautoma's bucks circled in the old death leap about Blue 
Earth, and with flaming fire-brands tore from him a confession. 
These things belonged rather to private than to governmental 
affairs. 



Ongon 

But at last, on the twenty-first of September, the redmen signi- 
fied their wilHngness, under pressure, to heed the signal gun. 

The council, held under the same shed on the north side of the 
Chicago, was opened by a commissioner who wished to know why 
he and his colleagues were called to the council. But the onus of 
the meeting was not to be upon the Indian, and so he rejoined by 
asking why the Great Father in Washington had called his red 
children together. That was the end of diplomacy ; drink, and 
threat not to play with their Father, and a general ignorance of the 
terms of the treaty had brought on a savage earnestness. 

It was a picture of desolation. The sun was setting upon the 
backs of the Indians as the documents of the treaty were brought 
forth for the signatures of the chiefs. The pale light of the east, 
toward which the redman had always loved to sit when in council, 
gave scarcely a ray to lighten up the dark, somber, sorrowful faces 
of the redmen. But the glorious sun was setting full in the faces 
of the triumphant commissioners. 

So was signed the Indian's evacuation of Chicago and his relin- 
quishment of the millions of acres there around. 

The encampment was broken. Into the deep, black, narrow 
trails running to the north and west little trains of loaded ponies 
were falling, led by sad-hearted Indians with their squaws and 
children and wolfish dogs. Soon all must go. The Senate of the 
United States would not ratify all of the treaty. But this is history, 
and we are following a few lives. Perhaps they speak in parables. 



AT LAST THE TRUTH 

Twice Clermont had seen Catherine. Each time his devotion 
for his profession was a vaster passion than could be his regard for 
woman. As the day approached for the trial of Ongon he avoided 
a third meeting ; for though Catherine had said little, he remembered 
always afterward how much her eyes had said. Her life was not 
cowed and broken now by a sense of his power. He had known 
the day when she had clung to the very cruelty of his passion for 
his work when as his betrothed she needed him. 

But now her eyes when they met his were a great calm sweeping 
past him like the steady currents of a mighty stream — of which he 
was but an eddy on an idle shore. She cared for him still, but 
with pity. Her life might try to upbear his, but only as the majestic 
river bears a piece of summer driftwood on its surface. Her eyes 

158 



At Last the Truth 

were depths beyond him. When his own sought to fathom them, 
they rebounded back to him, like things of cork, too dead for the 
liquid fulness of life. 

Therefore he shunned Catherine and gave himself the more to 
the case that was to restore him the power he had lost. He even 
hoped Catherine would attend the trial, for he had seen her disap- 
pointment when the cruelty of the Indian's fate settled upon every- 
body at the close of the counsel. Woman, Clermont believed, was 
as strong as the support on which she leaned was stable. With the 
proofs of Ongon's guilt that hero-worship episode would pass, and 
she would creep back toward him, and then he must marry Cath- 
erine. At forty he knew his mind sufficiently. In his way she was 
indispensable to him. 

At last the trial. When the brick quarters at the fort were filled 
with an audience of officers and witnesses, paleface and Indian. 
The mess-hall finally was necessary to accommodate the crowd. In 
silence Ongon was brought in walking hand in hand with Minne- 
tonka. His simple dignity, her tender, graceful beauty, made them 
seem rather as illustrious guests, in whose honor they had assembled, 
than as the guilty victims of a day of anger. 

Clermont had anticipated the eflfect of their entrance upon the 
judge and all, and had directed the lawyer for the government to 
invite Ongon to make some opening speech. That would betray 
the want of balance to his mind better than any argument and con- 
stitute the first count against him. Generally the government agents 
have amused themselves by sacrificing at the altar of the Indian's 
self importance and oratorical fervor by granting them a talking 
time at the outset before the important matters should follow. Let 
it be so on this occasion. So, when Ongon had been seated by the 
side of his princess, and in the affection of at least the ladies of 
the audience was almost estabhshed, he was asked to talk about his 
faith in the Indians. 

It was explained that this chief has often confessed that his 
father had been a Dakotah chieftain, and that by his foresight Ongon 
had been educated under the Roman Catholics. Therefore his learn- 
ing. 

Everybody had heard that this was a celebrated orator, and the 
motion of the counsel for prosecution drew forth an applause of 
eager sentiment. It was fair, very fair, to let the chief-king speak 
for himself ! 

In breathless stillness Ongon had risen. Just the tremor in his 
deep voice with the wideness of the prairie in it, too, and the 

159 



Ono-on 

o 

mighty sighing of the forest, held their ears with fascination. 
"When the children of the Great Spirit, the Breath-Master, whom 
our white brother calls the Lord God, desire a great and noble 
thing, the Great Spirit will finally give it to them, for he dwells in his 
own success, and wishes his children freely to take part with him." 

Clermont and his lawyers exchanged agreeable glances, the In- 
dian was beginning above the heads, he had the exaltation of one 
who dwelt in the sky. But nothing so moves the common people 
as the voice of him who has borne rule. The king of any people, 
speaking truly, carries a majesty to his hearers. Was Catherine 
feeling as Clermont ! 

"Have you ever," continued Ongon. "had for days a hard task 
that kept you indoors until you sighed for a little breath of nature? 
And have you gone some evening, dragging yourself perhaps to the 
lake to drink in the Great Spirit's fulness, only to find yourself so 
tired that the very roll of the waves seemed to wash the last strength 
from your nerves and you fell into an exhausted sleep? But in the 
morning as you awoke the sun was stealing over the great waters, 
while into you, to meet the splendor, had crept the power infinitely 
to enjoy the refreshing glory ! Then did not your spirit dance with 
the waters, wing its flight with the birds and rise with the 
sun to feel as if all nature were the bride of the soul and adorned 
for the spirit's high race to an infinite goal? Sirs, I think myself 
happy to be permitted to say, I have seen it, the Indian is a child, 
not a sport of Heaven, a being of flesh and blood and promise, not 
a curious specimen of the wild woods. Often in the morning from 
this fortress, looking westward over this fair prairie, the princess 
and I have thought some day this shall be a city vast and perhaps 
lofty, tall buildings rising where now the modest violet peeps from 
the prairie grass. Through such buildings at last will move the 
developed and civilized Indian. None then shall be ashamed that 
they helped speed the day." 

"Ongon, your enthusiasm has swept you off your feet," in- 
terrupted the counsel for the government, with a coarse smile, 
'Chicago may become a vast city, but scarcely very high. It is to 
be built upon quicksands, you know." Then he thought to his honor, 
the court, that they had heard sufficiently from the chief-king. 

"I would like to know, sir, whether you are the author of this ?" 
continued the barrister when Ongon had taken his seat immediate- 
ly upon the lawyer's restiveness. 

The paper handed to Ongon was recognized as his own, though 
the chief-king smiled at the use which was to be made of it. "Flee 

i6o 



At Last the Truth 

from the garish Hfe" the attorney began to read in a sanctimonious 
voice adjudged to be suitable setting to show the contradictions, 
"Flee from the garish life of the whites. Conquer your own na- 
tures and the time will come when you will conquer the paleface. 
Keep before your eyes the day when Indian art and Indian music, 
your oratory and your redman's power shall sweep down the idols 
of the white man. You may come on a day to live in the richest 
quarters of this city, and to invite the paleface to feast with you 
upon the spoils wherewith you have spoiled him." 

"These are your words you say, Ongon ?" 

The chief-king was seen to bow his assent. 

"Then, your honor," continued the attorney, "we beg to call the 
court's attention to the fact that a man may be a noble fanatic, yet 
dangerous, and that this man has tremendously strong affections for 
that which he deems belonging to his race. This, we submit, will 
have its bearing in this case." 

Then was mapped out the plan of the prosecution. First it would 
be shown that Ongon as an Indian inherited all the temper and 
characteristics of the Indian. Then they would exhibit how in- 
numerable were the cases where the redman's temper had been 
known to strike down an adversary with swift vengeance. And 
lastly, proofs would be furnished the court that this man in a wrath 
of vengeance slew Corporal Smith in the field south of the fort's 
current bushes by the cemetery toward the cottonwood of massacre 
infamy. 

The plan was logical. Clermont handed counsel the first paper. 
"Ongon did you write these words ?" asked the attorney. 

The chief-king acknowledged them, again with a faint notion of 
a smile. 

"Then, your honor, they read : 'The Indian has no patience 
with stopping to look at your nose when you sneer at his leggings. 
He would rather have your hair to grin upon at his leisure.' There, 
your honor, and gentlemen, is the acknowledged handwriting of 
this man in which he deliberately counsels scalping. Ah, you say, 
he writes only in fun. And yet were I to relate to you the struggle 
we had to obtain this communication — how it was dropped at night 
from the room of the prisoner, and how an Indian seized it and ran, 
until suspicion was aroused in the breast of one of our honorable 
commissioners of the late treaty, and the savage was caught with this 
and other important papers — aye, were we but gifted with the 
tongue of a Cicero or a Demosthenes !" 

Ongon and Minnetonka's eyes met in mutual gentleness, he had 
i6i 



Ongon 



no retort to make, some flash of scorn, that was all the barrister 
could arouse. 

On this was built a great well-buttressed point, that on a slight 
provocation the prisoner had counseled scalping — might not a bullet 
then be advocated in return for the death of a beloved child? The 
counsel for the government next advanced to ask Ongon whether 
he had not given orders for an Indian to be killed who had murdered 
another. 

He had. 

"Your honor," said the counsel for defense, "we object. The 
status of the Indian makes him an alien government within a 
republic. Our own government has authorized and expects the 
Indian chieftain to enforce law and order within their tribes. If 
Ongon had not ordered the execution of Half Wing, of whom the 
prosecution is now about to speak, he would have been guilty of 
vacating his authority and thus violating the moral and Indian 
code, life for life." 

The battle between the lawyers over the point raised was finally 
settled by the court's ordering the next point. He had ruled the 
evidence about Half Wing out of the hearing. 

That Ongon was an Indian with all the Indian's characteristics 
was proved by the prisoner's words, acts, looks, deeds. Now the 
horrors of Black Hawk's war were laid at the door of Indian 
nature. The redman was painted with all his feathers, his toma- 
hawks, his pride, his savage temper. "Think of having an Indian 
to please at breakfast, my good dames, and to slavishly serve by 
day, and humor by night!" 

Great is oratory, therefore this speech could never be reported. 
Sufficient that some pitied poor Minnetonka for her hardships, as 
the skeleton was hinted at in their domestic closet. 

Then was laid the scene of the murder. A lonely spot above the 
lake. A soldier who was belived by Ongon to have taken the life 
of his darling boy. The soldier is pacing at his post of duty. Far 
away from home, he stands protecting the lives of others whose 
homes have been broken up and who now fear the advent of Black 
Hawk to the village of Chicago. Ongon knows the soldier's hour 
of service. At dusk he steals upon the watcher, and with angry 
words upbraids him for his cruelty — then sends the innocent man 
into eternity. A stifled cry is heard. Reputable chiefs hurry as 
they happen to pass. They meet Ongon, he had blood on his 
g-arments. He says that he has found a man dying of a bullet 
wound. Together they go back. The soldier is wishing to speak. 

162 



At Last the Truth 

"Ongon, Ongon " Cat's-paw bends over to listen. 

"Ongon, Ongon is guilty," Cat's-paw has sworn he heard the 
dying man whisper. Another chief here present, for Cat's-paw is 
dead, swears to the statement. Here is Cat's-paw's signature to 
his own affidavit, however. And Cat's-paw, be it remembered, was 
one of Ongon's trusted braves. It was not as if it were any enemy 
his friend testifies against him. 

Afterwards they had found the pistol in the field, bloody. 

"Ongon, is this your weapon?" 

"It is." 

"Did you throw it into the field?" 

"I did." 

"Why?" 

"At the head of the murderer, not having it loaded.'' 

Counsel for prosecution threw up its horrified hands at such 
falsehood in the face of overwhelming evidence. Such proofs ought 
to make a man confess of themselves ! 

"Would the prisoner take the stand ?" 

Thus far he had been permitted to sit beside the princess, now 
he must be put in the prisoner's box. 

"Does the prisoner recognize this blouse?" 

Ongon bowed assent. 

"Did you not wear it on that evening?" 

Again the affirmative. 

"How came this blood? — from the dead man's wound? — 
exactly." 

The bloody garment was shown at every angle and then passed 
around. 

"You buried it near the lodge?" 

"Yes." 

^'And in order that the blood might not excite others ?" 

"Yes." 

"You intended to have it washed?" 

"Yes." 

"But never dreamed that you would be suspected and so took 
your time?" 

"Yes." 

So went on the questionings until the chain of evidence seemed 
complete. Left quite in such way that the defense could only 
strengthen it when they came to try to break it down. 

"Your honor, we have known these truths many days, but have 
delayed prosecution principally to have all of our witnesses here, as 

163 



Ongon 

well as to give the defense time to secure its counter testimony. We 
rest the case at this point asking for the conviction of the prisoner 
for manslaughter." 

Chance had given Catherine a seat opposite Clermont, she did 
not meet his eyes. 

"Your honor," said the counsel for the defense, rising slowly 
and somewhat wearily, "we beg the court's permission to bring in 
our principal witness veiled." 

Catherine noticed the start in Buhl-Bysee's eyes, but Clermont 
thought she had not looked up. 

A slender form, covered from head to foot, was led into the 
room and given a seat between Trenton and Buckingham. On a 
question it was ruled out of order to permit the witness to remain 
since he was not to testify first. Therefore the veiled figure was 
led away again. 

Catherine was the one first called to the stand by the counsel for 
Ongon. She was very pale, but there was a fascination of beauty in 
her face that filled the room with its power. Clermont had not 
dreamed to have her against him and was biting his lips with 
displeasure. He had not wanted one who might be his wife to go 
down with Ongon. 

"Your honor, our witness has a letter to read." 

She arose with the unfolded sheet in her hand, and courtesied to 
Ongon first, and then to Minnetonka. A woman's rapid sentences 
with a woman's tender emphasis made the letter vivid and brought 
the writer's soul before them all. 

"Know ye men and women assembled to meet Ongon. In a far 
Virginian valley, where the peaceful Shenandoah runs down to meet 
the great Potomac, is a little burial ground by the side of an old 
stone church with an ancient grove of oaks between. There lie the 
brave and the beautiful, sleeping. It has an Indian name, the 
Opecquon. Indian names are all about it. Simple are the tombs, 
for the ancestors and friends of the settlers of Kentucky — and of 
Chicago, lie buried there. On one little marble slab are these words 

'Sacred to the Memory 

of 

Lawrence and Margaret Ames 

and Their Son 

Ogden.' 

"Beyond the tides of change and circumstance lies the young 
husband and his loving wife, who lost their lives, and were found 

164 



At Last the Truth 

and are buried side by side. But the waves that washed their 
bodies to the shore brought not the body of httle Ogden. An Indian 
tells the story in the letter also sent to you of the mother's sad cry 
that reached the chief in the darkness. 'Ogden, oh my precious 
child, Ogden !' Already the Indian was making through the forest 
with the child repeating to him softly the drowning mother's cry, 

as he understood it " Catherine paused, the tears were in her 

eyes, the words could scarcely have been repeated with such pathos 
by other lips than the mother's 

" 'Ongon, oh my child, Ongon.' " 

And now Catherine had crossed the floor to the prisoner's box 
to let him read the words and take the rings from her hand. 

"Oh, sirs," cried Ongon rising, "let me say it first among men, 
she is not here, she cannot say it — she is my sister and I am the son 
of Colonel Lawrence and Lusette Jean Ames !" No one forbade his 
going to the side of the princess to kneel there as a child as he 
showed her again the initials of his mother and the tiny band that 
once had encircled his ov^^n finger. Then he hastened back amidst 
the sound of women weeping to the prisoner's box that he might not 
delay the court's proceedings. 

Trenton has gone out softly and now he was leading in the 
muffled witness whose agitation strangely mingled yet contrasted 
with that of the audience. 

"Will the counsel unveil the witness," said the court. 

Slowly the trembling figure was unwrapped of the concealing 
folds, and — did not some cry escape from Buhl-Bysee ? — it was Blue 
Earth. 

"Your honor," said the lawyer slowly, "behold the murderer of 
Corporal Smith." 

"What ! man, this is impossible, this is my friend ; you have wrung 
from him by some diabolical means false statements in an hour when 
you have terrified him. Speak Blue Earth, who killed Corporal 
Smith?" Buhl-Bysee had gone to his side to assure him calmly. 

"I did!" 

"Impossible, your honor, this man is out of his mind, I have 
proof to offer that he is often out of his mind. Old settlers have 
seen him wandering about here out of his reason, Indians can 
testify that they have seen him so." 

The attorney for defense acknowledged that he had seen Blue 
Earth so. Then he held up a coat, "Do you recognize this blood- 
stained garment as your own?" 

"I do," answered the hollow voice. 

165 



Ongon 

"Subterfuge," cried the agent excitedly. 

"May I speak?" It was Blue Earth asking to be permitted to 
tell his story. 

"The witness shall be heard," spoke the court. 

Then he told of his life. How he had been a club man in New 
York. Three or four years before — he confessed his memory was 
weak — he had taken the life of a fellow clubman in a fit of anger, 
and had carried his body to the basement. There he found another 
member fallen into a heavy sleep. The idea dawned upon him that 
this was the member who had severely denounced the murdered man 
early in the evening and had drawn angry retort. He could drug 
Buckingham and then, when the dancing resumed, carry him up- 
stairs. It was all that Blue Earth could tell, but a newspaper which 
he drew from his coat told the rest. 

"How came you to quarrel with Corporal Smith?" asked the 
court. 

"He was an old friend. He was heavily indebted to me, for we 
had gambled together. He saw me bring up Buckingham and lay 
him beside the dead man, whom I had brought first. A year ago, 
at the time of the quarrel, he had threatened to confess if I did not 
give him some more money " 

He could not speak another word, but already the defense were 
bringing forward another witness. It was Mrs. Castor. She con- 
fessed that on the night of the death in New York she had over- 
heard conversation between Blue Earth and Smith. 

"Your honor the name of Blue Earth is Tarney. I worked in 
the service of the Tarneys, but being taught to think twice before 
speaking once, I kept it to myself." Then she related the words 
that corroborated the confession of Blue Earth. 

Chemicals and a sponge removed the paint from the face of the 
guilty man and there were no eyes that cared to look upon him. 

And so the innocence of Buckingham was established in the ac- 
quittal of Ongon. Then, without warning, was paid the price 
sweetlv. 



LI 



Josie brought in Mylo. A murmur of delight was on the lips 
of every woman present at the sight of the beautiful child. The 
babe's sweet laughter and precious innocence of all that had hap- 

i66 



" Lead Me" 

•pened was a relief even to the judge who begged to hold for a little 
the grandchild of his old friend, Col. Ames. It was then the village 
proved that it had a heart. Mothers asked for the child's name and 
others still took Minnetonka into their arms and welcomed her even 
as the new daughter of one of Virginia's noblest men. 

Now Mylo was back in Minnetonka's arms and his little hands 
were playing with her eyes and lips, while his own were murmuring 
the only word he had learned to say : Mamma, mamma, mamma !" 
— how the recollection came back long afterward of the fondness 
between the two ! 

"He is like his father and mother both, you may well be proud 
of your son," said the young wife of an army officer. 

"Aye, I am as proud of my son's Indian blood," said Ongon, 
catching up the child before the Indians and all ; "I am as proud of 
his Indian blood, as Randolph of Virginia was proud to own that 
Pocohontas' blood flowed in his veins !" 

Even Tarney, the murderer, with the stains of his sin upon him, 
turned and looked wistfully at the child as the officers of the law 
were leading him away. 

Minnetonka saw it and it was like her, they remembered at night- 
fall, to have gone to the prisoner and to have laid her hand upon 
his arm. 

"I forgive you, I pray Heaven to forgive you too." So like a 
prayer she spoke it, malice died from the eyes of those who hated the 
murderer. 

Then they led him away to his cell and afterward it made his 
death easier to repeat her prayer. They said he died crying the 
words to his Creator, "I pray Heaven to forgive you too." 

They admired the beauty of the princess and more the charm of 
her natural grace, for her quick gliding seemed the accord her 
limbs gave to some inner melody. 

"You may be proud of your wife too," said the officer's wife to 
Ongon, all assenting. 

"Our marriage has been the conforming power of a great love, 
annihilating the differences of time," he said reverently. 

"A vast eternity, Ongon," murmured the princess, taking her 
husband's hand. She was excited, it was noticed, over the reception 
given her and turned to touch the pin in Mylo's dress. 

"See, it is thy mother's — oh to find her once more and hear Jean 
speak of thee, Ongon — Ogden Ames ! — Oh, Jean, thy love so pass- 
ing fair " 

Then her voice lost its strength. "Lead me," she murmured 
167 



Ongon 

faintly, putting her hand upon her heart and tightening, only to 
relax, her hold upon Ongon's with the other. 

The smile that had come with the mention of Jean was caught 
upon her face and refused to leave it until some higher power came 
to release it forever from its earthly beauty. Minnetonka was 
dead. Even as Ongon's arms were wrapped about her, and Mylo's 
hands were playing with the white flowers in her hair, an angel had 
called her from them. Led to the robes that were whiter than snow ; 
led to the beautiful lands beyond which no ruler could remove her ; 
led into the light surpassing all the dreams of the mornings when 
she had sat by Ongon's side and murmured her delight at being a 
human soul ; led by the angels unto the King of kings. Oh, Minne- 
tonka, by thy life the inspiration to work out thy love and thy 
patience for thy people ! 

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace." 
Buckingham had repeated the words Ongon had left for him, 
and gratefully the chief-king bowed his head in acknowledgment. 
Then they went out one by one until Ongon was alone with his sor- 
row. His eyes had seemed to wish it. 

LII 

A VISITOR IN THE NIGHT 

At midnight, when the body of Minnetonka lay in the lodge 
awaiting the morning's burial, came a figure moving rashly past the 
Indian guards. He entered the death chamber, and when he re- 
moved his hand from his lantern, he was armed. Even so he lifted 
the sheet from the face of the princess and gazed upon her calmly 
beautiful features in a manner that belied the man. Again with utter 
indifference to the danger that beset his progress he made his way 
into the room where Buckingham rested. He was not asleep and 
the light thrown upon his face made him start up and seize his arms 
lying on the chair beside him. 

The intruder wished to be known, for he turned the light upon 
himself, standing straight and fearless before the pistol of Buck- 
ingham. 

"What, Buhl-Bysee, are you mad, to venture here!" 

"Hush, follow me." 

He made motion to go out by the way he had entered, but Buck- 
ingham, aware of the instant vengeance the Indians would wreck 
upon him should they awake, whispered to him to follow him in- 
stead. His door led directly to the open air. "Not yet, beyond this 

i68 



A Visitor in the Night 

place," said Buckingham, when the agent halted. "Here, we are 
safe, what message do you bring, Buhl-Bysee?" 

"Blue Earth is my cousin, Fred Tarney, I mean, Buckingham, 
and until yesterday, I swear to you I thought him innocent and you 
guilty." 

"Go on, I will believe you." 

"I always believed you guilty." 

"Yes, go on, I caught that before." 

"But I have hated Trenton and I never forgave your friend for 
believing that I changed my name because of the War of 1 812. I 
did not desert my company in 181 3, here Buckingham is my honor- 
able discharge, give it to Trenton, will you? 

"Very well, and what more?" 

"Ah, my change of name was partly the result of fun. Bulbsy 
is not long, neither is it euphonious. A wager was made, however, 
that it contained the stem on which a distinguished name could be 
grafted. Blue Earth, Tarney I mean, suggested to begin by hy- 
phenating the syllables of Bulb-sy. They made it Bul-bsy, then 
Buhl-bsy, and rested with Buhl-Bysee. That name I seized when I 
went abroad as having more dignity and power to it than Bulbsy. 
While in England I saved the life of a senator of the United States, 
and he offered in return to use his influence to get me a government 
position. And you know the rest." 

"Yes." 

"And I believed Ongon guilty. Do you know Clermont first sus- 
pected me, but when he found that I was innocent, he was a staunch 
believer in my methods and evidence." 

"Of which I am aware, go on." 

"I am an innocent man to-day, Buckingham. Of all that has 
happened, I am free from murder ; I am free from murder !" 

"You came to tell me this?" 

"Partly so, it is better than life to tell you that I received not 
one cent of profit from the Indian treaty closed on the 21st, and I 
am guilty of no man's blood, and I have an honorable discharge 
from the war of 181 2. In my forty-two years of life I have kept 
from dishonor, from guilt !" 

"There is no fear of your going to jail," said Buckingham, com- 
pleting the negative virtues of the agent. He might have mentioned 
the forgery, but when Buckingham saw Buhl-Bysee holding the 
lantern before his own face and exulting over the triumph of his 
character, he turned away to hide his contempt that he might have 
more pity. 

169 



Ongon 



"I have hated Trenton because he crossed my life- 



"Because you married the girl who was betrothed to him and 
saw her die in disappointment." 

"Aye, if she had shown love for me I could have forgiven 
Trenton." 

"Go on, Buhl-Bysee." 

"To-night I had determined to take Trenton's life — I could have 
done it — they are sleeping side by side under the lindens over there. 
But the words of that dying princess to Blue Earth would not let 
me. I could not end my life by doing that which I have refrained 
from under many provocations all my life long. I might have but 
for her saying, "I forgive you." I have been into her death chamber 
to-night " 

"What, you!" 

"Aye, man, and her face makes me go further. To-night — in 
the morning at dawn — they blow up the flag-room. Everything is 
set for it, powder and all — and I think, perhaps it is only a fancy, 
that somewhere the gypsy is kept there and her life will perish 
in the destruction." 

"You guilty man — how dare you — aye, but we can save her be- 
fore morning !" Buckingham started up with haste, but Buhl-Bysee 
caught him by the arm. 

"Nay, listen further, you cannot find the fuses, hunt them as you 
will. But I am innocent of this, Buckingham. Others have done 
it. Cat's-paw's Indians, jealous against Bat Eye. I did not do 
this." 

"Cursed be your innocency man, up ! — will you hunt the mines 
with me? Come we are both ready, and our Hves easiest spared to 
this world. We can save the girl !" 

"Nay, Cat's-paw's Indians are there drunk. They have picketed 
the place until the time to run from the mines. It is useless. But 
I am innocent of Cat's-paw's death, Buckingham. I have no " 

But Buckingham had left him there with his self-congratula- 
tions on his lips. Already the east was paling. No time was to 
be lost, and doubtless all the Indians could do would be to throw 
a spark into the powder at the time of the explosion if there w?r, 
to be any. A long fuse was out of the question he knew. Perhaps 
Ongon would know where — he turned to speak to Buhl-Bysee. "By 
the young wife within, you owe one thing more to your innocency, 
go do what you can to save the gypsy's life even for Trenton." 

"Stop !" whispered the agent. 

But Buckingham heeded not his words, already he was waking 
Ongon and Trenton. 

170 



True Innocence 

LIII 

TRUE INNOCENCE 

Jean and her aunt had promised each other to sit up together and 
talk all the night through, following the day when Ongon should 
know that he had a sister. The one favor she had asked of Bat Eye 
had been the permission of the letter to the court. But Bat Eye 
had granted them two. Their feminine heart had been rejoiced by 
the Indian's bringing on this great afternoon their stock of clothing 
— two old leather trunks full of civilization, Jean had said, dancing 
savagely before the delighted Indian. She had even made him sit 
down while she entertained him with various costumes from the 
trunks. Exhibitions of silk capotes, large sleeves, rich mantillas, 
negligee hats of tissue straw kept in wooden boxes, aprons of moire 
in deep colors, blue sapphire satins, rich emerald-green velvets, 
dazzling reddish modes — how the deep colors fascinated the hungry 
Indian eyes ! 

"Like color," said the redman simply. 

"And you didn't know when I dressed in Aunt Mary's, or when 
in my own colors, did you ?" laughed the happy girl. "You see I'm 
quite tall too, but you don't appreciate a slender waist from the 
fulness of maturity, do you Bat Eye!" 

"Nay, she could not be stopped, her spirit was bubbling over. 
"We call you Beauty when we are alone. Friend Eye, you have 
been so good to us lone palefaces. Tell me, will you stay with us 
and help Ongon always?" 

The Indian nodded his agreeability. 

"Will you be our household Indian?" 

"Ugh, others call Bat Eye coward then, a woman's man, couldn't 
do that." 

"But you will be friends — you and Wautoma, and drive out 
with us?" 

"I must keep my Indians first," said the chief, thinking of his 
duties. "My Indians are drunk to-night and disagreeable to 
manage." 

"Oh, pity, and who gave them Hquor to drink, Bat Eye?" 

"Buhl-Bysee." 

"Never mind, Friend Eye, we should be happy to-day." 

But he could not help minding, for by and by he asked to go to 
see how the Indians were doing about the place. It was ten o'clock 
and he must see. 

171 



Ongon 



And so he had gone, but with Jean's spirit scarcely clouded. 

"This is Ongon day. We have to be merry, Aunt Hardscrabble 
Devere, wilt thou attire and thy niece also?" 

At eleven the girl was kneeling in her chally dress with the 
small bouquets blossoming over the white ground, and the high body 
crossed over with epaulettes on the sleeves. She must first smooth 
her aunt's lilac lawn and add to her head a small cap of black 
blonde and floral work. 

"There, polished ceilings of cedar and devoted women in odor- 
able dry goods, let us talk of Ongon !" 

Gently her aunt held her hands and kissed the radiant face of 
the girl and told her with her eyes that now her faith had con- 
quered. 

"Yes, auntie, by this time Ongon knows ! Listen, I will tell you 
all about it. He saw Catherine arise with my letter in her hands. 
She was beautiful in this hour. She held what a true woman would 
have loved to read softly and tenderly. When she read of the In- 
dian names in Virginia, Ongon smiled and looked proudly at Min- 
netonka. He wot not then that Virginia should mean so much to 
him. With her deep emotion and true artistic feeling, Catherine 
stepped softly through old Opecquon to our tomb. But we will 
not be sad to-day — she hurried on to tell of the babe and of the 
cry 'Ongon, my child, Ongon.' Hark, auntie, I hear the Indian 
woman tell it yet. Think of the impression it made on my mind 
four years ago. It was sweet sixteen to learn that brother might be 
alive. Then we sent and searched for him in vain. But we re- 
membered that steamboat ride of our own, and how the Indian 
woman had told the story to her grandchildren the night we camped 
with them. She believed that somewhere this Ongon lived, a won- 
derful chief. Then when other's failed after a year, you listened 
to my pleas — we began the 'women's willowy and emotional search'. 
'Veni, vidi, vici.' Nay auntie, I never saw him, but you did that day 
when I came too late, tell me how he looked again ?" 

"He was greatly tall, Jean, with all the Roman in him that made 
your dear mother so commanding " 

"Alas, poor papa and his daughter!" 

"Dark as " 

"As all the Deveres." 

"Yes, with my black hair " 

"And you haven't a gray hair in it yet. Auntie !" 

"And a voice of such manliness, yet gentleness, the very birds 

drew near him " 

172 



True Innocence 

"Minnetonka taught him that — but that was my thrush, Auntie, 
It even drew near to — Major Trenton !" 

"Suppose Major Trenton should love you, Jean?" 

"I think he does, auntie," confided the girl; "and during these 
long days I've wondered what answer I can truly give him when 
next our eyes walk together — beyond even my dreams when alone." 

"You are too honest, Jean." 

"How do the Scotch-Irish lovers behave, Auntie?" 

"Oh, they come to it abruptly, Jean." 

"Then abruptly I will tell Major Trenton I like his name. 
Listen Auntie, John-Jean, Jean-John, Jean-Jean-John — are they 
cathedral tones, or do they sound like a breakfast gong? If I'm 
Scotch-Irish, then I can say quickly, boldly here aloud in this 
scented chamber of Ongon's, when the wedding bells ring, I want 
them to say nothing else but John-Jean, Jean-John !" 

So she had told the one who had been to her as mother. If 
in the night, or at daybreak some sad wreckage of her hopes should 
come, it was worth the while, aye, it was worth the while for the 
dear lips to move at last into the utterance of all her soul. 

Oh Heaven, that hearest the holy resounding joy from beautiful 
lips, speaking to-day before to-morrow dawns with its crushing 
weight of sorrow — yet is it not best to have loved and lost ! 

"Aunt Mary, you are so still." 

"I will not speak my thoughts." 

"Then I will laugh at your closely set teeth, beautiful Miss Mary 
Devere! — but you do like Major Trenton?" 

"Yes, dear." 

"Then look not dark as Beauty when he left to-night. Come we 
must talk. 'Tis only two and I have much to say." 

Catherine should marry some wise philosopher, she said, and goj 
with him and her art. Yes, Catherine would finally put some one 
before her art — and they should spend their days with Ongon for 
the Indian. No, she, Jean, would not follow Ongon. Three months 
in the year she should spend with her brother, her children playing 
with Ongon's, and every girl of them learning to shoot like — a very 
gypsy, as all the Ames' girls had learned to shoot. But the rest of" 
the year they should spend for the whole nation. 

"My husband must go to congress and sit in grandpapa's seat — 
figuratively speaking — and plead for our country's honor and high 
duty. Will not his wife make a brilliant Washingtonian lady, 
Aunt Mary? They will speak of her silken sunset locks — to wit, 
her reddish hair; and of her large and glorious orbs, namely her 

173 



Ongon 



mischievous eyes ; and of her wit and fascinating learning ; c. g., her 
charming motto, best foot forward ! Nobody will believe that she 
paid a hundred dollars in gold to learn to manage a circus serpent, 
and an old grizzly bear, or another and another hundred to 'loan' 
them. Ugh, it took hope of meeting Ongon to go through that 
training! But the fangs were out, and I'd have had them draw 
the snake's muscles too, if Coilie could have survived. And then to 
think Cat's-paw did not need the serpent for his final conviction ! 
But we have gained the day. So shall my husband approach his 
problems. I shall ask him every night what plans he has made, 
what courage he dared. But he shall never know I ask him, for it 
must be charmed out. If I were a man I should never tell a woman 
anything if she had not the subtilities to draw out more than I had 
in me." 

"Oh, Jean, you were enthusiastic from the time you first talked 
at ten months !" 

"Softly, Auntie, Bat Eye has fired the first shot to tell us of the 
dawn as he has said he would. We are now to talk only of Ongon 
until the second shot announces the rising of the sun." 

"It was not as Bat Eye's shot, my dear." 

But Jean had no ear for the protest. "Auntie, when I meet 
Ongon, I shall tell him that he has already lived beyond the meas- 
ure of even a great man's life. Every day hereafter is a day loaned 
to him out of eternity. Far beyond his day he has mapped the con- 
stellations and taken up the light from the stars. His constructive 
work depends from now for its success upon others' understanding 
the Indian's nature. More psychology and more of the eternity of 
old Opecquon shall be needed ere the Indians become no more aliens 
but citizens of America. I shall say. Thank God, Ongon, for the 
problem. And he will talk to me — oh, when we shall talk together 
what shall we not see, perhaps, even before the year is ended we shall 
meet, but how can I talk to him when I should want an angel's lips 
to speak to him my thoughts, but — hush !" 

The sentence was never finished for a second shot, followed by 
a third, and a fourth, came down with metallic distinctness through' 
the ventilating shafts. Then a long, rumbling roar, succeeded by a 
shock that was wrenching the very posts from their foundations. 



74 



The Charge upon the Ruins 

LIV ■ ' 

THE CHARGE UPON THE RUINS 

"Jean in danger, did you say?" 

The men were on their feet with the first whisper from Buck- 
ingham. Rapidly the latter told of how Buhl-Bysee had entered 
the lodge and, seeing Minnetonka's face, had been led to tell of the 
drunken Indian's frenzy and the plot to blow up the flag-room. 
Ongon realized in an instant where Jean might possibly be — strange 
that he had never thought of her being imprisoned there — but he had 
never dreamed that Cat's-paw knew of the place 

He was not a man to run before his plan. "Pause a minute," he 
said", his voice was calm, but how on fire his eyes ! Buhl-Bysee is 
right. The places where powder can be placed are many. If one 
drunken brave will let his own life be blown up, and has hidden 
himself in the recesses around the flag-room, it will be impossible to 
find him in time. But we must charge straight into the men, and 
as soon as I can get past them, I will go into the study hall, if I can 
get to it. You are to take care of the men, one of you go wake 
Wautoma and his men. Leave one to guard the body of Minne- 
tonka. Trenton, you come with me !" 

Buhl-Bysee had heeded Buckingham's parting words and they 
could see him searching for the powder. "Go into the lodge," 
shouted Ongon to him. "Into the lodge, the flag-room lodge, call 
off the Indians there, never mind us !" 

The agent had heard, for Ongon seemed to have been gifted 
with a far-reaching power to his voice then, that carried his orders 
like a trumpet. 

The first bullet from a drunken Indian's gun whistled an answer 
past Ongon's ear as he shouted to Buhl-Bysee. Trenton was by his 
side, and soldier that he was his eye caught greater fire and en- 
thusiasm from noting the spirit of battle in the chief-king. He had 
fought against the use of arms except as a last resort and now it 
had come. With Buckingham's brace of pistols belted to his side he 
ran the gauntlet of the second and third shots before he drew an 
arm. A savage was aiming at Trenton when Ongon sent him stag- 
gering backward with a bullet in his neck. 

"Come on, Trenton, it will not kill him, charge !" 

It was then that Ongon's strength proved to be the strength 
of three. One Indian was picked up and literally used as a club to 
beat down a group of five. Twice Trenton was able to return the 

175 



Ongon 

compliment, as he shattered the hands that were reaching for tin 
neck of the chief-king. 

"Ongon, do you not know Ongon !" shouted Trenton to the two 
Indians who had started to run, "help, make way for Ongon !" 

Already the way was clear to the chief-king to make the fla;?- 
room in safety and Trenton bade him go on. "The Indians have 
recognized you, we are safe!" 

The earth shook as Ongon descended the steps whose way was 
open to him. Then he was thrown back by a recoil of falling earth 
as the first explosion shook the underground structure. But if On- 
gon escaped it was only because he had not entered a rod farther. 
As the flying debris fell about him, the bodies of two men were 
hurled toward him. One was an Indian, the other Buhl-Bysee. 
Attracted by the groans of the latter Ongon crawled out from the 
mass of timbers and hastened to the agent's help. 

"I am dying — is it Ongon ? — I am innocent, Ongon !" 

"Die in peace," said the chief-king, lifting him carefully to a 
clearer place in the open air. But already Buhl-Bysee was dead. 
Whether driven by passion to set fire to the powder, could never be 
known this side of the grave, except from his words. 

Back again into the ruins, groping at first in the dark, then seeing 
suddenly, all too well, by the fire which had broken out below. At 
last he had pushed and thrown aside obstructions until he saw the 
door he was seeking. The burning of the furs and the smoke stifled 
him, but he had seized a beam and with one great blow had shattered 
the barrier between him and the corridor leading to Jean and her 
aunt. Even as he dropped the beam he was conscious that the ceil- 
ing above was shaking, then he had sprung to the door. i 

"Jean, my sister !" 

"Yes, my brother Ongon, we are safe!" 

The key Ongon had always carried with him, and soon but not 
too soon the bolt flew back, and brother and sister were in each 
other's arms amidst the crashing of the ceiUng of the corridor. 

"This is your Aunt Mary too, we kept the secret from you, just 
to have it for you, oh Ongon !" 

But again the rumbling overhead, and then a second explosion 
that rocked the place where they stood. The pillar was falling that 
supported the ceiling. 

"Fly, Jean, Aunt Mary, my treasures, for the second shot of 
powder has cleared the Vv^ay for you, see, thank God!" 

He was holding up the pillar with his great strength and until 
it fell he was safe. Jean saw that the only hope for him was their 

176 



The Charge upon the Ruins 

instant obedience. They had greeted each other only to part 
almost in the same second. Woman like she turned to kiss 
him there even as he stood holding the ceiling from crushing on 
their heads. "Oh, my brother, I love you so," then she followed 
after her aunt, only to find her, alas, struck down by a falling timber 
that must have killed them both. But the way was clear and Ongon 
needed her flying feet. Beyond where the corridor had begun she 
met Trenton. 

"Go to Ongon, Major, through that pass behind the fallen cedar. 
I will send Wautoma immediately. Ongon needs you." 

Neither had paused a second, though Trenton had seized the 
beam, at Jean's motion, that Ongon had used to strike in the door 
and was staggering on under its great weight. 

At last she was in the open air, past the body of Buhl-Bysee into 
the arms of Josie and Catherine. 

"Aunt Mary is killed, where is Wautoma?" 

"Here," came from the lips of both Wautoma and Bat Eye at 
the same time. 

Jean had only to look towards the place whence she had come, 
and to repeat the name of Ongon, to tell Bat Eye all he needed to 
know; pulling Wautoma after him he was within the ruined struc- 
ture by great leaps. 

The women had no time to speak to each other, for an Indian had 
run forward repeating a sentence in broken English. "Comes on 
board, Ongon and Wautoma bring soldier on board, dying!" 

The sight followed the warning; on a plank of cedar, which 
they were using as a stretcher, two strong figures were carrying out 
the helpless form of the wounded man. Jean's lips had moved 
wildly with the first cry of the Indian, and it was now she who was 
first to observe the Indian's mistake. Not believing it were pos- 
sible, when told to announce that Wautoma and Trenton were 
carrying Ongon, in the belief that Ongon was immortal, Wautoma's 
Indian had cried that it was Trenton dying. 

"He lives," said the soldier tenderly, as Jean met them with 
clasped hands and tightened lips. 

The task of holding the ceiling even until Trenton had arrived, 
had been too great for mortal strength. Slowly it had lowered upon 
the chief-king and he could not spring far enough to escape the 
timbers. Mercifully the terrible weight had fallen upon his chest 
when he had almost protected himself by pulling the pillar upon the 
trunks as he leaped and slid forward. 

"I did my best, Jean," said Ongon smiling in spite of the pain. 
177 



Ongon 

■"I — I have burst a blood-vessel, come nearer, my sister — I am 
growing weaker fast : ah, I shall know your face in heaven — God 
bless " 

Fondly Jean bent over him fearing to touch him lest she add 
to his distress. His lips moved again ; the words seemed to come to 
him in the Indian tongue, as he quoted St. Paul. 

"Noon gum dush ween " 

"Yes, brother. Tor now ' " 

Brokenly he whispered the sentence with Jean nodding that she 
understood him and repeating his words to him in English, while 
she forced back the tears bravely 

"For now I see through a glass darkly. . . . but then I shall 
know, even as also I am known." Ongon was dead, -with Jean 
•communing with him that it was "from darkness to perfect light; 
from earthly mystery to Heaven's love." 

Then, not knowing of the princess' death, she asked some one 
to go tell Minnetonka gently, Catherine thought it best to mur- 
mur that the princess had been waiting just beyond the shadows. 

And when they feared that her heart would break with its bur- 
den of sorrow, the sweet mastery of the girl who had lived for this 
hour of meeting, proved that she was not apart from her brother. 
Heaven had not left the heart of the orphan child desolate. "It is 
well," she said. Then she begged a moment with Ongon. "If you 
could bring the maple leaves," she whispered. And they understood 
her. Afterwards when Trenton had attended gently to the care 
of her Aunt Mary, Jean looked up gratefully. "Come," she mur- 
mured, putting her hands in his. And when he knelt by her side, 
they were sorrowing as one. 

Beautiful were the autumn leaves. "Help them, John," she 
whispered. And w^hen the two dear ones were bannered about 
with the foliage, again Jean answered that it was well. 

LV 

CONCLUSION 

The afternoon before All Halloween, the third since Ongon went 
home. In August, after a wild, weird night, the Indians had been 
removed in a body to the Far West. Of the few remaining, three or 
four have gathered at the lodge for a last greeting and parting. 

Jean in her bridal dress moves softly through the old scenes to 
which she has returned after two years. She is a woman now, 
though Heaven, which keeps for her the brother with the father and 

178 



Conclusion 

the mother, will not ever take from her all of the girlish spirit with- 
its joyous earth gladdening. But John Trenton, who suffers her to 
glide almost from his sight and hears her whisper to the trees 
the name of Ongon and call it softly over the plain, knows the in- 
finite tenderness within the heart of his bride. 

She has turned back to him at last and has half sheltered her 
head under her lover's cloak. They are standing together on the 
dear, old prairie, and, while her thoughts are inward, he is looking* 
as if he were challenging the horizon to do her harm. He under- 
stands that she is thinking of her brother when she speaks 

"John, it is a large question — ", and in the pause her face has in 
it the wealth of up-lifting affection that Trenton had seen in Minne- 
tonka's when she had passed away speaking of Jean and of the vast 
eternity in her marriage to Ongon. 

"The bride of Halloween is the vaster question of questions^ 
whose life will surround her husband's with its inquiry," he an- 
swered, exalted with fervor that was almost devoutness. 

"It is a large question for this day of days, John, but can Chicago 
remember those who helped to lay its foundations, when, like the 
slaves of Egypt who built the pyramids and the Greeks who 
achieved the Parthenon, her children shall soon be scattered through- 
out all lands, with some already taken above?" 

His answer was not far from her thoughts. "You asked that 
we kindle sacredly to-night once more a fire in the old fireplace in 
the lodge, Jean ; I have had part of the wood brought many miles."" 

When she looked up again from within the blue depths of her 
eyes that watched with all life for him and through him and untcv- 
him, he told her of his fearful boldness. On her ancestors' great 
estate in Virginia, whence they had come to Chicago to be mar- 
ried, he had found a dying tree. A friend of the family had shown 
it to him and had told him how all Winchester had seemed to love it. 
On this maple tree when Ongon was born her father had carved 
with pride his son's name, "Ogden Ames." 

"I had the tree cut down, Jean, and sent it hither. And when 
we see it turning to ashes to-night as we pass through the Halloween 
it will be a memento in our hearts, I think, to live more truly than if. 
we had tried to keep the wood." 

"Yes, John." 

"Oh, Jean, speak not so sacredly. I fear — I fear it is too good' 
for Heaven to lend your life long unto mine." 

"Nay, John, I have a strong body. It will be a long marriage,. 
I am thinking. Does not that make your soul draw back ?" 

179 



Ongon 



"Oh, Jean, will you love me forever in heaven too? I fear that 
thou art almost as God to me." 

"Hush, John." 

"Aye, I love Him too, but I see him through the wonders of his 
creation/' And they spoke words too near the bridal hour for 
us to hear, until they gave a thought at last to the existence of 
others. 

"Oh, John, I had almost forgotten to think that this is not all 
our wedding day. Four others are as happy as we !" 

"When did you first know that Catherine was willing, Jean?" 

"Two years ago and more, sir, when Catherine stood with me 
at the river, talking of the pictures destroyed in the ruin, and he 
drew near. When she turned to lift her eyes to him across the 
stream, even then they were softened with the beginning of a wom- 
an's great love." 

"When he knew it not, nor as yet can believe it true !" 

"But we know it all, John. How Mr. Clermont came to her 
confessing a broken faith at last in the worth of his profession, and 
offered his heart anew and his desire to give his life and means for 
the perpetuation of the work of Ongon. He was in earnest, and true 
to her fervent wish to make Mr. Clermont's life at last triumphant, 
she gave him her hand in the sweet promise that she would try to; 
be a faithful help to him in the new life they both had chosen. But 
she told him that it was not in her power to give him her heart." 

"Poor Clermont !" said Trenton gently. "He had the acumen to 
see that Buhl-Bysee was innocent, but " 

"Softly, John." 

"Aye, he went with Ongon's blessing on him." 

"And Catherine is as happy and feels as unfit for her happiness 
as Mr. Buckingham. See they are walking so softly together under 
my lindens how reverently they meet each other's eyes, John ; are 
they not two handsome figures to stand with us at the altar to- 
night ?" 

"What more is it, Jean?" 

"Do you know that once I thought that you and Catherine were 
destined for each other, and it made my heart tremble as if the 
whole world had been shaken." 

Then he told her for the first time of the morning at four when 
her thrush saved them from a living sacrifice, as Providence guided 
its flight to mingle its timeliness with Catherine's dream. He almost 
dreaded to tell her that at midnight he had kissed Catherine, but 
Jean only smiled at his halting confession. 

i8o 



Conclusion 

"You will kiss her again to-night, John, but perhaps Mr. 
Buckingham will be satisfied with the returns of the season." 

But we cannot linger over the many scenes that took place 
that afternoon around the lodge where now the city has tramped 
and noised aside the last vestige of the virgin beauty. How in the 
twilight, in the hour when Ongon's lantern men were wont to go 
forth to call the chiefs to the flag-room, Josie stood with Wautoma, 
Catherine with Buckingham, and Jean Ames with John Trenton be- 
fore the fireside altar of Ongon and Minnetonka. 

And when they were united in the bonds of marriage, Bucking- 
ham brought forth his sweet surprise for Jean, Bat Eye helping him 
carry it into the room. 

"It is part of the side of the Mississippi Belle as you see from 
the lettering," said Buckingham. "I found from Bat Eye that once 
a year, at Christmas time, Ongon was accustomed to take a pilgrim- 
age to the Mississippi. On one of these occasions Bat Eye accom- 
panied him and witnessed Ongon's opening of a long cache. Being 
informed by Bat Eye, together we went lately and brought back 
this piece of the vessel in our canoe. This letter of Ongon's tells 
its own beautiful story. Ere we light the fire let me read it to you — 
or Trenton — or Catherine?" 

He held the letter out modestly, with his eyes asking Jean's di- 
rection. 

"Nay, do you read it Mr. Buckingham," said Jean with a voice 
of tender gratefulness. 

Never was scene more simple than that of the long log 
hall lighted by candles and decorated with autumn leaves from the 
forest ; and never greater grandeur, as the tall form of one friend of 
the dead chief-king stood in the midst of the bridal group, and read 
the touching heart-words of him who all his life long had seen 
through a glass darkly. 

"Some day when I have won the hearts of my people," read the 
letter, "I shall seek those that knew them whose lives were re- 
sponsible for mine. It is a growing desire of my heart to learn of 
my father and my mother who must have perished when this barque 
went down. For six years each Christmas time I have come here to 
open this cache. Various have been my feelings as I have gazed 
upon the name of the great canoe which bore my parents, and upon 
which their eyes have looked and smiled — the Mississippi Belle. 
Had I brother or sister who went down with them? Shall I know 
them in the world to come ? Do they know me now ? Thought of 
this must keep more sacred the Providence that took them and left 

i8i 



Ongon 



me to touch this great work. Oh, that some one after me may 
see its beauty and promise! But I come here most of all to think 
of my mother. How I should have loved to live and grow to man- 
hood beneath her smiles. Not having seen her, I love her; shall 
I have eyes to know her, as on Transfiguration Mount the disciples 
knew Elijah though they had never seen him? The great text of 
my life has been, 'Then shall I know, even as also I am known.' 
Aye, the human heart, given to live my life, would wait upon eternity 
calmly. If other eyes ever look upon this relic of my parents' 
history and feel their hearts go out to me — and Ongon has craved 
the love of his fellow beings — friends, it is well ; beyond hope lies the 
long eternal Spring when we shall be with God who is eternally 
young, as Christ remains crucified youth. Farewell — perhaps it is 
so that Ongon shall return no more to gaze upon these letters — 
farewell," 

"Jean, you are so brave," said Catherine, folding Trenton's wife 
in her arms. 

"Let us light the Halloween fire," whispered the girl as she 
knelt before the letters. 

And they watched the flames wrapping themselves about the 
fallen tree, after the men had started the fire and upon it had laid 
the old witness of the joy that had attended Ongon's natal mom. 
Softly the light fluttered over the name that had been cut in the 
maple. After a quarter of a century the tree, finding no heart to 
cover the child's name, had kept its depressed bit of tenderness at 
first, then fashioned with the years into a firm covert of memory, 
to tell its old, old story to those who had come to walk in the 
beautiful Shenandoah Valley. 

Why should Mylo have crept nearer the fire, murmuring that it 
was pretty? When Catherine knelt by the side of Jean, it was like 
Josie and Wautoma to repeat tenderly the words that were in the 
thoughts of all, as the name of Ogden Ames was turned to ashes — 
•"In the Spring the maple leaves return." 



182 



PS 



^.r