This sight and the picture in her mind’s eye of the bare lodge of Snettishane, put all doubts at rest. Yet she capped her conviction by a brief word with one of her step-sons. “White daddy good?” was what she asked, and the boy answered that his father was the best man he had ever known. That night the raven croaked again. On the night following the croaking was more persistent. It awoke the Factor, who tossed restlessly for a while. Then he said aloud, “Damn that raven,” and Lit-lit laughed quietly under the blankets.
In the morning, bright and early, Snettishane put in an ominous appearance and was set to breakfast in the kitchen with Wanidani. He refused “squaw food,” and a little later bearded his son-in-law in the store where the trading was done. Having learned, he said, that his daughter was such a jewel, he had come for more blankets, more tobacco, and more guns—especially more guns. He had certainly been cheated in her price, he held, and he had come for justice. But the Factor had neither blankets nor justice to spare. Whereupon he was informed that Snettishane had seen the missionary at Three Forks, who had notified him that such marriages were not made in heaven, and that it was his father’s duty to demand his daughter back.
“I am good Christian man now,” Snettishane concluded. “I want my Lit-lit to go to heaven.”
The Factor’s reply was short and to the point; for he directed his father-in-law to go to the heavenly antipodes, and by the scruff of the neck and the slack of the blanket propelled him on that trail as far as the door.
But Snettishane sneaked around and in by the kitchen, cornering Lit-lit in the great living-room of the Fort.
“Mayhap thou didst sleep over-sound last night when I called by the river bank,” he began, glowering darkly.
“Nay, I was awake and heard.” Her heart was beating as though it would choke her, but she went on steadily, “And the night before I was awake and heard, and yet again the night before.”
And thereat, out of her great happiness and out of the fear that it might be taken from her, she launched into an original and glowing address upon the status and rights of woman—the first new-woman lecture delivered north of Fifty-three.
But it fell on unheeding ears. Snettishane was still in the dark ages. As she paused for breath, he said threateningly, “To-night I shall call again like the raven.”
At this moment the Factor entered the room and again helped Snettishane on his way to the heavenly antipodes.
That night the raven croaked more persistently than ever. Lit-lit, who was a light sleeper, heard and smiled. John Fox tossed restlessly. Then he awoke and tossed about with greater restlessness. He grumbled and snorted, swore under his breath and over his breath, and finally flung out of bed. He groped his way to the great living-room, and from the rack took down a loaded shot-gun—loaded with bird-shot, left therein by the careless McTavish.