Betty Zane by Zane Grey - HTML preview
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It was near the close of a day in early summer. A small group of persons surrounded Col. Zane where he sat on his doorstep. From time to time he took the long Indian pipe from his mouth and blew great clouds of smoke over his head. Major McColloch and Capt. Boggs were there. Silas Zane half reclined on the grass. The Colonel's wife stood in the door-way, and Betty sat on the lower step with her head leaning against her brother's knee. They all had grave faces. Jonathan Zane had returned that day after an absence of three weeks, and was now answering the many questions with which he was plied.
"Don't ask me any more and I'll tell you the whole thing," he had just said, while wiping the perspiration from his brow. His face was worn; his beard ragged and unkempt; his appearance suggestive of extreme fatigue. "It was this way: Colonel Crawford had four hundred and eighty men under him, with Slover and me acting as guides. This was a large force of men and comprised soldiers from Pitt and the other forts and settlers from all along the river. You see, Crawford wanted to crush the Shawnees at one blow. When we reached the Sandusky River, which we did after an arduous march, not one Indian did we see. You know Crawford expected to surprise the Shawnee camp, and when he found it deserted he didn't know what to do. Slover and I both advised an immediate retreat. Crawford would not listen to us. I tried to explain to him that ever since the Guadenhutten massacre keen-eyed Indian scouts had been watching the border The news of the present expedition had been carried by fleet runners to the different Indian tribes and they were working like hives of angry bees. The deserted Shawnee village meant to me that the alarm had been sounded in the towns of the Shawnees and the Delawares; perhaps also in the Wyandot towns to the north. Colonel Crawford was obdurate and insisted on resuming the march into the Indian country. The next day we met the Indians coming directly toward us. It was the combined force of the Delaware chiefs, Pipe an Wingenund. The battle had hardly commenced when the redskins Were reinforced by four hundred warriors under Shanshota, the Huron chief. The enemy skulked behind trees and rocks, hid in ravines, and crawled through the long grass. They could be picked off only by Indian hunters, of whom Crawford had but few-probably fifty all told. All that day we managed to keep our position, though we lost sixty men. That night we lay down to rest by great fires which we built, to prevent night surprises.
"Early next morning we resumed the fight. I saw Simon Girty on his white horse. He was urging and cheering the Indians on to desperate fighting. Their fire became so deadly that we were forced to retreat. In the afternoon Slover, who had been out scouting, returned with the information that a mounted force was approaching, and that he believed they were the reinforcements which Col. Crawford expected. The reinforcements came up and proved to be Butler's British rangers from Detroit. This stunned Crawford's soldiers. The fire of the enemy became hotter and hotter. Our men were falling like leaves around us. They threw aside their rifles and ran, many of them right into the hands of the savages I believe some of the experienced bordermen escaped but most of Crawford's force met death on the field. I hid in a hollow log. Next day when I felt that it could be done safely I crawled out. I saw scalped and mutilated bodies everywhere, but did not find Col. Crawford's body. The Indians had taken all the clothing, weapons, blankets and everything of value. The Wyandots took a northwest trail and the Delawares and the Shawnees traveled east. I followed the latter because their trail led toward home. Three days later I stood on the high bluff above Wingenund's camp. From there I saw Col. Crawford tied to a stake and a fire started at his feet. I was not five hundred yards from the camp. I saw the war chiefs, Pipe and Wingenund; I saw Simon Girty and a British officer in uniform. The chiefs and Girty were once Crawford's friends. They stood calmly by and watched the poor victim slowly burn to death. The Indians yelled and danced round the stake; they devised every kind of hellish torture. When at last an Indian ran in and tore off the scalp of the still living man I could bear to see no more, and I turned and ran. I have been in some tough places, but this last was the worst."
"My God! it is awful--and to think that man Girty was once a white man," cried Col. Zane.
"He came very near being a dead man," said Jonathan, with grim humor. "I got a long shot at him and killed his big white horse."
"It's a pity you missed him," said Silas Zane.
"Here comes Wetzel. What will he say about the massacre?" remarked Major McColloch.
Wetzel joined the group at that moment and shook hands with Jonathan. When interrogated about the failure of Col. Crawford's expedition Wetzel said that Slover had just made his appearance at the cabin of Hugh Bennet, and that he was without clothing and almost dead from exposure.
"I'm glad Slover got out alive. He was against the march all along. If Crawford had listened to us he would have averted this terrible affair and saved his own life. Lew, did Slover know how many men got out?" asked Jonathan.
"He said not many. The redskins killed all the prisoners exceptin' Crawford and Knight."
"I saw Col. Crawford burned at the stake. I did not see Dr. Knight. Maybe they murdered him before I reached the camp of the Delawares," said Jonathan.
"Wetzel, in your judgment, what effect will this massacre and Crawford's death have on the border?" inquired Col. Zane.
"It means another bloody year like 1777," answered Wetzel. "We are liable to have trouble with the Indians any day. You mean that."
"There'll be war all along the river. Hamilton is hatchin' some new devil's trick with Girty. Col. Zane, I calkilate that Girty has a spy in the river settlements and knows as much about the forts and defense as you do."
"You can't mean a white spy."
"Yes, just that."
"That is a strong assertion, Lewis, but coming from you it means something. Step aside here and explain yourself," said Col. Zane, getting up and walking out to the fence.
"I don't like the looks of things," said the hunter. "A month ago I ketched this man Miller pokin' his nose round the block-house where he hadn't ought to be. And I kep' watchin' him. If my suspicions is correct he's playin' some deep game. I ain't got any proof, but things looks bad."
"That's strange, Lewis," said Col. Zane soberly. "Now that you mention it I remember Jonathan said he met Miller near the Kanawha three weeks ago. That was when Crawford's expedition was on the way to the Shawnee villages. The Colonel tried to enlist Miller, but Miller said he was in a hurry to get back to the Fort. And he hasn't come back yet."
"I ain't surprised. Now, Col. Zane, you are in command here. I'm not a soldier and for that reason I'm all the better to watch Miller. He won't suspect me. You give me authority and I'll round up his little game."
"By all means, Lewis. Go about it your own way, and report anything to me. Remember you may be mistaken and give Miller the benefit of the doubt. I don't like the fellow. He has a way of appearing and disappearing, and for no apparent reason, that makes me distrust him. But for Heaven's sake, Lew, how would he profit by betraying us?"
"I don't know. All I know is he'll bear watchin'."
"My gracious, Lew Wetzel!" exclaimed Betty as her brother and the hunter rejoined the others. "Have you come all the way over here without a gun? And you have on a new suit of buckskin."
Lewis stood a moment by Betty, gazing down at her with his slight smile. He looked exceedingly well. His face was not yet bronzed by summer suns. His long black hair, of which he was as proud as a woman could have been, and of which he took as much care as he did of his rifle, waved over his shoulders.
"Betty, this is my birthday, but that ain't the reason I've got my fine feathers on. I'm goin' to try and make an impression on you," replied Lewis, smiling.
"I declare, this is very sudden. But you have succeeded. Who made the suit? And where did you get all that pretty fringe and those beautiful beads?"
"That stuff I picked up round an Injun camp. The suit I made myself."
"I think, Lewis, I must get you to help me make my new gown," said Betty, roguishly.
"Well, I must be getting' back," said Wetzel, rising.
"Oh, don't go yet. You have not talked to me at all,"" said Betty petulantly. She walked to the gate with him.
"What can an Injun hunter say to amuse the belle of the border?"
"I don't want to be amused exactly. I mean I'm not used to being unnoticed, especially by you." And then in a lower tone she continued: "What did you mean about Mr. Miller? I heard his name and Eb looked worried. What did you tell him?""
"Never mind now, Betty. Maybe I'll tell you some day. It's enough for you to know the Colonel don't like Miller and that I think he is a bad man. You don't care nothin' for Miller, do you Betty?"
"Not in the least."
"Don't see him any more, Betty. Good-night, now, I must be goin' to supper."
"Lew, stop! or I shall run after you."
"And what good would your runnin' do?" said Lewis "You'd never ketch me. Why, I could give you twenty paces start and beat you to yon tree."
"You can't. Come, try it," retorted Betty, catching hold of her skirt. She could never have allowed a challenge like that to pass.
"Ha! ha! We are in for a race. Betty. if you beat him, start or no start, you will have accomplished something never done before," said Col. Zane.
"Come, Silas, step off twenty paces and make them long ones," said Betty, who was in earnest.
"We'll make it forty paces," said Silas, as he commenced taking immense strides.
"What is Lewis looking at?" remarked Col. Zane's wife. Wetzel, in taking his position for the race, had faced the river. Mrs. Zane had seen him start suddenly, straighten up and for a moment stand like a statue. Her exclamation drew he attention of the others to the hunter.
"Look!" he cried, waving his hand toward the river.
"I declare, Wetzel, you are always seeing something. Where shall I look? Ah, yes, there is a dark form moving along the bank. By jove! I believe it's an Indian," said Col. Zane.
Jonathan darted into the house. When he reappeared second later he had three rifles.
"I see horses, Lew. What do you make out?" said Jonathan. "It's a bold manoeuvre for Indians unless they have a strong force."
"Hostile Injuns wouldn't show themselves like that. Maybe they ain't redskins at all. We'll go down to the bluff."
"Oh, yes, let us go," cried Betty, walking down the path toward Wetzel.
Col. Zane followed her, and presently the whole party were on their way to the river. When they reached the bluff they saw two horses come down the opposite bank and enter the water. Then they seemed to fade from view. The tall trees east a dark shadow over the water and the horses had become lost in this obscurity. Col. Zane and Jonathan walked up and down the bank seeking to find a place which afforded a clearer view of the river.
"There they come," shouted Silas.
"Yes, I see them just swimming out of the shadow," said Col. Zane. "Both horses have riders. Lewis, what can you make out?"
"It's Isaac and an Indian girl," answered Wetzel.
This startling announcement created a commotion in the little group. It was followed by a chorus of exclamations.
"Heavens! Wetzel, you have wonderful eyes. I hope to God you are right. There, I see the foremost rider waving his hand," cried Col. Zane.
"Oh, Bessie, Bessie! I believe Lew is right. Look at Tige," said Betty excitedly.
Everybody had forgotten the dog. He had come down the path with Betty and had pressed close to her. First he trembled, then whined, then with a loud bark he ran down the bank and dashed into the water.
"Hel-lo, Betts," came the cry across the water. There was no mistaking that clear voice. It was Isaac's.
Although the sun had long gone down behind the hills daylight lingered. It was bright enough for the watchers to recognize Isaac Zane. He sat high on his horse and in his hand he held the bridle of a pony that was swimming beside him. The pony bore the slender figure of a girl. She was bending forward and her hands were twisted in the pony's mane.
By this time the Colonel and Jonathan were standing in the shallow water waiting to grasp the reins and lead the horses up the steep bank. Attracted by the unusual sight of a wildly gesticulating group on the river bluff, the settlers from the Fort hurried down to the scene of action. Capt. Boggs and Alfred Clarke joined the crowd. Old Sam came running down from the barn. All were intensely excited and Col. Zane and Jonathan reached for the bridles and led the horses up the slippery incline.
"Eb, Jack, Silas, here I am alive and well," cried Isaac as he leaped from his horse. "Betty, you darling, it's Isaac. Don't stand staring as if I were a ghost."
Whereupon Betty ran to him, flung her arms around his neck and clung to him. Isaac kissed her tenderly and disengaged himself from her arms.
"You'll get all wet. Glad to see me? Well, I never had such a happy moment in my life. Betty, I have brought you home one whom you must love This is Myeerah, your sister. She is wet and cold. Take her home and make her warm and comfortable. You must forget all the past, for Myeerah has saved me from the stake."
Betty had forgotten the other. At her brother's words she turned and saw a slender form. Even the wet, mud-stained and ragged Indian costume failed to hide the grace of that figure. She saw a beautiful face, as white as her own, and dark eyes full of unshed tears.
"The Eagle is free," said the Indian girl in her low, musical voice.
"You have brought him home to us. Come," said Betty taking the hand of the trembling maiden.
The settlers crowded round Isaac and greeted him warms while they plied him with innumerable questions. Was he free? Who was the Indian girl? Had he run off with her? Were the Indians preparing for war?
On the way to the Colonel's house Isaac told briefly of his escape from the Wyandots, of his capture by Cornplanter, and of his rescue. He also mentioned the preparations for war he had seen in Cornplanter's camp, and Girty's story of Col. Crawford's death. "How does it come that you have the Indian girl with you?" asked Col. Zane as they left the curious settlers and entered the house.
"I am going to marry Myeerah and I brought her with me for that purpose. When we are married I will go back to the Wyandots and live with them until peace is declared."
"Humph! Will it be declared?"
"Myeerah has promised it, and I believe she can bring it about, especially if I marry her. Peace with the Hurons may help to bring about peace with the Shawnees. I shall never cease to work for that end; but even if peace cannot be secured, my duty still is to Myeerah. She saved me from a most horrible death."
"If your marriage with this Indian girl will secure the friendly offices of that grim old warrior Tarhe, it is far more than fighting will ever do. I do not want you to go back. Would we ever see you again?"
"Oh, yes, often I hope. You see, if I marry Myeerah the Hurons will allow me every liberty."
"Well, that puts a different light on the subject."
"Oh, how I wish you and Jonathan could have seen Thundercloud and his two hundred warriors ride into Cornplanter's camp. It was magnificent! The braves were all crowded near the stake where I was bound. The fire had been lighted. Suddenly the silence was shattered by an awful yell. It was Thundercloud's yell. I knew it because I had heard it before, and anyone who had once heard that yell could never forget it. In what seemed an incredibly short time Thundercloud's warriors were lined up in the middle of the camp. The surprise was so complete that, had it been necessary, they could have ridden Cornplanter's braves down, killed many, routed the others, and burned the village. Cornplanter will not get over that surprise in many a moon."
Betty had always hated the very mention of the Indian girl who had been the cause of her brother's long absence from home. But she was so happy in the knowledge of his return that she felt that it was in her power to forgive much; more over, the white, weary face of the Indian maiden touched Betty's warm heart. With her quick intuition she had divined that this was even a greater trial for Myeerah. Undoubtedly the Indian girl feared the scorn of her lover's people. She showed it in her trembling hands, in her fearful glances.
Finding that Myeerah could speak and understand English, Betty became more interested in her charge every moment. She set about to make Myeerah comfortable, and while she removed the wet and stained garments she talked all the time. She told her how happy she was that Isaac was alive and well. She said Myeerah's heroism in saving him should atone for all the past, and that Isaac's family would welcome her in his home.
Gradually Myeerah's agitation subsided under Betty's sweet graciousness, and by the time Betty had dressed her in a white gown, had brushed the dark hair and added a bright ribbon to the simple toilet, Myeerah had so far forgotten her fears as to take a shy pleasure in the picture of herself in the mirror. As for Betty, she gave vent to a little cry of delight. "Oh, you are perfectly lovely," cried Betty. "In that gown no one would know you as a Wyandot princess."
"Myeerah's mother was a white woman."
"I have heard your story, Myeerah, and it is wonderful. You must tell me all about your life with the Indians. You speak my language almost as well as I do. Who taught you?"
"Myeerah learned to talk with the White Eagle. She can speak French with the Coureurs-des-bois."
"That's more than I can do, Myeerah. And I had French teacher," said Betty, laughing.
"Hello, up there," came Isaac's voice from below.
"Come up, Isaac," called Betty.
"Is this my Indian sweetheart?" exclaimed Isaac, stopping at the door. "Betty, isn't she--"
"Yes," answered Betty, "she is simply beautiful."
"Come, Myeerah, we must go down to supper," said Isaac, taking her in his arms and kissing her. "Now you must not be afraid, nor mind being looked at."
"Everyone will be kind to you," said Betty, taking her hand. Myeerah had slipped from Isaac's arm and hesitated and hung back. "Come," continued Betty, "I will stay with you, and you need not talk if you do not wish."
Thus reassured Myeerah allowed Betty to lead her down stairs. Isaac had gone ahead and was waiting at the door.
The big room was brilliantly lighted with pine knots. Mrs. Zane was arranging the dishes on the table. Old Sam and Annie were hurrying to and fro from the kitchen. Col. Zane had just come up the cellar stairs carrying a mouldy looking cask. From its appearance it might have been a powder keg, but the merry twinkle in the Colonel's eyes showed that the cask contained something as precious, perhaps, as powder, but not quite so dangerous. It was a cask of wine over thirty years old. With Col. Zane's other effects it had stood the test of the long wagon-train journey over the Virginia mountains, and of the raft-ride down the Ohio. Col. Zane thought the feast he had arranged for Isaac would be a fitting occasion for the breaking of the cask.
Major McCullough, Capt. Boggs and Hugh Bennet had been invited. Wetzel had been persuaded to come. Betty's friends Lydia and Alice were there.
As Isaac, with an air of pride, led the two girls into the room Old Sam saw them and he exclaimed, "For de Lawd's sakes, Marsh Zane, dar's two pippins, sure can't tell 'em from one anudder."
Betty and Myeerah did resemble each other. They were of about the same size, tall and slender. Betty was rosy, bright-eyed and smiling; Myeerah was pale one moment and red the next.
"Friends, this is Myeerah, the daughter of Tarhe," said Isaac simply. "We are to be married to-morrow."
"Oh, why did you not tell me?" asked Betty in great surprise. "She said nothing about it."
"You see Myeerah has that most excellent trait in a woman--knowing when to keep silent," answered Isaac with a smile.
The door opened at this moment, admitting Will Martin and Alfred Clarke.
"Everybody is here now, Bessie, and I guess we may as well sit down to supper," said Col. Zane. "And, good friends, let me say that this is an occasion for rejoicing. It is not so much a marriage that I mean. That we might have any day if Lydia or Betty would show some of the alacrity which got a good husband for Alice. Isaac is a free man and we expect his marriage will bring about peace with a powerful tribe of Indians. To us, and particularly to you, young people, that is a matter of great importance. The friendship of the Hurons cannot but exert an influence on other tribes. I, myself, may live to see the day that my dream shall be realized--peaceful and friendly relations with the Indians, the freedom of the soil, well-tilled farms and growing settlements, and at last, the opening of this glorious country to the world. Therefore, let us rejoice; let every one be happy; let your gayest laugh ring out, and tell your best story."
Betty had blushed painfully at the entrance of Alfred and again at the Colonel's remark. To add to her embarrassment she found herself seated opposite Alfred at the table. This was the first time he had been near her since the Sunday at the meeting-house, and the incident had a singular effect on Betty. She found herself possessed, all at once, of an unaccountable shyness, and she could not lift her eyes from her plate. But at length she managed to steal a glance at Alfred. She failed to see any signs in his beaming face of the broken spirit of which her brother had hinted. He looked very well indeed. He was eating his dinner like any other healthy man, and talking and laughing with Lydia. This developed another unaccountable feeling in Betty, but this time it was resentment. Who ever heard of a man, who was as much in love as his letter said, looking well and enjoying himself with any other than the object of his affections? He had got over it, that was all. Just then Alfred turned and gazed full into Betty's eyes. She lowered them instantly, but not so quickly that she failed to see in his a reproach. "You are going to stay with us a while, are you not?" asked Betty of Isaac.
"No, Betts, not more than a day or so. Now, do not look so distressed. I do not go back as a prisoner. Myeerah and I can often come and visit you. But just now I want to get back and try to prevent the Delawares from urging Tarhe to war."
"Isaac, I believe you are doing the wisest thing possible," said Capt. Boggs. "And when I look at your bride-to-be I confess I do not see how you remained single so long."
"That's so, Captain," answered Isaac. "But you see, I have never been satisfied or contented in captivity, I wanted nothing but to be free."
"In other words, you were blind," remarked Alfred, smiling at Isaac.
"Yes, Alfred, was. And I imagine had you been in my place you would have discovered the beauty and virtue of my Princess long before I did. Nevertheless, please do not favor Myeerah with so many admiring glances. She is not used to it. And that reminds me that I must expect trouble tomorrow. All you fellows will want to kiss her."
"And Betty is going to be maid of honor. She, too, will have her troubles," remarked Col. Zane.
"Think of that, Alfred," said Isaac "A chance to kiss the two prettiest girls on the border-a chance of a lifetime."
"It is customary, is it not?" said Alfred coolly.
"Yes, it's a custom, if you can catch the girl," answered Col. Zane.
Betty's face flushed at Alfred's cool assumption. How dared he? In spite of her will she could not resist the power that compelled her to look at him. As plainly as if it were written there, she saw in his steady blue eyes the light of a memory--the memory of a kiss. And Betty dropped her head, her face burning, her heart on fire with shame, and love, and regret.
"It'll be a good chance for me, too," said Wetzel. His remark instantly turned attention to himself.
"The idea is absurd," said Isaac. "Why, Lew Wetzel, you could not be made to kiss any girl."
"I would not be backward about it," said Col. Zane.
"You have forgotten the fuss you made when the boys were kissing me," said Mrs. Zane with a fine scorn.
"My dear," said Col. Zane, in an aggrieved tone, "I did not make so much of a fuss, as you call it, until they had kissed you a great many times more than was reasonable."
"Isaac, tell us one thing more," said Capt. Boggs. "How did Myeerah learn of your capture by Cornplanter? Surely she could not have trailed you?"
"Will you tell us?" said Isaac to Myeerah.
"A bird sang it to me," answered Myeerah.
"She will never tell, that is certain," said Isaac. "And for that reason I believe Simon Girty got word to her that I was in the hands of Cornplanter. At the last moment when the Indians were lashing me to the stake Girty came to me and said he must have been too late."
"Yes, Girty might have done that," said Col. Zane. "I suppose, though he dared not interfere in behalf of poor Crawford."
"Isaac, Can you get Myeerah to talk? I love to hear her speak," said Betty, in an aside.
"Myeerah, will you sing a Huron love-song?" said Isaac "Or, if you do not wish to sing, tell a story. I want them to know how well you can speak our language."
"What shall Myeerah say?" she said, shyly.
"Tell them the legend of the Standing Stone."
"A beautiful Indian girl once dwelt in the pine forests," began Myeerah, with her eyes cast down and her hand seeking Isaac's. "Her voice was like rippling waters, her beauty like the rising sun. From near and from far came warriors to see the fair face of this maiden. She smiled on them all an they called her Smiling Moon. Now there lived on the Great Lake a Wyandot chief. He was young and bold. No warrior was as great as Tarhe. Smiling Moon cast a spell o his heart. He came many times to woo her and make be his wife. But Smiling Moon said: 'Go, do great deeds, an come again.'
"Tarhe searched the east and the west. He brought her strange gifts from strange lands. She said: 'Go and slay my enemies.' Tarhe went forth in his war paint and killed the braves who named her Smiling Moon. He came again to her and she said: 'Run swifter than the deer, be more cunning than the beaver, dive deeper than the loon.'
"Tarhe passed once more to the island where dwelt Smiling Moon. The ice was thick, the snow was deep. Smiling Moon turned not from her warm fire as she said: 'The chief is a great warrior, but Smiling Moon is not easily won. It is cold. Change winter into summer and then Smiling Moon will love him.'
"Tarhe cried in a loud voice to the Great Spirit: 'Make me a master.' "A voice out of the forest answered: 'Tarhe, great warrior, wise chief, waste not thy time, go back to thy wigwam.'
"Tarhe unheeding cried 'Tarhe wins or dies. Make him a master so that he may drive the ice northward.'
"Stormed the wild tempest; thundered the rivers of ice chill blew the north wind, the cold northwest wind, against the mild south wind; snow-spirits and hail-spirits fled before the warm raindrops; the white mountains melted, and lo! it was summer.
"On the mountain top Tarhe waited for his bride. Never wearying, ever faithful he watched many years. There he turned to stone. There he stands to-day, the Standing Stone of ages. And Smiling Moon, changed by the Great Spirit into the Night Wind, forever wails her lament at dusk through the forest trees, and moans over the mountain tops."
Myeerah's story elicited cheers and praises from all. She was entreated to tell another, but smilingly shook her head. Now that her shyness had worn off to some extent she took great interest in the jest and the general conversation.
Col. Zane's fine old wine flowed like water. The custom was to fill a guest's cup as soon as it was empty. Drinking much was rather encouraged than otherwise. But Col. Zane never allowed this custom to go too far in his house.
"Friends, the hour grows late," he said. "To-morrow, after the great event, we shall have games, shooting matches, running races, and contests of all kinds. Capt. Boggs and I have arranged to give prizes, and I expect the girls can give something to lend a zest to the competition."
"Will the girls have a chance in these races?" asked Isaac. "If so, I should like to see Betty and Myeerah run."
"Betty can outrun any woman, red or white, on the border," said Wetzel. "And she could make some of the men run their level best."
"Well, perhaps we shall give her one opportunity to-morrow," observed the Colonel. "She used to be good at running but it seems to me that of late she has taken to books and--"
"Oh, Eb! that is untrue," interrupted Betty.
Col. Zane laughed and patted his sister's cheek. "Never mind, Betty," and then, rising, he continued, "Now let us drink to the bride and groom-to-be. Capt. Boggs, I call on you."
"We drink to the bride's fair beauty; we drink to the groom's good luck," said Capt. Boggs, raising his cup.
"Do not forget the maid-of-honor," said Isaac.
"Yes, and the maid-of-honor. Mr. Clarke, will you say something appropriate?" asked Col. Zane.
Rising, Clarke said: "I would be glad to speak fittingly on this occasion, but I do not think I can do it justice. I believe as Col. Zane does, that this Indian Princess is the first link in that chain of peace which will some day unite the red men and the white men. Instead of the White Crane she should be called the White Dove. Gentlemen, rise and drink to her long life and happiness."
The toast was drunk. Then Clarke refilled his cup and holding it high over his head he looked at Betty.
"Gentlemen, to the maid-of-honor. Miss Zane, your health, your happiness, in this good old wine."
"I thank you," murmured Betty with downcast eyes. "I bid you all good-night. Come, Myeerah."
Once more alone with Betty, the Indian girl turned to her with eyes like twin stars.
"My sister has made me very happy," whispered Myeerah in her soft, low voice. "Myeerah's heart is full."
"I believe you are happy, for I know you love Isaac dearly."
"Myeerah has always loved him. She will love his sister."
"And I will love you," said Betty. "I will love you because you have saved him. Ah! Myeerah, yours has been wonderful, wonderful love."
"My sister is loved," whispered Myeerah. "Myeerah saw the look in the eyes of the great hunter. It was the sad light of the moon on the water. He loves you. And the other looked at my sister with eyes like the blue of northern skies. He, too, loves you."
"Hush!" whispered Betty, trembling and hiding her face. "Hush! Myeerah, do not speak of him."