“Look! look!” St. Vincent was leaning forward and pointing wildly at the injured man. “Look! That scar!”
The Indian opened his eyes and a grin of recognition distorted his face.
“It is he! It is he!” St. Vincent, trembling with eagerness, turned upon the crowd. “I call you all to witness! That is the man who killed John Borg!”
No laughter greeted this, for there was a terrible earnestness in his manner. Bill Brown and the chairman tried to make the Indian talk, but could not. A miner from British Columbia was pressed into service, but his Chinook made no impression. Then La Flitche was called. The handsome breed bent over the man and talked in gutturals which only his mother’s heredity made possible. It sounded all one, yet it was apparent that he was trying many tongues. But no response did he draw, and he paused disheartened. As though with sudden recollection, he made another attempt. At once a gleam of intelligence shot across the Indian’s face, and his larynx vibrated to similar sounds.
“It is the Stick talk of the Upper White,” La Flitche stopped long enough to explain.
Then, with knit brows and stumbling moments when he sought dim-remembered words, he plied the man with questions. To the rest it was like a pantomime,—the meaningless grunts and waving arms and facial expressions of puzzlement, surprise, and understanding. At times a passion wrote itself on the face of the Indian, and a sympathy on the face of La Flitche. Again, by look and gesture, St. Vincent was referred to, and once a sober, mirthless laugh shaped the mouths of them.
“So? It is good,” La Flitche said, when the Indian’s head dropped back. “This man make true talk. He come from White River, way up. He cannot understand. He surprised very much, so many white men. He never think so many white men in the world. He die soon. His name Gow.
“Long time ago, three year, this man John Borg go to this man Gow’s country. He hunt, he bring plenty meat to the camp, wherefore White River Sticks like him. Gow have one squaw, Pisk-ku. Bime-by John Borg make preparation to go ’way. He go to Gow, and he say, ’Give me your squaw. We trade. For her I give you many things.’ But Gow say no. Pisk-ku good squaw. No woman sew moccasin like she. She tan moose-skin the best, and make the softest leather. He like Pisk-ku. Then John Borg say he don’t care; he want Pisk-ku. Then they have a skookum big fight, and Pisk-ku go ’way with John Borg. She no want to go ’way, but she go anyway. Borg call her ‘Bella,’ and give her plenty good things, but she like Gow all the time.” La Flitche pointed to the scar which ran down the forehead and past the eye of the Indian. “John Borg he do that.”