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The BaldAm Library
'PS J\JF nIKA
THE FAR WEST.
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A- _____ ~______
THE FAR WEST
WILLIAM H. G. KINGSTON
AUTHOR OF "GREAT AFRICAN TRAVELLERS," DIGBY HEATHCOTE,"
SHIPWRECKS AND DISASTERS AT SEA," ETC.
WIITI ILL USTRATIOATNS
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET
MONTHLY MAGAZINES FOR THE
EVERY BOY'S MAGAZINE ...... 6d.
EVERY GIRL'S MAGAZINE ...... 6.
LITTLE WIDE-AWAKE............ 3d.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
AN ENCOUNTER WITH WOLVES 13
THE PRAIRIE ON FIRE 23
AT BAY 27
A SHOT IN TIME ... . . 31
THE INDIAN FLYING-SHOTS 37
"AGAIN THE BEAR ROARED, AND STRETCHED OUT ITS IAWS'" 43
INDIAN HORSEMEN IN CONFLICT . 51
INDIANS SCALPING THE SLAIN AND WOUNDED 53
MARK PRAEGER AND THE BEAR 63
A FEARFUL MOMENT FOR MARK PRAEGER. . . 65
A MARTEN KILLING A PORCUPINE. 75
WOLVES MAKING OFF WITH OUR BAGGAGE . 77
" HE STRUCK THE WEAPON INTO ITS BREAST" 3
TIE INDIAN "BUFFALO DANCE ... 93
THE BUFFALO CHARGING THE CAMP .95
"!'DOWN HE CAME, ALMOST UPON ME 99
"AS HE CIRCLED ROUND, I KEPT TURNING SO .5S ALWAYS TO
FACE HIM ". ....105
"YELLOW WOLF LED, AND HIIS BRAVE FOLLOWED" .. II
THE MEDICINE-MAN 117
INDIANS IN WOLVES' CLOTHING. . .. 123
6 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
INDIAN BUFFALO IIUNT .. 127
NARROW ESCAPE FROM A GRISLY ..... 131
A LEAP IN TIME .. 137
"A FEARFUL SCUFFLE ENSUED .. 147
A RACE FOR LIFE . 151
" THEY SEEMED '10 E IZ Y A SUDDEN PANIC 155
CHARLEY AND HIS NURSE 163
" A STRANGE FIGURE DASHED BY US I173
BLACK EAGLE LASSOED. . II8
MISS HARGRAVE IN PERIL ... . 189
THE FAR WEST.
I SAY, didn't you hear a cry ?" exclaimed Charley
Fielding, starting up from the camp fire at which we
were seated discussing our evening meal of venison,
the result of our day's hunting. He leaned forward
in the attitude of listening. I'm sure I heard it!
There it is again, but whether uttered by Redskin or
four-footed beast is more than I can say."
We all listened, but our. ears were not as sharp as
Charley's, for we could hear nothing.
Sit down, Charley, my boy, and finish your
supper. It was probably fancy, or maybe the hoot of
an owl to its mate," said our jovial companion, Dick
Buntin, who never allowed any matter to disturb him,
if he could help it, while engaged in stowing away
Dick had been a lieutenant in the navy, and had
knocked about the world in all climes, and seen no
small amount of service. He had lately joined our
8 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
party with Charley Fielding, a fatherless lad whom
he had taken under his wing.
We, that is Jack Story and myself, Tom Rushforth,
had come out from England together to the far west,
to enjoy a few months' buffalo hunting, deer stalking,
grisly and panther shooting, and beaver trapping,
not to speak of the chances of an occasional brush
with the Redskins, parties of whom were said to be
on the war-path across the regions it was our inten-
tion to traverse, though none of us were inclined
to be turned aside by the warnings we had received
to that effect from our friends down east.
We had been pushing on further and further west,
gaining experience, and becoming inured to the
fatigues and dangers of a hunter's life. Having
traversed Missouri and Kansas, though we had
hitherto met with no adventures worthy of note, we
had that evening pitched our camp in the neighbour-
hood of Smoky-hill fork, the1 waters of which, falling
into the Arkansas, were destined ultimately to reach
the far-off Mississippi.
We had furnished ourselves with a stout horse
apiece, and four mules to carry our stores, consisting
of salt pork, beans, biscuit, coffee, and a few other
necessaries, besides our spare guns, ammunition, and
the meat and skins of the animals we might kill.
* Having, a little before sunset, fixed on a spot for
our camp, with a stream on one side, and on the
other a wood, which would afford us fuel and shelter
from the keen night air which blew off the distant
mountains, we had unsaddled and unpacked our
horses and mules, the packs being placed so as to
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 9
form a circular enclosure about eight paces in
Our first care had been to water and hobble our
animals, and then to turn them loose to graze, when
we considered ourselves at liberty to attend to our
own wants. Having collected a quantity of dry
sticks, we had lighted our fire in the centre of the
circle, filled our water-kettle, and put on our meat to
cook. Our next care had been to arrange our sleep-
ing places. For this purpose we cut a quantity of
willows which grew on the banks of the stream hard
by, and we each formed a semi-circular hut, by stick-
ing the extremities of the osier twigs into the ground,
and bending them over so as to form a succession of
arches. These were further secured by weaving a
few flexible twigs along the top and sides of the
framework, thus giving it sufficient stability to sup-
port the saddle-cloths and skins with which we
covered them. By placing our buffalo-robes within,
we had thus a comfortable and warm bed-place apiece,
and were better protected from the fiercest storm
raging without than we should have been inside a
tent or ordinary hut.
Though this was our usual custom when materials
were to be found, when not, we were content to wrap
ourselves in our buffalo-robes, with our saddles for
All arrangements having been made, we sat down
with keen appetites, our backs to our respective huts,
to discuss the viands which had been cooking during
the operations I have described. Dick Buntin, who.
generally performed the office of cook, had concocted
10 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
a pot of coffee, having first roasted the berries in the
lid of our saucepan, and then, wrapping them in a
piece of deer-skin, had pounded them on a log with
the head of a hatchet. Dick was about to serve out
the smoking-hot coffee when Charley's exclamation
made him stop to reply while he held the pot in his
I am sure I did hear a strange sound, and it was
no owl's hoot, of that I am convinced," said Charley,
still standing up, and peering out over the dark
prairie. "Just keep silence for a few minutes, and
you'll hear it too before long."
I listened, and almost directly afterwards a low
mournful wail, wafted on the breeze, struck my ear.
Dick and Story also acknowledged that they heard
I knew I was not mistaken," said Charley; "what
can it be ?"
"An owl, or some other night-bird, as I at first
thought," said Buntin. Come, hand me your mugs,
or I shall have to boil up the coffee again."
Charley resumed his seat, and we continued the
pleasant occupation in which we were engaged.
Supper over, we crept into our sleeping-places, leav-
ing our fire blazing, not having considered it neces-
sary as yet to keep watch at night.
We were generally, directly after we had stretched
ourselves on the ground, fast asleep, for we rose at
break of day, and sometimes even before it; but ere
I had closed my eyes, I again heard, apparently
coming from far off, the same sound which had at-
tracted Charley's notice. It appeared to me more
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 11
like the howl of a wolf than the cry of a night-bird,
but I was too sleepy to pay any attention to it.
How long I had been in a state of unconsciousness
I could not tell, when I was aroused by a chorus of
howls and yelps, and, starting up, I saw a number of
animals with glaring eyes almost in our very midst.
"Wolves, wolves!" I cried, calling to my com-
panions at the top of my voice.
Before I could draw my rifle out of the hut, where I
had placed it by my side, one of the brutes had seized
on a large piece of venison, suspended at the end of
a stick to keep it off the ground, and had darted off
with it, while the depredators were searching round
for other articles into which they could fix their
Our appearance greatly disconcerted them, as we
shouted in chorus, and turning tail they began to
decamp as fast as their legs would carry them.
Bring down that fellow with the venison," I cried
Charley, who had been most on the alert, had his
rifle ready, and, firing, brought down the thief. An-
other of the pack instantly seized the meat and made
off with it in spite of the shouts we sent after him.
The wolves lost three of their number, but the rest
got off with the venison in triumph. It was a lesson
to us to keep a watch at night, and more carefully to
secure our venison. We had, however, a portion
remaining to serve us for breakfast next morning.
We took good care not to let the wolves get into
our camp again, but we heard the brutes howling
around and quarrelling over the carcase of one cf
12 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
their companions, who had been shot but had not
immediately dropped. Having driven off our un-
welcome visitors, Charley and I went in search of our
horses, as we were afraid they might have been at-
tacked. They were, however, well able to take care
of themselves and had made their way to the border
of the stream, where we found them safe.
In the meantime Buntin and Story dragged the
carcases of the wolves we had killed to a distance
from the camp, as their skins were not worth pre-
serving. We all then met round the camp fire, but
we soon found that to sleep was impossible, for the
wolves, having despatched their wounded companions,
came back to feast on the others we had shot. We
might have killed numbers while so employed, but
that would have only detained them longer in our
neighbourhood, and we hoped when they had picked
the bones of their friends, that they would go away
and leave us in peace.
We all wished to be off as soon as possible, so while
it was still dark we caught and watered our horses;
and; having cast off their hobbles and loaded the pack'
animals, we were in the saddle by sunrise. We rode
on for several hours, and then encamped for breakfast,
allowing our horses to graze while we went on foot in
search of game. We succeeded in killing a couple of
deer and a turkey, so that we were again amply sup-
plied with food. Our baggage-mules being slow but
sure-going animals we were unable to make more than
twenty miles a day, though at a pinch we could ac-
complish thirty. We had again mounted and were
moving forward. The country was covered with tall
AN ENCOUNTER WI TH WOLVES.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 1
grass, five and sometimes eight feet in height, over
which we could scarcely look even when on horseback.
We had ridden about a couple of miles from our last
camping-place, when Story, the tallest of our party,
I see some objects moving to the northward. They
look to me like mounted men, and are apparently
coming in this direction."
He unslung his glass, while we all pulled up and
took a look in the direction he pointed.
"."Yes, I thought so," he exclaimed; "they are
Indians, though, as there are not many of them, they
are not likely to attack us; but we must be on our
We consulted what was best to be done.
"Ride steadily in the direction we are going," said
Dick; "and, by showing that we are not afraid of
them, when they see our' rifles they will probably
sheer off, whatever may be their present intentions.
But keep together, my lads, and let nothing tempt us
We followed Dick's advice; indeed, although we
had no ostensible leader, he always took the post on
S The strangers approached, moving considerably
faster than we were doing. As they drew nearer,
Story, who took another view of them through his
glass, announced that there were two white men of
the party, thus dispelling all fears we might have en-
tertained of an encounter. We therefore pulled up
to wait their arrival. As they got still nearer to
us, one of the white men rode forward. He was fol-
on .H a o
16 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
lowed by several dogs. Suddenly Dick, who had been
regarding him attentively, exclaimed-
What, Harry Armitage, my dear fellow What
has brought you here ?"
"A question much easier asked than answered, and I'll
put the same to you," said the stranger, shaking hands.
"I came out for a change of scene, and to get
further from the ocean than I have ever before been
in my life; and now let me introduce you to my
friends," said Dick.
The usual forms were gone through. Mr. Armitage
then introduced his companion as Pierre Buffet, one
of the best hunters and trappers throughout the con-
tinent. The Indians, he said, had been engaged by
Pierre and himself to act as guides and scouts, and
to take care of the horses and baggage-mules. As
our objects were the same, before we had ridden very
far we agreed to continue together, as we should thus,
in passing through territories infested by hostile
Indians, be the better able to defend ourselves.
We had reason, before long, to be thankful that our
party had thus been strengthened. We encamped as
usual; and, not forgetting the lesson we had lately
received, we set a watch so that we should not be
surprised, either bywolves or Redskins. Though the
former were heard howling in the distance, we were
not otherwise disturbed by them, and at dawn we were
once more in our saddles traversing the wide extend-
ing prairie, our new associates and we exchanging
accounts of the various adventures we had met with.
Armitage was not very talkative, but Dick managed
to draw him out more than could any of the rest of
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 17
the party. Buffet, in his broken English, talked away
sufficiently to make ample amends for his employer's
taciturnity. Our midday halt was over, and we did
not again intend to encamp until nightfall, at a spot
described by Buffet on the banks of a stream which
ran round a rocky height on the borders of the prairie.
It was, however, some distance off, and we did not
expect to reach it until later in the day than usual.
We were riding on, when I saw one of the Indians
standing up in his stirrups and looking to the north-
east. Presently he called to Buntin and pointed in
the same direction. The words uttered were such as
to cause us no little anxiety. The prairie was on
fire. The sharp eyes of the Indian had distinguished
the wreaths of smoke which rose above the tall grass,
and which I should have taken for a thick mist or
cloud gathering in the horizon. The wind blew from
S the same quarter.
"Messieurs, we must put our horses to their best
speed," exclaimed Pierre. If the wind gets up, that
fire will come on faster than we can go, and we shall
all be burnt into cinders if once overtaken."
"How far off is it ?" asked Dick.
"Maybe eight or ten miles, but that is as nothing.
It will travel five or six miles in the hour, even with
this wind blowing-and twice as fast before a gale.
On, on, messieurs, there is no time to talk about the
matter, for between us and where the flames now
rage, there is nothing to stop their progress."
We needed no further urging, but driving on the
mules with shouts and blows-as we had no wish to
abandon them if it could be avoided-we dashed on.
18 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
Every now and then I looked back to observe the
progress of the conflagration. Dark wreaths were
rising higher and higher in the sky, and below them
forked flames ever and anon darted up as the fire
caught the more combustible vegetation. Borne by
the wind, light powdery ashes fell around us, while
we were sensible of a strong odour of burning, which
made it appear as if the enemy was already close at
our heels. The grass on every side was too tall and
dry to enable us-as is frequently done under such
circumstances, by setting fire to the herbage-to
clear a space in which we could remain while the
conflagration passed by.
Our only chance of escaping was by pushing for-
ward. On neither side did Pierre or the Indians
know of any spot where we could take refuge nearer
than the one ahead. Every instant the smoke grew
thicker, and we could hear the roaring, crackling,
rushing sound of the flames, though still, happily for
us, far away. Prairie-hens, owls, and other birds
would flit by, presently followed by numerous deer
and buffalo; while whole packs of wolves rushed on
regardless of each other and of us, prompted by in-
stinct to make their escape from the apprehended
danger. Now a bear who had been foraging on the
plain ran by, eager to seek his mountain home; and
I caught sight of two or more panthers springing
over the ground at a speed which would secure their
safety. Here and there small game scampered along,
frequently meeting the death they were trying to
avoid, from the feet of the larger animals; snakes
went wriggling among the grass, owls hooted, wolves
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 19
yelped, and other animals added their cries to the
terror-prompted chorus. Our chance of escaping
with our baggage-mules seemed small indeed. The
hot air struck our cheeks, as we turned round every
now and then to see how near the fire had approached.
The dogs kept up bravely at the feet of their masters'
If we are to save our own skins, we must abandon
our mules," cried out Dick Buntin in a voice such as
that with which he was wont to hail the main-top.
"No help for it, I fear," answered Armitage; "what
do you say, Pierre?"
Let the beasts go. Sauve qui feut !" answered
There was no time to stop and unload the poor
brutes. To have done so would have afforded them a
better chance of preserving their lives, though we
must still lose our luggage.
The word was given, the halters by which we had
been dragging the animals on were cast off; and,
putting spurs into the flanks of our steeds, we galloped
forward. Our horses seemed to know their danger
as well as we did. I was just thinking of the serious
consequences of a fall, when down came Dick, who
was leading just ahead, of me with Charley by his
side. His horse had put its foot into a prairie-dog's
Are you hurt ?" I cried out.
"No, no; go on; don't wait for me," he answered.
But neither Charley nor I was inclined to do that.
Dick was soon on his feet again, while we assisted
him, in spite of what he had said, to get up his horse.
20 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
The animal's leg did not appear to be strained, and
Dick quickly again climbed into the saddle.
"Thank you, my dear boys," he exclaimed, "it
must not happen again; I am a heavy weight for my
brute, and, if he comes down, you must go on and let
me shift for myself."
We made no reply, for neither Charley nor I was
inclined to desert our brave friend. The rest of the
party had dashed by, scarcely observing what had
taken place, the Indians taking the lead. It was
impossible to calculate how many miles we had gone.
Night was coming on, making the glare to the east-
ward appear brighter and more terrific. The mules
were still instinctively following us, but we were
distancing them fast, though we could distinguish
their shrieks of terror amid the general uproar.
The hill for which we were making rose up before
us, covered, as it appeared, by shrubs and grasses.
It seemed doubtful whether it would afford us the
safety we sought. We could scarcely hope that our
horses would carry us beyond it, for already they
were giving signs of becoming exhausted. We
might be preserved by taking up a position in the
centre of the stream, should it be sufficiently shallow
to enable us to stand in it; but that was on the other
side of the hill, and the fire might surround us before
we could gain its banks. We could barely see the
dark outline of the hill ahead, the darkness being in-
creased by the contrast of the lurid flames raging
behind us. We dashed across the more open space,
where the grass was for some reason of less height
than in other parts. Here many of the animals
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 21
which had passed us, paralyzed by fear, had halted
as if expecting that they would be safe from the
flames. Deer and wolves, bison, and even a huge
bear-not a grizzly, however-and many smaller
creatures were lying down or running round and
I thought Pierre would advise our stopping here,
but he shouted, "On, on! This is no place for us;
de beasts soon get up and run away too "
We accordingly dashed forward, but every moment
the heat and smell of the fire was increasing. The
smoke, which blew around us in thick wreaths 'driven
by the wind, was almost overpowering. This made
the conflagration appear even nearer than it really
was. At length, Pierre shouted out:
"Dis way, messieurs, dis way!" and I found that
we had reached the foot of a rocky hill which rose
abruptly out of the plain. He led us round its base
until we arrived at a part up which we could manage
to drag our horses. Still it seemed very doubtful if
we should be safe, for grass covered the lower parts,
and, as far as I could judge, shrubs and trees the
upper: still there was nothing else to be done.
Throwing ourselves from our horses, we continued to
drag them up the height, Pierre's shouts guiding us.
I was the last but one, Dick insisting on taking the
post of danger in the rear and sending Charley and
me before him. The horses were as eager to get up
as we were, their instinct showing them that safety
was to be found near human beings. Our only fear
was that the other animals would follow, and that we
should have more companions than we desired. The
22 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
top was soon gained, when we lost no time in setting
to vork to clear a space in which we could remain,
by cutting down the grass immediately surrounding
us, and then firing the rest on the side of the hill to-
wards which the conflagration was approaching. We
next beat down the flames we had kindled, with our
blankets-a hot occupation during which we were
nearly smothered by the smoke rushing in our faces.
The fire burnt but slowly against the wind, which
was so far an advantage.
"We are safe now, messieurs! exclaimed Pierre
at last; and we all, in one sense, began to breathe
more freely, although the feeling of suffocation from
the smoke was trying in the extreme.
We could now watch, more calmly than before, the
progress of the fire as it rushed across the country,
stretching far on either side of us, and lighting up the
hills to the north and south, and the groves which
grew near them. We often speak of the scarlet line
of the British troops advancing on the foe, and such
in appearance was the fire; for we could see it from
the heights where we stood, forming a line of a width
which it seemed possible to leap over, or at all events
to dash through without injury. Now it divided, as
it passed some rocky spot or marshy ground. Now
it again united, and the flames were seen licking up
the grass which they had previously spared.
Our poor baggage-animals caused us much anxiety.
Had they escaped or fallen victims to the flames with
our property, and the most valuable portion of it-
the ammunition? Charley declared that he heard
some ominous reports, and the Indians nodded as
ADVENTURES INV THE FAR WEST. 23
_- -- -i:.=
4 /.. ,.4
"eRI ON FIRE,
24 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
they listened to what he said, and made signs to sig-
nify that the baggage had been blown up. For some
minutes we were surrounded by a sea of flame, and
had to employ ourselves actively in rushing here and
there and extinguishing the portions which advanced
close upon us, our horses in the meantime standing
perfectly still and trembling in every limb, fully alive
to their dangerous position. At length, after a few
anxious hours, the fire began to die out; but here we
were on the top of a rock, without food or water, and
with only so much powder and shot as each man
carried in his pouch. Still, we had saved our lives
and our horses, and had reason to be thankful. The
spot was a bleak one to camp in, but we had no
choice. To protect ourselves from the wind, we built
up a hedge -of brushwood, and lighted a fire. Food
we could not hope to obtain until the morning, but
Pierre and one of the Indians volunteered to go down
to the river, and to bring some water in a leather
bottle which the Canadian carried at his saddle-bow.
He had also saved a tin cup, but the whole of our
camp equipage had shared the fate of the mules,
whatever that might be. The sky was overcast, and,
as we looked out from our height over the prairie, one
vast mass of blackness alone could be seen.
After quenching the thirst produced by the smoke
and heat with the water brought by Pierre and his
companion, we lay down to sleep.
At daylight we were on foot. The first thing to be
done was to ascertain the fate of the mules, and the
next to obtain some game to satisfy the cravings of
hunger. Pierre and the Indians descended into the
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 25
plain for both purposes. Charley and I started off in
one direction, and Armitage and Story in another,
with our guns, along the rocky heights which ex-
tended away to the northward, while Dick volunteered
to look after the horses and keep our fire burning.
We went on for some distance without falling in
with any large game, and we were unwilling to
expend our powder on small birds. Charley at
last proposed that we should descend into the plain
in the hopes of finding some animals killed by the
"Very little chance of that," I remarked, "for by
this time the wolves have eaten them up. We are
more likely, if we keep on, to fall in with deer on the
opposite side, where the fire has not reached."
We accordingly crossed the ridge, and were making
our way to the westward, when we heard Armitage's
dog giving tongue in the distance.
They have found deer, at all events, and perhaps
we may be in time to pick off one or two of the herd,"
We scrambled along over the rocks, until we
reached the brink of a low precipice, looking over
which we caught sight of a magnificent buck with a
single dog at his heels. Just then the stag stopped,
and, wheeling suddenly round, faced its pursuer.
Near was a small pool which served to protect the
stag from the attack of the hound in the rear. It ap-
peared to us that it would have gone hard with the
dog, for at any moment the antlers of the stag might
have pinned it to the ground. We concluded, from
not hearing the other dogs, that they had gone off in
26 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
a different direction, leaving this bold fellow-Lion,
by name-to follow his chase alone.
We crept along the rocks, keeping ourselves con-
cealed until we had got near enough to take a steady
aim at the stag. I agreed to fire first, and, should I
miss, Charley was to try his skill. In" the meantime
the dog kept advancing and retreating, seeking for an
opportunity to fly at the stag's throat; but even then,
should he succeed in fixing his fangs in the animal,
he would run great risk of being knelt upon. The
deer was as watchful as the dog, and the moment the
latter approached, down again went its formidable
antlers. Fearing that the deer might by some chance
escape, taking a steady aim I fired. To my delight,
over it rolled, when we both sprang down the rocks
and ran towards it.
While I reloaded, Charley, having beaten off the
dog, examined the deer to ascertain that it was really
dead. We then set to work to cut up our prize, in-
tending to carry back the best portions to the camp.
While thus employed, we heard a shout and saw
our companions approaching with their dogs. They
had missed the remainder of the herd, and were too
happy in any way to obtain the deer to be jealous of
Laden with the meat, the whole of which we carried
with us, we returned to the camp, where we found
Dick ready with spits for roasting it. In a short time
Pierre and the Indians returned with the report that
they had found the mules dead, and already almost
devoured by the cayotes, while their cargoes had been
blown up, as we feared would be the case, with the
ADVENTURES INV THE FAR WEST. 7
28 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
powder they contained. They brought the spare
guns-the stocks of which, however, were sadly
damaged by the fire. Our camp equipage, which was
very welcome, was uninjured, together with a few
knives and other articles of iron.
So serious was our loss, that it became absolutely
necessary to return to the nearest settlement to obtain
fresh pack-animals and a supply of powder.
: _-_ .- 7 -: : = .-
BY the loss of our baggage, we were reduced to
hard fare. We had no coffee, no corn meal, no salt
or pepper; but our greatest want was powder. Should
the ammunition in our pouches hold out, we hoped to
obtain food enough to keep us from starving till we
could reach the nearest settlement of Tillydrone.
Before commencing our return journey, however, it
would be necessary, we agreed, to obtain a supply of
meat, as we should find but little game in the region
we had to cross. We must push on through it, there-
fore, as fast as our horses could carry us; but after
their hard gallop on the previous day, it would be
necessary to give them several hours rest, and it was
settled that we should remain encamped where *e
were until the following morning. The locality had
many advantages: it was high and dry, while, com-
manding as it did an extensive view over the prairie,
we could see any hostile Indians approaching, and
could defend ourselves should theyventure to attack us.
As soon as breakfast was over, and we had rested
from the fatigues of the morning, we again set out on
foot with our guns. Charley and I, as before, kept
together. The rest divided into two parties, each
30 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
hoping to add a good supply of meat to the common
stock. We had entered into an agreement not to fire
a shot, unless sure of our aim, as every charge, to us,
was worth its weight in gold. A spot had been fixed
on, where we were to meet, about a couple of miles
from the camp, in the centre of the ridge. Charley
and I had gone on for an hour or more, but had met
with no game, when what was our delight to see a
herd of a dozen large deer feeding in a glade below
us; and, although too far off to risk a shot, we hoped
that by making a wide circuit we should be able to
creep up to them on the lee side.
Taking the proposed direction, we observed a large
clump of rose-bushes, which grew in great profusion
in that region. Near them also were two or three
trees, behind which we expected to be able to conceal
ourselves while we took aim at the deer. Keeping as
much under cover as possible, we reached the rose-
bushes, when we began to creep along on hands and
knees, trailing our guns after us. To our delight we
found that the deer were still feeding quietly, un-
suspicious of danger. I managed to reach one of the
trees, Charley another. The two nearest animals
were a stag and a doe. I agreed to shoot the former,
Charley the latter.
He waited until I gave the signal, when our guns
went off at the same instant. As the smoke cleared
away, we saw that both our shot had taken effect. It
had been settled that, in case the animals should at-
tempt to get up, we were to rush out and despatch
them with our hunting-knives. I ran towards the
stag, which made an effort to escape, but rolled over
J. Y. T
I .. 41
N it i.
A SHOTIN TIE. 33
ADVENTURES NV THE FAR WEST. 33
and died just as I reached it. Turning round to ascer-
tain how it fared with Charley, I saw the doe rise to
her feet, though bleeding from a wound in the neck.
I instantly reloaded to be ready to fire, knowing that
under such circumstances even a doe might prove a
dangerous antagonist. It was fortunate that I did
so, for the animal, throwing herself upon her haunches,
began to strike out fiercely with her fore-feet, a blow
from which would have fractured my friend's skull.
Seeing his hat fall to the ground, I was afraid that he
had been struck. Holding his rifle, which he had un-
fortunately forgotten to reload, before him in the
fashion of a single-stick, he attempted to defend him-
self; but one of the animal's hoofs, striking his
shoulder, brought him to the ground, so that he was
unable to spring back out of harm's way. For a
moment the deer retreated, but then again came on
with her fore-feet in the air, intent on mischief. Now
was the moment to fire, as the next Charley might be
struck lifeless to the ground. I pulled the trigger,
aiming at the head of the doe; for, had I attempted
to shoot her in the breast, I might have hit my com-
panion. As the smoke cleared away I saw the deer
spring into the air and fall lifeless to the ground. The
bullet had struck her in the very spot I intended.
Charley rose to his feet, and I ran forward, anxious
to ascertain if he was injured. Providentially, his
ramrod alone was broken, and, except a bruise on the
shoulder which caused him some pain, he had escaped
We lost no time in skinning and ctitting up the
deer, which having done, we formed two packages of
34 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
as much of the meat as we could carry, while we
suspended the remainder to the bough of a neighbour-
ing tree, to return for it before night-fall. Our com-
panions were nearly as successful, each party having
killed a deer, the whole of which they brought into
camp. We left them all employed in cutting the
chief portion into strips to dry in the sun, so that it
could be transported more easily than in a fresh state.
As we approached the spot where we had left the
venison, a loud yelping which reached our ears told
us that the cayotes had found it out. The brutes were
not worth powder and shot, so getting some thick
sticks, we rushed in among them and drove them off
to a distance. They returned, however, as soon as
we had got down the venison and were employed in
packing it up, and we had to make several onslaughts,
during which we killed three or four of the wolves, who
were instantly devoured by their companions. While
they were thus employed, we had time to pack up our
game, but the rapacious creatures followed howling
at our heels until we reached the camp. All night long
also they continued their unpleasant chorus.
In the morning, having breakfasted on fresh
venison, we started, each man carrying a load of the
dried meat. Our object was to push on as fast as
possible, only halting when necessary to rest our
horses, or to kill some buffalo or deer, should any be
seen. Pierre especially advised that we should other-
wise make no delay, saying that he had observed the
trails of Indians, who were probably out on the war-
path, and that, at all events, it would be necessary to
be on our guard against them.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 35
We crossed the burnt prairie, our horses' hoofs
stirring up the ashes as we scampered along. Fre-
quently we came upon the bodies of small animals
which had failed to escape from the fire. We saw
also numbers of snakes, some burnt to death, others
only scorched and still managing to make their way
over the ground. We were thankful when, having
crossed a stream, we got into a more cheerful tract
of country. Here Pierre advised that we should be
doubly on our guard, as in all probability the Indians
themselves had fired the grass, either to burn us, or
to deprive us of our beasts of burden, as, they suc-
ceeded in doing, that we might the more easily fall
into their hands, but that such was the case it was
difficult to say. Perhaps, when they found us
strongly posted, they had considered it prudent not
to attack us.
We had started before day-break, and proposed
halting for a couple of hours to breakfast and rest our
beasts, when, just as the rich glow which ushers in
the rising sun had suffused the sky, one of the
Indians, addressing Pierre, pointed to the south-west.
"What is it he says ?" I asked.
"Indians!" answered Pierre, "on foot and on
horseback, and no small number of them. We must
be prepared for them, messieurs; for, if I mistake not,
they are Coomanches, and they are difficult customers
to deal with in the open. If we were within a stockade,
we should quickly send them to the right about, though,
as they stand in awe of our rifles, it is a question
whether they will attack us as long as we show a bold
36 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
It is of little use to show a bold front in the centre
of a wild prairie, with a hundred howling savages
galloping about one," I thought to myself.
However, none of our party were men to flinch.
By Pierre's advice we rode steadily forward. There
was a slight elevation at some distance, with a small
lake beyond it. Buntin, who took the lead, proposed
that we should try to gain it, as it would give us an
advantage over our nimble foes, as, while they were
ascending its steep sides, we could shoot them down
without difficulty. On we rode therefore as fast as
we could venture to go, for it was important not to
blow our horses, lest we should have to come to an
encounter with the Redskins.
We had got to within a quarter of a mile or
so from the height, when we saw that the Indians
had divined our intention, a party of them, who must
have made a wide circuit, having already taken
possession of it.
"Never mind, boys," said Dick in a cheery voice
"-" we can fight them if they are in a fighting mood
just as well on the plains as on the top of yonder
hill. They probably think that all our powder is
lost, and expect to gain an easy victory."
"It will be wise to dismount, messieurs," said
Pierre. Each man must take post behind his horse,
and when the savages come on we must wait until
they get near enough to afford us a sure mark."
"We will follow Pierre's advice," said Dick, "but
we will wait to ascertain whether they have hostile
intentions or not. Our best plan is to proceed steadily
on as if we were not conscious of their presence."
ADVENTURES IAN THE FAR WI.EST. 37
THE INDIAN FLYINTG-SHOTS.
-- ::; '- =--- ---_ =":=:: '=:-' :; .-':. -; -~- : .,- --: ':- '
-..:' : . ;-, ;.5: c ,, ..:- _. .
o, r:i! -
.~ ~~i _,r~ :. _---_
.",,,. i ... .. ;i-- =--
" .r~- ':I "'. ,.' " ' '-" ;:"
,- .! .-. ,
38 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
We continued, therefore, riding forward, so as to
pass the hill about the eighth of a mile on our right,
keeping a careful watch on the Redskins. Sud-
denly there was a movement among them, and out
dashed several horsemen. Sweeping around the hill,
they approached us. We lost not a moment, and,
placing ourselves as arranged, we stood with our
rifles ready to receive them. On they came, shriek-
ing at the top of their voices and uttering their
war-cries, until they got almost within shot. Seeing
this we presented our rifles, but, just at the moment
that we were about to fire, the warriors threw them-
selves over on the opposite side of their horses, and,
sweeping by like a whirlwind, discharged their guns.
Although it was a fine exhibition of horsemanship,
the fellows, evidently afraid of us, had kept too far
off for their object, and the bullets fell short. At the
same moment Armitage, Story, and Pierre fired.
Armitage's bullet struck the horse of the leading
brave,which however still galloped on. Storywounded
the next warrior, who turning tail rejoined his com-
panions, while the third-who had lifted up his head
to take better aim-got a bullet through it from Pierre's
unerring rifle. He fell to the ground, along which
he was dragged by his horse, which followed the one
immediately before it.
Seeing what had befallen their leaders, the other
Indians, who were riding furiously towards us, reined
in their steeds, considering discretion the better part
"We must not trust to the fellows," cried Dick;
"we must hold our ground until they move off."
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 39
It was fortunate we did so, for in a short time the
whole troop, gaining courage and hoping to frighten
us with war-whoops, came sweeping down upon us.
Fortunately but few had fire-arms, and their powder
was none of the best. Their arrows fell short, while
their bullets, which struck our saddles, failed to
pierce them. I got a slight graze on my cheek, and
a piece of lead went through Charley's cap.
Our rifles in the meantime returned the salute in
good earnest. Three of us only fired at a time, and
three Indians were hit-one of whom was killed out-
right, [though his companions managed to drag off
his body. Still the odds were greatly against us.
Had we been well supplied with ammunition we
should have had no fear as to the result of the en-
counter, but we dared not fire a shot more than was
Notwithstanding the way we had handled them,
the Indians did not appear inclined to give up the
contest, but, after wheeling out of reach of our rifles,
"They have had enough of it, I should think,"
"I'm not so sure of that," answered Dick, "our
scalps, our horses, and our fire-arms, are too tempt-
ing prizes to allow the rascals to let us escape if they
fancy that they can get possession of them. See,
here they come again "
As he spoke the whole troop, giving utterance to a
terrific war-whoop, passed ahead of us, and then,
wheeling round, dashed forward at full speed to at-
tack us on the opposite side. As they got within
40 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
range, half our number, as before, fired. Three more
of them appeared to be hit, and one, evidently a chief,
fell from his saddle.
The Redskins had had enough of it, and Ithe rest,
crawling round the chief, bore him off. Away they
went fleet as the wind. I felt very much inclined to
follow. Dick advised us to remain where we were to
see whlt they would do. At length we were satisfied
that they had received a lesson by which they were
likely to profit, and that they would -not again venture
to attack us, unless they could take us by surprise.
We now found the advantage of not having over-
exhausted our horses.
"Mount, and push forward!" cried Dick. "But
I say, lads, while those fellows are watching us we'll
move at a steady pace."
After we had ridden for a couple of miles or so,
Dick advised that we should put our horses to their
full speed, so as to place as wide a distance between
us and our enemies as possible, before we halted for
No sooner was the word given than away we went.
Pierre proved an excellent guide, and took us across
the most easy country, so that by noon it was con-
sidered that we might halt without fear of interrup-
tion from the same band, though it would be necessary
to keep a sharp look out lest another troop of savages
might be scouring the country in search of us.
We were by this time desperately sharp set, and
while our steeds cropped the grass around, we quickly
lighted our fire and put on our venison to cook.
Pierre and the Indians did not wait for that opera.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 41
tion, but ate the dried venison raw, and I was tempted to
chew the end of a strip to stop the gnawings of hunger.
After a couple of hours' rest, which our horses abso-
lutely required, we again pushed on, anxious to find
a safe camping-place for the night. Pierre led us to
a spot which appeared as secure as we could desire,
by the side of a broad stream of sufficient depth to
afford us protection on that side, while a high knoll,
with a bluff, would conceal our fire on the one side, and
a thick wood on the other, leaving thus only one side
towards the prairie. Thus, at all events, we had all
the requirements for camping-wood, water, and grass.
The night passed quietly, and the following day we
did not fall in with any Indians, so that we ventured
to camp at an earlier hour, on a spot very similar to
that we had chosen on the previous night. We were
getting somewhat tired of our dry venison, and
Armitage proposing to go out in search of a deer, I
volunteered to accompany him, hoping to find one
coming down to drink at the stream. We accord-
ingly kept along its banks, taking with us one of the
spare horses, that we might bring home any game
we might shoot; but as I wished to give mine a rest I
went on foot.
Armitage was some little way in advance, I follow-
ing close along the borders of the stream, when I
heard him fire. Pushing forward I saw him bending
over the body of a fine deer. I was making my way
through the bushes to assist him, when what was my
dismay to catch sight of a huge bear, which Armitage
had not perceived, coming along the edge of the
stream from the opposite direction,
42 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
I shouted to him, to warn him of his danger. He
rose to his feet, holding the rein of his horse; for the
animal, conscious of the presence of the bear, showed
a strong inclination to bolt. The bear, which had,
apparently, not before perceived Armitage, came
cantering slowly on, until within twenty paces of
him. I shouted at the top of my voice for the purpose
of distrahing the bear's attention; but Bruin, intent
on mischief, took no notice. I was too far off to have
any hope of mortally wounding the bear should I fire,
and the undergrowth was so thick that I could only
slowly make my way through it. Already the bear
was scarcely more than a dozen paces off from Armi-
tage, who with his gun levelled stood ready to receive
his formidable antagonist. The bear raised itself on
its hind legs, giving a roaring grunt, and balancing
itself, as bears are wont to do, before making its fatal
spring. Should Armitage miss, it seemed impossible
that he could escape with his life. I struggled des-
perately to make my way through the brushwood to
go to his assistance.
Again the bear roared, and stretched out its paws,
evidently showing that it was about to spring, when
my friend fired.
Great was my relief when I saw the bear roll over,
floundering about for a few seconds in a vain endea-
vour to rise and renew the combat; but the bullet had
been surely aimed, and before I reached the scene of
the encounter the animal's struggles were over.
We walked round and round the monster, survey-
ing its vast proportions, and then set to work to
remove its hide and cut off the most delicate portions
..rrrrl r-iec-i-- --i+
''A(;41.U Ilii 1:I.BI XO.\RED, AND STI:ETCIIEZ) OUT ITS I'IVJ!i.''
ADVENTURES IN iTE FAR WEST. 45
of the meat. This occupied us some time. I sug-
gested that the skin might be left behind, but, as the
bear was of unusual size, Armitage declared his in-
tention of preserving it if he could. At length we
succeeded in strapping it on the back of the horse,
and set off to return to the camp.
We walked leisurely along, leading the horse, well
satisfied with the result of our short expedition; for
bear's flesh, though not equal to venison, is superior
to that of the lean deer we often shot. We found our
friends anxious about us; for two of the Indians who
had gone out scouting reported that they had fallen
in with a suspicious trail, and they warned us that we
should very likely be again attacked before we could
reach the settlement.
Let them come on then!" cried Dick, "we'll
treat them as we did the others."
I have said but little about the Indians accompany-
ing Armitage. They were fine fellows, armed with
spears and bows and arrows, as well as with carbines,
while they carried in their belts the usual scalping-
knives and tomahawks, so that they were likely to
prove formidable opponents to our foes.
Having set a double watch, one man to look after
the horses, and another the camp, we lay down to
obtain the rest we so much needed.
DAYBREAK found us moving forward and already
a couple of miles from our last resting-place. We
hoped thus to keep ahead of our enemies, who, our
Indian allies calculated, had camped some distance
to the northward. We thought it probable also,
should they have discovered our whereabouts, that
they might have intended to attack us before we
started in the morning. They would know that we
should keep careful watch during the night, but they
were very likely to fancy that while breakfasting we
should be off our guard, and that they might then
take us by surprise. If so, they were disappointed.
We rode steadily on, we Whites keeping together,
while the Indians on their active mustangs, scouted
on either side, their keen eyes searching every thicket
and bush for a concealed enemy.
"Can they be trusted ? asked Dick of Armitage.
"They will lose the reward I engaged to give them,
should they prove treacherous," was the answer, "and
Pierre considers them honest."
I cannot help suspecting that they are very sure
no enemy is near, by the way they are showing off,"
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 47
"They behaved as well as men could do, when
we were last attacked," remarked Charley, who was
always ready to stick up for the Indians, of whom he
had a great admiration. I agreed with Jack, but at
the same time I did not wish to disparage our gallant-
While we were speaking two of them came up and
addressed Pierre in their own language which he
They say that they have caught sight of a mounted
war-party, who are, they think, trying to steal upon
us round yonder wood, and take us by surprise," said
"We'll be prepared for them then, my friends!"
exclaimed Dick; but we'll ride on as we have been
going, and not dismount until they show themselves;
we shall then be able to turn the tables on them.
You all know what you have to do; but remember
again, our powder is running short; don't throw a
"Aye, aye, captain," was the reply from all of us,
for we had given Dick a title he well deserved al-
though the Lords of the Admiralty had not thus
Our scouts on the left flank now drew in closer to
us, they having made up their minds that we should
be attacked on that side. Almost ahead-or, as
Dick called it, on our starboard bow-was a clump of
trees, backed by rocky ground. It would assist at
all events to protect us, on one side. We accordingly
directed our course towards it. Anyone seeing us
riding along would not have supposed that we were
48 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
well aware of a powerful body of enemies being close
to us, as we might have been seen laughing and
joking, one of the party occasionally breaking out
into a jovial song.
Our behaviour encouraged our allies, and should
the enemy have perceived us, it would have made
them suppose that we were quite unconscious of their
We had almost gained the clump of trees I have
mentioned, when from the end of the wood about half
a mile away, appeared the head of a column of
mounted warriors. The moment they showed them-
selves, with fierce yells and shrieks they dashed on
towards us. "Forward, my friends, and let us take
up the post I proposed," cried Dick; and, urging our
horses into a gallop, we reached the clump just in
time to dismount and arrange our horses before the
Indians got within range of our rifles. We were
thus better able to defend ourselves than we had
been on the previous occasion. The Coomanches
came on bravely enough at first, shrieking and hoot-
ing at the top of their voices, but we were prepared
to receive them in a way they did not expect. Before
they began to wheel and throw themselves over on
the sides of their horses, Armitage, Story and I, who
were considered the best shots of the party, each
singled out a man. We fired, and three warriors
dropped to the ground. At the same moment, our
brave allies dashed forward, with lances in rest, and
charged boldly at the advancing foe, who were dis-
charging a shower of arrows at us. One of the
Coomanches threw himself on the side of his horse
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 49
and shot an arrow which pierced our friend's shoulder,
but he was himself the next instant thrust through
by his opponent's lance, his horse galloping off, how-
ever, with his dead body. This bold manceuvre gave
us time to reload. We were able to fire a volley as
the rest of the party came sweeping by. Two more
saddles were emptied, and another warrior was
wounded. The latter, however, managed to regain
his seat so as to wheel round and rejoin his com-
Had we been a more numerous party, and armed
with swords and lances, we might have mounted and
pursued the enemy; but as we possessed only our
rifles, it was far more prudent to remain on foot,
whence we could take a steady aim.
It was surprising to see the way our persevering
assailants came on, and threw themselves over the
sides of their horses. It was not until we had an
opportunity of examining their trappings, that we
discovered how they managed to do so. We found
attached to the mane of each horse a strong halter
composed of horse-hair, which being passed under
the animal's neck, was firmly plaited into the mane,
thus leaving a loop hanging under its neck. When
about to fire, the warrior drops into this loop, and he
manages to sustain the weight of his body by the
upper part of the bent arm. In this way, both his
arms are at liberty, either to use his bow or his
spear. In his left hand he grasps a dozen arrows,
together with his bow, and is not compelled to
apply his hand to his quiver, which hangs with his
shield at his back, while his long spear being
50 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
supported by the bend of the elbow he can use it at
Our allies, on this occasion, rendered us essential
service by distracting the attention of our active foes,
thus preventing them from shooting with as much
accuracy as usual. Their arrows came flying about
us, many sticking in the trees behind our backs; but
happily only two of our people and one of our horses
were slightly wounded, although one of our Indian
allies fell to the ground, and before any of his com-
panions could rescue him, a Coomanche, who had
ridden up, leaning over his horse, took his scalp and
rejoined the main body.
The steady fire we kept up, prevented the Indians
from coming close to us; still they were evidently
unwilling to abandon the attempt, in spite of the
numbers they had already lost. As far as we could
judge, the party which had before attacked us had
been increased by many fresh warriors, eager to
distinguish themselves. Could they obtain the white
men's scalps, they would be able to boast of their
achievement to the end of their days.
We had no intention, could we help it, of giving
them this satisfaction. One thing was remarkable--
the regular way in which they came on and retreated,
like any civilized people engaging in warfare. Our
allies, after our first attack, had rejoined us, and waited
close at hand to dash forward agaia, should they see
a favourable opportunity. At length the Coomanches,
having swept round out of rifle-shot, disappeared be-
hind the wood from which they had emerged. No
sooner had they gone, than our allies threw themselves
INDIAN HORSEMEN IN CONFLICT.
52 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
from their horses and dashed forward towards the
bodies of the slain. In vain Dick shouted to Pierre to
tell them to let the carcases alone. Never did I witness
a more horrid sight; with their scalp-knives in their
hands, they sprang forward, and in an instant had
passed the sharp blades round the heads of two of
them. A third, though badly wounded, both by one
of our bullets and an arrow in his side, raised himself
up, and fiercely regarding his advancing foe, mocked
and derided him as an ally of the whites.
The Indian advanced, and springing on the pros-
trate man, without waiting to give him the merciful
blow, whipped off his scalp, and left him still bleeding
on the ground. On seeing this, Pierre, who seemed
rather ashamed of his friends, sent a bullet into the
poor wretch's head, and put him out of his misery.
The knife of one of the others must have been blunt,
for finding that the scalp did not come off as quickly
as he wished, seating himself on the ground with his
feet against the dead man's shoulders, he pulled it
away by main force. So far we had been more suc-
cessful than we had expected; but our enemies
might rally, and, hovering in the neighbourhood,
keep us constantly in a state of anxiety. We were
unwilling to leave our secure position until we could
ascertain whether the Indians had retreated. To
learn this, it was necessary to get to tJe other side of
the wood, which hid them from view. For this pur-
pose, one of our allies volunteered to ride forward
and ascertain where they were. The risk, however,
was great, for should he be pursued, and overtaken,
his death was certain. Still, the advantage to us
INDIANS SCALPING THE SLAIN AND WOUNDED.
54 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
would be so great, that Armitage consented to his
going. Instead of making directly towards the wood,
however, he rode first to the east and then suddenly
turning his course northward, galloped along at full
speed, until he got a good view of the north side of
the wood which was a mere belt of trees, scarcely
thick enough to conceal a large body of horsemen.
We watched him anxiously. At any moment his
enemies might sally out and attack him. At length
we saw him turn his horse's head, when he came
riding leisurely back. Perceiving this we forthwith
mounted and continued our journey, leaving the
bodies of the Indians to be devoured by the prairie
wolves, for we had no time, even had we wished it, to
We of course kept a bright look out behind us as
well as on either side, for as Pierre observed, "It
never does to trust those varmints of Redskins; they
come like the wind, and are off again with as many
scalps as they can lift before a man who has shut his
eyes for a moment has time to open them."
I confess that I heartily hoped we should in future
be left alone; for, although I had no objection to an
occasional brush with the red men, I had no fancy to
be constantly harassed by them, and to be compelled
to remain in camp without the chance of a shot at a
deer or buffalo for fear of losing one's scalp. I
thought, however, that we had now done with them
and should the next night be able to sleep in peace.
Again we continued on until it was nearly dark,
when we formed camp in as sheltered a position as
we could find.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 55
Of course our trail would show the way we had
taken, and, should the Indians be so disposed, they
might follow us. The only question was whether
they could or could not take us by surprise. We
had, fortunately, enough meat for supper, but we
agreed that it would be necessary to hunt the next
day at all risks. When, however, we came to exa-
mine our powder horns, we found that we had scarcely
more than a couple of charges each. It would be
impossible therefore to defend ourselves, should we
be again attacked, and a difficult task to obtain game
sufficient to last us to the end of the journey. We
had fortunately a good supply of bear's meat, which,
as Dick observed, "went a long way;" but our
Indian friends were voracious feeders and it was
necessary to give them as much as they wanted.
Our chief hope now of obtaining food was that we
might come across some buffalo which our Indians
would be able to shoot with their bows and arrows:
at all events, having already escaped so many
dangers, we determined to keep up our spirits and
not to be cast down by the difficulties in the
As our Indians had been on the watch the previous
night, we undertook to keep guard this night, two at
a time. Charley and I were to be together.
What the captain called "the middle watch was
over, when we mounted guard, Charley on the horses,
I on the camp. Just then the moon, in its last
quarter, rose above the horizon, shedding a pale light
over the prairie. We had been on foot a couple of
hours and I was hoping that it would soc n be time tp
56 ADVENTURES IN THE PAR WEST.
rouse up my companions and commence the day's
march, when Charley came to me.
Look there !" he said, "I fancy that I can make
out some objects in the distance, but whether they
are prairie wolves or men I am not quite certain. If
they are Indians, the sooner we secure the horses the
better. If they are wolves they can do us no great
harm. We will awaken our friends, at all events! "
I quickly, in a low voice, called up all hands;
and each man, without standing on his feet, crept
towards his horse. In a few seconds we had secured
the whole of them.
"Now!" cried Dick, "mount and away."
No sooner were the words uttered, than we sprang
into our saddles. As we did so a loud shout saluted
our ears, followed by the whistling of arrows; and,
turning round, we saw fifty dark forms scampering
after us. Had we possessed ammunition, we should
not have dreamed of taking to flight; but, without
the means of defending ourselves, it was the only safe
thing to be done. The arrows came fast and thick.
"Keep together lads," cried Dick, "never mind
those bodkins, we shall soon distance our pursuers."
I heard a sharp cry from Charley and turning round
I saw an arrow sticking in his side. The captain had
already been wounded, but he did not betray the fact
of his bWing hurt.
Our horses, seeming to understand our dangerous
position, stretched out at their greatest speed. I
turned round and could still see the Indians coming
on and discharging their arrows; but we were now
beyond their range, and, provided our horses kept
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 57
their feet, we had no fear of being overtaken. It was
very trying to have to run away from foes whom we
had twice defeated, for we had no doubt that they
were the same band of Redskins we had before en-
countered and who now hoped, by approaching on
foot, to take us by surprise. Had not Charley's quick
sight detected them indeed, we should probably have
lost our horses and have been murdered into the
bargain. On we galloped, yet for a long time we
could hear the shrieks and shouts of our distant foes.
Their horses were not likely to be far off, and we knew
that they would probably return for them and again
pursue us. We must, therefore, put a considerable
distance between ourselves and them. Fortunately,
not having tired our steeds, we should be able to go
on without pulling rein for the whole day; we must,
however, camp to feed them, but not for a moment
longer than would be absolutely necessary for the
purpose. I asked Charley how he felt.
"Never mind me," he answered, the arrow hurts
somewhat, but I would not have our party stop to
attend to me. If I feel worse I'll tell you, lest I should
drop from my horse."
The captain said not a word of his wound, nor did
anyone else complain of being hurt; though, as day-
light increased, I observed blood streaming from the
leg of one of the Indians, and another with a pierced
coat through which an arrow had gone. At length
our steeds gave signs of being tired, and we ourselves
had become very hungry. We agreed, therefore, to
pull up near a stream, with a knoll close to it, from
which we could obtain, through our Ipy-glasses, a
58 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
wide view across the prairie, so that we could see our
enemies before they could discover us. To light a fire
and cook our bear's flesh while our horses were turned
loose to feed, occupied but little time. We had saved
a couple of tin mugs with which we brought water
from the stream; but our kettle, and several other
articles, in the hurry of our flight, had been left
behind. Our first care was to see to Charley's wound.
He heroically bore the operation of cutting off the
head of the arrow, which had to be done before the
shaft of the arrow could be drawn out. We then, with
a handkerchief, bound up the wound. Dick was less
seriously hurt, an arrow having, however, torn its
way through his shoulder. The Indian made light of
his wound which was very similar to that Charley had
received. His companions doctored him, we supply-
ing them with a handkerchief which they bound
round his wounded limb. I was still resting when
Story, who had taken his post on the knoll, spy-glass
in hand, shouted out-
"I have just caught sight of the heads of the Red-
skins, over the grass, so the sooner we are away the
Saying this he hurried down the hill. We, having
caught the horses and packed up the remainder of
our meat, mounted and rode on. Both Charley and
Dick declared they did not feel much the worse for
their wounds, the blood they had lost probably pre-
venting inflammation. Though the Indians could not
see us, they must have discovered our trail; and they
would soon ascertain, by the remains of our fire, that
we were not far ahead. This might encourage them
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 59
to pursue us; but our horses being better than theirs,
we might still, should no accident happen, keep well
ahead of them.
We galloped on until dark and then we were
once more compelled to camp. Only half our party
lay down at a time, the remainder keeping by the
horses while they fed, to be ready to bring them in at
a moment's notice. Our pursuers would also have to
stop to feed their horses, and as they had not come up
to us during the first watch, we hoped that they
would leave us in quiet for the remainder of the
We were not disturbed; and before daybreak,
jumping into our saddles, we pushed on. I must
pass over the two following days. As yet we had
met with no signs of civilization, when we saw a
wreath of smoke rising above the trees in the far
distance. It might come from a backwoodsman's
hut, or it might be simply that of a camp fire. It
was not likely to rise from the camp of Indians, so
Pierre thought, as they do not generally venture so
far east. However, to run no risk of falling among
foes, we sent forward one of our scouts, while we
proceeded at the pace we had before been going.
We felt most anxious to get some shelter, where
we could sleep in security and obtain food, for our
bear's flesh was well-nigh exhausted, and we had
not hitherto fallen in with buffalo; while both our
wounded men required more care than we could give
them in the camp, with the chance of having to
mount and ride for our lives at any moment.
After riding some distance we heard a shot.
6o ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
All's not right," cried Dick; "we may have either
to fight, or run for it."
In a short time we saw an Indian riding at full
speed towards us.
What's the matter ?" asked Pierre as he came near.
He pointed to the wood, when presently two white
men appeared with rifles in their hands. As soon as
they caught sight of us, they shouted out and made
signs of friendship to us, while they grounded their
arms. We were soon up to them.
Sorry to have shot at your Redskin friend, but we
took him for an enemy, that's a fact," said one of
them; "however, as the bit of lead missed his head,
he's none the worse for it."
Dick assured him we had no wish to complain, and
asked whether we could find any shelter in the neigh-
"You are welcome to our hut, friends," answered
the other man, it's big enough for all hands except
the Indians, and they can put up wigwams for them-
selves. Come along, for there's a storm brewing, I
guess; and you'll be better under cover than in the
We gladly accepted the invitation, and guided by
our new acquaintances, we soon found ourselves in a
clearing, with a good-sized log-hut and a couple of
shanties at the rear of it. The rain had already
begun to fall; so speedily taking off the bridles and
saddles of our steeds, we hobbled them and turned
them loose; we then hurried under cover, our Indian
guides taking possession of one of the shanties.
Our hosts, Mark and Simon Praeger, told us that
ADVENTURES IV THE FAR WEST. 61
they and their brothers had built the log-hut the
previous winter. They had already a good-sized
field fenced in and under cultivation and had besides
a herd of cattle, the intention of the family being to
move west in a few months.
On hearing of the loss of our provisions and stores,
they at once set to work to get supper ready; and, as
they had killed a deer that morning and had a good
supply of flour, coffee and other articles, they soon
placed an abundant meal smoking on the table. We
at once discovered that they were superior to the
general run of backwoodsmen, having a fair edu-
cation, at the same time that they were hardy
persevering fellows, and bold buffalo and deer
hunters, who held the Redskins in supreme contempt.
Their family, they told us, resided somewhere about
a hundred miles away to the eastward. They had
pushed thus far into the wilderness to form a home
for themselves, both young men intending to marry
shortly and set up house. Their father's farm was
close to the very settlement for which we were bound,
and the nearest where we were likely to get our
wants amply supplied. They were sure, they said,
that their father would be happy to receive us and
assist us in obtaining all we required. We thanked
them and gladly accepted their kind offer.
Supper being over, we lay down in our buffalo robes;
and I need scarcely say that, having no longer the
fear of being aroused by finding an Indian's scalp-
ing-knife running round my head, I was quickly fast
asleep, fully expecting to have a good night's rest.
My sleep, however, at length became troubled. I
62 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
dreamed that I heard the Indian war-whoops, and
saw a whole band of savages spring out of the dark-
ness and rush with uplifted tomahawks towards me
while I lay helpless on the ground. Presently the
cries increased, and I awoke with a start to hear a
terrific growling sound. It was that of a bear, I was
convinced. I saw that Mark Praeger, having got up
and struck a light, had taken down his rifle from the
wall and was going towards the door. I jumped up,
as did Armitage and Story, and followed him. As
he threw open the door, we saw, not a dozen paces
from the hut, a huge bear squatting on his hind-
quarters and apparently taking a leisurely survey of
Mark, as soon as he caught sight of his visitor, lifted
his rifle and fired, but the cap failed to go off. It
would have been a fine opportunity for Bruin to have
made a rush upon us; when he might, by dashing
into the hut, have taken possession and killed us all
one after the other, or driven us out. Instead of doing
so, alarmed by the shouts we raised, uttering a low
growl, he turned round and broke away through the
brushwood on one side of the hut.
"On lads cried Mark, we must get that fellow
for the sake of the meat and skin."
As he spoke he replaced the copper cap and dashed
forward in pursuit of the intruder. As we had no wish
to go bear-hunting unarmed, we hurried back to obtain
our rifles and some powder and bullets from Simon.
By the time we were supplied, the rest of the party
who had been aroused by our shouts, were on foot
and preparing to accompany us. On returning to the
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 63
MARK PRAEGER AND THE BEAR.
64 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
door, we could nowhere see Mark; but Simon taking
the lead we followed him. The moon had got up, so
that we managed to see our way with tolerable clear-
ness, by a path leading down to a stream, with pre-
cipitous banks, rising in some places into cliffs of con-
siderable height. We had gone some distance when
we heard a shot fired.
"Mark has brought Master Bruin to bay," cried
Simon; "I wish he had waited until we had come
I heard the sound of footsteps behind us, and looking
round saw that our Indian allies had followed, as eager
as we were to get the bear's meat. Just then we saw
Mark bending over the bear which he had shot; but
what was our horror the next moment to observe
another huge monster rush out from behind a rock
and lifting itself on its haunches make a spring at
him, before he could even turn round to defend him-
self. His death seemed certain. In attempting to
shoot the bear, we should too probably kill him. No
one therefore dared to fire. In vain he endeavoured to
escape from the claws of the creature who held him in
a fast embrace. His brother and Armitage, who were
leading, dashed forward, the one drawing a long knife,
the other armed with an axe which he had caught up
as we left the hut. I held my gun ready, waiting to
fire should I be able to do so without running the risk
of shooting one of my friends.
It was a fearful moment. It seemed scarcely pos-
sible, even should we kill the bear, that poor Mark
would escape destruction. Simon, springing close to'
the monster, dealt it a tremendous blow with his axe,
I ~ T .11,1!
F R ;M- 1-L
A "FEARFUL MQWIE^T" FOR MARK PRAECER,
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR 1 WEST. 67
hoping to draw its attention on himself; while
Armitage, with his uplifted knife, dashed forward,
ard as he did so plunged his weapon behind the
bear's shoulder. The monster turned round on feel-
ing the wound, and I thought would have bitten
Mark's head. Simon again plied the brute with his
axe. The huge jaws relaxed, the head sank down,
Armitage had driven his knife home to the beast's
With shouts, indicative of their satisfaction, the
Indians now hurried up and assisted us in dragging
off the body from our fallen friend who was by this
time nearly senseless. The bear's claws had torn
him fearfully about the breast and shoulders, besides
having given him a tremendous hug, but had, we
hoped, injured no vital part. He was unable, however,
to speak or stand. We at once, therefore, formed a
litter with poles speedily cut from the banks of the
stream, on which we bore him back to the hut, leaving
the Indians under the command of Pierre to cut up
the bears and bring in their flesh and skins, an
occupation to which they applied themselves with
ON arriving at the hut with our almost inanimate
burden, we found the captain and Charlie in a state
of great anxiety to know what had happened; for
they had, I should have said, been undressed, and
placed in our hosts' beds, their wounds preventing
them from putting on their clothes. The captain
insisted on turning out when he saw the sad con-
dition of Mark; and he moreover undertook to doctor
him as well as he was able. It appeared evident,
however, that as soon as possible Mark and Charley
should be removed to the settlement, where they
could obtain surgical aid. Mark in a short time
revived. From the captain's report, we had hopes
that, on account of his fine constitution, he would
escape inflammation, which was chiefly, under his
circumstances, to be feared.
The Praegers had a light wagon, into which, soon
after breakfast was over the next morning, we put
our three wounded companions, and leaving Pierre
and the Indians with Simon Praeger, we set off for
Tillydrone. We would gladly have had another day's
rest, but the impossibility of obtaining medical as.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 69
distance for poor Mark and Charley made us willing
to undergo the fatigue.
The country was tolerably level,-there being a fine
open prairie, across which we rattled at a good speed,
though the unavoidable jolting must have greatly
tried our poor friends within. I was very thankful
when Mark, looking out of the wagon, told us that we
were approaching his father's house. Our cavalcade
must have been seen, for in a short time two horse-
men came galloping up to us: the elder, a fine-look-
ing, middle-aged man, Mark saluted as his father;
the other as brother Peter. A few words explained
what had happened. Mr. Praeger immediately in-
vited us all to his house, while Peter started off as
fast as he could go to summon the doctor.
The house to which we were conducted was a pic-
turesque, comfortable-looking building, constructed
of wood, with a low pitched roof, and wide long
verandah, up to which a flight of broad steps led us.
We found a matronly-looking dame, with a bevy of
young ones, standing in the verandah, evidently
wondering at the number of guests Mr. Praeger was
bringing to the house. They were all activity on
hearing the state of the occupants of the wagon, and
hurried down the steps to assist in lifting in our
wounded companions, for neither Charley nor Mark
were able to walk. The captain, however, got up the
steps by merely leaning on Mr. Praeger's arm.
In a few minutes all three were placed in bed, Mrs.
Praeger declaring that it was the only place fit for
either of them, though her son was certainly the most
70 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
The young ladies were so busy during the evening,
flitting about here and there, that I could scarcely tell
how many there were of them. I remarked, however,
that one was taller than the others, very fair, and
with a graceful figure. When Armitage-who had
remained out of sight, looking after the horses-came
in, she was not in the room, and it was some time
before she returned. When she did so, he rose to his
feet, and regarded her earnestly, while the colour
mounted to his cheek and brow; then he bowed, and
stood apparently irresolute whether to advance or
retreat. She started on seeing him and then put out
her hand. He sprang across the room and took it.
I little expected to have the happiness of seeing
you, Miss Hargrave," he said.
"Is it a happiness?" she asked, in a calm tone.
"Indeed it is," he replied. I heard that you had
left England, but could not ascertain to what part of
the world you had gone."
What further passed between our friend and the
young lady I cannot tell, as they lowered their voices,
while they retired to a window at the other end of the
room, Armitage forgetting all about his supper.
The ladies of the family, I should say, did not sit
down to table, as they had already taken their even-
ing meal, and insisted on waiting upon us.
Peter Praeger returned sooner than was expected
with the doctor, whom he found on a visit to a family
five or six miles off.
He gave a more favourable report of Dick and
Charley than I expected, but young Mark, he said,
would require the greatest possible care; a good con-
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 71
stitution, however, he hoped, would enable him to
pull through, though his hurts were of a most serious
I had no opportunity of speaking to Armitage
before turning in, so I was unable to ascertain more
about the young lady he had so unexpectedly met.
The rest of the family were very nice and pretty girls,
their manners much superior to what I had reasonably
supposed would be found in the Far West."
Soon after breakfast the next morning, I saw
Armitage and Miss Hargrave walking out together,
he having asked her to show him a beautiful view
she had spoken of at the other end of the estate. The
rest of the young ladies being occupied, Story and I
lit our pipes, and were sitting smoking them in the
verandah, when we were joined by Mr. Praeger.
Your companion appears to be an old friend of my
young relative," he observed, as if apparently wishing
to learn something about Armitage.
I replied that he was well known to Lieutenant
Buntin, who spoke highly of him; and that he was
evidently a man of some means, as we judged from
his outfit and the number of his attendants, while
we had found him a most excellent fellow in every
"I'm glad to hear it, for the sake of my wife's
young cousin Ellen," he answered. "She came out
to us a few months ago, having lost her parents, and
having no relatives for whom she cared in England.
She had, however, very little idea of the rough style
of life we are compelled to lead; but she at once got
into our ways, though I observed what I could not
72 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
account for, that she was often more melancholy than
was consistent with her disposition. Now, however,
I suspect the cause."
I fully agreed with our out-spoken host. I soon
found that we were not likely to learn anything of
the interesting subject from Armitage himself, for he
was remarkably reticent, and I saw that it would not
do to banter him, or allude in any way to it.
I must pass over several days, during which the
doctor as well as the ladies of the family were unre-
mitting in their attentions to the wounded men. The
captain was soon himself again, though still too weak
to travel; but Charley's wound took much longer to
heal, and Mark was not likely to be on foot again for
three or four weeks at soonest. In the meantime,
Story and I, with our constant companion, Peter,
rode over to the settlement to obtain the stores we
required for our journey, as well as to replace our
While thus engaged, we found an old trapper also
making purchases at the stores. He was tall and
gaunt, his countenance weather beaten and sunburnt,
of a ruddy brown hue, his hair-which hung over his
shoulders-being only slightly grizzled, while his chin
and face were smooth shaved. He was dressed in a
hunting-frock of buckskin, and pantaloons of the
same 'material ornamented down the seams with long
fringes. On his feet he wore mocassins of Indian
make; his head was covered by a neatly-made cap of
beaver; an unusually large powder-horn was slung
over his shoulders, together with a rifle, carefully
covered up; while in his belt, in addition to a knife
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 73
and tomakawk, he carried a brace of pistols with long
barrels, showing that he was accustomed to travel
amongst enemies, and was prepared to make a stout
fight if he was attacked. On seeing us, he enquired
who we were, where we had come from, and in what
direction we were going.
We told him without hesitation.
"I guess the old hoss will go with you some of
the way," he said. Tell Master Praeger that Ben
Folkard will pay him a visit before long, I can't say
when. He knows me, and he knows when I say I'll
do a thing I intend to do it."
We promised to give old Folkard's message, and
soon afterwards we parted from him. Peter told us
that he had heard his father speak of Ben Folkard as
one of the most noted and skilful trappers of the
Rocky Mountains, and that he never turned up with-
out a large supply of skins and peltries.
We were fortunate in obtaining some fine Mexican
mules and all the articles we required, though we had
to pay somewhat highly for them. Well satisfied, we
set off to return to Mr. Praeger's. The houses and
the stores were few and far between, the intermediate
country being still in a state of nature. As our laden
mules could not travel fast, we had to camp on the
way. We chose a grassy spot near a wood, offering
sufficient attractions to our animals to prevent them
from straying, though of course we hobbled them as
an additional security.
While Peter remained in camp, Story and I took
our guns to get a turkey, or any other game which
might come in our way. We had not gone far when
74 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
Story called my attention to an animal standing on
the fallen trunk of a tree, and told me to keep back
the dogs, which would be sure to suffer if they were to
attack it. I was about to fire, when I caught sight of
another animal of similar size with a long, thin body
and sharp nose, which I at once recognized as a
marten. It had apparently been watching the por-
cupine, who, unconscious of its approach, remained
perfectly still, its spines scarcely visible. The marten
was intent on taking its enemy by surprise; and,
stealing up, threw itself on the unsuspicious porcu-
pine before it had time even to raise its spines. The
moment it felt itself seized, it began to lash its tail
about and throw out its quills in all directions; but
the marten, by its wonderful agility, escaped the
blows aimed at it. In a short time it gained the
victory, and was already sucking the blood of its
victim when Story fired and hit it in the head. As
the skin was of considerable value, we quickly flayed
it, and with a couple of turkeys which we were for-
tunate enough to shoot, returned to camp, where, to
our surprise, we found old Folkard seated smoking
I'm going along with you, boys," he said. Good
company isn't always to be got, and it's not always
safe, while the Redskins are on the war-path, to
travel .through the country alone. You can help me
and I can help you, so that we shall be quits."
We, of course, told the trapper that we should be
very happy to have the benefit of his experience.
We passed the night quietly enough; but the next
morning, to our excessive disgust, half the mules
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 7:
S ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ l :it: lt- --
- - t l,: 1 '1;,_ I
A MA K I P U
AIi MARTEN IING I PORCUPINE.
L ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ -*Q, -- __________
76 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
were missing. In spite of their hobbles, they had
managed to get away. Peter and I with two men at
once set off in search of them; but it was not until
late in the day that we found the runaways. As soon
as we had brought them back we started, but of
course could make but a short distance. On camping,
with the assistance of the old trapper we hobbled
them more securely than on the previous night, and
by his advice a watch was set, we all taking the duty
in turns. Old Ben, however, excused himself from
watching, declaring that his mules never ran away,
and that as he should have to keep wide awake during
most nights by and by, he should prefer a sound sleep
while he could get it.
To this we made no objection. We placed the
packs on one side of our camp-fire, near which, having
taken our suppers, the old trapper, Peter, and Story
lay down to sleep; while I, with my rifle in my hand,
walked off to look after the horses and mules. I kept
walking -up and down, keeping my eyes open, and
when any of the animals appeared inclined to head
off from the rest turned them back. The night was
fine and the stars shone out brightly, bfit it was other-
wise somewhat dark. At last I began to yawn and
to wish heartily that Story would come and relieve
me. Once or twice I heard cries in the distance very
similar to those which had disturbed us when further
to the west, but here, so near the settled districts, I
thought nothing of the matter. I suspected that the
cunning mules were watching me, for when I turned
towards the camp to call Story, off one or two of
them bolted. They had played me this trick two or
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 71
WOLVES MAKING OFF WITH QUR BAGGAGE. 7
WOLVES MAKING OFF WITH OUR BAGGAGE, [I 7Q,
78 ADVENTURES NV THE FAR WEST.
three times, and at last one of them led me so long a
chase that when I caught him I determined to punish
the brute by securing him to a tree. Having done
so I turned towards the camp, but the fire had burnt
so low that I could scarcely see the spot. There wa*
light enough, however, to enable me to distinguish
several objects moving over the ground. Can they be
Indians ? I thought, as I ran forward hoping to arouse
my companions in time to defend themselves. Before
I got up to the camp, however, I saw what I at once
knew to be a pack of wolves. On they came without
bark or yelp, making straight for our baggage.
Among the provisions we had purchased was a quan-
tity of pemmican placed on the top. I really believe
that the wolves, cunning as foxes, had surveyed our
camp and knew exactly what to go in for. I shouted
loudly, hoping to frighten them off and awaken my
friends; but even old Ben was sleeping so soundly
that for some time no one heard my voice, while I
was afraid to fire at the wolves for fear-in the uncer-
tain light-of hitting one of my sleeping companions.
At length up sprang Story and Peter, and their
cries aroused the old trapper. It was too late, how-
ever, to prevent the wolves making an onslaught on
our baggage. Each seized something in his mouth,
but our cries prevented them from remaining and
devouring the whole of our provisions, which they
undoubtedly otherwise would have done. Off they
went, several of the rascals carrying bags of pemmi-
can or of flour, or packages of hams in their mouths.
I fired and stopped the career of one of them, while
my companions, imitating my example, shot three
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. ')
others. We then, having reloaded, made chase and
brought down two or three more.
We should have regained the whole of our pro-
visions, but, in several instances, the moment a wolf
was shot another brute seized his prize and made off
with it. Under other circumstances we should not
have expended powder on the brutes. We fired
away, however, as long as any remained within shot,
and on searching for the booty we recovered nearly
the whole of it. Our chief loss was in our flour, as
the animals, while grabbing the bags from each
other, had well nigh torn them to pieces and let the
contents run out.
Old Ben took matters very coolly, but Story and
Peter were so vexed that they undertook to ride back
and replace our loss, if we would consent to move on
slowly with the rest of the animals. This we gladly
did, the old trapper managing them with perfect ease.
He said that he had seldom known a pack of wolves
to come so far east, and advised that in future we
should keep a sharp look-out lest we might encounter
Our friends overtook us the next day, and in the
evening we reached Mr. Praeger's. We found Dick
quite recovered and ready to set off again; but it
seemed doubtful whether Armitage would continue
his expedition. It struck me that although Mr.
Praeger was very civil, he would be glad to have us
go. To say the least, we occupied a great deal of the
attention of the ladies of the family, and Charley
hinted that honest Dick was somewhat spoony on one
of them. Story had also been warm in his praises of
go ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
another, and it struck me that the young lady's colour
heightened and her eyes brightened when he spoke
Mr. Praeger seemed less contented with his loca-
tion than I should have thought. He had evidently
been captivated by the accounts of the wealth of
California, and he made his "woman kind" some-
what uneasy by talking of travelling across the
country, bag and baggage, to settle in the new El-
dorado. They evidently had no wish to move; which
was but natural, as they appeared to me to have
everything they could desire, besides being free from
the risk of Indian raids to which the settlers farther
west were constantly exposed. Dick, Story and I
now made active preparations for our departure; and,
to my surprise, and much to our satisfaction, Armi-
tage expressed his intention of accompanying us.
I thought that Ellen's countenance and those -of
some of the other young ladies had a shade of sad-
ness on them as they saw us engaged in doing .up our
packs and trying our newly-bought mules. Dick and
I each purchased a strong, active horse from Mr.
Praeger, for which we gave him long prices as some
return for his hospitality; and we then presented him
with our own steeds, which were likely to pick up
muscle and flesh on his rich pastures.
Though he was as courteous as ever, he did not
press us to stay, and at length, all our traps being
prepared, we set off, accompanied by old Folkard,
who did not even ask whether we wished for his
society or not. Armitage remained behind, so I did
not witness his parting with Miss Hargrave, but he
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 81
soon galloped after us. Peter accompanied us as far
as his brother's, to take the place of poor Mark, who
was still unfit for work, though in a fair way of re-
covery. We spent a day with the young backwoods-
men, whose hearts were delighted with a present of a
first-rate Joe Manton. Our intention was to push on
for the base of the Rocky Mountains to a region
where deer and buffalo and big-horns abounded. We
shot several deer, but as we had come across no
buffalo, the larger herds had, we supposed, moved
northward. We had encamped one afternoon earlier
than usual, being tempted to halt by a wide stream
and a wood near at hand. Our fire being lighted and
our meat put on to roast and stew, Armitage, Story,
and I took our guns to go out in search of turkeys or
other small game, should we be unable to find deer.
Armitage took two of his dogs, though they often
gave us more trouble than assistance in hunting. We
had, however, been tolerably successful, and shot
three fine gobblers and some smaller birds, when,
as we were returning towards camp, the dogs gave
tongue and started off to the right, refusing to return
at their master's call.
We hurried on as fast as the rough nature of the
ground would allow us. We were on the top of some
low cliffs which had formed at some time or other of
the world's history the side of a torrent now dried
up and overgrown with trees. Presently we heard a
"Here, boys, help, help! "
At the same time one of the dogs leaped over the
cliff, and we saw a short distance from us Charley
82 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
struggling with a brown bear, providentially not a
grizzly, which with great courage he had grasped by
the throat so as to prevent the brute from biting him;
but he was brought on his knees, his cap had fallen
off, and his gun lay on the ground beside him. In
another instant the bear would have seized his head,
when the dog leaped down on the creature's back and
caused a diversion in his favour. To fire would have
been dangerous, for had we tried to kill the bear we
should have run a fearful risk of shooting Charley.
We therefore trusted to the assistance of the dogs,
the other, 'following its companion, having fixed its
teeth well into the bear. Charley manfully continued
the contest, but was afraid of releasing his hold of
the bear's throat lest it should bite him.
We shouted and shrieked, hoping to frighten Bruin,
as we scrambled over the rocks. At length Charley,
still holding the bear's throat with one hand, managed
to get hold of his knife with the other, and in spite of
the creature's claws round his waist, using all his
strength he struck the weapon into its breast. The
bear opened its paws as it felt the knife entering, and
Charley, having driven the weapon home, sprang
back, when the creature rolled over, almost crushing
one of the dogs in its convulsive struggles. Before
we could get up to the scene of the contest it was
dead, and most thankful were we to find Charley
wonderfully little injured, though his clothes were
somewhat torn. Our young friend showed indeed
remarkable nerve, for he scarcely even trembled,
though his cheek was somewhat paler than usual
from the desperate exertions he had made.
"HE STRUCK THE WEAPON INTO ITS BREAST."
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 85
On examining the bear we found that it was an old
one, and somewhat thin from want of food; its claws
also were blunted from old age, which circumstance
accounted for Charley's almost miraculous escape, for
had it possessed its full strength a single hug would
have pressed the life out of his body.
We congratulated him heartily on his preserva-
tion, and complimented him on the courage he had
"Let us have the skin, at all events," he said. "I
would sooner carry it on my own shoulders into camp
than leave it behind."
"We'll not disappoint you, my boy," said Story;
and he immediately began to flay the animal; but as
its flesh was likely to prove tough, we left the carcase
for the benefit of the prairie wolves.
While Story and I carried the skin between us,
Armitage assisted Charley, who was less able to walk
than he had at first supposed. A man cannot get
even a moderate hug from a bear without suffering.
At the camp we found two strange Indians, who
seemed disposed to be very friendly, and invited us
to pay them a visit at their lodges only an hour's
march off. One of them was a fine young fellow,
dressed in a leather jacket and leggings richly orna-
mented, while on his head he wore a circlet of feathers.
He appeared to be greatly struck with Charley on
hearing of his exploit with the bear, and putting out
his hand, declared that they must henceforth be
Dick, though greatly delighted at hearing of
Charley's behaviour, was much concerned on seeing
86 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
the injuries he had received, which were more serious
than we had at first supposed. He insisted on his
turning into a hut which old Folkard and Pierre im-
mediately set to work to construct.
Our guests begged that he might be conveyed to
their wigwams, saying that their squaws would doctor
him and soon restore his strength.
They may be honest-those Shianees-but they
may be rogues like many other Redskins," observed
old Ben. Better not trust them."
We therefore thanked our guests, but declined their
offer for the present, saying that our young com-
panion was unfit to be moved, though we hoped to
pay them a visit on the following day.
They, nothing abashed, continued to squat round
the fire, smoking tobacco and quaffing with evident
pleasure the small glasses of usquebaugh which Dick
bestowed upon them. Armitage objected, however,
to the captain's giving them liquor.
"Let them take as much as they've a fancy to,"
said Ben. It wont do them any harm once in a
way, and it will let us know what they are thinking
Our guests having drunk the whisky, showed the
same friendly disposition as at first, nor did they
complain when Dick refused to give them any more.
"A little do good, too much do harm," observed
Dick, at which they nodded as if perfectly agreeing
As the shades ot evening approached, they got up,
-and shaking hands all round, took their departure.
"They're all right, we may trust them," said Ben.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 87
We nevertheless kept a strict watch over our cattle,
for the temptation to steal a fine stud might have
been too great for our Indian neighbours to resist.
No attempt was made on the camp however, and the
next morning the animals were found feeding as
quietly as usual.
^*l4-^^ --~ '*^V
A TREMENDOUS storm, such as we had not yet ex-
perienced, kept us in camp the next morning. The
lightning flashed, the thunder roared, and the rain
came down in torrents, compelling us to make
trenches round our huts. Even when doing this, we
were nearly wet to the skin. Our fires also were
almost extinguished, though we contrived to keep
them in by heaping up fresh fuel every few minutes.
It was truly a battle between the flames and the rain,
but the former would have been beaten without our
assistance. The same cause probably kept the In-
dians inside their wigwams, for we saw nothing of
them. We managed to cover up poor Charley so
that he did not suffer. In the afternoon, the rain
cleared off, and trusting to the professions of the
Indians, Dick and I set off to pay them a visit. For
prudence, according to the custom we had adopted,
we wore our swords by our sides, at which, as they
appeared rather more for ornament than use, the
Indians were not likely to take offence. One of the
Indians, who had come to our camp the previous
evening, was, we discovered, their chief, by name
Ocuno, or the Yellow Wolf. He received us with
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 89
outstretched hands, appearing highly pleased at our
coming, and without hesitation introduced us to his
principal squaw, a very attractive young woman with
a pleasing expression of countenance, and much
fairer than Indians in general, indeed we had no
doubt that she must have had a white father. She
told us that she was much attached to the whites, and
had not it been her lot to become the wife of Yellow
Wolf, she would gladly have married a pale face.
Dick was so well satisfied, that he agreed to bring his
young friend over to their village the next morning,
that he might be placed under her charge.
The Yellow Wolf told us that he intended to start
in search of buffalo in a day or two, and that if we
chose, we might accompany him, promising that we
should have half the animals slain; "for," as he ob-
served, he and his people were more expert hunters,
yet our firearms would make amends for our want of
After spending some time with our new friends, we
returned to our own camp. The offer of Yellow Wolf
was accepted by all hands, and in the morning we
conveyed Charley on a litter to his lodge, the baggage
mules and spare horses being also moved forward to
the neighbourhood of the village. We found the
Indians preparing to engage in a dance, which we
supposed was for our entertainment, but which we
afterwards discovered, was for the sake of inducing
the Good Spirit to send herds of buffalo to their
As soon as Charley was comfortably placed inside
his wigwam, and the fair Manoa, the Flower of the
90 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
Prairies "-as her lord was wont to call her-was ex-
amining his hurts, the Yellow Wolf desired us to be
seated in front of it. Scarcely had we taken our
places, than from every hut rushed forward some
monstrous figures with buffalo heads, but the legs of
men and huge tails trailing behind, the whole of the
party collecting in an open space in front of us. They
were about to begin, we were told, their famous
buffalo dance. First round and round they tramped
with measured steps, then they rushed against each
other, then separated, then again met. Some were
overthrown, but quickly getting on their feet, rejoined
their companions. Now they bent down on all fours;
now one buffalo, seizing a bow, shot a blunt arrow at
another. Some had shields and spears; some,
mounted on the backs of their companions, charged
at everyone they met; all the time the whole band
were stamping, bellowing, yelping, and making other
terrific noises, while another party were seated on
the ground beating their, drums, and shaking their
rattles, the dancers keeping time to .the discordant
music. It is difficult to describe the feats of the dif-
ferent performers, for each man appeared to dance
until he could dance no more, except that when a
pretended buffalo was shot by a blunt arrow, he was
dragged out, and another immediately took his place.
This amusement went on until we were utterly
weary of witnessing it, though at first it was amusing
enough. I then suggested to Yellow Wolf that he
should order the dancers to "knock off;" but he
replied that the efficacy of the ceremony depended
upon its continuing until the buffalo should appear.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 91
"But suppose they should not come for a whole
moon, your braves will be pretty well worn out by
that time," I remarked.
"But they will come before then," he answered.
"So I should hope," I said, laughing.
At last a bevy of squaws placed on the ground, in
front of the tent, an abundant feast of various messes,
of which our host invited us to partake, suggesting
that we should add a few articles from our own stores,
including a bottle of fire-water, "for which," he ob-
served, "his lips felt a peculiar longing."
We took the hint, but Dick ordered only a small
bottle to be brought, observing that we kept the fire-
water for sick men, or for such occasions as the
present, and that we could not venture to draw largely
on our store..
Unattractive as were the dishes the Redskin dam-
sels offered us, they were far more palatable than
might have been expected.
As the Indians liked their own dishes best, and we
preferred ours, we did not trespass very largely on
theirs. We found from the small amount of meat in
the village, that the inhabitants were more hard up
for food than we had supposed.
The buffalo dancers all the time continued their
performance, being evidently impressed with the
belief that the more furiously they danced, the sooner
the buffaloes would make their appearance. Night
brought no cessation, one relay of performers reliev-
ing the other without intermission; so that I was
afraid poor Charley would have but little chance of a
sleep. He, however, when I paid him a visit before
92 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
retiring, assured me that he had got accustomed to
the noise; and that the Flower of the Prairies had
taken such good care of him that he was perfectly
ready to remain where he was. Although we had
every confidence in the honesty of our new friends, we
deemed it prudent to keep a watch at night, both in
camp and over the animals, for fear some young
brave might take it into his head to distinguish him-
self by running off with a horse or two, as he would
be sure to find a welcome among any friendly tribe,
after the performance of such an act. I have no
doubt there are some noble Redskins fit to become
heroes of romances; but the greater part are unmiti-
gated savages, with notions of right and wrong very
different from those of civilized people.
The next day we paid a visit to Yellow Wolf, when
we found his people still dancing with unabated
"The buffalo have not come yet!" I observed to
Wait a bit, they come by-and-by," he replied.
Dick suggested that we should strike away westward
in search of them, but Yellow Wolf replied that it
would be of no use, and that probably the. buffalo
would turn back and take a different course, should
the pale-faces pursue them.
Old Ben advised us not to act contrary to the
chief's wishes, observing that he undoubtedly had a
very correct notion of when the buffalo would appear,
as he never allowed the dance to commence until he
calculated that the herd were not far off.
Wishing to cement our friendship with the chief
7 t ~ 3- '
I: sb .a ~b-11Ei
I ~ T D AN B FF L D N L. o
94 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
we invited him and some of his principal braves to
our camp, where we provided a feast as suitable to
their tastes as we were capable of producing. They
approved of the boiled ham and pork as well as the
corn cakes, sweetened with sugar, which old Ben
manufactured; but they hinted pretty strongly that
the stuff our flasks contained was more to their taste
than anything else we possessed. We took good
care, however, not to give them enough to make them
drunk; but Armitage observed that we were doing
them harm by creating in them a taste for spirits, and
that it would have been wiser not to allow them from
the first to know that we had any.
The feast was over, and our guests were smoking
the tobacco with which we provided them, puffing
away with evident enjoyment, when a young brave
was seen galloping towards our camp at headlong
speed. As he approached, he cried out,-
"The buffalo! the buffalo are coming! "
"I said so! exclaimed Yellow Wolf, springing up
and rushing towards his horse. We all followed his
example, leaving Pierre and the Indians in charge of
Yellow Wolf and his followers directed their course
towards their lodges to obtain their bows and arrows;
for, to show the confidence they placed in us, they
had come without them. As we came near, we saw,
far to the north and north-west, the whole ground
covered with a dark mass of shaggy monsters, tossing
their heads and flourishing their tails, the ground
literally trembling beneath their feet as they dashed
on towards us. The course they were following
---c; __ ..
THE BUFFALO CHARGING THE CAMP.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST. 97
would bring them directly down upon the camp. We
might as well have endeavoured to stop a cataract as
to have tried to turn them aside. Their sudden ap-
pearance caused the greatest excitement and confu-
sion in the camp. The buffalo dancers, who had
danced they were convinced to some purpose, having
thrown off their masquerading dresses, were rushing
here and there to obtain their arms and catch their
horses. Before, however, the greater number were
ready for the encounter, the buffalo were in their
midst; and, to the dismay of the inmates, charged
right through the camp, capsizing wigwams, tram-
pling over women and children, dashing through the
fires, and crushing pots and pans. Many of the brutes,
however, paid dearly for their exploit; as the hunters,
with shouts and shrieks, followed them up, shooting
down some, spearing others, and hamstringing the
brutes right and left, who were too much astonished
and confused at the unexpected reception they met
with to escape. I made my way to the chief's wig-
wam, which I was thankful to see still standing, and
was just in time to shoot a buffalo charging at it with
a force which would have upset a structure of ten
times its stability. As it was, the animal rolled over,
close to the tent poles. It was the first buffalo I had
killed, and I was the prouder of the exploit as I had
saved Charlie and the Flower of the Prairies from
injury. I saw the chief galloping after another
buffalo charging an old warrior fallen to the ground,
and who would, in another moment, have been trans-
fixed by its horns, had not Yellow Wolf stuck his
spear behind its shoulder so powerful a blow that the
98 ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
creature rolled over, not, however, without almost
crushing the old man's legs. The fierce onslaught
made by the Indians on the herd at length divided it,
some of the animals going off to the south-east, others
to the south-west. Greatly to our satisfaction they
then passed by on either side of our camp, several of
their number being brought down by Ben Folkard's
and Pierre's unerring rifles, three also being killed by
our Indian followers. We, as well as the Indians,
however, excited by the chase, still followed the
buffaloes, although it seemed to me that we had
already as much meat as the people could possibly
Away we went, the Indians pursuing the cows,
which they had singled out, their flesh being of the
most value, though they were much smaller than the
bulls. I confess, as they were all galloping along
together, that I could scarcely distinguish one from
the other. I found myself at length alone, pursuing
part of the herd which had turned away eastward. I
had managed to knock over two animals, and having
again loaded made chase after a cow which had sepa-
rated from her companions, I being determined to
shoot her and then return. For some time she gave
me no chance, as, unless I could obtain a broad-
side shot, there was no use in firing. My horse
was beginning to get blown, but I urged him on with
whip and spur, until at length I managed to get up to
within a few paces, when rising in my stirrups I fired
down upon the animal. It seemed like the work of a
moment, scarcely had I pulled the trigger than down
dropped the buffalo, the bullet having broken her