Under the Redwoods eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 240 pages of information about Under the Redwoods.
had seen “medicine-men” of his own tribe fall into strange trances, and was glad that the boy no longer suffered.  The day advanced, and Li Tee still slept.  Jim could hear the church bells ringing; he knew it was Sunday—­the day on which he was hustled from the main street by the constable; the day on which the shops were closed, and the drinking saloons open only at the back door.  The day whereon no man worked—­and for that reason, though he knew it not, the day selected by the ingenious Mr. Skinner and a few friends as especially fitting and convenient for a chase of the fugitives.  The bell brought no suggestion of this—­though the dog snapped under his breath and stiffened his spine.  And then he heard another sound, far off and vague, yet one that brought a flash into his murky eye, that lit up the heaviness of his Hebraic face, and even showed a slight color in his high cheek-bones.  He lay down on the ground, and listened with suspended breath.  He heard it now distinctly.  It was the Boston boy calling, and the word he was calling was “Jim.”

Then the fire dropped out of his eyes as he turned with his usual stolidity to where Li Tee was lying.  Him he shook, saying briefly:  “Boston boy come back!” But there was no reply, the dead body rolled over inertly under his hand; the head fell back, and the jaw dropped under the pinched yellow face.  The Indian gazed at him slowly, and then gravely turned again in the direction of the voice.  Yet his dull mind was perplexed, for, blended with that voice were other sounds like the tread of clumsily stealthy feet.  But again the voice called “Jim!” and raising his hands to his lips he gave a low whoop in reply.  This was followed by silence, when suddenly he heard the voice—­the boy’s voice—­once again, this time very near him, saying eagerly:—­

“There he is!”

Then the Indian knew all.  His face, however, did not change as he took up his gun, and a man stepped out of the thicket into the trail:—­

“Drop that gun, you d——­d Injin.”

The Indian did not move.

“Drop it, I say!”

The Indian remained erect and motionless.

A rifle shot broke from the thicket.  At first it seemed to have missed the Indian, and the man who had spoken cocked his own rifle.  But the next moment the tall figure of Jim collapsed where he stood into a mere blanketed heap.

The man who had fired the shot walked towards the heap with the easy air of a conqueror.  But suddenly there arose before him an awful phantom, the incarnation of savagery—­a creature of blazing eyeballs, flashing tusks, and hot carnivorous breath.  He had barely time to cry out “A wolf!” before its jaws met in his throat, and they rolled together on the ground.

But it was no wolf—­as a second shot proved—­only Jim’s slinking dog; the only one of the outcasts who at that supreme moment had gone back to his original nature.


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Under the Redwoods from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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