Citation
The Master of the strong hearts

Material Information

Title:
The Master of the strong hearts : a story of Custer's last rally
Creator:
Brooks, Elbridge Streeter, 1846-1902 ( Author, Primary )
Cary, William de la Montagne, 1840-1922 ( Illustrator )
E.P. Dutton (Firm) ( Publisher )
Knickerbocker Press ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
E.P. Dutton and Company
Manufacturer:
Knickerbocker Press
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 314 p., [10] leaves of plates : ill. ; 22 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876 -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Social life and customs -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
War -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Massacres -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Survival skills -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Determination (Personality trait) -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Kindness -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Boys -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1898 ( rbgenr )
Biographical fiction -- 1898 ( rbgenr )
Baldwin -- 1898
Genre:
Children's literature ( fast )
Biographical fiction ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Title page engraved.
General Note:
Pictorial front cover and spine.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Elbridge S. Brooks ; illustrated by Wm. M. Cary.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026606301 ( ALEPH )
ALG3013 ( NOTIS )
03087463 ( OCLC )
98000124 ( LCCN )

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Full Text
\

. R OF TH
STRONG HEARTS.

D

eee













The Baldwin Library [ahod

RMB vii | |











Page 138. JACK IS CAPTURED. Frontispiece.





THE MASTER OF THE
STRONG HEARTS

A STORY OF CUSTER’S LAST RALLY

BY

ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS

Author of ‘‘ Historic Boys,” ‘‘ The Story of the American Indian,”
“The Century Book of the American Revolution,” ‘A Boy
of the First Empire,’’ ‘‘ A Son of the Revolution,” etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY WM. M. CARY



SITTING BULL
From a Photograph

NEW YORK
E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY
31 West TWENTY-THIRD STREET

1898



CopyRIGHT, 1898
BY
E. P. DUTTON & CO.

The Rnickerbocker Press, Hew Work





PREFACE.

OT since Nolan gave the word that made the
charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava a
glorious and deathless blunder has so notable an
unnecessary slaughter of gallant men found place on
the records of heroism as that of Custer’s last rally
in the valley of the Little Big Horn.

Ambuscades have been a feature of every Ameri-
can war from the days of Braddock on the Monon-
gahela to the entrapment of the Rough Riders at
La Quasina; but Custer’s defeat was more than an
ambuscade; it was the culmination of Indian strategy
and generalship designed by one who was himself
no war-chief, and who proved himself neither hero
nor warrior,—Sitting Bull, the medicine-chief of the
Uncapapa Sioux, the crafty Master of the Strong
Hearts.

It is to tell, in story-fashion, but as correctly as
the sifted reports and records of both sides render
possible, the real tale of Custer’s last rally and heroic
death, that this book has been written. Intended,

‘primarily, for young Americans,—for those of our
boys and girls who delight in adventure and wish
their stories spiced with action,—the book still en-

iii



iv PREFACE.

deavors to appeal to all Americans, and to so deal
with facts as to explain, in some fashion, the causes

”

and ‘‘ misfits’’ of that rash enterprise which closed
in the tragedy of Custer and his brave troopers under
the bluffs of the Little Big Horn.

There were heroes on both sides, red and white
alike; while, in the character of the squaw-man, the
author seeks to do justice to a misunderstood and
vanishing type of border life.

For valuable assistance in the preparation of this
story, the author wishes to express his thanks to
those of both races who aided him with information
—-pale-face and Indian alike; for all, to-day, are
Americans.

Thanks are especially due to Mr. O. D. Wheeler,
of St. Paul, Mr. John F. Wallace of Bismarck, Miss
Alice C. Fletcher, of the Bureau of Ethnology, and
to two estimable Sioux women of North Dakota
whose expressed request alone withholds all mention
of their courtesy byname. To these, and the numer-
ous, if sometimes conflicting, authorities in print from
whom valuable suggestions were obtained, the au-
thor again expresses his indebtedness and thankful
appreciation.

ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS.

Boston, July 4, 1898.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER i PAGE

I, JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE . 5 5 f ie : I

II, ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA. 6 : 5 Sa 4
III. HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. Sat 23
IV. THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE fi : : : Bee 30
v. A MODERN REGULUS . i . : : : ee:
VI. THE RIVAL CHIEFS . : & 5 ; 2 68
VII, THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE x a : ee82)
VIII. HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF ‘ sine OF
Ix. ‘‘ THE WHITE CHIEF WITH YELLOW HAIR” : feekeE
X. HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY : : SAeL25
XI, HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE-POLE TRAIL. . 40
XIJ, WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE : a . 155
XIII HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. Bi : : . 169
XIV. HOW SITTING BULL’S MEDICINE CAME-TRUE 5 . 184
XV. HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK . ; : . 199
XVI. WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD . ‘ : Fi . 212
XVII. IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE . ‘ : : . 228
XVIII. ‘‘ WHERE IS CUSTER?” e 2 s 3 5 243
XIX, THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE . 3 : . 258
XX, PO-TO-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY 5 : : . 270
XXI, HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. . 285
XXII, AFTER MANY YEARS . 5 5 ; 5 : . 299









lke till laeaa

ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE
JACK IS CAPTURED . ; : : ; . Frontispiece
SITTING BULL, [FROM A PHOTOGRAPH]. : ; . Litle-page
JACK AND YOUNG WOLF. 3 A : : : ened!
SITTING BULL, YOUNG WOLF, AND JACK. : : : e395
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. : ‘ 5 . 5 508)
THE CAMP OF THE UNCAPAPA SIOUX : s : . 84
THE SUN-DANCE . : : és 5 . : 5 - 164
JACK’S ESCAPE : f : : é : : 182
CUSTER SEES THE INDIAN CAMP 5 ; e224:
THE RETURN OF THE ‘‘ KETTLE CORPS” 3 ‘ f . 254
COMANCHE, SOLE SURVIVOR . : : : . : . 296

vii





THE MASTER OF THE STRONG
HEARTS.

A STORY OF CUSTER’S LAST RALLY.



CHAPTER I.

JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE.

ERHAPS you think there can be no chance for °

adventure in a big, busy, crowded, humdrum
city like New York. I mean stirring, out-of-the-
way, uncitified adventures, of course.

Whether you do or not, that is precisely what
Jack Huntingdon was thinking as he walked slowly
along Rivington Street, on the East Side, one
Saturday morning in April in the year 1875.

Jack was sixteen, and had about decided that
there really was no kind of a show for an ambitious,
wide-awake young fellow in New York, especially if
he thought more of adventure than of arithmetic,
and was very certain that he was not cut out fora
clerk, a bookkeeper, or an apprentice.

Jack was a child of the war days, and the restless
I



2 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

blood of his soldier-father seemed sometimes to run
riot in his veins. He longed to see the world. He
was determined to do something and to be some-
body. At all events he was debating in his mind, as
he walked leisurely along Rivington Street, which
would suit him best—to get some sort of a position
at the big Centennial Exposition which was to be
held in Philadelphia the very next year, or to try
sheep-raising or cattle-ranching in Montana.

He had about decided in favor of Montana and
the cattle-ranch, when he was suddenly startled
from his dream of wealth and adventure by a yell,
familiar to all New York boys—the shrill slogan of
the street arab turned tormentor.

A half-dozen rapid steps brought him face to face
with the trouble.

Braced against an over-full ash-box of the old and
solid type leaned a figure that aroused in Jack
Huntingdon mingled feelings of pity, surprise, and
concern—a red Indian of the West in a state of
collapse. The white man’s fire-water and the un-
familiar surroundings of an inhospitable city had
quite driven all the ‘‘ Last-of-the-Mohicans ”’ spirit
from this transplanted savage, and he made but
feeble and half-hearted attempts to ward off the at-
tacks of the dancing circle of street urchins who
baited him with taunt and jeer and indignity, to
none of which would he respond.



JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 3

The Indian’s blanket had been pulled off, his
eagle feathers had been plucked out, and the rem-
nant of his costume was all awry. The tables were
_ turned with a vengeance. The Indian was at the
torture-stake; the palefaces were the tormentors—
and how relentless a street boy of the East Side can
be Jack Huntingdon knew from his own frequent ex-
perience at feud and foray, and the often-repeated
clash of boy against boy in the old-time ‘‘ war of the
sections ’’ in New York of the sixties and seventies.

Those, however, were equal fights; this was
simply an unmanly advantage. It aroused Jack’s
instant anger, and awoke at once his chivalry and
his desire to protect and aid the helpless.

The Indian certainly was helpless. Unnerved by
drink and unmanned by home-sickness, the young
brave—for he did not seem much older than Jack
himself—was quite a different figure from the Indian
warrior of Jack Huntingdon’s dreams.

Jack, to be sure, had seen many an Indian exhibi-
tion on the boards of Lamartine Hall, or of the
more pretentious Knickerbocker Hall of his day,
when the hordes of the West, under the lead. of
manager and ticket-agent, invaded the quiet pre-
cincts of Eighth Avenue. But he had never seen
one like this ; and Jack Huntingdon had been well
schooled in the Bible injunction to be hospitable to
the stranger within your gates.



4 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Heedless of the disparity of numbers, he sprang
to the rescue and dashed the yelling group aside.

““ What ’s the matter with you fellows ?’’ he de-
manded, indignantly. ‘‘ Are n’t you ashamed of
yourselves—plaguing him like this ? Can’t you see
he don’t know what to do? Let’s have your toma-
hawk, Johnnie,’’ he said, turning to the defenceless
Indian, into whose eyes had come the gleam of
grateful relief. ‘‘ What! don’t you carry a toma-
hawk with you ?’’—for he saw no such weapon in
belt or hand. ‘‘ What sort of an Injun are you,
anyhow? Here! clear out of this, all of you, or
Johnnie and I ’ll just scalp the whole lot!”’

This terrific threat, however, had no effect upon
the group of young ruffians, who, borne back at first
by Jack’s unexpected onset, now returned to the
fray with renewed vigor and exaggerated yells.

Jack was strong of arm and quick of fist, but the
protected Indian, still dazed and stupefied, was no
sort of aid, and the unequal struggle would have
ended in Jack’s utter defeat, had not an unlooked-
for police officer, attracted by the chorus of yells,
appeared on the scene.

Jack spied him at once, and, never stopping his
revolving battery of fisticuffs, raised his voice in the
call for help.

Club in hand the officer bore down upon the mélée.
But the assaulting force had caught the gleam of









ee a ee

JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE, 5

blue and billy that marked the coming of the Law
—their mortal enemy—and with loud cries of ‘‘ Lay

1’?

bones!’’ and “‘ Cheese, the cop!’’ they scattered in
all directions.

“What ’s up?’’ the policeman demanded.
““Who ’ve you got here, anyhow ?”’

Jack explained. The policeman inspected the
red stranger critically.

“Does look like an Injun,’’ he decided. .
““ Should n’t wonder but he ’s one of that crowd
that ’s stopping up at the Everett House—brought
on here from Out West, don’t you know, to see the
President. What ’s he say for himself ?”’

““ He don’t say,’’ Jack answered. ‘‘ Guess he-
can’t talk American.”’

“Not our American, anyhow,’’ the police officer
conceded, as a sort of amendment to Jack’s state-
ment. ‘‘ Some folks do say that these Injuns are
more “Americans than you or I be, young fellow.
Anyhow, you ’re a plucky one to stand up for him
so’’; and he patted Jack on the shoulder.

““What do you take me for—a heathen ?’’ de-
manded Jack Huntingdon. ‘‘ There was n’t any-
thing else to do. I hate to see a fellow picked on,
‘specially when he don’t understand what you ’re
driving at, and is half-seas-over besides. What ’ll
we do. with him ?”’

“ Better get him up to the hotel, double-quick,”’



6 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the officer replied. ‘‘ I don’t want to run him in,
and I can’t leave my beat to steer him up-town.
Can’t you take him there ?’”

“*T will if he can walk all right,’’ Jack made an-
swer. Then, turning to the young Indian, he said,
‘ Hi! Johnnie, can you come with me? I’ll get
you home all right.”’

Jack’s elaborate motions more than his words im-
pressed the rearoused Indian, versed in the elo-
quence of sign-language. He understood that he had
found a friend. Shaking himself out of his dispirited
and demoralized condition, he touched Jack’s arm
with a smile, laid a hand on the boy’s breast, then
on his own, pointed off vaguely toward the north,
and shook his head as if in uncertainty. Then,
straightening up, he flung out both hands with a
gesture that implied confidence, and ended his
pantomime by shaking hands vigorously with Jack,
at the same time giving voice to an earnest, if
guttural, ‘‘ How!”’

All this, Jack felt, implied, on the part of the In-
dian boy, a willingness to follow the white boy as
his guide and leader.

Evidently the police officer had the same opinion.

‘That ’s all right,’’ he said; “‘he ’ll go with
you, I guess. Come! stand back, can’t you ?’’ he
roared at the regathering crowd. ‘‘ Ain’t you
got any manners, you fellows, crowdin’ a poor Injun





SERENE RL TE aN EAR iE SEIS ee AS CALE 9



JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 7

this way? I ’ve got my eye on you, Swipsey
Burns!’’ he added, singling out one whom he evi-
dently recognized as a ringleader. ‘‘ Git, now! or
I ’ll know why,’’ and he swung his club threaten-
ingly.

“* Say, young fellow,’’ he motioned to Jack, ‘‘ pick
up the Injun and take him along. I ’ll go as far as
the Bowery with you. Then you get him up to the
hotel the best you can. And say! just you tell
his folks, or whoever has ’em in charge, to look
out that they don’t get wandering around, ’cause
they ‘Il get into trouble if they do. I guess this
one won't get lost again. He ’s had his lesson.
The East Side is n’t the per-airies, is it, my gallant
chief ? Better stay at home and shoot buffaloes in-
stead of trying to do New York—and New York
whiskey.’’

Jack had some misgivings, after he parted from
the policeman, as to his walk up the Bowery at mid-
day with a blanketed, long-haired Indian. But
Jack was brave enough to be able to face vulgar
curiosity and open ridicule, if need be, when it came
to a matter of right or duty, and a boy who can do
that manfully and unflinchingly is a good deal of a
hero. _

That is just what he did in this case. The Indian
stalked at his heels or walked at his side, stolid and
speechless. And at last, greatly relieved and fol-



8 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

lowed by a constantly growing trail of small boys,
big boys, and curiosity seekers, Jack guided his
charge into Union Square, and led him in through
the brown-pillared entrance of the Everett House.

““ Any Injuns stopping here ?’’ he demanded of
the surprised clerk as he piloted his red companion
to the desk. ‘‘ ’Cause, if there are, I ’ve got one of
"em that ’s lost himself.”’

“That ’s the chap we missed—Young Wolf, I
think they call him,’’ the clerk replied. ‘‘ Here!
front,’’—he touched the call-bell—‘‘ take this man
up to Injuns’ rooms. You ’d better go with him,
young fellow, and see the thing through.”’

Jack thought so, too. This was too uncommon
an adventure to drop before the end. His curiosity,
as well as his interest, was aroused, and he followed
the bell-boy and the Indian up the stairs.

In a suite on the third floor he came upon what
he called ‘‘ the whole Indian encampment ’’—some
half-dozen chiefs with their escort of agents and in-
terpreters.

One of the chiefs strode out from the group, and
grasping Young Wolf’s shoulder, propounded some
deep, brief, and guttural inquiry.

Jack looked at the questioner closely. He wasa
tall, powerfully built Indian, his color a light red,
his hair brown and long, parted in the middle like a
woman's, and crowned by an eagle’s plume. Broad of



JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 9

shoulder and strong of face, his single eagle feather
almost swept the chandelier in the centre of the
room, and he looked withal so big, so powerful, and
so commanding that Jack weakened just a bit in his
cattle-ranching decision, and decided that he would

”

rather meet the “ big Injun’’ in a hotel parlor in
New York than on one of the buttes or in one of the
cafions of the distant West.

Young Wolf replied briefly but energetically to
the chief’s inquiry, pointing repeatedly, as he talked,
toward Jack.

The big chief walked deliberately to the boy and
extended his hand.

““How!’’ he said. ‘‘ White boy—heap good,”’
and shook Jack’s hand vigorously.

Then the other Indians, following suit, gave the
boy the same hand-shake and word of commenda-
tion, while the big chief, turning to the interpreter,
made a long harangue.

The half-breed interpreter for the nation’s guests
placed himself at Jack’s elbow.

“* The chief thanks you, boy,’’ he said, evidently
translating the Indian’s words. ‘‘ Young Wolf
slipped away from us as we walked in the little plain
yonder ’’—he pointed at the open area of Union
Square,—‘‘and lost himself. Too much fire-water
and bad white men set his mind to sleep. Young
Wolf is a brave, but the white man’s fire-water and



10 ZHE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

big village make a brave a woman. Young Wolf
might have gone to his death but for you. You are
a young brave. The chief thanks you. He will
tell the Great Father in Washington about you, and
ask him to make you an agent among our people.’’

Jack walked up to the big chief as deliberately as
_ the Indian had addressed him, shook hands vigor-
ously, and said, ‘‘How! how!’”’ just as emphatically
as his new friends.

The chief’s grave face broke into a smile; he
patted the boy good-naturedly on the shoulder.

‘““ Heap good,’’ he said; and again branched out
in a harangue to the interpreter, in which the others
joined with words of evident comment or accept-
ance, even Young Wolf himself shaking himself from
his semi-stupor to take part.

Then the interpreter again translated.

‘“ The chief likes you, boy,’ he said to Jack.
“* He says the land of the plains and the rivers, the
land we call Pah-sap-pa—the hills that are black—
should be the home of such a wise young brave; he
says these walls of your big village will stop your
strong heart from growing; he asks the braves if
they would not make you a brother of the eagle or
the elk. They say, ‘Yes.’ Young Wolf says,
“Yes ; the white boy shall be my blood-brother.’
The chief says, ‘Let my young brother come to

»»9

our lodges; we will adopt him into our tribe.



ee Ee

JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 11

‘Well! here’sachance,’’ thought Jack. ‘‘ Why,
this is lots better than cattle-ranching. Bea brother
of the eagle or the elk, eh ? Adopted into the
tulpC one

‘1 ’d like to, first-rate,’’ he said aloud, replying
to the interpreter. ‘‘ Tell the chief I’m awfully
obliged to him, but I’m afraid I can’t leave home
yet a while. How can I be Young Wolf's blood-
brother ? What is it? Who are your tribe—and
who ’s the big chief ?”’

‘“Who? Why, do you not know ?”’ the inter-
preter replied. “ He is Mock-peah-lu-tah—or, as
the white men call him, Red Cloud, the great chief
of the Ogallalas.”’

Red Cloud? Even Jack had heard the name of
the most famous Indian of that day—Red Cloud,
chief of the Ogallala Sioux, who, shrewdly seeing
the growing power of the white man in the West,
had come to Washington with a delegation of chiefs
of the Teton tribes to try to sell the Black Hills
mining country to the United States Government.

And so this was Red Cloud himself, was it?
And he proposed to adopt Jack Huntingdon as a
son of the Ogallalas? ‘‘ What fun!’’ Jack said to
himself.

“Tell the chief—tell Red Cloud I thank him,”
Jack began again. ‘‘ I’m afraid I can’t get out to
his country just yet. But some day I mean to,



I2 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

and then I ’ll hunt him up. Where shall I find
him ?”’

Again the interpreter turned to Red Cloud and
gave him the boy’s inquiry. The answer came
speedily.

““ The chief bids the boy ask any one beyond the

great river where his lodges lie,’’ the interpreter
replied, translating. ‘‘ The plains that stretch away
to the feet of Pah-sap-pa are the hunting-grounds
of the Ogallalas, and all men know Red Cloud. But
there are bad men everywhere—red as well as white.
Let the boy keep this token of the eagle feather
to the head of Red Cloud ’’—here the interpreter
handed to Jack the single feather drawn from the
head of the great chief. ‘‘ It is Red Cloud’s gift,
and when men see it in the hills they will guide the
boy without harm or hurt to the lodges of the chief,
and he shall eat the ash-cake and the corn dumplings
beside the lodge-fires of Red Cloud the Ogallala.”’

Jack received the chief’s token joyfully, and
proudly stuck the feather in his hat-band, to the
great amusement of the friendly Indians. Then,
shaking hands once more with Red Cloud and
Young Wolf and all the other chiefs, Jack left the
hotel and walked home in high spirits, assuring
himself that even in humdrum New York a boy
might find adventures if he only went about it
rightly—and mighty good ones, too.







JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 13

He would keep the feather always, he promised
himself. It was a fine memento even if he never
could hope to see the great chief again, even if he
never did become a ranchman.

So his home-coming, you may be sure, was full of
interest, as he expatiated on his adventures and told
the story of how, in the rooms of a New York hotel,
he had met the mighty Red Cloud, chief of the
Ogallalas, the leader of two thousand warriors of
the warlike Sioux.



CHAPTER II.

ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA.

T is odd how things come about. Within three
months from the day of Jack Huntingdon’s In-
dian adventure in New York the tables were turned
once more, and the New York boy was having ad--
ventures in the Indian country.

A convenient uncle, whom Jack had known only
as a fixed assistant in the Assay Office, was sud-
denly attached to the Government expedition sent
to the Black Hills of Dakota and Wyoming, for the
purpose of testing the gold-producing possibilities
of that almost unknown and inaccessible mountain
region.

And with the expedition, as the companion of his
uncle, had gone Jack Huntingdon. :

For days Uncle Jerry had kept a watchful eye on
Jack. But the boy soon showed his ability to take
care of himself; for, despite his faculty for getting
into semi-occasional scrapes, he was a level-headed
youth, with an equal facility for getting out of them.
He displayed a uniform amount of pluck and com-
mon sense, and Uncle Jerry gradually allowed him

14



ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA. 15

larger liberty and the unrestricted use of a wiry and
tireless Indian pony.

‘* You ll turn up missing some day, I suppose,
young man,’’ Uncle Jerry had said, ‘‘ but where ’s
the use in trying to make a man of you if you are n’t
allowed to help on the good work by a bit of ex-
perience? Only, do take care of yourself, Jack.
Don’t stray too far from camp, and be sure to re-
port to me in person, always, before sundown.”’

Jack promised readily, and as dutifully performed.
But the best-laid plans sometimes go wrong, and so
it came to pass that one gorgeous summer day Jack
Huntingdon, as his uncle prophesied, really did
‘“turn up missing.”’

For when, at sundown, Corporal Thompson rode
into the camp of the explorers, beneath the cotton-
woods on the Spearfish, and inquired for Jack, no
Jack was apparent.

‘‘ That ’s mighty strange,’ said the corporal.
““Why, he and Injun Joe started off after a big-
horn they spotted at noon, and promised to come
around by the way of Bear Gulch and get into camp
before me. I reckon the critter give ‘em a long
chase, and they ’ve camped down for the night in
the hills. They ’Il show up in the morning, P’fes-
sor, don’t you worry. Jack ’s the lad that can take
care of himself!’’

That was exactly what Jack was trying to do,



16 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

even while the corporal was asserting his ability.
But he had begun to think that, under certain con-
ditions, he was not altogether a success in the care-
taking art. For, in the exciting hunt after that
monster sheep of the Rockies, known as the big-
horn, he and the guide, Injun Joe, had somehow
got separated. And as the sun began to drop,
round-orbed but retiring, towards the crest of the
Bear Lodge range, Jack sat his panting pony, anx-
ious and puzzled, with no definite idea as to his bear-
ings, and a very indefinite idea as to his next move.
Jack Huntingdon was hopelessly lost on the slope
of Inyan Kara.

But hope revives in a boy’s breast almost as
quickly as it fails. It was so with Jack Hunting-
don; and he gave a relieved and gratified shout as,
halting his pony upon the summit of a mound that
grew like a wart on the breast of Inyan Kara, he saw
off to the northwest the far-away figure of a solitary
horseman.

“That ’s Joe,’’ he said. ‘‘ Good for him! I
thought he ’d find me. These Injuns are great
trackers. I’m mighty glad he’s shown up. It’s
no joke getting lost in this country. There ’s too
much country for comfort when you don’t know the
lay of the land.”’

There was, indeed, as Jack declared, a good deal
of country spread over the earth out there in the





;
|
.
;

EE EEE EE EEE EEE EEO

ON THE SLOPE OF INVAN KARA. 17

heart of the Wyoming mountains. But it was
grand; and as Jack sat his pony awaiting Joe’s ap-
proach, he felt all the beauty and the terror of that
remarkable land which white men were just begin-
ning to know and had not yet begun to appreciate.

The setting sun tinged with vivid tints of blue
and green the broken and fantastic line of hills that
lift themselves out of the Spearfish Valley. To the
east the vast, many-colored stretch of pasture-land,
glorious with flowers and waving grass, lay pulsing
and undulating like a mighty sea; to the west the
blood-red sun, swinging in a sky of burnished cop-
per, threw into flame and glory all the ragged
hill-line and up-jutting peaks of the Bear Lodge
mountains; while over the boy’s head, springing
from the middle of its crater-like base, rose sheer
and sharp for full six hundred feet above the crater’s
rim the strange, uncanny, fire-formed pillar of Inyan
Kara, gorgeous in the sun’s rays, as if it were a
tower of topaz set with rough and sparkling jewels.

Inyan Kara, so Joe had told him, was the name of
the wonderful, burnt-out block of basalt;‘‘the moun- |

2

tain within a mountain,’’ it means; and he had
furthermore told the boy that here was the Indians’
“sacred ground,’’ which even they only rarely
visited to cut lodge-poles in its pine woods, or
to which their medicine-man came alone and

stealthily to talk with the goblin dwellers of its grim



18 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

recesses, or make medicine for the welfare and for-
tune of the tribe.

Even in the midst of all the color and glory of
that sunset scene Jack recalled ‘‘ Injun Joe’s yarns,”’
and confessed to himself that it was a ‘‘ spooky ”’
place.

‘‘T ’m mighty glad Joe ’s found me,”’ he said. ~
‘‘T’d hate to spend a night here all by my lone-
some. Hullo, Joe! Hurry up! Hurry up!’ and
he swung his arms above his head to attract the
attention and accelerate the speed of the fast-ap-
proaching horseman.

But the uplifted arm dropped nerveless at the
boy’s side; his cheery shout died away; the glad
smile of welcome faded from his face. For, as the
approaching horseman, lost for a while behind a
swelling hillock, crested it and appeared at last in
full and recognizable view, Jack Huntingdon felt
confidence ooze away and alarm take the place of
hope.

The rider was not Joe at all. He was a stranger
and an Indian. :

There were stranger things than Indians to be
seen in this wonder-filled land. Jack had studied
the red man of the agency and the trading-post in
all degrees of laziness and dirt; he had met him on
march and trail; he had seen him in tepee and wicky-
up. But there the white boy had supporters and



ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA. 19

backers in his investigation. That was quite differ-
ent from coming, suddenly and alone, face to face
with one in the heart of a solitude.

Then, too, when one is thoroughly surprised it is
natural, especially for a boy, to lose confidence.
Jack was looking for Joe and foundastranger. The
surprise was so startling that his first thought in-
stinctively was of flight. A solitary Indian might
mean an unfriendly one, and though Jack Hunting-
don was no coward, he had early learned that dis-
cretion is often the better part of valor. Only it is
not always easy to decide on the instant what dis-
cretion is.

In this case it seemed to Jack Huntingdon to
mean distance—and as much of that as possible.
So, without a second of hesitation, he dug his heels
against his pony’s side and galloped headlong down
from the hillock on which he had been watching for
Injun Joe from the southerly slope of Inyan Kara.

As he did so a shout came from the Indian, twice
and thrice repeated. Then Jack knew that he was
pursued. But he only pressed his pony the faster,
and as he rounded the hillock and looked off toward
the west for safe harbor, his heart gave a bound.

“Why! there ’s the place to go for,’’ he said.
““ Where were my eyes? Why did n’t I see that
before ?”’

Off to the west—he knew not how far away, but



20 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

it seemed near enough—rose the walls and columns,
the domes and towers of a splendid city.

Bathed in the wonderful sunset of a cloudless
Wyoming day, its walls rose in variegated colors,
now gold, now purple, now yellowish drab, or now
a flickering opal; while lifted high in air, above wall
and turret and house-top, rose a mighty tower of
gleaming yellow and green with strangely shifting
tints, from the top of which, Jack found himself
imagining, one might see all the kingdoms of the
world and the glories of them.

There was his refuge, surely. In his state of
mind he did not stop to reason or think over this
strange apparition of a mountain city. It was his
city of refuge from a relentless and pursuing foe.

‘“ Where were my eyes? Why did n’t I see that
before ?’’ he repeatedly asked himself, as he pushed
his pony straight for the towered town where it rose
almost out of the beautiful rainbow-hued river that
flowed at its feet.

“* Joe never told me that there was a city so near,’’
he said. ‘‘ I thought this country was uninhabited.
I hope they ’re white, anyhow. Shoo! shoo!
Brutus. Now! stretch for it—spring for it, pony!
We ’ll get there before that yelling redskin does.’’

The redskin indeed was yelling, and to Jack’s
overtaxed nerves the yell was a whole concentrated
war-whoop of defiance and rage.



ON THE SLOPE OF INVAN KARA. 21

“No, sir! You don’t get me, if I know it,”’ Jack
shouted back; and with lowered head and clinging
knees urged his pony all the harder toward the
gold-hued, purple-towered city of the West.

But Brutus had been hard put to it that day.
Even a wiry, tireless Indian pony feels that there
may be a limit to equine endurance, and he began
to resent Jack’s double-distilled circus work.

So Jack began to find it hard to keep Brutus up
to the mark. The pony gave indications of going
sulky and dropping his swiftest gait. A look now
and then backward over his shoulder showed Jack
that his pursuer was gaining. He was getting nearer
and nearer; but so, too, was the city, Jack assured
himself, with ready optimism.

But alas for the clear but deceptive Wyoming
atmosphere! Jack had not reckoned upon that. He
had not yet grown accustomed to it, and he meas-
ured distances by Eastern standards, rather than by
those of the crystal, rarefied air of the great West.

The towered city that was to be his refuge was
ever still beyond; the sunset tints changed from
glory to grayness and died into gloom upon tower
and turret, roof and dome. And then, with a sud-
den heart-breaking start the whole horrible truth
flashed upon Jack Huntingdon.

The stories he had heard of crystal columns,
massive walls, and jewel-studded towers made by



22 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

nature’s magic and the sunlight’s tints from the
dark, jagged, and pitiless basalt rocks and lava cliffs
came surging into his brain. This was no city at all
toward which he was riding for his life. It was but
a lying vision of that land of mystery and magic—
just rock and earth, piled and tortured into fantastic
and marvellous shapes and outlines by some mighty
upheaval of the long ago, gilded into a false glory
and temptation by the vanishing sunlight. It was
no city of refuge at all; it was simply the ragged,
jagged edges of aridge of rock. Jack Huntingdon,
like others before and since, had been cruelly de-
ceived—or had deceived himself.

Then, as the horrible truth came full upon him
with the fading light, and as the glorified city
changed to a deadly wall of insurmountable rock
topped by that terrible tower, Brutus, always sure-
footed, failed him this once, and, stumbling into a
broken bit of rolling ground and loose stone, broke
in the knee and threw his rider over his head.

Half stunned with the shock, Jack rolled over into
a silent heap, while, with a shout that seemed a
death-knell, the pursuing Indian charged full upon
the prostrate and scarce semi-conscious boy,



CHAPTER III.

HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME.

EWILDERED and dazed, Jack came slowly to

himself. But as his senses returned, fear came

with them, and he would have sprung to his feet

and again fled for his life. But a restraining hand

held him down, and his startled eyes looked full in
the face of his savage captor.

The Indian was kneeling beside the boy, one hand
upon his breast, while the other held the lariats of
both the ponies gathered within his grasp.

But the eyes that met Jack’s did not flash with
the fierce exultation of victory nor burn with the
malignant gleam of hate. There was in them no
indication that their owner was a merciless and bar-
baric foeman. Instead, the glittering eyes were kind
and friendly, and, as they met Jack’s, lighted up al-
most with the gleam of recognition or a suggestion
of old acquaintanceship. The neighborliness of the
look pierced even Jack’s state of semi-stupefaction,
as he found himself wondering where under the sun
he had seen that fine bronze face before.

The smile of recognition travelled from eye to lip ;

23



24 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the free hand helped Jack to his feet; then, lightly

touching first his own and then the white boy’s

breast with his brown fingers, the young Indian said:
= Eowl

And Jack replied as peacefully, ‘‘ How!’’—the
friendly salutation between the red man and the
white, abbreviated from our every-day ‘“‘How d’ ye
do?”

‘‘ White boy heap scared,’’ the young Indian
went on. ‘‘ Run like coyote. Don’t know me—
Young Wolf ?”’

Like a flash there came back to Jack Huntingdon
that April adventure on the East Side: the narrow,
noisome, New York street, the yelling pack of tor-
menting urchins, the Indian at bay, the onset of
the Law, the walk up the Bowery! And this was
Young Wolf! With an almost hysterical laugh of
relief—and what a relief it was!—he flung out both
hands in greeting.

‘‘ Why, yes, I remember you,’’ he said. ‘‘ I saw
you in New York. Why under the sun didn’t you
say who you were without running me down like a
bighorn ?”’

Young Wolf laughed heartily—for Indians can
laugh heartily.

‘‘ Boy scared before hurt,’’ he said. ‘* Young
Wolf try to tell; boy run like wind. What here for ?””

Young Wolf was evidently quite in love with





Le



eS





















JACK AND YOUNG WOLF,















a



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 25

himself for his proficiency in English. To Jack it
was a welcome surprise.

“Why, where did you pick up so much English,
Young Wolf ?’’ he asked. ‘‘ You talk like a white
man. Youcouldn’t talk at allin New York. Who
taught you ?”’

Young Wolf beamed his acknowledgment. Evi-
dently to him, as to that English student of an
earlier day, “‘ praise from Sir Hubert Stanley was
praise indeed!”’

“Young Wolf learn in white boy’s land,’’ he ex-
plained, “‘ and from Po-to-sha-sha.”’

““ Poto—which-which ? Who ’s he?’’ queried
Jack.

“* Po-to-sha-sha—Red Top—squaw-man in tepee,”
the Indian explained, laughing; from which Jack,
drawing upon his lately acquired knowledge of In-
dian life and ways, concluded that Young Wolf’s
teacher in English had been a red-haired white man,
living, as such outcasts of civilization often did, be-
cause of their marriage to Indian wives, in the
lodges of the red men, and that the young Indian’s
slight knowledge of “‘ white man’s talk’’ gathered
in his trip through the cities of the East had thus
been supplemented until he had become, for an In-
dian, quite an expert.

But Young Wolf was as curious as Jack, and he
repeated his query.



26 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘« What here for ?’’ he asked.

‘‘ Oh, I came with the expedition from Washing-
ton—where the President lives, you know—to see
whether there is any gold in the Black Hills,’ Jack
explained.

‘Vou get gold from Pah-sap-pa—Black Hills you
call it you, boy ?’’ Young Wolf demanded.

‘Well, not me, perhaps; the miners, I mean,”’
Jack replied. ‘‘ But say! can’t I get back to our
camp? I must—ah!”’

The exclamation was wrung from him involun-
‘tarily. Then for the first time he discovered what
surprise and excitement had up to that moment
kept in the background, that when he went flying

over Brutus’s head and landed in a heap, he had
given his foot an ugly twist and had, apparently,
sprained his ankle.

His Indian friend -understood the situation at
once.

‘“ White boy hurt foot?’’ he said. ‘‘ Can't
walk ?”’

Jack tried it.

‘‘ Jingoes! I don’t believe I can,’’ he replied
with awince. ‘‘ Well! here’s a nice state of things.
How am I going to get back to camp ?”’

Young Wolf was on the ground examining the
ankle.

‘‘ Where camp ?”’ he queried.



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME, 27

“ Blest if I know!’’ Jack answered, laughing con-
fusedly, in spite of his pain. ‘‘ I don’t know where
I belong, Young Wolf. First my guide lost me,
and then I lost myself. I don’t know where our
camp is, or how to get to it. I’mall turned ’round.
It ’s somewhere in the Spearfish Valley—that ’s all
I know.”’

‘ That long way,’’ Young Wolf said, waving his
hand indefinitely toward the east. ‘‘ White boy no
good; bad foot go limp-limp—fall down. No walk;
no ride. Sun gone; all night soon. Come with
Young Wolf. Tepee near; Red Top there. We
cure white boy’s foot; then go find white man’s
tepee.”’

There seemed no other way, and Jack’s ankle
was swelling painfully.

“Uncle Jerry will be worried, I’m afraid,’’ he
said. ‘‘ But if I can’t, I can’t. Whereabouts is
your camp, Young Wolf? You ’re awfully good.”’

“No good. Boy good to me. Save me from
young bad hearts in big village. Think me coffee-
cooler’’ (the Indian name for a coward), ‘‘ but no!
no!’’—and he shook his head vehemently. ‘‘ Now
my turn. I help white boy. Tepee not far. We
walk slow.”’

As he talked, Young Wolf lifted Jack to the
saddle on the back of the now repentant and docile
Brutus, mounted his own pony, and holding Jack’s



23 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

bridle, walked both the ponies slowly toward the
river-bank fringed with cottonwoods.

The motion and the down-hanging leg brought in-
tense pain to Jack’s swollen ankle, and he clenched
his teeth tightly to keep back the groans. He knew
the Indian stoicism; he did not propose to let
Young Wolf think that a white boy could not bear
pain as uncomplainingly as a red boy.

But the watchful eye of the young Indian saw
that all was not well with his white friend. He
knew that Jack was in pain. Without a word he
stopped the ponies, lifted Jack from the saddle, and
placed the white boy before him on his own pony.
with the bad foot trussed up on the pony’s back.
He himself slipped well back toward the pony’s
rump. And thus, while Brutus followed after, the
two young fellows made their way slowly toward
the Indian’s tepee, just showing its lodge-poles
above the green of the cottonwoods.

In a clear space, within a sheltered grove of cot-
tonwoods, two tepees stood, a hundred yards apart.
Young Wolf drew up the pony before the first of
the lodges. Already the twilight was turning into
dark, the last pink flush of sunset swallowed by the
purple shadows.

The young Indian dismounted, tenderly lifted
Jack from the saddle, and bearing him in his arms,
carried him within the darkened tepee, where he



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME, 29

carefully laid him down upon a big, couch-like pile
of buffalo-hide.

Then he went to the door-flap.

‘“ Po-to-sha-sha!’’ he called, and from somewhere
in the outer shadows the steps of his lodge com-
panion hurried toward the tepee.

Jack’s exertions had tired him sorely, and in spite
of the pain he closed his eyes in semi-slumber.

Through it all he was dimly conscious of voices
talking low in a language he did not understand, of
fingers manipulating skilfully and tenderly his swol-
len, aching ankle. The darkness seemed no obstacle
to work.

‘‘ They must have eyes in their fingers,”’ thought
Jack.

Soon his foot was bathed and bandaged, and,
with the sense of ease and care-taking in the atmos-
phere about him, he fell fast asleep.

Jack had gone through a hard day and a harsh
experience, mentally as well as physically. Tired
nature asserted itself and demanded absolute rest.
So Jack slept through the night, and awoke with the
daylight stealing in through the half-closed flap of
the tepee, to find Young Wolf squatting beside him,
his self-constituted nurse and watcher.

‘““ Why! have you been by me all the time ?”’ he
exclaimed, thankfully, and instinctively his hand
went out toward his Indian friend in gratitude.



30 THE ‘MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

For Jack Huntingdon, you see, was an appreciative
youth, and the care and interest of his red-skinned
host touched him deeply.

Young Wolf grasped the extended hand; the
friendly smile sprang to eye and lip.

““ Big Tooth better now. Red Top have break-
fast soon,’’ he said.

“Big Tooth ?’’ queried Jack, laughing at the
name. ‘‘ Who’s he?”

The Indian laughed softly in reply, and pointed
at Jack’s parted lips.

It was a fact. Jack Huntingdon’s front teeth
were rather prominent. The Indian boy, who, like
all his race, was furnished with small and regular
teeth, had caught the peculiarity of Jack’s dental
deformity, and, true to Indian usage, had fitted that
to his young white friend as an appropriate and dis-
tinguishing name.

Jack dearly loved a joke, even on himself. He
fingered his large front teeth and laughed aloud
with his host.

‘That ’s a fact; my teeth are big,’ he said.
“So that’s my name, eh? Not Jack Huntingdon,
but Big Tooth,’’ and he laughed again.

‘“ Big Tooth good name till white boy can be a
brave and make a true boast,’’ Young Wolf ex-
plained. And ‘‘ Big Tooth’’ Jack Huntingdon re-
mained until—but that comes later in the story.



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 31

“ But what about the big chief I saw in New York
—Red Cloud, you know? Are you with him,
Young Wolf ?”’

““ Mock-peah-lu-tah—Red Cloud? No, no,’’ re-
plied Young Wolf. ‘‘He Ogallala. We Oncapapa.”’

Jack had not yet, as he expressed it, ‘‘ got the
Injuns down fine.’’ He had not yet fathomed all
the differences and divergencies of kinship and tribal
divisions.

“Oh, well, you ’re all Sioux, I suppose,’’ he
hazarded.

Young Wolf laughed.

“Yes, all Sioux,’’ he replied. ‘‘ White men all
same, but not all same, too,’’ he explained. ‘‘Some
Bostons; some Long Swords; some Great Father’s
lodge-people.’’

Jack stood corrected. ‘‘ That ’s so; I understand
what you mean,’’ he said. ‘‘ But say, Young
Wolf!’’ he exclaimed, the force of the coincidence
for the first time coming home to him, ‘‘ how under
the sun did you happen to be here just when I
needed you? Of all people in the world, you were
the last I could have expected to see, and yet
you were just the boy to help me. . How did it
happen?”’ :

Young Wolf swept his hand about the tepee in a
comprehensive and proprietary manner.

“This all our land,’’ he said. ‘‘ It free to Young



32 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

Wolf same as the big village where Big Tooth live
free to him.”’

‘* That ’s so,’’ Jack agreed. ‘‘ Only it’s funny
you happened here just now. Where ’s your vil-
lage ?”’

‘* Off; two moons,’’ and Young Wolf waved his
hand toward the north.

‘‘ Just these two tepees, eh?’’ pointed Jack.
‘* What are you doing here—hunting ?”’

‘* No—just here.”’

‘ Well, what for? Can’t you tell a fellow ?”’

‘* Big Tooth like Boston; always ask—ask. Bet-
ter not. Have breakfast soon. Too much ask, not
much eat.”’

And the Indian boy laughed heartily at his own
wit. Just then the red-haired squaw-man—the
white man turned Indian—put his head through the
open tepee-flap.

‘* Breakfast ’s ready,’’ he announced.

‘*Noask now. Eat,’’ again laughed Young Wolf,
as he helped Jack to his feet.

The sprained ankle was nearly cured, thanks to
rest and helpful treatment, and Jack found that, with
Young Wolf’s assistance, he could limp out to the
breakfast, which they ate seated before the camp-fire.

As they chatted Jack looked inquiringly toward
the other tepee, the flaps of which were tightly
closed. He grew inquisitive again.



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 33

“Is that your tent, Mr.—’’ he paused for a
name. It did n’t seem just right to call the rene-
gade white man Mr. Red Top, and Jack’s hesitation
was natural.

““ He Po-to-sha-sha—Red Top—see scalp?’’ and
Young Wolf touched the unmistakably red hair of
his white camp-mate. ‘‘ No, that not Red Top’s
tepee.”’

‘““ Whose is it, then ?’’ Jack persisted.

Then Young Wolf glanced toward the closed
tepee and laid a warning finger on his lips.

PJohl the ssaids 2c Bis Tooth no asi. “That
medicine-tent.”’

Jack ached to ask what a medicine-tent was; and
why they had a medicine-tent off there, away from
everybody. But even his inquisitiveness was si-
lenced by his friend’s warning motion. Evidently it
was a mystery, or not for him to question into.
Still he would like to know, he said to himself.

He was to find out speedily. For, as the three
still lingered about the morning camp-fire, suddenly
the closed flaps of the mysterious tepee parted, and
out of its gloomy recesses stalked a big Indian.

He was “‘ big Injun’’ indeed. As tall as Red
Cloud and even heavier in build, he was not such a
one as man or boy would care to meet as Jack
Huntingdon now met him—alone and on his native
heath. His face, plentifully pitted from smallpox,

3



34. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

was lighter than that of Young Wolf, and had none
of the frank, open, attractive features of the full-
blooded Sioux youth. He was evidently a man in
the prime of life, broad-faced, stern-browed, strong
of will and shrewd of eye, brown-haired, strongly
built, and of splendid physique.

The newcomer was naked to the waist. Deerskin
breeches, plentifully fringed, decorated moccasins,
and a great black-and-white hawk feather in his
smoothed brown hair made up his sole costume.
He dragged behind him a decorated buffalo-robe,
and, as he stalked toward the group beside the
camp-fire, he darted at Jack a glance that was any-
thing but friendly. But he turned first to Young
Wolf with a brief, guttural query, which Jack was
certain meant ‘‘ Who ’s your friend ?”’

Young Wolf replied at once, evidently outlining
Jack’s story and antecedents; but the chief, if chief
he were, seemed far from satisfied.

He wheeled toward Jack, half in menace, half in
inquiry. Then he called sharply, ‘‘ Po-to-sha-
sha!’’ :

The renegade was quickly beside him. The big
Indian poured out a torrent of questions. The
squaw-man looked at Jack.

‘“‘ Boy,’”’ he said, translating, ‘‘ the chief says who
are you—where from—what do you want here—are
you with the stone-hammerers—those fellows the





SITTING BULL, YOUNG WOLF, AND JACK, Page SS



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME, 35

Great Father has sent here hunting for gold—the
red man’s gold ? Answer him.’’

“Why, yes,’’ Jack replied frankly. ‘‘ Did n’t I
tell you so? Oh, no, it was Young Wolf. You
see, I came with the scientific expedition sent out
by the Government at Washington to see if there’s
any gold worth getting here in the Black Hills. We
found out. There is.’’

The squaw-man interpreted.

An angry frown darkened the scarred and swarthy
face of the big chief. He flung the buffalo-robe
aside and with both hands raised bore down on poor
Jack, who now had found his legs, and was standing
facing the angry chief, plucky but puzzled.

Instantly Young Wolf sprang between the two.
Then, laying a hand on Jack’s breast, he threw out
a torrent of words at the hostile chief.

‘* Po-to-sha-sha!’’ again came the call, and again
the listening squaw-man swiftly translated from the
original.

‘““ The chief says you have no right here,’’ he
said—‘ you and your stone-hammerers! But
Young Wolf says you are his brother and he stakes
his life on your good heart. But the chief says this
is the Injun’s ground, sacred to his spirits, and no
white man shall set foot here and live. He says
the white men shall not buy Pah-sap-pa—that ’s
these Black Hills, you know. He says he is here



36 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

to make medicine—good medicine for the Injun—
bad medicine for the white man. He will make the
land shrivel up and starve the white men off the In-
jun land. He says you are a thief and the son of a
thief, and that no one like you shall go out of these
hills alive. It looks bad for you, sonny. Young
Wolf says you ’re a good chap. Can’t you say
something ?”’

What could he say ? Jack was a bit nonplussed.

‘‘T did n’t ask to come here, did I?”’ he cried
hotly. ‘‘I got lost, and if it had n’t been for Young
Wolf here I might have died. It is n’t square to
treat me so. It’s not hospitable. I thought all
Injuns were hospitable. We are. See what the
Great Father did for you folks when you came to
Washington with Red Cloud.”

The renegade interpreted, but the big chief grew
even more angry.

‘‘ What did he do for us?”’ he exclaimed, through
his interpreter. ‘‘ He sent us back empty. He
filled us only with promises, and now sends thieves
to rob us of our hunting-grounds and our gold. It is
our land. We will keep it—every foot—hill and
plain and river. That is what the chief says he told
Red Cloud. He tells you so; and he will wither
every white foot that treads the Indian’s land.”’

As he ended, the chief’s anger seemed to grow
with his words. He thrust Young Wolf aside with



HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 37

rough and hasty hand, and then paused an instant
as though he would lay violent hands on the white
boy who stood in his path.

Jack thought quickly. It was a situation that
called for rapid reflection. An inspiration came to
him.

“Red Cloud! Why, see here,’’ he said; ‘‘ see
what Red Cloud himself gave me when he was in
New York. He told me it would keep me safe from
harm among all the Injuns beyond the Missouri.”’

And Jack Huntingdon thrust full into the face of
the big chief what he had that instant drawn from
his inner pocket—his most cherished memento, the
eagle feather of Red Cloud the Ogallala.

The big chief looked at the token closely.

‘““ He wants to know where you got this,’’ said
Red Top.

Jack explained.

Slowly the chief returned the. token to its owner.
Slowly he lifted the buffalo-robe from the ground
and draped it gracefully over his naked shoulder.
Slowly he spoke in deep and guttural tones to Po-
to-sha-sha, the renegade. Then he walked into his
tepee and shut the daylight out.

Young Wolf and Red Top looked at each other
in silence.

‘““ What ’s he say ?’’ queried Jack.

The squaw-man laid a hand on the boy’s shoulder.



38 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

“You want to brace up, sonny. It ’s going
wrong with you,”’ he said, not unkindly.

‘“‘ Why, how ’s that ?’’ the white boy asked.

‘« The chief will stay in his tepee until the sun is
highest—that ’s noon, you know,”’ announced Red
Top. ‘‘ He says Red Cloud is Ogallala. He is
Oncapapa. But for Red Cloud’s feather and what
you did for Young Wolf, he will wait till his medi-
cine talks. He goes into his tepee now to make
medicine. If it is good medicine, you must stay
with him and become an Injun—like me’’—the
squaw-man’s voice had in it just a shade of self-
contempt. ‘‘If it is bad medicine, you die—but
like a brave, he says—not likea coward. He says it
must either be Injun or scalp. He ‘ll have no
spy, he says, in the lodges of To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-
ke.”

‘‘ Whew!’’ Jack gave a whistle of incredulity.
‘* He don’t dare—see here, Mr.—Red Top! Who is
this Ta-tan—what-you-may-call-it ? Who is your
chief, anyhow ?”’

‘‘ What? You don’t know?’’ demanded the
renegade. ‘‘ Did not Young Wolf tell you ?”’

“He is To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke—the bull that sits,”
Young Wolf explained.

‘“No! Not Sitting Bull—the big war-chief of the
Sioux,’’ cried Jack. ‘‘ Well! I am ina pickle!’’

And he certainly was.



CHAPTER IV.
THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE.

ACK’S first impulse was to mount his pony and
ride for his life. But an instant’s reflection
convinced him that such escape was impossible.
Even were he in condition for a break-neck dash, his
absolute ignorance as to the path to safety would
make such an attempt little better than a jump from
the frying-pan to the fire. He was a lost boy; he
was, practically, a crippled boy; he could not hope
to find his way to the distant camp of the govern-
ment explorers; his only reliance was upon his own
wits, or upon the friendship of Young Wolf. At all
events, Jack Huntingdon was not a boy to give in
without a struggle.

He turned to Young Wolf. That perplexed
young warrior was evidently doing a good deal of
hard thinking. But he spoke no word; he gave no
answering sign to Jack’s look of inquiry.

As for Po-to-sha-sha, there was evidently no help
to be expected from that quarter. The squaw-man
lay flat on his back, placidly looking up into the
distant blue of the Wyoming sky, thinking, appar-
ently, of nothing at all.

39



40 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Jack was nonplussed; he felt himself deserted by
the world; and yet here was a case in which even
self-reliance seemed at fault. Again he turned to
the Indian lad.

‘‘ What under the sun can I do, Young Wolf ?”’
he cried. ‘‘ He won’t dare touch me, will he ?”’

‘“* To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke—how you call him ?—Sit-
ting Bull—dare much—do much. But so can Young
Wolf,’ the red boy replied. ‘‘ Big Tooth wait.
What shall come, shall come.”’

It seemed the only thing to do, and though Jack,
like all American boys, was impatient under delay,
he was also, like most American boys, openly opti-
mistic—that is, he was certain something would turn
up to bring things around all right. Besides, so im-
plicit had become his confidence in his Indian friend,
that he at once threw upon Young Wolf the respon-
sibility of escape from an unpleasant situation, and
calmly awaited developments.

They came all too soon. For as Po-to-sha-sha,
still lazily stretched upon his back, cross-examined
Jack—without, it must be confessed, any very defi-
nite results—as to the indications of gold discovered
by the government explorers, once again the tepee
flap sparted, and Sitting Bull strode up to the wait-
ing three.

Evidently his medicine sleep had been short, and
his vision had been quick to come. There was a



THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE, 4I

sinister smile on his scarred face, and in his eye an
uncomplimentary look that boded no good to young
Jack Huntingdon.

“© Po-to-sha-sha! ”’

The squaw-man slowly gathered himself up, and
stood as interpreter between the chief and the boy.
Then the big Indian gave his verdict.

‘“* The chief has seen the future,’’ the squaw-man
translated. ‘‘ His medicine says die, boy. (It’sa
rank shame, too, sonny,’’ he added as a quick aside).
““ The chief’s medicine is bad for those who come
to the Black Hills, he says, to spy out the Indian’s
land; it is bad medicine for the white foot that’dares
to tread the Indian’s sacred ground, here under the
shadow of Mato Tepee—the Bear Lodge, you know,
sonny—the Tower of the Great Bad Spirit,’’ and
Po-to-sha-sha waved his hand toward the mysterious
basalt column which white men call ‘‘ the Devil’s
Tower,’’ as it springs from its sedimentary rock
above the Belle Fourche.

‘““ The chief likes you, boy,’’ the squaw-man con-
tinued, though Jack could see no indications of such
affection on the big chief’s impassive face. ‘‘ He
says you did good to Young Wolf in the white
man’s big village, and you bear the eagle feather of
the chief Red Cloud. He would like to make you
one of his sons, but the Indian must obey his medi-
cine, If it says you live—you live. But it says die



42 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

—and you die—now—like a warrior, he says.
Stand up, boy, the chief says; stand up, and die as
a brave should, by the hand of him who makes
medicine for his brothers, of him who is the leader
of the Sioux!”’

‘‘ And I say,’’ added the squaw-man, as a sort of
anti-climax, ‘‘ watch out, sonny; watch out and be
ready; the Bull’s knife isa big one, but you be spry
and dodge it.’’

Jack Huntingdon, as you know, was no coward;
but the unexpected and startlingly prompt verdict
of Sitting Bull, coupled with the squaw-man’s warn-
ing, unnerved him for an instant, as it might any
one, and he sank limply to the ground.

Then, quickly recovering himself, he sprang to his
feet, and catching up the weapon of defence nearest
at hand—a half-burned but stout ash stick from the
smouldering fire—he faced the big chief defiantly.

““ You ’re a coward and a fraud!’ he cried hotly.
‘* You ’re afraid to take a man of your size. Dare
to lay a hand on me and I ’ll brain you like a mad
dog, you leather-skinned yelper. Touch me, if you
dare. I ’ve got the whole United States at my
back, and they ’ll show you what it is to knife an
unarmed Yankee boy. Come on, you coward Injun!
I’m not afraid of you.’’ And Jack brandished his
charred stick, and ‘‘ cavorted’’ before the stern-
faced Indian in a way that clearly disconcerted that



THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE, 43

redoubtable chief and, as Shakspere has it, quite
‘““ gave him pause.”’

He turned to Po-to-sha-sha inquiringly, and the
squaw-man rendered an immediate and literal trans-
lation of the white boy’s defiance, omitting neither
taunt nor epithet; for these, indeed, are the embel-

”

lishments and “‘ frescoes’’ especially cultivated by
the Indian warrior at bay—the emphasis and signs
of an unconquerable bravery.

It raised Jack perceptibly in the big chief’s esti-
mation. A smile of approval crossed his swarthy
face, and some expression of Indian approbation of
pluck came from his lips. But none the less did
he pluck the hunting-knife from his belt and, with
one brief poise for a good aim, hurl it straight at his
boyish antagonist.

But that brief halt for aim saved Jack Hunting-
don’s life. Fortunately the sun was in the Indian’s
eyes; the boy had the advantage of position. As
Sitting Bull poised his knife, Jack grasped his ash
stick, like the trained baseball player he was, and
when, the next instant, the knife came spinning
toward him, he met it with so sure and so vigorous
a ‘‘ strike ’’ that the murderous weapon went sailing
so high in air above chief and tepee and tree-top
that, as Jack afterward declared, he felt just like
flinging down his bat and making at least a three-
bagger, if not a home run.



44 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

But he thought better of it and stood his ground,
still defiant and silent.

‘‘ Good boy, sonny,’’ cried the squaw-man, under
his breath, while Young Wolf and Sitting Bull
looked their astonishment and admiration at the
white boy’s deftness and ability.

Slowly the chief detached a short coil of lariat
from his belt. Then he gave an order to Po-to-
sha-sha and Young Wolf.

The renegade took one step in obedience toward
Jack.

‘“The Bull says for us to ketch and tie you,
sonny,” he explained. ‘‘ Don’t you go for to stop
us; it ’ll be bad for you if you do.”’

Jack grasped his stick the firmer. But the inter-
ference did not come from him. It came from quite
another quarter.

For, as the squaw-man took another wary step in
Jack’s direction, Young Wolf sprang between them,
pushed the renegade back with a determined shove,
and openly faced Sitting Bull, interposing in behalf
of his white friend. ;

The Indian speech came fast from boy and chief.
It was all untranslatable to Jack, but the sign ac-
companiments that play so large a part in Indian
talk gave him some inkling of the situation.

Clearly Young Wolf was openly braving his chief.
His proud attitude; his defiant expression; his elo-



THE BIG CHIEF'S MEDICINE. 45

quent gestures; his emphatic and fiery denunciation,
all showed that to the observant and anxious white
boy ; while the scorn, surprise, contempt, and
threatenings of the big chief, changing finally to
protest, argument, concession, and an ungracious
yielding, all of which could be read by the watchful
Jack in the tones and gestures of the big chief,
showed the boy that, whatever the line of Young
Wolf’s arguments and action, it had led to a cessa-
tion of hostilities, and that the young brave had
won the fight.

For, suddenly, with but a single word thrown out
at Young Wolf with an emphasis that halted be-
tween a grunt and a hiss, the big chief turned on
his heel and strode again into the seclusion of his
tepee.

It was now Jack Huntingdon’s turn to be as-
tonished. Yet even his surprise and wonderment
over the manner in which Young Wolf had both de-
fended and saved him could not overcome his
gratitude. Impulsively he made at his Indian
friend and flung both arms about him in an excess
of excited thankfulness.

“Young Wolf, you ’re a brick!’’ he cried.
““ How did you do it? What under the sun did
you say to him? You ’ve saved my life a second
time. What did you do?”

But Young Wolf answered him never a word.



46 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

He turned upon the white boy a look in which en-
thusiasm, friendship, impassiveness, and uncertainty
were curiously mingled, roughly disengaged himself
from his white friend’s grasp, and, still silent, wheeled
about and disappeared within the solitude of the
other tepee, as stolidly and majestically as Sitting
Bull himself.

Jack Huntingdon looked at Po-to-sha-sha inquir-
ingly.

‘* What is it all about ?’’ he asked.

The squaw-man’s face was itself a study. He
glanced hastily from one tepee to the other, as
if expectant of some new conflit or explosion.
Then, slouching up to Jack, he took him by the
buttonhole and softly led him out of earshot, in the
direction of the river-bank. There his amazement -
found voice.

,

““Sonny,’’ said he, wheeling Jack about and look-
ing him full in the face, “‘ you ’ve just seen a big
fight. You can thank your lucky stars it came out
as it did; for if it had gone the other way, it would
have been ‘ good-night, John!’ for you and Young
Wolf, too. You and the young chief have both
got sand, sonny—heaps of it. That ’s the first
time I ever saw the Bull downed by a boy—two of
“em, b’ George!”’

‘* How did I down him, Mr.—Red Top ?”’ queried
puzzled Jack. ‘‘ And how did Young Wolf? For



THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE. 47

goodness sakes, tell us all about it. I could n’t
make it out.”’

Po-to-sha-sha squatted beneath a cottonwood and
pulled Jack down beside him.

‘““ You stood him off fine, sonny,’’ he said. ‘‘ The
Bull, he ain’t used to being faced by a boy like that.
He ’s big medicine, you know, and we folks don’t
any of us dare to sarse back, or he ’ll work a charm
on us that ’ll wind us all up. You didn’t know
that; so you just shivered the Bull, don’t you see?
But Young Wolf knows what the big chief can do;
and he thinks p’r’aps it’s all up with him. That’s
why he ’s gone into the tepee so quiet like. He
wants to think it over and see if he can’t dream a
way out of the Bull’s bad medicine. How he did
face him, though! I thought for sure the big chief
would just cut him down where he stood.”’

“But what did Young Wolf say to him—can’t
you tell me ?”’ persisted Jack.

““ Well, this is what he said,’’ replied Po-to-sha-
sha, with an uneasy backward glance toward the
silent medicine tent. ‘‘ When he mighty nigh
knocked me over—’cause you see, sonny, I just
nach’elly had to do what the big chief told me—
he ’d have made it hot for me if I had n’t,’’ the
squaw-man explained—“‘ he just faced the Bull, and
says he, ‘ The white boy is my friend,’ says he,
“he’s a brave, and shall not be tied and whipped



48 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

like a dog ’—that ’s what the Bull told us to do to
you, sonny.”’

‘‘ Tied me and whipped me, would you ?”’ cried
Jack. ‘‘ Well, I guess not. Id like to have seen
you trying it.”

‘‘ Well, I tell you, we ’d have had to if the Bull
said so,’’ expostulated Po-to-sha-sha. ‘‘I did n’t
want to; you ’re a plucky chap. But what the big
chief says goes, you see. So if Young Wolf had
helped, we ‘d have trussed and flayed you.
Gracious, sonny! you have to do lots of things in
this world you don’t want to do—that ’s why I ’m
here—a squaw-man,’’ and Po-to-sha-sha would have
wandered away into his own grievances if Jack had
not recalled him.

‘But Young Wolf would n’t do it, eh?’ he
said.

‘“No. Young Wolf would n’t do it, and he up
and told the Bull so,’’ the squaw-man replied.
‘* And when the big chief blazed out at him, and
told him he ’d have to do it if he said so, Young
Wolf up and gives it to him straight. ‘You!’ he
says. ‘Who are you to talk so to me? I ama
chief of the Uncapapas. I am the son of a chief.
And you! You are no chief——’ ”’

‘‘ Sitting Bull no chief !’’ cried Jack, incredu-
lously. ‘‘ Why, what did he mean ?”’

‘* See here, sonny, I ’m a-telling this story.



THE BIG CHIEF'S MEDICINE. 49

Don’t you go for to break in on me, or I won’t tell
a thing,’’ the squaw-man objected. ‘‘ Just you
hear me out. ‘You ’re no chief,’ says Young
Wolf, tossing up his head like a buck elk, ‘ you ’re
just a medicine-man. Go into your tepee and
dream your lying dreams and make up your bad
medicine to lead fool Injuns astray, but don’t be
giving me orders or go to hectoring of my friends,
or I ’ll lay it before the Ni-ka-ga-hi ’— that ’s
the assembly of head chiefs, you know. Well!
tight there ’s where I thought it was all up with
Young Wolf. Whew! but was n’t the Bull mad!
He hates to be crossed, you see. He’s just as bad
as a white man in that. ‘ Boy!’ he yells at Young
Wolf—I reckon you heard him— Boy’ he yells,
‘Iam Wa-ku-be /’—that ’s sacred—medicine, you
know. There ain’t one of us but is afraid of that
when a medicine-man yells it out. But Young
Wolf, you see—his blood wasup. He just straight-
ened up—you saw him, p’r’aps—and hit himself on
the breast. ‘And I am We-ic-te’—that’s of the
highest chiefs, you know—an Elk—none higher.
And when Young Wolf says that, the Bull he had
to come down a peg, for the Elks have the first
place in the tribe, and they ’ve got the call even on
the medicine man.
“‘ Well, so they had it out, as you saw, criss-cross,
hot and heavy, until, I vum! even the Bull had to
4



50 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

give in, and he just dropped everything and went
into his tepee to try for fresh medicine. But I
reckon Young Wolf feels kind of petered out, now
it’s all over; for to stand out against the medicine-
man—’ specially when he leads ’em all as Sitting Bull
does—is about as skeery a thing as it would be for
you to go for to say ‘ Boo!’ to the President of the
U—nited States.”’

And Jack fully understood from that simile just
how much of a risk his friend Young Wolf had run
in thus facing down the great leader of the Un-
‘capapa Sioux.

“* But what was it that Sitting Bull sung out when
he went into his tepee ?’’ the boy asked the squaw-
man.

“Oh, that? It kind of did up Young Wolf,
did n’t it?’’ was the squaw-man’s comment.
‘“‘ The big chief just sung out ‘ Strong Hearts!’ as
a sort of a flyer, you see.’”

““*Strong Hearts’? What ’s that mean?”’

queried Jack; ‘‘ sort of whistling to keep his cour-
age up before Young Wolf ?’”’ -
' “Whistling! Well, I reckon not. He don’t
need that,’’ replied Po-to-sha-sha. ‘‘ Why, Sitting
Bull is the Master of the Strong Hearts; and they
don’t give in, I can tell you.’’

“The Master of the Strong Hearts ?’’ Jack was
certainly learning many new things, and each one



THE BIG CHIEF'S MEDICINE. 51

only increased his curiosity. ‘‘ What ’s that ?’’ he
queried ; “‘ some sort of a secret society ?’’

“ That ’s just where you ’re right, sonny,’’ the
squaw-man assented with an emphatic nod. ‘‘ The
Strong Hearts are just the biggest, secretest, most
consarnedly bravest and determined of all the Sioux
societies. And their main point, in all their doings
is just this: never to back down, back out, or give
up, when once they ’ve determined to do anything.
And that’s what the Bull meant. He’s determined
to do you up and get rid of you for belonging to
that gold-hunting expedition and setting foot here
in the Injun’s sacredest land, where he had come to
make medicine. That ’s what he’s bound to do.
He just sung out ‘ Strong Hearts,’ to Young Wolf
as a sort of what you call—reminder. And he’s the
head man of ’em all—he’s Master of the Strong
Hearts. That ’s why it looks bad for you yet,
sonny ; though, I vum, I hope he ’ll let up on
you. You ’rea plucky chap, as I said, and I want
to see you go scot-free—if you can.”’

‘““ Then he is no warrior—no chief at all—not even
like Young Wolf, eh ?’’ Jack queried. ‘‘ How did
he get such aname, then? Everybody calls him a
big chief.’’

“So he is; but not a big war-chief,’’ Po-to-sha-
sha explained. “‘It ’s like this: Sitting Bull is a
great fellow to spout, you see. And plan! Well,



52 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

he can just plan you off the earth. But I never
knew him to lead on the war-path—never. He
leaves the real fighting to some of the other big
chiefs—like Red Cloud, or Gall, or Iron Hawk, or
Rain-in-the-Face. The Bull, he just makes medicine
for the boys, and they pitch in and fight, while he
dreams things out for ’em and eggs ’em on. That
gives him a big influence over ’em all, and they just
look up to him for advice how to do things and when
to do’em. Then, too, the Strong Hearts are about
the biggest fighters of all the Sioux out of the
agencies—hostiles, you folks call em; and his being
head chief or Master of the Strong Hearts puts him
’way up front, so we don’t any of us dare to cross
him or even to talk back to him, as Young Wolf did
just now. Whew! but won’t he just get square
with Young Wolf somehow! I would n’t like to be
in that boy’s moccasins. The Bull never forgives,
and I tell you he never forgets. Don’t I know
that ? I would n’t be here if I did n’t.”’

Interest in his own affairs, even in his own fate,
could not entirely close Jack Huntingdon’s ears to
these words, nor his eyes to the look that accom-
panied them. Po-to-sha-sha evidently had a story,
and all Jack’s interest and curiosity were aroused.

He looked closely at the squaw-man’s face,
shadowed as it now was by some unpleasant but
overpowering memory. Bronzed by exposure al-



THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE. 53

most to the Indian tint, dressed like an Indian, with
few remnants of the garb of civilization, the man’s
long red hair and his unmistakable American tongue
alone marked him asa ‘‘ paleface.’’ But Jack could
see that he had not become renegade and back-
slider into barbarism entirely from choice, or simply
through love for his Indian wife. There was a
stronger reason back of it-all. That reason covered
a story, and that story Jack Huntingdon greatly
desired to hear.

He was just on the point of putting his desire into
words, when a light step paused beside him, and a
light touch fell upon his shoulder. He looked up.
His eyes met those of Young Wolf, his champion.

“Big Tooth come with me,’’ he said. ‘‘ To-
tan-ka make new medicine. He say tell white boy
come. Big Tooth be brave. Tepee no worse than
big village. We find way out. He Strong Heart,
I strong heart, too!’”’

And Young Wolf straightened so visibly and de-
fiantly that Jack did the same, and together the two
boys sought the tent of the big medicine chief, the
squaw-man slouching slowly in their rear.



CHAPTER V.
A MODERN REGULUS.

Ec the open space between the two tepees Sitting

Bull awaited them. His eyes had the same
baleful light, his face was as stolid as ever. But as
Jack approached him an attempt at a smile curved
the broad mouth upward, and the proffered hand-
shake was accompanied by a distinct and apparently
friendly ‘‘ How.”’

Jack was not altogether a believer in this apparent
change of heart, so he was watchful and on his
guard even while accepting the hand-shake and re-
turning the “‘ How.’’ But Sitting Bull had evi-
dently changed his tactics, and no hostilities in
ambush followed the suspicious show of cordiality.

Instead, the demand for the interpreter came at
once and sharply: :

“* Po-to-sha-sha!”’

The squaw-man was beside his chief instantly,
and Sitting Bull, with the usual accompaniment of
sign and gesture, announced the latest result of his
medicine.

‘It is good medicine this time, boy,’’ the squaw-

54



A MODERN REGULUS. 55

man translated. ‘‘ He has seen the Old Squaw—
that ’s one of the Injun spirits around here, you
know, sonny. It’s lucktoseeher. The chief says
the Old Squaw was dancing the red paint dance
yonder on the top of the great Tower. She had
the good grass medicine in her hand, and as she
danced she sang a good song for the white boy—
that ’s you, sonny.”’

“ Well, that sounds better,’’ was Jack’s gratified
comment, as Po-to-sha-sha paused for more. ‘‘ I
owe you one for that, Young Wolf.”’

‘White boy wait. To-tan-ka not through yet,”’
the young Indian replied.

To-tan-ka (the Bull) indeed was not through yet.
He launched into another harangue which Po-to-sha-
sha duly translated.

“The Old Squaw told the chief to let the white
boy go,’’ the renegade began, ‘‘ but let him go to
return. (Ah ha! sonny, I thought there was a
string to that pardon,’’ Po-to-sha-sha commented,
while Young Wolf looked at Jack meaningly).
“Tt is not safe for the Bull, so the chief says, or
any of his young men to bear a message. Red
Cloud went to the Great Father for a gift, and what
did he get ?—nothing. The young men of the Bull
are hostiles; it would not be safe for them to walk
in the big villages beyond the sunrise—he means
your towns in the East, you know. But Big Tooth



560 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

here—that ’s you, sonny—shall bear a message from
him to the Great Father and to Chief Long Hair—
that ’s General Custer, you know, boy; he was out
here last year with his soldiers and we tried to do
him up, but it was a draw between him and the
Bull, you see.”’

‘‘ Why,” said Jack in much surprise as Po-to-sha-
sha ceased, ‘‘I don’t know the President—nor
General Custer either. I never saw them, though
my father fought under Custer in the Valley.”’

‘““ Say! you ’d better not object,’’ the squaw-man
warned him in swift reply. “It’s your only chance
to go scot free. I know the Bull. I know what
he’supto. Eh, Young Wolf?”

‘“ White boy say yes, keep scalp; say no—’”’ and
Young Wolf paused significantly.

‘* Oh, it ’s a sort of Hobson’s choice, is it ?’’ said
Jack. ‘‘ Well, go ahead, Mr. Red Top. Tell the
chief to give me his message. I ’ll try it.”

Po-to-sha-sha reported, and Sitting Bull pro-
ceeded.

‘‘ This is the chief’s medicine dream and the Old
Squaw’s orders, boy,’’ the squaw-man translated.
‘* His way would have been to kill you at once, but
the good medicine said no.”’

‘“ Much obliged to the doctor. That ’s the first
good medicine I ever took,’’ was Jack’s characteris-
tic comment.



A MODERN REGULUS. BY

““ She said,’’ Po-to-sha-sha went on, “‘ let the
white boy see the Great Father. Let him say that
the Dakota—that ’s the Sioux, you know, sonny—
will never sell to the white men this Powder River
country. We will not have here the me-ne-aska
(them ’s the emigrant trains, boy). He cannot buy
the Pah-sap-pa—these Black Hills, he means. They
are worth, so the chief says, more than all the wild
beasts and all the tame beasts that the white people
possess. Let the Great Father know this, and let
him send word here, by you, boy, to the chief, that
he will not let the me-ne-aska come into this coun-
try with their wagons, or the stone-hammerers for
gold, and that he will keep back his Long-Swords
from the Indian land. Bring the chief this answer,
boy, and he will make you, so he says, one of his
own Strong Hearts and a chief of the Dakota. But
if you say that the Great Father answers‘ No,’ then
shall you be staked out to die.”’

““ That sounds pleasant,’’ said Jack. ‘‘ I wonder
how it will strike the President. General Grant
is n’t used to giving in to that sort of message.
And what about General Custer ?”’

““ Tell the chief Long Hair,’’ said Sitting Bull
through his interpreter, “‘ that but for the Long-
Swords who came to help him, I would have had
his scalp last year at our fight on the Yellowstone.
Tell him that To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke waits him here.



58 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Let him come by the thieves’ road—that ’s the trail
along which Custer marched last year, sonny—he
and his brother the Little Hair, and the Ree coffee-
coolers—them ’s the Injuns, the Ree scouts, boy;
the Bull hates ’em like pizen—and the chief and
Rain-in-the-Face will fight ’em, man to man, like
bravesin battle. But if you say that the chief Long
Hair will not come, then—’’ here the squaw-man
broke off suddenly and scratched his head dubiously
—‘‘ well, sonny, then the chief says he ’Il stake you
out to die. You'd better say ‘ Yes’ right off,’’ the

friendly renegade added. ‘“‘I ’d promise every
time, I would.”’
It was now Jack’s turn to deliberate. “‘If I

promise, I promise, and I keep my promises,’’ he
said; to which, when the squaw-man had put it into
Sioux, the chief said his only English sentence,
‘“Heap good! How!’’ and forthwith proceeded
to shake hands again with Jack.

‘Ves, but hold on, Mr. Red Top,’’ said Jack.
‘‘T have n’t promised yet. I want to think it over.
What is this staking-out business you threaten if I
fail? Something Injun and gentlemanly ?”’

‘It’s Sioux,’’ the squaw-man replied, hesitating
how best to sugar-coat the pill; ‘“‘and it ain’t real
nice, sonny. Fact is, I'd promise anything to get
clear of it.”’

‘‘ Well, but what is it ?’’ persisted Jack,



A MODERN REGULUS. 59

‘‘ Why, you see,’’ the renegade explained slowly,
‘‘ they just strip you and peg you down, legs and
arms stretched wide apart; and then they build a
fire on your stomach and play with you with burn-
ing sticks. It don’t sound good, but—you would
have it, you see.”’

Jack winced under the explanation, while even
the squaw-man looked troubled.

‘‘ That ’s what I get if I bring back a ‘ No,’ is
it?’’ the boy queried. ‘‘ It isn’t real exhilarating,
and that ’s a fact. Well, suppose I say, now, right
here, that I won’t take the messages. What then ?”’

Po-to-sha-sha hesitated; then, turning to the big
chief, he propounded Jack’s query.

For answer the chief wheeled about, and motion-
ing the three to follow him ascended a little rise,
where at the base of the North Mesa, the Red
Valley lay verdant and beautiful beneath them.
Where the Indian trail to the Powder River coun-
try wound across it certain moving forms could be
descried—a dozen Sioux warriors on their lithe and
tireless ponies.

‘‘ See them,’’ Sitting Bull declared through Po-
to-sha-sha. ‘‘ They are Strong Hearts. If I say
the word, here, under the shadow of the Bad Spirit’s
Tower, they will, before the sun is highest, stake out
first Young Wolf, who has made a brother of a spy
and brought into the red man’s sacred ground the



60 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

son of a thief, and then will they stake out the spy
himself—Big Tooth, the white boy. For heaven’s
sake, sonny, promise anything,’’ the renegade
hurriedly advised. ‘‘I may get into this thing,
too, if you don’t. You don’t want to hurt Young
Wolf, do you? And say! that ain’t a nice thing to
have done to you either—it ain’t now, really.”’

Decision, even when the odds are strong against
you, is not always easy. In this case Jack Hunt-
ingdon found it especially hard. For, as I have
told you, Jack could be depended upon to keep a
promise, and Sitting Bull, who could shrewdly read
character, knew it.

“Young Wolf,’’ cried the boy, turning to his
Indian friend, ‘‘ what shall J do—what shall I say?’’

““ Big Tooth say—do—what he please,’”’ the
young Indian replied, without a change of expres-
sion. ‘‘ What he do, what he say, Young Wolf
stand by. If ‘No,’ then Young Wolf die like a
brave. He strong heart as much as the Bull that
sits. He Big Tooth’s friend till death. How!”’

And the faithful young brave, who would not .
help Jack to a decision, but was ready to stand be-
side him come life or death, extended his hand to
Jack as token of faith and loyalty.

‘““ But see here, Mr. Red Top,”’ Jack exclaimed,
turning upon the squaw-man, “‘ is n’t this just a
bluff ? Would the chief dare to—ugh !—stake out,



A MODERN REGULUS. 61

as you call it—Young Wolf, his tribesman ? They
are both Uncapapa. Would n’t the tribe have
something to say if he should kill a kinsman ?”’

“Well, sonny, they might say,’’ Po-to-sha-sha
replied; “‘ but would they do? That ’s the ques-
tion. The Bull is the king pin in the lodges just
now; Red Cloud has turned coffee-cooler; the Bull
is the only real head to the hostiles—unless it ’s
Chief Gall. The Bull has got the Strong Hearts
behind him. Besides, he ’s one of the Fox family;
Young Wolf is an Elk. You don’t know what that
means, but Ido. I reckon the Bull will go ahead
and do what he wants to, and square it up with the
lodges afterwards.”’

“* Jingoes! it’s hard lines,’’ cried Jack when he had
mused an instant; ‘‘ but go ahead, Mr. Red Top,”’
he decided swiftly and impulsively. ‘‘ Young Wolf
shall not suffer for me. Tell the chief I promise.
I'll carry his messages.’’

Po-to-sha-sha translated.

““ And will the boy bring back the answer ?’’ the
chief demanded.

‘““Of course; that ’s the bargain. Have n’t I
promised ?’’ cried Jack loftily.

“It is well. Big Tooth is a brave. To-tan-ka
trusts him. See! the Strong Hearts come as
brothers, not as destroyers,’’ Sitting Bull responded
through his renegade interpreter. And he shook



62 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

hands heartily with the white boy, ending with his
one English phrase, ‘‘ Heap good. How!”’

Then, striding down the hill, while the others
followed at his bidding, Sitting Bull went forward
to meet his brother Strong Hearts.

And the squaw-man said, ‘‘ Mighty wise in you,
sonny, to say ‘ Yes.’ You ’re a cute one, you are.
If you don’t find a way out of this to save your
scalp, then I don’t know you. There ’s more ’n
one way to kill a cat.”

Young Wolf said nothing; but he grasped his
white friend’s hand in absolute trustfulness. The
light of comradeship and friendship sprang from
eye to eye, and Jack with the ready optimism of
boyhood exclaimed: ‘‘ Well get out of it somehow,
Young Wolf. It’s a good ways to Washington and
back, and Ill doaheap of thinking, I can tell you.’’

The three flung themselves down in the shadow
of the pines, while Sitting Bull went on alone a
gunshot farther and there awaited the newcomers.

“ Did Sitting Bull get hold of you some way like
that, Mr. Red Top ?’’ Jack demanded of the squaw-
man.

Po-to-sha-sha nodded his affirmative.

“Well, it is a foxy move,’’ Jack exclaimed.
“* You said he belonged to the Fox family, did n’t
you? Ishould say he ’s the head Fox of ’em all.
But does an Elk stand that, Young Wolf? What ’s



A MODERN REGULUS. 63

the good of being an elk with a good fighting pair
of horns if you can’t toss a fox, I’d like to know ?”’

Young Wolf laughed meaningly.

‘“ Fox heap sly,’’ he said. ‘“‘ Fox dodge and
squirm, but elk horns cut sometimes. Change bad
medicine to good. Big Tooth saw that ?”’

‘“‘ Yes, yes, I know,’’ Jack replied enthusiastically.
““ You faced him well then, Young Wolf. Do you
*spose he ’s forgotten ?””’

“‘ To-tan-ka never forget. He never forgive,’ said
the Indian.

““ But why did n’t you face him down again when
he sprung that staking-out threat on us just now ?”’
queried Jack.

Young Wolf rose to his elbow and laid a hand
impressively on Jack Huntingdon’s breast.

‘“What done, done,’’ he said. ‘‘ Fox sly, but
Elk can wait. When fire burn prairie, fight it with
another fire. Big Tooth, see. Young Wolf no
fool. We wait. See Strong Hearts coming?
That good ’nuff reason.”’

‘“ That ’s so,’’ Jack agreed. ‘‘ Twelve to two is
pretty big odds. I guess you know what you ’re
about, Young Wolf. What do you say, Mr. Red
Top?”

The squaw-man opened his half-shut eyes lazily.

“Well, I'll tell you, sonny,’’ he said. ‘‘ When
I gits cornered, I caves, see? And the fellow that



64. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

caves can dig out in time, if he Il only watch out
for his chance. I let things go as they please and
say ‘ Yes’ to everything. It ’s the easiest way,
and it pays best in the long run.”’

Jack did not by any means subscribe to this
doctrine. It was the coward’s policy, he felt; and
cowardice and Jack Huntingdon had nothing in
common. He saw how it had made of a free-born
white American a renegade and a barbarian, and
his innate patriotism burned in protest. But Jack
was learning through harsh experience the lesson
that it is well sometimes to hold the tongue behind
closed teeth; so he said nothing in rebuttal.

But his inquisitiveness grew upon him. He knew
that the renegade had a story behind his cowardice.
And it was somehow, he knew, mixed up with Sit-
ting Bull. He wondered what it was.

‘“ How did you come to be an Injun, Mr. Red
Top ?’’ he blurted out, at length.

The squaw-man half rose from the ground. A
startled look sprang to his face. He glanced appre-
hensively toward the distant medicine chief standing
impassively waiting for his tribesmen. He glanced
at the silent Young Wolf, stretched at full length on
the pine needles. Then he laid a hand in warning
upon his lips.

“Oh, I just wanted to, that’s why,’’ he answered
briefly, and fell back to his lazy position.



A MODERN REGULUS. 65

And Jack Huntingdon, though he knew there
was quite another reason, like a wise boy, refrained
from pressing his question.

‘“Some day Ill get the whole story straight,”
he said to himself. And he did, though in quite
another fashion than as a simple recital in the
bivouac under the pines.

The distant, wavering single line of riders grew
more and more distinct; it came nearer and nearer,
and the lone chief, from his outlook, with graceful
sweeps of his medicine robe sent to the approaching
warriors his greeting. In the eloquent language of
Indian signals the gesture of welcome was returned ;
the lithe, half-naked forms bent to the motion of
their galloping ponies; soon the savage trappings
might be discerned; hawk and eagle feather gracing
each head of plaited or of flying hair could next be
seen; then features were recognized, and the wait-
ing three, on their feet at last, watching with excite-
ment and admiration the coming of the cavalcade,
strained eye and ear for each new sign and sound.
Suddenly they saw the chief draw away with an
unchecked and audible grunt of recognition and dis-
approval; half about he turned as if to withdraw
from an undesired meeting, and then, as swiftly,
wheeled back to position and faced the newcomers
once more.

“ Ugh!’’ came from Young Wolf's throat, while

5



66 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘Well! I vum!’’ Po-to-sha-sha exclaimed, and
both seemed so honestly surprised that Jack turned
upon them at once in inquiry.

‘What ’s the matter with the big chief ?”’ he
asked, looking from one to the other of his
companions. ‘‘ Something don’t seem to suit
him.”’

“Ugh!” again murmured Young Wolf. “ To-
tan-ka sick now; we well. It’s Pi-zi!’’

‘‘ Who ?’’ queried Jack, not catching or under-
standing the Indian name.

‘“ That ’s so, boy. Ivum! it is Pi-zi,’’ said the
squaw-man, shading his eyes with his hand. “It’s
Co-ka-bi-ya-ya,—He who marches in the centre, that
means, sonny; but the Injuns call him Pi-zi, that ’s
‘gall’, you see—because when he’s het up by anyth-
ing he’s bitter as gall. I reckon you know him by
that name best—Chief Gall—that ’s what the white
folks callhim. Heand Sitting Bull hate each other
like pizen. Gall is the big war-chief, you see. He
’s a thoroughbred at it, too—a real fighter, different
from the Bull. He ’s no Strong Heart, nuther.
What ’s he doing here with those boys, I wonder?
Great snakes! now there ‘Il be fun. Just you stick
by Young Wolf, sonny. He’s an Elk, you know,
and so.is Gall. ’Member what he said about fox and
elk. J reckon you'll see the fur flying pretty soon.
Say! this’s no place for me. I don’t want to be in



A MODERN REGULUS. 67

this. It ‘ll be too interesting. I reckon I ’ve got
business back at the tepee.’’

Po-to-sha-sha turned to go, but Jack held him
fast.

“* Hold on, Mr. Red Top,’’ said the boy. ‘‘ How
can I make out what they say unless you tell me?
I don’t know their lingo. You ’ve just got to stay
here and translate.”’

True to his habit of yielding to the masterful, the
renegade reconsidered.

"All tight,” he said, “fil stay. Only you
just kind of hide me from the Bull and Pi-zi. I
want ’em to count me out.”’

But, all the same, the three ‘‘ counted in,’’ and
gradually drew nearer the scene of the expected
conference.



‘CHAPTER VI.

THE RIVAL CHIEFS.

HERE were shrill cries, a tossing of hands and

arms, and all the expressive signs of Indian

greeting as the dozen riders reined in their ponies
and gathered about Sitting Bull.

Then one dismounted and strode up to the chief.

“That ’s him; that ’s Pi-zi—Chief Gall, you
know, sonny,’’ the squaw-man announced in an
excited whisper.

Jack looked with much interest and curiosity
upon this noted and well-nigh invincible Indian
warrior. Tall and of splendid physique, almost a
giant in stature, his face was as frank and open as
that of Young Wolf himself, between whom and the
big warrior Jack fancied that he could trace a re-
semblance. E

‘““ Gall!’’ he exclaimed in an aside to Po-to-sha-
sha, ‘‘ why, that means bitter, sour and surly. I
don’t see anything about him that looks that way.”’

““Huh!’’ said the renegade, ‘‘ you don’t, eh?
Just you wait till you see him real mad once. He's
got more gall than a whole ox-bladder. Now, then,

68







Page 68.

E RIVAL CHIEFS,

TH



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 69

you hush up, sonny, if you want me to tell you
what they ’re talking about.’’

The talking had already commenced. The squaw-
man’s free translation epitomized the more involved
and somewhat figurative language of the Indian
chiefs.

“The Bull wants to know what he ’s here for,
and Gall says, to know his medicine. Then the
Bull says he ought to wait or the bad gods of the
Tower over yonder (this is all medicine country,
you know—what you call haunted) won’t send him
dreams. Gall says dreams are all right, but he
wants to see things done; he says the Long-Swords
have got a lot of stone-hammerers over on the
Spearfish—that ’s your folks and the soldiers, you
k. ow—and the miners ll be just crowding in here,
so 3 an Injun can’t live, he says; he wants to see
somcthing done right off, ‘fore these Black Hills
are al! gobbled up by the gold-thieves.

‘‘The Bull says as how his medicine will wither
every white foot that steps inside this Black Hill
country, but Gall says if the Long-Swords can’t
keep ’em out, all the Injun medicine can’t. He
says what ’s the good of having big talks and making
treaties with the Great Father—that ’s the Presi-
dent, you know—if the Great Father’s people—
your people, sonny—don’t keep ’em? He says
that Chief Long Hair—that ’s General Custer, I



70 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

told you about—came in here last year, right after
the President had said no white folks should come
here; now there ’s more soldiers here, and no telling
what ’s going to happen. He wants somebody to
tell Custer and the President the Injuns won’t stand
such foolishness, and then fight ’em, or fight ’em
without telling—that ’s what Gall says. Did n’t I
tell you his name fitted him to a T ?”’

‘“ Well, he’s got a gall, anyway—when that means
cheek or impudence,’’ was Jack’s half-spoken com-
ment. ‘‘ Does he think he can fight the whole
United States army ?”’

“He 's willing to try, I reckon—army ain’t so
very big, you know, and the Bull will find a way,
see if he don’t,”’ replied Po-to-sha-sha.

‘“ There, what did I tell you?’’ he continued,
rapidly translating. ‘‘ The Bull says, kind of salvy-
like—don’t you hear how smooth he speaks ?—that
medicine works slower but surer than knives and
arrows. The way for the Injuns to go to work, he
says, is to get guns, and then they will be a match
for the white soldiers, and the miners too. He says
if Gall will only have patience and wait, he ’ll fix it
for him; the Shata-sute (that ’s the Strong Hearts,
sonny) shall have guns, he says; his good medicine
will fetch ’em.”’

‘* Why, that ’s foolishness!’’ Jack exclaimed in an
excited whisper. ‘‘ How can he get guns? Uncle



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 71

Jerry says it’s against the law to sell guns to
Injuns.”’

“ Medicine breaks through all laws—leastways,
Sitting Bull’s medicine does,’’ the squaw-man an-
swered. ‘‘I can’t tell you how; but if he sets out
to get guns, he ’ll get’em. That’s just-what he’s
saying now, ’cause Gall asked just the same question
you did.”’

“Is that so?’’ said Jack. ‘‘ Well, great minds
think alike, you know.”’

‘““ Huh!”’ the renegade sniffed in criticism; ‘‘ the
Bull ’s got the biggest mind of all of you. If he
wants his Injuns to have guns, they ’ll have ’em—
don’t you fret. He says he ’s dreamed it out
already, and if Gall will only hold on to himself and
not be in such a ’tarnal hurry, he ’Il get a new an-
swer out of the Great Father and Chief Long Hair,
and he ’ll get the guns too. ‘I’ve got a scheme,’
says the Bull, and—hullo! say! he ’s pointing at
you, sonny. Lay low; this is where you come in,
I reckon. See him pointing at you ?”’

Sure enough he was. The eloquent gestures of
Sitting Bull ended in a dramatic sweep of the hand
toward the white boy under the pines.

““ Po-to-sha-sha!’’ came the call from the medi-
cine chief, and, reluctantly enough—for evidently
he feared the issue—the renegade slouched forward
to join the rival chiefs, There was more talk as



72 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Chief Gall looked inquiringly in Jack’s direction,
and then Po-to-sha-sha called out, ‘‘ Come here,
boy! the chiefs want you.”’

Jack had an inspiration. Taking off his hat, he
thrust Red Cloud’s eagle feather into the band,
reset the hat jauntily on his head, and then, rising
leisurely to his feet, came forward, with Young
Wolf close beside him. Chief Gall looked at the
white boy closely; he looked sharply at Young
Wolf. Then he beckoned, first to the Indian lad.

Young Wolf stepped forward to meet his kinsman,
and, as he did so, Po-to-sha-sha dropped back, and,
standing at Jack Huntingdon’s elbow, he gave the boy
in low but brief and rapid interpretation the substance
of what passed between the two Indians of the same
lodge-fire—Chief Gall and his nephew, Young Wolf.

And this was what they said:

** Son of the Elk,’’ demanded Gall, as he faced his
young kinsman, ‘‘ what does the white boy here,
in the Dakotas’ sacred land? Why is he who has
four times smoked the sacred pipe’’ (‘‘ that makes

,

Young Wolf a truth-teller, you see,’’ explained the
squaw-man) ‘‘ standing beside the son of the treaty-
breakers ?”’

‘Son of the Elk,’’ responded Young Wolf,
‘“why is he who leads, here among the Strong
Hearts of To-tan-ka rather than at the head of the

Elk herd of Co-ka-bi-ya-ya ?”’



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 73

“That ’s so! that ’s where the boy ’s got him,”’
interjected the squaw-man.

‘““ The Strong Hearts are the brothers of the Elks
when danger threatens the Dakotas,’’ said Gall,
haughtily. ‘‘ The Elk can never be brother to the
treaty-breakers.’’

“This white boy is my friend; he is no treaty-
breaker,’’ Young Wolf declared promptly. ‘‘ He
saved me from the bad hearts in his own big village
by the great salt water. The Master of the Strong
Hearts, here, in our own lodges, makes medicine
against my white brother. I have a vow to save
Big Tooth, my blood-brother, even with my life,
against the threats of To-tan-ka, the medicine chief.’’

The big warrior whirled about and faced the
medicine chief angrily.

““ Has To-tan-ka threatened Young Wolf ?’’ he
demanded. ‘‘ Has the Bull with the heart of a fox
dared lift his hand against the grandson of the Great
Elk?’’ For Apa-tan-ga, the Great Elk, was the
great war-chief of the Sioux in 1840, and was a
name for later Sioux to conjure with.

‘““ The Old Squaw has spoken and To-tan-ka has
but obeyed,’’ Sitting Bull replied. ‘‘ Does Pi-zi
brave the commands of the Old Squaw of the Bad
Gods’ Tower ?”’

“ As against one of his own blood? Yes. Why
should he not ?’’ Gall retorted defiantly.



74. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

“Tt is medicine,’’ Sitting Bull proclaimed.

“Then is it false medicine,’’ said Gall. ‘‘ Let
To-tan-ka beware. What has he threatened ?’’ he
demanded of Young Wolf.

The Indian lad caught his kinsman’s defiant spirit
and answered boldly, in spite of the stern looks of
Sitting Bull.

““ To stake out here, on the Dakotas’ sacred lands,
first your brother of the Elk-lodge, Young Wolf,
and then his blood-brother, Big Tooth, the white
boy,’’ Young Wolf reported.

‘Is this true ?’’cried Gall hotly, turning again on
Sitting Bull. ‘‘ Has To-tan-ka dared to threaten an
Elk with the staking-out ?”’

‘“ He who strikes hands with a thief and the son
of thieves—he who would make a blood-brother of a
spy—is traitor to the Dakotas, and must die. Thus
says the medicine,’’ Sitting Bull made answer.

““ Would Young Wolf be blood-brother to a spy ?”’
demanded Gall, turning now, in distrust, upon his
young kinsman. ‘‘ Speak. What is this To-tan-ka
says of my little brother ?’’ i

”

“* Big Tooth is no spy,’’ returned Young Wolf as
indignantly. ‘‘ Heisabrave. Our brothers of the
Ogallala gave him the welcome hand and told him he
was fit to bea chief. Look, Co-ka-bi-ya-ya! What
is it in the white boy’s war-bonnet ? What does my

uncle see there ?’’



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 75

“An eagle feather,’’ the big war-chief replied
with curiosity in his tone.

“It is the feather of Red Cloud,”’ the Indian boy
replied. ‘‘ The chief of the Ogallala himself gave it
to my brother and bade him show it as a pledge
and a defence when he might come among the
Dakotas agency and hostile alike. Does Red
Cloud the Ogallala give the eagle feather—his,
from his own head—to a thief or a spy? Answer
me, Son of the Elk !”’

“Surely not!’’ the puzzled fighter answered.
“But why does Big Tooth wear the eagle feather
of the Ogallala? Why did Red Cloud give his own
crest plume to the white boy ?”’

“Listen; I will tell my uncle why,” Young
Wolf made answer. And then eloquently and
effectively the Indian boy told the story of his
rescue, when “‘ among the bad hearts of the big
village of the white man.’ Jack Huntingdon saved
him from torture and disgrace.

Chief Gall listened intently. Then a great smile
covered his massive face. He came toward Jack
with both hands extended, and on his lips the In-
dian’s one stock English phrase:

““ Heap good. How!”’

You can always tell an honest smile. Jack could
in this instance, and he met the Indian chief half
way. Springing forward he grasped the proffered



976 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

hand of Gall with a most appreciative smile and an-
swered with his most emphatic ‘‘ How!’’ It was
no wonder he smiled and emphasized. He had
found a friend in camp.

“Shall the medicine chief stake out him who
saved an Elk?’’ demanded Young Wolf, slyly.
And his uncle, the war-chief, answered hotly:
“Not while Co-ka-bi-ya-ya stands by, though all
the Strong Hearts of the Uncapapas drove the
staking-pins.’’

“Then tell their Master so, for To-tan-ka has
sworn it,’’ persisted Young Wolf.

“It is easy to make a boast. But those who
boast the loudest do not always make the coup,’’
was Gall’s response. Then he turned angrily upon
his rival: ‘‘ Who is chief of the Uncapapas—To-tan-
ka-i-yo-ta-ke, or Co-ka-bi-ya-ya—whom men call
Pi-zi? I say the Fox shall not lay hand on the Elk.
I say the white boy goes free.”’

“And To-tan-ka says the same,’’ Sitting Bull
replied, ‘‘ Pi-zi is too hot toward his brother, who
has made no foolish boast, but has done only as
the medicine talked. To-tan-ka has taken the white
boy’s hand; he has given the sign of peace; he has
the white boy’s promise. Big Tooth is honest
though all his lodge-folk be thieves. Big Toothisa
brave; his heart is good; he will keep his promise.”’

And Jack felt, as Po-to-sha-sha interpreted the



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 77

medicine chief’s words, as though the scar-faced
chief had indeed experienced a change of heart, and
that he should go to him for a ‘‘ recommend.”

But Gall listened uncertainly. He evidently had
not so much faith in the medicine chief’s eulogium.

‘‘ What is the promise ?’’ he asked.

‘ To bear the message of To-tan-ka, the Uncapa-
pa, to the Great Father in Washington and another to
Long Hair, the chief of the Long-Swords of the white
men, and to bring the answers here, to To-tan-ka.”’

“ And what is the message ?”’

“ That is To-tan-ka’s affair,”’ Sitting Bull replied.
‘But, that there may be only good between the
Elk and the Fox, To-tan-ka will tell the message to
Pi-zi; though he need not. The white boy is to tell
the Great Father at Washington—he who was once
the Great White Chief of the Long-Swords in the
big fight of the brothers—that the Dakotas will
never sell their lands to the white man; he is to
tell him to keep from the lands of the Dakotas the
gold-thieves and the Long-Swords; and he is to
bring from the Great Father his answer—will he or
will he not do this?—yes or no. And to the Chief
Long Hair the white boy is to say that To-tan-ka, the
Uncapapa, and his Strong Hearts wait here inthe Da-
kotas’ land to meet him and fight him and his Long-
Swords, man to man, like braves in battle; and the
boy is to bring the Long Hair’s answer—yes or no.”’



98 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘‘ Why all this talk over nothing, Young Wolf ?”’
demanded Gall, when Sitting Bull had concluded.
‘* To-tan-ka’s words are wise. Why did not Young
Wolf say all this at the start? It is good. And
will the white boy keep his promise ?”’

‘“If he makes a promise, he keeps it,’’ replied
Young Wolf confidently. ‘* Big Tooth is a brave.
But let the Bull tell it all. His tongue halts in his
story.”’

‘“ Then there is more ?’’ said Gall, his curiosity
rising again. ‘‘ What more? Will my brother tell
me?”’

“‘Surely,’’ Sitting Bull replied with a nod. But

,

before he could speak Young Wolf ‘‘ cut in’’ and
reported the alternative the medicine chief had
offered Jack.

‘“Hear me!” he said; ‘‘ If the white boy brings
a good answer to To-tan-ka,’’ the young Indian
told his uncle, ‘‘ he becomes a Strong Heart, like
the brave he is; but if he bears a bad answer, he
dies by the staking-out. And the white boy
promised; because, if he would not, To-tan-ka
swore that he, To-tan-ka—the brave To-tan-ka!—
would here, on this spot, now, stake out first
Young Wolf, the friend of Big Tooth, and then
Big Tooth himself. What could a boy do but
promise? And know this, my uncle, Son of the
Elk, Big Tooth promised, not because he was afraid



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 79

for himself, but that no harm should come because
of him to Young Wolf, his friend. To-tan-ka gave
the boy no choice; what could he do but promise ?”’

“Tt is an unjust promise. It shall not stand.
Would To-tan-ka make dogs and skulking coyotes
of us all?’’ Chief Gall cried indignantly. ‘‘ It
shall not stand, I, Pi-zi,—I, Co-ka-bi-ya-ya, Chief
of the Uncapapas, —say it shall not stand.”’

“And I, To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke, Master of the
Strong Hearts, say it shall be as I have spoken,”’
Sitting Bull burst out in anger. ‘‘ Who is leader
here—Pi-zi the Elk, or To-tan-ka the Fox? Iam
Master of the Strong Hearts. Here stand my
brothers ready to do as I bid them. Did the Son
of the Elk ever know a brother of the Fox to set
his hand to a thing and then give it up? It shall
be as I say. Bid the white boy speak again,
Po-to-sha-sha, the promise he has made.”’

“ Hold back!’’ Chief Gall waved a hand in
denial and command at the squaw-man. Then he
faced the little circle of Strong Hearts. ‘‘ My
brothers,’’ he said, ‘‘ will you do this unjust thing ?
See; I am the war-chief of the Uncapapas, Co-ka-
bi-ya-ya—he who fights among you. I hate the
white man, and I would drive back the Me-ne-aska
and the Long-Swords—or kill them where they stand.
But my heart is not bad; I will make no good ways
by bad ways. Norshall you. Youare my brothers;



80 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

but hear this: if the Strong Hearts lay hands on
Young Wolf, the grandson of the Great Elk, or
upon the white boy, Big Tooth, his blood-brother,
then must they first deal with me—Pi-zi, as you call
me—Gall, the surly one. Would you stake me out
too? You must first do that before you touch
these young braves—one your brother, the other
your guest. When did an Uncapapa ever break
hospitality ? What is the law of the Dakotas ?”’

And from the little circle of half-naked warriors—
those Bedouin of the Western plains, the fierce but
never unjust Horse Indians of the Sioux—came
the answer:

““ Let the lodges hear. Let the Ni-ka-ga-hi, the
elders, decide. We put no stakes to the limbs of
the war-chief. We touch no torture-fire to the sons
of the Elk. Let the elders decide whether the
white boy, friend of the Elks, must keep an extorted
promise.”’

Sitting Bull scowled at his protesting followers.
But. Gall responded: ‘‘ It is well. See, yonder, in
the Valley of the Greasy Grass are the lodges of the
Uncapapas. Let us go there, my brothers; and
there shall the chiefs and elders decide in council.
The white boy is willing to take the message. If
he is honest he will do so. Is not that enough ?”’

Sitting Bull was shrewd and politic. Hesaw that
he was, for the present, in the minority. He had



THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 81

not reckoned on the coming of the masterful Gall.
He saw that craft must win rather than force. He
waved his hand in apparent surrender.

“Tt is well,” he said. ‘‘ Let the Ni-ka-ga-hi de-
cide in council. But the boy has promised.”’

‘“ Have you promised, boy ?’’ demanded Gall,
turning now to Jack. ‘‘ Ask him what he says, Po-
to-sha-sha.”’

‘* What do you say, boy ?

»”

said the squaw-man.
‘“ The war-chief asks, have you promised, and will
you keep your word ?”’

‘*T said I would see the President, and that I
would try to find General Custer,’’ Jack replied.
‘‘ T will take the messages. I am no liar. I have
learned from George Washington never to tell a lie,
and I never do.”’

‘“ Good for you, sonny. Stick to your promise—
now, at any rate,’’ said the renegade enthusiasti-
cally. And then, for the waiting warriors, he inter-
preted Jack’s resolve.

Again Chief Gall shook the white boy’s hand.
Again he said his one English phrase.

‘“ Heap good!’ he said. ‘‘ How!?’

And Jack Huntingdon knew by the warm hand-
clasp of the big war-chief that here, in the hostile
land of the Sioux, he had really found a friend.



CHAPTER VII.

THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE.

HROUGH a fair, wide valley, flanked with ash-
colored bluffs, all cut and scarred with ravines
and gullies, and overlooked by broken hill ranges,
ran a winding, shallow mountain stream. Lofty
cottonwoods and low bull-berry thickets bordered
its banks, while the whole beautiful valley, broken
here and there by clumps of timber, was radiant
with gorgeous wild flowers or sheeny with waving
grass. Bunched together near the river-bank rose
the cone-like tepees of an Indian encampment noisy
with the sounds and signs of Indian life—shouting
children, yelping dogs, whinnying ponies, shrill-
voiced squaws. It was the camp of the hostiles of
the Uncapapa Sioux in the Valley of the Greasy
Grass, better known to us as the Little Big Horn.
To-day, you can drop from your comfortable,
roomy parlor-car at Billings, on the Northern
Pacific Railway, and gallop across county, or, trans-
ferring into another train, you can whizz down the
Burlington road across the forty miles of broken up-

lands that lie between the Vellowstone River and
82



THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 83

the fertile Valley of the Greasy Grass. But in 1875
the ‘‘ fire-boat that walks on mountains,’’ as the
Sioux boys learned to call the locomotive, had not
_ come within hundreds of miles of that now historic
valley, and only those few favored red-skinned coun-
cillors who had gone East at government expense
knew the wonderful railway train.

The Valley of the Greasy Grass had been a
favorite camping-spot and happy hunting-ground
for the all-conquering Sioux ever since they had
driven from that hill-locked land its former occu-
pants, the homesick Crows, who to-day, by the re-
venges of time and the favor of the United States,
live a peaceful life upon these very lands from which
their fathers were driven years and years ago.

But for generations the Sioux held the land as
their own. Their skin-walled tepees were in every
valley, and the smoke of their lodge-fires rose from
just such lovely spots as this which Jack Hunt-
ingdon saw, as, firm in his saddle, he climbed the
last of the bluffs, and from its dun-colored ridge
looked down upon the verdant valley at his feet.

In spite of his frequent worrying over what Uncle
Jerry would think about it all, Jack’s ride across
country from the Devils’ Tower had been a pleasant
one. Half-captive and half-guest, his Indian com-
panions had proved friendly captors; for Young
Wolf's story of what this white boy had done for



84 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

him in his time of stress had strongly appealed to
the Indian love of courage and pluck. From

”

“hows ’’ and hand-shakes they had progressed to
attention and entertainment, equally varied and in-
teresting; and when they discovered that Jack was
neither Long-Sword nor stone-hammerer,—neither
soldier nor mining prospector,—but just a plain,
every-day white boy, out for curiosity and a holi-
day, they threw all suspicion aside and welcomed
him as friend and comrade.

Even Sitting Bull waxed friendly, and, through
Po-to-sha-sha, held frequent conversations with the
boy as to Eastern ways and methods, until Jack at
last awoke to the fact that he was being shrewdly
interviewed by this chief of schemers, and at once,
with the mischievous spirit of a true Yankee boy,
gave to the chief a “‘ boast’ that would have done
credit to an Indian warrior himself.

Gall and Young Wolf were, however, Jack’s
especial intimates. He trusted them implicitly and
counted upon them as his main reliance, though he
had much to say to Po-to-sha-sha. The squaw-
man, in his dual character of interpreter and fellow-
countryman, kept ever near the white boy, whom he
evidently admired for that very pluck and push which
this dispirited renegade seemed utterly to lack.

“ There you are, sonny,”’ said the squaw-man as
the two reined in their ponies on the clay ridge that











age 84.

P.

THE CAMP OF THE UNCAPAPA SIOUX



THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, 85

overhung the valley. ‘‘ That ’s the village—forty
lodges of Uncapapas, all of ’em Sitting Bull’s own
followers. My tepee is somewhere thereaway, down
by the river. Hold on a minute. P’r’aps we can
see my squaw—Mi-mi-te-ga—the moon we see—
that’s her name. Pretty good woman, too, is
Mi-mi, if she isan Injun. I’ve known lots worse
out East where I came from.”’

‘““ Whereabouts East did you come from, Red
Top ?”’ Jack inquired, divided between curiosity as
to the renegade’s story and equal curiosity as to the
village in the valley upon which he was gazing.

The squaw-man, as usual, evaded the question.

““ See! there ’s a party just in from a hunt,’’ he
said, pointing at a group of riders who had evi-
dently caused the commotioninthecamp. ‘‘ Good
luck, too, they ’ve had. There ’s buffalo meat and
bear’s meat and deer meat. You ’ll live like a
prince, sonny, down there in the lodge. And just
you keep a stiff upper lip, too. You ’ve got the
war-chief on your side, even though only a few of
his own lodge-folks are here. You can bluff ’em
off, I reckon, if you don’t show the white feather.
Red Cloud’s eagle feather is the best thing for you to
show,’’ and the squaw-man went off into a series of
chuckles over his own impromptu joke, ending with
a shrill whoop of announcement that drew the at-
tention of the aroused village, and was answered by



Full Text


\

. R OF TH
STRONG HEARTS.

D

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The Baldwin Library [ahod

RMB vii | |





Page 138. JACK IS CAPTURED. Frontispiece.


THE MASTER OF THE
STRONG HEARTS

A STORY OF CUSTER’S LAST RALLY

BY

ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS

Author of ‘‘ Historic Boys,” ‘‘ The Story of the American Indian,”
“The Century Book of the American Revolution,” ‘A Boy
of the First Empire,’’ ‘‘ A Son of the Revolution,” etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY WM. M. CARY



SITTING BULL
From a Photograph

NEW YORK
E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY
31 West TWENTY-THIRD STREET

1898
CopyRIGHT, 1898
BY
E. P. DUTTON & CO.

The Rnickerbocker Press, Hew Work


PREFACE.

OT since Nolan gave the word that made the
charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava a
glorious and deathless blunder has so notable an
unnecessary slaughter of gallant men found place on
the records of heroism as that of Custer’s last rally
in the valley of the Little Big Horn.

Ambuscades have been a feature of every Ameri-
can war from the days of Braddock on the Monon-
gahela to the entrapment of the Rough Riders at
La Quasina; but Custer’s defeat was more than an
ambuscade; it was the culmination of Indian strategy
and generalship designed by one who was himself
no war-chief, and who proved himself neither hero
nor warrior,—Sitting Bull, the medicine-chief of the
Uncapapa Sioux, the crafty Master of the Strong
Hearts.

It is to tell, in story-fashion, but as correctly as
the sifted reports and records of both sides render
possible, the real tale of Custer’s last rally and heroic
death, that this book has been written. Intended,

‘primarily, for young Americans,—for those of our
boys and girls who delight in adventure and wish
their stories spiced with action,—the book still en-

iii
iv PREFACE.

deavors to appeal to all Americans, and to so deal
with facts as to explain, in some fashion, the causes

”

and ‘‘ misfits’’ of that rash enterprise which closed
in the tragedy of Custer and his brave troopers under
the bluffs of the Little Big Horn.

There were heroes on both sides, red and white
alike; while, in the character of the squaw-man, the
author seeks to do justice to a misunderstood and
vanishing type of border life.

For valuable assistance in the preparation of this
story, the author wishes to express his thanks to
those of both races who aided him with information
—-pale-face and Indian alike; for all, to-day, are
Americans.

Thanks are especially due to Mr. O. D. Wheeler,
of St. Paul, Mr. John F. Wallace of Bismarck, Miss
Alice C. Fletcher, of the Bureau of Ethnology, and
to two estimable Sioux women of North Dakota
whose expressed request alone withholds all mention
of their courtesy byname. To these, and the numer-
ous, if sometimes conflicting, authorities in print from
whom valuable suggestions were obtained, the au-
thor again expresses his indebtedness and thankful
appreciation.

ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS.

Boston, July 4, 1898.
CONTENTS.

CHAPTER i PAGE

I, JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE . 5 5 f ie : I

II, ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA. 6 : 5 Sa 4
III. HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. Sat 23
IV. THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE fi : : : Bee 30
v. A MODERN REGULUS . i . : : : ee:
VI. THE RIVAL CHIEFS . : & 5 ; 2 68
VII, THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE x a : ee82)
VIII. HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF ‘ sine OF
Ix. ‘‘ THE WHITE CHIEF WITH YELLOW HAIR” : feekeE
X. HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY : : SAeL25
XI, HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE-POLE TRAIL. . 40
XIJ, WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE : a . 155
XIII HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. Bi : : . 169
XIV. HOW SITTING BULL’S MEDICINE CAME-TRUE 5 . 184
XV. HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK . ; : . 199
XVI. WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD . ‘ : Fi . 212
XVII. IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE . ‘ : : . 228
XVIII. ‘‘ WHERE IS CUSTER?” e 2 s 3 5 243
XIX, THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE . 3 : . 258
XX, PO-TO-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY 5 : : . 270
XXI, HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. . 285
XXII, AFTER MANY YEARS . 5 5 ; 5 : . 299



lke till laeaa

ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE
JACK IS CAPTURED . ; : : ; . Frontispiece
SITTING BULL, [FROM A PHOTOGRAPH]. : ; . Litle-page
JACK AND YOUNG WOLF. 3 A : : : ened!
SITTING BULL, YOUNG WOLF, AND JACK. : : : e395
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. : ‘ 5 . 5 508)
THE CAMP OF THE UNCAPAPA SIOUX : s : . 84
THE SUN-DANCE . : : és 5 . : 5 - 164
JACK’S ESCAPE : f : : é : : 182
CUSTER SEES THE INDIAN CAMP 5 ; e224:
THE RETURN OF THE ‘‘ KETTLE CORPS” 3 ‘ f . 254
COMANCHE, SOLE SURVIVOR . : : : . : . 296

vii


THE MASTER OF THE STRONG
HEARTS.

A STORY OF CUSTER’S LAST RALLY.



CHAPTER I.

JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE.

ERHAPS you think there can be no chance for °

adventure in a big, busy, crowded, humdrum
city like New York. I mean stirring, out-of-the-
way, uncitified adventures, of course.

Whether you do or not, that is precisely what
Jack Huntingdon was thinking as he walked slowly
along Rivington Street, on the East Side, one
Saturday morning in April in the year 1875.

Jack was sixteen, and had about decided that
there really was no kind of a show for an ambitious,
wide-awake young fellow in New York, especially if
he thought more of adventure than of arithmetic,
and was very certain that he was not cut out fora
clerk, a bookkeeper, or an apprentice.

Jack was a child of the war days, and the restless
I
2 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

blood of his soldier-father seemed sometimes to run
riot in his veins. He longed to see the world. He
was determined to do something and to be some-
body. At all events he was debating in his mind, as
he walked leisurely along Rivington Street, which
would suit him best—to get some sort of a position
at the big Centennial Exposition which was to be
held in Philadelphia the very next year, or to try
sheep-raising or cattle-ranching in Montana.

He had about decided in favor of Montana and
the cattle-ranch, when he was suddenly startled
from his dream of wealth and adventure by a yell,
familiar to all New York boys—the shrill slogan of
the street arab turned tormentor.

A half-dozen rapid steps brought him face to face
with the trouble.

Braced against an over-full ash-box of the old and
solid type leaned a figure that aroused in Jack
Huntingdon mingled feelings of pity, surprise, and
concern—a red Indian of the West in a state of
collapse. The white man’s fire-water and the un-
familiar surroundings of an inhospitable city had
quite driven all the ‘‘ Last-of-the-Mohicans ”’ spirit
from this transplanted savage, and he made but
feeble and half-hearted attempts to ward off the at-
tacks of the dancing circle of street urchins who
baited him with taunt and jeer and indignity, to
none of which would he respond.
JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 3

The Indian’s blanket had been pulled off, his
eagle feathers had been plucked out, and the rem-
nant of his costume was all awry. The tables were
_ turned with a vengeance. The Indian was at the
torture-stake; the palefaces were the tormentors—
and how relentless a street boy of the East Side can
be Jack Huntingdon knew from his own frequent ex-
perience at feud and foray, and the often-repeated
clash of boy against boy in the old-time ‘‘ war of the
sections ’’ in New York of the sixties and seventies.

Those, however, were equal fights; this was
simply an unmanly advantage. It aroused Jack’s
instant anger, and awoke at once his chivalry and
his desire to protect and aid the helpless.

The Indian certainly was helpless. Unnerved by
drink and unmanned by home-sickness, the young
brave—for he did not seem much older than Jack
himself—was quite a different figure from the Indian
warrior of Jack Huntingdon’s dreams.

Jack, to be sure, had seen many an Indian exhibi-
tion on the boards of Lamartine Hall, or of the
more pretentious Knickerbocker Hall of his day,
when the hordes of the West, under the lead. of
manager and ticket-agent, invaded the quiet pre-
cincts of Eighth Avenue. But he had never seen
one like this ; and Jack Huntingdon had been well
schooled in the Bible injunction to be hospitable to
the stranger within your gates.
4 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Heedless of the disparity of numbers, he sprang
to the rescue and dashed the yelling group aside.

““ What ’s the matter with you fellows ?’’ he de-
manded, indignantly. ‘‘ Are n’t you ashamed of
yourselves—plaguing him like this ? Can’t you see
he don’t know what to do? Let’s have your toma-
hawk, Johnnie,’’ he said, turning to the defenceless
Indian, into whose eyes had come the gleam of
grateful relief. ‘‘ What! don’t you carry a toma-
hawk with you ?’’—for he saw no such weapon in
belt or hand. ‘‘ What sort of an Injun are you,
anyhow? Here! clear out of this, all of you, or
Johnnie and I ’ll just scalp the whole lot!”’

This terrific threat, however, had no effect upon
the group of young ruffians, who, borne back at first
by Jack’s unexpected onset, now returned to the
fray with renewed vigor and exaggerated yells.

Jack was strong of arm and quick of fist, but the
protected Indian, still dazed and stupefied, was no
sort of aid, and the unequal struggle would have
ended in Jack’s utter defeat, had not an unlooked-
for police officer, attracted by the chorus of yells,
appeared on the scene.

Jack spied him at once, and, never stopping his
revolving battery of fisticuffs, raised his voice in the
call for help.

Club in hand the officer bore down upon the mélée.
But the assaulting force had caught the gleam of






ee a ee

JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE, 5

blue and billy that marked the coming of the Law
—their mortal enemy—and with loud cries of ‘‘ Lay

1’?

bones!’’ and “‘ Cheese, the cop!’’ they scattered in
all directions.

“What ’s up?’’ the policeman demanded.
““Who ’ve you got here, anyhow ?”’

Jack explained. The policeman inspected the
red stranger critically.

“Does look like an Injun,’’ he decided. .
““ Should n’t wonder but he ’s one of that crowd
that ’s stopping up at the Everett House—brought
on here from Out West, don’t you know, to see the
President. What ’s he say for himself ?”’

““ He don’t say,’’ Jack answered. ‘‘ Guess he-
can’t talk American.”’

“Not our American, anyhow,’’ the police officer
conceded, as a sort of amendment to Jack’s state-
ment. ‘‘ Some folks do say that these Injuns are
more “Americans than you or I be, young fellow.
Anyhow, you ’re a plucky one to stand up for him
so’’; and he patted Jack on the shoulder.

““What do you take me for—a heathen ?’’ de-
manded Jack Huntingdon. ‘‘ There was n’t any-
thing else to do. I hate to see a fellow picked on,
‘specially when he don’t understand what you ’re
driving at, and is half-seas-over besides. What ’ll
we do. with him ?”’

“ Better get him up to the hotel, double-quick,”’
6 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the officer replied. ‘‘ I don’t want to run him in,
and I can’t leave my beat to steer him up-town.
Can’t you take him there ?’”

“*T will if he can walk all right,’’ Jack made an-
swer. Then, turning to the young Indian, he said,
‘ Hi! Johnnie, can you come with me? I’ll get
you home all right.”’

Jack’s elaborate motions more than his words im-
pressed the rearoused Indian, versed in the elo-
quence of sign-language. He understood that he had
found a friend. Shaking himself out of his dispirited
and demoralized condition, he touched Jack’s arm
with a smile, laid a hand on the boy’s breast, then
on his own, pointed off vaguely toward the north,
and shook his head as if in uncertainty. Then,
straightening up, he flung out both hands with a
gesture that implied confidence, and ended his
pantomime by shaking hands vigorously with Jack,
at the same time giving voice to an earnest, if
guttural, ‘‘ How!”’

All this, Jack felt, implied, on the part of the In-
dian boy, a willingness to follow the white boy as
his guide and leader.

Evidently the police officer had the same opinion.

‘That ’s all right,’’ he said; “‘he ’ll go with
you, I guess. Come! stand back, can’t you ?’’ he
roared at the regathering crowd. ‘‘ Ain’t you
got any manners, you fellows, crowdin’ a poor Injun


SERENE RL TE aN EAR iE SEIS ee AS CALE 9



JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 7

this way? I ’ve got my eye on you, Swipsey
Burns!’’ he added, singling out one whom he evi-
dently recognized as a ringleader. ‘‘ Git, now! or
I ’ll know why,’’ and he swung his club threaten-
ingly.

“* Say, young fellow,’’ he motioned to Jack, ‘‘ pick
up the Injun and take him along. I ’ll go as far as
the Bowery with you. Then you get him up to the
hotel the best you can. And say! just you tell
his folks, or whoever has ’em in charge, to look
out that they don’t get wandering around, ’cause
they ‘Il get into trouble if they do. I guess this
one won't get lost again. He ’s had his lesson.
The East Side is n’t the per-airies, is it, my gallant
chief ? Better stay at home and shoot buffaloes in-
stead of trying to do New York—and New York
whiskey.’’

Jack had some misgivings, after he parted from
the policeman, as to his walk up the Bowery at mid-
day with a blanketed, long-haired Indian. But
Jack was brave enough to be able to face vulgar
curiosity and open ridicule, if need be, when it came
to a matter of right or duty, and a boy who can do
that manfully and unflinchingly is a good deal of a
hero. _

That is just what he did in this case. The Indian
stalked at his heels or walked at his side, stolid and
speechless. And at last, greatly relieved and fol-
8 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

lowed by a constantly growing trail of small boys,
big boys, and curiosity seekers, Jack guided his
charge into Union Square, and led him in through
the brown-pillared entrance of the Everett House.

““ Any Injuns stopping here ?’’ he demanded of
the surprised clerk as he piloted his red companion
to the desk. ‘‘ ’Cause, if there are, I ’ve got one of
"em that ’s lost himself.”’

“That ’s the chap we missed—Young Wolf, I
think they call him,’’ the clerk replied. ‘‘ Here!
front,’’—he touched the call-bell—‘‘ take this man
up to Injuns’ rooms. You ’d better go with him,
young fellow, and see the thing through.”’

Jack thought so, too. This was too uncommon
an adventure to drop before the end. His curiosity,
as well as his interest, was aroused, and he followed
the bell-boy and the Indian up the stairs.

In a suite on the third floor he came upon what
he called ‘‘ the whole Indian encampment ’’—some
half-dozen chiefs with their escort of agents and in-
terpreters.

One of the chiefs strode out from the group, and
grasping Young Wolf’s shoulder, propounded some
deep, brief, and guttural inquiry.

Jack looked at the questioner closely. He wasa
tall, powerfully built Indian, his color a light red,
his hair brown and long, parted in the middle like a
woman's, and crowned by an eagle’s plume. Broad of
JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 9

shoulder and strong of face, his single eagle feather
almost swept the chandelier in the centre of the
room, and he looked withal so big, so powerful, and
so commanding that Jack weakened just a bit in his
cattle-ranching decision, and decided that he would

”

rather meet the “ big Injun’’ in a hotel parlor in
New York than on one of the buttes or in one of the
cafions of the distant West.

Young Wolf replied briefly but energetically to
the chief’s inquiry, pointing repeatedly, as he talked,
toward Jack.

The big chief walked deliberately to the boy and
extended his hand.

““How!’’ he said. ‘‘ White boy—heap good,”’
and shook Jack’s hand vigorously.

Then the other Indians, following suit, gave the
boy the same hand-shake and word of commenda-
tion, while the big chief, turning to the interpreter,
made a long harangue.

The half-breed interpreter for the nation’s guests
placed himself at Jack’s elbow.

“* The chief thanks you, boy,’’ he said, evidently
translating the Indian’s words. ‘‘ Young Wolf
slipped away from us as we walked in the little plain
yonder ’’—he pointed at the open area of Union
Square,—‘‘and lost himself. Too much fire-water
and bad white men set his mind to sleep. Young
Wolf is a brave, but the white man’s fire-water and
10 ZHE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

big village make a brave a woman. Young Wolf
might have gone to his death but for you. You are
a young brave. The chief thanks you. He will
tell the Great Father in Washington about you, and
ask him to make you an agent among our people.’’

Jack walked up to the big chief as deliberately as
_ the Indian had addressed him, shook hands vigor-
ously, and said, ‘‘How! how!’”’ just as emphatically
as his new friends.

The chief’s grave face broke into a smile; he
patted the boy good-naturedly on the shoulder.

‘““ Heap good,’’ he said; and again branched out
in a harangue to the interpreter, in which the others
joined with words of evident comment or accept-
ance, even Young Wolf himself shaking himself from
his semi-stupor to take part.

Then the interpreter again translated.

‘“ The chief likes you, boy,’ he said to Jack.
“* He says the land of the plains and the rivers, the
land we call Pah-sap-pa—the hills that are black—
should be the home of such a wise young brave; he
says these walls of your big village will stop your
strong heart from growing; he asks the braves if
they would not make you a brother of the eagle or
the elk. They say, ‘Yes.’ Young Wolf says,
“Yes ; the white boy shall be my blood-brother.’
The chief says, ‘Let my young brother come to

»»9

our lodges; we will adopt him into our tribe.
ee Ee

JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 11

‘Well! here’sachance,’’ thought Jack. ‘‘ Why,
this is lots better than cattle-ranching. Bea brother
of the eagle or the elk, eh ? Adopted into the
tulpC one

‘1 ’d like to, first-rate,’’ he said aloud, replying
to the interpreter. ‘‘ Tell the chief I’m awfully
obliged to him, but I’m afraid I can’t leave home
yet a while. How can I be Young Wolf's blood-
brother ? What is it? Who are your tribe—and
who ’s the big chief ?”’

‘“Who? Why, do you not know ?”’ the inter-
preter replied. “ He is Mock-peah-lu-tah—or, as
the white men call him, Red Cloud, the great chief
of the Ogallalas.”’

Red Cloud? Even Jack had heard the name of
the most famous Indian of that day—Red Cloud,
chief of the Ogallala Sioux, who, shrewdly seeing
the growing power of the white man in the West,
had come to Washington with a delegation of chiefs
of the Teton tribes to try to sell the Black Hills
mining country to the United States Government.

And so this was Red Cloud himself, was it?
And he proposed to adopt Jack Huntingdon as a
son of the Ogallalas? ‘‘ What fun!’’ Jack said to
himself.

“Tell the chief—tell Red Cloud I thank him,”
Jack began again. ‘‘ I’m afraid I can’t get out to
his country just yet. But some day I mean to,
I2 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

and then I ’ll hunt him up. Where shall I find
him ?”’

Again the interpreter turned to Red Cloud and
gave him the boy’s inquiry. The answer came
speedily.

““ The chief bids the boy ask any one beyond the

great river where his lodges lie,’’ the interpreter
replied, translating. ‘‘ The plains that stretch away
to the feet of Pah-sap-pa are the hunting-grounds
of the Ogallalas, and all men know Red Cloud. But
there are bad men everywhere—red as well as white.
Let the boy keep this token of the eagle feather
to the head of Red Cloud ’’—here the interpreter
handed to Jack the single feather drawn from the
head of the great chief. ‘‘ It is Red Cloud’s gift,
and when men see it in the hills they will guide the
boy without harm or hurt to the lodges of the chief,
and he shall eat the ash-cake and the corn dumplings
beside the lodge-fires of Red Cloud the Ogallala.”’

Jack received the chief’s token joyfully, and
proudly stuck the feather in his hat-band, to the
great amusement of the friendly Indians. Then,
shaking hands once more with Red Cloud and
Young Wolf and all the other chiefs, Jack left the
hotel and walked home in high spirits, assuring
himself that even in humdrum New York a boy
might find adventures if he only went about it
rightly—and mighty good ones, too.




JACK HAS AN ADVENTURE. 13

He would keep the feather always, he promised
himself. It was a fine memento even if he never
could hope to see the great chief again, even if he
never did become a ranchman.

So his home-coming, you may be sure, was full of
interest, as he expatiated on his adventures and told
the story of how, in the rooms of a New York hotel,
he had met the mighty Red Cloud, chief of the
Ogallalas, the leader of two thousand warriors of
the warlike Sioux.
CHAPTER II.

ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA.

T is odd how things come about. Within three
months from the day of Jack Huntingdon’s In-
dian adventure in New York the tables were turned
once more, and the New York boy was having ad--
ventures in the Indian country.

A convenient uncle, whom Jack had known only
as a fixed assistant in the Assay Office, was sud-
denly attached to the Government expedition sent
to the Black Hills of Dakota and Wyoming, for the
purpose of testing the gold-producing possibilities
of that almost unknown and inaccessible mountain
region.

And with the expedition, as the companion of his
uncle, had gone Jack Huntingdon. :

For days Uncle Jerry had kept a watchful eye on
Jack. But the boy soon showed his ability to take
care of himself; for, despite his faculty for getting
into semi-occasional scrapes, he was a level-headed
youth, with an equal facility for getting out of them.
He displayed a uniform amount of pluck and com-
mon sense, and Uncle Jerry gradually allowed him

14
ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA. 15

larger liberty and the unrestricted use of a wiry and
tireless Indian pony.

‘* You ll turn up missing some day, I suppose,
young man,’’ Uncle Jerry had said, ‘‘ but where ’s
the use in trying to make a man of you if you are n’t
allowed to help on the good work by a bit of ex-
perience? Only, do take care of yourself, Jack.
Don’t stray too far from camp, and be sure to re-
port to me in person, always, before sundown.”’

Jack promised readily, and as dutifully performed.
But the best-laid plans sometimes go wrong, and so
it came to pass that one gorgeous summer day Jack
Huntingdon, as his uncle prophesied, really did
‘“turn up missing.”’

For when, at sundown, Corporal Thompson rode
into the camp of the explorers, beneath the cotton-
woods on the Spearfish, and inquired for Jack, no
Jack was apparent.

‘‘ That ’s mighty strange,’ said the corporal.
““Why, he and Injun Joe started off after a big-
horn they spotted at noon, and promised to come
around by the way of Bear Gulch and get into camp
before me. I reckon the critter give ‘em a long
chase, and they ’ve camped down for the night in
the hills. They ’Il show up in the morning, P’fes-
sor, don’t you worry. Jack ’s the lad that can take
care of himself!’’

That was exactly what Jack was trying to do,
16 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

even while the corporal was asserting his ability.
But he had begun to think that, under certain con-
ditions, he was not altogether a success in the care-
taking art. For, in the exciting hunt after that
monster sheep of the Rockies, known as the big-
horn, he and the guide, Injun Joe, had somehow
got separated. And as the sun began to drop,
round-orbed but retiring, towards the crest of the
Bear Lodge range, Jack sat his panting pony, anx-
ious and puzzled, with no definite idea as to his bear-
ings, and a very indefinite idea as to his next move.
Jack Huntingdon was hopelessly lost on the slope
of Inyan Kara.

But hope revives in a boy’s breast almost as
quickly as it fails. It was so with Jack Hunting-
don; and he gave a relieved and gratified shout as,
halting his pony upon the summit of a mound that
grew like a wart on the breast of Inyan Kara, he saw
off to the northwest the far-away figure of a solitary
horseman.

“That ’s Joe,’’ he said. ‘‘ Good for him! I
thought he ’d find me. These Injuns are great
trackers. I’m mighty glad he’s shown up. It’s
no joke getting lost in this country. There ’s too
much country for comfort when you don’t know the
lay of the land.”’

There was, indeed, as Jack declared, a good deal
of country spread over the earth out there in the


;
|
.
;

EE EEE EE EEE EEE EEO

ON THE SLOPE OF INVAN KARA. 17

heart of the Wyoming mountains. But it was
grand; and as Jack sat his pony awaiting Joe’s ap-
proach, he felt all the beauty and the terror of that
remarkable land which white men were just begin-
ning to know and had not yet begun to appreciate.

The setting sun tinged with vivid tints of blue
and green the broken and fantastic line of hills that
lift themselves out of the Spearfish Valley. To the
east the vast, many-colored stretch of pasture-land,
glorious with flowers and waving grass, lay pulsing
and undulating like a mighty sea; to the west the
blood-red sun, swinging in a sky of burnished cop-
per, threw into flame and glory all the ragged
hill-line and up-jutting peaks of the Bear Lodge
mountains; while over the boy’s head, springing
from the middle of its crater-like base, rose sheer
and sharp for full six hundred feet above the crater’s
rim the strange, uncanny, fire-formed pillar of Inyan
Kara, gorgeous in the sun’s rays, as if it were a
tower of topaz set with rough and sparkling jewels.

Inyan Kara, so Joe had told him, was the name of
the wonderful, burnt-out block of basalt;‘‘the moun- |

2

tain within a mountain,’’ it means; and he had
furthermore told the boy that here was the Indians’
“sacred ground,’’ which even they only rarely
visited to cut lodge-poles in its pine woods, or
to which their medicine-man came alone and

stealthily to talk with the goblin dwellers of its grim
18 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

recesses, or make medicine for the welfare and for-
tune of the tribe.

Even in the midst of all the color and glory of
that sunset scene Jack recalled ‘‘ Injun Joe’s yarns,”’
and confessed to himself that it was a ‘‘ spooky ”’
place.

‘‘T ’m mighty glad Joe ’s found me,”’ he said. ~
‘‘T’d hate to spend a night here all by my lone-
some. Hullo, Joe! Hurry up! Hurry up!’ and
he swung his arms above his head to attract the
attention and accelerate the speed of the fast-ap-
proaching horseman.

But the uplifted arm dropped nerveless at the
boy’s side; his cheery shout died away; the glad
smile of welcome faded from his face. For, as the
approaching horseman, lost for a while behind a
swelling hillock, crested it and appeared at last in
full and recognizable view, Jack Huntingdon felt
confidence ooze away and alarm take the place of
hope.

The rider was not Joe at all. He was a stranger
and an Indian. :

There were stranger things than Indians to be
seen in this wonder-filled land. Jack had studied
the red man of the agency and the trading-post in
all degrees of laziness and dirt; he had met him on
march and trail; he had seen him in tepee and wicky-
up. But there the white boy had supporters and
ON THE SLOPE OF INYAN KARA. 19

backers in his investigation. That was quite differ-
ent from coming, suddenly and alone, face to face
with one in the heart of a solitude.

Then, too, when one is thoroughly surprised it is
natural, especially for a boy, to lose confidence.
Jack was looking for Joe and foundastranger. The
surprise was so startling that his first thought in-
stinctively was of flight. A solitary Indian might
mean an unfriendly one, and though Jack Hunting-
don was no coward, he had early learned that dis-
cretion is often the better part of valor. Only it is
not always easy to decide on the instant what dis-
cretion is.

In this case it seemed to Jack Huntingdon to
mean distance—and as much of that as possible.
So, without a second of hesitation, he dug his heels
against his pony’s side and galloped headlong down
from the hillock on which he had been watching for
Injun Joe from the southerly slope of Inyan Kara.

As he did so a shout came from the Indian, twice
and thrice repeated. Then Jack knew that he was
pursued. But he only pressed his pony the faster,
and as he rounded the hillock and looked off toward
the west for safe harbor, his heart gave a bound.

“Why! there ’s the place to go for,’’ he said.
““ Where were my eyes? Why did n’t I see that
before ?”’

Off to the west—he knew not how far away, but
20 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

it seemed near enough—rose the walls and columns,
the domes and towers of a splendid city.

Bathed in the wonderful sunset of a cloudless
Wyoming day, its walls rose in variegated colors,
now gold, now purple, now yellowish drab, or now
a flickering opal; while lifted high in air, above wall
and turret and house-top, rose a mighty tower of
gleaming yellow and green with strangely shifting
tints, from the top of which, Jack found himself
imagining, one might see all the kingdoms of the
world and the glories of them.

There was his refuge, surely. In his state of
mind he did not stop to reason or think over this
strange apparition of a mountain city. It was his
city of refuge from a relentless and pursuing foe.

‘“ Where were my eyes? Why did n’t I see that
before ?’’ he repeatedly asked himself, as he pushed
his pony straight for the towered town where it rose
almost out of the beautiful rainbow-hued river that
flowed at its feet.

“* Joe never told me that there was a city so near,’’
he said. ‘‘ I thought this country was uninhabited.
I hope they ’re white, anyhow. Shoo! shoo!
Brutus. Now! stretch for it—spring for it, pony!
We ’ll get there before that yelling redskin does.’’

The redskin indeed was yelling, and to Jack’s
overtaxed nerves the yell was a whole concentrated
war-whoop of defiance and rage.
ON THE SLOPE OF INVAN KARA. 21

“No, sir! You don’t get me, if I know it,”’ Jack
shouted back; and with lowered head and clinging
knees urged his pony all the harder toward the
gold-hued, purple-towered city of the West.

But Brutus had been hard put to it that day.
Even a wiry, tireless Indian pony feels that there
may be a limit to equine endurance, and he began
to resent Jack’s double-distilled circus work.

So Jack began to find it hard to keep Brutus up
to the mark. The pony gave indications of going
sulky and dropping his swiftest gait. A look now
and then backward over his shoulder showed Jack
that his pursuer was gaining. He was getting nearer
and nearer; but so, too, was the city, Jack assured
himself, with ready optimism.

But alas for the clear but deceptive Wyoming
atmosphere! Jack had not reckoned upon that. He
had not yet grown accustomed to it, and he meas-
ured distances by Eastern standards, rather than by
those of the crystal, rarefied air of the great West.

The towered city that was to be his refuge was
ever still beyond; the sunset tints changed from
glory to grayness and died into gloom upon tower
and turret, roof and dome. And then, with a sud-
den heart-breaking start the whole horrible truth
flashed upon Jack Huntingdon.

The stories he had heard of crystal columns,
massive walls, and jewel-studded towers made by
22 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

nature’s magic and the sunlight’s tints from the
dark, jagged, and pitiless basalt rocks and lava cliffs
came surging into his brain. This was no city at all
toward which he was riding for his life. It was but
a lying vision of that land of mystery and magic—
just rock and earth, piled and tortured into fantastic
and marvellous shapes and outlines by some mighty
upheaval of the long ago, gilded into a false glory
and temptation by the vanishing sunlight. It was
no city of refuge at all; it was simply the ragged,
jagged edges of aridge of rock. Jack Huntingdon,
like others before and since, had been cruelly de-
ceived—or had deceived himself.

Then, as the horrible truth came full upon him
with the fading light, and as the glorified city
changed to a deadly wall of insurmountable rock
topped by that terrible tower, Brutus, always sure-
footed, failed him this once, and, stumbling into a
broken bit of rolling ground and loose stone, broke
in the knee and threw his rider over his head.

Half stunned with the shock, Jack rolled over into
a silent heap, while, with a shout that seemed a
death-knell, the pursuing Indian charged full upon
the prostrate and scarce semi-conscious boy,
CHAPTER III.

HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME.

EWILDERED and dazed, Jack came slowly to

himself. But as his senses returned, fear came

with them, and he would have sprung to his feet

and again fled for his life. But a restraining hand

held him down, and his startled eyes looked full in
the face of his savage captor.

The Indian was kneeling beside the boy, one hand
upon his breast, while the other held the lariats of
both the ponies gathered within his grasp.

But the eyes that met Jack’s did not flash with
the fierce exultation of victory nor burn with the
malignant gleam of hate. There was in them no
indication that their owner was a merciless and bar-
baric foeman. Instead, the glittering eyes were kind
and friendly, and, as they met Jack’s, lighted up al-
most with the gleam of recognition or a suggestion
of old acquaintanceship. The neighborliness of the
look pierced even Jack’s state of semi-stupefaction,
as he found himself wondering where under the sun
he had seen that fine bronze face before.

The smile of recognition travelled from eye to lip ;

23
24 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the free hand helped Jack to his feet; then, lightly

touching first his own and then the white boy’s

breast with his brown fingers, the young Indian said:
= Eowl

And Jack replied as peacefully, ‘‘ How!’’—the
friendly salutation between the red man and the
white, abbreviated from our every-day ‘“‘How d’ ye
do?”

‘‘ White boy heap scared,’’ the young Indian
went on. ‘‘ Run like coyote. Don’t know me—
Young Wolf ?”’

Like a flash there came back to Jack Huntingdon
that April adventure on the East Side: the narrow,
noisome, New York street, the yelling pack of tor-
menting urchins, the Indian at bay, the onset of
the Law, the walk up the Bowery! And this was
Young Wolf! With an almost hysterical laugh of
relief—and what a relief it was!—he flung out both
hands in greeting.

‘‘ Why, yes, I remember you,’’ he said. ‘‘ I saw
you in New York. Why under the sun didn’t you
say who you were without running me down like a
bighorn ?”’

Young Wolf laughed heartily—for Indians can
laugh heartily.

‘‘ Boy scared before hurt,’’ he said. ‘* Young
Wolf try to tell; boy run like wind. What here for ?””

Young Wolf was evidently quite in love with


Le



eS





















JACK AND YOUNG WOLF,















a
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 25

himself for his proficiency in English. To Jack it
was a welcome surprise.

“Why, where did you pick up so much English,
Young Wolf ?’’ he asked. ‘‘ You talk like a white
man. Youcouldn’t talk at allin New York. Who
taught you ?”’

Young Wolf beamed his acknowledgment. Evi-
dently to him, as to that English student of an
earlier day, “‘ praise from Sir Hubert Stanley was
praise indeed!”’

“Young Wolf learn in white boy’s land,’’ he ex-
plained, “‘ and from Po-to-sha-sha.”’

““ Poto—which-which ? Who ’s he?’’ queried
Jack.

“* Po-to-sha-sha—Red Top—squaw-man in tepee,”
the Indian explained, laughing; from which Jack,
drawing upon his lately acquired knowledge of In-
dian life and ways, concluded that Young Wolf’s
teacher in English had been a red-haired white man,
living, as such outcasts of civilization often did, be-
cause of their marriage to Indian wives, in the
lodges of the red men, and that the young Indian’s
slight knowledge of “‘ white man’s talk’’ gathered
in his trip through the cities of the East had thus
been supplemented until he had become, for an In-
dian, quite an expert.

But Young Wolf was as curious as Jack, and he
repeated his query.
26 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘« What here for ?’’ he asked.

‘‘ Oh, I came with the expedition from Washing-
ton—where the President lives, you know—to see
whether there is any gold in the Black Hills,’ Jack
explained.

‘Vou get gold from Pah-sap-pa—Black Hills you
call it you, boy ?’’ Young Wolf demanded.

‘Well, not me, perhaps; the miners, I mean,”’
Jack replied. ‘‘ But say! can’t I get back to our
camp? I must—ah!”’

The exclamation was wrung from him involun-
‘tarily. Then for the first time he discovered what
surprise and excitement had up to that moment
kept in the background, that when he went flying

over Brutus’s head and landed in a heap, he had
given his foot an ugly twist and had, apparently,
sprained his ankle.

His Indian friend -understood the situation at
once.

‘“ White boy hurt foot?’’ he said. ‘‘ Can't
walk ?”’

Jack tried it.

‘‘ Jingoes! I don’t believe I can,’’ he replied
with awince. ‘‘ Well! here’s a nice state of things.
How am I going to get back to camp ?”’

Young Wolf was on the ground examining the
ankle.

‘‘ Where camp ?”’ he queried.
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME, 27

“ Blest if I know!’’ Jack answered, laughing con-
fusedly, in spite of his pain. ‘‘ I don’t know where
I belong, Young Wolf. First my guide lost me,
and then I lost myself. I don’t know where our
camp is, or how to get to it. I’mall turned ’round.
It ’s somewhere in the Spearfish Valley—that ’s all
I know.”’

‘ That long way,’’ Young Wolf said, waving his
hand indefinitely toward the east. ‘‘ White boy no
good; bad foot go limp-limp—fall down. No walk;
no ride. Sun gone; all night soon. Come with
Young Wolf. Tepee near; Red Top there. We
cure white boy’s foot; then go find white man’s
tepee.”’

There seemed no other way, and Jack’s ankle
was swelling painfully.

“Uncle Jerry will be worried, I’m afraid,’’ he
said. ‘‘ But if I can’t, I can’t. Whereabouts is
your camp, Young Wolf? You ’re awfully good.”’

“No good. Boy good to me. Save me from
young bad hearts in big village. Think me coffee-
cooler’’ (the Indian name for a coward), ‘‘ but no!
no!’’—and he shook his head vehemently. ‘‘ Now
my turn. I help white boy. Tepee not far. We
walk slow.”’

As he talked, Young Wolf lifted Jack to the
saddle on the back of the now repentant and docile
Brutus, mounted his own pony, and holding Jack’s
23 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

bridle, walked both the ponies slowly toward the
river-bank fringed with cottonwoods.

The motion and the down-hanging leg brought in-
tense pain to Jack’s swollen ankle, and he clenched
his teeth tightly to keep back the groans. He knew
the Indian stoicism; he did not propose to let
Young Wolf think that a white boy could not bear
pain as uncomplainingly as a red boy.

But the watchful eye of the young Indian saw
that all was not well with his white friend. He
knew that Jack was in pain. Without a word he
stopped the ponies, lifted Jack from the saddle, and
placed the white boy before him on his own pony.
with the bad foot trussed up on the pony’s back.
He himself slipped well back toward the pony’s
rump. And thus, while Brutus followed after, the
two young fellows made their way slowly toward
the Indian’s tepee, just showing its lodge-poles
above the green of the cottonwoods.

In a clear space, within a sheltered grove of cot-
tonwoods, two tepees stood, a hundred yards apart.
Young Wolf drew up the pony before the first of
the lodges. Already the twilight was turning into
dark, the last pink flush of sunset swallowed by the
purple shadows.

The young Indian dismounted, tenderly lifted
Jack from the saddle, and bearing him in his arms,
carried him within the darkened tepee, where he
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME, 29

carefully laid him down upon a big, couch-like pile
of buffalo-hide.

Then he went to the door-flap.

‘“ Po-to-sha-sha!’’ he called, and from somewhere
in the outer shadows the steps of his lodge com-
panion hurried toward the tepee.

Jack’s exertions had tired him sorely, and in spite
of the pain he closed his eyes in semi-slumber.

Through it all he was dimly conscious of voices
talking low in a language he did not understand, of
fingers manipulating skilfully and tenderly his swol-
len, aching ankle. The darkness seemed no obstacle
to work.

‘‘ They must have eyes in their fingers,”’ thought
Jack.

Soon his foot was bathed and bandaged, and,
with the sense of ease and care-taking in the atmos-
phere about him, he fell fast asleep.

Jack had gone through a hard day and a harsh
experience, mentally as well as physically. Tired
nature asserted itself and demanded absolute rest.
So Jack slept through the night, and awoke with the
daylight stealing in through the half-closed flap of
the tepee, to find Young Wolf squatting beside him,
his self-constituted nurse and watcher.

‘““ Why! have you been by me all the time ?”’ he
exclaimed, thankfully, and instinctively his hand
went out toward his Indian friend in gratitude.
30 THE ‘MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

For Jack Huntingdon, you see, was an appreciative
youth, and the care and interest of his red-skinned
host touched him deeply.

Young Wolf grasped the extended hand; the
friendly smile sprang to eye and lip.

““ Big Tooth better now. Red Top have break-
fast soon,’’ he said.

“Big Tooth ?’’ queried Jack, laughing at the
name. ‘‘ Who’s he?”

The Indian laughed softly in reply, and pointed
at Jack’s parted lips.

It was a fact. Jack Huntingdon’s front teeth
were rather prominent. The Indian boy, who, like
all his race, was furnished with small and regular
teeth, had caught the peculiarity of Jack’s dental
deformity, and, true to Indian usage, had fitted that
to his young white friend as an appropriate and dis-
tinguishing name.

Jack dearly loved a joke, even on himself. He
fingered his large front teeth and laughed aloud
with his host.

‘That ’s a fact; my teeth are big,’ he said.
“So that’s my name, eh? Not Jack Huntingdon,
but Big Tooth,’’ and he laughed again.

‘“ Big Tooth good name till white boy can be a
brave and make a true boast,’’ Young Wolf ex-
plained. And ‘‘ Big Tooth’’ Jack Huntingdon re-
mained until—but that comes later in the story.
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 31

“ But what about the big chief I saw in New York
—Red Cloud, you know? Are you with him,
Young Wolf ?”’

““ Mock-peah-lu-tah—Red Cloud? No, no,’’ re-
plied Young Wolf. ‘‘He Ogallala. We Oncapapa.”’

Jack had not yet, as he expressed it, ‘‘ got the
Injuns down fine.’’ He had not yet fathomed all
the differences and divergencies of kinship and tribal
divisions.

“Oh, well, you ’re all Sioux, I suppose,’’ he
hazarded.

Young Wolf laughed.

“Yes, all Sioux,’’ he replied. ‘‘ White men all
same, but not all same, too,’’ he explained. ‘‘Some
Bostons; some Long Swords; some Great Father’s
lodge-people.’’

Jack stood corrected. ‘‘ That ’s so; I understand
what you mean,’’ he said. ‘‘ But say, Young
Wolf!’’ he exclaimed, the force of the coincidence
for the first time coming home to him, ‘‘ how under
the sun did you happen to be here just when I
needed you? Of all people in the world, you were
the last I could have expected to see, and yet
you were just the boy to help me. . How did it
happen?”’ :

Young Wolf swept his hand about the tepee in a
comprehensive and proprietary manner.

“This all our land,’’ he said. ‘‘ It free to Young
32 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

Wolf same as the big village where Big Tooth live
free to him.”’

‘* That ’s so,’’ Jack agreed. ‘‘ Only it’s funny
you happened here just now. Where ’s your vil-
lage ?”’

‘* Off; two moons,’’ and Young Wolf waved his
hand toward the north.

‘‘ Just these two tepees, eh?’’ pointed Jack.
‘* What are you doing here—hunting ?”’

‘* No—just here.”’

‘ Well, what for? Can’t you tell a fellow ?”’

‘* Big Tooth like Boston; always ask—ask. Bet-
ter not. Have breakfast soon. Too much ask, not
much eat.”’

And the Indian boy laughed heartily at his own
wit. Just then the red-haired squaw-man—the
white man turned Indian—put his head through the
open tepee-flap.

‘* Breakfast ’s ready,’’ he announced.

‘*Noask now. Eat,’’ again laughed Young Wolf,
as he helped Jack to his feet.

The sprained ankle was nearly cured, thanks to
rest and helpful treatment, and Jack found that, with
Young Wolf’s assistance, he could limp out to the
breakfast, which they ate seated before the camp-fire.

As they chatted Jack looked inquiringly toward
the other tepee, the flaps of which were tightly
closed. He grew inquisitive again.
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 33

“Is that your tent, Mr.—’’ he paused for a
name. It did n’t seem just right to call the rene-
gade white man Mr. Red Top, and Jack’s hesitation
was natural.

““ He Po-to-sha-sha—Red Top—see scalp?’’ and
Young Wolf touched the unmistakably red hair of
his white camp-mate. ‘‘ No, that not Red Top’s
tepee.”’

‘““ Whose is it, then ?’’ Jack persisted.

Then Young Wolf glanced toward the closed
tepee and laid a warning finger on his lips.

PJohl the ssaids 2c Bis Tooth no asi. “That
medicine-tent.”’

Jack ached to ask what a medicine-tent was; and
why they had a medicine-tent off there, away from
everybody. But even his inquisitiveness was si-
lenced by his friend’s warning motion. Evidently it
was a mystery, or not for him to question into.
Still he would like to know, he said to himself.

He was to find out speedily. For, as the three
still lingered about the morning camp-fire, suddenly
the closed flaps of the mysterious tepee parted, and
out of its gloomy recesses stalked a big Indian.

He was “‘ big Injun’’ indeed. As tall as Red
Cloud and even heavier in build, he was not such a
one as man or boy would care to meet as Jack
Huntingdon now met him—alone and on his native
heath. His face, plentifully pitted from smallpox,

3
34. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

was lighter than that of Young Wolf, and had none
of the frank, open, attractive features of the full-
blooded Sioux youth. He was evidently a man in
the prime of life, broad-faced, stern-browed, strong
of will and shrewd of eye, brown-haired, strongly
built, and of splendid physique.

The newcomer was naked to the waist. Deerskin
breeches, plentifully fringed, decorated moccasins,
and a great black-and-white hawk feather in his
smoothed brown hair made up his sole costume.
He dragged behind him a decorated buffalo-robe,
and, as he stalked toward the group beside the
camp-fire, he darted at Jack a glance that was any-
thing but friendly. But he turned first to Young
Wolf with a brief, guttural query, which Jack was
certain meant ‘‘ Who ’s your friend ?”’

Young Wolf replied at once, evidently outlining
Jack’s story and antecedents; but the chief, if chief
he were, seemed far from satisfied.

He wheeled toward Jack, half in menace, half in
inquiry. Then he called sharply, ‘‘ Po-to-sha-
sha!’’ :

The renegade was quickly beside him. The big
Indian poured out a torrent of questions. The
squaw-man looked at Jack.

‘“‘ Boy,’”’ he said, translating, ‘‘ the chief says who
are you—where from—what do you want here—are
you with the stone-hammerers—those fellows the


SITTING BULL, YOUNG WOLF, AND JACK, Page SS
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME, 35

Great Father has sent here hunting for gold—the
red man’s gold ? Answer him.’’

“Why, yes,’’ Jack replied frankly. ‘‘ Did n’t I
tell you so? Oh, no, it was Young Wolf. You
see, I came with the scientific expedition sent out
by the Government at Washington to see if there’s
any gold worth getting here in the Black Hills. We
found out. There is.’’

The squaw-man interpreted.

An angry frown darkened the scarred and swarthy
face of the big chief. He flung the buffalo-robe
aside and with both hands raised bore down on poor
Jack, who now had found his legs, and was standing
facing the angry chief, plucky but puzzled.

Instantly Young Wolf sprang between the two.
Then, laying a hand on Jack’s breast, he threw out
a torrent of words at the hostile chief.

‘* Po-to-sha-sha!’’ again came the call, and again
the listening squaw-man swiftly translated from the
original.

‘““ The chief says you have no right here,’’ he
said—‘ you and your stone-hammerers! But
Young Wolf says you are his brother and he stakes
his life on your good heart. But the chief says this
is the Injun’s ground, sacred to his spirits, and no
white man shall set foot here and live. He says
the white men shall not buy Pah-sap-pa—that ’s
these Black Hills, you know. He says he is here
36 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

to make medicine—good medicine for the Injun—
bad medicine for the white man. He will make the
land shrivel up and starve the white men off the In-
jun land. He says you are a thief and the son of a
thief, and that no one like you shall go out of these
hills alive. It looks bad for you, sonny. Young
Wolf says you ’re a good chap. Can’t you say
something ?”’

What could he say ? Jack was a bit nonplussed.

‘‘T did n’t ask to come here, did I?”’ he cried
hotly. ‘‘I got lost, and if it had n’t been for Young
Wolf here I might have died. It is n’t square to
treat me so. It’s not hospitable. I thought all
Injuns were hospitable. We are. See what the
Great Father did for you folks when you came to
Washington with Red Cloud.”

The renegade interpreted, but the big chief grew
even more angry.

‘‘ What did he do for us?”’ he exclaimed, through
his interpreter. ‘‘ He sent us back empty. He
filled us only with promises, and now sends thieves
to rob us of our hunting-grounds and our gold. It is
our land. We will keep it—every foot—hill and
plain and river. That is what the chief says he told
Red Cloud. He tells you so; and he will wither
every white foot that treads the Indian’s land.”’

As he ended, the chief’s anger seemed to grow
with his words. He thrust Young Wolf aside with
HOW JACK HUNTINGDON GOT A NEW NAME. 37

rough and hasty hand, and then paused an instant
as though he would lay violent hands on the white
boy who stood in his path.

Jack thought quickly. It was a situation that
called for rapid reflection. An inspiration came to
him.

“Red Cloud! Why, see here,’’ he said; ‘‘ see
what Red Cloud himself gave me when he was in
New York. He told me it would keep me safe from
harm among all the Injuns beyond the Missouri.”’

And Jack Huntingdon thrust full into the face of
the big chief what he had that instant drawn from
his inner pocket—his most cherished memento, the
eagle feather of Red Cloud the Ogallala.

The big chief looked at the token closely.

‘““ He wants to know where you got this,’’ said
Red Top.

Jack explained.

Slowly the chief returned the. token to its owner.
Slowly he lifted the buffalo-robe from the ground
and draped it gracefully over his naked shoulder.
Slowly he spoke in deep and guttural tones to Po-
to-sha-sha, the renegade. Then he walked into his
tepee and shut the daylight out.

Young Wolf and Red Top looked at each other
in silence.

‘““ What ’s he say ?’’ queried Jack.

The squaw-man laid a hand on the boy’s shoulder.
38 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

“You want to brace up, sonny. It ’s going
wrong with you,”’ he said, not unkindly.

‘“‘ Why, how ’s that ?’’ the white boy asked.

‘« The chief will stay in his tepee until the sun is
highest—that ’s noon, you know,”’ announced Red
Top. ‘‘ He says Red Cloud is Ogallala. He is
Oncapapa. But for Red Cloud’s feather and what
you did for Young Wolf, he will wait till his medi-
cine talks. He goes into his tepee now to make
medicine. If it is good medicine, you must stay
with him and become an Injun—like me’’—the
squaw-man’s voice had in it just a shade of self-
contempt. ‘‘If it is bad medicine, you die—but
like a brave, he says—not likea coward. He says it
must either be Injun or scalp. He ‘ll have no
spy, he says, in the lodges of To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-
ke.”

‘‘ Whew!’’ Jack gave a whistle of incredulity.
‘* He don’t dare—see here, Mr.—Red Top! Who is
this Ta-tan—what-you-may-call-it ? Who is your
chief, anyhow ?”’

‘‘ What? You don’t know?’’ demanded the
renegade. ‘‘ Did not Young Wolf tell you ?”’

“He is To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke—the bull that sits,”
Young Wolf explained.

‘“No! Not Sitting Bull—the big war-chief of the
Sioux,’’ cried Jack. ‘‘ Well! I am ina pickle!’’

And he certainly was.
CHAPTER IV.
THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE.

ACK’S first impulse was to mount his pony and
ride for his life. But an instant’s reflection
convinced him that such escape was impossible.
Even were he in condition for a break-neck dash, his
absolute ignorance as to the path to safety would
make such an attempt little better than a jump from
the frying-pan to the fire. He was a lost boy; he
was, practically, a crippled boy; he could not hope
to find his way to the distant camp of the govern-
ment explorers; his only reliance was upon his own
wits, or upon the friendship of Young Wolf. At all
events, Jack Huntingdon was not a boy to give in
without a struggle.

He turned to Young Wolf. That perplexed
young warrior was evidently doing a good deal of
hard thinking. But he spoke no word; he gave no
answering sign to Jack’s look of inquiry.

As for Po-to-sha-sha, there was evidently no help
to be expected from that quarter. The squaw-man
lay flat on his back, placidly looking up into the
distant blue of the Wyoming sky, thinking, appar-
ently, of nothing at all.

39
40 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Jack was nonplussed; he felt himself deserted by
the world; and yet here was a case in which even
self-reliance seemed at fault. Again he turned to
the Indian lad.

‘‘ What under the sun can I do, Young Wolf ?”’
he cried. ‘‘ He won’t dare touch me, will he ?”’

‘“* To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke—how you call him ?—Sit-
ting Bull—dare much—do much. But so can Young
Wolf,’ the red boy replied. ‘‘ Big Tooth wait.
What shall come, shall come.”’

It seemed the only thing to do, and though Jack,
like all American boys, was impatient under delay,
he was also, like most American boys, openly opti-
mistic—that is, he was certain something would turn
up to bring things around all right. Besides, so im-
plicit had become his confidence in his Indian friend,
that he at once threw upon Young Wolf the respon-
sibility of escape from an unpleasant situation, and
calmly awaited developments.

They came all too soon. For as Po-to-sha-sha,
still lazily stretched upon his back, cross-examined
Jack—without, it must be confessed, any very defi-
nite results—as to the indications of gold discovered
by the government explorers, once again the tepee
flap sparted, and Sitting Bull strode up to the wait-
ing three.

Evidently his medicine sleep had been short, and
his vision had been quick to come. There was a
THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE, 4I

sinister smile on his scarred face, and in his eye an
uncomplimentary look that boded no good to young
Jack Huntingdon.

“© Po-to-sha-sha! ”’

The squaw-man slowly gathered himself up, and
stood as interpreter between the chief and the boy.
Then the big Indian gave his verdict.

‘“* The chief has seen the future,’’ the squaw-man
translated. ‘‘ His medicine says die, boy. (It’sa
rank shame, too, sonny,’’ he added as a quick aside).
““ The chief’s medicine is bad for those who come
to the Black Hills, he says, to spy out the Indian’s
land; it is bad medicine for the white foot that’dares
to tread the Indian’s sacred ground, here under the
shadow of Mato Tepee—the Bear Lodge, you know,
sonny—the Tower of the Great Bad Spirit,’’ and
Po-to-sha-sha waved his hand toward the mysterious
basalt column which white men call ‘‘ the Devil’s
Tower,’’ as it springs from its sedimentary rock
above the Belle Fourche.

‘““ The chief likes you, boy,’’ the squaw-man con-
tinued, though Jack could see no indications of such
affection on the big chief’s impassive face. ‘‘ He
says you did good to Young Wolf in the white
man’s big village, and you bear the eagle feather of
the chief Red Cloud. He would like to make you
one of his sons, but the Indian must obey his medi-
cine, If it says you live—you live. But it says die
42 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

—and you die—now—like a warrior, he says.
Stand up, boy, the chief says; stand up, and die as
a brave should, by the hand of him who makes
medicine for his brothers, of him who is the leader
of the Sioux!”’

‘‘ And I say,’’ added the squaw-man, as a sort of
anti-climax, ‘‘ watch out, sonny; watch out and be
ready; the Bull’s knife isa big one, but you be spry
and dodge it.’’

Jack Huntingdon, as you know, was no coward;
but the unexpected and startlingly prompt verdict
of Sitting Bull, coupled with the squaw-man’s warn-
ing, unnerved him for an instant, as it might any
one, and he sank limply to the ground.

Then, quickly recovering himself, he sprang to his
feet, and catching up the weapon of defence nearest
at hand—a half-burned but stout ash stick from the
smouldering fire—he faced the big chief defiantly.

““ You ’re a coward and a fraud!’ he cried hotly.
‘* You ’re afraid to take a man of your size. Dare
to lay a hand on me and I ’ll brain you like a mad
dog, you leather-skinned yelper. Touch me, if you
dare. I ’ve got the whole United States at my
back, and they ’ll show you what it is to knife an
unarmed Yankee boy. Come on, you coward Injun!
I’m not afraid of you.’’ And Jack brandished his
charred stick, and ‘‘ cavorted’’ before the stern-
faced Indian in a way that clearly disconcerted that
THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE, 43

redoubtable chief and, as Shakspere has it, quite
‘““ gave him pause.”’

He turned to Po-to-sha-sha inquiringly, and the
squaw-man rendered an immediate and literal trans-
lation of the white boy’s defiance, omitting neither
taunt nor epithet; for these, indeed, are the embel-

”

lishments and “‘ frescoes’’ especially cultivated by
the Indian warrior at bay—the emphasis and signs
of an unconquerable bravery.

It raised Jack perceptibly in the big chief’s esti-
mation. A smile of approval crossed his swarthy
face, and some expression of Indian approbation of
pluck came from his lips. But none the less did
he pluck the hunting-knife from his belt and, with
one brief poise for a good aim, hurl it straight at his
boyish antagonist.

But that brief halt for aim saved Jack Hunting-
don’s life. Fortunately the sun was in the Indian’s
eyes; the boy had the advantage of position. As
Sitting Bull poised his knife, Jack grasped his ash
stick, like the trained baseball player he was, and
when, the next instant, the knife came spinning
toward him, he met it with so sure and so vigorous
a ‘‘ strike ’’ that the murderous weapon went sailing
so high in air above chief and tepee and tree-top
that, as Jack afterward declared, he felt just like
flinging down his bat and making at least a three-
bagger, if not a home run.
44 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

But he thought better of it and stood his ground,
still defiant and silent.

‘‘ Good boy, sonny,’’ cried the squaw-man, under
his breath, while Young Wolf and Sitting Bull
looked their astonishment and admiration at the
white boy’s deftness and ability.

Slowly the chief detached a short coil of lariat
from his belt. Then he gave an order to Po-to-
sha-sha and Young Wolf.

The renegade took one step in obedience toward
Jack.

‘“The Bull says for us to ketch and tie you,
sonny,” he explained. ‘‘ Don’t you go for to stop
us; it ’ll be bad for you if you do.”’

Jack grasped his stick the firmer. But the inter-
ference did not come from him. It came from quite
another quarter.

For, as the squaw-man took another wary step in
Jack’s direction, Young Wolf sprang between them,
pushed the renegade back with a determined shove,
and openly faced Sitting Bull, interposing in behalf
of his white friend. ;

The Indian speech came fast from boy and chief.
It was all untranslatable to Jack, but the sign ac-
companiments that play so large a part in Indian
talk gave him some inkling of the situation.

Clearly Young Wolf was openly braving his chief.
His proud attitude; his defiant expression; his elo-
THE BIG CHIEF'S MEDICINE. 45

quent gestures; his emphatic and fiery denunciation,
all showed that to the observant and anxious white
boy ; while the scorn, surprise, contempt, and
threatenings of the big chief, changing finally to
protest, argument, concession, and an ungracious
yielding, all of which could be read by the watchful
Jack in the tones and gestures of the big chief,
showed the boy that, whatever the line of Young
Wolf’s arguments and action, it had led to a cessa-
tion of hostilities, and that the young brave had
won the fight.

For, suddenly, with but a single word thrown out
at Young Wolf with an emphasis that halted be-
tween a grunt and a hiss, the big chief turned on
his heel and strode again into the seclusion of his
tepee.

It was now Jack Huntingdon’s turn to be as-
tonished. Yet even his surprise and wonderment
over the manner in which Young Wolf had both de-
fended and saved him could not overcome his
gratitude. Impulsively he made at his Indian
friend and flung both arms about him in an excess
of excited thankfulness.

“Young Wolf, you ’re a brick!’’ he cried.
““ How did you do it? What under the sun did
you say to him? You ’ve saved my life a second
time. What did you do?”

But Young Wolf answered him never a word.
46 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

He turned upon the white boy a look in which en-
thusiasm, friendship, impassiveness, and uncertainty
were curiously mingled, roughly disengaged himself
from his white friend’s grasp, and, still silent, wheeled
about and disappeared within the solitude of the
other tepee, as stolidly and majestically as Sitting
Bull himself.

Jack Huntingdon looked at Po-to-sha-sha inquir-
ingly.

‘* What is it all about ?’’ he asked.

The squaw-man’s face was itself a study. He
glanced hastily from one tepee to the other, as
if expectant of some new conflit or explosion.
Then, slouching up to Jack, he took him by the
buttonhole and softly led him out of earshot, in the
direction of the river-bank. There his amazement -
found voice.

,

““Sonny,’’ said he, wheeling Jack about and look-
ing him full in the face, “‘ you ’ve just seen a big
fight. You can thank your lucky stars it came out
as it did; for if it had gone the other way, it would
have been ‘ good-night, John!’ for you and Young
Wolf, too. You and the young chief have both
got sand, sonny—heaps of it. That ’s the first
time I ever saw the Bull downed by a boy—two of
“em, b’ George!”’

‘* How did I down him, Mr.—Red Top ?”’ queried
puzzled Jack. ‘‘ And how did Young Wolf? For
THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE. 47

goodness sakes, tell us all about it. I could n’t
make it out.”’

Po-to-sha-sha squatted beneath a cottonwood and
pulled Jack down beside him.

‘““ You stood him off fine, sonny,’’ he said. ‘‘ The
Bull, he ain’t used to being faced by a boy like that.
He ’s big medicine, you know, and we folks don’t
any of us dare to sarse back, or he ’ll work a charm
on us that ’ll wind us all up. You didn’t know
that; so you just shivered the Bull, don’t you see?
But Young Wolf knows what the big chief can do;
and he thinks p’r’aps it’s all up with him. That’s
why he ’s gone into the tepee so quiet like. He
wants to think it over and see if he can’t dream a
way out of the Bull’s bad medicine. How he did
face him, though! I thought for sure the big chief
would just cut him down where he stood.”’

“But what did Young Wolf say to him—can’t
you tell me ?”’ persisted Jack.

““ Well, this is what he said,’’ replied Po-to-sha-
sha, with an uneasy backward glance toward the
silent medicine tent. ‘‘ When he mighty nigh
knocked me over—’cause you see, sonny, I just
nach’elly had to do what the big chief told me—
he ’d have made it hot for me if I had n’t,’’ the
squaw-man explained—“‘ he just faced the Bull, and
says he, ‘ The white boy is my friend,’ says he,
“he’s a brave, and shall not be tied and whipped
48 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

like a dog ’—that ’s what the Bull told us to do to
you, sonny.”’

‘‘ Tied me and whipped me, would you ?”’ cried
Jack. ‘‘ Well, I guess not. Id like to have seen
you trying it.”

‘‘ Well, I tell you, we ’d have had to if the Bull
said so,’’ expostulated Po-to-sha-sha. ‘‘I did n’t
want to; you ’re a plucky chap. But what the big
chief says goes, you see. So if Young Wolf had
helped, we ‘d have trussed and flayed you.
Gracious, sonny! you have to do lots of things in
this world you don’t want to do—that ’s why I ’m
here—a squaw-man,’’ and Po-to-sha-sha would have
wandered away into his own grievances if Jack had
not recalled him.

‘But Young Wolf would n’t do it, eh?’ he
said.

‘“No. Young Wolf would n’t do it, and he up
and told the Bull so,’’ the squaw-man replied.
‘* And when the big chief blazed out at him, and
told him he ’d have to do it if he said so, Young
Wolf up and gives it to him straight. ‘You!’ he
says. ‘Who are you to talk so to me? I ama
chief of the Uncapapas. I am the son of a chief.
And you! You are no chief——’ ”’

‘‘ Sitting Bull no chief !’’ cried Jack, incredu-
lously. ‘‘ Why, what did he mean ?”’

‘* See here, sonny, I ’m a-telling this story.
THE BIG CHIEF'S MEDICINE. 49

Don’t you go for to break in on me, or I won’t tell
a thing,’’ the squaw-man objected. ‘‘ Just you
hear me out. ‘You ’re no chief,’ says Young
Wolf, tossing up his head like a buck elk, ‘ you ’re
just a medicine-man. Go into your tepee and
dream your lying dreams and make up your bad
medicine to lead fool Injuns astray, but don’t be
giving me orders or go to hectoring of my friends,
or I ’ll lay it before the Ni-ka-ga-hi ’— that ’s
the assembly of head chiefs, you know. Well!
tight there ’s where I thought it was all up with
Young Wolf. Whew! but was n’t the Bull mad!
He hates to be crossed, you see. He’s just as bad
as a white man in that. ‘ Boy!’ he yells at Young
Wolf—I reckon you heard him— Boy’ he yells,
‘Iam Wa-ku-be /’—that ’s sacred—medicine, you
know. There ain’t one of us but is afraid of that
when a medicine-man yells it out. But Young
Wolf, you see—his blood wasup. He just straight-
ened up—you saw him, p’r’aps—and hit himself on
the breast. ‘And I am We-ic-te’—that’s of the
highest chiefs, you know—an Elk—none higher.
And when Young Wolf says that, the Bull he had
to come down a peg, for the Elks have the first
place in the tribe, and they ’ve got the call even on
the medicine man.
“‘ Well, so they had it out, as you saw, criss-cross,
hot and heavy, until, I vum! even the Bull had to
4
50 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

give in, and he just dropped everything and went
into his tepee to try for fresh medicine. But I
reckon Young Wolf feels kind of petered out, now
it’s all over; for to stand out against the medicine-
man—’ specially when he leads ’em all as Sitting Bull
does—is about as skeery a thing as it would be for
you to go for to say ‘ Boo!’ to the President of the
U—nited States.”’

And Jack fully understood from that simile just
how much of a risk his friend Young Wolf had run
in thus facing down the great leader of the Un-
‘capapa Sioux.

“* But what was it that Sitting Bull sung out when
he went into his tepee ?’’ the boy asked the squaw-
man.

“Oh, that? It kind of did up Young Wolf,
did n’t it?’’ was the squaw-man’s comment.
‘“‘ The big chief just sung out ‘ Strong Hearts!’ as
a sort of a flyer, you see.’”

““*Strong Hearts’? What ’s that mean?”’

queried Jack; ‘‘ sort of whistling to keep his cour-
age up before Young Wolf ?’”’ -
' “Whistling! Well, I reckon not. He don’t
need that,’’ replied Po-to-sha-sha. ‘‘ Why, Sitting
Bull is the Master of the Strong Hearts; and they
don’t give in, I can tell you.’’

“The Master of the Strong Hearts ?’’ Jack was
certainly learning many new things, and each one
THE BIG CHIEF'S MEDICINE. 51

only increased his curiosity. ‘‘ What ’s that ?’’ he
queried ; “‘ some sort of a secret society ?’’

“ That ’s just where you ’re right, sonny,’’ the
squaw-man assented with an emphatic nod. ‘‘ The
Strong Hearts are just the biggest, secretest, most
consarnedly bravest and determined of all the Sioux
societies. And their main point, in all their doings
is just this: never to back down, back out, or give
up, when once they ’ve determined to do anything.
And that’s what the Bull meant. He’s determined
to do you up and get rid of you for belonging to
that gold-hunting expedition and setting foot here
in the Injun’s sacredest land, where he had come to
make medicine. That ’s what he’s bound to do.
He just sung out ‘ Strong Hearts,’ to Young Wolf
as a sort of what you call—reminder. And he’s the
head man of ’em all—he’s Master of the Strong
Hearts. That ’s why it looks bad for you yet,
sonny ; though, I vum, I hope he ’ll let up on
you. You ’rea plucky chap, as I said, and I want
to see you go scot-free—if you can.”’

‘““ Then he is no warrior—no chief at all—not even
like Young Wolf, eh ?’’ Jack queried. ‘‘ How did
he get such aname, then? Everybody calls him a
big chief.’’

“So he is; but not a big war-chief,’’ Po-to-sha-
sha explained. “‘It ’s like this: Sitting Bull is a
great fellow to spout, you see. And plan! Well,
52 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

he can just plan you off the earth. But I never
knew him to lead on the war-path—never. He
leaves the real fighting to some of the other big
chiefs—like Red Cloud, or Gall, or Iron Hawk, or
Rain-in-the-Face. The Bull, he just makes medicine
for the boys, and they pitch in and fight, while he
dreams things out for ’em and eggs ’em on. That
gives him a big influence over ’em all, and they just
look up to him for advice how to do things and when
to do’em. Then, too, the Strong Hearts are about
the biggest fighters of all the Sioux out of the
agencies—hostiles, you folks call em; and his being
head chief or Master of the Strong Hearts puts him
’way up front, so we don’t any of us dare to cross
him or even to talk back to him, as Young Wolf did
just now. Whew! but won’t he just get square
with Young Wolf somehow! I would n’t like to be
in that boy’s moccasins. The Bull never forgives,
and I tell you he never forgets. Don’t I know
that ? I would n’t be here if I did n’t.”’

Interest in his own affairs, even in his own fate,
could not entirely close Jack Huntingdon’s ears to
these words, nor his eyes to the look that accom-
panied them. Po-to-sha-sha evidently had a story,
and all Jack’s interest and curiosity were aroused.

He looked closely at the squaw-man’s face,
shadowed as it now was by some unpleasant but
overpowering memory. Bronzed by exposure al-
THE BIG CHIEF’S MEDICINE. 53

most to the Indian tint, dressed like an Indian, with
few remnants of the garb of civilization, the man’s
long red hair and his unmistakable American tongue
alone marked him asa ‘‘ paleface.’’ But Jack could
see that he had not become renegade and back-
slider into barbarism entirely from choice, or simply
through love for his Indian wife. There was a
stronger reason back of it-all. That reason covered
a story, and that story Jack Huntingdon greatly
desired to hear.

He was just on the point of putting his desire into
words, when a light step paused beside him, and a
light touch fell upon his shoulder. He looked up.
His eyes met those of Young Wolf, his champion.

“Big Tooth come with me,’’ he said. ‘‘ To-
tan-ka make new medicine. He say tell white boy
come. Big Tooth be brave. Tepee no worse than
big village. We find way out. He Strong Heart,
I strong heart, too!’”’

And Young Wolf straightened so visibly and de-
fiantly that Jack did the same, and together the two
boys sought the tent of the big medicine chief, the
squaw-man slouching slowly in their rear.
CHAPTER V.
A MODERN REGULUS.

Ec the open space between the two tepees Sitting

Bull awaited them. His eyes had the same
baleful light, his face was as stolid as ever. But as
Jack approached him an attempt at a smile curved
the broad mouth upward, and the proffered hand-
shake was accompanied by a distinct and apparently
friendly ‘‘ How.”’

Jack was not altogether a believer in this apparent
change of heart, so he was watchful and on his
guard even while accepting the hand-shake and re-
turning the “‘ How.’’ But Sitting Bull had evi-
dently changed his tactics, and no hostilities in
ambush followed the suspicious show of cordiality.

Instead, the demand for the interpreter came at
once and sharply: :

“* Po-to-sha-sha!”’

The squaw-man was beside his chief instantly,
and Sitting Bull, with the usual accompaniment of
sign and gesture, announced the latest result of his
medicine.

‘It is good medicine this time, boy,’’ the squaw-

54
A MODERN REGULUS. 55

man translated. ‘‘ He has seen the Old Squaw—
that ’s one of the Injun spirits around here, you
know, sonny. It’s lucktoseeher. The chief says
the Old Squaw was dancing the red paint dance
yonder on the top of the great Tower. She had
the good grass medicine in her hand, and as she
danced she sang a good song for the white boy—
that ’s you, sonny.”’

“ Well, that sounds better,’’ was Jack’s gratified
comment, as Po-to-sha-sha paused for more. ‘‘ I
owe you one for that, Young Wolf.”’

‘White boy wait. To-tan-ka not through yet,”’
the young Indian replied.

To-tan-ka (the Bull) indeed was not through yet.
He launched into another harangue which Po-to-sha-
sha duly translated.

“The Old Squaw told the chief to let the white
boy go,’’ the renegade began, ‘‘ but let him go to
return. (Ah ha! sonny, I thought there was a
string to that pardon,’’ Po-to-sha-sha commented,
while Young Wolf looked at Jack meaningly).
“Tt is not safe for the Bull, so the chief says, or
any of his young men to bear a message. Red
Cloud went to the Great Father for a gift, and what
did he get ?—nothing. The young men of the Bull
are hostiles; it would not be safe for them to walk
in the big villages beyond the sunrise—he means
your towns in the East, you know. But Big Tooth
560 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

here—that ’s you, sonny—shall bear a message from
him to the Great Father and to Chief Long Hair—
that ’s General Custer, you know, boy; he was out
here last year with his soldiers and we tried to do
him up, but it was a draw between him and the
Bull, you see.”’

‘‘ Why,” said Jack in much surprise as Po-to-sha-
sha ceased, ‘‘I don’t know the President—nor
General Custer either. I never saw them, though
my father fought under Custer in the Valley.”’

‘““ Say! you ’d better not object,’’ the squaw-man
warned him in swift reply. “It’s your only chance
to go scot free. I know the Bull. I know what
he’supto. Eh, Young Wolf?”

‘“ White boy say yes, keep scalp; say no—’”’ and
Young Wolf paused significantly.

‘* Oh, it ’s a sort of Hobson’s choice, is it ?’’ said
Jack. ‘‘ Well, go ahead, Mr. Red Top. Tell the
chief to give me his message. I ’ll try it.”

Po-to-sha-sha reported, and Sitting Bull pro-
ceeded.

‘‘ This is the chief’s medicine dream and the Old
Squaw’s orders, boy,’’ the squaw-man translated.
‘* His way would have been to kill you at once, but
the good medicine said no.”’

‘“ Much obliged to the doctor. That ’s the first
good medicine I ever took,’’ was Jack’s characteris-
tic comment.
A MODERN REGULUS. BY

““ She said,’’ Po-to-sha-sha went on, “‘ let the
white boy see the Great Father. Let him say that
the Dakota—that ’s the Sioux, you know, sonny—
will never sell to the white men this Powder River
country. We will not have here the me-ne-aska
(them ’s the emigrant trains, boy). He cannot buy
the Pah-sap-pa—these Black Hills, he means. They
are worth, so the chief says, more than all the wild
beasts and all the tame beasts that the white people
possess. Let the Great Father know this, and let
him send word here, by you, boy, to the chief, that
he will not let the me-ne-aska come into this coun-
try with their wagons, or the stone-hammerers for
gold, and that he will keep back his Long-Swords
from the Indian land. Bring the chief this answer,
boy, and he will make you, so he says, one of his
own Strong Hearts and a chief of the Dakota. But
if you say that the Great Father answers‘ No,’ then
shall you be staked out to die.”’

““ That sounds pleasant,’’ said Jack. ‘‘ I wonder
how it will strike the President. General Grant
is n’t used to giving in to that sort of message.
And what about General Custer ?”’

““ Tell the chief Long Hair,’’ said Sitting Bull
through his interpreter, “‘ that but for the Long-
Swords who came to help him, I would have had
his scalp last year at our fight on the Yellowstone.
Tell him that To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke waits him here.
58 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Let him come by the thieves’ road—that ’s the trail
along which Custer marched last year, sonny—he
and his brother the Little Hair, and the Ree coffee-
coolers—them ’s the Injuns, the Ree scouts, boy;
the Bull hates ’em like pizen—and the chief and
Rain-in-the-Face will fight ’em, man to man, like
bravesin battle. But if you say that the chief Long
Hair will not come, then—’’ here the squaw-man
broke off suddenly and scratched his head dubiously
—‘‘ well, sonny, then the chief says he ’Il stake you
out to die. You'd better say ‘ Yes’ right off,’’ the

friendly renegade added. ‘“‘I ’d promise every
time, I would.”’
It was now Jack’s turn to deliberate. “‘If I

promise, I promise, and I keep my promises,’’ he
said; to which, when the squaw-man had put it into
Sioux, the chief said his only English sentence,
‘“Heap good! How!’’ and forthwith proceeded
to shake hands again with Jack.

‘Ves, but hold on, Mr. Red Top,’’ said Jack.
‘‘T have n’t promised yet. I want to think it over.
What is this staking-out business you threaten if I
fail? Something Injun and gentlemanly ?”’

‘It’s Sioux,’’ the squaw-man replied, hesitating
how best to sugar-coat the pill; ‘“‘and it ain’t real
nice, sonny. Fact is, I'd promise anything to get
clear of it.”’

‘‘ Well, but what is it ?’’ persisted Jack,
A MODERN REGULUS. 59

‘‘ Why, you see,’’ the renegade explained slowly,
‘‘ they just strip you and peg you down, legs and
arms stretched wide apart; and then they build a
fire on your stomach and play with you with burn-
ing sticks. It don’t sound good, but—you would
have it, you see.”’

Jack winced under the explanation, while even
the squaw-man looked troubled.

‘‘ That ’s what I get if I bring back a ‘ No,’ is
it?’’ the boy queried. ‘‘ It isn’t real exhilarating,
and that ’s a fact. Well, suppose I say, now, right
here, that I won’t take the messages. What then ?”’

Po-to-sha-sha hesitated; then, turning to the big
chief, he propounded Jack’s query.

For answer the chief wheeled about, and motion-
ing the three to follow him ascended a little rise,
where at the base of the North Mesa, the Red
Valley lay verdant and beautiful beneath them.
Where the Indian trail to the Powder River coun-
try wound across it certain moving forms could be
descried—a dozen Sioux warriors on their lithe and
tireless ponies.

‘‘ See them,’’ Sitting Bull declared through Po-
to-sha-sha. ‘‘ They are Strong Hearts. If I say
the word, here, under the shadow of the Bad Spirit’s
Tower, they will, before the sun is highest, stake out
first Young Wolf, who has made a brother of a spy
and brought into the red man’s sacred ground the
60 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

son of a thief, and then will they stake out the spy
himself—Big Tooth, the white boy. For heaven’s
sake, sonny, promise anything,’’ the renegade
hurriedly advised. ‘‘I may get into this thing,
too, if you don’t. You don’t want to hurt Young
Wolf, do you? And say! that ain’t a nice thing to
have done to you either—it ain’t now, really.”’

Decision, even when the odds are strong against
you, is not always easy. In this case Jack Hunt-
ingdon found it especially hard. For, as I have
told you, Jack could be depended upon to keep a
promise, and Sitting Bull, who could shrewdly read
character, knew it.

“Young Wolf,’’ cried the boy, turning to his
Indian friend, ‘‘ what shall J do—what shall I say?’’

““ Big Tooth say—do—what he please,’”’ the
young Indian replied, without a change of expres-
sion. ‘‘ What he do, what he say, Young Wolf
stand by. If ‘No,’ then Young Wolf die like a
brave. He strong heart as much as the Bull that
sits. He Big Tooth’s friend till death. How!”’

And the faithful young brave, who would not .
help Jack to a decision, but was ready to stand be-
side him come life or death, extended his hand to
Jack as token of faith and loyalty.

‘““ But see here, Mr. Red Top,”’ Jack exclaimed,
turning upon the squaw-man, “‘ is n’t this just a
bluff ? Would the chief dare to—ugh !—stake out,
A MODERN REGULUS. 61

as you call it—Young Wolf, his tribesman ? They
are both Uncapapa. Would n’t the tribe have
something to say if he should kill a kinsman ?”’

“Well, sonny, they might say,’’ Po-to-sha-sha
replied; “‘ but would they do? That ’s the ques-
tion. The Bull is the king pin in the lodges just
now; Red Cloud has turned coffee-cooler; the Bull
is the only real head to the hostiles—unless it ’s
Chief Gall. The Bull has got the Strong Hearts
behind him. Besides, he ’s one of the Fox family;
Young Wolf is an Elk. You don’t know what that
means, but Ido. I reckon the Bull will go ahead
and do what he wants to, and square it up with the
lodges afterwards.”’

“* Jingoes! it’s hard lines,’’ cried Jack when he had
mused an instant; ‘‘ but go ahead, Mr. Red Top,”’
he decided swiftly and impulsively. ‘‘ Young Wolf
shall not suffer for me. Tell the chief I promise.
I'll carry his messages.’’

Po-to-sha-sha translated.

““ And will the boy bring back the answer ?’’ the
chief demanded.

‘““Of course; that ’s the bargain. Have n’t I
promised ?’’ cried Jack loftily.

“It is well. Big Tooth is a brave. To-tan-ka
trusts him. See! the Strong Hearts come as
brothers, not as destroyers,’’ Sitting Bull responded
through his renegade interpreter. And he shook
62 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

hands heartily with the white boy, ending with his
one English phrase, ‘‘ Heap good. How!”’

Then, striding down the hill, while the others
followed at his bidding, Sitting Bull went forward
to meet his brother Strong Hearts.

And the squaw-man said, ‘‘ Mighty wise in you,
sonny, to say ‘ Yes.’ You ’re a cute one, you are.
If you don’t find a way out of this to save your
scalp, then I don’t know you. There ’s more ’n
one way to kill a cat.”

Young Wolf said nothing; but he grasped his
white friend’s hand in absolute trustfulness. The
light of comradeship and friendship sprang from
eye to eye, and Jack with the ready optimism of
boyhood exclaimed: ‘‘ Well get out of it somehow,
Young Wolf. It’s a good ways to Washington and
back, and Ill doaheap of thinking, I can tell you.’’

The three flung themselves down in the shadow
of the pines, while Sitting Bull went on alone a
gunshot farther and there awaited the newcomers.

“ Did Sitting Bull get hold of you some way like
that, Mr. Red Top ?’’ Jack demanded of the squaw-
man.

Po-to-sha-sha nodded his affirmative.

“Well, it is a foxy move,’’ Jack exclaimed.
“* You said he belonged to the Fox family, did n’t
you? Ishould say he ’s the head Fox of ’em all.
But does an Elk stand that, Young Wolf? What ’s
A MODERN REGULUS. 63

the good of being an elk with a good fighting pair
of horns if you can’t toss a fox, I’d like to know ?”’

Young Wolf laughed meaningly.

‘“ Fox heap sly,’’ he said. ‘“‘ Fox dodge and
squirm, but elk horns cut sometimes. Change bad
medicine to good. Big Tooth saw that ?”’

‘“‘ Yes, yes, I know,’’ Jack replied enthusiastically.
““ You faced him well then, Young Wolf. Do you
*spose he ’s forgotten ?””’

“‘ To-tan-ka never forget. He never forgive,’ said
the Indian.

““ But why did n’t you face him down again when
he sprung that staking-out threat on us just now ?”’
queried Jack.

Young Wolf rose to his elbow and laid a hand
impressively on Jack Huntingdon’s breast.

‘“What done, done,’’ he said. ‘‘ Fox sly, but
Elk can wait. When fire burn prairie, fight it with
another fire. Big Tooth, see. Young Wolf no
fool. We wait. See Strong Hearts coming?
That good ’nuff reason.”’

‘“ That ’s so,’’ Jack agreed. ‘‘ Twelve to two is
pretty big odds. I guess you know what you ’re
about, Young Wolf. What do you say, Mr. Red
Top?”

The squaw-man opened his half-shut eyes lazily.

“Well, I'll tell you, sonny,’’ he said. ‘‘ When
I gits cornered, I caves, see? And the fellow that
64. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

caves can dig out in time, if he Il only watch out
for his chance. I let things go as they please and
say ‘ Yes’ to everything. It ’s the easiest way,
and it pays best in the long run.”’

Jack did not by any means subscribe to this
doctrine. It was the coward’s policy, he felt; and
cowardice and Jack Huntingdon had nothing in
common. He saw how it had made of a free-born
white American a renegade and a barbarian, and
his innate patriotism burned in protest. But Jack
was learning through harsh experience the lesson
that it is well sometimes to hold the tongue behind
closed teeth; so he said nothing in rebuttal.

But his inquisitiveness grew upon him. He knew
that the renegade had a story behind his cowardice.
And it was somehow, he knew, mixed up with Sit-
ting Bull. He wondered what it was.

‘“ How did you come to be an Injun, Mr. Red
Top ?’’ he blurted out, at length.

The squaw-man half rose from the ground. A
startled look sprang to his face. He glanced appre-
hensively toward the distant medicine chief standing
impassively waiting for his tribesmen. He glanced
at the silent Young Wolf, stretched at full length on
the pine needles. Then he laid a hand in warning
upon his lips.

“Oh, I just wanted to, that’s why,’’ he answered
briefly, and fell back to his lazy position.
A MODERN REGULUS. 65

And Jack Huntingdon, though he knew there
was quite another reason, like a wise boy, refrained
from pressing his question.

‘“Some day Ill get the whole story straight,”
he said to himself. And he did, though in quite
another fashion than as a simple recital in the
bivouac under the pines.

The distant, wavering single line of riders grew
more and more distinct; it came nearer and nearer,
and the lone chief, from his outlook, with graceful
sweeps of his medicine robe sent to the approaching
warriors his greeting. In the eloquent language of
Indian signals the gesture of welcome was returned ;
the lithe, half-naked forms bent to the motion of
their galloping ponies; soon the savage trappings
might be discerned; hawk and eagle feather gracing
each head of plaited or of flying hair could next be
seen; then features were recognized, and the wait-
ing three, on their feet at last, watching with excite-
ment and admiration the coming of the cavalcade,
strained eye and ear for each new sign and sound.
Suddenly they saw the chief draw away with an
unchecked and audible grunt of recognition and dis-
approval; half about he turned as if to withdraw
from an undesired meeting, and then, as swiftly,
wheeled back to position and faced the newcomers
once more.

“ Ugh!’’ came from Young Wolf's throat, while

5
66 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘Well! I vum!’’ Po-to-sha-sha exclaimed, and
both seemed so honestly surprised that Jack turned
upon them at once in inquiry.

‘What ’s the matter with the big chief ?”’ he
asked, looking from one to the other of his
companions. ‘‘ Something don’t seem to suit
him.”’

“Ugh!” again murmured Young Wolf. “ To-
tan-ka sick now; we well. It’s Pi-zi!’’

‘‘ Who ?’’ queried Jack, not catching or under-
standing the Indian name.

‘“ That ’s so, boy. Ivum! it is Pi-zi,’’ said the
squaw-man, shading his eyes with his hand. “It’s
Co-ka-bi-ya-ya,—He who marches in the centre, that
means, sonny; but the Injuns call him Pi-zi, that ’s
‘gall’, you see—because when he’s het up by anyth-
ing he’s bitter as gall. I reckon you know him by
that name best—Chief Gall—that ’s what the white
folks callhim. Heand Sitting Bull hate each other
like pizen. Gall is the big war-chief, you see. He
’s a thoroughbred at it, too—a real fighter, different
from the Bull. He ’s no Strong Heart, nuther.
What ’s he doing here with those boys, I wonder?
Great snakes! now there ‘Il be fun. Just you stick
by Young Wolf, sonny. He’s an Elk, you know,
and so.is Gall. ’Member what he said about fox and
elk. J reckon you'll see the fur flying pretty soon.
Say! this’s no place for me. I don’t want to be in
A MODERN REGULUS. 67

this. It ‘ll be too interesting. I reckon I ’ve got
business back at the tepee.’’

Po-to-sha-sha turned to go, but Jack held him
fast.

“* Hold on, Mr. Red Top,’’ said the boy. ‘‘ How
can I make out what they say unless you tell me?
I don’t know their lingo. You ’ve just got to stay
here and translate.”’

True to his habit of yielding to the masterful, the
renegade reconsidered.

"All tight,” he said, “fil stay. Only you
just kind of hide me from the Bull and Pi-zi. I
want ’em to count me out.”’

But, all the same, the three ‘‘ counted in,’’ and
gradually drew nearer the scene of the expected
conference.
‘CHAPTER VI.

THE RIVAL CHIEFS.

HERE were shrill cries, a tossing of hands and

arms, and all the expressive signs of Indian

greeting as the dozen riders reined in their ponies
and gathered about Sitting Bull.

Then one dismounted and strode up to the chief.

“That ’s him; that ’s Pi-zi—Chief Gall, you
know, sonny,’’ the squaw-man announced in an
excited whisper.

Jack looked with much interest and curiosity
upon this noted and well-nigh invincible Indian
warrior. Tall and of splendid physique, almost a
giant in stature, his face was as frank and open as
that of Young Wolf himself, between whom and the
big warrior Jack fancied that he could trace a re-
semblance. E

‘““ Gall!’’ he exclaimed in an aside to Po-to-sha-
sha, ‘‘ why, that means bitter, sour and surly. I
don’t see anything about him that looks that way.”’

““Huh!’’ said the renegade, ‘‘ you don’t, eh?
Just you wait till you see him real mad once. He's
got more gall than a whole ox-bladder. Now, then,

68




Page 68.

E RIVAL CHIEFS,

TH
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 69

you hush up, sonny, if you want me to tell you
what they ’re talking about.’’

The talking had already commenced. The squaw-
man’s free translation epitomized the more involved
and somewhat figurative language of the Indian
chiefs.

“The Bull wants to know what he ’s here for,
and Gall says, to know his medicine. Then the
Bull says he ought to wait or the bad gods of the
Tower over yonder (this is all medicine country,
you know—what you call haunted) won’t send him
dreams. Gall says dreams are all right, but he
wants to see things done; he says the Long-Swords
have got a lot of stone-hammerers over on the
Spearfish—that ’s your folks and the soldiers, you
k. ow—and the miners ll be just crowding in here,
so 3 an Injun can’t live, he says; he wants to see
somcthing done right off, ‘fore these Black Hills
are al! gobbled up by the gold-thieves.

‘‘The Bull says as how his medicine will wither
every white foot that steps inside this Black Hill
country, but Gall says if the Long-Swords can’t
keep ’em out, all the Injun medicine can’t. He
says what ’s the good of having big talks and making
treaties with the Great Father—that ’s the Presi-
dent, you know—if the Great Father’s people—
your people, sonny—don’t keep ’em? He says
that Chief Long Hair—that ’s General Custer, I
70 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

told you about—came in here last year, right after
the President had said no white folks should come
here; now there ’s more soldiers here, and no telling
what ’s going to happen. He wants somebody to
tell Custer and the President the Injuns won’t stand
such foolishness, and then fight ’em, or fight ’em
without telling—that ’s what Gall says. Did n’t I
tell you his name fitted him to a T ?”’

‘“ Well, he’s got a gall, anyway—when that means
cheek or impudence,’’ was Jack’s half-spoken com-
ment. ‘‘ Does he think he can fight the whole
United States army ?”’

“He 's willing to try, I reckon—army ain’t so
very big, you know, and the Bull will find a way,
see if he don’t,”’ replied Po-to-sha-sha.

‘“ There, what did I tell you?’’ he continued,
rapidly translating. ‘‘ The Bull says, kind of salvy-
like—don’t you hear how smooth he speaks ?—that
medicine works slower but surer than knives and
arrows. The way for the Injuns to go to work, he
says, is to get guns, and then they will be a match
for the white soldiers, and the miners too. He says
if Gall will only have patience and wait, he ’ll fix it
for him; the Shata-sute (that ’s the Strong Hearts,
sonny) shall have guns, he says; his good medicine
will fetch ’em.”’

‘* Why, that ’s foolishness!’’ Jack exclaimed in an
excited whisper. ‘‘ How can he get guns? Uncle
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 71

Jerry says it’s against the law to sell guns to
Injuns.”’

“ Medicine breaks through all laws—leastways,
Sitting Bull’s medicine does,’’ the squaw-man an-
swered. ‘‘I can’t tell you how; but if he sets out
to get guns, he ’ll get’em. That’s just-what he’s
saying now, ’cause Gall asked just the same question
you did.”’

“Is that so?’’ said Jack. ‘‘ Well, great minds
think alike, you know.”’

‘““ Huh!”’ the renegade sniffed in criticism; ‘‘ the
Bull ’s got the biggest mind of all of you. If he
wants his Injuns to have guns, they ’ll have ’em—
don’t you fret. He says he ’s dreamed it out
already, and if Gall will only hold on to himself and
not be in such a ’tarnal hurry, he ’Il get a new an-
swer out of the Great Father and Chief Long Hair,
and he ’ll get the guns too. ‘I’ve got a scheme,’
says the Bull, and—hullo! say! he ’s pointing at
you, sonny. Lay low; this is where you come in,
I reckon. See him pointing at you ?”’

Sure enough he was. The eloquent gestures of
Sitting Bull ended in a dramatic sweep of the hand
toward the white boy under the pines.

““ Po-to-sha-sha!’’ came the call from the medi-
cine chief, and, reluctantly enough—for evidently
he feared the issue—the renegade slouched forward
to join the rival chiefs, There was more talk as
72 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Chief Gall looked inquiringly in Jack’s direction,
and then Po-to-sha-sha called out, ‘‘ Come here,
boy! the chiefs want you.”’

Jack had an inspiration. Taking off his hat, he
thrust Red Cloud’s eagle feather into the band,
reset the hat jauntily on his head, and then, rising
leisurely to his feet, came forward, with Young
Wolf close beside him. Chief Gall looked at the
white boy closely; he looked sharply at Young
Wolf. Then he beckoned, first to the Indian lad.

Young Wolf stepped forward to meet his kinsman,
and, as he did so, Po-to-sha-sha dropped back, and,
standing at Jack Huntingdon’s elbow, he gave the boy
in low but brief and rapid interpretation the substance
of what passed between the two Indians of the same
lodge-fire—Chief Gall and his nephew, Young Wolf.

And this was what they said:

** Son of the Elk,’’ demanded Gall, as he faced his
young kinsman, ‘‘ what does the white boy here,
in the Dakotas’ sacred land? Why is he who has
four times smoked the sacred pipe’’ (‘‘ that makes

,

Young Wolf a truth-teller, you see,’’ explained the
squaw-man) ‘‘ standing beside the son of the treaty-
breakers ?”’

‘Son of the Elk,’’ responded Young Wolf,
‘“why is he who leads, here among the Strong
Hearts of To-tan-ka rather than at the head of the

Elk herd of Co-ka-bi-ya-ya ?”’
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 73

“That ’s so! that ’s where the boy ’s got him,”’
interjected the squaw-man.

‘““ The Strong Hearts are the brothers of the Elks
when danger threatens the Dakotas,’’ said Gall,
haughtily. ‘‘ The Elk can never be brother to the
treaty-breakers.’’

“This white boy is my friend; he is no treaty-
breaker,’’ Young Wolf declared promptly. ‘‘ He
saved me from the bad hearts in his own big village
by the great salt water. The Master of the Strong
Hearts, here, in our own lodges, makes medicine
against my white brother. I have a vow to save
Big Tooth, my blood-brother, even with my life,
against the threats of To-tan-ka, the medicine chief.’’

The big warrior whirled about and faced the
medicine chief angrily.

““ Has To-tan-ka threatened Young Wolf ?’’ he
demanded. ‘‘ Has the Bull with the heart of a fox
dared lift his hand against the grandson of the Great
Elk?’’ For Apa-tan-ga, the Great Elk, was the
great war-chief of the Sioux in 1840, and was a
name for later Sioux to conjure with.

‘““ The Old Squaw has spoken and To-tan-ka has
but obeyed,’’ Sitting Bull replied. ‘‘ Does Pi-zi
brave the commands of the Old Squaw of the Bad
Gods’ Tower ?”’

“ As against one of his own blood? Yes. Why
should he not ?’’ Gall retorted defiantly.
74. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

“Tt is medicine,’’ Sitting Bull proclaimed.

“Then is it false medicine,’’ said Gall. ‘‘ Let
To-tan-ka beware. What has he threatened ?’’ he
demanded of Young Wolf.

The Indian lad caught his kinsman’s defiant spirit
and answered boldly, in spite of the stern looks of
Sitting Bull.

““ To stake out here, on the Dakotas’ sacred lands,
first your brother of the Elk-lodge, Young Wolf,
and then his blood-brother, Big Tooth, the white
boy,’’ Young Wolf reported.

‘Is this true ?’’cried Gall hotly, turning again on
Sitting Bull. ‘‘ Has To-tan-ka dared to threaten an
Elk with the staking-out ?”’

‘“ He who strikes hands with a thief and the son
of thieves—he who would make a blood-brother of a
spy—is traitor to the Dakotas, and must die. Thus
says the medicine,’’ Sitting Bull made answer.

““ Would Young Wolf be blood-brother to a spy ?”’
demanded Gall, turning now, in distrust, upon his
young kinsman. ‘‘ Speak. What is this To-tan-ka
says of my little brother ?’’ i

”

“* Big Tooth is no spy,’’ returned Young Wolf as
indignantly. ‘‘ Heisabrave. Our brothers of the
Ogallala gave him the welcome hand and told him he
was fit to bea chief. Look, Co-ka-bi-ya-ya! What
is it in the white boy’s war-bonnet ? What does my

uncle see there ?’’
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 75

“An eagle feather,’’ the big war-chief replied
with curiosity in his tone.

“It is the feather of Red Cloud,”’ the Indian boy
replied. ‘‘ The chief of the Ogallala himself gave it
to my brother and bade him show it as a pledge
and a defence when he might come among the
Dakotas agency and hostile alike. Does Red
Cloud the Ogallala give the eagle feather—his,
from his own head—to a thief or a spy? Answer
me, Son of the Elk !”’

“Surely not!’’ the puzzled fighter answered.
“But why does Big Tooth wear the eagle feather
of the Ogallala? Why did Red Cloud give his own
crest plume to the white boy ?”’

“Listen; I will tell my uncle why,” Young
Wolf made answer. And then eloquently and
effectively the Indian boy told the story of his
rescue, when “‘ among the bad hearts of the big
village of the white man.’ Jack Huntingdon saved
him from torture and disgrace.

Chief Gall listened intently. Then a great smile
covered his massive face. He came toward Jack
with both hands extended, and on his lips the In-
dian’s one stock English phrase:

““ Heap good. How!”’

You can always tell an honest smile. Jack could
in this instance, and he met the Indian chief half
way. Springing forward he grasped the proffered
976 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

hand of Gall with a most appreciative smile and an-
swered with his most emphatic ‘‘ How!’’ It was
no wonder he smiled and emphasized. He had
found a friend in camp.

“Shall the medicine chief stake out him who
saved an Elk?’’ demanded Young Wolf, slyly.
And his uncle, the war-chief, answered hotly:
“Not while Co-ka-bi-ya-ya stands by, though all
the Strong Hearts of the Uncapapas drove the
staking-pins.’’

“Then tell their Master so, for To-tan-ka has
sworn it,’’ persisted Young Wolf.

“It is easy to make a boast. But those who
boast the loudest do not always make the coup,’’
was Gall’s response. Then he turned angrily upon
his rival: ‘‘ Who is chief of the Uncapapas—To-tan-
ka-i-yo-ta-ke, or Co-ka-bi-ya-ya—whom men call
Pi-zi? I say the Fox shall not lay hand on the Elk.
I say the white boy goes free.”’

“And To-tan-ka says the same,’’ Sitting Bull
replied, ‘‘ Pi-zi is too hot toward his brother, who
has made no foolish boast, but has done only as
the medicine talked. To-tan-ka has taken the white
boy’s hand; he has given the sign of peace; he has
the white boy’s promise. Big Tooth is honest
though all his lodge-folk be thieves. Big Toothisa
brave; his heart is good; he will keep his promise.”’

And Jack felt, as Po-to-sha-sha interpreted the
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 77

medicine chief’s words, as though the scar-faced
chief had indeed experienced a change of heart, and
that he should go to him for a ‘‘ recommend.”

But Gall listened uncertainly. He evidently had
not so much faith in the medicine chief’s eulogium.

‘‘ What is the promise ?’’ he asked.

‘ To bear the message of To-tan-ka, the Uncapa-
pa, to the Great Father in Washington and another to
Long Hair, the chief of the Long-Swords of the white
men, and to bring the answers here, to To-tan-ka.”’

“ And what is the message ?”’

“ That is To-tan-ka’s affair,”’ Sitting Bull replied.
‘But, that there may be only good between the
Elk and the Fox, To-tan-ka will tell the message to
Pi-zi; though he need not. The white boy is to tell
the Great Father at Washington—he who was once
the Great White Chief of the Long-Swords in the
big fight of the brothers—that the Dakotas will
never sell their lands to the white man; he is to
tell him to keep from the lands of the Dakotas the
gold-thieves and the Long-Swords; and he is to
bring from the Great Father his answer—will he or
will he not do this?—yes or no. And to the Chief
Long Hair the white boy is to say that To-tan-ka, the
Uncapapa, and his Strong Hearts wait here inthe Da-
kotas’ land to meet him and fight him and his Long-
Swords, man to man, like braves in battle; and the
boy is to bring the Long Hair’s answer—yes or no.”’
98 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘‘ Why all this talk over nothing, Young Wolf ?”’
demanded Gall, when Sitting Bull had concluded.
‘* To-tan-ka’s words are wise. Why did not Young
Wolf say all this at the start? It is good. And
will the white boy keep his promise ?”’

‘“If he makes a promise, he keeps it,’’ replied
Young Wolf confidently. ‘* Big Tooth is a brave.
But let the Bull tell it all. His tongue halts in his
story.”’

‘“ Then there is more ?’’ said Gall, his curiosity
rising again. ‘‘ What more? Will my brother tell
me?”’

“‘Surely,’’ Sitting Bull replied with a nod. But

,

before he could speak Young Wolf ‘‘ cut in’’ and
reported the alternative the medicine chief had
offered Jack.

‘“Hear me!” he said; ‘‘ If the white boy brings
a good answer to To-tan-ka,’’ the young Indian
told his uncle, ‘‘ he becomes a Strong Heart, like
the brave he is; but if he bears a bad answer, he
dies by the staking-out. And the white boy
promised; because, if he would not, To-tan-ka
swore that he, To-tan-ka—the brave To-tan-ka!—
would here, on this spot, now, stake out first
Young Wolf, the friend of Big Tooth, and then
Big Tooth himself. What could a boy do but
promise? And know this, my uncle, Son of the
Elk, Big Tooth promised, not because he was afraid
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 79

for himself, but that no harm should come because
of him to Young Wolf, his friend. To-tan-ka gave
the boy no choice; what could he do but promise ?”’

“Tt is an unjust promise. It shall not stand.
Would To-tan-ka make dogs and skulking coyotes
of us all?’’ Chief Gall cried indignantly. ‘‘ It
shall not stand, I, Pi-zi,—I, Co-ka-bi-ya-ya, Chief
of the Uncapapas, —say it shall not stand.”’

“And I, To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke, Master of the
Strong Hearts, say it shall be as I have spoken,”’
Sitting Bull burst out in anger. ‘‘ Who is leader
here—Pi-zi the Elk, or To-tan-ka the Fox? Iam
Master of the Strong Hearts. Here stand my
brothers ready to do as I bid them. Did the Son
of the Elk ever know a brother of the Fox to set
his hand to a thing and then give it up? It shall
be as I say. Bid the white boy speak again,
Po-to-sha-sha, the promise he has made.”’

“ Hold back!’’ Chief Gall waved a hand in
denial and command at the squaw-man. Then he
faced the little circle of Strong Hearts. ‘‘ My
brothers,’’ he said, ‘‘ will you do this unjust thing ?
See; I am the war-chief of the Uncapapas, Co-ka-
bi-ya-ya—he who fights among you. I hate the
white man, and I would drive back the Me-ne-aska
and the Long-Swords—or kill them where they stand.
But my heart is not bad; I will make no good ways
by bad ways. Norshall you. Youare my brothers;
80 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

but hear this: if the Strong Hearts lay hands on
Young Wolf, the grandson of the Great Elk, or
upon the white boy, Big Tooth, his blood-brother,
then must they first deal with me—Pi-zi, as you call
me—Gall, the surly one. Would you stake me out
too? You must first do that before you touch
these young braves—one your brother, the other
your guest. When did an Uncapapa ever break
hospitality ? What is the law of the Dakotas ?”’

And from the little circle of half-naked warriors—
those Bedouin of the Western plains, the fierce but
never unjust Horse Indians of the Sioux—came
the answer:

““ Let the lodges hear. Let the Ni-ka-ga-hi, the
elders, decide. We put no stakes to the limbs of
the war-chief. We touch no torture-fire to the sons
of the Elk. Let the elders decide whether the
white boy, friend of the Elks, must keep an extorted
promise.”’

Sitting Bull scowled at his protesting followers.
But. Gall responded: ‘‘ It is well. See, yonder, in
the Valley of the Greasy Grass are the lodges of the
Uncapapas. Let us go there, my brothers; and
there shall the chiefs and elders decide in council.
The white boy is willing to take the message. If
he is honest he will do so. Is not that enough ?”’

Sitting Bull was shrewd and politic. Hesaw that
he was, for the present, in the minority. He had
THE RIVAL CHIEFS. 81

not reckoned on the coming of the masterful Gall.
He saw that craft must win rather than force. He
waved his hand in apparent surrender.

“Tt is well,” he said. ‘‘ Let the Ni-ka-ga-hi de-
cide in council. But the boy has promised.”’

‘“ Have you promised, boy ?’’ demanded Gall,
turning now to Jack. ‘‘ Ask him what he says, Po-
to-sha-sha.”’

‘* What do you say, boy ?

»”

said the squaw-man.
‘“ The war-chief asks, have you promised, and will
you keep your word ?”’

‘*T said I would see the President, and that I
would try to find General Custer,’’ Jack replied.
‘‘ T will take the messages. I am no liar. I have
learned from George Washington never to tell a lie,
and I never do.”’

‘“ Good for you, sonny. Stick to your promise—
now, at any rate,’’ said the renegade enthusiasti-
cally. And then, for the waiting warriors, he inter-
preted Jack’s resolve.

Again Chief Gall shook the white boy’s hand.
Again he said his one English phrase.

‘“ Heap good!’ he said. ‘‘ How!?’

And Jack Huntingdon knew by the warm hand-
clasp of the big war-chief that here, in the hostile
land of the Sioux, he had really found a friend.
CHAPTER VII.

THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE.

HROUGH a fair, wide valley, flanked with ash-
colored bluffs, all cut and scarred with ravines
and gullies, and overlooked by broken hill ranges,
ran a winding, shallow mountain stream. Lofty
cottonwoods and low bull-berry thickets bordered
its banks, while the whole beautiful valley, broken
here and there by clumps of timber, was radiant
with gorgeous wild flowers or sheeny with waving
grass. Bunched together near the river-bank rose
the cone-like tepees of an Indian encampment noisy
with the sounds and signs of Indian life—shouting
children, yelping dogs, whinnying ponies, shrill-
voiced squaws. It was the camp of the hostiles of
the Uncapapa Sioux in the Valley of the Greasy
Grass, better known to us as the Little Big Horn.
To-day, you can drop from your comfortable,
roomy parlor-car at Billings, on the Northern
Pacific Railway, and gallop across county, or, trans-
ferring into another train, you can whizz down the
Burlington road across the forty miles of broken up-

lands that lie between the Vellowstone River and
82
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 83

the fertile Valley of the Greasy Grass. But in 1875
the ‘‘ fire-boat that walks on mountains,’’ as the
Sioux boys learned to call the locomotive, had not
_ come within hundreds of miles of that now historic
valley, and only those few favored red-skinned coun-
cillors who had gone East at government expense
knew the wonderful railway train.

The Valley of the Greasy Grass had been a
favorite camping-spot and happy hunting-ground
for the all-conquering Sioux ever since they had
driven from that hill-locked land its former occu-
pants, the homesick Crows, who to-day, by the re-
venges of time and the favor of the United States,
live a peaceful life upon these very lands from which
their fathers were driven years and years ago.

But for generations the Sioux held the land as
their own. Their skin-walled tepees were in every
valley, and the smoke of their lodge-fires rose from
just such lovely spots as this which Jack Hunt-
ingdon saw, as, firm in his saddle, he climbed the
last of the bluffs, and from its dun-colored ridge
looked down upon the verdant valley at his feet.

In spite of his frequent worrying over what Uncle
Jerry would think about it all, Jack’s ride across
country from the Devils’ Tower had been a pleasant
one. Half-captive and half-guest, his Indian com-
panions had proved friendly captors; for Young
Wolf's story of what this white boy had done for
84 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

him in his time of stress had strongly appealed to
the Indian love of courage and pluck. From

”

“hows ’’ and hand-shakes they had progressed to
attention and entertainment, equally varied and in-
teresting; and when they discovered that Jack was
neither Long-Sword nor stone-hammerer,—neither
soldier nor mining prospector,—but just a plain,
every-day white boy, out for curiosity and a holi-
day, they threw all suspicion aside and welcomed
him as friend and comrade.

Even Sitting Bull waxed friendly, and, through
Po-to-sha-sha, held frequent conversations with the
boy as to Eastern ways and methods, until Jack at
last awoke to the fact that he was being shrewdly
interviewed by this chief of schemers, and at once,
with the mischievous spirit of a true Yankee boy,
gave to the chief a “‘ boast’ that would have done
credit to an Indian warrior himself.

Gall and Young Wolf were, however, Jack’s
especial intimates. He trusted them implicitly and
counted upon them as his main reliance, though he
had much to say to Po-to-sha-sha. The squaw-
man, in his dual character of interpreter and fellow-
countryman, kept ever near the white boy, whom he
evidently admired for that very pluck and push which
this dispirited renegade seemed utterly to lack.

“ There you are, sonny,”’ said the squaw-man as
the two reined in their ponies on the clay ridge that








age 84.

P.

THE CAMP OF THE UNCAPAPA SIOUX
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, 85

overhung the valley. ‘‘ That ’s the village—forty
lodges of Uncapapas, all of ’em Sitting Bull’s own
followers. My tepee is somewhere thereaway, down
by the river. Hold on a minute. P’r’aps we can
see my squaw—Mi-mi-te-ga—the moon we see—
that’s her name. Pretty good woman, too, is
Mi-mi, if she isan Injun. I’ve known lots worse
out East where I came from.”’

‘““ Whereabouts East did you come from, Red
Top ?”’ Jack inquired, divided between curiosity as
to the renegade’s story and equal curiosity as to the
village in the valley upon which he was gazing.

The squaw-man, as usual, evaded the question.

““ See! there ’s a party just in from a hunt,’’ he
said, pointing at a group of riders who had evi-
dently caused the commotioninthecamp. ‘‘ Good
luck, too, they ’ve had. There ’s buffalo meat and
bear’s meat and deer meat. You ’ll live like a
prince, sonny, down there in the lodge. And just
you keep a stiff upper lip, too. You ’ve got the
war-chief on your side, even though only a few of
his own lodge-folks are here. You can bluff ’em
off, I reckon, if you don’t show the white feather.
Red Cloud’s eagle feather is the best thing for you to
show,’’ and the squaw-man went off into a series of
chuckles over his own impromptu joke, ending with
a shrill whoop of announcement that drew the at-
tention of the aroused village, and was answered by
86 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the shrill staccato of yells of welcome from every
boy and squaw and dog in the camp.

Then they rode down into the valley. But when
the white boy was seen among the warriors, a mob
of boys and squaws and a few overzealous bucks at
once stampeded in his direction, believing him to
be a prisoner destined for the gauntlet or the
torture-stake.

Young Wolf sprang to his friend’s side, Gall
flung up his hand in the peace sign, and Sitting Bull
waved back the encircling throng.

“The white boy comes as the guest of the
lodges,’ he shouted—so Po-to-sha-sha explained to
Jack later. ‘‘ Show him that the Uncapapas can
be loving and friendly to the blood-brother of
Young Wolf and the comrade of the Strong Hearts.’’

At once Indian hostility changed to hospitality,
and Jack, unused to the red man’s ways, was almost
ready to declare that one was as burdensome as the
other. He ate and he smoked and he ‘‘ how’d”’
until he was stuffed and blinded and hoarse; he
made the rounds of the village with Young Wolf as
a special escort, while Po-to-sha-sha did the honors
of the camp.

On every possible occasion the squaw-man would
repeat the story of how the white boy had saved
the Indian boy from ignominious insult in the streets
of the East Side, and as, to the Indian, insult is the
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 87

depth of ignominy, this deed of Jack’s placed him
quite at the pinnacle of popularity. As he ex-
pressed it, when telling his adventures at home,
‘“ Why, say! there was n’t anything too good for
Jack Huntingdon in that village. The whole camp
was his just for the asking.”’

But while the young braves and the best society
of the Uncapapa lodges were making a lion of Jack,
the chiefs in council were debating the point at issue
touching the fate of the white boy should he return
with his answers. There were some doubts expressed
whether he would come at all when once he was set
free; but on this point both Sitting Bull and Chief
Gall were agreed. The politician and the warrior
alike had ‘‘ sized up’’ the white boy, and of one
thing they were convinced—his truthfulness and
sense of honor.

So the matter settled down to the penalty of
failure. Then Gall insisted that, as he was inter-
ested in this matter because of his obligations to the
boy who had saved his kinsman from dishonor, his
own lodge-people were equally interested. He de-
manded therefore that the case should be considered
by a joint council of both lodge-fires—his own,
farther down the valley, as well as those of Sitting
Bull’s village.

Against his will, but largely because he found him-
self in the minority by reason of Jack’s popularity,
88 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Sitting Bull agreed to Gall’s plan. He knew that
in time he could upset this momentary popularity
with a good bit of dreaming and medicine talk.

So the matter was arranged, and a runner was sent
to summon the Ni-ka-ga-hi, or head chiefs of the
other Uncapapa villages, to meet their brothers in
council.

All this Po-to-sha-sha explained to Jack as they sat
beneath the great cottonwoods watching the Indian
boys at an exciting match game of ‘‘ mud and willow
fight ’’—thirty on a side—and especially arranged
for Jack’s benefit.

No healthy boy ever frets much over futures.
He lives largely in the present. The result of his
mission, Jack felt, was months away, and plenty of
things might happen before the time came around.
So he did not worry about it, but enjoyed himself
as he was wont to enjoy himself amid agreeable or
novel surroundings.

Indeed, he took so little interest in the meeting
of the Ni-ka-ga-hi and what the chiefs might decide,
that he went off with some of the Strong Hearts and
Young Wolf ona bear hunt above the valley, in the
foot-hills of the Little Chetish Mountains.

Hunting the grizzly in his lair, under the guidance
of such experienced and seasoned hunters, Jack
found to be great sport, for, with true Indian
courtesy, they gave their white guest the honor of
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, 89

the finishing shot. So Jack returned from the hunt
in high feather, as might be expected of a boy who
had killed his first grizzly; and when the hunters
had deprived the big bear of his summer coat of
brindled brown, and had parted the carcass, they cut
off the great beast’s cruel paws and hung them
about Jack’s neck as a trophy.

But Po-to-sha-sha thrust into the boy’s hand
something smaller and more delicately furry.

“Take it,’’ he said; ‘‘it ’s for luck; it ’s a
weasel’s tail. Bears’ claws ain’t always to be de-
pended on; but for straight out, sartin sure luck,
there ain’t nothing better ’n a weasel’s tail. With
that in your clothes, sonny, you ought to get a good
decide out of the chiefs.’’

The decision was rendered when the hunters re-
turned. Standing before the sacred tent, to which
the wa-than, or leader of the hunt, conducted him,
Jack stood before the six principal chiefs—the
Ni-ka-ga-hi of the two villages—while Sitting Bull
announced the verdict, and Po-to-sha-sha inter-
preted it. And, still loyal, Young Wolf stood
close beside his friend.

‘“The chief says, boy,’’ the squaw-man an-
nounced, “‘ that the council says as how a promise
is a promise, and that yours must stand. If you
bring back an answer that is good, no harm shall
come to you. You shall be free to go back to your
90 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

own people, or stay here among the Uncapapas and
be a Strong Heart. But if the answer you bring to
the chief is bad, then, so the council judge, what is
said, is said. It shall be done to you as the chief
decides. But, because you did good to their
brother, Young Wolf, they say there shall be no
staking out. The chief must give you a chance for
your life—and say, sonny,’’ the squaw-man inter-
polated hurriedly, “‘ that means running the gaunt-
let. Don’t you take any chances on that. The
Bull is foxy; you hear me.’’ Then he went on:
‘the chief says no harm shall be done to Young
Wolf if you come back; but if you do not keep
your promise, then must he suffer in your stead.”’

Here Jack gripped hard the hand of his Indian
friend, and as Po-to-sha-sha concluded with the
query, “‘ Does your promise still bind you, the
chiefs ask ?’’ he stood erect and defiant.

““T have promised, have n’t I ?’’ he demanded.
“What I say I’ll do, Ill do. Does that satisfy
you ?”’

Evidently it did. For the approving grunts and
“hows ”’ that greeted his assertion showed the boy
that he had won the good opinion of his savage
hosts, who were his captors, too.

But even as this point was reached, and Jack felt
relieved that the ordeal was over, there came a new
surprise. A long whoop, twice repeated, and closing
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. gi

each time with the double yelp of the fox, rang
through the village, and straight between the lodges
and up to the sacred tent darted the figure of a
running Indian.

For the instant Jack was deserted for the new-
comer, about whom clustered a throng in welcome,
filling the air with the shout: ‘‘ Ite-o-ma-ga-ju! Ite-
o-ma-ga-ju!”’

The newcomer halted for a moment, panting as
one who has run far and fast. But in an instant he
caught sight of the white boy standing alone before
the sacred tent. With a whoop and a bound he
burst through the crowd, and flinging himself upon
poor Jack would have strangled him where he stood
had not the watchful Young Wolf caught the assail-
ant’s hands away and thrown him aside, while the
chiefs of the tribe thrust themselves between this
human whirlwind and his victim.

The newcomer was a big fellow every way, tall
and stocky, with strongly marked features and a
cruel, pitiless eye. He was naked to the waist,
wearing only a pair of old army trousers, belted
about with a strip of army blanket. ‘A handcuff,
from which dangled a broken chain, was on his right
wrist; his hair was loose and disordered, and bore

“no feather of hawk or eagle to denote his rank as
chief. He looked at Jack an instant in anger, then,
breaking loose, he strode as near to the boy as the
92 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

interposing chiefs allowed, and facing the people,
struck himself twice over the heart, swelled out as
with pride, and repeated loudly: ‘‘ Sha-te su-ta!
Sha-te su-ta! Ite-o-ma-ga-ju!”’

By this time the ever faithful Po-to-sha-sha, see-
ing that it was safe to come out of hiding and stand
nearer Jack, sidled to the white boy’s elbow and
whispered :

“I vum! sonny, I thought you were done for.
It ’s Rain-in-the-Face. He’s a bad one. He’s
been in jail at the Agency all winter. He must
have broke loose.’’

‘‘ What did he do ?”’ queried Jack.

“ Killed two soldiers—officers—just fora dare, you
know. I reckon he hates all white folks like pizen.’’

‘‘ What ’s he saying ?”’ asked Jack.

““ He ’s making a boast,’’ the squaw-man replied.
““When he hammered himself he said, ‘I ’m a
Strong Heart. I’m Rain-in-the-Face!’ As if one
did n’t know it! But that ’s just like him. He’s
a big boaster. Hold on now, and Ill tell you what
he says. He’s getting ready for a big boast.”’

That was evidently the intention of Rain-in-the-
Face. Three times he strode up and down before
the people; three times he announced himself as a
Strong Heart and as Rain-in-the-Face. Then he
lifted his voice in the ‘‘ boast,’’ which the squaw-
man rendered into English for Jack.
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 93

““T am a Strong Heart! I am To-ki-cu-ra, the
enemy-catcher; I am Ite-o-ma-ga-ju, Rain-in-the-
Face. You know me. I am bad, a fighter, a
hunter. The girls dared me to kill a white man
and bring his buttons back; I killed two. Chief
Long Hair shot at me, but I brought the brass
buttons away, and gave them to the girl who
dared me. All the tribe knows it. Then, last
winter, at the Agency store, Little Hair [‘ That ’s
Cap’n Tom Custer, the General’s brother, you
know, the General he ’s long hair,’ Po-to-sha-sha
explained] caught me like a squaw when my back
was turned, threw me into a sick-wagon [that ’s
an ambulance, sonny], and put me in jail, chained to
a white man with this’’—he held aloft his hand-
cuff and the dangling links of chain. ‘‘ They gave
me old clothes of the Long-Swords; they kept me
in a room all winter, where the snow blew in and I
was cold. It made my heart bad. I told Little
Hair I would get out some day, and I did. The
white man and I got away; they chased us; they
shot at us; but we hid in the brush. The white
man cut our chain; he was caught; but I am free.
I told Little Hair I would cut his heart out and eat
it. I will; I will, I am a Strong Heart; and a
Strong Heart always keeps his vow. My day will
come. I am Rain-in-the-Face. I am a brave.
The Long Swords tremble when I am near; the
94 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Rees and the Crows feel of their heads every day
when I am by, to see if their scalps areon. Iama
brave. I would rather fight than eat. The Un-
capapas know it. Why is this white boy here?
Ugh! I will kill him to keep my hand in practice
until I take the scalp of Long Hair and eat the heart
of Little Hair. Hearme! Iam Rain-in-the Face!”’

““Whew!”’ said Jack, as the Indian fire-eater
concluded, and, wearied with his long run from
captivity and his vociferous boast, sank listlessly
to the ground. Then the young bucks, who evi-
dently admired him, raised him and bore him off to
one of the lodges. But even as he went he threw
across his shoulder a look of hatred and defiance
toward Jack, and shouted again, ‘‘ Sha-te su-ta!
Ite-o-ma-ga-ju!’’ while his friends applauded loudly,
and Jack felt that his own popularity was in peril.

Evidently Chief Gall and Young Wolf felt this
too. For they hurried the white boy off to their
own lodge farther down the valley and there made
inquiries of all the runners and scouts of the tribe
as to the whereabouts of the expedition which Jack
had lost.

Next morning the word came that the expedition
had been located in the very spot among the Black
Hills where Jack had lost himself—the western
slope of Inyan Kara.

With Young Wolf and two trusty guides to show
THE BOAST OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 95

him the way, Jack was hustled off to the south to
rejoin his uncle and the expedition.

But ere he went, Po-to-sha-sha came down the
river trail with a message from Sitting Bull.

‘“The Bull says as how he trusts you, sonny.
He says ‘ How!’ and tells you to git; because Rain-
in-the-Face is acting bad about you, and the Bull’s
afraid he can’t hold in his young men much longer.
Popularity, you see, don’t: last long here, when
there ’s fellows like Rain-in-the-Face to break jail
and take it away. You ’d better go.”’

‘“Won’t you come with me, Red Top?’’ Jack
inquired suddenly. ‘‘ Don’t you want to come back
East to civilization—and home ?”’

The squaw-man looked at Jack with a frightened,
startled expression in his weak and shifty eyes.

‘“Home? No, no, no. This is my home,’’ he
said. ‘‘ No East for me, sonny. I ’ll never go
back. But don’t you come back here. Do you
hear? Don’t you come back. Just you stay away
if you know what ’s best for you. Iam an Injun.
And Injuns is pizen. Look out for us.”’

With that he turned hastily on his heel, and left
without a good-bye. But before he had gone a
hundred yards he was back again.

‘“* Say, sonny, I come near forgetting,’’ he said.
“* Rain-in-the-Face knows you ’re going. Oh yes,
he does. He’s just as foxy and tonguey as the
96 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Bull himself. And he sends you this. ‘ Tell the
white boy to give it to Little Hair,’ he said to me.
‘Tell Little Hair I don’t forget my vow.’ Here
itis. Don’t you ever give it up, sonny; just frame
it. Don’t you ever come back. There; you ’rea
good fellow. So long.”’

And with one quick hand-shake the squaw-man
was off. But Jack Huntingdon turned to the mes-
sage that Rain-in-the-Face had entrusted to him
and read its language at once.

It was a piece of buffalo-skin, on which the vin-
dictive Indian had drawn in red ground paint a crude
but easily read design. It was a bloody heart.

Evidently Rain-in-the-Face had not forgotten his
vow against gallant Captain Tom Custer, the brother
of the General.
CHAPTER VIII.

HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF.

UMMER had grown to autumn, autumn to win-
ter, and Jack Huntingdon was at school again,
plodding along in the same uneventful routine that
had set him to grumbling at the humdrum life of
overgrown New York, that very day—it seemed ages
ago—on which he had first met and assisted Young
Wolf the Uncapapa in the battle with the street
boys of the East side.

But, however it may have seemed, life was not
really the same. Jack Huntingdon had a story to
tell; Jack Huntingdon had met with adventures;
and you may be sure he was a hero to his school-
mates, and a hero to his street-mates, too, with
just enough prestige because of his experiences
among the Indians to outrank and outclass every
other boy in his set. For, you see, Jack did get
home safe and sound after all.

As for Uncle Jerry, he had, of course, been
greatly distressed over Jack’s disappearance; he
had taken himself to task for permitting the boy to
wander out of his sight, and had scolded Jack

j 97
98 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

roundly when uncle and nephew were safely re-
united at the camp of the explorers under Inyan
Kara. But all the same it must be said of Uncle
Jerry that he had in his own quiet nature a touch of
the adventurous, and his delight in Jack’s pluck and
independence quite overshadowed his censure of the
lad’s heedlessness. This led him first to excuse and
then to admire the presence of mind of his adven-
turous nephew, and quite took all the snap and
sting out of the scolding.

At all events, Jack did not receive what the Eng-
lish boys call the ‘‘ wigging ’’ he had expected from
Uncle Jerry when, escorted by Iron Cedar, Young
Wolf, and Little Eagle, the boy ‘‘ showed up ”’ in
camp, as Sergeant Thompson had declared he
would.

Even at home, where he arrived a month later,
his escapade took to itself, in time, something of a
halo, and when, in the spring vacation of the next
year, he received an invitation from Uncle Jerry to
spend a week with him in Washington, where he
was at work on some special researches in the
Smithsonian Institution, permission was granted
much more readily than Jack had anticipated, and
he was soon happily settled at the capital for his
week’s visit to Uncle Jerry.

He enjoyed it all immensely. He poked about
the city—still full of war memories and war relics,
HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF. 99

and just then entering upon its era of transforma-
tion from a rather unsightly border town to the
grand and imposing official city it is to-day. He
went everywhere, saw everything, and was forever
on the go, sometimes under Uncle Jerry’s guidance,
but more frequently on his own hook. For, as
Uncle Jerry told him, ‘‘ You know a thing or two,
Jack; you ’ll know more if you keep at it; and one
thing is certain—you do know how to take care of
yourself, and I guess I won’t interfere.”’

Twice Jack went to the public receptions at the
White House, shaking hands with the President—
the Great White Chief, as Sitting Bull had called
the foremost soldier of the century—the Great
Father, as all the red Indians of America-were ac-
customed to call the President of the United States.

Jack found himself thinking of these things as he
leaned against one of the pillars in the great East
Room of the White House watching the people file
slowly past to take the hand of Grant, that simple

”

silent man, ‘‘ our dragon-slayer’’ as James Russell
Lowell called him—the man whom the Republic
cheered and honored then, whom to-day the Re-
public reveres and immortalizes.

And then Jack remembered the message with
which Sitting Bull had charged him. To be sure
he had often remembered it during his quiet winter

at school; but as he had never been able to see just
100 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

how he could bring about its deliverance, he had
put the duty aside as one he was pledged to per-
form—some day—if ever he could see the President.

And now he stood looking at the President—quite
within talking distance of him. Jack was tempted
to fall in line again for another hand-shake, and then
and there deliver himself of his message from the
Sioux. But an instant’s reflection convinced him
that this would be neither wise nor proper. He
must bide his time. Perhaps Uncle Jerry would
get him a special audience with President Grant.
He did'n’t know just how; for Uncle Jerry, if the
truth must be told, ridiculed Jack’s ‘‘ Regulus act,”’
as he termed his promise to return an answer to his
Sioux captor, and held that compulsion cancelled
a promise, and that it was not wise to keep faith
with a savage.

That was where he and Jack differed, so the boy
did not put much confidence in Uncle Jerry’s
bringing about that audience with the President.
He ’d take the chances anyhow, he assured himself, ~
and wait his opportunity to speak.

The opportunity came much sooner than Master
Jack expected. For, the very next morning after his
visit to the White House, Jack Huntingdon stood
before a jeweller’s window on Pennsylvania Avenue,

“sé

studying the tempting array of ‘‘ souvenirs of

Washington’’ therein displayed, and trying to
HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF. 101

make up his mind which one he should select to
take home to his mother. As he stood thus, lost in
thought, he became aware of another investigator
standing beside him, and glancing up he was sur-
prised into open-mouthed wonder to recognize at
his elbow—the President!

Indeed it was. For that most democratic of all
our Chief Magistrates had a way of leisurely walking
the streets of Washington smoking his cigar, study-
ing the pictures and photographs, and investigating
the shop-windows. For Ulysses S. Grant loved to
be independent. He hated all the fuss and flum-
mery that would hedge the head of a nation, and
liked to go about like any simple citizen, free from
the annoyance of body-guard or ‘‘ chaperon.”’

But Jack, who did not know all this, was struck
mute with surprise for an instant, and stood, open-
mouthed, staring so fixedly at the President, that
the General’s eye fell on that upturned, boyish face,
and a smile played about the great soldier’s bearded
lips as he noted the boy’s intensity, and appreciated
the humor of the situation.

He nodded pleasantly.

“Some cute things in the window there, eh, my
boy ?”’ he said.
~ But Jack had no eyes for the window display.

‘Ts n’t this the—the Hreside i ciicet Grant,
sir ?’’ he asked, brokenly.
102 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘““T reckon it is, my son,’’ the President replied;
and then he offered Jack his hand. For General
Grant liked boys and girls. His love for his own
children amounted almost to a passion; and in all
the boys and girls of America he recognized the
future of the Republic. Then, too, they interested
him. Asarule, they had no favors to ask nor sug-
gestions to offer, and he always felt drawn towards
boys who seemed to be bright, intelligent, and
promising.

This boy certainly did; and therefore the Presi-
dent offered him his hand. :

““What ’s your name and where do you hail
from ?’”’ he inquired.

‘“ Jack Huntingdon, sir; I live in New York,”
Jack replied, grasping the President’s hand cor-
dially. His opportunity had come.

““ Mr. President—General,’’ he said, ‘‘ I have a
message for you.”’

The President grew suspicious at once. He
dropped the boy’s hand abruptly. A message so
often covered a request that he almost looked upon
young Jack as an office-seeker in disguise.

‘“ What ’s your message ?’’ he said brusquely.
“Who ’s it from ?”’

“It ’s from Sitting Bull, sir,’’ Jack responded

promptly.

It was now the President’s turn to be surprised.
HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF, 103

A boy from New York with a message from an In-
dian chief was certainly something novel.

‘Sitting Bull!’’ he exclaimed. ‘‘ What, the
Sioux chief ? Where under the sun did you get a
message from him ? When did you see him ?”’

‘Last summer, sir,’’ replied Jack, ‘‘ out in the
Black Hills. He gave me the choice of taking a
message to you or being staked out. And I chose
the message.”

‘* Staked out ?’’ queried the President. “‘ What’s
that ?”’

Jack explained.

‘‘ Well, well,’’ exclaimed the wondering Chief
Magistrate. ‘‘ That does n’t sound right pleasant,
that ’safact. I don’t wonder you decided to take
the message—even to me! What isit? Or, hold
on. This is rather too public a place to receive an
embassy. And I ’ve got to go, anyhow. Come
and see me at the White House at three o’clock
to-day, Jack. Ill be at leisure then, and we ’Il
talk over that message. I may have to stake you
out as an envoy of the hostiles.’’

He wrote hurriedly on the back of a visiting
card.

_ ‘Here! hand that to the doorkeeper, Jack,’’ he
said. ‘‘ He ’ll let you see me at once. At three
this afternoon, remember.”’

And then he was gone.
104 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

But Jack stood transfixed. An appointment with
the President! At last he could keep his promise.

““Say, Johnny, was n’t that President Grant ?
What did he write on the card—his autograph ?
I ’Il give you a dollar for it.’’

Jack looked up, and caught the eye of the omni-
present and ever-inquisitive tourist.

‘“ No, thank you, sir,’’ he said. ‘‘ That card ’s
not for sale’’; and then, for the first time, he read
what was written upon it:

‘‘ Admit the bearer to see the President at 3 P.M.
—U. S. GRANT.”’

Jack could hardly wait for the time to come.
But he strolled down to the unfinished Washington
Monument on the Potomac flats—somehow, he said,
it always made him think of the Devil’s Tower in
the Black Hills—‘‘ by contrast, I suppose,’ he al-
ways hastened to explain—and there he thought out
what he would say.

At three that afternoon he stood at the main en-
trance-door of the White House, displayed his card,
and was at once shown up the stairs to the Presi-
dent’s room.

“Ah, my friend Jack, is it—the envoy of Sitting
Bull ?’’ said the President. ‘‘ Well, let ’s have
your message, my son. But how in the world did
you happen to get into his clutches ?”’
HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF, 105

Jack told his story, in which the President was
greatly interested. Then the boy delivered the
message sent to the Great White Chief by the noted
medicine chief of the Sioux.

‘* Well, well, Jack!’’ he cried, when the story

“cc

and its ‘‘ postscript ’’ were completed, ‘‘ that was
an adventure, was n’t it? How my boys would
have enjoyed it! I don’t know, though, as I'd like
to have them in quite such a tight place—not even
Lieutenant Fred, and he was out there last year
with Custer.”’

‘‘T have a message for General Custer, too, Mr.
President,’’ Jack announced.

“* H’m!’’—the President’s firm lips set in dis-
pleasure. ‘‘ That ’s more than I have, then,’’ he
said. And Jack wondered what he meant. “‘ Well,
what is it ?”’

Jack told the President of Sitting Bull’s defiance
to Custer.

‘*T reckon that “Il never come to pass—not this
year, at any rate,’’ said the President grimly.
‘Vou were a wise boy, though, Master Jack, to
promise as you did,’’ he added. ‘‘A promise under
compulsion really can’t stand, I reckon. Well, give

_my compliments to Mr. Bull—when you see him,”’
he said with a laungh—‘‘ and tell him that the United
States are bigger than the Sioux nation, and they ’ve
made up their minds to have that whole Western
106 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

country, some day. Not even Sitting Bull, nor
whoever is the Great Father here in Washington,
can prevent that from coming about—no, sir! not a
whole farmyard of bulls. We have n’t always used
the Indians right, Jack—that I ’ll admit,’’ the Presi-
dent continued. ‘‘I’m for justice to them, every
time; but that does n’t mean that the biggest
medicine man of the whole Sioux nation is going to
gain anything by trying to bulldoze me.”’

And the President paused, quite innocent of the
fact that he had made a pun; but Jack saw it, and
never forgot it.

Evidently General Grant never expected that
Jack Huntingdon would ever see Sitting Bull again,
or venture into the Indian country. He had been
interested in the boy’s story, and, now that the
message had been given and the promise kept, he
felt that Jack had done his duty, though, with him,
as with Uncle Jerry, compulsion barred out the
necessity of performance. But he admired the boy
for his pluck and because he had done what he con-
sidered to be his duty—as all Americans should.
But, further, than that the President did not consider
the question. Who would ?

Jack would—and did.

“General Grant,” he said (for, somehow, Grant was
always ‘‘ General’’ to the hero-worshipping boys of
those days), ‘‘is n't it a duty to keep a promise ?”’
HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF. 107

‘Certainly it is, Jack,’’ the President replied.
‘“A promise is a solemn duty; and loyalty to a
friend is as solemn. People find fault with me,’”’ he
continued thoughtfully, “‘ for sticking to my friends.
What else should a man do ?”’

“That ’s so,’’ said Jack, as the President ap-
peared to pause for an answer. ‘‘ Seems to me it’s
the only thing to do.”’

‘“* But be careful about choosing your friends, my
son,’’ said the President. ‘‘ Don’t make a friend of
one who is not worthy. In your case, now, with
that young Indian—what ’s his name ?”’

“Young Wolf, sir,’’ Jack prompted.

‘“Ves, Young Wolf—well, he seems to have
been, for an Indian, what they call out West a

”

‘white man,’’’ and he laughed at the apparent
anomaly.

Jack laughed too, but he said earnestly, ‘‘ That ’s
just what he is, sir—white. He proved it.”’

‘* So it seems,’’ the President responded. ‘‘ And
you stuck to him finely. So when you promised to
bring that message to me, and, by that promise,
saved Young Wolf as well as yourself from danger,
you were certainly justified in making such a
promise, and I must say that in keeping it you have

shown yourself quite as manly. But then, I should
know you would do such a thing, Jack, just to look
at your face. It’s an honest face. I like you for
108 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

your loyalty to your friend. I honor you for your
fidelity to your trust.’’

“I’m glad you think so, sir,’? murmured grati-
fied Jack,

“Be as true to all your duties,’’ the President
continued, ‘‘ and you will be just the kind of a man
the Republic will need—when you become a citizen.
Do your duty, Jack, no matter what happens,—al-
ways do your duty. And remember that your
country demands your highest service, and should
receive it, unquestioningly. The first duty of a
soldier is obedience; the first duty of a citizen is
loyalty.’’

The President rose.

“ Good-bye, Jack,’’ he said pleasantly, holding
out his hand. ‘‘ And remember what I said,—
if you ever should see Mr. Sitting Bull again, my
compliments to him, and tell him to watch out for
himself—when you see him.”’

Still laughing, he gave Jack a cordial hand-clasp
and a cheery farewell, never thinking that Jack’s
promise was a double one, and that the boy’s duty,
as he saw it, was twofold. But Jack Huntingdon
took the President’s advice to cover all contingen-
cies, and, while flattered at the attention shown
him, he was doubly strengthened in his resolve to
carry out his full promise to Sitting Bull—some day,
somehow.
HOW JACK MET THE GREAT WHITE CHIEF. 109

As the messenger, in response to the President’s
summons, entered to show Jack out, he handed the
President a card.

‘“Ts there any answer, Mr. President ?’’ he in-
quired. ‘‘ The General has been waiting some
time.’”’

The President glanced at the card.

‘* T will not see him,’’ he answered determinedly.
‘* You can tell him so.”’

Jack passed from the room with these words in
his ears, the attendant following. In the anteroom,
as the boy paused to look for his hat, which he had
left there, he noticed a tall, slim, wiry, and military-
looking man, with a blond mustache and close-
cropped hair.

The gentleman seemed restless; he looked anxious
and worried, and at once approached the messenger
who had come with Jack from the President’s room.

‘‘ Well, is he at leisure now ?’’ he asked.

‘TI am sorry, General,’’ said the messenger, re-
turning the visitor’s card, ‘‘ but the President is
busy. He says he cannot see you.”’

An exclamation of vexation and disappointment
escaped from the tall soldier’s lips.

‘* Cannot ?’’ he demanded.

‘‘ Excuse me, he will not, sir,’’ replied the mes-
senger; ‘‘ he says he will not see you.”’

‘‘ Poor man,’’ thought Jack, ‘‘ I’m luckier than
IIo THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

he is. I wonder who he is,’’ he mused in curiosity
as he passed into the outer hall; ‘‘ some office-
seeker, I suppose.’’
- Now Jack Huntingdon hated to see any one dis-
appointed — especially when he himself had been
gratified in his desires. He glanced again at the
worried-looking soldier, who, though he spoke no
word, seemed almost dazed by his disappointment.
He wondered again why he was there, and what he
wanted from the President.

On the spur of the moment, as was his wont, Jack
gave his curiosity expression.

“Who is that gentleman ?’’ he asked the door-
keeper, indicating with a nod of inquiry the tall,
close-cropped soldier, who still stood fingering his
card,

The doorkeeper followed the boy’s inquiring nod.

“That ? Why, that ’s General Custer,’’ was the
startling reply.

And then he closed the door.
CHAPTER IX.
‘(THE WHITE CHIEF WITH YELLOW HAIR.”’

ENERAL CUSTER!
Jack halted at the head of the staircase, un- -
willing to believe his ears.

That worried-looking man the dashing Custer,
under whom his father had fought in the Valley ?
That disappointed man, whom Grant—his old gen-
eral—would not see, Sheridan’s favorite and the
army’s idol? That short-haired, close-cropped man
‘‘ the White Chief with Yellow Hair ’’—the *“‘ Chief
Long Hair’’ of the Indians, who so feared him ?

‘‘Tt cannot be. There must be another Gen-
eral Custer,’’ Jack declared as he went slowly down
the stairs and out under the great forte-cochére of
the White House. ‘‘If it had been my General
Custer, the President would have had me see him,
and let me give him Sitting Bull’s message,’’ he
reasoned.

And yet—he was sure there was but one Gen-
-- eral Custer. He must see him. True, the General
seemed worried about his own affairs—something
that evidently concerned himself and annoyed

IIt
112 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the President—but, with a boy, personal concerns
usually take precedence.

Jack halted half-way down the driveway that
swings around to the great gate; then, turning, he
retraced his steps just in time to meet the tall man
coming down the walk, with shadowed face and
quick nervous steps.

Jack lifted his hat politely.

‘‘ Excuse me,’’ he said; ‘‘ but is this General
Custer ?”’

The soldier stopped short, looked at his ques-
tioner closely, and then replied, brusquely :

‘Yes. What is it? No autographs to-day, my
boy. Ihave n’t time. I’m ina hurry.”’

Jack would have smiled at the General’s surmise
had he not been equally in earnest.

‘*T don’t want an autograph, sir,’’ he said. ‘“‘I
have one of yours. My father gave it tome. He
fought under you in the Valley.”’

‘‘Ts that so? What ’s his name ?’’ queried the
General, with only half-arrested interest.

‘* Captain Huntingdon, sir,’’ replied Jack.

‘* Not Cap’n Joe Huntingdon of the Third? No;
ishe?’’ The moody face lighted up at the men-
tion. ‘‘ Remember him? I reckonIdo. Did he
ever tell you how he rode with me at Woodstock
Races ?”’

‘* Yes, sir,’’ cried Jack, enthusiastically, ‘‘ and how
“THE WHITE CHIEF WITH VELLOW HAIR.” 113

you galloped out to the rebs, took off your big hat,
and made ’em a sweeping bow before the fight—and
then sailed in and licked’em! He’s told me that of-
ten,” added the boy, “ only,” looking up at the Gen-
eral critically, “he said you had long, yellow hair, sir.”

The General laughed.

‘““ Have to change the fashions sometimes, you
know my boy. What ’s your name?”’ he asked,
suddenly.

“* Jack, sir—Jack Huntingdon,”’ the boy replied.
‘““ We live in New York now.”’

“Well, my regards to your father, Jack. I’m
glad to have met you,’’ said the General, shaking
the boy’s hand and then striding off.

And Jack was so delighted with this opportunity
to talk with his father’s beloved general, that he
quite forgot his own mission. But he remembered
it in an instant and raced after the General.

‘Oh, General, General Custer!’’ he panted. ‘“‘I
’most forgot what I stopped you for. I have a
message for you.”’

““Ah! from your father, Jack?’’ queried the
General. ‘‘ What is it ?”’

“No, sir, not from him,’’ Jack replied, hastily.
“It’s from Sitting Bull.”’
~ ‘Sitting Bull!’’ The General was as surprised
as the President had been. “‘ Why, what do you
mean, boy ? Where ’s Sitting Bull ?”’
114. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

‘“T don’t know, sir—out West, somewhere, I
suppose,’’ the boy replied, vaguely. ‘‘ But you see,
he caught me last summer, and would n’t let me off
until I had promised to take a message to you. I
saw you just now in—the President’s room, and I
waited for you.”’ .

‘“Q-ho; you were the boy I saw coming from
the President’s office, eh ?’’ the General remarked.
“You saw him, then. That ’s better luck than I
had, Jack.”’

““ I know it, sir,’’ said Jack, a bit too frankly.
*“T heard him say he would n’t see you. Why ?”’
Custer flushed with vexation and sensitiveness.

““Tt’s unjust; it’s maddening!’’ he said half to
himself. Then he turned to Jack with a nervous
apology for a laugh. ‘* You see, Jack, it ’s a good
deal with me and the President as it is in that poem
that perhaps you ’ve seen in the papers:

‘* “’Cause things at home is crosswise and
Betsey and I are out !’

I ’ve waited in that office since ten o’clock this
morning—and, after all, the President would n’t see
me,’ he repeated sadly. ‘‘ Don’t you ever get
mixed up with these politicians, Jack,’’ he said,
with a forced smile, “they ’ve killed many a good
man before you and me.”’

““But President Grant ’s no politician,’’. Jack

declared. I have heard my father say so.’’


“THE WHITE CHIEF WITH YELLOW HAIR.” WS

‘“‘ That ’s right, he is n’t,’’ replied General Custer.
‘“Tf he were, I ’d know what to do. But it ’s be-
cause of the politicians that things have gone cross-
wise, as I told you, and the President and I are out.
What did you want to see him about ?”’

‘‘ Why,” replied Jack, ‘‘I had a message for
him, too—from Sitting Bull.”’

‘““ What ?’’ cried the General. ‘* Well, for
gracious sake, boy, what are you—an envoy from
Sitting Bull ?”’

‘“T seem to be a sort of a one, sir,’’ Jack replied.
‘“ You see, I had to be; I could n’t help myself.”’

The General hailed a carriage.

‘“Come, jump in, Jack, and ride down with me to
Willard’s,’’ said the General. ‘‘ I want to find
General Sherman and close my matters up. And I
want to hear your story, too. You can tell it as we
ride along.”’

Jack followed the General into the carriage, and
as they rattled down Pennsylvania Avenue he gave
the message from Sitting Bull.

‘‘ We ’ll have the message first,’’ General Custer
had said. ‘‘ Then, if we have time, you can
tell me how it came about. Business first and
pleasure afterwards, you see. That ’s the soldier's
way.”

And thus Jack Huntingdon kept his word.

‘The old scamp!’’ exclaimed the General as
116 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Jack concluded his message. ‘‘He ’s out for
blood, is he? Face to face, man to man, eh?
Not much, Jack. That ’s not Sitting Bull’s way.
He lets other folks do the fighting. He does the
planning. He’s a shrewd old customer, though—
and a hard one. I almost had him last year on the
Yellowstone; but I will say he has a genius for
stirring up a fuss and keeping out of trouble him-
self that is almost generalship—in its way. But
how under the sun did you get that message, Jack ?
What were you doing away out there in the Sioux
country ?”’

Jack explained. But the story was still un-
finished when the carriage drew up at Willard’s.

‘““ Hullo! here we are,’’ said the General; ‘‘I
must drop you here, Jack. Or no,—wait for me in
the hotel. If General Sherman is n’t here yet, I
can give you a few minutes while I wait. I want
to hear the rest of that story. I’ve known just
such things happen before.’’

Jack accompanied the General into the busy hotel,
where many nodded to the famous cavalryman,
while others seemed to avoid him. The story of
the President’s displeasure had already gone abroad.

““ General Sherman? Not back from New York
yet, General,’’ Jack heard the clerk say in response
to Custer’s inquiry.

Fretting and impatient, the baffled soldier turned
“THE WHITE CHIEF WITH VELLOW HAIR.” 117

away, took Jack’s arm, and drew him into a quiet
corner.

‘‘ Everything seems to go against me to-day,’”’ he
said. ‘‘I don’t think I ever had anything worry
meso. Come, drive ahead with that story, Jack.
It will take my mind off my affairs.”’

So Jack told the story in detail. And when he
got to the council of the chiefs at the Uncapapa
village, he put his hand into his pocket and drew
out his wallet.

‘‘ Here ’s another message I was told to deliver,
General,’’ he said. ‘‘It is for your brother—the
Injuns called him Little Hair.”’

‘“ Oh, for Tom, eh? He’s out at the post,’’ the
General replied. ‘‘ Why, you ’re a regular walking
despatch-box, Jack. What ’s the old butcher sent
Tom, eh? A bloody heart! Well, Tom will be
delighted. I see the Bull seems to remember the
Custer family. Ill see to it that he has reason to.”’

“ But this is not from him, sir; it’s from that
wild Injun they call Rain-in-the-Face,”’ Jack ex-
plained.

‘Oh, that young murderer, eh ?’’ said Custer.
‘‘T ll have no mercy on him. He killed two of
_ my most faithful non-combatants—the veterinary
surgeon and the sutler—just for a boast. Yes, Tom
caught him, I remember, and he broke jail last sum-
mer. I ’ll see that Cap’n Tom Custer gets the
118 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

message, Jack. He can read its meaning, and he
won't forget it, I can tell you that. Tom ’s a
whole team when he gets a-going.”’

‘“* Are you really going to march against Sitting
Bull, General ?’’ queried Jack. ‘‘ Oh, don’t I wish
I could go with you! When do you go ?”’

““When? Why, I was ready to go last month,”’
Custer replied. ‘‘ But somebody thought I knew
something about the Belknap case—that ’s the
Secretary of War, you know, who has just been
impeached for Indian ring frauds—and I was
ordered to come on here and testify. I did n't
know much, and what I did was only hearsay, and
did n’t amount to anything. But they kept me
here just long enough to delay our expedition and
give Sitting Bull a chance to get ready. And,
worse than that, Belknap was a friend of the Presi-
dent; so of course General Grant thinks I was
trying to get his friend into trouble. The General,
you know, always stands by his friends.”’

““T know it, sir; he told me so,’’ Jack replied.
‘‘ But did n’t he say, ‘ Let no guilty man escape’ ?’”’

“Yes, he did,’’ the General replied. “‘ But, all the
same, he doesn’t love the man that helps to prove
his friend guilty. There you have the whole story,
Jack. And now you can see why I ’m fretting
over this thing. I don’t know what it will lead to.
If only the President would have seen me to-day, I
“THE WHITE CHIEF WITH VELLOW HAIR.” 119

could have explained things and set everything
right. But he would n’t, and now I’m all at
sea.”’

‘‘ That ’s hard lines, General,’’ said sympathetic
Jack. ‘‘ But of course you ’ll go on that expedi-
tion. They can’t do anything without you, can
they ?”’

‘“Oh, they can, I suppose,’’ replied Custer.
‘““ They ’ve made General Terry the head of the
expedition now, and he ’s a good leader, you
know. I just have charge of my regiment, the
Seventh Cavalry, you see. But it would break my
heart to have the boys start without me. They
sha’n’t. If General Sherman don’t get in here by
six, I ’Il leave on the seven-o’clock train for the
West. I simply can’t risk it to wait any longer.
Sherman said I should go in command of my regi-
ment, and I’m going.’’

“Oh, can’t I go with you, General, somehow ?”’
cried Jack. ‘‘I’d just like to get out there once
more and see an Injun campaign. That would be
the best kind of a way to take my answers back to
Sitting Bull, would n’t it, sir?”

‘* Good idea, Jack,’’ said the General, patting the
boy on the shoulder. ‘‘ You ’re a bright one.
That ’s the best sort of a way to keep your promise.
It would be like that fellow in Scott’s poem. Don’t
you know what he said ?>—
120 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

“““ When I come again,
I come with banner, brand, and bow,
As leader seeks his mortal foe ;
For love-lorn swain in lady’s bower
Ne’er panted for the appointed hour
As Jack, when there before him stand
This big Sioux chieftain and his band !’

We 'll change it to suit the occasion, Jack.’’

Jack was delighted.

“ That ’s from the Lady of the Lake, isn’t it, Gen-
eral?’’ he said. ‘‘ And it just fills the bill, doesn’t
it? Do you suppose I could go, somehow?”

The General hesitated.

“I don’t know, Jack,’’ he said at last. ‘‘I’d
like to have you along first rate. Autie Reed ’s
going. He ’s my nephew, and just about your age.
Why, yes, I could fix it, if your father would trust
you in my charge. I ’ll appoint you and Autie
herders. You two boys would just have to help
drive the big herd of cattle that go with the column
—for fresh meat, you know. It’s a rough life,
but you ’d see the fun, Jack. How does that suit
you ?”’ g

Suit him! Jack was wild to go. He could have
hugged the General then and there if it had been
allowable. Instead, he thanked him in a voice that
fairly trembled with emotion and anxiety.

‘““ What do you suppose your father would say,
Jack ?’’ the General said,
“THE WHITE CHIEF WITH VELLOW HAIR.” 121

““ Oh, if you really wanted me to go along, I
don’t believe he ’d have a word to say against it.
I could tell him there would n’t be any danger,
could n’t 1?” said Jack.

“Danger? Among those red fellows ?’’ said
Custer, contemptuously. ‘‘ Why, it- will just be a
walk-over for us. Why, Jack, my boy, do you
know—now, I ’m not making a boast, mind you, as
those Injuns do, but this is a fact—I never yet met
with a single disaster while in command of an im-
portant expedition, and 1 ’ve had more success in
my Indian expeditions than any other officer in the
regular army. That ought to satisfy your father,
had n’t it? But see here, I'll help you through.
I Il write a note to your father, now, right here,
asking him to let you go with me, and telling him
that I ‘ll give you an official position—an official
position, Jack, as a civilian —‘ assistant herder,
Seventh U. S. Cavalry.” How does that strike
you?”

“Tt ’s great!’’ was all that Jack could say. En-
thusiasm and delight could go no farther.

The General beckoned Jack to follow him, went
into the writing-room of the hotel, and there indited
a brief but pungent letter to Jack’s father, the ex-
captain. It told of his delight in making the ac-
quaintance of this bright and wide-awake son of his
old comrade, expressed a desire to know the lad
122 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

better, and made an earnest request to be allowed
to have the boy put under his charge, as the com-
panion to his nephew, Autie Reed, in the brief
Indian campaign in which the General’s regiment
was shortly to take part. It was such a letter as
would gratify a father, delight an old comrade, and
stand an even chance of receiving an affirmative
‘answer.

Jack was sure that it would, and he thanked the
General again and again for his friendliness and
interest.

“ Little bit of selfishness on my part, too, Jack,”’
the General averred. ‘‘ Id like to have a nice sort
of a boy along to keep Autie Reed company.
Autie ’s a good fellow, and he ’s as wild to go-as
you are. You ’re a nice sort of a chap, too, and
you ll make a fine team. I’m going to take my
youngest brother, Boston Custer, along, too. He’s
sick, and a campaign in that grand Western air will
build him up wonderfully. But he’s older than you
and Autie Reed—Autie ’s named after me, you
see—Armstrong—that ’s what they call me at home
—by my middle name, you know—George Arm-
strong Custer. I think if your father ’Il let you go,
Jack, it will be a good thing all around.”’

“* Especially as it gives me just the chance I need
to carry out my promise to Sitting Bull,’’ Jack said,
building upon that as a most important matter. ‘‘ I
“THE WHITE CHIEF WITH VELLOW HAIR.” 123

told those Injuns I always kept my promises, and
never told a lie. They believed me; and I made

‘up my mind that I would do my duty and get the
answers back from you and the President. But
I never said how I would get them back, and if I do
it under escort, they can’t harm me. I think it ’s
a grand way out, and I ’’m sure that father will let
me go, after he reads your letter, General.’’

‘“T hope so, Jack,’’ the General answered.
‘‘ When you do decide, write or telegraph me at
Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota, and I ’ll be on the
lookout for you. But don’t start until you get my
telegram in reply. I want to be sure about my
being there before I lead you off on a wild-goose
chase.”’

‘“Of course you ’Il be there, General,’’ Jack ex-
claimed in some trepidation. He could not bear to
think of failure. ‘‘ They never would start without
you. There is n’t any one else fit to lead.”’

‘* Well, we ’ll hope the President will think so
too, Jack,’’ the General replied. ‘‘ Now I must go
and see McCook. Then I ’ll try to find General
Sherman again, and then—‘all aboard for the
West!’ Good-bye, Jack. Tell your father I want
youtogo. I’ll take good care of you, and, between
us, I reckon we can get that answer to Sitting Bull,
eh? Good-bye.”’

With a hand-shake and a smile he was gone, and
124 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Jack walked down the avenue the happiest boy in
Washington.

Uncle Jerry did not demur a particle at Jack’s
request. Instead, he openly favored it.

“I throw up the sponge, Jack,’’ he said. ‘“‘ It’s
your luck, or your pluck, I don’t know which.
Here you ’ve come to Washington, kept both your
promises, and have got a chance to do your Regu-
lus act, without the keg of nails ending.”’

Jack had looked up the Regulus story, and
appreciated his uncle’s simile.

‘““ Any boy who can manage to corral the Presi-
dent and General Custer just where he wanted them,
and on the same day, is able to take care of him-
self,’’ he said. ‘‘ Keep on, my son, in the way you
are going, and you ’Il be a man before we know it.
You ’d better get home at once if this Western trip
is to be on the programme. See here, I ’ll send a
note to your father telling him to let you go. Such
a chance don’t come to a boy twice in his lifetime—
though it might to you, Jack. You’re just that lucky.
Get your traps together, and I ’Il send you home
on the night train. I think my letter and General
Custer’s ought to make an impression, don’t you ?”’

Jack certainly did. Indeed, he felt so certain
about it that he boarded the night train that very
evening, and was soon speeding homeward full of
hope and anticipation.
CHAPTER X.
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY.

ACK HUNTINGDON had not reckoned with-
out his host. He knew his father. The per-
mission to ‘‘ take the war-path,’’ as the Captain
called the plan, was, after due consideration,
granted. General Custer’s letter, his evident desire
to favor the son of his old comrade, and his warm
interest in Jack, added to the ex-soldier’s own ad-
venturous spirit and his wish to see his boy daring,
plucky, and go-ahead, all combined to urge him to
the decision he rendered, and before the week was
out, Jack had telegraphed the General, advising
him of his father’s action.

‘‘ Father says I can go. Please say when I shall
come,’’ his telegram ran, and then, restless with
anxiety, he awaited a reply.

The days passed, and it did not come. Meantime
the papers were full of ‘‘ the Custer trouble,’ and
people took sides, some with Grant, some with
Custer. It was all a most unfortunate affair.

That matter has, however, long since been sifted

and settled, We know now that the great soldier-
125
126 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

president misunderstood and misjudged Custer; we
know that the dashing cavalry leader, dispirited by
this misjudgment, acted unwisely, and brought him-
self into such direct antagonism to his superiors that,
for a time at least, he was deprived of his command,
and very nearly placed under arrest; we know that
his superiors quickly relented their harshness, ap-
preciating Custer’s value as an Indian-fighter and
the inspiration his presence meant to his command;
but we know, also, that the wound to his manly pride
and womanly sensitiveness, both of which had part
in his high sense of honor, rankled, affected him,
and led him into an over-zeal that is now history.

All these things, of course, were not then known
to Jack Huntingdon. He felt that his plans were
being spoiled, that the strength of the expedition
was being threatened, that injustice was being done
to “ my General,”’ as he had taken to calling Custer,
and that, if something did n’t happen to change
matters, that telegram would not come, and his
hopes and spirits be equally dashed.

But on the eighth of May in that jubilee year of
1876, two days before the big ‘‘ Centennial ’’ opened
in Philadelphia, Jack Huntingdon’s hopes and spirits
were suddenly revived by the receipt of this telegram:

“Report as herder to Fort Abraham Lincoln at
once. Come by Bismarck.—CUSTER.”’
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY, 127

Jack’s cap struck the ceiling, Jack’s feet executed
a war-dance, and Jack’s voice found vent in a jubi-
lant hurrah. The kit was packed, the good-byes
said, and a week later Jack Huntingdon had
‘‘ joined his command ’’ at Fort Abraham Lincoln.

Across the muddy Missouri, on its western bank,
stretched the low, white buildings of that once im-
portant, now abandoned post; and in the pleasant
and well-appointed ‘‘ General’s room’’ at head-
quarters, Jack met his ‘‘ companion-in-arms,’’ Autie
Reed.

That was what Custer called them—‘* companions-
The two boys took to each other at
once; for Armstrong or ‘‘ Autie’’ Reed, as he was

”

in-arms.

called, was a bright, enthusiastic, go-ahead young
fellow, just the sort of a boy that Jack Huntingdon
could ‘‘ tie to.’’ Both boys were full of anticipa-
tion and ardor, both were just from school, and
both had in them the stuff that makes brave men
and heroic soldiers—as, all too soon, opportunity
came to test and prove.

The very atmosphere of the ‘* General’s room ”’ at
Fort Abraham Lincoln fostered this ardor for action.
For though the big room was plain and the furniture
old and worn, alike wall and floor and chair and sofa
were draped with robe and hide of softest fur or laid
with rug, and tapestried with hanging from “ big
game,’’ while down upon the boys looked the heads
128 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

of buffaloes and big-horn, antelope, elk, and bear,
proof of the prowess of that successful hunter of
savage beasts as well as hostile Indians, Custer,
““ the pride of the border.”’

There was scant time to do more than get ac-
quainted with his duties and become accustomed to
them, for the expedition was to start speedily. So
Jack was at once initiated into service as a ‘“‘ herder’”’
by Autie Reed, whose experience was a few days
older. Their duties, it must be said, were largely
nominal, for the care of the ‘‘ beef critters’’ that
were to accompany the campaigners to supply the
demand for fresh beef devolved upon the “‘ officer
of the herd,’ under whom Autie Reed and Jack
Huntingdon were to act as assistants.

But there was much to be learned as to the “‘ ser-

’

vice;’’ so, what with hard riding, inspecting, and
rounding-up, drumming up the regular herders, and
carrying orders to and from the officer of the herd,
the boys had little time to ‘‘ sojer,’’ and Jack found
plenty to do to tire him out, but to toughen him as
well, and so prepare him to become a prophecy of
that army of sinewy, stalwart, hard-working and
hard-riding, fearless and free young fellows who,
before ten years more had passed, were to people
those wide-reaching plains and. valleys as that
unique and daring American creation—the cowboy

of the Western cattle-range.
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY, 129

But Jack found time to get a glimpse of life at a
military post at its most exciting time—on the eve
of an Indian campaign. Even the horses in the
stables and the mules in the corral seemed to have
caught the infection of preparation; while, as for
the men, there was, under all their assumed non-
chalance and indifference, a certain suppressed ex-
citement that displayed itself in assumption, and
communicated itself to the twenty-five new recruits
from St. Paul who had there enlisted for the expe-
dition, and were experiencing their first taste of
regular army woes in the tyranny of the drill-
sergeant and the hazing by their new comrades.

For not alone the Seventh Cavalry —Custer’s own
command—was detailed for this Yellowstone cam-
paign. The gallant Seventh was but a portion of
the big expedition which was mustering for a final
drive at the hostile Sioux and their allies. At three
separate points troops were massing for the advance,
and in three columns,—one of thirteen hundred men
led by Crook, the famous Indian-fighter, one of
five hundred led by Gibbon, and one of a thousand
men led by Terry, with Custer in command of the
fighting Seventh, the crack cavalry regiment of the
border.

- It was the last, General Terry’s column, that mus-
tered at Fort Abraham Lincoln, the home of the
Seventh Cavalry, and which, when Jack Huntingdon
130 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

had joined it, was found to number one thousand offi-
cers and enlisted men, and one hundred and eighty
packers and herders—including our friend Jack—
eleven hundred and eighty men altogether, with
mule-teams, horse-teams, ambulances, and other
vehicles, four Gatling guns, and a detachment of
Indian scouts from the Ree tribe, sworn foemen to
the Sioux.

Before Jack joined his command, the other com-
panies and platoons had joined the Seventh Cavalry
at Fort Abraham Lincoln, and the white tents of
the newcomers crowded the whiter barracks of the
post. From tent and barracks came now what
Shakspere calls ‘‘ the dreadful note of prepara-
tion ’’; officers and enlisted men, cooks and armor-
ers, packers and herders, all alike were busy, and
even Old Glory itself on the trim parade-ground
streamed and fluttered from its staff, the silent in-
spiration to every soldier to do his duty, heedless
of return.

Jack was up before daybreak on the morning of
the seventeenth of May; for that was to be the day
of departure of the blue column of Indian-fighters
from the white barracks of Fort Abraham Lincoln.

At five o’clock in the morning the bugles sounded
the ‘‘ general ’’—the signal to take down tents and
break camp. At once the wagons were packed, the
quartermaster hurried them into line, and within an
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY. 131

hour the wagon-train had moved into position and
assembled on the plateau just west of the fort.
Again the bugles sounded, and in full marching rig
the Seventh Cavalry, headed by its band playing its
own battle-tune, ‘‘ Garryowen,’’ and led by its
dashing commander, made the full circuit of the
green parade, and then halted and dismounted just
outside the fort.

The good-byes were said; the infantry (one com-
pany of the Sixth United States and two of the
Seventh) with one platoon of Gatling guns, manned
by a detail from the Twentieth, assembled in columns
of fours on the plateau with the wagon-train.

“*March!”’

The ‘‘ assembly ’

,

was sounded, and the wagon-
train with its infantry escort took the road.

““Mount!’’ “ Forward!’’ Again the bugles rang
out. The Seventh is in the saddle. Then in two
columns, with its right wing led by Major Reno and
its left by Captain Benten, with its band playing
bravely ‘‘ The Girl I Left Behind Me,’’ while Gen-
eral Terry, as the commander of the expedition,
galloped on with his staff to join the departing
columns, and General Custer dashed to his place as
leader of the advance-guard, the whole command,
with guidons fluttering, flags flying, and men
moving in brave and gallant array, swept across the
plateau and off toward the West and duty.
132 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

The Yellowstone Expedition had started, and
Jack Huntingdon, ‘‘ herder,’’ was a part of it!

He was excited but earnest. The General had
permitted him, with Autie Reed, to remain at
the fort till the last, that they might see the de-
monstration and parade before departure. But
once the regiment was on the march, the boys
galloped ahead with the General to his post as leader
of the advance; then he bade them drop back, one
on either side, to where the packers and herders rode
in their places to the right and left of the long
wagon-train—one hundred and fifty wheeled vehicles
in all.

With the soldiers afoot and on horseback, with
the long line of pack animals and cattle, with the
lumbering battery of Gatling guns, the loaded
wagons, and the thousand rifle-barrels gleaming in
the sun, the expedition seemed to Jack a most
formidable and overpowering display.

““ And Autie says there are two more columns just
like this, under Crook and Gibbon, making for the
same points that we are,’’ he reflected, as his eye
took in the whole martial scene. ‘‘ Well, if we
don’t finish up the hostiles this trip, then it ’s be-
cause they won’t stay to be finished. I wonder
whether Sitting Bull and his Strong Hearts know
we are coming ? I wonder how strong their hearts
would be if they should run up against this outfit ?
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY. 133

I wonder if the Bull has any idea that I’m bringing
his answer in this sort of style ?”’

And so he kept on wondering about Sitting Bull
and Young Wolf and Po-to-sha-sha and Chief Gall
and Rain-in-the-Face, and all his Indian friends and
foes of a year back, until his new friend, Autie Reed,
“cutting through ”’ the lines, called his attention to
the beautiful Heart River Valley though which they
were marching, and showed him where he and his
uncle, Tom Custer, the Captain, had brought a
buffalo bull to bay not long before and had a royal
hunt. For the Heart River Valley was the favorite
hunting-ground of the officers of the dashing
Seventh.

Then, as the hired herders seemed amply able to
look after their clumsy charges, the ‘‘ honorary
herders,’’ as Jack and Autie had dubbed them-
selves, took a long gallop up and down the line of
march to see just how the train moved as it ap-
proached the enemy’s country.

It was a long, thin line when compared with the
broad stretch of hill and plain over which its slow
wavering length moved westward. Far in the lead
rode General Custer at the head of one troop as
advance-guard, selecting the route to be traversed
and the camping-place at. the close of the day’s
march. After him followed the two other troops
of the advance-guard, detailed as pioneers and
134 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

bridge-builders. Then, guarding the long wagon-
train on its right and left flanks, where plodded the
pack animals and the beef herd, rode the second
battalion, a troop on either side with scouts and
flankers thrown out to watch for ambuscades and
guard against surprises. Behind all came the rear-
guard, keeping the train to its work, picking up
stragglers, and helping on the lagging cattle or the
mired wagons.

So, day by day, they pushed on toward the West,
out into the uninhabited, almost into the unknown
—for when that now historic march was made there
was, between Bismarck in Dakota and Bozeman in
Montana—a stretch of full six hundred miles—not
a ranch or human habitation, save the tepees and
wicky-ups of the gathering hostiles of the Sioux and
their allies, whom this expedition was marching to
scatter and to thwart.

Obstacles and delays were many; for the country
was rough and broken, and “‘ crossings,’’ were fre-
quent, calling for the bridge-work of the pioneers.
Lunches were eaten at midday, camps made at
night, yarns spun and jokes played, and for days
the onward march seemed to the two boys, entering
heartily into the fun, more like a great and continu-

‘

ous picnic than ‘‘ the horrid front of war.’’ But
the leaders were watchful, the scouts were on the

alert; every happening was noted, every sign fol-
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY. 135

lowed up, and underneath the fun and the frolic lay
the discipline and order of a warlike advance.

The season was that of the opening summer;
over all the hill-slopes and river-bottoms was spread
a carpet of living green, interwoven with patches
and figures of: brilliant flowers; it was health and
strength to ride through that glorious atmosphere
or gallop away now and then on the hunt for the
big game of the Bad Lands. For game was plenti-
ful, though shy, and General Custer, a born sports-
man, had encouraged his men to hunt whether in
barracks or on the march. 5

Even during his brief stay at the fort, Jack had
been particularly attracted by General Custer’s dogs
—long, lean, aristocratic stag-hounds, rough of coat
and smooth of head. These, too, accompanied the
expedition, and joined in the occasional hunt for
deer or antelope. Jack was a lover of all pets—
especially dogs—and made himself familiar with the
stag-hounds on the daily march, while they, in
return, showed their fondness for this active boy.
One of them in particular, a noble hound, known
as “‘ the Duke,”’ attached himself to Jack as special
escort, and followed him devotedly in camp and
afield whenever the boy would yield to his desires
and slyly slip his leash.

So at last by easy marches, varying, according to
the difficulties of the route, from ten to forty miles
136 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

a day, the first of June came in with a summer
snow-storm and found the expedition at the cross-
ing of the Little Missouri. To-day the traveller
will be shown the site of Custer’s three-day camp,
where, in later years, near to Medora, stretched the
vast cattle-ranges of the Marquis de Mores, of Theo-
dore Roosevelt of the ““ Rough Riders” regiment, and
other of the cattle-kings of the ranching eighties.

On the tenth day of June, General Terry, return-
ing from a conference with General Gibbon of the
Montana column, at his camp on the Yellowstone,
ordered the right wing of six troops, under Major
Reno, to scout up the Powder River country for
Indian signs, for the General had heard that the
hostiles were gathering somewhere in the pleasant
Powder River Valley.

Here was a chance for adventure indeed, and Jack
Huntingdon expressed to Autie Reed so ardent awish
that he might go with the Major on his scout that,
at Autie’s suggestion, General Custer granted per-
mission, and Jack Huntingdon was duly assigned to
scouting duty under Major Reno as a volunteer aide.

With twelve days’ rations and a determination to
strike that trail if there were really any trail to
strike, Reno’s men galloped off to the southwest,
Jack Huntingdon riding gallantly in the van, for
the boy was already hail-fellow with officers and
men alike, and a prime favorite with all.
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY. 137

A mile, perhaps, had been covered in the advance
when, as Jack reined in his pony to take a shallow
ford, and rode leisurely in with one hand hanging
loose, he felt against his open palm the snuggling,
cool muzzle of a four-footed comrade, and glancing
down met the upturned and beseeching eyes of the
Duke, the General’s stag-hound. Whether the dog
had slipped his leash, or had been loosened by Autie
Reed, Jack could not say; but there he was and
there he must stay, and Jack, you may be sure, was
delighted. So, too, was the Duke at Jack’s cheery
welcome.

They rode on along the winding Powder River.
Discipline was strict, and straggling was not per-
mitted; but Jack Huntingdon, in his character of
civilian volunteer, was not kept in such close sur-
veillance, and, accompanied by the faithful Duke,
took to little excursions on his own account, though
never far out of sight or sound of his comrades, the
troopers.

Independence sometimes breeds heedlessness, es-
pecially in a boy of active and inquisitive tempera-
ment, and Jack Huntingdon, as you know, had a
pretty fair opinion of his own ability to take care of
Jack Huntingdon. He felt himself as wide-awake a
* scout as any in the troop, and was even disposed to
criticise Major Reno as over-cautious.

‘“‘ They ’d find out more if they ’d spread farther
138 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

apart,’’ Jack declared to himself, and he found him-
self studying and reporting presumable Indian signs
which, however,when good-humoredly investigated,
proved to be no signs at all, much to the lad’s dis-
comfiture but never to his entire defeat.

The hunting spirit also took possession of him,
with its inclination to wander, especially with the
big stag-hound to lure him on; and one day when
the Duke had raised a sign of antelopes, Jack rode
out of line a piece to get a shot at the fleet-footed
game.

But the antelopes bounded off with the Duke in
hot pursuit, and, drawn on by the chase, Jack,
heedless Jack, wandered still farther out of line
until, with Duke on the alert, he rode stealthily
into a grove of cottonwoods and actually stalked
his game. Then asure shot—for Jack had grown
to be an excellent marksman—brought down the
quarry, with the Duke dragging at the throat.

Jack shouted, ‘‘ Good for you, old chap!”’ and
spurred forward to secure the game and hoist it be-
hind him on his saddle. But, as he did so, out
from the shadow of the cottonwoods sprang a half-
dozen ambushed figures.

The bridle of the pony was caught and held, and
before Jack could turn to ride out of harm’s way
he found himself forcibly detained.

He drew his revolver and lifted it in emphatic
HOW THE SEVENTH MARCHED AWAY. 139

protest; but, as he did so, looking down at those
who barred his way, Jack gave a shout half of sur-
prise and half of gratification to find himself a
captive to Po-to-sha-sha—Red Top, the renegade.
CHAPTER XI.
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL.

s HAT, Po-to-sha-sha! is it you?’’ cried
Jack. ‘* Jingoes! I thought I was done
for, sure. I thought the hostiles had me.’’

““ And so they have, sonny; so they have,’’ re-
sponded the squaw-man, ruefully. ‘‘ But, Great
Jumping Jehoshaphat, boy! where under the sun
did you drop from ? What are you doing here ?”’

Jack was just on the point of giving the facts in
the case, but, remembering past experiences, he
grew wary.

“I’m bringing back those answers, Red Top,”’
he said.

“No! are you? Bringing "em back—bringing
"em back to Sitting Bull? Well, I vum!”’ was all
the renegade could find words for. Then he added,
looking at Jack curiously:

“Say! where do you live when you’re at home
—in a crazy-house? What did they let you out
for? Of all boys I ever did see, you ’re the beaten-
est, Big Tooth. Don’t you know what ’s going on
here ?”’

140
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL. I4I

‘Why, I ’m going, if you ’Il only let me—you
and your crowd,’’ Jack declared; for the hands of
his captors were still on his bridle, and one silent
brave still had him covered with a Winchester.

Po-to-sha-sha said some words in explanation to
his companions, and they released their hold on
their prisoner. But the squaw-man still puzzled
over Jack’s answer.

‘* Whereabouts you going to?’”’ he queried.

Jack deemed it wise to carry out the strategy he
had in view.

‘“Why, to Sitting Bull’s camp, of course,’’ he
replied. ‘‘ That ’s what I’m here for, you know.
Say, Red Top, whereabouts is it ?”’

He asked the question carelessly, but he awaited
the reply anxiously.

‘‘ Just where it was last year,’’ the renegade re-
plied. ‘‘ Over yonder in the Greasy Grass.”’

‘“Same lodges there, too?’’ continued Jack,
playing the interviewer.

The squaw-man fell an easy prey.

‘‘The same? Well, I should say so,”’ he replied.
‘‘ Lots more, too—stacks of em. The Bull’s gota
regular con-vention of hostiles assembled there, and
he ’s just playing the host in his tepee. There ’s
' Uncapapa and Ogallala, Brulé and Minneconjou,

Sans Arc and Blackfeet—a whole slew of In-
juns.”’
142 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Jack opened his eyes. And wellhe might; he was
learning just what Terry and Custer wished to know.

‘“ What are they there for ?’’ he asked.

‘‘ Why, you see, we ’re making that valley the
meeting-place for a big hunt,’’ the renegade began.
‘“ Why, there must be as many as—but say! look-
a-here, sonny, I ’m not giving our secrets away.
What you after? I believe you’re just a-pumping
me!”’

‘“Why should I?’’ demanded Jack. ‘‘ Sha’n’t I
see for myself when I join the camp ?”’

“That ’sso; you will—when you join the camp,”’
Po-to-sha-sha responded. ‘‘ But all the same I ’m
not telling anything. The Bull would find it out,
sure; and he told me to hold my tongue.”’

That, as Jack knew, was the one thing the squaw-
man could not do, under certain conditions. So he
proceeded to draw him out further.

“* Over in the Greasy Grass, eh—that ’s what our
folks call the Little Big Horn, is n’t it ?’’ he said.
‘“ But that ’s a good ways from here, Red Top.
What are you doing here, so far away from your
lodges—and Mi-mi? By the way, how is Mi-mi,
Red Top ?”’

‘““ She ’s boss still, sonny, but good in her way, if
she is Injun,’’ Po-to-sha-sha replied. ‘‘ Nothing
else to equal her, I reckon.”’

‘“ That ’s so, Mi-mi ’s pretty good,’’ Jack as-
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL. 143

sented, turning to flattery. ‘‘ She used me well
when I was in the Uncapapa lodges. I have n’t
forgotten those corn-dumplings she made for me.
Fact is, I want to taste them more than I want to
see Sitting Bull. How ’s Young Wolf ?”’

>

‘“* Fine, fine, sonny,’’ responded the squaw-man.
““ He ’Il be glad to see you, cause now, don’t you
see? Sitting Bull will know you are a truth-teller,
just as Young Wolf said you were, and that you
keep your word.”’

““ Keep my word!’’ cried Jack, hotly. ‘‘ Why,
what do you take me for, Red Top? I ’m no
treaty-breaker. Where is Young Wolf ?”’

““He and Chief Gall have gone to raise the
Cheyennes—that is, White Bull’s tribe of ’em, you
know—same as me and Crazy Horse have been off
to raise the Ogallalas at Red Cloud Agency.”’

Jack was learning a lot.

““ What are you raising them for?’’ he queried, with
apparent innocence. ‘‘ Your big hunt, I suppose ?”’

‘* Big nothin’!’’ exclaimed Po-to-sha-sha, scorn-
fully. ‘‘ Why, say! that hunt ’s only a blind, don’t
you see? Our hunt is for bigger game. We’re
out—but there, I’m letting out things again.”’

‘Well, you ’re not afraid of me, surely,’’ said
‘Jack, anxious for more details. ‘“‘I ’m going to
join you and bea Strong Heart, ain’t 1? I’ll know
more than you do pretty soon,’’
144 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘Is that so ?’’ cried the squaw-man. ‘‘ Then, by
the jumping Jingoes! you must have brought back
a good answer. Have you, sonny? No staking-
out, eh ?”’

‘* Ask me no questions and I ’ll tell you no lies,
Red Top,’’ was Jack’s reply. ‘‘ If you’re going to
keep mum, I guess other folks can. Did you get
any recruits at Red Cloud ’s?”’

“Oh, they ’re slipping away — slipping away,
sonny,’’ Po-to-sha-sha responded. ‘‘ Fact is,
sonny,’’ he continued, “‘ the old chief ’s madder ’n
a hornet about it. He’s getting to be a regular
coffee-cooler, Red Cloud is. Between you and me,
though,’’ declared the renegade, ‘‘ I wish the rest
of ’em were. This fighting business is no good.
It ’s bound to get me into trouble.’’

Here one of the renegade’s Indian companions in-
terjected a query, short and sharp. Po-to-sha-sha
replied as briefly.

‘“He thinks you ’re a spy, sonny,’’ said the
squaw-maninexplanation. ‘‘ Same old story, eh ?’”’

‘“ Where ’s your camp ?”’ said Jack.

‘‘Ain’t got any—only a few wicky-ups, over on the
Rosebud trail,’’ the squaw-man replied. ‘‘ Red
Cloud ’s there. These are some of his young men.”’

‘“ Oh, is that so ?’’ exclaimed Jack, seeing a way
out of his difficulty. ‘“‘ Say, Red Top, can’t I see
the chief before we join Sitting Bull ?’’
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL. 145

And drawing out the cherished eagle feather,
Jack stuck it conspicuously in his hat-band. The
young braves recognized it at once, and were visibly
impressed. They plied Po-to-sha-sha with ques-
tions, which he answered briefly. Then he turned’
again to Jack.

‘‘ Want to see Red Cloud, do you? Well, I
don’t see what ’s to hinder,’’ he declared. ‘‘ What
you want to say to him ?”’

“Oh, I’d like to talk things over with him a bit,”’
replied Jack. ‘‘I want to get his advice about
being a Strong Heart.”’

““ His advice? Huh! I know what he ’ll say,’’
said the renegade. ‘‘ He ’ll say just what I do:
‘ Stick to your own; be a white man.’ ”’

““Ts that what he said to you, Red Top ?”’ queried
Jack. ‘* You did n’t take his advice, did you ?”’

““ Do I look as if I did ?’’ demanded Po-to-sha-
sha, with a glance at his savage trappings. ‘‘ But
see here, sonny,’’ he added, “‘ if that ’s your way
out of this scrape, come on. I ’m sorry for you,
but it’s your salvation. We let no white man come
into this land and live. It’s Injun’s land. But if
you ’re to be a Strong Heart—a Sha-te su-ta—see !—

why, that lets you out. That makes you one of
us, and you don’t count as a white man. That ’s
what I’m telling the boys here, and so it saves your

life.”’
zQ
146 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Then, leading Jack’s pony by the bridle, he
paraded the boy before Red Cloud’s braves, and,
gesticulating in true Indian fashion, he shouted,
pointing to Jack, ‘‘ Sha-te su-ta! Yip! yip!’’ and
the young braves tossed their arms in welcome
and responded with the same shout.

Jack grasped the squaw-man ’s hand and shook
it heartily.

‘Thank you, thank you, Red Top,”’ he said.
‘* You ’re always on deck to help me out, are n’t
you? But suppose this had n’t been I. What
would have happened ?”’

The renegade lifted his hair significantly.

‘“Is that so ?’’ said Jack. ‘‘ Thank you again,
Red Top. But say! why should you stop white
men if you are in Red Cloud’s band? The big
chief is friendly. He ’s an agency Injun.”’

‘“ Yes, that ’s so,’’ the squaw-man responded.
‘* But these are ticklish times, sonny. Fact is, even
Red Cloud can’t hold in his young men from the
war-path. There ’s lots of ’em slipped out of
the agency, and that ’s why he ’s here—trying to
get them back under his thumb again. It’s no use,
though. They ’ve got the fever on ’em, ever since
they heard that the soldiers were coming into the
Injun country, and nothing will hold’emin. Why,
there ’s going to be a sun-dance over on the Rose-
bud to-morrow, and Sitting Bull will get a dream,
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL, 147

see if he don’t. And that dream will be medicine
that will just wipe out all the peace talk that Red
Cloud could talk from now till doomsday.”’

““ A sun-dance! Oh, can’t I see it, Red Top ?”’
cried Jack; and then and there he determined that
if there was a sun-dance on foot he would see it,
even if he lost the expedition. For a sun-dance
was the one thing he wished to see, so he assured
himself, and—well, Jack Huntingdon was a boy,
and to most boys the thing they desire is the thing
most important.

““ Well, sonny,’’ said Po-to-sha-sha, deliberately,
‘“T don’t know what ’s to hinder—if Sitting Bull
don’t.”

“Why should he? I won’t see him till after the
sun-dance,’’ Jack declared. ‘‘ I ’Il lie low till that
comes off. See?’”’

““Yes, I see,’’ responded the squaw-man.
““ You ’re a right smart boy, sonny; but if you can
keep out of the Bull’s way, you ’re smarter than I
think you are.”’

“Nothing like trying,’’ declared Jack, confi-
dently. ‘‘ Anyhow, Red Top,’’ he added, ‘‘ I’m
mighty glad I met you. If Id happened to strike
a crowd that could n’t speak English, I ’d have
~ been in a bad fix, would n’t 1?”

“You ’re right there, Big Tooth,’’ the squaw-
man replied. ‘‘ That ain’t a fashionable language
148 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

just now ’round these diggings. Come, push on,
sonny. If you ’re going to call on Red Cloud,
now ’s your time.’’

He motioned to the Indians to move on. And,
with the faithful Duke trotting at his pony’s heels,
Jack rode with his escort on to Red Cloud’s wicky-
ups beyond the fords of the Powder.

As he rode, gradually—for he was discovering
just how to handle and draw out Po-to-sha-sha—
Jack learned from the renegade all the things that
had happened in the Uncapapa lodges since he had
left them'a year before.

He heard how, on the big plain to the north of
Crow Butte, the commissioners from the President
had met the Sioux chiefs for a “‘ big talk’’ over the
sale of the Black Hills, which the Western people
wished to open to mining and settlement. He
heard, too, how the sale came to nothing, even
though Red Cloud advised it, largely because, so
Jack shrewdly suspected, such advisers as Po-to-
sha-sha and other squaw-men, who knew the value
of gold-mines and the feverish desire of white men
to get at them, had told the Sioux chiefs to hold
out for a big price.

““ Why, sonny, what do you think ?”’ the rene-
gade declared. ‘‘ Those fellows—the commissioners,
you know—they offered us four hundred thousand
dollars a year for the use of the land as long as the
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL. 149

white men wished to use it, or to buy it outright for
six million dollars on the instalment plan. But we
laughed at ’em. Why, those hills are full of gold,
Big Tooth—yes, sir, full! And do you suppose
we ’d let ’em go for any such sum as that? No,
sir; we just want fifty millions, ornothing. If I’ve
got anything to say, the chiefs don’t let it go for
any such sum as the commissioners offered. I’m
interested in this thing, you see, sonny,’’ he added,
slyly. ‘‘ I’m after a slice myself.’’

““You?’’ cried Jack. ‘‘ Why, Red Top, you ’re
an Injun, you are. You said as much, and an Injun
has no need of money. What would you do with
so much? Why, some of you boys that asked fifty
millions in the morning would be round begging
for a shirt in the evening. You ’d gamble it all
away before you knew you had it.”’

The squaw-man drew himself away angrily.

““See here! what do you talk like that for ?’’
he demanded. Do you think I ’ve turned Injun
so bad that I don’t know what money ’s good for ?
I ’ve got a plan, I have,’’ he added, cunningly,
“‘and if there ’s any money in this thing I ’m
going to have some of it.”’

*““ What ’s your plan ?’’ queried Jack.

““Sh!”’ said the squaw-man, warningly. ‘‘ Never
you mind. That ’s my secret. If you stay here
among us and become an Injun, I ’ll tell you this
is0 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

much: I ’ll let you into this deal, and you can make
your everlasting fortune if you ’Il stick by me.”’

‘* But the government will never give you any-
thing like your price for the land,’’ Jack declared.

‘‘Won’t they, though ? Then we ’ll make ’em,”’
the renegade responded. ‘‘ They ’ve got to have
the Hills, and our fellows will get their price or
fight; that ’s all there is about it. And when we
do get our price, and I get my share of those mil-
lions,—my, though! won’t I just get square with
the fellows that drove me out? You see if I
don’t.’’

Here was a hint at his story at last; Jack saw it,
and was quick to jump at it.

‘‘ Drove you out, Red Top?’’ he said. ‘‘ What
for ?”’

‘* Say, where did you get that dog, sonny ? He’s
a beauty, he is,’’ Po-to-sha-sha demanded, abruptly
changing the subject, as he always did when it
affected his own secret.

d

‘‘ That ’s one of General Custer’s,’’ replied Jack,
unguardedly. ‘‘ He ’s a great friend of mine,
are n’t you, Duke, old fellow ?”’

The stag-hound leaped to the boy’s stirrup-leather
in reply, but the renegade caught at the word.
‘Custer! Chief Long Hair!’’ he cried. ‘‘ Then
you came out with him, did you? For heaven’s

sake, Big Tooth, don’t let the Bull know that.
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL. 151

It ‘ll stir him up to do—I don’t know what, with
you. He ’ll stake you out sure. Better kill the
dog now, or give him to me.”’

“Kill the Duke! Give him away! Well, I
guess not. You don’t know me yet, Red Top,”’
cried Jack, hotly, ‘‘ if you think I go back on my
friends like that. I did n’t say I came here with
Custer, did 1? I said the dog was one of the Gen-
eral’s, and so he is. But I brought him from Fort
Lincoln—or, rather, he followed me. He thinks a
heap of me, Duke does—don’t you, old fellow ?”’

Again the dog leaped in joyful acknowledgment.

‘Then you did n’t come with Custer ?’’ queried
Po-to-sha-sha.

“Why, how could I ?’’ Jack replied, evasively.
** Custer is miles away from here, I reckon.’’ And
following the squaw-man’s own lead, he changed
the subject abruptly, feeling that he was on danger-
ous ground. ‘‘ What happened after the commis-
sioners left Crow Butte ?’’ he asked, reverting to
the original topic of conversation.

‘“ Why, you see, they would n’t give in, and we

,

would n’t give in,’’ the renegade replied, “‘ and
there the matter held. It mighty near split up this
nation, though. Some of ’em stuck by Red Cloud
~ and Young-Man-Afraid-of-his-Horses, who are both
of ’em willing to sell, you know; but the biggest

part of the young men and fighting chiefs, they
152 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

went over to Sitting Bull’s side and came over this
way to the Greasy Grass, you know. Then the
government ordered ’em all back to the reserva-
tions. But they would n’t go, and when the fellows
at Washington threatened to turn the soldiers on
"em, they said, ‘Turn ’em on. We ain’t afraid.’
And they ain’t.”’

‘“ They did send some, did n’t they ?’’ queried
Jack.

“Yes, the Gray Fox—that ’s General Crook, you
know—he started out for us, and Sitting Bull he
sent me off to find the Gray Fox,’’ Po-to-sha-sha
said. ‘‘I told him just what the Bull told me to
say. ‘Comeon!’ says the Bull, says he. ‘ You
need n’t bring any guides with you. The way to -
my lodges is easy. You can find me right here. I
won't run away.’ ”’

‘‘ And did General Crook come ?’’ asked Jack,
greatly interested.

‘“Did he? Well, I reckon he did,’’ the renegade
replied. ‘‘ The Gray Fox always keeps his word.
He ’s like you that way, Big Tooth. He came
right up here, about where you ’re riding now, by
the Powder, and tried to raid Crazy Horse’s camp.
You know Crazy Horse, the Ogallala, Big Tooth ?
He’sa fighter, he is. Last March that was. Cold!
Well, it was cold enough to freeze a brass monkey,
and those soldiers were about stiff when they got
HOW JACK STRUCK THE LODGE POLE TRAIL. 153

here. They charged the camp and stampeded the
ponies, but Crazy Horse fought ’em from the bluffs,
and they had to clear out, and we got the ponies
back. We ’ve got lots of guns, you see, and we
can fight, same as the soldiers can.”’

‘““Guns!’’ exclaimed Jack, remembering Sitting
Bull’s promise to his tribesmen.. ‘‘ You got guns,
then, did you? How ?”’

‘“ Oh, the Bull fixed all that. He ’sa shrewd one,
he is,’’ the squaw-man replied. ‘‘ We ’ve got all
we want, I tell you. From the agencies.”’

And Jack learned later that this indeed was the
truth, and that by the craft of Sitting Bull and
the cupidity of certain white men the hostiles had
supplied themselves, from the agencies, with even
better guns than the United States troops them-
selves had. It was a bad piece of business.

‘* Well, there you are, sonny,’’ the renegade con-
tinued. ‘‘ The soldiers got the worst of it, and the
Bull’son top. And now he’s off at the old camping-
ground where you saw him, and the young men from
Red Cloud’s reservation and the other agencies are
slipping away, just like these braves here, to join
the Bull and Gall and Crazy Horse. Full of fight,
too, they are. See there, see that trail. That ’s
~ what Crook and Custer and the other soldiers would
open their eyes to see. That ’s the Lodge Pole
trail, that is, and it leads right across the Rosebud
184. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

and off to the camp on the Greasy Grass—the Little
Big Horn, as you call it. There ’s a whole Injun
army gone over that.”’

They had climbed a bluff, and now stood a
moment looking down into the fair valley of the
Rosebud. Across the broad stretch of green a
wide, worn line was distinctly visible. Along it
travois had gone in numbers large enough to scratch
and mark it well. Along it, even as he looked,
Jack could see, here and there, groups of moving
figures, warriors on horseback, ¢rvavozs loads of lodge
equipage, ponies, dogs, and squaws. The boy’s
heart gave a leap. What would Major Reno, what
would General Custer give to see what he saw, to
know what he knew? He had found it—the Lodge
Pole trail—the path along which hundreds of hostiles
were pressing to join the camp of Sitting Bull, the
leader of the uprising, in the valley of the Little
Big Horn.

‘* But where ’s Red Cloud ?”’ he asked.

““Red Cloud? Oh, Red Cloud,’’ repeated the
wily squaw-man, scratching his red poll. ‘‘ Why,
I reckon he ’s on his reservation, sonny. That was
only a bluff, you know.”’
CHAPTER XII.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE.

J HUNTINGDON saw that he had been
trapped. He turned on his companion indig-
nantly.

‘“‘See here, Red Top! what do you mean ?’’ he
said. ‘‘ You ’ve lied to me.”’

‘‘ Looks a little bit that way, sonny,’’ the rene-
gade replied, good-humoredly. ‘‘ But, bless you, it
was the only thing to do. If I had n’t held you
some such way, you ’d have been sure to tumble
into the first fool danger that showed up—and then
where ’d I been? In it with you; and a fellow has
to look out for Number One these times.”’

Jack was not ready to assent to the insinuation
that he could not take care of himself, neither was
he entirely ready to agree to Po-to-sha-sha’s state-
ment as to his own selfishness. He was not yet
clear in his own mind as to the renegade’s character.
"Was he brave, or a coward? He was continually

protesting that he was’a coward, but Jack remem-
bered one of Shakspere’s plays that he had read
155
186 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

at school in which one character said of another that
he protested too much.

‘Don’t you see, Big Tooth,’ said the squaw-
man, “‘ if I had n’t taken you in charge, some other
Injun would, and then how would you have fared ?
We ain’t any of us too easy with white men just
now if we get hold of ’em, and I reckon you ’d
rather I had you than such fellows as Crazy Horse
or Rain-in-the-Face.”’

Clearly Po-to-sha-sha believed that this was one
of the occasions when the end justified the means,
and Jack, with a shudder at what might have been
his fate if he had been ambushed by a rampant
hostile, was disposed to accept the squaw-man’s
explanations. He stretched out a hand in acknowl-
edgment.

‘“ How!” he said, in his best Indian manner.
‘‘ Po-to-sha-sha heap good.”’

‘That ’s the talk, sonny,’ replied the squaw-
man, with a loud guffaw. ‘‘ You stick to me, and
I’ll get you out of this scrape ifI can. First, we il
see the sun-dance, and then, if you ’re bound to,
we ’ll see the Bull—or you can.”’

All day they followed the tortuous trail in the
shadow of the Chetish Mountains, forded the Tongue
River and camped that night in their wicky-ups by
the side of a rippling creek.

Jack was as tired as any healthy boy who has
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE. 157

ridden all day in that invigorating Western atmos-
phere, heedless of any danger so long as he felt safe
in the presence and protection of Po-to-sha-sha.

With the first streak of dawn the squaw-man
aroused the sleeping boy.

‘Get up, Big Tooth,’’ he said. ‘‘ It ’s time for
business. No, never mind your coat,’’ as Jack at-
tempted to draw it on. ‘‘ You ’ve got to wear
other togs to-day. If you want to live, you ’ve got
to be an Injun. Just let me fix you up, and don’t
you say a word. If you go down into the valley
with those clothes on, you ’ll never come out alive.”’

Jack would have protested, but he saw that Po-
to-sha-sha was in earnest, and he placed himself in
the renegade’s hands. Within a half-hour, even
his own mother would not have recognized Jack
Huntingdon of New York in Big Tooth, the Strong
Heart.

Where the squaw-man got the ‘‘ togs’’ from Jack
never knew. He may have taken them from the
extra wardrobes of his companions, but, as Jack
declared, ‘‘ they did n’t seem to be carrying any
extra trunks or valises, and did n’t look as if they
could spare very much of their every-day suits
anyhow.”’

Wherever he had foraged, Po-to-sha-sha had
been successful, and with an agency shirt, buckskin-
fringed trousers, moccasins, hair-feather, and ground-
158 ZHE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

paint, Jack Huntingdon made a very presentable
Indian brave. His “‘ civilization clothes’’ he rolled
into a tight bundle and placed behind his pony-
saddle, and then while Po-to-sha-sha looked after
the hasty breakfast, the ‘‘ new Injun”’ spent the
time in becoming used to his new rig and in getting
the Duke used to him, also. Clearly, the big hound
suspected something, and was alike uneasy and
depressed.

Red Cloud’s braves in Po-to-sha-sha’s party dis-
played no surprise when Jack joined them under
the cottonwoods.

‘* Sha-te su-ta!’’ they cried. ‘‘ Our brother is a
Strong Heart. He will hang bravely at the sun-

dances ==
‘* Not much he won’t,’’ grunted Po-to-sha-sha,
when he had given Jack their words. ‘“‘ You’re no

Rain-in-the-Face to hang yourself upon skewers
and kick on nothing just for the fun of saying you
have, are you, Big Tooth? I never went into that
business, and I ’ve been an Injun for—well, for a
long time. You just lay low and watch; that ’s all
you need to do.”’

They mounted again and rode along the creek,
forded it, climbed the bluffs, and then, halting,
looked down on the plain that stretched away from
Tulloch’s Creek to the bluffs above the Little Big
Horn.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE. 159

Everywhere were tepees and wicky-ups, the sign
of a big encampment, though evidently only a
temporary one. In the centre of the plain rose
what, so Jack declared afterwards, looked like a
circus-tent with the top blown off.

““ What is it ?’’ he asked his conductor.

“It ’s the sun-dance tent,’’ replied the squaw-
man. ‘‘ That ’s where the braves dance for two
days with the sun in their eyes and then hang
themselves for another day to show how brave they
are. I’m going to smuggle you in there, so’s you
_cansee it. The centre pole is the sun-pole. The
first day of the dance it is set up all alone, and then
all the braves charge their ponies at it lickety-split,
shooting guns and arrows, trying to knock it over.
If it stands, it ’s good medicine, and they use it for
the pole of their tent. You see the tent is all open
at the top, so’s the sun can stream in. The rest
of it is covered for a shelter for those who don’t
dance. That ’s you and me, sonny. Only a few
can get in, but I ’ve got a ticket.”’

The evident Americanisms and quaint absurdities
of this curious man, neither white man nor Indian,
and yet singularly both, often touched Jack’s sense

_of the humorous, but this last remark was so delight-
fully out of place that it set the boy off in so hearty
a laugh that he almost cracked his paint, and quite
belied his serious Indian character,
160 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

But Po-to-sha-sha checked him quickly.

‘‘ Hold up, sonny,’’ he said. ‘‘ There ain’t much
laughing in this outfit. This is business, this is.
Going to church out East ain’t in it alongside of
this sun-dance. You just want to get a lariat wound
round that.laugh of yours and haul it in double-
quick.”’

Jack did as he was bidden, and in sedate fashion
they rode their trail through the “‘ cooley ”’ (as the
frontiersmen call the coulée or gully that cuts through
the bluffs) and descended to the valley. Little groups
of new arrivals were repeatedly coming into camp,
so the entrance of Jack and his companions on the
scene did not occasion much comment after they
had passed the scouts.

The chief life of the place centred about the roof-
less ‘‘ circus-tent.’’ The only disturbance was an
onset of the mangy camp dogs against the Duke,
but Po-to-sha-sha’s stick and Jack’s energy, coupled
with the Duke’s evident distaste for his new sur-
roundings, warded off trouble. The squaw-man
speedily had Jack’s pony and his dog carefully
screened from view in an out-of-the-way wicky-up,
and then with some cabalistic word which was
evidently an open sesame to the sun-tent, the rene-
gade and his companion, the Indian boy who was
no Indian, were soon inside the enclosure.

Then Jack discovered that it was no real tent, but
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE. 161

a central pole from which long ropes stretched to the
grass, the ground ends of these ropes being covered
with blankets and robes as a temporary screen.

In the shadow of these coverings all around the
enclosure many Indians squatted, silent observers,
save as they joined in the occasional songs.

‘““ They are the audience, or congregation, I sup-
pose,’” Jack said to himself. ‘‘ What are they
saying, Red Top ?”’ he asked.

But the only answer the squaw-man could make
was, ‘‘ Sh, sonny; they are wa-ku-be—that ’s sacred,
you know.”’

In the arena a half-dozen braves, naked to the
waist, knelt with hands clinched against their
breasts, facing the sun, staring steadily at its glow-
ing heart, while a dozen candidates for the supreme
test were executing what, to them, were the solemn
measures of the sun-dance.

Their hands, too, were clinched upon the breast;
their eyes, also, were fixed upon the full-orbed sun;
and their dance, which seemed to Jack only a well-
timed succession of meaningless hops or leaps, ac-
companied by the beating of the Indian drum and
the monotonous “‘ hi- yi-yi’’ of the dancers and
_their audience, was in movement from east to west,
following the daily course of the sun they wor-
shipped.

In the very centre of the arena a half-dozen of the
162 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

bravest of the brave writhed in torture. But it was
a self-inflicted torture, intended to be sacrificial.

,

For such a ‘‘ mortification of the flesh,’’ even as in
old Bible times it was deemed pleasing and accept-
able to God, was now, by these Indian worshippers,
esteemed grateful to Wakanda—the Great Spirit or
Superior Being who guided the sun in its daily jour-
ney, and to whom bravery and contempt of pain
were especially acceptable.

These picked braves, who endured unflinchingly
the supreme tests of the sun-dance, rites, proceeded
to their self-torture by letting the medicine-man
puncture the flesh just below the collar-bone on
either breast; into this puncture they inserted
skewers of bone, and around the projecting ends of
these skewers a deerskin thong was crisscrossed
like a kite-string on its handle and tied to a strong
rope that hung from the central pole—the wetz, or
sacred pole. The test was for the young brave to
work himself loose or break from his fetters, or to
hang by his deerskin thong from the rope to which
it was fastened. 4

The pain endured in these tests was a horrible
torture, and yet, as it was a test of courage to
undergo it, no brave was esteemed fully ‘* accepted
by Wakanda’’ unless he had attempted the self-
sacrifice,—for such the Sioux warriors esteemed it.
Rain-in-the-Face had hung for four hours in such a
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE. 163

self-inflicted torture, and other braves had stretched
their skin and strained their muscles in this dreadful
test, leaving marks and scars that were ever after
esteemed the badge of courage, the sign of sacrifice.

It was the unrefined expression of a pagan fanati-
cism, such as the histories of all religions record—the
devotees of India, the flagellants of the Middle Ages,
the ascetics of a later day. The skewered flesh
of the writhing Sioux was surely as grateful to a
just and tender God as the high-perched absurdities
of St. Simon Stylites, the hair-cloth shirt of vicious
and repentant Medizval kings, or the self-imposed
conscience tortures of certain zealous Puritans. Just
look these up in history some day, boys and girls,
and compare them. Then see if, after all, the
Psalmist and Sir Walter Scott were not right
(overhaul your Jvanhoe and find it):

‘* But Thou hast said, The blood of goats,
The flesh of rams I will not prize ;

A contrite heart and humble thought
Are Mine accepted sacrifice.”

I don’t imagine that Jack Huntingdon had just
such a conclusion in his mind as he looked upon this
horrible and pagan scene before him; and yet Jack
_ was a boy of a good deal of common-sense, even if
he was heedless and sometimes inconsiderate. At
all events he did turn to Po-to-sha-sha after one or
two smothered exclamations at the cruel spectacle
164 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

before him, and mutter: ‘‘ Say! what ’s the good
of it all?”’

And all that the squaw-man could reply was,
“It’s Injun! None of it for me, thank you. My
flesh is too tender.”’

Finally, when Jack had begun to feel that he could
not longer endure this torturing, tearing scene of
sacrifice, and was even on the point of saying as

much to Po-to-sha-sha, suddenly there strode into
the arena a figure that quite turned the current of

Jack Huntingdon’s thoughts, and caused even Po-
to-sha-sha, the squaw-man, to shrink into the shadow
as if he would obliterate himself.

‘Lay low, sonny!’’ he said. ‘‘ By the Great
Horn Spoon! it ’s the Bull!”’

And Sitting Bull indeed it was.

He was dressed,—or, undressed, rather,—for his
office of medicine-maker and seer.

Naked, save for breech-clout, moccasins, and
blanket-sash, his head wore not the bonnet of the
war-chief but the triple feathers of the medicine-
chief, while his face, scarred and pitted though it
was, shone with the glow of prophecy and triumph.
He crossed the arena, and standing amid the en-
thusiasts of the torture-rope, his voice rang out
deep, stern, and compelling.

Jack, when he saw that the big medicine-chief was
not on a hunt for him, felt his courage returning,


THE SUN-DANCE. Page 164.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE. 165

and with it his curiosity. Even Po-to-sha-sha made
himself more in evidence, and, squatting at Jack’s
ear, prepared to give him the substance of Sitting
Bull’s talk.

It was not so long as it was earnest. Even the
renegade’s interpretation caught something of its
enthusiasm and turned his Americanisms into Indian
imagery.

*“ He’shad adream,’’ Po-to-sha-sha said. ‘‘ He’s
been making medicine upon the bluff. He’s got it
in a bag there, see, hanging on his cue-stick.’’

“* Brothers,’’ said the medicine-chief, ‘‘ I have
dreamed long and deep. I have seen strange things.
I have talked with Wakanda [the Superior Being].
He came to me riding on an eagle. His heart was
good. He made the medicine good. He spoke to
me as I knelt in the medicine lodge; my brothers,
Wakanda spoke to me, and his heart was good.
He told me that the Long-Swords were coming—
the Gray Fox and Chief Long Hair and other braves
with guns. But he said the Dakotas, too, have guns,
the brothers of To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke have guns, the
Strong Hearts have guns. ‘Do you, O Master of
the Strong Hearts,’ he said to me, ‘ bid the young
men and the chiefs of the Dakotas rise up and go
- out to the fight; for,’ said he, ‘ the Gray Fox shall
be withered; the Long Hair shall be overcome.
The Dakotas are brave; the Strong Hearts are
166 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

brave; the young men who suffer without shrink-
ing at the sacred pole are brave. Let the Dakotas
go out to meet the Long-Swords, for,’ so said
Wakanda, ‘ the Dakotas shall wipe them from the
face of the earth.’ Brothers, your trials are over;
your bravery at the torture-post is rewarded. They
who come by the thieves’ road shall never go back.
For Wakanda has spoken it.”’

A great shout went up from the people. Even
the devotees at the sacred pole forgot their pain and
shouted with the rest. And Sitting Bull said: ‘‘ Let
the chiefs and medicine-men, let the Ni-ka-ga-hi
gather at my lodge to make the war-paint. For
the Gray Fox is near; he is coming nearer. We
must meet and overcome him at once. But first, O
brothers! bring in now the war ponies that we may
make of them medicine ponies, so that none may
overcome them in the fight.”’

Then one by one the best war ponies were
brought within the sacred sun-tent, and while a war-
chief held the bridle the medicine-men streaked
each pony with the red earth-paint, touched it with
the medicine-bag that contained Wakanda’s prom-
ise of victory, and muttered deep incantations over
it which Jack supposed to be blessings or a conse-
cration to war.

Suddenly Jack started up. For, into the sacred
tent, led by no less a brave than Rain-in-the-Face
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUN-DANCE, 167

himself, came Jack’s own pony, which Po-to-sha-sha
had so carefully concealed in a wicky-up of his own
mdking.

"Great “Scott!” ctied. Jack;\“" it “s' Brutus:
It ’s my pony.”’

‘Is that so? I believe you, sonny, it really is,”’
said Po-to-sha-sha. ‘‘ Now, how under the sun did
they find him? I had him corralled slicker than a
buginarug. That beats me, it does.’’

“Well, see here!’’ ejaculated indignant Jack,
“they don’t play any monkey-shines with my
pony. Iwon’t stand it. See here!’’—and without
a thought of consequences, Jack leaped into the
arena,—‘‘ take your hands off that horse. He’s
my pony,”’ and he fairly snatched Brutus’s bridle
from the hand of Rain-in-the-Face.

A cry of astonishment—that most un-Indian weak-
ness—leaped from the lips of the assembled company.

But Sitting Bull stalked up to the white boy
masquerading as an Indian, clapped both hands
upon his shoulders, and looked into his eyes.

“It is Big Tooth, the white boy,’’ he said—or so
Po-to-sha-sha assured Jack that he said, as later they

went over the incident. ‘‘ He has come with the
answers. Good. Heisatruth-teller. The answers
—give me my answers, Big Tooth!’’ And then, as

the full meaning of Jack’s return came to him, the
big chief thrust out his hand to the white boy.
168 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘How! heap good!’’ he said. ‘‘ Sha-tesu-ta—
Strong Heart! Strong Heart!”’

And from his own head he drew one of the sacred
eagle feathers of the medicine-man, and decorated
the hair of this white boy who had kept his word.
CHAPTER XIII.
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND,

Me O-TO-SHA-SHA!”’

The well-known summons from which there
was no appeal rang sharply out, and from his covert
in the shadow of the tent-screen, the squaw-man
slouched out to his place as interpreter between the
boy and the Bull.

‘‘ The chief asks for your answers, boy,’’ the
squaw-man translated, following the lead of Sitting
Bull’s demand. ‘‘ What said the Big White Chief
—the Great Father—the President, you know?
What said Pah-hoska—Long Hair—General Custer,
he means.”’

For an instant Jack Huntingdon hesitated. The
crowding adventures that had come to him had,
for the moment, driven from his mind the messages
he bore. How different they might have been had
either President or General imagined that this boy
would really so quixotically follow out his promise
to the letter, Jack did not know. He did not even
surmise that had they been as he honestly proposed

- to convey them, the phrasing would have been more
169
170 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

politic. He only knew that he had answers for this
Indian insurgent, from the leaders to whom his
summons had been sent. Jack was always truth-
ful and outspoken. He did not seek to soften his
message, and even as he hesitated the words came
back to him with startling force.

‘‘ The Great Father tells the chief that the United
States is bigger than the Sioux nation, and what
the white men want they will have. He says he
would deal justly with the Injun, but that not a
whole barnyard of bulls shall move him or tell him
what he ought to do.”’

Po-to-sha-sha, with one despairing glance at Jack,
gave the chief a literal rendering of the boy’s re-
port, while the sun-dancers paused in their leapings,
and even the devotees at the torture-ropes stood still
to listen.

A chorus of disapproving grunts greeted the mes-
sage from the President. But Sitting Bull made no
sign. He merely looked unmoved and steadily into
the white boy’s eyes.

‘* And Pah-hoska,—Chief Long Hair-?’’ he asked
at last.

‘‘ General Custer—the White Chief with the Long
Yellow Hair, as you Injuns call him—says he will
be on hand,’”’ Jack reported. ‘‘ But he says Sitting
Bull will not be there to meet him. He says you
won't fight, Mr. Bull. He says you are shrewd and
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. 171

cunning, and have a way of letting the other fellows
fight while you keep out of the way. That ’s why,
he says, you won’t be on hand. That ’s why, he
says, your talk of meeting him, man to man, face to
face, is all bosh.”’

** By the Jumping Jehoshaphat, sonny! but you
are making a mess of it,’’ muttered Po-to-sha-sha
with a smothered groan. ‘‘ Don’t you want to
keep what little hair you have got ?’’ and then he
interpreted harshly and literally. And still the Bull
made no sign of disapproval or wrath, though the
words were as the deepest insult to an Indian brave.

But the listening followers of the chief did give
expression to their disapproval. With angry cries
they flung out their hands as if they would tear in
pieces this messenger from their foe. And one,
thrusting his black head between the white boy and
the interpreter, shook it vigorously as he questioned
the young envoy.

“And Little Hair? What said Little Hair to
my token ?’’ he demanded.

It was Rain-in-the-Face. Still with his hand on
Brutus’s bridle, he dragged the resisting and would-
be medicine pony after him as he flung out the
query, which Po-to-sha-sha translated.

‘* He says if you want his heart, to come and take
it,’’ Jack replied. ‘‘ He keeps it in the usual place, -

he says, but he knows that Rain-in-the-Face will
172 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

never go near enough to find it. He remembers,
says Tom Custer, —that ’s Little Hair, as you call
him—that Little Hair took Rain-in-the Face like a
squaw at Standing Rock; he ’ll take him again like
a squaw and tie his hands behind his back with his
own big boasts—that ’s what Captain Tom says.”’

Rain-in-the-Face gave a snarl of rage.

‘* Little Hair is a thief and the son of a thief,”’
he cried. ‘‘ He shall know that the heart of Rain-
in-the-Face is brave; he shall tremble when the
knife of Rain-in-the-Face tears at his coward heart.
A squaw? ugh! Little Hair is a dog—a dog of the
Crows. Rain-in-the-Face will have his heart. He
will eat it!’’

‘“What a Shylock!’’ said Jack to himself.
‘* Vou ’re too dead certain of your pound of flesh,
young fellow. Just you wait till Tom Custer gets
at you once, that ’s all.’’

And still Sitting Bull stood quiet. The reply of
Custer had evidently wounded his pride, though,
like a true Indian, he would not show his scars.

But even as he held his peace, another spoke, as
the medicine-chief waved aside the angry Rain-in-
the-Face. Unnoticed, save by Po-to-sha-sha, the
newcomer had entered the sun-tent and overheard
the delivery of the message. It was Co-ka-bi-ya-ya,
the One who Marches in the Centre, better known
as Chief Gall. As he came forward, Po-to-sha-sha
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND, 173

shrunk away and drew Jack toward him. He had
no desire to be a middleman at this meeting of the
rival chiefs.

‘ Pah-hoska is right,’’ said Gall, according to
Po-to-sha-sha’s interpretation. ‘‘ Others do the
fighting. To-tan-ka keeps out of it until all is
over. Then if the Dakotas win, it is his medicine—
he did it; but if they fail, it is their fault. . His
mother was right when she gave him the Ree boy’s
name; he is the bull that sits, while brave men
boldly rush into the fight.’’

Po-to-sha-sha had scarcely finished his translation
when Jack felt a hand thrust within his own. He
turned quickly, and the next instant was clasping
hands with Young Wolf.

The two chieftains—the war-chief and the medi-
cine-chief—wrangled on at their own quarrel; for
they were ever rivals for the leadership of their tribe
and jealous of each other’s prominence. But the
two boys, left alone for the moment, unnoticed in
the general interest over the wordy duel, slipped
outside of the enclosure of the sun-tent to a quiet
spot beneath the cottonwoods.

“ Big Tooth Sioux now ?’’ queried Young Wolf.
“What this mean?’’ And he indicated by look
and touch the paint and feathers, the deerskins and
moccasins of the short-haired Indian, the meta-
-morphosed New Yorker.
174 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

‘Oh, that ’s Red Top’s plan—for this occasion
only,’’ Jack replied. ‘‘ Don’t I make a good
Injun?”’

‘‘Ugh! heap good!’’ grunted Young Wolf, with
disapproving sarcasm. ‘‘ Paint wear off; where Injun
then? Paint not make Injun,’’ he declared empha-
tically. ‘‘ Heart make Injun; heart make white
boy. Big Tooth never Injun; always white boy.”’

‘‘ But Red Top was a white boy, and now he’s
an Injun,’’ said Jack. ‘‘ Why can’t I be like him ?”’

Young Wolf smiled on his friend disdainfully.

‘‘ He Po-to-sha-sha; you Big Tooth,”’ he replied,
as if that were explanation enough. But then
he added, ‘‘ Po-to-sha-sha coffee-cooler. ’Fraid of
white man. Go far off from white men—ten, four
days. Hide face from white man; have to stay
Injun. You no coffee-cooler; you brave.’’

‘‘ Thanks, old fellow,’’ responded Jack. ‘‘ But
what ’s Red Top afraid of white men for? What’s
he done ?”’

‘Red Top say nothing “bout that; swallow
tongue,’ Young Wolf replied. “‘ But not care
’bout Red Top. Care ’bout Big Tooth. What
doing here ?”’

‘‘ Bringing my answer to Sitting Bull, of course,’’
Jack replied, withasmile. ‘‘ Did n’t Isay I would ?
Did n’t I tell you I was like George Washington,
Young Wolf—I could n’t tell a lie ?”’
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND 175

“* Are answers bad ?”’

““ Well—they were—for you Injuns,’’ Jack con-
fessed. ‘‘ But if you ’ll go back to the reservations
right off the bad answers need n’t come true.”’

“Uncapapa free! Ogallala free! This country
ours,’’ the young Indian replied.

“ But the government will buy it from you,’’ ex-
plained Jack. ‘‘ You ’ll be lots better off.’’

Young Wolf looked at Jack steadily.

““ How sell land?’’ he exclaimed. ‘‘ We born
here; we diehere. Earth Injun’s mother. Would
Big Tooth sell mother ?”’

It was the Indian’s one unfailing argument in
those days before they accepted the theory of a
transferred proprietorship of land. It was the
hardest thing to answer or to combat.

‘““ But Red Cloud is willing to sell,’’ said Jack.

“Red Cloud’s heart weak; white man’s medicine
make big chief Yantonats Injun—coffee-cooler—
agency man. We free Uncapapa—free Ogallala.
We keep land—fight for it.’’

“Fight for it, eh ?’’ said Jack. ‘‘What’s the
use, Young Wolf? The soldiers will get the best of
you. Why! there are enough coming— ’”’ and here

he changed the subject, remembering that he was
giving away state secrets. ‘‘ Where have you been,
Young Wolf ?’’ he demanded hastily. ‘‘ Where did
you come from just now ?”’
176 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

The Indian boy waved his hand toward the
north.

“Young Wolf rode with Pi-zi—Chief Gall—to
have big talk with White Bull and the Cheyennes.
They coming. They be here soon. Big Tooth
see.’”’

““ Why! what are they coming for? The sun-
dance is over,’’ said Jack. ‘‘I thought just your
Uncapapa people came here. What ’s up?”

But before Young Wolf could answer—if indeed
he would have answered save in the way of an

6é

Indian boast—what one might call the ‘‘ yellow
journalism ”’ of the plains,—Jack was pounced upon
by Po-to-sha-sha.

‘“ Great smithereens! sonny,”’ he cried. ‘‘ What
you doing here? The Bull’s just a-roaring for you.
He and Gall have been having a regular set-to over
who ’s who. But, bless you, Gall don’t stand any
chance when the Bull lays himself out to talk.”’

“Ugh !”’ grunted Young Wolf. ‘‘ Bull all
tongue; Gall all heart.’’

‘“ That ’s so, boy,—Fox and Elk, eh?” said the
squaw-man. ‘“‘ Well, the Fox he’s talked his end
around as he always does, and now he’s yelling for
Big Tooth. But say, sonny,’’ exclaimed the rene-
gade, as the boy rose and walked beside him to the
sun-tent, ‘‘ what ’s got into you? You just gave it
to Bull straight, did n’t you? I vum! I turned
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. 177

all goose-flesh to hear you go on so. Youll do.
That ’s just what Injuns like. He ’ll make youa
Strong Heart, sure.’’

“ Big Tooth told truth. Injuns love truth,” said
Young Wolf. ‘‘ Big Tooth our brother.’’

“Yes, and he saved you from a picnic, Young
Wolf,’’ said Po-to-sha-sha, meaningly. ‘‘ Just you
see him through. I can’t do anything in there,
you know.”’

“Red Top not teach Young Wolf duty,’’ the
Indian boy replied, indignantly. ‘‘ Young Wolf
know.”’

“* Oh, of course, of course,’’ the squaw-man cried,
apologetically. ‘‘ I just wanted to brace you up,
you know, ’cause there ’’s no telling what the Bull
will do.”’

They stood once more within the sacred enclosure
of the sun-tent. The dance had ceased; but still at
the horrible torture-ropes those braves who had not
torn themselves free were panting and struggling,
while Rain-in-the-Face exhorted them to fresh en:
thusiasm by his boast of what he had achieved when
in the big sun-dance at Standing Rock he had hung
for four hours from the torture-ropes. Brutus, the
pony, still waited in the ring, his sides smeared with
‘the medicine paint. Near him stood Sitting Bull,
apparently triumphant, for Gall was not to be seen.

Wavering but an instant between partisanship
178 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

and loyalty, Young Wolf, as a kinsman of the Elk,
withdrew to follow his chief, and Jack, alone, save
for the uncertain support of Po-to-sha-sha the rene-
gade, stood before Sitting Bull.

‘How! heap good!’’ The chief’s extended hand
grasped that of the white boy and shook it warmly.

‘“ That ’s all right for a beginning,’’ said Jack to
himself.

Then the chief broke out in a harangue, to which
Po-to-sha-sha listened closely and then briefly inter-
preted.

‘““ The chief says, boy,’’ said Po-to-sha-sha, ‘‘ that
Big Tooth isa brave. You have brought back the
answer to his messages as you promised. You have
told them straight. You have not smoothed them
down, nor lied about them like a coward. For
this, the chief says, he thanks you. Beside the eagle
feather of Red Cloud, he bids you wear the eagle
feather of To-tan-ka, the Bull. But your answers,
the chief says, are bad, The Great Father does not
know his children of the Dakotas; the Chief Long
Hair spits in the face of Sitting Bull. Fora good
answer, boy, you were to be made a Strong Heart;
for a bad answer you were to die. What have you
to say to the chief, boy ?-and for goodness’ sake,
sonny, cave!’’ implored the renegade, breaking
away from his climax hurriedly. ‘‘ Say anything
that ’Il get you off. I can’t help you any more,”
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. 179

Jack never wavered.

“Tell the old fraud,’’ he replied, talking at Po-
to-sha-sha, but looking straight at Sitting Bull,
“that an American can do his duty every time, not
because he ’s afraid, but because it ’s the thing to
do. I promised to come back with my answer, and
Icame. If he laysa hand on me, he ’ll suffer for
it, medicine or no medicine. But here I am in his
power. He'll try some low-down trick on me, I
know. Just you tell him, Red Top, he can’t
frighten me, but if he wants to be a man, let him
learn white men’s ways and never pick on a fellow
when he’s inacorner. We always fight fair; just
let him try it once, and see how it seems.’’

“Tut-tut, sonny! but you ain’t acting right.
You ain’t, really,’’ groaned Po-to-sha-sha, as he
rendered the boy’s defiance into Sioux.

The medicine-chief nodded. Then through the
interpreter he replied. ‘‘It is like a brave,’’ he
said. “If he lives, Big Tooth shall be a Strong
Heart. But that the chief may not eat his words,
boy,’’ Po-to-sha-sha continued, ‘‘ the boy shall first,
he says, do one of two things: pull at the torture-
ropes, like his brothers here, and become a great
brave, or run the gauntlet. Which will you do?
' There! I knew just how it would be, sonny,’’ the
friendly squaw-man concluded. ‘‘ Why under the
sun did n’t you lie out of it as I told you to?”
180 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

’

‘‘ Honesty ’s the best policy, old fellow,’’ replied
Jack. ‘‘ But say! ask the chief to give me five
minutes to choose. I want to think the thing
over.”

Sitting Bull consented.

“When the sun throws the pole shadow here
where I stand,’”’ he replied through the renegade,
‘the boy must answer. Until then he is safe.’’

Jack thought hard. That shadow, he figured
out, would shift in less than ten minutes. He
could not, he knew, stand any of that torture-rope
business; he would not, if he could help it, run the
gauntlet.

The squaw-man still stood beside him.

‘Red Top,’ he whispered, ‘‘ quick! find Gall.
Tell him.”’

The squaw-man edged cautiously away. No one
noticed him. Jack was left alone.

Slowly the shadow travelled toward the line of
danger. None moved within the sacred tent, save
where the devotees panted and pulled at their hor-
rible skewers. With true Indian courtesy, no one
looked at Jack to hamper him in his decision.

Nearer and nearer moved the shadow line. Jack
knew that he must give his decision soon. Well,
he would take his chances at the gauntlet. He was
the champion trick runner in his set. He ‘d try
some of his fancy dodges. And yet, suppose


HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. 181

A shadow fell across the entrance-way, a com-
manding voice broke the silence. Jack breathed
freer. It was Chief Gall, and close behind him
walked Young Wolf.

Jack’s plans were swiftly laid. For while the big
war-chief with angry protest faced his successful rival
and demanded the white boy’s release, Jack decided
he would take no such chances. To the words of
the rival chiefs, as interpreted by the faithful Po-to-
sha-sha, Jack paid no attention. Instead, he caught
Young Wolf by the hand.

“Young Wolf, help me just once more,’ he
muttered. “‘ Get that pony of mine out by the
door somehow, and clear a way for me if you can.
I ll make one try for life anyhow.”’

“Good! Young Wolf help. Big Tooth keep
eye open,’’ came the answer of his friend.

Skirting the crowd, now all intent upon the dis-
puting chieftains, Young Wolf hustled and shoved
the half-dozen medicine ponies still in the tent,
awaiting the uncompleted ceremony of consecration.

Evidently the warriors thought him moving the
ponies to clear a space for the gauntlet test. They
paid no attention to his movements, for all eyes
_ were still on the rival chiefs.

Even Po-to-sha-sha was absorbed, and had ceased
his interpreting. Deftly Young Wolf moved aside
the skins that loosely covered the ropes, but in
182 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

another part of the sacred tent, quite away from the
crowded entrance. First, one of the medicine ponies
was driven between the ropes; another was sent
out; now it was Brutus’s turn.

With a nod of assurance Young Wolf signalled
his friend to be ready. Jack measured his distance,
slipped slowly back, and suddenly, with a long leap,
a regular ‘‘ circus spring ’’ learned from the cavalry
men of the Seventh, he landed fairly on Brutus’s back.

At that Young Wolf let out a startling yell and
rushed for the farther side of the tent.

Jack knew it to be a ruse to distract attention.
At once he gave an answering cry as he dashed be-
tween the ropes—the fierce charge yell of the fight-
ing Seventh.

Brutus cleared the tent with a bound, scattering
squaws, children, and dogs as he sprang. Jack
headed straight for the dip of the cooley by which
he had descended to the plain. But as he did so, a
fierce shout sounded close beside him, and Wam-
bli-wa-ku-wa, ‘‘ Chasing Eagle,’’ the champion
runner of the Sioux, dashed upon the fugitive. ;

Doubling and leaping, the Indian runner actually
overtook the racing pony and made one desperate
grab for its rider.

Caught by the Indian’s headlong clutch, Jack was
almost dragged from the saddle, and Brutus, rear-
ing, was checked in his flight.






age 182.

£

"S ESCAPE.

JACK
HOW THE DUKE TOOK A HAND. 183

But at that instant came unexpected aid. Roused
from his sleep in the wicky-up, where he had been
hidden from the inhospitable and disreputable curs
of the camp, Duke, the big staghound, knew the
charge-yell of his regiment—the Seventh. With a
bound he sprang into the open; he spied the flying
Brutus; he knew the voice of his boy-friend the
rider; he saw the clutch of the vindictive Chasing
Eagle.

Gathering himself for one mighty leap, the stag-
hound launched himself straight at the Indian, even
as he had been trained to take a stag—not at the
throat in front, but from behind.

There was a flash of gray in the air. Then, full
upon the back and neck of Chasing Eagle fell the
avenging Duke. The Indian’s hold relaxed. Dog
and man fell to the ground together, and with a cry
of victory Jack gave the word to the now excited
Brutus, and out of the camp and up the clay-colored
“cooley ’’ galloped boy and horse, leaving the vic-
torious Duke master of the field.
CHAPTER XIV.
HOW SITTING BULL’S MEDICINE CAME TRUE.

ACK galloped on at a breakneck pace up and
down across the rough country until well be-
yond the Indian encampment. Fortunately he en-
countered none of the numerous groups of Indians
that were continually on the way from the agencies
and reservations, from which they had broken out to
answer the summons of Sitting Bull and join the
muster of the hostiles in the valleys of the Rosebud
and the Big Horn.

It was well for Jack that he did dodge these
bands, for his Indian dress and lack of Indian speech
would have surely brought him into trouble, and no
doubt sent him back to captivity, if not to death.
Indian admiration for bravery and pluck too often
displayed itself in a still further trial of courage and
endurance in the fatal test of torture or fire.

But Jack did not ride alone. Less than a mile be-
yond the camp a pursuer caught up with the boy
and, with every expression of delight at the reunion,
coursed on beside him. It was the Duke. Evi-
dently he had escaped from his antagonist and the

184
SITTING BULL’S MEDICINE. 185

aroused camp before surprise had given place to
attack. For he showed no sign or mark of hurt,
and Jack returned the big hound’s joyful welcome
with words equally appreciative and enthusiastic,

Once out of harm’s way, Jack’s first jubilation at
escape gave place to anxiety. He had no idea
where he was; nor did he know which way to go.
He had a vague idea that the troops must be some-
where beyond the next creek, branch, or river, and
that he must make for a watercourse. But the
troops, he knew, had two days’ start of him, and
which way they had gone, he, in the absence of
any familiar landmarks, was unable to decide.

So he turned to the dog for help. He gave the
bugle calls, he gave the battle charge, he signalled
the ‘“‘ Mount,” the ‘‘ Forward’ and said ‘“Troopers,
Duke! find ’em, good boy!”’

The intelligent hound watched the boy with head
cocked on one side and with an attentive ear; he
gave a yelp or two, as if in assurance, and then with
a few trial sniffs turned about and raced off to the
southeast.

“It don’t seem to me they can be off that way,
Duke, but if you say so, we ’ll try,’’ was Jack’s
comment, and so they trotted on.

'-Bhe day was warm and bright. The land, broken
by buttes and streaked with green valleys, was
bright with flowers; myriads of grasshoppers and
186 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

moths rose into the air beneath the galloping hoofs
of Brutus and the hurrying toes of the Duke, while
the familiar little ‘‘ bunting birds ’’ hopped from the
grass or circled about the pony’s head, filling their
greedy little maws with the fluttering insects that
are their prey and food.

Jack held his pace skirting the river, which he
supposed to be the Rosebud, and which wound its
way northward to the Yellowstone, its broken banks
rising into cliffs or stretching into cafions. Once or
twice the staghound plunged in to cross, as if he
wished to try the farther bank, but the stream was -
too deep to ford, and Jack rode on along the western
bank, catching frequent glimpses of the water
through the gaps of cooleys and gullies.

Suddenly the Duke gave a glad cry and made a
dash forward; that same instant Jack caught the
champ of a cavalry-bit and the creak of saddle-gear,
and, rounding a bluff where the seam of a cooley
ran down to the river, Jack galloped Brutus straight
into a troop of cavalry.

A burly seargent gave a grab at the pony’s bridle-
rein, bringing him to a sudden halt, whereat the
Duke growled ominously. Both he and Jack looked
for a different greeting.

‘““ Hi, boys! here ’s a prize,’’ cried the sergeant,
““a young Injun—on a scout, maybe. Hullo,
Johnny! where ’d you come from ? ’’ he demanded
SITTING BULL'S MEDICINE. 187

and then added the Indian greeting, ‘‘ Peace be
with my brother.”’

But the make-believe Indian had used his disguise
unwittingly. With the glad shout of welcome with
which he had greeted the cavalrymen he had en-
tirely forgotten his Indian masquerading.

“T ’m no Injun,’’ he said. ‘‘I can’t speak
Injun, neither. I’m a white boy, and this is one
of General Custer’s dogs.’’

“White boy be ye?’’ exclaimed the sergeant.
““No! you don’t say so. Let ’s see how he looks
white, boys. Scrub him!”’

At once two lanky troopers dragged the boy from
the saddle, in spite of his own and the Duke’s pro-
tests, and, hauling him down the cooley, with a
dash of water from the river scrubbed off the stain
and paint with which Po-to-sha-sha had metamor-
phosed the white boy.

Red and spluttering, Jack looked, half in fun, half
in anger, into the faces of the laughing cavalry-
men.

“Ts n’t this the Seventh Cavalry ?’’ he de-
manded. ‘‘ Don’t you know me? I ’m Jack
Huntingdon, assistant herder to General Custer,
you know.”’

The sergeant dropped from his saddle, threw his
bridle over his arm, and grasping the boy’s shoulder
peered curiously into his face.
188 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

““Well! I ’ll be blessed if it ain’t!’’ he said.
‘“Jack Huntingdon, eh? Why, I remember you.
You were in the Professor’s expedition last sum-
mer, were n’t you, boy? Don’t you remember me
—Sergeant Thompson of the Third? No, I was
corporal then.”’

Jack almost flung himself into the big sergeant’s
arms.

‘“ Why, so it is,’’ he cried. ‘‘ Well, this is fine.
But what ’s the Third doing here? Is n’t this
Custer’s advance ?”’ 5;

““Custer nuthin’!’’ exclaimed the sergeant.
“What you thinking of, Jack? There ain’t no
Custer in sight here. He ’s miles off. This is
Crook’s advance. Where is Custer, anyhow ?”’

Then Jack understood that the staghound had
struck the wrong scent, and instead of leading him
toward Reno’s scouting party had got on the trail
of the Southern column, which, led by General
Crook, was coming up from Fort Fetterman to form
the southern side of the big, three-cornered net
which Terry, Gibbon, and Crook were drawing
about the hostile Sioux.

In fact, Sergeant Thompson explained this much,
and said that he was the advance of Crook’s com-
mand, scouting into the Rosebud valley from their
last supply camp on Goose Creek.

““ Camping place is just ahead, boys,’’ said the
SITTING BULL'S MEDICINE. 189

sergeant, studying the signs. ‘‘ Dismount! The
column will be along soon.”

Then, sitting on the ground beside his loosely
tethered horse, he begged Jack to go ahead and
spin his yarn.

“Tell me all about it, Jack,’ he said. ‘‘ How
under the sun did you get here? Thought you
were gettin’ your a-b abs off in New York, and here
ye be Crazy Horse or Lazy Mule, or, p’r’aps Sitting
Bull, for all I know.”’

Jack spun his yarn, stretched out beside the ser-
geant, with the Duke’s muzzle resting on his knee,
and when the main column came up and camp was
made, Jack was passed on through the different
grades of rank to the General, where, as a protégé
of Custer, he shared the General’s own mess while
he told his tale of loss, capture, and escape.

‘‘ Up yonder, eh, in this divide, are they ?”’ said
the General, after Jack had concluded. ‘‘ That ’s
what my scouts thought. If the lazy fellows had n’t
crammed themselves after their buffalo hunt I ’d
have interviewed Mr. Sitting Bull under his own
lodge-poles. But ‘ Injuns is curus,’ as you must
have found, my boy, and my Crow scouts are the
same as all the men. When they take it in their
heads to feast, it ’s no use trying to get them to
scout. So the old Bull boasts he will do me up,
does he?”’
190 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘“‘ Yes, sir,’’ replied Jack; ‘‘ he ’s dreamed you
right off the earth.”’

‘‘ Well, dreams go by contraries, you know,”’ said
the General. ‘‘ We ’ll take a drive at him to-mor-
row up the valley, and let him do the rest of his
dreaming behind the bars. You ’ll have to stay
with us, my boy, till we ‘ve made a union with
Terry. So that’s one of Custer’s stag-hounds, is
it? I’ve seen some of them’’—and Jack and the
Duke were made the heroes at the General’s mess.

Next morning when ‘‘ Boots and saddles!’’ rang
out, Jack joined himself to Sergeant Thompson’s |
company, and with a trooper’s coat, borrowed to
cover his Indian toggery, and with a cavalry hat on
his head, he rode on with the advance, which had
already been preceded by the Indian scouts—the

“cc

Crows, sworn enemies to the Sioux,—to “‘ spot ”’
and surprise the camp of the hostiles.

They made some seven miles or so, at slow
rate over rough country; then they halted, un-
saddled, and waited for the infantry to come up.
The Crow scouts were well ahead; the main column
joined the advance and were resting before beginning
the second seven miles, when, suddenly, across the
ridges came the sound of guns, and then, over the
hills, the Crow scouts came dashing back pell-mell
in confused flight, shouting , ‘‘ Sioux! Sioux!”’

‘‘ By George! boys,’’ cried Sergeant Thompson to
SITTING BULL'S MEDICINE. Ig!

his squad. ‘“‘ Them Injuns have caught us nap-
ping.”’

It looked like it. Urged out by that master-plot-
ter Sitting Bull and led by so dashing a war-chief
as Crazy Horse the Ogallala, a strong war-party of
the hostiles followed the trail along which Jack had
fled for his life the day before; and there, in the
broken valley between the Chetish and the Rosebud
Mountains, with the river flanking them on one side
and the bluffs and hills commanding them on the
other, the troops of Crook were well-nigh penned
and caught by the Sioux.

But the General realized the situation at once.
He had been illy served by his unreliable scouts;
the halt had been made in the worst possible posi-
tion in a heavily timbered cafion; the Indians had
occupied the commanding position on the heights,
corralling the troops almost in a ‘‘ death hollow ’’;
but Crook was quick to act.

Even while Jack, startled at the danger, remem-
bered Sitting Bull’s dream and thought of the bad
medicine, the General ordered the trumpeter to
sound the advance.

The line of battle was quickly formed, and Mills
and Noyes with their battalions went charging up
the hills from the right and right centre in gallant
style. The Indian onset wavered; but far to the
left, where, all unsupported, Colonel Royall and his
192 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

men were stationed, the Indian leader spied the
white man’s weakest spot, and bore down upon that.

‘* Hi! yip-yip-yip-yip—hi yah!”’

It was the yell of the Indian riders as, lashing
their ponies and firing their guns, they dashed full-
tilt in a furious charge against the centre and the
left. But Mills and Noyes broke the charge and
drove them back; Royall and his men held them off
with steady fire; and, confident of their position,
still held the slopes, firing steadily and threatening
again and again to charge.

It was a fight wrongly begun; already the Gray |
Fox was on the defensive where he had counted
upon being the aggressor. The Indians had the
best of it thus far, and Jack Huntingdon was getting
much more than he bargained for—he was seeing a
fight, but, as he very much feared, he was seeing it,
as he expressed it, ‘‘ wrong end to.”’

But General Crook was a man of expedients, and

oe

this time he was ‘‘ out for business,’’ and deter-
mined to force the fighting.

‘‘ Here, where ’s that boy of Custer’s ?’’ he de-
manded, and Jack was speedily before him.

‘* Do you know anything about this party ?’’ he
said. ‘‘ My Crows are n’t worth a rap. How far
off is that Sioux camp ?”’

‘*Ten or twelve miles, I should say, General,’’

Jack replied.
SITTING BULL'S MEDICINE. 193

““ Those scouts said six,’’ was the General’s dis-
gusted comment. ‘‘Can we force it—all the
troops ?”’

“It.’s awfully rough country, sir,’’ answered
Jack, “‘ and I don’t see how you can get the in-
fantry and cavalry through the cafion with all those
Injuns watching you. They can just drop right
down on you and cut you up. It’s a bad place for
an advance with those fellows to dodge—so it
seems to me, sir.’’

The General thanked Jack courteously for his
opinion so modestly given, and thought an instant.
He turned to one of his staff.

“ Countermand that order to Mills and Noyes for
an advance on the Indian camp,’’ he said. ‘‘ We
won't risk it yet. Captain Nickerson, can you ride
over to Colonel Royall on the left? He’s getting
the worst of it.’’

‘ All ready, General,’’ was the captain’s response,
though he knew that ride was a most uneven chance
for life.

“Call Royall in,’’ said the General. ‘‘ Tell him
to retire or connect with the main body. Be care-
ful, Captain, it ’s a risky ride.’’

_ It was, indeed, but Captain Nickerson, saluting,
rode straight into the risk. Spurting, dodging,
doubling, firing, at times almost surrounded by the

Indians who recognized his intention, the brave
13
194 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

captain rode safely through, and Royall ordered his
men to fall back.

This was not so easy as it seems. The Indians
were pressing close, in overwhelming numbers, but
by a left-about wheel Royall cut through the foe,
retiring into successive lines of retreat, charging and
fighting until he had reached a position where aid
could come from the main body.

This was the severest part of the fight; for as
Royall’s battalion went down into the defile the
Sioux swarmed upon them, and it was hand-to-hand
for a while. Jack from the height on the other side
watched the struggle anxiously. Men fell in the
retreat, for a retreat it was; the Indians pressed
hard upon the struggling left wing with yells of
triumph and a fusillade of musketry.

Then, above the smoke and din of strife, the
charge rang out, and Jack hurrahed as he saw two
companies of infantry dash out from the main body,
and supported by the Snake warriors—foes to all
Sioux, and allies of the boys in blue—charge full
upon the advancing band of the impetuous Crazy
Horse.

This relieved the retreat and checked the rush of
the hostiles; but again, from both sides of the
** death hollow,’’ the Sioux rode to the attack, and
opened a murderous fire upon the troops. Again
the infantry and the allies charged, and again the
SITTING BULL'S MEDICINE. 195

Sioux, seeing that their prey had escaped, yelled
out their defiance and rode back to their former
position on the hill.

Then the General realized that he was outnum-
bered if not outgeneralled; he gave up his plan for
an advance, went into camp on the battle-field, and
counted up his losses.

They were not small. Nine killed and twenty-
one wounded was the result of that sharp and serious
encounter, fought on Bunker Hill day—the seven-
teenth of June, 1876—and known now as the Battle
of the Rosebud.

It was a serious drawback to the success of the
carefully planned campaign of 1876. For, encum-
bered with his sick and wounded, without confidence
in the ability or vigilance of the Crow scouts, upon
whom he depended; uncertain as to the force of
Sioux warriors, by whom he was evidently outnum-
bered, and fearing, indeed, that the whole hostile
force might be in his front, General Crook fell back
to his permanent camp on Goose Creek, and the
first part of Sitting Bull’s medicine came true. For,
thanks to the wise direction of that wily non-com-
batant chief and to the gallant leadership of Crazy
Horse, the Gray Fox had been trapped, checked,
and driven back.

For almost the only time in his long career asa
successful Indian fighter, General Crook had been
196 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

defeated, and Sitting Bull’s dream had come
true.

Jack felt that it had, indeed, as, with spirits sadly
dashed, he sat about the camp-fire after the battle
and confided his disappointment to Sergeant Thomp-
son of the Third.

But that philosophic cavalryman took it all calmly
enough.

‘‘ Such things come into the best regulated fami-
lies, Jack,’’ he said, ‘‘ and I reckon we ’ve just got
to grin and bear it. We ain’t whipped, are we?
We ’re camping here right on our battle-ground, and
the Injun has vanished. What more do you want ?
To ketch ’em? Say, did you ever try to ketch a
woodchuck or tree a possum? No, ‘course not;
you ’reacity chap. But ’t ain’t so easy, I can tell
you. And we ’ve only got four days’ rations. This
is only ascout, anyhow. Well get a whack at ’em
soon enough to suit you. Eat your grub, and don’t
growl.”’

So Jack accepted the inevitable, like the wise boy
he was, and made the most of what he had seen as
a spectator at a real battle.

“* Still,’’ he said, bound to have the last word, in
spite of his good-humor. “‘ If it had been General
Custer, he ’d done ’em up.”’

““Yes,’’ grunted Sergeant Thompson, shying his
last morsel of hard tack at a skulking coyote who
SITTING BULL'S MEDICINE. 197

had sneaked into camp for a bite, ‘‘ and got done
up himself. There ’s such a thing as being too
headstrong, my boy. The Gray Fox don’t take
any chance. And them fellers of the Seventh do
just think themselves a whole team, and a little dog
under the wagon to boot. Just wait till they get
into a hole like this.’’

Next morning, as Jack ascended the bluff where
Mills and Noyes had made their first charge in the
battle of the Rosebud the day before, and looked
off on the valley that lay green and glorious at his
feet, he could see scarce a sign of life. The Indians
had left for parts unknown.

Not far away a few tenantless tepees showed the
haste of the Indian withdrawal, and Jack was
tempted, with his usual heedlessness, to go down
and investigate. So, with the Duke at his heels, he

. walked slowly down the cooley and crossed the
trampled grass which marked the Indian trail.

He drew aside the flap of the first mushroom-
colored tepee very cautiously, and peeped in. As
the light sifted through the opening, Jack started
in alarm, for in the enclosure, full before him, lay
the dead body of an Indian warrior, while stretched
near it was what looked like another victim of the
fight.

Instinctively Jack drew back, just a bit startled
and horrified. But the Duke was not so sensitive.
198 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Giving a quick yelp of recognition, he brushed past
Jack’s retreating legs and darted into the tepee.
Jack turned in again to order the hound out, but,
as he did so, the second recumbent form, wakened
by the dog’s caress, stretched itself, turned over
and sat up, and Jack was made well-nigh speechless
to recognize in the awakened and apparently resur-
rected warrior—Po-to-sha-sha, the squaw-man.
CHAPTER XV.
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK.

ss O-TO-SHA-SHA!”’

Jack’s exclamation of surprise shot out
almost like a challenge; the squaw-man sat up and
blinked his sleepy eyes.

“Well, I vum, sonny!’’ he drawled out; “‘ is that
you? I thought it was the Bull calling me.”’

““Were you in the fight ?’’ demanded Jack,
eagerly.

‘“'Was I in the fight ? Well, I—say! look here,
sonny,’’ the squaw-man said, ‘‘ will you kindly go
over me carefully and see if all my bones are where
they ought to be? Was I in the fight? Ask
Turning Bear, here—O, you can’t—he ’s dead.
Well, he and I were right under those infantry
boots when they and the Snakes charged down on
us, and—well, there! Big Tooth, I don’t really
know which is the dead Injun—me or Turning Bear,
yonder.”’

“* Are you badly wounded, Red Top ?’”’ inquired
Jack, concerned for the bodily welfare of his odd
friend. ‘‘ Can you walk up to the camp? I ’Il let

199
200 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the doctor see you. Or, I’ll get him to come
down here if you ’re hurt too much to walk.”’

The squaw-man rose slowly to his feet.

‘“ Well, I don’t seem to be bleeding anywhere, do
I, sonny ?”’ he drawled; ‘‘ and I can’t just feel any-
thing real broken. No; you ’re a good fellow, but
I don’t want any sawbones practicing on me. I'll
get back home, and Mi-mi will fix me up. She’s
better ’n a whole caboodle of doctors.”’

He shook himself vigorously as a last test of his
entirety.

‘* No; looks as though I was all right,’’ he said.
‘TJ thought I was killed, sure, but I reckon I ain’t.
We mighty nigh licked you fellows, did n’t we, Big
Tooth? That was Sitting Bull’s picnic. Say,
sonny, what do you say to the Bull’s medicine-
making now ?”’

‘“O, it only happened so,’’ answered Jack. “‘ If
General Crook’s scouts had only been wide-awake,
we ’d have bagged the whole lot of you.”

‘“Yes, that ’s just it, don’t you know, sonny,”’
retorted Po-to-sha-sha; ‘‘ the Bull’s medicine just
tied ’em all up, so that they could n’t see any-
thing.”’

‘*O, come, Red Top! You don’t believe that, do
you ?’’ cried Jack. ‘*‘ Who was your chief, Sitting
Bull ?”’

‘* No, no, boy; have n’t I told you the Bull don’t
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK. 201

fight ?’’ the renegade replied. ‘‘ He just sets the
others on, tells ’em what to do, and stays in his
own tepee and says ‘ Stubboy!’ just like you do to
that dog. No; Cho-on-ka Wit-ko led us. That ’s
Crazy Horse, the Ogallala, you know. Rousing
smart young fellow, he is, too, I tell you. Chief
Gall wanted to lead, but he and Young Wolf are
rounding up some of the other hostiles. I reckon
your Gray Fox had better skedaddle, if he wants to
keep his scalp. The Bull ’s got a whole slew of
“braves coming in to help him.”’

“© How was it you did n’t get off with the rest of
the Injuns ?’’ queried Jack.

Po-to-sha-sha hesitated a bit. Then he said,
slowly, ‘‘ Why, you see, Big Tooth, I thought first
I was killed; and then, when I found it was Turn-
ing Bear, here, and not me that was done for, I just
set to and dragged him in here to keep till called
for—and here I stayed. ’Cause, you see, Turning
Bear is Sitting Bull’s cousin, and the chief will be
mighty sorry about him.’’

““ Now, see here, Red Top,’’ said quick-witted
Jack, who had studied the squaw-man’s face closely

‘

as he gave his explanation, ‘‘ was that the reason
you stayed behind—honest, now, was it ?—or did
“the sight of Uncle Sam’s soldiers set you to think-
ing of old times and home and all that, and just

make you feel that you ’d like to give up being an
202 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Injun and come back to civilization again, like a
white man ?”’

The renegade looked upon the boy in bewilder-
ment. Through the bronze hue of sun and storm
there burned on his cheek the flush of self-convic-
tion.

‘“‘ See here, sonny,’’ he said, “‘ are you turning
medicine-man, too? Can you read my thoughts
just as Sitting Bull can? By gracious! boy,’’—and
he strode up to Jack and caught that young mind-
reader by the shoulder—‘‘ that ’s just what did
come over me—just that’’—his voice sank to a |
whisper—‘‘ and that ’s why I’m here.”’

“IT knew it,’’ cried Jack, delighted to think that
he had made so good a guess, and that he might re-
claim an American citizen. ‘‘I’m mighty glad’’;
he caught the squaw-man’s hand. ‘‘ Come along
up to the camp,’’ he continued, dragging Po-to-
sha-sha to the door of the tepee; “‘ let me introduce
you tothe sergeant. He’ll fix you up all right and
treat you like a white man.”’

“* Sergeant who ?’’ queried Po-to-sha-sha, almost
yielding himself to the boy’s persistent pull.

‘““Why, Sergeant Jim Thompson of the Third
Cavalry,’’ Jack replied. ‘‘ He ’s a mighty good
fellow.”’

With a wrench the renegade tore himself from the
boy’s persuasive hand, dashed from the tent and
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK. 203

fled like the wind, as if an enemy were upon
him.

Jack stood an instant, sorely perplexed.

‘* Why! what under the sun’’—he began, and
then he, too, darted from the tent and, followed by
the bounding Duke, raced after the renegade.

‘Hey! Red Top; Red Top. Hold up; hold
up!’’ he called. ‘‘ What ’s the matter ?”’

The squaw-man halted and waited for the boy to
come up, looking anxiously, meantime, toward the
hill that separated them from the camp of the
soldiers.

‘“Did you say Thompson, boy—Jim Thomp-
son ?’’ he asked, turning a troubled, almost pathetic
look on Jack.

‘‘Ves, Sergeant Jim Thompson of the Third
Cavalry,’’ Jack replied.

‘* Say! did he fight in the war ?’’ inquired the
sq uaw-man.

“What, in the last war? Why, yes,’ Jack re-
plied. ‘‘ He’s told me lots of rattling good war
stories. He was in the—the—let ’s see!—the
Fifty——”’

‘« Fifty-Seventh Ohio? Corporal of Company
K ?” broke in the squaw-man.

‘“ Why, yes, that ’s it,’’ cried Jack, in great sur-
prise. ‘‘ Howdid youknow? Did you know him?

”

Were you


204. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

’

“* Well, so long, sonny,’’ said Po-to-sha-sha, in-
terrupting the boy’s questions. ‘‘I reckon the
fever ’s off me now. Ill go back to Mi-mi.”’

But Jack could not let him go.

‘“ Why, did you know Jim Thompson ?”’ he re-
peated the question. ‘‘ Come along, I want you to
see him. He ’ll be awfully glad,’’ and Jack caught
the renegade by the arm as if to forcibly detain him.

But the strong man threw the boy off hurriedly.

‘* Let me go, boy,’’ he said, almost fiercely. ‘‘I
won’t see Jim Thompson. I don’t know him. I
won’t see any of those Injun-killers over the hill. -
I’manIJInjun, lam. I go back to my brothers—
and to Mi-mi. So long, Big Tooth.”’

And without once looking back, without another
word, Po-to-sha-sha the squaw-man hurried along
the well-marked Indian trail, and was soon lost to
sight amid the timber and undergrowth of the fertile -
Rosebud valley.

But Jack Huntingdon stood still,—amazed, dis-
tressed, defeated.

“Well! he ’s the most curious chap I ever did
come across,’’ he said at last, unable to fathom it
all. Then, turning slowly, he retraced his steps,
and, followed by the Duke, crossed over the hill to
the camp.

All there was in confusion—but orderly confusion,
as befitted a military camp. Tents were being struck;
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK. 205

horses were saddled; the wounded were being made
as comfortable as possible in ambulances and army
wagons. The retreat to the base of supplies at
Goose Creek was evidently about to begin.

Sergeant Thompson hailed the boy at once.

“ See here, Jack; what under the sun are you up
to?’’ he sang out. ‘I’ve been looking for you
everywhere. The General wants to see you.”

Jack turned to report at headquarters; but, as he
did so, he caught at the busy soldier’s arm.

‘‘ Sergeant,’’ he said, ‘‘ do you know Po-to-sha-
sha ?”’

“Who the dickens is he ?”’ cried the sergeant,
stopping in his stride. ‘‘ Po-to-sha-sha? Sounds
like an Injun. No, I don’t know him. Is he one
of the Crow scouts ?”’

“No,” returned Jack; ‘‘ he ’s that squaw-man I
was telling you about, in Sitting Bull’s village. I’ve
just seen him again. He says he knows you.”’

“ Very likely. I ’ve left my mark on more ’n
one of ’em,’’ said the sergeant.

“No, not here; I don’t mean here,’’ persisted
Jack. ‘‘ He says he knew you in the Fifty-Sev-
enth Ohio, during the war.’’

‘* Po-to-sha-sha—squaw-man,’’ mused the ser-
geant, shaking his head. ‘‘ What’s his name in
American ?”’

“Tdon’t know,”’ said Jack disconsolately. ‘‘ He
206 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

never would tell me what it was. But I know,
from what he said, that he was with you in the
Fifty-Seventh Ohio.’’

‘“ That ’s my old regiment, sure, Jack,’’ said the
sergeant. ‘‘ But I can’t tell who the fellow is,
unless I hear his real name. Where is he ?”’

‘* Skedaddled to the Injuns,’’ replied Jack, wrath-
fully. ‘‘ He skipped as soon as he heard your
name.”’

,

““ Mighty curious,’’ said the sergeant. ‘‘ What
have I done to frighten him? No, I don’t know
who it is, unless—but here, say, Jack, you just git,
double-quick, too! Did n’t I tell you the General
wants to see you ?”’

Jack hurried away, still in much perplexity; he

ce ,

was wondering what the sergeant’s “‘ unless’’ could
have meant. But the next moment General Crook’s
communication quite drove Po-to-sha-sha from his
mind.

““My boy,”’ said the General, ‘‘ I ’m going to
send a courier and one of my scouts to find Reno or
Custer or General Terry. I want to communicate
this change of plan. I expect you ’d better join
the General, too. I ’m afraid he ’ll worry about
you—you and the dog—if you don’t get to him.”’

““O! thank you, General,’’ said Jack. ‘‘ I would
like to join him; but I was afraid I could n’t be-

cause I don’t know the trail.’’
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK. 207

“Well, the scout will catch him,’’ replied the
General. ‘‘ He's nearer from this point than he
will be from Goose Creek, so you ’d better go along.
The men start at once. So, saddle and mount, and
be off with them. Good-bye! My regards to
General Custer. And don’t you try being an
Indian again. An American boy is worth more to
humanity and his country than a Sioux. Besides,
your hair ’s too short. Tell Custer to see that he
brings up that camp. I ’d do it now, if I had
rations and outfit enough.’’

The General shook Jack’s hand warmly—not be-
cause he was Jack, nor yet because he was an “‘ as-
sistant herder,’’ but because he was in a certain way
a protégé of Custer’s. For all army men, despite
their occasional jealousies and heart-burnings, do
have more of the spirit of comradeship than most
men, and look upon their ‘‘ friend’s friend’? as
theirs. Then, too, General Crook had taken quite
a fancy to Jack Huntingdon—most people were
drawn to the boy, for all his scatter-brained ways,—
and while really glad to be rid of the care of the
lad, he was also really sorry to have him go.

But to Jack Huntingdon this was only another of
his always welcome new experiences, and in ten
minutes he had bade good-bye to Sergeant Thomp-
son and the “‘ boys,’’ was astride Brutus, and had
joined the scout and the courier, forded the Rose-
208 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS

bud and headed north to strike the trail of Reno or
of General Custer himself. And the Duke was
trotting contentedly beside him.

All day long they rode—across fair valleys and
verdant bottom-lands, through rock-walled cafions
and defiles, past rounded butte and climbing peak.
It was broken country, the most of it, three thou-
sand feet and more above the sea—that seamed and
wind-swept plateau region between the Rosebud
and the Tongue.

At last, on the afternoon of the cecil day, Jack
gave a cry of recognition. He knew where he was.
They had struck the very bluff, from which first,
by the side of Po-to-sha-sha, he had seen the Lodge-
pole trail as it traversed the valley of the Rosebud.
And, sure enough, soon after, they struck the trail
of Reno, curving in a great loop over and along the
Tongue.

Then there came a difference of opinion. The
scout was certain that Reno’s trail must have re-
traced itself and gone back to the supply camp on
the Powder, from which it had started; while Jack
believed that, if Major Reno had not reported to
Custer, the General, who was in haste to push
ahead, would have galloped across country, along
the Yellowstone or away from it, to find the ex-
pected signs of the hostiles. In that case, Jack
reasoned, he ought not to be so very far away, and
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK, 209

by going north they would, he felt sure, run across
the General’s trail.

But, of course, as between a boy from New York
and a half-breed scout who knows the country, the
boy’s opinion went for little—even though the boy
knew the temper of the General better than the
scout.

So the courier sided with the scout, and the trail
was laid for the fords of the Tongue and the mouth
of the Powder River; and Jack, while inwardly re-
bellious, was outwardly agreeable, and rode blithely
on with the majority.

But there was one member of the party whose ad-
vice was not asked, and who, yet, had an opinion
not to be slighted—Duke, the staghound.

They had not gone many miles up the Tongue—
where, just ahead, as the scout said, there was a
good ford—when the big staghound began to be
restless and to run far afield.

Jack called him to heel again and again, but at
last he decided to yield to the Duke’s desires and
follow his lead.

‘ I wonder what under the sun the Duke’s got on
his mind,’’ he said. ‘‘ I would n’t wonder but he
scents game. I’m just going to follow him a piece
and see.”’

The boy’s companions objected to thus giving in

to the hound; indeed, so far as they dared, they
4
210 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

ordered the boy to stay by them and not leave the
trail. But Jack, as you have learned, was inclined
to be obstinate on occasion, and had grown accus-
tomed to following the Duke’s lead as well as the
impulses and desires of young Jack Huntingdon.

“All right, boy,’’ said the half-breed scout ; ‘‘ you
go that way; we go this; you get lost, not our fault.
Go on; you be sorry, Misser Jack. Then you strike
back for the river. Strike it five miles up; ’nother
ford there where little creek comes in. Don’t be
long; then we wait for you there. Look out for
Injuns, and show Red Cloud’s feather.”’

Jack waved his hand in response to these final
directions, backed Brutus away from the ford, and
wheeling about followed the lead of the Duke,
much to that wise hound’s delight.

The Duke ran straight on now with his nose in
-air, dropping it only for a few minutes, if in fault.
The wind blew straight toward him, and Jack was
certain that the hound scented something.

‘““ What is it, Duke, old fellow ?’’ he said, en-
couragingly, ‘‘ elk or buffalo ?”’

It was neither; for, in ten minutes, the Duke
broke into a long, loud bay, which seemed first to
bring its echo from the hills and cliffs. But this was
soon found by the boy to be no echo, but an an-
swering cry from other dogs up the wind.

‘“ Now what ’s he struck—an Injun village, I
HOW THE DUKE JOINED THE PACK. 211

wonder ?”’ queried the boy. ‘‘ See here, Mr. Jack
Huntingdon, here ’s just the time to watch out, if
you don’t want to tumble into trouble. Here,
Duke! Come back; come back, sir!’’ he ordered.
“To heel, Duke; to heel!’

But the Duke knew better than the boy. He
turned an instant, whimpered his objections, and
then, throwing his nose in air again, flatly dis-
obeyed.

With a long, loud bay, he broke across the bot-
tom-land, breasted a bluffy rise, darted down a
cooley, and disappeared.

Jack followed cautiously but at good speed; then
just as he was slipping down the cooley, he heard
the Duke’s glad bark and the answering music of
other dogs in welcome. There came a voice he
knew right well.

““ What, the Duke ? Where did you come from,
old chap? Where ’s Jack ?’’

Jack hesitated no longer. He raced Brutus down
the cooley and dashed into a troop of cavalrymen
with the headquarters flag in the lead. He knew
the advance guard; he knew the personal flag;
better still he knew at once the lithe, tall figure in
_buckskin riding at the head. It was General Custer.

As for the Duke, he was jubilant in his satisfaction
with himself. He had joined the pack.
CHAPTER XVI.
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD.

oe O! Jack Huntingdon? Is it you ?’’ cried

the General. ‘‘ Are you scalped? Did
you turn Injun, or are you a reformed deserter ?
Here I ’ve been worrying myself gray over you,
and Autie Reed is all broke up. Come, give an
account of yourself.’’

Jack did so, hurriedly but earnestly.

‘Well! that comes of wandering,’’ said the Gen-
eral, when the boy had concluded. ‘‘ For goodness
sake, Jack, keep in line, or you ’Il get out once
too often. Talk about an assistant herder! Why,
boy, we ’ll have to detail a special herder to round
you up and keep you in line. Saw Crook, did you ?
And was in his fight, too. Why, Jack, you are
seeing life. Did he send any word to me ?”’

Jack told the General of the courier and the
scout, and the General chuckled greatly over the
fact that, as he said, ‘‘ just a plain, common, every-
day boy, and a civilian herder at that,’’ had got the
lead of a courier of the Regulars and one of Crook’s
Crow scouts. ‘‘ Why, Jack,”’ he said, laughingly,

212
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD. 213

‘you ’ll be outranking us all yet. I think you ’ve
rather got the call on Autie Reed, eh? Hell be
green with envy. ButI’Ilgetevenwithyou. I’ll
let him be in my fight, while you ’re off scouting
somewheres—you and the Duke here. Good boy,
the Duke, eh, Jack? I don’t know but he’s the
chap that ’Il outrank us all, as scout and Injun
fighter. I ’d have given my best cavalry boots to
have seen him pull down that Injun runner. Come
to heel, Duke.. You’re king of the pack, old
chap.”’

The General rode at the head of his troop, like
the splendid horseman and gallant cavalier he was.
In his suit of beaver-fringed buckskin, his big som-
_brero and his long cavalry boots, he looked every inch
the soldier, and needed only the long, floating blond
locks that once had swept his shoulders and fixed
his personality with the Indians (who called him
sometimes ‘‘ Chief Long Hair’’ and sometimes the
‘““ White Chief with the Yellow Hair’’) to be the
Custer of romance and song, the Custer of the Val-
ley, the Custer of the Grand Review at Washington,
and the Custer of those later Indian campaigns

which had gained him friends and foes, both red
and white, and had left him alike hero and terror to
‘the Indians, who equally, in and out of the agencies,
feared and hated him. But as General Custer rode
across the Valley of the Rosebud in that fatal cam-
214. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

paign of 1876, like Samson shorn of his locks, he
seemed to have lost something of that matchless
personality which had made him the beau sabreaur
of the Army of the Potomac, the central and popu-
lar figure of the Indian wars.

Clinking and champing, the command moved
down into the Valley of the Rosebud, and across
that broken, fertile stretch of flowery green. Once
again Jack gave a shout of recognition as he noticed,
standing bare and stripped, the sacred pole and sag-
ging ropes of the big sun-dance tent from which,
thanks to Young Wolf and Brutus, he had made his
successful dash for life. Near by he saw the wicky-
ups left vacant by the retiring Indian assemblage,
whose ponies had nibbled the valley clean, and who
themselves had scurried away to other parts.

Trusting to the Duke’s recollection, intelligence,
and scent, Jack followed the hound on a hunt for the
wicky-up in which Po-to-sha-sha had ambushed the
Duke and Brutus, and had hidden Jack’s campaign-
ing suit ere he led the make-believe Indian lad into
the sacred tent. Sure enough, the knowing hound,
divining the boy’s desire, speedily discovered the
wicky-up, and, poking among the bushes, Jack
recovered with much joy his own original suit.
Thereupon he discarded the somewhat tattered and
ill-fitting combination suit in which he had been
travelling during his days of roaming, and soon came
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD. 215

out to join the General, ‘‘ clothed and in his right
mind,’’ as he declared.

‘* Well, Jack, you do look like another fellow, and
that ’s a fact,’’ the General exclaimed as he “‘ stood
off’’ the restored Jack; ‘‘ now you look like my
assistant herder again. I shall ride on with the
advance a bit; you wait here till Autie Reed comes
up with the pack-train. Report to Lieutenant
Mathey; he ’s Officer of the Herd now.”’

Jack obeyed, and as the long file of mounted
men, troop after troop, came riding up, followed by
the laden pack-train (detached from the supply-camp
for this especial advance, and carrying rations for
fifteen days), he was soon shaking hands with Autie
Reed and telling again the story of his adventures.

Autie, on his part, detailed the happenings of the.
campaign since Jack rode away with Reno's scout-
ing party, from the camp on the Powder River.
He told Jack how they had marched away to the
mouth of the Tongue, there to await Reno’s report ;
how word came at last from the captain of the lodge-
pole trail up the Rosebud and of Jack’s disappear-
ance; how General Custer had gone with General
Terry to confer with General Gibbon of the ‘‘ Mon-
tana column,’’ on board the Far West, the fussy
little steamer which had poked its way up the
Yellowstone, and how, there, it was arranged in just
what manner the campaign should be made,
216 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

The plan was, so Autie told Jack—for he had
heard it all talked over—for General Gibbon to
move south up the Big Horn Valley with his Mon-
tana column, while Custer, with the Seventh Cavalry
and his scouts, was to ride up the Rosebud and get
the lay of the Indian trail.

If he found it he was still to bear away to the
south so as to cut off the Indians and wait for Gib-
bon’s column, or perhaps for Crook’s, to come
up. Then the united forces were to close in and
corral the whole hostile outfit,.and capture or at-
tack it.

‘‘ But I'll tell you, Jack, if Uncle Autie’’ (for so
Autie Reed always called his uncle, the General,
whose namesake he was) ‘‘ if Uncle Autie ever sees
those Injuns as near as that, he’s not going to wait.
He’s going to pitch in and whip ’em. It’s the
only thing to do. He’s bound to show those folks
in Washington who tried to down him, that ‘ Cus-
ter’s luck’ is as good as ever, and that the Seventh
can whip the world. That ’sthetalk,eh? Ireckon
we ’re good for all the Injuns we can find, anyhow.
Why, we ’re six hundred strong. I don’t believe
they ‘ve got more than ten or twelve hundred, have
they ?”’

Jack could not really tell.

‘“Tt seemed as if there were lots more than that
when I was in the thick of it,’’ he replied. ‘‘ But,
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD, 217

don’t you see, Autie, they had lots of squaws
and boys with ’em, so I can’t tell about numbers.
But I guess this force—and General Custer—are big
enough for all the warriors Sitting Bull can rake
and scrape. Where ’s General Terry, Autie, and
where. are the Gatlings ?”’

““ He stayed at headquarters, up on the Yellow-
stone,’’ said Autie, ‘‘ or else he ’s gone with Gibbon,
I don’t know which. You see, Jack, Uncle Autie
wanted to go alone—just with his own folks, as you
know he calls the Seventh. General Terry wanted
him to take along the Gatling battery and a battalion
of the Second Cavalry, but the General would n’t
have ’em. ‘ We just want harmony on this cam-
paign,’ I heard him tell Uncle Tom and Captain
Keogh; ‘ strangers will be sure to cause jealousy,’
he said, ‘and the Gatlings are more bother than
they ’re worth. We ’Il just show the country,
Tom,’ he says to Uncle Tom Custer, ‘ that the
Seventh Cavalry can whip any force that can come
against it. If we can’t, no other regiment can, and
so there ’s no use in reinforcing us.’ That ’s the
talk, ain’t it, Jack? Itell you, Uncle Autie knows
what he can do.”’

_‘‘ That ’s so,’’ assented Jack, with enthusiasm;
““you see General Crook got caught down in the
Rosebud because his scouts were no good; they got
him into that box. But your uncle—our General—
218 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

knows a thing or two. He ’Il just march with his
eyes open, scouts or no scouts.”’

““You can just bet he will,’’ cried Autie Reed.
“All I ’m afraid of is, that there won’t be any
fight. That won’t be fair, Jack, will it—if you see
one and I don’t ?”’

‘“‘ That ’s so,’’ Jack assented. ‘‘ We both ought
to have a whack at them, Autie. Perhaps I’ll have
two. Then I ’ll tell you which fights Injuns the
best—Crook or Custer.”’

Whereat Autie Reed sniffed indignantly. ‘‘ As
if there were any comparison, Jack,’’ he said—
““ of course, for a boy in the Seventh Cavalry, I
mean,’’ he added.

It was at sundown on the twenty-fourth of June
when the command went into camp, in the shadow
of a bluff near Tulloch’s Creek. The orders were
to be ready to march at midnight; for, if the Ree
scouts found any “‘ hot signs’’ of hostiles, the Gen-
eral wished to make a forced march and surprise
their village at night. All fires and lights were
ordered out, so that no warning of the approach of
the troops should reach the Indians. A council of
officers was, however, held at the General’s bivouac,
where, around a small and solitary candle-light in
the headquarters tent, the details were discussed—
for, so Jack understood, the scouts had finally come
in and had reported that the trail of the hostiles led
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD, 219

across the divide to the Little Big Horn River, a
tributary to the Big Horn, which itself flows into
the Yellowstone.

““ We must get as near to that divide as we can
by daylight, gentlemen,’’ Jack heard General Custer
say. “ Then we’ll lay hidden under the bluffs all day,
and before daylight next morning—that ’ll be the
twenty-sixth—the day Terry is to connect with us
—we ’ll scale that bluff and charge their village be-
fore they know what o’clock it is, just as we raided
Black Kettle’s camp on the Washita. That ’s our
programme, it seems to me, and we ’Il give Master
Sitting Bull a dose he won’t soon forget or need to
take again.”’

At midnight Jack was roused from his saddle-
pillow, and found the regiment in motion. The
march had begun. It was hard enough marching
by day over that uneven ground. At night it was
still more fatiguing. At daylight on the twenty-
fifth, a halt was made for coffee; then the silent,
tedious march was resumed; but all pressed eagerly
on, for they felt that the enemy was near. At
noon the dividing ridge between the Rosebud and
the Little Big Horn was reached. There they
halted, and there Custer changed his mind.

““ We never can do this thing in the dark, gentle-
men,’’ the General said to his officers. ‘‘ We must
climb the ridge, and charge down on them by day-
220 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

light, and I propose to do it now. We can’t wait
for Terry and Gibbon. We can’t herd the hostiles
in this region. We ‘ve just got to go in and drive
them down toward Gibbon. Then we’ve got them.
The situation just forces the fight, it seems to me,
and we can do nothing but attack. So I propose
to fight now.”’

As had been agreed at the council at the bivouac,
the command was to be divided into three battalions,
which were to move against the hostiles in three
separate columns. At the foot of the bluffs where
he had halted his regiment, Custer now prepared to
make this division of his forces.

‘* Major Reno,” he said, ‘‘ you will take troops
M, A, and G, and the Indian scouts. Captain
Benteen, you will take troops H, D, and K. Cap-
tain McDougall, you will keep the rear with troop
B as escort to the pack-train, of which Lieutenant
Mathey will remain in charge. I ’Il take the five
other troops—I, F, C, E, and L. Lieutenant
Cook will accompany me as adjutant. Major
Reno will lead the advance and take the centre of
the line; Benteen will take the left, and I ’ll take
the right and flank them. McDougall and the pack-
train will bring up the rear. In that way, when we
get to the ridge, we can move to the right and left
in three separate columns, each one about two miles
from the next, sweep westward over the bluffs, and
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD. 221

so get them between us and crush or corral them.
As for you, Autie,’’ he said, turning to his nephew,
““you come with me. I promised your mother
I ’d keep you near me. But I can’t have two rap-
scallion boys to look after. See here, Jack, you ‘ll
have to stay with Captain McDougall and help the
lieutenant with the pack-train. Perhaps, Mac,
you ‘ll need to communicate with Reno or Ben-
teen; if you do, send Jack. He’s had experience.
He ’ll know how to ride swift, straight, and sure.
All ready, gentlemen ? To your commands. For-
ward!”’

Jack chafed under these final orders. Autie Reed
openly winked at him.

“* What did I tell you, Jack ?’’ he said, gleefully.
“It’s my turn now. I’m going to be in this thing.
You can stay behind with these two:forty mules.
Herd ’em well, boy. I want to find ’em all here
when I come back to the rear with a string of
prisoners. I shall be hungry enough to eat up all
that ’s left of those fifteen days’ rations.”’

He gave Jack a good-bye nudge in the ribs, like
the active, boyish boy he was, and galloped on to
join troop C, his uncle, Captain Tom Custer’s
command.

And Jack, without a word, dropped back into his
place beside Lieutenant Mathey, the Officer of the
Herd—although “‘ the herd ”’ itself, you will under-
222 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

stand, was back at the supply camp. Only the

oe a?

picked pack-mules were the ‘‘ encumbrance ”’ on
this march in fighting trim. Jack Huntingdon was
learning the first duty of a soldier—to obey orders;
so without a word, save his cheery ‘‘ Good-bye and
good luck!’’ he dropped to his place as, with flut-
tering guidons and the rattle of scabbard and harness,
the three columns started out, with the trumpeters
at the head of each battalion beside their chiefs.

Then they climbed the ridge and marched into
history.

Jack swallowed his disappointment, and riding
beside the patient, stolid pack-train, slowly breasted
the ridge, which dipped down and then up into
another, and yet another rise of broken country
that still hid the valley on the farther side. The
command was marching in three columns, as
ordered, with the last dividing crest of the bluffs
before them—Benteen to the left, Reno in the
centre, Custer to the right, the pack-train plodding
on far to the rear of the central battalion. Then
Jack, knowing that Custer would be far up the
ridge ere they could reach it, begged Captain Mc-
Dougall’s permission to ride ahead for a last salute to
Autie Reed and the General’s battalion. It was
granted, and Jack dashed ahead.

He saw the main column skirt the hill; he could
make out, in the bright sunlight of that fair June
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD. 223

Sunday, the Indian-tanned, beaver-trimmed, buck-
skin coats of Custer, the General; of his brother,
Captain Tom; and of Captain Keogh, who rode his
splendid sorrel, Comanche. They made a vivid bit
of color in the sun, and Jack thought, as he watched
them, what soldierly-looking leaders they were.

He saw them gallop along the ridge, where the
trail wound off to the Greasy Grass. Suddenly, he
saw one of the Ree scouts spring to the General’s
side and point off toward the valley; then he saw
the General rein in his Kentucky thoroughbred,
push back his big hat and peer forward, following
the scout’s hand.

Jack knew what the General saw. He, too, had
seen the same fair scene himself—the broad, flat,
fertile valley of the Greasy Grass—known to us as
the Little Big Horn—knee-deep in flowers and
shimmering with waving grass, from its fringe of
cottonwoods and willows beside the fast-flowing
river to the high, circling, dun-colored bluffs that
rampart it about.

But Jack, even in his imagination, did not see all
that Custer saw. It was a sight to thrill the Indian
fighter’s heart, to fire the soldier’s pride. The
General rose in his stirrups; looked back toward his
men; back over the rolling, tiresome trail he had
come; back, almost, as Jack imagined, to where the
boy stood watchful and impatient.
224. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

He saw someone, at any rate, whether or not it
was the boy’s silent figure, Jack could never say;
but, snatching off his big sombrero, the General
swung it above his head in sheer delight and in full
anticipation of victory. He shouted out in joy,—
the wind blowing toward Jack wafted the words so
far that the boy could just catch their note of exult-
ation, and respond with a cheer.

““ Hurrah, boys!’ cried the General. ‘‘ Custer’s
luck! The biggest Indian village on the continent.
Forward!”’

Then he rode on. And where the trail turned
and the clay cliffs overtop it he was lost to view—
he and his gallant battalion. It was Jack’s last
sight in life of the brave and valiant General Custer.
What follows is tragedy.

Jack turned and rode back to rejoin the pack-
train. Scarcely had he done so, when, with a clat-
ter and a clash, a courier came spurring down the
cooley with orders to Captain McDougall to hurry
up the pack-train and ammunition, for the General
had found the village.

“The General begs, Captain,’’ said the courier,
“that you send word to Major Reno that the extra
ammunition will be hurried forward for him also.
He has sent orders to Major Reno to push ahead
into the valley, ford the stream, and attack the
northern end of the village while he charges it from
a :

pS



CUSTER SEES THE INDIAN CAMP, Page 2244
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD, 225

the east. Major Reno will wish to locate the re-
serve ammunition. Will you send him word ?”’

McDougall said he would, and speedily Jack was
urging Brutus after the middle of the three bat-
talions where Major Reno led the central advance.

Jack spurred over the bluff, and following the trail
beside Sundance Creek, came upon Major Reno’s
battalion just below where the Sundance joins the
Little Big Horn River. The column had halted to
water the horses; some were still drinking, others
were fording the rapid, shallow stream, or had re-
formed on the farther side. There Jack saw Major
Reno, and delivered the General’s order.

““ All right, Jack,’’ he said; ‘‘ we ’ve seen some
Injuns already, but they got out of our way. Ill
follow and ‘attack, as the General says. You just
ride across to him—he ’s over the divide and just
beyond that first line of bluffs—and tell him I ’ve
got everything in front of me so far, but I’m afraid
the enemy is strong. Can you take that message,
Jack? Or, hold on, you ’re detailed with Mc-
Dougall, are n’t you? Id better send one of my
ownmen. Here, Corporal Curtis—’’ The corporal
saluted; Major Reno gave him the message he had
first entrusted to Jack; the corporal galloped off—
and, just by that narrow margin, did Jack Hunting-
don fail of being one at Custer’s last rally.

The Major kept Jack by him, however, that he

1
226 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

might see where his line of attack lay, and so be
able to establish some point for the pack-mules and
extra ammunition to reach. Fora half-mile beyond
the river he moved in columns of fours; then, form-
ing in line of battle, he marched another mile, and
then deployed his skirmish line.

More and more Indians appeared on Reno’s front,
but as they did nothing but retreat, now and then
firing a shot, the Major kept steadily on along the
beautiful valley.

He had just noted a spot under the cottonwoods
where he thought the packs could safely be held,
when suddenly on the left flank of his line, toward
the bluffs, where the Ree scouts rode, there came a
quick, increasing, startling clamor:

“Hi! yip-yip-yip-yip—hi yah!’’

Jack knew it at once. He had heard it before.
It was the charge yell of the Strong Hearts of the
Uncapapa Sioux.

Rounding the turn in the trail, the troopers saw a
startling sight. There, in full view, stretching far to
the southern end of the valley, two miles and more
away, lay the great tent village of the assembled
Sioux. Then it was that Reno knew what Custer
learned too late, that the Seventh Cavalry was con-
fronted by the complete force of the hostiles of the
Sioux nation and their allies—five thousand against
five hundred,
WHY BRUTUS LOST HIS HEAD. 227

Again the shrill, ear-piercing charge of the Strong
Hearts rang out, and straight upon Reno’s left,
where the Ree scouts turned and fled as they heard
the yell of their feared and hated foe, came the Un-
capapa horsemen with a resistless dash.

As the fierce charge broke the line of scouts and
sent the unreliable Rees flying for the river, the
onset broke Reno’s left and drove it back, for a
moment throwing his whole line into confusion.
Battle line and skirmish line were alike shattered,
and, as stricken with terror, the flying Rees lashed
their ponies into retreat, yelling vociferously to urge
them on, three of them drove straight at Jack and
forced him to turn also. But, until the order came
from the Major to turn, Jack would not retreat. He
was not ‘‘ built that way,’’ he declared.

Instead, he wheeled his pony around to force him
into the cavalry formation. But Brutus, usually
staid and obedient, was altogether upset by the
shrieking Rees and their plunging ponies. Uncertain
as to just the desire of his rider and furiously bumped
again by a galloping Ree deserter, the pony com-
pletly lost his head, took the bit in his teeth and,
head up and tail up, stopped not for rein, command,
or cavalry formation, but dashed, with Jack upon
his back, full into the now aroused and surging camp
of the hostile Sioux.
CHAPTER XVII.
IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE,

HE sight of that fiery, charging pony with the
white boy on its back, at first led the Indians
to believe that a general charge had been ordered,
and that in an instant the whole cavalry would be
thundering upon them. But when they saw that
the white boy rode alone, they looked upon it as a
deed of valor—the feat of a young warrior of the
Long-Swords who thus challenged and charged the
whole hostile host as a ‘‘ dare.’”’ If he came out
alive, he could make a mighty ‘‘ boast,’’ and to do
that, was, as you know, one of the great desires of
the Sioux warrior.

Out of sheer admiration for his pluck and cour-
age, they let the boy gallop unmolested, and actually
opened their ranks to give him passage. Then, as
suddenly they closed about him, and Jack’s span of
life would have been brief had not one agile young
warrior sprung in, before the murderous, knotted
war-club, brandished by one fierce and yelling rider,
could fall upon the boy’s head.

“ It is Big Tooth, the Strong Heart! ’’ the young

228
IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE, 229

warrior cried. ‘‘ Strike him not; he is Young
Wolf’s blood-brother.”’

Then seizing the bridle of the now over-spent
Brutus, the red boy covered the white boy with his
body, and Jack Huntingdon readily yielded himself
prisoner to Young Wolf the Uncapapa.

Very deftly and cleverly did Young Wolf draw
his friend out of the press of yelling, struggling
warriors and through the tepee village. The fact
was, while the Sioux knew of Custer’s advance, this
sudden appearance of Reno was a surprise, and for
a time they were more inclined to fly than to fight.
Only for an instant, however; for as they saw Major
Reno stagger back and stand indecisive after the
first onset, they turned again to the attack, and in-
spired by the shouts of Chief Gall, who rushed in to
lead them with the cry, ‘‘ The white chief is scared.
Strike for your homes and your children !”’ they
bore down upon Major Reno and drove his men, in
a mad flight for life, racing for the bluffs.

So Jack and Young Wolf were, for the time, un-
noticed in the tumult, and the Indian lad, urging
the ponies to the outer edge of his own village of
tents, stopped suddenly before one of the tepees.

-‘* Down, Big Tooth; quick!’’ he cried. ‘‘ Leave
pony. Get into tepee. It is Chief Gall’s own.
There Big Tooth is safe.”’

‘“ Great Scott! Young Wolf; but that was a nar-
230 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

row squeak,’’ cried Jack, greatly relieved, when
once within the safe seclusion of Chief Gall’s own
tepee. ‘‘I didn’t figure to be in that scrimmage
at all. Iwould n’t be here now, if my pony had n’t
run away with me.”’

“Young Wolf saw that,’ the young Indian re-
plied. ‘‘ That why Big Tooth saved. But—what
doing here, with soldiers, in Uncapapa lodges ?
Tell Young Wolf,’’ he demanded, judicially.

‘““ Why, you see, I had just come with a message
to Major Reno,’’ Jack explained. ‘‘ I’m with the
pack -train, you see. I’m what they call a civilian
—a non-combatant, to-day,’’ he went on. ‘‘ That
keeps me out of the fight. But your fellows charged
the Rees and scattered ’em before we knew what
you were at. Healthy lot of boys, those Rees!’

“Ugh! The Ree is a squaw—a coffee-cooler,”’
Young Wolf ejaculated, contemptuously.

”

“Well, you see,’’ continued Jack, ‘‘ when they
stampeded, they came ker-slap against Brutus.
He lost his head, like a fool, and dashed off in the
wrong direction, of course; and here I am—your
prisoner. Going to stake me out, Young Wolf ?”’
The young Indian smiled broadly.

‘ Big Tooth and Young Wolf friends,’’ he said,
‘brothers. Big Tooth no prisoner, he guest.
This tent is his until Young Wolf can get him free.”’

“That ’s awfully good of you,”’ exclaimed Jack,
IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE. 231

grasping Young Wolf’s hand; “‘ but I ’m afraid
it ’*s not so easy. There ’s a big fight on, I think. |
Perhaps I can do you a good turn, Young Wolf.
There ’s no knowing how it ’s going to turn out.”’

‘“ The Uncapapas and their brothers are like the
stars in the sky,’’ declared the young Indian.
““Can the Long-Swords hope to stand against so
many ?”’

‘““ Well,’’ said honest Jack, ‘‘ they can, if General
_ Custer leads ’em; and he’s going to. He’s up on
the bluffs somewhere.”’

Young Wolf nodded.

‘Our scouts tracked him,’’ he said. ‘‘ They
marked his trail. But it is not Long Hair who leads.
It is a chief with no scalp-locks.’’

‘“ Why——’’ Jack began, intending to set the
Indian right. Then he thought better of it.
‘* Perhaps that ’s why the General had his hair
cut,” he. reasoned, —‘‘to mislead the Injuns.
Though I don’t think that can be so. That ’s not
his style. And as for the Injuns, they ’re afraid
of the Chief Long Hair, and he wants to keep up
that feeling. Evidently they don’t recognize him.
Well, they ‘ll have to find out for themselves. I’m
not going to give aid and comfort to the enemy.”’

Young Wolf did not notice his friend’s broken
sentence. He was thinking over the attack.

‘“ The scouts look for Long Hair,’’ continued
232 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Young Wolf, ‘‘ but someone else leads the Long-
Swords. Sitting Bull hear from agency men that
the Great Father have blood feud with Chief Long
Hair, and stake him out by the big salt water. Did
my brother hear that ?’”’

Jack laughed aloud.

‘“‘T don’t think that ’s the President’s way, Young
Wolf,’”’ he said. ‘‘ The President did try to lay the
General out, though, that ’s a fact,’ he went on.

‘““ That what agency men said,’”’ the Indian com-
mented.

“‘ But that ’s all fixed up now,’’ continued Jack.
“You ’Il see the White Chief with Yellow Hair—
right here—sooner than you think for,’’ he declared,
compromising with his conscience. ‘‘ But I was n’t
with his command,’’ he explained; ‘‘ I was with
Major Reno.’’

““ That the other Long-Sword chief,’’ said Young
Wolf, nodding toward the scene of the stampede.
‘““ Not looking for him. He drive Dakotas off, if
Rees had not stampeded. What soldiers here for,
Big Tooth ?”’

‘““ Why, to make you all go on the reservations
and mind the Injun agent,’’ replied Jack. ‘‘ Why
don’t you go? Why are you kicking up such a
rumpus—what are you fighting for, anyhow ?’’

“For our homes, Big Tooth,’’ replied Young
Wolf, solemnly. ‘‘I say once to Big Tooth, the
IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE. 233

earth—our mother—this land belong to Uncapapa.
I say, then, Would you sell your mother? No. I
say now, Would you fight for your mother? Yes.
That why the Uncapapas and the Ogallalas strike
back when Long Hair and his soldiers come to the
land of the Dakotas.”’

‘© O, then, you are here to fight,’’ said Jack.

‘“We here; we fight,’’ Young Wolf retorted.
‘‘Not come just to fight. Some here to be glad
over the hunting; some here to be glad because we
whip the Crows—our enemies. Our medicine good ;
so we glad; we come to have dance—we and our
brothers. Then, this day, when the sun was up our
scouts say, ‘ Soldiers coming.’ They say so to Sit-
ting Bull, they say so to Chief Gall, they say so to
Bear-Hawk, our cousin, the Blackfoot Sioux. Soon
we see the Long-Swords cross the ford and come
onus. We run from the lodges and tepees. No
time for war-chief to make war-party. Gall call out
Mo-ka-he! that mean ‘ Come along! every man for
himself!’ Bear-Hawk call out Mo-ka-he! We
come; we jump on our ponies; we ride with our
guns; we stampede the Rees. That all. Sioux
not fighting—Long-Swords fighting—and we not
run away. That all. Now Big Tooth see. Look
out; look out! See who runs!”’

Jack had been with Young Wolf in the tent,
_ probably a half-hour or so; there had been some
234 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

little firing of guns, but now, as Young Wolf spoke,
there came a confusion of yells and shots. Jack
put his head to the tepee flap as Young Wolf bade
him and saw a fearful sight—Major Reno and his
command flying for the bluffs in one mad rush for
life, while upon them and about them, dashed the
victorious Indians, inflamed by blood and the thirst
for vengeance.

The panic swept across the river and up the bluffs
on the eastern bank; into the pony-trail; through
the ravine where men and horses were horribly en-
tangled. The Indian guns opened upon them with
deadly effect; and when, at last, Major Reno and
his frightened command reached the bluffs, two
hundred feet above that death valley, three officers
were left behind, dead; twenty-nine men were
killed, seven were wounded, and sixteen missing—
not counting Jack Huntingdon, who, with his head
stuck out of Chief Gall’s tepee, saw the whole
dreadful rout and slaughter.

He ground his teeth in rage over the defeat; but
at the same time he was.thankful that he had not
been in that frightful stampede, and that, instead, he
had fallen into the hands of Young Wolf.

As for that young warrior, he could no longer
withstand the fury of the fight that impelled him to
join his victorious kinsmen.

‘* Big Tooth stay here,’’ he said, ‘‘ Keep inside
IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE, 235

tepee. Young Wolf needed’’; and then he was
gone, putting his pony to the dead gallop and yelling
with all the strength of a goodly pair of Indian lungs.

Jack could hardly blame Young Wolf for thus
taking ‘‘ French leave.’’ He would have done so
himself, he argued, had he been in the young war-
rior’s place. But all the same he wished the Indian
lad had stayed with him; for, in the present excited
state of the great Sioux village, he felt that it was
really unhealthy for a white boy to be found there.

There certainly was great excitement in that
populous valley of the Little Big Horn. Horsemen
were galloping hither and thither, rounding up the
great pony herds or rushing to join the Strong
Hearts and Gall’s warriors in the attack upon Reno;
tepees were coming down; ¢ravois or lodge-pole
drags were being loaded; the whole village—it was
almost a city, for fully twelve thousand Indians were
in that tent-filled valley—was in that uncertain state
that wavers between jubilation and flight.

That was precisely Jack’s condition. He was
jubilant over his own escape; anxious as to Reno’s
fate; hopeful as to Custer’s coming; speculative as
to the chances for his own flight to safety. And as,
in-this uncertain frame of mind, he wavered between
hope and fear there in the enemy’s stronghold, in
Chief Gall’s own tepee, the tent-flaps parted sud-
_ denly and an Indian face peered in.
230 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

It was a face that Jack knew all too well; the
face he feared above all others. It was Sitting
Bull, the Master of the Strong Hearts.

In the half-light of the tepee he did not at first
recognize the boy. But, looking again, he made
one dart at the white intruder in the enemy’s camp
and dragged him to the light.

‘“Ugh!”’ said the medicine-chief.

Then he lifted his voice in the call that Jack knew
so well.

‘* Po-to-sha-sha!’’

From somewhere near at hand—Jack thought
from one of the neighboring tepees—the ever-ready
squaw-man came shuffling out and stood beside the
chief. Not a gleam of recognition or sympathy for
the white captive came, at this time, into the rene-
gade’s eyes. He had evidently thrown over this
New York boy as a sort of bad penny that turned
up so often and when thus least expected, that it
was folly longer to try to save him. At least, that
is what his looks implied.

Sitting Bull broke into a flow of Indian talk, and,
at the first pause, the squaw-man translated.

“ Boy,”’ said he, ‘‘ the chief asks why you are
here ?. Why are you in Chief Gall’s tepee ? Why
are you not in the thieves’ ranks stealing into the
Injun’s land? Why are you not with the coffee-
coolers of Long-Swords yonder whom the Strong
IN CHIEF GALLS OWN TEPEE. 237

Hearts have beaten until they are blue, and driven
like whipped dogs to the hills ?”’

“Well, Red Top,’’ said Jack—somehow the
presence of Sitting Bull always put this boy on his
mettle and led him to answer in defiant and fearless
words such as he might not have used to a war-chief
for whom he had more respect—‘‘ Well, Red Top,
you can just tell the chief that I am here because
my pony brought me. I did n’t ride with the
troopers nor charge against the Strong Hearts. I
came—well—because I could n’t help it.”’

The chief eyed the boy inquiringly.

“Ts it,’’ he said, ‘‘ that Big Tooth the white boy
comes now to be a Strong Heart and a warrior of
the Sioux because he sees that To-tan-ka’s medicine
indeed is true; that the foot of the white man is to
be withered as he treads the Indian land; that the
Long-Swords are to be driven into death? It is
well. My young brother is wise. Let him but
await here in Chief Gall’s own tepee the end of this
battle and he shall, over the tortures of the white
men who shall feel our fire and try our stakes, be-
come a Dakota indeed, a Strong Heart true and
faithful, fit to follow so great a leader as the Master
of the Strong Hearts—I—To-tan-ka-i-yo-ta-ke. I
have spoken.”’

‘“ Have you ?’’ said Jack, as Po-to-sha-sha con-
_ cluded his interpretation. ‘‘ Then listen to me, Red
238 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Top. You can just tell that old fraud of a Sitting
Bull that he does more sitting than anything else.
Chief Gall told me that this To-tan-ka was a man
with a big head and a little heart, and I guess that
just about fits him. I don’t believe he knows how
to fight. I don’t believe that, if General Custer
should come charging down the hills now, that your

”



big medicine-chief would

He got no further. For even as Sitting Bull,
listening to Jack’s harangue, was on the point of
breaking it off and demanding a translation in sec-
tions, a cry came up the valley from the west, and
then the crash of splintering guns.

A runner came flying up the valley.

“More soldiers!’’ he cried. Thus Jack could
interpret his vigorous gestures. ‘‘ O, To-tan-ka,
Chief Long Hair is thundering down the slope.
We are attacked on both sides.”’

The medicine-chief darted one quick look at the
west, from whence the new danger came; he cast one
look upon this white boy, whom he really did not
feel quite certain about. Then he spoke hurriedly
to the squaw-man, turned on his heel and strode
quickly away.

Po-to-sha-sha stood silent, looking after his chief
with a puzzled expression.

‘““ What does he say, Red Top? What’s up?”
asked Jack, hastily.
IN CHIEF GALL’S OWN TEPEE. 239

The squaw-man turned on the boy a face wreathed
with smiles—quite a different countenance from that
with which he had confronted Jack at the talk with
Sitting Bull.

‘* Well! if you don’t have the consarnedest luck,
sonny,’ hesaid. ‘‘ Say, let ’s feel in your pockets.
Have n’t you got that white weasel’s tail I gave
you ?”’

Jack ransacked his pockets, and, sure enough, in
his blouse he found the charm that Po-to-sha-sha
had forced upon him.

‘‘ That ’s it; that ’s the ticket!’’ cried the de-
lighted squaw-man, ‘‘ I never knew it to fail. It’s
sure charm every time. Talk about Sitting Bull’s
medicine! Why, it ain’t in it with my white
weasel’s tail. You hang on to that, sonny, and
you ’ll get out of this place alive yet, I do believe.”

‘* Well, but what did Sitting Bull say ?’’ queried
Jack.

‘“ What, just now?’’ returned Po-to-sha-sha,
‘“‘ why, he said, ‘ More soldiers. The Long-Sword
Chief shall not work his way with us. My medicine
shall not fail. I will go to the hills and make more.
It is not for a great medicine-chief to mix in the
crush of battle when he should be making medicine
for the aid of his brothers. Keep the white boy
here,’ he said, ‘ until I return.’ ”’

‘But I ’ll be blowed if I do keep you here,
240 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

sonny,” continued Po-to-sha-sha, earnestly. “George!
hear that. That ’s a sure enough attack at the
other end. And see! there ’s Iron Cedar calling
back Chief Gall. Look out, Big Tooth, get behind
me. Jump into the tent; here’s all Gall’s warriors
and the Strong Hearts rushing back.”’

It was so indeed. The summons of Iron Cedar
had reached Chief Gall where he was besieging
Reno, and at once the bulk of his command turned
and raced down the now re-aroused and excited
valley, to meet the new attack. All was confusion
in the plain. More tepees were taken down, the
squaws and children made ready to fly, and in the
uncertainty Jack was again an unnoticed quantity.

But Po-to-sha-sha had not forgotten him.

‘‘ Now ’s your chance, sonny,’’ he said. ‘‘ You
want to git, double-quick. Jump on your pony and
follow me. Put your head down so’s they can’t

’

see who you are. Now come this way,”’ and run-
ning beside Brutus, with his hand on the bridle-rein,
the squaw-man guided Jack’s course to escape.

He skirted the Little Big Horn almost to the
mouth of what is now Reno’s Creek; then through
a break in the willows and cottonwoods where no
Indians were moving, he led the pony to a shallow
ford.

‘* There, sonny, you cut across here and follow

the river for a half-mile or so till you come to a little
IN CHIEF GALLS OWN TEPEE., 241

cooley just back of three big cottonwoods. There ’s
not many people notice that cooley, but it’s just
what you want. You push up that, and you ’ll be
on the bluffs so’s you can get to the soldiers. The
Injuns have n’t got up there yet, but they will soon,
and if the fellow that ’s leading the soldiers don’t
look out, they ’ll corner him.”’

““ But, Red Top, now ’s your chance; why not
come with me ?”’ Jack inquired, as he grasped the
squaw-man’s hand in acknowledgment and farewell.
““ See, here, if you ‘ll come along, it ’ll be good
for you. The Major’s Ree scouts don’t amount to
a hill of beans. You know more about this place
than all the Rees and Crows put together. Come
on, and he ’Il make you chief scout, and you can
get back to be a white man once more, and be a big
one, too. Come!”’

The boy pulled away at the renegade’s hand,
The man looked wistfully at him. Then he freed
himself, shaking his head meanwhile.

“You ’re a good fellow, sonny, and I ’m obliged

”

to you,”’ said the renegade. Your offer ’s mighty
tempting, and I believe you ’d try to make it good.
But it ’s no use, boy; it ’s no use. Why! see
here!’’ the renegade’s voice had a note alike of
protest and of pathos; ‘‘ down in that village is my
tepee; in’ that lodge is my wife, Mi-mi, and my
Tvl paDy, girl, Mi-mi’s been a good wife to me,
I
242 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

if she is an Injun. Would I be a man to go away
from her-—to desert her now, when the village is in
danger and the guns of the white soldiers speak
death to squaw and child as well as warrior ? No,
Big Tooth; my place is here. I took Mi-mi for my
wife for better or worse, just as true and faithful as
if she was a white girl. She loves and trusts me.
I'll not break my word to her, not for fifty head
scouts nor the biggest chance you can offer to be
the biggest kind of a white man. Hark! there go
those murdering guns again,’”’ he cried, as another
rattling volley sounded in the west. ‘“Go on,
sonny; ford the stream, and ride like the wind toa
safe place with your people. Never mind me; my
place is at my tepee, to defend my home—and Mi-
mi, my wife. So long, boy,’ and with a farewell
wave of the hand the faithful squaw-man disap-
peared through the willows, and Jack Huntingdon
splashed into the ford of the Little Big Horn to
join his comrades under Major Reno, if he could do
so safely.
CHAPTER XVIII.
“WHERE IS CUSTER?”’

ITH swift but cautious riding, Jack skirted

the river for a half-mile or so, until he came

to the little cooley by the three cottonwoods to which

Po-to-sha-sha had directed him. Climbing this in-

cline, he came out upon the ridge, where the bluffs

stretched away into broken hill-crests. Here he

found traces of Reno’s retreat and the signs of
Indian fight.

But he saw no living thing. The new attack at
the farther end of the valley had, as he knew, drawn
the Indians away from Reno, and the troopers had
fallen back to safe shelter.

Still he rode on, unseen and unmolested.

‘‘I do believe there ’s good luck in that white
weasel’s-tail of Po-to-sha-sha’s, after all,’’ he said to
himself; and then he suddenly stopped.

He had wandered from the trail of the retreat
where it had swerved a bit to the left, thinking to
cut it off by cross riding, when all at once he saw
why it had swerved. Brutus plumped his freefeet
on the outer edge of a rounding swell, and, looking

243
244 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

over his pony’s head, Jack saw that he had come to
a sudden halt at the sharp rim of a second cooley
which led down to the curving river below.

And, worse than this, as he looked down into the
ravine he saw, stealing snake-like up the cooley a
line of Indian warriors bent on a new surprise of
Reno’s men.

Jack gave one swift look back. To retreat would
be capture or death, whichever route he took.
For, if he rode back to the valley, he would ride
into a trap; if he tried to skirt the edge of the
cooley and ride around it the Indians would be up
and upon him before he could double the turn.

Besides this, the Indians had seen him. That he
knew. For that one swift glance into the depths of
the ravine had caught the sight of an upturned face.
It was that: of the swift runner of the Uncapapas,
from whom the spring of the Duke had saved Jack
at the sun-dance tent—Wam-bli-wa-ku-wa, ‘* Chas-
ing Eagle.’’ And, stealing behind this old-time
enemy, whose eyes, as the white boy read them,
gleamed with vindictiveness, Jack Huntingdon saw
the face of his friend, Young Wolf, the Sioux.

Fear and hope chased each other through the boy’s
mind. Could Young Wolf aid him this time—now,

when the young brave was actually on the war-path ?
' He was notlongin doubt. For even in his instant
of wavering, two cries came up from the cooley—
“WHERE IS CUSTER?” 245

one the unmistakable whoop of Chasing Eagle, intent
on his prey; the other the warning of Young Wolf.

‘“‘ Big Tooth run,’’ it said; ‘‘ Young Wolf enemy
now. Got bad heart; out for scalp.”’

And Jack knew that this time the blood-madness
was on his friend, and there was little hope for him.

He thought swiftly. If he were captured he
might, perhaps, find the former friendship of Young
Wolf returning; but then, on the other hand, he
might be shot down and killed before he was
captured. It would not do to take a risk.

He measured the cooley with his eye. It was a
narrow cut—little more than a gully. It could not
be more than twenty feet from edge to edge—not
wide for a gully but big fora jump. He had prac-
ticed Brutus at jumping—both the long and the high
jump, and his friends of the Seventh had given him
many points.

To be sure, the pony was tired and jaded from his
days of marching; but it was life or death.

‘‘ T ’ve just got to do it,’’ said Jack.

He could hear the Indians riding up the cooley to
cut him off at the top; once more he measured the
chasm with his eye; then, falling back “‘to get a
good ready,’’ he dug his feet into Brutus’s ribs,
shook the reins loose on the pony’s neck, and gave
him one sounding slap on the rump. Then, shout-

ing ‘‘ Hi-yi-yip!—hi yah!’’ Indian fashion, “* Jump,
246 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Brutus, jump!’’ Jack, as he expressed it, when
telling the story, ‘‘ just let everything go and
trusted in Providence.’’

The intelligent, wiry, trained, and tough little
pony, urged to his utmost, responded nobly. He
dashed to the edge of the cooley, doubled himself
for the leap, and, spurning the hither side after what
Jack called ‘‘a mighty good purchase,’’ launched
himself across the chasm, and the next instant his
forefeet struck the farther side,—struck and held,
while, for one instant, his hind hoofs almost dangled
over the edge.

A cry of astonishment and rage came from the
Indians inthe cooley. But the white boy waited for
nothing. The instant the pony struck, Jack, leaning
far forward to help, sprang to the ground and tugged
at rein and head so desperately as actually to pull
Brutus, aided by the pony’s own intelligent exer-
tions, over the brink and ‘‘ out of the hole.’’

“Good! Brutus,’’ he cried, delightedly, patting
the panting pony’s neck as he vaulted into the
saddle. Then he wheeled about and shouted down
into the cooley, “‘ Bye-by, boys! I’llsee you later.’’

A shot and a chorus of yells came up from the
gully as the Indian’s protest; then, setting Brutus in-
to a dead gallop, he rode along the bluff to where, not
half a mile away, he saw with joy and thankfulness
the moving forms of the troopers of the Seventh.
‘““WHERE IS CUSTER?” 247

But, as he sped away, Jack was certain that he
heard, mingled with the cries of disappointment
and disgust at his escape, the voice of Young Wolf
calling out, ‘‘ Heap good! Big Tooth. Little Man;
Little Man —We-cha-sa Chis-chi-na!’’ And Jack
Huntingdon felt that he had not lost the friendship
of his Sioux brother, but, on the other hand, had
fairly earned from Young Wolf the new name he
had promised him, when he deserved it—We-cha-sa
Chis-chi-na, ‘‘ Little Man.’’

At a dead gallop he rode into the lines.

‘‘Injuns! Injuns! just behind !’’ he shouted.
‘“ Coming up the cooley. Watch out for ’em!”’
And then boy and pony dropped together, both of
them over-wrought, done up by the tension of that
natrow escape.

Both were on their feet again speedily, rubbed
down, refreshed, and pelted with pats and questions.
But there was little time for explanation. Jack
found he had come up with Captain French’s
troop of Reno’s battalion, posted on the high bluff
and leading the advance in the endeavor to move
down to Custer’s support. But even before Jack
could reply to the captain’s query, ‘‘ Where ’s
Custer? have you seen him, Jack ?’”’ with a yell the
Indians were upon them, swarming up the cooley
and galloping along the bluff.

‘“‘ Ping-ping! swish-thud!’’ came the bullets from
248 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the Indian fire, singing overhead, or striking the
ground in unpleasant proximity. Captain French’s
troop was turned and driven in; and Jack, it must
be confessed, was well inthe lead. But what would
you have of a boy who had, just then, neither rifle
nor pistol, and did have a most pressing desire to
save his own curly scalp?

He saved it; for as French’s troop and Weir's”
troop, both driven in by the Indian onrush, came
tearing over the bluff, Captain Godfrey’s men, dis-
mounting, deployed rapidly, and poured in sucha
hot fire that the Indian advance was checked.
Then in good order, retreating, halting, firing, the
Indian onset was held off until the three troops had
completed the retreat and joined the main command
—and Jack!

It was now seven o’clock in the evening of that
fatal twenty-fifth of June, and seven companies of
the gallant Seventh Cavalry were entirely sur-
rounded—besieged by fully two thousand warriors.
Where were the other five ?

It was an often-repeated question in that be-
leaguered camp. Jack, when interrogated, could
only answer, ‘‘I do not know. There was firing
down the valley, and the bucks who were fighting
you folks here went galloping down that way to join
in thescrimmage. That’swhenI got away. Don’t
you suppose the General has cleaned ’em all out by


“WHERE IS CUSTER?” 249

this time, or driven ’em this way ? Of course he
has. Nothing could happen to Custer.”’

““ Perhaps not, Jack,’’ Captain McDougall said;
“but the firing stopped down there long ago.
Why, when I came up with the pack-train, it was
after four, and then it had stopped. I ’m afraid,
Jack, that the General made a big mistake by not
‘taking the whole regiment in at once in the first
attack.”

““T wish he had,’’ Jack declared. ‘‘I ’d have
been in the fight then with him and with Autie
Reed, instead of loafing here on these bluffs.
Wonder what we ’re staying here for, anyhow ?”’

‘“It ’s a case of needs must, I reckon, Jack,’’ re-
plied the captain. ‘‘ There ’s Injuns to right of us,
Injuns to left of us, Injuns in front of us—some-
body ’s blundered,’’—-and Jack wondered what
made the captain’s words sound so familiar. ‘‘ I tell
you what, Jack; Custer has either got into trouble,
or he’s fighting his way down to join Crook. Any-
how, our command ought to be doing something, or
Custer ’ll be after Reno with a sharp stick.”’

““ But what can we do, Captain ?’’ inquired Lieu-
tenant Mathey of the pack-train.

The question seemed pertinent. Partially shielded
by the rugged bluffs above the river by a short ridge
on the north and a hill on the south, the whole
command was practically fenced in, and, as Jack
250 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

declared, ‘‘ the Injuns were all peeking over the
fence.”’

“Not all, Jack,” said the captain. ‘‘ Look
down in the valley. What does that mean ?”’

It had grown quite dark by this time, and the be-
leaguered troopers could move about with more
safety. Jack stepped to the crest of the ridge and
looked down into the valley. From end to end it
gleamed with the light of bonfires, and resounded
with the noise of jubilation. The rattle of drums
and guns, the chorus of yells and screams, and all the
accompaniments of savage revel rose through the
mists and shadows of the Greasy Grass, and the cap-
tain assured Jack solemnly that all that noise meant
a celebration of some kind. ‘‘ I’m afraid something
has happened to somebody, and that the Injuns
have got some prisoners. Who have they been at,
I wonder ? And where under the sun is Custer ?”’

‘I ’m going to head an exploring expedition,”’
the lieutenant declared. ‘‘ Who ’ll go?”

‘‘ Oh, let me go with you; can’t I, Lieutenant ?”’
cried Jack. :

‘You sit still, boys,’’ the captain commanded.
‘‘ Lieutenant Varnum wanted to do that very thing
half an hour ago, but the major would n’t let him.
It ’s too risky. Why, even the scouts could n’t
find any sign of Custer. The major sent them out
just after dark, and all they had to report was that
“WHERE IS CUSTER?’ 251

the country was full of Sioux. As if we did n’t
know that without having to send out scouts to tell
us,’ grumbled the captain.

There was more or less grumbling among the be-
sieged during that awful night. Both officers and
men were inclined to find fault with things and to
magnify trifles. The trees in the ridge, swaying
with the night wind, looked like moving columns of
troops, while the manifold noises of the night were
tortured by over-strained nerves and ears into the
voice of command, the call of the trumpets, the
tramp and rattle of horses.

‘* Relief ’s coming,’’ the cry went up as one after
another saw the moving forms and heard the ad-
vancing sounds.

“t's Crook 7’! ile sr Guster! ty Cheer up;
boys, they ’ll get us out now,”’ the call of encour-
agement passed, while trumpets were sounded and
shots fired to guide the approaching column.

And after all it was only waving trees and night
sounds, while all around in the shadows, for all that
the besieged knew, lurked hundreds or thousands
of savages, waiting for the dawn. It was terrible.
Even Jack suffered a large shrinkage in his pluck,
and felt his heart yearning toward home. A night
of such uncertainty is the worst of experiences.

Midnight came; few could sleep. At last the or-
der went round to dig rifle-pits for better protection.
252 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Work was a relief. In pairs, or by threes and
fours, the men labored in the hard, dry ground,
using hatchets, axes, spades, and shovels, knives,
forks, tin cups, and canteens to throw up the neces-
sary entrenchments. By dawn, which came at
three o’clock, most of the command was fairly en-
trenched behind the uncertain rifle-pits, and then
the battle began.

The Indians had been heavily reinforced during
the night, and their guns opened on the beleaguered
troopers as soon as the light came creeping over
those Montana hills.

Now fast and furious, now light and scattered,
and again with redoubled force the fusillade con-
tinued until it was broad day, and Captain Benteen
could stand the suspense no longer.

Major Reno still showed no disposition to take
the offensive. He could not be induced to risk a
charge in the open. It was his first real experience
as an Indian-fighter in actual command.

”

‘‘ Then let me do it, sir,’’ said Captain Benteen.
‘* Tf something is n’t done mighty soon the Injuns
will run into our lines. They ’re up to something
of that sort now, I know.’’

Still Reno hesitated.

‘‘ There are more than you bargain for out there,
Benteen,’”’ he said.

‘Well, what if there are?’’ cried Benteen, im-
“ WHERE IS CUSTER?” 253

patiently, chafing under the indisposition of his
superior officer. ‘‘ We ’ve got to do something, I
tell you, and that pretty quick. This won't do,
Major; it won’t, really. You must drive them back,
or they ’Il drive us.”’

‘* All right, Benteen; you can try it on,’’ said the
reluctant major. ‘‘ You give the word.”’

The captain whirled about to the men.

‘* Boots and saddles!’’ he cried, and the men tum-
bled into their saddles while the trumpeter played
the charge.

‘ Allready, men ?’’ cried the captain, while Jack,
beside the pack-train, hopped from one foot to
the other in the excitement of the unarmed civilian.
‘Now ’s your time. Now! give ’em Hail Colum-
by! Hip, hip, here we go!’’ And away went
every trooper with a chorus of hurrahs, so loud and
vigorous as to startle and disconcert the throng of
Indians at the foot of one of the hills, where they
were gathering for a charge.

Bang! bang! went the carbines of the Seventh,
loaded while yet the men were in the rifle-pits;
neck and neck went the troopers, charging straight
against the Indian line. It broke, scattered, and
poured down the slope; but before the captain and
his command had followed a hundred yards, Reno
sounded the recall.

“‘ Get back, men! get back!”’ he cried, and much
254 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

against their will the command turned and trotted
back to the pits to cower, to suffer, and to fight;
for, upon their return, the Indians came swarming
back and re-commenced their fusillades. But they
did not again gather to charge the rifle-pits.

The main suffering was from thirst. Water was
in sight, but not to be obtained, for the approach
to the river was commanded by the besiegers.

Oh, how thirsty Jack Huntingdon was! How
thirsty were all those poor fellows in the rifle-pits!
Pebbles, grass roots, dry crumbs of bread, potatoes
—no such substitutes could bring the relief that the
blessed water could afford, though all were tried.

““ We must have water, Captain,’’ came the cry.

“Well, how ’ll you get it ?’’ asked the captain.
““Who ’ll go? Who ’ll volunteer ?”’

“T?ll go!’ “So will I!’ “I!’’ “ Me too!”
““T!’’—came the instant reply, and Jack Hunting-
don’s voice was as loud as any.

Camp-kettles were distributed. Under the cover
of Benteen’s guns the water-party worked their way
toward the river as far as possible. Then came the
risk.

‘““ Now! ready! go!’’ came the command, and with
a mad rush the “ kettle corps’’ dashed into the
water, filled the kettles, and rushed back to the cover
of the guns, while from copse and bluff the watchful
Indians sought to pick the brave fellows off.




THE RETURN OF THE ‘KETTLE CORPS.” Page 254.
“WHERE IS CUSTER?” 255

Several of the ‘‘ kettle corps’’ were wounded,
but none were killed. Three times was the dash
for water made, and each time Jack was one of the
‘* rush-line,’’ and returned with a full kettle and
without a scratch.

‘* All the effect of my white weasel’s tail,’’ he
declared, laughingly, when the men patted him on
the back and cried, ‘‘ Good boy, Jack!”’

So the day dragged on and another night came,
and still the Seventh was besieged in its rifle-pits
by the Indian host. And still would the query go
up again and again, ‘‘ Where is Custer? If the
General were here, he ’d get us through.”’

So came at last Thursday morning, the twenty-
seventh of June. With the daylight came reveille
and breakfast. The men were tired and desperate.
But where were the Indians ?

Not one was to be seen.

‘*Can’t we reconnoitre ?’’ queried Captain Mc-
Dougall.

‘No, no; not yet,’’ Major Reno replied. ‘“‘ Stay
where you are. They ’ve got some trap planned
for us. Be ready for the pits as soon as you see
them.”’

Still all was silent. Down in the valley a few
ponies were grazing, but no other signs of life could
be seen,

Nine o’clock. Half-past nine. Then far down
256 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the valley, in the bottom-land along the river, a
cloud of rising dust was seen.
‘* Look out, boys; they ’re coming for us!’’ rose
the cry.
The men were ready for rifle-pit or charge, which-
ever might be ordered. Anything was better than
suspense. The dust-cloud came nearer. The

”

‘kettle corps’’ refilled the supply; the horses were
corralled in a protected position. Everything was
ready for an attack.

‘* How slow they come!’’ said Jack. ‘‘ I wonder
what they ’re up to?”’

Moving forms were descried in the film; now they
could be seen distinctly.

‘* Soldiers!’’ rose the cry. ‘‘ Hurrah! it ’s our
boys! Custer! Custer!”’

Hands were shaken in joy; hats flung aloft. It
is even reported that Jack danced a fandango with
the lieutenant of the pack-train. Who would n’t,
with relief in sight, after two days of siege and
torment ?

‘Is it the gray-horse troop? Is it Custer ?’’ was
asked of those with glasses or brighter eyes.

‘No, it’s not a gray troop. But they ’re our
folks,’’ came the slow reply, half disappointment,
half relief.

Thus they rode nearer—up the cooley, along
the bluff. But even as the besieged watched the
“WHERE IS CUSTER?” 257.

approach, from quite another direction came a
galloping rider.

‘‘ Is this the Seventh Cavalry ? Is General Custer
here ?’’ he asked. ‘‘ I have an order from General
Terry.”

The note was passed on to Major Reno.

‘‘ Where are you from? Did n’t you see Custer
down the river? What do you know?”’’ the
anxious cavalrymen asked.

’

‘“No. I ’m from General Terry,’’ replied the
courier. ‘‘ Two Crow scouts came in yesterday,
and said the Seventh had been whipped, nearly
killed, and needed relief and medicine. Is n’t it
so?”

‘* Well, we ’re alive, you see,’’ said the captain.
Then, from the trail along the bluff, the relief came
up.

“Hullo! it ’s Bradley,’’ cried one officer.
‘* Hullo! Bradley,’’ as the lieutenant of the Seventh
Infantry dashed out from the advance. ‘‘ Where ’s
Custer ?”’

‘“ Dead, I ’m afraid,’’ came the startling reply.
‘* We did n’t see him; but I don’t believe any es-
caped. We counted nearly two hundred dead
bodies.”’

‘‘ Dead!’’ cried Jack, and his voice sounded

strange and unnatural. ‘‘ What! the General dead

—and Autie Reed—and all! It can’t be possible.”’
17
CHAPTER XIX.
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE.

UT it was possible. Alas! the pity of it! It
was all too true. For when, in a few mo-
ments, the whole relief column rode up, with Gen-
eral Terry and his staff in command, the hearty
welcoming cheer of the relieved troopers gained but
a brief recognition and return.

Jack could read, as could the others, on the grave,
set face of the General the awful truth. And when
Major Reno and his officers came up to meet their
deliverers, the clasped hands, the quivering lips, the
sadly shaken heads, the brief word of thanks and
sorrow set the seal of truth on the unbelievable story
that Custer and two hundred of his troopers lay
dead on the fatal heights above the Little Big Horn.

“But how did it happen? How could it hap-
pen?’’ asked Jack; and so queried many of the
brave troopers who had been accustomed to look
upon Custer as invincible—the gallant leader of the
fighting Seventh.

No one could tell. They could only reply that,

258
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 259

so far as they knew, not one had escaped the mas-
sacre; not one had lived to tell the story.

And Jack repeated over and over, ‘‘ Poor Autie
Reed! What if I had had my way, and gone
with him?’’ It had indeed been the narrowest
escape from death that Jack Huntingdon had
known in that short but eventful Indian campaign
of 1876.

On the next day—the morning of June twenty-
eighth — Jack rode out from the fatal rifle-pits
where Reno and his command had stood their ter-
rible siege, and which had cost him the lives of fifty
brave men, and rode along the bluffs and down
into the valley to view the spot where Custer rode
his last rally and made his last stand.

With scouts thrown out ahead to look for lurking
Indians, the survivors of the Seventh followed the
trail along the bluffs, for they were detailed to per-
form the last sad offices for their dead comrades—to
put them out of sight. Jack, depressed but-excited,
sad-faced but inquisitive, rode for some distance by
the side of the trumpeter of Company H—the last
living man who saw Custer alive.

‘Tell me about it,’’ he demanded; and the
trumpeter, friendly to the boy and feeling the im-
portance of his own peculiar connection with the
affair, told Jack, so far as he had been a part of it,
the story of Custer’s gallant ride to death.
260 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘‘ You see, Jack,’’ he said, ‘‘ I was detailed to go
with the General as trumpeter, though I belonged
to Captain Benteen’s battalion. But I was glad to
go, of course. There was sure to be something
lively going on if you rode with the General.”

‘‘ That ’sso,’’ Jack assented. ‘‘ I know I wanted
to go along with him badly enough.”’

‘‘ Mighty lucky for you, you did n’t, young fel-
low,’’ remarked the trumpeter. . ‘‘ Well, when we
broke from the major, he went to the left, and the
General took the right. That left the river between
us, so he could n’t see you when the major got into
trouble, and you could n’t see him when we were
winding this very trail along the bluff.”’

Jack studied the situation from that point. It
was a fact. The high bluffy ridge and the river lay
between the two trails, and the marching columns
must have been concealed from each other.

‘‘ The General, he first got a glimpse of the village
up here on the bluffs,’’ said the trumpeter, ‘‘—per-
haps you heard him halloo—but it was n’t anything
like what we saw from that ridge yonder. Anyhow,
when we got here—there, you stand right here and
look down—can’t you see the valley ?”’

Jack reined his pony in as the trumpeter spoke.
His point of view overlooked the valley, lying
broad and fair in the morning sun, with the winding
river cleaving its tortuous way between its fringed
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 261

banks of willows and cottonwoods. The valley was
silent and tenantless now, and half obscured by the
spasmodic clouds of shifting smoke, the smouldering
remains of the Indian’s last blind, when they had
set the grass on fire to cover up their retreat.

‘* You don’t see much down there now, do you,
Jack ? Not much that looks like Injuns, I mean.
But I tell you, boy, it was a sight that morning
when I stood right here near the General and looked
down on it. There were lodges and wicky-ups
everywhere ; and ponies!—well, just herds of
ponies,—where there were n’t lodges. I tell you,
it looked like a big contract to collar that encamp-
ment. But the General, he thought it was luck.
He just took it for the softest snap he ’d had since
he and Sheridan drove Rosser and Early up the
valley.”’

‘‘T know about that,’’ said Jack. ‘‘ My father
was with Custer then.”

‘‘Ts that so!’’ exclaimed the trumpeter. ‘‘ Well,
he saw a great old fight. I was there too. But
this valley ’s altogether different from that one,
hey ? Well, the General he stood here, just as you
do, and he looked over just like you ’re doing.
Then he chucked off his sombrero and waved it
round his head, and he sings out to the battalion:
‘Horray!’ says he. ‘ Courage, boys; keep.up your
courage! We ’ve got ’em,’ says he; ‘looks as
2602 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

though they were asleep. We Il light right in on
“em, and as soon as we ’re through, we ’Il get back
to our station.’ ”’

‘“Was n’t that just like the General ?’’ cried
Jack, enthusiastically. ‘‘ Did n’t make any differ-
ence how big the odds were, he was going to win.”’

‘That ’s so,’’ the trumpeter replied; ‘‘ that ’s
the General every time. But I reckon, though,
that he saw pretty soon how big a contract it was
going to be, for when we struck this next ridge he
took another look.”’

Again they halted at a higher spot on the bluff,
with a wider outlook and a broader view of the val-
ley and the hill-slope at its northern end.

At one part of this broken land, where the slope
fell off to the valley and the river, Jack noticed a
large number of white-looking objects scattered
about the field.

‘“What are those things?’’ queried Jack—
‘“ sheep ?”’

The trumpeter shaded his eyes. ‘‘ How you
going to get sheep here ?’’ he said. ‘‘ The Injuns
don’t keep sheep. No; I reckon they ’re just a lot
of white boulders scattered around. It’s a rocky
spot.”’

But the officers of the advance had already noticed
the strange objects, and field-glasses were at more

than one pair of eyes.
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, 263

““ Boulders, man?’’ cried one of them, turning
from his glass to the trumpeter. ‘‘ Can’t you see
what they are? It’s all that ’s left of Custer and
his men. See, boy,’’ and he handed his glass to
Jack.

Jack Huntingdon gave just one glance and then
turned away.

““ Oh, how white they look!’’ he said.

But the trumpeter had seen too many “ stricken
fields.”’

‘“ What did you expect, Jack—full-dress ?’”’ he
said, brusquely. ‘‘ Don’t you know what Injuns
are? Those poor fellows have been lying out there,
stripped, for nigh on to forty-eight hours. Of course
they ’d look white.’’

“So that ’s where they caught the General, is
it ?’’ mused the trumpeter, looking again toward the
hill of death. ‘‘ I wonder if he had any thought of it
as he stood here. Anyhow, here ’s where he caught
the idea that he ’d got about the whole Sioux
nation and their friends to tackle. For just as he
rode away, he turned to Lieutenant Cook—he was
the adjutant, you know, Jack—and he says to him,
‘We'll want more ammunition to tackle all that,’
says he. ‘ Just write a line to Benteen, won’t you,
Cook? Tell him we ’ve struck a big village, and
to hurry up himself and bring on the packs. Let

» 9»

the trumpeter carry it.
264 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘““ That was you, eh ?”’ said Jack.

“That was me, yes,’’ the trumpeter replied.
““ Then the adjutant pulls out his pad of paper,
and he scribbled off an order to Benteen. ‘ Be sure
to tell him to bring packs,’ the General says, while
the adjutant was writing. So Lieutenant Cook he
added a P. S., and then he read it off: ‘ Benteen,
come on. Big village. Be quick. Bring packs.
P. S.—Bring packs.’ ”’

“That ’s the very order you brought to Captain
Benteen, is n’t it ?’’ queried Jack, who had himself
seen that now historic order.

““ The very identical one,’’ the trumpeter replied.
‘* The General he laughed when the adjutant read it
off. ‘ That ’s it, Cook,’ says he; ‘ short and sweet,
but right to the point. Now, then, trumpeter,’
he says to me, ‘ go! ride for all you ’re worth to
Captain Benteen.’ I saluted and wheeled around.
‘Now, boys! Down the cooley! Charge!’ cried
the General, and he and his men just laid their
horses to it and rode down that cooley just ahead.
I turned for one last look as I started, thinking the
General might want to add a word. He just mo-
tioned me with his hand to hurry and went down
the cooley at a gallop. Then I turned on the trail
and rode back till I came up to Captain Benteen on
the creek we crossed away back, and gave him the
order. That ’s the last I saw of the General, Jack.
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, 265

And there he is now, just lying scattered ’round
loose, and dead! My, my! but it ’s just awful!”’

It was but a lame expression of his sympathy
and deep regret. But it was deep and heartfelt.
Then, as if he had no words left to voice his sorrow,
the trumpeter pressed ahead of Jack and rode alone
and silent down the cooley.

With pitying eyes, but stern faced and filled with
a burning desire for vengeance, the troopers of the
Seventh came out upon that field of silent com-
rades that told all too plainly how Custer and his
two hundred men gave up their lives.

They lay where they had fallen. In ranks and
almost in files, overpowered by the weight of num-
bers, their horses discarded, fighting on foot and
against odds so desperate that some had scarcely
time to raise a hand in combat or defence,—there
they fell and there they died—martyrs of miscalcu-
lation, victims of a terrible mistake.

Marred and marked by all the abandon of Indian
savagery, they were yet, many of them, recogniz-
able; and their comrades of the Seventh, moving
sadly amid the slain, with the shadow of the tragedy
on their faces, and on their lips only the short, stern
words, of horror and the consecration to revenge,
could distinguish officers and men, and be proud of
the pluck and heroism that upheld so many of their
comrades, even to the death.
266 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Here lay Calhoun and Crittenden, in position, at
the rear of the dead, irregular line, where, thrown
across to hold the Sioux assault in check, the whole
company had died shoulder to shoulder. Here,
less than a mile beyond, as if to mark another stand
to check, lay Keogh and his thirty-eight men, dead
on the slope of the ridge, slaughtered in position,
“game ’’ to the last; down toward the river, Yates
and Van Reilly died; over the ridge fell Smith;
and, on the knoll or hillock that marks the highest
point, surrounded by his brothers and friends, and,
in the midst of his little knot of troopers—the
General! Unmarred, untouched, save by the one
fatal bulletmark, there lay the heroic, impetuous,
devoted, but overpowered Custer. Untouched, un-
scalped; for, even in death, the Sioux dared not
touch the feared and gallant Chief Long Hair.

But when, to the right of the General, just over
the slope, Jack Huntingdon came upon the body of
young Autie Reed, his comrade and friend, the
bright, enthusiastic, earnest, manly boy, all the pent-
up feeling of the lad gave way in one hot burst of
tears, and he stumbled away, glad to put the whole
awful tragedy out of sight, if never out of mind.

Yet, even as he left, one other thought came to
him—the recollection of a vow that a year before he
had heard in the Indian lodges. He turned to the
trumpeter.
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, 267

‘* Captain Tom—Captain Tom Custer, did you
look at him ?’’ he asked. ‘‘ Was he—was he—all
whole ?”’

The trumpeter strode up the hill to where, near
to his brother, the General, the fiery little captain
lay, still, in death. Then he came tearing back.

‘* Say, Jack!’’ he cried, ‘‘ those bloody Injuns
have just cut out the captain’s heart.”’

Jack Huntingdon threw up his hands in horror.

‘* Rain-in-the-Face! He did it,’’ said the boy.
‘* He kept his word. He has taken his revenge.”’

And then, unwilling to help in the sad task that
fell to the burying party, unable, indeed, to share
in it, Jack Huntingdon walked slowly away to where,
quite out of sight and hearing of the sorry scene,
the clear and shallow Little Big Horn rippled musi-
cally over its shining pebbles.

He could not comprehend it all. Boy-like, the
thought of death rarely came to him; it was a thing
he neither cared to face nor to contemptate. Get
him into a scrape or in peril of his life even, and Jack
Huntingdon could take his chance with the best; he
could front danger, even death, manfully. But
when once the peril was past, he seldom thought
of the fatal part; his recollection was only of the
danger he had faced, and the adventure in which he
had borne his part.

And yet the thought of young Autie Reed,
268 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

lying beside his uncle, dead at his post, would bring
back the reflection again and again, ‘‘ Oh, what an
escape! Suppose I had n’t stayed behind with
the pack-train, but had gone on with Autie and the
General, as I wished—where would Ibe now? Poor
Autie! he wanted to be in a big fight and see it all.
Well, he had his wish. And now it’s all over with
him. Poor chap!’’

A stir in the bushes behind him gave him a start.
The sight he had just witnessed had almost un-
nerved him. He found himself jumping at the least
thing. Some animal was in the bushes—a coyote,
perhaps; perhaps a pony. Or, perhaps, some poor
fellow had escaped from the slaughter and lay there
in hiding—famished, it might be—wounded, or worse.

To think, with Jack Huntingdon, wastoact. His
rifle was strapped to Brutus’s saddle, and the pony
was tethered with the horses on the hill. There
might be danger, but, Jack-like, his curiosity over-
came his caution, and parting the underbrush he
pushed slowly in to investigate.

He found more than he bargained for. A little
wicky-up of bent saplings and willows had been
made near to a big cottonwood, and from it, staring
out at him, he saw a face he knew.

The long red hair fell in dishevelled masses about
the pale face; the mouth was opened in astonish-
ment ; the eyes stood wide in recognition and wonder.
THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE. 269

Jack darted forward and caught at the tousled
head, which dropped, burning with fever and weak
from exhaustion, on the boy’s strong arm. Re-
action had followed surprise; the man was hurt to
death and weak with wounds and loss of blood.

But again the eyes opened, and the lips spoke his
name:

‘Big Tooth ! Is it you? What you doing here,
sonny? I thought you must be dead, too.” I
thought everybody was dead.

Jack laid the sick man down and ran to the river.
There he filled the hollow of his hat with water, and
brought it dripping to the wicky-up.

‘‘ Here, Red Top, let me moisten your lips,’’ he
said. ‘‘ It willdo you good. But what under the
sun are you doing here ?”’

For it was the squaw-man—Red Top, as they
called him—Po-to-sha-sha, the renegade.
CHAPTER XxX.

PO-TO-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY.

oe

ELL, I just had to stay, you see, sonny,”’
answered Red Top, replying to Jack’s
query.

“Why —did they hit you? Are you badly
hurt ?’’ asked Jack.

“Looks like I ’d got to go hunting the white
buffalo,’’ Po-to-sha-sha replied, his voice low and
unsteady with lessening strength and loss of blood.
“ Reckon I’ve got to go trailing down Long Hair
and his boys—only he did n’t have his long hair
on, did he?”’

‘Oh, did you see him in the fight, Red Top?”
cried Jack, forgetting for the moment the squaw-
man’s weakness.

“Did 1? Did n’t I, though ?”’ the renegade re-
plied. ‘‘ Say, sonny, just you ease me up a bit,
will you, and I can talk it off better. I’ve gota
long journey to go, boy, and I’ve got a heap to
tell you, ’cause I want to get shet of it all. Got
anything particular to do ?”’

Jack knew that the sad offices of the troopers of

270
PO-T0-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 271

the Seventh which they must do toward their dead
comrades would take a long time. His duty,
surely, so he reasoned, was toward the living.

‘Nothing but to help you, Red Top, if I can,’’
he answered. ‘‘ But say, let me get you over to
camp, where you can be comfortable. We can
make a litter for you and swing it between a couple
of mules, so that you can ride easy. And I’ll have
the doctor see you right off, and fix you up O. K.
Here, let me put you down comfortably till I can
get help to come here to you.”’

But the squaw-man laid a feeble, detaining hand
on the boy’s arm.

‘“No, no, sonny; don’t do that,’’ he said.
‘You ’re a good fellow—a heap better than I de-
serve—but I don’t want one of those sawbones
prodding away at me. He can’t do me any good.
I know what I’ve got, and what it ’s going to do to
me, and I want to keep my strength to talk to you.
Seems like you ’re one of my folks, sonny. Least-
ways, you ’re all I ’ve got left, just now.”

‘‘ Why, has Mi-mi gone and left you ?’’ queried
Jack, not liking to think of the squaw’s desertion of
her faithful, loving husband.

The squaw-man pointed feebly through the open-
ing of the wicky-up.

‘“‘See that mound over yonder?’’ he said.
““ That ’s Mi-mi.”’
272 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘What! killed ?’’ cried Jack. ‘‘O Po-to-sha-
sha! how ?”’

‘‘ That ’s why I ’m this way,’

* the squaw-man

replied. ‘‘ You would n’t have me shirk my duty
to Mi-mi, would you?’’ he demanded, almost
fiercely. ‘‘ She was my wife. And she was good
to you, Big Tooth. Don’t you remember the corn-
dumplings ?”’

‘Ves, yes, I remember them,’’ said Jack, sooth-
ingly. ‘‘ Mi-mi was mighty good to me; that ’s
so, Red Top. I ’m not saying anything against
her. I only asked how that happened.”’

He pointed toward the mound beneath the cot-
tonwood.

‘That ?’’ Po-to-sha-sha answered his motion
with another. ‘‘ Why, I was just trying to keep
her from it, that ’s all, and—it happened.”’

““But how did it happen, and how were you
hurt ?’’ persisted Jack. Evidently Po-to-sha-sha
had no desire to talk about his own deeds or losses.
But the boy’s desires won him.

‘* Well, you see, it was this way, sonny,’” he be-
gan, when Jack had propped him up with an army-
blanket and his blouse for what he called a sort
of a pillow, bathed his face, moistened his lips,
and smoothed the tangled hair from his face.
““ When Custer came thundering down the cooley
over yonder by the river, heading for the ford—See
PO-T0-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 273

here, Big Tooth!’’ he broke off, suddenly, looking
earnestly into the boy’s face; ‘‘ you just promise
me one thing now, right here, or I won’t tell you
amite. Don’t you say a word about this to any
living soul—never! ”’

The sick man’s tired eyes rounded themselves
into solemn and earnest command, quite in keeping
with the intenseness of his voice.

Jack hesitated.

““ Why—why not, Red Top?’ he queried.
‘“‘ What are you afraid of ?’’

“That ’s just it—what am I?’’ repeated the
squaw-man. ‘I ’Il tell you what I ’m ’fraid of,
boy. Sitting Bull and his bad medicine—that ’s
what.”’

Jack almost laughed. Even the gravity and
sombreness of the situation in which he found him-
self could not restrain the protesting smile.

“Why, Red Top! you don’t mean to say you
believe in that ?’’ he said. ‘‘ That ’s just supersti-
tion.”’

“Perhaps! perhaps! So you say,”’ responded the
squaw-man, shaking his head solemnly. ‘‘ But you
ain’t lived with the Bull as I have all these years;
you don’t know how he can read your thoughts and
set things to working against you so’s to make you
sick or sore—and keep you so—just as he’s doing
me now. That man’s everywhere, boy, and what

18
274. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

he can’t do ain’t worth doing. If I tell you what
happened here and you let it out before he ’s ready
to have it known,—why, the Bull he ’ll keep me
from hunting the white buffalo, and ’Il keep me lug-
ging tepees like a squaw and making pack ¢vavots-
loads and lodge-poles for the real buffalo-chasers. I
want to be a man when I get up there,—for Mi-
mi’s sake! ’”’

Jack could not pooh-pooh this desire. Boy-like,
he felt it to be all foolishness, but nevertheless his
depths of sentiment, which all boys do have, were
probed by the pathetic plea of this white man who
wished to retain the respect of the Indian wife he
loved, when both should be carried to the Indian’s
paradise—the broad, free ranges where all true
men should forever hunt the white buffalo. “‘ Be-
sides,’’ argued Jack, “this thing will come out
without my telling it. Some one must have es-
caped; the world need not depend on me for the
story.’’ So he promised. And Jack Huntingdon,
as you know, could be relied on to keep his word.

Po-to-sha-sha knew this too, and he gave a sigh
of relief as the boy solemnly assured him that he
would keep his story to himself.

““T knew you would n’t get me into a scrape,
sonny,’ he said. ‘‘ And yet I wanted to tell you
what I saw, for the thing ’s worth telling,—I vum!
but it is,’’ the squaw-man declared with a return of
PO-TO-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 275,

his old-time earnestness. ‘‘ You know when I left
you at the ford, and you scooted back to your lines
after the Bull had skedaddled, and Iron Cedar
turned Chief Gall back to corner the new outfit
down at this end of the valley ?”’

Jack nodded.

‘“‘ Well, he did corner it with a vengeance,’’ said
the squaw-man. ‘‘I kited back with ’em after I
left you, and caught up with ’em at the Ogallala’s
tepees by the creek on the other side. I thought
sure you fellows would be on my heels, for when
Gall and the Strong Hearts went swarming off, they
only left some of the boys and old men to yell and
make you think there was a crowd of ’em yet after
you. If whoever led your soldiers had only had
gumption enough to get down off ’n that hill and
charge down to Long Hair’s—Custer’s—help, you ’d
‘a’ had things your own way, and there would n’t
have been that heap of dead soldiers out yonder
—and Long Hair.”’

“IT knew it, I just knew it,’ declared Jack,
through set teeth. ‘‘ Oh, why did n’t the major
have sand enough to try ?”’

““*Course I did n’t want him to,’’ the squaw-man
hastened to say. ‘‘ I’m an Injun, and I wanted
the Injuns to beat. But that ’s a fact I’m giving
you. Well, when we got down here, Gall and
Crazy Horse bunched their men together, and we
276 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

just galloped lickety-split up to the bluffs where
Long Hair and his men were coming down through
the cooley. They put up a great show, I tell you,
boy. I was so sorry for them—for I saw they
did n’t stand a chance against our crowd—that I ’d
have cleared out if I could. But our warriors
were jammed so thick that I just had to ride on.

‘* When we saw them coming we divided. Gall
and his folks went up toward the ford where I put
you across, and Crazy Horse and his braves swarmed
up the nor’west cooleys. That surrounded ’em,
you see, and then—vwell, sir’’—the squaw-man
threw out his feeble hand in a significant gesture—
“it was all up with ’em, then. We just got around
*em and jammed into ’em so, they did n’t hardly
have time to fight. Their horses was well-nigh
dead beat, and so was the men with their hard
riding; and when you ’ve got about ten to one, and
that one all played out to begin with, it don’t take
long to finish up.

“It did n’t with our folks. You know how
Injuns fight — galloping their ponies around and
around in a circle, firing and yelling for all they ’re
worth. That ’s just the way they did here. They
bunched your fellows into two or three clumps, and
then they went circling around ’em like mad, firing
as fast as they could load. The soldiers had got off
their horses to fight—they always do, you know—
PO-T0-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 277

and our folks who were n’t fighting or firing the
soldiers, just popped off the fellows that were hold-
ing the horses—— ”

‘‘ Every fourth trooper, that was,’’ said Jack.
‘“ That ’s the way we fight.”’

‘Well, every fourth one of you went down like a
buffalo cow when the hunters get at her—just with
no fight at all; then our folks waved their blankets
and stampeded the horses. That cut off all show
of escape, you see, and when our folks had ringed ~
around with a gallop three or four times—there
was n’t one of your folks left to fight. The Injuns
had killed ’em all.’’

‘* But what about the Injuns?’’ queried Jack;
‘* did n’t the troopers drop any of them ?”’

‘‘ Did n’t they ? Well, I reckon they did,’’ the
squaw-man replied. ‘‘ Your folks fired as long as
they could. Long Hair, he stood off on that little
hill where you found him, and a dozen brave fellows
beside him, and they just pegged away until we
stopped ’em. You didn’t see any traces of dead
Injuns, I suppose ?”’

‘* We never do, you know,”’ Jack replied. ‘‘ They
always manage to get dragged off somehow.”’

‘* Phat ’s so,’’ the squaw-man assented. ‘‘ Well,
I got hurt before that was done, you see; but I can
tell you this—there were as many as a hundred In-
juns lying dead out there in front of Long Hair—
278 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

only he did n’t have any long hair, did he ?. What
did he cut it off for? ’Fraid of his scalp ?”’

“ Afraid, Red Top!’’ cried Jack. ‘‘ Why, my
General did n’t know what it was to be afraid.”’

“Well, he had a good chance to try it on right
here,’’ the squaw-man said. ‘‘ But I’m blamed if he
found out. He was n’t phased a bit up to the time
I saw him drop.”’

‘““ Who shot him, Red Top, do you know? Was
it Rain-in the-Face ?’’ queried Jack.

““ That tan-faced boaster!’’ cried Po-to-sha-sha.
“Well, I reckon not. He did more jumping and
yelling and less real fighting than any man in the
outfit, Rain did. But say!—he kept his vow. He
took the heart out of Little Hair—that ’s Custer’s
brother, you know—and eat it, too.”’

“T said so! I said so!’’ exclaimed Jack. ‘‘ Poor
Cap’n Tom.”’

“You need n’t ‘ poor’ him, sonny,’”’ said Po-to-
sha-sha. ‘‘ Little Hair died game. He give Rain-
in-the-Face mighty near as good as he sent, and if
that pesky critter don’t go ’round with a limp in his
leg for the rest of his good-for-nothin’ life, then
you can count me no medicine.’’

“Well, where did you get hit, Red Top ?”’ asked
Jack. ‘‘ In Custer’s last rally, yonder ?”’

“No, I did n’t, sonny,’’ the squaw-man replied.
‘You see, when it came to real fighting, I just
PO-T0-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 279

counted out. I ’ll fight Ree or Crow or Snake any
day—though I tell you I don’t hanker after it. But
Icanif I have to. But when it comes to shooting
down boys in blue or firing against the flag—well,
I think a heap too much of the uniform I wore to
slam a shot into it.’’

“Then you were—you were a soldier, Red
Top ?’’ Jack exclaimed.

He had forced a bit of Po-to-sha-sha’s story from
him in spite of himself. The squaw-man’s eyes
blazed up.

‘““ What did I say—what did I say, boy?’ he
cried. ‘‘ Did I say the uniform I wore? Well—I
did. And I disgraced it, boy, and that’s why—
I ’m—here—dying like a dog, without country,
home, or even a friend.’’

‘““ Don’t say that, Red Top,’’ Jack cried, sympa-
thetically. ‘‘I’m here. And I won’t leave you.”’

“You won’t have to stay long, sonny,’’ said the
squaw-man. ‘‘ That last jump of mine set me to
bleeding again. Well, I ’m glad I did n’t get it
fighting against the flag.”’

‘““ But how did you disgrace the uniform, Red
Top ?’’ Jack asked the renegade.

“I deserted, sonny; I just run away, ’cause the
gold fever caught me, and ‘cause folks at home
called me shiftless, and the boys in my company
hectored me into cussin’ them and the service and
- 280 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

the flag and everything else.’’ The squaw-man
spoke rapidly and with evident shame. ‘‘ So I cut
and run. I said I ’d be rich and shame ’em all.
But I never found the gold, sonny. I drifted out
this way; got among the Injuns—first the Crows
and then the Uncapapas. I did Sitting Bull a good
turn, and then, I vum, when he’d wormed my story
out of me, in that ’tarnal way of his, what does he
do but hold it over me, and swear that he’d sell me
to the government as a deserter if I did n’t do as he
said. And there you have it all, sonny. What

could I do but give in to him? I’d married Mi-mi
—Injun fashion, of course, but she ’s my wife all
the same—and I had just to hang on. A deserter is
never forgiven.”’

The pathos in the poor renegade’s voice rang so
sincerely that Jack was deeply touched.

‘““ Oh yes, he is,’’ he replied. “ Why, Red Top,
we ‘ll get you well, and I'll fix it up—why! see
here—I ’ll see the President myself. I know him.
What he says, goes. Well have you die like a
good American yet.”’

“ Then it ’Il have to be now, sonny,’’ the squaw-
man said. ‘‘ I reckon I ’ve got to the end of my
rope. The Bull has done for me at last, I tell you.”’

“The Bull! Sitting Bull!’ cried Jack. “ Why,
I thought he ’d skedaddled—got out of the way of
the fighting?’
PO-T0O-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 281

““So he did, when he left you,’”’ the squaw-man
replied. ‘‘ But when the Strong Hearts saw that
your major up on the bluffs was scared, and that
Long Hair was trapped and doomed, one of ’em
went racing off to the hills and stopped the Bull,
who was making tracks for safety. And when he
heard the news he came riding back and said he ’d
been off making medicine. Then he made a boast
of how he’d done it all, and how his medicine always
came true, and the Injuns took it all down for gospel
truth. Then he went raging and tearing and galli-
vanting ’round the place. He blackguarded me for
letting you go; and when Mi-mi took my part and
called him a coffee-cooler, he up and called her a
Ree renegade squaw, and then—well—I hit him—
just as any man would whose wife was insulted—even
in the States. Then the Bull yanks out his knife
and slung it at me—same as he did at you that day
—you remember. But I was n’t as spry as you; I
could n’t dodge it. But Mi-mi—she was spryer.
She saw the knife a-coming and sprang in between to
save me—me—the deserter—but her husband! Well,
the knife struck her—and there she lies out yonder.’’

Jack was actually crying.

““ Poor Mi-mi,’’ he said. ‘‘ Was n’t she noble,
though ?”’

““ Noble!’’ cried the squaw-man, adoration send-
ing the blood surging to every vein and creating a
282 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

momentary strength. He lifted himself almost up-
right. ‘‘ Say, sonny! what was that in the Bible—
I learned it when I was a little shaver going to
Sunday-school out East—something about not going
back on your friends, but loving ’em if it killed you?
What is it, boy ?”’

Jack was a good Bible scholar. In an instant the
text the squaw-man sought came to his memory.

“““ Greater love hath no man than this,’ the boy
quoted, solemnly, ‘ that a man lay down his life for
his friends.’ ”’

“Or a woman either, sonny—and a squaw at
that—hey? don’t the Bible mean that, too ?’’ the
renegade cried, excitedly. ‘‘ ’Cause no man—nor
woman either—could show greater love than my
Mi-mi did. She just laid down her life for me.
And there she is, under that cottonwood.’’

‘’ But how did you get hurt, Red Top?” asked
Jack, as the renegade sank exhausted again. ‘‘ Did
you have it out with Sitting Bull?”’

‘““DidI? They just had to hold me back, or I’d
have torn him to pieces,’’ said Po-to-sha-sha.
“And then they drove me out of camp for threat-
ening the medicine chief, whose medicine had
warmed their hearts and made them s0 brave that
they had wiped the Long-Swords from the earth,
as the chief had promised they should. No, I was
in the minority, sonny, so I wandered out here
PO-T0-SHA-SHA TELLS HIS STORY. 283

while they were raising Cain in the lodges over their
victory. I made that bed for Mi-mi and laid her
down in it and covered her up, and then—well—I
was so lonely and homesick and down in the mouth
that I did n’t want to live any longer. And I won't.”

Jack Huntingdon caught the renegade’s hand.

“* Po-to-sha-sha!’’ he cried, ‘‘ you did n’t

‘Ves, I did, sonny,’’ the renegade answered,
with a sad smile. ‘‘ What had I left to live for,
anyhow ? No country, no flag, no home, no wife.

97?



Every one against me—even the Injuns—no place
on earth that wanted me. Sol says, ‘Ill go to
Mi-mi.’ I had my revolver—two charges in it—
now there is one—and here I am.”’

‘* But you sha’n’t die; you must n’t,’’ cried Jack,
bending over the suicide. ‘‘ See, I'll get you to
the doctor. Then, if you must go, you can die
under the flag.”’

‘‘ Sonny,’’—the renegade roused himself again—
‘« just feel inside my shirt, will you 2”

Jack slipped his hand within the renegade’s
agency shirt, and drew from it, where it had covered
his heart, shot through and dyed with the suicide’s
blood, a small American flag.

‘‘ I swiped it at a trader’s store one day,’’ the
renegade confessed. ‘‘ And no one ’s ever seen it
—not even Mi-mi. Whenever there was a fight, I
put it there. Put it above me, will you, sonny,
284 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

when—when you 're through with me, and let me feel
that I’m an American after all, bad as I ’ve been.
Don’t you ever be led away from the flag, boy,’’ he
said, solemnly. ‘‘ When you lose that, you lose
your country, and that means home and everything.
Hold it up, will you, sonny, where I can see it once
more and give the salute to the colors.’’

Jack, thinking to humor him, stood up just out-
side the wicky-up, and held the cheap little blood-
stained flag aloft.

The squaw-man raised himself also, with his full
brief store of fading strength, lifted his hand to his
head in soldierly salute, stood fairly erect for an in-
stant, and shouted, ‘‘ Hurrah for the red, white,
and blue!’”’

Then the momentary strength gave way, the life-
blood, started afresh by this over-exertion, gushed
out in fatal profusion, the wounded form grew limp
and lifeless, and Po-to-sha-sha fell to the ground
before Jack could spring to his assistance.

The eyes opened once in recognition; closed
again; a sigh came through the parted lips; then
the name —‘ Mi-mi.’’

Thus died Po-to-sha-sha, the squaw-man, the
unknown deserter, the renegade—faithful at the
last to the flag he had followed in his strength, and
to the wife he had loved in his exile. And Jack
Huntingdon was left alone.

b
CHAPTER XXI.
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP.

ACK turned sadly away from the spot in which
lay his friend the renegade. After that day’s
crowding experience the light-hearted lad could
never more be unfamiliar with death. The Valley
of the Little Big Horn had indeed been to hima
veritable valley of death.

He found the troopers still at their sad yet
brotherly task; but he managed to get the trum-
peter apart so that he might tell him what he
wished. Briefly he recited Po-to-sha-sha’s story
and told of the repentant renegade’s last wish.

““ Wore the flag next to his heart, did he ?’’ said
the trumpeter. ‘‘ Well, by George! such a deserter
as that is worth forgiving. JI reckon he got more
punishment than the service could ever have given
him. And turned Injun, too! Well, Jack, drive
ahead. You can count meinon this. I reckon we
can respect his last wishes, even if he did turn red-
skin.’’

And so it came to pass that Red Top the renegade

had Christian burial. For Jack and the trumpeter
285
286 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

dug a grave for the squaw-man beside that of his
faithful Indian wife; over it they planted the stars
and stripes, and above it, when all was over, the
trumpeter played taps, and Po-to-sha-sha the de-
serter slept in a soldier’s grave.

Jack rode back to the camp in the upper val-
ley that night feeling that, on that day indeed,
he had “‘ supped full of horrors.’’ But ‘‘ out of
sight ’’ is very soon “‘ out of mind”’ with a healthy,
happy-go-lucky boy, even if he be strong enough of
character and stout enough of heart to never forget,
though he may soon stop thinking, about the sights
and scenes of so memorable a season as that dis-
astrous campaign of the Little Big Horn in 1876.

Jack found plenty of things to divert his thoughts
as he joined the camp; but that night, after mess,
as the men sat around the bivouac fire smoking and
discussing the events that have now become historic
in that fatal incident of Custer’s last rally, he found
himself listening intently as the troopers talked the
matter over and freely gave their opinion for or
against the General’s conduct, and the apparently
needless slaughter of more than two hundred gallant
men.

Opinions were widely divided. Some declared
that the movement was all wrong from the start.

“The General ought n’t to have divided up,”’
said one critic. “‘Ifhe’d kept the command to-
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. 287

gether and gone in with us all in a bunch he ’d ‘a’
licked ’em, sure as shootin’!’’

‘* That ’s so,’’ chimed in another; “‘ that ’s just
the way it came out over yonder’’—he jerked his
head in the direction of that fatal field still known
as Custer’s Hill. ‘‘ Did n’t you see how they lay
around there in three or four little piles? They
were too much divided. I tell you, there ’s nothing
an Injun’s so afraid of as massing. He likes to get
the outfit separated and go for each part.”’

‘“T don’t see that,’’ said a corporal, long in the
Seventh; ‘‘ that ’s just the way the General did the
thing before, and it never failed till now. If he
could have got at ’em early enough, I know it would
have been all right, but you see we were a little
too late in the day to give them the surprise-party
we reckoned on.”’

““ Anyway,’ said one of the self-constituted
critics, ‘‘ the General was too fresh. He was rash,
I say—mighty rash. Why did n’t he back out
when he saw what he’d got to handle, and wait for
the rest of us to come up? I don’t suppose he
thought he was going to fight all the Injuns in
Christendom. Ten to one is bigger odds than even
Custer ought to face. Seems to me he should have
known that and pulled back in time.’’

”

““ They do say,’’ observed another of the critics—

one who counted himself well posted on the news
288 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

of the day—‘‘ they do say that the General and old
man Grant had a set-to over somethin’ or other,
down to Washington, and that the President give it
to the General hot and heavy. That set him up to
make a record for himself out here in the Injun
country, and he was just bound to go in and win—
the bigger the victory with the smallest outfit, so
much the better. And that ’s how comes it he’s
layin’ out there where he is, and two hundred good
fellows alongside of him, instead of legging it after
the Injuns with us at his heels. Sounds kind of
likely now, does n’t it ?”’

“No, sir, I ll be hanged if it does,’’ exclaimed
Jack’s friend, the trumpeter. ‘‘ Say, did you see
who was out there on that field? There was the
General, and Cap’n Tom, his brother, and Mr.
Boston Custer, his other brother, and Cap’n Cal-
houn, his brother-in-law, and that young Autie
Reed, his nephew, to say nothing of those officers
who were his closest friends, Keogh and Yates and
Cook. Does it stan’ to reason that the General
would ’a’ gone in, selfish-like and just out o” spite,
and used up his whole family and his friends, only
to make a show? No, sir, it don’t. You fellows
know such a lot, you make me just sick with your
ideas.”’

But the critics were not silenced by this outburst.

‘‘ Well, p’r’aps that ain’t so,’’ was the response
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. 289

from one of the most pronounced of them; “‘ but I
tell you, the General’s tactics were wrong. Why
did n’t he go slow when he struck that trail that
brought us over here? How do we know that he
followed orders in hurrying up his fight ? General
Terry ’s got a cool head, and just as like as not he
told Custer to hold on and wait for him and Gib-
bon’s column as soon as he ’d struck the trail.”’

‘“‘ Lot you know,’’ said the trumpeter. “‘ Why,
I was right by the General’s horse ready to sound
the advance when General Terry was bidding him
good-bye—up there on the Rosebud, you know.
And General Terry said to him—I heard him—
says he, ‘ Use your own judgment, Custer; if you
do strike a big trail, just you do what you think
best.’ All he cautioned him was to hold on to his
wounded. ‘ Whatever you do, Custer,’ he says,
‘hold on to your wounded.’ I heard him say that.”

‘‘ Well, he held on to ’em, sure enough, did n’t
he?’’ remarked one of the troopers. ‘‘I reckon
none of ’em got away. They were all there.”’

‘‘ Right you are, Jimmy,’’ responded a chorus of
comrades, and one remarked, “‘ Say, boys, did you
see old Butler—sergeant of Cap’n Tom Custer’s
troop ? Did you see where he was? I tell you, he
put in his best licks fore he threw up the sponge.
There he lay, all by his lonesome, down toward the
ford, and I ’ll bet I picked up a pint o’ empty ca’t-

19
2900 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

ridge shells under him. How he must have laid
them Injuns out! He was always a rattling good
shot, the sergeant was.”’

“Empty shells!’’ growled another trooper.
““Hi’m! that don’t say much. I tell you, boys, it
was the ca’tridges that whipped us. Nine out of
ten of them were defective. They were dirty, and
they corroded the ejectors so ’s you could n’t get
the empty shells out of the chambers without using
your knife to pick ’em out. That ’s what ailed our
guns t’ other day. And I tell you it just killed
the General’s men. How much you going to do
when you ’ve got to stop between shots to dig the
shells out ’n the ejectors—’specially when the In-
juns have got better and newer guns than you have ?
And where did they get them? At the agencies.
Government guns, too. What do you say to that ?
I call it manslaughter, I do. What re-dress have
poor chaps like us got when the government sends
us out here to lick the Injuns, and then turns round
and sells the Injuns guns to kill us with—better
guns than ours, too ?”’ j

“It’s all dirty politics and favoritism and lettin’
the Injun agents have a chance to make some
money, no matter who ’s hurt, that does that busi-
ness,’’ remarked an indignant comrade. ‘‘ And
we get the worst end of the shoddy contracts and

»?

the no-account guns—and that does our business.
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. 291

Whereupon the discussion drifted off into a gen-
eral arraignment of all in authority over them, as is
always the case with all subordinates in warlike or
peaceful surroundings, and always has been the case
since ever the first man in the world hired another
to serve him. Grumbling is the subordinate’s
privilege, even if it is not his prerogative.

But even criticism and grumbling must end in
time, and good humor return, as it did in this case
around the glimmering bivouac fires on the bluffs of
the Little Big Horn. For, notwithstanding the
sombre nature of their surroundings, their duties of
that ghastly day—the same duties for which they
would be detailed on the morrow—the troopers must
have their relaxation as certainly as their fault-finding.
So before long—before taps were sounded and the
weary troopers tumbled into bed—they were all
skylarking about their quarters; or, dropping into
an absurd step, paraded about the fire, singing that
good-humored travesty upon themselves just then
a favorite in New York music-halls:

‘« There was Sargeant John McCafferty and Capt’n Donahue,

They made us march and toe the mark in gallant Company Q.

Oh, the drums did roll, upon me sowl, and this is the way we go:
Forty miles a day on beans and hay, in the regular army, O!”

You can’t long keep soldiers or sailors in a
sombre mood, even though death lies behind them,
before them, or all about them! They say there
292, THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

was joking in the ranks even when the six hundred
of the Light Brigade—‘‘ all that was left of them ’’
—rode out of the death-trap at Balaclava! Dewey’s
men went skylarking to breakfast in the lull of Ma-
nila’s fight, and Hobson’s comrades put up a bit of
“ funning’’ as they rowed into the Spanish clutches
at Santiago.

But the trumpeter said to Jack, ‘‘ It makes me
sick, Jack, so it does, to hear those freshies from
St. Paul—why, they joined the command after you
did, Jack—giving their opinion over the General’s
tactics, and what he ought to have done! A battle
had to-come, did n’t it? That ’s what we ’re here
for. If the General had n’t come here, but had
struck south to find Crook, or had waited for Terry,
why, the Injuns would n’t have hung around till he
picked out the time to lick’em. They ’d have just
up and got. That ’stheirway. Ifthey’d done so,
who’dhave got the blame? Custer. Hecame here;
he found ’em; he sailed in to whip’em. He struck
the whole Sioux nation; and got the worst of it.
Well, what of it? Is n’t it better to stand-up and
take your medicine like a man, even if it does kill
you, than hold back and be afraid to stick your
nose out for fear some one ’Ill pull it? General
Custer died like a hero; and so did his men;
and this country ’ll never forget ’em, you mark my

words.’’
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. 293

From all of which Jack Huntingdon was led to
infer that the trumpeter thought more of Custer’s
dash than of Reno’s timidity—although no names
were mentioned, for the trumpeter was too good a
soldier to go against the rules of discipline. And
still the never-answered questions stayed with both
of them: ‘‘ Why did not Benteen go with those
packs? Why did n’t Reno go, too ?”’

Next day the work of clearing and temporarily
marking the battle-field that was a burying-ground
was concluded, and at once preparations began for
a speedy withdrawal. For General Terry, who was,
like Reno, no seasoned Indian-fighter, felt himself
on dangerous and uncertain ground, and decided to
fall back at once to the supply-camp on the Yellow-
stone. He had no inclination to go off “ playing
tag’’ with the whole Sioux nation, and wisely
deemed discretion the better part of valor. His
column, as well as that of General Crook, had been
defeated by the well-generalled and warlike Sioux.
He wanted reinforcements before he advanced.

So preparations for withdrawal were made. But
in the afternoon of the day before departure Jack
accompanied a detail sent to make one last survey
of the two hundred and sixty graves on and about
Custer’s Hill. And as they waited there Jack
sought once more the twin graves under the cotton-
woods, and said a boyish adieu to the good Mi-mi,
2904 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

who had made him the corn-dumplings, and the odd
squaw-man who had been his friend in time of need.
The rent flag still fluttered above the renegade’s last
resting-place, and Jack with a sigh turned away,
going, as he knew, to that civilization which this
poor exile longed for, yet would not seek because
of his faithfulness to her who had been faithful to
him. As he left, Jack somehow found himself say-
ing over and over a scrap that he had heard some-
where, but which he could neither place nor patch
out—‘‘ in their deaths they were not divided.’’

“Tt suits them, anyhow,”’ he declared, ‘‘ whoever
said it.’’

The dusk was closing in upon the bleak and bluff-
like cliffs, the scarred and scarped heights that ram-
part the fair and now fertile valley of the Little Big
Horn, as the detail rode campward across the valley.
They were to ascend by the ravine-like cooley up
which Reno’s men had scrambled in their panic-like
flight; but, from their trail, the sharp ridges of the
bluffs, touched with the twilight, stood dim and
ghostly in the dusk. :

As Jack looked his last upon the ridge along which
Custer’s men had galloped to their death, and where
he had taken the long leap that gave him life, he
caught every now and then a glimpse of a moving
form outlined on the edge of the bluff.

At last he pointed it out to his friend the trumpeter.
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. 295

‘‘ Tt looks like a riderless horse,’’ he said. ‘‘ But,
of course, it can’t be.”’

‘“The ghost of Custer’s troop, I reckon,” the
trumpeter said, half in fun and half in fear. For
superstition touches more people in this world than
we are ready to admit. ‘‘ Looks that way, don’t
it, Jack ? though, of course, that ’s all foolishness.
Hark! hear that! By George! it is a horse—or the
ghost of the troop.”

They all started as, down from the bluff, came
the quavering notes of a neigh.

‘The last call of the outpost!’’ the trumpeter
declared, and the whole detail breathed a bit easier
as they toiled up the ascent and at last dismounted
beside the newly lighted bivouac fire.

But, even as they flung themselves down at mess,
once again that quavering neigh of the ghostly troop-
horse fell upon their ears, and in the distance
sounded the approaching tramp of a war-horse.

More than one man started to his feet, while the
detail that had seen the phantom charger on the
bluffs looked at each other in query.

“It’s the ghost of the troop-horse, Jack,’’ the
trumpeter declared. ‘‘I wonder is it a warning—
or what ?”’

The trampling sounded nearer; another neigh,
quavering, pitiful, almost appealing in its tones, as
if begging companionship or welcome, came to
296 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

their ears, and then, past the challenging outposts
and the startled sentries, the ghost of the troop-
horse came within the lines, and stood trembling be-
fore the bivouac fire.

“It ’s one of ours!”’ cried Captain McDougall,
who stood by. ‘‘ Stir up that fire, Jack, won’t
you? Let ’s see if we know it.”

The flare shot up, and in its light the newcomer |
stood revealed. Bleeding from severe wounds, weak
and weary, and with a desire for pity and comfort
that was deeply pathetic shining in his eyes, the
scarred but beautiful sorrel laid its head against the
captain’s shoulder as if to claim protection.

Jack sprang forward.

“Why! it ’s Comanche!’ he said.

“You ’re right, Jack. By Jove! it is,’’ cried the
captain, flinging his arms about the neck of the
sorrel. ‘‘ Poor Myles Keogh! It ’s his Coman-
che. And I believe, boys, he ’s the only living
thing we shall ever see from our side of that battle-
field. Let ’s give him a rousing welcome, boys:
Come! three cheers for Comanche!”’

And about the bivouac fire the cheers of welcome
tang out so lustily that, from all the camp, came
officers and men anxious to know the cause and
to join again in a salvo of welcome to the noble
charger Comanche, sole survivor of the fight, gallant
Captain Keogh’s splendid Kentucky sorrel.


COMANCHE, SOLE SURVIVOR. Page 296.
HOW COMANCHE CAME INTO CAMP. 207

And from that day to the day of his death, Co-
manche, the sorrel, lived the pet of the Seventh.
From the Secretary of War came the order to
honor and respect him. Never a stroke of work
did Comanche do; never a man crossed his back to
ride him in battle or on parade; for his care and
comfort one man was always detailed. And so the
beautiful sorrel lived out his days, the pride of the
fighting Seventh—the only living relic of Custer’s
last rally.

Next day the shattered command took the back-
ward way, retiring to the supply-camp on the Yellow-
stone. There Terry was heavily reinforced. Men
were hurried also to the strengthening of Crook at
the south; and the two commands, uniting in
August, 1876, entered upon the protracted search
for the Sioux that ended, not in capture, as hoped,
but only when Crazy Horse disappeared in the fast-
nesses of the Dakota Mountains, and Sitting Bull
had escaped across the border into British posses-
sions. Once again had the Master of the Strong
Hearts proved himself a match for the Long-Swords,
against whom he still made bad medicine.

In the end, however, the white man of course
triumphed. It was not, in the nature of things,
possible for the starving and divided hostiles long
to resist the marshalled forces of the United States.

Colonel Miles and Colonel Merritt, both of whom,
298 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

as general of the army and commander of the Manila
expedition, were later to win renown in the war with
Spain, pursued the Sioux with energy and determi-
nation; the union of the separated Indian bands was
prevented and when Lame Deer, the Minniconjou
chief, with the last of the resisting hostiles, was sur-
prised and routed on the Rosebud in May, 1877,
Crazy Horse, the valiant Ogallala, driven to sur-

“ce

render himself, ran “‘ amuck’’ on his way to the
guard-house at Camp Robinson, and died as a true
hostile wished to die—defying the white man.

Three years later, in July, 1881, Sitting Bull him-
self, pining for his loved home land, crossed the
border and, at Standing Rock, surrendered with all
his following.

The greatest of all the Sioux wars was over. The
prowess of the Long-Swords had overcome the skill,
as it had broken the spirit, of the medicine chief, and
Custer was avenged.

As for Jack, long before the ending of that sum-
mer campaign of 1876, he was speeding to the
eastward toward civilization and home.

His own “‘ campaign’’ had not been a success;
and yet, in its way, it had been a more surprising
success than even his wildest fancy imagined. For
he had taken part in the most famous of Indian
campaigns, and had a share in the most notable
tragedy of all our Indian warfare.
CHAPTER XXII.
AFTER MANY YEARS.

I was one day, years after these recorded events

of 1876, that Jack Huntingdon—Mr. John Hunt-
ingdon now, if you please, Consulting Architect,—
sat in his office deep in a problem as to how to
satisfy the demands of all the members of a certain
church building committee, and yet erect the edifice
he himself had determined upon, when his office
boy brought in a card.

‘‘ Gentleman ’s waiting, sir,’’ he said. ‘‘ Shall I
show him in ?”’

Jack—it ’s no use! I must call him Jack, still—
read the card and tugged at his big brown mus-
tache thoughtfully.

‘Dr. John Young Wolf,’”’ he read. ‘“‘I don’t
know any Dr. Wolf. Did he say what he wanted,
Tony ?”’

‘No, sir; he said just a personal call,’’ the boy
replied.

‘‘ Oh, not on business, eh ?’’ cried Jack. ‘‘ Why,
of course, show the gentleman right in, Tony.”

299
300 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

The next instant Tony was ushering in the visitor
with the words, ‘‘ This is Mr. Huntingdon, sir.’’

“So it is; of course it is,’’ the visitor replied, as
the office boy closed the door. ‘‘ And he does not
know me. How! heap good!”’ he cried, grasping
Jack’s half-extended hand.

Jack started at the evident Indianism—if one
may so express it ;—but even then his wits did not
come back from wool-gathering sufficiently to grasp
the personality of his visitor.

‘You wished to see me, personally, Dr. Wolf?”
he asked, courteously, but with an unsatisfied query
in his tone.

“Yes, I did. More than you wished to see me
the last time I saw you,”’ the mysterious Dr. Wolf
replied. ‘‘ Let me jog your memory: a narrow,
steep ravine—cooley, the frontiersmen call it; a
long line of Indians stealthily pulling up on the war-
path; a boy on a pony, taking a long swift leap
from capture; a boy down the cooley, looking up
in surprise and admiration and giving that other boy
a new name: We-cha-sa Chis-chi-na—Little Man,
that means. That is the last time I saw you, ten—
twelve—fifteen—twenty years ago.”’

And the dark-faced, foreign-looking, black-haired
gentleman bowed profoundly and smiled courteously.

But Jack Huntingdon was closing in on him

joyously.
AFTER MANY YEARS. 301

“Why!” he cried, “‘ it ’s not you, surely? It’s
not——”’

‘““Young Wolf, the Uncapapa, at your service,
Big Tooth,’’ the visitor replied, finishing Jack’s
halting query.

Jack held off the Indian at arm’s length, looked
him all over critically, then turned to the card,
picked it up, read and re-read it, and shaking his
visitor’s hands most heartily, laughed quite as
heartily.

‘Why, certainly,’ he cried. “‘ Now I under-
stand the card, all but the Doctor—and the John.
Where did you get the John, Young Wolf ?”’

‘From you, my friend. You gave it to me,’ he
replied, smiling.

‘““T gave it to you? When? I don’t remem-
ber,’’ said puzzled Jack.

‘“‘ Here, sir; here in this very city—in this big
village by the great salt water,” Young Wolf re-
plied—for our Young Wolf it certainly was. “‘ The
boys with bad hearts had driven me to the torture-
post, when you rescued me and said,—I can hear
you just now— Johnnie,’ you said, “let ’s have
your tomahawk!’ And Johnnie you called me till
you learned my Indian name. And that is where
my John came from—from my blood-brother, Big
Tooth—afterward called Little Man, because of his
courage at a certain wonderful leap.”’
302 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

““ Well, well, Young Wolf, but I am glad to see
you,’’ cried Jack, again shaking his old friend’s
hands. ‘‘ Sit down and give an account of yourself.
Or no—somebody ’ll come in and spoil our talk
with business. Come around to the club with me.
We'll talk and lunch and talk again, and get all the
news of the past twenty years. Well, well! but I
am glad to see you.”’

And throwing on his coat and hat, Jack dragged
Young Wolf from the office, crying out to his office
boy as he went, ‘‘ Be back day after to-morrow,
Tony,’’ and so into the street and off to a cozy
corner at the club.

Young Wolf laughed heartily, permitting himself
to be led away an unresisting captive.

““ The same old Big Tooth—impulsive as ever, I
see,’’ he said, as he sank down into the great easy-
chair that Jack wheeled out for him, wzs-a-vis to
its companion chair in which Jack at once installed
himself.

“Say! how under the sun did you find me,
Young Wolf—excuse me, Doctor John Young
Wolf ?’’ demanded Jack. ‘‘I just happened to
think you never knew my name—my common,
every-day, New York name, I mean? How did you
know it? You could n’t find Big Tooth or Little
Man in the directory.”’

‘“ I’ve been on your trail for years,’’ the Indian
AFTER MANY YEARS. 303

replied. ‘‘ Three times I have been in New York
on my way to and from Europe, and each time
I have looked in vain. But this morning—not
half an hour ago—I stood at my hotel window, and
saw you come down the street with three gentle-

”?

men



‘My building committee. I’d just had a séance
with them,’’ murmured Jack.

‘“‘T followed you—tracked you—excuse me for it
—trailed you up to your office,’ said the Indian.
‘‘ Tread the name on your door—entered—presented
my card—and behold! here we are—with the years
pushed away, talking as we did under the cotton-
woods beneath the Devil’s Tower.”’

‘““ That ’s so,’’ said Jack; ‘‘ it seems only yester-
day. But lots of things have happened in those

a»?



twenty years. You—a doctor, a

‘A gentleman? An American? Yes, I trust
so, my brother,’ the Indian replied, supplying
Jack’s unexpressed wonderment. ‘* Perhaps to you
my story is more interesting than your own, though
I doubt it. I will tell it, briefly. I was a wild In-
dian across the border until the Sioux surrendered
and went back to the agency the year after Custer’s
fight. There I met a good man who became in-
terested in me, and at last prevailed on Chief Gall,
my uncle, you remember, to let me go to Hamp-
ton. I went. General Armstrong made me over.
304. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

All that I am to-day I owe to him, God bless
him!”’

‘‘ Great man,’’ said Jack, who, like far too many
Americans, only had a vague idea as to General
Armstrong and what he really had done for the
wards of the nation.’’ He did

6c“

bettering of the
know, however, in a general way that the devoted
soldier-teacher had accomplished some wonderful
things with the Indians—and when he looked at
Young Wolf he was sure of it.

‘« After I finished at Hampton, I went back to
the reservation,’’ continued the Indian. ‘‘ I wanted
to be somebody—to amount to something; but oh!
my brother, it is hard, so hard, for an Indian to
keep from drifting back into savagery, unless he can
have help. I did not have very much at the agency.
I dropped—once—twice—stood the sun-dance tor-
ture—caught the Messiah craze and the ghost-dance
fever, recovered myself—became a scout—then one
of the Indian police—and was in at the death of
Sitting Bull.”’

“No! Is that so?’’ cried Jack. ‘‘ I remember
reading about the end of the old fox. Killed,
was n’t he—resisting arrest ?”’

‘* Yes, and it was very nearly the end of Young
Wolf, too,’’ the Indian replied.

‘* Tell me about it—how did my old chief, the
Master of the Strong Hearts, die >—game ?’’
AFTER MANY YEARS, 305

“Ves from his standpoint, he certainly did,”’
Young Wolf replied. ‘‘ He was Sitting Bull to the
last. I was one of the company of Indian police,
established by the government, in the Grand River
station. Henry Bull-Head was our lieutenant. I
was fast getting back to civilization then, but it was
hard—so hard, Big Tooth—pardon me, Mr. Hunt-
ingdon.”’ :

‘No, no; that ’s all right,’’ said Jack. “‘ Call
mebytheoldname. See, 1’m Big Tooth still,’’ and
lifting his heavy mustache, Jack displayed the
same prominent front teeth.

Young Wolf laughed heartily. “‘ Just the
same, just the same,’’ he said. ‘‘ Well, we knew
from his actions that Sitting Bull was getting ready
to leave the reservation. He had fitted his horses
for a long, hard ride, and that meant that he in-
tended to break out and raise the Sioux in another re-
bellion. Henry Bull-Head sent me off to warn the
commandant at Fort Yates, forty miles away. I
rode hard, and the soldiers were soon out, concen-
trating at Oak Creek, eighteen or twenty miles from
Sitting Bull’s tepee—no, his house. He was living
in a real house then. The captain hurried me back
to tell Henry Bull-Head to hold the old chief until
the soldiers could reach him, but it was hard work.
Sitting Bull had stirred up his followers—Strong
Hearts, most of them, you know. They resisted us

20
306 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS,

and gave usa hard fight. We had arrested him as
ordered, but he called on his Strong Hearts to rescue
him, and the shots began to fly. Lieutenant Henry
Bull-Head was standing at the old chief’s side.
‘Shoot him!’ cried Sitting Bull, and Catch-the-
Bear, one of the Strong Hearts, fired at him. But
Bull-Head was on his guard, and though Catch-the- —
Bear’s shot struck him, he turned at once and fired
straight at Sitting Bull. The old chief gave a cry,
just one—you know it: ‘Sha-te su-ta! I am a
Strong Heart!’ and then he and Henry Bull-Head
fell dead together. In an instant my gun was up.
I fired and shot Catch-the-Bear to save my lieuten-
ant. But it wastoo late. Catch-the-Bear fell dead,
across his chief, but Henry Bull-Head was dead
too. Then the fight became general. I was struck
down, and knew nothing more until the soldiers
had shelled and captured the house and all the
Strong Hearts that were left alive. And that was
the end of Sitting Bull. The Master of the Strong
Hearts died as he lived, an uncompromising hostile.”

‘‘ Jingoes! but that was a stirring time,” ex-
claimed Jack Huntingdon, deeply interested in his
friend’s story. ‘‘ And that ’s the way the old chief
died ? Well, he’s hunting the white buffalo now,
I suppose—he and Gall together, perhaps. The
big chief, your uncle, is dead too, I believe, is n’t
he, Young Wolf ?”’
AFTER MANY YEARS. 307

“ Yes, he died while I was in Europe,’’ the Indian
replied. ‘‘ He and Sitting Bull are buried near to
each other at Standing Rock agency. It’s the only
way, I reckon, in which they could be together in
peace. They were always at odds, and, as you
know, Big Tooth, they were exact opposites. My
Uncle Gall—or Co-ka-bi-ya-ya, as he preferred to be
called—was as frank as Sitting Bull was crafty, as
brave as the Bull was treacherous, and as noble-
minded as the Bull was vain. When he once sur-
rendered his independence, Gall was true to his
promises to the Great Father. But the Bull was a
plotter, restless under restraint, and forever seeking
to stir his Strong Hearts against the government.
And that is why he died. They tell me his grave
at Standing Rock is shunned by all—even by the
chief’s own Strong Hearts, who fear his medicine
and spells, even though he is gone.’’

‘* Just as Po-to-sha-sha did,’’ said Jack, recalling
the squaw-man’s last request. ‘‘ Poor Po-to-sha-
sha!”’

‘* They always told me that Red Top was killed in
the Greasy Grass battle—I suppose I should call it
the Little Big Horn,’’ Young Wolf said. ‘‘ But I
never knew. I wonder if he ever went back to his
own white race.’’ .

Jack mused a bit. He had held loyally to his
promise to Po-to-sha-sha. But now Sitting Bull
308 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

was dead. Chief and follower had alike gone over
the river and were, in the Indian belief, hunting the
white buffalo together on the endless plains. Even
conscientious Jack felt that the seal of secrecy was
removed, and he told his Indian friend the story of
the renegade’s life and death.

Young Wolf heard it all in silence. Then he
said: ‘‘ Well, Po-to-sha-sha was a brave man after
all. And Ialwaysthought himacoward. I’m glad
to know it, Big Tooth, and from your lips, for I’ve
come home to marry Po-to-sha-sha’s daughter.”’

““ What! that baby! ”’ Jack exclaimed.

The Indian laughed.

‘‘ Hardly a baby now, after all these years,’’ he
retorted.

‘* But I always supposed she was dead,’’ said
Jack. ‘‘ Po-to-sha-sha did not mention her.’’

‘* He did n’t know about her,’’ Young Wolf ex-
plained. ‘‘ When the fight commenced, that baby
was in Mi-mi’s mother’s tepee, and in the confusion
and flight, her grandmother carried her off on the
northern trail. Nothing was ever heard of her
father; although it was said that Sitting Bull’s
curse had shrivelled him to dust. But the girl was
brought up by her grandmother until the tribe got
back to the reservation. Then the same good man
who sent me to Hampton sent Annie to Carlisle.
We call her Annie, after the wife of her benefactor.
AFTER MANY YEARS. 309

Annie Reed Tope is her name now—not a bad para-
phrase of Red Top, is it and she has most beauti-
ful wine-colored hair,’’ Young Wolf asserted, with
a smile.

‘“‘ Say, that ’s great. Invite me to the wedding,
won’t you, Young Wolf ?’’ cried Jack. ‘‘I’ ll go
—if it’s to Bismarck! I really think, as the execu-
tor of the head of the family, I ought to give the
bride away.”’

And Young Wolf declared that he should.

‘* But how did you come to be this ?’’ demanded
Jack, pointing inquiringly at Young Wolf's card.

‘“Why,’’ replied the Indian, “‘ the surgeon at
Fort Yates, where I was taken after the fight, when
Sitting Bull was killed, became interested in me,
especially after he knew that I was a Hampton
graduate, struggling against my own environments.
He had a friend in St. Louis who was ready to be
helpful to his fellows, and, at the doctor’s sugges-
tion, my new St. Louis benefactor sent me to a
medical college in Chicago, and after my graduation
sent me abroad to ‘ walk the hospitals’ at Paris and
Vienna. So, you see, I’m a full-fledged ‘ saw-
bones’ now, and 1’m going to practise at St. Louis.
I ’m.to be married next month, at my friend’s big
house in St. Louis. Annie has been living there
while I have been abroad, and the future looks very

”

rosy for us.
310 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

‘‘ Well, after all, then, Sitting Bull brought you
luck, Young Wolf,’’ declared Jack. ‘‘ For, if it
had n’t been for him, you would n’t have been
wounded, gone to Fort Yates, found your St.
Louis friend, gone abroad, or married Miss Annie.
It ’s an ill wind that blows no one any good. Sit-
ting Bull’s loss is your gain, eh, Young Wolf ?”’

‘‘Tt was a chain of circumstances, my brother,”’
said the Indian, with a smile; ‘‘ and I’m not sure
but Big Tooth and Chief Long Hair are links in
the chain. Poor Long Hair! That was a needless
sacrifice of a brave man,’’ the doctor added.

“You ’re right, Young Wolf,’’ Jack assented,
nodding regretfully. ‘‘ That ’s just what it was—
of two hundred and more brave men—and Autie
Reed.”’

““And yet, after all, my friend,’”’ said Young
Wolf, reflectively, ‘“ I’ve grown to be quite a be-
liever in the theory of one of the English poets—
Pope, I think—who said, ‘ Whatever is, is right.’
The sacrifice of a brave man like Custer and of his
gallant command was necessary for many reasons.
Did you ever see the poem that Longfellow wrote
about it—the one he called ‘ The Revenge of Rain-
in-the-Face’ ?”’

‘“T should say I did,’’ said Jack. ‘‘ I ran right
up against that big boaster, Rain-in-the-Face, at the
World’s Fair, and I bought one of those poems
AFTER MANY VEARS. 311

with his autograph. Gracious! how it did bring
back old times to see him there! I wanted to have
a big talk with him; but I was in a hurry—I always
am, seems to me—and there was a crowd, so I had
to give it up. But say, Young Wolf, imagine that
old fire-eater writing his name. He did it mechani-
cally, though. He did n’t know what it meant at
all.’

‘“T suppose not,’

’

the Indian remarked. “‘ Big
Rain hardly had the making of a scholar in him.”’

‘‘ But say! that poem ’s all off, is n’t it ?’’ said
Jack. ‘‘ I could have given Mr. Longfellow points.
He made Sitting Bull a fighting leader—which he
was n’t. He put you chaps in ambush—which you
were not. He made the fight in the ravine—which
it was n’t. And he made Rain-in-the-Face kill
Custer—which he didn’t. And yet that ’ll go down
into history, and what are you going to do about it ?”’

”

‘‘ Nothing, my brother,’’ returned Young Wolf,
smiling. ‘‘ Of what value or importance are dry
facts in such a poem, if motive and inspiration are
right. You can’t spoil ‘ Barbara Frietchie’ by such
search-light criticism. You won’t rob Longfellow’s
poem of its real strength.”’

““Why, say, Young Wolf!’ exclaimed Jack,
‘* you talk like a book. I wish I knew as much as
you do. Do you know that poem? Recite it,

won't you?”’
312 THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

Young Wolf looked around the quiet clubroom.
‘“ Is it permissible here ?’’ he asked.

‘Well! I guess. If I say so, it is,’’ his friend
responded, with an air of proprietorship. ‘‘ Be
sides, this is an off-hour; nobody’s around. I wish
there were. Go ahead.’”

Then Young Wolf, in a subdued tone, but with all
the strength and earnestness that could live in a re-
generated scion of that race which for over four
hundred years had been the dupe and prey of the
white man, gave the noble lines of America’s fore-
most poet, beginning:

‘*In that desolate land and lone,
Where the Big Horn and Yellowstone
Roar down their mountain path,
By their fires the Sioux chiefs
Muttered their woes and griefs,
And the menace of their wrath.”

I’m not going to give it all here. Turn to your
Longfellow, and read “‘ The Revenge of Rain-in-
the-Face,’’ and see if you can imagine for yourselves
how it would be spoken by an educated and refined
but deeply sensitive American Indian.

‘* Whose was the right and wrong?
Sing it, O funeral song,

With a voice that is full of tears;
And say that our broken faith
Wrought all this ruin and scathe

In the Year of a Hundred Years.”






AFTER MANY YEARS. 313

That is the last verse, you know.

Jack applauded noiselessly when Young Wolf had
finished.

“That ’s great, Doctor!’’ he cried, appreciatively.
“* Even if it ’s wrong in details, it’s great. George!
I can see it all now,’’ and Jack shut his eyes and for
an instant was off in that fertile death-valley where
Custer made his last stand.

“It ’s the closing verse that touches me, my
brother,’’ said the Indian. ‘‘‘ Whose was the right
and wrong?’ Theyears must decide. I am of the

vanishing race. But if we vanish as a race to be-
come real Americans, part and parcel of the great-
ness and glory of the great republic, even the ‘ ruin
and scathe’ that hurled my brothers and your com-
rades to death have not have been in vain. I am
of the future; the past is forgotten. The Indian
farm-lands that dot the valleys of my native West
are to do more for my race than all the dreaming
and all the medicine of the Master of the Strong
Hearts.”’

“That ’s so, Dr. John Young Wolf,’’ said Jack,
impressed by the broad and progressive sympathy
of his friend. ‘‘ And if we Americans can learn
the wisdom of caution, the loyalty to duty, and the
lesson of heroism that we may gather from that sad
but immortal story of Custer’s last rally and his ride
into. fame, then I don’t know as he died in vain.
314. THE MASTER OF THE STRONG HEARTS.

I’m not sure but he would as lief be remembered
for that gallant close of a gallant career as for his
dashing charges in the valley with Sheridan, or as if
he had lived only to drop into forgetfulness as a re-
tired veteran, the victim of too much over-caution.
After all, Young Wolf, even death has its compen-
sations, and the memory of General George Arm-
strong Custer will live as long as the story of
American heroism holds him as one of its brightest
examples.”’

Then the two friends rose, and arm in arm passed
out to life and its stirring duties. For both red
man and white man had before them the possibili-
ties of the brightest of futures as earnest and honored
Americans,