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Corporal Cameron
THE MAKING OF BRAVES


It was to Cameron an extreme satisfaction to ride with some twenty of his comrades behind White Horse, who, handcuffed and with bridle reins tied to those of two troopers, and accompanied by Chief Red Crow, Bull Back, and others of their tribe, made ignominious and crestfallen entry into the Fort next day.  It was hardly less of a satisfaction to see Mr. Cadwaller exercise himself considerably in making defence against the charges of Bull Back and his friends. The defence was successful, and the American citizens departed to Lone Pine, Montana, with their recovered horses and with a new and higher regard for both the executive and administrative excellence of Her Majesty's North West Mounted Police officers and men.  Chief Red Crow, too, returned to his band with a chastened mind, it having been made clear to him that a chief who could not control his young braves was not the kind of a chief the Great White Mother desired to have in command of her Indian subjects.  White Horse,  also, after three months sojourn in the cooling solitude of the Police guard room, went back to his people a humbler and a wiser brave.

The horse-stealing, however, went merrily on and the summer of 1884 stands in the records of the Police as the most trying period of their history in the Northwest up to that date.  The booming upon the eastern and southern boundaries of Western Canada of the incoming tide of humanity, hungry for land, awakened ominous echoes in the little primitive settlements of half-breed people and throughout the reservations of the wild Indian tribes as well. Everywhere, without warning and without explanation, the surveyors' flags and posts made appearance.  Wild rumours ran through the land, till every fluttering flag became the symbol of dispossession and every gleaming post an emblem of tyrannous disregard of a people's rights.  The ancient aboriginal inhabitants of the western plains and woods, too, had their grievances and their fears.  With phenomenal rapidity the buffalo had vanished from the plains once black with their hundreds of thousands.  With the buffalo vanished the Indians' chief source of support, their food, their clothing, their shelter, their chief article of barter.  Bereft of these and deprived at the same time of the supreme joy of existence, the chase, bitten with cold, starved with hunger, fearful of the future, they offered fertile soil for the seeds of rebellion. A government more than usually obsessed with stupidity, as all governments become at times, remained indifferent to appeals, deaf to remonstrances, blind to danger signals, till through the remote and isolated settlements of the vast west and among the tribes of Indians, hunger-bitten and fearful for their future, a spirit of unrest, of fear, of impatience of all authority, spread like a secret plague from Prince Albert to the Crow's Nest and from the Cypress Hills to Edmonton.  A violent recrudescence of whiskey- smuggling, horse-stealing, and cattle-rustling made the work of administering the law throughout this vast territory one of exceeding difficulty and one calling for promptitude, wisdom, patience, and courage, of no ordinary quality.  Added to all this, the steady advance of the railroad into the new country, with its huge construction camps, in whose wake followed the lawless hordes of whiskey smugglers, tinhorn gamblers, thugs, and harlots, very materially added to the dangers and difficulties of the situation for the Police.

For the first month after enlistment Cameron was kept in close touch with the Fort and spent his hours under the polishing hands of the drill sergeant.  From five in the morning till ten at night the day's routine kept him on the grind.  Hard work it was, but to Cameron a continuous delight.  For the first time in his life he had a job that seemed worth a man's while, and one the mere routine of which delighted his soul.  He loved his horse and loved to care for him, and, most of all, loved to ride him.  Among his comrades he found congenial spirits, both among the officers and the men. Though discipline was strict, there was an utter absence of anything like a spirit of petty bullying which too often is found in military service; for in the first place the men were in very many cases the equals and sometimes the superiors of the officers both in culture and in breeding, and further, and very specially, the nature of the work was such as to cultivate the spirit of true comradeship.  When officer and man ride side by side through rain and shine, through burning heat and frost "Forty below," when they eat out of the same pan and sleep in the same "dug-out," when they stand back to back in the midst of a horde of howling savages, rank comes to mean little and manhood much.

Between Inspector Dickson and Cameron a genuine friendship sprang up; and after his first month was in, Cameron often found himself the comrade of the Inspector in expeditions of special difficulty where there was a call for intelligence and nerve.  The reports of these expeditions that stand upon the police record have as little semblance of the deeds achieved as have stark and grinning skeletons in the medical student's private cupboard to the living moving bodies they once were.  The records of these deeds are the bare bones.  The flesh and blood, the life and colour are to be found only in the memories of those who were concerned in their achievement.

But even in these bony records there are to be seen frequent entries in which the names of Inspector Dickson and Constable Cameron stand side by side.  For the Inspector was a man upon whom the Commissioner and the Superintendent delighted to load their more dangerous and delicate cases, and it was upon Cameron when it was possible that the Inspector's choice for a comrade fell.

It was such a case as this that held the Commissioner and Superintendent Crawford in anxious consultation far into a late September night.  When the consultation was over, Inspector Dickson was called in and the result of this consultation laid before him.

"We have every reason to believe, as you well know, Inspector Dickson," said the Commissioner, "that there is a secret and wide- spread propagandum being carried on among our Indians, especially among the Piegans, Bloods, and Blackfeet, with the purpose of organizing rebellion in connection with the half-breed discontent in the territories to the east of us.  Riel, you know, has been back for some time and we believe his agents are busy on every reservation at present.  This outbreak of horse-stealing and whiskey-smuggling in so many parts of the country at the same time is a mere blind to a more serious business, the hatching of a very wide conspiracy.  We know that the Crees and the Assiniboines are negotiating with the half-breeds.  Big Bear, Beardy, and Little Pine are keen for a fight.  There is some very powerful and secret influence at work among our Indians here.  We suspect that the ex-Chief of the Bloods, Little Thunder, is the head of this organization.  A very dangerous and very clever Indian he is, as you know.  We have a charge of murder against him already, and if we can arrest him and one or two others it would do much to break up the gang, or at least to hold in check their organization work. We want you to get quietly after this business, visit all the reservations, obtain all information possible, and when you are ready, strike.  You will be quite unhampered in your movements and the whole force will co-operate with you if necessary.  We consider this an extremely critical time and we must be prepared.  Take a man with you.  Make your own choice."

"I expect we know the man the Inspector will choose," said superintendent Crawford with a smile.

"Who is that?" asked the Commissioner.

"Constable Cameron, of course."

"Ah, yes, Cameron.  You remember I predicted he would make good. He has certainly fulfilled my expectation."

"He is a good man," said the Inspector quietly.

"Oh come, Inspector, you know you consider him the best all-round man at this post," said the Superintendent.

"Well, you see, Sir, he is enthusiastic for the service, he works hard and likes his work."

"Right you are!" exclaimed the Superintendent.  "In the first place, he is the strongest man on the force, then he is a dead shot, a good man with a horse, and has developed an extraordinary gift in tracking, and besides he is perfectly straight."

"Is that right, Inspector?"

"Yes," said the Inspector very quietly, though his eyes were gleaming at the praise of his friend.  "He is a good man, very keen, very reliable, and of course afraid of nothing."

The Superintendent laughed quietly.

"You want him then, I suppose?"

"Yes," said the Inspector, "if it could be managed."

"I don't know," said the Commissioner.  "That reminds me."  He took a letter from the file.  "Read that," he said, "second page there. it is a private letter from Superintendent Strong at Calgary."

The Inspector took the letter and read at the place indicated--

"Another thing.  The handling of these railroad construction gangs is no easy matter.  We are pestered with whiskey-smugglers, gamblers, and prostitutes till we don't know which way to turn. As the work extends into the mountains and as the camps grow in numbers the difficulty of control is very greatly increased.  I ought to have my force strengthened.  Could you not immediately spare me at least eight or ten good men?  I would like that chap Cameron, the man, you know, who caught the half-breed Louis in the Sarcee camp and carried him out on his horse's neck--a very fine bit of work.  Inspector Dickson will tell you about him.  I had it from him.  Could you spare Cameron?  I would recommend him at once as a sergeant."

The Inspector handed back the letter without comment.

"Well?" said the Commissioner.

"Cameron would do very well for the work," said the Inspector, "and he deserves promotion."

"What was that Sarcee business, Inspector?" enquired the Commissioner.  "That must have been when I was down east."

"Oh," said the Inspector, "it was a very fine thing indeed of Cameron.  Louis 'the Breed' had been working the Bloods.  We got on his track and headed him up in the Sarcee camp.  He is rather a dangerous character and is related to the Sarcees.  We expected trouble in his arrest.  We rode in and found the Indians, to the number of a hundred and fifty or more, very considerably excited. They objected strenuously to the arrest of the half-breed. Constable Cameron and I were alone.  We had left a party of men further back over the hill.  The half-breed brought it upon himself.  He was rash enough to make a sudden attack upon Cameron. That is where he made his mistake.  Before he knew where he was Cameron slipped from his horse, caught him under the chin with a very nice left-hander that laid him neatly out, swung him on to his horse, and was out of the camp before the Indians knew what had happened."

"The Inspector does not tell you," said Superintendent Crawford, "how he stood off that bunch of Sarcees and held them where they were till Cameron was safe with his man over the hill.  But it was a very clever bit of work, and, if I may say it, deserves recognition."

"I should like to give you Cameron if it were possible," said the Commissioner, "but this railroad business is one of great difficulty and Superintendent Strong is not the man to ask for assistance unless he is in pretty desperate straits.  An unintelligent or reckless man would be worse than useless."

"How would it do," suggested the Superintendent, "to allow Cameron in the meantime to accompany the Inspector?  Then later we might send him to Superintendent Strong."

Reporting this arrangement to Cameron a little later, the Inspector enquired:

"How would you like to have a turn in the mountains?  You would find Superintendent Strong a fine officer."

"I desire no change in that regard," replied Cameron.  "But, curiously enough, I have a letter this very mail that has a bearing upon this matter.  Here it is.  It is from an old college friend of mine, Dr. Martin."

The Inspector took the letter and read--

"I have got myself used up, too great devotion to scientific research; hence I am accepting an offer from the railroad people for work in the mountains.  I leave in a week.  Think of it!  The muck and the ruck, the execrable grub and worse drink!  I shall have to work my passage on hand cars and doubtless by tie pass.  My hands will lose all their polish.  However, there may be some fun and likely some good practice.  I see they are blowing themselves up at a great rate.  Then, too, there is the prospective joy of seeing you, of whom quite wonderful tales have floated east to us. I am told you are in direct line for the position of the High Chief Muck-a-muck of the Force.  Look me up in Superintendent Strong's division.  I believe he is the bulwark of the Empire in my district.

"A letter from the old burgh across the pond tells me your governor is far from well.  Awfully sorry to hear it.  It is rough on your sister, to whom, when you write, remember your humble servant.

"I am bringing out two nurses with me, both your devotees.  Look out for squalls.  If you get shot up see that you select a locality where the medical attendance and nursing are 'A 1'."

"It would be awfully good to see the old boy," said Cameron as he took the letter from the Inspector.  "He is a decent chap and quite up-to-date in his profession."

"What about the nurses?" enquired the Inspector gravely.

"Oh, I don't know them.  Never knew but one.  A good bright little soul she was.  Saw me through a typhoid trip.  Little too clever sometimes," he added, remembering the day when she had taken her fun out of the slow-footed, slow-minded farmer's daughter.

"Well," said the Inspector, "we shall possibly come across them in our round-up.  This is rather a big game, a very big game and one worth playing."

A bigger game it turned out than any of the players knew, bigger in its immediate sweep and in its nationwide issues.

For three months they swept the plains, haunting the reservations at unexpected moments.  But though they found not a few horses and cattle whose obliterated brands seemed to warrant confiscation, and though there were signs for the instructed eye of evil doings in many an Indian camp, yet there was nothing connected with the larger game upon which the Inspector of Police could lay his hand.

Among the Bloods there were frequent sun-dances where many braves were made and much firewater drunk with consequent blood-letting. Red Crow deprecated these occurrences, but confessed his powerlessness to prevent the flow of either firewater or of blood. A private conversation with the Inspector left with the Chief some food for thought, however, and resulted in the cropping of the mane of White Horse, of whose comings and goings the Inspector was insistently curious.

On the Blackfeet reservation they ran into a great pow-wow of chiefs from far and near, to which old Crowfoot invited the representatives of the Great White Mother with impressive cordiality, an invitation, however, which the Inspector, such was his strenuous hunt for stolen horses, was forced regretfully to decline.

"Too smooth, old boy, too smooth!" was the Inspector's comment as they rode off.  "There are doings there without doubt.  Did you see the Cree and the Assiniboine?"

"I could not pick them out," said Cameron, "but I saw Louis the Breed."

"Ah, you did!  He needs another term at the Police sanatarium."

They looked in upon the Sarcees and were relieved to find them frankly hostile.  They had not forgotten the last visit of the Inspector and his friend.

"That's better," remarked the Inspector as they left the reservation.  "Neither the hostile Indian nor the noisy Indian is dangerous.  When he gets smooth and quiet watch him, like old Crowfoot.  Sly old boy he is!  But he will wait till he sees which way the cat jumps.  He is no leader of lost causes."

At Morleyville they breathed a different atmosphere.  They felt themselves to be among friends.  The hand of the missionary here was upon the helm of government and the spirit of the missionary was the spirit of the tribe.

"Any trouble?" enquired the Inspector.

"We have a great many visitors these days," said the missionary. "And some of our young men don't like hunger, and the offer of a full feast makes sweet music in their ears."

"Any sun-dances?"

"No, no, the sun-dances are all past.  Our people are no longer pagans."

"Good man!" was the Inspector's comment as they took up the trail again toward the mountains.  "And with quite a sufficient amount of the wisdom of the serpent in his guileless heart.  We need not watch the Stonies.  Here's a spot at least where religion pays. And a mighty good thing for us just now," added the inspector. "These Stonies in the old days were perfect devils for fighting. They are a mountain people and for generations kept the passes against all comers.  But Macdougall has changed all that."

Leaving the reservation, they came upon the line of the railway.

"There lies my old trail," said Cameron.  "And my last camp was only about two miles west of here."

"It was somewhere here that Raven fell in with you?"

"No, some ten miles off the line, down the old Kootenay trail."

"Aha!" said the Inspector.  "It might not be a bad idea to beat up that same old trail.  It is quite possible that we might fall in with your old friends."

"It would certainly be a great pleasure," replied Cameron, "to conduct Mr. Raven and his Indian friend over this same trail as they did me some nine months ago."

"We will take a chance on it," said the Inspector.  "We lose time going back the other way."

Upon the site of McIvor's survey camp they found camped a large construction gang.  Between the lines of tents, for the camp was ordered in streets like a city, they rode till they came to the headquarters of the Police, and enquired for the Superintendent. The Superintendent had gone up the line, the Sergeant informed them, following the larger construction gangs.  The Sergeant and two men had some fifty miles of line under patrol, with some ten camps of various kinds on the line and in the woods, and in addition they had the care of that double stream of humanity flowing in and flowing out without ceasing day or night.

As the Inspector stepped inside the Police tent Cameron's attention was arrested by the sign "Hospital" upon a large double-roofed tent set on a wooden floor and guyed with more than ordinary care.

"Wonder if old Martin is anywhere about," he said to himself as he rode across to the open door.

"Is Dr. Martin in?" he enquired of a Chinaman, who appeared from a tent at the rear.

"Doc Matin go 'way 'long tlain."

"When will he come back?" demanded Cameron.

"Donno.  See missy woman."

So saying, he disappeared into the tent while Cameron waited.

"You wish to see the doctor?  He has gone west.  Oh!  Why, it--"

Cameron was off his horse, standing with his hat in one hand, the other outstretched toward the speaker.

"Why! it cannot be!--it is--my patient."  The little nurse had his hand in both of hers.  "Oh, you great big monster soldier!  Do you know how fine you look?"

"No," replied Cameron, "but I do know how perfectly fine you look."

"Well, don't devour me.  You look dangerous."

"I should truly love one little bite."

"Oh, Mr. Cameron, stop!  You terrible man!  Right in the open street!"  The little nurse's cheeks flamed red as she quickly glanced about her.  "What would Dr. Martin say?"

"Dr. Martin!" Cameron laughed.  "Besides, I couldn't help it."

"Oh, I am so glad!"

"Thank you," said Cameron.

"I mean I am so glad to see you.  They told us you would be coming to join us.  And now they are gone.  What a pity!  They will be so disappointed."

"Who, pray, will be thus blighted?"

"Oh, the doctor I mean, and--and"--here her eyes danced mischievously--"the other nurse, of course.  But you will be going west?"

"No, south, to-day, and in a few minutes.  Here comes the Inspector. May I present him?"

The little nurse's snapping eyes glowed with pleasure as they ran over the tall figure of the Inspector and rested upon his fine clean-cut face.  The Inspector had just made his farewell to the Sergeant preparatory to an immediate departure, but it was a full half hour before they rose from the dainty tea table where the little nurse had made them afternoon tea from her own dainty tea set.

"It makes me think of home," said the Inspector with a sigh as he bent over the little nurse's hand in gratitude.  "My first real afternoon tea in ten years."

"Poor man!" said the nurse.  "Come again."

"Ah, if I could!"

"But YOU are coming?" said the little nurse to Cameron as he held her hand in farewell.  "I heard the doctor say you were coming and we are quite wild with impatience over it."

Cameron looked at the Inspector.

"I had thought of keeping Cameron at Macleod," said the latter. "But now I can hardly have the heart to do so."

"Oh, you needn't look at me so," said the little nurse with a saucy toss of her head.  "He wouldn't bother himself about me, but--but-- there is another.  No, I won't tell him."  And she laughed gaily.

Cameron stood mystified.

"Another?  There is old Martin of course, but there is no other."

The little nurse laughed, this time scornfully.

"Old Martin indeed!  He is making a shameless pretence of ignorance, Inspector Dickson."

"Disgraceful bluff I call it," cried the Inspector.

"Who can it be?" said Cameron.  "I really don't know any nurse.  Of course it can't be--Mandy--Miss Haley?"  He laughed a loud laugh almost of derision as he made the suggestion.

"Ah, he's got it!" cried the nurse, clapping her hands.  "As if he ever doubted."

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed Cameron.  "You don't mean to tell me that Mandy--  What is poor Mandy doing here?  Cooking?"

"Cooking indeed!" exclaimed the nurse.  "Cooking indeed!  Just let the men in this camp, from John here," indicating the Chinaman at the rear of the tent, "to the Sergeant yonder, hear you by the faintest tone indicate anything but adoration for Nurse Haley, and you will need the whole Police Force to deliver you from their fury."

"Good Heavens!" said Cameron in an undertone.  "A nurse!  With those hands!"  He shuddered.  "I mean, of course--you know--she's awfully good-hearted and all that, but as a nurse you know she is impossible."

The little nurse laughed long and joyously.

"Oh, this is fun!  I wish Dr. Martin could hear you.  You forget, Sir, that for a year and a half she has had the benefit of my example and tuition."

"Think of that, Cameron!" murmured the Inspector reproachfully. But Cameron only shook his head.

"Good-bye!" he said.  "No, I don't think I pine for mountain scenery.  Remember me to Martin and to Man--to Nurse Haley."

"Good-bye!" said the little nurse.  "I have a good mind to tell them what you said.  I may.  Just wait, though.  Some day you will very humbly beg my pardon for that slight upon my assistant."

"Slight?  Believe me, I mean none.  I would be an awful cad if I did.  But--well, you know as well as I do that, good soul as Mandy is, she is in many ways impossible."

"Do I?"  Again the joyous laugh pealed out.  "Well, well, come back and see."  And waving her hand she stood to watch them down the trail.

"Jolly little girl," said the Inspector, as they turned from the railway tote road down the coulee into the Kootenay trail.  "But who is this other?"

"Oh," said Cameron impatiently, "I feel like a beastly cad.  She's the daughter of the farmer where I spent a summer in Ontario, a good simple-hearted girl, but awfully--well--crude, you know.  And yet--"  Cameron's speech faded into silence, for his memory played a trick upon him, and again he was standing in the orchard on that sunny autumn day looking into a pair of wonderful eyes, and, remembering the eyes, he forgot his speech.

"Ah, yes," said the Inspector.  "I understand."

"No, you don't," said Cameron almost rudely.  "You would have to see her first.  By Jove!"  He broke into a laugh.  "It is a joke with a vengeance," and relapsed into silence that lasted for some miles.

That night they slept in the old lumber camp, and the afternoon of the second day found them skirting the Crow's Nest.

"We've had no luck this trip," growled the Inspector, for now they were facing toward home.

"Listen!" said Cameron, pulling up his horse sharply.  Down the pass the faraway beat of a drum was heard.  It was the steady throb of the tom-tom rising and falling with rhythmic regularity.

"Sun-dance," said the Inspector, as near to excitement as he generally allowed himself.  "Piegans."

"Where?" said Cameron.

"In the sun-dance canyon," answered the Inspector.  "I believe in my soul we shall see something now.  Must be two miles off.  Come on."

Though late in December the ground was still unfrozen and the new- made government trail gave soft footing to their horses.  And so without fear of detection they loped briskly along till they began to hear rising above the throb of the tom-tom the weird chant of the Indian sun-dancers.

"They are right down in the canyon," said the Inspector.  "I know the spot well.  We can see them from the top.  This is their most sacred place and there is doubtless something big going on."

They left the main trail and, dismounting, led their horses through the scrubby woods, which were thick enough to give them cover without impeding very materially their progress.  Within a hundred yards of the top they tied their horses in the thicket and climbed the slight ascent.  Crawling on hands and knees to the lip of the canyon, they looked down upon a scene seldom witnessed by the eyes of white men.  The canyon was a long narrow valley, whose rocky sides, covered with underbrush, rose some sixty feet from a little plain about fifty yards wide.  The little plain was filled with the Indian encampment.  At one end a huge fire blazed.  At the other, and some fifty yards away, the lodges were set in a semicircle, reaching from side to side of the canyon, and in front of the lodges were a mass of Indian warriors, squatting on their hunkers, beating time, some with tom-toms, others with their hands, to the weirdly monotonous chant, that rose and fell in response to the gesticulations of one who appeared to be their leader.  In the centre of the plain stood a post and round this two circles of dancers leaped and swayed.  In the outer circle the men, with clubs and rifles in their hands, recited with pantomimic gestures their glorious deeds in the war or in the chase.  The inner circle presented a ghastly and horrid spectacle.  It was composed of younger men, naked and painted, some of whom were held to the top of the post by long thongs of buffalo hide attached to skewers thrust through the muscles of the breast or back.  Upon these thongs they swayed and threw themselves in frantic attempts to break free.  With others the skewers were attached by thongs to buffalo skulls, stones or heavy blocks of wood, which, as they danced and leaped, tore at the bleeding flesh.  Round and round the post the naked painted Indians leaped, lurching and swaying from side to side in their desperate efforts to drag themselves free from those tearing skewers, while round them from the dancing circle and from the mass of Indians squatted on the ground rose the weird, maddening, savage chant to the accompaniment of their beating hands and throbbing drums.

"This is a big dance," said the Inspector, subduing his voice to an undertone, though in the din there was little chance of his being heard.  "See! many braves have been made already," he added, pointing to a place on one side of the fire where a number of forms could be seen, some lying flat, some rolling upon the earth, but all apparently more or less in a stupor.

Madder and madder grew the drums, higher and higher rose the chant. Now and then an older warrior from the squatting circle would fling his blanket aside and, waving his rifle high in the air, would join with loud cries and wild gesticulations the outer circle of dancers.

"It is a big thing this," said the Inspector again.  "No squaws, you see, and all in war paint.  They mean business.  We must get closer."

Cameron gripped him by the arm.

"Look!" he said, pointing to a group of Indians standing at a little distance beyond the lodges.  "Little Thunder and Raven!"

"Yes, by Jove!" said the Inspector.  "And White Horse, and Louis the Breed and Rainy Cloud of the Blackfeet.  A couple of Sarcee chaps, I see, too, some Piegans and Bloods; the rest are Crees and Assiniboines.  The whole bunch are here.  Jove, what a killing if we could get them!  Let's work nearer.  Who is that speaking to them?"

"That's Raven," said Cameron, "and I should like to get my hands on him."

"Steady now," said the Inspector.  "We must make no mistake."

They worked along the top of the ravine, crawling through the bushes, till they were immediately over the little group of which Raven was the centre.  Raven was still speaking, the half-breed interpreting to the Crees and the Assiniboines, and now and then, as the noise from the chanting, drumming Indians subsided, the policemen could catch a few words.  After Raven had finished Little Thunder made reply, apparently in strenuous opposition.  Again Raven spoke and again Little Thunder made reply.  The dispute waxed warm.  Little Thunder's former attitude towards Raven appeared to be entirely changed.  The old subservience was gone.  The Indian stood now as a Chief among his people and as such was recognized in that company.  He spoke with a haughty pride of conscious strength and authority.  He was striving to bring Raven to his way of thinking.  At length Raven appeared to throw down his ultimatum.

"No!" he cried, and his voice rang up clear through the din.  "You are fools!  You are like little partridges trying to frighten the hunter.  The Great White Mother has soldiers like the leaves of the trees.  I know, for I have seen them.  Do not listen to this man!" pointing to Little Thunder.  "Anger has made him mad.  The Police with their big guns will blow you to pieces like this."  He seized a bunch of dead leaves, ground them in his hands and puffed the fragments in their faces.

The half-breed and Little Thunder were beside themselves with rage. Long and loud they harangued the group about them.  Only a little of their meaning could the Inspector gather, but enough to let him know that they were looking down upon a group of conspirators and that plans for a widespread rebellion were being laid before them.

Through the harangues of Little Thunder and Louis the half-breed Raven stood calmly regarding them, his hands on his hips.  He knew well, as did the men watching from above, that all that stood between him and death were those same two hands and the revolvers in his belt, whose butts were snugly nosing up to his fingers. Little Thunder had too often seen those fingers close and do their deadly work while an eyelid might wink to venture any hasty move.

"Is that all?" said Raven at last.

Little Thunder made one final appeal, working himself up into a fine frenzy of passion.  Then Raven made reply.

"Listen to me!" he said.  "It is all folly, mad folly!  And besides," and here his voice rang out like a trumpet, "I am for the Queen, God bless her!"  His figure straightened up, his hands dropped on the butts of his guns.

"By Jove!" exclaimed Cameron.  "Isn't that great?"

"Very fine, indeed," said the Inspector softly.  Both men's guns were lined upon the conspirators.

Then the half-breed spoke, shrugging his shoulders in contempt.

"Let heem go.  Bah!  No good."  He spat upon the ground.

Raven stood as he was for a few moments, smiling.

"Good-bye, all," he said.  "Bon jour, Louis.  Let no man move!  Let no man move!  I never need to shoot at a man twice.  Little Thunder knows.  And don't follow!" he added.  "I shall be waiting behind the rocks."

He slowly backed away from the group, turned in behind a sheltering rock, then swiftly began to climb the rocky sides of the canyon. The moment he was out of sight Little Thunder dodged in behind the ledges, found his rifle, and, making a wide detour, began to climb the side of the ravine at an angle which would cut off Raven's retreat.  All this took place in full view of the two watchers above.

"Let's get that devil," said the Inspector.  But Cameron was already gone.  Swiftly along the lip of the canyon Cameron ran and worked his way down the side till he stood just over the sloping ledge upon which the Indian was crouched and waiting.  Along this lodge came the unconscious Raven, softly whistling to himself his favourite air,

     "Three cheers for the red, white and blue."

There was no way of warning him.  Three steps more and he would be within range.  The Inspector raised his gun and drew a bead upon the crouching Indian.

"Wait!" whispered Cameron.  "Don't shoot.  It will bring them all down on us."  Gathering himself together as he spoke, he vaulted clear over the edge of the rock and dropped fair upon the shoulders of the Indian below, knocking the breath completely out of him and bearing him flat to the rock.  Like a flash Cameron's hand was on the Indian's throat so that he could make no outcry.  A moment later Raven came in view.  Swifter than light his guns were before his face and levelled at Cameron.

"Don't shoot!" said the Inspector quietly from above.  "I have you covered."

Perilous as the situation was, Cameron was conscious only of the humourous side of it and burst into a laugh.

"Come here, Raven," he said, "and help me to tie up this fellow." Slowly Raven moved forward.

"Why, by all the gods!  If it isn't our long-lost friend, Cameron," he said softly, putting up his guns.  "All right, old man," he added, nodding up at the Inspector.  "Now, what's all this?  What? Little Thunder?  So!  Then I fancy I owe my life to you, Cameron."

Cameron pointed to Little Thunder's gun.  Raven stood looking down upon the Indian, who was recovering his wind and his senses.  His face suddenly darkened.

"You treacherous dog!  Well, we are now nearly quits.  Once you saved my life, now you would have taken it."

Meantime Cameron had handcuffed Little Thunder.

"Up!" he said, prodding him with his revolver.  "And not a sound!"

Keeping within cover of the bushes, they scrambled up the ravine side.  As they reached the top the Indian with a mighty wrench tore himself from Cameron's grip and plunged into the thicket.  Before he had taken a second step, however, the Inspector was upon him like a tiger and bore him to the ground.

"Will you go quietly," said the Inspector, "or must we knock you on the head?"  He raised his pistol over the Indian as he spoke.

"I go," grunted the Indian solemnly.

"Come, then," said the Inspector, "we'll give you one chance more. Where's your friend?" he added, looking about him.  But Raven was gone.

"I am just as glad," said Cameron, remembering Raven's declaration of allegiance a few moments before.  "He wasn't too bad a chap after all.  We have this devil anyhow."

"Quick, now," said the Inspector.  "We have not a moment to lose. This is an important capture.  How the deuce we are to get him to the Fort I don't know."

Through the bushes they hurried their prisoner, threatening him with their guns.  When they came to their horses they were amazed to find Little Thunder's pony beside their own and on the Inspector's saddle a slip of paper upon which in the fading light they found inscribed "One good turn deserves another.  With Mr. Raven's compliments."

"By Jove, he's a trump!" said the Inspector.  "I'd like to get him, but all the same--"

And so they rode off to the Fort.


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