Read CHAPTER IV - THE DEED IN THE WATER of The Keepers of the Trail A Story of the Great Woods , free online book, by Joseph A. Altsheler, on ReadCentral.com.

Henry’s pace sank into a long walk, but he did not stop for two hours.  Then he drank at one of the innumerable brooks and lay down in the forest.  His adventure with the returning war party made him think much.  It was likely that other small bands had gone on the great adventure in the south.  The young warriors, in particular, were likely to take to the scalp trail.  It furnished them with excitement and at the same time destroyed the intruders upon their great hunting grounds.

He was tempted to rejoin his comrades and go south at once with a warning, but second thought told him that the chief danger lay in the great war band under Yellow Panther and Red Eagle.  He would adhere to his original plan and seek to destroy the cannon.

He resolved to return at night, and since he had plenty of time he shot a small deer, taking all chances, and cooked tender steaks over a fire that he lit with his flint and steel.  It refreshed him greatly, and putting other choice portions in his knapsack he started back on a wide curve, leaving the smoldering coals to arouse the curiosity of any one who might see them.

It was now the second day after the great storm, and earth and the forest had dried completely.  Henry, stepping lightly on the firm earth, and always using every stone or log or brook to hide any possible trace, had little fear of leaving a trail that even the keenest Indian could follow.  But he picked up several trails himself.  One was that of a small party coming from the east, and he thought they might be Wyandots bound for the great camp.  Another had the imprints of two pairs of boots, mingled with the light traces of moccasins, and he knew that they were made by English soldiers, doubtless gunners, coming also with their Indian comrades to join the great camp.

Nothing escaped his notice.  He knew that not far to the eastward ran one of the great rivers that emptied into the Ohio, flowing northward, and he began to wonder why the band did not use it for the transport of the cannon, at least part of the way.  Indians were usually well provided with canoes, and by lashing some of the stoutest together they could make a support strong enough for the twelve pounders.  It was an idea worth considering, and he and his comrades would watch the stream.  Then it occurred to him that he might go there now, and see if any movement in that direction had been begun by the warriors.  The other four undoubtedly would remain in their little stone fortress, until he returned, or even if they should venture forth they knew all the ways of the forest, and could take care of themselves.

To think of it was to act at once, and he began a great curve toward the east, slackening speed and awaiting the night, under cover of which he could work to far better effect and with much greater safety.

Toward sunset he came upon a trail made by moccasins and two pairs of boots, and he surmised that it was Alloway and one of his young officers who had passed that way with the Indians.  As they were going toward the river it confirmed him in his conjecture that they intended to use it, at least in part, for their advance into Kentucky.

There had been no effort to hide the trail.  What need had they to do so?  Even with the belief that the five were in the vicinity they were in too large numbers to fear attack, and Henry, following in their footsteps, read all their actions plainly.

They were not walking very fast.  The shortness between one footprint and the next proved it, and their slowness was almost a sure indication that the party included Yellow Panther and Red Eagle, or at least one of them.  They did not go faster, because they were talking, and Alloway would have discussed measures only with the chiefs.

At one point four pairs of footsteps turned aside a little, and stopped in front of a large fallen log.  Two of the traces were made by moccasins and two by boots.  So, the two pairs of moccasins indicated that both chiefs were present.  The four had sat on the log and talked some time.  In the crevices of the bank he found traces of thin ash.  The British officer therefore had lighted his pipe and smoked there, further proof that it had been a conference of length.

The warriors had remained in a group on the right, thirty or forty yards away, and several of them had lain down, the crushed grass showing faint traces of their figures.  Two small bones of the deer, recently covered with cooked flesh, indicated that several of them had used the opportunity to eat their supper.

Unquestionably the movement intended by the white leader and the red chiefs was important, or they would not stop to talk about it so long.  Hence it must mean the transportation of the cannon by water.  He could not think of anything else that would divert them from the main route.

About two miles farther on another trail joined the one that he was following.  It was made wholly by moccasins, but it was easy enough for him to discern among them two pairs, the toes of which turned outward.  These moccasins, of course, were worn by Blackstaffe and Wyatt, who, whatever the British colonel may have thought of them, were nevertheless of the greatest importance, as intermediaries between him and the Indian chiefs.

A few yards beyond the junction they had stopped and talked a little, but they had not sat down.  Nevertheless they had consulted earnestly as the footsteps were in an irregular group, showing that they had moved about nervously as they talked.  Then they walked on, but the moccasins moved forward in a much straighter and more precise manner than the boots, which were now veering a little from side to side.  The two British officers, not trained to it like the others, were growing weary from the long walk through the woods.  But they persevered.  Although they sagged more the trail led on, and, after a while, Henry saw a light, which he knew to be a campfire, and which he surmised was on the bank of the river.

The night was fairly dark and under cover of bushes he approached until he could see.  Then all his surmises were confirmed.  The campfire was large and around it sat Alloway, the younger officer, Red Eagle and Yellow Panther, and at a little distance about twenty warriors.  The two Englishmen seemed utterly exhausted, while the others showed no signs of weariness.

“I admit, Wyatt, that walking seven or eight miles through the primeval wilderness is no light task,” said Alloway, wiping his red, perspiring face.

His tone was not haughty and patronizing.  He felt just then, in this particular work, that he was not the equal of the renegades and the warriors.  Henry saw a faint ironic smile upon the face of each of the renegades, and he understood and appreciated their little triumph.

“You would do better, Colonel,” said Blackstaffe suavely, “to wear moccasins in place of those heavy boots.  They carry you over the ground much more lightly, and we have to follow the ways of the wilderness.”

The irritable red of Alloway’s face turned to a deeper tint, but he controlled himself.

“Doubtless you are right, Blackstaffe,” he said, “but we are here at last.”

Wyatt had been speaking in a low tone to the chiefs, and it inflamed a choleric man like Alloway to hear anyone saying words that he could not understand.  He was not able to restrain himself wholly a second time.

“What is it, man?  What is it that you’re saying to the chiefs?” he exclaimed.

“I was merely telling them,” replied Wyatt, “that you and your aide, Lieutenant Cartwright, had been made weary by the long walk through the woods, and that we’d better let you rest a little before going down to inspect the canoes.”

A blaze of anger appeared in Alloway’s eyes, but the younger officer who had been watching his chief with some apprehension, said deferentially: 

“Suppose, sir, that we do as they suggest.  Campaigning in this wilderness is not like fighting on the open fields of Europe.”

They all sat down about the fire, and venison, jerked buffalo meat and roasted grain were served to them.  The two chiefs were silent, and, holding themselves with dignity, were impressive.  Presently one of them took from under his deerskin tunic a pipe, with a long stem, and a bowl, carved beautifully.  He crowded some tobacco into it, put a live coal on top and took two or three long puffs.  Then he passed it to the other chief who after doing the same handed it to Colonel Alloway.

The officer hesitated, not seeming to understand the meaning of the pipe at that particular time, and Wyatt said, maliciously: 

“The pipe of peace, sir!”

“Why should we smoke a pipe of peace when we’re already allies?”

“A little feeling has been shown on our march through the woods to the river.  Indians, sir, are very sensitive.  These two chiefs, Yellow Panther and Red Eagle, are the heads of powerful tribes, and if their feelings are hurt in any manner they will resent it, even to the point of withdrawing all their warriors and returning north of the Ohio.  I suggest, sir, that you smoke the pipe at once, and return it to them.”

Colonel Alloway did so, Cartwright took it readily, after them the two renegades smoked, and thus it was passed around the circle.  It came back to Red Eagle, who knocked the coals out of the pipe and then gravely returned it to its resting place.

Henry had watched it all with eager attention, and when the little ceremony was finished he made another short circle through the bushes that brought him close to the river, where he saw about twenty canoes and two boats much larger, built stoutly and apparently able to sustain a great weight.  He knew at once that they were intended for the cannon and that they had been brought down the Ohio and then up the tributary stream.  Both had oars and he surmised that the white gun crews would use them, since the Indians were familiar only with the paddle.  These boats, scows he would have called them, were tied to the bank and were empty.  Some of the canoes were empty also, but in seven or eight, Indian warriors were lying asleep.

He was quite certain that the cannon would be brought up the next day, and be loaded on the scows, and he wished now for the presence of his comrades.  The five together might accomplish something real before the dawn, and then he resolved that since he was alone he would attempt it alone.  He withdrew to a considerable distance, and lay down in the bushes, very close.

It was hard to think of a plan that seemed feasible, and he concentrated his mind upon it until his brain began to feel inflamed, as if with a fever.  But the idea came at last.  It was full of danger, and it called for almost supernatural skill, but he believed that he could do it.  Then the fever went out of his brain and the tension of his nerves relaxed.  He felt himself imbued with new strength and courage, and his soul rose to its task.

He saw the two officers, the renegades and the chiefs come down to the edge of the river, and talk with the warriors there.  No very strict watch was kept, because none seemed to be needed.  Then blankets were spread for them under the trees, and they went to sleep.  Most of the warriors followed their example, and not more than three or four sentinels were left on watch.  These three or four, however, would have eyes to see in the darkness and ears to hear when a leaf fell.

But Henry did not sleep.  He was never more wide-awake.  He made his way carefully through the bushes farther up the stream to a point where he noticed the last canoe lying empty near the shore, almost hidden in the shadows cast on the water by the overhanging boughs.

He came to a point parallel with it and not more than ten feet away, and critically examining the river saw that the water was quite deep there, which suited his purpose.  The light craft was held merely by a slender piece of bark rope.  Then he began the most perilous part of his task.  He returned toward the sleeping officers and chiefs, and, lying flat upon the ground in the deep grass and heavy shadows, began slowly to worm himself forward.  It was a thing that no one could have accomplished without great natural aptitude, long training and infinite patience.  He knew that risk of detection existed, but he calculated that, if seen, he might be up and away before any one of his enemies could find time for a good shot.

The Englishmen in particular were the mark at which he aimed.  He had noticed that the younger one carried a large horn of powder and he was likely to be careless about it, a belief that was verified as he drew near.  The Englishman had taken off his belt, bullet pouch and powder horn, all of which now lay on the ground near him.

A long arm was suddenly thrust from the grass and a hand closing on the powder horn took it away.  Henry felt that it was well filled and heavy and he glowed with triumph.  The first link in his chain had been forged.  He crept back into the bushes, and stopped there twice, lying very still.  He saw the Indian sentinels moving about a little, but evidently they suspected nothing.  They were merely changing positions and quickly relapsed into silence and stillness.

It was fully half an hour before Henry was back at his place opposite the swinging little canoe.  Then he shook the powder horn triumphantly, put it down at the foot of a tree and covered it up with some leaves.  As he did so he noticed that many of last year’s leaves were quite dry and he remembered it.

Then he went back to forge the second link, which was not so difficult.  The fire around which the white men and the chiefs had eaten their supper was a little distance back of the present camp, where he was quite sure that it was still smoldering, although deserted.  He found a stick the end of which was yet a live coal, and circling a little wider on his return he came back to the powder horn.

Henry held the live point of the stick close to the ground where it could not cast a glow that the sentinels might see, and then waited a minute or so before taking any further action.  Two links of the chain had been forged and he felt now that he would carry it to its full length and success.  He had never been more skillful, never more in command of all his faculties, and they had never worked in more perfect coordination.  There had never been a more perfect type of the human physical machine.  Nature, in one of her happy moods, had lavished upon him all her gifts and now he was using them to the utmost, turning his ten talents into twenty.

The third link would be one of great difficulty, much harder than the bringing of the fire, and that was the reason why he was considering so well.  He could discern the figures of three of the sentinels on land.  Two of them were brawny warriors naked to the waist, and painted heavily.  The third was quite young, younger than himself, a mere boy, perhaps on his first war path.  Henry understood the feelings of hope and ambition that probably animated the Indian boy and he trusted that they would not come into conflict.

The sentinels were walking about, and when the one nearest him turned and moved away he gathered up quickly fallen brushwood which lay kiln-dry at the river’s brink.  Then he hid his rifle, other weapons and ammunition in the grass.  For a brief space he must go unarmed, because he could not be cumbered in an effort to keep them dry.

Carrying the powder horn, the dry sticks and the one lighted at the end, he dropped silently into the water and managed with one arm to swim the few feet that separated him from the canoe.  Then he passed around it, putting it between him and the land, and carefully lifted everything inside.  He knew that the dry wood would burn fast when he placed the torch against it, and he put the horn full of powder very near.

Then he sank low in the water behind the canoe, and listened until he heard the faint sputter of the fire in the dry wood.  Now new difficulties arose.  He must time everything exactly, and for the sake of his enterprise and his own life he must keep the Indian alarm from coming too soon.

The sputtering was not yet loud enough for the warriors on the bank to hear it, and he ventured to rise high enough for another look over the edge of the canoe.  In two minutes, he calculated, the fire would reach the powder horn.  Then he drew from his belt his hunting knife, the only weapon that he had not discarded, and cut the withe that held the canoe.

Burying himself in the water to the nose he sent his fire ship down the stream toward the two scows intending for it to enter just between them.  Now he needed all his skill and complete command over his will.  The sputtering of the fire increased, and he knew that it was rapidly approaching the horn of powder.  The flesh had an almost irresistible desire to draw away at once and swim for life, but an immense resolution held his body to its yet uncompleted task.

The canoe was moving with such a slight ripple that not an Indian sentinel had yet heard, but when it was within ten yards of its destination one happened to look over the river and see it moving.  There would have been nothing curious in a canoe breaking its slender thong and floating with the current, but this one was floating against it.  The Indian uttered a surprised exclamation and instantly called the attention of his comrades.

Henry knew that the supreme moment was at hand.  The Indian warning had come, and the sputtering told him that the fire was almost at the powder horn.  Giving his fire ship a mighty shove he sent it directly between the scows and then he made a great dive down and away.  He swam under water as long as he could, and just as he was coming to the surface he heard and saw the explosion.

The two scows and the canoe seemed to leap into the air in the center of a volcano of light, and then all three came down in a rain of hissing and steaming fragments.  The crash was stunning, and the light for a moment or two was intense.  Then it sank almost as suddenly and again came the darkness, in which Henry heard the steaming of burning wood, the turmoil of riven waters and the shouts of warriors filled with surprise and alarm.

It was easy in all the confusion for him to reach the bank, recover his arms and speed into the forest.  He had forged with complete success every link in his chain of destruction.  The scows intended for the transportation of the cannon were blown to splinters, and while they might lash enough canoes together to sustain their weight, they must move slowly and at much risk.

Although he was dripping with water, Henry was supremely happy.  When he undertook this feat he had believed that he would succeed, but looking back at it now it seemed almost incredible.  But here he was, and the deed was done.  He laughed to himself in silent pleasure.  Wyatt, Blackstaffe and the others would undoubtedly trace it to him and his comrades, and he hoped they would.  He was willing for them to know that the five were not only on watch but could act with terrific effect.

A half-mile away from the river and he heard a long fierce yell, uttered by many voices in unison.  He knew they had picked up at the edge of the stream the tale that he had not sought to hide, and were hoping now for revenge upon the one who had cost them so much.  But he laughed once more back of his teeth.  In the darkness they might as well try to follow a bird of the air.  He curved away, reached one of the numerous brooks intersecting the stream, and ran for a long time in its bed.  Then he emerged, passed into a dense canebrake and stopped, where he took off his wet clothing and spread it out in the dark to dry.  The blanket which he had left on the bank with his arms was warm and dry and he wrapped it around his body.  Then he lay down with his weapons by his side.

The satisfied blood ran swiftly and proudly in the veins of the great forest runner.  He had done other deeds as bold, but perhaps none as delicate as this.  It had demanded a complete combination of courage and dexterity and perfect timing.  A second more or less might have ruined everything.  He could imagine the chagrin of the choleric colonel.  Unless Wyatt and Blackstaffe restrained him he might break forth into complaints and abuse and charge the Indians with negligence, a charge that the haughty chiefs would repudiate at once and with anger.  Then a break might follow.

Whether the break came or not he had insured a delay, and since the cannon could not yet be put upon the river he might find a way to get at them.  He rolled on one side, made himself comfortable on the dead leaves and then heard the wind blowing a song of triumph through the cane.  He fell asleep to the musical note, but awoke at dawn.

His clothing was dry, and, unwrapping himself from the tight folds of the blanket, he dressed.  Then, stretching his muscles a little, to remove all stiffness or soreness he emerged from the canebrake.  After examining a circle of the forest with both eye and ear to see that no warrior was near, he climbed a tree and looked over a sea of forest.

To the north where the great camp lay he saw spires of smoke rising, and to the east, where a detachment guarded the boats in the river, another column of smoke floated off into the blue dawn.  So he inferred that they were yet uncertain about their campaign and that their forces would remain stationary for a little while.  But he was sure that warriors were ranging the forest in search of him.  Red Eagle and Yellow Panther would not let such an insult and loss pass without many attempts at revenge.

He descended and ate the last of his venison.  He would have returned at once to his comrades, but he believed that many warriors were in between and he did not wish to draw danger either upon them or himself.  He began another of his great curves and it took him away from the refuge in the cliff, coming back in two or three hours to the stream that bore the little Indian fleet.  His triumph of the night before increased his boldness, and he resolved to return the following night and annoy further the detachment by the river.  It would serve his cause, and it would be a pleasure to vex the dogmatic European colonel.

Weather was a great factor in the operation he was carrying on, and the coming night, fortunately for his purpose, promised to be dark.  Spring is fickle in the valley of the Ohio, and toward evening clouds gathered, although there was not a sufficient closeness of the air to indicate rain.  But the moon was feeble and by and by went away altogether.  Then the stars followed, leaving only a black sky which hid Henry well, but which did not hide the smaller camp by the river from him.

Watchers had been spread out in a wider circle, but he had no difficulty in approaching the fire, built on the bank of the river, around which sat the two chiefs, the renegades and the British officers.  Henry saw that the faces of all of them expressed deep discontent, and he enjoyed the joke, because joke it was to him.  He understood the depths of their chagrin.

“We’ll have to carry the cannon on the canoes, and maybe they’ll fall into the river,” said Alloway querulously.  “How in thunder the blowing up of those scows was managed I don’t understand!”

“Several of the warriors saw a canoe floating down, sir, just before the explosion,” said Cartwright, “and it must have been no illusion, as a canoe is gone.”

Cartwright had missed his horn of powder after the excitement from the explosion was over, but he supposed some Indian had used the opportunity to steal it, and he said nothing about his loss from fear of creating a breach.

“In my opinion, sir,” said Braxton Wyatt, smoothly but with just a trace of irony, “it was done by Ware and his comrades.”

“Impossible!  Impossible!” said Alloway, testily.  “The careless Indians left powder in the scows and in some manner equally careless it’s been exploded.  The tale of the canoe that floated upstream of its own accord was an invention to cover up their neglect.”

“Do you wish us to translate for you and to state that opinion to the chiefs?” asked Blackstaffe.

Alloway gave him an angry glance, but he had prudence enough to say: 

“No, of course not.  After all, there may have been a canoe.  But whatever it was it was most unfortunate.  It delays us greatly, and it preys upon the superstitions of the warriors.”

“They are very susceptible, sir, to such things,” said Wyatt.  “They dread the unknown, and this event has affected them unpleasantly.  But I’m quite sure it was done by Ware, although I don’t know how.”

“Ware!  Ware!” exclaimed Alloway, impatiently.  “Why should a force like ours dread a single person?”

“Because, sir, he does things that are to be dreaded.”

Yellow Panther, who had been sitting in silence, his arms folded across his great bare chest, arose and raised his hand.  Braxton Wyatt turned toward him respectfully and then said to Colonel Alloway: 

“The head chief of the Miamis wishes to speak, sir, and if you will pardon me for saying so, it will be wise for us to listen.”

“Very well,” said Alloway.  “Tell us what he says.”

Thus spoke Yellow Panther, head chief of the Miamis, veteran of many wars, through the medium of Braxton Wyatt: 

“We and our brethren, the Shawnees, have come with many warriors upon a long war path.  Our friends, the white men whom the mighty King George has sent across the seas to help us, have brought with them the great cannon which will batter down the forts of the Long Knives in Kaintuckee.  But the signs are bad.  The boats which were to carry the cannon on the river have been blown up.  An enemy stands across our path and before we go farther we must hunt him down.  If we cannot do it then Manitou has turned his face away from us.”

Wyatt translated and Alloway sourly gave adhesion.  It was hard for him to think that a single little group of borderers could hold up a great force like theirs, armed with cannon too.  But he was acute enough to see that the menace of a rupture would become a reality if he insisted upon having his own way.

Henry had watched them while they talked, and then he turned aside to a point nearer the river’s brink, from which he could see two pairs of their strongest canoes lashed together in the stream, ready for the reception of the cannon when they should come.  How was he to get at them?  He knew that he could not use a fire boat again, but these rafts, for such they were, must be destroyed in some manner.

Lying deep in the thickets he considered his problem.  One of the reasons why he excelled nearly all the scouts of the border was because he thought so much harder and longer, and now he concentrated all his faculties for success.

It did not take him long to mature his plan, and when he had done so he moved down the stream, where the chance of an Indian sentinel discovering him was much smaller.  There he waited a space, while the night darkened still more, the moon and stars being shut out entirely.  A wind arose and little crumbling waves pursued one another on the surface of the river, which was flooded and yellow from spring rains.

He saw only one or two sentinels and they showed but dimly.  Farther down the Englishmen, the chiefs and the renegades were sitting about the low fire, and he felt sure that the white men, at least, would sleep there by the coals.  From his covert in the bushes he saw them presently spreading their blankets, and then they lay down with their feet to the smoldering fire.  The chiefs soon followed them and elsewhere the warriors also rolled themselves in their blankets.  They seemed to think that he would not come back, reasoning like the white men that the lightning would not strike in the same place twice.

So he waited long and patiently.  This quality of patience was one in which the Caucasian was usually inferior to the Indian, but in the incessant struggle on the border it was always needed.  Henry, through the power of his will and his original training among the Northwestern Indians, had acquired it in the highest degree.  He could sit or lie an almost incredible length of time, so still that he would seem to blend into the foliage, and now as he lay in the bushes some of the little animals crept near and watched him.  A squirrel, not afraid of the fire in the distance, came down the trunk of a tree, and hanging to the bark not five feet away regarded him with small red eyes.

Henry caught a glimpse of the little gray fellow and turning his head ever so slightly regarded him.  The red eyes looked back at him half bold and half afraid, but Henry had lived in the wild so much that the two felt almost akin.  The squirrel saw that the gigantic figure on the ground did not move, and that the light in the eyes was friendly.  He crept a little nearer, devoured by curiosity.  He had never seen a human being before, and instinct told him that he could escape up the tree before this great beast could rise and seize him.  He edged cautiously an inch nearer, and the blue eyes of the human being smiled into the little red eyes of the animal.

The two gazed at each other for a half minute or so.  It was a look of the utmost friendliness, and then the squirrel went noiselessly back up the tree.  It was a good omen, thought Henry, but he still waited with the illimitable patience which is a necessity of the wild.  He saw the fire, before which the white men and the chiefs lay sleeping, sink lower and lower.  The night remained dark.  The heavy drifting clouds which nevertheless were not ready to open for rain, moved overhead in solemn columns.  The surface of the river grew dim, but now and then there was a light splash as a strong fish leaped up and fell back into the current.  The Indian guards knowing well what made them, paid no attention to these sounds.

The wind increased and Henry saw all the canoes, including those lashed together, rocking in the current.  The blast made a whistling sound among the bushes and boughs and he concluded that the time for him to act had come.  He took off all his clothing, made it, his weapons and ammunition in a bundle which he fastened on his head, and then swam across the river.  He went some distance down the bank, deposited everything except his heavy hunting knife securely in the bush, and then, with the knife in his teeth, dropped silently into the river.

The lashing of the wind and the perceptible rise of the stream from flooded tributaries farther up, made a considerable current, and Henry floated with it.  But the bank on the camp side of the river was considerably higher than the other and first he swam across to its shelter.

It was so dark now that not even the keen eye of an Indian could have seen his dark head on the dark surface of the stream, and he was so powerful in the water that he swam like a fish without noise.  Once or twice he caught the gleam of the fire on the bank, but he knew that he was not seen.

In a few minutes he dropped in behind the lashed canoes, and with the heavy hunting knife cut holes in their bark bottoms.  He was skillful and strong, but it took him a half-hour to finish the task, and he stopped at intervals to see if the sentinels had noticed anything unusual.  Evidently they dreamed as little of this venture as of that of the fire boat.

He cut a small hole in every one at first, and then enlarged them in turn, and when he saw the water rising in the boats he swam rapidly away, still keeping in the shelter of the near shore.  Then he dived, rose just behind a curve and walked out on the opposite bank, his figure gleaming white for a moment before he crept into the woods where his clothes and weapons lay.  He dressed with rapidity and still lying hidden he heard the first Indian cry.

The sentinels, hearing the gurgling of the water, had looked over and seen the sinking canoes.  Even as they looked, and as the alarm brought others, the canoes filled with water and sank fifteen feet to the bottom of the stream.

A few rays of moonlight forced their way through the clouds just at that moment, and Henry saw the amazement on the faces of the warriors, and the anger on the faces of the white men, because Alloway and the others, awakened by the alarm, had hurried to the banks of the river.

He laughed low to himself but with deep and intense satisfaction.  He was enough a son of the wild to understand the emotions of the Indians.  He knew that the second destruction of the boats, but in a different way, would fill them with awe.  They could attach no blame to the sentinels who watched as only Indians could watch.

Henry saw them lift the remaining canoes upon the bank for safety, and then send out scouts and runners in search of the dangerous foe who had visited them twice.  None had yet come to his side of the river, but he knew that they would do so in time, and feeling that the deed was sufficient for the night, he fled away in the darkness.