Solomon took the hatchet from his belt and hacked off the end of Red Snout’s wooden leg and put it in his coat pocket, saying:
“‘From now on a white man can walk in the bush without gittin’ his bones picked. Injuns is goin’ to be skeered o’ us—a few an’ I wouldn’t be supprised.”
When Jack came back with the water, Solomon poured it on the embers, and looked at the swollen form which still seemed to be straining at the green withes of moose wood.
“Nothin’ kin be done fer him,” said the old scout. “He’s gone erway. I tell ye, Jack, it g’in my soul a sweat to hear him dyin’.”
A moment of silence full of the sorrow of the two men followed. Solomon broke it by saying:
“That ‘ere black pill o’ mine went right down into the stummick o’ the hill an’ give it quite a puke—you hear to me.”
They went to the cavern’s mouth and looked in.
“They’s an awful mess in thar. I don’t keer to see it,” said Solomon.
Near them they discovered a warrior who had crawled out of that death chamber in the rocks. He had been stunned and wounded about the shoulders. They helped him to his feet and led him away. He was trembling with fear. Solomon found a pine torch, still burning, near where the fire had been. By its light they dressed his wounds—the old scout having with him always a small surgeon’s outfit.
“Whar is t’ other captive?” he asked in the Indian tongue.
“About a mile down the trail. It’s a woman and a boy,” said the warrior.
“Take us whar they be,” Solomon commanded.
The three started slowly down the trail, the warrior leading them.
“Son of the Thunder, throw no more lightning and I will kiss your mighty hand and do as you tell me,” said the Indian, as they set out.
It was now dark. Jack saw, through the opening in the forest roof above the trail, Orion and the Pleiades looking down at them, as beautiful as ever, and now he could hear the brook singing merrily.
“I could have chided the stars and the brook while the Indian and I were waiting for Solomon to bring the packs,” he wrote in his diary.
THE VOICE OF A WOMAN SOBBING
Over the ridge and more than a mile away was a wet, wild meadow. They found the cow and horses feeding on its edge near the trail. The moon, clouded since dark, had come out in the clear mid-heavens and thrown its light into the high windows of the forest above the ancient thoroughfare of the Indian. The red guide of the two scouts gave a call which was quickly answered. A few rods farther on, they saw a pair of old Indians sitting in blankets near a thicket of black timber. They could hear the voice of a woman sobbing near where they stood.
“Womern, don’t be skeered o’ us—we’re friends—we’re goin’ to take ye hum,” said Solomon.