The Spirit of the Border HTML version

Chapter 5.
Silvertip turned to his braves, and giving a brief command, sprang from the raft. The
warriors closed in around the brothers; two grasping each by the arms, and the remaining
Indian taking care of the horse. The captives were then led ashore, where Silvertip
awaited them.
When the horse was clear of the raft, which task necessitated considerable labor on the
part of the Indians, the chief seized the grapevine, that was now plainly in sight, and
severed it with one blow of his tomahawk. The raft dashed forward with a lurch and
drifted downstream.
In the clear water Joe could see the cunning trap which had caused the death of Bill, and
insured the captivity of himself and his brother. The crafty savages had trimmed a six-
inch sapling and anchored it under the water. They weighted the heavy end, leaving the
other pointing upstream. To this last had been tied the grapevine. When the drifting raft
reached the sapling, the Indians concealed in the willows pulled hard on the improvised
rope; the end of the sapling stuck up like a hook, and the aft was caught and held. The
killing of the helmsman showed the Indians' foresight; even had the raft drifted on
downstream the brothers would have been helpless on a craft they could not manage.
After all, Joe thought, he had not been so far wrong when he half fancied that an Indian
lay behind Shawnee Rock, and he marveled at this clever trick which had so easily
effected their capture.
But he had little time to look around at the scene of action. There was a moment only in
which to study the river to learn if the unfortunate raftsman's body had appeared. It was
not to be seen. The river ran swiftly and hid all evidence of the tragedy under its smooth
surface. When the brave who had gone back to the raft for the goods joined his
companion the two hurried Joe up the bank after the others.
Once upon level ground Joe saw before him an open forest. On the border of this the
Indians stopped long enough to bind the prisoners' wrists with thongs of deerhide. While
two of the braves performed this office, Silvertip leaned against a tree and took no notice
of the brothers. When they were thus securely tied one of their captors addressed the
chief, who at once led the way westward through the forest. The savages followed in
single file, with Joe and Jim in the middle of the line. The last Indian tried to mount
Lance; but the thoroughbred would have none of him, and after several efforts the savage
was compelled to desist. Mose trotted reluctantly along behind the horse.
Although the chief preserved a dignified mien, his braves were disposed to be gay. They
were in high glee over their feat of capturing the palefaces, and kept up an incessant
jabbering. One Indian, who walked directly behind Joe, continually prodded him with the
stock of a rifle; and whenever Joe turned, the brawny redskin grinned as he grunted,
"Ugh!" Joe observed that this huge savage had a broad face of rather a lighter shade of
red than his companions. Perhaps he intended those rifle-prods in friendliness, for