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Fort Frayne

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Cí -"" AUtHOB OF ff j. jfci ■ FOLS IN AMBUSH" } I [Copyright, 1896, by P. Tennyson Neely.] Chaptkb I.- Boyle Farrar disfraces luinself at West Point, deserts the school and leadsawandering life. einking lower and lower. marries his employer'a aaughter and then commíts a forgery. I!.- G'olonel Farrar, fatlier of Royle. ie killed in a baUlewitb. the Indians. III.- Soyle Farrar's ;er brother Will graduates at West Point and falls in love with Kiny Ormsby, whose brother Jack Is in love with Will'ssister Ellis. IV.- Willis made lientenant. Theyall return 10 Fort Fruyne. acconipanied by a certair Mrs. Daunton. Y. - Iv lias been reported that Royle Farrar i.s dead, but he turne up al the lort ín thP guise of a common soldier nnder the nainetf Uraice. Ellia Farrar and Jack Urmsby qnarrei over Helen Daunton. VI- Helen Daunton has an interview with Jack Ormsby, in which it transpires tha1 Bhe is Royle Farrar's much ■ wife. whom Ormsby has before befriended. VI r - Heien Farrar discovers her husband. VIII - J-llis Farrar witnesses another in tor view between Helen Daunton and Jack ürrasby. IX - Tronble arises between the cowboys and tne Indians. X. - The garrison is ordered out to protect the Indians. XI- Helen Daiinton maken preparationa to rut her husband away from the lort. XII- At t'iit; Christmas buil they are startled by the cry of "Fire!11 in tne gardhonse. Royle Farrar comes to his end amid the Barnes, and Captain Léale loses his eye-sight in the attenipt torescue the unworthy hnsband of the woman he loves, Helen Farrar. XIII - A misunderstandnong the Indians causes more trouble. They leave the reservation and. are pursned by the Seventh. charger began to paw the snow, and ethers snifi'ed suspiciously and cocked their pointedcars in the direction of the unsecn vil] age. Some young troopers, tremulous with exciteraent and cold combined, began to slap their fur gloved hands on breast or thigh s.nd had to be sternly called to order. Presentir a rnuöled horseman came riding up froru i the rear, a trurupeter in his tracks. "That's right, Martin. You did wcll to halt a minute. I've sent back word to Colonel Fenton. He had wired to the agency before we pulled out." "Can't we turn 'em back without his authority, sir?" "lío, even when we know they mean to cross the Platte. But orders will come tonight. The wires are workiag welL" "Captain, did you hear what Captain Amory said this evening?" asked the youngster as he edged in closer to the elder's side, "that Ormsby never carne I out here that we didn't have a shindy With the Sioux?" ' "Yes, but poor Jack is out of the dance this time and can't be with us j as ho was before. ' ' "I don 't understand, " eaid Martin, having some vague theory that the illness of Miss Farrar was at the bottom of Ormsby's inability to take part in the promised chase. "I didn't suppose anything could keep him from taking a hand in soldier service." "Well, that's just it. Those fellows in the Seventh are as punctilious on a point of duty as any man we know in the army. Ormsby promised to be back With his company for some review or ceremony within this week. He's got to go. They've telegraphed to remind him, and he has just time, barring accident, to muko the trip." CHAPTER XIV. The Twelfth spent its New Year's day hot on the Indian trail. Into the foothills it wcund, tortuous and full of per il, for from every projecting point, from rock to rock and crest to crest, the warrior rear guard poured their fire on the advancing line. Charges were fruitless. The nimble ponies of the Indians bore their riders swiftly out of harrn's way, and only among the charging force did casualties occur. Still, Fenton had hung like a bulldog to his task, hoping before nightfall to catch up with the main body and the movingvillage, then to hem it in. Numericaliy he was little better off than the Indians, as 50 Indians can surround 500 troopers much more effectively than 500 troopers can surround 50 mounted warriors. Through Bat and others he had vainly striven to communicate w-itb. Big Road, to assure him no harm would be done ; that all that was necessary was for him to return with his people under escort of the legiment to the reservation. Up to 4 p. m. uot a shot had been fired by the Twelfth, even in response to a sometimos galling fusillade from the Indians. By that time several men had been tinhorsed and two or three wounded, and the thing was getting exapperating ; yet, Was it worth keeping up, for Bat and other . scouts cU chili .. . wi.age to be lesa than tbrce aulrs anead nowj and, with that ovórhauled, the wan-iers coald be brougLt tv i zy well south of the mouütains, an 1 .o the accomplishment of this, without sacrificing men or horses to any great exteut, Fenton was bending every energy when overtaken t)y the first courier from Frayne. Wayne had marked the dispatches in the order in which they should be read, but the only ones which much concerned him now were from department headquarters. A nevv king who knew not Joseph, a new general with whom Fenton had nefer chanced to serve, was there in command, and he, coming a comparative &tranger to the community, knew little of the merits of the politi"cians by whom üe was speedily besieged. They were present in force, armed with letters and dispaiches by the score from eo called prominent citizens resident along the Platte, and Fenton was practically unrepresented. It was in no spirit of tínkindness, but rather that Fenton might have opportunity to come thither and confront and confound, if he could, his acensers, that the general had issued the first order, which was that Fenton should "immediately escort Big Iioad and his people back to the agency and then report to these headquarters for cnsultation. " That dispatch, if delivered, wonld have ruined all the plans of the plainsmen, and the wires were clipped the moment warning came, and it never got beyond the old Bubstation on the Laramie until af ter the repairs were made, but other dispatches were wired from below the breaks, i alioging first tbat, so far from Fenton's doing as ordered, he was apparently bent on driving Eig Road's people up the river or into the open field, then that he had done so, and that the Indiaus were now raiding the scattered ranches and driving the cattle into the i foothills, while the settlers werefleeing in terror. Fenton's dispatches, wired before Big Road's escapade, had, of course, boen received, but his report of the situation was at utter variancewith that from the agency and those from the Thorpe party. Gross mismanagernent and general incompctency were the principal allegationsagainst Fenton, i though the astute "hustlers" did not i forget to add drunkonness to the list as one which the public would accept without question, he being an army ufficer, and when Ihe governor himself was induced to add hiï complaint to those of his enterprising people the general yielded. The dispatches sent by courier called for expían ation of the charges made by the agent and civilians, intimated doubt as-to the wisdom of Fenton's course or the accuracy of his information and wouud up with the significant clause, "Do not hing to provoke hostilities or arouse the fears of the Indians, " and here he had been in hot pursuit of them all the livelong day. Stung to the quick, Fenton nevertheless pressed vigorously on. The result would justify him, and he could wait for his vindication until the campaign was over. The village at sundown could not be more than three miles away, said his scouts, and the energyof Big Road's defensive measures was redoubled. Instructions to do npthing to provoke hostilitiea were üeaS letters, now that hostilities had actually been provoked - not by him or his people, but, between them, by Big Road and the cowboys. There was only one course for Fenton to take, and that was to overhaul the village and peaceably if he could, but forcibly if he must, escort it back within the reservation lines. Bat had riddcn up just aa tho sun was disappearing to say that the Indians seemed to be heading for a deep cleft in tho foothills through which the buffalo in bygone days had made their way. Now, if Fenton could only send Farwell or Amory with half the squadron to gallop in wide detour to the west tinder cover of the darkness and seize the bluffs overhanging the canyon, meantime making every pretense of keeping up the pursuit with the remainder of his force, he might trap the village while most of its defenders were still far away. Darkness settled down over the desolate wintiy landscape, and the two troops dispatched on this stirring and perilous mission were those of Farwell and Malcolm Leale, the latter led by its boy lieutenant, Will Farrar. One hour later, as the advance was still groping along the trail and the weary troopers, alternately leading afoot and riding sleepily in narrow column, pushed steadily in their tracks, two horscinen on jaded rnounts came spurriug from the rear, and Wayne, with sorrowful face, handed his dispatches to the colonel. By the light of a little pocket lantern Fenton read, while in brooding silence a knot of half a dozen officers gathered about them. The closing paragraph is all we nee.d to quote: "You will therefore turn over the command to Major Waym. and report in person at these headquarters without uimecessary delay. Aeknowledge receipt. " At any other time the colonel might have been expected to swear vigorously, but the trouble in Wayne'a face and the unspokcn sympathy and sorrow were too much for him, "All right, oíd boy," said lie as he refolded the papers. "Pitch in now and finish up the business, with my blessing. Bat," he continned, turning to the swarthy gnide, "how f ar is it over to the Allipon ranch? I think I'll sleep there. " And no further words were needed to teil the lirtle group that. their colonel had been removed from coinniand just on the eve of consuinmation of bis plans, and he was the only man of the lot who didn't look as though all heart had been taken out of him as the immediate result. . "D- n that fcllow Thorpe! It's his j doing," swore the adjutant bet ween hia set teeth. "Ho has never forgiven us for spoiling his scheme to clean out the i whole band." "Don't waste time swearing," sairl Fenton grimly. "I'll take the job off ■ your hands. They're heading for Elk i Springs, Wayne, and I've sent Farwell with two troops around to the left to find their way to the bluffs and get there first. Everything dopends on that." But even Fentou hardly realized how j very much depended. It was now about 7 o'clock, and ever since the early dawn the cavalry had been pressing steadily at the heols of the Indian rear guard, never firing, never responding to the i challenge of shot or siiout from the j scamperingwarriorsbefore them. Again and again had Bat and his half breed cousin, La Boute, striven to get Big Road to halt and paiiey; but, though the signáis were fully nnderstand, old Eoad was raad with the mingled rage of fight and whisky and believed himself the leader of an outbreak that should rival that of 1870 and place him, as a battle chief, head of au arniy of warriors thafc should overruu the northwest. Anxious ouly to get the women and childrcn safcly in among the fastnesses of the bilis, he contented himself i therefore through tlie livelong day with holding the troops at long arm 's length, opening lively lire when they sought to push ahead. It was glorious f un f or him and liis. Well they knew that so far at least the soldiers were forbiddeu to attack. With the coming of auother day Big Road planned to have his village far in among the clefts and canyons of the range, where a few resolute warriors could defend the pass against an advanee, while he and his bravea, reenforced by eager recruits from the yonng men of other bands at the reservation, could fall upon the flanks and rear of Fenton's forco and fritter it away, as Red Cloud had ruussacred Fetterman's men long years before at old Fort Kearny. Everything depended on who should get there first, and, as the Sioux said of Custer's column the bloody day on the Little Hom, "the soldiers were tired. " Extending southward from the peaks of the Big Horn was a wild range of irregular heights, covprcd in places with a tliick growth of hardy young spruce and cedars and scrub oak, slashed and severed here and thcre by deep and tortuous canyons with precipitous sides. Somewhere in among these bilis was a big amphitheater known as the Indian race course, approachable in winter at least through the crooked rift or pass known for short as Elk gulch. In just such another natural fastness and only a few miles away to the northeast had the Cheyennes made their famous stand against five times their weight in fighting men the bitter winter of 1876, a battle the cavalry long had cause to remember, and now, with but a handiul of troops as compared with the force led in by MacKenzie, Wayne had right before him a similar problem to tackle. The only points in bis favor were that Big Road 's braves were as few as his own and that Fenton had already sent a force to race the Indiana to their refnge. At 8 o'clock the darkness was intense. Thero was no moon to light their way, and their only guide was the dcep trail in the snowy surface lef t by the retreatÏDg Indians. The darkness was no deeper than the gloom in eve.y heart, for Fenton was gone, a wronged and calumniated man, and they, his loyal soldiers, obedient to a higher duty stili, were foreed tn push on and finish his work without him. For an hour only at snail's pace had they followed the trail. Bat and his associaies had had many a narrow escape. Lieutenant Martin, commanding the advance, had had his horse shot under him. Sergeant Roe had a bullet through his coat, and Corporal Werrick, riding eagerly in the lead, got another through the shoulder. Luckily it was not very cold, but all the same most of the men were becoming sluggish andsleepy, and that was just about the time Wayne might be expected to wake up. And wake up he did. "I have had no orders on no account to attack, " said he, "andlhaven't time i to read all the rot they've wired to ton. Watch for the next shots ahead there," he cried to the foremost troopers, "and sock it to them!" Theu it was ueautiful to see how even the horses seemed to rouse from their stupor and apathy, and something almost like a cheer burst from the lips of the younger men. Old hands took a swig of water from their canteens and a bite at the comfortingplug. Out from the sockets came the brown carbines, and a fresh platoon was ordered up to relieve the advance, and Lieutenant Eandolph took Martin's place at the íront. livery Jittle vmlo through the darkness ahead had come a flash aud report from the invisible foe, and, as these had been suiïered unavenged, it vas soon observed that the lurking warriors grew bolder and that with every shot the distance seemed to decrease. For half au hour past they had Leen coming iu irom easy pistol range, and Randolph took the cue. Bidding his men open out and rideseveral yards apart, yet aligne.d as much as was possible, he ordered carbines dropped and revolvers drawn andthen, trotting along the rear of the dozen, gave his quick caution to man af ter man. "Watch for the flash and let drive at it. Even if we don' t hit, we'llkeepthem at arespectful distance," he said, and the words were hardly out of his mouth when a ruddy light leaped over the snow, a shot went zipping past his head, and then,, followed by a roar of approval from the raain column, the revolvers of the advance crackled and sputtered their answer. The landscape was lit up for an instant, dark forms went pounding and scurrying away from the front, anda moment later there uprose a cheer over at the right, aud Raudolph galloped to the spot. An Indian pony lay kicking, struggling, stiffening in the snow, shot through the body, and the rider had had to run for it. "That's right, Randolph," said the major, spurriug to his side. "Now, keep 'em off, but don't push too hard. Remember, we've got. to give Farwell time." "How f ar ahead is that confoimded canyon, Bat?" asked the adjutant at the moment. "Not more tfaan two miles how. I hunted buffalo all over here when I was a boy," was the answer. "Big Road's people all thcro by thia time, I'm afraid." "Then you think that they got there first- that they've got the blufis?" ' ' 'Fruid so. Big Rond no fooi. He wouldn't let his village drive into a guJch and not guard the bluffs. If the captain got there first, they 'd have I found it out by this time and signaled for help. The rcason I believe they think they're all safe is that so mauy Indians hang aronnd us out here." And just then carne a grant of disgust from La Bonte. The colonel at his side said "H - 1!" and an excitable trooper called out, "Look there! What'athat?" for over at the northwest, all on i sudden, a brilliant column of flama had burst through the blackness of the night and sent a broad glare streaming over the snow ciad eurfaco of the rolling prairie. "They're on to us, by the eternal!" cried the adjutant, who loved the Jacksonian f orna of expletive. "Listen!" But no one listened more than an instant. Even through the muffling coverlet of snow the rmnble and rush of a hundred pony hoofs, like low, distant thunder, told of the instant flight of Big Road's bravea in answer to the signal. Wayne was ablaze in a second. "Close up on the head of column," he shouted to the troop leaders. "Come on, now, men, for all you're worth. There isn't a second to spare." And as the amazed and wearied horses gave answer to the spur and brokO into lumbering gallop far over at the west the rocks began to ring to the craclde of musketry. Farwell and the Sioux had clinched on the bluffs to tho sonth of the springs and were fighting in the dark for the right of -way. Ten miles away, at Allison's ranch, wearied with the sleepless toil of 24 hours, too weary to be kept awakc eveu by the exasperating sense of his wrongs, the colonel was just rolling into his blankets for a ïnuch needed rest before setting forth with the rising snn on his homeward road. Fifty miles away over the white expanse of prairie, under the cold and glittering skies, Marjorie Farrar sat by the bedside of her beloved daughter, praying ceaselessly for the safety of an equally beloved son now riding for the first time in his brave young life to prove his worthiness to bear the father's name in headlong fight with a savage and skillful foe. And if ever a young fellow, wearer of the army blue, realized to the full extent the hopes and faith and fondness centered in him this night of nights, it was WilL Farrar. Barely arrived at mau's estáte, not yet a year out of the cadet coatee, with his mother, his sister, his sweetheart, all there at the old fort so long associated with his father's name, with that name to maintain, and not only that, but with Malcolm Leale's old troop as one man looking up to him as their leader, yet competent, down to tho very last man, to note the faintest fiaw should he fail them, the junior subaltern of the Twelfth, the "plebe" Heutenant, as his elders laughingly spoke of him, found himself, as though some special providence had sweptfrom his path every possible barrierto danger and distinction, lifted suddenly to a commaud that seldom falls to army subalterna today even within a dozen years and bidden here and now to win his spurs for the honor of the old troop, the honor of the Twelfth, the honor of the name hia father made famous and that he must maintain or die in trying to. All this, and God alone knows how much more besides, went thrilling through his very soul as, on Farwell's left and in uttersilence, herode swiftly onward at the head of the column. Leaving to his own first lieutenaut the command of tho grays, Captain Farwell had told him to follow close in the tracks of Farrar's men and, with on]y one of the Indian company to aid aud no other guide of any kind but his senses and the stars, had placed himself in the lead aud pushed forth into the night. "Swing well out to the west," were Fenton's last orders. "Keep dark, as you know how. Head for the hills as soon as you're sure you're far beyond hearing and try to strike those bluffs a couple of miles at least back of the mouth of the canyon. You ought to get there anead of the village. Halt it with a few men down in the gorge, but hold your rnain body on the bluffs. We'll keep Big Road busy. ' ' Luckily the stars were brilliantin the wintry sky and the constellations out in all their glory. The pole star glowed high aloft and held them to their conrse. Out in the advance, lashing his horse with Indian whip to keep him to his speed, rode Brave Bear, a corporal of tho Ogalalla company, side by side with Sergeant Bremmer. Whenever tho drifts were deep in the ravines, ono of them would halt and waru the column to swerve to the right or left. Only a yard or two behind the two officers - Farwell, grizzled and stout, Farrar, fair and slender - came loping or trotting the leading four, and, though it was not his aocustomed place, there rode Terry Rorke, where, as he had explained to the satisfaction of the sergeant, he could be close to "Masther WilJ. " The prairie was broad and open and fairly level. There was no need of di minishing front. A platoon cou'd have ridden abreast and found no serious obstacle, except the snowdrif rs in the deep coulees. Two miles to the west they sped, inoving cautiously at first so as to give no inkling of their intent, and, for the first time, almost doubling back upon their tracks, so as to keep well away f rom the ludían rear guard. Then, in long curve, Farwell led them toward the low, rolling hills, now diraly visible against the firmament, aud presently the ravines began to grow deeper but farther apart, the slopes more abrupt, and the westward hills loomed closer in theirpath, and still the snowy expanse showed unbroken, and Bear, bending low over his pony's neck and watching for sigus, declared that no Indians had crossed as yet into the hills and that the entrance to Elk gulch was now not more than a mile to the north. And hero the hills rolJed higher, both to their front and toward the west, but Farwell rode on up a gradual ascent nntil the slope begau to grow stecp, then, dismounting, led the way afoot, the whole column rolling out of saddle and towing its horses in his track. Up, up they climbed until, breathing hard uow, but pushing relentlessly on, the captain reached the crest, and faint and dim in the starlight, dotted here and there with little clumps of spruce or cedar, the rolling, billowy surface lay before him, shrouded in its mantle of glistening snow. Leading on until the whole commimd had time to reach the top, he motioned Wiil to halt, while he, with Bear and Sergeant Bremmcr, pushed a few yards farther on. The [TO BE COXTINUED.]


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