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A Modem Indian Reservation
Story by Robert Ames Eennet
Capt. Floyd Hardy, U. S. A., coming to take charge of the agency at
Lakotah Indian reservation, following the murder of Agent Nogen, res
cues a quarterbreed girl and two men from an Indian attack. They are
Reginald Vandervyn, agency clerk and nephew of Senator Clemmer;
Jacques Dupont, post trader, and his daughter Marie. Hardy learns
that Vandervyn had been promised the agency position, discovers that
the Indians are disaffected because they have been cheated in a
tribal mine which Vandervyn and Dupont have been working, is puz
zled when his friendly speech to tribesmen, interpreted by Vander
vyn's tool, angers the Indians, and determines to make further inves
tigation. New influences arising at this point make his position
difficult. How his life and honor are endangered through dark plot
ting is graphically described in this installment
CHAPTER VIII Continued.
Vandervyn had arranged to be gone
a week. There was no cause to dis
cuss the time of his return, and as Ma
rie seldom mentioned him, Hardy was
not often annoyed by the vision of the
handsome young fellow interposing be
tween himself and the girl.
From day to day it could plainly be
seen how the rides In the pure moun
tain air and the delight of the girl's
companionship were bringing back
strength and vigor to the officer's
tropic-weakened body. Soon a healthy
red appeared under the tan of his
cheeks. The lines of severity and re
pressed grief began to smooth away.
On the morning of the seventh day,
wkD he rode over to join Marie for
a ride out to the butte on Wolf river,
ten years seemed to have dropped from
him. Even when he lifted his hat to
the girl and exposed the silvered hair
at his temples, he looked nearer
twenty-five than thirty. He had
shaved off his bristly mustache!
"Positively, captain," she bantered,
"you startle me. You are growing so
young! First thing I know, I shall
be feeling myself a grandmother in
"Impossible," he gallantly replied.
"You are the Spirit of Youth. Being
with you is what makes me seem so
much younger than I am. Yet I shall
never see thirty-two again."
"You're barely of age this morning!"
she said, smiling at his shapely clean
"In that case you must humor
callowness by pretending you
my aid to mount"
She put one small booted foo
hand, rose with the llghtm
feather and perched herself
on her man's saddle. Unu
strange behavior, the pon
buck. Hardy sprang to se
Kiv the hpfl1. Mnrlp wnv
and proceeded to give aif
exhibition of her skill
an. With one knee cro
horn of her saddle, fit
cult seat like a circr
pony subsided. J
Hardy as the gir
they started off df
She smiled witf
gie never nott
you The fil
saddle I thou I
On their wa
met no one, tot
police had mova ,
camp site opposite tKA L.
suggested that they clfmb U)ffb
With subtle coquetry, she gave Ha
the privilege of assisting her up ,
ledges, though, had she chosen.
could have outclimbed him.
mounted to the top of the highest
where they sat down on the bare
to view the plains and mounta
through Hardy's glasses. The utt
stillness and solitude, the immensity
the cloudless blue dome above thei
the great sweep of the landscape al
tended to quiet the excitement of the
lively ascent. A hush fell upon they
Marie let the hand that held 1,
glasses sink into her lap. She gaz
off up the river, droaray-eyed.
After a prolonged silence Haray
murmured in a half-whisper: "How
alone we are ! The world is young it
Is the beginning of time. And in all
the new, young world, you and I are
It was the first time that he had
ever used her given name in speaking
to her. She started from her day
dream, the color deepening in her
cheeks. In the same moment she be
came aware that she had been looking
at a moving object.
"Look !" she said, lifting the glasses
to her eyes. "That must be the head
and shoulders of a man. He is rid
ing along on the far side of the ridge
an Indian; his head is muffled in a
"Marie !" softly repeated Hardy.
The girl sprang to her feet. "He
has disappeared but we are no longer
alone in the world, Captain Hardy.
Let us go down."
With instant repression of his dis
appointment, Hardy took the glasses
and offered his hand to assist her down
the first ledge. She ignored the offer.
Nor did she permit him to help her at
all during the descent.
Her pony leaped away with tbjp
jumping start of a bronco. T
stepped clear of the lovf
the rill edge, out uion y
nf the coulee bottom.
uct of breaking intp
rider's hat whirled from his head and
he pitched sideways out of the saddle
as if struck by lightning.
A moment later the report of the shot
reached Marie. She glanced over her
shoulder and saw Hardy outstretched
on the ground, flaccid and inert.
With a suddenness that almost threw
her pony off his nimble feet, she
wrenched him around. The mare had
stopped within two strides, and twist
ed her head about to look at her fallen
master. The manner in which he had
fallen showed that the shot had come
from up the coulee. Flinging herself
from her pony, she plucked Hardy's
rifle out of its sheath and leveled it
across the saddle. But she could see
no sign of the assassin, and no sec
ond bullet came whirring across the
coulee. Without a second look up the
coulee, she bent over to rip the hem
from her underskirt. This gave her a
bandage. Her own and Hardy's hand
kerchiefs served for a compress. Swift
ly she bound them on the long wound
above his temple and stopped the
When at last he opened his eyes, his
head was in her lap. He gazed up into
her down-bent face, his mind still in
a daze. A frown of pain creased his
forehead. He murmured, In the queru
lous tone of a sick child: "Mother
Instinctively her soft hand began to
smooth away the frown with a gentle,
caressing touch. His eyes closed in
restful contentment. The girl con
tinued to stroke his forehead. Sud
denly his eyelids lifted, and he looked
up with the clear, bright gaze of full
consciousness. He saw the womanlv
mpassion in her beautiful face. Her
es were tender and lustrous with
lpathy for his suffering.
j'luiici ue uiuruiureu. xi la you J
Yought my mother "
ish!" she said. "You have been
in the head. I do not know how
Vs it is."
St? In the head?" He lay still,
ing this. Her look had not
finder his gaze. From her utter
self-consciousness he divined
J thought him dangerously If
fly wounded. After a pause, he
jA.o speak with the calmness that
limes masks the most profound
K..I.III V. J UTi
scarcely Enow me Dut, in tne
stances, I trust you will pardon
not waiting. I love you. From
1 1 thought you the most beautl-
1 I had ever seen. Now I know
rMurmured. "It Is You!w
most lovely your soul as
our face. Do not shake
is the truth."
d her shame-flushed face.
permit you to speak to me
jo good and kind to refuse
he replied in the same
"I know about him. I
no chance, dear. He is
some ; while I". The
in a quizzical smile.
som heaved. The tears
rimming eyes. "You are
I did not think any
e so generous I"
d lips curved whimsically.
am generous because there
Is no other course open. I would ask
you would urge you to marry me, if
I thought I had even a fighting chance
Miy you ! You would ask me? Yet
V what my father Is like; and
people are so proud. I, an
-rterbreed, and my father
1r passed away only a
few months ago. She was all I had.
Now I shall always have the thought
of your goodness In addition to the dear
memory of her."
The girl turned her face still farther
away from him. "I cannot endure
You shall not think of me that way !"
"I beg your pardon, Miss Dupont," he
apologized. "It is most inconsiderate
and ungenerous of me to lie here claim
ing your sympathy on false pretenses.
I feel my strength coining back. It must
be that the bullet merely grazed my
Before she could prevent liim, he
twisted about and raised himself on his
"Oh!" she remonstrated. "You
should not move."
He forced a laugh between his
"No. it's what I thought only a
scratch. All right now, except for a
little dizziness. I have been imposing
on your sympathy Did you see whore
the shot came from? I must go and
rout out the rascal."
The girl grasped his rifle and sprang
up away from him.
"You shall not go," she declared.
"I'm sure he ran away the moment you
llardy straightened on his knees and
rose unsteadily to his feet. His voice
was as firm as his pose was tottery:
"Be so kind as to help me to mount."
llardy turned his mare down the cou
lee. Marie, despite his protests, rode
between him and the ridge behind
which she had seen the blanketed
Unable to endure the jar of a trot or
gallop, Hardy urged the mare to her
fastest walk. They had gone less than
a mile when a horseman came loping
up the slope from Sioux creek.
"It is Mr. Vandervyn," said Hardy in
an even tone."
"Yes," she replied. She handed back
the glasses, but did not look at him
until Vandervyn rode up.
The young man's face was flushed,
as if he had been drinking. When he
pulled up before them, he was seeming
ly so struck with Hardy's appearance
that he scarcely heeded Marie's joyful
"What's the matter, captain?" he ex
claimed. "You're as white as a ghost
and your head tied up! You must
have come a nasty cropper."
"Bit of an accident. Not serious,"
"It could not well have been closer,"
said Marie. "Captain Hardy has been
"Shot?" cried Vandervyn.
"The bullet grazed the bone above
the temple. Had It been half an inch
lower or farther back, it must have
"Half an inch," repeated Vandervyn.
His face crimsoned, and the veins of
his forehead began to swell. "Where
is the fellow? Did he get away? How
long ago was it? Loan me the mare,
Hardy. I'll run him down."
"Very good of you to offer," said
Hardy. "But the rascal might ambush
you. We'll order out a squad of po
lice. Besides, I wish your report on
your trip. 1 presume KeuDear is ai
"No." Vandervyn turned a scowling
face towards the butte, as if angrily
eager to be off in pursuit of the would
be assassin. "Charlie went back to
Thunderbolt's camp to see if his sis
ter was getting along all right with
the old chief. I told him that if he was
welcomed, he had better stay a few
days. If he and the girl make them
selves agreeable, we shall have a bet
ter chance to quiet the tribe."
"You found conditions still unfavor
able?" "Yes. All the chiefs took a violent
dislike to you ; and they had stirred up
the whole tribe. Charlie and I talked
and talked. You know a white man
can talk Indians into anything, if he
keeps at it."
"What result?" snapped Hardy.
Vandervyn shrugged. "I know we
made some impression, especially on
old Thunderbolt. The chiefs no doubt
would be willing to let you visit the
camps on safe conduct, so to speak ;
but I doubt if they could keep the wild
est of the youne bucks in hand. This
j shooting proves it. I tell you, captain,
! none of us here would think any the
less of you if you cut the whole busi
ness." "I shall start for the mountains to
morrow." "Tomorrow?" remonstrated Marie.
"Your wound you must wait at least
until It has begun to heal. And In the
meantime Redbear and Oinna will be
talking Ti-owa-konza and his camp into
a milder mood."
"That last is a most excellent argu
ment," said Hardy, and his firmly
compressed lips curved in a smile at
the girl. "I shall take your advice,
Vandervyn had frowned over the
concern in Marie's voice. Hardy's re
sponse started the veins of his fore
head swelling. He looked off away
from the two, and remarked in a cas
ual voice: "I'll ride in ahead and or
der out a squad of policemen to track
down the scoundrel. Jake can inter
pret, if I'm unable to make them un
derstand." "Good!" said Hardy.
Vandervyn shot at Marie a glance of
jealous Anger, and put spurs to his
pinto. But when they reached the
valley and saw through the glasses the
squad of police only just leaving the
agency, Marie conjectured that the
jaded pinto had slowed to a walk
while going up the valley.
At last Marie and Hardy reached the
agency. With the assistance of Van
dervyn, who came out of the Dupont
house to meet them, he was helped
down from his mare to a cot in the
shady porch. Here in the open air
Marie washed the wound and took sev
eral stitches to draw the edges to
gether. During the operation, which nardy
endured without a groan, Vandervyn
stood by, watching Marie's face with
sullen jealousy. The moment she had
rebandaged the wound, he. suggested
that it would be well to leave Hardy
quiet. In reply she asked him to go
for ice. When he returned, he found
her sitting beside the cot, fan in hand.
Hardy hat fallen asleep. She rose
and went into the house, and Vander
vyn followed her.
The young man made no attempt to
conceal his auger. He closed the par
lor door and turned upon her accus
ingly. "So that's what you've been up
to all the time I've been away?"
"Up to what, pray?"
"Coquetting with that oid fossil of a
"Am I not a dutiful daughter?" the
girl parried. "Mon pere said I must
make myself agreeable to the agent."
"Why not go and ask him, if you
doubt what I say?"
"I don't. That's just it damn it
The girl's eyes flashed with resent
ment, but her voice was sweetly mock
ing: "Oh, Mr. Vandervyn, how can
you? Captain Hardy never swore once
during all our delightful rides."
"You've been riding with him every
"All except one. I've been sorry
ever since that I missed that one. He
was invariably courteous. He is a
"You infer that I am not!" ex
claimed Vandervyn. "So he's courteous
and smoV mil slick, is he? One
might know that you've been raised
in the backwoods."
"You forget I spent four years at
the capital of Canada."
"In a convent! No wonder you've
let hlra play you."
The girl met the jeer with a tantaliz
"It has been a most amusing game.
He treats me with as much respect as
if I were a young lady of his own set."
"There's no one else here for him to
"That is an advantage, is it not?"
The girl dropped Into her English man
ner. "I daresay he will forget me as
soon as he gets back to civilization
unless I decide to accept his pronosal."
Vandervyn stared at her cynically.
"You needn't try to rag me, Marie."
She smiled. "So you do doubt what
I say. Yet It is true. Captain Hardy
did me the honor of declaring that he
wished to marry me."
"Hardy asked you? he, a captain
in the regular army!"
"And I a quarterbreed, the daughter
of my father. Amazing, is it not?"
Vandervyn caught himself up as he
saw the proud humility of her expres
sion. It was a new look to him. He
had often seen her proud, but never
humble. His jealousy flared: "How
did you answer him? You didn't ac
cept you refused the old board
"Yes and no, that is, not yet," the
Vandervyn stepped close and
grasped her arm.
"Be so kind as to release me, Mr.
"You . coquette ! You're trying to
play me against him."
"So that is what you think of me?"
The girl wrenched herself free and
turned from him haughtily.
He stepped forward, and again
grasped her arm. His voice shook
with jealous anger: "You shall have
nothing to do with him ! He shall not
have you !"
"Indeed ! May I ask what right you
have to dictate?"
"You love me, that is why," he flung
back at her. "You love me, Marie.
You can't deny it." His voice sank to
a deep, ardent, golden note that sent
a tremor through her. "You are mine
mine! ' You know It. Your arm
quivers that look in your eyes! You
cannot hide your love, Marie sweet
He sought to embrace her. But
again Bhe wrenched herself free from
him. She could no longer feign hau
teur. Her face was rosy with blushes ;
her bosom heaved; her eyes, behind
their veiling lashes, glowed with ten
der passion. Yet she kept her head
despite the intoxicating ardor of his
look. Unlike Oinna, she was not so
unsophisticated as he persisted in
"You take a good deal for granted,
Mr. Vandervyn," she attempted a
mocking tone. "I am not yet your
sweetheart, nor am I so sure I shall
He came nearer to her, his eyes the
color of violets and sparkling with tiny
golden gleams. lie held out his arms.
His voice was low and enticing:
"Sweetheart sweetheart !"
She swayed toward him, checked
herself in the act of yielding, and
eluded his grasp.
"No !" she cried. "You're a bit too
sure. I've no mother, halfbreed or
otherwise, to advise me, my dear Reg
gie. I must be my own chaperon.
You charge Captain llardy with trying
to play me. Yet when he spoke to me
of his love he also spoke of marriage."
Vandervyn's eyes narrowed and as
quickly widened in their most child
"How can you, Marie?" he re
proached. "You say that as if you
think I have been trifling with you all
these months, when you know as well
as I But of course, if you do not
trust me, I have no show against him.
"You've Been Riding With Him Every
He is free. I am, as you know, tied
down by the uncertainty of my posi
tion." "That is quite sad, is it not?" she
mocked. "I am rather more fortu
nate. Whether or not there Is any
uncertainty about my position, I am
not bound to anyone, nor am I bound
to bind myself to anyone."
"Why are you so hard to me?" he
pleaded. "You know that if my uncle
got even a hint that I am interested in
a girl out here it would be all off with
me. He doesn't know what you are
like, and It would be impossible in
writing to convince him how charming
"What a misfortune! Only, as It
happens, I have no wish to marry Sen
ator Clemmer. He already has a
"That's just it a wife and half a
dozen daughters. It's all cut and dried
that I am to marry Ella, the oldest un
"Ah so that is why" faltered
Marie, the rich color ebbing from her
cheeks. But she was only momentar
ily overcome. Her spirit rallied al
most as soon as it drooped. "It is
most kind of you, Mr. Vandervyn, to
tell me the delightful secret. Permit
me to congratulate you."
His brows peaked In a doleful frown.
"You are cruel to take It that way. I
don't love the girl. You ought to know
that you do know itl Can't you see
the hole I'm In? Even If it wasn't for
Ella, they'd all think of you as a an
agency girl. I wouldn't stand a ghost
of a show of being appointed agent
when Hardy quits."
"Does he intend to quit?"
"If you turn him down, he'll leave
just as soon as he finds the tribe still
against hiin. Then don't you see,
sweetheart? I shall get the appoint
ment as agent. Your father and I can
rip Into the little old mine as fast as
we please. It's a real mine, sweet
heart. In a few months we'll have
enough ore shipped to the smelter for
me to cut loose from my uncle and
do as I please. You know what that
Again he came toward her, his ejes
softly glowing, his arms open to em
brace her. And again she eluded him,
this time with no hesitancy or waver
ing. Her smile showed she was once
more in control of her emotions.
"Aren't you rather previous, Reg
gie?" she asked, from the other side
of the tea table. "We are not yet en
gaged." "You coquette!" he cried. "You
know I can't formally propose to you
until I have got rid of Ella."
"How honorable you are!" she
praised him, and he could detect no
irony in her voice or look.
Vandervyn stifled an oath. "By
I'll have you yet! You shan't get
away from me !"
"Indeed?" she mocked, though she
quivered from the passionate ardor in
his voice. To cover her emotion she
shrugged as only a woman of French
blood can shrug. "That is to be seen,
Mr. Vandervyn. And now, If you'll
kindly excuse me, I must give a fair
share of my time to my other devoted
She slipped out onto the porch be
fore Vandervyn could interfere. He
muttered a curse and went into the
dining room to get one of Dupont's
whisky bottles out of the dainty littl
At the Broken Mountain.
When, at dusk, Dupont rode up to
his house, llardy was still on the cot
on the porch. Vandervyn stood at the
far end, pulling hard at a cigar as he
watched Dupont approach.
The sound of the trader's bluff vole
wakened Hardy from his doze and
brought Marie to the door.
"No, not a track ; not one single sign
nowhere," Dupont was saying to Van
dervyn. "Thought I'd ride in and send
out more of the p'leece with food."
"Very good," said Hardy. "We must
track down the man, else others may
follow his example."
The next day the search for the
would-be assassin was continued, with
no better results than the first. It was
the same on the two succeeding days.
At last Dupont declared that there was
no hope of finding the mysterious lost
trail, and Hardy called in the track
ers. The period of the search had been
as agreeable to Hardy as it had been
annoying to Vandervyn. To check
Vandervyn's wooing or it may have
been to redoume nis arcior tnrougn
jealousy she spent as much time as
possible in Hardy's company. She
was so gracious that Hardy began to
show openly that he thought he might
have a fighting chance to win her.
This made Vandervyn furious. Yet
he had to restrain himself from any
Noon of the fourth day Hardy stated
at dinner that he was quite himself
again and would start on the trip into
the mountains the next morning. Red
bear had not yet returned to the
agency, and Dupont, in his friendliest
manner, offered his services as inter
preter until the halfbreed should join
When Hardy accepted this offer,
Vandervyn looked at him in his guile
less way and remarked In a casus.1
tone: "With the tribe so uneasy, I
suppose you will want me to stay here
and look after Marie." ,
V.ln,1 . I1T UA- m '
iuuiic iujcticu. x uui a. uiemuvr ui
the tribe. If Pere is going into the
mountains, I am going with him."
"No!" cried Vandervyn.
"I cannot permit that," declared
"Oh, yes, you can and will," confi
dently replied the girl. "I shall be in
no danger. If anyone is attacked, it
will be you only."
Unobservant of Vandervyn's look,
Dupont paused with a knlfeful of food
halfway to his mouth to agree with his
daughter: "Ain't none of 'em what
wants to lift her scalp. She'd be safer
'n me and you, Mr. Van which i9
good as saying dead safe."
"Yet if I should be attacked?" said
"If you are, it won't be no general
outbreak, Cap. It will be a few young
bloods a-laying for you, or mebbe
just one, like the buck done down at
"You see," argued Marie. "You are
the only one in danger of attack. If
Reggie and I go, as well as Pere, tlre
I'll 1 - 1 1 r
win ue uiai iuucn less cnance or
small party firing at you."
"Very well," acquiesced Hardy. "I
rely on your father's judgment. If
there is the slightest chance of daoer
to you. he should know it. But as ou
are to be with the party, I shall take
along a squad of police. Mr. Vander
vyn, you may remain In charge of the
agency, if you prefer."
"No, thanks," snapped Vandervyn
"If you intend to let Marie run the
risk of getting into a massacre, I moat
certainly shall go along."
The girl was unusually gracious to
Hardy at supper. At breakfast she dl
vided her smiles between the two with
strict impartiality. But when, shortly
before sunrise, the party started off up
the valley. Hardy began talking about
tribal customs th Dupont and be
calm so engrossed In the discussion
that he failed to glre his usual court
eous attention to Marie. Vandervyn
was quick to make the most of the
girl's pique. The half-dozen Indian po
lice of the escort were strung out In
front with the pack horses. He sug
gested that it would be well to avoid
the dust by getting In the lead.
Do you believe that Marie is
deliberately aiding the plotters
against Hardy, and do you fear
an ambuscade for the new agent
on this visit to the Indians?
41"? -HP CONTINUED.)