Presently the woman stepped up close to the canoe, reached out and touched the little brooch at the girl’s throat. “Su-wan! Su-wan!” she exclaimed. After examining it most carefully, she turned upon the captors and addressed them in an angry manner. They merely grunted at what she said, and pushing the canoe from the shore, once more continued on their way. Jean longed to know what had been said, and the meaning of the woman’s sudden interest in the little arrow. She looked back several times and saw the two still standing upon the shore. When another bend hid them from view, a great loneliness swept upon her. She felt that those two were friendly, and had rebuked her captors for what they were doing.
For about another hour they pushed forward, the river becoming narrower all the time. Suddenly before them appeared several Indian lodges, entirely covered with great strips of birch bark. The place was evidently deserted, for no sign of life was to be seen. Here the canoe was run ashore, and landing made for the night.
Supper over, one of the Indians handed the captive a blanket, and motioned to the nearest lodge. Jean understood his meaning, took the blanket, and did as she was bidden. The lodge was empty, so placing the blanket upon the ground, she sat down and watched the Indians through the opening which served as a door. A few minutes later her captors pushed off their canoe, stepped lightly on board and started down the river. With fast-beating heart the girl watched them until they had disappeared from view. Then a terrible feeling of desolation came upon her. She was in the wilderness, alone, with untold dangers surrounding her. Had they deserted her? Had the Indians brought her there to perish? The thought was horrible. What had she done to deserve such a fate? With straining eyes she watched the river, hoping to see the Indians return. But night again shut down and they did not come. Certain was she now that they had left her to die. Burying her face in her hands, she sobbed out her grief, the first time since her capture. She had tried to be brave, but in all her imaginings she had never dreamed of such a fate as this.
And as she cowered there in the night, listening fearfully to every sound around her, the canoe, bearing her two captors stole noiselessly by, and sped onward through the darkness. The grief and loneliness of the girl meant little to them. Their work was done, they had received their reward, and far off around various camp fires they would relate to their own people the tale of the pale face captive girl.
THE UNKNOWN QUANTITY
While Jean was crouching there alone in the desolate lodge, several men were gathered around a small fire over half a mile down stream. They had been drinking, and their words were loud and coarse. Seth Lupin was the leader, and he was in great spirits. Three of his companions were the slashers who had attacked Dane Norwood at Portland Point, and they, too, seemed much pleased.