tent into the darkness. Not one second too soon,
for instantly there crashed through the leather lodge
some score of bullets, and the wild war-whoop of the
Crees broke forth through the sharp and rapid detonation
of many muskets. The Crees were upon them in force.
Darkness, and the want of a dashing leader on the part
of the Crees, Saved the Blackfeet from total destruction,
for nothing could have helped them had their enemies
charged home; but as soon as the priest had reached
the open which he did when he saw how matters stood-he
called loudly to the Blackfeet not to run, but to
stand and return the fire of their attackers.
This timely advice checked the onslaught of the Crees,
who were in numbers nmore than sufficient to make an
end of the Blackfeet party in a few minutes.
Mean time, the Blackfeet Women delved busily in the
earth with knife and finger, while the men fired at
random into the darkness. The lighted, semi-transparent
tent of the chief had given a mark for the guns of
the Crees; but that was quickly overturned, riddled’
with balls and although the Crees continued to fire
without intermission, their shots generally went high.
Sometimes the Crees would charge boldly up to within
a few feet of their enemies, then fire and rush back
again, yelling all the time, and taunting their enemies.
The pere spent the night in attending to the wounded
Blackfeet. When day dawned the Crees drew off
to count their losses; but it was afterwards ascertained
that eighteen of their braves had been killed or wounded,
and of the small party of Blackfeet twenty had fallen—but
who cared? Both sides kept their scalps, and
that was every thing.
This battle served not a little to increase the reputation
in which the missionary was held as a “great
medicine-man.” The Blackfeet ascribed to
his “medicine” what was really due to his
pluck; and the Crees, when they learnt that he had
been with their enemies during the fight, at once
found in that fact a satisfactory explanation for the
want of courage they had displayed.
But it is time to quit the Mountain House, for winter
has run on into mid-December, and 1500 miles have
yet to be travelled, but not travelled towards the
South. The most trusty guide, Piscan Munro, was
away on the plains; and as day after day passed by,
making the snow a little deeper and the cold a little
colder, it was evident that the passage of the 400
miles intervening between the Mountain House and the
nearest American Fort had become almost an impossibility.
Eastward—A beautiful Light.