“What’s a dollar shirt, anyway, when an interesting young man’s life is at stake” mused Reade. “Ow—–ow—–ooch!”
“You baby—–papoose?” inquired the squaw calmly. She had slapped on Tom’s leg, over the bite, a poultice that, to his excited mind, was four hundred degrees hotter than boiling water.
“Oh, no,” grimaced Tom. “That’s fine and soothing. But it’s growing cool. Haven’t you something hotter?”
Just five seconds later Reade regretted his rashness, for, snatching off the first poultice, the squaw slapped on a second that seemed, in some way, ten times more powerful—–and twenty times hotter.
“It’s queer what an awful amount of heat a squaw can get out of a kettle of hot water, thought the suffering boy. I’ll wager some of the heat is due to the herbs themselves. O-o-o-o-ow! Ouch!”
For now the third poultice, most powerful of all, was in place, and Mrs. Squaw was binding it on as though she intended it never to come off.
Two minutes after that Tom Reade commenced to retch violently. With a memory of the messes that he had swallowed he didn’t wonder. The squaw now stepped outside, calling for coffee. This was brought. Tom was obliged to drink several cupfuls, after which he began to feel decidedly more comfortable.
“Now, take nap,” advised the squaw, and quitted the tent.
“The bronze lady seems to know what she’s doing,” thought Tom. “I guess I’ll take the whole of her course of treatment.” Thereupon he turned his face to the wall. Within sixty seconds he slept.
“How’s Reade?” demanded Harry, rising eagerly as the squaw stepped inside the chief’s tent.
“He sleep,” muttered the squaw.
“He—–he—–isn’t dead!” choked Harry, turning deathly pale.
“You think I make death medicine?” demanded the squaw scornfully. “You think me heap fool?”
“The young man will be all right, squaw?” asked Mr. Thurston.
“Humph! Maybe,” grunted the red woman. “Yes, I think so. You know bimeby.”
“That’s the Indian contempt for death,” explained the chief engineer, turning to Harry. “I imagine that Reade is doing all right, or she wouldn’t have left him.”
However, Hazelton was not satisfied with that. He slipped out, crossed camp and stealthily peeped inside of the tent. Then Hazelton slipped back to Mr. Thurston to report.
“If Tom doesn’t swallow some of those big snores of his, and choke to death, I think he’ll get well,” said Harry, with a laugh that testified to the great relief that had come to his feelings. With that all hands had to be content for the time being.
’Gene black, trouble-Maker
In the morning Tom Reade declared that he was all right. The old Indian squaw had pronounced him safe, and had gone on her way.