“Ah, now I understand,” and Dane’s eyes wandered thoughtfully out upon the river. “Poor Pete, he must be making up for lost time. It is just like him. He is a great Indian.”
Noticing the expression of interest and curiosity in the girl’s eyes, Dane smiled.
“Yes,” he continued, “Pete always makes up for lost time. Five years ago his first wife died, and he was away for over two months. It was during the war when efforts were being made to keep the Indians true to King George. It was a hard struggle, and James White, the deputy agent of Indian affairs, was often at his wits’ end. But at last a treaty was signed at Fort Howe, when the Indians and the English all became ‘one brother,’ as the natives say. I found out afterwards that Pete had a great deal to do with the signing of that treaty. He travelled from camp to camp, meeting the Indians, and urging them to be loyal to King George. He made up for lost time then, and I believe he is doing so now. No doubt we shall hear from him soon.”
“Do you think the Indians are becoming troublesome again?” Jean somewhat anxiously asked.
“Not altogether this time. Our danger now is from the slashers, as they will do their best to stir up the Indians. But Pete will be on the lookout. He nipped a little game of theirs in the bud over a year ago.”
“How?” Jean was becoming keenly interested.
“Oh, he brought us news of a raid the slashers were about to make upon the King’s mast-cutters, so we were able to check them. Twenty of us marched all day and night through the woods and fell upon the rebels before they were awake. There was a lively tussle, but we cleaned them out, although they were double our number. Pete had been absent for two weeks before that, but his timely news put him back again in Davidson’s good books.”
“I hope there will be no more trouble,” and Jean gave a deep sigh. “Everything has been so quiet this summer that I can hardly imagine that there are mischief-makers around. Perhaps those guns which Major Studholme sent up river have been a warning to the slashers. But my, how late it is getting! Daddy will be anxious about me. You will come and have tea with us, will you not?”
The young courier needed no second bidding, so in a few minutes the canoe was speeding riverward, with Dane paddling and Jean facing him. Peace surrounded them as they moved onward, but a deeper peace than that which brooded over river and land dwelt in their happy young hearts.
Through the great network of branches of maples, birches, and other trees the light of a new day sifted down upon a little lake about a mile back from the settlement. Dane Norwood woke from a sound sleep and looked out over the water. He was in no hurry to rise, as he felt very comfortable lying there on his bed of fir boughs wrapped in his warm blanket. About half way up the lake several wild ducks were feeding among the weeds and rushes, unconscious of any danger. To these Dane paid little attention. He was waiting for larger game, and his eyes and ears were keenly alert to the one sound and sight which would electrify him into immediate action.