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well he one montaigne-man, wagh! and their young 'uns to sech a staryHe love de buffaloe, an de chevreaux ing country as the Californys." plus que de beuf and de mouton, “They are not all Mormons in the may be. Mais on-dit dat he have crowd," said the strange hunter; "and autre raison-dat de gal he lofe in there's one family amongst them with Missouri not lofe him, and for dis he some smartish boys and girls, I tell not go back. Mais now he go ondare, you. Their name 's Brand." m' on dit. He vas go to de Californe, La Bonté looked up from the lock of may be to steal de hos and de mule his rifle, which he was cleaning—but pe gar, and de Espagnols rub him either didn't hear, or, hearing, didn't out, and take his hair, so he mort." heed, for he continued his work.
“But are you sure of this?" she “ And they are going to part comasked, trembling with grief.
pany," continued the stranger, " and “Ah, now, j'ne suis pas stir, mais put out alone for Platte and the South I tink you know dis La Bonté. En- Pass." fant de garce, maybe you de gal in “ They'll lose their hair, I'm thinkMissouri he lofe, and not lofe him. ing," said Killbuck, “ if the Rapahos Pe gar! 'fant de garce! fort beau are out thar.” garçon dis La Bonté, pourquoi you ne “ I hope not," continued the other, l'aimez pas ? Maybe he not gone " for there's a girl amongst them ondare. Maybe he turn op, autre- worth more than that." fois. De trappares, dey go ondare “ Poor beaver !” said La Bonté, tree, four, ten times, mais dey turn looking up from his work. “I'd hate op twenty time. De sauvage not able to see any white gal in the hands of Infor kill La Bonté, ni de dam Espag- juns, and of Rapahos worse than all. nols. Ah, non ! ne craignez pas; pe Where does she come from, stranger ?" gar, he not gone ondare encore."
“Down below St Louis, from TenSpite of the good-natured attempts nessee, I've heard them say." of the Canadian, poor Mary burst “Tennessee," cried La Bonté, into a flood of tears : not that "hurrah for the old State! What's her the information took her unawares, name, stran " At this moment for she long had believed him dead; Killbuck's old mule pricked her ears but because the very mention of his and snuffed the air, which action name awoke the strongest feelings catching La Bonté's eye, he rose within her breast, and taught her how abruptly, without waiting a reply to his deep was the affection she had felt for question, and exclaimed, “ The old him whose loss and violent fate she mule smells Injuns, or I'm a Spaniard!" now bewailed.
The hunter did the old mule justice, As the waggons of the lone caravan and she well maintained her reputaroll on towards the Platte, we return tion as the best " guard" in the mounto the camp where La Bonté, Kill- tains; for in two minutes an Indian buck, and the stranger, were sitting be- stalked into the camp, dressed in a fore the fire when last we saw them: cloth capote, and in odds and ends of Killbuick loquitur.
civilised attire. The doins of them Mormon fools “Rapaho," cried Killbuck, as soon can't be beat by Spaniards, stranger. as he saw him; and the Indian catching Their mummums and thummums you the word, struck his hand upon his speak of won't shine' whar Injuns breast, and exclaimed, in broken are about; nor pint out a trail, whar Spanish and English mixed, " Si, si, nothin crossed but rattler-snakes since me Arapaho, white man amigo. Come fast it snow'd on old Pike's Peak. If to camp-eat heap carne-me amigo they pack along them profits, as you white man. Come from Pueblo tell of, who can make it rain hump- hunt cibola-me gun break--no puedo ribs and marrow-guts when the crowd matar nada : mucha hambre, (very gets out of the buffler range, they are hungry-heap eat."
some,' now, that's a fact. But this Killbuck offered his pipe to the child don't believe it. I'd laugh to Indian, and spoke to him in his own get a sight on these darned Mormon- language, which both he and La Bonté ites, I would. They're no account,' well understood. They learned that I guess; and it's the meanest' kind he was married to a Mexican woman, of action to haul their women critters and lived with some bunters at the
Pueblo fort on the Arkansa. He critters that there's danger ahead of volunteered the information that a them. What's your talk, stranger ?" war party of his people were out on “I go with you," shortly answered the Platte trail to intercept the In- the latter; and both followed quickly dian traders on their return from the after La Bonté, who was already North Fork; and as some “Mormones" trotting smartly on the trail. had just started with three waggons Meanwhile the three waggons, conin that direction, he said his people taining the household gods of the would make a “ roise." Being muy Brand family, rumbled slowly over amigo himself to the whites, he cau- the rolling prairie, and towards the tioned his present companions from upland ridge of the “divide," which, crossing to the “divide," as the studded with dwarf pine and cedar 66 braves," he said, were a “heap" thickets, rose gradually before them. mad, and their hearts were “big," They travelled with considerable cauand nothing in the shape of white tion, for already the quick eye of skin would live before them.
Antoine had discovered recent Indian " Wagh !” exclaimed Killbuck, sign upon the trail, and, with moun 66 the Rapahos know me, I'm think- tain quickness, had at once made it ing; and small gain they've made out to be that of a war party; for against this child. I've knowed the there were no horses with them, and, time when my gun cover could'nt after one or two of the mocassin hold more of their scalps."
tracks, the mark of a rope which The Indian was provided with some trailed upon the ground was sufficient powder, of which he stood in need; to show him that the Indians were and, after gorging as much meat as his provided with the usual lasso of skin, capacious stomach would hold, he left with which to secure the horses stolen the camp, and started into the moun- in the expedition. The men of the tain.
party were consequently all mounted The next day our hunters started and thoroughly armed, the waggons on their journey down the river, moved in a line abreast, and a sharp travelling leisurely, and stopping look-out was kept on all sides. The wherever good grass presented itself. women and children were all conOne morning they suddenly struck a signed to the interior of the waggons; wheel trail, which left the creek banks and the latter had also guns in readiand pursued a course at right angles ness, to take their part in the defence to it, in the direction of the divide." should an attack be made. Killbuck pronounced it but a few However, they had seen no Inhours old, and that of three waggons dians, and no fresh sign, for two days drawn by oxen.
after they left the Boiling Spring “Wagh!" he exclaimed, “if them River, and they began to think they poor devils of Mormonites ain't going were well out of their neighbourhead first into the Rapaho trap. hood. One evening they camped on They'll be gone beaver' afore long." a creek called Black Horse, and, as
“Ay," said the strange hunter, usual, had corralled the waggons, " these are the waggons belonging to and forted as well as circumstances old Brand, and he has started alone would permit, when three or four for Laramie. I hope nothing will Indians suddenly appeared on a bluff happen to them."
at a little distance, and, making sig* Brand!" muttered La Bonté. "I nals of peaceable intentions, ap. knowed that name mighty well once, proached the camp. Most of the men years agone; and should hate the were absent at the time, attending to worst kind that mischief happened to the cattle or collecting fuel, and only any one who bore it. This trail's as old Brand and one of his young grandfresh as paint; and it goes against me children, about fourteen years old, to let these simple critters help the remained in camp. The Indians were Rapahos to their own hair. This hospitably received, and regaled with child feels like helping 'em out of the a smoke, after which they began to scrape. What do you say, old hos ?" evince their curiosity by examining
"I thinks with you, boy," answered every article lying about, and signiKillbuck, “and go in for following this fying their wishes that it should be waggon trail, and telling the poor given to them. Finding their hints
were not taken, they laid hold the oxen to the waggons, and driving of several things which took their in the loose animals which had been fancies, and, amongst others, of the turned out to feed at daybreak, when pot which was boiling on the fire, and some Indians again appeared upon the with which one of them was about very bluff, and, descending it, confidentcoolly to walk off, when old Brand, ly approached the camp. Antoine who up to this moment had retained strongly advised their not being alpossession of his temper, seized it out lowed to enter; but Brand, ignorant of the Indian's hand, and knocked of Indian treachery, replied that, so him down. One of the others in- long as they came as friends they stantly began to draw the buckskin could not be deemed enemies, and cover from his gun, and would no allowed no obstruction to be offered doubt have taken summary vengeance to their approach. It was now for the insult offered to his companion, observed that they were all paintwhen Mary Brand courageously step- ed, armed with bows and arrows, ped up to him, and, placing her left and divested of their buffalo robes, hand upon the gun which he was in appearing naked to the breech-clout, the act of uncovering, with the other their legs only being protected by pointed a pistol at his breast.
deerskin leggings, reaching to the Whether daunted by the bold act middle of the thigh. Six or seven of the girl, or admiring her devotion first arrived, and others quickly folto her father, the Indian drew himself lowed, dropping in one after the back, exclaimed “Howgh !" and other, until a score or more were coldrew the cover again on his piece, lected round the waggons. Their went up to old Brand, who all this demeanour, at first friendly, soon time looked him sternly in the face, changed as their numbers increasand, shaking him by the hand, mo. ed, and they now became urgent tioned at the same time to the others in their demands for powder and lead, to be peaceable.
and bullying in their manner. A The other whites presently coming chief accosted Brand, and, through into camp, the Indians sat quietly Antoine, informed him “ that, unless down by the fire, and, when the the demands of his braves were supper was ready, joined in the re- acceded to, he could not be responpast, after which they gathered their sible for the consequences; that they buffalo robes about them, and quietly were out on the war-trail,', and withdrew. Meanwhile Antoine, know their eyes were red with blood, so ing the treacherous character of the that they could not distinguish besavages, advised that the greatest tween white and Yutah scalps; that precaution should be taken to secure the party, with all their women and the stock; and before dark, therefore, waggons, were in the power of the all the mules and horses were hobbled Indian braves,' and therefore the and secured within the corral, the white chief's best plan was to make oxen being allowed to feed at liberty the best terms he could ; that all they -for the Indians scarcely. care to required was that they should give up trouble themselves with such cattle. their guns and ammunition on the A guard was also set round the camp, prairie,' and all their mules and horses and relieved every two hours; the --retaining the medicine' buffaloes fire was extinguished, lest the savages (the oxen) to draw their waggons." should fire, by its light, at any of the By this time the oxen were yoked, party, and all slept with rifles ready at and the teamsters, whip in hand, their sides. However, the night pass- only waited the word to start. Old ed quietly, and nothing disturbed the Brand foamed whilst the Indian tranquillity of the camp. The prairie stated his demands, but, hearing him wolves loped hungrily around, and to the end, exclaimed, “Darn the their mournful cry was borne upon red devil! I wouldn't give him a the wind as they cbased deer and grain of powder to save my life. Put antelope on the neighbouring plain; out, boys!"-and, turning to his horse, but not a sign of lurking Indians was which stood ready saddled, was about seen or heard.
to mount, when the Indians sprang In the morning, shortly after sun. at once upon the waggons, and comrise, they were in the act of yoking menced their attack, yelling like fiends. One jumped upon old Brand, of the ferocious Indian. Loud was pulled him back as he was rising in the war-shout of the mountaineer, the stirrup, and drew his bow upon as he struck his heavy spars to him at the same moment. In an the rowels in his horse's side, and instant the old backwoodsman pulled bounded like lightning to the rescue. a pistol from his belt, and, putting the In a single stride he was upon the muzzle to the Indian's heart, shot him Indian, and, thrusting the muzzle of dead. Another Indian, flourishing his rifle into his very breast, he his war-club, laid the old man at his pulled the trigger, driving the savage feet; whilst others dragged the women backward by the blow itself, at the from the waggons, and others rushed same moment that the bullet passed upon the men, who made brave fight through his heart, and tumbled him in their defence.
over stone-dead. Throwing down his Mary, when she saw her father rifle, La Bonté wheeled his obedient struck to the ground, sprang with a horse, and, drawing a pistol from his shrill cry to his assistance; for at that belt, again charged the enemy, into moment a savage, frightful as red the midst of whom Killbuck and the paint could make him, was standing stranger were dealing death-giving over his prostrate body, brandishing a blows. Yelling for victory, the mounglittering knife in the air, prepar- taineers rushed at the Indians; and tory to thrusting it into the old man's they, panic-struck at the sudden atbreast. For the rest, all was confu- tack, and thinking this was but the sion - in vain the small party of advanced guard of a large band, fairly whites struggled against overpower- turned and fled, leaving five of their ing numbers. Their rifles cracked number dead upon the field. but once, and they were quickly dis- Mary, shutting her eyes to the armed; whilst the shrieks of the expected death-stroke, heard the loud women and children, and the loud shout La Bonté gave in charging yells of the Indians, added to the down the bluff, and, again looking up, scene of horror and confusion. As saw the wild-looking mountaineer Mary flew to her father's side, an rush to her rescue, and save her from Indian threw his lasso at her, the the savage by his timely blow. Her noose falling over her shoulders, and, arms were still pinned by the lasso, jerking it tight, he uttered a delighted which prevented her from rising yell as the poor girl was thrown back to her feet, and La Bonté was the violently to the ground. As she fell, first to run to aid her, as soon as the another deliberately shot an arrow at fight was fairly over. He jumped her body, whilst the one who had from his horse, cut the skin rope thrown the lasso rushed forward, his which bound her, raised her from scalp-knife flashing in his hand, to the ground, and, upon her turning seize the bloody trophy of his savage up her face to thank him, beheld deed. The girl rose to her knees, his never - to-be- forgotten Mary and looked wildly towards the spot Brand; whilst she, hardly believing where her father lay bathed in her senses, recognised in her deliverer blood ; but the Indian pulled the her former lover, and still well-berope violently, dragged her some loved La Bonté. yards upon the ground, and then What, Mary! can it be you?" rushed with a yell of vengeance upon he asked, looking intently upon the his victim. He paused, however, as trembling woman. at that moment a shout as fierce as “ La Bonté, you don't forget me !" his own sounded at his very ear; and, she answered, and threw herself soblooking up, he saw La Bonté gallop- bing into the arms of the sturdy ping madly down the bluff, his long mountaineer. hair and the fringes of his hunting. There we will leave her for the preshirt and leggins flying in the wind, sent, and help Killbuck and his comhis right arm supporting his trusty rifle, panions to examine the killed and whilst close behind him came Killbuck wounded. Of the former, five Indians and the stranger. Dasbing with loud and two whites lay dead, grandchildren hurrahs to the scene of action, La Bonté, of old Brand, fine lads of fourteen or as he charged down the bluff, caught fifteen, who had fought with the sight of the girl struggling in the hands greatest bravery, and lay pierced with
arrows and lance wounds. Old Brand the oxen turned their yoked heads had received a sore buffet, but a hat- away from the rugged mountains ; the ful of cold water from the creek teamsters joyfully cracked their ponsprinkled over his face soon restored derous whips, as the waggons rolled him. His sons had not escaped scot- lightly down the Platte ; and men, free, and Antoine was shot through women, and children, waved their bats the neck, and, falling, had actually and bonnets in the air, and cried out been half scalped by an Indian, whom lastily, “ Hurrah for home !" the timely arrival of La Bonté had La Bonté looked at the dark sombre caused to leave his work unfinished. mountains ere he turned his back upon
Silently, and with sad hearts, the them for the last time. He thought survivors of the family saw the bodies of the many years he had spent beof the two boys buried on the river neath their rugged shadow, of the many bank, and the spot marked with a hardships he had suffered, of all his pile of loose stones, procured from the pains and perils undergone in those wild rocky bed of the creek. The carcasses regions. The most exciting episodes of the treacherous Indians were left to in his adventurous career, his tried be devoured by wolves, and their bones companions in scenes of fierce fight and to bleach in the sun and wind-a bloodshed, passed in review before warning to their tribe, that such foul him. A feeling of regret was creeping treachery as they had meditated had over him, when Mary laid her hand met with a merited retribution. gently on his shoulder. One single
The next day the party continued tear rolled unbidden down his cheek, their course to the Platte. Antoine and and he answered her inquiring eyes: the stranger returned to the Arkansa, “ I'm not sorry to leave it, Mary," starting in the night to avoid the In- he said ; “ but it's hard to turn one's dians; but Killbuck and La Bonté lent back upon old friends." the aid of their rifles to the solitary They had a hard battle with Killcaravan, and, under their experienced buck, in endeavouring to persuade him guidance, no more Indian perils were to accompany them to the settlements. encountered. Mary no longer sat The old mountaineer shook his head. perched up in her father's Conostoga, " The time,” he said, “ was gone by but rode a quiet mustang by La Bonté's for that. He had often thought of it, side; and no doubt they found a theme but, when the day arrived, he hadn't with which to while away the mono- heart to leave the mountains. Traptonous journey over the dreary plains. ping now was of no account, he knew; South Fork was passed, and Laramie but beaver was bound to rise, and then was reached. The Sweet Water moun- the good times would come again. tains, which hang over the “ pass" to What could he do in the settlements, California, were long since in sight; where there wasn't room to move, and but when the waters of the North where it was hard to breathe-there Fork of Platte lay before their horses were so many people ?" feet, and the broad trail was pointed He accompanied them a considerout which led to the great valley of able distance down the river, ever and Columbia and their promised land, anon looking cautiously back, to ascerthe heads of the oxen were turned tain that he had not gone out of sight down the stream, where the shallow of the mountains. Before reaching waters flow on to join the great Mis- the forks, however, he finally bade souri-and not up, towards the moun- them adieu ; and, turning the head of tains where they leave their spring- his old grizzled mule westward, he heads, from which springs flow several heartily wrung the hand of his comwaters—some coursing their way to rade La Bonté; and, crying Yep! to his the eastward, fertilising, in their route well-tried animal, disappeared behind to the Atlantic, the lands of civilised a roll of the prairie, and was seen no man; others westward, forcing a more--a thousand good wishes for the passage through rocky cations, and welfare of the sturdy trapper speeding flowing through a barren wilderness, him on his solitary way. inhabited by fierce and barbarous Four months from the day when La tribes.
Bonté so opportunely appeared to These were the routes to choose rescue Brand's family from the Indians from : and, whatever was the cause, on Black Horse Creek, that worthy