WITHIN THE LONE CABIN
The delay which kept Dane Norwood at Fort Howe as chief witness against the two rebel leaders was hard for him to endure. He longed to be away in his search for the missing girl. At times he was like a caged lion just from the jungle, and threatened bodily harm to a number of soldiers of the garrison. When at last free, he and Pete lost no time in heading up the river, straight for the little settlement below Oak Point. Here he was joyfully received by the Loyalists, and the scraps of news he was enabled to impart were eagerly received and discussed for days. He told them of the trial and conviction of Flazeet and Rauchad, and that their punishment would undoubtedly be very severe. He related the hardships of the Loyalists who had come to Portland Point with the fall fleet. Some had gone up river, but others, chiefly disbanded soldiers, were having a serious time. They had pitched their tents in a most exposed place, thatched them with spruce boughs, and banked them with snow. But the suffering was so terrible that numbers had already died. This was sad news to the settlers, and they considered themselves fortunate in their comfortable abodes, with sufficient food and fuel to last them through the hard winter.
Colonel Sterling had aged greatly since Dane last saw him. He was much stooped, and his hair and beard whiter than ever. His eyes expressed the agony of his soul. They, more than anything else, revealed to Dane what he had undergone since the loss of his daughter. He uttered no complaint, and when the young man entered his house he had asked no questions. He knew all too well that Dane’s search had been in vain. He said little that evening, but listened with bowed head as the courier related his experiences during the past few weeks. But Old Mammy was not so reticent, and asked Dane no end of questions, and begged him to bring back her lost darling.
“De Lo’d will not let dem Injuns keep my lil’l lamb,” she declared. “Yo’ kin find her, Mistah Dane, an’ bring her back to me. I pray fo’ her ebbery night an’ all tro de day. I know yo’ will come agin, an’ bring my los’ lamb wif yo’.”
The next day Dane and Pete left the settlement and headed up river. They started early and travelled hard. They were well aware that a storm was not far off, so Dane wished to be well up the Washademoak before the tempest burst. He knew of the band of Indians far inland, and there he hoped to find Jean. It was the most likely place where she would be taken, so he reasoned. But if he could not find her there, he would no doubt learn something of her whereabouts.