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The Indian Drum   By: (1883-1959)

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First Page:

[Frontispiece: As Constance started away, Spearman suddenly drew her back to him and kissed her.]

THE INDIAN DRUM

BY

WILLIAM MacHARG

AND

EDWIN BALMER

FRONTISPIECE BY

W. T. BENDA

NEW YORK

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1917,

BY EDWIN BALMER

All rights reserved

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I THE MAN WHOM THE STORM HAUNTED II WHO IS ALAN CONRAD? III DISCUSSION OF A SHADOW IV "ARRIVED SAFE; WELL" V AN ENCOUNTER VI CONSTANCE SHERRILL VII THE DEED IN TRUST VIII MR. CORVET'S PARTNER IX VIOLENCE X A WALK BESIDE THE LAKE XI A CALLER XII THE LAND OF THE DRUM XIII THE THINGS FROM CORVET'S POCKETS XIV THE OWNER OF THE WATCH XV OLD BURR OF THE FERRY XVI A GHOST SHIP XVII "HE KILLED YOUR FATHER" XVIII MR. SPEARMAN GOES NORTH XIX THE WATCH UPON THE BEACH XX THE SOUNDING OF THE DRUM XXI THE FATE OF THE MIWAKA

THE INDIAN DRUM

CHAPTER I

THE MAN WHOM THE STORM HAUNTED

Near the northern end of Lake Michigan, where the bluff bowed ore carriers and the big, low lying, wheat laden steel freighters from Lake Superior push out from the Straits of Mackinac and dispute the right of way, in the island divided channel, with the white and gold, electric lighted, wireless equipped passenger steamers bound for Detroit and Buffalo, there is a copse of pine and hemlock back from the shingly beach. From this copse dark, blue, primeval, silent at most times as when the Great Manitou ruled his inland waters there comes at time of storm a sound like the booming of an old Indian drum. This drum beat, so the tradition says, whenever the lake took a life; and, as a sign perhaps that it is still the Manitou who rules the waters in spite of all the commerce of the cities, the drum still beats its roll for every ship lost on the lake, one beat for every life.

So men say they heard and counted the beatings of the drum to thirty five upon the hour when, as afterward they learned, the great steel steamer Wenota sank with twenty four of its crew and eleven passengers; so men say they heard the requiem of the five who went down with the schooner Grant ; and of the seventeen lost with the Susan Hart ; and so of a score of ships more. Once only, it is told, has the drum counted wrong.

At the height of the great storm of December, 1895, the drum beat the roll of a sinking ship. One, two, three the hearers counted the drum beats, time and again, in their intermitted booming, to twenty four. They waited, therefore, for report of a ship lost with twenty four lives; no such news came. The new steel freighter Miwaka , on her maiden trip during the storm with twenty five not twenty four aboard never made her port; no news was ever heard from her; no wreckage ever was found. On this account, throughout the families whose fathers, brothers, and sons were the officers and crew of the Miwaka , there stirred for a time a desperate belief that one of the men on the Miwaka was saved; that somewhere, somehow, he was alive and might return. The day of the destruction of the Miwaka was fixed as December fifth by the time at which she passed the government lookout at the Straits; the hour was fixed as five o'clock in the morning only by the sounding of the drum.

The region, filled with Indian legend and with memories of wrecks, encourages such beliefs as this. To northward and to westward a half dozen warning lights Ile aux Galets ("Skilligalee" the lake men call it), Waugaushance, Beaver, and Fox Islands gleam spectrally where the bone white shingle outcrops above the water, or blur ghostlike in the haze; on the dark knolls topping the glistening sand bluffs to northward, Chippewas and Ottawas, a century and a half ago, quarreled over the prisoners after the massacre at Fort Mackinac; to southward, where other hills frown down upon Little Traverse Bay, the black robed priests in their chapel chant the same masses their predecessors chanted to the Indians of that time... Continue reading book >>




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