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The Lost Trail   By: (1840-1916)

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[Illustration: "THAT INDIAN HAS CARRIED CORA AWAY!" Frontispiece .]



I. The Shadow II. The Adventures of a Night III. The Jug Acquaintances IV. An Ominous Rencounter V. Gone VI. The Lost Trail VII. A Hibernian's Search for the Trail VIII. The Trail of Death IX. The Dead Shot X. Conclusion


He held his long rifle in his right hand, while he drew the shrubbery apart with his left, and looked forth at the canoe.

"A purty question, ye murtherin haythen!"

"Where does yees get the jug?"

Dealt the savage a tremendous blow

"Well, At to uck," said he, kindly, "you seem troubled."

The trail was lost!

"And so, Teddy, ye're sayin' it war a white man that took away the missionary's wife."

"It's all up!" muttered the dying man. "I am wiped out at last, and must go under!"

"Harvey Richter don't you know me?" he gasped.




Ye who love the haunts of nature, Love the sunshine of the meadow, Love the shadow of the forest, Love the wind among the branches, And the rain shower and the snow storm, And the rushing of great rivers. Listen to these wild traditions. HIAWATHA.

One day in the spring of 1820, a singular occurrence took place on one of the upper tributaries of the Mississippi.

The bank, some fifteen or twenty feet in height, descended quite abruptly to the stream's edge. Though both shores were lined with dense forest, this particular portion possessed only several sparse clumps of shrubbery, which seemed like a breathing space in this sea of verdure a gate in the magnificent bulwark with which nature girts her streams. This green area commanded a view of several miles, both up and down stream.

Had a person been observing this open spot on the afternoon of the day in question, he would have seen a large bowlder suddenly roll from the top of the bank to bound along down the green declivity and fall into the water with a loud splash. This in itself was nothing remarkable, as such things are of frequent occurrence in the great order of things, and the tooth of time easily could have gnawed away the few crumbs of earth that held the stone in poise.

Scarcely five minutes had elapsed, however, when a second bowlder rolled downward in a manner precisely similar to its predecessor, and tumbled into the water with a rush that resounded across and across from the forest on either bank.

Even this might have occurred in the usual course of things. Stranger events take place every day. The loosening of the first stone could have opened the way for the second, although a suspicious observer might naturally have asked why its fall did not follow more immediately.

But, when precisely the same interval had elapsed, and a third stone followed in the track of the others, there could be no question but what human agency was concerned in the matter. It certainly appeared as if there were some intent in all this. In this remote wilderness, no white man or Indian would find the time or inclination for such child's play, unless there was a definite object to be accomplished.

And yet, scrutinized from the opposite bank, the lynx eye of a veteran pioneer would have detected no other sign of the presence of a human being than the occurrences that we have already narrated; but the most inexperienced person would have decided at once upon the hiding place of him who had given the moving impulse to the bodies.

Just at the summit of the bank was a mass of shrubbery of sufficient extent and density to conceal a dozen warriors. And within this, beyond doubt, was one person, at least, concealed; and it was certain, too, that from his hiding place, he was peering out upon the river. Each bowlder had emerged from this shrubbery, and had not passed through it in its downward course; so that their starting point may now be considered a settled question... Continue reading book >>

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