As Jim Girty took the war-club, Simon read in his brother’s face the doom of the converted Indians and he muttered to himself:
“Now tremble an’ shrink, all you Christians!”
Jim was not in a hurry. Slowly he poised the war-club. He was playing as a cat plays with a mouse; he was glorying in his power. The silence was that of death. It signified the silence of death. The war-club descended with violence.
“Feed the Christians to ther buzzards!”
“I have been here before,” said Joe to Whispering Winds. “I remember that vine-covered stone. We crawled over it to get at Girty and Silvertip. There’s the little knoll; here’s the very spot where I was hit by a flying tomahawk. Yes, and there’s the spring. Let me see, what did Wetzel call this spot?”
“Beautiful Spring,” answered the Indian girl.
“That’s it, and it’s well named. What a lovely place!”
Nature had been lavish in the beautifying of this inclosed dell. It was about fifty yards wide, and nestled among little, wooded knolls and walls of gray, lichen-covered stone. Though the sun shone brightly into the opening, and the rain had free access to the mossy ground, no stormy winds ever entered this well protected glade.
Joe reveled in the beauty of the scene, even while he was too weak to stand erect. He suffered no pain from his wound, although he had gradually grown dizzy, and felt as if the ground was rising before him. He was glad to lie upon the mossy ground in the little cavern under the cliff.
Upon examination his wound was found to have opened, and was bleeding. His hunting coat was saturated with blood. Whispering Winds washed the cut, and dressed it with cooling leaves. Then she rebandaged it tightly with Joe’s linsey handkerchiefs, and while he rested comfortable she gathered bundles of ferns, carrying them to the little cavern. When she had a large quantity of these she sat down near Joe, and began to weave the long stems into a kind of screen. The fern stalks were four feet long and half a foot wide; these she deftly laced together, making broad screens which would serve to ward off the night dews. This done, she next built a fireplace with flat stones. She found wild apples, plums and turnips on the knoll above the glade. Then she cooked strips of meat which had been brought with them. Lance grazed on the long grass just without the glade, and Mose caught two rabbits. When darkness settled down Whispering Winds called the dog within the cavern, and hung the screens before the opening.
Several days passed. Joe rested quietly, and began to recover strength. Besides the work of preparing their meals, Whispering Winds had nothing to do save sit near the invalid and amuse or interest him so that he would not fret or grow impatient, while his wound was healing.