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and we saw the second German struggling
desperately from the creek. Even from the
distance at which we stood, we could perceive that
during the few moments of his absence, he had
passed through a terrible ordeal, for his clothes,
where not torn completely away, hung in strips
about his person, and exposed the naked flesh,
crimson with many slashes, telling that the
cruel and silent knife had been at work on him.
For a moment, this ghastly figure extended its
arms piteously towards us, and uttered another
cry, but fainter than before. It was his last
eftort. Apparently seized from behind by an
unseen hand, the unfortunate man tottered for
a moment, then threw up his arms, sank back,
and disappeared down the creek. Kit was the
first of the witnesses of this shocking tragedy
to break silence. "Injuns!" he cried; but his
explanation was superfluous, for as he uttered
it a crowd of red-skins jumped forth from the
creek, and charged down upon us with pealing

"Look to the cattle, or we'll all be rubbed
out, by thunder!" shouted Kit, as we caught
up our rifles. His warning was just in time.
No white man's horse can brook the Indian
whoop, and all those of ours that had hitherto
been grazing quietly about, with their lareats
dragging, galloped wildly over the prairie in
full stampede, and were irrecoverably lost.
Only three horses remained to us. They had
luckily a short time before been hitched up to a
tree near at hand. Before these terrified brutes
could break away we had sprung to their heads,
and effectually secured them by doubling their
lassos. At first, panic-struck by the appalling
sight I had just witnessed, and the critical position
in which we were placed, I entertained the
idea of flinging myself on to the back of one of
the horses, and flying for my life, but the hunter
restrained me. "Do as I do, mate," he said,
with an admirable coolness that completely
reassured me; and in obedience to his example, I
took cover behind the horses, and levelled my
rifle across their backs, point-blank at the
approaching rout of red-skins. These, who were
armed chiefly with bows and arrows, observing
our demonstrations, and knowing that we were
not to be taken by surprise, or without a certain
loss to themselvesconditions utterly opposed
to all Indian ideas of warfaregradually
faltered in their pace till they came to a standstill,
and then broke and fled back to the cover
of the creek in great confusion.

There being now breathing-time, I
remembered the artist. Strange to say, he was
nowhere to be seen, but Kit, who seemed to
divine the reason of my puzzled looks, pointed
up the tree beneath which we stood. I looked
aloft, and dimly amid the foliage of the cedar I
descried a dangling pair of bluchers that seemed
familiar to me. They were the artist's.
"Come down!" I shouted; "the Indians are
gone." But my request met with no response,
unless an irritable movement of the dangling
boots was meant for a negative. Again I hailed
them, when, as if to put an end to all further
argument, they ascended higher among the
branches, and were lost to sight. "Guess the
scared critter's best up the cedar," said Kit,
adding suddenly, as he glanced over the prairie,
"Hurrah! Now, mate, saddle up right smart."
And while I rapidly equipped the horses, to my
astonishment he busied himself in casting upon
the fire all the property lying about the camp,
with the sole exception of our own rifles and
revolvers. "If yon varmint git us, they'll only
git mean plunder," he said, grimly contemplating
his work of destruction.

"The Indians in the creek, you mean?" I

The hunter shook his head, and pointed

Following the direction of his arm, I made
out through the fast fading twilight a band of
horsemen galloping right down upon us. They
were mounted Indians. As, doubtless, they were
acting in concert with those on foot in the
creek, it was plain that our position was no
longer tenable. I perceived that Kit was of
this opinion, for he was now hastily examining
our three remaining horses. They were young
American cattle that I had bought on the
Columbia, as a speculation for the Californian
market. Two of them were light, weedy-looking
fillies; but the third, a powerfully-made chesnut
stallion, with white feet, was by far the best of
the lot.

"You will take the chesnut, he is the only
horse at all up to your weight," I said to Kit,
who was a seventeen stoner at least.

"Thankee, mate," he replied; " 'tis kind of
yeyes, 'tis, to give up the best hoss; but I
wish 'twar my ole spotted mustang. Don't
kinder consate them white feet, and that eye
ain't clar grit, it ain't!"

A few minutes were now wasted in
endeavouring to persuade the artist to descend the
tree and take the third horse; but, either on
account of intense fear, or a conviction of the
security of his "cache," he still made no sign.
As the horsemen were now fast closing in upon
us, and the footmen in the creek began to show
themselves, as if with a design of cutting off our
retreat, we were compelled unwillingly to leave
this impracticable votary of "high art" to his
fate. So, mounting our horses, and driving the
third one before us, we put out on the back

"Hold hard, friend!" said my comrade, as the
fresh young filly l rode stretched out in a slashing
gallop. "If 'twur only twenty mile of good
pariera from this to Van Noy Ferry thut we've
got to make to save our skins, we'd throw out
yon varmints right smart; but reck'lect this
pariera gives out in six mile more, and we've as
many mile over bad mountain range afore we git
down to the open agin, that'll give these fine
breeders goss!"

With horses well in hand, we had ridden some
little distance, when a loud whoop in our rear
proclaimed that the Indians had reached our
camp, but whether the demonstration proceeded
from disappointment at the destruction of their