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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

Rube heard him draw a deep breath


"Injuns

ain't supposed ter come out from their reservations," the boy continued. "Anyhow, you've got no business trespassin' on this yer property. You'd best quit. You're not lost, I suppose? You knows your way home?"

"Ugh!" the Indian grunted, taking a step nearer and glancing curiously at the plan.

"Dessay you've got no savee fer what I'm tellin' you," Rube went on, signing a dismissal, "but I can't help that. You gotter quit, see? Go away. Make yerself scarce. Vamoose."

"Oh, I quite understand," said the Indian, speaking, to Rube's surprise, in very good English. "Your words are clear as the sunlight. It is only their meaning that I do not seize. You speak of trespass. I am not a trespasser. For long, long years--many generations--my people have had their hunting grounds, have put up their lodges, and lived and died in these same forest glades. They have trapped the beaver in this same creek, taken fish from this same lake, and followed the buffalo on yonder prairie. Who shall stop me if I lay my line of traps where my people so long ago laid theirs?"

Rube shrugged his shoulders.

"I ain't figurin' ter discuss ancient hist'ry with you, mister," he said. "I'm not denyin' that Redskins hunted on these yer lands centuries 'fore the white man happened along. But that ain't got nothin' t' do wi' you an'

me to-day. You're trespassin' on private property, an' you gotter quit, see? An' if you've bin layin' traps around you kin just lift 'em an' take 'em along with you. This yer forest, that thar lake, an' all the land as far's you kin see belongs ter Lord St. Olave. And he don't allow no trespassers mouchin' around."

"Lord St. Olave?" The Indian pronounced the name with peculiar distinctness. "Otherwise Kiddie," he added, resting a foot on the log, but carefully avoiding the bear cub. "I have heard of him."

"Yes, an' seen him, too," rejoined Rube.

"Seen him? When?" questioned the Indian.

"Why," answered Rube, "you saw him pretty plain, I guess, the time he dropped his lariat over your arms in One Tree Gulch. I suppose you thinks I don't know you, eh? You're Broken Feather; that's who you are. Broken Feather, the boss chief of the Injun village over thar. An' now, what you want? What you doin' around here? Spyin' out the lie o' the land fer future raids?"

"Surely I am at liberty to take interest in a neighbour's building operations," returned the chief. He leant closer over the working bench and gazed down at the architect's plan with renewed curiosity. "This, I suppose, is the front entrance," he said.

He touched the paper at a particular part of the design, but quickly drew his arm back. Rube heard him draw a deep breath, as if he were in pain.

"Say, what's up?" the boy asked. "You took bad in th' inside?"


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