Before he could drop the document from his fingers Sewatis leaped from his couch, seized the warrant, and went back to his slumbers, saying, as he did so,-
“Heap big rascal! me keep talkin’-skin.”
“We shall have to let the Indian take care of Jim and his belongings whether we want to or not,” Walter said, with a mournful smile. “The whole affair shows me, however, that I am not secure from Sam Haines even here in the woods. He has found one messenger, and can readily get another.”
“Now, don’t despair. Your red friend has some scheme in his head, or I’m mistaken. He has taken such good care of the fellow that we needn’t worry about him, and if I am to leave this place at daylight, it’s time I got some sleep.”
Stephen resumed his place on the bed, and Walter followed his example, but not to rest.
He had believed himself free from all pursuit while he remained in the forest; and during the past hour had been shown how vain was that idea.
The stillness of the night, the soothing sounds of the foliage, moved to and fro by the gentle wind, soon lulled him to sleep, despite his anxiety; and when he next opened his eyes the sun was shining directly upon him through the leaves; but neither Sewatis nor the prisoner could be seen.
Walter leaped to his feet, searched to and fro several moments in vain, and then found a trail leading eastward across the river.
Sewatis had returned to his own tribe, and with him had gone, however unwillingly, James Albert and the warrant for the young messenger’s arrest.
Stephen was naturally surprised when, on being awakened, he was informed of the departure of Sewatis with the prisoner; but he did not regard it as a matter of any very great importance, save as it indicated that the disreputable half-breed would not probably be seen in Portsmouth again.
“Most likely Jim Albert did some wrong to the members of Sewatis’s tribe, and that is why the old fellow hung around here, waiting for just such a chance as he finally got. I don’t see why we should trouble our heads about it.”
“I am sorry Sewatis has gone. In addition to being of great assistance to me, he was a companion, and now I shall be entirely alone.”
“In that way it has worked you an injury,” Stephen replied, carelessly; “but on the other hand, you need not fear the half-breed will hunt you down again in behalf of Sam Haines, which is more than a fair off-set.”
Walter made no reply; a sensation of utter loneliness such as he never before experienced had come over him, and he would have been better pleased to know James Albert was seeking an opportunity to arrest him, providing that by such a change in the situation of affairs Sewatis had remained.
It was useless to give words to his troubles, however, and he did his best to appear contented, lest Stephen should carry to his mother the report that her son had lost courage.