THIS visit was a risky
thing to make, but I longed to mingle again with the warriors in whose
fortunes I had shared on warpath and in camp. Many years had passed
since I had left them, and I trusted to the long time to keep my
identity a secret. For, there were certain occurrences of the old wild
days I knew some of them would remember.
A strange experience—that
visit! Often I was on the point of revealing myself, long believed dead,
but caution held me back. My friends, I knew, would welcome me, but—so
would my enemies, for an entirely different reason.
One day, at a council of
the Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches there were signs that led me to fear a
certain few had recognised me, and these few were— not my friends. -
Convinced that it would
be well fpr me to leave camp and get away as speedily as possible, I
mounted my horse and headed for Fort Sill. But I felt I was followed by
several of my foes.
On Medicine Creek, above
the post, I found accommodation in an old block house with
bullet-pierced logs—a relic of frontier days, turned into a kind of
When I retired to my room
that night, memory of the long-ago days, together with the danger I was
in, kept me awake.
About one o’clock in the
morning I heard the tramping of horses’ feet. Peering through the little
window, I saw a company of horsemen. That they were after me I had no
doubt. The Indians had set the officers of the law on my trail! Behind
the door was a gun and a belt of cartridges. At sight of them the old
spirit took possession of me. I felt a wild joy at the prospect as I
took up the Winchester, threw in a cartridge, and sat down on the bed to
Presently there was a
knock on the front door. I was sure it was made with the butt of a
sixshooter. The door of the front room opened to bring to my straining
ears a whispered conversation and approaching footsteps.
I took one brief glimpse
of myself as a civilised man and a minister of the gospel. Then I
dropped back into the old life of a savage at bay, ready to die like a
Came a knock at my door.
I cocked the gun, my finger on the trigger to keep it from clicking, as
I stepped to an advantageous position so as to get the first shot.
“What do you want ?” I
The answer came in a
woman’s voice—the landlady’s. She explained that several cowboys had
just arrived with one of their fellows who was very sick, and asked that
he might occupy the other bed in my room.
I mentally debated the
matter. It might be a ruse to gain admittance. I peeped at the visitors
through a crack in the door. Even in the dim lamplight I could see that
my suspicions were unfounded. Setting my gun in its corner, I invited
them to enter.
The next day I lost no
time in getting away from the place. On my way I stopped at Fort Reno,
and as I stood at a distance and watched the sentry at the guardhouse
pacing his beat, I was filled with fear. I didn’t stay long, for I knew
again the feeling I had experienced when escaping from the place many
Again in Buffalo, I went
to the Reverend Doctor Henry Ward and unburdened myself of my tormenting
secret. He introduced me to a law firm, one of whose members was a
Senator, one a schoolmate of the President, Grover Cleveland, and
another the man in whose house President McKinley afterwards died. They
at once took the matter in hand, and one day, about two weeks later,
while attending a missionary meeting in Calvary Presbyterian Church,
Doctor Ward handed me my pardon from the highest authority of the United