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"The red dogs think so, any how," returned “I am not afraid," said she; “I have went over Wetzel.
it several times." “I suppose you are almost out of practice in “It is a miserably poor one, Rose, I must say. killing them ?"
I despise a road that makes me ride behind you "Well, I may say you are about half right, El- perpetually; and, here, I am splashing you outlit; I haint had a glimpse of one since last fall. rageously!" I've got a strong notion to put off down to Kain- “We will soon leave the run, and go up another tuck with you. They say they are not scarce ridge. The road will be better, then, I hope." thereabouts; but I can't agree to leave these set- "And so do I, with all my soul! I almost wish tlements until I finish that cursed rascal, Old Cross- I had not brought my gun along, as I find more Fire. The scamp has balked me so often that I difficulty in carrying it over this awful road than I hare sworn vengeance on him. I know he's still expected.” speaking about these quarters, becase I come “Do you think you could shoot a deer, Elliot ?" across some sign of him every now and then. I “I do, most assuredly, Rose; and I hope to conwas out all last night and the night afore, in sarch vince you that I can before we reach our journey's of the old dog."
end." “ You do not imagine," asked Elliot, " that he “Is your gun well loaded ?" is lurking about here now, do you ?"
“Loaded !" reiterated Elliot; "the inquiry was ** That's exactly what I think,” said Wetzel. well timed, for I really forgot to charge my gun " He will not dare molest us, Lewis ?" before starting. Now, if we were to see a deer, I "I wouldn't trust him.”
should be vexed almost to death." " Lewis, how far is it to Short creek?"
" There is our turning-off place,” said Rose, as " It might be twelve miles by the way you will they reached the point at which the path diverged have to go. Can you keep the track, think you?" from the run, and they both rode out of the water.
“ Miss Mason knows the course; she will have “I must dismount here!” exclaimed Elliot, " to to pilot us along."
my rifle. It will never do to ride through the "Well, she wont lose the path, you may de- woods with an empty rifle in one's hand, when he pend; she's an oncommon nice young woman, El- has powder and balls in abundance with him." lít; and she rides equal to a trooper, in the bar- The young man dismounted his steed, and fastgain. But yonder comes your critters.”
ened the bridle to a sapling near by ; after which, In another moment the horses were brought to he commenced loading his rifle. the door. Rose made her appearance, and was
“Make haste, Elliot!" exclaimed Rose, who still assisted into her saddle by Elliot; whilst Wetzel sat upon her saddle, “ I see a deer up the run!" held her plump white poney by the bridle.
“Indeed!” said the youth, as he hurriedly re" It really does me good, child, to see you look turned his ramrod; and quickly elevating his fire60 well,” said the scout to Rose. “Now, be care-lock as high as his breast, he cast his eyes in the fol," he enjoined, “ in riding along them steep direction designated by Rose's hand. ridges, child. I'll be right down oneasy until I "I see him!” he ejaculted hastily. The animal, hear you've got safe to your journey's eend.” which was a fine buck, was probably a hundred
" Thank you, Lewis,” said Rose ; we will try yards up the run, standing apparently motionless, and not fall off our horses."
and looking directly towards the wayfarers. “I Elliot was now mounted, bearing his rifle in his will give him a piece of cold lead,” he added, “ if left hand.
he will stand long enough. Rose, will your poney " I'll help you, Ellit, to bring your buck in,” frighten when I shoot ?" said Wetzel, with a significant smile—“only take “Not in the least,” she replied. “ Try your care of the buck fever! Good bye.”
skill, but be sure to hit him.” Elliot and Rose moved off briskly, along the “Trust me that far, Rose,” rejoined the youth. bridle path, up the hill. The narrowness of the He cautioned Rose to hold a tight rein, and be road compelled them to ride singly-Rose taking upon her guard, when he should fire. Carefully the lead. After passing some distance along the describing a small circuit along the adjacent hilllop of the ridge, the path descended the opposite side, the novitiate hunter at last succeeded in gainside, and led to a large run, in the bed of which ing a favorable position from which to fire at the they now were obliged to ride. The run was very noble animal, which was still gazing at the horses. rough, and had, for the most part, a ledge of rocks Elliot supported his piece against the side of a for its bed.
The hoofs of the horses striking large tree, and, taking deliberate aim, fired. The against the rocks, and the reckless splashing of buck fell upon his fore knees. Satisfied that his the water, occasioned more noise than was desi- shot had been successful, his first object was to rable.
glance towards Rose to see whether the horses "I fear, Rose,” said Elliot," that this is a dan- had remained steady. Both animals were standing gerous road for a lady to travel.”
where he had left them, and Rose waved her hand
kerchief in compliment to the young hunter's skill. \ject. When he had nearly surmounted the hill, Trailing his rifle at arm's length, he bounded to the sharp report of a rifle saluted his ears, whilst wards his expected victim with a joyful counte- he distinctly heard a bullet whiz past his head.
The deer, however, suddenly recovered The horse, seized with renewed alarm, plunged itself, and retreated, limpingly, up the ravine. precipitately down the hill-passing furiously over Elliot started in pursuit of the fugitive-expecting the brush and fallen timber, and calling into requiat every step to see him fall from the loss of blood, sition all the coolness and equestrian skill of Elliot, which was, at every leap the animal made, staining to enable him to maintain his seat. Presently the leaves, and clearly marking out his course. another shot was fired from a different quarter But the wounded buck continued on at a gait which which lodged itself in the withers of the horse, slightly outstripped the toilsome march of his pur- whose headlong speed now became redoubled. suer, until, at length, he fell from exhaustion of his
It was apparent to the youth that he was beset vital powers. In a few minutes more the trium- by a party of Indians. A moment's reflection dephant young hunter, to secure his prize from the termined him to repair, with all possible expedibeasts of prey until he could have him brought into tion, to the fort, and have a detachment of men sent the fort, had the lifeless buck swung high in the in pursuit of the enemy. He felt convinced that air on the top of a hickory sapling.
Rose had been captured by them; and inwardly reElliot was full of pleasurable excitement. He proaching himself as the cause of her calamity, he had now killed his first deer, and he could not uttered a solemn vow to rescue her, or die in the help smiling at the idea of telling Lewis Wetzel attempt. that his predictions about the “buck fever" had Within five minutes after the arrival of Elliot, proved, by the event, erroneous. He lost no time every living being in the settlement was collected in retracing his steps towards the place at which within the stockade fort at Wheeling. The story he had left Rose; and he derived a renewed plea- of the youth was told in a few words. sure from the reflection that he had borne out her
“This is a distressing affair,” said Col. Zane, own last injunction.
the commandant of the garrison. “It is fortunate, He had performed but a short distance of his re- however, that Major M'Colloch is with us to-day. trograde march, when he discovered his horse gal. Twelve mounted men under his command will caploping towards him, with nostrils distended, and ture the copper-colored rascals before sunset, and the reins of his bridle broken and flapping against restore the dear child to us unharmed. What say his breast. A familiar word spoken to the af- you, Major M'Colloch ?" frighted steed caused him to stop, and his master “I am always ready, sir, for any thing in the secured him. Tying together the broken reins as shape of an Indian fight,” replied the intrepid well as he could, he vaulted upon the saddle and hunter.
The horse frequently started at some object on the way- number-mount us on the fleetest horses we can side, and the free use of the spur became necessary find, and—but I need not tell you more. Time to urge him rapidly forward. When he reached is precious. You pick the men, and I go now to the point at which he expected to find his fair get the horses in readiness." charge, she was gone!
“ It shall be done,” answered M'Colloch," and The feelings of the youth at this juncture were quickly too! Lewis Wetzel!" peculiarly painful. The smile of delight, which “ Here!” replied Lewis, as he elbowed his way had but a few moments before illumined his coun- through the group of persons which had collected tenance, was now exchanged for an expression of around the major. mingled melancholy, mortification and anguish. “I put you at the head of the list, and will esIt was impossible for him to conjecture what had pect much from you," continued M'Colloch. become of Rose; but he had too much evidence “ Major Mac,” said Wetzel, “ I don't like the before him to doubt that some serious event had colonel's plan, any way I can sist it through. I transpired during the time that he was absent. He spose we all want to have the child fotch back shouted aloud, but no response was made to his safe and sound, but I know very well the thing call. The more he reflected, the deeper appeared can't be done 'cording to the colonel's plan.”. the mystery; and it was difficult to determine
“Why not?” respectfully inquired M'Colloch, what course he should adopt. He resigned him- who reposed almost unbounded confidence in the self to despair; and, scarcely aware of what he judgment and skill of Lewis Wetzel. was doing, galloped off up the bridle path which he " Becase the very minute Old Cross-Fire finds and Rose had intended to pursue. Occasionally himself”he would rein in his steed to enable him to exam- “Old Cross-Fire !” exclaimed a dozen voices at ine the path, with the hope of detecting the traces once. of horse's feet; but the density of the leaves which “Aye, Old Cross-Fire!” repeated Wetzel, w51h covered the ground, effectually defeated the ob-' rather a sneering emphasis, " he's at the top and
bottom of this business; and, the very minute he than I can with a pack of noisy fellows along with finds himself hunted down by horsemen, he will me.” scalp poor Rose, and then take good care to put “Wetzel is right,” said the colonel, after he had himself and his cursed red-skin gang out of harm's revolved the question in his mind. “In an affair of way."
this kind, I have never found him wrong. Major * But how do you know the Indian gang to be M'Colloch, we will commit the business to him Old Cross-Fire's ?" asked M'Colloch.
alone." Why, you see, Major Mac, I jest tuck the trou- “I am glad to hear you say so, colonel !” exble, a-bit ago, to pick out the bullet that was lodged claimed Wetzel, whose eyes now suddenly brightin Ellit's horse. Here it is. I know the size of ened with hope and joy—“I'll give a good account the old rascal's balls too well to be mistaken." of myself.”
* Perhaps you are right," said M'Colloch, after “I shall go with you, Lewis,” said Elliot, impahe had examined the shapeless piece of lead. tiently—“I will go at the risk of my life !" " There's nary doubt about it,” replied Wetzel. “So you may,” replied the hunter; "you will
** Upon reflection,” remarked M'Colloch, “I do no harm. You wont be headstrong, becase agree with you that it is not prudent to go mounted. you're a green hand, and will have to do jest as I We will all go on foot.”
tell you. Besides, you ought to help Rose out of “I don't like that, neither,” said Wetzel. “If the bad box your foolery got her into." we all go, there will be too many of us to do any “Where do you purpose going ?" asked Col. good.”
Zane. “ How many do you think will be sufficient for “ Straight to the mouth of Short creek; that's the purpose ?" inquired the major.
the pint Old Cross-Fire always crosses at. It is “Two, at the outside,” returned Wetzel; “or, gitting fur now into the arternoon, so we'll have to if the colonel's agreed, I'll go by myself.”
be brisk. Ellit, is your rifle and all your fixin's in ** That will never do!" exclaimed several. good order ?" “I tell you, Lewis,” said Elliot, who stepped “All right,” responded the youth. boldly up to the hunter, “ that I shall go at all " Then, come, let's be off.” hazards. It was through my indiscretion that The two adventurers shouldered their firelocks, Miss Mason fell into the hands of the Indians, and and as they passed through the gate of the fortifino power under the sun shall prevent me from aid- cation, many a brief prayer for their success was ing in her rescue!"
uttered by the inmates of the fort; all of whom " Don't talk so fast,” observed the imperturba- | had been deeply interested auditors of the converble scout—"jest let me fix the thing, Ellit.” sation above related. They pursued a well-beaten
“ Wetzel,” said M'Colloch, “ too much may be path four or five miles up the bank of the river, risked by sending out an inefficient force. Here until they reached the mouth of a large run, which comes the colonel ; we will hear what he has to emptied itself into the Ohio, immediately opposite say about it."
a small island in the latter stream. Here, nature The colonel, who now reappeared to announce appeared in her wildest aspect. that the horses were forthcoming, had Wetzel's ob- “ This is a suspicious looking place,” observed jection to the original plan, and his desire to take Elliot. the matter into his own hands, fully explained to "Not a bit,” said Wetzel. “ There haint been bim.
an Indian here for a long, long time. A good * What can you do by yourself?" asked the colo- while back, this was a famous place for 'em to nel of Wetzel.
cross over in their canoes; and many's the time "Why, colonel, I will do all that I can. I'll get I've laid for days and nights at a stretch, on the the poor child out of their red paws, if I have to pint of that little island yander, watching the mofollow the skulking dogs all the way to the San- tions of the red-skins, to git a chance to riddle their dusky towns."
hides with my old woman here,”—and the hunter “ But you should have help,” remarked the patted the breech of his gun with manifest affeccolonel.
tion. “Old Cross-Fire,” he continued, “used to * Colonel, you aint a gitting jubous of me, I paddle over, hereabouts; but me and him have had hope, at this late day? Did you ever know Lewis so many cracks at each other, along yander, that Wetzel to act the fool when red-skins were about? he's got afeard to ventur his old red hide in this Now, if we want to fetch back poor Rose, we must quarter, any more. He's got his ferry at Short go about the business like true Indian hunters-notcreek, now; and there's where we'll have to nail like fox hunters."
him." * Do you think you can bring the child back in “ Do
think the old fellow himself carried safety, Lewis ?" seriously asked Col. Zane. off Rose?" interrogated Elliot.
“I can't promise, sartinly, colonel; but I know “Jist as sartin he did as my name's Lewis Wetfull well that I can do more towards it by myself' zel.”
“ Then, Lewis, I am resolved that my rifle shalljare, and do not budge a peg, nor make a bit of kill the infernal old scoundrel!”
noise, while I go and look around a little.” “ Tut, tut, Ellit! Do jest as I tell you ; I didn't He cautiously drew the branches aside, and fetch you along to talk that way. Boy, there's glided through the bushes with a quietness peculiar nary man in this part of the univarse that I'd trust to the skilful Indian hunter. After an absence of with Old Cross-Fire."
several minutes he returned, and made a signal to “ But if a fair chance should offer, Lewis, why Elliot to follow him. The latter stepped forward may I not as well pull at him?"
as cautiously as he could, and accompanied Lewis “Becase it wouldn't be of no use, at all ; for it a few rods up the creek bank, when the elder runs strong in my head that powder and lead can't hunter called the attention of his companion to the kill bim. My old woman here has tried so often stumps of two bushes, on which the recent marks to hush his jaw, without doing it, that I've made of the hatchet were visible. up my mind to try him some other way. He's got “ This one,” whispered Wetzel, stooping down a charmed life-that's a clear case !"
to the nearer stump, was cut by Old Cross-Fire “Fudge, Lewis! Do you believe in such old himself.” woman's stories ?”
“How do you know that ?" inquired Elliot. “Well, I dont't know that I do, as a gineral Can't you see that it was cut by a left-handed thing; but I must say that I've satisfied myself man? The highest pint of a stump is always that Old Cross-Fire is proof agin rifle balls, any where the heel of the hatchet cuts it ; and that how. But we must move along quicker, Ellit. high pint is next to us on this stump, and on the We're only half way to Short creek, and we left side.” haven't a minute's time to spare.”
“I understand you," said the youth. "Your “I can keep up with you—move along," said reasoning is conclusive that the bush was cut by a the youth.
left-handed man.” “ It is high time to quit talking, now,” observed “Now look at the other stump,” resumed Welthe elder hunter, in a softened tone, after they had zel, “and give me your idea about that.” left the run some distance in their rear. “A body Elliot carefully examined the second stump, and has to be quiet when he gits about the Indians, or ventured his opinion promptly. they'll be mighty apt to git about him."
“This one," said he,“ was cut by a right-handed Elliot promised to keep silence. The two hun- man, because the highest point of the stump is on ters now quickened their pace, though care was the right side." taken to bring their feet to the ground as lightly as “ That's right, Ellit. I've larnt you that much, possible. Wetzel, who walked before his youthful and it's worth minding, too." companion, continually glanced his well-practised “Why is the information so valuable ?" eyes around him, penetrating the mazes of the “It's valuble on this account, Ellit: you see it forest on every side. He moved with surprising shows us that there have been at least two red. stillness, and never uttered a syllable, unless it skins here—one left-handed and one right-handed might have been to check his comrade for making one. The left-handed one is Old Cross-Fire, beunnecessary noise,
case he's the only left-handed man I know of in When the hunters reached the mouth of Short these parts ; and the other, I judge, is one of his creek, the sun was nearly ready to disappear be- hangers-on.” hind the bold heights on the opposite shore of the “But might there not have been more than two, Ohio. The banks of the creek, at its confluence Lewis ?" with the river, were abrupt, though not high, and “So there might, but we can't tell," said Wetcovered even to their extreme borders with a luxu- zel, as he moved near the bank, and cast his keen riant growth of pawpaws. The outer edge of the eyes upon the bosom of the water. * There's beach of either stream was dry and sandy; but a another discivery I've made,” he added. “Do you wide strip of wet and unctuous earth next to the see that little green twig in the creek there?" water's edge, had been exposed to view by the re- Elliot glanced his eye in the direction denoted cent subsidence of a freshet.
by his comrade's finger, and answered in the affir“This is the eend of our tramp,” whispered mative. Wetzel to his companion. They were then stand- “Well, Ellit, that little twig is fast to Old Crossing at the lower angle of the junction of the Fire's canoe, which is there sunk in the water; streams-screened, however, from observation by and I arger that these bushes here were cut to the thick pawpaw grove which extended to the make forks to fasten it to the bottom." verge of the precipice..
“Very likely,” said Elliot. “What is to be done, now?" asked the youth, in “And I now arger that there might have been a like low whisper.
one or more Indians taking care of the canoe, “I'll see," said Wetzel. “You stay where you while the old dog and his imp come ashore to ent " You reason lifa philosopher, Lewis. I will
Only do as I tell you, Ellit. Lay low, and soon become an «pert hunter, under your tutor- draw your breath easy; and don't whisper another age."
word, as you value your life, and Rose's too." “Now, Ellit, said the scout, "you go back to Some time elapsed before either made the your old place.nd keep quiet, and have a bright slightest motion. At length, the tramping of the look-out, whi] I slip around the pint of that hill poney, approaching the creek, was distinctly heard; and see what' going on. Only be quiet, and do as and Elliot made a motion towards raising his head I tell you. „'ll be back before you get oneasy." to obtain a sight of Rose, but his purpose was
The tw.hunters separated : Elliot to seek his promptly thwarted by the brawny arm of his comoriginal over, and the other to obtain some infor- panion, who breathed, rather than whispered, in his mation of the expected enemy. The former ex- ear, his favorite injunction, “Be quiet!" amined the priming of his gun, and satisfied him- Wetzel's head was placed behind a cluster of self that every thing was in proper order for ser-green leaves, through the interstices of which he vice. He seated himself upon the ground and was enabled to obtain a view of the shore of the kept remarkably quiet-busying his mind, most creek, opposite the place at which the canoe was of the time, in fancying the situation of Rose. sunk. He observed Old Cross-Fire conduct the Sometimes he was ready to conclude that she had poney to the margin of the bank, at which place fallen a victim to savage cruelty, but he endea- he lifted his captive to the ground. The sobbing vored to dispel such gloomy ideas from his mind, of Rose, at this time, was quite audible. As the and contemplate only the brighter side of the pic- sounds fell upon Elliot's ear, he trembled with ture. He was unhappy, however, in spite of his emotion; and might have infringed Wetzel's order, efforts to restore his spirits to their wonted buoy- had not the latter, anticipating something of the ancy. In the midst of his meditations, he felt kind, turned his face towards him, and frowned something strike him upon the shoulder from be- him into silence. hind. He sprang upon his feet and discovered Old Cross-Fire, setting no store upon Rose's Lewis Wetzel standing near him.
saddle, merely stripped the poney of its bridle, " It's well I aint an Indian !" said the latter. which he slapped across the animal's back, and,
Elliot was much mortified to think that he had with a second swing, threw it upon the beach beallowed himself to be surprized so easily. low him. The poney cantered into the bushes,
" Lewis, you have learned me another lesson," where it soon commenced feeding upon the wild said he, “and I shall profit by it.”
grass at its feet. In another moment, the Indians " See that you do, Ellit,” replied Wetzel, in a had lifted Rose down the declivity, and their whole low voice. “You must be quiet, now,” he added, party appeared on the beach. Two of them waded
into the creek as far as the twig which had been “ Did you see any thing ?" asked Elliot. observed by Wetzel, where they plunged their " Yes; they are coming !"
arms into the water, and each drew forth a wooden
fork. Their canoe immediately rose to the sur"Old Cross-Fire, and three others."
face. Dexterously throwing out the water it con"And Rose ?"
tained, they pushed it to the shore, where Old “ She's safe enough, riding the little white po- Cross-Fire and the other warrior had remained to ney, and Old Cross-Fire is leading it along." stand guard over Rose. The fair captive was
*** Lewis, I'll shoot the impudent scoundrel, if I then placed in the bow of the canoe; one of the Indie for it!" muttered the youth; and he clenched dians seated himself about its centre; whilst another
drew forth the paddle, stood erect in the stern, and “ Hush, Ellit, hush!—Do as I tell you, and all pushed off. The old chief and one Indian remained will be well. Crouch down as low as you can, and on the beach, probably to await the return of the
in a whisper.
his teeth with mage.
“ The old red-skinned wretch!” growled the All of these motions were distinctly observed by yoang hunter.
Wetzel, who quickly matured his own plans. The “ Be easy, boy!" said Wetzel; “ he is not to be moment the canoe was pushed off, he made signs shot, I tell you. I'll attend to him. Ellit, you to Elliot to be in readiness. are gitting feverish ; I see it on you a'ready. “Aim!” said he, in a scarcely audible whisper, Keep cool-keep cool—or you can never shoot to " at the fellow in the middle of the canoe. Pint
directly at his body, and don't pull till I give the eye of Wetzel was quick to perceive that word.” his youthful comrade was laboring under some Elliot directed the muzzle of his gun towards bervoos excitement, occasioned by the novelty and the water, and just then had his first view of the probable danger of the situation in which he was enemy. The sight of Rose slightly disconcerted placed.
him ; but summoning all his manly energies into " I'll be cool presently," he replied.
action, he cocked his rifle, and took accurate aim