“And what am I to do, June?” she demanded. “It cannot be long before your people will assault this building.”
“Blockhouse good — got no scalp.”
“But they will soon discover that it has got no garrison too, if they do not know it already. You yourself told me the number of people that were on the island, and doubtless you learned it from Arrowhead.”
“Arrowhead know,” answered June, holding up six fingers, to indicate the number of the men. “All red men know. Four lose scalp already; two got ’em yet.”
“Do not speak of it, June; the horrid thought curdles my blood. Your people cannot know that I am alone in the blockhouse, but may fancy my uncle and the Quartermaster with me, and may set fire to the building, in order to dislodge them. They tell me that fire is the great danger to such places.”
“No burn blockhouse,” said June quietly;
“You cannot know that, my good June, and I have no means to keep them off.”
“No burn blockhouse. Blockhouse good; got no scalp.”
“But tell me why, June; I fear they will burn it.”
“Blockhouse wet — much rain — logs green — no burn easy. Red man know it — fine t’ing — then no burn it to tell Yengeese that Iroquois been here. Fader come back, miss blockhouse, no found. No, no; Indian too much cunning; no touch anything.”
“I understand you, June, and hope your prediction may be true; for, as regards my dear father, should he escape —perhaps he is already dead or captured, June ?”
“No touch fader — don’t know where he gone — water got no trail — red man can’t follow. No burn blockhouse —blockhouse good; got no scalp.”
“Do you think it possible for me to remain here safely until my father returns?”
“Don’t know; daughter tell best when fader come back.” Mabel felt uneasy at the glance of June’s dark eye as she uttered this; for the unpleasant surmise arose that her companion was endeavoring to discover a fact that might be useful to her own people, while it would lead to the destruction of her parent and his party. She was about to make an evasive answer, when a heavy push at the outer door suddenly drew all her thoughts to the immediate danger.
“They come!” she exclaimed. “Perhaps, June, it is my uncle or the Quartermaster. I cannot keep out even Mr. Muir at a moment like this.”
“Why no look? plenty loophole, made purpose.”
Mabel took the hint, and, going to one of the downward loops, that had been cut through the logs in the part that overhung the basement, she cautiously raised the little block that ordinarily filled the small hole, and caught a glance at what was passing at the door. The start and changing countenance told her companion that some of her own people were below.
“Red man,” said June, lifting a finger in admonition to be prudent.
“Four; and horrible in their paint and bloody trophies. Arrowhead is among them.”