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BC Historical Books

Nootka ; a tale of Vancouver Island. With twelve full page illustrations and map Gordon, Granville, Lord, 1856-1907 1899

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Array       NOOTKA
I Go West Again
Tom Fane and Myself Decide on an Expedition
Abe Arrives
Au Revoir
Relics of the Past
The Dead Prospector
Light at Last
Friends or Foes .
"You have got your Answer"
The Indians Agree
Abe Wilson
The captain looked long at the chart
We waved farewell to the Annie Jephson
"Thought so," said Abe.    " Dead"
We soon had . .. some rashers of bacon spluttering
merrily in the frying-pan   .
Abe gets an easy shot at a fine buck
As we were skirting a belt of timber... Abe stopped
short again
Abe at once produced his big silver lever.
John Walker
Hand-to-hand engagements were going on between
the friendly Indians and the foe
The two men fell over, and I saw the girl turn
The boats were lowered as quickly as possible
To face page   26
In which it will be seen how I became
possessed of this Story
1 ^ARLY one wet afternoon in last November I
-**—' had just finished a game of billiards with the
marker at the Turf Club. It was too soon for the
usual habitués of the club to put in an appearance,
and we had had the room to ourselves. The game
was over, and I was knocking the balls about»
thinking how to spend the remainder of the dismal
afternoon, when a member, whom I knew slightly,
entered. He looked round, saw there was no one
else present, and walked straight to the table, on
which he deposited two brown-paper parcels, one a
moderate-sized one and the other a small one.
I took no notice of him, and played a nice run
through off the red into the left-hand top pocket ;
the red ball came round and cannoned into the
brown-paper parcels, but they did not seem to mind,
no more did the member.
The man spoke»
" You dabble in literature, I believe ? "
I did not answer at once ; his tone was aggressive,
and I have not the sweetest of tempers, and a
sarcastic retort rose to my lips.
Dabble, indeed ! Was a mixture of Thackeray
and Dickens, Shakespeare and De Rougemont, to
be called " dabbling " ? Still, I am bound to admit
that modern critics had long since poked the fire
of my ambition till the embers were falling low
and colourless ; had deluged my happiest efforts with
the cold water of their malice and uncharitableness,
and those remarks I should have looked upon as
insults some time back fell now unheeded on my
ears.    And where was the good in getting cross?
" Yes," I said carelessly, at the same time playing
a dainty " jenny " off the white, " I dabble."
"Well, then," said the other, "there's some stuff
for you."
" What do you mean by stuff? " I asked, getting
really angry.
"If you'11 stop knocking those confounded ivories
about I '11 tell you."
I stopped, and he went on.
II 've just returned from a trip in Vancouver
Island after imaginary wapiti, and there it was I
got hold of that stuff"—he pointed to the parcels
on the table—" but I '11 tell you the way of it as
briefly as I can. For two weeks I had been roaming
in the dense forest of the interior, cooped up with
four dirty Indians; never a living creature had we
come across barring a few squirrels, and only once INTRODUCTION
did we see tracks of wapiti, the beasts that made
them we never saw. I was going melancholy mad,
likewise provisions were getting short, when we
decided to return. We had left our boat at the
north end of the Cowichan Lake, a stretch of water
some twenty-five miles in length, at the south end
of which is a country inn kept by a white man.
" Late one evening we reached the shore of the
lake, and I can tell you it was one of the most
blessed reliefs I ever experienced when I saw the
boat and the evening sun lighting up the calm waters
of the lake like "
" Molten gold," I suggested.
" All right," said he ; " but can't you have molten
11 fear not," I replied ; " it would have to be a
moonlight scene."
" Well, listen ; I have not much time. It was too
late that day to think of rowing down the lake, so
we camped on the shore ; and that evening, just as
Tikoo Johnny—he was the head Indian—was cutting
some slices of bacon, whilst the other three fellows
squatted down jabbering to one another some few
paces off, blessed if we didn't hear the cracking of
branches and the sound of men approaching. Tikoo
Johnny jumped up and listened a moment. ' Think
Indians/ he said ; ' not sure.'
"In a few minutes six figures emerged from the
forest and came towards us :  five of them carried NOOTKA
packs, but one carried no pack, only a rifle. What
struck me with amazement was the fact that these
Indians were unlike any I had seen before on the
island — they were a finer race, they were well
clothed, they wore curiously plaited straw hats,
they looked cleaner, their whole demeanour seemed
more civilized. When within a few paces of me the
one with the rifle raised his hat and bowed profoundly. ' Johnny,' I cried, * ask him what he wants/
But before my man, who looked to my mind as
though he felt more astonished than I did, could
get any words out, the stranger addressed me in
pure English : ' If the White Chief would permit
us to camp somewhere near here, and give me a
few minutes' conversation when his supper is over,
I should be much obliged, as I am charged with an
important message from the great Chief Wellesley/
" If I were astonished before, I was more than ever
so now. Who the deuce was Chief Wellesley, and
why on earth did he want to send me a message?
Again, this man was educated. He spoke English ;
he seemed to like to speak English. Never before
had I known an Indian who would speak English
unless obliged, although he might know it thoroughly.
Do you know, I once had an Indian attached to my
camp for three months who pretended he did not
know a word of English, and looked absolutely blank
when we chatted round the camp fire. Never would
he answer except when  my hunter addressed him INTRODUCTION
in Siwash, till one day one of the boys accidentally
dropped a hot ember on to his bare foot, and then
we found out he knew English. I tell you, I've
heard some pithy oaths among the cowboys of the
West, but that Indian could have given any one of
them a stone and a beating, and what made him go
on all the more was that all of us round the camp
were splitting our sides with laughter.
" I looked up at the tall figure before me. * I should
like to invite you/ I said, 'to take a bit of supper
with me ; but you can see for yourself we are reduced
to very meagre fare/ The Indian cast a quick eye
at the bacon, bowed, and retired to his men, who
awaited him a few paces off. He muttered a few
words to them, and quickly one of them began
fumbling about in his pack. Their backs were
towards me, so I could not see what they were
doing ; but in a few minutes he returned. In one
hand he carried a pheasant and in the other a box of
sardines. Gracious ! I leapt to my feet. Was this
show a good old Drury Lane pantomime, and had
the good fairies taken pity upon me and sent their
messenger to help me, or was I really off my head ?
f I jumped to my feet, and, without speaking, began
feeling the bird. I thought it was probably full of
sawdust, some theatrical dummy-bird ; but no, the
feathers parted and the flesh yielded to my touch.
It was all real ; so was the box of sardines.
i I  think  the  Indian  saw my astonishment ex- NOOTKA
pressed in my face, for when I looked up he was
smiling. c It Is nothing/ he said, ' if the White Chief
will please to accept it/ ! On the condition that you
share it with me/ I replied. Again the polite Indian
" By the time supper was ready—and I do not
think I ever enjoyed a meal so much after that
incessant bacon after bacon—the night had fallen,
and it was round the crackling fire that the Indian
thus addressed me :—
" ' Before delivering my message/ he said, ' I would
ask the White Chief not to repeat what I am about
to say to the Indians with him ; it might lead to
unpleasantness in the future/ I willingly promised,
and he continued. ' We have known of your movements for the last fortnight/ I started ; if ever I had
thought myself alone, forgotten, and lost sight of to
the world, it was during the last fortnight, but I did
not speak. * But Chief Wellesley did not wish to
communicate with you till you were further from the
settlement. Had you been alone he would have
gladly welcomed you ; in fact, he wished very much
to speak with you, and several times we attempted to
catch your attention ; but you would never move
without the Indians, and it was impossible, as we
do not wish the Indians to know where our settlement is. Therefore there was nothing for it but to
wait until you were at a safe distance. Meanwhile
you were watched ; and at length, when you moved INTRODUCTION
your camp and went south, I was deputed to follow.
I have only now to deliver my message and my trust.
The Chief Wellesley told me to approach you, and
to say that if you are going back to a place you
called Ingland—' I smiled ; after all, do we not all
pronounce the ' E ' as though it were an ' I ' ?—* he
would be greatly obliged and indebted to you if you
would take some papers—the story of a portion of
his life—and have them published somewhere in
Ingland. He told me to say, too, that there might
be some expense attached to this, and I am to
hand you, in the event of your caring to undertake
his wish, a tin of gold-dust of the value of five
hundred dollars to defray the expenses/ The Indian
paused, evidently waiting my reply.
" ' Well/ I answered, ( I can only say I will do my
best ; but I am not a writer, nor am I in touch
with literary people/
"c If you will do your best it will be sufficient/ said
the Indian.
" I went on asking him many questions as to
whence he came, who was Chief Wellesley, where
he got his clothes and his hat, how he spoke English
so perfectly, and many other questions, but it was
no good. His replies were courteous, but he invariably answered that he was not at liberty to go
into these matters, but that in the manuscript he
would hand me would be found as much or as little
as the Chief Wellesley wished to tell. 8
"' But why/ I asked, ' does the Chief Wellesley
leave a matter like this to me ? He does not know
" I We have described you to him, and he is satisfied/ was the answer.
" There was no use pressing him to tell me more,
and as the night was getting on I suggested he
should give me the manuscript. He rose and again
bowed ; then he drew forth an envelope.
"'Will you please to open that and read the
contents ? '
" I tore open the envelope, within which I found
two separate papers.
" The first ran as follows :—
" ' DEAR Sir,—I hope you will pardon the liberty
I take, but hearing that there is an Englishman in
the forest, I seize this opportunity of asking you if
you will take the manuscript, which will be handed
you with this letter, and lay it before an English
publisher. I may say that within it is contained the
story of the great turning-point of my life, I have
other means of sending these papers to England,
but I should now have to wait till the spring of
next year, and I know that the breast-pocket of an
English gentleman is as secure a deposit place as
the hold of a steamer. I must apologize for not
being able to ask you to visit me. Had you been
alone I should have been truly delighted, but I dare INTRODUCTION
not allow strange Indians into the settlement for
many reasons.
" ' Thanking you in anticipation, I have the honour
to remain,
" ' Your obliged and obedient servant,
" ' Charles Wellesley.
"'Nootka, October, 1898/
"The second paper, on the outside of which was
written ' Please sign and return/ went thus :—
" ' I , of , hereby solemnly swear that
I will take the manuscript handed me this day
of October, 1898, and bring it to the notice of some
literary man in England, and use my best endeavours
in getting it published/
11  had  read  the two  papers.    ' Well/   I  cried,
I where is  the  blessed   manuscript ? '    The  Indian
pointed to paper number two.
" ' Will the White Chief sign ? '
"l Oh/ I cried, ' pardon me.    Certainly/
" I  had  a  stylographic  pen   in  my pocket, and
started to scribble my name and address as quickly
as the light from the flickering fire would allow of.
When   I  looked  up  the  Indian  was  gone.    What
noiseless beggars they are.    But I had not long to
wait.    In a few minutes his tall  form was by the
fire, and in his hands were those two brown-paper
parcels."   The  member pointed  to  the parcels  on NOOTKA
the billiard table. " I gave him a receipt for the
manuscript, and one for the tin of gold-dust, and
bade him good-night. When I turned in I remember
seeing him piling logs on his fire, thirty or forty
yards away. When I awoke in the morning they
were gone/'
The member looked at his watch.
" I 'm late," he said ; " will you undertake this job
for me, and get this stuff published ? "
"What if it is all rot?" I asked.
The member shrugged his shoulders and said,
" Give it back to me, and I must try someone else,
I suppose."
But it so happened I didn't, and here is the story
as it was handed to me.
To this story there is but one alteration I have
made, if alteration it can be called. Along with the
manuscript were several pencil sketches, inserted
more for the purpose of giving an idea of the
country, people, etc., than for any pretence at artistic
merit; these I have handed over to Mr. Louis
Edwards, who reproduced them as herein represented.   NOOTKA
/ Go West Again
I DO not think I ever cared much for novels
when once I was grown up. As a boy the unparalleled feats of Jack the Giant Killer and the
quiet charm of Cinderella had for me, of course,
as for all boys and girls, a fascination—a fascination
that time was to prove illusive. Poor Jack! It is
a sad moment in our lives when we awake to the
fact that his doughty deeds were never done, that
they were merely the fantastic creations of some
ribald writer, and that all those magnificent conceptions we had formed for entering the lonely forest,
finding the giant's castle, storming the ramparts, and
saving the imprisoned princess from a horrible fate,
have been wasted—mere idle imaginings. It is a
bitter date in our lives when we step, never to return
again, across the threshold of that grand old Palace
of Fancy that lies on the borders of Fairyland and 12
Fact. And in later days how often will Memory
carry us back, and once more we will wander by the
side of Innocence, that lovely maiden with the great
blue eyes, and listen again to those dear old stories
she used to whisper in our astonished ears, or be
nestled once again in the soft lap of gentle Love—
Love that smoothed the hot, feverish forehead ; that
soothed us in the hour of sorrow ; that told us of a
pure and holy feeling that we hoped to find, that
we longed to find, in the bright world that was
bursting on our vision. Let me stop, for the picture
conjures up sad memories. Yet, after all, those
mythical dreams of childhood, are they all unreal,
impossible? Maybe they are, and still they cannot
be more unreal than the thousands of vague and
problematical theories regarding the Hereafter.
Perhaps it was that sudden discovery that the
cherished tales I had heard in boyhood, and learnt
to implicitly believe, were only efforts of the imagination, or, to put it simply, downright lies, that made
me at once cynical and sceptical. Anyhow, from
that moment when in boyhood I made the discovery
that I had been "done," when I gazed at last on
my loved fairy-tale books with astonishment, with
awe, with disgust, I have never opened a printed
volume of any sort without a feeling that it was
all false, and that I should probably be "spoofed"
once more. Of course, in fiction one forgives it,
it is part and parcel of the whole thing, and the
better the work the greater the lie ; but in works
of travel—well, I cannot help it, I have never been
able to wander through a book of travels without
coming to the conclusion the writer was a liar. I  GO  WEST  AGAIN
And now the reader will doubtless exclaim, What
the deuce am I doing, then ? Let me then explain,
as well as I am able ; but I would ask your kind
indulgence, as I am not a book-writer, nor, as I have
hinted before, much of a reader of them, but situated
where I am, far away from the hum and crowd of
the world, getting on too in years, I feel that I
should like to put on paper the great event that
altered the whole course of my life.
It was Tom Fane that started it. I had known
Sir Thomas Fane pretty intimately in the old
country ; many a time we had divided a sweep at
the Gun Club, and at billiards we were friendly but
bitter antagonists, for half the club, it was well
known, considered Sir Thomas the best, and the
other half thought I was, and I maintain that it
was pardonable vanity if we each cast our vote
in with our own side. At pyramids he could beat
me easily ; he was a fine hazard striker, and, I
willingly own it, a more solid player than myself,
but I had more " execution," and so had more command over the balls. In short, at individual shots
Tom was more sure and steadier, but when I got
a break I could make more of it. And so the tussles
we had were close and keen, but they were fought
without any wrangling or ill-feeling, and when I
departed in the early autumn of each year for my
usual trip to a distant country in search of big game,
and he to his moor in Scotland, we always parted
the best of friends.
For two autumns prior to the one in which the
incidents in my story are depicted I had made an
expedition in search of Rocky Mountain sheep—
M ft
the big horn—the wildest beast the sportsman can
pursue, and the one dearest to his heart. On the
first occasion I outfitted at Banff Springs and went
north, but game was very scarce, or we were unlucky,
only one good sheep did I get and a few cariboo.
I had been led to believe there were elk—wapiti—
in the country, but not a sign did we see of them,
not even an old track. But there was one redeeming
point about that trip : the man who went with me,
Abe Wilson, was the nicest hunter and most delightful fellow I ever, met in that capacity, quiet and
unassuming, with none of the roughness which characterizes so many of the western trappers; he was
the most agreeable companion I ever spent two
months in the mountains with, and one soon discovers the faults and failings of a fellow-creature
if you are boxed up with him alone in the wild,
desolate Rockies. It was not his fault sport was
bad, simply the game was not there, and I made a
mental resolution that if ever I returned Abe Wilson
should accompany me on my future trip.
Like the fly that returneth to the jam-pot, even
though the jam be gone, I had gone out again in
the following year. I had decided on going up from
Ashcroft into the Lillooet district, being assured by
a friend that sheep were plentiful there ; but whether
we were too early, or whatever the cause might be,
we saw but little game, and in a shooting sense the
sport was disappointing.
And so we reach the autumn of the year in which
the events occurred I am about to try and chronicle.
I was five-and-thirty then, a tall, active man. I
wore a short, peaked, black beard, and was, I think, I  GO  WEST  AGAIN
rather a ferocious-looking person. I am sorry, to
say also I was of a cynical nature. Early I got to
dislike balls and parties, and even dinners bored
me—I mean dinner-parties. I got into the bad
habit of not calling on people, and perhaps rather
avoiding persons I ought to have cultivated ; and
this, coupled with my constant disappearance for
months at a time in my wanderings over the world,
led to my being almost lost sight of and forgotten
to the world—to my world, that little circle I had
been brought up amongst. They had closed up
and squeezed me out, as it were, and with my
cynical grin I thanked them heartily, but perhaps
I was wrong. Anyhow, I bear no one any ill-will
August came round, and I sat alone one morning
in the club perusing the morning papers. "Prospects
of Grouse Shooting" fell on my eye. Why was I
not going grouse shooting ? The answer was simple.
I had no grouse moor of my own, and no one had
asked me. Daily the members of the club were
becoming fewer and fewer. In the afternoon they
were discussing their plans in the smoking-room ;
in the evening they had flown. In fact, society, like
a flock of swallows, was migrating north. A feeling
of isolation came upon me. For the last six years
I had gone abroad to various parts of the world in
search of big game—as I have remarked before—
and I suppose I was no longer considered a member
of the select flock of swallows, or perhaps it was I
was forgotten. Anyhow, I felt rather like a small
sparrow-hawk, that must hide away and seek his
prey on the outskirts of civilization. NOOTKA
I had written to Abe Wilson that it was extremely
doubtful if I should go out West this autumn, and he
was not to wait for me if he got another job ; still,
I daresay I held out some faint hopes of going. I
never could make up my mind to do a thing weeks,
or even days, in advance. When I had done so as
a young man I somehow never felt comfortable,
there was always a sensation of being chained down,
which was distasteful to me, and seemed to increase
as I grew older ; and then I grew very chary of
accepting invitations some time beforehand to shooting parties or county dances or big functions of any
sort, and, of course, the natural consequence was I
drifted apart from my circle of acquaintances. Often
and often did I argue with myself, and upbraid myself
for being so foolish, but do what I would the glitter
of society life, that appeared to dazzle so many,
seemed to me but a dull, insipid glare. The oily
speech and forced laugh of the Piccadilly Plunger
or the Drawing-room Daisy jarred on my ears, and
something within me ever kept urging me on to
wander in the wild, uninhabited parts of the world,
away from falsehood and fraud and the unfriendliness
of friends, among the quiet nooks and valleys, where
God's glorious sun shines yet upon nature the same
as it shone in the early days in the garden of Eden.
It was only a few days before I had stood on the
platform of a country station waiting for the London
train. On one of the wooden benches sat three
country damsels. Sturdy and strong and neat they
looked, with the glow of health on their ruddy faces,
while quietly and demurely they chatted to one
another, waiting also for the train.    Suddenly there GO  WEST  AGAIN
was a clamour, accompanied with shrill laughter, and
out on to the platform flounced some real ladies.
" Portah, get me my luggerdge," cried a high-
pitched voice.
They had been to a county dance in the neighbourhood the night before, and these were some of
the great young people of fashion—without whom
the whole thing would have been a failure—returning
to town. Some young dandies were with them, and
had any stranger come upon the scene at that
moment he would have surely concluded that not
only the station belonged to them, but the whole
line, that the stationmaster was their polite butler,
and the porters their footmen. They talked at the
top of their voices, the conversation was idiotic, but
the laughter was incessant.
I glanced at the country damsels ; with open eyes
they were gazing at their " superiors," but what their
thoughts were I cannot tell. I remember mine,
though. The sight of those high-plumed, tight-
squeezed, highly-decorated women took me back
some ten or a dozen years to a place that existed
before the Trocadero was turned into a music-hall,
where music played, and smart gentlemen with
chains of office round their necks cleared magic
circles, around which Jerry and Janet, and Paul and
Polly, and I with a thing like one of these, would
occasionally pirouette round and round. And yet
one of them was called Lady Emily Something, and
another Lady Isabel. Well ! I have told the reader
I was cynical in those days, and perhaps the world
in England has changed since then ; but at the time
I remember curling my lip and saying to myself,
" These two groups are very different : which, according to nature, are ladies and which mere women?"
And this scene came across my mind as I sat
ruminating in the club.
Suddenly I jumped up. " I '11 go West again ! " I
cried. " The rifle and the telescope and the glorious
desolate mountains, that is the life for me ! " CHAPTER  II.
Tom Fane and Myself decide on
an Expedition
I H AD been disappointed with the sport I had
had in the Rockies the two previous seasons,
and so I determined to make my way gradually
across the mountains to the Pacific coast and see
what a country it was like there.
This is not a book of travel, and so I have no
wish to enlarge on the magnificent reception I had
at Winnipeg at the hands of the head-waiter of the
hotel. He was a Londoner, and probably knew me
to be an Englishman at once by my voice and dress ;
anyhow, he was enthusiastic. Did I know his aunt,
Mrs. Smith? Possibly I did. Kept the Whitewash
Laundry in Westbourne Grove. Alas ! I had not
the pleasure ; but I knew old Smith, the tobacconist
at the corner by Victoria Station. Ah! he was
probably a cousin. Some of the Smiths had worked
their way south-west, and the few days I stayed at
Winnipeg I was made very comfortable by the kind
attention of Mr. Smith, the waiter.
I have always had a great respect and regard for
the clan Smith. They have always appeared to me
to have originally been a lowland clan without the
advantages of the Macintoshes, the Mackenzies, or
the Camerons. There never was a chieftain Smith
with a tartan and broad lands and turreted castles,
who could gather around him a thousand followers
and descend with one fell swoop upon his neighbours
and kill all the men, and carry off all the women and
cattle and other likely goods, and divide them up
and fall to to the feasting, and thanking God for His
great goodness in delivering the enemy into his hands.
No; the original Smith was a quiet, unpretentious
individual, who thought only of his wife and his
business. And see how the family have grown and
prospered ; so vast have they become, that it has been
found necessary to alter the name somewhat in many
instances. The " i " has been changed for a " y," and
occasionally an " e " has been added ; and then again,
we have the Fulton Smiths and the De Vere Smiths.
Yet all these are branches of the main Smith tree,
descendants of old Smith ; and where are the Macintoshes with all their swagger? Why, Smith sells
mackintoshes five per cent, off for cash !
Enough of this unseemly digression.
I stayed a day or two at Banff Springs to enjoy
the glorious scenery and have a chat with my old
hunter, Abe Wilson, and I was sorry to find he had
taken a couple of tourists a trip into the mountains,
and was not expected back for a fortnight.
The first week in September I found myself in
dreamy, delightful Victoria, the capital of Vancouver
Island. I am not going to describe Victoria. There
is a chemist's shop about a hundred and fifty yards
from the club at the corner of the next block on your
left, and there is a museum of badly-stuffed beasts I  DECIDE ON  AN  EXPEDITION      21
and birds somewhere. But the climate ! In case the
guide books say nothing on this subject, I feel it
right to remark that the climate in Vancouver Island
in the autumn months is absolutely heavenly ; and
I remember remarking to myself. "If only they
would cut the trees down and make a golf course,
here is the spot to live and die upon."
There were plenty of good fellows at the club who
told me where to get fishing and shooting. There
were wapiti—elk they are commonly called—in the
interior of the island ; but it was hard work and
lonely getting a shot at them, owing to the dense
forest that appeared to cover the whole island down
to the very shore of the sea.
I have often wondered how the first white men
who found Vancouver ever landed at all for timber.
One night I had dined at the club, and was turning
over the leaves of the last batch of picture papers
from the old country, when a hand descended on
my shoulder, and a voice cried cheerily, " Charlie,
what the devil are you doing here?"
It was Tom Fane.    I knew his voice at once,
a moment I was up and shaking hands with him.
"Doing here, my boy?    Nothing  at all," I
" Well, of all the restless scamps I ever came
across you take the prize," said Tom. " The
world isn't big enough nowadays for you wandering beggars."
"But what are you here for?" I retorted.
"Sent the yacht round by sea," he replied.
I Joined her at 'Frisco, and now I 've come for a
cruise along the coast and among all the endless
an- 22
islands which, as far as I can make out, stretch for
hundreds of miles to the north."
" Have you got anyone with you ?" I asked.
" Not a soul. I tried to get two or three chaps
to come, but no one seemed very keen about it.
I think everyone looked upon my trip as rather a
wild goose chase."
We chatted for some time, and when my friend
left he had made me promise to dine with him the
following night on board the yacht.
Tom Fane was a man who did things well. I had
never seen his yacht, not being much of a yachting
man, but I had often heard men at the club in
London speak of her as a beautiful boat ; and the
following evening, as I stood on the quay waiting
for the yacht's boat to take me off, I could not
help thinking, as I gazed at her shapely lines, that
I should like to be rich and own such a lovely
floating home. The sun was sinking behind the
inland mountains, and throwing long shadows across
the unruffled waters of the harbour as I stepped on
the clean, white decks. How neat and trim everything looked ! Why is it yachts are kept cleaner
and brighter than any other human habitations?
The brasswork shone like burnished gold ; there
was no dust. No, when you come to think of it
dust has a poor chance on the ocean, but its evil
companion rust has a splendid time, or could have,
if not persistently warred against. Such ideas as
these flashed through my mind as I stepped aboard,
almost instantly to be dispelled by the cheery voice
of Tom Fane.
A little while later and we went below, and what a I  DECIDE  ON  AN  EXPEDITION      23
picture of luxury did that cosy, roomy cabin or stateroom, as the steward would call it, present ! It was
all oak-panelled, with fine artist-proof engravings let
in here and there. In one corner stood an old
grandfather eight-day clock. At once, when my
eye caught this, I became curious. " Surely," said I,
I the pendulum of that clock doesn't work correctly
when you 're at sea ? "
" No," replied Tom, laughing, " that's rather a
tricky device of mine. The works are ordinary
lever ones, and the lower part of the case I 've
had fitted up to hold guns and rifles."
There was only one thing about that cabin that
looked untidy ; perhaps that was the reason it instantly impressed itself upon me, and yet I think
that it was the thing that interested me most.
Stuck against the wall, completely hiding one of
the engravings, was a large chart of the sea surrounding the coast of Vancouver Island. Towards
the north the marks and soundings were fewer,
showing the northern portion had been less explored.
Fane caught my eye riveted on the map. "What
are you thinking of, Charlie ? " he queried.
" Oh, nothing of importance ! " I answered. " I
was just wondering what a devil of a time it must
take a vessel to go probing and sounding round an
intricate coast like this."
I You were thinking of something else, my boy ;
you were dreaming, I saw it in your eye."
"What was I dreaming of?" I asked, laughing,
"The girl I left behind me?"
" No, that's the last thing a cold, callous creature
like you would dream of; but that restless, wander- 24
ing spirit of yours was imagining itself prowling
round the coast of Vancouver Island, now wasn't
" I believe some such thing was in my mind," I
With that we began to discuss the gulfs, the inlets,
the rivers, and lakes, and Tom Fane, to my surprise,
grew quite enthusiastic. " Why," he cried, " I Ve got
the boat ; let's go a voyage of discovery ! "
I have said before I was not much of a yachting
man ; also I had been forming hazy plans in my
mind during the last few days, and gradually, while
Fane was eagerly talking on, they were developing.
I was always a pig-headed fellow in some ways ;
once I formed a plan nothing on earth would turn
me from it, and no one could persuade me to alter
it. So whilst my friend was suggesting this, that,
and the other I was quietly working out my mode
of procedure.
" Have you got the latest survey map of the
island?" I asked at length.
" Thompson ! " called Fane.
"Yes, sir."
"Ask Captain Hume if he has a survey map of
Vancouver Island."
The steward returned in a few moments with a
large map folded up. The map was unfolded and
pinned to the "side" of the cabin—I feel it would
be wrong to call it the " wall." " Now," said I, " may
I suggest a trip ? "
" Go on," quoth Tom, as he passed the bottle.
" You will notice, then," I continued, " that almost
immediately after you leave Victoria, on the west I  DECIDE  ON  AN  EXPEDITION
coast, civilization and the abode of the white man
ceases. According to the chart you have here, the
sea-coast has been well. surveyed right round the
island, but the inland portion, north of Alberni,
which is about the centre of the island, is unknown.
Now there must be wapiti in those regions to the
north, and maybe other game, and as I am very
keen to get a shot at one, what I would propose
is this : You work your way in the yacht up to
the west coast to Nootka Sound ; see, here it is "—
I pointed to the map. "You will notice a long arm
of the sea runs inland some dozen miles in a downward direction to the south-east, up which your boat
should be able to pass. If not, you have a steam-
launch aboard that would be able to go up. At the
end of that arm the Gold River flows in from the
north-west, also in a downward direction ; in fact,
the arm of the sea and the river form a wide ' V.'
Meanwhile I will go up the east coast in a trading
steamer, and get put ashore somewhere here at the
mouth of the Campbell River, where there is a
timber-mill kept by Ross and McClaren. From
there to the junction of the Gold River with the
arm of the sea I reckon it is about fifty miles,
and I propose tramping across that bit. You see,
if I work north-west by the compass, I must strike
the Gold River, and the rest would be plain sailing."
Tom Fane examined the map for some time in
silence. "It sounds all right, no doubt, as you put
it," he said at length ; " but hang it all, it is probably
dense timber, through which no pack animal could
pass. You can't do it alone, and if you employ
Indians, they are shifty beggars to deal with " 26
" No," I interrupted, " I don't mean to do it alone,
and I don't mean to employ Indians. I know my
man." And then I proceeded to tell him of Abe
Wilson. " I could wire Abe to-morrow ; he was
expected home about now, and he could join me
here in a few days."
Tom Fane began to grow interested again. "But
wouldn't it be an awfully laborious job?" he asked.
" You would have to carry everything on your backs,
and mightn't you run short of grub ? "
" I 've tried to reckon that up," I replied. " We
could manage eighty pounds apiece, and ought to
go ten miles a day, and inside a week ought to be
within hail of your boat. We could carry sufficient
flour and bacon to last us that time, but probably we
should fall in with deer or game of some sort to help
us along."
"Well," said Tom, "if you care to risk it, I'm
your man. Let us see what the captain thinks of
the plan. Thompson, ask Captain Hume to speak
to me."
In a few minutes Captain Hume stepped into the
saloon. He was a tall, middle-aged man, with a
keen, grey eye, and a flavour of Scotland was as
apparent in him as onions are in an Italian omelette.
Tom Fane briefly repeated our projected scheme.
" Now, captain, what do you think of it ? " he asked.
The captain looked long at the chart, and scratched
his head thoughtfully. "Weel, weel," he replied at
last with his native caution, " this coast is gay tricky,
and the fogs are arfu' thick at times. We cudna*
but move through the day, and would hae to lie up
o' nights ; but, sir, there's no reason why we should   I  DECIDE  ON  AN  EXPEDITION     27
na mak' Nootka Sound as well as ony ither sound, if
it be your wish."
"All right, captain," cried Fane cheerily. " Nootka
Sound is our next point when Mr. Wellesley's plans
are completed."
I may here take the opportunity of informing the
reader that my name is Charles Wellesley. i
Abe Arrives
THE following morning I wired off to Abe
Wilson to come straight away to Victoria,
if disengaged, to go a trip with me into the island.
I was not at all sure in my mind that Abe would
relish the idea of carrying our own packs, but that
I must chance; I could not put the whole programme in a telegram. I had evidently caught Abe
at home, for a reply reached me thé same evening
that he would take the train the following morning,
so now we could expect him in a couple or, at the
outside, three days' time. I sent Abe's message
down to the yacht, where it was received with great
satisfaction, for the news had quickly spread on
board that the yacht was going a somewhat enterprising cruise in almost unknown waters, and if
there is one thing that an Englishman loves it is
the spirit of adventure. Yes, that adventurous spirit
of her sons has done more for the greatness of
England and the vastness of her empire than all
the red tape from the offices of public officials, than
all the smooth palaverings of courteous diplomatists,
than all the wordy warfare of politicians.
One big stumbling-block had been removed, for
without Abe I would never have made the attempt
to cross the island. How odd it is that someone
crosses our path in life now and again, but not often,
and immediately inspires us with faith and confidence. We may get into a London cab, and shiver
and shake with fear as we shave the curbstones and
slide down the wood pavement ; and one day we get
a cab with a horse in it that cocks his ears and tools
along jauntily and easily, and we feel we could
take a lease of that cab for the rest of our natural
existence if we could afford it. Is it not the same
in the serious affairs of life ? Never mind how cynical
we are, a presence comes before us one day to
whom we bend in respect, whose word we long for
and listen to. Never mind how hard we may have
grown, a form will sooner or later appear before
whom we will become as soft and gentle as little
But there was another obstacle to be overcome,
and that was our passage up the east coast, and
here it was Captain Hume came to the rescue. By
enquiring among the shipping men in the harbour
he heard of a small trading steamer that was working her way up towards Sitka in about a week's
time. We were not long in seeking an interview
with the captain ; and after a little persuasion he
agreed to set us ashore in Discovery Bay, where
Ross and McClaren's timber-mill was situated, for
one hundred and fifty dollars, which was not excessive, we considered, as we calculated on the chart
the distance to be one hundred and fifty odd miles,
and the captain reckoned on making fifty miles a
day unless fog came on, so that would take us
three   days   if everything  went   favourably.    Fifty 30
miles a day seems little enough for a steamer to
do; but it must be remembered that the whole seaway along the coast is dotted with hundreds and
thousands of islands of every conceivable size, which
renders navigation at night so intricate and dangerous, that captains seldom, if ever, hazarded the
experiment, and ours, I am glad to say, did not
mean to. When I put the question to him his reply
was curt :
" Guess we '11 just lay to."
So far our scheme had worked out with a simplicity I had not bargained for.
" Why, man," said Fane as we strolled down the
quay to meet the mail-steamer on the afternoon that
Abe Wilson was expected, "we'll be back in three
weeks from the day you step aboard that coasting
" Perhaps," I replied ; but somehow I felt we
should not
The mail-boats from Vancouver to Victoria do not
run with the punctuality of the Irish mail-boats.
Sometimes the Canadian-Pacific Railway mail-train
due in Vancouver at one o'clock is hours late, and
sometimes fog, which is very prevalent along this
coast, delays them ; but they do their best to keep
reasonable time, and run risks which to my mind
are very great. In their progress amid the islands,
if fog has descended or ascended, they constantly
rely on the echo of the fog-horn to tell them how
near they are to rocks. This in itself is ticklish
work, and often they find themselves anywhere but
where they intended to be when the fog lifts.
But on this particular afternoon the boat was " on ABE  ARRIVES
time," as they say in the West, and half an hour
before she was due we could see the smoke from
her funnel trailing away to the south like a great
black comet. As she steamed up the harbour I took
my binoculars forth and searched the passengers who
now crowded the upper decks.
" See him ? " asked Tom.
Abe Wilson was an easy man to distinguish in
a crowd.
" Yes," I answered, " I Ve got him. Do you see a
man standing apart from a small group of persons
on the upper deck, right in the stern ? "
Fane had taken the binoculars. " Is he that great
tall chap with a big brown felt hat ? "
Wilson had been leaning on the rail, but I could
see with my eye now he had stood up.
"Yes," I said, "that's him."
" He looks the sort of chap I 'd rather have on my
side than, against me," mumbled Fane, still searching
the vessel with the glasses.
The boat was soon alongside, and we stepped back
to allow the motley crowd of impatient passengers to
hurry across the gangway as though they were in
a terrible hurry to get somewhere, although they well
knew they could get no further, and haste has no
advantages in Victoria Town ; still, it is the proper
thing always to be in a hurry when you alight from
a train or boat—why I never could make out.
Wilson was nearly the last ; he had recognized me
standing back among the small crowd assembled
from curiosity or to meet friends, and given me a
friendly wave of the arm. And now we saw him
crossing the gangway, and what a splendid specimen
of a man he was ! As I write these lines I see him
again crossing that gangway as plainly as I saw
him then, but the words blur as I put them down,
and a teardrop mingles with the ink. Across his
shoulders he carried his Winchester repeater, the
barrel of which was stuck through a large bundle
tied together in a big red bandana handkerchief;
the weather was hot and close, but he wore a
thick pea-jacket, merely because it was the simplest
way to carry his overcoat ; a broad-brimmed, brown
felt hat was on his head, and beneath it was a face
as brown as the hat, and what a face it was ! Every
feature as finely cut as any Grecian statue, and from
the dark, tanned skin the clear grey eyes shone out
with an almost unnatural brilliancy, and when he
smiled the whiteness of his teeth astonished you.
Of course the deep colouring of the skin enhanced
their lightness and brightness ; but no man, and
certainly no woman, could ever converse with Abe
Wilson without being immediately aware of this
peculiarity in the man and fascinated by it. He
was a tall man too, very tall; but you would not
have guessed him six foot three unless you saw
him alongside another man, he was put together
in such fine proportion.
We elbowed our way to the gangway when we saw
him on it, and the next moment he had dropped a
big bag he was carrying in his right hand, and extended the same to me. I have said before that Abe
Wilson had inspired me with confidence when I first
saw him—often I have wondered why. It might
have been the face or the whole physique, or was
it that hand?   Anyhow, when that hand took yours ABE  ARRIVES
you felt it was a master hand—that all you had to
do, that all you had better do, was to lie quiet and
keep calm ; so at least I always felt. It was a hand
that said to you plainer than any words, " I 'm all
right, and sound and firm and friendly ; but don't try
I welcomed him gladly. "And now, Abe," said I,
f let me introduce you to Sir Thomas Fane, a friend
of mine."
Abe took a step forward and extended the hand.
Something made me watch Fane curiously. I saw
him take the hand, and during the moment he held
it I noticed a curious expression pass across his face
—a look of awe and incredulity. " Hurrah ! " I
mentally ejaculated, " I am not alone, not a fool
after all ; he's recognized the superior touch." Yes,
I saw it in his eye, and I was inwardly glad, as sometimes I felt I was feminine and foolish—I, a man of
six foot, in the prime of life, feeling a nobody
before a great rough uncut western diamond. Yes,
diamond ; I will always have it—diamond.
Now Fane was not a stuck-up English snob, one
of those—and how many they are !—who the instant
they inherit wealth or acquire it look upon the rest
of their fellow-creatures as ladies and gentlemen
simply in the proportion to the sovereigns they own ;
perhaps a visit to that far western land had widened
his views.
I can remember well my strolling with him a long
way out of Victoria Town one afternoon, and coming
to farmhouses and cultivated land. We stopped at
a stile off the main road, and gazed into a field
where they were planting hops.    The  same coin-
D 34
cidence attracted both of us—the difference in the
appearance of the labourers working in the field.
There were Japanese and Chinese and English all
mingled together. There were about twenty in all,
out of which three or four were English, and smart,
strapping young fellows they looked. One of them
smoked a wooden pipe, and as he raked away a
gleam of sun flashed on the pipe. There was silver
on it, a silver-mounted pipe smoked by a common
labourer ! Not that a silver-mounted pipe is an expensive luxury ; but we both noticed it, and it struck
us both as odd.
" Come on," said Tom Fane ; " let's go and find out
what he's doing here if we can."
I was curious and readily acquiesced, and together
we strolled across the field. Some of the men looked
up, but nobody seemed to evince any surprise, and
having bestowed a glance on us, proceeded with their
" Don't appear to take us for anything special,"
muttered Tom, as we approached him with the pipe.
" Good afternoon, my lad," said Tom.
The boy, for he could not have been more than
twenty, looked up. " Good afternoon, sir," he replied
quietly. There was something in the appearance of
the lad, something in the tone of the voice, that told
us plainly, " English, and a gentleman."
Once the ice was broken he conversed glibly
enough, and we soon discovered that he had but
recently left Eton, that he was the younger son of a
Yorkshire baronet, and that he had come out here
believing that wealth was to be had almost for the
asking. ABE  ARRIVES
" Is the pay good ? " asked Tom in
"A dollar a day, and find your own board and
lodging," answered the lad without looking up.
"And those niggers?" queried Tom.
The colour deepened on the lad's cheek. "They
get the same—dollar a day all round."
There was silence for a few seconds, whilst the boy
hacked viciously at the weeds.
" I should be very pleased," said Tom, " if you
would come and dine with me any time you like,
whilst I am here, anyhow. May I suggest to-night?
I suppose you can manage to get down to the
"Thank you, I shall be very pleased," and a
pleasant expression crossed the boy's face.
"All right," said Tom. " My name is Fane—
Thomas Fane—and you will dine aboard my yacht
to-night. Ask for the Caledonia, and be on the quay
abreast of her at seven o'clock. I '11 send a boat
off to bring you aboard."
I have mentioned this episode for the simple
reason that it shows that a gentleman may be met
with in the Far West when little expected, and that
the man who drives you from the station to the
hotel may be a more polished, educated person than
the man who " bosses " the hotel itself.
Now I was certain in my own mind that Abe
Wilson had in the early part of his life been accustomed to refinement and a comfortable home somewhere. A long apprenticeship in trapping and
hunting in the wild Rockies—years during which
his   only   comrades   had   been   the   cowboys   and 36
trappers that gathered round the bar of the wayside
saloon when he chanced to come down from a trip—
had roughened the external shell of his nature, but
within the mechanism was finely wrought, and the
balance of his mind true and even. Not that I
could ever get him to talk of the past, and I had
soon found that to revert to it was very distasteful
to him. He could write a good letter too, and at
accounts he was far quicker and cleaner than—well,
than I was.
" You '11 come aboard my boat and dine to-night,
Wilson," said Fane as we wandered up to the hotel,
" and then Wellesley can unfold his schemes, and
we '11 show you the maps and get your views on the
"All right, Mr. Fane," replied Abe.
In the West titles are put on one side ; people
do not seem able to grasp them ; at least, they did not
at the time I speak of. CHAPTER IV.
Au Revoir
IT was a party of five that sat down to dinner that
night in the cosy cabin of the yacht—Fane,
Captain Hume, Wilson, myself, and Henry Whit-
more, the lad we had found hoeing weeds in the hop-
field. Fane had taken a great liking to the boy, and
often had him to dinner and about with him when
he could get away.
Almost the instant we entered the cabin Tom
started on the subject of the expedition. He had
barely greeted us when off to the maps he flew, and
pointed to bays and inlets, all the while giving us a
lecture which would have gone down admirably with
a geographical society. It was really intended for
Wilson, because I had been over the course, as it
were, with him about a dozen times before, and
Whitmore was almost as well acquainted with his
propositions and theories as myself. I had thrown
myself into one of the comfortable chairs—or should
I call it a bunk?—inwardly praying dinner would
soon be served for three reasons : firstly, I was very
hungry ; secondly, I could see Wilson was not listening to a word Fane was saying—he was gazing
round and round the cabin lost in amazement; and
37 3*
thirdly, I knew we should have to go over it all
again after dinner.
" Do you think so, Wilson ? " Fane had turned to
" Think er—er—eh what, sir ? "
" Why, I was asking you if you thought there was
any chance of the island being inhabited up in the
northern portion."
" Oh, I beg pardon, sir."
But here I interposed. " Look here, Tom," said I,
" I don't believe Wilson has heard one blessed word
you 've been saying ; he's been gazing round and
round the cabin lost in wonderment at the fittings
and decorations. So take my tip, old chap, keep
some of that breath to cool the soup when it comes,
because we've got to go carefully into the whole
matter before we part to-night, and it is a jolly sight
easier and pleasanter job on a full stomach than on
an empty one."
Tom laughed. He was an enthusiastic chap when
once he took anything up, and he could fly off at a
tangent from one thing to another like a busy bee
in a flower-bed.
" She's a nice boat, Wilson, isn't she ? "
Fane's pleasant laugh had reassured Wilson, and
once more his eyes were roaming round the cabin.
" She's a dandy," he answered slowly. " I reckon,"
he continued, giving a glance at the silver on the
dining-table, and then sweeping his arm round as
though to indicate he referred to everything he saw,
" it !s all from the old country."
"Yes," said Tom, "everything is English here."
Wilson looked up quickly with a strange, startled AU  REVOIR
look in his eye. Fane saw it. "Well, everything
except you," he added with his short, genial laugh.
Wilson dropped his head. " Yes," he said meditatively, " everything except me."
And now Thompson entered with the soup.
During dinner we unfolded our plans to Wilson,
Tom Fane being the principal spokesman.
"And then you and Wellesley," he said toward the
end of his description of the proposed trip, "will
just pack across the island and join us in Nootka
Abe looked up at the map thoughtfully, and then
at me. " Do you reckon to pack across there, Mr.
Wellesley, you and me, and no knowledge of the
country ? "
" Yes," said I.    " I think we could do it all right."
Abe shook his head. " Gimme a country I know,
with landmarks and open spaces to see your whereabouts, and I 'm your man ; but I 'm derned if I can
find my way through a strange region among everlasting timber."
"Come, come, Abe, why do you say it's everlasting timber ? No one has been there, and if we
work south-west by the compass we must strike the
Gold River, which runs into the top of Nootka
"Compass !" muttered Abe. " Well, that might do,
but I never put much faith in those plaguey things."
Captain Hume laughed aloud. "Yer no a seafaring mon, Mr. Wilson, or ye wudna say yon."
It was very evident that Wilson did not relish the
idea of the trip, despite Fane's enthusiasm and my
assurances that the matter was an easy one—assur- NOOTKA
ances that I think were a little forced. He listened
silently, and ever and anon stole an anxious glance
at the map. "Tears," he said, " no one has ever been
in here."
"No one!" cried Tom. "That's the whole fun
of it."
"Fun of it? Hanged if I see where the fun
comes in," replied Wilson, and in my own mind
I was obliged to agree with him.
But there it was. We had all set our hearts on
making the expedition ; the sailors on the yacht
were all ready and anxious to start, while the whole
town of Victoria could talk of nothing else. Inwardly
I felt I ought to have talked it over with Abe first,
but it was too late now. There was nothing more to
say; we had stated our plans and proposals, and
silence had fallen within, the cabin, broken only by
the distant footfall of the watch on deck. We were
all gazing at the set face of Abe Wilson. Calmly
and without moving a muscle he scanned the face
of each one of us in turn.
p Well, gentlemen," he said at last, " seems you Ve
kinder fixed this up and got it all pat-like, and as
we've all got to take a long trip and a last trip
sooner or later, it can't matter to Abe Wilson one
way or the other ; but you won't mind my saying
I reckon you've got an over-estimation of the ease
and elegance of this business ; but there it is, maybe
ye 're right, maybe I 'm wrong. Still, it's you I 'm
thinking of, you 've got friends and maybe womenfolk ; but I—well I—ye see I 'm used to being lonely,
and don't mind it, sorter court it. And there it is,
I 'm ready." AU  REVOIR
" Bravo ! " cried Tom, rising up and shaking hands
with Abe across the table. " Thompson," he called,
3 bring a bottle of the old port ; we '11 drink success
to the expedition."
There was yet a good deal to do during the few
days left to us before the coasting steamer was due to
sail. We had to think very carefully of what was
absolutely necessary to take, and what we could dispense with.
I had suggested to Abe that we could carry about
eighty pounds apiece, and I mind as I said it I
noticed the slightest suspicion of a smile flit across
his face. It may have been fancy, but it seemed
to me that the idea which ran through his mind
was that he would probably be carrying the two
packs and me as well before the journey was completed. Still, after he had once spoken that first
night on which we all dined together on the yacht
he had been cheerful, and had entered heart and soul
into the undertaking.
There were fourteen pounds of bacon and flour,
a small tin pail, a tin coffee-pot, a frying-pan, dried
apples, tea, sugar, salt, and a few other necessaries.
My pack was to be wrapped in a mackintosh sheet,
on which we could sleep at night away from the
damp, and I carried it by means of an old pair of
trousers corded to the pack with the legs left a
little loose, so that I could pass an arm through
each trouser-leg, and then hoist it on my back.
Abe's pack was wrapped in a good-sized canvas
sheet, which we proposed to convert into a rude
tent, and he also used an old pair of trousers to
carry it.
411 42
There are two good reasons for this : one is, that
the legs of a pair of trousers do not cut your shoulders or armpits like straps or cords ; and, secondly,
you have another garment to put on around the
camp-fire or when not on the march.
Abe carried his rifle, and an axe with the pail
on top of his pack. I carried my rifle and a small
trout-rod, while the frying-pan with the coffee-pot
were tied on to the top of mine.
And when everything was completed, we concluded
we had sufficient provisions to last us eight days, or
ten at a pinch, and I am compelled here to state that
the nearer the day came for our departure the less
I liked the outlook ; for the obvious fact rose before
me—supposing we meet difficulties and obstructions
that harass and delay us, what shall we do at the end
of eight days, or say ten? If any such thought as
this crossed Abe's mind—and it must have done—he
effectually concealed it.
Fane was jubilant. "Look here, you fellows," he
said—it was the day before we were to sail, and
we were lunching with him on the yacht—" I 've
talked it over with the captain, and we've arranged
to leave the day after you. You see, it's a nasty
coast, and we shall have to feel our way into Nootka
Sound, and if I am there a week before you I can
while away the time shooting and fishing. By-the-
by, Charlie, young Whitmore is coming with me, so I
shan't be all alone. I didn't like to ask him outright
myself, his people might have been down on me for
taking him away from his work, or some moonshine
of that sort ; but yesterday he told me he couldn't
stand  it any  longer,  hoeing  away  with   a  lot  of
heathens, so I suggested he should come with me
till he thought out some other line, and didn't he
jump at it."
" I 'm glad of that," I answered ; " you will have a
companion, and I could see the boy was dying to
come, from the first moment he heard us discussing
the expedition."
"What do you think of Sir Thomas?" I asked
Wilson as we sauntered towards the club some half-
hour later.
" He's all right," replied Abe quietly, with that
peculiar western emphasis on the " right." " But,
you see," he went on, "he ain't got to carry no
blamed packs through a dog-garned, uninhabitated
island, and that's why he can afford to be so derned
Early the following morning, September 25th, the
Annie Jephson, which had been lying alongside the
quay the last few days taking in stores and goods,
steamed slowly away, and from the deck Abe Wilson
and myself waved adieu to Tom Fane and young
Whitmore, who had come down to bid us farewell.
" Good-bye, Tom," I cried as we moved off.
" Good-bye be hanged ! " he called back ; "au
revoir, it is au revoir ! "
I need not weary the reader with a minute description of our voyage to Discovery Bay ; a trip in a
small second-class trading steamer is at no time the
height of luxury or enjoyment, and the scenery
through which we passed, though always varying,
grew very monotonous—densely-wooded islands lay
apparently everywhere. Occasionally on the larger
ones, or  on  the  mainland, we  caught glimpses  of 44
houses and homesteads, but which was island and
which was mainland it was impossible to tell.
At first I was very busy interviewing the captain
regarding this matter and similar ones ; but soon I
wearied of it, and joined Abe, who was leaning on
the rail gazing at the distant shore.
" What are you thinking of, Abe ? "
" I 'm just reflecting," he replied, " that whoever
first planted trees in these parts overdid it."
We lay to that night in Cowichan Harbour, which
we reached pretty early in the afternoon ; but Captain
Slingsby had a good deal of cargo to discharge, principally goods for the local store. It appeared they
were making a railway a little way inland from here
that was to run up the coast, and a good number
of men were engaged on it. It was a pretty little
natural harbour, that was entered at a narrow pass,
and broadened out into a round basin about a quarter
of a mile wide.
Next morning we weighed anchor at daylight, and
when I arose and reached the deck we were running
through a narrow channel to the north. We stopped
about one o'clock opposite some wooden huts or
houses situated on the shore of a pleasant inlet, that
*the captain told us was called Nanacino Harbour ;
but we soon hauled the anchor aboard again after
sending a boat off with some cases and packets
in it, and that night about an hour or so before
sundown we dropped anchor in an inlet some fifteen
or twenty miles further north. For the last ten
miles or so the sea to our right, or on our starboard
quarter, whichever you please, had widened out
considerably, and the nearest land looked several AU  REVOIR
miles distant. Signs and the habitations of man
were growing rarer and rarer. I pointed this out
to Slingsby.
" Guess," he replied, " you '11 see nary a living
pusson 'twixt here and Cdmox Harbour, where
there's a small settlement, and which we shall
make, if all goes right, by to-morrow evening.
That's about four hours from Discovery Passage,
and I reckon to be abreast of Campbell River before
noon on Thursday."
Campbell River runs into the sea some six miles
from the entrance to Discovery Passage, and it was
up this river our trip was to begin. IT was a little after ten o'clock on the Thursday
morning when we entered Discovery Passage,
and at once started getting our packs done up. I
had had during the voyage a good many lessons
from Abe in the art of arranging my pack and
roping it properly—by no means an easy job ; and
I know of nothing more irritating than having to
pull up on the march and re-adjust slipping ropes ;
it usually means having to undo the whole pack and
re-arrange it.
What a glorious morning it was ! The tall pines
that fringed the shore were reflected in the calm
water as in a mirror, while from twenty or twenty-
five miles to the west rose a tall peak up into the
clear blue sky all by itself, and—what surprised both
of us—bare, actually bald. Was it possible that a
mountain could reach above the timber line in this
country ?    Apparently it was so.
Captain Slingsby saw us regarding it. "That's
Crown Point," he remarked. " It's a well-known
landmark to mariners, and many a time when I Ve
been out at sea I 've seen it standing up out of the
low-lying fog that has hidden the shore from view.
Your direct route should lay right past ij:."
" Thank heaven for that ! " I exclaimed. "It will
be a fine guide for us."
" Providing," chimed in Abe, " we ever see it again
when once we are landed."
" Why ? " I asked.
" Well, thirty thousand million trees, averaging one
hundred and fifty feet in height, do obstruct an
ordinary person's vision."
Slingsby laughed, and I relapsed into silence.
Abe was not often sarcastic ; he saw I felt a
little hurt, and in another second he gripped my
arm. " Come along, boss," he whispered ; " we '11
plant the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes
together on the top of that bald-headed peak if you
wish it."
" Here you are, gentlemen," cried Slingsby, as he
put the lever to "slow down" and headed his boat
towards the shore of the mainland.
In a few minutes more our boat was lowered with
the packs carefully stowed in it. We had brought
a small boat, as we had some six or eight miles
of river and about four miles of lake to pass up
before we reached McClaren's timber mill.
Slingsby bade us farewell with a hearty shake
of the hand, and the crew gave us a ringing cheer
as we each shouldered an oar and struck out for the
mouth of the river. Slingsby stood by till he saw us
safely over the bar, if there was one, and into the
river ; and just as we turned a corner that would
hide us from sight, a puff of smoke came from the
vessel's side, followed by the loud report of the signal
gun. It was the Annie Jephsoris farewell to us for
ever. 48
Near the mouth of the river on the left bank was
a rude clearing of a few acres, on which stood three
or four wooden huts. Some men engaged in the
timber trade were lolling about ; it was noon, and,
I suppose, the dinner-hour. It is hardly necessary
to say they were surprised to see us, and when we
told them of our proposed trip they evidently looked
upon us as stark, staring mad, or else gold prospectors who were deliberately lying to them to put
them off the scent of their real intentions. We
tried to find out what the country was like beyond
McClaren's mill, but, as far as we could discover, no
white man had ever penetrated a quarter of a mile
into the interior. Occasionally an Indian appeared
and disappeared, but where they came from and
whither they went nobody knew and nobody cared.
They were silent, sulky beggars, these Indians, so
we learnt, and did not speak English nor even
^\e^'4 ordinary giwash ; very likely they could talk the
latter, which is a sort of Indian patois, still they
preferred keeping silent. If they wanted anything
they made signs for it and then departed.
We found we had a stiffish pull before us, and
would have to get out of the boat in one or two
places and pull it over the shallows, but that we
. would get everything we wanted up at McClaren's.
How that river did make my mouth water. I longed
to get the trout-rod up and have a cast—great big
fat fellows darted away in the clear, deep pools as
our boat passed up—but it might not be; we must
make McClaren's before dark.
It was four o'clock when we rowed up the last
pool and entered the lake.   We had hoped for a bit RELICS  OF THE  PAST
of breeze on the lake, and that we would be able
to set the sail, but not a breath of wind was there.
Still it was a relief to emerge from the forest into
the wide lake ; and again the summit of Crown
Mountain rose up in the west.
" Hello, Abe, we 've not been such a very long
time seeing it again after all."
" No," said Abe, smiling ; " reckon I slurred that
It was easier work rowing now, there being no
current to fight against, and at 5.30 we had beached
our boat beside a small wooden boat-house at the
foot of a delightful plot of grass ; at least, it looked
delightful to us after the monotony of the forest
Of course our boat had been seen long before we
landed, and half a dozen men stood looking at us
in astonishment as her keel grated on the pebbly
"Is Mr. McClaren among you gentlemen ?" I
asked, stepping ashore.
" I am McClaren," said a tall man, coming forward.
I soon made McClaren aware of who we were and
what we proposed doing, and a pleasanter and kinder
host I never knew. His house was a good-sized
wooden building, with the usual verandah running
round it, standing some fifty yards from the lake at
the edge of the grass clearing. A stout, good-
natured woman stood at the door as we walked
towards it.
Mrs. McClaren was delighted to see us ; I really
think they were more pleased to receive us than
E So
we were to reach them. After all, we had only just
left civilization, whereas they had not been in touch
with it for months. Their stores came up once a
month, and a newspaper or two along with them ;
but it was evident from the questions they both
showered on us how pleased they were to get some
news from the outside world.
It was a cheery evening we passed there with
them. The Chinese cook sent in some deliciously
cooked trout with flesh redder than a salmon. That
started me.
" Were these out of the lake ?" I asked.
"Of course they were." And then McClaren told
me of the sort of catches he made. "All with the
fly. You just want a bit of breeze on the lake,"
said he, " and any morning or evening you '11 get
two or three dozen averaging near on two pounds."
Within ten minutes we had arranged a fishing
expedition at cockcrow the following morning.
On the subject of our expedition he was reserved ; he evidently did not wish to throw cold
water on our scheme, but it was obvious he did
not think we were going to do anything smart or
" It's not for me to suggest, or try and prevent you
in any way ; you 'pear to have fixed it up, this trip,
and yer pals on t' other side will be waiting for yer,
likewise you know as much of the interior there as
I do, for wild horses won't drag me into it nor any
other sens—no, pardon, gents—I won't say that;
but, to tell yer the truth, I hate the d——d trees, I
loathe them. If you knew the trouble it was to
make this bit of a clearing you wouldn't cotton to RELICS  OF THE  PAST
no trees. And then they do say a white man went
in from here some years back. He was a gold
prospector, and had some wild idea nuggets grew
in there like mushrooms. Some Indians, so they say "
—he jerked his thumb to the south and civilization—
" brought him this far, but refused to go on. They
camped o' top of the lake that night, and in the early
morning they was woke by awful cries far away—
you can hear far of a still night here. They were
so scared, they left with dawn. They left him a
boat moored there ; they 'd taken up a duplicate one
towed ahind for him to return by in case they had
to return without him. Of course, the boys said it
was only wolves howling, but them Indians said
they knowed wolves' voices from men's, and they
don't say much. Anyhow, the boat's there now ;
you '11 see her maybe at the top of the lake. She's
pretty nigh done for as a watertight conveyance,
but no one's ever been to take her away."
There was silence as McClaren ceased speaking.
Abe had been filling his pipe ; he rose, and went to
the fire for a light. When he turned his face wore
an expression of absolute indifference.
"Guess," he said, puffing away, "it was coyotes
them Indians heard."
"Maybe," assented McClaren, "but the boat is
Abe turned the conversation into a fresh channel,
but I must confess McClaren's story produced a
creepy sensation within me, and tired as I was that
night, it was some time before I got to sleep. " The
boat's there now" kept ringing in my ears. Why
had the  man  never returned ?     Had the  Indians 52
murdered him ? Had he been torn to pieces by wild
beasts? Or had he been lost in the great gloomy
forest, and slowly starved to death ? Thank goodness, when sleep came at last I did not dream any
horrors, and with the light of morning the episode
almost passed from my mind.
We were up betimes, and while Abe examined
the packs and corded them up taut I went for
half-an-hour's fishing on the lake with McClaren.
The trout rose freely, and played as gamely as
any fish I have ever seen. I wished we could
have had a whole day at them, but time was
After breakfast we replaced our packs in the boat
and bade adieu to our host and hostess ; the latter
presented Abe with a flask of whisky, and though
he demurred some time from accepting it, saying
"we were off spirits this trip," she would hear of no
There was still a mile of lake to be negotiated
before we took our plunge into the forest. McClaren
directed us to the north-westerly corner of the
"There's a small stream runs in there," he said,
"and forms a sandy beach where you can easily
land ; beyond that I can give you no directions or
"There's just one last little matter, McClaren,"
I said, as Abe shoved the little boat down the
shingle: "we may have to retrace our steps, in
which case we should want the boat to get back
here with, so let her lie there a fortnight or three
weeks;   after  that take her  and  keep  her, she'll RELICS OF THE  PAST
come in useful for you, and we shall have crossed
or "
" Here's the only other oar," cried Abe with a
laugh, handing me the scull.    " Come on."
Silently McClaren and his wife waved their handkerchiefs as we pulled across the lake, and once I
thought the wife put hers to her eyes, but it may have
been fancy.
" They might have given us a bit of a cheer, Abe,"
I said.
" Reckon they don't get much chance of practising that class of harmony in these parts," he
Within half an hour we were abreast of the
sandy beach McClaren had directed us to. When
within a couple of hundred yards of it Abe looked
" Hello, what's that ? " he cried. I turned also ;
it was a boat, plain enough, a boat lying on the
sand. Neither of us spoke for a minute, and I
think the same thoughts passed through the minds
of both. McClaren's story of the previous night
came back with vivid clearness. It was Abe who
spoke first. Did he notice I looked a bit scared,
and was that indifference with which he appeared
to hear the story only assumed?
I These relics of the past," he said, " ain't kinder
gratifying or reassuring, eh, boss? But, then, if a
feller's such a thickhead as to wander in here alone,
playing hide-and-seek with nobody, what can he
expect ? " He turned. " Two's different, a vast deal
different ; that's why I didn't let that yarn of
McClaren's weigh with me.    As long as a man has  CHAPTER VI.
The Dead Prospector
WE moored our boat a few yards from the
shore, and poured some tins of water into
her so that she might keep watertight ; hauled up
on the beach, and exposed to the rays of the sun,
the, planks would soon have shrunk, and caused her
to leak badly. Probably the same had been done
originally with the old boat, or rather framework,
that lay beside us on the sand, until the lake had
risen and the moorings given, and she had been
washed up ; or, more likely still, McClaren or one
of his men, vexed at the dilatory proceedings of
the owner, had hauled it up with disgust. At the
edge of the brushwood, on a little plot of grass,
three old poles still stood aloft, tied together about
a yard from the top. Abe paused a moment, after
mooring the boat, and gazed at them.
" That's where those sneaking Siwashes camped ;
wonder they even left him the boat ! Reckon they
thought he might get back and round on 'em, or
p'raps two boats were too much trouble. Now,
boss," he added, " take a good look at that compass,
and let's be moving."
With Captain Hume's assistance on board the
Caledonia we had  carefully  studied the  course we
55 56
had to take, and we had reckoned we must keep
a point north of west. This should eventually
bring us to the Gold River, a few miles above its
junction with Nootka Sound ; but we had to be
careful not to keep too far south, for then we would
miss the t. V " formed by the river and the sound,
which I endeavoured to explain in a former chapter.
If we did this we might wander on, and if we did
reach the rugged, uninhabited coast beyond, it was any
odds on our being starved before we could be found.
And now, as Abe glanced over my shoulder at the
compass, his pack already on his back and his axe
in his hand, it suddenly struck me how should we
know the Gold River? There was no other river
on the map, of course not, for the simple reason
the interior was unexplored ; but it was a well-
watered island, perhaps more so than any in the
world, full of lakes and rivers. Well, it was too
late to turn back now.
I did not mention my thoughts to Abe—one
nervous man in a party of two is sufficient. Abe
gave me a lift up with my pack. Together we
took a long, last look at the green patch where
stood McClaren's house. How cosy and inviting
it looked amid all the dense growth around !
Luckily for us the small stream that flowed into
the lake here came from the west, in the very
direction we wished to travel, and as it was dead
low now, only a little trickling burn, it formed a
by no means, indifferent pathway; but when I
saw around me the dense undergrowth, the prickly
scrub, and the thousands of fallen trees, I confess
my spirits fell lower still. THE  DEAD  PROSPECTOR
While we kept the stream we could, in most
instances, crawl under fallen trunks, as the water
had hollowed out a course for itself; but I could
not help thinking of how we were going to manage
when we left it, which must be before long.
No despondency was observable, though, about
Abe. He laughed and chatted as he led the way
at a good sound pace, considering the weight of the
packs and the heat of the day. Occasionally a
stroke of his axe severed a branch that blocked our
passage under or over a fallen trunk, and having
crawled through himself, he would turn and give me
a helping hand.
We had been steadily progressing for about two
hours and a half, and the bed of the stream was
becoming very small and narrow, when suddenly
Abe stopped. I followed the direction of his eyes,
and saw he was gazing at a post a few yards in front
of him.
"What is it, Abe?"
He did not reply, but walked on to the post and
bent over it. It was obvious to me now as I stood
beside him that the post had been cut by the hand
of man. The mark where it had been blazed by
an axe was distinct, and when we stooped over to.
examine it signs of writing in pencil were evident ;
but it must have been done many years ago, as the
characters were almost obliterated. The word
I claim "   was   distinct,  " 80   yards   west   by,"   and
John Wat "    That was all we could make out.
We rubbed the surface with our hands, but that did
more harm than good, as we only rubbed the moss
and dirt in the deeper. wf
"That prospector McClaren spoke of/' said Abe
in a subdued voice. " Wonder what he thought he 'd
found." Abe looked round him, and returned to the
rocky bed of the stream, up which he walked with
bent head, examining the stones minutely. "Here
you are, boss ! " he cried.
I had sat down whilst he was making his examination, but now I hurried up to him. He handed
me a bit of grey rock, in which little yellow pieces
of gold were distinctly visible.
"Well, it's not much use to us," I said.
" Nor anyone else," continued Abe, jerking the
stone away, "and I guess that prospector lived to
be sorry he ever found it."
It had been very close all the morning and was
now past one o'clock, so we agreed to pause here
and partake of some sandwiches Mrs. McClaren had
kindly put up for us. We were soon refreshed and
ready for the road—or the jungle rather. We had
not proceeded more than a few hundred yards when
Abe again stopped with a jerk, whilst he dropped
the axe softly and seized his rifle. We were at the
edge of a small, mossy clearing, or what would have
been a clearing but for the trees that had fallen
across it. I stood on tiptoe and craned my neck
forward. Abe pointed a little to the right, and
there lay a dark object. In a second I saw it was
a man, and for some reason or another my blood
seemed to freeze all over me. Why I cannot think,
but in that gloomy forest everything seemed strange
and weird.
Suddenly Abe gave a shrill whistle, the man never
stirred ;  then he gave a succession of who - whoops   THE  DEAD  PROSPECTOR
that would have scared the dwellers in a graveyard,
but the man never moved.
"Thought so," said Abe, taking up the axe.
" Dead."
We walked quietly towards the form, and surveyed
the grim scene without speaking. From the spot
where Abe first saw the body the head was hidden
from view ; but now, when we came closer, it was
only a human skull that protruded from an old
tattered coat. I stood gazing on some few yards
off, whilst Abe went round the body, investigating
the affair as it were. There was the framework of
an old Gladstone bag lying near, but the leather had
all disappeared, eaten away by insects or decayed.
In the hollow of a tree lay some blackened stones,
showing the man had made a fire here, and close by
the tree lay a rusty tin saucepan.
" What do you make of it, Abe ?" I asked.
, " I call it," answered Abe, picking up some stones
by the side of the dead figure and examining them
carefully, "a mystery cleared up."
I How ? "
" Well, to tell you the honest truth, boss, I didn't
swallow that short yarn of McClaren's with anything
like relish. I could see the man meant what he was
talking of, and was kinder serving it up as light as
possible: He didn't like to dissuade us coming in
here, yet he didn't want to scare us, and I 'm perfectly
convinced he thinks we '11 never come out. This
poor chap here," he continued, pointing to the figure,
"is the prospector what owned that boat he spoke
of and we saw this morning, and the same man that
discovered the claim we've just left.    See, here are 6o
some bits of rock with gold in them, samples he
meant taking away. It would be late when he got
through prospecting and measuring and what not,
so he settled to camp here, intending probably to
rejoin the Indians in the morning. Do you see
what killed him?"
" No," I replied. " He appears to have crawled
under some branches as though to avoid something."
" He didn't crawl under any branches," interrupted
Abe, "the branches crawled on him, and a mighty
quick crawl too. He was caught by a falling tree.
See ! The trunk of the tree lies across there, and
he would be jumping or running to avoid it, but
some of the outside branches knocked him down
and held him, perhaps broke something. They look
old and rotten now, but they were tougher then.
Anyhow, he was not killed outright; those Indians
heard cries, cries that scared them, and they knew
the difference between men's voices and wolves."
" But the distance," suggested I.
"They would hear plain enough," went on Abe.
" Wè are not more than four or five miles from that
creek, and all steady uphill ; besides, the nights are
wonderfully still in these parts, and sound travels
a long way."
"Why didn't those blackguard Indians come and
see what was the matter ?" I asked.
"Well," said Abe, "evidently they had some superstitious dread of entering the forest here, or he would
have taken one of them with him to pack in and lend
a hand, and then, when they heard those shrieks that
night, wild horses wouldn't have dragged them in ; THE  DEAD  PROSPECTOR
they'd guess the man had fallen among hostile
Indians or was being attacked by wolves, and they
are not the boys to help one in a tight place. I Ve
seen too much of 'em, and from what I can see of the
breed on this island, it's worse than any on the mainland, and I'da thought that impossible."
From the foregoing it is apparent that Abe, like
all western hunters that ever I met, looked upon all
Indians with supreme contempt.
There was no good loitering longer round the
camp of the dead prospector ; the scene was gruesome in the extreme, and yet I think we both felt
relieved now that McClaren's weird story was explained and the ghost of the prospector laid, so to
We again consulted the compass, and, there being
no longer any stream to follow, plunged into the
dark forest, scrambling along as best we could. And
it was mighty hard work ; every half-hour or so we
had to stop—at least, I had—and take the packs
from our shoulders, whilst the perspiration poured off
us. Fallen trees were everywhere, and our passage
was one continued climb or creep; sometimes we
got a more friendly trunk than another that had
fallen east and west, and so enabled us to walk
along it for a few yards, but it was laborious work
and dangerous. Fancy a slip and a sprained ankle
or broken bone in such a place !
The deep shade was growing denser, and only the
western tops of the firs caught the glint of the setting
sun, when we came on a more pretentious stream
that apparently flowed north and south, or at right
angles to our route.    We had passed many small
'Ma 62
brooks, luckily for us, as it was terribly thirsty work
crawling through the forest ; but the one we had now
struck evidently at times ran in a high spate, as trees
and brushwood were cleared away to a considerable
distance on either side.
How refreshing it was to get a glimpse of the
sunlight on the ground, to hear the murmur of the
running water, for never in my life had I known
such stillness as that we had been passing through.
No bird chirped among the branches, no fox barked,
no bones told of the presence of animal life, excepting those of the dead prospector. The crack of a
branch broken in our progress vibrated through the
gloom with startling clearness ; and I felt at such
times we should wake something up, rouse up some
ugly beast, and then I looked for faces peeping
round the trees. Candidly, groping through that
forest I had the "jumps"—I confess it now.
Tired as I was, I almost shouted for joy as we
wended our way along the pebbly shore, seeking a
spot to camp at. We had only traversed a short
distance when we reached a grassy slope, and in
another second the packs were off our backs. After
a few minutes' rest Abe went in search of firewood
with the axe ; he had not far to go, the reader will
suppose, but old rotten branches burn the best. In
the meantime I undid the packs and arranged our
scant supplies, and soon we had a bright fire blazing,
the kettle of water hissing away, and some rashers
of bacon spluttering merrily in the frying-pan. Stay ;
I had forgotten the bread. Time after time I had
watched Abe mix the flour and the baking powder
and pour the water in and mix it all up, and I had we soon had . . . some rashers of bacon spluttering
merrily in the frying-pan.
To jace page 62.  THE  DEAD  PROSPECTOR
tried to do it too, but it would not go right for me ;
the dough always stuck to my fingers in a helpless,
hopeless sort of way, and it never stuck to his at
all ; and time after time he explained to me what
I was doing wrong, but all to no purpose. Perhaps
bakers are like poets, " born, not made." Anyhow,
I was never intended for one, but Abe's bread was
the best I ever tasted.
After finishing supper we rigged up the canvas at
the foot of a mighty old pine trunk, and then set
to work cutting the ends of branches off young pine
saplings, which laid on the ground form a rude sort
of mattress. It was almost dark when we had
finished this our last task for the night, and sat
down to a pipe of peace before the fire. I MUST not weary the reader with a minute
account of our dreary crawl through the forest
day after day. It was heart-breaking work, at times
it appeared impossible, and often it seemed to me we
were hours going a few hundred yards, so thick lay
the débris of centuries, nay, of all time. Sometimes,
though, we came across spaces of open ground, and
these in every case were marshy and overgrown with
prickly scrub. Here we made better time certainly,
but the travelling was very disagreeable, as the pricks
of this plant are poisonous ; and though they rarely
penetrated our clothes, it was difficult to avoid touching them with our hands.
The lie of the land had so far been very hillocky,
and often from some steep ascent we got a view of
the country before us, always clothed in its dark
green coat of pine trees. On our right, from such
occasional glimpses, Crown Point always stood out
by itself, looking taller and taller as we approached
nearer. Now and then we came to the borders of
some small lake, round which we had to make a
detour, but up till now we had met none of any
size, and though our progress had been slow, it had
been steady ; but on the morning of the fourth day
after leaving McClaren's place, when we were passing
the base of Crown Mountain, whose high summit
often showed up to our right through the tops of the
pines, we came on a rushing, brawling stream that
seemed to flow from the mountain towards the south,
and completely barred our path. It was too deep
and rapid to ford, we found on inspection, and just
where we had struck it it flowed deep down a narrow
gorge. From bank to bank here could not have exceeded six or seven yards, but six or seven yards of
space take some doing.
Abe slid his pack from his shoulders. " Look here,
boss," he said, " I '11 go down the stream and prospect
for a likely crossing. You might work north a bit
above this gorge and see how the land lies there.
Take the rod with you, there ought to be trout in that
I was not slow to follow his advice. Half our
rations were gone, not a sign of a deer or any living
thing had we come across ; the hard work we were
doing demanded a deal of sustenance, yet already we
were denying ourselves as much bacon as we dared ;
in fact, we were rising from each meal hungrier than
when we sat down ; verily then a few trout would be
a godsend indeed.
A couple of hundred yards to the right the rocky
gorge ended or began, and above it the river flowed
calmly down, forming large deep pools. There were
too many trees hanging over to allow of any casting,
but I soon got some worms from under the stones
and rigged up some bait tackle, and into the stream
I went, boots and trousers and all. I had spent
many days of my life in the old country fishing
F 66
with a keenness I thought then could not be surpassed, but the anxiety which pervaded me that
forenoon when I blobbed a worm into a deep
likely-looking eddy was different to anything I
had ever experienced. My hand trembled with suppressed excitement, and when something snatched
the line and ran away with it my heart leapt into
my throat, or it seemed so ; no rise of trout, no
great swirl of salmon, ever thrilled me so before
while quickly I paid out the line with my left
hand. I remember thinking the fish had snatched
the bait and run away with it like a good-sized fish,
and then came the agonizing thought, Was it some
beastly catfish or brute not fit for food? He had
turned up stream. Instantly I struck a rush—a
jump, and out of the water went a bar of silver. I
had to be hard on him ; a tree lay half across the
stream a few yards below us ; but the tackle was
strong, and soon I had him lying on the top of the
water dead beat. Sliding my hat underneath him, I
was the proud possessor of a beautiful two-pound
In an hour's time I had half-a-dozen, averaging
about a pound-and-a-half each.
And now Abe might be getting anxious at my
absence, added to which I felt exceedingly keen to
know if the fish tasted as well as they looked. I
soon had the rod down, and passing a bit of cord
through the gills of the fish, I gleefully made my
way back.
As I drew near the gorge I heard the crack,
crack, of the axe distinctly, and shortly discerned
Abe hacking away with all  his   strength   on   the WOLVES
edge of the gorge. What on earth was he doing
that for? He did not hear me coming, so intent
was he on his work, and I got within a yard of
him before I shouted. Lord ! the man jumped as
though he had been shot ; but then, mind you, gay
and sprightly reader, he had not heard any cheery
halloa for four whole days.
"Guess you startled me, boss. Not accustomed
to so much noise in here, you know."
I was looking him straight in the face and smiling.
I think he thought I was mad. His eyes wandered
from one of mine to the other with a dazed expression
on his face, and now it struck me the face was thin
and pinched.
I Look ! " I cried, holding up my hand, which I had
kept behind my back.
For some seconds Abe stared at my catch in
evident astonishment ; then suddenly he raised his
head and his hand and fetched me a smack on
the shoulder that nearly took all the breath out of
my body.
I By gum, that's good ! " he cried. " I reckon
it's lunch-time. Yer see, in these primeval forests
there's no pertickler time for déjeuner; yer just
take it when yer can get it, or while yer can
get it."
There were three parts of a loaf in the pack, and
we soon had a broiled trout apiece. I suppose those
trout were good ; anyhow, we determined to camp
by the river that night and catch some more. And
though we lost a few hours, we gained in another
way—we got a bit of rest and some good fresh
food  into  us,  and   I  truly believe  we  would   not 68
have done another four days' work, such as the
last, on the meagre supply of bacon left to us.
And so thought Abe, and so said Abe.
I was half-way through my trout before I thought
of asking Abe why he was hacking at that tree.
" Do you see, Mr. Wellesley "—as the reader will
have noticed, Abe very rarely addressed me by name ;
when he did I always expected something disastrous
or unpleasant had occurred, or was about to—" that
tree leans slightly across the gorge, and with anything like luck will fall, when I Ve cut away sufficient,
right across and form a bridge, and then I can just
go across and hack off any branches that stick up
in the way, and there we are—communication with
the civilized world established."
Abe laughed at his little joke. I really believe
those trout had got into our heads. Absolutely I
had taken little or no thought of how we were going
to cross the river.
Abe's plan looked simple enough, though I probably
never would have thought of it. Anyhow, new life
had entered into us ; Abe's efforts at cheerfulness had
long since flickered and died out, and for two days
or more we had struggled on in a listless, monotonous
Déjeuner, as we termed it, being over, it was
proposed and unanimously carried by a full board
amongst ten billion trees that I should proceed
fishing, whilst Abe cut away at the tree.
"Mine's a two hours' job anyway," quoth Abe,
" so don't you hurry back on my account."
It was nearing sundown when I got back to camp
that   evening,  carrying   a  sack   on   my back  with WOLVES
another dozen-and-a-half of trout in it. The tree
had fallen all right, and across the stream I saw
the smoke of the camp-fire rising among the trees.
Abe had taken the packs across, but he heard me
coming, and hastened across the bridge to assist
" Give me the sack," he said ; " it's perfectly safe
and easy crossing, but some people gets swimmy in
the head.    I '11 go fust."
I cannot say I enjoyed crossing the gorge on our
new bridge ; the trunk was broad enough, but it was
round. Still, there were branches left here and there
you could catch hold of to steady yourself by, and we
were quickly across, safe and sound.
That night, for the first time since our scheme had
been unfolded to him, Abe appeared to take some
interest in it. We were more than half-way across
the island—it was almost impossible we could meet
with more unfavourable ground to cross ; we could
carry sufficient trout to last us anyhow another day,
and four days more should easily see us on the shore
of Nootka Sound.
After supper, for the first time, Abe produced
Mrs. McClaren's flask of whisky and made two
tins of hot toddy, and actually proposed "Success
to the expedition."
That night we piled logs on the fire, and lay down
as usual with our rifles beside us. I do not know
how long I had slept, but suddenly I was awakened
by a most terrific noise—it sounded like the fog-horn
of a steamer.
" Good God ! What's that ?" I cried in a stifled
whisper. 7o
"Wolves," replied Abe, for he was awake too,
" and derned big 'uns, judging from their note.
Listen ! "
Again the deep howl rang through the silent
forest, and almost immediately it was followed by
an answering one a long way off.
Abe got up ; the fire was falling low, and he
added fresh logs. I noticed he carried his rifle in
his hand.
" Guess I '11 fire a shot, boss, and scare those
beggars ; they 're liable to keep one awake with their
grunting," saying which he pulled the trigger. The
explosion echoed and re-echoed to the right and
to the left of us, and then seemed to roll gradually
Abe came back and lay down, and seemed to go
off to sleep, but sleep I could not. No sound followed the firing of the rifle, but a cold perspiration
had broken out upon my forehead, and the dense
solitude seemed filled with creeping beasts. Sometimes I felt that something touched me, and I
shivered. It was horrible. Some people, perhaps,
are brave in the dark ; I am not. And some people
can listen calmly, perhaps, to the howling of a great
timber wolf; I cannot.
I do not know how long a time elapsed, and I
suppose I must have dozed, when suddenly I
woke again. The fire had almost died out ; a few
red embers alone remained. But what were those
lights at the entrance of the canvas? A sickening
terror was creeping over me, I confess it. The lights
moved ; they came nearer, and a black form obscured.
the embers of the fire.    I believe I was on the point
of screaming, when a terrific explosion took place,
followed by an awful howl. A great form seemed
to rush from the entrance and yelped, yelped,
yelped away into the distance. I remembered no
The day had broken when I awoke, and round my
head was a damp cloth, whilst my shirt distinctly
smelt of whisky. Abe was outside preparing the
breakfast, and already a bright fire was blazing. He
heard me move.
" How are you feeling, Mr. Wellesley ? "
" Thank God, I 'm all right. But what was that
last night ?    Surely I wasn't dreaming ? "
" It's just this, Mr. Wellesley :  there's wolves in
these   parts,  and  they're   d d  tame,   I   reckon.
Guess they don't get a square meal once a year."
" Well, but what happened ?" I asked. " Did you
see that dark form in the opening, and what caused
the explosion?"
Abe then explained to me what had taken place.
I Well, to start with," he answered, " I was not asleep,
as you may have thought, when that wolf paid us
his visit. I heard a twig break ten minutes or more
afore he showed up at the entrance ; it was not an
accidental kind of break ; it was a clean sort o' snap,
and it made me jump, I tell yer, for I knew something was about. I got as far from the edge of the
canvas as I could, in case a paw came sneaking in
under, and I sat up with the rifle full cock. You
were asleep when the twig snapped ; I heard you
give a bit of a snore, and reckoned it best not to
rouse you. After a bit I could distinctly hear the
brute moving, and  every now and  again stopping
A 72
and sniffing ; he passed the fire once, and had a look
at the entrance, and then he went round us just to
survey. I didn't like to risk a shot in the dark and
likely scare you out of your wits by doing so, and
then I thought that when he smelt human flesh he 'd
slooch off; but dern me if he didn't come round
again and come in ! The rest you know. The explosion was my rifle, and the yelping came from the
d d coyote ; and whether he's dead or whether
he isn't don't matter a cuss. But I 'd sooner he
lived long enough to interview his pals and warn
them against entering our shanty without an invitation."
Breakfast was ready by the time Abe finished his
story. His calm nerve and apparent unconcern reassured me. The light of day, the whir of the
running river, and the friendly hiss of the kettle
soon put fresh life into me, though I never again
heard the howl of a wolf in that desolate forest
without a nervous shiver creeping over me.
And now it struck me why had the dead prospector not been torn to pieces by these beasts? I
questioned Abe on the subject.
" It's likely," he answered, " there was no game
there at the time he pegged out ; anyhow, we Ve
seen no tracks or traces of any, and wolves always
follow game : where there's no food there's no
"Then you think we are approaching a game
country ? "
"Yes," said Abe, as he finished roping the packs,
" unless "
" Unless what ? "
Abe put his pack down, leaned on the hatchet, and
looked me straight in the face.
" Unless," he said slowly, " they struck our track
away back, and are hunting us." FOR two days more we blundered on through the
same tangled desolate sort of ground. On the
night of the first—the day we left our camp by Trout
Stream, for thus we had christened it—it came on to
rain, a steady downpour. Far above our heads we
could catch occasional glimpses of the clouds chasing
each other along, but down in the depths of the forest
not a breath of wind was even felt, while not even a
dead leaf stirred. The rain fell on the trees and then
rolled from their branches, great big drops in one long
endless patter. No signs of animal life had we met
with, not even another stream where we might have
expected fish. Occasionally, especially at night, we
heard the howling of wolves, but so far they had not
again approached too near the camp ; and we had
been careful to select a spot to camp at where we
might defend ourselves to the greatest advantage
should they try to attack us. Also we had piled up
an enormous fire outside the canvas at night—it could
hardly be termed a tent—while we took it in turns to
replenish it. When I say we took it in turns I am
almost certain I sometimes dozed off and missed
mine, but Abe had a wonderful knack of waking up
whenever he wished to, and he never complained or
upbraided me.
We were fast drifting again into that melancholy,
monotonous condition we were in when we reached
Trout River as we listlessly plodded along through
the rain on the afternoon of the second day after
leaving it, and the sixth since bidding adieu to the
For a couple of hours we had been progressing
steadily uphill, when Abe suggested we should bear
to the left and try and reach the top of the hill while
the light lasted. " We may," he said, " get a glimpse
of the country ahead and an idea whether the trees
or the rations will last the longest."
About four o'clock the sun burst forth; and though
the drops continued pattering down from the trees
for a long time after, the rain above had ceased. The
ground was becoming more bare and rocky as we
approached the summit of the hill ; fewer trees grew
here, and consequently less débris blocked our passage.
Hot, and wet, and weary, we at length reached the
top and found a clearing from whence a view of the
country could be obtained. Coming from the gloom,
it was some time ere my eye could detect aught but
valleys of trees before us. Anon I glanced at Abe ;
his face, no longer full and tanned, was pinched, and
pale, and set, but his eyes were dilated, and gazing
fixedly and dubiously into the distance. I followed
the direction of his eyes, but nought could I see but
everlasting trees and the blue mist hanging above
I Surely," said Abe at last, " that's the sea."
And now, as my eyes grew accustomed to the clear
far western atmosphere, I saw that what I had mistaken for mist was the long blue line of the ocean. 76
■ ««i*]
"And look, Mr. Wellesley, up to the north-west
there the country is more open; those hills have little
or no timber on them."
For some time we sat and took in the lie of the
land, and then descended the hill again till we found
a stream and suitable spot for camp. As we went it
was decided we should bear to the north-west ; once
in open country, we could make the river if it existed,
which I began to doubt, and the head of Nootka
Sound in half a day.
That night Abe went carefully through the meagre
lot of provisions left.
" There's bacon enough for four good meals apiece
after to-night, flour for about two loaves, and dried
apples that'll last 'em both out." That was his
That night, as I sat before the fire smoking
the final pipe before turning in, I felt very weak
and ill. I remember wondering if Moses had felt
anything like as I did when he gazed at the
promised land afar that he should never enter, and
then I laughed. I pretended to be gay, but my head
was dizzy, and swam round. The far-off howls of
the wolves and the crash of some falling giant fir,
grown dead and rotten with the march of centuries,
the noise whereof sounded in the still night air like
the boom of an eighty-ton gun, were sounds that had
hitherto filled me with awe, but now they fell unheeded on my ears.
Abe spoke little ; once he got up and went to his
pack, from which he drew forth the flask of whisky.
It was still three parts full ; we had not touched it
since leaving Trout  River.     He mixed a stiff tin LIGHT AT  LAST
of whisky and hot water for one, and brought it to
" Come, Mr. Wellesley, swallow this down, and
turn in ; you 're not quite yourself to-night."
The last thing that I remember of that night was
seeing Abe sitting up by my side, looking anxiously
into the blazing logs, and sometimes casting a quick,
fitful glance at me.
I was better in the morning, but I felt I was
taxing Abe's strength severely, not taking my turn
at the replenishing of the fire through the night, and
I said so to him.
" Never you mind that, boss," he answered. " You
were right worn out last night, and wanted all the
sleep you could get, and now let's try and clear
out of this cussed forest before sundown. I 've
had enough of it, and you 've had a trifle too
Our packs grew lighter as our provisions grew less,
but as I hitched mine on my back that morning it
felt very heavy, heavier than it had done since we
started. Often I found myself lurching, and sometimes almost dozing, as I stumbled after Abe.
Many times he had to pause for me, and assist me
over a fallen log, or give me a hand through the
thick undergrowth.
Midday came, and we halted by a little rill of
water to eat a sandwich, but somehow I did not want
mine; I no longer felt hungry; all I longed to do
was to lie down and sleep for ever.
For a little time Abe watched me in silence ; then
he rose, and came over to me and put his hand on
my shoulder. 78
" Mr. Wellesley, for God's sake rouse up ; we have
but a little way to go now."
" Abe," I whispered, " go on. Get out alone while
you can. I 'm done, beaten like any old fox. It's
no good—let me sleep—it'-s all I want "
I believe I uttered some more incoherent sentences,
but what happened during the remainder of that
afternoon I never remember. This is what I gathered
afterwards from Abe. He said he was never so
scared in his life, for I dropped my head in my
hands, and he thought I had fainted away. Instantly
he got out the whisky flask and gave me a strong
dose. I shivered and shook after taking the spirit,
but it seemed to revive me a little. Then he hoisted
my pack on the top of his, and lifted me on to my
" Had I let you lie down," he said, " it's my belief
you 'd never have risen again."
Then he put an arm under mine, and half lifting,
half pulling, he dragged me on through the forest.
I remember, in a dreamy sort of way, seeing the
forest grow lighter and the sun shine through the
trees, and I heard Abe mutter, " Thank God ! " and
I wondered why, and then it seemed open, and I
saw the sky, but it was nothing to me.
And then suddenly Abe gave a cry of surprise
and of hope.
" Rest awhile here, boss. I '11 be back shortly, and
don't give way.    I reckon we 're all right now."
When I came to I found Abe shaking me violently
by the shoulders.
" Here," he said, " take this ; don't get talking."
With one hand he supported  me, and with the
other he fed me with some meat. At first I refused
it, and tried to avoid taking it, but Abe insisted, and
then I swallowed some morsels of it, and gradually
my head appeared to come back to me, and memory
to return, but I was too weary to ask questions.
Abe fed me and gave me a refreshing drink of water,
and then I lay down and gazed up. I saw the stars
shining in the purple vault above, and I wondered
how they got there.
The sun was shining brightly next morning when
I woke, and by the camp fire sat Abe, looking,
methought, somewhat anxiously towards me.
" Where are we ? " I asked, sitting up.
"Can't say, boss, but we're out of that infernal
And Abe slid the frying-pan on to the embers.
" Hello ! " I cried, " what meat is that ?" as I
glanced towards it, expecting to see a miserable
slice of bacon frizzling away to nothing.
" Black - tail deer, boss. Come along ; it's all
cooked.    I'm only just warming it up."
And then he told me how on the previous evening,
after emerging from the wood, he came on the fresh
track of deer; that he had laid me down with the
packs, and gone after them with his rifle ; how he
soon sighted a small band of them feeding ; how he
followed slowly on, and making a detour for the wind,
got an easy shot at a fine buck.
" I didn't know my finger could shake on a trigger
as it did when I fired," said Abe. " Three times I
took the rifle from my shoulder; it seemed to be
aiming all over the place. Had I missed him,
Mr. Wellesley, I truly believe I 'd have shot myself. 8o
And it wasn't the best shot I 've ever fired ; in fact,
the least said about it the better."
Needless to say I felt very weak, but, with fresh
meat in camp, there was no immediate cause for
hurrying on ; so it was decided we should remain
here another night, and whilst I rested in camp
Abe should go forward and explore. I suggested
his taking the compass.
"Look here, boss," he replied, "on open ground,
I Ve told you before, and you ought to know, I
don't want any instruments to tell me my latitude
and longitude, or where I am or camp is. Those
things may work well enough in the likes o' that"
—and he jerked his head towards the forest—"and
I 've had enough of forest foolery to last my life,
you bet."
It was also decided he should return by the place
where he had shot the buck, and bring in some more
of the meat which he had hung on a bough away
from the wolves.
It was late when Abe got back, and I was very
glad to see his form appear in view, for it is lonely
work lying by a camp fire alone in an unknown,
silent region, especially so in the state my nerves
were in.
"Any news, Abe?" I asked, as I placed the kettle
on the fire.
" Yes," he answered. " I Ve made what the
Cheyenne Star would call a 'startling discovery/"
"Well, boss, if you reckon to call this region
J Wellesley Country/ or anything like that, you 're
too late; it's already inhabited." LIGHT AT  LAST
I was too surprised to speak for a moment,
habited ?" I gasped.    " Have you seen men ? "
" No, boss, not yet ; but I 've seen their footprints."
Instantly it flashed across me, might not Fane
have landed with some men and taken a look round ?
I suggested this to Abe.
" No," he said. " I thought that at first, but these
men wore boots, leastways some of 'em did, and the
soles had bars across them at intervals of half an
inch or so to protect the leather and keep them from
slipping. Now sailors wouldn't wear boots of that
kind, neither would Mr. Fane, nor any of them.
There was the print of moccasins as well. This
pointed to Indians, and the conclusion I came to
was white men and Indians mixed."
For some time I was silent ; I hardly knew whether
to be pleased at this information or not.
| What do you think of it, Abe ? "
Wilson smiled.
" To tell you the truth, Mr. Wellesley, I 'm mighty
glad I Ve seen those footprints, for it's a very short
time since that I would have invested all my capital
to nothing we never again saw a sign of a man, or
a man saw a sign of us."
M Do you think they will be friendly towards us ?
They might be pirates or savages. You see, no one
has ever heard of people living up here."
Abe shrugged his shoulders. " Guess you Ve got
to chance something in these parts," he said somewhat brusquely. "But," he continued in a more
cheerful tone, " we 've got the pull in this way : we
know they are here, or have been ; they don't at
Friends or Foes
FELT quite recovered when I woke at the first
faint streak of daylight ; the crack of the axe
and the breaking of the sticks told me Abe was
already astir, making up the fire. What a sweet
sound that is, the splutter of the camp fire, when
you lie in a sort of semi-doze following the deep
sleep that comes after a hard day's work ! How
plainly faces pass before you, and voices of the past
ring in your ears, or perchance visions of the future
appear to you clearly and truly defined as you wish
them to be, not as they probably will be. Many a
time since that morning I have dozed and listened
to the crackling wood, the same as I heard it that
morning. I have seen the tall form push the canvas
aside, and heard the voice call out, " Now, then, boss,
time you were about " ; and I have started and awoke
to find it was another fire, another form, another voice.
I may have been still a little weak, but I felt
entirely recovered, and certainly breakfast on that
morning was the most cheerful meal we had sat
down to since leaving Victoria. The sun had risen
in a cloudless sky by the time we had the packs
ready, and it was with light hearts we hoisted them
on our backs and turned our faces to the west.
83 84
Half an hour's walking brought us to the summit
of a low ridge, from which a glorious view burst on
our vision. Some twelve or fifteen miles distant the
sea was distinctly visible in places, while the country
'twixt us and it appeared to consist of low hills and
fertile valleys, while here and there small clumps of
trees broke the monotony. To the north tall, spurlike peaks stood boldly up, but as far as we could
see to the south the country seemed to be flat and
heavily timbered.
We paused a few minutes to enjoy the view, and
see if we could make out any form of man or beast,
but nothing was in sight. We walked on another
hour, and suddenly, as we were crossing a marshy
little valley, Abe stopped. There was no need for
him to explain anything, for there plain enough in
the soft soil were the great hoof-prints of a band of
wapiti. I had seen them too often in Wyoming not
to know them at once.
" Passed up in the early morning," said Abe in a
low voice. "And look here, boss," he continued,
"don't you shoot if we come suddenly on elk or
deer ! It's only a mile or so to the south of this I
saw the footprints of the men, and they might easily
be within hearing distance of a rifle shot. We've
got meat enough for a couple of days, so let's make
the ground good before we start hunting."
I saw the force of his remarks, and trudged on
behind him cautiously, and on the alert.
Early in the afternoon, as we were skirting a belt
of timber that lay on our left, Abe stopped short
" Smoke ! " he whispered to my query. AS  WE  WERE SKIRTING  A  BELT  OF  TIMBER
To face page 84.  FRIENDS  OR FOES
I gazed in the direction where he pointed, and
there, distinctly over a low ridge about a mile in
front of us, rose a thin blue line.
" We 'd best investigate this little affair, as they say
in the Cheyenne Star, eh, boss ? "
The expressions in the Cheyenne Star appeared to
have deeply impressed Abe, as he was always ready
with a quotation from that important, but to me
unknown, organ. I acquiesced, and with a curious
and uncanny feeling within me I followed him
across the flat. Half-way up the ridge Abe halted,
sat down, and let his pack slide from his shoulders.
" Leave packs here," he whispered, seizing his
I nodded, and followed suit. We proceeded very
carefully now, and on reaching within a few yards
of the ridge crawled to the most elevated point
before us, where we should command a view of
the further side. The. smoke of the fire was now
distinctly visible just in front of us. Abe raised
himself slowly and peered forward over a rock.
For some time he looked right and left, and then
raised himself higher.    At length he slid back to me.
" Camp in a hollow ! " he whispered ; " we must get
Making a slight detour, we crawled over the ridge
towards some rocks another eighty yards on, on the
further side of which the fire was burning. Again
Abe raised his head between two stones, and almost
immediately his figure became set like that of a
pointer when he scents a covey of grouse.
For a long time he gazed ; then slowly withdrawing his head, he touched me on the arm.    "Look ! "
I 86
Cautiously I drew myself up between the two stones,
and there, not sixty yards from us, were a party of
men. But who were they, and what were they?
The longer I gazed the less could I determine. I
had earnestly hoped and prayed that if there were
men here at all, they wrould turn out to be Fane's
party ; that the ribs on the soles of the boots might
have been added on board the yacht to enable them
to climb rocks more easily, and make their foothold
surer. But these were not Fane's men ; they looked
like Indians, and yet they wore clothes of a sort of
grey homespun and odd-looking straw hats. Round
the fire they sat with their legs tucked under them,
blinking and nodding and smoking little short pipes ;
but not a word did they utter. Gradually I withdrew
my head.
" What shall we do, Abe ? "
" Just interview 'em," whispered he. " I reckon
they look pretty well dressed and respectable, and
I know a little Siwash." *
I confess I did not particularly like the look of
these gentlemen, but it was as well to make peace
with them if possible. We could not well avoid
them, and they would be sure to come on our
trail, and then they would stalk us. I thought for
some moments, and then nodded to Abe.
" Is your rifle loaded ? "
Again I nodded.
"Well, come on."
With one bound Abe leapt on to the rock in
front of us, and I followed him.
* Nearly all Indian tribes talk a language called Siwash, while
having a distinct language of their own. FRIENDS  OR FOES
" Hi ! hi ! " he yelled. Gracious heavens ! if the
situation had not been so serious I believe I should
have laughed as never I did before. I remember
it shot through my mind if that was the way the
staff of the Cheyenne Star interviewed people, and
what effect it had on those suffering from heart
Never have I seen before or since a party of
persons jump as they did. They appeared to be
in the air and on to their feet in the twinkling of
a flash, and then they stood gazing at us. And
now Abe began to jabber some, to me, incoherent
words, to which the Indians did not reply. After
their momentary scare they had reached down for
their spears, whilst one big fellow in the middle
carried a gun or rifle.
" Come on, boss," cried Abe, after parleying a few
moments ; " I think it's all right, but watch that chap
with the gun if he puts it up."
We approached to within a few yards, whilst Abe
continued to talk and gesticulate, but all the Indians
did was to eye us cautiously. Abe ceased speaking
at last, and waited for some response.
The big man in the centre shook himself like a
huge St. Bernard dog, whilst his eyes travelled
from one of us to the other. The silence was
growing embarrassing. Then in a low musical voice
he spoke :
" Whence come the white men ? "
Great Caesar's ghost ! they spoke English. I
looked at the man in amazement ; Abe burst into
a loud guffaw, but thinking this might be considered
rude, I hastily intervened. 88
" Sir," I said, " we are travellers from the far
East. This"—I pointed to Abe—"is Mr. Wilson,
the great witch doctor of Wyoming. My name, sir,
is Wellesley, a somewhat celebrated explorer."
" Whence have you come ? "
"Through that blamed wood," chimed in Abe.
I thought the Indians looked at one another in
incredulity, and then at us more curiously still.
"White men go not through the forest," said the
chief—he was evidently the leader of the party—
shaking his head.
I saw they doubted our story. How should we
convince them?
"What is impossible to ordinary white men is
possible to us," I answered. " The great witch doctor
can go wheresoever he pleases."
An awkward pause ensued. The Indians had
squatted down again with their weapons in their
hands, motionless and apparently indifferent ; only
the chief remained standing, his black beady eyes
fixed steadily upon us.
For some reason or another, I took out my watch
to see the time and avoid the gaze of the Indian.
Immediately a cry of surprise arose.
" See ! " they cried ; " he has a time-tick." And
then they crowded round, examining it and chattering to themselves in an unknown tongue like a parcel
of young children in a nursery.
It was at once evident that here was a valuable
talisman. So interesting did my watch appear in
the eyes of these people, that it was some time
before the chief could restore order. He had to
do what sounded to me like a little Indian swearing   FRIENDS  OR  FOES
before his followers would break away and resume
their seats. But at length order was restored, and he
spoke again.
" Has the witch doctor a time-tick ? " Of course
Abe had perceived the importance of possessing a
"time-tick," and was pining to give them a show.
At once he produced his big silver lever. "Oh—h—h!"
went round the circle—an " oh " of pleased astonishment. "The great chief has a time-tick too," said
the chief, in a tone of voice that implied there were
other swells about as well as ourselves.
Who was the great chief? I wondered. Did he
mean himself?
The afternoon was wearing on, so I asked if we
might camp with them that night; we might then
learn what country we were in and who these people
were. The chief readily assented; and when we
explained that our packs lay a little way back, two
Indians were told off to carry them in for us.
That night when supper was over we heard from
the chief a strange story, which filled us with amazement. He told it in the slow, deliberate way peculiar
to the Indian, and it would weary the reader to try
and reproduce it as we heard it. At the very outset
he startled us.
"What is your name, chief?" I asked.
" Walker," was the reply ; " and I am not a chief."
I had to nudge Abe hard to keep him from
uttering another guffaw. Who ever heard of an
Indian in an unexplored country called Walker?
We expected him to be called "Slyfox," or "Big-
bear," or something of the kind.
" Simply Walker ?" I queried.
~~2l 90
"John Walker," said he.
And this is the story we elicited from Mr. Walker :
"Our tribe have dwelt for many generations between the forest and the great sea beyond which is
nothing, and up to the north for many leagues we
have hunted the mighty elk among the great mountains that are there, and no one came near us, neither
did we know of other men nor other lands. But one
day—many years ago, before I can remember—there
came a great ship upon the coast and struck upon
the rocks, and the waves washed the men away and
drowned them. At length there came from the big
ship a little boat, and in it were the great White Chief
and the woman his wife, and a few survivors from
the ship. And the medicine-man declared he was
the son of the sun that had come from the unknown
West to teach us the truth of the light and explain
its great glory, and our fathers showed him great
"In time he learned our speech, and he built houses
of boards, and he set the woman, his wife, and the
captains, his servants, to show us many things and
teach us his speech ; and another generation has
arisen, which has learned much good.
"After a time he found the yellow sand which
comes from the wash of the Bigfish river, and he
made another ship, and he sent a trusted captain
with heaps of the yellow sand, and he was away many
days ; and when he returned it was in yet another
and bigger boat, that puffed and blew forth great
volumes of smoke, and even our braves were afraid
lest it might be alive and destroy them. But the
great chief was overjoyed, and told us not to fear ; FRIENDS  OR  FOES
and then we found—and this I remember well—that
the big ship was full of stores and bales of cloth, all
new and strange to us.
"And the great chief with his captains made
clothes of the cloth, and all the men and women
were given garments and good things; and the
medicine-men said, of a truth, he was the son of
the sun.
"And ever after that, twice in the year, the big
ship sailed away, once in the fall and once in the
spring, and took with her packets of the yellow sand,
and returned after many days with stores and tinned
meats and clothes and other goods ; and no one
knew whither she went.
"And then in the course of time, whilst I was still
a young man, there were born to the wife of the
White Chief two lovely daughters, and there was great
rejoicing. But one day while the daughters were
yet of tender age a great blow fell upon the head
of the White Chief, for the woman, his wife, was
called back to the land of her fathers, which lieth
within the glory of the sun. But time, who healeth
the wounds of all, dealt kindly with the chief, and
his daughters grew up and taught in the school, and
went amongst our people, giving them books to read,
and telling them of other lands and people, so that
we learnt much and prospered ; and on all sides
they were beloved and respected.
" But, alas ! as we advanced in knowledge, and our
children grew up, our eyes were opened to many
things, and we learnt that the yellow sand was held
in great value, and jealousy began to rankle in the
bosoms  of  some;   but  only lately has  the  storm 92
burst, and the lives of the White Chief and his
daughters been threatened. Listen," said Walker,
as I interrupted with an exclamation of surprise ;
" I have but little more to say. There is among
our tribe a man called George Harper, who was
born in the early days of the White Chiefs coming,
and who showed great quickness at the learning of
letters and writing. So much faith did the chief
have in him, that a few moons since he elevated
him to the high position of schoolmaster, giving
him at the same time the honour of bearing a
rifle, an honour only given to five others beside
myself. I was also a trusted servant of the chief,
having been for many summers his head hunter.
" For some time past I have noticed that strange
and secret meetings were being held among the
young braves after nightfall, but what wras talked
about I could not find out, only that Harper was
at the head of it. I thought that trouble was brewing, and warned the chief. The following night, the
one that came before last night, I was sitting in
my hut thinking of retiring to my couch, when a
low tap came to the door. I quickly rose and
opened it, and George Harper, with a score of
young braves armed with spears, passed in. jj What
means this ? ' I asked. I This/ said Harper, f we have
determined that the White Chief shall rule over us
no longer. The yellow sand shall be our property,
and the stores divided amongst us, and a chief shall
rule of our own people ; and we have come to tell
you that either you throw in your lot with us, or
that you leave the settlement and never return *to
it on pain of death/    I looked at the faces around FRIENDS  OR  FOES
me, hoping to find some look of wavering, but their
sullen and angry glances told me they were determined. I asked for time to give them an answer,
but was told it must be then and there, and that
if I threw in my lot with them I must sign a paper
" I felt I was helpless with so many foes around,
but I could not bring myself to turn against the
chief, who had been always good to me. At last
I said so. Harper seemed pleased. 'Where, then,
is your rifle ? ' he asked. By good chance, when
I had noticed there were some secret meetings
going on, I had hidden it in the hollow of a tree
just outside the settlement ; but I answered, ' It is
at the chiefs house, where I left it/ 'Then it will
soon be ours/ said Harper.
" Six men watched me all that night, and at the
first streak of dawn I was conducted to the outside
of the village, where I found twenty other men
who, like me, had refused to sign the paper. We
were given a fortnight's provisions, and told to
make our way through the forest, or wheresoever
we would, and that if ever we showed our faces
again within the settlement we should be killed.
Since then we have roamed on the outskirts of
the forest, fearing to penetrate it, for few that
have ever done so have returned, and those that
have have been more dead than alive. It is said
there is a world beyond, but we have no knowledge
of it."
" Good heavens ! " I cried, jumping up, " are these
people murdered ? "
Walker shook his head doubtfully.    " I warned the NOOTKA
White Chief that something was amiss, and he may
have been on his guard ; but Harper is wily, and
would try to rush him unawares."
" We must go at daybreak," I cried ; " we may not
be too late."
The Indian looked up, and his twinkling eyes
rested on me a moment, and then he shook his
head again. " Twenty men against two hundred ? It
would be death."
I plucked Abe by the sleeve, and led him on
one side. " Abe, we must try and rescue these
people." I looked into his face. He was gazing
into the fire with a far-off look in his eyes. He
turned, and that odd, indifferent smile that I had
seen before when I suggested the expedition passed
across his features.
" Two hundred to twenty, boss ! " he said. " Well, I
guess I 've landed those odds before now, and if the
race ain't over, we '11 have a go."   CHAPTER X.
" You have got your Answer"
I T CANNOT believe, father, that they would harm
A us after all we have done for them." But there
was doubt and uncertainty expressed in the speaker's
It is here necessary to leave Abe and myself for
a brief space of time, and endeavour to depict to
the reader a situation I was afterwards to be made
acquainted with.
It was evening, and the last meal of the day had
just been discussed. Seated at a well-lighted table
were five persons, three elderly men and two girls.
Since the last dish had been removed a long silence
had fallen on the little party, accentuated by the
intense stillness of the far western twilight. Occasionally the sharp bark of a dog from the village below
jarred on the ear, and only served to enhance the
gloom. It was the eldest of the girls who had
11 only hope you are right, Hilda," replied a tall,
white-bearded old man who sat at the end of the
table ; " but I have a presentiment that some evil
scheme is being concocted, but what it is and who
is at the bottom of it I have no idea. Why," he
continued excitedly, "hasn't John Walker been up
95 96
all day ? Why has Harper never called ? Why, in
short, has no one from the village been near us all
No one answered, and the silence was growing
denser. Suddenly the old man rose and rang the
bell. Almost instantly it was answered by a tall
Indian, clad in the same grey material worn by
the members of the band who were introduced to
the reader in the last chapter.    " Joe ! "
" Yes, sir."
Î Have you the faintest idea what is up at the
village?" This was the twentieth time that day
the same question had been addressed to Joe.
The Indian shook his head.
" But you believe something is wrong ? "
The Indian glanced round at the anxious eyes
that rested on him, and slowly nodded.
" D n it ! I cried the old man, rising and striking
the table with his clenched fist ; "they'll find us more
difficult to trap than they imagine. You can rely
on the other boys?" He turned sharply to the
Indian as he spoke. Three other Indians lived in the
house, acting as menservants in different capacities.
" Yes, sir," replied Joe. " I know there have been
secret meetings in the village of late ; Walker told
me so ; but our boys have never been down there,
and know nothing of them. I think we can rely
on them."
"Tell them," cried the old man excitedly, "that
if I see any sign of mutinous conduct on the part
of any one of them I'll blow his brains out with
my own hand. They can't get out ; I shall keep the
key of the stockade myself.    And if there is a con- "YOU  HAVE  GOT  YOUR  ANSWER"   97
spiracy being formed against us, they must fight side
by side with us, and if we are successful they will
be well rewarded. And now," he added, "see that
the magazines in each rifle are filled, the weapons
ready. One moment, Joe ! " The Indian turned to
go. "Would John Walker join in any plot against
" No," replied Joe, " I am sure he would not."
"Well, but that makes it doubly strange. Why
has he never come up to the house?"
"Would they have let him?" said the Indian
An ominous pause followed this remark. Left to
themselves, the old man filled his glass and passed
it to the men on either side of him. " This is a rum
go, Ted Cooper." He addressed a stout, thick-set
man on his right—a man who must have been a
very powerful fellow in his younger days.
It is hardly necessary to explain that the speaker
was the White Chief alluded to by the Indian, John
Walker, in the last chapter. His real name was
Henry Herbert, and he had been the captain of the
ill-fated ship that had been blown out of its course
and gone ashore five-and-twenty years before in
Nootka Sound. Ted Cooper, the carpenter, and
Will Gibson, the boatswain—the thin-faced old man
who sat opposite to him at the table—were the only
survivors left of the crew of the Witch of Dundee.
"It's a rum go, Ted." The remark had to be
" Blimy if I can make head nor tail of it ! " said the
carpenter,  stroking  his  chin  thoughtfully.    " I   did
think the settlement never was so peaceful.    In the -
old days, I confess, captain, I allays feared they
might rise. It's my belief it's all this learning and
eddication ; I never did believe in it. Ye thinks ye
teaches people to leave alone what ain't theirs, but
it just acts contrary : it gives 'em notions as how
your property ought to be theirs."
" Listen ! There's the stockade bell. Hurry up,
Ted ; answer it yourself ; take your revolver, and
don't open the gate on any pretext." Captain Herbert had hardly finished speaking ere Ted Cooper
was out of the room. "Girls," added the captain,
" keep your revolvers loaded and handy ; they may
be wanted at any moment, and you '11 have to help
us if any serious trouble threatens."
"The Lodge," as Captain Herbert's house was called,
was situated half a mile to the north of the village,
on a slight eminence. It was a roomy one-storied
structure, built of course of wood, and designed by
Cooper, who had gradually instructed the natives in
the art of building. Evidently the wily carpenter,
as he had just remarked, had suspicions that a day
might come when the Indians might turn round and
endeavour to rend them ; and he had taken care to
make the place as impregnable as he could with the
scant material at his command. All round the house,
ten yards from the main building, ran a solid stockade
some twelve feet high, formed of thick pine logs ; on
the top of these were stuck iron spikes, while on the
inner side stout boards were nailed at right angles to
the logs, against which poles were placed horizontally
to strengthen them against being rammed in from
without. The site, too, was well chosen. On the west
side, at the foot of a precipitous wall of rock, ran the YOU HAVE GOT YOUR ANSWER" 99
clear water of the Bigfish river, and right on the very
edge of the rock the stockade had been driven in, so
that no person could even walk along on the outside.
There were two gates opening out of the stockade.
One, the main one, faced the south, and from it ran a
well-worn path to the village ; the other, which was
seldom used, was narrower, and faced the east. On
the other sides the ground sloped gently downwards,
covered in a deep carpet of fine pasture. To the
north it soon began to rise again, and rocks and
scrub stood forth. A quarter of a mile to the east,
across the grass valley, ran a line of low, broken hills
parallel with the river, while two miles below the
village the Bigfish river ran into the head of Nootka
"Who are you, and what do you want?" It was
the gruff voice of Cooper that spoke at the south gate
of the stockade. Dead silence reigned within the
room, whilst the occupants listened anxiously.
" I wish to see the White Chief," came the answer.
" Then you can't see him ; and what the blue blazes
do you mean by coming here after nightfall? The
day-time is the proper time to see the White Chief,
unless he sends for you, and you know that."
Whilst the carpenter was speaking, Captain Herbert
had risen and quietly gone outside.
" Is that your voice, Harper ? " he called as Cooper
"It is," replied the voice.
f Then out with it ! What do you want, and what do
these meetings mean that I hear of?"
"If the White Chief will open the gate I wall
explain." IOO
" You dog, you think to enter here and trap me, do
you ?    Explain from where you are.    I can hear."
" Does the White Chief refuse to open ? "
" I do."
" It is well," continued the Indian in a calm, oily
tone. " I am here as the spokesman of our tribe.
They have met, and in serious conclave have determined that they will no longer be ruled by a white
chief, but by one of their own tribe. Yet my mission
is one of peace. The White Chief has taught the
Indians many things for which they are grateful, but
he has shown them that it is with their property and
with their assistance he has grown fat and prosperous."
" I have no wish to argue with you with reference
to my position," interrupted Captain Herbert. " You
know, no one so well as you, Harper, that but for me
you and your tribe would now be in darkness and
ignorance. I have endeavoured always to be just and
fair, but I see now where I have been wrong : I have
erred in teaching you the ways of civilization."
" That may be so," retorted the Indian, "but having
set the stone rolling down the mountain-side, you
cannot stop it."
"Peace, dog!" cried the old man angrily. "It is
you who have set the stone rolling. Let us end this.
Why are you here ? "
" Be it so," said the Indian. " My orders are to
inform you, that if you open the gate and come
forth unarmed, you and the two white captains will
be conducted to the coast to the eastwards by a route
known only to one of us. Then by a certain headland the big boats of the white man sail frequently past^ "YOU HAVE GOT YOUR ANSWER" 101
and by signs the White Chief can attract attention,
and so reach again the tribe that he came from, which
has surely grown weary of waiting for him."
" You have not mentioned my daughters."
" The track through the forest is filled with fallen
timber and prickly scrub," said the Indian. " Would
the white man impede his progress with petticoats ? "
" Scoundrel ! " cried the old man ; " do you propose
to banish me and detain them here ? "
If Mr. Harper had been able at that moment to
have peeped into the room where the two girls sat,
listening almost breathlessly to the conversation going
on without, I doubt if he would have been very keen
about detaining them. With her white teeth set, her
great grey eyes flashing with scorn, and her hand on
the haft of her revolver, Hilda sat gazing at her
sister. Mary was a little younger than her sister
and somewhat fairer, with a rounder face and a
merry twinkle in her blue eyes, and maybe many
people would have called her softer and more
feminine. Comparisons, they say, are odious ; all
that need be said is that two lovelier types of
English beauty, two grander specimens of the female
sex, could not have been found anywhere. They
both stood but very little short of six feet, yet in
their proportions not a bone seemed displaced, not
a feature looked wrong. Do I rave—I who tell this
story ? Perhaps I do, and some years have passed
since I first saw them ; and all I can say is, I rave
still. When Mary raised her eyes and met her
sister's fierce glance, an answering gleam of scorn
and decision shone in hers.
The Indian had not replied, and Captain Herbert I02
repeated the question, " What do you propose to do
with my daughters ? "
" I have no orders at present concerning the
women," replied the Indian sullenly.
"Come," said Hilda, placing her hand on her
sister's shoulder, "it's time we had a say in this,"
and she glided swiftly through the open door into
the space before the stockade. A silence had fallen.
The old man, boiling inwardly with rage, knew not
what to say. Cooper was mentally cursing because
there was not enough light to see to shoot the
Indian through a loophole, when Hilda's voice fell
clear and distinct on the quiet night.
"Are you still there, George Harper?"
"I am here," said the voice, "waiting the White
Chiefs answer."
" I will answer for him," cried Hilda. " Go back,
then, to the tribe, and tell them that three old men
and two girls defy them to do their worst ; and,
mark me, if the worst should come to the worst, and
we be overpowered by your treacherous followers, do
not think my sister and I will ever fall into the
hands of such as you. No ! " she cried. " Tell them
from me the first Indian hand that is laid on the
form of Hilda Herbert will be laid on a figure
whence the spirit has departed—a figure they are
all welcome to."
" I have no need to repeat the words of the Red
Rose," answered the Indian sarcastically ; " the tribe
can hear themselves. Is this the White Chief's
answer ? " he continued, addressing Captain Herbert.
" Yes," said the old man sternly, " my daughter's
answer is mine.    Do your worst," 'YOU HAVE GOT YOUR ANSWER
" That answer means war," said the Indian ; " and
supposing you are able to prevent us for a time from
entering the stockade, it is only a question of time
for us to starve you out, and, mind, in that case I
cannot be responsible for what will happen, the blood
of the braves once roused."
"Away!" cried the old man angrily; "you have
got your answer." CHAPTER XL
The Indians Agree
" T MUST make you out a greater paragon than
1 you are, Abe," I whispered, as we still stood
by the fire that night a few paces from the Indian
Walker. " They are scared at the thought of returning ; they think the odds against them hopeless. I '11
just lie to them on your marvellous powers on the
field of battle till the moon retires in disgust.
Friend Walker," I continued, turning to the Indian,
who, squatted on the ground, was gazing into the
embers with a far-off expression on his face, "the
great Witch Doctor commands me to tell you that,
having consulted the stars and the ' time-tick ' "—
I thought it wise to refer to the " time-tick," seeing
the deep impression it had produced — "he has
determined to rescue the great White Chief and
his daughters, if it be not too late, and he implores
you to return with us and lend us your aid. He
and I are capable of doing this alone, but it would
take longer and entail more suffering and suspense
on the White Chief and those with him."
Mournfully the Indian shook his head. "Two
hundred to twenty ? " he said ; "it would mean
" Tut, man ! what do you mean ? Have you ever
seen the Witch Doctor shoot? Did the enemy dare
to charge us, they would melt away before his rifle
like the snow before the summer sun."
I had noticed the Indian's rifle was a muzzle-
loader of an old type; and though I learnt later
that Captain Herbert had a few modern magazine
rifles stowed away in "The Lodge," I thought it
better to impress on the Indian the superiority of
the repeating weapon, and I was right, for afterwards
I found out that the half-dozen rifles he, Captain
Herbert, distributed among the men who were in
the highest position in the tribe were all weapons
of an older type, and this I found afterwards was
Cooper's doing. "As long as they can bang off
and hit something, that is all they want," he had
been heard to say. "Don't you be fool enough
to give them magazine rifles to syringe the stockade
And so it was the repeating rifles lay in the
strong-room at "The Lodge," oiled and carefully
guarded by Joe, the confidential Indian servant,
whilst Captain Herbert always used an old Scotch
double-barrel express when he went on a hunting
expedition. Consequently even Walker knew not
of the merits of a quick-firing rifle.
"The white man speaks strangely or boastfully,"
said Walker.
" Neither the one nor the other," I replied ; " but
you shall see the Witch Doctor shoot as soon as
it is light, and then you will be convinced that
nothing can approach him and live. After that we
will hurry on to these persons' assistance." io6
The Indian looked up quickly, not at me ; I think
he took me for a mere " gasser " ; his eyes rested
momentarily on the great form of Abe, who, sitting
near, was listening to the conversation with a smile
on his face.
" We will see the Witch Doctor shoot in the morning," said Walker ; " after then we can see what is
best to do."
" Certainly," I cried, " and now to bed ! Abe," I
whispered, "he wavers. To-morrow morning you
must empty your magazine into something as fast
as you can. Let her go, and you can pretend you
have more cartridges in her when you've done
the six; but probably that will sufficiently impress
The camp had been astir some time when I woke
on the following morning. The incidents of the
previous day and the position we were in immediately crowded on my brain, and I quickly
jumped into the few necessary clothes that lay
alongside me.
Abe and the Indian, Walker, were seated together
by a small fire, some distance from the main group,
chatting in low voices, when I emerged from the
canvas on my way to the stream, there to engage in
the usual meagre morning ablutions. The former
greeted me with a smile, but the Indian only glanced
up quickly, and I could detect that his mind was
filled with doubt and uncertainty.
" See, boss," cried Abe, " Mr. Walker has arranged
the target."
I glanced in the direction he pointed to, and there,
on a ledge of dark rock some fifty yards from the THE  INDIANS AGREE
camp, were placed, at an interval of half a yard, a
dozen pieces of white quartz stone, each about the
size of a man's hand.
"The exhibition," continued Abe, "will be given
after breakfast, so hurry up."
I knew quite well that Abe could knock those
stones over at that distance as quickly and unerringly as a scullery maid could shell peas, but
then would he be nervous? It was evident from
the expression on Walker's face that he half believed we were mere boasters ; anyhow, Abe's ability
was to be put to a first and final test The same
notion was plainly depicted on the faces of the other
Indians, who stood solemnly and silently grouped
behind Abe.
"Seated or standing?" asked Abe, turning to
Walker with his rifle in his hand.
"As the Witch Doctor chooses," replied the
Abe threw himself on the ground with his back
against a stump, and drew up his left knee.
" Ready ? " he called.
" Ready," said Walker.
Bang ! whiz ! crack ! Bang ! whiz ! crack ! Bang !
whiz ! crack ! If the reader chooses to say these
words evenly, and not too hurriedly, to himself or
herself—alas! in the latter case I feel it will be
difficult—gazing at the same time steadily on the
pieces of quartz stone which are distinctly visible on
the dark ledge of rock, " Bang ! " will represent the
report of the rifle, simultaneously with which the
white stone on the right disappears, " Whiz ! " the
jerk of the lever which shoots the  cartridge out,
*^l io8
" Crack ! " the replacing of the lever into position for
firing. Six times he fired, and six quartz stones had
Abe jumped up smiling, and for the first time I
glanced at the faces round me. With open mouths,
and their dark beady eyes almost starting from their
heads with amazement, they gazed from Abe to the
quartz stones and from what was left of the quartz
stones to Abe in utter bewilderment.
Abe walked up to Walker, looking him straight in
the face, at the same time quietly slipping fresh
cartridges into the magazine, but they were not
" Do you wish me to go on, Chief Walker ? "
The Indian looked at him, and there was almost a
suspicion of fear on his countenance.
" For my part, I have seen enough," he answered,
and then he left us and went apart, followed by the
other Indians.
For some minutes they talked hurriedly and
vehemently in their strange tongue, whilst we
watched them anxiously, and without speaking.
Suddenly the murmur of voices ceased, and Walker,
with head erect, and a determined look upon his
face, came towards us.
" Witch Doctor," he said, " and you, Explorer "—
there was a somewhat disdainful expression in his
voice as he spoke the latter word ; I was merely
a hanger-on : it was Abe he addressed—" I have
spoken with those who are with me, and we have
agreed that we will lead you to the house of the
White Chief, and, with your aid, help to save him
from his enemies;  but I would again point out we THE   INDIANS  AGREE
are twenty against two hundred, and that our foes
are led by a man crafty as the fox. If he knew
the power of the Witch Doctor's rifle he would not
approach us, but would hem us in till we fell for
want of food and water. But if it be that we are
called back to the glory of the sun and the home
of our fathers, it is a great and a proud moment
for all of us that we go in the company of the great
Witch Doctor."
The voice of the Indian was firm, and a determined
air had come upon him.
Abe did not reply in words ; he held out his
hand, the hand I have spoken of before, and Walker
grasped it. Slowly his eyes met the smiling ones
of Abe, and the look that came over his face I
shall never forget ; the magnetic touch had thrilled
through him, and Abe Wilson had unconsciously
added another slave to his list, who would follow
him blindly and unhesitatingly whithersoever he
would command.
" Now," said Abe, " let us be moving. How far is
it, Walker, to the White Chief's place ? "
"Three to four hours," replied Walker, "should
bring us to the last ridges overlooking the valley
where lie the house of the White Chief and the
Indian settlement below, but we should move with
care, and have one always ahead to act as scout, for
Harper might suspect our return ; he is cunning as
the fox, and would leave no stone unturned to gain
his ends."
All this time I thought it best to play second fiddle ;
it would, perhaps, be truer to say I was distinctly
playing second fiddle.    Anyhow, I had the sense to no
keep myself in the background, so I merely nudged
" Speak a few words to the men," I whispered.
" They only want a bit of encouragement, and they '11
follow us to h—1."
" The sun," broke in Abe with a quiet laugh.
" All right," I retorted, " either will do for me, for if
the one *s as hot as I know the other is, it's fried liver
and bacon we 'd be in half a twinkle."
Abe spoke a few words to the men.
"If you will stick by us and obey orders, we
will go right through this Harper and his measly
crowd ; but if one of you cuts it and turns tail,
he'll spoil the whole show, and we shall only be
playing right into Harper's hands and make him
laugh. Say, boys, do you want Harper to laugh
over this job ? "
The Indians shook their heads.
"You wish the skunk kicked out and the White
Chief put back to his right place ? "
" Ay, ay ! " they cried.
" Come along, then ; it shall be done."
During our march that morning we learnt much
from Walker. After all, only four of the Indians
carried rifles, all of a similar pattern to his, and so
if we could avoid being rushed we might keep them
at bay if we met them on ground favourable to us ;
but what we hoped to do was to make the White
Chief acquainted of our presence unbeknown to
Harper and his men.
It was Walker who made this suggestion, which
we both pooh-poohed at first till he explained how
it might be done.   Walker had been Captain Her- THE  INDIANS  AGREE
bert's hunter, as has been already remarked, and the
reader may also remember that a quarter of a mile
from " The Lodge " ran a ridge of low hills ; to the
east of the ridge again lay a broad fertile plain. It
appeared that on an elevated spot on the ridge,
which commanded a good view to the north-west
and west, Walker had been accustomed to establish
himself in the early mornings when a likely westerly
wind was blowing, and look out for any deer or
elk that might have come out on to the plain to
feed. If he saw any he would hoist a white flag
or handkerchief. When this was done someone at
"The Lodge" would see it and instantly inform
Captain Herbert. Then the old man would sally
forth with his telescope, and Walker, by means of a
code of signals that Captain Herbert had taught
him, would tell him what kind of game was there
and how far off they were, etc.
It was rather too far for Walker to follow the
directions of Captain Herbert without a telescope ;
and unfortunately the one he always used was
kept at "The Lodge," and, of course, he had been
obliged to come away without it. Still here was
a means of letting Captain Herbert know we were
at hand.
"The worst of it is," said Walker, "while I am
trying to catch the chief's attention I may be seen
by Harper's men."
" Humph ! " ejaculated Abe ; " that doesn't make it
such a good thing as it sounded."
Still it was agreed to make for the signal spot, and
if we reached it unobserved we could then discuss
the course to pursue. 112
There were many other points to be discussed, and
the time had passed quickly, when, on reaching the
summit of a pass between two hills, the Indian
halted, and pointing across a rolling, prairie-like looking valley to a ridge of hills some three or four miles
from us, said, " Yonder is the ridge from which we
shall see the settlement." CHAPTER  XII.
The Signal is Seen
IT is again necessary to transport the reader to
" The Lodge " on this same afternoon that Abe
and myself are trudging on towards it with Walker
and his followers. It was the day following the
night that Harper had made his nocturnal call.
After he had departed—or rather when the silence
of the night was unbroken, for he might have been
at no distance from the stockade—it was decided
that one of the white men and two of the domestic
Indians should immediately go on sentry duty and
patrol round the house between it and the stockade,
relieving each other every four hours.
Ted Cooper and two of the Indians started sentry
duty, to be relieved by Gibson, Joe, and the other
It had quickly dawned on all of them that an
attack on the stockade was little likely to be made,
anyhow at present. In the first place, it was almost
impregnable to men armed with three or four old
muzzle-loading rifles, and for the rest with only
spears and knives—nasty enough things at close
quarters, but of little use with a high wall of solid
logs betwixt the two parties.
1 "S 114
Captain Herbert and his two daughters had
returned into the house, barred the shutters, and
turned up the lamp. Gibson had retired to his room
to try and seek a few hours' rest, though it is little
likely that any of the dwellers in that house got any
sleep that night. Captain Herbert threw himself into
a chair by the table, and buried his head in his hands,
while the two girls sat upon the further side, casting
furtive glances at his hidden face, and then at one
Not a word was spoken ; each of them wished to
say something hopeful, but no gleam of relief could
force itself anywhere on the black horizon of their
vision. Anon the bent form rocked, and heavy tears
forced their way through the old man's fingers. Mary
rose and went to her father.
" Father, don't take it to heart like this ; they may
relent. Walker may come with some of the tribe
and help us. They cannot all have rebelled against
Her hand was on his trembling shoulder, the
golden head mingled with his long grey hair ; but
the grey head only shook in answer.
" Children," he said at last, " may you forgive me ;
may God forgive me. I ought to have foreseen this
years ago. I should have sent you to the land of
civilization to mingle and marry among your own
people, for I had the means to place you in a good
position ; but oh, how could I sever myself from the
last link that bound me to the world, from the sight
of the only faces that could ever make me happy
again ? When you were but little children, and your
poor mother was taken from us, she implored me on THE  SIGNAL  IS  SEEN
her deathbed never to leave you, said that you would
remind me of her, as you do every day of your lives,
and I promised. You have never seen those lands
of civilization ; and as the man cannot care for the
fruit that he has never tasted, so you have never
cared to leave the place of your birth. I have taught
you all I could ; we have sent for books that have
shown you the ways and history of civilized people ;
but, alas ! we have imprudently shown them also to
the tribe, and in a moment, like thieves in the dark,
they have turned on us, and this is the reward of
" Father," cried Hilda, " don't fret so. We should
never have left you had you suggested it, and perhaps
our case is not so hopeless if we can hold out ; but
they may fight amongst themselves, and give you a
chance of joining one side against the other, or other
chances may offer. Anyhow"—and a dark look came
into her eyes—" we will stand or fall beside you, and
you will not find us wanting when the hour for
action comes."
They calmed him down gradually, and got him at
last to lie down on the sofa, where they took it in
turns to sit by his side through the night.
Dawn came at last, and eagerly they all scanned
the ground around the stockade, but no sign of an
Indian was to be seen.
" It is as I feared," said Captain Herbert to Cooper
as they sat, a silent group, around the breakfast-
table. "They'll just wait till our provisions are
done and we are starved out. They won't risk their
lives by attacking us, and they know there is nowhere for us to go to." n6
The morning was spent in instructing the Indians
in the use of the revolvers and rifles, shooting them
off with dummy cartridges, and showing them how
to refill the chambers and magazines.
" They 're all right," Joe had whispered to Captain
Herbert ; " they have lived their lives with the
White Chief, and if need be they will willingly die
with him ; they have said it."
This piece of news gratified the old man exceedingly, for he had greatly feared that they might
secretly have been approached by Harper or some
of his gang, and their minds poisoned against
After practising with the arms and portioning
them off, to each man a rifle and a belt, on the right
side of which was a revolver, and on the left a
sailor's short cutlass, they set about soaking some
rag in a concoction of tar and petroleum. This was
placed in a tin pannikin, and, with the aid of a
ladder, fixed on the spikes at the top of the stockade
at various intervals. This was done in case a night
attack was made. With a long stick, at the end of
which some of the inflammable rag was fixed, the
stockade could now be lit up in a few moments,
and this would illuminate the ground in front of
it for some short distance.
Hilda had had a long and earnest conversation
with Uncle Ted, as the two girls always called the
sturdy old carpenter. She half hoped he might
throw some brighter ray upon the scene, or be able to
suggest a scheme, however remote, of escape. But
though quiet and determined in manner, Cooper's
answers to her queries were not reassuring.
" Mightn't we make a detour round the village
some dark night and get aboard the steamer ? " she
had asked. "We might keep them at bay whilst
you and father got up steam."
Cooper shook his head.
"They will keep a sharp look-out there," he
replied. "They know it is our one and only way
of escape. Of course," he added after a pause, " if
our straits become desperate we will have to do
some desperate thing, and it may be it will be our
only chance to cut our way through and try and
reach the boat, but I fear me it will be a terribly
hard job."
The day wore on. All through the early part of
the afternoon the two girls with Joe had been helping Captain Herbert to go over the stores and see
what time they were likely to hold out. They had
reckoned they could hold out about three weeks with
ordinary care, and this fact was at once communicated to the little garrison, but Cooper only
laughed grimly, and the stolid faces of the Indians
did not change their expression ; for after all three
weeks is better than three months, infinitely preferable to three years, of wearing anxiety and suspense.
The day had been close and hot, but was growing
cooler now as the sinking sun threw long shadows
across the valley.
Captain Herbert stood upon the top of the
verandah which ran round the house, being on a
level with the top of the stockade. From here a
view could be obtained of the first two or three
houses of the village.    Not a soul had been near n8
them all day. Hilda stood by his side, gazing
apathetically in the same direction. In a listless,
dreamy manner she let her eyes roam round to the
eastern ridge, the curves and bends of which were
now thrown into sharp relief by the setting sun.
Suddenly she started.
" Father ! father ! "
" Good God, Hilda ! what is the matter ? "
Her eyes were dilated, her lips parted, and for a
moment she could not speak. Was it a dream?
was it a fancy ?
" Speak, Hilda," cried the old man. " Are you ill,
child ?    What is it ? "
Cooper, patrolling below, looked up and became
rooted to the spot.
"It is ! " she cried, " it is ! " And there was joy in
her voice. " See, father, there is something white
fluttering at the signal spot."
" Something white ? something white ? " said the old
man, gazing across the valley. What did it mean ?
A white flag had been Walker's signal, but in the
strong shadow his eyes, failing now, could not perceive it. " My glass ! my glass ! Fetch the glass
quick, while the light lasts."
But Cooper had heard Hilda's words, and had
quickly run into the house for the telescope.
" Give it to me, Ted," said the old man.
Quickly he adjusted it and leaned it on the parapet.
A moment afterwards he muttered, " Great heavens ! I
whilst his quick breathing and the shaking of the
telescope told he was violently agitated.
In a few more seconds he jumped up, and now his
arms went this way and that ; he touched the top of THE  SIGNAL  IS  SEEN
his head, he struck his chin, he waved them backwards
and forwards.
Cooper and Hilda watched him in silence. It was
evident he had seen friends, and now he was talking
to them. They both understood the code, and
breathlessly watched him.
" We are safe ; come at once."
And now he was down again using the glass.
" He can't make out my signals ; the sun's in the
" Who can't ? " asked Cooper.
" Walker, Walker ! " replied Captain Herbert excitedly ; " and white men with him, and twenty
Indians! See — listen — one hour after sundown."
Again he jumped up, again he gesticulated wildly,
and again he looked through the glass. " Right,
right ! " he cried, as he shut it up with a snap.
Quickly Captain Herbert explained that Walker
was there and ready to render assistance, and that
two white men were with him. The news flew like
wildfire, and within a few seconds all the occupants
of " The Lodge " were listening to Captain Herbert's
welcome news and gazing across the valley towards
the place where the signal spot was, hoping to
perceive some movements or signal, but nought was
visible. The whole ridge-side was obscured in deep
russet brown shadows, while only a few of the
higher tops caught the last flicker of the sinking
Ted Cooper had listened to Captain Herbert's
rapid explanation as he closed the telescope, and a
great wave of hope had rushed into his heart, but
that instinctive feeling, the outcome of long habit, Ï2Ô
prompted him while his chief was talking to gaze
round in the direction where danger lay. He almost
uttered an exclamation, but checked himself. Was
that a group of Indians there at the head of the
village, or was it only the shadows of evening ?
He looked long and earnestly, but the night grew
fast, and trees and rocks became more and more
blended together in one dark mass. Perhaps he was
mistaken ; anyhow, no one else appeared to have
noticed anything, but then they were busy listening
to the good news. Cooper worried. He was not the
man to throw cold water into the pot just as the
water was beginning to warm, but it was necessary
for the safety of all, not only themselves within
the stockade, but of those coming to their assistance, that they should be on the alert and ready to
render aid if it should be necessary.
Watching a favourable opportunity, he drew Captain Herbert aside.
"Captain," he whispered, "it is quite possible the
tribe know of Walker's presence as well as we
The old man started. He had not thought of this
" Why should you think so ? " he asked.
Cooper told him of his suspicions, and added,
" Anyhow, we must guard as well as we can against
being surprised and rushed."
A meeting of the garrison was quickly and silently
summoned, for time was growing short, and Captain
Herbert addressed the little group:
" Men, it is possible we may meet foes to-night, as
well as friends, and it is necessary we keep cool, and THE  SIGNAL  IS  SEEN
that you follow the directions I am about to give
you. Not only our lives, but the lives of our friends,
may depend on it"
It was then arranged that as soon as the hour after
sundown had passed—half of it was already gone—and
they heard people approaching, the south and east
sides of the stockade should be immediately lit up.
This was a comparatively easy matter, but Captain
Herbert paused ; the men were all wanted for sterner
service, and he did not like to risk his daughters' lives.
Hilda saw the situation.
" Mary and I can do that," she said. " I '11 fire the
four lights on the east side, and Mary can light the
south ones."
The father demurred, but Hilda insisted, and after
a few words from Cooper, it was agreed that the girls
should light up the stockade, two lights on the south
side being deemed sufficient, as if there was a hostile
attack it must almost for a certainty come from the
east side.
After igniting the tins the two sisters were to meet
at the front entrance to the house, and, in case the
enemy got into the stockade, hold it with their revolvers till friends could rally round.
Cooper and the three Indians were told off to stand
by the eastern door in the stockade, with cutlasses in
hand and revolvers, ready to unbar it at a word from
Captain Herbert. The Captain took up a position at
a loophole a yard or two to the left of the door with
his rifle. Joe was stationed at another loophole, to
his left again, and Gibson took his stand at one just
to the right of the door, both ready to pass their rifles
through. 122
" For God's sake don't shoot friends instead of
foes ; make sure where you are aiming before you
These were Captain Herbert's last words as each
one filed off to his or her post.
Let it not be supposed they felt convinced an attack
would be made, but if the Indians were aware of
Walker's presence, they well knew he would never
be allowed to enter the stockade without a fierce
struggle. CHAPTER  XIII.
I ' Lead Away,  JValker "
THE events which have just been recorded in
the last chapter I learnt subsequently. The
reader left our little band entering the plain, across
which rose the low ridge of hills beyond which lay
the house of the White Chief and the Indian settlement. At first Walker intended making straight for
the signal spot, but quickly he changed his mind.
" It is not safe to risk it," he said in reply to
our inquiries. "They might possibly have sentries
on the look-out. Let us keep to the edge of the
valley, and cross over a few miles further north ; we
can then come down the ridge with little chance of
This sounded common sense enough ; the only
thing against it was the loss of time involved. But
Walker knew the lie of the land and the ways of
his people, and it was not for us to interfere.
We moved on quickly, yet carefully, without seeing
any sign of man, and anon reached the watershed
of the ridge some four miles above "The Lodge."
Occasionally, from some higher elevation than usual,
we spied the house in the distance and the huts of
the settlement below ; but we took care not to show
123 124
ourselves on the skyline, and it was late in the
afternoon when Walker called a halt, and bade
the Indians wait till he returned. Motioning to
Abe and myself, he crawled forward some fifty
yards till he came to a small hollow at the summit
of the ridge. Carefully he raised his head and gazed
for some time across the valley ; then he motioned us
to approach.
" No one in sight," he said.    " Look ! "
We both peered over the edge. A mile below us
two or three of the neat-looking cottages — huts
they called them—of the settlement were distinctly
visible ; a little to the west of them a long waving
silvery line marked the course of the river, and as
my eye followed on I saw the stream disappear in
a small belt of trees, beyond which it broadened out
into a wide lagoon, and there to my amazement lay a
" Fane's yacht ! " I cried, as I caught sight of it.
Abe, who had been gazing steadily at "The
Lodge," which lay exactly opposite to us, turned
his head quickly. " Walker," he called, " what ship
is that?"
Walker meanwhile had been busy pulling some
bunting from a hole in the side of the rock, which
he was now tearing in strips. He paused. " That
ship? Why, the ship of the White Chief," he
answered. " Whose ship could it be ? " And the
tone of his voice implied that only ignorant people
could have asked such a stupid question. "That
is the ship," he continued, "that takes away the
yellow dust, and brings back the stores after many
days." "LEAD  AWAY, WALKER" 125
I fell to wondering where Fane could be. Out
in the distance, clear and distinct in that heavenly
atmosphere, islands and headlands and ocean mingled
together far as the eye could reach to the southward, and I felt that it was a terribly intricate
passage for anyone to find even if this were Nootka
Sound below us. On the chart Nootka Sound was
described as a wide arm of the sea running inland
some eight or ten miles, and it did not depict a
rugged, broken coast such as this appeared to be.
I was afterwards to learn, though, that, while requiring delicate and careful navigation, the passage
was far easier than it appeared from the shore,
where broad reaches of water would be hidden by
the headlands.
While I was thus ruminating, feasting my eyes
on a view that was gloriously refreshing after the
sombre experiences in the silent, gloomy forest, I
heard Abe talking to Walker.
"What are you tearing that stuff up for?"
"Signal for the White Chief," came the answer.
" Well, but why not fly the derned lot ? The more
you show, the more chance of its being seen."
" The more chance of Indians seeing too," was the
laconic reply. "Risky as it is," continued Walker,
" Indian's eyes very sharp."
" But why not make a dash for the stockade now
before we can be discovered ? "
"Ugh!" And Walker shivered. "White Chief
shoot us all from loopholes ; take us for the enemy.
No, I must speak with him first."
Whilst they were conversing Walker had hauled
up on a staff fixed there for the purpose a narrow 126
strip of white bunting. How long it was we leaned
on the bank and gazed across the valley I do not
know, but it must have been over an hour. We saw
men patrolling round within the stockade, and that
they carried rifles, from which it was evident an
attack might be expected. A man stood on the
verandah looking towards the settlement, and now
and again other men came up and spoke to him.
At that distance we could not distinguish their
features, but Walker said it was the White Chief
that waited so long on the verandah. After a time
the tall figure of a girl appeared on the verandah.
Why would she not look this way? I am afraid
that inwardly I called her bad names, solely, as it
were, for her own good.
This waiting and watching, if it appeared dull, was
in reality oppressively exciting. Although Walker
did not speak, his restless eyes told a plain story.
From the settlement to the stockade and vice versa
they darted incessantly ; it was evident he was fearful lest the Indians should see the signal first,
added to which the sun was growing lower and
lower on the horizon.
"Why the devil don't they look this way?" I
muttered angrily. Abe shrugged his shoulders.
Even as I spoke we saw the girl's form turn lazily
round towards us. I heard Abe catch his breath
up ; I saw round the corner of my eye that Walker
had started.
For some time she gazed. Good heavens ! Could
she not see us? The situation was growing too
strained for my nerves. "As well be killed by Indians
as die of heart disease," was the thought that ran LEAD AWAY, WALKER'
I seized my handkerchief and
We saw the girl start and seize the man's
through my mind.
waved it
arm and point towards us, and then another man
brought a telescope.
Walker, showing as little of his body as possible,
and casting furtive glances ever and anon towards
the settlement, commenced gesticulating ; signalling
he called it.
The sun now was just about to drop behind the
horizon, and " The Lodge " was right between us and
it, making it almost impossible to see the movements of those within the stockade. Time after
time Walker shook his head. " Cannot read the
White Chief's signal," he muttered.
At length he stopped, and as he did so he threw
a last quick glance towards the settlement.
" Ugh ! " he ejaculated, and started. Abe turned
quickly. I saw his forehead wrinkled and his keen
eyes fixed, but though I gazed towards the settlement in the direction they were looking, nothing
could I see but the long dark shadows and the few
golden spots where the last rays of the sun still
" Indians seen us," muttered Walker.
If I remember rightly I said "D—n !" but if that
should offend any reader it can be left out.
Walker stamped on the ground with the air of
a man who is just reaching over to seize a goodly
pile of money, when someone else grasps it and
" Come," he cried, " let us go ; no time to lose."
" Did you see them, Abe ?" I asked.
He nodded.  CHAPTER  XIV.
I Come; there are others in danger %
IT was dark when we descended on to the plain.
Coming down the ridge, the lights in the stockade were clearly visible below us. Oh, what a cheering sight that is after a long, hard day's work, the
lights of home ! How many a man has staggered
along the track, almost done, almost fainting, when,
turning a corner of the road, the lights of home
have burst upon his vision and filled him afresh
with vigour, put new life into him, dragged him
home. Still, when you know the house may be
surrounded by a lot of persons waiting to cut your
throat, those same lights do not shine so pleasantly
or so invitingly.
Walker went first with Abe, and myself next,
and the Indians in a body behind. We walked as
quietly as we could, but owing to the darkness and
the rocky nature of the ground, there was a good
deal of stumbling and floundering. We carried our
rifles at full cock, and I remember expecting to fall
every step I took, when the rifle would probably go
off and shoot someone.
Walker had warned us that the hostile Indians
might jump on us at any moment, but no sound
did we hear except our own footsteps and the
murmur of the river, which grew louder each step
we took.
We soon reached the edge of the gorge, and
Walker turned sharply to the left. It had been
decided that we should make our way as silently
as possible to the stockade, and if attacked keep
together as much as possible and fight our way to
the stockade, where we were expected. Quickly
we passed along the side of the river bank till " The
Lodge " itself loomed before us, while the sharp outline of the eastern edge of the stockade stood boldly
out, the ground beyond being faintly lit up by the
reflection of the lights within. In the northern side
of the house there was no light. I subsequently
learnt there was no window on this side ; and
this had enabled us to reach the stockade in deep
As yet there had been no sign of anyone and
no sound.
Walker paused a moment under the stockade.
" We must run round the corner and make for the
gate. Keep together. Now ! " he whispered some
words to the Indians.   " Ready ?"
" Yes."
I had been lent a short, heavy spear. Grasping
this in my left hand, and my rifle by the thin part
of the stock ready for instant shooting, I formed up
between Walker and Abe, who was on the outside
—the left-hand side—and off we started at a run
for the corner of the stockade. We reached it ; we
were in the mellow light ; we were, to use the words
of poor dear Adam Lindsay Gordon, " going strong
and well," when a yell rose on the night air, a yell I THERE ARE OTHERS IN DANGER    131
shall never forget, nor will any man who heard it
that night. It froze the blood ; it staggered the
senses ; it was a cry of rage, of disappointment,
the thirsty howl for blood. I believe I stopped ; I
heard a voice call above the din, " Come on, boss ! "
I felt the blood rush back to my heart, while there
running towards us was a dark line of infuriated
"On for the gate !" cried Walker.
But there was no need to say it ; the possibility
pointed out in the proverb that the last shall be
first was not being discussed nor considered by any
one of us.
The position had been grasped by those within,
and their rifles rang out as the Indians came
within ten or fifteen yards of the stockade, and
the cries that went forth told they had gone home.
But we were yet about an equal distance from the
gate. I remember thinking how light it kept growing. Of course, it was Mary and Hilda lighting up
the " flarers," if there be such a word.
And now the gate was opened, and a flood of light
shot across the shadow immediately beneath the
stockade. We were within five yards of it, but the
advancing demons were within five yards of us. I
can see those devils now as plainly as I saw them
on that night. They were dressed in the same grey
homespun that our men wore, but they had painted
their faces scarlet and blue and white, and more
terrible-looking foes in that lurid light could not be
imagined. At us they rushed with spears uplifted.
Another volley had been fired from the stockade,
and two men rolled over almost at our feet.    It was 132
obvious at this moment we could not reach the gate
Abe saw it on the outside. Up went his rifle.
Bang ! whiz ! crack ! Bang ! whiz ! crack ! The two
men running directly for him fell without a sound.
I dropped two with my express, whilst the next
instant the Indians on our left and behind us were
fighting hand to hand.
But now we saw the band, as it were, divided ;
some were engaging our men, whilst the others were
endeavouring to force through the stockade gate.
After we fired, they seemed to sheer left and right ;
in fact, Walker had already fired his old piece into
the middle of a black mass of pushing, struggling
forms at the gateway.
Abe grasped the position. " Guard the rear, boss ! "
he cried ; and the next moment he dashed upon the
Indians crowding the doorway. Clubbing his rifle in
his left hand and the axe in his right, he fell on them
with a yell of fury.
Walker, in the meanwhile, had not been idle ; after
firing the two shots he dropped his rifle. There
would be no time to load now, and, seizing a spear
in each hand—he had been carrying the two in his
left—he slipped quickly to Abe's left side. The
reason was obvious : only those on the outskirts
of the crowd could use their arms to wield their
weapons with. I saw through the manoeuvres at
once, and slipping two cartridges into my express,
I stood by to render assistance and guard the
Meantime our own Indians had somehow got
isolated from us.    I think it must have been at the  HAND-TO-HAND  ENGAGEMENTS  WERE  GOING  ON  BETWEEN  THE
To face page 133. THERE ARE OTHERS IN DANGER    133
moment when Abe and I fired and then dashed
forward that the enemy divided, and slipping past
us on the left, hemmed our men in, where they were
now fighting for their lives like cats, with their backs
to the stockade.
Thud ! thud ! rained the terrific blows of Abe on
to the heads and shoulders of the jostling crowd in
the gateway, whilst ping ! ping ! came the revolver
shots from within.
"Mind where you shoot," yelled a voice from
within.   "They're coming through."
It was busy work now—awful work when I think
of it all in later days. A few on the outside of the
pushing crowd had turned on us when they became
aware of our presence ; but it was for these that
Walker and I waited, whilst Abe dropped them
Suddenly they seemed to realize the situation ;
with cries of terror those behind redoubled their
efforts in the wild endeavour to escape from the
fearful strokes of the white giant behind them. Ted
Cooper, Joe, and Captain Herbert stood at the doorway, cutting them down with cutlasses ; but several
had already got past, and hand-to-hand engagements
were going on within the stockade between the
friendly Indians and the foe.
But now the pressure from behind became too
great, and in a moment, head first, anyhow, the
remainder of the Indians were precipitated into the
stockade. Ted Cooper and Joe were swept off their
legs, and Captain Herbert was dashed on one side,
but, luckily, no great damage was done. Abe followed, swinging his long arms like a windmill. 134
"The gate!" cried Walker to me. "Quick! the
gate ! "
It was wide open, and no one was behind us.
" Pull those bodies out of the way," he cried.
I did ; I kicked them out of the way, if I remember
rightly. Walker banged the gate to and bolted it,
and then hurried off after Abe, who had just thrown
himself upon some Indians who were endeavouring
to fight their way in at the door of the main entrance
on the south side. Who were defending the entrance?
I could not see, for the porch hid them ; and I was
just on the point of following when I chanced to
glance to the right. For a second I paused, rooted
to the spot. Standing at the top of a few steps,
which led to a window, the shutters of which were
now closed and barred, stood the tall figure of a
beautiful woman. At arm's length in her right hand
she held a revolver; at the end of the barrel the
smoke still hung, and below lay the dead figure
of an Indian ; but there were two others in a half-
crouching attitude before her, with their spears raised ;
they appeared to be in the act of springing. But this
was not all : between me and the girl an Indian was
stealthily creeping, unknown to the woman. My
God ! What should I do ? To fire at the solitary
Indian was to hit the girl if I missed, or at that
distance my bullet might pass clean through him,
but in another moment he would be on her. Positions
that take time to explain are frequently impressed
upon our mental vision with a rapidity and clearness
equal to that of a flash of lightning. It was the case
here ; there was only one thing to do. I may state,
without being considered a braggart, that I was a  n
To face page 135. THERE ARE OTHERS IN DANGER    135
good shot, and I think 1 was almost as quick a shot
as anyone I have ever met in the field of sport. I
could let my two barrels go almost simultaneously
with both gun and rifle, and often I have had my
second bird dead ere my first had fallen in the air
a couple of yards. I think it was this quickness
that made me prefer the old 450 express to the new
single-barrel magazine rifles. It was the men facing
the girl I must drop, and trust for her to look round
in time to see her danger. The lights still burned
strong, and they were not ten paces from me. It
was the flash of a moment. Bang! bang! The
heavy report of my express rang through the
stockade like the report of a cannon after the little
ping, ping, of the revolvers. The two men fell over,
and I saw the girl turn.
" Look out ! " I screamed.
She saw the Indian ; but he was on to her. I
saw her left hand go up, the revolver went off,
and together they rolled down the steps. Clubbing
my rifle in my hand, I dashed up ; the Indian had
worked his hand loose, and was feeling for his spear,
while his left hand grasped the white neck of the
girl. I saw the horror in that face, I saw the staring
eyes, but it was only for a moment. I hit. How the
stock stood, I know not; the dent is there to this
day. Without a sound the Indian fell face downwards over the prostrate figure of the girl. Instantly
I lifted her up.
"Are you hurt?" I asked.
She lifted up her left arm, from which the blood
was flowing fast. "I don't think it is much," she
said, as I pulled out my handkerchief. 136
It was evident when she drew up her sleeve that
the spear had passed right through the fleshy part
of the forearm. I bound it up as quickly as I could,
for there were still cries and shouts going on on the
south side of the house.
"Am I hurting you?" I asked, looking up. I
don't think I had seen her face properly before ;
but now a thrill ran through my whole being, such
as I had never experienced in my life. Those great,
grey eyes, did they always shine like that? The
poor little mouth twitched with pain, but the look
in those eyes transfixed me. For a moment I stood
spellbound. Was it ' wonderment ? was it surprise ?
Could it be love that beamed from those brilliant
orbs ? It was but for a second. Perhaps there
was something in my glance that frightened her,
for the eyes closed and the colour mounted into
her cheeks.
" Come," she whispered softly ; " there are others in
My senses returned hastily ; I finished binding up
the wounded arm. " Can you manage to load up ? "
I asked.
She nodded.
I hastily slipped two fresh cartridges into my
rifle, waited a moment for her to reload, and then
together we ran round to the south side.
All this time—and when I say that, it after all
means but a few minutes—the din outside and within
had been incessant ; yells and groans had filled the
air within and without the stockade, but it was
growing quieter now. Without the yells had ceased,
only the groaning continued ; while within no longer THERE ARE OTHERS IN DANGER    137
was there any shouting, for the simple reason no one
left alive had any breath to shout with.
As we turned the corner of the house a gruesome
sight met our view, a sight that will haunt me to my
last day, and yet at that moment it somehow did
not seem extraordinary or unexpected. Figures lay
upon the ground, a few striving to raise themselves,
the others motionless. As I ran round the corner
of the stockade I almost collided with a tall form
approaching from the opposite direction.
Instinctively we both jumped back and raised our
"Hold, boss!" cried a well-known voice. "I was
just coming to see after you."
It was Abe, but I had to peer into his face to
recognize it; blood and dirt and perspiration had
rendered his features almost unrecognizable. " Are
you hurt ?" I asked anxiously.
" Only a few cracks and prods, but nothing serious,
I think," was his answer,   "And you?"
I told him I was unhurt.
" Come, then," he said, " let us see what damage
has been done."
The fight was over, and beside the porch stood
a group of four persons looking curiously towards
As we approached them a tall old man—his hat
had gone, and his long, grey hair was dishevelled
—stepped towards us.
" Gentlemen," he said, extending his hand, " I am
deeply indebted to you for your assistance."
In turn we seized the proffered hand.
"Guess we've  done nothing, captain, but try to »,
!if f
■ if
■ : in
-   t
S   1
I    'I
\ .[
| jj
keep our own skins on. But hadn't we better clear
up now, and see how we stand ? "
It was Abe who spoke.
" Yes," said Captain Herbert, " let us go inside and
ascertain our losses."
It was soon evident that Gibson was missing, and
the three Indian servants. Joe and Walker went out
and called to them, but no answer came, and a short
time later they returned and reported having found
the bodies in a corner of the stockade, surrounded by
a number of the enemy.
" Gibson's revolver was empty," said Walker, " and
Indians too many."
Captain Herbert was evidently shocked on learning
that his old friend, who had shared in his hardships
and his success for five-and-twenty years, had been
killed. But to us who never knew him the news was
received silently, I might almost say indifferently.
It is a marvellous thing, a terrible thing, that
when blood is flowing, and men are falling, what an
indifferent matter life becomes. We see a builder
fall from a ladder, or an old lady run over by an
omnibus, and we stagger into a chemist's shop or a
public-house for a stiff steadier, and dream of the
horrid scene for nights, but when comrades fall around
and the shouts of an infuriated foe sound on the ears,
there comes to the mind of every man worthy of the
name a grim and fixed determination to avenge their
loss or perish with them.
And there was plenty to do within the house. Only
three of us had escaped entirely unscathed : Captain
Herbert, Mary, and myself. The former, owing to
his original calling as captain in the merchant service, THERE ARE OTHERS IN DANGER
had a good knowledge of medicine and of how to
treat wounds, a knowledge that had been improved
with long practice among the Indians, and I may
mention here that the respect he inspired the tribe
with was largely due to this fact.
The captain had quickly drawn some lint from a
drawer, and gone to work bandaging and binding
people up. Wounds are not pleasant things to
enlarge upon, and though many of the cuts were
deep and painful, none of them were dangerous.
Abe was the most knocked about, and he had a
nasty jagged cut at the back of the ear where a spear
had run along. I can never to this day conceive how
it was he escaped with his life. I sometimes think
the Indians were frightened of him.
Poor Hilda was treated first. How often have I seen
women grow faint and turn away at the sight of
blood, but she stood right there in the middle of the
room, with a figure as firm as a rock, and her arm out
whilst her father removed the gory bandage I had
tied hastily round, and proceeded to bathe the wound
and bind it up with some surgical lint.' Her eyes
were lowered all the while, except once; just once she
raised them. Was it mere chance that they flashed on
me? I know not, but they did, only for a second, yet
I felt my heart beat strangely.
The ladies retired as soon as Hilda's arm was bound
up, and after Abe's wounds had been dressed Captain
Herbert commanded Joe to show us to our room.
" Get to rest now," he said, "we will hear your story
in the morning, and there is much yet to be done."
It was a pleasant room, with two modern bedsteads
in it, that Joe showed us into. 140
"If there is any trouble in the night, give us a
halloa," said Abe as he departed.
I remember noticing there were night-clothes on
the bed. Did Abe notice that?. Because he never said
a word beyond asking me to give him a hand on with
his. That night when the light was out, tired as I
was, I saw those eyes flash on me again, and I knew,
cynic that I was, cold-hearted as I thought myself to
be, that I was as hard hit as any man left alive that
"She's coming up"
WHEN I awoke next morning it took me a
long time to gather my scattered senses together. Somebody had entered the room, pulled
up the blind, and put a can on the washing-table.
I heard it jingle, and thought I was in London and
my servant had just called me, and then I dozed off
again and dreamt I was in the theatre with a lovely
woman in the next stall by my side, a woman that I
did not know, yet longed to ; and the lights in the
theatre went almost out, while on the stage lurid fires
broke out in various places, dimly showing a dense
forest of trees, and then the weird, painted faces of
Indians peeped from behind the trees and cautiously
approached. But even as I gazed the stalls vanished,
the stage disappeared, only the fires and the trees
were left, and the Indians still advancing, and I
was not seated in a stall, but on a stump. I turned,
and the girl was still there, the only person in the
audience left; but she had risen, and in her outstretched hand there was a revolver. In a moment I
saw it all ; we were being attacked. I jumped up,
simultaneously the revolver went off, there was a
crash, and a voice cried—
141 m
ni    i
m m s
■ >
m !i
Steady, boss ! You've sent the candlestick flying.
What is it ? "
I was awake. " Dreaming of those cussed Indians,
Abe ; that's what it is," I replied, rubbing my eyes.
It took us a long time to dress. Joe brought us
baths and hot water, and repeatedly returned to
know if there was anything we wanted, and when
we should be ready for breakfast, as everyone else
was dressed. We entreated him to ask Captain
Herbert to begin without us, for Abe insisted on
shaving, and he was so stiff and sore, I had to help
him on with his clothing ; and when we did at last
find our way down the passage into the sitting-room
the clean plates and hissing urn told us they were
still awaiting us.
Captain Herbert and his daughters were the only
occupants of the room when we entered, and a
cordial greeting the old man gave us, but I thought
the girls seemed a little shy and embarrassed, which
was not to be wondered at considering we were the
first white strangers they had ever seen.
"That was a near thing last night, Mr. Wilson,"
said Captain Herbert to Abe, after inquiring how he
liad slept and whether his head pained him.
"Too close to be pleasant, captain," replied Abe.
"By-the-bye," he asked, "what became of the other
Indians, Walker's men?"
Captain Herbert shook his head. " I 'm afraid
they are all done," he said. "An hour after you
had gone to rest, Walker, who was on duty, heard
a tap on the stockade gate, and three men gave their
names ; they were instantly let in, but one was so
badly wounded, he died during the night.    We have 'SHE'S  COMING  UP"
heard nothing of the others, and there has not been
a soul in sight all morning."
After breakfast, whilst Abe and Ted Cooper were
busily occupied outside in discussing the situation
and making plans, I related the story of our expedition to Captain Herbert and the girls. It is
the story I have endeavoured to tell in the foregoing pages. Occasionally one or other of the
daughters would turn a quick look of incredulity
or astonishment upon me, I could not determine
which, but they never spoke. And when I told how
Abe had supported me through the wood, had in
fact literally saved my life when I entreated him
to leave me, I saw the tears well up in Hilda's eyes,
and a pang of jealousy shot through my breast.
Yes, I confess it ; but for all that I told my story
Now and again Captain Herbert asked a question,
and though they seldom seemed to look at me, I
could see by the glances they threw at one another
that my story absorbed and surprised them. This
is not to be wondered at considering no man had,
to their knowledge, ever come through the forest
When I ended Captain Herbert rose and paced
the floor some moments in deep thought. " It
almost seems," he murmured partly to himself, as
it were, and partly to us, "that fate directed your
footsteps here to assist us, perhaps to save us."
" Both !" I cried, jumping up. " Fane must be here
directly, and then it will be all over, bar shouting."
Captain Herbert shook his head. " He is long
overdue, and this coast is terribly intricate.    He will 144
very likely have been stopped by fog or accident,
and then, thinking you may be running short of
food, he may push on with all the speed he can, and
then "
Captain Herbert did not finish the sentence, but
gazed dreamily out of the window. His meaning was
obvious. If the Caledonia had left Victoria when it
was arranged she was to, she should have been here
near on a week ago, and every day that passed with
no tidings of her made the chance of her arriving at
all more and more improbable.
I turned and asked Hilda if she would show me
round the stockade. Cheerfully she assented. I had
not been out of the house this morning, and I was
surprised to see so little trace of the fierce struggle
of the previous night. The south gate, which stood
immediately opposite the front door of the house, was
wide open.
" Is that safe?" I asked Hilda as she joined me in
the porch.
" Oh, yes," she answered. " There is a man on the
verandah above lookjng out."
I did not like to ask her what had become of the
dead bodies, but I heard later that Joe and Walker,,
with the two Indians that came in after we had retired to bed, had been busy from break of day:
carrying them out to a small hollow some hundred
and fifty yards below " The Lodge," whilst Ted Cooper
kept guard from the verandah. In fact, I gathered
that Abe and myself were about the only persons
that got any sleep that night, much as the others
must have needed it.
We went round the east side, and quickly my eye SHE'S  COMING   UP"
caught sight of the steps leading to the window where
Hilda had stood facing the Indians.
"That was a narrow squeak you had last night,
Miss Herbert."
The girl looked quickly up, and then down again ;
she muttered something that I could not catch. Had
I offended her? I quickly altered the subject and
talked of Fane's coming, and of how it was only a
question of a few days ere the Indians would surrender or be wiped out, but she never answered.
We had wandered round the stockade to the
western side, and here we found Abe and Ted
Cooper, busy making rope ladders. Catching sight
of us, Abe dropped his work and came towards us
with a smile on his face. He said something, what
I do not remember, but I remember well Hilda looked
up, and her eyes met his, and the light seemed to flash
from them, and the colour mounted into her cheeks,
and she, who had been pensive before and silent,
suddenly became gay, and I, who had been gay, as
quickly grew secretly morose. But Abe appeared to
notice nothing of all this. He showed Hilda how to
tie the knots to make the rope ladder, and chatted on
about this thing and the other. Then I felt I was
not wanted, so made some trifling excuse and left
I shall never forget those days, and I shall never
forgive myself. They stand out in red letters in the
humble story of my life, and they appear to me,
whenever I think of the past, as clearly and vividly
as large capital letters stand forth among a mass of
infinitesimal print. For the first time in my life, for
the last time in my life, the green-eyed monster,
L 146
jealousy, had seized me in his relentless, poisonous
grip, and the man who had stood by me in the hour of
need, who had dragged me from destruction, who would
now gladly shed the last drop of his blood to help me
—and I knew it—was more accursed to me than any
other man on earth. I remember a beautiful woman
who moved in the best and highest society, once
saying to me, " A man is a fool who goes to the wall
for a woman," and she had experience enough in
God's truth, at least, so the world said, and often I
have pondered on that lady's saying, and I have
wondered had she, amidst all the intrigues with
which her name was connected, found the man at
whose call she would have to fly, at whose word she
would have to submit, whose command she gladly
awaited and longed to obey.
I believe that thousands of people flit through their
lives, sipping the honey, toying with the bright attractions around them, laughing at the sad entreaties of
some poor devil who has been caught m the meshes
of their magnetism ; they may have been handsome
or beautiful, and have floated through the world like
brilliant comets, gazed at by all eyes with envy and <
admiration, leaving a trail behind them of sparkling
episodes, till the fires have burnt low, and the body
has grown weak, and the brain become dull, and they
have passed over the horizon eventually unnoticed,
obliterated atoms of nature, who had never learnt the
meaning of the word "love," who had never known
the only thing worth living for. And I say that at a
moment's notice, when we least expect it, when we
think our hearts are steeled against the attacks of
Cupid, a form may meet us round the corner, may, as "SHE'S  COMIMG  UP"
it were, appear before us unexpectedly, to whom
we must bow, for whom we must long, perhaps in
vain, the love that we never dreamt of. Laugh, cynic ;
smile, critic—I could have joined you yesterday—but,
remember, you may be caught yet
I am not writing this in any apologetic vein ; that I
was a fool I know now, but I tell the truth ; I tell
it to show that mortal men can make idiots of themselves when they little think they are doing so. In
the affairs of the heart, though, the woman is quicker
than the man. She reads his thoughts, and disguises
her own ; it is a special privilege of nature. Once or
twice during the midday meal I caught Hilda's eyes
glancing furtively at me, as I sat silently and—I
am bound to admit it—sulkily listening to the conversation.
Where was Fane ? That was the absorbing topic
of conversation. If he would only come we might
lick these Indians yet, or frighten them into surrendering.    But Captain Herbert was despondent.
" I fear," he said, " that even if the yacht is afloat
and all right, and the skipper finds his way up
the sound, Harper and his gang will murder them.
They have tasted blood, and nothing will stop them
I saw a quick significant glance pass between Abe
and Cooper as the old man spoke. " But Fane and
his men will be armed," I said.
Captain Herbert shook his head. " I fear," he
replied, " they will fall on them unawares."
It was later in the afternoon that Abe called me
aside. "Boss," he said, "you saw me busy making
rope ladders  this morning.     Now there's no use Il
s il
making a fuss when womenfolk are in the camp, but
I had a long talk with old Cooper this morning, and
we came to the same conclusion Captain Herbert
hinted at at dinner ; and that is that Mr. Fane will
be wiped out if ever he does get his boat up the
sound. They'll just pretend to be peaceful, these
skunks here"—Abe jerked his thumb towards the
settlement—" and then take them by surprise ; leastways, that's what Cooper thinks."
I saw the force of his argument. " Well, what can
we do ? " I asked.
" There is only one chance," continued Abe.
" Cooper tells me that the river from the settlement
to where it joins the sea, which is about a mile
in length, flows very fast and deep, and that the
Indians do not keep boats on it nor try to cross
to the opposite bank. Their boats all lie in a bay
at the head of the sound. Now just below the
stockade here the river runs through a narrow rocky
passage. But come and see my plans ; you '11 catch
on to 'em better that way than by my talking."
I followed Abe up a rope ladder fixed on to the
west side of the stockade, and from the top of it I at
once formed an inkling of his scheme.
" You see," he said, " I Ve got the rope ladder
down on to the rocks below here; then I can get
along all right to that narrow part some thirty yards
down.    There, I 've got a rope across.    See ? "
" How the deuce did you manage that ?" I asked.
" Oh, that wasn't hard. I tied it round my waist ;
Cooper paid it away while I swam down and across.
But look along the further shore. With the river as
low as she now is, a man can easily get along the SHE'S  COMING  UP"
shore ; and two hundred yards down the gorge ends,
and the country is open."
" I see all that; but what good is there in getting
there ?" I asked.
"If Mr. Fane does come," said Abe slowly, " I go
that way to tell him."
Immediately the whole plan was before me; the
river would be between him and the foe.
" But how will you reach the yacht ?" I queried.
" Let me get somewhere abreast of her ; that's all
I want, supposing, that is," he added, " she ever
I cannot remember whether it was two or three
days that followed, but I know they were days
of anxiety and suspense. I did not see a great deal
of Abe. I think I avoided him. He spent the
greater part of his time teaching Mary how to make
rope ladders and tie knots ; but it was when Hilda
spoke to him that his face brightened up—at least,
I thought so. One morning a noise woke me ; I
jumped up. Abe was sitting up in his bed listening ;
it came again—a low distant boom.
" By Jove, it's she ! She's coming up ! " ejaculated
Simultaneously we both leapt from our couches
and rapidly pulled our garments on. Already footsteps were hurrying all over the house, and in another
instant Joe knocked at our door.
" Yacht in the sound ! " he cried excitedly.
" Right ! I know," was Abe's reply, as he pulled his
coat on and seized his cap and rifle. " See me over,
boss," he cried ; " there's no time to lose. Tell them
my plan, and hold the stockade till I return.    You NOOTKA
mustn't come and look for me. If I don't return, no
matter ; but you must not risk your life and theirs
looking for me."
He was on the top of the stockade now.
" If I reach the yacht all right," he continued.
" I '11 get them to fire that cannon off just once
at sundown." He paused and held out his hand.
" Good-bye, Mr. Wellesley, and good luck ! " And
if the trivial actions of my life are worthy of
notice in the book of judgment, it will be known
that the grip I gave him then was the grasp of
brotherhood and friendship. Petty jealousies were
lost sight of, I am thankful to say, in the face of
I watched him swing himself across the river and
hurry along the opposite bank. At the end of the
gorge he turned and waved his hand. Then over the
bank he climbed, and disappeared. CHAPTER XVI.
'We can Reckon with them another
Time "
" I MRE that signal gun every five or ten minutes,
■JL please, Captain Hume." It was Tom Fane
that spoke.
Three men stood on the bridge of the Caledonia,
three men who looked anxious and worried. At the
vessel's bow a seaman stood, constantly heaving
the lead, while at quarter-speed the boat steamed
slowly on.
"Are you sure, captain, this is Nootka Sound?"
asked Fane.
" As sure as mon can be of onything in these
forsaken regions," replied Captain Hume ; " leastways, it's by far the biggest inlet we've entered
yet whativer."
"Supposing they have got through all right,"
continued Fane, " if they haven't come across
game, their provisions cannot have held out."
Whitmore did not answer, and the captain was
busy looking ahead through his binoculars.
" Domed if I don't see hooses ! " he cried.
" Hooses ? hooses ? What on earth do you
mean ? " asked Whitmore.
151 I 52
" Houses," said Fane, as he dashed down to the
cabin for his telescope.
There was no doubt about it ; through the glasses
the wooden huts of the settlement were distinctly
Fane's mercurial temperament rose rapidly.
" They '11 be all right," he cried, " probably staying
with the governor, and having a heigho time. What
do you think, captain ? "
Tom Fane always liked someone to qualify his
statements, but the replies of the old Scotch skipper
were invariably enveloped in native caution.
" I dinna ken," was his ambiguous and very correct
" Well, I know you dinna ken," went on Fane ;
" but you can think."
" Ai, ai, Sir Thomas," said the captain, seeing that
Fane was a little irritated ; " but I have never heerd
tell of ony folk living up here."
No more had anyone else ; but this made it all the
more exciting in Tom Fane's eyes.
And now as they rounded a bend Captain Herbert's yacht came into view, lying at anchor in the
bay. Instantly all hands below crowded on deck.
A modern-built yacht and houses in this outlandish
part of the world—what did it mean? Boats lying
on the beach were now distinctly visible to the
naked eye; but the curious thing was, that though
they had been constantly firing the signal gun, not
a soul had appeared on the land. They were still
speculating and wondering, and drawing nearer and
nearer to the head of the sound, when the sharp
crack of a rifle came from the shore about a quarter "WE  CAN   RECKON  WITH  THEM"    153
of a mile on their left. Immediately all eyes were
turned in the direction from whence the report proceeded, and there could be plainly seen the figure
of a man waving his arms.
Fane turned the telescope on to him. " By all
that's holy, it's Wilson," he cried. " Lower a boat,
boys, quick ! "
Two or three men sprang into the davits, whilst
Fane waved his handkerchief in response.
As the yacht's boat touched the water Whitmore
happened to look up the bay.
" Hi, Fane ! " he cried as Tom was just going
down the ladder ; " see, there are two boats full
of men rowing in the direction of Wilson all they
" Tak' ye revolvers, Sir Thomas," shouted Captain
Hume ; " I dinna like the look of it."
Whitmore dived into the cabin and quickly reappeared with a couple of revolvers.
" Let me come too," he shouted ; " there's lots
of room."
In another second the boat was pulling off for shore
as fast as half-a-dozen British seamen could push
her along.
" Stand in as near as you can, captain," cried
" A' reet, Sir Thomas," answered the skipper, as he
put the wheel hard to port. "Send another man
for'ard into the bow, Jenkins," he called to the first
officer, " with another lead, and keep them going as
fast as they can heave 'em."
The water had been shallowing steadily for some
time, and though there was probably a deep passage 154
somewhere, it was of course unknown to Captain
Abe had seen the two large boats filled with
Indians shove off from the deep shadow beneath
the trees which fringed the shore, where the river
joined the salt water. He had correctly surmised
the situation. The Indians would have waited for
the men from the yacht to land and then have
surrounded them or cut them off. The crack of
his rifle had altered the whole situation, but the
Indians saw through his ruse clearly, and immediately, with angry cries, they obeyed Harper's
orders to shove off the two longboats and row across
to where Wilson was standing. They would at least
cut him off from the yacht. How he had crossed
the river they could not tell, but he had crossed it ;
that was evident. They were experienced rowers,
these Indians ; in fact, fishing was about their one
and only industry or pastime, and they did not need
the exhortation of Harper, seated in the stern with
his rifle in hand, to urge them to put their backs into
their work, for each one of them knew that if the man
on the shore got on board the yacht it mi^ht mean
the total reversal of their position.
Meanwhile Abe had hesitated. Should he run
back and try to recross the river and reach the
stockade ? Fane would now surely see that the
Indians were hostile, and would be on his guard
against surprise. On the other hand, he would know
nothing of the beleaguered garrison nor the position
* Now, at the time I am writing this story, that passage down the
sound is marked by buoys, and at the corner at the bend of the bay is
built a small lighthouse. WE  CAN  RECKON  WITH  THEM"    155
they were in. No, he would stop, anyhow as long as
he could. And see ! it is no such certainty after all
but that the yacht's boat may reach the shore first.
The Indians have seen her, and are sending their long
sweeping blades through the water with all their
might and with perfect regularity.
" D—n it ! those beggars row well ; but it's evident
there is a row on, eh, Harry?" said Fane.
The sailors heard him, and with a loud cheer the
man rowing stroke brought his oar through the green
hissing sea, followed by the others. He was an
Irishman, and a fine cheery fellow.
" Come on, bhoys," he cried ; " let her go now."
Fane had got his field-glass fixed on the nearer boat,
which was rowing direct towards Wilson ; the other
boat, the one, by-the-bye, that Harper was în, had
branched off, taking a more direct course towards the
shore. His plan was evidently to land as soon as
he could ; then the crew would run along the shore
and would probably endeavour to cut Abe off.
"They've got some funny faces amongst them,"
said Fane. " Have a look, Harry, and see if you
can make them out."
Whitmore took the glasses. "Why, they are
Indians," he said after a short pause, " and their
faces are painted."
" Painted ! " echoed Fane ; " and I believe they
only paint when they go on the war-path."
" That's it, Sir Thomas," said one of the sailors:
" Well, then, Harry, load up and look out ; there '11
be some trouble shortly."
The position of Wilson and the two boats at this
moment was that of a triangle, with a distance of NOOTKA
some three hundred yards between the extremities,
or, in other words, Abe was about an equal distance
of three hundred yards from the rival boats, and
the boats were about three hundred yards apart
from one another. At the same time, though, the
second boat of the Indians was running on to
the sands some way below, and the occupants
were already jumping out and hauling her ashore.
Abe had seated himself with his back against a
bit of a tuft, his left knee drawn up, and his rifle
ready. Restlessly his eyes ran from one boat to
the other, and then to the men who, five hundred
yards below, were already starting towards him at
a run.
" I can do the boat lot, I guess," he said to
himself; "but if these skunks on shore get up
before I can turn her, or Fane's boys get here, I
reckon I 'm done."
It must be borne in mind that the Indians were
unaware that Abe had a repeating rifle ; they were
unaware such things existed, nor did they know who
the man was they had to deal with.
They had seen Harper and Walker and the others
shoot off their muzzle-loaders, and sometimes hit
the mark they fired at, and more frequently not.
They did not even know as yet that this man had
a rifle at all, and if he had, he would probably
fire the two barrels harmlessly at them at too long
a range, and before he could load again they would
be on him. So they thought, and the triangle was
reduced to two hundred yards between the points.
The Indian boat was gaining slightly ; men and j
weight  were   telling.    The   Indians  on   the   shore, '-WE  CAN   RECKON  WITH  THEM"    157
running all they knew, were now only three hundred
yards away. Fane, standing up in the stern, implored
and cursed alternately ; and the sweat poured from
the sailors' faces as they strove to hold their own in
an unequal struggle.
" Harry, you ass, why didn't you bring the rifles ? "
cried Fane in his excitement ; " the rotten revolvers
are no good at this distance."
Meanwhile the figure of the man on shore had
never moved ; only his restless eyes went with the
rapidity of a cobra's from one group to the other.
But now, see, the rifle has gone slowly up. For an
instant it rested along his knee. Bang ! whiz ! crack !
Bang ! whiz ! crack ! And the men rowing the bow
oars dropped forward, while the oars slipped helplessly through the rowlocks, impeding the other
rowers. Two men in the stern jumped up and
shouted and gesticulated. The rifle rang out again,
and the two men in the stern fell lifeless.
With a loud yell of terror the men in the boat
ceased rowing, and the boat listed away broadside on.
That was enough ; Fane's boat must beat it now,
even if they resumed. But the party on the shore were
getting terribly near. Harper was wild with terror
and anger, with, as a racing man would say, the
greatest certainty of his life fading from his vision,
for it was obvious to him that if this stranger got
safely to the vessel his plans for starving out the
garrison and surprising the crew of the yacht would
be exploded, and, what was perhaps worse, his
followers would lose heart. The fight of the other
night had not filled them with any additional desire 158
il IV.
to measure arms with the white men, and already
discontent had begun to show itself.
It was this man's death now or his own eventually ;
thus he felt. And the greatest curs will fight when
the situation is like this.
There were two cartridges yet left in Abe's magazine. There was no use firing again on the boat,
she had retired from the contest ; and there was no
time to refill the magazine ; in fact, there was little
time for anything; the Indians were barely fifty yards
from him. Hastily throwing up his rifle, he dropped
two of the leading Indians, and, passing the strap
over his shoulder, ran for the water.
Fane's boat was still sixty or seventy yards away,
and the Indians but a few paces behind as he leapt
in. He heard the cheers from the boat ; he heard
two barrels go off behind him, and some small things
fizzed through the water each side of his head. And
in another second or two he felt himself seized and
lifted into the boat ; but again the report of firearms
came from the shore. One bullet whizzed over their
heads, but the second hit the poor fellow rowing
bow oar right between the shoulders, and he fell
forward dead.
Mad with rage, Fane and Whitmore emptied their
revolvers at the Indians, but beyond apparently
wounding one of them, they did not appear to do
much damage. And now the Indians seemed to
have had enough. They did not like the ping of the
revolver bullets ; and not all the curses—at least,
they sounded like curses—of Harper would get them
to leap into the water and make a dash for Fane's
boat.    He yelled at the men in the other boat and WE CAN  RECKON  WITH THEM"    159
pointed to the yacht Presumably he wanted them
to cut Fane's boat off, but the men only shook their
" Back her, Mr. Fane," cried Wilson, " and let *s get
away from these dogs. We can reckon with them
. another time."
In a few minutes they had put a wide gap between
their enemies and themselves, whilst Fane was
showering questions at Abe. CHAPTER  XVII.
Mary s Sob was Forgotten
TO all within the stockade, with the exception
of myself, the anxiety of this day was terribly
depressing. It was evinced on each countenance,
and when anyone spoke the words were uttered in
a low whisper, as though some dear friend had
been suddenly taken away to the mysterious world
beyond, or as though some great disaster was
Mary, with pale face and dejected bearing, wandered listlessly about as though watching for someone who was little likely to come. Hilda came and
spoke to me sometimes, but I was sulky, and my
replies were short ; I even avoided her glance.
Once, though, I caught her eyes as she raised them
to my face, and I thought they seemed sad, even
I have said all were depressed except myself.
Hardly had Abe disappeared from view, and I was
back again within the stockade, when the demon of
jealousy returned, and though I struggled with all
the will I was possessed of, it wrestled with my ,
mind, it worried at my brain, till I was no longer
myself, but once again a fool, an angry idiot.
I have no desire to gloss over my foolish behaviour
at that time, nor to try and make excuses for
my conduct I hate myself more for my absurd
stupidity than anyone else can ever hate me, and I
wish no one to condole with me, but perhaps the
reader may at some period of his or her career
have been attacked by that demon with all the spite
and fury he can command. If he or she has, never
mind how far back in the past it be, never mind
though the whole scene has changed and that other
loves have crossed the threshold of his life or hers,
that day when the demon of jealousy first seized
him or her in its relentless grip will stand out the
most conspicuous landmark in the valley where his
life or hers was passed. And the spot there will
be marked and remembered by the wild fury of the
scene at the time, by the dreariness and desolation
that followed.
I really do not believe at that time that I cared
whether the Indians triumphed or not ; I wanted to
fight someone, anyone ; I wished only to stand by
Hilda, to hold my arm around her and to fight for
her, to save her, and if it was not to be to perish
with her, and Doré's picture of Paola and Francesca»
sailing through space to the eternal home of peace
rose before my vision, and I gazed into the blue, cloudless ether, half expecting to see them sailing up.
The midday meal passed almost in silence. We
had heard the faint report of firearms, and had augured
ill of it. It was more likely to mean that Abe had
been cut off and had to fight for his life than that
Fane's party could have landed and driven the
natives off. In the latter case, I thought in my own
mind—but I confess I thought but little on the
matter—that there would have been more shooting
heard. I may state here that we did not hear the
revolver shots, the distance being too great.
In low tones the little party round the table
discussed the possibilities of the situation, whilst I
fed moodily on, my thoughts far away.
"What do you think of it, Mr. Wellesley?"
Captain Herbert had addressed me. He had to
repeat the question.
I believe I laughed ; I was told so later. Silence
fell, and I looked up to know the reason of it.
Every eye was on me ; each face wore a distinct
expression of displeasure. Mary looked pained and
horrified. The blood rushed to my face ; I stammered and begged Captain Herbert's pardon ; I had
been dreaming, and had not heard his remark aright.
I mention this to show the sort of state of mind I
was in.
It  was  later in the afternoon.    I was wandering
round the stockade aimlessly, taking little interest in
the proceedings, when I heard a light step behind me
that made my heart beat violently, and a hand rested .
on my shoulder.
" Mr. Wellesley ! " I turned quickly. " Are you
ill ? " The grey eyes were gazing at me anxiously.
" Tell me if I can do anything for you ; you are not
I have often thought since how was it possible for
any man to look into that face and speak harshly,
nor have I ever been able to answer the question.
I can only repeat what I said.
" Yes, Miss Hilda, I am ill, as ill as a man can be MARY'S  SOB WAS  FORGOTTEN    163
who sees the woman that he loves cares for another
She dropped her hand from my shoulder ; the colour
mantled to her cheeks.
" I do not understand you." And her voice was
But I had broken the ice, and I must take the
" Hilda," I continued, " from the first moment that
I saw you I felt that you were the first and the
last woman I could ever love. I know how short
the time has been, but remember love knows nothing
of and cares nothing for time ; and hardly had I
known it when I learnt that you could care nothing
for me, nay, that you loved another."
The girl started back a step, and gazed curiously
at me. I believe she thought I was a lunatic. " Who ?
What do you mean ? "
I was in a tight place ; I must fire my last shot
" I mean that you love Abe Wilson."
I have said somewhere before, or somebody else
has, " that women are quicker in penetrating the
affairs of the heart than men are." What the expression of my face was at that moment, I cannot
tell, but I saw her eyes wander quickly from one of
mine to the other, as though assuring herself of my
sanity, and then a great look of pity came into them,
and she gently approached me and put her hand on
my arm.
" Mr. Wellesley," she said, " I admire your friend as
much as everyone who knows him must do, but I do
not love him, nor can I imagine why you should
think so." NOOTKA
I exclaimed.    "And-
But she interrupted me. "Mr. Wellesley, this is
surely not the time to talk of love when we are all
in danger, and death staring us in the face."
But the joy within me was too great to be stifled
by her quiet sensible words. "It is, Hilda, it is ; say
only—say that if we ever escape and are free, I may
hope to win you."
She was silent a moment, and when she looked up
the tears were welling up in those dear eyes. In
another instant she was in my arms, but even then,
when the wild throbbing of love convulsed my bosom,
a pang of remorse came with it. I had inwardly
quarrelled with the man who had saved my life, who
had never said a harsh word even to me, and what
right had I for doing so ? He had as great a right to
woo and win Hilda as I had. I could reason now
with my arm round that lithe yielding waist, but,
alas ! when love beckons, men will be blind and impossible. And then I wondered had he noticed my
altered manner, and how I hoped he had not. Yet
the others had ; Hilda had ; it was that that made
her speak to me, and ask if I were ill. And now
I asked her if anyone had noticed anything strange
about me.
She hesitated a moment, and her eyes fell. " They
thought you odd at dinner, and it was then I determined to ask you on the first opportunity I had what
was the matter with you."
" And now you know, darling, will you forgive me ?
I know I was a brute ; I see it all now."
Coyly she raised her eyes, and the look in them
was  enough.     In  another second  she  had  slipped MARY'S  SOB WAS  FORGOTTEN     165
from my grasp. " Go to father," she said, " and cheer
him up ; there may be hard and terrible work before
you yet." But there was a look in those eyes as she
spoke, a look that spoke as plainly as any word :
"This is not the time to talk of these things, but
I found the old man on the verandah, pacing restlessly to and fro, while, through a pair of binoculars,
Cooper was gazing towards the settlement. I instantly began by asserting that in my belief Abe
had reached the yacht safely.
"Bless you, Mr. Herbert," I cried, "he's too
smart for those niggers, and even if the yacht's crew
did not reach the shore in time to render aid, he can
swim like a duck "
Ted Cooper intervened. "The Indians' boats go
faster than any man can swim."
Still everything now appeared rosy to me. If I
were to die I could do it now more happily, more
contentedly, than ever before. Anyhow, I cheered
them up, and pointed out that supposing the worst
had happened, and Abe had been killed, at least the
men on the yacht had been warned of the hostile
attitude of the Indians.
I borrowed a Winchester repeater from Joe, and
then went and found Hilda and suggested to her the
advisability of her loading for me, supposing the
Indians tried another attack on the stockade.
" I can fire the express first, and then hand it to
you, while you can have the Winchester ready to pass
back," I said. I had two reasons for suggesting this ;
one was that I would be able to get more shots in
before they could get to close quarters, and the other i66
that I could have Hilda beside me and so be better
able to protect her.
" It's my opinion," said Cooper, " the final act will
be played within a very few hours. If Wilson has
reached the yacht, the Indians will never allow the
crew to get here without a hard fight, but it's my
belief they will either lay in wait for the yacht's crew
landing, or attack us, which I cannot tell."
I was bound to admit that Cooper's prophecy
sounded probable.
"Then," said Captain Herbert, "let us fill up the
flarers, and portion arms and ammunition out ; we
mustn't be caught asleep."
Joe had been busy instructing the two Indians who
had come in the previous night in the use of the
Winchester. I had passed them once or twice on the
north portion of the stockade, very busy loading, and
aiming, and snapping, and had stayed a moment to
watch them, and I candidly confess I thought they
were much more likely to shoot us than any of the
It is an odd thing how awkward a man not only is,
but looks, when first he essays to handle gun or
rifle. Still Joe was striving all he could to initiate
them into the Winchester's very simple mysteries,
and we could but hope for the best.
Mary, though, was the puzzle I vainly endeavoured
to make out. Her appearance was dejected ; she
kept apart from the others ; me in particular she
seemed to avoid. I felt hurt and sorry ; I knew
my manner had been brusque, and I wanted to
apologize, but somehow she would not give me
the opportunity.     Hilda was  with  her,  constantly
trying to cheer her up, but it was not till Captain
Herbert gave the order for the flarers to be filled
full up that she showed any disposition for work
of any kind. But as soon as her father gave that
order, she started off with an alacrity that astonished
Everything had been done now that we could
think of to guard against being surprised ; even
the girls went about with their revolvers loaded
and stuck in their belts.
And now the shadows of evening began to creep
up and grow across the valley. Captain Herbert,
his daughters, Cooper, and myself stood on the
verandah watching the light fade and die out,
waiting for the promised signal. The stillness had
appeared to grow intense. Was it only the natural
stillness that came upon the earth with the last
faint flicker of evening, or was it that our nerves
were strained to such a tension that we could not
speak aloud, and caught our breath in short, sharp,
silent gasps? My efforts at cheerfulness had long
since fallen flat, and now I could not by any
possibility have aroused them. Each knew that at
any moment the signal must come, which would
proclaim Abe's safety. If not, then he must probably be dead, and the Indians between us and the
yacht and safety.
The valley was in deep shadow now ; only on
the higher portions of the ridge, in the direction
of the signal spot, hung a few last touches of
light. They grew dimmer and duller, and I felt
a strange despair creeping over me. And then
came a heart-broken sob that  made us all  start, i68
a sob of misery that must have touched the heart
of any man. Yet no one spoke. It was Mary.
We all looked round quickly. She was standing
at the back of the verandah, with her head sunk
between her hands. Whether anyone would have
spoken, what anyone would have done, I know
not, for almost immediately there followed, loud
and distinct, the boom of the signal gun. Never
in the whole annals of the world's history has the
sound of a cannon brought to the ears of those
who heard it such blessed feelings of relief and
of hope ; never has any noise so quickly revulsed
the feelings of those who heard it. I took my hat
off and waved it and cheered, and I think they all
followed suit, and Mary's sob was forgotten.
Dead Silence on the Lifeboat
""\T7HAT do you propose doing, Wilson?"
VV Thus Tom Fane addressed Abe in the
cabin of the yacht. The signal gun had just been
fired to tell the party in the garrison that Abe
had reached the yacht. The lights in the cabin
were being lit, and Fane was pacing up and down
in a state of feverish excitement as Abe concluded
the story of our adventure.
" I hardly know what to propose," answered Abe
slowly. "If we land at the head of the bay and
try to go up on the east side of the river, we shall
have to pass through the settlement, which would
mean fighting our way through ; and if we were
to try and make a bit of a detour and get round
the settlement, the lay of the land is unknown to
me. Besides, from what I have seen of it, there's a
deal of timber all to the south, and those Siwashes "
—he referred to the Indians—" would be certain to
spot us and cut us off."
They talked long and vehemently, and meanwhile
Captain Hume and Whitmore were busy serving out
revolvers and cutlasses to the men, for, as Abe said,
" any moment they might be needed."
It was a fortunate thing that Tom Fane had come
169 170
provided with plenty of arms and ammunition. I
verily believe that whenever he went on a cruise he
expected to fight some savage tribe or meet with
pirates ; in fact, I think he started wTith that idea,
and now his dream was about to be realized, and
he was in his element.
Still Abe and he could not determine on what
course to pursue. Fane was all for going straight
through the settlement up to the stockade. "They'll
never stand and face us if we only keep together and
empty the revolvers on them when they get within
range. It will be one charge, Wilson, and all will be
over.    They '11 just run like hares."
Abe shook his head. "You might lose a lot of
men, Mr. Fane." Abe was for returning the way he
had come and crossing the river by the rope. Of
course, if the Indians caught sight of them and intercepted them or followed them, the Indians would
have to be defeated and driven off before the rescue
party could commence hauling themselves one after
another across the narrow neck of river by the rope.
Still the enemy would not, in this case, be so likely
to take them unawares or throw spears at them from
doorways and windows or attack them suddenly from
round corners.
But this sounded too tedious and difficult to Fane.
Captain Hume had been called in, but he was too
diplomatic to oppose his master's scheme ; to his
mind also it sounded as good as the other. He had
a poor opinion of Indian courage from what he
haâ read of their prowess, and he thought that they
would quickly make themselves scarce when the
revolvers opened on them.  il I: It
To face page 171.
One point they were agreed on, and this was that
a relief party must start at the first streak of dawn.
The steward had come in to lay the table for supper,
and the question of procedure was still being warmly
debated, when suddenly two shots rang out in rapid
succession, and echoed away among the hills.
Abe jumped up. " Come on, sir," he cried. " There
is no time to lose ; the blacks are attacking the
Instantly all was excitement and confusion.
" How many men can you spare, Captain Hume ? "
Abe spoke rapidly.
" Some half-dozen of us should hold the ship
a' reet ? " The skipper looked inquiringly at Abe as
he spoke.
" Yes ; you five men and the steward will hold the
ship all right.    How many will that leave us ? "
" Just a score," said the skipper.
" Well," continued Abe, "send us off without delay ;
every moment is precious."
It was odd to note how Tom Fane left the
directions and command at once to Abe ; and yet
it must be borne in mind that it was now night, and
Abe alone knew the way to the stockade. Probably
Fane saw this at once, and knew—for he was a
sensible man—that to argue or suggest was to waste
valuable time.
" Get on the bridge, captain," he cried as Abe
finished speaking, "and order the boats to be lowered
and the men ready as quickly as possible."
Left alone in the cabin, Abe laid his rifle somewhat hesitatingly on the table, like a woman may
leave some old love-charm at the pawnbroker's with 172
the doubtful and sad reflection she may never take
it up again. Once he took it up, but instantly laid
it down again sharply.
" Lend me a couple of revolvers and a cutlass, Mr.
Fane. She '11 be no use to me here," and he looked
tenderly at the rifle on the table.
Fane at once darted away to fetch the weapons.
In the few minutes that remained Abe sketched his
plans to Fane.
"We'll just row right away to somewhere near
where you picked me up this morning, and then,
keeping together, run for the gorge."
"All ready, sir," cried a voice from the hatchway.
Fane turned to go.
I One moment, Mr. Fane. There may be fighting
before we reach the gorge, and I may fall. Listen ;
some three-quarters of a mile is the length of the
plain from where you picked me up this morning,
and there a precipitous rock rises upright at the
water's edge. You couldn't pass it in high water,
but now there's about a yard of shingle running
between the river and the rock ; you can't miss it
if you keep the river brink ; twenty yards further
are some flat rocks, and where the river runs
narrower a rope is fixed across. Tell them to keep
their ammunition as dry as possible, and to swing
across it one after the other. If we 're hard pressed,
I shall wait back there, so when the last man is over
fire your revolver ; it will be a signal to me." Fane
nodded. " One word more. On the further side
of the bank is also almost a wall, and a few yards
on right down from the stockade hangs the rope
ladder.    Get up it as quick as you can, but don't SILENCE ON THE LIFEBOAT     17*
allow more than two on the ladder at a time, for fear
of the ropes parting."
" Right ! " cried Fane.    " I follow you.    Come on."
" Tell 'em to make as little noise as possible," said
Abe, following him closely ; " it will only tell the
Fane saw the force of this. " Silence, lads, if you
please !" he cried in a low voice to the men anxiously
waiting in the boats ; " we don't want the Indians
to know all about us yet. Captain Hume, if any
boats come alongside, the password is ? Nootka/
Understand ? "
"Ay, ay!" cried the captain from the bridge—
" ' Nootka/ "
A wave of the hand to the skipper, dimly discernible on the bridge, and the boats shot out of sight.
For a long time the steady swing of the oars
was audible to the skipper on the bridge, while an
occasional shot from the direction of the stockade
told that the enemy were there, and, alas ! both
these sounds were also audible to a band of Indians
sneaking along the sea-shore in the direction whence
the boats were coming. The fact is, Harper had
planned a ruse. He had had a long talk with the
tribe, had told them that it was little likely that
many of the sailors could be armed with rifles and
pistols ; he had shown them that to retreat now and
sue for peace would only mean death ; and then he
put his plan before them. Half a dozen men with
the four muzzle-loading rifles were to proceed to the
stockade, and from cover of the darkness fire at the
stockade at intervals and from different quarters.
This would  most likely  draw forth  the fire from 174
those within. Then the men on the yacht, thinking
the White Chief was in danger, would hasten to
his assistance, and he and the rest of the braves
would await them.
The Indians listened to him almost breathlessly.
Many of them had been wavering, and most of them
wished they had never embarked on this revolution,
and had begun to ask themselves what good was to
be got by it ; but they knew the White Chief to be a
stern man of justice, and when Harper pointed out
to them that their only chance of life was victory,
and showed them the simplicity of his scheme and
the apparent certainty of its success, they hesitated
no longer, but willingly agreed to stand by him.
Harper accordingly handed his rifle to one of the
half-dozen men told off to engage the stockade ; a
couple of spears would be his weapons ; then he
sent off sentries to patrol the sea-shore, and the
instant they heard the boats coming to run in and
warn him while he waited with the other braves on
the shore, at the mouth of the river, ready to meet
the yacht's crew wherever they might land.
" There's too little firing going on up at the
stockade, and I 've not heard a revolver shot at all.
We should hear them with the wind off the land,"
said Abe.
" What do you make of that ? " asked Fane.
" Can't quite make it out ; but I Ve not heard Mr.
Wellesley's ' express ' nor yet the Winchesters ; those
shots all come from the old muzzle-loaders Captain
Herbert portioned out to the Indians."
I may here explain, for the benefit of those uninitiated in the use of firearms, that the report of the SILENCE  ON  THE  LIFEBOAT     175
three different weapons just alluded to would differ
in every case. The Winchester would be short and
sharp, the muzzle-loader louder, and the express
loudest and heaviest of all.
Abe's practised ear instantly detected this, and
the fact shot through his mind they were not replying from the stockade, consequently the Indians were
holding aloof.
Abe and Tom Fane were seated together in the
stern. Suddenly Abe turned and whispered in the
other's ear, " Stop the boats, sir, stop the boats.
It's my belief we are going straight into a trap."
Fane turned in evident surprise. "What do you
mean ? "
" Stop the boats ; I '11 explain."
Reluctantly Fane gave the order to cease rowing.
" Well, what is it ? " he asked.
"That garrison is in no immediate danger," continued Abe. " The shots we hear are being fired by
Indians at a safe distance ; they are merely trying to
draw us out, Mr. Fane, and when we land we will
find a hundred or more of the devils armed with
spears, and short work they'll make of the lot
of us."
Fane started ; he saw the force of Abe's reasoning.
" What shall we do, then ? "
" Get back to the ship as fast as you can ; I have a
plan, I will explain on the way, and I think we may
do the double on them yet."
Fane gave the order to return, an order which was
received with low grumbles from the men, with very
audible ones from Whitmore, seated in the stern of
the second boat 176
" Harry,  don't  be a  d d  fool ! " called Fane
angrily. " Do you think that Wilson and myself are
cowards ? Give way, men," he continued ; " we shall
be. in the stockade to-night, never fear."
His words had at once a salutary effect. The
men knew that both their master and Wilson were
not the men to turn back, unless for some strong
reason, and at once they put their backs to their
work with a will.
As they rapidly retraced their way to the yacht
the lights aboard made her appear nearer than in
reality she was. Abe whispered quickly his ideas
to Fane. They were within a hundred yards of
the yacht when he ceased speaking.
" By gad, I believe you 're right, Wilson, and we '11
do it."
" Who goes there ? " cried a voice from the yacht.
" Friend," shouted Fane.
" Out with the password, then ! "
" Nootka ! " cried Fane.
I Come alongside," replied Captain Hume from the
ship ; " but, by the soul of the piper, I thought it was
the Indians that had eluded ye."
" Now, then, lads," cried Fane, as he scrambled up
the ladder, "make the boats fast and come aboard.
I '11 unfold our plans."
He explained how Wilson was of opinion that the
firing was merely a ruse on the part of the Indians to
draw them out.
" Now," he added, " I will tell you what we intend
doing. Mr. Jenkins will take five men with him in
the small boat and row back the course we have
just come ;   when  within a hundred  yards  of .the
shore he will put about and row along the coast
to the westward, looking as it were for a suitable
landing-place. If Mr. Wilson's surmises are correct,
the Indians will sneak along the shore, probably
hidden from sight, ready to pounce on him should
he land. It is hardly necessary to say he must
not land, but try and keep them following, and
draw them away as far as he can, then return to
the yacht   Do you follow me, Jenkins?"
"Ay, ay, sir."
"The rest of us will get into the lifeboat—she
will easily hold us—set sail, and head for a little
above the mouth of the river. We shan't have to
do any tacking with the breeze in this quarter ? "
He turned inquiringly to Captain Hume.
" No, sir, I think she '11 make it a' reet."
" Then we will run her on to the sands, jump out,
and hurry along the side of the river ; the rest should
be easy, providing Jenkins can lure the Indians away.
I must ask you to keep dead silence on the lifeboat—
sound, as you know, travels far across water, but they
have smart ears if they hear the sail."
While the sail was being rigged in the lifeboat
Fane ordered the steward to serve some grog round
to the men, and he and Abe went below7 to the cabin.
In a few minutes came a knock.
" Come in," cried Fane.
Whitmore entered ; he looked somewhat sheepish
and abashed.
" I have come, Sir Thomas, to apologize.    I ought
not to have spoken.    I can only say it was the disappointment of the thing at the time, but that is no
excuse.    I was an ass."
N 178
He looked up ; Tom Fane was laughing, and
Abe's face wore a strange expression of amazed
" I am glad you Ve spoken, Harry," said Fane ;
" and I did not mean to hurt your feelings, but we
must have discipline in times like these."
" Quite right, sir," replied the lad, as he took the
proffered hand.
'You here, Boss?'
THE proceedings of Harper and the tribe I
gathered later. It seems that when the
scouts, posted along the shore, heard the boats
coming, they at once rushed off to apprise Harper
of the fact, but whilst they were hurrying off to
the mouth of the river to report the news, the
boats from the yacht had been stopped, and had
turned back without their knowing aught about it ;
and so it happened that when Harper and his
bloodthirsty gang came hurrying along the shore
not a sound from the water was audible. The lights
on the vessel shone clear and distinct some half-mile
from the shore.
" Had they landed ? " Harper spoke in the native
dialect, and spoke sharply.
" They could not have reached here in the time,"
replied the scout.
" Then you must have scared them," retorted
Harper angrily ; but even as he spoke there came
the distinct throb of the oars.
" They come ! "
But Harper need not have uttered the exclamation;
the alert ears of the Indians had instantly detected
the sound.    The boat drew nearer.
179 i8o
" You said there were two boats," whispered Harper
to the scout.
" There were two," was the answer.
" Perhaps something went wrong with one of them
—a leak or something—and that is why they put
back." So Harper mused, but he was not at all
satisfied in his mind. It was odd that two boats
should have started and apparently returned, and
now only one was coming.
A half-moon had been up some time, giving,
though, only fitful gleams of light, owing to some
heavy clouds that were passing across the face at
the back of a north-westerly breeze.
" They are coming in above us," whispered Harper;
" let us move up."
The word was passed down, and noiselessly the
Indians crept along in the shadow of the low
coast-line. The boat stopped, and a voice was
heard saying—
" Steady, lads ! I don't know that we can land
here. There might be rocks; anyhow it's risky. I
think I saw an inlet a little to the westward. Just
paddle on easy."
Jenkins' voice was as steady as a rock, but I
doubt me if his nerves were. He told me afterwards that owing to the deep shadow thrown from
the ridge of the coast, it was impossible to tell how
far or how near he was from the shore. Several
times, too, he thought he heard pebbles clattering
about, apparently close by ; and so he said to me, in
his forcible way, " Dem me, sir, I believe I smelt 'em."
Anyhow, he stood in the stern with a revolver in
each hand, giving his orders quickly and clearly, yet YOU  HERE, BOSS?"
fearing each second to see some dusky figures dash
into the water on top of them.
But now a sound became very audible—a sound
which filled Jenkins and the occupants of the boat
with relief, as any sound does when a man is playing
hide-and-seek with a foe in the dark. It was the
noise as of one running ; and as the moon shone out
the men in the boat distinctly saw a figure running
with all his might along the top of the bank, and
now he shouted. There was an angry, hoarse answer
from beneath the bank opposite to them, a muttered
confab, and then with fierce and angry exclamations
they saw a swarm of human figures dimly top the
ridge and disappear on the further side.
Jenkins saw it all. " Ha ! ha ! ha ! " he shouted ;
" ha ! ha ! ha ! Sold again, you black-headed sons
of Satan ! " And then, more as a warning to the
others than for any other reason, he discharged
two shots from his revolver in the direction of the
It appears that the wily Harper had left some
scouts to guard, as it were, his rear in case any
cutting-off tactics were resorted to, but the lifeboat,
filled with a silent crew and propelled by a noiseless
sail, ran right on to the shingle before the scout was
aware of her presence ; but Abe's quick eye detected
a figure running along the bank.
" Quick, boys ! " he cried.    " We 're spotted."
In the twinkling of an eye each man had jumped
into the water up to his waist ; they shoved the
lightened boat a few yards further in ; someone seized
a light, triangular anchor or grappling attached to
a length of cord, and stuck it in the shingle to hold 182
the boat if the tide rose and floated her» And,
headed by Abe, they rushed for the ridge and the
flat beyond.
For a quarter of an hour they hurried on, and the
dark line of the river grew dimly visible, while before
them, in the occasional intervals when the moon
deigned to appear, rose the dark solid mass of rock
that marked the approach to the gorge.
They were within two hundred yards of it, a
straggling, panting body of men, Abe leading them
at a sharp run, when, as the moon burst out from
a great black cloud, he turned and looked back over
the plain to his left, and the shadowy outlines of men
running were there.
" Come on, lads ; they are close behind us," cried
Abe.    " Mr. Fane ! " he added.
"Don't wait for me. I can hold the gorge. Fire
your revolver when the last man is across. Follow
me," he called. And in another instant he leapt from
the sward on to the shingle, and, turning round the
rock, he halted. " Hurry on, boys ! " he cried. " Mr.
Fane, the rope is just ahead of you in the narrowest
part ; fire when the last man is over."
There was no answer. One after another they
jumped on to the shingle and hurried past. Two
or three figures had crossed the river, and were
waiting to give their comrades a hand when a quick
step sprang upon the shingle.
Abe had drawn his cutlass, and with set teeth
he waited under the shadow of the rock. I do not
think the Indian felt anything. Abe was not the
man   to  give  people   unnecessary  pain, nor do   I
believe he was drowned, although I saw the body roll
into the river. Anyhow, he made no remarks on the
matter whatever.
I say I saw him. Yes ; for no longer was there
any silence. Tom Fane's men were shouting at one
another, and pulling and hauling at the rope, and
I reached the top of the stockade to see half the
number on the rocks one side of the river and half
yet the other ; and the same moment that my eye
saw this it caught sight of the form rolling down the
shingly beach into the river. As I watched it, bewildered, astounded, another form rolled over in
precisely the same manner, and while I was wondering what it meant, a yell came from the entrance
to the gorge, a cry of fury, and I saw how the
whole thing stood. They could only pass one by
one, and someone was waiting there. And now I
think I lost my senses ; in this way I stood on the
stockade where the rope ladder hung down to
the rocks beneath, and I shouted and halloaed.
" Come on, Tom ! come on, Abe ! " And within
the stockade rose the cheers of our little garrison.
Already a sailor was on the ladder ; he reached the
top. I seized his hand and hauled him up. "Over,
my lad," I cried, " and welcome ! "
A hand-grip, and he leapt into the stockade, and
another followed. Fane was the last man to come
across ; the moon was out now, throwing a bright
light on to the rocks below. I saw his arm go up,
and the report of his revolver echoed down the gorge.
And then a tall form darted out from the shadow at
the entrance of the gorge and raced for the rope, but
a few yards behind came an Indian, and another, and NOOTKA
another. In his right hand the man held a cutlass,
and I saw him literally jump for the rope ; there was
no time to feel for it. At the same moment the
clang of a spear as it struck the rock was distinctly
audible. Abe—for it was he—had seized the rope all
right, and now he was clambering up the rock our
side. Fane had waited for him ; a shot from his
revolver, and the Indian following on close behind
let go of the rope, and drifted down the river. A
blow from Abe's cutlass, and the rope parted, and
two dark forms swung into the shadow on the
further side.
And now a yell of rage rose from the Indians.
Rapidly clustering on the rocks beyond, I saw their
arms go up, and then a shower of spears went
hurtling through the air over the narrow chasm. I
saw Abe drop, and Tom Fane put his arm round
him and draw him back.
" Good God ! He's hit ! " I cried. But nearly all
the others had gathered on the stockade, and
anxiously and excitedly were watching the scene
It may be asked, why did we not shoot ? But
it must be remembered that in that imperfect light,
when the sights of the rifles were entirely obscured,
we were as likely to hit friends as foes. Fane had
drawn Wilson a little back ; it was safe now ;
already Cooper had put up his Winchester ; there
was no need to give any word of command, and the
situation was clear to all ; and in a second, before
they could throw again, Winchester, revolvers, and
my express were discharged in the direction of the
black group stationed on the further rocks. 'YOU   HERE, BOSS?"
What damage we did I hardly know, but it was
considerable. With loud yells the Indians scurried
back into the shadow of the bank, leaving three
figures lying motionless on the rocks.
"One at a time," I cried as I hurried down the
rope ladder.
Abe was lying back in Fane's arms with closed
eyes, breathing heavily. When I came upon them
a few moments later I knelt down and took his hand,
but I could not speak ; I feared the worst ; and I
gazed inquiringly up at Tom Fane, but he did not
answer ; he only shook his head mournfully.
And now the grey eyes opened slowly as though
he were waking from a long sleep, and they wandered
about for a time till, at length, they rested on mine,
and then a look of recognition came into them, and
I felt the pressure of my grip returned.
" You here, boss ? "
" Yes, Abe ; I 'm here, but tell me quick, where are
you hit ? "
" Don't mind me, boss ; you just get out as best
you can. I 'm done, I guess. But I reckoned on
it all the while."
The eyes closed, and he seemed to dream away
"Let us get him into the stockade, Tom. Time
may be precious," I whispered.
There were willing hands enough, and soon we had
a chair lowered with ropes attached alongside the
rope ladder. We tied him in, and gently they hauled
him up, whilst I kept beside him on the ladder, to
prevent the chair bumping against the rocks.
He was unconscious when they carried him, and I 186
heard a woman sob as the light from the porch fell on
his features. I turned quickly, and saw that it was
Mary, but her face was hidden in her hands. I did
not pass in with them ; I could be of no use. Captain
Herbert knew more of doctoring than any of us ; if
Abe were beyond his skill, then he was beyond ours.
And now a great feeling of bitterness came upon
me. In the hour of triumph, at the moment of
victory, the man I had foolishly wronged, the man
I had set my heart on making amends to, was struck
down. I paced to and fro outside the house with
many conflicting emotions rushing through my mind.
Was there anything to be done ? Surely something
could be done.    When should I know ?
The door opened, and Hilda came out ; her face
looked very sad and pale. I did not speak, but I
presume my face wore an anxious, inquiring expression.
" Father says it is very serious ; a spear has pierced
his lungs "
" Did he say anything could be done ?" I interrupted.
Hilda shook her head.
I asked the question more for something to say
than for any other reason, for I knew well that beyond
endeavouring to stop the external hemorrhage mortal
man was powerless.
And oh, how small it makes us feel, how weak and
inferior, when in the hour of strength and vigour we
see the friend by our side cut down, and at a moment's
notice rendered limp and silent for ever. At times
like these we hardly realize the situation ; we feel that
it is unreal, that somebody is trifling with our intel-
ligence, that it is impossible ; but when we keep on
calling, and there is no reply, when the form lies
huddled up, and will not move nor answer, gradually
the terrible suspicion dawns upon us, that the spirit
has flown for ever. And even then it takes days and
weeks, and ay, sometimes months and years, before
the fact is acknowledged by us. We awake in the
morning with his name upon our lips, we expect the
door to open and to see the old familiar face, but as
the minutes pass and no one comes, gradually we
remember—we know it was a dream. We know by
the cold grey light of morning that we are on the
earth ; we must rise and go forth, a bee in the great
human hive, to toil and struggle for the honey of
existence. But whilst the body slept the spirit had
been elsewhere, it had travelled in a beautiful country,
it had seen lovely sights, it had heard glorious melody,
or perchance it was vice versa, and the country had
been barren, the sights dismal, and the sounds harsh
and discordant. Yet old figures and faces had been
there, sometimes the comrades of our youthful days,
sometimes the curs. I
". . . to say Good-bye"
THE news had spread quickly that Abe was sinking. Within and without the house the men were
gathered in little groups whispering. I do not believe
that the usually assiduous Joe had as yet bestowed
a thought as to how all the new-comers were to be
housed. Some food had been placed on the table
in the big room at the rear of the building where
Captain Herbert had been in the habit of entertaining the head men of the tribe after some function.
This apartment was known to all members of the
household as the servants' hall.
The sailors had gradually found their way there,
had quietly helped themselves to what they required,
and then rejoined their comrades.
Hilda had persuaded me to go inside. "You will
be thoroughly tired out if you walk up and down
outside all night," she said.
In the sitting-room we found Tom Fane, Whitmore,
and Cooper. Tom rose as I entered. " Charlie," he
said, " this is the cruellest luck I ever heard of. We
had all really, though we did not say it aloud, given
you up for lost, and I suppose you had thought the
same of us, and then at the moment of our meeting,
188 "... TO  SAY  GOOD-BYE" 189
just as we have outwitted these cussed niggers, poor
Abe Wilson is struck down."
I did not answer. The early notions that had been
imbued in me of a kindly divine interference in
earthly matters had received so many shocks ever
since I was able to think for myself, that I candidly
confess I had little belief in it ; perhaps this was the
crowning blow.
Joe had come in to say he had made up beds for
Fane and Whitmore. The latter we persuaded to turn
in ; the lad was pretty well tired out, and could do no
good sitting up. But Fane steadfastly refused to go
to bed.
" A chair here will do me, Charlie. I shan't turn in
till I know the worst of Abe."
How long we two—for Hilda left us soon after
Whitmore—sat in the silent room I know not. I
had never noticed that the clock on the mantelshelf
ticked so loud before, and now I wondered anyone
could stand it, it made so much noise.
Tom's head was nodding in the arm-chair by the
fading fire, and my thoughts had carried me back
to the grand hills and wide undulating valleys of
Wyoming, and a day that I remembered well came-
before me. Abe and I had left camp early one
morning, and what a cold, wretched morning it was !
The water left in the pail from the night before was
frozen solid, and Abe had to cut the meat from the
leg of a blacktail deer hanging on the tree with the
axe, and I minded how reluctant I was to crawl from
my cosy warm fur bag, sleepy as I still was after a
long day's sport, but Abe would have it. The truth
was, we had seen the evening before as we were
«^■1 il i ;
returning to camp, far away in the distance, a vast
herd of something. It was too far for Abe's binoculars to tell, and through my more powerful
telescope we could only make out a herd of several
hundred animals feeding slowly on. I said antelope—
for we could make out no horns—but Abe said elk
(wapiti) ; he insisted they carried too much throat for
antelopes, and whilst we were still arguing the matter,
and passing and repassing the telescope, the light
faded over the plain below, and everything became
Hurriedly we jumped up and on to our horses and
made for camp, determined to try and solve the
matter the following day.
" Now then, boss, hurry up !    Breakfast is ready."
Two or three drinks of coffee chased the cobwebs
from my eyes. I was as keen and as ready to be off
as Abe ; the spare man had been gone some time for
the horses, and before I had finished breakfast we
heard him coming down the gulch. But then
occurred a most annoying thing. The morning was
grey and dull ; still it was early, and we expected
it to clear, when all of a sudden, just as we were
ready and preparing to mount the horses, the mist
rolled upon us, obliterating everything at a distance
of a dozen paces. It was particularly disappointing,
because if the band we had seen the previous evening
were wapiti it was the very game we were in search
of. I had got bear and sheep, but only a small bull
wapiti had we seen as yet.
The language that we used might have caused
some diversion in a London fog, but it had no
effect upon a Wyoming mist.    For an hour we sat TO SAY GOOD-BYE'
round the fire, freezing on one side and roasting on
the other, but the mist held on as dense as ever.
I jumped up. " Hang it all, Abe ! we can't sit here
all day. Let's follow the stream down ; we may get
a shot at a deer coming down to drink, and we can
always find our way back again if we stick to the
Abe did not seem very keen on this, but I pressed
him, and at length he consented to go. There was no
question of riding ; we must tramp it. We trudged
on for about an hour, and had gone perhaps a
couple of miles, when suddenly a bright gleam
shone through the mist in front of us, and in another
instant the ground below us lay clear and distinct far
as the eye could reach.
It was a phenomenon I had never seen before nor
since in such remarkable abruptness, although it is
easily accounted for. We must have been camped
high in the mountains, and as the day grew the heat
of the sun drew forth a vapoury mist from the snow
that had fallen in the night ; at least I always
accounted for it in this manner.
As soon as we found we could see the country
before us we left the stream and struck off to our
left, making for the edge of the plateau some four
miles distant. It was from here \ve had seen the
herd of animals on the previous evening.
It was yet cold and very still, with a good sprinkling of snow on the ground, when we reached the
ridge which commanded a view of the vast plain
below us. Even as we gazed there broke upon my
view the grandest scene of its kind that I shall
probably ever see.     We stood, as it were, on the
*m 192
edge of a grey, frozen country, when suddenly the
sun burst out, and before us, far as the eye could
reach, lay a beautiful green undulating plain, whilst
dotted all over it, seemingly everywhere, were groups
of cattle, wapiti, and buffalo.
Far away, glinting in the morning sun, lay a low
line of red buttes or sandhills that fringed the plain.
We were on the Pacific side of the Rockies, but
where I know not.
For some minutes I did not speak. I pulled forth
my telescope and Abe his binoculars, and together
we feasted our eyes on the glorious view. I watched
the baby buffalo and the great big, shaggy bulls ; I saw
the short-horned cows with their calves grazing almost
alongside of them, and then I turned my glass upon
a band of wapiti. They were lying down, ten or a
dozen cows and one splendid bull. What horns he
had ! I counted fourteen points distinctly through
the glass, and as I watched him, my heart beating
high, I heard a shrill whistle, a whistle once heard
never to be forgotten, and I saw the big bull rise
and answer. I saw him look in a certain direction, and
I turned to see the cause—a big, one-horned fellow
was slowly approaching. The cows never seemed to
take any interest in the proceedings—ladies, please
learn a lesson—but the big bull looked very angry.
With head thrown back he went for his would-be
rival at a steady trot. A few yards from one
another, and both lowered their heads and charged.
We heard the crash of their horns distinctly in that
clear atmosphere. For a minute or two they fought
desperately, sometimes receding a fewr yards and then
charging furiously, and trying to press one another TO  SAY GOOD-BYE'
back, and then, just as they had separated for another
charge, the one-horned bull suddenly turned tail and
trotted off towards the canon.
The big victor did not pursue him ; he was
apparently quite satisfied, and with a dignified air
he slowly walked back to the group of cows, who had
never even risen to view the contest.
I have said the canon ; and here the trouble was,
for right below us and winding across the plain ran
a deep, narrow gorge, or canon. The edges were
fringed with pine trees, and it appeared to be densely
wooded, but to reach the wapiti we must cross it. I
looked inquiringly at Abe, and he in turn looked
at his watch, and then at the sun, and then at the
country around him, a most superfluous waste of time,
I thought.
" You mean to have a go, boss ? "
"Of course," I said.
Again he looked at his watch.    " Well, come on."
I will hasten over our stalk. We got across the
canon, but it was a long and arduous task. We had
to drop twelve or fourteen feet sheer down on to
loose, crumbling earth, and pick our way carefully to
the bottom, where ran a small stream. On the further
side we found numerous paths made, either by bear
or wapiti, and by keeping to one of them we at last
reached the top of the further side.
And now we found that the plain which looked so
flat from above was hillocky and undulating, the very
ground to cheer a stalker's heart. The thing to avoid
was tumbling on to the top of our quarry, but by
cautiously proceeding and peeping over every knoll
before going on we reached the place where we had
Ml g I
seen them in the morning; but they had moved, and
my spirits sank. Still there were wapiti enough
about ; we could hear them whistling to our right and
behind us in the direction of the canon.
Now Abe stopped and pointed to some tracks.
" Quite fresh," he whispered. And a few minutes
later, on poking our noses over a knoll, Abe stopped
dead and held his hand out; then he beckoned me
up. What a sight I saw ! Slowly over the next
ridge, a couple of hundred yards away, a cow wapiti
was moving, and below her, quietly feeding on, were
a herd of a hundred or more. The big bull was there,
I recognized him at once, and some distance behind
were two other fine bulls ; two or three lots had
probably joined together.
" Don't shoot yet, boss," whispered Abe as I eagerly
fingered my rifle. " Let them top the next ridge ; we
shall get a closer shot."
They soon fed over, and seizing our rifles, we ran
for the further ridge.
" I '11 leave the big bull to you," said Abe as we
ran, " and wait till you fire."
I nodded.
Cautiously we crawled the last few yards to the
further top, and there, not a hundred yards from us,
the herd were standing. I slid the rifle hastily along I
over a tuft, but the big bull was feeding with only his
haunches to me. I had to wait till he turned broadside. The cow on the top of the ridge looked quickly
round. She had got us. Another looked ; and now
the big bull turned sharply round. There was not a
moment to lose. Bang ! I saw him jump and stand ;
bang ! and I saw him sink on his knees, and at the TO  SAY  GOOD-BYE'
same moment I saw the second best bull roll over to
Abe's shot. They were galloping now, and the third
bull was rising the top. I was hurriedly endeavouring
to reload when again the Winchester rang out, and I
saw him start and swerve to the right.
" You Ve hit him," I cried.    " Come on ! "
Hurriedly we ran forward past the two bulls lying
dead. From the top of the ridge we saw the herd
gallop over the plain, but the bull was not with them.
" There he is," cried Abe. " Look ! to the right ! "
And there he was, sure enough, slowly trotting along,
evidently hard hit.
Abe caught up his rifle and dived back across the
ridge, running at right angles, trying to cut him off,
whilst I followed. It was soon evident it was the
poor brute's intention to try and make the canon
some way down below where we had crossed it For
at least an hour we ran and crawled, and crawled
and ran, sometimes getting to within two hundred
yards of him, when Abe would blaze off; but we
were both too blown to take any accurate sight, and
still he trotted on at that one even pace. If he
reached the canon he would beat us. My cartridges
were done ; I had only taken out a dozen. It was
a last chance when Abe threw himself on a low,
grassy hillock, slid his rifle along, heaved a deep sigh
to steady the beating of his lungs, and fired. He
rolled over not six yards from the canon. I don't
think I was ever so exhausted in my life. But night
was fast coming on ; in the excitement of the chase
we had lost sight of time. We stood over the third
bull and administered the last ceremonies of the
stalk. 196
Irf - W
" We must come back for the meat and the heads
to-morrow, boss," and Abe cast anxious glances
around him.
The stars were peeping out when we started to
make camp.
"How shall we ever cross the canon?" I said to
myself, and the odd thing is, we never did.
Once, and only once, Abe spoke. " Can you give
me a light for my pipe, Mr. Wellesley ? "
I struck a match. For three mortal hours we
walked on, and I would have staked all I was worth
he was going in the opposite direction to camp, but
I never spoke, and then all of a sudden we turned
an angle of the hill, and there before us lay the camp,
the cheery fire burning bright, and the spare man
reading a greasy old book. He heard us, and he
looked up for a minute, and then down again on^
the book. Abe said never a word, but I could not
refrain from raising a cheer, although I afterwards
thought it infra dig.
But the amazing part of it all is how did Abe
manage to walk straight into camp ? We had started
in a fog, and we had crossed a canon which we never
recrossed. Once I asked him, but he only shrugged
his shoulders and said,
" Guess, boss, it's habit."
I mention this episode—it occurred on the occasion
of my first trip with Abe—to give the reader some
notion of the friendship and respect in which I held
him, and although it has taken me long to tell, the
whole recollection of it flashed quickly through my
mind as I sat practically alone in the sitting-room,
listening to the loud ticking of the clock and waiting. TO SAY GOOD-BYE"
The door of the sitting-room opened quietly, and
Captain Herbert looked in. He cast a glance at
Fane sleeping in the chair, and then he beckoned
to me to come outside.
I Wilson wants to see you "
"Is there any change ?" I interrupted.
"... to say good-bye," added Captain Herbert
Mary was laying another pillow at his back to
prop him up as I entered the room ; he heard me,
and turned his eyes and held out his hand, which
I grasped without speaking. Mary, supposing, I
presume, we had some private matters to speak on,
passed round the bed as though to leave the room.
"Ask her to stay, Mr. Wellesley, please," whispered
Abe. But she heard him, and at once she returned
to the further side of the bed and sat down on the
chair by his side.
He could speak but little above a whisper now,
whilst after a very few sentences he was stopped
by violent fits of coughing, accompanied by terrible
"Boss, you have many times asked me the story
of my past, and I have evaded answering. Let me
tell it you.
" I was the younger son of a country squire down
in Sussex. We had a big house and place, but my
father was a poor man for one in his position. I was
sent to a public school and received a good education, but somehow no sort of profession could my
people find for me, or could I find for myself. Any
amount of things were discussed, but all fell through.
No one apparently wanted a person of my descrip- 198
tion. I arrived at the age of twenty a harum-scarum
kind of a chap, but a pretty determined sort, I guess.
One night—it was after dinner—my father was in a
bad temper over rents or debts or something, and
suddenly he turned on me. ' How do you think
I can keep a lazy dog like you ? Why don't you
earn your living ? ' I don't think I answered, but I
there must have been something in the expression
of my face, for I caught my mother's glance watching
me anxiously now and again.
" That was the last meal I ever had at home. I
slipped out of the house next morning with what
few things I thought necessary stuffed in a bag,
and before anyone was up I had caught the first
train and reached London. From there I made
my way to Liverpool, worked my way across to
New York on a sailing vessel, and gradually drifted
west. For the last ten years, as you know, I Ve
lived by killing meat for camp through summer and
the fall, and trapping through the winter. Not a
brilliant career when you come to reckon it up."
A long and painful fit of coughing interrupted
him ; Mary passed her arm round his neck to hold
his head up, and with the other hand she held a
glass of iced water to his lips. After breathing
heavily and laboriously for some minutes, whilst
we watched him in silence and sorrow, knowing,
seeing, that the end was near, he spoke again :
" I sometimes think I should have done better,
Mr. Wellesley, and I sometimes think I might have
done worse."
There was another long pause, during which he
seemed to doze ; then he spoke faintly again : TO  SAY  GOOD-BYE"
" I 'm giving a lot of trouble here ; couldn't we
camp outside, boss? I'm afraid Miss Mary will
have too much to do."
The eyes had closed; the cough had gone; the
breathing was almost indistinct. Suddenly the eyes
"Are you there, boss ? "
" Here by your side, Abe ; " and I pressed his
hand, but the eyes looked vacant and far away.
He turned them slowly round till they rested on
the white, tearful face of the woman bending over
him, and then the lips parted, and a smile of joy
lit up the poor wan face. A great sigh escaped
his lips, a sigh of pleasure, in which the word
" Mary " was distinctly audible, and his head fell
back upon the pillow. CHAPTER XXI.
The White Flag
WHEN I try to recollect what immediately
followed the death of Abe my memory
fails me. I know that I never slept, but what I
did with myself I cannot remember, excepting
that I spoke to no one, and if I recollect aright,
nobody spoke to me all through the remainder of
that night.
The day dawned at last, and the sun rose over
the gorge, throwing its golden, gladdening rays upon
the world, driving dull care away, coaxing all nature
into life and energy, laughing at death and disaster ;
but I did not notice it.
Round about the stockade I wandered with bent
head ; but what my thoughts were I know not.
Looking back now, they seem to me to have been
a jumbled, confused mass that took no definite shape
The sailors had all risen, and stood in little groups
whispering ; but as I passed the whispering ceased,
and they drew back, touching their caps.
After a time a hand touched my arm, and a voice
that made me start said softly, " Father wishes to I
speak to you."
That voice seemed to bring me back to conscious- THE  WHITE  FLAG
ness; anyhow, from that moment the subsequent
events are stamped clearly on my memory.
I turned quickly and met Hilda's eyes gazing
anxiously into my face. " I wanted to come and
persuade you to lie down, but father said I had
better not, that it was wiser to leave you alone."
" He was right, Hilda, and I thank you for your
kind thoughts ; but I could not have slept, and I
do not believe I could have lain down. Now my
brain seems clearer. Let us go and see what he
She led the way to the sitting-room and opened
the door. Within all was silent, and yet as I
crossed the threshold the forms of all the important
characters mentioned in this story left alive, with
the exception of Mary, stood around. Some glanced
up furtively as I entered, and then dropped their
eyes to the ground, why I cannot tell, but I
remember it. Was it that there was something
wild or uncanny in my appearance, or was it that
in the presence of death men stand abashed and
helpless, and have no words to offer ?
Right opposite me, as I entered on the further
side of the table, stood Tom Fane, his arms folded
across his breast, and a determined expression on
his face. At the head of the table stood Captain
Herbert. Apparently a colloquy had just been
held, or was about to be, and they were awaiting
my presence. It was Captain Herbert who spoke
" Mr. Wellesley," he said, " we are all of us deeply
grieved at what has occurred, and that the man who,
if I may say so, saved your life through the forest
m 202
and has saved ours here is at the moment of
triumph taken from us ; but we cannot argue with
the decrees of fate, nor alter its decisions: we can
only bend our heads in sorrow and humiliation when
our friends are taken from us. But we must remember that there are many left within this stockade
whom we must assist, both for their sakes and our
" Now, the provisions left cannot keep us all in
here over two or three days. The Indians will fall
back on their old starving-out tactics; if they dared
not attack us before, they are not likely to now. I
have been talking the situation over with Sir Thomas
and Ted Cooper, and we have agreed that we must
go for them."
"The sooner the better." I spoke for the first
time, and every eye looked up.
There was no need for Captain Herbert to put
the question to the vote ; the verdict was written
on every countenance. He paused a moment, looking round as though waiting for someone to speak,
but no one did so.
" Yes, father."
" Help Joe to hurry on the breakfast, and tell him
to give the sailors as good a one as we can provide ;
he need not stint the provisions."
The girl quickly left the room, and silently we filed
out after her in different directions. I meandered
out, and soon got dreaming again of the past, when
an arm slipped through mine.
" Cheer up, old man ; we '11 annihilate those rotten
niggers, or follow him ; and after all a year or two> THE WHITE  FLAG
in a man's life does not reckon for much in the annals
of time."
Tom's conversation—enthusiastic, revengeful, kindly,
a mixture of all these—soothed me, and soon I was
chatting to him quietly of the voice we should never
hear again.
" I never took such a fancy to a man in so short a
time before," said Tom. " He was the quietest, most
unassuming fellow I ever met, and I 'm not sure he
wasn't the finest specimen of a man and the best
plucked one I ever came across."
Of course I agreed with him ; and now as I pen
these lines, and years have rolled by, I agree with*
him more than ever ; so we talked on till the voice
of Hilda called to us that breakfast was ready.
Towards the end of the meal Captain Herbert
said, "Gentlemen, I am too old to act in the
capacity of leader in an enterprise of this description ; in fact, willing as I would be to do so, or
be with you in any capacity, I think I ought to
stay back here with the girls, and try to hold the
stockade in case you meet with any reverses or
have to retreat Twenty years ago, or even ten,
and my old friend, Ted Cooper, would have been
as good a man as one could have found for the
job ; but now I fear me, if it came to any sprinting
or quick work, he might not be in the front. I
hardly know whether to suggest Sir Thomas or
Mr. Wellesley, and I think, gentlemen, I had better
v leave the matter in your hands."
I immediately suggested Tom Fane, whilst Tom
at once did vice versa,
" Why not," said Captain Herbert, " put it to the 204
vote? There are five of us. Let us each write the
name of the man we wish to lead the expedition and
put the slips of paper in a hat. I will read them
out, and we can abide by the decision of the majority."
This was unanimously agreed to, and I may here
state that I wrote down Fane's name, and I afterwards learnt he wrote mine. When Captain Herbert
unfolded the slips he reported three votes were for
me and two for Fane.
" Thank Heaven ! " cried Tom. " I can fight, but
I don't want to do any directing or suggesting."
" Very well, gentlemen," I said. " You have done
me the honour of selecting me, and I see Sir Thomas
does not mind. In one way perhaps you have done
wisely, for I am a hard, relentless, and determined
man to-day ; we have a dear friend's life to avenge."
Whilst Henry Whitmore went out to inform the
sailors that we intended to make a sortie and tell
Joe to get the repeating rifles ready, we other four
men held a conclave in the sitting-room.
At first I was for leaving no one behind in the
stockade ; I pointed out that if we were overpowered
and beaten, then must they be entirely at the mercy
of the Indians, but Captain Herbert would not hear
of this.
" No," he said ; " supposing you get repulsed, some
of you, at least, may get back to the stockade, and
though the chance is remote, there might still be
a chance of getting the women across the gorge
and making an attempt under cover of darkness to
reach the yacht."
Ted Cooper agreed with him, so I somewhat
reluctantly concurred.    I feared the Indians might THE  WHITE  FLAG
try a detour and perhaps fire the stockade and
murder the old man and his daughters whilst we
were engaged fighting elsewhere. Still they knew
the ways of these people better than I did, and there
was an end of it.
At 11.30 all was ready, and the men formed up
outside the porch. Our plan of action had been agreed
upon. We were to form into a single line, each
man a couple of yards apart from his neighbour, and
march steadily down on the village. We calculated
on the Indians attacking us, and hoped for it ; we
had eight repeating rifles, and I carried my express,
whilst all the men carried revolvers and cutlasses.
Captain Herbert insisted upon us taking all the
" They are no use here," he said, " and are everything to you."
Most of the sailors knew thoroughly the working
of a Winchester, and singling out the best shots
among them, we handed them the rifles, five in
number, that were over. Fane, Whitmore, and
Cooper each carried one, whilst Walker was content
with a revolver and cutlass.
I will not dwell on the tender farewell I had with
Hilda; she broke down at the last, and I am sure
she believed she would never see one of us alive
again. I did what I could to comfort her, but I
am afraid it was of little avail. Mary, on the other
hand, whom I had not seen before all the morning,
moved about with a white set face and flashing eyes.
I saw her now and then go up and speak in a low
voice to the men, and I heard their sharp laugh of
derision ; she was urging them on. 206
All was ready, and the gate was unlocked. Ted
Cooper was to keep the left with Walker, and Whitmore the extreme right, Fane and myself in the
middle. Only two orders had I given : first that no
rifle was to be fired till I shot, and secondly no
revolver was to be fired till the word of command
was given. I was fearful lest the men would empty
their revolvers at a long range and allow the enemy
to rush us.
Hardly had we gone a hundred yards when a loud
yell rose from the direction of the village, and almost
immediately followed a hundred or more of the grey-
coated Indians. Out they came on to the plain,
brandishing their spears and giving out most awful
yells, and then at a run they came for us.
" Halt ! " I cried. " You with rifles only, present
and fire low after me."
They were two hundred yards off then—how slow
the seconds pass !—now one hundred. A tall man
was in the middle. I brought the bead on him and
pressed the trigger ; instantly seven other rifles rang
" Again, boys ! " I shouted, " and aim steady."
Another volley went into them, but still they kept
on. I slipped two more cartridges in and quickly
fired them, whilst the repeating rifles were going off
as fast as the men could jerk out the cartridges.
Forty yards off they were now, but at least twrenty
of their men had fallen.
How ferocious and awful they looked, with their
painted faces and the spears poised above their
" Revolvers ready ! " and the order went down the THE  WHITE  FLAG
line like an electric current. Thirty yards, twenty
yards—I remember at that moment the lad on my
right turned his eyes towards me with a jerk.
" Good God !    Why don't you cry ' Fire ' ? "
I saw the remark in his face. Fifteen yards.
" Fire ! "
In a moment they were rolling over like rabbits.
They paused and stopped dead, while volley after
volley was poured into them, and then two or three
started to run back. Drawing my cutlass, I dashed
forward. In the tumult no word of command would
have been heard, but our men saw me, and with a
wild shout we sprang upon them.
For some moments it seemed as though the
denizens of hell had been let loose upon the earth.
Men rocked and swayed and cursed and struck, and
then the enemy broke, and with loud cries of terror
fled back towards the village. Some of our men
pursued them, though I halloaed in vain to try and
stop them, but the Indians were too terrified to turn
and fight
We had won, but we had not escaped scatheless ;
one sailor was killed, and two were badly wounded,
whilst many had received severe cuts from spears.
I hastily summoned a council of war, and advised
our removing our wounded back to the stockade before
proceeding. Of the enemy fifty, or nearly half their
number, lay dead, and I did not think they would
face us again.    Fane and Cooper both agreed.
We waited a little time till our men returned from
pursuing the flying Indians, when we lifted up the
wounded and carried them as gently as we could
back to the stockade. 208
I need not say how overjoyed Hilda and
Captain Herbert were to welcdme us back. They
had witnessed the whole affair from the verandah,
and it must have been a most trying ordeal. Mary
seemed to take no special interest in the proceedings,
but appeared to look on it as a matter of course. An
hour or so later, whilst we were still deliberating on
what course to pursue, the watch on the verandah
reported an Indian approaching the stockade with a
white flag in his hand. We all sprang to our feet,
for well we knew what that white flag meant—the
enemy had had enough, and were seeking peace.
"Remember, now it is Peace"
ET   Captain   Herbert
speak with this man,"
said Cooper to me. "You see, he is the recognized chief, and if you or I or anyone else treated
with him, he, Captain Herbert, might lose prestige
with the tribe."
" What's left of 'em," I muttered savagely.
But Cooper was right. At that moment my terms
would have been death to the lot of them.
" I would only suggest to Captain Herbert," I said,
" for his own sake in the future, not to be too lenient
with these people. He has defeated them almost by
a miracle, and he should never give them the chance
of rising against him again."
" I know that, Mr. Wellesley. Leave it to me."
And Captain Herbert rose to go out.
The Indian had halted about a hundred yards
from the stockade and stood waving his flag backwards and forwards, uncertain how to proceed, for as
yet no word or sign had been vouchsafed him from
the stockade. I do not think he would have come so
near had he known the distance modern weapons
carry and had he been able to peep within the
stockade ; for when we got outside the house several
of the sailors had slid the rifles through the loopholes,
P 209 2IO
and amid very audible chuckles were aiming at the
solitary individual.
" Here, you fellows, don't shoot," cried Fane.
" We 're honly haiming for practice, Sir Thomas,"
said a burly seaman.
There was no possible chance for treachery, for, as
I have before explained, the ground that approach
was possible from was all open and exposed.
Captain Herbert ordered the gate to be opened
and walked out, whilst Fane and myself, Whitmore
and Cooper, followed him. Straight towards the
Indian he walked ; the latter ceased waving his flag
the instant he sawT the gate open, and stood upright
and motionless. Five yards from the Indian Captain
Herbert stopped.
" What do you want ? " he asked in a stern voice.
The figure never moved, but his eyes wandered
from one of us to the other in a restless, uneasy way.
At length he spoke.
" I have been chosen by those braves of the tribe
still left on earth to approach the great White Chief
and beg for peace and mercy."
" Peace and mercy ! " echoed Captain Herbert.
"What peace have you been showing me? What
mercy was I to expect if you had triumphed ? "
" I cannot reply to the words of the White Chief,
for there is no answer to be made, and if he desires
the lives of those that remain, then must he take
them ; we will offer no further resistance or defence.
I can only say that we were led to believe by the
most learned man amongst us, by the man that the
White Chief placed most trust in——"
I Harper ! " interposed Captain Herbert sharply. "REMEMBER, NOW IT IS PEACE"   211
" He it was who informed us that it was distinctly
laid down in all the works of good men and great,
that a tribe who gave allegiance to a stranger from
another country and of another people were considered contemptible in the eyes of the great God
of the worlds, who dwelleth in the sun, and that
the peace and blessings of an after-life were denied
" And where is this Harper, who prated to you this
nonsense, that you were fools enough to listen to?"
asked Captain Herbert.
"After the battle this morning," said the Indian,
" when we had reached the village square and found
that we were no longer followed, we at once held a
consultation. Harper's power was gone ; he himself  was   silent  and   morose,   and  would  offer no
" Was he in the fight ? " asked Captain Herbert.
"Through my telescope I watched the men coming
up, but could not distinguish him."
" No," said the Indian, " he was not there. He
stayed behind in the village ; methinks he knew
more of the white man's arms and skill in war than he
cared to tell us, and this made us all the more angry
against him. It was quickly resolved that we should
throw ourselves on your mercy, and pray you to deal
with us as leniently as you could ; and I was deputed
to approach you and bring you this message."
For the first time the Indian now moved his arms
and drew forth from his pocket a paper, which he
handed to Captain Herbert. Having glanced at it,
the latter stepped back a few paces and beckoned
to us, I
"This paper," he said, "corroborates what this man
has been telling us, and is signed by half a dozen
of their leading men. I think they have received
a severe lesson, and I would willingly avoid further
bloodshed." He looked inquiringly at us, and we
all agreed with him.
"Excepting that villain Harper," said Cooper.
" You '11 never have peace with him about ; I 'd hang
Captain Herbert stepped back towards the Indian.
" Go back to the men of the tribe and tell them
that I, who have always been a man of peace, still
am the same, but men who listen to rebellious!
counsels and turn upon their rulers are not to be
trusted. Therefore, I require that every man left in
the settlement come here in parties of twenty at
a time, and lay down his spear, tomahawk, or any,
other weapon of war ; the first party will return to
the village before the second starts up, and so on.
The man Harper must be at once secured and bound
and put in a safe place ; I will deal with him later.
Thirty minutes from now I shall expect the first
batch of twenty men.    You can go."
The Indian bowed again, and a look of intense
relief passed over his face. He evidently expected a
very different message.
" The White Chief is very merciful," he said.
The Indian had turned to go, when Tom Fane
called out, " Hi ! Hi ! wait a minute. Captain Herbert, may I send a message to the yacht? Captain
Hume will be in an anxious state all this time
about us."
Captain Herbert called to the Indian to wait whilst REMEMBER, NOW IT IS PEACE"    213
Fane hastily scribbled on an odd half-sheet of paper
a few words.
"Will that do, Charlie?" he said, handing it to
me. "Enemy beaten and suing for peace; will see
you towards evening."
" Yes," I answered, " that's sufficient for the
Tom handed the folded paper to Captain Herbert,
who in turn passed it to the Indian, saying, " Send
that note off to the yacht as soon as you get to
the village."
The Indian took it, looked at the outside, and
" What's the matter ? " asked Captain Herbert.
" White men on the big boat carry guns."
" Oh, I see," cried Fane. " But listen to me ; when
your boat gets within hail of the yacht you will
be challenged by those on board. They will call,
' Who comes there ? ' You reply, ' Friends/ They
will then say, 'Give the password'; and you reply,
' Nootka/    See ? "
"Before they shoot we say 'Friends/ They ask
for password, and we say ! Nootka,' " repeated the
Indian deliberately.
"That's it."
When the Indian had departed we strolled back to
the stockade.
" I suppose," said I, " there's no chance of them
getting aboard the Caledonia and holding her."
Cooper and Captain Herbert shook their heads.
u They 're scared enough," said the former. "You
heard what that fellow said about the guns ; they
never knew till this morning what rifles and revolvers 214
could do, and they don't want any more of it, added
to which they know nothing of engineering work,
and couldn't move her a yard."
" Besides," put in Tom, " unless I 'm very much
mistaken they '11 have to hand that slip of paper up.
Old Hume won't let 'em board."
I will not enter into a long description of the
" peace ceremony," but it is necessary to sketch it.
A deal table and a chair were taken out some
hundred yards from the stockade, in fact to the
spot where we had recently received the Indian with
the flag of peace. On the chair sat Captain Herbert
with some writing materials on the table in front
of him, not that I ever saw him write down anything ; perhaps he intended to take notes, and found
it was not necessary. On either side of him, all
of us from within the stockade, excepting the two
women, stood fully armed and ready. I think we
must have presented a formidable appearance, for the
first batch of twenty halted at a couple of hundred
yards' distance, and sent forward the Indian with the
white flag, "humbly hoping that the White Chief
would spare their lives."
Captain Herbert pretended to be angry at this.
" Tell them," he cried, " after the way they have
treated me, it is necessary for me to take precautions,
but that I am a man of my word, and what I have
said I would do I will do."
To an onlooker I daresay the scene would have
appeared extremely dramatic, but to me the faces
and bearing of the Indians as they approached usf
were very ludicrous. They glanced along our line
with nervous apprehension, too scared to turn back
and almost too frightened to come on. Arrived
within twenty yards of us, Captain Herbert bade
them halt and deposit their weapons in a heap, after
which he ordered them to march back to the village,
and tell the next batch to come up.
There were only four batches of twenty men, and
some of those were mere boys ; but despite the
hunted and frightened look upon their faces, I could
not help being struck with their superior and intelligent appearance compared with all other Indians
I had ever come across.
After the last lot had laid down their weapons
Captain Herbert told them on their return to the
village to hold a meeting and select six men to
represent the tribe, and to send them up to the
stockade to confer with him. As soon as that was
done they were to set about collecting the bodies
of their dead comrades and bury them in the
cemetery below the village at the head of the sound.
" I did not think they had lost so heavily," said
Captain Herbert to me as we walked back to the
stockade. "Poor Abe Wilson must have wrought
tremendous havoc amongst them the night you got
into the stockade."
Six stalwart Indians soon appeared, marching up
from the village, and on reaching the stockade were
instantly ushered into Captain Herbert's presence.
I do not know what passed between them, as Captain
Herbert insisted on holding the interview alone with
the Indians ; but when they emerged from the house
their faces wore an expression of great thankfulness
and relief. At first they were somewhat shy and
abashed, but after a while they approached, and, with 2l6
their hats in their hands, they bowed, they apologized,
they deplored the suffering they had caused, and
hoped a day might soon come when they might
show in some tangible way their devotion to their
old chief, and their thankfulness for the mercy and
consideration he had shown them. Fane, ever
affected by the transient events of the moment, was
for "standing them drinks," but Captain Herbert at
once put his foot down.
" No, Sir Thomas, that is against the law here."
I think the Indians looked a little sad for a
moment, forbidden fruit being always sweetest, but
they soon brightened up again.
"And now," said Captain Herbert, "be off down
to the village and order a thorough search to be
made for that villain Harper."
Yes, Harper was at large. It appeared that while
the tribe were arguing as to the advisability of approaching us and seeking peace, he, seeing that his
power was gone, that feeling was quickly turning
against him, and his life probably unsafe alike in
the hands of foes or friends, slipped quietly away,
and at present could be found nowhere.
" He shall not escape the just vengeance of the
Great Chief, not if I have to wander round the
settlement, even into the forest, all the remaining
days of my life."
It was the tallest of the Indians that spoke.
And now occurred a curious scene. Some little
distance away had stood Walker, watching the scene
with a scowling face. The Indian had spoken, and
with his fellows was just about to leave the stockade,
the gate of which was open, when he happened to cREMEMBER, NOW IT IS PEACE"   217
catch sight of Walker. Straight up to him he
marched with outstretched hand, bent evidently on
a most friendly mission, but Walker reared himself
" Dog ! " he cried ; " dare you to offer me the hand
of friendship when the body of the Witch Doctor
of Wyoming lies yet unburied here within the walls
of this house ?    If I knew which of you cursed dogs
had slain  him "     He had seized  his  rifle and
actually cocked it, when Captain Herbert rushed up.
" Walker, Walker ! " he cried. " Peace has been
proclaimed, and surely a great and noble life has
been avenged with the death of half the men of the
tribe. Put aside your rifle, and remember I do not
forget what I owe to you, and what my children
owe to you. Receive the thanks, receive the blessing
of an old man, Walker, but remember, now it is
The heads of both the Indians had fallen on their
breasts ; the one listened with profound emotion, the
other with deep shame; and I confess that when I
heard the angry words of Walker a great respect for
him arose within me. CHAPTER XXIII.
Tears of Sorrow,  Tears of Joy
THAT same evening Fane and Whitmore, with
the sailors, departed for the yacht, and I believe
Captain Hume was overjoyed at seeing them alive
and well, as, from the first, he had had the gravest
misgivings as to their fate. I need not say that he
heard of the death of Abe with deep and sincere
regret ; yet when men have put aside their celestial
cloaks made of a fabric in the mills of heaven termed
"religious fervour," when they have forgotten the
laid-down law that in times of peace they boast
of, namely, "goodwill on earth," and have allowed
themselves to become once again mere animals
thirsting for one another's blood, then life and death
are looked on very lightly, and perhaps Captain
Hume was thankful that they had escaped without
greater loss of life.
Tom begged me to return to the boat with him,
but I declined ; not that we had any fear now of any
hostile demonstrations on the part of the Indians,
but for many reasons I did not like leaving the little
garrison alone, nor did I care for any conviviality at
that moment.
Fane sent us up some wine and a few delicacies,
which were highly appreciated by old Ted Cooper ;
it took a deal to shake the nerve of that hardened
old "salt"
On the following morning the sad duty devolved
upon us of committing the earthly remains of Abe
Wilson to the grave. The whole of the yacht's
company, excepting two seamen left in charge,
attended, and a sad and impressive ceremony it
was. Captain Herbert had come to me the previous
" Mr. Wellesley," he said, " our burial-place lies
a quarter of a mile to the north, by the edge of
the river ; you cannot see it for a dip of the hill,
but you passed it the night you entered the stockade.
There I have made a vault where the remains of my
dear wife now lie, where mine are shortly to rest,
and where I would suggest this brave friend of ours
should repose, unless you have any other proposition
to make." I shook my head. " Let it be so, then,"
continued Captain Herbert, "and I will have the
necessary arrangements completed."
A rude pine coffin had been constructed by Cooper,
and at noon, borne on the shoulders of eight of the
sailors, we slowly followed the remains of my old
friend and companion from the stockade. As the
cortege passed out I was surprised to see all the
Indians standing without with their hats in their
hands, their brown faces and lank hair contrasting
strangely with their grey clothing. In silence they
followed us to the little cemetery, and when Captain
Herbert addressed us they gathered round in evident
awe and reverence.
I noticed with surprise he did not use the words of
the English burial service.    The coffin being placed 220
on the planks laid to receive it, he stepped to the
head of it and said :
"May it please the God of the world, the great
Creator of our universe, that this our brother, who
has left us, may be with Him at peace and rest for
ever ; and we humbly pray that when our time comes
to leave the struggling world we may meet him again
in the after-life we hope for, but know not of, to
thank him for his work on earth."
A murmur of reverence rose from the Indians
gathered round, and with a few low muttered words
of hope and consolation which I could not gather
the coffin was lowered to the vault.
There was one thing that surprised me even at
that moment : Mary had not joined our procession,
and as I stood beside the vault it struck me, and
I looked for her, but she was not to be seen.
Gradually and quietly the gathering dispersed, and
I was the last to leave the graveside, I and Hilda,
who had kindly and thoughtfully waited also.
Slowly and without speaking we walked back, and
reaching the end of the plateau beyond which the
fall of the ground would shut out a view of the
cemetery, I turned back to take a farewell view of
the grave. I started ; the form of a woman was
kneeling by the graveside. For some seconds I
did not speak.
" Is there any good in my returning ?" I asked
Hilda at length.    " Can I be of any assistance ? "
Hilda shook her head. " I think not," she answered.
" Let her alone for a time ; I will go back for her
shortly if she does not return."
We walked on some time in silence, I surprised
that the death of Abe could so deeply affect Mary,
and extremely sorry that it did ; still I could not help
wondering why it should do so. They had never
seemed on anything but ordinarily friendly terms,
at least so it had seemed to me, but I saw now that I
had been mistaken ; the night of his death passed
before me, and I remembered how he had died with
her name on his lips, though at the time the sad
scene had banished the incident from my mind.
When we reached the stockade Hilda stopped.
11 will go back to Mary ; I do not like leaving her
"Cheer her up as much as you can," I answered,
i for she seems terribly cut up."
Hilda shook her head. " I will do all I can, but
I 'm afraid a long time will pass before poor Mary
looks cheerful again."
And I am sorry to say it was so ; in fact, I do not
think Mary ever was the same again. Oh, woman,
how true you are ! When once you have given away
your heart, rarely do you demand it back, though how
often would you be justified in doing so. Often do I
think that Nature was scarcely acting fairly—or shall
I say, working fairly ?—when she formed man to
be your companion and, as some say, your master.
Master, indeed ! I laugh, man as I am. But it is
not a necessary or particularly interesting argument,
and one that I have often seen lead to trouble.
It was very delightful now that we could wander
about at will, especially after being cooped up in the
stockade so long. Captain Herbert and Cooper went
almost off their heads after going over the Caledonia;
her sharp smart lines were such a contrast to Captain 222
Herbert's round rolling-looking boat. (I wrote "boat"
to please old Cooper, because I have to read this story
to him in the evening, but I meant to write "tub.")
And when they saw her internal fittings they could
not speak with amazement. The inlaid grandfather's
clock, the artists' proof engravings in the cabin, the
silver plate, the polished brass, the modern engines,
they stared at and examined, but it was a long time
before they found their voices.
Fane, ever pleased to give pleasure to others, insisted on our dining on the yacht almost every
other night; he had plenty of stores and provisions
aboard, as the nature of his trip might mean a
prolonged absence, which it did. It was a long
time, though, before we could persuade Mary to
go ; everyone tried their hardest to cheer her up,
but beyond an occasional sad effort at a smile
we could get little out of her. Still she was a
beautiful woman; the pale face, the even features, and
the sad expression, though they had considerably
altered her, had not detracted from her beauty.
Sometimes I thought another person thought her
beautiful, but, being a man, I was slow at seeing
this ;  it was to be pointed out to me later.
I think the regard I had for Hilda was apparent to
the others from the first, but I do not think I cared
to avoid showing my admiration. Anyhow, a few
days after Abe's funeral, when we were strolling
together along the edge of the gorge on a lovely
autumn evening, I determined, as the song says, " to
know my fate." I wonder whether she knew my
intention, for she kept her head bent, and silently
we walked  together, and oh, what an  ass   I  felt ! TEARS  OF SORROW  AND JOY     223
Words rose in my throat, but ere I uttered them they
sounded within me foolish and out of place, and I
choked them down, but a man determined is a
determined man, and at last I stopped.
" Hilda ! " She had stopped too, but her head was
still bent. " Hilda, darling, don't keep me in suspense
longer ; say you will marry me."
She came up to me, and she put her hand on my
arm softly, the same as she did in the early hours of
the morning following the night Abe was killed.
I Don't think," she whispered, " that I do not love
you, but how can I promise to marry you ?" I interrupted her, but she stopped me. "It is like this :
you have your home far away, and your friends, and
you will wish to return to them, anyhow in time, but
I—I must not consider myself entirely, cannot leave
father and Mary; father is growing old, and Mary
needs a sister's care and devotion."
Even whilst she was speaking a great joy had
entered my heart, and I let her wander on for some
time in the same strain. She paused, and I took her
little hand yet lying on my arm.
" Hilda, my darling, is that all ? "
" Yes," she whispered.
"Then let me tell you I have no home far away,
and no friends. Here is my friend, and here will be
my home, if you but say the word."
And then she gently raised her head, and the great
eyes were full of tears and of love.
That evening I called Captain Herbert aside.
"Captain Herbert, I love your daughter Hilda;
I have asked her to marry me, and she has said
yes." 224
I ill
The old man stopped for a moment, as though
shot; he seemed dazed, and passed his hand across
his forehead.
" Hilda marry you ! But you will go away and
take her with you, and I shall never see her again."
Hastily I intervened and told him of my interview
with Hilda, of the first portion of it—I fancy I
skipped the latter—and when he learnt I was willing
to remain and live with them, he became overjoyed
and grasped my hand.
" Mr. Wellesley, just as it seemed to me that death
and disaster were to crown all the efforts of my life,
•I find joy, and prosperity, and friends, around me ; it
is truly marvellous."
" And you consent ?" I interrupted again.
" Gladly, gladly," he cried, "and I thank you for the
honour you have done us."
When Fane on the following morning heard the
news he came to me.
" My boy, I congratulate you ; I never knew you
had such taste for beauty, but there it is ; you were
always rather a dark horse, and anyhow I shall be
cock of the walk in the club billiard-room, if they
haven't elected Roberts or someone of that class in
my absence. Still I had been looking forward to
a pleasant trip back with you ; but don't think
you're going to stay here all alone. I shall come
back and pay you a visit, and bring you the news,
and perhaps a billiard table. What a whacking I 'd
just give you if you had not touched a cue for a year
or so ! . . ."    And so he chatted on.
Fane and Walker were always wandering about
chatting together, and one day the former approached TEARS  OF SORROW  AND JOY     225
Captain Herbert regarding a hunt to the northwards
after elk. Captain Herbert was only too pleased to
lend him Walker for a guide and assist in every way,
but, oddly enough, Harry Whitmore did not seem in
the least keen about the trip, and appeared rather
anxious to be left out, only Tom insisted on his
going, and laughed at his flimsy excuses.
" Why," I asked Hilda that afternoon as we strolled
down to the settlement, " did not Whitmore want to
go on the hunting trip ? "
" Do you know," she replied, blushing, "he's in love
with Mary."
" Whew ! What a stupid I am not to have noticed
it!    And she?"
Hilda looked at me somewhat reproachfully. " Do
you expect women to forget, and in a week ? "
I was silent, and the subject dropped.
On all sides the Indians were most cordial and
polite, and never in any community had I seen people
so well-mannered ; it spoke volumes for the way in
which they had been brought up.
We passed the big storehouse, which had not
been interfered with. Captain Herbert had feared
the Indians might have looted it, but Harper during
his brief command had seen to that, for it was
very necessary that the stores should be given out
regularly. And I hardly know what the Indians
would have done in the end had they been victorious,
as they would not have been able to navigate the
vessel to obtain fresh supplies, and perhaps they at
the time relied on forcing Cooper to do so.
We entered the schoolroom, then empty, and I
could   not   help   being  amazed   on   looking  round,
Q 226
Quaint proverbs were hung upon the walls, such
as " Cleanliness is essential, and water is cheap " ;
" Do to others as you would wish them to do to
you " ; " Learn not to spit ; it is a vulgar habit," etc.
But what struck me was the lack of Biblical quotations ; I questioned Hilda about this.
" Well, you see," she answered, " the tribe worship
the sun, and father has never interfered with their
religion. I have often heard him say that it would
be the height of folly to do so, also that the sun
properly worshipped is as fine a religion as any
other," and as I walked slowly home by the side
of my betrothed I was not at all sure he was not
Farewell to the "Caledonia"
ARPER had not been caught, and I think
everyone was pleased it was so. It was
supposed he must have either committed suicide
or tried to find his way across the island ; that he
would ever succeed in doing the latter was most
improbable, for even if he had had time to scrape
together provisions for a few days there was no route
known to any habitation of man ; in fact, the Indians
had a superstitious belief that the forest was haunted,
and that no man could penetrate it and live. They
had learnt by the maps and books provided to them
by Captain Herbert that Vancouver was an island,
they had been told and they had read of Victoria
town and of settlements along the eastern coast,
but though at first it surprised them, they had no
wish to learn the truth by personal inspection. As
I have hinted, if not stated, before, wild horses would
hardly have dragged them into the gloomy depths
of the rank, timber-strewn, noiseless forest. The
reason was obvious : every now and again in the
long history of the tribe a party of young braves
had occasionally, in a momentary fit of foolish
ardour, determined to pierce through the forest and
discover the world beyond, even as Columbus held
227 228
the rudder of his vessel firm and steered straight
for chaos or the countries beyond the sea ; but as
a rule they had never returned. A few had come
back, lean and starved and scared, and the experiences they gave were not, to say the least of
it, encouraging even to the most intrepid explorer.
As a rule it was the wolves that did them ; at least,
after making many inquiries I learnt that nearly
every adventurer who had ever returned had reported
terrible encounters with these brutes. The truth was,
as I subsequently discovered, the majority of the
four-footed game on the island frequented the open
portions of the north-west, and so the wolves had,
I suppose, gradually drawn away from the south and
south-west, and dwelling in the fringe of the forest,
they descended in packs on deer and wapiti.
Often and often on a still night, when the wind
has been blowing from the east, have I heard these
deep-voiced devils in full cry after some poor beast,
and I have shivered in bed as their ferocious howls
grew fainter and fainter in the distance. I know
of no sound on earth so appalling as the deep
vindictive note of a timber wolf, and it must be
remembered that in the early days, when they had
not learnt the destructive power of modern weapons,
they cared as little for an Indian spear as they did
for a wapiti's antlers ; not but what they were always
cowards, and always will be, but, having settled on
their prey, they never leave it, though they wait their ~
If Harper had entrusted his life to their keeping he
had better have remained and been gracefully hanged.
And  as I write these words it strikes  me that it FAREWELL TO THE "CALEDONIA"   229
was by extraordinary luck that Abe and I ever got
through the forest, from what I have since learnt
of the nature of these beasts, and my belief is that
it was the report of the rifle that night when
one entered our tent that scared them away, and
that had we had simply spears and knives we would
have been done.
Tom Fane and Whitmore went off on a fortnight's
trip, with Walker and half a dozen Indians carrying
the packs, while I remained behind, and, with the
aid of Cooper, who was a first-rate architect, started
to construct a wooden dwelling for myself.
We chose a site on the edge of the gorge a few
hundred yards above the stockade, and, assisted by
the Indians, who were very skilled in building, and
who worked with a willingness and vigour that surprised me, we had the walls and partitions finished
by the time they returned.
All that time I saw little of Mary ; she went down
to the village early and taught at the school, where
the classes had been resumed as formerly.
It would be foolish of me to pretend that the loss
of husbands and brothers had not, in many cases,
caused great grief among these, after all, simple
people ; still they knew they were wrong in the
first instance, and they felt very deeply and thankfully the leniency that was meted out to them when
they were at the mercy of the victors.
Hilda used to come and help us in the construction
of " Wellesley House," and often have I sat on a
log and watched her tall graceful figure seize up
a newly sawn pine plank and place it in its position
with an ease which would have done justice to an 230
English navvy. Scoff, reader, if you wish. You may
admire what are termed " delicate " people ; for my
part, I love to feast my eyes on health and strength,
whether it be imprinted on the form of man or
Ah, those were happy days that come back to me
with a vividness I could not have believed possible,
and often in after-life, when some little domestic
unpleasantness may have arisen—and what two
people pass their lives together without such things
occurring?—I have recalled some little trivial incident of those days, and the anger that had arisen
in my breast has been immediately supplanted with
a feeling of softness and respect for the woman who
whispered "Yes" when I asked her to be my wife,
and has ever since given me a wife's love and devotion,
Smile again, sceptic, but remember the whole object,
the whole pleasure, of life is love, and poor and
wretched indeed is he or she who sneers on to the
brink of the grave pretending to be thankful they
have had no " ties " to worry them. I often think
when the sun sinks behind the horizon and the dark
hours of the night approach how miserable they
must be, how false to themselves, if there be no
kind voice to speak to them, no gentle hand to administer to their wants.
When Tom Fane returned at the end of the fortnight he was in great glee. He and Whitmore
between them had got seven or eight wapiti,—and
capital heads some of them were,—four black bears, FAREWELL TO THE "CALEDONIA"   231
black-tail deer galore, but of a smaller type than
the ones I was accustomed to in Wyoming, and
some big white goats with short black horns shaped
somewhat like those of the chamois. I was deeply
interested ; all my old hunting instincts returned to
me, and I listened to the description of Fane's
exploits with rapt attention, although he took about
three days telling them. He was enchanted with
the country to the north, the grand scenery, the lofty
mountains, and the invigorating air, and certainly all
the members of the party looked the picture of
health when we welcomed them back at the stockade
late one autumn evening.
I felt somewhat sad and depressed when a few
days later Fane announced his intention to depart.
I had always avoided touching on the subject, although I knew it must inevitably come, and I knew,
too, that with his departure the last link that bound
me to the old world would be severed.
It was in the evening that he made his announcement. We had been at work on the new house as
usual, and I was strolling back to the stockade with
Hilda. I suppose I was absent and preoccupied, and
I do not think I was listening much to what Hilda
was saying, but suddenly I was aroused from my
reverie by a voice whispering in my ear in faltering
accents, " There is yet time, dear."
Had she read my thoughts? I know not; but
the remark was extremely appropriate. Instantly I
was recalled to my present position, and the busy,
struggling, crowded life of England rose before me.
" Hilda," I answered with a smile, " you seem to
have guessed my thoughts.    Don't trouble to guess 232
my answer ; I will give it you. I would not go back
or endeavour to alter my position if I were offered all
Fane waited another week, till the day of my
wedding was over. He gave me a beautiful present
of silver plate, which he had been using on the
yacht. I demurred for some time to taking it, but
he insisted.
" My dear boy," he said, " it's no particular use to
me. I can get all the knives and forks I want at
Victoria, but you want a little gleam of something here just to brighten the place up ; besides,
Charlie, I wish to give it you."
I pressed his hand. I felt his kindness deeply,
and I knew that with those bright, comely teapots
and trays, etc., Tom Fane would often sit by my
side in the days to come, and my cheery, good friend
would never be forgotten. To Hilda he presented
his gold watch.
"Jewellers' shops, my dear lady, seem scarce in
the village. I know it will be useful to you, and I
hope it may sometimes remind you of a friend."
As the day for the ceremony and the hour of
Fane's departure drew nearer, Harry Whitmore grew
more and more depressed. I felt very sorry for him ;
I talked it over with Hilda, and asked her if she
thought I could do any good by speaking to him or
Mary, or both, but she shook her head.
" I have talked with Mary," she answered, " and
she has told Mr. Whitmore that she cannot marry
him ; that she is sorry he cares for her, and she can
only hope that other scenes and other faces may soon
obliterate the memory of her from his mind." FAREWELL TO THE "CALEDONIA"   233
There was nothing to be done. I talked to Tom
Fane, and quickly learnt that he had observed the
" business," as he called it, as soon as, if not before,
I did.
" That's one of the reasons," he said, " I hurried
on our shooting trip, and took him with me whether
against his will or not. What would his people say
if I returned to England and reported having married
him to a girl on the north-west coast of Vancouver
Island ? Besides," he added, " I 'm hanged if I 'm
going to be left alone ! Why, the next move will be
all the crew wanting to marry the native women and
settle in the village, and Captain Hume and I will be
left to navigate the yacht home."
This was, perhaps, a little selfish on Tom's part ;
but, after all, when we reach a certain age we are
liable to look upon the love troubles or complications of others with indifference, if not contempt,
and I had no further word to say or suggestion to
One afternoon, however, when I was strolling past
the stockade on my way to the new building, at the
north end round the corner the sound of a man's
voice reached my ears.
" And you will hold out no hope ? " The words
were uttered with deep emotion.
Gladly I would have withdrawn, but it was too
late. I heard the answer, " I cannot," and I was
upon them.
Two persons looked up, one, Mary, evidently
relieved that this interview had been interrupted ;
the other, Harry Whitmore, miserable and dejected,
caring nought what happened. 234
I apologized in some lame way for having heard
a few words that were not intended for my ears,
and then Mary slipped away, and I was face to face
with Whitmore.
It was a sad, tearful face he turned to mine. " Mr.
Wellesley, when I 'm gone, don't be down on me
before her; don't say you found me hoeing in a
field with a lot of dirty niggers ; and if—if you
can say a word in my favour, oh do, for I 'm
coming back." He had seized my arm. " I swear
before God, nothing shall stop me, if I have to walk
it ; I '11 come back or perish in the attempt."
I soothed him as best I could; I was sincerely
sorry for the lad, and I liked him better at that
moment than ever I had before, because I knew
him better ; but I pointed out to him the foolishness
of pressing his suit when the lady had clearly and
decidedly refused him. '
I did not like to mention poor Abe's name.
Whether Mary had told him anything or not, I did
not know ; but it was for her to do so, not for me.
But I verily believe to this day he never knew of
her fondness for him, or he would not have been
so persistent, for, as r\e said to me, "if I do not ask
her now, what chance shall I ever have ? " And I
could not answer him.
The ceremony was over, but I suppose, according
to the laws of England, I am not married now, and
never was, because it was conducted on very much
simpler lines than those at present in use in the
English book of prayer, and consisted in my placing
her mother's wedding ring, which had been handed
me by her father, on Hilda's finger, and then our  ?
"(~\0 noo Cinderella and Jack the Giant-killer?"
V-/      " No, my dear, they were before my time."
" Before oor time ? But they 's 'ittle people, oo old
"That's so, my dear; but they always are little
people : they never grow up."
My little Hilda of four years old got off my
knee and took the picture-book she had been
showing me over to her mother for a more lucid
Yes, another little Hilda and another little Mary
had been added to our home since poor Abe was
laid to rest, since the Caledonia passed slowly down
the sound out of sight for ever. Of the old white
folks only Ted Cooper — Uncle Ted the children
call him—is left. Captain Herbert died suddenly
and painlessly one night soon after our first child
was born, and it was at Ted Cooper's earnest request
I took upon me the reins of government
With the tribe there has been no disaffection since
the rising I have spoken of in the preceding pages ;
they are happy and contented, and I doubt me if
in the whole world a more prosperous, happy community could be found.
I could go on telling of glorious hunts I have had
up in the mountains in the north, of the great fat
trout that rise so freely through the months of May
and June in all the numerous streams ; but I took
up my pen to tell the story that altered the whole
course of my life, and having told it, I feel my task
is ended.
The old steamer has been replaced by a new boat,
not perhaps so elegant as was the Caledonia, but still
a good, comfortable ship, and many times I have
taken Hilda a trip and given her a peep at the
old world ; but I think she likes home best, and
the odd thing is, that though we were obliged to
employ two white engineers when we got the new
steamer, and Ted Cooper was growing too old to
attend to nautical duties, our existence as a colony
seems little known. Twice a year the English
papers arrive as our boat returns from Victoria
or San Francisco with stores, etc., and regularly
I have them sorted and dealt out, one day after
another, in order, so that we get our fresh news
each day, and what does it signify though it be
six or more months old? And I have never seen
any notification in any paper of our existence.
It was this desire for secrecy that kept me for
so many years from wishing to publish any account
of our whereabouts. I had a wholesome horror of
any intrusion of prospectors and the riff-raff that invariably accompany any expedition to a newly discovered spot where gold is reported to be deposited ;
but now it is different. I think I could cope with
them if they came ; and persons of gentleness and
culture we should be only too pleased to welcome. 238
Mary I soon grew to be very fond of; her sad,
gentle face would appeal to anyone, and in time
she became bright and active; but Hilda has often
told me that she has never shown the same spirit and
dash since—since that time of the rising.
One day, some two years after, a trading steamer
came up the sound, and I deputed Walker, with half
a dozen Indians, to row out and go aboard of her
and see what was wanted. We white people never
showed on these occasions, for the reason I have just
given—fear of discovery.
"Does a Mr. Wellesley live here?" a voice had
asked him when he got aboard.
" No, Wellesley gone."
"And the ladies?"
" Gone also."
The face of the white interrogator had fallen.
" Good heavens ! Am I too late ? " he cried. But
Walker had recognized the face. He waited till the
crew drifted away, till the captain spoke, " Guess
there's no good wasting more time here," when he
approached the man who had spoken to him and
whispered quickly in his ear, " Chief Wellesley here,
and the ladies, but crew must not know."
The man started. " I see, I see," he muttered
And so it came to pass that a white man had his
trunks lowered into the Indian's boat, and, making
a hasty excuse that he intended residing with the
Indians for some time, he bade farewell to the
astonished captain, who outwardly wished him a
"good time," and inwardly considered him a lunatic;
but   as   time  was   precious,  and   the   man's   mind CONCLUSION
apparently made up, he turned his boat's head round
and went on his business, whilst I, through my telescope, watched the boat returning.
The reader can imagine that with us all was bustle
and excitement, for this was the first visitor that had
done us the honour of calling; and evidently he
intended staying, since the ship that brought him
was going back.
Hilda and Mary stood beside me as I gazed
through my glass.
" Who can it be ? " cried Hilda. And as she spoke
I saw who it was.
Without replying I handed her the glass, and
walked slowly down to the head of the bay to meet
the approaching boat.
Harry Whitmore—for it was he—looked finer
drawn, and his face wore a more set and determined
expression, as he took my hand and looked me
anxiously in the face. The ladies had not come
on with me ; I did not expect that they would.
" Well, my lad," I said, " I am right glad to see
you and to hear all the news."
Hastily he inquired for Mary, and I told him she
was well ; but I added, " Whether she will marry you
or not is entirely unknown to me."
I think he was disappointed at hearing this. I
believe he thought it was a matter we discussed
amongst us all day long ; anyhow, he grew more
silent and embarrassed as we approached the house,
especially so when we saw two tall female figures
approaching. After all, brothers, I think you will
allow that for delicate tact your sisters would take
the  medal.    I,  too,  was   feeling  nervous  and   un- 240
comfortable, and began wondering what on earth
I should say.
Thank Heaven, Hilda spoke first.
" How are you, Mr. Whitmore ? I 'm so glad
you've come. Charlie does so want a companion,
and you are just in time for a hunt before the
' fall ' is over."
Mary quietly shook him by the hand, but I
thought there was more colour in her cheek than
I had noticed for some time. We were instantly
at our ease, and Harry chatted away glibly as we
walked on to " Wellesley House."
The matrimonial affairs of others are, I believe,
interesting subjects with some people, maiden ladies
of a certain age in particular ; but I had other
matters to engage my attention at that time. Of
course I wished Mary would marry the ardent and
determined admirer, as he was a good fellow, and
I thought would make her happy. On the other
hand, if she could not care for him, it would only
make her miserable ; there was the opposite side
of the question. And yet I was very glad when,
a few weeks after Whitmore's return, Hilda came to
me one day and said—
" Mary and Harry are going to be married."
And I tell you we had a rare round of festivity*
We had dances in the big schoolroom, and feasts
where the heads of the tribe attended and proposed
their health ; and I may remark here that I had
drifted from old Captain Herbert's set principle, that
no intoxicating liquor should ever be supplied to
members of the tribe, and as they grew more civilized I imported a light red port in casks—it was CONCLUSION
an Australian wine, and much enjoyed by the
And I may also here state that I had introduced a system of paper currency. What work the
Indians did for me or in the settlement they were
paid for in neat little bills I had printed for me in
San Francisco, and with this paper they came to
the store to buy provisions and other necessaries.
During the festivities at this time there was one
short speech I remember. I mind of it well because
it was the first and last time I ever heard the rising
alluded to by the Indians or before them.
It was old Walker who spoke; it was at a supper
I was giving in the servants' hall up at " The Lodge,"
as it was a larger room than I had at "Wellesley
All the influential men of the tribe were there,
and we had had a merry time until Walker rose,
and before I could guess what he was about or
stop him, he started with that wild look in his
face I noticed about him on the afternoon when he
turned on the Indian in the stockade.
" I think," he said, " amidst all this rejoicing, we
might spare a little time to pray to the spirit of the
Great Doctor that two years since was taken from
us." A deadly silence had fallen on the room. I
glanced at Mary, and her face had turned very pale,
but there was no stopping Walker now. " We must
remember," he continued, "that but for him our
present respected chief would not be with us now,
that but for him our tribe would probably have
drifted back into a lawless, disorganized mob, and
therefore I say, brother Indians, this is a toast the
R 242
tribe must never forget, that you must teach your
children to teach their children ; it is this : ' Endless
happiness to the spirit of the Great Witch Doctor
of Wyoming/"
In silence the Indians rose and held their glasses
at arm's length above their heads for some seconds ;
then they sipped them and sat down. But the
hilarity of the evening was over,^and soon after the
party broke up.
From Tom Fane I hear regularly twice a year.
In every letter he talks of coming back in his yacht
and paying me a visit, but I do not think he ever
will, for as men grow older their pleasure trips, as
a rule, grow shorter. He had behaved exceedingly
liberally to Harry Whitmore. When he returned him
to the bosom of his family in Yorkshire he was only
coldly welcomed. ' They thought when they packed
him off to Vancouver they had got rid of him for
In his despair Harry wrote to his old benefactor, saying how unhappy he was at home, and
asking if Tom would use his influence in getting
him a job of any sort. Fane, in his quick,
impulsive way, dashed down to Yorkshire, had a
stormy interview with the baronet, in which hard
words flew fast and freely, and finished by taking
the son back with him to London and settling ^500
a year on him for life. Nor was he annoyed when
later Harry somewhat hesitatingly hinted at his
desire to go back to Nootka Sound and try to marry
" All right, my lad," cried Tom, " but I must alter
that little matter of the £500 I made over to you CONCLUSION
for life, and change it to your wife and heirs for
Not that money would have been any consideration, for Mary was rich, is rich now, and always will
be, for the gold has never given out.
I often wonder whether in later days Whitmore
ever knew or guessed of Mary's attachment to
Abe. Personally I do not think he has ever known
of it ; still he must see that she held him anyhow
in great reverence. What does he think when
on that autumn day in each year she dresses herself in black and kneels by the vault so long a
time? Very likely that she is praying for her
father and her mother, but it always happens, so
I have noticed, it is the anniversary of the death
of Abe Wilson.
One of my chief occupations, of course with the
aid of the Indians, has been to cut a path through
the forest in a southerly direction, partly from
curiosity, partly for something to do. At present
we have gone about fifteen miles, always through
the everlasting timber, and it now ends at the edge
of a small stream. For a year I have not tried
to penetrate further, because beyond this some of
our party, while out exploring one day, came upon
distinct signs of men : there were the teppee poles
still standing and the blackened remains of a fire,
and I have no wish to receive a visit from some
of the unwashed Indians of the south, so I have
concealed my pathway as much as possible by
cutting trees and causing them to fall across it,
and then making detours round in places, and I
have passed  my  spare time of the  last  year  in 244
working out the channel up the sound and marking it out with empty barrels.
In conclusion I should say that the Indians are
far less afraid of the forest now than they were
when I first came amongst them. Civilization and
reading and lectures, illustrated by means of the
magic lantern, have expanded their minds, and so
" in parties " and well armed they do not so much
mind making a trip down the pathway or a short
way into the fringe of the timber.
I had written the last words of my story one
morning in the fall of the year, and later was strolling
about with Hilda and old Walker seeing to some
gardening we were busy at outside the house.
" You seem rather dull and preoccupied to-day,
Charlie. What is it ? Is it because you have finished
the story?"
" No, dear, it's not exactly that, but it worries me
to think I cannot send it off before next spring to
get it published, and I should like to send it to
Walker had heard my remark and stopped. " I
believe, sir," he said, " there are white men not so
very far away." Hilda and I started. "It is like
this," he went on. " My son and the party with him
returned yesterday from a trip down the path,
and at the far end of it they were almost certain
they heard a rifle shot, but they were not anxious to
look for the parties and so make their own presence
" Quite right," said I.
" But," continued Walker, " I have an idea it might
be a white man on a shooting trip." i


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