And what did the irrepressible youth do but fling his cap a dozen feet above his head and emit a whoop of which Tecumseh would not have been ashamed. Both Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la looked wonderingly around, and each smiled. The Shawanoe’s smile grew broader when Victor made a grasp to catch his cap as it came down, but missed it and it fell to the earth.
“Plague take it!” exclaimed the lad, slipping out of the saddle without stopping his horse, and running back to recover his headgear.
While he was doing so Deerfoot emitted a war-whoop himself, and struck the heels of his moccasins against the ribs of Simon, who instantly broke into a gallop. Bug was hardly a moment behind him, and Zigzag, for a wonder, caught the infection. George saw what their leader was up to, and he pretended he could not restrain his own horse. The shouts he sent out while seeming to do his best frightened Jack into a gallop, and Prince proved that he did not mean to be left behind.
Thus when Victor had snatched his cap from the ground, replaced it on his head and turned to trot the necessary few paces, he saw the whole line in a gallop, with his own horse several rods in advance of him.
“Whoa! Plague take you! Whoa! Don’t you hear me?” shouted the indignant lad, breaking into a desperate run.
There could be no doubt that all the animals as well as their riders heard the command, which was loud enough to penetrate the woods for half a mile. Prince being the nearest, surely must have noted the order, but he seemed to think that, inasmuch as the horses ahead of him increased their speed, it was proper for him to do the same. At any rate he did it, and succeeded so 长沙桑拿 well that his owner saw the space widening between them.
By this time Victor knew that Deerfoot was at the bottom of it all. No man can do his best when laughing or shouting, and the pursuer ceased his call and bent all his energies to overtaking the fleeing horses. He thought the leader would soon show some consideration for him and slacken his pace, but the Shawanoe seemed to be stern and unsympathizing that forenoon, for he maintained the gallop, with the others doing the same, and the task of the running youngster loomed up as impossible.
It wouldn’t do to get mad and sulk, for no one would pay any attention to him—least of all Deerfoot, who liked fun as well as anybody. Besides, the exercise promised to do the youth a world of good.
But fortune came to his relief when least expected. Victor had traveled this trail so 长沙桑拿会所推荐 often that he knew it almost as well as Deerfoot. He remembered it made a sharp curve to the left not far in advance. When he caught sight of the young Shawanoe, therefore, calmly galloping around the bend, the lad dived among the trees and sped at a reckless rate.
“They ain’t so smart as they think they are! I’ll beat ’em yet—confound it!”
He thought surely his head had been lifted from his shoulders, for at that moment a projecting maple limb, not quite as high as his crown, slipped under his chin and almost hoisted him off his feet. He speedily found he was intact and had suffered little more than a shock to his feelings. He was quickly at it again and soon caught sight of Deerfoot rising and sinking with the motion of his horse and the others stringing behind him.
A moment later Victor leaped into the trail, recoiling 长沙桑拿网 just enough to let the leader pass him as he stood. But Deerfoot reined up and stared at him as if in wonder.
“Does my brother love to wander in the woods that he should leave his saddle?” was the innocent query of the dusky wag.
“You think you know a good deal, don’t you? Wait till I get a chance; I’ll pay you for this,” was the half-impatient answer.
“Deerfoot is so scared by the words of his brother that he may fall off his horse,” said the Shawanoe with mock alarm. “Will he not forgive Deerfoot because he did not stop when he heard his brother crying behind him?”
“You go on. I’ll catch you one of these days and make you sorry.”
With an expression of grief Deerfoot started forward again, his horse on a walk. Those behind had also stopped, and they now resumed the journey. The Shawanoe kept his eye to the rear until he saw 长沙桑拿全套酒店 Victor was in the saddle again, when his pace immediately rose to a trot and all were quickly jogging forward as before.
George tried to look sympathetic, but he could not, and his brother saw his shoulders shaking with laughter as he rode on, not daring to trust himself to speak. By this time the impulsive Victor had rallied from his partial anger, and decided that the best thing to do was to join in the general good-nature and merriment over his mishap.
Noon came and passed, but Deerfoot showed no intention of going into camp. He humored the animals by dropping to a walk. They were allowed to drink several times from the small streams crossed, and occasionally were given a breathing spell of fifteen or twenty minutes. The Shawanoe knew how to treat their kind and did not press them too hard. When these long pauses were made the riders dismounted, lolled at the side of the trail, talked together, but neither Deerfoot nor Mul-tal-la made reference to food for themselves, and the boys were too proud to hint anything of their hunger.
When the afternoon was well advanced the party came to an open space, crossed near the middle
by a sparkling brook, which issued from under some mossy rocks to the right. Early as was the season, there was considerable growth of succulent grass, which offered the best kind of nourishment for the horses. Deerfoot announced that they would spend the night in this place, and, leaping from the back of Simon, plunged into the wood in quest of game, of which they had had more than one glimpse while on the road.
Meanwhile the Blackfoot and the boys relieved Zigzag of his load, removed the other saddle and bridles, and devoted themselves to gathering wood for the night. With such an abundance on every hand this was a light task. When the leaves were heaped up, with a mass of dry twigs loosely arranged on top and larger sticks above them, George Shelton took out the sun-glass which had been presented to him by one of his
neighbors. The sun was still high enough for him to catch a few of the rays and concentrate them upon the leaves, which speedily broke into a smoking flame that soon spread into a roaring fire. The method was not much superior, after all, to the old-fashioned flint and steel, but the instrument was new so far as the present owner was concerned, and he liked to use it.
One of the most treasured presents to Victor was a good spyglass that had been used by one of General Wayne’s officers throughout the Revolutionary War, and afterward in the Indian campaigns in the West. The lad had not found a good chance as yet to employ it, but when its power was explained to Mul-tal-la he was delighted and declared it would prove beyond value to them while crossing the plains, and he spoke the truth.
The fire was no more than fairly going when the report of Deerfoot’s rifle sounded not far off in the woods. No one was surprised, for game was plenty, though it was not the most favorable season, and it was safe to rely upon the dusky youth for an unfailing supply of food whenever it could possibly be secured.