The Indian lay down again; but even as his head touched the fir he began to slip softly toward the fire until his body was outside the shelter of the lean-to. Then he rolled over and over until the bushes hid him completely, and no sound came to tell of his whereabouts.
Ten minutes after he disappeared a face peered from amid the foliage, and the odour of rum might have been detected upon the air.
The sleepers were suddenly awakened by a crashing amid the underbrush, and as they leaped to their feet, awake and on the alert in an instant, Walter cried,-
“Look out, there! don’t shoot! One of those is Sewatis; but who is he struggling with? "
At that moment the combatants rolled toward the fire in such a manner that the faces of both could be seen, and Stephen cried,-
“It’s Jim Albert! Look out for yourself, Walter; he has come here for mischief!”
“And he seems to be getting about as much as he wants,” Walter replied, grimly, as he darted forward to assist Sewatis in case it should become necessary.
The Indian did not require aid, for before either of the boys could have interfered, he was uppermost, clutching Jim Albert by the throat so vigorously that the latter’s tongue was protruding from his mouth.
“Don’t kill him! Don’t kill him! " Walter shouted.
“Not yet; big rascal!” Sewatis muttered, as he deftly tied his blanket around the upper portion of the prisoner’s body in such a manner that the intruder was helpless to do anything save kick, and that was not a pleasant form of exercise, as he soon learned, for the fire was so near that at the first attempt his toes were buried among the glowing coals.
After that painful experience the prisoner remained quiet, and in a few seconds Sewatis had him trussed hand and foot, like a chicken ready for roasting.
“Me fix him! heap big rascal!” the captor exclaimed, lying down once more as unconcernedly as if nothing out of the usual course of events had transpired.
“What do you suppose this fellow came here for?” Stephen asked, as if unable to surmise the reason for Jim Albert’s presence.
“He is in the pay of Sam Haines, and tracked you, most likely, in order to discover my hiding-place,”
“If that had been the case he would have been in Portsmouth again by this time.”
A sudden thought came to Walter, and bending over the prisoner quickly, he searched under his greasy belt.
“That is why he came!” the boy cried, as he leaped to his feet, holding a parchment in his hand. “The halfbreed had undertaken to arrest me, and here is his warrant.”
Not until Stephen had examined the document carefully was he satisfied the statement was correct, and then he said, holding the parchment over the fire,-
“We can dispose of this easily enough, but what shall be done with Jim is more than I can decide.”