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A Mating in the Wilds by Ottwell Binns

And started to take her back to Fort Malsun


he cried in surprise. "You! What are you doing here?"

"I come to warn thee," said the girl in her own dialect. "Once before I did that, and I was too late. But now I am in time."

"To warn me?" he echoed, still too surprised to say more.

"Yes," answered Miskodeed. "There are those who will seek to kill thee tonight."

"Tonight! But why?"

"I do not know, fully. The thing is hidden from me, but there is some one who means to slay."

"Who is it?" asked Stane in sudden curiosity.

"It is the son of Chief George's sister--the man for whom the officer came to the encampment yesterday."

"Then he is at the camp, after all?"

"He was there when the officer came. The story which Chief George told about his departure to the Great Barrens was a lie."

"But why should he seek to kill me?"

"Have I not said I do not know fully? But he promises big things if thou are slain: rifles and the water that burns and makes men sing, and tea and molasses, and blankets for the women."

"But," protested Stane, "I have but one rifle and little spirit and tea. I am not worth plundering, and Chief George

must know that the law will take account of his doings, and that the grip of the law reaches right up to the Frozen Sea."

"He knows," answered the girl quietly, "but Chigmok--that is his sister's son--has filled him with a lying tale that the law will take no account of thee, and he believes, as Chigmok himself believes."

"But----" began Stane, and broke off as the girl lifted her hand.

"Chief George has seen the rifles, and the burning water, the box of tea and the bale of blankets, and his soul is hungry for them. He would kill more than thee to win them."

"And the--the man who is with me?"

A little flash came in the girl's dark eyes. "That man----" she said in a voice that had an edge like a knife, "tell me, is she thy squaw?"

"Then you know, Miskodeed?" he said, with a quick feeling of shame.

"I know that man is the bright-faced woman who came to Fort Malsun. Tell me, is she thy squaw?"

"No?" he answered sharply. "No!"

"Then what does she in thy lodge?"

"That is due to an accident. She drifted down to the great river, and I saved her from the water, and started to take her back to Fort Malsun. Our canoe was stolen in the night, and when we took the land-trail my leg was broken and we were delayed, and by the time I was fit for travel, winter was upon us, so we sought the cabin to wait for help. That is the explanation, and now tell me, Miskodeed, is the woman to die?"

"The bright-faced one is to be saved alive."

"Ah! That is an order?"

"It is necessary for the winning of the rifles, and the tea and the blankets."

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