The old Indian pointed to the ground with an expression which looked to the white men like an interrogation. Cromwell nodded, and the Indian began to dig. Cromwell brought a shovel, and they began sinking a shaft.
The English-American, with a sickening, sinking sensation, turned toward the cabin. The boy preceded him and stood in the door. The man put his hand on the boy’s head and was about to enter when he caught sight of a nugget at the boy’s neck. He stooped and lifted it. The boy shrank back, but the man, going deadly pale, clutched the child, dragging the nugget from his neck.
Now all the Indian in the boy’s savage soul asserted itself, and he fought like a little demon. Pitying the child in its impotent rage, the man gave him the nugget and turned away.
Across the valley an Indian woman came walking rapidly, her arms full of turnips and onions and other garden-truck. The white man looked and loathed her; for he felt confident that Ramsey had been murdered, his trinkets distributed, and his carcass cast to the wolves.
When the boy ran to meet the woman, the white man knew by his behavior that he was her child. When the boy had told his mother how the white man had behaved, she flew into a rage, dropped her vegetables, dived into the cabin, and came out with a rifle in her hands. To her evident surprise the man seemed not to dread death, but stood staring at the rifle, which he recognized as the rifle he had sent to Ramsey. To his surprise she did not shoot, but uttering a strange cry, started up the slope, taking the gun with her. With rifle raised and flashing eyes she ordered the two men out of the prospect hole. Warlike as she seemed, she was more than welcome, for she was a woman and could talk. She talked Cree, of course, but it sounded good to Cromwell. Side by side the handsome young athlete and the Cree woman sat and exchanged stories.
Half an hour later the Englishman came up and asked what the prospect promised.
“Ah,” said Cromwell, sadly, “this is another story. There is no gold in this vale, though from what this woman tells me the hills are full of it. However,” he added, “I believe we have found your friend.”
“Yes?” queried the capitalist.
“Yes,” echoed Cromwell, “here are his wife and his child; and here, where we’re grubbing, his grave.”
“Quite so, quite so,” said the big, warm-hearted English-American, glaring at the ground; “and that was Ramsey’s ‘reason’ for not writing.”
The reader is not expected to believe this red tale; but if he will take the trouble to write the General Manager of the Pere Marquette Railroad, State of Michigan, U.S.A. enclosing stamped envelope for answer, I make no doubt that good man, having by this time recovered from the dreadful shock occasioned by the wreck, will cheerfully verify the story even to the minutest detail.