The King's Arrow eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The King's Arrow.

As the sun was about to appear above the tree-tops, the steersman headed the canoe for the shore.  After they had landed, a small fire was started, and a kettle containing cooked meat was placed over the flames.  Jean watched with interest all that was going on around her.  This seemed to surprise the Indians, and when she pointed to the kettle, their faces relaxed into the faint semblance of a smile.  Presently one of the men dipped a cup into the kettle and handed it to the girl.  She took it, not without some hesitation, and after it had cooled a little, placed it to her lips.  It tasted good, so she drank it all.  The Indian next thrust a sharpened stick into the kettle, and brought forth a piece of the partridge which he placed in her cup.  This was tender, and Jean enjoyed it as much as she did the broth.  It brought a renewal of strength to her body, and she felt less weary.

Breakfast ended, the Indians took their few dishes to the water, washed and scoured them with sand, and left them upon a big stone for the sun to dry.  The cleanliness of these natives was a surprise to Jean, and this touch of civilisation gave her some encouragement.  She had often heard of the uncouth Indians, but here were men who could put many white people to shame.

For about two hours they remained there, and while the Indians dozed in the sun, Jean walked up and down the shore, or sat upon a rock looking out over the water.  It was a beautiful morning, with not a breath of wind astir, and the mirror-like river reflected the great trees along its border.  Where she was she had no idea.  That she was some distance inland she felt certain.  But how far?  Whither was she bound? and what were the Indians going to do with her?  Over and over again she vainly asked herself these questions as she gazed pensively out over the water.

All through the morning they continued on their way, and only stopped once to rest and to eat a hurried meal.  Then on again, hour after hour, with nothing to break the monotony of vast forests crowding to the very shores.  The river was quite narrow now, and very crooked.  This led Jean to imagine that they were nearing the headwaters of the St. John, for never once had she suspected that they were ascending one of its tributaries.  She was weary, and her body ached from her cramped position.  It seemed an age since she had last slept in her own little bed far away.  At times during the day her eyes had closed through drowsiness, but she had always aroused with a start.  She felt that she must keep awake until night, at least—­and what then?

At length, rounding a bend, her eyes rested upon two people standing upon the shore not far ahead.  That they were Indians, a man and a woman, she could easily tell.  Her captors saw them, too, so they ran the canoe close to where they were standing, and began to converse with them in the native language.  That they were talking about her Jean was fully aware, for at times the woman looked at her in a manner not at all unfriendly.  They seemed to be disputing about something, and their voices grew quite loud, and their words most emphatic.

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The King's Arrow from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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