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A Mating in the Wilds by Ottwell Binns

Anderton nodded with satisfaction


"Oui!"

answered the man. "I am Chigmok! And thou?"

"I am the man of the Law," answered Anderton, "who has been at your heels for weeks."

"So!" answered the half-breed in native speech, with a hopeless gesture, "It had been better to have died the snow-death, but I shall die before they hang me, for I am hurt."

He glanced down at his shoulder as he spoke, and looking closely the two white men saw that the frozen snow on his furs was stained.

"Ah!" said the policeman, "I hadn't noticed that, but we'll have a look at it." He looked at Stane, who was eyeing the half-breed with a savage stare, then he said sharply: "Give me a hand, Stane. We can't let the beggar die unhelped, however he may deserve it. He's a godsend anyway, for he can explain your mystery. Besides it's my duty to get him back to the Post, and they wouldn't welcome him dead. Might think I'd plugged him, you know."

Together they lifted the man nearer the fire, and examined the injured shoulder. It had been drilled clean through by a bullet. Anderton nodded with satisfaction. "Nothing there to kill you, Chigmok. We'll bandage you up, and save you for the Law yet?"

They washed and dressed the wound, made the half-breed as comfortable as they could; then as he reposed by the fire, Anderton found the man's pipe, filled it,

held a burning stick whilst he lit it, and when it was drawing nicely, spoke:

"Now, Chigmok, you owe me something for all this, you know. Just tell us the meaning of the game you were playing. It can't hurt you to make a clean breast of it; because that other affair that you know of is ample for the needs of the Law."

"You want me to tell?" asked the half-breed in English.

"Yes, we're very curious. My friend here is very anxious to know why he was attacked, and why he was to die whilst the girl who was with him was carried off."

"You not know?" asked the half-breed.

"Well, we haven't quite got the rights of it," was the policeman's guarded answer.

"Then I tell you." His dark eyes turned to Stane. "You not know me?"

"No," answered Stane. "I never saw you in my life before."

"But I haf seen you. Oui! I steal your canoe when you sleep!"

"Great Scott!" cried Stane. "You----"

"I run from zee poleece, an' I haf nodings but a gun. When I watch you sleep, I tink once I shoot you; but I not know who ees in zee leetle tent, an' I tink maybe dey catch me, but I know now eet vas not so."

"You know who was in the tent?" asked Stane sharply.

"I fin' dat out zee ver' next morning, when I meet a man who ask for zee white girl. Ah I haf seen dat man b'fore. I see heem shoot zee paddle from zee girl's hand--."

Startled, Stane cried out. "You saw him shoot----"

"Oui! I not know why he do eet. But I tink he want zee girl to lose herself dat he may find her. Dat I tink, but I not tell heem dat. Non! Yet I tell heem what I see, an' he ees afraid, an' say he tell zee mounters he haf seen me, eef I say he ees dat man. So I not say eet, but all zee time he ees zee man. Den he pay me to take a writing to zee camp of zee great man of zee Company, but I not take eet becos I am afraid."


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