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anticipated prize, or rejoicing at the capture of
our companion, the failing light did not permit
us to judge. Soon we heard them again in
pursuit. Darkness now set rapidly in, but riding
as usual in Indian file, our horses accustomed
for several weeks to follow the trail, picked it
out with the greatest ease. As we came to the
end of the prairie, I was delighted to see a full
moon rising over the mountains, so that we
should now have light to guide us in our flight
a great chance in our favour. Kit had relapsed
into his accustomed taciturnity, and beyond
paying great attention to the sounds in the rear,
by which he seemed to regulate our pace, he
betrayed no interest in anything. Knowing that
all depended on our horses holding out, as we
clattered up the first long mountain slope I
ranged alongside of him, and examined their
conditions. My own filly, though pretty heavily
weighted, was as yet perfectly fresh, her stride
was easy and elastic, and I felt she was warming
well to her work. But an unpleasant sensation
came over me, as I noticed that Kit's chesnut
was already bathed in a profuse sweat.

Now that we were fairly in the mountains,
our real troubles began. Three days since we
had crossed this range, and having shortly before
made the passage of the great Cañon Creek, a
terrific pass, the trail had not appeared more
dangerous than usual. But then we had leisure
and daylight to aid us; now, the white metallic
light of the moon, which brought out in startling
distinctness each crag and rocky point it fell
upon, left many dangerous bits of our path in
deep obscurity, yet we were compelled to pass
over them in full career, for our pursuers now
began to push us to their utmost. At intervals,
above the clatter of our horses' iron-shod hoofs,
the mountains behind us echoed with their
whoops, and were replied to from the heights
around by the peculiar cry of the white owl,
proceeding, as we were aware, from red
sentinels, who were able to observe each turn of
the chase, and thus urged their comrades still to
follow. Urged by their wild riders to the top
of their speed, the hardy unshod little mustangs
of our enemies scrambled after us over the
dangerous trail with a cat-like facility of foothold
not possessed by our own cattle. To add to
our embarrassments, our third horse now began
to show a desire to stray from the trail, and
forced us often to lose ground by swerving to
head him back again. In fact, it was all we
could do to hold our own, and, desperately as
our desperate need required it, we pushed on.
The steep mountain-side, the other day painfully
ascended, was now dashed furiously down; the
edge of the precipice, usually traversed so
gingerly, was spurred fiercely over, unheeding
the appeals of our terrified horses, who quivered
and snorted in very fear. Without drawing
bridle, we spattered through the mountain-
torrent that ran down the deep gulches, and took
flying the smaller streams. When the last
weary mountain-crest was topped, and we
descended again to the wooded plain beneath, I
should have felt myself comparatively safe had
it not been for the deplorable condition of our
horses. As Kit had foreseen, the mountain-
range had fearfully tried them. Though my
mare, with the instinct of good blood, still
answered when I made a call on her, I felt she
was getting fast used up; but the chesnut was
in a still worse plight: his drooping crest and
labouring stride told the extremity of his distress.
We had just arrived at the ford of State Creek,
a small arm of Rogue River, when Kit's chesnut
suddenly staggered, and then plunged headlong
to the ground. "Four white legs and a white
nose, cut his throat and throw him to the
crows!" exclaimed his rider, bitterly repeating
the old saw as he vainly endeavoured to raise
him. Meanwhile, I had ridden forward and
caught the loose horse. Kit mounted him in
silence, and together we entered the ford, but
just before we reached the opposite bank he
dismounted, and standing knee-deep in the
water, put his rein into my hand.

"Mate," he said, "we're bound to part
comp'ny, if we don't want to go under; take
both animals and make tracks for Van Noy:
this coon'll look out for hisself, somehow. Goodby
t'ye!" And he set off wading down the

I brought my horses to his side in a moment.

"No, no, Kit," I said, deeply touched by his
generous proposition; "fight or fly, whichever
it is, we'll keep together."

"Don't rile me, young fellar," he replied, in
a voice that he vainly endeavoured to render
harsh, and abandoned for a tone of earnest
entreaty. "I tell 'ee we must part nowit can't
be fixed noways different. That thur light
animal 'ud burst up under my weight long
afore we made Rogue River, and yourn ain't
got two mile run left in him; he ain't. Now,
look h'yar, if yew want to save our skins, take
both them animals, it'll throw the Injuns off my
trail, and ride hard for Van Noy. Rouse up
the boys thar, and tell 'em Kit Butler from
Boonville's cached in the timber by State Crick,
and the red-skins are out. Guess they'll be
round with their shooting-irons, and bring me
in right away. Hurrah now, boy!"

A moment's reflection convinced me that
Kit's plan was the only one that could possibly
save us, but it was with a bitterness of heart
such as I had never felt before, that I shook his
loyal handI could not speakin token that I
bade him farewell. If I acted wrongly in
abandoning him, God knows that my own
reflections as I put out on my lonely trail, were
almost punishment enough.

But, in reality, Kit's chances of escape were
not far from being as good as my own. The
plain, especially by the creek, was well wooded,
so that our separation took place entirely without
the knowledge of the Indians, who, though
they would certainly find the foundered chesnut,
would naturally conclude that its rider was
away on the fresh horse. Neither would they
gain any information from the hunter's tracks,
for, of course, he had taken the precaution to
wade some distance down the creek before he