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San Francisco by a line of land telegraphs
through the deserts and by the Salt Lake City,
and that the Indian system extends over the
whole British territory. In a word, we have the
materials, the machines, the manufactures, the
engineers, the experience, the capital, for
encircling the world with land and sea telegraphs.
For success, nothing is needed but an honest
intelligent use of existing materials and
machinery, and a rigid exclusion of the jobbing
concessionnaire from any government deep-sea


SOME ten years ago, when travellers in Oregon
suffered very severely from attacks of Indians,
I was one of a party passing through that wild
and unknown state, in my way to California.
After a month's ride from the Willamette
Valley, we diverged westward from the great
emigrant trail, and found ourselves camped one
evening on the trail to Crescent City, at its
intersection by Deer Creek, an offshoot of the
Illinois River. Our party consisted, besides
myself, of two lethargic Germans, a feeble-
minded young artist lately from London, and a
stark taciturn hunter from Missouri. During
our long journey I had tried to be companionable
with each of my fellow-travellers in turn,
and at last had fallen back on Kit Butler, the
Missourian, with whom I gradually established
terms of a smoking, not a speaking intimacy.
On the evening of our encampment on Deer
Creek, supper having been eaten and the horses
picketed before setting the guard, each of us
betook himself to his own private relaxation.
This was for the German, sleep; for the artist,
self-examination by help of a small glass on a
comb-handle; for Kit and me, the resolving of
ourselves into a vigorous smoking committee.
When we had been smoking for some little time,
Kit suddenly addressed me: "Mate," he said,
"this hoss don't kinder fancy this har camp, he

To my eyes, a better camping-ground could
not have been selected. It was pitched on a
flat prairie, where "wood, water, and grass"
were each at hand, while, at the same time,
there was no cover for lurking Indians nearer
than the creeka long rifle-shot distant. But
Kit, I observed, had his eye, miles and miles
away, on a thin spiral column of smoke.

"An Indian camp fire!" I exclaimed.

"And Rogue River too near," Kit growled.

I understood him. We were camped not far
from the Rogue River, and it was likely enough
the fire had been lit by an outlying party of
The Rogue Tribe, who had earned their
sobriquet from being notoriously the most rascally
Indians in all Oregon. The night, however,
passed without an alarm. In the morning,
the Germans' cattle, already half foundered,
were found to be so badly galled by careless
saddling, that it was agreed we should halt for
four-and-twenty hours, to give the poor brutes a
chance of recruiting.

Kit, who never descended to argument, made
a wry face at this plan, and, catching up his rifle,
prepared, as was his custom, for a hunt. I
went with him, and after some hours, we got
within range of a herd, and shot for supper a
small elk, or wapiti deer. On nearing camp
again, we saw that our party had been joined by
a young Indian lad. Equipped in a suit of
dressed deerskin, with a good deal of Indian
finery about him, he stood in an easy attitude by
the camp fire, while our artist sketched him,
and the Germans were looking on lazily. This
admission of the Indian into camp was against
all prairie laws, as it has been found that such
visitors are invariably spies, and "trouble" is
pretty sure to come of their visits. Kit, therefore,
throwing down the venison, burst angrily
into the group:

"I found him by the creek: I only wanted
to draw him," explained the startled artist,
dropping his sketching block and brush.

"Draw him!" Kit shouted, "I'll draw a bead
on the young spy's carcase if he don't make
tracks in less than no time. Mate!" said the
ireful hunter to me, as the frightened red-skin
darted across the plain, "jest fix your shooting-
irons right, for we'll have 'trouble' afore long.
This coon knows nought of Injuns, he don't."

Impatient to get away from our present camp,
I was not sorry when the day drew to a close,
and we began to prepare supper. While I
chopped some wood for the fire, Kit cut up the
carcase of the elk we had shot in the morning,
and kneaded the flour for bread in the
"prospecting" tin. When I had made up the fire,
there was no water for the coffee. As usual,
our companions had been loafing about, aiding
little or nothing in the indispensable camp
duties. Somewhat annoyed, I bade one of the
loafers take our tin saucepan down to the creek
to fill it. Of course there was a discussion of
the lazy as to who should be at the trouble of
performing this slight service. In the end, one
of the Germans took the saucepan up, and, with
an ungracious expletive, departed on his errand.
My fire blazed away brightly. Kit's cake,
propped up before it with a stone, was baking in
the usual primitive prairie fashion, and the venison
steaks, cut up into little chunks, threaded
on to a peeled wand, were twirling over the
embers. Still the German had not returned
with the water. As, in spite of our hails, he
did not emerge from the hollow of the creek,
which had a steep bank considerably higher than
a man, his fellow-countryman was despatched to
see what he was doing. When he in his turn
had disappeared down the bank, I noticed that
Kit, who sat on the ground twirling the spit,
let it fall into the fire, and seemed to listen
anxiously to a sound that reached only an ear
quick as his. But shortly an awful shout arose.
It was a heartrending appeal for help, and I
should have certainly responded to it by rushing
down to the creek, but that the powerful grasp of
Kit, who had now risen from the ground, withheld
me. Again, and this time fearfully prolonged,
the cry of a man in his extremity arose,